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Archive | January, 2013

With Burma in Mind, China Quietly Supports United Wa State Rebels

Shan state army rebel

The Wa are Burma’s largest rebel group, estimated at up to 30,000 full and part-time fighters. Despite its professed policy of non-interference, military analysts say China has long been the largest supplier of weapons to the Wa, albeit unofficially. The Wa were one of several ethnic militias that formed after the 1989 breakup of the Burmese Communist Party. Beijing directly supported the communists and maintained relations with the newly formed rebel groups. Yale University Ph. D. candidate Josh Gordon said China has been particularly close with the Wa, who speak Chinese. The Wa are more or less a proxy of China, said Gordon.

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China’s New Militancy And The PLA’s Influence

pla

In the past, the military’s war talk contrasted with soothing words from senior civilian leaders. Now, with Xi, the aggressive comments from flag officers are consistent with what he, as top leader, is saying. Worse, as the Financial Times notes, Xi’s words of war are now “being bundled” with his rhetoric, which seems calculated to “fan nationalism.”

In this environment, Chinese military officers can get away with advocating “short, sharp wars” and talking about the need to “strike first.” Their boldness suggests, as some privately say, that General Secretary Xi is associating with generals and admirals who think war with the U.S. might be a good idea.

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Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa unrest, secession

Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa unrest, secession

Shozaburo Jimi, minister in charge of financial services and postal reform, under the last government, suggested Wednesday that residents of the sub-tropical island chain may also push for secession from Japan.

“Okinawa has long had a history of independence movements and movements for self-governance. I hope those things will not blaze up,” he told local media. “There’s a possibility that [Okinawa] will say it will become an independent state,” Jimi said, according to Kyodo News. “Domestic guerilla [struggles] could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue, said Jimi.

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Israel Attacks Syria Arms Convoy, Intelligence Exploited Fordo to Conceal Plans

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The Syrians also said that one of their “research facilities” was bombed and that two were killed. I haven’t been able to confirm the accuracy of this claim.

Israel appears to have taken advantage of the breakdown in civil and military control of Syria to violate that country’s sovereignty with a major attack. It isn’t the first such assault. In 2007, Ehud Olmert’s government destroyed a reputed Syrian nuclear reactor. But this incident is far different because in the middle of the conflagration that is the Syrian civil war any intervention by anyone could create a fatal fracture and precipitate even more bloodshed.

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Israel Using Deadly ‘Less-Lethal’ Crowd Control Weapons ‘Unlawfully’

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The Israeli army is systematically using crowd control weapons and live ammunition unlawfully against Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling a widespread breach of military regulations and an alarming culture of impunity, a leading Israeli human rights group has warned.

At least ten Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army’s use of crowd control weapons in so-called “disturbance of the peace” situations in the West Bank since 2005, Israeli group Btselem stated in a new report, titled ‘Israel’s Use of Crowd Control Weapons in the West Bank’. Additionally, Israeli soldiers killed 46 Palestinians with live ammunition in the same time period.

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US warns Pakistan of sanctions over Iran gas pipeline deal

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US Consul General Michael Dodman has said that the US State Department will impose sanctions on Pakistan if it carries on work on the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project. He added it was a clear policy of the US because Iran had violated the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and was continuing nuclear proliferation.

He stated this while talking to selected journalists here at a local hotel on Monday.When asked that Pakistan as an independent country can chalk out a policy which suits it to address the energy crisis, he said that the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project was against the US laws so they will not support Pakistan in this regard.

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‘US can spy on Cloud documents without a warrant’

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All personal information stored by British internet users on major “cloud” computing services including Google Drive can be spied upon routinely without their knowledge by US authorities under newly-approved legislation, it can be disclosed.

Cloud computing has exploded in recent years as a flexible, cheap way for individuals, companies and government bodies to remotely store documents and data. According to some estimates, 35 per cent of UK firms use some sort of cloud system. But it has now emerged that all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analysed without a warrant by American security agencies.

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US Establishes Drone Base in Niger, Targets Regional Militia

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The United States of America is planning to establish a drone base in Niger, a country sandwiched between Nigeria and Mali, two nations that have been under attack from Islamic militants.

The drone base, according to a report in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, will give the US military command increased unmanned surveillance missions on the activities of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in West Africa that are affiliated to Al Qaeda and other sectarian groups.

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Nato-Iran-Armenia: “Shadow Geopolitics”

Earth Day Network & Green Apple Festival Present Earth Day on the Mall

The present NATO-Armenia relationship is still in the phase of identification of goals rather than real regional partnership. As to real military cooperation, Armenia provides services to NATO without receiving military assistance, namely supply of weapons.

Armenia’s priority of its relation with NATO is political cooperation, identification of a form of cooperation which would allow avoiding isolation, prevent the use of the arena and mechanisms of NATO for isolation and blockade of Armenia. While Russia has not identified the nature of its claims to and concerns over NATO-Armenia rapprochement, there are no alternatives to further cooperation with the alliance.

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French, British, US warplanes and troops occupy Yemeni capital

french-warplanes-in-show-of-force-in-yemen-capital

Residents told the Yemen Post on Sunday they saw French warplanes patrol the sky of the capital in a great show of strength, which they say they felt a bit “over the top” and slightly insulting to Yemen military potency. A retired General, Ali Mohsen Khawlani stressed that Yemen should have been put in charge of all security details . “Our armed forces are perfectly capable and well-trained. What kind of message does it send to see foreign troops invade our capital. Are we moving toward a military occupation? Did foreign powers come to announce they will divide Yemen into zones of influence?”

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Physicists create world’s first multiverse of universes in the lab

multiverse-alternate-universe-parallel-universe-science-26217531-500-375

Researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park and Towson University are reporting that they have created multiple universes inside a laboratory-created multiverse — a world first.

To be exact, the researchers created a metamaterial — like those used to fashion invisibility cloaks — that, when light passes through it, multiple universes are formed within it. These universes, called Minkowski spacetimes, are similar to our own, except they more neatly tie up Einstein’s theory of special relativity by including time as a fourth dimension.

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Japan Coast Guard to create 600-strong military unit to keep China at bay over disputed islands

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To beef up security around the Senkaku Islands, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) will create a 600-member unit exclusively engaged in front-line missions in waters around the islands, where spotting Chinese vessels has become a daily operation, according to sources.

The JCG also plans to newly deploy 12 patrol ships in the area around the islands in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture. Improved JCG functions are considered necessary to better handle possible intrusions by Chinese vessels into Japan’s territorial waters over a prolonged period.

