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A retired general and chief of staff has warned that the US’ missile defense systems are “simply incapable” of stopping the latest generation of Russian hypersonic missiles – some of which fly at 27 times the speed of sound.

Now retired, Maj. Gen. Howard ‘Dallas’ Thompson was once Chief of Staff at US Northern Command in Ohio. In a column published by The Hill on Thursday, Thompson argues that military leaders have neglected to develop proper defenses against the hypersonic threat.

There have been some calls for the US to pursue hypersonic weapons in defense policy circles, but America has lagged behind China – which conducted more tests in the last year than the US has is a decade – and Russia, which successfully tested such a missile in December. The ‘Avangard’ missile flew at Mach 27, and will be deployed in 2019.

At present, the US Missile Defense Agency’s sensors and radars are designed for one purpose: to counter an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fired by an adversary like Iran or North Korea. ICBMs have a predictable flight path, and the US’ Patriot and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries stand a reasonable chance of intercepting and destroying any incoming missiles.

Not so with hypersonics. Missiles like ‘Avangard’ fly low and fast, evading radar detection. They can also engage in evasive maneuvers to dodge surface-to-air rockets or missiles, further lowering the chances of a successful interception.

“The stark reality is that our current missile defense systems, as well as our operational mindset, are simply incapable versus this threat,” Thompson wrote. The retired General’s words are backed up by a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, which concluded that there are “no existing countermeasures” against the threat.

While the Pentagon plans to field hypersonic weapons by 2025, and has made some progress towards developing an interceptor to defend against them, Thompson claims that a massive collaborative program between the Department of Defense and arms companies is needed to counter Russian and Chinese advances.

“Countering this threat will require U.S. investment in an extensive defensive architecture,” he wrote. “...a highly robust ‘family of systems’ that nonetheless must be envisioned, designed, developed and deployed in a completely holistic manner.”

Until such a system can be developed, Russia is pulling ahead in the hypersonic race.

“We know for certain, it’s an obvious fact and our colleagues realize it, that we surpassed all our competitors in this area,”Russian President Vladimir Putin said last October. “Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months. We have them in service already.”

BAKU / Trend

BP and its partners invested $ 28 billion in the development of a giant gas field in Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz gas condensate field), and this can only be the beginning of a story.

According to Trend, this was reported by Bloomberg, regional president of BP for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Gary Jones.

According to him, the company intends to drill six new exploration wells in the country by 2020.

If his expectations are met, the company may discover a new gas field with reserves approximately equal to Shah Deniz, the report said.

“Along with Brazil, Azerbaijan is one of our priorities for the next few years. For us, this exploration program is very important, because we see great potential in the Caspian, ”said Jones.

According to him, gas reserves in the Shafag-Asiman structure, where BP intends to drill wells this year, may be equal to the Shah Deniz-2 field. He added that the drilling on the structure is scheduled for the end of 2019.

It should be noted that Shah Deniz-2 is the starting point of the new Southern Gas Corridor, through which Caspian gas will first enter the European market. In the framework of the second stage of development, the field will produce an additional 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Of these, six billion will be delivered to Turkey, and 10 billion - to Europe. During the peak period, gas production from the Shah Deniz field will reach 26 billion cubic meters of gas per year and 120,000 barrels per day.

The contract for the development of the offshore Shah Deniz field was signed on June 4, 1996.

In accordance with the documents signed on December 17, 2013 in Baku, the contract for the development of Shah Deniz was extended from 2036 to 2048, and the share of SOCAR and BP (project operator) in the project increased to 16.7 percent and 28.8 percent, respectively.
Share distribution among the parties to the agreement: BP - operator (28.8 percent), AzSD (10 percent), SGC Upstream (6.7 percent), Petronas (15.5 percent), Lukoil (10 percent), NICO (10 percent) and TPAO (19 percent).

Proved reserves of the field are 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas and 240 million tons of condensate.

 Lima - Peru

 

The Venezuelan embassy was attacked that led to the burning of large parts of the building and the injury of diplomatic personnel there in a disastrous move after the suspension of Venezuelan relations with Peru.

The Venezuelan FM minister wrote on Twitter after the embassy of his country was severely assaulted in Peru and injured at the Venezuelan embassy:

"We put the responsibility on the Peruvian government in terms of the attack on our diplomatic personnel and our embassy in Lima, which has been subjected to several attacks today, including a group of outlaws who entered the building.

Earlier in the day, the Peruvian government summoned the interim commissioner in Venezuela after Nicolas Maduro took office until 2025.

As The Peruvian government describes the new Maduro period as illegitimate and put all its fully supports to the National Assembly - the one-seat parliament of the country, which is controlled by the opposition but effectively excluded from the political life of the country.

The Peruvian Foreign Ministry confirmed the ban on Maduro himself and 100 officials from his administration from entering the country, and also banned banking institutions in Peru from establishing ties with financial institutions in Venezuela.

