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Showing posts from March 30, 2008

RIL,ONGC buy oil assets in Latin America

6 Apr, 2008, 0231 hrs IST, TNN MUMBAI: India’s biggest oil explorer ONGC and biggest company by market cap, Reliance Industries (RIL) have acquired equity stakes in three Latin American oil blocks. ONGC’s overseas arm OVL has picked up 40% participating interest in San Cristabel block in Venezuela for $450 million, while its private sector peer RIL has picked up stakes in another two block. OVL will sign an agreement with state-run Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the biggest crude oil exporter to US next week with the operatorship remaining with the Venezuelan firm. “The Venezuelan oil block has reserves of around 250-million tonne. A team of government and company officials is scheduled to leave for Venezuela on Sunday to sign the agreement,” petroleum minister Murli Deora said. RIL will have majority stakes in atleast one of the oil blocks in Latin America, Atul Chandra, president of company’s international business said. He refused to divulge any further information ci

India, Turkmenistan ink energy pact

India and Turkmenistan Saturday inked a landmark memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the oil and gas sector that is expected to go a long way in addressing India’s long term energy security needs. Minister of State for External Affair E. Ahamed and Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister for Oil and Gas Tachbardy Tagier signed the agreement in the presence of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berbimohammedov. Speaking earlier at the delegation level talks between the two countries, Ansari pointed to Turkmenistan’s geo-strategic location and said it had an important role to play in meeting India’s energy needs. “Turkmenistan is geo-strategically located and with its vast hydrocarbon resources, it has an important role to play in the world’s energy security. India, with its vast requirement of energy is Turkmenistan’s natural partner,” the vice president noted. Both Ansari and Berbimohammedov pointed to the close and historical ties between the

Unrest in Xinjiang: China Seeks Musharraf's Good Offices

by B. Raman The unrest against the Chinese Government has spread from Tibet to the Muslim majority Xinjiang province of China. Since the beginning of this year, there were already indications of the revival of the Uighur independence movement as seen from the discovery of an Uighur sleeper cell in Urumqi, the capital of the province, by local officials of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which is the Chinese internal intelligence and security agency. This was followed on March 7, 2008, by an aborted attempt by three Uighurs---one of them a woman--- to blow up a civil aviation plane going from Urumqi to Beijing with the help of gasoline concealed inside a soft drink can, which had been smuggled into the plane. The attempt was thwarted by alert security guards on board the plane. 2. There was a fairly big demonstration against the Chinese authorities at Khotan in the Xinjiang province on March 23, 2008. About 1,000 Uighurs, including many women, participated in the demonst

Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building Building democratically responsible defence institutions - this is one of the long standing priorities within the Partnership for Peace. Since the Istanbul Summit 2004, the manifold activities in this common endeavour have a jointly agreed conceptual framework: the Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building. The PAP-DIB Programme gives clear guidance on way to develop and consolidate democratically accountable and managerially effective defence institutions. An Educational Product – Made in Switzerland Switzerland, as a member of the Partnership for Peace, has supported PAP-DIB from the beginning. This e-learning course is a Swiss contribution to the further implementation of the Defence Institution Building programme. This course: contains factual, conceptual and procedural information on how democratically responsible defence insitutions are set up and run; targets early/mid-career officers and civil servants from defence ins

Middle East atomic moves

The UAE and Egypt make significant moves to develop a nuclear capacity, as Israel drops reactor plans, Dominic Moran reports for ISN Security Watch. By Dominic Moran in Tel Aviv for ISN Security Watch (04/04/08) A period of hiatus following a wave of Arab nuclear announcements appears to have ended with the signing of a Franco-UAE atomic pact, as Egypt prepares to launch a tender for the country's first nuclear energy plant. There are strong indications that the UAE deal could constitute the first step in a developing trend of atomic development and competition promoted both by pressing energy needs and regional instability. Dr Emily Landau from Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies told ISN Security Watch that Arab nuclear plans were motivated, in part, by Iranian atomic development. "Otherwise it would be difficult to explain this surge of interest that came out at a certain point of time when the Iranian nuclear program seemed to be gett

