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Khaled Mashaal re-elected Hamas political leader
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
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Page 6: Politix
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-Lurid Crime Tales-
SL authorities bust moonshining and hooch den ring
Southern Excise Sleuths have cracked a massive moonshine producing and distribution racket, which had spread its tentacles in key towns in the South, by busting several illegal breweries and hooch dens.

A spokesman for the Department said that they had raided five large scale breweries, hidden in several islands in the Madu Ganga in the Balapitiya area, which is believed to have distributed its produce to many key towns in the South.

In addition, several hooch dens too had been raided and a number of suspects taken into custody in addition to confiscating brewing accessories, moonshine, illegal spirits etc, valued at over Rs. 1 million, he said.

During raids sleuths had seized 15,200 ml of illegal spirits, 850 litres of goda, 32 barrels, six copper coils, 8,250 ml of moonshine and other brewing accessories.
Posted by: gromky || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Goda have the good stuff.
Posted by: Skunky Glins 5*** || 05/04/2009 21:00 Comments || Top||

-Short Attention Span Theater-
Cessna 182 Crashes, Comes Up Smelling Like Roses
Posted by: Hupath Hupaigum3954 || 05/04/2009 10:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6484 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That was a shitty landing.
Posted by: DarthVader || 05/04/2009 12:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Any landing you can walk away from....
Posted by: 49 Pan || 05/04/2009 13:40 Comments || Top||

#3  Disgusting as it is, you can wash away excrement and the smell readily enough. It's that permanent blue dye that I'd be most worried about.
Posted by: Dar || 05/04/2009 18:10 Comments || Top||

-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
Mexico says flu epidemic past peak
[Mail and Globe] Mexico's flu epidemic has passed its peak, the Mexican government said on Sunday, and experts said the new H1N1 swine virus still could impact world health but may be no more severe than normal flu.

Mexican Health Minister José Angel Córdova warned, however, it was too early for Mexico -- the epicenter of an outbreak that has spread to 19 countries -- to let down its guard.

Córdova said the outbreak of H1N1 flu appeared to have peaked in Mexico between April 23 and 28 and fewer people had admitted themselves to hospitals with serious flu symptoms in the past few days.

"The evolution of the epidemic is now in its phase of descent," Cordova told a news conference in Mexico City, where millions of people had heeded government advice to stay at home. "There is evidence that we are going downward."

After days of alarm and a partial shutdown of the economy that had kept streets eerily quiet, the atmosphere in Mexico's capital appeared more relaxed on Sunday, with some people venturing out on bikes or running. Many no longer wore masks. As testing improves, Mexican authorities have scaled back their estimate of how many people could have died from the flu strain to over 100, down from 176. Only 19 deaths in Mexico are confirmed as being caused by this flu.

But new cases of the virus, which mixes swine, avian and human flu strains, still were being tracked across the world, keeping alive fears of the threat of a pandemic. Experts stressed that the term "pandemic" describes geographic spread and does not categorize severity of illness.

The WHO said its laboratories had identified 787 H1N1 flu infections in 17 countries, including Ireland. Its toll lags national reports but is considered more scientifically secure.

Colombia became the latest country to report a confirmed case of the disease.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday the new flu had spread to 30 US states and infected 226 people.
Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Thought we'd never get through it. If I had to sit through anymore TV new stories about the swine flu I was afraid I was gonna blow a fuse.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 05/04/2009 12:06 Comments || Top||

#2  Oh shit, where do I start.

1 the flu has been genetically "Sequenced" That means they took the genes apart, and they know it is NOT anything but plain old Swine flu.

2. But new cases of the virus, which mixes swine, avian and human flu strains, still were being tracked across the world,,

NO, HELL NO What's going around the world is the same old swine flu, mainly from infected folks recently from Mexico with few or no "Spontaneous' out breaks.

Whoever wrote this must belong to the MSM, "Create panic to sell papers" school
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/04/2009 12:10 Comments || Top||

#3  Well, now they tell us, after infecting a whopping 0.000015% of the planet.
Posted by: Zorba Craising6734 || 05/04/2009 13:17 Comments || Top||

#4  The flu is the flu. It can be prevented easily by simply following a few precautions to fight off the virus. There are many helpful health resources available to help.
Posted by: Erin || 05/04/2009 14:11 Comments || Top||

#5  My fear is for the 2nd and 3rd reoccurances like the 1918 flu, when every let their guard down.
Posted by: Clomoling Black6393 || 05/04/2009 14:56 Comments || Top||

#6  The administration is letting a crisis slip out of its hands. After all, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste"
Posted by: JohnQC || 05/04/2009 18:05 Comments || Top||

#7  Probably not out of harm's way. Viruses mutate and become even nastier if your body has no antibodies to fight them with. Because it has spread globally it is sure to become genetically creative and hopefully it won't wipe most of us out. It may be those who have gotten the swine flu now may build up a tolerance for it's eventual return while those of us who sigh and say "glad that's over" may be counting the chickens before thier hatched.
Posted by: Angineque tse Tung3914 || 05/04/2009 18:36 Comments || Top||

#8  I'll call this as BS. There is no way the peak has been passed.

