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April 9, 2014

Hamilton wins \’incredible\’ Bahrain race, F1\’s 900th Grand Prix

Hamilton wins ‘incredible’ Bahrain race, F1’s 900th Grand Prix

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Formula One
Other stories about Formula One
  • 20 June 2014: Michael Schumacher wakes up from coma
  • 9 April 2014: Hamilton wins ‘incredible’ Bahrain race, F1’s 900th Grand Prix
  • 17 March 2014: Opening race of 2014 F1 season brings ‘fascination’
  • 15 March 2014: 2014 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton takes pole
  • 9 July 2012: Mark Webber wins 2012 British Grand Prix

The opening lap of the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix

Sunday saw Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton win the Bahrain Grand Prix after an “incredible” race he spent battling with teammate Nico Rosberg. It was F1’s 900th ever World Championship Grand Prix.

The two Mercedes drivers were neck-and-neck throughout the race, with Hamilton usually in front. Rosberg started from pole position after Hamilton made a mistake in qualifying, going off-track and settling for second. After the race Hamilton said it was “an incredible day, a really tough day” and he wanted some relaxation time.

The race took place at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Image: Derek Morrison.

Red Bull‘s Daniel Ricciardo had to start from thirteenth despite qualifying third after an incident in Malaysia last race saw him given a ten-place grid penalty. His car left the pits with a wheel loose, and stewards imposed the penalty after deeming it unacceptably dangerous. Ricciardo managed to finish fourth to score his first points of the season after a disqualification in the opening race in his native Australia.

Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel continued to struggle with technical problems, including his drag reduction system and gearbox. Starting from tenth ahead of teammate Ricciardo, he was able to reach sixth by the finish line. He missed much of the final practice session before qualifying after he spun off the track and beached his car. The closure of the night race was marked with a fireworks display.

Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado also saw his troubles continue. Having newly switched to Lotus, he failed to complete the opening two races this year and damaged his car with an accidental wheelie practicing for this one. Exiting the pit lane on the 41st lap Maldonado struck the side of Sauber racer Esteban Gutiérrez with sufficient force to send the Mexican’s car onto its back before rolling back upright.

Cquote1.svg many things learned, and helpful for the future Cquote2.svg

—Daniil Kvyat

Gutiérrez received medical attention on-site and in hospital as a precaution, but was uninjured. “Wow!” Gutiérrez told his team via radio before leaving the car. “What was that?” Maldonado received a stop-and-go penalty and finished outside the points.

Stewards had further punishment for the Lotus driver after the race. He will have a five-place grid position penalty at the start of his race in China. He also had three points added to his racing driver’s licence, a new system this year comparable to a normal motorist receiving points after traffic offences.

Maldonado seemed to imply the other driver played a roll in the collision. “We will need to have a look again at what happened,” he said, “as Esteban seemed to be off his line coming into turn one — maybe he missed his braking point, I don’t know — and by then I was in the corner with nowhere to go”.

Cquote1.svg Wow! What was that? Cquote2.svg

—Gutiérrez after being flipped by Maldonado’s car

Martini’s distinctive stripes on a Williams car earlier this season. The design had to be changed slightly to comply with norms in the host nation, replacing the alcohol giant’s name with the word ‘racing’.
Image: J.H. Sohn.

Fan opinion is sharply against him, with some using the derogatory nickname Crashtor Maldonado. Others said his punishment was unfair compared to Ricciardo’s ten-place grid position drop after his team’s mistake in Malaysia. Gutiérrez thanked supportive fans via social media after the race in English and Mexican, and returned to the circuit yesterday as teams took to testing.

Maldonado was not alone in causing accidents. Jules Bianchi received a drive-through penalty after colliding with Adrian Sutil, leaving both cars sporting punctures. Sutil later retired from the race.

Other retirements included Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen, both rookies, who separately pulled up at the trackside. Fellow newcomer Daniil Kvyat of Russia, who claimed the title of F1’s youngest-ever points scorer at the season opener, was placed just outside the points despite setting one of the fastest laps of the early part of the race. He had also scored in Malaysia.

An anti-race protestor at last year’s event.
Image: Mohamed CJ.

“Not an easy race for us yesterday!” Kvyat tweeted on Monday. “But many things learned, and helpful for the future.”

The podium was rounded out by Sergio Pérez in third, claiming Force India‘s second-ever podium finish off the back of a failure to even start in Malaysia with a gearbox malfunction. Nico Hulkenberg took fifth. Both he and ninth-place Fernando Alonso celebrated upon completing the race, arms in the air. Williams racers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas scored seventh and eight place respectively. Kimi Räikkönen claimed the final scoring position of tenth despite a minor collision with Magnussen at the race start.

