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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Smart helmets and super-protective uniforms for soldiers of future

During the recent 30 years, military uniforms have changed considerably. First of all, this is connected with computers and new materials. Computers are now widely spread at all command levels. Personal weapons, though, are comparable to mechanical arms of the 1940s. Everything depends on the funding that governments provide for military production.

By 2025, military helmets for ground troops will represent personalized systems that will be used to carry tiny and super-light communication and life support systems. British and French scientists predict that future combat helmets will completely cover the head and include a slide-out camera. Helmets will be made of kevlar or ballistic nylon with traumatic gasket to protect soldiers from bullet impacts.

The slide-out camera will be designed not to obscure the face. The eye shield will have a shading effect - it will be created with the use of the technology similar to the one used for the production of sunglasses. The shield will serve to protect the eyes from sudden intense flashes, for example, from tactical nuclear weapons.

In the lower part of the helmet, where the face remains open, will be equipped with a double filter system, mounted on the side of the helmet. The filters will guarantee complete protection from chemical and biological weapons, as well as from radioactive and other toxic substances. In short, soldiers will be completely protected from the dangers that may not always be detected.

For personal communication, the helmet of the future will have built-in microphones, similarly to present-day helmets used by pilots. For emergency communication at a distance, to give orders to a group of soldiers, the helmet will be equipped with a voice box. It will probably include a translating device, so that a person could speak the language of the country where he works.

For actions in the shadowed areas, such as inside a building, the helmet will be equipped with a source of light. This will free the hands, and the light will be directed to where a person looks. Finally, the helmet will have an integrated drinking system, similar to today's British respirators. The helmet of the future will weigh from 1.5 to 2 kilos - about the same weight of helmets worn by pilots of military helicopter.

Combat infantry uniforms of rapid response teams will be organized on the base of the all-in-one technology. It will not be similar to the uniform of modern-day tankers or infantrymen, who have all necessary things hanging on the belt. Owing to its unique design, each uniform will be sewn individually for every soldier.

Future combat uniforms will be not thicker than the present-day diving suit. The fabric will have a capillary structure, with the content of gelatinous substance in the form of a mosaic to protect a person from excessive heating or cooling.

The clothes-heating technology was designed for the crews of B-17 bombers during the Second World War. In the future, the fabric of the uniform will have fire-resistant and waterproof properties. It will also be able to change color in accordance with the area, where a soldier works. Microdots implanted into the surface of the uniform, will contain chemical pigmentation enabling the fabric to change color and pattern to blur the human silhouette. The technology will not make the soldier invisible, but it will make him harder to detect, like a chameleon.

Gloves will be very soft to ensure maximum mobility, and at the same time thick enough to protect against chemicals. Boots will be quite high, but they will have thicker soles for greater shock resistance. The soles will also have protection against chemicals, including the liquids that may dissolve plastic. Both the boots and the gloves will be connected with the uniform at the wrists and ankles to ensure protection against nuclear weapons. Each infantryman will wear a small device on the wrist to determine the level of contamination of the surrounding environment, including the level of radiation.

Cargo pockets and pockets with flaps will be placed on different parts of the uniform. For example, a pocket on the right sleeve will have oxidant pills and a syringe with atropine. A pocket on the left sleeve will have self-adhesive patches to repair the uniform in case it gets broken. Pockets on the left leg will contain a first aid kit, bandages and syringes with painkillers. Pockets on the right leg will have food supplies for the period of 24 hours.

The belt will be outfitted with grenades and water bottles, various tools and a bayonet - quite a heavy tool like a machete that can be used for cutting and chopping. It is possible that in 2025, infantrymen will have small, yet very powerful lasers and radars. GPS will be fitted on the right sleeve.

These devices already exist, and there is no reason not to upgrade them to lighter and more compact gadgets by 2025. This will allow each infantryman to determine his position on the battlefield, while commanders will be able to see their soldiers moving.

