Saturday, January 09, 2010

DTN News: Pakistani And Indian Forces Exchange Fire At Wagah

DTN News: Pakistani And Indian Forces Exchange Fire At Wagah *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) LAHORE, Pakistan - January 10, 2010: Border security forces of Pakistan and India exchanged heavy gunfire after several explosions in the Wagah sector late on Friday night. Pakistani Border Security guards, in black uniform, and Indian Border Security Force soldiers participate in the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony at the joint India-Pakistan border check post at Wagah.-AP file
The exchange of fire started after some blasts took place on the Indian side of the border. The Border Security Force of India alleged that rockets were fired by Pakistani forces at about 11:30pm.
A spokesman for Pakistan Rangers, Nadeem Raza, told Dawn that at least four blasts took place around 11:35pm near the border on the Indian side (Attari).
Within minutes gunfire broke out.
He said the BSF first fired with light weapons, followed by mortar shells. Rangers returned the fire. The exchange continued till 2am and finally the Rangers’ Wing Commander held an emergency flag meeting with the BSF around 2:30am, according to the spokesman.
Rangers denied allegations by the BSF that rockets were fired from Pakistan.
He said both sides had agreed to investigate the skirmish and to cease fire. The spokesman termed the happenings a pre-planned Indian propaganda against Pakistan, saying Indian media surprisingly released footage of the blasts after 10 minutes.
“How they can cover the incident from Zero Line and making footage, especially when dense fog prevailed,” Mr Nadeem wondered.
Both forces had earlier traded the similar allegations a few months ago after blasts and an exchange of fire at the Wagah sector in the night.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY January 10, 2010 ~ Pakistan Renews Call For End To U.S. Drone Strikes

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY January 10, 2010 ~ Pakistan Renews Call For End To U.S. Drone Strikes *Source: DTN News / Reuter (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - January 10, 2010: Pakistan has renewed calls for an end to U.S. drone aircraft strikes, an issue that could strain ties as the CIA hunts down Muslim militants after one of the deadliest attacks in its history in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan officially objects to the operations against suspected al Qaeda and Taliban militants along its border with Afghanistan, saying they violate its sovereignty. Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (R) meets with U.S. Senator John McCain, (3rd L), Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, (2nd L) and U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, (L) at the prime minister's residence in Islamabad January 8, 2010. U.S. senators on Friday defended American drone aircraft strikes in ally Pakistan, an issue likely to become more volatile if Washington intensifies the attacks to hunt down enemies after the bombing of CIA agents in Afghanistan. Pakistan officially objects to the attacks on suspected al Qaeda and Taliban militants along its border with Afghanistan, saying they violate its sovereignty. And it has pushed Washington to provide it with the drones to allow it to carry out its own attacks. And Islamabad has pushed Washington to provide it with the drones to allow it to carry out its own attacks on Taliban insurgents, a move that could ease widespread anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani reiterated Pakistan's concerns over the drone strikes in talks with a delegation of visiting U.S. senators headed by John McCain. "He reiterated his government's disappointment over the continuing drone attacks and persisting reluctance of the U.S. to share drone technology with Pakistan to enable it to take on the terror centers in its border areas itself," said Pakistan's official APP news agency. The senators met Gilani on Friday and also held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief Ashfaq Kiyani after visiting Afghanistan, where U.S. and other Western troops face a raging Afghan Taliban insurgency. Speaking to reporters on Friday, McCain defended the drone strikes, saying they are "one of many tools that we must use to try to defeat a very determined and terrible enemy". The United States has stepped up its attacks with the pilotless drone aircraft attacks in Pakistan since a double agent blew himself up at a U.S. base in Afghanistan on December 30, killing seven CIA agents. U.S. officials say the strikes are carried out under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to criticizes them in public. Pakistan denies any such agreement. U.S. PRESSURE Pakistan has captured hundreds of al Qaeda militants and handed many of them over to the United States, including some of the most wanted men in the U.S. war on terror. Pakistan is likely to come under more intense American pressure to help fight militant groups after the suicide bombing that killed the CIA agents. Pakistan is struggling against homegrown Taliban insurgents and is reluctant to go after some groups in border enclaves it sees as assets in Afghanistan that Washington wants eliminated. Al Qaeda's Afghan wing claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying it was revenge for the deaths of militant leaders, including Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a drone attack. Pakistan and the United States are long-time allies. But the drone attacks and other issues have caused friction. Gilani told the senators tighter security measures against Pakistanis in U.S. airports following a botched bombing attempt on an American airliner could hurt relations. Travelers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and nine other countries face full-body pat downs before boarding airliners under new security screening procedures targeting foreign passengers in the United States. In his talks with the senators, Gilani expressed his reservations about the move, said a statement from his office cited by APP. "Gilani said such policies cause consternation and anxiety among the people of Pakistan and said their continuity could negatively impact the bilateral ties," said APP, adding that Gilani said Pakistan should be removed from the list. The U.S. embassy has accused Pakistan of taking provocative action and making false allegations against U.S. personnel. U.S. officials say Pakistan is also stalling their visa applications.
(Editing by Alex Richardson)

