Saturday, March 27, 2010
DTN News: India, Singapore Armed Forces Joint Military Excercise In Central India Source: DTN News (NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - March 28, 2010: The Singapore Armed Forces and Indian Army participated in a bilateral armour exercise in central India Saturday morning. Codenamed "Bold Kurukshetra", the exercise was witnessed by Minister of State for Defence, Koo Tsai Kee. MINDEF said Associate Prof Koo observed a live—firing exercise between the two armed forces, who interact regularly through policy dialogues, visits and courses. This is the sixth collaboration in the month—long exercise. MINDEF said the visit also underscores the warm defence relations between the two countries. "The SAF and the Indian Army have been working together on bilateral army exercises since April 2005," Assoc Prof Koo said. "We appreciate the opportunity to train and exercise with the Indian Armed Forces. The successful conclusion of Exercise Bold Kurushektra 2010 demonstrates the capabilities and professionalism of both armies.
DTN News: India Tests Two Nuclear Capable Missiles Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) BHUBANESWAR, India - March 28, 2010: India successfully tested two short-range nuclear-capable missiles from two sites off its eastern coast on Saturday, a defence ministry official said. India, which tested nuclear weapons in 1998, has developed a series of nuclear and conventional missile systems as part of a programme begun in 1983. Saturday's first test was the launch of the Dhanush, which has a range of 350 kilometres (220 miles) and was fired from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off the shores of the state of Orissa. The second missile was the Prithvi (Earth)-II, launched from Chandipur-on-Sea Integrated Test Range, 200 kilometres northeast of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. "The tests were successful and met all the mission objectives," S.P.Dash, director of the Integrated Test Range, told AFP. The Dhanush, which means bow in Hindi, is a variant of the ground-to-ground Prithvi missile, developed for the Indian navy. Both variants can carry nuclear and conventional warheads and have been developed at home. The 8.5-metre (28-foot) Prithvi-II missile has a range of 150-350 kilometres and can carry a one-tonne payload. Last month, India announced it would test a nuclear-capable missile with a range of over 5,000 kilometres within a year. India has developed an array of weapons systems for reaching potential targets in neighbouring Pakistan and China. India's current longest-range nuclear-capable missile, Agni-III, can travel a maximum of 3,500 kilometres. Nuclear-armed Pakistan, with which India has fought three wars since their partition and independence six decades ago, has said India's missile development programme could trigger a new arms race in the region.
DTN News: Greece To Launch Bond Issue Next Week ~ Report Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - March 28, 2010: Greece will launch a multi-billion euro bond issue next week, the Financial Times reported Saturday, in the wake of Thursday's deal to help the country out of its debt crisis. Petros Christodoulou, the head of Greece's public debt management agency, told the paper Athens wanted to borrow some five billion euros (6.7 billion dollars) from the bond markets. "We would like to return to the market within March," he added. Greece is likely to issue either a three or seven-year bond this month, followed by another similar-sized issue in April in what will be a crucial test of confidence, the FT said. A deal was brokered Thursday under which the 16-nation eurozone agreed to offer Greece loans in combination with the International Monetary Fund. The deal came at a crucial time for Athens, which has to ensure funding by May to repay debt of 20 billion euros (27 billion dollars). "We believe we will not need to use it," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said afterwards, adding: "Greece has regained credibility. Its banking sector is not threatened and the money is there safely." Meanwhile, the borrowing rate at which Greece can raise money on debt markets fell on Friday. The yield on Greek 10-year bonds -- the interest rate which Greece has to pay to borrow money -- eased to 6.193 percent late Friday in a sign of investor confidence. The rate had gone up to almost seven percent earlier this year as investors worried about a possible default. Lingering concerns remain among investors over how the financial rescue will work in practice and over the role of the International Monetary Fund, as well as over the fiscal problems that the Greek debt drama exposed. European stock markets fell Friday in a cautious reaction to the EU's rescue plan for Greece. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.43 percent, the Paris CAC 40 ended down 0.29 percent and the Frankfurt Dax lost 0.21 percent.
