Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DTN News: African Largest Trading Bloc COMESA Kicks Off Summit In Zimbabwe

DTN News: African Largest Trading Bloc COMESA Kicks Off Summit In Zimbabwe
*Source: COMESA
(NSI News Source Info) VICTORIA FALLS - June 10, 2009: The 13th summit of Africa's largest trading group COMESA started in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls on Sunday, with the long-anticipated official launch of a regional customs union topping the agenda. Madagascar's ousted President Mark Ravalomanana chats with Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir on the second day of the two-day African trade summit Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in Victoria Falls on June 8, 2009. The group, consisting of 19 member countries, has passed a resolution to intervene in Madagascar's political problems to 're-establish constitutional order'. COMESA consists of Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It will be the second crucial step taken by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in its process of economic integration after the 19-member bloc established the first free trading area in Africa in 2000 The important move had been confirmed again by COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya before the summit.
The COMESA chief announced that the customs union will be launched next Monday when the summit came to an end. "The Common Tariff Nomenclature and the Common Customs Documentation (CCD) are in place and what remains is the COMESA Regional Policy still under negotiation," he had said.The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa - promoting regional economic integration through trade and investment.With its 19 member states, population of over 389 million and annual import bill of around US$32 billion with an export bill of US$82 billion COMESA forms a major market place for both internal and external trading. Its area is impressive on the map of the African Continent covering a geographical area of 12 Million (sq km). Its achievements to date have been significant. See the comprehensive statistics At the opening ceremony of the summit, outgoing chairman of COMESA Authority, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki gave a report on progress made since the last summit in Nairobi in 2007, including the movement towards harmonization of policies between COMESA and the other economic blocs of the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community towards an African Economic Community. He said he was encouraged by the fact that intra-COMESA trade had 52 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, up from three billion dollars the previous year.
"As we collectively position ourselves to ushering the next milestone on our regional agenda, let us also remain fully aware of the broader agenda on the integration of the African continent. It is necessary that we focus on the bigger picture by strengthening our relations with other regional blocs," Kibaki said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni thanked the Zimbabwean political leadership and people for coming up with an inclusive government and averting a potentially serious conflict. He also said COMESA should push for first world status and look at how it can take advantage of the current global economic crisis.
"We need to find how best we can survive and even how best we can take advantage of it," he said. Vice Chairman of African Union Commission Erastus Mwencha decried the fact that although Africa was represented at the last G20 summit, it was still to remove a stimulus package as pledged there. He stressed the need for Africa to consolidate its strategies with climate change, whose effects he said could affect the lives of its citizens.
The customs union aims to lift tariffs among member states while harmonizing barriers with third parties through the Common External Tariff, which the community's heads of state and government adopted in May 2007.
With the theme of "Consolidating Regional Integration through Value Addition, Trade and Food Security", the summit followed a meeting of the Council of Ministers from Tuesday to Thursday and talks of COMESA foreign ministers on Friday and Saturday. The summit, which had originally been set for last year, has been postponed twice.
The COMESA made a put-off decision first to allow the host country Zimbabwe to complete its electoral process which finally gave birth to the formation of an all inclusive government. The meeting was later postponed again as organizers took into account the need to begin the process of implementing the decisions of the summit of three trading blocs held in Uganda last year regarding the harmonization of Free Trade Areas and common external tariffs.
COMESA, headquartered in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, was formed in 1994 to replace its forerunner, the Preferential Trade Area. It enjoys an aggregate population of about 400 million and combined GDP of over 360 billion U.S. dollars.

DTN News: Iranian Candidates' Views On Key Issues / Power Of Women In Iran's Election

