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Archive | October, 2011

Meth Behind Chinese Deaths In The Golden Triangle?

All of the Chinese victims had been blindfolded, tied up and shot, according to Thai and Chinese media. In their defense, the army officers said they had heard about the assault on the ships by hijackers and later also boarded them, but announced they had discovered 920,000 hidden amphetamine pills and one dead Chinese crew member. A few days later, 12 other Chinese corpses appeared floating in the Mekong, prompting urgent demands by Beijing for Bangkok to investigate the case and punish the killers.

It is a major concern. The murders became a major point of contention between the two countries, with the Chinese suspending all shipping between Thailand and China on the Mekong.

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Analysis: Endgame Looms on the Caspian Sea Chessboard

Much attention is currently focused on the attempts to agree terms for building a Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) underneath the Caspian Sea from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, allowing natural gas from Turkmenistan to find a route to Europe. The European Commission (EC) was recently authorized by the EU to participate in working out the terms of the project.

To put the present situation in perspective, it is useful to recall the last time such an attempt was made. That was back in the late 1990s, when US firms first sought to construct such a pipeline. That TCGP consortium was half-owned by PSG International, and half by GE Capital and Bechtel (who later also included Royal Dutch Shell in the venture).

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Russia Eyes Bigger Role On Latin American Weapons Market

The Russian official arms trader carries on its aggressive marketing campaign on the Latin American weapon market, which it considers as one of the most promising and important for Russia, especially following the significant rise of Russian weapon supplies to the region over the past few years.

Unlike many other weapon suppliers Rosoboronexport does not offer only ready-made pieces of military hardware to its Latin American partners, but also a wide range of after sale services, repairs, component supplies, upgrades, armor reinforcement and license production in the form of direct or indirect offset agreements, including with technology transfer.

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China could do Kargil on India, warns IDSA

Projecting conflict scenarios between the two Asian giants, a report titled A Consideration of Sino Indian Conflict by Ali Ahmed said, “The lower end of the conflict at this level could be a Kargil-like situation. China’s aim could be to teach India a lesson so as to influence India’s rise before its capacity building underway acquires traction.”

The report warned this “could be a limited war confined to a specific section of the border or LAC, limited in duration and amenable to a negotiated termination”.

The Kargil hostilities were triggered by infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) in 1999.

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America’s new Middle East ‘mini-Nato’

Iran’s influence in Iraq and Syria, wielded directly and indirectly through powerful proxies such as the hardline Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, may be expected to grow in the wake of the US pullout. This will not only encourage Assad to hang on; it is also likely to increase tensions between Iran and neighbouring, pro-western Gulf Co-operation Council states.

Hence the third pillar of the Pentagon’s evolving strategy, as disclosed by the New York Times: a plan to develop new “security architecture” that would potentially conjoin Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman with the US in a sort of Middle East “mini-Nato”. Just as Nato was created to counter the Soviet threat, so this new grouping’s main aim in life would be to push back against Iran.

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China and India at War: Study Contemplates Conflict Between Asian Giants

There are plenty of reasons why China and India won’t go to war. The two Asian giants hope to reach $100 billion in annual bilateral trade by 2015. Peace and stability are watchwords for both nations’ rise on the world stage. Yet tensions between the neighbors seem inescapable: they face each other across a heavily militarized nearly 4,000km-long border and are increasingly competing against each other in a scramble for natural resources around the world. Indian fears over Chinese projects along the Indian Ocean rim were matched recently by Beijing’s ire over growing Indian interests in the South China Sea, a body of water China controversially claims as its exclusive territorial sphere of influence. Despite the sense of optimism and ambition that drives these two states, which comprise between them nearly a third of humanity, the legacy of the brief 1962 Sino-Indian war (a humiliating blow for India) still smolders nearly five decades later.

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Preparing For Regime Change?: Turkey Shelters Anti-Assad Fighters

Once one of Syria’s closest allies, Turkey is hosting an armed opposition group waging an insurgency against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, providing shelter to the commander and dozens of members of the group, the Free Syrian Army, and allowing them to orchestrate attacks across the border from inside a camp guarded by the Turkish military.

The support for the insurgents comes amid a broader Turkish campaign to undermine Mr. Assad’s government. Turkey is expected to impose sanctions soon on Syria, and it has deepened its support for an umbrella political opposition group known as the Syrian National Council, which announced its formation in Istanbul. But its harboring of leaders in the Free Syrian Army, a militia composed of defectors from the Syrian armed forces, may be its most striking challenge so far to Damascus.

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U.S. and Russia create problems for themselves by supplying arms to third countries

Russia continues to export military hardware to Iran while strictly observing UN Security Council sanctions. The United States behaves similarly, continuing to deliver military hardware to Pakistan, although Washington’s relations with it have soured recently. Selling for profit today regardless of the consequences tomorrow is not a unique situation for some governments.

As part of military technical cooperation, Russia has supplied Iran with 1L222 Avtobaza radioelectronic countermeasure systems and is negotiating another sale of this system, Konstantin Biryulin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told RIA Novosti. He said that since the equipment concerns defensive arms it does not fall under the Russian president’s decree on joining the sanctions specified by UN Security Council Resolution 1929.

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Call for controlled collapse in Syria or face war

Syria’s uprising is now well into its seventh month, and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 3600 people have been killed by security forces and regime supporters, and of those, about 200 have been children.

”Local people have reached the crossroads,” said Mousab Azzawi, the group’s spokesman. ”So far they have been sticking to their peaceful demonstrations, but now they are tempted by the 15,000 or so defectors from the army to take up arms in the uprising.”

Such a move would bring enormous risk, he said. ”If the conflict turns into a military one, it will not be confined by the borders of Syria.”

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Hundreds of migrants protest tax dispute in east China, blocking roads, torching vehicle

Hundreds of migrant small business owners in an eastern Chinese town have protested over a tax dispute, some of them torching vehicles, in the latest unrest resulting from growing economic pressure and anger over the unfair treatment of migrants.

The group of children’s clothing company owners protesting in the town of Zhili in Zhejiang province swelled to more than 600 people on Wednesday night, according to Huzhou Online, a state controlled news portal in the city of Huzhou, which oversees Zhili.

