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UK: Reaper flying hunter-killer fleet 'to double'

Will remain tiny compared to inventory of obsolete crap

The UK expects to double its fleet of "Reaper" robot hunter-killer aircraft, according to the machines' manufacturer.

reaper
© The Register
Better than a Tornado bomber.
General Atomics, which developed the famous Predator drone warplane and its bigger successor the Predator-B/Reaper, announced last week that it is opening a new office in London to support the British Reaper fleet. The company says that it has thus far supplied six of the robot aircraft to the UK forces - though one of these crashed and was destroyed in Afghanistan three years ago.

The company announcement adds that the UK Reaper fleet is "expected to nearly double in size over the next few years". Presumably this might indicate that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) expects to field as many as ten roboplanes in the near future.

Display

Anonymous hacks Sony PS3 sites

Remove your penis from this hornets' nest

Several Sony PlayStation sites are unavailable this morning thanks to what looks like a distributed denial of service attack launched by Anonymous.

The hacktivists have left the Scientologists alone in order to harass the console-makers because of Sony's action against two lads for jailbreaking PS3s.

In a strangely self-important and sanctimonious message, the hackers said:
Congratulations, Sony.

You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous.

Your recent legal action against our fellow hackers, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo, has not alarmed us, it has been deemed wholly unforgivable....

Now you will experience the wrath of Anonymous.

You saw a hornets' nest, and stuck your penises in it.

You must face the consequences of your actions.

Anonymous style."

Bizarro Earth

Cuba to drill five new oil wells by 2013

Image
© Agence France-Presse
View of an oil pump in Havana
Cuba on Tuesday announced plans to drill five deepwater oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico beginning this summer, expressing confidence that its efforts will be rewarded with major new energy finds.

"We're about to move to the drilling phase," said Manuel Marrero, an official with the government authority tasked with overseeing Cuba's oil sector.

"We're all really hopeful that we will be able to discover large reserves of oil and gas," said Marrero, who added that the ventures would be undertaken with the help of unspecified foreign companies.

He said the deepwater wells were to be drilled between 2011 and 2013, and would be in waters ranging in depth between 400 meters (a quarter mile) and 1,500 meters (1.6 miles). He did not specify which countries would be among the foreign partners working with Havana on the project.

Some studies estimate Cuba has probable reserves of between five and nine billion barrels of oil in its economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Cuban authorities have said their crude reserves are as high as 20 billion barrels.

In 2010, Cuba produced 21 million barrels of oil, about the same as it had extracted the previous year, representing a little less than half of its annual energy needs.

Chess

Lawsuit Seeks to Invalidate Monsanto's GMO Patents

Image
© foodfreedom.wordpress.com
"A new invention to poison people ... is not a patentable invention." Lowell v. Lewis, 1817

A landmark lawsuit filed on March 29 in US federal court seeks to invalidate Monsanto's patents on genetically modified seeds and to prohibit the company from suing those whose crops become genetically contaminated.

The Public Patent Foundation filed suit on behalf of 270,000 people from sixty organic and sustainable businesses and trade associations, including thousands of certified-organic farmers.

"As Justice Story wrote in 1817, to be patentable, an invention must not be 'injurious to the well being, good policy, or sound morals of society,'" notes the complaint in its opening paragraphs.

The suit points to studies citing harm caused by Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, including human placental damage, lymphoma, myeloma, animal miscarriages, and other impacts on human health.

Pistol

Yemen troops kill protesters in Taiz

Soldiers use live ammunition on protesters demanding removal of President Saleh, killing at least 12
wounded protester
© Reuters
A wounded protester lies on a bed at a makeshift clinic after clashes with Yemeni troops in Taiz.
Yemeni security forces and gunmen in civilian clothes have fired on protesters marching through the southern city of Taiz , killing at least 12 people amid reports that the US now wants President Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit.

Witnesses described troops and gunmen, some on nearby rooftops, shooting wildly on thousands of people in a second successive day of violence. Some of the protesters, including elderly people, were trampled and injured as the crowds tried to flee, they said.

"It was heavy gunfire from all directions. Some were firing from the rooftop of the governor's building," said one man in the crowd, Omar al-Saqqaf. He said he saw military police load the bodies of two dead protesters into a car and speed away.

Television showed a row of men, apparent teargas victims, lying motionless and being tended by medics on the carpeted floor of a makeshift hospital in Taiz, 120 miles (200km) south of Sana'a.

