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THE MAGOG INVASION

 

 

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The Magog Invasion

 

 Introduction:

 

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


[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]
 
 
Behold a White Horse

 

 

Price R 249.00

 

 

 

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

 

This briefing pack contains 2 horse of teaching

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'Yes or no' time as Iran nuclear talks near deadline

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:41:37 PMGo to full article
Representatives of European and world powers pictured prior to meeting to pin down a nuclear deal with Iran, at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 30, 2015Foreign ministers from major powers raced against the clock Monday on the eve of a deadline to nail down the final pieces of a framework deal aimed at putting any Iranian nuclear bomb out of reach. Adding to the drama, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left the crunch talks with Iran in Switzerland after a series of meetings, Russian media reported. Lavrov and his counterparts from the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany met with the Iranians in a lakeside Lausanne hotel on Monday for their first full session since missing a previous November deadline. Only then would Iran receive sanctions relief, diplomats said.
 
 

45 dead in air strike on Yemen displaced camp

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:19:49 PMGo to full article
File photo shows displaced Yemenis at a camp set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Mazraq in Yemen's Hajja region, 360 kms northwest of Sanaa, on September 10, 2009An air strike killed dozens of people at a camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen on Monday, aid workers said, as Arab warplanes bombard rebels around the country. The International Organization for Migration said 45 internally displaced people had been killed and 65 wounded at the Al-Mazrak camp in Hajja province. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told AFP that the organisation had 75 staff on hand assisting the victims. "It was an air strike," said MSF's Middle East programme manager Pablo Marco.
 
 

NATO chief seeks closer cooperation with the European Union

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:13:18 PMGo to full article
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO'S secretary-general wants more joint action with the European Union to face the security challenges coming from Russia and the violent Islamic extremism plaguing some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
 

US drone 'killed two Iranian troops in Iraq'

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:03:40 PMGo to full article
A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off from Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan on March 13, 2009Two Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen were killed by a US drone in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, Iranian state media said Monday, in a report that was denied by the Pentagon. The official IRNA news agency said the two had been posted to Iraq as advisers in the war against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists and that they died in the drone strike on March 23. Pictures of the two men, named as Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari, were posted on Iranian news websites after their funerals on home soil. The Fars news agency called Jafari, 29, the third "martyr in defence of the shrines" from the northern Iranian city of Amol.
 
 

Nuclear deal would reward Iran for Yemen 'aggression': Israel

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:04:09 PMGo to full article
"The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in YemenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned world powers on Monday that any nuclear deal they strike with Iran would be seen as a reward for Tehran's alleged "aggression" in Yemen. "The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," he said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen. "The moderate and responsible countries in the region, especially Israel and also many other countries, will be the first to be hurt by this agreement," said Netanyahu, who has waged a campaign against a nuclear deal with Tehran.
 
 

AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from the Middle East

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:34:53 PMGo to full article
Across the Middle East this week, a Saudi-led coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries launched a campaign of airstrikes targeting Shiite rebels and their allies in Yemen.
 

Iran nuclear talks race towards key deadline

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:19:29 AMGo to full article
(R-L) Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and EU Political Director Helga Schmid with foreign ministers before the start of the P5+1 meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 30, 2015Foreign ministers from major powers pressed their Iranian counterpart on Monday as they sought to slot into place the final but also the trickiest pieces of a deal curtailing Tehran's nuclear programme as Tuesday's deadline loomed. Britain's Philip Hammond said as he became the last of the foreign ministers to arrive in a rainy Switzerland that they "believe a deal can be done". "But it has to be a deal which puts the bomb beyond Iran's reach," he said. With time of the essence, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Hammond and the top diplomats of Russia, China, France and Germany are meeting for the first time since November.
 
 

Officials: Iran nuke talks solving some issues, not others

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:10:56 AMGo to full article
From left, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz wait to start a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and others at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland Sunday, March 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Iran is considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but is pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms, Western officials involved in the nuclear talks said Sunday.
 
 

Arabs vow to pound Yemen rebels until they surrender

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:36:09 PMGo to full article
Yemeni Shiite Huthi rebels and supporters take part in a demonstration in the southwestern city of Taez against the Saudi-led military intervention in the country, on March 29, 2015Saudi-led warplanes bombed Yemen's main international airport and a renegade troop base in the capital Sunday, as Arab leaders vowed to pummel Iranian-backed rebels until they surrender. Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has urged his Arab allies to keep bombing until the Huthi Shiite rebels are defeated, branding them Iran's "puppet". His Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin said there could be "no negotiations and dialogue" with the rebels "until the legitimate government has control over all Yemeni lands". Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said at a regional summit in Egypt the offensive would last until the rebels "surrender" their weapons and withdraw from areas they seized.
 
 

Saudi response to Swedish criticism tests Europe's reach

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:26:56 PMGo to full article
FILE- In this Wednesday, March 11, 2015 file photo, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom gestures during a media interview at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in central Stockholm, Sweden. Wallstrom isn't the first diplomat to have expressed concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record. But when she used the word “dictatorship,” in a speech in February, 2015, she crossed a red line for the kingdom at a time of intense regional turmoil, setting off a diplomatic crisis that has underscored the perils of promoting reform four years after the Arab Spring. (AP Photo/Claudio Bresciani, TT, File) SWEDEN OUTDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Sweden's foreign minister is hardly the first diplomat to raise concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, but when she used the word "dictatorship" in a speech last month she crossed a red line for the kingdom at a time of intense regional turmoil, igniting a diplomatic crisis.
 
 

'Dangerous accord' with Iran worse than Israel feared: PM

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:29:24 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renews his denunciations of an Iranian nuclear dealIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced as "dangerous" a nuclear accord that world powers are negotiating with Iran, saying it goes beyond what his government had feared. "The dangerous accord which is being negotiated in Lausanne (Switzerland) confirms our concerns and even worse," Netanyahu said in remarks at a meeting of his cabinet broadcast on public radio. The premier warned that Iran could be in a position to "conquer" the Middle East through what he called the "axis" of control it has over the capitals of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Netanyahu angered the White House when he addressed a joint session of the Congress to warn against a nuclear deal with Iran in the lead-up to Israel's March 17 general election.
 
 

Arab leaders agree joint military force

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:25:53 PMGo to full article
(Front from L-R) Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Sudanese President Omar al Bashir (middle-C)Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism. "Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit. Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.
 
 

Israeli PM lashes out as Iran nuclear talks intensify

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:44:51 PMGo to full article
"The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in YemenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a dire warning Sunday about a possible nuclear accord with Iran as talks in Switzerland towards the outline of a deal intensified days before a deadline. He said the "Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis" was "dangerous for all of humanity" and that combined with Tehran's regional influence, a nuclear deal could allow Iran to "conquer" the Middle East. Israel, widely assumed to have nuclear weapons itself, is concerned that a deal that six powers are trying to agree the contours of by midnight on March 31 will fail to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Iran, hit hard by international sanctions, denies wanting nuclear weapons and insists that its atomic programme is purely for peaceful purposes.
 
 

UN staff flee war-torn Yemen, Russia voices concern

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:53:24 AMGo to full article
Shiite Huthi militiamen sit on a pick-up truck mounted with a heavy machine-gun in the Yememi capital Sanaa on March 26, 2015The United Nations evacuated staff from war-torn Yemen as Russia warned Saudi-led air strikes on Iranian-backed rebels were affecting crunch nuclear talks between world powers and Tehran. Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi urged his Arab allies to keep up the bombing raids in his country until the Huthi Shiite rebels surrender, branding them Iran's "puppet". A Sunni Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies, is battling to avoid having a pro-Iran regime on its doorstep, as the Huthi rebels tighten the noose around Hadi's southern stronghold of Aden.
 
 

World's huddled masses use 4 key land, sea routes to Europe

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:47:27 PMGo to full article
Map shows main migration routes into EU countries; 2c x 4 1/2 inches; 96.3 mm x 114 mm;DUBLIN (AP) — Most migrants who live illegally in the European Union fly to the 28-nation bloc on valid visas and simply overstay their welcome. But for the poorest and most desperate travelers of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the journey often takes months by sea or land, with payments to trafficking gangs.
 
 

Migrants' newest route to Europe means an epic Balkans trek

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:44:00 PMGo to full article
In this Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 photo West African migrants walk on train tracks on their way towards the border with Macedonia near the town of Evzonoi, Greece. The tide of hopeful migrants pours through the vulnerable 'back-door' countries in the hope of entering the 28-nation European Union, and although most people don't make it, the human tide continues to grow, according to Frontex, the EU agency that helps governments police the bloc’s leaky frontiers. (AP Photo/Dalton Bennett)THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East take many routes to cross illegally into the European Union, and all are fraught with likely disappointment and occasional danger. The newest path, through the EU's Balkans back door, comes with a cruel twist: an epic 250-kilometer (150-mile) walk that is surging in popularity even though most who try it fail.
 
 

Egypt calls for joint Arab military force amid Yemen strikes

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:59:54 AMGo to full article
A Yemeni man carries a box of ammunition he took from a military depot in Aden, Yemen, Friday, March 27, 2015. Shiite rebels, known as the Houthis, has seized the city since Wednesday. Looters have then taken weapons and ammunition from two abandoned army camps. (AP Photo/Yassir Hassan)SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Egypt's president has called for the creation of a joint Arab military force as it and other countries launch airstrikes against Shiite rebels in Yemen.
 
 

Malaysia poised to sign new F1 hosting deal

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎08:55:19 AMGo to full article
Sauber driver Raffaele Marciello of Italy steers his car during the first practice session for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian Grand Prix organizers are poised to sign a new three-year contract to host Formula One at the Sepang International Circuit, with a final agreement expected next month.
 
 

After the fight, US eyes Netanyahu's next move

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:26:51 AMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem following his party's victory in general elections, on March 18Barack Obama's sustained public criticism of Netanyahu's election rhetoric has led to allegations of a personal vendetta and even a touch of presidential petulance. Obama has steadfastly rebuffed Netanyahu's efforts to row back his election-time opposition to a Palestinian state. "It's has been a continuously running soap opera between Netanyahu and Obama," said Aaron David Miller, a former advisor to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state.
 
 

Arab warplanes pummel Yemen rebels as Hadi meets allies

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:11:15 AMGo to full article
Yemeni supporters of the southern separatist movement stand next to a tank bearing the movement's flag which they confiscated from a military depot, in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on March 27, 2015Arab warplanes pounded Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen for a third night while President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi held summit talks in Egypt Saturday with regional allies seeking to prevent his overthrow. An Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies, is battling to avoid having a pro-Iran regime on its doorstep, as Shiite Huthi rebels tighten the noose around Hadi's southern stronghold. Air strikes against the rebels could last up to six months, Gulf diplomatic officials said, voicing fears that they could face retaliation at home by Iran. Heavy strikes shook the rebel-held capital Sanaa for a third consecutive night until dawn on Saturday, residents said.
 
 

Saudi ground troops would face Yemen 'quagmire': experts

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:23:51 PMGo to full article
A Yemeni man wearing military fatigues sits on debris at the site of a Saudi air strike against Huthi rebels near Sanaa Airport on March 26, 2015Saudi-led airstrikes alone are unlikely to crush Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels but a ground incursion would risk a bloody "quagmire" and escalating tensions with Tehran, experts say. Saudi Arabia pledged to do "whatever it takes" to defend its ally President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after launching aerial raids against the Huthi Shiite fighters and their allies. "History shows that airstrikes without corresponding ground forces do not produce a decisive victory," said Frederic Wehrey of the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "If Saudi Arabia relies only on airstrikes and civilian casualties start mounting they will lose support very, very quickly," said Sultan Barakat, research director at the Doha-based Brookings Institution.
 
 

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:08:26 PMGo to full article
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, as they chant slogans during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Saudi Arabia bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday, leading a regional coalition in a campaign against Shiite rebels who have taken over much of the country and drove out the president. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SANAA, Yemen (AP) — As airstrikes in Yemen intensified on their second day Friday, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were considering an intervention on the ground, aimed at giving the president a secure foothold to return to the country, while backing Sunni tribesmen to fight against Shiite rebels and their allies, military officials said.
 
 

Yemen's Aden a key battleground in conflict

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:02:03 PMGo to full article
A Yemeni man carries a box of ammunition he took from a military depot in Aden, Yemen, Friday, March 27, 2015. Shiite rebels, known as the Houthis, has seized the city since Wednesday. Looters have then taken weapons and ammunition from two abandoned army camps. (AP Photo/Yassir Hassan)SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Yemen's city of Aden, a vital Arabian Sea port for centuries, is emerging as a key battleground in the fight between a Saudi-led Arab coalition backing the country's president and Shiite rebels and their allies.
 
 

A look at America's complicated collage of a Mideast policy

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:46:58 PMGo to full article
In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States' engagement in the volatile and unpredictable Middle East got more complicated this week, as American and Iranian negotiators sought a historic nuclear agreement while the U.S. provided intelligence for a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
 
 

French FM warns Middle East minorities could 'disappear entirely'

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:37:36 PMGo to full article
Displaced Iraqi families from the Yazidi community cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing in northern Iraq on August 13, 2014Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities under attack in the Middle East could "disappear entirely" unless the world takes action to protect them, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday. Fabius told a UN Security Council debate that an "action charter" was needed to address the violence that saw 20 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya last month. "The danger is that minorities will disappear entirely," Fabius said. Islamic State militants in Iraq, Syria and Libya have targeted religious minorities in attacks, notably Yazidis in a campaign that UN investigators have said probably amounts to genocide.
 
 

Israel says to release Palestinian tax funds, US welcomes

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:22:35 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pictured during the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on January 4, 2015Israel said Friday it will release hundreds of millions of dollars in tax funds it has withheld from the Palestinian Authority as a punitive measure. The United States swiftly welcomed the move, which could help disarm tensions with Washington and the international community after a polarising Israeli election campaign. "We welcome the decision of the prime minister of Israel to release withheld tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority," said US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said revenues accumulated over three months, frozen by Israel since January in retaliation for a Palestinian move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), would be transferred after normal deductions for services.
 
 

US stock indexes are slightly higher at end of a tough week

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:04:22 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 8, 2011, file photo, a pedestrian walks past the New York Stock Exchange in New York. U.S. stocks were mostly unchanged Friday, March 27, 2015, after four straight days of losses. (AP Photo/Jin Lee, File)NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were flat to slightly higher in a quiet session Friday, giving investors a break after four straight days of losses. The price of oil slipped following a big gain the day before, when traders worried that the escalating conflict in the Middle East would affect the flow of crude from the region.
 
 

Israel to stop withholding Palestinian tax revenues

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:00:35 PMGo to full article
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel said Friday that it will transfer Palestinian tax revenues it has been withholding as punishment for the Palestinians' application to join the International Criminal Court.
 

Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer dies at 83

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:54:10 PMGo to full article
FILE - This is a Oct. 6, 2011 file photo of Swedish poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Tomas Transtromer. Swedish publisher Bonniers said Friday March 27, 2015 that Swedish poet and Nobel Literature Prize winner Tomas Transtromer has died at age 83. (AP Photo/ Maja Suslin, SCANPIX , File) SWEDEN OUTSTOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish poet and Nobel Literature Prize winner Tomas Transtromer has died at age 83, Swedish publisher Bonniers said Friday.
 
 

EU weighs new methods to coax Israel back to peace talks

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:54 PMGo to full article
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, speaks during a press conference with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, during her first visit in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is assessing new ways to push Israel back to the peace negotiating table with the Palestinians for a deal based on a two-state solution, working in tandem with the United States, EU officials say.
 
 

EU keeps Hamas on terror list despite court ruling

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:50:33 PMGo to full article
A Palestinian supporter of the Hamas Islamist movement holds a mock rocket during a rally following the Friday prayers in the West Bank town of Hebron on August 29, 2014The European Union kept Hamas on its terrorism blacklist Friday despite a controversial court decision ordering Brussels to remove the Palestinian Islamist group from the register. Brussels has lodged an appeal against a December ruling by the bloc's second highest court that Hamas should be delisted for the first time since 2001. Two other groups have however been withdrawn since the last EU list was published in July 2014: the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which US officials have accused of funnelling money to Hamas, and Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra, an Egyptian Islamist group.
 
