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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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Iraq launches drive to break jihadist siege of Amerli

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:38:46 PMGo to full article
Peshmerga fighters' miltary vehicles are positioned at their post in the strategic Jalawla area, in Diyala province, which is a gateway to Baghdad, on August 25, 2014Iraq launched a major operation on Saturday to liberate a jihadist-besieged town, as US Secretary of State John Kerry called for a global coalition to combat the "genocidal" militants. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned that the West would be the next IS target unless swift action is taken, after Britain raised its terror alert level over the threat of jihadist attacks. The drive to break the more than two-month siege of Amerli came as an NGO said that the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which has surrounded the Shiite Turkmen-majority town, sold at least 27 women in Syria after kidnapping them in Iraq.
 
 

Philippine peacekeepers rescued from militants in Golan: U.N.

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:21:42 PMGo to full article
Thirty-two U.N. peacekeepers were rescued from Islamist militants who had fired on their post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Saturday, the United Nations said. Another group of U.N. soldiers - also from the Philippines - remained trapped by the Islamists who surrounded their positions on Thursday, and a gun battle was ongoing, the U.N. press office said. The troops are part of UNDOF, a U.N. force that has monitored the disengagement zone between Israel and Syria since 1974, after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. A Reuters cameraman spotted 11 U.N. armoured vehicles returning to their base in Israeli-controlled territory about 12 hours after the peacekeepers came under fire at around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday.
 

Cameron promises tough action to fight militants

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:41:10 PMGo to full article
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron answers questionsLONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Friday to plug gaps in Britain's armory to combat terror, describing the extremist threat posed by the Islamic State group as being more dangerous than even that of al-Qaida.
 
 

Dutch government clamps down on radicalization

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:53:30 PMGo to full article
AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch government unveiled a package of measures Friday aimed at countering radicalization of Muslims in the country, a day after police announced the arrest of two men suspected of recruiting people to fight in conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
 

Syria refugees top 3mn, US has no strategy 'yet'

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:45:48 PMGo to full article
A Syrian refugee child eats food collected from a rubbish bin by her mother (background right), in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 18, 2014The number of refugees from the conflict in Syria now tops three million, the UN said Friday, as US President Barack Obama admitted he has no strategy to tackle advancing jihadists. In Geneva, UN refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres said Syria had become the "biggest humanitarian emergency of our era," after a million people joined the exodus in the past year alone. They have fled the war-wracked country where Islamic State (IS) jihadists have sown panic with atrocities and executions, including of scores of Syrian soldiers and a US journalist this month alone. The scale of the crisis facing the international community deepened after rival Islamists led by Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, seized 43 Fijian UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights.
 
 

Britain raises its terrorism threat level over Syria, Iraq

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:21:48 PMGo to full article
By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to the second highest level of "severe" on Friday in response to possible attacks being planned in Syria and Iraq, Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said. "That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent," May said in a statement. "The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West. Some of those plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have traveled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts." It is the first time since mid-2011 that Britain has been placed on this grade of alert following an assessment carried out by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center, the body responsible for setting the national threat level.
 

Russian fund with US advisers eludes sanctions

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:58:27 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama listens to a question in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, where he spoke about the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Barack Obama warns of stepped-up economic punishments against Russia for its military incursions inside Ukraine, U.S. sanctions have so far avoided one prominent financial institution: the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has partnered with brand-name American companies and whose advisers include top U.S. and European private equity executives.
 
 

Worrying eurozone inflation sags again to 0.3 pct

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:50:31 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this June 6, 2014 file picture persons walk with shopping bags in Hamburg, Germany. A closely-watched survey shows economic expectations among German consumers have "completely collapsed" over concerns about the conflicts in Iraq, Israel and Ukraine. The GfK institute said Wednesday Aug. 27, 2014 its latest index of economic expectations slid 35.5 points in August to 10.4 — the largest one-month decline since the survey began in 1980. Its headline forward-looking consumer climate indicator also fell to 8.6 for September from 8.9 in August. (AP Photo/dpa, Bodo Marks,file)FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Inflation in the 18 countries that use the euro sank to 0.3 percent in August, a worrying sign of economic weakness that is putting pressure on the European Central Bank to take drastic steps to save a stalling recovery.
 
 

Obama cautions against using force to solve crises

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:49:12 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama gestures in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, where he spoke about the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama, faced with deepening crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, is putting the brakes on the notion that American military power can solve either conflict.
 
 

New Turkish cabinet spells little policy shift, Erdogan stays dominant

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:07:12 PMGo to full article
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announces his new cabinet in AnkaraBy Gulsen Solaker and Nick Tattersall ANKARA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu kept key members of Turkey's economic management team in place and named Ankara's point man on Europe as foreign minister in a new cabinet on Friday, moves signalling President Tayyip Erdogan's continued domination. Erdogan, who had dominated politics as prime minister since 2003, was sworn in on Thursday as Turkey's first popularly-elected president, cementing his position as its most powerful leader of recent times. Erdogan is likely to retain influence over the new team, with his former aide Yalcin Akdogan and Numan Kurtulmus, the deputy chairman of the ruling AK Party and another close ally, both named as deputy prime ministers.
 
 

Obama cautions against using force to solve crises

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:32:02 AMGo to full article
President Barack Obama gestures in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, where he spoke about the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with deepening crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, President Barack Obama is putting the brakes on the notion that American military power can solve either conflict.
 
 

Obama says 'no strategy yet' as IS executes Syrian troops

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:37:32 AMGo to full article
An image made available by jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa on June 30, 2014 allegedly shows Islamic State (IS) militants parading in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of RaqaUS President Barack Obama admitted Thursday that he still does not have a strategy to fight Islamic State jihadists in Syria, as the militants boasted they had executed scores of Syrian troops -- the latest in a string of atrocities that have shocked the world. Dampening hopes of imminent air strikes in Syria, Obama said he was still developing a comprehensive plan to defeat IS, which has also overrun large swathes of Iraq. The civil war in Syria has killed some 191,000 people since it erupted in March 2011 with President Bashar al-Assad's bloody effort to put down an uprising. The chaotic situation on the ground was underlined by the seizing of 43 UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights by rival Islamist rebels, led by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.
 
 

UN: Islamic State group threatens Syria aid access

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:34:40 AMGo to full article
In this photo provided by the United Nations, the U.N. Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefs the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, at U.N. Headquarters. She told the Security Council that the Islamic State group is taking violence against civilians in Syria "to a new level," threatening the cross-border humanitarian aid operations recently approved by the Security Council and that both the extremists and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front are advancing on border crossings with Turkey "and could hinder additional cross-border operations." (AP Photo/United Nations, Loey Felipe)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Islamic State group is taking violence against civilians in Syria "to a new level," threatening the cross-border humanitarian aid operations recently approved by the Security Council, a top U.N. aid official said Thursday.
 
 

Obama tamps down prospect of strikes in Syria

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:35:14 AMGo to full article
This May 3, 2013 file photo president Barack Obama responding to a question about the ongoing situation in Syria during a news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. One year ago, President Barack Obama was barreling toward airstrikes in Syria when he abruptly announced that he first wanted approval from congressional lawmakers. The move threw his policy into confusion and the strikes were eventually scrapped. Now, as Obama again contemplates military action in Syria, the White House is suggesting it may not be necessary to get a sign-off from Congress. While cautioning that Obama has made no final decisions, officials say there is a difference between last year’s effort to strike Syria’s government in retaliation for chemical weapons use and a bombing campaign against Islamic State militants that is now under consideration. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama tamped down the prospect of imminent U.S. military action in Syria on Thursday, saying "we don't have a strategy yet" for degrading the violent militant group seeking to establish a caliphate in the Middle East.
 
 

Erdogan sworn in as Turkey president, opposition storms out

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:05 PMGo to full article
Turkey's new president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front) attends the presidential swearing in ceremony at the parliament in Ankara on August 28, 2014Turkey's outgoing premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as president on Thursday, extending his decade-long rule, as opponents who accuse him of authoritarianism stormed out of the ceremony. Erdogan, 60, took the oath in Ankara to begin a five-year mandate in which he has vowed to build a "new Turkey" by pushing through a new constitution and pushing forward with an ambitious development programme. "I am the first president elected by popular vote in our country's history as well as the Turkish nation's 2,000 year-old history," Erdogan said in a later ceremony where outgoing president Abdullah Gul handed him the Cankaya presidential palace.
 
 

U.N. says 43 Golan peacekeepers seized by militants, 81 trapped

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:38:39 PMGo to full article
A member of UNDOF rides atop an armoured vehicle on Golan HeightsBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Militants fighting the Syrian army have detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and trapped another 81 in the region, and the world body is working to secure their release, the United Nations said on Thursday. The affected peacekeepers are from the Philippines and Fiji, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "During a period of increased fighting beginning yesterday between armed elements and Syrian Arab Armed Forces within the area of separation in the Golan Heights, 43 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were detained early this morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah," the U.N. press office said in a statement.
 
 

Turkey's Erdogan sworn in as president, consolidates power

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:09:16 PMGo to full article
Turkey's new President Tayyip Erdogan and outgoing President Abdullah Gul, attend a handover ceremony at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in AnkaraBy Gulsen Solaker and Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's president on Thursday, cementing his position as its most powerful leader of recent times, in a step opponents fear heralds more authoritarian rule and widening religious influence in public life. Reading the oath of office in a ceremony in parliament, Erdogan vowed to protect Turkey's independence and integrity, to abide by the constitution and by the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern secular republic. Erdogan, who had been prime minister since 2003, has consistently presented his time in office as a historic mission to transform Turkey domestically and as a regional power. "We're now more worried than ever about one-man, autocratic rule in Turkey," CHP deputy Aykan Erdemir told Reuters.
 
 

EU struggles with dearth of women in top jobs

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:54 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center rear, speaks with other EU heads of state during an EU summit in Brussels. As chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel may be the most powerful politician in the European Union, but she is more mirage than reality when it gets to the place of women in EU politics. EU leaders meet on Saturday to divide top jobs for the next five years, and after years of paying lip service to more equality among the sexes, it is plain for all to see, where are the women? (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File )BRUSSELS (AP) — Don't be fooled by Angela Merkel. The German chancellor may be the most powerful leader in the European Union, but she hardly paints a true picture of the place of women in EU politics.
 
 

Egypt's Morsi accused of leaking secrets to Qatar

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:32:55 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this file photo taken Thursday, May 8, 2014, Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt. Besides the current charges against him of conspiring with foreign groups, inciting the murder of his opponents and orchestrating prison breaks during the 2011 uprising that toppled his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's state prosecutor is now investigating allegations that Morsi leaked secret documents to Qatar via the Doha-based Al-Jazeera broadcaster, judicial officials said Wednesday, Aug. 27. (AP Photo/Tarek el-Gabbas, File)CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's ousted and jailed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi refused to answer a prosecutor's questions about allegations that he leaked classified documents — some related to the army's budget— to Qatar via the Doha-based Al-Jazeera broadcaster, Egypt's official news agency reported Thursday.
 
 

'Jihad recruiters' arrested in Netherlands, Germany

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:07:09 PMGo to full article
File photo shows Dick Schoof (R), National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security, and Rob Bertholee, head of the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD), giving a press conference in Zoetermeer on June 30, 2014Police in the Netherlands and Germany have arrested two men for allegedly recruiting jihadi fighters to go to Iraq and Syria, Dutch police said Thursday. A woman was also held with the man arrested in Germany as part of a long-running investigation, police said in a statement. All three are from The Hague and are accused of inciting hatred through social media and plotting terror attacks, police said, likely referring to help allegedly given to would-be Islamist fighters to reach the Middle East. "The two male suspects are suspected of recruiting for the armed terrorist struggle in Syria and/or Iraq and conspiring to commit murder with terrorist intent," the statement said.
 
 

Dutch, German Police detain three in Syria recruiting probe

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:46:29 PMGo to full article
By Thomas Escritt AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch and German authorities detained three Dutch citizens on charges of inciting hatred, recruiting militants and plotting attacks in Syria and Iraq, Dutch police said on Thursday. The detentions followed warnings from the Dutch intelligence services that radical Islamist groups in the Netherlands had become a decentralized and elusive "swarm" that would soon broaden their focus from the conflict in Syria to the wider Middle East.. Dutch authorities estimate that 120 Dutch citizens have fought in Syria's civil war, with 14 having been killed in the conflict, which is now in its fourth year. The detentions were the first of suspects believed to have been involved in recruiting of militants for the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
 

U.S. air strikes on Syria would face formidable obstacles

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:40:59 PMGo to full article
a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014By Matt Spetalnick and Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American forces face formidable challenges as President Barack Obama considers an air assault on Islamist fighters in Syria, including intelligence gaps on potential targets, concerns about Syria’s air defenses and fears that the militants may have anti-aircraft weapons, current and former U.S. The Pentagon began preparing options for an assault on Islamic State fighters after the militants last week posted a gruesome video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. Deliberations by Obama’s national security team on expanding the campaign against Islamic State from Iraq into neighboring Syria gathered pace in recent days, officials say.
 
 

Iraq and Syria pose Saudi dilemma - failed states or Iran proxies

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:13:52 PMGo to full article
Member of the Saudi border guards force man a machine gun mounted on a military truck positioned on Saudi Arabia's northern borderline with IraqBy Angus McDowall and William Maclean RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) - With militant Islamists gaining the upper hand in Syria's rebel movement and grabbing big tracts of Western Iraq, Saudi Arabia's ruling family faces an increasingly uncomfortable dilemma. The Al Saud have long seen the conflicts in Iraq and Syria as a pivotal battle for the future of the Middle East, pitting Sunni Muslims against a radical, revolutionary, Shi'ite Iran.
 
 

Dutch police: Suspected jihad recruiters arrested

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:44:07 PMGo to full article
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch police say they have arrested two men suspected of recruiting people to fight in Syria and Iraq, the latest arrests in a long-running investigation into home-grown jihadis heading to the Middle East.
 

Turkey's Erdogan consolidates power with ascent to presidency

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:54:00 AMGo to full article
To match Special Report TURKEY-ERDOGAN/By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Tayyip Erdogan will cement his position as modern Turkey's most powerful leader when he is sworn in as president on Thursday, advancing his drive to reshape the country but heralding what critics fear will be an increasingly authoritarian rule. In a final speech to supporters of his AK Party on Wednesday he spoke of his move from the prime minister's office to the presidential palace as the birth of a new Turkey. Erdogan's victory in Turkey's first popular presidential election this month caps more than decade as prime minister in which the economy has tripled in dollar terms and the country has carved out a growing, though often controversial, role in the politics of the conflict-torn Middle East. Erdogan's rhetoric has long played on the divisions between his supporters among Turkey's pious conservatives and a Western-facing, largely secular class suspicious of his Islamic ideals.
 
 

Dubai port operator H1 profits up 26 percent

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:21:27 AMGo to full article
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai-based port operator DP World said Thursday its profit rose 26 percent in the first half of the year as it was able to process more cargo thanks to new capacity and a pick-up in global trade.
 

Indonesia, Australia sign deal to end spying row

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:30:41 AMGo to full article
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (R) shakes hands with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop before their bilateral meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, on August 28, 2014Indonesia and Australia on Thursday signed an agreement aimed at drawing a line under a damaging espionage row and paving the way for the resumption of full cooperation on issues such as defence. Ties between the neighbours sank to their lowest point in years in November after reports that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his inner circle. Jakarta recalled its ambassador from Canberra and suspended cooperation in several areas over the incident, including efforts to stop people-smuggling boats reaching Australia. Yudhoyono called for a code of conduct to govern behaviour and, after months of talks on the issue, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa on Thursday signed an agreement.
 
 

Mom: captured son 'honorable' US journalist

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:40 AMGo to full article
In this image made from video obtained on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, Shirley Sotloff, who lives in Florida, appeals to the captors of her son, freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, 31, who was last seen in Syria in August 2013. On a video released on Aug. 19, 2014, he was threatened with death by militants from the Islamic State unless the U.S. stopped air strikes on the group in Iraq. The same video showed the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley. (AP Photo)MIAMI (AP) — An American freelance journalist held hostage and threatened with death by Islamic militants wanted to tell the world through his writing about oppressed people in the Middle East, his mother said in a video.
 
 

American released by Syrian militants thanks Qatar, U.S. officials

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:00:59 AMGo to full article
Peter Theo Curtis, who was released on Sunday from years in captivity of insurgents in Syria, talks to reporters near mother's home in CambridgePeter Theo Curtis, who was held by Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria, said he had no idea while he was imprisoned that there had been hundreds of people around the world pushing for his release. "I will respond, but I can't do it now," said Curtis, who along with his mother Nancy Curtis raised a U.S. Their son's return came just days after rivals of Nusra Front, the militant group Islamic State, last week said it killed journalist James Foley and threatened another still being held hostage, Steven Sotloff.
 
 

Mother of US reporter in Syria begs for his life

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:55:54 AMGo to full article
BEIRUT (AP) — The mother of a hostage American journalist pleaded for his release Wednesday in a video directed at the Islamic State group, while new images emerged of mass killings, including masked militants shooting kneeling men after the capture of a strategic air base in Syria.
 

New counterterrorism units at Australian airports

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:44:18 AMGo to full article
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — New counterterrorism units have been working at Australia's two largest airports since last week and had already prevented two suspected jihadists from leaving the country, officials said.
 

Mom: captured son 'honorable' US journalist

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:01:04 AMGo to full article
In this image made from video obtained on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, Shirley Sotloff, who lives in Florida, appeals to the captors of her son, freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, 31, who was last seen in Syria in August 2013. On a video released on Aug. 19, 2014, he was threatened with death by militants from the Islamic State unless the U.S. stopped air strikes on the group in Iraq. The same video showed the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley. (AP Photo)MIAMI (AP) — An American freelance journalist held hostage and threatened with death by Islamic militants wanted to tell the world through his writing about oppressed people in the Middle East, his mother said in a video released Wednesday.
 
 

 

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Captives held by Islamic State prove tough quandary for Obama

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:48:02 PMGo to full article
By Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After Islamic State's beheading of journalist James Foley, President Barack Obama's administration is making little headway in efforts to secure the release of three other Americans held by the insurgent group in Syria, officials said. Journalist Steven Sotloff and two others whom Reuters is not naming are among fewer than 10 Westerners that Islamic State (IS) is holding in kidnappings that until recently were aimed at simply raising ransoms, they said. Washington has contacted about two dozen countries for help in freeing the three, but no foreign government appears to have influence over or even significant contact with IS, which has declared an Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
 

No resolution of Gulf Arab split after ministers meet

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:09:16 PMGo to full article
Gulf Arab foreign ministers met in Jeddah on Saturday but took no big step toward ending a diplomatic row that has undermined their ability collectively to influence Middle East events. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in March withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, saying it had broken promises to them about Gulf security, which analysts connected to Doha's support for the Muslim Brotherhood. A visit by three top Saudi princes, including Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, to Doha on Wednesday had prompted widespread speculation in Gulf media that Saturday's meeting would result in a resolution or escalation of the rift.
 

Iran's president dodges question on held reporter

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:56:04 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. Rouhani declined to answer a question about a detained Washington Post journalist, Jason Rezaian. Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the Abu Dhabi-based daily newspaper The National, who have been held for more than a month. Iranian officials have not specifically said why Rezaian and his wife were detained. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)CAIRO (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declined to specifically discuss the case of a detained Washington Post journalist during a nationally televised news conference Saturday.
 
 

EU leaders to pick new foreign policy chief

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:32:59 PMGo to full article
Italy Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini smiles as she meets the media during an informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, in Milan, Italy, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. European Union foreign ministers on Friday were set to weigh adopting a tougher stance on the Ukraine crisis amid increasing calls to beef up economic sanctions against Russia. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders will pick the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief for the next five years at a summit Saturday, with Italy's top diplomat Federica Mogherini widely seen as the front-runner for the prestigious job.
 
