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Archive | June, 2012

Russia gets its armed forces ready in the Caucasus

“The Russian military and political leadership devotes considerable attention to strengthening of the country’s defence in the Caspian Sea region and the Caucasus. There can be no talk of demilitarization of the region. Moscow intends to defend its interests here by various means, including force “- Vladimir Mukhin is categorical on the pages of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newsapper.

Acouple of weeks ago the same newspaper published an article by Sergei Konovalov “Syrian direction of the Russian troops” which, it is obvious, like the article by Mukhin, was written on instructions of the chief military body of Russia. It demonstrates that threats and demonstration of military power became part of the policy of the Russian government.

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British firm ships arms to South Sudan

Shell companies registered in Britain are among firms involved in the export of armaments which are fuelling the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, Amnesty International warned yesterday.

The charity said that T-72 battle tanks used in attacks by the Sudanese armed forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), had been “clandestinely delivered from Ukraine to South Sudan in 2009, involved transfers via Kenya and Uganda and included shipping companies from Germany and Ukraine and UK and Isle of Man-registered shell companies.”

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Matt Gurney: Turkish and Israeli military alerts show risks of wider Syrian war

Perhaps the only real practical argument that can be made for Western intervention in Syria is that civil wars have a nasty habit of jumping borders and simply becoming wars. As Syria’s vicious crackdown on an armed insurgency continues, and violence spreads to the capital of Damascus, its neighbours are becoming increasingly wary. This is especially true given last week’s shoot-down of a Turkish reconnaissance plane near Syrian airspace (Syria claims in its airspace) and a reported ineffective attack on another Turkish plane that was searching for its downed comrade.

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Bank of International Settlements: Gold Becomes a Tier 1 Asset Class for Banks, A Stabilizing Mechanism‎

In a surprise twist that only a few years ago would have been considered preposterous, the BCBS is entertaining whether gold should qualify as a full-fledged Tier 1 capital asset. Currently, the precious metal is relinquished to a Tier 3 status, deserving no more than a 50% weighting at that.

Here’s why that distinction is important and potentially astonishing.

Achieving Tier 1 status would credit gold with the recognition it’s been denied ever since Nixon closed the gold window on August 15, 1971.

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Thailand: Violent students to be drafted into Army automatically

From now on, students from vocational schools who are regarded as troublemakers or have a history of violence will be automatically conscripted to the Army as soon as they reach the correct age, Army chief General Prayuth Chanocha announced yesterday.

However, he said, this policy would be shortterm and might even be cancelled if it succeeds in preventing or reducing violence between rivalling schools.

This latest policy comes after a compulsory military drill was imposed on a number of troublemakers and those involved in recent brawls. Prayuth did not say when this new policy would go into effect.

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Financial ‘Armageddon’ Will Happen Despite EU Deal: Jim Rogers

Countries such as Spain and Italy have been burdened with sky-high borrowing costs – levels seen as unsustainable for governments in the long term.

Rogers argues that the deal does not improve the solvency of indebted nations such as Spain. Spain’s central government budget deficit has soared to 3.41 percent of GDP in the first five months of 2012, above the EU limit of 3 percent.

He adds that the governments need to stop coming to the rescue of failing banks, even if it results in “financial Armageddon.”

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Occupy Syria: Turkey Creates De-Facto Buffer Zone in Syria

Elements of the Syrian military will be banned in a zone — whose specific dimensions have not yet been released — near the Turkish-Syrian border.

What if the regime of Bashar al-Assad does not toe the line? What if it keeps sending its troops all the way to the border? That would mean that it is willing to confront a Turkish military operation.

But it is not clear what kind of military presence or what proximity to the border constitutes a threat to Turkey.

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King Abdullah puts Saudi military on state of high alert‎

Saudi King Abdullah has reportedly ordered the security forces to be on a state of high alert due to what Riyadh considers the tense situation in the Middle East.

The decree, calling for preparation against “foreign or terrorist attacks,” warns the Saudi security forces against any negligence in following the order.

The Saudi Defense Ministry consequently put all armed forces on high alert, saying all the forces inside and outside of the kingdom were ready to take part in an operation dubbed as “al-Farouq.”

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Federal Reserve Mulling New Gold Regulation; ‘May be biggest event in gold market since US dropped gold standard’

US authorities have recently called for comment on a rule change that may impact the gold market.

The US Treasury, Federal Reserve and the FDIC have jointly sought comment on changing some capital adequacy rules for when an institution holds gold in its own vaults or in another’s vaults.

According to the draft documents released, when gold is currently held as an asset, it is risk weighted at 15% – that is, a 15% haircut is taken on its current value for capital adequacy calculations. (See page 86 of the attached Federal Reserve document.)

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IDF Officer: ‘We are Preparing for Possibility of War’

“We are in preparations for the possibility of war and in the midst of deployment with the situation in Syria in mind,” a top IDF officer said Thursday, in a tour of the northern border with journalists.

The greatest challenge facing Division 36, which is placed in the Golan, is the possibility of facing a surprise attack, said the officer, Brig. Gen. Tamir Heiman, Commander of Division 36. “The biggest concern is a combined terror attack and we are preparing for this in the Golan area.”

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Generals in Egypt eye Turkish model

Now that Egypt has its first freely elected president, Egypt’s powerful generals appear headed toward copying the Turkish model from decades past — retaining overwhelming powers while allowing a civilian regime complete with the trappings of democracy to emerge.

It is not the model that many in today’s Turkey boast about, but rather one dating back to the 1980s and 1990s when civilians ran Turkey’s day-to-day affairs under the watchful eyes of the military.

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Inside China: PLA says war with U.S. imminent

Gen. Peng, a well-known PLA strategist, has a hawkish reputation and a large following in China. The speech was given in December at an event hosted byXinhua news agency in Beijing. An abbreviated transcript was published June 21 on the Chinese military website Leiting, or Thunder.

“The United States has been exhausting all its resources to establish a strategic containment system specifically targeting China,” Gen. Peng said.”The contradictions between China and the United States are structural, not to be changed by any individual, whether it is G.H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush or Barack Obama, it will not make a difference to these contradictions.”

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Turkey deploys missile batteries on Syrian border

A convoy of about 30 military vehicles, including trucks loaded with missile batteries, arrived in Turkey’s coastal town of İskenderun and deployed near the the Syrian border 50 kilometers away, Turkish agencies said.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, who has given shelter in the border area to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, announced after Syrian air defences shot down a Turkish warplane last Friday he would step up security there.

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Spanish pensioners form brigade in war on austerity

Not content to sit out the economic crisis cushioned by their pensions, the elderly are joining in a wave of social protests in Spain, clamouring noisily in support of younger fellow citizens.