 

European air authority to recommend 2 crew in cockpit

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:15:21 PMGo to full article
In this undated photo provided by the French Interior Ministry, French emergency rescue services work at the site of the Germanwings jet that crashed on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and intentionally rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain's frantic pounding on the door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP Photo/French Interior Ministry, Francis Pellier)COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Europe's aviation safety agency will recommend Friday that airlines across the continent always have two people in the cockpit of a flying aircraft, according to Scandinavian authorities.
 
 

Bernie Ecclestone casts doubt on German, Italian GPs

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:43:15 PMGo to full article
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the second practice session for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia Friday, March 27, 2015.(AP Photo/Thomas Lam)SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — The German Grand Prix could remain off the sport's calendar after this year's cancellation, and the iconic Italian GP may be next to go, Formula One commercial head Bernie Ecclestone said Friday.
 
 

Complex US-Iran ties at heart of complicated Mideast policy

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:36:47 PMGo to full article
In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq's deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.
 
 

Stocks recover their poise ahead of US economic data

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:31:42 PMGo to full article
Men walk past an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, March 27, 2015. Asian shares were lackluster Friday as the conflict in Yemen ripped through the Middle East and Japanese data showed the world's No. 3 economy is still in the doldrums. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets on Friday recovered their poise after the previous day's losses when investors were spooked by the escalating conflict in Yemen. However, oil prices slipped back from Thursday's sizeable advance when traders worried about the conflict's impact on oil supplies.
 
 

Swiss private bank UBP buys international arm of Coutts

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:01:44 PMGo to full article
The entrance to Coutts in central London, pictured here guarded by police for May Day demonstrations targetting the bank for the rich and famousState-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday said it has sold the international arm of Coutts private bank to Swiss peer Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) for an undisclosed amount. The part-sale of Coutts, which counts Queen Elizabeth II among its rich and famous clients, is in line with RBS's strategy of scaling back its international operations following a huge bailout of the bank by the British government during the 2008 financial crisis. RBS will keep Coutts' British arm following the deal for the international unit reportedly worth between $600 million and $800 million (550 million and 730 million euros), according to the Financial Times newspaper.
 
 

Yemen weighs on Asian shares, Japan gains on stimulus hopes

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:08:48 AMGo to full article
FILE - This Oct. 2, 2015 file photo shows the facade of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. U.S. stocks are edging lower in midday trading Thursday, March 26, 2015, extending the market’s losses to a fourth day. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were lackluster Friday as investors monitored violence in the Middle East but Japan's market rose after weak economic data boosted hopes for more central bank stimulus.
 
 

With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S.

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:25:36 AMGo to full article
By Matt Spetalnick, Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia kept some key details of its military action in Yemen from Washington until the last moment, U.S. officials said, as the kingdom takes a more assertive regional role to compensate for perceived U.S. disengagement. The Middle East's top oil power told the United States weeks ago it was weighing action in Yemen but only informed Washington of the exact details just before Thursday's unprecedented air strikes against Iran-allied Houthi rebels, the officials said. U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East policy increasingly relies on surrogates rather than direct U.S. military involvement.
 

Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:31:46 AMGo to full article
People search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes Thursday targeting military installations in Yemen held by Shiite rebels who were taking over a key port city in the country's south and had driven the embattled president to flee by sea, security officials said. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The turmoil in Yemen grew into a regional conflict Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and its allies bombing Shiite rebels allied with Iran, while Egyptian officials said a ground assault will follow the airstrikes.
 
 

Yemeni leader Hadi leaves country as Saudi Arabia keeps up air strikes

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:05:06 AMGo to full article
Houthi fighters sit on a tank near the Presidential Palace in SanaaBy Khaled Abdallah and Sami Aboudi SANAA/ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his refuge in Aden for Saudi Arabia on Thursday as Houthi rebels battled with his forces on the outskirts of the southern port city. Throughout the day, warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck at the Shi'ite Houthis and allied army units, who have taken over much of the country and seek to oust Hadi. Warplanes resumed bombing the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday evening, shaking whole neighborhoods and terrifying residents. We live near the airport, where we think a lot of the Houthi leaders are living and many of the air strikes are." Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said in a televised speech Yemenis would confront the "criminal, unjust and unjustified aggression" by Saudi Arabia.
 
 

Turkey's Erdogan says can't tolerate Iran bid to dominate Middle East

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:55:38 PMGo to full article
By Humeyra Pamuk ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Iran on Thursday of trying to dominate the Middle East and said its efforts have begun annoying Ankara, as well as Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries. Turkey earlier said it supports the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen and called on the militia group and its "foreign supporters" to abandon acts which threaten peace and security in the region. "Iran is trying to dominate the region," said Erdogan, who is due to visit Tehran in early April. This has begun annoying us, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.
 

Iran's Rouhani intervenes as deadline for nuclear deal approaches

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:33:24 PMGo to full article
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wait with others in LausanneBy John Irish and Louis Charbonneau LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Iran's president spoke with the leaders of France, Britain, China and Russia on Thursday in an apparent effort to break an impasse to a nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers. He also raised the Saudi-led military operation against Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen, as did U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of nuclear negotiations in Switzerland with Tehran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
 
 

Obama discusses Yemen, Iran in call with Turkey's Erdogan

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:34:39 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Barack Obama spoke with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday about pressing issues in the Middle East, including the crisis in Yemen, the White House said. The hour-long call was initiated by Turkey, sources in the Turkish president's office said. It came on a day when Erdogan later complained at a news conference that "Iran is trying to dominate the region" and must withdraw forces from Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
 

Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:16:43 PMGo to full article
The price of oil rose sharply on Thursday as mounting tensions in Yemen got traders worried that the flow of crude from the Persian Gulf region could be disrupted.
 

Metta World Peace says he can still make an impact

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:13:40 PMGo to full article
Former NBA All-Star Metta World Peace smiles during a press conference in Milan, Italy, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Former NBA All-Star Metta World Peace has signed for Italian team Pallacanestro Cantu for the remainder of the season. World Peace, who changed his name from Ron Artest, was playing for the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association after a long NBA career which included stints with the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)MILAN (AP) — Metta World Peace had barely landed in Italy when the former NBA All-Star was soon singing with fans of his new team and thinking of a second season.
 
 

US, Iran nuke talks enter critical round ahead of deadline

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:43:49 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Mohammad Minister Javad Zarif , right, waits for the start of a meeting with a US delegation at a hotel in Lausanne Switzerland on Thursday March 26, 2015 during negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran entered a critical phase on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting his Iranian counterpart less than a week away from a deadline to secure the outline of a deal.
 
 

Disputes emerge as Netanyahu starts work on new Israel govt

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:38:48 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renews his denunciations of an Iranian nuclear dealPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began talks Thursday to form a new Israeli government, which will have to mend shattered ties with key ally Washington, while tackling pressing social and security issues. After a bitterly fought campaign that exposed deep splits within Israeli society and a damaging rift with Washington, Netanyahu knuckled down to the task of building a coalition likely to be dominated by right-wing and religious parties. The coalition will have to hit the ground running in order to shore up shattered ties with the administration of US President Barack Obama and address divisions at home. It will also have to handle an emerging nuclear deal with Iran, vehemently opposed by Netanyahu, as well as the imminent threat of Palestinian legal action at the International Criminal Court.
 
 

UN seeks settlement freeze from new Israeli government

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:38:07 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem following his party Likud's victory in Israel's general election on March 18, 2015Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government must take steps to freeze Jewish settlements that are threatening to "kill the very possibility of reaching peace," the UN's Middle East envoy said Thursday. In his final report to the Security Council as Middle East coordinator, Robert Serry said "I frankly do not know if it is already too late" to revive peace talks aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian state. "The minimum conditions of trust cannot be restored without the new Israeli government taking credible steps to freeze settlement activity," the Dutch diplomat told the 15-member council. The appeal from the top UN envoy came as Netanyahu began talks on forming a new government after vowing in a campaign speech that he would never allow the establishment of a Palestinian state under his watch.
 
 

Iran, Saudi Arabia fighting bloody proxy wars across region

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:26:26 PMGo to full article
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Saudi Arabia bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday, leading a regional coalition in a campaign against Shiite rebels who have taken over much of the country and drove out the president. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)BEIRUT (AP) — Airstrikes on Sanaa herald Yemen's emergence as the latest theater for the proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran.
 
 

US, Iran nuke talks enter critical round ahead of deadline

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎08:12:28 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Mohammad Minister Javad Zarif , right, waits for the start of a meeting with a US delegation at a hotel in Lausanne Switzerland on Thursday March 26, 2015 during negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran entered a critical phase on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting his Iranian counterpart less than a week away from an end-of-month deadline to secure the outline of a deal.
 
 
 

UN chief launches campaign to end female genital mutilation

 
‎30 ‎October ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:35 PMGo to full article
Kenyan Maasai women gather during a meeting dedicated to the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), on June 12, 2014, in EnkorikaNairobi (AFP) - UN chief Ban Ki-moon launched Thursday a global campaign to end the often deadly practice of female genital mutilation within a generation, as survivors said it had "shattered" their lives.
 

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'Yes or no' time as Iran nuclear talks near deadline

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:41:37 PMGo to full article
Representatives of European and world powers pictured prior to meeting to pin down a nuclear deal with Iran, at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 30, 2015Foreign ministers from major powers raced against the clock Monday on the eve of a deadline to nail down the final pieces of a framework deal aimed at putting any Iranian nuclear bomb out of reach. Adding to the drama, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left the crunch talks with Iran in Switzerland after a series of meetings, Russian media reported. Lavrov and his counterparts from the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany met with the Iranians in a lakeside Lausanne hotel on Monday for their first full session since missing a previous November deadline. Only then would Iran receive sanctions relief, diplomats said.
 
 

Shaken by Yemen, Lebanon works to keep its balance

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:39:03 PMGo to full article
“They are killing Shiites in Yemen,” says Hassan Masri, a Shiite supporter of Hezbollah in southern Beirut. The latest crisis in Yemen illustrates the interconnected nature of the conflicts tearing apart the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia and Iran seek influence at each other’s expense. Saudi Arabia heads a coalition of 10 Sunni-majority Arab nations ranged against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Houthis, members of a Shiite sect reportedly supported by Iran, hold Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and are advancing on the southern port city of Aden.
 

UN chief Ban calls for more aid for Iraq displaced

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:31:45 PMGo to full article
Picture released by the Iraqi Prime Minister's office on March 30, 2015 shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) with Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in the Iraqi capital BaghdadUnited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called in Baghdad Monday for Iraq and the international community to increase assistance for over 2.5 million people displaced by violence in the country. Ban met Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as well as President Fuad Masum, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi during his visit, and also addressed the Iraqi parliament. Iraqi forces are battling to retake the city of Tikrit, the government's largest military operation yet against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which led an offensive that overran much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland last year.
 
 

45 dead in air strike on Yemen displaced camp

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:19:49 PMGo to full article
File photo shows displaced Yemenis at a camp set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Mazraq in Yemen's Hajja region, 360 kms northwest of Sanaa, on September 10, 2009An air strike killed dozens of people at a camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen on Monday, aid workers said, as Arab warplanes bombard rebels around the country. The International Organization for Migration said 45 internally displaced people had been killed and 65 wounded at the Al-Mazrak camp in Hajja province. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told AFP that the organisation had 75 staff on hand assisting the victims. "It was an air strike," said MSF's Middle East programme manager Pablo Marco.
 
 

US drone 'killed two Iranian troops in Iraq'

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:03:40 PMGo to full article
A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off from Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan on March 13, 2009Two Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen were killed by a US drone in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, Iranian state media said Monday, in a report that was denied by the Pentagon. The official IRNA news agency said the two had been posted to Iraq as advisers in the war against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists and that they died in the drone strike on March 23. Pictures of the two men, named as Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari, were posted on Iranian news websites after their funerals on home soil. The Fars news agency called Jafari, 29, the third "martyr in defence of the shrines" from the northern Iranian city of Amol.
 
 

Nigeria awaits tense poll results as leaders warn of rigging

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:37:19 PMGo to full article
Electoral officials start the count at a polling station in Lagos, on march 29, 2015Nigerians on Monday awaited the first results of a closely fought general election, with protests over the conduct of the vote and a warning of manipulation of the count heightening fears of poll-related violence. The presidential election pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari is the closest in Nigeria's history, and first with a credible opposition challenge. International election observers gave broadly positive reactions to the conduct of the vote, despite late delivery of election materials and technical glitches with new voter authentication devices.
 
 

Iran says US drone kills 2 advisers in Iraq; US denies claim

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:18:02 PMGo to full article
Iraqi security forces attack Islamic State extremists in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran's Revolutionary Guard says a U.S. drone strike killed two of its advisers near the Iraqi city of Tikrit, where a major offensive is underway against the Islamic State group, but the U.S. said Monday its coalition conducted no airstrikes in the area during the time of the incident.
 
 

Iran nuclear talks: What China brings to the negotiating table

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:10:09 PMGo to full article
As Tuesday’s deadline for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program loomed, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi joined the talks in Lausanne on Sunday in typically low-key fashion. Behind this self-effacing style, however, China’s longstanding friendship with Iran, set alongside Beijing’s fears of it acquiring a nuclear bomb, could offer Wang the chance to play peace broker. “When the two parties came across irresolvable problems, they would come to China, which would ‘lubricate’ the negotiation and put things back on track,” former Chinese ambassador to Iran Hua Liming told the state-run news agency Xinhua at the time. Iran, like the United States, is largely fixated on its negotiations with its longtime foe, to the exclusion of other world powers.
 

Yemeni rebels shell Aden as Saudi launches more airstrikes

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:19:39 PMGo to full article
Yemenis gather during a rally against Saudi-led airstrikes on Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, March 30, 2015. Arabic writing on a banner reads, "Do you agree on the attack? Israel also agrees."(AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's Shiite rebels and security forces loyal to the former president launched a fresh offensive Monday against the southern city of Aden, shelling it and battling local militias, but were pushed back by at least two airstrikes on the fifth day of a Saudi-led air campaign, security officials said.
 
 

Nuclear deal would reward Iran for Yemen 'aggression': Israel

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:04:09 PMGo to full article
"The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in YemenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned world powers on Monday that any nuclear deal they strike with Iran would be seen as a reward for Tehran's alleged "aggression" in Yemen. "The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," he said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen. "The moderate and responsible countries in the region, especially Israel and also many other countries, will be the first to be hurt by this agreement," said Netanyahu, who has waged a campaign against a nuclear deal with Tehran.
 
 

China evacuating from Yemen, suspending anti-piracy patrols

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:23:38 PMGo to full article
BEIJING (AP) — China is evacuating its citizens from Yemen and suspending anti-piracy patrols in the area amid the growing violence in the Middle Eastern country.
 

Iran nuclear talks race towards key deadline

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:19:29 AMGo to full article
(R-L) Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and EU Political Director Helga Schmid with foreign ministers before the start of the P5+1 meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 30, 2015Foreign ministers from major powers pressed their Iranian counterpart on Monday as they sought to slot into place the final but also the trickiest pieces of a deal curtailing Tehran's nuclear programme as Tuesday's deadline loomed. Britain's Philip Hammond said as he became the last of the foreign ministers to arrive in a rainy Switzerland that they "believe a deal can be done". "But it has to be a deal which puts the bomb beyond Iran's reach," he said. With time of the essence, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Hammond and the top diplomats of Russia, China, France and Germany are meeting for the first time since November.
 
 

Syria launches cigar business as war rolls on

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:20:54 AMGo to full article
Employee Um Ali takes a smoke break at a factory producing Syria's first locally made cigars in the northwestern province of LatakiaIn Syria's northwestern province of Latakia, workers roll the country's first locally made cigars, a new product being launched despite the devastating civil conflict now in its fifth year. The workers are employed by the state-run General Tobacco Company, which has decided to branch out into cigars in a bid to create desperately needed jobs and boost revenue. Syria's conflict, which began with anti-government protests in March 2011 before spiralling into a brutal civil war, has taken a massive toll on the economy and killed more than 215,000 people. Before the war, the General Tobacco Company was among the country's most prosperous state-run enterprises, generating millions of dollars.
 
