Dec 9, 2009 Assortment

Israel refuses Irish FM permission to visit Gaza

Israeli authorities deny Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin permission to visit the impoverished coastal sliver of Gaza which has long been under an Israeli siege.

“I am appalled by the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli forces which have resulted in so many civilian fatalities. The death and suffering, as well as the humanitarian deprivation, now being inflicted on the people of Gaza as a result of the continuation of the Israeli Operation Cast Lead cannot be justified in any way and must now be brought to an immediate end,” Martin stated.

US Air Force confirms ‘Beast of Kandahar’ drone

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Air Force on Tuesday confirmed for the first time that it is flying a stealth unmanned aircraft known as the “Beast of Kandahar,” a drone spotted in photos and shrouded in secrecy.

The RQ-170 Sentinel is being developed by Lockheed Martin and is designed “to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward deployed combat forces,” the air force said in a brief statement.

The photo of the drone in Afghanistan has raised questions about why the United States would be operating a stealth unmanned aircraft in a country where insurgents have no radar systems, prompting speculation Washington was using the drones for possible spying missions in neighboring Iran or Pakistan.

Iran accuses US of abducting its nuclear scientist

Tehran Tuesday accused the United States of abducting an Iranian nuclear scientist who went missing in Saudi Arabia during a minor Muslim pilgrimage, and said Riyadh must also be held accountable.

Shahram Amiri reportedly disappeared from the holy city of Medina early June, just three days after landing in Saudi Arabia.

Sword / F-22P Class Frigates, Pakistan

The F-22P or Sword class frigate is a 2,500t multi-mission, conventionally powered frigate built for the Pakistan Navy. Design and construction of the F-22P started after a $750m deal was signed in 2005 between Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) and China Shipbuilding Trading Co (CSTC).

The deal involved an order for construction of four F-22P frigates for the Pakistan Navy’s fleet. The deal included an order for four to six Harbin Z-9EC helicopters and ammunition for the frigates. The first of the frigates, PNS Zulifqar, was delivered in September 2009.

The second and third frigates are currently under construction at Shanghai’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, where PNS Zulifqar was built. The second frigate was launched in October 2008. The frigate will be named PNS Shamsheer and is scheduled for delivery in January 2010.

The fourth unnamed frigate is being built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works under a technology transfer agreement signed with China. It is expected to be delivered by 2013.


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