DTN News: Malaysia TODAY January 10, 2010 ~ Fourth Church Attacked In Malaysia As Allah Row Deepens

DTN News: Malaysia TODAY January 10, 2010 ~ Fourth Church Attacked In Malaysia As Allah Row Deepens *Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - January 10, 2010: Arsonists in Malaysia struck a fourth church on Saturday as the government tried to soothe tensions arising from a row over the use of the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God. The unprecedented attacks risk dividing the mainly Muslim nation of 28 million people, which has significant religious minorities, and complicating Prime Minister Najib Razak's plan to win back support from the non-Muslims before the next elections by 2013. Onlookers gather as police inspect the damage on the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Petaling Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2010. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer The row, over a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use Allah in its Malay-language editions, prompted Muslims to protest at mosques on Friday and sparked arson attacks on three churches that saw one Pentecostalist church gutted. While Najib visited the badly damaged Pentecostalist church and offered a government grant of half a million ringgit ($148,100) to maintain "a harmonious society," church leaders said they wanted more concrete assurances of safety. "We ask the government to make a strong statement to these wrongdoers so we can worship in peace on Sunday," Reverend Hermen Shastri, secretary-general to the Council of Churches Malaysia, told Reuters. Malaysia is mainly Muslim and Malay but there are substantial ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who mainly practice Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. These minorities handed the government its biggest losses in 2008 state and national elections in part due to feelings of religious marginalization and growing disillusionment with corruption. In the latest attack on early Saturday, unidentified attackers flung a home-made petrol bomb at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in a suburb in Selangor state. The two-storey bungalow sustained minor damage, church officials said. Police said they have stepped up security at all places of worship but faced a manpower shortage. Inspector General of Police Musa Hasan told churches across the country to hire more security guards. ALLAH Christians account for nine percent of the 28 million population, with a sizable number of non-English speaking Christians in Malaysia's Borneo island states of Sabah and Sarawak who have used the word "Allah" for decades. Najib's handling of the issue will determine whether he can keep the support of the Malays and win back ethnic Chinese and Indian voters to solidify his grip on power after taking control of the government last year. "Till today we are protecting the interests of other races besides championing those of the Malays," Najib was earlier quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama. "Don't point fingers and say UMNO is racist...when churches are burned," he said referring to his party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) that is the linchpin of the National Front that has ruled the country for 52 years. But Malay-Muslims, including those in UMNO, fear the word could be used by Christians to proselytize to Muslims, which is already illegal in the Southeast Asian country. More than 169,000 Malaysians have joined a group page on social networking site Facebook called "Protesting the use of the name Allah by non-Muslims," a fourfold increase from the start of this week that signals growing Islamic anger. ($1=3.375 Malaysian Ringgit) (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by Nick Macfie and Michael Roddy)

