Monday, March 08, 2010

DTN News: Force Protection Announces Results for 2009 Fourth Quarter and Full Year

DTN News: Force Protection Announces Results for 2009 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Source: DTN News / Force Protection, Inc. Date: 03/08/2010 (NSI News Source Info) LADSON, South Carolina- March 9, 2010: Force Protection, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRPT), a leading survivability solutions provider, today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2009.
Michael Moody, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Force Protection, Inc. said, “We were pleased to end 2009 on such a high note. Our positive performance during 2009 was a direct result of solid execution on our strategic initiatives throughout the organization. These efforts place us in a solid position to broaden our business by capitalizing on strategic internal and external growth opportunities.”
Fourth Quarter Comparison
In the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company reported net sales of $289.0 million versus $239.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Significantly contributing to the 21% increase in revenue was continued strength in the Company’s modernization, spares and sustainment business. Partially offsetting the increase in net sales were fewer vehicle deliveries in the 2009 fourth quarter as compared to the prior year period.
Operating income rose to $28.1 million in the 2009 fourth quarter as compared to $13.2 million in 2008. The combination of significant revenue growth, a higher gross margin, and lower general and administrative expenses contributed to the year-over-year increase. The Company noted that it is continuing its efforts to better align its long-term cost structure with its expected level of business activity.
Net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 increased 57% to $18.4 million, or $0.27 per share, as compared to $11.7 million, or $0.17 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Full Year Comparison
For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company reported net sales of $977.1 million compared to $1.3 billion in 2008. The Company noted that net sales in 2008 included $479.5 million of pass-through sales (with minimal associated margins) by General Dynamics Land Systems in connection with vehicle deliveries under the Company’s MRAP Competitive Contract. There were no vehicle pass-through sales by General Dynamics in 2009.
The Company noted that 2009 revenues from its modernization, spares and sustainment business increased by $461.6 million, or more than 180%, over 2008. In addition, the Company shipped 123 Buffalo vehicles in 2009, a record number for the program and more than a 50% increase over 2008.
Operating income for fiscal 2009 was $43.3 million as compared to $68.5 million in 2008. The Company noted that $19.3 million of one-time charges recorded in the 2009 third quarter significantly impacted the year over year results. Positively contributing to operating income in 2009 was a 17% decrease in general and administrative expenses associated with the Company’s previously discussed cost reduction activities.
Net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 was $29.5 million, or $0.43 per share, compared to $46.9 million, or $0.69 per share, in 2008.
Mr. Moody continued, “We are transforming our Company into a full-service survivability solutions provider. This effort was rewarded in 2009 with over $450 million in increased modernization, spares and sustainment revenue during the year. We have expanded our operational footprint and significantly improved our capabilities in this business. We are continuing our product development efforts to ensure that we are delivering the best balance of survivability, mobility and readiness to our end-users. We are also continuing to push forward in the area of new vehicle development.”
The Company continues to work towards the maturation of the Ocelot vehicle. Two Ocelot prototypes are involved in ongoing trials with the UK MoD. Following an announcement by the British Prime Minister over the weekend, the UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed the launch of an Urgent Operational Requirement procurement for a Light Protected Patrol Vehicle to replace the Snatch Land Rover. The Ocelot has also been submitted for evaluation for the Australian government’s Protected Mobility Vehicle-Light program and the Company expects to pursue domestic and other international requirements for the Ocelot in the future.
The Company noted that on February 24, 2010, it introduced the Joint All-Terrain Modular Mobility Asset (“JAMMA”) vehicle at the Association of the United States Army (“AUSA”) Institute of Land Warfare’s Winter Symposium. The JAMMA’s unique design fills a gap in the vehicle market for a tactical wheeled solution that offers survivability in a battlefield environment where speed, mobility and concealment are critical to success.
Randy Hutcherson, Chief Operating Officer of Force Protection commented, “We remain positive concerning the potential for additional program capture due to our focus of bringing vehicles to market that address the existing and emerging needs of the U.S. military and our allies across the globe. We are increasing our range of vehicles, we are enhancing our customer base, and we are expanding our industry partnerships. The work we do in platform development is integral to our ability to innovate, apply new technology and stay close to our customers, and constitutes an essential long-term growth investment.”
Mr. Hutcherson continued, “In addition to fostering a culture of innovation, we are pushing the organization to achieve increased efficiencies in both manufacturing and our service and support businesses. At the same time, we believe we can further improve on our quality and deliver better performance and a higher level of customer satisfaction.”
Financial Position and Cash Flow
The Company’s cash and cash equivalents balance rose to $147.3 million as of December 31, 2009, from $111.0 million at December 31, 2008. Operating activity provided net cash of $49.5 million in 2009 compared with $37.0 million in 2008. Inventories as of December 31, 2009, were $74.1 million, as compared to $88.5 million at December 31, 2008. Accounts receivable increased slightly to $143.5 million as of December 31, 2009, from $138.4 million at December 31, 2008.
Mr. Moody concluded, “We believe we are well positioned to execute successfully against our growth initiatives. We have a solid foundation of internal competencies, we have dramatically improved our relationships and focus on our customers, we have expanded our geographic operations, opening up new opportunities upon which to expand and we have a strong balance sheet. Our emphasis will be to supplement organic growth with additional short-to-medium term revenue and profit opportunities, building a more profitable portfolio of linked businesses.”
Conference Call Information
The Company will hold a conference call today at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss these results. The call will include comments from Michael Moody, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Charles Mathis, Chief Financial Officer; and, Randy Hutcherson, Chief Operating Officer. While the question-and-answer session of the call will be limited to institutional analysts and investors, retail brokers and individual investors are invited to listen to a live webcast. The webcast can be accessed via the home page of the Company’s website at Please visit the website at least 15 minutes prior to the call to register for the webcast and download any necessary software. The replay of the call will be available on the Company’s website.
About Force Protection, Inc.
Force Protection, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, including the Buffalo, Cougar and related variants, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs, commonly referred to as roadside bombs). The Company also develops, manufactures, tests, delivers and supports products and services aimed at further enhancing the survivability of users against additional threats. In addition, the Company provides long-term life cycle support services of its vehicles that involve development of technical data packages, supply of spares, field and depot maintenance activities, assignment of highly-skilled field service representatives, and advanced on and off-road driver and maintenance training programs. For more information on Force Protection and its products and services, visit
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations. These statements are based on beliefs and assumptions of Force Protection’s management, and on information currently available to management. These forward looking statements include, among other things: the growth and demand for Force Protection’s products and services, including its modernization, spares and sustainment business; the anticipated long-term demand for service, support and upgrade work to the Company’s fleet of vehicles; the opportunities to market and the capabilities of the Ocelot and JAMMA vehicles; the Company’s ability to develop new technologies and products, and the effectiveness of these technologies and products; the Company’s execution of its business strategy and strategic transformation, including its opportunities to grow the business; and the Company’s expected financial and operating results, including its revenues, cash flow and gross margins, for future periods. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any of them publicly in light of new information or future events. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Examples of these factors include, but are not limited to, ability to effectively manage the risks in the Company’s business; the ability to develop new technologies and products and the acceptance of these technologies and products; the ability to obtain new orders for its vehicles and products; the other risk factors and cautionary statements listed in the Company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009.

