Sunday, August 10, 2008
200th Challenger 300 Jet Enters Service with Vistajet (NSI News Source Info) August 10, 2008 — Montréal, Canada: Bombardier Aerospace announced the delivery of the 200th Challenger 300 aircraft to VistaJet, a privately owned business aviation solutions company headquartered in Switzerland. The milestone aircraft is one of a trio of Challenger aircraft delivered to VistaJet in July, including a Challenger 605 and Challenger 850 business jets. The aircraft will enter service with VistaJet’s rapidly growing fleet on August first. “This is a fantastic milestone for the Challenger 300 jet, an aircraft that continues to exceed customer expectations,” said Eric Martel, Vice-President and General Manager, Challenger and Global, BA. “With over 200 aircraft manufactured since entering customer service in January 2004, the Challenger 300 aircraft is one of the best selling jets in corporate aviation history.” VistaJet's fleet currently features more than 35 medium to ultra long-range jets – from the premium Learjet 40 XR aircraft to the Global Express XRS jet, the ultimate business aircraft – all with an average age of less than two years. The company expects to grow its fleet to 98 aircraft once all jets on order including options have been delivered. Challenger 605 steep approach capability key to access at London City Airport ”Our new Challenger 605 aircraft will focus on meeting the increasing demand at London City Airport, directly linking business and government leaders to the heart of London's financial district,” said Bing Chen, VistaJet Chief Executive Officer. “London City Airport is by far the most convenient way to access one of the world's most important financial centers. Together the Challenger 605 and our Learjet 40 XR aircraft are the ideal combination to offer the best possible service at this airport.” In order to qualify to operate at London City Airport, an aircraft must demonstrate its ability to be flown safely at a 5.5-degree or greater approach angle, take off and land on the airport's 4,327-foot (1,319-meter) runway, and meet the local noise requirements. The Challenger 605 jet received approval for steep approach and landing capability at London City Airport in 2007. About BombardierA world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008, were $17.5 billion US, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. Bombardier, Learjet 40 XR, Challenger 300, Challenger 605 and Global Express XRS are either registered or unregistered trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.
Saab Strengthens Fighter Offer to Norway (NSI News Source Info) 10 August, 2008: In an attempt to strengthen its next-generation fighter aircraft bid with Norway, Saab has tendered a supplementary report to the country's Ministry of Defense (MoD) that offers more industrial offsets to Norwegian industry. The Swedish aerospace giant is competing with Lockheed Martin for a contract to deliver 48 fighter jets to the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNAF). The contract is due to be awarded next year, and Saab is offering its JAS Gripen against Lockheed's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Saab's sweetened offer comes amid reports within the Armed Forces Command (AFC) and the MoD that Lockheed's JSF team will underpin its existing bid to the MoD by presenting a firm offer on price and delivery schedules by April 2009. "The fixed price and delivery guarantees are unlikely to happen before the Norwegian government makes its fighter choice," said an MoD source. "It is also possible that Lockheed Martin will offer similar price and delivery terms to all partner nations that commit to purchasing the aircraft." The JSF's partner nations comprise Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. Saab and Lockheed submitted separate tenders to Norway for 48 aircraft on April 28, with parallel proposals governing industrial packages on offer to Norway. "We have been in discussion with over 200 Norwegian small and medium-sized, as well as larger companies since Saab offered the industrial collaboration in April," said Åke Svensson, Saab's CEO. "Together, we have defined over 150 different collaboration projects. As part of this work, we have been able to identify partners across all of Norway's provinces." Saab's April bid guaranteed industrial collaboration equivalent to 100 percent of the order value. "We have since seen even greater potential in collaboration possibilities," Svensson said. "Saab and Norway's industry sector have identified collaboration projects to such an extent that we can now increase our commitment, regarding industrial collaboration projects, to at least 180 percent of the offset value over a period of 10 to 15 years. Our discussions will continue."
