Sunday, June 28, 2009

DTN News: Iran TODAY June 28, 2009 - Iran 'Must Free UK Embassy Staff'

DTN News: Iran TODAY June 28, 2009 - Iran 'Must Free UK Embassy Staff'
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS - June 28, 2009: The European Union has demanded the immediate release of Iranian staff at Britain's embassy in Tehran detained on Saturday over post-election unrest. EU ministers meeting in Greece warned that "harassment or intimidation" of embassy staff would be met with a "strong and collective" response. Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband looks on ahead of an European Union Foreign Ministers meeting on Iran in Corfu June 28, 2009. Britain on Sunday demanded the release of Iranian employees of the British embassy in Tehran and denied that the mission had been involved in any post-election unrest. Iranian media reported that eight local staff at the UK mission had been held for their role in the recent riots. UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband dismissed the allegations as baseless. Relations between the countries are strained after President Ahmadinejad accused the UK of stoking post-election protests, which London denies. Iran has repeatedly accused foreign powers - especially Britain and the US - of meddling after the 12 June election, which handed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a decisive victory. In the fallout of the crisis, Tehran expelled two British diplomats in the past week, and the UK has responded with a similar measure. Strained relations Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of European foreign ministers on the Greek island of Corfu, Mr Miliband said: "The idea that the British Embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in Tehran in recent weeks is wholly without foundation." Tehran has blamed the US and UK for post-election unrest. In a later statement, the EU ministers said: "Harassment or intimidation of foreign or Iranian staff working in embassies will be met with a strong and collective EU response." The arrests were first reported by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency. "Eight local employees at the British embassy who had a considerable role in recent unrest were taken into custody," Fars said, without giving a source. Some 17 people are thought to have died in street protests after the disputed presidential poll, which the opposition complains was rigged. Rafsanjani breaks silence Meanwhile, Iran's powerful Guardian Council was due to rule on complaints about the presidential election. Jeremy Bowen BBC News, Tehran Iran's response to criticism from abroad of the violent response to the demonstrations has been to blame foreign powers for inciting and orchestrating violence. Britain has been singled out as the country most responsible for what has happened, aided by the BBC. On Saturday President Ahmadinejad made a strong speech about what Iran claims has been foreign interference in the election. He said that his new government would have a more decisive and powerful approach towards the west. The arrests fit into a pattern of deteriorating relations between Britain and Iran. Two British diplomats were expelled last week, and the British retaliated by expelling two Iranians from their embassy in London. It was never certain that would be the end of the matter. Mr Ahmadinejad's rivals have alleged massive fraud. The BBC's Jeremy Bowen in Tehran says there is much politicking taking place behind the scenes, and that the five-day deadline for the Guardian Council to return its verdict may be extended. The powerful former President, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has broken his silence on the election dispute. Mr Rafsanjani, who heads two important organs of government, praised a decision by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to give the Guardian Council time to examine complaints by the three defeated candidates. "This valuable move by the Supreme Leader in order to attract the people's trust towards the election process was very effective," Mr Rafsanjani said, according to Iranian news agencies. "I hope those who are involved in this issue thoroughly and fairly review and study the legal complaints," he said. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has not backed away from his claim that the election result was fraudulent, and has refused to support the Guardian Council's plan for a partial recount. Mr Mousavi has been calling for a full re-run of the vote, but said on Saturday that he would accept a review by an independent body. However the Guardian Council has already defended President Ahmadinejad's re-election, saying on Friday that the presidential poll was the "healthiest" since the Iranian revolution in 1979.

DTN News: India's Saina Nehwal, Yonex-Sunrise Contracted Player, Last Week Won Woman Title At Djarum Indonesia Super Series Badminton Tournament......

