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Showing posts from November 5, 2013

QinetiQ NA unveils IWS power and data management hub

QinetiQ North America (NA) showcased its Integrated Warrior System (IWS) at the Association of the US Army (AUSA) exposition in Washington, DC, in October, a privately funded development.

The QinetiQ NA IWS displayed at AUSA, showing clockwise from front centre: a five-port hub with male and female connecting leads; the shoulder-worn EARS gunshot detection system with wrist display; a radio hub interface; the EUD in a chest-mounted configuration; and the conformal battery. In the centre are two further connectors, a USB 2.0, and a male-male lead. (Giles Ebbutt)

The core of the system is a power and data management hub with a number of USB 2.0 ports for connection to external devices using standard Glenair connectors, which are the same as those specified for the Nett Warrior programme. Connecting leads then offer a range of external connection options, including USB 2.0, Ethernet, and RS232. There are five- and seven-port variants of the hub.

The hub, which weighs about 198 g (7oz), is …

US defence leaders outline plan for nuclear gravity bomb upgrades

Key Points
The B61-12 LEP weapons would be a more accurate nuclear bomb due to a new guided Tail Kit Assembly
An initial B61-12 production unit may emerge by early 2020

US defence officials have outlined plans for the B61 gravity bomb family to undergo a Life Extension Program (LEP) that would consolidate and upgrade the ageing nuclear weapons, although an USD8.1 billion price tag could make the project a difficult sell with budget-conscious lawmakers.

In June US President Barack Obama ordered a new approach to nuclear deterrence in which the United States would notionally reduce its arsenal but update some of the systems. Obama said at the time that he would seek negotiations with Russia towards cutting each state's deployed strategic nuclear weapons down to just more than 1,000 - likely an ambitious goal.

The overall modernisation strategy "would consolidate the 12 unique warhead types used today into three interoperable warhead designs that function with both submarine and la…

Snowden: A Manifesto for the Truth

By Edward Snowden This article by Edward Snowden was published 11/03/2013, in Der Spiegel. Since I could not find a translation online, I decided to publish one (suggestions for improvements are welcome). I previously published the full text in German.
November 04, 2013 -In a very short time, the world has learned much about unaccountable secret agencies and about sometimes illegal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance of high officials or the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders - this is what the currently available documents suggest - we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions. Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights. Society can…

Coca Eradication in Bolivia

Bolivia is the third largest supplier of cocaine to the international drug market. Coca, the native plant from which cocaine is derived, is widely cultivated in Bolivia's western and central highlands. It is illegal in other South American countries, such as Colombia and Peru, but Bolivia allows government-regulated coca cultivation for medicinal and traditional cultural purposes. However, producers and corrupt government officials also divert some legally produced coca toward cocaine production, and several illicit coca farms exist alongside legal ones. This ensures a steady supply of coca for Bolivian cocaine manufacturing labs, which are concentrated mostly in the country's eastern lowlands.

With Bolivian President Evo Morales running for a third term in 2014, the government will probably limit its efforts to eradicate illegal coca fields in areas where Morales' political support is strong. Since the U.S. State Department stopped cooperating with Bolivian anti-drug opera…

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Nov. 4, 2013


Nov. 4: British postal workers are expected to strike against the privatization of Royal Mail. In addition, several left-wing groups and trade unions are expected to protest against the government's austerity measures Nov. 5.
Nov. 4: Spanish railway workers are expected to a hold brief strike. Other similar strikes are expected to take place throughout November.
Nov. 4: The EU Budget Conciliation Committee will bring together delegates from the EU Parliament and the EU Commission to negotiate an agreement on the EU 2014 budget.
Nov. 4-5: The Lithuanian Ministry of Energy and the European Commission will hold a conference on European energy infrastructure in Vilnius.
Nov. 5: The European Commission will publish its annual economic forecast.
Nov. 5: EU accession talks with Turkey will continue in Brussels.
Nov. 5-7: The European Space Solution Conference organized by the European Commission will take place in Munich, bringing together interest groups from the private and pub…

Russia: Social Turbulence and Recollections of 1905


Russia will celebrate National Unity Day on Nov. 4, a commemoration of the expulsion of Polish invaders from Moscow in 1612. Russian President Vladimir Putin reinstated the holiday, which had been suspended for 88 years, in 2005 to promote Russian nationalism amid his efforts to consolidate political, economic and social control over the country. However, with ethnic and religious tensions increasing in Russia, the day now highlights the growing divisions in the country.

Stratfor has been tracking the stark social, political and demographic changes occurring across Russia, particularly the waves of instability seen in recent years. Tensions created by these shifts have occasionally sparked violence and challenges to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, economic pressure is building and the political system is experiencing atrophy. Changes such as these have occurred throughout Russian history, though one particular period -- the years surrounding 1905, often considered a portent of the Russ…