Saturday, February 11, 2012


Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources CBS News
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 11, 2012:  
Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.
Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.
News of Houston's death came on the eve of music's biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It's a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday's ceremony. Houston's longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.
At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.
Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale."
She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.
She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.
But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanor and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.
"The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Brown by her side.
It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.
She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

In this July 11, 1999, file photo, singer Whitney Houston performs "Until You Come Back To Me" during the 26th annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
  (Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.
"The time that I first saw her singing in her mother's act in a club ... it was such a stunning impact," Davis told "Good Morning America."
"To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine," he added.
Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with "Whitney Houston," which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. "Saving All My Love for You" brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. "How Will I Know," "You Give Good Love" and "The Greatest Love of All" also became hit singles.
Another multiplatinum album, "Whitney," came out in 1987 and included hits like "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."
The New York Times wrote that Houston "possesses one of her generation's most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity."
Her decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the "Soul Train Awards" in 1989.
"Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?" she told Katie Couric in 1996. "You're not black enough for them. I don't know. You're not R&B enough. You're very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them."
Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop's pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. (The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.
But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.
"When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place," she told Rolling Stone in 1993. "You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that's their image. It's part of them, it's not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody's angel. I can get down and dirty. I can get raunchy."
It would take several years, however, for the public to see that side of Houston. Her moving 1991 rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl, amid the first Gulf War, set a new standard and once again reaffirmed her as America's sweetheart.
In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with "The Bodyguard." Despite mixed reviews, the story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) was an international success.
It also gave her perhaps her most memorable hit: a searing, stunning rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," which sat atop the charts for weeks. It was Grammy's record of the year and best female pop vocal, and the "Bodyguard" soundtrack was named album of the year.
She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with "Waiting to Exhale" and "The Preacher's Wife." Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, "My Love Is Your Love," in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut "It's Not Right But It's Okay."
But during these career and personal highs, Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2010, she said by the time "The Preacher's Wife" was released, "(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. ... I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. ... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself."
In the interview, Houston blamed her rocky marriage to Brown, which included a charge of domestic abuse against Brown in 1993. They divorced in 2007.
Houston would go to rehab twice before she would declare herself drug-free to Winfrey in 2010. But in the interim, there were missed concert dates, a stop at an airport due to drugs, and public meltdowns.
She was so startlingly thin during a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert that rumors spread she had died the next day. Her crude behavior and jittery appearance on Brown's reality show, "Being Bobby Brown," was an example of her sad decline. Her Sawyer interview, where she declared "crack is whack," was often parodied. She dropped out of the spotlight for a few years.
Houston staged what seemed to be a successful comeback with the 2009 album "I Look To You." The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum.
Things soon fell apart. A concert to promote the album on "Good Morning America" went awry as Houston's voice sounded ragged and off-key. She blamed an interview with Winfrey for straining her voice.
A world tour launched overseas, however, only confirmed suspicions that Houston had lost her treasured gift, as she failed to hit notes and left many fans unimpressed; some walked out. Canceled concert dates raised speculation that she may have been abusing drugs, but she denied those claims and said she was in great shape, blaming illness for cancellations.
*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources CBS News 
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Dempsey Discusses Issues With Egypt’s Defense Leaders

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Dempsey Discusses Issues With Egypt’s Defense Leaders
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Cheryl Pellerin - American Forces Press Service
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 11, 2012: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met here today with Egypt’s top defense officials to discuss a wide range of issues related to the long-standing security relationship between the two countries, said Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, the chairman’s spokesman.

The meetings occur on day three of Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s second visit to the region, which included a stop in Afghanistan.

The chairman met here with his counterpart, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces. He also met with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and with other officials this afternoon at the Ministry of Defense in Cairo.

Discussions included Egypt’s investigation into the allegedly illegal foreign funding of pro-democracy nongovernmental organizations by more than 40 Egyptian and American activists, including 19 U.S. citizens.

Officials of the Cairo Criminal Court have prevented some Americans involved in the investigation from leaving the country, including Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He and several others have taken refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. So far no trial date is set.
Lapan, declined to give details of Dempsey’s “private” discussions with Egyptian defense officials.
The chairman also visited the U.S. Embassy, where he met with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and was briefed by the Egypt country team. Afterward he posed for photographs with members of the Marine Corps detachment assigned to the embassy.
Later, after a wild motorcade ride through the Saturday streets of Cairo, Dempsey arrived at the Ministry of Defense with Patterson.
There he met with Enan and Tantawi. He also met with Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Assar, assistant minister of defense and a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces; Maj. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, director of military intelligence; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Mohamed Noshy, chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority; and others.
During a seven-course official lunch with the Egyptian military leadership, Dempsey sat between Enan and el-Assar at the head table. During lunch he asked to thank the chef, who came out of the kitchen for a handshake and a coin from the chairman.
Dempsey also thanked and gave coins to a group of local musicians who played during the meal.
This afternoon, Dempsey participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the pyramid-shaped monument on the site of the Unknown Soldier Memorial and the Anwar Sadat Tomb in Cairo.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Cheryl Pellerin - American Forces Press Service 
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - SINGAPORE DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Seeks Tankers, Tranports, ASW

DTN News - SINGAPORE DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Seeks Tankers, Tranports, ASW
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Leithen Francis Singapore - Aviation Week
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 11, 2012: Airbus Military could be one of the main beneficiaries of the Singapore air force’s next round of procurements. Singapore has at the top of its procurement list aerial refueling tankers, strategic airlifters and anti-submarine warfare fixed-wing aircraft, purchases that will see that the island continues to be, for the next few years at least, the biggest spender on new defense equipment in Southeast Asia.

