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Foreign Affairs (News/Activism)

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  • Europe’s Richer Regions Want Out

    10/06/2012 1:51:04 PM PDT · by presidio9 · 86 replies
    The New York Times ^ | October 6, 2012 | STEVEN ERLANGER
    CATALONIA may be the catalyst for a renewed wave of separatism in the European Union, with Scotland and Flanders not far behind. The great paradox of the European Union, which is built on the concept of shared sovereignty, is that it lowers the stakes for regions to push for independence. While a post-national European Union may be emerging out of the euro zone crisis, with a drive for more fiscal union and more centralized control over national budgets and banks, the crisis has accelerated calls for independence from member countries’ richer regions, angry at having to finance poorer neighbors. Artur...
  • Mid-air terror with death threat on Tiger flight between Coolangatta and Sydney

    10/06/2012 12:57:50 PM PDT · by naturalman1975 · 19 replies
    Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) ^ | 7th October 2012 | Jonathan Marshall
    TERRIFIED passengers thought they were going to die in a mid-air nightmare after a passenger aboard a Sydney-bound flight threatened: "I hope you have life insurance". Fearing he would storm the cockpit, a group of passengers aboard told how they kept a constant watch as the man attempted on four separate occasions to enter the toilet at the front of the plane. "It was the scariest thing ever," said traveller Daniel Schwerdtfeger. "He eye-balled me from behind the curtain and ran his finger across his neck suggesting he was going to kill me." A stewardess, taunted and abused during the...
  • US winks again at Pakistani terror tactics

    10/06/2012 11:39:10 AM PDT · by James C. Bennett · 5 replies
    The Times of India ^ | Oct 6, 2012 | The Times of India
    WASHINGTON: As it has happened in the past, Pakistan has been spared the rod by the United States for its international transgressions, this time for its continued patronage of terrorism in the region, in the interest of what Washington believes is American national security. The US state department last month waived legal requirements that made its nearly $ 2 billion annual aid to Pakistan contingent on its cooperation in counter-terrorism, ending nuclear proliferation and building democratic institutions, a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released recently has revealed. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton is said to have informed Congress, which has...
  • Rice on Benghazi: Blame the intelligence community

    10/06/2012 10:54:25 AM PDT · by yoe · 21 replies
    Foreigh Policy ^ | October 5, 2012 | Josh Rogin
    U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice told Republican senators that her televised statements last month on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were based entirely on information she was given by the intelligence community. "In my Sept. 16 Sunday show appearances, I was asked to provide the administration's latest understanding of what happened in Benghazi," Rice wrote in a Thursday letter to Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). "In answering, I relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me and other senior U.S. officials, including through...
  • Israeli jets down small Hamas/Hizballah unmanned aircraft from Gaza

    10/06/2012 10:26:50 AM PDT · by Snuph · 10 replies
    Debkafile ^ | October 6, 2012,
    DEBKAfile’s military sources reports that the unmanned plane was sent over Israeli airspace at the start of a military mobilization exercise conducted by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It is coordinated with Hizballah and sponsored by Iran. The Lebanese terrorist group may have helped Hamas launch the aerial vehicle, which came in from the west. It as shot down almost half an hour after the intrusion. The IDF spokesman denied it caught Israel intelligence unawares. He said the UAV was tracked from the start and the operation for downing it was delayed to avoid harm to civilian locations in its...
  • EU preparing to ban gas imports from Iran

    10/06/2012 9:56:19 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 5 replies
    EurActiv ^ | 05 October 2012 | ( with Reuters)
    The European Union is poised to ban imports of Iranian gas into Europe as part of its efforts to ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. … The moves come as European governments and the United States are searching for new ways to pressure Tehran into scaling back its nuclear work after diplomacy foundered earlier this year. Tehran denies its work has any military intentions. …
  • Ban on gay rights march could hurt Serbia’s EU candidacy

    10/06/2012 9:43:41 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 9 replies
    EurActiv ^ | 05 October 2012 | Marc Hall
    Serbia’s decision to ban this weekend’s gay pride march because of security concerns has prompted criticism from EU officials who warn the the move undermines Serbia’s potential accession to the European Union. Štefan Füle, the enlargement commissioner, said on Thursday (4 October) he was concerned by the Serbian government’s action, which comes ahead of the EU’s progress report on the country due next Wednesday. “I have taken note with regret of the Serbian authorities’ decision,” he said in a statement, noting that Belgrade also called off the annual pride march last year. Past pride marches in Belgrade have been tumultuous...
  • Navy Bets On Arleigh Burkes To Sail Until 2072; 40 Years Afloat For Some

