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German ‘SmartRadar’ Demonstrates Aerial Ground Surveillance (AGS), Maritime Surveillance Missions

An airborne ground surveillance radar developed by Cassidian was recently demonstrated in flight testing. The new AESA-based radar is designed to detect targets over land and sea, with maximum resolution. Cassidian defines the new system as a ‘SMART radar’, for ‘Scalable Modular Aerospace Radar Technology’, featuring software-defined sensor architecture and flexible adaptation to various manned and unmanned platforms. As part of the flight test campaign carried out from the German air base in Hohn, ‘SmartRadar’ demonstrated airborne ground surveillance capabilities achieving record detection performance.

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In China, When Police Brutality Is So Common An Off-Duty Officer Gets A Taste

It would seem that police brutality is not just for ordinary – powerless – citizens in China. A policewoman from central China’s Henan Province was recently arrested when visiting her daughter in the provincial capital Zhengzhou. Mistakenly accused of being sex workers, the woman and her daughter were beaten, tortured and detained for hours by local police. After media reports led to public outcry, the policemen who were responsible for arrest were suspended from active duty.

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Water Wars: Egyptian politicians want to sabotage Ethiopia’s new dam

Politicians meeting with Egypt’s president on Monday proposed hostile acts against Ethiopia, including backing rebels and carrying out sabotage, to stop it from building a massive dam on the Nile River upstream.

Some of the politicians appeared unaware the meeting with President Mohammed Morsi was being carried live on TV. Morsi did not directly react to the suggestions, but said in concluding remarks that Egypt respects Ethiopia and its people and will not engage in any aggressive acts against the East African nation.

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World’s major central banks act with new boldness as economies falter

When James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, arrived in Frankfurt last week, he issued an unusual public warning to the European Central Bank: Be bolder.

Central bankers, anywhere in the world, are a cautious lot. They prefer slow and steady over the dramatic gesture. And they rarely go public with criticisms of other central banks. But the economic stagnation of the major developed nations has driven central banks in the United States, Japan, Britain and the European Union to take increasingly aggressive action.

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Benghazi Gate Fallout: US preparing for a ground assault on Libya

“CNN” quoted security sources that said the US developed several plans, including military action against the attackers on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi in September last year.

The sources, who asked not to be identified, said U.S. forces made ​​plans aimed at the arrest of the attackers on the U.S. consulate, through a variety of actions, including the transfer of U.S. ground forces into Libya to perform the operation.

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Irregularities in Pakistan elections: Over 100 % voting witnessed in 49 polling stations

Believe it or not but it is a fact that according to data from an independent elections observer group Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), over 100 per cent voting was witnessed in 49 polling stations in Pakistan in May 11 general elections, which were won by PML-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“In 49 polling stations in the country, number of votes polled far exceeds the registered voters,” revealed the date released by FAFEN.

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Germany’s Bold New Counterinsurgency Ideas

German-Foreign-Policy.com reports that Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense has received the results of a study it commissioned seeking advice on counterinsurgency efforts in the wake of U.S. military drawdown in the Northern Hemisphere.

Prepared by researchers at the University of Kiel, “the counterinsurgency study calls inter alia for the stricter centralization of command authority and a drastic enhancement of the espionage apparatus” (May 2; translation ours). The report reveals a startlingly Teutonic aggression in the language used.

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Scientists create hybrid flu that can go airborne

A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published inScience1. Flu hybrids can arise naturally when two viral strains infect the same cell and exchange genes. This process, known as reassortment, produced the strains responsible for at least three past flu pandemics, including the one in 2009. There is no evidence that H5N1 and H1N1 have reassorted naturally yet, but they have many opportunities to do so.

