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India Army to Cut Sniper Rifle Orders by About 70%

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 02:35

India Army to Cut Sniper Rifle Orders by About 70%(Bloomberg) -- The Indian Army plans to buy just 1,800 state-of-the-art sniper rifles and 2.7 million rounds of ammunition -- less than a third of its total requirement -- driven by budgetary constraints and the need to speed up deliveries, people with knowledge of the matter said.The military pruned its original requirement of 5,720 sniper rifles and 10 million rounds of ammunition, which would have cost $140 million, to prioritize spending and advance the purchase of more modern equipment, they said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.Indian Army spokesman Aman Anand said he had no comment to offer on the change in procurement plans.The Indian armed forces have 450,000 infantry soldiers, of whom only half go into ground battle and an even smaller number of them use sniper rifles to take out specific enemy targets through precision firing.The move is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $250-billion modernization plan for the Indian defense forces, as the infantry soldiers continue to face the brunt of deadly attacks in disputed border areas such as Kashmir and the northeast.Plans to buy new equipment from global manufacturers, however, has been hit by bureaucratic delays and the Modi government’s desire to meet the needs of the armed forces through the domestic industry under his ‘Make in India’ initiative, a key plank to boost local defense manufacturing and woo his core supporters.The 1.3 million-strong Indian Army’s previous efforts to buy 5,720 sniper rifles in a process that began in Feb. 2018 was scrapped in July this year after four vendors, including the U.S.-based Barrett, Indonesia’s PT Pindad and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, failed to meet technical requirements, such as technology transfers for manufacturing the ammunition by local industry.Through the new bid to buy a smaller quantity of 8.6 mm sniper rifles and .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition, India wants to overcome the hurdles in first identifying the vendor to buy them in a fast-track mode, before placing future orders for 4,000 more sniper rifles.To contact the reporter on this story: N. C. Bipindra in New Delhi at nbipindra@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


UPDATE 1-FBI wishes it had acted quicker as China stole intellectual property

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 02:32

UPDATE 1-FBI wishes it had acted quicker as China stole intellectual propertyThe FBI wished it had taken swifter action as Beijing recruited U.S.-based researchers to transfer intellectual property from American laboratories, a senior official at the agency said on Tuesday during Senate testimony. China has repeatedly insisted Washington has exaggerated the problem for political reasons, and asked for a response to the FBI's comments, a Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday that "Cold War mentalities" should be discarded.


Mike Pompeo planning to resign because Trump ‘hurting his reputation’, report claims

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 02:32

Mike Pompeo planning to resign because Trump ‘hurting his reputation’, report claimsDonald Trump’s secretary of state has reportedly told three prominent Republicans that he is planning to resign from the White House to run for a Senate seat.Mike Pompeo had planned to stay at the State Department until early spring 2020 but he is now concerned that his connection to Mr Trump, particularly through the impeachment inquiry, is hurting his reputation, according to a Time report.


UPDATE 1-U.S. to provide ship to Vietnam to boost South China Sea patrols

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 01:59

UPDATE 1-U.S. to provide ship to Vietnam to boost South China Sea patrolsThe United States announced on Wednesday it will provide Vietnam with another coast guard cutter for its growing fleet of ships, boosting Hanoi's ability to patrol the South China Sea amid tensions with China. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper disclosed the decision during an address in Vietnam, which has emerged as the most vocal opponent in Asia of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. In his speech, Esper took aim at China, which he accused of "bullying" neighbours, like Vietnam.


UPDATE 3-China tortured me over Hong Kong, says former British consulate employee

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 01:29

UPDATE 3-China tortured me over Hong Kong, says former British consulate employeeA former employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong said Chinese secret police beat him, deprived him of sleep and shackled him in an attempt to force him to give information about activists leading pro-democracy protests. Hong Kong, which was returned to China by Britain in 1997, has been convulsed by sometimes violent protests and mass demonstrations, the biggest political crisis for Beijing since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.


Meet What Could be The U.S. Navy's Ultimate Weapon (As in a New Destroyer)

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 01:11

Meet What Could be The U.S. Navy's Ultimate Weapon (As in a New Destroyer)Navy Flight III Destroyers have a host of defining new technologies not included in current ships.


U.S. to provide ship to Vietnam to boost South China Sea patrols

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 01:02

U.S. to provide ship to Vietnam to boost South China Sea patrolsThe United States announced on Wednesday it will provide Vietnam with another coast guard cutter for its growing fleet of ships, boosting Hanoi's ability to patrol the South China Sea amid tensions with China. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper disclosed the decision during an address in Vietnam, which has emerged as the most vocal opponent in Asia of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.


