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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Australia takes lead in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province

 

AUSTRALIA’S defence force will take over the leadership role in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province, Defence Minister Stephen Smith says.

This will help the transition process to a full withdrawal of Australian troops by 2014, he announced in Canberra today.

The national security committee of cabinet approved Australia taking over leadership this week.

“The circumstances in Oruzgan are very different from what they were back in June 2010,” Mr Smith said, referring to the withdrawal of the Netherlands force and its leadership role being assumed by the United States.

“Australia taking on the leadership now … puts us in a better position to manage the transition process.”

Australia saw this as the appropriate time to take the leadership role in Oruzgan to help ensure transition was effected in a seamless way, Mr Smith said.
The US has committed to continuing to provide enabling support in the Province, which it has done since August 2010.

Assuming leadership of the transition would not require an increase in the overall average size of Australia’s presence in Oruzgan.

Australia looked forward to continuing to work with its partners the United States, Singapore and Slovakia, Mr Smith said.

Defence Force chief David Hurley said the new command role should be viewed as a positive part of the transition.

The leadership role won’t lead to any net increase in ADF numbers in the province, which currently average 1550 personnel.

It did not reflect the “US significantly reducing its commitment to the (combined team) coalition arrangement”, he said.

General Hurley said that during the next two years there would be a number of complex operations to lead.

These included the transition to Afghan national security forces leadership in the province, the extraction of ADF forces and equipment, preparation for Australia’s post-2014 commitment and support for a range of ongoing Australian government programs.

“What this decision does is put us in the driving seat to control the interaction with those processes over the next year or so,” General Hurley said.”

Source:  News.Com.au
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Love Letter from Suzan Johnson

Hello Readers,

I got this scam love letter from one Miss Suzan Johnson who claimed to have seen my profile on Nairaland. The letter was sent to many recipients i guess . The letter is posted below for your entertainment.

Single guys please feel free to contact Miss Johnson.

“Dearest – One.
My name is Suzan Johnson
I will be very happy to have your knowledge which permit me to discover, your personnality and build a profond relationship.
I’m interested in you,your personnality on (www.nairaland.com) Your profile says to me that you are the one I’m looking for.
So,don’t disappoint me by sendind me a mail. so i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am.
Here is my email address (suzancool47@yahoo.co.uk)
I believe we can move from here!
Holy KISSES with FLOWERS.
I’m waiting even if it’s a word. on this my email
(suzancool47@yahoo.co.uk)
Thanks, Remain blessed from
Suzan.

May 29 Presidential speech and the late Chief MKO Abiola’s honour

Today marks the one year anniversary of the election of Dr Ebele Goodluck Jonthan,Phd, GCFR President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of the Federal republic of Nigeria and as usual it came with a long speech of proposed and ‘purported’ achievements, i would leave the analysis to other concerned Nigerians.

I appreciate the effort of Mr president in recognising the sacrifices the Late Chief MKO Abiola made towards Nigeria’s democracy ,however I reject the attempt to label MKO as a sectionalist and placate the people of the southwest by renaming UNILAG after him. Abiola won the 1993 election across the country, if there is any honour befitting his status, it should be a monumental edifice or institution situated in Abuja the Federal Capital of Nigeria to give it a National look.

Another option would have been accepting June 12 as the real democracy day in Nigeria and declaring it as a National Public holiday in line with what some southwest states have been doing (remember Abiola was voted in wholeheartedly by Nigerians on June 12,1993 but the election was annulled by the ‘evil genius’ General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida rtd.).

My dear President, it is never too late to rescind your decision ,please consider these options and give MKO Abiola the true National honour he deserves despite the fact that Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo didn’t bother to do that despite being a yoruba son, this point i know your advisers would have archived for use in the forth coming 2015 elections when the battle for the soul of the southwest begins (oops that is politics).

Thank You.

Oladapo Kolawole is a concerned citizen of Nigeria.

