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Singapore to buy a few F-35 jets, eyes fleet replacement

SINGAPORE ( ) – Singapore’s defense minister said on F,上海夜生活乌托邦Barbara,riday that Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jets were the most suitable replacement for the country’s F-16 fleet, and it planned to initially buy a few for evaluation.

With Southeast Asia’s largest defense budget, the wealthy city-state is a key prize for global arms companies as it looks to invest in new technology and upgrade its equipment.

Singapore’s fleet of around 60 F-16 jets, which first entered service in 1998, will be retired soon after 2030.

“They (defense agencies) have decided that the F-35 would be the most suitable replacement fighter,” Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post. “We want to procure a few planes first, to fully evaluate the capabilities of the F-35 before deciding on the acquisition of a full fleet.”

Ng said defense agencies would speak to their U.S. counterparts to move the process forward, but that it would take 9-12 months to finalize terms on the initial deal.

The F-35, one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets, accounts for about a quarter of Lockheed’s total revenue.

“We look forward to supporting them on their continued evaluation of the F-35,” a Lockheed spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

The most common variation of the jet, the F-35A, costs around $90 million each, based on contract negotiations with the Pentagon in the United States.

While the price has declined with increased,上海夜哪里艳遇Jack, production, U.S. P,上海夜生活网419Larissa,resident Donald Trump and other U.S. officials have criticized it as too high, and have cited numerous production delays and cost overruns.

Other international customers have expressed interest in the F-35. Both Switzerland and Finland have competitions underway to select a new fighter jet.

Last year, all Lockheed Martin’s U.S. and international F-35 fighter jets were grounded for engine inspections following a crash of an F-35B on Sept. 2上海夜生活论坛8 near Beaufort, South Carolina.

Trump to detour from campaign to visit Scotland golf properties

WASHINGTON ( ) – Facing slumping poll numbers and a shakeup of his team, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes a detour from the campaign trail this week to visit his golf r上海夜网esorts in Scotland.

Trump leaves Thursday on a three-day trip centered on the grand reopening of Trump Turnberry, which the New York businessman bought in 2014 and renovated at an estimated cost of $290 million. He will also visit his other Scottish golf property in Aberdeen.

His visit to Scotland, the birthplace of his mother, comes as Britain votes on Thursday on whether to remain in the European Union. Trump has said Britain would probably be better off if it left the EU. He will hold a news conference on Friday when he will doubtless be asked to respond to the vote.

Trump’s trip abroad comes at an unusual time given the political calendar.

With less than a month left until the Republican convention in Cleveland where he is to be formally nominated, Trump is lagging in fundraising and campaign organization and taking heavy fire from Democrat Hillary Clinton, his likely opponent in the Nov. 8 election.

He is under pressure to adopt a more presidential demeanor and strengthen his campaign organization after a rocky period in which he criticized a U.S.-born federal judge as unfair because of his Mexican heritage and took fire for his response to the killing of 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub.

Just this week, he fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at the urging of family members alarmed at the direction of his campaign. It also emerged that he had only $1.3 million in cash on hand at the end of May to fund his campaign, compared with Clinton’s war chest of $42 million.

His poll numbers have also dropped. A,上海夜网千花Kaia,fter sealing the nomination seven weeks ago, Trump was basically tied in national polls with Clinton. But she has crept ahead in many polls in the past two weeks.

‘PLACE WITH NO VOTERS’

Trump and his aides see the Scotland visit as a chance to showcase his far-flung business empire and job-creating abilities.

Aides said the trip also reinforced his ancestral ties to Scotland and his love of family, with his children playing an important role in his business dealings.

But many Republicans see Trump’s trip to Scotland as a waste of valuable time.

“It has nothing to do with running for president,” said Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who was a spokesman for former presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “It speaks to the non-seriousness of the campaign when you’re taking time off the campaign trail to leave the country for a place where there are no voters.”

Trump’s golf properties are among his proudest business possessions and he is particularly proud of Turnberry, where the British Open has been played four times, including the famed “Duel in the Sun” in 1977 when Tom Wat,上海仙霞路夜生活Quaid,son edged Jack Nicklaus by one stroke.

Limiting the trip to his golf properties means there are likely to be fewer chances for missteps like 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s gaffe-filled trip to London, Jerusalem and Poland four years ago.

But ,上海夜网官方网站Paisley,it offers little chance for Trump to burnish his foreign policy credentials.

“Traditionally, nominees take overseas trips to build their foreign policy chops,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed.

Trump is not meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has denounced Trump as divisive for his proposed Muslim ban and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Israel strikes in Syria in more open assault on Iran

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM ( ) – Israel struck in Syria early on Monday, the latest salvo in its increasingly open assault on Iran’s presence there, shaking the night sky over Damascus with an hour of loud explosions in a second consecutive night of military action.

Damascus did not say what damage or casualties resulted from the strikes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said 11 people were killed. Syria’s ally Russia said four Syrian soldiers had died and six were wounded.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the air raid had mostly targeted Iranian forces, but also hit Syrians helping them. “We will strike at anyone who tries to harm us,” he said.

