Tuesday, April 24, 2012

North Korea close to testing nuclear bomb ...

(Reuters) - North Korea has almost completed preparations for a third nuclear test, a senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said, an act that would draw further international condemnation following a failed rocket launch.
The isolated and impoverished state sacrificed the chance of closer ties with the United States when it launched the long-range rocket on April 13 and was censured by the U.N. Security Council, which includes the North's sole major ally, China.
Critics say the rocket launch was aimed at honing the North's ability to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States, a move that would dramatically increase its military and diplomatic heft.
Now the North appears to be about to carry out a third nuclear test after two in 2006 and 2009.
"Soon. Preparations are almost complete," the source told Reuters when asked whether North Korea was planning to conduct a nuclear test.
This is the first time a senior official has confirmed the planned test and the source has correctly predicted events in the past, telling Reuters about the 2006 test days before it happened.

ARDENT SENTRY 12 exercise set.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command will conduct a major exercise, ARDENT SENTRY 2012, focused on Defense Support of Civil Authorities, May 2 – 9, 2012. 

The exercise will be primarily a Command Post Exercise, but there will be field training events within the exercise. Those events will take place in North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Alaska, Connecticut and Nova Scotia and involve United States and Canadian military units.

- North Dakota, the Air Force Global Strike Command will respond to a simulated Nuclear Weapons Incident (NUWAIX) on Minot Air Force Base. 

- Oregon, the Oregon National Guard will work with state and local officials to respond to numerous weather-related and security events. 

- Texas, US Army North will deploy a task force to work through the process of leading a military response to a major disaster.  

- Alaska, Joint Task Force-Alaska will conduct a coordinated response to a major aircraft crash in a remote area. 

- Nova Scotia, Canadian and US Naval forces will work together to handle a security related event.

ARDENT SENTRY 12 will validate existing plans, policies, and procedures, including the Federal Inter-agency Response Plan, as well as state and regional plans.

al Qaeda leader smote by drone

 Government sources say a drone has killed a prominent al Qaeda leader linked to an attack on a French oil tanker.

Yemen's embassy in Washington said on Tuesday that Mohammed Saeed al-Umda, convicted in 2005 of involvement in the 2002 attack on the Limburg oil tanker, had been killed in an air strike on his convoy in the oil-producing province of Maarib on Sunday. It did not specify whether it was a U.S. strike.

Umda, described by the embassy as Yemen's fourth most-wanted man, had received military training under Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was in charge of the group's finances, a security source said.

The United States has repeatedly used drones to target suspected al Qaeda militants, who have been emboldened by a year of political upheaval in the impoverished state.

Space X launch delayed

SpaceX's first launch to ISS delayed again

The launch of SpaceX's Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, which was scheduled for April 30, is eagerly anticipated. A successful mission will mark the first time a commercial spacecraft berths to ISS.
But we're going to have to wait a little longer. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX,tweeted the latest about Dragon's first flight to the International Space Staton: it's delayed, at least a week, so that SpaceX can "do more testing on Dragon docking code."
SpaceX's official Twitter account repeated the message, and both SpaceX and Elon Musk note that a new launch date is pending coordination with NASA.
SpaceX and NASA completed a Flight Readiness Review on April 16, giving the commercial company the green light to launch its Dragon capsule, carrying some 1200 pounds of cargo, atop a Falcon 9 rocket. A successful berthing to ISS would set SpaceX and Dragon on the path to becoming regular visitors to Station


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