DTN News: Iraq To Fetch MiG-21s And MiG-23s Fighter Planes From Serbia
*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) BAGHDAD, Iraq - August 31, 2009: An Iraqi military delegation has gone to Serbia to bring back 19 MiG fighter planes that Saddam Hussein's regime sent for servicing 20 years ago, the defence ministry said on Saturday. (Image: MiG-23 Flogger Fighter Bomber)
"General Othman al-Fredji, a defence ministry adviser, and Anwar Mohammed Amin, head of the air force, are in Serbia negotiating the return (of the planes) at the earliest possible date," spokesman General Mohammed al-Askari said.
The Soviet-built MiG-21 and 23 aircraft, whose existence has just been discovered, "were sent by Saddam's government in 1989 for maintenance and everything was paid for with Iraqi money," he said.
Askari said the planes are important for Iraq as "our air force only possesses helicopters."
The former Yugoslavia was a major exporter of arms to Saddam's dictatorship before breaking up in the 1990s.
Askari said the ministry "is searching in the United States, France, Italy, Russia and some Arab countries to locate funds or military equipment that the former government bought for its army."
Iraq has found two navy vessels belonging to it in Egypt and two others moored in Italy as well as "aircraft and equipment in Russia and France," the spokesman said, without giving further details.
DTN News: US Considers Alternative To Europe Missile Sites ~ Report
*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 31, 2009: The US government has developed possible alternative plans for a missile defense shield that could drop proposed missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Citing unnamed administration officials, the newspaper said the change would please Russia and Germany but could sour relations with US allies in Eastern Europe.
Barack Obama administration officials said they hoped to complete their months-long review of the planned antimissile system as early as next month, possibly in time for Obama to present ideas to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting in New York during the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, the report said.
But they cautioned that no decisions had been made and that all options were still under discussion, the paper noted.
The Obama review team plans to present a menu of options rather than a single recommendation to a committee of senior national security officials in the coming weeks, The Times said. Only after that would the matter go to cabinet-rank officials and the president.
The paper said that among the alternatives are dropping either the Polish or Czech site, or both sites, and instead building launching pads or radar installations in Turkey or the Balkans, while developing land-based versions of the Aegis SM-3, a ship-based anti-missile system.
Officials said the changes would be intended not to mollify Russia, but to adjust to what they see as an accelerating threat from shorter-range Iranian missiles, according to the report.
People following the review, including anxious officials in Eastern Europe, said they thought that the administration was preparing to abandon the Polish and Czech sites, The Times noted.
"It is clear that Eastern Europe is out of the epicenter of this American administration," the paper quoted Piotr Paszkowski, a spokesman for Poland’s foreign minister, as saying. "The missile defense system is now under review. The chances that it will be in Poland are 50-50."
DTN News: Northrop Grumman, Boeing Eager To Resume Tanker War ~ Northrop Grumman Win Could Mean 1,500 Jobs For Mobile*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) LOS ANGELES, USA - August 31, 2009: With a new round of competition set to begin in the next couple of weeks, officials with Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. said they're eager to resume their battle for the U.S. Air Force's refueling tanker contract.
"This is a big one. And it's a big one for both sides," said Paul Meyer, head of Los Angeles-based Northrop's tanker program. "We're ready to get to it."
Top Air Force officials said last week they hope to reopen bidding on the potential $40 billion contract soon after lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., from their summer recess. Congress is scheduled to reconvene Sept. 8.
The stakes could not be much higher. New tankers are the Air Force's top priority, and the contract ranks among the biggest ever awarded by the Pentagon. For Mobile, a win by Northrop and its bidding partner, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., would bring construction of a $600 million, 1,500-worker aircraft production plant.
For Chicago-based Boeing, a win would secure thousands of aircraft assembly jobs in Washington state and Kansas, both hard-hit by the economic downturn. It also would keep the company's lock on the Air Force tanker business, a franchise it has held for nearly 50 years, and deal a blow to archrival Airbus.
Airbus, an EADS subsidiary, has announced plans to add assembly of commercial A330 freighters in Mobile, contingent on winning the tanker work. The facility would give Airbus a long-sought foothold on U.S. soil and establish a Southern center of aircraft production to rival Boeing's operations in the Pacific Northwest.
"This competition is a top priority for Boeing," said spokesman Bill Barksdale. "It's significant because we feel it is a long-term business for us, and we want to keep it."
Northrop and Boeing waged a fierce, politically charged contest for the contract last year. Northrop, offering a larger, more capable tanker based on an Airbus A330 jet, shocked observers by beating Boeing and its smaller KC-767, which had been heavily favored to win.
The contract for 179 planes was designed to be the first of three phases to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of more than 500 KC-135 Stratotankers, which average nearly 50 years in service and are becoming increasingly costly to operate.
The deal unraveled last fall after federal auditors, acting on a protest filed by Boeing, found problems with the way the Air Force conducted its evaluation. That led Defense Secretary Robert Gates to order a new competition beginning this year.
Since then, both the companies and the Air Force have been preparing for the rematch.
"A lot of people are working very hard on this to make sure that this is done perfectly right," said David Van Buren, the Air Force's top acquisition official. "Right now, we're in a period of reviewing all of the documentation and making sure that it meets everybody's expectations."
Van Buren said he anticipates that the Pentagon will release a draft version of its request for bids "after the Hill reconvenes after Labor Day."
Under that timeline, a final version of the bidding criteria would be issued by January, and a winner would be selected next summer. Gates and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley remain committed to a winner-take-all contest, even as a proposal to split the order continues to circulate through Congress.
"I think if (a dual buy) is structured in a way that saves costs, you could see support for it," said U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham.
Davis added that a compromise may be the only way to break a political stalemate between the two rival teams. "Otherwise, we'll be right back in this mess two years from now. And we can't wait that long for a modern tanker."
Meyer, a former fighter pilot now known as Northrop's "Mr. Tanker," said he's eager to get back into the ring with Boeing.
"They didn't believe we were a serious contender in the first round. Now they know," he said. "I think they'll sharpen their offer, just as we will. We'll both play hard, and we'll both bring out the best we've got. And when you get that kind of vigorous competition, the Air Force should be the beneficiary."
DTN News: Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir ~ Pakistan Renames The Northern Areas As Gilgit-Baltistan
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - August 31, 2009: In a move with far-reaching implications, the Pakistan government on Saturday approved a self-governance and reforms package for the Northern Areas, renaming it as "Gilgit-Baltistan", part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pakistani Rangers (black uniform) and Indian Border Security Forces perform in the daily retreat ceremony at the Indo-Pakistan Wagah border on August 28, 2009. Pakistan has undergone a dramatic policy shift to recognise Taliban rebels as a major threat, but is more ambivalent on liquidating Islamists trained to fight the ultimate nemesis: India. India and Pakistan have gone to war three times since 1948 -- twice over the disputed territory Kashmir. Pakistan lost each time, culminating with the loss of a sixth of its land as East Pakistan became Bangladesh.
The strategically located Northern Areas, which borders the North West Frontier Province to the west, Afghanistan and China to the north and Jammu and Kashmir to the east, will have rights akin to those of Pakistan's four provinces, said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The "Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009", unveiled by Gilani at a news conference, is also aimed at giving the Northern Areas "full internal autonomy" and changing the region's name to Gilgit-Baltistan.