DTN News: India's Saina Nehwal, Yonex-Sunrise Contracted Player, Last Week Won Woman Title At Djarum Indonesia Super Series Badminton Tournament In Jakarta
*Source: DTN News (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 28, 2009: Last week June 21, Badminton ace Saina Nehwal, the first Indian to win a Super Series title and one of the only two “outsiders” among the top 10 in women’s ranking, otherwise dominated by Chinese players. Saina Nehwal has conquered new frontiers which no Indian woman shuttler could ever dream of achieving in the past. Saina’s title win at the Super Series Badminton Championship in Djarkata (Indonesia) last week was at par with a Grand Slam victory in tennis. India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal waves the Indian flag at the medal ceremony in Jakarta. Nehwal beat China's world number three Wang Lin to become the first Indian to win a super series badminton tournament with victory in the Indonesian Open last Sunday June 21 2009. Super Series is the highest category in badminton. The win fetched her 900 points. Her world ranking will now go up from the present eighth to the sixth place. She also earned $18,750 as prize money and will get Rs 2 lakh reward from the Badminton Federation of India. But more than the money, what has gladdened her fans is the manner in which she bested the field, which consisted of eight of the top 10 players in the world. The 19-year-old shuttler has vastly improved her game since winning the World Junior Championship. She bagged the 2006 Philippines Open, 2008 Chinese Taipei Open and entered the quarterfinal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to make her mark in the international arena. At Beijing, she upset World No 5 and fourth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in a three-game thriller, but in the quarterfinal she lost a close three-game battle to then world No 16 Maria Kristin Yulianti. She lifted the silver in the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games and gold at the 2008 edition, held at Pune, and a bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She has a bagful of other titles too, and no wonder she was named the Most Promising Player in 2008. After the Super Series win, Saina’s world ranking will go up from the present eighth to the sixth place. — AFP photos She is well on her way to the top slot in ranking, as at present, Saina and Danish World No 2 Tine Rasmussen are the only two "outsiders" among the top ten in women’s ranking, otherwise dominated by Chinese players. Saina has put in tremendous hard work to reach where she is now. An attacking player, who brings subtlety and variation in her game to fox her opponents, she defends well to stonewall opposition. "It’s my best performance so far," exulted the young lass after lifting the Super Series crown. Her next stop would be the Malaysian Grand Prix at Johar Bahru, though the World Championship, slated to be held in Hyderabad in August, would really test her mettle "It’s a huge victory and big day for Indian sports", remarked her coach and mentor Pullela Gopichand. In fact, Saina’s is the biggest sporting achievement by a badminton player since Gopichand’s All-England Championship triumph in 2001. In the past, men had brought the big trophies in badminton — Dinesh Khanna won the Asian Championship in the 1960s, Prakash Padukone annexed the All-England title in 1980 and Vimal Kumar won the French Open title twice. Prakash was the first Indian badminton super star, who became the No 1 in the world, but the women players of his time could rarely create a ripple. Saina is determined to change the no-hoper image of Indian women shuttlers, though Aparna Popat had ruled the senior domestic circuit ruthlessly, winning the National Championship title 13 times. "She’s where she is because of her hard work and commitment," said her father Dr Harvir Singh Nehwal. In fact, the senior Nehwal himself had sacrificed much of his time and money to promote the badminton career of his talented daughter. Saina should keep herself injury-free, raise her fitness level and speed up to beat the Chinese in their own game, and then aspire for the No 1 position. She has the will and determination to go places, and her capacity for hard work is something of an obsession. An uncompromising