What's happening is where containment policies and reasonably accurate reporting is in place, the rate it spreads has decreased and may even be negative ie declining cases).

Where containment policies are not in place, it will be happily spreading.

Best case is it spreads in a relatively mild form. But even then it may well revert to a severe form at multiple points.
Posted by: Phil_B || 05/04/2009 19:05 Comments || Top||

#9  RJ at #2 - IIUC it had human, avian, and swine components. I think this was a useful heads-up. I know I quit licking doorknobs and keyboards. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. For the children
Posted by: Frank G || 05/04/2009 19:56 Comments || Top||

Africa Subsaharan
Tsvangirai says Zim broke, cannot raise wages
[Mail and Globe] Zimbabwe's new unity government is broke and cannot meet union demands for higher wages, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Friday.

Addressing a May Day rally, Tsvangirai said the government he formed with President Robert Mugabe in February to try to end a political and economic crisis that has brought Zimbabwe to ruin would maintain the current monthly salary of $100 that it is paying its workers.

"This government is broke, and we are only able to pay the $100 allowance, but when things improve, we want this allowance to graduate into a proper salary," he said. "For now, everyone, all of us, including President Mugabe, is getting $100".

Tsvangirai, a fiery former trade union chief, pleaded with Zimbabwe's Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to give the new government time to fix the economy before pressing its demands for a minimum wage of $454.

"We have been in office for less than three months. I plead with you to please give us time," he said. "Your demands must be realistic, taking into account that your government is broke and that industry has not been performing."

Earlier, ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo told thousands of cheering workers at the rally that the labour movement would call national strikes and protests to press its case.

"If this is not met, the workers are going on to the streets," Matombo said, without giving any deadline.

Tsvangirai said although Mugabe was not an easy person to work with, both his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the veteran president's ZANU-PF wanted the government to succeed in repairing the economy and achieving peace and stability.
Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  only able to pay the $100 allowance
Is that in Zimbucks? That wouldn't even buy the ink to print the $100 note!

President Mugabe, is getting $100
(plus investment income from his assets in Switzerland.)

Posted by: Glenmore || 05/04/2009 8:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Find and confiscate Mugabe's stash, then there'll be plenty.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/04/2009 11:48 Comments || Top||

#3  Ummm, Glenmore, they gave up on Zimbob's waste paper a month ago and now only use foreign currency that the Govt can NOT set the value of.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/04/2009 12:13 Comments || Top||

#4  HAH I got my ten megabucks bill Framed and on the wall.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/04/2009 17:58 Comments || Top||

#5  Well they were stupid to nationalize all their businesses and spend a ton of money that they didn't have. Oh, wait ...
Posted by: DMFD || 05/04/2009 19:31 Comments || Top||

12 bigwigs asked to surrender to trial courts
[Bangla Daily Star] The High Court (HC) yesterday directed 12 persons, sentenced in absentia in separate criminal cases, to surrender before the trial courts concerned within two weeks.

A special HC bench of Justice Md Imman Ali passed the order while disposing of 16 bail petitions filed by 12 convicts sentenced in 16 criminal cases most of which were filed by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC).

Those who will have to surrender before the trial courts are Jatiya Party (Manju) Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju, former state minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, former BNP lawmaker Nadim Mostafa, former AL lawmakers Haji Mohammad Selim, Mokbul Hossain, former BNP minister Saifur Rahman's son Shafiur Rahman Babu, Awami League leaders Md Mohiuddin, and Abu Hanif Patwari, Babul Chowdhury, Masudur Rahman, Sabina Suraya and Mafruza Sultana.

Earlier on February 23, a HC division bench delivered split orders on the petitions.

Lawyers concerned told newsmen that the convicts would have to surrender before the trial courts within two weeks after receiving the HC judgment.

They said convicts, following the HC order, must be put in jail or surrender before the trial courts since those courts have no jurisdiction to grant them bail at this stage.

Additional Attorney General M Enayetur Rahim yesterday told the newsmen that the special HC bench yesterday delivered the verdict in line with a Supreme Court order that on April 23 this year directed former state minister Shahjahan Omar to surrender before the trial court within two weeks in connection with a corruption case.

Shahjahan Omar's case will stand as a pointer for about 70 others, mainly politicians and businessmen, who were handed down sentences for corruption after the 1/11 changeover.