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S. Korean spy agency raided over presidential election scandal: Report

South Korean prosecutors raided the country’s spy agency as part of a probe into allegations that it meddled in the presidential election in December, a news report said. Prosecutors raided the country’s spy agency as part of a probe into allegations that it meddled in the presidential vote. A team of about 25 prosecutors and investigators from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office seized digital files and documents from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the capital, Yonhap news agency said. The agency’s anti-North Korea psychological warfare team allegedly posted a slew of politically sensitive comments on the Internet against the opposition candidate to influence public opinion ahead of the December poll.

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Belarus, Russia gearing up for radioelectronic warfare

In 2013 Belarus and Russia will launch a program to prepare army units and a system to train control agencies and troops for radioelectronic warfare as part of the regional military force. The information was released by Belarusian Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin after the session of the joint board of the Belarusian Defense Ministry and the Russian Defense Ministry on 23 April, BelTA has learned. According to the official, the session tabled the progress in implementing the second phase of the creation and development of the united radioelectronic warfare system.

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Egypt in dangerous state of limbo

It was what secularists had feared would secure an Islamist state. After granting himself sweeping powers and pushing through a controversial new constitution, President Mohamed Morsi had been calling for parliamentary elections with haste. With the opposition set to boycott, Islamists were poised to dominate. But when a top court cancelled elections last month just weeks before elections were set, the president’s plans were quickly derailed and a more complex struggle reemerged.

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EU to deploy over 100 election observers in Pakistan

European Union will deploy an Election Observation Mission constituting 11 experts, 52 long-term observers and 46 short-term observers to monitor the May 11 elections.The announcement was made by Chief Observer of the mission, a German Member of the European Parliament, Michael Gahler, in a press conference organised on Monday. The mission, established after invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will cover pre-election preparations, election day including polling, counting and tabulation of results, and post-election day activities.

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Do you own your genes, or can Big Pharma patent them?

Somebody should check and make sure that Kim Dotcom hasn’t started funding any research in genetics. Maybe those guys from the Pirate Bay, too. With a paper that must send chills of fear and vindication down the spine of every internet freedom fighter, researchers from Cornell University this week presented evidence that genetic copyright is a “direct threat to genomic liberty.” Could this be the newest, most easily altruistic frontier in copyright banditry?

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Brain Scan Predicts Whether Convicts Will Re-Offend: Welcome To The Sci-Fi Future

In a twist that evokes the dystopian science fiction of writer Philip K. Dick, neuroscientists have found a way to predict whether convicted felons are likely to commit crimes again from looking at their brain scans. Convicts showing low activity in a brain region associated with decision-making and action are more likely to be arrested again, and sooner.The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the prisoners’ brains during computer tasks in which subjects had to make quick decisions and inhibit impulsive reactions.

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How future apps will target and market your brainwaves

Electroencephalography, which is widely known as a medical diagnostic test has more potential uses. An EEG device is typically a headset with a small number of electrodes placed on different parts of the skull in order to detect the electrical signals made by your brainwaves.

One company, Government Works Inc., is developing BCI headsets for lie detection and criminal investigations. By measuring a person’s responses to questions and images, the company claims to be able to determine whether that person has knowledge of certain information or events (leading to conclusions, for instance, about whether that person was at a crime scene).

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Designing Life: Should Babies Be Genetically Engineered?

Designing Life: Should Babies Be Genetically Engineered

The increasing power and accessibility of genetic technology may one day give parents the option of modifying their unborn children, in order to spare offspring from disease or, conceivably, make them tall, well muscled, intelligent or otherwise blessed with desirable traits.

Would this change mean empowering parents to give their children the best start possible? Or would it mean designer babies who could face unforeseen genetic problems? Experts debated on Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) whether prenatal engineering should be banned in the United States.

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Philadelphia Courts Begin Using Computer Forecasts to Predict Future Criminal Behavior, Determine Jail Time


Judges in the Philadelphia court system are now taking advantage of powerful new computer models to help determine how much jail time an offender should get. Computers have been forecasting weather and economic trends for years, but applying algorithms to human behavior is relatively new. University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Berk, a pioneer in the field, his forecasts, which use an algorithm to predict whether someone will offend again, have been used by city probation and parole officers for about three years, to decide how much supervision a defendant needs.

