Tag Archives: Wales.

NATO Plots Defense Against Russia #NATOwales


By Andre de Nesnera.A freight car loaded with self-propelled howitzers is seen at a railway station in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine, August 24, 2014.A freight car loaded with self-propelled howitzers is seen at a railway station in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine, August 24, 2014.

The 28 NATO members are preparing for their summit meeting in Wales in early September. The main topic of discussion: the notion of collective defense in light of Russia’s recent actions against Ukraine.

Simply put, NATO’s collective defense posture means that an attack on one of its 28 members is an attack on all of them.

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance “must remain ready, willing and able to defend its almost one billion citizens.”

Rasmussen went on to say NATO leaders must take steps to make the alliance “fitter, faster, and more flexible to address future challenges from wherever they come.”

 NATO’s collective defense

NATO’s collective defense doctrine is in the spotlight, given Russia’s recent actions against Ukraine: its annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its backing of Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive behavior will backfire.

“President Putin’s strategy is going to be a strategic failure. In effect it is strengthening NATO, it is instilling more resolve in the alliance and will create even more cohesion than was the case before the events in Ukraine,” he said.

Russia’s behavior has also instilled apprehension and even fear in some countries – such as those in the Baltic States – that Moscow might try to invade a NATO country.

Sean Kay, a NATO expert at Ohio Wesleyan University, assessed the balance of forces.

“In terms of defending the NATO allies against Russia – the NATO allies have an overwhelming military advantage in terms of their combined capabilities,” he said. “The structure of power singularly is in the hands of the West. So it’s a question of how they want to best leverage the future relationship with Russia given its recent behavior.”

Stavridis agreed, saying: “I don’t stay up at night worrying about Russia’s ability to invade a NATO nation.”

NATO asked to stand firm

But to allay the fears of those countries who feel threatened by Russia’s behavior, Stavridis said NATO summit leaders must take firm action.

“There should be an enhanced number of aircraft patrolling the borders of the alliance,” he said.

“We should have larger and more robust maritime deployments both north in the Baltic and south in the Black Sea. We should, in my view, support the Ukrainian armed forces with equipment, training, cyber support advice and help them prepare in case Russia takes the next step which would be an overt invasion of Ukraine,” Stavridis added.

Looking ahead, Stavridis sees increased tension between NATO and Russia – but not a return to a Cold War era.

“During the Cold War, six million people faced off against each other across the Fulda Gap,” he said. “Huge navies patrolled the world and we were on a hair-trigger alert. We had nuclear weapons cocked, aimed, loaded and ready to fire, he said. “There were proxy wars around the world – it was the dominant political and military activity of 20 to 30 years. No, we are not headed back to that.”


Voice of America.

Russia Claims Exclusion From NATO Summit on Ukraine #NATOwales


NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen waits before an interview with Reuters at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Yves Herman / Reuters.

Russian diplomats say they have been excluded from an upcoming summit of NATO member countries in Wales, Kommersant reported Monday, citing an unidentified diplomatic source.

The source noted that many of the themes to be discussed at the summit directly affect Russia, and that even “in the current circumstances in Moscow they were not counting on this,” Kommersant reported.

The summit, to be held on Sept. 4-5, was initially expected to focus on terrorism and cybercrime, but will now largely revolve around the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the military alliance’s increasingly frosty relations with Russia.

“NATO’s summit meeting in Wales comes at a critical time in the alliance’s history when the global security environment is becoming increasingly unpredictable and unstable — as Russia’s actions in Ukraine have shown,” the organization’s press release on the summit read.

The themes to be discussed at the summit include “the readiness of the alliance to enforce collective defense,” and “relations with Russia and stronger ties with Ukraine.”

According to the summit’s agenda, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko will attend a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission on the first day of the summit.

Though NATO has not confirmed Russia’s claim it hadn’t been invited, the summit comes at a particularly sensitive time in relations between the two parties — with both sides having accused each other of aggressive actions since the conflict in Ukraine began with the ouster of Kremlin-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

NATO General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday condemned the entry of Russia’s aid convoy into Ukraine without Kiev’s consent accusing it of continuing to “deepen the crisis in the region, which Russia itself has created and has continued to fuel.”

In August, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt that NATO member countries should not exclude the possibility of a Russian invasion.

Nations should be prepared for “little green men” invading, he said —a reference to soldiers, widely believe to be Russian, in unmarked uniforms who were present in Crimea before Russia annexed the peninsula in March.

Rasmussen on Friday reiterated that sentiment, saying the military build-up of Russian forces on the Ukraine border was “alarming,” a statement published Friday on the NATO website said.


The Moscow Times.

