Archive for the ‘world’ Category

U.S. Is Child’s Play: Obama Can Rule The World; Hillary Can Be Manliest Guy In Cabinet

December 2, 2008

Another Barack Obama came in from the cold Monday. The man who gave us the unexpected in his team to resurrect the economy introduced his team to reorganize the world of which he sees himself as president-elect. The new message is clear – being president merely of the United States is for bush-leaguers.

Hillary Clinton, who suggested she has the equipment to be the manliest member of the entire Obama administration, invoked the campaign mantra right away, cheering an uneasy cult after those earlier appointments. She’s not only for change, but “positive” change. She promised to work with the toy countries of the world to resolve global crises.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary ... 
President-elect Barack Obama announces that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be his choice for U.S. Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters) 

“The American people have demanded not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America’s standing in the world as a force for positive change,” she said. She vowed to “reach out to the world again,” to give the thirsty world a Coke after the drought of the Bush years.

The president-elect said the appointment of Mrs. Clinton, who once mocked Mr. Obama’s cut-and-run strategy for Iraq and derided him as a naive amateur for promising to talk to global troublemakers without first determining whether they were serious about making nice, is “a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances.”

President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton ...
President-elect Barack Obama announces that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be his choice for Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

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In Russia’s Putin-Medvedev shuffle, Putin is the lead dancer

November 15, 2008
Although Vladimir Putin has left the presidency and become prime minister, there’s no longer any question that he’s more powerful than his handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.
By Megan K. Stack
The Los Angeles Times
November 14, 2008
Reporting from Moscow — The question has all but disappeared from Russian discourse after months of feverish debate: Who is in charge, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev?

It’s been nearly a year since Putin, faced with the end of his presidency, endorsed his long-loyal underling to succeed him in the Kremlin. The speculation that once rattled around the capital after Putin restyled himself as prime minister — whether the two men would clash, whether Medvedev would try to eclipse his onetime mentor — has fallen away.

Putin Medvedev
Above: Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in parliament May 8, 2008.  Sergei Chirikov AFP/Getty Images

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Oil plummets below $83 on global slowdown fears

October 10, 2008

By ALEX KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – Oil prices plummeted to a one-year low below $83 a barrel Friday in European trading as investor fears of a severe global economic downturn caused by the crisis in credit markets sparked a panicked sell-off of both crude and equities.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery was down $3.85 to $82.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midmorning in Europe, the lowest since October 2007. The contract fell $1.81 overnight to settle at $86.62.

In this Oct. 3, 2008 file photo, an oil pump seen in the desert ...
In this Oct. 3, 2008 file photo, an oil pump seen in the desert area of Sakhir, Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf. Oil prices rose off earlier lows on a rate cut by the world’s major central banks Wednesday, recovering after investor concerns that the U.S. credit crisis was enveloping the globe — and would hurt crude demand — drove prices down.(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, file)

“The whole market has lost confidence in everything,” said Mark Pervan, senior commodity strategist with ANZ Bank in Melbourne. “Everyone is worried about global growth, and oil is the front line commodity for that. There’s just a lot of panic and fear in the market.”

Investors have been unimpressed by interest rate cuts by the U.S. and other leading central banks this week to help unclog the credit markets and promote lending. A credit crisis that began last year in U.S. sub-prime mortgages has spread across the globe, forcing governments to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out banks, brokerages and insurance companies, and fears are growing it will sink the wider economy.

All European stock markets were deep in the red, following sharp losses in Asia and the U.S. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 5.3 percent, while Germany’s DAX was 7.9 percent lower. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 7.3 percent to fall below the 9,000 mark for the first time since 2003 as Japan’s Nikkei 225 plunged 9.6 percent.

“The problem is no one really knows how far and deep this will go,” Pervan said. “But we can see from the size of the rescue packages, this is a really serious deal. This isn’t a normal bear market.”

What was initially a seizure in credit markets has now become a real threat to economic growth around the world, causing an energy watchdog to slash its forecasts for oil demand over the next two years.

The International Energy Agency cut its forecast for oil demand by 240,000 barrels per day this year and by 440,000 barrels per day in 2009. It also said the credit freeze is hurting the supply side of the oil industry,”with independent producers and, potentially, several Russian operators seen as particularly at risk.”

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Medvedev calls for Russian missile shield

September 27, 2008

ORENBURG, Russia, Sept. 27 (UPI) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says his country needs to create its own anti-missile nuclear defense shield and is calling for “permanent readiness.”


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) awards an officer during ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) awards an officer during military exercises at the Donguz testing range near Orenburg, some 1300 kilometers (807 miles) southeast of Moscow September 26, 2008. Russia said on Friday it would build a space defence system and a new fleet of nuclear submarines by 2020, beefing up its nuclear deterrent at a time of heightened tensions with Washington. Picture taken September 26, 2008.REUTERS/Pool (RUSSIA)

Medvedev, responding to U.S. moves to establish an anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe, said Friday during military exercises in the southern Urals region of Orenburg that “a guaranteed nuclear deterrent system for various military and political circumstances must be provided by 2020,” The Times of London reported.

