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Messages - MCentaur

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Models and Hobbies / Re: How many 1/450 scale models have you run into?
« on: January 22, 2017, 04:55:44 AM »
1/450 is not as popular as before during the 1980s and 1990s.

The 1/350 scale is more popular nowadays for big scale warships. Trumpeter models offers a 1/350 Atago class DDG.


Beijing untypically quiet on Taiwan drills in South China Sea
By: J.R. Wu, Reuters
November 30, 2016 8:25 PM

ITU ABA, SOUTH CHINA SEA - Taiwan held rescue drills on Tuesday off the coast of its sole outpost in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, but the biggest claimant in the disputed waters kept uncharacteristically quiet.

China and self-governed Taiwan seldom see eye to eye, but in responding to Taipei's latest assertion of sovereignty over Itu Aba, Beijing has avoided the harsh language it often directs at other claimants to the busy waterway.

China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts or all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually.


Models and Hobbies / 1/35 PMC LVTH6
« on: December 04, 2016, 05:08:47 AM »
For those who want to build the LVTH6 vehicle out of AFV Club's 1/35 scale USMC LVTP5A1 kit, which doesn't have a turret part, you can buy a resin turret from the ff. Ebay listing:

Ebay listing: "LVTH6 Turret for the 1/35th AFV Club kit"

Philippine Marine Corps decals are also available from Echelon decals, though the listing below has PMC decals only for V-150s, which can be transferred to a 1/35 LVTH6 build or builds of other PMC vehicles.

Ebay listing: Decals for V100, V-150s in foreign service

Here's my build of a 1/35 Philippine Marine Corps LVTH6 alongside an Australian Army Abrams I built: (I placed the Aussie Abrams beside it to differentiate this build from another 1/35 LVTH6 built by another Timawan in the same camo scheme when the old forum was still around)

Plus a couple of pics from assembly after painting:

Trump just threw a wrench into relations between the US and China, and between China and Taiwan:

Trump may have just accidentally thrown decades of US-China relations into disarray
Jennifer Williams
4 hrs ago

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Donald Trump has been ruffling diplomatic feathers since he was elected by casually talking to world leaders without first getting guidance from the State Department. He’s already angered close allies like Britain and India, but his latest phone call threatens to do far more damage.

That’s because of who it was with: Taiwanese President Tsai Ying-wen, the president of Taiwan.

This isn’t just some charming diplomatic faux pas Trump — this was a blunder of potentially historic proportions. Trump’s call is believed to be the first between a US president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed in 1979.

China / China's CCP reminded of changed Communist axis after Castro's death
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:54:13 AM »
It seems the Chinese Communist Party has outlived even Castro, since they could adapt by using capitalism to serve the state, while Castro's Cuba couldn't adapt and still languishes in poverty.

Canadian Press

Castro's death a reminder in China of changed communist axis
[The Canadian Press]
November 26, 2016

BEIJING — In the shadow of east Beijing's soaring glass skyscrapers, elderly retirees still speak nostalgically about their Cuban brothers-in-arm, faraway comrades bound by communist solidarity.

But in central Beijing's halls of power, Cuba is perhaps seen these days as something less romantic: a market for China's booming private-sector exports.

Viewed from the world's largest communist country, Fidel Castro's death is a reminder of how the communist axis has changed beyond recognition since the ideologically charged era when the bearded revolutionary cut a dashing figure on the world stage alongside leaders like Mao Zedong.

After establishing diplomatic relations in 1960, the countries' fortunes diverged over the ensuing decades: China began adopting free-market reforms in the 1980s and morphed into an economic powerhouse — Communist mostly in name — while Castro persisted with Marxism, Cuba's economy hobbling on under U.S. sanctions.


Dragon Economy / China rebuffs Trump threat to take steps to win trade edge
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:51:22 AM »
Canadian Press

China rebuffs Trump threat to take steps to win trade edge

The Canadian Press
November 23, 2016

WASHINGTON — China pushed back Wednesday against President-elect Donald Trump's threat to use sanctions to win back a competitive trade advantage for the United States.

On the campaign trail, Trump had threatened to slap 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese products and to label China a "currency manipulator." But Zhang Xiangchen, China's deputy trade representative, warned that Trump will find he is bound by the rules of the World Trade Organization, which restrain countries from imposing sanctions without making a persuasive case for them. China can challenge any sanctions at the WTO.

Speaking at the end of annual U.S.-China trade talks, Zhang also disputed the idea that China keeps its currency artificially low to give its exporters a price advantage. Many economists agree that China no longer manipulates its currency, the yuan.


Space / Chinese astronaut heard strange sound on his spacecraft exterior
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:49:49 AM »
Col. Yang Liwei must have heard George Clooney's character's ghost from "Gravity". And aren't Chinese astronauts called "taikonauts"?


