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Showing posts from March 19, 2013

Pakistani Buying of Chinese Arms Makes Beijing 5th Biggest Exporter

New research shows Pakistan's growing purchases of Chinese military hardware have helped Beijing become the world's fifth biggest exporter of conventional arms, overtaking Britain.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says Pakistan bought 55 percent of China's weapons exports in the years 2008 to 2012. Pakistan and China are longtime allies.

A Pakistani defense analyst says Islamabad's main purchases include Chinese tanks, fighter jets, patrol boats, guns, radars and other communications equipment.

In an interview with VOA, retired Pakistani general Talat Masoud says Islamabad uses Chinese technology to develop home-made weapons with the goal of becoming more self-sufficient. He says it is harder for Pakistan to secure such technology transfers from American and European sources.

"China is a more reliable partner at times of crisis because [Pakistan's] experience is that whenever there has been an escalation of tension with India, or there has bee…

Attacks on Albinos Surge in Tanzania

The United Nations is expressing alarm at a spate of recent attacks in Tanzania against people with albinism. The body parts of albinos - people who are born without skin pigmentation - are used by witchdoctors in ritual potions meant to bring power and wealth. Four such attacks took place in a 16-day period this year - three of them against children. Police in Tanzania say they are investigating the attacks, and also are appealing to the public to come forward with any information.

The U.N. human rights agency called the latest attacks on albinos "abhorrent." It urged the Tanzanian government to do more to end the violence and discrimination against the group.

The string of attacks began on January 31 in Tanzania’s central Tabora region.

A group of men chopped off the arm of a seven-year-old albino boy, killing him and the 95-year-old grandfather who tried to shield him.

On February 5, in the northern Simiyu region, armed men attacked the home of a seven-month-old boy with al…

Rats Communicate Brain to Brain

The old proverb, “two heads are better than one,” was put to the test recently when researchers electronically linked the brains of two rats, prompting the animals to work together to accomplish a common goal.
The researchers fitted each rat with a device that allowed one rat to send brain waves to the other, even when separated by long distances.  The rat that received the transmitted information used it to help perform a simple task, which earned both rats a reward.
When the rats’ joint efforts were unsuccessful, the animals used the device as a two-way communicator, to mentally collaborate with each other until they performed the task properly.
“These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern-recognition device,” said Miguel Nicolelis from Duke University’s School of Medicine. “So basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle.”

US, Afghanistan Struggle to Agree on Special Forces

More than a week after Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered U.S. special forces to leave a strategically key area near the capital, officials from both sides are still struggling to resolve the issue.

Karzai ordered the elite American units out of Wardak province after residents complained that they, and Afghans working with them, were torturing and killing civilians - an allegation strongly denied by the United States. At the same time, the Afghan leader also accused the U.S. and NATO of trying to forge an agreement between the Taliban and his political opponents.

The escalating tensions reached Brussels Monday, when NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the charges that international forces are colluding with the Taliban "an absolutely ridiculous idea."

Meanwhile, ISAF spokesman Günter Katz told reporters in Kabul that NATO will eventually hand over security responsibilities for Wardak province, but that the alliance's "Afghan partners" must tak…

Rare Bombings in Iraq's Basra Kill 10 People

Iraq's southern city of Basra has been hit by a rare double car bombing, with at least 10 people killed and 16 others wounded.

The most serious attack happened Sunday at a bus terminal in a town on the outskirts of Basra. Provincial security committee chief Ali al-Maliki said 10 people were killed. Minutes earlier, another car bomb exploded in a parking lot in central Basra, wounding several people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in and around the normally-peaceful port city, which is predominantly Shi'ite.

Minority Sunni militants linked to al-Qaida frequently attack Shi'ite targets to try to undermine the government of Shi'ite Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Many Iraqi Sunnis have been staging protests against Mr. Maliki in recent months, accusing him of discriminating against their community. Al-Qaida has been trying to exploit that discontent to trigger a sectarian civil war.