DTN News: Jordan Reveals Growing Role In Afghan War

DTN News: Jordan Reveals Growing Role In Afghan War *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) AMMAN, Jordan - January 10, 2010: After maintaining years of silence over its role in the war in Afghanistan, Jordan has for the first time acknowledged that it has a presence there – and one which it plans to boost – after one of its security agents was killed in a suicide bombing that also killed seven CIA agents.Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud (L) sits beside a man who is believed to be Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal Al-Balawi, the suicide bomber who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan, in this still image taken from video released January 9, 2010. A Pakistan television station showed on Saturday what it said was the suicide bomber double agent who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan sitting with the Pakistani Taliban leader, and reported he shared U.S. and Jordanian state secrets with militants.
The announcement, made on Friday by the minister of foreign affairs, Naser Judeh, while visiting officials in Washington, raised analysts’ concerns here that it would again put the country on an al Qa’eda priority list more than four years since triple hotel bombings in Amman killed 60 and injured dozens. “Our presence in Afghanistan today is two-fold: number one, to combat terrorism and the root causes of terrorism, but also to help out in the humanitarian effort that is needed there,” he told the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. “And I would like to say that our presence in Afghanistan will be enhanced and increased in the coming phase. This is something that is ongoing.”The suicide bomber, a 32-year-old Jordanian physician, Homam Khaleel Abu Mallal Balawi, who blew himself up at a CIA base in Khost, near the Pakistani border on December 30, appeared posthumously in a video broadcast on Al Jazeera television.
A man reads a copy of the day's newspaper whose front page shows a photo of suspected suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi in Amman January 9, 2010. A Pakistan television station on Saturday showed what it said was the suicide bomber double agent who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan sitting with the Pakistani Taliban leader, and reported he shared U.S. and Jordanian state secrets with militants. The bomber said he planned for revenge. “We tell our emir Baitullah Mehsud we will never forget his blood. It is up to us to avenge him in and outside America,” he said in reference to a Pakistani Taliban leader killed in a US attack in August. “This is a message to the enemies of the [Muslim] nation – the CIA and Jordanian intelligence services.”
Jordan had never officially confirmed its presence in Afghanistan. There was not even any mention of the circumstances in which Sharif Ali bin Zaid, one of King Abudllah’s relatives and reported to have been the bomber’s handler, died.
At least, not until the Jordanian triple agent made headlines. But Mr Judeh explained that Jordan was one of the first countries in Afghanistan. “We are not only part of a network of countries that are trying to assist Afghanistan and Afghans, but also trying to combat terror and terrorism. But we’re also there to defend Jordan’s national interests and defend – to defend Jordanians and safeguard them against this growing threat.”
Jordanian analysts specialising in Islamic movements expressed concerns that the foreign minister’s statements could put the country in an open confrontation with al Qa’eda. “Jordan has opened the door for a war with al Qa’eda. It will start considering Jordan as a target after years of silence since [Abu Musab al] Zarqawi was killed,” Marwan Shehadeh, an independent expert on political Islam, said. He was referring to the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was involved in the Amman hotel bombings in 2005 before US forces killed him in Iraq in 2006.
“Jordan is engaged in a vicious war against al Qa’eda because it has, like other countries, became an ally in the war on terror. “ Mr Shehadeh said that if Jordan limited its operations to within and around its borders it would not likely incur the wrath of militants, but “if it interferes in the fight abroad like in Afghanistan, then this is where the dangers lies. It would place Jordan on the priority list and make it a target for terrorist acts.”
Fouad Hussein, another independent analyst specialising on Islamic movements, said the announcement that Jordan would enhance its presence in Afghanistan is expected to heat up the war with al Qa’eda. “It will widen the war with al Qa’eda where Jordan was not a [priority] target,” he said. Hours after the posting was made on Al Jazeera, a senior Jordanian official said the kingdom remained committed to fighting terrorism “anywhere and everywhere”.
Jordan is proud of its presence in Afghanistan, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, without providing any detailed information about the timing or the number of the Jordanians serving there because it is considered a security matter. “We have carried out successful campaigns, like that which lead to the killing of Abu Musab Zarqawi,” he said. “We want to [continue] to fight terrorism before its hits us at home like it did in 2005. Terrorist threats are not new and they would make us stand more resolute and determined to protect our citizens.”
Jordanian authorities last year interrogated Mallal but then released him because there was no evidence against him. “He provided us with important information … that’s why we kept engaging him,” the official said.