Australia expels Syria’s Charge D’Affairs Jawdat Ali

Syria massacre

The bodies of some of the 108 people, including 32 children, awaiting burial after a massacre in the Syrian town of Houla at the weekend. Picture: AFP

“SYRIA’S top diplomat in Australia, Jawdat Ali, was today expelled by the Gillard Government in protest about the massacre of an estimated 100 people in his country, many of them children.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said the Syrian Charge D’Affairs has 72 hours to leave the country.

Senator Carr said Australia condemned the atrocities perpetrated against civilians in the village of Haoula.

Mr Ali was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra today and told he was being expelled.

On Monday, Mr Ali was told Australia expected the Syrian Government to cease military operations and abide by the ceasefire brokered by special Envoy Kofi Annan.

“This massacre of civilians in Haoula is a hideous and brutal crime,” Senator Carr said.

The United Nations has condemned Syria for the slaughter.

Australia, the European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Syria. Australia has put travel and financial restrictions on 106 individuals and 28 entities and imposed an arms embargo.”

Source: News.com.au

‘US commandos parachuted into North Korea’

 

“US and South Korean special forces have been parachuting into North Korea to gather intelligence about underground military installations, a US officer has said.

  • Thousands of tunnels built since the Korean war
  • Commandos sent in with minimal equipment
  • Entire tunnel infrastructure “hidden from satellites”

Army Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of US special forces in South Korea, told a conference held in Florida last week that Pyongyang had built thousands of tunnels since the Korean war, The Diplomat reported.

“The entire tunnel infrastructure is hidden from our satellites,” Gen Tolley said, according to The Diplomat, a current affairs magazine. “So we send (South Korean) soldiers and US soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance.”

“After 50 years, we still don’t know much about the capability and full extent” of the underground facilities,” he said, in comments reported by the National Defense Industrial Association’s magazine on its website.

Gen Tolley said the commandos were sent in with minimal equipment to facilitate their movements and minimise the risk of detection by North Korean forces.

At least four of the tunnels built by Pyongyang go under the Demilitarised Zone separating North and South Korea, Gen Tolley said.

“We don’t know how many we don’t know about,” he admitted.

Among the facilities identified are 20 air fields that are partially underground, and thousands of artillery positions.

In February, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that had built at least two new tunnels at a nuclear testing site, likely in preparation for a new test.”

Source: News.co.au

#BreakingNews Al Qaeda’s No. 2 in Afghanistan killed in air strike, NATO says

“AL-Qaeda’s second most senior leader in Afghanistan, a key figure in commanding attacks on foreign forces, has been killed in an air strike, NATO has announced.

Sakhr al Taifi, a Saudi, was killed in a precision air strike Sunday in northeastern Kunar Province.

“Sakhr al Taifi, also known as Musthaq and Nasim, was al Qaeda’s second highest leader in Afghanistan, responsible for commanding foreign insurgents, in addition to directing attacks against coalition and Afghan forces,” NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

Taifi traveled frequently between Afghanistan and Pakistan and carried out orders from the terror network’s senior leadership, ISAF said.

He armed insurgents in eastern Afghanistan and also organized the transport of militants into the country.

Taifi was identified along with another al Qaeda terrorist and targeted in an air strike. No Afghan civilians were injured, the force said.”

Source: The News .Com.au Australia

Blast in Kenya capital Nairobi ‘may have been bomb’

“The BBC’s Kevin Mwachiro: “There were lots of clothes and shoes that were strewn in front of the store”

Kenya’s police say an explosion which injured 33 in the capital, Nairobi, may have been caused by a bomb, after initially blaming an electrical fault.

The blast tore apart a shopping complex on Moi Avenue at lunchtime.

A witness has said a bag was abandoned next to her just before the explosion.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said the blast had a terrorist link. Militant group al-Shabab has repeatedly threatened to stage revenge attacks after Kenya sent troops to Somalia.