ACC's panel lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan yesterday told The Daily Star the ACC would file appeals with the SC against the HC orders for granting bails to other convicts sentenced in absentia but did not surrender to the trial courts and are not in jail.

He earlier said that more than 100 people were convicted in the corruption cases and about 70 of them were tried in absentia. But most of the 70 convicts did not surrender to the trial courts.
Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

Caribbean-Latin America
Opposition candidate Martinelli wins Panama's elections
(Xinhua) -- Ricardo Martinelli, a supermarket magnate and candidate of the opposition Democratic Change Party (DC), won Panama's presidential elections on Sunday, showed preliminary vote counting results from the National Electoral Council (NEC).

Among the more than 60 percent of the vote counted, Martinelli garnered 60.74 percent and former Housing Minister Balbina Herrera of Panama's governing coalition gained 36.77 percent, said Erasmo Pinilla, president of the NEC.

Shortly after casting his vote, Martinelli told Xinhua that he would "initiate a process of transparency that does not exist in Panama" and put into jail those who are found guilty of corruption.

The country should also seek other possibilities and focus primarily on the business relationship with the United States, he added.

This is the second time the business tycoon has run in a presidential race. In the 2004 election, Martinelli finished last out of four candidates with only 5.3 percent of the vote.

Martinelli, born on March 11, 1952 in Panama City, is the owner of the Super 99 supermarket chain, which is the largest in the country.

He served as director of the Chamber of Commerce of Panama from 1985 to 1987 and director of social security from 1994 to 1996.

From 1999 to 2003, he worked as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority and minister of canal affairs.
Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Lets see if his capitalist Latin American political model works any better than the Chavez/Castro/Morales one.

put into jail those who are found guilty of corruption
This typically refers to those who refuse to pay bribes to the administration.
Posted by: Glenmore || 05/04/2009 8:24 Comments || Top||

Conservative supermarket tycoon wins Panama vote
PANAMA CITY - Panamanians elected a conservative, pro-business candidate as their new president Sunday – signaling their hope for a new alternative as the Central American nation's once-booming economy cools. According to preliminary results released by Panama's electoral tribunal, Ricardo Martinelli of the Democratic Change party, easily won the election with about 60 percent support. He beat Balbina Herrera, the candidate of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), as well as former president Guillermo Endara, who lagged far behind.

Voters say they were attracted to Mr. Martinelli, because they perceive him as outside the traditional political system that has dominated Panamanian politics since the US invasion of 1989 that dismantled the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega. They also express hope that the supermarket tycoon will bring his business savvy to the chief-of-staff post and help Panama weather the worldwide economic crisis.

Panama's economy grew at 9.2 percent last year, one of the highest rates in the world. But it expected to slow dramatically to 3.2 percent this year. "You won't see the same dynamism," says Felipe Chapman, an economist in Panama City. "It will challenge the next government."
Posted by: Steve White || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They also express hope that the supermarket tycoon will bring his business savvy to the chief-of-staff post and help Panama weather the worldwide economic crisis.

Come to the dark side! We have cookies!!

Posted by: Zorba Craising6734 || 05/04/2009 13:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Are we still the dark side?

[Adds Panama to list of possible emigration destinations.]
Posted by: AzCat || 05/04/2009 16:07 Comments || Top||

Down Under
Australia to Bolster Defense
SYDNEY -- The Australian government unveiled a major overhaul of its defense strategy and said it plans to continue to increase spending over the next two decades, with investment to focus on boosting naval and air capability.

In a policy paper released Saturday, the government said that the U.S. remains crucial to its defense strategy but that other major powers are emerging, namely China and India. The paper assumes that in coming decades, the most common form of conflicts in which Australia's defense forces will be involved will be those within a single country, like its current involvement in Afghanistan.

The paper reaffirms the government priority of defending Australia with a series of the equipment purchases over the next 20 years.

A centerpiece of the new strategy is the purchase of 12 new submarines, which Mr. Rudd said would be Australia's largest-ever single defense project. The submarines will be capable of sea warfare, strategic strikes, intelligence collection and support for special-operations forces.

The government also plans new air-warfare destroyers and a new class of frigates.
Their own design, Brit, or American?
For its air force, Australia will buy around 100 joint-strike fighters, plus aircraft and maritime surveillance and response aircraft.
Again, American or Euro?
Despite a sharp deterioration in its budget with the onset of the global economic crisis, the government said spending on defense will increase by 3% every year, after accounting for inflation, until the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. After that, it expects defense spending to grow at an annual rate of 2.2%. The government didn't say how much it will spend, but it currently spends around 18 billion Australian dollars (US$13.14 billion) on its annual defense budget, excluding money spent on major new equipment. It said it hopes changes in the defense sector will help create savings as much as A$20 billion to help fund its plans.

