Category: International

Areas of Military Technological Advancement

It is very important for the United States military to stay current in terms of their technology- falling behind and using equipment that is out-of-date could result in lives being lost. Therefore, the government is always exploring ways to improve their technology in a wide variety of areas. This has allowed them to earn the reputation of being the most advanced military in the world. Here are some of the areas of military technological advancement that America has been focusing on over the past several years.

1. Aircraft

The sophistication of American military aircraft has always been one of the things that sets it apart from other militaries around the world. That having been said, the United States can never just sit around and hope that other countries will not catch up to them. They are always looking for ways to make their planes more efficient in terms of flying reconnaissance and assault missions. The planes that are used by the Navy and the Air Force are faster and more maneuverable than the vast majority of planes that are used by other countries. They are also more fuel efficient. This is important because it means the planes will not need to return to their base as often to get more fuel.

2. Artillery

A military would not be anything without a large amount of powerful artillery at their disposal. The weapons that the U.S. military uses are getting more advanced every day. These advances have been put on display countless times during various military operations around the world. The large-caliber guns that are currently being used during operations in the Middle East have the capability to fire their ammunition at an incredibly fast rate. The speed with which these guns are able to fire has been increased significantly over the past several years. Also, the guns have been made much lighter in order to make them easier to transport.

3. Security

United States military bases will always be a prime target for terrorists. Therefore, their security is one of the primary concerns of the government. Many exciting pieces of technology have been developed in an effort to keep American military bases safe and secure. For example, barriers are used to prevent vehicles from being rammed through the gates of a military base. Truck bombs are often used by terrorists in these types of attacks. These barriers make such an attack impossible. Some of the best anti-ram vehicle barriers in the industry are made by a company called Gibraltar.

4. Body armor

Soldiers are inevitably going to be fired upon when they are involved in operations on enemy soil. Therefore, it is imperative that these soldiers are outfitted with body armor that is able to sufficiently protect them in the event that they are hit with a bullet or shrapnel from a bomb. Body armor has been around in various forms for many years. However, it has certainly come a long way in terms of its protective capabilities. The body armor that is issued to American soldiers can now stop bullets fired from guns that were previously thought to be unstoppable. This body armor is also designed to prevent knives from being able to penetrate it. It is not an exaggeration to say that these advances in body armor technology have already saved thousands of American lives.

Markets Are Fearing Iran’s Economic Return

For many investors, oil makes up a big chunk of their investments. Oil recently fell in value due to overproduction. Iran’s re-entry into the global oil market spells doom for Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other oil producing countries.

Investors both rejoiced and feared at the less-than-$30-a-barrel of oil.

Oil isn’t the biggest issue for many analysts. The country’s vast natural resources and a huge population of young consumers would upset the balance of supply and demand in the global market today.

On Wednesday, oil had extremely dropped in value upon the opening of the market. The US Dow Jones industrial average closed down by 1.56% after it failed twice earlier the same day.

Analysts view the US energy industry is the one to suffer heavily from the oil price drop from Iran. North Dakota and Texas are to suffer immensely with companies making u-turns in investments and costs as overproduction bears down on the industry.

However, lower oil prices could mean US consumers’ activities may increase. Consumer spending increases can help propel the US economy at a significant but limited rate.

Iran’s 30% population of investors ranging from 65 dollar-millionaires to 4 dollar-billionaires may also contribute to the US luxury properties market. As they are expected to improve the value of London’s properties, analysts said that for the US and Europe, property markets may improve the same manner Singapore and Hong Kong investors improved real estate in many Western countries.

World Anti-Doping Agency Boss Praises Organisation For Results On Russian Probe

Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, praised his organisation after it discovered the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was non-compliant with the international sport”s anti-doping code. Russia is indefinitely suspended from all international athletics competitions by the IAAF last Friday after WADA confirmed the state-sponsored systematic doping practices.

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Reedie said:

“The message is clear – there will now be greater focus on strengthening compliance work so all anti-doping organisations worldwide are held accountable to deliver robust anti-doping programs.

“Our priority is now on ensuring all our partners are fully compliant and have watertight anti-doping systems that protect clean athletes and reassure sports fans worldwide.

“Make no mistake, we will not rush this process of compliance, we will do it right – the integrity of sport is under threat.

“Anti-doping in sport is under the spotlight today like never before, and WADA, along with our partners, have begun the work needed on the road to recovery for Russia. The world is watching and we have acted.