With fluorescent yellow vests and whistles, the pensioners, known as “Yayoflautas”, stage protests in banks and official premises against spending cuts and banking bailouts.

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Heroin replaces gold as preferred commodity regularly smuggled abroad on Pak planes

Around 4.5 kilograms of heroin was seized from a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft in Karachi, which was departing for London via Lahore.

“This has happened a hundred times. About 20 years ago, it used to be gold that we used to find in the toilets of aircraft, up to 140, 000 grams of gold at a time, and now we see that it is mostly heroin being smuggled in the toilet compartments,” The Express Tribune quoted Customs spokesperson Qamar Thalho.

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China Starts ‘Combat ready’ Patrols In Disputed Seas

China has begun combat-ready patrols in the waters around a disputed group of islands in the South China Sea, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, the latest escalation in tensions over the potentially resource-rich area.

Asked about what China would do in response to Vietnamese air patrols over the Spratly Islands, the ministry’s spokesman Geng Yansheng said Beijing would “resolutely oppose any militarily provocative behavior”.

“In order to protect national sovereignty and our security and development interests, the Chinese military has already set up a normal, combat-ready patrol system in seas under our control,” he said.

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Secret war in Syria

Sooner or later, it was bound to come out in the open. Last week, The New York Times reported that CIA agents have been in Turkey for several weeks, helping screen potential arms recipients while also establishing new contacts in Syria.

The Obama administration did not confirm the report, but officials insisted that the United States was not providing “lethal assistance” to the Syrian opposition. Still, other US news sources have corroborated the fact that CIA agents were now playing a major role in establishing contacts with the Syrian opposition and providing advice to Turkey and a number of Gulf countries on weapon transfer.

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Color Revolution Contribution?: The European Union establishes a fund to fight tyrants

EU member states agreed to create a European endowment for democracy.

The fund should become operational by next year and will primarily target EU neighbouring countries such as Belarus, where people are routinely jailed for showing opposition against President Alexander Lukashenko.

The fund was the brainchild of the Polish EU presidency in June 2011 and will function primarily as a grant-awarding institution.

Pro-democracy and social movements, young leaders, civil society, independent media, foundations and educational institutions among others are its intended target beneficiaries.

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U.S. intelligence sees few cracks in Assad’s inner circle

Assad’s forces have been engaged in a “see-saw battle” with opposition forces in which the military strikes hard, then the rebels change tactics and gain momentum, followed by the military forces stepping up again, the U.S. officials said.

“Our overall assessment in terms of the fighting would be that we are still seeing the military regime forces fairly cohesive, they’ve learned some lessons over the last year and a half about how to deal with this kind of insurgency,” an intelligence official said.

The insurgency is also getting stronger, which sets the stage for a protracted conflict, the official said.

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China May Be Suspicious of US Air Force’s X-37B Space Plane

Any celebrations China’s space officials kicked off after launching the nation’s first female astronaut this month may have been dampened a few hours later by the news that another spacecraft — an American military space plane — had returned to Earth a world away.

Just hours after China’s Shenzhou 9 capsule roared into space on June 16 with three astronauts aboard, including the nation’s first female spaceflyer Liu Yang — the U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane touched down in California after 15 months orbiting Earth on a hush-hush mission.

The Air Force insists the X-37B is just testing out technologies for future satellites, but China has a deep suspicion of the vehicle and its activities, experts say.

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Turkey Says It May Target Any Syrian Forces Nearing Border

In Ankara, Mr. Erdogan said Turkey had revised its military rules of engagement towardSyria.

“Every military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria in a manner that constitutes a security risk or danger would be considered as a threat and would be treated as a military target,” he said in a speech to lawmakers attended by Arab diplomats.

“From here, we warn the Syrian regime not to make any mistakes, not to test Turkey’s decisiveness and wisdom,” Mr. Erdogan said.

“If there is anyone who could not understand this up until today, we would and will prove in the most clear and determined way that Turkey cannot be challenged,” he said.

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U.S. beefs up Persian Gulf forces

In the wake of Iran’s refusal to rein in its contentious nuclear program at talks in Moscow, the U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf is gathering pace, with four more Navy mine countermeasures ships arriving at the weekend.

The Avenger class vessels out of San Diego will join eight U.S. and British navy mine hunters deployed in the region.

Their main mission will be to keep open the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the only way in and out of the gulf, if the Iranians carry through on a threat to close the vital energy artery through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies pass every day.

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Furious Turkey mobilizes tanks, troops to Syrian border

The Turkish military mobilized large numbers of reinforcements from its eastern provinces to the Syrian border on Tuesday, amid rising tension with Damascus, after the downing by Syria of a Turkish Air Force jet on Friday, Turkish media reported.

Large numbers of Turkish troops — including at least 15 long-range artillery pieces and tanks – moved to the Syrian frontier from the eastern city of Diyarbakir. A video published by the Turkish Cihan News Agency showed Turkish tanks being transported by carrier trucks toward the frontier.

The mobilization followed statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Turkish military will respond to any future violation of its border by Syrian military elements.

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Intelligence analysts taking over leading role in spy game: CSIS chief

In the intelligence world, the spy who goes around uncovering and collecting secrets has traditionally played the role with the most stature.

But today that role — glamorized in countless Hollywood films — is starting to take a back seat to the job of the behind-the-scenes intelligence analyst, says the director of Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

In a speech obtained under access-to-information laws, Richard Fadden said CSIS’ mandate is no longer just about working informants and intercepting communications but understanding the information collected and being able to predict how threats to the country will change.

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Russia set to conduct surveillance flyover to inspect Canada’s military, industrial infrastructure

The Russians are conducting what has quietly become their annual flyover of key Canadian sites this week, revealing the two countries’ regular surveillance of one another at a time when a spy scandal and Arctic sovereignty have markedly strained relations.

Russia has routinely exercised a 10-year-old treaty right to fly over Canada and inspect the country’s military infrastructure, industrial complexes, cities and transportation hubs, according to a National Defence spokesman. He said it is the only one out of 34 countries to fly over Canadian soil under the Open Skies treaty.

The upcoming flight is novel in its timing, too: It is Russia’s first information-gathering flight since a Canadian intelligence officer was arrested under suspicion of espionage, allegedly for the Russians, back in January.

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The new Obama doctrine, a six-point plan for global war

The face of American-style war-fighting is once again changing. Forget full-scale invasions and large-footprint occupations on the Eurasian mainland; instead, think: special operations forces working on their own but also training or fighting beside allied militaries (if not outright proxy armies) in hot spots around the world. And along with those special ops advisors, trainers, and commandos expect ever more funds and efforts to flow into the militarization of spying and intelligence, the use of drone aircraft, the launching of cyber-attacks, and joint Pentagon operations with increasingly militarized “civilian” government agencies.