Yahoo News UK

Chinese astronaut heard strange ‘knocking sound’ on his space capsule

Rob Waugh
Yahoo News UK
December 1, 2016

It’s a thought that would chill anyone to the marrow – being in a space capsule, and hearing a strange knocking sound on the metal

A Chinese astronaut revealed he is still haunted by the sound.

The noise – ‘like a hammer hitting an iron bucket’ – terrified China’s first astronaut on board the Shenzhen 5 spaceship in 2003, he said in an interview this week.

Astronaut Yang Liwei said, ‘A situation I have met in space is a knock that appeared from time to time.


Politics and Government / Re: Senator De Lima case
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:48:31 AM »

De Lima a no-show at prelim investigation of drug cases; DOJ hearing reset on Dec. 21
December 3, 2016 2:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Leila De Lima was a no-show at the Department of Justice on Friday at the start of the preliminary investigation of the drug trafficking complaints filed against her and former government officials and inmates allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

The five-man panel headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong conducted a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of case against De Lima and several other respondents.

Seven respondents namely: former Bureau of Corrections Chair Rainier G. Cruz; Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and lover of Senator De Lima; Julius Rejuso, alleged bagman of former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan; and the high profile inmates Jaybee Sebastian, Vicente Sy, Wu Tuan Yuan alias Peter Co, and Jojo Baliga failed to appear or send a representative before the DOJ.


The Trudeau Liberals' buy of "interim" Superbugs continues to draw fire: of particular concern are some F-35 parts assembly line made in Winnipeg that may be threatened if Ottawa goes all out for more Superbugs later even after a competition is held.

Defense News

Critics Question Canada's New Super Hornet Plans
By: David Pugliese, November 28, 2016
VICTORIA, British Columbia – The Canadian government’s proposal to buy 18 Super Hornet aircraft as a stopgap measure before proceeding to a full competition for a new fighter jet is not only a waste of time and money but illegal, say political and industry critics of the plan.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced Nov. 22 that Canada would enter into negotiations with Boeing for the purchase of the 18 aircraft. Sajjan noted the government had been forced to proceed with the urgent acquisition because a capability gap had emerged with the current fleet of CF-18 fighters. Canada cannot meet its NORAD, NATO and other defense commitments with those aging aircraft, he added.


Meanwhile, others speculate about Growlers for Canada:

Ottawa Citizen

Boeing EA-18G Growlers for Canada?
David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

Published on: November 28, 2016 | Last Updated: November 28, 2016 8:31 AM EST

As the dust settles after last week’s announcement that Canada would buy 18 Super Hornet fighter jets, Defence Watch readers have raised an interesting question.

Will any of those 18 aircraft be EA-18G Growlers?

A variant of the Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler provides tactical jamming and electronic protection. If Canada were to acquire those type of aircraft – or at least some to be part of that 18-plane order – then that would be a truly game-changing development.

The Royal Australia Air Force has gone that route. Boeing was awarded the contract for 12 Growlers to be acquired by the RAAF under a foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. Navy. In July of 2015, Boeing and the U.S. Navy turned over the first EA-18G Growler to Australia. (Australia is the first country other than the U.S. to obtain this aircraft, Boeing noted.)


Malaysia / Besieged PM Razak eyes snap poll after massive protests
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:41:55 AM »

Malaysian PM eyes snap poll, vows fight to the death
By: Agence France-Presse
December 1, 2016 4:18 PM

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will hold polls soon, embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak said Thursday, vowing "to fight until the death" and showing no sign of succumbing to calls to quit over a massive financial scandal.

It was the first time the Malaysian leader has signalled he may bring forward polls not due until mid-2018, as he addressed the annual assembly of his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and called for party unity.


Flat Tops / Kuznetsov air wing sent to Syria airbase
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:40:23 AM »
Ha, so much for the combat debut of Russia's only serving carrier:

Business Insider

Russia has just given up on trying to launch strikes from its rickety aircraft carrier

Alex Lockie
Business Insider
December 2, 2016

Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, began its first combat deployment to Syria with plenty of fanfare, but a recent report from IHS Jane's indicates Russia has given up entirely on launching strikes from the carrier.

Satellite imagery obtained by Jane's shows Su-33 jets and one MiG-29KR previously aboard the carrier now stationed at the Hmeymim air base in Syria alongside land-based planes from Russia's air force.

The Kuznetsov, never an entirely reliable system, had one of its MiG-29KRs crash in November, and another pilot had to eject after the Kuznetsov's landing gear failed and couldn't receive the aircraft, Jane's reports.


The BNPP's opponents are mentioned in the first and 3rd articles:


Senate minority wants Malampaya billions firewalled from Bataan nuke plant project
By: Ernie Reyes,
November 21, 2016 9:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate minority wants the P188 billion unspent government share from Malampaya and other energy projects “firewalled” from being used to finance the restarting of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Minority Leader Ralph Recto said there should be “no funding pipeline from Malampaya to the Bataan plant,” whose rehabilitation had been approved by Malacañang.

