DTN News: South Korea To Act On Threats From North Korea*Source: Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - June 15, 2009: South Korea's president ordered his top security officials Sunday to deal "resolutely and squarely" with new North Korean warnings of a nuclear war on the eve of his U.S. visit. In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden said "God only knows" what North Korea wants from the latest showdown. In this image made from television, North Korean military participants listen to a speech during a rally at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, June 15, 2009. Thousands of North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang to reject new U.N. Security Council sanctions passed in response to their country's May 25 nuclear test.
President Lee Myung-bak travels to Washington today for talks with President Obama that are expected to focus on the North's rogue nuclear and missile programs.
The trip comes after North Korea's Foreign Ministry threatened war with any country that stops its ships on the high seas under new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council in response to its May 25 nuclear test.
It also vowed Saturday to "weaponize" all its plutonium and acknowledged a long-suspected uranium enrichment program for the first time. Both plutonium and uranium are key ingredients of atomic bombs.
A commentary published Saturday in the North's state-run Tongil Sinbo weekly claimed the U.S. was deploying a vast number of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan.
North Korea "is completely within the range of U.S. nuclear attack and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world," it said.
Kim Yong-kyu, a spokesman at the U.S. military command in Seoul, denied the allegation, saying the U.S. no longer has nuclear bombs in South Korea. U.S. tactical nuclear weapons were removed from South Korea in 1991 as part of arms reductions following the Cold War. South Korea's 440-ton high-speed missile ship, the Yoon Young Ha, is followed by patrol boats as it sails in the Yellow Sea off the southwestern port of Pyeongtaek on June 15, 2009. The missile ship was deployed close the border two weeks ago amid high cross-border tensions following North Korea's nuclear test last month.
Lee summoned his top security ministers Sunday and ordered them to "resolutely and squarely cope" with the North's threats, his office said. The Unification Ministry, responsible for ties with the North, issued a statement demanding that it stop inflaming tension and resume talks with the South.
The new U.N. sanctions approved Friday are aimed at depriving the North of the financing used to build its nuclear program. They also authorize searches of North Korean ships suspected of transporting illicit ballistic missile and nuclear materials.
DTN News: The British Monarchy ~ Procession And Service For The Order Of The Garter*Source: Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WINDSOR CASTLE, U.K. - June 15, 2009: Each year in June a procession and service take place at Windsor Castle for the Order of the Garter.
This year's service takes place on Monday 15 June.
The Order is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. A view of the procession to attend the Order of The Garter Service in Windsor, England, Monday, June 15, 2009. The annual service is held in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348. The Order, consisting of the King and twenty-five knights, was intended by Edward III to be reserved as the highest reward for loyalty and for military merit.
New appointments to the Order of the Garter are usually announced on St. George's Day (23 April) but the chivalric and installation ceremonies take place in June, on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, known as Garter Day.
If there are new Companions of the Order of the Garter, The Queen formally invests them with the insignia at a Chapter of the Order in the Throne Room of Windsor Castle.Afterwards The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh entertain the members and officers of the Order at a lunch in the Waterloo Chamber.
After lunch the Knights process on foot to a service in St. George's Chapel, wearing their blue velvet robes, known as mantels, and black velvet hats with white plumes.
The processional route is through the Upper, Middle and Lower Wards of the castle to St. George's Chapel. The colourful procession is led by the Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle and the Military Knights of Windsor.
On reaching the chapel there is a short service, at the beginning of which the new Companions (if any) are installed.
On emerging from the Great West Door of the Chapel, the Sovereign and the other members of the Order return in carriages and cars to the Upper Ward of the castle.The Queen attends the service along with other members of the Royal Family in the Order, including The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, Prince William, The Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex, The Princess Royal, The Duke of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
The Garter ceremonial dates from 1948, when formal installation was revived by King George VI for the first time since 1805.
Find out more about the Order of the GarterView a list of members of the Order of the GarterA limited number of tickets is available for members of the public to watch the procession to St. George's Chapel from inside the precincts of Windsor Castle.