vegetarian, she started eating fish and chicken at the behest of Gopichand, only for the sake of badminton, as a vegetarian player could not have matched the endurance and stamina of the Chinese, the Koreans and the Malaysians. Since then, Saina has consistently beaten the higher-ranked Chinese players. She rallied back to beat World No 3 Lin Wong of China 12-21, 21-18, 21-9 in 49 minutes at the Istora Senayan Stadium to capture the Super Series crown, and avenge her defeat to Wong at the Singapore Super Series a week earlier. En route to the final, she had beaten another formidable Chinese, former World No 2 Lu Lan, to prove that she had the skill and the game to best the big guns in the business. Her deceptive strokes, flicks and controlled net play have befuddled the Chinese. And she is faster and fitter. With a little more of mental toughness, Saina is capable of winning the toughest on-court battles. Saina’s practice sessions at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad stretch for hours, and the only luxury she allows herself is nine-hour sleep every night. In fact the reason behind her success is her regimented and regulated life, which she would not change for anything. She strictly follows the training schedule and diet charted out by Gopichand and BAI’s foreign coach, Atik Jauhari of Indonesia. Born on March 17, 1990, at Hisar in Haryana, Saina was lucky that she could play the game so passionately, which both her parents — Dr Harvir Singh Nehwal and Usha Nehwal — were adept at, being the Haryana State champions. Saina got a good grounding in the game under Dronacharya Coach S. M. Arif in Hyderabad when her father, a scientist, was posted at the Directorate of Oilseeds Research at the Andhra capital. Coach Nani Prasad was the first to spot the hidden talent of the eight-year-old Saina when her father took her to the Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium in the heart of Hyderabad to enrol her in badminton. Her father had to overcome financial hardship and personal discomforts to enable his daughter pursue the game. He did get some relief when in 2002 apparel and equipment makers Yonex came forward to sponsor her kit. Saina, too, was relieved when Bharat Petroleum Corporation took her into their payroll. Since then, it has been a smooth journey, bringing her unprecedented success. She is the reigning under-19 national champion, who lost to Aparna Popat in the senior title clash. She won the Asian Satellite Tournament twice, and lifted the four-star Philippines Open in 2006. She was also the runner-up in the World Junior Championship the same year, which she went on to capture in 2008. With India to host the World Championship this year, and the Commonwealth Games in 2010, Saina will get many opportunities to showcase her unbounded talent at home.
Djarum Indonesia Super Series Badminton Tournament in Jakarta was held from June 16 to June 21 ~ Results
Winners-Men’s Singles
1. Taufik Hidayat (INA) - Arc10
2. Lee Chong Wei (MAS) - AT900P
3. Sony Dwi Kuncoro - AT900P
Women’s Singles
1. Saina Nehwal - Arc7
Men’s Doubles
3. Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (INA) - AT900P, NS99003.
Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (MAS) - NS9900, Ti10
Women’s Doubles
1. Eei Hui Chin/Pei Tty Wong - Ti10, NS9000
Mixed Doubles
3. Thomas Laybourn (DEN) - NS9900
Relating News: Yonex Sunrise Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold 2009 ~ being held at Stadium Bandaraya Johor Bahru, Jalan Tebrau - 80050 Johor Bahru, Johor from June 23 ~ June 28, 2009. In the interim, DTN News shall provide final results of Yonex Sunrise Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold 2009 respectively. For further info, please refer to website: Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
Sunrise & Co., are sponsors of Super Series Badminton Championships in Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India and other countries excluding China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Sunrise & Co., specialize in sports apparel clothing, footwears, bags, rackets, accessories, which basically cover the entire range respectively. Sunrise & Co., motto is "Passion For Excellence" that reflects itself for the growth of sports and sponsorships managed by the company in various countries.

