Friday, July 03, 2009
DTN News: Yonex-Sunrise Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold ~ Lee Chong Wei’s Sweet Revenge *Source: DTN News (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 3, 2009: Malaysia's World No 1 Lee Chong Wei flexed his muscle ahead of the World Championships by ending the fairy tale run of China's youngster Chen Long in superb fashion at the Yonex-Sunrise Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold at the Bandaraya Stadium in Johor Baru on Sunday June 28. Chen Long’s defeat however did not take the shine away from team China as they still walked home as the biggest winners with three titles, all via several new faces out to make a name for themselves. And 21-year-old Ma Jin was the star of the day when she bagged two titles - in the mixed and women's doubles respectively. A slight back injury problem did not stop Chong Wei from punishing Chen Long with solid attacking game for a 21-16, 21-9 win. The 20-year-old Chen Long's hope for his first Open title ended in just 32 minutes. The world junior champion Chen Long was seen as a big threat - especially after the former had beaten 2004 Olympic Games champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the opening round and having shocked Chong Wei in the first round of the India Open just two months earlier. And it all had seemed as though both Chong Wei and Chen Long would be locked in a tight tussle when the latter caught up from a 1-6 deficit to take a two-point lead at 8-6 in the opening game. But Chong Wei restored order and showed why he is World number one by getting back into the groove. With his ferocious attacks and crafty play, Chong Wei gained momentum to win the first game 21-16. Then, it was all a foregone conclusion when Chong Wei accelerated to an impressive 11-1 lead in the second game. The big gap destroyed the morale of Chen Long and eventually, he walked out of the court with his head hung low following a demoralising 9-21 defeat. "I had to resort to attacking game against Chen Long today. This is because I had picked up a slight back injury on the first day of the tournament. My back hurts when I bend," said the top seed. "Fortunately, it is not a serious problem. The win has given me confidence in my preparation for the world meet in August”. "My goal is to reach the final. I have six more weeks to polish up my game and I will devote my time to make sure that my preparation is the best ever for this world meet," he added. It was Chong Wei's fourth Open title this year besides the ones won at Malaysia Lee won Super Series titles in Switzerland and Indonesia. Malaysia also won their second title of the day through Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who defeated compatriots Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen with a convincing 21-11, 21-13 win. The mighty Chinese team continued to show that talents are aplenty in the women's singles department when 19-year-old Wang Zhixian nailed her first Open title after a sensational 21-16, 18-21, 21-10 win over compatriot Wang Xin. It was a tight battle in the first two games but the youngster showed she was still full of energy when she stepped up the tempo in the decider to outclass Wang Xin in the battle between two qualifiers. The rising star from the national back-up shuttlers dedicated her win to her coach and former China top player Han Jingna, who was a member of the 1998 Uber Cup winning team. "I have been training under her for the last half a year. She is a former top player and has done a lot to improve my game. When I think of my first Open title victory, I want to always remember her," said Zhixian. "Hopefully, this will be a start for better things for me. I want to win more honours in the international stage." Yonex-Sunrise sponsore of BWF World Championships Super Series Zhixian is the one of the first among the nine members in the women's singles back-up squad to win an international title. "Some of my teammates in the squad are gearing up for the Asian and World Junior Championships. They are quite young," added Zhixian, who will be out to win the Philippines Open next. Ma Jin, on the other hand, did not have to work hard with her partner Zheng Bo against compatriots Xu Chen-Zhao Yunlei in the mixed doubles. It was the first event of the day but just 15 minutes into the first game, Yunlei limped out of the court with a twisted ankle after levelling the score at 5-5. With the win albeit through default, the world number 18 Zheng Bo-Ma Jin went home with their fourth straight Open title, keeping steady their impressive 20 matches unbeaten streak in the international stage. They were also the winners at the last three Opens in Switzerland, Singapore and Indonesia. Despite the brilliant run, Zheng Bo said that they would not raise their hopes sky high in their preparation for their World Championships debut in India next month. "We are not really too disappointed with the way we won today. It is unfortunate that our opponent cum teammate was injured," said Zheng Bo. "There are many strong mixed doubles pairs and it will be quite tough. We will try to achieve good results." In the women’s doubles, Ma Jin-Wang Xiaoli beat Malaysia’s Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui 21-9, 21-11 to take the title.