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South Caucasus countries’ integration into NATO discussed in Brussels

Discussions have been held at a conference organized by the European Policy Centre in Brussels. The conference is associated with South Caucasus countries’ participation in the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijani official Asim Mollazade told Trend today.

While speaking at the conference, Mollazade said unresolved conflicts are the primary obstacle to the integration of South Caucasus countries in the Euro-Atlantic space. He stressed that international legal norms are not applied to resolve them.

He stressed that support should be expected from NATO and European countries to resolve these conflicts.

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Syria Top Brass Join Wave of Mass Military Defections to Turkey

The military defectors, including a general and two colonels, were among 224 people who want to leave Syria, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. They are in a refugee camp near the border.

Thousands of soldiers have abandoned the army, but only 13 generals have sought refuge in Turkey over the last 16 months. Some of them have joined the largest-armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army.

The defections come three days after Syria shot down a Turkish aircraft it said had violated its airspace.

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Army Looks to Strike Foes with Lightning Weapon

Today’s military lasers can blind spy satellites or burn enemy vehicles, but tomorrow’s could guide lightning bolts to strike and destroy battlefield targets.

A U.S. Army lab is testing how lasers can create an energized plasma channel in the air — an invisible pathway for electricity to follow. The laser-guided lightning weapon could precisely hit targets such as enemy tanks or unexploded roadside bombs, because such targets represent better conductors for electricity than the ground.

“We never got tired of the lightning bolts zapping our simulated (targets),” said George Fischer, lead scientist on the project at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

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Media learned about the “secret plan” to rescue Assad in Moscow

Russia has launched a secret plan to rescue the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, writes June 24 The Sunday Times. Is a plan to conduct the country’s early elections.

As told an unnamed Russian diplomat publication close to the negotiations between Moscow and Damascus, Assad offered to hold early elections, as controlled by the rebels was at least a third of Syria, and the Russian leadership feared that staying in power, the incumbent will be increasingly difficult. In this election in the foreseeable future will be seen as a step towards the opposition and make it impossible to intervene in Western countries.

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India to deploy anti-missile defense shield in Delhi, Mumbai soon: Defence Sources

Delhi and Mumbai, India;s two biggest metropolitan cities, have been chosen for DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defense system that can be put in place at short notice.

A detailed proposal is being prepared for final clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security. The strategic planning has already begun to install the BMD system in the two cities and the final proposal will be put before the government after detailed analysis of the entire project, sources told PTI here.

The sites for installing radars to track enemy missiles and storing counter-attack projectiles will be determined during the planning stage, they said, adding that these locations must have adequate stealth feature and protection against enemy sabotage.

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Sudan edges towards Arab Spring

Sudan is grappling with Arab-spring style protests, albeit smaller in scale than those that toppled leaders in its northern neighbours. Police arrested dozens of protesters at the weekend in an attempt to nip the movement in the bud.

Angered by austerity measures aimed at reducing a $2.4bn (£1.3bn) budget deficit, activists have tried to use discontent to trigger an uprising against the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Security forces have used teargas and batons to break up the demonstrations in several neighbourhoods. Some scenes in the capital, Khartoum, at the weekend recalled events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, with teargas in the air, rocks strewn across streets, and burning tyres.

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Global Risks And Uncertainty Trigger Emergence of Intelligence Explosion

The newly created Defense Clandestine Service, approved by the Pentagon in late April, will be recruiting spies from the US Defense Intelligence Agency to work as undercover in the guise of businessmen, according to various news reports.

In reality, they will actually be running covert operations abroad where there are perceived long-term threats to US national interests.

China is not sitting idle. It has established over the past few years as many as eight National Intelligence Colleges in some major mainland universities, each with an Espionage Department, to recruit some 300 students per year.

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Were the Turkish Phantoms ‘Teasing’ Syrian Air Defenses for NATO’s ELINT Collection?

Officially, Turkey said the planes were on a training mission but more likely they were on a reconnaissance mission, peeking along the Syrian Mediterranean coastline, where Syria is known to maintain a strong anti-aircraft, coastal defense and radar coverage. Based on the flight profile (if the Syrian description is correct) the Turks could have performed a ‘teasing’ game, in an attempt to stimulate the Syrian air defenses to activate their fire control radars, therefore give away critical data that could be used to optimize electronic countermeasures if NATO decides to involve in the situation and enforce a ‘no fly zone’ over Syria, similar to what the alliance did in Libya in 2011. Apparently, the Syrians weren’t tempted, and challenged the intruder with anti-aircraft fire rather than surface-to-air missiles. Under these circumstances, the downing of the Turkish jet could have been a miscalculated unlucky rather than lucky shot.

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‘Dagger Brigade’ to Align with Africom in 2013

As part of an effort to regionally align Army forces with specific unified combatant commands, a Kansas-based brigade will begin serving in March as the go-to force for U.S. Africa Command, Army officials said yesterday.

The Fort Riley, Kan. -based 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, called the “Dagger Brigade,” will be the main force provider for security cooperation and partnership-building missions in Africa, according to officials.

The effort is a first step toward fulfilling national strategic and defense guidance that includes military services partnering with allies around the world to build capacity and security capability, officials said.

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Thai ‘Red Shirts’ stage mass protest in Bangkok

Tens of thousands of supporters of Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protest movement staged a mass rally in Bangkok on Sunday, police said, amid renewed political tensions in the troubled kingdom.

The Reds, who are broadly loyal to ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, marked the 80th anniversary of the coup that ended Thailand’s absolute monarchy with a call for the judiciary to stay out of politics.

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Bolivia deploys troops, sees coup threat from police mutiny

Bolivia’s military ordered troops into the streets of major cities Saturday following a police mutiny that the government said appeared to be setting the stage for a coup attempt.

Communications Minister Amanda Davila said the striking police were stockpiling weapons and pressuring other units to turn over their arms, calling it a “coup scenario.”

“Press reports and intelligence reports are now saying that a coup scenario is taking shape,” she said in an interview with Erbol radio, a private broadcaster.

“What gets our attention is that the police are putting weapons in police units where there were none before, they are pressuring other units to turn over their weapons,” she said.

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Saudi officials preparing to finance Free Syria Army

Saudi officials are preparing to pay the salaries of the Free Syria Army as a means of encouraging mass defections from the military and increasing pressure on the Assad regime, according The Guardian.

