PLA building fleet of 100 large transport aircraft

China's Xian Y-20 large transportation aircraft. (Internet photo)

 

China is building a fleet of a hundred large transport aircraft that will be able to deploy troops all around the world, according to a Russian military expert.

In an article published Oct. 16 on the Russian Council website, Vasily Kashin, a China expert at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, says that the People’s Liberation Army hopes to complete the project by 2020.

To reach that goal, China is in the process of acquiring Il-76 multi-purpose four-engine strategic airlifters and Il-78 four-engined aerial refueling tankers from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and is also developing its own Xian Y-20 large military transport aircraft.

According to Kashin, the quality of China’s military technology has reached a new level, such that the PLA is now a modernized force capable of fighting a technically advanced war. The new generation PLA has a blue-water navy and maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans as well as a powerful strategic air force, he wrote. Continue reading

U.S. military urged to follow Canada’s transgender policy

The Canadian Forces has something the American military does not: a policy that allows transgender people to serve. In the U.S., Pentagon rules prohibit transgender members and if they’re discovered, the military can discharge them.

At a conference on Monday in Washington, D.C., Canada was held up as a model for the U.S. to follow, along with other countries that allow transgender members including Australia, the United Kingdom, Sweden and New Zealand.

Canadian Lt.-Cmdr. Nicole Lassaline spoke on a panel about Canada’s policies, medical and otherwise, and best practices, and Cpl. Natalie Murray shared her personal experience as a transsexual woman who transitioned from male to female while in the air force.

“I love my job,” Murray said in an interview. But despite Canada’s more accommodating policy, it still hasn’t been a smooth ride for her over the past decade.   Continue reading

Up to 34 MILLION blank ‘green cards’ and work permits to be ordered ahead of Obama illegal immigrant ‘amnesty’

  • An online draft proposal from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it will look for a vendor to supply the blank cards
  • At least 4 million per year for five years, including a possible 9 million in the early going
  • Document says the move is ‘to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements’
  • Obama has pledged to unilaterally change US immigration policy this year, but recently pushed back his timetable until after November 4 elections

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to seek a vendor to produce as many as 34 million blank work permits and ‘green cards’ – the paperwork that authorizes illegal immigrants to live and work in the United States – as the White House prepares to issue an executive order after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

According to a draft solicitation published online, the government agency will look for a company that can produce a minimum 4 million cards per year for five years, and 9 million in the early stages.

President Barack Obama has pledged that he will make a move on immigration reform this year. His original timetable called for a decision by the end of the summer. Continue reading

Polish ex-minister quoted saying Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland

Comments will heighten tensions between Poland and Russia, already at odds over the Ukrainian crisis and Poland’s arrest of two men suspected of spying for Moscow

Poland’s parliamentary speaker, Radoslaw Sikorski, has been quoted as saying that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, proposed to Poland’s then leader in 2008 that they divide Ukraine between themselves.

Mr Sikorski, who until September served as Poland’s foreign minister, was quoted telling American website Politico that Mr Putin made the proposal during a visit by Donald Tusk, then Polish prime minister, to Moscow in 2008 – although he later said some of the interview had been “overinterpreted”.

“He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine … This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Moscow,” he was quoted as saying in the interview.

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From reef to biggest island in Spratlys, and China’s not done yet at Fiery Cross

China has turned a strategically important reef into probably the biggest island in the Spratlys, Chinese scholars say, and the expansion is expected to continue.

Analysts said the continued expansion of Fiery Cross Reef, which China calls Yongshu Reef, is expected eventually to provide a vital outpost for Chinese military and civilian commercial activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, many of which are closer to other claimants’ coasts than to China’s.

Beijing has yet to openly admit its plans to artificially expand reefs in the sea into islands. Continue reading

Swedish submarine mystery: Navy widens search off Stockholm as Russia denies involvement

Swedish authorities have asked all civilian vessels to leave waters south of Stockholm as a major operation continues to try to track down a mystery foreign vessel.

In scenes reminiscent of the Cold War, Swedish ships and helicopters scoured the area in a hunt for what some observers think could be a Russian submarine.

Russia denies it has a vessel in the area.

Russia’s official government newspaper said either Sweden’s echo location equipment was faulty or “as the old saying goes, the eyes of fear see danger everywhere”. Continue reading

Obama Could Reduce Nuclear Arsenal Without Harming National Security: Disarmament Expert

WASHINGTON, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – The United States could securely reduce its nuclear arsenal below the new START agreement numbers through a unilateral action by President Barack Obama, without congressional authorization and without similar actions taken by Russia, Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies said Monday.

“In terms of things the US administration could do without the Senate… President Obama could go back to the June [2013] statement about the possibility of further reductions,” said Mukhatzhanova at the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association (ACA) in Washington, DC. Continue reading

Satellite launch center in Hainan mostly completed: report

China has largely completed construction of the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (WSLC) in the southern island province of Hainan, the nation’s fourth launch base and its first in a coastal area, which in the future will be able to launch missions for space stations, manned moon landings and Mars probes, People’s Daily Overseas Edition reports.

