Saturday, August 15, 2009
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Car Bomb Explodes In Kabul Outside NATO HQ, Near US Embassy
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Car Bomb Explodes In Kabul Outside NATO HQ, Near US Embassy
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - August 15, 2009: A suicide bomber in the Afghan capital, Kabul, blew up a car in a heavily fortified section of the city. At least seven people were killed and 91 others wounded, including children in an attack that comes five days before Afghanistan's presidential election.A British soldier and an Afghan soldier secure the site of the blast in front of the NATO headquarters in Kabul August 15, 2009. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a large suicide car bomb that detonated on Saturday in the heart of the Afghan capital's most secure neighbourhood just five days before an election the Islamist group has vowed to disrupt. Afghanistan's Defence Ministry said at least four people were killed and 91 wounded in the blast, which hit outside the sprawling headquarters of the NATO-led international force, near the U.S. embassy, in Kabul.
Afghan and NATO authorities say the car exploded on the road in front of the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, near the U.S. Embassy and the Presidential Palace. NATO says some ISAF soldiers are among the wounded.
But most of the casualties appear to be Afghan civilians, including children who congregate in the area to sell chewing gum to passersby. An ambulance driver told VOA he saw numerous dead and injured. He says all of the people he transported were civilians, including women.
Bloodied and dazed wounded stood near firemen who extinguished the flames coming from the vehicle that had detonated. Windows of nearby shops were shattered. The force of the blast rattled windows several kilometers away and sent a plume of smoke into the Saturday morning sky.
It is the first such attack in Kabul in six months, although this month a barrage of rockets was launched at the capital, most landing harmlessly. A man in Kabul passes an election poster of Afghan presidential candidate and current Pres. Hamid Karzai, 14 Aug 2009Kabul police criminal investigations director, Brigadier-General Sayed Abdul Ghaffar, tells reporters at the scene this is obviously a suicide car bombing.
General Ghaffar says the identity of the bomber will be difficult to ascertain because he blew himself into many pieces, but investigators hope to arrest his accomplices. Taliban claims responsibility
The Taliban, in phone calls to news agencies, claimed responsibility for the car bomb, saying it contained 500 kilograms of explosives and the intended target was the U.S. Embassy. Embassy spokesperson Fleur Cowen says the American diplomatic compound was not hit.
Cowan said, "I was in my office when a blast occurred a little after 8:30 a.m. and I certainly heard it but I didn't feel anything.
We're still gathering information, however, to the best of our knowledge all U.S. Embassy personnel have been accounted for and there has been no damage to the Embassy." General Ghaffar acknowledges the attackers were able to penetrate an area of the capital that is supposed to be heavily secure, less than a week before Afghans go to the polls for the first national election since 2004. Officials urge Afghans to vote
The police official says this suicide bombing should not deter Afghans from voting or derail the election.
President Hamid Karzai, running for re-election, earlier in the week urged citizens not to be intimidated by Taliban threats to attack voting sites and disrupt balloting.
A successful election is considered as a key test for this country's fledgling democracy and the ability of the joint Afghan and international forces to provide adequate security.
DTN News: Technology TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ US Testing System To Beat Web Censorship In China And Iran
DTN News: Technology TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ US Testing System To Beat Web Censorship In China And Iran
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BOSTON, USA - August 15, 2009: The US government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran that will allow citizens to by-pass internet censorship set up by their governments.
The Telegraph quoted a senior official at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an independent US government agency, as saying :
"We have people testing it in China and Iran." Ken Berman, the Board's IT chief, however,provided few details on the new system, which is in the early stages of testing.
He said some secrecy was important to avoid detection by the two governments.
The Internet has become a powerful tool for citizens in countries where governments regularly censor news media, enabling them to learn about and react to major social and political events.
"We don't make any political statement about what people visit. We are trying to impart the value. The more you know, the better. People can look for themselves," Berman said.
In addition to China and Iran, targets for the FOE technology include Myanmar, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, he said.
Berman, however, said there would be modest filtering of pornography on the system. "There is a limit to how much (U.S.) taxpayers should have to pay for," he said.
DTN News: Hamas Will Not Compromise With 'Occupying' Israel *Source: DTN News / Press TV
(NSI News Source Info) LEBANON - August 15, 2009: Hamas blames Fatah's efforts to please Israel and its Western allies for the current stalemate in the reconciliation talks being held in Cairo. In an interview with Press TV, the movement's representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said that the main obstacle on the way to reconciliation was external pressures that have impacted Fatah. (Photo: The Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan.)
The senior Hamas member recalled their efforts for solving the issues of difference between the two sides and the opposition from the Fatah delegation who were worried the West might not accept the proposed solutions.
On the results of a recent Fatah conference, Hamdan said four members of Fatah's new leadership are from the security officials in the West Bank and they arrange what they do with the Israelis.
"Fifty percent of the new members have good relations with the Israelis and they believe in the peace process," said Hamdan, adding that Hamas would wait for the central committee of Fatah to introduce its political program including the Palestinian unity issue.
He further expressed hope that Fatah could make a change in internal Palestinian relations, urging the rival party to make a turn in its negotiations with Israel back to Palestinians issues such as resistance against occupation.
Hamdan described a Palestinian homeland the minimum right of the Palestinians. He also referred to Israel's failure to keep its earlier promises and the continued settlement activity and land grab despite earlier agreements with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and international opposition.
"PLO compromised, what happened next? Israel took all the things without giving the Palestinians anything," he said. "We were supposed to have a Palestinian state in 1998, after five years of the Oslo agreement, but it did not happen.
Seventeen years and now we are still under the occupation. They enlarge settlements, they are stealing the land, the water, [and] the resources." Hamdan ruled out any compromise with Israel, stressing that Palestinians would resist and fight the occupation until they achieved their national goals.