The violence began when thousands of demonstrators marched down the main street toward the protest camp in Freedom Square, surrounded by security forces. As the march passed the governor's headquarters, troops blocked the procession, and clashes broke out, with some protesters throwing stones, witnesses said.

Pistol

Israeli troops shoot two Gazans dead

Image
© unknown
An Israeli soldier prepares to open fire at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest against Israel's controversial separation barrier in the West Bank.
Israeli soldiers have shot dead two Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip near the Erez border crossing, witnesses say.

The troops targeted the Palestinians while they were collecting gravel in the area, a Press TV correspondent quoted witnesses as saying.

Medics also said that "The ambulance service was being prevented from reaching them."

The Israeli army also confirmed that its forces opened fire at "someone in the northern Gaza Strip."

Laptop

US: White House Says It Will Veto House Efforts to Scuttle Internet Fairness Rules

computer screen, monitor
© Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
The White House threatened on Monday to veto any bill from Congress that would scuttle new rules aimed at keeping internet access free and open.

"If the president is presented with a resolution of disapproval that would not safeguard the free and open Internet, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the resolution," the Office of Management and Budget said in a Statement of Administration Policy.

The House Rules Committee voted on Monday evening to send the resolution to the House floor. The resolution would repeal the Federal Communications Commission's so-called "network-neutrality" regulations, designed to prevent Internet carriers from blocking websites that use too much bandwidth. The committee voted to allow one hour of debate on the issue. House aides say a vote is expected on Tuesday but the resolution is not expected to make it past the Senate.

Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., duked it out one-on-one at the hearing on the issue.

The debate between Walden and Eshoo, who opposes the resolution, included not only familiar arguments over the merits of the rules, but also a lot of he-said, she-said disagreement over what witnesses said.

Arrow Down

Iran: Ahmadinejad Predicts Embarrassing End for Obama

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
© unknown
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted the US administration for its deceitful policies, and warned that US President Barack Obama will have to face an end far more embarrassing than what his predecessor, George W. Bush, encountered.

Speaking at a press conference here in Tehran on Monday, President Ahmadinejad stated that the capitalist system sough to save itself and its main base in the Middle-East, i.e. Israel, through entering new players into the scene under the guise of the motto of change and defending the rights of the nations.

But soon it was revealed that change means a change in nations in the interest of capitalism, he added.

Stating his interpretation of the Obama policy, Ahmadinejad said that the difference between Bush and Obama lies in the fact that the current US president uses force and at the same time deception and conspiracy unlike Bush who clearly resorted to weapon and military action to save the capitalistic system.

USA

US: Sept. 11 suspects to be tried at Guantanamo Bay

President Barack Obama yielded to political opposition Monday, agreeing to try the self-professed mastermind of the September 11 attacks in a military tribunal at Guantanamo and not in a civilian court as he had promised.


Attorney General Eric Holder blamed lawmakers for the policy reversal, saying their December decision to block funding for prosecuting the 9/11 suspects in a New York court "tied our hands" and forced the administration to resume military trials.

His announcement was an embarrassing reversal of the administration's decision in November 2009 to try September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-conspirators in a court near the site of the World Trade Center attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.

That decision had been welcomed by civil rights groups but strongly opposed by many lawmakers -- especially Republicans -- and New Yorkers, who cheered Holder's announcement that the Obama administration had reversed course.

In moving the case back to the military system, the Justice Department unsealed a nine-count criminal indictment that detailed how Mohammed trained the 9/11 hijackers to use short-bladed knives by killing sheep and camels.

Another of the five -- Walid bin Attash -- tested air security by carrying a pocket knife and wandering close to the doors of aircraft cockpits to check for reactions, said the indictment, which prosecutors asked the court to drop so the case can be handled by a military commission.

Megaphone

Egypt: 'We'll fight back if Israel attacks Gaza' says ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei
© Reuters
Mohamed ElBaradei
In interview with Arab newspaper, former IAEA chief says if elected as Egypt's next president he will open Rafah crossing in case of an Israeli attack

Former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who had previously announced his intetions to run for the presidency of Egypt, said Monday that "if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime."

In an interview with the Al-Watan newspaper he said: "In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza - as the next president of Egypt - I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement."

He also stated that "Israel controls Palestinian soil" adding that that "there has been no tangible breakthrough in reconciliation process because of the imbalance of power in the region - a situation that creates a kind of one way peace."

Discussing his agenda for Egypt, ElBaradei said that distribution of income between the different classes in Egypt would be his most important priority if he were to win the upcoming elections.