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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]

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Russian suspicions of U.S. motives in Syria make cooperation unlikely

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:22:54 AMGo to full article
Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrian Kurdish refugees wait behind the border fences to cross into Turkey near Suruc in Sanliurfa provinceBy Lesley Wroughton and Matt Spetalnick NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Russia see Islamic State as a common enemy but are failing to overcome deep mutual distrust and agree on how to tackle the threat together, making any role for Moscow in the U.S.-led campaign unlikely, say U.S. Moscow suspects Washington's ulterior motive is removal of its ally, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Washington refuses to consider working together as long as Moscow insists that U.S.
 
 

Top Asian News at 4:00 a.m. GMT

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:03:21 AMGo to full article
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong activists kicked off a long-threatened mass civil disobedience protest Sunday to challenge Beijing over restrictions on voting reforms, escalating the battle for democracy in the former British colony after police arrested dozens of student demonstrators. The announcement by civil leaders came after a big crowd of tens of thousands turned out around midnight Saturday to support the student protesters who stormed into a courtyard of the government complex and scuffled with police wielding pepper spray. Police arrested at least 74 people, including some in their teens.
 

Saudi foreign minister: War on terror needs years

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:07:57 AMGo to full article
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Saturday that the war against extremists in the Middle East may take years and must not stop before all terrorist organizations are eliminated.
 

World leaders give their annual speeches at the UN

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:54:55 PMGo to full article
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of India, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — World leaders gathered Saturday for the fourth day of the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to address the state of their countries and the world. Here are highlights from some of the newsworthy speakers:
 
 

Far-right groups protest immigration at British port

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:35:23 PMGo to full article
A police officer walks past a flag following a demonstration calling for greater security to protect truck drivers from migrants trying to enter Britain illegally from France, September 27, 2014, in Dover, EnglandDover (United Kingdom) (AFP) - British far-right groups demonstrated against immigrants entering the country from France on Saturday, in a protest at the southern English port of Dover.
 
 

Top Asian News at 7:30 p.m. GMT

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:32:33 PMGo to full article
HONG KONG (AP) — Leaders of a Hong Kong pro-democracy movement say they're kicking off a long threatened mass civil disobedience protest to challenge Beijing over its recent decision to rule out genuine democratic reforms for the former British colony. Organizers of "Occupy Central with Love and Peace" said early Sunday that an "occupation" of the streets outside government headquarters has officially begun.
 

Russia's Lavrov slams US 'military interference'

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:15:13 PMGo to full article
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting in Moscow on September 4, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday accused the United States of resorting to "military interference" to defend its interests, in a veiled reference to the air campaign in Syria.
 
 

No breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks, sides agree to keep talking

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:04 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had cautioned ahead of the talks in New York that a breakthrough was unlikely to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...
 
 

Palestinian leader in new UN bid to end occupation

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:30:23 AMGo to full article
President Mahmoud Abbas, of Palestine, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Facing pressure at home to come up with a new strategy for achieving Palestinian statehood, Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he would ask the U.N. Security Council to dictate the ground rules for any talks with Israel, including setting a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands.
 
 

Iran and six powers make little progress in nuclear talks

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:01:59 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had originally said a breakthrough in New York was unlikely on a nuclear deal to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...
 
 

New wave of US air strikes in Syria

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:58:15 AMGo to full article
This US Air Forces Central Command photo released by the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System shows a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flying over northern Iraq early in the morning of September 23, 2014 after conducting airstrikes in SyriaWashington (AFP) - US aircraft have launched a fresh wave of bombing raids against Islamic State militants in Syria, in the fifth consecutive day of air strikes in the country, a defense official told AFP on Friday.
 
 

US official says Khorasan Group threat to aviation

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:52:13 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — An al-Qaida cell in Syria known as the Khorasan Group, which was targeted by U.S. airstrikes this week, represents "a clear and present danger" to commercial flights to Europe and the United States, the Obama administration's top aviation security official said Friday.
 

Russia's Lavrov questions legality of U.S. airstrikes on Syria

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:31:58 AMGo to full article
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia questioned on Friday the legality of U.S. and Arab air strikes in Syria to target Islamic State militants because the action was taken without the approval and cooperation of Moscow's ally Damascus. The United States, which has long called for the dismissal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, began air and missile strikes on strongholds of Islamic State in Syria this week, backed up by some Gulf Arab allies. Washington forewarned Damascus of the action, but did not seek approval for it. ...
 

Denmark, Britain join U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:57:31 PMGo to full article
(Reuters) - Denmark announced on Friday it will send seven F-16 fighter jets to take part in a U.S.-led military coalition attacking Islamic State militants in Iraq, and parliament in Britain approved British participation. Danish and British jets will join a growing international force arrayed against the radical Sunni group which controls oilfields, farmland and military bases in a wide, cross-border region straddling east Syria and north Iraq. The pledges came on a fourth day of U.S. and Arab air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria. ...
 

Man returning from Mideast 'combat zones' held at French airport

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:13:25 PMGo to full article
The international airport of Nice, southeastern France, on September 14, 2011Nice (France) (AFP) - A young man was detained Friday at an airport in southern France as he returned from Iraqi or Syrian "combat zones" via Turkey, a source close to the case said.
 
 

Germany plans tougher controls on would-be jihadists

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:38:32 PMGo to full article
BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government plans tougher controls on would-be jihadists such as marking personal identity cards to alert border guards that the traveler may be en route to join the Islamic State militant group. An interior ministry spokeswoman said some kind of marking on identity cards could identify suspected jihadists so border guards in Germany or other Schengen countries such as Belgium or the Netherlands could prevent them from leaving. ...
 

Islamic State tightens siege of Syria border town; more Europeans join alliance

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:38:32 PMGo to full article
Turkish and Syrian Kurds run as Turkish security forces use tear gas to disperse them near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border, near SurucBy Jonny Hogg and Raheem Salman KARACA Turkey/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State fighters tightened their siege of a town on Syria's border with Turkey on Friday despite U.S.-led air strikes aimed at defeating the militants in both Syria and Iraq, in a coalition which has now drawn widespread European support. Washington's closest ally in the wars of the last decade joined the alliance at last on Friday after weeks of weighing its options: Britain's parliament voted 542 to 43 to back Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to join air strikes on Iraq. ...
 
 

Top Asian News at 6:30 p.m. GMT

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:32:27 PMGo to full article
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — High heels, with sequins. Brightly colored, tight-fitting dresses. Hairstyles and makeup that are almost like what you would expect on streets of Beijing or Seoul. Something is definitely afoot in the style scene of North Korea's capital.
 

Why China stays out of Islamic State fight, for now

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:19:49 PMGo to full article
Heavily armed Chinese paramilitary policeOne might expect China to be heavily invested in the international fight to stop Islamic State jihadists from taking over Iraq and Syria: For starters, China is the number one investor in Iraq's oil industry. Yet, Beijing is almost nowhere to be seen in anti-IS coalition discussions. Why?
 
 

Syria refugees leave cruise liner after Cyprus standoff

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:37:39 PMGo to full article
Syrian refugees rescued off the coast of Cyprus sit in a bus at the port in Limassol on September 26, 2014 as they are transported to a camp on the outskirts of the capital NicosiaLimassol (Cyprus) (AFP) - Hundreds of mostly Syrian refugees rescued by a cruise liner in the Mediterranean agreed to disembark in Cyprus on Friday after a standoff triggered by their demand to go to Italy.
 
 

Cambodians protest Australia resettlement deal

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:51:43 PMGo to full article
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, second from left, toasts with Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng, second from right, after a signing ceremony of a controversial deal on resettlement of refugees inside the Interior Ministry, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. Cambodia signed the deal with Australia to resettle an unspecified number of refugees currently held at an Australian-run detention camp on the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru. About 100 people, including Buddhist monks, demonstrated outside Australia's embassy in Cambodia against the deal. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Australia and Cambodia signed an agreement Friday for asylum-seekers who are refused residency in Australia to instead be resettled in the impoverished Southeast Asian country criticized for its deteriorating human rights record.
 
 

Nine Japanese said to have joined Islamic State

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:07:56 PMGo to full article
TOKYO (Reuters) - Nine Japanese nationals have joined Islamic State, Japan's former air force chief, Toshio Tamogami, quoted a senior Israeli government official as saying, but the government's top spokesman said on Friday it had not confirmed the information. Tamogami, now a senior official of a tiny new political party, said on his blog that Nissim Ben Shitrit, the director-general of Israel's foreign ministry, told him this month that nine Japanese had taken part in Islamic State. ...
 

Big powers aim to tackle any Iran bomb 'sneak-out' risk in nuclear talks

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:07:57 AMGo to full article
By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Western strategists have long debated the specter of Iran "breaking out" - suddenly showing the ability to explode an atom bomb. But some see a "sneak-out" less visible to U.N. inspectors as a possibly bigger risk and world powers have calibrated their demands in negotiations with Iran to forestall any such outcome. Under a "sneak-out" scenario, Western officials and experts say, Iran could build a uranium enrichment plant in secret to make bomb material unbeknownst to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, now empowered to visit only Tehran's declared nuclear sites. ...
 

More Islamist suspects arrested after top preacher held

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:34:25 AMGo to full article
Scotland Yard said two men were arrested in the early hours of Friday on the M6 motorwayLondon (AFP) - Police on Friday said they had arrested two more suspects in an investigation into "Islamist-related terrorism", a day after nine were detained including a top radical preacher.
 
 

Syrian refugees refuse to disembark in Cyprus after rescue

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:51:57 AMGo to full article
Refugees who were rescued off the coast of Cyprus line the side of a ship at the port in Limassol on September 25, 2014LIMASSOL (Cyprus) (AFP) - Almost 300 mostly Syrian refugees rescued by a cruise liner were refusing Friday to disembark in Cyprus's southern port of Limassol, demanding instead to be taken to Italy, the cruise company said.
 
 

Iran leader slams West 'blunders' but eyes cooperation

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:19:03 AMGo to full article
Demonstrators shout slogans against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani outside the United Nations in New York on September 25, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wavered between criticism and engagement in a speech to the UN, slamming Western blunders in the Middle East but signaling commitment to securing a deal on nuclear power.
 
 

Syrian, Iraqi and other asylum seekers on rise in West: UNHCR

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:10:03 AMGo to full article
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Wars in Syria and Iraq, and instability in other hotspots are driving ever more people to seek asylum in wealthy nations, with requests on track to hit a 20-year high in 2014, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. Some 330,700 people sought refugee status in 44 industrialized countries in the first half of the year, an almost 24 per cent rise on the same period in 2013, it said. ...
 

Australia defense chief apologizes after race-based assault claim withdrawn

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:32:10 AMGo to full article
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The head of Australia's Defense Force apologized on Friday after an officer withdraw allegations he had been attacked by two men "of Middle Eastern appearance", allegations that had fueled tensions during a crackdown by counter-terrorism authorities. The officer had claimed he was approached on Thursday by two men who assaulted him, causing minor bruising, according to police. But Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said the 41-year-old officer had withdrawn his claim on Friday, without giving further details. ...
 

Official: Refugees could soon settle in Cambodia

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:20:43 AMGo to full article
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Refugees rejected by Australia could be resettled in Cambodia this year under a bilateral agreement to be signed Friday that will cost the Australian government more than 10 million Australian dollars ($9 million) a year, a senior minister said.
 

Islamic State 'brand' gains ground among Asian militants

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:42:24 AMGo to full article
By Rosemarie Francisco and Stuart Grudgings MANILA (Reuters) - A threat by Philippine militants to kill a German hostage in a show of solidarity with Islamic State is the latest sign that the Middle East group's brand of radicalism is winning recruits in Asia and posing a growing security risk in the region. Over 100 people from Southeast Asia's Muslim majority countries of Indonesia and Malaysia and the southern Philippine region are believed by security officials and analysts to have gone to join Islamic State's fight in Iraq and Syria. ...
 

Hundreds protest Iran president outside UN complex

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:54:43 AMGo to full article
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered Thursday in a plaza outside the United Nations to protest what they said was Iran's continued support of terrorism, its poor record on human rights and its deceptive tactics in nuclear negotiations as the country's president delivered remarks to world leaders.
 
 

U.N. nuclear assembly rejects Arab bid to pressure Israel

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:47:03 AMGo to full article
VIENNA (Reuters) - Member states of the U.N. nuclear agency rejected on Thursday an Arab resolution criticizing Israel over its assumed atomic arsenal, in a diplomatic victory for Western states that opposed the initiative. Arab states had submitted the non-binding resolution - which called on Israel to join a global anti-nuclear weapons pact - to the annual meeting of the 162-nation International Atomic Energy Agency, in part to signal their frustration at the lack of progress to move toward a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. ...
 

Iran blames 'errors' of outsiders for rise of Islamic State

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:47:03 AMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday blamed the rise of the Islamic State group and other militants on the mistakes of the West and said the solution to stopping them must come from the Middle East. "The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists," he said in a speech to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly. ...
 
 

Germany: We've never been so close to nuclear deal with Iran

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:58:50 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Six world power have never been so close to a deal with Iran that would resolve the decade-long nuclear standoff once and for all, but the final phase of the negotiations will be the hardest, Germany's foreign minister said on Thursday. "We have never been so close to a deal as now. But the truth is that the final phase of the talks that lay before us is probably the most difficult," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after meeting Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. "Now is the time to end this conflict. ...
 

Basketball federation denies religious ban on headscarves

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:54:59 AMGo to full article
Members of the Qatar women's basketball team (R) in discussion with courtside officials as Mongolia (front L) take the court, ahead of their women's preliminary round baskeball match during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on September 24, 2014Basketball's world governing body said Friday it could start next year to ease a ban on headgear in international competitions that has led Qatar's women's team to forfeit two matches at the Asian Games.
 
 

Obama urges world to do more to tackle Ebola

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:52:03 AMGo to full article
President Barack Obama shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after speaking about the Ebola epidemic, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama, in a sober assessment of international efforts to stem a deadly Ebola outbreak, warned a high-level United Nations gathering Thursday that there is a "significant gap" between what's been offered so far and what is actually needed to stem the health crises in West Africa.
 
 

Iraqi PM: Plot to attack New York, Paris subways

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:27:13 AMGo to full article
N.Y.C. subwayNEW YORK (AP) — In early versions of a story Sept. 25 about an alleged plot to attack subway systems in Paris and the United States, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the Iraqi prime minister said "Yes," when asked whether an attack was imminent. The prime minister actually said, "I'm not sure."
 
 

British Muslim group hailed by Obama battles for hearts and minds

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:16:54 AMGo to full article
Muslims stand in the prayer hall of a mosque in south London, on February 18, 2011London (AFP) - The head of a British Muslim group praised by US President Barack Obama is an ex-jihadist in a gritty London neighbourhood who tries to sway young minds against radicalism by whatever means possible -- including Twitter.
 
 

Islamic State may have gained 1,000 recruits from Asia: U.S. commander

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:24:19 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Around 1,000 recruits from a vast region stretching from India to the Pacific may have joined Islamic State to fight in Syria or Iraq, a senior U.S. military commander said on Thursday. "That number could get larger as we go forward," Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, who heads the U.S. Armed Forces' Pacific Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. However, Locklear did not specify which of the 36 countries in the Pacific Command - some of which have their own Islamist movements - have been recruiting grounds for the Sunni fundamentalist militant group. ...
 

US offers more nuanced take on Khorasan threat

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:47:17 PMGo to full article
FBI Director James ComeyWASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. officials offered a more nuanced picture Thursday of the threat they believe is posed by an al-Qaida cell in Syria targeted in military strikes this week, even as they defended the decision to attack the militants.
 
 

Obama says Egypt key to US security in Mideast

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:39:08 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in New York, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. Seated with Obama are from left to right, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, and Secretary of State John Kerry. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama is highlighting the longstanding relationship between the United States and Egypt as a cornerstone of American security policy in the Middle East.
 
 

Obama raised fate of jailed journalists with Egypt's Sisi

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:22:28 PMGo to full article
US President Barack Obama (R) meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (L) in New York, September 25, 2014New York (AFP) - President Barack Obama Thursday raised the fate of jailed journalists in Egypt and his concerns over political repression in his first meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, US officials said.
 
 

Obama says Egypt key to US security in Mideast

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:18:06 PMGo to full article
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, center, and members of his delegation meet with President Barack Obama, and his delegation, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama is highlighting the longstanding relationship between the United States and Egypt as a cornerstone of American security policy in the Middle East.
 
 

Arab resolution on Israel defeated at IAEA meeting

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:10:20 PMGo to full article
VIENNA (AP) — An Arab-backed resolution singling out Israel for special attention over its alleged nuclear arsenal was defeated Thursday at an annual conference of the U.N. atomic agency.
 

Tweets reveal anti-Americanism in Arab world

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:09:22 PMGo to full article
An analysis of Twitter messages from the Arab-speaking world reveals strong anti-American sentiment, suggesting that social media posts may offer insights opinion polls cannotWashington (AFP) - An analysis of Twitter messages from the Arab-speaking world reveals strong anti-American sentiment, suggesting that social media posts may offer insights opinion polls cannot.
 
 

Iran blames 'errors' of outsiders for rise of Islamic State

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:01:33 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran President Hassan Rouhani blamed the rise of the Islamic State group and other militants on "certain intelligence agencies", saying the solution to stopping them must come from the Middle East region itself and not the West. "The extremists of the world have found each other and have put out the call, 'extremists of the world unite'. But are we united against the extremists?" Rouhani asked in a speech to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. ...
 
 

No threat against Washington Metro rail, bus systems: spokesman

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:48 PMGo to full article
(Reuters) - There is no specific or credible threat against Washington's area rail or bus systems, a spokesman for the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority said on Thursday. "We are aware of the reporting out of the Middle East," spokesman Dan Stessel said in an email. "Based on the information we have at this time, there remains no specific or credible threat against the Metrorail or Metrobus systems. ...
 

NYC mass transit security beefed up before new warning: governor

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:48 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday he was aware of a report of potential threats to U.S. subway systems and that authorities had already begun to beef up security at New York City mass transit sites before the latest warning. "I want to assure the people of New York that we are monitoring these reports closely and are in close communication with officials in Washington," Cuomo said in a statement. Cuomo said the enhanced security was part of a bi-state initiative announced on Wednesday with New Jersey Governor Christie. ...
 

Rouhani: extremists want to destroy civilization

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:18:42 PMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, looks at a protester holding a picture who interrupted while he was speaking at New America, a public policy institute and think tank, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 in New York. Protesters say the individuals in the picture are all dissidents under house arrest in Iran and called on the President Rouhani to facilitate their release. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's president told the U.N. General Assembly Thursday that moderate leaders in the Middle East must spearhead the fight against extremists, warning that their goal of destroying civilization is generating anti-Muslim hatred and creating fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in the region.

 

 

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Iran state TV: BBC tried to steal from 'archives'

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:15:36 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state television accused the BBC on Sunday of trying to steal "artistic, historic and cultural documents" from government archives in the Islamic Republic.
 

Yemenis stage first protest against rebels ruling Sanaa

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:57:24 PMGo to full article
Yemeni activists chant anti-Huthi slogans during a rally on September 28, 2014 in the capital SanaaSanaa (AFP) - Hundreds of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa Sunday to demand the withdrawal of Shiite rebels, in a first protest against the insurgents since they overran the capital last week.
 
 

Basketball giants China crash out of Asian Games

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:23:43 PMGo to full article
Seven-time winners China were dumped out of the Asian Games basketball competition before the medals battle startsIncheon (South Korea) (AFP) - Seven-time winners China sensationally exited the Asian Games basketball on Sunday, before the medals battle starts, after being defeated by Iran.
 
 

Iranians and Israelis find an unlikely musical detente in Germany

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:09:30 PMGo to full article
Ten Iranians, now living in Germany, entered the recently reopened Bezalel Synagogue in the sleepy small town of Lich.
 