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EU and Israel research crime-stopping drones

Reaper Aircraft Flies Without Pilot From Creech AFB

The EU and a large Israeli military contractor are co-funding research to build drones that can stop moving boats and cars.

Launched in January, the three-year-long Aeroceptor project, according to its own literature, aims to help law enforcement authorities to stop “non-cooperative vehicles in both land and sea scenarios by means of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

Israel’s ministry of public security, global weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries and Israeli-based Rotem Technological Solutions are among the list of 12 participants, most of which are based in the EU.

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Pakistan Tribes Turn Against Army

Pakistan Tribes Turn Against Army

“We demand an immediate end to the military operation in Khyber Agency because it has not brought any results during the past three years,” says Iqbal Afridi from the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf party. “The military operations are killing the local population while the militants remained unharmed.”

Thousands of local tribal people, including students, civil society members and leaders of political parties joined the bereaved families in the protest against the army. “The military operations have brought lives of the eight million population in FATA to a standstill,” Afridi said. “The seven tribal agencies have remained under curfew and the population has become completely idle.”

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Surveillance State: Ecuador Implements “World’s First” Countrywide Facial- and Voice-Recognition System


Ecuador has installed a nationwide system that lets government officials ID “several million” people by their voices and faces, Slate reported. If an Ecuadorian agency taps a phone line, for example, it is now able to match the voices in a call with a database of “voiceprints” of known criminals, suspects and persons of interest. The voice system is 97 percent accurate, says the system’s maker, SpeechPro

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Father-daughter duo have the world’s first brain-to-brain ‘telepathic’ conversation


It should be fairly obvious why, all technological considerations aside, there has been much more research into letting machines extract our thoughts, rather than insert them. Mind reading is a scary-enough concept all on its own — but mindwriting? It calls to mind the hacker deities of cyber punk novels; skinny, trench-swathed Neos projecting e-thoughts into the skulls of passing civilians.

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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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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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Saudi Arabia Funding Mossad Anti-Iran Operations


“A Strange Alliance: Are the Saudis Bankrolling Israel’s Mossad?” appears on his blog. Lando’s source is named only as “a friend, with good sources in the Israeli government.” He wrote, “The head of Israel’s Mossad has made several trips to deal with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia-one of the results: an agreement that the Saudis would bankroll the series of assassinations of several of Iran’s top nuclear experts that have occurred over the past couple of years.

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‘Gulf Union’ Plans Emerge As Middle East Braces To Meet Challenges


The main concern at the conference was to identify the source of security threats against Bahrain in particular, and the Gulf Arab states in general. The results of the so-called “Arab Spring” — the popular Arab movement that took place, and is still taking place, in several Arab countries — were also topics of interest, especially amid continued domestic tension in Bahrain between the opposition and the government.

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Technocratic Revolution: All banks of euro area to be subject to single control mechanism by 2014

Silvana Comugnero

European Council President hailed the result of the summit as highly successful: “This is a small revolution, it means that we’ll have only one supervisor for the whole Europe, who – to a certain extent – will replace all the national supervisors. If we had this in 2008 I don’t think the crisis would have reached this level.”

“The art of compromise has prevailed once again in Europe, but there is still much more that needs to be done, as the Spanish and Greek emergencies are still waiting,” our special correspondent Audrey Tilv reports from Brussel.

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Russian Presidential Council Proposes National Monitoring System For Preventing Ethnic Conflict

Presidential Council for inter-ethnic relations

President’s Council on International Relations presented the draft of the National Policy Strategy 2025. The document contains a set of tools aimed at the prevention of ethnic conflicts, as well as the fight against extremist propaganda.

The authors proposed to set up in every region of the Russian Federation specialized monitoring centers, which will keep track of publications in the media and social networks for possible provocations national conflicts. And to combat the extremist ideas in social networks plan to attract Internet service providers, and the media want to create a system of incentives for the promotion of national unity, according to the document.