“We will conduct the necessary meetings with the Russian authorities in respect of the non-compliance status of RUSADA that tests athletes in all sports within Russia.

“A WADA expert team will then meet with the task of ensuring the continuation of testing in Russia. Any information brought forward to me as a result will allow me to make a considered decision on whether or not to extend the independent commission”s mandate.

“The theme of the day has clearly been investigations. I will now write to all public authority stakeholders and ask them to make further contributions specifically to fund anti-doping investigations. Following any commitments made, I will then immediately approach the International Olympic Committee to seek matching funding.”

WADA’s requests for information were repeatedly turned down by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. This automatically merits RUSADA’s non-compliance, which disables Russian athletes from participating in international competitions.

“Northern Powerhouse” Deals To Come After China-Britain Talks

According to Prime Minister David Cameron, China is a crucial trading partner for the United Kingdom.

“.. the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north.”

The “Northern Powerhouse” deal is a government economic plan to open investments to Chinese investors to help the UK push forward economic growth to its maximum.

The North East Combined Authority will transfer powers over transport, strategic planning, employment and skills from the UK central government devolving to the region. In turn, it would build an investment fund with an initial allocation of £30m every year.

China-UK Relationship

As the UK and China are to agree on a number of partnerships to unlock Britain’s potential, China will assign a Beijing firm as a contractor for educational, infrastructure and public works development projects.

Included is the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester.

Xi and Cameron will attend the Hainan Airlines direct flight route from China to Britain.

Many described the leader of China’s first visit since 2005 monumental as it will bring about the “golden era” of Chinese-British diplomatic relations.

Breaking The Old Model

The devolution of powers from Whitehall England Chancellor George Osborne says is a solution to the broken model of “running everything” from central London.

“It has led to an unbalanced economy and made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives.”

He added: “I am determined to end this situation and I want to thank those civic leaders who want to work with us to achieve it.”

EU Leaders Agree On Plan To Share 120,000 Refugees

EU leaders approve plan to take in 120,000 refugees from Syria. However, this isn’t enough as the OECD predicts about one million refugees from Syria, Africa and Asia fleeing from war and persecution.

In a majority vote, EU leaders have agreed European countries would share portions of the refugee numbers.

According to EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, it was about time EU showed what it meant with responsibility and solidarity.

The decision comes at a crucial time where the refugee crisis revealed deep cracks in the European bloc with plenty of countries disagreeing with each other, particularly with refugee quotas and safeguarding borders.

The 120,000 refugee numbers are dwarfed by Germany’s own efforts to safeguard about 800,000 refugees. German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it a point to exclude those seeking asylum for their country’s poor economic performance.

The OECD predicts about one million refugees. However, estimates show about 350,000 to 450,000 guaranteed to reach Europe in the coming months.

The spur of refugee efforts come after the photo of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on the beaches of a Turkish resort became viral and struck the ire of plenty of individuals in the Internet.

BP Challenged on Page Count Tricks

In a new embarrassment for BP in a case relating to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the oil giant has been reprimanded by a US judge for using tactics that would “not be appropriate for a college term paper”. This latest embarrassment comes just weeks after BP were accused of turning their backs on The North Sea in favour or Russia.

The judge’s comments were prompted when examining a submission by BP’s lawyers. BP had been permitted to make a written response to a ruling earlier this month by Judge Carl Barbier that had found BP grossly negligent over the Gulf of Mexico disaster. The ruling left BP potentially liable for civil fines of over $18 billion, and so the judge had allowed a response of up to 35 pages with the lines double spaced. When he came to read the document submitted however he found that the firm had “abused the page limit by reducing the line spacing to slightly less than double spaced”, effectively fitting another six pages worth of text into the submission.

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Judge Barbier wrote that “The court should not have to waste its time policing such simple rules – particularly in a case as massive and complex as this.” He reprimanded BP in his ruling and warned them that any future attempts to use these tactics would see their briefs dismissed immediately. He continued, “Counsel are expected to follow the court’s orders both in letter and spirit. The court should not have to resort to imposing character limits, etc., to ensure compliance.”

“Counsel’s tactic would not be appropriate for a college term paper. It certainly is not appropriate here.”

This stinging rebuke only adds to BP’s discomfort after being found reckless in the run up to the Gulf of Mexico spill and in having allowed millions of barrels of oil to flood into the water because of its own gross negligence and wilful misconduct. Under the Clean Water Act, BP could be liable for $17.6 billion, which would push the total bill to BP well over the $43 billion that they are believed to have so far accounted for. They had only set aside $3.5 billion to deal with potential fines.

