Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY October 21, 2009 ~ President Barack Obama Thanks Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mulls Troop Decision

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY October 21, 2009 ~ President Barack Obama Thanks Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mulls Troop Decision *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) - WASHINGTON, USA - October 21, 2009: President Barack Obama Tuesday thanked Afghan leaders for agreeing a run-off election in a step towards the credible Kabul government he has demanded while deciding on more US troop deployments. The U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, left, gestures to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as Kai Eide, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is seen on the back ground in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. Afghanistan's election commission today ordered a Nov. 7 runoff in the disputed presidential poll after a fraud investigation dropped incumbent Hamid Karzai's votes below 50 percent of the total. Karzai accepted the finding and agreed to a second round vote. Obama spoke personally to President Hamid Karzai and praised other top leaders for ending the electoral limbo sown by fraud-tainted August elections which threw Afghan politics and a review of US war strategy into turmoil. Senior US officials however said it was not clear whether the November 7 run-off would change the timing of Obama's fateful decision on whether to send up to 40,000 more troops to fight an escalating Taliban insurgency. "I had the opportunity to speak with President Karzai this morning," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office, after earlier issuing a statement to welcome the scheduling of the run-off vote. "I wanted to congratulate him on accepting the certification of the recent election," Obama said, after several days of intense pressure by the United States and its allies on Karzai to agree to a credible political process. "We have seen the candidates expressing a willingness to abide by constitutional law, and there is a path forward in order to complete this election process," Obama said. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs meanwhile said that US, NATO and UN forces and officials were ready to help conduct the second round vote, taking place with Obama under intense pressure to decide on US war strategy. "Whether or not the president makes a decision before that I don't think has been determined," Gibbs said. "I have continued to say a decision will be made in the coming weeks as the president goes through an examination of our policy," he added, referring to an intense review of war policy by heavyweight US national security officials. Senior US officials warned at the weekend that Obama would be unable to conclude a policy review and decide whether to dispatch more troops without a legitimate governing partner in Kabul. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates said en route to Japan on Tuesday that a decision on strategy and troop levels might have to come before the outcome of Afghan elections was fully resolved. "My view is that whatever emerges in Kabul is going to be an evolutionary process," said Gates when asked about a possible run-off vote. "The president will have to make his decisions in the context of that evolutionary process," he said. Comments by Gates, and even those by senior administration officials at the weekend, appeared to bolster a growing impression that should a "legitimate" Afghan government emerge, more US troops are likely to be deployed. Gibbs suggested that the timing of Obama's decision was most likely to be dictated by operational deadlines related to the need to get any US reinforcements in place by the next Afghan spring. Republican Senator John McCain, who has been pressing for a quick decision on troop reinforcements also welcomed the Afghan run-off, and again asked Obama to send more soldiers. "It is essential to implement the properly-resourced counterinsurgency strategy that General Stanley McChrystal and our senior commanders have called for," McCain said. "I continue to urge President Obama to provide our military and civilian leaders in Afghanistan with the resources they need as quickly as possible." Obama offered a window into the personal philosophy that will inform his decision as he awarded a citation to a heroic Vietnam war unit in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. "If that day in the jungle, if that war long ago, teaches us anything, then surely it is this," Obama told the graying veterans. "If we send our men and women in uniform into harm's way, then it must be only when it is absolutely necessary. "And when we do, we must back them up with the strategy and the resources and the support they need to get the job done." Exactly two months on from polls that Karzai had been expected to win easily, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said Tuesday that he had fallen short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off against his top rival Abdullah Abdullah. On Monday, a UN-backed watchdog highlighted staggering levels of fraud in the August 20 vote, declaring more than one million ballots suspect -- a quarter of the total cast. An election official confirmed that from a preliminary tally of 55 percent, Karzai's share of the first-round vote had now fallen to 49.67 percent.
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DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 21, 2009 ~ Pakistani University Blasts Kill 4, Wound 18

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 21, 2009 ~ Pakistani University Blasts Kill 4, Wound 18
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 21, 2009: Suicide bombers attacked an Islamic university popular with foreigners in Pakistan's capital Tuesday, killing four students in apparent retaliation for an escalating army offensive on a Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold near the Afghan border.