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Bitcoin’s surging value could threaten central banks

bitcoins

An increase in the value of bitcoin, the world’s largest online currency, may fuel concerns that virtual money could undermine the role of central banks. The charts show that bitcoin has more than doubled in the past 12 months, strengthening to $16.37 from $5.88, according to data from Mt. Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange. Greater demand for virtual currencies could have a negative impact on the reputation of central banks, according to a report published by the European Central Bank in October last year. Since the report was released, bitcoin has risen more than 55 percent against the dollar and use of the currency has surged.

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Sacrebleu! Damage control after France’s job czar claims the country is ‘bankrupt’

Sacrebleu! Damage control after France’s job czar claims the country is ‘bankrupt’

France’s job czar embarrassed Socialist Party President Francois Hollande with weekend claims the country is “totally bankrupt,” according to various media. But now French politicos are fighting back, calling Labor Minister Michel Sapin’s depiction of the nation’s fiscal health as inappropriate, and untrue. “France is a truly solvent country, France is a truly credible country,” said Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, in a BBC report. Mr. Sapin made his bankruptcy remarks during a Jan. 27 radio address, during which he spoke of the need for an austerity plan. “It is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr. Sapin said then, according to a report in The Independent. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

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Along Korea’s DMZ, Lone Forward-Deployed US Division Stays Prepared

Along Korea's DMZ, Lone Forward-Deployed US Division Stays Prepared

At a time of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, a quartet of U.S. Army “Abrams” M1-A2SEP tanks rolls onto the frozen ground of the Rodriguez Live Fire Range near the DMZ during one of the coldest days of the winter.

The tanks and their crews, from Dragon Company of the 1st Battalion’s 72nd Armor Regiment (1-72 AR), are a small but lethal component of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division stationed close to the tense border separating North and South Korea. The division has the unenviable task of holding off – until reinforcements arrive – a much larger enemy force, should there be an invasion similar to the one that began the Korean War in 1950.

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DARPA wants electronics that melt on command

DARPA wants electronics that melt on command

A new DARPA program called VAPR, for Vanishing Programmable Resources, is seeking to create “transient electronics” that can ‘vapr’ize themselves when they’re no longer being used:

“Transient electronics developed under VAPR should maintain the current functionality and ruggedness of conventional electronics, but, when triggered, be able to degrade partially or completely into their surroundings. Once triggered to dissolve, these electronics would be useless to any enemy who might come across them.”

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Egypt Army Chief Warns of Collapse of State

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Egypt’s army chief warned Tuesday of the “the collapse of the state” if the political crisis roiling the nation for nearly a week continues.

The warning by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is also defense minister, were the first comments by the powerful military since the country’s latest crisis began last week around the second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising. They came days after President Mohammed Morsi ordered the army to restore order in the Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez — two of three cities now under a 30-day state of emergency and night curfew.

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Turkey: With EU Talks Stalled, Erdogan Suggests Ankara May Join SCO

sco

Speaking on Turkish television the other night, the PM was asked about his country’s stalled and troubled European Union membership drive. Erdogan’s blunt bombshell of an answer suggested Turkey is considering dropping its EU bid in favor of joining the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “When things go so poorly, you inevitably, as the prime minister of 75 million people, seek other paths. That’s why I recently said to Mr. [Vladimir] Putin: ‘Take us into the Shanghai Five; do it, and we will say farewell to the EU, leave it altogether. Why all this stalling?’”

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Japan and China inch toward war — but how close are they?

Paramilitary policemen move barriers during a protest, on 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China, outside a Japanese consulate in Shanghai

It’s been easy of late to get hyperbolic about the chance of conflict in East Asia. China appears to be the first serious military challenger America has had since the Soviet Union, and it is clearly beginning to throw its weight around in the waters of Asia. Especially raising tensions in the region is a passel of territorial disputes over islets that has pitted China against countries in southeast and northeast Asia and put Japan at odds with all its major neighbors. But the one key disagreement is between Japan and China in the East China Sea. There, an archipelago called the Senkaku Islands is claimed by Japan, Taiwan, and China.

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A Glimpse into a Mysterious African Dictatorship: Is Eritrea on the Verge?

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Eritrea made a rare foray into international headlines on Monday, Jan. 21, as news agencies and social-media sites disseminated speculation of a coup attempt. Reliable information on events in Asmara is hard to come by, however, with the tiny East African nation being one of the world’s least open societies and allowing no independent journalists to operate.

One signal that all was not well in the Eritrean capital, however, was the fact that the state television service, which is broadcast from inside the headquarters of the Ministry of Information, went off the air for the first time since its creation in 1993.

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‘Responsibility to protect’ is a power play

r2p-un-unjust-unfair

This ideological construct is the basis for the Western-sponsored doctrine, forced on a more or less reluctant United Nations, of “R2P,” the ambiguous shorthand for both the “right” and the “responsibility” to protect people from their own governments.

In practice, this can give the dominant powers carte blanche to intervene militarily in weaker countries in order to support whatever armed rebellions they favor. Once this doctrine seems to be accepted, it can even serve as an incitement to opposition groups to provoke government repression in order to call for “protection.”

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In Mexico, self-defence squads are springing up against drug-fueled violence

In Mexico, self-defence squads are springing up against drug-fueled violence

Vigilantes patrol a dozen or more towns in rural Mexico, the unauthorized but often tolerated edge of a growing movement toward armed citizen self-defence squads across the country.

“The situation Mexico is experiencing, the crime, is what has given the communities the legitimacy to say, ‘We will assume the tasks that the government has not been able to fulfil,’” said rights activist Roman Hernandez, whose group Tlachinollan has worked with the community forces.

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North Korean cannibalism fears amid claims starving people ‘eat children and corpses’

north-korea-famine

Reports from inside the secretive famine-hit pariah state, North Korea, claim a man has been executed after murdering his two children for food. Shocking reports claim North Koreans are turning to cannibalism including details of one man who dug up his grandchild’s corpse to eat and another who boiled his child and ate the flesh.They claim a ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has killed 10,000 people, and there are fears that cannibalism is spreading throughout the country.

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Israel Deploys Missiles as Netanyahu Sees Syria Collapse

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel must prepare for the threat of a chemical attack from Syria as the army deployed its new Iron Dome anti- missile system near the border with its northern neighbor.

Netanyahu told members of the Cabinet during the weekly meeting in Jerusalem today that Israel faces dangers from throughout the Middle East. Top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss what may happen to Syrian stocks of chemical weapons amid the civil unrest there, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio.

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Mursi declares state of emergency after street clashes kill 49

Mursi declares emergency after street clashes kill 49

Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency Sunday in three cities along the SuezCanal that have been the focus of anti-government violence that has killed dozens of people over the past four days. Seven people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Port Said Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend. A total of 49 people have been killed in demonstrations around the country since Thursday and Mursi’s opponents have called for more protests Monday.