The order will come into effect after President Asif Ali Zardari formally ratifies it by issuing an official notification.
Federal Minister Farooq Sattar told reporters separately that elections will be held in the Northern Areas in the next three months to install a government like the one in PoK.
Sattar also said a cabinet committee will be constituted to "remove hurdles for merging Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan in accordance with the resolutions of the UN".
India says that the Northern Areas are part of its territory as they were part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The new package for the Northern Areas was approved earlier on Saturday by a special meeting of the cabinet chaired by Gilani. The Prime Minister said the issue was finalised only after consulting all stakeholders, including the foreign ministry and the government of PoK.
Asked why the Northern Areas were not given the status of a province, he said, "Like in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), we are giving them the rights of the provinces but according to the constitution, we can't (give them the status of a province)."
The proposed Gilgit-Baltistan assembly will frame its own rules of procedures while legislation on governance will be formulated by the council and assembly, Gilani said.
There region will have a Governor who will be appointed by the President and a chief minister elected by the assembly.
The assembly will have 24 directly elected members.
Till the election of a new assembly, Kashmir and Northern Areas Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira will act as Governor,he said.
The government's move is apparently aimed at addressing complaints from the people of the Northern Areas that they had no representation in the National Assembly and that the Pakistani constitution did not apply in their region.
Some groups in the Northern Areas had also launched a movement for the creation of an independent Balawaristan, the ancient name for the region.
DTN News: Lockerbie Bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi Release "Linked To Oil Deal" ~ Report
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - August 31, 2009: Britain agreed to include Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi in a prisoner transfer deal with Libya because of "overwhelming interests" shortly before an oil deal was sealed with Tripoli, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, left, meets Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at the G8 Summit in L'Aquilla. Italy Friday July 10, 2009. Brown called on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to help return a British child he said was abducted by her father and taken to Libya. Brown's office said Friday he had asked Gadhafi in talks on the sidelines of the G-8 summit to intervene in the case of 6-year-old Nadia Fawzi, alleged to have been taken from northern England to Libya in 2007. Gadhafi raised the case of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan found guilty of blowing up an airliner over Scotland in a 1988 attack that killed 270 people.
The Sunday Times said leaked letters from Justice Secretary Jack Straw undermined government denials of a link between the former Libyan agent's freedom and British trade interests.
Megrahi, 57, was released from jail on August 20 after Scottish authorities said his terminal cancer gave compassionate grounds for him to return home to die.
The British government has distanced itself from the decision, made by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, which has angered many relatives of the bombing's victims and the United States government, which lost 189 citizens.
Megrahi was the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie that killed 270 people. His rapturous reception in Tripoli has been criticized by the British and U.S. governments.
The Sunday Times said two letters from Straw, dated five months apart, showed he reversed an original plan to exclude Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement that was being discussed with Libya.
The paper said the change of heart appeared to be linked to a stalled $900 million oil and gas exploration deal with Libya for British oil giant BP that was ratified a few weeks later.
BP has always denied any link between the deal and the prisoner agreement.
Straw wrote to MacAskill in July 2007 to say he favored excluding Megrahi from the prisoner transfer, an arrangement desired by the Scottish administration which has autonomous powers over most criminal matters.
But by December 2007 he told MacAskill his position had changed.
"The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the (prisoner transfer agreement) should be in the standard form and not mention any individual," the Sunday Times quoted Straw as writing.
Straw told BBC radio the alleged link between trade and Megrahi's release was an "absurd confection."
"The suggestion that at any stage there was some kind of backdoor deal done over Mr Megrahi's transfer because of trade is simply untrue," he said
The negotiations on prisoner transfers were part of a "normalization process" with Libya, he said.
London had made clear to Tripoli that Scotland would retain an absolute right to refuse a prisoner transfer, he added,
Straw said the issue was "academic" given that Scotland eventually released Megrahi on compassionate grounds and not under the transfer agreement.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY August 31, 2009 ~ Supply For NATO Stops After Row With Afghans
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) QUETTA, Pakistan - August 31, 2009: Fuel and other supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan were stopped as traffic on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border remained suspended on Saturday because of a row over search of goods trucks coming from Afghanistan. Trucks carrying goods for US and NATO forces are parked on the middle of the road on Pak Afghan Border in protest against the behavior of the security forces personnel.—Online
Hundreds of trailers carrying fuel and other supplies, including food, military equipment and vehicles, were stuck up in the border town of Chaman.
According to sources, about 300 vehicles are stuck in the Pakistani border area. A large number of vehicles loaded with fruit and other goods are also stuck on the Afghan side of the border.
The sources said that the row broke out on Friday after Pakistani border officials asked Afghan drivers of trucks carrying grapes and other fruit to unload their goods for search.
The drivers refused to do so, saying the unloading would spoil the fruit.
The officials said they would not allow entry of trucks without checking. ‘We cannot change our method of checking,’ a senior border security official said.
The Afghan drivers alleged that the border officials demanded money for clearing the trucks. Pakistani officials denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, Afghan traders stopped entry of trucks and other vehicles carrying Nato supplies into Afghanistan in protest against the Pakistan government’s decision.
The Chaman Chamber of Commerce of Industry expressed concern over the issue and said that traders would suffer huge losses if the dispute remained unresolved.
DTN News: China TODAY August 31, 2009 ~ China Launches Solar Power Project
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - August 31, 2009: China has begun construction of a 500-megawatt solar power plant in the country's central Hubei province, officials said.
The plant is being built in the provincial capital of Wuhan at a cost of $450 million. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, center, holds a solar panel with movie actor Jet Li, right, during a visit to launch a solar-power road lamp project in a village in Guiyang, China Saturday Aug. 22, 2009.
The project is a joint venture between Greenway Solar-Tech Co. Ltd. Of China and the Evergreen Solar Inc. of the US, said Ding Kongxian, chief executive officer of the US firm, Saturday. The construction of the plant will be completed in the next three years. A worker controls the production line of the silicon chips which used for making photoelectric board product at the plant of Tianwei Yingli Green Energy Resources Co. , Ltd on August 24, 2009 in Baoding, China. China's top economic planning agency will soon submit a draft support plan of the country's new energy industry to the State Council for approval, a plan that would focus on nuclear power and renewable energy as wind and solar power, according to an official of the National Bureau of Energy.
The Evergreen Solar Inc., a Nasdaq-listed company, makes products such as solar cells, panels and systems.
DTN News: Technology TODAY August 31, 2009 ~ Indian Scientists Hail Aborted Lunar Mission
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - August 31, 2009: The head of India's state-run space agency on Sunday hailed the country's first moon mission a success, despite losing contact with the spacecraft. Indian Space Research Organization scientists address a press conference after the successful launch of India's maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, or "Moon Craft" in ancient Sanskrit, at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) north of Chennai, India. India launched its first mission to the moon Wednesday, rocketing the satellite up into the pale dawn sky in a two-year mission to redraw maps of the lunar surface.