Report: Iran builds surface-to-surface missile

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:28:37 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A news agency in Iran is reporting that the Islamic Republic has built a new surface-to-surface cruise missile capable of being launched from an airplane.
 

Saudi Arabia warns Yemen violence could threaten global security

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:55:37 AMGo to full article
DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has said "unprecedented challenges" facing Yemen since Shi'ite Muslim rebels took over the capital could threaten international security, and called for swift action to deal with instability in its southern neighbor. The world's largest oil exporter, which shares a long border with Yemen, welcomed an agreement signed in Sanaa on Sept. 21 to form a new government incorporating the Houthi rebels and some Yemeni southern separatist forces. But the kingdom, a key U.S. ...
 

Gold reprieve for teen as China top 100 at Asian Games

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:00:34 AMGo to full article
Bahrain's Ruth Jebet competes in the women's 3,000m steeplechase at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, on September 27, 2014Teenage steeplechaser Ruth Jebet had her Asian Games gold medal restored on appeal Sunday as dominant China passed 100 wins with a week's competition still to go.
 
 

EU's Juncker team faces make-or-break hearings

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:56:47 AMGo to full article
Juncker, the incoming president of the European Commission, presents the list of the European Commissioners and their jobs for the next five years, during a news conference at the EC headquarters in BrusselsBy Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The next 10 days could make or break a plan to reshape the European Union under new management in an attempt to revive the economy and regain trust among its half-billion people. From Monday, members of a European Parliament elected on a wave of anti-Brussels protest will subject nominees for posts on executive European Commission to hearings that could wreck the line-up and a complex new structure proposed by its incoming president, Jean-Claude Juncker. ...
 
 

Iran-6 power talks turn into mostly Iran-US show

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:39:59 AMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, greets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry before the seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. The meeting was co-organized by Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Pool, Jason Szenes)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — First there were three nations negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear program. Then six. And now, mostly one — the United States.
 
 

Vigil in Idaho city for pastor jailed in Iran

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:15:46 AMGo to full article
MERIDIAN, Idaho (AP) — More than 100 people gathered for a vigil at the Meridian City Hall Ampitheater to pray for the safe return of a pastor from Boise, Idaho, jailed in Iran for preaching Christianity.
 

US hits jihadists in Syria, Qaeda threatens coalition

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:18:06 PMGo to full article
A Syrian man looks at the wreck of a car, buried under rubble, following a reported US-led coalition air strike against the headquarters of al-Nusra Front, near Aleppo on September 25, 2014Damascus (AFP) - The US-led coalition widened its air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria Saturday as British warplanes flew their first anti-jihadist combat missions over neighbouring Iraq.
 
 

Yemen rebels clash with Hadi forces, US embassy 'targeted'

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:57:33 PMGo to full article
A Yemeni supporter of the Shiite Huthi rebels stands guard during a celebratory rally after the anti-government movement seized key state installations, on September 26, 2014 in the capital SanaaSanaa (AFP) - Yemeni Shiite rebels who have overrun the capital clashed with presidential guards Saturday as they ignored a demand to leave the city following a UN-brokered peace accord.
 
 

Bahrain runner stripped of athletics gold in Asian Games

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:47:24 PMGo to full article
Bahrain's Ruth Jebet competes in the final of the women's 3,000m steeplechase athletics event during the 17th Asian Games at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in Incheon on September 27, 2014Incheon (South Korea) (AFP) - Teenaged Bahrain steeplechaser Ruth Jebet was dramatically stripped of gold just before she mounted the podium on Saturday as the Asian Games athletics started in a storm of controversy.
 
 

Zhang into 100 semis in Asian Games athletics

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:25:58 PMGo to full article
From left to right: Japan's Ryota Yamagata, China's Zhang Peimeng, Kuwait's Kh Kh A Almutairi Meshaal compete in the men's 100-meters at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — The Asian Games athletics got underway Saturday with Chinese sprinter Zhang Peimeng advancing to the 100-meter semifinals as he renews his quest to become the first Asian sprinter to break the 10-second barrier.
 
 

Iran vows to attack jihadists in Iraq if they near border

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:01:47 PMGo to full article
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter watches over positions of the Islamic State (IS) group in Jalawla, in Iraq's Diyala province, bordering IranTehran (AFP) - Iran will attack Islamic State group jihadists inside Iraq if they advance near the border, ground forces commander General Ahmad Reza Pourdestana said in comments published on Saturday.
 
 

Iran's president: no major progress at nuke talks

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:12:24 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's president on Friday urged faster progress at nuclear talks between his country and six world powers, joining other top international officials who say the current round has failed to make substantial headway toward sealing a deal by the Nov. 24 deadline.
 
 

No breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks, sides agree to keep talking

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:04 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had cautioned ahead of the talks in New York that a breakthrough was unlikely to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...
 
 

Difficult decisions still ahead in nuclear talks: U.S. official

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:07:11 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers ended more than a week of nuclear talks as expected without an understanding on all major issues, a senior State Department official said on Friday. "We do not have an understanding on all major issues, we have some understandings that are helpful to move this process forward, we have an enormous number of details still to work through," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. ...
 

Iran leader: time not right for another phone call

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:36:10 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani leaves after a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that the time isn't right for another phone conversation or a meeting with President Barack Obama "because of the sensitivity that still exists between the two countries."
 
 

Iran's Rouhani says U.S. ties do not have to be hostile forever

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:01:59 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that his country's ties with the United States do not have to be hostile forever and that "one day this will change." "It is not written in stone that the relationship between Iran and the U.S. must be hostile forever. One day this will change," he said, adding that it was up to both governments to create the conditions. The United States cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran during a hostage crisis after the 1979 Islamic revolution. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi, editing by Michelle Nichols)
 

Iran and six powers make little progress in nuclear talks

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:01:59 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had originally said a breakthrough in New York was unlikely on a nuclear deal to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...
 
 

More Iran nuclear talks amid fears of no progress

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:40:16 AMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his final press conference after talks over Tehran's nuclear program at the Austria Convention Centre in Vienna, on July 15, 2014New York (AFP) - Top US diplomat John Kerry met Friday for the second day with his Iranian counterpart as global powers grapple for an elusive nuclear deal amid fears little progress is being made.
 
 

Yemeni crew of Iran 'arms' ship freed

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:44:43 PMGo to full article
A Yemeni Shiite Huthi anti-government rebel holds a position on September 22, 2014 in SanaaAden (AFP) - Eight Yemeni sailors convicted of smuggling weapons to Shiite Huthi rebels onboard an Iranian ship have been freed thanks to mediation from Oman, a security official said.
 
 

Iran says no progress, nuclear talks must move faster

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:39:04 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani answers a question during press conference in New York on September 26, 2014New York (AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday talks on Tehran's nuclear program had made no significant progress and urged international powers to show greater flexibility before a November deadline.
 
 

Russia sees Ukraine agreement

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:02:03 PMGo to full article
Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a news conference during the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The delay in implementing Ukraine's association agreement with the European Union leaves space for a settlement of the Ukraine crisis, the Russian foreign minister said Friday.
 
 

Rouhani says 'courageous decisions' needed to clinch nuclear deal

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:31:20 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkNEW YORK (Reuters) - Iran President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday "courageous decisions" must be made to clinch a long-term nuclear agreement and that any deal without the lifting of all sanctions against Tehran was "unacceptable". Speaking to reporters in New York on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly, he added that progress in the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers has been "extremely slow". "We must look forward to the future and make the courageous decisions vis-a-vis this problem," he said. ...
 
 

Russian FM 'cautiously optimistic' on Iran nuclear talks

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:47:50 PMGo to full article
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reacts during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe in Moscow on September 4, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday he was "cautiously optimistic" about talks on Iran's nuclear program despite statements from France that negotiations had failed to yield progress.
 
 

Why China stays out of Islamic State fight, for now

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:19:49 PMGo to full article
Heavily armed Chinese paramilitary policeOne might expect China to be heavily invested in the international fight to stop Islamic State jihadists from taking over Iraq and Syria: For starters, China is the number one investor in Iraq's oil industry. Yet, Beijing is almost nowhere to be seen in anti-IS coalition discussions. Why?
 
 

Iran nuclear talks faltering amid 'no progress'

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:04:07 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during his final press conference after talks over Tehran's nuclear program at the Austria Convention Centre in Vienna, on July 15, 2014New York (AFP) - Top US diplomat John Kerry was to meet with his Iranian counterpart Friday for a second time in two days, amid reports that tough talks on reining in Tehran's nuclear program have become deadlocked.
 
 

US-led air strikes disrupt jihadist oil operations in Syria

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:37:30 PMGo to full article
In this April, 1975 file photo, Syria opens its fourth oil field at Jbeissah, 19 miles west of the Iraq Border. Activists say that U.S.-led airstrikes have targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group, killing at least five people on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and two local activist collectives say the airstrikes hit refineries and oil fields in the eastern provinces of Deir el-Zour and Hassakeh.(AP Photo/Harry Koundakjian, File)Damascus (AFP) - US-led air strikes in Syria disrupted the Islamic State group's lucrative oil-pumping operations as Britain's parliament on Friday debated joining anti-jihadist raids in neighbouring Iraq.
 
 

Qatar says fight against Islamic State will fail if Assad stays

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:07:56 PMGo to full article
DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has warned that the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State militancy will not succeed as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power. U.S. and Arab forces have bombed Islamic State targets in northern and eastern Syria this week, following U.S. strikes on the al Qaeda splinter group in Iraq since early August. "We have to counter terrorism, yes. But I believe that the main cause of all this is the regime in Syria, and this regime should be punished," Sheikh Tamim said in an interview with CNN broadcast on Thursday. "... ...
 

No significant progress in Iran nuclear talks: French minister

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:07:27 PMGo to full article
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius attends the jumping first round third competition at the World Equestrian Games at the d'Ornano stadium in CaenUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - There has been no significant progress in nuclear talks between Iran and major powers and, as a result, a meeting between the two sides planned for Friday had to be called off, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday. "At this moment when I am talking, there have been no significant advances," Fabius told reporters. "We were due to have a meeting this morning of the P5+1 on one side and the Iranians on the other but because of a lack of progress, this meeting (had) to be called off. ...
 
 

Big powers aim to tackle any Iran bomb 'sneak-out' risk in nuclear talks

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:07:57 AMGo to full article
By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Western strategists have long debated the specter of Iran "breaking out" - suddenly showing the ability to explode an atom bomb. But some see a "sneak-out" less visible to U.N. inspectors as a possibly bigger risk and world powers have calibrated their demands in negotiations with Iran to forestall any such outcome. Under a "sneak-out" scenario, Western officials and experts say, Iran could build a uranium enrichment plant in secret to make bomb material unbeknownst to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, now empowered to visit only Tehran's declared nuclear sites. ...
 

AP PHOTOS: Scenes of toil from Iran's coal mines

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:48:08 AMGo to full article
In this Thursday, May 8, 2014 photo, Iranian coal miners push metal carts to be loaded with coal at a mine near the city of Zirab 212 kilometers (132 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran, on a mountain in Mazandaran province, Iran. International sanctions linked to the decade-long dispute over Iran’s nuclear program have hindered the import of heavy machinery and modern technology in all sectors, and coal mining is no exception. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)MAZANDARAN PROVINCE, Iran (AP) — In the coal mines of northern Iran men with their faces smeared black push rusty metal carts down into the earth in grim scenes that seem to belong to another century.
 
 

Zhang reignites quest for sub-10 at Asian Games

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:46:33 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, Kazakhstan's Olga Rypakova celebrates winning gold in the women's triple jump final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London. Olympic champion triple jumper Rypakova will look to defend her Asian Games’ title as a prelude to the World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Zhang Peimeng renews his quest to become the first Asian-born man to break 10 seconds for the 100 when he gets into the blocks at the Asian Games. Contending with a packed field, though, he may be lucky just to win the race.
 
 

Iran leader slams West 'blunders' but eyes cooperation

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:19:03 AMGo to full article
Demonstrators shout slogans against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani outside the United Nations in New York on September 25, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wavered between criticism and engagement in a speech to the UN, slamming Western blunders in the Middle East but signaling commitment to securing a deal on nuclear power.
 
 

Hundreds protest Iran president outside UN complex

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:54:43 AMGo to full article
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered Thursday in a plaza outside the United Nations to protest what they said was Iran's continued support of terrorism, its poor record on human rights and its deceptive tactics in nuclear negotiations as the country's president delivered remarks to world leaders.
 
 

Iran blames 'errors' of outsiders for rise of Islamic State

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:47:03 AMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday blamed the rise of the Islamic State group and other militants on the mistakes of the West and said the solution to stopping them must come from the Middle East. "The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists," he said in a speech to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly. ...
 
 

Germany: We've never been so close to nuclear deal with Iran

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:58:50 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Six world power have never been so close to a deal with Iran that would resolve the decade-long nuclear standoff once and for all, but the final phase of the negotiations will be the hardest, Germany's foreign minister said on Thursday. "We have never been so close to a deal as now. But the truth is that the final phase of the talks that lay before us is probably the most difficult," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after meeting Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. "Now is the time to end this conflict. ...
 

Resolution on Israel defeated again at IAEA meeting

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:27:00 PMGo to full article
A resolution proposed by Arab states expressing concern about Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal was defeated at a meeting of the UN's International Atomic Energy AgencyVienna (AFP) - A resolution proposed by Arab states expressing concern about Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal was defeated on Thursday at a meeting of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
 
 

Iran blames 'errors' of outsiders for rise of Islamic State

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:01:33 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran President Hassan Rouhani blamed the rise of the Islamic State group and other militants on "certain intelligence agencies", saying the solution to stopping them must come from the Middle East region itself and not the West. "The extremists of the world have found each other and have put out the call, 'extremists of the world unite'. But are we united against the extremists?" Rouhani asked in a speech to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. ...
 
 

U.N. nuclear assembly rejects Arab bid to pressure Israel

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:42 PMGo to full article
The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA flies in front of its headquarters during a board of governors meeting in ViennaBy Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Member states of the U.N. nuclear agency on Thursday rejected an Arab resolution targeting Israel over its assumed atomic arsenal, in a diplomatic victory for the Jewish state and Western countries opposing the initiative. Arab states had submitted the non-binding text - which called on Israel to join a global anti-nuclear weapons pact - to the annual meeting of the 162-nation International Atomic Energy Agency, in part to signal their frustration at the lack of progress toward banning atomic arms in the Middle East. ...
 
 

Islamic State: Iran's Rouhani warns of 'blades in the hand of madmen'

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:22:13 PMGo to full article
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani today called for global unity to fight the “fire of extremism and radicalism,” blaming the West’s “strategic blunders” for creating fertile ground for Islamic State jihadists.
 

Rouhani: extremists want to destroy civilization

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:18:42 PMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, looks at a protester holding a picture who interrupted while he was speaking at New America, a public policy institute and think tank, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 in New York. Protesters say the individuals in the picture are all dissidents under house arrest in Iran and called on the President Rouhani to facilitate their release. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's president told the U.N. General Assembly Thursday that moderate leaders in the Middle East must spearhead the fight against extremists, warning that their goal of destroying civilization is generating anti-Muslim hatred and creating fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in the region.
 
 

Kerry to hold nuclear talks with Iran FM, EU's Ashton

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:42:49 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to guests during an event on September 23, 2014 in New YorkNew York (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry will hold three-way talks later Thursday with his Iranian counterpart and EU foreign policy chief as they push for a nuclear deal in the next two months.
 
 

US orders some diplomats out of Yemen

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:28:37 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered some of its diplomats and other government workers at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country because of deteriorating security amid unrest and sectarian clashes that have left Shiite rebels in control of the capital.
 

Islamic State drags Obama back into Mideast quagmire

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:27:18 PMGo to full article
U.S. President Obama departs after chairing U.N. Security Council meeting at the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Samia Nakhoul BEIRUT (Reuters) - American-led and Arab-backed air strikes carrying the fight against Islamic State from Iraq into Syria have dragged Washington into a new Middle East war - exactly the kind of conflict Barack Obama spent his presidency trying to avoid. No one doubts this dramatic escalation presages a long conflict that could spill into neighboring states and that U.S. air power alone cannot win. Analysts who have watched Islamic State take parts of Syria and seize territory in Iraq believe it may be possible to contain the group but it will hard to dislodge it. ...
 
 

Yemen frees members of Iran Revolutionary Guards: sources

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:07:47 PMGo to full article
By Mohammed Ghobari SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen freed at least three suspected Iranian Revolutionary Guard members on Thursday who had been held for months over alleged ties to a Shi'ite Muslim insurgent group that has seized control of much of the capital Sanaa, a senior official said. The takeover by the Shi'ite Houthi rebels came hours before a power-sharing accord was signed with other political parties providing for the creation of a new government. That effectively made the Houthis the main power brokers in Yemen, a U.S. ...
 

Asian Games: Hong Kong's Lee completes dramatic cycling double

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:00:51 PMGo to full article
Hong Kong's Lee Wai-sze (L) sprints ahead of China's Lin Junhong during the women's sprint semifinal at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, on September 25, 2014Hong Kong's Olympic medal-winning track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze took gold in the women's individual sprint Thursday in a dramatic third-race decider against Chinese rival Zhong Tianshi.
 
 

Jailed Bahrain activist ends hunger strike

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:26:53 PMGo to full article
A Bahraini girl holds up a placard bearing a portrait of jailed human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of the capital Manama on September 5, 2014Dubai (AFP) - Bahraini activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence for plotting to overthrow the regime, has ended a month-long hunger strike, his lawyer said Thursday.
 
 

Russian lawyer wins Norwegian human rights prize

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:44:19 PMGo to full article
OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian human rights foundation gave its annual prize on Thursday to a Russian lawyer and the legal aid group he heads, for their work defending the right to fair trial. Pavel Chikov, 36, and the Agora group were selected for helping activists, bloggers, journalists and non-governmental organizations against the unlawful actions of Russian government agencies, the Rafto Foundation said. Agora also documents abuses of power, compiles reports detailing human rights abuses and focuses its attention on regions that seldom receive media coverage, the foundation said. ...
 

India players break with tradition for basketball

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:05:32 PMGo to full article
INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Before all the attention generated by the Qatari women's team withdrawing from the Asian Games basketball competition due to a ban on head coverings in competition, the Indian men's team faced a similar predicament.
 

Iranian hardliners block Rouhani's promises of greater freedom

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:41:30 PMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani listens during a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New YorkBy Babak Dehghanpisheh BEIRUT (Reuters) - After a year in office, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has achieved a steady thaw in relations with the West but failed so far to deliver on campaign promises of more freedom at home. On some significant indicators - the number of executions and political prisoners as well as press freedom - the pragmatic Rouhani has fared no better or even worse than his hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, activists say. ...
 
 

Yemen frees Iran 'Guards' accused of links to Shiite rebels

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:51:41 AMGo to full article
A Yemeni Shiite Huthi anti-government rebel holds a position at an army base which they captured before the signing a UN-brokered peace agreement in Sanaa on September 22, 2014Aden (AFP) - Yemen has freed two Iranians said to be members of the Islamic republic's elite Revolutionary Guards who were accused of links to Shiite rebels, according to sources.
 
 

Cameron says Iran can be 'part of solution' in Syria

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:10:19 AMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said Iran could be "part of the solution" in defeating jihadists in Syria after he held landmark talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
 
 

Iran leader set for center stage at UN

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:13:48 AMGo to full article
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) greets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani before a meeting at the United Nations in New York on September 23, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani takes center stage at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, addressing the world's largest diplomatic gathering after being courted by European leaders for support on Syria.
 
 

Cameron wants UK to join in airstrikes in Iraq

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:53:35 AMGo to full article
United Kingdom's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The British prime minister said late Wednesday he will ask Parliament to approve joining international airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.
 