"Some have argued that in the global economic recession, we should reduce defense spending to ease the pressure on the budget," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said. "But the government believes the opposite to be true. In a period of global instability, Australia must invest in a strong, capable and well-resourced defense force."
Mr. Rudd may be a leftie but apparently he understands the neighborhood he lives in ...
Posted by: Steve White || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Steve,

The fighters will be US-built F-35 Lightnings, and they will be getting the Wedgetail AWACS, based on the Boeing 737. I THINK they'll also be getting the 737-based P-8 Poseidon patrol plane, which is replacing our P-3s.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 05/04/2009 5:26 Comments || Top||

#2  Yep,
F35s, Wedgetail, P8s and Global Hawk for maritime surveillance. Plus 12 submarines. Which is interesting because we cannot currently man more than 3 of the 6 we have.

BTW nothing the Rudd government says or does has any connection with reality except by coincidence.
Posted by: Aussie Mike || 05/04/2009 17:58 Comments || Top||

#3  I know It's been used many times but the Digger's smile never fails to please me, he's got all he needs, and a tomy gun to boot, I'd grin too if the govt gave me a machine gun to play with.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/04/2009 18:09 Comments || Top||

Buffett offers bleak outlook for US newspapers
[Mail and Globe] Warren Buffett is fond of newspapers -- he reads five a day -- but the billionaire investor warned shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway that the reeling industry may never recover because it lacks a sustainable business model.

At Saturday's annual meeting of Berkshire, which owns the Buffalo News and has a big stake in the Washington Post, Buffett said that as readership falls, so does the attraction of newspapers for advertisers, and for investors in the companies that publish them.

"For most newspapers in the United States, we would not buy them at any price," Buffett said. "They have the possibility of nearly unending losses. I do not see anything on the horizon that sees that erosion coming to an end."

Many US newspapers have lost 20% or more of their advertising revenue as changes in technology and reading habits shrink circulation and more readers to get their news online. Several newspapers in large US cities have closed in recent months, and the future of the money-losing Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times Company, remains up in the air.

"Twenty, thirty years ago, they were a product that had pricing power that was essential," said Buffett. "They have lost that essential nature."

Buffett said Berkshire would hold on to the Buffalo News, a daily newspaper in the New York state city of the same name, if only because Berkshire buys businesses for the long term and does not sell simply because the companies hit a rough patch.

He did not rule out having to squeeze out excess costs, including possible job cuts, or eventually shuttering the paper if it goes too deeply into the red. "On an economic basis you should sell this business. I said I agree 100% but I am not going to do it," he said. "The union has been cooperative in having an economic model that will at least give us a little bit of money."
Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is Buffett just NOW noticing this?

Next maybe he'll shock us by predicting that computers will get faster.
Posted by: lord garth || 05/04/2009 0:11 Comments || Top||

#2  Twenty, thirty years ago they, and the mass media, had a lock on public opinion and could, as shown during the Vietnam war, have a huge impact.

Now, with the internet and practically instant, and so far unfettered, access to information (even if its only Wikipedia) they no longer have perfect control over what the public sees and hears.

The newspapers are the first - the broadcast is soon to follow. People are beginning to realise that the media is full of bullshit.

That is unless Obama and the Democrats give a big whopping bailout and even that will fail until they can also give the media their old monopoly on information - and that means restriction on the internet such as the 'Fairness Doctrine'.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 05/04/2009 0:30 Comments || Top||

#3  I think it is like Pandora's Box, as far as the internet and free flow of information. They try any fairness doctrine now, the donks will have a full fledged revolt on their hands and I guarantee they will lose everything the next election.

Too many people know too much and are used to the full freedom.
Posted by: DarthVader || 05/04/2009 8:37 Comments || Top||

#4  Newspapers survived by being an essential portal. They bundled and sold news. Even if all you wanted was the sports section you had to buy the whole paper.

News is now unbundled. You can pick and choose what and where to read on the internet. The bundlers thus are dying. This started first with trade publications -- does anyone read Computer Shopper anymore? -- but is now extending to mainstream newspapers. As web broadcasting becomes more popular and easier to access, the over-the-air broadcasters will get whacked.

Buffett is right: the model has exploded. People don't want to buy bundled news, they want to pick and choose. Add to that the editorial policies that drive away a lot of potential customers and it's no surprise that newspapers are dying.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/04/2009 9:37 Comments || Top||

#5  More to your (and Warren's) point, Steve, a friend in the biz told me a few months back that it was mostly fairly simple. The web stole their classified ad business; the change in the underlying commercial scene (consolidation) and in advertizing channels severely reduced the large ads flow from legacy department stores; and the new big would-be spenders on the block (big-box and specialty stores like BestBuy, etc.) never became the market they should have because WalMart pioneered alternative ad channels and the others followed. He readily acknowledged that newsrooms also generally lacked a commitment or passion to deliver on major papers' remaining niche advantage - local and regional news. He has dealt with papers all over the US, South America, and the Far East for decades.