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Russia’s Putin eyeing military dominance in Central Asia amid water quarrels


Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are landlocked and mountainous countries—75% and 90%, respectively—in Central Asia. The countries’ mountains provide abundance of potable water, which feed the two major rivers of Central Asia. The scarcity of other natural resources understandably results in Bishkek’s and Dushanbe’s attempts to use the water more wisely—building hydropower plants (HPP) for generating electricity.

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U.S. “preparing to change Bosnian constitution, repartition nation”


The U.S. launched “a serious and wide-reaching diplomatic initiative for a constitutional reconstruction of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina”, said reports.

According to the newspaper, the initiative covers all options: decreasing the number of cantons, changing cantonal borders, transferring certain competencies, abolishing offices and other changes aimed at making the structure of the Federation more efficient

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US Department of Homeland Security looking for (more than) a few good drones


The US Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations. In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the program’s results of the ironically named program — The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public

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People Can Be Tricked into Reversing Their Opinions on Morality


People can be tricked into reversing their opinions on moral issues, even to the point of constructing good arguments to support the opposite of their original positions, researchers report today in PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by Lars Hall, a cognitive scientist at Lund University in Sweden, recruited 160 volunteers to fill out a 2-page survey on the extent to which they agreed with 12 statements — either about moral principles relating to society in general or about the morality of current issues in the news, from prostitution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

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Lebanon may have more gas deposits than Cyprus, Syria


Lebanon may have more offshore natural gas deposits than Cyprus and Syria, based on a recent 3-D seismic survey, the CEO of Norway-based Spectrum Company said, according to albawaba.com.

“My humble opinion based on the data that I have is that there is greater potential [for natural gas] offshore Lebanon than offshore Cyprus and offshore Syria,” David Rowlands told The Daily Star.

He added that the Levantine basin offshore Lebanon was more perceptive than offshore Cyprus and Syria.

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How China’s Leaders Steer a Massive Nation


The important chief planners are in Beijing and have one of the most difficult jobs in the world: governing a nation of 1.3 billion people. China’s provinces are as populous as entire countries on other continents. Hunan has as many people as France, Hubei as many as Italy and Sichuan as many as Germany. China’s powerful men have achieved much. While millions were still starving under Mao Zedong, China is now the world’s second-largest economy.

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A New Run On The Banks? Spaniards Pulling Cash Out At Record Rates


Spanish consumers are pulling their cash out of banks at record levels, according to figures released on Tuesday.

Private sector deposits fell by nearly 5 percent in July to €1.509, the Telegraph reported, citing European Central Bank data, as public confidence in the banking system reached all-time lows amid a worsening economic situation.

The news comes after bond markets continued to hammer the debt-ridden euro zone nations Spain and Italy last week.

On Friday, the interest rate on a 10-year loan to the Spanish government briefly topped 6 percent — a level that forced Greece into a default earlier this year, despite massive financial support from international sources — before settling back to 5.96 percent.

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Ukraine Looks To Central Asia, Wants SCO Observer Status


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he is interested in the export of Ukrainian high-tech products to Asian countries and said Ukraine would like to get observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

He also said Ukraine would like to change its stance regarding natural gas imports from Russia.

He spoke while meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

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Hackers backdoor the human brain, successfully extract sensitive data


With a chilling hint of the not-so-distant future, researchers at the Usenix Security conference have demonstrated a zero-day vulnerability in your brain. Using a commercial off-the-shelf brain-computer interface, the researchers have shown that it’s possible to hack your brain, forcing you to reveal information that you’d rather keep secret.

In a real-world scenario, the researchers foresee a game that is specially tailored by hackers to extract sensitive information from your brain — or perhaps an attack vector that also uses social engineering to lull you into a false sense of security. It’s harder to extract data from someone who knows they’re being attacked — as interrogators and torturers well know.