 

Iran warns US over Syria bombing campaign

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:44:27 AMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the New York Hilton Midtown on September 24, 2014 in New York CityUnited Nations (United States) (AFP) - Iran's president warned the US in an interview that air strikes would not destroy jihadists in Syria but appeared upbeat about securing a deal over Tehran's nuclear program.
 
 

UK-Iran meeting first since 1979 revolution

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:28:35 AMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Timothy A. Clary, Pool)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the first such meeting since the Iranian revolution in 1979.
 
 

Iran leader: US should focus on terror, not nukes

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:49:16 AMGo to full article
Iran President Hassan Rouhani speaks during his keynote address at New America, a public policy institute and think tank, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)NEW YORK (AP) — Iranian President Hasan Rouhani urged the United States on Wednesday to move beyond "insignificant" fears that his country seeks nuclear arms and challenged it to join his country in battling what he described as the global threat of Islamic extremism.
 
 

Islamist fighters advance in Syria despite U.S. strikes

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:30:03 AMGo to full article
Boys inspect a vehicle which was damaged in what activists say was one of Tuesday's U.S. air strikes in Kfredrian, Idlib provinceBy Kinda Makieh and Jonny Hogg DAMASCUS/MURSITPINAR Turkey (Reuters) - U.S. and coalition planes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria again on Wednesday, but the strikes did not halt the fighters' advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded. U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at the United Nations, asked the world to join together to fight the militants and vowed to keep up military pressure against them. ...
 
 

Iran rejects British leader's claim it backs 'terror'

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:23:43 AMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, on September 24, 2014Tehran (AFP) - Iran on Thursday rejected accusations from British Prime Minister David Cameron that it supports "terrorism", pointing out instead that it is leading the fight against groups like the Islamic State.
 
 

US-led air strikes target IS oil refineries in Syria

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:57:46 AMGo to full article
In this picture downloaded from the US Navy website and taken on September 23, 2013, an F/A-18F Super Hornet lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after conducting strike missions against Islamic State (IS) group targetsWashington (AFP) - The US-led air war against Islamic State extremists targeted oil refineries in eastern Syria on Wednesday, in a bid to undercut the group's oil smuggling profits, the Pentagon said.
 
 

US condemns Shiite rebels in Yemen

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:17:26 AMGo to full article
A Yemeni Shiite Huthi anti-government rebel holds a position at an army base which they captured before the signing a UN-brokered peace agreement in Sanaa on September 22, 2014New York (AFP) - President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor called President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Wednesday to condemn Shiite rebels the Yemeni leader says have brought his country to the brink of civil war.
 
 

Iran, Britain seek to improve ties, say nuclear deal vital

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:15:49 AMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a high-level meeting on post-2015 anti-poverty goals at the Ford Foundation in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said on Wednesday he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed that the two countries should work to improve ties and it was crucial for Tehran and major powers to reach a long-term nuclear deal. The Prime Minister and President, who met at the United Nations in New York in the first such meeting since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, also discussed the threat from Islamic State militants, who have taken over parts of Syria and Iraq. ...
 
 

Islamist fighters advance in Syria despite U.S. strikes

 
‎25 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:00:40 AMGo to full article
U.S. Navy handout shows EA-6B Prowler attached to the Garudas of Electronic Attack Squadron 134 landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush after conducting strike missions against Islamic State targets, in the GulfBy Kinda Makieh and Jonny Hogg DAMASCUS/MURSITPINAR Turkey (Reuters) - U.S. planes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria for a second day on Wednesday, but the strikes did not halt the fighters' advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded. U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at the United Nations, asked the world to join together to fight the militants and vowed to keep up military pressure against them. ...
 
 

British PM, Iran leader discuss IS in historic talks

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:29:15 PMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, on September 24, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to win cooperation from Iran's President Hassan Rouhani against jihadists in Syria on Wednesday in the first meeting between the countries' leaders in 35 years.
 
 

Yemen president warns of civil war as factions collide

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:16:16 PMGo to full article
Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi waits during the signing of an agreement between the government and Houthi rebels, in SanaaBy Mohammed Ghobari SANAA (Reuters) - President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has warned Yemenis their country is heading toward civil war after the takeover of the capital by Shi'ite Muslim rebels, a move that has allowed the insurgents to dictate terms to a weakened, fractured government. "(The combat in Sanaa) emphasises to us the painful bitterness of fighting among our people and the danger of entering into a civil war," Hadi said in a speech to political and security chiefs at his headquarters on Tuesday. ...
 
 

Obama rallies world to fight 'Islamic State' threat

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:55:12 PMGo to full article
An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site via YouTube on September 23, 2014, allegedly shows recruits riding in armed trucks in an unknown locationUnited Nations (United States) (AFP) - President Barack Obama recruited new allies to an international coalition to defeat a jihadist "network of death" in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday, as militants murdered a French hostage.
 
 

Israel says Iran used Parchin military site for testing nuclear detonation technology

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:32:14 PMGo to full article
FILE - This is April 9, 2012 file photo photo provided by the Institute for Science and International Security, ISIS shows suspected cleanup activities at a building alleged to contain a high explosive chamber used for nuclear weapon related tests in the Parchin military complex in Iran. A U.S. institute tracking Iran's nuclear program said Thursday Aug. 22, 2013 that recent satellite images of the Parchin military complex it has analyzed show further major alterations of a military site that the U.N. has long tried to access to follow up suspicions that Tehran may have used it in attempts to develop atomic arms. (AP Photo/ISIS, handout)By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Wednesday that Iran has used its Parchin military base as the site for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon. The Jewish state has been a severe critic of six big powers' negotiations with Iran on restraining its nuclear program, suspecting Tehran is only trying to buy time to master sensitive nuclear know-how and would evade the terms of any final deal.    The Islamic Republic says allegations that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability are false and baseless. ...

 

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Key partners in coalition against Islamic State

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:35:59 PMGo to full article
A warplane comes in to land after completed a mission at Britain's Royal Air Force Base in Akrotiri near southern city of Limassol, Cyprus, on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. Britain's Ministry of Defense said warplanes have taken off for their first combat mission over Iraq since Parliament approved airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group. The Tornado GR4 aircraft took off from RAF Akrotiri hours after Britain joined the U.S.-led coalition of nations that are launching airstrikes against the extremists. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group is growing, with dozens of countries among its ranks. The coalition is contributing a wide range of efforts, from carrying out airstrikes to providing military assistance and humanitarian aid.
 
 

Details of mission against Syria, Iraq militants

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:35:27 PMGo to full article
Latest update from U.S. Central Command on the military action by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State group militants in Syria and Iraq. The Syria action began Sept. 21; the Iraq action Aug. 8.
 

Obama: US misjudged Iraqi army, militants' threat

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:22:14 PMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand guard with their weapons as they patrol the front line with the Islamic State group in Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. The tense standoff frustrates many of the young soldiers, away from their families now for several months, even as other units make gains with the help of U.S. and French airstrikes. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said in an interview airing Sunday that he agrees with intelligence leaders who believe the United States not only underestimated the threat of militants seeking to form the Islamic State group but also overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi army to fight.
 
 

Obama: U.S. intelligence underestimated militants in Syria - CBS

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:05:59 PMGo to full article
Obama speaks at the Global Health Security Agenda Summit in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated Islamic State activity inside Syria, which has become "ground zero" for jihadists worldwide, President Barack Obama said in a CBS television interview broadcast on Sunday. Conversely, the United States overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the militant groups, Obama said in a "60 Minutes" interview taped on Friday, days after the U.S. president made his case at the United Nations for action. Citing earlier comments by James Clapper, director of national intelligence, Obama acknowledged that U.S. ...
 
 

When to shoot: Why the Secret Service is in hot water

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:58:45 PMGo to full article
When members of Congress tear into the US Secret Service at a hearing this week, it will have been prompted by the recent incident involving a White House fence-jumper who made it inside the front door of the president’s residence and principal place of business.
 

Spanish judge orders jail for terror cell suspect

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:57:30 PMGo to full article
MADRID (AP) — A Spanish judge has ordered the detention of a Spaniard from the north African enclave of Melilla on suspicion he belongs to an Islamic terror cell.
 

Armed British warplanes flying 'daily' over Iraq

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:51:03 PMGo to full article
A picture received from the Ministry of Defence on September 28, 2014 shows Royal Air-Force (RAF) Tornado GR4S flying deployed on a mission to Iraq on September 27, 2014London (AFP) - Armed British warplanes are flying daily missions over Iraq and would launch air strikes if called in by local forces on the ground, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Sunday.
 
 

US-led raids hit jihadist oil as Qaeda threatens reprisals

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:27:25 PMGo to full article
A Syrian man looks at the wreck of a car, buried under rubble, following a reported US-led coalition air strike against the headquarters of al-Nusra Front, near Aleppo on September 25, 2014Damascus (AFP) - US-led warplanes kept up strikes on oil sites funding the Islamic State group on Sunday, as Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate threatened reprisals after a key operative was reported killed.
 
 

Oklahoma beheading: Was it an act of terrorism?

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:46:00 PMGo to full article
There is so far no evidence to suggest that Alton Nolen, the man who is accused of beheading a coworker in Moore, Okla., Friday, has any formal connection with terror groups.
 

S.Korea beat Japan to reach Asian Games football semis

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:39:07 PMGo to full article
South Korea's Jang Hyun-Soo (R) celebrates after scoring against Japan during their Asian Games quarter-final in Incheon on September 28, 2014Hosts South Korea overcame fierce rivals Japan 1-0 in a feisty Asian Games quarter-final on Sunday thanks to a late penalty from captain Jang Hyun-Soo that triggered wild celebrations.
 
 

Qatar's Ogunode sets new 100-meter Asian record

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:24:13 PMGo to full article
Qatar's Femi Ogunode stands by his race time after setting a games record in winning the men's 100 meters final at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Qatar's Femi Ogunode set a continental 100-meter record of 9.93 seconds at the Asian Games on Sunday, firmly indicating his determination to contend for an Olympic podium appearance two years from now in Rio.
 
 

Iraqi Kurds face off with extremists across bridge

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:18:36 PMGo to full article
Militant with the Islamic State group peers from behind a barricade at a Kurdish peshmerga position near the Mullah Abdullah Bridge, located on the road between Irbil and Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. Over a wall of dirt bags across the Mullah Abdullah Bridge in northern Iraq, a militant with the Islamic State group looks at Kurdish fighters stationed on the other side of the bridge. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)MANTIQA, Iraq (AP) — Behind the wall of sandbags at the end of a narrow bridge in northern Iraq, a man in a black ski mask paces back and forth, brandishing a machine-gun and poking the barrel above the wall. Alongside him, a second militant in a red and white turban waves angrily. A third looks across the bridge with binoculars.
 
 

Air strikes hit makeshift refineries in Syria: monitoring group

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:16:22 PMGo to full article
A gas mask is seen at a damaged base of the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, that was targeted by what activists said were U.S.-led air strikes in Reef al-Mohandeseen al-Thani in AleppoBy Mariam Karouny and Ayla Jean Yackley BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Air strikes believed to have been carried out by U.S.-led forces hit three makeshift oil refineries in Syria's Raqqa province early on Sunday as part of an assault to weaken Islamic State (IS) militants, a monitoring group said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks occurred shortly after midnight, adding that they also hit a plastic factory. ...
 
 

US-led airstrikes hit Syria oil refinery by Turkey

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:02:50 PMGo to full article
In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, a F-15E Strike Eagle receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. U.S. coalition-led warplanes struck Islamic State group militants near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, near the Turkish border for the first time Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, activists and a Kurdish official said. The coalition, which began its aerial campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria early Tuesday, aims to roll back and ultimately crush the extremist group, which has created a proto-state spanning the Syria-Iraq border. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Matthew Bruch)SANLIURFA, Turkey (AP) — Airstrikes likely carried out by the U.S.-led coalition struck an oil refinery in Syria held by the Islamic State group on Sunday, shaking buildings and sending flames shooting into the air near the Turkish border, a witness and activists said.
 
 

Turkey refugee crisis deepens as Islamic State besieges Syrian border town

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:19:11 PMGo to full article
By Jonny Hogg KARACA Turkey (Reuters) - All that separates Mohammed Muslim from his village in Syria is a barbed wire fence running along the Turkish border, but the dull thud of artillery and the rattle of machinegun fire suggest he will not be going home anytime soon. Muslim, dressed in a battered suit, his mustache flecked with gray, is among more than 150,000 Syrian Kurds who have fled to Turkey over the past week to escape the advance of Islamic State militants, who have seized villages and beheaded residents as they push towards the strategic border town Kobani. ...
 

Conservatives meet after losing two MPs

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:15:01 PMGo to full article
Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street September 26, 2014Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron is bidding to rally his Conservatives for victory at next year's general election at their annual conference Sunday, with the party reeling from a defection and a sex scandal.
 
 

Europe schism haunts British PM Cameron as pre-election battle drums begin

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:49:42 PMGo to full article
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for his interview on "The Andrew Marr Show" on the first day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham central EnglandBy William James and Guy Faulconbridge BIRMINGHAM England (Reuters) - The British Conservative party's schism over Europe marred Prime Minister David Cameron's last major party conference before a 2015 election, overshadowing his party's attempt to pitch a growing economy and lower welfare spending to voters. The defection of a second Conservative lawmaker to the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party on the eve of the conference ratcheted up the pressure on Cameron to take a tougher line on Europe, immigration and welfare less than eight months before a national election in May. ...
 
 

Germany starts training 32 Kurdish fighters

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:48:20 PMGo to full article
The entrance of the army school in Hammelburg, Germany, is photographed on Sunday Sept. 28,2014. Germany’s army has started training 32 Kurdish peshmerga fighters at a Bundeswehr army school in Bavaria to support them in their fight against Islamic State extremists. A spokesman for the German defense ministry said Sunday that the 32 Kurdish fighters would stay in Germany until October 3 to receive weapons’ training. (AP Photo/dpa/David Ebener)BERLIN (AP) — Germany's army has started training 32 Kurdish peshmerga fighters at an army school in Bavaria to support them in their fight against Islamic State extremists.
 
 

Two popes attend gathering of the wise and wrinkled at the Vatican

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:39:37 PMGo to full article
Pope Francis greets Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before a mass in Saint Peter's square at the VaticanBy Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Elderly people, including former Pope Benedict, attended a gathering of the wise and wrinkled at the Vatican on Sunday, where Pope Francis denounced the neglect and abandonment of the old as "hidden euthanasia". During the festive event in St. Peter's Square, Francis addressed some 40,000 elderly people -- grandfathers, grandmothers, widows and widowers. ...
 
 

Europe schism haunts Cameron as pre-election battle drums begin

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:36:38 PMGo to full article
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron arrives for his interview on "The Andrew Marr Show" on the first day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham central EnglandBy William James and Guy Faulconbridge BIRMINGHAM England (Reuters) - The British Conservative party's schism over Europe marred Prime Minister David Cameron's last major party conference before a 2015 election, overshadowing his party's attempt to pitch a growing economy and lower welfare spending to voters. The defection of a second Conservative lawmaker to the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party on the eve of the conference ratcheted up the pressure on Cameron to take a tougher line on Europe, immigration and welfare less than eight months before a national election in May. ...
 
 

Midterm Voters Drop National Politics for Foreign Policy

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:15:00 PMGo to full article
Since last year’s Obamacare website debacle, many Democrats in vulnerable seats in the coming midterms thought that the best strategy to hold office was to distance themselves from President Obama’s signature legislation. Now, as new polls show a majority of Americans believe Obamacare has benefited the 7.3 million Americans who qualify for the new health care program, Obama’s foreign policy has quickly become a major issue in November’s elections. In the last seven months, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the Obama administration is having trouble finding ways to counter an emboldened Vladimir Putin. As American bombs fall in Syria and Iraq, the United States is slowly inching toward a wider war with ISIS.
 

Libya: Send us more arms or face wider terrorism threat

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:27:33 AMGo to full article
Saleh Iissa reacts after being elected as president of the newly elected Libya's House of Representatives in TobrukBy Rodrigo Campos UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Libya on Saturday asked the world either to give it more weapons and other support to help restore security and rebuild its institutions or to declare outright that the conflict-torn North African state "must face terrorism alone." After describing Tripoli's descent into chaos, which led the government to abandon its premises in the capital, Aguila Saleh Iissa, president of the Libyan House of Representatives, said: "This would not have happened had the international community taken the situation in Libya seriously. ...
 
 

Asian Games/Football - Last-gasp goal puts North Korea into football semis

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:34:14 AMGo to full article
Asian Games/Football - Last-gasp goal puts North Korea into football semis- Jong In-Gwan scored in the third minute of injury time Sunday as North Korea beat United Arab Emirates 1-0 to secure a place in the Asian Games football semi-finals.
 
 

Frenchman's murder puts Algeria back on the shifting map of jihad

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:08:25 AMGo to full article
People pay tribute to Gourdel a French mountain guide who was beheaded by an Algerian Islamist group, in LyonBy Patrick Markey and Lamine Chikhi ALGIERS (Reuters) - When a little-known group of Algerian militants beheaded a French tourist last week, they were not only lashing out at the West, but also staking an unmistakable claim in the shifting ground of jihadist power politics. Herve Gourdel's murder by the Caliphate Soldiers, ostensibly to punish France for Western military strikes on Islamic State forces in Iraq, was testament to the pull now exerted by the al Qaeda-offshoot in the battle for the loyalties of jihadists. ...
 
 

Commentary; US Strategy Toward the Islamic State -- An (Urgent) Opportunity For Congress To Do Its Job

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:00 AMGo to full article
FORT LEE, N.J., Sept. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is written by Patrick R. Romain, editor in chief of The Weekly Leaf:The execution of U.S. foreign policy that has relied on the use of force and support provided to selected factions, whether in the volatile Middle East or in other hot spots, has been an abject failure.  An astronomical cost has been paid with American and foreign lives and currency. The war against the Islamic State will be no different.Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140928/148807 Since the beginning of August, the U.S. ...
 

Russian suspicions of U.S. motives in Syria make cooperation unlikely

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:22:54 AMGo to full article
Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrian Kurdish refugees wait behind the border fences to cross into Turkey near Suruc in Sanliurfa provinceBy Lesley Wroughton and Matt Spetalnick NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Russia see Islamic State as a common enemy but are failing to overcome deep mutual distrust and agree on how to tackle the threat together, making any role for Moscow in the U.S.-led campaign unlikely, say U.S. Moscow suspects Washington's ulterior motive is removal of its ally, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Washington refuses to consider working together as long as Moscow insists that U.S.
 
 

Today in History

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:01:21 AMGo to full article
Today is Sunday, Sept. 28, the 271st day of 2014. There are 94 days left in the year.
 

4 governors visit Afghanistan for terror briefings

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:01:56 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — Four U.S. governors made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Saturday as part of a delegation to receive counterterrorism briefings and greet troops stationed there.
 

Islamic nations lobbying Palestinians to go to ICC

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:39:56 PMGo to full article
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The world's largest bloc of Islamic countries has been lobbying the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court so it can prosecute Israeli politicians and military leaders for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the bloc's leader said Saturday.
 

Germany to host conference on Syrian refugees

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:39:41 PMGo to full article
Syrian Kurds, fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State group, sit in a truck as they cross the border into Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc, on September 27, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Germany will host an international conference next month to mobilize aid for Syrian refugees after the launch of US-led airstrikes, the foreign minister told the United Nations on Saturday.
 
 

Islamic State defies air strikes by shelling Syrian Kurdish town

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:55:46 PMGo to full article
A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern IraqBy Mariam Karouny and Jonny Hogg BEIRUT/MURSITPINAR Turkey (Reuters) - New U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State fighters failed to stop them from pressing their assault on a strategic Syrian town near the Turkish border on Saturday, hitting it with shell fire for the first time. The U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said the air strikes destroyed an IS building and two armed vehicles near the border town of Kobani, which the insurgents have been besieging for the past 10 days. ...
 
