Monday, July 5, 2010
A source at the U.S. base in Bagram, told Press TV on condition of anonymity that the U.S. and British spies have employed renowned American film editors to produce the video.
Pressure is mounting on Iran over its nuclear programme and the United States has stepped up its push to isolate Tehran economically. On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed into law far-reaching sanctions that aim to squeeze the Islamic Republic's fuel imports and deepen its international isolation.
"Since last week, our planes have been refused fuel at airports in Britain, Germany and UAE because of the sanctions imposed by America," Mehdi Aliyari, Secretary of the Iranian Airlines Union, told Iran's ISNA news agency.
The claim could not be independently confirmed and was met by scepticism. None of the three countries has announced any such ban, although officials could not rule out private firms refusing to fuel Iranian planes because of US measures.
A British government spokesman said it was unaware of any Iranian planes being denied fuel in Britain. The German transport ministry said there was no ban on refuelling Iranian aircraft, and an airport in the United Arab Emirates said it was honouring contracts to fill Iranian aircraft normally.
Gala Riani at IHS Global Insight said any measure targeting the provision of fuel to Iranian flights would seem a "very strict reading" of the new US sanctions law. She said it would not necessarily be the kind of measures the legislation, which is more directed at trade in fuel, aimed to achieve.
"I'd be cautious to jump to any conclusions," she said about the Iranian news agency report.
A spokeswoman for Abu Dhabi Airports (ADAC) in the UAE capital said: "We have contracts with Iranian passenger flights and continue to allow refuelling."
Fuel traders from three different international firms said they had heard of no ban on jet fuel sales to Iranian aircraft at UAE airports. Said one trader: "You can't allow a plane to land and then not let it buy fuel."
Germany's Transport Ministry said the refuelling of Iranian planes was not banned under EU or UN sanctions, nor was any such ban foreseeable. "There is no ban," a spokesman for the ministry said, adding that he could not comment on whether any individual providers were refusing to fuel Iranian aircraft.
Although the British authorities were not aware of any Iranian aircraft having been denied fuel, a government source said: "It is a commercial decision for companies to take how they respond to the US legislation."
UAE TIGHTENS FINANCIAL RULES
The claim followed steps by the UAE this month to tighten its crucial role as a trading and financial lifeline for Iran. The UAE Central Bank asked financial institutions to freeze the accounts of 40 entities and an individual blacklisted by the UN for assisting Iran's nuclear or missile programmes.
The US action and other measures planned by the European Union go well beyond a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran approved on June 9.
Over the past weeks a number of countries and firms have cut back on their imports of Iranian crude oil. More companies have also stopped providing Iran with refined petroleum which Tehran needs to import to meet domestic demand.
Iran is the world's fifth-largest oil producer, but imports various oil products for lack of sufficient refining capacity.
The US measures, unlike the UN sanctions, target Iranian imports of refined products.
A State Department press officer in Washington was able to comment on Monday, a US holiday, on whether the new US sanctions barred firms abroad from refuelling Iranian air craft.
Western powers believe Iran is trying to build bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear programme. Tehran says the programme is only for electricity generation and medical purposes. Aliyari said that so far Iran Air, the national carrier, and Mahan Airlines had run into refuelling problems. "Refusing to provide fuel to Iranian passenger planes by these countries is a violation of international conventions," he added.
An Iranian lawmaker said his country would retaliate against countries denying fuel to its planes: "Iran will do the same to ships and planes of those countries that cause problems for us," ISNA quoted Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh as saying.
The world’s most modern and eco-efficient passenger aircraft in service today, the A380, will fly every day whilst the A400M will demonstrate its versatility and manoeuvrability from Monday to Thursday.
Both aircraft will be on static display alongside Airbus’ newest aircraft, the A330 freighter which will enter service later this summer, and the C295 twin-turboprop military transport aircraft. On Saturday July 24th, the smallest member of the Airbus Family range, an A318 will also be on static display
The Airbus Press Conference, followed by an Airbus Military briefing will take place on Monday July 19th at 11:00 in the Cody Room at the airshow Media Centre. Media are welcome to visit the EADS Press Chalet located at Row C, 24-26. Notice of any announcements during the week will be posted in the Media centre as well as the EADS Press Chalet.
During the week, visitors can see Airbus’ range of aircraft products in Hall 4 (stand G12). The stand will feature a 1:20 scale cut away section model of the A350 XWB and also an A350 XWB surround vision cinema. There will also be interactive tools highlighting the entire range of Airbus products including the freighter Family.
On the military side, there will be a 1:25 scale model of the world’s preferred refuelling aircraft, the A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport), and an actual size A400M fuselage section with videos showing the aircraft’s operational capabilities. Furthermore, a multimedia surface demonstrates the deployment capabilities of the entire Airbus Military aircraft family, which also includes the Light an Medium C212, the CN235 and the C295.