Williams, who this year are using new bright white livery on their cars, where able to keep the coloured stripes of sponsor Martini. Constraints from the host nation meant the word Martini itself, however, was changed to ‘racing’ on the cars. Williams test driver Susie Wolff of Scotland started a competition during the race weekend to win one of her Martini-coloured caps for submitting pictures of designs using the Martini colours.

A further near miss was suffered by Bottas when he ran off-track after becoming caught in battling between Räikkönen and Ricciardo. His team radioed to promise a complaint would be made to race director Charlie Whiting.

Rosberg told his Twitter followers “Great fight with @LewisHamilton but I’m back in two weeks to take the win”. Hamilton tweeted “What a race! Amazing to get my first win in Bahrain” and also paid tribute to his Mercedes team.

Anti-government protestors turned out in their thousands at the start of the race weekend. The peaceful rally at the capital, Manama, was marred by small groups throwing molotov cocktails at police. The protestors were opposed to the international attraction giving patronage to Bahrain. Events at the circuit were given heavy security.

The race has been the target of intense protesting for several years.



Related news

  • “Opening race of 2014 F1 season brings ‘fascination'” — Wikinews, March 17, 2014

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February 15, 2012

Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain

Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bahrain
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  • 9 April 2014: Hamilton wins ‘incredible’ Bahrain race, F1’s 900th Grand Prix
  • 3 September 2013: Airlines plan reroutes around Syria as potential for US military intervention increases
  • 15 February 2012: Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain
  • 9 August 2011: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria
  • 20 May 2011: Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech
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In Bahrain, tension is building between the opposition protesters who want to revive last year’s marches, and government authorities who are trying to maintain control over protest activities. A planned march by the February 14 Youth Coalition to Manama’s former Pearl Roundabout, to mark the beginning of last year’s protests, was overwhelmed by the security surrounding the site on the eve of the anniversary as well as the day itself.

Since the Bahraini uprising in 2011, the roundabout became a touchstone of opposition. Authorities responded by clearing the site and renaming it al-Farouq Junction. Whilst initially blocked to traffic to prevent any more protests, Bahrain’s police now occupy the area and are demonstrably equipped to repel opposition.

Over 10,000 Bahrainis attended last week’s “sit in” protests for reforms.
Image: Bahraini Activist.

Clashes around the site between security forces and Bahraini youth took place Monday as one of the largest crowds yet moved close to the symbol of last year’s protest movement. Again, on Tuesday, crowds were repelled from Pearl Roundabout with police using tear-gas and arresting protesters throughout the city. Security forces also detained six U.S. citizens who took part in the protests; the activists, who entered the country on tourist visas, agreed to leave the country without charges being pressed.

With activists and political parties called for mass protests a few days prior to the one-year anniversary, the government now says it may bring charges against organizers for encouraging the disorder.

Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist in Bahrain, announced his intention to take part in marches to the Pearl Roundabout. He led several hundred pro-democracy activists in Manama’s old market area before suddenly marching towards the Pearl Roundabout. The protest ended a few hundred meters away from the roundabout with police firing tear gas and stun grenades after using megaphones to warn protesters the march was unauthorised and they should disperse. Two women from US-based rights group Witness Bahrain taking part in Sunday’s march were arrested and deported.

Cquote1.svg We will return. We will return. Cquote2.svg

—Ayat al-Qormozi

Five opposition political groups headed by Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest political opposition party, organized an authorized sit-in in a yard, dubbed ‘Freedom Square’, in Al Muqsha village outside of Manama. This is the same location as the opposition’s week-long ‘sit-in’ for political reforms. At that sit-in last week, Ayat al-Qormozi, a Bahraini female poet and visible leader in the opposition movement, called for the crowd in Al Muqsha to march to the symbolic roundabout and chanted, “We will return. We will return.”

Most clashes between police and protesters occurred in the Shia neighborhoods. About 70 percent of Bahrainis are Shia and they form the base of the youth activists and Al-Wefaq protesters.

The Sunnis have organized counter-demonstrations in support of the ruling Al Khalifa family. They control the government’s cabinet, and are also Sunni. The formation of the cabinet is one of the key debates between the opposition Al Wefaq and the Sunni minority in country. Al Wefaq wants elected politicians to name the cabinet, whilst the Sunnis prefer the royal family to retain that power.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa denied that there was an opposition in his country similar to those in Western nations but accepted that there are “people with different views.”