Officials in the Saudi capital embraced the idea when it was put to them by Arab officials in May, according to sources in three Arab states, around the same time that weapons started to flow across the southern Turkish border into the hands of Free Syria Army leaders.

Turkey has also allowed the establishment of a command centre in Istanbul which is co-ordinating supply lines in consultation with FSA leaders inside Syria.

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The Tipping Point?: Turkey to Consult NATO Over Downing of Jet by Syria

Turkey’s foreign minister said Sunday that his country would hold emergency talks with NATO in the next few days over the downing of one of its jet fighters by Syria, asserting that the plane was shot down in international airspace.

“Next week, Permanent Council of NATO will be informed,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a Twitter message posted from his official accounton Sunday. In another posting on Sunday, he said that Turkey, a NATO member, would invoke Article 4 of the NATO treaty, which provides for consultations by the allies when one is attacked or threatened. He did not cite the much stronger Article 5, in which an attack on one member is considered an attack on all NATO countries and obliges a concerted response.

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AP sources: US mulls new covert raids in Pakistan

U.S. military and intelligence officials are so frustrated with Pakistan’s failure to stop local militant groups that attack U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan that they’ve considered launching secret joint U.S.-Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt them down.

U.S. officials tell The Associated Press the idea comes up every time the deadly Taliban faction known as the Haqqani (hah-KAH’-nee) network launches a spectacular attack in Afghanistan. Its fighters arm, plan and train in neighboring Pakistan.

The officials say the White House has consistently rejected the idea, believing the raids would not be worth the diplomatic blowback from Pakistan.

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Russia To Double Troops In Armenia

Following a pick-up in fatal gunfire exchanges along the Nagorno-Karabakh frontline, Moscow has announced plans to double its
troop strength in ally Armenia by the end of the year. The upshot of the message was clear: Azerbaijan could face Russian guns if it
attempts to push Armenian forces out of long-occupied Azerbaijani lands.

The new arrivals will be temporary — the “permanent” troop presence at Gyumri, the northern Armenian site of Russia’s 102nd Military Base, will stay at 5,000, according to Colonel Igor Gorbul,

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South Asia: The Proxy Wars – Kashmir and Afghanistan

The rivalry between India and Pakistan has dominated the politics and security of South Asia since the partition of British India in 1947. Since then, the two nuclear-armed states have fought three wars and been on the brink of conflict on numerous occasions. Historically, efforts to normalize ties have floundered upon Pakistan’s demands for the full resolution of the Kashmir dispute and New Delhi’s call for Islamabad to take action against anti-Indian militants. However, in recent years there have been signs that the civilian governments in both countries seem prepared to leave major differences aside and engage with each other on economic issues.

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US, South Korea say massive live-fire drills are warning against North Korea

A huge North Korean flag disappeared behind a tower of flames and thick black smoke Friday as South Korean fighter jets and U.S. attack helicopters fired rockets in the allies’ biggest joint live-fire drills since the Korean War.

The war games south of the heavily armed Korean border come amid rising animosity between the rival Koreas and are meant to mark Monday’s 62nd anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 war, which ended in a truce, leaving the Korean peninsula still technically at war.

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G4S chief predicts mass police privatisation

Private companies will be running large parts of the UK’s police service within five years, according to the world’s biggest security firm.

David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to sign up to similar deals to those on the table in the West Midlands and Surrey, which could result in private companies taking responsibility for duties ranging from investigating crimes to transporting suspects and managing intelligence.

The prediction comes as it emerged that 10 more police forces were considering outsourcing deals that would see services, such as running police cells and operating IT, run by private firms.

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Turkey: From regional to global player

With its growing political influence, Turkey is seeking a stronger role in world politics. However, its domestic political problems, as well as regional crises, pose major challenges to its foreign policy ambitions.

“Turkey has become one of the five or six most important countries in the world,” former US National Security Adviser Stephan J. Hadley told an international audience recently at the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank. “It’s ironic… if you look at economic performance, you wonder whether Turkey ought to join the EU or the EU ought to join Turkey,” he said.

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Arms training or political inspiration: Why are Syrian rebels in Kosovo?

Why on earth have the Syrian rebels been hanging out in Kosovo?

The tiny southeast European ethno-state created in the wake of the Balkan wars is not an obvious destination for the ragtag fighters seeking to oust Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad: Kosovo is probably the least influential or wealthy country in Europe; in fact, half of Europe doesn’t even recognize it as a country.

But there’s no question the rebels have been staying in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, and that has led to dark suspicions that the fighters are being trained by veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic-Albanian force that battled Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic and whose former fighters now dominate Kosovo’s administration.

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Kuwait Dissolves Parliament: Coup For Emir, Or Dangerous Shake-Up?

In Kuwait, religious divisions also threaten to exacerbate political turmoil. The ruling dynasty is Sunni Muslim, but Shia Muslims make up about one-third of the population. In the middle of the tumultuous Arab Spring, especially with the Shia-led protests in nearby Bahrain, Sunni leaders in Kuwait are wary of unrest within their borders.

Further complicating matters are foreign interests. The United States has a real stake in Kuwait’s stability since it has 15,000 troops stationed there currently, according to a recent report from the Associated Press. Washington sees this as a key bulwark against Iran and any continuing insurgencies in Iraq. Without the Al Sabah family in power, that troop presence would likely be more difficult for the U.S. to maintain.

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Ministers want to “transform EU into federal state”

The foreign ministers stressed in the draft document that the EU was in need of new democratic structures due to the economic crisis and tendencies to make the monetary union irreversible.

They also advocate joint European protection of borders and support the joint foreign and security policy that could even include forming of an EU army.

The ten ministers also advocate a direct control of national budgets, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently requested with her fiscal union initiative.

According to the daily, they also want national parliaments to be more involved in the decision-making process in the EU.

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A Scanner Darkly: Cities using AI for pre-crime monitoring of surveillance videos

San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Authority (MUNI), the latest purchaser, is using AISight software to continuously monitor more than 150 “objects and activities” at 12 train stations via real-time video feeds.

The software uses artificial intelligence to learn which items and movements could indicate a potential threat. Video clips of suspicious activity and SMS text message alerts are automatically sent to MUNI employees upon detection.

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Unified vision promotes NATO intelligence advances

The NATO intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance community kicked off a first-of-its-kind technical trial today in Norway to help in preserving gains made during the past decade of conflict and to build on them for the future.

U.S. Air Force and Army representatives have joined their counterparts from 12 countries and seven NATO organizations for the 10-day Unified Vision 2012, Dennis Lynn, the Air Force lead and senior U.S. national representative at the trial, told American Forces Press Service.