 

Iran says new U.S. curbs conflict with spirit of nuclear talks

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:11:11 PMGo to full article
By Michelle Moghtader and Fredrik Dahl DUBAI/VIENNA (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday new U.S. The United States on Friday penalized a number of Iranian and other foreign companies, banks and airlines for violating sanctions against Tehran largely tied to a decade-old dispute about its nuclear programme. Washington said it was sending a signal that there should be no evasion of the sanctions while international talks continue on relaxing them if Iran agrees to curb its nuclear activities.
 

Iran says fresh US sanctions have deepened mistrust

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:50:05 PMGo to full article
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows him speaking during a meeting with Iranian foreign ambassadors and diplomats currently visiting the Iranian capital on August 11, 2014 in TehranIran's President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday condemned a new round of American sanctions linked to his country's nuclear activities, saying mistrust had been "further deepened" by the fresh measures. The latest sanctions -- which Washington said were levelled because of support for terrorism and as punishment for existing restrictions being skirted -- come despite Iran's ongoing talks with the West which are aimed at ending the decade-long nuclear dispute. "This is not compatible with the atmosphere of the negotiations," Rouhani said of action by the US Treasury and State Department. Mistrust has further deepened," he told reporters in Tehran, also defending attempts to circumvent sanctions on the oil sector, banks and other industries.
 
 

Iran president calls US sanctions an 'invasion'

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:18:56 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Western sanctions an "invasion" Saturday after Washington imposed new penalties over the country's contested nuclear program, though he promised negotiations with world powers would go on.
 

Iran nuclear talks to continue on fringes of U.N. assembly: Ashton

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:16:31 PMGo to full article
Ashton looks on as she peaks during a news conference at the end of an informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in MilanThe six global powers will discuss ways to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, the European Union's foreign policy chief said on Saturday. Talks aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for ending sanctions began in February. Catherine Ashton, the EU's top diplomat, is expected to continue to lead nuclear negotiations with Iran even as she leaves her EU job at the end of October.
 
 

Anti-jihadist fight forges fragile Kurdish unity

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:57:44 PMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga forces monitor positions of Islamic State (IS) fighters during a battle to retake the eastern town of Jalawla, 130 kilometres (80 miles) northeast of Baghdad and only 30 (18 miles) from the border with Iran, on August 29, 2014Kurdish groups from Iraq and three neighbouring countries are putting aside old rivalries to battle jihadist militants, but there are cracks in this newly-forged unity and it may not last. Fighters from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group have marauded through large areas of Iraq and Syria, sparking alarm across the region and international concerns that they may export the violence to the West. With Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan and parts of Syria on the frontlines of the IS aggression, fighters from the two countries have been joined in their battle against the jihadists by Kurds from Turkey and Iran, both of which also have large Kurdish populations.
 
 

Gulf rivals struggle to build anti-jihadist front

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:01:15 AMGo to full article
A Jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa image from July 25, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic state militants raising their black and white flag over a building belonging to a Syrian army base in the northern rebel-held city of RaqaGulf countries, while siding with Washington against Islamic State jihadists, are struggling to build a common front because of differences within their own ranks and with non-Arab Iran. US President Barack Obama is sending his Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to try to build strong regional support against IS, which is rampaging through Iraq and Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has over the past week been at the centre of diplomatic efforts to stand up to the challenge posed by IS to the status quo. He and his counterparts from Egypt, Qatar and the Emirates held talks on Syria and "the rise of terrorist extremist ideology", according to an official statement.
 
 

Building coalition for Syria action no easy matter

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:20:47 AMGo to full article
FILE - This Aug. 28, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition. The president will meet with his top advisers and consult members of Congress to prepare U.S. military options. At the same time, he is looking for allies around the world to help the U.S. root out the Islamic State group that has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition.
 
 

Analysis: World events endanger Obama legacy

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:02:26 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost six years into a presidency that had inspired hope for a new era of American leadership, Barack Obama has reached a point where it will be difficult to salvage his international affairs legacy in the face of blooming crises that critics and even some supporters blame on a commander in chief they view as a feckless.
 

Huge rival protests in Yemen capital amid UN warning

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:02:31 AMGo to full article
Supporters of Shiite Zaidi rebels chant slogans during a demonstration calling for the government to resign on August 29, 2014, in the capital SanaaTens of thousands of supporters of Yemen's Shiite rebels rallied Friday in Sanaa to press for the government to step down, as a large number of its backers held a counter-demonstration. The UN Security Council called on the rebels to end their armed uprising and warned of sanctions. They massed on a road leading to Sanaa airport after the weekly Muslim prayers. At the same time, tens of thousands of government supporters rallied in southern Sanaa, calling for unity and solidarity with the cabinet.
 

US steps up sanctions on Iran over nuclear program

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:52:18 PMGo to full article
The reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, pictured on October 26, 2010The United States imposed new sanctions Friday on networks linked to Iran, stepping up pressure over Tehran's controversial nuclear program. The Treasury Department said the sanctions target individuals and entities under Iran-related authorities that are involved in Iran's missile and nuclear programs, efforts to evade international sanctions and support for terrorism. The White House's National Security Council said that despite the additional measures, the US remained committed to working with its partners in seeking an international deal with Tehran over its controversial pursuit of atomic power.
 
 

U.S. slaps more sanctions on Iranian banks, firms

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:38:33 PMGo to full article
Wind blows salt from the bed of the dried-out Orumieh lake, northwest of IranThe United States on Friday imposed sanctions on more than 25 people and companies it accused of violating sanctions against Iran, including shipping firms, airlines, and six Iranian banks. Treasury Department said it was targeting the people and firms, including Iran's Asia Bank, Meraj Air and Lissom Marine Services LLC, a shipping firm, for a range of violations, including helping Iran's missile and nuclear programs, evading prior sanctions, or supporting terrorism.
 
 

Defiant Gaza militants vow to rearm amid shaky truce

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:31:24 PMGo to full article
Thousands of militants paraded in the besieged Gaza Strip Friday, defiantly saying they would rearm as the prospects of a final deal on a long-term Israel-Hamas truce looked shaky. Thousands of Islamic Jihad fighters paraded through Gaza City on Friday in a show of force, marching with light weapons and holding aloft rockets similar to those fired at Israel during the conflict.
 

US sanctions people aiding Iran's nuclear program

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:27:13 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Friday sanctioned more than 25 businesses, banks and individuals suspected of working to expand Iran's nuclear program, supporting terrorism and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions.
 

US sanctions people aiding Iran

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:56 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Friday sanctioned more than 25 businesses, banks and individuals suspected of working to expand Iran's nuclear program, supporting terrorism and helping Iran evade U.S. and international sanctions.
 

U.S. sends arms to bolster Lebanon army after Islamist incursion

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:39:05 PMGo to full article
BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United States has begun delivering nearly $20 million of arms including assault rifles, anti-tank missiles and mortars to bolster Lebanon's army after Islamist insurgents seized a border town for several days this month, U.S. officials said on Friday. Lebanon, a country of about 4 million which borders Israel, has long been buffeted by the rivalries of regional and international powers including Iran and Saudi Arabia, who back its opposing politicians largely along sectarian lines. ...
 

Iran confirms US Coast Guard fired at fishing boat

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:40 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard navy confirmed in remarks published Friday that a U.S. Coast Guard vessel fired on an Iranian fishing boat in the Persian Gulf this week but insisted the incident was not a "clash."
 

Islamic Jihad fighters parade after Gaza war

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:55:49 PMGo to full article
Thousands of Islamic Jihad fighters paraded in Gaza City Friday, in a defiant show of force three days after a ceasefire ending a bloody war between Israel and Gaza militants. Fighters at the march wore military fatigues and carried assault rifles and other light weaponry, with some holding aloft different types of rockets fired at Israel during the 50-day conflict that ended on Tuesday. The spokesman for Islamic Jihad's armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, delivered a speech, praising backers Iran, allies Hezbollah and declaring that the group would "redouble efforts" to rearm. Israel "cannot win in Gaza," said the spokesman, known as Abu Hamza.
 

Islamic State steps up propaganda videos, beheading another captive

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:30:23 PMGo to full article
A daily roundup of terrorism and security issues.
 

Iran's foreign minister hopes for nuclear accord 'in short time left' till deadline

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:06:05 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran hoped to reach a "positive result" in talks with world powers on its nuclear programme ahead of a November deadline, thanks in part to support from Russia. "In that short period of time that is left, we hope that we can reach a positive result," said Zarif, speaking through a translator at a news conference on Friday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Iran and global powers are working to strike a comprehensive agreement by a Nov. 24 deadline, under which Iran would curb its nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.
 

With a splat, paintball fires into Afghanistan

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:09 AMGo to full article
In this Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo, a man aims his gas-powered gun at his opponents as he plays in a friendly game of paintball in Kabul, Afghanistan. The arrival of recreational paintball to Afghanistan may seem peculiar to outsiders, especially in a country that's known decades of war, faces constant bombings and attacks by Taliban insurgents and is preparing its own security forces for the withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of the year. However, it shows both the rise of a nascent upper and middle class looking for a diversion with the time to spare, as well as the way American culture has seeped into the country since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The hidden gunman, dressed in long green coveralls and a SWAT-team-style vest and helmet, looks ominous as he takes aim and fires off a short burst.
 
 

Exclusive: U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:37:44 AMGo to full article
Greek shipowner Restis leaves a court in AthensGreek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis last year sued UANI for defamation after the New York-based group, whose advisors include former intelligence officials from the United States, Europe and Israel, accused him of violating sanctions on Iran by exporting oil from the country. Restis denies doing illegal business with Iran.
 
 

Exclusive: U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:16:45 AMGo to full article
Greek shipowner Restis leaves a court in AthensGreek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis last year sued UANI for defamation after the New York-based group, whose advisors include former intelligence officials from the United States, Europe and Israel, accused him of violating sanctions on Iran by exporting oil from the country. Restis denies doing illegal business with Iran.
 
 

Turkey's Erdogan sworn in as president, consolidates power

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:27:22 PMGo to full article
Turkey's new President Tayyip Erdogan and outgoing President Abdullah Gul, attend a handover ceremony at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in AnkaraBy Gulsen Solaker and Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's president on Thursday, cementing his position as its most powerful leader of recent times, in a step opponents fear heralds more authoritarian rule and widening religious influence in public life. Reading the oath of office in a ceremony in parliament, Erdogan vowed to protect Turkey's independence and integrity, to abide by the constitution and by the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern secular republic. Erdogan, who had been prime minister since 2003, has consistently presented his time in office as a historic mission to transform Turkey domestically and as a regional power. "We're now more worried than ever about one-man, autocratic rule in Turkey," CHP deputy Aykan Erdemir told Reuters.
 
 

Top Iran filmmaker says sick children paying price for sanctions

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:43:52 PMGo to full article
Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad arrives for the screening of her movie "Ghessea", or "Tales", presented in competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival on August 28, 2014 at Venice LidoAcclaimed Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad on Thursday urged the West to lift sanctions on her country as she presented her latest film at the Venice Film Festival, laying bare their devastating effects on the population. "The economic situation in Iran is critical due to the sanctions, which penalise the people. "Our sick children, those with cancer or multiple sclerosis for example, are paying the price," she said in reference to US and EU sanctions imposed in a bid to deter Iran from developing its uranium enrichment program. Under an interim agreement with world powers which came into effect in January, Iran agreed to scale back part of its nuclear programme in return for a partial lifting of Western sanctions.
 
 

EU struggles with dearth of women in top jobs

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:54 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center rear, speaks with other EU heads of state during an EU summit in Brussels. As chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel may be the most powerful politician in the European Union, but she is more mirage than reality when it gets to the place of women in EU politics. EU leaders meet on Saturday to divide top jobs for the next five years, and after years of paying lip service to more equality among the sexes, it is plain for all to see, where are the women? (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File )BRUSSELS (AP) — Don't be fooled by Angela Merkel. The German chancellor may be the most powerful leader in the European Union, but she hardly paints a true picture of the place of women in EU politics.
 
 

VENICE WATCH: Iranian tales; vampire takes a break

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:11:30 PMGo to full article
Habib Rezaei and Rakhshan Bani-E'temad pose for photographers at the photo call for the movie Ghesseha during the 71st edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)VENICE, Italy (AP) — The Venice Film Festival is bringing 11 days of red carpet premieres, innovative movies and Hollywood glamour to the Italian city. Here's what has been catching the eye of The Associated Press:
 
 

France's Hollande says Assad no ally in fight against Islamic State

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:40:59 PMGo to full article
French President Francois Hollande walks in the Elysee Palace in Paris following the weekly cabinet meeting after a government reshuffleBy John Irish PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday opposition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq should get more Western support but ruled out seeing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an ally. Calling Assad an ally of the jihadists, he said: "There is no choice to be made between two barbarisms." "A large alliance is needed, but let's be clear. Assad is not a partner in the struggle against terrorism," Hollande said in a speech to an annual conference of French ambassadors. Syrian rebel forces have been fighting Assad for more than three years with political backing from the West in a war that has cost 190,000 lives.
 
 

Do you play for 'Team Australia'? Muslims debate anti-terrorism push

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:17:41 PMGo to full article
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has divided the country’s Muslim community by insisting it becomes part of his “Team Australia” project to combat the threat of homegrown terrorism.  Mr. Abbott invoked the rhetoric again on Tuesday when announcing a $64 million (Australian; US $60 million) anti-terrorism package that includes $11 million for community-based projects aimed at preventing Australians going overseas to join groups such as the Islamic State (IS) fighting in Syria and Iraq.  With at least 60 Australians fighting alongside IS, Australia, on a per capita basis, has more of its nationals involved in the Iraq-Syria theater than any other country, according to Australian intelligence agencies. 
 

Iraq and Syria pose Saudi dilemma - failed states or Iran proxies

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:13:52 PMGo to full article
Member of the Saudi border guards force man a machine gun mounted on a military truck positioned on Saudi Arabia's northern borderline with IraqBy Angus McDowall and William Maclean RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) - With militant Islamists gaining the upper hand in Syria's rebel movement and grabbing big tracts of Western Iraq, Saudi Arabia's ruling family faces an increasingly uncomfortable dilemma. The Al Saud have long seen the conflicts in Iraq and Syria as a pivotal battle for the future of the Middle East, pitting Sunni Muslims against a radical, revolutionary, Shi'ite Iran.
 
 

Russia sees chance to lift Iran sanctions through international talks

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:39:14 PMGo to full article
Iranian workers stand in front of Bushehr nuclear power plant, 1,200 km south of TehranRussia said on Thursday the possibility of lifting sanctions on Iran had emerged thanks to international talks on Tehran's nuclear program and urged all countries involved to show political will to reach a deal. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Friday to discuss the negotiations with six world powers on a decade-old stand-off over the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions. The talks between Iran and the United States, France, Russia, Britain, China and Germany failed to yield a deal by a July deadline and were extended by four months in view of remaining wide differences in negotiating positions. They are expected to resume in September, with the aim of reaching a settlement by Nov. 24 that would scale back Iran's nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions that are severely hurting its oil-dependent economy.
 
 

Turkey's Erdogan consolidates power with ascent to presidency

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:54:00 AMGo to full article
To match Special Report TURKEY-ERDOGAN/By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Tayyip Erdogan will cement his position as modern Turkey's most powerful leader when he is sworn in as president on Thursday, advancing his drive to reshape the country but heralding what critics fear will be an increasingly authoritarian rule. In a final speech to supporters of his AK Party on Wednesday he spoke of his move from the prime minister's office to the presidential palace as the birth of a new Turkey. Erdogan's victory in Turkey's first popular presidential election this month caps more than decade as prime minister in which the economy has tripled in dollar terms and the country has carved out a growing, though often controversial, role in the politics of the conflict-torn Middle East. Erdogan's rhetoric has long played on the divisions between his supporters among Turkey's pious conservatives and a Western-facing, largely secular class suspicious of his Islamic ideals.
 
 

Egypt probes Morsi for 'giving security papers to Qatar': MENA

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:32:48 AMGo to full article
Egypt's deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi sits inside the defendant’s cage during his trial at the police academy in Cairo on August 18, 2014Egypt has opened an investigation into deposed president Mohamed Morsi for allegedly handing over to Qatar "documents relevant to national security," state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday. Morsi is already facing the death penalty in several trials and his supporters have been the target of a bloody crackdown by the authorities that has left more than 1,400 dead since he was turfed out in July 2013. The former leader is suspected of providing "documents relevant to national security to Qatar via the Qatari Al-Jazeera chain when he was president of the republic (...), damaging the country's national security", said MENA.
 
 

Israel believes it's developing regional support for hurting Hamas

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:55:38 PMGo to full article
Mr. Netanyahu and his spokesmen have been pushing the line that Hamas is indistinguishable from groups like Al Qaeda or the self-styled Islamic State, a Sunni rebel group that now holds a long stretch of territory in Iraq and meaningful pockets in Syria. The Quneitra takeover serves as yet more fodder for Israel to argue that Al Qaeda-style groups are dedicated to ultimately upending all the Arab regimes as well as destroying Israel, and thus strengthens its alliance with those who see Hamas as part fo that threatening trend. While Netanyahu reached a cease-fire agreement with Hamas yesterday, his government insists that the group is a major regional security threat. “There is greater understanding of how dual-use items brought into Gaza can be used to rebuild the Hamas military machine.”
 

Iraq forces ready bid to break jihadist siege of Shiite town

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:49:17 PMGo to full article
Iraq was massing forces Wednesday for an operation to break a two-month jihadist siege of a Shiite Turkmen town north of Baghdad, amid growing fears for residents short of supplies. The planned counter-offensive around the Salaheddin province town of Amerli comes amid reports that US President Barack Obama is weighing a decision to authorise air strikes and aid drops in the area to help thousands of trapped civilians. According to a civilian volunteer commander, thousands of Shiite militiamen from groups including Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Badr Organisation are gathering in the Tuz Khurmatu area, north of Amerli, in preparation for a battle to break the siege. There is "no possibility of evacuating them so far", and only limited humanitarian assistance is reaching the town, said Eliana Nabaa, spokeswoman for the UN mission in Iraq.
 

U.S. Coast Guard fires at Iranian boat in Gulf

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:37:22 PMGo to full article
Coast Guard personnel are seen on their boat as they arrive back in Miami BeachA U.S. Coast Guard vessel fired in self-defense on an Iranian boat in the Persian Gulf, the Navy said Wednesday, an encounter that could exacerbate tensions between the two countries as they work to hammer out a lasting deal over Iran's nuclear program.
 
 

VENICE WATCH: Fest supports imprisoned filmmakers

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:10:38 PMGo to full article
Alberto Barbera, director of the 71st Venice Film Festival, and Paolo Baratta, President of the Biennale of Venice, pose for photographers at the Jury photo call during the 71st edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/David Azia)VENICE, Italy (AP) — VENICE, Italy — The Venice Film Festival is bringing 11 days of red-carpet premieres, innovative movies and Hollywood glamour to the Italian city. Here's what has been catching the eye of The Associated Press:
 
 

Iran says tested new nuclear enrichment machine, may irk West

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:43:53 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi reacts upon his arrival to attend the official opening ceremony for the new headquarters of the Iranian embassy in AmmanBy Michelle Moghtader and Fredrik Dahl DUBAI/VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has conducted "mechanical" tests on a new, advanced machine to refine uranium, a senior official was quoted as saying on Wednesday, a disclosure that may annoy Western states pushing Tehran to scale back its nuclear programme. Iran's development of new centrifuges to replace its current breakdown-prone model is watched closely by Western officials. Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it produces low-enriched uranium only to make fuel for a planned network of atomic energy plants. If processed to a high fissile concentration, uranium can be used for nuclear weapons.
 
