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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 28,784

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U.S.: Chinese Jet Makes 'Unsafe' Intercept Of Air Force Plane

Source: CNN

(CNN)A U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft flying Tuesday in international airspace over the East China Sea was intercepted in an "unsafe manner" by a Chinese J-10 fighter jet, several defense officials tell CNN.

The Chinese jet was never closer than 100 feet to the U.S. aircraft, but it flew with a "high rate of speed as it closed in" on the U.S. aircraft, one official said. Because of that high speed, and the fact it was flying at the same altitude as the U.S. plane, the intercept is defined as unsafe.

The officials did not know if the U.S. plane took any evasive action to avoid the Chinese aircraft or at what point the J-10 broke away. It is also not yet clear if the U.S. will diplomatically protest the incident.

Officials said the RC-135 was on a routine mission.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/07/politics/us-china-planes-unsafe-intercept/index.html

Russia Deploys Troops Westward As Standoff With NATO Deepens

Source: Reuters

Russia is building an army base near its border with Ukraine, the latest in a chain of new military sites along what the Kremlin sees as its frontline in a growing confrontation with NATO.

While there have been no clashes between the former Cold War rivals, Russia is building up forces on its western frontiers at a time when the NATO alliance is staging major military exercises and increasing deployments on its eastern flank.

A Reuters reporter who visited the Russian town of Klintsy, about 50 km (30 miles) from Ukraine, saw a makeshift army camp, large numbers of newly-arrived servicemen and military vehicles.

--CLIP
Last year, Reuters also reported on construction of two other bases further to the south on Russia's border with Ukraine.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-base-bryansk-idUSKCN0YT1PN



Moscow Calls NATO Buildup In E. Europe ‘Unjustified’ As Largest Drills Since Cold War Kick Off

--CLIP

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated, “I am convinced that every serious and honest politician is well aware that Russia will never invade any NATO member. We have no such plans.”

He asserted that “there are no threats in this part of the world whatsoever, that would justify build-up here.”

In the meantime, Lavrov said, NATO’s decision to move its military infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders and accept new members will be seen in a negative light in Moscow. “Here, Russia’s sovereign right to ensure its security will come into force, of methods adequate to today’s challenges.”

The very existence of NATO as an organization is no threat to Russia, he said, which is not the case when it comes to the bloc’s “practical actions” in terms of moving its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders, or using military force which violates international law, “as it was in cases of Libya and Yugoslavia.”

However, NATO’s leadership has already said there will be no changes to stationing more troops in Poland after the Warsaw Summit, sending “a clear signal that an attack on Poland will be considered an attack on the whole Alliance,” the bloc’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg told reporters following his meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda last Wednesday.

If you listen , you might get a feeling that NATO is a harmless sheep cornered by ‘predators’ such as Russia and other countries disobedient to the US,”] spokesman for Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov mockingly commented on Monday.

MORE...

https://www.rt.com/news/345615-us-nato-drills-poland/

Exclusive: North Korea Restarts Plutonium Production For Nuclear Bombs - U.S. Official

Source: Reuters

North Korea has restarted production of plutonium fuel, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday, showing that it plans to pursue its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international sanctions.

The U.S. assessment came a day after the U.N. nuclear watchdog said it had “indications” that Pyongyang has reactivated a plant to recover plutonium from spent reactor fuel at Yongbyon, its main nuclear complex.

The latest developments suggest North Korea's reclusive communist government is working to ensure a steady supply of materials for its drive to build warheads, despite tightened international sanctions after its fourth nuclear test in January.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Washington is worried by the new plutonium reprocessing effort, but he offered no explicit word on any U.S. response.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-usa-exclusive-idUSKCN0YT2I1

North Korea’s Military Buildup Isn’t Limited To Its Nukes

By Anna Fifield June 7 at 4:38 PM

TOKYO — North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons technology has been well demonstrated so far this year, with January’s nuclear test and numerous launches of missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

But even as Kim Jong Un’s regime presses ahead with its nuclear program, it is investing considerable resources in upgrading its conventional facilities, according to satellite imagery.

“Lots of people say that if they have a nuclear deterrent, they won’t need conventional weapons,” said Curtis Melvin, a researcher at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University who has an encyclopedic knowledge of North Korea’s geography. “But under the Kim Jong Un era, there has been a big increase in spending on the economic and conventional military side.”