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IN FOCUS: Chinese air force not yet a match for Japan’s

china-japan-air-force-rivalry

On 11 January, China’s defence ministry confirmed that Chengdu J-10 fighters had been dispatched to keep an eye on two Boeing F-15 aircraft operated by Japan. According to its statement, the F-15s were trailing a Shaanxi Y-8 patrolling near a cluster of islands in the East China Sea that are contested by Beijing and Tokyo.

Irrespective of the merits of either party’s claim to these islands, neither side appears willing to back down. Although the prospect of an all-out war over what Tokyo calls the Senkaku and Beijing the Diaoyu islands is remote, any conflict that may develop would involve air combat – possibly on a large scale. This would lead to Japan’s historically strong air force being challenged by an ambitious newcomer.

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China, Russia, U.S. raise Mediterranean naval focus

china-strategic-naval-ports

Like several other key ports in the region – including Piraeus in Greece and Naples in Italy – it is now partially owned by China. The state-owned Cosco Pacific holds 20 percent the terminal, helping make it one of the dominant – if not the dominant – Mediterranean port operators.

Cosco stresses that it is a purely commercial venture and many analysts agree. But few doubt that Beijing has made a wider geopolitical decision to become much more involved in the region. For the last two years, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has sent one or more warships through the Suez Canal to visit southern European ports, the furthest its fleet has ever operated from home.

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Secret UK uranium components plant closed over safety fears

Aldermaston

A top-secret plant at Aldermaston that makes enriched uranium components for Britain’s nuclear warheads and fuel for the Royal Navy’s submarines has been shut down because corrosion has been discovered in its “structural steelwork”, the Guardian can reveal.

The closure has been endorsed by safety regulators who feared the building did not conform to the appropriate standards. The nuclear safety watchdog demands that such critical buildings are capable of withstanding “extreme weather and seismic events”, and the plant at Aldermaston failed this test. It has set a deadline of the end of the year for the problems to be fixed.

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Britain Could Be on Path to EU Exit

brexit

British Prime Minister David Cameron has begun a process that could lead to Britain’s exit from the European Union – a result analysts say could devastate the country’s economy.

Britain’s economy relies on trade and financial services. The free flow of goods and services with the European continent has been a boon, but more and more Britons see the European Union as an unwelcome infringement on their sovereignty. That has pushed Prime Minister Cameron to promise a re-negotiation of Britain’s ties to the EU and then a referendum within five years, if he is re-elected in the middle of the process.

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Duh..: Narco-State Afghan Airline Ferried Opium, U.S. Alleges

afghanistan-opium

The U.S. military has blacklisted Afghanistan’s largest private airline, alleging it is smuggling “bulk” quantities of opium on civilian flights to Tajikistan, a corridor through which the drugs reach the rest of the world.

Kam Air was barred this month from receiving U.S. military contracts by U.S. Central Command chief Marine Gen. James Mattis, according to U.S. military officials. “The U.S. will not do business with those who fund and support illicit activities,” U.S. Army Maj.-Gen. Richard Longo, the commander of Task Force 2010, a coalition anticorruption unit, said in an interview. “Kam Air is too large of a company not to know what has been going on within its organization.”

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Honduras on brink of bankruptcy, suspends public services

honduras-bankruptcy

Street surveillance cameras in one of the world’s most dangerous cities have been turned off because the government of Honduras has not paid millions of pounds it owes. The operator which runs them in the capital Tegucigalpa is now threatening to suspend police radio services as well. Teachers have been demonstrating almost every day as they have not been paid in six months, while doctors complain about the shortage of essential medicines, gauze, needles and latex gloves.

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Iran’s military official warns against “enemy’s attempts” to influence presidential election

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Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister Naser Dehqan warned against what he called “the enemy’s attempts” to influence the upcoming presidential election in Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported. Urging the Iranian nation to remain vigilant, Dehqan said that “We should make every effort to hold a sound election, under a calm political atmosphere with the high participation of all groups (of Iranian people),” according to the report. Protests gripped Tehran and other Iranian cities after the June 2009 presidential election amid claims of election-rig in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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Bank of England ready to set up first G7 yuan swap

Bank of England ready to set up first G7 yuan swap

The Bank of England is prepared in principle to become the first G7 central bank to enter into a foreign exchange swap agreement with China, opening the door to another substantial step in moves to liberalize the yuan currency.

The bank’s executive director for banking services, Chris Salmon, told a meeting of senior bankers in London that the move was aimed at underpinning a developing offshore market in yuan trade out of London that Britain is keen to encourage.

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DARPA Robots Learning How To Bring Satellites Back From the Dead

DARPA Robots Learning How To Bring Satellites Back From the Dead

It’s ever so hard to not write about DARPA when it keeps doing so much cool stuff. Today, we’ve got an update on the Phoenix program, which aims to create a new network of communications satellites by sending up robots to harvest body parts from old communications satellites. Insert space zombie joke here.*

A big part of the reason that satellites are so expensive is that getting them from Earth into space takes rockets, and rockets don’t come cheap. And not matter how carefully you build your hardware, sooner or later it’s going to fail or go obsolete, and from that point on, your space-based investment is useless to everybody.

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This DNA Gun Will Tag Felons for Weeks

This DNA Gun Will Tag Felons for Weeks

This startlingly orange gun isn’t something from a sci-fi film set. Instead, it’s a new firearm, from UK-based Selectamark, that fires non-lethal pellets—and marks its targets with DNA for later identification.

Designed for use by police and military, the gun fires soft little green pellets, pictured below. Weighing just one gram, when they hit a target they leave an enduring biological mark.

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DARPA putting laser turrets on fighter jets next year

DARPA putting laser turrets on fighter jets next year

Our first foray into laser-equipped combat aircraft was the Airborne Laser Testbed, a Boeing 747 with a gigantic chemically-pumped megawatt laser turret in its nose. It was pretty awesome from a conceptual standpoint, but it didn’t work very well, and was scrapped last year. This doesn’t mean that the idea of high-powered lasers on aircraft doesn’t make a lot of sense, and DARPA is still for ways to make it work. It’s working on two at the moment: the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS), and Aero-Adaptive/Aero-Optic Beam Control (ABC).

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The Skies Could Fill With (small) Unmanned Aircraft

The Skies Could Fill With (small) Unmanned Aircraft

Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, aren’t just used for spying and dropping bombs. The civil applications for unmanned aircraft are numerous, from spreading pesticide on fields, to delivering medical supplies in remote areas, to monitoring hundreds of miles of oil pipelines for leaks.

The University of North Dakota recognizes this huge potential – the school now offers an undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations. Most soon-to-be graduates will end up in jobs that support the military. But program head Ben Trapnell said civilian uses will eventually far outpace those for defense.