DTN News: North Korea Says It Is Ready To Engage With The US For Talks On Nuclear Program *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) PYONGYANG, North Korea - August 15, 2009: North Korea says it is ready to engage with the US amid recently-expressed willingness by Washington to enter direct talks with Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
North Korea is claimed to have an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and claims to possess nuclear weapons. The CIA asserts that North Korea also has a substantial arsenal of chemical weapons. North Korea was a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but withdrew in 2003, citing the failure of the United States to fulfill its end of the Agreed Framework, a 1994 agreement between the states to limit North Korea's nuclear ambitions, begin normalization of relations, and help North Korea supply some energy needs through nuclear reactors. On October 9, 2006, the North Korean government issued an announcement that it had successfully conducted a nuclear test for the first time. Both the United States Geological Survey and Japanese seismological authorities detected an earthquake with a preliminary estimated magnitude of 4.2 in North Korea, corroborating some aspects of the North Korean claims. In April 2009, reports surfaced that North Korea has become a "fully fledged nuclear power", an opinion shared by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. On May 25, 2009, North Korea conducted another nuclear test, which is believed to have been the cause of a magnitude 4.7 seismic event. Although there is no official information about the test’s location it is believed that it happened in the north-eastern region near Kilju, the site of North Korea's first nuclear test.
"We always keep the door open to negotiations," Reuters quoted Kim Yong-Il, a vice minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, as saying in Hanoi on Friday on the sidelines of the second annual vice-ministerial policy exchange between the North and Vietnam.
This was the first time since the visit by the former US President Bill Clinton to the country last week, that a high-ranking North official used a foreign meeting to make such comments. Clinton, meeting North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il, successfully brokered the release of two US journalists held since March on suspicion of illegal entry.
Earlier on Sunday following Clinton's visit, US officials hinted at their willingness to hold direct talks with Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
Despite deeming as dead the six-party talks, North Korea has expressed its readiness to enter negotiations with the US based on diplomacy. Pyongyang maintains that Washington should first abandon its hostile attitude.
The US and international efforts have failed to convince the North to abandon its nuclear program, which Washington perceives as illicit.
Pyongyang says it has "no choice" but to maintain its nuclear arsenal in the face of the strategic threat posed by the United States.
DTN News: Japan TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Japan Prime Minister Taro Aso Voices Deep Regret Over WWII Suffering
DTN News: Japan TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Japan Prime Minister Taro Aso Voices Deep Regret Over WWII Suffering
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - August 15, 2009: Japan's prime minister expressed deep regret over the suffering his country inflicted on Asian countries during World War II in a solemn ceremony Saturday that marked the 64th anniversary of Tokyo's surrender. Members of the Japanese garrison on Saipan pose for a photograph during a more peaceful time before the U.S. Marine landing during World War II. Prime Minister Taro Aso joined some 4,800 families to pay respect to millions of Japan's war dead at the Nihon Budokan hall in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also attended the ceremony, leading a one-minute silence at noon. "Our country inflicted tremendous damage and suffering on many countries, particularly people in Asia. As a representative of the Japanese people, I humbly express my remorse for the victims, along with deep regret," Aso said in a speech at the nationally televised ceremony. The prime minister vowed that Japan would never repeat the tragedy. Emperor Akihito _ whose father Hirohito issued the surrender on Aug. 15, 1945 _ said he hoped Japan would never again wage a war. "I mourn for those who died in the war and pray for world peace and further development of Japan," the 75-year-old emperor said in a speech. Before the ceremony, Aso laid flowers at the secular Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery, where the remains of victims of World War II are laid to rest. The prime minister did not attend a controversial war shrine located near the national cemetery. Yasukuni Shrine honors 2.5 million Japanese who died in wars from the late 1800s until 1945, including convicted war criminals. Pacifists and the victims of Japanese aggression _ such as China and the Koreas _ abhor Yasukuni as a glorification of past militarism and a symbol of Japan's conquest in Asia, including the invasion and occupation of China and Korea. From 2001 to 2006, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni strained relations with China and South Korea, who denounced the act as a sign that Japan had failed to fully atone for invasions and atrocities. Koizumi again visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Saturday. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and some 40 lawmakers also went there. Of 17 ministers in Aso's Cabinet, only Consumer Affairs Minister Seiko Noda arrived at the shrine.
DTN News: US Industrial Output Rebounds, Consumer Prices Flat
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 15, 2009: US industrial production rose in July for the first time in nine months while consumer prices held steady, official data showed Friday, suggesting economic recovery stirrings are not inspiring demand. A car plant in Chicago, United States. US industrial production jumped 0.5 percent in July, official data showed Friday in a sign of the manufacturing sector emerging from recession. US industries boosted output by 0.5 percent in July, the Federal Reserve said, in a sign of the manufacturing sector emerging from recession. The increase was a tick higher than the consensus forecast of 0.4 percent and followed eight consecutive months of declines. The Fed noted that "aside from a hurricane-related rebound in October 2008, the gain in July marked the first monthly increase since December 2007," when the world's largest economy entered recession. Manufacturing output advanced 1.0 percent in July, driven largely by the auto sector -- which built cars at an annual rate of 5.9 million units in the month, compared with 4.1 million units in June. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing production edged up 0.2 percent. "What we are seeing here is the initial fragile blossoms of the recovery," said Brian Bethune, chief US financial economist at IHS Global Insight. "However, the auto industry will burn through the remaining funding of the 'cash for clunkers' program very quickly, and other fiscal stimulus measures -- the first-time homebuyers credit in particular, will expire before the end of the year," he said. Separately, the Labor Department reported consumer prices held unchanged in July from June, in line with expectations, leaving a year-over-year 2.1 percent drop that was the steepest since 1950 due to an unfavorable comparison with pre-global meltdown conditions. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1 percent, slowing from a 0.2 percent rise in June. The core rate was up 1.5 percent from July 2008, a two-tenths point gain from June. Those inflation levels are considered to be within the comfort zone for the Federal Reserve in setting monetary policy. The Fed this week maintained its exceptionally low key interest rate near zero, as expected, to support the recession-mired economy and reiterated its outlook for subdued inflation. "There is still no sign of any resurgence in core inflation, which means the Fed should be safe in maintaining low rates and quantitative easing for at least another month as recovery continues," said Andres Carbacho-Burgos of Moody's Economy.com. A grim consumer confidence report Friday lent support to a weak outlook for consumer spending, which drives two-thirds of US economic activity and is key to recovery. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index dipped to 63.2 from 66.0 in August, below the consensus forecast of 69.0. Bethune said the report was "a sober reminder of how much pressure households are under in terms of the huge cumulative declines in household wealth over the recession, trend increases in unemployment and underemployment, and downward pressure on wages, salaries and benefits as companies have clamped down on costs." Ian Shepherdson, economist at High Frequency Economics, noted persistently tight credit conditions, despite the authorities' massive efforts to kick-start lending. "The credit constraint on consumers is so great that we have to wonder whether spending will fall short of the pace implied by its historical link with the confidence numbers," he said. "The numbers for recent months do suggest this is a potentially serious problem." Andrew Busch of BMO Capital Markets agreed, saying the report offered a "soft outlook for back-to-school sales."
DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded $10 Million Delivery Order For HEMTT Tanker Self-Sealing Coating, Repair Kits
DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded $10 Million Delivery Order For HEMTT Tanker Self-Sealing Coating, Repair Kits *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - August 15, 2009: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), has received a delivery order from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) for the application of a self-sealing product on more than 550 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) M978 A4 Tankers to help reduce the risk of fire during the transportation of fuel. The order, valued at more than $10 million, also includes field repair kits, which are in addition to the basic issue item kits delivered with every vehicle, for tank puncture repairs. Work will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2010. The coating product seals tank punctures on the fuel-servicing truck that result from small-arms fire or fragments, providing a safer vehicle system for the crew. The Oshkosh HEMTT’s 13-ton payload and off-road capabilities make it the backbone for the U.S. Army’s logistics fleet. Since its introduction in 1985, the HEMTT has helped keep the Army on the move during major conflicts such as Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. The HEMTT is a part of the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV), which also includes the Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) and Palletized Load System (PLS). Oshkosh Defense has produced and delivered more than 30,000 HET, PLS and HEMTT vehicles under the FHTV contracts, and it was the first manufacturer to supply the Army with Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS)-compliant cabs. About Oshkosh Defense Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com About Oshkosh Corporation Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI™, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com
DTN News: Bell Helicopter Takes The Top Spot In Product Support Categories *Source: DTN News / Bell Helicopter (NSI News Source Info) FORT WORTH, Texas - August 15, 2009: Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, scored another win with its repeat as the highest rated rotorcraft manufacturer for product support in the Aviation International News (AIN) annual survey.The Bell OH-58D ~ offering unparalleled war-fighting capabilities, the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior delivers the goods on the bad guys. Combat-proven world-wide, in long-range day and night target acquisition, this warrior-lookout claims multiple armaments. With characteristic low infrared and acoustic signatures, as well as multi-purpose quick-change kits, the Kiowa can be armed and ready to fight less than 10 minutes after off-load from a C-130. Coupled with its 15th consecutive number one ranking in the Professional Pilot magazine survey earlier this year, Bell continues to dominate this important measurement of customer satisfaction. Danny Maldonado, Bell's senior vice president of customer support and chief services officer, stated, "We are grateful that our customers continue to recognize the effort we put in supporting our products in the field. Bell knows that our operators rely on our support structure to keep their aircraft in the air where they can be productive assets." Bell's support philosophy has created a mindset that is backed up by dedicated resources that are available around the clock, so no matter where you are the Bell team is there when you need them. "We are continuously evaluating our support team and structure looking for ways to improve, and the comments provided by our customers in this survey are an important tool in that improvement process," said Maldonado. Bell has been ranked number one in all but one of the annual AIN surveys. About Bell Helicopter Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries. About Textron Inc. Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company , Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Fluid & Power, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation. More information is available at http://www.textron.com/
DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Taps Proven Suppliers For Competitively Priced FMTV Bid
*Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - August 15, 2009: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), has delivered a competitively priced and low-risk bid for the U.S. Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) competitive rebuy. In addition to pre-award production and engineering investments that are being performed at no charge to the government, Oshkosh Defense has strategic relationships with almost 90 percent of the FMTV’s major component suppliers. As a result of current production volumes with these suppliers, Oshkosh Defense can submit an FMTV pricing structure that is equal to, if not better than, the incumbent program. “As with all of our programs, we are committed to supplying high-quality FMTV vehicles according to the delivery schedule and at a very competitive price,” said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “The significant investments we have made in our production capabilities make us a stronger, leaner manufacturer with minimal new equipment startup costs.” Oshkosh Defense’s pre-award FMTV investments include preparing the production workforce, engineering vehicle components and purchasing tooling. The company also has independently completed the design and production of a long-term armor strategy (LTAS)-compliant FMTV cab to provide a “hot” start to the program, reduce risk and ensure timely production deliveries. As the supplier of the Army’s Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV), Oshkosh Defense has demonstrated its commitment to maintaining that program at affordable levels. The company will work with the Army to do the same for the FMTV. The FMTV program is a five-year, multibillion-dollar contract award for the production of an estimated 23,000 vehicles and trailers for the Army. Oshkosh Defense is the only current manufacturer of medium and heavy tactical wheeled vehicles in the U.S. defense industry, having produced more than 67,000 military class vehicles in its manufacturing facilities. The company’s use of an advanced integrated assembly line has allowed for the simultaneous production of up to 10 vehicle models with 29 variations. About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions, and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI™, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com.