The Airbus tent next to the static displays will also host an exhibit of photographs taken by school children to highlight the United Nation’s International Year of Biodiversity, which Airbus is supporting.
Information about the show will be updated daily and available on the Airbus corporate website, www.airbus.com.
Contacts for the media:
Head of Media Relations
Tel.: +33 5.61 93 42 99
Fax: +33 5.61 93 38 36
Media Relations Airbus Military
Tel.: +34 91.5 85 77 88
Fax: +34 91.5 85 72 64
"The Israelis have three options: they will either apologize or acknowledge an international-impartial inquiry and its conclusion. Otherwise, our diplomatic ties will be cut off," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the paper on Sunday.
The statement comes a week after Davutoglu and Israeli Trade Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer discussed the attack on the Freedom Flotilla during a "secret meeting" in Brussels, with Davutoglu repeating Ankara's call for Tel Aviv to apologize for the attack.
Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish vessel in neutral waters off the Gaza coast, killing 9 people and inuring dozens. Eight of those killed were Turks. The ninth person killed was a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent. Following the raid, large-scale anti-Israeli protests took place in Istanbul and Ankara, with Turkey recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv and closing its airspace for Israeli military planes.
"We showed them an exit. If they apologize as a result of their own investigation's conclusion, that would be fine for us. But of course we first have to see this," Davutoglu said.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would neither apologize nor pay compensation to the relatives of the victims.
In such a case, Davutoglu told Hurriyet, ties between the two countries "will never be repaired" and the "process of isolation will continue."
Israel began an investigation of the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in late June. The country has rejected numerous calls to set up an international inquiry into the raid, but has invited Northern Irish Nobel Prize laureate David Trimble and the former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Forces, Ken Watkin, to monitor the Israeli investigation committee's activities.
The Israeli military have also been ordered to conduct separate probes into the raid.
*Turkey closes its airspace for Israeli planes
*Turkey says will revise ties with Israel if receives no apologies over Freedom Flotilla assault
*Turkey calls for international sanctions on Israel
*Turkey may cut Israel ties to minimum - deputy PM
*Incident with the Freedom Flotilla. Israel Defense Forces video
*Israeli naval commandos storm pro-Palestinian flotilla; killing 9
*Israeli navy attacks Pro-Palestinian aid flotilla; 2 killed
A Pakistani Frontier Corps soldier in South Waziristan, where the army is fighting militants.
The bullet through his neck from aTaliban militant had narrowly missed an artery, and after some minor surgery, the army medics declared the patient, Sepoy Aziz, out of danger.
In an offensive nearly two years old, the Pakistani Army has been fighting Taliban militants in the nation’s tribal areas and beyond, and like the United States across the border in Afghanistan, it is finding counterinsurgency warfare tougher, and more costly, than anticipated.
Months after declaring victory on several important fronts, including in South Waziristan and the Swat Valley, the army has been forced to reopen campaigns after militants seeped back in. True victory remains elusive. Soldiers like Sepoy Aziz — a sepoy is the rough equivalent of a private — are killed and wounded almost daily.
Much like the challenge facing American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, an absence of Pakistani civilian authority has made it nearly impossible to consolidate military gains. While eliminating some Pakistani Taliban insurgents, the long campaign has dispersed many other fighters, forcing the Pakistani Army in effect to chase them from one part of the tribal areas to another.
As the campaign drags on, the Pakistani military relies more and more on American-supplied F-16 fighter jets and Cobra helicopter gunships to bomb militants in areas of treacherous terrain, increasing civilian casualties, according to reporters and Pakistani officials in the tribal areas.
Many of the Pakistani Taliban fighters organize and rest here in North Waziristan under the protection of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Afghan Taliban leader who runs a network of several thousand fighters of his own.
Allied with the Taliban and backed by Al Qaeda, the Haqqani group makes up a significant part of the insurgency in Afghanistan, too, and American officials have pressed the Pakistani Army for an offensive against them. But for now the brunt of the effort against Al Qaeda and the Haqqani fighters is borne by American drone strikes launched withPakistan’s acquiescence.
The Pakistani Army says it is too overwhelmed tamping down the Taliban on other fronts in the tribal areas to take on a full-blown campaign in North Waziristan. There is truth to the Pakistani concern about being overstretched, American officials said.
But there are also deep suspicions that Pakistan’s military and intelligence service use Mr. Haqqani’s force to exert influence in Afghanistan, and keep India at bay.
The Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has even offered to help broker a deal between the Haqqani group and the Afghan government as part of an Afghanistan peace settlement, according to Pakistani and American officials.
