June 29, 2012

News Briefs – June 29, 2012

Turkey deploys anti-aircraft guns at Syria border

Turkey deployed anti-aircraft guns and other weapons alongside its border with Syria, state television reported June 28, days after the downing of a Turkish military jet by Syrian forces heightened the tensions between the two countries.

A small convoy of military trucks, towing anti-aircraft guns, entered into a military base near the border town of Yayladagi, TRT television footage showed. The television said several anti-aircraft guns have also been deployed elsewhere alongside the border.

Turkey has warned Syria to keep its troops away from the countries’ troubled border or risk an armed response.

A Syrian minister said June 27 his country’s forces may have mistaken the Turkish plane they shot down for an Israeli one.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi was quoted as telling Turkish news channel A Haber in a telephone interview Wednesday that his country did “not want a crisis between Turkey and Syria.”

Al-Zoebi said Turkish and Israeli fighter jets were mostly U.S.-made, which may have led the Syrian forces to mistake it for an Israeli jet.

The downing of the jet has aggravated tense ties between the two neighbors.

Turkey has repeatedly called on Syria’s President Bashar Assad to step down as 33,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey, fleeing a government crackdown on a popular uprising. The country is also hosting civilian opposition groups as well as members of the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting against the Syrian regime. AP


China says ‘battle-ready’ patrols guard sea claims

China says it has “battle-ready” patrols guarding its interests in the South China Sea in an escalation of rhetoric in its territorial disputes.

Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said June 28 that China adamantly opposed reported Vietnamese aerial patrols over the disputed Spratly Islands.

Geng said China has enacted a “routine battle-ready patrol system” to safeguard national sovereignty, security and economic interests in the area. Chinese navy and civilian vessels regularly visit the Spratlys, and it wasn’t clear if Geng was describing new efforts.

His comments indicate the Defense Ministry’s hardline amid new flare-ups in maritime disputes with both Vietnam and the Philippines. AP


Russian fighter jet crashes, crew eject safely

Russia’s military says one of its fighter jets has crashed, but its crew of two bailed out safely.

The Defense Ministry said a Su-27 fighter jet went down June 28 during a regular training mission. It fell into a forest near the Besovets air base in Karelia near Lake Onega, about 700 kilometers (430 miles) northwest of Moscow.

The ministry said that both crewmen were picked up by a helicopter and remained in satisfactory condition. The air force has grounded its Su-27 fleet pending a crash probe.

The twin-engined Su-27 has been a mainstay of the Soviet and then Russian air force since it entered service in the 1980s. The Su-27 and its versions also have been widely exported. AP


Boeing settles satellite lawsuit with ICO Global

A global communications company has settled its multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Boeing over a failed effort to launch a fleet of satellites.

ICO Global Communications Ltd. announced this week that Boeing has agreed to pay $10 million and waive appellate legal costs. The move averted a protracted battle to win review by the California Supreme Court.

The initial lawsuit stems from ICO’s decade-old plan to launch a fleet of satellites that would provide mobile telephone and Internet service. Chicago-based Boeing had the contract for the project, but it was never completed. ICO sued for breach of contract and a Los Angeles jury awarded $603 million in 2008.

An appellate court later reversed the award in its entirety, favoring Boeing.

ICO is a subsidiary of Kirkland, Wash.,-based Pendrell Corp. AP

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