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NORAD exercise planned today

Tuesday - 1/10/2012, 10:35am  ET

J.J. Green, wtop.com

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-04 beginning Tuesday, Jan. 10, at midnight into early Wednesday morning, Jan. 11, in Washington, D.C. Flights in the National Capital Region are scheduled to take place between midnight and 2 a.m. Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD's intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

BEIJING - China is concerned about the new U.S. defense strategy that will shift its focus from the Middle East to Asia. Chinese officials have said in the media they believe the strategy could harm their interests.

PYONGYANG - U.S. intelligence sources say there are signs that North Korea is seeking to distance itself from recent US-DPRK talks on its nuclear program. There also are indications in state media that the regime's underlying mindset on nuclear weapons has hardened in the wake of Kim Jong Il's death.

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf has said he's returning to Pakistan. He's looking to run the country again. He said yesterday, "Prices of essential items have increased three-fold, people are selling their children to run their houses, electricity and gas, apart from being unavailable, is expensive; trains have derailed and PIA [Pakistan International Airlines] is grounded, the economy has plunged while terrorism and extremism are on the rise, and people have no hope for a bright future."

DAMASCUS - In a speech live from Damascus University, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad attacked the Arab League (AL) for imposing sanctions on Syria. He says that the AL prefers to "replace Syria with Israel." Al-Asad adds that Syria does not reject any Arab initiative as long as it respects Syria's "sovereignty, independent decision-making, and the unity of our people." Al-Asad stresses the importance of the two pillars on which the Arab world is based, which he identifies as "Arabism and Islam." He says that Syria is known for its religious diversity and unity. He says that "Islam is not to blame when a terrorist wears the cloak of Islam."

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)