On Thursday, Nicolas Maduro was sworn in as Venezuela's president for 2019-2025. Modoro won a new six-year term in Venezuela's May 20, 2018 election, but his main rivals rejected the election results, Referring to widespread irregularities.

Source: Sputnik

 

Scientists have discovered how to make old human cells young again through rejuvenation. It’s an exciting discovery that could change the way humans age.

Researchers at the University of Exeter and University of Brighton found they could rejuvenate senescent cells, cells that had stopped their natural growth cycle,causing them to start to divide again. The experiment found they not only look younger, but also behave like younger cells.


“When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn't believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic,” researcher Dr. Eva Latorre said“I repeated the experiments several times and in each case the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research.

The research builds on earlier findings that showed ‘splicing factor’ genes switch off as humans age. Scientists found a way to restart the splicing through chemicals.

According to the researchers, this could change the way we age, with the hope that humans will experience less of the degeneration that comes with aging. Older people are more likely to have strokes, heart disease and other illnesses, but with cell rejuvenation, this could be decreased.

This demonstrates that when you treat old cells with molecules that restore the levels of the splicing factors, the cells regain some features of youth,” team leader Professor Lorna Harries said.  They are able to grow, and their telomeres - the caps on the ends of the chromosomes that shorten as we age -  are now longer, as they are in young cells. Far more research is needed now, to establish the true potential for these sort [sic] of approaches to address the degenerative effects of ageing. ”

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) -

 

    Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has found shelter at Ecuador’s embassy in London, should surrender to the UK authorities.

The whistleblower has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012. The UK authorities have maintained a warrant for Assange's arrest, issued after he breached bail conditions linked to an investigation in Sweden. The Swedish authorities have since dropped their investigation. Assange is fearing potential extradition to the United States, as WikiLeaks has published a number of classified documents, allegedly leaked from US government agencies.

The foreign minister reiterated calls on Assange to comply with a protocol for his stay at the embassy.

Last year, the Ecuadorian authorities introduced the home rules, restricting Assange’s visits and communications. The whistleblower’s lawyers challenged the decision in the court saying the restrictions violated Assange’s rights. Moreover, Assange has suggested that he has been spied on in the embassy. However, Assange's appeal was dismissed by an Ecuadorian court in December.

BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) --

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, on Tuesday held talks with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), who arrived in Beijing on the same day for a visit to China.

In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and issues of common concern, and reached important consensus.

The two sides agreed to make joint efforts to push for continuous new development of China-DPRK relations in the new era, constantly advance the political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula issue, bring more benefits to people of the two countries, and make positive contribution to peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region and the world.

Xi pointed out that Comrade Chairman's visit to China at the beginning of 2019, which marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China-DPRK diplomatic relationship, fully embodied the great importance Comrade Chairman attaches to the two countries' traditional friendship and Comrade Chairman's friendship with the CPC and the Chinese people.

"I highly appreciate it, and, on behalf of the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people, extend sincere festival greetings to the WPK and the government and the people of the DPRK, "Xi said.

Xi stressed that with concerted efforts of both sides, the China-DPRK relations opened a new historic chapter in 2018. The two sides, with concrete actions, have demonstrated the strong vitality of the China-DPRK friendship and displayed the resolute determination of the two countries to jointly advance the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the China-DPRK relationship and bears great significance to the efforts of building on past successes to further advance bilateral relationship.

"I am willing to work with Comrade Chairman to make sound efforts to guide the future development of China-DPRK relationship," Xi said.

He said the two sides should maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen strategic communication, deepen friendly exchanges and cooperation, and promote the long-term, healthy and stable development of China-DPRK relations.

Kim said he was grateful to General Secretary Xi for taking time from a busy schedule at the beginning of the year to receive the DPRK delegation. He extended festival greetings to the CPC, the Chinese government and the Chinese people on behalf the WPK, the government and the people of the DPRK.

"Under the utmost care of Comrade General Secretary, the DPRK-China relations last year were elevated to a new height and a new chapter was written," he said.

Kim said with this visit, he hoped to take the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries to conduct deep exchanges of views with Comrade General Secretary on consolidating the DPRK-China traditional friendship and stepping up the DPRK-China exchanges and cooperation, and to push for the DPRK-China friendly ties to be consolidated and improved with each passing day.

On the situation of the Korean Peninsula, Xi spoke highly of the positive measures taken by the DPRK side to maintain peace and stability and promote the realization of denuclearization on the peninsula.

He said major progress was made in the process of a political solution to the Korean Peninsula issue last year with joint efforts of China, the DPRK and relevant parties.

Noting that a general trend of peaceful dialogue on the peninsula has taken shape, Xi said it has become the international community's common expectation and consensus for the dialogue to continue and yield results. The political settlement of the Peninsula issue faces a rare historic opportunity.