 

China urges global crackdown on extremists' use of Internet

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:47:33 PMGo to full article
Chinese Foreign Minister Yi addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New YorkUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China called on Saturday for a worldwide crackdown on the use of the Internet by religious extremists and terrorists to stamp out their ability to communicate their ideas and raise funds. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks during the annual gathering of the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly in New York. "As new developments emerge in the global fight against terrorism, the international community should take new measures to address them," Wang said. ...
 
 

Air strikes on Syria 'war against Islam:' Qaeda

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:34:37 PMGo to full article
A fighter from the Al-Nusra Front poses in a destroyed building near the front line with Syrian government solders in Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus on September 22, 2014Beirut (AFP) - Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise, said Saturday that foreign air strikes on the country constitute a "war against Islam", and threatened to attack the worldwide interests of participating nations.
 
 

Syrian al Qaeda offshoot vows retaliation against U.S.-led air strikes

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:32:02 PMGo to full article
AMMAN (Reuters) - The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front on Saturday denounced U.S.-led air strikes on Syria, saying they amounted to a war against Islam and vowing to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part. "We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said. "It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network in its first reaction since the launch of the U.S.-led strikes on Tuesday. ...
 

Libya: Send us more arms or face wider terrorism threat

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:27:29 PMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attends a luncheon of leaders at the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Rodrigo Campos UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Libya on Saturday asked the world either to give it more weapons and other support to help restore security and rebuild its institutions or to declare outright that the conflict-torn North African state "must face terrorism alone." After describing Tripoli's descent into chaos, which led the government to abandon its premises in the capital, Aguila Saleh Iissa, president of the Libyan House of Representatives, said: "This would not have happened had the international community taken the situation in Libya seriously. ...
 
 

Russia at U.N. accuses U.S., allies of bossing world around

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:25:54 PMGo to full article
Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia used its annual appearance at the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday to accuse the United States and its Western allies of bossing the world around, complaining they were attempting to dictate to everyone "what is good and evil." The speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the 193-nation assembly was the latest example of the deteriorating relations between Moscow and Western powers, which have imposed sanctions on Russia over the conflict in neighboring Ukraine. "The U.S. ...
 
 

4 governors visit Afghanistan for terror briefings

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:07:03 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — Four U.S. governors made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Saturday as part of a delegation to receive counterterrorism briefings and greet troops stationed there.
 

France charges three suspected jihadists back from Syria

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:41:45 PMGo to full article
A police station in Paris, pictured on August 2, 2014Paris (AFP) - Three Frenchmen arrested in Turkey after travelling to Syria were charged Saturday with planning terrorist acts, one of their lawyers said.
 
 

Russia's Lavrov slams US 'military interference'

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:15:13 PMGo to full article
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting in Moscow on September 4, 2014United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday accused the United States of resorting to "military interference" to defend its interests, in a veiled reference to the air campaign in Syria.
 
 

Washington's experts recruit 'Call of Duty' creator

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:29 PMGo to full article
A Washington think tank is recruiting the mastermind behind the best-selling "Call of Duty" video games to help policy wonks imagine future wars America may have to fightWashington (AFP) - A Washington think tank is recruiting the mastermind behind the best-selling "Call of Duty" video games to help policy wonks imagine future wars America may have to fight.
 
 

Iraqi army says retook dam from jihadists

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:51:45 PMGo to full article
Iraqi Shiite mourners prepare coffins during the funeral of 12 fighters killed fighting the Islamic State group, in the city of Najaf on September 25, 2014Baquba (Iraq) (AFP) - The Iraqi army and an alliance of Shiite militia groups on Saturday retook a dam northeast of Baghdad after days of fighting believed to have killed dozens, security sources said.
 
 

Poll: Confused by issues of the day? Join the club

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:41:05 PMGo to full article
Poll on just how issues facing the country are getting harder to understand.; 2c x 7 inches; 96.3 mm x 177 mm;WASHINGTON (AP) — Confused by President Barack Obama's health care law? How about the debate over government surveillance? The way the Federal Reserve affects interest rates?
 
 

Turkey prepared for military role in anti-IS coalition: Erdogan

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:09:06 PMGo to full article
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a UN Security Council summit meeting on foreign terrorist fighters during the United Nations General Assembly, September 24, 2014Istanbul (AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could take a military role in the coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) militants as Ankara moves to take a frontline position in the campaign, the Hurriyet daily reported Saturday.
 
 

Car bomb kills 10 in Iraq

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:08:40 PMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi police officials say a car bomb has exploded in a town south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and wounding 24.
 

British fighter jets fly over Iraq, no air strikes yet

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:06:54 PMGo to full article
By Michele Kambas RAF AKROTIRI Cyprus (Reuters) - Two British fighter jets flew over Iraq on Saturday on their first mission since the UK parliament authorized bombing missions against Islamic State militants, but they did not carry out any air strikes, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said. The Tornado jets left the British Royal Air Force's Akrotiri base in Cyprus at 3.25 a.m. EDT and returned more than seven hours later, a Reuters witness said. ...
 

US-led planes strike fighters attacking Syria town

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:54:24 PMGo to full article
In this Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 photo, children from Kobani celebrate as Kurds from Turkey and Syria break down the barbed wire at the Turkey-Syria border near Suruc, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that a "no-fly zone" should be created in Syria to protect part of it from attacks by Syria's air force. In his comments to reporters on his return from the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Erdogan did not specify where such a zone should be located. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State fighters in Syria attacking a town near the Turkish border for the first time Saturday, as well as positions in the country's east, activists and a Kurdish official said.
 
 

British warplanes return from Iraq without bombing

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:46:17 PMGo to full article
Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 fighter jets prepare to land at the Akrotiri British airbase, near the Cypriot port city of Limassol, after returning from a mission over Iraq on September 27, 2014London (AFP) - British warplanes flew their first mission over Iraq since parliament authorised strikes against Islamic State jihadists, but returned without bombing on Saturday, the Ministry of Defence in London said.
 
 

Rice meets Syrian opposition at White House

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:34:17 PMGo to full article
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on March 21, 2014 in Washington, DCWashington (AFP) - National Security Advisory Susan Rice reaffirmed US commitment to supporting Syria's moderate opposition at a meeting in Washington with a delegation from the Syrian National Coalition, the White House said Saturday.
 
 

Kurds in France seek aid vs. Islamic State group

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:16 PMGo to full article
Kurds living in France march with a banner which reads, "In the name of humanity France has to act!" during a rally to protest against the Islamic State group in Paris, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. The activists are seeking support for embattled Kurds facing a military onslaught by the radical group in Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS (AP) — Hundreds of Kurdish activists and their supporters have protested in Paris to denounce violence by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and demand greater Western support against the militants.
 
 

Suspect in Oklahoma beheading is formally arrested in hospital

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:46:25 PMGo to full article
Alton Alexander Nolen is seen in a picture from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections(Reuters) - The Oklahoma man suspected of beheading a former co-worker at a food distribution warehouse last week, who was shot by another employee trying to thwart the attack, was placed under arrest in a hospital where he underwent surgery, authorities said on Saturday. Alton Nolen was charged with first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon when he emerged from sedation, said Moore, Oklahoma, police sergeant Jeremy Lewis. ...
 
 

European ISIS fighters: Is it really 3,000 jihadis?

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:32:23 PMGo to full article
How big is the homegrown ISIS threat?
 

US struggles to blunt Syria rebel anger at strikes

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:15:25 PMGo to full article
This Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 photo, provided by Edlib News Network (ENN), an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows an anti-Syrian government protester holding a placard during a demonstration against the U.S.-led coalition airtstrikes, at the village of Kfar Derian, Idlib province, northern Syria. The U.S. is struggling to counter anger among the Syrian opposition, where many believe that the air campaign against extremists in the country is only helping President Bashar Assad and that Washington is coordinating with Damascus, despite American insistence it backs the rebel cause. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. is struggling to counter anger among the Syrian opposition, where many believe that the air campaign against extremists in the country is only helping President Bashar Assad and that Washington is coordinating with Damascus, despite American insistence it backs the rebel cause.
 
 

War vets, kids scarred by gangs help each other

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:51:21 PMGo to full article
In this Aug. 27, 2014, photo, Fernando, 14, poses for a photo behind a painting he made to honor a dead friend Johnny in Chicago. When he was just 12, he witnessed a drive-shooting where one friend survived a bullet to the head and another died on Fernando's couch, awaiting an ambulance. Fernando is part of the first class of Urban Warriors, a new YMCA-sponsored pilot program that pairs Iraq and Afganistan vets, most grew up with friends or family in gangs, with teens from similar backgrounds. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)CHICAGO (AP) — Jorge Maya sat in a circle at his neighborhood YMCA, a sturdy Afghanistan vet listening to a group of teenage boys scarred by gang violence.
 
 

Fresh US-led airstrikes hit IS targets in Syria, Iraq: Pentagon

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:49:12 PMGo to full article
Four people confirmed dead on Japan's Mount Ontake, national broadcaster NHK reportsWashington (AFP) - The Pentagon confirmed Saturday a fresh round of air strikes by the US military and coalition partners against Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq.
 
 

Silent march for French slain hostage

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:07:34 PMGo to full article
Thousands of people in the French city of Nice pay tribute to mountain-guide Herve Gourdel, who was beheaded by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group in Algeria, on September 27, 2014Nice (France) (AFP) - Thousands of people joined a silent march Saturday in the southern French city of Nice in memory of Herve Gourdel, the hiker beheaded last week by Algerian militants linked to the Islamic State group.
 
 

British fighter jets fly over Iraq, ready to strike - ministry

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:34 PMGo to full article
The flight crew of an RAF Tornado GR4 prepare to begin a combat mission at Akrotiri, CyprusBy Michele Kambas RAF Akrotiri Cyprus (Reuters) - Two British fighter jets flew over Iraq on Saturday, their first mission since the parliament authorised strikes against Islamic State militants there, Britain's Ministry of Defence said. Two Tornado jets left the British Royal Air Force's Akrotiri base in Cyprus at 8:25 a.m. BST and returned more than seven hours later, a Reuters witness said. It was not immediately clear if they had carried out any strikes. “We can confirm that ... ...
 
 

Afghan villagers hang Taliban after offensive

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:16:49 PMGo to full article
An Afghan soldier walks over rubble at the scene of a suicide attack on a government compound in Ghazni earlier this monthAfghan villagers hanged four Taliban fighters from a tree after hundreds of militants launched a major offensive, officials said Saturday, as security forces fought to recapture ground in the eastern province of Ghazni.
 
 

UK warplanes on 1st mission since strikes approved

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:43:41 PMGo to full article
LONDON (AP) — Britain's Ministry of Defense says warplanes have taken off for their first combat mission over Iraq since Parliament approved airstrikes targeting the Islamic state group.
 

Prospect of tighter White House security touches nerve in Washington

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:36:27 PMGo to full article
File photo of the White House seen from outside the north lawn fence in WashingtonBy Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The prospect of more of the U.S. capital being closed off after an intruder got into the White House has struck a nerve in Washington over public space being eroded by barricades and bollards. The possible tightening of security around the president's residence, a highly visible symbol of democracy and a prime draw for tourists and protesters alike, raises questions like whether safety trumps openness or whether a capital city can ever be entirely safe, analysts said. The week after a 42-year-old Iraq war veteran climbed the 7-foot (2. ...
 
 

Iran vows to attack jihadists in Iraq if they near border

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:01:47 PMGo to full article
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter watches over positions of the Islamic State (IS) group in Jalawla, in Iraq's Diyala province, bordering IranTehran (AFP) - Iran will attack Islamic State group jihadists inside Iraq if they advance near the border, ground forces commander General Ahmad Reza Pourdestana said in comments published on Saturday.
 
 

Readers Write: Wildfires will eradicate our forests; the fatiguing fight against Islamic State

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:00:04 PMGo to full article
Thank you for the Sept. 8 cover story, “The Smoke Jumpers.” It does indeed portray the role of smoke jumpers who are brave, dedicated, hard working but alas ineffective. The accompanying graphic titled “Rise of the era of megafires” says it all. Because of the dual causes of overgrowth and increasing droughts, plus the human factors that cause fires during high wind months, the Southwest Rocky Mountains have lost 11 percent of all their forests! 
 

French Muslims denounce "cowardly murder" of tourist

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:08:40 AMGo to full article
A man holds a placard which reads "Homage to Herve Gourdel", a French mountain guide who was beheaded by an Algerian Islamist group, during a gathering of Muslims in front of the Paris Mosque after Friday prayersPARIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of Muslims gathered outside Paris' main mosque on Friday to denounce the beheading of French tourist Herve Gourdel by militants in Algeria who said their act was a response to France's air strikes against Islamic State fighters. France's five-million-strong Muslim population is the largest in Europe. Some on the French right have suggested the community has not condemned Gourdel's murder this week strongly enough, a charge its leaders reject. ...
 
 

ISIS will launch attacks around the world unless stopped: Canada

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:59:46 AMGo to full article
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a question and answer session at Goldman Sachs in the Manhattan borough of New YorkOTTAWA (Reuters) - Islamic militant forces operating in Iraq and Syria will launch terrorist attacks around the world unless they are stopped, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday. Around 70 Canadian military advisors are already in the region and Canadian transport planes have delivered weapons to Kurdish and Iraqi forces. Harper says he is considering a U.S. request for more help against the militants. ...
 
 

UKIP takes on Tories, Labour as elections loom

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:29:03 AMGo to full article
UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks at his party conference in Doncaster on September 26, 2014Doncaster (United Kingdom) (AFP) - The UK Independence Party (UKIP) on Friday said it was ready to take on Conservative and Labour in two key votes next month that it hopes will deliver its first parliamentary seats ahead of May's general election.
 
 

THE PRESIDENT GOES TO WAR IN SYRIA AND IRAQ BUT ONLY SO FAR

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:11 AMGo to full article
This is an unusual American civic moment: All of Washington is under pressure, and all the pressure points in American politics are engaged. There is the president, Barack Obama, pushing for an aggressive attack on terrorism -- even as an important poll showed the public doesn't approve of his policies against terrorism. There is the House of Representatives supporting the president's proposal for an offensive against the Islamic State -- but the vote indicated more of his Republican rivals backed the measure than did his Democratic allies. ...
 

No breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks, sides agree to keep talking

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:04 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani replies to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkBy Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers made little progress in overcoming significant disagreements in the most recent round of nuclear talks, including on uranium enrichment, Iranian and Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Friday. Officials from Iran and the six countries had cautioned ahead of the talks in New York that a breakthrough was unlikely to end sanctions on Tehran, although they had hoped substantial progress could be made in narrowing disagreements. ...
 
 

Western Muslims, troubled, rally against extremism

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:30:10 AMGo to full article
Muslims hold a sign paying homage to French mountaineer Hervé Gourdel, his photo in the centre of the banner, who was beheaded by Islamist militants in Algeria, during a gathering in front of the Paris Grand Mosque, Friday Sept. 26, 2014. The gathering was part of demonstrations by French Muslims against the killings happening in the name of their religion. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)PARIS (AP) — In tweets, in street gatherings and in open letters, moderate Muslims around the world are insisting that Islamic State extremists don't speak for their religion. Many are also frustrated that anyone might think they do, and a backlash has already begun.
 
 

Chicago-area air traffic center fire grounds 1,750 flights

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:01:11 AMGo to full article
Passengers wait in line to rebook cancelled flights at O'Hare International Airport in ChicagoBy Mary Wisniewski and Karl Plume CHICAGO (Reuters) - A fire apparently set by an employee at a Chicago-area air traffic control center led to the cancellation of more than 1,700 flights at the city's two major airports, snarling air traffic across the United States, officials said. Flights resumed at O'Hare International Airport, one of the world's busiest, after a delay of about four hours, but there were bottlenecks across the entire air system that carriers expect to last through the weekend. ...
 
 

Britain joins fight against Islamic State group

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:46:20 AMGo to full article
A demonstrator holds a banner near Parliament in London, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. Britain's Parliament is to debate and vote on the UK response to Iraqi's government's request for support against the Islamic State group. A result to the vote is expected late Friday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON (AP) — Britain, Belgium and Denmark on Friday joined the U.S.-led coalition of nations that are launching airstrikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq, committing warplanes to the struggle against the extremists.
 
 

Iran leader: time not right for another phone call

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:36:10 AMGo to full article
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani leaves after a news conference in New York on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. In his wide-ranging speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Rouhani warned that Islamic terrorists were creating chaos in the Mideast to destroy civilization and generate anti-Muslim hatred, saying they wanted to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region." He also said a nuclear agreement was possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that the time isn't right for another phone conversation or a meeting with President Barack Obama "because of the sensitivity that still exists between the two countries."

 

 
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US-led raids hit jihadist oil as Qaeda threatens reprisals

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Sept 28, 2014
US-led warplanes kept up strikes on oil sites funding the Islamic State group on Sunday, as Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate threatened reprisals after a key operative was reported killed. The coalition raids destroyed three makeshift oil refineries in jihadist-controlled territory in Syria, intensifying efforts to deny IS funding after a wave of strikes on its oil infrastructure on Thursday night
 

Stoltenberg takes helm at pumped-up NATO but challenges loom

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Sept 28, 2014
Former Norwegian premier Jens Stoltenberg will on Wednesday take charge of a revitalised NATO which less than a year ago looked like a Cold War dinosaur in a fast-changing world. The alliance has a newfound sense of purpose thanks to the Ukraine crisis but Stoltenberg will be aware that it must also face up to many other and longer-term challenges, analysts said. It is simplistic to focu
 

Iraqi army says retook dam from jihadists

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Baquba, Iraq (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
The Iraqi army and an alliance of Shiite militia groups on Saturday retook a dam northeast of Baghdad after days of fighting believed to have killed dozens, security sources said. Fighting has been raging for days around Muqdadiyah, in Diyala province, around 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Baghdad, between jihadists from the Islamic State group and pro-government forces. "We are now in f
 

World powers warn of 'serious gaps' in Iran talks

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
New York (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
With just eight weeks left to broker a historic deal with Iran, world powers warned Friday they remained at loggerheads with the Islamic republic over curbing its nuclear ambitions. Despite "an enormous amount of work" and "gazillions of hours" spent by experts pouring over highly technical, complex documents "the gaps are still serious," a senior US administration official told reporters.
 

Law enforcement and NSA worried about iPhone security

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 27, 2014
The new iPhone has encryption technology that will make it very difficult for government agencies to access its information. Emails, your address book, your images and more will be encrypted to the point that the NSA and other law enforcement agencies will have a very hard time accessing that information, according to the New York Times. The new iPhone 6 uses an algorithm that makes it so even
 

Washington's experts recruit 'Call of Duty' creator

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
A Washington think tank is recruiting the mastermind behind the best-selling "Call of Duty" video games to help policy wonks imagine future wars America may have to fight. Dave Anthony, whose blockbuster gaming franchise has earned billions of dollars, is among a group of writers and producers enlisted by the Atlantic Council to look at how armed conflicts might evolve in the 21st Century.
 