DTN News: Embraer's Phenom 300 Jet Continues On Target For Certification *Source: DTN News / Embraer-Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. on August 12, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) SAO JOSE dOS CAMPOS, Brazil - August 15, 2009: With the first flight of the fifth Phenom 300 aircraft, tail number PP-XVM, on August 8, Embraer's light jet program achieved an important milestone toward certification. The Embraer Phenom 300 is a light jet aircraft developed by the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. It can carry 8 or 9 occupants with a flying range of 1,800 nautical miles. Its price is estimated at US$ 6.85 million in January 2005 economic conditions, with a production date of 2009. The plane has a flexible configuration for up to nine occupants, with a private rear lavatory, refreshment center and baggage area. At 45,000 feet, the Phenom 300 is pressurized to a cabin altitude of 6,000 feet. The jet features single-point refueling and an externally serviced lavatory. This aircraft, the first with a completed interior, will be exhibited at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (LABACE), August 13-15, at Congonhas Airport, in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Visitors will experience the cabin size and comfort that are unique in the category. After the exhibition, the airplane will be used for function and reliability tests and the maturity campaign, when important functions and features such as its single point refueling, externally serviced lavatory (unique in the category) and low cabin altitude. "The current fleet of four prototypes has accumulated over 850 test flight hours," said Maurício Almeida, Embraer Vice President, Programs – Executive Jets. "With this fifth aircraft, we will validate the robustness of the Phenom 300 under normal operating conditions and the superior comfort of its interior, which was designed in partnership with BMW Group DesignworksUSA." The first prototype (PP-XVI) has been used for flight quality and performance evaluation. To the present time, the aircraft has performed ground vibration, anti-icing system and undrainable fuel tests, as well as stall, crosswind takeoff and landing, flutter and high-speed tests. The airplane was also used for the aerodynamic configuration finalization. The anti-icing system was verified under natural ice conditions and the airframe is currently being evaluated under simulated icing conditions. The second prototype (PP-XVJ) performed water spray and engine fire detection tests. It was also used for the expansion of the Vmo (maximum operating limit speed) envelope and testing external noise and engine controllability, engine fire extinguishing, in-flight start, fuel system, external lighting, and autopilot – which is in the final test stages. The aircraft is now in Bolivia, performing high-altitude takeoff tests. The airplane was also used to collect data for the full flight simulator, which will be certified for pilot training. The third prototype (PP-XVK) has completed flight control tests and is currently performing all tests necessary for determining takeoff and landing performance, including the evaluation of minimum control speeds in the air and on the ground. The fourth prototype (PP-XVL) successfully completed HIRF (High Intensity Radiated Field), lightning, cold soak, and external noise tests. The airplane was also used to validate the maintenance plan and is now dedicated to internal noise tests, among others. Besides the four aircraft in the flight test campaign, Embraer is presently performing groundbased structural tests with dedicated test specimens. Equipped with swept wings and high performance winglets, the Phenom 300 indicated it is on the way to accomplish its design goals, cruising at 833 km per hour, or 450 knots (KTAS), and flying 3,334 km (1,800 nautical miles), with six occupants and NBAA IFR reserves. The certification campaign of the Phenom 300 should be concluded during the last quarter of 2009, with the first deliveries being made by the end of the year. The Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 executive jets, together, have logged more than 800 firm orders, worldwide.
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Begins Testing On Australia’s First Aegis Weapon System
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) MOORESTOWN, NJ, - August 15, 2009: The Aegis Weapon System destined for Australia’s first Air Warfare Destroyer began a four month testing program today at Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]’s Aegis Production Test Center. When testing concludes, the full Aegis Weapon System will be ready for installation in HMAS Hobart, the first of three Australian Air Warfare Destroyers under contract. Lockheed Martin’s Production Test Center replicates a ship’s superstructure and allows for the first integration of all the subsystems of the Aegis Weapon System, including the SPY-1D(V) radar, illuminators, all computing hardware, and the cabling that will be used in the final ship installation. In its Production Test Center, Lockheed Martin conducts testing concurrently with each subsystem’s installation, as well as with the entire completed Aegis Weapon System, in order to ensure the system is ready for the rigors of sea before it ever leaves land. “This land-based testing process is critical to the exacting reliability that Aegis continually delivers, and will deliver for the Australian Navy,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface/Sea-Based Missile Defense Systems line of business. Upon completion of the testing, the Aegis Weapon System will be shipped to ASC Shipyard in Adelaide, Australia, when the shipyard is ready to install the system. The Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyer will be the most advanced and complex warships ever built in Australia and will introduce the Aegis Weapon System to the Royal Australian Navy. The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s premier proven naval defense system. Its precision S-band SPY-1 radar and missile system seamlessly integrate with its own command and control. Its ability to detect, track and engage targets ranging from sea-skimming cruise missiles to ballistic missiles in space is unmatched. The 91 Aegis-equipped ships currently in service around the globe have more than 1,100 years of at-sea operational experience and have launched more than 3,500 missiles in tests and real-world operations. In addition to the U.S. and Australia, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
DTN News: Irkut Corporation Finalizes SU-30МКМ Delivery To Royal Malaysian Air Force *Source: DTN News / Irkut Corporation (NSI News Source Info) IRKUTSK, Russia - August 15, 2009: Irkut Corporation is due to complete Su-30MKM deliveries to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. First two Su-30MKM from the last batch have been already handed over to the customer; the remaining four fighters are expected to arrive in …[date missing—Ed.] Irkut has delivered 14 of the 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighters ordered by Malaysia in 2003, and will shortly deliver the final four. The contract for 18 Su-30MKM multifunctional fighters for RMAF was signed during the official visit of Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia, to Malaysia in August 2003. After thorough examination RMAF selected Su-30MKM thus preferring it to US F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter. According to local mass media the decision of Malaysian leadership was largely influenced by India’s successful operation of Su-30MKI. Su-30МКМ («multi-role, commercial, Malaysian») is the latest version of the renowned super-maneuverable Su-30МКI fighter created for India. The aircraft has the same aerodynamically perfect airframe, state-of-the-art engine with the Thrust Vector Control (TVC) and the most advanced digital fly-by-wire system. The MKM version differs from the MKI by the onboard avionics suite composition tailored to accommodate the customer’s needs. The fighter is fitted with the modern phased antenna array radar which enables simultaneous tracking 15 targets and attacking 4 targets. Su-30MKM avionics suite includes electronic warfare (EW) system and optic-location system with the laser rangefinder supplied by Russia’s leading manufacturers. Also certain western-made avionics were integrated onboard the fighter: Head-up display (HUD) navigational forward-looking IR system NAVFLIR, Laser Designation pod (LDP Damocles) and some others. Integration of all the avionics systems was carried out with active participation of Su-30MKM Project Team consisting of RMAF officers and based in Moscow. Presentation of Su-30МКМ took place on the 24th May of 2007 at Irkutsk Aviation plant – Irkut Corporation key production facility. In his interview to Malaysian national agency Bernama Chief of RMAF Gen Datuk Seri Azizan Ariffin defined that day as a "historical date". According to Chief of RMAF, Malaysia acquired from Russia "the most sophisticated multi-role aircraft in Southeast Asia". In December 2007 two Su-30МКМ took part in display flights at the 8th International air and naval show LIMA (Langkawi) generating a lot of public interest. Su-30MK multirole fighter is one of the most popular combat aircraft in the world. It’s the first serially produced combat aircraft to sport super-maneuverability and the first export fighter equipped with phased antenna array onboard radar. Irkut Corporation successfully fulfills contracts for the delivery of Su-30MK-type fighters to India, Algeria and Malaysia, along with technical kits for Su-30MKI license production by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. All in all around 300 SU-30MK-type aircraft have been ordered with nearly 150 already delivered. There are certain perspectives to increase order-book. Overhauling Su-30MKI is being set up in India. Negotiations on IAF’s Su-30MKIs upgrade are underway. In particular it is planned to equip them with BrahMos Indo-Russian anti-ship missiles to create unprecedented weapons suite in the world.