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Military contracting: our new era of corporate mercenaries

Military contracting: our new era of corporate mercenaries

In early 1995, Sierra Leone was on the brink of collapse. A violent civil war had ravaged the country, leaving thousands dead and countless others wounded. The insurgent rebels, infamous for recruiting child soldiers, were just weeks from the beleaguered capital, Freetown, and appeared unassailable.

Several months later, however, the tide had turned: the government’s authority was strengthened, rebel forces were repelled, and control over the country’s major economic assets was restored. Executive Outcomes, a private military contractor armed with helicopters and state of the art artillery, helped change the course of the war.

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Japan launching spy satellite to monitor North Korea

japan-launches-spy-satellite-to-spy-on-north-korea

Japan is to launch a new spy satellite on Sunday to strengthen its monitoring capabilities amid concern that North Korea may carry out more missile and nuclear tests. A rocket carrying a radar-equipped satellite is scheduled to blast off from a space centre at Tanegashima in the southwest, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has announced. The space agency said the satellite would be used for information-gathering, including data following Japan’s 2011 quake and tsunami, but did not mention North Korea by name.

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Inside China: War hysteria blamed on U.S.

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War hysteria in China has not been this screechy since the 1970s.The newly appointed supreme leader President Xi Jinping has completely revamped the command structure of the People’s Liberation Army and given the world’s largest military force a central mission: get ready for a war, quickly.

Much of China’s call to arms is related to Beijing’s increasingly unyielding stance on many of its territorial disputes with neighbors, and China has disputes with almost all of them. Some of the more-tense discord is with China’s maritime neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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China is building a new deep-sea mining base conveniently near the military’s naval fleet

deep-sea-mining-base-china

China announced today that a multi-million dollar deep-sea base will be built off its eastern coast in 2013. The project, worth an estimated 495 million yuan (about $80 million), is said to be for the purpose of mining for rare metals and natural gas deposits in the ocean bed.

What officials did not mention is that the base is just miles from the headquarters of China’s North Sea Fleet, in the coastal city of Qingdao (aka Tsingtao, where the beer gets its name). Qingdao lets out into the Yellow Sea, an area that includes North and South Korea and Japan and poses what some analysts say is one of the world’s worst security dilemmas.

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It Could Be A War Crime To Use Biologically Enhanced Soldiers

It Could Be A War Crime To Use Biologically Enhanced Soldiers

Earlier this month, a report funded by the Greenwall Foundation examined the legal and ethical implications of using biologically enhanced humans on the battlefield. Given the Pentagon’s open acknowledgement that it’s working to create super-soldiers, this is quickly becoming a pertinent issue. We wanted to learn more, so we contacted one of the study’s authors. He told us that the use of cyber-soldiers could very well be interpreted as a violation of international law. Here’s why.

“Too often, our society falls prey to a ‘first generation’ problem — we wait until something terrible has happened, and then hastily draw up some ill-conceived plan to fix things after the fact, often with noxious unintended consequences,” Abney told io9.

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Broke Cyprus could be energy trump card

Broke Cyprus could be energy trump card

Europe should not worry about bailing out crisis-hit Cyprus because the island’s huge untapped gas reserves will benefit the European Union by making it less dependent on Russian energy, analysts say.

Despite struggling under a Greek-exposed debt mountain, the east Mediterranean island sits on potentially huge energy wealth in excess of 600 billion euros, a Royal Bank of Scotland report said. Cyprus hydrocarbons company chief Charles Ellinas says the island will be exporting to Europe by 2019 with a view to meeting 10 percent of the bloc’s energy needs.

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‘Pakistan’s nukes face threat from army insiders’

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In February 2000, Pervez Musharraf, then chief of army staff and head of Pakistan government, created a nuclear command, which included a strategic plans division (SPD), which has physical custody of the weapons. Hoodbhoy argues, “Whatever the procedures and equipment Pakistan may adopt, they can only be as good as the men who operate them. Mindsets and intentions matter more than anything else.”

He adds, “The fear of loose weapons comes from the fact that Pakistan’s armed forces harbour a hidden enemy within their ranks. Those wearing the cloak of religion freely walk in and out of top security nuclear installations every day.” He emphasizes, “The fear of the insider is ubiquitous and well-founded,” and describes the Pakistani army as “a heavily Islamicised rank-and-file brimming with seditious thoughts.”

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Algeria’s Brutal DRS Intelligence Agency: The Nation’s Real Power?

general-mohamed-mediene

The spectacular abduction of workers at a Saharan gas complex in the eastern desert of Algeria by Islamic militants (and the subsequent raid by government forces that killed dozens of both hostages and kidnappers) has placed a harsh glare on a country that typically avoids the international media spotlight.

Algeria, a vast, sparsely populated, natural resource-rich nation in North Africa that gained independence from France 50 years ago, largely avoided the turmoil of the Arab Spring revolution that toppled governments in neighboring Tunisia and Libya, and is one of the most repressive states in the world. Ruled by the dominant Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) – or National Liberation Front – since the country’s violent birth in 1962, Algerian domestic and foreign policy has actually been dictated by the government’s super-secret state intelligence agency.

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PLA Colonel Shuns US Attempts To Build Mini-NATO in Asia-Pacific

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A Chinese military officer has warned Australia not to side with the United States and Japan if war breaks out in the East China Sea. America is the global tiger and Japan is Asia’s wolf, and both are now madly biting China.

Colonel Liu’s warning raises the nightmare possibility of Australia having to choose between its dominant economic and security partners as a territorial contest between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands, continues to escalate. China, Japan and Japan’s defence ally, the United States, have trading military and diplomatic warnings over the disputed islands, while China has placed the People’s Liberation Army on combat alert.

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Various U.S. intelligence services help the French in Mali

intelligence-community

At the forefront of the military operation in Mali, France has according to several experts information American drones and satellites, in addition to its own intelligence capabilities, which are one of keys to success. Bilateral exchanges of human intelligence (agents) and techniques (tapping, imagery …) for ages, the military intelligence and French civilians maintain ongoing relationships but with the utmost discretion their American and European counterparts.

n this case, between the DIA (Defense intelligence agency, intelligence agency of the U.S. defense) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM, France) and from the American CIA and the sprawling NSA (National security agency, tapping U.S.) on the one hand and the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) and the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI) on the other.”

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Pakistan’s ISI Admits To Detentions Without Evidence

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The seven men were among 11 suspected militants captured in connection with a 2007 suicide bombing against ISI personnel and a rocket attack a year later against an air force base. An anti-terrorism court ordered them to be freed in May 2010, but they were picked up again near the capital, Islamabad.