Kim, who took over the running of the state after his father’s death at the end of 2011, has promoted a “byungjin,” or “simultaneous push,” policy of pursuing nuclear weapons advancement and economic growth at the same time.

This year’s nuclear test and the emphasis on the economy suggest this policy is still very much the priority. But this doesn’t mean that North Korea is taking its foot off the conventional-weapons pedal.

MORE...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-koreas-military-buildup-isnt-limited-to-its-nukes/2016/06/07/7473ed3c-2806-11e6-8329-6104954928d2_story.html

UN Rights Chief Decries Abuse Against Men Fleeing Fallujah

Source: Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N. human rights chief says there are "extremely distressing, credible reports" that Iraqis fleeing Fallujah are facing physical abuse and even summary executions as they escape the city held by Islamic State militants.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein on Tuesday cited witness accounts that armed groups backing Iraqi security forces have detained some men and teenage boys leaving Fallujah with force that at times "degenerates" into abuse. The city is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Baghdad.

"There are extremely distressing, credible reports that some people who survive the terrifying experience of escaping from ISIL, then face severe physical abuse once they reach the other side," he said in a statement from his office in Geneva.

Zeid acknowledged that Iraqi forces have a "legitimate interest in vetting individuals fleeing ISIL-controlled areas" to make sure they don't pose a security risk, but said authorities or officially designated personnel should do so.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_UNITED_NATIONS_IRAQ?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-06-07-11-20-58

FAA Warns of GPS Outages This Month During Mysterious Tests on the West Coast

Source: Gizmodo

Starting today, it appears the US military will be testing a device or devices that will potentially jam GPS signals for six hours each day. We say “appears” because officially the tests were announced by the FAA but are centered near the US Navy’s largest installation in the Mojave Desert. And the Navy won’t tell us much about what’s going on.

The FAA issued an advisory warning pilots on Saturday that global positioning systems (GPS) could be unreliable during six different days this month, primarily in the Southwestern United States. On June 7, 9, 21, 23, 28, and 30th the GPS interference testing will be taking place between 9:30am and 3:30pm Pacific time. But if you’re on the ground, you probably won’t notice interference.

The testing will be centered on China Lake, California—home to the Navy’s 1.1 million acre Naval Air Weapons Center in the Mojave Desert. The potentially lost signals will stretch hundreds of miles in each direction and will affect various types of GPS, reaching the furthest at higher altitudes. But the jamming will only affect aircraft above 5,000 feet. As you can see from the FAA map below, the jamming will almost reach the California-Oregon border at 4o,000 feet above sea level and 505 nautical miles at its greatest range.
Map released by the FAA showing the GPS jamming that will occur at different altitudes this month (FAA)

I gave the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division a call yesterday, but they couldn’t tell me much.

Read more: http://gizmodo.com/faa-warns-of-gps-outages-this-month-during-mysterious-t-1780866590



Philadelphia Looks To Avoid Mass Arrests Of DNC Protesters

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia wants to avoid a repeat of 2000 when it arrested more than 400 protesters at the Republican National Convention, only to see most cases end in acquittals.

Less than two months before the Democratic National Convention comes to town, a City Council committee has passed legislation letting police issue $100 civil fines rather than make criminal arrests for many nuisance crimes.

The offenses include disorderly conduct, blocking a street and failing to heed a request to disperse.

Police say it's mainly an effort to realign penalties for minor offenses in the wake of the city's decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

But an adviser to the police commissioner told The Philadelphia Inquirer that one department concern was also how unruly protesters would be handled outside the DNC.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEM_2016_CONVENTION_PHILADELPHIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-06-06-11-14-35

Despite Voicing Criticism, Susan Rice Promises Israel 'Largest Military Aid Package in U.S. History'

Source: Haaretz

The American national security adviser also lashes out at Israel's settlement activity, saying that the only road to 'sustainable security for Israel and to dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians is two states for two peoples.'

Haaretz and JTA 07.06.2016 09:38 Updated: 10:24 AM

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice promised Israel on Monday that the new military aid agreement between the two nations that is currently being negotiated will constitute “the single largest military assistance package — with any country — in American history.”