DTN News: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Predicts Years More Of Afghan Combat *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 15, 2009: The Pentagon presented a grim portrait of the Afghanistan war Thursday, offering no assurances about how long Americans will be fighting there or how many U.S. combat troops it will take to win. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, gestures during a briefing the at Pentagon, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009. Defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida will take "a few years," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, with success on a larger scale in the desperately poor country a much longer proposition. He acknowledged that the Taliban has a firm hold on parts of the country President Barack Obama has called vital to U.S. security. Congress wants answers to what lawmakers described as basic questions to soothe a war-weary American public. "In the intelligence business, we always used to categorize information in two ways, secrets and mysteries," Gates, a former CIA director, told a Pentagon news conference. He added: "Mysteries were those where there were too many variables to predict. And I think that how long U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan is in that area." With 62,000 U.S. troops already in the country, and an additional 6,000 headed there by the end of the year, Gates suggested there is little appetite in Washington to add many more. He said his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is free to ask for whatever he needs, but Gates said when the general submits a revised war plan in the coming weeks it will not contain a request to expand the U.S. fighting force. McChrystal is expected to identify shortfalls that could be filled by U.S. forces, but a formal request would come only later. The White House has made no secret of its skepticism about further troop additions in Afghanistan, and Gates said Thursday he still was worried that too many American forces could turn Afghans against those trying to help them. Obama has made Afghanistan one of his top foreign policy priorities. But his administration is grappling with refocusing on Afghanistan, which the U.S. invaded in October 2001 to hunt for Osama bin Laden, while disentangling 130,000 American troops from Iraq. In a report released earlier this week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warned the Obama administration that unanswered questions about lingering U.S. involvement in Afghanistan could frustrate the public. "The administration has raised the stakes by transforming the Afghan war from a limited intervention into a more ambitious and potentially risky counterinsurgency," the Senate report concluded. "These core questions about commitment and sacrifice can be answered only through a rigorous and informed national debate." Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., cited "risks and rewards associated with our increasing commitment to the war in Afghanistan." As the fight moves toward its ninth year this fall, Gates said allied forces must show this year that they are turning the tide. "It's just not possible to predict specific periods of time when you're in a conflict like this, where ... the enemy has a vote and where there are so many variables," Gates said. Appearing alongside Gates, the nation's second-highest ranking military officer agreed there is no date certain for an exit. Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Marine Gen. James Cartwright said he is looking for evidence of U.S. and NATO troops increasingly turning security missions over to Afghan forces as a sign of when Americans might ramp down their presence. "When you start to see that attitude change, then you start to have a sense that things are going to move in a direction that would be towards the end of the violence side of this equation," Cartwright said. The Senate report also noted the wide-ranging timeline for U.S. troops in the fight cited by unidentified military leaders, policy-makers and outside experts around Washington: anywhere from two years to over a decade. "None of the civilian officials or military officers interviewed in Afghanistan and elsewhere expected substantial progress in the short term. They talked in terms of years two, five and 10," the report noted. The varying timelines, in part, may reflect politics. Capitol Hill has grown wary of approving annual war chests after years of ever-increasing costs for Iraq. Obama has asked Congress for $68 billion next year to fund defense spending in Afghanistan. The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, recently asked for another $2.5 billion in nonmilitary spending, The Washington Post reported this week. Military officials believe the Afghanistan mission can only succeed if troops are there far longer — anywhere from five years to 12 years. Cartwright suggested that some changes will be needed "pretty soon." "The IED fight is pretty lethal," Cartwright said, referring to improvised explosive devices left on roadsides which are now the cause of the majority of U.S. and NATO deaths. Last month 49 coalition troops died in bomb attacks, a more than six-fold increase from the eight killed in roadside and suicide bomb attacks in July 2008, according to U.S. figures.
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Exceeds 50,000 Miles Of Operational Testing
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) OWEGO, NY - August 15, 2009: Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] first four operational Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototypes, featuring at least one prototype in each vehicle category and including two variants of the Category B model, have successfully exceeded 50,000 combined miles of testing. To best simulate mission conditions, the prototypes are undergoing 2,000 miles of rigorous secondary and off-road testing weekly. Lockheed Martin unveiled its fourth operational Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototype, a second variant of its Infantry Carrier Category B model, at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Since October 2007, the Lockheed Martin-led JLTV Team has introduced four prototypes: its original Infantry Carrier JLTV Category B model, which is designed for troop transportation and was unveiled in October 2007; the Utility Vehicle Light Category C model, which is designed with a focus on payload and was introduced in February 2008; the General Purpose Mobility Category A model, which is designed for logistical support and was unveiled in October 2008; and the second variant of the Infantry Carrier Category B model, which made its public debut today. “We have designed, developed and extensively tested mature JLTV vehicles,” said Lou DeSantis, vice president of JLTV Systems at Lockheed Martin. “We’ve received feedback from the customer and used it to improve our solution in areas such as ergonomics and survivability. Introducing the fourth operational prototype demonstrates our team’s commitment to provide the warfighter with the lowest-risk, most technically innovative and affordable vehicle possible.” Currently all of the Lockheed Martin JLTV prototypes are in system test. To date, they have accumulated over 50,000 combined test miles, more than half of which have been conducted off-road to simulate mission conditions. “From the time we formed our JLTV Team more than four years ago, one of our standing objectives has been to literally drive risk out of the JLTV program,” said Lou DeSantis, vice president of JLTV Systems at Lockheed Martin.