 

Deadline passed, no sign of breakthrough in Iran nuclear probe

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:30:49 PMGo to full article
IAEA Director General Amano talks to the media as he arrives at Vienna's airportBy Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran may have failed to meet a deadline for addressing U.N. concerns about suspected nuclear bomb research, but it could still act to influence a key report due next week, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday. The sources, who follow the nuclear issue but declined to be identified, said they had seen no indications so far that Tehran had replied in substance to questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by the agreed Aug. 25 date. They suggested, however, that there was still time for Iran to provide information in the coming days in order to avoid any negative impression in the IAEA's closely-watched quarterly report on Tehran's nuclear programme, expected around Sept. 3. "They only give as much as they have to." There was no comment from the Vienna-based IAEA, which is expected to give details about its contacts with Iranian officials in the report.
 
 

Iran says purported Israeli drone came from north

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:44:56 PMGo to full article
This undated photo released Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show the wreckage of an Israeli drone which Iran claims it shot down near an Iranian nuclear site. Iran's state TV on Monday broadcast footage purported to show an Israeli drone the country's Revolutionary Guard claimed to have shot down over the weekend near an Iranian nuclear site. The brief video, aired on the Arabic-language Al-Alam TV, shows what the channel says are parts of the drone, scattered in an unidentified desert area. (AP Photo/Sepahnews)TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian general said Wednesday that a purported Israeli drone shot down near a nuclear facility in the Islamic Republic flew in from a northern country that once was part of the Soviet Union.
 
 

Report: Iran redesigning reactor as part of deal

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:27:07 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's nuclear chief said Wednesday that workers have begun redesigning its nearly completed Arak heavy water reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it can make as part of the country's interim deal over its nuclear program with world powers.
 

Iran modifies Arak reactor over nuclear concerns

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:43:18 PMGo to full article
A general view of a heavy water plant in Arak, 320 kms south of Tehran, 26 August 2006Iran said Wednesday it has started to modify its Arak heavy water reactor and limit plutonium output, a cause of Western concerns over the country's nuclear programme. "Modification of the heart of the Arak reactor is in the process of being carried out by our experts ... to ease the worries of certain countries," said Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads Iran's nuclear programme, quoted by ISNA news agency. The reactor in Arak, 240 kilometres (145 miles) southwest of Tehran, could in theory provide Iran with weapons-grade plutonium.
 
 

North Korea calls US 'human rights graveyard' over Ferguson

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:29:15 AMGo to full article
The casket of slain 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. is loaded into a hearse following his funeral in St. Louis, Missouri, August 25, 2014North Korea has joined the ranks of America's foes who have seized on riots in Missouri, saying the nation is the "graveyard of human rights" and should mind its own business rather than criticise others. The police shooting of an unarmed black teenager and subsequent crackdown on protesters in the Midwestern town of Ferguson has also given China, Iran and Russia ammunition to sound off about America's flaws. North Korea, which is regularly condemned by Washington and others over allegations of gross human rights abuses, said the US had no right to pass judgement on others. "The US is indeed a country wantonly violating human rights where people are subject to discrimination and humiliation due to their race, and are in constant fear that they may get shot at any moment," a spokesman from North Korea's foreign ministry was quoted as saying by state-run news agency KCNA.
 
 

Libyan raids could herald bolder Arab action as U.S. wavers

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:42:32 AMGo to full article
Egypt publicly denied involvement in the attacks on targets in its western neighbor and sensitivity over the strikes led to confusing statements from the administration in Washington. Later in the day the State Department backed off comments on Libya made at a regular briefing, saying they were "intended to refer to countries reportedly involved, not speak for them." In a joint statement on Monday, the United States and its European partners Britain, Germany, Italy and France had urged outsiders not to interfere in Libya, which is suffering its worst violence since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
 

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

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:21 AMGo to full article
The damaged exterior of the main building at Tripoli international airport in the Libyan capital, August 26, 2014UAE 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.
 
 

Even if attacked, airline could be liable in crash

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:07:18 PMGo to full article
In this Aug. 12, 2014 photo, Kevin Fan poses for a photo at Asian Glories restaurant in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Fan is grappling with the job of running two Rotterdam restaurants that were owned by his parents, who, along with his grandmother, were on the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine. Fan's father, who went by Popo, was the chef at Asian Glories; his mother Jenny was the hostess. (AP Photo/Toby Sterling)Families of passengers who were on the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine are starting to sort through the long process of gaining compensation for their loss.
 
 

Libyan raids herald bolder Arab action as U.S. wavers

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:24:42 PMGo to full article
By William Maclean DUBAI (Reuters) - Air strikes by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Libyan Islamists - affirmed by Washington on Tuesday despite denials from Cairo and the Gulf state - would mark an escalation of a regional struggle over the future of the Arab world. Arab responsibility for the attacks would add to a picture of the West's regional allies acting increasingly independently in the absence of decisive U.S. The Pentagon and State Department said on Tuesday for the first time that the air strikes against Islamist fighters in Tripoli were carried out by Egypt and the UAE, which has one of the most powerful air forces in the Middle East.
 

Iranian minister says Saudi talks 'constructive'

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:23:18 PMGo to full article
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran's envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, speaks during a news conference in CairoBy Michelle Moghtader DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's deputy foreign minister said he held "positive and constructive" talks with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday where Islamist militancy in Iraq - that both see as a threat - was one of the topics discussed. Hossein Amir Abdollahian was in Jeddah for the first high-level bilateral talks between the two countries since Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran a year ago, pledging to thaw Tehran's frosty relations with its Arab neighbors. "Both sides emphasized the need to open a new page of political relations between the two countries," Abdollahian told Reuters by telephone after meeting Prince Saud al-Faisal. The two men discussed issues of regional security such as the rise of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Israeli attacks on Gaza, Abdollahian said, adding: "The meeting took place in a very positive and constructive atmosphere." Official Saudi media did not initially report on Abdollahian's arrival, a sign of the sensitivity of relations between two of the Middle East's big powers which are separated by the Gulf and a religious divide, with Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia often at odds with Shi'ite Iran.
 
 

Top Iran official, Saudi FM discuss 'terrorism'

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:15:16 PMGo to full article
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal arrives at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 27, 2014Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal discussed Tuesday regional developments and the fight against Islamic State jihadists with a senior Iranian official visiting his country's longtime regional rival, an Iranian diplomat said. The visit by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to the city of Jeddah was the first by a high-level official from Shiite Iran to Sunni Saudi Arabia since Hassan Rouhani became the Islamic republic's president in August last year. The meeting was "fruitful", Iran's representative at the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Riza Hamid Dahqani told AFP.
 
 

Iran supplied weapons to Iraqi Kurds; Baghdad bomb kills 12

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:15:12 PMGo to full article
Iraqi Kurdish regional President Barzani shakes hands with Iranian foreign minister Zarif in ArbilBy Isabel Coles ARBIL (Reuters) - Iran has supplied weapons and ammunition to Iraqi Kurdish forces, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani said Tuesday at a joint press conference with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Arbil, capital of Iraq's Kurdish region. The direct arming of Kurdish forces is a contentious issue, because some Iraqi politicians suspect Kurdish leaders have aspirations to break away from the central government completely. The move could also be seen by some as a prelude to Iran's taking a more direct role in broader Iraqi conflict. "We asked for weapons and Iran was the first country to provide us with weapons and ammunition," Barzani said.
 
 

Iran, Saudi diplomats hold rare talks

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:56:14 PMGo to full article
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister met Tuesday with an Iranian deputy foreign minister in the highest-level bilateral talks between the two Mideast powers since moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's election last year.
 

Will US work with Syria's Assad as Islamic State makes gains?

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:42:39 PMGo to full article
To check the group's bloody rampage across northern Syria and Iraq, the US is currently striking IS targets in northern Iraq. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria?” asked Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last week. US officials confirmed on Tuesday that the US has begun reconnaissance flights over Syria, suggesting the ground is being prepared for missile strikes once targets have been identified. Some analysts argue that not only must an air campaign be carried out in Syria but it should be conducted in cooperation with the Assad regime.
 

Libyan raids herald bolder Arab action as U.S. role wavers

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:27:54 PMGo to full article
By William Maclean DUBAI (Reuters) - Air strikes by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Libyan Islamists - as alleged by Washington despite denials from Cairo and the Gulf state - would mark an escalation of a regional struggle over the future of the Arab world. If true, Arab responsibility for the attacks would also add to a picture of the West's regional allies acting increasingly independently in the absence of decisive U.S.
 

Iran provided weapons to Iraq's Kurds: Barzani

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:57:43 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani share a joke during a joint press conference following their meeting in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq on August 26, 2014Iran was the first country to provide Iraq's embattled autonomous Kurdish region with weapons to fight off jihadist-led militants, president Massud Barzani said on Tuesday. "The Islamic Republic of Iran was the first state to help us... and it provided us with weapons and equipment," Barzani said at a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Militants led by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group launched a major offensive in June that overran large areas of Iraq, and began a renewed push earlier this month that saw Kurdish forces pushed back towards their regional capital of Arbil. The Kurdish setbacks sparked a campaign of US air strikes in northern Iraq and an international effort to provide them with arms and ammunition, and they have since managed to claw back some territory from the militants.
 
 

Top Iran official visits regional rival Saudi

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:55:12 AMGo to full article
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian speaks at a press conference about the crisis in Iraq and the situation in the Middle East in Moscow on July 1, 2014A senior Iranian official is in Saudi Arabia to try to repair strained relations between the regional rivals in the Gulf, Iranian media reported on Tuesday. Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian flew to the desert kingdom on Monday to meet Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and discuss "matters of common interest", the reports said. No further information was immediately available about the trip, the first by a high-level official from Shiite Iran to Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia since Hassan Rouhani became the Islamic republic's president in August last year. "It is a step towards improving relations between Tehran and Riyadh," Iran's financial daily Donya-e Eghtessad wrote.
 
 

UAE aircraft bombed Islamists in Libya, US says

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:56:46 AMGo to full article
Smoke billows from buildings during clashes between Libyan security forces and armed Islamist groups in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi on August 23, 2014The United Arab Emirates has secretly sent warplanes on bombing raids against Islamist militias in Libya over the past week, using bases in Egypt, US officials said. The two attacks carried out over seven days mark a dramatic expansion of the conflict as the United States and its European allies denounced "outside interference" in Libya. The strikes signaled a step toward direct action by regional Arab states that previously have fought proxy wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq in a struggle for power and influence. The bombing raids were first reported by The New York Times and Islamist forces in Libya also had alleged strikes had taken place.
 
 

In Iran, love is rarely a many-splendoured thing

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:58:38 AMGo to full article
An Iranian couple walk together in the northwestern Shahran neighbourhood overlooking Tehran, June 7, 2014Like an increasing number of Iranians, Mahnaz divorced after marrying young because of the pressures of a conservative society that she feels often ignores a relationship's most important ingredient: love. From the first meeting with my husband's family I had a bad feeling about it," she says. Iran's average divorce rate peaked at 21 percent last year, with big cities showing far higher rates.
 
 

US: Bin Laden son-in-law must get life in prison

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:39:00 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — Osama bin Laden's son-in-law should be sentenced to life in prison for his role as al-Qaida's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks, when he made "bone-chilling threats" against America, prosecutors said in court papers filed Monday.
 

U.N. accuses Islamic State of mass killings

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:39:05 PMGo to full article
This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. Across the broad swath of territory it controls from northern Syria through northern and western Iraq, the extremist group known as the Islamic State has proven to be highly organized governors. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)By Stephanie Nebehay and Ahmed Rasheed GENEVA/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United Nations on Monday condemned "appalling, widespread" crimes by Islamic State forces in Iraq, including mass executions of prisoners that could amount to war crimes. U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay condemned "grave, horrific human rights violations" being committed by Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim group which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria to the alarm of the Baghdad government and its allies in the West.
 
 

Israel says no difference between Hamas and Islamic State: True?

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:55:46 PMGo to full article
Israel’s campaign to win global support for its fight against Hamas by comparing it to the brutal Islamic State (formerly ISIS) may be resonating at home, but it’s eliciting snickers from many abroad -- and could lead to major strategic errors. IS, by contrast, dreams of forcing its version of Islamic law on the entire planet. “To try to equate Hamas with Al Qaeda or ISIS has potentially quite serious dangers, particularly if those purported similarities begin to enter into an accepted public narrative,” says Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, who closely tracks the Islamic State and other militant movements in Syria and Iraq. Israel is worried about a rising wave of Islamist militancy – to the west, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, Hezbollah to the north, Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and IS to the east, and militants in the Sinai Peninsula to the south.
 

Iran airs TV footage of purported Israeli drone

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:41:00 PMGo to full article
In this undated image taken from the Iranian state TV's Arabic-language channel Al-Alam, shows what the broadcast purports is an Israeli drone the country's Revolutionary Guard claimed to have shot down over the weekend near an Iranian nuclear site. The brief video, aired Monday shows what the channel says are parts of the drone, scattered in an unidentified desert area. A scroll accompanying the footage says the drone was downed on Saturday and identifies it as a Hermes 450, a known Israeli model. (AP Photo/Al-Alam TV) TV OUTTEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A crash scene aired on Iranian state television Monday purported to show the wreckage of an Israeli drone shot down near an Iranian nuclear site, prompting questions about how a plane with limited range could have penetrated so deeply and whether it is indeed what Tehran says it is.
 
 

Iran's Zarif, EU's Ashton to meet September 1 on nuclear dispute

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:16:25 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will hold talks in Brussels next Monday on Iran's nuclear program, the EU said on Monday. "I can confirm that Lady Ashton will be meeting the Iranian foreign minister on Sept. 1 here in Brussels in the context of talks on Iran's nuclear program," Ashton's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.
 

Iran says 'completing' nuclear steps agreed with IAEA

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:16:25 PMGo to full article
By Fredrik Dahl and Michelle Moghtader VIENNA/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran is "in the process" of completing measures on transparency in its nuclear research that were agreed with the U.N. atomic agency, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying, suggesting Tehran had at least partly met a Monday deadline for cooperation. Atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi did not give details in remarks reported by the official IRNA news agency. Those remarks came a few days after diplomatic sources in Vienna told Reuters the U.N. watchdog's investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Iran appeared to be making only limited headway. Western officials say Iran must address the questions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
 

Eight dead in Gaza air strikes as Egypt raises new truce plan

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:46:50 PMGo to full article
Palestinian Halil Hazani, 74, looks at holy books collected from the rubble of a mosque that was partially damaged by an Israeli airstrike on August 25, 2014 in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza StripViolence reverberated across Gaza with at least eight Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes Monday as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. Since an earlier truce collapsed on August 19, the death toll in Gaza has risen steadily with 110 Palestinians killed in more than 350 Israeli air strikes across the territory. Since midnight on Sunday, 30 Israeli strikes killed eight Palestinians, including a woman, a 78-year-old man and a three-year-old boy, raising the Gaza death toll to 2,131, with 10,890 wounded according to the emergency services. On Monday, 71 rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, while another nine were shot down, the army said.
 
 

Iran deputy foreign minister to visit Saudi Arabia

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:40:44 PMGo to full article
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran's envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, speaks during a news conference in CairoDUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - Iran's deputy foreign minister will visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for the first bilateral talks between the Middle East's most intractable Muslim rivals since Iran's political landscape shifted in 2013, media in both countries reported. Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are enmeshed in a struggle for influence across the Middle East and they support opposing sides in wars and political disputes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen.
 
 

Iran deputy foreign minister en route to Saudi Arabia: IRNA agency

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:46:45 AMGo to full article
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran's envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, speaks during a news conference in CairoDUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian left for Riyadh on Monday, state news agency IRNA reported, in the first visit to Saudi Arabia by a senior government official since Iran's political landscape shifted in 2013. Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are enmeshed in a struggle for influence across the Middle East and back opposing sides in conflicts and political disputes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen. IRNA said Abdollahian is scheduled to meet Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal on issues concerning the two countries, in the first such visit since the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2013.
 
 

Iraq pleads for global help in fight against jihadists

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:01:45 AMGo to full article
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter takes a position to monitor security and movements around Kirkuk, northern Iraq on August 24, 2014Iraq called for global support for its fight against jihadists, as Shiite neighbour Iran said it was helping Baghdad resist the militants but not with soldiers on the ground. Iraq is struggling to regain significant parts of the country after a lightning militant offensive led by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group seized second city Mosul in June and swept through the country's Sunni heartland, as security forces fled. The jihadist fighters have been bombarded since August 8 by US air strikes in northern Iraq, allowing Kurdish peshmerga security forces to claw back a limited amount of lost territory, including the Qaraj area, which they retook on Sunday.
 
 

Iran 'will speed arming of Palestinians' after Israeli drone downed

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:07:49 AMGo to full article
Screen grab released by Iranian news channel Al-Alam on August 25, 2014, shows an alleged Israeli drone that was shot down above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in central IranTehran will "accelerate" arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said on Monday. Iran, which does not recognise the existence of Israel, has confirmed it supplied Palestinian fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with the technology for the rockets being fired relentlessly into Israel from Gaza since July 8. "We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response," said General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of aerial forces of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on their official website sepahnews.com.
 
 

Britain says it close to identifying beheading suspect

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:38:44 PMGo to full article
Still image from undated video of a masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaking next to man purported to be James Foley at an unknown locationBy Babak Dehghanpisheh and Eric Beech BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Britain is close to identifying a suspected British national shown beheading American journalist James Foley in a video released by Islamic State militants last week, the British ambassador to the United States said on Sunday. With Islamic State fighters now in control of vast areas of northern Iraq, the country's president-designate, Haider al-Abadi, used a meeting with the visiting Iranian foreign minister to call for greater international efforts to destroy the Islamist group. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, a Shi'ite Muslim power likely to wield influence over the formation of Abadi's new cabinet, reaffirmed Tehran's support for Iraq's territorial unity and its fight against militants.
 
 

Iran says it downs Israeli drone near nuclear site

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:35:13 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday its forces shot down an Israeli drone as it approached an Iranian nuclear site, recovering major parts of what it described as an advanced aircraft. Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
 

Iran says it downed Israeli drone over nuclear site

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:24:46 PMGo to full article
File picture shows the nuclear power plant at Natanz, in central Iran south of Tehran, on March 30, 2005Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country. "A spy drone of the Zionist regime (Israel) was brought down by a missile... This stealth drone was trying to approach the Natanz nuclear zone," the corps said in a statement on its official website sepahnews.com. Natanz is Iran's main uranium enrichment site, housing more than 16,000 centrifuges.
 
 

Iraq urges global action against Islamic State, Iran vows solidarity

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:16:02 PMGo to full article
By Babak Dehghanpisheh BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday during talks with Iran's foreign minister that international efforts would be necessary to destroy Islamic State Sunni militants who have seized swathes of his country and of Syria. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, a Shi'ite Muslim regional power likely to wield influence over the formation of Abadi's new cabinet, reaffirmed Tehran's support for Iraq's territorial unity and its fight against militants. "Abadi pointed to the presence of many dangers posed in the region as a result of the existence of the terrorist gang Islamic State which requires regional and international efforts to exterminate this terrorist organization," his office said in a statement after the talks with Zarif. The advance of Islamic State through northern Iraq has alarmed the Baghdad government and its Western allies, prompting the first U.S.
 

Iran says it shoots down Israeli spy drone

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:09:17 PMGo to full article
By Mehrdad Balali and Michelle Moghtader DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Sunday it had shot down an Israeli spy drone that was heading for its Natanz nuclear enrichment site, Iranian media reported. "The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz ... but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area," state news agency ISNA said, citing a statement by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The Natanz facility is one issue at the heart of a long-running dispute between Iran and countries that believe it is seeking nuclear weapons capability, something Tehran denies. Iran and six world powers are trying to negotiate an end to the standoff which has led to damaging economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
 

Iran says Iraq able to fight militants alone

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:10:55 PMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran sees no need to send fighters to help the Iraqi government battle the Islamic State group, even as Sunni militants inch closer to the Iraq-Iran border, its top diplomat said Sunday.
 