Addressing the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in Washington, Rice said the new decade-long aid package, which is expected to provide Israel somewhere between $37.5 billion and $40 billion over the life of the pact, will “constitute a significant increase in support,” providing funding to update Israel’s aircraft fleet and strengthen missile defenses.

Hinting at the polarized views on Israeli policy among the U.S. presidential candidates, Rice said that “Israel’s security isn’t a Democratic interest or a Republican interest—it’s an enduring American interest.” At the same time, Rice lashed out at Israel's settlement activity, saying that the only road to “sustainable security for Israel and to dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians is two states for two peoples.”

“Just as we oppose counterproductive Palestinian actions and strongly condemn incitement and violence, settlement activity corrodes the prospects for two states,” she said. “It moves Israel toward a one-state reality.”


Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.723578

Crops Rot While Trump-Led Immigration Backlash Idles Farm Lobby

Source: Bloomberg

The death of meaningful U.S. immigration reform, done in by Washington partisanship and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s incendiary comments on foreigners, is leaving crops withering in the field and the farm lobby with nowhere to turn as a labor shortage intensifies.

Carlos Castaneda watched one-quarter of his Napa cabbages rot in three of his California fields this spring as 37 immigrant laborers scheduled to arrive March 13 under a farmworker visa program were delayed by bureaucratic paperwork. He said he’d like to see fixes to an immigration system that causes his crops to rot unharvested. But he has little hope that will happen in this political climate.

“The rhetoric that’s getting preached is pushing xenophobia,” said Castaneda, 39, whose parents are Mexican immigrants. “You can’t call an immigrant a murderer. You can’t paint them with that brush."

About a quarter of the U.S. farm workforce, more than 300,000 people, don’t have valid immigration papers, according to a 2009 survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. Other studies suggest the number may be more than 1 million. Proportions of undocumented workers tend to be higher in the hand-harvested fruit, vegetable and horticulture sectors, as well as large dairy farms where milking happens year-round.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-06-06/crops-rot-while-trump-led-immigration-backlash-idles-farm-lobby

The F-22 Raptor: Back From the Grave?

The world’s most advanced fighter jet was canceled over cost. New threats have Congress asking if that was a mistake.

By Justin Bachman
June 7, 2016 — 6:00 AM EDT

The Pentagon collected its final F-22 Raptor from Lockheed Martin Corp. four years ago. Amid the Cold War’s end and shrinking defense budgets, the most advanced fighter jet ever built was deemed both unnecessary and unaffordable.

Now, Congress has ignited a flicker of hope for fans of the pricey plane. A House subcommittee asked the U.S. Air Force to investigate what it would cost to put the tactical fighter back into production. By many accounts, no other aircraft can match the F-22’s range of capabilities—many of which remain classified—for speed, agility, stealth, and battlefield sensor power. With 183 in service, a reboot could mean, theoretically, the delivery of 194 additional planes that were planned before the program was canceled. But at roughly $67 billion, the F-22 was ferociously expensive even by military contracting standards. The per-hour cost to fly it is higher than that of most of the Pentagon’s air fleet, including the newer, equally costly F-35 Lightning II.

Measured against these near-insurmountable fiscal realities is newly aggressive behavior and military upgrades by China and Russia. This year, Russia deployed its most advanced striker, the Sukhoi Su-35, for combat operations in Syria and is working to sell versions to China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, and Brazil. And China has begun marketing its advanced FC-31 tactical fighter, which analysts believe is based largely on data stolen in an April 2009 hack of Lockheed Martin systems related to the F-35 program.

In an August report, the aerospace consulting firm Teal Group called the 2009 decision to end the F-22 “an unexpected way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” The fighter is revered among some as the guarantor of American air supremacy for decades to come, if only there were enough. It's dismissed by others as a gold-plated hammer in search of a nail, namely a mission beyond projecting air dominance.

The F-22 finally saw combat in September 2014, nine years after its entry into service, against Islamic State forces in Syria. And contractors long ago secured major tooling needed to restart the line, just in case. Nevertheless, any effort to revive it faces enormous obstacles, said Richard Aboulafia, a defense analyst with Teal Group. He’s described the F-22 as a brilliant fighter without a mission, while the F-35 has a clear mission but troubles as an aircraft. “It’s not impossibly far-fetched,” he said of the F-22’s resurrection. “It’s just that there are very big hurdles.”

more...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-07/the-f-22-raptor-back-from-the-grave
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