DTN News: U.S. President Barack Obama to Press Kremlin on Energy
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - July 3, 2009: U.S. President Barack Obama will press Russia to drop its “zero-sum” attitude on alternative energy supplies out of the former Soviet Union and offer cooperation in preventing climate change through better energy technology during a visit to Moscow next week, U.S. officials said. Nesting dolls featuring portraits of Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama being offered for sale Thursday by a vendor just off Red Square. The White House also revealed a packed schedule for Obama’s visit, including a meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the publication of an interview with Novaya Gazeta. President Dmitry Medvedev posted a new entry on his video blog Thursday, saying Russia was ready for a fresh start with Obama. Energy will be a major topic for Obama’s talks with Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said Michael McFaul, Obama’s special assistant and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs. “We’re going in there to talk about how we want to do things in cooperation with Russia,” McFaul said in a conference call with reporters late Wednesday, Moscow time. “In particular, we want to have conversations about diversification of supplies out of Russia and through the region in a way that it’s not thought about in a zero-sum way.” The statement appears to refer to a policy by state-controlled Gazprom to buy as much gas as possible from Russia’s gas-producing neighbors, such as Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, to ensure that it remains the dominant supplier of the fuel to Europe. In the most recent deal, Gazprom earlier this week secured modest supplies from Azerbaijan starting from next year and said it was considering greater volumes. The Russian and U.S. leaders will also discuss “Russia’s role in terms of becoming a more energy-efficient country as we look to do things on climate change,” McFaul said, according to a transcript of the call. Obama will deliver the message that Washington and Moscow can do well if they join forces on such energy issues, McFaul said. “It’s not, in our view, a zero-sum game, that if it’s two points for Russia it’s negative two for us, but there are ways that we can cooperate to advance our interests and at the same time do things with the Russians that are good for them as well,” he said. A call to Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, went unanswered Thursday afternoon. A Kremlin spokesman requested that questions be submitted by fax and did not respond by late Thursday. A frank exchange of opinions on energy policy could be useful if Obama succeeds in convincing Moscow that the United States isn’t seeking to undermine Russia’s interests, said Pavel Baev, a professor at the International Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. “Moscow harbors suspicions that it’s the U.S. that pushes the zero-sum game,” he said. Obama’s Itinerary Monday, July 6 U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrive in Moscow in the morning. *Obama holds private and working meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev. *Obama holds a news conference in the afternoon. *Obama and his wife have dinner with Medvedev and his wife, Svetlana, in the evening.
Tuesday, July 7 *Obama has breakfast with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. *Obama meets with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. *Obama delivers a commencement speech at the New Economic School. *Obama and Medvedev attend a business conference organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the American Chamber of Commerce. *Obama attends a series of meetings with nongovernmental organizations, media representatives and opposition politicians.
Wednesday, July 8 *Obama leaves for Rome in the morning and then heads to L’Aquila, Italy, for a July 8-10 Group of Eight summit, which Medvedev will also attend. * The energy efficiency topic will come up again later next week when Obama and Medvedev attend the Major Economies Forum in Italy as part of a Group of Eight summit. Russia, the United States and other countries will discuss technological innovation to address the climate change challenge, said Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, who also spoke during the conference call. Russia is one of the least successful major economies in cutting harmful emissions from burning such fuels as oil and coal, according to a study released Wednesday. Russia made little progress to reach its targets for greenhouse gas reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, according to the report commissioned by German insurer Allianz. International negotiations on how to slow global warming will culminate in Copenhagen in December in an attempt to compose a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Medvedev signaled his eagerness to meet with Obama in his latest video blog, posted on the Kremlin web site. “The new administration headed by President Obama now demonstrates a readiness to change the situation and build a more effective, more reliable and finally more modern relationship. And we are ready for this,” Medvedev said. He acknowledged the tense relations between the countries, saying they “slipped practically to the level of a Cold War,” and called for “opening a new page in Russian-American cooperation.” Obama will have a private and working meeting with Medvedev on Monday, the first day of his visit, said Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. Obama and his wife, Michelle, will have dinner with the Medvedevs that evening. On Tuesday, Obama will have breakfast with Putin to let him know that “the old Cold War approaches” to relations with the United States are “outdated,” Obama said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press. Putin still has “one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new,” Obama said. Putin said earlier that protocol didn’t require Obama to meet with him but that he would be “pleased” to have an audience with him. The breakfast will last 60 minutes to 90 minutes, Putin’s spokesman Peskov told Ekho Moskvy radio. “The prime minister will have an opportunity to meet this U.S. president for the first time. Most probably, one can assume, the U.S. president will also be interested in getting acquainted with Putin,” Peskov said. At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Obama is scheduled to give a commencement speech at the New Economic School — a speech that his advisers are billing as his third major foreign policy address since assuming office. The first two were in Prague and Cairo. After the ceremony, Obama will “hold meetings with a variety of Russian political, business leaders,” McDonough said. Those meetings are to include a conference organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the American Chamber of Commerce. McFaul said Obama also would meet with “nongovernmental organizations, media representatives and in other words, all of those that are dealing with issues of democracy, independent media, rule of law.” McFaul said the two presidents would discuss a broad variety of issues. He stressed that Medvedev should not expect any concessions on the most painful topics for Moscow — U.S. missile defense plans in Central Europe and the entry of former Soviet republics into NATO. “We’re not going to reassure or give or trade anything with the Russians regarding NATO expansion or missile defense,” he said. “We’re going to define our national interests, and by that I also mean the interests of our allies in Europe with reference to these two particular questions. “So we don’t need the Russians, we don’t want to trade with them,” McFaul said. He added that the NATO doors remain open for any aspiring member qualifying for entry and that this applies to Georgia and Ukraine. As for missile defense, McFaul said Washington would welcome Moscow’s cooperation on reducing the threat from Iran but would not abandon its idea of the missile shield in Europe simply in order to reach a broader deal with Russia. Russian officials oppose the U.S. plan to build a missile shield in Europe, saying it will undercut Russia’s potential for a retaliation strike in the case of nuclear attack. Obama will also meet with Gorbachev on Tuesday. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov also has been invited to meet Obama, his press secretary Alexander Yushchenko said Thursday. “We have an invitation to meet President Obama, but the time of the meeting is still being confirmed.” Opposition leader Garry Kasparov and Leonid Gozman, head of the new Kremlin-backed, pro-business political party Right Cause, said they also have been invited to meet with Obama, Interfax reported. McFaul said Obama would give an interview to Novaya Gazeta before he arrives, following the lead of Medvedev, who met with the newspaper’s editor in April. The interview “should be on newsstands by the time we get to Moscow,” McFaul said. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won’t be accompanying Obama to Moscow because of an arm injury she suffered last month, RIA-Novosti reported, citing a Foreign Ministry source. She will be replaced by William Burns, undersecretary for political affairs and the former U.S. ambassador to Russia. The Obamas will leave Moscow on Wednesday morning.