DTN News: Nine Foreigners Kidnapped In Yemen Found Dead*Source: The Associated Press
(NSI News Source Info) SAN'A, Yemen - June 15, 2009: Nine missing foreigners in Yemen have been murdered, said a Yemeni official Monday, apparently executed by their kidnappers in the impoverished nation in the Arabian peninsula where al Qaeda has a strong presence. A Yemeni security armored vehicle patrol in the capital San'a, Yemen, Monday, June 15, 2009. Three German women hostages were found dead early Monday in the rugged Saada Mountains. (AP / Mohammed al-Qadhi)
The nine foreigners, including seven German nationals, a Briton and a South Korean, disappeared last week while on a picnic in the restive northern Saada region of Yemen.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, announced the discovery of the remaining six bodies Monday after three others had been found mutilated earlier in the day.
Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East, is home to restive tribes, a Shiite rebellion, as well as a branch of al Qaeda which operates in its remote regions and has often targeted foreigners as well as the U.S. embassy.
Shepherds roaming the area found the remains of three of the women in the mountainous northern Saada province near the town of el-Nashour, known as a hideout for al Qaeda militants, the official said.
In Berlin, the Foreign Ministry said it could not confirm the reports that the Germans had been killed. A spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said that a ministry crisis team and the German embassy in San'a were working together to try and get more details.
Yemeni authorities said the group included a German doctor, his wife and their three children, as well as a Briton and his South Korean wife and two other German nationals. They were all working in a hospital in Saada, the state news agency said.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry identified their national by her family name, Eom, and said she is a 34-year-old aid worker in Yemen.
Chantel Mortimer, the press officer at the British Embassy, expressed concern and said that the embassy is seeking information about the rest of the hostages including the British one.
"We are very concerned that bodies were found. We are seeking further details," she said.
The killing of hostages is not common in Yemen, where tribesmen often kidnap foreigners to press the government on a range of demands, including a ransom, but usually release them unharmed. Kidnapping involving al Qaeda, however, have been lethal for the hostages in the past.
A tribal leader in the area, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason as the security official, blamed al Qaeda for the Friday abduction and the killing.
Yemen is the Arab world's poorest nation -- and one of its most unstable -- making it fertile territory for al Qaeda to set up camp. The country is also in a strategic location, next door to some of the world's most important oil producing nations. It also lies just across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, an even more tumultuous nation where the U.S. has said militants from the terror network have been increasing their activity.
Al Qaeda militants, including fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, have established sanctuaries among a number of Yemeni tribes, particularly ones in three provinces bordering Saudi Arabia.
In January, militants announced the creation of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a merger between the terror network's Yemeni and Saudi branches, led by Naser Abdel-Karim al-Wahishi, a Yemeni who was once a close aide to Osama bin Laden. Over the past year, al Qaeda has been blamed for a string of attacks, including an armed assault in September on the U.S. Embassy in San'a, as well as two suicide bombings targeting South Korean visitors in March.
Earlier, the Yemeni government had accused a Shiite rebel group in Saada, led by Abdel Malak al-Hawthi, but the group issued a statement saying it has not been involved in any abductions of foreigners.
DTN News: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad To Arrive In Russia On Tuesday - Iranian Embassy
*Source: Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - June 15, 2009: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will arrive in Russia on Tuesday for a regional summit that began on Monday, a source at Iran's embassy in Moscow said.
Earlier the embassy said that Ahmadinejad had postponed his visit to the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, in which he was to attend the two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), bringing together Russia, China and the four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
"We have been told from Iran that the president will arrive in Russia tomorrow," a source in the Iranian embassy said on Monday.
The reason for the Iranian president's delay was not disclosed, although the announcement of his victory in Friday's presidential elections caused widespread civil disturbances over the weekend. Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia hold observer status in the SCO, which has traditionally focused on security issues but is increasingly encompassing economic and energy projects.
Ahmadinejad was due to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the summit on Monday to discuss bilateral ties and Iran's controversial nuclear program. It is not clear if their meeting has been rescheduled for another date.
Russia is completing the construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant and has supplied nuclear fuel for it. The international community suspects Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb under the guise of the civilian program, something that Tehran denies.
Tehran and other Iranian cities were swept by mass protests at the weekend over alleged vote fraud in the landslide reelection of the hardline president.
Thousands of supporters for Ahmadinejad's reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi gathered on the streets of Tehran on Saturday. The demonstrations turned violent later, with rioters burning police motorcycles and smashing shop windows.