Russian Navy ships approach Georgia's sea border (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 10, 2008 - A group of ships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet including the flagship Moskva guided missile cruiser arrived on Sunday in the eastern part of the sea near the Georgian border, a high-ranking navy official said. "The purpose of the Black Sea Fleet vessels' presence in this region is to provide aid to refugees," the source in the Russian Navy's headquarters told RIA Novosti. The move comes on the third day of fighting between Georgian and Russian troops in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia. The source said the Moskva, accompanied by a patrol vessel and supply ships, travelled from the Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea. The ships will join three large landing craft that earlier arrived in the area from Sevastopol and the Russian port of Novorossiysk. The source denied media reports saying the Russian fleet's warships were blockading the Georgian coast. "These reports are not true. A blockade of the coastline would mean war with Georgia, and we are not in a state of war with Georgia." A spokesman for the president of Georgia's other breakaway republic, Abkhazia, earlier said the local administration and peacekeepers had asked Russia to reinforce its naval presence near the Abkhazian coast after Georgian warships attempted to approach the coastline. Georgia launched a major ground and air offensive to seize control of South Ossetia on Friday, prompting Russia to send in tanks and hundreds of troops. Georgia imposed martial law on Saturday after Russian warplanes began bombarding military bases. South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali has been largely destroyed, and around 2,000 civilians have died according to local and Russian officials. Around 34,000 South Ossetians have fled across the Russian border. Georgia's leadership began talks on Sunday with the Russian military on creating a humanitarian corridor to allow residents of South Ossetia to escape the ongoing conflict, Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili said.
Georgia reportedly seeking cease-fire with Russia (NSI News Source Info) August 10, 2008 - WASHINGTON: Looking to end days of violent conflict, Georgia is urging a ceasefire and wants to negotiate with Russia, reports said Sunday.The news came amid concerns about the conflict spreading to the Georgia breakaway enclave of Abkhazia. Russian forces had already gained control of Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, according to reports from the region, but were later said to be withdrawing from the area. "The military commanders have made their decision to pull out from Tskhinvali this morning," said Kakha Lomaia, secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, as quoted by a foreign news agency. U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Jeffrey said Sunday that Georgian forces have also announced the beginning of a pullback of forces from all of South Ossetia. "They have reached out to the Russians to ask for a cease-fire, which is very important -- something that we also support -- but we haven't seen a response," Jeffrey said. He added, however, that there have been reports of further Russian attacks, with "particularly troubling" ground attacks in the Abkhazia area."We're looking into that urgently, as that would be a further escalation of what is already a very, very serious situation," Jeffrey said. He said the U.S. deplores the "dangerous and disproportionate actions" by Russian forces. "And we would be particularly troubled if these attacks are continuing now as the Georgians are pulling back, and very, very concerned if, in fact, there is ground action inside of Georgia proper, that is outside of these areas of Abkhazia and Ossetia," Jeffrey said.
Prez Musharraf charged with swindling $700 million (NSI News Source Info) Sunday, August 10, 2008, (Islamabad, London): President Pervez Musharraf on Sunday faced charges of "misappropriating" USD 700 million of anti-terrror aid provided by the US to Pakistan on the eve of launching the process in Parliament to impeach him, as pressure mounted on the former General to quit.Firing a fresh salvo against the beleaguered former army chief, ruling PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari accused Musharraf, who has often targeted the country's politicians for indulging in corruption," of misappropriation and said "rogue" ISI members could have benefitted from it."Our grand old Musharraf has not been passing on all the 1 billion dollar a year that the Americans have been giving for the armed forces.... We're talking about 700 million dollars a year missing. The rest has been taken by 'Mush' for some scheme or other and we've got to find it," 54-year-old Zardari told the The Sunday Times.As the ruling coalition prepared a "comprehensive and solid" chargesheet to nail 64-year-old Musharraf down in an impeachment motion to be brought in the National Assembly session starting on Saturday, the President faced mounting pressure from friends and foes to step down.Cracks have already appeared in Musharraf's main ally PML(Q) with MP Sardar Bahadur Khan Sihar advising the President to gracefully quit and claiming to have "support" of a dozen MPs and a couple of senators. Four independent FATA senators have also asked Musharraf to quit and pledged to support the impeachment motion."We will prepare a comprehensive and solid chargesheet that Musharraf will not be able to fight it....it is very necessary that he resigns himself, otherwise the impeachment will start," Law Minister Farooq Naek said after the ruling coalition met to draw a battle plan to end Musharraf's nine-year reign. Musharraf may face corruption, murder charges (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Aug 10, 2008: The government’s charge-sheet against President Pervez Musharraf will comprise hundreds of pages containing charges of misconduct, financial irregularities, violations of the Constitution and ‘criminal acts’ that could lead to an open trial, but the PPP expects the president to resign before the impeachment motion is submitted to parliament.The coalition is still undecided if President Musharraf should be given a ‘safe passage’ out of the country, discussions with leaders of the ruling parties suggest.PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar, who is a member of the committee which is drafting the charge-sheet, told Dawn that it had made “significant progress”.