Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days

The Feb. 27 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of each Earth day. JPL research scientist Richard Gross computed how Earth's rotation should have changed as a result of the Feb. 27 quake.
Using a complex model, he and fellow scientists came up with a preliminary calculation that the quake should have shortened the length of an Earth day by about 1.26 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second).
Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis. Gross calculates the quake should have moved Earth's figure axis (the axis about which Earth's mass is balanced) by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters, or 3 inches). Earth's figure axis is not the same as its north-south axis; they are offset by about 10 meters (about 33 feet).
By comparison, Gross said the same model estimated the 2004 magnitude 9.1 Sumatran earthquake should have shortened the length of day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted Earth's axis by 2.32 milliarcseconds (about 7 centimeters, or 2.76 inches).
Gross said that even though the Chilean earthquake is much smaller than the Sumatran quake, it is predicted to have changed the position of the figure axis by a bit more for two reasons.
First, unlike the 2004 Sumatran earthquake, which was located near the equator, the 2010 Chilean earthquake was located in Earth's mid-latitudes, which makes it more effective in shifting Earth's figure axis.
Second, the fault responsible for the 2010 Chiliean earthquake dips into Earth at a slightly steeper angle than does the fault responsible for the 2004 Sumatran earthquake. This makes the Chile fault more effective in moving Earth's mass vertically and hence more effective in shifting Earth's figure axis.
Gross said the Chile predictions will likely change as data on the quake are further refined.

MQM Punjab Convention (25 April 2010)

MQM Punjab Convention (25 April 2010)

MQM Chief Altaf Hussain said that his party would set the masses free of the feudal system. Altaf Hussain stressed that MQM would rid the country of 62- year shackles of the politics of inheritance. He spoke to the people of Punjab through a telephonic address to the party conventions in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan. He said that the time has come when politcal parties realise their responsibility to the marginalised especially the poor. The MQM chief said that the nation is currently facing problems like poverty, shortage of drinking water and unemployment. Politicians only make promises but MQM is determined to fulfil them. And if people of Punjab support MQM then he will eliminate the old culture of brutality from the province. He further said that the people of Punjab have to decide to bring about the change as MQM has entered into Punjab to fight for the rights of the people. Earlier, party leaders had asked if a convention could be held near Minar-e-Pakistan, but were declined permission due to security concerns. The MQM Coordination Committee said that about 50,000 people have joined MQM from the 9 districts of the Rawalpindi Zonal Office. Punjab has been divided into4 zones; Upper Punjab, Lower Punjab, Central Punjab and the Lahore Zone.

Iceland Volcano Still Erupting After about Few Weeks

REYKJAVIK: Iceland's Eyjafjjoell volcano kept erupting on Thursday morning, but was largely stable from the day before, Icelandic authorities said. "The eruption is still going on but activity is stable. There's no sign of another eruption," said a spokeswoman with the crisis unit of Icelandic civil protection authorities. "The plume remains low and the tremors haven't increased," she said. On Wednesday seimologists said that the plume that has been spewing out of the volcano over the last week, severely disrupting air traffic in Europe, had fallen to "insignificant" levels.

Iran's New Bomber Drones

TEHRAN: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have said that by March next year it will deploy a domestically manufactured drone capable of carrying out air strikes. "The super advanced bomber drone, manufactured by the Revolutionary Guards, will be operational in the second half of this year," Guards Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said referring to the Iranian year ending on March 20, 2011. He did not give details on the aircraft. Iran's drone technology has caused concern in the United States, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates recently warning they could pose "difficulty" for the military in Afghanistan. In February, Iran opened two production lines for the manufacture of the drones, saying the unmanned aircraft would be capable of carrying out "assaults with high precision."

Iran's New Smart Bombs

With defense and acrimony building in the Persian Gulf, Iran announced plans to test a new laser-guided bomb. Iran's Fars News Agency reported that a prototype of the 2,000-pound smart bomb would be tested "in the near future," the country's air force commander Brig. Gen Hassan Shahsafi said.