There has been a string of grenade and bomb blasts across Kenya in recent months, killing several people.

Shoes and clothes scattered

Five of those injured are said to be in a critical condition.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told the BBC he no longer believed an electrical fault had caused the blast, as police commissioner Mathew Iteere had initially suggested.

A man injured during an explosion is assisted from the scene in Kenya"s capital Nairobi, May 28, 2012. Some 28 people are said to have been injured by the blast

In a statement, Mr Kiraithe said the cause of the explosion had not been established.

“The investigating team is exploring the possibility that the blast was caused by criminals using an improvised explosive device,” he said.

“Initial examination of the scene indicates that the possibility of a conventional bomb is remote.”

Mr Odinga told reporters at the site of the blast: “This is terrorism… this is a heinous act, we are under threat, but we will not be cowed.”

Kenya Power, the country’s sole electricity distributor, has also ruled out any electrical malfunction as the cause of the blast.

The BBC’s Kevin Mwachiro says glass and shoes and clothes from the small shops inside the building were scattered across the street.

TV pictures have shown people pouring into the streets from nearby buildings to get away from the scene of the fire, the AP news agency reports.

Moi Avenue is a major road which would have been busy during the lunch hour, AP says.

According to an eyewitness, there was a huge blast and debris flew in different directions injuring people in the vicinity, the Nation newspaper reports.

The powerful explosion shook buildings in the surrounding area and the evacuation process began, the Nation says.”

Source : BBC News

 

Abyei dispute: Sudan ‘to withdraw troops’

Sudan will begin pulling its troops out of the disputed border region of Abyei on Tuesday, an army spokesman has said.

Abyei is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, which became independent in 2011 after a long civil war. Sudan’s forces seized Abyei in May 2011.

Its status was left undecided in the 2005 peace deal between the sides, and a referendum on the issue has been postponed indefinitely.

Peace talks between the two states are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

In the talks due to be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the two countries are expected to cover several border disputes that have caused friction, including Abyei.

Sudan has decided to redeploy its troops out of Abyei in order to “offer a good environment for the talks”, military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency.

He said Khartoum was responding to a request from the talks’ mediator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

‘Guarantee’

It has also asked for a “guarantee” recognising that Abyei is part of its territory, the spokesman added.

Analysis

James Copnall BBC News, Khartoum

The Sudanese military spokesman avoided the word “withdrawal” – “redeployment” sounds so much less like a defeat.

Certainly, if the Sudanese troops do leave Abyei – and many in South Sudan will be sceptical until it actually happens – Khartoum will negotiate from a weaker position.

But the Sudanese leadership is clearly hoping to burnish its reputation with this decision, which comes the day before a meeting in which progress – or not – on the African Union’s roadmap is to be evaluated.

There is also the prospect of UN sanctions for any failure to make real progress in the negotiations.

There are strong feelings in both countries about Abyei.

The Misseriya, a Sudanese group, take their cattle through the region every year.

The Dinka Ngok, the permanent residents of the area, want Abyei to be part of South Sudan.

But even if from now on the only troops in Abyei are UN peacekeepers, the underlying problem of how to decide its future remains.

On Sunday, former US President Jimmy Carter said after meeting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that Khartoum was ready to pull its forces out of Abyei.

Tens of thousands of civilians were displaced when the Sudanese army took control of the region in three days of clashes with South Sudanese troops in May 2011.

The dispute in Abyei is rooted in ethnic conflict between farmers from the pro-South Sudan Dinka Ngok community and the pro-Sudan Misseriya nomads.

In April, cross-border clashes centred on the neighbouring oil-rich region of Heglig brought Sudan and South Sudan close to all-out war.

South Sudan says Sudanese warplanes bombed several locations on its border, although Khartoum denies this.

The same month, the South’s troops occupied Heglig for a week. It said it pulled out in response to international pressure, but Sudan said it reconquered the territory.