An infantryman of the future will have a night vision device and a backpack. The weapons that ground troops will use in 2025 will not differ much from the weapons used in the 20th century. There are a number of reasons suggesting that the assault rifle of the future will be a standard one. There are three types of such assault rifles used nowadays. They are Steyr Pull (Austria), FAMAS (France) and SA80 (UK). The 5.6-mm NATO caliber is a standardized one that will probably become universal. Most likely, the future rifle will have the same caliber, but greater destructive firepower

By 2025, the rifle will have a built-in grenade-launcher, probably of the 40-millimeter caliber, because it is most convenient. Division of fighters will have snipers armed with smoothbore rifles and guided bullets. Grenade-launchers will shoot programmable ammo that will be able to change the flight trajectory and even fly behind the corners of buildings or directly into trenches.

Vyacheslav Shpakovsky


‘North Korea doesn’t give a damn about the West’

News that North Korean conducted another nuclear test proves that the West’s approach to states unwilling to curb their nuclear ambitions has failed, Yair Shamir, an incoming Knesset member from Yisrael Beytenu who is likely to hold a senior position in the next government, said Tuesday.

Attempts to find compromise with the likes of North Korea and Iran were simply being exploited by those countries, Shamir told The Times of Israel.

“The nuclear test in North Korea this morning just emphasized that if the West will continue to look for compromise instead of looking for solutions, then those guys who are dealing with the West will take advantage of it,” he said. “Look at North Korea, they don’t give a sh*t. They’re doing what they want. And the Iranians will look at that as well.”

Shamir, who was speaking to The Times of Israel on the sidelines of a meeting with visiting US Jewish leaders, also urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to use President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel next month to strengthen the personal relationship between them, “because at the end of the day, it is also a matter of personalities. At the level of the people — the Israeli people, the America people — there’s nothing to be fixed, it’s a good relationship.”

In the wake of the Arab Spring, he also said, the White House has recognized that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the root cause of the region’s problems.

“He’s coming as a mature president, relaxed,” Shamir said of Obama. “I think he learned the lesson that the [core] issues of the Middle East [are not connected to] the Palestinian issue. Look at the Arab Spring and what happened around us, all these earthquakes here.”

Shamir, the son of the late Likud prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, is a former IAF pilot. He said he would be very pleased to serve as defense minister in the next government, but is widely expected to be given a senior domestic portfolio. He is the No. 2 to Avigdor Liberman on the Yisrael Beytenu list, and No. 4 on the joint Likud-Beytenu list; Liberman, the former foreign minister, will not sit in the cabinet while he’s fighting fraud and breach of trust charges.

In his remarks to the annual mission to Israel of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Shamir noted that the Israeli government has never accepted Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution, and added that he considered the creation of a Palestinian state to be impracticable due to geographic constraints.

“Netanyahu has expressed his view in his Bar-Ilan speech some years ago,” Yair told the Jerusalem gathering, referring to the prime minister’s 2009 speech accepting, in principle, a demilitarized Palestinian statealongside Israel. “This speech never got the approval of his own party, never got the approval of the previous government. And he will have to seek approval for this plan from the coming Knesset or coalition.”

“We’ll see,” Shamir added. “It’s a democratic state.”

The freshman legislator said he entered politics mainly to focus on domestic issues because he sees little chance for a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the near future.

“I do believe that the issue with the Palestinians will stay with us for a longer time. There is no shortcut, there are no miracles, there is no patent that can solve the issue here,” Shamir told the visiting US Jewish leaders. “We are dealing for so many years with the Palestinian issue, put [in it] so many efforts, so much talent. And we ignored, neglected our society.”

“My position on two states: I don’t think this is doable,” Shamir emphasized. “It’s such a small area [of land] to deal with. But on the other hand, if the coalition decides that this is their agenda, this is their agenda. Personally, I don’t think it’s workable.”

The major affliction of the Middle East is not the absence of peace between Arabs and Israel but the lack of freedom and prosperity across the region, Shamir said. “The only island with democracy, with happiness, where you can see smiling people and prosperity, good education — it’s here. And why should we spoil this place?”

Asked about American and other international pressure on Israel, Shamir said Israel’s relationship with the US was important but “not as important as other interests of Israel.”

Shamir said peace with Israel’s neighbors was important for building a good home for the Jewish people. Constant warfare was not a good solution, he allowed. “But on the other hand [protecting Israel] is a necessity [in order] to reach this point.”