“Through prototyping and off-road testing, we’re doing just that. Surpassing the 50,000 test mile threshold emphasizes our commitment to delivering a mature, low-risk family of vehicles for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps as quickly as possible, and also speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication of our entire JLTV Team." Lockheed Martin’s current JLTV family of vehicles includes four prototypes, all of which are in system test: The original Infantry Carrier JLTV Category B model, which is designed for troop transportation and was unveiled in October 2007; The Utility Vehicle Light Category C model, which is designed with a focus on payload and was introduced in February 2008; The General Purpose Mobility Category A model, which is designed for logistical support and was unveiled in October 2008; and The second variant of the Infantry Carrier Category B model, which made its public debut at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium in February 2009. The Lockheed Martin-led JLTV Team includes leaders in their respective fields. The BAE Systems Global Tactical Systems and Security & Survivability Systems businesses are providing production facilities for high volume assembly, automotive design support and advanced armor solutions for protection.
Alcoa Defense is supplying materials experience, design services and aluminum components that give the vehicle its structural strength at reduced weight. JWF – Defense Systems is offering state-of-the-art machining and cost-effective fabrication. Lockheed Martin serves as the prime contractor and design agent, providing systems engineering, platform integration, design expertise, and program and supply chain management. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
DTN News: Malaysia TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Malaysia Activists Welcome Web Censorship U-Turn
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - August 15, 2009: Malaysian rights activists on Thursday welcomed the government's decision not to implement a controversial plan to create an Internet filter blocking "undesirable" websites. The proposal has been described as a "horror of horrors" by the opposition which said it would destroy the relative freedom of the Internet in Malaysia, where the mainstream press is tightly controlled. A senior official with the National Security Council (NSC) last week confirmed to AFP reports that the ruling coalition was considering the controls, effectively scrapping a 1996 guarantee that it would not censor the Internet. But Information Minister Rais Yatim Wednesday said the government did not intend to introduce online censoring, telling state media it would instead directly target cases of sedition, fraud and child pornography on the Internet. "The government has taken a positive step not to implement it. I don't think censoring will make any sense in this globalised world," said N. Siva Subramaniam, a commissioner from the government-backed Human Rights Commission. "Even if you block certain websites, readers still can get the news from other sources," he told AFP. Activists however remained cautious over Rais's comments, saying that while the government appeared to have backed away from the plan for a formal filter, it could still be intent on curtailing freedom of expression. "We are happy if they are dropping the idea, but we would also like to see what is their approach on what should be available on the Internet," said V. Gayathry from the Centre for Independent Journalism. "The government seems to be determined to monitor and control online content. It creates fear among the people, it is an implied threat and that itself will make people practise self-censorship," she added. Malaysia's lively blogosphere has been a thorn in the side of the Barisan Nasional government, which was been in power for more than half a century but was dealt its worst ever results in elections a year ago. Internet news portals and blogs, which escape tight controls on the mainstream media, were credited as a key element in the swing towards the opposition which has been adept at using new media to communicate its ideas. In comments to AFP last week, the NSC official said the proposed filter was "to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments. We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States".
DTN News: Boeing Halted 787 Production At Its Italian Subcontractor *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, USA - August 15, 2009: Boeing Co. stopped production at a 787 Dreamliner facility in Italy that was making parts for the plane's fuselage because of weakness in its composite skin, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday. Boeing 787 Dreamliner Will Provide New Solutions for Airlines, Passengers ~ Responding to the overwhelming preference of airlines around the world, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' new airplane is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a super-efficient airplane. An international team of top aerospace companies is developing the airplane, led by Boeing at its Everett facility near Seattle, Wash. Unparalleled Performance ~ The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210 - 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometers), while the 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 - 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 kilometers). A third 787 family member, the 787-3 Dreamliner, will accommodate 290 - 330 passengers and be optimized for routes of 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles (4,600 to 5,650 kilometers). In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane. It will also travel at speeds similar to today's fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will enjoy more cargo revenue capacity. Passengers will also see improvements with the new airplane, from an interior environment with higher humidity to increased comfort and convenience. The Chicago-based manufacturer ordered its subcontractor, Alenia Aeronautic in Naples, to stop work two months ago, the same day it announced a separate structural flaw at where the wing and the fuselage meet, the newspaper reported. Boeing downplayed the news, saying Alenia was installing a fix to the problem and that it would have no affect on schedule or cost. The company had to cancel the maiden flight for the 787 scheduled for June because of the wing-fuselage weakness, and hasn't announced yet a new target date. Shares of Boeing were down about nearly 5% at last check to $44.31. Over the last year the stock has declined more than 30% on the recession and fears customers might cancel new aircraft orders due to falling air-traffic demand. However, the mounting problems in the 787 program's supply chain have also been a significant overhang. "After a thorough review we found only two locations on each airplane that needed to be strengthened with a fairly simple patch," Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter told the Journal, regarding the problems sat the Alenia facility. The two patches can be applied externally and should prevent any "wrinkling" of the composite material, which could lead to further damage if left unrepaired, she said. The wide-body jetliner is about two years behind schedule. More than a hundred subcontractors have been doing the majority of the production work to help spread out costs, but it has also led to a variety of supply-chain problems including a shortage of fasteners and incomplete software. In July, Boeing said it would buy a Vought Aircraft facility that builds fuselage parts for the 787 to give the manufacturer greater control of its supply chain. It's the second purchase of a 787-related facility. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. First deliveries of the next-generation jetliner are currently scheduled for the first quarter of 2010, about two years behind the company's original schedule. After June's first-flight delay, some analysts predicted the first delivery will now occur sometime in 2011.
