Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 16Feb11.

Leading CBS journalist raped in Egypt
Egypt’s Military, Parties Begin to Prepare for Polls
Egypt army sets reform deadline
Egyptian army hijacking revolution, activists fear
Strikes Worry Egypt’s Military, Youth
‘Brothers’ in Egypt Present Two Faces
How Obama Lost the Egyptian People
Egypt Makes Russia, China Very Nervous
Protests escalate after deaths (Bahrain)
Bahrain’s ‘big if’
Clashes erupt in Yemen between pro- and anti-government protesters
Iranian MPs call for opposition leaders to be executed
US backs Iran protests as government calls for executions
Iranian Human Rights Council Sec-Gen: Egypt’s Military Commanders Are Under Influence Of CIA, Mossad
Saudi Website: Increased Security Alert In East Of Country
Tunisia extends state of emergency, lifts curfew
Tunisia: Italy to give €100m to stem flow of migrants
European Leaders Struggle with Wave of Tunisian Migrants
Four Israeli missions shut under threat
Syrian Teen Blogger Gets 5 Years in Jail
At least 211 killed in clashes in south Sudan
Caixin Online: China’s rice contaminated with heavy metals
More Clashes On The Thailand – Cambodia Border
South Korea troops mobilised after record snow
Public health worries after foot and mouth epidemic in South Korea
Explaining Kim Jong-il’s Tantrums
North Korea Frets Over Livestock Disease
U.S. Agents Shot in Mexico
Drug war leaves 18 dead in Mexican town
Clinton picks new US envoy to AfPak
Obama admin proposes $3.1bn for Pak
Will revolution spread to Pakistan?
Obama admin to cancel Voice of America China broadcasts
U.S. Delays Decision on TransCanada Pipeline
Food prices at ‘dangerous levels’
Expect Food Prices to Increase
Why Biofuels Help Push Up World Food Prices
Berlusconi to face trial in underage sex case
China, Iran push world’s tally of imprisoned journalists to 14-year high

A Weapon Of Mass Destruction Found In The U.S.?
Corps sets stage with 2012 budget request
Russia’s New Model Army: “Mobilization Reserves”

Somali pirates use captive crew to attack vessels: Hostage
3-star: Anti-carrier missile won’t stop Navy

Snow Damps Euro-Zone Recovery
Crop Prices Push Up Farmland Value
Tackling the Debt Crisis: Ministers Agree To 500-Billion-Euro Permanent Rescue Fund
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde: ‘We Europeans Are All Being Put to the Test’
Japan’s economy ‘more positive’
UK inflation rate increases to 4%

UK’s shifting population placing environment under intense strain
World of Snow and Ice

GOP Pushes Biggest-Ever Cuts
U.S. Should Reform Corporate Tax Rates

Weekly Standard: Professional Islamists
Indonesian blasphemy law sparks Muslim violence in Java
Mass Malaysia Valentine arrests
Top Church Official Indicted In Philly Abuse Probe
Orthodox church sues over temple destroyed on 9/11
Growth stalls, falls for largest U.S. churches
Church Givers Also Give To Charities
Study: Post-grad degrees don’t lead to atheism
South Korea to restrict Christian missionaries in Islamic nations
Child With Missing Cerebellum Shows Power of Human Spirit
Undercover film shows pupils being beaten and taught hatred in Britain’s Muslim schools
Islamic group appeals Olympic site mosque

  Security News Today – 9/27/10

Posted by Chris van Avery on 27Sep10.

France on high alert as officials warn of possible terrorist attacks
When an unclaimed package was spotted in a busy Paris subway station Monday, police immediately diverted trains, ordered thousands of frustrated travelers into the street and dispatched a bomb squad to test for explosives.

Coast Guard boarding team engage in firefight
A boarding team from the medium endurance cutter Escanaba got in a shootout with suspected drug smugglers while attempting to board a vessel in international waters near the coast of Nicaragua Sept. 14, the service said in a statement.

Power Struggle Rages In North Korean Regime
A fierce battle is being waged behind the scenes for control of North Korea as Kim Jong-il prepares to anoint his successor, it has emerged. Factional in-fighting has broken out between Chang Song-taek, the rogue state’s second-in-command, and a group of senior reform-minded officials, according to a source who has recently met people at the highest levels of the North Korean government. The battle between the two sides comes as Kim Jong-il, the 68-year-old “Dear Leader”, is in frail health and no concrete succession plan has yet to emerge.

Risk Of Trade War Rises As Key US Committee Backs Tariffs On China
The risk of a trade war between the US and China has increased after a key Congressional committee backed a bill to allow US companies to seek tariffs on Chinese imports. The adoption of the measure by the Ways and Means Committee on Friday means it will now be voted on by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. “China’s exchange-rate policy has a major impact on American businesses, and Americans jobs, which is what this is all about,” said Sander Levin, a Democrat from Michigan and chairman of the committee.