DTN News: Airlines News TODAY January 10, 2010 ~ Flight To Dubai Postponed After Bomb Threat

DTN News: Airlines News TODAY January 10, 2010 ~ Flight To Dubai Postponed After Bomb Threat *Source: DTN News (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - January 10, 2010: A packed plane preparing to take off from Heathrow Aiport in London on Friday was evacuated after three men made threats about a bomb.The men aged 36, 48, and 58, all British nationals, were taken off the plane in handcuffs by armed security officers and are now in police custody.The men allegedly made threats to air crew about a bomb as the plane was readying to taxi to the runway around 9:15 on Friday night. The aircraft, an Emirates Airbus A380-800 scheduled to fly from London's Heathrow to Dubai with 331 passengers on board, was evacuated as police undertook an extensive search of the plane. Sniffer dogs assisted in the search. Airlines and airports around the world are on heightened alert following an attempt by a Nigerian man with alleged links to al-Qaeda to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day. A Londonn Metropolitan Police officer said of the three men on the Emirates flight, "They have been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb threat." The other passengers were ferried to nearby hotels to spend Friday night before re-boarding their flight which was re-scheduled to depart from Heathrow at 3:00pm Saturday. "Following remarks made as Emirates flight EK004 prepared to depart London Heathrow for Dubai Friday evening, crew alerted the Metropolitan Police who subsequently boarded the aircraft and detained three passengers," a spokesman for Emirates said Saturday.

DTN News: Top U.S. Military Chief Says U.S. Will Not Engage In Combat Operations In Yemen

DTN News: Top U.S. Military Chief Says U.S. Will Not Engage In Combat Operations In Yemen *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NEWPORT, Rhode Island - January 10, 2010: Yemen has posed a concern as a potential terrorist safe haven for some time, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island, Friday. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the U.S. military has no plan to conduct combat operations in Yemen, nor does the Yemeni government want U.S. combat forces in the country. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff speaks about a variety of topics facing the United States including national security to attendees at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. Rather, he said, the U.S. military will help the Yemeni military with equipment and training. U.S. military officials have been concerned about the country long before the attempted bombing of an American passenger jet on Christmas propelled it into the news, the chairman added. “It’s been a concern of mine for a long time now because of what it represents, which is the potential for a safe haven for al-Qaida, as does Somalia and as do, quite frankly, some other parts of the world that are ungoverned territories or ungoverned parts of certain countries,” he said. The American military has provided training to the Yemeni armed forces, including to helping train the Yemeni coast guard to combat piracy. “We’ve been focused on Yemen for a significant period of time, and we’ll continue to support them and help them,” the chairman said. Mullen said people ask him often if the United States is going to send troops to the nation. “The answer is we have no plans to do that, and we shouldn’t forget this is a sovereign country,” he said. “Sovereign countries get to vote on who comes in their country and who doesn’t.” The United States has worked hard to understand the challenges in the country and to improve the military-to-military relationship between the countries, the chairman said. “We have worked hard to try to improve our relationships and training, education and warfighting support, if you will,” he said. “And, yet, we still have a long way to go. The effort in Yemen is not limited to the military, the chairman said; all aspects of U.S. governance are helping in the nation. “There is international support that’s required, there is support from our State Department, from our Treasury Department, from other institutions in America, as those institutions are represented in other countries as well,” he said. America recognizes the seriousness of the situation in Yemen and will continue to work with the Yemeni government, Mullen said.