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded $29 Million Contract To Supply Egypt With Next-Generation Trucks

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded $29 Million Contract To Supply Egypt With Next-Generation Trucks Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - March 9, 2010: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), has received a contract modification valued at $29 million from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) to supply more than 75 next-generation Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT A4) to branches of the Egyptian armed forces.
This is the first order for the HEMTT A4 in Egypt and it will integrate with Egypt’s current HEMTT A2 fleet. The Oshkosh® M978 HEMTT A4 fuel-servicing truck, or tanker, is designed to transport 2,500 gallons of fuel to forward-arming and refueling points (FARP). The vehicle, which is part of the U.S. Army’s Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV), features a more powerful drivetrain, improved suspension and a fully air-conditioned and armor-ready cab. “The HEMTT A4 is part of our full line of vehicles designed for international and off-road operations,” said Ron Ziebell, Oshkosh Corporation vice president and general manager of international programs, Defense. “In addition to offering severe-duty, medium- and heavy-payload vehicles, our global aftermarket network ensures our customers have ready access to parts and support services.” In addition to supplying the vehicles, Oshkosh Defense will provide support and more than 25 spare engines to the Egyptian military. Aftermarket support includes a two-year fleet agreement, vehicle training and 12 months of Field Service Representative (FSR) support in Egypt. Since 1990, Oshkosh has supplied Egyptian armed forces with tactical wheeled vehicles and aftermarket support. The HEMTT A4 is the latest Oshkosh vehicle in the Egyptian military fleet, which also includes the Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) and the Medium Tactical Truck (MTT). Oshkosh has produced more than 70,000 military-class vehicles at its facilities, including more than 30,000 FHTVs. The company has begun work on the Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) as well and is currently working on an initial FMTV delivery order valued at $280.9 million for the production and delivery of 2,568 trucks and trailers. Oshkosh has the available capacity, highly skilled workforce and proven manufacturing capability to deliver these and other vehicle orders for all Army and Defense programs, including the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), as well as any surges in production.