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Inside Bangladesh’s organ trade

Mehdi Hasan’s scar runs in a wide arc from his waist to a point just beneath his rib-cage.

The jagged pink laceration still aches, the 23-year-old says, a daily reminder of the operation he underwent in the capital Dhaka five months ago, in the hopes of raising some quick cash.

In exchange for 60 percent of his liver, an illegal organ broker had promised him 300,000 taka ($3,960) — a royal sum in Bamongram, his small village of mud- brick homes and verdant rice paddies in Bangladesh’s northeast.

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North Korean Regime Rattled By Libyan Regime Change

The North Korean regime is paying close attention to the latest developments in Libya because of the similarities between the Moammar Gadhafi and Kim Jong-il regimes. These include the psychopathic personalities of the dictators, their iron grip on power, and their hoarding of national assets to ensure their survival and buying of loyalty. It remained silent when Gadhafi was on the run after NATO forces intervened. Following the uprising in Libya, North Korea’s National Defense Commission, which protects the Km Jong-il regime, went into emergency mode, while all universities in Pyongyang were closed indefinitely in June.

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China seeks military bases in Pakistan

Answering questions at the 10th Asia Security Summit, organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Liang disclaimed moves to build naval bases at Gwadar and at a Sri Lankan port. Emphasizing his credentials as a member of the Chinese State Council and Central Military Commission, he said:

We will have a very serious and careful study of an issue of such importance to the government and the military like the reported move for establishing naval bases in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Indeed, we will have exact plans and set up a panel to discuss it if the move were for real. However, I haven’t heard of it.

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“Sounds of Cannons” Warning on South China Sea Dispute

On Tuesday, a Chinese national newspaper, The Global Times, published a controversial editorial. It warns the countries involved in the South China Sea dispute to “mentally prepare for the sounds of cannons.”

The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily—the voice of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

The newspaper editorial criticizes Vietnam and the Philippines for advancing their own interests and exploiting the Chinese regime’s “mild diplomatic stance” over the South China Sea claims. It also states the Chinese military would resort to action if the Asian neighbors do not change their stance over the sea claims.

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Brazil has thousands working in forced labor: ILO

Thousands of people still toil in forced labor in Brazil, despite government attempts to curtail the practice, the International Labour Organization said in a new report.

Since 1995, more than 40,000 people have been rescued from forced labor, citing field reports from the poor, rural areas in the country’s northeast and interviews with 121 people who were released between 2006 to 2007.

The workers were found to be mostly black males who grew up in poverty, began working as children and had little formal education, said the ILO report.

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Bank for International Settlements: The bank risk Basel is missing

Inside the thought-process of global bank stabilizer, the Bank of International Settlements, many things change over the years. The consortium of central banks is charged with setting the standard that provides a measure of a financial institution’s core strength and tends to adopt new standards yearly. Mandates to maintain these traits are packed in the continually evolving Basel accords.

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Expert: build Nordic union ‘if the euro falls’

As the eurozone crisis continues to dominate European political business, Gunnar Wetterberg, an analyst at white collar union Saco, has stated the case for a Nordic Union and currency, to counter the threat of a euro collapse.
Wetterberg argued in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily on Tuesday that a federal Nordic state would enable Scandinavian countries to be more resilient in the face of global financial storms.

“A united Scandinavia would be far stronger in the face of the outside world than the five countries individually, while an increasingly common domestic market would provide significantly better growth than today,” Wetterberg argued.

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Russia gets NATO ‘nyet’ on missile defense, but Georgia and Ukraine get green light for membership

NATO officials say they are willing to “cooperate” with Russia in the US missile defense system, while balking on the possibility of building a single system.

Unfortunately, NATO on Tuesday once again refrained from putting its money where its mouth is, offering Moscow cheap words, as opposed to priceless action when it comes to a genuine partnership in the construction of a European missile defense system, which the US says is needed to protect Europe from a ‘rogue’ missile strike. . . .

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Fitch Exec Regards Greece As Insolvent

Fitch Ratings sees no quick fix to the euro zone crisis ahead of a crucial meeting of European leaders in Brussels on Wednesday and amid worrying signs that a European recession will set in this winter.
“There is no quick fix, no matter what comes from the summit on Wednesday,” said Tony Stringer, Fitch΄s global head of sovereign ratings by teleconference.

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MI6 role in Libyan rebels’ rendition ‘helped to strengthen al-Qaida’

British intelligence believes the capture and rendition of two top Libyan rebel commanders, carried out with the involvement of MI6, strengthened al-Qaida and helped groups attacking British forces in Iraq, secret documents reveal.

The papers, discovered in the British ambassador’s abandoned residence in Tripoli, raise new and damaging questions over Britain’s role in the seizure and torture of key opponents of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

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Italian government on brink of collapse

Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition government in Italy appears in danger of collapsing over European Union demands for a demonstration of concrete action on economic reform by Wednesday’s summit of eurozone leaders.

The EU ultimatum delivered to Mr Berlusconi in Brussels on Sunday risks breaking his coalition instead of giving it an external impetus to move ahead on measures to cut Italy’s debt and promote economic growth.

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US and France ‘join fighting’ against al-Shabab

Foreign military forces have joined the offensive against the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia as Kenyan troops advanced towards the rebel stronghold of Kismayu, a Kenyan military spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir, said.

The US or France, or possibly both, had stepped up airstrikes in the past few days, killing al-Shabab militants, he said. The French navy has also shelled rebel positions from the sea, Kenyan officials said.

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War between elephants and horses at AF-PAK: post-bin Laden opportunities

Pakistan, which may suffer from American pressure, could also enter a crisis with India over nuclear balances. Able to observe all these factors, the Barack Obama administration will rely on controlled passive diplomacy in order to remain a global power in the region with Iran, Russia, China, India and Pakistan, because one step further in this strategy is the Caucasian energy line, as well as nuclear activities. The White House, which is considering making Pakistan foot the bill for these developments, may provoke a Pakistani-Indian conflict to address Afghan grievances. The next strategy of the Obama administration, which expects the elephants to crush the horses, will be asking Pakistan to cease its nuclear activities because of the Indian threat.

