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Archive | July, 2011

Official: Russia may complete talks on accession to WTO by mid-Dec

Russian may complete talks to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) by December 14–16 when the organization’s general council plans to hold a meeting, Maxim Medvedkov, head of the Economic Development Ministry’s trade negotiations department, said Thursday, RIA Novosti reported.

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The End for Assad? High Ranking Officers Desert, Join Rebels

A Syrian Major-General has deserted Assad’s army along with a group of other officers and joined the rebels.

In an Arabic video clip posted on Youtube on July 29, 2011, the officer, Major-General Riad El As’ad is seen in the company of other officers, announcing the establishment of the “Free Syrian Army whose main goal will be to fight the army of oppression headed by President Bashar Assad”.

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China is close to the end of faith in the dollar

The Chinese have long admired the economic dynamism of the US. But they have lost confidence in the US government and its dysfunctional economic stewardship. That message came through loud and clear in my recent travels to Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Hong Kong.

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Former Bush NSA director calls for ‘digital Blackwater’

The man who headed the NSA and CIA under President George W. Bush suggested Friday that mercenaries were needed to deal with growing cyber threats.

Gen. Michael Hayden told the Aspen Security Forum that in the near future, the Department of Defense may have to allow the creation of a “digital Blackwater.”

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US commando advises government on declaring Somalia a no-fly zone

President Museveni has proposed a no-fly zone over Somalia to limit the inflow of weapons into that country. How come the USA was quick to respond to a no-fly zone in Libya but has ignored a similar call over Somalia.

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Thailand’s Military Crisis?

The inherently risky nature of military operations means that all armed forces suffer unavoidable accidents. But a spate of mishaps, such as the three helicopter crashes suffered over the past week by the Royal Thai Army, tends to point to more systemic problems.

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DARPA Seeks Wireless Power For Soldiers In Field

The Department of Defense (DOD) aims to develop a way to recharge electronic devices wirelessly on the battlefield to reduce the number of batteries U.S. Army and Marine Corps soldiers must carry.

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South America Plans Summit on Defending Currencies From Crisis

The meeting of finance ministers from the Union of South American Nations, to take place Aug. 10-11 in Buenos Aires, was organized at the urging of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The gathering will allow governments to coordinate action to deal with shared problems including “speculative” capital inflows that are fueling a rally in their currencies, Santos said at a July 28 summit of regional leaders.

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Alabama’s Largest County Readies For Possible Record Bankruptcy

Alabama’s largest county began laying the groundwork Tuesday for what would be largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy after three years of trying to work out a solution with Wall Street to more than $3 billion in debt linked to a massive sewer rehabilitation project tainted by corruption.

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Qassem Suleimani: the Iranian general ‘secretly running’ Iraq

In Baghdad, no other name invokes the same sort of reaction among the nation’s power base – discomfort, uncertainty and fear.

“He is the most powerful man in Iraq without question,” Iraq’s former national security minister, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, said recently. “Nothing gets done without him.”

Until now, however, few Iraqis have dared to talk openly about the enigmatic Iranian general, what role he plays in Iraq and how he shapes key agendas like no one else.

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UN Needs To Establish World Environment Organisation

There is a need to establish a World Environment Organisation (WEO) under the United Nations as the current governance arrangements for the sector have failed to meet the expectations.

Developed over the course of 40 years, since the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972, the challenges have outgrown the system, Science Adviser to the Prime Minister, Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid said.

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Yale’s ‘World Fellows’ program a melting pot of elites

Established 10 years ago, Yale’s “World Fellows” initiative has lured a diverse group of mid-career professionals deemed to be “emerging leaders” to the prestigious Ivy League school northeast of New York.

Each year, 14-18 people earn the right to spend a semester on the leafy campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Fellows — whose fees and living expenses are fully funded by the university — take classes but also offer guest lectures to undergraduates and meet with students to share their experiences.

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US opens regional trade gambit in Asia

Towards the end of her five-day visit to Asia that revealed new strategic thinking on several foreign policy indicators, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week delivered a path-breaking speech on economic diplomacy in Hong Kong. Grandly titled as “Principles for Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific”, it purported to place the United States in the cockpit to drive the agenda of regional economic integration that is distinct from what China has been attempting under its own leadership banner.