DTN News: Analysts Say Russia's Influence On Iran Very Limited
*Sources: DTN News / VOA By Andre de Nesnera
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 3, 2009: How to deal with and what to do with Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations is expected to be discussed during the upcoming Moscow summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev.
The nuclear facility at Brushehr was the focus of a considerable amount of controversy, especially in the United States. The reactor was being built under an agreement between the Russian and Iranian governments for $800-million. Although originally intended to be the location of a German-built reactor in the 1970s, the new reactor was to be built to Russian design specifications, though the original reactor buildings exterior appearance would remain essentially the same. There were two reactors at Bushehr, one was in an advanced stage of completion the other had not been worked on for some time and was not scheduled to be completed as of 2006. Iran was a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though it had not ratified two additional protocols to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Program 93 + 2, which was designed to prevent states from developing nuclear weapons covertly, despite IAEA inspections, as Iraq was able to do prior to the Gulf War. Iran maintained that it would not ratify 93 + 2 due to it being denied civilian nuclear technology for Bushehr, despite its positive record with the IAEA. Nuclear power industry contacts between Iran and Russia were based on the inter-governmental agreements of 25 August 1992, on cooperation in the civil use of nuclear energy and in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran. Opposition to Bushehr On 23 February 1998, the US State Department reaffirmed US opposition to Iran's nuclear program. The United States argued that Iran had sufficient oil and gas reserves for power generation, and that nuclear reactors were expensive, unnecessary, and could be used for military purposes. The United States strongly opposed the project, which was permitted under the NPT, and had in the past provided Russia with intelligence information pointing to the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Despite this, the Russians proceeded with work on Bushehr. US opposition to Russian construction of Bushehr rested on three main issues. First was that weapons grade plutonium could be extracted from the reactor allowing the Iranians to construct nuclear weapons. Secondly, the US feared that the Russians and the Iranians were using Bushehr as a cover for the transfer of other sensitive technology that would normally be prohibited. Finally, the US was concerned that the knowledge gained by Iranian scientists working at Bushehr could further Irans nuclear weapons program. US pressure to prevent the construction of Brushehr had not been limited to Russia. On 6 March 1998, during a visit by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ukraine announced that it would not sell turbines for use with reactors at Bushehr. The contract had been worth $45 million. Five days later, Vice President Gore met with Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and discussed, among other things, US concerns over Russian exports of nuclear and missile technology to Iran. Iran claimed that its nuclear program was for peaceful power-generation purposes and that it would help free up oil and gas resources for export, thus generating additional hard-currency revenues. The US had countered that Iran did not possess sufficient natural reserves of nuclear fuel, meaning that it would be dependant on costly imports to sustain a nuclear power program.
Iran's nuclear weapons program is of major concern to the Obama administration.
What is the uranium enrichment plan designed for?
The United States and the European Union believe Iran's uranium enrichment program is designed ultimately to build nuclear arms. Tehran says it only wants to use its enriched uranium for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity.
In an interview with VOA's "Press Conference USA", former U.S. National Security Adviser (retired Air Force) General Brent Scowcroft said it is essential to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.
"Because I think if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, it is not so much that they have a few nuclear weapons, but that the response in the region will be a nuclear response and you will have countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and so on, doing the same thing," said Brent Scowcroft.
In an effort to counter the possible nuclear threat from Tehran, the Obama administration is looking at the possibility of stationing a missile defense system in Eastern Europe made up of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic. U.S. officials have said the system is not targeted against Moscow as stated by Russian officials who remain strongly opposed to the proposed plan.
Daryll Kimball is executive director of the Arms Control Association, an independent research organization.
"A few interceptors in Poland would not negate hundreds of nuclear-armed Russian ballistic missiles," said Daryll Kimball. "But what the Russians are concerned about is that over time, this system that the United States has been developing over the past several years will expand and become a real threat. They are also concerned about it because these facilities - the radar in the Czech Republic and the interceptor base in Poland - are in former eastern bloc countries, they would be literally on the doorstep of Russia."
Bush, Obama differ on missile defense shield in Europe
While the Bush administration was wholeheartedly behind the missile shield plan, President Obama has been more cautious. He has stated that his commitment to the program will be based on the nature of Iran's threat and whether or not the system is technically feasible.