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Poll Shows President Hamid Karzai Leading Ahead Of Afghan Election
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Poll Shows President Hamid Karzai Leading Ahead Of Afghan Election
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - August 15, 2009: KABUL - President Hamid Karzai holds a strong lead in the Afghan presidential race but is still short of the majority he needs for a first-round victory, according to a poll released Friday with less than a week to go before the balloting. Afghan children play near a election poster of President Hamid Karzai on August 14, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. 41 Candidates are due to run off for Afghanistan's presidential elections which are to be held on August 20. The incumbent president Karzai is considered to be the frontrunner despite claims of corruption and what many consider an ineffectual government. The poll by a U.S. government-funded group suggests turnout will be crucial, especially in the Pashtun south _ the president's support base where Taliban fighters have been warning voters to stay away from the polls. Ahead of next Thursday's vote, there are fears that election tension could boil over into street violence if presidential losers allege massive fraud. Opposition candidates have been accusing Karzai and his team of using state resources to ensure re-election. Local and international monitors are convinced there will be voter irregularities. According to the latest poll, Karzai remains the leading candidate in a crowded field of three dozen contenders with about 44 percent support, a rise of 13 percentage points from a poll conducted in May. Karzai's main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, trailed at 26 percent _ a dramatic increase over the 7 percent he received in the May poll. If no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will face a run-off in early October. That could lead to a coalition uniting around a single candidate to try to defeat Karzai. The poll, based on face-to-face interviews with 2,400 people between July 16 and 26, was funded by the International Republican Institute, a non-governmental group that receives money from USAID, the U.S. government aid arm. The poll had a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Karzai, meanwhile, took his campaign Friday to the western city of Herat, where he won the public endorsement of Energy Minister Ismail Khan, the political czar of the region. Karzai told a crowd of several thousand that if re-elected, his first priority would be to initiate talks with the Taliban and other insurgent groups. About 90 percent of the respondents in the latest poll said they planned to vote, despite Taliban threats to disrupt the balloting. Election authorities have said about 10 percent of nearly 7,000 polling centers will likely remain shut, most of them because of bad security. The threat is the greatest in the south and east, where the country's ethnic Pashtuns live. Karzai, himself a Pashtun, could see his totals lowered if insurgent violence keeps Afghans there from voting. In an effort to encourage voting, village elders in the south are trying to broker election day cease-fire agreements with Taliban commanders, according to Karzai's brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai. "Local elders in some of the far-flung villages are just meeting with some small group commanders to not bother people during elections and let them vote," he told The Associated Press. However, a Taliban spokesman denied any talks were under way. "We are denying any deals with anyone," Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmedi told the AP by telephone. "Don't listen to those liars. There is no truth to any talk of a cease-fire. People should not go to vote. The Taliban has no agreement with the government." In the southern province of Helmand, U.S. Marines have been trying to secure the strategic town of Dahaneh to cut Taliban supply lines and enable the government to open a polling station there. After two days of fighting, Marines helped Afghan officers raise the Afghan flag over the town Friday after tribal elders assured the Americans there were no Taliban left there. Soon after the flag-raising ceremony, the Marine base in the town came under small arms, machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, sending Marines running for cover. A patrol was sent out to find the gunmen and ended up locked in a lengthy gunfight which continued into the night. Elsewhere, a suicide bomber attacked an Afghan army base in southern Afghanistan on Friday, killing a soldier and wounding four other people, an official said. The bomber rammed his vehicle into the base's gate in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, said Daud Ahmadi, the provincial governor's spokesman. Three civilians and a soldier were among the wounded, he said. In the capital, meanwhile, two rockets were fired at Kabul's airport Friday but caused no damage or casualties, said U.S. military spokesman Chief Petty Officer Brian Naranjo. It was the second rocket attack on the capital this month. Taliban militants took responsibility for the previous attack. Kabul is heavily guarded by Afghan security forces, and authorities say rockets fired from a distance are the only weapon insurgents can use against the capital.
DTN News: Indonesia TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Indonesian Leader Defiant In Face Of 'Assassination' Plot
DTN News: Indonesia TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Indonesian Leader Defiant In Face Of 'Assassination' Plot
*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - August 15, 2009: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sent a message of defiance Friday to Islamist extremists, saying Indonesia would not be defeated by terrorism after police uncovered a plot to assassinate him. In an address to the nation ahead of Independence Day on Monday, the ex-general called on all Indonesians to remain vigilant against extremists blamed for a series of attacks including last month's hotel blasts in Jakarta. Police hunting Islamist fanatic Noordin Mohammed Top, who allegedly ordered the July 17 suicide attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, said this week they had killed three men involved in the assassination plot. "In this planned terrorist attack there is a new phenomenon which is to aim terrorist action directly at our country, including a plan to assassinate the head of state," Yudhoyono said. "I want to stress that our country cannot be defeated in the fight against terrorism." Two suicide bombers believed to be part of Noordin's network killed seven people, mostly foreigners, at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton in downtown Jakarta, the first attack of its kind in Indonesia since 2005. Police investigating the blasts have killed three men who were allegedly planning to detonate a truck bomb at Yudhoyono's principal residence near Bogor, south of Jakarta, around Independence Day. Hundreds of kilogrammes (pounds) of explosive chemicals were found during a raid last Saturday at a house near Bogor where two alleged Noordin followers were rigging a small truck as a bomb, police said. They were killed when they tried to hurl pipe-bombs at arresting officers. A third man who was a key player in the hotel attacks and was being groomed to detonate the suicide truck bomb at Yudhoyono's house was killed later Saturday in a police raid on a farmhouse in Central Java, police said. Media reports that Noordin, 41, a Malaysian who leads an offshoot of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) regional terror network, was killed in the raid on the farmhouse proved false. Noordin is the most wanted terror suspect in the country and is blamed for at least four suicide attacks targeting Westerners in Indonesia since 2003 which have killed around 50 people. Police have said he ordered his followers to switch tactics and target the president during a meeting in April, as revenge for the execution of three Islamists convicted over the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people. Yudhoyono said "poverty and injustice" were the root causes of terrorism but the killing of innocent civilians could never be justified by religion. "Terrorist acts in public places are inhuman and the victims are innocent, whether they are foreigners or Indonesians," he said. "I urge the Indonesian police and other security apparatus to increase their vigilance to prevent and eradicate terrorism at its roots, whoever they are and whatever their motivation." He also called on ordinary Indonesians -- the vast majority of whom are moderate Muslims -- to "stay united" against religious fanaticism. "Let's protect our young people from the deviant and extreme way of thinking, which can lead to terrorist acts," he said. Islamists mostly linked to JI, and sometimes funded by Al-Qaeda, have killed hundreds of people in terror attacks in Indonesia over the past decade as they seek to undermine the secular government and create a pure Islamic caliphate. The country's highest Islamic body, the Ulema Council, issued an edict in 2003 condemning terrorism as un-Islamic, and council chief Amidhan repeated that assertion on Friday. "This is not the way to go to paradise," he said of suicide bombers, according to Tempo news website. "On the contrary, it's a foolish death."