Silent march for French slain hostage

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Nice, France (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
Thousands of people joined a silent march Saturday in the southern French city of Nice in memory of Herve Gourdel, the hiker beheaded last week by Algerian militants linked to the Islamic State group. Gourdel was seized on September 21 by the IS-linked group Jund al-Khilifa, or "Soldiers of the Caliphate", while trekking in a national park in northeastern Algeria. His beheading, which w
 

New NATO chief Stoltenberg brings Russia ties to job

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Oslo (AFP) Sept 28, 2014
Norway's Jens Stoltenberg brings close Russia ties to his new job as NATO chief, equipping him with a potentially key asset as tensions with the Kremlin hover at post-Soviet highs. The former Norwegian prime minister - the first NATO secretary general from a country bordering Russia - is known for his good relations with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Duri
 

China calls for N. Korea nuclear talks to resume

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
China on Saturday urged restraint on the Korean peninsula and a resumption of talks on North Korea's nuclear program as soon as possible. North Korea has in recent months sought to push the United States into agreeing to resume the talks on its nuclear program, but Washington and Seoul insist Pyongyang must first show a tangible commitment to denuclearization. "The six party talks remain
 

Taiwan student hurls book at president in China protest

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
A college student threw a book at Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou as he left a Taipei hotel to protest increasingly cordial relations with China, his office confirmed Saturday. The student glanced a copy of "Formosa Betrayed" off the leader, a highly critical historical account of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang party in the years after World War II, in the incident on Friday. "We want to tel
 

Jihadist's tweets suggest Khorasan leader's death: SITE

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 28, 2014
A jihadist who once fought in the Khorasan group offered messages of condolences on Twitter over the death of the Al-Qaeda offshoot group's alleged leader, the SITE monitoring group said Saturday. The messages appeared to provide confirmation that US airstrikes in Syria might have killed Khorasan leader Muhsin al-Fadhli, a long-standing Qaeda operative. SITE said a series of tweets from
 

Rice meets Syrian opposition at White House

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
National Security Advisory Susan Rice reaffirmed US commitment to supporting Syria's moderate opposition at a meeting in Washington with a delegation from the Syrian National Coalition, the White House said Saturday. The Friday meeting came as the United States and coalition partners broaden air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria, with a defense official telling AFP that "near
 

IS rockets hit besieged Syrian Kurdish town for first time

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Beirut (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
Rocket fire by jihadists from the Islamic State group hit the besieged Syrian Kurdish town of Ain al-Arab on Saturday for the first time, wounding 12 people, a monitor said. The report comes as the US-led coalition widened its campaign of air strikes against IS targets to include fighters around the town on the Turkish border, known as Kobane by the Kurds. "Rockets fired by the IS from h
 

Turkey prepared for military role in anti-IS coalition: Erdogan

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could take a military role in the coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) militants as Ankara moves to take a frontline position in the campaign, the Hurriyet daily reported Saturday. In comments made aboard his presidential plane to Turkish reporters as he travelled back from the United States, Erdogan also indicated he backed the use of grou
 

France charges three suspected jihadists back from Syria

 
‎29 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:38 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 27, 2014
Three Frenchmen arrested in Turkey after travelling to Syria were charged Saturday with planning terrorist acts, one of their lawyers said. The men, who were the subject of a high-profile judicial bungle this week after their arrest in Turkey, were being charged with "criminal association with the aim of planning terrorist acts", lawyer Pierre Dunac told AFP. They were remanded in custo
 

US hits jihadists in Syria, Qaeda threatens coalition

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:37:25 PMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Sept 28, 2014
The Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise, has threatened reprisals against nations participating in air strikes against the Islamic State group, denouncing them as "a war against Islam." Group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said in a video posted online Saturday the states involved had "committed a horrible act that is going to put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the worl
 

China, US stepping up pace of military confidence-building

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 25, 2014
China's defence ministry said Thursday that Chinese and US officials agreed earlier this month to quicken the pace of efforts to build mutual confidence between their militaries, just weeks after an air confrontation had raised tensions. US National Security Advisor Susan Rice and General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission, met in early
 

China says 40 'rioters' killed in restive Xinjiang

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
Forty "rioters" were killed in China's far-western Xinjiang region following a series of explosions last Sunday, the worst incident of violence in months, the regional government has said after a four-day news blackout. Residents on Friday described heavy security in place days after the violence. Six civilians, two police officers and two auxiliary police were also killed in the attacks
 

India-China border stand-off resolved: minister

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
A military stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops that lasted nearly two weeks and overshadowed a key summit in New Delhi has ended, India's foreign minister said. Troops will start pulling back from the disputed border area on Friday, Sushma Swaraj said, after meeting her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in New York. "I am very pleased to tell you that both the countries have sat down a
 

US has 'fervent hope' of Iran nuclear deal in weeks: Kerry

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the US hoped to seal a nuclear deal with Iran within the coming weeks, ahead of new talks with his Iranian counterpart. "It remains our fervent hope that Iran and the P5+1 can in the next weeks come to an agreement that would benefit the world," Kerry said, addressing a meeting at the UN on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). H
 

Russia behaving like Islamic State group: Lithuania

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Vilnius (AFP) Sept 25, 2014
Russia is acting like a "terrorist" in Ukraine and in its intimidation of other neighbours, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite said in an interview released Thursday. "I think that Russia is terrorising its neighbours and using terrorist methods," she told the Washington Post newspaper, replying "Yes" when asked whether she thought both Russia and the Islamic State (IS) group, which is
 

FBI expects Islamic State to retaliate for air strikes

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
US authorities believe the Islamic State jihadists will try to stage an attack in America in reprisal for US-led air strikes in Syria, the head of the FBI said Thursday. "There's no doubt," said director James Comey told reporters. "They want to do things in retaliation for America's actions or its allies." He added: "I'm sure they'll desire to find a way to strike here." The United
 

New wave of US air strikes in Syria: defense official

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
US aircraft have launched a fresh wave of bombing raids against Islamic State militants in Syria, in the fifth consecutive day of air strikes in the country, a defense official told AFP on Friday. "I can confirm US air operations are ongoing in Syria," said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The mission is now similar to US-led air raids undertaken in Iraq, with "n
 

Iraq Kurds advance but Mosul still out of reach

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Sept 25, 2014
Western support has helped Iraq's Kurdish troops regain ground and momentum against the Islamic State group, but retaking the northern jihadist hub of Mosul remains too big an ask for now. On June 10, the jihadists who already controlled parts of Syria overran Mosul, Iraq's second city, and swept across the country's Sunni Arab heartland virtually unopposed. When federal forces buckled a
 

Jihadists execute rights activist in Iraq

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 25, 2014
The jihadists who rule Iraq's northern city of Mosul have executed a female rights activist who criticised the Islamic State group on social media, several sources said Thursday. According to rights groups and residents, Samira Saleh al-Nuaimi was executed on Monday. A source at Mosul morgue confirmed to AFP that her body was brought in earlier this week. "I have also had contact with th
 

Abe makes fresh call for Japan-China summit

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
Long-frosty ties between Tokyo and Beijing were showing signs of a slight thaw Friday after a meeting between their two foreign ministers and as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe renewed his call for a summit. Speaking to a news conference in New York, Abe said he hoped to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November on the sidelines of this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperat
 

N. Korea slams 'political prostitute' Park speech at UN

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
North Korea called South Korean President Park Geun-Hye a "political prostitute" Friday as it denounced her call at the UN General Assembly for Pyongyang to improve its human rights record and abandon nuclear weapons. In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) said Park's speech in New York on Wednesday amounted to th
 

Jail term upheld for Taiwan ex-military intelligence chief

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
Taiwan's top court on Friday upheld a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence imposed on a former military intelligence chief on corruption charges. The Supreme Court in a final ruling rejected an appeal filed by ex-Lieutenant General Ke Guang-ming who was found guilty of embezzling Tw$3.7 million ($123,000) of government funds in 2008. In 2010, a military court sentenced Ke to 14 years in p
 

IS advance spells trouble for Turkey's Kurdish peace process

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Sept 25, 2014
The advance of Islamic State (IS) jihadists through Syria's Kurdish areas has thrown a serious obstacle in the way of efforts to make peace between Turkey and Kurdish militants, just when an end was in sight to a 30-year insurgency. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has for three decades waged a rebellion against the Turkish authorities aimed at winning self-rule for Kurds living in
 

U.S. Littoral Combat Ship tests Norwegian-made missile

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
Kongsberg, Norway (UPI) Sep 26, 2014
The Naval Strike Missile from Norway's Kongsberg Defense Systems has been launched from a U.S. Navy warship in a demonstration of the missile's capability. The firing was from the USS Coronado, an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, and the first time an LCS has fired a long-range anti-ship missile, the company said. "We are very pleased that the U.S. Navy evaluates the NSM
 

British PM urges parliament to back 'years' of Iraq action

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:01 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 26, 2014
British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that military action against Islamic State (IS) militants could last for "years" Friday as he urged lawmakers to back joining US-led air strikes in Iraq but not in Syria. Kicking off a crunch debate in the House of Commons, Cameron said the "hallmarks" of the campaign would be "patience and persistence, not shock and awe". "This is going to be
 

AeroVironment's Wasp microdrone being supplied to Marine Corps

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Quantico, Va. (UPI) Sep 25, 2014
AeroVironment Inc.'s short-range RQ-12 unmanned aerial system is being added to the U.S. Marine Corps' tactical UAS inventory. The hand-launched RQ-12, known as the Wasp AE, is just 1.25 feet long, weighs 2.8 pounds, operates for up to 50 minutes at a range of up to about 3 miles, delivering live, streaming color and infrared video from a pan-tilt-zoom Mantis i22 AE gimbaled payload.
 

Neutron Vision: Going Beyond X-Rays for Advanced Imaging in the Field

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 26, 2014
Seeking to expand the nation's capability to detect and identify materials that are not easily visualized by conventional imaging technologies, DARPA has released an announcement inviting proposals to develop portable, next-generation imaging tools that combine the complementary benefits of X-ray and neutron radiography. X-Ray imaging has proven invaluable in a host of military and commerc
 

Design of weapons handling system for South Korean sub completed

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
London (UPI) Sep 25, 2014
Babcock, the British engineering firm, says it has completed design definition for a weapons handling system for a new class of South Korean Navy submarines. Manufacturing drawings will now be produced as part of the next production definition phase of development, the company said. "We are delighted to have completed the design of the handling system, marking an important stage
 

U.S. aims to supply Canada with torpedo upgrade kits

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Sep 25, 2014
Canada is seeking advanced technology kits to upgrade MK-48 torpedoes used on its Victoria-class submarines, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency says. The 12 MK-48 Mod 7 Advanced Technology Torpedo Kits, together with associated equipment parts, would be provided under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program and carry a value of $41 million. The agency, in its required n
 

ESA spaceplane on its way

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Sep 24, 2014
The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is ready to fly and has left the Netherlands for the launch site in French Guiana. In preparation for its arrival, the first stage of the Vega rocket that will loft IXV has already been moved to the launch pad. This marks the beginning of the campaign for Vega's fourth flight, planned for mid-November. Once Vega is fully assembled, IXV will be pl
 

New test equipment due for Minuteman III guidance system

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Ogden, Utah (UPI) Sep 24, 2014
Equipment that tests the guidance system of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is to be updated by Boeing. Boeing said the work will be conducted on the guidance data acquisition system, or GDAS, under a U.S. Air Force contract worth $4.9 million. "As national programs unfold that are critical to affordably sustaining and modernizing Minuteman III until 2030 and b
 

Poland needs nuclear arms to ward off Russia: Walesa

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
Polish anti-communist icon Lech Walesa said Poland should procure nuclear weapons as a safeguard against Russia, which it blames for stoking the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine. "Poland needs to stand up to Russia," the Nobel Peace laureate, who spearheaded Poland's democracy movement and became its first post-communist president, said in an interview published Wednesday. EU and NATO me
 

'World is united' in fighting IS: Obama

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that air strikes the United States and its Arab allies unleashed against the Islamic State group in Syria send a clear message that the world is united in confronting the jihadists. Dozens of IS and Al-Qaeda militants were reported killed in the raids, which Washington said had partly targeted extremists plotting an "imminent attack" against the West.
 

Oshkosh passes review in competition to replace the Humvee

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Oshkosh, Wis. (UPI) Sep 24, 2014
Oshkosh Defense has successfully completed the U.S. government's Production Readiness Review in the competition to replace the U.S. military's Humvee. The review, part of the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the competition, included a review of Oshkosh's manufacturing readiness, quality management system and production planning capabilities to meet scheduling, perform
 

Will Obama's Arab coalition stay the course?

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
New York (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
US President Barack Obama has pulled off a diplomatic coup, knitting together a coalition of Arab nations with differing agendas to strike jihadists, but experts question its long-term staying power. In his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, Obama warned the battle against extremism would be a multi-faceted "generational task - and a task for the people of the Middle East themselves
 

Fury glide bomb dropped from Shadow UAS

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Quantico, Va. (UPI) Sep 24, 2014
Small precision glide bombs have been successfully dropped from a small unmanned aircraft system at the Army's Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. In two live-fire demonstrations, the Fury weapons from Textron Systems Weapon & Sensor Systems and partner Thales UK engaged and destroyed their targets. The demonstrations were the first using a Shadow 200 UAS, which is 11.2 feet long an
 

China and Japan resume maritime talks: Xinhua

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
China and Japan have resumed talks on maritime affairs, Chinese state media said Wednesday, a tentative sign that frosty relations may be beginning to thaw. Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the foreign ministry's Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, met in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao Tuesday and Wednesday with his Japanese counterpart Makita Shimokawa, the official Xinhu
 

US strikes Syrian oil fields as Obama rallies world

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
The United States unleashed a new round of bombings on Islamic State targets in Syria on Wednesday as President Barack Obama recruited more allies to fight the jihadist "network of death." US, Saudi and Emirati warplanes broadened their bombardment to target the oil fields in eastern Syria that have helped fund the jihadist group's brutal rise from rebel faction to alleged global threat.
 

British PM, Iran leader discuss IS in historic talks

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to win cooperation from Iran's President Hassan Rouhani against jihadists in Syria on Wednesday in the first meeting between the countries' leaders in 35 years. A Downing Street spokesman said Cameron and Rouhani agreed that "all states in the region must do more to cut off support for all terrorist groups, including financial support" but stopped
 

CAE gets new contracts for aircraft simulation training systems

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:38:21 PMGo to full article
Montreal (UPI) Sep 24, 2014
Simulation training systems and services are to be provided to the U.S. and Canadian militaries by CAE under a series of contracts, the company announced. The awards carry a combined total of about $104 million. "CAE is a skilled and capable training systems integrator that offers defense and security forces around the world a comprehensive portfolio of training centers, training
 

Iraq, Syria anti-IS campaign takes center stage at UN

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:41 AMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
World leaders at the United Nations turn their attention Wednesday to the US-led campaign to root out Islamists in Iraq and Syria, and moves to outlaw foreign fighters. US President Barack Obama, who is seeking to mobilize international support to defeat the jihadists, is among the first leaders to address the General Assembly debate kicking off at UN headquarters. Obama then chairs a s
 

US drones kill eight militants in NW Pakistan: officials

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:41 AMGo to full article
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
US drones Wednesday fired missiles at a compound and vehicle and killed at least eight militants in a restive Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said. The attack happened in the border village of Lawara Mandi, 60 kilometres (40 miles) west of Miranshah which is the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, where the Pakistani military has been fighting to destroy lon
 

Obama urges Iran to seize 'historic opportunity' of nuclear deal

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:41 AMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Iran to seize the "historic opportunity" of reaching a deal with world powers on its contested nuclear program in a speech at the United Nations. "America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them," he t
 

Obama hails 'vision' of Iraqi PM at first meeting

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:41 AMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 24, 2014
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday hailed the "political vision" and inclusive nature of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi as the two leaders met for the first time. "I want to say directly to the prime minister that we fully support his political vision" and strategy of working with other countries in the Middle East, Obama said at the talks on the sidelines of the UN General Ass
 

Khorasan: latest incarnation of Al-Qaeda anti-west threat

 
‎26 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:41 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
A little-known Al-Qaeda offshoot, the Khorasan group, found itself in the crosshairs of the United States on Tuesday as they prepared attacks on western targets from bases inside war-torn Syria. With Islamic State jihadists terrorizing the region and seizing large chunks of Iraq and Syria, it came as a surprise to many that the Pentagon aimed its Tomahawk cruise missiles and other firepower
 

Iran unveils new missile-equipped drone

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
Iran on Tuesday unveiled a new missile-equipped drone to boost its military arsenal, as part of events marking the end of its 1980-1988 war against Iraq. Iranian engineers working for the armed forces have "built the drones to carry air defence missiles", deputy defence minister General Amir Hatami said, quoted by Fars news agency. "The research, experimentation and testing phases have b
 

Russia to Boost Space Microelectronics Production

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 23, 2014
Russia will boost its production of space microelectronics, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told Rossiya-24 television Monday. Western sanctions against Russia have two main objectives, Rogozin said. Firstly, to affect machine tools that are used to produce components needed by the country's space industry, and secondly, to affect electronics. "Second objective is to harm electr
 

Navy issues IDIQ awards for worldwide ocean services

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Port Hueneme, Calif. (UPI) Sep 23, 2014
Five U.S. companies are to compete for U.S. Navy task orders to provide ocean services worldwide until March of 2018. The services under contracts from the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center will be conducted at all water depths and include construction, maintenance, installation, inspection repair or salvage operations. "Ocean engineering services are
 

Taiwan PM says hope fades of Ma-Xi meeting at APEC

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
Taiwan's premier Tuesday played down hopes of a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the upcoming APEC summit, describing them as "not high". The idea of such an unprecedented meeting was floated in February before a historic trip to China by Taiwan's minister in charge of China affairs Wang Yu-chi - the first official contact between Taiwan and f
 

US-backed rebel group criticises Syria strikes

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Beirut (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
A Syrian rebel group that has reportedly received weapons from the United States criticised air strikes Tuesday by a US-led coalition against jihadists in the war-torn country. The Hazm Movement, in a statement posted on their Twitter account, said the strikes would undermine the armed opposition and benefit President Bashar al-Assad's regime. They described the strikes as "an attack on
 

BAE, Patria team to win armored vehicle contract from Australia

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Adelaide, Australia (UPI) Sep 23, 2014
A bid to secure a contract to provide Australia with combat reconnaissance vehicles is to be jointly pursued by BAE Systems Australia and Patria of Finland. Under a teaming agreement, BAE Systems would be the prime contractor for the anticipated Land 400 Phase 2 Defense program, with Patria supplying its 8x8 armored modular vehicle. "Patria AMV combines high payload capacity and
 

Confusion in France over fate of notorious jihadist's brother-in-law

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
Confusion reigned Tuesday over the fate of the brother-in-law of a notorious jihadist whose 2012 killing spree shocked France, after the interior ministry said he had been arrested at a Paris airport but police and his lawyers later denied this. The man - who is married to the sister of Mohamed Merah, an Al Qaeda-inspired gunman who shot dead seven people in the southwestern city of Toulous
 

Obama: Syria strikes show US not alone in fighting IS

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that air strikes the United States and its Arab allies unleashed against the Islamic State group in Syria showed that America is not alone in confronting the jihadists. Dozens of IS and Al-Qaeda militants were reported killed in the raids, which Washington said had partly targeted extremists plotting an "imminent attack" against the West. Bahrain, Jord
 

World facing most crises since WWII: EU aid chief

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
The world is facing more crises than at any point since World War II and the humanitarian community cannot cope unless the globe acts quicker to stop conflict, a top EU official warned Tuesday. Kristalina Georgieva made the remarks at UN headquarters a day after the United States expanded an air campaign against jihadists from Iraq to Syria. "Today we have a footprint of crises in the wo
 

US, Arab allies strike IS jihadists in Syria

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
The United States and its Arab allies unleashed deadly bomb and missile strikes on jihadists in Syria on Tuesday, opening a new front in the battle against the Islamic State group. Dozens of IS and Al-Qaeda militants were reported killed in the raids, which Washington said had partly targeted extremists plotting an "imminent attack" against the West. Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
 

'3,000 European jihadis' now in Syria, Iraq

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has jumped by a third to around 3,000 in a few months, the EU counter terrorism chief said Tuesday. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Gilles de Kerchove said the flow of Europeans may have been boosted by the Islamic State militant group's declaration in June of a caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq. "My own assessme
 

China jails Uighur scholar for life for 'separatism'