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FBI gets a broader role in coordinating domestic intelligence activities

The FBI has been given an expanded role in coordinating the domestic intelligence-gathering activities of the CIA and other agencies under a plan enacted this year by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., officials said.

The bureau’s highest-ranking field agents now also serve as the DNI’s representatives across the country. The change is intended to improve collaboration, but some officials say it has created new friction between the FBI and CIA.

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Researcher: CIA, NSA may have infiltrated Microsoft to write malware

A leading security researcher has suggested Microsoft’s core Windows and application development programming teams have been infiltrated by covert programmer/operatives from U.S. intelligence agencies.

According to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of antivirus and security software vendor F-Secure, the scenario that would make it simplest for programmers employed by U.S. intelligence agencies to create the Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame viruses and compromise Microsoft protocols to the extent they could disguise downloads to Flame as patches through Windows Update is that Microsoft has been infiltrated by members of the U.S. intelligence community.

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Israel deploys tanks along Egyptian frontier

Three militants, who crossed into Israel’s southern desert from Egypt’s increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula, targeted a two-vehicle convoy carrying workers building a border fence with a roadside bomb, rifle-fire and a rocket-propelled grenade. A passenger in one of the vehicles was killed after it overturned, while a second was badly wounded.

Israeli forces swiftly arrived at the scene and engaged the militants in a gun battle, killing two of them. The third escaped, an Israeli army spokesman said.

The incident, which mirrored a similar attack a year ago that claimed eight Israeli lives, heightened fears in Israel that Egypt has allowed the Sinai to become a haven for militants to attack the Jewish state.

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Israel Deploys New Observation System

IDF implements a new multi-sensor system at bases in the Judea region, revolutionizing observation methods and enabling coordination of all means in the field

Central Command field intelligenceunit will soon implement its first multi-sensor system in the Judea region. The system is already in use at the Sinai border due to recentsecurity threats in the region. Additionally, Central Command is testing the possibility to station a similar high-tech system in the Jordan River Valley Region, to strengthen field intelligence forces at the border with Jordan.

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Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuke crisis

The government failed to make use of detailed U.S. maps showing how radiation spread shortly after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began, sources familiar with the matter revealed Monday.

The sources said the maps were neither publicized nor used to evacuate residents living near the poorly protected Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which was racked by meltdowns and explosions after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the area on March 11, 2011.

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Divided Greece “risks social explosion”

Pro-bailout party New Democracy may have come first in Sunday’s Greek election but the radical left anti-austerity SYRIZA bloc was celebrating like the real winner well into the warm Athens night.

The election exposed a struggling nation deeply divided over whether to implement a harsh austerity package, the price for receiving a total of 240 billion euros in bailout money from the European Union and IMF to save its near-bankrupt economy.

“My biggest fear is of a social explosion,” said a senior adviser to the country’s likely next prime minister, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras.

“If there is no change in the policy mix, we’re going to have a social explosion even if you bring Jesus Christ to govern this country.”

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Intelligence experts: Nato has options on Assad

A former Israeli intelligence chief has said EU and Nato countries can do more on Syria than complaining about Russia or imposing sanctions.

Assad’s generals, secret police chiefs and his diplomatic corps are still loyal and important minorities – such as Alawite Muslims, Druze Muslims and Christians, as well as businessmen in Damascus and Aleppo – do not want Sunni rule.

Outside the country, Russia, Iran, Shia Muslims in Iraq and Shittes and Christians in Lebanon, also want him to stay.

“When you see a real general, preferably an Alawite general, defect, then you will know he is on his way out … Unless the Druze clearly change position, he is quite stable,” the contact noted.

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Russia readies marines for Syria mission: Interfax

Russia is preparing to send marines to Syria in the event that it needs to protect personnel and remove equipment from its naval facility in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, Interfax news agency reported on Monday.

Syria is Moscow’s firmest foothold in the Middle East, buys weapons from Russia worth billions of dollars, and hosts the Russian navy’s only permanent warm water port outside the former Soviet Union.

The report cited an unidentified officer in the naval command. The navy and Defence Ministry declined immediate comment.

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Russia Sending Missile Systems to Shield Syria

Russia’s chief arms exporter said Friday that his company was shipping advanced defensive missile systems to Syria that could be used to shoot down airplanes or sink ships if the United States or other nations try to intervene to halt the country’s spiral of violence.

“I would like to say these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea,” Anatoly P. Isaykin, the general director of the company, Rosoboronexport, said Friday in an interview. “This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this.”

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Robot U.S. air force plane lands after 15-month clandestine space mission

An unmanned U.S. air force space plane steered itself to a landing early Saturday at a California military base, capping a 15-month clandestine mission.

The spacecraft, which was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in March 2011, conducted in-orbit experiments during the mission, officials said. It was the second such autonomous landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, 209 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles. In 2010, an identical unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth after seven months and 146 million kilometres in orbit.

The latest homecoming was set in motion when the stubby-winged robotic X-37B fired its engine to slip out of orbit, then pierced through the atmosphere and glided down the runway like an airplane.

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Egypt’s military issues decree giving vast powers to armed forces, but few to president

Egypt entered its final day of voting on Sunday with very few people going to the polls to choose Hosni Mubarak’s successor under a cloud of apprehension and anticipation. Turnout appeared dismal in a sign of just how polarizing and demoralizing the choice between a military strongman and conservative Islamist is for the Arab World’s most populous nation.

The country’s military junta was expected to issue a constitutional decree within hours, according to the state’s Middle East News Agency, which would define the president’s powers. It would be a move that revolutionaries and the once-repressed Muslim Brotherhood condemned as a sign the military rulers continue to dictate rather than manage the transition to what Egyptians had hoped would be democracy.

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Mali’s neighbours plan military intervention to re-conquer parts of country seized by rebels

West African leaders are intensifying their plans for military intervention in Mali, mobilizing a force of nearly 3,300 soldiers to spearhead the mission, despite their failure to win approval from the United Nations.

Senior military officers are expected to arrive in Mali this week to begin detailed planning for the military intervention. One of their goals, according to Ivory Coast’s army chief, is the “re-conquest of the north” – where Islamists and separatist rebels have seized power.

If the West African troops enter Mali, their first task will be to protect and stabilize its fragile democratic institutions, which were badly weakened by an army coup in March.

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What Coordinated Central Bank Intervention Could Look Like

In recent days, rumors have circulated that a globally synchronized liquidity operation will be undertaken by the world’s major central banks. In theory, the goal of the operation would be to prop up a fledgling global economic recovery and prevent an outright deflationary collapse due to the European banking system’s problems.

