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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

02 Aug 05. Worldwide shipments of handheld computers rose 32 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, according to the Gartner research firm, putting the PDA(personal digital assistant) market on course for a record year. Gartner said 3.6m units shipped, with 15m likely by the end of 2005, surpassing the record 13.2m shipped in 2001. PDAs have seen many of their functions included in mobile phones and the Gartner figures excluded such “smartphones”, which are part of the much larger handset market. It said shipments of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry e-mail devices grew 65 per cent in the quarter to 840,000 units, making it the leading vendor with a 23 per cent market share. PDA sales slumped between 2002 and 2004, but Todd Kort, Gartner analyst, said a combination of factors had led to a recovery. “Wireless PDAs are increasingly seen as an adjunct or alternative to notebook computers, while favourable exchange rates have enabled more Europeans to purchase PDAs at an attractive price,” he said. (Source: FT)

03 Aug 05. Old enemies’ wargames send a powerful message to the US. Russia and China hope to sign a massive arms deal after staging joint exercises for the first time. RUSSIA will show off its most modern bombers to its best military customer and China will have a chance to demonstrate that it is a force to be reckoned with when the giant neighbours hold their first joint military exercises this month. The decision to hold the drills off the east China coast in the Yellow Sea came after a disagreement over Beijing’s initial desire for the games to take place further south, opposite the island of Taiwan — which it hopes one day to recover, by force if necessary. Yesterday’s announcement that 100,000 troops would mass from August 18 to 25 marked the culmination of years of rapprochement between countries that were once bitter enemies, which went to war in a minor territorial dispute in the 1970s, but now see themselves as strategic partners. Their common interests include the sale of Russian oil to help to meet the energy needs of China’s fast-growing economy as well as the strategic goal of showing the United States that other powers were rising in the East. History has enabled them to leave behind old enmities. Shi Yinhong, Professor of the School of International Studies at Renmin University, Beijing, said: “China needs to buy Russian military equipment and resources. For Russia, China is an important market and a source of hard currency.” Peace Mission 2005, involving army, navy, air force, marine, airborne and logistics units, will begin on August 18 near the Russian Pacific Fleet headquarters in Vladivostok, moving to the Yellow Sea and then to an area off the Jiaodong peninsula in the coastal Chinese province of Shandong. “The exercises neither aim at any third party nor concern the interests of any third country,” the Chinese Defence Ministry said. Russian paratroops will jump on to the peninsula, while Russian ships will engage in amphibious landing exercises. (Source: Times)

29 Jul 05. EU regulators on Friday cleared mobile phone maker Nokia Corp. to sell its professional mobile radio arm to the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. The European Commission said the deal would not significantly impede competition in Europe. PMR networks are wireless communications systems used by emergency services, police, taxis and truck drivers.

USA

02 Aug 05. Northrop Grumman Corporation has begun work on an F/A-22 modernization program that will add capabilities to the aircraft’s communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to enhance network-centric operations for the next-generation, air-dominance
fighter weapon system. The CNI avionics are being developed by the Radio Systems business of Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector, under contract to Lockheed Martin. When fully developed, the system will enable numerous critical CNI functions for the F/A-22. A key concept in the U.S.

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