Iran unveils new missiles, drones

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:04:13 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (centre) and Iran's Defence Minister Hossein Dehqan (2nd right) visit Iran's defence capabilities exhibition in Tehran on August 24, 2014Iran on Sunday unveiled two new missiles and two new drones it said have been added to its arsenal, in a ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani. Iran has developed a major missile programme in addition to producing different types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), including attack drones. "Iran has no intention to interfere in, dominate or attack other countries or plunder their resources," he said in a speech broadcast on state television, adding that the country's military doctrine was defensive. In May, Iran said it had succeeded in copying an American RQ-170 Sentinel drone that it forced down and recovered nearly intact in December 2011.
 
 

Iran FM to meet EU's Ashton for nuclear talks Sept 1

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:24:47 PMGo to full article
The reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran on August 21, 2010Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on September 1 in Brussels to agree a framework for renewed nuclear talks, Iran said on Sunday. Ashton is the lead negotiator for the six major powers seeking to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran to allay long-standing international concerns about its nuclear programme by November 24. The new round of full talks will take place in New York ahead of the opening of the UN General Assembly on September 16, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the official IRNA news agency.
 
 

Iran unveils new short-range missiles, drones

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:47:18 AMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran unveiled a new generation of short-range marine missiles and aerial drones on Sunday, as President Hassan Rouhani said its military doctrine was based on deterring and countering threats from unnamed foreign powers.
 

Iran FM visits Iraqi neighbour at war with IS

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:00:42 AMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, pictured during a meeting in Tehran, on August 4, 2014Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday began a two-day visit to Iraq, which is fighting a Sunni Muslim insurgency led by Islamic State jihadists, state news agency IRNA reported. It said he was to meet his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari as well as the prime minister-designate, Haidar al-Abadi, with the issue of the Iran-Iraq border demarcation also on the agenda. Iran, which like Iraq is predominantly Shiite, was a longtime backer of the outgoing premier, Nuri al-Maliki, before dropping its support of the divisive leader in favour of Abadi.
 
 

Western Iran hit by quake of magnitude 5.2

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:16:23 AMGo to full article
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A shallow earthquake of magnitude 5.2 struck northwest of the western Iranian city of Dezful on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, some 300 miles (480 km) from Tehran, the capital. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The depth of six miles was the same as that of a 6.3-magnitude quake which hit the same area on Aug. 18, injuring 60 people. Sunday's quake hit 38 miles west northwest of Dezful. (Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
 

Shiites protest Bahrain's 'naturalisation' of foreigners

 
‎23 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:21:37 PMGo to full article
Bahraini women take part in an anti-government protest, in the village of Karranah, west of Manama, on August 8, 2014 after a Bahraini court stripped nine Shiites of their citizenshipThousands of Shiites protested in Bahrain Saturday against what they say are attempts by the Sunni authorities to tip the kingdom's demographic balance in their favour by naturalising foreigners, witnesses said. The Shiite opposition accuses Sunni-ruled Bahrain of having naturalised tens of thousands of Sunni foreigners in the Shiite-majority kingdom over recent years. "The indigenous people of Bahrain are in danger," banners read, as protesters waving Bahraini flags marched near the Shiite village of Daih, near the capital Manama, according to witnesses. "Naturalising poses a threat to Bahrain's security and stability," they said.
 

 

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Gulf meeting ends without clear end to Qatar spat

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:54:53 PMGo to full article
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A meeting of Gulf foreign ministers ended on Saturday without a clear way out of a monthslong diplomatic spat with Qatar, although some envoys signaled that progress had been made.
 

Islamic State militants behead captive Lebanese soldier: video

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:53:00 PMGo to full article
Wife of Lebanese soldier Ali al-Sayyed, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants, mourns with relatives in the town of Fnideq, northern LebanonIslamic State militants beheaded a Lebanese soldier who was one of 19 captured by hardline Syrian Islamists when they seized a Lebanese border town for few days this month, a video posted on social media showed on Saturday. The soldier, recognizable as Ali al-Sayyed, a Sunni Muslim from north Lebanon, was shown blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back, writhing and kicking the dusty ground while a militant announces he will be killed. Islamic State, which declared a "caliphate" in June in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control, has been cited as a major security threat by Western governments since posting a video in August of the beheading of U.S journalist James Foley. The Lebanese army declined to comment but security and Islamic State sources confirmed the latest beheading.
 
 

Captives held by Islamic State prove tough quandary for Obama

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:48:02 PMGo to full article
By Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After Islamic State's beheading of journalist James Foley, President Barack Obama's administration is making little headway in efforts to secure the release of three other Americans held by the insurgent group in Syria, officials said. Journalist Steven Sotloff and two others whom Reuters is not naming are among fewer than 10 Westerners that Islamic State (IS) is holding in kidnappings that until recently were aimed at simply raising ransoms, they said. Washington has contacted about two dozen countries for help in freeing the three, but no foreign government appears to have influence over or even significant contact with IS, which has declared an Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
 

Iraq launches drive to break jihadist siege of Amerli

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:38:46 PMGo to full article
Peshmerga fighters' miltary vehicles are positioned at their post in the strategic Jalawla area, in Diyala province, which is a gateway to Baghdad, on August 25, 2014Iraq launched a major operation on Saturday to liberate a jihadist-besieged town, as US Secretary of State John Kerry called for a global coalition to combat the "genocidal" militants. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned that the West would be the next IS target unless swift action is taken, after Britain raised its terror alert level over the threat of jihadist attacks. The drive to break the more than two-month siege of Amerli came as an NGO said that the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which has surrounded the Shiite Turkmen-majority town, sold at least 27 women in Syria after kidnapping them in Iraq.
 
 

Iraqi and Kurdish forces bid to break Islamic State siege of town

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:19:13 PMGo to full article
By Raheem Salman BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi army and Kurdish forces closed in on Islamic State fighters on Saturday in a push to break the Sunni militants' siege of the Shi'ite town of Amerli, army sources said. Two officers said Iraqi troops, militia and Kurdish peshmerga were advancing from four directions on the northern town, which has been surrounded by Islamic State forces for more than two months. In a separate incident on Saturday, a suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives killed at least 11 people in a town just south of Baghdad. Armed residents of Amerli have managed to fend off attacks by the Islamic State fighters, who regard its majority Shi'ite Turkman population as apostates.
 

5 International Stories You'll Care About Next Week

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:11:44 PMGo to full article
5 International Stories You'll Care About Next WeekPresident Obama Visits Wales for NATO Summit
 
 

Saudi king warns of terrorist threat to Europe, US

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:02 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Friday, June 27, 2014 file photo, Saudi King Abdullah speaks before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at his private residence in the Red Sea city of in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Saudi state media carried comments by the King early Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 made on Friday to foreign ambassadors where he warned that terrorist groups will attack Europe and the United States unless they are faced with collective "power and speed" from the international community. While not mentioning any terrorist groups by name, Abdullah's comments come as the Islamic State group has seized wide swaths of land across Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool, File)RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that extremists could attack Europe and the U.S. if there is not a strong international response to terrorism after the Islamic State group seized a wide territory across Iraq and Syria.
 
 

Japan ex-wrestler wages 'sports diplomacy' in N. Korea

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:07:26 PMGo to full article
Former Japanese professional wrestler and a Japanese parliament member Antonio Inoki -- real name Kanji Inoki -- speaks to reporters as he returns from North Korea at the Tokyo international airport on January 16, 2014Flamboyant Japanese wrestler-turned-politician Kanji "Antonio" Inoki kicked off his brand of sports diplomacy in North Korea Saturday in an unusual two-day event featuring martial artists from around the world. Inoki, 71, an opposition member of Japan's upper house with a penchant for red scarves, has travelled to the reclusive state with a host of international fighters in an attempt to use sport to thaw relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang. He met with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam on Saturday, hours before the first night of the "International Pro Wrestling Festival" kicked off at Pyongyang's 20,000-seat Ryugyong Jong Ju-Yong Stadium, Japanese media reported from the North Korean capital. Kim presides over North Korea's parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, and often receives state guests or credentials from foreign ambassadors -- an indication of how seriously Pyongyang is taking Inoki's visit.
 
 

Dozens of Yazidi women 'sold into marriage' by jihadists: NGO

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:25:25 PMGo to full article
A displaced Iraqi Yazidi woman wipes her eyes at the Bajid Kandala camp near the Tigris River, in Kurdistan's western Dohuk province, where they took refuge after fleeing advances by Islamic State jihadists in Iraq on August 13, 2014Several dozen Yazidi women kidnapped by Islamic State jihadists in Iraq have been taken to Syria, forced to convert and sold into marriage to militants, a monitoring group said Saturday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based NGO, said it had confirmed that at least 27 Yazidi women had been sold for around $1,000 each to IS fighters. The group said it was aware that some 300 Yazidi women had been kidnapped and transported to Syria by the jihadists, but it had so far documented the sale into marriage of 27. "In recent weeks, some 300 women and girls of the Yazidi faith who were abducted in Iraq have been distributed as spoils of war to fighters from the Islamic State," a statement said.
 
 

Iran president calls US sanctions an 'invasion'

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:18:56 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Western sanctions an "invasion" Saturday after Washington imposed new penalties over the country's contested nuclear program, though he promised negotiations with world powers would go on.
 

WFP says it needs $70 mln to feed 1.3 mln people in Ebola quarantine

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:18:02 PMGo to full article
Resident of West Point neighbourhood, which has been quarantined following an outbreak of Ebola, pushes a wheelbarrow full of food rations from the United Nations World Food Programme in MonroviaThe World Food Programme needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa, with the agency's resources already stretched by several major humanitarian crises, its regional director said. WFP's West Africa Director Denise Brown said the organisation was currently providing food for around 150,000 people in Ebola-striken nations but needed to rapidly scale that up as the worst ever epidemic of the virus advanced. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have pledged to impose a 'cordon sanitaire' on the most affected communities in their joint border region, restricting travel to and from the areas and limiting their access to food supplies. "We've agreed this morning...that we need to extend that because WHO is already talking about 6-9 months before this is contained." Brown said the WFP would look from donations from major donors like the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, as well as from non-traditional benefactors such as Arab states.
 
 

Iran nuclear talks to continue on fringes of U.N. assembly: Ashton

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:16:31 PMGo to full article
Ashton looks on as she peaks during a news conference at the end of an informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in MilanThe six global powers will discuss ways to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, the European Union's foreign policy chief said on Saturday. Talks aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for ending sanctions began in February. Catherine Ashton, the EU's top diplomat, is expected to continue to lead nuclear negotiations with Iran even as she leaves her EU job at the end of October.
 
 

WFP says it needs $70 million to feed 1.3 million people in Ebola quarantine

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:11:08 PMGo to full article
Resident of West Point neighbourhood, which has been quarantined following an outbreak of Ebola, pushes a wheelbarrow full of food rations from the United Nations World Food Programme in MonroviaThe World Food Programme needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa, with the agency's resources already stretched by several major humanitarian crises, its regional director said. WFP's West Africa Director Denise Brown said the organization was currently providing food for around 150,000 people in Ebola-striken nations but needed to rapidly scale that up as the worst ever epidemic of the virus advanced. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have pledged to impose a 'cordon sanitaire' on the most affected communities in their joint border region, restricting travel to and from the areas and limiting their access to food supplies. "We've agreed this morning...that we need to extend that because WHO is already talking about 6-9 months before this is contained." Brown said the WFP would look from donations from major donors like the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, as well as from non-traditional benefactors such as Arab states.
 
 

Syrian rebels attack peacekeepers in Golan Heights

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:03:31 PMGo to full article
U.N. peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, also known as UNDOF, observe Syria's Quneitra province at an observation point on Mount Bental in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, overlooking the border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. An armed group detained more than 40 U.N. peacekeepers during fighting in Syria early Thursday and over 80 peacekeepers are trapped, the United Nations said. ( AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)BEIRUT (AP) — Clashes erupted between al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels and U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Saturday after the militants surrounded their encampment, activists and officials said, as the international organization risked being sucked further into the conflict.
 
 

Anti-jihadist fight forges fragile Kurdish unity

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:57:44 PMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga forces monitor positions of Islamic State (IS) fighters during a battle to retake the eastern town of Jalawla, 130 kilometres (80 miles) northeast of Baghdad and only 30 (18 miles) from the border with Iran, on August 29, 2014Kurdish groups from Iraq and three neighbouring countries are putting aside old rivalries to battle jihadist militants, but there are cracks in this newly-forged unity and it may not last. Fighters from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group have marauded through large areas of Iraq and Syria, sparking alarm across the region and international concerns that they may export the violence to the West. With Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan and parts of Syria on the frontlines of the IS aggression, fighters from the two countries have been joined in their battle against the jihadists by Kurds from Turkey and Iran, both of which also have large Kurdish populations.
 
 

Saudi king warns West will be jihadists' next target

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:37:01 AMGo to full article
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud speaks before a meeting with the US Secretary of State at his private residence on June 27, 2014 in the Red Sea city of JeddahKing Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has warned that the West will be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is "rapid" action. "Terrorism knows no border and its danger could affect several countries outside the Middle East," said the king who was speaking at a welcoming ceremony on Friday for new ambassadors, including a new envoy from Saudi ally the United States. The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has prompted widespread concern as it advances in both Syria and Iraq, killing hundreds of people, including in gruesome beheadings and mass executions. President Barack Obama has yet to decide whether the United States should launch raids against positions held by the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria to follow US air strikes on IS activities in Iraq.
 
 

Palladium hits 13-1/2-year high on supply fear; gold eases

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:30:20 AMGo to full article
Palladium bars are stacked at the safe deposit boxes room of the ProAurum gold house in MunichBy Frank Tang and Jan Harvey NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Palladium rose to a 13-1/2-year high on Friday on worries over uncertain supplies from Russia, the world's largest producer of the metal, while gold prices eased on a dollar rise and gains in U.S. Tensions rose after Ukraine called for full membership in NATO, its strongest plea yet for Western military help after accusing Russia of sending in armoured columns that have driven back its forces in support of pro-Moscow rebels. Supply of autocatalyst metal palladium from Russia is expected to fall 2 percent this year, GFMS analysts said, but the impact of potential sanctions over the Ukraine conflict is likely to be minimal. Russia accounted for more than 40 percent of supply last year.
 
 

Obama seeking allies for fight against extremists

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:05:13 AMGo to full article
FILE - This Aug. 28, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition. The president will meet with his top advisers and consult members of Congress to prepare U.S. military options. At the same time, he is looking for allies around the world to help the U.S. root out the Islamic State group that has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition.
 
 

Westerners linked to extremist groups in Syria

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:02:26 AMGo to full article
As many as 12,000 foreigners have gone to Syria to fight the government of Bashar Assad. Many have joined extremist groups, including the al-Nusra front, an al-Qaida affiliate, and the Islamic State group, which now controls a territory straddling Syria and Iraq. The State Department lists these foreigners fighting the Assad government in Syria:
 

Intelligence nightmare: Extremists returning home

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:57:19 AMGo to full article
This March 23, 2008 photo provided by the Hennepin County, Minn. Sheriff's Office shows Douglas McAuthur McCain. The Obama administration has offered a wide range of assessments of the threat to U.S. national security posed by Islamic State extremists in an area straddling eastern Syrian and northern and western Iraq, and whose actions include last week’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. Some officials say the group is more dangerous than al-Qaida. Yet intelligence assessments say it currently couldn’t pull off a complex, 9-11-style attack on the U.S. or Europe. (AP Photo/Hennepin County, Minn. Sheriff's Office)WASHINGTON (AP) — The case of Mehdi Nemmouche haunts U.S. intelligence officials.
 
 

Saudi king warns of terrorism threat to U.S., Europe

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:54:00 AMGo to full article
File photo of Saudi King Abdullah speaking before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry at his private residence in JeddahSaudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East, the Saudi state news agency reported late on Friday. "I ask you to convey this message to your leaders... Terrorism at this time is an evil force that must be fought with wisdom and speed," said King Abdullah. "And if neglected I'm sure after a month it will arrive in Europe and a month after that in America." The world's top oil exporter shares an 800-km (500-mile) border with Iraq, where Islamic State militants and other Sunni Islamist groups have seized towns and cities. Britain raised its terrorism alert on Friday and Prime Minister David Cameron said Islamic State posed the greatest ever security risk to the country.
 
 

Gulf rivals struggle to build anti-jihadist front

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:01:15 AMGo to full article
A Jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa image from July 25, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic state militants raising their black and white flag over a building belonging to a Syrian army base in the northern rebel-held city of RaqaGulf countries, while siding with Washington against Islamic State jihadists, are struggling to build a common front because of differences within their own ranks and with non-Arab Iran. US President Barack Obama is sending his Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to try to build strong regional support against IS, which is rampaging through Iraq and Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has over the past week been at the centre of diplomatic efforts to stand up to the challenge posed by IS to the status quo. He and his counterparts from Egypt, Qatar and the Emirates held talks on Syria and "the rise of terrorist extremist ideology", according to an official statement.
 
 

IN IRONS

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:10 AMGo to full article
Perhaps only in 1914, 1938 and 1939 -- maybe even 2001, if you consider that planning for the September attacks was continuing apace over Labor Day weekend -- have world leaders returned to their posts to so dangerous a mix of global conditions as the ones Barack Obama, the American Congress, the Western allies, Middle East warriors and Eastern European leaders now confront. As the world slipped into war in 1914, Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign minister, was off bird-watching. It had been a splendid summer, the prettiest in memory in Europe, elegized by the poet Alice Meynell (1847-1922), whose "Summer in England 1914" speaks of a golden time when "The hay was prosperous, and the wheat/The silken harvest climbed the down/Moon after moon was heavenly-sweet." There is much competition for this title, but it may go to the new Caliphate spilling over the borders of Syria and Iraq and headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose group, known as the Islamic State, is rapidly replacing al-Qaida as the sum of all American fears.
 

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:08:53 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Friday.
 

Kerry reassures Egypt over Apache delivery

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:24:16 AMGo to full article
Secretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart that the United States intends to make good on its promise to deliver 10 Apache helicopters to help Cairo's counterterrorism effortsSecretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart that the United States intends to make good on its promise to deliver 10 Apache helicopters to help Cairo's counterterrorism efforts. Kerry announced in June that he was "confident" Egypt would receive the helicopter gunships soon, and reiterated that in his phone call to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, a senior State Department official said. "Secretary Kerry informed Shoukry that the United States intends to move forward on deliveries of Apache helicopters to the Egyptian military, which we believe are a critical tool that will help the Egyptian government in its counterterrorism efforts," the official said.
 
 

Building coalition for Syria action no easy matter

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:20:47 AMGo to full article
FILE - This Aug. 28, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition. The president will meet with his top advisers and consult members of Congress to prepare U.S. military options. At the same time, he is looking for allies around the world to help the U.S. root out the Islamic State group that has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition.
 
 

Building coalition for Syria action no easy matter

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:13:06 AMGo to full article
FILE - This Aug. 28, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition. The president will meet with his top advisers and consult members of Congress to prepare U.S. military options. At the same time, he is looking for allies around the world to help the U.S. root out the Islamic State group that has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition.
 
 

Obama's tan suit buzzed around the world

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:01:43 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama smiles as he takes questions about the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. Obama's summer fashion choice, not unprecedented among presidents - himself included - was the talk of social media, Thursday. Other presidents who have taken on tan include Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Dwight Eisenhower. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, file)NEW YORK (AP) — Quick! What exactly did President Barack Obama say from the White House briefing room about Syria, Iraq and Ukraine while dressed in the tan suit buzzed 'round the world?
 
 

Kerry urges global 'coalition' to fight IS jihadists

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:10:56 AMGo to full article
Police officers stand guard on Downing Street in London on August 29, 2014US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for a global coalition to combat the Islamic State jihadist group and their "genocidal agenda". His remarks came as Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned that the West would be the group's next target unless there was swift action to stem their advances through Iraq and Syria. Writing in the New York Times, a week before a NATO summit in Wales, Kerry urged "a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations".
 