The operation would most likely entail a combination of rate cuts and money printing. In nations such as the U.S., the U.K., and Japan (where rates are effectively at the zero interest rate boundary) further rate cuts are highly unlikely so traders may expect more quantitative easing. The European Central Bank, at the center of the crisis, would also be prompted to print but could accompany this with a rate cut.

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U.S. military completes planning for action in Syria

The military planning includes a scenario for a no-fly zone as well as protecting chemical and biological sites. Officials say all the scenarios would be difficult to enact and involve large numbers of U.S. troops and extended operations.

The planning, officials insist, is being done protectively and there have been no orders for any action from the White House.

The U.S. Navy is maintaining a presence of three surface combatants and a submarine in the eastern Mediterranean to conduct electronic surveillance and reconnaissance on the Syrian regime, a senior Pentagon official said. The official emphasized that the U.S. routinely maintains this type of naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, but acknowledged the current focus is on Syria.

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Debt crisis: the cost of default – rioting, sieges and death

De la Rúa had declared a ‘state of siege’ after thousands marched throughout Argentina banging pots and pans – in what is now termed the cacerolazo.

The social unrest triggered further political turmoil: four presidents held office in 10 days after De la Rúa’s resignation. Following an emergency session at Congress, Eduardo Duhalde was sworn in on January 2, 2002, providing some stability.

This was the fallout from the collapse of Argentine economy, which led the South American nation to default on $100bn (£64bn) of debt – the biggest sovereign default in history until Greece’s partial restructuring three months ago.

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The Ukrainian government is preparing a militia to suppress color revolutions and other rebellions

Representatives of the Party of Regions registered a bill that would empower officials of the Interior Ministry troops. The ministry is preparing for the possible suppression of the riots

The draft law “On State Service Law Enforcement” provides for the empowerment of Interior Ministry troops. Under the bill, the military service law of the State have the right: to check the documents, carry out the inspection of persons, their belongings and vehicles, to detain persons, to enter homes and premises of institutions, enterprises, organizations and carry out their inspection, perform search activities.

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Defense Department Flying Drones From Three South Florida Locales

The U.S. Department of Defense is conducting drone operations from at least four sites in Florida, and it plans to add three more sites in the future, according to data gathered and released by the nonprofit Public Intelligence.

The group released this week an interactive Google map that shows where the drones are being flown from and provides basic information, including the type of unmanned aerial vehicle.

South Florida has three locations on the map: an Army base in Okeechobee; a Special Operations Command site in Homestead; and a Special Operations Command site in Key West.

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US expanding spy bases in Africa: report

The United States military is expanding a secret network of air bases across Africa in order to spy on Al-Qaeda and other militant groups, the Washington Post reported.

The surveillance is carried out by small, unmarked turboprop planes with hidden state-of-the-art sensors that fly thousands of miles (kilometres) between air bases and bush landing strips across the vast continent, it said.

The programme, dating back to 2007, underscores the massive expansion of US special forces operations in recent years and the steady militarization of intelligence operations during the decade-long war on Al-Qaeda.

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Russia Printing Money For Cash-Strapped Syria – Report

Helicopter gunships aren’t the only things Russia is giving Syria; now the Kremlin is printing money for the cash-strapped Damascus regime. But whereas the former aid makes Assad’s regime stronger militarily, the latter may exacerbate an inflation rate that is now more than 30 percent.

Reuters reports that the Syria regime, desperate to finance its fiscal deficit, has released new cash, printed in Russia, into circulation in trial amounts in the capital and Aleppo.

“(The Russians) sent sample new banknotes that were approved and the first order has been delivered. I understand some new banknotes have been injected into the market,” Reuters reported, citing an anonymous banker in Damascus.

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Chinese military conducts North Korea destabilization drill

More than 100 Chinese soldiers took part in a river-crossing exercise on its Yalu River border with North Korea Tuesday, renewing speculation the Chinese military is preparing to defend against any influx of North Korean refugees following possible regime collapse in Pyongyang.

Uniformed soldiers wearing orange life vests could be seen building and rebuilding about a dozen pontoon bridges at various points along the Yalu River, which separates China and North Korea. Each bridge stretched 20 to 30 meters, made up of six or seven sections connected to each other.

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India-Bangladesh Border: The ‘Berlin Wall’ Of Asia

As Bangladeshi security forces tighten the borders along its eastern front to block a large influx of Muslims from riot-torn Myanmar, a somewhat similar scenario is playing out about 500 miles to the west on the Bangladesh-India frontier.

Except on this border it is Bangladeshis seeking to illegally cross into India — and facing a harsh response from Indian security officials.

Human rights activists charge that not only are Indian border police — the Border Security Force (BSF) — turning back Bangladeshis seeking refuge, but they also are committing grave abuses on these desperate people, including acts of torture and even murder,

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Russia’s ‘Revolutionary’ Situation

We can now add Olga Kryshtanovskaya to the list of leading experts who are convinced that Russia is headed toward a very serious and potentially destabilizing crisis.

One of Russia’s most renowned sociologists, Kryshtanovskaya has spent the past two decades studying the country’s elite — and the signs now, she says, are deeply troubling.

“In my view, the country is in a revolutionary situation. Dangerous processes are accelerating that could lead to a destabilizing situation,” Kryshtanovskaya said in an interview this week on Dozhd TV.

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Eurogeddon: A Worst-Case Scenario Handbook for the European Debt Crisis

Spain’s bailout was a failure – an abject flop that was supposed to buy the country credibility, but instead bought only four hours of peace before investors continued to panic.

And perhaps Americans should start panicking too. It seems at least plausible now that the euro zone’s leaders will bumble their way into the worst-case scenario, where a destitute Spain or Italy finally chooses to leave the currency union, leading to its inevitable breakup. The economic carnage could easily drag our fragile economy down too.

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Tunisia seeks to quell religious tension after unrest

Tunisia’s government blamed Salafists and old regime loyalists Wednesday for the worst unrest since Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster but dismissed suggestions Al-Qaeda initiated the violence.

One man died and around 100 people were injured, including 65 policemen, as a result of a three-day wave of riots which appears to have been triggered by an art exhibition that included works deemed offensive to Islam.

The authorities in the north African country arrested more 160 people and slapped a curfew on several regions, including the greater Tunis area. No incidents were reported on Wednesday.

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EU plans ATM limit if Greece leaves euro

Limits on how much cash can be withdrawn from ATMs, border checks, and currency controls may be imposed if Greece quits the single currency.

The moves are among a raft of emergency options discussed by eurozone finance officials preparing for the worst should Athens be forced out of the euro.

EU officials said the drastic measures are part of a range of contingency plans, and emphasised that the discussions were merely about being prepared for any eventuality rather than planning for something they expect to happen.

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Azerbaijan Jockeys For New Geopolitical Weight

A part of Azerbaijani territory, the region of Nagorno Karabakh, has been occupied by Armenian forces since a brutal war in the 1990s, and Azerbaijan’s top national priority is regaining its territory – by force, if necessary.

And as it builds up its military to prepare to retake Nagorno Karabakh, it can afford to buy the best. Azerbaijan’s economy, since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has boomed, and now its per capita GDP is over $10,000, putting it on par with Thailand, Colombia and South Africa. Its defence budget is reportedly over $3bn. Yet, it is cut off from many of the major arms markets.

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Egypt: Friendly’ military forces to be deployed at polling stations starting Thursday

The Egyptian armed forces will start to secure polling stations on Thursday, two days before the beginning of the runoff vote in Egypt’s presidential elections, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news portal, which quoted an anonymous source saying “using force is a measure of last resort” for security personnel.

The unnamed source said: “Securing the [first round of the] presidential elections and the parliamentary polls [last winter] was beneficial; the security personnel are now trained, so that if there is a problem or a situation they will try to solve it with diplomacy. Using force is a measure of last resort.

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Global Family Planning Summit aim to reverse years of family planning neglect

A major summit is being planned for July that aims to pour money into family planning in the developing world after almost two decades of neglect, particularly during the Bush years.

Parallel to this, millions of dollars are being spent by the Gates Foundation on developing more efficient forms of contraception, particularly injections that might only be required once every six months or annually.

The executive director of the UN Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, in an interview with the Guardian, described proposals at the summit to turn family planning into a global movement as “transformational”.

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Syria on brink of Bosnia-style bloodbath, warns William Hague

The situation in Syria resembles that of Bosnia in the 1990s, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday.

Syria seemed on the edge of collapse into sectarian civil war, he said, as he refused to rule out the option of military intervention. “We don’t know how things are going to develop. Syria is on the edge of a collapse or of a sectarian civil war, and so I don’t think we can rule anything out,” Hague told Sky News television.

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After Gaddafi, Libya splits into disparate militia zones

National flags from around the world flutter in the bright sunshine by a city gate made of shipping containers painted in the Libyan national colours. A uniformed militiaman examines my passport, then waves me through with a smile. Welcome to the Republic of Misrata.

Libya’s third largest city, recipient of a six-month pummelling during last year’s revolution against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, has transformed itself into what is an independent state in all but name. Libya is due to hold national elections in 10 days, but these look like they may be delayed as any sense of post-Gaddafi national unity dissipated long ago.

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Fear of influx from Myanmar puts Bangladesh border guards on high alert

The border guards of Bangladesh is on high alert near Teknaf of bordering district of Cox’s Bazar, fearing influx of Myanmar citizens into Bangladesh as sectarian violence spreads in the neighbouring country.

Members of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) posted there however have not been instructed yet on what to do if Myanmar people cross the border to flee the turmoil.

Maj Shafiqur Rahman, second-in-command of BGB 42 battalion in Teknaf, yesterday said, “We have information that many Rohingyas could attempt to intrude into Bangladesh following the violence. But we are on high alert and are vigil to prevent this.

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US fighting its own war in tribal areas: Panetta

S Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said the United States is fighting its own war in the tribal areas of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and that military safe havens in Pakistan would not be tolerated, DawnNews reported.

Panetta, while giving an interview to a US television channel on Saturday, said without detaling further that his country would take every possible step to protect its troops, according to the TV channel’s report.

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Violence Escalates in Nagorno-Karabakh‎ Region As Russia Monitors The Situation

Russian fighter jets are conducting an increasing number of training flights over Armenia, a military spokesman said Saturday, sending a clear warning that Russia could intervene at any moment should violence escalate further in the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The military spokesman, Col. Igor Gorbul, told the Interfax news agency that Russian fighter jets stationed at a base in Armenia have conducted about 300 training flights since the beginning of 2012, and have increased the number of flying hours by more than 20 percent from last year.

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A more assertive Russia: consequences for Ukraine

Actually, Putin aspires to construct, the sooner, the better, a geostrategic axis: Russia (Union States – members of the CU, CES, CSTO) – Germany and France (as the most powerful EU players) – China (as the main player in Asia). The Russian President understands that now the EU is weakened as the geopolitical player, and to be as much productive as possible it is necessary to build direct relations with Berlin, Paris and other European capitals. The strategy with China is also clear, as this country extends its geopolitical influence through economic expansion and a strategy to tap in the world’s reserve stocks.

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ISI nixes AQ Khan’s ‘joining politics’ dreams

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has again retracted his statement saying he is unlikely to join any political party or enter active politics, due to pressure by intelligence agencies asking him to refrain from doing so.

“I’m not going to join any political party,” The Express Tribune quoted Dr Khan, as saying.

According to earlier reports, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had offered Dr Khan membership to the party.

Close associates of Dr Khan maintain that the scientist is under pressure by intelligence agencies to refrain from making any political foray.

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Independent Scotland could use ‘full range of armed forces’ to defend its interests, insists Alex Salmond

SCOTLAND would be able to adequately defend its interests with the full range of armed forces after independence, the First Minister has insisted.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson had questioned whether the country could train and run special forces to defend key locations, such as oil and gas platforms.

And Defence Secretary Philip Hammond had earlier poured scorn on suggestions that an independent Scotland could form its own defence force.

Mr Hammond said a small Scottish defence force would struggle to attract recruits and was unlikely to be sustainable in the long term.

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IDF Preparing for Conflict in Lebanon

Col. Shmulik Olensky, commander of the “Barak” armored brigade on Israel’s northern front, said that the Israel Defense Force is “dealing with extensive preparations for fighting in Lebanon.”

Speaking at a conference earlier in the week about the First Lebanon War, Olensky said that the next “Lebanon war is going to be different, different from the first and second…There are no longer Christian villages in the south, all have become Hizbollah military compounds, found at every level and in every village. At the entry areas, there will be observation officers and anti-tank missiles.

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Self-defeating: Mercenaries and foreign troops could fight for UK as 20,000 British soldiers face the axe

Mercenaries and foreign fighters could replace British soldiers when Army numbers are slashed by 20,000, it was announced yesterday.

Legendary infantry units could also disappear as Defence Secretary Philip Hammond admitted yesterday that ­“difficult decisions” will have to be made.

He warned: “Some units inevitably will be lost or will merge.”

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Russia prepares for war in Syria, army units

Russian Defense Ministry launched an intensive training units for operations abroad, including in Syria. Preparation for combat operations in this country, may lead Pskov 76th air assault division of Airborne, the 15th Brigade combined arms in Samara, as well as special units staffed by the Chechens, who had previously served in the GRU spetsbatalonah “West” and “East” writes, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”, citing anonymous sources in the military.

Pskov Airborne Division – one of the most combat-ready connections in the Russian army, the newspaper notes. Its officers, NCOs and men participated in the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo in 1999-2001, in both Chechen wars in 1994-1996 and 1999-2007, and in the war with Georgia in August 2008.

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Russia Has World’s Largest Nuke Arsenal – 10,000 Warheads

Russia, which is helping Iran develop nuclear power, has more nuclear warheads than any country in the world, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report released Monday.

Worldwide, there are an estimated 19,000 nuclear warheads held by eight countries. The list of countries includes Israel, which the Institute estimates has 80 nuclear warheads. Israel officially has a policy of “nuclear ambiguity” but is assumed by most everyone to have manufactured nuclear warheads. Previous estimates have been around 200.

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24 Hours For Spain To Break The Euro

Spain has put itself on a collision course with Europe’s paymasters, creating a situation that threatens the Euro more than Greece’s debts do. The reasons might not be entirely obvious but, in essence, Spain is telling Europe: humiliate us and the Euro party is well and truly over.

Here’s the logic, and emotion, of their position. Over the past 24 hours the mixed messages coming out of Madrid suggested both that Spain acknowledged it had nowhere left to turn other than a bailout. And at the same time insisted there would be no bailout – requested or accepted.

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‘Spanic,’ ‘Grexit’ and Europe’s flying money

Will the future of the eurozone be decided at thousands of ATMs across the continent? That may be a stretch, but Spaniards and Greeks are withdrawing billions of euros from their bank accounts and sending them somewhere “safer.”

And they’re getting some encouragement, too.

Deutsche Bank, for example, is soliciting the money of Spaniards nervous about the solvency of banks at home. Such nervousness is understandable, as the Spanish government struggles to inject liquidity into the country’s fourth-largest bank — Bankia — and other financial institutions weighed down by bad property loans.

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CIA Looks to Adland for Help With Talent Recruitment

The Central Intelligence Agency is looking for a few good men and women, and what’s more, it wants the next generation of spies to be more diverse.

The highly secretive organization has reached out to big shops on Madison Avenue to evaluate whether they may be suited for working with the CIA down the road on its recruitment advertising campaigns. According to an unclassified document obtained by
Ad Age: “The Central Intelligence Agency seeks to build on its existing brand identity and be positioned as the No. 1 employer of choice for a variety of career paths by reaching and engaging with prospective employees.”

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Disputed Territories: Navy helps Philippines’ sea defense

U.S. Navy Special Warfare sailors are helping the Philippine navy learn to control the waters around islands where they’re fighting Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

Special Warfare Combatant Craft crew and their MK V special operations craft and rigid inflatable boats have followed the Philippine navy on more than 4,000 “visit, board, search and seizures” since arriving in the Philippines in October, said Chief Petty Officer Michael Andre, a RIB detachment commander.

The crewmen and an accompanying group of Navy SEALs are based at Coronado, Calif., and are supporting the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines by training counterparts in the Philippine naval special operations units.

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U.S. reopening World War II bases in Pacific

As part of its emerging “Air-Sea Battle” concept, (see Robert Haddick for more on that) and the strategic pivot to the Pacific, the U.S. military is planning to brush out the cobwebs on a number of long-disused facilities for potential use during a new Pacific conflict. Military.com reports:

A key component of this plan is the refurbishment of long-abandoned World War II airfields scattered across the Pacific. These fields would serve as pretty bare bones facilities that American aircraft could disburse to if a conflict seemed imminent (similar to the way Strategic Air Command’s Cold War disbursal base concept worked).

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30,000 secret surveillance orders approved each year, judge estimates

A federal judge estimates that his fellow federal judges issue a total of 30,000 secret electronic surveillance orders each year—and the number is probably growing. Though such orders have judicial oversight, few emerge from any sort of adversarial proceeding and many are never unsealed at all. Those innocent of any crime are unlikely to know they have ever been the target of an electronic search.

In a new paper, called “Gagged, Sealed & Delivered” (PDF), US Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith bashes this culture of continuing secrecy. (Magistrate judges are important members of the federal judiciary; they handle many of the more routine judicial matters, such as warrant applications and initial case management.)

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Arctic military rivalry could herald a 21st-century cold war

A buildup of military forces around the Arctic amid growing excitement about its oil wealth has the ability to undermine stability in the region, a research paper has warned.

According to the report – called Climate Change and International Security: the Arctic as a Bellwether – the military buildup is neither advisable nor a sensible peacekeeping measure, as it is increasingly designed for combat rather than policing.

It adds: “States such as Norway and Russia are building new naval units designed to engage in high-intensity conflicts. While this capability may be understood as prudent, the ability of rivals to intimidate or subdue with sophisticated weapons systems could, if collegiality falters, undermine diplomacy and stability in the region.”

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Azerbaijan troops killed in Armenia border clash during Clinton visit

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said Tuesday that five of its soldiers were killed in clashes with Armenian troops alongside the border separating the two countries, deepening tensions between the two former Soviet nations.

The ministry said in a statement that exchanges of gunfire have been reported over the last two days at numerous points along Azerbaijan’s western border. Armenia had said earlier that three of its soldiers died in the clashes.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have for two decades been at odds over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, which lies within Azerbaijan, but was taken over by Armenia during a six-year war that killed about 30,000 people and displaced 1 million.

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The Age Of Drones: Military May Share Domestic Surveillance Data With Police According To An Intelligence Report

As the Federal Aviation Administration helps usher in an age of drones for U.S. law enforcement agencies, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) domestically by the U.S. military — and the sharing of collected data with police agencies — is raising its own concerns about possible violations of privacy and Constitutional law, according to drone critics.

A non-classified U.S. Air Force intelligence report obtained by KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO dated April 23, 2012, is helping fuel concern that video and other data inadvertently captured by Air Force drones already flying through some U.S. airspace, might end up in the hands of federal or local law enforcement, doing an end-run around normal procedures requiring police to obtain court issued warrants.

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United Russia Pushes for Military Training in Schools

A group of United Russia deputies wants to reinstate Soviet-era military training in high schools to promote patriotism and fondness for the armed forces.

During communist times, the program taught teens how to react to a nuclear or chemical attack, render first aid and field-strip an AK-47 assault rifle.

Duma Deputy Alexei Zhuravlyov is leading the proposal to reinstate the training. He is considered the right-hand man of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the military-industrial complex.

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