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France, Germany forced Greece to buy arms: MEP

New Swiss military socks get an airing
Geneva (AFP) May 7, 2010 - The Swiss defence ministry on Friday unveiled new high-tech sweat-absorbing socks that were tested by dozens of soldiers roaming the countryside with a different sock on each foot. Sixty recruits equipped with a pair of boots and 10 socks each of three different types were sent off on a "merciless" five-day test mission, with orders to wear odd socks, the defence ministry said in a statement. "The recruits were not informed beforehand about the socks they would wear, in order to obtain results that were as objective as possible," it added.

Feet were tested every day after a six kilometre (3.73 mile) march to check for humidity, irritation and blisters, while the soldiers themselves were quizzed about the experience. The novel wool and synthetic socks -- developed by a sock maker and the Swiss federal laboratory for materials science and technology -- should pamper recruits by warding off blisters, the military procurement agency concluded. "The prototype socks made with different fibres reduce rubbing on the heel and toes, absorb sweat and are particularly pleasant to wear," it noted. The Swiss army's "Sweat Management" project has already come up with a four-layer army clothing system. Boots are also being tested to match the socks. Earlier this year the Israeli newspaper Maariv revealed that Israeli soldiers had been testing socks that could be used for two weeks in a row without a stink.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) May 7, 2010
France and Germany, while publicly urging Greece to make harsh public spending cuts, bullied its government to confirm billions of euros in arms deals, a leading Euro-MP alleged Friday.

Franco-German lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit said that Paris and Berlin are seeking to force Prime Minister George Papandreou to spend Greece's scarce cash on submarines, a fleet of warships, helicopters and war planes.

The accusation drew a stern denial from the French government.

"Times are severe enough without wasting time on base controversies that lack any foundation," an aide to Prime Minister Francois Fillon told reporters.

Cohn-Bendit said he had met last week in Athens with Papandreou, a long-time friend of his, and accused Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy of blackmailing the Greek leader.

Cohn-Bendit accused France and Germany of making their contributions to an IMF-led rescue package for the debt-ridden Greek economy contingent on Athens honouring massive arms deals signed by Papandreou's predecessor.

"It's incredible the way the Merkels and Sarkozys of this world treat a Greek prime minister," he declared, adding that Papandreou had recently met Sarkozy and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Paris.

"Mr Fillon and Mr Sarkozy told Mr Papandreou: 'We're going to raise the money to help you, but you are going to have to continue to pay the arms contracts that we have with you'," Cohn-Bendit said.

"In the past three months we have forced Greece to confirm several billion dollars in arms contracts. French frigates that the Greeks will have to buy for 2.5 billion euros. Helicopters, planes, German submarines."

Despite its economic woes, which recently deepened spectacularly when its credit rating was downgraded, Greece is one of Europe's biggest arms buyers, seeking to keep pace with its regional rival Turkey.

French lawmakers this week sealed France's 16.8-billion-euro (21-billion-dollar) contribution to a joint European-IMF loan package to save Greece from a debt default.

Cohn-Bendit, a former leader of the 1968 student revolt in Paris, is leader of the Green group in the European parliament.




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Boeing pitches new Osprey offer
Washington (UPI) May 6, 2010
Boeing is set to offer the Pentagon another multiyear deal for the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft used in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan, company officials said. "We're fully pursuing a second multiyear on the V-22," Boeing V-22 Program Manager Gene Cunningham said during a news conference at a Navy League-sponsored conference i ... read more

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