DTN News: Philippines TODAY June 28, 2009 - Philippine Militants Kill 7 Policemen, 2 Soldiers

DTN News: Philippines TODAY June 28, 2009 - Philippine Militants Kill 7 Policemen, 2 Soldiers
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
NSI News Source Info) MANILA, Philippines - June 28, 2009: Suspected al-Qaida-linked militants killed seven policemen in an ambush Sunday after their comrades shot to death two government soldiers in a separate attack in the southern Philippines, security officials said. Members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, who will be deployed to southern Basilan province, stand at attention during send-off ceremonies in suburban Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines on Sunday June 28, 2009. Suspected al-Qaida-linked militants killed two unarmed army soldiers involved in the construction of a school building in Basilan, southern Philippines, sparking strong military condemnations and a manhunt for the attackers, officials said. Navy Rear Admiral Alex Pama said suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen opened fire Sunday on a police convoy negotiating a dirt road in far-flung Sumisip township on Basilan island, killing seven policemen. Two other policemen survived the ambush and were taken to a hospital. The policemen were returning to camp in nearby Maluso township after escorting a Basilan town mayor, who has backed recent offensives against Abu Sayyaf militants. The gunmen apparently thought the mayor was in the police convoy when they attacked, Pama told The Associated Press by telephone. The gunmen may have wanted to avenge the loss of several fighters during recent marine offensives and the recent escape of a lending company employee, whom the militants have held for months in the hope of getting a ransom payment, Pama said. In a separate attack late Saturday, another group of suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen killed two unarmed soldiers involved in the construction of a school in nearby Tipo Tipo township, also in Basilan. The soldiers, who belonged to an army engineering brigade, walked off a school construction site to buy cigarettes when they were fired upon, Pama said. Government forces are hunting the attackers. Pama said the attackers may have thought the soldiers had guns they could steal. "This is pure murder of unarmed noncombatants who were helping the town build a school," Pama said. The Abu Sayyaf, which has about 400 fighters, is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization because of its al-Qaida links and its perpetration of terrorist attacks, including against Americans. Since 2002, American troops have helped provide weapons, combat training and intelligence to Filipino soldiers battling the Abu Sayyaf. U.S. officials hailed Basilan as a model after U.S.-backed offensives against the group fostered a period of relative calm in the province of more than 300,000 people. But the militants and their allies have turned to kidnappings in Basilan, about 550 miles (880 kilometers) south of Manila, and outlying provinces to make money. This has raised concerns among Philippine and U.S. security officials that ransom payments could revive the group.

DTN News: Mexican Government Deploying 1,500 Extra Troops To Ciudad Juarez To Quell Growing Drug-Related Violence

DTN News: Mexican Government Deploying 1,500 Extra Troops To Ciudad Juarez To Quell Growing Drug-Related Violence
*Sources: DTN News / ABC News (NSI News Source Info) MEXICO CITY - June 28, 2009: The Mexican Government is deploying 1,500 extra troops to the northern city of Ciudad Juarez in the latest attempt to quell the growing drug-related violence. Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico. A military convoy is seen after arriving to the border city of Ciudad Juarez June 27, 2009. Nearly 2,000 Mexican soldiers poured into Ciudad Juarez this weekend as part of a process to refresh troops in the country's most violent city, which has been ravaged by drug gangs. Last year nearly 2,000 people were murdered in the city of about 1 million, in violence relating to the drug trade. More than 5,000 troops were deployed in the town in March, leading to a brief lull in the violence, but it has since peaked again to an average of eight or nine murders a day. The cartels have taken to beheading some of their victims and leaving the heads at the side of the road. Critics say that government policies simply are not working, largely because of endemic corruption amongst police, the army and political officials.

DTN News: NATO On The Offensive In Afghanistan ~ Dutch Major General Mart de Kruif

DTN News: NATO On The Offensive In Afghanistan ~ Dutch Major General Mart de Kruif *Sources: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 28, 2009: NATO-led forces are seizing the initiative against insurgents in southern Afghanistan as thousands of US reinforcements move into the area, the Dutch commander for the region said on Thursday. US Marines of 1st Combat Engineer Battalion of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade chat with each other as stop for rest on their way to forward operating base in Helmand Province in Afghanistan on June 27, 2009. NATO-led forces are seizing the initiative against insurgents in southern Afghanistan as thousands of US reinforcements move into the area, the Dutch commander for the region, Major General Mart de Kruif, said on June 25. "We're entering a new state in the operation in which I would like to make the case that we took away the operational initiative from the insurgents," Major General Mart de Kruif, who oversees more than 30,000 international troops in the south, told reporters in a teleconference. De Kruif said that the NATO-led force was "now entering a new stage, in which we will have the operational initiatives on our side and maintain it." With the influx of US Marines and Army combat troops in the volatile south, he said "significant operations" would be launched "in a very short time" in Helmand province and the city of Kandahar against insurgents. The Dutch general also expressed optimism the extra troops would ensure that security would be "increased" in time for presidential elections in August. Most of the additional 21,000 US combat troops ordered to Afghanistan by President Barack Obama are heading to the south, a stronghold for the Taliban and the opium trade that helps finance the insurgency. US officers have described the conflict with the insurgents in the south as a "stalemate." De Kruif said violence would likely continue to rise as additional troops move into new areas, where no NATO troops have been present before. But he said the strategy of the larger NATO-led force in the south was not to seek out the insurgents but to secure towns and villages, he said. "I wouldn't call it aggressive operations targeting the insurgents but operations aiming at securing the population and separating the population from the insurgents," he said. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had already forced Taliban militants to focus their resources around the city of Kandahar, resulting in improved security elsewhere in the provinces of Uruzgan and Zabul, De Kruif said. He added that the insurgency leadership in the region was under "constant pressure" from ISAF forces, which include British special forces. He said the number of insurgent fighters was estimated at between 10,000 to 18,000 in the southern region, while the Afghan government's army was at about 13,000 troops. The general said the insurgents could be divided roughly into three groups, religious ideologues linked to the Taliban leadership in Pakistan, those with ties to opium trafficking, and what he called the "10-dollar-a-day" fighters motivated by money. Security has steadily deteriorated in the past two years in Afghanistan despite the presence of close to 90,000 foreign troops. In recent weeks violence reached the worst levels since 2001 when a US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime. By the end of the year, about 68,000 US troops will be on the ground in Afghanistan, according to the US Defense Department.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY June 28, 2009 - 173Million Reasons The Taliban May Not Win Against Pakistan