 

Analysis: World events endanger Obama legacy

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎02:02:26 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost six years into a presidency that had inspired hope for a new era of American leadership, Barack Obama has reached a point where it will be difficult to salvage his international affairs legacy in the face of blooming crises that critics and even some supporters blame on a commander in chief they view as a feckless.
 

Recommended Reading: Weekend Reads: Natural Architecture; Masterplanning Iraq

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:56:22 AMGo to full article
Recommended Reading: Weekend Reads: Natural Architecture; Masterplanning IraqWelcome to Curbed's new weekly roundup of architecture, real estate, and urban planning-related feature stories from, well, anywhere that isn't Curbed. We'll be collecting a few of our favorite longer stories of the week; please be in touch if you...
 
 

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:09:53 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Friday.
 

Kerry looks for regional coalition to take on the Islamic State

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:02:50 AMGo to full article
President Obama’s assignment to Secretary of State John Kerry to build a coalition of countries willing to join the United States in taking on the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq and Syria will be no cake walk. If anything is lightening Mr. Kerry’s burden, it’s the shockwaves of the Islamic State’s stunning sweep to control of parts of northern Iraq that have reverberated through the region and begun to convince Sunni Arab governments in the region that the spreading organization poses a threat to them. “Kerry’s is not an easy assignment by any means, but it’s been made easier by the conquests [the group] has made and what those conquests could mean for the region if allowed not just to hold, but to grow,” says Wayne White, a former State Department official and now an adjunct scholar with the Middle East Institute (MEI) in Washington. “For those reasons I think we’ll see some Sunni Arab countries sign up willingly.”
 

Obama, in Estonia and at NATO summit, to send strong message to Putin

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎01:00:26 AMGo to full article
U.S. President Obama departs the White House Press Briefing Room after addressing reporters in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama will visit Estonia and attend a NATO summit in Wales next week to send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that his incursion into Ukraine must be reversed and to keep his hands off the Baltic nations. A fresh move into eastern Ukraine by Russian forces in support of separatists is rattling the region, and Obama will reassure NATO's Baltic allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that the alliance will stand with them should Moscow turn its attention to them. It will be the second visit ever to Estonia by an American president, following George W. Bush's 2006 stop there.
 
 

Army vet pleads guilty to arms export violations

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:59:26 AMGo to full article
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former U.S. Army officer who operated a business in Portland selling military-grade weapons parts and accessories pleaded guilty Friday to arms export violations and mishandling classified documents.
 

Britain raises terror threat level on Iraq, Syria fears

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:55:20 AMGo to full article
An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on March 17, 2014 by the Islamic State (IS)'s al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the group's fighters driving through the northern Syrian City of HomsBritain raised its terror threat risk level to "severe" on Friday, meaning an attack is thought to be "highly likely", due to fears over the situation in Iraq and Syria. The move comes after the killing of US journalist James Foley, apparently by a man speaking with an English accent who belonged to the jihadist group Islamic State. While there was no intelligence to suggest that an attack on Britain is imminent, Prime Minister David Cameron said there was "no doubt in my mind" that IS had its sights set on targets in Europe. "What we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL (IS) is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before," he told a press conference just after the threat level was raised.
 
 

Obama feeds critics with bid for more time on Syria

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:50:31 AMGo to full article
Rebel fighter hands weapon to fellow fighter as they move inside building on frontline in Damascus suburb of HarastaBy Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has bought some time with his decision to slow the march toward U.S. The White House on Friday defended Obama's admission on Thursday that "we don't have a strategy yet" for confronting the militant group's operations in Syria. There was no timetable for making a decision and Obama will be on the road most of the next week. Obama spent Friday on a Democratic fund-raising trip, will attend the wedding of a former White House chef on Saturday, travels to Wisconsin for a Labor Day picnic on Monday and will visit Estonia and attend a NATO summit in Wales next week.
 
 

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:45:16 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Friday.
 

Obama faces a tough sell in Congress for Islamic State strategy

 
‎30 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎12:05:38 AMGo to full article
U.S. President Obama answers questions ahead of national security council meeting at the White House in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama has pledged to consult Congress about any expanded military action against Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria, but support from the divided legislature is unlikely to come quickly - if at all. Republicans are generally reluctant to vote for Obama's policy initiatives. If Congress were to be asked to approve extended military action or funding, it would probably be at a politically sensitive time just weeks before the Nov. 4 congressional elections in which Republicans hope to gain seats.
 
 

Stocks end higher following strong run in August

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:54:54 PMGo to full article
Stocks end higher following strong run in AugustThe Standard & Poor's 500 index delivered its fourth record high in five days Friday, ending with the biggest monthly gain since February. The milestone-crushing run capped a week when the S&P eclipsed ...
 
 

Perry, Paul bash Obama for 'no strategy' on Syria

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎11:40:07 PMGo to full article
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Americans for Prosperity gathering Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, in Dallas. Perry and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul are bashing what they call the president's lack of leadership in response to the violent militant group attacking cities in Iraq. Both are among four top Republicans considering 2016 White House bids addressing the conservative summit in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)DALLAS (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky pounced Friday on President Barack Obama's "we don't have a strategy yet" comments about the violent militant faction attacking cities in Iraq — but other potential Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls laid off as they wowed the crowd at an influential conservative gathering.
 
 

US military mission in Iraq costs $7.5 million a day

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:52:49 PMGo to full article
An F/A-18C Hornet takes off for Iraq from the flight deck of the US navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on August 15, 2014 in the GulfThe US military's bombing raids and other operations in Iraq cost about $7.5 million a day, the Pentagon said Friday. Since Islamic State (IS) militants seized territory in northern and western Iraq in June, President Barack Obama has deployed about 865 US troops to Iraq to bolster security for American diplomats and advise Baghdad government forces fighting the extremists. Both manned and unmanned US aircraft have flown surveillance flights to track IS jihadists and since August 8, American warplanes have carried out more than 100 air strikes against the militants -- most of them around the strategic Mosul dam in the north. The price tag of the US military mission dating back to mid-June has "averaged $7.5 million a day," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.
 
 

Westerners linked to extremist groups in Syria

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:48:15 PMGo to full article
As many as 12,000 foreigners have gone to Syria to fight the government of Bashar Assad. Many have joined extremist groups, including the al-Nusra front, an al-Qaida affiliate, and the Islamic State group, which now controls a territory straddling Syria and Iraq. The State Department lists these foreigners fighting the Assad government in Syria:
 

S&P 500 edges up to set new record; best month since Feb

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:40:09 PMGo to full article
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeSince falling to a near three-month low on Aug. 7, the S&P 500 has risen in 12 of the past 16 sessions. For the week, the Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P advanced 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq was up 0.9 percent, the fourth consecutive week of gains for all three.
 
 

At heart of Syria fears, extremists returning home

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:24:53 PMGo to full article
This March 23, 2008 photo provided by the Hennepin County, Minn. Sheriff's Office shows Douglas McAuthur McCain. The Obama administration has offered a wide range of assessments of the threat to U.S. national security posed by Islamic State extremists in an area straddling eastern Syrian and northern and western Iraq, and whose actions include last week’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. Some officials say the group is more dangerous than al-Qaida. Yet intelligence assessments say it currently couldn’t pull off a complex, 9-11-style attack on the U.S. or Europe. (AP Photo/Hennepin County, Minn. Sheriff's Office)WASHINGTON (AP) — The case of Mehdi Nemmouche haunts U.S. intelligence officials.
 
 

Hagel to visit Georgia, Turkey after NATO summit

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:15:59 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel holds a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on August 21, 2014Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel will travel to Georgia and Turkey after attending a NATO summit in Cardiff next week, as escalating conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq dominate his agenda. Hagel will depart next Wednesday on the six-day trip that will begin with the NATO gathering in Wales, where leaders will discuss "crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, and how to strengthen the alliance for the future," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. Hagel will then proceed to Georgia, a country that has sought membership in NATO, and that "shares our concerns about Russia's actions in Ukraine," Kirby said.
 
 

Iraqi town holds out against militant onslaught

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:39:04 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this file photo taken Thursday, June 19, 2014, an al-Qaida-inspired militant stands guard at a checkpoint captured from the Iraqi Army outside Beiji refinery, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. As Islamic militants rampaged across northern Iraq in June, seizing vast swaths of territory and driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the Shiite Turkmens living in the hardscrabble town of Amirli decided to stay and fight. (AP Photo, File)BAGHDAD (AP) — As Islamic militants rampage across northern Iraq, seizing vast swaths of territory and driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the Shiite Turkmens living in the hardscrabble town of Amirli have decided to stay and fight.
 
 

Pentagon says Iraq operations costing on average $7.5 million per day

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:35:19 PMGo to full article
Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told a briefing the expense of U.S. He did not offer an estimate of the Pentagon's total costs so far, but an average cost of $7.5 million per day for 71 days would mean the department has spent roughly $532 million. By comparison, the Pentagon has been spending roughly $1.3 billion per week on Afghanistan, analysts said.
 

EU ministers call for new sanctions against Russia

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:12:29 PMGo to full article
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Tomasz Sikorski arrives holding a basket of apples to protest against Russia's ban on food imports, during an informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, in Milan, Italy, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. European Union foreign ministers on Friday were set to weigh adopting a tougher stance on the Ukraine crisis amid increasing calls to beef up economic sanctions against Russia. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)MILAN (AP) — Several European Union foreign ministers on Friday accused Russia of invading eastern Ukraine and said Moscow should be punished with additional economic sanctions.
 
 

New Turkish top diplomat: pro-EU Erdogan ally with daunting task

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:32 PMGo to full article
Turkey's European Union (EU) Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is being promoted to foreign minister, is pictured in Luxembourg on June, 23 2014Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was on Friday named as the new Turkish foreign minister, is a strong supporter of Turkey's integration with the European Union as well as part of the inner circle of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Cavusoglu takes on the post at a critical time, facing an enormous task with Turkey mired in foreign policy difficulties in the Middle East amid the strife in its conflict-torn neighbours Syria and Iraq. Some analysts believe his predecessor Ahmet Davutoglu -- now promoted to prime minister -- overreached himself with an ambitious foreign policy aimed at asserting Turkey as an Islamic power.
 
 

Middle East Staggers Under Weight of 3 Million Syrian Refugees

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎09:00:00 PMGo to full article
PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the United Nations, there are now 3 million registered Syrian refugees spread across the Middle East, with the majority living in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. The global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps works closely with these refugees and the neighboring countries hosting them to stretch scarce resources and strengthen communities' ability to peacefully resolve urgent issues. ...
 

German economic fears growing but Merkel strong

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:23:33 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this May 15, 2009 file photo, German chancellor Angela Merkel greets well-wishers, in Detmold, Germany. Ordinary Germans are spooked about the future. Businesses see black clouds on the horizon. And an economy that has been the envy of Europe is already showing cracks, shrinking last quarter under the strain of conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere. It might seem like enough to put any leader into trouble. But Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity remains sky-high _ with nobody in sight to touch her. (AP Photo/dpa, Franz-Peter Tschauner, File)Ordinary Germans are spooked about the future. Businesses are starting to see black clouds on the horizon. And an economy that has been the envy of Europe is showing cracks, shrinking unexpectedly last ...
 
 

At heart of Syria fears, extremists returning home

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:18 PMGo to full article
This March 23, 2008 photo provided by the Hennepin County, Minn. Sheriff's Office shows Douglas McAuthur McCain. The Obama administration has offered a wide range of assessments of the threat to U.S. national security posed by Islamic State extremists in an area straddling eastern Syrian and northern and western Iraq, and whose actions include last week’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. Some officials say the group is more dangerous than al-Qaida. Yet intelligence assessments say it currently couldn’t pull off a complex, 9-11-style attack on the U.S. or Europe. (AP Photo/Hennepin County, Minn. Sheriff's Office)WASHINGTON (AP) — The case of Mehdi Nemmouche haunts U.S. intelligence officials.
 
 

U.S. says no precise threat to homeland from Islamic State

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:00:32 PMGo to full article
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Johnson testifies before a Senate Appropriations hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Doina Chiacu and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is not aware of any specific threat to the U.S. Islamic State militants and their supporters, however, "have demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens overseas," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.
 
 

Cameron promises tough action to fight militants

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:52:01 PMGo to full article
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron answers questionsLONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Friday to plug gaps in Britain's armory to combat terror, describing the extremist threat posed by the Islamic State group as being more dangerous than even that of al-Qaida.
 
 

U.S. Wont Raise Terror Threat Level Even Though U.K.'s Is 'Severe'

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:47:15 PMGo to full article
U.S. Wont Raise Terror Threat Level Even Though U.K.'s Is 'Severe'U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier in the day that Britain's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre had raised the country's threat level to "severe" – the first time it has been that high in three years. A severe threat level in the U.K. means a terrorist attack is considered "highly likely." White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that senior Obama administration had been in touch with their British counterparts but that the U.S.
 
 

Britain raises its terrorism threat level over Syria, Iraq

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:44:12 PMGo to full article
By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Britain raised its terrorism alert on Friday to the second-highest level with Prime Minister David Cameron saying the Islamic State (IS) group operating in Syria and Iraq posed the country's greatest ever security risk. "What we're facing in Iraq now with ISIL (IS) is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before," said Cameron, adding he was "absolutely satisfied that ISIL ... would make specific threats to the UK". It is the first time since mid-2011 that Britain has been placed on this grade of alert by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center (JTAC), the independent body responsible for setting the national threat level. The national threat level was first published in 2006, just over a year after four British Islamists carried out suicide bombings on London's transport network killing 52 people.
 

Britain Raises Terror Threat Level to ‘Severe’

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:35:25 PMGo to full article
Britain Raises Terror Threat Level to ‘Severe’Terror Attack ‘Highly Likely’ But Not Necessarily Imminent, U.K. Government Says
 
 

Syria refugees top 3 million, US has no strategy 'yet'

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:50:33 PMGo to full article
A Syrian refugee child eats food collected from a rubbish bin by her mother (background right), in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 18, 2014The number of refugees from the Syria conflict now tops three million, the UN said Friday, as US President Barack Obama admitted he has no strategy to tackle advancing jihadists. In Geneva, UN refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres said Syria had become the "biggest humanitarian emergency of our era" after a million people joined the exodus in the past year alone. They have fled the war-wracked country where Islamic State (IS) jihadists have sown panic with atrocities and executions, including of scores of Syrian soldiers and a US journalist this month alone. The scale of the crisis facing the international community deepened after rival Islamists led by Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, seized 43 Fijian UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights.
 
 

Britain's Cameron plans new laws to tackle terrorism threat

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:48:19 PMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday he planned to introduce new legislation to make it harder for Britons to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Islamist extremists. Cameron, who said he would detail his plans in parliament on Monday to confiscate passports, was speaking as Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to "severe", its second highest level. This will include further steps to stop people traveling, with new legislation that will make it easier to take people's passports away," Cameron told a news conference.
 

Pentagon says Iraq operations costing on average $7.5 million per day

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:44:18 PMGo to full article
Flight deck crew member confirms the deck is all clear before a F/A-18C Hornet take offs USS George H.W. Bush in the Gulf"That's based on a snapshot of the operations that have occurred as of the 26th of this month." (Reporting by David Alexander;
 
 

Cameron on ISIS: Tougher Talk But Still No Strategy

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:39:00 PMGo to full article
Cameron on ISIS: Tougher Talk But Still No StrategyThe contrast between U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech Friday morning about the threat posed by the terror group ISIS and remarks delivered just one day earlier by President Obama was stark. He denounced the “poisonous ideology” of the Islamist extremist group currently occupying parts of Syria and Iraq and said ISIS must not be allowed to expand its reach lest the world face “a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean.” Obama’s problem was that he came right out and said it. “We don’t have a strategy yet,” said Obama, adding that he wanted to lower expectations of any immediate military response to ISIS.
 
 

White House: No change to US terror warnings

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:37:51 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House does not expect the U.S. to raise its terrorism threat warning level.
 

NYPD monitoring Britain terror precautions

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:36:39 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Police Commissioner William Bratton says the city is closely following developments overseas after Britain raised its terror threat level.
 

Britain raises its terrorism threat level over Syria, Iraq

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:34:12 PMGo to full article
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May addresses the Police Federation's conference in BournemouthBy Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Britain raised its terrorism alert on Friday to the second-highest level with Prime Minister David Cameron saying the Islamic State (IS) group operating in Syria and Iraq posed the country's greatest ever security risk. "What we're facing in Iraq now with ISIL (IS) is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before," said Cameron, adding he was "absolutely satisfied that ISIL ... would make specific threats to the UK". It is the first time since mid-2011 that Britain has been placed on this grade of alert by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), the independent body responsible for setting the national threat level. The national threat level was first published in 2006, just over a year after four British Islamists carried out suicide bombings on London's transport network killing 52 people.
 
 

US delivers military aid to Lebanese army

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:25:03 PMGo to full article
A U.S. soldier walks past mortars at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. The United States has delivered the first shipment of weapons to Lebanon to help bolster its military as it faces a growing threat from Islamic militants amid the fallout from neighboring Syria's civil war. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)BEIRUT (AP) — The United States has delivered an emergency shipment of weapons to Lebanon's military, officials said Friday, part of a broader regional effort to combat the growing threat posed by Islamic extremists.
 
 

White House: No change to US terror warnings

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:08:33 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House does not expect the U.S. to raise its terrorism threat warning level.
 

NYPD monitoring Britain terror precautions

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:02:21 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Police Commissioner William Bratton says the city is closely following developments overseas after Britain raised its terror threat level.
 

One In Four Republicans Say Global Warming Is ‘Major Threat’ To U.S.

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎06:02:05 PMGo to full article
One in four Republicans say global warming is a major threat to the U.S. Asked if they perceive global warming as a “major threat,” 25 percent of Republicans said yes in the survey of 1,501 adults conducted last week. A majority of Republicans said the other threats listed are major, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Iran’s quest for nuclear power, but more Democrats are concerned about global warming than any other threat. Sixty-seven percent said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are a major threat, and 65 percent said ISIS is a major threat.   By contrast, 78 percent of Republicans said ISIS is a major threat.
 

Gun tourism grows in popularity in recent years

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎05:57:45 PMGo to full article
In this Aug. 25, 2014 image made from video provided by the Mohave County Sheriff Department, firing-range instructor Charles Vacca, left, shows a 9-year old girl how to use an Uzi. Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl on Monday at the Last Stop range in Arizona, south of Las Vegas, when the girl squeezed the trigger, causing the Uzi to recoil upward and shoot Vacca in the head. (AP Photo/Mohave County Sheriff Department)LAS VEGAS (AP) — The death of an Arizona firearms instructor by a 9-year-old girl who was firing a fully automatic Uzi displayed a tragic side of what has become a hot industry in the U.S.: gun tourism.
 