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NATO Takes Control at Kosovo Borders

NATO and Serbian government officials sent emergency reinforcements to two border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo on Thursday, seeking to maintain calm after two days of violence that threatened the stability of a long simmering area of the Western Balkans.

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Turkey’s Military Chiefs Resign En Masse

General Isik Kosaner, the head of the Turkish armed forces, has quit along with the heads of the ground, naval and air forces.

The country’s state-run Anatolia news agency said the military chiefs have asked to retire because of tensions with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the recently re-elected prime minister.

Anatolia reported Kosaner as resigning “as he saw it as necessary”.

This is the first time so many top commanders in Turkey have stepped down at once.

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China’s First Ever Aircraft Carrier: It’s Aliiiiiiive!

China’s readying its aircraft carrier debut—a gently owned Russian vessel that’s being refitted for serious sea cruising. The progress has been slow (it’s a gigantic aircraft carrier, to be fair), but has reached a milestone:lights on.

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Pentagon eyes “noiseless” next-gen drones

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is kicking off an initiative to develop noiseless next-gen drones.

Research for the project will be conducted under the auspices of IARPA’s Great Horned Owl Program, and is likely to build on previous work done by NASA in the context of attempting to design a quiet aircraft.

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Tensions escalate as Serbs torch Kosovo border crossing

Serb-dominated northern Kosovo remained tense Wednesday night after a group of masked men destroyed a border checkpoint to Serbia.

About 50 masked Serbs appeared at the Jarinje crossing in the evening, demolished the checkpoint with a bulldozer and set buildings on fire with Molotov cocktails, state broadcaster RTS reported. Gunfire was heard at the scene, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

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Bad Omen: France, Britain, seek exit from Libya

PARIS – WITH their Libya bombing campaign dragging on unresolved, France and Britain have been forced to accept ruler Muammar Gaddafi may stay there if he quits power, despite calls for international justice.

Britain denied the joint position was a climb-down after it had repeatedly called for him to quit the country, while France last week was the first to openly suggest he could stay under a negotiated settlement.

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U.S. operatives smuggle satellite phones into Syria

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are smuggling thousands of satellite phones into Syria.

According to DebkaFile, the phones are expected to help Syrian opposition leaders bypass downed telephone and Internet links.

The handsets will also allow protestors to broadcast live video of brutal attacks by Syrian security and military forces against civilians.

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Why South Korea is Eyeing Nukes

Concern about US security guarantees has prompted debate in South Korea over the possibility of redeploying US tactical nuclear weapons – or building some themselves.

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China Vs. US: The Cyber Cold War Is Raging

State-owned Internet company China Telecom tricked relays from around the world into routing traffic through its servers for about 18 minutes.

It isn’t publicly known what happened to that traffic when it passed through China. But a report filed late last year by Congress’ U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the hijacked traffic could easily have been captured, censored, or even replaced with other data without anyone’s knowledge

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The New Foreign Policy Frontier

The frontier of foreign policy in the 21st century is social, developmental, digital, and global. Along this frontier, different groups of actors in society — corporations, foundations, NGOs, universities, think tanks, churches, civic groups, political activists, Facebook groups, and others — are mobilizing to address issues that begin as domestic social problems but that have now gone global.

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In game of brinksmanship, U.S., Pakistan inching closer toward the edge

Source: PDO Tensions between the United States and Pakistan are showing no signs of easing, and their relations could become even more strained before getting better as each side is standing its ground, analysts said Tuesday. Ties between the two countries have been wobbly since the U.S. raid on terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden’s compound […]

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Thailand Army plans an offensive in far South

The 4th Army will launch an operation to comb mountainous areas of the three southernmost border provinces where insurgents have set up bases and training camps for terrorist activities, Maj-Gen Acra Thiproj said on Tuesday.

Maj-Gen Acra, deputy director of the advance headquarters of the Region 4 Internal Security Operations Command, said the operation will be launched from late July to September.

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Is France on Course to Bid Adieu to Globalization?

