New multiple-warhead Russian missiles that are nuclear-capable will be deployed in December, reports said Wednesday. The 1991 START-1 treaty with the US on arms limitation expires Dec. 5, and American plans to build a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic have angered the Kremlin. President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier this week that Russia "must" upgrade its defenses. A senior defense source also said Russia is considering whether to deliver to Iran sophisticated air defense systems that the latter signed a contract to buy two years ago. Supplying such systems would alter the military balance in the Middle East and make a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, by the US or Israel, more difficult.Skip to next paragraph
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Despite admitted food shortages, North Korea's communist regime cut off aid shipments from the US, ordering five humanitarian organizations to leave the country by month's end. The move heightens tensions further at a time when the North is two weeks away from a scheduled rocket launch that the US suspects may be a disguised test of its longest-range ballistic missile. Analysts suggested that the order could be an attempt by leader Kim Jong Il, who reportedly experienced a stroke last summer, to demonstrate that he's still in full command.
New leader Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar basked in a ruling by the Supreme Court that endorses his takeover of the government. He planned to be sworn in as president Saturday. He said he didn't know the whereabouts of his predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana, and denied that he is seeking the latter's arrest. It also wasn't clear how much force may have been used to oust Ravalomanana Tuesday. Witnesses said they saw broken furniture and windows in his office and a crowbar lodged in a door.