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HOMELAND SECURITY

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29 Nov 08. Revenue Egypt gets from the Suez Canal has been hit by the rise in piracy off the coast of Somalia. Egypt is willing to intervene militarily against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast, alone or as part of an international force, a minister said in remarks published on Saturday. “Egypt is prepared for military intervention if necessary, to protect shipping and tackle the pirates, who can be fought under international law,” state newspaper Al Ahram quoted Moufid Shehab, minister of state for legal and parliamentary affairs, as saying. Egypt is also ready to take part in an international force, he added. The Somali-based pirates threaten to cut into Egypt’s Suez Canal revenue by pushing ships into using the Cape of Good Hope route around Africa instead of using the canal to travel between Asia and Europe or America. At least three major shipping companies have said in the past few days that their ships would avoid the canal, fearing pirates would capture their ships and hold them for ransom. Many countries have sent warships to the Gulf of Aden to deter piracy but the area is vast and they cannot prevent every attack. Once the pirates take a ship and hold the crew hostage, any rescue attempt endangers the lives of the crew. Shehab’s remarks was the first official sign that Egypt is considering a military response. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has said that tackling piracy is the responsibility of the “international community”. Naval experts say the Egyptian navy has enough suitable ships to make an effective contribution to an anti-piracy operation. (Source: ArabianBusiness.com)

21 Nov 08. The European Security Strategy (ESS) of 2003, which is currently being reviewed and will be discussed at the December 2008 European Council, has been helpful in defining a common approach to the EU’s main security challenges but should now be updated to include new and emerging risks such as the renewed assertiveness of Russia, marginalisation, poverty and conflict in developing countries and the fundamental global challenge of climate change, according to the House of Lords European Union Committee. In Adapting the EU’s approach to today’s security challenges, the Committee look in detail at the 2003 ESS and praise it as a clearly drafted and concise document. However the Committee look at challenges which have emerged for the EU since 2003 and argue that the revision of the strategy should take account of the changed circumstances over the last 5 years. It argues that implementation of the Strategy should now be a key area of focus. Climate Change is identified as the most important development since 2003 that should be included in any updated ESS. The Committee argue that climate change is ‘a fundamental challenge of our times’ which can act as a threat multiplier and an exacerbating factor of human insecurity and conflict. The Committee call on the EU to pay more attention to helping developing nations adapt to the effects of climate change, including through technology transfer and the making available of greater budgetary resources. The Committee say the risks and opportunities of the EU’s relationship with Russia should be made clearer in the review of the ESS. They argue that the conflict in Georgia has underlined the importance of Russia for European security and assert that the revised ESS should refer to the challenge Russia presents both as a partner and a source of risk and instability. The EU should continue to take a firm stance on principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, while showing sensitivity to Russia’s genuine concerns. However the Committee praise examples of the EU working with Russia on security issues including the contribution of Russian helicopters to EU military operation in Chad.

02 Dec 08. The Bulgarian Police has signed a contract for one AW109 Power light twi

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