He said the smart bomb, dubbed Qassed-2, had a longer range and better vision than its earlier version, the Qassed-1. That weapon made its debut four years ago and has since then been in mass production. Qassed is interpreted as "messenger." It was not immediately clear how advanced the prototype is and whether it would be available for mass production. Western military experts seemed skeptical of the announcement, saying the Islamic Republic had a history of declaring military advancements prematurely as a means of saber-rattling. Others speculated that "the announcement of the Qassed-2 is a move of brinkmanship to discourage the Gulf emirate states of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates from participating in the expansion of the United States' Patriot missile defense system," the Threat Matrix reported. With Washington concerned about Iran's nuclear intentions, the United States opted last month to revamp its defensive stance in the Middle East and deter a possible attack from Iran by moving to deploy anti-missile shields in the Gulf region. Shahsafi opted to downplay the move this week, saying it was nothing more than Washington's status quo. "That is not a new development," he told the Fars News Agency. "They had previously deployed and tested the systems in other places and gained no (positive) results." Experts said that even if the new smart bomb is superior to the Qassed-1, Tehran would need to overcome its problem of installing the new technology on reliable aircraft. That need may precipitate the procurement of fresh jets. In recent weeks, however, Iran has announced a rash of technological advances and military achievements. Last month, Tehran opened two production lines for the construction of unmanned aerial vehicles, supposedly capable of carrying out assaults with high precision. This followed announced plans to create a missile air defense system that the Iranians said is more powerful than the Russian S-300 system it has ordered from Russia but not yet received. It was not clear what purpose the drones would serve. But the drone production announcement came as the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stoked tensions with the West, ordering scientists to enrich stockpiles of uranium to the higher level needed to produce nuclear power.

Al-Qaida Activities in Somalia

A major offensive by the Transitional Federal Government against al-Shebab Islamist militants has yet to materialize but, reports claim, al-Qaida is reinforcing insurgents with some heavyweight veterans infiltrated from Yemen. At least a dozen senior operatives from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula were reported on April 7 to have arrived in Somalia over the previous two weeks apparently to provide military expertise to aid al-Shebab. The Somali Islamists, who control most of the capital Mogadishu and much of the country's southern and central regions, have close links to al-Qaida. The arrival of the operatives from Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, is likely connected to the impending offensive by TFG forces. But it probably has a longer-term objective as well: unifying jihadist groups in Yemen and Somalia. In that regard, the reported September 2009 arrival in Somalia of veteran al-Qaida field commander Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, takes on an added importance. It underlines the long-held fears of U.S. counter-terrorism experts that al-Qaida, taking a hammering in Afghanistan and Pakistan, seeks to build a new front in the lawless and ungovernable spaces of Yemen and the Horn of Africa as well as North Africa. On April 5, The Yemen Post newspaper quoted official sources in Sanaa as saying that AQAP had relocated its military base of operations to Somalia in the face of a heavy security crackdown by the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. But that was generally seen as a fanciful, self-serving claim intended to make Saleh's forces look good in Washington. However, the Sanaa sources mentioned that 15 top al-Qaida operatives had gone to Somalia. That bolstered other reports that highly experienced al-Qaida cadre had been deployed in Somalia to aid the insurgents there. Kenyan Treasury Minister Abdirahman Oman Osman said the TFG intelligence service in Somalia had told him that the 12 infiltrators from Yemen were indeed seeking to establish a headquarters but not necessarily to eclipse operations being mounted by AQAP. "They were sent to assess the situation to see if al-Qaida may move its biggest military bases to southern Somalia since they're facing a lot of pressure in Afghanistan and Iraq," he was quoted as saying. Kenya, Somalia's western neighbor, supports the TGF and hosts a large number of Somalia refugees. The AQAP operatives, some disguised a humanitarian workers, also reportedly carried funds to al-Shebab to help it recruit more men. Kenyan security authorities recently arrested several suspected al-Qaida activists, including men of Somali origin who were seeking to return to Somalia. Others were arrested in Uganda, which has deployed troops in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping force. These movements were unusual and bolstered suspicions that al-Qaida has become increasingly active in the region. In early April, Uganda's anti-terrorism task force, run by military intelligence, arrested Hashi Hussein Farah, who is on an international list of wanted terrorist fugitives, and a dozen other al-Qaida suspects in the slums of Kampala. Farah, who carries an Australian passport, had been arrested by the Kenyans on March 2 when he tried to enter the country from Uganda. He apparently was able to bribe his way out of prison and made his way back to Uganda, possibly to set up attacks in Uganda for aiding the TFG. Counter-terrorism operatives in Kenya say they believe Fazul traveled to Somalia from Tanzania to take command of the jihadist forces following the assassination in southern Somalia of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan by U.S. SEALs on Sept. 14, 2009. The Kenya-born Nabhan had been a close associate of Fazul for many years. Both were wanted for the Aug. 7, 1998, U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania, in which 241 people were killed. Fazul, born in the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique, took command of al-Qaida's East Africa cell following the embassy bombings. Kenyan officials and diplomatic sources in the region said at the time the al-Shebab leadership had been weakened by splits between key figures and by feuding with another Islamist militia, Hezb al-Islami. Al-Qaida now seems to be making a significant effort to overcome these setbacks and reforge al-Shebab into a fighting force.

