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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.

China, India Expand Navies, Regional Ambitions

China and India are rapidly expanding their naval forces, increasing the possibility of future confrontation as Asia's two leading emerging economies seek to project their power.

India's navy chief, Admiral D.K. Joshi, this week called the modernization of China's naval forces "truly impressive" and a source of "major concern," pledging to protect Indian interests in the South China Sea.

China's rising power in the region is raising concerns in New Delhi that Beijing will try to dominate the Indian Ocean with a series of planned naval ports encircling India.

India Vows to Protect S. China Sea Interests

As India vows to protect its interests in the South China Sea, China has reiterated that it has indisputable sovereignty of the islands and the surrounding waters. India is not directly involved in the disputes over the South China Sea, but has begun gas exploration in the waters which China claims.

Navy Chief Admiral, D.K. Joshi made the assertion that India will not back off from protecting its maritime and economic interests.

NATO to Discuss Anti-Missile System for Turkey

NATO foreign ministers will discuss sending a missile defense system to Turkey in response to the continuing violence in Syria. In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the regularly scheduled two-day ministers' meeting this week will also discuss other aspects of the Syria issue, as well as NATO's operations in Afghanistan.

​​Secretary General Rasmussen said the NATO ministers will discuss Turkey's request for the American Patriot missile defense system on Wednesday.

Venezuela's Chavez Returning to Cuba for Medical Treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is returning to Cuba for medical treatment.

Chavez disclosed his travel plans Tuesday in a letter to the country's National Assembly.

The president says doctors have recommended a special treatment known as hyperbaric oxygenation, which involves breathing pure oxygen in a sealed chamber.

The American Cancer Society says it can be used to prevent bone decay following radiation therapy.

Chavez says that treatment, combined with physical therapy, will consolidate the process of strengthening his health.

Analysts: China Aircraft Carrier Landing Poses No Direct Threat

Western analysts say China's recent landing of a Russian-designed fighter jet on an aircraft carrier, though significant, poses no immediate regional or international security threats.

In reports published Sunday, China's state-run news agencies said the navy landed several Chinese-made J-15 jets on the carrier Liaoning in the past week. The reports said the warplanes also took off successfully.

Chinese military analysts described the daytime landings and take-offs as a "landmark" in the navy's efforts to develop the combat capability of the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier.

Lavrov: US To Seek Compromise Agreements With Russia On Security, Economy

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton has indicated that the United States will search for compromise agreements on security and business with Russia.

Lavrov met with Clinton Tuesday in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, on the sidelines of a regional security meeting. He said Secretary Clinton promised that the United States will continue efforts to forge a defense plan for Europe that would protect Russia's security.