Much higher amount of business with Iran that I'd realized.
The family of a senior partner at Deloitte has called for answers after he apparently committed suicide days after the auditing firm was linked to the Standard Chartered Iran dollar trades scandal. Daniel Pirron, a partner in Delloite's key General Counsel's office in New York, was found dead in a car park near his home in Trumbull, Connecticut.
On August 6, Deloitte was accused by the New York Department of Financial Services of aiding Standard Chartered in its "deception" over billions of dollars' worth of trades involving Iran.
Mr Pirron apparently took his own life seven days later.
Daniel Pirron was a detective for the Illinois Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission in Chicago, before moving to work for Deloitte in 1990.
Deloitte denied that Mr Pirron had any involvement in the Standard Chartered matter.
"The loss of our partner, Dan Pirron, is a terrible tragedy and he will be missed dearly by all of his Deloitte friends," a spokesman said.
"Dan was a highly respected member of our office. However, Dan was not involved in any way on our work for Standard Chartered Bank."
Deloitte denies the DFS allegations that have led to Standard Chartered agreeing to pay a fine of $340m.
Egypt is preparing to use aircraft and tanks in Sinai for the first time since the 1973 war with Israel in its offensive against militants in the border area, security sources said on Monday.
The plans to step up the operation were being finalised by Egypt's newly appointed Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he made his first visit to Sinai on Monday following the killing of 16 border guards on August 5.
Egypt blamed the attack on Islamist militants and the conflict is an early test for President Mohamed Mursi - elected in June following the overthrow last year of Hosni Mubarak - to prove he can rein in militants on the border with Israel.
"Al-Sisi will supervise the putting together of final plans to strike terrorist elements using aircraft and mobile rocket launchers for the first time since the beginning of the operation," an Egyptian security source said.
Another security source said the army was planning to attack and besiege al-Halal mountain in central Sinai, using weapons including tanks, where militants were suspected to be hiding.
Disorder has spread in North Sinai, a region with many guns that has felt neglected by the central government, since the overthrow of Mubarak in a popular uprising. Mubarak's government had worked closely with Israel to keep the region under control and Islamist President Mursi has promised to restore stability.
The 1979 peace treaty between both countries limited military presence in the desert peninsula though in recent years Israel agreed to allow Egypt to deploy more forces there to stem weapons smuggling by Palestinian gunmen and other crimes.
After the border attack this month, Egypt launched a joint army-police operation that has raided militant hideouts, arrested their members and seized weapons.
Israeli officials, who say they are in regular contact with Cairo, have encouraged Egypt to take tough action against the gunmen responsible for the assault and have previously allowed the use of helicopters in the operation.
Agriculture and population are Egypt's new tools to combat security woes in the peninsula
Egypt has decided to combat the volatile security situation in Sinai by settling 1 million citizens and developing agriculture in the sparsely populated peninsula, establishment daily Al-Ahram reported Sunday.
They've been doing this kind of thing more or less well since the 1950s, according to a 2008 article in National Geographic, getting water either from the Nile or local underground aquifers. Judge for yourself the odds of success, dear Reader.
Agriculture minister Salah Abdul Momen told the daily that his ministry has developed a detailed five-year plan to turn 1 million acres of arid desert in central Sinai into farmland, at a rate of 200,000 acres per year. The plan includes settling some 1 million Egyptians in the new agricultural regions.
Personally, I think there's a reason the only current inhabitants of the Sinai are Beduin tribes and crazy Israelis (and American military observers -- shhh!), but that is mere suspicion and feeling, not actually knowledge.
The 14.7 million acre (23,000 mi˛) peninsula, which Egypt regained through the Camp David peace accords with Israel in 1982, is sparsely populated and economically marginalized. The mountainous center is particularly underdeveloped.
So they can just level those mountains for the farmland they'll need...
The minister told Al-Ahram that in the coming weeks the government will sign contracts with 150 local and foreign investors who will cover the entire cost of development, estimated at 12 billion Egyptian pounds ($2 billion).
Abdul Momen said that 3,500 acres will be distributed to recent university graduates and small farmers, who will each be given 2 greenhouses for agricultural use.
They should perhaps not consult the Gazans on what to do with donated greenhouses...
Just what every university graduate wants: a pair of greenhouses...