DTN News: Iranian Candidates' Views On Key Issues / Power Of Women In Iran's Election
*Source: Int'l Media
*Analysis: "President Ahmadinejad isn't bothering us about our headscarves during the elections. But if he returns to power, it would be terrible," she moans, her voice rising with emphasis on the last word.
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran — June 10, 2009: Iran's hard-line president took a final shot at his rivals Wednesday during his last public campaign rally, accusing his main pro-reform challenger of fabricating problems about the country's economy woes to sway voters. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is locked in a neck-and-neck race against reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi. Both have launched intense political attacks against each other and have turned the presidential election into a display of Iran's deep political divides. A female supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wears the colors of the Iranian flag on her face, also used as a sign for his party, at his final election campaign rally, on Azadi street in western Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 10, 2009. Iranians go to the polls on Friday, June 12, 2009 after a hotly contested election campaign pitting Ahmadinejad against leading challenger and reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, amongst others. The outcome will have little direct impact on Iran's key policies — such as its nuclear program or possible acceptance of Washington's offer for dialogue — which are directly dictated by the ruling Islamic clerics. But Ahmadinejad has becoming a highly polarizing figure on the international stage with comments that include questioning the Holocaust and calling for Israel's demise. A change of government could ease Iran's isolation and give Washington and others a freer hand to build ties with Tehran and engage in negotiations over Iran's nuclear ambitions. The United States and others fear Iran could eventually seek nuclear weapons, but Iranian officials say the country only seeks peaceful reactors for electricity. Thousands of Ahmadinejad supporters flocked to western Tehran to catch a glimpse of him and hear one of his final speeches before heading to the polls on Friday. No public campaigning is allowed the day before the vote. They cheered Ahmadinejad's name, waved Iranian flags in the air and chanted slogans like "Mousavi is a liar!" Hundreds of women dressed in long black robes, called chadors, draped Iranian flags around their neck, and several young men painted their faces in the red, white and green colors of the flag — Ahmadinejad's campaign symbol. About a dozen men stood on a nearby rooftop as Ahmadinejad spoke, frantically waving large Iranian flags in the air. Mousavi has made Iran's struggling economy a hallmark of his campaign, accusing Ahmadinejad of manipulating statistics that hide the extent of the nation's fiscal problems despite its vast oil and gas reserves. Earlier this week, Ahmadinejad insisted that inflation stood at 15 percent — lower than the 25 percent widely reported by financial officials. On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad admitted that inflation was 25 percent. But he also accused Mousavi of lying about the state of the economy. "With the grace of God, the Iranian nation will send them to the bottom of history," he said. Two other candidates are in the race: former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei and former parliament speaker Mahdi Karroubi. In the increasingly tight race, their level of support could play a swing role — with Rezaei expected to draw conservative voters and Karroubi pulling in moderates. Many of Ahmadinejad's supporters said they would vote for him because he fights for the common man and champions Islam — images projected in his campaign propaganda. Several of the posters handed out at the rally showed him praying, having dinner with a rural family and comforting an elderly man. "He's very brave and a real Muslim. He says what is right and he doesn't get frightened by anyone," said supporter Mariam Nouri, 38, who had a red, white and green ribbon tied on her wrist. Mousavi's backers have also been flocking to the streets in recent days to show their support, and a few wearing green wristbands — Mousavi's campaign color — gathered around the fray of Ahmadinejad's rally. Thousands of Mousavi supporters, many of them young people, plan to hold a street demonstration later Wednesday in Tehran, though it is unclear if the candidate will attend. Mousavi also made a final campaign foray into Ahmadinejad's provincial strongholds. During his speech, Ahmadinejad launched a scathing attack against his rivals and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He vowed to the cut the hands off of those who he says have plundered Iran's wealth if re-elected. "Today, their problem is not Ahmadinejad. They want to take revenge on the nation because the sin the nation committed was that it made a new choice in the previous election (by electing Ahmadinejad) ... and gave a big no to the corrupt and mischief-makers," Ahmadinejad said, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. Ahmadinejad has been locked in a fierce power struggle with Rafsanjani for years. During a televised debate on Saturday against Mousavi, Ahmadinejad accused Rafsanjani and several current and former officials of corruption. In response, Rafsanjani sent a letter to Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday, warning him to take "serious action" against the president. Associated Press Writer Ali Akbar Dareini contributed to this report.