 

Top Asian News at 3:30 a.m. GMT

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:33:04 AMGo to full article
SYDNEY (AP) — A powerful earthquake rattled the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea on Monday, prompting officials to issue a tsunami warning for vast swathes of the Pacific and as far north as Russia. The magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck at a depth of 65 kilometers (40 miles), about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of the town of Kokopo in northeastern Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
 

Officials: Iran nuke talks solving some issues, not others

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:10:56 AMGo to full article
From left, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz wait to start a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and others at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland Sunday, March 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Iran is considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but is pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms, Western officials involved in the nuclear talks said Sunday.
 
 

Arab League unveils joint military force amid Yemen crisis

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:05:53 AMGo to full article
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, wearing an army uniform, ride on an armed truck to patrol the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Yemen's President Abed Raboo Mansour Hadi, speaking at an Arab summit in Egypt on Saturday, called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — A two-day Arab summit ended Sunday with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen and the formal unveiling of plans to form a joint Arab intervention force, setting the stage for a potentially dangerous clash between U.S.-allied Arab states and Tehran over influence in the region.
 
 

Two Saudi policemen injured in Riyadh drive-by shooting

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:36:54 AMGo to full article
Saudi security personnel partol near Riyadh, on January 16, 2006Two Saudi police officers were wounded in a drive-by shooting in Riyadh Sunday, a spokesman said, days after the Kingdom strengthened security measures as it leads air strikes on Yemen. "A security patrol was carrying out its duties in Riyadh when it came under fire from an unknown vehicle" in an attack that "left two policemen wounded," the spokesman said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency. The attack comes just days after Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef ordered that security measures be strengthened along borders and across the kingdom, as Riyadh leads air strikes against Iran-backed Shiite rebels in neighbouring Yemen.
 
 

Pakistan evacuates more than 500 citizens from Yemen: officials

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:35:51 PMGo to full article
Travelers queue up at Sanaa International Airport as hundreds of foreigners were evacuated from the Yemeni capital due to security reasons on March 28, 2015 after the third day of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes against Shiite Huthi rebelsPakistan on Sunday evacuated more than 500 of its citizens from Yemen by jumbo jet and sent a naval frigate to rescue others stranded in the war-torn country, officials said. Shujaat Azeem, aviation advisor to the prime minister, said the PIA flight carrying 503 passengers from Hodeidah had arrived in Karachi. Passengers said they were happy to be home and thanked the government amid slogans of "Long live Pakistan", "Long live prime minister" and "Long live PIA." Foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said there were still up to 250 Pakistanis in the port town of Mukalla, which was peaceful, with officials trying to ascertain how many want to be evacuated from nearby Riyan airport. Ahmed Assiri, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, confirmed to reporters in Riyadh that coalition forces had "ensured a safe corridor" by suspending operations around Hodeidah airport for a few hours to allow Pakistan "to evacuate its citizens".
 
 

What an Iran nuclear deal could look like

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:09:40 PMGo to full article
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (L) meets Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi during Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne on March 29, 2015Global powers were Sunday narrowing in on a deal to stop any Iranian bid to develop nuclear weapons, with diplomats saying some key parts of an outline had been tentatively agreed. The "framework" accord -- no one knows how detailed it will be -- is meant to be fleshed out into a comprehensive agreement by June 30 to end over a decade of tensions with the Islamic republic. Here are the possible contours of such an agreement, which Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States -- have been negotiating since late 2013. To reach a verifiable comprehensive agreement that limits Iran's ability to harness enough fissile material to build a nuclear bomb.
 
 

Arabs vow to pound Yemen rebels until they surrender

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:36:09 PMGo to full article
Yemeni Shiite Huthi rebels and supporters take part in a demonstration in the southwestern city of Taez against the Saudi-led military intervention in the country, on March 29, 2015Saudi-led warplanes bombed Yemen's main international airport and a renegade troop base in the capital Sunday, as Arab leaders vowed to pummel Iranian-backed rebels until they surrender. Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has urged his Arab allies to keep bombing until the Huthi Shiite rebels are defeated, branding them Iran's "puppet". His Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin said there could be "no negotiations and dialogue" with the rebels "until the legitimate government has control over all Yemeni lands". Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said at a regional summit in Egypt the offensive would last until the rebels "surrender" their weapons and withdraw from areas they seized.
 
 

Iran deal 'can be done', must put bomb out of reach: UK

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎08:59:34 PMGo to full article
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on March 23, 2015 in RiyadhThey are also planning to have a full meeting to include Iran as they chase the outlines of a deal to pare back the Iranian nuclear programme and thwart any covert dash for a bomb. "If we're going to get this done here over the next few hours Iran has got to take a deep breath and make some tough decisions to ensure that those red lines can be met," Hammond said.
 
 

'Dangerous accord' with Iran worse than Israel feared: PM

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:29:24 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renews his denunciations of an Iranian nuclear dealIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced as "dangerous" a nuclear accord that world powers are negotiating with Iran, saying it goes beyond what his government had feared. "The dangerous accord which is being negotiated in Lausanne (Switzerland) confirms our concerns and even worse," Netanyahu said in remarks at a meeting of his cabinet broadcast on public radio. The premier warned that Iran could be in a position to "conquer" the Middle East through what he called the "axis" of control it has over the capitals of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Netanyahu angered the White House when he addressed a joint session of the Congress to warn against a nuclear deal with Iran in the lead-up to Israel's March 17 general election.
 
 

Tentative accord on key parts of Iran deal: diplomats

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:50:33 PMGo to full article
TV journalists rush in the hotel on March 29, 2015 during Iran nuclear talks in LausanneIran and six world powers have reached tentative agreement on key parts of a deal sharply curtailing Tehran's nuclear programme, Western diplomats said Sunday while cautioning that the pact is by no means done. One of these diplomats in talks in Switzerland said Iran had "more or less" agreed to slash the number of its centrifuge machines by more than two-thirds and to ship abroad most of its stockpile of nuclear material. Iranian diplomats denied that any tentative agreement on these points has been struck, saying that reports of a specific number of centrifuges and exporting its stockpiles were "journalistic speculation". Under the outlines coming together to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, the underground Fordo facility near the holy city of Qom would cease uranium enrichment, another diplomat told AFP, hinting it would likely stay open for other purposes.
 
 

Israel premier expresses 'deep concern' on pending Iran deal

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:45:02 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Netanyahu said he has "deep concern" over a pending nuclear deal the West appears close to signing with Israel's arch-enemy Iran. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, Pool)JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he has "deep concern" over a pending nuclear deal the West appears close to signing with Israel's arch-enemy Iran.
 
 

Q&A: Plans for an Arab joint intervention force

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:52:45 PMGo to full article
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, greets Jordan's King Abdullah II on his arrival to attend an Arab summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015. In a speech to Arab leaders, Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/MENA)CAIRO (AP) — Arab League member nations formally announced on Sunday an agreement to form a joint military force. While details of how such a force would actually operate remain thin, the agreement is a telling sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or Iran-backed groups.
 
 

Israeli PM lashes out as Iran nuclear talks intensify

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:44:51 PMGo to full article
"The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in YemenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a dire warning Sunday about a possible nuclear accord with Iran as talks in Switzerland towards the outline of a deal intensified days before a deadline. He said the "Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis" was "dangerous for all of humanity" and that combined with Tehran's regional influence, a nuclear deal could allow Iran to "conquer" the Middle East. Israel, widely assumed to have nuclear weapons itself, is concerned that a deal that six powers are trying to agree the contours of by midnight on March 31 will fail to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Iran, hit hard by international sanctions, denies wanting nuclear weapons and insists that its atomic programme is purely for peaceful purposes.
 
 

UN staff flee war-torn Yemen, Russia voices concern

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:53:24 AMGo to full article
Shiite Huthi militiamen sit on a pick-up truck mounted with a heavy machine-gun in the Yememi capital Sanaa on March 26, 2015The United Nations evacuated staff from war-torn Yemen as Russia warned Saudi-led air strikes on Iranian-backed rebels were affecting crunch nuclear talks between world powers and Tehran. Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi urged his Arab allies to keep up the bombing raids in his country until the Huthi Shiite rebels surrender, branding them Iran's "puppet". A Sunni Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies, is battling to avoid having a pro-Iran regime on its doorstep, as the Huthi rebels tighten the noose around Hadi's southern stronghold of Aden.
 
 

Questions and answers about the Arab peacekeeping force

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:43:40 PMGo to full article
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, greets Jordan's King Abdullah II on his arrival to attend an Arab summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015. In a speech to Arab leaders, Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/MENA)CAIRO (AP) — Arab League member states have agreed in principle to form a joint inter-Arab military peacekeeping force. While details of how such a force would actually operate remain thin, the agreement is a telling sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or spreading Iranian power. Here's a look at some of the questions surrounding the plan:
 
 

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks enter 'endgame'

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:09:07 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) speaks to the press after meeting with the German and French foreign ministers in separate meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 28, 2015World powers appeared Saturday to be narrowing in on a deal to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, with marathon talks stretching into the evening as Iran's foreign minister voiced confidence the final hurdles can be overcome. "We're moving forward," Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters after meeting separately with his German and French counterparts who flew into Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday to join the negotiations. Iran and six world powers aim by Tuesday to agree the main contours of a deal reducing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief and ending a more than decade-old standoff. France's top diplomat Laurent Fabius, the most hawkish in the P5+1 group of countries negotiating with Iran, said he wanted a "robust deal" with close oversight to ensure no violations.
 
 

Yemen's president calls Shiite rebels 'puppets of Iran'

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:52:53 PMGo to full article
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, walk on the tarmac of the Sanaa International Airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Yemen's President Abed Raboo Mansour Hadi, speaking at the opening session of an Arab summit in Egypt on Saturday, called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "stooges of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender.
 
 

US State Dept: Difficult work remains on Iran nuke talks

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:10:05 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, center, takes a walk prior to meetings at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday March 28, 2015. Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program picked up pace on Saturday with the foreign ministers of France and Germany joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in talks with Iran's top diplomat ahead of a looming end-of-March deadline for a preliminary deal. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program grew frantic on Saturday amid signs of discord, with the French and German foreign ministers joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in talks with Tehran's top diplomat ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a preliminary deal.
 
 

Who claims what property seized in Cuba? Facts and figures

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:40:41 PMGo to full article
This image provided by Carolyn Chester in March 2015 shows one of the stock certificates in the Cuban Telephone Company which were owned by her parents Edmund and Enna Chester in pre-revolutionary Cuba, but made worthless after Fidel Castro came to power. Nearly 90 percent of the Americans who filed claims for confiscated Cuban property were individuals, according to a Creighton University study commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development. About 70 percent of the claims were for stock. But many involved land or other real estate, with most of that either in Havana or on the former Isle of Pines, off Cuba's southern coast and once home to a large American population. (AP Photo)Soon after Fidel Castro came to power, his government seized the refineries, hotels and sugar plantations that were the most visible signs of the American hold on the island's economy.
 
 

Iran talks go into top gear in battle of wills

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:55:55 PMGo to full article
Top US and Iranian diplomats try to hammer out a nuclear deal as the deadline loomsTortuous negotiations aimed at laying to rest fears that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons shifted into top gear Saturday with each side demanding the other give ground ahead of a looming deadline. "We're at that point in the negotiations where we really need to see decisions being made," a senior US State Department official said late Friday at the talks in Switzerland. The other side needs to choose between pressure and a political accord," countered Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. France's top diplomat Laurent Fabius, the most hawkish in the P5+1 group of countries negotiating with Iran since late 2013, was the first European minister to fly in for the crucial talks saying he wanted to reach a "robust deal".
 
 

When SWU met LEU: The Iran nuclear talks jargon A-to-Z

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:54:53 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) chat before a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel March 28, 2015 in LausanneUntil 2014, Iran was building a heavy water reactor at Arak. In theory, once operational, it could give Iran plutonium, the alternative to uranium for a nuclear weapon. The time Iran would need, in theory, to make a worth of nuclear material. Under a November 2013 interim deal (see JPOA below), Iran "downblended" its stock of converted uranium enriched to medium purities to low.
 
 

'Major sacrifices' required to retake Tikrit: Iraq officer

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:54:18 PMGo to full article
Iraqi government forces hold a position on the western outskirts of Tikrit, on March 27, 2015Retaking the city of Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require "major sacrifices" on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said Saturday. Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries have been fighting to retake the city since March 2, but halted ground operations for more than a week in what officials described as a bid to curb human and material losses before pushing forward again. "The task of liberating Tikrit requires major sacrifices and street fighting, and our forces are ready for these sacrifices," the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, indicating that the pause in operations only deferred the inevitable cost. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants.
 
 

2 Czechs kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 freed

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:02:54 PMGo to full article
PRAGUE (AP) — Two Czech tourists who were abducted by gunmen two years ago as they were traveling on a bus through southwestern Pakistan have been released, the Czech government said on Saturday.
 

Two Czech women kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 freed

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:41:43 AMGo to full article
Czech Republic's Prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka says two Czech women held hostage in Pakistan have been freedTwo young Czech women kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 have been freed and have returned home, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Saturday. "I can confirm that Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka have already returned to the Czech Republic," Sobotka told the CT24 news channel. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Chrastecka as saying: "I still can't believe I am here. Izzet Sahin, the IHH official leading the negotiations with the kidnappers, told the agency the families of the victims had contacted the Turkish charity as a last resort after exhausting all other means to save the pair.
 
 

Joint military action, Yemen to dominate Arab summit

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:53:04 AMGo to full article
A handout picture made available by the Egyptian presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) welcoming Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud upon the latter's arrival in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on March 27, 2015Egypt is hosting a weekend Arab summit at which regional leaders will discuss plans to form a joint military force against the backdrop of Saudi-led strikes on rebels in Yemen. In a post-Arab Spring era of conflict and political turmoil in which jihadists have emerged as a serious threat, Yemen is serving as a test case of joint military intervention by regional players rather than led by Western powers. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, alarmed by the chaos in neighbouring Libya and violence in its own Sinai Peninsula, has been advocating joint action against Islamists.
 
 

After the fight, US eyes Netanyahu's next move

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:26:51 AMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem following his party's victory in general elections, on March 18Barack Obama's sustained public criticism of Netanyahu's election rhetoric has led to allegations of a personal vendetta and even a touch of presidential petulance. Obama has steadfastly rebuffed Netanyahu's efforts to row back his election-time opposition to a Palestinian state. "It's has been a continuously running soap opera between Netanyahu and Obama," said Aaron David Miller, a former advisor to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state.
 
 

About 4,000 fishermen stranded on Indonesian islands

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:15:19 AMGo to full article
This Friday, Nov. 28, 2014 image shows Ngwe Thein, 42, who has been living on an island near Benjina, Indonesia for three years, after being forced to work on a fishing trawler with inadequate food and little or no pay, he said. In the wake of an AP report on fishermen who were enslaved, on Thursday, March 26, 2015, Thai lawmakers voted unanimously to create tougher penalties for violating the country's anti-human trafficking law, including the death penalty. But in a Thursday email, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division said, "The Thailand government has made repeated verbal commitments to get tough with traffickers but every time real follow-up has been lacking." In the meantime, Thein is one of the thousands of men who are waiting. (AP Photo/APTN, Esther Htusan)JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The number of foreign fishermen stranded on several remote eastern Indonesian islands has spiraled to 4,000, including some revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been enslaved.
 
 

US rescues Saudi airmen from water south of Yemen

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:39:36 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Defense Department official says U.S. forces rescued two Saudi airmen after they ejected from an F-15 fighter jet over waters south of Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading airstrikes against Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
 

France says will propose UN Security Council draft on Israel

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:47:28 AMGo to full article
In this March 27, 2015, photo provided by the United Nations, Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, speaks with the media at United Nations headquarters. Fabius said Friday his country will propose a U.N. Security Council resolution in the coming weeks that could present a framework for negotiations toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/United Nations, Rick Bajornas)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — France's foreign minister said Friday his country will propose a U.N. Security Council resolution in the coming weeks that could present a framework for negotiations toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
 

Arab warplanes pummel Yemen rebels as Hadi meets allies

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:11:15 AMGo to full article
Yemeni supporters of the southern separatist movement stand next to a tank bearing the movement's flag which they confiscated from a military depot, in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on March 27, 2015Arab warplanes pounded Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen for a third night while President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi held summit talks in Egypt Saturday with regional allies seeking to prevent his overthrow. An Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies, is battling to avoid having a pro-Iran regime on its doorstep, as Shiite Huthi rebels tighten the noose around Hadi's southern stronghold. Air strikes against the rebels could last up to six months, Gulf diplomatic officials said, voicing fears that they could face retaliation at home by Iran. Heavy strikes shook the rebel-held capital Sanaa for a third consecutive night until dawn on Saturday, residents said.
 