Another Egyptian official, irrigation minister Muhammad Bahaa A-Din, told the daily that a new underground water reservoir was discovered in the northern part of the Sinai's western desert, which will supply 320 million cubic meters (84.5 billion gallons) of water yearly, enough to irrigate 70,000 acres during the project's initial stage.
Minister Abdul Momen told Al-Ahram that implementing the project as quickly as possible would help solve Egypt's security concerns.
The initiative comes two weeks after Sinai-based terror groups killed 16 uniformed Egyptian security personnel, who were breaking their Ramadan fast with an evening meal, in an attack on their base near the Gazoo-Israel-Egypt border. The Death Eaters then commandeered an Egyptian Army armored personnel vehicle at the base and smashed across the border into Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing. A mile or so inside Israel, they were blown up by the Israel Air Force.
First thingys come first - IMO Israel will prob insist that its demand for the withdrawal of Egyptian armor from the Sinai be accomplished first, lest Israel demand 1/2 of the Sinai for Israeli settlement + devlopment, as National Security "collateral" from Egypt.
SUB-IMO, ANOTHER REASON FOR ISRAEL + THE US-WEST TO MISS BABY ASSAD.
this is colonialism to get Egypt into the region.
A similar thought occurred to me, BernardZ This is an Egyptian version of creating facts on the ground -- if there are lots of people there a) it will be harder for the Israelis to drive their tanks through, and b) governing them afterward would be as undesirable for Israel as governing the Gaza Strip...although the illiterate Egyptian peasantry don't seem much good, violence-wise, for anything more than the occasional pogram against local Copts, but perhaps their children could take tutorials from the Gazans, once they learn to read.
Relocate the copts out there you say? There are all dissidents technically. That though would be a catastrophic mistake if they did. They'd practically welcome Isreal with open arms. And say good-bye to the Suez.
Posted by: Charles ||
I agree to just let them go out is probably not in the Egypt government's best idea. However, tightly controlled farming camps with wire and guards, for their own protection from the natives, that would be the uh oh.
On the other side, it would be a way for the Egypt gov to select who they would want, perhaps a reward system for supporters rather than a Sooner Boomer type run.
gyptian President Muhammad Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, swiftly and unexpectedly replaced the pro-US chiefs of staff of Egypt's armed forces, and he also installed pro-Brotherhood journalists as editors of Egypt's top newspapers.
Appears Morsi has learned a great deal from watching the Champ.
Germany's highest court issued a ruling allowing the military to be used - in some instances - within the country. The decision is the latest chapter in a debate that stretches back decades into German history.
In 2003 the government enacted an air safety law that explicitly permitted the military to shoot down passenger jets in cases of hijacking and terrorism. The Federal Constitutional Court, however, struck the law down in 2006, deeming it illegal to weigh the lives of the innocent passengers on the plane against the potential victims on the ground in the event of a terrorist attack. The court further ruled that the Bundeswehr could support police action inside Germany but would be limited to using police techniques and equipment. The use of tanks or fighter jets remained prohibited under the judges' ruling.
This, however, was a point where the two chambers of Germany's highest court disagreed. As a result, a plenary session of the Constitutional Court, which has only convened five times in the country's history, was called. After several years of consideration, it issued its ruling on Friday (17.08.2012) that the military could use its weaponry and equipment within Germany during "states of emergency of catastrophic proportions."
While the debate about preventing terrorist attacks is relatively new, the German military's role in operations within the country has been the subject of an on-again, off-again debate for decades. German law strictly separated the roles of the police and the military, making the police responsible for domestic security and the military responsible for defending the country from foreign attack. In the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) the Reichswehr fought against communists, and during the Nazi era, Hitler used the SS paramilitary units against the population to secure power.
In the years after World War Two, Germany's history of misuse of the military meant anyone who considered deploying the Bundeswehr within the country was accused of wanting to open the door to state-sponsored terror. This applied even in the case of having soldiers assist authorities during natural disasters, which the constitution explicitly allows.
Domestic Bundeswehr missions - even after the court's decision this week - will be extremely limited. Shooting down passenger planes is still prohibited, as is using military methods to prevent a demonstration. The court also made clear that a single government minister cannot order an army deployment by insisting that the entire government be involved in deciding on such a mission.
[Dawn] THE political stability given to Turkey by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has not served to lessen the intensity of the country's ideological polarisation.
The AKP can justly claim credit for some successes: it has given the country 12 years of stable single-party government; its economic policies have turned Turkey into the world's 17th and Europe's sixth biggest economy, and it has tamed the military the way earlier Islamists led by Necmettin Erbekan had failed to.
