Archive for the ‘test’ Category

Iran May Be Obama’s Biggest Challenge, No Pakistan, No Hamas and Israel

January 7, 2009

Israel and militant Palestinians are locked in deadly battle in the Middle East, but Iran poses the biggest challenge in the region to the incoming Obama administration, President George W. Bush‘s national security adviser says.

At the same time, the Mideast offers President-elect Barack Obama the greatest opportunity to put his imprint on world affairs, Stephen Hadley said, referring to the need for a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that eluded both Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Outside the Mideast, it is Pakistan that should command Obama’s keen attention, said Hadley, who has been senior foreign policy adviser to the president for eight years.


Hadley, who is always in the shadows and rarely seen by the public, discussed Bush’s two terms and the international challenges — ones he says will not pause for America’s transfer of power in January — during a nearly hourlong interview Tuesday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office. He was also delivering a speech Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He said the Taliban remains a serious threat in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is getting ready to dispatch at least 20,000 extra troops.

“Its fighters have found safe haven across the border in Pakistan, and if the extremists succeed in destabilizing Pakistan, the chaos will threaten peace and progress throughout the region,” he says in remarks prepared for Wednesday. “Stabilizing Pakistan must be the first priority for the new administration.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

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Foes warned off ‘testing’ Obama

December 13, 2008

The US defence secretary has warned opponents of the US against trying to “test” Barack Obama with a crisis in the early days of his presidency.

Robert Gates said the new president’s security team was ready to defend US national interests from the moment he takes office next month.


Barack Obama (file photo)
Barack Obama is to be inaugurated as president on 20 January

Mr Gates, who is staying in his post, said Middle East and Gulf security would remain a key issue for the US.

He was speaking at a regional security forum in the Gulf state of Bahrain.

On Iran, Mr Gates denied that the US was seeking regime change, but wanted to see “a change in policies and a change in behaviour”.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets with Gen. Ray Odierno, ... 
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets with Gen. Ray Odierno, left, commander of multi-national forces Iraq following a town hall meeting with troops Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, in Balad, Iraq. Gates urged Middle East nations to support the fight against terror Saturday then traveled to Iraq to meet with commanders as the U.S. prepares to cut its troops levels and begin to pull forces out of the cities.(AP Photo/Scott Olson, Pool)

He also repeated calls for Sunni Arab countries to back Iraq with full diplomatic ties.

The conference in Manama, organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, is being attended by representatives of 25 states.

Signals To Obama: Back Off

Foes ready to test Obama overseas

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U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures

December 10, 2008

What is the future of America?  Our schools and student performance may  give you a dark view…


U.S. students are doing no better on an international science exam than they were in the mid-1990s, a performance plateau that leaves educators and policymakers worried about how schools are preparing students to compete in an increasingly global economy. 

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 10, 2008; Page A10

Results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), released yesterday, show how fourth- and eighth-graders in the United States measure up to peers around the world. U.S. students showed gains in math in both grades. But average science performance, although still stronger than in many countries, has stagnated since 1995.

Students in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong outperformed U.S. fourth-graders in science. The U.S. students had an average score of 539 on a 1,000-point scale, higher than their peers in 25 countries.

In eighth grade, Singapore topped the list, with an average score of 567. Students in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, England, Hungary and Russia were among those earning higher marks than their U.S. counterparts. The average score in the United States was 520.

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Other views on the America of the future:

Government Picks Winners, Losers, Calls Other Shots and Pays The Bills: Happy Now?

Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

 Juggernaut of U.S. Industrial Might Now “Rust Belt,” For Good Or Bad?

Iran tests new missile from warship

December 7, 2008

Iran’s military test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile from a warship as part of exercises along a strategic shipping route, state media reported on Sunday.

Iran launched six days of naval war games on Tuesday in the Sea of Oman and the Gulf region amid tension with the United States and Israel, which have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a row over Tehran’s nuclear work.

Iran has said that, if pushed, it could close the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf and through which about 40 percent of the world’s traded oil passes.

“The surface-to-surface Nasr-2 missile was tested in the (Sea of) Oman operational region,” state radio reported, adding that the test took place on Saturday.

“The Nasr-2 was fired from a warship and hit its target at a distance of 30 km (19 miles) and destroyed it,” the official news agency IRNA said, adding it was the first test of the new, medium-range missile.

The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear warheads, a charge Tehran denies. It insists that it wants to master nuclear technology to generate electricity so that it can export more of its huge oil and gas reserves.

Washington, which has its navy Fifth Fleet based in the Gulf Arab state of Bahrain, has pledged to keep shipping lanes open. Experts say Iran’s navy would be no match for U.S. technology but could still create havoc in the waterway.

(Reporting by Reuters from Hashem Kalantari, writing by Edmund Blair)