"The mission was a great success," G. Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told reporters in the state capital of Goa, Panaji, where a conference on low-budget space missions opens this week.
Nair, who said 95 percent of the Chandrayaan-I project's objectives had been completed, admitted scientists were disappointed with the development, but said a "large volume" of data was collected, including 70,000 images of the moon.
India launched the unmanned satellite and put a probe on the moon's surface to great fanfare and national pride late last year, propelling the country into the league of space-faring nations.
ISRO announced on Saturday that the 80-million-dollar project was over after losing radio contact with the satellite early on Friday, blaming a computer malfunction for cutting communications.
The satellite is now likely to crash onto the moon's surface.
The mission had been expected to last two years and was intended as a first step towards landing an unmanned moon rover by 2012. India also aims to launch satellites to study Mars and Venus as well as a manned space flight by 2020.
Nair told a news conference that a formal inquiry into what went wrong would be launched as a matter of course to learn lessons for future projects. In this Oct. 22, 2008 handout file photograph provided by the Indian Space Research Organization, India's maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, or Moon Craft in ancient Sanskrit, is seen successfully taking off at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) north of Chennai, India. India became the fourth nation to mark its presence on the Moon after a Moon Impact Probe painted with the national tri-color successfully landed on the lunar surface after being detached from the unmanned spacecraft Chandrayaan-1, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
But he added: "We have found that all the instruments on the spacecraft worked satisfactorily and the entire scientific instruments have performed. That is how we could collect a large volume of data.
"We survived for 315 days, which is a good record. Many such experiments have burnt within a month in the past."
DTN News: Hong Kong TODAY August 31, 2009 ~ Clare Hollingworth, Doyenne Of Reporters Still Proud Of World War II Scoop
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - August 31, 2009: Seventy years after the outbreak of World War II, the veteran British war correspondent who brought news of that moment to the public remains intensely proud of her achievements.
Now 97, Clare Hollingworth broke the story in 1939 of Germany's invasion of Poland.
Bespectacled and frail, she says if she had her way, she would still be covering the world's news hotspots.
"If there is a war, and if the world wants, I would like to cover it," she told AFP.
Hollingworth is almost blind. Her hearing and memory are failing her, especially after a stroke early this year. She can stand only with a stick and when seated keeps a firm hold on the hand of a domestic care-giver. (Image: Clare Hollingworth, Doyenne Of Reporters Still Proud Of World War II Scoop)
Yet hard as it is to imagine, seven decades ago this woman drove on her own into German territory to see for herself the launch of Hitler's Nazi war machine.
It was late August 1939 and Hollingworth's first week working as a journalist in Poland, despatched there by The Daily Telegraph to cover the worsening security situation in Europe.
The 27-year-old lodged with the British consul-general in Katowice, a city near the German border that was closed to all but diplomatic vehicles.
With characteristic boldness, she decided she would borrow the consul's car to venture into Germany.
Driving along a road, the wind suddenly blew off screens of hessian and revealed to her large numbers of German troops, hundreds of tanks, armoured cars and field guns, all facing Poland and ready for action.
Back in Katowice she relayed the scene to the consul-general, who listened in disbelief, not even sure it was possible to get into Germany.
But he grew convinced when Hollingworth opened the car door to show off purchases she had made across the border that were unavailable in Poland -- bottles of wine, electric torches, and films.
The consul promptly locked himself in his office and enciphered the top secret message to the Foreign Office via the British Embassy in Warsaw.
Hollingworth recorded in her autobiography "Captain if Captured" how she also sent her own message to Warsaw, dictating her story to a colleague there, who relayed it to The Daily Telegraph within minutes.
On September 1, it was Hollingworth who, at the crack of dawn called the British Embassy to tell the officials there that the war had begun, after she was woken up by the roar of Nazi aircraft and tanks in Katowice.
Hollingworth said she had to hold the telephone out of her bedroom window to convince the Embassy her story was true -- Britain at that time still believed there was a chance they could stop the war by negotiating with Hitler.
Hollingworth has since recounted the story that ensued, hundreds, if not thousands of times, to colleagues, friends, journalists and in her books.
But she has now forgotten a large part of her extraordinary experience, except patchy images of herself braving the danger and chaos at the frontline when Nazi planes dropped bombs over Poland.
"I wish I could remember more. It meant a lot to me," she said.
The stint was to be the beginning of Hollingworth's distinguished life-long career as a war correspondent, in which the highlights read like a history of 20th century conflict.
It was she who revealed the move towards peace talks between Hanoi and Washington at the end of the Vietnam War and she who discovered the defection of British spy Kim Philby to the Soviet Union.
In 1946 Hollingworth and her late husband Geoffrey Hoare narrowly escaped death when terrorists blew up the King David hotel in Jerusalem, where they were staying, killing 91 people.
Born in 1911, the idea for her future career was implanted early in life during World War I. She dates her interest from a trip in a trap, drawn by her pony Polly, to inspect the effects of German bombing close to her home in Loughborough, central England.
Despite her advanced years, Hollingworth retains a toughness developed from a lifetime as witness to war's horrors in such places as Vietnam, Algeria, the Middle East, India and Pakistan.
Until recently, Hollingworth daily phoned her former colleagues on the London newsdesk to "check the news" from her Hong Kong home, and would from time to time sleep on the floor "just to see if I can still do it".
Despite her frailty, the doyenne of war correspondents insists on paying daily visits to the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club, where she is highly respected by staff and members alike.
There, she sits at her favourite corner table and puts on headphones to listen to BBC World news programmes. Her helpers say she has no time for non-news related television or radio programmes.
Her great nephew Patrick Garrett, who is writing a book on Hollingworth's life, said she remained as proud of her profession as in her younger days.
"She would still say I am a correspondent, I am a journalist -- not a retired, elderly woman," he said.
DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 31, 2009 ~ SM Goh To Visit Libya For 40th National Day Celebrations*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - August 31, 2009: Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will be visiting Libya from Monday to September 2. He will be representing Singapore at celebrations marking Libya’s 40th year of independence.
Mr Goh will be accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education S Iswaran, and will meet with senior members of the Libyan government in the capital, Tripoli. (Image: SM Goh to visit Libya for 40th National Day celebrations)
Economic ties between the two countries have strengthened significantly since diplomatic relations were established in 2006. Between 2007 and 2008, trade grew from S$93 million to S$406 million.
To date, Singapore companies have also secured over S$2 billion in projects across the construction, water infrastructure and capability development sectors.
The Libya—Singapore Joint Working Group was established shortly after Mr Goh’s first visit to Libya in May 2008. It is a key economic platform for the two countries to promote bilateral cooperation.
Both sides signed an Investment Guarantee Agreement and the Avoidance of Double Taxation Convention in April this year, but the agreements have yet to be ratified.
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - August 30, 2009: Having full potential to "make or break" the current political dispensation, the trickle-down effect of the issue of Musharraf’s trial, has already started. In Pakistan, the first week of the month of fasting was marked by political controversies and gossips, having its link with the demand of trial of the former military dictator by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan’s second largest and opposition party.