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Paul Ehrlich, a prophet of global population doom who is gloomier than ever

The population of Earth has doubled since Paul Ehrlich first warned the world that there were too many humans. Three and a half billion people later, he is more pessimistic than ever, estimating there is only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of global civilisation.

“Among the knowledgeable people there is no more conversation about whether the danger is real,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “Civilisations have collapsed before: the question is whether we can avoid the first time [an] entire global civilisation has given us the opportunity of having the whole mass collapse.”

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Philippine Military Launches Air Strike Against Alleged Outlaws

The Philippine military launched air strikes Monday against dozens of suspected outlaws who have been surrounded by troops in a southern town, but the president said the country’s largest Muslim rebel group was not a target, as he tried to safeguard peace talks.

Efforts by Philippine authorities to arrest several current and former commanders of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front who have been accused of kidnappings and other crimes sparked deadly clashes with troops last week, providing new complication to already-shaky peace negotiations and testing a years-long truce.

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Indonesia is the BRICs’ other ‘I’

Despite its financial rise on the back of its natural resource wealth, Indonesia is saddled with myriad social, environmental and poverty problems. Tens of millions live on less than $1 per day. The country is widely cast as the poster country for deforestation issues and species endangerment. And education is a problem: less than half of poor Indonesian children complete secondary school.

Solutions, though, abound and create both social and financial opportunities. Land conservation programs that pay locals NOT to chop trees; outreach facilities in Jakarta slums; and school facilities for students are all worthy causes that are being structured as businesses.

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‘Russianism’ rules out Arab spring-style revolt in post-Soviet area

News.Az interviews Dr Theodore Karasik, director of Research & Development at the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis.

Do you think that Muammar Gaddafi’s death means an end to war in Libya?

We will have to see what happens to the remnants of the former regime. They may well start an insurgency.

What are the major conclusions that can be drawn from the “Arab spring” revolutions?

The major conclusion is that there is a new Near East and that dictators are not invincible.

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America’s Foreign Policy and Foreign Media Battle

In light of the failure of the direct approach, the Obama administration in 2010 announced that it was allocating $50m for a ‘comprehensive communications strategy’ in Pakistan. The funds were allocated to strengthen moderate Pakistani voices, counter extremist media and monitor local media for anti-American sentiment. The US State Department also aimed to improve the portrayal of American policy by independent outlets through increased engagement. Unsurprisingly, this allocation was termed a ‘bribe’ for the Pakistani media by the US government and was instantly viewed with suspicion and concern among the Pakistani public.

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Afghan President Says His Country Would Back Pakistan in a Clash With the U.S.

Days after he stood with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and accused Pakistan of harboring his country’s enemies, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said this weekend that his country would support Pakistan if it ever went to war with the United States.

He appeared to be trying to reassure Pakistan of Afghanistan’s friendship after months of increasing tensions between the neighboring countries, while also urging Islamabad to sever its ties to militant extremists who are using the country as a haven to attack Afghanistan.

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More Than Just a Currency Game

Attacking China over its trade and currency policies – in light of a US economy that refuses to produce new jobs – has become almost a cardinal principle of American politics of late. On 11 October, the US Senate passed a bill that would allow for new tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States if China continues to undervalue its currency. The bill was championed by lawmakers from manufacturing-heavy states, who are worried that cheap Chinese exports are killing American jobs. “I don’t believe you have a middle class in America without a vibrant manufacturing base,” said Republican Senator Jeff Sessions about the bill. “We’ll stand up and take our lumps and take our gains in a fair competition.”

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Next Arab Domino May Be Oil Darling Algeria: Reuel Marc Gerecht

The death of Muammar Qaddafi is a cause for joy in Libya, and for concern. Some worry that the ruling National Transitional Council will force its way to permanent power; others that Islamist elements will seek to put the country under Shariah law; and there is also the danger of the nation splitting into three parts.

But there is another tremendous threat to Libya’s progress waiting quietly next door. Algeria’s military junta is terrified that a rebellious spirit may finally cross its borders. Ever since the Tunisian revolt dethroned President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Washington’s foreign- policy establishment has paid little attention to Algeria, the lodestar of “the Arab West.”

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Analysis: China, U.S. see Guam as militarily central

Guam would be central to American operations if the United States and China go to war because of miscalculations by either regarding Taiwan, developments on the Korean peninsula or access to the South China Sea, many defense and foreign analysts say.

“In the event of a conflict with (China), the United States will find a large portion of its relevant force structure located on Guam,” said a May 2009 paper from the Naval War College in Rhode Island.

The South China Sea is the newest flashpoint in Sino-American relations that could cause both countries to “stumble” into a war if not careful, said John Pike, a defense and military expert who runs the website GlobalSecurity.org.

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Greece Is The Word: Belarus Is Heading to Default

Belarus is the last Soviet economy in Europe. Its state-owned enterprises still produce 70 percent of gross domestic product, and the state regulates production and the main prices. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that Belarus has lived on refining subsidized Russian oil and gas for the West, while exporting the finest Soviet appliances to the Russian provinces. This model worked for a surprisingly long time, but the Kremlin harbors no love for Lukashenko, and the basic cause of the crisis is that Russia has cut its energy subsidies from 15 percent of Belarus GDP to 7 percent this year. Meanwhile the Russian provinces have become too sophisticated to purchase any Soviet products.

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Spies Want to Go Open-Source to Stop the Next WikiLeaks

The mission to keep a closer eye on agents comes at a time when the intelligence community is also trying to open up the flow of information internally. At the intelligence technology magazine Defense Systems, Amber Corrin reports that some agencies are experimenting with using more open-source software and trying to take advantage of mobile apps. “When our content is easily accessible, when it’s usable within an open environment and with a different delivery model–those three [capabilities] are going to help us get to deeper analytics,” Letitia Long, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), said at a GEOINT symposium on Monday. “We free up the time of our analysts to be focused on the ‘so what?’ to be focused on the context, experiment with the new sensor data and the new phenomena, developing new analytic tools and techniques.”

