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08 Oct 13. Britain and Iran have started talks aimed at restoring
diplomatic relations two years after an angry mob ransacked the British embassy, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday. The announcement reflects a significant thawing in Iran’s relations with the West which imposed tough economic sanctions on Tehran after the embassy storming. It may raise hopes of a breakthrough in talks with world powers about its disputed nuclear programme in Geneva next week. Hague said there had been a “marked change” for the better in Iran’s approach since Hassan Rouhani was election president in June, replacing hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Both our countries will now appoint a non-resident charge d’affaires tasked with implementing the building of relations, including interim steps on the way towards (the) eventual reopening of both our embassies,” Hague told parliament. “It is clear that the new president and ministers in Iran are presenting themselves and their country in a much more positive way. We must test the Iranian government’s sincerity to the full.” Britain’s two diplomatic compounds in Tehran were overrun on an afternoon in November 2011 in what London said was a co-ordinated attack, after a rally against British sanctions escalated into violence and protesters scaled the walls. (Source: Reuters)

08 Oct 13. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China’s state-owned aerospace conglomerate, has announced plans to build an aero-engine outsourcing base that will be the largest facility of its kind in the country. The 40,000m 2 complex of workshops and production units will officially be a joint venture of AVIC International Holding Company and the Liyang Aeroengine Corporation (LYAC) in Guizhou, Guiyang Province. The project is to be funded by an initial investment of USD100m, will provide spare parts for Boeing and Airbus aircraft, and will be an expansion of the existing Guiyang high-tech zone where the LYAC enterprise is currently located. (Source: Jane’s)

10 Oct 13. Further underlining its growing strength as an international brand, leading test equipment rental and asset management organisation, Microlease has announced the opening of a new Asia-Pacific office in Penang, Malaysia. The new office, staffed initially by a team of eight and focusing on customer service, logistics and technical support, will enable Microlease to better meet the needs of locally-based clients across the region, while providing a more integrated approach for European customers with operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

MARITIME

08 Oct 13. Russian Navy to receive first Mistral-class vessel late next year. France is scheduled to deliver the first Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Vladivostok to the Russian Navy on 1 November 2014, a high-ranking defence industry official said. RIA Novosti cited the official as saying that the ship will be equipped and followed by sea trials prior to delivery. Being built at the DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, the Vladivostok ship is due to be floated out on 15 October. The ship delivery is worth part of a $1.52bn deal signed by Russia in June 2011 for the procurement of two Mistral-class aircraft carriers from France.
Under the deal, which also includes transfer of technology, DCNS will serve as the prime contractor while STX shipyard, Saint-Nazaire in western France and Russian shipbuilder OSK will be subcontracted for the shipbuilding platforms. As part of an intergovernmental agreement, Russia will also procure two additional Mistral-class ships, which will be built 80% in Russia and 20% in France. The 199m-long, 22,000t Mistral-class ships feature MRR-3D NG surveillance radar and a high-performance communications suite to support humanitarian operations and a variety of other missions. Capable of cruising at a speed of 18k, the ships are armed with two Breda Mauser 30mm naval guns and four 12.7mm machine guns.
French-built Mistral-class ships ca

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