Mousavi has challenged the results and his accusations of vote rigging will be examined by the Guardian Council, a top clerical body with wide responsibility for electoral issues.
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - June 15, 2009: The Paris Air Show marks its 100th anniversary Monday amid rain, a gloomy economic forecast and lingering uncertainty over Airbus aircraft, following the still unexplained Air France crash over the Atlantic Ocean, two weeks ago.
The 48th International Paris Air Show – Le Bourget, which takes place 15-18 June 2009 for trade visitors and 19-21 June 2009 for the general public, is already fully booked! With just a few weeks to go before the opening, all the main players – manufacturers and subcontractors – have confirmed they will be present and look forward to seeing you to celebrate the Show's centenary together. Rain falls at the Paris Air Show at the Bourget airport, north of Paris, 15 June 2009.
The mood should have been celebratory, to fete the Paris Air Show's first century of existence, but the week-long industry event instead opened Monday with the doldrums. Airline, passenger and freight traffic has dropped in 2009 for the first time since 2001.And, airline companies are cutting staff to weather the global economic and financial crisis.
Overall, the International Air Transport Association has warned airlines will lose about nine-billion dollars this year.
The crisis has also forced airlines to scrap or delay plans to buy new planes. Analyst Pierre Condom says tight credit is only making matters worse.Condom told French radio there are few new orders for planes this year because airlines are having a hard time borrowing money from banks to finance new airplane purchases.
And, airlines do not know when the economic crisis will be over, which also makes them reluctant to purchase.The Air France crash over the Atlantic Ocean has also cast a shadow over the air show. The investigation into the crash is focusing on chances that faulty speed sensors may have helped cause the crash.
The A330 aircraft in question is made by European aeronautics giant Airbus, which announced it would replace old speed sensors on all its A330 and A340 models.Still, the news is not completely gloomy.
There is sunny weather forecast for the Paris Air Show later this week and about 300,000 visitors are expected to attend this year's event. Boeing executive Scott Carson told reporters on Monday that he expected the aviation sector would start to recover next year.
DTN News: Pakistan Ordered ‘Decisive Offensive’ Against Baitullah Mehsud
*Sources: Int'l Media / Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD - June 15, 2009: The government announced on Sunday that a ‘decisive offensive’ will be launched against Baitullah Mehsud, chief of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and his associates. Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud speaks to reporters in South Waziristan tribal region.—Reuters
‘The government has decided to launch an operation against militants in Fata. It has been decided that a comprehensive and decisive operation will be launched to eliminate Baitullah Mehsud and dismantle his network,’ NWFP Governor Owais Ghani said at a press conference here on Sunday night. He said the Taliban’s actions did not match their words.
‘We have repeatedly warned the Mehsud tribe through tribal elders to give up their miscreant activities and advised them not to shelter foreign militants. The government will not tolerate any act against the security of the people’s lives and property at any cost,’ he said.
‘They kept on their miscreant activities and continued to harbour terrorists. As a result, many people have lost their lives in suicide attacks in Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad and today in Dera Ismail Khan,’ the governor said.
He said the Taliban had committed a reprehensible act by kidnapping students of the Razmak Cadet College and training innocent teenagers for carrying out suicide attacks.
Governor Ghani said the army had been ordered to launch a crackdown on militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
‘Details and the strategy of the operation will be decided by the army,’ he said. He said Baitullah was the root of the problem and suicide bombers were being trained by him.
He said it was the responsibility of every government to establish its writ, protect people’s lives and property and maintain law and order. A policeman searches a car after a bomb explosion at a market in Pakistan's northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan June 14, 2009. A suspected U.S. drone aircraft fired a missile on Sunday killing three militants in northwest Pakistan region while elsewhere, a bomb in a market killed seven people and wounded 50, government officials said.
‘Taliban are tarnishing the image of Pakistan and maligning Islam with such actions. They are enemies of Islam and Pakistan who want to destabilise the country,’ he added.
The governor said the terrorists were spending about Rs4 billion a year on ration, communication, transport, weapons and salaries of militants. Answering a question about the situation in Malakand division, he said terrorists had been defeated and they were on the run. He claimed that many areas in the region had been cleared after which caravans of displaced people comprising more than 100 trucks had returned to their villages in Kalam over the past few days. He said supply of water, electricity and other basic amenities had been restored in Swat and other areas.