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
A prominent academic from China's mostly-Muslim Uighur minority was jailed for life Tuesday for "separatism", with the European Union expressing outrage at the "completely unjustified" response to criticism of Beijing's policies in the restive Xinjiang region. The EU, United States and human rights groups had all been calling for the release of Ilham Tohti, a persistent but moderate governme
 

Australian military gets green light for counter-IED program

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Sep 23, 2014
Australia's military has received initial budgetary approval for a program to develop its own capabilities to counter improvised explosive devices. Minister for Defense David Johnston said First Pass approval of the LAND 154 Phase 2 Joint Counter Improvised Explosive Device program includes about $17 million for capability development, trials, risk reduction activities and industry soli
 

Baghdad car bomb kills at least 14

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
A car bomb exploded near a market in the Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr City in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people, Iraqi police and medical sources said. "The car was parked near a market, there are at least 14 killed," a police colonel told AFP. A medical source in the capital confirmed the death toll said at least 37 were also wounded. Iraqi forces backed by US and French wa
 

Changes ahead for Royal Canadian Navy fleet

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:39 PMGo to full article
Ottawa (UPI) Sep 23, 2014
Four ships of the Royal Canadian Navy, including two guided missile destroyers, are being retired as the service modernizes its fleet. The Department of National Defense identified the vessels as the navy's Protecteur and Preserver, auxiliary oil replenishment ships, and the destroyers Iroquois and Algonquin. "The retirement of these vessels has been anticipated for some time, an
 

US, Arab allies bomb IS jihadists in Syria

 
‎23 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:16:00 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
US and Arab warplanes hammered Islamic State militants in eastern Syria early Tuesday, opening a new front in the fight against the jihadist group, defense officials said. Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the bombing raids, US media reported, in an extraordinary show of Arab solidarity against the IS group that has rampaged through Syria and Iraq
 

British PM to hold first direct talks with Iran's president since 1979

 
‎23 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:16:00 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
British Prime Minister David Cameron will hold face-to-face talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the premier's office said on Tuesday, in what would be the first such high-level meeting between the two countries since 1979. During the meeting at the sidelines of the United Nations summit in New York, Cameron will urge Rouhani to join an international campaign against Islamic State (I
 

Damascus says was informed by US of air strikes on IS

 
‎23 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:16:00 PMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
The Damascus government said it had been informed by Washington of the air strikes it began early Tuesday on Islamic State group (IS) targets on Syrian soil. "Yesterday (Monday), the Americans informed the Syrian representative at the United Nations that strikes would be carried out against the terrorist IS organisation in Raqa," the group's Syrian stronghold, a foreign ministry statement qu
 

China jails Uighur scholar for life for 'separatism': lawyer

 
‎23 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:16:00 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 23, 2014
A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced a prominent scholar from China's mostly-Muslim Uighur minority to life in prison for "separatism," his lawyer said, in a case which critics say could add to tensions in the restive Xinjiang region. Ilham Tohti, a former university professor and outspoken critic of Beijing's policies in the vast western region, "will certainly appeal", the sentence handed

 

 
 

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Rice meets Syrian opposition at White House

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 27, 2014 - National Security Advisory Susan Rice reaffirmed US commitment to supporting Syria's moderate opposition at a meeting in Washington with a delegation from the Syrian National Coalition, the White House said Saturday.

The Friday meeting came as the United States and coalition partners broaden air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria, with a defense official telling AFP that "near continuous" combat sorties were being conducted there, as in Iraq.

Rice emphasized that US-led air strikes in Syria "are targeted at ISIL," and discussed ways to "support the moderate opposition to advance our mutual goals of countering ISIL and strengthening the prospects for a political transition," the statement said, using an alternate acronym for the IS group.

In addition to the air campaign, Washington is planning to train and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight the IS organization.

Top US military officer General Martin Dempsey, however, has said between 12,000 and 15,000 men would be required to recapture "lost territory" in eastern Syria.

Washington has been keen not to let President Bashar al-Assad's forces take the upper hand by exploiting the anti-IS air campaign.

Rice "reiterated that President Assad had lost all legitimacy" as she met with the delegation, led by SOC President Hadi al-Bahra, and emphasized the US commitment to a negotiated settlement "that ensures a genuine and broadly inclusive political transition."

The US and Arab allies launched air strikes against IS in northern and eastern Syria on Tuesday, more than a month after Washington began its air war on the jihadists in Iraq.

The Syrian National Coalition is the main exiled opposition group seeking the overthrow of Assad, amid the more than three-year-old civil war.

 

 

Kerry, Abbas meet in New York to discuss Gaza situation

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
New York (AFP) Sept 24, 2014 - US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Tuesday to discuss the situation in Gaza, a state department official said.

The meeting in New York came as leaders converged for the United Nations General Assembly, and a day after Abbas gave a speech at Cooper Union vowing to present a new timetable for peace talks with Israel.

Kerry and Abbas agreed on the importance of providing humanitarian aid in Gaza, where a 50-day war with Israel destroyed homes and infrastructure in densely populated Gaza, leaving more than 100,000 Palestinians homeless in the long term, according to the United Nations.

The top US diplomat also reiterated Washington's support for a two-state solution and its willingness to support negotiations.

Speaking Monday, Abbas drew parallels with the century-long US struggle for civil rights, saying he was bringing a message of peace.

The veteran Palestinian leader is set to address the annual UN General Assembly on Friday.

Palestinian leaders have said Abbas intends to propose a three-year deadline for the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Kerry's high-profile bid to hammer out a full peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority collapsed spectacularly in April amid bitter recriminations on both sides, despite more than a year of shuttle diplomacy.

 

 

World facing most crises since WWII: EU aid chief

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 23, 2014 - The world is facing more crises than at any point since World War II and the humanitarian community cannot cope unless the globe acts quicker to stop conflict, a top EU official warned Tuesday.

Kristalina Georgieva made the remarks at UN headquarters a day after the United States expanded an air campaign against jihadists from Iraq to Syria.

"Today we have a footprint of crises in the world larger than ever since the Second World War and the main reason for this is that action is being taken when it is already late," said Georgieva, the EU's humanitarian aid and crisis response commissioner.

"Much more attention needs to be given to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, making sure that we act before a war is already in full speed," she told reporters.

"Otherwise we would be not able to cope with the consequences of humanitarian crises driven by conflicts."

The commissioner said the world was spending more money on humanitarian aid -- up from $2 billion in 2000 to $17-18 billion by the end of this year.

But last year saw a record 450 humanitarians killed, kidnapped and wounded, and Georgieva fears next year may bring a new record because of the scale of conflicts.

"We are falling further behind needs, not because money is not increasing, not because people are not there risking their lives, but because needs are growing much faster than our capacity to cope," she said.

"And unless the global government system focuses more on conflict prevention, conflict resolution, I doubt we would be able to catch up even if we move even faster."

Georgieva said the humanitarian plight of civilians in Iraq and Syria has dramatically worsened in recent months, and that it was too soon to tell whether air strikes would fan the number of displaced.

"We have seen inside Iraq internal displacements on a scale that overcomes capacity of the humanitarian community to cope," she said.

In areas controlled by jihadists, there were probably about 500,000 internally displaced people with almost no help, the commissioner said.

jm/cml/pst

EU Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner

 

 

Abbas to propose new Mideast peace talks timetable at UN

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
New York (AFP) Sept 23, 2014 - Drawing parallels with the US fight for civil rights, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas vowed Monday to present a new timetable for peace talks with Israel when he addresses world leaders this week.

"I say today to Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu: end the occupation, make peace," Abbas told an audience in New York.

In a passionate address to students in the Cooper Union hall where former US president Abraham Lincoln once called for an end to slavery, Abbas called on the world to "rethink Palestine."

"The international community has the responsibility to protect our people, living under the terror of settlers, an occupying army," Abbas said, winning loud applause from a large audience of mixed religions, including Jewish students.

"We want the international community to defend us from the settlers, and from the Israeli army," Abbas said, in what was billed as his first speech in English to a general American audience.

"We cannot understand how the Israeli government can be so misguided as to fail to understand that the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza that killed thousands of women and children, only sowed more hate," Abbas said.

"This week I will propose to the United Nations a new timetable for peace talks," Abbas said, speaking in English and winning a standing ovation from the audience at one of America's oldest educational institutions.

Evoking the legends of such icons as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., Abbas said he was bringing a message of peace.

"Security equals justice," Abbas insisted, and drew parallels with the century-long US struggle for civil rights peppering his speech with references to King and Abraham Lincoln.

"Enough is enough; end the occupation. We ask that the international community stop hiding behind calls for the resumption of talks," Abbas said.

The veteran Palestinian leader is set to address the annual UN General Assembly on Friday.

Palestinian leaders have said Abbas intends to propose a three-year deadline for the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The latest peace talks led by top US diplomat John Kerry collapsed in April amid bitter recriminations on both sides.

Palestinian and Israeli officials are trying to negotiate a permanent deal to seal a ceasefire which went into place in late August after a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas also aligned himself with the fight against the Islamic jihadists spreading terror in Iraq and Syria.

- 9/11 apology -

"I am speaking on behalf of 99 percent of the Muslim people around the world. Here, today in the shadow of Ground Zero, I state to the world that the barbarians of ISIL, Daesh and Al-Qaeda are not faithful Muslims," Abbas said to applause.

"And to the families and the children of the victims of September 11, I say as a Palestinian Muslim I am sorry for your pain. These murderers do not represent Islam, we all stand against them to defeat their evil plans.

"At the same time we must work to end the Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state, for we cannot fight terror only by the gun."

But he called on America to be a true friend to Israel.

During his trip to the Vatican earlier this year, the Palestinian leader said he prayed with then Israeli president Shimon Peres and Pope Francis.

"I made a prayer for an America that is a real friend of Israel, not a false friend, and just as real friends, do not let friends drive drunk," Abbas said.

"A real friend of Israel would not let them engage in the widespread killing of women and children including bombing United Nations schools and hospitals such as we saw in Gaza."

 

 

US too late on Syria: former Pentagon chief

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 22, 2014 - The rise of the brutal Islamic State group can partly be blamed on President Barack Obama's failure to arm moderate Syrian rebels far earlier, said former US defense secretary Leon Panetta.

It comes after the United States Congress on Thursday passed Obama's plan to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State jihadists, a key plank of his strategy to smash the militants who have overrun vast areas of Iraq and Syria.

Panetta told CBS's "60 Minutes" news program in an interview aired Sunday that he and then secretary of state Hillary Clinton had urged Obama in 2012 to arm moderate Syrian rebels against President Bashar al-Assad.

"I think the president's concern, and I understand it, was that he had a fear that if we started providing weapons, we wouldn't know where those weapons would wind up," said Panetta, defense secretary when the US pulled out of Iraq in 2011.

"My view was: you have to begin somewhere," added Panetta, also a former CIA director.

Asked if not arming them had been a mistake, he replied: "I think that would've helped. And I think in part, we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS."

Panetta cautioned that it would take "a long time" to defeat the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

"And I think the American people need to know it's going to take a long time," he added, describing Iraq's failure to stem the militant tide "a tragic story."

Panetta admitted that he had not been confident that pulling US forces out of Iraq in 2011 was the right thing to do.

"No, I wasn't. I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq," he said.

 

 

Chinese companies export 'tools of torture': Amnesty

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 22, 2014 - The number of Chinese companies exporting "tools of torture" has surged over the past decade, Amnesty International said Tuesday, with many devices falling into the hands of rights violators worldwide.

More than 130 Chinese firms now produce electric shock stun batons, spiked batons, weighted leg cuffs and other "potentially dangerous law enforcement equipment", up from 28 in 2003, the UK-based rights campaign group said in a report co-authored with Omega Research Foundation.

One company -- state-owned China Xinxing Import and Export Corporation, whose products include thumb cuffs, electric shock guns and restraint chairs -- had more than $100 million in trade with African countries as of 2012, according to the report.

"China appears to be a leader in the less savoury side of the so-called 'tools of torture' -- equipment that we at Amnesty believe is intrinsically cruel," said Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty's security trade and human rights researcher and lead author of the report.

China's own justice system remains riddled with abuses, campaign groups say, with confessions extracted through torture not uncommon.

While there are few legal prohibitions on its manufacture and trade in China, Wilcken said, such equipment often ends up being sent to "very unsafe and risky situations" across the globe.

"What we've found is that it appears the Chinese authorities do not have a kind of rigorous vetting process in terms of where this equipment is exported to," Wilcken said. "They're not doing risk assessments."

Amnesty is "calling on not just China but every country to bolster their regulations on the trade in this equipment, so that licences for trade in situations where there's a high risk for violation should not be issued," he added.

The Amnesty report, entitled "China's Trade in Tools of Torture and Repression", examines some tools that the organisation calls "inherently abusive".

Among them are spiked batons, considered "specially designed implements of torture" by the US Bureau of Industry and Security. China is the world's only known manufacturer of them.

Electric shock stun batons can be used to cause injury to sensitive body parts including the groin and neck, often leaving no physical trace, the report notes. Amnesty has denounced their use due to the "substantial risk" of abuse.

Weighted leg cuffs are designed to cause the wearer discomfort, while some thumb cuffs advertised in China have serrated edges that can cut the wearer if tightened, according to Amnesty.

The use of rigid restraint chairs, which can include painful metal or wooden restraints, has been denounced by the UN Committee against Torture.

In addition to these devices, the Amnesty report also examines several types of "legitimate" law enforcement tools such as tear gas and anti-riot equipment that have nonetheless been exported from China to countries "where there was a foreseeable risk of serious human rights violations", including Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

 

Israeli navy fire wounds Gaza fisherman: medics

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (AFP) Sept 18, 2014 - Israeli naval gunfire wounded a fisherman off the coast of Gaza on Thursday, a medical official said, in a sign of ongoing tension around the battered Palestinian territory.

The man was moderately wounded in the incident, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP, without providing further details.

Israel's military had no immediate confirmation of the incident.

Shortly afterwards, air raid sirens sounded in southern Israel in what was later declared to be a false alarm.

The two incidents illustrated ongoing tensions in and around the enclave just three weeks after a fragile truce ended a bloody 50-day conflict between Gaza militants and Israel.

The international community has warned that without concerted efforts to rebuild the decimated Gaza Strip, violence could erupt again, possibly in a matter of months.

The World Bank and the IMF on Tuesday urged Israel to alleviate its eight-year blockade on Gaza in order to allow economic recovery, after a vast number of homes and infrastructure were destroyed in the fighting.

The war cost more than 2,140 Palestinian lives, and those of 73 people on the Israeli side.

Israel agreed as part of the August 26 truce to allow Gazan fishing boats to venture up to six nautical miles offshore, with a view to extending that to 12 miles.

 

 

Cyprus leaders agree to redouble peace talks

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Nicosia (AFP) Sept 17, 2014 - Cypriot leaders have agreed to redouble flagging peace talks to end the island's 40-year division and hold two meetings per month, UN envoy Espen Barth Eide said Wednesday.

The Mediterranean island has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops seized its northern third in response to an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece.

Eide said UN-brokered peace talks were accelerating after meeting the island's two leaders -- Greek Cypriot Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu -- at the UN compound inside Nicosia's buffer zone.

"The leaders agreed to increase also the frequency of their meetings, as appropriate, and to hold meetings at least twice per month," the Norwegian diplomat said.

Eide said negotiators had finished submitting proposals on all issues to conclude the second phase of talks.

He said leaders "had a clear difference of opinion" but would aim in negotiations to tackle unresolved issues stemming from the island's division. These include power sharing arrangements, property rights and territorial adjustments.

Anastasiades said discussions at the meeting were "constructive", and dealt with "the necessity to engage in a substantive dialogue, in order to avert today's situation".

"What I want to see is what will be Mr. Eroglu's conduct at the negotiating table," he added.

The Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu said he would "try to work in a spirit of 'win-win' towards efforts aiming to pave the way towards a referendum".

"Our main objective is to protect the rights of the Turkish side and to reach a long lasting agreement," he added.

Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders vowed to seek an end to the island's division "as soon as possible" when they relaunched peace talks in February after a nearly two-year hiatus, but progress has been sluggish.

The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus is still reeling from the eurozone debt crisis, which forced it to secure an international bailout in March 2013 that exacerbated an already severe recession.

Washington is keen to see an end to the division, highlighted by Vice President Joe Biden's landmark visit to Cyprus in May.

 

 

Renegade claims jet raid on Libya militia position

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Tripoli (AFP) Sept 15, 2014 - A warplane carried out an air raid Monday on a military base in western Libya held by anti-government militias, in an attack claimed by renegade former general Khalifa Haftar.

State news agency LANA said 15 people were lightly wounded as the raid hit a munitions depot in the town of Gharyan, 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of the capital.

The militias in Gharyan form part of Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), an alliance including Islamists that was targeted by unidentified warplanes near Tripoli airport last month.

Washington said at the time that the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were behind the raids, although Haftar's forces also claimed that attack.

General Saqr Jarrushi, a close aide of Haftar, insisted Monday that their forces carried out the air strike in Gharyan.

Haftar launched an assault against Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi on May 16.

Fajr Libya rejects the legitimacy of the elected parliament because it allegedly supported the air raids against its fighters at Tripoli airport.

The government, in turn, has accused Sudan and Qatar of supplying weapons to its Islamist opponents.

Parliament and the internationally recognised government relocated in August to Tobruk 1,500 kilometres (1,000 miles) east of Tripoli, as Islamist and nationalist militias battled for control of the capital.

 

 

Israel PM urges defence budget hike after costly Gaza war

 
‎28 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 15, 2014 - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called for an increase in defence spending, after a bloody and costly war in Gaza.

"There is no leader who, faced with the threats that are multiplying around us, would not allow or demand a significant increase in the defence budget, to counter security challenges," he said in a statement.

Such an increase would likely involve "several billion" Israeli shekels, Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon have been fighting for a big hike in defence spending against fierce resistance from Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

Israel waged a 50-day campaign against militants in the Gaza Strip during July and August, in a conflict that cost more than 2,100 Palestinian lives and 73 on the Israeli side.

The financial cost to Israel of its the third and longest Gaza war in six years is estimated at around three to four billion dollars, experts say.

The defence ministry has demanded a grant for a similar sum to restock on ammunition, including for its Iron Dome defence system.

Israeli media say the treasury wants to limit the sum to $690 million.

If it gives into the financial demands of a powerful military lobby, the government could be forced to cut budgets elsewhere, particularly in education, and to increase taxes, bringing socio-economic pressure on itself.

Defence spending is expected to reach $18 billion this year -- making up some six percent of GDP -- and includes some $3 billion in aid from ally the United States.

 

 

Israel intelligence hits back over refuseniks' letter

 
‎27 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:38:00 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 14, 2014 - Scores of veterans of elite Israeli intelligence unit 8200 rallied to its defence Sunday after 43 comrades said they would no longer take part in its "injustices" against millions of Palestinians.

The open letter, which was sent to Israel's political and military leadership last week, was one of the most high-profile expressions of conscientious objection in years.

The signatories -- reservists and former members of 8200 -- said the intelligence collected by the unit "was an integral part of Israel's military occupation", and that they would refuse to continue to serve.

They charged that information gathered by Unit 8200 was used by civilian intelligence agencies to coerce Palestinians uninvolved in militant activity, and urged other members of the intelligence corps "to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end".

But in a letter of reply on Sunday, 200 veterans of the unit denounced their former comrades' refusal to serve.

"We wish to express shock, disgust and complete disassociation from the regrettable letter that was written by our comrades from the unit," they wrote in the letter, excerpts of which were published in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

"Political refusal to serve has no place anywhere, and particularly so in Unit 8200. The moment we, as soldiers in the reserves, are called to the flag, we set aside our political inclinations and opinions, and come to serve the state."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said any form of refusing military service was "condemnable", calling the refuseniks' move "political" and based on "unfounded accusations".

"This is unacceptable," he said at a cyber security conference in Tel Aviv.

