Iran Expanding Its Nuclear Program, Agency Reports

VIENNA, Aug. 30 — Iran is expanding its nuclear program in defiance of United Nations’ resolutions, even as it has promised to answer questions about an array of suspicious nuclear activities in the past, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday.

The assessment by the nuclear agency states that Iran is now simultaneously operating nearly 2,000 centrifuges, the machines that produce enriched uranium, at its vast underground facility at Natanz, an increase of several hundred machines from three months ago. More than 650 additional centrifuges are being tested or are under construction, the agency said.

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Analysis: Military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait

During the past seven to 10 years China’s rapid buildup of military power has tipped the balance in the Taiwan Strait strongly in its favor.

Since 1999, when former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui announced his “two states” theory — daring to say that the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China are two different states, precipitating the PRC’s aggressive stance against the island’s independence — there have been drastic changes in the balance of military power on the two sides. This includes the navies, air forces, and strategic campaign missiles, or ballistic missiles.

The Taiwanese air force has not added a single new combat aircraft since 1999.

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100 Million More Immigrants by 2060

The central question this study raises and that Americans must answer is what costs and benefits come with having a much larger population and a more densely settled country. Some foresee a deteriorating quality of life with a larger population, including its impact on such things as pollution, congestion, loss of open spaces, and sprawl. Others may feel that a much larger population will create more opportunities for businesses, workers, and consumers. These projections do not resolve those questions. What the projections do tell us is where we are headed as a country. The question for the nation is: Do we wish to go there?

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Defense Focus: Diesel sub wonder weapons

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — The diesel submarine may be the leading “Cinderella weapon” of the 21st century. It gets no respect in the United States or Russia. But China, India, France, Germany and Israel are all betting on it big time.

But the biggest enthusiast for diesel subs is China, which is building its own: In 2006 it built 14 of them to one U.S. — nuclear-powered — new submarine.

China is building a mixed, or balanced, submarine fleet. It has also invested in bigger nuclear-powered strategic submarines to carry a survivable second-strike ballistic missile deterrent primarily aimed at the United States. But it is pouring major resources into its conventional submarine fleet as well. Why?

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Moscow Lashes Out at European Energy ‘Hysteria’

The European Union is looking at measures to prevent foreign investors from snatching up European energy companies. Gazprom has accused Europe of “economic nationalism” and the Kremlin warns it will fight any discrimination against Russian companies. more…

Russia: On the Verge of a New Crisis

With the end of the summer recess, a new political season begins on Saturday. It will probably be the last season for President Vladimir Putin, and it promises to be stormy.

A curious pattern emerges when examining Russia’s politics over the last quarter century. Fundamental changes come in eight-year cycles, and the transitions from the end of one cycle to the start of the next are accompanied by flare-ups in foreign relations.

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BMD Focus: Israel’s BMD two-front war

However, the Syrian ballistic missile threat to Israel, while non-nuclear, adds an ominous level of complexity to the threat that defense planners in Tel Aviv must deal with.

The Syrians do not have nuclear weapons, and there appears to be no likelihood that either Russia or Iran will trust them with such devastating weapons in the foreseeable future.

But they are armed to the teeth with short-range missiles and the intermediate range and much more formidable Iskanders that they are now buying from Russia.

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Russia flexes its muscles across Asia-Pacific zone

Russia is also planning a massive upgrade of its Rybachiy submarine base on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

However, the most ambitious program announced this year aims at restoring the Russian Pacific Fleet’s fallen power. Russia has indicated that its rebuilt Pacific fleet would have three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, Dr Muraviev said.

He said there was growing concern in Moscow about the region’s “fragile strategic landscape” and fears of a regional confrontation that could harm Russia’s security interests.

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