DTN News: President Barack Obama Talking Tough With Israel

DTN News: President Barack Obama Talking Tough With Israel
*Source: By Neil Macdonald CBC News
(NSI News Source Info) June 10, 2009: That was a jewel of a speech Barack Obama delivered in Cairo last week: intelligent, reasonable, subtle, and humble. One can only imagine the satisfaction, even amazement, a Muslim must have felt, hearing an American president talk about coming to a region where Islam was "revealed." Obama was signaling that he understands Islam at a level that few Westerners do. That Muslims are taught that the Almighty, in revelations, showed Mohammed the true path out of darkness.
Subtle but not sphinx-like in his speech at Cairo University in June 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama takes in the sights outside the city afterwards. A more pedestrian visitor than this president would probably have used the word "born" instead. The speech was littered with similar nuances. Obama quoted repeatedly from the Qur'an and employed the most powerful of psychological devices: telling people what they yearn to hear. He talked about the world's debt to Islam, invoking its early contributions to medicine, mathematics, architecture and fine arts. I cannot begin to tally the number of times Muslims reminded me of those achievements during my years in the Middle East. Although to my ears, these reminders often had a plaintive ring — some underlying recognition that stagnation had set in somewhere along the way, while the West went on to build brilliantly on what the Muslims had begun. Reflective criticism Obama's speech contained a number of criticisms of Arab society, too. But they were elliptical, another rhetorical device highly prized in Oriental culture. Where George W. Bush would have waded in with a club, Obama chose to highlight the Arab world's deficiencies by drawing attention to American failures, then allowing the listener to reflect. For example, "I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States." In one sentence, Obama manned up to American abuses that every Arab has read about and, at the same time, prodded his listeners to ponder what still happens in police stations and interrogation rooms all over the Arab world. I tend to doubt that happened, though, given the ability of so many in the Arab world to ignore deep injustice in their own society while dwelling with near religious intensity on the many insults inflicted by the foreigner (read Westerner) over the past century. The real point of the speech, however, wasn't to make Arab nations stop torturing, or repressing (or killing) their women, or crushing any movement toward democracy, or overlooking, even encouraging, a weird, obsessive hatred of Jews. Those things will likely continue, at least in this lifetime. Rather, Obama is taking his shot at finding some durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian blood feud, which more than anything else crystallizes Muslim anger at the West. Clearly, he believes that he must first convince his listeners that he is now approaching this problem as an honest broker. Taking on Israel? Now that is an epic task. Generally, Obama's predecessors in the White House have stitched themselves so closely to Israel that Israelis commonly joke about being "the 51st state." The Arabs apply a different description: "America's spoiled child." Arabs hear Washington lecturing other countries about acquiring weapons of mass destruction, while ignoring Israel's nuclear arsenal. They hear successive American leaders castigating Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, but invoking Israel's right to self-defence when Israeli bombs or bullets, often fired from American-made aircraft, kill Palestinian women and children. And for the most part, they've heard Washington raise only the limpest of protests as successive Israeli administrations have steadily colonized the West Bank since it was conquered by military force 42 years ago. Until now. With remarkable speed, Barack Obama appears to have pushed the Israeli government to the wall on the settlement issue. In the Cairo speech, he flatly declared that Israeli settlements are not legitimate. And, unlike most previous presidents, he appears to mean it. His administration has made it clear there will be no exemptions for "natural growth" of existing settlements, no artificial distinctions between "outposts" and "established settlements," and no "security-related 'thickening.'" What can Obama do? Predictably enough, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has balked at this challenge, and the situation is now at the what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it stage. It's a good question. The entire Muslim world is watching. What is Obama going to do about the Israeli settlements? Well, he could reduce (or threaten to reduce) the billions of dollars in aid that Washington sends to Israel every year. Since that money is fungible, it can be reasonably argued that Washington actually helps build the settlements. He could lift the charitable tax exemption enjoyed by American taxpayers whose donations to Israel benefit these settlements. Or he could reduce (or threaten to reduce) military aid to Tel Aviv. Most likely, he will simply intensify the debate. That alone might actually do the trick. The fact is, ordinary Israelis treasure Washington's patronage and heaven help the Israeli politician who is seen to be putting that relationship in jeopardy. Tuned-in Tel Aviv Ultimately, a great many Israelis simply don't care about the stony, largely barren West Bank or the swaggering, messianic, gun-toting characters who regularly show up on Israeli TV claiming yet another hilltop. Certainly the broad Israeli public doesn't consider them worth threatening the country's most important foreign relationship. Israelis, too, listened closely to the Cairo speech and have followed every detail of the Obama-Netanyahu tension. Israeli newspapers, in fact, are filled with descriptions of an impending "crisis" between Jerusalem and Washington. The country's biggest daily, Yediot Ahronot, said this week that Netanyahu's stubbornness risks a "head-on collision" with Israel's most crucial ally. Of course, Obama can count on heat himself from Israel's allies in the U.S. One other president, George H.W. Bush, tried to stop settlement-building 18 years ago, but eventually caved under the political pressure at home. (Significantly, the Israeli prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Shamir, was subsequently ousted by his own voters, many of whom were unhappy about the confrontation with Washington). Over the years, however, world opinion has changed considerably when it comes to the settlements. Just about the whole world, including a great many influential people in Obama's own political party, opposes them. In fact, there are sober American voices today saying that stopping the settlements may be the greatest favour Obama can do the Israelis, given how easily their multi-party political system can be held hostage by a minority of nationalist/religious zealots. And if Obama succeeds on this front, if an American president actually puts a stop to the most visible manifestations of Israeli expansionism, then he can turn his attention to the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world with a new authority, rather than just an adroit understanding of the Qur'an.