Gay Saudi journalists detained in Australia after asylum bid

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 00:47

Gay Saudi journalists detained in Australia after asylum bidTwo gay Saudi journalists who sought asylum in Australia after being threatened at home over their relationship have been held for weeks at an immigration detention centre, their lawyer said Wednesday. The couple arrived in Australia in mid-October on tourist visas but was singled out by airport customs officials -- then taken into detention -- when they admitted plans to seek asylum, lawyer Alison Battisson told AFP. "Australia being very well known for being... a safe place for LGBTI people, they were incredibly surprised and distressed," she said.


Arrests ordered in Philippines vaping ban

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 00:37

Arrests ordered in Philippines vaping banJust hours after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would ban e-cigarette use, police were ordered on Wednesday to begin arresting people caught vaping in public and to confiscate the devices. The abrupt prohibition, revealed by Duterte late Tuesday, adds to a growing global backlash against a product once promoted as less harmful than smoking. Duterte called the devices "toxic" and said vaping introduced "chemicals" into the user's body.


South Africa Won’t Give SAA Any Further Funding to Resolve Wage Strike

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 00:33

South Africa Won’t Give SAA Any Further Funding to Resolve Wage Strike(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterSouth Africa’s government ruled out an intervention in the ongoing battle between the struggling state airline and unions leading a strike, with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan refusing to step in to fund wage demands.The state has already given South African Airways more than 20.5 billion rand ($1.4 billion) over the past three years, Gordhan said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. The country is facing severe fiscal constraints and no more aid can be made available, he said.Two labor unions representing more than 3,000 staff at SAA walked out Friday in protest at the airline’s plan to cut jobs and refusal to meet demands for an 8% wage increase. The carrier, which has offered a raise of 5.9%, has halted a number of flights and warned that the viability of the entire business is being placed at risk.“The pattern of bailouts has become a moral hazard,” said Gordhan, who met with the unions in Pretoria. “A restructuring of SAA’s business is required to return the airline to profitability. In addition to growing revenues, efficiencies must be improved and costs will need to be reduced across the board.”The minister ended a labor dispute at state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. in 2018 that interrupted the nation’s power supply. He indicated that he won’t do the same to resolve the SAA impasse, saying negotiations are being handled by its management team.Unions should work with SAA to find a speedy resolution to the labor action, which has grounded flights and is worsening the carrier’s already precarious financial position, Gordhan said.Talks aimed at breaking the deadlock ended late Tuesday night without a resolution being reached, according to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.Latest strike update from SAA:All international and some regional flights are back in operation, while domestic services are being provided by the SAA’s low-cost unit Mango Airlines SOC Ltd. and partner carriers Safair Operations (Pty) Ltd. and SA Express.All operations are compliant with safety standards.A growing number of employees don’t support the strike and are returning to work.SAA has approached the labor court to interdict unions from making additional demands that are not part of the current dispute.(Updates with outcome of latest talks in penultimate paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at mcohen21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, John Bowker, John ViljoenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Son of former German president stabbed to death in Berlin

Yahoo News - Wed, 11/20/2019 - 00:28

Son of former German president stabbed to death in BerlinThe son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he worked as a head physician, police said Wednesday. A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he jumped up from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife on Tuesday evening. Von Weizsaecker died at the scene from a knife wound to the neck despite immediate attention from colleagues, said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors.


Netanyahu challenger fails to form coalition

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 23:47

Netanyahu challenger fails to form coalitionBenjamin Netanyahu’s chief rival announced Wednesday that he had failed to form a new government, dashing his hopes of toppling the long-time Israeli prime minister and pushing the country closer toward an unprecedented third election in less than a year. The announcement by Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, prolongs the political paralysis that has gripped the nation for the past year. It also provides a new lifeline for the embattled Netanyahu, who is desperate to remain in office as he prepares for an expected indictment on corruption charges, possibly as early as Thursday.


What If Iran Could Take down the F-35?

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 23:30

What If Iran Could Take down the F-35?Is it possible?


Navy Killer: Is This China’s Dangerous New Anti-Ship Missile?

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 23:00

 Is This China’s Dangerous New Anti-Ship Missile?A Chinese magazine might have revealed a new and potentially powerful anti-ship and land-attack missile


'Barbarians': Inside Chinese media coverage of Hong Kong

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 22:34

 Inside Chinese media coverage of Hong KongIn China's state-run media, protests that have rocked Hong Kong for almost six months are the work of bloodthirsty "barbarians" or "terrorists" backed by foreign forces. Coverage of the unrest in China, where the Communist Party strictly controls the narrative of all issues it deems sensitive, is in stark contrast to that seen in the West. Western media trypically reports on protesters' demands for the right to free elections in Hong Kong, as well as an independent inquiry into what they see as excessive police violence.