Al-Qaida's Iraqi affiliate issued a statement Sunda…

China's Xi Jinping Holds Talks with US Treasury Chief Lew

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to work together with the United States, even while acknowledging Beijing has what he called "unavoidable" differences with Washington.

Mr. Xi made the comments Tuesday during a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at Beijing's Great Hall of the People. It was his first meeting since taking over as China's president, last week.

"In the China-U.S. relationship, we have enormous shared interests. But, of course, unavoidably, we have some differences. But, as long as we both approach and handle this relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective, I believe we will be able to always keep to the set direction of this relationship."

Lew also emphasized the importance of the Sino-American relationship, telling Mr. Xi the world's two leading economies have a "special responsibility to maintain strong, stable and sustained growth in the world."

"The president is firmly committed…

Troubled Japanese Nuclear Power Plant Hit by Power Outage

An unexplained partial power outage has shut down a crucial cooling system at Japan's tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), says equipment used to inject cooling water into spent fuel pools has been without electricity since Monday night, local time. TEPCO is investigating whether a broken switchboard is to blame for the outage.

TEPCO spokesperson Masayuki Ono told reporters Tuesday pool temperatures had risen slightly. But he said even the worst-affected reactor would remain safe for at least four days at the current rates.

"We believe there is still plenty of time before the temperature in the pools exceeds what we regard as the danger level of 65 degrees, so before that happens we will be doing our best to restore power."

Ono says TEPCO has a backup plan to inject cooling water into the pools if power cannot be restored within that timeframe.

There is a danger of radiation spewin…

Attacks Kills 23 in Iraq

Iraqi officials say bombings and other attacks have killed at least 23 people in mainly Shi'ite areas of the capital, Baghdad.

The violence Tuesday also wounded 80 others, a day before the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

Sunni Muslim militants in Iraq frequently attack the country's majority Shi'ites to inflame sectarian tensions and undermine the Shi'ite-led government.

US Civil War: Is It Possible?


March 18, 2013  -"SCF" -- By the end of 2012, the New York Times published a sensational article called “Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia”. It said Obama had already taken some steps to counter a massive civil war and incoming manifestation of totalitarianism. In these efforts he relies on a superagency – the Department of Homeland Security employing over 160 thousand people, having a budget measured in dozens of dollars and supervising the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, tax services and other government bodies. It can operate beyond the US borders, allowed to arrest and physically neutralize, it boasts the whole army of informers and is given a carte-blanche for following the steps and hinder the activities of those, who are involved in subversive activities and considered to be the enemies of people by the US authorities… (1)

According to James Rickards, Doug Hagmann, Gerald Celente, many citizens could be consid…

The Spies Who Fooled The World

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of one of the most contentious and divisive wars in living memory, Peter Taylor forensically investigates how key aspects of the secret intelligence used by Downing Street and the White House to justify the invasion of Iraq, were based on fabrication, wishful thinking and lies.

Using remarkable first hand testimony, this one-hour Panorama special reveals the full story of how two very highly placed sources, both close to Saddam Hussein, talked secretly to the CIA via an intermediary and directly to MI6 in the build-up to the war and said Iraq did not have an active Weapons of Mass Destruction programme. But both were ignored.

In a compelling story of spies and intrigue, deception and lies, key players reveal how sparse British and American intelligence was and how none of the handful of human sources had direct knowledge of WMD production. The former CIA Paris Station Chief, Bill Murray, explains how he used an intermediary to recruit Iraq’s Foreign Mi…

MI6 and CIA Were Told Before Invasion That Iraq Had No Active WMD

BBC's Panorama reveals fresh evidence that agencies dismissed intelligence from Iraqi foreign minister and spy chief

By Richard Norton-Taylor

March 18, 2013 -"The Guardian" -- Fresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running".

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.

It describes how Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, told the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through a…