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Russian spooks under fire

It also reflects a stocktaking of the intelligence agencies as Putin prepares to return to power. He draws his support from the spooks, but he also wants efficiency and obedience. The GRU often duplicated the work of the SVR and instead he wants it to concentrate on what it is best at: true military espionage, work in Central Asia and the Caucasus and, one may suspect, occasional assassinations of enemies abroad.

Putin was once a spook; he believes in them and draws many of his closest allies from their ranks. But he also knows that left to their own devices they will tend to be distracted by futile turf wars. They also get too big for their own boots and from time to time need reminding who’s boss. In this respect, the GRU is simply the sacrificial victim of the hour. The FSB and SVR, though, are expected to learn the lesson.

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Plot may be part of Iran power struggle

Moreover, in so far as the strategic dimensions of the operation are concerned, the plot may have been more defensive in nature, essentially designed to fail, with a view to sending unmistakable signals foremost to Washington. v A strange plot
There is more than enough in the US Justice Department’s criminal complaint to cast profound doubt on the veracity of the charges. Widespread skepticism has been reinforced by the energetic and hawkish response to the charges by US leaders and senior officials, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who have called for repercussions, namely to further punish – by way of additional sanctions in the first instance – an already isolated and embattled Iran.

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U.S. warns Pakistan: Get Haqqani network — or we will

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held two days of talks with civilian and military leaders who have resisted previous U.S. demands to take a harder stand against militants who attack American soldiers and interests in Afghanistan.

She led a large U.S. delegation that was meant to display unity among the various U.S. agencies — including the CIA, Pentagon and State Department — with an interest in Pakistan. CIA chief David Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey joined Clinton, who said the team would “push Pakistan very hard.”

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US intelligence on alert: news report

The Washington Times is reporting that US intelligence agencies are on alert for unexpected Chinese military activities this weekend.

While there is no hint about the possible nature of such activities, they could be timed to coincide with the visit of White House National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon to Beijing.

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Qaddafi Is Dead, Libyan Officials Say

Al Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi’s corpse lying on the ground, with a bloodied face, lifeless open eyes and an apparent gunshot wound to the side of the head, as jubilant fighters fired automatic weapons in the air. The images punctuated an emphatic and violent ending to his four decades as a ruthless and bombastic autocrat who had basked in his reputation as the self-styled king of kings of Africa.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Qaddafi has been killed,” Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister of the interim government, told a news conference in Tripoli.

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Central Asia: Russia faces a dilemma in the field of security in connection with the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan

Russia has recently taken steps aimed at strengthening the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in the hope that he can thus overcome the growing risks to security, which may arise in connection with the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan. Completion of the withdrawal of foreign troops is scheduled for 2014 . At the moment, NATO is keeping the CSTO in the distance, rejecting requests from the last joint of the threats to regional security. Making the alliance to change his opinion was not an easy task for Russia, and the problem is definitely irritated the Kremlin.

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Brit ‘child troops’ sent to war zones

FOUR British child soldiers have been sent to war zones against Government policy, the Ministry of Defence admitted tonight.
Military chiefs “inadvertently” sent the youngsters — all under 18 — to the frontline despite the UK being signed up to a United Nations (UN) pledge not to send children on to battlefields.

Junior defence minister Andrew Robathan tonight blamed the mistake on commanders preparing to take their troops abroad.

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Russia Backs UN-Controlled Space Shield to Protect Earth

Russia could rekindle missile defense relations with the United States by proposing a shield to defend Earth from stray comets, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

The new program, codenamed “Strategic Earth Defense” and backed by Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, won acclaim from President Dmitry Medvedev, several unidentified diplomats told the daily.

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An Indo-Russian thaw on a wintry day in Moscow

On a wintry day in Moscow, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had a reason to exchange warm smiles that signalled a new warmth in bilateral ties that went through a period of cold shouldering when both countries ended their Cold War alliance to diversify their strategic linkages.

It was the season’s first major snowfall and Moscow city was shrouded in a pristine white blanket. Inside the Kremlin, Manmohan Singh and Medvedev emerged from a meeting, shook hands and smiled at each other in front of a huge media presence in the imposing Malachite Hall.

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Turkish troops enter Iraq after PKK attacks

At least 20 soldiers have been killed in simultaneous attacks on police and military installations in southeastern Turkey, according to local reports.

A security source said the attacks were carried out by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in several locations in Cukurca and Yuksekova in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Television reports said the army initiated an air-supported operation against the fighters in response and the head of the general staff and some commanders had gone to the region.

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China backs Pak bid for non-permanent UNSC seat, India upset

India’s hopes of obtaining Chinese backing for a seat in the United Nations Security Council came up against a rock with the Chinese foreign ministry saying on Wednesday that it was seriously considering Pakistan’s case for the coveted place.

China attaches great importance to Pakistan’s request for a seat on the UN Security Council, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. She said Beijing is in favour of Pakistan playing a bigger role in maintaining international peace and security. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners, Jiang noted at a news briefing.

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Does future hold ‘Avatar’-like bodies for us?

The boldest scheme for immortality came from media mogul Dmitry Itskov, who introduced his “Project Immortality 2045: Russian Experience.” He claimed support from the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Education and Science, as well as actor Seagal, to create a research center capable of giving humans life-extending bodies.

Itskov’s wildly ambitious plans include creating a humanoid avatar body within five to seven years, transplanting a human brain into a new “body B” in 10 to 15 years, digitally uploading a human brain’s consciousness in 20 to 25 years, and moving human consciousness to hologram-like bodies in 30 to 35 years.

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Elite N. Korean defector joins S. Korea’s spy agency

A former regional head of a key North Korean youth organization was recently named a research fellow of an institute run by South Korea’s spy agency, a source said Tuesday.

Sol Jong-sik represented Ryanggang Province for the League of Kim Il-sung Socialist Working Youth before defecting to South Korea in 2009.

The League, named after the late founder of the communist country, is a major social unit that mobilizes young North Koreans, including teenagers, and publishes a propaganda newspaper for them.

