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THE MAGOG INVASION

 

 

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The Magog Invasion

 

 Introduction:

 

The ancient people called Magog are commonly believed to have been the ancestors of the Russian nation. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of an invasion of Israel by Russia, which has not yet been fulfilled. What could cause Russia to come against the tiny nation of Israel -- which has no oil and no real strategic value? This question has puzzled Bible scholars for centuries. However, recent developments in the Middle East have for the first time in history lent credence to this long-awaited prophecy.


[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]
 
 
 

Behold a Red Horse

 

 

Price R 249.00

 

 


•What does the Bible say about “wars”?
•How can the classic literature of centuries ago impact todays (and tomorrow’s) tactics and strategies?
•Which technologies are predicted in the Bible? Which ones have yet to be witnessed?
•In what ways have the economies of scale in violence been reversed?
•What is the threat assessment and risk analysis pending today?
•In what ways can a country be regarded as a “one-bomb target”?
•What are the likely implications of trans-humanism in the quests for the “Super-Soldier”?
•How could electromagnetic pulses emerge to become the “Great Equalizer”?
•Where is the safest place to be?
 Dr. Chuck Missler, an honor graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, with an international background including three decade’s experience in the board rooms of the defense industry, reviews the major Biblical references to warfare, the trends in modern weapons technology, and some of the current preparations for war among the major powers.
 

Behold a White Horse

 

 

Price R 249.00

 

 

 

The final world dictator seeking global domination will also be an “Assyrian” who is here characterized by a bow, riding a white horse. It is interesting how many confuse this counterfeit with the rider of the white horse in Revelation 19. In chapter 6, however, this rider is among some very bad company!
 “Behold a White Horse” explores the career of the first of these “Four Horsemen” who seems to have at least 33 titles in the Old Testament and 13 in the New Testament and the common term “AntiChrist” really isn’t one of them. We also explore the only physical description of him in the Scripture!
 • Why is he a “mistaken identity”?
 • How do we know this is NOT the Christ?
 • What is the precedent condition(s) for his appearance?
 • What is the precedent condition for the unsealing of the Seven Sealed Book? What is the Seven Sealed Book?
 • Is his “bow” a pun? How? Why?
 • How can he “go forth to conquer” if he is a “peace maker”?
 • Is the Church on the earth at this time? How do we know?
 • Is He alive today? How do we know?
 • How can he be the “Seed of the Serpent”?
 Join Chuck Missler as he looks at the first of the Five Horsemen.

 

This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teaching

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The Latest: Pakistan says India can't wish away Kashmir rift

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎5 hours agoGo to full article
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The latest on the high-level U.N. General Assembly meetings (all times local):
 
 

British programs win Int'l Emmys for News, Current Affairs

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — Britain's Sky News has won the International Emmy for News for "Migration Crisis" describing the perilous journey of a group of migrants from Turkey to Greece as well as clashes between riot police and refugees on the Hungary-Serbia border.
 

Iran's Rouhani at U.N. calls on rival Saudi to cease 'divisive policies'

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10 hours agoGo to full article
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday called on regional rival Saudi Arabia to "cease and desist" from "divisive policies" if it was serious about regional peace and security. Rouhani was addressing the United Nations General Assembly the day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef suggested Iran should be a better neighbor in the region and not interfere in the affairs of other countries. The leading Shi'ite Muslim power, Iran and Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia are both fighting Sunni militants of Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq and has supporters and sympathizers worldwide who have carried out bombings and shootings of civilians.
 
 

Germany: Small-town clash exposes tense mood toward migrants

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:54:29 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 18 file photo people take part in a demonstration in the east German city of Bautzen, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Verbal and violent attacks have erupted between about 80 Germans and around 20 young asylum seekers in Bautzen, a town between Dresden and the Polish border, last Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)BAUTZEN, Germany (AP) — Standing on a hillside near this ancient town in eastern Germany, Firas al-Habbal winces as he explains why he doesn't go "there" anymore.
 
 

Dozens drown after migrant boat capsizes off Egypt's coast

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:51:41 PMGo to full article
Young Egyptians detained at a police station sleep on the floor in Rosetta, Egypt, after rescued from a boat capsized off the Mediterranean coast near the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Egypt's official news agency MENA said the boat was carrying 600 people when it sank near the coast, some 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of the capital, Cairo. (AP Photo/Eman Helal)ROSETTA, Egypt (AP) — Survivors, some handcuffed to hospital beds, described watching women and children drown after an overcrowded migrant boat capsized off Egypt's coast, as Egyptian authorities said Thursday 51 bodies had been recovered and an international NGO estimated that over a hundred people were still missing at sea.
 
 

Israel destroying two-state solution hopes: Abbas to UN

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:43:24 PMGo to full article
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 71st session of United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 22, 2016Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that Israel's settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank was destroying any hope of a two-state solution. Abbas, who has been Palestinian president for 11 years, urged countries at the gathering to recognize Palestine as a state and once again offered the hand of peace, albeit slamming Israel's intentions.
 
 

Local Yemeni al Qaeda leader killed in U.S. drone strike: official

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:01:51 PMGo to full article
A senior leader of Yemen's al Qaeda branch was killed on Thursday in a raid by a U.S. drone strike in central Yemen, an official of the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said. The official said Abdallah al-Sanaani, a regional commander in Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed along with his bodyguard while traveling in a vehicle in the al-Sawma'a district of al-Bayda province. The United States has been using drones to target the Islamist militant group, which has exploited Yemen's civil war to carve out a foothold in the impoverished country.
 

Duterte to invite UN chief, EU to probe Philippine killings

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎3:38:39 PMGo to full article
Opposition Senator Leila De Lima gestures during a news conference she called at the Philippine Senate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. De Lima, who led an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, was ousted Monday from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president said Thursday he will invite the U.N. chief and European Union officials to investigate his bloody anti-drug crackdown, but only if he can question them in public afterward to prove their human rights concerns are baseless.
 
 

Serbia arrests 16 for trafficking migrants to Western Europe

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:16:09 PMGo to full article
Serbia has arrested 16 people suspected of trafficking refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as part of increased efforts to stem the flow of illegal migrants trying to reach Western Europe, the interior ministry said on Thursday. In a statement, the ministry said all 16 suspects detained by police and state security agents came from the southern towns of Presevo and Bujanovac, just outside Macedonia. "They facilitated illegal crossings of the border between Macedonia and Serbia and ... transfers through Serbia to EU countries," the statement said.
 

U.S. says to bolster efforts to end female genital mutilation

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:08:37 AMGo to full article
By Hanan Abdel-Khalek LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United States unveiled plans on Thursday to ramp up efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) after figures showed more than half of million women and girls were living at risk. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said the U.S. Department of State would host a summit on Dec. 2 in Washington involving various government departments and women's rights groups to come up with an action plan to rid the country of FGM. A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released earlier this year showed 513,000 women and girls in the United States live at risk of FGM, a threefold increase in recent years due to the rise in immigrants from countries where it is practiced.
 

The Latest: PM: UN peace fund gets half $300 million needed

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:30:15 AMGo to full article
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the high-level U.N. General Assembly meetings (all times local):
 
 

Fujairah launches UAE's first supertanker dock

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎11:35:27 PMGo to full article
An Emirati man stands in front of a pipeline at the oil terminal of Fujairah during the inauguration ceremony of a dock for supertankers on September 21, 2016The oil terminal at Fujairah on Wednesday inaugurated a dock for supertankers, the first of its kind in OPEC member the United Arab Emirates. The facility enables the terminal to receive tankers measuring 334 metres (yards) and weighing 330,000 tonnes, port director Mussa Murad said at the inauguration ceremony. The jetty is able to process two million tonnes of petroleum products at loading or unloading in 24 hours, he said.
 
 

Senate votes to back $1 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:29 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2016 file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, backed the Obama administration’s plan to sell more than $1 billion worth of American-made tanks and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, soundly defeating a bid to derail the deal pushed by lawmakers critical of the kingdom’s role in Yemen’s civil war. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday backed the Obama administration's plan to sell more than $1 billion worth of American-made tanks and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, soundly defeating a bid to derail the deal pushed by lawmakers critical of the kingdom's role in Yemen's civil war.
 
 

Obama tells Netanyahu of U.S. concern on settlements, urges peace

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9:29:30 PMGo to full article
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval office of the White House in WashingtonBy Jeff Mason NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday he had concerns about Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and hoped the United States could still help to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. "Clearly there is great danger of not just terrorism but also flare-ups of violence," Obama said at the start of what was likely to be his last meeting as president with Netanyahu. Netanyahu, who has had a rocky relationship with Obama, said he appreciated their many talks about challenges facing Israel.
 
 

Obama, Netanyahu look past years of tensions in last meeting

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎8:58:48 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)NEW YORK (AP) — Setting aside years of tensions, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bid each other farewell Wednesday with a strident affirmation of security ties between their nations and little public talk of their persistent differences over Iran, Israeli settlements and the Palestinians.
 
 

Rescued Yazidi sex slaves will face no stigma, leader says

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎7:07:14 PMGo to full article
By Lin Taylor LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Yazidi women who have been raped, enslaved or married off to Islamic State militants in Iraq will be welcomed back into the community, the leader of the minority group said on Wednesday, in a gesture to help remove the stigma of rape. Speaking at an event in London, Prince Tahseen Saeed Ali urged the international community to rescue Yazidi women and children still enslaved by Islamic State, also known as ISIL.
 

Indonesia launches new campaign to end female genital mutilation: minister

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎6:21:19 PMGo to full article
By Beh Lih Yi JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Indonesia is embarking on a renewed campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM), according to its women's minister Yohana Yembise, despite opposition from religious leaders who have stymied past efforts to combat a practice that is common. Home to the world's largest Muslim population, Indonesia tried to ban FGM a decade ago but opposition from influential Islamic clerics has meant it is still widely practiced. Almost half of Indonesian girls aged 11 and under have undergone some form of FGM, the United Nations' children agency, UNICEF, said in February, citing government statistics from Indonesia for the first time in a global study of FGM.
 

German police arrest Syrian teenager on suspicion of links to Islamic State

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎6:00:53 PMGo to full article
German police arrested a 16-year-old Syrian at a refugee hostel near Cologne on suspicion of having contact with a supporter of Islamic State abroad and expressing his willingness to carry out a bomb attack, authorities said on Wednesday. "He showed his readiness to commit a bombing in an internet chat," a police spokesman told a news conference in Berlin. It remained unclear whether the teenager, who police said appeared to have been radicalized only recently, had any concrete plans for such an attack.
 

Police: Syrian held in Germany had contact with IS recruiter

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎5:30:36 PMGo to full article
BERLIN (AP) — A 16-year-old Syrian refugee who was arrested in western Germany had contact with a recruiter for the Islamic State group and instructions for making explosives, authorities said Wednesday.
 

Knife attacker shot outside Israeli embassy in Ankara

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎5:18:25 PMGo to full article
Turkish special forces on patrol outside the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, on September 21, 2016A mentally disturbed Turkish man wielding a knife tried to storm the Israeli embassy in Ankara on Wednesday but was shot by police before reaching the building, Turkish and Israeli officials said. It said initial investigations showed that the man, named as Osman Nuri Caliskan, "appeared to be mentally disturbed" and had no record of links with any militant group.
 
 

Trial opens for UK's 'Fake Sheikh' undercover reporter

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎3:20:57 PMGo to full article
Mazher Mahmood (R), a British journalist known as the "Fake Sheikh", is pictured as he leaves the Central Criminal Court in central London, on September 19, 2016A top British undercover reporter known as the "Fake Sheikh" for his elaborate disguises when meeting celebrities went on trial Wednesday accused of doctoring evidence in a pop star's drug case. Mazher Mahmood, 53, was known for his scoops for The Sun on Sunday newspaper in which he would pose as a wealthy figure from the Middle East and encourage celebrities into making embarrassing revelations. Contostavlos was accused of arranging for Mahmood to be supplied with half an ounce of cocaine, a story which landed him an exclusive for The Sun on Sunday and, when he handed evidence to police, led to her prosecution.
 
 

Migrants are main target of French presidential candidates

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎2:48:27 PMGo to full article
Former French President and candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains party primary Nicolas Sarkozy visits the Calais harbour, northern France, Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016. Temporary home to thousands of migrants trying to reach Britain, the French city of Calais is a major battlefield for presidential candidates who are seizing on fears of immigration in campaigning for spring elections. (Philippe Huguen, Pool via AP)PARIS (AP) — Temporary home to thousands of migrants trying to reach Britain, the French city of Calais is a major battlefield for presidential candidates who are seizing on fears of immigration in campaigning for spring elections — and following in the footsteps of far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
 
 

German government alarmed by rising xenophobia in east

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎2:26:05 PMGo to full article
By Caroline Copley BERLIN (Reuters) - Xenophobia is rising in the ex-communist east of Germany and risks tarnishing its reputation as a place to do business, the government said on Wednesday as it published its annual report on the state of German unification. Far-right violence and attacks on migrants rose dramatically last year, with riots and arson attacks on refugee shelters in the towns of Heidenau and Freital in Saxony state. More than one million, mainly Muslim migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia streamed into Germany over the course of 2015.
 

Acting Latin Patriarch takes office in Jerusalem

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎2:18:26 PMGo to full article
JERUSALEM (AP) — The new caretaker of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem says his main task will be to promote dialogue among Christians in the Holy Land — and between Christians and other religious groups.
 

Missiles, tanks on show at Iran military parade

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎1:01:32 PMGo to full article
Iran used the 36th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war to parade arms including 16 ballistic missiles through TehranIran showed off missiles, warplanes, tanks and marching troops on Wednesday in a display of military strength in the face of growing regional tensions. The Islamic republic used the 36th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war to parade arms including 16 ballistic missiles through Tehran. A new missile with multiple warheads, called Zolfaghar, was also on show with a threat directed at Iran's arch-rival Israel written on the side of the truck transporting it.
 
 

Researchers: Canadian firm helping Bahrain censor the web

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:35:22 AMGo to full article
LONDON (AP) — Researchers have identified a Canadian company at the center of a small Arab nation's online censorship system — a finding that sits awkwardly with Ottawa officials' public support for digital freedoms.
 

Obama flirts with Mideast peace push in final months

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9:43:56 AMGo to full article
In New York on Wednesday for the final United Nations General Assembly of his eight-year double term, Barack Obama will meet the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, perhaps for the last timeWhen he came to power, he appeared to imply it was one of his priorities. In reality, US President Barack Obama has made less headway than many of his peers trying to achieve Mideast peace. No one in Washington was expecting a sudden breakthrough in the stand-off between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and Mahmud Abbas' Palestinian authority.
 
 

Egypt's Sisi urges Israel to make history with peace

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎3:19:38 AMGo to full article
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at "the core of regional instability" and called for a settlementEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged Israel to "write a bright page" in Middle East history and make peace with the Palestinians. Speaking at the United Nations, Sisi said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at "the core of regional instability" and called for a settlement based on a two-state solution leading to a Palestinian state. "Permit me to deviate from the written statement to address an appeal to the Israeli leadership and Israeli people," Sisi told the UN General Assembly.
 
 

Top CIA analyst sees likely Putin re-election bid

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎12:39:26 AMGo to full article
Russian President Putin meets members of Russian summer sports Paralympic team in MoscowBy Jonathan Landay WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to run for re-election in 2018 and may impose tougher authoritarian rule to curb unrest over the slumping economy, the CIA’s top Russia analyst said on Tuesday. The rare public comments by Peter Clement, head of the CIA unit that watches Russia, shed light on how some senior U.S. intelligence officials view Putin and where he is taking his country as he prepares an expected run for a fourth presidential term in 2018. Most intelligence analysts think Putin will run again, as he indicated three years ago, said Clement.“But he’s got to be thinking now, ‘What happens between now and 2018?’” (http://reut.rs/2cPK93y) Clement spoke at a George Washington University conference a day after the pro-Putin United Russia party won a lower house majority in parliamentary polls seen as a likely springboard for a Putin re-election bid.
 
 

Qatar's emir, a U.S. ally, assails Obama's Syria policy

 
‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎11:14:59 PMGo to full article
Qatar's emir criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's policy on Syria on Tuesday, highlighting the growing frustration among U.S. allies at what they perceive to be Washington's lackluster action towards the protracted civil war. Qatar, home to a U.S. base, is a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, like the United States, has supported rebels seeking to topple Assad. Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, criticized Obama's so-called "red line" on Syria.
 

UN chief rails against leaders with 'bloody hands' in Syria

 
‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:57:55 PMGo to full article
France's President Francois Hollande addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon railed Tuesday against leaders who keep "feeding the war machine" in Syria as he bowed out of the world stage, while President Barack Obama said there was no military solution to the five-year conflict and described a globe in the throes of a contest between authoritarianism and democracy.
 
 

Obama hits at populist strongmen in last UN address

 
‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:56:23 PMGo to full article
US President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that democracy was a better path toward prosperity than the "crude populism" that is mushrooming in the United States and around the worldPresident Barack Obama used his farewell UN address Tuesday to castigate strongmen and populists, taking aim at Vladimir Putin's Soviet nostalgia and Donald Trump's rise at home. Obama told the UN General Assembly that democracy remains the "firmest foundation for human progress" as he repudiated "crude populism" that has mushroomed in the United States and around the world. "Some argue the future favors the strongman," Obama said, in remarks that will echo in the 2016 US campaign as much as the Kremlin, or Tiananmen Square.
 