In what was an intelligent move, Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly pledged loyalty to secularism and thus removed the raison d'ętre for the military to seize power when he ousted his mentor Erbekan to grab party leadership.
What the reaction in the army was when the AKP won the election the first time in 2002 is now coming to light as the Ergenekon trial proceeds. On Aug 2, Hilmi Ozkok, a former chief of the general staff, told a court trying hundreds of people -- 40 serving generals among them -- that the army wanted to send to the AKP government a veiled coup warning in the form of a 'memorandum'. (The Turkish word 'muhtira' can also be translated as 'ultimatum'.)
Hilmi found himself vulnerable. The general preceding him as chief of the general staff had opposed his nomination as army chief because he thought Hilmi would not be able to resist fundamentalism. When he finally became CGS, Hilmi sensed unpopularity when he discouraged fellow officers from thinking in terms of a coup. But he was so scared -- he told the court -- that he brought food from home because he feared poisoning.
Much before Hilmi stunned the nation, the army as far back as 2007 staged what came to be known as the 'e-coup' when it warned the government on its website against Abdullah Gul's appointment as president.
The situation since then has improved, with Erdogan having turned the powerful, army-led National Security Council into a consultative body headed by a civilian. But this governmental stability is not reflected in society, because even the diluted secularism of the AKP's philosophy is not acceptable to large segments of Turkish society.
This is a challenge for the AKP, not for the secular elements, because it is his espousal of the apparently incompatible strains in his philosophy that distinguishes Erdogan from Erbekan.
Two minor events need to be noted here. In a south-eastern town, a crowd attacked an Alevi home because its inmates had requested the neighbourhood drummer not to wake them up for sehri because they were going on a holiday the next day. Thedrummer told others, and a crowd gathered and pelted the home with stones, burnt its stable and shouted, "No Alevi and no Kurds in our town".
Also, last month, a security guard shouted at a woman and stopped her from boarding a ferry because she was carrying four sealed bottles of wine. It was Ramazan. The ferry firm later apologised. But the issue -- relevant to Pakistain -- was that the guard defied institutional discipline and acted on his own. On the other side of the ideological spectrum, the generals did not invite Erdogan to a national day reception last year.
Reducing the intensity of this social polarisation by democratic means is Erdogan's main challenge. The trial of Kenan Evren and others responsible for the 1980 coup has been criticised by Erdogan himself. This revanchism could jeopardise Turkey's otherwise commendable move towards democratic consolidation.
Only a quarter of the Army's officers and enlisted soldiers believe the nation's largest military branch is headed in the right direction -- a survey response that is the lowest on record and reflects what some in the service call a crisis in confidence.
The detailed annual survey by a team of independent researchers found that the most common reasons cited for the bleak outlook were "ineffective leaders at senior levels," a fear of losing the best and the brightest after a decade of war, and the perception, especially among senior enlisted soldiers, that "the Army is too soft" and lacks sufficient discipline.
The study, ordered by the Center for Army Leadership at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, also found that one in four troops serving in Afghanistan rated morale either "low" or "very low," part of a steady downward trend over the last five years.
But the most striking finding is widespread disagreement with the statement that "the Army is headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years."
"In 2011, [active duty] agreement to this statement hit an all-time low," according to the survey results, a copy of which were provided to The Boston Globe. "Belief that the Army is headed in the right direction is positively related to morale."
In 2010, about 33 percent of those surveyed didn't agree with the statement; the number was 38 percent in 2006.
The apparent lack of confidence poses a new set of challenges to the Army as it undergoes budget cuts and shrinks its ranks. The Army's top officer, General Raymond T. Odierno, says he is taking the findings to heart.
A major concern that the survey identified was whether the Army would be able to keep top-notch leaders as it cuts its ranks, as well as fears it would be stretched too thin to meet unforeseen demands. Junior officers were particularly concerned about retaining good leaders.
The active-duty Army, which is currently about 570,000 strong, is preparing to reduce its ranks by about 90,000 soldiers in the coming years, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and the Pentagon budget is subject to a government-wide belt-tightening.