First, there was the controversy of military operation in Karachi in 1992, when the head of PML-N Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) accused Nawaz Sharif for his alleged involvement in the cleanup operation, which left hundreds of MQM workers dead. Adding fuel to fire, the chief of Musharraf created Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) Chaudary Shujat Hussain, who was interior minister in Nawaz’s kitchen cabinet in 1992, disclosed how around 60 workers of MQM were brought from Karachi, tortured to death and then buried in Islamabad’s Margalla Hills.
To clear allegations against its chief, the PML-N went in public saying it was the army’s doing. The Karachi story was not yet over that a list of politicians involved in getting money from the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was made public by the former chief spy of the ISI Asad Durrani. The list, which reopened old wounds, included name of the former PM Nawaz Sharif.
The starting point of the ongoing controversies was the Supreme Court (SC) decision of July 31 which declared the imposition of emergency by the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007 illegal and left it for parliament to decide the fate of Musharraf.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani says his government will try Musharraf if the parliament passes a unanimous resolution. In other words he is saying that his government will not proceed against Musharraf or that pursuing Musharraf is out of question. His slain leader Benazir Bhutto and her spouse struck a deal with Musharraf which allowed Miss Bhutto’s return to the country. The deal was in the shape of controversial National Reconciliation Order (NRO), which provided indemnity to politicians, diplomats and other civil servants involved in corruption cases. The foot-dragging of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to try Musharraf, according to political observers, is caused by the concern that it will upset the guarantors of the deal—the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Pakistan’s powerful military.
Then there are the ones who maintain that putting the general on trial would be a waste of time and effort.
"It would be best to come out of the past and concentrate on the tasks ahead", says Ayaz Amir, a columnist and PML-N parliamentarian.
Though no one appeared on behalf of Musharraf in the apex court to defend him in the "judges case" which was related to the imposition of emergency, yet he is not without supporters to defend him in public, parliament and media on the trial issue. The more prominent among them is the former ruling PML-Q. Its chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has recently said that his party will oppose moves against Musharraf. The MQM has been defending Musharraf since he removed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudary in March 2007 from his position and then onwards. The former dictator has supporters even beyond these two parties.
But the PML-N is adamant on Musharraf’s trial and challenged his emergency in the apex court. The PML-N chief demands that Musharraf should be tried under Article 6 of the constitution. Article 6 of the constitution says "anyone who abrogates or subverts the constitution is guilty of high treason. He who conspires with another to abrogate or subvert it or aids this other person’s act of abrogating or subverting it is likewise guilty of high treason."
If Musharraf is tried for declaring a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007, so, in terms of Article 6, those who aided him too could be charged with high treason.
Putting the former military dictator and president on trial would be like opening a "Pandora box", having the potential to cause panic, confusion and chaos. To avoid any derailment of the system, the Supreme Court, which emerged more powerful after the successful lawyers movement holds the key. Musharraf’s imposition of emergency, which has been challenged by the PML-N in the Supreme Court will be the focal of attention in days and weeks to come.
DTN News: India's Armed Forces ~ The Great Global Officer Shortage
*Source: DTN News / Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - August 30, 2009: Despite having only one soldier (sailor or airman) for every 866 people, India has a chronic officer shortage. The United States, with one soldier for every 187 Americans, has no shortage . China, with one soldier for every 591, has no shortage either. What is going on here? What is happening is a global officers shortage. Until the last few decades, it was considered prestigious, and career enhancing, to serve at least a few years as a military officer. These days, no more. Shortages are often filled by lowering standards, which can have disastrous results in combat.
The Indian Army is short 24 percent of its officer strength, while China has the numbers, it is seriously concerned with the quality. Meanwhile, the Indian army has had a shortage of officers for decades. The air force and navy are also short, but only by 12-15 percent. In China, the problem is growing as the economy continues to boom (despite the global recession.)
But it's not just officers that are hard for the Indians to recruit and keep. Technical specialists are in short supply, which is a growing problem as the army adds more high tech gear. The basic problem is that the army must compete with the civilian economy for highly trained or educated personnel.
The Indian army maintains high standards for officers, and has tried to eliminate the shortages by more aggressively recruiting young NCOs for officer candidate school. But that doesn't always work, because too many of the NCOs cannot pass the entrance exam. The source of that problem is the corruption in the Indian primary school system. Teaching jobs in many parts of the country are considered political patronage. These teaching assignments are handed out to political activists, with the understanding that they are no-show jobs. So, despite a lot of money being put into primary education over the last half century, the illiteracy rate is still 39 percent. The Chinese rate is 9.1 percent.
The Indian military has long been an all-volunteer force, and had no trouble filling the ranks. But over the last decade, as the government dismantled controls on business, and privatized many government owned companies, the economy has boomed. There are not enough qualified technical and management people to fill all the skilled jobs. India has been looking at how other nations solve these problems. They have noted American success (over the last four decades) in outsourcing a lot of support jobs. This is almost a necessity with some high tech specialties, where even civilian firms face shortages. Another American technique, cash bonuses for jobs with shortages, is more difficult for India, which much less money to spend on defense. India also has some unique cultural problems. While the caste system is, in theory outlawed and not functioning, it is still there. Which caste you belong to not only influences who you can marry, but, to a lesser extent, where you can work. And when the word gets around that the "wrong kind of people" are becoming army officers, many (a large minority) potential officers suddenly show no interest in a military career. Coupled with the high illiteracy rate, small number of college grads, and huge competition from the booming economy, it's a wonder the shortfall is only 24 percent.
China has similar problems, although there are differences. The Chinese education system is more efficient, or at least less corrupt. Although China still has conscription, the armed forces are basically staffed with volunteers. But the three decade economic boom has made it difficult for the military to get the quality people it wants. Thus many Chinese officers are, for want of a better word, losers. The same could be said for many Indian officers, but India, or at least many parts of India, have a military tradition. There, bright young lads will forgo higher pay to serve as officers. But that is not as fashionable as it used to be, and the Indian army wants to double the pay of junior officers to make it competitive with what civilian employers are offering new college grads. China recently gave its junior officers a raise.
Moreover, India has a problem that China does not have. India is at war, with troops getting killed and injured in Kashmir, the northeastern tribal areas, and fighting Maoist rebels in eastern India. The casualty rate is actually quite low, but just serving in a combat zone is hard on the nerves, and not attractive to many educated young Indians. Overall, bright young Indian men are competing to get into business and technical schools, while the military academy cannot fill vacancies. On the other hand, Indian officers are getting invaluable combat experience, much more than their Chinese peers.
Indian military leaders want officer conscription, via mandatory officer training and service for university graduates. But the majority of citizens and politicians oppose this. China has a system similar to the American ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps), where the costs of college are picked up by the government for those who study military subjects in college, and then serve as officers for a few years after they graduate. China also has more military academies than India, and is also having a hard time getting young men to attend them. China still gets a lot of officers via NCOs taking officer training. This provides good military leaders, but ones lacking the technical skills that are increasingly important.
Neither India nor China have found a solution for their junior officer shortage, and until there is a solution, the quality of their armed forces will suffer.
DTN News: Boeing Delays 787 Dreamliner Delivery To Late 2010
*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 30, 2009: Boeing said its much-delayed 787 Dreamliner airplane will be delivered to Japanese launch customer ANA in late 2010, more than two years behind the initial timetable.
