• Air Force to deploy supercomputer aboard a superblimp

    The U.S. Air Force is developing a massive blimp to gather and process all intelligence feeds from Afghanistan; the air ship will be longer than a football field and seven times the size of the Goodyear Blimp and will be able to stay afloat for nearly a week at nearly four miles up; the key feature of the ship will be its sophisticated supercomputer which can process 300 terabytes of data an hour; this computer will help limit data overload as surveillance sensors become increasingly complex; it currently takes fourteen analysts to monitor a single feed from a predator and the next generation drones will have ninety-six cameras; the blimp’s first test flight is scheduled for 15 October

  • Arab Silicon Valley plan raise fears of CPU shortages, security risks

    GlobalFoundries, originally part of U.S. No. 2 CPU manufacturer AMD, plans to spend $7 billion on a new chip fabrication facility in Abu Dhabi, the first in the Middle East; business and security experts say it is not a good idea to have a large segment of the U.S. and world economy depend on chips manufactured in an unstable, turmoil-prone region; the worry is not only that a hostile government coming to power would cut off computer components necessary for economnic activity and national security, but that foreign governments could build software or hardware into chips that could transmit confidential information

  • China stealth-jet maker eyes U.S. contracts

    Last month China shocked military analysts by unveiling its first stealth fighter; as is the case with many other Chinese technological advances, the technology was stolen from the United States, albeit indirectly: the Chinese fighter was made with technology from a U.S. stealth plane shot down in 1999 by Serbian forces during the Kosovo war; now, the Chinese manufacturer is teaming up with a small California company to bid on U.S. defense contracts, including contracts for stealth aircraft; the Chinese company also wants to bid on the contract to build the new generation of Marine One helicopters, which are used to transport the president (the U.S. president, not China’s)

  • Egypt's opposition groups have varied, conflicting agendas

    The opposition to the Mubarak regime is not unified except on one issue: the removal of Hosni Mubarak from power; the five major groups leading the opposition include the pious Muslim Brotherhood, the liberal Al Ghad Party, the nationalist WAFD Party, the socialist 6 April Youth movement, and the umbrella group National Association for Change (NAC), led by Mohamed el Baradei, which includes all these groups, and many more; the Brotherhood enjoys the broadest popular support among Egypt’s poor (and the vast majority of Egyptians are poor), and the best organization; to prevent the Brotherhood from coming to power, the WAFD and AL GHAD parties, with the support of el Baradei and some of the smaller members of the NAC, should consider cooperation with Ahmed Shafik, Omar Suleiman, and Sami Annan — the troika set to succeed Mubarak

  • Disaffected youth, stagnation, poverty threaten Mideast regimes

    In six Arab-Muslim states in the Middle East, six — Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen — more than 50 percent of the citizenry are under the age of 25; in other six states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates — the “under 25s” make up between 35 to 47 percent of the population; in Yemen, some 75 percent of the population is under 30, and the poverty rate exceeds 45 percent; in Egypt, some 66 percent of the population is under 30, while fully half the country’s 80 million citizens lives on less than $2 per day; since 1980, the Arab world has experienced the highest rate of [population] growth of any region in the world; during the same period, the Arab economies have been sputtering, creating far too few jobs

  • Mubarak to step down after September elections

    President Hosni Mubarak announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in September; he said on national TV that he will devote his remaining months in office to fashioning a constitutional reform; President Obama welcomed the announcement, saying that Egypt’s transition “must begin now”; he said the United States would be happy to offer assistance to Egypt during that process; Mubarak’s plan appears to divide Egyptians — and the protesters; some are determined to carry on, while others think these are major concessions and that the protests have gone far enough; Egypt’s powerful army vowed that it would not use force against the protesters, despite maintaining a strong presence in central Cairo

  • Pro-government demonstrators clash with opponents

    Thousands of pro-government demonstrators appear in Egypt’s major cities and clash with anti-government demonstrators; the anti-Mubarak protesters have been accusing the army of moving aside to let their pro-government rivals enter streets and square where anti-government protesters congregate; in a statement, Egypt’s army called for demonstrators to return to their homes; meanwhile, Internet services were returning to the country, having been cut off for days by the government; state television also reported an easing of a nationwide curfew

  • U.S., Egypt look to post-Mubarak era

    The days of Hosni Mubarak in office appear numbered, and there are behind-the-scenes discussions among U.S., Egyptian, and Saudi diplomats about a “smooth transition”; it is not yet clear whether the efforts to ease Mubarak out are meant to allow the military regime which came to power in 1952 to remain in power, headed by more acceptable leaders than Mubarak, or whether these efforts are aimed at a more thorough revamping of the Egyptian political system; the main goal is to prevent a repetition of the Iran 1979 scenario: an authoritarian regime replaced by a centrist, secular — but weak and devoid of support — government, only for that government to be swept from power by the Ayatollahs within months

  • China's increasing military might causes concern in Asia, West

    China’s recent test flight of its first stealth fighter comes as part of a larger military buildup that is concerning its Asian neighbors and the West; the Chinese test of their first fifth generation stealth fighter is years ahead of U.S. intelligence predictions; China is also moving ahead with the construction of its first aircraft carrier as well as other capabilities like a “carrier killing” ballistic missile; in response to China’s stealth fighter test, Taiwan test-fired nineteen missiles; nearly a third of the missiles failed; it is unclear what China’s intentions are though leaders claim these weapons are for self-defense

  • South Korean navy recaptures pirated tanker

    South Korean special forces team boards a pirate-held tanker in the Arabian Sea; pirates were killed, injured or captured; 21 sailors rescued after being held since last Saturday; three rescuers sustain minor injuries

  • UN indicts Hezbollah chiefs in Hariri assassination

    Prosecutor for international tribunal investigating assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri files indictment with pre-trial judge; Nasrallah threatens to “cut off the hands” of anyone attempting arrest of Hezbollah members; turmoil grows following last week’s collapse of government

  • Invisible tanks to be deployed within five years

    British military scientists plan to develop an army of “invisible” tanks ready for use on the battlefield within five years. Armored vehicles will use a new technology known as “e-camouflage” which deploys a form electronic ink to render a vehicle invisible; highly sophisticated electronic sensors attached to the tank’s hull will project images of the surrounding environment back onto the outside of the vehicle enabling it to merge into the landscape and evade attack

  • Bombs in flight -- Friday's false alarm not false

    Friday’s emergency activity concerned with finding explosive devices initially reported as a false alarm — early reports indicated no explosives were found; this proved to be wrong in subsequent reports, live devices containing PETN were found in the U.K. and Dubai; in the instance of the Dubai device, the bomb package had been flown on two passenger flights; U.S. intelligence analysis identify bombmaker; Yemeni authorities arrest and later release female student on suspicion of complicity

  • False alarm at U.S., U.K. airports

    Several United Parcel Service flights arriving at U.S and U.K. were moved to areas isolated from other aircraft, and searched for explosive devices; to this point no explosives have been found

  • Northrop shows big-gun armed robot

    Northrop took its Carry-all Mechanized Equipment Landrover, or CaMEL — a 60-inch-tall treaded vehicle capable of carrying an impressive 1,200 pounds of stuff — and put a massive .50 caliber M2 machine gun on it; Israel has already ordered 60 of them, and the U.S. Army is considering (after an unpleasant experience with an earlier armed robot in Iraq two years ago)