Taiwan's Carrier Killer

Taiwan has unveiled the first images of a high-tech missile corvette specifically designed to counter the threat of China acquiring an aircraft carrier, officials and media said Monday. A computerised graphic of the 1,000-tonne "carrier killer," which has so far been kept secret from the public, has gone on display at Taipei's military museum, run by the defence ministry. The vessel will be capable of cruising at speeds of up to 55 kilometres (34 miles) an hour and boast technologies helping it to evade radar detection, the Taipei-based Apple Daily reported, citing military officials. The navy hopes to arm the corvette with Taiwan's home-grown Hsiungfeng III supersonic ship-to-ship missile, according to the report. The military museum did not provide any details, while the defence ministry declined to comment on the report. The report came after the head of Taiwan's National Security Bureau, Tsai Teh-sheng, told parliament in November that China has started building its first aircraft carrier. Taiwanese military analysts expect China to need at least 10 years to build its first operating carrier group complete with carrier-based fighters and other warships. But they warn that once the Chinese arms build-up is completed, it will have a far-reaching strategic impact on the region. Ties between China and Taiwan have improved markedly since China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became the island's president in 2008, vowing to adopt a non-confrontational policy towards the mainland. But China still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, although the island has governed itself since 1949 when the mainland's civil war ended. earlier related report Taiwan shows images of killer carrier Taipei, Taiwan (UPI) Apr 13, 2010 - Taiwan has made public its first images of a state-of-the-art missile corvette intended to match China's design to acquire an aircraft carrier. Dubbed by local media as a "killer carrier," the vessel is expected to be armed with its domestic Hsiungfeng III ship-to-ship missiles, Taipei's Apple Daily reported. Digital images of the 1,000-ton vessel were made public at Taipei's military museum. Plans of the ship were kept confidential for months. Citing military officials, the Apple Daily said the corvette will be capable of cruising up to 34 miles per hour, featuring also, technologies helping to evade radar detection. The report didn't elaborate and defense officials have declined to comment on the report. News of Taiwan's vessel follows revelations by Taiwan's National Security Bureau that China is building its first aircraft carrier. Beijing considers Taiwan a wayward province that must be brought back into the fold. It has used a number of means, diplomatic and military, to deter other nations from officially recognizing Taiwan as an independent state. Even so, relations between both sides have increasingly thawed, allowing Taiwan to pursue trade deals with other countries that have long been reluctant to antagonize Beijing. Military analysts in Taipei say China may need at least 10 years to build its maiden aircraft carrier. But once completed "the Chinese arms build-up is completed, it will have a far-reaching strategic impact on the region," Defense News reported. Despite signs of cross-straits rapprochement, relations between the two countries turned testy earlier this year when China slapped sanctions on U.S. defense manufacturers selling arms to Taiwan. The proposed U.S. arms package includes 114 Patriot missiles, 60 Black Hawk helicopters and communications equipment for Taiwan's F-16 fleet. Earlier this week, defense officials in Washington said that the sale of 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters was due to be finalized in May. Defense News reported that U.S. government officials and representatives from Boeing were set to arrive in Taipei next month to seal the deal. The helicopters were initially offered to Taiwan eight years ago but the U.S. Congress was only recently informed of the sale. Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, told Defense News that the Taiwan would take full delivery of the Apache helicopters by early 2013. The helicopters are said to be mounted with Stinger Block air-to-air missiles and AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