Commentators said that the fact that the refuseniks were members of one of Israel's most prestigious military units made their conscientious objection all the more remarkable.

"The Unit 8200 letter represents a watershed moment in the expressions of military refusal in recent decades," wrote Shimon Shiffer in Yediot Aharonot.

"This time, we are talking about intelligence gatherers who are refusing to spy on millions of Palestinians."

Unit 8200 carries out electronic communications monitoring and surveillance, similar to work performed by the US National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ.

The unit is one component of the broader military intelligence corps and shares information with Israel's civilian intelligence agencies.

The refuseniks' letter drew criticism from both the government and the opposition.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon described it as a "foolish and offensive attempt" to harm the unit.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, himself a veteran of Unit 8200, said he opposed soldiers refusing to serve.

"I'm not saying that there are no mistakes. It is certainly possible that there were," he wrote on his official Facebook page.

"But there are ways to complain and ensure such claims are examined and discussed," he said.

 

 

US Congress wary of greenlighting 'Iraq 2.0'

 
‎23 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:38:37 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2014 - US lawmakers will likely give President Barack Obama authority to train Syrian rebels to combat jihadists, but Democrats and many Republicans are wary of repeating America's Iraq war debacle.

Mindful of the risks of war in the Middle East, Congress will rally to an embattled commander in chief's strategy to defeat the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, but seek to keep his war powers in check.

This has led to an introspective mood in Washington, where lawmakers have only a few days before hustling home to hit the campaign trail, essentially leaving the US Capitol empty until after November's congressional election.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk reflected the mood of many, saying he supports a swift vote backing Obama's effort to train and arm vetted, moderate rebel forces in Syria as a key plank in battling IS.

But, he told AFP, "my constituents are understandably concerned about Iraq 2.0."

A chief architect of the 2003 US invasion that plunged Iraq into chaos, former vice president Dick Cheney, visited Washington this week urging Obama to get "back on offense in the war on terror."

And House Republican Peter King urged the president to brace Americans for a war that could last "10 or 15 years."

House Speaker John Boehner, who habitually clashes with Obama, struck a unifying tone by urging lawmakers to "give the president what he's asking for" on counter-terrorism measures.

But skepticism and outright resistance abounds. Who better to convey the angst over potentially triggering another war than the lawmakers who now regret voting for the Iraq invasion?

In 2002, after Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman suggested various alternatives to war in Iraq, he eventually gave president George W. Bush "all the blank check authority he asked for."

Looking back, Sherman would have preferred Congress to authorize Bush's White House to use force under narrower grounds, something he and other lawmakers aim to do now.

"I would worry if we ignore ISIS, and I would worry if this leads to a war similar to the Iraq war," Sherman told AFP. "There are concerns in every direction."

Democrat Jim Moran voted against Iraq war authorization. "We've been burned by Iraq and we're not going to let that happen again," he said.

The White House argues it has authority for expanded US military intervention in Iraq and Syria under the 2001 authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against Al-Qaeda, which Congress passed overwhelmingly after 9/11.

That AUMF was open-ended, and critics say a new one is needed to limit Obama's IS actions.

- In to win? -

"I think it's incredibly poor judgment by the administration, regardless of their believing they have the authorities already to do what they're doing, not to seek aggressively and explicitly an authorization for the use of military force," fumed Senator Bob Corker.

He is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is drafting a "tailored AUMF" for congressional consideration.

Senate Democrat Chris Murphy said such a limited AUMF could win approval. Independent Senator Angus King said he thought the White House would not be opposed.

And moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins said she would hope to have the opportunity to "put constraints" on such an AUMF if needed.

Yet Boehner acknowledged that some Republicans are gunning for tougher action.

They include conservative Michele Bachmann, who invoked America's past battlefield glory as she pressed the case.

"We need to make a decision like we did in World War II: either we're in to win, or we're out. And that is not the strategy that the president proposed," she said.

Some Democrats, including Senators Mark Begich and Mark Udall, who are locked in tough re-election battles, and Murphy warn of dangers of equipping moderate Syrian rebels, who are accused of collaborating with extremist groups.

"We don't have the luxury of time when it comes to air strikes inside Iraq against ISIS," Murphy said. "But we have time when it comes to the question of what our policy on the Syrian civil war will be."

Congress recently has flexed its muscles to thwart war-related executive action.

It blocked the proposed transfer of Guantanamo detainees to US soil, initiated touch sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and killed Obama's plan last year to bomb regime forces in Syria.

And in an effort to reclaim its war-making powers, the House of Representatives voted last July to require congressional authorization for any sustained presence of combat troops in Iraq.

 

 

Israeli army launches 5 criminal probes over Gaza war

 
‎23 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:38:37 PMGo to full article
Tel Aviv (AFP) Sept 10, 2014 - Israel's army has launched five criminal investigations into incidents involving its forces during the Gaza war, a top legal official said on Wednesday, two weeks after a truce took hold.

The United Nations and international rights groups have condemned Israel for numerous attacks which resulted in heavy civilian casualties, in a conflict that killed more than 2,140 Palestinians.

The army is already looking into five cases, with dozens of others pending investigation, a top army legal official told foreign journalists at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Among the cases being investigated are the shelling on July 24 of a UN school in the northern town of Beit Hanun that medics said killed at least 15 people, and the July 16 bombing of a Gaza City beach where four children died.

Both attacks were condemned by the UN and Israel ally Washington, although the US refrained from placing the blame squarely on Israel.

Other incidents being probed include the killing of a woman in southern Gaza after troops coordinated her exit from a combat zone, the alleged beating in detention of a prisoner, and the alleged theft of money by a soldier from a home.

The army was "committed to examining all credible allegations of misconduct," the legal official said.

So far, the military has already dismissed seven other cases, two of which the official gave details on.

The first was an air strike that killed eight Al-Kaware family members on July 8, the first day of the war, and the second was a strike on a car the following day that reportedly killed a media worker.

"During armed conflict, the death of a civilian does not necessarily raise suspicion of misconduct, so when we receive complaints regarding these types of incidents... we need a more comprehensive factual understanding of the incident before we can decide whether to open a criminal investigation," the official said.

The 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants killed at least 2,143 Palestinians, nearly 70 percent of them civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side.

The army had initially said 66 soldiers were among the dead but later corrected the number to 67.

The Palestinians have threatened Israel with action at the International Criminal Court over war crimes allegations, and Hamas has signed a proposal for Palestinians to join the body, potentially opening itself up to investigation.

 

 

US seeks UN action to outlaw foreign fighters

 
‎18 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:27:34 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) Sept 09, 2014 - The United States is seeking a UN resolution demanding that countries adopt laws making it a serious crime to enlist as a foreign fighter for Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria.

The draft resolution, which has been circulated to Security Council members, is expected to be adopted at a special session of the top world body chaired by US President Barack Obama on September 24.

Under the measure, governments would take action against their nationals who travel or make plans to travel to a country "for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in terrorist acts."

It would also make it illegal to collect funds or help organize the travel of foreign fighters for groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is on the UN terror list.

The text obtained by AFP demands that "all states shall ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses sufficient to provide the ability to prosecute and to penalize in a manner duly reflecting the seriousness of the offense."

About 12,000 foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and recently to Iraq from 74 countries, in the biggest such mobilization since the Afghan war of the 1980s, according to the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), which tracks foreign fighters.

The UN Security Council last month adopted a resolution aimed at weakening Islamists in Iraq and Syria by cutting off financing and the flow of foreign fighters.

The US-drafted resolution goes further by putting the onus on governments to draft legislation allowing them to take action on their territory or use existing laws to address the threat of foreign fighters.

"The resolution will impose new binding obligations on countries to take action against foreign fighters, to prevent the facilitation of travel by foreign fighters and stop suspects," a US official said.

The resolution would fall under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which means the measures could be enforced by economic sanctions or military force.

- Mobilization among biggest ever -

With 12,000 fighters mobilized over the past three years compared to 20,000 in Afghanistan over a decade, the movement is "well on track to becoming the most significant mobilization of foreign fighters that has ever taken place in living memory," said Peter Neumann, director of the ICRS.

The overwhelming majority of foreign fighters, up to 75 percent, are from the Middle East and Arab countries, with Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco topping the list.

About 700 foreign fighters are from France, followed by some 500 from Britain, 400 from Germany and 300 from Belgium, according to Neumann.

The call for action to stem the flow of foreign fighters is fueled by fears that new terror networks will emerge from the Syria-Iraq front, much in the same way that the September 11, 2001 attacks were linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Many countries like France and Britain have already moved to enact measures to clamp down on aspiring jihadists, amid much concern over the need to balance security and protect civil liberties.

The new measure will put pressure on countries like Turkey, the main transit point for foreign fighters, as well as Saudi Arabia and other key suppliers.

The draft demands that countries prevent entry to individuals suspected of taking part in foreign fighting and requires that airlines provide passenger information to detect the departure of a foreign fighter.

It also calls on governments to develop strategies to counter violent extremism, by reaching out to local communities.

The US push for world action against jihadist recruits comes as the United States is seeking to form a broad coalition to defeat the Islamists that have overrun large parts of Iraq and Syria.

 

 

Stray fire from Syria wounds Israeli soldier: army

 
‎18 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:27:34 PMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 08, 2014 - Stray gunfire from Syria wounded an Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights on Monday, the army said.

"An IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldier was injured by errant fire from internal fighting in Syria. He was evacuated to hospital," an army statement said, without elaborating.

The incident came as Syrian troops and Islamist rebels fought for control of areas near the Quneitra crossing, which Israel closed after Al-Qaeda-linked fighters took it over last month.

Israel responded to "errant fire" last week, hitting a Syrian military position after what was described as a "projectile" hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the strategic Golan plateau without causing damage or casualties.

Israel is closely monitoring fighting between Syrian troops and Islamist rebels near the armistice line for fear of a spillover of the internal conflict.

There has been repeated fire across the ceasefire line since the uprising in Syria erupted in March 2011, not all of it stray.

In June, Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian military headquarters and positions after an Israeli teenager was killed in what the Jewish state said was a cross-border attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War of 1967, then annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.

 

 

Syria raids on jihadist bastion kill 53, mostly civilians: NGO

 
‎18 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:27:34 PMGo to full article
Beirut (AFP) Sept 06, 2014 - Syrian air strikes against the northern jihadist bastion of Raqa on Saturday killed 53 people, a monitor said, updating an earlier toll and adding that at least 31 of the dead were civilians.

"We have documented the deaths of 31 civilians, among them five women and three children, in Raqa and its surroundings," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Another 15 jihadists were confirmed dead in a string of eight air strikes, as well as seven other unidentified people.

Eight of the civilian victims were from one family, said Abdel Rahman.

The strikes come amid a stepped-up campaign by President Bashar al-Assad's regime targeting IS positions in northern and eastern Syria.

Activists say such air raids often kill many civilians as well as jihadists.

Similar strikes on Tuesday in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor killed 16 people, including 10 children.

The targets on Saturday included a building housing an IS Islamic court and a training camp. Twenty-four of the dead were killed when a bakery was hit.

The Islamic State group first emerged in Syria's war in late spring 2013, when it was named the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Its horrific abuses, including near-daily public executions, have made it widely feared in areas it controls, but activists say people mostly stay silent for fear of reprisals.

In a separate development, the Observatory raised its death toll from a Friday air strike targeting a Syrian rebel-held area of Aleppo city in the north to 15.

Insurgent areas of Aleppo have come under massive aerial bombardment since December, killing hundreds of people and prompting tens of thousands to flee to safety.

The regime has kept up its offensive despite a UN Security Council resolution in February condemning such strikes.

And east of Damascus, regime troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters made fresh gains against rebel forces by taking the village of Hteitet Jarash, the Observatory said.

The village is near Mleiha, a former rebel bastion that fell to government control in mid-August after several months of fierce fighting and near-daily bombardment.

Hteitet Jarash is in the Eastern Ghouta area, which the army has besieged for more than a year.

Syria's war began in March 2011 as a peaceful protest movement demanding Assad's ouster, but morphed into a brutal war after the regime unleashed a massive crackdown against dissent.

The United Nations says at least 191,000 people have been killed in the more than three-year conflict.

 

 

Japan PM sends support message to war criminals service

 
‎18 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:27:34 PMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Sep 04, 2014 - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a message to an April memorial service dedicated to World War II war criminals, organisers said Wednesday, in a move that prompted a scolding from China.

In the ceremony organised by former Japanese military officers, some 220 people prayed before a cenotaph on which the names of around 1,180 suspected and convicted World War II war criminals are inscribed, organisers said.

They include 14 "Class A" war criminals, who are also enshrined at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, a spot seen in mainland Asia as a symbol of Japan's past aggression.

The service took place on April 29 at a temple in Wakayama prefecture in western Japan, and the master of the ceremony read the message from Abe, an organiser told AFP.

In his message, Abe said: "I express my grief at the death of martyrs... who sacrificed their lives to form the foundation of peace and prosperity in Japan today," according to two participants and a report by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

"I pledge to work towards the future harmonious coexistence of human beings, and hope for eternal peace," the message said.

The ceremony has been held annually since 1994 when the cenotaph was established by Masashi Tsuno, a man arrested in the Philippines on suspicion of war crimes at the end of hostilities, but who was later acquitted.

Tsuno's supporters believe that the punishments meted out by the Tokyo Tribunals in the years after the war represented little more than victors' justice perpetrated in revenge.

- Thorn in regional relations -

Organiser Kazuaki Naka, 75, said the service has been held "to console the souls of war dead, who sacrificed their lives for their home country, whether their executions were fair or unfair."

Buddhism holds that descendents and those who outlive friends, colleagues or neighbours have a duty to care for the spirits of the dead.

The religion is practised alongside native Shintoism in Japan, an animistic belief system that also places obligations on the living to seek the repose of dead souls.

Abe's message to the ceremony could prove another thorn in the side of relations with China and South Korea, both of which have been angered by his visit to Yasukuni last December and his equivocation on Japan's wartime wrongdoing.

Top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday declined to comment on Abe's message, insisting it had been sent in his capacity as "a private person (and) president of the Liberal Democratic Party, and not as the Prime Minister".

He added that Japan had accepted the findings of the Tokyo Tribunals when it signed the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951.

A small but vocal right-wing tranche of Japanese society, most notably including the prime minister, continue to believe that Japan has been unfairly castigated for what they say was largely a just war, in which wrongdoing was perpetrated by individuals -- not states -- from all sides.

Beijing reacted angrily to the news, with a statement from foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei castigating Abe for his "incorrect attitude" to the past.

"Facing history, reflecting profoundly on past militarist aggression, and making a clean break with militarism are an important foundation for rebuilding and developing Japan's relationship with its Asian neighbours," he said.

"We again urge the Japanese government to fulfil its commitment to reflecting on aggression, and to take concrete actions to win the trust of the people of its Asian neighbours and the international community."

 

 

NATO faces limited options over Ukraine conflict

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:52:15 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 02, 2014 - Western leaders are planning a powerful show of unity at a NATO summit this week against what they see as Russian aggression in Ukraine, but the measures will remain limited due to a lack of political consensus on direct intervention.

The planned deployment of thousands of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe is intended to reassure NATO member states in the former Soviet bloc and is bound to anger Russia as it will challenge a key NATO-Russia deal.

But the summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday is likely to stop short of an outright challenge to Moscow on the spiralling conflict in eastern Ukraine, which is threatening to degenerate into all-out war between Russia and Ukraine.

"The likelihood of any type of overt military intervention is highly unlikely," said Robin Niblett, director of the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) in London.

"There is no support for it at an alliance level. No one is going to go on their own," he said, pointing out that there is no obligation on NATO to act as Ukraine is not a member and does not enjoy the same principle of "collective defence".

Some NATO members like Romania have urged the alliance to supply Ukraine's military and there has been a plea from a group of hawkish US senators for President Barack Obama to do the same but other allies are being far more cautious.

Xenia Wickett, an expert at the RIIA, also said that the summit should be seen as "a waymarker, not an end point" and much would depend on implementation of summit decisions.

Here are the main measures currently planned by NATO:

TROOP DEPLOYMENTS: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the summit will aim to approve a "readiness action plan" which will include rotating troops and equipment through facilities in Eastern Europe.

"The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible Nato presence in the east," Rasmussen said in an interview with five newspapers ahead of the summit.

The precise status of the facilities would be left deliberately vague as establishing "permanent" bases for NATO in Eastern Europe would contravene the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 -- an agreement that some commentators have said is already worthless because of Russia's actions.

Rasmussen said the plan could also involve strengthening infrastructure like ports and airports, increasing military exercises and boosting intelligence-sharing.

MILITARY FUNDS: NATO would establish four "trust funds" to help finance Ukraine's military logistics, command and control structures and cyber defences, as well as to pay soldiers' pensions, including for wounded personnel.

Rasmussen has said the funds would help Ukraine "build the capacity of their security sector" and pointed out that some members had already pledged "concrete financial contributions" -- although no figures have been mentioned.

The funds are in any case for the "medium-to-long term".

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is scheduled to attend the summit, has said he expects individual NATO member states to increase their weapons contributions.

"Ukraine is making a whole series of demands. It would be the allies rather than NATO who would respond on a bilateral basis," a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

UKRAINE IN NATO?: Ukraine's government is planning to submit a bill in parliament to resume its application for NATO membership, a procedure that was interrupted in 2010 under the pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovych who was president at the time.

Ukraine's future membership was welcomed by NATO leaders at a summit in Bucharest in 2008, riling Russia, although in reality it is a distant prospect since Ukraine's Soviet-era arsenal would first have to be upgraded to NATO standards.

Moscow has requested that Ukraine declare neutrality and in reality few members can stomach the prospect of Ukraine joining, which could oblige NATO to intervene in the conflict.

NATO-RUSSIA TIES: NATO already suspended most of its practical cooperation following the annexation of Crimea earlier this year and fears about Russian expansionism, although it is still formally sticking to the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The alliance has also stepped up fighter jet and reconnaissance missions over the Baltic states, deployed warships in the Black and Baltic Seas and ramped up military exercises in the region.

 

 

New round of Mali peace talks opens in Algiers

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:54:23 PMGo to full article
Algiers (AFP) Sept 01, 2014 - Peace talks between the Malian government and armed rebels opened on Monday in the Algerian capital, the second round of negotiations since July aimed at clinching a lasting peace agreement.

The Bamako government and six rebel groups, mostly Tuareg but also including Arab organisations, are seeking to resolve a decades-old conflict that created a power vacuum in the desert north that was exploited by Al-Qaeda.

A ceasefire has been in force since May when the rebels seized a large swathe of northern Mali in a major offensive.

Then in July, Bamako and the rebels met for a first round of talks in Algiers and signed a preliminary accord which set a roadmap for further negotiations.

"This time in Algiers, participants will get to the bottom of their problems and, it is to be hoped, come to an agreement," said former prime minister Modibo Keita, the Malian president's envoy at the talks.

Since President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita came to power negotiations have stalled, however, and northern Mali has seen a spike in violence by Islamist and separatist militants.

Riven by ethnic rivalries, a Tuareg rebellion and an Islamist insurgency in its vast desert north, the west African nation has struggled for stability and peace since a military coup in 2012.

Skirmishes in May between the Malian army and a coalition of rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) saw at least 50 soldiers killed in the Tuareg region of Kidal.

A ceasefire obtained by Mauritanian leader and African Union (AU) chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been in place since, but the Malian government has expressed alarm at the "concentrations of armed groups" in the desert.

The talks are being held with a new defence agreement in place between Mali and its former colonial power France.

Paris recently wound up Operation Serval, its military offensive launched in January 2013 to oust Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who had occupied northern Mali.

 

 

42 children killed in string of Syria attacks: NGO

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:54:23 PMGo to full article
Beirut (AFP) Aug 31, 2014 - At least 42 children have been killed in government air strikes and shelling across Syria in the last 36 hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Sunday.

