A different municipal election in Kingdom
By : ABDULATEEF AL-MULHIM:- Saudis Saudis took part in municipal election across the Kingdom. This wasn’t the first time that local bodies’ election took place in Saudi Arabia but this time around it was a bit different. Few years ago, the Arab world experienced most violent winds of “change,” which literally turned the region almost upside down and continues to threaten the Middle East. Many wrongly predicted deep impact of those regional developments on Saudi Arabia. Contrary to those expectations, Saudi Arabia emerged as an island of peace and stability amid turmoil. The Saudi leadership remained unfazed with the regional developments and went ahead with its political and socioeconomic reforms. In short, life in the Kingdom remained more or less unaffected. One of the many steps, the Kingdom took as part of its socioeconomic reforms, was granting women the right to register for vote and to run for public offices.Strangely, this decision created more waves outside the Kingdom. Many saw it as a small step for Saudi women but it proved to a prelude to giant leaps for Saudi Arabia and Saudi women.
This year’s election was different because it reflected the stability of the Kingdom. These polls reflected the steady progress in social reforms that were further improve the status of the women and give both men and women more say in the decision-making process.People, who don’t know much about the Kingdom and live outside, should know that womenfolk have always played a crucial role in the Kingdom. Let me tell those people a few things from the pages of the history of Saudi Arabia. These polls reminded us of the day when the first batch of women got enrolled in the education system. With the passage of time, the ratio of women enrolled in universities is equal if not more than men. You never know, what does future has in store for our womenfolk.
Azeri oil rig fire-Rescue bid as 30 workers missing
Dec 4,2015: State oil company Socar told the BBC that 63 workers had been on the Guneshli platform at the time and that 32 had been rescued so far. The firm said the fire began after a storm on Friday evening damaged a gas line. The storm has hampered efforts to control the fire and rescue workers.
Triple suicide bombings in Chad kill at least 27, police say
Dec 5, 2015: DAKAR, Senegal A triple suicide bombing at a market on an island in Lake Chad killed at least 27 people and injured 90 others, said security officials. The three explosions on Koulfoua were carried out by females. Two of the blasts rang out from the centre of the market and a third in the street as people fled, security sources said.
Grenade attack kills governor of Yemen’s Aden
December 06, 2015: The governor of Yemen’s port city of Aden, Major-General Jaafar Mohammed Saad, has been killed in an attack along with six of his bodyguards. Unknown assailants reportedly fired a rocket-propelled grenade at Saad’s car in the Tawahi district in Aden, news reports said. Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Islamic State truck bombs kill up to 60 people in Syrian town: Kurds
BEIRUT: 11 Dec,2015: A triple truck bomb attack claimed by Islamic State in northeastern Syria killed at least 50 people and wounded 80 others, a spokesman for the Kurdish militia that controls the area.
More than 5,000 Muslims Serving in US Military, Pentagon Says
By MARIAM KHAN – LUIS MARTINEZ:- Despite recent rhetoric against the fastest-growing religion in the world, Islam has contributed a great deal to the U.S., including in the military, Defense Department figures show. Muslims have played an essential part in guarding the homeland and fighting for its interests in war-torn countries the world over, fighting in all major U.S. wars, including the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, according to military officials. More recently, Muslims have also served in the Gulf War, Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan. Here’s what the numbers tell us. There are 5,896 self-identified Muslims currently serving in the military, according to the Department of Defense. This is out of a total of 1,313,940 active-duty and 826,106 guard and reserve members, respectively. It’s important to note that of the 2.2 million in uniform, active or reserve, 400,000 service members have not self-reported their faith. So the total number of Muslims currently serving in the U.S. military is likely higher. ‘Courtesy ABC NEWS’
Iran missile launch violated UN resolution: UN experts’ report
15 Aug,2015: UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES: Iran violated a UN resolution in October when it test-launched a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, a UN panel of experts has concluded in a report that could lead to sanctions. Britain, France, Germany and the United States had asked a UN Security Council sanctions committee to investigate the launch of the Emad missile on October 10. AFP
General Atomics Plans 150kW Laser Tests; Eye On AC-130, Avenger
By Richard Whittle :- Several other companies are developing laser weapons and “we’re looking at all of them,” said Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, in an interview with Breaking Defense. “The technology is ripe for application on an AC-130.” General Atomics hopes to see AFSOC install a version of the weapon on the AC-130 gunship in the next few years. They also envision equipping the company’s new jet-powered Predator C Avenger drone with a laser derived from their High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS). The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will run the live-fire tests at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The HELLADS beam will be fired at a wide variety of airborne targets over the next 18 months. It produces its silent, invisible, but blow torch-hot beam by pumping electricity through rare earth minerals to excite their electrons and generate energy. HELLADS “is designed to counter rockets, artillery, mortars; counter cruise missiles; counter air[craft]; defend against surface to air missiles,” said Michael Perry, the vice president in charge of the company’s laser programs. During the tests at White Sands, the targets could include real rockets, real mortars, and real missiles. “There’s a whole variety of targets that will be shot with this system,” Perry said. The system being tested at White Sands is far too large to put on an airplane. But GA already has developed a smaller, self-contained Generation 3 High Energy Laser and is working on an even more compact Gen 4 HEL to respond to AFSOC commander Heithold’s goal of putting such a weapon on AC-130 gunships by 2020.
The possible targets for an AC-130 laser are many, Heithold said. The silent, invisible beam might be used prior to a hostage rescue mission, for example, to covertly disable motor vehicles, boats, airplanes or any other “escape mechanism” an enemy might use to move the hostages or flee from U.S. forces. The laser might also be used to disable or disrupt an enemy’s communications, he said. “The reason that I want it on an AC-130 is, right now, when an AC-130 starts firing kinetic weaponry, everybody knows you’re there,” Heithold said. “What I want on the airplane is to be able to silently disable something.”
Heithold envisions equipping up to five AC-130Ws with a laser whose beam could be aimed by a directing device on the left side of the aircraft and used offensively. AFRL is in the early stages of a separate program to develop a smaller laser that can fit inside a pod no larger than a standard 600-gallon external fuel tank and be used to defend legacy fighter aircraft such as the F-16 or F-15 against surface-to-air missiles. Known as SHiELD (Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator), this defensive laser is a pet project of Gen. Hawk Carlisle, who leads Air Combat Command.
Heithold said AFSOC is watching the SHiELD program but is not interested for now in pursuing the more difficult challenge of putting a defensive laser on its aircraft. “The hope is that the SHiELD program can learn from our efforts from putting an offensive capability on an AC-130,” Heithold said.
The Gen 3 system General Atomics has built can be entirely contained laser system, power system and thermal management (cooling) system in a box roughly 12 feet long, four feet wide and two feet high.
Perry said providing the electrical power the laser needs aboard an aircraft and cooling the system are the chief integration challenges, but they are relatively minor compared to the feat of generating a laser able to burn holes in steel from miles away.“There’s very little technical question that you can do this,” Perry said of Heithold’s goal. “The question is how much they want to do how quickly.”