The Times of Israel

China warns US over anti-Iran sanctions

China has warned that the US sanctions recently imposed against a Chinese individual and certain companies over their alleged trading with Iran will harm Beijing’s relations with Washington, urging the US to “correct its mistaken policy.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on Monday that the US measure "seriously violates the norms of international relations and harms China's interests."

"China urges the United States to immediately correct its mistaken policy and revoke these irrational sanctions toward the relevant companies and individuals and cease taking actions that harm China's interests and China-US relations," the statement further read.

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a Chinese businessman and a number of firms over the allegation that they have sold Iran items banned under the US Arms Control Act and its Export Administration Act.

According to a notice published on the US Federal Register website, the sanctions took effect on February 5.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Over the false allegation, Washington and the European Union have imposed several rounds of illegal unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran refutes the allegation and argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The latest US sanctions, announced on February 5, target Iranian oil revenues.

Press TV

Biden: We’re counting on ‘legitimate media’ for successful gun control effort

You mean: legitimate buyed media?......absolutely

During a press conference on gun safety in Philadelphia, Vice President Joe Biden said that any reports that suggest that he was trying to take weapons away from gun owners was a “bunch of malarkey.”

"I know that's a word that you've never heard before, although it's now in the dictionary," Biden boasted.

Biden said that it was important for the media to dissuade the American public from the idea that the Obama administration was prepared to do something unconstitutional on guns.

“To be very blunt with you, we’re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media to cover these discussions because the truth is that times have changed,” Biden added, warning that people would continue to “misrepresent” the White House's plans for gun control.

"The social media that exists out there, the tragedies that have occurred, the Supreme Court decision affirming that its an individual right to bear arms - all give a lie to the argument that what we're trying to do is somehow unconstitutional, or somehow goes after the legitimate right to own and bear arms and to hunt and protect yourselves," Biden added.

Washington Examiner

New Iran centrifuges could shorten path to atomic bomb: Netanyahu

(Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that new centrifuges Iran was installing for its uranium enrichment program could cut by a third the time needed to create a nuclear bomb.

As Iran and world powers prepare to resume talks aimed at easing a dispute that has raised fears of a new Middle East war, Tehran announced late last month it planned to install the new machines at its main enrichment plant.

The move underlined Iran's defiance of international demands to scale back the uranium enrichment which Tehran says is for civilian purposes but which could also potentially be used to make material for atomic bombs.

Netanyahu touched on the subject in an address to American Jewish leaders and his words came ahead of a planned visit to Israel next month by President Barack Obama.

"Iran's ... nuclear weapons program continues unabated ... I drew a line at the U.N. last time I was there," Netanyahu said. "They haven't crossed that line but what they are doing is to shorten the time that it will take them to cross that line and the way they are (doing it) is by putting in new, faster centrifuges that cut the time by one third."

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September, Netanyahu gave a rough deadline of summer 2013 as the date by which Iran could have enough highly enriched material to produce a single nuclear bomb.

He said on Monday that world powers must put more pressure on Tehran "for the interests of peace and security".

"You have to upgrade the sanctions and they have to know that if the sanctions and diplomacy fail, they will face a credible military threat. That's essential. Nothing else will do the job, and it's getting closer," he said.

Diplomats believe, however, that Iran may have resumed converting small amounts of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel thereby slowing a growth in stockpiles that could be used to make weapons.

The White House announced last Tuesday that Obama planned to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring. It gave no exact dates for the trip, Obama's first to Israel since taking office.

Netanyahu, who was last week nominated to form a new government after January 22 elections that his rightist Likud party won, has said Iran would top his administration's agenda. He has five more weeks to complete forming his new coalition.

Israel's Channel 10 television cited unnamed sources in Washington last week saying Obama's visit to Israel would start on March 20, by when Netanyahu's new government should be in place.

Israeli political commentators have speculated that Obama had opted to visit Israel before the summer deadline that Netanyahu laid down at the United Nations to caution him against any go-it-alone attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.


'Final pope' authors predicted Benedict would resign

Although a Roman Catholic pope had not stepped down in nearly 600 years, the startling resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was predicted by the co-authors of a book published last spring about a medieval prophecy that the next pontiff will be the last.

In “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here,” co-authors Tom Horn and Cris Putnam examine St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” said to be based on his prophetic vision of the next 112 popes, beginning with Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144. Malachy presented a description of each pope, culminating with the “final pope,” “Peter the Roman,” whose reign would end with the destruction of Rome and judgment.