But amidst all that hard commercial evolution - in which the internet played a large role - I wonder how much of the dynamic was in fact the editorial problem. That is, the descent of mainstream news into a fairly uniform, often grossly distorted, easily deconstructed or even debunked flow of tendentious b.s. And I'm excluding the last few years and esp. the last year, in which things have simply fallen completely off the rails in this respect.

Meanwhile, though of course I wished I'd been able to invest $10K with Buffett 30 years ago, I'd no sooner listen to his public policy or political wisdom than I would to that of my friend's dog. Perhaps that 5-newspaper-a-day thing helps explain the gulf between his financial sense and his striking lack of sophistication on other matters.
Posted by: Verlaine || 05/04/2009 10:03 Comments || Top||

#6  Steal from the interwebs. Add and LOL Cat section.
Obits in LOL Cat are sure to be an ad magnet.
Posted by: .5MT || 05/04/2009 12:10 Comments || Top||

#7  But amidst all that hard commercial evolution - in which the internet played a large role - I wonder how much of the dynamic was in fact the editorial problem. That is, the descent of mainstream news into a fairly uniform, often grossly distorted, easily deconstructed or even debunked flow of tendentious b.s.

One can thank the newspapers' additction to the Associated Press.
Posted by: Pappy || 05/04/2009 13:03 Comments || Top||

#8  lord garth

Buffet reads lots of MSM-papers, but doesn't get any news on-line so no wonder he's a bit behind, so are the MSM.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles the flatulent || 05/04/2009 15:46 Comments || Top||

#9  Wow, ya think?
Posted by: DMFD || 05/04/2009 19:35 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Poll Shows Ridge Competitive Against Specter in Pennsylvania Race
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge would give Sen. Arlen Specter a run for his money if he challenges the party-switching senator in the 2010 Senate race, according to a new poll out Monday.

The Quinnipiac University poll showed Ridge with 43 percent to Specter's 46 percent in a hypothetical general election match-up. Ridge is far from a declared candidate, but speculation built over the weekend that the former homeland security secretary is considering making a bid to be the Republican nominee -- after Specter switched from Republican to Democrat last week.

The current front-running Republican candidate in the race, former Rep. Pat Toomey, is now trailing Specter by a wide margin. The latest poll showed Specter beating Toomey by 53-to-33 percent in a Pennsylvania general election.
Assuming Specter is the Dhimmicratic nominee, which isn't certain.
That's a reversal from the days when Specter was still a Republican. Polls recently showed Toomey trouncing Specter in the GOP primary, contributing to Specter's decision to switch parties.

In a statement, Quinnipiac pollster Clay Richards said Ridge is probably the only figure in Pennsylvania who could pose a significant challenge to Specter.

The new poll also found that Ridge would lead 47-to-37 percent among independents if he enters the race. If the GOP nominee is Toomey, the poll showed independents backing Specter by 45-to-36 percent.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/04/2009 13:48 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Specter and Ridge, little difference between them in many areas.
Posted by: OldSpook || 05/04/2009 18:09 Comments || Top||

#2  In some areas. But Ridge lacks the utter cluelessness that comes from decades in the Senate. Ridge was in the House, but spend most of his time as governor and cabinet secretary. I think he wins, then gets bored as a Senator.
Posted by: JAB || 05/04/2009 19:57 Comments || Top||

#3  Best thing I can say about Ridge, if he wins, is that he will "Just sit there, do nothing" instead of acting unnecessarily to false panics.

Say what ya want about him, Jesse Helms did have his usefulness as "Dr No" always voting against everything.
Posted by: OldSpook || 05/04/2009 21:12 Comments || Top||

Home Front: WoT
US Navy orders another LCS ship
WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp won its second U.S. Navy contract for a shore-hugging Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), scheduled to be delivered in May 2012, the Defense Department said Friday. Intended to operate in coastal areas, the LCS ships are designed for mine detection and elimination; anti-submarine warfare; and combat against small surface craft.

General Dynamics is in competition with Lockheed Martin to build more of the hulls, known as LCS. The Navy plans to buy as many as 55, including three more in fiscal 2010, which starts Oct. 1. Lockheed Martin received a contract to build its second LCS on March 23.

The first General Dynamics-built LCS, also featuring a trimaran hull, is in the final stages of construction and testing in preparation for sea trials.