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Future Shock: IARPA, CIA Looks To Forecast Future Major World Events

Global Worldwide Network of People

DARPA’s sister agency — the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which funds experimental projects for the U.S. intelligence community — is running a four-year, $50-million program that pays people willing to predict major world events, including wars and terrorist strikes. Unlike the earlier scheme, participants can’t profit from their predictions.

The study, known as Aggregative Contingent Estimation, is designed to see whether the 17 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community can aggregate the judgment of its thousands of analysts — rather than rely on the expertise of just a few — to issue more accurate warnings to policy makers before and during major global events.

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Surveillance device uses Wi-Fi to see through walls


Researchers in England have created a prototype surveillance device that can be used to spy on people inside buildings and behind walls by tracking the frequency changes as Wi-Fi signals generated by wireless routers and access points bounce off people as they move around The device, which is about the size of a suitcase and has two antennae and a signal processing unit, works as a “passive radar system” that can “see” through walls, according to PopSci.com. It was able to successfully determine the location, speed, and direction of a person behind a one-foot-thick brick wall, but can not detect people standing or sitting still, the article said.

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Citi Presents 14 Global Hot Spots That Have The Potential To Explode


The European economy is deteriorating and leaders across the continent are being booted from office in favor of a new generation of politicians. Rising tensions in the Middle East and uncertainty over leadership changes in emerging markets worldwide are adding to investor concerns.

Tina Fordham, Senior Global Political Analyst at Citi, is out with her mid-year outlook, presenting all of the bank’s views on all of the biggest political risks emanating from the world’s key hotspots over the remainder of this year and into 2013.

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Russia intensifies pressure on Armenia


Moscow begins to realize that the two phased policy of Armenia has an anti-Russian character and begins to struggle with it, increasing the pressure on Yerevan in all forms, the director of the Center of Political Innovations and Technologies, a political scientist Mubariz Ahmedoglu said press conference on Thursday.

The political scientist pointed out that Russia is beginning to take more and more segments of the economy of Armenia under its influence, the Russian military is much more active in Armenia and Russia is moving away from the position of Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

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The EU is an empire, and empires mean war

Partisans of the European project invariably argue that nationalism leads to war and while the development of Europe will safeguard peace – a noble objective that is more than sufficient compensation for any loss in democracy, sovereignty and transparency caused by Brussels. However, this theory is fundamentally flawed.

Nationalism does not lead to war. Attempts to build European empires lead to war. The urge to impose a straitjacket on the will of peoples will leads to war. In short, the European project will lead to war.

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Life Imitating Art: Robot avatar body controlled by thought alone

For the first time, a person lying in an fMRI machine has controlled a robot hundreds of kilometers away using thought alone.

.”The ultimate goal is to create a surrogate, like in Avatar, although that’s a long way off yet,” says Abderrahmane Kheddar, director of the joint robotics laboratory at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan.

Teleoperated robots, those that can be remotely controlled by a human, have been around for decades. Kheddar and his colleagues are going a step further.

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

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

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

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

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Russia To Double Troops In Armenia

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

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

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Divided Greece “risks social explosion”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Greece to Exit Euro, New Currency to Fall 60%: Citi

Greece will leave the euro zone next year and the country’s new currency will “immediately fall by 60 percent,” according to Citi chief economist Willem Buiter.

Greek officials have repeatedly stressed that the country will be running out of cash by the end of June, after which it would be unable to make debt payments and pay civil wages and pensions. An election is scheduled for June 17 after inconclusive results of the May 6 polls meant a government could not be formed.

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Over 29,000 AK-47s procured for India’s paramilitary forces

AK-47s continue to be the preferred assault weapon for the country’s paramilitary forces deployed to neutralise terrorists and Maoists at the frontiers and in the hinterland.

Over 29,000 pieces of this Russian-origin rifle were imported by forces like CRPF, BSF and NSG over the last three years, leaving behind, by a large margin, other sophisticated assault weapons procured from the US and Israel.

