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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 18,317

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Russian Navy to Get 40 New Ships in 2014

MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Navy is expected to receive 40 new warships and auxiliary vessels in 2014, a high-ranking official said Friday.

In addition to surface ships of various classes, the navy will also commission the third Borey-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine, the Vladimir Monomakh, and a Varshavyanka-class diesel electric submarine, Rear Admiral Viktor Bursuk, a deputy commander of the Russian navy, said.

Bursuk, who oversees weapons procurement for the navy, said that Russia will continue the repair and overhaul of the Admiral Nakhimov nuclear-powered missile cruiser and three nuclear-powered attack submarines this year.

The Kirov-class cruiser, known as the Kalinin until 1992, was commissioned in 1989 and mothballed in 1999. It has since been docked for upgrades at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk, on the White Sea.

The Admiral Nakhimov is expected to rejoin the Russian navy in 2018 with the most advanced weapons systems for its vessel type, the Sevmash shipyard said in June last year.

MORE...

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140103/186205538/Russian-Navy-to-Get-40-New-Ships-in-2014.html

The New Warmongering Wing Of The Democratic Party

A group of Democrats are joining Republicans in trying to undermine the White House's negotiations with Iran by imposing a new set of sanctions. Fifteen of them, actually, who prefer status quo bluster and threats to diplomacy that might actually do something to end Iran's nuclear ambitions. They are:

Bob Menendez (NJ)
Chuck Schumer (NY)
Ben Cardin (MD)
Bob Casey (PA)
Chris Coons (DE)
Dick Blumenthal (CT)
Mark Begich (AK)
Mark Pryor (AR)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Mark Warner (VA)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Joe Donnelly (IN)
Cory Booker (NJ)
Joe Manchin (WV)

The Senate equivalent of the Blue Dog caucus is well represented on this list, with Begich, Casey, Donnelly, Landrieu, Manchin, Pryor, and Warner. I've always considered Coons and Blumenthal to be part of the party's business/corporatist wing. But I guess they hate diplomacy too.

The most interesting are Booker and Gillibrand, both harboring presidential ambitions. If anything, 2008 should've taught Democratic presidential contenders that a policy of warmongering no longer plays well in Democratic primaries. Someone might want to remind these two of what Hillary learned that year.

The real danger is that a veto-proof majority could emerge supporting new sanctions, undercutting the administration's diplomacy efforts. We expect that sort of thing from Republicans, of course, but we shouldn't abide it from our Democrats. So use this tool to find out where your own senators stand and send them a message on how you feel about this issue.

MORE...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/03/1266741/-The-new-warmongering-wing-of-the-Democratic-Party#

Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

“Meet the Press” on NBC

• Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
• Gene Sperling, director, White House National Economic Council
• Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)

“Face the Nation” on CBS

• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

“This Week” on ABC

• Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
• Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman, Senate Rules Committee
• Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D)

“Fox News Sunday” on Fox

• Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R)

“State of the Union” on CNN

• Sperling
• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)

Russia to Test 70 New Rockets and Missiles in 2014

MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian military plans to test around 70 types of rocket and missile weaponry at a major testing site this year, a Defense Ministry spokesman has said.

The testing program at the Kapustin Yar range in southern Russia will include about 300 launches of rockets, missiles, and aerial drones as part of more than 180 R&D projects, said Colonel Igor Yegorov.

The range is located in the Astrakhan region between the cities of Volgograd and Astrakhan. It is known for tests of Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles, S-300 and S-400 air defense systems and Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems.

In addition, Kapustin Yar is often used to host large-scale military exercises.

The 4th State Central Range at Kapustin Yar was established in 1946 and is considered the birthplace of the Russian rocket industry. The first rocket launch on October 18, 1947, was of one of 11 German A-4s captured during World War II.

more...

http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140103/186207348/Russia-to-Test-70-New-Rockets-and-Missiles-in-2014.html

Putin Tries Out Olympic Slopes in Ski Trip to Sochi



OCHI, January 3 (RIA Novosti) – President Vladimir Putin tested the ski slopes at the Olympic host city of Sochi Friday as the Black Sea resort counts down to the start of the Winter Games.

Putin skied a few runs at the Laura complex for biathlon and cross-country skiing, located on the Psekhako Ridge in Krasnaya Polyana, which will host the mountain competitions when the Winter Olympics get under way on February 7.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev skied with the president before the two men enjoyed a glass of mulled wine.

Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Putin would inspect all the Olympic facilities at Sochi’s mountain and coastal clusters during his visit to the city, as well as reviewing preparations for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.

Putin would pay particular attention to buildings that are not quite finished yet, Peskov said.

more...

http://en.ria.ru/sochi2014/20140103/186197212/Putin-Tries-Out-Olympic-Slopes-in-Ski-Trip-to-Sochi.html

Government Lawyers Appeal Ruling That Threatens NSA Phone Surveillance Program

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Government lawyers are asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that threatens the National Security Agency’s practice of collecting every Americans’ telephone records every day.

The Justice Department filed its notice of appeal Friday. Meanwhile, Larry Klayman, the opposing lawyer who spearheaded the case against the NSA said he will ask the appeals court to refer the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled last month that the NSA phone records program was likely unconstitutional, so the government’s appeal was expected. In a separate case, a district judge in New York last month upheld the NSA program as lawful. The ACLU, which lost that case, said this week it will appeal that case.