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 troops have been killed in the last two years fighting the Pakistani Taliban, the military says. In South Waziristan, Taliban fighters operating in groups of 4 to 15 regularly hit Pakistani soldiers, army officers said. The Taliban use classic guerrilla tactics — sniper fire, roadside bombs, ambushes — and their innate knowledge of the terrain to great advantage, they said.
“The terrorists have been raised here; they can find their way around blind,” said Maj. Shahzad Saleem, as small gunfire sounded around the hills near Nawazkot where Sepoy Aziz was shot.
More than 120,000 farmers, shopkeepers, women and children who were ordered to leave South Waziristan at the start of the offensive were expected to be back home by now. But the lands here remain devoid of any residents, and the fruit trees laden with summer apricots are untouched.
The civilians will be allowed back in stages, starting in about two weeks, and their return will be carried out under the guidance of the army, said Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, the commander of the army’s 11th Corps.
In other parts of the tribal areas to the north, and in the adjacent Swat Valley, which was reclaimed by the army from the Taliban last summer, the Pakistani Army faces similar problems.
Two parts of the tribal region that Pakistani Army commanders had said were secure, Bajaur and Mohmand, have come under renewed attacks from the militants in the past month.
The Taliban resurfaced in Bajaur, warning the few residents who had returned not to challenge them. In Mohmand, a border post was taken over by the Taliban after 60 Pakistani soldiers of the Frontier Corps ran out of ammunition — and nerve, according to a senior army commander — when several hundred militants operating from Afghanistan attacked.
A “peaceful heaven” mural at a Taliban hideout was said to be used to educate suicide bombers.
Civilian casualties have become harder to ignore. In April, the head of the army, General Kayani, in a rare statement of apology, acknowledged that more than 70 tribesmen had been killed after what he said were inadvertent aerial strikes against a house in Khyber belonging to a tribal elder loyal to the government.
A senior Pakistani military official said, “There have been no reports of large numbers of civilians who have become casualties.”
The Pakistani Army opened what it thought would be its final front against the Taliban in March when it deployed five army battalions backed by F-16 jets in an offensive in Orakzai, a part of the tribal areas that became a refuge for Taliban displaced by the campaign in South Waziristan. It has also become a critical staging ground for the Taliban and other militants groups to penetrate the adjacent Punjab Province.
In June, General Kayani visited Orakzai and congratulated the troops at what was reported as a victory ceremony. But since then Pakistani fighter jets, attack helicopters and artillery have continued to bomb Orakzai, causing civilian casualties in villages close to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, formerly the North-West Frontier Province, according to local residents. “You can hear bombardments day and night from our house,” a prominent landowner in Hangu said.
According to the account of the landowner, who declined to be identified because of fear of repercussions from the military, seven women and children were killed in May during an air attack on the village of Shahu Khel.
“There had been firing between the militants and the army and the next day three helicopters were shelling the village,” the landowner said. “There was constant bombardment at about 4 p.m.” The bodies of three women and seven children were taken to the Civil Hospital in Hangu, he said.
According to reports that appeared in Pakistan’s leading English-language newspaper, Dawn, 226 civilians have been killed in the fighting and aerial bombardment in Orakzai since the campaign started in late March.
The United States is satisfied that Pakistan is using the American warplanes and helicopters in an appropriate manner, an American military spokesman said. Washington was pleased that General Kayani apologized for the deaths in Khyber, the spokesman said.
“In our view the Pakistani Air Force continues to make a concerted effort to minimize collateral damage and fully understand the impact these kinds of incidents can ultimately have on their counterinsurgency efforts,” he said.
The drills began on June 29 in Russia's Far East training areas and involved some 10,000 troops and around 1,000 items of military hardware. The first phase of the drills ended on Saturday. The second, naval phase will see the involvement of several times more service personnel and military equipment. The exercises continue until July 8.
Apart from the Pyotr Veliky cruiser of the Russian Northern Fleet, the drills also involve the Guards guided missile cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet.
As many as 12,500 troops took part in last year's intermediate drills, while the previous large-scale Vostok 2008 drills involved more than 8,000 troops.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, earlier said this year's strategic drills would include the firing of live ammunition, simulated airborne assaults and amphibious assault landings.
As part of the drills, the Armed Forces will practice the deployment of additional troops in Siberia and the Far East to reinforce the existing military contingent in the region in case of a military conflict.
Makarov stressed that the Vostok 2010 drills were not aimed against any country.
"This exercise...is not directed against any specific country or military-political bloc. It has a purely defensive nature in ensuring the security and national interests of the [Russian] state in the Far East," he said.
Russia holds Vostok strategic command-and-staff drills every two years.