Four died in custody under mysterious circumstances. The ISI produced the seven surviving men in court last February in response to a judicial order prompted by their relatives, who were looking for them. Two of the men were too weak to walk. Another wore a urine bag, suggesting a kidney ailment. In a meeting with their families on the court premises, they complained of harsh treatment during their detention.

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Tensions Escalate: Japanese politician calls for disputed islands no-fly zone

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On the eve of a visit to China, Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of Japanese coalition partner New Komeito, said yesterday he would propose that military planes from both countries should not fly close to disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Yamaguchi said both countries should come up with measures to stop tensions from escalating. Tensions continued to run high yesterday as three Chinese maritime surveillance vessels patrolled waters around the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan. Both sides have sent military planes there.

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Despite curbs on target killings, CIA to get free hand in Pakistan

Despite curbs on target killings, CIA to get free hand in Pakistan

The Obama administration is finalising a rule book for target killings but these restrictions will not apply to Pakistan where the CIA will be free to direct drone strikes in Fata. The classified manual, called a counter-terrorism “playbook”, sets out stringent rules for targeted killings and details the process of adding names to the so-called “kill list”. But it “leaves open a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan”, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

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China-Myanmar oil pipe to open in May

China-Myanmar oil pipe to open in May

Oil from the Middle East and natural gas could be flowing through pipelines from Myanmar to China by the end of May “if everything goes as planned”, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) said yesterday, after Deputy Foreign Minister Fu Ying’s trip to Myanmar on Saturday.

The main parts of the pipelines in Myanmar were finished and those in Yunnan would be completed this month, the head of the CNPC project, Gao Jianguo , told Xinhua. The 1,100-kilometre pipelines, from the port of Kyaukpyu in Myanmar to Ruili city in Yunnan, could transport 22 million tonnes of oil and 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year.

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Diplomatic Offensive?!: Abe advocates ‘security diamond’ against China

Abe advocates 'security diamond' against China

Since assuming office at the end of 2012, Japan’s new prime minister has started conducting a diplomatic offensive to counteract China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific Region. This diplomatic offensive is an indication of the new Japanese administration’s growing economic and strategic interests in Southeast Asia. Abe wants to curb China’s growing military and commercial clout in the region. He wants to expand Japan’s maritime competence and combine it with the country’s economic strengths. Japan’s new administration wants to strengthen ties with ASEAN

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FSB Tenders for Micro-UAV Sensor Package

FSB Tenders for Micro-UAV Sensor Package

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Monday a tender for research on a potential sensor system for a micro-unmanned air vehicle (UAV) project, according to an order posted on the government’s state procurement portal.

Officials have allocated about 7 million rubles (about $230,000) for the project, aimed at developing a 200-gram (6.5 ounce) electro-optical surveillance sensor package for the mini-UAV, code-named “Fly Fisher,” with a take-off weight of no more than 1 kilogram.

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France Looking for ‘Total Reconquest’ of Mali

mali-troops_2451809b

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says France will accept nothing less than the “total reconquest” of Mali from Islamist militants. Le Drian told French television Sunday that his forces “will not leave any pockets” of resistance.French troops went into the country last week at the request of Mali’s government, after al-Qaida-linked Islamists who control the northern part of the country began moving south towards the capital, Bamako.

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US may extend number of small military bases in Central Asia after 2014

US may extend number of small military bases in Central Asia after 2014

“Since the first Gulf War of the 1990′s US security policy has been one described as the “Lily-Pad” policy of keeping small military presence in very large numbers of places around the world, but no large military bases in any particular area. The land based Lily-Pads are complemented by the US navy on the high Seas. Yes, US already has many small military contingents in Central Asia and may add to them, but will not ask for establishing long-term military bases in the region including in Afghanistan.

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The drums of war: China and Japan square up

An advertisement regarding the territorial dispute between China and Japan is seen in the New York Times in this photo illustration shot in New York

WATCH Chinese television these days and you might conclude that the outbreak of war with Japan over what it calls the Senkaku and China the Diaoyu islands is only a matter of time. You might well be right. Since Japan in September announced it would “nationalise” three of the islands that had been privately owned, China, which has long contested Japan’s sovereignty over them, has also started challenging its resolve to keep control of them. So both countries are claiming to own the islands and both are pretending to administer them.

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Show of Force: PLA Navy in live-fire attack drills in East China and South China seas

PLA Navy in live-fire attack drills in East China and South China seas

The People’s Liberation Army’s naval air force has carried out attack drills in both the East and South China seas in a show of force directed at countries involved in territorial disputes with China, according to naval experts.

Photos posted on the website of the PLA Navy on Wednesday showed several J-10 fighter jets that had been sent by the East China Sea Fleet to the waters of the East China Sea close to the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, which are claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo.

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Welcome to the global currency war: QE3-Ad Infinitum

quantitative_easing

Mark your calendars. Today is the day the global currency war broke out into the open. This after the Bank of Japan announced it would ramp up its monetary policy stimulus efforts — on an unlimited basis — until it achieves a 2% inflation target.

Now, all three major central banks have committed to open ended easing.

As central banks ramp up one last time, the end game for all this — given the fiscal austerity, budget fights, and policy turmoil just ahead — is higher inflation combined with economic stagnation.

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S.Korea to deploy guided missiles at sea border

south-korea-deploy-guided-missiles-at-sea-border-nk

South Korea plans to deploy Israeli-made precision guided missiles near its tense sea border with North Korea next month, including an island shelled by the North in 2010, a report said on Friday.

The South will deploy 50 to 60 Spike anti-tank missiles to two border islands on the Yellow Sea to guard against potential attacks from the North, the Chosun Ilbo daily cited a Seoul military official as saying. The two islands are Baengnyeong, the closest island to the disputed maritime border, and Yeonpyeong, which was shelled by the North in November 2010 in an attack that left four South Koreans including two civilians dead.

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Venezuela military to play central power broker

800px-Hugo_Chavez_in_Guatemala

In a country riven by political strife, Venezuela’s military often has served as the arbiter of power. It has launched coups and frustrated them and dispatched soldiers to guarantee stability, distributing food, fighting crime and securing oil fields.

Now with President Hugo Chavez battling for his life, the stance of the 134,000-strong armed forces again will be crucial. Divisions within the military have clouded attempts to determine who it might support among Chavez loyalists or if it would side with the opposition.

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Crazy Dictatorships: Uzbek Conscripts Pay for Shorter Army Service

Conscripts watch the wrestling match.

As the annual call-up for Uzbekistan’s armed forces gets under way next month, many young men will apply to serve for a shorter service. If they pay 1.6 million soms, equivalent to about 600 US dollars, they are enlisted for just a month instead of the standard one year. After that, all they are required to do is appear for muster once a year. They count as reserves who can be called up until they are 27 if the situation requires it.