Last campus protesters hold out as Hong Kong schools reopen

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 21:11

Last campus protesters hold out as Hong Kong schools reopenHong Kong schools reopened Wednesday after a six-day shutdown but students and commuters faced transit disruptions as the last protesters remained holed up on a university campus. A small group of protesters refused to leave Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the remnants of hundreds who took over the campus for several days. The occupation of Polytechnic capped more than a week of intense protests, the latest flareup in the often violent unrest that has gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese city for more than five months.


South Africa’s Choice of White CEO for Eskom Angers Labor Unions

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 21:00

South Africa’s Choice of White CEO for Eskom Angers Labor Unions(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterThe South African government’s selection of a white executive to head the state power utility has outraged some unionists and politicians who see the move as a setback to efforts to address the nation’s racial disparities.Andre de Ruyter, 51, is due to become chief executive officer of debt-stricken Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. on Jan. 15 and will be the first white person to be assigned the post on a permanent basis since Allen Morgan retired in early 2001. Jacob Maroga, who was Eskom CEO from 2007 to 2009, and Dan Marokane, the utility’s former head of group capital, were among the black contenders.The National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the two largest unions at Eskom, criticized De Ruyter’s appointment as a setback to the country’s racial-transformation agenda. And the radical Economic Freedom Fighters, the second-largest opposition party, said the decision was racist and a deliberate attempt to diminish the role Africans play in the economy.The criticism is unfounded, according to Ntsikelelo Breakfast, a political analyst at the University of Stellenbosch.“There have been many black people who have had that position at Eskom before. Some have resigned and some have been implicated in serious transgressions,” he said Tuesday by phone. “I don’t think that the government or the board have turned a blind eye to transformation as far as Eskom is concerned.”While official data shows that white people do dominate the leadership of South African companies, that isn’t the case at state entities.The government’s Commission for Employment Equity assessed more than 26,000 companies last year and found almost 70% of top managers were white. By contrast, black South Africans, who make up 81% of the population of 58.8 million, occupied 76% of top government positions.Eskom provides about 95% of South Africa’s electricity. It’s amassed 450 billion rand ($30 billion) of debt that it can’t afford to service, is reliant on government bailouts to remain solvent and is battling to produce enough power to meet demand.De Ruyter, who holds a law degree and a masters’ degree in business administration, has considerable corporate experience, though not at state-owned companies. He’s been CEO of packaging firm Nampak Ltd. since 2014 and prior to that worked for more than two decades at petrochemical giant Sasol Ltd., where he held a number of senior management roles.The Public Enterprises Ministry, which oversees Eskom, said it employed a recruitment company that identified 142 potential candidates to fill the CEO post and it drew up a shortlist of 17 people. The utility’s board interviewed six of them, and submitted three names to the cabinet, which made the final decision.Lobby groups Business Unity South Africa and the Black Business Council both said De Ruyter was appointed after a thorough process and they were committed to working with him.“Inasmuch as the country’s transformational agenda should be supported, critical positions should be filled based on merit,” said Sethulego Matebesi, a political analyst at the University of the Free State. “We should avoid turning every issue into a political hot potato. Does the new Eskom CEO has the requisite experience and skills? If so, let us support him irrespective of his color.”\--With assistance from Rene Vollgraaff.To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at mcohen21@bloomberg.net;Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Karl Maier, Alastair ReedFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria; 11 reported killed

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 20:55

Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria; 11 reported killedThe Israeli military said it struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday, carrying out a “wide-scale” strike in response to rocket fire on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights the day before. A Britain-based war monitoring group said the Israeli airstrikes killed 11 people, including seven non-Syrians who are most likely Iranians. The Israeli military said its fighter jets hit multiple targets belonging to Iran’s elite Quds force, including surface-to-air missiles, weapons warehouses and military bases.


Dead-end: Rohingya in Malaysia warn against fleeing from Bangladesh

Yahoo News - Tue, 11/19/2019 - 20:09

 Rohingya in Malaysia warn against fleeing from BangladeshBefore he flew to Thailand on a fake Bangladeshi passport and then crossed into Malaysia, Mohammed Imran was one of the most influential Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In late 2017, at the peak of a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh fleeing violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, Imran paid traffickers $4,720 to be smuggled into Malaysia in search of a better life. Malaysia has become home to more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees, the second-highest number in the world after Bangladesh, with most braving the Andaman Sea on rickety boats or paying people smugglers for fake travel documents.


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