China’s submarine fleet projects Beijing’s power

China’s submarine fleet is now one of the world’s largest with nearly 85 vessels. More than that, old and unreliable boats mostly acquired from the old Soviet Union are being rapidly replaced by modern submarines armed with highly sophisticated anti-ship missiles and radar-dodging cruise missiles able to attack land targets.

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Beijing is even building at least five ballistic missile submarines, each carrying 12 intercontinental missiles and each missile having three nuclear warheads.

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Russia to build missile defence shield and renew nuclear deterrence

In a sharp escalation of military rhetoric, Mr Medvedev ordered a wholesale renovation of Russia’s nuclear deterrence and told military chiefs to draw up plans to reorganise the armed forces by December.

He said that Russia must modernise its nuclear defences within eight years, including the creation of a “system of air and space defence”.

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Russia challenges west with nuclear overhaul, UK – 5 hours ago
Russia wants to divide the world into spheres of influence. If not, we will prepare for nuclear war.” Felgenhauer said Russia’s military was old but still
Russia to overhaul air, naval defences: Medvedev The Age
Russia steps up the arms race Independent
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Russia is upgrading military readiness
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN – 3 hours ago
With Europe and the United States united in condemnation of Russia’s military actions, Russian leaders began reaching out to countries like Venezuela that
Video: Chavez wants stronger arms trade with Russia RussiaToday
Russia to build missile defence shield and Times Online
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MiamiHerald.comInternational Herald Tribune
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Russia may cut off oil flow to the West

Reports have begun to circulate in Moscow that Russian oil companies are under orders from the Kremlin to prepare for a supply cut to Germany and Poland through the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline. It is believed that executives from lead-producer LUKoil have been put on weekend alert.

“They have been told to be ready to cut off supplies as soon as Monday,” claimed a high-level business source, speaking to The Daily Telegraph. Any move would be timed to coincide with an emergency EU summit in Brussels, where possible sanctions against Russia are on the agenda.

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Iran is sinking as groundwater resources disappear

Iran’s insatiable demand for water, which is being drawn out of aquifers far faster than it can be replenished, is causing large chunks of farmland to sink and buildings to crack, according to a new study.

Estimates suggest the water levels in Iranian aquifers have declined by an average of nearly 1.5 feet (half a meter) every year over the last 15 years.

As the water is removed, soil and rock lose their support, leading to compaction and sinking.

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German-US Tensions Grow Over Baltic Pipeline

A US diplomat has denounced the controversial Baltic natural gas pipeline as “a special arrangement between Germany and Russia.” His remarks have ruffled feathers in Berlin and highlighted growing US-German tensions over relations with Russia. By Ralf Beste and Cordula Meyer more…

Erosion of American Nuclear Superiority

OVER THE next ten to twenty years, the erosion of American nuclear superiority will have major ramifications for the global balance of power. It will place new constraints on our freedom of action and lead our friends and foes alike to doubt the credibility of all instruments of U.S. power. As a result, decades-old alliance structures may fracture amid a drift toward multipolarity. Leadership from Tokyo to Riyadh to Seoul may find new incentives to develop their own deterrents as the relative power of states like Russia and China increases. With our extended-deterrent power lost, the international system will change—and not in Washington’s favor. But this scenario is preventable if policy makers cast away the illusion of safety and act quickly to correct a trend which has plagued Washington for nearly two decades.

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Young and Arab in Land of Mosques and Bars

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — In his old life in Cairo, Rami Galal knew his place and his fate: to become a maintenance man in a hotel, just like his father. But here, in glittering, manic Dubai, he is confronting the unsettling freedom to make his own choices.

Here Mr. Galal, 24, drinks beer almost every night and considers a young Russian prostitute his girlfriend. But he also makes it to work every morning, not something he could say when he lived back in Egypt. Everything is up to him, everything: what meals he eats, whether he goes to the mosque or a bar, who his friends are.

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Russian defense budget may rise 25 percent in 2009

Russian lawmakers gave preliminary approval Friday to a 25 percent hike in defense spending — a sharp increase for Russia’s military that comes only a month after it crushed Georgia on the battlefield.

The boost in defense spending for 2009 fits in with Russia’s recent defiant posture toward the West, a stance that has seen relations with the United States and the European Union sink to a post-Cold War low after the war in Georgia.

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Russia approves hike in defence spending Times Online
Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: A New Arms Race? Russia Profile
Russian defense budget may rise 25 percent in 2009 The Kindred Times

What goes around comes around for Russia
Council on Foreign Relations, NY – 14 hours ago
Russia invades an eastern European republic, sends its navy to Latin America for military exercises in America’s backyard, and threatens to cut off energy

Iran is just a heartbeat away from the A-bomb

Last Friday the Daily Telegraph reported Teheran has surreptitiously removed a sufficient amount of uranium from its nuclear production facility in Isfahan to produce six nuclear bombs. Given Iran’s already acknowledged uranium enrichment capabilities, the Telegraph’s report indicates that the Islamic Republic is now in the late stages of assembling nuclear bombs.

It would be a simple matter for Iran to assemble those bombs without anyone noticing.

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