 

Britain offers Saudis support over Yemen strikes

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:16:38 AMGo to full article
British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on March 25, 2015Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday offered Britain's "firm political support" to Saudi Arabia over its air strikes on rebel camps in Yemen. Cameron and Saudi Arabia's King Salman spoke for the first time since the monarch came to the throne in January, with the prime minister giving his clear backing to the action. Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed Huthi rebel camps in Yemen on Friday in a second day of strikes as embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in Egypt for talks with Arab allies. "The prime minister emphasised the UK's firm political support for the Saudi action in Yemen, noting that it was right to do everything possible to deter Huthi aggression, to support President Hadi and his legitimate government," said a spokeswoman for Cameron's Downing Street office.
 
 

Stocks close with slight gains, but still end the week lower

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:09:35 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 8, 2011, file photo, a pedestrian walks past the New York Stock Exchange in New York. U.S. stocks were mostly unchanged Friday, March 27, 2015, after four straight days of losses. (AP Photo/Jin Lee, File)NEW YORK (AP) — A tough week on the stock market ended quietly Friday.
 
 

Pro-Iran Hezbollah says Riyadh will be 'defeated' in Yemen

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:43:36 PMGo to full article
An image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on March 27, 2015 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the militant Shiite Muslim movement, giving a televised address from an undisclosed location in LebanonSaudi Arabia will be roundly "defeated" in its air campaign against Yemen, Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's pro-Iran movement Hezbollah, said Friday, calling on Arab leaders to stop the "aggression". "The outcome of this war is clear: Saudi Arabia will be defeated and the Yemeni people will have an undeniable victory," Nasrallah said in a televised speech. Hezbollah is now militarily involved in Syria, where it is bolstering the embattled regime, and in Iraq where it says it is fighting Sunni extremists. A months-long rebellion by Shiite fighters in Yemen escalated into a regional conflict Wednesday, when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia began conducting air strikes on rebel-held territory.
 
 

Saudi ground troops would face Yemen 'quagmire': experts

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:23:51 PMGo to full article
A Yemeni man wearing military fatigues sits on debris at the site of a Saudi air strike against Huthi rebels near Sanaa Airport on March 26, 2015Saudi-led airstrikes alone are unlikely to crush Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels but a ground incursion would risk a bloody "quagmire" and escalating tensions with Tehran, experts say. Saudi Arabia pledged to do "whatever it takes" to defend its ally President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after launching aerial raids against the Huthi Shiite fighters and their allies. "History shows that airstrikes without corresponding ground forces do not produce a decisive victory," said Frederic Wehrey of the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "If Saudi Arabia relies only on airstrikes and civilian casualties start mounting they will lose support very, very quickly," said Sultan Barakat, research director at the Doha-based Brookings Institution.
 
 

British technical support for Saudi op in Yemen: Hammond

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:02:05 PMGo to full article
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on March 23, 2015 in RiyadhBritain will provide technical support to Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen under the allies' existing close military relationship, Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said Friday. Speaking to reporters in Washington, Hammond said he had visited Riyadh on Monday and that Britain backs the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council operation against Huthi rebels. Asked what practical support Britain could provide, he said: "Political support, of course, logistical and technical support.
 
 

Hezbollah leader slams Saudi intervention in Yemen

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:36:28 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this July 25, 2014, file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a rally to mark Jerusalem Day or Al-Quds day, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. On Friday, March. 27, 2015 Nasrallah , in a televised speech, slammed Saudi Arabia over its military campaign in Yemen saying it is being launched under false pretexts. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group unleashed a tirade against Saudi Arabia on Friday over its intervention in Yemen, calling it "surprising and painful," and suggesting Riyadh would suffer a "humiliating defeat" if it didn't resolve the conflict through negotiations.
 
 

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:08:26 PMGo to full article
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, as they chant slogans during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Saudi Arabia bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday, leading a regional coalition in a campaign against Shiite rebels who have taken over much of the country and drove out the president. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SANAA, Yemen (AP) — As airstrikes in Yemen intensified on their second day Friday, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were considering an intervention on the ground, aimed at giving the president a secure foothold to return to the country, while backing Sunni tribesmen to fight against Shiite rebels and their allies, military officials said.
 
 
 

Iraq News Headlines - Yahoo! News    Feed image

 
 

Pentagon chief considers easing of enlistment standards

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:45 PMGo to full article
Carter-Military Enlistment StandardsABINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Saying the military needs to do more to compete with corporate America for quality recruits, Defense Secretary Ash Carter opened the door Monday to relaxing some enlistment standards — particularly for high-tech or cyber security jobs.
 
 

Duckworth makes video announcement for 2016 Senate bid

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:51:25 PMGo to full article
CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois says she'll run for U.S. Senate in 2016, setting up a high-profile challenge to Republican Sen. Mark Kirk's re-election bid.
 

Shaken by Yemen, Lebanon works to keep its balance

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:39:03 PMGo to full article
“They are killing Shiites in Yemen,” says Hassan Masri, a Shiite supporter of Hezbollah in southern Beirut. The latest crisis in Yemen illustrates the interconnected nature of the conflicts tearing apart the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia and Iran seek influence at each other’s expense. Saudi Arabia heads a coalition of 10 Sunni-majority Arab nations ranged against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Houthis, members of a Shiite sect reportedly supported by Iran, hold Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and are advancing on the southern port city of Aden.
 

Top Asian News at 3:30 p.m. GMT

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:32:12 PMGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Two of Asia's best-known strongmen, Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad, had much in common — a streak of authoritarianism, little tolerance for dissent and vision that changed the face of their countries. But friends they were not, and the two rarely saw eye to eye. In fact one of their only agreements was to move their countries' time — which was 7 ½ hours ahead of GMT — forward by half an hour to be in line with world time zones.
 

UN chief Ban calls for more aid for Iraq displaced

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:31:45 PMGo to full article
Picture released by the Iraqi Prime Minister's office on March 30, 2015 shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) with Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in the Iraqi capital BaghdadUnited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called in Baghdad Monday for Iraq and the international community to increase assistance for over 2.5 million people displaced by violence in the country. Ban met Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as well as President Fuad Masum, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi during his visit, and also addressed the Iraqi parliament. Iraqi forces are battling to retake the city of Tikrit, the government's largest military operation yet against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which led an offensive that overran much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland last year.
 
 

AP Sources: Duckworth to challenge Kirk for Illinois Senate

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:23:59 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Democratic officials say Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth will announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate against Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois.
 

45 dead in air strike on Yemen displaced camp

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:19:49 PMGo to full article
File photo shows displaced Yemenis at a camp set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Mazraq in Yemen's Hajja region, 360 kms northwest of Sanaa, on September 10, 2009An air strike killed dozens of people at a camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen on Monday, aid workers said, as Arab warplanes bombard rebels around the country. The International Organization for Migration said 45 internally displaced people had been killed and 65 wounded at the Al-Mazrak camp in Hajja province. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told AFP that the organisation had 75 staff on hand assisting the victims. "It was an air strike," said MSF's Middle East programme manager Pablo Marco.
 
 

AP PHOTOS: Iraqi forces struggle to take back Tikrit

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:10:58 PMGo to full article
A member of the Iraqi security forces runs to plant the national flag as they surround Tikrit during clashes to regain the city from Islamic State militants, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)The Iraqi offensive aimed at driving the Islamic State group out of the northern city of Tikrit has been slowed by booby traps, snipers and suicide bombers, but received a powerful boost last week when a U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes in support of the operation.
 
 

US drone 'killed two Iranian troops in Iraq'

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:03:40 PMGo to full article
A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off from Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan on March 13, 2009Two Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen were killed by a US drone in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, Iranian state media said Monday, in a report that was denied by the Pentagon. The official IRNA news agency said the two had been posted to Iraq as advisers in the war against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists and that they died in the drone strike on March 23. Pictures of the two men, named as Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari, were posted on Iranian news websites after their funerals on home soil. The Fars news agency called Jafari, 29, the third "martyr in defence of the shrines" from the northern Iranian city of Amol.
 
 

Iran says US drone kills 2 advisers in Iraq; US denies claim

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:18:02 PMGo to full article
Iraqi security forces attack Islamic State extremists in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran's Revolutionary Guard says a U.S. drone strike killed two of its advisers near the Iraqi city of Tikrit, where a major offensive is underway against the Islamic State group, but the U.S. said Monday its coalition conducted no airstrikes in the area during the time of the incident.
 
 

Ancient Petra sees few visitors as Jordan tourism declines

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:58:14 PMGo to full article
In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 photo, Jordanian royal desert forces stand guard in front of Al Khazneh, Arabic for the Treasury, the most dramatic of many facades carved into the mountains, in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. It's high season in Petra, the ancient city hewn from rose-colored rock and Jordan's biggest tourist draw. Yet nearby hotels stand virtually empty these days and only a trickle of tourists make their way through a landmark canyon to the Treasury building where scenes of one of the "Indiana Jones" movies were filmed. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)PETRA, Jordan (AP) — It's high season in Petra, an ancient city hewn from rose-colored rock and Jordan's biggest tourist draw. Yet nearby hotels stand virtually empty these days and only a trickle of tourists make their way through a landmark canyon to the Treasury building where scenes of one of the "Indiana Jones" movies were filmed.
 
 

Nuclear deal would reward Iran for Yemen 'aggression': Israel

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:04:09 PMGo to full article
"The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in YemenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned world powers on Monday that any nuclear deal they strike with Iran would be seen as a reward for Tehran's alleged "aggression" in Yemen. "The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary -- that Iran's aggression is to be rewarded," he said, referring to Iranian support for Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen. "The moderate and responsible countries in the region, especially Israel and also many other countries, will be the first to be hurt by this agreement," said Netanyahu, who has waged a campaign against a nuclear deal with Tehran.
 
 

Syria's Assad: Islamic State has strengthened despite airstrikes

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:02:05 PMGo to full article
In a newly published interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed the possibility of dialogue with the United States to end the conflict within his war-torn country, while warning that the self-declared Islamic State had only grown stronger since it came under attack from Western-led forces. With the rise of IS militants in the Syrian and Iraqi north, the removal of Mr. Assad's government has dropped in priority for Western policymakers, who are believed to have kept it informed of the operations of the US-led coalition attacking IS. US Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago also suggested that Washington would "have to negotiate in the end" with Assad to find a political solution in Syria, a move that Assad welcomed in an interview with US news program 60 Minutes. Assad also discussed the threat that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, poses in his country, dismissing arguments that it is being beaten back by Kurdish and Iraqi forces backed by US-led air support.
 

Malaysia proposes anti-terror laws to curb Islamic militants

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:05:52 PMGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's government Monday proposed two new laws that would reintroduce indefinite detention without trial and allow the seizure of passports of anyone suspected of supporting terror acts in an attempt to curb militant activities.
 

Ancient Petra sees few visitors as Jordan tourism declines

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:52:32 PMGo to full article
In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 photo, Jordanian royal desert forces stand guard in front of Al Khazneh, Arabic for the Treasury, the most dramatic of many facades carved into the mountains, in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. It's high season in Petra, the ancient city hewn from rose-colored rock and Jordan's biggest tourist draw. Yet nearby hotels stand virtually empty these days and only a trickle of tourists make their way through a landmark canyon to the Treasury building where scenes of one of the "Indiana Jones" movies were filmed. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)PETRA, Jordan (AP) — It's high season in Petra, an ancient city hewn from rose-colored rock and Jordan's biggest tourist draw. Yet nearby hotels stand virtually empty these days and only a trickle of tourists make their way through a landmark canyon to the Treasury building where scenes of one of the "Indiana Jones" movies were filmed.
 
 

Hope, fear as Nigerians await results of presidential vote

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:47:00 PMGo to full article
Supporters of presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, wait it the shade in Kaduna, Nigeria Monday, March 30, 2015. Nigerians are waiting in hope and fear for results of the tightest and most bitterly contested presidential election in the nation’s turbulent history. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerians waited in hope and fear on Monday for results of a presidential election in which voting was relatively smooth nationwide despite technical glitches, deadly attacks by Islamic extremists and allegations of political thuggery in some areas.
 
 

Iranian Guard says US drone killed 2 of its advisers in Iraq; US says it only struck militants

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:02:33 PMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iranian Guard says US drone killed 2 of its advisers in Iraq; US says it only struck militants.
 

Obama’s Middle East Mess and How to Clean It Up

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:15:00 PMGo to full article
This has to be a singular moment in the Obama administration’s evolving policies in the Middle East. Hold it all up to the light and ask yourself: American foreign policy may be right or wrong in any given case, but is this degree of incoherence more or less unprecedented in Foggy Bottom’s annals? In effect we’re aligned with Iran, which is Shiite.
 

Iraq: Twin car bombings in Baghdad kill at least 11

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:40:14 AMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — A pair of car bombings in a Baghdad suburb on Monday killed at least 11 people and wounded dozens, officials said, hours after the arrival of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, for talks with the Iraqi officials.
 

With Lee's passing, Mahathir is last of SE Asia's old guards

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:09:38 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this April 27, 2005 file photo, Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, left, and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad shake hands at the latter's office in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. Two of Asia’s best-known strongmen, Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, had much in common - a streak of authoritarianism, little tolerance for dissent and vision that changed the face of their countries. But friends they were not, and the two rarely saw eye to eye. (AP Photo/Bazuki Muhammad, File)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Two of Asia's best-known strongmen, Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad, had much in common — a streak of authoritarianism, little tolerance for dissent and vision that changed the face of their countries.
 
 

Syrian president says IS is expanding despite airstrikes

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:35:46 AMGo to full article
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad says the Islamic State group has been expanding since a U.S.-led coalition began its airstrikes on the group in Iraq and Syria last year.
 

Morocco confronts abortion taboo with proposed reform

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎08:48:34 AMGo to full article
In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015 photo, Aicha Ech-Chenna, founder and president of the association Women's Solidarity, gestures in Casablanca, Morocco. The debate on abortion resurfaces address the crisis of illegal abortions resurfaced, prompting King Mohammed VI to take up the case. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — It was just 7 a.m. and Hoda was walking alone to a clinic in the Moroccan coastal city of Agadir. She skipped breakfast: the Senegalese doctor had told her that the abortion would be better done on an empty stomach.
 
 

Afghanistan's Ghani walks tightrope over US, Pakistan ties

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:47:58 AMGo to full article
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, seen on the stage at Columbia University in New York, on March 26, 2015In pursuing rapprochement with Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is the very antithesis of his fiery predecessor, but his unprecedented diplomatic overtures have prompted rumblings of unease back home. Since coming to power in September, Ghani has sought to jumpstart long-stalled negotiations with the Taliban for a peace agreement 13 years after they were toppled in a US-led invasion. Ghani has courted Washington to slow the drawdown of US troops and longtime nemesis Pakistan, which has historically backed the Taliban, in what observers say is a calculated gambit to pressure the insurgents to the negotiating table. Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, well known for his anti-US and anti-Pakistan tirades, and others have warned strongly against Afghanistan's tilt towards Islamabad -- often accused of playing a "double game" and covertly nurturing the Taliban.
 
 

Pentagon chief mulls easing military enlistment standards

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:18:05 AMGo to full article
File-This March 6, 2015, file photo shows Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the Pentagon. Carter is considering easing some military enlistment standards as part of a broader set of initiatives to better attract and keep quality service members and civilians across the Defense Department. While there are few details yet, Carter is exploring whether to adjust some of the requirements for certain military jobs, such as those involving cyber or high-tech expertise. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter is considering easing some military enlistment standards as part of a broader set of initiatives to better attract and keep quality service members and civilians across the Defense Department.
 