 

Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defence

 

 

 

 

Satellite used to control unmanned aerial vehicle

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Toulouse, France (UPI) Aug 28, 2014
A solar-powered unmanned aerial system from Airbus Defense and Space has been flown for more than 11 days non-stop. The test of the Zephyr 7 High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite, or HAPS, was conducted for Britain's Ministry of Defense in controlled airspace, the company said. The aircraft carried a new primary payload and for the first time satellite communications were used to contro
 

China defence ministry tells US to stop 'close-in' surveillance

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
China's military on Thursday told the United States to end air and naval surveillance near its borders, saying it was damaging relations between the Pacific powers and could lead to "undesirable accidents". The US should "take concrete measures to decrease close-in reconnaissance activities against China towards a complete stop", defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at a monthly briefi
 

NATO says 'over 1,000 Russian troops' in Ukraine

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Mons, Belgium (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
A senior NATO official said on Thursday that "well over a thousand" Russian troops were operating inside Ukraine and warned that the West faced a "very aggressive" Russia. Russian fighters "support separatists, fighting with them and fighting amongst them," said NATO's Brigadier-General Nico Tak, adding that the supply of arms by Russia had increased in both "volume and quality". Tak, wh
 

Taiwan says spying allegations won't hurt China ties

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou said Thursday ties with Beijing will not be affected by his government's probe into a former top negotiator on China policy accused of leaking state secrets. "Cross-strait relations are like a big tree ... if a pest is discovered we need to find it and remove it so the tree can develop normally. One pest won't affect the development of cross-strait ties," Ma
 

UAE contracts for enhanced tactical communications

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Tewksbury, Mass. (UPI) Aug 28, 2014
The United Arab Emirates has ordered data link hardware and software components from Tactical Communications Group for its armed forces. The Massachusetts-headquartered company said the contract from the UAE includes engineering and operational tactical data link services, and system maintenance, as well as operational support for Link 16 and Link 11 A/B and a comprehensive and intuitiv
 

Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missile delivered to Navy

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Tucson (UPI) Aug 28, 2014
The first Block 2 variant of Raytheon's Rolling Airframe Missile for defense against airborne threats has been delivered to the U.S. Navy. The RAM Block 2, with enhanced kinematics, improvements to its radio frequency receiver and an upgraded control system, is the result of a low-rate initial production contract given to Raytheon by the Navy in 2014. "As today's threats continue
 

Brazil taking sharp look at Russia's Pantsir-S1 air defense system

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Brasilia, Brazil (UPI) Aug 28, 2014
A Brazilian military delegation has been sent to Russia to further assess the Pantsir-S1 medium-range air defense system for possible purchase. Brazil and Russia initiated the procurement process for the system and it is now in the "contractual stage," the Defense Ministry said. Demonstration of the Pantsir-S1 is being conducted in scenarios specifically requested by Brazil. A to
 

Pakistan army chief mediates political crisis: opposition

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Islamabad (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif is mediating in a fortnight-long political crisis that has paralysed the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, opposition leaders said Thursday. Populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri told thousands of followers camped outside the parliament building in Islamabad: "The Pakistan army chief has officially asked us if it will be acceptable to the Azadi (
 

Army wives urge Russia to come clean on soldiers in Ukraine

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Kostroma, Russia (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Several dozen women gathered outside a military base in central Russia on Thursday to demand that commanders come clean about the whereabouts of their husbands after reports of secret funerals for soldiers covertly sent to Ukraine. The women - mostly in their 20s, a few with small children - huddled outside a base that houses paratroopers in Kostroma, around 300 kilometres (200 miles) nort
 

US military to send tanks to E. Europe for drills

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
US Army troops equipped with tanks will head to Eastern Europe soon to reassure NATO allies anxious over Russia's intervention in Ukraine, Pentagon officials said Thursday. About 600 troops from the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division are due to deploy in October to Poland and the Baltic states for training exercises with alliance members, replacing paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade
 

First of 3 upgraded aerial tankers returned to France

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Paris (UPI) Aug 27, 2014
The first of three French Air Force KC-135RG aerial tankers has been returned to France following upgrade work by Rockwell Collins. Upgrades included new navigational avionics that allow faster and more secure integration of the aircraft into general air traffic and a reconfigured interior to allow the tankers to carry conventional cargo pallets. The upgrades on the three aircraf
 

IS executes scores of Syrian troops in new atrocity

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Damascus (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Islamic State jihadists boasted Thursday they had executed scores of Syrian troops after capturing a key air base, the latest in a string of abuses that have shocked the world. News of the killings came as US President Barack Obama weighed air strikes on IS positions in Syria and edged closer to greenlighting a mission to aid Shiite Turkmen trapped in an Iraqi town besieged by the jihadists.
 

Iraqi forces retake villages on way to besieged town

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Iraqi security forces backed by volunteer militiamen on Thursday retook several villages located on the way to the town of Amerli, which jihadists have besieged for months, officers said. Time is running out for Amerli's Shiite Turkmen-majority residents, who face danger both because of their faith, which jihadists consider heresy, and their resistance against the militants, which has drawn
 

F-35 hanger construction work contracted by Navy

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Jacksonville, Fla. (UPI) Aug 27, 2014
The U.S. Navy has given five companies indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity awards for hanger construction work related to the F-35 aircraft. The hanger project, worth a total of $240 million, was awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Work will involve general building type projects - new construction, renovation, alteration, demolition and repair work - for h
 

U.S. Navy executes advanced acquisition contract for aircraft

 
‎29 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:39:54 AMGo to full article
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Aug 26, 2014
The U.S. Navy has put into effect an advanced acquisition contract for Australia's procurement of Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The Australian military plans a fleet of eight P-8As to replace its ageing AP-3C Orion fleet. Implementation of the advance acquisition contract will give Boeing time to place lead-time orders for components in support of Australia's fir
 

BAE Systems ships carrier hull section to Scotland

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
London (UPI) Aug 27, 2014
A more than 6,000-ton hull section of a new Royal Navy aircraft carrier is on its way to Scotland from England for the ship's final assembly process. BAE System said the Lower Block 02 hull section of the HMS Prince of Wales is being sailed from Portsmouth to its shipyard in Rosyth, Scotland, where it would be maneuvered into drydock. "This is a significant milestone for the Quee
 

Space Command team wins national award

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Peterson AFB CO (SPX) Aug 28, 2014
The United States Department of Energy and the Federal Interagency Energy Management Task Force announced Headquarters Air Force Space Command and the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Energy Team as the recipients of the 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for outstanding achievements in energy, water and fleet management during the 2013 fiscal year. The Energy Team consists of Todd
 

Rebels seize ground as West claims Russia army is in Ukraine

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Starobesheve, Ukraine (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Rebels in east Ukraine appear to have seized swathes of territory from retreating government forces, while Western intelligence says Russian army units are operating inside the country. After weeks of government offensives that have seen troops push deep into the last rebel bastions, the tide appeared to be turning once again in the four-month conflict, prompting a nervous government in Kiev
 

Obama's executive order: computer chip implants to heal injured troops

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Aug 27, 2014
President Obama is backing a unique program aimed at developing computer chip implants that monitor and augment an injured soldier's nervous system - mitigating all sorts of maladies, ranging from arthritis to post-traumatic stress. The computer chips are the purview of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency specializing in the development of high-tech militar
 

Japan seeks to double budget for disputed islands patrol

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Japan's coastguard is to ask for a doubling of its budget to boost patrols around islands that are the focus of a dispute with China, officials said Thursday. The agency will submit a request to the government for 50.4 billion yen ($485 million) for the financial year starting in April 2015, they said. The move will come after two years of relentless tensions with Beijing over the Tokyo-
 

US weighs mission to help besieged Turkmen in Iraq

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 27, 2014
The United States is weighing a possible humanitarian mission as well as air strikes to help Shiite Turkmen encircled by Islamic State jihadists in northern Iraq, US officials said Wednesday. If approved, the operation in Amerli could resemble US military action taken earlier this month to aid thousands of vulnerable Yazidis at Mount Sinjar, also in Iraq's north, officials said. In that
 

Iraq forces ready bid to break jihadist siege of Shiite town

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) Aug 27, 2014
Iraq was massing forces Wednesday for an operation to break a two-month jihadist siege of a Shiite Turkmen town north of Baghdad, amid growing fears for residents short of supplies. The planned counter-offensive around the Salaheddin province town of Amerli comes amid reports that US President Barack Obama is weighing a decision to authorise air strikes and aid drops in the area to help thou
 

Israel closes Golan area as Syria rebels seize crossing

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo 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 deadl
 

China's Xi meets Vietnam envoy amid strained ties

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 27, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday held talks with a top Vietnamese envoy and said the two countries should repair strained relations, state media reported. Xi met Le Hong Anh, a member of Vietnam's Communist Party politburo, the state-run Xinhua news agency said. It described him as being sent by the head of the country's Communist Party. China and Vietnam, once close ideological
 

In Aleppo, Syria rebels back US strikes against jihadists

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo 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
 

U.S. military destroys experimental hypersonic weapon

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Anchorage, Alaska (UPI) Aug 26, 2014
Four seconds into the test launch of an experimental hypersonic weapon, on Monday, U.S. military officials were forced to abandon the mission and cue the weapon to self-destruct. The so-called Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is part of the Defense Department's Conventional Prompt Global Strike technology development program. The program's objective is to construct a missile that can wipe out
 

Uighur entrepreneur confronts prejudice in China

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 28, 2014
Ambitious and apolitical, self-described "good Uighur" entrepreneur Abdulhabir Muhammad initially conceals his proud ethnic identity from his Chinese clients. "After I solve everything I will tell them, 'Hey, I'm a Uighur, I'm from Xinjiang,'" he says, revelling in their astonishment even while poignantly aware of the prejudice it implies. Violence is escalating in and beyond Xinjiang, t
 

Jihadists anti-Islamic: exiled Brotherhood spiritual guide

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Doha (AFP) Aug 27, 2014
The organisation of exiled Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said Wednesday that the actions of "deviant groups" like the jihadist Islamic State were in violation of Islamic law. Qaradawi's International Union of Muslim Scholars described as "criminal and unlawful" an offensive led by the group's fighters against non-Muslims in northern Iraq earlier this month.
 

Hacking Gmail with 92 Percent Success

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Riverside CA (SPX) Aug 28, 2014
A team of researchers, including an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering, have identified a weakness believed to exist in Android, Windows and iOS mobile operating systems that could be used to obtain personal information from unsuspecting users. They demonstrated the hack in an Android phone. The researchers tested the method and fou
 

Magal supports Israeli, international security projects

 
‎28 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:58 AMGo to full article
Yahud, Israel (UPI) Aug 27, 2014
Magal Security Systems Ltd., an Israeli company, reports receipt of more than $4 million in domestic and international contracts for its technologies. The biggest award, worth nearly $2 million, is for the company's smart fence security solution that combines taut wire and vibration sensor products and is from an unidentified customer in Israel. Smart fence will be used for a hom
 

Japan mulls enhancing missile detecting capability

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (XNA) Aug 26, 2014
Japan is mulling to further and effectively use space to detect early signs of ballistic missile so as to boost its defense capabilities, local media reported on Saturday. The Japanese Defense Ministry hopes to promote empirical research with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and also considered to set up a special force for space surveillance within the Self-Defense Forces, Ja
 

R-7 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 27, 2014
On August 21, 1957, the USSR successfully launched the R-7/SS-6 Sapwood intercontinental ballistic missile, which was developed by experts from Special Design Bureau (OKB) No. 1, under the supervision of Chief Designer Sergei Korolev. The two-stage R-7 ICBM could deliver one thermonuclear warhead to just about any region of a theoretical enemy's territory. This new formidable weapons syste
 

Delivery by drone

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Aug 27, 2014
In the near future, the package that you ordered online may be deposited at your doorstep by a drone: Last December, online retailer Amazon announced plans to explore drone-based delivery, suggesting that fleets of flying robots might serve as autonomous messengers that shuttle packages to customers within 30 minutes of an order. To ensure safe, timely, and accurate delivery, drones would
 

Engineers and Technicians Install Protective Shell on NASA's Orion Spacecraft

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 22, 2014
The heat shield on NASA's Orion spacecraft gets all the glory when it comes to protecting the spacecraft from the intense temperature of reentry. Although the blunt, ablative shield will see the highest temperatures - up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit on its first flight this December - the rest of the spacecraft is hardly left in the cold. Engineers and technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Ce
 

Researchers find security flaws in backscatter X-ray scanners

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
San Diego CA (SPX) Aug 27, 2014
A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University have discovered several security vulnerabilities in full-body backscatter X-ray scanners deployed to U.S. airports between 2009 and 2013. In laboratory tests, the team was able to successfully conceal firearms and plastic explosive simulants from the Rapiscan Secure
 

GenDyn providing support services for Littoral Combat Ships

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Bath, Maine (UPI) Aug 26, 2014
All variants of the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ships are to receive maintenance and modernization support by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The support work includes advanced planning, ship alteration design, logistics support, material support, ship planned maintenance, class services, onboard maintenance, and planning of all maintenance availabilities in the U.S. and abroad.
 

British police urge public to inform on 'aspiring terrorists'

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
London (AFP) Aug 26, 2014
British police Tuesday urged people to identify "aspiring terrorists" among their family members, friends and neighbours after the killing of US journalist James Foley, apparently by a man with an English accent. The appeal also comes amid growing government concern that British passport holders who travel to fight in Iraq and Syria could return to carry out attacks on home soil. Jihadis
 

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

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo 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 involvem
 

Hungarian T-72 tanks on way to Czech Republic

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Budapest, Hungary (UPI) Aug 26, 2014
More than four dozen T-72 tanks are on their way to the Czech military from Hungarian Army depots. The Hungarian Ministry of Defense said the transport of 58 surplus tanks began on Monday to an undisclosed point in the Czech Republic but offered no other details. The Soviet-made T-72 came into production in the early 1970s. It weighs about 45 tons, has a speed of about 37 miles p
 

Iran provided weapons to Iraq's Kurds: Barzani

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Aug 26, 2014
Iran was the first country to provide Iraq's embattled autonomous Kurdish region with weapons to fight off jihadist-led militants, president Massud Barzani said on Tuesday. "The Islamic Republic of Iran was the first state to help us... and it provided us with weapons and equipment," Barzani said at a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Militants led
 

US says UAE bombed Libya Islamists as turmoil deepens

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Tripoli (AFP) Aug 26, 2014
UAE warplanes secretly bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya, apparently catching Washington off guard, as turmoil in the North African country deepened with the Islamists naming a rival premier. US officials said on Monday that the United Arab Emirates jets launched two attacks in seven days on the Islamists in Tripoli using bases in Egypt. An Emirati official told AFP only that his
 

Top Iran official, Saudi FM discuss 'terrorism'

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (AFP) Aug 26, 2014
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal discussed Tuesday regional developments and the fight against Islamic State jihadists with a senior Iranian official visiting his country's longtime regional rival, an Iranian diplomat said. The visit by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to the city of Jeddah was the first by a high-level official from Shiite Iran to Sunni Sa
 

Indonesia's president satisfied on leaving office

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) Aug 26, 2014
Indonesia's outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday he leaves office with a sense of satisfaction after strengthening democracy and the economy during a decade in power. The former general stands down in October when Joko Widodo, the reform-minded governor of Jakarta who won July's presidential polls, takes the reins of Southeast Asia's top economy. In an interview with
 

Israel hits Gaza highrises as sides weigh truce deal

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo 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
 

India says no to new deals with Finmeccanica

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:09 AMGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) Aug 26, 2014
India will not sign any new contracts with Italian aerospace giant Finmeccanica but will honour existing ones, a defence ministry source said Tuesday, after a chopper deal was scrapped over a bribery scandal. India cancelled a 556-million-euro ($753-million) deal in January to buy 12 luxury helicopters from AgustaWestland, which is owned by Finmeccanica, after Italian investigators began loo
 

Chinese media warn US over warplane interception

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
China's state-run media warned Washington on Monday that Beijing could treat its surveillance flights as an "act of hostility", after accusations a Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US military aircraft. US Rear Admiral John Kirby said Friday the armed Chinese warplane came close to the American P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft on three occasions, at times less than 30 feet (
 

Obama has taken no decision on Syria airstrikes: White House

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama had so far made no decision on whether to launch air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria. "The president has not made any decision to conduct military action in Syria," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, amid rising expectations of US action following American attacks against the jihadist group in Iraq. Earnest address
 

Kurdish rebels abduct 3 Chinese in southeast Turkey: report

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Kurdish militants abducted three Chinese workers in Turkey's southeast after the rebels attacked the thermal energy plant where they work, state media said Monday. Militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) kidnapped the Chinese workers late Sunday while they were doing grocery shopping near the Iraiq border, the Anatolia news agency said. The assailants attacked the plant with
 

Kiev says captured 10 Russian paratroopers in east Ukraine

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Kiev (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Ukraine's security service on Monday said its military in the war-torn east has captured 10 Russian paratroopers on Ukrainian soil and was questioning them as part of a criminal probe. Soldiers from the 331st regiment of 98th airborne division based in central Russia were taken near the Ukrainian village of Dzerkalne, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of the rebel hub Donetsk, it said
 

South Korea launches fourth of 20 new frigates

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Seoul (UPI) Aug 25, 2014
A fourth guided missile frigate for the South Korean Navy has been launched by STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, the Ministry of National Defense announced. The ship, "Gangwon Ham," is one of 20 new frigates planned for the Navy by the mid-2020s and will be delivered to the service next year. Gangwon Ham displaces 2,300-tons and 374 feet in length. It carries 120 sailors, has a maximu
 

New EIAST Primary Sat Fab Facilities Ready Soon

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Dubai, UAE (SPX) Aug 25, 2014
The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) announced that works entailing the construction of its primary facility for the manufacture of satellites were on schedule and expected to be completed in the next few months. The facility comprises a clean room for the manufacture of satellites, an electrical laboratory, as well as a mechanical lab. With a total ar
 

Libya gets new chief of staff to tackle militias threat

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 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 w
 

Qatar aims to prove its role against radical Islam

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Dubai (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Qatar, which mediated the release of a US hostage held by Al-Qaeda in Syria, seeks to prove its role in confronting the Islamist radicals it has been accused of supporting, experts say. The Qatari foreign ministry, in a statement, said the tiny gas-rich nation had "succeeded in releasing American journalist Peter Theo Curtis," after he spent 22 months in captivity. Doha "exerted relentle
 

Somali Islamists 'flee' African troop advance

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Mogadishu (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Somali and African Union forces said they seized control Monday of a strategic town from Shebab Islamist fighters, in the latest military advance against the extremists. Hundreds of Somali and Ethiopian troops with the AU force in Somalia (AMISOM) entered the town of Tiyeglow in the southwestern Bakool region, some 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Mogadishu, with the Islamists fleeing ahe
 

Iraqi Kurds advance on jihadist militants

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by air power retook three villages from jihadist militants northeast of Baghdad on Monday and also held off two assaults elsewhere, officials said. Militants led by the Islamic State (IS) group overran large chunks of Iraq in a lightning June offensive that swept security forces aside. But Iraqi federal forces and the autonomous Kurdish region's peshmerga figh
 

Iran 'will arm Palestinians' after Israeli drone downed

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Tehran will "accelerate" arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said on Monday. Iran, which does not recognise the existence of Israel, has confirmed it supplied Palestinian fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with the technology for the rockets being fired relentlessly into Israel from Gaza since July 8.
 

