Zekria Barakzai, deputy head of the IEC, urged patience. "We cannot confirm any claims by campaigning managers. It's the job of the election commission to declare the results. They should be patient," Barakzai said. Dawood Ali Najafi, another IEC official, said it was too early to say whether there would be a run-off because not all results had been received from Afghanistan's 34 provinces. An independent Afghan monitoring body, FEFA, said it was concerned about the quality of the poll after receiving reports from its observers across the country of fraud and interference. Barakzai said two convoys of election workers transporting ballot boxes had been attacked following the vote. In one case, in Balkh province in the north, an election worker was killed and ballots that had already been counted were burned. He said preliminary figures showed overall turnout was around 40-50 percent. This would be roughly in line with estimates by Western diplomats before the poll. Much is likely to depend on turnout in southern areas, such as Karzai's home province of Kandahar, where the president draws his strongest support but where voters faced the brunt of Taliban attacks and intimidation. Abdullah's spokesman, Fazl Sangcharaki, said the north had voted solidly for Abdullah, except in Jowzjan province, home of Uzbek militia chieftain Abdul Rashid Dostum, who returned to the country days before the vote to campaign for Karzai. Western backers have expressed concern about Karzai's tactic of seeking support from former militia chiefs, afraid that deals made to secure votes could bring warlords back to power. In Washington, President Barack Obama hailed the conduct of the election and vowed to press on with his strategy, which has involved sending thousands of additional troops to the country. "We have to focus on finishing the job in Afghanistan but it is going to take some time," Obama said from the White House. The election was a test for Obama's new strategy aimed at reversing Taliban gains. U.S. combat casualties have risen amid a U.S. troop buildup and opinion polls have shown weakening American backing for the war. (Writing by Paul Tait; Editing by Alex Richardson)
Friday, August 21, 2009
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY August 21, 2009 ~ President Hamid Karzai And Rival Abdullah Abdullah Claim Victory In Afghan Vote
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY August 21, 2009 ~ President Hamid Karzai And Rival Abdullah Abdullah Claim Victory In Afghan Vote *Source: DTN News / Reuters By Sayed Salahuddin and Jonathon Burch (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanista - August 21, 2009: President Hamid Karzai's campaign and chief rival Abdullah Abdullah both said on Friday they had won Afghanistan's election, but Washington's chief envoy warned candidates not to declare victory prematurely. Karzai's campaign manager and Abdullah both said preliminary, unofficial results showed they had won enough votes to avoid a potentially destabilizing second round of voting in October. Election officials said no confirmed results had been released. Election workers count provincial votes at a school, a day after Afghanistan's presidential election, in Kabul August 21, 2009. "Initial results show that the president has got a majority," Karzai's campaign manager Deen Mohammad told Reuters. "We will not get to a second round. We have got a majority." Abdullah, Karzai's former foreign minister, dismissed the Karzai camp's victory claim and said he was on track to win in the first round after Thursday's vote, which went ahead despite sporadic violence after the Taliban threatened the vote. "I'm ahead. Initial results from the provinces show that I have more than 50 percent of the vote," Abdullah told Reuters by telephone in Kabul. Official preliminary results are not due for two weeks, but counting began immediately after polls closed on Thursday and is largely complete. Analysts have warned that uncertainty over the outcome or accusations of widespread fraud could lead to civil unrest. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said he was certain the outcome of the vote would be disputed. "We always knew it would be a disputed election. I would not be surprised if you see candidates claiming victory and fraud in the next few days," Holbrooke said at a briefing in Kabul with election observers. Holbrooke said he Washington had an "agnostic" position and did not support any early, unofficial victory declarations. A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said only the Independent Election Commission (IEC) was in a position to announce results and anything else was "just speculation." Polls conducted before the election showed Karzai in the lead but suggested he would not win more than 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a run-off. The Karzai campaign's estimate of victory was based on reports from nearly 29,000 monitors the campaign had at polling stations throughout the country, Mohammad said. Afghan officials and their U.S. protectors have breathed a sigh of relief after the relatively peaceful election. PATIENCE URGED The 6,200 polling stations are required to make their results available to the public as they tabulate them to prevent fraud.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY August 21, 2009 ~ Sixty Taliban Of Fazlullah Group Surrender
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MINGORA, Pakistan - August 21, 2009: Sixty militants, a Taliban commander among them, surrendered themselves to security forces at the Kanju airport in Swat valley on Thursday. Militants who voluntarily surrendered to government forces line up to sit in police van in Saidu Sharif, Swat. Colonel Akhtar, a spokesman for the Swat media centre, said that Akbar Zada, the Taliban commander of Koza Bandai in Matta tehsil, was among the 60 insurgents who surrendered at the airport. (News agencies identified the commander as Khurshid Khan). Akbar Zada is said to be closely related to hard-line cleric and chief of Swat Taliban Maulana Fazlullah. An army spokesman said the arrested militants would face cases filed against them by local people. Meanwhile, two bullet-riddled bodies were found in Barikot area on Thursday morning. Residents said that a group of masked men brought Zahoor Ahmed and Lal Baz from Nawagai to Barikot early in the morning and shot them dead. Agencies add: Security forces conducted a search operation in Kukarai, killing two terrorists and arresting five Afghan nationals from Charbagh. Three suspects were arrested during a routine check in Rashagatta and a terrorist training camp and 10 houses of militants were destroyed during the operation.