The UN Security Council has called on both countries to cease all bombing and cross-border fighting, and to return to talks aimed at resolving their outstanding disputes.

Security is a key issue, and one that Sudan says must be resolved before anything else, the BBC’s James Copnall in Khartoum reports.

Outstanding issues also include oil and the situation of the estimated half a million South Sudanese still living in Sudan, our correspondent says.

But the level of distrust between the two sides is considerable, and rapid progress on the many areas of substantial disagreement is unlikely, he adds.

Sudan: A country divided
Show regions
Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international

Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan’s budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.”
Source; BBC News

The FBI Is About To Launch A New Unit That Wants To Spy On Skype Conversations

“The FBI is in the process of launching a new surveillance unit to help the bureau snoop on conversations that take place on Skype and other wireless communications, CNET reports. The new unit has a very unassuming name: the Domestic Communications Assistance Center.
CNET parsed through government documents and interviewed people familiar with the project. Here’s what the publication has learned so far:

“DCAC’s mandate is broad, covering everything from trying to intercept and decode Skype conversations to building custom wiretap hardware or analyzing the gigabytes of data that a wireless provider or social network might turn over in response to a court order. It’s also designed to serve as a kind of surveillance help desk for state, local, and other federal police.”

CNET reports that the idea behind the new unit has been floating around for about four years, and it’s intended to serve as “the technological component of the bureau’s ‘Going Dark’ Internet wiretapping push, which was allocated $54 million by a Senate committee last month.”

Source: Business Insider.

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Nigerian Networks Not Robust to Implement Number Porting

0712F01.Eugene-Juwah.jpg-0712F01.Eugene-Juwah.jpg

NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Eugene Juwah

By Emma Okonji

Contrary to the belief of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that the country is long overdue for the implementation of  number portability, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the time was yet to mature.

Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, in a chat with THISDAY said the unsteady condition of all registered networks as it relates to poor quality of service in recent times, was enough signal to convince the NCC that the networks are not robust enough to carry the capacity needed for number porting.

Citing instances of the recent fine of N1.17 billion imposed on four telecoms operators by the NCC for poor quality of service on their networks, as well as the reactions of affected telecoms operating companies, Adebayo argued that if the networks were strong enough, there would be no trace of dwindling network service and the issue of fine would not have arisen in the first place. “The fine is a clear indication that the networks are not healthy and should be strengthened if NCC expects better results from the standard it set, using the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs),” Adebayo said.

He advised NCC not to be in a hurry to implement Number Portability, so as not to add to the present ugly situation.

He rather suggested that NCC should encourage investment in alternative platform like the fixed line operation, to avoid over dependence on mobile, which he said was already suffering from congestion. He was of the opinion that Nigerians depended so much on mobile operation like the GSM service both in offices and homes, thus contributing to the heavy traffic being generated on the mobile networks.

“Mobile Number Portability is ill-timed. Nigerians are not ripe for Number Portability because networks not yet robust. With the issue of poor quality of service and fine from NCC, it goes to show that the networks are not robust enough for Number Portability. It also shows that if one network is shut down by government agencies or it goes down for any reason, no single operator has the headroom to accommodate the gap and capacity lapses it will create and that will be a problem for the industry. Subscribers cannot port from one network to another, if up to four operators were indicted for poor quality of service. If four operators have been declared by NCC as weak in terms of quality of service, then which network will subscriber port to when all the operators are not strong,” Adebayo asked.

NCC is insisting on the implementation of Number Portability and has concluded to commence the process across networks in September this year. Standing firm on its promise, the telecoms regulator, early this month, released a set of guidelines for the implementation of Number Portability across networks.

Number Portability is a process that allows subscribers to migrate from one network to another, in search of better quality of service, while still retaining the original GSM number, irrespective of the network the subscriber chooses to migrate to. NCC in its released guidelines, made porting free of charge for subscribers.”

Source: Thisday Newspaper

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