DTN News: Boeing 'Phantom Eye' Hydrogen Powered Vehicle Takes Shape

DTN News: Boeing 'Phantom Eye' Hydrogen Powered Vehicle Takes Shape Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, - March 8, 2010: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has begun to build Phantom Eye -- its first unmanned, liquid-hydrogen powered, high altitude long endurance (HALE) demonstrator aircraft. “The essence of Phantom Eye is its propulsion system,” said Darryl Davis, Boeing Phantom Works president. “After five years of technology development, we are now deploying rapid prototyping to bring together an unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] with a breakthrough liquid-hydrogen propulsion system that will be ready to fly early next year.” Phantom Eye’s entire propulsion system -- including the engine, turbo chargers and engine control system -- successfully completed an 80-hour test in an altitude chamber on March 1, clearing the way for the propulsion system and UAV to be assembled. The twin-engine Phantom Eye demonstrator will have a 150-foot wingspan and be capable of flying for more than four days at altitudes up to 65,000 feet while carrying a payload of up to 450 pounds. Phantom Eye is designed to maintain a persistent presence in the stratosphere over a specific area, while performing missions that could include intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and communication. Boeing also is developing a larger HALE that will stay aloft for more than 10 days and carry payloads of more than 2,000 pounds, and building “Phantom Ray,” a fighter-sized UAV that will be a flying test bed for advanced technologies. “We believe Phantom Eye and Phantom Ray represent two areas where the unmanned aerial vehicle market is heading, and rapid prototyping is the key to getting us there,” said Dave Koopersmith, Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft vice president. “These innovative demonstrators reduce technology risks and set the stage for meeting both military and commercial customers’ future needs.” Phantom Eye evolved from Boeing’s earlier success with the piston-powered Condor that set several records for altitude and endurance in the late 1980s. Boeing, as the Phantom Eye system designer, is working closely with Ball Aerospace, Aurora Flight Sciences, Ford Motor Co. and MAHLE Powertrain to develop the demonstrator. Phantom Ray evolved from the X-45C program. It is scheduled to make its first flight in December. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated March 8, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated March 8, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued March 8, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 8, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued March 8, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS
AIR FORCE ~McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $148,668,470 contract which will provide for 6,565 Lot 14 guided vehicle kits procured for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) purposes. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 678 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8681-10-C-0072, P00003). ~Boeing Co., St Louis, Mo., was awarded a $69,702,919 contract which will provide for the QF-16 full scale aerial target basic contract. At this time, $950,000 has been obligated. 691 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8678-10-C-0100). ~Science Applications Technology Services Co., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $50,841,636 contract which will provide for Option 3 for system engineering and integration contract. This will provide proactive technical management to enable more effective program execution. At this time, $25,578,521 has been obligated. GPSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FAA807-07-C-0002, P00046). ~DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $23,102,651 contract which will provide the Tunner 60K loader is an air cargo transporter/loader designed to transport and load up to six pallets with a total combined weight of 60 thousand pounds. At this time, $15,401,767 has been obligated. 542 CSW/PKBA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8519-04-D-0006). ~United Launch Services, Littleton, Colo., was awarded a $6,502,811 contract which will provide new capabilities, tools, or resources required to increase the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. SMC/LR, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8816-06-C-0003). NAVY ~Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded $26,192,014 for firm-fixed-priced delivery order #0012 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for the purchase of extending the performance of 216 field service representatives, life support, and vehicle and equipment rental in support of the TAK-4 Independent Suspension System installation on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Cougar Vehicles. Work will be performed at the MRAP Sustainment Facility in Kuwait, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. ~Oceaneering International, Inc., Hanover, Md., is being awarded an $8,230,478 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for worldwide rapid non-nuclear engineering, production, planning, and yard support; Navy sponsored deep ocean search, research escape and rescue, and recovery services; and support for underwater and surface systems in support of the Deep Submergence System Program Office, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Work will be performed in Kittery, Maine (20 percent); Hanover, Md. (20 percent); Chesapeake, Md. (35 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (15 percent); Diego Garcia (5 percent); and Guam (5 percent). Work is expected to be completed by March 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $250,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Naval Electronics Commerce Online, Federal Business Opportunities, and Naval Sea Logistics Center Web sites, with one offer received. The Naval Sea Logistics Center, Mechanicsburg, Pa., is the contracting activity (N65538-10-D-0001).