Robert Legvold from Columbia University says President Obama presented his administration's position in a letter to the Russian president in February.
"In effect what he said is, look, this system is designed for a potential Iranian threat," said Robert Legvold. "If that threat diminishes or disappears, then the urgency of going forward with the system also eases. He didn't put it in terms of a quid pro quo - if you help us prevent Iran from going forward, then we promise we won't go forward with the system - that's the way it got reported in the press in a misleading fashion, but he suggested there was a logical connection between the two. The Russians have made it plain that they are not interested in creating that linkage.
"Many experts say whether Tehran decides to curtail its nuclear weapons aspirations could be based on how much pressure Russia exerts on Tehran. But other analysts, including David Kramer, a former senior U.S. State Department official in the Bush administration (now with the German Marshall Fund in the United States), say Russia's influence over Iran is limited.
"I've been skeptical about Russia's ability: one - to have leverage to use over Iran, and two - its willingness to do so, even if it did have it," said David Kramer. "Russia has a lot of interests in Iran: significant trade, nuclear reactor construction, energy, arms sales. And I've been of the view that Russia would much prefer for the United States and other countries to play the role of the bad guy, to lean on Iran, to be the one pushing for sanctions while Russia stays in the background."
The potential Iranian threat will be one of the issues discussed during the upcoming summit meeting in Moscow. Analysts say it will be interesting to see if President Obama will be able to enlist the help of President Medvedev in dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations.
DTN News: Boeing Orders Plunge As Dreamliner Purchases Dropped
*Sources: DTN News / Bloomberg By Susanna Ray
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK - July 3, 2009: Boeing Co., which indefinitely delayed its new 787 Dreamliner in June to reinforce the wing section, lost orders for 73 of the jets this year after Qantas Airways Ltd. dropped 15 planned purchases last week. The company has also won purchase agreements for 13 Dreamliners, bringing the total order book to 850 planes valued at $151.1 billion at the average list price, according to today’s Web site update. Boeing said 17 orders for commercial aircraft were dropped in the past week, and it gained nine new ones. The world’s second-biggest commercial-plane maker also said today it delivered 125 aircraft in the second quarter, one fewer than in the same period a year earlier, as orders dried up because of the slowing economy. Boeing plans to ship 480 to 485 aircraft this year, about the same as its larger commercial rival, Airbus SAS. The planemakers get paid upon delivery. The shipments from April to June included 99 of the 737 single-aisle jet, the world’s most widely flown plane, and 21 of the 777 wide-body, Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement. Airlines canceled and deferred orders this year as the global recession reduced demand and profits. Boeing won 57 orders for all its commercial models in the second quarter, down from 187 in the same period last year. The second quarter included the Paris Air Show, which traditionally hosts order signings worth billions. During this year’s show, Boeing sold just three 737s. There were 85 orders and 84 cancellations through June, leaving Boeing with a mid-year net order book of just one plane. Toulouse, France-based Airbus hasn’t yet released its figures. Unfilled Orders Boeing still has unfilled orders for 3,469 aircraft, or about seven years of work, after airlines placed record orders in the three years through 2007. Boeing fell $1.39, or 3.3 percent, to $40.84 at 4:12 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have dropped 60 percent since the first of five delays to the Dreamliner was unveiled in October 2007. The most recent delay was announced June 23, when Boeing said ground stress tests caused some composite layers to separate where the wings attach to the body. The 787’s maiden flight was to have taken place by June 30, with the first delivery in the first quarter of 2010. To contact the reporter on this story: Susanna Ray in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DTN News: United States Vice-President Joe Biden Arrives In Baghdad *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BAGHDAD, Iraq - July 3, 2009: United States Vice-President Joe Biden arrives in Baghdad, as security personnel stand guard, early July 2, 2009.
Biden's three-day visit comes after President Barack Obama appointed him to help coordinate Iraq policy as U.S. officials lay the groundwork for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces by 2012.
United States Vice-President Joe Biden is greeted by U.S. Army General Raymond Odierno, the Commanding General of the Multi-Nation Force in Iraq, in Baghdad early July 2, 2009.
Biden's three-day visit comes after President Barack Obama appointed him to help coordinate Iraq policy as U.S. officials lay the groundwork for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces by 2012.
DTN News: France To Provide Pakistan With Tiger Combat Helicopters To Fight Militants
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - July 3, 2009: France will provide Tiger combat helicopters and military equipment to Pakistan to enhance its capacity to fight terrorism.
Admiral Edouard Guillaud, Advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and other French officials meet President Asif Ali Zardari at the Presidency.