DTN News: Indian Students Stage Violent Protest Over Attacks In Australia

DTN News: Indian Students Stage Violent Protest Over Attacks In Australia *Source: By Bonnie Malkin in Sydney
(NSI News Source Info) SYDNEY - June 10, 2009: Hundreds of Indian students have taken part in violent protests in Sydney, after a spate of attacks on foreign students in Australia's major cities. A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest by Indian students in central Sydney June 7, 2009. The students demanded the government and police take action against people behind a series of violent attacks on Indian students. The attacks, which Indian media have called race-based, caused some diplomatic discomfort between the two countries and sparked angry protests in India. Australia's government condemned the attacks but said racism was not behind them. More than 200 protesters carried hockey sticks and baseball bats during the demonstration which came amid growing racial tension that has threatened to damage relations between New Delhi and Canberra. A police dog squad was called in to control the crowd in western Sydney on Tuesday night, after the protesters turned on three Lebanese men, in what was believed to be reprisals for previous attacks. The men sustained minor injuries. Police said the protest was sparked by an incident in which an Indian man in his early 20s was attacked by a group of men "of Middle Eastern descent". The recent series of attacks on Indian students has divided opinion in Australia. Police superintendent Robert Redfern said the violence in the suburb of Harris Park was not race-related and stemmed from a series of "opportunistic" crimes against Indians in the area. But a local councillor said police were naive if they believed the spate of attacks on Indians in Sydney's west had nothing to do with racism. Michael McDermott, councillor for Harris Park and surrounding suburbs, said the protest was evidence of rising tension in the multi-ethnic area. "There is an element of racial targeting and to not think that would be burying our heads in the sand a wee bit," Cllr McDermott told the Sydney Morning Herald. "There's often an underlying tension between different ethnic groups but within Parramatta we've had a very, very good track record of working with those groups to celebrate it. "It really saddens me that there's tensions there at present." The unrest comes less than a month after a petrol bomb was thrown through the bedroom window of 25-year-old Indian hospitality graduate Rajesh Kumar in the area. Indian-born residents make up the second largest population group in Harris Park, after Australian-born residents, 2006 census data show.

DTN News: Raytheon Features Variety Of Innovative Systems, Technologies And Products At Paris Air Show