“It will be an unimpeachable document supported by documentary evidence of all the acts of omission and commission committed by (President) Musharraf that make him liable to impeachment several times,” Mr Babar said.“We are in the government now and have access to many previously confidential documents. After going through these documents, we are surprised over the horrendous nature of the crimes committed by President Musharraf during his almost nine-year rule,” he said.Mr Babar was of the opinion that President Musharraf would quit before the coalition parties moved the impeachment motion against him. “The man will have to go. It is a political reality and impeachment is just a legal and constitutional procedure to realise it,” he said.The PPP leader claimed that dozens of PML-Q members were approaching the coalition and the number of legislators supporting the impeachment had almost reached 350 in the 442-member joint house of the National Assembly and the Senate.When asked if the coalition was ready to give a ‘safe passage’ to the president in return for his voluntary resignation, he said it would be up to parliament and the heads of the coalition parties to decide.Another member of the committee, Leader of the House in the Senate Raza Rabbani, said: “If the charge-sheet is put into River Ravi it will come into flood as far as gross irregularities and constitutional violations are concerned.”Pakistan Muslim League-N’s information secretary Ahsan Iqbal, who is also a member of the committee, told reporters that the party had received hundreds of emails and text messages demanding an open trial of President Musharraf. He said the charge-sheet would contain hundreds of pages.He said the impeachment had become a national issue because 86 per cent of the people wanted to see the president out of office.Another member of the committee said the charge-sheet would cover misconduct, subversion of the Constitution, imposition of emergency, attack on judiciary, missing persons, the Lal Masjid operation, corruption in the funds received from the US for supporting the war against terror, killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and detention of hundreds of youths in Balochistan without trial.Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters after a meeting of the committee held at her residence that the charge-sheet would soon be made public.She expressed the hope that the committee would complete its work in three to four days.She said PML-Q members had also advised the president not to use Article 58-2(b) which showed that they wanted President Musharraf to resign.PHONE CONVERSATION: Meanwhile, spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement that the PPP was concerned over reports that Gen (retd) Musharraf had in a telephonic conversation warned its chairperson Benazir Bhutto that her life in Pakistan would be in danger if she did not extend him political cooperation.The revelation has been made in a recently published book, The Ways of the World, authored by Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind.“The revelation, if true, lends enormous credence to what was generally talked about in the streets of Pakistan about the likely killers of Ms Bhutto. It also lends dramatic significance to the last email she had sent to her lobbyist in the US pointing out dangers to her life and indicating also who she suspected could be involved if something happened to her,” Mr Babar said.The PPP has already approached the United Nations for an investigation into her assassination and it hoped that the inquiry, whenever constituted, would also look into this horrendous revelation, he said, adding: “In the final analysis nothing remains secret and it is a law of the nature to expose the killers, the tyrants and the brigands in ways that one cannot even comprehend.” US wants ‘honourable’ stay for President in Pakistan (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, Aug 10, 2008: The United States does not want to interfere in the impeachment process but should President Pervez Musharraf agree to step down, the Americans would like to ensure a secure and honourable stay for him in Pakistan.Diplomatic and US official sources, when contacted by Dawn, said that US Ambassador Anne Patterson had left for Islamabad on Saturday after consulting senior White House and State Department officials on this issue.She came to Washington in the last week of July to be present here during Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s visit to the US capital but stayed back for further consultations on the ruling coalition’s decision to impeach President Musharraf.Although the coalition announced the impeachment move after the prime minister had returned to Islamabad, diplomatic sources in Washington say that the Gilani government had consulted both the Americans and the army before making the move.According to these sources, the Americans told the Pakistanis that they want to stay neutral on this issue and would support any move which was “consistent with the rule of law and the Constitution,” as the State Department spokesman Gonzalo R. Gallegos said at a recent briefing.The cleverly crafted statement maintains America’s neutrality because while the Constitution allows impeachment, it also permits the president to undo the current political set-up.The Americans