This was stated by Admiral Edouard Guillaud, Military Personal Staff Adviser to French President, during a series of meetings he held here on Thursday with top political and military leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Tariq Majid and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Official sources said that helicopters to be provided by France would be equipped with ground-to-ground missiles with semi-active laser seekers with a range of over 8km. The multi-role helicopters have modern avionics and radars and can be equipped with anti-tank missiles. Admiral Guillaud commended Pakistan’s determination and resolute action to clear its soil of terrorists and eliminate extremism. French Army ordered 80 aircraft - 40 HAP and 40 HAD (HAD variant to be delivered starting in 2012). As of mid-2009 some 20 HAP had been delivered of which 3 or 4 are expected to be deployed to Afghanistan later in the year. An official of the French embassy said the visit of the delegation led by Admiral Guillaud was a follow-up to French visits by President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief Gen Kayani. ‘The fight against terrorism is a key matter of concern for the international community. Within the framework of our common goal to fight terrorism, this visit aims at strengthening our bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and security,’ he said. He said France’s objective was to offer political and military cooperation and support to Pakistani authorities and strengthen their fight against terrorism and extremism. ‘France wishes to contribute to regional security and stability through reinforced dialogue on these matters.’ During the delegation’s meeting with President Zardari, the two sides decided to extend ties, especially in the field of defence, and the use of civilian nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that matters relating to Pak-France cooperation in different areas, the Friends of Pakistan initiative, rehabilitation of internally-displaced people and fight against militants were discussed at the meeting. During his meeting with the delegation, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called for a roadmap for pragmatic cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy. He proposed establishment of a working group to work out a plan for nuclear cooperation. Referring to the army operation against militants in Malakand division and tribal areas, the prime minister urged France and other countries to support Pakistan by providing military equipment and assistance to effectively deal with terrorists. The prime minister warned against the possibility of militants crossing over into the Pakistani territory, particularly in Balochistan, in the wake of enhanced deployment of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. The prime minister thanked France for the assistance it pledged at the Democratic Friends of Pakistan meeting in Tokyo for the displaced people of NWFP and said that Pakistan was looking forward to the visit of President Sarkozy when frameworks on defence and security and counter-terrorism and on economic and energy cooperation would be signed. Admiral Guillaud said he hoped the two sides would make progress in the field of trade and economy and in civilian nuclear energy cooperation during visit of French Secretary of State for Foreign Trades to Pakistan on July 20. Admiral Guillaud also called on Gen Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), at the Joint Staff Headquarters. Both leaders exchanged views on regional situation and discussed possible areas of expansion of defence and security cooperation. Gen Majid thanked the government of France for its political support to Pakistan, approval of 12 million euros as initial humanitarian aid for displaced people of Swat and affirmation of assistance for capacity building of Pakistan forces. Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held separate meetings at the General Headquarters with Admiral Guillaud and Gen Stanley McChrystal, Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), in Afghanistan.
DTN News: Egypt Wants S-400 To Counter Iran *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) CAIRO, Egypt - July 3, 2009: In a sign of mounting concern about Teheran's missile capability, the Egyptian military recently expressed interest in purchasing the Russian-made, advanced S-300 and S-400 air defense systems. The S-300 is highly effective against aircraft and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously, while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 km. and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters. The S-400 is a more advanced model that is effective not just against aircraft, but also against long-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Its range is reportedly 400 km. Egypt is also working on improving its air force and recently received approval from the Pentagon to buy 12 Apache Longbow attack helicopters. Iran has also been trying to acquire the S-300. Russian officials told Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his recent visit to Moscow that if Israel wanted to stop the sale it would need to buy the system in place of Iran or find an alternative customer. Defense officials said Israel had no intention in purchasing the system. Israeli defense officials said Egypt's interest in the Russian air defense systems was not directly connected to Israel but could have an impact in the event of a future conflict. "This is Egypt's answer to the Iranians' growing missile capability," one official said. On Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post reported that according to Israeli assessments, the Islamic republic is close to testing one of its domestically developed versions of the North Korean BM-25 missile, which has a range of 3,000 km. Relations between Teheran and Cairo grew uncharacteristically tense in April after reports that a Hizbullah terrorist cell - believed to be operating under orders from Iran - had been uncovered in Egypt, where it was allegedly planning a series of attacks to undermine President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
DTN News: Sweden Selects Falcon III For Soldier Radio Program