Medvedev also called for Russia to reorganize its military, saying “all combat formations must be upgraded to the permanent readiness category” by 2020, an effort that would include “mass production of warships, primarily nuclear cruisers carrying cruise missiles and multi-purpose submarines,” The Times said.

Also attending the Orenburg exercises was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose country conducted joint naval exercises in the Caribbean Sea this week with Russian warships.

The Kremlin issued a statement calling the maneuvers a “counterweight to U.S. influence,” and adding that Chavez was seeking “a widening of our presence in the region.”

U.N. agencies weigh response to food crisis

April 28, 2008

GENEVA (Reuters) – Leading figures from the United Nations met in Switzerland on Monday to chart a solution to dramatic food price increases that have caused hunger, riots and hoarding in poor countries around the world.
Vietnam acted to quell panic over rice supplies on Monday, banning speculation in the market after a “chaotic” buying binge in the Southeast Asian nation highlighted growing global fears about food security. 
A Vietnamese rice paddy worker….

The move by the world’s second-biggest rice exporter came as protests continued in some states in Africa over soaring costs for food and fuel which aid experts say threaten to push 100 million people worldwide into hunger.

Against this backdrop, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gathered together the heads of 27 international agencies including the World Bank, World Food Programme and World Trade Organisation to coordinate a response.

Officials familiar with the closed-door session said the main priority was to ensure that food aid reached those desperately affected by surging prices of wheat, rice, dairy products and other dietary staples.

Ban, who has described rising food prices as a “global crisis” and urged world leaders to discuss ways to improve food distribution systems and production, will address the press in the Swiss capital Berne on Tuesday.

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon

Experts have linked the problems to factors including drought in Australia, higher fuel costs, the use of crops for biofuels and speculation on global commodity markets.

U.S. President George W. Bush is considering “what other aspects need to be taken care of” to help ease the crisis after announcing a $200 million increase in food aid earlier this month, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“He’s really concerned about the humanitarian condition around the world,” she told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile world aid groups continue to reel from the jump in food prices. World Vision, one of the globe’s largest humanitarian organizations, said it may have cut 1.5 million people, or 23 percent, from its aid program because of a strained budget.

“Despite our best efforts, more than a million of our beneficiaries are no longer receiving food aid,” said Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. “At least a third of these are children who urgently need enough healthy food to thrive.”

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Rioters break into US Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia

February 21, 2008
By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer 

BELGRADE, Serbia – Serb rioters broke into the U.S. Embassy Thursday and set fire to an office after a massive protest against Kosovo’s independence that drew an estimated 150,000 people.
Protesters attend a during mass protest rally against Kosovo's ...
Protesters attend a during mass protest rally against Kosovo’s declaration of independence in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. At least 150,000 Serbs gathered in central Belgrade on Thursday in a massive protest against Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Masked attackers broke into the building, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. A blaze broke out inside one of the offices. Riot police drove armored jeeps down the street and fired tear gas to clear the crowd.

The neighboring Croatian Embassy also was attacked by the same group of protesters.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack strongly urged the Serbian government to protect the U.S. Embassy. He said the U.S. ambassador was at his home and was in contact with U.S. officials.

The U.S. embassy in Belgrade burns after masked attackers broke ...
The U.S. embassy in Belgrade burns after masked attackers broke into the building and set an office on fire at the end of a massive protest against Western-backed Kosovo independence, in the Serbian capital, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. More than 150,000 Serbs gathered at the rally vowing to retake the territory which is viewed as Serbia’s religious and national heartland.
(AP Photo)

More than a dozen nations have recognized Kosovo‘s declaration of independence on Sunday, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

But the declaration has been rejected by Serbia‘s government and the ethnic Serbians who populate northern Kosovo. Russia, China and numerous other nations have also condemned the declaration, saying it sets a precedent that separatist groups around the world will seek to emulate.

Earlier, police estimated that about 150,000 people had attended a rally in the Serbian capital. The crowd waved Serbian flags and carried signs reading “Stop USA terror.” One group set fire to a red-and-black Albanian flag. Most of Kosovo’s population is ethnic Albanian.

U.S. Navy Missile Destroys Dangerous Satellite

February 21, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 21, 2008

The United States Navy launched a missile that destroyed a dangerous satellite last night, high over the Pacific Ocean.

One missile; one hit.

Pentagon sources told Peace and Freedom that China requested all data on the event “almost immediately; within a few hours.”

The satellite, USA 193, was passing over the Pacific Ocean at about 17,000 miles per hour and at an altitude of about 130 miles.  It was hit by an SM-3 Missile launched by sailors aboard USS Lake Erie.

A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from a guided-missile ...
A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from a guided-missile cruiser in an image courtesy of the U.S. Navy. A missile from a U.S. Navy warship hit a defunct U.S. spy satellite 133 nautical miles (247 km) above the Earth in an attempt to blow apart its tank of toxic fuel, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout 

From missile launch to satellite destruction the mission time elapsed was only about three minutes.