DTN News: Navy Reversal Turns Partners Into Competitors

DTN News: Navy Reversal Turns Partners Into Competitors Source: BNet By Matthew Potter Government Analysis (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - March 8, 2010: The U.S. Navy had originally intended to buy the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a new small warship, from two builders, Lockheed Martin (LMT) and General Dynamics (GD). The two different designs would meet the same requirements; the idea was that splitting the order would allow the Navy could take delivery faster. Things didn’t work out that way. Both companies ran into significant delays and cost overruns with their first ships, a sign that the estimates were incorrect. The Navy cancelled part of the deal because it couldn’t work out a deal with the companies to cover the costs. As part of the Obama Administration’s review of defense spending, last fall the Navy came up with a revised acquisition strategy for the LCS program. The new plan was to have a competition where one builder would win a contract to build ten ships between 2010 and 2014. Further competitions would be held for later lots; all told, the Navy intends to buy 55 of the versatile platforms. On March 4th, GD and its partner, Austal USA, in whose yard the LCS-2 was built, announced that they were ending their joint venture for the LCS program. The parting was reportedly amicable but it sets the stage for Austal USA to bid for the next batch of ships. Austal is an Australian company known for building ferries. It has a yard in Mobile, AL where the GD-designed ship was completed. GD has its own shipyard in Maine that makes destroyers and cruisers; it could certainly take on the LCS. The bottom line: The former partners are likely to be rivals. / CC BY-ND 2.0 Matthew Potter
Matthew Potter is a resident of Huntsville, Ala., where he works supporting U.S. Army aviation programs. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he began work as a defense contractor in Washington D.C. specializing in program management and budget development and execution. In the last 15 years Matthew has worked for several companies, large and small, involved in all aspects of government contracting and procurement. He holds two degrees in history as well as studying at the Defense Acquisition University. He has written for Seeking Alpha and at his own website,
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:

DTN News: Boeing Launches Compact 3-D Imaging Camera

DTN News: Boeing Launches Compact 3-D Imaging Camera Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., - March 8, 2010: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced it has begun offering a new, compact, energy-efficient camera that provides three-dimensional images for military and commercial applications. Boeing Directed Energy Systems and wholly owned Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab have jointly developed the camera using their own research and development funding, and successfully tested it over the past two years by attaching it to mobile ground platforms and a Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter. Equipped with advanced sensors that were developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory and transferred to Boeing under a teaming arrangement, the cube-shaped camera is one-third the size and uses one-tenth the power of most comparable 3-D imaging cameras. "Our three-dimensional camera fits a lot of capability into a small package," said Nasser Karam, vice president of Advanced Technology Products at Spectrolab. "Its compact design and modest power needs will allow it to be deployed on a wide range of platforms, including unmanned aerial and ground vehicles that don't have much room or power to spare." The camera, which Boeing can customize for each customer, has many potential uses, including mapping terrain, tracking targets and seeing through foliage. To create a 3-D image, the camera fires a short pulse of laser light, then measures the pulse's flight time to determine how far away each part of the camera's field of view is. "The camera combines cutting-edge sensor technology with Boeing's advanced pointing and tracking solutions and real-time processing to provide our customers with highly integrated 3-D imaging payloads for ground, airborne or space-based applications," said Joseph Paranto, Growth lead for Directed Energy Systems in Albuquerque. Boeing is currently integrating the camera into compact 3-D imaging payloads on unmanned aerial vehicles and will be testing that capability this spring. The team will also add 3-D video capability to the camera soon to complement its existing still-image capability. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Boeing And Turkish Airlines Finalize Order For 20 Next-Generation 737s