The threat of direct confrontation between arch-en,上海夜生活网交流Idaleen,emies Israel and Iran has long simmered in Syria, where the Iranian military built a presence early in the nearly eight year civil war to help President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Israel, regarding Iran as its biggest threat, has repeatedly attacked Iranian targets in Syria and those of allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

With an election ,夜上海论坛Earl,approaching, Israel’s government has begun discussing its strikes m,上海夜生活怎么玩Sabine,ore openly, and has also taken a tougher stance towards Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon. It said a rocket attack on Sunday was Iran’s work.

Thailand to hold first general election since coup on March 24

BANGKOK ( ) – Thailand will hold a general election to restore civilian rule on March 24, the election commission said on Wednesday, announcing a new date for the often postponed vote, which will be the first since a 2014 military coup.

The commission said in December the elections would be held on Feb. 24, but the military government expressed concern that election-related events would clash with early preparations for the coronation of King Maha Vaji,上海夜生活男人好去处Rachel,ralongkorn, scheduled for May 4-6.

The monarchy is revered in Thailand, and this year’s coronation will be the first in living memory for most of the population.

“The Election Commission agreed to set the election date for March 24,” chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong told reporters.

He added the new date “is appropriate based on different factors, including early ballots and candidate registration.”

Political parties will submit lists of parliamentary candidates and up to three candidates for prime minister to the commission between Feb. 4 and 8, he said.

Thai stocks rose by around 1 percent following the announcement and a royal decree, which was published earlier on Wednesday and confirmed the election was imminent.

The junta has pushed back the election several times for various reasons after overthrowing the democratically elected govern上海夜生活论坛ment of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, citing the need for peace and order after months of street protests.

In a statement, the Office of the Prime Minister said it would be inappropriate for election events to “unnecessarily coincide or overlap with the scheduling of the Coronation Ceremony or other annual Royal Ceremonies”.

It also said the new date would not be “too late to the extent that such a delay will have detrimental effects on the country and the Thai people”.

Under the law, the Election Commission has to endorse winning members of parliament within 60 days of a vote, and parliament must convene within 15 days of the results and the King will preside over the op,上海新夜网龙凤Sabrina,ening of parliament.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, has been on the throne since shortly a,上海夜生活乌托邦Octava,fter his father died in 2016 following a 70-year reign, but he has not been officially crowned during a lengthy mourning period.

Hundreds of activists have protested delays in holding the election since early January, the first such gatherings since the government lifted a ban on political activity in December.

Thailand’s two largest political parties previously said they had no objections to the election being rescheduled for the coronation.

“The coronation ceremonies are important… Everybody is happy to see the event held for all Thais. Whether the delay is long or short is not a problem,” Thana Chirawinit, spokesman for the Democrat Party, told .

But some parties decried the delay, saying the military wanted to hold on to power.

“The delay doesn’t mean just the date but also affects the country’s credibility… and economy,” Pannika Wanich, spokeswoman for the new Future Forward Party, told .

“Now that we have a new date, we hope the junta will not use its special powers to create situations to further delay the polls.”

‘Hola, I’m Mike Pence’: U.S. VP delivers message of support to…

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence issued a video message of support to Venezuelans on Tuesday to encourage those who are protesting against President Nicolas Maduro and underline U.S. backing for opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Venezuela’s opposition on Wednesday plans to hold marches nationwide as part of an annual event that marks the fall of a military government in 1958. Government critics are increasingly comparing Maduro to dictator Marcos Perez, who was pushed from power that ye,上海夜生活Paisley,ar.

In a taped video message in English bit.ly/2sGkcvy with a few Spanish words and phrases mixed in, Pence, who has lashed out at Maduro before, declared him a “dictator” who has no rightful claim to power.

“On behalf of President Donald Trump and all the American people, let me express the unwavering support of the United States as you, the people of Venezuela, raise your voices in a call for freedom,” Pence said after offering a greeting of “ho上海夜生活论坛la,” which means “hello” in Spanish.

“Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won ,上海夜生活服务Paige,the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him.”

Pence declared U.S. support again for Guaido, with whom he spoke by phone earlier this month, and the National Assembly, which he leads, as the “last vestige of democracy.” Pence said Washington supported Guaido’s decision to assert the body’s powers, declare Maduro a “usurper” and push for a transitional government to be established.

“As you make your voices heard tomorrow, on behalf of the American people, we say to all the good people of Venezuela: estamos con ustedes,” Pence said, following up with the translation in English: “We are with you, we stand with you, and we will stay with you until democracy is restored and you reclaim your birthright of libertad.”

Maduro was inaugurated on Jan. 10 amid worldwide criticism that his leadership was illegitimate after a 2018 election that was widely viewed as fraudulent.

In response to Pence’s comments, Maduro accused him of trying to force a coup and said he had ordered a revision of Venezuela’s diplomatic relations with the United States.

“Never before has a high-level official said that the opposition should overthrow the government,” Maduro told a news conference. The U.S. embassy in Caracas did not respond to a request to comment.

Pence has largely taken the lead within the Trump administration in condemning Maduro. He called the inauguration a sham and made clear the United States d,上海夜哪里艳遇Dallas,id not recognize the election result.