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August 9, 2011

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

 
Correction — December 22, 2014
 
This article names Jordanian politician Nasser Judeh as the nation’s Prime Minister. He has never held that role.
 
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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait all recalled their ambassadors to Syria Monday over concerns about the crackdown on protestors by the Syrian government.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced the decision to recall the country’s Syrian ambassador in a statement read on state television, saying that “[t]he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [demands] the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed, and the use of reason before it is too late”.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa of Bahrain said that Syria should “resort to reason” and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah called for an end to military action, saying that “no-one can accept the bloodshed.” al-Sabah also said that officials from several countries in the region plan to meet in the near future to discuss Syria.

In addition to the recall of the ambassadors, diplomatic pressure increased on Syria from other fronts, with Prime Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan making a televised request for talks between the protestors and government, and the Arab League issuing its first statement about the situation in Syria on Sunday, saying it is “alarmed” by events.



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May 20, 2011

Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech

Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech

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Friday, May 20, 2011

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Cquote1.svg Strategies of repression and diversion won’t work anymore. Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

U.S. president Barack Obama has put the support of his administration behind protesters demanding democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, demanded Syrian president Bashar al-Assad embrace reforms or resign, and warned a failure to address the uprisings in the region could lead to deep division between the U.S. and Muslim nations.

In a speech in Washington, D.C., Obama said it was a “historic opportunity” for his government to “promote reform, and to support transitions to democracy” in the region. Warning of “a deepening spiral of division between the United States and Muslim communities,” he pledged to invest in a democratic future for Tunisia and Egypt, where protesters have overthrown dictators in the past few months. “Strategies of repression and diversion won’t work anymore,” he said, announcing a “new chapter” in Washington diplomacy.

He also criticized the government of Bahrain for attacking peaceful protesters and conducting mass arrests. A crackdown on protesters, he said, “will not make legitimate calls for reform go away.” Obama defended his decision to launch military action in Libya, saying “thousands would have been killed,” and accused Muammar Gaddafi of launching “a war against his people, promising to hunt them down like rats.” Gaddafi, he said, will “inevitably” leave or be forced from power.

After imposing sanctions on Syria this week as military forces in the country clamp down on demonstrators in the capital, Damascus, Obama again condemned violence against peaceful protesters. He demanded the administration of president Assad stop shooting protesters and allow peaceful demonstrations, release political prisoners, and pass democratic reforms. “The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy,” he said. Assad, he added, could either lead the transition or “get out of the way.”

Speaking at the U.S. State Department, Obama said he would react to the uprising in the region “in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security.” He pledged to broaden the approach of his government beyond counterterrorism and ceasing the spread of nuclear weapons, to crack down on oppressive dictatorships which would harm U.S. interests. Unveiling a series of new economic initiatives intended to force out dictators, Obama pledged aid for Tunisia and Egypt to help them transform into democratic states.

The speech is being seen by analysts as an attempt by Obama to reach out to Muslim communities abroad amid U.S. unpopularity. The president is also trying to convince his U.S. audience that the outcome of the Arab Spring will have an impact on the future of the U.S. and is worth spending money on during tumultuous economic times in Washington.

File:Syria Damascus Douma Protests 2011 – 22.jpg

Protesters in Damascus, Syria, demanding democratic reform.
Image: syriana2011.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The push for democracy began in January, as protesters in Tunisia overthrew president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January. A month later, Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign from the Egyptian presidency. In Libya, demonstrators continue to try to topple Gaddafi, but have faced heavy bombardment from government forces.

Obama also signaled that al-Qaeda is “losing its struggle for relevance” amid the uprising in the region, and said Osama bin Laden was rapidly losing followers before his death earlier this month. As the uprising spread, the agenda of the terrorist organization responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001, was at a “dead end,” he said. “Through the moral force of nonviolence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades.”

He called on Israel and Palestine to begin talks based on the 1967 borders as the conflict stalls. “No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away,” Obama said. “A lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples.” But Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tonight rejected the suggestion because it would endanger Israeli security.



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April 11, 2011

Shiites protest against discrimination in Bahrain

Shiites protest against discrimination in Bahrain

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Monday, April 11, 2011

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The flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Image: SKopp.
Image: Zscout370.

This week state run newspapers in Bahrain officially declared that the nation was ‘back on track’ after weeks of political and sectarian unrest in the nation. However these headlines have been disputed by Shiite protestors in Bahrain. Sunni security forces have been raiding Shiite protestors’ homes, knocking their doors down, spraying graffiti on walls and arresting them in an effort to keep Shiite activists off the street.