AP adds: Army spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said: ‘The government has made the announcement. We will give a comment after evaluating the orders.’
In recent weeks, militants and security personnel have repeatedly skirmished in South Waziristan, though the army has insisted that it is merely responding to attacks, not pursuing a new offensive.
A Taliban ‘commander’, Qari Hussain Ahmad, blamed the intelligence agencies for a blast that took place in Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday, saying the government was indulging in such acts to legitimise an operation in Waziristan. ‘They want to malign us. They want to use killings of innocent citizens against us.’
DTN News: Iran Puts Curbs On Media After Disputed Election
*Sources: Int'l Media / AP By Sally Buzbee
(NSI News Source Info) CAIRO - June 15, 2009: Iranian authorities criticized international media reports and took steps to control the flow of information from independent news sources as anti-government protests raged in the country for a second day Sunday. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles as he answers questions during his first news conference after the presidential elections in Tehran June 14, 2009.
The British Broadcasting Co. said that electronic jamming of its news report, which it said began on election day Friday, had worsened by Sunday, causing service disruptions for BBC viewers and listeners in Iran, the Middle East and Europe. It said it had traced the jamming of the satellite signal broadcasting its Farsi-language service to a spot inside Iran.
"It seems to be part of a pattern of behavior by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election," said Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC World Service in London.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the media shortly after he claimed victory in the election that critics contend was marked by widespread voter fraud. At a news conference Sunday, he accused international media of launching a "psychological war" against the country.
Street protests broke out in Tehran and were fiercely battled by anti-riot police.
A range of communications have been disrupted inside Iran since election day, including those which could be used to organize protests.
Iran restored cell phone service Sunday that had been down in the capital since Saturday. But Iranians still could not send text messages from their mobile phones, and the government increased its Internet filtering in an apparent attempt to undercut opposition voices. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter were also not working.
Iran's government has not commented on the restrictions but has accused international media of exaggerating the extent of the street protests in Tehran and of trying to destabilize the government.
Iran regulates and monitors the activities of international and independent media operating within its borders, and it closely watches and guides its own internal state media. Many reformist newspapers, magazines and Web sites have emerged in the past decade, but often come under restrictions or are shut down.
International media normally are allowed to work without censorship in Iran, subject to certain rules, such as seeking advance permission to travel to certain locations outside the capital or to interview government officials.
But Iran is more sensitive about news reports or blogs and Internet communications in Farsi, apparently concerned about the effect on its internal political situation.
On Saturday, Iranian officials contacted television journalists for The Associated Press in Iran and warned that the government would enforce an existing law banning provision of news video to the Farsi-language services of the BBC and the Voice of America. Both agencies broadcast to Iranians via satellite in their own language.
AP employees then contacted the BBC and VOA to discuss the order.
"It is the AP practice to comply with local laws regarding media. We are nonetheless determined to continue to provide accurate coverage of events in Iran," said AP's Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll.
There were a variety of other clamp-down steps affecting both international and domestic news organizations. For instance, officials telephoned several visiting international journalists with visas to cover the elections and told them that their visas would not be extended after the vote, a courtesy often offered in the past.
Two other international news agencies that operate in Iran, Reuters and Agence France-Press, declined comment. Neither reported any restrictions on their journalists. Iranian supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi are followed by Iranian riot-police in front of Tehran university during riots in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, June 14, 2009. Iranian youth opposed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to the streets Sunday, setting trash dumpsters and tires on fire, in a second day of clashes triggered by voter fraud claims.
A spokesman for the Swedish network SVT, Geronimo Akerlund, said its reporter, Lena Pettersson, had been asked to "leave Iran as soon as possible because the elections are over."
Dubai-based news network Al Arabiya said the station's correspondent in Tehran was given a verbal order from Iranian authorities that its office would be closed for one week, said Executive News Editor Nabil Khatib. No reason was given, but the station was warned several times Saturday that it needed to be careful in reporting "chaos" accurately, he said.
German television network ZDF said Sunday on air that its reporter in Iran and other reporters were being "prevented from doing their jobs in a massive form." The network said it was unable to show a broadcast feed from the network's correspondent depicting protests.
