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Japan Scrambles Jets After Chinese Plane Approaches Contested Islands

Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets after a Chinese plane entered disputed airspace near contested islands in the East China Sea on Thursday, prompting a diplomatic dispute between the two Asian powers.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura says the jets were sent in response to a Chinese Oceanic Administration airplane that was spotted near the islands. He said Japan has lodged an official protest and summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo.

Soros remakes America into narco nation

As more states embrace legalization of marijuana — a pet cause of George Soros for decades — the British publication The Independent has published a groundbreaking series of articles by journalist Patrick Cockburn on how his son went insane smoking the drug.

Cockburn and his son Henry, who was treated for psychosis and partially recovered, have written an article in which Patrick Cockburn is quoted as saying his son played Russian roulette with cannabis "and lost."

Venezuela's Chavez Out of Surgery in Cuba

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has undergone cancer surgery and is recuperating in Cuba at a hospital in Havana.

His Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, made the announcement Tuesday, adding the surgery was successful.

Chavez returned to Cuba Monday for more cancer surgery, after a recurrence of the disease led him to name his vice president as his chosen successor should he be forced from office.

CPJ: Record Number of Reporters Jailed Worldwide

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists says the number of reporters in prisons worldwide reached a record high this year.

The watchdog group named Turkey, Iran and China the worst offenders, saying those governments stepped up terror and other anti-state charges to silence critical media.

A CPJ report issued Tuesday says 232 writers, editors, and photojournalists were behind bars as of December 1, a record number since the group began counting in 1990. The nearly 30 percent increase over 2011 is the largest percentage jump in a decade.

Tibet Slams Beijing Crackdown on Immolation 'Inciters'

The Tibetan government-in-exile has sharply criticized the Chinese government's crackdown on those who allegedly "incite self-immolations," arguing that innocent people will likely be targeted.

State media reported this week that a monk and his nephew were detained for inciting eight Tibetan protests in the Kirti monastery in Aba, in China's southwest Sichuan province.

Police said the monk encouraged the protests "on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers," a charge that the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has repeatedly denied.

US Moves Warships to Track North Korean Rocket Launch

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel Locklear, says the U.S. is moving warships to track a rocket that North Korea expects to launch.

North Korea announced last week that it plans to try again to launch a long-range rocket soon, despite warnings from the United States and others for it not to do so.

Japan Deploys Missile Interceptors Ahead of N. Korean Rocket Launch

Japan is deploying its missile defense system in anticipation of North Korea's planned rocket launch, which could occur as early as Monday.

Japanese television showed three Aegis destroyers armed with SM-3 missile interceptors reportedly headed for the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on Thursday.

Patriot missile interceptors later arrived at Okinawa island, which lies under the missile's projected flight path. Patriot missiles were also rolled into the field behind the defense ministry in Tokyo.

U.S., Iraq Sign Defense Cooperation Memo of Understanding

American and Iraqi officials signed a memorandum of understanding in Baghdad that will make it easier for the two countries to work together.

The memo was one result of the Defense and Security Joint Coordination Committee that met in the Iraqi capital.

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller, acting Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dlimi and acting Undersecretary of State for International Security Rose Gottemoeller participated in the meeting.

Vietnam Protests List of Chinese 'Sovereignty Violations'

Border demarcation contention continues to plague the South China Sea. China's claim for the entire sea is denied by its regional neighbors. This week, Vietnam released a media statement listing recent concerns about territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Among the so-called “sovereignty violations” was a map of China’s Sansha City, published last week, which includes the Paracel and Spratly islands, two areas also claimed by Vietnam.