 

Arab League unveils joint military force amid Yemen crisis

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:05:53 AMGo to full article
Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, wearing an army uniform, ride on an armed truck to patrol the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Yemen's President Abed Raboo Mansour Hadi, speaking at an Arab summit in Egypt on Saturday, called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — A two-day Arab summit ended Sunday with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen and the formal unveiling of plans to form a joint Arab intervention force, setting the stage for a potentially dangerous clash between U.S.-allied Arab states and Tehran over influence in the region.
 
 

Two Saudi policemen injured in Riyadh drive-by shooting

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:36:54 AMGo to full article
Saudi security personnel partol near Riyadh, on January 16, 2006Two Saudi police officers were wounded in a drive-by shooting in Riyadh Sunday, a spokesman said, days after the Kingdom strengthened security measures as it leads air strikes on Yemen. "A security patrol was carrying out its duties in Riyadh when it came under fire from an unknown vehicle" in an attack that "left two policemen wounded," the spokesman said in a statement published on the official SPA news agency. The attack comes just days after Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef ordered that security measures be strengthened along borders and across the kingdom, as Riyadh leads air strikes against Iran-backed Shiite rebels in neighbouring Yemen.
 
 

Boston officer improving after surgery to remove bullet

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:32:08 PMGo to full article
This undated photo released by the Boston Police Department's official Twitter account Saturday, March 28, 2015, shows Officer John Moynihan, 34, who was shot in the face during a traffic stop Friday night that ended when other officers fatally shot his attacker. Moynihan was struck just below his right eye and was listed in critical condition Saturday as the bullet remained lodged below his right ear. A decorated veteran, Moynihan served in Iraq in 2006-2007 and was honored at the White House in May 2014 for being one of the first responders in Watertown, Mass., following the April 2013 gun battle with the Boston Marathon bombers. (AP Photo/Boston Police Department)BOSTON (AP) — A decorated Boston police officer shot point-blank in the face by a suspect was in stable condition at a hospital Sunday and improving after surgery to remove a bullet lodged below his ear, police said.
 
 

Leading suspect in Tunisia museum attack killed

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:27:11 PMGo to full article
A bullet hole is seen on an art piece showcase during the reopening day of the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, March 27, 2015. The National Bardo Museum targeted by a terrorist attack reopens for the first time since gunmen opened fire on tourists March 18, killing 21 people. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian security forces decimated the leadership of a Tunisian jihadi group linked to al-Qaida's North African branch, including the man identified as the "operational chief" of the attack this month on the National Bardo Museum that killed 22 people, mostly foreign tourists, the interior minister said Sunday.
 
 

Islamic State group beheads 8 Shiites in Syria's Hama

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:19:43 PMGo to full article
BEIRUT (AP) — A new video released by the Islamic State group on Sunday shows its fighters cutting off the heads of eight men said to be Shiite Muslims. The video posted on social media said the men were beheaded in the central Syrian province of Hama.
 

How big a threat are the world's jihadi groups?

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:38:00 PMGo to full article
Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim looked like any ubiquitous insurgent commander in southern Afghanistan. They are becoming more sophisticated in their communications, more lethal in their tactics, and more adept at fundraising.
 

'Dangerous accord' with Iran worse than Israel feared: PM

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:29:24 PMGo to full article
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renews his denunciations of an Iranian nuclear dealIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced as "dangerous" a nuclear accord that world powers are negotiating with Iran, saying it goes beyond what his government had feared. "The dangerous accord which is being negotiated in Lausanne (Switzerland) confirms our concerns and even worse," Netanyahu said in remarks at a meeting of his cabinet broadcast on public radio. The premier warned that Iran could be in a position to "conquer" the Middle East through what he called the "axis" of control it has over the capitals of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Netanyahu angered the White House when he addressed a joint session of the Congress to warn against a nuclear deal with Iran in the lead-up to Israel's March 17 general election.
 
 

Egypt prosecutor names Brotherhood leaders as terrorists

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:27:16 PMGo to full article
COMBO - This combination of two file photographs shows Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, left, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 and his deputy Khairat el-Shater, right, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Egypt's top prosecutor on Sunday, March 29, 2015 has named 18 Muslim Brotherhood members, including Badie and el-Shater, as terrorists in the first implementation of an anti-terror law passed earlier this year. (AP Photo)CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's top prosecutor on Sunday named 18 Muslim Brotherhood members, including the group's leader and his deputy, as terrorists in the first implementation of an anti-terror law passed earlier this year.
 
 

Arab leaders agree joint military force

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:25:53 PMGo to full article
(Front from L-R) Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Sudanese President Omar al Bashir (middle-C)Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism. "Assuming the great responsibility imposed by the great challenges facing our Arab nation and threatening its capabilities, the Arab leaders had decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. The decision was mostly aimed at fighting jihadists who have overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria and secured a foothold in Libya, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said ahead of the summit. Egypt had pushed for the creation of the rapid response force to fight militants, and the matter gained urgency this week after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Huthi rebels in Yemen.
 
 

Q&A: Plans for an Arab joint intervention force

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:52:45 PMGo to full article
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, greets Jordan's King Abdullah II on his arrival to attend an Arab summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015. In a speech to Arab leaders, Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/MENA)CAIRO (AP) — Arab League member nations formally announced on Sunday an agreement to form a joint military force. While details of how such a force would actually operate remain thin, the agreement is a telling sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or Iran-backed groups.
 
 

Saudi Sunnis and Iran's Shiites—Why the U.S. Can’t Support Both

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:00:00 PMGo to full article
Saudi Sunnis and Iran's Shiites—Why the U.S. Can’t Support BothIt’s about a possible full-fledged tribal war between the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and its allies vs. the Shiites of Iran and its supporters. The United States is now supporting Iran — a member of  President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” — with airstrikes in an effort to keep ISIS from gaining in Iraq. Just to confuse things even more, the administration is also supporting the Saudis in their efforts to keep Iran-backed Houthis from taking over Yemen. The Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthi positions in Yemen is just the latest step Saudi Arabia has taken to ensure that the delicate political balance of the Middle East stays to its liking.
 
 

The frontline in liberating child soldiers

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:33:32 PMGo to full article
Just a year ago, Yemen was one of the few countries with a “children’s parliament,” an elected body of teenagers that advised the nation’s lawmakers. Its main concern: how to end the recruitment of children, by both the military and armed groups, to act as soldiers. Fast forward to 2015 and Yemen’s government has collapsed. According to the United Nations, the invading troops should not be surprised to find thousands of child soldiers.
 

Syria regime executed prisoners before Idlib fall: monitor

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:17:47 AMGo to full article
Fighters loyal to Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and its allies walk through the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 28, 2015Syrian government forces apparently executed at least 15 prisoners in the city of Idlib before Islamist fighters overran the provincial capital, a monitor said on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bodies of at least 15 detainees had been found after the northwestern city was taken by a coalition of forces including Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front. "The number of bodies found in a military intelligence detention facility in Idlib city has risen to 15," the Britain-based group's director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. The group had earlier reported the discovery of at least nine bodies believed to be prisoners executed by regime forces before they withdrew from the city.
 
 

Decorated Boston cop in coma after being shot in face

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:35:33 AMGo to full article
cop shotBOSTON (AP) — A decorated Boston police officer remained in a medically induced coma Saturday, a night after he was shot in the face by a man with several gun convictions during a traffic stop that ended when other officers fatally shot his attacker, the city's police commissioner said.
 
 

Airport Security Finally Admits There’s No Reason to Search a Black Woman’s Afro

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎01:14:27 AMGo to full article
Most of us are used to the Transportation Security Administration’s rules for modern day air travel. I’d been pulled aside to be wanded, and then, without warning, the TSA agent stuck her gloved hands into my curly locks and felt around. This week the TSA informed two women who had filed a complaint through the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California that the agency would take steps to stop the examination of black women’s hair at the nation’s airports. “I was going through the screening procedures like we all do, and after I stepped out of the full body scanner, the agent said, ‘OK, now I’m going to check your hair,’ ” Malaika Singleton, a neuroscientist from California who wears her hair in “sisterlocks,” told Business Insider, describing her experience going through the security line at Los Angeles International Airport in December 2013.
 

Konate brace gives Senegal coach winning debut

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:33:43 AMGo to full article
Senegal's Moussa Konate celebrates after scoring a goal during the International Friendly football match between Senegal and Ghana on March 28, 2015 in Le Havre, northwestern FranceSubstitute Moussa Konate scored twice as Senegal confirmed their dominance over Ghana with a 2-1 friendly international victory in France on Saturday. Konate replaced recalled Demba Ba just past the hour mark and struck twice within 11 minutes as the Teranga Lions repeated a 2-1 win over the Black Stars at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Senegalese success meant a winning debut for coach and former star Aliou Cisse, who was appointed when French coach Alain Giresse parted with the Lions after a Cup of Nations first-round exit.
 
 

John Burns' Poetic War Zone Correspondence

 
‎29 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:09:29 AMGo to full article
John Burns' Poetic War Zone CorrespondenceThe article carried the byline of John F. Burns, a longtime Times reporter who, in spite of his British nationality, had spent most of his career elsewhere. As it turned out, it would be Burns' last. Later on Thursday, the Times announced that the 70-year-old Burns would retire after 40 years at the paper, concluding a career that earned him a pair of Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Few contemporary foreign correspondents have worked in as many conflict zones as Burns.
 
 

Questions and answers about the Arab peacekeeping force

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:43:40 PMGo to full article
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, greets Jordan's King Abdullah II on his arrival to attend an Arab summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015. In a speech to Arab leaders, Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/MENA)CAIRO (AP) — Arab League member states have agreed in principle to form a joint inter-Arab military peacekeeping force. While details of how such a force would actually operate remain thin, the agreement is a telling sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or spreading Iranian power. Here's a look at some of the questions surrounding the plan:
 
 

Afghan court sentences AP journalist's killer to 20 years

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:39:07 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this photo taken in October 2012, Associated Press reporter Kathy Gannon, second from left, and photographer Anja Niedringhaus pose for a photo with Afghan police recruits at the main police training academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Niedringhaus and wounding Gannon almost one year ago, should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country’s attorney general on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The final sentence for former Afghan police unit commander Naqibullah was reduced from the death penalty recommended by a primary court last year. Twenty years in prison is the maximum jail sentence in Afghanistan, said Zahid Safi, a lawyer for The Associated Press who had been briefed on the decision by the Supreme Court. (AP Photo)KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon almost one year ago should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country's attorney general on Saturday.
 
 

Arab leaders meet amid Saudi-led Yemen offensive

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:12:29 PMGo to full article
A picture made available by the Egyptian presidency shows President Sisi giving a speech during the Arab League summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on March 28, 2015Arab leaders met in Egypt Saturday for a summit overshadowed by the Saudi-led offensive against Yemeni rebels to discuss a joint-Arab military force to confront "terrorist groups". Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi hailed the intervention aimed at bringing him back to power, calling it a "practical application" of the kind of joint military action touted by Egypt's leader. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was elected after toppling his Islamist predecessor with Gulf Arab backing, has promoted his powerful army as a cornerstone of a joint Arab force. He told the leaders of the 22-member League meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that the region faced an "unprecedented" threat, with unspecified powers and militants posing a danger to "its existence".
 
 

UN vows to step up Iraq heritage protection

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:55:39 PMGo to full article
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova speaks during a press conference at the National Museum in Baghdad on March 28, 2015, as she visits the Iraqi capital to boost global efforts to preserve the country's heritageThe head of the United Nations cultural body vowed in Baghdad Saturday to step up measures aimed at protecting Iraq's heritage, which has been systematically targeted by jihadist militants. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova launched a Japanese-funded initiative to preserve Iraq's museum collections and threatened heritage, as well as a social media campaign under the hashtag #Unite4Heritage. "Today our pledge is we will never relent in safeguarding the great cultural heritage and diversity of Iraq," she said, speaking from the recently reopened national museum in Baghdad.
 
 

Things to know about Nigeria's 2 front-runners in vote

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:51:55 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Thursday, March 26, 2015 file photo, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, left, and opposition candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, right, prepare to sign a renewal of their pledge to hold peaceful "free, fair, and credible" elections, at a hotel in the capital Abuja, Nigeria. Nigeria has extended voting to Sunday, March 28, 2015 after problems occurred as millions turned out Saturday to vote in a presidential election that analysts say is too close to call between President Goodluck Jonathan and former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, file)ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's presidential election is a very tight race that many analysts say is too close to call. Here's a look at the two front-runners in the race.
 
 

Qaeda, allies seize Syria's Idlib city in blow to regime

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:30:57 PMGo to full article
Rebels from an alliance of Islamist groups fighting in Syria fire a home-made mortar during clashes with government forces supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the northwestern city of Idlib on March 25, 2015Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and its allies seized on Saturday the city of Idlib, only the second provincial capital to be lost by the regime in more than four years of war. More than 215,000 people have been killed since anti-government protests, which erupted in March 2011, were brutally repressed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime civil war followed. The coalition that seized Idlib city is made up of Al-Nusra Front, the official Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda, and several Islamist factions. "Al-Nusra Front and its allies have captured all of Idlib," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
 
 

World's huddled masses use 4 key land, sea routes to Europe

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:47:27 PMGo to full article
Map shows main migration routes into EU countries; 2c x 4 1/2 inches; 96.3 mm x 114 mm;DUBLIN (AP) — Most migrants who live illegally in the European Union fly to the 28-nation bloc on valid visas and simply overstay their welcome. But for the poorest and most desperate travelers of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the journey often takes months by sea or land, with payments to trafficking gangs.
 
 

For African migrants, trek to Europe brings risk, heartbreak

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:42:37 PMGo to full article
In this Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 photo a migrant from Cameroon feeds 10-months-old Kendra Koffi on their way to the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Polikastro, Greece. The tide of hopeful migrants pours through the vulnerable 'back-door' countries in the hope of entering the 28-nation European Union, and although most people don't make it, the human tide continues to grow, according to Frontex, the EU agency that helps governments police the bloc’s leaky frontiers. (AP Photo/Dalton Bennett)VELES, Macedonia (AP) — This is the moment when Sandrine Koffi's dream of a new life in Europe ended — and her nightmare of an infant lost in the Macedonian night began.
 
 

'Major sacrifices' required to retake Tikrit: Iraq officer

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:54:18 PMGo to full article
Iraqi government forces hold a position on the western outskirts of Tikrit, on March 27, 2015Retaking the city of Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require "major sacrifices" on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said Saturday. Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries have been fighting to retake the city since March 2, but halted ground operations for more than a week in what officials described as a bid to curb human and material losses before pushing forward again. "The task of liberating Tikrit requires major sacrifices and street fighting, and our forces are ready for these sacrifices," the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, indicating that the pause in operations only deferred the inevitable cost. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants.
 
 

Can the US figure out which groups to support in Syria? Not easily

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:59:16 PMGo to full article
As the US grapples with whether it should pursue a larger role in the Syrian War – and just how much military aid to give Iraqi troops battling the Islamic State – it is also trying to figure out how to avoid one of the most basic and nettlesome blunders of all: inadvertently creating a Frankenstein’s monster in the form of corrupt local power brokers. In Afghanistan, by relying on small units of Special Operations Forces working alongside mujahideen forces, the US “super-empowered” these militias, says Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, widely considered to be one of the Pentagon’s premier practitioners of counterinsurgency and now the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command. It was one of the key wrong turns in America’s war in Afghanistan. Learning to suss out local power brokers was a complex endeavor even during the years of counterinsurgency warfare, as the American military spent a decade trying to get to know a population.
 

Addressing India's 'rape culture,' the toll of the Syrian war, voting in Israel, economic reform in the Ukraine, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:00:11 PMGo to full article
“It is seldom that India gets coverage in the western media and when it does, it is often for negative news...,” writes Mrutyuanjai Mishra. If India and Indians do not protest against such documentaries [as the BBC’s documentary ‘India’s Daughter’] then we might see an increase in racism against persons of Indian origin.
 