Italian state TV RAI said one of its crews was caught in a street clash. An Iranian interpreter was beaten with clubs by riot police and officers confiscated the cameraman's videotapes, the station said.
Within Iran, state-run newspapers carried no news Sunday about the widespread street clashes the day before. But on Sunday, state TV showed some video footage from the two days of protests.
A newspaper started by the main reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, did not appear on newsstands Sunday. An editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the paper, called Kalemeh Sabz or the Green Word, never left the printing house because authorities were upset with Mousavi's statements after the elections.
The paper's Web site reported that more than 10 million votes in Friday's election were missing national identification numbers, data which make the votes "untraceable." It did not say how it knew that information.
At his news conference, Ahmadinejad made light of restrictions on the press and media.
"Don't worry about freedom in Iran," he said. "Newspapers come and go and reappear. Don't worry about it."
DTN News: Israel Sets Terms For Palestinian State / Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Agrees To Palestinian State In Move Welcomed By U.S.*Source: Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - June 15, 2009: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time agreed to a Palestinian state, as long as it is demilitarized and accepts Israel as a Jewish homeland. The U.S. called the statement an “important step forward.” Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv June 14, 2009. Netanyahu accepted on Sunday the U.S.-backed goal of a Palestinian state but balked at meeting President Barack Obama's demand to stop Jewish settlement expansion.Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, rejected Netanyahu’s conditional acceptance of statehood, saying it would “not lead to a just and comprehensive peace.”
“If the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, we will be ready for a real peace agreement leading to a demilitarized Palestinian state side-by-side with a Jewish state,” Netanyahu said at Bar Ilan University outside Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu’s address came 10 days after President Barack Obama, in an address to the Muslim world, said the creation of a Palestinian state was the “only resolution” for the Arab- Israeli conflict and that Israel must stop all settlement construction.
“This is a formulation in wording that will probably enable him to walk that narrow wire between the expectations of the U.S., which wanted him to support a Palestinian state, and his party and coalition members that are against it,” said Jonathan Spyer, a political scientist at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.
Obama “welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in an e-mailed statement. “The president is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples.”
Netanyahu said that while no new settlements would be built, Jewish settlers had the right to a “normal life.” He has said he will not stop construction necessary for the natural population growth of existing settlements.
Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian negotiator, said Netanyahu’s remarks were “deceptive.”
Erakat said the speech fell short “in every single one of the benchmarks required of Israel in line with international law and existing agreements.”
Netanyahu’s address comes a day after Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a second presidential term, an electoral victory that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said increased the need for the international community to block Iran’s nuclear program and its support of terror groups.
“The biggest threat to Israel in the Middle East and to all of humanity is the meeting between extremist Islam and nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
Beyond making his first direct, though conditional, endorsement of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu appeared to stick to former positions on peace talks while endorsing Obama’s vision of a regional agreement.
Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Netanyahu, said it was the first time the prime minister made such a comment “either directly or indirectly” on a Palestinian state.
The fate of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their state and over which Israel has imposed its rule in a move never internationally recognized, was not up for negotiation, Netanyahu said.
The plight of Palestinian refugees, who fled their homes in the 1948 and 1967 Middle East wars, will not be resolved inside Israel’s borders, he added.
And the demilitarization of the Palestinian state Netanyahu envisions as part of a final peace settlement must be guaranteed by the international community.
“To achieve peace we must ensure that Palestinians can’t bring in rockets and missiles, control air space or forge alliances with Iran or Hezbollah,” Netanyahu said.
*Source: BAE Systems(NSI News Source Info) RIYADH - June 15, 2009: Saudi Arabia has taken delivery of the first two Eurofighter Typhoons out of a massive order for 72 of the British planes that first fell into doubt over an arms scandal, state news agency SPA said June 12. Saudi Arabia is the first country outside Europe to have the Typhoon, a multi-role aircraft produced by a BAE Systems-led consortium of European firms. (Adrian Pingstone)
Assistant Defense and Aviation Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan received the two Typhoons at a ceremony with British officials at the facilities of BAE Systems, the aircraft's manufacturer, in Wharton, England on June 11, it said.