*First stage of Russia’s Vostok 2010 military drills ends
*Chinese military officials attend Vostok-2010 drills in Russia
*Pacific Fleet ships join military drills in Russia's Far East
*Large-scale military maneuver drills kick off in Russia's Far East
*Russia starts large-scale military drills in Far East
For more than two decades, much of the work of the Shanghai office of Japan’s Osaka Prefecture was helping small Japanese parts suppliers join the shift of manufacturing capacity from their high-cost homeland to far cheaper China.
These days staff spend more time helping small to medium enterprises make contact with Chinese customers so they can make up for a dearth of Japanese domestic demand, says office chief representative Katsuaki Tanaka.
“In the past, China was called the world’s workshop – now it’s the world’s market,” Mr Tanaka says. “And (Japanese) companies of all types want to operate in this market.”
Shifting demands on Mr Tanaka’s time are part of a historic broadening and deepening of the economic relationship between East Asia’s pre-eminent powers.Even the most cautious Japanese companies are keenly aware of China’s potential as a source of sales, a message highlighted by Beijing’s success in mustering its financial resources to shrug off the effects of the global economic slowdown. The growing sophistication of Chinese manufacturing and the maturity of Japanese-invested operations means industrial supply chains are ever more tightly enmeshed. China is no longer just a cheap place to do final assembly of Japanese products for shipment elsewhere.
“Previously, parts and intermediate products came in and finished goods were exported to Japan but now the flow goes both ways,” says Yasuo Onishi, president of the Shanghai office of the Japan External Trade Organisation.
China looks likely to surpass Japan as the world’s second-largest economy in market dollar terms this year. Chinese per capita incomes remain low but plenty of urban consumers are able to sample high-value goods and services.
Japanese businesses from restaurants and resorts, to pharmaceuticals providers and sake brewers look to tap into Chinese growth. New investment in Shanghai is mostly in the service sector, says Mr Onishi.
Japan’s advanced environmental technology means it could well play a central role in China’s efforts to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
But while China replaced the US as Japan’s biggest export market last year, Japanese groups face problems. Companies from Japan operating in China are keen to expand but the proportion mak ing a profit there has fallen in the past 50 years to just above 50 per cent in 2009, says a Jetro survey. Japanese businesses in China appear vulnerable to labour unrest and their technological edge could be eroded by Beijing’s demands that they share secrets with local partners.
Still, the rise of cash-rich Chinese companies eager to expand abroad has created another role for Osaka Prefecture’s Shanghai office. “We are trying to get Chinese enterprises to invest in Osaka,” notes Mr Tanaka.
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton attended the signing Saturday during a visit to the southern Polish city of Krakow.
With the agreement signed two years ago, the Bush administration had focused on protecting the U.S. against long-range intercontinental missiles with stationary interceptor rockets.
Since then, the U.S. has re-evaluated the threat from Iran, which Clinton says is developing short- and medium-range missiles capable of hitting Europe faster than previously thought.
Under the amended agreement, Poland will, starting in 2018, host a U.S. base, equipped with mobile interceptor rockets that can protect against missile attacks from any range.
Clinton expressed hope that Russia would drop its opposition to a U.S. missile defence system in Europe and accept an offer to co-operate in developing technologies for shooting down hostile weapons.
"The offer stands," she told a news conference after the signing, adding that the revised agreement would pose no threat to Russia.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said his country fully supports the amended plan.
The Ministry of Interior said Sunday that 10 other men involved in the drug trade, including some foreigners, were arrested in a two-day operation conducted by a counternarcotics unit assisted by coalition forces along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.
The ministry said 14 Afghan civilians being held by the militants and smugglers were freed during the operation that ended Sunday at Baramcha in southern Helmand province.
Authorities said they also confiscated a cache of weapons, explosives and suicide vests and destroyed two drug laboratories.
Israeli public radio said the two would "discuss the peace process shortly before the departure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United States, where he will meet on Tuesday with President Barack Obama."
A Palestinian official confirmed the meeting, which is due to take place at 1:30 p.m. local time (10:30 GMT). The venue has not been disclosed, probably for security reasons.
On Wednesday, Barak said he would meet with Fayyad in the coming days for a rare high-level meeting between the Jewish state and Palestinian Authority.
"We are due to meet in the next few days. This is not the first time we are meeting and we will talk, I assume, about the situation on the ground, about security coordination," Barak told reporters.
At the time, Fayyad's office confirmed the two would meet and said Palestinians planned to discuss demands that Israel lift its Gaza blockade and stop military incursions into Palestinian cities.
High-level contacts between Israel and Palestinian leaders have been virtually frozen since Israel's devastating 22-day war on the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009.