"The first flight of the 787 Dreamliner is expected by the end of 2009 and first delivery is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2010," Boeing said in a statement.
Boeing had announced on June 23 a fifth delay in the 787 Dreamliner program to fix a structural problem on the side of the aircraft but had not provided a new schedule.
Japan's All Nippon Airways said it was dismayed and frustrated about the latest delay to the aircraft delivery.
"We understand the need to make the best and safest aircraft possible and appreciate that delays due to engineering issues of the current nature must be solved in order to move forward and achieve this," ANA said in a statement.
"However, as launch customer and future operator of the 787, the length of this further delay is a source of great dismay, not to say frustration," added ANA, which has ordered 55 of the 787 Dreamliners.
Boeing launched the Dreamliner program in April 2004 and initially had planned to deliver the first airplane to ANA in the first half of 2008.
Boeing said the new schedule reflected a previously announced need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft and an additional several weeks needed to reduce flight test and certification risk.
"This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work necessary to put the 787's game-changing capability in the hands of our customers," Boeing chairman, president and chief executive Jim McNerney said.
It projects a production rate of 10 airplanes per month in late 2013.
"The news was an encouraging sign of progress for investors," Briefing.com analysts said in a client note.
Shares in Boeing soared 8.36 percent to close at 51.82 dollars, the strongest gainer on the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The highly anticipated long-haul 787 aircraft is seen as key to the US aerospace giant's future. The company says it will use 20 percent less fuel than today's airplanes of comparable size.
Boeing is facing stiff competition in the aviation market from Airbus, a unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
Airbus is working on a new long-range A350 plane aimed at competing with the Dreamliner and expected to fly in mid-2013.
Boeing said it has 850 orders from 56 customers for the cutting-edge plane, which it claims is the "fastest-selling all-new jetliner in aviation history."
Airline companies that have announced cancelled orders for the delay-plagued 787 include Russian carrier S7, Dubai-based aircraft leasing company LCAL and Australia's Qantas.
The 787 Dreamliner is the company's first new model in more than a decade and features 50 percent plastic composites, compared with 12 percent on its 777s, helping lower fuel consumption.
Boeing said the 787 program was still on track to generate profits, based on the revised schedule and other estimate updates.
But it said the first three Dreamliner airplanes to be used in the initial test flights had been modified so much they would not have commercial market value beyond the development effort. The Chicago-based company said it would take an estimated charge of 2.5 billion dollars, or 2.21 dollars per share, against third-quarter results which are to be announced in October.
"This charge will have no impact on the company's cash outlook going forward," the company said.
DTN News: Russian Navy To Receive 4 New Amphibious Planes By 2013
(NSI News Source Info) GELENDZHIK, South Russia - August 30, 2009: Russia's Navy will put into operation four new A-42 amphibious planes by 2013, a senior military official said on Friday.
The A-42 (Be-42) amphibious plane is the search and rescue variant of the A-40 Mermaid ASW aircraft, which can be used for reconnaissance and target designation during patrols over coastal and international waters. It is the largest amphibious aircraft in the world.
"The Russian naval aviation will receive four A-42 amphibious planes by 2013, with the first one to be commissioned in 2010," the deputy commander of naval aviation, Maj. Gen. Nikolai Kuklev.
He said the A-42 would become the main reconnaissance and ASW aircraft of the Russian Navy after 2015 and would replace the ageing fleet of Be-12 Mail and Il-38 May maritime patrol aircraft.
At present, Russia deploys nine Be-12 aircraft with the Black Sea Fleet and has about 40 Il-38 planes operating with the Northern and Pacific fleets.
DTN News: U.S. Accuses Pakistan of Altering Missiles / White House Claims Pakistan Modified U.S.-Made Missiles ~ Report
*Source: DTN News / The New York Times By Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA- August 30, 2009: The United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets, a potential threat to India, according to senior administration and Congressional officials. The charge, which set off a new outbreak of tensions between the United States and Pakistan, was made in an unpublicized diplomatic protest in late June to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and other top Pakistani officials.
The accusation comes at a particularly delicate time, when the administration is asking Congress to approve $7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan over the next five years, and when Washington is pressing a reluctant Pakistani military to focus its attentions on fighting the Taliban, rather than expanding its nuclear and conventional forces aimed at India.
While American officials say that the weapon in the latest dispute is a conventional one — based on the Harpoon antiship missiles that were sold to Pakistan by the Reagan administration as a defensive weapon in the cold war — the subtext of the argument is growing concern about the speed with which Pakistan is developing new generations of both conventional and nuclear weapons.
“There’s a concerted effort to get these guys to slow down,” one senior administration official said. “Their energies are misdirected.”
At issue is the detection by American intelligence agencies of a suspicious missile test on April 23 — a test never announced by the Pakistanis — that appeared to give the country a new offensive weapon.
American military and intelligence officials say they suspect that Pakistan has modified the Harpoon antiship missiles that the United States sold the country in the 1980s, a move that would be a violation of the Arms Control Export Act. Pakistan has denied the charge, saying it developed the missile itself.The United States has also accused Pakistan of modifying American-made P-3C aircraft for land-attack missions, another violation of United States law that the Obama administration has protested.
Whatever their origin, the missiles would be a significant new entry into Pakistan’s arsenal against India. They would enable Pakistan’s small navy to strike targets on land, complementing the sizable land-based missile arsenal that Pakistan has developed. That, in turn, would be likely to spur another round of an arms race with India that the United States has been trying, unsuccessfully, to halt. “The focus of our concern is that this is a potential unauthorized modification of a maritime antiship defensive capability to an offensive land-attack missile,” said another senior administration official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter involves classified information.
“The potential for proliferation and end-use violations are things we watch very closely,” the official added. “When we have concerns, we act aggressively.”
A senior Pakistani official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity because the interchanges with Washington have been both delicate and highly classified, said the American accusation was “incorrect.” The official said that the missile tested was developed by Pakistan, just as it had modified North Korean designs to build a range of land-based missiles that could strike India. He said that Pakistan had taken the unusual step of agreeing to allow American officials to inspect the country’s Harpoon inventory to prove that it had not violated the law, a step that administration officials praised.
Some experts are also skeptical of the American claims. Robert Hewson, editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, a yearbook and Web-based data service, said the Harpoon missile did not have the necessary range for a land-attack missile, which would lend credibility to Pakistani claims that they are developing their own new missile. Moreover, he said, Pakistan already has more modern land-attack missiles that it developed itself or acquired from China.
“They’re beyond the need to reverse-engineer old U.S. kit,” Mr. Hewson said in a telephone interview. “They’re more sophisticated than that.” Mr. Hewson said the ship-to-shore missile that Pakistan was testing was part of a concerted effort to develop an array of conventional missiles that could be fired from the air, land or sea to address India’s much more formidable conventional missile arsenal.
The dispute highlights the level of mistrust that remains between the United States and a Pakistani military that American officials like to portray as an increasingly reliable partner in the effort to root out the forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda on Pakistani territory. A central element of the American effort has been to get the military refocused on the internal threat facing the country, rather than on threat the country believes it still faces from India.
