Is Chavez Taking Too Many Oil Risks?

Oil experts say Venezuelan production is slipping and Chávez’s industry policy for the long term is risky. Venezuela, like Mexico and Iran, needs reinvestment and foreign investment to keep its $100 billion industry in prime condition. But with China’s and India’s demand for crude inspiring projections for exponential growth and the U.S.’s determination to remain a slave to oil, the oil industry may well have hit a point when the short term is the long term–every barrel not pumped today will be worth more tomorrow. “The Venezuelans are investing as much as they want to,” says economist Mark Weisbrot, a co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington. “That is, they’re not in a hurry at all to expand production.”

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Expanding Chavez’s Revolution

There are signs, however, that discontent with Chavez is growing. Earlier this month, Gen. Raul Isaias Baduel, former defense minister and a long-time Chavez supporter, labeled the proposed constitution a “coup d’etat.” Dissent is appearing within the ranks of the military as well (Miami Herald). “There is a fairly widespread discontent, which doesn’t have much political expression as of now,” says Edgardo Lander, a sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela, told the Christian Science Monitor.

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Russia: Portrait of a Reluctant Democracy

Russians go to the polls on Sunday. The dominant party, United Russia, enjoys moderate support, but its leaders expect nothing short of a resounding victory. SPIEGEL presents five regional snapshots of a nation with eleven time zones, pinning its hopes on one man — Vladimir Putin. By Uwe Klussmann, Walter Mayr and Matthias Schepp more…

Japan refusal adds to US-China carrier spat

Japan has refused a Chinese request to tour an advanced combat ship as the US-China spat over Beijing’s refusal to allow a US aircraft carrier to dock in Hong Kong last week spilled over into Sino-Japanese military relations.

A person familiar with the Japanese decision said that the Pentagon said the move would not be appropriate given China’s decision last week to deny the USS Kitty Hawk permission to dock in Hong Kong over Thanksgiving.

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British spy chief warns of China web threat

The head of Britain’s domestic security service has warned business leaders that China has been carrying out state-sponsored espionage against vital parts of the economy.

The director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, wrote to 300 chief executives and security heads at banks, accountancy and legal firms, warning them they were under attack from “Chinese state organisations” via the Internet, The Times said Saturday.

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Iranian Missiles: Ashoura vs Shahab-3

The Ashoura is a multi-stage, solid-fueled missile that could be very effective for long-range strategic use. The stated range of the Ashura is 1,240 miles.

The Shahab-3 is a single-stage, liquid-fueled missile, and that makes it much more difficult to use than the recently announced solid-fuel “Ashoura” missile. The range of the Shahab-3 is in question. The Iranians have moved the range of Shahab-3 from 930 miles to beyond 1,600.

Shahab-3

The Iranian Shahab-3 is a single-stage, liquid-fueled, road-mobile, medium-range ballistic missile with a range of approximately 800 miles (1,280 km). A MRBM variant, sometimes called Shahab-4, has a range of more than 1,200 miles (1,930 km).

Shahab-3 is capable of carrying a 1,000-760 kilogram warhead. Fewer than 20 launchers were deployed as of March 2006, according to Air Force Intelligence. The variant was not deployed at the time.

Shahab-3 means Meteor-3 or Shooting Star-3 in Farsi [alternatively designated Zelzal (Earthquake)] is derivative from the 1,300-1,500 kilometer range North Korean No-dong missile.

Source of the above Shahab-3 data is FAS.Org

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Concern over new Iranian missile

Iran’s avowed new missile, Lt Gen Obering said, “is different, that’s what surprises us.” He would not elaborate on how. “That’s what we’re concerned about, this unbridled, continuing development and potential proliferation of these weapons. That’s why we think it’s important to begin now” on a European missile defence, he said.

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Iran’s new missile, military milestone
PRESS TV, Iran - 21 hours ago
According to Rubin, Ashoura would significantly increase Iran’s missile capabilities both in terms of range and reduced launch-time, and its solid-fuel

Iran’s new ballistic Ashoura missile has widely been seen as a breakthrough in the development of the country’s defense industry.

The new missile has an estimated range of 2000-2500 km and uses solid-fuel, Jane’s Defense Weekly reported.

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Defense minister: Iran developing 2000-km-range missile Tehran Times
World Briefing | Middle East Iran: New Long-Range Missile New York Times
The Associated Press
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Putin suspends Russian adherence to Cold War arms treaty: Kremlin

Putin suspends Russian adherence to Cold War arms treaty: Kremlin
AFP - 4 hours ago
MOSCOW (AFP) — President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a decision to suspend Russia’s adherence to a Cold War treaty limiting military forces in Europe
Russia suspends arms control pact BBC News
Putin signs law suspending Russian participation in CFE treaty Jerusalem Post
Russia suspends participation in Cold War arms treaty Monsters and Critics.com
China Daily – Antiwar.com
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