 

Ex-UK PM Blair says to focus on non-profit work

 
‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:42 PMGo to full article
Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who built a multi-million pound business network advising multi-national corporations and governments after leaving office in 2007, said on Tuesday he was planning to close his commercial ventures and concentrate on not-for-profit activities. Blair, 63, was Labour prime minister for 10 years from 1997 and was later a Middle East envoy for eight years. In an email to staff released by his office Blair said the restructuring reflected changes that had been under way in his organization for the last two years.
 

In parting words to UN, Obama calls for 'course correction'

 
‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎7:55:25 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Standing before the United Nations for the last time as president, Barack Obama will reassure foreign leaders that the world is better equipped to tackle its challenges than almost any point in history despite a cascade of harrowing crises that seem devoid of viable solutions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In a closing dispatch to the world he's tried to shape, President Barack Obama conceded Tuesday that the United States and other major powers have only limited ability to solve the world's most profound problems, including Syria's civil war. He lamented the "cycles of conflict and suffering" that seem to kick in every time humanity finally seems to be getting it right.
 
 

Turkey jails 45 students over 2012 anti-Erdogan protest

 
‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎7:47:03 PMGo to full article
Students hold a banner reading "You will descend as you ascended" during a protest against the election of Turkish prime minister as president on August 11, 2014 in AnkaraA Turkish court jailed 45 students Tuesday over a 2012 protest against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at an Ankara university when he visited to celebrate a satellite launch, state media reported. The students were convicted of violating laws on meetings and impeding public officials in their work after they demonstrated against Erdogan's visit to Middle East Technical University (METU). The court in the capital Ankara sentenced each of the students to 10 months imprisonment, state-run news agency Anadolu said.
 
 

Thousands flee blaze at Greek migrant camp on Lesbos

 
‎Monday, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:54 PMGo to full article
Thousands of people fled from a fire at a migrant camp on Lesbos on Monday night, a police official on the Greek island said, noting that there had been noticeable tension among residents earlier in the evening, before the blaze started. The fire brigade was investigating the cause of the fire, the official said. "There is a big fire at the hot spot (migrant camp).
 

Rueful Merkel takes blame for Berlin defeat

 
‎Monday, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎4:16:09 PMGo to full article
Chancellor and CDU chairwomen Merkel addresses a news conference in BerlinBy Paul Carrel and Michelle Martin BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would turn back time if she could to better prepare Germany for last year's migrant influx, striking a conciliatory tone and taking some blame for her party's drubbing in a Berlin city vote on Sunday. Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered their second electoral blow in two weeks in Sunday's vote in the capital, slumping to their lowest level since 1990 in the state election in which voters rejected her open-door refugee policy. In prepared remarks, the 62-year-old chancellor said she would do things differently if she could go back again and prepare better to cope with the influx of around one million migrants who flooded into Germany last year, many of them fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and beyond.
 
 

Obama, Netanyahu to meet in New York: White House

 
‎Sunday, ‎September ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:35 PMGo to full article
In New York on Wednesday for the final United Nations General Assembly of his eight-year double term, Barack Obama will meet the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, perhaps for the last timePresident Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the White House said Sunday. The two leaders will have a bilateral meeting Wednesday, with discussion topics likely to include the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "in the face of deeply troubling trends on the ground," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
 
 

U.S.-led forces strike Syrian troops, prompting emergency U.N. meeting

 
‎Sunday, ‎September ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:46:44 PMGo to full article
A damaged wall of a school is pictured in rebel-held Ain TarmaBy Angus McDowall and Andrew Osborn BEIRUT/MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition air strikes reportedly killed dozens of Syrian soldiers on Saturday, endangering a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire and prompting an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting as tensions between Moscow and Washington escalated. The United States military said the coalition stopped the attacks against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions in northeast Syria after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit. The United States relayed its "regret" through the Russian government for what it described as the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces in the strike, a senior Obama administration official said in an emailed statement.
 
 

Islamic State, Pakistani Taliban faction say kill three soldiers in Pakistan

 
‎Sunday, ‎September ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:45:26 PMGo to full article
By Jibran Ahmad PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Three Pakistani soldiers were killed in an ambush in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Sunday, militants said, in an attack for which both Islamic State and a Pakistani Taliban faction claimed responsibility. Militants said they ambushed an unmarked vehicle ferrying soldiers on Sunday morning near the congested Daudzai area of Peshawar. The Pakistan army often uses unmarked vehicles for transportation of soldiers and other employees in volatile areas around Peshawar to avoid being identified and attacked.

 

 

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Iraq sets ceiling on oil production before Algeria meeting

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎39 minutes agoGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — OPEC member Iraq says it supports any deal to prop up oil prices ahead of next week's meeting of oil producers in Algeria.
 

Advocacy group demands release of 2 detained Iran reporters

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An advocacy group has called for the immediate release of two Iranian journalists detained in Tehran.
 

Obama set to veto 9/11 victims' bid to sue Saudis

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
White House officials say President Barack Obama will reject the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" by a Friday veto deadline, after a little over a week of deliberationBarack Obama will on Friday veto legislation allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, risking public outrage and the first congressional override of his presidency. The White House confirmed Thursday that Obama would veto the legislation -- unanimously passed by Congress -- allowing 9/11 families to launch civil suits against Riyadh. "We believe this is a bad bill," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
 
 

The Latest: Pakistan says India can't wish away Kashmir rift

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎5 hours agoGo to full article
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The latest on the high-level U.N. General Assembly meetings (all times local):
 
 

Rouhani: Halt on flights over Syria would help radicals

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎6 hours agoGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference, after addressing the 71st session of the U.N. General Assembly, Thursday Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday joined in opposing a call by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to halt all flights over Syria in efforts to get relief shipments through, saying that would only help Islamic radicals gain ground.
 
 

House approves legislation prohibiting cash payments to Iran

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎7 hours agoGo to full article
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, before the House Financial Services Committee hearing on "the Annual Report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP-led House approved legislation late Thursday to prohibit the United States from making cash payments to Iran and require that Congress be notified before any future claims settlements with Tehran are conducted. The bill passed by a wide margin, 254-163.
 
 

Rouhani uses UN to hit US over nuclear deal

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York, on September 22, 2016Iran used the UN General Assembly on Thursday to accuse the United States of failing to implement aspects of the historic nuclear deal, demanding that Washington do so or risk formal complaint. President Hassan Rouhani complained that America is dragging its feet on its side of the bargain, and elaborated on his complaints at a follow-up news conference with reporters. "The lack of compliance with the JCPOA on the part of the United States in the past several months represents a flawed approach that should be rectified forthwith," Rouhani told the world body, referring to the deal.
 
 

Iran's Rouhani at U.N. calls on rival Saudi to cease 'divisive policies'

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10 hours agoGo to full article
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday called on regional rival Saudi Arabia to "cease and desist" from "divisive policies" if it was serious about regional peace and security. Rouhani was addressing the United Nations General Assembly the day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef suggested Iran should be a better neighbor in the region and not interfere in the affairs of other countries. The leading Shi'ite Muslim power, Iran and Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia are both fighting Sunni militants of Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq and has supporters and sympathizers worldwide who have carried out bombings and shootings of civilians.
 
 

First priority in Syria is aid: Iran

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎11:46:20 PMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference September 22, 2016 in New YorkThe first priority in Syria is for the international community to get humanitarian aid to those in desperate need, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday as a ceasefire unravelled. "We must all focus on getting this aid to those who need it, which has nothing to do with grounding flights," he told a news conference in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Rouhani made the remarks in response to a question from a journalist about why Iran was backing the Bashar al-Assad government and whether Iran would support calls to ground Russian and Syrian airplanes.
 
 

Israeli leader invites Abbas to the Knesset in UN speech

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎11:35:50 PMGo to full article
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended an unprecedented invitation Thursday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to address Israel's parliament.
 
 

Shocked to learn: Canada's first Afghan MP actually born in Iran

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:41:25 PMGo to full article
Canada's Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef is sworn-in on November 4, 2015Championed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the nation's first Afghanistan-born lawmaker, Maryam Monsef said Thursday she was shocked to learn she was actually born in Iran. The 31-year-old democratic reform minister is the youngest member of Trudeau's cabinet. US President Barack Obama picked up on this during a visit to Ottawa in June, highlighting her roots and dramatic journey in a speech to parliament.
 
 

Hand-delivered hacking: malicious USBs left in mailboxes

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎8:13:05 PMGo to full article
This photo taken July 9, 2016 shows a thumb drive delivered to the home of French software engineer Julien Ascoet outside the French port city of Nantes. Although the memory stick is branded, Ascoet says he doesn’t believe the brand is in any way linked to the mysterious delivery. And Ascoet is not alone; there are signs that cybercriminals are experimenting with hand-delivery of malware to people’s homes. Australian police have drawn international attention by announcing that “extremely harmful” memory sticks have been left in mailboxes across the suburban town of Pakenham, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Melbourne. (Julien Ascoet via AP)LONDON (AP) — Julien Ascoet was already suspicious when he pulled the plain white envelope from his mailbox this past July.
 
 

Officials: Israeli spy satellite working after rocky launch

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎8:06:05 PMGo to full article
JERUSALEM (AP) — A new Israeli spy satellite is operational and taking high-quality pictures after suffering technical difficulties during its launch earlier this month, defense officials said Thursday.
 

Canada's first Afghan minister now says she was born in Iran

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:31 PMGo to full article
TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian lawmaker touted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada's first Afghan-born cabinet minister said Thursday she recently learned from her mother that she was born in Iran.
 

US grants Airbus, Boeing permission to sell aircraft to Iran

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:56 PMGo to full article
FILE -- In this March 2, 2008 file photo, two passenger planes of Iran's national air carrier, Iran Air, are parked at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran. Airbus announced Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, that the U.S. government has granted it a license allowing it to sell the first 17 planes involved in a landmark deal with Iran. Most Iranian planes were purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and brought Islamists to power. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Aviation giants Airbus and Boeing Co. have received permission from the U.S. government to sell aircraft to Iran, part of landmark deals potentially worth some $50 billion in total following last year's nuclear accord.
 
 

Kuwait Shiite MP gets new jail term for insults

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:37:39 PMGo to full article
Kuwaiti Shiite MP Abdulhameed Dashti speaks during a parliament session at Kuwait's national assembly in the capital Kuwait City in April 2015A Kuwaiti court on Thursday sentenced Shiite lawmaker Abdulhameed Dashti to 11 years' jail in absentia for insults against the emirate's ruler and its neighbour Saudi Arabia. Any criticism of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah can result in charges of insulting him, and dozens of opposition activists have been jailed for the offence in the past few years. The verdict against Dashti, announced in a court statement, comes two months after he was sentenced to 14 years and six months for a similar offence.
 
 

Why is Britain's MI6 hiring more spies?

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:48 PMGo to full article
The ranks of Britain's intelligence agency MI6 will swell from 2,500 to approximately 3,500 by 2020, according to a report published by the BBC on Wednesday, as spy services in countries around the world point to the increasing primacy of cyberattacks as a tool of conflict between states. "The information revolution fundamentally changes our operating environment," said Mr. Younger, according to the BBC. "In five years' time there will be two sorts of intelligence services: those that understand this fact and have prospered, and those that don't and haven't.
 

US go ahead on Iran planes lifts trade, banking 'taboo'

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:06:32 PMGo to full article
Boeing can fulfil a June memorandum of agreement with Iran Air that covered the sale of 80 planes, consisting of single-aisle 737 and the long-range 777 aircraftThe US green light for Boeing and Airbus sales to Iran has broken a taboo and opens the door to a potential boom in foreign financial dealings with Tehran, experts said. As well as a long overdue modernisation for its aging fleet of passenger planes, Wednesday's announcement of US licences for Airbus and Boeing serves to reassure other foreign firms and major banks over doing business with the Islamic republic. This deal will ease the fears of major foreign banks and companies which want to work with Iran," an official of an Iranian private bank told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
 
 

Local Yemeni al Qaeda leader killed in U.S. drone strike: official

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:01:51 PMGo to full article
A senior leader of Yemen's al Qaeda branch was killed on Thursday in a raid by a U.S. drone strike in central Yemen, an official of the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said. The official said Abdallah al-Sanaani, a regional commander in Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed along with his bodyguard while traveling in a vehicle in the al-Sawma'a district of al-Bayda province. The United States has been using drones to target the Islamist militant group, which has exploited Yemen's civil war to carve out a foothold in the impoverished country.
 

Death toll from air strike in Yemen rises to 26, sources say

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎3:36:01 PMGo to full article
People gather at the site of a Saudi-led air strike in the Red Sea port city of HodeidahThe death toll from an Arab coalition air strike which hit a house in a residential area in western Yemen has risen to 26 people, medics and residents in the Houthi-held area said on Thursday, and the alliance said it was looking into the report. Warplanes of the Saudi-led alliance launched missiles on Wednesday at a residential neighborhood in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah where Houthi leaders were staying, a resident and medical workers in the Houthi-controled area told Reuters. The coalition, which began operations in Yemen in March last year to try to reverse the rise to power of the Iran-allied Houthi group, has repeatedly said it does not target civilians.
 
 

Iran oil industry fires, blasts raise suspicions of hacking

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:23 PMGo to full article
In this photo released by the semi-official Iranian Isna News Agency, and taken on July 4, 2016, firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at the Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex at the Imam Khomeini port, southwestern Iran. A series of fires at Iranian petrochemical plants and facilities have raised suspicions about hacking potentially playing a role in the blazes. Iran officially insists the six known blazes this summer weren’t the result of a cyberattack. However, authorities themselves saying that “viruses had contaminated” equipment at several of the affected complexes. (Borna Ghasemi/ISNA via AP)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A series of fires at Iranian petrochemical plants and facilities have raised suspicions about hacking potentially playing a role, with authorities saying that "viruses had contaminated" equipment at several of the affected complexes.
 
 

Drone strike kills 3 Qaeda suspects in Yemen: officials

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎3:06:56 PMGo to full article
More than 6,600 people have been killed in the Yemeni conflict since March 2015, the UN saysAn apparent US drone strike killed three suspected Al-Qaeda members Thursday in Yemen, including a mid-ranking commander, security officials said. One security official said jihadists had recently sought refugee in the vicinity following military operations against the extremists in nearby Hadramawt, Abyan and Lahj provinces. Two suspected Al-Qaeda members were killed Wednesday in a similar strike in central Marib province.
 
 

Bahrain court dismisses appeal against dissolution of Shi'ite opposition group: paper

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:23:59 PMGo to full article
An appeals court on Thursday dismissed a challenge to the dissolution of Bahrain's main Shi'ite Muslim opposition group, a newspaper reported, in effect affirming a lower court decision condemned by the United States and the United Nations in July. Bahrain's Sunni Muslim-led government has come under criticism from its Western allies and rights groups for its handling of dissent. Bahrain's Shi'ites say they suffer discrimination, though the government denies this.
 

President Assad to AP: Syria war will 'drag on' as part of global conflict

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:20:45 PMGo to full article
President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with AP News broadcast on Thursday that Syria's war will "drag on" as long as it is part of a global conflict funded and interfered in by other countries. "When you talk about it as part of a global conflict and a regional conflict, when you have many external factors that you don't control, it's going to drag on," Assad said. Syria's five-year-old war pits Assad, backed by Russia, Iran and Arab Shi'ite Muslim militias against a myriad of Sunni Muslim rebel groups, including some supported by the United States, Turkey and Gulf Arab states.
 

Yemen rebels accuse detained American of spying

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎1:56:56 PMGo to full article
Hostility to Washington has long been a key part of the rhetoric of the Huthi Shiite rebels who chant "Death to America" slogans at ralliesYemeni rebels and their allies on Thursday accused an American detained in the capital of providing target coordinates for air strikes by their foes in a Saudi-led coalition. Masked gunmen wearing the uniform of the rebels' national security service seized Peter Willems on Tuesday from the principal's office of the Exceed Language Center he heads. "Here is the American spy Peter Willems, director of the Exceed Language Center," a member of the rebels' Revolutionary Committee, Nayef al-Qanes, tweeted alongside a photograph of the detained school head.
 
 

Bahrain court upholds dissolution of main Shiite opposition

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎12:57:10 PMGo to full article
A Bahraini holds a portrait of Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the Shiite opposition movement Al-Wefaq, during a protest on the outskirts of the capital Manama on May 29, 2016A Bahraini appeals court on Thursday upheld an order dissolving the country's main Shiite opposition group despite international criticism of the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom's intensified crackdown on dissent. A lower court had ordered the dissolution of the Al-Wefaq association in July over accusations including "harbouring terrorism" and ordered its funds to be seized by the government. Al-Wefaq was the largest group in parliament before its lawmakers resigned en masse in protest at the crushing of Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations in 2011 calling for an elected government.
 
 

The Latest: PM: UN peace fund gets half $300 million needed

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:30:15 AMGo to full article
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the high-level U.N. General Assembly meetings (all times local):
 
 

Kerry demands Russia, Syria ground warplanes to save truce

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎4:06:40 AMGo to full article
A man runs with a stretcher in a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of AleppoBy Michelle Nichols and Tom Perry UNITED NATIONS/BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanded on Wednesday that Russia and the Syrian government immediately halt flights over Syrian battle zones, in what he called a last chance to salvage a collapsing ceasefire and find a way "out of the carnage". An impassioned Kerry faced off with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the U.N. Security Council in New York, during a tense televised showdown, saying the bombing of an aid convoy in Syria raised "profound doubt whether Russia and the Assad regime can or will live up to" ceasefire obligations.
 
 

Push for Iraq's Mosul faces myriad challenges

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:25:35 AMGo to full article
Mosul, Iraq's second city, is the ultimate prize in the war against the Islamic State group, which seized it and swathes of other territory in 2014Iraq has promised to recapture Mosul by year's end and US top brass have hinted an operation could start next month, but the offensive to retake the jihadist bastion faces serious challenges. Mosul, Iraq's second city, is the ultimate prize in the country's war against the Islamic State group, which seized it and swathes of other territory in 2014. In the battle for Mosul, there will be "formidable challenges at all levels, one of the most important of them coordination between military units taking part in the battle," said Iraqi security analyst Jassim Hanoon.
 
 

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills at least 19 in Yemen: residents

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎11:47:04 PMGo to full article
At least 19 civilians were killed on Wednesday when a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit a house in western Yemen, according to residents, medics and a local official. Fighter jets of an Arab alliance launched missiles on Wednesday at a presidential palace in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah occupied by leaders of the Iran-allied Houthi militia, a resident told Reuters. A raid hit a house in a neighborhood populated by workers adjacent to the palace killing 19 civilians and wounding dozens, according to Hashim Azazi, deputy governor of Hodeidah province.
 

Fujairah launches UAE's first supertanker dock

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎11:35:27 PMGo to full article
An Emirati man stands in front of a pipeline at the oil terminal of Fujairah during the inauguration ceremony of a dock for supertankers on September 21, 2016The oil terminal at Fujairah on Wednesday inaugurated a dock for supertankers, the first of its kind in OPEC member the United Arab Emirates. The facility enables the terminal to receive tankers measuring 334 metres (yards) and weighing 330,000 tonnes, port director Mussa Murad said at the inauguration ceremony. The jetty is able to process two million tonnes of petroleum products at loading or unloading in 24 hours, he said.
 
 

Airbus, Boeing granted US license to sell planes to Iran

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎11:30:30 PMGo to full article
Airbus reached a deal in January 2016 to sell Iran 118 aircraft but it required approval from the US Office of Foreign Assets ControlAirbus and Boeing announced Wednesday that they received US licenses to sell planes to Iran Air, clearing the way for the first western aircraft sales to the country in decades. The approvals from the US Treasury Department allow both aerospace giants to proceed with sales worth billions of dollars into a country that had been entirely off limits prior to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. "We have issued the first two licenses for the export of certain commercial passenger aircraft to Iran under this new policy -- to Boeing and Airbus," said a Treasury spokesperson.
 
 

US grants Airbus, Boeing a chance to sell airplanes to Iran

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:56:02 PMGo to full article
FILE -- In this March 2, 2008 file photo, two passenger planes of Iran's national air carrier, Iran Air, are parked at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran. Airbus announced Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, that the U.S. government has granted it a license allowing it to sell the first 17 planes involved in a landmark deal with Iran. Most Iranian planes were purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and brought Islamists to power. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. government granted aviation giants Airbus and Boeing permission on Wednesday to sell aircraft to Iran following last year's nuclear accord.
 
 

U.S. has issued first two licenses for airplane sales to Iran: Treasury

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:26:53 PMGo to full article
The United States has issued licenses to Boeing and Airbus to sell commercial aircraft to Iran, in accordance with last year's nuclear deal, a U.S. Treasury spokeswoman said in a statement on Wednesday. "Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States committed to license the export of certain commercial passenger aircraft to Iran," a Treasury spokeswoman said in the statement.
 

Boeing receives U.S. license to sell jetliners to Iran, ending ban

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:26:53 PMGo to full article
Boeing logo at their headquarters in ChicagoBoeing Co said it had received on Wednesday a U.S. government license allowing it sell jetliners to Iran, ending a decades-long ban and matching European rival Airbus , which also said it received license approval. The green light allows the Chicago-based plane maker to conclude sales of more than 100 planes that were outlined in a memorandum of agreement it reached with Iran Air in June, Boeing said. "We have received that license and remain in talks with Iran Air based on the MOA," Boeing said in a statement.
 
 

U.S. begins unblocking jetliner sales to Iran

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:26:53 PMGo to full article
A IranAir Boeing 747SP aircraft is pictured before leaving Tehran's Mehrabad airportPARIS/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States has begun unblocking deals by Western giants to sell jetliners to Iran in a move likely to ease complaints from Tehran over implementation of last year's sanctions deal, but test conservative opposition to the deals in both nations. Europe's Airbus said on Wednesday it had received U.S. Treasury approval to begin exporting jets to Iran, under a deal for more than 100 jets struck in January. Hours later, its U.S. rival Boeing , which had been behind Airbus in the line for permits because its matching deal for over 100 jets came six months later, said it had received a sales license and remained in talks with IranAir.
 
 

Senate votes to back $1 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:29 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2016 file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, backed the Obama administration’s plan to sell more than $1 billion worth of American-made tanks and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, soundly defeating a bid to derail the deal pushed by lawmakers critical of the kingdom’s role in Yemen’s civil war. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday backed the Obama administration's plan to sell more than $1 billion worth of American-made tanks and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, soundly defeating a bid to derail the deal pushed by lawmakers critical of the kingdom's role in Yemen's civil war.
 
 

Can Iran hard-liners make Rouhani a one-term president?

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9:04:26 PMGo to full article
Iran’s election may not be for another eight months, but hard-line opponents of President Hassan Rouhani have already marshaled powerful tools to unseat him. Recommended: How much do you know about Iran? It's also viewed as an opening to interference in Iran’s affairs, including the deep-rooted business interests that are controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
 

Obama, Netanyahu look past years of tensions in last meeting

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎8:58:48 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)NEW YORK (AP) — Setting aside years of tensions, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bid each other farewell Wednesday with a strident affirmation of security ties between their nations and little public talk of their persistent differences over Iran, Israeli settlements and the Palestinians.
 
 

UAE opens first jetty outside Gulf to load fuel onto tankers

 
‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎8:29:50 PMGo to full article
An oil tanker approaches to the new Jetty during the launch of the new $650 million oil facility in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. The U.A.E has opened its first jetty outside the Persian Gulf that is capable of loading oil onto some of the world's biggest tanker ships. The launch of the facility will make it easier for hulking tanker ships known as "very large crude carriers" to load their cargo rather than have it ferried to them out at sea. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)FUJAIRAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates has opened its first jetty outside the Persian Gulf that is capable of loading oil onto some of the world's biggest tanker ships.
 
 

 

 

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India signs deal to buy 36 French Rafale fighter jets

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎27 minutes agoGo to full article
India, the world's top defence importer, signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's DassaultIndia signed a formal agreement Friday to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault for 7.9 billion euros ($8.8 billion), one of its biggest defence deals in decades. India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement at a ceremony in New Delhi after years of tortuous negotiations. Friday's agreement represents a substantial reduction from the 126 planes originally mooted, but is still one of India's biggest defence deals in decades.
 
 

Advisers warn Trump not to get riled by Clinton in debate

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎40 minutes agoGo to full article
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Sun Center Studios, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Aston, Penn. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's advisers are urging him to keep his cool during next week's presidential debate and resist attempts by Hillary Clinton to provoke him with questions about his business record, wealth or controversial comments about minorities.
 
 

Iraq sets ceiling on oil production before Algeria meeting

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎43 minutes agoGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — OPEC member Iraq says it supports any deal to prop up oil prices ahead of next week's meeting of oil producers in Algeria.
 

After IS, a painful return for residents of Iraq's Fallujah

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
FILE -- In this Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, internally displaced Iraqis unload their furniture as they return to Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. Three days after the Iraqi city of Fallujah was officially reopened for residents, some 500 families have returned but the vast majority is staying away. Returnees face stringent security checks before they can enter a city that has been devastated by the fighting. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed, File)FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) — In the three days since the Iraqi city of Fallujah was reopened for residents following its recapture from the Islamic State group, just over 500 families have returned home, Maj. Gen. Saad al-Harbea, the head of west Baghdad operations, said.
 
 

Jeremy Corbyn: divisive Labour leader set to fight off rival

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn's anti-establishment, left-wing credentials have endeared him to voters disillusioned with mainstream politicsOpposed by most of his own MPs but lionised by grassroots activists, socialist Jeremy Corbyn is tipped to fight off a leadership challenge while pitching the Labour Party into an increasingly uncertain future. Corbyn spent decades on the backbenches of parliament, where his left-wing views have long been out of fashion, before his surprise election as Labour leader last September. Rumbling criticism of his leadership style turned into open rebellion after June's referendum vote to leave the European Union, which critics say Corbyn did not do enough to prevent, but he refused to stand aside.
 
 

Jeremy Corbyn: divisive UK Labour leader set to fight off rival

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn's anti-establishment, left-wing credentials have endeared him to voters disillusioned with mainstream politicsOpposed by most of his own MPs but lionised by grassroots activists, socialist Jeremy Corbyn is tipped to fight off a leadership challenge while pitching Britain's Labour Party into an increasingly uncertain future. Corbyn spent decades on the backbenches of parliament, where his left-wing views have long been out of fashion, before his surprise election as Labour leader last September. Rumbling criticism of his leadership style turned into open rebellion after June's referendum vote to leave the European Union, which critics say Corbyn did not do enough to prevent, but he refused to stand aside.
 
 

Top U.S. general: Unwise to share intelligence with Russia on Syria

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford arrive to testifyBy Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. general told Congress on Thursday it would be unwise to share intelligence with Russia and stressed that would not be one of the military's missions if Washington and Moscow were to ever work together against Islamist militants in Syria. The United States and Russia clinched a ceasefire deal earlier this month that held out the possibility of joint targeting of militants after a cessation of hostilities and delivery of humanitarian aid. The text of one of several related documents, published on Thursday by the State Department, said both countries would "share intelligence and develop actionable targets for military action" against the al Qaeda-linked group formerly known as Nusra Front.
 
 

Trump debate challenge: Keeping his cool if Clinton attacks

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Shale Insight Conference, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's advisers are urging him to keep his cool during next week's presidential debate and resist attempts by Hillary Clinton to provoke him with questions about his business record, wealth or controversial comments about minorities.
 
 

Iran's Rouhani at U.N. calls on rival Saudi to cease 'divisive policies'

 
‎Today, ‎September ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10 hours agoGo to full article
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday called on regional rival Saudi Arabia to "cease and desist" from "divisive policies" if it was serious about regional peace and security. Rouhani was addressing the United Nations General Assembly the day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef suggested Iran should be a better neighbor in the region and not interfere in the affairs of other countries. The leading Shi'ite Muslim power, Iran and Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia are both fighting Sunni militants of Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq and has supporters and sympathizers worldwide who have carried out bombings and shootings of civilians.
 
 

Iraq's Zebari accuses ex-PM Maliki of arranging dismissal as finance minister

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎11:44:39 PMGo to full article
Sacked Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari speaks during a news conference in ErbilBy Mahdi Talat ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Deposed Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari on Thursday accused former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of orchestrating his removal from office, publicly exposing rifts within an increasingly unstable government. Zebari, who served for more than a decade as Iraq's foreign minister including under Maliki, is a leader in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the uncle of the Kurdistan region's Prime Minister Massoud Barzani. "The side that is behind the questioning and withdrawal of confidence is the State of Law and its head Nuri al-Maliki in collusion unfortunately with the speaker of parliament Saleem al-Jabouri," Zebari told reporters at a hotel in the Kurdish capital Erbil.
 
 

German major sees lengthy battle for Islamic State Iraq stronghold

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎11:42:27 PMGo to full article
By Sabine Siebold ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Islamic State militants are expected to fight bitterly to hold onto their de-facto Iraqi capital, and the battle to retake Mosul will likely be a bloody one, a German major helping train local forces said on Thursday. Major Rene Braun leads a group of 40 German soldiers who are training Kurdish peshmerga forces on how to fight the ultra-hardline militants at close range, in a reconstructed village near Erbil and another site that simulates a large city. "Islamic State will fight long and hard, and then - as they've said themselves - they'll presumably regroup in north Africa," Braun told reporters.
 

Pentagon helping Southeast Asian allies tackle IS

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:04:34 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 22, 2016The United States is helping Southeast Asian allies do more to prevent the Islamic State group from gaining a greater foothold in the area, senior Pentagon officials said Thursday. The IS has already established a presence in several countries across the region including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines, and authorities worry both about domestic attacks and nationals traveling to join the jihadists in Iraq and Syria. General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States is helping partners share intelligence and information on extremist groups.
 
 

Accused New York bomber's wife back; lawyer seeks access to suspect

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎8:46:31 PMGo to full article
Ahmad Khan Rahami in Union County New Prosecutor’s Office photoBy David Ingram NEW YORK (Reuters) - The wife of the Afghan-born U.S. citizen charged in last weekend's bombings in New York City and New Jersey has returned to the United States, a law enforcement official said on Thursday, as a defense lawyer pressed to get access to the accused man. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, has been held in a Newark, New Jersey, hospital since being arrested on Monday with wounds after a shootout with police. Rahami faces federal charges in both states stemming from a Saturday night bombing in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood that injured 31 people and explosives found in two New Jersey locations.
 
 

Pentagon weighs arming Syrian Kurds ahead of Raqa fight

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎8:21:05 PMGo to full article
US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters advance into the Islamic State jihadist's group bastion of Manbij, in northern Syria, on June 23, 2016Washington is considering arming Syrian Kurdish forces who will join the offensive to retake the Islamic State group's stronghold of Raqa, the US military's top officer said Thursday. "We're in deliberation about exactly what to do with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) right now," General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The SDF numbers about 30,000 fighters and is made up largely of Kurds, though Syrian Arabs also form a significant component.
 
 

Veterans Tour Lambeau Field with Wounded Warrior Project

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:00 PMGo to full article
GREEN BAY, Wis., Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Go Pack Go! Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently hosted a group of injured veterans – and diehard football fans – for an afternoon of living sports history at Green Bay's famous Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. "I was so excited when I learned about this opportunity," said Marine veteran Gregory Kolaske.
 

US: Shell that hit Iraqi base contained sulfur-mustard agent

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎7:31:52 PMGo to full article
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Dunford and Defense Secretary Ash Carter faced sharp questions from Republicans angry that the Obama administration is not taking more aggressive steps to end the 5-year-old-civil war in Syria. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. general said Thursday that an Islamic State rocket that hit a military base used by hundreds of U.S. troops in northern Iraq contained chemical agents that cause human skin to blister.
 
 

Jordan's Brotherhood back in parliament after vote

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎7:25:33 PMGo to full article
A Jordanian woman casts her ballot in the parliamentary elections at a polling station in the capital Amman on September 20, 2016Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood has made a return to parliament after winning 16 seats in the 130-member house, according to results announced Thursday by the country's electoral commission. The Brotherhood's Islamic Action Front (IAF) contested Tuesday's polls after having boycotted two previous parliamentary elections in the kingdom, in 2010 and 2013, in protest at the electoral system and alleged voting fraud. The election came as Jordan, a key ally of Western countries, wrestles with the spillover of wars in neighbouring Syria and Iraq and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
 
 

Freeports boom highlights risks of shady activities

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:34:55 PMGo to full article
The Geneva Ports Francs building is pictured in GenevaBy Silke Koltrowitz and Paul Arnold GENEVA (Reuters) - Freeports springing up around the world as more investors store and trade physical assets are coming under increased scrutiny as potential black holes for dodging taxes, laundering money or financing extremists as bank secrecy erodes. Looted Turkish and Italian antiquities seized at the biggest Swiss freeport in Geneva raise the possibility that many artefacts illegally excavated from Libya, Syria or Iraq could lurk in these secretive storage sites, or be stowed there in the future. "We know that lootings helped finance terrorism in the past ... To avoid this happening again with Islamic State or others, we decided to systematically check incoming antiquities, starting Sept. 19," David Hiler, chairman of the Geneva Freeport, told Reuters in an interview.
 
 

U.S. presidential debates: from Kennedy-Nixon to Clinton-Trump

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:07:30 PMGo to full article
(Reuters) - Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump face off on Monday in the first of a series of televised debates that could prove crucial to who wins the White House on Nov. 8. 1960: Seventy million viewers watched the first televised American presidential debate, which pitted Republican Vice President Richard Nixon against Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy. Nixon was recovering from a hospital visit and had a 5-o'clock shadow, having refused makeup.
 

OPEC in new push to clinch first deal to curb output since 2008

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:18:21 PMGo to full article
OPEC logo is pictured at its headquarters in ViennaBy Rania El Gamal and Alex Lawler DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - As far as OPEC decision-making is concerned, Algeria, which plays host to oil ministers next week, has always been the land of surprises. The last two meetings of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held in Algeria -- in 2004 and 2008 -- shocked the market with unexpected production cuts to prop up prices. The stars could align for OPEC again next week when its ministers return to Algiers and look ready to curb output for the first time in eight years, according to OPEC officials and sources.
 
 

Migrant dinghies wash up in Renaissance Florence with Ai Weiwei

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:00:34 PMGo to full article
Dubbed "Ai Weiwei libero" (free), the exhibition opens Friday and runs until January 22 at the Strozzi Palace in the Tuscan capitalRed dinghies hang from the facade of a Renaissance palace in Florence in Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's latest exhibition, a homage to those refugees who risk all to reach Europe by boat. "I have visited dozens of refugee camps in Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel and the Gaza Strip and talked with all these people," said the 59-year old, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government who was once arrested for falling foul of the authorities.
 
 

Iraqi army says it recaptured key town south of Mosul

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎4:35:00 PMGo to full article
A member of the Iraqi security forces walks past a wall painted with the black flag commonly used by Islamic State militants in ShirqatBy Ghazwan Hassan TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi forces backed by air strikes from the U.S.-led coalition gained complete control of the northern district of Shirqat on Thursday, bringing the military a step closer to a main push on Mosul later this year. Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the military's joint operations command, said in a statement broadcast on state television that the district had been liberated from "the desecration of terrorism". Shirqat, on the Tigris river 100 km (60 miles) south of Mosul, has been surrounded for months by Iraqi troops and Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim militias allied to the government.
 
 

Iraq: Forces push IS militants from key northern town

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎4:19:47 PMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and paramilitary forces, Iraqi government troops on Thursday pushed Islamic State group militants from a key town north of the Iraqi capital, days after launching an operation to retake it, a military spokesman said.
 

Two Spaniards arrested, accused of glorifying Islamic State

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎4:13:41 PMGo to full article
Two Spanish men have been arrested in Madrid accused of publicly praising Islamic State attacks on Paris and planning to join the militants, the interior ministry said on Thursday. Police detained the elder of the two after learning he had traveled to Turkey before returning to Spain several days later, the ministry said in a statement. Turkey borders both Syria and Iraq where Islamic State has seized territory.
 

Johnson and Trump Are Virtually Tied Among the US Military

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎1:00:00 PMGo to full article
Johnson and Trump Are Virtually Tied Among the US MilitaryOn the surface at least, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson are far apart when it comes to defense and military issues. "I'm gonna build a military that's gonna be much stronger than it is right now,” Trump once said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
 
 

Morocco detains four 'dangerous' IS suspects

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎12:51:35 PMGo to full article
The government says dozens of "terrorist cells" have been uncovered in the past three years with ties to jihadists in Iraq and SyriaMoroccan police have arrested four "dangerous" suspected jihadists linked to the Islamic State group who were planning attacks across the country, the government said on Thursday. Investigators apprehended an individual on Wednesday in the northern city of Meknes who had been "planning terrorist attacks in Morocco," according to a statement from the interior ministry. Last week three suspected extremists were arrested around Tangiers, in northern Morocco, reportedly in the process of preparing "extremely serious terrorist acts", the statement said.
 
 

Britain ramps up humanitarian aid in Iraq ahead of Mosul offensive

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎12:33:22 PMGo to full article
By Lin Taylor LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain said on Thursday it will give 40 million pounds ($52.26 million) in humanitarian aid to Iraq, anticipating a wave of displaced people as government forces prepare to recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State. The advance on Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city which fell in 2014 to the militant group, could begin as soon as next month. The United Nations says the Mosul offensive risks triggering a major humanitarian crisis, with one million or more people potentially fleeing the city.
 

India needs more than Rafale to match China: experts

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎11:26:04 AMGo to full article
Since 2014 India, the world's top defence importer, has signed several big-ticket deals as part of a $100-billion upgradeIndia may have just spent billions of dollars on hi-tech French fighter jets, but experts say it needs to do a lot more if it is going to face up to an increasingly assertive China. The world's top defence importer has signed several big-ticket deals as part of a $100-billion upgrade since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in 2014. An agreement to buy 36 cutting edge Rafale jets from France's Dassault aims to fix that.
 
 

Laserman, the Swedish Serial Killer

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article
Laserman, the Swedish Serial KillerAn anti-immigrant killer hit the streets of Stockholm against a backdrop of xenophobic politicking.
 
 

Poet behind book about U.S. racism wins 2016 'genius grant'

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎6:06:32 AMGo to full article
FILE PHOTO - Claudia Rankine arrives at the 46th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena(Reuters) - A poet whose work explores the casual racism in the United States toward African-Americans is among the 23 winners of $625,000 "genius grants," the U.S. organization awarding them said on Thursday. Claudia Rankine, 53, was joined in the honor by leaders in fields as varied as civil rights law and microbiology, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation said in a statement. Rankine's 2014 book of poetry, "Citizen," which has won multiple literary awards, was among the works cited by the foundation for the grant.
 
 

Corbyn set to win but Labour could split

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:15:04 AMGo to full article
Jeremy Corbyn is set to be re-elected head of the Labour Party despite a power struggle with his own MPs that threatens to tear apart the historic movementJeremy Corbyn is set to be re-elected head of the Labour Party on Saturday despite a power struggle with his own MPs that threatens to tear apart the historic movement. Corbyn is expected to win out against challenger Owen Smith, who launched his bid after a parliamentary rebellion in the wake of the shock Brexit vote that critics partly blamed on Corbyn's lacklustre campaign. The prospect has prompted some commentators to warn that Labour's weakness in opposing the government could increase the chances of Prime Minister Theresa May opting for a "hard Brexit" that would take Britain out of Europe's single market.
 
 

Socialist Corbyn set to win but UK Labour could split

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎5:13:47 AMGo to full article
Jeremy Corbyn is set to be re-elected head of the Labour Party despite a power struggle with his own MPs that threatens to tear apart the historic movementLeftist Jeremy Corbyn is set to be re-elected head of Britain's opposition Labour Party on Saturday despite a power struggle with his own MPs that threatens to tear apart the historic movement. Corbyn is expected to win out against challenger Owen Smith, who launched his bid after a parliamentary rebellion in the wake of the shock Brexit vote that critics partly blamed on Corbyn's lacklustre campaign. The prospect has prompted some commentators to warn that Labour's weakness in opposing the government could increase the chances of Prime Minister Theresa May opting for a "hard Brexit" that would take Britain out of Europe's single market.
 
 

Meet southern Iraq's youngest Koran memorizer

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎3:37:15 AMGo to full article
Nine-year-old Saif Mustafa Lateef has recently been awarded the title of the youngest memorizer (hafiz) of the entire holy koran in the Iraqi city of Basra. Competing with thousands of Koran memorizers from ten Iraqi provinces in a Koran reciting and memorizing contest, held recently in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala, Saif came first as the youngest hafiz, beating hundreds of memorizers of his age. The contest is part of a program launched in 2009 by the administrative body of Imam Hussein Shrine in Kerbala city to teach males and females of different ages to recite and memorize the Koran, with the aim of reaching the target of 1,000 Koran memorizers.
 

'No tolerance' for repeat of abuses in upcoming Iraq campaign: U.S. envoy

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:41 AMGo to full article
By Yara Bayoumy UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.S. envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition said on Wednesday there would be "no tolerance" for sectarian torture and other abuses resulting from the planned offensive to recapture the group's de-facto Iraqi capital of Mosul. Brett McGurk, speaking at a meeting on the sidelines of the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, said the coalition was already taking steps to ensure there would be no repeat of the abuses seen in the wake of the recapture of Iraq's Falluja in June, when Shi'ite militias detained, abused and tortured scores of Sunni civilians. "We must make sure the screening process in Mosul is done professionally with some third-party observers at the screening centers, that is what we hope to have," McGurk told the meeting.
 

Mosul: Iraq's second city, key to IS group

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:41:10 AMGo to full article
Peshmerga fighters stand guard on the front line against Islamic State group militants some 20 kms east of Mosul, on August 18, 2014Mosul was an Iraqi demographic mosaic of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians that was gutted by years of violence culminating in the Islamic State group takeover in June 2014. Iraq's second-largest city, with a population now estimated at up to one million, mostly Sunni Arabs, Mosul is crucial to IS, which declared its Islamic "caliphate" there. The United Nations has estimated that the battle for Mosul could displace a million people, and affect up to 1.5 million civilians in all.
 
 

Iraq announces recapture of northern town from IS

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:39:54 AMGo to full article
The Islamic State group large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes and training have since retaken significant groundIraq announced Thursday that its forces have recaptured a northern town from the Islamic State group in an operation launched ahead of a push for the city of Mosul. Security forces began the operation on Tuesday to oust the Islamic State group from Sharqat, a town near supply lines needed for the battle to retake second city Mosul from the jihadists. Iraqi forces "completely liberated the Sharqat district and raised the Iraqi flag over the government headquarters" in the town, the country's Joint Operations Command said in a statement that hailed the speed of the operation.
 
 

Push for Iraq's Mosul faces myriad challenges

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎2:25:35 AMGo to full article
Mosul, Iraq's second city, is the ultimate prize in the war against the Islamic State group, which seized it and swathes of other territory in 2014Iraq has promised to recapture Mosul by year's end and US top brass have hinted an operation could start next month, but the offensive to retake the jihadist bastion faces serious challenges. Mosul, Iraq's second city, is the ultimate prize in the country's war against the Islamic State group, which seized it and swathes of other territory in 2014. In the battle for Mosul, there will be "formidable challenges at all levels, one of the most important of them coordination between military units taking part in the battle," said Iraqi security analyst Jassim Hanoon.
 
 

Chemical agent possibly found on rocket fired at US troops in Iraq

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎12:55:31 AMGo to full article
Observers have repeatedly alleged IS has used chemical weapons, and the Pentagon has confirmed the jihadists have deployed chlorine and sulfur mustard devicesA rocket fired by Islamic State jihadists at US forces in Iraq may have carried a chemical agent, a US defense official said Wednesday. No one was injured in Tuesday's blast near an airfield by the northern town of Qayyarah and no one showed any immediate signs of exposure to the suspected mustard agent, the official said. Several hundred US troops are working with Iraqi partners to strengthen the airfield ahead of a push on the IS stronghold of Mosul.
 
 

Investigators try to determine if accused New York bomber had help

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎12:29:06 AMGo to full article
Policemen place in an ambulance a man they identified as Ahmad Khan Rahami in LindenBy David Ingram and Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Wednesday were looking into whether an Afghan-born American citizen charged with carrying out bombings in New York and New Jersey acted alone or had help as the city's top federal public defender sought access to the suspect. Police in New York City said they had not yet been permitted by doctors to speak to Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, who was arrested on Monday after being wounded in a gunfight with police in Linden, New Jersey. Rahami has been charged with wounding 31 people in a bombing in New York on Saturday that authorities called a "terrorist act." The Federal Bureau of Investigation released a photo of two men who found a second, unexploded pressure cooker device they say Rahami left in a piece of luggage in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on Saturday night.
 
 

IS rocket fired in Iraq may have contained mustard agent

 
‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎12:27:19 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — A small rocket that landed on a military base in northern Iraq where hundreds of U.S. troops are working with Iraqi troops may have contained a mustard agent, a U.S. military official said Wednesday.

 

 

US wants Mosul offensive on IS in April-May

 
‎20 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:50 AMGo to full article
Smoke billows after an US air strike near the Mosul dam, Iraq's largest, on the Tigris river, on August 17, 2014The US wants Iraq to launch its offensive to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State group in April or May, military officials said. Mosul is believed to be held by 1,000-2,000 IS fighters and 20,000-25,000 Iraqi troops are needed to carry out the offensive, an official with US Central Command said on Thursday. US-led coalition aircraft have recently focused air strikes in the area of Mosul and Kurdish forces have made inroads on the ground nearby. Kurdish peshmerga forces have also launched successful offensives against IS-held roads near Mosul, which is in the north of the country.

 

 


 

Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

 

 
 

Japan wants fresh UN sanctions against North Korea

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Aug 30, 2016 - Japan pushed the UN Security Council on Tuesday to consider fresh sanctions against North Korea for test-firing a series of ballistic missiles that it said were a threat to the region and the entire world.

The council strongly condemned the series of launches on Friday and agreed in a unanimous statement backed by China to take "further significant measures."

"The number of provocative actions taken by North Korea has been phenomenal," said Japanese Ambassador Kero Bessho following a closed-door meeting of the council.

Bessho stressed that the high number of launches had led to "quite noteworthy" advances in North Korea's nuclear and missile technology programs.

"This presents a serious threat to the region and the world as a whole," he told reporters.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.

The council in March adopted the toughest sanctions resolution to date targeting North Korea's trade in minerals and tightening banking restrictions, after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test.

Bessho noted that 52 countries had so far presented reports detailing how they are enforcing the new raft of sanctions under resolution 2270, but added that more sanctions were necessary.

"For Japan, we feel that sanctions are necessary," he said.

"We need to implement 2270 rigorously and we feel that we can do more in terms of sanctions in order to show to the DPRK that they just cannot keep on going in this way."

North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

The council statement was adopted after several rounds of negotiations with China, Pyongyang's ally, which has insisted over recent weeks on the need to avoid an escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.

The Japanese ambassador said many council members supported the idea of further measures, but suggested that this fell short of a consensus.

"The council should be united in taking action," said Bessho.

A previous bid by the council to condemn North Korea for firing a ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters on August 2 ran aground after China sought changes to the text.

The council was unable to agree after Beijing pressed for language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defense system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea.

 

 

US general blasts Iran's 'provocative' maritime conduct

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 30, 2016 - A US general on Tuesday said Tehran is acting in an unsafe and provocative manner in the Persian Gulf, where the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) frequently conducts risky maneuvers around US vessels.

The comments from General Joe Votel, head of the US military's Central Command, came after the Pentagon last week denounced a series of "unprofessional" encounters in the Gulf, including one that prompted an American ship to fire warning shots.

"In recent days, we have witnessed even more provocative activity by the IRGC and navy vessels," Votel said.

"That type of behavior is very concerning, and we hope to see Iran's naval forces act in a more professional manner."

Votel noted that 90 percent of unsafe encounters with Iranian boats are conducted by Quds specials forces from the IRGC.

"I am concerned about rogue commanders, rogue Iranian Quds force naval commanders who are operating in a provocative manner and are trying to test us," he said.

The most dramatic moment in four encounters the Pentagon described last week occurred when an IRGC boat maneuvered around two US patrol ships, the USS Squall and USS Tempest.

Despite multiple warnings via radio and loudspeaker, the Iranian boat approached head on, coming within 200 yards (meters) of one of the vessels.

Ultimately, the Squall fired three warning shots from a 50-caliber gun, causing the Iranian vessel to turn away, officials say.

A defense official told AFP that ships from the US and Iranian navies had interacted more than 300 times in 2015 and more than 250 times the first half of this year.

Ten percent of those encounters were deemed unsafe and unprofessional, the official said.

"What we see with the Iranians is not particularly responsible. It is provocative, in some cases; it's unsafe," Votel said.

"And it can lead to situations where we may not be able to de-escalate in a time before something happens."

 

 

Iran says 'nuclear spy' arrested, bailed

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 28, 2016 - Iran has arrested a "spy" involved in the nuclear negotiations with world powers but has not yet formally charged the suspect, the judiciary's spokesman told reporters on Sunday.

"(News of) the arrest of the infiltrating spy is true. Legal action has been instigated against him and he has been released on bail," the official IRNA news agency quoted Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie as saying at his weekly press conference.

"But the charge against him has not been proven yet."

On August 16, the Tehran prosecutor announced the arrest of a British-Iranian on suspicion of links to Britain's intelligence service.

Iranian media outlets have reported that a dual national identified as Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a senior accountant involved in banking-related aspects of the nuclear talks, has been arrested for espionage.

But it remained unclear whether the dual national and the British-Iranian were the same person.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality and treats those arrested as Iranian citizens only.

Without naming or giving the gender of the accused, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on August 16 the suspect was "active in the field of the Iranian economy, and was linked to the British espionage service".

Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia negotiated for more than two years before signing a historic July 2015 agreement that removed some international sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran's controversial atomic programme.

Ramze Obour (Passcode), a conservative-linked weekly, on Wednesday quoted hardline lawmaker Javad Karimi Ghodousi as saying Dorri Esfahani "bypassed the negotiating team and gave invaluable information to the US".

It claimed he had been paid by both Britain and the United States.

However, the ISNA news agency said the accused was not a member of the negotiating team or the foreign ministry.

It said the accused "only appeared on the team at certain points, out of necessity on behalf of one of the country's economic sectors".

 

 

Iran deploys long-range missiles to Fordo nuclear site

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 28, 2016 - Tehran has deployed a recently delivered Russian-made long-range missile system to central Iran to protect its Fordo nuclear facility, state television said Sunday.

Protecting nuclear facilities is paramount "in all circumstances" General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran's air defences, told the IRIB channel.

"Today, Iran's sky is one of the most secure in the region," he added.

A video showed an S-300 carrier truck in Fordo, raising its missile launchers toward the sky, next to other counter-strike weaponry.

The images were aired hours after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech to air force commanders, including Esmaili, in which he stressed that Iranian military power was for defensive purposes only.

"Continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy," Khamenei said.

"The S-300 system is a defence system not an assault one, but the Americans did their best for Iran not to get hold of it."

The Fordo site, built into a mountain near the city of Qom has stopped enriching uranium since the January implementation of a nuclear deal with world powers.

Under the historic accord, Iran dismantled most of its estimated 19,000 centrifuges -- giant spinning machines that enrich uranium, keeping only 5,000 active for research purposes.

Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia negotiated for more than two years before signing a historic July 2015 agreement that removed some international sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran's controversial atomic programme.

Israeli to be extradited to US over Iran defence sales
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 28, 2016 - Israel's Supreme Court on Sunday ruled that a national charged with selling US defence equipment to Iran can be extradited to the United States, the justice ministry said.

It said in a statement that Arye Eliyahu "Eli" Cohen should be rendered to US authorities "in order to stand trial for the commission of federal offences of trading military spare parts with Iran".

"According to the charge sheet on which the extradition request is based, during the years 2000-2004 Cohen exported military spare parts from the United States to his place of residence in Israel," the Hebrew-language statement said.

It said that he and three accomplices in the United States shipped parts for Hawk missiles, fighter aircraft and armoured troop carriers from the US to Israel, using false declarations as to the materials and their final destination.

A transcript of Sunday's court hearing said that the charges alleged that between 2012-2013 Cohen "on two occasions re-exported from Israel to Iran, via Greece, US-made military spare parts used by fighter planes".

The charges were filed in the Federal District Court of Connecticut in 2013, and the United States made an extradition request the following year.

The Jerusalem District Court granted the request but Cohen then appealed to the Supreme Court.

"The act for which extradition is requested constitutes a criminal offence under the laws of both" Israel and the United States, the court said in Sunday's ruling.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused arch-foe Iran of "preparing another Holocaust" and seeking to acquire nuclear arms with which to attack the Jewish state.

He is implacably opposed to last year's nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, which saw the lifting of international economic sanctions in return for Tehran ensuring that its nuclear programme remains purely for civilian use.

An arms embargo on the Islamic republic remains in force.

 

 

N. Korea submarine missiles not ready until 2018: experts

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 27, 2016 - North Korea is making progress on a submarine-launched ballistic missile system but any deployment of the technology is years away, a US think tank said, as the UN Security Council promised action over Pyongyang's latest test.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said late Friday on its closely-watched website, 38 North, that the success of North Korea's SLBM test this week suggests the program may be progressing faster than originally expected.

"However, this does not mean it will be ready next week, next month, or even next year", it said.

"Rather, the pace and method of the North's SLBM testing would suggest possible deployment in an initial operational capability by the second half of 2018 at the earliest."

The missile, launched from a submerged prototype "Gorae-class" submarine near the northeastern port of Sinpo, flew 500 kilometres (300 miles) towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts called a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions.

The flight distance, which was tracked by South Korea's military Joint Chiefs of Staff, far exceeded any previous SLBM tests, suggesting significant progress in technical prowess.

A proven SLBM system would take North Korea's nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.

Following the test, the UN Security Council agreed on Friday to "take further significant measures" against North Korea, without elaborating.

North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

Despite the North's successful test this week, the country faces significant technological challenges including building a new class of submarine to carry the missile.

Last month, 38 North reported the North was building up infrastructure to construct new submarines at the Sinpo South Shipyard.

"A new submarine could probably be built within a two to three year time frame, but the likelihood of building new models without further testing and refinement of the experimental Gorae-class seems low", it said.

But this is no information about whether actual submarine construction has begun, it added.

 

 

N. Korea leader says missile test 'greatest success'

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 25, 2016 - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un declared a submarine-launched missile test the "greatest success", state media said Thursday, as the UN weighed a condemnation of the launch which appears to advance Pyongyang's nuclear strike capability.

The US mainland and the Pacific are now "within the striking range" of the North's army, the official KCNA news agency reported Kim as saying after Wednesday's launch.

The missile was fired from a submarine submerged off the northeastern port of Sinpo on Wednesday, according to South Korea's military. It flew 500 kilometres (around 300 miles) towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests.

The UN Security Council met for two hours on Wednesday to discuss North Korea's latest provocative move and agreed to consider a statement condemning the launch.

"There was a general sense of condemnation by most members of the council and therefore we will have to see how we would then be phrasing the press statement," said Ramlan bin Ibrahim from Malaysia, which currently holds the council's presidency.

However diplomats expected further haggling with China, Pyongyang's main ally, over the wording.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, drawing an outraged response from Tokyo.

But the Security Council failed to condemn the move after China sought to include language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defence system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea.

Kim said the latest launch proved the North had joined the "front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability".

Pyongyang's KCTV aired brief footage shot from different camera angles, showing the missile soaring from underwater, igniting and surging almost vertically into the air.

The North's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun also carried 24 photos of him observing the launch, including one with his hands on his hips roaring with laughter at an observation post, and other watching through a pair of binoculars.

"He appreciated the test-fire as the greatest success and victory," it said.

- 'On track to hit Japan' -

Kim called for his nation's scientists to work towards mounting nuclear warheads on all types of ballistic missiles and to be able to deliver them in order "to cope with the unpredicted total war and nuclear war with the US imperialists".

"I do not guess what ridiculous remarks the US and its followers will make about this test-fire, but I can say their rash acts will only precipitate their self-destruction," he was quoted as saying.

A proven submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system would take its nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a military source as saying Wednesday's launch had been made at an acute angle to limit the missile's range.

If fired at the optimum angle and fully fuelled, it could travel over 2,500 km, the source said.

The agency had previously quoted a military source saying if fired at the optimum angle it could cover more than 1,000 km -- without mentioning if it was fully fuelled.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said on its website, 38 North, that Pyongyang still faces significant technological challenges including building a new class of submarine to carry the missile.

But the North is "on track to the capability to strike targets in the region -- including Japan -- by 2020", it said.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement following the launch that the North was clearly bent on escalating tensions and that the latest test posed a "serious challenge" to security on the Korean peninsula.

The test came just days after North Korea threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against South Korean and US forces who kicked off their annual Ulchi Freedom military drills on Monday.

Current UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out numerous launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

South Korea has responded to Pyongyang's continued launches by agreeing to deploy a sophisticated US anti-missile system -- known as THAAD -- a move that has seriously strained relations with North Korea's main diplomatic ally, China.

 

 

N. Korea rejects UN council's condemnation

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 28, 2016 - North Korea hit back on Sunday at a UN Security Council statement condemning its latest test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, and threatened to take further steps as "a full-fledged military power".

The 15-member council agreed on Friday to "take further significant measures" against North Korea, just days after the SLBM launch.

North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, but has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

A spokesman for the North's foreign ministry labelled the UN statement a "product of brigandish acts of the US" and said Washington had ignored a warning about "hurting its dignity."

"Now that the US posed threats to the dignity and the right to existence of the DPRK (North Korea) defying its serious warning, it will continue to take a series of eventful action steps as a full-fledged military power," the spokesman said.

"The DPRK has substantial means capable of reducing aggression troops in the US mainland and the operation theatre in the Pacific to ashes in a moment," the spokesman added in a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Thursday described the latest SLBM test as the "greatest success" and said it put the US mainland and the Pacific within striking range.

The missile was fired from a submarine off the northeastern port of Sinpo on Wednesday. It flew 500 kilometres (around 300 miles) towards Japan, far exceeding the range of the North's previous sub-launched missiles.

A proven SLBM system would take North Korea's nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.

Analysts say that while Pyongyang has made faster progress in its SLBM system than originally expected, it is still years away from deployment.

UN council condemns N.Korea missile launches, vows new measures
United Nations, United States (AFP) Aug 27, 2016 - The UN Security Council on Friday strongly condemned North Korea for test-firing ballistic missiles and agreed to take "significant measures" in response the latest series of launches.

The 15-member council issued the toughly-worded condemnation in a unanimous statement drafted by the United States and backed by China, Pyongyang's main ally.

Council members agreed to "continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures," said the statement, without elaborating.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.

In March, the council adopted the toughest sanctions resolution to date, targeting North Korea's trade in minerals and tightening banking restrictions.

The council met behind closed doors on Wednesday after North Korea launched a missile from a submarine towards Japan, the latest provocation from Pyongyang.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the missile breached his country's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and condemned what he called an "unforgivable, reckless act" and a grave threat to Japan's security.

The council condemned that launch as well as another on August 2 that for the first time fell in Japanese controlled-waters and two other missile tests on July 9 and 18, saying these were all "in grave violation" of UN resolutions.

North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

The council statement was adopted after several rounds of negotiations with China, which has insisted over recent weeks on the need to avoid an escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.

A previous bid by the council to condemn North Korea for firing a ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters on August 2 ran aground after China sought changes to the text.

The council was unable to agree after Beijing pressed for language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defense system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea.

In Friday's statement, the council expressed serious concern that North Korea carried out the latest series of missile launches despite repeated appeals to Pyongyang to reverse course.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un on Thursday boasted that the latest submarine-launched missile test was the "greatest success", putting the US mainland and the Pacific "within the striking range."

Council members again demanded that North Korea "refrain from further actions, including nuclear tests, in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions".

 

 

North Korea test-fires sub-launched missile close to Japan

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 24, 2016 - North Korea on Wednesday test-fired a submarine-launched missile 500 kilometres (around 300 miles) towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts called a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions.

The flight distance, which was tracked by South Korea's military Joint Chiefs of Staff, far exceeded any previous SLBM tests, suggesting significant progress in technical prowess.

A proven SLBM system would take North Korea's nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.

"While there are still a lot of questions about the details, this test certainly seems to have been successful," said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.

"This system is still in development, but North Korea is clearly making progress," Lewis told AFP.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a military source as saying Wednesday's launch had been made at an acute angle to limit the missile's range.

If fired at the optimum angle, it could cover more than 1,000km, the source said.

Current UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out numerous launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

South Korea has responded by agreeing to deploy a sophisticated US anti-missile system -- known as THAAD -- a move that has seriously strained relations with North Korea's main diplomatic ally, China.

- 'Effective countermeasure' -

Lewis noted that an SLBM was an "effective countermeasure" to THAAD, and other missile systems with forward-looking radars, since the submarine can launch the missile from behind the radar.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday's missile breached his country's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and condemned what he called an "unforgivable, reckless act."

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, drawing an outraged response from Tokyo.

The latest test came just days after North Korea threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against South Korean and US forces who kicked off their annual "Ulchi Freedom" military drill on Monday.

Seoul and Washington insist such joint exercises are purely defensive in nature, but Pyongyang views them as willfully provocative.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff statement said that the North was clearly bent on escalating tensions and said the SLBM test posed a "serious challenge" to security on the Korean peninsula.

"We will deal strongly and sternly with any provocation by the North," it said.

Washington also condemned the test and Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said US commitment to the defence of allies South Korea and Japan remained "ironclad."

Beijing expressed its opposition to North Korea's nuclear and missile development hours after Pyongyang's missile launch.

"China is opposed to North Korea's nuclear and missile development process and any actions that trigger tensions on the Korean peninsula," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday after a meeting with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in Tokyo.

- Invasion scenario -

The Ulchi Freedom drill plays out a scenario of full-scale invasion by the nuclear-armed North. It is largely computer-simulated but still involves around 50,000 Korean and 25,000 US soldiers.

The exercise always triggers a rise in tensions, and coincided this year with a particularly volatile period in cross-border relations following a series of high-profile defections.

Last week North Korea's deputy ambassador to Britain, Thae Yong-Ho, defected to the South -- a rare and damaging loss of diplomatic face for Pyongyang and a major PR victory for Seoul.

In comments clearly aimed at riling Pyongyang, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said the "unpredictability" of supreme leader Kim Jong-Un's character intensifies the dangers of further North Korean provocations.

North Korea has conducted a number of SLBM tests -- most recently in April and July -- with varying degrees of success.

Previous flight distances have not exceeded 30 kilometres, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff statement acknowledged that Wednesday's test showed a marked improvement.

 

 

US naval ship fired warning shots at Iranian vessel: official

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2016 - Iranian ships harassed US naval vessels in three recent incidents, including one that prompted an American ship to fire warning shots, a US official said Thursday.

The incidents all occurred in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, a day after another encounter in which a group of Iranian naval vessels with their weapons uncovered sped close to two US Navy guided-missile destroyers.

The most dramatic moment in Wednesday's three events occurred when an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat maneuvered around two US patrol ships, the USS Squall and USS Tempest.

Despite multiple warnings via radio and loudspeaker, the Iranian boat approached head on, coming within 200 yards (meters) of one of the vessels, US Navy Fifth Fleet spokesman Commander Bill Urban told AFP.

"This situation presented a drastically increased risk of collision," he said.

"Ultimately, Squall resorted to firing three warning shots from their 50-caliber gun, which caused the Iranian vessel to turn away."

In an incident earlier in the day, three Iranian vessels crossed the bow of the Tempest within 600 yards on three separate occasions -- creating a possible collision hazard, Urban said.

The third incident involved the guided missile destroyer USS Stout. Urban said one of the Iranian boats from an earlier encounter conducted an "unsafe intercept" by crossing the Stout's bow at close range.

All three encounters Wednesday occurred in international waters in the northern Persian Gulf, Urban said.

On Tuesday, four Iranian warships sped close to two US Navy guided-missile destroyers with their weapons uncovered in the Strait of Hormuz in an "unsafe and unprofessional" encounter, according to the Pentagon.

The USS Nitze shot warning flares, sounded its whistles and attempted unsuccessfully to communicate with the Iranian boats, officials said.

The Nitze was accompanied on its mission by the USS Mason, another destroyer.

When asked about the Tuesday incident, Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said his country's "naval units have the duty of safeguarding the country's security in the sea and the Persian Gulf."

A defense official told AFP that ships from the US and Iranian navies had interacted more than 300 times in 2015 and more than 250 times the first half of this year.

Ten percent of those encounters were deemed unsafe and unprofessional, the official said.

In January, the Iranian navy briefly captured the crews of two US patrol boats that had, through a series of blunders, strayed into Iranian territorial waters.

The 10 American sailors were released within 24 hours.

 

 

UN Command condemns N. Korea mine-laying on border

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:41 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 23, 2016 - North Korea has been laying fresh landmines on its side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with South Korea, the UN Command said Tuesday, following a spate of high-profile defections.

Military personnel were seen planting mines on the North's side of a river crossing known as the Bridge of No Return -- close to the border truce village of Panmunjom, a spokesman for the UN Command, which oversees the Korean War armistice, told AFP.

In a statement the UN Command "strongly" condemned the Korean People's Army (KPA) activity.

"The presence of any device or munition on or near the bridge seriously jeopardises the safety of people on both sides," it said.

The statement added that thousands of visitors -- often school-aged children -- take part in tours to the DMZ.

Despite its name, the DMZ separating the two Koreas is one of the world's most heavily militarised frontiers, bristling with watchtowers and landmines.

It acts as a buffer zone, stretching two kilometres on either side of the actual frontier line.

Because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty, the two Koreas remain technically at war.

The UN Command declined to "speculate" on why the KPA was engaged in laying fresh mines. But South Korea's Yonhap News Agency cited a military source as saying it may be an attempt to prevent front-line troops from defecting.

Cross-border Korean tensions are currently running high, with North Korea on Monday threatening nuclear strikes as South Korea and the United States began a large-scale military exercise which Pyongyang views as a provocative rehearsal for invasion.

The North has also been rocked by a series of defections, most recently that of its deputy ambassador to Britain who fled to the South in a major propaganda victory for Seoul.

Yonhap said the South Korean military was using banks of loudspeakers along the border to crow about the defection.

In August last year South Korea accused North Korea of planting landmines that maimed two soldiers on border patrol.

 

 

Cold War echoes as inter-Korean diplomacy goes back to basics

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 18, 2016 - One year after North and South Korea vowed to resume a constructive dialogue, they have instead resurrected a spirit of Cold War-era antagonism, complete with cross-border propaganda shouting matches, spy messaging and defection dramas.

Official contact between the two Koreas has never been easy, but the current situation, with all official lines of communication severed and a host of flash-point issues raising tensions, appears to be particularly volatile and fraught with risk.

"The relations between North and South Korea have never been as tense as they are now since the Cold War period of the 1970s", said professor Kim Yong-Hyun, a North Korean expert at Dongguk University.

High-profile defections are suddenly back in vogue, with the North Korean deputy ambassador to Britain, Thae Yong-Ho, handing Seoul a propaganda coup this week by defecting to South Korea with his family.

Although Thae's motives were probably as much personal as ideological -- he has two children, one of school age -- South Korean officials attributed his decision to a straightforward choice between good and evil.

On his reasons for defecting, Thae "cited disgust with (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un's regime and admiration for South Korea's free, democratic system," said Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee.

- Communications cut -

This sort of old-school diplomatic baiting has become increasingly common at a time of almost zero cross-border contact.

As tensions rose in the wake of North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January, Pyongyang shut down the two existing hotlines with South Korea -- one used by the military and one for government-to-government communications.

And last month it severed its only direct communications link with the United States when it shut down the so-called "New York channel" which had previously served as a key point of contact between North Korean and US diplomats at the United Nations.

"The total absence of channels for dialogue between the two Koreas as well as between Pyongyang and Washington is a real cause for concern," Kim Yong-Hyun said.

Inter-Korean communication has now gone back to the basics, with both sides effectively reduced to shouting across the heavily militarised border.

Banks of loudspeakers have been dusted off and brought up to the frontlines, blasting music and propaganda messages into each other's territory.

In another nod to Cold War methodology, North Korea appears to have resumed the transmission of coded messages over state radio -- presumably meant for spies operating in the South.

The short-wave transmissions -- the first of their type for around 20 years -- were picked up by the South's intelligence agency in mid-June and comprised a female announcer reading long lists of numbers for several minutes.

- False starts -

It wasn't meant to be this way.

In August last year, a top North Korean negotiator was trumpeting a "dramatic turning point" for inter-Korean relations after the two sides agreed to defuse a crisis that had pushed them to the brink of an armed conflict.

The accord, which the lead South Korean negotiator also hailed as providing a "new momentum" for cross-border cooperation, included a commitment to resuming a regular, high-level dialogue.

But just two weeks later, the two sides were back in familiar territory, trading insults and accusations of insincerity.

They did finally manage to hold vice-ministerial talks in December, but the discussions went nowhere and the prospect of further dialogue was then wiped out for good by the North's nuclear test the following month.

The strong international reaction to the test emboldened the South to take a hard line and match the North's brinkmanship, instead of turning the other cheek as it had often done in the past

The diplomatic fallout was toxic enough to kill off the sole remaining North-South cooperation project -- the Kaesong joint industrial zone, which had managed to ride out pretty much every inter-Korean crisis thrown up since it opened for business in 2004.

"Inter-Korean peace-time relations are really at their worst... with trade, and exchanges of people and dialogue all severed," said Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies.

- Flashpoints -

The North's state media, meanwhile, has become a vehicle for abusing South Korean President Park Geun-Hye -- often employing coarse and highly sexist language.

Tensions are expected to spike again next week when South Korea and the US kick off a joint military exercise involving tens of thousands of troops.

The two week-long Ulchi Freedom drill is one of a number of annual exercises viewed as provocative rehearsals for invasion by Pyongyang, which often test fires missiles in a mark of protest.

Yang said the North might opt for a low-key response this time around so as to avoid undermining a Cold War-flavoured stand-off that has built up over South Korea's recent decision to deploy a sophisticated US anti-missile system on its territory.

While Seoul and Washington insist the deployment is purely defensive in nature, it has been sharply criticised by Beijing and Moscow.

 

 

N.Korea says it has resumed plutonium production: Kyodo

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 17, 2016 - North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production from spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as the United States still "threatens" Pyongyang, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.

The North's Atomic Energy Institute, which has jurisdiction over the country's main atomic complex Yongbyon, told Kyodo it had been producing highly enriched uranium for nuclear arms and power "as scheduled".

"We have reprocessed spent nuclear fuel rods removed from a graphite-moderated reactor," the agency said in a written interview with Kyodo.

The agency did not disclose how much plutonium or enriched uranium the North has produced, Kyodo said.

The type of plutonium suitable for a nuclear bomb typically needs to be extracted from spent nuclear reactor fuel.

In June, the UN's atomic watchdog warned that North Korea could have reactivated the Yongbyon plant for reprocessing plutonium for use in nuclear weapons, following similar warnings from a US think tank.

The director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper, warned in February that the North could begin recovering plutonium from the reactor's spent fuel "within a matter of weeks to months".

North Korea mothballed the Yongbyon reactor in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament accord, but began renovating it after its third nuclear test in 2013. It carried test out a fourth on January 6.

The North's Atomic Energy Institute did not rule out the possibility of further nuclear tests, claiming it had had success in "minimising, making lighter and diversifying" nuclear weapons, Kyodo said.

"Under conditions that the United States constantly threatens us with nuclear weapons, we will not discontinue nuclear tests," the institute said, according to Kyodo.

 

 

N. Korea calls South's leader 'psychopath' over missile row

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 17, 2016 - North Korea on Wednesday labelled South Korean President Park Geun-Hye a "psychopath" after she made a speech slamming Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions and defending the deployment of a US anti-missile system.

In her televised address on Monday, Park had stressed that deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system was an act of "self-defence" in response to the North's expanding nuclear weapons programme.

A spokesman for the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said Park's argument was "preposterous" and unfounded.

"This is just a lame excuse and she should know that no one will be taken in by such sophism of a puppet that can do nothing without an approval of her US master," the spokesman said.

"This is no more than nonsense talked by a psychopath," he added in a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.

North Korea has threatened to take "physical action" against the THAAD deployment, saying any South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military hardware would become a target.

Beijing is also opposed to the move, seeing it as a US bid to flex its military muscle in the region and undermine China's own missile capabilities.

US Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, addressed those concerns during talks on Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng in Beijing.

THAAD is "not a threat in any way to China," Milley told Li according to a US Army statement.

Deploying the system "is a defensive measure to protect South Koreans and Americans from the North Korean ballistic missile threat," he added.

Milley was due to hold talks with top South Korean military officials in Seoul on Wednesday.

The THAAD issue has also been a target of domestic criticism, particularly from those living in the rural South Korean county of Seongju where the first battery will be installed.

Several hundred protestors turned out in Seongju for a visit Wednesday by Defence Minister Han Min-Koo, who sought to ease concerns that the system's powerful radar will pose health and environmental hazards and make the district a military target.

Han began by apologising for the lack of prior notice regarding the planned deployment but stressed that defending the South against North Korean aggression was the ultimate priority.

"Please understand (the government's) desperate resolve to protect people's lives," he said.

More than 900 Seongju residents had their heads shaved on Monday as a mark of protest, and many of those were among the demonstrators who greeted Han with anti-THAAD slogans and demands to scrap the deployment.

 

 

China to restrict North Korean airline operations

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 17, 2016 - China will restrict the operations of North Korean national airline Air Koryo after one of its planes had to make an emergency landing last month because of a fire on board, it said Wednesday.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will take "relevant measures to limit operations" for the carrier, it said in a statement on its website, without giving specific details.

Last month, a scheduled Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang to Beijing was forced to divert and land in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang "because the plane caught fire", the official Xinhua new agency said, quoting a passenger on board. There were no casualties.

The CAAC said an investigation found the fire was caused by a call button.

Air Koryo must improve training for similar incidents, improve communications with air traffic controllers and upgrade aircraft maintenance, the Chinese regulator said.

Although Air Koryo is the sole airline in the bottom "one star" category in the global Skytrax rating system for commercial airlines, its public safety record only has one fatal accident in more than 30 years.

Its route network is extremely limited, with regular flights to just three destinations in China, and Vladivostok in Russia.

The Pyongyang-Beijing service uses a Russian Tupolev Tu-204 -- a twin-engine medium-range jet airliner that carries about 140 passengers.

 

 

S. Korea's Park defends missile shield as residents shave heads

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 15, 2016 - South Korea's president Monday defended the proposed deployment of a US anti-missile system as an act of self-defence against North Korea, as hundreds of residents shaved their heads in protest at the plan.

Tensions have been running high on the divided Korean peninsula since the North carried out its fourth nuclear test in January and followed up with a series of missile tests.

South Korea responded last month by announcing deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system -- a move which sparked domestic protests as well as complaints from China.

"I urge the North Korean government to immediately stop all provocations and threats targeting South Korea as well as the development of weapons of mass destruction," said President Park Geun-Hye in a televised Liberation Day speech.

Her comments came as both Koreas celebrated the anniversary of the peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

Stressing that "true liberation" would involve reunification of the peninsula, Park said that could only happen by removing the fear of nuclear weapons, missiles and war.

She also warned the North that all attempts to provoke and intimidate the South would be counter-productive.

"The more efforts (the North) makes, the deeper the country's isolation in the international community will be and the bigger its economic problems will be," she said

The North's nuclear test in January resulted in a substantial strengthening of UN sanctions, but a defiant Pyongyang doubled down with a series of ballistic missile tests also banned by UN resolutions.

Tensions are expected to rise again when the South launches an annual joint military exercise with the United States later this month.

The planned missile shield has been condemned not only by Pyongyang but also Beijing, which views the deployment as a US move against its own national security interests and a threat to regional stability.

"The deployment of THAAD is an act of self-defence," Park said in her speech, adding that her priority as president was to "protect the lives of our people from the reckless provocations of the North".

THAAD has also hit domestic opposition, particularly from those living in the rural county of Seongju where the first battery will be installed.

Residents say the system's powerful radar will pose health and environmental hazards and argue that its presence will make them a target.

On Monday more than 900 Seongju residents had their heads shaved, a symbol of protest and determination.

"We need to show our determination in order to stop THAAD!" the protesters chanted as men and women, some in tears, had their heads shaved at a local park.

Some opposition lawmakers have sided with the residents and called for the deployment to be scrapped, a stance criticised by Park.

"I believe that such a matter ... should not be the subject of a political fight," she said.

"If there is any other way to protect our people and the country, one should propose an alternative," Park added.

 

 

Russia teases with Hypersonic Nuclear Glider Armed With ICBMs "program"

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Aug 15, 2016 - The lethal hypersonic nuclear glider that looks to revolutionize defense aviation could travel the distance from Moscow to London within 13 minutes and could penetrate NATOs missile defense system.

After launching initial tests on Russia's first futuristic glider last year as part of Russia's Project 4202, the aircraft believed to be the Yu-74 is "ready for action" reports Britain's Daily Star.

The glider can travel at a speed of Mach 10 (7,680MPH or 12,3560kmh) and will reportedly be fit with RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles although details about the glider's specifications remain top secret. In April, US military officials confirmed the existence of Russia's deadly hypersonic glider.

Considered a first in a growing aviation arms race, both the US and China are now hurrying to develop comparable hypersonic gliders equipped with nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles increasing the defense gap between the military superpowers and the rest of the world.

The report on the development of Russia's hypersonic glider comes at a time when Moscow's relations with the West approach a historic tipping point driven most recently by accusations that President Vladimir Putin is attempting to intervene in the US political election after Hillary Clinton's campaign hurled a desperate allegation that the WikiLeaks file dump exposing her own bid, joined by the media and Democratic Party officials, to subvert the 2016 presidential election was all a plot of the Russians.

The splurge of Russophobia appears to have spilled over into defense relations with feverish assaults on Moscow's strategy in Syria of stabilizing the Assad regime at least as long as necessary to root out Daesh and other jihadist elements in addition to renewed struggle in Crimea after Ukrainian forces were thwarted in a terror plot, an incident that has brought Moscow and Kiev to the brink.

There does appear to be a bit of opportunism in the reporting of Russia's defense capabilities by Western media outlets with recent leaks claiming that NATO would be outgunned by the Moscow military machine if a conflict were to ensue in a transparent effort to lobby for increased defense appropriations to further subsidize the Western military-industrial complex.

Although the latest report by Britain's Daily Star may be in line with this vein of exaggerating the threat of Russia, Moscow's program of hypersonic military capabilities has been an open secret and similar reports about the incredible capabilities of the experimental Yu-74 have been detailed by defense analytics webspite Ostkraft.ru which determined that the aircraft's outstanding maneuverability and high speeds would render NATO's missile defense systems and the US THAAD shield useless.

Source: Sputnik News

 

 

US nukes at Turkey base at risk of seizure: report

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 15, 2016 - Dozens of US nuclear weapons stored at a Turkish air base near Syria are at risk of being captured by "terrorists or other hostile forces," a Washington think tank claimed Monday.

Critics have long been alarmed by America's estimated stockpile of about 50 nuclear bombs at Incirlik in southern Turkey, just 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the border with war-torn Syria.

The issue took on fresh urgency last month following the attempted coup in Turkey, in which the base's Turkish commander was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the plot.

"Whether the US could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question," said Monday's report from the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank working to promote peace.

Incirlik is a vital base for the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, with the strategically located facility affording drones and warplanes fast access to IS targets.

But the Pentagon in March ordered families of US troops and civilian personnel stationed in southern Turkey to quit the region due to security fears.

"From a security point of view, it's a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America's nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey," report co-author Laicie Heeley said.

"There are significant safeguards in place. ... But safeguards are just that, they don't eliminate risk. In the event of a coup, we can't say for certain that we would have been able to maintain control," she told AFP.

- 'Avoided disaster so far' -

While the Pentagon does not discuss where it stores nuclear assets, the bombs are believed to be kept at Incirlik as a deterrent to Russia and to demonstrate America's commitment to NATO, the 28-member military alliance that includes Turkey.

The Incirlik nuke issue has been the subject of renewed debate in the United States since the coup attempt.

"While we've avoided disaster so far, we have ample evidence that the security of US nuclear weapons stored in Turkey can change literally overnight," Steve Andreasen, director for defense policy and arms control on the White House National Security Council staff from 1993 to 2001, wrote in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times last week.

Kori Schake, a fellow at the California-based Hoover Institution, noted in a written debate in the New York Times that "American nuclear forces cannot be used without codes, making the weapons impossible to set off without authorization."

"The fact that nuclear weapons are stationed in Turkey does not make them vulnerable to capture and use, even if the country were to turn hostile to the United States," she argued.

The Pentagon declined to comment on questions arising from the Stimson study.

"We do not discuss the location of strategic assets. The (Department of Defense) has taken appropriate steps to maintain the safety and security of our personnel, their families, and our facilities, and we will continue to do so," it said in a statement.

The Incirlik concerns were highlighted as part of a broader paper into the Pentagon's nuclear modernization program, through which the United States would spend hundreds of billions of dollars to update its atomic arsenal.

The authors argue that a particular type of bomb -- the B61 gravity bomb -- should be immediately removed from Europe, where 180 of the weapons are kept in Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey.

The report can be viewed at: http://u.afp.com/ZV9i

 

 

UN fails to condemn N. Korea after China draws link to THAAD

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Aug 9, 2016 - The UN Security Council failed to agree Tuesday on a statement condemning North Korea's launch of a missile that landed near Japan after China sought to include language opposing the US missile defense system in South Korea.

The United States had circulated a draft statement that strongly condemned the August 2 launch and expressed particular concern that the ballistic missile landed near Japan.

China proposed adding that "all relevant parties shall avoid taking any actions which could provoke each other and escalate tensions, and shall not deploy any new anti-ballistic missile stronghold in Northeast Asia with an excuse of dealing with threats of the DPRK nuclear and missile programs," according to a draft obtained by AFP.

US Ambassador Samantha Power called for a "strong, swift response from the Security Council" following an emergency meeting last week to discuss the latest missile test.

Power had said that the US agreement with South Korea to deploy the THAAD missile defense system was "purely defensive" and in response to North Korea's drive to refine its capabilities.

China, Pyongyang's closest ally, had sought to delete from the text a sentence expressing concern that the missile "impacted near Japan."

Diplomats said negotiations on the council statement, which must be agreed by consensus, had reached a dead end.

It was the second time in two months that the council has been unable to agree on condemnation of North Korea, due to objections from China.

The council last adopted a statement condemning North Korea for two medium-range missile tests on June 23.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.

The council in March adopted its toughest sanctions resolution to date, banning exports of coal, iron and other minerals from North Korea and imposing other restrictions, in particular in the banking sector.

 

 

Melting ice sheet could release frozen Cold War-era waste

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 08, 2016 - Climate change could remobilize abandoned hazardous waste thought to be buried forever beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, new research finds.

Camp Century, a U.S. military base built within the Greenland Ice Sheet in 1959, doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic during the Cold War. When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall.

But climate change has warmed the Arctic more than any other region on Earth, and a new study finds the portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century could start to melt by the end of the century. If the ice melts, the camp's infrastructure, as well as any remaining biological, chemical and radioactive waste, could re-enter the environment and potentially disrupt nearby ecosystems, according to the study's authors.

Determining who is responsible for cleaning up the waste could also lead to political disputes not considered before, according to the study's authors.

"Two generations ago, people were interring waste in different areas of the world, and now climate change is modifying those sites," said William Colgan, a climate and glacier scientist at York University in Toronto, Canada, and a research associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in Boulder, Colorado, lead author of the new study. "It's a new breed of political challenge we have to think about."

The new study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The assumption that any waste could be buried forever under ice is unrealistic, according to James White, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, who was not connected to the study.

"The question is whether it's going to come out in hundreds of years, in thousands of years, or in tens of thousands of years," White said. "This stuff was going to come out anyway, but what climate change did was press the gas pedal to the floor and say, 'it's going to come out a lot faster than you thought.'"

A "city under the ice"
During the Cold War, U.S. military attention shifted to the Arctic - the shortest route between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. In April 1951, the U.S. and Denmark agreed to defend Greenland, a Danish territory, from Soviet attack, and the U.S. built several air bases in Greenland that year.

In 1959, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Camp Century 200 kilometers (125 miles) inland from the Greenland coast. Encased completely within the ice sheet, Camp Century became known as the "city under the ice."

The camp's official purpose was to test construction techniques in the Arctic and conduct scientific research. While in operation, the camp housed 85 to 200 soldiers and was powered by a nuclear reactor. Scientists at Camp Century took ice core samples providing climate data still cited in research today, Colgan said.

The camp also provided proof of concept for a top secret program to test the feasibility of building nuclear missile launch sites close enough to reach the Soviet Union. While never built, a larger planned camp based on the concept of Camp Century would have housed a 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) long tunnel system underneath the ice, capable of deploying up to 600 nuclear missiles.

Although the camp was built with Denmark's approval, the missile launch program, known as Project Iceworm, was kept secret from the Danish government. Several years after the camp became operational, Project Iceworm was rejected by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the camp was decommissioned. The Army Corps of Engineers removed the nuclear reaction chamber but left the camp's infrastructure and all other waste behind, assuming the ice sheet would secure them forever. In the decades since, falling snow has buried the camp roughly 35 meters (115 feet) further underneath the ice.

Waste beneath the ice
In the new study, Colgan and his team took an inventory of the wastes at Camp Century and ran climate model simulations to determine whether the waste will stay put in a warming Arctic. The team analyzed historical U.S. army engineering documents to determine where and how deep the wastes were buried and how much the ice cap had moved since the 1950s.

The team found the waste at Camp Century covers 55 hectares (136 acres), roughly the size of 100 football fields. They estimate the site contains 200,000 liters (53,000 gallons) of diesel fuel, enough for a car to circle the globe 80 times. Based on building materials used in the Arctic at the time, the authors speculate the site contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pollutants toxic to human health. They also estimate the site has 240,000 liters (63,000 gallons) of waste water, including sewage, along with an unknown volume of low-level radioactive coolant from the nuclear generator.

Looking at existing business-as-usual climate projections, the team determined the wastes would not remain encased in ice forever, as was assumed by both the U.S. and Denmark when the camp was abandoned. Instead, they could melt and re-enter the environment.

"When we looked at the climate simulations, they suggested that rather than perpetual snowfall, it seems that as early as 2090, the site could transition from net snowfall to net melt," Colgan said. "Once the site transitions from net snowfall to net melt, it's only a matter of time before the wastes melt out; it becomes irreversible."

Camp Century's waste presents a significant environmental hazard, according to the study's authors. When the ice melts, pollutants could be transported to the ocean, where they could disrupt marine ecosystems, Colgan said.

Based on ice sheet observations near Camp Century but at lower elevations, the camp's waste could be exposed sooner than the study's models predict, said Jennifer Mercer, a cryospheric scientist with the National Science Foundation who specializes in operations on the Greenland Ice Sheet and who was not connected to the study.

Environmental, political implications
The study does not advocate for starting remediation activities at Camp Century now. The waste is buried tens of meters below the ice, and any cleanup activities would be costly and technically challenging, Colgan said.

"It really becomes a situation of waiting until the ice sheet has melted down to almost expose the wastes that anyone should advocate for site remediation," he said.

But the new study does raise questions about who is responsible for cleaning up the waste when it is exposed. International law is clear about responsibility for preventing future hazardous waste, but ambiguous about who is liable for waste already discarded, said Jessica Green, a political scientist specializing in international environmental law at New York University who was not connected to the study. Although Camp Century was a U.S. base, it is on Danish soil, and although Greenland is a Danish territory, it is now self-governing, she said.

The implications of climate change on politically ambiguous abandoned wastes have not been considered before, according to the study's authors.

"The study identifies a big hole in the extant set of laws and rules we have to deal with environmental problems globally," Green said.

Research paper: "The abandoned ice-sheet base at Camp Century, Greenland, in a warming climate"

 

 

Japan military on alert to destroy N. Korea missile: media

 
‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:16 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - Japan's newly appointed defence minister on Monday ordered the nation's military to be ready to destroy any missiles fired by North Korea that threaten the country, local media reported.

Tomomi Inada issued the order, public broadcaster NHK said, without mentioning any indication that Pyongyang is preparing to launch such a missile.

Last week Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked Inada, a close confidante with staunchly nationalist views, as the new defence minister.

NHK said Inada is expected to renew the readiness order every three months so that Tokyo can seamlessly maintain a state of alert.

A Japanese defence ministry spokesman declined to confirm the report.

Her appointment came Wednesday, the same day North Korea, a major security headache for Japan, fired a ballistic missile that landed just 250 kilometres (155 miles) off its coast -- hitting Japanese-controlled waters for the first time.

The US military said the North had actually launched two Rodong intermediate-range missiles simultaneously, but one appeared to have exploded on take-off.

The launches followed a North Korean threat of "physical action" over the planned deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile system in South Korea, and came just weeks before the start of large-scale joint South Korea-US military exercises.

Pyongyang has conducted a series of missile tests this year in defiance of UN sanctions imposed after its fourth nuclear test in January.

After Wednesday's launch Japanese media quoted officials as saying they were surprised and voicing concern that North Korea was getting better at concealing its preparations to fire missiles.

S. Korea MPs defy president with China visit
Seoul (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - A group of South Korean opposition lawmakers defied President Park Geun-Hye and left for China on Monday to discuss the deployment of a US anti-missile system that has opened a damaging rift between Seoul and Beijing.

Park had urged the MPs to scrap their trip, arguing that it would boost China's opposition to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and deepen divisions in South Korea over the issue.

Seoul's decision to host a THAAD battery, to counter a growing threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, has been condemned by China as a threat to its own security interests and to regional stability.

The ongoing row is threatening to undo the substantial effort President Park has put into strengthening ties with China, which is not only South Korea's largest trade partner but also the key player in curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Kim Young-Ho, one of the six lawmakers from the main opposition Minjoo Party travelling to Beijing, said their sole motivation was to calm the situation.

"We are visiting with the hope of offering at least a little warmth to the icy Seoul-Beijing ties," Kim was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency before leaving Seoul.

But Park insisted the visit would be counter-productive and suggested the MPs were being irresponsibly disloyal.

"On a matter of national security, there should be no division between the ruling and the opposition parties," she told a meeting of top aides Monday morning.

"Some politicians are making ridiculous claims that the deployment of THAAD will only offer good excuses for North Korea to stage more provocations -- an argument that is very similar to the North's own views," she said in comments published on her official website.

THAAD has been the subject of domestic protests in South Korea, particularly by those living in the rural county of Seongju where the first battery will be installed.

Residents say the system's powerful radar poses health and environmental hazards and argue that its presence will make them a key military target.

Opposition parties have been less than supportive of the deployment, although outright criticism has largely been limited to left-leaning MPs and activists.

Responding to Park's criticisms, Kim said calling off the visit at this stage would make things worse.

"It would look like the president had blocked it," he told reporters.

On Sunday, Park's office had issued a statement that chided China for over-reacting to the THAAD deployment.

"We believe that China, before taking issue with our purely defensive move, should raise the issue more strongly with the North," the statement said, referring to a recent series of provocative North Korean missile tests.

 

 

Nagasaki marks 71st atomic bombing anniversary

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 9, 2016 - The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Tuesday marked 71 years since its destruction by a US atomic bomb, with its mayor lauding a visit by US President Barack Obama to Hiroshima earlier this year.

A bell tolled as thousands of people, including ageing survivors and relatives of victims, observed a minute's silence at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the exact moment the of the blast.

Some 74,000 people died in the initial explosion, while thousands of others perished months or years later from radiation sickness.

The attack came three days after the US dropped the first ever atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which ultimately killed 140,000 people.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue lauded Obama's landmark May visit to Hiroshima -- the first ever by a sitting US president.

"Knowing the facts becomes the starting point for thinking about a future free of nuclear weapons," Taue said, calling on other world leaders to visit his city.

Local officials and those who survived the bombing called for strict adherence to Japan's post-war tradition of pacifism and were critical of the Japanese government.

"The government of Japan, while advocating nuclear weapons abolition, still relies on nuclear deterrence," the mayor said, calling it a "contradictory state of affairs".

Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui on Saturday marked the commemoration of the bombing of his city, also citing Obama's visit.

He said the visit was proof the US President shared his city's view of the "absolute evil" of nuclear weapons.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in his address in Nagasaki, called on world leaders to honour the global Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

"We must not allow a repeat of the horrible experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that happened 71 years ago," Abe said.

Abe has moved to extend the scope of Japan's military and deepen the nation's alliance with Washington in the face of threats from China's expanding military strength and unpredictable North Korea.

North Korea last week test fired a ballistic missile that landed in waters off Japan's coast for the first time.

 

 

Japan marks Hiroshima bombing anniversary

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 6, 2016 - Japan on Saturday marked 71 years since the city of Hiroshima was destroyed by a US atomic bomb, as its mayor urged the world to unite in abolishing nuclear weapons.

The annual ceremony came just months after Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit the western Japanese city, paying moving tribute to victims of the devastating bomb.

American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped its deadly payload, dubbed "Little Boy", on Hiroshima at 8:15 am local time on August 6, 1945.

Much of the city was incinerated by a wall of heat up to 4,000 C (7,232 F) -- hot enough to melt steel -- killing tens of thousands.

About 50,000 participants, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives of more than 90 countries and regions, observed a minute's silence at the exact time the atrocity occurred some seven decades ago.

During the solemn ceremony, Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui recalled the visit by Obama in his peace declaration, citing the president's historic speech.

"(His visit) was the proof that Hiroshima's strong wish not to tolerate the 'absolute evil' was shared by President Obama," he said.

The mayor urged the world to take action towards the abolition of "the ultimate form of inhumanity, united and with passion".

Obama in May embraced survivors as he made his visit to the city and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

"71 years ago, death fell from the sky and the world was changed," he said of the bomb, adding it "demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself".

Obama offered no apology for the bombings, having insisted he would not revisit decisions made by then president Harry Truman.

But his moving tribute and brief conversations with elderly survivors, which included an unexpected embrace with one of them, profoundly impressed most Japanese.

Abe, after lying a wreath of flowers, reiterated Saturday that Tokyo will continue working to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

"I am convinced (Obama's visit) brought a great hope for people in Japan, in the world and in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who believe in a world without nuclear arms," he said.

The bombing claimed the lives of 140,000 people. Some died immediately while others succumbed to injuries or radiation-related illnesses weeks, months and years later.

A second bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki three days later. Japan announced its surrender in World War II on August 15.

Many in Japan feel the attacks amount to war crimes and atrocities because they targeted civilians and due to the unprecedented destructive nature of the weapons.

But many Americans believe they hastened the end of a bloody conflict, and ultimately saved lives, thus justifying the bombings.

Since Obama went to Hiroshima, the park and accompanying memorial museum have witnessed an increase in visitors.

But an association of atomic bomb survivors has criticised his speech, saying he failed to explicitly mention US responsibility for the bombing.

Abe last year faced harsh criticism, especially from A-bomb survivors, for his policy of expanding the role of Japan's military and opening the door to possibly sending troops into combat for the first time since the war.

In his latest Cabinet reshuffle, Abe appointed nationalist confidante Tomomi Inada as defence minister.

 

 

Israel ministry 'clarifies' comments on Iran nuclear deal

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - Israel's defence ministry on Monday sought to "clarify" controversial comments it made last week criticising the Iran nuclear deal and likening it to the 1938 Munich agreement with Nazi Germany.

The defence ministry said in a statement on Monday: "Friday's statement was in no way intended to draw comparisons, historical or personal. We regret if it was interpreted otherwise."

"The difference in Israel's position on this matter (the nuclear deal) from that of our close ally, the United States, in no way detracts from our deep appreciation for the United States and for the President of the United States, for their tremendous contribution to Israel's national security."

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama defended the landmark nuclear deal which was signed in July 2015 between Tehran and six world powers led by Washington.

The next day, Israel's defence ministry, led by hardliner Avigdor Lieberman, slammed Obama for defending the accord with the Jewish state's arch-foe, comparing it to the deal that allowed Nazi Germany to annex parts of then Czechoslovakia.

Netanyahu the same day repeated his country's rejection of the nuclear deal but stressed that Israel and the United States remained great allies.

Israel's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on Sunday said that Tehran had so far respected the accord, even if it was a "bad deal".

The US and Israeli governments have for several months been negotiating the terms of a new 10-year defence aid pact to replace the current one, which expires in 2018 and is worth more than $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) per year.

The Netanyahu government wants the United States to increase the annual amount of military assistance it provides.

The nuclear deal, which came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.

US calls on Iran to respect human rights after execution
Washington (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - The United States called Monday for Iran to respect human rights and ensure an impartial judiciary, but stopped short of condemning the execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist accused of spying for Washington.

The whereabouts of Shahram Amiri, 39, had been unknown since 2010. On Sunday, an Iranian judiciary spokesman announced he had been hanged.

US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau on Monday refused to address Amiri's case specifically but noted that, in general, American officials urged Tehran to respect human rights.

"We reaffirm our calls on Iran to respect and protect human rights to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all cases," she said at a press briefing.

"We have constantly and publicly expressed our concerns about Iran's human rights records through a range of channels."

Amiri disappeared in Saudi Arabia in June 2009 and resurfaced a year later in the United States.

Conflicting accounts said he had either been abducted or had defected at a time when international tensions over Iran's nuclear program were at their peak.

In a surprise move, Amiri returned to Tehran in July 2010, saying he had been kidnapped at gunpoint by CIA agents in the Saudi city of Medina.

At first he was greeted as a hero, but it was soon clear that Iranian authorities remained suspicious. Amiri dropped out of public view and his arrest was never officially reported.

Amiri was executed for "revealing the country's top secrets to the enemy, Iranian judicial spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie said.

He said Amiri was tried in accordance with law. Amiri appealed his death sentence but it was upheld by the Supreme Court, the spokesman said.

Trudeau again refused to speak about Amiri's case when asked if she thought he was given a fair trial.

"I couldn't speak to Iranian judicial procedures related to the specific case. You know, when this individual chose to return to Iran, we obviously spoke about it then," she said. "We've made our concerns known at large around Iranian due process, around Iranian respect for human rights."

Iran reached a deal with world powers in July 2015, promising to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

Tehran and Washington have not had full diplomatic ties since 1980.

 

 

US Air Force head 'concerned' about no-first-use nuke idea

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 4, 2016 - The head of the US Air Force on Thursday said she would be "concerned" if President Barack Obama were to formally declare a "no-first-use" policy for America's arsenal of nuclear weapons.

US media reports have in recent weeks said Obama is weighing an overhaul of long-standing nuclear policy, including by pledging to never conduct the first strike in a nuclear conflict.

"I would be concerned about such a policy," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the New America think tank in Washington.

"Having a certain degree of ambiguity is not necessarily a bad thing. You certainly want to communicate certain things to allies and to your potential adversaries around the world, but you don't necessarily want to show all your cards all the time."

The US Air Force is responsible for two legs of America's nuclear defense "triad" -- a three-pronged nuclear system comprising long-range bombers, ground-launched missiles and submarines.

The Washington Post last month reported that Obama, who has espoused a world free of nuclear weapons, is weighing a range of measures that he could implement before leaving office early next year.

Among these measures are funding cuts to modernize America's nuclear arsenal, and canceling or delaying development of the Long-Range Stand-Off nuclear cruise missile, the Post reported.

America's nuclear policy has been the subject of increased public discussion following a number of contentious comments by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

According to MSNBC presenter Joe Scarborough, citing an anonymous source, Trump repeatedly asked a foreign policy expert "why can't we use" nuclear weapons.

He also has suggested providing nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea and has refused to rule out the use of atomic bombs in Europe.

On a separate matter, James reacted to this week's news that an initial squadron of Air Force F-35 jets is finally ready for combat.

At nearly $400 billion for a total of 2,443 aircraft, the most expensive plane in history has been beset by delays, technical problems and cost overruns.

"It has taken too long, there were too many schedule slips and of course it's gone over budget, and that's the part (of the plane's history) I would like to rewrite," James said.

But "the thing I am bullish about is it's exactly the type of aircraft we need for some of these high-end threats around the world that we believe are going to be the key threats of the future."

 

 

N. Korea accuses US of seeking 'pre-emptive nuclear strike'

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 6, 2016 - North Korea has accused Washington of planning a pre-emptive nuclear strike, after the US announced it would deploy its B-1 bomber in the Pacific for the first time in a decade.

The strategic aircraft were to be deployed on Saturday on the US island of Guam, the US military said last month, describing the operation as a routine rotation with the B-52 bomber.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a barrage of missile launches that this month reached Japanese waters directly for the first time.

Pyongyang accused Washington of "becoming all the more pronounced in their moves to topple down the DPRK by mobilizing all nuclear war hardware," using North Korea's official title.

"The enemies are bluffing that they can mount a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the DPRK by letting fly B-1B over the Korean peninsula within two-three hours in contingency," said an English-language statement on state media.

"Such moves for bolstering nuclear force exposes again that the US imperialists are making a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the DPRK a fait accompli."

North Korea has threatened "physical action" over the planned deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile system in South Korea, known as THAAD.

Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula are also building ahead of an annual South Korea-US military exercise later this month.

On July 29, the US Air Force said it would upgrade its hardware on Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific, by sending the B-1 for the first time since April 2006.

"The B-1 will provide US Pacific Command and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform," it said in a statement.

Pyongyang has repeatedly warned it may carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the South and US targets, domestic and abroad. Ultimately, the North wants to be able to strike on the continental US.

The secretive state, led by supreme leader Kim Jong-un, warned Saturday it would respond to any aggression by reducing the US to a "sea of flames".

"The ever-mounting moves of the US imperialists to ignite a nuclear war are pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula into the uncontrollable and catastrophic phase," said the KCNA statement.

 

 

S. Korea hits back at China in US missile row

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 7, 2016 - South Korea on Sunday rejected China's criticism over the planned deployment in the South of a US anti-missile system, saying Beijing's failure to curb its ally North Korea had created the situation.

Seoul's decision to deploy the powerful US system, to counter a growing threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, threatens to damage relations with its largest trading partner Beijing.

China has condemned the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system as a move against its own national security interests and said it would further heighten regional tension.

The People's Daily even warned Seoul Thursday Seoul of the potentially costly "domino effect", saying the South would "inevitably be the first target" in any conflict between China and the US.

The South's presidential office however urged China to work harder to tame its neighbour North Korea, saying THAAD would have been unnecessary had there been no threat from it.

"Chinese media recently put the cart before the horse in insisting that our decision to host the THAAD was the cause of the North's series of provocations including ballistic missile launches," the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

Tension has been running high since the North staged its fourth nuclear test in January and a series of missile launches since then -- most recently last Wednesday.

"We believe that China, before taking issue with our purely defensive move, should raise the issue more strongly with the North, which... is disrupting the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia," it said.

China is the sole major ally of the impoverished and isolated North, which relies heavily on food and oil imports from its neighbour.

The Blue House also urged a group of six Seoul lawmakers from the main left-leaning opposition party to scrap a plan to visit Beijing, after they had announced the August 8-10 trip aimed at discussing ways of mending ties.

"No matter what the intention of these lawmakers is, their trip would eventually help strengthen the Chinese government's stance and deepen division within South Koreans," it said.

The decision to host THAAD in the South has met opposition from left-leaning Seoul lawmakers and activists who argue it will imperil diplomatic and economic ties with China.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner and accounts for one quarter of its exports.

Concerns have grown particularly in the South's vast entertainment industry about the possible loss of a key market for the pop music and dramas which have taken China by storm for the past decade.

A number of events scheduled in China involving South Korean stars -- including TV appearances or "fan meetings" with Chinese fans -- were abruptly cancelled recently.

N. Korea accuses US of seeking 'pre-emptive nuclear strike'
Seoul (AFP) Aug 6, 2016 - North Korea has accused Washington of planning a pre-emptive nuclear strike, after the US announced it would deploy its B-1 bomber in the Pacific for the first time in a decade.