China supports the DPRK's continued adherence to the direction of denuclearization on the peninsula, supports the continuous improvement of inter-Korean relations, supports the DPRK and the United States holding summits and achieving results, and supports relevant parties resolving their respective legitimate concerns through dialogue, Xi said.

China hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other halfway, Xi said, adding China stands ready to work with the DPRK and relevant parties to play a positive and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability and realizing denuclearization on the peninsula and lasting peace and stability in the region.

Kim said the Korean Peninsula situation has been easing since last year, and China's important role in this process is obvious to all. He said the DPRK side highly and sincerely appreciates the Chinese efforts.

The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community, Kim said.

Kim said he hoped that relevant parties will attach importance to and positively respond to the DPRK's legitimate concerns, and jointly push for a comprehensive resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue.

The two sides informed each other of their respective countries' situations. Xi said this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. In the past seven decades, the CPC has led the Chinese people in achieving a historic leap: they have stood up, grown rich, and are becoming strong. The CPC has the resolve and confidence to unite and lead people of all ethnic groups in China to overcome all difficulties, obstacles, risks and challenges and forge ahead towards the realization of the two centenary goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

Xi said positive results have been achieved since the WPK implemented the new strategic line in the past year, demonstrating the WPK and DPRK people's strong will of loving peace and pursuing development, and receiving wholehearted support from the DPRK people and positive comments from the international community. The Chinese side firmly supports Comrade Chairman in leading the WPK and the people to implement the new strategic line and focus on developing economy and improving people's wellbeing.

"We believe that the DPRK people will surely and constantly make new and greater achievements in the cause of socialist construction, "Xi said.

Kim said that having visited China four times in less than a year, he was deeply impressed by the achievements made in China's economic and social development as well as the Chinese people's spirit and character of striving for the country's prosperity.

The DPRK side considers China's development experience most valuable and hopes for more trips to China for study and exchanges, he said.

Kim said he believes that under the leadership of the CPC with Comrade General Secretary at the core, the Chinese people will continuously make fresh great achievements on the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and successfully realize the two centenary goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

The WPK will lead the DPRK people to continue their great efforts to implement the DPRK's new strategic line and create a favorable external environment for this endeavor, Kim said.

Prior to the talks, Xi held a welcome ceremony for Kim at the Great Hall of the People.

After the talks, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan hosted a welcome banquet for Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju, and they watched an art performance together.

On Wednesday morning, Xi met with Kim at Beijing Hotel. Xi spoke positively of the significance of Kim's visit to China this time and looked back on the history of friendly exchanges between China and the DPRK. Xi said China is willing to make joint efforts with the DPRK to safeguard, consolidate and develop relations between the two parties and two countries, jointly write a new chapter of development of relations between the two countries, and jointly make new contributions to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Kim said the DPRK highly values the sound momentum of continuous development of DPRK-China relations, and is willing to work with China to earnestly implement the important consensus reached between the two sides and continue writing a more glorious future of friendship from a new starting point.

Peng Liyuan and Ri Sol Ju attended the meeting.

After the meeting, Xi and his wife held a luncheon for Kim and his wife.

On Wednesday, Kim also visited a Tong Ren Tang pharmaceutical plant in Yizhuang, Beijing, where he inspected relevant processing and production lines of traditional Chinese medicine that use traditional and modern techniques.

Related activities were also attended by Wang Huning, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee; Ding Xuexiang, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee; Guo Shengkun, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee; Huang Kunming, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee; Cai Qi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee; and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Ri Su Yong, member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee and director of the International Department; Kim Yong Chol, member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee and director of the United Front Department; Pak Thae Song, member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee; Ri Yong Ho, member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and foreign minister; No Kwang Chol, alternate member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and minister of People's Armed Forces; and Kim Yo Jong, alternate member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and first vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, accompanied Kim Jong Un on his China tour and attended related activities.

Source Copied | (Xinhua) 

  Jerusalem;

Editing by\Abeer Almadawy

  According to Israeli media reported that the Israeli Military police has arrested 5 IDF "Israel Defense Force " for a reporter said, they tortured 2 detains of palestinians.

The soldiers are an Israel Defense Force platoon commander and four troops serving in his unit ,All of them are members of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, a unit designed for Orthodox Jews to be able to serve in the defense force and stay true to their religious convictions.

The Jerusalem Post pointed that the battalion receives a range of recruits, from ultra-Orthodox Israelis to immigrants and would-be settlers.

wHILE the military court hearing did not uncover when the alleged beating took place, though the military said the Palestinians were detained in the Ramallah area, a Palestinian city in the West Bank just north of Jerusalem. It's not clear what charges the five are being tried for.

The court lengthened the detention of the officer until Sunday. The four soldiers will stay locked up until next Tuesday.

SOURCE|SPUTINK 

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