After this early release from the forces, they still get the advantages that come with serving in the military – a direct route into jobs in the police and the tax and customs services. In this authoritarian state, such jobs offer good pay and influence.

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Report: Mexico To Launch New Agency Modeled On CIA To Fight Drug Cartels

Federal-Police-Intelligence-Center-Government-Security-Video-Wall-Image3

It is being hailed as the first-ever Mexican counterpart to the CIA. But for this new “superministry” of government, established secretly over the past few weeks by just-installed President Enrique Peña Nieto, the main targets are the powerful and bloody organized crime networks that control the vast drug trade.

The objective of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) is to gather all the information generated by every Mexican governmental body linked to security and law enforcement.

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Pakistan’s crisis could end in a military coup as arrest warrant issued for Prime Minister

pakistan-soft-coup

Experts are not ruling out the possibility of a military takeover in Pakistan after the country’s top court ordered the arrest of the PM. Anti-government protesters continue with their sit-in outside parliament.

An anti-government protest in Islamabad enters its third day as tens of thousands of people demand the resignation of the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) government and that an “impartial,” interim government backed by Pakistan’s powerful army and newly-independent judiciary be formed.

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Japan mulling military equipment near disputed isles

japan-mulls-military-equipment-on-isles

Japan says it may station military equipment on islands near an archipelago at the centre of a dispute with China, officials said Wednesday, after a number of airborne near-confrontations.

The defence ministry will ask for money in the next fiscal year to study the idea of putting mobile radars and communication systems on islands near the Japan-controlled Senkakus, which Beijing calls the Diaoyus, a defence spokesman said. “The study is part of our plan to operate in southwestern islands with flexibility,” the spokesman said.

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French triple troops in Mali, prepare for boots on the ground assault

french-troops-in-mali

After a punishing bombing campaign failed to halt the advance of al-Qaida-linked fighters, France pledged Tuesday to triple the size of its force in Mali, sending in hundreds more troops as it prepared for a land assault to dislodge the militants occupying the northern half of the country.

The move reversed France’s earlier insistence on providing only aerial and logistical support for a military intervention led by African ground troops. France plunged headfirst into the conflict in its former colony last week, bombarding the insurgents’ training camps, arms depots and safe houses

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Taiwan gears up for military drills to counter any mainland threat

Taiwan gears up for military drills to counter any mainland threat

Taiwan would stage 62 military drills and mobilisation exercises this year to strengthen its defensive capabilities in the face of a growing military threat from the mainland, the island’s defence ministry said yesterday.

The exercises, including war games, troop and civilian mobilisations and electronic simulations, will start next month.

Officials said the island had no intention of engaging in an arms race with the mainland but said the military needed to stage exercises to ensure it was prepared for any potential attacks from the mainland.

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5 chilling new ways police violate your rights

5-creepy-new-ways-police-intrude-your-rights

One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo’s hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.

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DARPA to hide drones at the bottom of the ocean

Underwater-drone

DARPA is planning to build drones that would hibernate in deep-sea capsules for years before waking up when commanded and releasing their payloads into the sky. The Upward Falling Payloads program envisages the use of deployable, unmanned, distributed systems that lie on the deep-ocean floor at strategic locations before releasing, say, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance. “The goal is to support the Navy with distributed technologies anywhere, anytime over large maritime areas. If we can do this rapidly, we can get close to the areas we need to affect, or become widely distributed without delay,” says DARPA program manager Andy Coon.

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Iran plans to exclude dollar, euro from foreign transactions: minister

anti-dollar

Iranian Economy Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini said Monday that Tehran plans to exclude the currencies of the Western states, specially US dollar and euro, from its foreign trade transactions, semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“According to the decision made by the cabinet workgroup, dollar and euro will be gradually put aside from Iran’s trade with other countries,” Hosseini was quoted as saying.

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High alert as Pakistan mobilises troops along Rajasthan, Gujarat borders

pakistan-border-on-high-alert

Pakistan has deployed more troops across the international borders with Rajasthan and Gujarat in the wake rising tension between the two countries after the killing of Indian soldiers on LoC in Jaamu and Kashmir on January 8.

“A lot of military movement is being noticed in Barmer, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts and Gujarat along the international border for the last few days, which is not normal,” BSF sources said. The BSF has launched an ‘operation alert’ along the border. “Patrolling across the border has intesified while defence personnel are constantly on vigil from watch towers,” they said.

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Bundesbank brings home German gold from US and France, yet doesn’t check the authenticity

gold_bullion

3400 Tons of gold (value: EUR 150 billion) will be kept by the Bundesbank due to the economic crisis, two-thirds of them are abroad, in London, Paris, New York. Criticism: German reserves stored in the vaults in the foreign country were never been checked on their “physical composition” and authenticity.

Now, the Federal Reserve wants to store much of the gold reserves in Germany. A new storage concept foresees to revalue the local location Frankfurt am Main, so the “Handelsblatt”newspaper reported.

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Totalitopia: North Korea steps up surveillance of citizens with 16,000 CCTV cameras

North Korea steps up surveillance of citizens with 16,000 CCTV cameras

That figure is on top of the 85,570 similar cameras that it has bought in the past three years, with the total cost running to more than £6.22 million, according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

Citing Chinese export statistics on its trade with North Korea, the paper quoted analysts as saying that many of the cameras are being positioned at key points along the long border the two nations share in order to detect and capture would-be defectors from the North.

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Pak aims to develop smaller lighter nuclear warheads: Report

pakistannukes_wide-horizontal

Expanding its nuclear arsenal at a rapid pace, Pakistan is now aiming to develop smaller and lighter atomic warheads more suitable for use on missiles, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has said. Pakistan is expected to surpass Britain’s nuclear stockpiles in a decade, the journal said, referring to the rapid development of nuclear warheads by Islamabad.

“Pakistan has shown clear signs of its intention to grow its nuclear arsenal. Most recently, the country has begun to increase its plutonium production capabilities, with two new plutonium production reactors under construction, as well as a new chemical reprocessing facility,” the journal said.

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Turkey’s big thirst for new energy sources

Turkey's big thirst for new power

Turkey is in a rush to grow its energy sector. And recent news that the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, will invest heavily in Turkish coal-fired power plants shows how serious Ankara is taking this commitment.

The deal, announced at the start of the year, will see Taqa build and operate a power generation base totalling 7,000 megawatts, or about 10 per cent of Turkey’s electricity needs by the time the plants are completed.