The strategic aircraft were to be deployed on Saturday on the US island of Guam, the US military said last month, describing the operation as a routine rotation with the B-52 bomber.

Tensions have been running high since North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a barrage of missile launches that this month reached Japanese waters directly for the first time.

Pyongyang accused Washington of "becoming all the more pronounced in their moves to topple down the DPRK by mobilizing all nuclear war hardware," using North Korea's official title.

"The enemies are bluffing that they can mount a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the DPRK by letting fly B-1B over the Korean peninsula within two-three hours in contingency," said an English-language statement on state media.

"Such moves for bolstering nuclear force exposes again that the US imperialists are making a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the DPRK a fait accompli."

North Korea has threatened "physical action" over the planned deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile system in South Korea, known as THAAD.

Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula are also building ahead of an annual South Korea-US military exercise later this month.

On July 29, the US Air Force said it would upgrade its hardware on Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific, by sending the B-1 for the first time since April 2006.

"The B-1 will provide US Pacific Command and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform," it said in a statement.

Pyongyang has repeatedly warned it may carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the South and US targets, domestic and abroad. Ultimately, the North wants to be able to strike on the continental US.

The secretive state, led by supreme leader Kim Jong-un, warned Saturday it would respond to any aggression by reducing the US to a "sea of flames".

"The ever-mounting moves of the US imperialists to ignite a nuclear war are pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula into the uncontrollable and catastrophic phase," said the KCNA statement.

 

 

Israel minister says Iran has respected nuclear deal

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 7, 2016 - Israel's energy minister on Sunday criticised a landmark nuclear accord between the Jewish state's arch-foe Iran and world powers but said Tehran had so far respected the deal.

The agreement, which was signed in July 2015 and came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions by world powers.

"It's a bad deal but it's an accomplished fact and during the first year we spotted no significant breach from the Iranians," said Youval Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"But it's still too early to conclude that this 12-year deal is a success," he told public radio.

Steinitz's comments came after US President Barack Obama on Thursday defended the accord.

Israel's defence ministry, led by hardliner Avigdor Lieberman, on Friday compared the deal with Iran to the 1938 Munich Agreement, which allowed Nazi Germany to annex parts of then Czechoslovakia.

Netanyahu the same day repeated his country's rejection of the Iran deal but stressed that Israel and the United States remained great allies.

For several months the US and Israeli governments have been negotiating the terms of a new 10-year defence aid pact to replace the current one, which expires in 2018 and is worth more than $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) per year.

The Netanyahu government wants the United States to increase the annual amount of military assistance it provides.

Israel defence ministry likens Iran deal to Munich accord
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 5, 2016 - Israel's defence ministry on Friday likened the Iran nuclear deal to the 1938 Munich agreement with Nazi Germany and slammed US President Barack Obama for defending the accord with Tehran.

The rebuke came after Obama on Thursday defended the nuclear deal which was sealed in July 2015 between Tehran and six world powers led by Washington.

Obama told reporters that the year-old nuclear deal "has worked exactly the way we said it was going to work".

"You'll recall that there were all these horror stories about how Iran was going to cheat and this wasn't going to work and that Iran was going to.... finance terrorism and all these kinds of scenarios, and none of them have come to pass," said Obama.

"It's not just the assessment of our intelligence community, it's the assessment of the Israeli military and the intelligence community, the country that was most opposed to this deal that acknowledges this has been a game changer and that Iran has abided by the deal and that they no longer have the sort of short-term breakout capacity that would allow them to develop nuclear weapons," he added.

Israel's defence ministry, lead by hardliner Avigdor Lieberman, on Friday compared the deal with Iran to the Munich agreement, which allowed Nazi Germany to annex parts of then Czechoslovakia.

"The Munich agreement did not prevent World War II and the Shoah (Holocaust) because it rested on the hypothesis that Nazi Germany could be a partner to an agreement," it said in a statement.

The defence ministry said the Iran deal was "harmful" and would also fail to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran "clearly and proudly proclaims that its goal is the destruction of the State of Israel," the ministry said.

It said the Jewish state's defence establishment and the entire Israeli people "understand that such agreements are not useful and undermine the fight without concession against terrorist states like Iran".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a separate statement, repeating the country's rejection of the Iran deal but stopping short of lambasting Obama.

"While Israel's view on the Iran deal remains unchanged... it firmly believes that Israel has no greater ally than the United States," said the statement released by the premier's office.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu looks forward to further strengthening the alliance between Israel and the United States with President Obama and with the next US administration," it added.

The deal with Iran, which came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of sanctions by world powers.

 

 

Iran nuclear scientist executed for spying for US

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:59 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - Iran has executed a nuclear scientist convicted of handing over "confidential and vital" information to the United States, a judicial spokesman said on Sunday.

"Shahram Amiri was hanged for revealing the country's top secrets to the enemy," Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie told reporters in Tehran.

Amiri, 39, disappeared in Saudi Arabia in June 2009 and resurfaced a year later in the United States.

Conflicting accounts said he had either been abducted or had defected at a time when international tensions over Iran's nuclear programme were at their peak.

In a surprise move, Amiri then returned to Tehran in July 2010, saying he had been kidnapped at gunpoint by two Farsi-speaking CIA agents in the Saudi city of Medina.

At first he was greeted as a hero, telling reporters as he stepped off the plane at Tehran airport that he had resisted pressure from his US captors to pretend he was a defector.

He denied he was a nuclear scientist and said US officials wanted him to tell the media he had "defected on his own and was carrying important documents and a laptop which contained classified secrets of Iran's military nuclear programme".

"But with God's will, I resisted," Amiri said as he was welcomed home by his tearful wife and young son.

- US 'outsmarted' -

However, it was soon clear that Iranian authorities had not accepted this version of events and Amiri dropped out of public view. His arrest was never officially reported.

Iran's judicial spokesman said Sunday that its intelligence services had "outsmarted" the US.

"American intelligence services thought Iran has no knowledge of his transfer to Saudi Arabia and what he was doing but we knew all of it and were monitoring," Ejeie told reporters.

"This person, having access to confidential and highly confidential information of the regime, had established a connection to our number one enemy, America, and had provided the enemy with Iran's confidential and vital information," he added.

The US State Department declined to comment on the case when asked on Sunday.

Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic ties since 1980, when students stormed the US embassy following the previous year's Islamic revolution.

"Shahram Amiri was tried in accordance with law and in the presence of his lawyer. He appealed his death sentence based on judicial process. The Supreme Court... confirmed it after meticulous reviews," Ejeie said.

"We like all convicts to repent and reform. Not only did he not repent and compensate for his past, but he tried to send out false information from inside the prison, and finally he was punished," he added.

- 'Covert headquarters' -

Numerous media reports in recent years have supported the idea that Amiri was a defector with highly prized information on Iran's nuclear programme.

"Shahram Amiri described to American intelligence officers details of how a university in Tehran became the covert headquarters for the country's nuclear efforts," the New York Times reported in July 2010, citing unnamed US officials.

"While still in Iran, he was also one of the sources for a much-disputed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's suspected weapons program, published in 2007," the report said.

In a confusing series of events shortly before his repatriation to Tehran, three separate videos emerged appearing to show Amiri claiming either that he was abducted by US agents, had come freely to study, or that his life was in danger and he wanted to return to Iran.

At the time, world powers had grown increasingly concerned that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon -- a charge that it has consistently denied.

Between 2010 and 2012, four nuclear scientists were assassinated inside Iran and a fifth survived a bomb attack. The government blamed the attacks on US and Israeli intelligence services.

Iran finally reached a deal with world powers in July 2015, promising to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

The deal took effect in January this year but Washington and the European Union maintain some sanctions on Iran over its human rights record and ballistic missile testing.

Tehran has complained that the remaining sanctions are locking it out of the international banking system and hampering its ability to make major purchases, such as aircraft.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY

 

 

BAE Systems gets $51 million Minuteman III contract modification

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:29:51 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Aug 1, 2016 - BAE Systems has received a $51 million U.S. Air Force contract modification for support services for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system.

The company exercised an option on the previously awarded contract for the fixed-price, level of effort modification.

The deal calls for BAE to provide systems engineering, technical assistance support, as well as training and development in performing integration, sustaining engineering and program management support functions for the system.

Work will be performed in Utah and is expected to be completed by July 2017.

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is the contracting activity.

The Minuteman is an intercontinental ballistic missile system dispersed via hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center, where two-officer crews perform around-the-clock alert in the launch control center.

Minuteman I was deployed in the early 1960s, with the current array of 450 Minuteman III missiles located at several Air Force bases across the United States.

 

 

S. Korea says North hacked government e-mails

 
‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:29:51 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 1, 2016 - Seoul prosecutors on Monday accused North Korea of hacking into the email accounts of dozens of South Korean government officials this year, the latest in the series of suspected cyber attacks by Pyongyang.

Investigations showed a "suspected North Korea-operated group" attempted to hack into the emails of 90 people -- including officials at the foreign, defence and unification ministries -- from January to June, the Supreme Prosecutors' Office said in a statement.

"The passwords of 56 accounts were stolen," the statement said.

The hackers set up 27 phishing sites in January posing as popular portals like Google and South Korea's Naver, as well as government and university websites, to steal the passwords.

The prosecutors said the malicious codes used in the latest attack were the same as the ones used by North Korea in previous attacks on the South.

An investigation is still ongoing to see if any confidential information may have been leaked.

The latest cyber attack comes just days after South Korean police said the North stole the personal data of over 10 million customers at South Korean online shopping mall Interpark.

Interpark was unaware about the attack until July 11, when it was blackmailed with threats to publicise the leaked data unless the company paid three billion won (US$2.7 million).

The National Police Agency said the North's main spy agency -- the Reconnaissance General Bureau -- had organised the hack in a bid to earn hard currency.

Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula have been running high since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of ballistic missile tests.

The provocations have put North Korea under the toughest sanctions yet from the United Nations as well as mounting individual sanctions by countries like the US, South Korea and Japan.

Seoul has in recent years blamed the North's hackers for a series of cyber attacks on military institutions, banks, state agencies, TV broadcasters, media websites and a nuclear power plant.

The North operates an army of more than 1,000 hackers who stage hacking or cyber attacks targeting Seoul's major institutions or key officials, according to the South's spy agency.

 

 

 
 

News About Wars On Planet Earth

 

 
 
 
 
 

Arab coalition raids kill 16 Yemenis: rebels

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:34:53 AMGo to full article
Sanaa (AFP) Aug 31, 2016 - Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck a home in Yemen's rebel-held Saada province, killing 16 people, including women and children, the Iran-backed insurgents said on Wednesday.

Residents said the air raids hit the house overnight, while the Huthi rebels' sabanews.net website reported that the victims were "mostly children and women from three families".

There was no immediate reaction from the coalition, and AFP was unable to confirm the report from independent sources as Saada is under the rebels' complete control.

The Arab coalition launched a military campaign against the Huthis and their allies in March 2015, after the Shiite rebels closed in on Gulf-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in his southern refuge in Aden forcing him into exile.

Saada and surrounding parts of northern Yemen have long been strongholds for the Huthis.

But they later joined up with forces with loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, before seizing Sanaa in September 2014 and forming their own governing body.

The coalition has stepped up its air raids since three months of peace talks in Kuwait collapsed earlier this month.

The rebels have also intensified their attacks on the Saudi border.

On Wednesday, a Saudi border guard, Corporal Abdullah Madkhali, was killed after shelling from Yemen hit a frontier post in the Jazan region, the kingdom's interior ministry said.

Cross-border fire from Yemen has killed about 100 civilians and members of the security forces on the Saudi side since the war began.

In Yemen itself, more than 6,600 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since March 2015 and more than 80 percent of the population has been left in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

The latest escalation prompted UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to call Wednesday for a return to a ceasefire in Yemen which he said was "critical" to renewing peace talks.

 

 

Philippines' Duterte to meet fugitive Muslim rebel

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:34:53 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) Aug 31, 2016 - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he planned to meet a fugitive Muslim rebel wanted over a deadly siege, promising to ignore an arrest order in an effort to forge peace.

The announcement was the latest dramatic attempt by the firebrand leader to end decades-long insurgencies with Muslim and communist rebels that have claimed more than 150,000 lives.

Duterte said he spoke on Tuesday to Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), one of the two major Muslim rebel groups based in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines.

"I told him: 'Nur, I have no intention of detaining you or putting you in the custody of the government. You can simply walk out there, ask any soldier and police to escort you to where we can talk'," Duterte said.

Duterte, 71, offered to meet Misuari, 77, in the rebel leader's stronghold in the war-torn southern island of Jolo or in the presidential palace in Manila.

But Misuari said he preferred they meet in Malaysia before representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while promising a quick peace deal, according to Duterte.

"He said in two days we can sign something and end the fighting," Duterte said.

The government of Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino, filed rebellion charges against Misuari for allegedly orchestrating a siege in the southern city of Zamboanga in 2013 that left more than 200 dead.

The offence is punishable by at least 30 years in prison, but Misuari was able to avoid arrest by remaining under the protection of his militants on Jolo, which is also home to the notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang.

Misuari founded the MNLF in 1969 to wage a guerrilla war for a separate Islamic state in the southern Philippines, where most of the nation's Muslim minority live.

Misuari signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996 in return for the creation of a Muslim autonomous area.

The breakaway Moro Islamic Liberation Front then continued the rebellion, but in recent years also began negotiating for peace.

Misuari allegedly orchestrated the 2013 Zamboanga siege because he felt the MNLF was being sidelined under the planned MILF peace deal.

Duterte is aiming to forge a final peace agreement with both groups.

The president, in power for just two months, has also launched peace talks with communist rebels. To kickstart the peace process, he released 17 jailed communist leaders.

 

 

Jitters in rebel heartland over peace in Colombia

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:34:53 AMGo to full article
Planadas, Colombia (AFP) Aug 31, 2016 - Esperanza Rivera, who grew up in the same mountains that gave birth to the FARC guerrillas, is happy about the Colombian peace deal -- but worries about what comes next.

After nearly four years of negotiations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos reached an agreement in Havana on Wednesday to end 52 years of warfare. The deal needs to be ratified in an October 2 popular vote.

"What we want is for the peace deal to be signed and for the plebiscite to win," said Rivera, 41, a farmer interviewed in the town of Planadas, where a 1964 armed peasant uprising gave birth to the FARC.

Rivera warns however that "another conflict, which no one talks about," is emerging, in a country where drug gangs have also fueled the violence.

"As long as the guerrillas were here, criminals were kept away," Rivera said. "But now, since the criminals will have no one to fear, we will be unprotected."

Police "do not come out to the countryside, there is no security force to defend us from common criminals," she said.

- Not even a hen -

In Planadas "the bandits greatly feared the guerrillas, so they wouldn't steal even a hen because there was someone to punish them."

Rivera hopes that with peace they will also get "more help from the government, which has abandoned us."

Another local, 59 year-old Jorge Ardila, said that he also wants peace but has doubts about what was negotiated.

"I don't think that there is anyone in the universe that doesn't want peace," he told AFP. "But before taking a stance I should know what was agreed upon."

Ardila claims that his father, Pedro Antonio Ardila, was a nurse for FARC founder Manuel "Tirofijo" (Sureshot) Marulanda, who died in 2008 of apparent natural causes.

Ardila said that his father became Marulanda's nurse soon after the FARC was formed while working at the same time as an army nurse.

"He would perform his medical services in the army and then, in a clandestine way, also help the guerrillas," Ardila said.

Eustacio Jimenez, 75, is even more skeptical about the peace accord.

"Reaching peace in Colombia is very difficult because there is a lot of poverty and unemployment," he said.

Negotiations are fine, but there will be no peace if those issues are not also included in the bargaining, he said.

Jimenez's prediction: "more blood will be spilled."

According to Jimenez, there are "more people under arms than working in the field."

A life-long farmer, Jimenez knows well the mountains surrounding Planadas, which for decades have been key corridors the FARC to reach other rural areas.

- Power vacuum -

Many locals are silent about their true thoughts about the future, wary of what could happen if they speak out.

They conflict, which has left 260,000 dead and 45,000 missing, has forced them to hone their survival skills.

"Here there are eight, nine sets of laws: those set by the guerrillas, the paramilitary groups, the gangs ... " a local who prefered to not identify himself told AFP.

Experts say the power vacuum that will emerge when the FARC demobilizes might be filled by other illegal groups.

Candidates include the National Liberation Army (ELN), another leftist rebel group, and criminal gangs that emerged from the remnants of right-wing paramilitary forces demobilized between 2003 and 2006.

"That is a risk," Kyle Johnson with the International Crisis Group told AFP.

Colombia does have some experience in this area: in the 1990s the government reached peace agreements with other guerrilla groups, and 10 years later the country's paramilitaries were demobilized.

Both cases showed that power vacuums "can be filled by other illegal armed groups," Johnson said.

 

 

Lieberman vows to recover Israeli bodies from Gaza

 
‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:34:53 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 31, 2016 - Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday he was determined to recover the bodies of two soldiers killed in Gaza but insisted he was not keen to negotiate with Hamas.

Oron Shaul, a soldier in the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip, was believed by the Israeli army to have been killed along with Hadar Goldin, and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is thought to hold their bodies.

Channel 10 television on Monday quoted him as saying, in two private conversations, that the return of the soldiers' remains was improbable and that he does not want to negotiate with Hamas.

The report triggered an uproar with Goldin's twin br