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Russia opens ‘humanitarian’ base in Serbia

Russian officials inaugurated a “humanitarian centre” yesterday (17 October) in the Serbian city of Niš, situated 100 km from the Kosovo border, but denied suggestions that Moscow was in fact setting up a military base. The development took place days after the European Commission dampened Serbia’s EU accession hopes.
Speaking at the ceremony in Niš, Southern Serbia, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dačić and Minister for Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu pointed out that the opening of the “Regional humanitarian centre” would contribute to more efficient emergency response, not only in the Balkans but also throughout Europe.

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US Warship Visits Georgian Nation Amid Russian Opposition

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea pulled into Batumi, Georgia, Oct. 17, and was welcomed by traditional Georgian dancers, local media, and military and civilian leaders.

“This is a great partnership building opportunity for our crew,” said Capt. Herbert Hadley, commanding officer of Philippine Sea. “The crew will be given a chance to interact with the host nation on a personal level through military-to-military training courses and community service projects. This is a great way to strengthen the friendship between our countries.”

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Breakdown: Indonesian forces open fire on striking miners in Papua

INDONESIAN security forces opened fire on thousands of striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan’s gold and copper mine early yesterday, killing one man and critically wounding six, a union official said.

Police said it was too early to comment and officials from Arizona-based Freeport were preparing an official statement.

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Kissinger says Turkey can play significant role in region

One of the most prominent US statesmen and scholar, Henry Kissinger, has said Turkey can play a significant role in the region at a time of shifting circumstances but also warned the newly emerging nation not to cross American vital interests in the region.

“Turkey will fill part of a regional void left by the US as it withdraws from Iraq and, eventually, Afghanistan,” Kissinger was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying during a conference in İstanbul on Thursday. However, he added that Ankara should be careful not to cross Washington’s vital interests in the region.

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Spies to use Twitter as crystal ball

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a research arm of the US intelligence community, is sponsoring the work under the Open Source Indicators (OSI) programme. The three-year project, with an unspecified budget, is designed to gather digital data from a range of sources, from traffic webcams to television to Twitter. The goal, according to IARPA, is to provide the intelligence community with predictions of social and political events that can “beat the news”.

Initially, the OSI project will focus on Latin America, which has abundant publicly available data and offers a convenient test bed for researchers’ models.

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UK Kevorkian Politics: Elderly patients condemned to early death by secret use of do not resuscitate orders

* Inspectors who visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital, run by University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation trust, found no evidence that any of the patients whose files were marked DNR had been informed about the decision, nor their relatives told. The hospital’s own audit showed that in one ward, 30 per cent of cases did not involve any such conversations.

* At University Hospitals Bristol Foundation trust, there was no evidence that a DNR order placed on a patient had been discussed with the person or next of kin. A junior doctor told inspectors that they did “not tend to discuss” such decisions with families.

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Breakdown: NATO violated Pakistan airspace in Balochistan

Khan said Nato forces had violated Pakistani airspace by making a 20 minute low flight in the area two days back.

The party demanded that the federal government raise the issue with Nato officials and the United States (US).

“This is creating fear and panic among the people living in the bordering district,” Khan told the house. “The people are assuming these airspace violations as an indication from Nato forces that they will soon launch an airstrike in our district.”

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Arms smuggling into Syria flourishes: experts

As the revolt in Syria drags on, experts say weapons smuggling into the country has flourished, especially from Lebanon, with automatic weapons, grenades and hunting rifles in high demand.

They say that those behind the trafficking are smugglers in search of quick profits rather than political parties backing protesters against the Alawite-dominated regime in Syria.

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Let’s Admit It: Globalization Has Losers

FOR the typical American, the past decade has been economically brutal: the first time since the 1930s, according to some calculations, that inflation-adjusted incomes declined. By 2010, real median household income had fallen to $49,445, compared with $53,164 in 2000. While there are many culprits, from declining unionization to the changing mix of needed skills, globalization has had the greatest impact.

Yes, globalization. The phenomenon that free traders like me adore has created a nation of winners (think of those low-priced imported goods) but also many losers.

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Iran could scrap directly elected president: leader

Iran could do away with the post of a directly elected president, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, in what might be a warning to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and possible successors not to overstep the executive’s limited powers.

Khamenei’s comment came with Ahmadinejad battling constant criticism from hardline conservatives accusing him of being in the thrall of “deviant” advisers who want to undermine the role of the Islamic clergy, including the office of supreme leader.

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China makes secret eurozone commitment

As the Group of 20 summit in Paris revolves around the euro zone debt crisis, China has made a “secret commitment” that would prop up the euro zone in return for budget reforms and public sector cuts, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.

Chinese representatives at the G20 talks on Saturday indicated that Beijing was “willing to pump tens of billions into the eurozone to purchase infrastructure assets from debt-plagued nations,” the Sunday Times reports.

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Homeless families in SF hits record high

The number of homeless families awaiting shelter space in San Francisco has reached an all-time high, and homeless advocates say city officials are ignoring the problem, which can have disastrous consequences when parents are forced to choose among bad options out of desperation.

Compass Connecting Point, a nonprofit agency with a city contract to provide homeless services and outreach, reports that 227 families – including 342 children – are now on a waiting list for temporary housing, with waits of at least six months. That’s 13 more families than the previous peak during the height of the recession in 2009.

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Ugandans welcome U.S. troop plan to fight rebels

Residents and rights groups said U.S. troops being sent to Uganda would give a fresh impetus to the fight against Lord’s Resistance Army rebels accused of murder and kidnapping children and capturing their leader.

The rebel group, which has waged a brutal insurgency for nearly 20 years, was ejected from northern Uganda in 2005 and has since roamed remote jungle straddling the borders of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

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Rio’s Unprecedented New Surveillance System

80 interchangeable digital panels project live video feeds from 450 cameras and three helicopters, plus a dizzying array of tricked-out Google Maps of schools and hospitals, car accidents with real-time traffic to the nearest hospital, and close to 10,000 GPS-tracked buses and ambulances. There are temperature, wind, humidity, and air quality maps. Heat maps of dengue fever outbreaks. Crisis-mode maps of high-risk landslide zones. On one map, graphic simulations predict tomorrow’s weather within a 150-mile radius.
Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in one of the world’s fastest-emerging economies, has created a survellience system that makes Big Brother live up to its name.