US Controversial Arms Sale to Taiwan

Despite the ire of China, the United States has agreed to press ahead with a controversial $6.4 billion sale of U.S. missiles, helicopters and ships to Taiwan. The proposal was cleared by the U.S. Congress following a 30-day window for objections, which passed without official comment. The arms deal includes Black Hawk helicopters, mine hunter ships and advanced Patriot missiles, built by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. U.S. officials have long indicated that the deal would be followed by plans to gauge the design and construction of diesel-powered submarines for the island, which China deems a wayward province. China is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles pointed at the island although relations with Taiwan have eased in recent years. That thaw was supposed to limit U.S. military cooperation with Taiwan, Chinese officials said. But the U.S. arms deal has China fuming. Relations between China and the United States have also seen a relative thaw in recent years but disputes over trade, Internet censorship and climate change have stoked tensions in bilateral ties. Concerned about the knock-on effects that the arms decision could have, Washington dispatched two senior officials to Beijing this week, hoping to allay concerns and iron out differences. China, though, remains adamant, opposing the Taiwan arms sale as a move that could seriously undermine relations with the United States. It has instead urged Washington to consider the consequences of such a defense deal, threatening the suspension of military contacts with the United States as well as slapping sanctions on the companies manufacturing the weapons bound for Taiwan. In addition to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the companies taking part in the $6.4 billion deal include United Technologies Corporation, maker of the Black Hawk helicopter, and Boeing, manufacturer of the Harpoon missiles. Washington is required under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself. The United States remains the island's top arms supplier. China and Taiwan split at the end of a civil war in 1949 and, during a his visit to China last November, U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated Washington's longstanding position that there was "only one China." While concerned about the implications, politicians and political pundits insist that Washington's decision to bolster Taiwan's military might will not derail U.S.-Sino relations. "No matter what happens with ... (the) Taiwan arms sales, with the conflicts on climate change, with the Iran nuclear problems," Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of International studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing told Bloomberg News, "there might be a lot of troubles and ups and downs between China and the United States but people know that there is a limit."