One dead in attack on NATO supply tankers in Pakistan

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Gunmen in northwest Pakistan opened fire on tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan on Monday, killing a driver and wounding two others, officials said. The incident happened in Jamrud area of Khyber, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions where the military has been battling the homegrown insurgents for years. "A convoy of six oil tankers was heading towards Afghanist
 

Armed groups in Mali prepare for peace talks

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Ouagadougou (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
Ethnic Tuareg and Arab militias from Mali are gathering for talks this week in Burkina Faso ahead of peace negotiations with the government, participants said on Monday. "We want to get together to harmonise our points of view on certain issues before meeting with Bamako (the government)," Mohamaed Ag Assaleh, president of the Coalition of the People for Azawad (CPA), told AFP. Discussio
 

IS will 'soon' pose threat to US: top general

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
The US military's top general believes Islamic State extremists will "soon" pose a threat to America and Europe and that an international coalition will be needed to confront it, his spokesman said Monday. US commanders are preparing possible "options" to counter IS jihadists both in Iraq as well as Syria, according to General Martin Dempsey's spokesman, Colonel Ed Thomas. Defense Secret
 

US hostage freed after being held in Syria for two years

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎10:35:00 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2014
An American held hostage for 22 months by an Islamic rebel group in Syria was freed Sunday, just days after a video showed the slaying of a fellow US journalist at the hands of jihadists. "Finally he is returning home," US Secretary of State John Kerry said, confirming the release of Peter Theo Curtis, a 45-year-old author and freelance journalist whose disappearance had not been previously
 

United States demands Russia withdraw Ukraine convoy

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Washington Aug 22, 2014
The United States on Friday demanded Russia "immediately" withdraw a convoy of vehicles from Ukraine and warned of further international sanctions if Moscow did not respect Kiev's sovereignty. Russia says the trucks are a humanitarian convoy shipping aid to the beleaguered civilian population in war-torn eastern Ukraine, but Kiev had not authorized their entry and has dubbed the move an inva
 

New N. Korean launch site near completion: think-tank

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 22, 2014
North Korea will be able to test longer-range rockets at its new launch site before the end of this year, a US think-tank has said. A major construction programme has been under way at the North's Sohae Satellite Launching Station since mid-2013, focused on upgrading facilities to handle larger, longer-range rockets with heavier payloads. Satellite images taken this month indicate that s
 

Iran says it downed Israeli drone over nuclear site

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 24, 2014
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country. "A spy drone of the Zionist regime (Israel) was brought down by a missile... This stealth drone was trying to approach the Natanz nuclear zone," the corps said in a statement on its official website sepahnews.com. "This act demonstrates
 

New mystery air raid over Tripoli kills 10 Libyan Islamists

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Tripoli (AFP) Aug 23, 2014
Using the cover of darkness to mask its identity, a mystery warplane launched a raid near Tripoli airport overnight, killing at least 10 Islamist, a Libyan militia spokesman said Saturday. The new strike came five days after an initial night raid alarmed Tripoli residents and sparked questions, yet to be answered, about where the aircraft had come from. Neither the targeted militants nor
 

Navy, Purdue to promote commercialization of their intellectual property

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Purdue, Ind. (UPI) Aug 22, 2014
The U.S. Navy and a university research unit are partnering to speed commercialization and marketing of their respective intellectual property. The partnership intermediary agreement is between the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and the Purdue Research Foundation, together with Purdue University's Discovery Center. "Crane has an incredible intellectual property
 

China's Xi reassures Mongolia over "independence, integrity"

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Ulan Bator (AFP) Aug 22, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping told Mongolia Friday that Beijing respected its independence and integrity as he concluded a visit looking to forge closer ties with China's resource-rich but often suspicious neighbour. Xi was speaking in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator after the two countries signed a raft of trade deals and made a commitment to almost double trade to $10 billion by 2020.
 

Iran refuses UN nuclear watchdog access to Parchin base

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 23, 2014
Iran will not give UN nuclear inspectors access to a military base outside Tehran that they have been seeking to visit since 2005, Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan said on Saturday. Dehgan's comments come just two days before a deadline for Iran to give its response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over historic allegations of a military dimension to its nuclear research.
 

Iran unveils new missiles, drones

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Tehran Aug 24, 2014
Iran on Sunday unveiled two new missiles and two new drones it said have been added to its arsenal, in a ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani. The Ghadir (Mighty), with a range of 300 kilometres (185 miles), is a ground-to-sea and sea-to-sea missile, the official IRNA news agency said. It is in the same family as the Ghader or Qader cruise missile, which has a range of 200 kilom
 

Suspected Qaeda bombs kill general, 3 Yemen soldiers

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Aden (AFP) Aug 23, 2014
Separate bomb attacks by Al-Qaeda suspects on Saturday killed a senior army officer and three soldiers across Yemen's restive south and southeast, military officials said. "A bomb planted by Al-Qaeda on a road linking the towns of Seiyun and Shibam (in the southeastern province of Hadramawt) exploded when an army vehicle passed, killing three soldiers and wounding six others," a military off
 

China executes Tiananmen Square attack leaders

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 24, 2014
China has executed eight people for "terrorist attacks," including three it described as "masterminding" a suicide car crash in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 2013, state media announced. The official Xinhua news agency said early Sunday that the eight were involved in several cases connected to the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where Beijing says separatist militants are behind a string
 

Jihadists seize last Syrian army post in Raqa: NGO

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Beirut (AFP) Aug 24, 2014
Jihadists from the Islamic State group have seized the Tabqa military airport, the last remaining Syrian army base in northern Raqa province, a monitoring group and state media said Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were still clashes taking place on the outskirts of the airport, but that it was under control of the militants. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahm
 

US brands Foley beheading 'terrorist attack'

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Baquba, Iraq (AFP) Aug 23, 2014
Washington branded the beheading of a US journalist a "terrorist attack", upping the stakes in its confrontation with jihadists, as Shiite militiamen killed 70 people at a Sunni mosque in Iraq. The apparent revenge attack at the mosque in Diyala province Friday will increase already significant anger among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority with the Shiite-led government, undermining an anti-militan
 

Two soldiers, 4 rebels killed in Indian Kashmir clashes: army

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Srinagar, India (AFP) Aug 24, 2014
India's army clashed with suspected militants in Indian Kashmir near the disputed border with Pakistan, leaving two soldiers and four rebels dead, a military official said Sunday. Soldiers encountered the militants, who are believed to have crossed the de facto border into Indian Kashmir's Keran sector, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) northwest of the main city of Srinagar on Saturday night,
 

Japan mulls building its own fighter jets: report

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:57 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Japan is considering building its own fighter jets after years of playing second fiddle in a US construction partnership, a report said Thursday, in a move likely to stoke fears of its military resurgence among Asian neighbours. Japan's attempt in the 1980s to build its first purely domestic fighters since World War II faced US resistance and resulted in joint US-Japan development and produc
 

US must 'destroy' jihadists in Iraq, Syria: ex-general

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
The US military must take decisive action to "destroy" Islamic extremists in both Iraq and Syria before the threat from the jihadists expands, a former American general said on Thursday. Only the United States has the power and weaponry to lead a coalition - including local Iraqi, Kurdish and tribal forces - to confront the so-called Islamic State (IS), said retired four-star general John
 

Israeli strikes kill senior Hamas commanders in Gaza

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Rafah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Israeli warplanes assassinated three top Hamas commanders in southern Gaza on Thursday, inflicting a heavy blow on the movement's armed wing after failing to kill its top military chief. As the six-week war between Israel and Hamas raged on leaving truce talks in tatters, a pre-dawn air strike killed three members of the Islamist movement's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. T
 

Lebanon army arrests Arab-Israeli infiltrator: security

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Hasbaya, Lebanon (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
The Lebanese army has arrested an Arab-Israeli civilian who cut through barbed wire to cross the border into Lebanon, a security official said on Thursday. "Ibrahim Zaydat entered Lebanon on Wednesday afternoon after cutting through a small section of barbed wire at the southeastern border, and was arrested by the army," the official told AFP. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sour
 

Military Sealift command contracts logistics services

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Arlington, Va. (UPI) Aug 21, 2014
CACI International Inc. reports it has been selected by the U.S. Navy to provide logistics support services to the Navy's Military Sealift Command. Services to be rendered worldwide include fleet logistics operations, acquisition logistics, sustainment logistics, logistics systems and data management, ordnance management, and supply chain management. The Worldwide Logistics Servi
 

Justice elusive for Syria chemical attack victims: HRW

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Beirut (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Human Rights Watch Thursday said that hundreds of victims of a chemical weapons attack in Syria remained without justice one year on, days after Damascus's stockpile was completely destroyed. The report came as a monitor said Syria's three-year war has now killed more than 180,000 people, and as France announced it delivered weapons to rebels battling to topple the regime months ago. Thu
 

Iran denies linking Iraq role to Western sanctions

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Iran on Thursday denied linking any future cooperation with the international community against jihadists in Iraq to the lifting of crippling Western sanctions. Earlier, the official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as suggesting that Tehran could help the international community if it lifted the sanctions. "If we agree to do something in Iraq, the other side
 

British arbitration tribunal backs up Raytheon

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Waltham, Mass. (UPI) Aug 21, 2014
An arbitration tribunal in Britain has denied a Home Office claim for damages and a return of money from Raytheon in a dispute resulting from a contract termination. Raytheon in the United States also reported that the tribunal found that the Home Office had unlawfully terminated Raytheon U.K.'s contract for border security program and must pay it $309 million in damages and other relie
 

Apologise for Spain civil war role, Germany told

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Madrid (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Spanish campaigners said on Thursday they have written to German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanding she apologise for her country helping the ex-dictator Franco in Spain's civil war. Merkel is due to land in Spain on Sunday for a two-day visit for meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the northwestern pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela. The visit drew the attention
 

Yemen armed forces on alert as rebel deadline nears

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Sanaa Aug 21, 2014
President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi urged Yemen's armed forces Thursday to "raise their level of vigilance" on the eve of the expiry of a rebel deadline for the government to quit. However, Hadi also sent a delegation to Shiite Zaidi rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Huthi in his Saada stronghold north of Sanaa to invite his group to talk and urge them to join a national unity government. In a sp
 

Supacat providing vehicles for Australian military

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Port Melbourne, Australia (UPI) Aug 21, 2014
Australia's military has ordered high mobility vehicles from the Supacat Group, a British company with a presence in the country. The vehicle ordered by the Defense Material Organization is the Special Operations Vehicle - Commando, which is based on the latest MK2 version of Supacat's HMT Extenda, and which can be converted to either a 4x4 or 6x6 configuration. The vehicle feat
 

Pakistan's Khan calls off talks to end protest impasse

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Islamabad (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan Thursday called off talks with the government aimed at ending protests seeking the fall of the prime minister, which have unnerved the nuclear-armed nation. Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have led followers protesting outside parliament for the past two days demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif quit. Talks to end the standoff - which
 

Remington Outdoors facility to use Meggitt live-fire range systems

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Suwanee, Ga. (UPI) Aug 21, 2014
Meggitt Training Systems is providing live-fire range systems for firearm and ammunition research and development testing by Remington Outdoor. Remington will utilize the systems at a 900,000 square-foot facility it plans to build in Huntsville, Ala. "Our team is intent on transforming our new world-class facility and campus in Huntsville into a manufacturing center of excellence
 

Taiwan's ex-China affairs official denies spying claim

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
A former top Taiwanese negotiator on China policy on Thursday rejected allegations he was spying for China, after he was forced to step down over suspicions of leaking secrets. Chang Hsien-hao, ex-deputy minister at Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, resigned last week and has been put under investigation over suspicions of leaking confidential work-related information, according to the coun
 

Foley captors demanded $132 million ransom: employer

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:06 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
Journalist James Foley's jihadist captors had demanded a ransom of 100 million euros - $132 million - for his release, his employer said Thursday after a video of the American's gruesome execution was made public. "GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni confirms that the initial ransom demand from Jim Foley's captors was 100 million euros," a spokesman for the news website told AFP. Foley was r
 

US strikes Islamic State in Iraq after hostage horror

 
‎23 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:28:19 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
The United States sought to maintain pressure on jihadist militants in Iraq on Thursday, launching air strikes after the murder of a journalist underlined the international threat posed by the Islamic State. And, in the latest sign that a reluctant America could be dragged deeper into the fighting, officials revealed that US special forces had already carried out a failed hostage rescue miss
 

USAF selects GenDyn to study ICBM guidance system

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Fairfax, Va. (UPI) Aug 20, 2014
Modernization of guidance systems for next-gen U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles is to be conducted by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. The work, under a $6.4 million contract from the U.S. Air Force, will involve performance analyses, development of test strategies and lifecycle support plans for the next-generation missile guidance set architecture. Results
 

New F-16 configuration features AESA radar

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Fort Worth, Texas (UPI) Aug 20, 2014
The newest configuration of Lockheed Martin's F-16 Fighting Falcon has new capabilities with integration of Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar. AESA radar, with its numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules, spreads signal emissions across multiple frequencies, increasing the capability of the aircraft using it to avoid detection. Lockheed Martin said the AESA in
 

China likens Xi to Deng Xiaoping for anniversary

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
China's state propaganda machine is seizing Friday's 110th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping's birth to highlight similarities between President Xi Jinping and the paramount leader who set the country on the road to economic prosperity while crushing dissent. A heavyweight official biography of Deng was published this week, and Chinese television viewers are being regaled with a 48-episode dramat
 

Harris' tactical manpack radio gets NSA certification

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Rochester, N.Y. (UPI) Aug 20, 2014
The U.S. National Security Agency has given its Type-1 certification for Harris Corporation's Falcon III RF-340M multi-channel manpack radio. Receipt of the certification means the commercially-developed radio system can be fielded and used for secure voice and data communications up through the Top Secret level. "NSA certification of the RF-340M is a significant milestone as the
 

British Falklands warship towed away for scrap

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
London (AFP) Aug 20, 2014
The British warship on which Argentina formally surrendered the island of South Georgia during the 1982 Falklands War began its final journey on Wednesday before being scrapped. HMS Plymouth could not be saved despite years of attempts to find a permanent home for the frigate. The ship, which entered naval service in 1961, was decommissioned in 1988. Peel Ports, which owns the dock w
 

Military sensor needs focus of Swedish symposium

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Stockholm, Sweden (UPI) Aug 20, 2014
Sensor capabilities for the Swedish military and other armed forces the next 10-15 years are to be examined next month at a symposium in Stockholm. The event is called the Sensors Symposium 2014, and is being co-sponsored by the Swedish military and the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration, or FMV. "The development of new sensor systems for a changed military environment, with
 

Taiwan's ex-China affairs official accused of leaking secrets

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Aug 20, 2014
One of Taiwan's top negotiators on China policy is being investigated on suspicion of leaking secrets after resigning, his superior said Wednesday, in the latest political scandal to rock the island. Wang Yu-chi, minister in charge of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, said his former deputy Chang Hsien-yao is being investigated following a tip-off he received in late July accusing the latte
 

Ukraine warplane shot down as clashes kill dozens

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Donetsk, Ukraine (AFP) Aug 20, 2014
A Ukrainian warplane was blown out of the sky over rebel-held territory Wednesday as fierce clashes between government troops and pro-Russian insurgents left dozens of civilians dead. Fighting intensified as Kiev appeared to ramp up a deadly offensive to crush the ailing rebellion in the east ahead of a fresh round of diplomacy that will see the presidents of Russia and Ukraine meet next wee
 

Critics want clear Obama strategy against IS

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 21, 2014
In calling for global action against the "cancer" of Islamic State militants, President Barack Obama puts the fight against them at the top of his agenda in a move that also raises questions about his military strategy in Iraq. Obama made it clear. The beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the group that has captured swaths of Iraq and Syria shocks the world's conscien
 

Test bed demos maritime ISR technology

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
San Diego (UPI) Aug 20, 2014
A new maritime test bed is enabling Lockheed Martin to demonstrate data fusion, predictive analytics and other technologies in naval settings. The software test platform is designed to mimic different naval environments for validation of intelligence, communications and sensor systems before their introduction into an operational environment, the company said. "The Navy is confro
 

Bodies of two pilots found after fighter jets crash in Italy

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:40:29 AMGo to full article
Rome (AFP) Aug 20, 2014
Italian authorities said Wednesday they had found the bodies of two pilots after a pair of Tornado fighter jets crashed following a mid-air collision, while two other crew members were still missing. The country's airforce said the death toll of Tuesday's crash in wooded countryside near Ascoli Piceno in the Marche region had "risen to two," adding that the identity of the pilots had not yet

 

Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

 

R-7 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:44 AMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 27, 2014 - On August 21, 1957, the USSR successfully launched the R-7/SS-6 Sapwood intercontinental ballistic missile, which was developed by experts from Special Design Bureau (OKB) No. 1, under the supervision of Chief Designer Sergei Korolev.

The two-stage R-7 ICBM could deliver one thermonuclear warhead to just about any region of a theoretical enemy's territory. This new formidable weapons system also became a prototype launch vehicle for various space satellites and manned spacecraft.

The R-7 was also known as the Semyorka and Item No. 8K71 in technical documents.

Soviet experts began developing the R-7 in the late 1940s and early 1950s, long before its first launch. At that time, Korolev was overseeing the development of single-stage R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-5 ballistic missiles. After assessing the results of these research and development projects, experts realized that a much more powerful composite (multi-stage) missile was needed to reach a theoretical enemy's territory on another continent.

The concept of this missile was suggested by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of space travel.

In 1947, Mikhail Tikhonravov established a group for conducting systematic research projects at the Research Institute of Artillery Sciences. Members of this group were instructed to study the possibility of developing composite (multi-stage) ballistic missiles. After analyzing the group's findings, Korolev decided to create a rough sketch of a powerful composite missile.

On May 20, 1954, the Soviet Government issued a resolution instructing the above-mentioned OKB-1 to develop an intercontinental and thermonuclear-capable missile. Special Design Bureau No. 456 headed by Valentin Glushko developed powerful new engines for the R-7 missile.

The R-7's guidance system was designed by Nikolai Pilyugin and Boris Petrov, and Vladimir Barmin designed the launch facility. Several other organizations were also involved in this project.

At the same time, the decision was made to establish a new ICBM testing site. In February 1955, the Council of Ministers of the USSR (Soviet Government) adopted a resolution on starting the construction of a testing site called the Fifth Research and Testing Site of the Soviet Defense Ministry (NIIP-5).

The decision was made to build the testing site near the village of Baikonur and the Tyura-Tam double-track railway section in Kazakhstan. This space center was considered a top-secret facility, and the R-7 launch facility was completed in April 1957.

The design of the R-7 missile was completed in July 1954, and the Soviet Government approved its creation on November 20, 1954. The missile was ready for testing in early 1957. Starting mid-May 1957, the first tests of the missile were conducted, revealing major drawbacks in its design.

The first missile lifted off on May 15, 1957. Visual observations showed the flight pattern to be normal, but changes in the composition of missile engine gases were subsequently detected in its tail section. An assessment of telemetry data showed that the missile had become unstable, after one of side sections fell off. The accident was caused by a ruptured fuel pipeline.

The next launch was scheduled for June 11, 1957, but it never took place due to defective engines in the missile's central section. The missile lifted off once again on July 12, 1957, but lost its in-flight stability in the 33rd second of flight and started deviating from its preset trajectory. This particular malfunction was caused by a short-circuited integrator responsible for the missile's revolution.

The fourth R-7 launch (August 21, 1957) finally proved successful, and the missile hit a preset target area for the first time. This missile, also known as Item No. 8K718, with an M1-9 warhead, lifted off from the Baikonur space center (Tyura-Tam testing site), completed its active trajectory leg and released its warhead, which then hit a preset area of the Kamchatka Peninsula. But this launch had one major drawback: the warhead disintegrated during reentry.

On August 27, 1957, Soviet newspapers reported the successful test of a multi-stage missile with an enhanced range in the USSR.

Positive results of R-7 flights along the active trajectory leg made it possible to use the missile for launching the first two man-made satellites, on October 4 and November 3, 1957. Conceived as an ICBM, the R-7 possessed a sufficient thrust-to-weight ratio for sending a rather heavy payload into orbit, and this factor was used to full advantage during the launching of these two satellites.

After assessing the results of six R-7 launches, experts upgraded the missile warhead (they installed a new one). They also upgraded the warhead-separation systems and installed slot-type antennas (also called slot arrays) of the telemetry system. The first fully successful R-7 launch took place on March 29, 1958, and its warhead reached the target area intact.

Subsequent flight tests were conducted in 1958-1959, making it possible to upgrade the R-7 design still further.

The R-7 differed completely from all previously developed missiles in terms of its layout, frame configuration, dimensions, weight, rated engine power, the number of systems and their designation, and more.

The R-7 missile's layout featured two stages with parallel separation and was, in fact, a multiple booster assembly. Its first stage comprised four strap-on boosters measuring 19 meters (62 feet) long each and with a maximum diameter of three meters (10 feet). They were attached symmetrically to the missile's central section (second stage).

Strap-on boosters and the central section were similar to single-stage missiles with front-mounted oxidizer tanks. The fuel tanks of all sections served as load-bearing structures. During launch, the propulsion units of all five sections were activated simultaneously.

