Morning Report: 2009-02-25

Iran to test Bushehr nuclear plant. Arutz Sheva: Iran Begins Test of Nuclear Plant. The test of the plant, which was built with Russian assistance, will not use nuclear fuel. YNet adds: 'The test was carried out in Bushehr in the presence of Iranian Atomic Energy Commission, Golam Reza Agazadeh and head of Russian Rosatom agency Sergei Kirenko, and is meant to test the activity of various systems installed in the plant.'

Debka: Israeli drone trumps Iran's Russian S-300. Debka:

DEBKAfile's military sources report that while Iran has contracted to buy from Russia five S-300 batteries worth $800 m to defend its nuclear sites against potential aerial attack, India and Turkey are interested in Israel's Harop killer-drone. Our sources report that the Tehran media made much of the new Israeli drone as a means of pushing Moscow to set the new batteries' delivery dates which the Russian suppliers have so far withheld.

The Harop is an upgraded version of the Harpy with more advanced features for taking out radar installations and anti-air missile installations. It can travel 1,000 km to patrol an assigned area and loiter there until a hostile target is exposed. Its 23-kilo warhead then strikes the target before it is activated in attack mode.

The Russian S-300 missile purchased by Tehran is one such target. It is classified in the West as a "game-changer" designed to rule out air attacks on its nuclear sites. This missile system is capable of engaging up to 100 targets at once, tracking targets with a mobile radar station which is immune to jamming.

The Harop is an expendable unmanned aerial vehicle which can sustain a mission of several hours over an assigned area. Operated by electro-optical sensors, Harop can detect weapons systems in inert mode, weapons on the move and radar installations switched off to avoid detection. ...

AmirKabir University students update. Azarmehr:

Seventy students are reported to have been arrested after the protests by AKU [Amirkabir University] students against propaganda burial of 'unknown martyrs'. Seven are reported to be in critical condition in hospital after having been physically attacked by Ansar Hizbullah hired thugs and twenty five are hiding in the student dormitories while the Islamic regime's forces have surrounded the university but as yet have decided not to enter the university grounds and attack the dormitories, in case another 9th July student uprising takes place.

Journalists, academics and students of the world, where the HELL are you?

Previous post here. YouTube video here.

On Marine One, President Obama does the right thing. In from the Cold:
It's no secret that we often disagree with President Obama. Many of his policies strike us as naive and ill-informed, even dangerous.

But the Commander-in-Chief also deserves credit when he's right. And Mr. Obama is correct in questioning the planned replacement for the presidential helicopter fleet. As the "Marine One" replacement program becomes a lightning rod for gold-plated Pentagon spending, President Obama suggested that the current squadron of VIP helicopters is perfectly fine. He's also asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to put the program on hold. ...

Of risks, bonds, and the Gaussian copula function. Neo links to a story in Wired on the history of an intellectual fad that wreaked havoc in the financial world.