DTN News: Boeing Airborne Laser Team Fires High-Energy Laser In Flight
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., - August 21, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Aug. 18 successfully fired the high-energy laser aboard the Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft in flight for the first time, moving closer toward ABL's upcoming missile shoot-down demonstration. Boeing is the team lead and system integrator for the ABL system under contract to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, and involves placing a megawatt-class, high-energy Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) on a Boeing 747-400F aircraft to detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase of flight. ABL can also pass information on launch site, target track and predicted impact point to other layers of the global ballistic missile defense system. During the test, the modified Boeing 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and fired its high-energy laser while flying over the California High Desert. The laser was fired into an onboard calorimeter, which captured the beam and measured its power. "This was a significant test of the Airborne Laser's capabilities, demonstrating that the system has truly moved from the drawing board to reality," said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "We have seen that the Airborne Laser's high-energy laser is functioning aboard the aircraft and that ABL is ready for more flight tests to further validate its viability as a mobile missile defense system." Michael Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director, said, "This test shows that ABL is on track to shoot down a boosting ballistic missile later this year. After years of development, the team is excited to be so close to delivering this transformational and unique directed-energy weapon system. We think ABL will be a game-changer for weapon systems the same way stealth technology transformed aerial combat." Before the upcoming missile shoot-down demonstration, ABL's high-energy laser will undergo a series of additional flight tests, building toward lethal capabilities. It will advance from being fired into the onboard calorimeter to being sent through the beam control/fire control system, exiting the aircraft through a nose-mounted turret. This will represent a major achievement in directed-energy technology because it will be the first time a megawatt-class laser has been coupled with precise pointing and atmospheric correction in an airborne environment. The team will follow this milestone with the firing of the high-energy laser against a variety of increasingly challenging targets, culminating with an airborne intercept test against a ballistic missile in the boost phase of flight. ABL returned to flight in April, following integration and ground testing of the high-energy laser aboard the aircraft at Edwards. The team on Aug. 10 engaged an instrumented boosting missile with a low-power, atmosphere-compensated laser beam. ABL's development history includes numerous flight tests in 2007 that demonstrated its ability to track an airborne target, measure and compensate for atmospheric conditions, and deliver a surrogate high-energy laser's simulated lethal beam on a target. In September 2008, the team fired the high-energy laser aboard the aircraft in ground testing for the first time. Boeing is the prime contractor for ABL, which is designed to provide unprecedented speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. In addition, Boeing is using internal investments to examine directed energy's potential to address several other critical missions, including defending against aircraft, cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles. Northrop Grumman designed and built ABL's high-energy laser. Lockheed Martin developed the weapon system's beam control/fire control system, and Boeing provided the battle management system. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense 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 Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
Contact: Marc Selinger
Boeing Missile Defense Systems
email@example.com Chuck Cadena
Boeing Missile Defense Systems
DTN News: Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz Apologises For Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Son's Arrest
DTN News: Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz Apologises For Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Son's Arrest