DTN News: Raytheon Features Variety Of Innovative Systems, Technologies And Products At Paris Air Show *Source: Raytheon Company
- ASTOR Sentinel aircraft, Universal Control System included in the Raytheon display -
(NSI News Source Info) WALTHAM, Mass. - June 9, 2009: Raytheon Company will offer news media representatives attending the 2009 Paris International Air Show beginning June 15 several opportunities to learn the latest about various company technologies, programs and products. In December 1999, Raytheon Systems Ltd was awarded a contract for the development of the UK Ministry of Defence airborne stand-off radar (ASTOR). The system, which includes five Bombadier Global Express business jet aircraft fitted with a derivative of the Raytheon ASARS-2 radar, is an airborne battlefield or ground surveillance radar system for operation with the Royal Air Force and the British Army. The ASTOR is to be known as Sentinel R1 in RAF service. The first production aircraft was delivered to Raytheon in February 2002 for integration of the ASTOR system. Raytheon will focus on several key areas to include global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; unmanned systems, both aerial and ground control; air traffic management; the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System; Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar; cybersecurity; and its ThalesRaytheonSystems international partnership. Among the exhibits on display are the ASTOR Sentinel aircraft, Universal Control System, KillerBee®, F-16 Center Pedestal Display, and more technologies and products. A Patriot fire unit will be located at the U.S. Defense Department corral. The company has scheduled the following press briefings during the show:
Date Time Topic June 16 8:30 a.m. ThalesRaytheonSystems breakfast (Thales Chalet, B119) The only trans-Atlantic joint venture of its kind has proven successful, with a strong revenue stream and growing order book. Co-hosted by new management team. June 16 10 a.m. Global ISR Enhanced situational awareness is an imperative and Raytheon's platform-agnostic strategy makes its sensors and ground processing systems essential for manned and unmanned assets globally. June 16 11 a.m. Unmanned Systems With global market expected to double in the next decade, Raytheon's position in the UAS market is extensive and growing. From sensors to ground systems, Raytheon is targeting the defense, civil security and environmental markets. First public viewing of KillerBee in action. June 17 10 a.m. Patriot and SL-AMRAAM Current threat situation globally has made proven air-missile defense systems more critical. Patriot's interoperability and short-range precision is attracting new customers, building on its sale to 11 countries, most recently UAE. All briefings, including presentation slides and audio, will be available upon the conclusion of each on Keyword: Paris 09, where high-resolution photos, video and more information can be found. In addition, the company will be launching a podcast series called Dual Band that will air each day of the show and highlight key technologies and senior executives. Tune in at Keyword: Paris 09. Follow us at Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people

DTN News: Sunken Soviet WWII Submarine Found Off Swedish Coast / Long-Lost World War 2 Submarine Found Off Swedish Coast

DTN News: Sunken Soviet WWII Submarine Found Off Swedish Coast / Long-Lost World War 2 Submarine Found Off Swedish Coast
*Sources: DTN News & Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) STOCKHOLM — June 10, 2009: After a decade-long search, a team of Baltic Sea divers has discovered the wreckage of a Soviet submarine that sank with dozens of sailors aboard during World War II, one of the divers said Tuesday. A diver examines the deck gun of a Soviet submarine that was sunk during Finland's Winter War in 1940 in this handout photo made available June 9, 2009. The wreck was discovered by divers near the Aland Islands close to the border of Finnish and Swedish territorial waters. The submarine, identified as S-2, was sunk with all 50 hands in January 1940 after hitting a mine. They found the S-2 submarine near the Aland Islands between Sweden and Finland in February but only announced it Tuesday because they wanted to confirm the identity of the vessel, team member Marten Zetterstrom said. He said all 50 crew members died when the vessel exploded in 1940, probably after hitting a mine. He declined to give the exact location. “I think it’s been 10 years since people started searching. I’ve been part of it for four-five years,” Zetterstrom said. Markus Lindholm, an Aland-based expert who studied pictures of the wreck, said the claim appeared to be true. “According to all available sources no other submarine has sunk in those waters,” said Lindholm, curator of maritime archaeology at Finland’s National Board of Antiquities. The submarine was last spotted at surface level by a lighthouse keeper on the Market island, west of the Aland archipelago, Lindholm said. He said the keeper’s notes of the incident have been preserved and describe how the vessel headed north before diving and entering a Finnish minefield, after which an explosion was heard. Lindholm said pictures showed the front of the submarine was missing, apparently torn off by an explosion. “The mine must have hit the submarine hull near the torpedo tubes and then the whole thing blew up,” he said. Zetterstrom said the divers had informed Swedish and Russian authorities about the discovery. Swedish Defence Ministry spokesman Mikael Ostlund said the ministry had not had a chance to confirm the claim. Anatoly Kargapolov, a spokesman at the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, confirmed that the embassy had been informed about the submarine but added that there had not been “any official reaction from Moscow.”