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY June 28, 2009 - 173Million Reasons The Taliban May Not Win Against Pakistan
*Sources: DTN News / Daily Mail U.K. By David Rose In Pakistan Last updated at 12:26 AM on 28th June 2009 (Click here) (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - June 28, 2009: Outside homes and businesses on the sweltering streets of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, the past few weeks have brought an unfamiliar sight: the green state flag, adorned with the crescent and star of Islam picked out in white. The cause has nothing to do with the national side's unexpected victory over Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 cricket final at Lord's last weekend. Ever since 9/11, British and American policymakers have been complaining that as an ally in the struggle against Muslim jihadist terrorism, nuclear-armed Pakistan has been at best unreliable, and at worst, deeply compromised. Death valley: David Rose interviews a militiaman in Dhok Darra where his group are fighting the Taliban But as I saw during a fortnight in Islamabad and the North-West Frontier Province, many ordinary Pakistanis now believe their country is fighting for survival against the Taliban and its offshoots, and if they once had sympathies for the extremists, these have now evaporated. Like Winston Churchill, the parallels with whose 1897 campaign I described in The Mail on Sunday last week, they have no doubt whose side they are on. 'I am very worried about the future of Pakistan,' Talat Masood, a senior retired general told me. 'We have not faced a challenge on this scale before. 'But to say everything is negative and leading to the disintegration of the state is wrong, and the military leadership is not playing the double game that is sometimes claimed. How can they secretly support the Taliban when they have killed more than 2,000 people?' At one level, the immediate prospect of a takeover by the Taliban, whose organised strongholds are confined to the wild mountain valleys of Pakistan's North-West Frontier, is remote. Pakistan, a vast, disparate and in places highly-developed country of 173million people, is not some banana republic, whose capital could be seized by a few hundred truckloads of rebels. A house teeters on the brink of collapse after heavy shelling by the Pakistani army began in Kumbar Bazaar It has a large, educated - though, too often, unemployed - middle class, excellent newspapers, proudly independent TV news channels, and distinguished literary, scientific and musical traditions. In Karachi, there are not only slums but the hippest of art, design, fashion and movie scenes. Meanwhile, with 700,000 men on active duty, Pakistan's army is among the largest in the world. Yet the scale of the country's crisis, and the extent to which its origins make it difficult to counter, should not be underestimated. Pakistan's war is being fought on at least five fronts - and in none is victory certain. The first two, in different sections of the Afghan frontier, have been reported extensively in recent weeks: in the Swat, Buner and Dir valleys, to the north and east of Islamabad; and, with increasing ferocity, in Waziristan, 400 miles to the south, the first tribal area of Pakistan to give shelter to Al Qaeda when the Taliban regime in Kabul was toppled in 2001. Less familiar is Baluchistan, further to the south again. Its provincial capital, Quetta, has long been a crucial refuge for the Taliban in Afghanistan, including those fighting the British in nearby Helmand. A Baluchi separatist movement seeking independence from Pakistan has become toxically mixed with Islamic extremism. Even in Kashmir, long the focus of Pakistan's bloody 62-year rivalry with India, anti-government jihadist violence has begun to rear its head: two days ago, a Taliban suicide bomber there killed at least two soldiers. Fighter Taj Muhammad, 35, heads with his Kalashnikov for the front line where his militia is fighting the Taliban Finally, and most insidious, is the upsurge in urban terrorist violence - thought to be a direct consequence of the army's early successes in Dir, Swat and Waziristan. In Islamabad, frequent road blocks and checkpoints do little to stem the prevalent mood of unease. After the bombing last September that virtually destroyed the city's five-star Marriott hotel - since rebuilt with new 'impregnable' security - the jihadists have continued to strike, mainly at police and army posts. Other big cities, including Pakistan's