Horn explained to WND in an interview today that his conclusion Benedict would resign rather than die in the papacy was based not only on St. Malachy but also on a host of historical and current information.

“We took ‘The Prophecy of the Popes,’ we took what was happening in Italian media, and we determined, based on a great deal of information, that Pope Benedict would likely step down, citing health reasons, in 2012 or 2013,” he said.

St. Malachy was an Irish saint and the archbishop of Armagh, who lived from 1094 to 1l48. Malacy described the penultimate pope, which Horn believes is Benedict, as “Gloria Olivae,” or “Glory of the Olive.”

Pope Benedict XVI was not a Benedictine priest, yet he chose the name of Benedict, the founder of the Order of Saint Benedict, which also is known as the Olivetans

The symbol of the Benedictine order includes an olive branch.

Benedict, speaking Monday morning in Latin to a small gathering of cardinals at the Vatican, said that after examining his conscience “before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise” of leading the Roman Catholic Church.

Peter the Roman

Horn and Putnam discuss the evidence pointing to a Benedict resignation on pages 74 and 486 of their April 2012 book, and Horn has made the prediction on a number of radio programs in recent months, including Jan. 13.

Malachy described the last Pope as “Petrus Romanus,” or “Peter the Roman,” writing: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”

Horn and his co-author have created their own list of 10 candidates to succeed Benedict and become “Peter the Roman.”

Interestingly, a leading candidate is Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, the Cardinal secretary of state, who was born in Romano, Italy. His name could, therefore, be rendered Peter the Roman.

Another Peter on the list is a black African, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

In any case, Horn noted, Catholics believe the pope inhabits the “Petrine office” as a successor of the apostle Peter.

Other candidates on Horn’s list are Francis Arinze, Angelo Scola, Gianfranco Ravasi, Leonardo Sandri, Ennio Antonelli, Jean-Louis Tauran, Christoph Schönborn and Marc Quellet.

In 1880, M. J. O’Brien, a Catholic priest, published in Dublin a book providing a “historical and critical account” of St. Malachy’s prophecies.

O’Brien believed Malachy was declaring that the reign of the pope identified as Petrus Romanus would culminate with the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ.

O’Brien describes Malachy’s vision occurring while the saint was in Rome for a month, visiting and praying at the Eternal City’s many historical and holy sites.

The sight of the ruins of Pagan Rome, the tombs of the Apostles, the thought of so many thousands of martyrs, the presence of [Pope] Innocent II, who had been obligated to wander so many years in France and elsewhere on account of the anti-pope Anaclete – all this, I say, filled the mind of St. Malachy with deep and sad reflections and he was forced to cry out in the words of the old prophets: “Usquequo, Domine non misereberis Sion?” – “How long, O Lord! wilt Thou not have mercy on Sion?”

O’Brien continued:

And God answered: “Until the end of the world the Church will be both militant and triumphant. Until the end of time the sufferings of my passion and the mysteries of my cross must be continued on earth, and I shall be with you until the end of the world.” And then was unfolded before the gaze of the holy bishop of Armagh the long line of illustrious pilots who were to guide the storm-tossed bark of Peter until the end.

Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II, who was pontiff from 1130 to 1143. The document was placed in the Vatican archives, where it remained unknown until its discovery in 1590.

‘Amazingly accurate’

Through the past 900 years, various critics have questioned the authenticity and the accuracy of St. Malachy’s prophecies, often arguing the methods used by some of his interpreters to apply his epithets to certain popes have been tortuous.

Horn told WND he and Putnam took a critical view of “The Prophecy of the Popes” and determined that the first part of it, the first 70 or so predictions, probably was altered in the late 16th century.

“It appears that somebody had altered the original medieval document from 1590 backward to promote a particular cardinal to the College of Cardinals to be the fulfillment of what at that time was still a secret list of popes,” Horn explained.

An advocate for Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli, Horn said, likely “tinkered with the document to make it look like it was pointing toward Simoncelli.”

In “Petrus Romanus,” Horn said, he and Putnam “disregard everything pre-1595, as partly or fully tainted.”