Bahrain’s government has been accused by the United States of human rights abuses including arbitrary detention and discrimination against Shiites in the country; Shiites make up between 60% and 70% of the population of Bahrain. One activist told The Associated Press that he was brutally beaten by security forces, threatened with rape, and told to return to Iran — a major Shiite power in the region.

“We cannot stop,” said another Shiite protestor, Ali Mohammed, “we might go quite for a bit to mourn the dead and treat the injured and see those in jail, but then we will rise up again.” He lost his teaching job because of his involvement in the protests.

It was also revealed by a US State department report that the Bahrain government had requested from various media outlets and journalists that they no longer report on sectarianism, national security or stories that degraded the Royal Saudi family. The report also claimed that “according to some members of the media, government officials contacted editors directly and asked them to stop writing about certain subjects or asked them not to publish a press release or a story.”

Shiites have voiced their opinions about continuous discrimination in the country, with the Muslim opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman requesting that the Saudi military leave the region and stop intervening with protesters.

The official body count states that at least 20 people have been killed since the political protests began in early February 2011.


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March 16, 2011

Six killed and hundreds injured in Bahrain

Six killed and hundreds injured in Bahrain

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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Government security forces and Saudi Arabian troops have killed at least six protesters and injured around a thousand others in Bahrain.

Protesters have expressed their objection to any foreign intervention within Bahrain. One protester said that security forces “fired tear gas and then opened fire. … We lifted our arms and started saying ‘Peaceful, peaceful.’ Then we had to run away.”

Live ammunition was fired by soldiers both on the ground and in helicopters, who attacked people in at least five villages. According to a medical source speaking to AFP, buckshot was used against some of the victims. People have put up barricades in the capital of Manama in order to obstruct the path of troops.

In addition to protests elsewhere, several thousand demonstrators marched to the Saudi embassy, following the military intervention of Saudi Arabia. Chants of “[d]own, down with Hamad!” were made in response to Bahrain’s ruler’s actions against protesters.

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King of Bahrain declares state of emergency

King of Bahrain declares state of emergency

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bahrain
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  • 9 April 2014: Hamilton wins ‘incredible’ Bahrain race, F1’s 900th Grand Prix
  • 3 September 2013: Airlines plan reroutes around Syria as potential for US military intervention increases
  • 15 February 2012: Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain
  • 9 August 2011: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria
  • 20 May 2011: Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech
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A state of emergency was declared in Bahrain on Tuesday by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as protests in the country escalated further, leaving at least two dead.

The declaration was announced on state television, and “authorized the commander of Bahrain’s defense forces to take all necessary measures to protect the safety of the country and its citizens.” The state of emergency will last for three months.

Further protests took place Tuesday in both the capitol of Manama and the nearby city of Sitra. Two people were reported to have died, one of whom was part of the Bahraini security force. These deaths come in addition to seven people killed since the protests began in February. Protesters have reportedly blocked all roads into the main financial center in the capitol, and number in the tens of thousands in Manama alone. Marches took place near the Saudi Arabian embassy, with protesters wearing masks as a defense against tear gas.

According to a doctor near the fighting, there are “many, many casualties … People are coming in with bullet wounds and injuries caused by rubber bullets … We received one major case—a man whose skull had been split open by something.” One protester said that security personnel “started attacking the villages and the towns. If there is anybody in the road they will shoot them. If there is nobody in the road they will enter the houses.”

The declaration comes one day after other Middle Eastern countries sent troops into Bahrain at the request of the Bahraini government.



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  • “Middle Eastern troops enter Bahrain after protests” — Wikinews, March 15, 2011

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March 15, 2011

Middle Eastern troops enter Bahrain after protests

Middle Eastern troops enter Bahrain after protests

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bahrain
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  • 9 April 2014: Hamilton wins ‘incredible’ Bahrain race, F1’s 900th Grand Prix
  • 3 September 2013: Airlines plan reroutes around Syria as potential for US military intervention increases
  • 15 February 2012: Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain
  • 9 August 2011: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria
  • 20 May 2011: Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech
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Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have arrived in Bahrain at the government’s request after major protests on Sunday.

An estimated 1,000 Saudi Arabian troops entered the country early Monday, followed by around 500 troops from the UAE. The troops entered as part of a broader deployment by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), a regional group of six countries. It is unclear what purpose the troops are serving, though speculation is that they will guard major infrastructure facilities.