Nobel's will goes on display for first time

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎12:03:59 PMGo to full article
Alfred Nobel's will and testamentAlfred Nobel's last will and testament, which played a pivotal role in Swedish history by creating the now-illustrious Nobel prizes, has gone on display for the first time in Stockholm. Until now, only a handful of people had laid eyes on the original 1895 document that has been stashed away in a safe at the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm. The Nobel Museum has changed all that, putting it on public display as part of its new exhibition "Legacy". "The aim is to show Alfred Nobel's legacy to the public.
 
 

Saudi pounds Yemen rebel camps, Arab allies gather

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:49:39 AMGo to full article
Yemeni supporters of the southern separatist movement stand next to a tank bearing the movement's flag which they confiscated from a military depot, in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on March 27, 2015Heavy bombing shook Yemen's capital for a third night, residents said Saturday, as President Barack Obama said the United States shared a "collective goal" with its regional ally Saudi Arabia to see stability in the war-torn state. "It was an intense night of bombing and the windows shook," said a foreigner working for an international aid organisation in Sanaa. "People want to leave but there are no flights out of Yemen," she said. The airstrikes apparently mainly targeted arms depots and other military facilities outside Sanaa, witnesses said.
 
 

Joint military action, Yemen to dominate Arab summit

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:53:04 AMGo to full article
A handout picture made available by the Egyptian presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) welcoming Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud upon the latter's arrival in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on March 27, 2015Egypt is hosting a weekend Arab summit at which regional leaders will discuss plans to form a joint military force against the backdrop of Saudi-led strikes on rebels in Yemen. In a post-Arab Spring era of conflict and political turmoil in which jihadists have emerged as a serious threat, Yemen is serving as a test case of joint military intervention by regional players rather than led by Western powers. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, alarmed by the chaos in neighbouring Libya and violence in its own Sinai Peninsula, has been advocating joint action against Islamists.
 
 

Nobel's will goes on display for first time

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:15:25 AMGo to full article
The last will and testament of Alfred Nobel is displayed at the Nobel Museum in the Old Town of Stockholm on March 17, 2015Alfred Nobel's last will and testament, which played a pivotal role in Swedish history by creating the now-illustrious Nobel prizes, has gone on display for the first time in Stockholm. Until now, only a handful of people had laid eyes on the original 1895 document that has been stashed away in a safe at the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm. The Nobel Museum has changed all that, putting it on public display as part of its new exhibition "Legacy". "The aim is to show Alfred Nobel's legacy to the public.
 
 

AP EXPLAINS: Japan's long wait to address US Congress

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:31:17 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this March 10, 2015 file photo Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo. Abe will become the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress in late April, the House speaker has announced. Foreign leaders have been accorded the honor 111 times since World War II, but not Japan, despite the tight alliance forged with the U.S. in the 70 years since 1945. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington honors America's closest friends by inviting their leaders to address a joint meeting of Congress. But until Thursday, when House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, no Japanese leaders had been invited. That's striking considering the tight U.S.-Japan alliance in the 70 years since World War II ended. British, South Korean and German leaders have been invited multiple times. So have two Liberian presidents and a Latvian one - more than 100 invitations overall since the war. So why not Japan? The answers have to do with underlying friction that has been a part of U.S.-Japanese relations and, more recently, frequent changes of Japanese leaders.
 
 

Police officer wounded, suspect killed in Boston shootout

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:10 AMGo to full article
BOSTON (AP) — A suspect in a motor vehicle stop opened fire on police on Friday evening and seriously wounded a decorated officer before being killed by other officers at the scene, authorities said. An apparent bystander also was shot.
 

AP EXPLAINS: Japan's long wait to address US Congress

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:07:04 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this March 10, 2015 file photo Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo. Abe will become the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress in late April, the House speaker has announced. Foreign leaders have been accorded the honor 111 times since World War II, but not Japan, despite the tight alliance forged with the U.S. in the 70 years since 1945. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington honors America's closest friends by inviting their leaders to address a joint meeting of Congress. But until Thursday, when House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, no Japanese leaders had been invited. That's striking considering the tight U.S.-Japan alliance in the 70 years since World War II ended. British, South Korean and German leaders have been invited multiple times. So have two Liberian presidents and a Latvian one - more than 100 invitations overall since the war. So why not Japan? The answers have to do with underlying friction that has been a part of U.S.-Japanese relations and, more recently, frequent changes of Japanese leaders.
 
 

Pro-Iran Hezbollah says Riyadh will be 'defeated' in Yemen

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:43:36 PMGo to full article
An image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on March 27, 2015 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the militant Shiite Muslim movement, giving a televised address from an undisclosed location in LebanonSaudi Arabia will be roundly "defeated" in its air campaign against Yemen, Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's pro-Iran movement Hezbollah, said Friday, calling on Arab leaders to stop the "aggression". "The outcome of this war is clear: Saudi Arabia will be defeated and the Yemeni people will have an undeniable victory," Nasrallah said in a televised speech. Hezbollah is now militarily involved in Syria, where it is bolstering the embattled regime, and in Iraq where it says it is fighting Sunni extremists. A months-long rebellion by Shiite fighters in Yemen escalated into a regional conflict Wednesday, when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia began conducting air strikes on rebel-held territory.
 
 

Nigeria: Boko Haram's caliphate to the fall of Gwoza

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎11:14:37 PMGo to full article
Displaced Nigerians rest on the side of a road in Bama on March 25, 2015 after the Nigerian army retook the townOn August 24, 2014, the leader of the extremist group, Abubakar Shekau, announces that Gwoza, which the group seized in June, is part of an Islamic caliphate. On September 2, Boko Haram fighters take over the town of Bama in Borno state, following heavy fighting with government troops, 75 kilometres (45 miles) from the group's spiritual home, Maiduguri. Bama's fall comes several days after that of the border town of Gamboru, which had already been targeted by Boko Haram gunmen in May, razing the town and killing at least 300 people, locals say. On January 3, 2015, Boko Haram attacks the town of Baga on the banks of Lake Chad, where the borders of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger converge.
 
 

France calls for Islamic State to be referred to ICC

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:53:49 PMGo to full article
This photo provided by the United Nations shows French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as he addresses United Nations Security Council, Friday, March 27, 2015. Fabius said the council should refer the situation in Iraq and Syria to the International Criminal Court. (AP Photo/United Nations, Eskinder Debebe)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief told the Security Council on Friday that in a "most terrible irony," the Islamic State group may be more accepting of the ethnic diversity of its members than some states are about ethnic differences among their own citizens.
 
 

Hezbollah leader slams Saudi intervention in Yemen

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:36:28 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this July 25, 2014, file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a rally to mark Jerusalem Day or Al-Quds day, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. On Friday, March. 27, 2015 Nasrallah , in a televised speech, slammed Saudi Arabia over its military campaign in Yemen saying it is being launched under false pretexts. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group unleashed a tirade against Saudi Arabia on Friday over its intervention in Yemen, calling it "surprising and painful," and suggesting Riyadh would suffer a "humiliating defeat" if it didn't resolve the conflict through negotiations.
 
 

Iraq paramilitaries freeze Tikrit ops over US strikes

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:55:04 PMGo to full article
Iraqi government forces vehicles are positioned on the western outskirts of Tikrit, on March 27, 2015, during a military operation to retake the city from Islamic State group jihadistsKey groups in Iraq's paramilitary Popular Mobilisation forces, which have played a leading role in the ongoing assault on Tikrit, are freezing their participation in offensive operations, commanders said Friday. While the move appeals to Washington, which wants distance from militias accused of human rights abuses, it will also blunt the offensive capabilities of pro-government ground forces in the battle to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. The United States launched its first air strikes in support of the Tikrit operation on Wednesday, sparking the freeze by militia units in the Popular Mobilisation forces, or Hashad al-Shaabi in Arabic, which had repeatedly voiced opposition to American intervention. "We consider this a break until the coalition issue is resolved," one commander, who gave his name as Baqir, told AFP in Awja, just south of Tikrit.
 
 

A look at America's complicated collage of a Mideast policy

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:46:58 PMGo to full article
In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States' engagement in the volatile and unpredictable Middle East got more complicated this week, as American and Iranian negotiators sought a historic nuclear agreement while the U.S. provided intelligence for a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
 
 

French FM warns Middle East minorities could 'disappear entirely'

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:37:36 PMGo to full article
Displaced Iraqi families from the Yazidi community cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing in northern Iraq on August 13, 2014Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities under attack in the Middle East could "disappear entirely" unless the world takes action to protect them, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday. Fabius told a UN Security Council debate that an "action charter" was needed to address the violence that saw 20 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya last month. "The danger is that minorities will disappear entirely," Fabius said. Islamic State militants in Iraq, Syria and Libya have targeted religious minorities in attacks, notably Yazidis in a campaign that UN investigators have said probably amounts to genocide.
 
 

A look at America's complicated collage of a Mideast policy

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎09:36:13 PMGo to full article
In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States' engagement in the volatile and unpredictable Middle East got more complicated this week, as American and Iranian negotiators sought a historic nuclear agreement while the U.S. provided intelligence for a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
 
 

Ahead of nuclear deadline, Iran and US grope for trust

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎08:05:44 PMGo to full article
Iran and six world powers may in coming days reach a framework agreement on the country's nuclear program. Mr. Khamenei said the US was “hypocritical and deceitful,” that Obama included “dishonest” statements in his Persian New Year (Nowruz) message, and that Iran wouldn’t accept “America’s imposition and bullying” in the talks.
 

Official: 1,500 North Caucasus people fight in Iraq, Syria

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎06:57:41 PMGo to full article
MOSCOW (AP) — A senior Russian official says about 1,500 residents of Russia's North Caucasus are fighting alongside Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
 

UN orders investigation into Libya rights abuses

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:32:47 PMGo to full article
Members of a brigade loyal to the Fajr Libya, an alliance of Islamist-backed militias, sit on a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun on March 15, 2015 in Libya's coastal city of SirteThe UN Human Rights Council decided Friday to send a mission to war-torn Libya to investigate a range of abuses by different sides and help bring perpetrators to justice. The 47-member rights body adopted by consensus a resolution asking the UN rights chief to "urgently" dispatch a team of investigators to Libya. Libya hailed the decision. "There needs to be investigation of violations of human rights to ensure there is no impunity in this case," Libyan representative Salwa El-Deghili told the council.

 

 

US wants Mosul offensive on IS in April-May

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

 

 


Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defence

 

 

 

 

Iran nuclear talks race towards deadline

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 30, 2015
Global powers were due to gather with Iran Monday, seeking to slot into place the last pieces of a complex puzzle to curtail Tehran's nuclear programme as diplomats said tentative agreement on some parts had been reached. US Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the team of six world powers - who hope an end to more than a decade of nuclear tensions with Iran may be in sight - for their
 

Europe resumes Galileo satnav deployment

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) March 28, 2015
Europe resumed deployment of its beleaguered Galileo satnav programme on Friday, launching a pair of satellites seven months after a rocket malfunction sent two multi-million euro orbiters awry. Galileo's seventh and eighth satellites blasted off from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 2146 GMT (6:46 pm local time), to join four orbiters already in the constellation. Taken a
 

What an Iran nuclear deal could look like

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 29, 2015
Global powers were Sunday narrowing in on a deal to stop any Iranian bid to develop nuclear weapons, with diplomats saying some key parts of an outline had been tentatively agreed. The "framework" accord - no one knows how detailed it will be - is meant to be fleshed out into a comprehensive agreement by June 30 to end over a decade of tensions with the Islamic republic. Here are the p
 

When SWU met LEU: The Iran nuclear talks jargon A-to-Z

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 28, 2015
Drowning in a radioactive sea of nuclear jargon, mixing up Bushehr and breakout, plutonium and Parchin, centrifuges and code 3.1? As Iran and six world powers negotiate in Switzerland on ending the crisis over Tehran's nuclear programme, here is an A-to-Z glossary of the key technical terms: A is for Arak Until 2014, Iran was building a heavy water reactor at Arak. In theory, once o
 

Philippines hits back at Beijing over South China Sea

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) March 28, 2015
The Philippines on Saturday shot back at Beijing's criticism of its activities in the South China Sea, saying they were "in no way comparable to China's massive reclamation activities" in the waters. It also said accusations that Manila was being "hypocritical" would not distract people from Beijing's own actions which were raising regional tensions. The statement by foreign affairs depa
 

Taiwan leader backs joining China-led infrastructure bank

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) March 27, 2015
Taiwan's leader said he is in favour of joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in comments published Friday, making it the latest economy to express interest in joining the Beijing-backed institution. It was not immediately clear if the island could actually join the AIIB, as the mainland has long opposed allowing Taiwan to join any international organisations that confer sovereign
 

Wanted - Automated Lookouts for Unmanned Surface Vessels

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 30, 2015
DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program seeks to develop a new type of unmanned surface vessel that could independently track adversaries' ultra-quiet diesel-electric submarines over thousands of miles. One of the challenges that the ACTUV program is addressing is development of autonomous behaviors for complying with the International Regulations fo
 

Sensor cable monitors all fences - even detects drone fly-bys

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Saarbrucken, Germany (SPX) Mar 30, 2015
Fenced-in areas, such as airports, nuclear power stations, industrial sites, or private plots of land, can now be monitored thanks to novel sensor technology that has been developed by a team of experimental physicists, led by Professor Uwe Hartmann at Saarland University. The sensors respond immediately as soon as someone tries to climb over or cut through the fence, providing informati
 

'Major sacrifices' required to retake Tikrit: Iraq officer

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) March 28, 2015
Retaking the city of Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require "major sacrifices" on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said Saturday. Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries have been fighting to retake the city since March 2, but halted ground operations for more than a week in what officials described as a bid to curb human
 

Taiwan protesters pelt eggs over China flight route

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) March 29, 2015
Taiwanese demonstrators threw eggs and slippers to protest against China's launch of a controversial new flight route on Sunday, accusing the government of failing to stand up to Beijing. Thirty-odd members from the radical anti-China opposition party Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) attempted to push their way through a police line that guarded the entrance of a shrine where President Ma Ying-
 

Chinese court jails Uighur for 6 years for growing beardw/

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 29, 2015
A court in China's mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has sentenced a man to six years in prison for "provoking trouble" and growing a beard, a practise discouraged by local authorities, a newspaper reported Sunday. The court in the desert oasis city of Kashgar sentenced the 38-year-old Uighur to six years, while his wife was given a two-year sentence, according to the China Youth Daily. Th
 

Arab leaders agree joint military force

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (AFP) March 29, 2015
Arab leaders agreed on Sunday to form a joint military force after a summit dominated by a Saudi-led offensive on Shiite rebels in Yemen and the threat from Islamist extremism. Arab representatives will meet over the next month to study the creation of the force and present their findings to defence ministers within four months, according to the resolution adopted by the leaders. "Assumi
 

Arab strikes on rebels hit Yemen's main airport

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Sanaa (AFP) March 29, 2015
Saudi-led warplanes bombed Yemen's main international airport and struck a renegade troop base in the capital, as Arab leaders vowed Sunday to pummel Iranian-backed rebels until they surrender. The raids on the country's main air gateway came just hours after UN workers were evacuated following deadly fighting that has sent tensions between Tehran and other Middle East powers soaring. In
 

S. Korea opts for KAI-Lockheed in $7.8 bn fighter deal

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) March 30, 2015
South Korea on Monday selected Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and partner Lockheed Martin as the preferred bidder for a multi-billion-dollar contract to develop 120 "indigenous" fighter jets. The bid from KAI and the US aerospace giant was always seen as the favourite for the 8.6 trillion won (US $7.8 billion) deal over a rival bid by civilian carrier Korean Air (KAL) teamed with Airbus.
 

Navy tests new production lot Tomahawk

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎02:54:16 AMGo to full article
Indian Head, Md. (UPI) Mar 26, 2015
Functional ground testing for a new production lot of the U.S. Navy's Tomahawk tactical cruise missile has been conducted by the Navy Warfare Center Division. The FGT involved exercising the Raytheon-produced weapon at the system level – from launch to detonation phase - but with the missile physically restrained and equipped with an inert warhead. "After 'launch,' real-time,

 

 

 

China hits out at Japan over defence spending worries

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 26, 2015
China dismissed Japanese concerns about its defence spending as "ridiculous" on Thursday after Tokyo commissioned its biggest-ever helicopter carrier. Both sides are boosting their military budgets as they grow increasingly wary of each other's ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region, facing off over a maritime territorial dispute and how to interpret Japan's motivations and actions during Worl
 

Army tests missile launch demonstrator

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
White Sands, N.M. (UPI) Mar 26, 2015
The tube integrity and missile stack integration of a demonstrator multi-mission launch system has been successfully verified in U.S. Army testing. The testing involved the use of three missiles and was conducted by the Army's Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept Product Office with support from the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center.
 