Pakistani officials have insisted that they are making that shift. But the evidence continues to point to heavy investments in both nuclear and conventional weapons that experts say have no utility in the battle against insurgents.
Over the years, the United States has provided a total of 165 Harpoon missiles to Pakistan, including 37 of the older-model weapons that were delivered from 1985 to 1988, said Charles Taylor, a spokesman for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The country’s nuclear arsenal is expanding faster than any other nation’s. In May, Pakistan conducted a test firing of its Babur medium-range cruise missile, a weapon that military experts say could potentially be tipped with a nuclear warhead. The test was conducted on May 6, during a visit to Washington by President Asif Ali Zardari, but was not made public by Pakistani officials until three days after the meetings had ended to avoid upsetting the talks. While it may be technically possible to arm the Harpoons with small nuclear weapons, outside experts say it would probably not be necessary.
Before Congress departed for its summer recess, administration officials briefed crucial legislators on the protest to Pakistan. The dispute has the potential to delay or possibly even derail the legislation to provide Pakistan with $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years; lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the aid package when they return from their recess next month.
The legislation is sponsored by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the top Democrat and Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Representative Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat who leads the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressional aides are now reconciling House and Senate versions of the legislation. Frederick Jones, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry, declined to comment on the details of the dispute citing its classified nature but suggested that the pending multifaceted aid bill would clear Congress “in a few weeks” and would help cooperation between the two countries.
“There have been irritants in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the past and there will be in the future,” Mr. Jones said in a statement, noting that the pending legislation would provide President Obama “with new tools to address troubling behavior.”
DTN News: Raytheon Standard Missile-6 Completes Key Developmental Test*Source: DTN News / Raytheon
(NSI News Source Info) WHITE SANDS, N.M.,- August 30, 2009: Raytheon Company's (NYSE: RTN) Standard Missile-6 has completed tests which validate the extended-range anti-air warfare missile's airframe and autopilot performance. The U.S. Navy conducted the second test of Raytheon Company's Standard Missile-6 extended range anti-air warfare missile Sept. 5. The newly developed active seeker, employing the U.S. Navy's legacy command system, autonomously acquired and engaged the target. Today's test demonstrated this capability at low altitudes.
"The SM-6 program continues to move forward on budget and on schedule," said Kirk Johnson, Naval Sea Systems Command Standard Missile program manager. "Combining the legacy SM-2 Block IV capability with the AMRAAM's active seeker is a true accomplishment."
By performing a series of preprogrammed maneuvers, the SM-6 missile was pushed to the limits of its performance, allowing the U.S. Navy to gather vital simulation validation data.
"The technology that was proven in this test will provide the Navy with the weapon system it needs for outer and area defense to defeat current and future missile threats," said Louis Moncada, Raytheon Missile Systems' director of the SM-6 program. "This control test vehicle launch is the fourth test of the SM-6 following two guided test vehicle launches in 2008 and the recent advanced area defense interceptor test in May."
SM-6 takes full advantage of the legacy Standard Missile airframe and propulsion elements, while incorporating advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities of Raytheon's Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. This merger of these two proven technologies allows SM-6 to use both active and semiactive modes.
"The SM-6 program remains on budget and on schedule," said Kirk Johnson, the Navy's Standard Missile program director. "The weapon system provides advanced capabilities across the entire threat spectrum. The SM-6 will greatly enhance our fleet defense."
Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.
DTN News: GM Wants Russians Barred From Opel Takeover ~ Report*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BERLIN, Germany - August 30, 2009: US auto giant General Motors wants Russian firms barred from taking over its German subsidiary Opel, but Berlin does not agree, according to the weekly Der Spiegel. The General Motors logo is seen at the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant in July 2009 in Arlington, Texas. GM wants Russian firms barred from taking over its German subsidiary Opel, but Berlin does not agree, according to the weekly Der Spiegel.
In its forthcoming issue the weekly, which cites no sources, says that the US government, which now owns 60 percent of GM, wants no Russian participation in the future control of Opel.
Berlin favours Canadian auto parts maker Magna, along with Russian state-owned autobuilder GAZ and lender Sberbank, to take over Opel, which includes Vauxhall in Britain and employs 50,000 people, half of them in Germany.
GM's board is thought to prefer rival suitor RHJ International but has so far failed to name a buyer.
Government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm denied the report later Saturday, saying that neither General Motors nor the US government had said that a Russian presence was a reason for turning down Magna's bid.
Another government source added that any fears about technology transfer to Russia resulting from the deal could be dealt with in the eventual contract.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that she hoped for progress on the future of Opel "at the latest" before a board meeting of GM on September 8-9.
"We believe that it is good and correct that when it comes to the future of GM Europe, of Opel and GM, a decision is made as soon as possible. But substance must come before speed and if there are still issues to be resolved, then we will resolve them," Merkel said in an interview on Sat1/N24 television.
A report in the Bild daily said earlier that Berlin had dropped its opposition to GM selling Opel to RHJ, but the Brussels-based investment group would have to team up with a strategic partner in the auto industry.
Both Magna and RHJ want to slash around 10,000 jobs at Opel but Merkel and the state governments where Opel has factories prefer Magna because fewer of the cuts would fall in Germany than under RHJ's proposals.
Other unconfirmed reports have said that GM might decide to hang on to Opel after all.
Der Spiegel said Merkel had promised Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when they met in Munich in July that she would back the Magna bid to the hilt, but it added that the German government had "underestimated the Russian factor," which was "not a detail" for the Americans.
"GM is one of the largest players in the Russian automobile market and wants to stay that way," it said, referring to the proposal that under the new management Opels would be produced at the GAZ plant in Russia.
"In addition, even 20 years after the end of the Cold War, 'selling off to the Russians' is still perceived by many as a humiliation."
(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - August 30, 2009: Fresh fighting broke out Saturday in Myanmar's northeast between the junta and rebel ethnic forces, whose leader declared they had killed more than 30 government soldiers, Chinese state media said. Thai soldiers patrol as Karen refugees, fled from the fighting inside Myanmar, walk along the road at the Thai-Myanmar border in Mae Salid, Thailand. Over 4,000 Karen refugees have fled into Thailand to escape heavy fighting between Myanmar soldiers and the Karen guerrillas.
The clashes in Myanmar's remote northeast have driven up to 30,000 refugees across the border in recent weeks, the UN has said, causing China to issue a rare admonishment to its neighbour and ally to resolve the conflict.
The Global Times website quoted ethnic Kokang army leader Peng Jiasheng as saying in an interview that his forces had killed more than 30 junta troops and captured another 50. It said he refused to give his location.
The Washington-based US Campaign for Burma (USCB), which uses Myanmar's former name, also said around 30 junta soldiers had been killed with another 40 injured and 20 missing, citing local sources and ethnic media.
Battles that erupted this week in Kokang, a mainly ethnic Chinese region of Myanmar's Shan state, have violated a 20-year ceasefire and analysts have warned the fighting could escalate into full-scale civil war.
The USCB said around 7,000 junta troops were in the region late Friday, where they had had at least eight military encounters with rebel groups over two days.