No killer instinct: Why cops run low on morale

Prabhakar Kumar / CNN-IBN Published on Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:53, Updated at Fri, Apr 04, 2008 in Nation section Tags: On The Beat, Police , Patna E-mail this report | Print this report Patna/Raipur: Allauddin Khan was a fierce police officer in Bihar police. Five years ago, he shot dead four suspected Naxals in Bihar, even as a bullet ripped through his spine. Since that day, he's been on a wheelchair. "I have an eight-year-old son, who asks me, ‘papa, why did you go to kill the criminal? Why did you not run away when all other policemen ran away?," he says. Khan got Rs 2 lakh from the government and a bravery medal. Today, his family is left with medical expenses, debts, and regrets. Says his son, "I want to fulfill my father's dreams. But I'll never become a policeman." In the Naxal-dominated areas of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, Naxal-police confrontations always lead to heavy casualties and it's the lo


B.RAMAN Dedicated to all victims of terrorism--- whether civilians or members of the security forces and agencies, whether Indians or foreigners. PREFACE Terrorism is a continuously evolving threat. From a uni-dimensional threat involving attacks with hand-held weapons, it has evolved into a multi-dimensional threat involving the use of hand-held weapons, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers, landmines, mobile phones as triggers, aircraft hijackings, cyber attacks through the Internet etc. Terrorism of today is different from terrorism of yesterday. Terrorism of tomorrow is likely to be different from terrorism of today. Terrorists no longer come from under-privileged and economically and socially handicapped families. Many of them have come from affluent and socially well-placed families. They are no longer ill-educated who are manipulated by their leaders. Many of them are highly-educated----doctors, engineers, IT experts etc. They are irrational in their objective of mass c

NATO is Ukraine’s Catastrophe

02.04.2008 Vladimir BATYUK Strategic Culture Foundation The visit to Ukraine of US president G.Bush is over. A number of bilateral documents were signed, in particular, “the road map” of US–Ukrainian cooperation that defined priorities of their short-time interaction. But different issues keep the attention of the world and Ukrainian public glued on, including other run-of-the-mill documents defining the USA and Ukraine mutual relations. What they focus on is the fact of the visit of head of US White House to Ukraine as such. The visit of US president to Kiev right before the NATO summit in Bucharest was one of the empty body language acts the official Washington uses to indicate its influence on the Ukrainian political elute. The US is merely incapable of offering to Kiev what it expects. These expectations include: 1) large-scale assistance in the post-Communist Ukraine’s transformation; 2) real support of Ukraine’s entry into the EU. As for US assistance, in 2005 it totalled $

Arc of Turbulence, Axis of Equals

01.04.2008 M.J.AKBAR (India) Source: Strategic Culture Foundation When I argued, in my book, The Shade of Swords [Routledge, 2003] that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq would inevitably end the isolation of Iran, change the geo-politics of the Middle East by creating what might be called "Shia space" between Afghanistan and Syria-Lebanon-Jordan-Israel, and revive Iran as a regional power, Western reactions ranged from an imperious snort to amused skepticism. The Pentagon had conducted a near-faultless military campaign, the Baathists had been eliminated from the power structure and the hunt for Saddam Hussein was intense. Support for George Bush's war was so fervent that even the shifting goalposts of cause and effect never seemed to perturb either leaders, cheerleaders or a populace excited by televisual heroism. The search for weapons of mass destruction changed imperceptibly to a search for democracy without much consideration of what the consequences