The inventory of the assault weapons procured for security forces, including ITBP, CISF and Assam Rifles, during 2010-2013 show that while 29,260 pieces of the ‘AK’ series were procured, only 17,609 units of other weapons in this category like X-95 and SIG were imported.

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The Kremlin’s Cognitive Dissonance

It seems that for the past five months the authorities have been suffering from cognitive dissonance in their relations with Muscovites.

This is a disorder in which someone’s beliefs do not match objective reality. Unable to change his convictions, the person instead rejects reality and enters an imaginary world. That explains why Russian leaders behave as if they enjoy the support of the majority of Muscovites, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

There have been more street protests in Moscow in the past five months than in the previous 15 years combined. Of course, the demonstrators account for only about 1 percent of Moscow’s population, but that means that there are several angry, opposition-minded people in practically every apartment building in the city. A Ph.D. in sociology isn’t necessary to understand that Muscovites are unhappy with the ruling regime.

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Greeks punish main parties, risk euro exit

Greeks angry at years of austerity shrugged off the risk of a euro zone exit and punished their ruling parties, which failed to win enough votes to form a ruling coalition in Sunday’s election.

With about 95 percent of the vote counted, conservative New Democracy and Socialist PASOK, who have dominated Greece for decades and are the only two major parties supporting an EU/IMF bailout program that keeps Greece afloat, won less than 33 percent of ballots and only 150 out of 300 parliament seats.

In order to renew their uneasy partnership, they would have to woo other reluctant parties.

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Deniable War Crimes?: Robots fighting wars could be blamed for mistakes on the battlefield

As militaries develop autonomous robotic warriors to replace humans on the battlefield, new ethical questions emerge. If a robot in combat has a hardware malfunction or programming glitch that causes it to kill civilians, do we blame the robot, or the humans who created and deployed it?

Some argue that robots do not have free will and therefore cannot be held morally accountable for their actions. But psychologists at the University of Washington are finding that people don’t have such a clear-cut view of humanoid robots.

The researchers’ latest results show that humans apply a moderate amount of morality and other human characteristics to robots that are equipped with social capabilities and are capable of harming humans.

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“Montenegro must get rid of Russian domination to join NATO”

The U.S. Atlantic Council delegation is visiting Montenegro in order to assess the country’s current results regarding fulfillment of conditions necessary to join NATO.

Montenegro is a part of the NATO membership action plan and Montenegrin officials expect NATO to confirm the country’s “membership perspective” at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.

Wilson stressed that the upcoming summit was not an enlargement summit and concluded that Montenegro “still has a lot of work to do” before it is invited to join NATO.

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The security situation in the SCO region is generally stable

On April 12, 2012, the Seventh Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO Member States was held in Beijing. Chinese State Councilor Meng Jianzhu chaired and spoke at the meeting.

Meng Jianzhu said that China is the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this year. The 7th Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO Member States, which marks the prelude to a series of SCO summits, has laid a solid foundation for the successful holding of the SCO summits this year and for the Organization to better perform the functions of safeguarding regional peace, security and stability in the next 10 years.

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Georgia redesigns reserve troops

Georgia will have approximately 70,000 trained volunteer reservists in summer of this year, while the number will reach 150,000 next year, according to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The goal, he said, is to make Georgia’s self-defense system stronger.

“[In] each of Georgia’s villages we will train locals, and this will represent one of the main “guarantees of peace,” Saakashvili said while visiting a state-run factory in Tbilisi named Delta, a part of the Defense Ministry’s research center on April 11.

“In 2008 we all saw clearly that we need [a strong] territorial defense; nobody will do our job for us,” Saakashvili said. The August war, he noted, provided a “good lesson” so Georgia rejected the pre-war system of reserve troops, which was based on size. The new system, he explained, prioritizes quality over quantity.

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Will EurAsEC grow into Eurasian economic union?

The last of the EurAsEC summit in Moscow demonstrated that for all the optimistic public statements, the integration processes are not advancing well in practice.