The value of the contract was being withheld because it is "linked to the ongoing competition" for the three ships due to be built in 2010, said Lt. Cmdr. Victor Chen, a Navy spokesman. The deal followed long negotiations with the Navy over a fixed price for the ships. Congress has imposed a $460 million-per-ship cost cap on the LCS program, effective in the coming fiscal year.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Getting ready to fight the last war. That's how we always do it here in the USA.
Posted by: OldSpook || 05/04/2009 10:41 Comments || Top||

#2  Dunno about that OS. Those could come in real handy around Tiawan against Chinese diesels.
Posted by: DarthVader || 05/04/2009 12:42 Comments || Top||

#3  I'm not sure what is meant by 'last war' in this instance. The LCS does fill a gap; it's just been a too-expensive program.
Posted by: Pappy || 05/04/2009 13:06 Comments || Top||

#4  Y'all might want to check out this thread at "Information Dissemination" with information about problems with both lcs boat's fire control systems:

Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 05/04/2009 13:22 Comments || Top||

#5  Both LCS have enough speed to outrun torpedoes, mostly to negating one of the highest threats. The GD LCS looks esp interesting w/ it's big helipad. Though I think a bigger heli deck for 4 Seahawks or 6 Cobra/UAV types would be ideal, keeping one in the air continuously for antisub, anti-missile boat and to hand off targeting info to the big boys.

Unfortunately it is not designed for the other big threat, air defense. Aircraft will be able to fire at will outside the range of its RAM missiles and LCS will have to operate under Aegis or air cover. As far as "Littoral Combat", at $4-500M, I don't think the Navy will be too keen to operate within line of sight of any defended coasts. Since the Navy is primarily dealing w/ primitive barbarians, small, heavily armed patrol boats should be a priority. Numerous, cheap, low manpower and deadly.
Posted by: ed || 05/04/2009 13:24 Comments || Top||

#6  Basic operational coincept of the ship is flawed, per the very well informed comments at the link Snowy posted:

The maintenance concept for this ship escapes us. Lets see, these ships are going to be maintained by the core crew, who is going to be busy as hell concentrating on the core systems requirements, but it will also be maintained by a shore based maintenance crew. That crew will feel no ownership of the ship as it will be just one of several ships it services, you know, because all ships of the same class are the same. Then these ships are going to have crews that change with mission packages, meaning they really don't have ownership of the platform either. Finally, the shore based crew is ashore, but there will be no tenders forward deployed to insure the ships are maintained properly while on deployment.

The ships complex internal design, which includes a crane for moving modules and vehicles and multiple doors that open out to sea, will need high levels of attention.

All of that stuff requires constant maintenance by an onboard crew, no matter how the Navy decides to set up the shore-support network. Kellogg Brown and Root, or whoever gets the contract, isn't going to drop out of the sky and oil the door.

They'll start adding sailors, quietly ... because they started to figure out how to cram more people on the Austal design.

People don't seem to be in a hurry to commit publicly on how much rack space could be added in a design that's already severely overweight...

Couple that with the report in Defense News:

U.S. Navy Readiness Flaws Exposed
On Ships and Subs, Problems Included Corrosion, Broken Radios.

(next msg)
Posted by: OldSpook || 05/04/2009 15:45 Comments || Top||

#7  ■ Six ships - one cruiser, two destroyers, two small-deck amphibs and one attack submarine - were ruled "unfit" in 2008, and could not get underway for demonstrations. Before this report came out, only two ships were publicly known to have been deemed unfit in 2008.

■ Inspectors found that 27 ships had problems with the Halon systems that help fight fires in the main enginerooms, and 21 had problems with the aqueous fire fighting foam systems, designed to put out aviation fires.

■ Of the nine classes of ships inspected, seven had problems with their high-frequency radio systems because sailors didn't know how to maintain them.

■ None of the four dock landing ships scheduled for material inspections in 2008 could meet them on time, and two of the four still hadn't been inspected when the report was prepared. Two of three material inspections for mine countermeasures ships had to be rescheduled.

A retired submarine skipper said the report showed problems he'd have expected from the old Soviet Navy, which he said fielded good ships and then permitted th em to rust and fail for lack of funding.

A retired cruiser commander said that nothing in the report surprised him, and that it reminded him of the "penny-wise, pound-foolish" mentality he spent years dealing with.

"The experts blamed smaller crews, shrinking budgets and less real-life training for a generation of sailors often too overworked to care properly for their ships."

And the LCS is looking to be WAY undermanned and flawed in operational and maintenance concepts.
Posted by: OldSpook || 05/04/2009 15:47 Comments || Top||

#8  OS: I was more concerned with the apparent lack of _quality_ fire control on the autocannon.