Ukraine and Russia Reach Permanent Ceasefire.

The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had announced that Russia and Ukraine had reached a permanent ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine. News about the ceasefire had bolstered stock markets in both countries.

The statement said “mutual understanding was achieved concerning the steps which will enable the establishment of peace.”

However, some political analysts see it as a concession of Ukraine against the Russian-backed separatist forces. Telegraph’s Roland Oliphant said that if the ceasefire is confirmed by Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, then Poroshenko had conceded that he cannot win against the separatists.

Oliphant also pointed out that Moscow gains the advantage of having a “frozen conflict” in Ukraine that would help establish a break-away state with the help of Russia itself.

Meanwhile, it would mean a cease of activities in South Ukraine as suspected Russian forces would be joining the pro-Russian rebels in the conflict. So far, pro-Russian rebel offensives were capable of overpowering Ukrainian troops and were almost to a point to capture Mariupol, a crucial port city.

Russia extensively denies its involvement in the fighting within Eastern Ukraine.

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Matteo Renzi May Succeed Enrico Letta Upon Resignation

The newest and youngest Italian Democratic Party President Matteo Renzi may replace resigning Prime Minister Enrico Letta. The charismatic young leader would be the youngest prime minister since the Italian Republic was formed if he is to succeed Letta. However, despite his fame and his youthful approach to politics, many people are still uncertain if Renzi may actually pull Italy out of its current economic situation.

Matteo Renzi had become the youngest president of the Democratic Party and had been very critical about the government of Prime Minister Letta for the last few years.

Italy’s economy is looking bleak with unemployment levels, especially in the youth populace, very high. It was earlier predicted to have an economic improvement for 2014, yet consumer confidence and wages still remain at very low levels.
According to economic and political analysts, Renzi’s possible government will be facing much trouble. Hildebrandt and Ferrar Chief Economist Javier Noriega said that Renzi may have promises that boosted his fame and popularity with Italians, but there are little concrete factors as to how he would accomplish this.

Enrico Letta’s resignation would shake markets as changes in economic policies would mean unpredictable changes and overhauls for many investors, businesses and markets.

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EU Foreign Chief Says Syrian Chemical Attack a War Crime

European Union Foreign Chief Catherine Ashton said that the EU considers the chemical attack that claimed over 1,400 civilian lives a war crime. She said that the EU condemns the attack and wants action, but ensure that the response is only “strong but without impunity”.

According to the spokeswoman, the EU believes that the Syrian government is behind the attack as well. However, the EU warns the US and other attack supporters that no attack must take place without clearance from the United Nations Security Council.

UN weapons inspectors are now in Damascus investigating the debris and possible damages from the chemical attack.

The comments of the EU came right after American President Barack Obama said that the attack on Syria will not be similar to what happened to Iraq and Afghanistan. As the administration earns the vote of the US Congress, Obama promised that the attack will be limited in the scope and the time needed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any illegal attack on Syria will force Russia to protect the country with a missile shield. Putin also blames the Syrian rebels for the use of chemical weapons. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Putin’s argument was quite hard to believe.

Gigantic Earthquake Shakes New Zealand With No Casualties

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand leaves many homes, buildings and windows shattered into Wellington’s downtown streets but produced no casualties on Sunday. Aftershocks had people fearing for their lives thinking that the city has now finally experienced the biggest earthquake it had for years.

New Zealand Authorities said that the earthquake had many buildings crack. Road sections near the harbours and beaches have fallen into the sea. Yet, authorities said these damages were only superficial in nature.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said that most of the earthquake buildings only suffered minor injuries. Wellington did not have any grave structural damages and is “relatively unscathed” from the earthquake. The earthquake happened beyond office hours, as the business district had no bustling activity on Sunday.

Emergency workers launch a major clean-up operation to clear the streets of debris on Sunday. Road blocks were set as workers cleaned up. Wellington’s residents and workers feared for the worst after the earthquake. They remain on-guard against other aftershocks.

New Zealand has its own share of earthquake horrors. The city of Christchurch had a devastating earthquake in 2011 that killed 185 people in the island city.

According to experts, Wellington lies within five major fault lines. Seismologist Stephen Bannister said that the earthquake’s epicentre was not the city, allowing it to escape Christchurch’s fate.