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Wall Street protests go global; riots in Rome

Demonstrators rallied Saturday across the world to accuse bankers and politicians of wrecking economies, but only in Rome did the global “day of rage” erupt into violence.

Galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled east to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York. Demonstrations touched most European capitals and other cities.

They coincided with the Group of 20 meeting in Paris, where finance ministers and central bankers from the major economies were holding crisis talks.

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Derivatives Market Doomsday Scenario

The derivatives market is valued at more than $600 trillion and 95.9% of it is held by four banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Of this amount between $2 trillion and $8 trillion remain uncollateralized, and experts warn that the entire market represents a financial bomb with an unpredictable fuse. There is simply not enough capital available to cover the projected losses if a failure in the derivative market should occur, and such a failure would cause the global market to spin out of control.

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Belarus KGB gets new powers amid growing anger

Belarus’ authoritarian president is trying to tighten his grip on the ex-Soviet nation with new legislation that boosts the already sweeping powers of the secret police, still known as the KGB.

As well as lifting restrictions on the KGB’s use of weapons, the legislation also makes it even easier for President Alexander Lukashenko to put his political opponents behind bars. A new ban on receiving foreign funds carries a two-year prison sentence, while simply calling for an anti-government protest can send someone to prison for three years.

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The Saudi-Iran Cold War: Will the Assassination Plot Heat It Up?

The supposed plot “is something new,” says Jane Kinninmont, a Middle East researcher at London think tank Chatham House who follows Bahrain and events in the Gulf. If true, “it will seriously raise Iranian-Saudi tensions.” It’s a deviation in a conflict that is generally relegated to rhetoric and diplomatic gestures, not concrete action. Says Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center: “There are long-simmering tensions between the Saudis and other Gulf states, and Iran. There’s a deep suspicion.”

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Canadian Military intelligence unit spies on native groups

The Canadian Forces’ National Counter-Intelligence Unit assembled at least eight reports on the activities of native organizations between January, 2010, and July, 2011, according to records released under access to information law.

When told of the documents, one aboriginal leader said the thought of the military keeping tabs on natives was “chilling.”

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US-Russia-Georgia: U.S. Senators recommend to place American troops in Georgia

Washington Working Group led by two U.S. senators issued a report on Georgia and relations of this country with the U.S. and Europe under the name “Georgia in the West: Political” road map “Euro-Atlantic future of Georgia” . The document contains several recommendations to the U.S., European and Georgian politicians, including some fairly provocative proposals relating to security:

- to propose the presence of international security forces in the occupied territories : a continuation of the diplomatic offensive to the United States, in cooperation with its allies to develop a clear vision regarding the security situation in the context of the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement, namely Abkhazia and South Ossetia,..

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Cheap Mercenaries: Recruits lured into NATO for 500 rubles per day and the iPad

11 young people for two days live at the base near Khabarovsk, and expecting any day now they will start to train with NATO troops, only to join the Alliance troops.

All they found a posting on the Internet about recruitment in NATO, and then signed a contract to train service in the armed forces of NATO. Under this contract, they receive 500 rubles per diem. In addition, the contract states that the most active participant fees will iPad 2.

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NATO’s Transformation: From Defense Partnership To Global Military Force

His remarks were during a briefing on “US Policy on NATO”; as part of the US-NATO Program for Opinion Makers from the Middle East, held at NATO Headquarters last night.
In a response to a question by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Ambassador Daalder said, “NATO is a source of stability in an unpredictable world. You become a source of stability by being ready; to be able to act if a crisis demands that action.” “Who wouldve though in November 2010 in Lisbon that four months later, NATO would lead a military operation in North Africa (Libya), under a UN mandate and at the behest of the Arab League… No one.”

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Breakdown: Turkey risks unforeseen effects as it pressures Syria’s embattled regime

Turkey is piling pressure on Syria with border military exercises, economic sanctions and the harboring of Syrian opposition groups and army defectors, but Ankara must tread carefully to avoid arousing the suspicion of Arab states or spurring Syrian countermeasures.

Turkey has shifted, in the space of six months, from offering Syria measured support to becoming a center of gravity for opposition to President Bashar al-Assad outside the country.

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Chinese telecom firm tied to KGB-like spy ministry

A U.S. intelligence report for the first time links China’s largest telecommunications company to Beijing’s KGB-like intelligence service and says the company recently received nearly a quarter-billion dollars from the Chinese government.

The disclosures are a setback for Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s efforts to break into the U.S. telecommunications market. The company has been blocked from doing so three times by the U.S. government because of concerns about its links to the Chinese government.

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Breakdown: Time to impose a No Fly Zone over Syria?

When Syrian opposition members, exiled activists and U.S. Senators call for a no-fly-zone over Syria, what they are actually proposing is close air support. CAS is a different military mission from NFZs, and requires a different campaign plan, detailed mission plans, personnel, ordinance and surveillance and attack assets. Furthermore, CAS is a tactic that can be used to protect civilians, or to support regime change that requires an armed opposition on the ground. Neither the Syrian opposition, nor anybody else, has adequately explained how a CAS military mission will be integrated into a broader strategy of either civilian protection or toppling Assad.

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Russia wants a share in post-Assad Syria

After months of “intense diplomacy”, the United Nations’ Security Council has failed to develop a position on the crisis in Syria. The failure came when Russia and China vetoed a resolution that urged Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad to end violence against the civilian population or face fresh sanctions.

Paradoxically, the double veto could facilitate stronger action by Western democracies against the Assad regime.

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Iran Allegedly Sought to Assassinate Saudi Ambassador to US

News is breaking now that senior officials of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard/Quds force were attempting to orchestrate the assassination of Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir.