The two fighters were the first out of an order for an eventual 72 that has been valued at up to 20 billion pounds ($32.9 billion), including armaments and long-term servicing.
Saudi Arabia is the first country outside Europe to have the Typhoon, a multi-role aircraft produced by a BAE Systems-led consortium of European firms.
The deal was first announced in August 2006, but then fell into doubt due to a British investigation into massive corruption allegations in earlier arms deals between Saudi Arabia and BAE Systems that implicated senior officials of both countries.
The investigation into the so-called Yamamah deals was called off by the British government in December 2006 on grounds of "national security" and "public interest," and the final contract for the Typhoon aircraft was signed in September 2007.
The purchase will help the Saudis upgrade their air force from its current fleet of BAE's 1980s-vintage Tornado F3s and U.S.-made Boeing F-15s.
Under the original deal, BAE is to deliver 24 Typhoons completely built to the Saudis, and another 48 are to be assembled inside Saudi Arabia as the country seeks to build up its own aeronautic industry capabilities.
Prince Khaled, who is also commander of the Saudi air force, said the new aircraft "are not to threaten anyone but to protect and secure the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the coming decades," SPA reported.
But Riyadh is known to want to maintain air superiority over rival Iran amid fears that Tehran is seeking to extend the range of its air force to full region-wide capability.
According to Lebanon-based defense news service Tactical Newswires, the Saudis will soon begin meetings with U.S. officials to discuss buying F-16s for the Saudi air force.
DTN News: Nepal TODAY June 15, 2009 - Nepalese Police Trying To Control Unrest Situation Created By Maoist In Katmandu
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) KATMANDU, Nepal - June 15, 2009: Nepalese riot police take cover as Maoist supporters throw stones at them in Katmandu, Nepal, Sunday, June 14, 2009. Three years after war ended in the Himalayan nation, the former Maoist guerrillas are among the biggest threats to Nepal's fragile peace.
Maoists demonstrate in front of police office against death of party cadre. Hundreds of Maoist cadres staged demonstration in front of the Metropolitan Police Post at Balaju, Kathmandu, Sunday evening, against the suspicious death of their fellow cadre.
"There has been some suspicion ... that the Maoists are trying to capture power, trying to capture the military, that they want to put their Maoist military cadre inside the top positions of the Nepali military," Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal told the AP in an interview.
DTN News: South Korea TODAY June 15, 2009 - North Korean Soldiers Patrol On Yalu River Opposite Chinese City Dandong
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - June 15, 2009: North Korean soldiers patrol on a military boat on the Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, June 14, 2009.
President Lee Myung-bak travels to Washington on Monday for talks with President Barack Obama that are expected to focus on the North's rogue nuclear and missile programs. The trip comes after North Korea's Foreign Ministry threatened war with any country that stops its ships on the high seas under new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council in response to its May 25 nuclear test. It also vowed Saturday to "weaponize" all its plutonium and acknowledged a long-suspected uranium enrichment program for the first time. Both plutonium and uranium are key ingredients of atomic bombs.
North Korea said on Saturday it would start a uranium enrichment program and weaponize all its plutonium in response to fresh U.N. sanctions, which the United States said it would work vigorously to enforce.
Pyongyang also threatened military action if Washington and its allies tried to isolate it.
*Sources: Int'l Media / The Malaysian Insider(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - June 15, 2009: Is China returning as a major player in the international arms market?
According to data released by the United States Congressional Research Service, Beijing signed arms exports agreements worth US$3.8 billion (RM13.3 billion) in 2007 – its highest sales figures in more than a decade.
In recent years, Chinese overseas arms sales have averaged more than US$2 billion a year, considerably higher than during the 1990s, when Beijing averaged less than US$1 billion a year in arms exports.
In fact, China has not enjoyed sales this strong since the late ’80s, when it sold to both sides in the Iran-Iraq War. Its overseas arms agreements then approached US$3 billion annually, in today’s dollars.
