Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 25Feb11.

More Libyan Officials Step Down; More Gains For Rebels
Mercenaries gather in Tripoli for final battle
Libya Oil Output Down 75%
Libya calls western journalists ‘al-Qaida collaborators’
Egypt detains minister, TV boss
Egypt confirms assassination attempt on former vice president
Call For Millions-Strong Demonstration In Egypt
Muslim Brotherhood says Camp David already null and void
Saudi king shocked into popular measures
Saudi Arabia king accused of misjudged bribery in attempt to avoid unrest
13 killed in Iraq’s ‘Day of Rage’ protests
Iraqi Leader Urges Boycott of Protest
In Iraq, Senior Military Officer Arrested For Condemning Corruption
Bahrain Trade Union Joins Opposition
Bahrain: No arrest of opposition leader planned
Bahrain lawmaker accuses U.S. of being behind Arab revolutions
Young Palestinians call for protests on 15 March
Will Palestinians Revolt Too?
Iran’s Troubling, Triumphant Voyage
The War Over Containing Iran
Syria clamps down on dissent with beatings and arrests
Turkey Bids to Trump Iran
A History of Middle East Mercenaries
Obama Will Need New Mideast Strategy
US Interests In A Democratic Mideast
Algeria ends state of emergency
Putin says fears growing Islamic radicalism in North Africa
Somalia Begins Offensive Against Shabab
Zimbabwe charges 46 with treason for watching videos of Egypt protests
The United States Talks to the Taliban
U.S., Pakistan Military Chiefs Hold Secret Talks In Oman
China Promises to Rescue Citizens in Libya
4,500 Chinese escape Libya by sea; Americans stuck
Now, China woos east and central African countries
China’s Search for a Grand Strategy
Taiwan Reels From Spy Arrest
Scent of freedom in North Korea
Kidnapped Indian official freed
India’s America Obsession
Russia says U.S. meddling in Kuril dispute ‘unacceptable’
The Separation of the North Caucasus from Russia: Is it A Growing Possibility?
Is Russia a Revolt Away From Freedom?
Saudi man charged with US bomb attempt

Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators
The Case for Reviving the F-22 Fighter
Russia plans $650bn defence spend
Russian Rulers Cannot Rely On The Military During a Crisis
Arms Sales for India
Ukraine ‘interested’ in European missile defense – NATO chief

Mullen: US to continue anti-piracy efforts
United States Naval Institute: An Open Letter From Norman Polmar

Saudis hold talks with refiners amid warnings of oil crisis and rationing
Welcome to the Era of Expensive Oil
Consumers Start to Feel Pinch From Higher Grain Prices
China’s Turning Point
GM in profit as rebound continues

New Zealand quake toll 98; 226 missing
China Is a Green Superpower

Where Is the Money Going to Come From?
No Silver Bullet for Unemployment
Police hunt Wisconsin Democrats

Imprisoned Afghan Christian Released from Prison
Religion coverage doubles … to 2 percent
Hawaii’s governor signs civil unions into law
Oklahoman: Embryonic stem cell study banned in bill
Tennessee Legislators Propose Elaborate Anti-Sharia Bills
Salvation Army reports Red Kettle record
Bailouts, Federal Debt, and the End of Responsibility Threat of Prosecution Remains for Some Christians Freed in Iran
Weapons training an act of worship: Bashir
Egyptian army fires at Coptic monastery
Egyptian Armed Forces Demolish Fences Guarding Coptic Monasteries
Christian School Set on Fire in India
Saudi Arabia gets ready to put order in its courts
Can Religious Liberty Become “Halal”?

  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 23May08.

Royal Navy commanders let students crash nuclear submarine into seabed

A Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine struck the bottom of the sea at more than 14 knots because of basic navigational errors made during a training exercise for three students on board.

Tracing paper over the submarine’s chart also covered vital information, including that the tidal rate at that point was 2.5 knots. The details are revealed in the official board of inquiry report into the grounding of HMS Trafalgarin October 2002, released under a freedom of information request.

Ninety seconds before the boat hit the seabed near the Isle of Skye, somebody realised what was about to happen and was recorded as saying: “We’re going to have to change course. This is too dangerous.”

The board of inquiry investigators failed to discover who had issued the warning, but it came too late and “at 0757 the submarine grounded, striking the bottom heavily on the port side forward . . . speed 14.7 knots.”