The 2011 defense budget was SG$12.1 billion ($9.6 billion), accounting for 26% of the government budget and about 5% of gross domestic product (GDP). Some analysts estimate that Singapore, with a population of about five million, spends more on defense per capita than any country but Israel.

Defense has always been a top priority, ever since Singapore gained independence in 1965. The nation’s founder, Lee Kwan Yew, recently said in the book Hard Truths, that “without a strong defense, there will be no Singapore. It will become a satellite, cowed and intimidated by its neighbors.”

Singapore has close defense ties with Israel, a point that is downplayed—because it is politically sensitive—but one that is important to remember because it explains why Israeli companies are short-listed by the Singaporeans for upcoming defense purchases. The Israelis are in the running to supply aerial refueling tankers and anti-submarine warfare fixed-wing aircraft.

Aerial refueling tankers are at the top of the list because the air force needs to replace its four Boeing KC-135Rs. An important requirement is that the new tankers be able to assist the air force’s Boeing F-15SGs flying between Singapore and its overseas detachment at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.

The Boeing KC-46A would ordinarily be the front-runner but Boeing may have to struggle to win the Singapore contract. The manufacturer is already committed to deliver 18 KC-46As to the U.S. Air Force by 2017, leaving no early delivery slots for foreign customers. A Boeing official told Aviation Week in July 2011 that it can deliver KC-46As to foreign customers as early as 2018. But that may be too late for Singapore. Industry executives say Singapore’s air force has been complaining about the difficulty and cost of maintaining the aging KC-135Rs. But the need to secure aerial refueling tankers sooner rather than later creates an opportunity for Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which converts 767s to tankers.

However, industry executives familiar with the situation say the front-runner in this competition is the Airbus Military A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Australian air force officials told DTI at the LIMA air show in Malaysia in December that the Singapore air force was interested in the A330MRTT and that the organizers of the Singapore air show were pushing to have a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) tanker on display there. The RAAF, however, has declined the request. They say the only reason the A330MRTT was brought to LIMA was because it had to be in Malaysia for a joint military exercise.

Singapore Technologies Aerospace, the Singapore government-linked company that maintains many of the air force’s aircraft, is also familiar with the A330, because it does the heavy maintenance work on Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) fleet of leased A330 passenger aircraft.

The A330MRTT’s 111,000 kg (245,000 lb.) of fuel is stored in the wings and horizontal stabilizer, leaving the main fuselage for a passenger cabin that can seat up to 380 people. In terms of air cargo, it can transport up to 26 military cargo pallets.

Having the ability to transport passengers and cargo on a longer-range aircraft, such as the A330MRTT, would certainly be useful. Airlift is one of the other requirements Singapore lists. Presently the air force operates five Lockheed Martin C-130Hs, aircraft that only have the range to travel within Southeast Asia. But Singapore’s military needs to carry personnel and equipment farther afield to places where it does training, namely: Australia, Taiwan, France and the U.S. Singapore’s military has been chartering commercial aircraft from SIA and for military equipment it has been chartering Antonov heavy-lift aircraft. It is understood that Singapore is also considering the Airbus Military A400M and the Boeing C-17.

Besides strategic airlift and aerial refueling tankers, Singapore has a requirement for fixed-wing aircraft for anti-submarine warfare (ASW). These may end up replacing the air force’s nine Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft, according to some industry executives. This procurement is in response to the growth of submarine fleets among Singapore’s neighbors. ASW contenders include the Alenia ATR 42MP, Boeing P-8A Poseidon and an IAI/Elta Systems offering, which uses a Bombardier Q400. The Lockheed Martin P-3C was being considered but is no longer in the running.

Not to be forgotten among the airlift, aerial refueling and anti-sub acquisition extravaganza are fighters. Singapore is expected to take interest in Tokyo’s recent decision to choose the Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Like Israel, Singapore and the U.S. enjoy close military relations. Indeed, according to a December 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service on U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Singapore’s agreement for $530 million worth of FMS placed it in the top 10 leading purchasers of U.S. defense articles and services in 2010 worldwide.

And Singapore’s interests extend elsewhere, too. It has explored the option of using the smaller catapult-launched Boeing ScanEagle UAV on-board its vessels. Anti-piracy concerns remain another driving force behind military acquisitions.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Leithen Francis Singapore - Aviation Week
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - SUDAN UNREST: Chinese, Russian Arms Fuel Darfur Abuse: Amnesty

DTN News - SUDAN UNREST: Chinese, Russian Arms Fuel Darfur Abuse: Amnesty
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 11, 2012: Chinese-made bullets and aircraft bought from Russia are used to commit rights violations in Sudan's Darfur under an ineffective UN arms embargo, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The London-based rights watchdog aired similar concerns five years ago but its latest report comes after "a new wave of fighting" between opposition groups and government forces over the past year.
"This has included targeted and ethnically motivated attacks on civilian settlements, and indiscriminate and disproportionate aerial bombings that have contributed to the displacement of an estimated 70,000 people from their homes and villages," Amnesty said.