Al Wefaq, the leading opposition party, said it considered “the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain’s air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation” and that the presence of foreign troops “puts the Bahraini people in real danger, and threatens them with an undeclared war by armed troops.”

Statements from the US government, a major Bahrain ally, said that “[t]his is not an invasion of a country” and that it urged both the Bahrain government and the GCC “to exercise restraint” and “act in a way that supports dialogue instead of undermining it.”

An official of Iranian Foreign Ministry also criticized the Saudi invasion of Bahrain, saying “it is surprising to see that immediately after the recent trip of the US Defense Secretary [Robert Gates] we see the intensified use of violence against the people of Bahrain.”

The intervention came a day after the country saw the worst protests since February, as several dozen people were injured in clashes with police.



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February 24, 2011

Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled amid political turmoil

Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled amid political turmoil

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Bahrain
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  • 9 April 2014: Hamilton wins ‘incredible’ Bahrain race, F1’s 900th Grand Prix
  • 3 September 2013: Airlines plan reroutes around Syria as potential for US military intervention increases
  • 15 February 2012: Opposition calls for mass protests in Bahrain
  • 9 August 2011: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait recall ambassadors to Syria
  • 20 May 2011: Obama supports Middle East protesters in speech
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bahrain Track Grand Stand.jpg

A week after Sunni and Shi’ite youth protesters marched on the capital city of Manama, the Bahrain government informed Formula One Management that it would withdraw from hosting the Bahrain Grand Prix. The decision was made in an effort to focus on the pressing national issues facing the country. Demonstrators, who are still holding Pearl Square, had threatened to target the Media attention if the event went ahead as scheduled. The race is the opening event of the 2011 Formula One racing season.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince, HRH Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, sent a statement to Formula One Management which said, “At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain. After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix was to be held on March 13, with teams coming in within the next few weeks to prepare for the race. Formula One president and CEO Bernie Ecclestone issued a public statement saying, “It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.” Ecclestone also noted that despite reported rumors, the Bahrain International Circuit would not be charged for their cancellation of the event, citing that he considered the political unrest to be a “force majeure” and that the events that took place could not have been predicted. “What has happened in Bahrain is desperately sad but one month ago everyone was looking forward to the race,” he said. Formula One Management will most likely have to absorb the costs related to the canceled race, estimated at around $40 million, unless it can be re-scheduled later in the season.

With the announcement from the Crown Prince that political issues would be addressed, exiled Shi’ite political leader Hassan Mushaima announced that he would return to the country. Mushaima, leader of the Haq Movement opposition party, was tried in absentia in 2009, accused of attempting to overthrow the government. Other Haq Movement members have also been arrested in recent years, but received royal pardons. While 23 members of the political movement are currently awaiting trial, on Tuesday the Bahrain government released a group of political detainees without comment, meeting one of the demands of the protesters.



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February 2, 2010

U.S. improving Persian Gulf missile defense

U.S. improving Persian Gulf missile defense

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The United States has begun improving the missile defense system for their Persian Gulf alliances. Military officials stated that the Obama administration is increasing the capability of land and sea missile defense in hopes of further security in the face of Iran’s perceived increasing nuclear missile threat.

File photo of the Aegis Cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) sailing in the Baltic Sea.
Image: Michael Sandberg.

General David Petraeus of U.S. Central Command made a statement saying eight new missile batteries have been placed in four separate countries in the Persian Gulf, now speculated to be Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar along with new Navy ships in the Mediterranean. The White House plans to send a review of the changes towards the missile defense strategy to the Congress on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.

The expansion had begun under the Bush administration, now continuing with the Obama administration who wishes to take extra precautions against Iran’s growing Nuclear Program. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in December that the Pentagon is taking these protective measures in case the Obama administration later issues orders for defense against Iran.

U.S. President Barack Obama had also released a statement in 2009 saying that he wanted a strategic plan in which Aegis ships would be able to defend Persian Gulf allies in Europe from any threats.

The Obama administration said that these changes in land and sea defense are capable of defending the U.S. and it’s Persian Gulf allies from mid-range nuclear threats from Iran. The Pentagon also stated that ships containing SM-3 interceptors would enable the U.S. to re-locate the capabilities of the new missiles as needed, and that Aegis interceptor systems are capable of tracking upwards of 100 targets, and the the system can blow up missiles above the atmosphere.

The U.S. arms sales had surpassed the sales from Saudi Arabia by approximately $4.6 billion in 2009.



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