DTN News: Pacific State Palau To Take Uighur Detainees From Guantanamo

DTN News: Pacific State Palau To Take Uighur Detainees From Guantanamo
*Sources: DTN News & Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WELLINGTON, New Zealand - June 10, 2009: The Pacific nation of Palau says it has agreed to a US request to temporarily resettle up to 17 Chinese Muslims. The 17 men are ethnic Uighurs, now being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre on Cuba, and the US has asked for help to re-settle them. In this image reviewed by the U.S. Military, a Guantanamo detainee is escorted by guards at Camp 4 detention facility, at the U.S. Naval Base, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nov. 18, 2008. A former Bush administration official said Thursday, March 19, 2009 that many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants. Their fate was problematic due to fears for their safety if they were repatriated to China. Palau, a former US trust territory, grants diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, not China. Palau President Johnson Toribiong said his government had "agreed to accommodate the United States of America's request to temporarily resettle in Palau up to 17 ethnic Uighur detainees ... subject to periodic review." 'Humanitarian' In a statement, he said his tiny country is "honoured and proud" to resettle the detainees, who have been found not to be "enemy combatants." He said the agreement was a "humanitarian gesture", which had nothing to do with the upcoming review of the Compact of Free Association under which the US gives large sums to Palau. US officials asked Mr Toribiong on 4 June to accept some or all of the 17 Uighur detainees due to strong US congressional opposition to releasing them on US soil. Guantanamo Bay officials have been attempting to fulfill US President Barack Obama's order to close the detention facility by early next year. Palau, with a population of about 20,000, is an archipelago of eight main islands plus more than 250 islets that is best known for diving and tourism and is located some 800 km (500 miles) east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean. The US will not send the Uighurs back to China for fear they will be tortured or executed. Beijing says Uighur insurgents are leading an Islamic separatist movement in China's far west and wants those held at Guantanamo to be returned to China. Analysts said the fact that Palau is an ally of Taiwan, not China, could have helped the negotiations. In 2006, Albania accepted five Uighur detainees from Guantanamo but has since balked at taking others, partly for fear of diplomatic repercussions from China. Australia has already twice rejected US appeals to resettle the Uighurs. Palau has retained close ties with the United States since independence in 1994 when it signed a Free Compact of Association with the US. It relies heavily on the US for aid and defence.

DTN News: China Agreed To Pay Royalty For Producing Engine Of Snecma And Rolls Royce To Cover 150 JH-7A Fighter Bomber

DTN News: China Agreed To Pay Royalty For Producing Engine Of Snecma And Rolls Royce To Cover 150 JH-7A Fighter Bomber *Source: Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING - June 10, 2009: China is seeking to resume manufacturing the JF-7 fighter bomber. To this end, negotiations are underway with jet engine makers in France (Snecma) and Britain (Rolls Royce), to provide engines. The JH-7 entered service a decade ago, although only about a hundred were built.
In 2004, the improved JH-7A entered service with PLANAF. The JH-7A is updated with the JL-10A pulse doppler radar, fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system, one-piece windscreen, additional hardpoints and capability to use laser-guided bombs (LGB) and Kh-31P anti-radiation missiles. JH-7 currently equips the PLANAF 6th Division, PLANAF 9th Division and PLAAF 28th Division. A PLANAF JH-7 regiment typically consists of 18 to 20 aircraft, which is fewer than the 24 to 28 aircraft of PLAAF aircraft regiments.
Additional production was delayed because the aircraft was designed to use a British engine (the Spey 202), which was not supposed to be going to China after the 1989 embargo. But Rolls Royce, the manufacturer quietly continued exporting some engines, and technical assistance. China thought it could reverse-engineer this engine, but was unable to do so. China made peace with Rolls Royce over this abortive bit of tech piracy, and began producing their version of the Spey 202 (WS9) in the late 1990s.
But China continues to have problems with manufacturing jet engines to Western standards, and wants more direct assistance from Rolls Royce. Thus China is trying to get a proper production license from the British engine manufacturer, so that it can build more JH-7s. But that 1989 embargo keeps getting in the way.
China is discussing the technical aspects of resuming engine imports, with Rolls Royce and Snecma, in expectation that the European Union will soon drop the embargo. Meanwhile, China buys second hand Spey 202 engines wherever it can. The JH-7 is a 27 ton, twin engine aircraft, with a 40 foot wingspan. It is underpowered, and only has a five ton bomb load. But using new Chinese made smart bombs and air-to-ground missiles, the JH-7 becomes more useful. The JH-7 is used mainly by the Chinese navy.
The aircraft has an operational radius of about 900 kilometers, enabling it to contribute to an attack on Taiwan, or a blockade of the islands ports. The JH7A could carry four KD-88 missiles. China wants to build another 150 JH-7s, as an improved version (JH-7A) with more powerful engines and better electronics.