DTN News: Malawi Seeks Indian Help In Uranium Exploration

DTN News: Malawi Seeks Indian Help In Uranium Exploration *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - January 10, 2010: Malawi has expressed interest in the joint exploration of potential uranium sites as the southern African country, where China has come in as a big player, sought India's help in shoring up energy security and in building its port and other infrastructure. 'We have already one working mine in Karonga. We can work with India to jointly explore other sites,' Malawian Vice President Joyce Banda told reporters after talks with visiting Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and witnessing the signing of three agreements. The first uranium mine, operated by a Australian company, Paladin Energy, started production in September 2009. The first consignment was sent to Canada in October. Ansari is the first Indian leader to visit Malawi, which is home to 13.5 million people and is sandwiched between the larger Zambia and Mozambique. Ansari arrived Thursday afternoon as part of the second leg of his tri-nation trip. On Thursday he met Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, who also hosted a state banquet in his honour. Banda made it clear that Malawi wanted India's help in shoring up its energy security by developing all sources of energy from water to wind. 'Uranium is only part of the broad cooperation that we want in energy security,' she said. At the banquet, Ansari had announced a line of credit of $50 million to Malawi, as well as $5 million in grants for earthquake relief and projects in the social sector. The three agreements signed Friday are for foreign office consultations, cooperation in agriculture and small enterprises. Besides, they wanted Indian private companies to help build up the inland port of Nsanje, which will open the Shire-Zambezi waterway connecting Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania. 'We have told them that they should come to the annual Africa conclave to make Indian companies aware of this project,' he said.Since Malawi is the next chairman of the African Union, reforms of the UNs Security Council was also raised. Both countries agreed that the world body had to reflect contemporary realities. In recent years, China has come into Malawi in a big way after the latter became one of the last nations to derecognize Taiwan and start diplomatic relations with Beijing. In return, China is building a new parliament building, a hospital, a five-star hotel and roads in the country. Malawi Vice President Banda asserted that as a 'sovereign state', Malawi could have good relations with both India and China. She said that these projects were 'Malawian projects, supported by Chinese', just like India would support other 'Malawian projects'. After talks, both leaders went to Lake Malawi, which the third largest lake in Africa, before returning to the capital city of Lilongwe to attend a reception for the 7,000-strong local Indian community.

DTN News: Chavez Says Venezuela Jets Intercepted US Plane

DTN News: Chavez Says Venezuela Jets Intercepted US Plane * Chavez says plane was P-3 * U.S. says it did not violate Venezuelan airspace (Adds U.S. denial)
*Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) CARACAS, Venezuela - January 09, 2010: President Hugo Chavez said he ordered two F-16 jets to intercept a U.S. military plane that twice entered Venezuelan skies on Friday, but Washington said none of its planes flew over the South American country's airspace. Brandishing a photo of the plane, which he described as a P-3, Chavez said the overflight was the latest violation of Venezuelan airspace by the U.S. military from its bases on the Netherlands' Caribbean islands and from neighboring Colombia. "They are provoking us ... these are warplanes," he said. Chavez said the F-16s escorted the U.S. plane away after two incursions lasting 15 and 19 minutes each. A spokesman for the the U.S. Defense Department denied Chavez's assertion, saying in an e-mail: "We can confirm no U.S. military aircraft entered Venezuelan airspace today. As a matter of policy we do not fly over a nation's airspace without prior consent or coordination." Senior Obama administration officials said the U.S. Southern Command was unaware of any incident involving U.S. government aircraft in Venezuelan airspace on Friday. The perceived threat of U.S. intervention has become a central element of Chavez's political discourse and a rallying cry for his supporters. Foes say Latin America's loudest U.S. critic is hyping the idea of a foreign threat to distract Venezuelans from domestic problems such as economic recession, rampant crime and inadequate public services. The socialist leader surprised the diplomatic world in December when he accused the Netherlands of abetting potential offensive action against his government by granting U.S. troops access to its islands close to Venezuela. The Dutch government says the U.S. presence on Curacao and Aruba -- where about 250 Air Force crew and ground staff are based -- is only for counternarcotics and surveillance operations over Caribbean smuggling routes.
(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Additional reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $112 Million in Stryker Contracts