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ROCHESTER, N.Y., - July 3, 2009: Harris Corporation , an international communications and information technology company, has been awarded a contract to deliver the RF-7800S Secure Personal Radio for Sweden's Inter/Intra Group Radio (IGR) program. The contract is a multi-year framework agreement with an initial quantity of 900 radios to be delivered in July 2009. Sweden's Armed Forces have selected Harris Corporation's RF-7800S Secure Personal Radio for its Soldier Radio Program. The RF-7800S is designed specifically to provide soldier-level communications and offers full-duplex voice capability as well as a frequency range of 350 MHz to 450 MHz. The RF-7800S will provide Swedish soldiers with an easy-to-operate solution for voice and wideband data communications. The radio will initially be fielded in the Nordic Battle Group to keep squads and platoons continually connected to critical real-time information during operations. Compact and weighing less than 600 grams, yet fully ruggedized to military specifications, the RF-7800S ensures high portability and reliability in the field. "Our goal is to enhance the communication capabilities within individual squads, as well as provide detailed information exchange between squad and platoon levels, enabling safer and more effective operations," said Maria Holmberg, Project Manager for IGR at Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV.) "The Harris RF-7800S delivered the voice and data capabilities critical to our application, combined with a superior level of durability and performance." Designed specifically to address the unique requirements of soldier-level communications, the Harris RF-7800S offers full-duplex voice capability, allowing several soldiers to talk simultaneously with an unlimited number of listeners - resulting in more natural use among group members. The advanced waveform, coupled with the 350- to 450-MHz frequency band, provides more than 2 kilometers range over open terrain, and superior penetration of buildings and dense foliage. An integrated GPS receiver enables real-time position tracking of each user and a high-speed USB interface facilitates direct connection of other C4 devices. All transmissions are secured by standard Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or Citadel(R) II digital encryption. "The RF-7800S will give Sweden's Armed Forces a platform to connect the soldier to the network-centric battle space," said Dana Mehnert, group president, Harris RF Communications. "This radio will deliver the capabilities required immediately for operations today, as well as the flexibility to integrate with ongoing system developments such as Sweden's MARKUS soldier modernization program." The RF-7800S has been adopted by more than 20 countries, including the Norwegian Defense Force's NORMANS program. The radio is currently being considered as a platform for several additional standardization programs worldwide. Harris RF Communications is the leading global supplier of secure radio communications and embedded high-grade encryption solutions for military, government and commercial organizations. The company's Falcon family of software-defined tactical radio systems encompasses manpack, handheld and vehicular applications. Falcon III is the next-generation of radios supporting network-centric operations worldwide. Harris RF Communications is also a leading supplier of assured communications systems and equipment for public safety, utility and transportation markets, with products including the most advanced IP voice and data networks and single- and multiband radios. About Harris Corporation Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5 billion of annual revenue and 15,000 employees -- including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications(R) products, systems, and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at www.harris.com.
DTN News: Finland To Upgrade Leopard Tanks, XA-180 AFVs
*Sources: DTN News / European Defence Agency; issued June 30, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) HELSINKI, Finland - July 3, 2009: The Finnish Defence Forces Materiel Command HQ has issued the following contract opportunities notices:
-- LEOPARD 2A4 -SYSTEM MID LIFE UPGRADE:
Army Command has established a Program for Upgrading Finnish Leopard 2 A4 Main Battle Tanks and sent an order to Army Materiel Command to establish a project to execute the acquisition.
In order to be able to fulfil the order, Army Materiel Command Headquarters has decided to issue an RFI to gather more information.
The Finnish Army bought 124 2A4s from surplus German stocks. 20 have been converted into bridge-laying and combat engineering tanks. 12 tanks have been disassembled for use as spares and one tank burned and was a total loss, leaving 91 operational tanks.
This information will be used as basis for the project. Leopard 2 AX –project acquires a Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) for Finnish Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks (MBT’s). The MLU shall ensure the usability and performance of the fleet as defined in the Clause 3 at least to the 2030s.
--XA-180 AND XA-185 -SYSTEMS MID LIFE UPGRADE:
Army Command has established a Program for Upgrading the ‘XA-180’ and ‘XA-185’ wheeled vehicles and sent an order to Army Materiel Command to establish a project to execute the acquisition.
In order to be able to fulfil the order, Army Materiel Command Headquarters has decided to issue an RFI to gather more information. This information will be used as basis for the project. The XA-180 and XA-185 wheeled vehicles project acquires a Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) for the XA-180 and XA-185 wheeled vehicles.
Finland ~ Finnish Army, Finnish Navy, Finnish Police. 425 XA-180s and 185s, 148 XA-200s XA-180, most upgraded to 185 specs, and configured with special communications equipment XA-185, the most common version, some equipped with TOW turret, most of the Finnish vehicles are armed with a 12.7 mm NSV machine gun.
The MLU shall ensure the usability and performance of the fleet as defined in the Clause 3 at least to the 2030s.
DTN News: Singapore's 3rd-Generation Armed Forces Taking Shape
*Sources: DTN News / Singapore Ministry of Defence; issued July 2, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - July 3, 2009: It has been five years since the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) embarked on its 3rd Generation journey, and the key building blocks are all in place.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean shared this with the media during an interview on 26 Jun, ahead of SAF day celebrations on 1 Jul. "You can now see the shape of this 3rd Generation SAF," he added.The Special Operations Task Force will see the Special Operations Force, the Naval Diving Unit and other SAF combat forces integrated to leverage their cross-domain capabilities and expertise in response to a spectrum of security threats. -- PHOTO: MINDEF
Highlighting the three key elements of this transformation, Mr Teo said the SAF is now a modernised, networked force, capable of carrying out a wider spectrum of operations, and manned by committed people.
Commenting on the SAF's evolution into a modernised force, he cited examples of its upgrading of second-hand equipment, such as the recently launched RSS Archer submarine, and the replacement of its E2C early warning aircraft and SW1 armoured tanks with G550 AEW aircraft and Leopard 2A4 tanks respectively.
Other recent additions to the SAF's arsenal include the Formidable-class stealth frigates, the Hermes 450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) first F15SG fighters.
The SAF's edge lies in the networked capabilities of these machines, which provide more speed, precision, mobility and combat power. "They are able to exchange information with one another and...call upon the total capabilities of the SAF," said Mr Teo, who witnessed UAVs, artillery systems, Apache helicopters and F-16s operating as one integrated force during Exercise Wallaby in Australia last year.