Volume of Chinese major conventional arms exports to Asia-Pacific recipients, 1981-95 (Recipients listed in rank order; figures are in
SIPRI trend indicator values, expressed in US$ millions at constant 1990 prices; totals may not add up exactly due to rounding)
Recipient/Year 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 TOTAL
Pakistan 140 72 555 177 57 57 370 114 463 494 427 196 574 221 260 4179
Thailand 0 0 0 0 27 2 211 31 173 239 226 534 0 298 298 2039
Bangladesh 8 38 113 6 38 0 0 180 403 95 0 258 0 0 0 1139
North Korea 16 277 29 44 25 198 174 254 6 24 0 24 0 0 0 1069
Myanmar 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18 169 181 17 358 0 310 1052
Sri Lanka 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 14 0 82 1 11 0 0 112
Cambodia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 18 0 0 0 0 0 20
Laos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
TOTAL 164 387 697 227 147 259 757 581 1077 1041 916 1030 943 519 868 9612
Source: SIPRI arms trade database, March 1996
Note: SIPRI arms transfer data are an index which indicates trends in deliveries of major conventional weapons. SIPRI arms trade statistics do
not reflect purchase prices and are not comparable with economic statistics such as national accounts or foreign trade statistics. Sources and
methods used in development of SIPRI arms trade figures are explained in the SIPRI Yearbook and in Sources and Methods for SIPRI Research on
Military Expenditure, Arms Transfers and Arms Production, SIPRI Fact Sheet, January 1995.*
China is now, on average, the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, after the traditional leaders – the US, Russia, France and the United Kingdom. In fact, in 2007 it was No 4 in terms of arms agreements, overtaking France.
Nearly all of China’s arms transfers are to developing countries, and in this arena China has become a formidable competitor. In terms of arms deliveries to the developing world, Beijing was No 3 in 2007. Its largest markets are in Asia, the Middle East and particularly Africa. In fact, from 2004 to 2007, China was the single largest seller of arms to Africa. Its major customers include Pakistan, Egypt, Myanmar, Iran, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Nevertheless, China’s current high standing in the global arms marketplace remains tenuous. In the first place, most of China’s biggest arms sales are still to a handful of customers, particularly Pakistan.
The 2007 figures were high because they counted a couple of big deals with Pakistan, such as for the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, which Pakistan is co-producing with the Chinese.
It is not certain, therefore, that China will be able to maintain such high levels of arms exports for the next several years. For example, Myanmar used to be a big buyer of Chinese arms, but its purchases have tapered off significantly in recent years.
For the most part, China still sells mostly small arms and ancillary equipment, such as trucks, uniforms and tents.
The country’s arms industry manufactures some impressive pieces of equipment, such as the C-802 antiship cruise missile (similar to the very effective French Exocet) and the K-8 jet trainer/light attack aircraft, but there have been few sales of these types of equipment lately.
On the whole, though, China can offer few advanced weapon systems that are technologically competitive on the global arms market, and its customers still remain basically the poor (African states) and the pariahs (Iran).
Moreover, many of China’s arms deals are mostly done at “friendship prices”, which entails selling arms at a discount, either for political purposes (cementing alliances) or, increasingly, to secure links with oil-producing countries.
For China to remain a leading arms exporter, it needs to come up with more competitive products. One big possibility for future significant overseas sales is China’s new J-10 fighter jet, a cousin to the Israeli Lavi (upon which it is based) and roughly equivalent in capabilities to the US-built F-16C flown by the Singapore Air Force.
The J-10 started development in the mid-1980s and finally entered production for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) about three or four years ago.
It is certainly a vast improvement over the 1960s- and 1970s-era Chinese and Soviet fighters that have filled out the PLAAF for decades, although probably not as good as the Su-27 or particularly the Su-30s acquired from Russia.
There has in fact been considerable speculation that the Chinese might flood the global arms market with the J-10.
This aircraft could be a good buy, as it would probably be offered at cut-rate prices, certainly below the F-16, the Swedish Gripen, and other smaller combat aircraft. Pakistan and especially Iran have been mentioned as prospective buyers.
Other marketable products include the C-701 short-range antiship cruise missile (already sold to Iran and, reportedly, the Hezbollah), the FN-6 man-portable surface-to-air missile (exported to Sudan), and the KS-1A surface-to-air missile (sold to Malaysia).
That said, most Chinese weapons systems remain an unknown quantity. The J-10, for example, may be a very good aircraft, but its performance and reliability cannot be independently confirmed, and many countries may not wish to take a chance on it. Countries do not necessarily buy the cheapest weapon systems available – capabilities and effectiveness count, especially when it comes to military products.