After 1595, however, “The Prophecy of the Popes” was open to public scrutiny.

A modern version of Malachy’s prophecies was published in 1969 by Archbishop H. E. Cardinale, the Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg.

Cardinale wrote “it is fair to say the vast majority of Malachy’s predictions about successive Popes is amazingly accurate – always remembering that he gives only a minimum of information.”

Horn noted Benedict’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, also a priest, suggested last year that the pontiff might retire at age 85, arguing Catholic law would allow for him to step down if his health wouldn’t allow him to continue.

Benedict, himself, made a case for papal resignation in a book-length interview, “Light of the World.”

Asked if he thought it appropriate for a pope to retire, he said, “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/final-pope-authors-predicted-benedict-would-resign/#0qXWdFgMmplqo72C.99

Lightning hits St Peter's hours after Pope Benedict resign

The Catholic church was thrown into turmoil today after Pope Benedict XVI made the shock decision to quit the papacy because of his deteriorating health.

In a decision that has surprised even his closest aides, the 85-year-old Pontiff said his strength was 'no longer adequate to continue in office due to his advanced age'.

He announced his resignation in Latin to a meeting of Vatican cardinals this morning, saying he did not have the 'strength of mind and body' to continue leading more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

Shock decision: Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation during a meeting of Vatican cardinals today

A sign from God? Lighting strikes the basilica of St.Peter's dome earlier this evening during a storm that struck Rome on the same day Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation

The decision is unprecedented. He is the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415 and no Pontiff in history has stepped down on health grounds.

The move allows the Vatican to hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a Pontiff does not have to be observed.

There are several papal contenders, including Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson who is a front-runner to become the first black Pope.

Ailing: The 85-year-old Pontiff said his strength was 'no longer adequate to continue in office due to his age'

Complete surprise: Several cardinals did not even understand what Benedict had said during the consistory and those who did were stunned, a Vatican spokesman said

Speaking in one of the Vatican's state rooms, the Pope today told cardinals: 'After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.Although officials said there had been no pressure for Benedict to resign, the internet is already awash with speculation that there was a more sinister reason behind his decision.

'I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.

'However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary - strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.'

Benedict, who at 78 became the oldest Pope in 300 years when he was elected in 2005, said he was making the decision in 'full freedom' but was 'fully aware of the gravity of this gesture'.

Several cardinals did not even understand what Benedict had said during the consistory, said the Reverend Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

Others who did were stunned.

A cardinal who was at the meeting said: ‘We listened with a sense of incredulity as His Holiness told us of his decision to step down from the church that he so loves.’

In a hastily arranged and, at times, shambolic press conference this morning, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said: 'It’s taken us a bit by surprise. We’ve had to organise ourselves very quickly.

‘We’ve had no warning of what the Pope was about to announce. The declaration is crystal clear and we need to go through it word by word.

‘The Pope says that he looked in a personal way and had a deep moment of reflection to consider the mission that he had received from God.’

A Vatican spokesman said he will officially stand down at 8pm Rome time (7pm GMT) on February 28.

The Pontiff, who was known as 'God's rottweiler' because of his stern stand on theological issues, will then retire to the Pope's summer residence near Rome before returning to the Vatican to spend the rest of his life in cloistered accommodation.

As he begins his retirement, cardinals in Rome will begin the process of choosing a successor.

Although the Pope's announcement this morning came as a huge shock to his colleagues, there have been rumours about his health over the last few years.

The Vatican stressed that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict's decision, but in recent years, the Pope has slowed down significantly, cutting back his foreign travel and limiting his audiences.

He now goes to and from the altar in St Peter's Basilica on a moving platform, to spare him the long walk down the aisle.

Benedict has acknowledged having suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in 1991 that temporarily affected his vision, but he later made a full recovery.

In 2009, the Pope fell and suffered minor injuries when he broke one of his wrists while vacationing in the Alps.

A doctor familiar with the pope's medical team said the Pontiff has no grave or life-threatening illnesses.

But the doctor said, like many men his age, the Pope has suffered some prostate problems.

Beyond that, the Pope is simply old and tired, the doctor said on condition of anonymity.