DTN News: Philippines TODAY August 15, 2009: Philippines Seizes $10.4 Million Smuggled Diamonds
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MANILA, Philippines - August 15, 2009: A British woman has been arrested for allegedly smuggling $10.4 million worth of diamonds into the Philippines, an official said Friday. Officers from the presidential anti-smuggling group arrested Alpha Kwok, a Chinese-born British national from Hong Kong, at an upscale Manila condominium Tuesday and seized 160 carats of diamonds along with uncut emeralds and other precious stones, said Antonio Villar Jr., head of the agency. Kwok has been charged with smuggling and detained pending a review of the case by the Justice Department, Villar said. He said that some of the seized diamonds already were set on rings, earrings and pendants and others were loose stones. Kwok and her lawyers could not be reached for comment. Villar said Kwok may have been part of a smuggling syndicate that has been bringing diamonds into the country and selling them to wealthy Filipinos. He said immigration records showed she had visited the Philippines more than 170 times in over two years, giving a dozen different addresses in metropolitan Manila during her stay. "She doesn't have any permit to import, and she has no working permit," he said. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo created the anti-smuggling group in 2007 to curb unlawful imports and other tariff violations facilitated by corrupt customs officials.
DTN News: ASEAN, India Sign Free Trade Deal: Officials
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BANGKOK, Thailand - August 15, 2009: India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a free-trade agreement on Thursday expected to raise annual trade to 60 billion dollars within seven years, officials said. "The signing today is a good sign of the extended trade between ASEAN and India," said Porntiva Nakasai, commerce minister of Thailand, which holds the 10-member regional bloc's rotating chairman ship. "The agreement comes at an appropriate time taking into account the current world economic crisis," she said in a statement. The agreement has been hailed as a milestone following years of tough negotiations between ASEAN and India, its seventh-largest trading partner. It covers billions of dollars in trade and a market of 1.7 billion people. The signing came ahead of a meeting in Bangkok this weekend of finance ministers from ASEAN and its regional partners China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. Trade between ASEAN and India totaled 47 billion dollars last year but would rise to 60 dollars billion under the pact, Dow Jones newswires quoted Thai Commerce Ministry spokesman Krisda Piampongsant as saying. The Southeast Asian bloc of about 550 million people is forging free trade pacts with key regional economies, including China and India, to ensure it does not become economically sidelined. ASEAN itself aims to achieve a single market and manufacturing base by 2015.
DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Singapore Participates In Naval Exercise Against Terrorism
DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 15, 2009 ~ Singapore Participates In Naval Exercise Against Terrorism
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - August 15, 2009: The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is participating in the Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) exercise, together with the United States Navy (USN) and navies from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Held from August 14 to 20, SEACAT, which was first held in 2002, is a series of annual exercises by the USN and navies of Southeast Asian countries to enhance maritime information—sharing and the coordination of maritime security responses. As part of the exercise, ships transiting through Singapore waters will be tracked. Other drills include the boarding of US civil resource ships participating in the exercise as merchant vessels suspected of terrorist activities. Personnel from the RSN’s Maritime Security Task Force, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority will be taking part in the exercise. Also with them are the RSN patrol vessels, Accompanying Sea Security Teams (ASSeTs), Police Coast Guard patrol boats and maritime patrol aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
DTN News: Russian Submarine Designer Certain Of Bulava Missile Success
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - August 15, 2009: Russia's troubled Bulava ballistic missile will be developed and put into service with the Navy, the general designer of the Rubin design bureau for marine engineering has said. The missile, which is being developed by the Moscow-based Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), has suffered six failures in 11 tests. The general director of the institute has resigned over the failures, seen as a setback in the development of Russia's nuclear deterrent. Sergei Kovalyov, who helped design three generations of Russia's strategic submarines, said the testing of Bulava, which is the most advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile ever developed in Russia, is a very complex process and takes time and effort to succeed. "Beyond any doubt, Bulava is a much more sophisticated missile [than the previous missiles]. Although we lag behind in the electronics, it uses far more sophisticated materials and components. Solid-fuel missiles are used around the world. The Topol [land-based missile] flies. I am convinced that Bulava will fly as well," Kovalyov said in an interview published by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily on Thursday. The Bulava (SS-NX-30) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has an estimated range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile is designed for deployment on new Borey class nuclear-powered strategic submarines. The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad. The expert dismissed criticism over serious problems in the Bulava missile testing process, saying the designers were forced to bypass required testing stages due to a lack of funds and the lack of necessary facilities. "In Soviet times, during the first stage of trials, dummy missiles were fired from a floating launch pad in Balaklava [a town on the Crimean Peninsula, which now belongs to Ukraine] to test the underwater segment of the trajectory," Kovalyov said. "After that, similar tests were conducted on board a re-equipped submarine. They were followed by a number of launches from a land-based launch pad in Nenoks in the Arkhangelsk region to test the flight range," he said. In the case of the Bulava missile, "there were no conditions to carry out tests at a floating launch pad in Balaklava, and there was no opportunity to conduct ground-based tests of the missile either, because the funds needed to build launch pads and a new silo were not provided." The expert also complained about the poor quality of missile components provided by a large number of sub-contractors, and the absence of military representatives at manufacturing plants to ensure quality control. "Some of the failed launches were caused by faulty components, which the military reps would never allow to pass," Kovalyov said. He also dismissed as "pure nonsense" media speculation that the U.S. was interfering with Bulava tests by using powerful radars or laser beams. "No country in the world possesses such a capability," the designer said. The Russian Defense Ministry said in July the Bulava tests could resume as early as in August.