Navy seamanship found wanting

The Royal New Zealand Navy has been forced to take action after an independent review into their seamanship.

The review by the Royal Navy was sparked by the death of Byron Solomon last October when an inflatable boat on the HMNZS Canterbury capsized because of equipment failure.

The review criticised the safety awareness at all levels within the Navy and recommended urgent action.

It found flaws in the NZ Navy’s safety practices and training. Little thought was given for personal safety, it found. For the majority of tasks, there was poor preparation, execution and a lack of safety awareness at all levels and this was a major concern, the report said.

Now the Navy is planning on employing a seamanship safety officer and reviewing the training they give their new recruits.

A Chinese aircraft carrier paradox

While reading a superb book proposal about Chinese pirates and globalization by Emory University history professor Tonio Andrade, I was amused to learn that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has reportedly dubbed a Russian aircraft carrier purchased from Ukraine in 1998 with the moniker “Shi Lang.”

Shi Lang was a 17th century Chinese admiral who first served with the legendary pirate king Koxinga, conquerer of Taiwan from the Dutch and defender of the doomed Ming dynasty against the Manchu Qing invaders. But Shi Lang defected to the Qing dynasty in 1646, whereupon Koxinga executed his father, brother and son.

Shi Lang returned the favor by eventually conquering Taiwan for the Kangxi emperor in 1683.

Why would the PLAN name an aircraft carrier after an admiral who conquered Taiwan in the 17th century? Hmmmm…

  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 12May08.

General Dynamics Names Retired Admiral as Next CEO

General Dynamics Corp., the U.S. Navy’s second-largest shipbuilder, will turn to retired admiral and former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Jay L. Johnson for leadership as its next chief executive officer.

Johnson, 61, will become vice chairman in September and then on July 1, 2009, will replace Nicholas Chabraja, the longest-serving leader among the five largest U.S. defense companies. Chabraja, 65, will remain chairman through May 2010, Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics said yesterday.

Report: Hizballah received 35 new Iranian speedboats shortly before current crisis

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that three weeks before Hizballah seized western Beirut, the Shiite terrorist group took delivery of 35 fast speedboats for use with explosives from Iran. The craft can threaten US Sixth Fleet and Israel Navy shipping close to Lebanese shores, reach Israel’s Haifa and Ashdod Mediterranean ports and raid its coastal oil installations.

The speedboats were tailor-made for Hizballah by Iranian Revolutionary Guards shipyards at Bandar Abbas as the only marine terror fleet operating in Mediterranean waters. Our military sources report the boats are capable of carrying chemical, biological and radiological weapons systems.

They were delivered in mid-April by an Iranian freighter at the Syrian port of Latakia and trucked to Naimah port south of Beirut. There they were hidden in the subterranean hangars belonging to Ahmed Jibril, head of the Palestinian Liberation Front-General Command. Today, the PLF-GC is financed and directed by the Revolutionary Guards. The hangars were constructed in the seventies by East Germany engineers with a protected Mediterranean anchorage and made virtually impenetrable by sea or air.

US warship heads back to Mediterranean

A US warship, which was deployed off Lebanon in February amid concern over Beirut’s political crisis, crossed Egypt’s Suez Canal on Sunday on its way to the Mediterranean, an official with the canal authority told AFP.

“The USS Cole has crossed the Suez Canal and is headed to the Mediterranean,” the official said, adding he did not know its exact destination.

The United States sent the guided-missile destroyer to waters off the coast of Lebanon on February 28, in what US officials said was “a show of support for regional stability” amid concerns over Lebanon’s protracted political crisis.

India To Acquire Six More Submarines: Naval Chief

India will soon float global tenders to acquire six submarines but would like to see indigenous development of this technology in the future, Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said here Friday.

These six submarines would be in addition to the Scorpene submarines, which the Indian navy is expected to acquire soon.

“In accordance with the plan to keep a certain number of submarines in the force, we will be acquiring six of one type (Scorpene) and six of another type,” Mehta was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying at a press conference, marking the end of a two-day-long naval commanders’ conference held here on Friday.

The development of Scorpene submarines had been delayed and it was now time to look for a second type of submarine, he said.

Mehta said: “We need to have indigenous capability for building these submarines and Indian Navy has been a strong proponent of indigenous development. Therefore, we would expect that our shipyards take over the technology from some of these companies and thereafter build it themselves.”