further emphasised their neutrality when approached by the Pakistani government to use its influence to persuade President Musharraf to step down.The Pakistani government wanted a senior US official or a lawmaker to call President Musharraf and urge him to quit.They reminded the Americans that they had used a similar approach against Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 when senior US officials and lawmakers publicly urged him to step down.But diplomatic sources say that the Americans are refusing to make any public statement for or against President Musharraf and instead want Pakistani politicians to tackle this issue without outside support.They, however, appear willing to use their influence to arrange for a secure and honourable stay for President Musharraf in Pakistan should he agree to quit, the sources said.A British media report -- re-published in American newspapers -- claims that President Musharraf is seriously considering a proposal to step down.US officials, when contacted by Dawn, refused to confirm or deny this report but other sources said that “President Musharraf has made it clear that he has no plans to leave Pakistan, whether he stays in power or not.”And, according to diplomatic sources, this is where the Americans are willing to help.“They have apparently agreed to help assure a secure and honourable stay for him in Pakistan,” said one such source. “They also want to ensure that the president should be given full indemnity should he agree to step down.”The source added: “This is more or less what the Pakistan army also wants.”Meanwhile, senior Pakistani diplomats are scheduled to hold further talks with US officials on the issue on Monday when President George W. Bush returns to Washington after a week-long tour of several Asian countries.Diplomatic sources say that the Pakistani government may directly appeal to President Bush to help defuse the current political crisis.The Americans also fear that a power struggle between pro-and anti-Musharraf forces could push nuclear-armed Pakistan into a protracted turmoil; prevent its shaky civilian government from moving against militants hiding in Fata; and even jeopardise vital US supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan.“There are elements within the US administration who would be very nervous about Musharraf leaving the scene, as they think the civilians are not in control of the army and ISI,” says Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.But it is also apparent that the Americans are not willing to take any public position on this issue. At least not yet.
Russian - made nuke powered submarine Akula set to join Indian Navy next year (NSI News Source Info) New Delhi, Aug 10, 2008: With India's aspiration to operate a nuclear submarine likely to be fulfilled next year with Russian-made Akula set to join the fleet, the Indian Navy is pitching for a submarine-launched nuclear missile to boost the nation's deterrence capabilities."With nuclear proliferation posing a greater threat along with Weapons of Mass Destruction, our unilateral policy of no-first-use necessitates that India possesses a credible and survivable nuclear deterrent including submarine-launched," Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said yesterday while delivering a lecture on Navy's vision for the future.India had in February this year tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile for the first time that would take another three years to be fully operational. After a delay, Akula nuclear-powered submarine is likely to join service with Indian Navy next year, Mehta said, pointing out that the Navy would basically use the Russian-made submarine for training in personnel before they get to operate the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine that is under secret construction at the Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai."Though it is an operational submarine, Akula will be basically used for training Naval operators before they get to operate our indigenous nuclear-powered submarine," the Navy chief said.A DRDO project, the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine project, codenamed Advanced Technology Vehicle, is said to be well set for sea trials two years from now.
The US Marines New Body Armor
(NSI News Source Info) August 10, 2008: As the Marines themselves note, “body armor can be traced back to before the Roman Empire, when war was waged with sword and spear and the battlefield rang with the clash of steel on steel.” In time, its protection became so formidable that an armored, mounted warrior feared few enemies. A string of reverses from Crecy into the age of gunpowder led to a growing offensive ascendancy, however, eventually leading to a period of hundreds of years in which warriors headed into battle without armor. In recent decades, modern technology began to offer new materials with remarkable properties, which led to the rise of Kevlar and flak jackets that offered limited protection. Special Forces experiments eventually led to designs that added plate inserts of metal or increasingly advanced ceramics. Which brings us to the present day, where soldiers from advanced militaries are once again heading into battle with 30-50 pounds of body armor. Its protection is rather less total than that provided by the knight’s medieval plate, but a lot of soldiers are still alive because of the protection it does provide. Even so, the modern soldiers shares one complaint with the medieval knight: heavy armor that can limit mobility, and heats up quickly. The Interceptor Outer Tactical Vest became the US military’s standard equipment around the dawn of the 21st century, but the US Marines were less impressed. In the wake of negative After-Action Reviews, they turned to Protective Products International in Sunrise, FL to make a different design, the Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) designed by an ex-Marine.