A bomb was also thrown across the border Friday killing one and injuring several others in a mountainous region of China's southern Yunnan province, reported state-run China Daily, quoting a Chinese Red Cross official.
Refugees were still crossing the border Saturday, said Khuensai Jaiyen, editor of the Shan Herald Agency for News.
"It's not like the other day, we're not hearing of too many but they are still crossing," he told AFP.
Only sketchy details of the fresh fighting in Myanmar emerged, but China's Global Times said one of its correspondents in the area witnessed "fierce" gunfire between the Kokang ethnic army and government forces on Saturday.
The state newspaper said Chinese border guards had been put on alert to prevent the conflict spreading to China.
A resident of China's Zhenkang county on the border, who gave only his surname Xie, told AFP he heard gunfire in the distance early Saturday.
"It was pretty loud. Everybody could hear it. I heard it for about an hour," he said.
A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday said it "hopes that Myanmar can appropriately solve its relevant internal problems and safeguard the stability of the China-Myanmar border".
It also urged its neighbour "to protect the safety and legal rights of Chinese citizens in Myanmar".
China is one of the few allies of Myanmar's isolated junta, its main source of military hardware and a major consumer of its vast natural resources, despite Western concerns over the military-ruled nation's rights record.
Refugees who had crossed to the border town of Nansan were being housed in tents or other makeshift shelters and authorities were providing them blankets, medical care and other necessities, Chinese state media reports said.
The Global Times said Chinese border defence troops detained a group of unidentified armed Myanmar nationals as they attempted to cross the border at Nansan. It gave no other details.
China's state-run press has otherwise provided only scant coverage of the situation, a sensitive issue for Beijing due to its long-time support of Myanmar's military government.
Win Min, a Thailand-based Myanmar analyst and academic, said tensions had grown in Myanmar because the junta was trying to exert control ahead of the elections in 2010.
He said the army wanted to bring ethnic groups under its command as border guard forces, but many of them, seeking greater autonomy from the junta, were reluctant.
"The Burmese military are showing ceasefire groups that if they don't agree with their plans they are going to fight," he said.
DTN News: “US Soldiers Find Themselves Being Terrorists In Afghanistan”*Source: DTN News / Russia Today Thursday, August 27, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - August 30, 2009: As the US continues to step up war efforts in Afghanistan, the number of US soldiers refusing deployment to war zones is also increasing. On the ground, they find themselves being terrorists, says writer Dahr Jamail.
“More troops are realizing that, given that they join the military swearing to defend and support the constitution of the US, the part of the oath says they have to follow lawful orders. So by definition, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, since it happened without UN Security Council ratification, in fact this is not self-defense. It wasn’t the nation of Afghanistan that attacked the US. So a soldier who follows a direct order to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan is actually violating his own uniform code in military justice that says to follow lawful orders,” says independent journalist Jamail.
Dahr Jamal spent years in Iraq writing about what he calls the U.S. occupation of the country. He is the author of the book “The Will to Resist“, in which he attempts to explain why soldiers destined for the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan are going AWOL.
DTN News: Boeing Celebrates 70 Years In St. Louis*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, USA - August 30, 2009: Boeing Integrated Defense Systems President and CEO Jim Albaugh addresses the audience at the Boeing St. Louis 70th anniversary celebration on Aug. 27. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems President and CEO Jim Albaugh addresses the audience at the Boeing St. Louis 70th anniversary celebration on Aug. 27.
Hundreds of Boeing employees were joined at the site by community leaders, politicians, company executives and others to celebrate the anniversary of James S. McDonnell founding the company that for decades bore his name and is now part of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA].
The ceremony also highlighted production milestones for several Boeing products built in St. Louis, including delivery of more than 1,600 F-15 Eagles; 400 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; 200 C-17 subassemblies; 220 T-45 Goshawks; 220,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions; 7,000 Harpoon missiles and 4,000 Small Diameter Bombs.
Seated behind Albaugh from right to left are former Chairman and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Corporation and current Boeing Board of Directors member John McDonnell, Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond and Claire McCaskill, Rep. Russ Carnahan, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 President and Directing Business Representative Gordon King, St. Louis Central Labor Council President Robert Soutier, and Department of Economic Development Representative Linda Martinez. Click the below links to watch videos of their speeches.
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is the largest manufacturer in Missouri and the state’s second largest employer, with approximately 16,000 employees.
DTN News: India Acquires CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - August 30, 2009: The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons as well as associated equipment and services.
The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $375 million. The Government of India has requested a possible sale of 510 CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons; 19 CBU-105 Integration test assets (12 live tails, 7 inert tails); 5 CBU-97 Integration test assets; containers; aircraft modification and integration; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; software support; personnel training and training equipment; technical data and publications; U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support.
The estimated cost is $375 million. This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in South Asia.
India intends to use the Sensor Fuzed Weapons to modernize its armed forces and enhance its defensive ability to counter ground-armored threats.
The missiles will assist the Indian Air Force to develop and enhance standardization and operational ability with the United States. India will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The prime contractor will be Textron Systems Corporation of Wilmington, MA. The purchaser has requested offsets; however, at this time agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to India involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately two years.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law; it does not mean that the sale has been concluded.
DTN News: GAZ 2975 TIGRIS Rugged, Heavy Duty Russian Military Vehicle, Known Also As RUSSIAN HUMMER
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 30, 2009: The "Tigr" ("Tiger"), which is often referred to as the "Russian Hummer", was developed by the GAZ Automobile Works for special-purpose militia units. The GAZ-2975 Tigr was officially taken into service at the end of 2006 and manufactured in 2007. The vehicle is intended to carry and protect personnel. It can accommodate up to 10 officers armed and in full gear. The vehicle has been field- and combat-tested before being sent to serve with OMON. Its armor can defeat 7.62-calibre ammunition and can withstand shell fragments. Russia is a very large country with a diverse landscape including several climatic zones - from tundra to desert. To defend such a territory, extreme fighting vehicles are needed for the climate in this country. Below is a list of 10 toughest fighting vehicles of Russia. The GAS 2975 Tigris: Sometimes is called the Russian Hummer. This multipurpose automobile occupies a very important role in the Armed Forces of Russia. The Tigris is rapid, is mobile, relatively comfortable for an automobile with this heavy armor. It can cross creeks to a depth of 1.2 meters, rise into the mountains at a large angle. If we compare the Tigris with other automobiles of the Russian army, then it appears very contemporary.
The GAZ 2975 as Tigr [which means Tiger] is equipped with a powerful diesel engine with the turbocharging and air cooling system and a five-level manual gearbox.The independent torsion suspension of all the wheels, telescopic shock-absorbers and regulated pressure tires ensure exceptional crosscountry ability, high speed of 80 km/hour over rough terrain and up to 140 km/hour on the road. «Tiger» is capable to force a crossing over water ways with the depth of 1.2 meter. Various types of bodies may be installed on the chassis: armored, passenger, cargo ones, etc.
The solid design, exclusive flotation ability and reliability of the automobile GAZ-2975 Tigr allows anyone to use it, even under the harshest conditions. Everyone who could steer Tiger, retains the strong impression from power and a running characteristics of this - without exaggeration to tell - "brutal" machine. Tigr causes lively interest both in managers of the oil-and-gas companies, and to the same extent representatives of military departments.