Many countries, given the choice, will still pay a premium price to get a premium product. For example, when Pakistan decided to acquire new submarines, it bought from France, not China, and while it is buying Chinese fighters, it is also purchasing F-16s from the US.
Even during the current global economic crisis, many potential buyers will still be hesitant to seriously consider Chinese weaponry more than they might normally, since they may have to live with these weapons for the next 20 to 30 years. Instead, these countries are more likely to delay any big-ticket arms purchases in general, and wait until the economy recovers – like most Asian countries did during the financial crisis in the late 1990s.
One product area where the Chinese do have a considerable edge is ballistic missile systems, such as the DF-11 and B-611 short-range ballistic missiles. The DF-11 (also known as the M-11) has been sold to Pakistan, while Turkey has acquired the B-611. Sales of longer-range missile systems, however, are restricted by the Missile Technology Control Regime, which China has agreed to abide by.
THE FUTURE OF ARMS SALES
China is still extremely constrained when it comes to potential customers, the types of arms they may want to buy, and the types of arms it can sell. This is not to say that Beijing will not increasingly promote its arms on the global market, or that it will not score some coups when it comes to overseas sales. Certainly, expanding arms exports continues to be a key business strategy for Chinese defence firms – as much as it is for almost every arms manufacturer around the world.
Given the global overcapacity in armaments production and economic pressures to keep factories open and preserve jobs, everybody wants to get in on the arms-export business. But do not imagine the Chinese will soon be supplanting or joining the US and Western Europe as a large supplier of sophisticated arms.
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - June 15, 2009: Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor said today that the Defence Ministry’s ban on dealing with Singapore Technologies (ST), which is being investigated by the CBI in connection with the corruption charges against former Ordnance chief Sudipta Ghosh, will delay Indian plans to acquire light howitzers for the artillery.
“Till the time the CBI is able to carry out detailed investigation,” said Kapoor, “there will be a delay. To that extent, it will affect the acquisition of ultra light howitzers.” He was speaking on the sidelines of a defence function in the capital. The 155 mm, 39-caliber Pegasus is typically towed, but it is also equipped with an independent Lombardini 9LD625-2 engine unit to provide short-range self-propelled capability of up to 12 km/h (7 mph). It can be lifted by the Republic of Singapore Air Force's CH-47SD "Chinook" helicopter, making it the world's first heli-portable 155 mm howitzer with a self-propelled capability. In addition, the Pegasus can also be transported by the C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter.
The Pegasus has a burst rate of fire of three rounds in 24 seconds and a maximum rate of fire of four rounds per minute. It can deliver conventional munitions up to 19 km. Extended range munitions can be fired up to 30 km away. A semi-automatic loading system is provided to increase the rate of fire and reduce crew fatigue.
The design of the Pegasus also incorporates several innovative elements. It is built with titanium alloy and aluminium alloy materials that are lightweight and yet able to withstand the recoil force of the 155 mm artillery system. Special recoil management design is also employed to reduce the recoil force to a third lower than conventional 155 mm howitzers.*
Interestingly, the Singapore-based firm is the only vendor offering its “Pegasus” gun to the Army for its requirement of ultra-light howitzers needed for deployment in mountainous regions. With the only other contender, BAE systems, backing out of the contract, the ST gun was the only one available that met the Army’s requirements.
ST was banned after its name figured along with six other firms in the CBI inquiry against former Director General of Ordnance Factory Board Sudipta Ghosh. The defence ministry has put all dealings with the seven firms on hold till the CBI completes its probe.
This is the second major blow for the Army’s artillery modernization plans after South African giant Denel was blacklisted in 2005 for allegedly paying kickbacks in a deal for anti-material rifles for the Army. General Kapoor also said today that the much-awaited comparative trials between the indigenous Arjun tanks and the Russian origin T 90 mainstay tanks of the Army will take place in October.
The trials are considered vital as the induction of larger numbers of the tank will be dependant on how reliable the Arjun is found by the Army. “The tanks have been just delivered to the Army. It would take three to four months before the regiment is fully operationalised. After that, we will carry out comparative trials between the Arjun tanks and the T-90s,” Kapoor said.