Indian Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile

Indian Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile

India is developing a sub-sonic cruise-type missile with a range of around 650 miles, The Press Trust of India reports. The 19-foot-long and 1.5-foot-wide Nirbhav missile is under development and was "getting into some shape," V. K. Saraswat, scientific adviser to the defense minister and the head of the Defense Research and Development Organization, said. Nirbhav, meaning "fearless" in Sanskrit, is being developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory, a division of the DRDO. It has an inertial navigational system, will reach Mach 0.7 and is designed to deliver more than 20 types of warheads. The flight-trial of air-to-air missile Astra, with a range of 28 to 65 miles, is in preparation, but no date for a test launch was reported. Saraswat was delivering the keynote address at a convention in Bangalore organized by the Aeronautical Society of India. He said India's armed forces are looking for long duration loitering missiles that can enter enemy territory, seek targets including radar establishments and other concentrations of assets as well as enemy troop movements. Saraswat made a case for deploying space-based object recognition sensors to keep tabs on adversaries and generally gather military intelligence, a Press Trust of India report said. This is especially essential for tracking and detection of troop movements and without the sensors India's ballistic missile defense system wouldn't be a "potent weapon" it should be. To that end India is working on electro-optical payload and synthetic aperture radar. "So, unless we prepare ourselves for future space-based systems, security is going to be a major issue," he said. The Nirbhav is intended to complement the military's BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Saraswat's comments come after India successfully tested a maneuverable version of the BrahMos, Indian media reported late last month. The missile in all versions has been a joint development with Russia. The vertical-launch version of the 180-mile range BrahMos was tested from the warship INS Ranvir in the Bay of Bengal off India's eastern coast, the PTI news agency reported. The vertical-launch version of missile successfully adjusted directions to hit a target ship, making it "a perfect mission," BrahMos aerospace chief A. Sivathanu Pillai was quoted as saying. "After today's test, India has become the first and only country in the world to have a maneuverable supersonic cruise missile in its inventory." The missile's name is derived from two rivers, India's Brahmaputra and Russia's Moskva. The BrahMos can carry a 440-pound conventional warhead. The inclined-launch variants of the missile fitted with inclined launchers are already in service with the Indian navy and army. Air- and submarine-launch variants are in development.

Indian Intelligence Research And Analysis Wing "RAW" Exposed

Indian Intelligence Research And Analysis Wing "RAW" ExposedAccording to the credible sources, Indian intelligence agencies and media failed to blame ISI for Shoaib – Sania Marriage. But even then RAW didn’t spare Shoaib; His passport has been confiscated by the local police on the agency’s direction. The intelligence agency was fully determined to sabotage stars’ marriage. The contents of actual plan were in post and would be communicated accordingly. Ayesha Siddiqi or Maha Aapa has been purposely asked to come in the media to malign Shoaib for relations with other Indian girls. Indian agency also did photo treating of some original pictures of both the stars and also launched them on various websites for tarnishing their images. South Asian peace loving masses should come out to pressurize their governments to tell India not to Interfare in other country's matters and not to create a crap like this. Today it happened with a Pakistani National but tomorrow Indian Authorities can do it with some anyother country and it's peoples.

Radiation Death In India raises Nuclear Safety Concerns

Radiation Death In India raises Nuclear Safety Concerns

NEW DELHI : (Reuters) - The radiation-related death of a scrap metal worker has raised concerns over nuclear safety in India, at a time when the Asian power is wooing foreign players to its $150 billion civilian nuclear market. Authorities have launched a probe into the unauthorised disposal of a disused machine from the chemistry department of Delhi University, which contained the radioactive material cobalt-60 and ended up in a scrap metal hub in the capital. A man died in hospital from exposure last week, in a case a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was quoted as saying was the most serious worldwide since 2006. The death raised concerns over the handling of nuclear material in India at a time when the ruling Congress party is trying to push through legislation in parliament to help foreign players access its lucrative nuclear energy market. India, one of a handful of countries which refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, inked a civilian nuclear agreement with United States in 2008, taking it out of three decades of nuclear isolation. "Against this backdrop, the first radiation-related death of a common man should be taken seriously & provides a wakeup-call that must be taken." Experts said.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), a former government ally and vocal critic of the nuclear deal and the pending nuclear liability bill, raised the worker's death in parliament. Safety standards are a sensitive issue in India, where a gas leak in a Union Carbide factory killed thousands a quarter of a decade ago in one of the world's worst industrial accidents. Memories of the disaster have helped shape the debate around the current nuclear bill, which had been shelved after protests by the opposition. French and Russian nuclear firms plan to set up in India, and New Delhi has offered to tender construction of two plants to U.S.-based firms GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Japan's Toshiba Corp. The apparent ease with which radioactive material could be disposed unsupervised has also raised fears such material could fall into the hands of militants to make so-called "dirty bombs". (Source : Reuters)