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The bombing of Mali highlights all the lessons of western intervention

France Mali Fighting 2

As French war planes bomb Mali, there is one simple statistic that provides the key context: this west African nation of 15 million people is the eighth country in which western powers – over the last four years alone – have bombed and killed Muslims – after Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and the Phillipines (that does not count the numerous lethal tyrannies propped up by the west in that region). For obvious reasons, the rhetoric that the west is not at war with the Islamic world grows increasingly hollow with each new expansion of this militarism.

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President Assad Orders Commanders to Target Israel, US Interests “If Assassinated”

syria-assad-assassination-plans

President Assad’s remarks came after he attended several meetings with his senior commanders, and discussed the country’s security situation with them, the Algerian Al-Shorouq Oline newspaper quoted informed sources close to the Syrian government as saying on Monday.

In the meetings presided by President Assad, Syria’s top army commanders told him that “the foreign hostile states will strive to assassinate him instead of launching a military attack on Syria”.

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Lasers: Asia’s Coming “Sci-Fi” Arms Race

Lasers: Asia’s Coming Sci-Fi Arms Race

A more recent example is U.S.-based Raytheon Corp’s laser close-in weapon system (CIWS). First unveiled publically at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2010, the company demonstrates its ability to disable a variety of objects including aircraft, drones, rockets and surface ships, using a 50kW solid-state laser beam.

Coupled with last-line of defense equipment such as the U.S. Navy’s Phalanx radar-controlled CIWS, which uses a multiple-barreled 20mm Gatling gun to shoot down approaching objects, the laser CIWS has the advantage of longer range and, theoretically, unlimited ammunition.

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Report says Assad residing on warship

Report-says-Assad-residing-on-warship

Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family have been living on a warship, with security provided by Russia, intelligence sources told a Saudi newspaper. An Al-Watan report Monday says the family and Assad aides are residing on the ship in the Mediterranean Sea and that he travels to Syria by helicopter to attend official meetings and receptions. Otherwise, he stays on the warship, the sources told the Arabic language newspaper.

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Iraq to Seize Kurdish Oil Exports

kurdish-oil-exports

Last Friday, the Kurdish regional government stated that it had begun shipping crude oil to Turkey over the past week. That, of course, displeased the Baghdad government, which has now declared that it may seize such unauthorized oil exports and sue companies engaged in such dealings.

The Washington Post reports that the threatening notification was first spotted on the State Oil Marketing Organization’s website. The move will undoubtedly put further pressure on already-strained relations between the Iraqi central government and that of the Kurds—coming shortly after both parties apparently were prepared to go to war and troops were deployed along the internal border just two months ago.

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China’s PLA officials say troops are to prepare for war amid territorial disputes with Japan

PLA officials say troops are to prepare for war amid territorial disputes with Japan

The PLA aims to beef up its troops’ combat readiness and prepare for actual war situations through exercises this year, according to the latest annual training directive, amid escalating tensions between China and Japan over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

“In 2013, the goal set for the entire army and the People’s Armed Police force is to bolster their capabilities to fight and their ability to win a war … to be well-prepared for a war by subjecting the army to hard and rigorous training on an actual combat basis,” according to yesterday’s People’s Liberation Army Daily, which referred to a training blueprint issued by the PLA’s Department of the General Staff for the entire force.

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Fear of regional conflagration in the Middle East

middle-east-conflagration

While the Syrian drama is coming almost to an end, a new political drama is unfolding in Iraq. Probably, the ensuing events in Iraq will affect the Gulf societies more than the events in Syria.

The Syrians comprise a number of social sects and ethnic minorities, scattered geographically all over Syrian soil, a fact which could prevent one of them from taking charge of the country in the future as they are bound to have a coalition between these minorities to make the state functional.

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China’s Quietly Sinks New Delhi’s Influence in the Indian Ocean

Visitors watch the last sunset of the ye

A quiet Chinese challenge to India’s pre-eminence in South Asia through diplomatic and aid effort has now been extended to small island nations dotting the Indian Ocean. While China, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations fight over specks of islands and reefs in East and South China Sea, mainly because of undersea resources, islands in the Indian Ocean are emerging as a new focus for struggle. The latest hotly contested arena: Maldives, a chain of 26 islands about 1,000 kilometers due south of India.

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China takes on the world; is the army’s influence growing?

china-aggressive-pla

Will the confrontation developing in the waters off China engulf us all? There is an explosive situation between China and Japan, an adversarial situation between China and Vietnam, but Vietnam is no such push-over as China knows only too well. February 1979, China invades Vietnam across its 1,000-km border. Vietnam drives back the 600,000-strong Chinese army. (A lesson for India?) This background of hostilities gives a sharp edge to China’s dispute with Vietnam over the Spratly islands.

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UK military force ‘making Falkland plans’

uk-british-military-falklands-plan

British defence officials have made plans for dealing with possible aggressive action by Argentina over the disputed Falkland Islands, The Sunday Telegraph reported.Military chiefs have drawn up proposals for the deployment of extra troops, another warship and additional RAF Typhoon jets ahead of the March vote on the islands’ future, according to the report. ‘Britain needs to be in a situation to respond very quickly to a whole series of threats – that is why we have contingency plans. ‘

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Analysis: French early strike shakes up Mali intervention plan

french-military-mali-strike-plan

With French jets and helicopters hitting Islamist positions in Gao and other rebel-held towns, West African regional grouping ECOWAS is now scrambling to get its troops onto the ground in Mali, raising questions about the long-term mission.

“Rushing into the intervention right now provides a shaky ground for the mission,” said Martin van Vliet, a researcher at the African Studies Center at Leiden in the Netherlands.

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Terrorism likely behind avian flu outbreak: Indonesia intelligence

biowar

Fretting that terrorists might one day unleash bioweapons in Indonesia, the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) says it will monitor the recent outbreak of a new strain of avian influenza in Indonesia.

BIN chief Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman said that the agency was on alert and would continue to monitor the spread of the new strain, identified as H5N1 clade 2.3.2, which has re-portedly been behind the deaths of tens of thousands of ducks in the nation.

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NSA Documents on ‘PerfectCitizen’ Program Raise Many More Questions

cybersecurity-590x393

On Jan. 2 the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) published 190 pages of documents released by the National Security Agency under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The documents confirm key details of the program, known as PerfectCitizen, which was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in an article published in July 2010. The project, for example, includes a major effort to find and remediate vulnerabilities in sensitive control systems (SCS). Technology giant Raytheon received the contract for the program valued at approximately $100 million.

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AFRICOM And ICE Conducting Biometric Identity Operations Across East Africa

test

Africa (AFRICOM) command and its Identity Resolution Team now cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for conducting operations in Eastern Africa.Objective: to identify some “bad actors” (KST to known suspected terrorists, the SIA for special interest alien): traffickers, criminal, terrorists likely to attempt to travel to the United States.