The Pope, who also uses a walking cane, is also understood to be suffering from a degenerative joint disease.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276884/Pope-Benedict-XVI-resigns-First-Pontiff-600-years-stand-longer-strength-carry-on.html#ixzz2Kh0ibkP3

Obama calls NKorea nuke test 'highly provocative'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday called North Korea’s latest nuclear test a ‘‘highly provocative act’’ that threatens U.S. security and international peace.

‘‘The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community,’’ Obama said in a statement issued early Tuesday. ‘‘The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies.’’

North Korea said it successfully detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site Tuesday. South Korean, U.S. and Japanese seismic monitoring agencies said they detected an earthquake in North Korea with a magnitude between 4.9 and 5.2.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said the test was conducted safely but with ‘‘great explosive power.’’ It said the test is aimed at coping with ‘‘ferocious’’ U.S. hostility that undermines the North’s peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites. Last month, North Korea’s National Defense Commission said the United States was its prime target for a nuclear test and long-range rocket launches.

‘‘These provocations do not make North Korea more secure,’’ Obama said. ‘‘Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.’’

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, California Republican Ed Royce, released a statement Tuesday calling on the Obama administration to ‘‘replace its failed North Korea policy’’ and issue ‘‘stringent sanctions’’ against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime. ‘‘Otherwise, the grave North Korean threat to the region and the United States will only grow,’’ Royce said.

The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday morning on North Korea’s nuclear test. South Korea’s U.N. Mission informed reporters early Tuesday that the closed-door meeting will begin at 9 a.m. EST.

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said she expects the international community ‘‘will have a very firm response.’’

She said in an appearance on NBC’s ‘‘Today’’ show that North Korea’s move presents a threat to the region and to the United States. ‘‘It actually is not in the best interests of North Korea,’’ she said.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed North Korea’s ‘‘continued provocative rhetoric’’ in a phone call with China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. That followed earlier conversations with Kerry’s counterparts from Japan and South Korea, key U.S. allies in the region.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the three conversations ‘‘were remarkably similar’’ on the importance of implementing the commitments of a January U.N. resolution that toughened sanctions against Pyongyang and warned of ‘‘significant action’’ if it conducted a nuclear test. That resolution was supported by China, North Korea’s only major ally.

On Tuesday, China expressed firm opposition to the test but called for a calm response by all sides.


US withdrawal from Europe-based missile shield will impact Israel’s defense

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday, Feb. 10 echoed supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s rejection of direct talks with the US four days ago which he said were on the grounds that they “would solve nothing” because, "You are holding a gun against Iran.”

Ahmadinejad added is own rider to this dismissal: “God willing, soon Iran’s satellite will be located in orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers, next to others from four or five advanced powers and it will relay a message of peace and fidelity to the world,” he said.
The boast that Iran would soon be the world’s sixth space power came two weeks after Tehran claimed to have put a monkey in orbit around earth, although it did not report bringing back to earth either the space capsule or the monkey.
Indeed, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, pouring a healthy dose of skepticism on the very existence of the project, commented: “The Iranians said they sent a monkey, but the monkey they showed later seemed to have different facial features.”
Tehran is again caught wandering at ease through its favorite terrain between fact, hyperbole and fiction about its achievements, whether in space or its nuclear program.
In recent weeks, reelected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stressed he wants a broad government coalition for the critical objective of preventing Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The question is how does he propose to achieve this when tough US and European sanctions have not just failed to stop Iran in its tracks but accelerated its nuclear progress. Iran is now estimated to be within four months of a nuclear bomb capacity from the moment a decision is taken to build one.
Those months are critical: On February 25 the five UN Security Council’s permanent members plus Germany sit down with Iran in Kazakhstan for a fresh round of negotiations. Former rounds in this format led nowhere and no breakthrough is expected this time either beyond, at best, a date for a continuation.
On March 20, President Barack Obama arrives in Israel for the first foreign trip of his second term. The purpose of his visit is plain, except to Netanyahu’s domestic rivals: Facing a 50 percent cutback in military spending, the Obama administration cannot credibly threaten to go to war against a recalcitrant Iran. But the US president may still wave the Israeli military option in Tehran’s face.