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) GENEVA, Switzerland - August 21, 2009: Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz apologised to the Libyan government on Thursday for the brief detention last year of a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, clearing the way for a return to normal diplomatic ties. Switzerland's President Hans-Rudolf Merz has apologised to Libya for the arrest one year ago of a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, paving the way for a "normalisation" of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “We are apologising for what happened to Hannibal Gaddafi and the two sides agreed to form a committee to discuss the matter,” Merz told reporters in Tripoli. Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi said the two countries had agreed on a “normalisation” of their relationship, a decision that was confirmed by Merz. The row began when Hannibal Gaddafi and his pregnant wife Aline were arrested in a Geneva luxury hotel in July 2008 on charges of mistreating two domestic employees. Armed police forced open their hotel suite after being alerted to repeated altercations. Libya cut back oil supplies to Switzerland and withdrew more than $5 billion in assets from Swiss banks in 2008 over the incident. Geneva’s prosecutor dropped the case in September last year following the withdrawal by the plaintiffs of their formal complaint after they reached an undisclosed settlement with the Gaddafis. A Geneva lawyer representing Libya and the Gaddafis said in April they had sued the Geneva authorities for more than 500,000 Swiss francs. A hearing on the civil suit was due next month. Switzerland’s government said last month it wanted to hold a summit with Gaddafi to defuse the row and that Merz was prepared to meet the Libyan leader soon. A Swiss statement said that two Swiss who have been detained in Libya will be able to leave the country “in the next few days”. Swiss officials have named one of the Swiss prevented from leaving Libya as Max Goeldi, director of Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering conglomerate ABB in Tripoli, but have declined to identify the other. “Both countries agree to set up independent arbitration to investigate the circumstances of the arrest of Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi and his wife,” the statement said, adding that Switzerland was prepared to apologise for the “unseemly and unnecessary” arrest of Gaddafi and his family.
DTN News: Russia To Deliver 8 Su-30MK2 Fighters To Vietnam In 2010
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow Region), Russia - August 21, 2009: Russia will fulfill a contract on the delivery of eight Su-30MK2 fighters to Vietnam in 2010, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday. Russia and Vietnam signed a of $500 million agreement on the sale of eight Su-30MK2 fighters in January 2009. "The contract was signed in January, and we will fulfill it in 2009-2010," Alexander Mikheyev, deputy general director of Rosoboronexport said at the MAKS-2009 air show near Moscow. Mikheyev said Vietnam had already made several advanced payments under the contract and the deliveries would be made in two batches of four aircraft each. Su-30MK2 is an advanced two-seat version of the Su-27 Flanker multirole fighter with upgraded electronics and capability to launch anti-ship missiles. Russia's Federal Service for Military Cooperation said in June that Vietnam had expressed interest in buying additional Su-30MK2 fighters and talks on a new contract could start in the near future. Military aircraft continue to dominate Russia's arms exports, and are expected to total about $2.6 billion in 2009 sales.
DTN News: Congo ~ UN Peacekeeping Force To Get 3,000 Extra Troops *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MONUC, Congo - August 21, 2009: The United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is to get another 3,000 soldiers by the end of October, the force announced Wednesday. The reinforcement, which will come nearly a year after a resolution was approved by the UN Security Council, will comprise another 2,785 soldiers and 300 police officers. The new arrivals will include an infantry battalion and a company of special forces from Egypt; an infantry battalion and a company of engineers from Bangladesh; and a special forces company from Jordan. Most of them will be deployed in the volatile east and northeast of the country, where an estimated 500 members of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) still terrorise the population. Also present in the zone, despite efforts by Congolese and Rwandan troops to flush them out, are up to 6,000 Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The first troops would arrive by the end of August, with the rest deployed by the end of October, MONUC spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Paul Dietrich told AFP. The newcomers will be boosting an existing force of 17,000 peacekeepers, 700 military observers and more than a thousand police officers, who work closely with the Congolese army in operations against the two rebel groups. MONUC, on the ground since 2001, is the largest single peacekeeping force deployed by the UN, with an annual budget of 1.35 billion dollars (950 million euros).