Power Struggle Rages In North Korean Regime
The greatest geopolitical development that has occurred largely beneath the radar of our Middle East-focused media over the past decade has been the rise of Chinese sea power. This is evinced by President Obama’s meeting Friday about the South China Sea, where China has conducted live-fire drills and made territorial claims against various Southeast Asian countries, and the dispute over the Senkaku Islands between Japan and China in the East China Sea, the site of a recent collision between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese coast guard ships.

Pentagon Seeks To Revive Relations With China
A Pentagon official is holding talks in Beijing this week in an effort to revive U.S. military relations with China and reduce tensions in the region, a defense spokesman said Sept. 27.

The Washington Quarterly: Will China Change the Rules of Global Order?
In this article, [the authors] argue that China and the world will take a third way of continued internalization by China of select global practices and norms, alongside registering its desire and right to be at the table for rewriting some others.

Russian Foreign Policy Takes a Sensible Course on Iran and in the Arctic
Two shifts in Russian foreign policy attracted much international commentary last week: President Dmitry Medvedev’s decree on curbing military cooperation with Iran, and Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, participating in an Arctic conference in Moscow. Both issues, however, are loaded with controversies that muddle the substance of these priorities.

Two Time Bombs in New START
According to the preamble of New START, the Treaty’s measures “will enhance predictability and stability, and thus the security of both Parties.” The preamble also deems the Treaty part of an effort “to forge a new strategic relationship based on mutual trust, openness, predictability, and cooperation.” But as I’ve described it in my latest column at the Bulletin, the spirit of the U.S. Senate’s resolution of ratification — whose complete and final text is now available at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee website — seems closer to the rigorous and mistrustful enforcement of numerical parity.

British Cuts To Military Concern U.S. Officials
Plans by the British government to make significant cuts in defense spending have spurred concerns among American military experts about Britain’s ability to carry out its role as the United States’ most dependable ally. A wrenching government spending review has pitted Britain’s army against its navy, spawned a series of leaks to the British media and raised the question of whether the military that emerges from the budget cuts — expected to be 10 percent to 20 percent of current outlays — will be a strategically agile force that can join the United States on major combat operations.

U.K. Reassures Gates, Pentagon Over Defense Cuts
Britain has sought to reassure anxious U.S. officials that plans for major defense cuts will not undermine its status as Washington’s most important military ally, officials said Sept. 24.

The AKP’s Turkey: More Civilian, But More Democratic?
Islamists have joined Turkey’s elite in the economic sector and elsewhere, but the country is not becoming a better liberal democracy under their influence.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage .

  Is The UK In More Fiscal Trouble Than We Think?

Posted by Chris van Avery on 21Sep10.

How far must the UK have sunk for a proposal such as this to have seen the light of day?

The UK’s tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.

The proposal by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stresses the need for employers to provide real-time information to the government so that it can monitor all payments and make a better assessment of whether the correct tax is being paid.

Currently employers withhold tax and pay the government, providing information at the end of the year, a system know as Pay as You Earn (PAYE). There is no option for those employees to refuse withholding and individually file a tax return at the end of the year.

This is, of course, the logical destination of all socialist systems. We’ll not only tell you what you need, but we’ll provide it to you from government accounts.

  Fun With Guns, RN Style

Posted by Chris van Avery on 19Sep10.

While the U.S. Navy has outgrown its older brother, one area we never have mastered quite as well is tradition. Perhaps Americans’ fascination with everything new disadvantaged us, but whatever the cause, the traditions we do keep are only generically naval and nautical and not uniquely American. Take, for example, the RN’s annual Field Gun Competition.

From Wikipedia :

The origins of the field gun competition lie in the Second Boer War in South Africa. The legendary story tells of the siege of the British garrison in the township of Ladysmith in 1899. In support of the British Army, the Royal Navy landed guns from HMS Terrible and Powerful to help in the relief of the siege. The Naval Brigade transported guns over difficult terrain and brought them into action against the Boers.

The Royal Navy landed two 4.7 inch guns and four 12-pounder field guns. The guns were transported inland by rail and then drawn on makeshift carriages by oxen. For the final part of the journey, sailors from the Naval Brigade manhandled the guns over very difficult terrain. One story tells of sailors carrying one of the 12 pounder guns for 2 miles after one of the wheels collapsed.

The siege of Ladysmith lasted for 120 days until February 1900. On their return home, the sailors from the Naval Brigade paraded their guns through London and appeared at the Royal Naval and Military Tournament at the Agricultural Hall, Islington. Displays of Field Gun drill continued in subsequent years.

One would think with over two centuries of rather distinguished history, we’d be able to point to something uniquely American in our naval traditions, but examples seem rather few and far between.

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