As I write this, Attorney General Eric Holder is speaking to the press — and I am watching events from Abu Dhabi where I am attending the Global Council on Geopolitical Risk session of the World Economic Forum. Thus, my information is limited to that which I am hearing from US Department of Justice officials.

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Exhuming the Indian Army’s Brutality in Kashmir: Choudhury

Late last month, the Hindu newspaper published an interview with Parveena Ahangar, the chairperson of an organization with one of the strangest and saddest names: the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in Kashmir. The persons who “disappeared,” now numbering in the thousands, were all Kashmiri youths. Picked up by the police or the Indian Army over the last two decades, they were never seen again, and remain alive in public memory only because of the collective will of their grieving parents.

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Georgia`s Tskhinvali is on edge of civil war

The situation in Georgia`s occupied South Ossetia Region is very tense after the supporters of an opposition leader Dzambulat Tedeev assembled on the central square of Tskhinvali today, demanding the registration of their favorite as the candidate for the president.

Kokoity`s puppet regime changed the so-called constitution a few days after the registration began. According to the amendment, the citizen of the breakaway region is prohibited to run for the president if one did not live in the region for past ten years. Tedeev`s supporters are surrounded by Kokoity`s special units.

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Analysis: Russia feeds arms addiction as soft power fails

Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s failure to cultivate power on the global stage using trade and diplomacy is forcing it back into its costly Cold War addiction to missiles and guns.

While Western countries cut military spending to deal with the global financial crisis, Russia plans to spend 20 trillion roubles ($611 billion) on defense through 2020 — a figure even Vladimir Putin said he was “frightened” to speak aloud.

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U.S. Arms Bahrain While Decrying Russian Weapons in Syria

Peeved at Russia’s Security Council veto derailing a Western- sponsored resolution against Syria last week, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice implicitly accused the Russians of protecting the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad primarily to safeguard their lucrative arms market in the Middle Eastern country.

But around the same time, the United States was evaluating a 53- million-dollar weapons contract with Bahrain, where political unrest has claimed the lives of 34 people, mostly civilians, at least 1,400 others have been arrested, and more than 3,600 dismissed from their jobs for participating in street demonstrations demanding a democratic government.

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US delegation wants NATO membership plan for Georgia

The US delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly supports granting a membership action plan (MAP) to Georgia, the delegation’s chair has said.

“On behalf of the US NATO Parliamentary Assembly Delegation I would like to firmly support the aspirations of the Georgian people and their government to join NATO,” Congressman Michael Turner said in a statement.

“The NATO enlargement process has been a historic success in advancing stability, security, democracy, the rule of law, cooperation and the common goal of a whole, free Europe, united in peace.”

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Rand studies potential U.S.-China clashes

“China could become a more capable opponent than either the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany at their peak,” lead author James Dobbins said in a written statement. “However, China is not seeking to expand its territory or hold ideological sway over its neighbors. Nor is it seeking to match U.S. defense spending.”

Rand said its study examined potential conflict scenarios ranging from North Korea and India to cyberspace and stressed that the current extensive economic ties between the United States and China were a significant deterrence to war.

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Maruti workers seize control of factory wracked by unrest

Striking employees of Maruti Suzuki , India’s biggest carmaker, have seized control of a factory hit by weeks of labour unrest, the company said on Monday, as a stand-off that has cost the firm over $150 million descended into violence.

Workers attacked managers and supervisors and damaged equipment at the Manesar plant in north India, Maruti said, shutting down production for a third consecutive day as the company battles slowing demand in Asia’s third-largest economy.

“The plant is effectively captive in the hands of striking workers who are bent upon violence,” the company said in a statement, describing the situation at the factory as “grave.”

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India’s Kerala State to Adopt Two-Child Policy to Curb Population

Women’s rights leaders as well as Christian and Muslim organizations have criticized a new Kerala state police that restricts couples from having more than two children.

The new stipulations were passed in the Kerala Women’s Code Bill 2011 and was prepared by the Indian state’s Commission for the Rights and Welfare of Children and Women.

The move comes as India continues to witness a population boom and state governments are looking at ways to curtail the explosion.

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Government Aims to Build a ‘Data Eye in the Sky’

The most optimistic researchers believe that these storehouses of “big data” will for the first time reveal sociological laws of human behavior — enabling them to predict political crises, revolutions and other forms of social and economic instability, just as physicists and chemists can predict natural phenomena.

“This is a significant step forward,” said Thomas Malone, the director of the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We have vastly more detailed and richer kinds of data available as well as predictive algorithms to use, and that makes possible a kind of prediction that would have never been possible before.”

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Military to expand strategic footprint Rejig to guard India interests

“I expect that at least by 2022, we are capable of taking care of India’s interests not only at home, but also abroad,” Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne said today, setting a 10-year time frame.

“So far, our interest was defined from the Gulf of Aden (in the west) to the Straits of Malacca (in the east) but, as experience in Libya and other countries have taught us, we have to be able to reach wherever we have our interests,” he said.

Reflecting the dichotomy in India’s economic growth story, the military is swinging between the aspirational and the actual: its strategic global “vision” contrasts sharply with its “tactical” domestic and frontier compulsions.

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Chinese sailors killed in ‘Golden Triangle’

At least 11 Chinese sailors were killed when their ships were attacked on the Mekong River between Thailand and Myanmar, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, voicing concern about what media reports said appeared to be an assault by drug smugglers.

The sailors were on two cargo ships attacked on Wednesday in the “Golden Triangle” of the Mekong, a region of Southeast Asia notorious for narcotic production, the Foreign Ministry said on its website late on Sunday.

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DARPA Harnessing Crowd Wisdom to Develop New Perch and Stare UAVs

Different services of the U.S. military are working on different solutions providing persistent intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) supporting the warfighter with miniature autonomous vehicles designed for ‘Perch and Stare’ mission profile. One of the most mature programs, the Shrike recently unveiled by Aerovironment was developed under Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA) funding to develop a Stealthy Persistent Perch and Stare (SP2S) capability.

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Anti-gang paramilitaries enter drug wars

The gruesome discovery of 32 bodies scattered in houses in the port city of Veracruz this week is the latest sign that Mexico’s drug-fuelled violence is entering a new phase in which murky paramilitary-style squads are carrying out mass exterminations.