Iran-US Confrontation

The world has watched most of the last year and the one preceding, the Iran-US confrontation, at times with baited breath as the two seemed to be on hair trigger alert from time to time. The battle of nerves has ebbed and flowed over the last two years and mostly away from the US. Thanks to the badly configured and unfinished war in Afghanistan, the foolish misadventure in Iraq, and the inability to control Pakistan in the so-called Global War on Terror, the mighty US has today been reduced to trying to fend off a regional power, Iran, from acquiring precisely the same kind of stature that Bush’s National Security Doctrine seeks to prevent - that a regional power becomes strong enough to challenge US interests. As a result of the ill advised and ill planned interventionism that has been the singular feature of Bush’s foreign policy, other players like Russia and China today have a role in the region. Both the Iraq and Afghanistan projects of deconstructing first and then reconstructing

Pakistan: Thirty nine persons recorded disappeared during the first quarter of 2008 Ch. Narendra 3/4/2008 9:08:21 PM(IST) Thirty nine (39) persons, mostly young people, remain missing after arrest during the first quarter of 2008; their whereabouts are unknown to their families. The state intelligence agencies are still operative in arbitrarily arresting people, keeping them in custody for several months and torturing them to confess their involvement in crimes against the state. After the general elections of February 2008, about 27 persons disappeared after arrests by the Elite Force, a state intelligence agency working under the Pakistan Army. According to the reports collected by the Defence of Human Rights, an organization working on the recovery of disappeared persons, and Baloch Rights Council, an umbrella organization of several Baloch nationalist orga

Strengthen Iran-Pak Ties

Envoy Calls for Increased People Contact to Strengthen Iran-Pak Ties TEHRAN (FNA)- People-to-people contacts are necessary to strengthen Iran-Pakistan relations, Tehran's Cultural Counselor to Islamabad said, adding that exchanges of delegations can also play pivotal role in enhancing and boosting economic, cultural, social and educational contacts between the two Muslim countries. Seyed Morteza Saheb Fosoul made the remarks while briefing the media on Wednesday. He said that Iran-Pakistan Cultural Karwan is one of such efforts. "Iran has always tried to facilitate exchange of such delegations," he added. Regarding Iran-Pakistan Cultural Karwan, he said that the delegation is hosted and facilitated by Islamic Culture and Relations Organization as well as Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization. The Pakistani delegation is scheduled to attend a meeting with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei,

Kosovo’s Fate Can Be Clarified on May 11. Russia Has its Final Chance

Strategic Culture Foundation The decision of U.S president George Bush to start deliveries of arms to Kosovo (for reasons of “bolstering” U.S. security) and the belated sincerity of Carla del Ponte, Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, who spoke about the anti-Serb atrocities of the current Albanian leaders in that province, became the final elements of the brilliant western scenario. Indeed, the scenario was brilliantly orchestrated and orderly implemented. The forced seizure of the cradle of Serbia’s statehood and Orthodoxy, and the creation of the world’s first “NATO state” was the work of all the present-day international institutes, including UN, the European Union, the North Atlantic Alliance, OSCE and the Hague Tribunal. Some organisations and individual countries presented the order others implemented, still others acted as the “cover” group. The objective was achieved in less than a decade starting from 1998 when an OSCE mission was ope

Global Rice Prices Hit Record Highs on Supply Fears

10:09 04/03 (CEP News) London – The price of rice soared in intraday trading on Thursday as fears of demand outstripping supply gripped investors after several Asian governments imposed curbs on exports of the staple food. At 8:26 a.m. EDT on Thursday, the Rough Rice Contract for May delivery rose by nearly 2.4% to hit a record of $20.26 per 100 lb on the Chicago Board of Trade, according to a spokesperson. The price rise was fanned as restrictions were placed on exporters based in China, Vietnam and Egypt by their respective governments earlier in the week. India followed suit on Wednesday night and banned the export of “non-basmati,” a lower non-aromatic quality of rice, to help control soaring domestic food costs. Subsequently, the price for exports of aromatic “basmati” rice was also raised on Thursday to $1,200 per tonne to discourage exports, according to news channel NDTV. Both the World Bank and the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have exp