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $112 Million in Stryker Contracts *Source: DTN News / General Dynamics (NSI News Source Info) FALLS CHURCH, Virginia - January 09, 2010: General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), was awarded an $84 million contract for battle-damage assessment, repair services and materials for Stryker brigades deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Stryker is a family of eight-wheel-drive combat vehicles, transportable in a C-130 aircraft, being built for the US Army by General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada (formerly General Motors Defense) and General Dynamics Land Systems Division of USA. Stryker is based on the GDLS Canada LAV III 8×8 light armoured vehicle, in service since early 2001. The LAV III is itself a version of the Piranha III built by Mowag of Switzerland, now part of GDLS - Europe. Fabrication and final assembly of the vehicles is being shared among plants at Anniston, Alabama; Lima, Ohio; and London, Ontario.
In addition, General Dynamics was awarded $28 million for 474 hull protection kits and spare parts for the Stryker family of vehicles.The contracts support the U.S. Army’s Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Work will be performed at the General Dynamics Land Systems headquarters in Sterling Heights, Mich.; at the Anniston Army Depot in Anniston, Ala.; and in Doha, Qatar. The estimated completion date for the assessment and repair of the Strykers is Dec. 31, 2010. The hull protection kits and spare parts will be delivered by Feb. 28, 2011. General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,300 people worldwide.
The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about General Dynamics is available online at

DTN News: Financial News TODAY January 09, 2010 ~ JAL Could File For Bankruptcy On Jan. 19 According Official Media

DTN News: Financial News TODAY January 09, 2010 ~ JAL Could File For Bankruptcy On Jan. 19 According Official Media * Reports: JAL could file for bankruptcy on Jan. 19, cut 13,000 jobs
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - January 09, 2010: Struggling Japan Airlines Corp. could file for bankruptcy as early as Jan. 19 under a government-backed restructuring plan that includes 13,000 job cuts, reports said Saturday. Saddled with massive losses, Asia's biggest airline is seeking a state bailout. On Friday, the government approved a court-led bankruptcy option proposed by a state-backed corporate turnaround body, the business newspaper Nikkei said, citing no sources. With government approval, the airline, known as JAL, could file for bankruptcy with the Tokyo District Court as early as Jan. 19, it said. The national newspaper Asahi also said JAL's bankruptcy filing could come Jan. 19. A JAL spokeswoman said the company was still in discussions about restructuring plans, but regardless of the decision, JAL's flight operations will continue. Officials at the transport ministry could not be reached for comment. The Nikkei said JAL will cut 13,000 jobs -- nearly 30 percent of its work force -- over the next three years and withdraw from nearly 50 routes at home and abroad. In a bid to ease JAL's debt burden, the corporate turnaround body will ask banks to forgive 350 billion yen ($3.8 billion) of debt owed by the troubled airline, it said. Amid bankruptcy fears, shares in JAL continued to drop, with their closing price tumbling nearly 12 percent Friday to 67 yen. At the beginning of 2009, JAL's share price stood at 213 yen. JAL is also weighing cash offers from Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's biggest airline operator, and its rival American Airlines. The U.S. carriers are fighting over JAL because of its strong routes in the fast-growing Asian market, especially China. Delta and its SkyTeam partners have offered $1 billion to JAL, while American Airlines has countered with a $1.4 billion offer. JAL and American Airlines are in the oneworld alliance, which also includes British Airways.

DTN News: South Korea To Transfer UAV, Missile Technologies To UAE

DTN News: South Korea To Transfer UAV, Missile Technologies To UAE *Source: DTN News / Korea Times By Jung Sung-ki Staff Reporter (NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - January 09, 2010: Korea promised to transfer technology for its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), following its successful bid to build four nuclear reactors in the Middle East nation, a government source said Thursday. (Image/Photo: RQ-101 unmanned aerial vehicle) Defense Minister Kim Tae-young made the commitment during his visit to the UAE in November to discuss bilateral defense issues as well as to support the landmark $20 billion deal, the source told The Korea Times. Kim also offered to provide key arms technologies related to the homegrown Hyunmoo ballistic and cruise missiles to the UAE as part of efforts to expand defense cooperation between the two countries, he said on condition of anonymity. Technology on an electromagnetic pulse bomb (EMP) is among the key items for cooperation promised by Korea, said the source. The state-funded Agency for Defense Development (ADD) has been pushing to develop the bomb capable of neutralizing an enemy's command-and-control, communications and defense radar systems. EMPs can severely disrupt electronic equipment, which is susceptible to damage by transient power surges. An EMP attack is generated by a very short, intense energy pulse or high-altitude nuclear blast. The agency plans to complete the development by 2014. "The UAE asked Korea to provide such key arms technologies as part of the package deal for the reactor contract," the source said. "Korea's positive response to the request played an important role in sealing the deal." Speculation has been growing after the agreement that there could have been some behind-the-scene promises to satisfy the UAE needs. At that time, Seoul's defense ministry declined to elaborate, only saying the two sides exchanged views on ways to expand bilateral defense cooperation programs. As for the UAV, Korea will offer the technology on the Night Intruder-300, also known as RQ-101, built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), according to the source. KAI built the RQ-101 corps-level battlefield-reconnaissance UAV between 2001 and 2004. The Korean Army bought five sets of RQ-101s, with each set including six aircraft, a launcher and a ground-control station. KAI is also discussing the sale of the RQ-101 to Libya. The RQ-101 has a service ceiling of 4.5 kilometers and a cruise speed of 120 to 150 kilometers per hour. The 215-kilogram aircraft has a service radius of 200 kilometers and can operate for up to six hours in the air. The UAV is capable of multipurpose operations to perform missions like wide area surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, bombing guidance, battlefield supervision and checking target break-down. It is also possible to transfer real-time images, especially in unfavorable environments during day and night. Some observers say, however, potential exports of the RQ-101 to either the UAE or Libya could cause a political or diplomatic row between South Korea and Israel given the ground-control station for the UAV was developed with technical assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). IAI offered the technology when it sold its Searcher II UAVs to South Korea.Referred missile technologies are related to those for the 300-kilometer-range Hyunmoo-II ballistic missile and the 1,000-kilometer-range Hyunmoo-III surface-to-surface cruise missile developed by the ADD and LIG Nex1. The Hyunmoo-III missiles have been operational with the Army since last year. The Hyunmoo-III can hit targets with a margin of error of plus or minus five meters aided by a Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) system.

DTN News: China Again Denounces U.S. Arms Sale To Taiwan

DTN News: China Again Denounces U.S. Arms Sale To Taiwan *Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - January 09, 2010: China on Saturday again denounced U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, saying they were an intrusion in Chinese internal affairs that risked undermining its relations with the United States. The latest condemnation by the Chinese Foreign Ministry was directed at a $1.1 billion order received by Raytheon Co for ground-system hardware to support Taiwan's Patriot air defense capability. China on Thursday denounced the U.S. decision to clear the sale of Patriot missiles by Lockheed Martin to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a renegade province. The Chinese Defense Ministry also expressed its anger, saying late on Friday on its website ( that it reserved "the right to take further actions". This warning followed comments earlier this week by a Chinese military official who proposed sanctioning U.S. firms that sell arms to Taiwan. The Patriot hardware, some of the best in its class, could shoot down Chinese short-range and mid-range missiles, defense analysts say. The sale rounds out a $6.5 billion arms package approved under then U.S. President George W. Bush in late 2008. China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary. The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, recognizing "one China". But it remains Taiwan's biggest ally and is obligated by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to help in the island's defense. (Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Nick Macfie)