These capabilities would range from cyber to drones to long-range mobile communications and non-lethal weapons as well as small arms, explosives, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, the Rand Corporation report said.
“Total defense and unconventional warfare capabilities can complement the existing conventional defense efforts of the Baltic states and NATO,” said Stephen Flanagan, the report’s lead author.
He said such cells would also buy time for national and NATO responses if Russia did invade one or all of the tiny republics on its western border, as it did with Crimea in 2014.
NATO members since 2004, the Baltic states, which like Ukraine have an ethnic Russian minority, are already in the process of building up its special forces units.
The report called for strengthened cooperation between the Baltic states, the European Union and NATO in areas such as crisis management, intelligence, resistance and fighting disinformation.
The idea proposed by the report’s authors would be to organize each Baltic country’s defenses around four levels of resistance.
“Violent” units made up of special forces, reservists and undefeated combat units would be charged with carrying out ambushes or freeing prisoners, under the scheme outlined in the report.
Less heavily equipped units composed of police or amateur sharpshooters would be in charge of sabotage operations.
Civilians would be looked to for intelligence support, to care for the wounded and feed combatants.
The report recommends supplying the Baltic states with night-vision goggles, portable computers, cameras and all-terrain vehicles as part of a program estimated to cost an initial $125 million.
The travel industry is blowing up with eye-popping deals to dream destinations around the country and the world.
In fact, tour firms have made a kill over this Easter holiday with most of them recording maximum bookings mainly at the Coast where most holiday lovers are whiling away the long weekend.
And it is not just your ordinary tour firms fighting for a slice of the lucrative venture. Lately, showbiz personalities have taken up the space with a dozen having registered their own tour companies.
For example Akothee Safaris, a tours and travel firm run by celebrated music star Akothee has been offering irresistible travel deals both to the Coast and other leading destinations around game reserves and national parks.
And also in the game is veteran MC and events guru Christopher Kirwa and his wife Cate who run ChrisCate Management Company. The two have started off a unique tour mission that mostly involves couples.
Using their experience in events management and the goodwill they have been enjoying from their numerous clients, these two could be the next big thing in tours and travel.
But while the newcomers enjoy relative tranquillity in an environment that is known for its brutal deals with the big boys protecting their turf, trouble seems to be brewing between celebrity stars DJ Mo, comedian Njugush and one Simon Kabu who introduced them into the world of sweet travel deals.
Many will recall photos of Njuguna and his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye on their honeymoon on a lucrative trip with Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.
Just like many celebs among them Eric Omondi and his fiancée Chantal Grazioli, Bahati and his Wife Diana as well as Vera and Otile Brown, Njuguna was a target with offers from Kabu’s team.
That was before Bountiful Safaris took the couple to Dubai. As Bountiful Safaris emerged, around the same time came Trippy Go Tours, which is said to have a popular personality- a leading comedian and radio presenter- on board.
Now, there is beef brewing between these two companies and Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.
Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris have both gone to court; they are suing Bonfire Ventures for buying domain names that are similar to their websites.
The three companies organise budget getaways for individuals and groups where you pay a certain amount and they take care of your travel expenses and accommodation as well as other logistics.
They have been working hard to promote local tourism and, by making it easy to take trips to Dubai and Zanzibar with competitive rates, they appeal to youthful clients.
The two companies use ‘.com’ websites but are accusing Bonfire of using their names to register ‘.org’ and ‘.net’ websites, which when searched were redirecting back to the Bonfire website which uses a ‘.com’ domain. The fight for who has the better travel deal has been abandoned and the gloves are off as the three battle for visibility and relevance.
According to Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris, the domains bought by Bonfire are set to expire next year, which may lead unsuspecting customers to the Bonfire website, which then hurts their business.
With its owners, Simon Kabu and his wife Sarah, Bonfire has been working hard to be visible by coming on board anything that gives them publicity. They’ve gone hard on their marketing by working with celebrities with a large following online and sponsoring their trips to dream destinations.
In return the influencers post on their social media and give the company favourable mention. Bahati is seen as one of their loyal customers but his influence online is what the company really taps into from their relationship.
His dalliance with the Kabu’s is easily noticeable. They have been more than willing to make appearances at his events and he has been busy posting thankful messages to them.
Comedian Timothy Kimani aka Njuguna, his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye and Samuel Muraya aka DJ Mo would easily be seen as ambassadors for Bonfire Ventures, just like many other celebs are. However, with the brewing differences, this might not end up well.
And this brewing war has also touched on the purchase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) tickets where some travel companies are rumoured to be buying and holding tickets to Mombasa during high seasons arguably because they want to benefit from the clients at the expense of others.
It is a month since Noti Flow and Colonel Mustafa made up after a bitter split and now, speaking exclusively to ‘Pulse’, the ‘Lenga Stress’ singer says he wants to have children with the rapper.
Pulse: In a nutshell, are you back together or you are just positing videos and pictures together for show?
Mustafa: We are back together and not just back, this love is hot. This is all I have wanted all my life. Noti Flow is like no other woman. She completes me.
P: Are you sure you are not using this hype for a comeback?
M: Comeback? I never left. Mustafa has been releasing songs and has been a household name whether it’s because of Nairobi Diaries drama’s or haters saying I retired and I am selling ‘mitumba’ clothes. It’s nothing like hype. We are in a serous love affair. In fact, we are inseparable.