    10/06/2012 9:41:04 AM PDT · by sukhoi-30mki · 11 replies
    AOL Defense ^ | October 5, 2012 | Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
    Navy Bets On Arleigh Burkes To Sail Until 2072; 40 Years Afloat For Some Tomorrow morning, at Manhattan's Pier 88, the Navy will commission its newest destroyer, DDG-112. The USS Michael Murphy's namesake was uncompromisingly heroic, a Navy SEAL who died earning the Medal of Honor in Afghanistan. The ship itself, however, embodies a series of cost-conscious compromises that will keep the Navy sailing a 1980s design -- albeit much upgraded --until at least 2072. These destroyers are and will long remain the Navy's mainstay. The Arleigh Burke class to which the Murphy belongs is built to carry the Aegis...
  • North Korea’s Dominant Power: Section 87 of the National Defence Commission

    10/06/2012 9:21:21 AM PDT · by TigerLikesRooster · 6 replies
    New Focus International ^ | September 28, 2012
    North Korea’s Dominant Power: Section 87 of the National Defence Commission September 28, 2012 By New Focus INTL The effective role of North Korea’s National Defence Commision has been increasing since the beginning of the Kim Jong-un regime. With the establishment and rise to prominence of the NDC’s Section 87, the center of power in North Korea has firmly shifted away from the Party and towards the NDC. Personnel management and administrative rights still belong to the organisational department of the Party. Nevertheless, the current setup is no longer like it was during the time of Kim Jong-il’s rule, where...
  • Israeli air force shoots down drone aircraft

    10/06/2012 6:49:55 AM PDT · by cyberaxe · 37 replies
    Reuters ^ | Sat Oct 6, 2012 9:31am EDT | Ari Rabinovitch
    The Israeli air force shot down a drone after it crossed into southern Israel on Saturday, the military said, but it remained unclear where the aircraft came from.
  • Dutch government plans to regulate ritual slaughter

    10/06/2012 6:38:09 AM PDT · by markomalley · 6 replies
    The Times of Israel ^ | 10/6/2012 | Cnaan Liphshiz
    The Dutch government is drafting a decree that would give the government veto power over anyone who wants to practice ritual slaughter, or shechita, in the Netherlands. The draft decree, which was signed by Dutch Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker, was drawn up by the government to end two years of uncertainty about the future of the practice in the Netherlands. The Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad published the contents of the draft decree on Friday. “If veterinarians are put in charge of shechita, then before long it would basically stop shechita in the Netherlands,” Amsterdam Chief Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag told JTA....
  • “Don’t Shoot!—I’m Che!” (A Glorious Anniversary)

    10/06/2012 5:52:14 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 46 replies ^ | October 6, 2012 | Humberto Fontova
    Forty five years ago this week, Ernesto "Che" Guevara got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he was declared a murderer, stood against a wall and shot. If the saying "What goes around comes around" ever fit, it's here. "When you saw the beaming look on Che's face as his victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad," said a former Cuban political prisoner to this writer, "you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara." As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of...
  • Christians 'emptied from Middle East'

    10/06/2012 5:38:46 AM PDT · by Mount Athos · 15 replies
    The Australian ^ | October 06, 2012 | Rowan Callick
    The mother superior of a 1500-year-old monastery in Syria warned yesterday during a visit to Australia that the uprising against Bashar al-Assad has been hijacked by foreign Islamist mercenaries, with strong support from Western countries. Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix was forced to flee to neighbouring Lebanon in June when she was warned of a plot to abduct her, after she revealed that about 80,000 Christians had been "cleared" by rebel forces from their homes in Homs province. She described on the website of the Greek-Melkite Catholic monastery of St James, the church she rebuilt 18 years ago after discovering...
  • Ukraine’s Progress Toward Democracy

    10/06/2012 5:28:13 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 3 replies ^ | October 6, 2012 | Debora Kay Coury
    On October 28, 2012 Ukraine will hold their first democratic parliamentary elections since agreeing to new rules in November 2011, a significant achievement in reforming the electoral process. The current government has made headlines during the past year, including in the U.S., because it is going through a complicated reform process. Ukraine is a place where economic freedom and embrace of democracy are still the exceptions and not the rule, and the current government needs the support of the West. However, recent events could make it easy for the U.S. to take the wrong angle and accidentally push the country...
  • Private Army Formed to Fight Somali Pirates Leaves Troubled Legacy