Japan launches replacement spy satellite

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) March 26, 2015
Japan on Thursday successfully launched a replacement spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, as an existing device comes to the end of its working life. Tokyo put spy satellites into operation in the 2000s after its erratic neighbour North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic missile over the Japanese mainland and into the western Pacific in 1998. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (
 

Saudi strikes Yemen rebels as Iran warns of 'dangerous step'

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Sanaa (AFP) March 26, 2015
Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition bombed Huthi Shiite rebels Thursday in support of Yemen's embattled president, who headed to an Arab summit to garner support as Iran warned the intervention was "dangerous". Powerful explosions rocked Sanaa soon after rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi criticised the intervention as "unjustified" and called for supporters to confront the "criminal oppressi
 

Taiwan protesters scuffle with police over China flight route

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) March 26, 2015
Taiwanese protesters scuffled with police on Thursday ahead of China's launch of a controversial flight route, which they say has been allowed to go ahead despite fears over security risks. The route over the Taiwan Strait is due to be inaugurated on Sunday, despite a backlash over security concerns. Around 40 protesters entered the lobby of the headquarters of the Mainland Affairs Counc
 

UK data hub will maximize benefits of Europe's EO program

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
London, UK (SPX) Mar 25, 2015
The UK is set to host a world-class data facility that will give UK scientists full access to a wealth of new Earth observation data from Europe's cutting-edge Copernicus programme. Europe's most ambitious Earth observation (EO) programme to date, Copernicus is launching a family of satellites, called Sentinels, that will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improv
 

N. Korea says US missile system seeks to contain China, Russia

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) March 26, 2015
North Korea weighed in Thursday on the proposed deployment of a US missile defence system in South Korea, criticising it as a Cold War-era move to "contain" China and Russia. The North Korean response appeared aimed at exploiting tensions between Washington, Beijing, Moscow and Seoul over the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. The United States insists THAAD is a deterre
 

US and UAE Ink Bilateral Space Cooperation

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 25, 2015
Officials from several departments and agencies of the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency met in Washington, D.C., during the week of March 16-20, 2015, to review a broad list of potential areas of space cooperation. The United States and the United Arab Emirates officials discussed strengthening civil and national security space collaboration. They agree
 

US 'hijacking' victory in Iraq's Tikrit: militia groups

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) March 26, 2015
Iraqi Shiite militias accused Washington Thursday of hijacking the operation to retake Tikrit, threatening a mass pullout even as regular government forces pressed a final assault. The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group launched its first air strikes on Tikrit late Wednesday, in what Washington and Baghdad have described as a potential game-changer in a stalled operation. I
 

Air strikes trigger final push on Iraq's Tikrit

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) March 26, 2015
Iraqi government forces revived a stalled ground operation to retake Tikrit Thursday following US-led air strikes that paved the way but left the anti-jihadist camp deeply divided. Wary of being seen as cosying up to Iran's proxies, Washington conditioned its intervention on an enhanced role for regular government forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The Tehran-backed par
 

Raytheon, Poland's MESKO increasing collaboration

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Waltham, Mass. (UPI) Mar 26, 2015
Raytheon's Missile Systems business is expanding its cooperation with Polish missile and ammunition manufacturer MESKO with the signing of a Letter of Intent. The agreement, Raytheon said, will lead to collaboration and technology sharing and focuses on Raytheon's KRAB howitzer precision fires and a new Polish Attack Helicopter. "This is a tremendous step forward, allowing Raythe
 

Rouhani writes to Obama as Iran talks near deadline

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 26, 2015
Iran's president Thursday appealed to global leaders including Barack Obama as negotiators raced against the clock to agree the outlines of a deal that puts an Iranian nuclear bomb out of reach. Hassan Rouhani wrote to the American president, US officials confirmed, as well as to the leaders of the five other powers heading efforts to resolve the 12-year standoff over Iran's nuclear programm
 

NATO country orders tactical radios

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Rochester, N.Y. (UPI) Mar 26, 2015
An unidentified country belonging to NATO has ordered secure tactical radios for its military from the Harris Corporation of the United States. The order is worth $25 million, Harris said, but no details were given as to the number of units to be supplied or their delivery schedule. Harris Corporation said it will provide the customer with two variants of its Falcon III communica
 

Spain approves security laws decried by rights groups

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Madrid (AFP) March 26, 2015
Spain's lower house of parliament on Thursday approved two new security laws which rights groups warn will curb the right to protest, freedom of the press and the right to asylum. The ruling conservative Popular Party used its absolute majority in the assembly to pass the bills, which were opposed by all opposition parties and have sparked numerous noisy street demonstrations. One law re
 

Saudi-led raids on Yemen rebels 'successful': coalition

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:28:06 AMGo to full article
Riyadh (AFP) March 26, 2015
The first wave of Saudi-led air raids against Shiite rebels in Yemen was "successful", the coalition said Thursday, vowing to press on with the intervention until goals are reached. Speaking to reporters in the Saudi capital, spokesman Ahmed Assiri also said that there were no immediate plans to put boots on the ground. However he added that "if there is a need for ground forces, Saudi A

 

 

Canada orders missile protection system

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Rolling Meadows, Ill. (UPI) Mar 25, 2015
Northrop Grumman announced it has been selected to supply its latest infrared missile protection system to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The system - the directional infrared countermeasures system - will be used to protect the RCAF's fleet of CH-147 Chinook helicopters, the company said, but details as to the number of units to be delivered, their delivery date and the value of the c
 

Japan PM not to attend China's war parade: report

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) March 25, 2015
Japan's prime minister is set to rebuff a prickly invitation to a Chinese military parade, a report said Wednesday, as the former World War II enemies jockey over the telling of their shared history. Tokyo has not officially replied to Beijing's comments on the march, being held to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the conflict, but it is unlikely that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go
 

USMC orders targeting system from Elbit Systems America

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Fort Worth, Texas (UPI) Mar 23, 2015
The U.S. Marines are to receive a new lightweight all-weather targeting capability from Elbit Systems America LLC through a new IDIQ contract. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity award for the Common Laser Range Finder-Integrated Capability, or CLRF-IC, is worth $73.4 million and extends through March of 2020. Elbit Systems America, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd of Is
 

Moscow-friendly Greece could 'paralyse' NATO

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) March 25, 2015
A Moscow-friendly Greece could paralyse NATO's ability to react to Russian aggression, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned Wednesday. Athens could use its veto to slow the alliance's response if Russia set its sights on its Baltic member states, he told Poland's Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. The Cold War-era hawk, who worked for president Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 19
 

Airbus DS sells Rostock System Technik subsidiary

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Hamburg, Germany (UPI) Mar 24, 2015
Airbus Defense and Space has announced the sale of its aerospace engineering subsidiary, Rostock System Technik GmbH, to Ferchau Engineering GmbH of Germany. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Airbus DS said the action was consistent with its strategy of strengthening its core business and divesting non-core activities. "We have conducted an extensive selection
 

Kerry on historic mission for Iran nuclear deal

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 25, 2015
US Secretary of State John Kerry left Washington on Wednesday for a date with history, hoping to seal a deal reining in Iran's nuclear ambitions for years to come. After months of closed-door negotiations, Kerry and his team was headed once again for talks in Switzerland with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The two nations broke diplomatic ties more than three decades ago
 

Squid-inspired 'invisibility stickers' could help soldiers evade detection

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Denver CO (SPX) Mar 25, 2015
Squid are the ultimate camouflage artists, blending almost flawlessly with their backgrounds so that unsuspecting prey can't detect them. Using a protein that's key to this process, scientists have designed "invisibility stickers" that could one day help soldiers disguise themselves, even when sought by enemies with tough-to-fool infrared cameras. The researchers will present their work at
 

Yemen leader taken to 'secure location' as rebels advance

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Aden (AFP) March 25, 2015
Yemen's leader was rushed to a "secure location" Wednesday as rebel forces bore down on his southern stronghold and a warplane attacked his presidential complex, prompting pleas for urgent intervention. The escalating turmoil has stoked fears that Yemen - a front line in the US battle against Al-Qaeda - is teetering on the brink of all-out civil war. A top aide of President Abedrabbo M
 

Tech firms, activists renew surveillance reform push

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 25, 2015
Big US technology firms joined a coalition of activists Wednesday urging Congress to pass a law scaling back government surveillance ahead of key deadline. A letter endorsed by more than 40 groups including an alliance that includes Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple pressed for surveillance reforms ahead of the June 1 expiration of a law allowing bulk collection of telephone records and o
 

DARPA, Navy contract for new UAS-ship capability

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Mar 24, 2015
AeroVironment and Northrop Grumman are developing systems to allow small ships to launch and recover medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems. The work on Phase 2 of the system under development, called Tern, was jointly commissioned by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Navy to provide long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
 

USAF releases requirements for new trainer jet

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
San Antonio (UPI) Mar 23, 2015
Requirements for a new trainer aircraft to replace the T-38 have been released to industry by the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force plans to award a contract for 350 so-called T-Xs to replace T-38s in the fall of 2017, with initial operational capability by the end of 2023. The T-X requirements identify three key performance characteristics for the aircraft for advanced pilot trainin
 

Japan military eyes recruits with cutesy smartphone game

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) March 25, 2015
Japan's military has released a smartphone game featuring cutesy characters who dodge household objects, marking the latest effort to polish the force's image and lure new recruits. The game, launched last week, calls on cartoonish figures in military uniforms to protect a home while the owners are away, including crawling on the floor and piloting a jet fighter to avoid flying objects inclu
 

NATO welcomes US slowing of Afghanistan troop withdrawal

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 25, 2015
NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday praised US President Barack Obama's decision to keep the current level of 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2015. On Tuesday, Obama reversed plans to withdraw around 5,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year after talks with the country's new, reform-minded leader, President Ashraf Ghani. "I welcome President Obama's d
 

Iraq vows to bring is own rights violators to justice

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Geneva (AFP) March 25, 2015
Iraq pledged Wednesday to probe all rights abuses committed in the conflict-torn country, including by its own security forces and pro-government militias, and bring the perpetrators to justice. "Any person involved in any violation will be brought to trial," Iraqi Human Rights Minister Mohammed Al-Bayati told the United Nations Human Rights Council. He was responding to a UN report whic
 

US launches Tikrit air strikes to support Iraqi forces: officials

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:54:43 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 25, 2015
US aircraft on Wednesday launched bombing raids to support Iraqi forces fighting to recapture Tikrit from the Islamic State group, after Baghdad issued a request for air power, US officials said. The offensive to take back Tikrit - executed dictator Saddam Hussein's home town - from IS jihadists has stalled over the past week. "I can confirm that the government of Iraq has requested co
 
 

DoD Works to Build Competition Into Space Launches

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (AFNS) Mar 24, 2015
Space capability is critical to national security, and the Defense Department is working to make its launch program more competitive and end its longtime use of a Russian rocket engine on the Atlas launch system, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition said this week. Katrina G. McFarland testified before the House Armed Services Committee's strategic forces subcommittee March 1
 

China completes second test on new carrier rocket's power system

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Mar 24, 2015
The second ground test of the power system of China's next-generation carrier rocket was completed Monday, ahead of its first flight in 2016. Using non-toxic, non-polluting liquid propellant, the engines of Long March-5 were test-fired on the ground to test current technology, said Tan Yonghua, head of the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology. Long March-5 was first test-fired
 

India, China agree to foster peace on disputed border

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) March 24, 2015
India and China agreed Tuesday to foster peace along their Himalayan border after wrapping up two days of talks designed to resolve a long-festering boundary dispute. In comments issued after the round of talks in the Indian capital, the governments of both countries stressed their common desire to maintain calm and to press ahead with further negotiations. "Both sides agreed to take nec
 

Sri Lankan leader to renegotiate China deals on visit

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Colombo (AFP) March 24, 2015
Sri Lanka's new president will use a visit to Beijing to renegotiate more than $5.3 billion-worth of Chinese deals signed by his predecessor, a minister said Tuesday, calling it a strategy of "economic self-defence". President Maithripala Sirisena has already suspended construction work on a major Chinese-funded land reclamation project commissioned by his predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse, who
 

Israel wraps up mission lobbying against Iran deal

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) March 24, 2015
Israel's intelligence minister on Tuesday wrapped up a two-day European diplomatic offensive against making concessions to Iran in nuclear negotiations with world powers, his spokesman said. "Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz completed two days of intensive discussion in Paris and London," a statement from Eyal Basson said, adding that the minister was accompanied by National Security Adv
 

Stethoscopes and AK-47s: Pakistan medics face kidnap epidemic

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) March 24, 2015
When Pakistani doctor Mehmood Jafri gets ready for work in the morning, the first thing he does is put his AK-47 in the car. Then, after briefing the armed guards at his home, he sets off for the hospital where he works in the troubled northwestern city of Peshawar with his most trusted relative beside him as an escort. After surviving one murder attempt and one kidnap bid, Jafri takes n
 

Russia warns US against sending missile defence system to South Korea

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) March 24, 2015
Russia on Tuesday warned the United States against sending a ballistic missile defence system to South Korea, saying it could threaten regional security. Washington says it wants to deploy the system, known as THAAD, to South Korea as a deterrent to military provocation by North Korea. "Such a development cannot but cause concern about the destructive influence of the United States' g
 

Turkey-China wrangle over suspected Uighurs detained in Thailand

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Bangkok (AFP) March 24, 2015
A family of suspected Uighur Muslims, among hundreds detained in Thailand since last year, will Friday learn their fate in a court case that has sparked a diplomatic wrangle between Turkey and China. Both countries are seeking the repatriation of the family, who use the surname Teklimakan and claim they are Turkish. They were detained by Thai police in March 2014 after illegally entering
 

Canada to extend airstrikes against IS, go into Syria

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Ottawa (AFP) March 24, 2015
Canada will expand its campaign of air strikes against the Islamic State group and for the first time strike it in Syria as well as Iraq, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday. Opposition leaders raised heated objections, but Harper's motion outlining the enlarged mission was assured of passage with the backing of his Conservative majority. Addressing parliament, Harper said his gov
 

Russian bombers spark NATO scramble, protest in Baltic

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Vilnius (AFP) March 24, 2015
NATO jets were scrambled Tuesday to escort Russian fighters and nuclear-capable bombers flying near the Baltic states and Sweden with their transponders switched off, sparking protests over the danger they posed to civil aviation. Lithuania's defence ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite said NATO air policing aircraft identified two Tu-22 type bombers and two SU-27 jets. The Swedish military
 

US mulls air strikes on Tikrit, aids Iraqis with 'eye in the sky'

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) March 25, 2015
Washington is considering launching air strikes, possibly within days, to back up Iraqi and Shiite forces battling to recapture Tikrit from the Islamic State jihadist group, US officials said. The statement came Tuesday after an official said the US was already providing reconnaissance support for Iraqi forces there, the first confirmation of American involvement in the operation. Such a
 

US drone strike kills 13 Pakistani militants in Afghanistan

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) March 24, 2015
A US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan has killed 13 militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban in an area close to the countries' rugged border, officials said Tuesday. The strike came in the Nasyan area of the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, close to the border with the Pakistani tribal district of Khyber. Pakistani security officials said the militants belonged to the Lashkar-e
 

Chaos in Yemen undercuts US war against AQAP

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 24, 2015
Yemen's descent into chaos has undermined the US campaign against Al-Qaeda there, forcing Washington to abandon a strategy once touted as a model for counter-terrorism efforts. President Barack Obama's decision last week to withdraw all remaining US troops in Yemen from a base in the south underlined the gravity of the situation, with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) now potentially
 