#Swansea Bay: Manmade #Tidal #lagoon could #power 155,000 homes


Tidal LagoonTidal Lagoon.

A manmade lagoon in Swansea Bay could power more than 155,000 homes using tidal power, if plans go ahead.

Swansea Bay has a tidal range of up to 10.5 metres in height. This means there’s a 10.5-metre difference between high tide and low tide — the second highest tidal range in the world. A manmade tidal lagoon can harvest energy form the ebb and flow of this tide.

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay.

The tidal lagoon concept is based around a standard sand-core breakwater, similar to many seen in harbour walls or coastal defence systems. In the case of Swansea Bay, it would involve building a 9.5-kilometre wall. This is embedded with hydro turbines that have been used in river hydro power schemes already and in some tidal barrages. The turbines are mounted inside concrete housings and are permanently submerged — to the onlooker it would appear to be a ring-shaped harbour wall with one section of concrete casing.

As the sea outside the breakwater rises, it is held back and a difference in water levels is created. Once this reaches a sufficient height, “sluice gates” are opened and water flows into the lagoon through the turbines to generate energy. This process than occurs in reverse when the tide ebbs away. This means that there are energy-generating opportunities four times per day.

Tidal Lagoon

This would be the world’s first man-made, energy-generating lagoon and it could, if we are to believe the developers, have an energy production capacity of 320 MW and generate 90 percent of Swansea Bay’s annual domestic electricity use for 120 years. The group says that it would also bring investment to South Wales to the value of around £500 million and jobs for 1,900 people.

The devleopers hope that the lagoon could help the UK hit its commitments to delivering 15 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 — currently just five percent of power is renewably sourced.

Tidal Lagoon

A planning decision is expected to be made on the lagoon in early 2015. If it gets the go ahead, it would be build and connected to the grid by 2018.


Wired UK.

Fracking: As Knowledge Has Spread Opposition Has Grown


Fracking: As Knowledge Has Spread Opposition Has GrownA report by Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Knowledge of what hydraulic fracturing is, its costs and drawbacks, and its place in the spectrum of extreme energy, have grown a lot since the issue first came on to the UK agenda in 2010. As the latest group of protesters against fracking from Balcombe, including Green MP Caroline Lucas go on trial, and protests grow against the nature of policing of the continuing protests at Barton Moss, now’s a good time to assess how far the debate has come.

Communities fighting back against fracking are well versed in the localised risks, but they also appreciate the opportunities afforded by alternatives in renewables (particularly those that they can own themselves) and energy conservation, promoted by campaigns like the Energy Bill Revolution.

For some of our increased knowledge we can thank our Tory-Lib Dem government. As knowledge of fracking has spread, opposition has grown, and the government has become increasingly, obviously, frantic to find ways to turn the tide.

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In pictures: Aftermath of storms – Part 2


After hurricane-force winds battered the UK on Wednesday, tens of thousands of homes in England and Wales remain without power and there is renewed transport disruption.

The River Severn in flood-hit Worcester earlier reached its highest level in recent years. Here you can see the stands of Worcestershire County Cricket Club surrounded by water.
The River Severn in flood-hit Worcester earlier reached its highest level in recent years. Here you can see the stands of Worcestershire County Cricket Club surrounded by water.

The Environment Agency said flood defences
The Environment Agency said flood defences “in Worcester town are holding, with levels now slowly decreasing” and it had no fears about the river coming over the top of flood defences there.

A weir at Penton Hook Lock, Surrey, is surrounded by debris as the level of water in the River Thames remains high.
A weir at Penton Hook Lock, Surrey, is surrounded by debris as the level of water in the River Thames remains high.

At St Paul's Church in Egham, Surrey, volunteers sort food parcels donated for people affected by severe flooding in the area.
At St Paul’s Church in Egham, Surrey, volunteers sort food parcels donated for people affected by severe flooding in the area.

Egham resident Michael Simmonds has lived in this house since he was six years old and this is the first time it has been flooded.
Egham resident Michael Simmonds has lived in this house since he was six years old and this is the first time it has been flooded.

The Army has been laying sandbags in Chertsey where flood defences have been put in to protect about 200 homes.
The Army has been laying sandbags in Chertsey where flood defences have been put in to protect about 200 homes.

Pumps belonging to Dutch engineer Jerome van Heck, a flooding expert, have been installed at Dunball Sluice, Bridgwater, Somerset.
Pumps belonging to Dutch engineer Jerome van Heck, a flooding expert, have been installed at Dunball Sluice, Bridgwater, Somerset.


The Met Office has issued various yellow, “be aware”, rain, wind, ice and snow warnings for many parts of the UK, and the snow ploughs are already out on the Northumberland border. Continue reading