Look, take the Nansen class Frigate as a starting point. ADD 50 million dollars to the cost (Say you want to add a RAM launcher, and maybe another small gun, and a couple more VLS cells. That should cover a lot).

Then you'll have a nice Aegis-equipped DE for about 3/2 the price of an LCS. And I don't think the LCS will provide you 2/3 the ship of a Nansen.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain || 05/04/2009 15:50 Comments || Top||

#9  Uh, if its big enough to land a chopper on, is it big enough to land a Harrier?

I think the US military did not put enough into the Harrier program which is a very interesting foreward area deployment ground support system.
Posted by: James Carville || 05/04/2009 18:52 Comments || Top||


Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/04/2009 19:56 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/04/2009 20:06 Comments || Top||


Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/04/2009 20:17 Comments || Top||

#13  By the above, China's anti-Soviet war tactics would essentially follow its tactics agz JAPAN in mid-1930's thru 1945 [WW2 = WAR IN CHINA], except for use of nukulaar weapons and Chin's Cold War willingness to intentionally destroy sections of Chin territory to defeat the tech-superior Soviet armies.

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/04/2009 20:22 Comments || Top||

Maintenance cost for the Big E rises
The cost of maintaining the world's first nuclear aircraft carrier has gone up again. The USS Enterprise is undergoing a 16-month dry-dock maintenance at Northrop Grumman Corp.'s shipyard in Newport News. The Navy said Wednesday that a contract modification for "emergent and supplemental" work will increase the project's cost by $6 million.

It's the third contract modification for the maintenance project, which initially was to cost $453.3 million. The price tag is now $480.9 million.

Commissioned in 1961, the Enterprise is on schedule to be re-delivered to the Navy in September. The project will extend the carrier's life until at least 2013.
Posted by: Steve White || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6485 views] Top|| File under:

#1  HMMMMMM, since the USDOD does not foresee any pre-and post-Cold War "great power" war thru 2050 at minima, pwerhaps the USN should consider making ENTERPRISE into its first big Big BIG B-I-G BBBIIIIIIGGGGG MULTI-ASSET OR HYBRID, OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE, EXPERIMENTAL "ARSENAL/FIRE

Lest we fergit, 1980's NASA > IIRC used the then "ENTERPRISE" SPACE SHUTTLE for Astro-Training and as a Hi-Technology Demonstrator, to the angst of many STAR TREK fans???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/04/2009 1:47 Comments || Top||

#2  ...The work is too far along to cancel, which the USN would do if it could. Look for Enterprise to do one more deployment and then decom perhaps as early as 2011. There's the distinct possibility that the Gerald R. Ford, being built a few yards down from Big E, may be the USN's last big deck CVN. The wave of the future could well be the America class LHAs:


Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 05/04/2009 5:34 Comments || Top||

#3  It's the third contract modification for the maintenance project,..

I have no problem with such mods if they fire the top two or three levels of uniform management with each 'new' mod since they pull this crap routinely. The problem is that we've allowed this for so long that its become custom/ritual and the behavior continues and becomes more frequent.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/04/2009 8:38 Comments || Top||

#4  Good. The big-deck CVN is an obsolete dinosaur that needs to go away. Hopefully China will waste a lot of its resources on useless but chest-beating relics like aircraft carriers.
Posted by: gromky || 05/04/2009 10:39 Comments || Top||

#5  I think everyone is delusional to think the big deck carrier is obsolete.

Just about the time we mothball those big guys we'll find ourselves in a shooting war with someone and we'll need the rapid deployment of significant air power to fight it.

A big carrier brings overwhelming force to the AO and I believe that you should give the men on the ground overwhelming firepower no matter whether you are fighting a technological equal in say Russia or a bunch of goat herders with RPG's in Afghanistan.

The big deck carrier is a huge force multiplier and a huge tactical advantage for us. The Chicoms and the Russians don't have anything like it and we have an advantage because of it.

Why would you take a trump card off the table?
Posted by: James Carville || 05/04/2009 15:29 Comments || Top||

#6  Because in the era of highspeed anti-ship missiles, submarines, and Pershing-class anti-ship missiles, a carrier is an anchronism just like the battleship in 1942. Heck, most of America's "Carriers are God" syndrome comes from a naval battle from that same year. The only reason that carriers still lurch about the sea, zombie-like, is there hasn't been a Big Shooting War since the big one.
Posted by: gromky || 05/04/2009 16:21 Comments || Top||

#7  Because in the era of highspeed anti-ship missiles, submarines, and Pershing-class anti-ship missiles, a carrier is an anchronism just like the battleship in 1942.