DTN News: Boeing And Turkish Airlines Finalize Order For 20 Next-Generation 737s Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) SEATTLE, - March 8, 2010: Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Turkish Airlines have finalized an order for 20 Next-Generation 737 airplanes. The order includes 10 737-800s and 10 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The 737-900ER will be the latest 737 family member to join the Turkish Airlines fleet. The order is valued at $1.6 billion at current list prices. Turkish Airlines currently operates a fleet of 66 Boeing airplanes, including 58 Next-Generation 737s. The order was posted previously to Boeing's Orders & Deliveries Web site as an unidentified customer. The 737-900ER is the newest member of the 737 family, combining aerodynamic and other design changes to provide more room for up to 215 passengers while retaining the high performance that gives the Next-Generation 737 family world-class flexibility and efficiency. "The 737-800 is the backbone of the Turkish Airlines fleet and proves its value on a daily basis offering unmatched levels of efficiency and reliability," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 737-900ER will fit seamlessly into Turkish Airlines' operations, sharing the same pilots, systems and nearly 100 percent spares commonality with the airlines' current Next-Generation 737 fleet. We are also very proud to provide Turkish Airlines' new 737s with the Boeing Sky Interior, which will be a perfect complement to the carrier's high levels of service and passenger comfort." All of the new Turkish Airlines' Next-Generation 737 airplanes will be fitted with the latest 737 Boeing Sky Interior. Based on the cabin design of the 787 Dreamliner, the all-new Sky Interior features soft blue overhead lighting, contemporary sculpted sidewalls and window reveals that draw passengers' eyes to the airplane's windows, giving passengers a greater connection to the flying experience. The new design offers larger, pivoting overhead stowage bins that add to the openness of the cabin. The bins give more passengers room to store carry-on luggage near their own seats, adding both extra convenience and extra legroom. Based in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest growing and prosperous airlines in the world. It carries approximately 25 million passengers a year, with direct flights to 120 international and 37 domestic destinations. The airline was founded in 1933 with a fleet of five airplanes that carried a total of 28 passengers. The airline made its first domestic flight in 1933 and the first international flight in 1947.

DTN News: India TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ India Women's Bill Sparks Protests In Upper House

DTN News: India TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ India Women's Bill Sparks Protests In Upper House
Analysis * Majority of Indian politicians are only motivated for self interest in hoarding for themselves and gaining financially rather than contributing their collective efforts towards the progress of the nation. These entities are hurdles to success of democracy in India. There is a saying in "Indian democracy there are too many voices and noises, no action or snail pace reaction". By DTN News Source: DTN News / BBC (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - March 8, 2010: The Indian government has reintroduced a bill which would reserve a third of all seats in the national parliament and state legislatures for women. A poet reads from her book as other women listen at a function to mark International Women's Day in Calcutta, India, Monday, March 8, 2010. India's government introduced a bill to parliament Monday that would reserve one-third of the legislature's seats for women, angering socialist lawmakers who tore up papers and tried to tear out microphones. Voting had been due on Monday but was delayed by protests from opponents who forced the upper house to adjourn. The bill was first proposed in 1996 but never passed. This time it has the backing of India's main parties. At present women make up just 10% of the lower house of parliament, and significantly less in state assemblies. Allies' anger Law Minister Veerappa Moily tabled the bill amid loud protests from opponents in the upper house (Rajya Sabha). Socialist MPs tore up copies of the legislation and shouted down speakers in an attempt to prevent the bill being debated. After several adjournments and attempts by the government to calm tempers, voting was deferred by a day. The bill's backers had hoped voting would take place on Monday, International Women's Day. The proposals will be tabled in the lower house (Lok Sabha) at a later date. An overwhelming majority there support the move. While India's main parties back the legislation, smaller socialist parties argue it will reduce representation of minorities and socially disadvantaged groups. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (2nd R) and Samajwadi Party (SP) Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (L) shout slogans during a protest outside the Parliament in New Delhi March 8, 2010. Two political parties withdrew support for India's ruling Congress party on Monday to protest a controversial bill reserving one third of seats for women, possibly weakening the government's capacity to pass laws. They want set quotas for women from Muslim and low-caste communities. Two parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party, said they were withdrawing support for the Congress-led government in protest at the proposals. 'Gift' Nonetheless, analysts expect the bill to be passed after 14 years of deadlock. This time round it has the support of the governing Congress-led UPA alliance, the BJP-led NDA alliance and left-wing parties. Sonia Gandhi, Congress party president, says she attaches the "highest importance" to the proposals and passing them would be a "gift to the women of India". She is regarded as the most powerful politician in a country where politics is still largely a male preserve. There are currently 59 women in the 545-member Lok Sabha. Under the proposals their numbers would rise to 181. The composition of the 248-seat upper house, which now has 21 women, will not be affected as its members are indirectly elected by state assemblies. India already reserves a third of local governing council seats in towns and villages for women, a move that is said to have significantly increased their role in decision-making.