DTN News: NASA Sets Next Shuttle Launch For April 5 * Shuttle to deliver cargo to the space station * Four flights remain before the shuttle fleet is retired Source: DTN News / Reuters By Irene Klotz (NSI News Source Info) CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., - March 28, 2010: NASA on Friday cleared space shuttle Discovery for launch on April 5 on one of its final cargo runs to the International Space Station before the fleet is retired later this year. Liftoff of the spaceship and seven astronauts is targeted for 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle will be carrying a cargo pod filled with science racks and equipment for the space station, which is nearing completion after more than a decade of construction 220 miles (350 km) above Earth. NASA has four flights remaining to finish outfitting the station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations. The U.S. space agency has contracted with commercial launch service providers Space Exploration Technologies of California and Orbital Sciences Corp (ORB.N) of Virginia to deliver cargo to the station as early as next year. SpaceX, which was founded by billionaire Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, plans to debut its Falcon 9 rocket with a demonstration mission next month from a newly refurbished launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just south of the shuttles' launch complex. Orbital's Taurus 2 launcher is expected to make its first flight next year. Cargo vessels operated by Russia, Japan and Europe also will keep the station stocked with equipment, supplies and gear for six live-aboard crewmembers. All crew transport has been turned over to Russia in preparation for the shuttles' retirement later this year. NASA had been planning to develop a capsule-style spaceship to fly astronauts to the station, as well as the moon, but U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for the program's cancellation. Instead, the White House wants to see if commercial firms can provide another option besides relying exclusively on the Russians, which charge $51 million per seat for rides on their Soyuz capsules. Obama is scheduled to host a space summit in Florida on April 15 in an attempt to win support for the new direction he envisions for NASA. An independent panel of advisers, including aerospace executives, astronauts and renowned scientists, last year determined that the moon exploration initiative, known as Constellation, had been underfunded and had no hope of reaching its goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2020. The program's cancellation, however, has drawn sharp rebuke from some members of Congress, particularly from districts in Florida, Texas and Alabama that will bear the brunt of an estimated 9,000 engineering and technical job losses due to the shuttle program's end. Discovery's mission, which is scheduled to last 13 days, is the 131st mission since shuttle flights began in 1981. The program has had two fatal accidents, which took the lives of 14 astronauts, and costs about $200 million a month. Obama proposes increasing NASA's budget by about $2 billion a year to jump-start commercial space taxi services, as well as invest in new technologies that would eventually lead to a human expedition to Mars. (Editing by Tom Brown and Eric Beech)
DTN News: Mexico Hails Russia-U.S. Strategic Arms Deal Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MEXICO CITY, - March 27, 2010: Mexico welcomes the new strategic arms reduction deal between Russia and the U.S., the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement. The presidents of Russia and the U.S., Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, agreed on Friday to sign the new arms reduction treaty in Prague on April 8 after months of negotiations. The treaty will replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the cornerstone of a post-Cold War arms control setup, which expired on December 5, 2009. "The agreement between the two leading nuclear powers, which will be signed in Prague on April 8, will give new impetus to nuclear disarmament talks and the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapon," said the statement, the text of which was made available to RIA Novosti. "We call on other nuclear powers to follow the example of Russia and the United States and start reducing their nuclear arsenals." The strategic arms pact stipulates that the number of nuclear warheads is to be reduced to 1,550 on each side, while the number of delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on each side. Under the deal, which will have a validity term of ten years unless it is superseded by another strategic arms reduction agreement, strategic offensive weapons are to be based solely on the national territories of Russia and the United States. The signed deal is to be ratified by the parliaments of the two states in order to come into effect. Related News Kremlin says Russia, U.S. near setting date to sign new START pact Russia, U.S. can look to signing of new START deal - Kremlin Russian, U.S. lawmakers split by missile shield in new START pact U.S. missile shield plans affect new START deal - Russian army chief
DTN News: South Korea Rules Out DPRK's Involvement In Warship Sinking Source: DTN News / Xinhua (NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - March 27, 2010: Chances seem low that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is involved in its warship sinking, said South Korean officials at the presidential office on Saturday. "It is hard to say for sure now, but chances appear to be slim that North (DPRK) was related," a senior official told Yonhap on condition of anonymity. A South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, sinks near South Korea's Baeknyeong Island, close to North Korea, in the western waters on Saturday, March 27, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo) "Given the investigations by government ministries so far, it is the government's judgment that the incident was not caused by North Korea, although the reason for the accident has not been determined yet," a senior government official was quoted. "An unidentified reason caused a hole in the ship, which led to its sinking. Rescue efforts are under way," the Defense Ministry said. "The ship fired a warning shot at an unidentified object, and the object was later suspected to have been a flock of birds. But we are checking," it said. Cheong Wa Dae said that there has been no "unusual move" by Pyongyang so far despite initial media reports that the DPRK "might be to blame for the incident" that happened Friday night near the disputed western sea border between the two sides. Initial media reports said the incident might be caused by a possible torpedo attack from an unidentified DPRK vessel, citing military sources. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has not responded to the incident. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called an emergency security meeting and ordered a "quick and thorough" investigation Saturday into the caused of the sinking, and investigators are asked to keep in mind "all possibilities", his office said. He also urged the military to make "all-out efforts" to rescue as many survivors as possible. He had instructed his government to update other members of the six-party nuclear talks with the development of the incident, while urging government agencies to take measures to reassure the public, Presidential Office spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said at a press briefing after the meeting.
