Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on November 12, that Iran had test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile capable of much greater range than previous Iranian missiles. The nation's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar said on state television that the Sajjil is a solid-fuel high-speed missile with a range of about 1,200 miles, enabling a strike against Israel or even southeastern Europe. Najjar said that the missile was part of a "defensive, deterrent strategy ... specifically with defensive objectives."
ITEM: In an article entitled "U.S. says North Korea stuck to nuclear promises," Reuters reported on October 17: "North Korea has kept its promise and reversed steps to restart its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon after an agreement last weekend between Washington and Pyongyang, the State Department said on Friday. 'The North Koreans have in their efforts reversed all their reversals in the reactor. All the seals are back on, the surveillance equipment is back, reinstalled. And the equipment that had been removed is back where it had been,' said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack."
A convoy of 13 trucks carrying supplies to U.S. and other Western military units in Afghanistan was hijacked in the famed Khyber Pass on November 10. The trucks were hijacked at four separate locations along a 20-mile stretch of the road through the pass between the mountains separating Afghanistan from Pakistan.
For many of us, memories of the Cold War and of Russia's predecessor Soviet government may have fostered a natural inclination to sympathize with Georgia during its recent conflict with Russia. But a report published by the New York Times for November 7 offers some additional food for thought. Not that Russia has escaped the grip of the old KGB-controlled nomenklatura; it hasn't. But Georgia has not become pristine either.
Reaction from foreign leaders and citizens to the winning of the U.S. presidency by Democrat Barack Obama has been largely favorable, judging from several overseas-based news sources. The BBC quoted French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said: "At a time when we must face huge challenges together, your election has raised enormous hope in France, in Europe and beyond." Sarkozy continued: "France and Europe ... will find a new energy to work with America to preserve peace and world prosperity."
The governments of the Republic of China on Taiwan and the communist regime on mainland China signed four agreements on November 4 that are aimed at facilitating trade and transportation routes between the estranged Chinas. According to BBC News, the agreements would triple the number of weekly direct passenger flights between the mainland and Taiwan, allow cargo shipments between ports in both nations, and also aim to improve the postal service and food safety.
In the last several weeks, Romer Labs, an international diagnostic testing lab for the agricultural, food, and feed industries, discovered 30 samples of animal feed to be contaminated with melamine, sourced from China. Melamine is a toxic chemical that is found in plastics, adhesives, and pesticides. Since melamine contains high levels of nitrogen, it is added to food products to make it appear as though those products have higher levels of protein than they actually contain. Adding melamine to food ingredients and products allows China to misrepresent the protein content of food while lowering their production costs.
The United States closed its embassy in Damascus to the public on October 30 because of security concerns stemming from anti-U.S. demonstrations in the Syrian capital following a U.S. raid on Syria on October 26. A statement on the embassy website said the decision to close was made “due to past demonstrations which resulted in violence and significant damage to US facilities and other embassies.”
A Pakistani government spokesman announced on October 29 that the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, had been summoned to receive a formal protest concerning American missile attacks on the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the nation’s tribal areas along its border with Afghanistan. Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement that “a strong protest was lodged on the continued missile attacks by U.S. drones inside Pakistani territory.”
According to a New York Times report of October 28, the U.S.-backed, Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has been forcing Kurdish units of the Iraqi army out of the northern city of Mosul. The Baghdad government dispatched 1,000 additional police to the troubled city several weeks ago in response to attacks against the city’s Christian population by terrorists groups linked to al-Qaeda. The attacks had prompted about 4,000 Christians to flee the city.