Source: GP Many in France are blaming globalization for causing high youth unemployment and a stagnated, post recessionary economy. With the 2012 presidential election approaching, the theme of “deglobalization” appears to be growing in popularity due to its nationalistic appeal. Left-wing candidates, including member of Parliament Arnaud Montebourg, are advocating European-based protectionism, and saying that […]

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Boeing and BAE Systems Develop Weapon for the US Navy

Source: Executive Biz Boeing’s Directed Energy Systems division has just signed an agreement with BAE Systems to develop the Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System for defense of U.S. Navy ships. BAE Systems was awarded the contract from the Navy in March while Boeing is a subcontractor to the firm for this project. “Combining BAE’s Engineering expertise with the proven […]

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Recent war vets face risk of homelessness

Source: USA Today Military officials celebrate Veteran’s Day at the Central Union Mission in D.C. with some of the area’s disadvantaged veterans. The rise comes at a time when the total number of homeless veterans has declined from a peak of about 400,000 in 2004 to 135,000 today. “We’re seeing more and more (Iraq and […]

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40% of Missiles in Developing World Came from N.Korea

Source: Chosun Forty percent of ballistic missiles developing nations have imported since 1987 came from North Korea, VOA reported Thursday. The claim comes in a report titled “The Evolution of North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Market” by Joshua Pollack, a nuclear proliferation expert at the U.S. Science Applications International Corporation, who says, “More than 40 percent […]

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US administration starts new push on global crime

The Obama administration announced a broadside of harsh new sanctions against four far-flung criminal cartels on Monday, part of what it said is a coordinated strategy to fight international underworld factions that could harm U.S. interests or security. A new executive order signed by President Barack Obama outlined a regime of schedule of harsh sanctions against so-called transnational criminal […]

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Famine in East Africa: governments’ failure

Source: CH16 Rosebell Kagumire Kampala -Uganda Views expressed are the author’s own On Tuesday this week, Daily Monitor newspaper in Uganda reported the death of two people in the eastern district of Bulambuli. Local authorities there said the two had died due to hunger. They also warned that the deaths could be more. In a desperate pleas the local areas […]

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Police forces come together to create new regional surveillance units

Source: UKGD Britain’s police forces are forming regional surveillance units with the power to carry out covert and intrusive investigations. Detectives believe the groups will make it easier for the authorities to bug computers, break into properties and interfere with wireless internetnetworks as part of countersurveillance operations, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Until recently, covert investigations were carried […]

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Defense Contractors Block Auditor Access to Records, Insiders Say

Source: Time ast week, POGO revealed that the Pentagon failed to act on a 2009 legislative proposal from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) for enhanced power to compel contractors to turn over internal records. While few inside DCAA would quibble with the desire for greater subpoena power, there is a debate internally about how aggressive DCAA […]

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Geo-Political Risks and Your Portfolio

Source: SA The Intelligent Insurer has released its Global Political Risk map for 2011, which is available for download. The map color codes each country based on a quantified risk to stability. The rating scale includes five levels and ranges from low to severe. The map includes icons for industries at risk (oil & gas, power, […]

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‘Vasectomy colony’ faces population explosion

Source: ToI NEW DELHI: If you thought such bizarre things could only happen during the dark Emergency days, a trip to a locality on the outskirts of New Delhi can be an eye-opener. The place is called Nasbandi Colony - loosely translated into vasectomy colony – and it’s crawling with kids. Conceptualised as a unique initiative to curb rising population, […]

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Does Europe now have its own IMF?

Source: Fp Many observers of the new Greek bailout are noting that the primary vehicle for the rescue– the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)–is beginning to look an awful lot like Europe’s own version of the International Monetary Fund. French president Nicolas Sarkozy has long advocated such a mechanism and is celebrating what he described as the […]

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QNB Capital: US Dollar has reached pre-financial crisis lows

Source: Zawya Doha - The US dollar is currently trading at levels which are close to historical lows, according to analysis by QNB Capital. The Federal Reserve’s US dollar exchange-rate index fell to 94.1 in April 2011, its lowest level since 1995. It remains close to this historical low and has been moving in a narrow range […]

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Hamid Karzai is losing control in Afghanistan

Source: VoR Interview with Lieutenant-General Gennady Evstafyev, independent analyst of Central and South Asian security issues. Jan Mohammad Khan, who is Afghanistan’s senior presidential advisor on tribal affairs, was assassinated together with Afghanistan’s lawmaker Hashem Watanwal and three other people at his home in Kabul, and last week it was Ahmad Wali Karzai who was de […]

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CIA spreads its tentacles in S Punjab

Very responsible security sources said that Americans have increased their contacts with influential community leaders in southern Punjab to establish a network of intelligence agents out there.