How about OPTEMPO all out of proportion to the size of the force, a meaningless commitment to wars that will be dismissed as useless in the near future, the waste of national treasure into countries that only suck out our money into their correupt maw and conspire to harm us even as it flows, and a silly force structure that makes conventional forces quasi-MPs, but degrades the preparedness for the main enemy, China, and is ill prepared to fight a force of near comparable strength and capabilities, since everything we face is stolen technology from us. ANd into this, when was the last time, as P2K asks, has there been a led to leader ratio this low? I have friends that are on their 4th deployment in 10 years, and they wonder what's the point?
[Dawn] ISLAMABAD, Aug 19: Millions of people in the country, who were busy exchanging greetings through SMS, received a rude shock on the eve of Eidul Fitr when mobile phone service in some of the main cities was suspended on the direct orders of the federal government.
Mobile phones in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... , Lahore, Multan, Quetta and a number of other cities started to go silent from 8pm onwards, which was the peak period for most people to exchange Eid greetings.
In many areas of violence-prone Bloody Karachi panic gripped the denizens, particularly those whose families were out for last-minute shopping on 'chand raat'. However, ars longa, vita brevis... late in the evening the message started to spread around through television that the problem was not due to any malfunctioning or sabotage, but a result of the government's counter-terrorism measure.
The suspension will continue during Eid prayer hours on Monday.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik Pak politician, Interior Minister under the Gilani government. Malik is a former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) intelligence officer who rose to head the FIA during Benazir Bhutto's second tenure. Malik was tossed from his FIA job in 1998 after documenting the breath-taking corruption of the Sharif family. By unhappy coincidence Nawaz Sharif became PM at just that moment and Malik moved to London one step ahead of the button men. He had to give up the interior ministry job because he held dual Brit citizenship. said the action had been taken in view of security concerns of the governments of Punjab and Sindh.
Talking to newsmen, the minister said cellphone service would be suspended all over Punjab at the request of the provincial government.
"The Punjab government has requested us to suspend cellphone service in some parts of the province, but we think it should also made temporarily inoperative in sensitive areas of Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... , Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... and Sindh because beturbanned goons usually use mobile phones in their acts of terrorism," he said.
The decision was taken at a meeting held at the minister's residence to discuss security concerns of Punjab and Sindh.
"The mobile phone service will be suspended in targeted areas and we believe that people's lives are more precious than cellphone facility," he said.
The minister said the government would take all necessary steps to protect people's lives.
When contacted, a bigwig of the ministry said: "The service will be suspended in specific areas and not throughout the country and its duration will not be more than 2 hours," he said.
He said Bloody Karachi, Lahore and Multan had been declared 'most sensitive' cities on the occasion of Eid.
It is for the first time that such a step has been taken on the occasion of Eid.
Meanwhile, ...back at the mall, Clarissa spent the day shopping for new underwear. Tonight was going to be a special occasion... the Punjab government categorically denied having requested the federal government to block mobile phone service in any part of the province.
PML-N leader Pervez Rashid, who is Punjab government's front man, said the provincial government had not made any such request.
He said if the interior minister knew where and at what time beturbanned goons would strike then they could be set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock Book 'im, Mahmoud! before hitting their targets.
"The minister and his team should arrest beturbanned goons instead of suspending phone service which will create problems for people," he said.
Mr Rashid said the federal government usually took such steps which affected people, instead of resolving the real issues.
"The government has failed to overcome the energy crisis but urged people to save electricity and it resorted to long spells of loadshedding.
Similarly, when the sugar crisis erupted it advised people to reduce the use of sweetener," the PML-N leader said.
He said the decision to block cellphone service would not only create inconvenience for people but also spread fear that a terrorism incident could take place in their area.
Pakistain's Interior Ministry accused the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security (NDS) of planning to launch attacks in Islamabad and Lahore with the help of cut-thoats, Pak media reported.
"The forces of Evil will launch coordinated car kabooms in Islamabad and Lahore. The master mind of this attack, Mohammad Yasin, is an expert in car boomings," a Pak Interior Ministry official told Pakistain's The News.
The claims were rejected by the Afghan National Directorate of Security deputy front man Shafiqullah Taheri.
"We strongly reject this. Unfortunately, Pakistain's military officials are providing false information to their politicians," Taheri said.
Meanwhile, ...back at the wreckage, Captain Poindexter awoke groggily, his hand still stuck in the Ming vase... the former Afghan Deputy Minister of Interior, General Abdul Hadi Khaled, believes that NDS is facing its own cut-thoat challenges within Afghanistan and does not have time to plan for any attacks in other countries.