DTN News: Boeing And MillenWorks To Demonstrate Tactical Military Vehicle In Off-Road Event *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, USA - August 21, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and partner MillenWorks of Tustin, Calif., will participate this week in a 1,000-mile off-road race through the Nevada desert, using a derivative of a tactical military vehicle designed for U.S. special operations forces.HTTV - HELO TRANSPORTABLE TACTICAL VEHICLE ~ The HTTV offers unparalleled mobility and payload in a vehicle that can be internally transported within aircraft like the CH-46, CH-53, and V-22 Osprey. A racing inspired suspension with cockpit adjustable ride height allows the HTTV to safely operate at sustained high speeds on and off-road. The Aug. 20-22 "Vegas to Reno: The Long Way" race is sponsored by the Best in the Desert Racing Association and is touted by the event’s organizers as the longest off-road race in the United States. The Boeing and MillenWorks Team’s vehicle is entered in a timed exhibition category but will be driven by MillenWorks founder and CEO Rod Millen and his son, Ryan, over the same course as other off-road competitors. The vehicle is a derivative of the Helo Transportable Tactical Vehicle (HTTV), which MillenWorks designed for military reconnaissance and utility missions in demanding conditions and terrain. The vehicle, which can be transported by aircraft including the Boeing-built V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, is currently undergoing evaluation and testing. "We’re confident that our team's vehicle has the speed, maneuverability and durability needed to endure in this challenging and unforgiving desert terrain," said Jerry McElwee, vice president of Tactical Wheeled Vehicles for Boeing Combat Systems. "We are excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate our vehicle’s capabilities and reliability in off-road conditions." "The Vegas to Reno race attracts tremendous talent from the off-road racing community, and will be a true test of our vehicle's technology maturity and cross-country mobility," said Rod Millen. "We have a high-performance vehicle with a proven track record of extensive government testing and evaluation." Boeing and MillenWorks are teamed on a variety of government contracting activities, using their combined experience in systems engineering, product development and rapid vehicle prototyping to bring best-value solutions to their customers. Boeing has more than 20 years of experience in integrating tactical wheeled vehicles, starting with its role as prime contractor for the Avenger air defense system, which is integrated on the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. MillenWorks is an industry leader in advanced vehicle and mobility solutions for demanding applications, with expertise in designing military ground vehicles, as well as high-performance race vehicles for on- and off-road competitions. MillenWorks is a privately owned small business based in Tustin, Calif. The company designs and develops vehicles and advanced mobility solutions for the U.S. armed forces, major automotive original equipment manufacturers and commercial customers. MillenWorks is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology solutions for manned and unmanned military vehicles, high performance concept cars, race vehicles, and rides for major theme parks. More information is available at http://www.millenworks.com/. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense 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 Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide. Contact: Mary McAdam Boeing Communications Combat Systems Mobile: 703-785-8757 firstname.lastname@example.org
DTN News: French Police Find ETA Explosives Caches *Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - August 21, 2009: Police found two ETA explosives caches in southern France on Thursday, a day after three suspected members of the armed Basque group were arrested in the Alps, an official linked to the case said. One of the three suspected members of Basque separatist group ETA, is escorted by members of the French anti-terrorist squad RAID, as he leaves a ski resort after being arrested on August 19, 2009 in Le Corbier Villarambert, French Alps. Police found two ETA explosives caches in southern France a day after three suspected members of the armed Basque group were arrested in the Alps. The biggest cache, in Camplong in the Herault region near the Mediterranean, contained a large stash of explosives, along with electronic equipment that can be used to make bomb detonators. A second, smaller, stash of explosives was found at Hellette in the Pyrenees, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Spanish border, the official said. Both caches are thought to be linked to a French swoop on Wednesday, in which three alleged ETA logistics experts were arrested in their flat in the Alpine ski resort of Le Corbier. Following that raid, French police found 100kg (220 pounds) of ammonium nitrate and 12 litres of nitromethane, used to make bombs, at an ETA hideout in Ferrieres, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Spanish border. ETA is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland in part of northern Spain and southwest France. It figures on several terrorist blacklists, including those of the European Union and the United States. Traditionally, ETA has concentrated its attacks on Spanish targets while its militants use France as a rear base to hide out and rearm. In recent years French officials have arrested several senior suspects. The trio picked up in the Alps were expected to be transferred on Friday to the Paris region for questioning by anti-terrorist investigators, according to another official connected with the inquiry.
