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NEWS IN BRIEF – USA AND REST OF WORLD

USA

08 Feb 14. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met at the Pentagon yesterday to discuss ways to deepen and enhance bilateral cooperation, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the Pentagon, Feb. 7, 2014. Hagel and Kishida met to discuss issues of mutual importance.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Kirby said Hagel expressed appreciation for the Japanese government’s efforts in moving forward on the replacement facility for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma at Camp Schwab-Henoko Bay on the island of Okinawa.
“The two nations are committed to working together to reduce the impact of training on Okinawans,” he added.
Hagel also endorsed a forward-looking revision of the 1997 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation to enable Japan to play a more active role in promoting regional peace and stability, the press secretary said.
“Secretary Hagel said the United States would continue to cooperate closely with Japan on strengthening and broadening the alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century,” Kirby said.

07 Feb 14. The U.S. Defense Department plans to ask Congress for
$4.5bn in extra missile defense funding over the next five years as part of the fiscal 2015 budget request, say congressional sources and an expert. Nearly $1bn of that sum will pay for a new homeland defense radar to be placed in Alaska, with an additional $560m to fund work on a new interceptor after several failed flight tests, said Riki Ellison, founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, and two of the congressional sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly. The Pentagon’s request for added funding comes despite continued pressure on military spending and cuts in other arms programs, a sign of Washington’s growing concern about missile development efforts by North Korea and Iran, the sources said. The White House plans to send its fiscal 2015 budget request to Congress on March 4. Missile defense is one of the biggest items in the Pentagon’s annual budget, although Republicans have faulted the Obama administration for scaling back funding in recent years. The request is expected to garner bipartisan support in Congress, but it may also spark questions about billions of dollars spent over the past two decades on a “kill vehicle” built by the Raytheon Co that is used to hit enemy missiles and destroy them on impact. The kill vehicle is part of the larger ground-based missile defense system managed by Boeing Co. Orbital Sciences Corp builds the rockets used by the system. (Source: Reuters)

08 Feb 14. The State Department on Thursday condemned new Turkish legislation passed this week that places sharp limits on internet use and freedom, with State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki describing the new measures as “not compatible with international standards on freedom of expression” and worrying that they would “significantly impact free expression, investigative journalism, the protection of journalist sources, political discourse, and access to information over the internet.” Turkey’s move to crack down on the internet comes as the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) – which has controlled the country for over a decade – faces arguably the most significant challenge to the rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he took power in 2003. Followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who are scattered throughout Turkey’s state and non-state institutions, have been locked in open political warfare with the AKP. Gulenist figures have launched sweeping anti-corruption and anti-terror campaigns that have ensnared top AKP elites, and the AKP has responded with a wave of purges ejecting Gulenists from their positions and jobs. The AKP has also pursued further legislation limiting free expression. Erdogan had already last summer begun mobilizin

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