Rescue operation to search for the 46 missing sailors is still underway Saturday, Yonhap News Agency reported. "Many of the missing people might have been trapped inside the sunken ship," JCS (the Joint Chief of Staff) spokesman Lee Ki-Sik told a parliament committee. So far, 58 out of the 104 crew members aboard the 1,200-ton ship that sank off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula have been rescued, with two of them hospitalized for minor cerebral hemorrhage, the agency said. The ship "Cheonan" went down off the South Korean island of Baekryeongdo off the west coast around 21:45 p.m. Friday local time (12:45 GMT Friday), with an explosion in the back of the ship, and another South Korean naval vessel fired at an unspecified target toward the north in response. The vessel could be carrying French-made Exocet and U.S.-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles as well as torpedoes and other weaponry. Navy and the National Maritime Police Agency have sent nine ships and a helicopter to the waters near the Baehryeongdo, and planned to mobilize Navy's all rescue force to search for the missing. The militaries will send divers to help find out whether the ship-based artillery shells or external attack caused the explosion, but authorities said they cannot reach any conclusion until the sunken ship is recovered and examined. A U.S. State Department spokesman said his country is closely following the development of the incident. Related News: S Korean Navy ship sinks possibly caused by mine explosion: YTN SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Friday's Navy ship sinking might be caused by mine explosion, South Korean media YTN quoted presidential sources as saying on Saturday. General of the South Korean Navy Lee Ki-shik said later Friday that the 1,200-ton warship Cheonan went down after the unexplained explosion ripped a hole in the ship's bottom. Full story
Rescue continues in S Korean ship sinking, 46 still missing SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The rescue operation to search for the 46 missing sailors of a South Korean ship that sank late Friday is still under Saturday, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency reported. So far, 58 out of the 104 crew members aboard the 1,200-ton ship that sank off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula have been rescued, with two of them hospitalized for minor cerebral hemorrhage, the agency said. Earlier reports said 60 sailors have been rescued. Full story
58 crew members of sinking S. Korean navy ship rescued SEOUL, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Fifty-eight crew members of just- sinking South Korean navy ship were rescued till 00:30 a.m. (1530 GMT Friday), as rescue operation is still underway, according to local media. A South Korean naval vessel with 104 crew members onboard is sinking into waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula late Friday, possibly due to attacks from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported, citing naval officials. Full story Chances of DPRK's involvement in warship sinking appear low: Yonhap SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) -- South Korean officials are narrowing down the possibilities that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is involved in a South Korean navy patrol ship sinking, according to local media Saturday. Likelihood of the DPRK's involvement in the incident seems low, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency quoted multiple officials at the Presidential Office of Cheong Wa Dae as saying. Full story No sign of DPRK military near ship BEIJING, Mar. 27 -- There was no sign of military of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the area where a South Korean naval ship sank, Yonhap quoted a presidential official as saying on Saturday. There had been earlier suggestions that the vessel may have been attacked on Friday night by DPRK near the disputed sea border. Full story