intellectual centre, Lahore, have also seen frequent outrages, culminating earlier this month in the assassination of Sarfraz Naeemi, the country's most revered moderate religious leader. As for Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province, even before the deadly bombing two weeks ago of its biggest hotel, the Pearl Continental, it had become what one diplomat described as 'the red zone' - a place considered too dangerous for foreigners without a large armed escort. The city is not only the scene of regular bombings but also shoot-outs, often triggered when bystanders point out extremists to the police. However, the very scale of the threat appears to be responsible for the stiffening of resistance and the change of mood. The Taliban, it seems, have overreached - and perhaps brought about their downfall. A suspected member of the Swat Taliban is led away for questioning by a soldier from the Dir Scouts 'This is not Islam,' a young, religious woman told me in one of the frontier's teeming refugee camps, describing the murders the Taliban perpetrated in Swat, including that of a young captured soldier who was dragged to his death along a rocky track by a Taliban Jeep. Several times in Islamabad, I heard people voice disgust that having agreed a peace deal for Swat, the Taliban almost immediately reneged on it by trying to invade the neighbouring district of Buner. It is no secret that in the early Nineties, the Taliban were sponsored by Pakistan's military intelligence service, the ISI - a fact that fatally hampered Pakistan's efforts to curb them until recently. But this, said General Masood, had nothing to do with any inherent desire by the ISI to create an extremist Islamic state - it was simply a product of the chaos in Afghanistan. 'They wanted a sympathetic group in power in Afghanistan,' Masood told me. 'They did it for expedient, not ideological reasons.' Meanwhile, Pakistan continued to succour anti-Indian groups in both Kashmir and the Punjab, effectively giving them carte blanche to mount terrorist attacks such as those against the Indian parliament in 2001, and in Mumbai last year. Some Western diplomats say that even now, Pakistan has not fully woken up to the dangers this brings. 'These groups are strategically linked with the Taliban,' said one. 'The Pakistanis won't have a fully developed strategy against extremism until they figure out they can't discriminate between jihadists.' A militiaman takes a break on the road to the front line in the Sharingal Valley Others are more optimistic. 'After years of dithering about terrorism, Pakistan has finally crossed the Rubicon,' one US official told me. 'Who knows how it's going to turn out. But there really is no going back.' Of course, the importance of the events in Pakistan extend beyond its borders. In the remote Dhok Darra valley of upper Dir, a local villager named Taj Mohammed directed my gaze upriver. 'You see the snowy mountains? Now look to the left. That is the way to Lowari Top, the pass that leads to Afghanistan. Sometimes the militants come from there, and that is where they get their weapons.' And sometimes, he added, Afghan militants from Kunar, the fiercely contested province on the other side of that pass, fled across it, running from American attacks to a place where they knew that ground pursuit by US forces was impossible and refuge from their Pakistani allies guaranteed. Americans have started to call the sprawling battlefields of the war in central Asia 'Af-Pak', and there is now a widespread sense that 2009 will be the make-or-break campaigning season - the year that the incoming Taliban tide on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border is either stemmed or becomes unstoppable. Yet the struggle, seen from the Pakistan side, does not look hopeless. There are pitfalls - for example, as Masood said, the danger that the millions now displaced in the camps 'may develop their own dynamic' and become breeding grounds for jihadism. The army cannot merely hold the valleys: for a sustained counter-insurgency to work, they have to stop attacks launched from the hills, and then to bring the refugees back and rebuild their homes and livelihoods. If only for the sake of the British soldiers engaged in the umbilically connected conflict across the border in Afghanistan, one has to hope they prevail. Pakistan's war isn't merely for its own survival, but for the whole counter-terrorist project pursued by the West since 2001, and the consequences of defeat are unthinkable.