This layout made it possible to activate all engines on the ground, rather than during flight (in the vacuum of space). Each section was equipped with a four-chamber and open-layout liquid-propellant sustainer engine firing liquid oxygen and kerosene.

Hydrogen peroxide and liquid nitrogen were used to operate turbo-pump units of rocket engines and for supercharging fuel tanks, respectively.

The R-7 missile was 31.4 meters (103 feet) long and had a diameter of 11.2 meters (36.7 feet). It had a liftoff weight of 283 metric tons, including 250 metric tons of fuel, a range of 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles) and a payload of 5.4 metric tons. It could carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of three to five megatons.

The nuclear warhead was attached to the instrument compartment of the central section using three ejection explosive charges. Using it, it was possible to destroy a large area through an air or ground burst.

The R-7 missile was equipped with a combined guidance system, the autonomous subsystem of which ensured angular stabilization and stabilization of the center of mass during the active trajectory leg. A radio-technical subsystem adjusted the sideways movement of the center of mass at the end of the active trajectory leg and shut off the engines for greater targeting accuracy.

Reversible steering-engine chambers and rudders executed various commands of the guidance system.

The first R-7 missiles were manufactured at Plant No. 88, a pilot production facility of the OKB-1, in Kaliningrad, now Korolyov, near Moscow. Due to the pilot plant's limited capacity, Dmitry Kozlov, the leading designer of the R-7 missile, was sent on a business trip to Kuibyshev, now Samara, in February 1958, with instructions to launch commercial production of these missiles at Aviation Plant No. 1, now the Progress State Research and Production Rocket Space Center, which manufactured bombers in the past. The first production missiles came off the assembly line already in December 1958.

Joint R-7 flight tests were conducted from December 1958 until November 1959. A total of 16 missiles were launched during these tests, including eight production versions. The tests made it possible to decide whether the Soviet Armed Forces could adopt the R-7 missile.

The R-7 ICBM was adopted for service on January 20, 1960.

In 1958, the decision was made to build a combat launch station, called the Angara facility, near the town of Plesetsk in Russia's Arkhangelsk Region. This facility was completed on January 1, 1960, and it successfully launched two test missiles on July 16, 1960, for the first time in the history of the Soviet Armed Forces.

Prior to launch, the missile was delivered from a technical position aboard a railway train with a transporter/erector, and placed on a massive launch facility. Pre-launch operations lasted over two hours.

Apart from the R-7, Soviet experts continued to develop the R-7A missile system with an even longer range of 12,000 kilometers (7,450 miles), an upgraded guidance system, more reliable engines and a lighter warhead. The R-7A missile featured more powerful engines and a somewhat larger fuel load, made possible by reducing the free volume of its fuel tanks. The R-7A ICBM was officially adopted for service on September 12, 1960.

The entire missile system proved to be cumbersome, vulnerable, expensive and hard to operate. A refueled missile could remain on the launch pad for no more than 30 days. An entire factory was needed to generate and replenish the required oxygen reserves for refueling deployed missiles.

The targeting accuracy of these missiles was not very impressive either. It became obvious that only a few R-7 missiles and their modified versions could be placed on combat duty. A total of four launch pads were built, and both missile versions were discarded from service by late 1968.

The reliable design of the R-7 and R-7A missiles made it possible to develop an entire family of Vostok, Voskhod, Molniya and Soyuz launch vehicles, as well as modified versions of them, for launching the first man-made satellites, and lunar and interplanetary probes. These rockets also launched numerous manned missions, and they continue to be used to this day.

 

Source: RIA Novosti

 

 

New N. Korean launch site near completion: think-tank

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:44 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 22, 2014 - North Korea will be able to test longer-range rockets at its new launch site before the end of this year, a US think-tank has said.

A major construction programme has been under way at the North's Sohae Satellite Launching Station since mid-2013, focused on upgrading facilities to handle larger, longer-range rockets with heavier payloads.

Satellite images taken this month indicate that several significant construction projects there are nearing completion despite heavy rain this summer, the US-Korea institute at Johns Hopkins University said in a post dated Thursday.

"The effort under way since late last year -- to upgrade the gantry tower and launch pad -- that will enable the North Koreans to test space launch vehicles with greater ranges and carry larger payloads than the Unha rocket fired in 2012 should be finished by fall," it said.

"As a result, the North will be able to conduct new launches from this site before the end of the year should it decide to do so."

There is little doubt that North Korea has an active ballistic missile development programme, but it remains unclear how much progress it has made.

Development of a working ICBM that could reach the continental United States would bring the North's regular nuclear strike warnings to a whole new level.

Last month, the same US think-tank said North Korea might be wrapping up engine trials on an intercontinental ballistic missile, citing satellite images.

"If the engine tests are concluded, the next stage in development of the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM may be full-scale flight tests of the missile", it said.

It stressed, however, that it was unclear just how successful the tests had been.

The KN-08 was first unveiled at a military parade in April 2012, but many analysts dismissed the models on show as mock-ups.

In December the same year, Pyongyang demonstrated its rocket capabilities by sending a satellite into orbit on a multi-stage launch vehicle.

But it has yet to conduct a test that would show it has mastered the re-entry technology required for an effective ICBM.

 

 

Iran refuses UN nuclear watchdog access to Parchin base

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:44 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 23, 2014 - Iran will not give UN nuclear inspectors access to a military base outside Tehran that they have been seeking to visit since 2005, Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan said on Saturday.

Dehgan's comments come just two days before a deadline for Iran to give its response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over historic allegations of a military dimension to its nuclear research.

"The agency carried out several visits to Parchin (before 2005), took samples and found nothing untoward," Dehgan told the ISNA news agency.

"There is therefore no reason for new access to Parchin as nothing new has come up since the last inspections."

IAEA inspectors have been given access to a string of declared nuclear sites as part of an interim nuclear deal reached with the major powers last November.

Access to Parchin was not agreed under the terms of that accord but the IAEA has been seeking to visit the base as part of its mission to answer all concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, past and present.

Addressing the allegations, long denied by Tehran, would be an important element in the comprehensive deal on Iran's nuclear programme that world powers are seeking to reach by November 24.

IAEA director Yukiya Amano, who visited Tehran earlier this month, said in June that access to Parchin was essential for the watchog to be able to certify Iran's nuclear programme as peaceful.

The base lies at the centre of allegations of past Iranian research into sophisticated explosives that can be used to detonate a nuclear warhead.

In his June report, Amano said satellite photographs suggested there had been fresh activity at the base this year.

"Since February this year, we again start to observe activities... these activities continue," he said.

Iran has repeatedly refused the IAEA access to the base but "we keep on insisting to have access to that particular site in Parchin, to the people and to their documents," Amano said in the report.

Dehgan also said that his country refused to give the agency information on its scientists in the defence industry.

Iran FM due in Moscow ahead amid nuclear talks
Tehran (AFP) Aug 22, 2014 - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit ally Moscow next week, the Islamic republic's ambassador to Russia wrote on Facebook Friday, media reports said.

Mehdi Sanaei said that Zarif will travel on August 29 to meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, saying only that their talks would focus on bilateral, regional and international issues.

However, Iran is currently engaged in negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany -- known as P5+1 -- on securing an agreement with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran and the P5+1 signed an interim deal last November and are in discussions to secure a more permanent accord.

The target date for a final deal has been put back to November 24.

By August 25 Tehran must also respond to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on decade-old allegations of past nuclear weapons research.

Tehran denies it wants nuclear weapons, insisting it is pursuing atomic energy purely for peaceful purposes.

Last year's key deal partly froze Iran's nuclear activities in return for minor sanctions relief but the gap between the two sides remains large.

While some differences have been reconciled, disagreements remain over how much uranium Iran would be allowed to enrich and on the lifting of international economic sanctions.

A new round of talks between the two sides is expected before the UN General Assembly starts on September 16.

A historic accord would see Iran scale back its nuclear activities and in return Tehran would be granted relief from painful UN and Western sanctions.

Such a deal could finally put an end to a standoff that has been threatening to escalate into a war since 2002.

Russia and Iran are also engaged in talks on an agreement on exchanging Iranian oil for Russian goods and technology.

Negotiations of this contract are due to begin in Tehran on September 9.

Senior Russian officials have stressed that such deliveries do not go against the sanctions imposed by the UN on Iran over its nuclear programme.

Moscow is also subject to European and American sanctions for its support for the pro-Russian rebellion in Ukraine.

 

 

Iran unveils new missiles, drones

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:44 AMGo to full article
Tehran Aug 24, 2014 - Iran on Sunday unveiled two new missiles and two new drones it said have been added to its arsenal, in a ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani. The Ghadir (Mighty), with a range of 300 kilometres (185 miles), is a ground-to-sea and sea-to-sea missile, the official IRNA news agency said. It is in the same family as the Ghader or Qader cruise missile, which has a range of 200 kilometres. The other missile unveiled on Sunday, the Nasr-e Basir (Clear Victory), is equipped with a seeker homing head. Its range was not given. The new Karar-4 (Striker) drone can track and monitor enemy aircraft, the agency said, while the Mohajer-4 (Migrant) drone is designed to perform photographic and mapping missions. Iran has developed a major missile programme in addition to producing different types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), including attack drones. The United States, whose Fifth Fleet is based in Sunni-ruled Bahrain across the Gulf from the mainly Shiite Islamic republic, has repeatedly expressed concern about these two programmes. Rouhani on Sunday sought to allay such fears. "Iran has no intention to interfere in, dominate or attack other countries or plunder their resources," he said in a speech broadcast on state television, adding that the country's military doctrine was defensive. "But at the same time we will stand up to any aggression," he added. In May, Iran said it had succeeded in copying an American RQ-170 Sentinel drone that it forced down and recovered nearly intact in December 2011. Tehran is currently engaged in negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany -- known as P5+1 -- on securing an agreement with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme. Israel and Western powers suspect Iran's civilian nuclear project to be a cover to develop an atomic weapon, an allegation Tehran denies, insisting its uranium enrichment drive is entirely peaceful. Iran FM to meet EU's Ashton for nuclear talks Sept 1
Tehran (AFP) Aug 24, 2014 - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on September 1 in Brussels to agree a framework for renewed nuclear talks, Iran said on Sunday.

Ashton is the lead negotiator for the six major powers seeking to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran to allay long-standing international concerns about its nuclear programme by November 24.

The two sides had been working to a July target date but then they agreed to extend it to give more time to reach a historic deal.

The new round of full talks will take place in New York ahead of the opening of the UN General Assembly on September 16, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the official IRNA news agency.

He said Iran would hold preparatory bilateral meetings with some of the six powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- ahead of the talks.

The negotiations are the fruit of an interim deal that the powers reached with Iran last November, under which Tehran reined in some of its nuclear activities in return for limited relief from Western sanctions.

Diplomats say the talks have been making headway but that big differences remain over key elements of an eventual deal.

Iran wants a swift lifting of crippling Western sanctions, while the powers are pushing for much tighter curbs on uranium enrichment than Iran has been willing to accept.

The sensitive enrichment process -- which can produce fuel for nuclear power stations or, in highly extended form, the core of an atomic bomb -- has long been at the centre of international concerns about Iran's ambitions.

 

 

Iran denies linking Iraq role to Western sanctions

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:44 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 21, 2014 - Iran on Thursday denied linking any future cooperation with the international community against jihadists in Iraq to the lifting of crippling Western sanctions.

Earlier, the official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as suggesting that Tehran could help the international community if it lifted the sanctions.

"If we agree to do something in Iraq, the other side of the negotiations should do something in return," IRNA had quoted Zarif as saying.

"All the sanctions that are related to Iran's nuclear programme should be lifted."

His reported comments followed a call by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday for all countries in the region, including Iran, to join the fight against Islamic State (IS) fighters who have seized swathes of Iraq as well as parts of neighbouring Syria.

But the foreign ministry said the words attributed to Zarif were "not correct".

"The news on the quote of foreign minister about Iran and US collaboration on Iraq for lifting sanctions are not correct," an English-language statement said.

"This issue (Iraq) was not brought up and the news on this are invalid," it said.

Zarif, it said, was talking about the Arak research reactor -- a source of concern for the international community because by-product waste from there could provide an alternative route to an atomic bomb.

Iraq and Arak can sound the same in Farsi.

Crippling EU and US sanctions are the subject of ongoing talks between Tehran and the major powers that are due to resume before the UN General Assembly opens next month.

In return for lifting the sanctions, the Western powers are demanding that Iran sharply rein in its nuclear programme to allay international concerns about its ambitions as part of a comprehensive deal they are seeking to strike by November.

Another Iranian news agency, Mehr, had quoted Zarif as saying that tough negotiations were still under way over what role Iran might play in Iraq and what the reward might be for its cooperation.

"It is still not clear what we have to do in Iraq and what they have to do in return," Mehr quoted the Iranian foreign minister as saying.

"And that's exactly the difficult part."

Iranian and US officials discussed the jihadists' lightning offensive in Iraq in June on the sidelines of nuclear talks with the major powers, but both sides ruled out joint military action at the time.

Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, although they have had contacts over Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

 

USAF selects GenDyn to study ICBM guidance system

 
‎21 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎04:35:56 AMGo to full article
Fairfax, Va. (UPI) Aug 20, 2014 - Modernization of guidance systems for next-gen U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles is to be conducted by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.

The work, under a $6.4 million contract from the U.S. Air Force, will involve performance analyses, development of test strategies and lifecycle support plans for the next-generation missile guidance set architecture.

Results of the study will help the service determine the direction for the next phase of this program to ensure compatibility with the Minuteman III and future ICBM weapon systems, the company said.

"Leveraging our in-depth mission knowledge and approach to open architecture, we look forward to providing the Air Force with the most comprehensive evaluation of solutions to achieve an affordable, easy-to-produce and sustainable guidance system," said Lisa Finneran, vice president of Critical Mission Systems at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.

According to the company, its open architecture and open business model approach will conduct an assessment of the critical nuclear systems and develop an incremental modernization plan.

Additional details of the contract were not disclosed.

 

Antineutrino detectors could aid non-proliferation

 
‎20 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:04:31 AMGo to full article
Blacksburg VA (SPX) Aug 13, 2014 - Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland and even in the fictional world of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" look to subatomic particles called neutrinos to answer the big questions about the universe.

Now, a group of scientists led by a physics professor at Virginia Tech are asking whether the neutrino could provide the world with clues about nuclear proliferation in Iran and other political hotspots. Neutrinos are produced by the decay of radioactive elements, and nuclear reactors produce large amounts of neutrinos that cannot be shielded or disguised, which could help regulatory agencies monitor plutonium production.

Measuring neutrino emissions allows scientists to infer the plutonium content of a reactor from outside the building, according to a letter due to be released in the Physical Letters Review written by Patrick Huber, an associate professor of physics and a member of the Center for Neutrino Physics at Virginia Tech, with Thomas Shea, a 20-year veteran of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and graduate students Eric Christensen of Westminster, Maryland, a doctoral student in physics, and Patrick Jaffke of Arlington, Virginia, a doctoral student in physics and a master's student in nuclear engineering.

"By making moderate improvements in existing neutrino-detector technology, we can fit a detector system into a standard 20-foot shipping container to monitor the Iranian heavy water reactor at Arak as part of a non-proliferation measure," Huber said.

"Neutrino monitoring is non-intrusive and doesn't rely on a continuous history of reactor operations."

Monitoring antineutrinos - subatomic particles akin to the neutrino, except they spin in a different direction - also could help distinguish varying levels of fuel enrichment.

The Iranian 40 megawatt heavy water reactor at Arak has a design which is ideal for plutonium production for nuclear weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency needs to be able to verify whether operations at the facility are for peaceful purposes.

Antineutrino detectors can provide the agency with high-level monitoring not currently offered by any other technique, the researchers say. This monitoring is based on the spectrum of antineutrinos produced by fission of uranium-235, plutonium-239, uranium-238, and plutonium-241, where the plutonium isotopes produce neutrinos with a lower average energy.

The paper is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between Huber's group at Virginia Tech's College of Science and Shea, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech.

For being such tiny particles, neutrinos have made big Antineutrino detectors could aid non-proliferations. They travel at about the speed of light, unimpeded by electromagnetism and strong nuclear forces that affect other particles. Studying them has provided insight into Albert Einstein's theory of the Standard Model of particle physics and has astronomical information from the far reaches of the universe.

 

 

N. Korea threatens 'merciless' strike against US-S.Korea drill

 
‎20 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:04:31 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 17, 2014 - North Korea warned Sunday of a possible "merciless" pre-emptive strike as it blasted an upcoming joint US-South Korean military exercise as a rehearsal for nuclear war.

South Korea vowed to go ahead from Monday with the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill, which is aimed at testing readiness to combat any North Korean invasion.

Although largely played out on computers, the exercise involves tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops.

In a statement carried Sunday by the official Korean Central News Agency, the North's military accused Washington and Seoul of planning a "dangerous" rehearsal for nuclear war.

"We declare once again that we will mercilessly open the strongest... pre-emptive strike of our own style any time at our discretion," it said.

North Korean soldiers were ready to "turn the strongholds of aggression into a sea of fire and ashes", the statement said.

"Our troops will strongly retaliate against any provocations from North Korea," the South's joint chiefs of staff warned in a statement.

Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula following an extended series of North Korean missile and rocket tests in recent months.

UN resolutions bar the North from any launches using ballistic missile technology.

The nuclear-armed communist country has defended the tests as a legitimate exercise in self-defence.

Seoul had proposed holding high-level talks with Pyongyang to discuss family reunions for those separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and other issues of "mutual interest".

But there has been no official response from Pyongyang.

 

 

Iran won't accept nuclear restraints 'beyond IAEA rules'

 
‎20 ‎August ‎2014, ‏‎03:04:31 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 17, 2014 - Iran will reject any restraints on its nuclear operations outside the international rules set by the industry watchdog, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.

"We will only accept the legal controls of the IAEA within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty," the president said during a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano.

"Any monitoring beyond those rules would be a precedent, against the interests of all developing countries," Rouhani said.

Amano made a one-day visit to Tehran ahead of an August 25 deadline for Iran to answer decade-old allegations of past nuclear weapons research.

He held morning talks with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before meeting Rouhani, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported. He later also met with Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation.

As part of the implementation of the interim deal it struck with world powers last November, Iran handed the IAEA documents in April and May relating to its past research, the first time it had done so in six years.

The submissions were in response to a November 2011 IAEA report that it had intelligence that Iran had until 2003 and possibly since then conducted research into developing nuclear weapons.

Addressing these claims, long refuted by Iran, would be an important element in the comprehensive accord over Tehran's nuclear programme that Iran and world powers want to strike by November 24.

The IAEA has raised a number of questions relating to the submissions and Tehran has until August 25 to reply to these.

Amano had said in a May report that Iran showed information to the agency that "simultaneous firing of EBW (Explosive Bridge Wire detonators) was tested for a civilian application".

At a press conference on Sunday in Tehran, Amano broached the issue again, saying Iran had provided information and explanations to the IAEA on Tehran's decision, in early 2000, to develop safer detonators.

"Iran has also provided information and explanations to the (IAEA) on its work post-2007 related to the application of EBWs in the oil and gas industry which is not inconsistent with specialised industry practices," he added.

"The IAEA will need to consider all past outstanding issues, including EBWs, integrating all of them in a system and assessing the system as a whole."

- 'Step by step' -

Amano in his talks with Rouhani on Sunday said he hoped "cooperation will continue in this more constructive atmosphere".

"The agency's aim is to move forward step by step to resolve the outstanding issues," state television quoted him as saying.

"It has no wish to drag out the process."

Rouhani again insisted that Iran's nuclear programme was for entirely peaceful purposes only.

"Weapons of mass destruction have no place in (Iran's) defence strategy," he said.

He hoped that talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as P5+1, wou