Georgia 'pulls out of S Ossetia' (NSI News Source Info) August 10, 2008: Russia accused Georgia of genocide against the South Ossetian people. Georgia has said its troops have pulled out of the breakaway region of South Ossetia and that Russian forces are in control of its capital, Tskhinvali. But Russia said that while heavy artillery had been seen leaving the territory, Georgian troops were still present in other areas of the region. Georgia's foreign ministry said it had ordered a ceasefire, and called for immediate talks with Russia. The US has described Russia's actions as "dangerous and disproportionate". US Deputy National Security Adviser James Jeffrey said that if the Russian escalation continued, it would have a "significant" long-term impact on relations between the Moscow and Washington. "We're alarmed by this situation," he told reporters in Beijing. Russian PM Vladimir Putin earlier suggested it was unlikely that South Ossetia would re-integrate with the rest of Georgia, saying the country's territorial integrity had "suffered a fatal blow". Meanwhile, Russian warships were deployed off the Georgian Black Sea coast. Russia denied they were enforcing a blockade - saying they were simply searching ships for arms cargo - and said they later returned to port. However, Ukraine threatened to block the return of Russian warships to their Black Sea base at Sevastopol saying it did not want to be "drawn into a military conflict". Georgia says an additional 10,000 Russian soldiers have crossed into South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The separatist authorities in Abkhazia have announced full military mobilisation. The BBC's Richard Galpin, who is on Georgia's crossing point into South Ossetia, says he has heard artillery fire between Georgian and Russian troops in the area. Amateur video claims to show Russian aircraft attacking Georgian targets near Abkhazia Local residents fleeing the area told him there was continued fighting on the outskirts of the Tskhinvali, although the city itself was said to be relatively quiet with Russian forces in full control. Earlier, Georgian officials said Russian jets had bombed a military airfield close to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Three bombs had been dropped on the airfield, where there is a factory producing Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jets, they said. There was no independent confirmation of the attack, although the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse, who was in the city at the time, said he heard a loud explosion. The current fighting began four days ago when Georgian forces launched a surprise attack to regain control of South Ossetia, which has had de facto independence since the end of a civil war in 1992. The move followed days of exchanges of heavy fire with the Russian-backed separatists. In response to the Georgian crackdown, Moscow sent armoured units across the border frontier. Georgia's aspiration to join Nato... is driven by its attempt to drag other nations and peoples into its bloody adventures. On Saturday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili called for an immediate ceasefire after Russian planes carried out air strikes on the Georgian town of Gori, not far from South Ossetia. Scores of civilians were reported to have been killed. The Georgian parliament has approved a presidential decree declaring a "state of war" for 15 days. There are conflicting figures about the casualties suffered on both sides, and independent verification has not been possible, but the numbers appeared to rise sharply on Saturday. Russian and South Ossetian estimates put the death toll on the South Ossetian side at more than 1,500, mostly civilians. Georgian casualty figures ranged from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of about 130 dead. Thousands of people are known to have fled into the neighbouring Russian region of North Ossetia and other parts of Georgia. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, called for civilians trapped in conflict areas to be granted safe passage out. Abkhazia concerns Speaking to the BBC, Georgian interior ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said Georgian troops had pulled back to positions at or south of those held before 6 August, when the hostilities began. From there, he said, they were engaged in fighting Russian forces. ARMED FORCES COMPARED GEORGIA Total personnel: 26,900 Main battle tanks (T-72): 82 Armoured personnel carriers: 139 Combat aircraft (Su-25): Seven Heavy artillery pieces (including Grad rocket launchers): 95 RUSSIA Total personnel: 641,000 Main battle tanks (various): 6,717 Armoured personnel carriers: 6,388 Combat aircraft (various): 1,206 Heavy artillery pieces (various): 7,550 Source: Jane's Sentinel Country Risk Assessments Mr Utiashvili told the BBC that the withdrawal was necessary because of the mass civilian and military casualties both within South Ossetia and elsewhere in Georgia. He said that Georgia was now facing a "humanitarian catastrophe", adding that 100 soldiers Georgian soldiers had been killed, and many more wounded. A spokesman for the Russian military said Georgia had not withdrawn and insisted Georgia had to do that before any kind of ceasefire could come into effect. A Russian commander in the conflict zone, Maj-Gen Marat Kulakhmetov, said the situation remained tense, and suggested both sides were preparing for further military action. Earlier, Georgia said Russia had brought an additional 10,000 troops across Georgia's frontiers - 6,000 by land into South Ossetia and 4,000 by sea into Abkhazia. The head of the pro-Russian separatist authorities in Abkhazia also said he had sent 1,000 troops to the Tbilisi-controlled Kodori gorge and announced the "full mobilisation" of reservists. "We are ready to act independently," Sergei Bagapsh said. "We are ready to enforce order and go further if there is resistance from the Georgian side." A Georgian interior ministry official later told the BBC that Russia had launched what he called "all-out military aggression" against Georgia, including attacking areas outside the conflict zone in South Ossetia. He said Russian planes were now bombing the western town of Zugdidi and Georgian-controlled territory inside Abkhazia. The claims could not be independently verified. Georgia's parliament has approved a decree declaring a state of war. The UN's Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Edmond Mulet, said on Saturday that he feared the Abkhaz separatists were preparing to launch an offensive. "At this point we are particularly concerned that the conflict appears to be spreading beyond South Ossetia into Abkhazia," he said. Speaking on Saturday in the nearby city of Vladikavkaz, Mr Putin accused Georgia of seeking "bloody adventures" and trying to drag other countries into the conflict. In an outspoken attack, he referred directly to Georgia's aspirations to join Nato, a move which Moscow strongly opposes. Mr Putin described the actions of Georgian soldiers as genocide against the South Ossetian people and defended Moscow's military action to intervene directly. Redrawing the map Meanwhile, a joint delegation of the US, EU and the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe is heading to Georgia in the hope of brokering a truce. It comes as a third emergency session of the UN Security Council ended without an agreement on the wording of a statement calling for a ceasefire. But emissaries from the US and Europe who are Nato members may not be seen as honest brokers by the Kremlin when it comes to Georgia, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall says. The danger now is that Russia will not only use this crisis to demonstrate its military power in the region, but argue it is time to redraw the map, she adds.
