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Showing posts from January 5, 2013

Defense Department Plans New Intelligence Gathering Service

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is revamping its spy operations to focus on high-priority targets like Iran and China in a reorganization that reflects a shift away from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistanthat have dominated America’s security landscape for the past decade.

Under the plan approved on april by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, case officers from the new Defense Clandestine Service would work more closely with counterparts from theCentral Intelligence Agency at a time when the military and spy agency are increasingly focused on similar threats.

“It will thicken our coverage across the board,” said a senior Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss with a small group of reporters on Monday what he called a “realignment” of the military’s human espionage efforts.

Case officers from the Defense Intelligence Agency already secretly gather intelligence on a range of global issues — including terrorism and weapons proliferation — typically working…

Growth in China’s Drone Program Called ‘Alarming’

HONG KONG — At China’s biennial air show in Zhuhai this month, an imposing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles was on display — drones bearing a striking resemblance to the American aircraft that have proved so deadly in attacks on insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Israel, Britain and the United States have pretty much had a corner on the global drone market, but the recent Chinese air show and a Pentagon report have exploded that notion.

“In a worrisome trend, China has ramped up research in recent years faster than any other country,” said the unclassified analysis published in July by the Defense Science Board. “It displayed its first unmanned system model at the Zhuhai air show five years ago, and now every major manufacturer for the Chinese military has a research center devoted to unmanned systems.”

The report, which said “the military significance of China’s move into unmanned systems is alarming,” suggested that China could “easily match or outpace U.S. spending on unmanned s…

Whither the EU Spring?

European integration grew out of a desperate need to find a way to co-exist. Only then could the once-isolated and culturally unique nations of Europe break the cycle of military conflict that had ravaged the continent throughout its history. The union pulled together a divided Europe and later stretched its arms out to incorporate most of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such a transformation is so remarkable that other regional projects such as the ASEAN Economic Community will undoubtedly find it hard to emulate.

Today, many fundamental questions are posing new challenges to the EU. Youth unemployment, freedom of domicile within the union, immigration, the euro crisis, soaring health costs, rising petroleum prices, food shortages, and terrorism are all issues that deeply concern Europeans; and rightfully so, because there don’t seem to be any easy answers available.

It is obvious to most people that the European project is still incomplete. We had the politic…

A Canadian Petroleum Reserve: Security or Savings?

It was only a little over a month ago that the world, as well as most Canadians, discovered that Canada was host to the world’s strategic maple-syrup reserve. The confounding theft of $30 million worth of maple-syrup ledThe Atlantic to expound upon the rationale for this largely unknown government-sanctioned enterprise. In sum, the need to assure that supply of the product will meet its demand is at the crux of the foundational logic. This rationale is similar to that which has spawned the creation of strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) the world over. Yet Canada is a nation without a SPR, and petroleum, unlike maple-syrup, lacks a viable substitute in the event of a significant shortage.

The Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, which saw crude oil prices quadruple, made it acutely evident that Western economies, and their people’s way of life, depend entirely upon the security of petroleum supply at a reasonable and anticipated price. The devastating economic and psychological impact of the em…

Oil, Guns, and Military Bases: The US in Africa

In the struggle to secure energy resources, the great powers consider all states to be fair game. Indeed, this is precisely what characterizes American foreign policy in the modern era. When it comes to economic and geopolitical interests, Washington seldom differentiates between democratic leaders and despots, especially when those interests involve oil. Currently, the stakes are high in the rush to secure oil resources and nowhere is this more evident than in the Sino-American rivalry in Africa. Both states are competing to secure their share of oil supplies in order to quench their addiction to the coveted ‘black gold.’

One of Washington’s primary energy security concerns has been to diversify its sources of foreign oil. During the 1970s oil crisis, the United States imported one-third of its petroleum. Now, it imports approximately 11.4 million barrels per day of petroleum (which includes crude oil and petroleum products), amounting to 45 percent of all petroleum consumed in Americ…

Oil Minister: Iran to Use More Gas Storage Facilities

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi announced on Saturday that the country is locating new sites to construct more natural gas storage facilities. Addressing a ceremony to inaugurate the Middle-East's largest underground gas storage facility in the country's Central province of Qom today, Qassemi said that studies are underway to locate proper sites for building 40 gas storage facilities.

He said the second gas storage facility will be inaugurated in the Northeastern region of Sarakhs by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20).

"The balance in gas extraction in summer and winter will be adjusted once these facilities are inaugurated," he said.

Iran officially launched the first underground natural gas storage facility of Sarajeh region in Qom province today in the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In the first phase, Sarajeh is able to take 10 million cubic meters of gas per day.

Under the Fifth Five Year Development Plan (2010-2015), Pe…

Envoy: Iran among China's Most Important Trade Partners

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chinese Ambassador to Tehran Yu Hung Yang described Iran as one of the most important trade partners of Beijing, and underlined the necessity for the further strengthening of his country's ties and cooperation with Iran in all fields.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the most important trade partners of China," Yu Hung Yang said in a meeting with a number of Iranian traders in Mazandaran province, Northern Iran, on Saturday.

He praised the good and high-level ties with Iran, and said the two countries are politically in consensus over various issues and have no problem with each other.

Yu Hung Yang also called for the further increase in all-out cooperation with Iran.

China, like Russia, has consistently opposed the US pressures on Iran and the West's economic sanctions imposed on the Iranian financial sector and petroleum products.

China has refused to comply with US requests to decrease oil imports from Iran and instead has increased its trade w…

Magnetic shell provides unprecedented control of magnetic fields

The newly designed magnetic shell can either expel or concentrate magnetic energy. In the left panels, a small dipole magnet in (a) is surrounded by a magnetic shell in (b), which expels its magnetic energy further outward. In (c), a second shell harvests the energy and concentrates it into its center hole; in this way, magnetic energy is transferred through empty space. In the right panels, two dipole magnets in (d) are surrounded by shells in (e) that expel their magnetic energy. As shown in (f), the result is magnetic coupling between the two dipoles. Credit: Carles Navau, et al. ©2012 American Physical Society (—A general property of magnetic fields is that they decay with the distance from their magnetic source. But in a new study, physicists have shown that surrounding a magnetic source with a magnetic shell can enhance the magnetic field as it moves away from the source, allowing magnetic energy to be transferred to a distant location through empty space. By reversing …