The WSLC, as the nation’s largest and most advanced launch site, will be able to launch the new, heavy Long March V rocket and other series under development, as well as launches for space station payloads and deep space exploration satellites. Continue reading

Swedish military releases photo of mysterious ‘foreign vessel’

Stockholm (AFP) – The Swedish military presented photographic evidence of a mysterious “foreign vessel” off the coast of Stockholm but rejected reports of being on the “hunt” for a damaged submarine.

Ever since the armed forces received a tip-off about a “man-made object” off the coast of Stockholm Friday, 200 men, several stealth ships, minesweepers and helicopters have been searching the sea around islands about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Swedish capital.

“This is not ours, it’s a foreign vessel,” Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad told reporters, pointing to a grainy photo taken Sunday morning by a “source” — the third such sighting since Friday.

“He saw something that was on the surface and after he took the picture it disappeared again.” Continue reading

Deadly Ukraine Crash: German Intelligence Claims Pro-Russian Separatists Downed MH17

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency says its review of the crash of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 in Ukrainian has concluded it was brought down by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists near Donetsk.

After completing a detailed analysis, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has concluded that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on July 19 in eastern Ukraine while on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Continue reading

Russia Making Major Push Into Mideast Market

DUBAI — Following a decade of “near-absence” in the Middle East, Russia is once again asserting itself as it looks to sell arms to former Soviet-era clients while breaking into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.

“Moscow’s policies again have become markedly more active,” said Dimitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “During his presidency, Vladimir Putin made trips to the region and paid a visit to Tehran, the first one since Stalin’s wartime allied conference journey.

“However, Russia’s policies are not yet embedded within some overall strategy and are largely driven by a set of pragmatic considerations. Russia’s principal objectives are to advance its economic interests and to counter threats to Russia’s national security,” Trenin wrote in a paper for the Washington-based Century Foundation.

Yuri Baramin, a UAE-based Russian political and military analyst, said the Russian approach to the Middle East can be described as a “wait and see approach.”

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Everything Is Awesome!

The world is burning, but you wouldn’t know it judging by statements coming from the White House.

America has “rarely been stronger,” President Barack Obama said on May 28. He believes critics who challenge that assessment are either misreading history or are partisan ideologues. “Our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative,” he said. “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come” (emphasis added throughout).

Even as the world burns, this administration’s unrelenting response has been: Everything is awesome!

On July 14, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “I think that there have been a number of situations in which you’ve seen this administration intervene in a meaningful way that has substantially furthered American interests and substantially improved the tranquility of the global community.”

Not to be outdone, Secretary of State John Kerry said this about the administration on July 20: “The United States of America has never been more engaged in helping to lead in more places than we are now.” He said that with “every fundamental issue of conflict today, the United States is in the center leading and trying to find an effort to make peace where peace is very difficult.”

“I think the American people ought to be proud of what this president has done in terms of peaceful, diplomatic engagement,” Kerry said. “I think the president’s on the right track and I think we have the facts to prove it.”

That is an extraordinary assessment of America’s foreign policy. Actually, when you really do look at the facts—both of the disorder enveloping several hot spots around the world, and of how much America is contributing to these problems—then the fact that the secretary of state would view the situation with pride is downright scary. Continue reading

Sweden intensifies search for suspected submarine near Stockholm

More than 200 men, Swedish stealth ships, minesweepers and helicopters have been searching an area of the Baltic Sea about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Swedish capital since Friday evening, following a tip-off from what the military called a “credible source”.

“I have decided to increase the number of units in the area — units with specialised sensors,” Commander Jonas Wikstroem told reporters at a press conference in Stockholm.

“We still judge that the information we received yesterday was very trustworthy,” he added, but declined to comment on what the military had discovered after more than 24 hours sweeping the sea around islands in Stockholm’s archipelago.

Swedish defence analysts cited by local media speculated that a foreign submarine may have been in the area to replace old spy equipment or to monitor a Swedish naval exercise. Continue reading

Russia to bolster military presence in former Soviet states

Air force chief announces plans for new air base in Belarus, as well as expansion of existing facilities in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The Moscow Times reports

The three nations are members of a loose Russia-dominated security alliance known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which has accelerated efforts to create a unified air defence network as the Ukraine crisis re-energises the West’s military powerhouse, Nato.

Even before the conflict in Ukraine, Russia under President Vladimir Putin had been making major efforts to re-establish its historical military presence in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Arctic and beyond. Negotiations with Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to establish bases for Russian strategic bombers are ongoing.

“By 2020… 47 airfields, including in Crimea in the Arctic, will be renovated under the state armaments programme,” Bondarev was quoted as saying by Interfax on Wednesday. By 2025, he added, the Russian air force will have restored and reopened over 100 military airbases.

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