Not that the ayatollahs are likely to be impressed. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have both dismissed talks with Washington "with a gun" at their head, meaning that they are not scared of the Israeli gun the Americans are putting to their heads.
In fact, the Islamic rulers of Tehran are reported by DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Iranian sources to be fully confident that they are home and dry as a nuclear power after a secret US Pentagon research study was leaked that “casts doubt on whether the multibillion-dollar missile defense system planned for Europe” (originally by the Bush administration) “can ever protect the US from Iranian missiles as intended.”

Clearly the missile shield against Iran, which aroused ire in Moscow, looks like falling under the defense budget axe.
The missile shield in Europe was also designed to defend Israel and Turkey against Iranian ballistic missile attack. Leaving it unfinished because of “flaws” exposes both those countries to such attack.
President Obama will no doubt tell Netanyahu that the system for intercepting medium-range Iranian missiles is to be scrapped. However, he will have to take into account that if the Iranians do finally manage to put a capsule in orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers, they will be able to fire a ballistic missile at any point on earth as well, including the United States. Even if they did fail to put a primate in space, they will keep on trying and advancing until they get there.


North Korea carries out biggest nuclear test

North Korea has carried out its third, most powerful nuclear test despite UN warnings, and said "even stronger" action might follow.

It described the test as a "self-defensive measure" necessitated by the "continued hostility" of the US.

Its main ally, China, criticised the test, which was condemned worldwide.

Nuclear test monitors in Vienna say the underground explosion had double the force of the 2009 test, despite reportedly involving a smaller device.

If, as North Korea reports, a smaller device was tested successfully, analysts say this could take Pyongyang closer to building a warhead small enough to arm a missile.

The UN Security Council will meet at 14:00 GMT to discuss the test and its ramifications, diplomats say.

North Korea announced last month that it would conduct a third nuclear test following those in 2006 and 2009 as a response to UN sanctions that were expanded after the secretive communist state's December rocket launch, a move condemned by the UN as a banned test of missile technology.'Self-restraint'

Activity had been observed at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site for several months.

Seismic activity was then detected by monitoring agencies from several nations at 11:57 (02:57 GMT) on Tuesday. A shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9 was recorded, the US Geological Survey said.

Confirmation of the test came three hours later in a statement from the state-run KCNA news agency.

"It was confirmed that the nuclear test, that was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturised and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously, did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment," it said.

North Korea said the nuclear test - which comes just before US President Barack Obama's State of the Union address - was a response to the "reckless hostility of the United States".

"The latest nuclear test was only the first action, with which we exercised as much self-restraint as possible," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"If the US further complicates the situation with continued hostility, we will be left with no choice but to take even stronger second or third rounds of action."

The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation said the "explosion-like event" was twice as big as the 2009 test, which was in turn bigger than that in 2006.

It is the first such test under new leader Kim Jong-un, who took over the leadership after his father Kim Jong-il died in December 2011.'Provocative'

It is a grave threat to our nation's safety and cannot be tolerated as it will significantly damage international society's peace and safety”Shinzo AbeJapanese prime minister

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the test as a "clear and grave violation" of UN resolutions and a "deeply destabilising" provocation.

Mr Obama said the test was a "highly provocative act", and called for "swift" and "credible" international action in response.

China expressed "firm opposition" to its ally's test, urging the North to honour its commitment to denuclearisation and "not take any actions which might worsen the situation".

In other reaction:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the North should "abandon its nuclear arms programme", and he called for the revival of talks on the issue
South Korea's presidential national security adviser, Chun Young-woo, said the test was an "unacceptable threat to the security of the Korean peninsula and north-east Asia... and a challenge to the whole international community"
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was a "grave threat" to Japanese security and could "not be tolerated"
Nato described the test as an "irresponsible act" and a "grave threat to international and regional peace, security and stability"
Britain called for a "robust response" from the UN Security Council
French President Francois Hollande condemned the test and said Paris would back firm action by the UN Security Council

She adds that some in Washington have talked of maybe targeting North Korean financial interests, but the only real pressure is seen to lie with China.The BBC's Lucy Williamson, in Seoul, says the trouble, as ever, is what the international community can do in response without triggering an even bigger crisis - North Korea is already tied up in layers of sanctions which do not seem to have have any impact.

By defying the UN and launching its nuclear test now, our correspondent says, Pyongyang is giving the new leadership in Beijing a very public test of its own.