Jose Luis Vergara, a spokesman for Mexico’s marines, said Friday that troops had arrested eight suspected members of a squad known as “Zeta Killers” on Thursday and that their confessions led troops to three houses where they discovered the bodies.

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Coptic Christians, Egyptian Security Forces Clash in Cairo

Coptic Christian protesters clashed with security forces in Cairo yesterday, killing more than 20 people and injuring more than 180 as shooting broke out and cars were set on fire, according to news reports.

Several hundred Egyptian Christians protesting a recent attack on a church came under assault by people in plain clothes who fired pellets at them and pelted them with stones, according to the Associated Press. Some protesters may have snatched weapons from soldiers and turned them on the military, in addition to throwing rocks and bottles, the AP said.

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Honduras May Merge Police And Military, Security Minister Bonilla Says

The plan for the merger would be for the military to support the police, but Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said that the two organizations would work separate of each other

“The armed forces must act to support the police. What is sought is the most effective way of giving people security and peace of mind and the human resources [for the police] to perform its functions,” Bonilla said, according to Honduran media.

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Chile students plan new education protests

Chilean students protesting for educational reform have called a new general strike, following the breakdown of talks with the government.

They will be joined by trade unions in a two-day stoppage on 18-19 October.

School and university students, as well as teachers, have been boycotting classes and holding demonstrations for five months to demand free education.

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OPEC faces new Iran-Saudi clash

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could face another clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran as the cartel’s oil production rises to a three-year high.

The 12-member cartel’s output for September is expected to average 30.25 million barrels per day, up from 30.15 million bpd in August, the highest level for three years, as Iraq’s exports increase and Libyan crude starts flowing again.

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Musharraf: Afghanistan Is ‘Proxy Conflict’ Between Pakistan and India

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said he believes that Afghanistan has become the source of a proxy battle between his country and India.
“In Afghanistan there is some kind of a proxy conflict going on between Pakistan and India. India is trying to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan,” he said in an interview with David Bradley, owner of the Atlantic Media Company, at the Washington Ideas Forum on Thursday. Musharraf, who led Pakistan from 1999 through 2008, said this was part of “India’s vision of dominating the region” and its “ambition is to create a weak Pakistan.”

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Flat-Lining the Middle Class Economic Numbers to Die For

In recent months, a blizzard of new data, the hardest of hard numbers, has laid bare the dilapidated condition of the American economy, and particularly of the once-mighty American middle class. Each report sparks a flurry of news stories and pundit chatter, but never much reflection on what it all means now that we have just enough distance to look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century and see how Americans fared in that turbulent period.

And yet the verdict couldn’t be more clear-cut. For the American middle class, long the pride of this country and the envy of the world, the past 10 years were a bust. A washout. A decade from hell.

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USGS Finds ‘World-Class’ Gold, Iron Deposits in Afghanistan

The war-ridden country of Afghanistan can take comfort from a U.S. Geological Survey report demonstrating a wealth of mineral resources that could boost its economy if peace ever returns.

USGS, working with its Afghan counterpart and the Department of Defense, conducted a 2009-2011 survey that found “volumes of information about areas of high mineral potential in Afghanistan, including rare earth elements, gold, iron and copper.”

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Secret panel can put Americans on ‘kill list’

American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

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Tampa could add surveillance drones for Republican National Convention

This city now has five surveillance cameras watching traffic downtown, but next year’s Republican National Convention could bring hundreds more on the street and in the sky.

Among other things, officials are interested in:

• 164 cameras able to read a number 3 inches high at 300 meters in the day and identify people and vehicles at 100 meters in the dark. Many of these would be mounted on light poles.

• Two “unmanned aerial vehicles” that could hover for 20 minutes, fly in 20-knot winds and carry cameras with zoom lenses or thermal imaging capabilities.

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India, China to launch new border mechanism soon

Amid reports of sporadic incursions by Chinese troops into Indian territory, India and China are set to launch a new joint boundary mechanism later this year to maintain peace along their nearly 3,500-km border.

The border mechanism will be an important confidence building measure and will ensure that the India-China border will remain the most peaceful and tranquil in the world, said informed sources here Wednesday.

The proposed mechanism would comprise diplomats from the external affairs ministry and military personnel, including representatives of paramilitary and intelligence agencies.

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India may pay heavily in future for supporting the Karzai regime

India’s decision to underwrite and, in effect, guarantee Hamid Karzai’s feeble Afghan government is not wholly lacking in logic. In a strategic pact signed on Tuesday, the two countries pledged to co-operate on trade and counter-terrorism, and Delhi agreed to train and equip Afghan security forces. With US and Nato forces edging towards the exit in 2014, it follows that Delhi, the region’s military and economic heavyweight and an aspiring superpower, should take up the strategic slack. But that is not how Pakistan or the Taliban will see the newly announced bilateral security, political and commercial “partnership”. India may yet pay heavily for its presumption.

India’s role, or “meddling”, in Afghanistan is already viewed with enormous suspicion in Islamabad..

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Army defectors aim to overthrow Syrian regime

A group of military defectors known as the Free Syrian Army is emerging as the first armed challenge to President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime after seven months of largely nonviolent resistance.

Riad al-Asaad, the group’s leader and an air force colonel who recently fled to Turkey, boasted in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that he now has more than 10,000 members and called on fellow soldiers to join him in overthrowing the “murderous” regime.

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Who’s afraid of Indonesia’ Intelligence Agency bad wolf?

The State Intelligence Agency (BIN) became a terrifying institution not only for its silent operations but also and mainly for its abusive practices in serving the Soeharto regime. Memories of these traumatic experiences resurfaced during the recent deliberation of the intelligence bill, which was endorsed by the House of Representatives last week.

It rewrites BIN’s main task to provide early warning information and intelligence analysis on terrorism, secessionism, sabotage and other activities threatening the national security. In their operations, intelligence agents have no authority but are allowed (with exceptions) to intercept the communications of their targets, investigate financial flows in their bank accounts and seek further information on them.

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