It was predicted that the summit will announce the replacement EurAsEC with full fledged Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). However, the results of the summit were more than modest – comprehensive agreement on formation of EEU can be signed only by January 1, 2015.

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‘Ex’ KGB man wins presidency in South Ossetia

A pro-Russian former KGB officer appeared set on Sunday to win a presidential election run-off in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, where Moscow is seeking to re-assert control.

Preliminary results announced by the election commission showed Leonid Tibilov, 60, leading human rights ombudsman David Sanakoyev with about 55.8 percent of votes against his rival’s 41.3 after 67 percent of the ballots had been counted.

The tiny region of about 30,000 people declared independence after a 2008 war between Russiaand Georgia but remains heavily dependent on Moscow’s financial help and military protection amid growing dissatisfaction over how funds are spent.

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Saakashvili Links Russia’s Planned Military Drills with Elections in Georgia

Russia’s planned military exercises this fall was timed deliberately to coincide with Georgia’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for October, President Saakashvili said on March 31.

“It is not a coincidence that our neighbor scheduled its large-scale military exercises for second half of September, just several days before elections [in Georgia]. This timing is really not a coincidence,” Saakashvili said, apparently referring to Kavkaz-2012 military drills.

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Chinese coup watching

Last week, controversial politician Bo Xilai, whose relatively open campaigning for a seat on China’s top ruling council shocked China watchers (and possibly his elite peers, as well), was removed from his post as Chongqing’s party secretary. He hasn’t been seen since. Rumors of a coup, possibly coordinated by Bo’s apparent ally Zhou Yongkang, are in the air.

Western media has extensively covered the political turmoil: Bloomberg reported on how coup rumors helped spark a jump in credit-default swaps for Chinese government bonds; the Wall Street Journal opinion page called Chinese leadership transitions an “invitation, sooner or later, for tanks in the streets.” The Financial Times saw the removal of Bo, combined with Premier Wen Jiabao’s strident remarks at a press conference hours before Bo’s removal as a sign the party was moving to liberalize its stance on the Tiananmen square protests of 1989. That Bo staged a coup is extremely unlikely, but until more information comes to light, we can only speculate on what happened.

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Pentagon war game forecasts U.S. would be pulled into a new war if Israel strikes Iran

A classified Pentagon war game this month forecast that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely draw the United States into a wider regional war in which hundreds of American forces could be killed, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The war games’ results have “raised fears among top American planners that it may be impossible to preclude American involvement in any escalating confrontation with Iran,” the Times Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker wrote.

Defense experts said the reported war games results are another attempted warning signal to Israel not to go it alone or risk harming relations with the United States.

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The presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau marred by an assassination

The former head of military intelligence of Guinea Bissau was assassinated a few hours after the first round of the presidential election, which he apparently took place Sunday in calm, we learn of a security source.

Colonel Samba Diallo was shot by soldiers in a bar near his home late Sunday night, state witnesses. He was removed from office and temporarily imprisoned after a coup within the military that led to the shelving of the Chief of Staff Jose Zamora Induta in April 2010.

The presidential election was held after the death, on January 9 in a Paris hospital, the Head of State, Malam Bacai Sanha. It purports to permit the former Portuguese colony of West Africa to the history dotted with military coups, to consolidate its political stability.

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Khamenei allies trounce Ahmadinejad in Iran elections

Clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tightened his grip on Iran’s faction-ridden politics after loyalists won over 75 percent of seats in parliamentary elections at the expense of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a near-complete count showed.

The widespread defeat of Ahmadinejad supporters – including his sister, Parvin Ahmadinejad – is expected to reduce the president to a lame duck after he sowed divisions by challenging the utmost authority of Khamenei in the governing hierarchy.

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Turmoil Erupts in a Kremlin-Protected Enclave

The opposition movement leader in the mountainous enclave of South Ossetia had planned to be inaugurated as its rightful president on Friday in an unauthorized ceremony. Instead, she lay unconscious in a hospital with a possible rifle-butt blow to the head, her aides were under arrest and her organization was in disarray, crushed by police officers apparently acting on the Kremlin’s orders.

