Home > News > News in Brief: 26 November 2009

News in Brief: 26 November 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Yemen: Five killed in separatist protest in south. Five people were killed when security forces clashed with separatists in southern Yemen on Wednesday, as the government faced further conflict with militants in the north. Witnesses said security forces had tried to break up a demonstration of around 1,000 people in the city of Ataq in Shabwa province after separatists held a rally in favour of the former south Yemeni state which was united with Sanaa in 1990. Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia denied reports that its military crossed into Yemeni territory to attack Shia militants. (AKI)

Taliban’s Omar rejects Karzai call for talks: statement. Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of Afghanistan’s Taliban militia, on Wednesday rejected a call from President Hamid Karzai for peace talks, in a statement issued ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Karzai was inaugurated last week after winning a fraud-tainted August poll and used a speech to again call for the Taliban to rejoin the political process in Afghanistan, where about 100,000 US and NATO troops are stationed. (AFP)

A good old-fashioned space rush. What could get industry and government alike motivated to support human space exploration? Jim Gagnon suggests it might be the space equivalent of a land rush. There’s a tremendous opportunity in space right now, a rare alignment of technology and interests that only comes once every couple of generations. What’s missing is something to push it over the edge and get it flying, to pique people’s and industry’s interests in such a way that it takes off and is sustainable. In the wake of the Augustine report, many articles have been written discussing where to go and what launchers to use, but the most important aspect—the political one—has gotten scant attention. (The Space Review)

Moscow retreats from Ukraine bypass strategy. Russia has made clear that the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines will not be used to divert gas from Ukraine’s transit pipelines to Europe, a change of stance that will be welcomed by Moscow-friendly parties in Ukraine before January’s presidential election campaign. (Asia Times)

Pakistan’s forex reserves fall to $13.90 billion. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $13.90 billion in the week that ended on Nov. 21 from $14.12 billion the previous week, the central bank said on Thursday… An International Monetary Fund (IMF) emergency loan package of $7.6 billion agreed in November helped avert a balance of payments crisis and shore up reserves. The IMF, which increased the loan to $11.3 billion in July, has disbursed more than $5 billion. (Dawn)

Training the Afghan army. A perceptive American military officer told the Washington Post that “Having US troops enforcing martial law where they don’t understand the people or speak the language — this is a recipe for disaster.” Quite so. (Although his use of the phrase “martial law” is a trifle disconcerting.) And the same applies to the training of the Afghan army and police force. The training and “mentoring” of Afghan troops and policemen by foreign advisers (shades of Vietnam era condescension) are inadequate. First, the training is conducted by different nations, none of which have similar instructional methods. Indeed the foreign armies in Afghanistan don’t even have compatible rules of engagement, communications systems, logistics arrangements, equipment, command structures or domestic political imperatives. (Daily Times)

German General Resigns Over Afghan Air Strike. The head of the German armed forces resigned Thursday over accusations that the military withheld information on a deadly airstrike in Afghanistan in September that killed civilians as well as insurgents. (New York Times)

Turkey: Coup trial deepens schism between bar associations. The first time the dichotomy surfaced was on Apr. 27, 2007, when the General Staff released an electronic memorandum warning against fundamentalist religious movements being on the rise. Following the statement, bar associations from big cities — notably İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir — released messages of support, while 22 bar associations in smaller Anatolian towns spoke out against the interventionist statement. (Today’s Zaman)

Estimated Nuclear Weapons Locations 2009. The world’s approximately 23,300 nuclear weapons are stored at an estimated 111 locations in 14 countries, according to an overview produced by FAS and NRDC. Nearly half of the weapons are operationally deployed with delivery systems capable of launching on short notice. (FAS Strategic Security Blog)

INDIA: Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal on Track, But Kinks Remain. As Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wound down his state visit to the United States, Indian analysts say a major achievement has been ensuring that the civilian nuclear agreement between the two countries is on track. (IPS)

Bush-Style Military Spending Not Over Yet. In the Bush administration’s last year, it devoted 87% of our security dollars to the military. In the first Obama budget that figure is: 87%. The needle hasn’t moved. At all. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Pak will give evidence of India’s role in Balochistan unrest: Gilani. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Pakistan will produce evidence of India’s alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in the tribal areas and Balochistan when there is a need to do so… Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have dismissed the charges and said Pakistan has nothing to fear from India. (Times of India)

Bombs shake Iraq before Muslim holiday. A series of bombings in Iraq, just before a major Muslim holiday, killed at least six people and wounded 44 others on Thursday. (CNN)

Writing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the 21st Century: A New Generation of Historical Manga. This article addresses the struggles of two manga artists, Kōno Fumiyo and Nishioka Yuka, who attempt to portray the unprecedented tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a contemporary audience, and how they come to terms with their authority to write this history as non-hibakusha. (Japan Focus)

Russia to deploy more S-400 air defense systems. Moscow says it intends to deploy another five air-defense battalions, fitted with the highly sophisticated S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems next year. Russia announced earlier in August that it had deployed an S-400 battalion near its far east border to counter a potential threat by North Korea’s missile tests. (PressTV)

‘Iran can take legal action over Russian missiles’. Iran can take legal action against Russia if it fails to honour a deal to supply Tehran with an advanced air defence missile system, a top general said on Tuesday. Russia, Tehran’s sole ally among world powers, has so far not delivered the S-300 missiles to Tehran, in a delay which Iranian officials blame on growing pressure on Moscow from Washington and Iran’s arch-foe Israel. (The News)

Google puts Iraq’s treasures online. For six years the plundered treasures of Iraq’s national museum have been slowly returning, giving the once grand institution a chance to showcase its ancient wares once again. Now, perhaps as a safeguard against another invasion, but also in recognition of its priceless heritage, Google is to make available online 14,000 images of the museum and its artefacts. The internet company is boasting that the digitised catalogue will amount to a virtual online tour of a place that was once home to objects spanning 5,000 years. (The Hindu)

Somali pirates release ship for $3.7million. Somali pirates said they had released a Greek cargo vessel and its Ukrainian crew after a payment of $3.7 million more than six months after it was captured in the Indian Ocean. (Times of India)

Ex-Soviet states see threat of Afghan spillover. Afghanistan’s Taliban may seek to establish a foothold in ex-Soviet Central Asia to recruit supporters and disrupt supplies for US troops in Afghanistan, regional security officials said on Tuesday. Former Soviet republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan act as transit nations for US Afghan supplies and all but Kazakhstan have reported armed clashes with Islamists this year. (The News)

Iraqis reach tentative agreement on elections law. Iraq’s political factions reached a tentative agreement Thursday on a contested law to organize parliamentary elections next year, potentially pulling the country back from crisis and avoiding another veto that could have delayed the vote for months. (Washington Post)

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