    10/06/2012 3:54:12 AM PDT · by Timber Rattler · 15 replies
    The New York Times ^ | October 4, 2012 | MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT
    It seemed like a simple idea: In the chaos that is Somalia, create a sophisticated, highly trained fighting force that could finally defeat the pirates terrorizing the shipping lanes off the Somali coast. But the creation of the Puntland Maritime Police Force was anything but simple. It involved dozens of South African mercenaries and the shadowy security firm that employed them, millions of dollars in secret payments by the United Arab Emirates, a former clandestine officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, and Erik Prince, the billionaire former head of Blackwater Worldwide who was residing at the time in the emirates....
  • N. Korea: Kim Jong-nam Disappears from Radar(dead or alive?)

    10/06/2012 3:08:06 AM PDT · by TigerLikesRooster · 3 replies
    Chosun Ilbo ^ | 10/05/12
    Kim Jong-nam Disappears from Radar The eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has not been seen in his second home in Macau since his half brother Kim Jong-un became the new leader of the North. The head of an association for Korean residents in Macau, Lee Dong-sup, said Kim Jong-nam disappeared from Macau since his brother came to power late last year. Lee, who has lived in Macau since 1982, told the Chosun Ilbo, "I got to know Kim Jong-nam around 2000 due to a chance encounter and kept in touch with him, but I haven't seen...
  • (LEAD) N. Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via heavily armed border(going postal & killing CO)

    10/06/2012 3:03:22 AM PDT · by TigerLikesRooster · 6 replies
    Yonhap News ^ | 10/06/12
    (LEAD) N. Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via heavily armed border SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Saturday via the heavily armed land border between the two sides, claiming he crossed the border after shooting two superiors while on guard duty, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The solider crossed the western section of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas at 12:06 p.m. before arriving at a South Korean guard post four minutes later, the JCS said in a statement. South Korean border guards heard gunshots along the border at...
  • Lockheed Martin hopes to cash in by upgrading F-16s

    10/06/2012 2:32:49 AM PDT · by sukhoi-30mki · 17 replies
    Star Telegram ^ | Saturday, Oct. 06, 2012 | Bob Cox
    Lockheed Martin hopes to cash in by upgrading F-16s By Bob Cox For nearly four decades, the F-16 has ruled the skies in the international market for fighter jet sales, a money-making flying machine for Lockheed Martin and its predecessor, General Dynamics. Now a number of nations are planning to spend billions to upgrade their fleets of older F-16s with modern "avionics," digital electronic controls, communications and combat systems. Lockheed has the inside track to cash in on that business, but faces potentially strong competition. The announcement last week that the U.S. government had awarded Lockheed a $1.85 billion...
  • DCNS to unveil new FREMM Frigate variant, updated BRAVE supply ship design at Euronaval 2012

    10/06/2012 2:26:18 AM PDT · by sukhoi-30mki · 2 replies
    Navy Recognition ^ | 04 October 2012
    DCNS to unveil new FREMM Frigate variant, updated BRAVE supply ship design at Euronaval 2012 At the 23rd EURONAVAL show to be held from 22 to 26 October 2012 at the Paris-le Bourget exhibition center, DCNS will unveil several new designs of submarines and surface vessels. Among them are the new FREMM-ER (for Extend Range) Frigate dedicated to Air Defense missions and an updated design for the BRAVE replenishment ship which was first unveiled two years ago at Euronaval 2010. The new FREMM ER (Extended Range) Frigate dedicated to Air Defense missions (Picture: DCNS) The FREMM-ER was designed with a...
  • A tale of two Harriers: How Italy held on to carrier strike

    10/06/2012 2:22:19 AM PDT · by sukhoi-30mki · 3 replies
    Defence Management ^ | 18 September 2012 | Gabriele Molinelli
    A tale of two Harriers: How Italy held on to carrier strike 18 September 2012 Defence blogger Gabriele Molinelli explores the different approaches to defence that left financially troubled Italy with carrier strike capability while the UK faces nearly a decade without On 26 October 2011, the Italian Navy's 'Embarked Aircraft Group', GRUPAER, celebrated its first 20 years. The pilots of the squadron could proudly celebrate in front of their Harriers, having operated to great effect over Libya from the aircraft carrier Garibaldi. They flew 33 per cent of Italy's war sorties, and 53 per cent of the land attack...