P: ‘Inseparable’ is a big word. You were once in love and had a bitter break-up that also involved Prezzo. Why would you give each other a second chance?
M: Even God gives people second chances. See, when we were both in Nairobi Diaries, things were a bit different. There were so many wars and women were really backstabbing each other and that led to a serious problem. She was told many bad things about me and I opted to let it be so. I think time is a teacher. We both know better.
P: Do you see a future in the two of you?
M: I see a future and the future is now. We are a perfect match. She has suddenly made me change my perspective of things when it comes to matters love. People might not understand Noti Flow as they perceive who she is from a very uninformed way.
P: What makes you a perfect couple?
M: The fact that we love each other, understand each other and accommodate each other’s feelings and preferences. She is an artiste and I am too and so it is easy to relate how we both live. The last relationship was troubled because we wouldn’t work things from the same page.
P: But we heard you were married, in fact we heard it from Noti Flow herself…
M: After we separated about a year ago, I had to step aside and reflect on my life. I had someone but the point is that the relationship was not working. It was like that Marya case, I mean sometimes I feel like I am jinxed when it comes to relationships. I trust this will last.
P: Marya was also a singer. She would have understood you as an artiste. Why didn’t that last and why should this last?
M: You know the story. Marya was difficult to work with, difficult to understand, difficult to please. Noti is very open. She says it as it is and I like that a lot. I learned that when we were doing Nairobi Diaries. She is also an independent mind.
P: You want her for a wife?
M: If she is ready, I am ready.
P: The other day she teased her followers on Instagram asking them to guess whether she was expecting a boy or a girl. Is she pregnant?
M: If she is pregnant for me then that is my joy. If she is not, I am ready to get her pregnant. We have been having a lot of intimate time. That is one thing she had missed after she left me. Sticks. You can’t get this treat anywhere else.
M: Yes stick, ‘miti’. A man has to have game. I am the real G and she is naughty. We have to find a way to soften each other and there is only one way. Should I continue?
P: So if she is pregnant you guys are ready to move in under one roof?
M: I would give Noti Flow a kid anytime…In fact, I would have her carry twins for me. I am doing everything in my ability to make this work. I am not perfect but I am willing to accommodate even on areas where she could have weaknesses. That is what affairs are all about. I want her to get pregnant, deliver and go to gym like Cardi B. I want her to make records as I make records. See, this relationship can be good business like it is for Kanye and Kim.
P: Beyond the Instagram videos of you falling over each other, what else don’t we know?
M: The n**gas have been calling her since I came back. They want her and are offering her anything to get her. It’s crazy. That is f*** up. Where were they all this one year I was gone. I should simply warn them. I am a real G and we don’t take such jokes seated.
The southern city, like others across Spain, has banned political advertisements for the April 28 polls from the routes of the hundreds of Easter processions featuring penitents in cone-shaped hoods that take place round-the-clock in the during Holy Week.
For the first time in Spain’s modern history the two-week official campaign period coincides with Holy Week, and the timing has complicated candidates’ final push to connect with voters.
“There is a massive displacement of people to the coast, to the countryside. This clearly makes it hard for parties to get their message out. In reality the campaign will last one week, not two,” political analyst Manuel Mostaza at consulting firm Atrevia told AFP.
Parties have agreed not to hold rallies during processions and will instead hold their biggest events on the final days of the campaign.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists have focused their attention during Holy Week on places such as Catalonia and the northern Basque Country which do not have a strong tradition of Easter parades.
But the main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) has accused Sanchez of “disrespecting” Spain’s religious traditions with the timing of the snap polls and its leaders have attended several processions.
“We are going to uphold our traditions, to celebrate Easter week the way it should,” PP secretary general Teadoro Garcia Egea said before the campaign officially kicked off on April 12 as Holy Week began.
Their presence at the parades has not always been cheered. PP leader Pablo Casado faced criticism after he took part in a procession as a hooded penitent last Saturday in the central city of Avila.
Some locals accused him on Twitter of “posturing” after pictures emerged of Casado walking in the streets before the start of the parade with the hood of his purple robe dangling around his neck instead of covering his face.
Local online news site Avilared said Casado had “broken an unwritten rule” that penitents must keep their hood on at all times outside church.
Casado and the leader of far-right party Vox, Santiago Abascal, had planned to attend one of Spain’s most famous processions in Malaga on Thursday which features hundreds of Spanish legionnaires.
But last week, the Mena brotherhood which organises the parade, asked politicians to stay away and not “mix politics and religion” — a move many locals agreed with.
“That type of opportunism would be looked down upon. For us these days are sacred,” said Angel Lazaro, a 44-year-old civil servant, as he watched the legionnaires arrive at a Malaga church before the start of the procession.
Thousands of people lined the streets of Malaga on Thursday evening to watch as legionnaires with their tasselled caps and open-necked pastel uniforms accompanied a 180-kilo (400-pound) crucifix figure while it made its way around the coastal city.
The parade, which lasted over seven hours, is one of 42 that will be held in Malaga this Holy Week.
Around 61,500 people are expected to take part in the processions, which are estimated to draw over 400,000 spectators.
Local newspapers often dedicate more pages to the parades than the campaign and most dailes will not publish paper editions on Saturday because of the holidays.
Like many local people, Carmen Fernandez, a 57-year-old high school teacher, said she watches several parades each year.
“As a result I have not followed very closely the campaign this time. In fact you almost don’t notice it,” she said.