The Britain-based Observatory said 25 children had been killed between midnight on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, with 17 more killed between Friday and Saturday night.

The deaths came in regime shelling and air strikes across the country, though most took place in the northern province of Aleppo and northwestern Idlib, Observatory director Rami Abdul Rahman said.

Many of the deaths came in raids involving the use of explosive-packed barrel-bombs, a weapon that has been criticised by rights groups as indiscriminate.

Among the dead on Sunday were at least five children killed along with five adults in a barrel bomb attack on the town of Hobait in Idlib province, said the monitor.

In northern Aleppo province, another five children and three adults were killed in an air raid in the west of the province, it added.

In the capital Damascus, meanwhile, regime planes continued to pound the eastern rebel-held district of Jubar, where the government began a fierce offensive earlier this week to wrest back control.

The Observatory said at least 15 air raids hit the district on Sunday, but there were no immediate details about casualties.

Jubar has been in insurgent hands for a year, and is considered strategic because it provides a gateway to the centre of the capital and opens onto the key rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta.

In mid-August, the army took Mleiha some 10 kilometres (6 miles) southeast of Damascus, and capturing Jubar would allow a two-pronged advance on Eastern Ghouta.

Rebels arrayed around the capital regularly fire mortar and rockets into Damascus.

In northern Syria, meanwhile, the Observatory said it had documented the executions of 31 rebel fighters and civilians by Islamic State jihadists in the last 10 days of August.

Among those killed were rebel fighters, militants from the rival jihadist group Al-Nusra Front and civilians, including a university professor executed on allegations including membership in Syria's ruling Baath party, said the monitor.

The figure does not include hundreds of regime forces and members of the Sunni Shaitat tribe who were executed after battles with IS jihadists in Raqa and Deir Ezzor provinces.

It also does not include rebels killed in clashes with IS, which has been battling rival opposition fighters since early this year.

More than 191,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began there in March 2011, the UN says.

 

 

Israel closes Golan area as Syria rebels seize crossing

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:54:23 PMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 27, 2014 - Israel closed off the area around Quneitra on the occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday after an officer was wounded by stray fire as Syrian rebels seized control of the crossing.

The UN peacekeeping force which monitors the armistice line said several mortar rounds struck near its positions as rebel fighters, including some from Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, stormed the crossing in deadly fighting with government troops.

"From what we know, opposition forces overran the Syrian regime forces on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, some of those including the Al-Nusra Front, which ultimately leaves the crossing in the opposition forces' hands," Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP.

He said there had been "extensive fighting" on the Syrian side of the ceasefire line since early Wednesday including several instances of "errant fire."

Three mortar rounds had struck the Israeli-occupied side of the plateau as well as gunfire which moderately wounded an officer, he said.

Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 20 Syrian soldiers and four rebels were killed in the fighting for the crossing.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force said there had been heavy exchanges throughout the day and these were continuing.

"Since early this morning, UNDOF has observed heavy fighting between Syrian armed forces and armed members of the opposition in the area of separation," said spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

"Several mortars landed in or near UN positions. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) retaliated with fire.

"The UNDOF force commander remains in close contact with Syrian authorities, and the IDF to urge restraint and to prevent an escalation of the situation."

Asked about reports that rebels had seized the crossing, he said: "UNDOF is not in a position right now to confirm that this group has taken it over as there is still fighting going on."

In June 2013, there was a similar takeover of the crossing by rebel forces, but the Syrian army managed to regain control.

The Israeli army said it had "substantial forces" on the ground and was prepared for any eventuality, with troops sealing off the area as a defensive measure.

"We have declared a closed military zone in the immediate area of the crossing and the roads leading to it. We are prepared for any potential spillover effect into Israel," Lerner said.

- After Syria, Israel -

"The opposition forces including the Al-Nusra Front have been on the border area for some time now, but this is not necessarily an increased threat (to Israel)," he said.

"These forces have said multiple times that when they are done with Syria, they will head to Israel. Their hands are tied up in Syria at the moment, so we have to be prepared for that development."

Earlier the army said it had responded by hitting two Syrian army posts.

As a result of the fighting on the Syrian-controlled side of the Heights, the level of alert was raised on the Israeli side, a spokeswoman said, without confirming that it had been increased to the highest level.

On Sunday, at least five rockets hit the Israeli-occupied side of the upland, all due to stray fire, the army said.

In June, an Israeli teenager was killed in a deliberate cross-border attack, prompting Israeli warplanes to attack Syrian military headquarters and positions.

Israel, technically at war with Syria, seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the plateau has been tense, with a growing number of rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, mostly stray, prompting occasional armed responses.

UNDOF's strength has become more more and more depleted by the withdrawal of contributing nations' troops in the face of the persistent fire.

The Philippines said Saturday it would repatriate its 331-strong contingent in the UN Disengagement Observer Force, mirroring previous moves by Australia, Croatia and Japan.

 

 

In Aleppo, Syria rebels back US strikes against jihadists

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:54:23 PMGo to full article
Aleppo, Syria (AFP) Aug 28, 2014 - In Syria's Aleppo, devastated by two years of fighting and regime attacks, rebels and activists are eager for US strikes against jihadists they say have stolen their anti-government uprising.

The United States has yet to decide on whether it will carry out air strikes in Syria against jihadists from the Islamic State group, though it is already doing so in neighbouring Iraq.

The Islamic State's campaign of extreme violence and abuses against both civilians and rival opposition groups has prompted a backlash across rebel-held Syria, where many hope the US air campaign next door will be extended.

"We support US strikes against Daesh," said Abu Al-Muqdad, a fighter in Aleppo with the Islamic Front, a rebel coalition, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS).

"They have ravaged the country, oppressed the people, make no distinction between combatants and civilians and slaughtered with knives," he said.

Calls for US action in Syria have been mounting in the wake of IS advances in Iraq and Syria, as well as the brutal killing of US journalist James Foley, who was held hostage.

US military officials have acknowledged the group cannot be defeated just with its air strikes in Iraq, which began on August 8 after lightning advances by IS militants.

"I hope they bomb them and not a single one is left. Those people are not Muslims, they are infidels," added another rebel officer, who heads a special operations battalion within the Islamic Front coalition.

- Rebels fought IS -

Syrian rebels initially welcomed jihadist fighters into their battle against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But IS's insistence on dominating territory captured from the regime, its harsh interpretation of Islam and abuses including decapitations have alienated many rebels and civilians.

In January, rebel groups began fighting against IS in territory under opposition control and managed to expel it from much of northern Syria.

But it has since regrouped, seizing territory and weapons in Iraq and taking both lost ground and new territory in Syria, including in northern Raqa, where it now controls the entire province.

The advances prompted the Syrian regime to reverse a long-standing policy of largely ignoring IS bases in their air raids on rebel territory and begin a series of strikes against the group's strongholds.

But many rebels continue to see IS and the Syrian regime as two faces of the same coin.

"I'm in favour of American air strikes on the areas controlled by Daesh because they and the regime, they're one and the same," said Jaber, who heads the Islamic Front's military police unit in eastern Aleppo city.

"The regime is bombing us with explosive barrel bombs and Daesh is killing our people with knives," he said.

Aleppo province has been subject to a particularly fierce regime aerial campaign, including the use of explosive-packed barrel bombs tossed from regime helicopters that rights groups say kill indiscriminately.

- IS 'a new enemy' -

Activist Abdullah is equally eager to see IS militants targeted.

"Daesh is a new enemy that hides under the cover of Islam. It's totally unacceptable."

But while many rebels would be happy to see the US intervene against IS, they also express suspicion that American action would come after Damascus urged international cooperation against jihadists.

Earlier this week, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said the government was willing to cooperate with any country, including the United States, against "terrorists".

But the Syrian government deems all those seeking to oust Assad to be "terrorists," and rebels are not keen to see Washington ally with the regime they have been fighting since March 2011.

"What the foreign minister says implies that a possible US strike would be in the interests of the regime. I'm against it," said Mohammed, an activist in Aleppo.

Others in the city, which has been divided between rebel control in the east and regime control in the west since shortly after fighting began there in mid-2012, question US willingness to act in Syria now.

"We have suffered for three years and all the calls for strikes against the regime have not been heard," said Bou Yussef, a nurse in Aleppo.

"Every day I receive dozens of women, men and children mutilated by explosive barrel bombs. What we need is strikes against the regime," he said.

 

 

Libya air strikes show UAE willing to 'go it alone'

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:28:06 PMGo to full article
Dubai (AFP) Aug 26, 2014 - UAE air strikes on Libya aim to prevent Islamists from controlling the violence-stricken country and sends a message to Washington that it is capable of protecting its own interests, experts say.

United States officials said that United Arab Emirates warplanes secretly bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya from bases in Egypt last week, but Abu Dhabi has not publicly acknowledged involvement. On Tuesday, Egypt denied any "direct" role in the raids.

Libya has plunged into chaos since the overthrow in 2011 of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with deadly clashes between Islamist and nationalist militias.

The crisis deepened on Monday when the North African country's Islamist-dominated General National Congress named a premier-designate to form a rival administration to the interim government, which is struggling to enforce security.

American officials have confirmed that United Arab Emirates' jets launched two raids in seven days, upping the ante by regional Arab states that have previously fought proxy wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq in a struggle for power and influence.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the United States issued a joint statement saying that "outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya's democratic transition".

"I think this strike is the unsurprising result of a momentum we've seen building in Libya... and within the region amongst Egypt and these Gulf states," said Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"I believe there was no consultation with the West," added Wehrey, a specialist on the Gulf, Libya and American policy in the Middle East.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE view Muslim Brotherhood militants in the region as a serious threat and have forged cooperation against what they see as a common danger.

With the eyes of Western powers focused on Iraq and Syria, Egypt and the UAE saw "that they had to take this kind of unusual operation," said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, political science professor at Emirates University.

- US 'no longer reliable' -

The air strikes underscored how Washington's old allies are willing to act without backing from the Americans.

Saudi and UAE leaders in particular have expressed concern that Washington can no longer be counted on, citing US diplomatic overtures to Iran and a cautious approach to the Syrian conflict.

"The lesson of Syria still resonates... that you cannot depend on America or the West... America is no longer reliable," says Abdulla.

Wehrey agreed: "The sense in the Gulf is that the Gulf states need to take matters into their own hands."

Rogue Libyan general Khalifa Haftar -- who is hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood -- launched an offensive in May against Islamists in the second city of Benghazi. Wehrey, who visited Libya recently, said there was "speculation" that he was receiving "foreign backing".

Haftar, who "models himself after (President Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi in Egypt", emerged as "a local ally in Libya" to the UAE and Egypt, said Wehrey.

"Egypt is obviously worried about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood on its border" and concerned about movements of weapons as well as jihadists that could cross its border from Libya.

The UAE, a US ally, backed Sisi's overthrow of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi -- Egypt's first elected president. It has jailed dozens of Islamists and its media and officials often criticise the Muslim Brotherhood.

- 'Combined operation' -

Abdulla said the air strikes "would not have happened if Egypt had not cooperated, and probably Saudi Arabia" too.

He agreed with Wehrey that Egypt is particularly concerned "that Libya might turn into a jihadist centre".

Militarily, Wehrey suggested that the Emirati air force led the strikes with logistical support from Egypt. "It was a combined operation," he said.

The Emiratis are "also concerned about the role of Qatar, their rival, inside Libya," he added.

Qatar also participated in the anti-Kadhafi campaign in 2011. However, the Gulf neighbours, whose relations are overshadowed by unprecedented tensions, have backed rival factions in Libya and continue to do so, experts say.

"Qatar is backing the Islamist Brotherhood factions in Libya with weapons and... the Emiratis would feel compelled to step up their involvement," says Wehrey.

For Abdulla, Emirati strikes in Libya are "a sign of confidence on the part of the UAE" which seems to be adopting a "hard power" policy after having projected itself as "soft".

"It will destabilise Libya more," he said.

 

 

Israel hits Gaza highrises as sides weigh truce deal

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:28:06 PMGo to full article
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (AFP) Aug 26, 2014 - Israel upped the pressure on Hamas Tuesday, with warplanes hitting two Gaza City highrises on day 50 of their conflict as the warring parties mulled a new Egyptian truce proposal.

There appeared to be little outward sign, however, of interest in the Egyptian proposal which seeks to broker a more permanent end to seven weeks of fighting in Gaza which has so far killed 2,137 Palestinians and 68 on the Israeli side.

Several back-to-back truce agreements which brought relief to millions earlier this month, collapsed in a storm of violence on August 19, with the renewed fighting killing another 116 Palestinians and an Israeli child.

Israel, which pulled its negotiating team out of the Cairo talks a week ago, has repeatedly said it would not negotiate under fire, conditioning a return to the table on a complete halt to cross-border rocket fire.

Although the Palestinians said they would be prepared to accept the new Egyptian offer, they would only do so after hearing Israel's response to the proposal, a senior official told AFP on Monday.

On the battlefront, Israeli warplanes kept up their pressure on Hamas with air strikes killing six and raids hitting two high-rise apartment blocks in Gaza City, leaving 40 people wounded.

In the first strike, warplanes fired at least six rockets at a 16-storey complex in the Nasser neighbourhood, in which there were 60 apartments and a commercial complex, completely destroying the building and wounding 25.

But no-one was killed after the army warned residents to leave in a pre-recorded message, a witness told AFP. "The army told them to leave immediately and they all ran out into the street to find shelter," he said.

Warplanes then fired on the 14-storey Al-Basha building in Rimal neighbourhood, causing massive damage and wounding 15, witnesses and medics said.

The Israeli army acknowledged hitting buildings serving as "Hamas command and control centres" as well as two schools in central and northern Gaza from which "low-trajectory fire" had been directed at Israel.

In an Arabic-language text message sent to residents' mobile phones after the strikes, the army said the towers were hit because they were "used by Hamas for military purposes" and warned that the battle would continue.

- 'We escaped by a miracle' -

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum denounced the bombardment of the two towers as "a war crime aimed at terrorising the people".

The group's armed wing confirmed firing on Tel Aviv and Haifa in response, although the army said nothing had hit further north than Ashkelon, where a rocket hit a bungalow causing major damage and wounding 21.

Yuval Cohen, owner of the house, said the family was sleeping when the air raid sirens sounded, saying it was a miracle they had not been killed.

"We were in our bedroom when the alarm started. We ran to the children's room to wake them and while we were running with the kids, the rocket exploded in the bedroom," he told AFP.

"Luckily, we escaped by a miracle. We didn't even make it to the shelter.

"We don't sleep at nights, we don't sleep during the days, we don't rest at all. Everybody says 'it won't happen to me' but in the end, it did."

Since midnight, 69 rockets have been fired at Israel, 61 of which struck the south while another six were intercepted, the army said.

"The goal of the fighting isn't to finish off every last launcher, the goal is to convince the other side to say 'enough'," a senior Israeli military official told Haaretz newspaper, saying Hamas was quite close to that point.

- Waiting for Meshaal -

Political officials also believe most of the Islamist movement is looking for a quick end to the conflict, particularly after three of its senior military commanders were killed in a targeted assassination last week.

"The targeted killings have created a situation in the last week in which Hamas wants a ceasefire," said Science Minister Yaakov Peri, an observer in the eight-member security cabinet.

"The man who is digging in his heels... is Khaled Meshaal," he said, referring to the movement's exiled leader who is based in Doha.

Haaretz's military correspondent Amos Harel said Meshaal was "the last obstacle on the way to declaring a ceasefire," noting that the assassinations had bolstered his position in relation to the movement's Gaza-based leaders.

Meanwhile, Abbas was to convene a meeting of his leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah later Tuesday, officials said.

Although Israeli officials have refused to comment on the Egyptian truce proposal, army radio said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been locked in discussions late into the night with the defence minister and the chief of staff.

A Palestinian official told AFP on Monday that the proposal would involve the easing of restrictions at border crossings into the battered enclave and allow for the delivery of aid and reconstruction materials.

"The disputed points will be discussed in a month," he told AFP, saying they were waiting for Israel's response.

 

 

Libya gets new chief of staff to tackle militias threat

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:28:06 PMGo to full article
Benghazi, Libya (AFP) Aug 25, 2014 - Parliament in Libya has named a new military chief of staff tasked with tackling armed militias that control vast areas of the violence-plagued North African nation.

"Colonel Abdel Razzak Nadhuri was chosen by 88 out of 124 MPs present and promoted to the rank of general" on Sunday, parliament spokesman Mohammed Toumi told AFP.

Nadhuri replaces General Abdessalam Jadallah al-Abidi, who was grilled by parliament on August 10 on the army's inability to restore law and order to Tripoli and Benghazi, the country's two largest cities where militiamen have run rampant.

Parliament, which sits in Tobruk, 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) east of the capital, held Abidi responsible for the deteriorating security situation and blamed him for backing certain militias that in theory report to the army.

"General Abidi was in fact sacked" after his appearance, Toumi said.

Libya's new chief of staff comes from Marj some 1,100 kilometres east of the capital.

During the 2011 uprising against long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, his battalion joined insurgents in second city Benghazi, the cradle of the revolt.

Overnight Saturday-Sunday, the Libyan parliament branded as "terrorists" Islamist militias and jihadists who challenge its legitimacy, and stated its intention to fight back through the regular armed forces.

"The groups acting under the names of Fajr Libya and Ansar al-Sharia are terrorist groups and outlaws that are rising up against the legitimate powers," parliament charged in a statement.

"These two groups are a legitimate target of the national army, which we strongly support in its war to force them to halt their killings and hand over their arms," MPs said.

Fajr Libya is a coalition of Islamist militias, mainly from Misrata, east of Tripoli, while Ansar al-Sharia, which Washington also brands a terrorist group, controls around 80 percent of the eastern city of Benghazi.

Islamist militias openly challenged the legitimacy of parliament on Sunday after announcing their seizure of Tripoli airport, plunging Libya's rocky political transition into fresh crisis.

Tripoli airport, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of the capital, has been shut since July 13 because of deadly clashes between the Islamists and the Zintan force of former rebels that previously controlled it.

 

 

 

 
 

'Time is short': Nuclear terror threatens world

Exclusive: Laurie Cordoza-Moore examines Iran's menacing ambitions

 

 

http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/time-is-short-nuclear-terror-threatens-world/

 

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in Iran in 1979 and established his theocracy, he didn’t just establish a tyranny in Iran, he declared war upon Israel as well as against the West. This threat will dramatically increase if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that “time is short” before this direct threat to Israel and the rest of the world becomes a reality.

This episode of Focus on Israel features clips from the documentary titled “Iranium,” which recaps the history of this terror state that has been exporting destruction and death for over four decades. This must be taken very seriously, as the risk of not standing with Israel at this critical juncture will result in a weakened Israel and an emboldened Iran.

Jewish leaders Avi Lipkin and David Brog, who know extensively about the threat posed by Iran, offer insight into the growing crisis and the crucial Christian support needed.

Avi Lipkin studied at Israel’s Conservative Jewish Seminary and is a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. He is a renowned speaker and author whose first book was entitled, “Is Fanatic Islam a Global Threat?” in which he presents his belief that Christians and Jews must forge an alliance to stop Islam’s secret goal to destroy Judaism and Christianity.

David Brog, an American Jew, is an active proponent of stronger Jewish-Christian relations, particularly with regard to support of Israel. He worked in the United States Senate for seven years as chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter and is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He is the Executive Director of Christians United for Israel, an American pro-Israel Christian organization, and he also authored the book, “In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity.”

Both of these leaders offer tremendous insight into the growing crisis with Iran.

 

 

 

DVD

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Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/time-is-short-nuclear-terror-threatens-world/#f1QoURqhDKeGUP4Q.99

 
Aleppo
حلب
Halab
Aleppo City landmarks
Nickname(s): Ash-Shahbaa
Aleppo is located in Syria
Aleppo
 
Location in Syria
Coordinates: