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Archive | November, 2012

Global Hotspot: China police plan to seize foreign ships in disputed seas

China police plan to seize foreign ships in disputed seas

Under new rules that threaten to greatly increase the risk of armed conflict, Chinese law enforcers starting next year will be boarding and seizing foreign vessels in areas claimed by China in the volatile West Philippine Sea, according to a report by the Chinese state media.

“That’s too much. While we are exerting all peaceful means, that is what they are doing,” said Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, commander of the AFP’s Western Command. “That’s a violation of (the rules) over international passage.”

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Narco-State Run Kabul Bank Is One Major Ponzi Scheme, Surprised?!

Afghanistan Kabul Bank Scandal

They led “a sophisticated operation of fraudulent lending and embezzlement through a loan book scheme” resulting in the loss of $935m funded mostly from customer’s deposits, the report said. It detailed for the first time how the funds were misappropriated. Tactics included unjustifiable disbursements, fake capital injections, salaries paid to non-existent employees, payment for fake assets and political contributions.

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Verge of Bankruptcy: State Senator Proposes Dissolving City Of Detroit


It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

“If we have to, that is one idea we have to look at. We really have to look at everything that is on the table,” Jones said. “Again, if this goes to federal bankruptcy, every employee down there will suffer, the city will suffer and the vultures will come in and take the jewels of Detroit and they will be gone.”

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Egypt crisis raises fears of ‘second revolution’


Faced with an unprecedented strike by the courts and massive opposition protests, Egypt’s Islamist president is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers.

Activists warn that his actions threaten a “second revolution,” butMohammed Morsi faces a different situation than his ousted predecessor,Hosni Mubarak: He was democratically elected and enjoys the support of the nation’s most powerful political movement.

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Tiny Oil Fiefdom Qatar Pushes For Hegemony On Global Stage


For years, the tiny oil sheikdom of Qatar has been a reliable US partner in the Middle East — as a host to the largest American military base in the region and as a diplomatic bulwark against Iran. It has backed the fall of autocratic rulers in Libya and Syria.

Two years after the start of the Arab Spring, however, Qatar’s carefully cultivated reputation as a U.S. partner — and as a neutral broker in the region — is increasingly muddled. With billions of dollars in natural gas and oil revenue, it is bankrolling a new generation of Islamists across the Middle East, raising questions about its vision for the region and whether some of its policies are in direct conflict with U.S. interests.

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Taiwan “plans smart mines” against Chinese invasion


Taiwan is planning to make a new generation of “smart” mines that can be deployed in shallow water to boost its defences against a potential invasion by China, Taiwanese media said on Thursday.

Unlike earlier naval mines meant for deeper water, the new type can be deployed closer to the coastline and be more effective in beating off enemy landings, said the United Daily News website, citing unnamed military sources.

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Does The Asia-Pacific Region Needs a NATO-like Alliance?


The return of Asia-Pacific to the centre of world affairs is the great power shift of the 21st century. This economically integrated region is traversed by half the world’s commercial shipping worth $5 trillion of trade a year. More than 4.2 billion people live there, constituting 61 per cent of the world’s population. And apart from straddling vital supply chains, it holds dense fishing grounds and potentially enormous oil and natural gas reserves, though at present it is a net importer of fossil fuels.

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Brazil, Turkey, India, Indonesia Key to US-Backed Global Order


The United States should focus increasingly on courting Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey, four “global swing states” critical to the preservation of the Western-dominated international order, according to a new report released here Tuesday by two major U.S. think tanks.

“These four nations each possess a large and growing economy, a strategic location in their region and a commitment to democratic institutions. And critically, each nation’s precise international role is now in flux,” they noted.

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Resource Rapture: Maliki Moves To Control Kurdistan’s Energy Assets


The recent increase of Iraqi troops in resource-rich contested areas is fuelling fears that the subsequent escalation of tension could develop into full-scale war between the Shiite Iraqi government and the area known as Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraqi encroachment on the city of Kirkuk is one of the reasons for the recent escalation as the Kurdistan Regional Government has issued a number of statements compelling Iraq to back away from this area, threatening war should it continue with its current aggressive policy.

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Syrian Free Army creates their own police force


Members of the FSA and its Syrian supporters now say that the group is no longer composed of those purely interested in overthrowing Assad. Criminal opportunists have entered its ranks or taken up its name, forcing the group to police its own.

“Revolutionary Security was founded two months ago and it’s main mission is to observe the FSA and work with the civilians,” says Capt. Abu Hamdu, chief of Revolutionary Security in Aleppo. “We’re watching and observing the FSA fighters to make sure they don’t make any mistakes dealing with the civilians.”

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Fitch says Argentina default is ‘probable’


The credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Tuesday downgraded Argentina, which is locked in a court battle in New York over its debt, and said the country would probably default.

Fitch cut its long-term rating for Argentina to “CC” from “B,” a downgrade of five notches, and cut its short-term rating to “C” from “B.” A rating of “C” is one step above default.

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Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Seeks Asian Investors For South Sudan Defense Projects


“Africa is so far the most unexplored part of the world, and I think China has seen a lot of promise in Africa,” Prince said. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Prince said his new company, Frontier Resource Group, was seeking Asian investors. Earlier this month, Prince arrived in Hong Kong for meetings with potential Chinese investors and partners. In 2012, Beijing said it would provide $20 billion in loans to Africa by 2015.

“But the problem is if you go alone, you bear the country risk on your own,” Prince said. “You have to get support and maintenance there.”

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Arab-Spring-like scenes in Cairo as hundreds of thousands protest


Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday evening, according to reports from the scene. Earlier in the day, minor clashes between police and protestors erupted in front of the US embassy. Reports online suggested that ‘Ahram’ photo journalist, Ahmed Goma, was beaten by government forces while covering the incident.

The violence escalated on Tuesday evening with further reports of tear gas and clashes outside the square. Protestors chanted for the downfall of the regime, leading online commentators to draw parallels with the January 25 revolution.

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BRICS: The World’s New Banker?


The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bloc has begun planning its own development bank and a new bailout fund which would be created by pooling together an estimated $240 billion in foreign exchange reserves, according to diplomatic sources. To get a sense of how significant the proposed fund would be, the fund would be larger than the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about 150 countries, according to Russia and India Report.

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Contra Style Death Squads Set Groundwork For Future Syrian Colonized Govt


11 November representatives of disparate Syrian groups were combined to form the national coalition of revolutionary and oppositional forces “(NKROS), all the seats and positions in which the head of the American delegation had distributed at the Conference in Doha, United States Ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford.

In 2004-2006/07 he worked as Assistant to John Negroponte, the head of a diplomatic mission in Iraq and the United States engaged in war, the methods used there in Honduras: using” death squads “and” Nicaraguan Contras. “the same model that Ford used for destabilization of the situation in Syria.

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Kurds, Iraq army in standoff over disputed area


Iraq’s Kurdish region has sent reinforcements to a disputed area where its troops are involved in a standoff with the Iraqi army, a senior Kurdish military official said, despite calls on both sides for dialogue to calm the situation.

More Kurdish troops and tanks were mobilised on Saturday and headed towards the disputed areas, the deputy minister for Kurdish military affairs said late on Saturday, adding that they would hold their positions unless Iraqi forces made a move. “If they overstep the line, we will strike them,” Anwar Haji Osman said.

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War over Nile River water between Egypt and Ethiopia?


This week, Robele Ababya wrote a piece titled “Likely war over the Blue Nile River?” that highlighted the growing concern in Ethiopia over the future of Egypt’s tenuous democracy that has seen massive unrest in recent days.

Ababya wrote: “The matter is so serious that I gave it a rather scary title after a lot of soul-searching, but the arrogant stance of prominent Egyptian leaders begged for it as mentioned in the paragraph below – notwithstanding my long held dream that democratic Ethiopia and Egypt will one day emerge as powerful allies working together as keepers of stability and engines of economic growth in the region and beyond in the African continent.”

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Water tensions overflow in post-Soviet states


THE ex-Soviet states of Central Asia are engaged in an increasingly bitter standoff over water resources, adding another element of instability to the volatile region neighbouring Afghanistan.

Plans in mountainous but energy-poor Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for two of the world’s biggest hydro-electric power stations have enraged their powerful downstream neighbour Uzbekistan which fears losing valuable water. Russia as well as the other Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also being pulled into a dispute which dates back to the allocation of resources when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

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Iran warships returning to Sudan: military


Iranian warships will return to Sudan on Friday, the armed forces said, one month after a similar port call followed Khartoum’s accusation that Israel bombed a military factory.

Sudan’s links to Iran have come under scrutiny after Khartoum accused Israel of the October 23 strike against the Yarmouk compound, which led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured at the factory in Khartoum.

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The World through the Eyes of the Dragon


In today’s world order, economic interests, political motives and security agendas of major powers are usually intertwined, although zero-sum rivalries are still valid on many occasions of political friction. In addition, China’s administrative tradition has brought its own fears, dreams and specific definitions of interest from centuries back to this date and synthesized these elements into what we refer to as its contemporary foreign policy perspective.

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Qatar and Iran compete over control of Hamas


The courtship of Hamas between rivals Iran and Qatar has been one of the Middle East’s intriguing subplots of the Arab Spring. The bloodshed in Gaza has now sharpened their competition for influence with the Palestinian militant group and the direction it takes in the future.

Qatar has sought to use its vast wealth to win over Hamas with investments and humanitarian aid and encouraging Arab partners to do the same — part of the hyper-rich U.S. allied nation’s broader campaign to bring under its wing Islamist movements that have risen to power

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Egypt ‘pharaoh’ Morsi faces youth juggernaut


Branded by many protesters as “the new pharaoh,” Morsi embarked on an early confrontation with pro-democracy activists who he tried to win over in his first months in office when he made some equally audacious decisions, such as ordering military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to retire. He also attempted to relieve public prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud of his duties.

The latter decision, made in October to heed a key demand of Egypt’s revolutionaries, initially backfired due to legal obstacles. But Morsi sidestepped that hindrance Thursday after issuing the controversial decree that makes his decisions immune to judicial review.

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Kurds send in the troops to confront Iraq


Iraq is gearing up for a potential conflict with its semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in a battle over the oil-rich land situated there, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.

Kurdish soldiers and equipment have been mobilised and sent to the disputed area, 170km north of Baghdad, following a long-running feud regarding oil rights in the region. Baghdad has recently sought to regain control of contracts with big companies based in the country, after the Kurds took over post American invasion.

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Deployment of Patriots in Turkey Means No-Fly Zone for Syria


The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council. The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

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Russian troops will not be used for suppressing protests in Tajikistan, says CSTO secretary general


Servicemen of the Russian military based deployed in Tajikistan will not be used for suppressing protests in Khorog [the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region] in the event of recurrence of them, Nikolai Bordyuzha, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “I completely rule out this, because Russian military contingent deployed in Tajikistan is intended to provide assistance to Tajikistan with repulsing external threats,”

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US military seeks to develop ‘subsonic bullets’


Most bullets make small sonic booms when flying through the air, which to our ears sound like a loud, distinct “crack!” For the Pentagon’s special forces, that makes it hard to be sneaky about what they’re shooting. Now the commandos want to be sneakier with slower, quieter bullets.

According to the magazine, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) under the U.S. Department of Defense plans to develop rifles in the 5.56, 7.62 and.338 calibers, which will travel at low enough velocities to avoid breaking the sound barrier, thus creating no “crack” noise.

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War of spies begins in Syria: Rebels set up own intelligence service


Syrian rebels announced the creation of a security service to “defend the Syrian revolution” in a country that has been awash with feared intelligence agencies for the past five decades.

Its objective is “to be a powerful security shield to protect the sons of the revolution from attacks, arrests and killings,” and to hunt down members of the opposition who have committed abuses, according to a video statement by the rebels.

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Can Mauritania’s President Survive Both Coup Plotters and al-Qaeda?

Ould Abdel Aziz

For Presidents, one rule of thumb for political survival is not to leave your country for too long, especially if you are thinking of waging a regional war against al-Qaeda militants. Aziz had better hope he returns in time. During his long recuperation in Paris, his rivals have begun to plot their future without the President, who himself came to power in a political coup in 2008. Officials from within the ruling circle recently met with opposition parties, in an attempt to piece together a post-Aziz plan.

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Fear of regional war as Goma falls to Rwanda-backed M23


REBELS backed by Rwanda have seized the strategic provincial capital of Goma in Congo, raising the spectre of a regional war.

The M23 rebel group, created just seven months ago, took the city of one million people in the east of the country and its international airport yesterday. Explosions and machine-gun fire rocked the lakeside city as the M23 fighters pushed forward on two fronts: toward the city centre and along the road that leads to Bukavu, another provincial capital to the south.

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British UAV use fuels ‘secret war’


The Australian reported that MPs and members of the House of Lords are also considering whether to have a joint debate on Britain’s UAV deployment policy and the ethics of “remotely” killing suspected insurgent targets in Afghanistan battling the International Security assistance Force troops.

There also remains the possibility that British ministers could face questions as to whether they share British intelligence with the United States under terms of the 1946 U.K.-U.S. intelligence sharing agreement to help UAVs operated by the CIA to kill terror suspects in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

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China’s Invisible Scourge – One Million Children Living On The Streets


Last week in Bijie, in the mountainous Guizhou Province, five street children who’d taken refuge from the cold in a large rubbish bin were found dead of suffocation. It has sparked national outrage over the usually hidden issue of China’s countless children forced to live on the street.

Sina news reported that the five boys, who ranged in age from seven to 13 years old, were found lifeless by a scavenger, who’d opened the lid of the 1.5 by 1.5 meter dumpster. Foul play has been ruled out.

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Pentagon overseas propaganda plan stirs controversy


Senior officers at the Pentagon are being advised on countering Taliban propaganda by a marketing expert whose company once weeded out reporters who wrote negative stories in Afghanistan and helped the military deceive the enemy in Iraq, according to military documents and interviews.

Since 2000, the military has paid The Rendon Group more than $100 million to help shape its communications strategy, analyze media coverage, run its propaganda programs and develop counter-narcotics efforts around the world, Pentagon documents show.

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Turkey Top Opium Producer


Nearly 70,000 Turkish farmers in 13 provinces are allowed to plant opium poppy and produce unscratched opium poppy capsules in a 700 million square meter area, a limit set by the United Nations.

The global consumption of opiate, which is a chemical found naturally in the opium poppy plant and has uses for medical and scientific purposes, is nearly 350 tons per year. The largest importer of this substance, the United States, supplies 80 percent of its imports from Turkey and India.

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US−India military ties can alter world power dynamics, says think tank


Suggesting that the US relationship with India has the potential to alter the power dynamics in Asia and the world, a leading US think tank has proposed a deeper military engagement between two countries.

This “can have a range of strategic benefits, including the enhancement of military capabilities, building long−term professional relationships, as well as strategic signalling to allies, partners, and potential adversaries,” says a new report by the Wadhwani Chair in US−India Policy Studies at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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Paving The Way For The Strike on Iran: The Real Goal of Israel in Gaza


Last week dramatically worsened the confrontation between Israel and Palestine. 14 November this year, Israel launched a massive air strike operation against the Palestinian HAMAS movement, which is the main force in the Gaza Strip.

The official stated purpose of the operation, which was called “pillar of Cloud,” is to stop the shelling of Israeli territory by Palestinian rockets unmanaged missiles. The main purpose of the operation was the destruction of important objects of military infrastructure of Hamas and its political, military and religious leaders.

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Kim Jong-un Still Trying to Get Control of the Military


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un apparently remains determined to rein in the military, whose power under former leader Kim Jong-il had turned it into a state within the state.

Former army chief Ri Yong-ho, who was sacked in July, is under house arrest at a hot spring in North Hamgyong Province, South Korean intelligence have learned. Also, two business fronts of the North Korean military that were responsible for bringing in hard currency have been placed under state control.

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Iraqi Troops and Kurdish Forces On Verge of War


In response to the deployment of large numbers of Iraqi troops and Dijla Forces in Kirkuk, Kurdish military officials have dispatched thousands of Peshmerga forces to the province. Halgurd Hikmat, the media officer of the ministry of Peshmerga has confirmed that the Minister of Peshmerga Sheikh Jaafar Mustafa and his deputy, Anwar Haji Osman, are meeting with Peshmerga forces in the area.

“The Peshmerga are prepared to counter any movement by the Dijla Forces,” Hikmat said.

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With eye on Beijing, US signals full embrace of Delhi


President Obama’s top national security adviser said on Thursday that the United States has “given a full embrace of India’s rise,” leaving little doubt that Washington sees New Delhi as a strategic counterweight to Beijing regardless of what China, India itself, and the rest of the world thinks of the idea and their response to it.

“It’s a full embrace of India’s rise as a partner,” he repeated. “And again, as two of the most important democracies in the world, it’s an important strategic thrust for us as well.”

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Arms race explodes as neighbours try to counter China


An arms-buying spree across south-east Asia will be the elephant in the room when almost 20 world leaders meet in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, on Tuesday. Flush with economic success and wary of China’s military expansion, countries are acquiring sophisticated sea- and air-based arsenals that include dozens of submarines that can operate in secret.

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Gulf States Rethink Ties to Muslim Brotherhood


Observers believe that the reason why some Gulf states have launched a campaign against Muslim Brotherhood members is because they are worried of the group’s reaching power in the Arab Spring countries. Adding to their worries is the developing relationship between Muslim Brotherhood governments on the one hand and the Turkish Republic, which seems to have found in the organization a new ally that could help Turkey extend its influence in the Arab region.

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Venezuela Air Force Moderninzing Fleet By Purchasing Chinese


Nothing apparently stops Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez After the U.S. said it would ban arm sales to his country, Chávez actively began looking for a new place to buy them. He found cooperation among Russia and China.

Chávez announced this week that he would begin receiving new Chinese-made military transport planes – shrugging off U.S.’s attempt to choke off Venezuela’s weapons supply.

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Defector says China gives Assad regime bugging technology


The Syrian soldier, whose name has been changed and will be known as Abu-Husayn for his own security and the safety of his relatives in Syria, has disclosed details of his encounter with Chinese intelligence operatives in Damascus. “I saw Chinese operatives visiting the Ministry of Defense. The regime purchased Chinese surveillance equipment and wiretapping devices. These operatives were teaching Syrians how to use these devices and technologies,” he said.

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France is eurozone’s “ticking time bomb”


London-based weekly The Economist has said that France is a “time-bomb at the heart of Europe”. “The crisis could hit as early as next year,” the weekly warned in a cover story to with the subtitle: “Why France could become the biggest danger to Europe’s single currency,” AP has reported.

The Economist takes French President, Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to task for delaying crucial reforms, saying that “neither Mr. Hollande nor Mr. Ayrault appear to be the kind of leader courageous enough to impose reforms against generalized opposition.”

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Private Soldiers: Bullets For Hire Now A Global Trade


The industry’s growth has been paid for by Western governments, keen to limit the political cost of military boots on the ground. Supply has also come mostly from the West: 70% of firms are British or American. As the big conflicts of the past decade come to an end, however, private armies are beginning to chase new business, according to Sean McFate of America’s National Defence University. Industrial firms, which are increasingly setting up shop in unstable places, are expected to be a growing chunk of the customer base.

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Five EU countries call for new military ‘structure’


Five leading EU countries, but not the UK, have said the Union needs a new military “structure” to manage overseas operations. The foreign and defence ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain issued the call in a joint communique after a meeting in Paris on Thursday . The paper says: “We are convinced that the EU must set up, within a framework yet to-be-defined, true civilian-military structures to plan and conduct missions and operations.” It adds: “We should show preparedness to hold available, train, deploy and sustain in theatre the necessary civilian and military means.”

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Iraq Kurds put security forces on high alert


The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region has ordered its peshmerga security forces on high alert, a statement issued on Saturday said, attributing the move to clashes with central government forces.

An Iraqi general however said that the clashes in question came during an arrest attempt and did not involve the peshmerga. Tensions between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq have been running high after the establishment of a new military command covering disputed territory, and over various other long-running disputes.

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Israel masses for Gaza invasion


THOUSANDS of Israeli troops have made preparations to move into Gaza after Palestinian rockets reached Jerusalem and the shores of Tel Aviv.

Senior members of the military have told The Times that they expect to invade this weekend. One officer confirmed that troops had been ordered to prepare “to the highest state of readiness”. As the latest crisis escalated in the Middle East, Palestinian militants deployed longer range missiles for the first time. In Gaza City, families sheltered in cellars as Israeli air strikes rocked buildings and war planes created incursion corridors for troops.

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German Bundeswehr may monitor Turkish-Syrian border


German soldiers could be sent from their barracks in northern Germany to the Turkish-Syrian border. The government in Ankara has recently expressed interested in a air defense system and, according to a report in the German daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” will make an official request for one on Monday.

One or two of the German units could make up part of a multinational system sent to Turkey. Such a deployment would “serve to protect” Turkey, said de Maiziere. But being stationed in Turkey would be more dangerous than the base in northern Germany and would risk pulling Berlin into the Syrian civil war.

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Pentagon Says 75,000 Troops Might Be Needed to Seize Syria Chemical Arms

A U.S. Army recruit practices securing the area during a chemical weapons exercise at basic training at the Fort Sill Army Post

The Pentagon has told the Obama administration that any military effort to seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons would require upward of 75,000 troops, amid increasing concern that the militant group Hezbollah has set up small training camps close to some of the chemical weapons depots, according to senior American officials.

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Attacks escalate in Gaza, Israel: region on brink of all-out war


Israeli tanks and troops moved toward the Gaza Strip on Thursday night in apparent preparation for a possible invasion after a day of violence that included a fatal rocket strike in the southern Israeli city of Kiriyat Malachi, raising the likelihood that the region was on the brink of all-out war.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak summoned more than 30,000 reservists to military duty. Barak said the order was intended to make Israel “ready for any development.”

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CIA’s paramilitary role overshadows spy work


The first question to ask: Has the CIA become too much of a paramilitary organization? The second: Should this be the time to put the agency’s main emphasis on being the premier producer and analyst of intelligence for policymakers, using both open and clandestine sources?

That doesn’t mean losing its counterterrorism role. Terrorists remain a threat, but the rest of the world is changing so fast that the president and policymakers down the line need the best information available.

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European Strife: Spanish Warships Breach Gibraltar Waters Over Territorial Spat With British


Even if Spain does not wish to recognise that Gibraltar waters are not Spanish, it is not normal for Spanish warships to enter such waters. That is what a Spanish report says by Europa Press agency.

Furthermore, it is incredible that a country which is a member of NATO and an EU partner with Britain should act in such hostile fashion against Gibraltar – even sending warships! It is NATO policy that if one member country is attacked, NATO is attacked. So, what are the Spaniards doing?

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The New Greece?: France at the heart of Euro unrest


The tax-and-spend policies of France’s socialist government are threatening to wreck the euro zone’s attempts to emerge from crisis, according to a growing army of critics of Francois Hollande’s fledgling presidency. In the most damning verdict on French efforts to reduce national debt and tackle high labour costs, the German newspaper Bild ran a recent headline asking: “Is France the New Greece?”

German officials have echoed the tone of such attacks, expressing concern at Mr Hollande’s “superficial” measures to bring his country’s economy under control.

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Taliban generate 70% of their income off narcotics ‘taxes’


The minister said that Pakistan is fighting against narco-terrorism despite having meager resources, adding that “Our nation has suffered losses both in term of human lives and material ($80 billion loss in economy and over 45,000 people have been martyred in terrorist activities).

He said Pakistan is major transit route for Afghan opiates with nearly 160 metric ton of heroin, which makes up 44 per cent of total Afghan heroin which transits through its territorial jurisdictions.

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Epic Fire Sale: Russian Oligarchs Snatch Up Greek Real Estate and Energy Assets


In Greece, the state-owned energy industry is for sale. Under pressure from the EU, the government their majority in the Greek gas company Depa, the gas network operator DESFA and participation in the oil company Hellenic Petroleum (Elpe) sell. The Russians are in addition to Japanese, Italians and Azerbaijanis to the main bidders.

Gazprom has long been in the Greek business. There were Russians who built the gas pipeline from Bulgaria south to Athens. Today, the Russian monopoly supplies three quarters of Greek natural gas imports.

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Strangulation By Triangulation: ‘Rebels Seize Villages in Israel-Syria Buffer Zone’

A member of the Free Syrian Army waves an Islamic flag during clashes with Syrian army forces in the Ghouta area of Damascus

Syrian rebels have seized control over two towns in the buffer zone with Israel, The Daily Telegraph reported late on Tuesday. According to the report, which cites an Israeli military intelligence source from the Northern Command, 200 or more rebels took control of Be’er Ajam and Bariqa.

Earlier in the month, the Syrian military caused a stir when three of its tanks entered Be’er Ajam, prompting Israel to raise its alert levels and complain to the United Nations.

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‘What if Turkey Became Like Iran?’: Zbigniew Brzezinski


Speaking at the Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said Turkey was on the edge of one of the most combustible parts of the world, and that an explosion such as military action in Iran or wider violence in Syria would be catastrophic for world stability.

“Turkey is a key pivotal power. Its success as a European-type democracy is vital for Europe’s security,” he said.

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Soviet Style: Russia Cracks Down on Dissent


The law has provoked an outcry from activists. They say the legislation is part of a broad crackdown against the opposition in revenge for the unprecedented protests that erupted as Putin returned to the Kremlin in May for a third presidential term. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the Kremlin would watch how the law was implemented and did not rule out the legislation being amended. “The president has indeed expressed readiness to look at this law very carefully,” Russian news agencies quoted Peskov as saying.

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Analysts predict war between Israel, Palestine


The Israeli army command has not ruled out that in order to destroy the missile arsenals of the Palestinian movement Hamas they might need not only the Air Force, but possibly to launch a ground operation into Gaza, therefore they have authorized the Army to call up reservists.

The Israeli Air Force struck dozens of targets on the Gaza Strip as part of a large-scale operation codenamed “Protective Pillar”, which resulted in 12 Palestinians being killed, including the leader of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed al-Jabari.

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Asia-Pacific Pivot: US to station powerful radar, space telescope in Australia


The United States military will station a powerful radar and a space telescope in Australia as part of a major refocusing of priorities towards Asia, the two countries announced Wednesday. US Defense Secretary Leon Panettea described it as “major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation and an important new frontier in the United States’ rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region”.

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DARPA wants army of networked amateur astronomers to watch sky for space junk, aliens


There is really so much junk floating around in space the government needs help keeping track of it all. This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a program to utilize amateur astronomers to help watch space for any dangerous junk that maybe be threatening satellites or other spacecraft and even the Earth.

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Israel Ranked as World’s Most Militarised Nation


Israel tops the list of the world’s most militarised nations, according to the latest Global Militarisation Index released Tuesday by the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC).

At number 34, Israel’s main regional rival, Iran, is far behind. Indeed, every other Near Eastern country, with the exceptions of Yemen (37) and Qatar (43), is more heavily militarised than the Islamic Republic, according to the Index, whose research is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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Political Sockpuppetry: US Military Behind African Fake News Sites


The website’s headlines trumpet al-Shabab’s imminent demise and describe an American jihadist fretting over insurgent infighting. At first glance it appears to be a sleek, Horn of Africa news site. But the site — sabahionline.com — is run by the U.S. military.

The site, and another one like it that centers on northwest Africa, is part of a propaganda effort by the U.S. military’s Africa Command aimed at countering extremists in two of Africa’s most dangerous regions — Somalia and the Maghreb.

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Detroit Could Go Bankrupt Before End Of Year


Detroit’s financial condition is rapidly deteriorating, and City Hall could run out of cash in December, an official told a state oversight board Monday. City program management director William Andrews made the assessment at a meeting of the Financial Advisory Board, a city-state panel overseeing Detroit’s finances under its fiscal stability agreement with the state.

Detroit’s cash-flow crisis is “more challenging than it’s ever been and more challenged than we reported last month,” Andrews said.

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NATO ready to help Azerbaijan create modern logistic system of armed forces


“NATO has a perfect logistic system. We are ready to share experience in this issue with Azerbaijan”, the alliance representatives said.

It was noted at the meeting that due to the existing military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, NATO imposes embargo for the sale of arms and military hardware to these countries. Nonetheless, according to the official representatives of the alliance, NATO can pass a decision about the sale of arms to both countries by the organization member-states.

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Russian-U.S confrontation in Central Asia is undeniable

Central Asia

Russia will hold the talks on the establishment of the CSTO military base to strengthen its position in the south of Kyrgyzstan. The purpose of establishing the base is not only to implement its military ambitions, but also prevent the creation of a radical Islamic Fergana caliphate. Also needed is control over a reliable highway, which will bypass the territory of Uzbekistan, for the 201st military base’s material and technical supply chain from South Siberia in Tajikistan and of course, to prevent the expansion of China’s military and political capabilities in the region.

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Civil Disobedience: Greek Mayors Rebel Against Public Layoffs

Greece Financial Crisis

While the Greek government has passed the most recent austerity measures demanded by its international lenders, it continues to encounter resistence to their implementation. In a rare act of unity, cities and unions are refusing to comply with demands for layoffs.

The atmosphere was tense at the courtyard of the Thessaloniki city hall. Dozens of municipal workers in Greece’s second-largest city staged a protest Monday morning against the planned lay-offs of 27,000 civil servants. “I have been working for the city for 22 years,” said one of the city administration’s 4,000 employees. He requested anonymity for fear of jeopardizing his position even further. “I fear for my job. All of us do.”

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Expose: Qatar Buyout And Takeover of Europe


Read this carefully. It is a shocking and factual description of the situation at present, but it is also the prophecy of the future for Europe – or should we already call it Eurabia.

A hateful wind emanating from the small Islamic emirate is now blowing toward Europe, a wind accompanied by an ocean of poisonous, oily, bloody money – all coming from the peninsula in the Persian Gulf which today is the world’s richest country. Slowly, Qatar is buying Europe’s assets.

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Global Energy Axis: Iran to build oil reservoirs, refineries in Venezuela


Iran agreed with Venezuela on Monday to build some oil reservoirs and refineries in the Latin American country, semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

Iran has inked agreements with Venezuela to invest 200 million U.S. dollars in building four reservoirs for storing oil products. In addition, Iran will design and construct some small refineries in Venezuela, Fars News Agency said.

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British SAS Training Rebels For Assassination of Assad


As British Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to use the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Syria to put an end to the massacres the Syrian regime is committing throughout the country, British Special Forces are training rebels to assassinate the Syrian president and his commanders, the London Daily Star reported.

UK government sources told the newspaper that British assassination squads are in Syria to train rebels on how to target President Bashar al-Assad and his warlords.

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Beijing fears sparking its own French revolution


China’s political leaders put stability above all else. So it’s a remarkable sign of the times that they could be passing around well-thumbed copies of a book about the sudden, bloody outbreak of the French Revolution two-and-a-quarter centuries ago. Why would China’s modern rulers, preoccupied with the leadership handover under way in Beijing this week, be interested in Alexis de Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the French Revolution?

Since the Communist Party seized power in 1949 in a violent revolution, its highest priority has been to guard against what it calls ”counter-revolution”.

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Divided States Of America: 20 States Petition To Secede


To date, citizens of 18 states have petitioned the White House for consideration of a peaceful withdrawal from the United States. That’s right, thousands of Americans have already signed petitions at whitehouse.gov asking President Obama to allow them to peacefully secede from the union.

The states and their updated totals are: Louisiana, 10,296; Texas, 9196; Florida, 2392; Alabama, 2492; North Carolina, 2434; Kentucky, 1934; Mississippi, 1935; Indiana, 1951; North Dakota, 881; Montana, 1538; Colorado, 1805Oregon, 1594; New Jersey, 1492; New York, 1727; South Carolina, 117; Arkansas, 86; Georgia, 131; Missouri, 149.

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British troops ‘may be flown to Syria’, head of armed forces admits


General Sir David Richards said plans were being drawn up in case winter made conditions on the ground worse. Any intervention would be ‘limited’ and needed the support of people inside Syria, he said. But it would be seen as a potential step towards a full-scale military intervention bringing British forces directly into conflict with the regime of president Bashar al-Assad.

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Big Five Group pushing for EU rapid reaction headquarters


The French effectively view the launch of new EU military missions as a Trojan horse for a European military headquarters and France will mount a major offensive in mid-2014 that could see it back treaty change to scrap national vetoes over defence.

Britain last year blocked moves to create an EU military operations HQ (OHQ), with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, threatening to veto the plan over concerns that it would rival Nato command.

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Resource Rapture: Cannonball Run For Untapped Arctic Reserves


The race for a share of the enormous reservoirs of fossil fuel — an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil alone — beneath Greenland’s ice sheet in the Arctic Circle is heating up. Some four years after the US Geological Survey came out with its estimates of huge oil and gas reserves in the region, periodically, in ways big and small, the stakes are being raised by the “Arctic Five”.

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Middle East Disorder: Israeli ground invasion into Gaza possible: report


Israel may launch ground invasion into the Gaza Strip if Palestinians keep on firing rockets and mortars against the Jewish state, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

One unnamed senior Israeli government official told The Telegraph that “a ground incursion is certainly not out of the question although we hope it won’t come to that.”

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Israel fires its warning shots into Syria for first time since 1973 war


sraeli troops fired warning shots into Syria on Sunday in response to mortar fire, the army said, in the first Israeli fire directed at the Syrian military in the Golan Heights area since the 1973 war.

“A short while ago, a mortar shell hit an IDF post in the Golan Heights adjacent to the Israel-Syria border, as part of the internal conflict inside Syria. In response, IDF soldiers fired warning shots towards Syrian areas,” the army said in a statement.

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Germany’s secret plot for control of the French economy


Germany is secretly drawing up plans to step in and overhaul parts of France’s economy. Berlin has instructed a powerful body of economic ‘wise men’ to produce a list of the changes it would impose on its neighbour. The move fuelled fears that Berlin is making a covert power-grab to take control of the tax and spending decisions in weaker European Union economies.

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Beijing Consensus: China Signals More Active Role in World Affairs


Outgoing President Hu Jintao, in his agenda-setting report this week at a Communist Party gathering to choose the coming decade’s leadership, signaled China’s intent to step out more on the world stage.

Hu said China would “get more actively involved in international affairs, play its due role of a major responsible country,” while underlining Beijing’s deep sensitivity to matters of sovereignty and its rejection of “any foreign attempt to subvert the legitimate government of any other countries.”

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Bahrain’s National Guard deploys to put ‘strategic’ pressure on unrest


Bahrain’s paramilitary National Guard deployed into new areas around the violence-wracked Gulf nation Saturday in an apparent sign that authorities are stepping up efforts to quell political unrest.

Wider use of the Guard could signal a tougher strategy by Bahrain’s Sunni embattled monarchy as riot police struggle to contain the Shiite majority’s 21-month uprising.

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The rise of China, part I: Realpolitik


China’s natural enemies are mainly regional rivals with competing resource claims, for instance over water, territory, fishing rights and the treatment of Chinese immigrants. The good news for the West is that these problems are concentrated geographically around China. The bad news is that the West will naturally be dragged in as a counterweight to Chinese power. This, of course, is happening already: for the last 20 years or so, the West has sided with the Japanese, South Korean, and Indian militaries in disputes against China.

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Gulf States Need Change to Avert ‘Winds of Arab Spring’


Since the start of the Arab Spring in late 2010, the winds of change have been blowing near the Gulf states. However, customs and tradition are blocking their way. People are still not in a state of despair and more time is needed before these winds can enter. These winds remain in a state of suspension, courting the people and taunting the rulers, making progress at times and receding at other times.

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Algeria Military Movements in the South

Trainees army officers from the 40th class march during their graduation ceremony at a Military Academy in Cherchell

The army is in the process of establishing new military bases and a new air base along the far southern border, near the main region where terrorist groups are active. These bases aim to increase the Algerian air force’s planes and combat helicopters there for greater coverage of the desert areas adjacent to the Algerian border where terrorists move, all the while intensifying the military presence in these locations.

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Foreign Air Power Crucial To Mali Battle Plan: Sources


“Air strikes will be the responsibility of the international force,” he said, adding foreign partners would also provide logistical and intelligence support and soldiers and police to secure areas captured by the Malian army.

Military planners from Africa, the United Nations and Europe in Mali’s capital Bamako last week drew up a battle plan that would involve a foreign force of more than 4,000 personnel, mostly from West African countries. It remains unclear how much of the force would come from Western nations.

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Israel, Greece, Cyprus mull energy corridor


Israel, Greece and Cyprus are to set up working groups to examine the possibility of a power cable and an energy corridor connecting the countries. This was agreed at a meeting held today in Cyprus between Minister of Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau, the Cypriot minister of industry and commerce and the Greek deputy energy minister.

The energy corridor is intended to enable future exports of gas from Israeli and Cypriot reserves to Greece via a pipeline, liquefaction installation, or other technology.

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Drastic changes in UK forces: Territorial Army will be deployed in the Falklands


UK Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond signalled Thursday morning that members of the Territorial Army will be deployed to the Falkland Islands. Addressing the House of Commons Secretary Hammond said that reserve forces will be expected to fulfill new roles including contributing to standing commitments such as the Falklands.

The government wants to double the size of the Territorial Army to 30,000 and rename it the Army Reserves. The size of the regular army is being cut by 20,000 to 82,000.

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World oil users will be left high and dry if Iran seals off Hormuz water-passage


Strategic oil reserves will be needed if Iran seeks to close the choke point Strait of Hormuz because overland pipelines can only carry one-third of the oil supplies that move through the waterway, an Arab energy group has warned.

The reduction in oil exports from the gulf, as well as a complete halt to natural gas shipments, an Iranian closure, even one lasting a few weeks, will batter the global economy by sending energy prices soaring unless steps are taken to ensure that the shortfall is covered.

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Caspian Sea’s Part in the ‘Great Game’


The Caspian Sea region is an often-overlooked one, compared to the Middle East, when assessing the antagonisms of world powers. However, this hinterland of Eurasia is of great importance for a whole range of issues.

The Caspian Sea dominates on a geo-economic level Central Asia, Caucasus, Southern Russia and the upper part of the Middle East. More than 10 billion tons of oil reserves are to be found there along with trillions of cubic meters of natural gas, most of them still unexplored or underdeveloped.

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Chemical weapons are ‘indestructible’, says Russian official


Chemical weapons cannot be completely thrown out of the stockpiles of the world’s leading powers despite being banned, a top Russian official has said. According the head of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defence Forces, this type of weaponry cannot be completely excluded from the arsenals of warfare. Some of these developments, especially in the area of genetic engineering, can hinder or neutralise the efforts to counter new agents, the Russian official warned.

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Quantum Computing Could Rip Open Most of the World’s Secret Codes — Someday


Most cryptography is based on public-key infrastructure, a 35-year-old encryption and decryption technique that underlies the secure electronic communications of law enforcement, government agencies, financial institutions, and even billions of dollars of consumer e-commerce. To crack such systems, a code breaker would need to compute the lengthy prime numbers that are mathematical factors of huge numbers. That’s been a daunting challenge — so far.

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DHS enhances social media bio-surveillance


The U.S. government’s capability to monitor public health trends and unusual occurrences through social media analytics is set for enhancement. Accenture Federal Services said it received a one-year, $3 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist in the Office of Health Affairs to manage, link and analyze data from social media networks in real time to protect the public in the event of a national health emergency.

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Iran fired at unarmed US drone, Pentagon says


Iran fired on an unarmed U.S. drone last week as it was hovering in international airspace, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Spokesman George Little said the incident occurred Nov. 1 at 4:50 a.m. ET. He said the unarmed, unmanned drone was conducting “routine surveillance” over the Persian Gulf when it was “intercepted” by Iran. He said the MQ1 Predator drone, which was not hit, was not in Iranian airspace.

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Islamists dominate new leadership of Syrian National Council


Some 400 SNC members voted from 29 lists of groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ranging from liberals to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as ethnic minorities and tribes.

Islamists, including at least five Muslim Brotherhood members, account for around a third of the new secretariat, with the Kurdish and Assyrian minorities also represented but no women.

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Beyond Bayonets and Battleships: Space Warfare and the Future of U.S. Global Power


It’s 2025 and an American “triple canopy” of advanced surveillance and armed drones fills the heavens from the lower- to the exo-atmosphere. A wonder of the modern age, it can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out an enemy’s satellite communications system, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances. Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated militarized information system ever created and an insurance policy for U.S. global dominion deep into the twenty-first century.

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EU bailout for Russian oligarchs?


The EU, the IMF and the government of Cyprus are negotiating a 10-billion euro bailout for the country’s ailing banks. Brussels doesn’t want to let the country go bankrupt. But there is a danger that the financial injection could be used to launder dirty money that passes through financial institutions on the island.

The Russians don’t just love Cyprus for its great climate. The shell companies here are conveniently anonymous, the banks discreet and the taxes are low. Dirty money bestowed a lasting boom on Cyprus and the inhabitants of “Limmasolgrad” are still doing well.

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Watch out for instability in West Asia


India’s oil-rich Western neighbourhood, extending from the Arabian Sea to the Bosphorus, is engulfed in conflict arising from sectarian and civilisational rivalries, aggravated by the meddling of external powers. With an arsenal of over 100 nuclear weapons, Pakistan is witnessing a period of internal strife, largely arising from the pernicious role of its military establishment and tensions across its disputed borders with Afghanistan. This conflict, involving radical groups such as the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is engulfing Central Asia.

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Russia to spend 1.3 billion to arm Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan


Next year Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will receive the latest Russian weapons worth $1.1bn and $400m, respectively. Why is Moscow arming Uzbekistan’s neighbours? Russia is expected to start its first weapon supplies to Kyrgyzstan as early as in the spring of 2013. Russia is expected to provide military aid for Tajikistan too.

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China’s power transfer: infighting and spectacle


To many Chinese, China is at an inflection point. Its old model of heavily state-directed growth that lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and made China an economic powerhouse is sputtering in the face of rising domestic debt and a weak global economy. Meanwhile, the government has to contend with the public’s continued expectations of higher living standards and for less corruption and greater accountability, if not outright democracy.

Whether the new leaders want to move China in a new direction is not known. Xi and other top candidates for the new leadership have forged their careers as capable administrators in provinces and bureaucracies, not as policy trail-blazers.

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China’s Japanese island spat aimed at garnering strategic military superiority over US


China has a more critical but less-articulated goal of controlling the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, which if achieved, could tip strategic military superiority from the United States to China in the Pacific, according to an analyst.

Sumihiko Kawamura, a former rear admiral and commander of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s antisubmarine air wing, said that Beijing is trying to turn the South China Sea into ‘a safe haven’ for its nuclear-powered submarines, which are armed with ballistic missiles that can reach the United States.

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NATO Cultivates Ties With Armenia, Seeking Presence In Caucasus Region


Armenia’s interest needs large-scale and deep relations with NATO with new proposals because they contain new prospects of new quality and modernization of strategic and economic security of Armenia.

This is the fundamental issue for Armenia because even with the optimal demographic pattern Armenia will hardly be able to compete with its neighbors over the next several decades, particularly Azerbaijan and Turkey. Besides, the Kurdish issue rises in the context of demography.

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