It said China and Russia continue to supply weapons and munitions to Sudan despite "compelling evidence" they will be used against civilians in Darfur, the western region where rebel groups rose up against Khartoum's Arab-dominated government in 2003.

The exports also include attack jets, air-to-ground rockets and armoured vehicles, Amnesty said.

"China and Russia are selling arms to the government of Sudan in the full knowledge that many of them are likely to end up being used to commit human rights violations in Darfur," said Brian Wood, an expert on military and policing for Amnesty.

As an example, the group cited a December 1 incident in which the paramilitary Central Reserve Police carried out a "looting raid" in which one man was shot dead and six people were wounded in the Zam Zam camp for people displaced by the Darfur conflict.

Witnesses told Amnesty they found bullet cartridges marked with Chinese codes indicating their transfer to Darfur after the arms embargo began in 2004.

Amnesty said fighting in Darfur has been accompanied by a repeated pattern of airborne attacks on civilian and military targets using Sukhoi-25 jets, Mi-24 gunships and Antonov transport planes used as "rudimentary but effective bombers."

Sudan received 36 new Mi-24 helicopters from Russia between 2007 and 2009, a number which "undoubtedly" compensates for those lost during Darfur operations last year, Amnesty said.

"Their continual replacement by the Russian Federation makes it possible for such attacks to continue," despite a UN prohibition on airstrikes, it said.

Attacks on civilian settlements and property by armed opposition groups in Darfur have also persisted, in violation of international law, the group added. But it could not verify the origin of the rebels' military equipment -- much of which the rebels claimed to have captured from government forces.

The Sudanese Air Force (Arabic: القوّات الجوّيّة السودانيّة Al Quwwat al-Jawwiya As-Sudaniya‎) is the air force operated by the Republic of the Sudan. As such it is part of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

The air force flies a mixture of transport planes, fighter jets and helicopters sourced from places including the European Union, Russia, and the United States. However, not all the aircraft are in a fully functioning condition and the availability of spare parts is limited. In 1991, the two main air bases were at the capital Khartoum and Wadi Sayyidna near Omdurman.
Sudan has also made a successful deal to buy two different batches of 12 MiG-29 Russian fighter jets each. There are 23 MiG-29s in active service as of late 2008.However, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement claimed to have shot down one MiG-29 with large-caliber machine-gun fire on 10 May 2008, killing the pilot of the plane, a retired Russian Air Force fighter pilot; the Sudanese government denied the allegation.
Sudanese Air Force - Inventory (Info - courtesy Wikipedia)
AircraftOriginTypeVersionsIn serviceNotes
Mikoyan MiG-29 RussiaFighterMiG-2923[4]Active (One lost to anti-aircraft fire)
Chengdu F-7 Airguard People's Republic of ChinaFighterF-7M10[6]Numbers in operational condition not confirmed.
Sukhoi Su-25 Soviet UnionGround attackSu-251615 delivered to Sudan by Belarus 2008
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Soviet UnionFighter-bomberMiG-23BN3[6]Active.
Hongdu JL-8or K-8 People's Republic of China/ PakistanTrainer/light attack6Active
Nanchang A-5 People's Republic of ChinaGround attackA-515[6]Delivered 2003. Possibly up to 20 may be in service. Sighted in the South Darfur region based at Nyala Airport.
Shaanxi Y-8 People's Republic of ChinaTransport / multipurpose20
Antonov An-24 Soviet Union /  UkraineTransportAn-24RV15
Antonov An-26 Soviet UnionTransportAn-2610In use as an improvised bomber.[7]
CASA C.212 Aviocar SpainTransportCASA C.212-200 Aviocar20
de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo CanadaTransportDHC-5D3
Fokker F.27 Friendship NetherlandsTransportF.27 Mk 1001[6]VIP flights only
Dassault Falcon 20 FranceTransportDassault Falcon 20F1VIP flights only
Dassault Falcon 50 FranceTransportDassault Falcon 501VIP flights only
Lockheed C-130 Hercules United StatesTransportC-130H4 (IISS 2009)Active.
IAR 330 Puma RomaniaTransport/search and rescueICA IAR-330L PUMA24Active.
Agusta-Bell AB212 Twin Huey United StatesTransportAB21248Active.
MBB Bo 105 GermanyTransport/ attack/search and rescueBo 105CB20Active.
Mil Mi-8 Soviet UnionTransportMi-8T~20 (plus unknown number of Mil Mi-171 variants. 3 Confirmed)Active.
Mil Mi-24 Soviet UnionHelicopter gunshipMi-24D/Mi-24V/Mi-24P~54Active. 8 Mil Mi-24 Helicopters rumoured to be in Dafur region operating from Nyala Airport

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*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources AFP
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News