A Pakistani security official stands outside the site of a suicide bombing at the Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. Two suicide attackers bombed a women's cafeteria and a faculty building at an Islamic university in the Pakistani capital Tuesday, killing four people and wounding 20 others, authorities said. An Associated Press reporter close to the battle zone in South Waziristan met a group of Taliban fighters who challenged army claims of progress in the four-day assault, saying they had pushed soldiers back from the strategic town of Kotkai. Intelligence officials also said the army had been repelled from the town after being close to taking it. They asked that their names not be used for operational reasons. The suicide bombers hit a faculty building and a women's cafeteria at the International Islamic University, where nearly half the students are women and hundreds are foreigners. The blasts, which left bits of flesh and body parts strewn on the floor, killed two male and two female students and wounded at least 18 others. The two attackers were also killed, officials said. No group claimed responsibility for the attack on what some people thought was a surprising target for Islamist extremists, but the president of the university and authorities said they believed it was the work of militants in the northwest. Authorities have been warning that militants would try to bring the war to Pakistan's cities since the army began its offensive. Many schools and universities were closed after receiving word from authorities on Monday they could be targeted. After the attack, the government ordered all educational institutions closed for a week in three of the country's four provinces. The university is attended by 18,000 students. It has close to 2,000 international students, many from China. While it is a seat of Islamic learning, most students take secular courses such as management science or computer studies. "Those who call themselves champions of Islam, they have today proved by attacking the Islamic university that they are neither friends of Islam nor Pakistan" said Interior Minister Rehman Malik, whose motorcade was stoned by angry students as he left the campus on the outskirts of Islamabad. Many students did not accept that militants were responsible for attacking a hub of Islamic learning and instead blamed shadowy forces out to discredit Islam or weaken Pakistan — variations of conspiracy theories that are often heard here after bombings. "It shows clearly that anti-Islamic elements are involved in these attacks," said economics student Abul Hassan. Militants from South Waziristan have claimed responsibility for a string of recent terrorist attacks, including a 22-hour siege on the army headquarters close to the capital and a suicide attack on a U.N. office in Islamabad that killed five people. The army has deployed some 30,000 troops to South Waziristan against about 12,000 Taliban militants, including up to 1,500 foreign fighters, among them Uzbeks and Arabs. The region is also considered a major al-Qaida operations and training base. In a brief statement, the military said troops backed by aerial bombing were advancing on three fronts, but were meeting stiff resistance from militants on high ground firing rockets and small arms. It reported four more soldiers were killed, bringing the army's death toll to 13, while 12 militants were slain, bringing their death toll to 90. An AP reporter came across three Taliban fighters traveling in a car with darkened windows at Shaktoi, a town close the border between South and North Waziristan, which is also home to thousands of Islamist militants. They were carrying assault rifles, grenades and radios. One of the men, who gave his name as Askari, said they had come from South Waziristan, where they and other fighters had pushed the army back from Kotkai, the birthplace of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and a major strategic prize. "We are inflicting heavy losses on them," he said. It is nearly impossible to independently verify information coming from South Waziristan because the army has closed off all roads to the region. Analysts say both sides have exaggerated successes and downplayed loses in the past. Askari mocked an appeal by the army chief for villagers to support the offensive. "The people of this area knew very well whether we are terrorists or fighters for Islam," he said. Elsewhere, around 600 villagers who earlier fled the fighting chanted "Long live the Taliban" and "Down with America" after complaining of receiving no government aid for days. The protest took place in Kot Azam in North West Frontier Province, which lies close to the border region. "I have not received a single penny or a handful of grain," said Akhtar Mehsud, who left his home two months ago and is now living in the ruins of an old house along with 22 members of his family. "I have now no hope from this government. The Taliban were even better than them." The United Nations said at least 32,000 people have fled South Waziristan over the last week, joining more than 80,000 people who left earlier when the army began making preparations for the offensive. Authorities say more will leave in coming weeks, but don't expect to have to house them in camps because most have relatives in the region. Pakistan Related News....for full stories click on the links below ~ Suicide bombers kill seven at Islamabad University Times Online - 7 hours ago ~ Explosions Rock Pakistan University CBS News - 9 hours ago ~ Islamabad: Blasts at Cafeteria Kill Two People Pravda - 7 hours ago ~ What are the Waziristan war aims? BBC News ~ Pakistanis Continue to Flee South Waziristan Voice of America

DTN News: Indonesia TODAY October 21, 2009 ~ Yudhoyono Begins Second Term As Indonesian President

DTN News: Indonesia TODAY October 21, 2009 ~ Yudhoyono Begins Second Term As Indonesian President
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - October 21, 2009: Under tight security Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was sworn in for a second five-year term of office. President Yudhoyono named prosperity, justice and democracy as his top domestic priorities and promoting peace and tolerance as the role Indonesia will play on the international stage.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is sworn in during the Inauguration ceremony for President Yudhoyono at the House of Representative building on October 20, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Today's inauguration is the second for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono and marks the beginning of the new Democrat administration following their election in July. This is the second term for Yudhoyono, who was also elected by the Indonesian people in the 2004 elections, defeating incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri. A fresh Cabinet will be announced tomorrow.
At the National Assembly in Jakarta, with his hand on the Koran, Islam's holy book, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the oath of office.
He says he swears by Allah to fulfill the duties of President of the Republic of Indonesia to the best of his capabilities and in the fairest way possible.
About 20,000 police backed by armored vehicles provided security for the inauguration. After the ceremony he spoke before members of parliament. The heads of state of Australia, Brunei, East Timor, Malaysia and Singapore were in the audience, as well as senior officials from around the world.
The 60-year-old leader first won the presidency in 2004, in the country's first direct presidential election. He won again in July to become the first Indonesian leader to be democratically re-elected.
President Yudhoyono says the consecutive peaceful elections in this mainly Muslim country demonstrate the growing strength and stability of its democracy. He says in the middle of political stumbles in other parts of the world, Indonesia still sits straight and strong as a democratic country. The president also made a point to thank his rivals for the presidency for expanding democratic life in the country.
The president said the country faced many complex challenges and crises in the past 10 years, from devastating natural disasters to long-standing problems of corruption and poverty. And he cautioned that the world economy, while improving, is not yet stable. President Yudhoyono spoke in broad terms about his plans for the next 100 days and beyond.
"Prosperity, democracy, and justice," he said.
He says the keys to facing the challenges ahead are determination to take on the difficult problems, unity to work together, and maintaining the Indonesian values of pluralism and moderation.
On the international front the president says Indonesia will engage in diplomatic efforts to promote democracy and development and to address issues such as climate change.
Political commentator Wimar Witoelar says President Yudohonyo's commitment to international engagement will strengthen ties to the United States and improve Indonesia's standing in the world.
"It signifies an opportune moment where what is happening in Indonesia and what is happening in America could build very, very strong bridges in the direction of climate change, democracy, pluralism and, you know, world peace in general," Witoelar said. "I am just so excited because we seem like we are on the verge of becoming a mature nation among the other nations of the world."
President Yudhoyono's next major task is to announce his new cabinet. The new executive branch is expected to be a broad coalition of secular and Islamic parties, combining party-political appointees with trusted technocrats in key economic seats.
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DTN News: First Oshkosh LVSR Deployed To Afghanistan In Support Of U.S. Marine Corps

DTN News: First Oshkosh LVSR Deployed To Afghanistan In Support Of U.S. Marine Corps *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - October 21, 2009: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), announced October 19, that the first Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) has been deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan, with two additional vehicles set to be delivered later in October. All three vehicles being delivered are cargo variants. Oshkosh is also sending two Field Service Representatives (FSR) to Afghanistan this month to provide support services for LVSR users. The pace of today’s battle demands sophisticated logistics support. Supplies need to move through the roughest, most unforgiving terrain and the highly mobile, extremely capable LVSR is just the vehicle to do it. This heavy-payload vehicle offers one of the world’s most technologically advanced logistics platforms. The LVSR redefines performance and is available in three variants: cargo, wrecker and fifth wheel. *Improved survivability - factory-installed armor is integrated into the vehicle’s design. *Improved mobility – TAK-4® independent suspension system enhances off-road capabilities. *In-cab vehicle diagnostics – effortless monitoring of engine, transmission, brakes and other critical components with Command ZoneTM. *Increased performance – an advanced-design 600 hp engine allows for speeds up to 65 mph. *Simplified maintenance – offers a single-source lubrication system. The LVSR was built to answer the call on the most challenging military missions. It loads flat racks, ISO containers, bridges and boats, as well as fuel containers, and even loads and unloads flat racks from trailers towed by the LVSR. * The heavy-payload LVSR, which arrived in Afghanistan in September, is a next-generation replacement for the LVS and features survivability, mobility and performance improvements. The vehicle uses the industry-leading Oshkosh® TAK-4® independent suspension system and mechanical rear-steer technology to provide superior mobility on demanding off-road terrain and unimproved roads. The LVSR also features factory-installed armor as part of its crew cab and is designed to accept an add-on armor kit for increased protection. “The fielding of this vehicle in Afghanistan is a significant milestone for both the U.S. Marine Corps and Oshkosh Defense,” said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “The LVSR expands on the capabilities of the LVS, which has been an integral part of the Marine Corps fleet for nearly 25 years, to negotiate and overcome the most challenging environments, including those found in Afghanistan.” The LVSR features an on-road payload capacity of 22.5 tons and an off-road payload capacity of 16.5 tons. The LVSR uses a single-source lubrication system for simplified maintenance and has a 600-horsepower C15 engine. The vehicle also uses Oshkosh’s Command Zone embedded diagnostics to monitor major vehicle systems, including the engine, transmission and brakes. Vehicle service and support is streamlined by the parts and maintenance commonality the LVSR shares with more than 10,000 fielded Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVR). Oshkosh won the competitively bid indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for the LVSR in June 2006. The contract has a value of $740.2 million based on a production quantity of 1,592 vehicles. Oshkosh’s fully trained FSRs go where the military goes and provide a full range of in-field support services, including training, maintenance support, and repair and supply services. They are stationed around the world, including in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, and also provide a direct link to Oshkosh and its parts network. Oshkosh Defense is a leading manufacturer of both medium and heavy tactical wheeled vehicles in the U.S. defense industry. More than 67,000 military-class vehicles have been produced in the company’s manufacturing facilities. About Oshkosh Defense Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com. About Oshkosh Corporation Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com. ®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies. Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital expenditures, debt levels and cash flows, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this press release, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “should,” “project” or “plan” or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include the consequences of financial leverage associated with the JLG acquisition, including the level of the Company’s borrowing costs, the increased interest rates the Company would face if it experienced a deterioration or downgrade in credit agency ratings and the Company’s ability to maintain compliance with its financial covenants under its credit agreement; the cyclical nature of the Company’s access equipment, commercial and fire & emergency markets, especially during a global recession and credit crisis; the duration of the global recession, which could lead to additional impairment charges related to many of the Company’s intangible assets; risks related to the required increase in the rate of production for the M-ATV and FMTV contracts, and the amount, if any, of additional orders for M-ATVs and/or FMTVs that the Company may receive; the outcome of the formal protests of the FMTV award to the Company: the expected level and timing of U.S. Department of Defense procurement of products and services and funding thereof; risks related to reductions in government expenditures and the uncertainty of government contracts; risks related to production delays as a result of the economy’s impact on the Company’s suppliers; the potential for commodity costs to rise sharply in a future economic recovery; risks associated with international operations and sales, including foreign currency fluctuations; risks related to the collectibility of receivables during a recession, particularly for those businesses with exposure to construction markets; and the potential for increased costs relating to compliance with changes in laws and regulations. Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company assumes no obligation, and disclaims any duty, to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Source: Oshkosh Corporation Oshkosh Corporation
Patrick Davidson, 920-966-5939
Vice President, Investor Relations
Ann Stawski, 920-966-5959
Vice President, Marketing Communications
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DTN News: China TODAY October 20, 2009 ~ Concrete 'Carrier' A Signal Of Intent, Showcases Beijing's Maritime Ambitions

DTN News: China TODAY October 20, 2009 ~ Concrete 'Carrier' A Signal Of Intent, Showcases Beijing's Maritime Ambitions *Source: DTN News / SCMP (NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - October 20, 2009: The emergence of a giant concrete ship in the unlikely setting of Wuhan is the latest sign that Beijing's desire for aircraft carriers is fast moving towards a full-blown production programme. A general view of the control tower. The emergence of a giant concrete ship in the unlikely setting of Wuhan is the latest sign that Beijing's desire for aircraft carriers is fast moving towards a full-blown production programme. The carrier mock-up comes complete with flight deck, ramp and tower, all atop what looks like a low-rise brick office building. A fighter plane and helicopter, draped in dark cloth, are parked on the blue-tiled deck. The Wuhan ship will not be taking to the seas any time soon. But some day in the future, China's first homegrown aircraft carrier will sail out of Shanghai's Changxing Shipyard and into the Pacific, loaded with jet fighters and protected by state-of-the-art support ships and submarines. Quite when that will be is the subject of increasing scrutiny by foreign military analysts and scholars across the region, who believe that a host of technological hurdles remain. Estimates that the first locally built carrier will be operational in five years are fluid at best. The construction of the Wuhan mock-up is among several recent moves generating interest among those following the nation's carrier plans. Other developments include the re-fit of the tower of the secondhand Soviet-era carrier Varyag at Dalian . There is also tightened security around the virtually completed Changxing Shipyard. This month, an official ship-building institute announced Beijing's plans to build a new generation of large destroyers that would be vital to support a carrier programme - which in turn is the key to transforming China into a genuine blue-water naval power. Work on carrier support vessels is already believed to be under way at Changxing, and the keel for the first Chinese-produced carrier - expected to be called the Beijing 01 - is due to be laid there. The Pentagon has noted that a fully operational, locally built carrier is unlikely before 2015, but Beijing wants to be building multiple carriers by 2020. Less visible activity includes stepped-up training for naval pilots by Ukrainian-trained instructors at several sites, and ongoing attempts to acquire carrier-capable fighters and surveillance planes, radars and advanced circuitry. Then there is the research into steam catapults used to launch planes off carrier decks - technology that is decades-old yet nonetheless complex to master. Brazil is helping Chinese technicians working on its lone carrier, the French-designed Sao Paulo. "We are reaching a very interesting stage," said Gary Li, a specialist on the Chinese military at the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies. "We can see in a very comprehensive, systematic way China putting together the infrastructure and the technology required. A leaked security picture of the shipyard at Changxing shipyard showing heavy lifting cranes that have recently been put in place. "When will we see the first fully armed and supported indigenous aircraft carrier set sail? That is very hard to tell ? it is an immense task for even more mature militaries, but we are seeing signs of a lot of work on a lot of fronts. There are many technological choke-points still ahead to really be able to fix a possible date." The ultimate target, repeatedly outlined by political and military leaders, is to have full carrier battle groups operational as part of a blue-water navy by 2050. In December last year, Ministry of National Defence spokesman Senior Colonel Huang Xueping made Beijing's intentions clear, describing an aircraft carrier as "a symbol of a country's overall national strength, as well as the competitiveness of the country's naval force". In the near-term, Li, like other analysts, believes one of the first tangible signs of progress in the next few years will be the completion of a fully operational Varyag. The 67,500 tonne ship was partially completed in a Ukrainian shipyard when the Soviet Union collapsed. Stripped of technology, the hull and superstructure were sold to Beijing for $20US million. China later paid extra for the blueprints. The work on the Varyag serves multiple purposes - in addition to allowing engineers to study and practise the specialised techniques required to build an aircraft carrier, its completion will provide the PLA navy with a key tool. The Varyag has already made brief trips out of Dalian, but when it is officially put to sea it is expected to serve as a fully operational training vessel, rather than an active weapon. "The Varyag's main role will be to serve as a simulator at a small distance offshore," said Andrei Chang, editor of the Canadian-based Kanwa Defence Review. "The live training of pilots, and fully integrating systems and command and control, will be very important as locally built ships are completed. These are very tough aspects for any military to master."A general view of the mock aircraft carrier being constructed on top of a building in Wuhan. The Varyag is facing scrutiny for other reasons, too. The design of the first homegrown Chinese carrier is not yet known, but some factors suggest it may share features of the Admiral Kuznetov-class Varyag. Conventionally powered, the Varyag uses a ramp at the bow to launch planes, meaning no complex catapult system is required. However, this limits the type of planes that can be used. The Wuhan facility appears to be an exact replica of the Varyag. "It is a very interesting statement of intent," said one Asian military attaché who was aware of the building of the Varyag replica. "It shows how intense they are about getting this right, but also the fact that the old Varyag design is still important to them." The first photographs of the Wuhan construction appeared on a blog on Sina.com a few weeks ago, only to be taken down within hours. Updated pictures have since surfaced in mainland media. Given the fact that it sits atop a building, it is not expected to be used for flight training. Instead, the Wuhan facility is expected to be used for more routine testing and training, from calibrating radars to testing flight deck co-ordination and emergency responses. Even something as routine as mapping out the thousands of kilometres of cables and circuitry inside an aircraft carrier requires intense study. "Even the Soviet Union at the height of its power had problems with things like cables," Chang said. "China knows it has to start from scratch and get this right ? you don't want anything that can shut down a carrier. They are large and very vulnerable." Other handicaps will require diplomatic as well as technological solutions. In the early stages at least, China is almost certainly going to have to use foreign-designed planes on its carriers. Negotiations to buy 50 SU-33 carrier-based jet fighters from Russia were first reported in that country's Kommersant newspaper in October, 2006. Discussions faltered amid Moscow's ongoing complaints of Chinese piracy of military technology. However, Asian diplomats believe that talks are still ongoing and while Moscow may have strategic concerns, it is still ultimately keen to sell to China, knowing it could obtain planes and other weapons elsewhere. Despite the flurry of activity on a range of fronts, no one is expecting a sudden carrier breakthrough anytime soon. While aircraft carriers pre-date the second world war, the building and operation of carrier battle groups represents the peak of military, industrial and strategic co-ordination. France struggled throughout the 1990s to complete its long-delayed nuclear-powered carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. Thailand's first and only aircraft carrier, the Spanish-built Chakri Narubet, barely leaves port. Ralph Cossa, president of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum of the Centre of Strategic and International Studies, said many countries had found to their cost that carrier programmes were a lot tougher than they looked. "It is a going to be a long, hard road for China," he said. It is a common view in Washington. Passing through Hong Kong in February, Admiral Timothy Keating, outgoing head of the US Pacific Command, warned of the costs and dangers underpinning carrier development. "If they want to build aircraft carriers we know it will take them a long time. It will be harder than they might think it is now."

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 20, 2009 ~ As Pakistan Makes Gains, Resistance From Taliban

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 20, 2009 ~ As Pakistan Makes Gains, Resistance From Taliban
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 20, 2009: The Pakistani Army said Monday that it was progressing in its push into the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan, but it acknowledged that it was meeting strong resistance. Soldiers patrol near a check post along the road leading from South Waziristan to Dera Ismail Khan, located in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province October 19, 2009. Pakistani forces backed by artillery attacked Taliban insurgents on Monday as the army moved to wrest control of militant strongholds in a lawless region on the Afghan border. The fighting is a new test of the government's determination to tackle an increasingly brazen insurgency that has seen a string of attacks in different parts of the country, including an assault on army headquarters, in which more than 150 people were killed.* The military began the much anticipated offensive against Taliban militants over the weekend, with about 28,000 troops backed by artillery and fighter jets moving into the region from three directions. After three days of fighting, army troops had taken control of important tactical heights overlooking the town of Kotkai, which is the home of Qari Hussain, a Taliban commander notorious for training suicide bombers, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the army spokesman, at a briefing here. And on Tuesday, Reuters, quoted unnamed security officials as saying the Pakistani forces had captured Kotkai. In the past 24 hours, 18 militants were killed while two soldiers died in clashes, General Abbas said. Twelve soldiers were wounded. It is difficult to confirm the official figures because no journalists are accompanying the troops, and the area is considered too dangerous for foreign or local journalists to visit independently. While emphasizing that the military was achieving its targets ahead of schedule, General Abbas did acknowledge that Taliban militants — whose numbers he estimated to be 5,000 to 10,000, along with 1,000 foreigners — were putting up stiff resistance. Troops managed to secure the northern Sherwangi area after an intense battle. “After heavy fighting, a number of terrorists were killed and their positions captured,” General Abbas said. Security forces were consolidating their positions in the south and southwest of the town of Razmak, he said. Pakistani Air Force fighter jets continued to strike militants’ positions, officials said, and several ammunition depots set up inside caves in the Makeen and Ladha areas were destroyed. Meanwhile, local residents continued to trickle out as heavy fighting raged. A statement issued by the United Nations estimated that more than 170,000 people would be displaced as a result of the military operation, which started Saturday. However, Pakistani officials said that they did not expect a humanitarian crisis to erupt as a result of the offensive. Qamar Zaman Kaira, Pakistan’s information minister, said that 14,500 families had registered with the government and were provided with immediate food assistance. In an effort to win the support of the Mehsud tribe members, who inhabit most parts of the South Waziristan region and form the bulk of the foot soldiers of the Taliban movement, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, sent a message to local residents in the form of leaflets, which were dropped from the air. General Kayani expressed hope that the tribes would stand by the army, according to the letter written in Urdu, the national language, and Pashto, the language of the Pashtun tribes.
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DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 20, 2009 ~ Cathay Pacific Airways New 777-300ER In Oneworld Livery

DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 20, 2009 ~ Cathay Pacific Airways New 777-300ER In Oneworld Livery / Boeing Delivers Cathay Pacific Airways 777-300ER In Oneworld Livery *Boeing Delivers Cathay Pacific Airways 777-300ER In Oneworld Livery *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash., - October 20, 2009: Boeing (NYSE: BA) delivered a 777-300ER (Extended Range) to Singapore-based leasing company BOC Aviation and its customer, Cathay Pacific Airways, on Saturday. The airplane is painted in a special oneworld livery to highlight the commitment of Cathay Pacific, as a member airline, to the alliance's 10th anniversary. Cathay Pacific Airways 12th Boeing 777-300ER sports a special oneworld alliance livery as it takes off for a test flight at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The new airplane expands the airline’s 777 fleet to 29 airplanes, including 12 777 300s and five 777-200s. Cathay Pacific’s senior executives, Hong Kong government officials and aviation industry leaders were on hand to witness the delivery ceremony on Oct. 17 at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Everett before boarding the airplane to Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific also operates 22 747-400s in passenger service. "The 777 has been a valuable asset for Cathay Pacific's long-haul services, allowing us to maximize our operations in the most economic and efficient manner," said Tony Tyler, chief executive, Cathay Pacific Airways. "It is a fitting tribute to the success of the program that industry leaders such as BOC Aviation and Cathay Pacific are taking delivery of our 777-300ER," said Rob Laird, vice president of Sales for China, East Asia and Southeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 777 continues to offer an unbeatable combination of efficiency, economics and passenger comfort that places it at the forefront of modern commercial aviation." The Boeing 777-300ER is 19 percent lighter than its closest competitor, greatly reducing its fuel requirement. It produces 22 percent less carbon dioxide per seat and costs 20 percent less to operate per seat. The airplane can seat up to 365 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km). The 777 family is the world's most successful twin-engine, twin-aisle airplane. Fifty-seven customers around the world have ordered more than 1,100 777s. The airplane is the 12th Boeing 777-300ER for Cathay Pacific and brings the airline's 777 fleet to 29 airplanes, which includes 12 777-300s and five 777-200s. The airline also operates 22 Boeing 747-400 passenger airplanes. The oneworld alliance has 11 member airlines and 21 affiliate airlines, serving 134 countries and 673 destinations, with 8,400 daily departures. Earlier this year, the alliance projected that its members and affiliates will carry 328 million passengers during the current year. Boeing Related News....for full stories click on DATES links below ~ Oct. 18, 2009 Boeing Rotorcraft Employees Ratify New 5-Year Contract