Complemented by such hardware, the SAF is now capable of carrying out a wider spectrum of operations, which include contributions to multinational anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
A Landing Ship Tank (LST) with two Super Pumas on board, was deployed to the Gulf of Aden in April this year, while various medical, construction and engineering teams have been sent to the Oruzgan and Bamiyan provinces in Afghanistan since 2007.
These missions have been good operational experiences for servicemen, said Mr Teo. Although such deployments are not without risks, he expressed his confidence that all SAF servicemen are well-trained to handle such situations.
To mitigate risks like rocket attacks in Afghanistan, the SAF is prepared to contribute UAVs for surveillance and a Weapon Locating Radar to provide early warning. Re-organisation within the SAF has helped widen its scope of operations. A UAV Command, formed through the RSAF's revamp in 2007 from a geographically-based structure into five distinct commands, "reflects...the operations we expect the 3rd Generation SAF to undertake," said Mr Teo.
The SAF has also undertaken a multi-Service and multi-agency approach, with the formation of Island Defence Headquarters in 2001 and Maritime Security Task Force in January this year. This July, the SAF will unveil a Special Operations Task Force, combining all the special operations forces in the SAF, "so that they can work together much more cohesively...and much more effectively," Mr Teo said.
As the SAF transforms, people who are committed and capable of handling the SAF's current and future capabilities and operations are needed. The rising importance of small unit leaders, coinciding with more well-educated, able young people serving National Service, "enables us to give them more meaningful things to do, and draw upon their capabilities to build a much more capable SAF," he said.
In May, new human resource schemes were rolled out, including the extension of officers' retirement age from 45 to 50, more opportunities for personal and professional development of Warrant Officers, and the introduction of a new 3rd Warrant Officer rank. Besides reflecting the desire of some officers to stay longer in the SAF, such initiatives also "recognise the capabilities of the type of people that we want to take in for the Warrant Officer Corps to be the backbone of the SAF," shared Mr Teo.
Also, the introduction of a Military Domain Experts Scheme in May reflects the SAF's need for competencies in specific areas of engineering, technical and intelligence. Under this scheme, regulars can experience progression and continuous learning till they are 60.
Acknowledging that the SAF still has some way to go before its transformation is complete, Mr Teo concluded: "It's not finished yet...but you can now see the shape of this 3rd Generation SAF. There's still much work to be done over several more years." The SAF will continue to look at new technologies and new capabilities "which allow us to do things better - more effectively, more efficiently, more cost-effectively."
DTN News: India May Allow Greater Foreign Investment In Defense Firms *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 3, 2009: India may further open its defense sector to investment from overseas firms by increasing the legal limit of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the current level of 26 percent to 49 percent. The change is suggested in the annual Economic Survey of the Indian government, presented July 2 to the Indian Parliament. The Economic Survey 2008-09, which is an economic report card for the period of 2008-09, was presented to the Parliament by Finance Minister Pranab Mukjerjee. The survey also noted that foreign equity in defense production should be raised to 100 percent for high-technology defense equipment. While the suggestion in the Economic Survey is not law, Defence Ministry officials said the increase in the FDI limit has been favored by Indian defense planners, adding that the government is likely to issue a notification to this effect this year. India opened up its defense sector in 2001 to private participation for the first time, setting an FDI limit of 26 percent. However, though a number of overseas defense companies have tied up joint ventures with Indian private and state-owned companies, no major production centers have emerged as had been expected, the Defence Ministry officials said. India's defense offset market is targeted at about $10 billion in the next five to seven years, but no major capacities are building up in the private sector, which some attribute to the FDI limit to 26 percent. An executive of defense major Larsen and Toubro said no major joint ventures are coming up, and only memorandums of understanding are being signed between Indian and foreign firms. The executive advocated raising the FDI limit from 26 percent to 49 percent, and providing concessions to private sector defense companies to allow them to compete on a level playing field with the state-owned defense companies.