The automobile GAZ-2975 Tigr is a joint development of OA GAZ and its affiliated firm "industrial - computer technologies". It was submitted for the first time in March, 2001 at the IDEX exhibition in Abu-Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). New development met all operational requirements on reliability, safety, and ecology. On the automobile is a turbodiesel with intercooler - Cummins B-180 (USA) - with a manual gear box. Installation of more powerful engines up to a volume of 6 litres both Russian, and foreign manufacture is possible. Equipped with independent suspension of all wheels, Tigr is capable to move on roads and impassability with speed of 120-140 kms / h. Exclusive flotation ability is promoted by the increased ground clearance and automatic regulation of pressure in tires. The automobile is equipped with the steering booster. Carrying capacity of Tigr is 1.5 tons.
On VII Moscow International auto show "MIMS-2002" the automobile GAZ-2975 Tigr was awarded with a lot of various awards, including a nomination for "Best special automobile".
The vehicle was designed at the expense of United Arab Emirates. The pilot production of GAZ-2330 “Tigr” started in 2004. In 2005 only 96 vehicles were made, mostly for MVD. The vehicle is very expensive now (by the Russian standards, of course), 60-65.000 US$ a piece. The main problem is the lack of appropriate Russian-made diesel engine. Now all Tigrs use the US engines Cummins ?-180 or B-215. This partly explains the high cost and unwillingness of the army to purchase this version.
Though specialists consider GAZ-2330 a very successful vehicle. It is of the same class and dimensions as HUMVEE, but differs from the technical point of view and has the higher cross-country ability. It uses many original decisions and its very reliable running gear is unified with BTR-80 (in particular, suspension is the same).
The demand for Tigr, especially for armored GAZ-233036, has considerably increased in 2006 and GAZ extends the producing facilities to 1000 vehicles per year. In 2007 the organized export will begin. But the decisive turn can be expected only in summer of 2008 when the Yaroslavl motor plant will begin producing the new engine YaMZ-536.
Technically it occupies the same niche as the Vodnik. The Vodnik has been chosen over the Tigr, though other Russian paramilitary units might like it.
Basically the standard armoured patrol vehicle has for some time been the BRDM-2. This has been superseeded recently by the Vodnik which is a modular family of vehicles including armoured and unarmoured vehicles. Without a Russian engine there is no way the Army will adopt this vehicle. They don't even really need it, they already have a vast array of vehicle types available to them for a wide range of tasks.
DTN News: Boeing to Demonstrate Ground Robotics Capabilities At US Army 'Rodeo'
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, USA - August 30, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] will demonstrate its ground robotics capabilities at the U.S. Army's first Robotics Rodeo, to be held Sept. 1-3 at Fort Hood, Texas. The event is sponsored by the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Fort Hood's III Corps. Soldiers participating in a Future Combat Systems (FCS) Experiment 1.1 mock combat exercise use the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), developed by iRobot Corporation, for building-clearing operations and to detect the presence of enemy combatants. These man-portable, robotic vehicles can be employed for high risk activities such as surveillance in buildings, tunnels and caves, or detecting explosive devices, without exposing soldiers directly to the hazards.
The event is an opportunity for industry to demonstrate to Army and government officials how the latest robotic technologies will support their operational needs by performing dangerous combat missions normally completed by soldiers.
Boeing Combat Systems is developing several robotic solutions designed to protect soldiers. One of them is the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) 300 series of robots, designed in partnership with iRobot Corp. [NYSE: IRBT]. These robots can be equipped with cameras, sensors, computers and sophisticated software to perform basic reconnaissance, dispose of explosives and complete other tasks that greatly reduce risks to soldiers in the field.
Boeing and subcontractor Autonomous Solutions Inc. will also demonstrate semiautonomous navigation capabilities by using surrogate vehicles to simulate military convoy and route-clearance vehicles in war zones.
"We are looking forward to showcasing some of Boeing's work in ground robotics at this event, especially since the environmental conditions will be similar to those of combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Valori Bring, director of Boeing's Global Forces and Robotics Systems business area. "We hope to receive real-time feedback from the soldiers -- to learn from them -- so we can make the improvements they need and help save lives."
Army officials are looking for robotic equipment that can maneuver through rough terrain under adverse environmental and lighting conditions, provide reconnaissance and surveillance, navigate in GPS-denied environments, project sensor information to remote work stations, and operate safely in limited-visibility environments.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Airbus Delivers Its 4000th A320 Family Aircraft To TAM
*Source: DTN News / Airbus
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - August 30, 2009: Airbus has delivered its 4000th A320 Family aircraft to Brazilian flag carrier TAM from its Final Assembly Line in Hamburg. The aircraft, an A319, was handed over to TAM in the presence of the President of the Board of TAM, Maria Claudia Oliveira Amaro as well as Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders.
The aircraft is powered with IAE engines and configured in a comfortable single-class lay-out seating 144 passengers. On the A319's ferry flight from Hamburg to Brazil, TAM will transport goods for schools for handicapped children in the region. The equipment was donated by Aviation without Borders Germany (LOG) and facilitated by the Airbus Foundation.
Maria Claudia Oliveira Amaro, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TAM said: "TAM's acquisition of the 4000th A320 Family aircraft is another milestone in our partnership with Airbus. It will be an even bigger excitement when TAM's aircraft heads for Brazil, as it will also be contributing to an important initiative in the social responsibility arena."
"The delivery of our 4000th A320 Family aircraft to TAM not only speaks for the tremendous success of the A320 programme, but also for our strong relationship with TAM , the largest Airbus operator in the Southern Hemisphere" said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. Daniel Baubil, Executive Vice President A320 Family Programme added: "The A320 Family is without doubt the world's most eco-efficient, modern and reliable aircraft family in its market segment. And the programme's success will continue as constant improvements in aerodynamics, weight reduction, operational improvements and increased cabin comfort will further strengthen the A320 Family's market leadership."
In July more than 10,000 Airbus employees involved in the programme at all Airbus' sites celebrated the production of the 4000th A320 Family aircraft.
TAM became an Airbus A319 operator in 1998 with a historic combined order of 90 aircraft together with the airlines TACA and LAN.
Today the airline operates a fleet of 125 Airbus aircraft. More than 350 Airbus aircraft are in operation in Latin America with 22 carriers. This represents more than 40 per cent of aircraft over 100 seats in service in Latin America.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly–by-wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. More than 6,400 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold to 221 customers worldwide, making it the world's best-selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.
DTN News: Special Operation Continues In Russia's North Caucasus
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) NALCHIK, Russia - August 30, 2009: Russian law enforcement officers continued their special operation Saturday morning to root out illegal armed groups in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, a police spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the operation was ongoing, "In the area, where a group of militants was discovered by a unit of special forces and Interior Ministry troops."
The group leader was shot and killed in a shootout on Friday between militants and local police.
Russia's North Caucasus region has been swept by a wave of militant violence in recent months.
Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya, saw its deadliest attack in years in mid-August, when a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden minivan rammed the gate of the police headquarters in Nazran, killing 24 people and injuring 136.