The nationals of several countries of Eastern Africa are in the crosshairs: Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopians, Somalis. But the Sahel and West Africa are now treated as sensitive areas.

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Russia to Open State-of-the-Art Radio Electronic Surveillance Centers

Nebo-M_mobile_multiband_radar_system

Nearly 20 radio-based electronic surveillance centers will begin operating at the service of Russia´s Special Forces during 2013 as part of the priorities for strategic defensive rearmament, as announced by the government.

The official noted the radar are designed to monitor specific zones for antiaircraft missiles and reconnaissance. At the same time, the radar can detect more than 100 different types of objectives including planes, choppers, drones and missiles flying at different altitudes.

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UK meeting plans for possible post-Assad Syria

post-assad-syria

Britain will host an international meeting to plan for the period after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “inevitable” departure, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.The meeting will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and delegates will include Syria experts, academics in post-conflict stabilization, representatives of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition group and other agencies. The gathering highlights jitters over the shape of a post-Assad Syria, and experts fear regional and sectarian rivalries could extend the bloodshed and destabilize other countries in the strategically sensitive and volatile region.

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Statoil Executive: Arctic Gas Projects ‘Strategically Important’

Statoil-expects-more-arctic-exploration

Oystein Michelsen, head of domestic production at the Norwegian oil company Statoil ASA (STO, STL.OS) was all smiles Tuesday, as he handed over to the government the strategically important plans to develop the country’s massive gas export infrastructure into new areas north of the Arctic Circle. “The field is important to maintain our capacity to export gas to Europe. We have falling production on a number of fields; we need to add capacity,” said Mr. Michelsen. “It’s also strategically important for us to shift our activity northwards.”

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X-37b and the 5 Scariest Super Weapons the Military is Developing in 2013

x37b

2012 was an action-packed year and it doesn’t look like the world is showing any signs of slowing down. Even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, and focus has shifted away from Iran, Russia, and China due to the elections and fiscal cliff dealings. Super soldiers, electronic and laser weapons, orbital bombardment … the wars of the futures are terrifying to consider. Albert Einstein once said that World War III will be fought with the most fearsome weapons mankind has ever known. All indicators point to him being right.

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Turkey reaches out to public enemy number one

Turkey reaches out to public enemy number one PKK

Turkey’s intelligence services have held talks with jailed Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Direct negotiations may lead to a solution to the Kurdish conflict and could end decades of fighting. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government want to work out a scheme with Ocalan that would allow Kurdish rebels to lay down their weapons. News reports have leaked that PKK leaders in northern Iraq’s Qandil mountains would not be brought to trial but would instead be given the opportunity to seek exile elsewhere. Regular PKK fighters would be reintegrated into society.

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Report: Egypt Consults Powerful Iranian Commander On Security and Intelligence

Qods Force Leader Qassem Suleimani

Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which conducts special operations outside Iran, visited Egypt at the end of December at the invitation of President Mohamed Morsi’s government.

The Times of London reported that the purpose of the visit was “to advise the government on building its security and intelligence apparatus independent of the national intelligence services, which are controlled by Egypt’s military.” During the visit he met with Essam al-Haddad, foreign affairs adviser to Mr Morsi, and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Russian army to replace soldiers with robots

Показательные учения в рамках выставки «Интерполитех-2009»

The MRK-27 BT is similar to the American SWORDS robot. The Point of Combat is a mobile track-type chassis with an entire arsenal of assault weapons mounted on it: a Pecheneg machine gun, two RShG-2 grenade launchers, two Shmel flame-throwers and six smoke-screen grenades.

The 440-pound robot is radio-controlled and can be operated at a distance of up to one kilometer (just over half a mile). The machine is armored and can withstand explosions the equivalent of 800 grams (6.5 cups) of TNT. A global positioning device will be installed on it in the future.“Despite the serious weapons carried by the robot, it is doubtful that it will be adopted by the armed forces, if only for the fact that the military has no conceptual idea about the tactics of using such machines in combat,”

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China and Japan step up drone race as tension builds over disputed islands

China-Japan tensions

Drones have taken centre stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan as they struggle to assert their dominance over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

China is rapidly expanding its nascent drone programme, while Japan has begun preparations to purchase an advanced model from the US. Both sides claim the drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn the possibility of future drone skirmishes in the region’s airspace is “very high”. Tensions over the islands – called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan – have ratcheted up in past weeks.

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Zambia President Fears Looming Food Riots May Remove Him From Power

APTOPIX Haiti Food Protests

President Michael Sata fears that the continued increase of food commodity prices would spark national-wide riots against his government. Speaking today at a State House when he swore in Julius Shawa as new permanent secretary at the minister of Communication and Transport, President Sata said food riots chased first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda and he did not want to see the situation repeated during his reign.

“I will be meeting with the millers from here. We can not continue to buy a bag of maize at K60, 000 and how can the millers sale at K55, 00 a 50kg bag? The people will rise against us. If you remember the food riots chased Kaunda from government and I don’t want to see food riots in this country,” he said.

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U.S. may default on its debt half a month earlier than expected, new analysis shows

us-default-on-its-debt

The U.S. government may default on its debt as soon as Feb. 15, a half-month earlier than widely expected, according to a new analysisadding urgency to the debate over how to raise the federal debt ceiling.

The analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center says that the government will be unable to pay all its bills starting sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1.The government hit the $16.4 trillion statutory debt limit on Dec. 31 , but the Treasury Department is able to undertake a number of accounting schemes to delay when the government runs into funding problems.

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Turkey-Israel-Cyprus Triangle And Mediterranean Gas

Ktorides, chairman of DEH Quantum Energy, and IEC Chairman Ron-Tal sign a memorandum in Jerusalem

In November 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas jointly addressed the Turkish parliament, an event that buttressed Turkey’s role in the region as an honest broker for peace. The Peres address was the first ever by an Israeli president before a Muslim parliament.

Turkey and Israel at that time were weighing the construction of an “infrastructure corridor” between the port cities of Ceyhan and Haifa, which would have included five separate underwater pipelines for oil, natural gas, electricity, water and communications. There was also speculation that these pipelines could go through Northern Cyprus.

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Pakistan’s new military doctrine under Indian threats

pakistan-new-military-doctrine

The new military doctrine has been declared by incorporating a new chapter titled ‘sub-conventional warfare’ in the Pakistani army’s ‘Green Book’ which spells out operational preparedness, capacities and objectives of the armed forces. According to the new doctrine, the guerrilla actions from the tribal areas along Afghan border and bomb attacks on armed forces and civilians by certain groups have been identified as the “biggest threat” to national security.

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