The Navy announced that various sensors detected a “large explosion.”  Sensor analysts believe the fuel tank of the satellite had been hit as intended because they witnessed that “large explosion” but the Navy said computer analysis to confirm those first impressions would take about 24 hours.

The satellite’s fuel tank contained about 1,000 pounds of toxic hydrazine rocket fuel.

The Bush Administration said the mission was solely to destroy that dangerous hydrazine fuel.  President Bush made the decision to schedule the mission.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the launch decision based upon information provided to him by military advisors last night.
The U.S. Navy may make its first attempt to shoot down an errant ... 

The mission was carried out, a spokesman said, because of the danger posed if some of that hydrazine survived reentry and landed on earth.  The hydrazine could have harmed humans and animals on earth.

“Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days,” a military spokesman said. 

Military analyst John Pike said the satellite, immediately after the missile hit, would be mostly “gravel.”
“A network of land, air, sea and space-based sensors confirms that the U.S. military intercepted a nonfunctioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite, which was in its final orbits before entering the Earth’s atmosphere,” a Pentagon statement said.

Those same sensors will be used to monitor debris as it enters the earth’s atmosphere.

The SM-3 missile alone cost nearly $10 million, and officials estimated that the total cost of the project was at least $30 million.  The satellite cost about one billion dollars but it failed in 2006 just after it was launched into space.

“But if you kill something dangerous heading for people on earth; what is the right amount to spend?” a military officer asked rhetorically.


From the Washington Post:
Navy Missile Hits Satellite

From Associated Press Military Writer Robert Burns:
Navy Missile Destroys Dying Satellite

Peace and Freedom Note: People that know me have seen me follow Navy missile evolution for about 30 years.  In 1991, when Saddam Hussein launched SCUD ballistic missiles, we detected and tracked those from U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf.  Subsequently, we were involved in the initial concept development for Navy ballistic missile defense.  Last night’s missile destruction of a dangerous satellite was one more step in the development of missile defense, first envisioned by President Ronald Reagan.

On March 23, 1983, President Reagan announced from the Oval Office, “I’ve reached a decision which offers a new hope for our children in the 21st century.” He explained his vision — and his defense budget’s inclusion — of the first funds to go toward this nation’s missile defense effort.
Liberals, and most of the media, derided the president’s project as “star wars.” Since 1983, America’s Missile Defense effort has become a multinational, multi-system effort: it has reached into space and it has come down to earth and the sea.

An undated image of Earth as seen from space. The U.S. Navy ...

Navy Missile Hits Satellite

February 21, 2008

 By Marc Kaufman and Josh White  
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 21, 2008; Page A01

A missile fired from a Navy cruiser in the Pacific Ocean hit an out-of-control spy satellite falling toward Earth last night, Pentagon officials said.

They said that a single SM-3 missile fired from the USS Lake Erie hit the satellite at 10:26 p.m. Eastern time. The missile struck the dead satellite about 150 miles above Earth as it traveled in orbit at more than 17,000 mph.

Military officials had hoped to rupture the satellite’s fuel tank to prevent 1,000 pounds of hydrazine from crashing to Earth, a situation they depicted as potentially hazardous for people on the ground. It was unclear last night whether the missile hit was able to break up the fuel tank, but Pentagon officials said they hope to determine that within 24 hours.

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Weather may delay satellite shot

February 20, 2008
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON – High seas in the north Pacific may force the Navy to wait another day before launching a heat-seeking missile on a mission to shoot down a wayward U.S. spy satellite, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Weather conditions are one of many factors that U.S. military officers are taking into account as they decide whether to proceed with the mission Wednesday or to put it off, according to a senior military officer who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on condition that he not be identified.

The officer said the assumption had been that the mission would go forward Wednesday night, unless conditions are determined to be unfavorable. Earlier in the day, bad weather in the north Pacific was causing rough seas, which may be a problem for the USS Lake Erie, a cruiser armed with two SM-3 missiles.

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China Cracking Down on Human Rights; Ignoring Olympic Pledge

January 8, 2008

By Dan Martin 

BEIJING (AFP) – China‘s arrest of a prominent rights campaigner is part of an increasing crackdown on critics that breaks promises it made to land the Olympics, said activists who called for world pressure on Beijing.

File photo shows a policeman (C) keeping watch in Tiananmen ...
File photo shows a policeman (C) keeping watch in Tiananmen Square with paramilitary police close by in Beijing. China’s arrest of a prominent rights campaigner is part of an increasing crackdown on critics that breaks promises it made to land the Olympics, said activists who called for world pressure on Beijing.
(AFP/File/Peter Parks) 

The arrest of Hu Jia, who was taken from his Beijing home on December 27, is the latest example of efforts by China’s communist rulers to intimidate critics so that voices of dissent are not heard during the August Games, they said.

“Within the last two weeks… the police have began detaining and putting under house arrest dozens of activists, outspoken intellectuals and human rights lawyers,” the China Human Rights Defenders, a network of domestic and foreign activists, said in a report released on the weekend.

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