Read more: http://www.660news.com/2014/01/03/government-lawyers-appeal-ruling-that-threatens-nsa-phone-surveillance-program/

Al-Qaeda Allies Threaten to Take Iraq Towns That Were Focus of U.S. Surge

Iraqi forces backed by aircraft and Sunni tribal militias launched assaults to expel al-Qaeda-linked militants from two key towns in Anbar province after they seized police stations and other buildings.

The air strikes targeted fighters suspected of belonging to an al-Qaeda offshoot in Ramadi and Fallujah, Al Jazeera said, citing video footage released by the country’s Defense Ministry. Iraqi forces later recaptured Fallujah’s police headquarters, Al Arabiya television reported. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent reinforcements on Jan. 1 to dislodge the militants from the cities, which were one focus of the 2007 “surge” of U.S. forces.

--clip
‘Substantial Base’

While President Barack Obama has declined to intervene directly in the Syrian war, the U.S. may come under increasing pressure to contain the fallout from that conflict if Sunni al-Qaeda militants gain a foothold in western Iraq, Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said in an interview.

“If al-Qaeda manages to really take hold of western Iraq, that’s a pretty substantial base on Arab territory, where they’d have security and the space to start thinking about operations wherever they want to think about,” said Crocker who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009. “It’s exactly what they had in Afghanistan before 9/11.”

There is little public or political support in the U.S. for renewed military involvement in Iraq, where 4,489 Americans were killed and 51,778 wounded in action after the Bush administration invaded the country almost 11 years ago. Obama has listed ending the war in Iraq as one of his primary accomplishments.

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-02/iraq-violence-with-al-queda-ties-adds-to-pressure-on-u-s-.html

Christie Pulls N.J. Top Court Pick in Feud With Democrats

By Terrence Dopp and Elise Young - Jan 3, 2014

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pulled one of his picks for the state Supreme Court amid a yearlong stalemate with Democrats, and instead nominated him for a lower judgeship.

In an e-mail to the secretary of the state Senate yesterday, Christie said he intends to nominate Robert Hanna to a Superior Court position. Hanna, 55, a registered independent, was one of two people nominated by Christie in December 2012 who have yet to receive a confirmation hearing in the Senate.

Christie, a 51-year-old Republican, won a second term in November. During his first term, Democrats who control the legislature blocked Christie’s efforts to reshape the high court. The governor has accused justices of “legislating from the bench” on issues affecting state spending, including decisions on school funding and affordable housing.

Democrats criticized Christie, a former U.S. attorney, after he denied reappointment in 2010 to John Wallace, the court’s only black justice. That sparked a standoff that lasted a year and delayed hearings on Christie nominee Anne Murray Patterson, a Republican. Christie and Senate President Stephen Sweeney later agreed to let Patterson replace Justice Roberto Rivera Soto, who retired in September 2011.

The governor in December 2012 also nominated David Bauman, a Republican who would be the first Asian-American justice on the seven-member court. The Senate hasn’t scheduled hearings to consider his nomination. Lawmakers earlier in 2012 rejected two other Christie nominees to the bench.

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/christie-pulls-n-j-top-court-pick-in-feud-with-democrats.html

Bakken Crude Pegged as More Dangerous Imperils Shale Boom

By Mark Drajem, Angela Greiling Keane and Lynn Doan - Jan 3, 2014

Safety rules will probably be tightened on crude oil shipments from North Dakota following a string of railway explosions, threatening to damp an energy boom that has boosted the region’s economy.

U.S. regulators yesterday issued a safety alert after a train carrying oil crashed and caught fire earlier this week in North Dakota, where surging production has helped lead a renaissance in domestic energy and driven the state’s unemployment rate to the nation’s lowest.

The type of oil pumped from the shale formations of North Dakota may be more flammable and therefore more dangerous to ship by rail than crude from other areas, the Transportation Department said in the alert. Regulators are considering imposing tougher rules on railcar construction, among other things, potentially raising the costs of moving the crude to market.

Pipelines could be affected as well.

“Regulators have to take heed that anything they do is going to go beyond the rail industry, beyond the tank car industry,” Jason Seidl, a rail analyst at Cowen & Co. based in New York, said in an interview.

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/bakken-crude-more-dangerous-to-ship-than-other-oil-u-s-.html

Wheat Futures Jump Most in Two Months on U.S. Crop Freeze

By Jeff Wilson - Jan 3, 2014

Wheat futures jumped the most since mid-October on concern that some crops will be damaged by freezing weather in parts of the U.S., the world’s top producer. Corn rose, and soybeans fell.

As much as 20 percent of winter wheat in the Great Plains may be damaged by the freeze, according to MDA Weather Services in Bethesda, Maryland. Temperatures may drop to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius) in the next few days in the central and southern Plains and minus 25 degrees in the Midwest.

“Snow cover will remain quite thin across much of Nebraska and north central Kansas, and some extensive winterkill damage is likely there,” Don Keeney, a senior agricultural meteorologist at MDA, said in a report.

Wheat futures for March delivery rose 1.3 percent to $6.0475 a bushel at 12:19 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. A close at that price would mark the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Oct. 18. Yesterday, the grain touched $5.95, the lowest since May 2012.

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/wheat-recovers-from-19-month-low-as-arctic-freeze-may-hurt-crops.html
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