DTN News: Germany TODAY June 10, 2009 - Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer On Official Visit In Berlin

DTN News: Germany TODAY June 10, 2009 - Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer On Official Visit In Berlin
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) BERLIN, Germany - June 10, 2009: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, the EU's current president, inspect a military honor guard on June 9, 2009 in front of the Chancellery in Berlin (in background can be seen the cupola of the Reichstag building housing the Bundestag, lower house of parliaments). They met for bilateral talks.

DTN News: FACTBOX-ARMS TRADE-World's Top Defense Contractors

DTN News: FACTBOX-ARMS TRADE-World's Top Defense Contractors
*Sources: Frost & Sullivan, Thomson Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) - June 10, 2009: The world's leading defense contractors and their market capitalization, in U.S. dollars. Companies listed alphabetically.
For a series of stories on the global arms trade, please double-click on [ID:nARMS].
Company Market Cap
BAE Systems (BAES.L) (UK) $18.98 billion
Boeing Co (BA.N) (US) $38.37 billion
EADS (EAD.PA) (Netherlands) $13.48 billion
Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) (Italy) $ 7.72 billion
General Dynamics (GD.N) (US) $23.28 billion
Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) (US) $33.39 billion
L-3 Communications (LLL.N) (US) $ 8.80 billion
Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) (US) $15.75 billion
Raytheon (RTN.N) (US) $18.11 billion
United Technologies (UTX.N) (US) $53.22 billion (Sources: Frost & Sullivan, Thomson Reuters) (Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Brian Moss)

DTN News: Indonesia Set To Ratify Nuclear Treaty After US

DTN News: Indonesia Set To Ratify Nuclear Treaty After US
*Source: AFP (NSI News Source Info) Washington - June 10, 2009: Indonesia on Monday offered a boost to President Barack Obama's vision of a nuclear-free world, pledging to ratify a treaty banning nuclear tests if the US Senate does. Just as India and Pakistan have come out of the nuclear shadows, several other nations also have advanced nuclear programs. Obama said in April said he would ask the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), part of his ambitious goal of eliminating nuclear weapons unveiled in a speech in Prague. Indonesia is one of nine countries including the United States that need to ratify the treaty, which would ban all nuclear explosions everywhere for any purpose, to come into force. "We share his vision of a world in which nuclear weapons have been eradicated," Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said on a visit to Washington. "We trust that he will succeed in getting the CTBT ratified -- and we promise that when that happens, Indonesia will immediately follow suit," he said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Wirajuda spoke before a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited Jakarta in February in a sign of the new US administration's interest in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. While Obama's anti-nuclear initiative was mostly warmly received around the world, one holdout from the treaty -- North Korea -- brazenly defied it by testing an atomic bomb last month. The other nations that have not ratified the treaty are India and Pakistan, which both refuse even to sign it, along with China, Egypt, Iran and Israel. Wirajuda said Indonesia -- which operates nuclear reactors but does not have nuclear weapons -- held back ratification because it was "dismayed" that other nations were moving ahead with the ultra-destructive weapons. "The threat of a nuclear holocaust has (been growing) simply because for a long time it was forgotten -- until President Obama came on the scene," Wirajuda said. Wirajuda said Indonesia was ready to help the United States negotiate with North Korea and Iran, which is suspected of seeking nuclear weapons. Indonesia maintains friendly relations with both Tehran and Pyongyang. Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, an experience he credits with giving him a greater understanding of the Islamic world. In turn, Obama is wildly popular in much of Indonesia, in contrast to predecessor George W. Bush. Wirajuda lavished praise on Obama's speech last week in Cairo, in which the US leader called for a "new beginning" with the Muslim world after years of mutual suspicion. "The echoes of a great speech -- one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard from a world leader -- are still ringing in my ears and in the ears of all humankind," Wirajuda said. He said that Indonesia and the United States can work together to advance common global goals including religious tolerance and democracy. The US-Indonesia Society, which promotes ties between the two nations, released recommendations for building a "comprehensive partnership" between the world's second and third largest democracies. It called for an end to a ban on US military training of Indonesian units accused of human rights violations before the transition to democracy, saying that Washington should instead only blacklist individuals over wrongdoing.