DTN News: US, Russia In Dispute Over Computer Attacks ~ Report

DTN News: US, Russia In Dispute Over Computer Attacks ~ Report *Sources: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 28, 2009: Less than two weeks before President Barack Obama's visit to Moscow, the United States and Russia cannot agree how to counter the growing threat of cyberwar attacks that could wreak havoc on computer systems and the Internet, according to The New York Times. Citing an unnamed senior State Department official, the newspaper said that both nations agree that cyberspace is an emerging battleground, and the two sides are expected to address the subject when Obama visits Russia next month and at the General Assembly of the United Nations in November. Russia favors an international treaty along the lines of those negotiated for chemical weapons and has pushed for that approach at a series of meetings this year, the report said. Meanwhile, the United States argues that a treaty is unnecessary and instead advocates improved cooperation among international law enforcement groups, the paper noted. "We really believe it?s defense, defense, defense," The Times quotes as saying the State Department official, who asked not to be identified. "They want to constrain offense. We needed to be able to criminalize these horrible 50,000 attacks we were getting a day." According to the paper, any agreement on cyberspace presents special difficulties because the matter touches on issues like censorship of the Internet, sovereignty and rogue actors who might not be subject to a treaty. US officials say the disagreement over approach has hindered international law enforcement cooperation, particularly given that a significant proportion of the attacks against US government targets are coming from China and Russia, the report said. Recognizing the need to deal with the growing threat of cyberwar, many countries, including the United States, are developing weapons for it, like "logic bombs" that can be hidden in computers to halt them at crucial times or damage circuitry, "botnets" that can disable or spy on websites and networks, or microwave radiation devices that can burn out computer circuits miles away, the paper said. Obama is due to visit Russia on July 6-8 in a bid to improve relations with Russia that were badly strained under the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