Recto said the Department of Energy (DOE), which has a proposed budget of P1.1 billion for 2017, is allowed, under a special provision in next year’s budget, to tap P1.52 billion in off-budget accounts for “energy resource development and exploitation programs.”

The P1.52 billion shall be taken from “pooled fees and revenues” from ongoing energy production projects, the biggest of which is the Malampaya gas field off Northern Palawan.


Energy chief gets Duterte’s green light for $1-B nuke plant rehab - November 11, 2016
After initially rejecting the use of nuclear energy in the Philippines under his watch, President Rodrigo Duterte had a change of heart and has given the green light to proceed with plans to reactivate the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

Speaking to reporters in Santa Rita, Batangas, the Energy chief said, however, that the President instructed him to pay special attention to the safety and security aspects of operating the 40-year-old power facility which was completed but never fueled and commissioned.

< snipped >

Cusi said BNPP could be rehabilitated and be up and running within “two to four years,” depending on what other elements need to be addressed — at an estimated cost of $1 billion to bring the plant up to its original specification of generating 621 megawatts of electricity.

Cusi said, however, that it is not necessary to ramp up the plant’s power production to full capacity immediately. Instead, he proposed that electricity generation start at a lower level, then later scaled up to full power once a certain level of operating efficiency and expertise is achieved.

However, because most of the officials and personnel who were originally part of the 1970s-era BNPP program have either retired or passed away, the energy chief admitted that the government does not have the technical expertise to rehabilitate or operate the plant.

Risk too high for Bataan nuke plant, says scientist - November 16, 2016
‘Greatest threat’

A professor emeritus at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Rodolfo said the activation of the BNPP was the “greatest threat to the well-being of the Filipino people and their environment.”

< snipped >

Mt. Natib spans more than the entire northern half of the Bataan peninsula. It has two calderas, the second almost as big as what Mt. Pinatubo produced in its 1991 eruptions.

“If caldera size is a measure of eruption power, the one that produced the large Natib caldera was much stronger than Pinatubo 1991,” he said.

He called attention to the disposal of water that would be used to cool the reactor core and spent fuel rods. “Even if an eruption were predicted in time to shut the reactor down, it would not be possible to evacuate the spent fuel rods,” he said.

From last month:


Xi set to consolidate power in China by curbing Communist Youth League
By: Benjamin Kang Lim and Ben Blanchard, Reuters
October 1, 2016 6:47 AM

BEIJING - A year before a Communist Party conclave that could decide who will eventually replace him as China’s next leader, President Xi Jinping is maneuvering to reduce the power of a rival political bloc while seeking to get members of his own faction onto the country’s top ruling body, according to three sources with ties to the leadership.

Xi is trying to prevent the Communist Youth League faction from dominating the party’s seven-member Standing Committee during the 19th congress next year, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There is no way Xi will let the Youth League have a majority in the Standing Committee,” one of the sources told Reuters.


Malaysia / Re: 1MDB scandal strains US-Malaysia relationship
« on: November 27, 2016, 03:36:24 AM »

Bersih 5.0 hits streets to demand resignation of Malaysia’s scandal-hit Najib
By: M Jegathesan, Agence France-Presse
November 19, 2016 7:22 AM

KUALA LUMPUR -- (UPDATE - 1:29 p.m.) Thousands of yellow-clad Malaysians gathered in the capital Saturday to demand Prime Minister Najib Razak resign over a corruption scandal, as protesters braced for clashes with pro-government rightists.

For the second time in 15 months, leading reformist group Bersih has organized a demonstration to demand Najib resign and face justice over allegations that billions were looted from his brainchild investment fund, 1MDB.

Tensions have spiraled in recent weeks following threats by the rightist "Red Shirts" group to confront their "Yellow Shirts" opponents.


The Daily Beast

Did the Navy Steal Its Stealth Warship?
The Daily Beast
David Axe
1 hour ago


As if that weren’t enough for the beleaguered vessel, David Giles, a prominent ship-designer, is accusing the Navy of stealing his concepts for a high-speed cargo ship and illegally applying them to the $500-million-a-copy Littoral Combat Ship.

The Giles isn’t alone. He has some heavyweight back-up in the form of Richard Garwin, one of America’s most eminent scientists.

If judge Charles Lettow from the federal claims court decides in favor of plaintiff David Giles, the U.S. government could have to shell out — well, potentially a lot of money. And it would be yet another black stain on the reputation of a warship that was supposed to transport the Navy confidently into the 21st century, eventually comprising nearly a fifth of the fleet.

Lettow is expected to announce his ruling some time in early 2017.


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