Just add it to the obsolete pile with the tank, infantry grunt, et al, all of whom have been declared passe since the events in Japan around August 1945. Strangely enough, they're still around. Even though we gone through budget cutting games to kill them one way or another, only to find out in the 'next' conflict, by golly, we still need them. Carrier based air still constitutes asset project places in the world while we negotiate with local governments for basing and fly over privileges.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 05/04/2009 20:44 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
British princess attacked
[Straits Times] THIEVES tried to rob Queen Elizabeth IIŽs 19-year-old granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, and her friends while they were travelling in Cambodia, a British newspaper reported on Monday. Royal protection officers had to intervene to protect the princess, the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, when a thief tried to steal her friendŽs purse as they walked through Phnom Penh one night, the Sun said.
Looks like she got her Daddy's good looks and her mother's figure. Nice looking girly, but I see Weight Watchers in her future.
Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This begs the question: What the hell was a princess doing walking in a 3rd world hell hole like that in the middle of the night?
She think she is immortal or something?
Posted by: 3dc || 05/04/2009 2:07 Comments || Top||

#2  i think it is because she has professional security with her that she felt she could...

maybe she was tired of feeling like she lives in a buble and was seeking danger
Posted by: abu do you love || 05/04/2009 2:52 Comments || Top||

#3  Because she's an ignorant wealthy woman who has been sheltered from the consequences of her decisions her whole life?
Posted by: gromky || 05/04/2009 8:31 Comments || Top||

#4  The thrill of risk, the attempt at being disobedient, and the stupid sense of immortality and freedom of the consequences for one's actions.

In other words, typical late teens.

That's all. No other things need be said.
Posted by: OldSpook || 05/04/2009 10:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Why does her swimsuit have the US flag on it?
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 05/04/2009 13:07 Comments || Top||

#6  Because she'd be called a racist or imperialist if it had the Union Jack on it, Sam.
Posted by: Mitch H. || 05/04/2009 15:28 Comments || Top||

#7  Bit heavy but overall nice, lose some butt and waist and she'd pass for beautiful.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/04/2009 17:55 Comments || Top||

#8  "lose some butt and waist and she'd pass for beautiful"

Or she could just get a swimsuit bottom that's the right size....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 05/04/2009 18:19 Comments || Top||

#9  Gal needs protection walking the streets, she should do like Princess Patricia and have her own light infantry regiment.
Posted by: SteveS || 05/04/2009 18:24 Comments || Top||

#10  she could just get a swimsuit bottom that's the right size.... right, those some arse cutters, look at the muffin top shes got going.
Posted by: Hupolunter Speaking for Boskone6724 || 05/04/2009 18:26 Comments || Top||

#11  she looks big enough to handle herself
Posted by: Angineque tse Tung3914 || 05/04/2009 18:47 Comments || Top||

#12  Gorgeous girl, she doesn't need change the slightest thing in her figure. Nice to see a healthily-shaped young woman rather than an anorexic one for starters.

Another pic you could have used here: http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00780/SNN1307A-682_780501a.jpg
Posted by: Guillibaldo || 05/04/2009 18:57 Comments || Top||

PAS debates role of clerics
[Straits Times] MALAYSIA opposition Islamist party is in the grip of a debate over the nature of its leadership ahead of party polls next month.

A big controversy has broken out after a key cleric, Datuk Mohamed Daud Iraqi, said the top two posts in Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) could be held only by ulama, or Islamic scholars.

His comments added to an internal debate on whether PAS should strengthen its Malay-Islam roots by forming a loose coalition with Umno, or get closer to the multiracial Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance.

'PAS is an Islamist party, therefore it should be led by individuals from religious backgrounds,' said Mr Mohamed Daud, who leads the powerful council of clerics or Dewan Ulama PAS.

He was quoted by the Utusan Malaysia newspaper as saying that PAS would be in chaos if it was not led by religious scholars as its principles were based on Islam.

But other leaders say having clerics as president and deputy president is not part of the party's Constitution, and that capability is a better measure.

'The choices for leaders are not limited only to religious scholars, there are also professionals to choose from. The question is whether to choose someone based on his capability of specialising in a role, or based on the person's educational background,' wrote PAS central leader Khalid Samad on his blog.

The debate is being watched closely because PAS, with some one million members, is the biggest opposition party. It is also part of the PR alliance, which hopes to grab federal power in the next general election, to be held by 2013, with support from non-Muslims.

There are worries in PAS that Mr Mohamed Daud's comments will deepen its internal split ahead of its biennial elections.

A faction in PAS wants to continue with the so-called 'unity talks' with its traditional foe, Umno, with a view of forming an alliance to strengthen the voice of Malays and Muslims.

Posted by: Fred || 05/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

#1  PAS POS. There that's fixed.
Posted by: JohnQC || 05/04/2009 18:02 Comments || Top||

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