DTN News: Rosoboronexport, Thales Sign Cooperation Memorandum

DTN News: Rosoboronexport, Thales Sign Cooperation Memorandum
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - June 28, 2009: Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and France's Thales Group agreed on Friday to market jointly-developed naval equipment internationally. "Today, Rosoboronexport and the Thales company signed at the International Naval Show in St. Petersburg a memorandum on cooperation in the sphere of naval equipment," said Mikhail Bychkov, a Rosoboronexport official. With operations in 50 countries and 68,000 employees, Thales is a world leader in information systems for the aerospace, defense and security markets. Bychkov said the deal would create opportunities for combining the export potential of both companies to promote future projects, including Russian-built Project 20382 Tiger class corvettes equipped with electronics manufactured by Thales.
Project-20382 “Tiger” corvette is a ship for acting in the near sea zone against ships and submarines, for supporting landing troops, and against air targets. The corvette is equipped with Uran anti-ship missiles. Kashtan antiaircraft missile system, and Ka-27 helicopter. The “Tiger” corvette’s baseline is project-20380 Steregushchy [“Guarding”] corvette, which is now undergoing factory and state tests, and which is to enter Russian naval forces’ combat strength in late 2007. Experts estimate one export “Tiger” corvette at about $120-150 million. Primarily South-East Asian countries, as well as Venezuela and Qatar are interested in the corvette. A wide range of products of the Russian defence industrial complex is represented at the international exhibition of naval machinery and weapons Euronaval'2004, which opened at Le Bourget near Paris on 24 October 2005. The Russian chief delegate made special note of the latest Project 20382 Tigr corvette, featuring Stealth technology. After experiencing the Western military equipment embargo, Admiral Slamet Soebijanto turned to the East for possibilities. In September 2005, the Navy Chief of Staff and his team visited Russia to explore the purchase of warships from Rosoboronexport, Russia's armament industry. The navy's Strategic Plan for 2003-2013, created by Soebijanto's predecessor Bernard Kent Sondakh, included the purchase of four Sigma Class corvettes from Holland. The plan was already approved by the House of Representatives (DPR). The four ships were to be purchased in two stages-the first in 2003. The Dutch government provided export credit facilities. The first two ships were currently being constructed and were expected to be ready in 2007. After the presentation of the project 20382 Tiger Corvette, an export variant of the project 20380 Steregushchiy (Guardian) Corvette, a number of participants of the International Naval Salon held in June 2007 in St. Petersburg, there was some customer interest in it. Rosoboronexport (Russian Defense Export State Corporation) was working actively in this direction and hoped to have some particular contracts by the summer of 2008. On 29 June 2007, at the 3rd International Naval Exhibition in St. Petersburg, Rosoboronexport’s First Deputy Director General Vladimir Pakhomov and Indonesian Naval Forces Commander Admiral Slamet Subijanto signed a contract agreement on building project-20382 “Tiger” corvettes for Indonesia’s Navy. Later a firm contract would have to be signed, fixing the terms for the project’s implementation and the number of ships to be built. The corvette hulls would be built in Spain according to Russia’s design. There they would be equipped with engines and navigation equipment. The corvettes would sail under their own power to Severnaya Verf, where communication equipment, radio-electric equipment, armaments and other systems would be installed. It was Indonesia that required the corvette’s hull to be built in Spain. Rosoboronexport agreed to this plan in order to gain access to Indonesia’s naval market. Spain had been successfully working at Indonesia’s defense market for a long time. Thus it was said to be easier for Rosoboronexport to promote Russian ships to Indonesia thru Spain. Spain had not initially chosen the dockyard for building the corvettes.*
In June 2007, Rosoboronexport and Indonesia signed an agreement on the construction of two Project 20382 vessels for the Indonesian navy.

DTN News: Ryanair To Order 300 Aircraft By Year-End ~ Reports

DTN News: Ryanair To Order 300 Aircraft By Year-End ~ Reports
*Sources: DTN News / RTTNews (NSI News Source Info) - June 28, 2009: Dublin-based low-budget carrier Ryanair Holdings plc (RYAAY: News ) is all set to order 300 more aircraft from Airbus or Boeing Co. (BA) by the end of this year, reports revealed on Saturday.
Ryanair currently operates a fleet of 190 Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The Irish airline apparently targets carrying up to 150 million passengers annually by 2017, up from 58.5 million in 2008.
On June 2, the airline posted a net loss of 169 million euros ($239 million) for the year ended March 31, 2009, compared to net profit of 390.71 million euros a year before, hurt by higher fuel costs and a large write down on its stake in Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus. The company's annual revenues were 2.942 billion euros, up 8% over a year earlier.
Ryanair reportedly expects to report profit in the current financial year with estimated earnings in the range of 200 million-300 million euros. Blaming the government's 10 euro tourist tax and high charges levied by airport operator BAA, last week, Ryanair said it "will freeze growth at its nine UK bases with immediate effect."
Ryanair is an Irish low cost airline, with headquarters at Dublin Airport and its largest operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport. Ryanair operates over 190 Boeing 737-800 aircraft on 830 routes across Europe and North Africa from its 32 bases. The airline has been characterised by rapid expansion, a result of the deregulation of the air industry in Europe in 1992 and the success of its low cost business model. Ryanair is the largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers and the world's largest in terms of international passenger numbers. All aircraft in the Ryanair fleet have either been retrofitted with performance enhancing winglets or the more recent deliveries have them fitted as standard. Ryanair are expanding rapidly and will operate a fleet of 292 aircraft by 2012 with options for a further 10 aircraft to be delivered during that time. Ryanair claim to operate the newest, greenest and quietest fleet of aircraft in Europe.
The company has also announced that it would axe 650 more jobs in Ireland.
RYAAY closed Friday's trading at $27.64, down 1.57% on a volume of 303,492 shares.