As Pakistan has refused to give permission to the US to establish its consulate in Multan.So now US embassy in Islamabad is using its diplomatic face for its new effort to expand their clandestine activities, establishing a series of CIA agents in south Punjab where demands for autonomy fuelled by rising sense of deprivation have increased in recent months – come after Pakistan refused permission to the US to establish its consulate in Multan.

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Report: China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers

Source: Washington Times China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday. Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Centerstudy on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are […]

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Drone usage on the rise in conflicts worldwide

Source: DW World On Thursday, Iranian and Indian media reported that an American drone strike had killed four militants in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan. Over in Europe, also on Thursday, the French Ministry of Defense said it was in talks with a military contractor to order a new fleet of drones that could be deployed […]

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Spies in China Said to Be Behind IMF Hacking

Source: Bloomberg Investigators probing the recent ransacking of International Monetary Fund computers have concluded the attack was carried out by cyber spies connected to China, according to two people close to the investigation. Computer specialists have spent several weeks piecing together information about the attack, which the IMF disclosed on June 8. Evidence pointing to China […]

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The Next Debt Crisis Could Come from Paris

Source: Business Week President Nicolas Sarkozy has been a key player in shaping Europe’s response to the debt crisis that has so far infected Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. Yet the most important thing he can do to shore up the euro may be to deal with the mounting economic problems in his own country. “On […]

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Russian military to introduce ‘virtual battlefield’ training

Source: Defense Talk The Russian military intends to move towards “virtual battlefield” military training by 2013, Chief of the General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov said on Wednesday. He said the news system would be “comparable and in some aspects even superior to those implemented in countries with the most advanced military forces.” The general said the new […]

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Japan, South Korea At Odds Again Over Territorial Dispute

Source: Global Security South Korean government officials say they will react with unspecified but various “countermeasures” if a group of conservative Japanese lawmakers attempts to visit a disputed small island off the eastern Korean coast at the beginning of next month. Korea’s Special Affairs Minister, Lee Jae-oh, posted a notice on the Twitter messaging service […]

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Artificial neural network created from DNA

Source: Caltech Researchers at the California Institute of Technology(Caltech) have made an artificial neural network out of DNA, creating a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete patterns, just as a brain can. The research demonstrates how molecular systems can exhibit autonomous brain-like behaviors. How it works Using a simple DNA gate architecture that […]

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Regulations proposed for animal–human chimaeras

Source: Nature News UK lays out first framework to govern ethically sensitive research field. Alison Abbott The increasingly sophisticated blending of different species to create chimaeras is pushing biology into a new ethical dimension. Last year, scientists used new stem-cell technologies to create a mouse with a functioning pancreas composed entirely of rat cells. So […]

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Navigating the New World Order: The UK and the Emerging Powers

Source: Chatham House Transcript – Jeremny Browne MP Chatham House, July 2011 Download Paper here This is a transcript of an event held on 20 July at Chatham House with Jeremy Browne MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Minister discussed how Britain should respond to the rise of countries countries such as […]

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Will the Government Pay for Your Birth Control?

Source: Atlantic Wire Free birth control could soon be a reality. A medical advisory panel from the Institute of Medicine–a non-partisan group–recommended to the Health and Human Services Department eight services for women it believes should qualify as preventive care, including contraception,reports The New York Times. Under health care reform, insurers must fully cover the cost of […]

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Ireland: Women ‘skimping on contraception due to recession’

Source: Population Matters Women are putting off gynaecological check-ups and skimping on contraception to  save money as the recession bites, a leading sexual health clinic has warned. More women are also self-treating sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) while  the number seeking fertility tests has fallen for the first time in a decade. Well Woman said it was concerned […]

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Cyber Weapons: The New Arms Race

Source: Business Week By Michael Riley and Ashlee Vance In the early morning hours of May 24, an armed burglar wearing a ski mask broke into the offices of Nicira Networks, a Silicon Valley startup housed in one of the countless nondescript buildings along Highway 101. He walked past desks littered with laptops and headed […]

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Malawi army deployed over anti-Mutharika protests

Source: BBC The army has been deployed in three Malawian cities on a second day of anti-government protests in which at least 18 people have been killed. President Bingu wa Mutharika has vowed to “use any measure I can think of” to quell the demonstrations. Protesters accuse him of plunging Malawi into its worst economic […]

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