The submarines for which tenders would be floated could also have vertical missile launch capabilities, he added.

French Sends Aid Ship To Myanmar – Foreign Min

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Friday that a French navy ship loaded with 1,500 metric tons of humanitarian aid for cyclone victims was en route to Myanmar and should arrive by next Thursday.

Te Mana arrives in Arabian Gulf

The Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana has arrived in the Southern Arabian Gulf to begin patrolling the region’s waterways against possible terrorism attacks.

The frigate, which sailed from Devonport in Auckland via Singapore, has 173 personnel on board and will operate within a 20,000 square mile area, conducting maritime support and security operations for the Italian-led Coalition Task Force 152.

Defence spokesman Captain Zac Prendergast says the crew of Te Mana will liaise with other vessels in the area and mentor local navies about seacraft. The frigate is expected to return to New Zealand in August.

Narco subs pose new challenge for US coast guards

The first time they found one, authorities dubbed it “Big Foot.” They had heard rumors that such things existed, but nobody had actually seen one.

It was late 2006, and Big Foot was not lurking in a forest, but at sea, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Costa Rica. And it was not an ape-like creature, but a hulking, blue vessel resembling a submarine and carrying several tons of cocaine.

Nor was it a solitary beast.

Authorities say they are detecting more and more seacraft like Big Foot — known as self-propelled semi-submersibles — carrying larger and larger loads of drugs.

Chugging around the southern curve of Central America and up towards the United States, they have formed a kind of illicit fleet and become a major drug trafficking tool.

“It’s significant. We believe they can carry upwards of eight or 10 tons of cocaine,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Nimmich, director of the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida, where military and government agencies track drug shipments.

“It’s in fact a logical progression,” he added. “As we get better at interdiction, they move to try to counteract our success.”

Experts estimate 25 to 40 semi-subs left South America last year laden with cocaine, and they expect that figure to double in 2008.

Sri Lanka military says rebels sink navy ship

The Sri Lankan military says Tamil Tiger rebels have bombed and sank a navy cargo ship at the eastern port town of Trincomalee. A navy spokesman said no crew members were on board at the time. Earlier, a bomb-blast in a café in the eastern town of Ampara killed at least 11 people and injured 29 others. The government has also blamed that bombing on Tamil Tiger rebels. The two attacks came just hours ahead of local elections in Sri Lanka’s eastern province scheduled. These are the first polls to be held in the region in 20 years. The government wrested control of the country’s east from the rebels last July.

  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 03Apr08.

U.S. sailor arrested for murder of taxi driver denies robbery, murderous intent

A U.S. sailor arrested Thursday for murdering a taxi driver here last month denies that he attacked the victim with murderous intent, his lawyer said.

Moreover, the suspect, Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a 22-year-old Nigerian national, also denies the charge of robbery, saying that he fully intended to pay his taxi fare of about 17,000 yen, according to lawyer Yasutoshi Murakami, who has been hired by the U.S. Navy.

Dutch frigate sent to Somalia coast

The Dutch Parliament has approved the deployment of the Dutch naval frigate Evertsen to the waters off the coast of Somalia.

The vessel, which will remain in the region for three months, will protect ships carrying United Nations food supplies. The ships are often plundered by pirates. As a result of the fighting in Somalia two million people there are dependent on food aid. The frigate will also pick up Somali refugees attempting to flee the country by sea.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen announced that the refugees would not be able to apply for asylum in the Netherlands.

The Mapp Report – A One Frigate Navy

Over the last few months I have been told by many people that one of the two frigates, Te Kaha, had effectively been placed in reserve, useful for only short patrols in the Hauraki Gulf.

Recent Parliamentary questions seem to show there is some truth in this. As a rule, our frigates spend 150 to 160 days per year at sea. This usually involves an extensive international operation into the North Pacific or the Gulf. In fact, Te Mana is about to be deployed to the Gulf as part of multilateral operations against terrorism.

However, over the last 18 months the Defence Force has been operating Te Kaha on a minimal basis. In 2007 it spent 79 days at sea; not even one day in four. This year it is expected to spend 97 days at sea. Its readiness is now 24 hours to sail, instead of the usual 12 hours. Many of the allocated crew are apparently undertaking shore courses. Several exercises this year have already been ‘affected’, that is largely not undertaken. What this adds up to is a one frigate Navy, with one in reserve.

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