DTN News: Indonesia TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ Indonesia Says Raids Will Not Affect Obama Visit

DTN News: Indonesia TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ Indonesia Says Raids Will Not Affect Obama Visit Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - March 8, 2010: Indonesia said Monday that raids against militants in Aceh province would not affect US President Barack Obama's planned visit to the country this month as police rounded up more terror suspects. "The operations have been managed well, the suspects were arrested and the weapons seized, so Obama's visit won't be affected," security ministry anti-terror chief Ansyaad Mbai told AFP. Indonesia says raids will not affect Obama visit In an update to reporters, police said 16 suspects had been charged under anti-terrorism laws since a major raid late February on an extremist training facility in a remote region of Aceh province in the north of the island of Sumatra. "Sixteen (suspects) were arrested and three died," national police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said. Two of them were suspected of supplying firearms and were arrested in West Java and the capital Jakarta. "What's clear is that this has nothing to do with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). This is purely a group that is preparing something," Danuri said, referring to the former Aceh separatist group which rules the restive province under a 2005 peace-for-autonomy deal. The hunt for other suspected militants was ongoing, Danuri added. Police have said three policemen were killed after an intense exchange of gunfire on Thursday. In the February 22 raid, police found rifles, Malaysian military uniforms and propaganda material including videos of the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed more than 200 people. Police have said previously those arrested were "strongly suspected" of being part of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been blamed for multiple attacks across Indonesia.

DTN News: Philippines TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ Philippines Troops Kill Seven Militants In Raid

DTN News: Philippines TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ Philippines Troops Kill Seven Militants In Raid Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) ZAMBOANGA, Philippines - March 8, 2010: Philippine marines killed seven Islamist militants early Sunday in a raid on their remote southern island hideout, the military said. One marine was also slightly wounded in the amphibious assault on the island of Laminusa in the Sulu group before dawn, said Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero, commander of a counter-terrorism task force based in the port city of Zamboanga. Philippines troops kill seven militants in raid He told reporters the raid targeted the group of a man who goes by the alias Abu Benhur, whom he described as a member of the Abu Sayyaf group with active ties to Jemaah Islamiyah. "That was his cell," Guerrero said. "But we don't have the identities of the dead yet." He said the raiders were targeting 13 people hiding out in a warren of houses by the seashore that were fortified by bunkers, and it was possible that at least some of the militants escaped. "There were sand bags on the pathways. They were really prepared. We are thankful that only one of us was hit," Guerrero said. Two of the dead suspects are women, said Lieutenant-General Ben Dolorfino, the regional military commander. The Abu Sayyaf is a 400-member group of Islamist militants operating in the remote Sulu group and nearby islands and which has been blamed for most of the country's deadliest terrorist attacks. Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah, which has carried out a series of bombings in Indonesia, are allegedly planning to set up a pan-Islamic caliphate across Southeast Asia. In recent days the military and police have expressed concern over the militants' growing use of roadside bombs in ambushes of security forces in the south.