DTN News: Saudi Arabia ~ Authorities Arrest 44 Islamist Militants, Seize Weapons
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - August 21, 2009: Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had arrested 44 militants who planned to carry out attacks and seized weapons and electronic detonators. In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, Saudi security officers search for Machine guns in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009. Saudi authorities have arrested 44 suspected militants with al-Qaida links in a yearlong sweep that also uncovered dozens of machine guns and electronic circuits for bombs, the government said Wednesday. Those held were part of a “deviant group” and included 43 Saudi nationals and an unidentified foreign resident, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman said in a statement reported by the state news agency SPA. Officials usually use “deviant group” to refer to members of radical Islamic groups such as al Qaeda. “Some of them underwent training inside the kingdom and abroad on the shooting of light and heavy weaponry and on techniques of preparing explosives as well as forgery of documents,” it said. The arrests, carried out between July 10 and Aug. 2, led to the seizure of 17 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 machineguns and 96 remote electronic detonators as well as ammunition in the capital Riyadh and in the northern province of Qassim, it added. The network was “exploiting charity work to execute criminal plans”, the statement added without elaborating. Saudi Arabia has battled Islamist militants who launched a violent campaign to destabilise the U.S.-allied monarchy in 2003. The violence has subsided since 2006 after nearly 200 people were killed, including foreign residents, members of the security forces and militants. The Saudi government has arrested hundreds of suspects in the past year on suspicion of trying to revive militant cells and in February issued a list of 85 wanted militants believed to be abroad. A Saudi court has sentenced one person to death this year in the first publicly reported sentences since al Qaeda-linked militants launched their campaign against the absolute monarchy. The court gave verdicts against 289 Saudis and 41 foreigners which included jail terms of up to 30 years.
Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz said in October the kingdom had indicted 991 mainly Saudi suspected al-Qaeda militants for carrying out 30 attacks since 2003. Kalashnikov rifles seized by Saudi security officers are seen in Riyadh in this handout picture released August 19, 2009. Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had arrested 44 militants who planned to carry out attacks and seized weapons and remote electronic detonators. Those held were part of a "deviant group" and included 43 Saudi nationals and an unidentified foreign resident, the Interior Ministry's spokesman said in a statement reported by the state news agency SPA. The arrests, carried out between July 10 and Aug. 2, led to the seizure of 17 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 machineguns and 96 remote electronic detonators as well as ammunition in the capital Riyadh and in the northern province of Qassim, it added. Militant attacks included suicide bombs at housing compounds in Riyadh in 2003 and an attempt to storm the world’s biggest oil processing plant at Abqaiq in 2006, the last militant operation of note. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch said Saudi Arabia has detained thousands of people as part of its anti-terrorism drive without charging them and sometimes even ignoring court rulings ordering their release.
DTN News: Somalia TODAY August 21, 2009 ~ Deadly Clashes Spread Across War-Torn Country *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOGADISHU, Somalia - August 21, 2009: A fresh offensive by pro-government forces against extremist Shebab fighters killed at least 21 people, mainly combatants, on Thursday in central Somalia, officials and witnesses said. Al-Shabaab fighters stand guard during a news conference held by their spokesman in Somalia's capital Mogadishu Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009. Fighting between government soldiers and Islamic insurgents killed at least 15 people in central Somalia on Thursday as the warring sides tried to gain ground in strategic towns. Pro-government forces launched an attack on the town of Bulobarde, which is located some 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Mogadishu and was previously controlled by the Shebab, an Al Qaeda-inspired organisation. Several local residents and officials told AFP they had counted at least 21 bodies and said that the fighting was ongoing. "They attacked us this morning with a large army but they sheepishly retreated and many of their fighters are strewn in the street now," Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim, a local Shebab commander, told AFP by phone from the town. "There is still some sporadic fighting in some parts of the town and we have counted at least 21 dead. The terrorists have suffered great losses in the battle today," said Colonel Adan Yusuf Mohamed, a Somali government military leader in the region. According to residents, the government troops were assisted in their latest offensive by Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa, an influential Sufi religious organisation which recently took up arms against the Shebab. The latest clashes come amid a vast counter-offensive against Shebab strongholds in the centre and south of the Horn of Africa country. An alliance of clan militias, government forces and Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa fighters earlier this week recaptured two strategic towns from the Shebab without any fighting. According to residents, the Islamist insurgents however on Wednesday wrested back control of the town of Bulohawo, which sits just across the border from the Kenyan town of Mandera. Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa and allied groups have recently inflicted serious losses on the Shebab, who had controlled much of central and southern Somalia in recent months. Bulobarde is the main town on the road linking the capital Mogadishu to Beledweyn, a key city on the border with Ethiopia. Residents said the fighting was the heaviest the town had seen in a long time and that both sides used heavy machine-guns and anti-aircraft weapons. "The fighting has stopped for now but the warring sides are still facing off in one neighbourhood... I personally saw the bodies of 18 fighters and the death toll could be much higher," local resident Abdurahman Ali said. Abdikarim Muktar, a grocer in the town, said the heaviest fighting occurred near a bridge over a river that divides the town. "Most of the people died near the bridge where the fighting was fierce. The government forces were pushed back from that area," he said. Earlier this week, the prime minister of Somalia's embattled transitional federal government (TFG) reshuffled the cabinet in an attempt to offer a tougher response to a bruising insurgency. The Shebab and the more political Hezb al-Islam on May 7 launched a broad military offensive against the TFG in Mogadishu and other regions, leaving President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's power hanging by thread. Tuesday's reshuffle saw a new defence minister brought in and a powerful deputy appointed to bolster the government's war effort.