This comes as 8 suicide kaboomers target one of the biggest air bases in Islamabad earlier this month.
[Jerusalem Post] Move comes days after two rockets shake the Red Sea resort city, apparently fired from the Sinai Peninsula; IDF spokesmen says deployment is part of national plan to test anti-rocket system around the country.
The remains of a Grad rocket were found on Friday evening, in a mountainous area north of the city of Eilat, the Israel Police said.
Meanwhile, ...back at the pie fight, Bella opened her mouth at precisely the wrong moment... an Islamist thug group operating in the Sinai Peninsula said Sinai jihadists had fired rockets at Israel in the last few years. Egypt had repeatedly denied that rockets had ever been fired from Sinai into Israel.
The Salafi Jihadi statement said other jihadist groups, which it did not name, were behind past attacks on Sinai's gas pipeline that delivers gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan.
[Ma'an] In its annual report on terrorism around the world, the US State Department has defined violence by Israeli settlers towards Paleostinians as terrorism for the first time, Israeli media reported on Saturday.
The 2011 US Country Report cites three suspected "price tag" incidents: vandalism of Jerusalem's Mamilla cemetery, and arson attacks on a Jerusalem and West Bank mosque, Israeli daily Haaretz said.
The report noted that ten other attacks on Paleostinian mosques are believed by Israeli authorities to have been "perpetrated by settlers, up from six such incidents in 2010 and one in 2009."
Price tag refers to the retribution settlers say they will exact for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile the US State Department spokeswoman condemned "in the strongest possible terms" an assault south of Bethlehem on Thursday which left a family of five seriously injured after Israeli settlers hurled Molotov cocktails at their car.
"We note that the government of Israel has also condemned this heinous attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. We look to Israeli law enforcement officials to do so expeditiously," Victoria Nuland said on Friday.
After more than eight years of effort, Oshkosh Truck company, electronics manufacturer Rockwell Collins, and artificial intelligence experts from the University of Parma, Italy have produced a UGV (unmanned ground vehicle), called TerraMax, that works well enough for military use.
The current TerraMax vehicle is basically a six wheeled Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and weighs over 14 tons. MTVR is a military cargo truck, and the U.S. Marine Corps has been testing the improved TerraMax for use as an unmanned truck. This would reduce the number of personnel needed in a combat zone and reduce the risk to troops operating on highly dangerous roads.
It would appear that, before the end of the decade, there will be robotic vehicles, probably operating in convoys led by a vehicle with a human in it, and perhaps another such vehicle at the rear. But the rest of the vehicles could be autonomous (operating using their own computers and sensors) UGVs. Some of these vehicles could have remotely controlled gun turrets, with the operators back at some base, ready to go into action. A few human gun turret operators could be on duty for several convoys. The U.S. has already developed predictive analysis systems that determine the probability of attacks on convoys and more gun turret operators could be on call, since anyone who has played video games can quickly learn how to operate one of these turrets.
A reminder that our readers might want to check out Race Against the Machine for more on the rapid advances in robotics and intelligent software.
US President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a "red line" that would change his thinking on intervention in the crisis. He said he had "at this point not ordered military engagement". Valerie drew the line there...
But he added: "There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons."
President Obama, speaking to reporters at a White House briefing, said the deployment or use of biological weapons would widen the conflict in the region. He said: "It doesn't just include Syria. It would concern allies in the region, including Israel, and it would concern us."
He warned President Bashar al-Assad and "other players on the ground" about the use or movement of such weapons.
He said: "A red line for us is [if] we see a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around, or being utilised. That would change my calculus."
Syria holds the world's fourth-largest stockpile of chemical weapons. Last month a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman said the weapons would never be deployed inside Syria. However, the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says the US has seen unconfirmed reports recently that the Syrian authorities have been moving the country's chemical arms stockpile.
As he said, it would only change his thinking. Line will be redrawn. A few times, maybe more.
Nothing to see here...
Posted by: Mullah Richard ||
Enormous consequences? Not nearly as big as for the people on the ground in Syria who get exposed to mustard gas or nerve agents. How exactly do they plan to clean up that cr**?? That scenario gives whole new meaning to the word MESS in the Middle East.
By the time US forces show up - chem agents would have been released. What exactly are our guys supposed to do? Why should we even risk exposing anyone?? It hardly seems to be worth the risks to our own troops.