Deadly violence hits west China (NSI News Source Info) Beijing - August 10, 2008: Two militants died in the bombings and five were killed by police, Xinhua says. Seven militants and a security guard have been killed after a series of bombings in China's north-western region of Xinjiang, state media says. The pre-dawn violence in southern Kuqa county targeted a police station and other government buildings. The explosions were followed by gunfire in the area, which is 3,000km (1,860 miles) from Beijing, witnesses said. Earlier this week, China said 16 policemen were killed in an attack by Islamist separatists in Xinjiang. "The lawbreakers drove a taxi to the local public security office, industry and business administration and other sites and tossed homemade explosives, destroying two police vehicles," Xinhua news agency reported. Two of the militants died in the attacks, while five were killed later by police, Xinhua news agency reported. Olympics threat World Uighur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit told the BBC that the Chinese government was responsible for the latest blasts because of what he called repressive policies in Xinjiang. "In order to stop the East Turkestan situation getting worse, I urge the international community to exert pressure on China to immediately stop its systematic repressive government policies," he said. Xinjiang is home to many Muslim Uighurs, some of whom want independence in the region they call East Turkestan. Kuqa county itself is almost exclusively populated by Uighurs. Uighur separatists in Xinjiang have waged a low-level campaign against Chinese rule for decades. The latest incident came after the Olympic Games opened in Beijing, with a spectacular display of fireworks, music and dancing. Human rights groups say Beijing is suppressing the rights of Uighurs. China has spoken in the past of what it calls a terrorist threat from Muslim militants in Xinjiang, but it has provided little evidence to back up its claims, correspondents say.
India bags $20 mn helicopter contract
(NSI News Source Info) New Delhi, August 10, 2008: After getting a foothold in the South American market, India has bid successfully to get its second international contract for three Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) for an estimated $ 20 million from Turkey amidst stiff competition from global players. The contract, finalised by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Saturday, comes weeks after India made its debut in the international helicopter market by winning a $ 50 million order for seven indigenously built ALH for the Ecuadorian Air Force. HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja confirmed that an Indian delegation in Turkey finalised the deal and the initial order of three helicopters is expected to go up further. The Indian Aviation giant will start delivering the three machines within six months. “It was a very difficult country to sell to and we have made a breakthrough. This (the three helicopters) is the first lot and we are hoping to sell more. Turkey is planning to buy more helicopters in several phases,” Baweja told The Indian Express. While he didn’t disclose the value of the deal, it is expected to be over the $ 20 million mark. Sources said Turkey is planning to buy around 17 ALH helicopters over the next few years and the total value of the deal could be close to $150 million. What makes the success even more special for HAL is that its helicopter won the bid in the presence of American giant Bell that was also in the fray. Turkey is also known to have traditional preference for US made defence products. After suffering a series of setbacks — it lost the race to supply 12 utility helicopters to the Chilean Air Force in January and the contract was bagged by American Bell 412 helicopter; and then failed to get a contract from Malaysia — the ALH seems to have made a mark in the international market. It had won the Ecuador contract amidst competition from Elbit (Israel), Eurocopter and Kazan (Russia), and with Turkey in the bag, will look forward to contracts in the Latin American market where it is the frontrunner in several trials.The USP of the helicopter is its price that is sign ificantly lower than its competitors.