DTN News: Mauritania ~ Al Qaeda Branch Claims French Embassy Attack *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania - August 21, 2009: Al-Qaeda's North African wing claimed on Tuesday responsibility for an August 8 suicide bombing near the French embassy in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, a US-based monitoring group said. Three people, including two French gendarmes, were lightly wounded by the blast, which occurred when the bomber set off an explosives belt near the outside wall of the mission. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb named the bomber as Abu Obeida Musa al-Basri and said he had failed to detonate his device inside the embassy because of a barrier that prevented him entering, SITE Intelligence said. The group said the attack was in response to the "aggression of the Crusaders, particularly France, and Mauritanian leaders against Islam and Muslims," according to an online statement quoted by SITE. It provided images of the bomber dressed in traditional Mauritanian attire while training on machine guns in a desert area.
DTN News: Russian State Defense Order For 2010 Planned At $35 Billion
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - August 21, 2009: Russia's military-industrial commission has submitted to the Finance Ministry a draft 2010 state defense order for 1.109 trillion rubles ($35 bln), a deputy premier said on Thursday. "The total sum in the 2010 draft is 1.109 trillion rubles, which exceeds the state defense order for this year," Sergei Ivanov said. Defense orders in 2009 are expected to amount to 1 trillion rubles ($31.6 bln), with 332 billion ($10.7 bln) being spent on purchases and maintenance of military equipment. Ivanov said the draft document stipulates a sharp increase in expenditures on housing for military personnel, up to 104 billion rubles ($3.3 bln). Russia will spend 470 billion rubles ($15 bln) on arms, equipment and maintenance of its Armed Forces in 2010, Ivanov added. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier identified the priorities for the financing of the Armed Forces as "Maintenance and development of the nuclear capability and missile and space defense forces, providing troops with modern offensive weapons, as well as command and control, communication and intelligence systems, and strengthening military infrastructure in key strategic sectors."
DTN News: Tupolev Aircraft Maker To Develop Russia's New Strategic Bomber *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow Region), Russia - August 21, 2009: The Russian Defense Ministry and the Tupolev aircraft maker have signed a contract on the development of a new-generation strategic bomber, the company's general director said on Wednesday. "We signed a contract this year on research and development of a future strategic bomber for the Russian strategic aviation. It will be a conceptually new plane based on the most advanced technologies," Igor Shevchuk said at the MAKS-2009 air show near Moscow. Tu-95MC Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers and Il-78 Midas aerial tankers will form the backbone of the Russian strategic aviation in the next decade following extensive modernization. However, by 2020 they will be obsolete, and the new strategic bomber will allow Russia to maintain the effectiveness of the air component of its nuclear triad in competition with similar foreign aircraft, the official said. Russia's Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin earlier said a fifth-generation strategic bomber could be used effectively in both conventional and nuclear conflicts. "The new plane will use a wide selection of high-precision weapons, and will have a whole range of new combat capabilities, allowing it to apply new methods to carrying out deterrence tasks," he said.