DTN News: Taliban Struck Again In Peshawar Killing 11 People

DTN News: Taliban Struck Again In Peshawar Killing 11 People
*Source: Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) PESHAWAR, Pakistan - June 10, 2009: A huge explosion ripped through the sole five-star hotel of the Frontier province’s metropolis on Tuesday evening, killing 11 people. A foreign national was among the dead. More than 50 people, including foreigners, were injured. A man sifts through the rumble of a bomb blast that killed 11 and injured at least 52 people at the Pearl Continental Hotel June 10, 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan. Reports say the blast came from a vehicle in the car park of the hotel. The Taliban have continued their revenge attacks keeping all cities on high alert. Police said that armed men first launched a frontal assault on the main entrance to the Pearl Continental Hotel, killing security guards. They then lowered down an electronic barrier so that an explosives-laden mini-truck could get in. ‘The assailants first killed the security guards on the main gate to lower the electronic barrier and then went inside the main parking lot, firing indiscriminately.’ ‘A mini-truck laden with explosives then entered the hotel premises and exploded in the main parking lot close to the main building,’ Capital City Police Chief Safwat Ghayyir told Dawn. ‘I was going for my night shift when I heard intense firing between the security guards and the armed men. Then there was a big explosion. I don’t remember what happened next,’ said Nasir, one of the wounded security guards at the hotel. He said that three armed men, wearing military uniform and riding on a white-double cabin pick-up truck, started shooting at the security guards while one of them was firing into the air. The same truck then drove into the parking lot and exploded, he said. Ikram, an accountant at the hotel, said he saw armed men firing from a white colour double pick-up. ‘I took refuge in the small mosque in the parking area.’ Police, quoting eyewitnesses, said the assailants were three in number and the explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber. NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that eleven people had died in the attack and more than fifty were injured. ‘This is what we know from the ground, although only two bodies have been taken to the nearby hospital.’ District Coordination Officer Sahibzada Mohammad Anees and the CCPO confirmed the death of only two workers. The hotel was frequented by expatriates, more so in recent days, by staff members of aid organisations looking after the internally displaced people from Malakand division. One of the dead included a Russian employee of an international humanitarian organisation. He was identified by his first name, Joseph. Among the injured were citizens of the United Kingdom, Somalia, Germany and Madagascar. The hotel is located near the the residence of the Peshawar Corps Commander and the Commandant of Frontier Constabulary, which is presently occupied by NWFP’s Inspector-General of Police Malik Naveed Khan. The explosion caused the western side of the hotel to collapse. Police and rescue workers feared that many might have been buried under the rubble. ‘This attack has all the signatures of the Rescue 15 attack in Lahore. The same tactics appeared to have been repeated here,’ one security official said. Shafqat Malik of the Bomb Disposal Squad told reporters outside the hotel that the explosives weighed between 500 and 550 kilograms. ‘It was a massive car bombing,’ he said. The explosion caused a 16 by 15 feet crater. ‘I don’t think we have ever had an explosion in Peshawar of this magnitude,’ Senior Superintendent of Police Qazi Jameel said. Peshawar has been under a high state of alert for the past one week after intelligence agencies warned of terrorist attacks against landmark buildings. ‘It is too early to pin blame on a particular group. But this appears to have come from the same group that masterminded the Rescue 15 attack,’ the security official said. The CCPO said that a few suspects had been detained for questioning. ‘Investigations are under way,’ he said.