The crushing of the movement led by the would-be president, Alla A. Dzhioeva, on Thursday, came at a delicate moment as Russia has struggled to install its favored leaders in South Ossetia as well as in other former Soviet separatist regions that are its de facto protectorates.

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Chinese Politburo’s Official Statement: The West tries out old tricks in Russia

The West assumes that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was the result of its victory in the Cold War. It hopes that with Western support, separatists and criminals will take the next step to cause the collapse of Russia. In their writings, American politicians such as political scientist and former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright have described scenarios of an expected collapse of Russia and even redrawn its national borders.

Putin, who posed the main geopolitical obstacle to the realization of such goals, outlined the strategy for Russia’s revival and consolidation of its status as an important independent country that would cooperate with other countries, including the US, on the principle of equal rights.

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China Aims to Bypass Heaven in Securing Rain for Crops

The plan marks a major expansion of China’s “weather modification” efforts, deployed for years in Beijing to sometimes mixed results. Cloud-seeding – accomplished by shooting shells or rockets filled with silver iodide particles into promising puffs of white – was instrumental in clearing the smog out of the skies during the 2008 Olympics and has helped relieve the capital from chronic water shortages. But the effort has occasionally gone horribly, and expensively, awry.

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Snow Revolution leaves Putin on ‘wrong side of history’

The possible future is on display in tiny South Ossetia, a Kremlin protectorate that was the nexus of Russia’s 2008 war with neighbouring Georgia. Since last Wednesday, small crowds of South Ossetians have taken daily to the snowy streets of their capital city, Tskhinvali, to reject Kremlin’s attempt to overturn election results and impose a leader they don’t want. Calling it the “Snow Revolution” – a nod to the colour-coded revolts that brought down autocratic regimes in Ukraine and Georgia not so long ago – they vow not to leave until their chosen president, Alla Dzhioyeva, is allowed to take office.

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New Color Revolution?: South Ossetia Held In The Grip of Russia As Elections Annulled

Police have fired warning shots during a protest at the annulment of Sunday’s presidential election in the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia.

Preliminary results gave Alla Dzhioyeva an unexpected win over Anatoly Bibilov, Russia’s favoured candidate.

But Mr Bibilov accused the opposition leader of fraud and the result was declared invalid.

Ms Dzhioyeva, an anti-corruption campaigner, has rejected the annulment and declared herself president.

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Zenko analyzes military strategy

The use of specialized military force operations, including unmanned drones and localized airstrikes, is not an effective long-term strategy to combat insurgency problems given the “persistent era of conflict” that nations across the world face today, Micah Zenko, a conflict prevention fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank, said in a lecture Thursday afternoon in the Haldeman Center.

Zenko identified 36 cases of Discrete Military Operations, defined as limited strikes against insurgency forces, conducted by the United States military since 1991. While 16 operations were successful, six produced “mixed” results, five proved “inconclusive” and nine failed to meet the military’s desired objective, he said.

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Japan’s government agencies used propaganda to skew public opinion in favor of nuclear energy

Officials of two government agencies were found to have taken inappropriate action in seven instances in an attempt to influence public opinion on nuclear energy, according to the results of an investigation released on Sept. 30.

The investigating panel found that officials of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) as well as the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy instructed electric power companies to have their employees attend symposiums and other events related to nuclear energy. They also encouraged local residents to state opinions in favor of nuclear energy at such gatherings.

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Karzai decrees Afghan courts cannot overturn election results

Afghanistan’s president issued a decree Wednesday stating that the country’s courts do not have the power to alter election results, a move appeared aimed at ending months of uncertainty over the parliament’s legitimacy.

The Afghan parliament has been in limbo after a special court in June called for the removal of 62 sitting lawmakers, saying they won their seats through fraud.

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