DTN News: Defense Spending In Britain Facing Cuts Up To 15%
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 3, 2009: Defense spending in Britain is facing a 10 percent to 15 percent cut in real terms over the next six years as the government puts in place austerity measures to tackle massive public debt, a top British military think tank said in a report released July 2. The Royal United Services Institute says the 2010-2016 period could see between 4 billion pounds and 6 billion pounds wiped off the defense budget as a consequence of Britain's fiscal crisis. But it warns that even if the government increases taxes, bigger defense spending reductions are in the cards if the administration opted for a modest level of real terms growth to health and education or if the economy fails to recover its previous rate of growth by next year. The RUSI report, called Preparing for the Lean Years, is authored by Malcolm Chalmers, the Professor of Defence and Foreign Policy at Kings College of London. It is the latest contribution to a growing debate here about what sort of armed forces can Britain afford in the medium to long-term Three days ago, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research urged the government to consider restructuring the military to focus on specialist capabilities as part of a deepening European defense integration and the wider NATO alliance. The IPPR report said Britain should also reconsider how it could provide a minimum nuclear deterrent when the existing Trident missile submarines go out of service and look again at whether major projects like the CVF aircraft carrier , Joint Strike Fighter and the Astute nuclear attack submarine are relevant to projected defense requirements. A general election here is scheduled for no later than June 2010. With both the leading political parties planning a strategic defense review immediately after the election, academics and others are already scrambling to influence thinking. The RUSI report, though, is probably the first to sketch out just what the financial picture might be during the period a strategic defense review is likely to cover. The core defense budgets out to 2010 and 2011 have already been set and are unlikely to be substantially altered. But RUSI said the immediate aftermath of the next election will see a "comprehensive review of government commitments leading to a prolonged period of austerity in public spending starting with the fiscal year 2011/12. The total British defense budget for 2010/11 is currently set at almost 37 billion pounds. That's not enough though to meet even current program requirements as the MoD has sought to balance its books in the face of a potentially huge overspend. Among the key findings, RUSI says: * Reduction of the MoD current and capital budgets in line with those for the whole government would see total defense spending dip by an estimated 6.8 percent in real terms from 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2014. The estimated reduction over six years from 2016 to 2017 would be 11 percent in real terms. If the MoD succeeds in obtaining an exemption from the full impact of planned capital cuts, it could face pressure from another source. If health and education are given special treatment and their budgets are frozen at 2010 levels in real terms, and the rate of growth of social security spending is reduced to 1 percent, this would leave the rest of government, including the MoD facing a budget cut of 14 percent over the period 2010 to 2016. The report says procurement, pay, operations in Afghanistan and capabilities could all be potential victims of a budget cut. Postponement of the replacement for the Trident-armed Vanguard nuclear submarine program "could be particularly tempting given it is due to be the MoD's largest procurement project from 2016-17," according to the report.
DTN News: BAE Plans To Challenge Swedish Vehicle Move *DTN News: Patria Wins Swedish Armored Modular Vehicles Contract....June 27, 2009 (Click here) *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) HELSINKI, Finland - July 3, 2009: BAE Systems Hägglunds plans to file a legal challenge to a preliminary decision by the Swedish government to acquire an initial 113 AMVs from Patria in Finland, while abandoning plans to continue funding for the Spitterskyddad Enhets Platform (SEP) modular armored tactical vehicle project headed by parent company BAE Systems. "We are not happy with the government's decision and we feel a legal challenge is warranted," said Jan Söderström, BAE Systems Hägglund's managing director. The distress caused to BAE by the setback to the SEP project is reflected in the company's plan to reorganize its Swedish business operations and lay off 320 personnel in its Örsköldsvik vehicles unit. The first of the cuts are due to take place in the fourth quarter of 2009. The Örsköldsvik unit has 1,000 employees at present. "This redundancy program is a great disappointment for all involved, but it is necessary in view of the announcement. We hope that our government will take a different decision to the FMV, as this would remove the need for any redundancies at this time," said Söderström. The Swedish government has a "wider responsibility" than FMV and needs to consider economic, technical and social arguments in its decision, said Söderström. FMV, Sweden's defense material administration, announced on June 25 that it had placed an order worth $338 million with Finland's Patria Land & Armament to deliver 113 Patria AMV eight-wheel-drive vehicles. That decision is conditional on the Riksdag, Sweden's national parliament, approving the deal. The Riksdag is not expected to vote on the deal until mid-September. The Patria AMVs, and not the SEP, will serve as the Swedish Land Force's new-generation armored wheeled vehicle. The order was placed after a bidding competition by FMV that included the SEP.
DTN News: Oshkosh To Make New M-ATV, Pentagon Says *DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Awarded $1.05 Billion Delivery Order To Supply M-ATV To Soldiers, Marines....July 2, 2009 (Click here)
*Sources: DTN News / By Dan Lamothe Wednesday Jul 1, 2009 18:06:40 EDT (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 3, 2009: Oshkosh Corp. has won a $1 billion contract to build new, mine-resistant vehicles for off-road use in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Tuesday, with soldiers and Marines expected to receive the bulk. Oshkosh will oversee production of 2,244 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles, which are designed to have MRAP-like protection while offering better mobility on rugged terrain. The Wisconsin-based vehicle maker will oversee production of 2,244 heavily anticipated Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles, and the order could grow to as many as 10,000 M-ATVs, Pentagon officials have said. The M-ATV is needed to provide the same type of protection expected of the MRAP while offering additional mobility, top Pentagon officials have said. MRAPs have struggled with the rocky terrain in Afghanistan. On June 2, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved a plan for 5,244 M-ATVs to be built, said Cheryl Irwin, a Pentagon spokeswoman. The plan calls for the Army to receive 2,598, with the Corps getting 1,565, Special Operations Command receiving 643, the Air Force getting 280 and the Navy receiving 65. An additional 93 vehicles would be set aside for testing, Irwin said. Because of the Pentagon’s urgent demand for these vehicles, Oshkosh began daily production on its manufacturing line a few weeks ago and may enlist the help of others to increase production, company officials said in statement. Oshkosh beat out three other teams to build the M-ATV: BAE Systems, Navistar International Corp., and Force Dynamics, a joint venture between General Dynamics Corp. and Force Protection Inc.