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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 5-Aug-2013
5-Aug-13 World View -- Russia sides with Vietnam in the South China Sea dispute

Web Log - August, 2013

5-Aug-13 World View -- Russia sides with Vietnam in the South China Sea dispute

Islamic 'Peace Mobile' smartphone ready for launch

This morning's key headlines from

Russian warships dock in Cuba for 'friendly visit'

A 1950s U.S. car passes Cubans waving at the Russian 'Moskva' missile cruiser in Havana on Saturday (AFP)
A 1950s U.S. car passes Cubans waving at the Russian 'Moskva' missile cruiser in Havana on Saturday (AFP)

A surface combatant squadron of the Russian Navy arrived in Cuba on Saturday for the first time in four years. The Cuban government announced the fleet was there for a “friendly visit.” The unit consists of the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, missile cruiser ‘Moscow’, the large anti-submarine ship ‘Vice Admiral Kulakov’ of the Northern Fleet and a number of supply and service ships. The squadron visited the port of Havana to replenish supplies. The ships were greeted by an artillery salute, a naval band and a few hundred onlookers as they arrived in the Bay of Havana.

Cuba's economy was supported by the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1991. After that, Venezuela took over. With the death of Hugo Chávez, perhaps Russia will be taking over again. Russia Today

Russia sides with Vietnam in the South China Sea dispute

During a recent visit to Hanoi, Russia's defense minister General Sergei Shoigu sided with Vietnam and the United States in the dispute with China over control of the South China Sea:

"Russia, like other maritime powers, has a stake in freedom of navigation. Russia will react to any challenge to this freedom in the same way that the United States, Japan, and India have done by asserting Russian rights under international law."

Shoigu is responding to China's claim of "indisputable" sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including many regions that have historically belonged to other countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. All these nations, except Brunei, have troops stationed on various islands in the Spratly Islands to assert their respective claims. China is demanding that each of these nations avoid trouble by simply giving up their claims, and turning the entire region over to Chinese sovereignty. China and its neighbors are all becoming increasingly nationalistic over these conflicting claims, and the dispute has become intractable.

Russia is backing up its statements with money. Russia is helping to revamp Vietnam's centrally situated Cam Ranh port, near key shipping lanes in the South China Sea, and close to the oil-rich Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos. Russia has also agreed to supply Vietnam with six Kilo-class diesel submarines. This is being described as "a credible asymmetric counter-poise to China’s growing naval might in the South China Sea." Eurasia Review

U.S. Embassy closures extended to Saturday, August 10

The U.S. State Department is extending 19 of Sunday's 22 embassy closures to Saturday, August 10. In addition, the State Department's worldwide travel alert is continuing to the end of August, warning of planned attacks by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. According to one House member, "This threat was so specific as to how enormous it was going to be and also certain dates were given. It could be in Europe, it could be in the United States." One reason for the additional days of closure is that Ramadan ends on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Muslim weekend is Friday and Saturday, so the embassies can reopen on Sunday when, presumably, all the excitement will be over. In the meantime, many parts of the Mideast are bracing for an attack, and Americans are being strongly discouraged from traveling to the region.

Interpol has issued a global alert related to the recent rash of jail breaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya that we've reported on. Analysts are mixed in opining whether or not these jailbreaks are connected to one another, but few believe they're related to the U.S. State Dept. travel warning. Bloomberg and State Department and CNN

Islamic 'Peace Mobile' smartphone ready for launch

Ad for 'Peace Mobile'
Ad for 'Peace Mobile'

A new Android smartphone targeting Muslims is going to be launched within the next week. Called the "Peace Mobile," its purpose will be to reconcile the Quran with modern science, and will come loaded authentic Islamic apps and software and helps practicing Muslims stay connected with the Islamic world. According to a press release:

"People will be able to experience the difference, as communicating through technology will make life easy and convenient par excellence while fostering an intimate relationship with the Creator."

The phone will include 50 Islamic applications, 80 hours of video, hundreds of Islamic wallpaper, 200 Islamic ringtones, and books on Islam and comparative religion. Advance sales of the smartphone are said to be huge. Arab News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Aug-13 World View -- Russia sides with Vietnam in the South China Sea dispute thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Aug-2013) Permanent Link
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