Arianespace selected by Airbus to launch EDRS-C Satellite

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Paris, France (ESA) Mar 22, 2015
Arianespace and Airbus Defence and Space have reached an agreement for the launch of EDRS-C which is the second geostationary satellite of the SpaceDataHighway system. The launch is scheduled for first quarter in 2017. EDRS-C will increase the system capacity and provide redundancy for the SpaceDataHighway. Its orbital position will be 31 East. Like optical fibre on the Earth, the ED
 

Global Eagle and SES sign capacity deals on three HTS satellites

 
‎25 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:29:24 AMGo to full article
Luxembourg (SPX) Mar 20, 2015
Satellite operator SES and Global Eagle Entertainment have announced they have signed important capacity deals for services on three SES satellites. These agreements are part of a strategic partnership to deliver in-flight connectivity and services to airline passengers around the world. Under the latest agreements, GEE will utilize Ku-band wide beam and High Throughput Satellite (HT
 

Arms Reductions Treaty Between US, Russia Unlikely in Near Future

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015
Russia and the United States are unlikely to achieve a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in the near future, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Tuesday. "A new deal on strategic arms reduction between Russia and the United States will be difficult to achieve in the near future, if it is ever achievable," Antonov said. The deputy defense minister added that Russia's
 

Russia to Deploy 10 Strategic Bombers to Crimea for Snap Drills

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015
The Russian military will deploy ten Tu-22M3 Backfire C supersonic strategic bombers to Crimea as part of the current large-scale snap inspection of combat readiness, a source in the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. "In the framework of the snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Northern Fleet and some units of the Western Military District, 10 TU-22M3 strategic bomb
 

Russian Northern Fleet's Nuclear Forces Hold Snap Drills

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015
As part of the check, Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov visited one of the fleet's six Delta IV-class ballistic missile submarines. The results of the training confirmed that ballistic missile crews were ready to perform their combat tasks, the ministry said in a statement. Snap inspections of combat readiness that involve all branches of the Russian Ar
 

Unfurlable Mesh Antennas Deployed On Third MUOS Satellite

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Melbourne FL (SPX) Mar 23, 2015
Two unfurlable mesh antenna reflectors developed by Harris Corporation (HRS) have successfully deployed onboard the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin (LMT). This represents the fifth and sixth successful Harris reflector deployments in the planned 5-satellite MUOS system. The announcement was made during Satellite 2015 being held March 16-19 at the Walt
 

NASA reveals electric plane with 18 motors

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Mar 22, 2015
NASA has revealed an electric-powered plane that has 18 engines that power individual propellers. The plane has a 31-foot wingspan, and the engines are powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries. The plane will be able to travel about 200 mph, and it will be able to go as high as 12,000 feet. It will seat four passengers, and it will be able to fly about 450 miles at a time. The
 

Saudi says Iran should not get 'undeserved' nuclear deals

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Riyadh (AFP) March 23, 2015
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Monday that Iran, which is negotiating with world powers on its nuclear programme, should not get "undeserved deals". "It is impossible that Iran should get undeserved deals," Prince Saud said at a joint news conference with visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Iran and six world powers are in negotiations to clinch a lon
 

Obama to host Iraq PM on April 14: White House

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 23, 2015
President Barack Obama will host Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi next month, the White House announced on Monday. Officials said the meeting would take place on April 14. "The prime minister's visit underscores the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq and the strong US commitment to political and military cooperation with Iraq in the joint fight against ISIL,"
 

Iran general in Iraq 'whenever we need': militia chief

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Al-Alam, Iraq (AFP) March 22, 2015
Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top officer responsible for foreign operations, provides assistance in Iraq "whenever we need him," Hadi al-Ameri, the commander of the Badr militia, said on Sunday. "He was giving very good advice. The battle ended now, and he returned to his operations headquarters," Ameri told journalists close to the Al-Alam area north of Baghdad. He was apparently referring
 

Afghanistan will not be 'a burden' to US: Ghani

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 23, 2015
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told US troops on Monday his country would always be grateful to them and promised his country would not be "a burden" to the United States. Speaking to a gathering of American soldiers and top officials at the Pentagon, Ghani repeatedly expressed appreciation for the sacrifices of the more than 850,000 troops who have been deployed in Afghanistan since the atta
 

US to Scrap Delta IV Launch Vehicle in Favor of Russian-Made Rocket

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (Sputnik) Mar 22, 2015
The use of the Delta IV space launch vehicle will be discontinued in favor of the Atlas V that uses the Russian made RD-180 rocket to launch US national security payloads into space, United Launch Alliance (ULA) President and Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno said. "Delta IV is entirely redundant to the Atlas V in terms of its performance," Bruno stated in a US House Armed Services Commit
 

Iraq militia chief slams army 'weaklings' over Tikrit strikes

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Camp Ashraf, Iraq (AFP) March 22, 2015
The head of a powerful Shiite militia on Sunday criticised "weaklings" in the Iraqi army who want US-led air strikes to support the massive operation to retake Tikrit from jihadists. The remarks by Hadi al-Ameri point to a possible divide between the Iraqi army and allied paramilitaries known as "Popular Mobilisation" units, which are dominated by Shiite militia forces, over the now-stalled
 

Jordan says anti-IS coalition to train 'Syrian tribes'

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Amman (AFP) March 23, 2015
Jordan and other members of the US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State jihadist group are to train fighters belonging to "Syrian tribes", the Jordanian government spokesman said on Monday. "Jordan and other nations in the coalition and in the region will jointly train... Syrian tribes to fight against the terrorist bands," Mohammad al-Momani said at a news conference. He did not sp
 

Sierra Nevada Corporation Unveils New Dream Chaser Cargo System

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Sparks NV (SPX) Mar 23, 2015
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) unveiled a new Dream Chaser mission variant today, the Dream Chaser Cargo System, SNC's complete system solution for NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. The Dream Chaser Cargo System features include: an innovative folding-wing design which allows the Dream Chaser spacecraft to fit inside existing fairings, making it compatible with a suit
 

Japan's Abe, Indonesia's Widodo to tighten defense ties

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) March 23, 2015
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo Monday to forge tighter economic and defence ties, as Tokyo works to court friends in the face of a rising China. The two nations agreed to tighter cooperation on coastal security, regular talks between their respective defence and foreign ministers, and greater Japanese investment in Indonesia. "We wish to cont
 

Indian-built submarine in advanced construction phase

 
‎24 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎07:14:52 AMGo to full article
New Delhi (UPI) Mar 23, 2015
The first of six Scorpene attack submarines being built in India by Mazagon Docks Ltd has taken to water as it enters an advanced stage of completion. The Sunday Guardian reported the vessel is now on schedule to be delivered to the Indian Navy in September of next year, with the remainder of Scorpenes being handed over at nine-month intervals. "Both the pressure and the outer hu
 

China, Japan, S. Korea to seek leadership summit at 'the earliest'

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) March 21, 2015
The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan pledged to set up a trilateral leadership summit at "the earliest" opportunity as they met in Seoul on Saturday for the first time in nearly three years. The talks were an effort to calm regional tensions stoked by territorial disputes and historical rows with roots in Japan's colonisation of the Korean peninsula and occupation of parts o
 

India, China to hold first talks on border row since Modi victory

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) March 22, 2015
Senior Indian and Chinese envoys will this week hold talks aimed at resolving a bitter border dispute, the first such discussions since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. China's special representative Yang Jiechi will visit New Delhi from Sunday until Tuesday for talks with national security adviser Ajit Doval, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday. The meet
 

Putin stages huge military drills in game of 'brinkmanship' with West

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) March 20, 2015
Mammoth Russian military drills ordered by President Vladimir Putin from the Pacific to the Black Sea are designed to send a message to the West: keep your distance and don't overplay your hand on Ukraine, observers say. Since the start of the Ukraine crisis more than a year ago, Russia has flexed its muscles with a series of war games but the scale of the latest military exercises - includ
 

In Ukraine, some Russians take up arms against Putin

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Odessa, Ukraine (AFP) March 22, 2015
When Andrei Krasilnikov hugged his wife good-bye last week and climbed onto a bus to take him back to the frontline in eastern Ukraine, his motive was typical of those fighting for Kiev - to defend his family and future from what he perceives as Russian aggression. What sets him apart from his brothers-in-arms is his Russian citizenship. Krasilnikov, 48, is one of several Russians fight
 

NASA Running Out of Nuclear Fuel For Batteries

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015
The radioactive material NASA uses to power spacecraft for its deep space missions is now in short supply. The Agency says it only has enough to power three more batteries, leaving the future of American space exploration in jeopardy. Plutonium-238 (Pu-238), a hot radioactive isotope that's a byproduct of the process of making nuclear weapons, is in short supply. NASA has access to only ab
 

Kosmotras Denies Reports of Suspending Russian-Ukrainian Launches

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015
International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras will launch a Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr carrier rocket despite earlier media reports that the company's space contracts may be disrupted amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the company said Friday. "We inform our current and future customers that media reports about the suspension of the Dnepr program are untrue. All works by ISC Kosmotras are carr
 

Korea's global development model has lessons for the North and developing world

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Mar 19, 2015
South Korea's growing international development experience will stand it in good stead in any future unification scenario with North Korea, Amb. Young-mok Kim told a Washington D.C. audience recently. Amb. Kim is president of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) now active in over 100 countries. He said that the experience in assisting less-developed countries with health,
 

Iraq Kurd leader vows to avenge beheaded fighters

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) March 21, 2015
Massud Barzani, the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, vowed on Saturday to avenge three peshmerga fighters beheaded by the Islamic State jihadist group. "We promise the families of these martyrs that their blood will not be wasted and that we will avenge them," Barzani said in an online statement. "Those who martyr the peshmerga in this way, before, now and in the future, wi
 

Iran's leader rules out regional cooperation with US

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) March 21, 2015
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday ruled out any cooperation with the United States in the troubled Middle East, saying talks with Washington are confined to nuclear issues. In a closely watched speech marking the Persian new year festival of Nowruz, Khamenei took steps to quell speculation that any nuclear deal with the West could lead to a wider rapprochement. "No
 

Israel vote won't affect Iran nuclear talks: Obama

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 22, 2015
Israel's elections, which saw Benjamin Netanyahu clinch a third term, will not greatly affect Barack Obama's defense of any deal reached with Iran, the US president said. "I don't think it will have a significant impact," Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview Friday published in full on Saturday. Iran and six world powers are in negotiations to clinch a landmark deal that would
 

US can prevent Iran developing nuclear bomb: CIA director

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 22, 2015
The United States is confident it can prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if the Islamic republic pulls out of talks, CIA Director John Brennan said in remarks broadcast Sunday. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Brennan said America has multiple measures at its disposal to ensure Iran doesn't become a nuclear power. "There are a number of things that the United States has availa
 

Western powers pledge unity in Iran nuclear talks

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
London (AFP) March 21, 2015
Western powers on Saturday played down reports of discord in their ranks and affirmed their "unity of purpose" in the Iran nuclear talks, urging the Islamic Republic to take "difficult decisions". The British, French, German and US foreign ministers noted "substantial progress" in the discussions with Tehran, which are due to resume next week, but said there was still no agreement on some "i
 

UN sanctions emerge as Iran talks reach 'deal breaker'

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 22, 2015
On US Secretary of State John Kerry's Swiss bike rides last week to unwind from intense Iran nuclear talks, one emerging tricky issue may well have been going round his head: UN sanctions. According to negotiators involved and experts, this has become a major snag as Iran and six major powers push for the outlines of a landmark deal by March 31 in marathon talks resuming in a few days. A
 

US evacuates troops from south Yemen base: military source

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Aden (AFP) March 21, 2015
US military personnel stationed at Al-Anad airbase in southern Yemen have been evacuated over security concerns, a Yemeni military source said on Saturday amid fighting involving Al-Qaeda militants nearby. The troops left late Friday for an "unknown destination", the military source at the Yemeni base in Lahj province told AFP. Members of Yemen's anti-terror units, which are trained by
 

China state media tells US to stop 'kibitzing'

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎03:31:05 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 21, 2015
Chinese state media turned to Yiddish on Saturday in the war of words over territorial disputes, criticising the United States as a "kibitzer" for what it called meddling in the South China Sea issue. A commentary published in English by the official Xinhua news agency was headlined "America the Kibitzer" - which refers to an onlooker who gives unwanted advice - in this case regarding the
 

France displaces Britain as key US military ally

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:09:42 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 19, 2015
Once a source of irritation for the United States, France has nudged aside Britain to become the US military's key European partner. The growing ties between the two militaries were on display this month when France's top military officer, General Pierre de Villiers, hosted his US counterpart, General Martin Dempsey, aboard France's aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. The French fla
 

Japan, China in security talks after 4-year break

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:09:42 PMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) March 19, 2015
Japan and China held security talks Thursday after a four-year hiatus because of simmering territorial tensions with the two sides agreeing to hold meetings "more frequently" to speed up a thaw in once-frozen relations, officials said. The first such dialogue between the two Asian rivals since January 2011 was held at Japan's foreign ministry in Tokyo, a government official said, in the late
 

Kerry, Zarif see progress in 'tough' Iran nuclear talks

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:09:42 PMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 19, 2015
US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Thursday hailed "progress" in marathon nuclear talks but Washington denied a draft deal was already being circulated. A European negotiator said meanwhile that Iran and six major powers - the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - remained "pretty far from a deal" ahead of a March 31 deadline to agree the outlines of an
 

US says deal would bar Iran nuclear bomb 'in perpetuity'

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:09:42 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 19, 2015
The Obama administration insisted before skeptical lawmakers Thursday that any deal with Iran would ensure for "perpetuity" that it could not develop nuclear weapons. A comprehensive accord would also see "phased, proportionate" relief from tough sanctions that have severely constrained Iran's economy, but such relief could be swiftly reversed should the Islamic republic violate any final de
 

US paratroopers to train Ukrainian national guard

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎05:09:42 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 19, 2015
Nearly 300 US paratroopers will begin training Ukrainian national guard soldiers next month, the Pentagon said Thursday. The 290 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, dubbed Sky Soldiers, will train the Ukrainian troops in the western town of Yavoriv. Colonel Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the training, originally set for mid-March, is now due to take place

 

 

Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

 

 

Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

 

 

Russia Warns West Against Destroying Nuclear Parity

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:59:04 AMGo to full article
Moscow, Russia (Sputnik) Mar 26, 2015 - The United States and other NATO countries should reconsider making unilateral steps in the area of missile defense that could destroy nuclear parity and prompt an adequate response from Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

"The United States and other NATO countries, in our opinion, should abandon harmful unilateral steps in the sphere of missile defense so that they could stop worrying about the consequences," the ministry's spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said in a statement.

Lukashevich's comments come after strong reactions from European officials to an opinion peace penned by Russian Ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin.

In his article, published by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper last week, Vanin warned that Denmark's navy could become a target for Russian nuclear missiles if Copenhagen decides to join the US-led European missile shield.

Danish lawmakers approved in August 2014 that the country could contribute to NATO's missile defense system with at least one frigate, equipped with new radar systems.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the project, which the alliance has claimed is aimed primarily at countering threats from countries such as North Korea and Iran.

 

 

 

Modernization of US Nuclear Triad Imperative to Deterrence

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:59:04 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (Sputnik) Mar 26, 2015 - US Strategic Command Commander Cecil Haney said that the modernization of the US intercontinental ballistic missiles, missile submarines and strategic bombers was highly important to maintain a strong deterrent capability.

Modernizing the United States' aging nuclear triad of strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines is imperative in order to maintain a strong deterrent capability, US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Commander Cecil Haney said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

"When you look at the triad - the responsive nature of our intercontinental ballistic missiles, the survivable nature of our ballistic missile submarines, and the flexibility and visibility of our bomber leg - each of those provide unique characteristics that are so important to strategic deterrence in the 21st Century," Haney said.

Haney's statement came in response to a question regarding whether the United States needs all three nuclear capabilities at a time of budget constraints.

Haney also said that STRATCOM has put off some nuclear modernization programs to focus on other projects in a limited budget environment. But, he added that nuclear modernization could not be postponed longer, pointing to the aging nuclear submarines as an example.

While the maintaining US nuclear capabilities takes up less than 3 percent of the US defense budget, modernization would bring that level of spending to between 5 and 6 percent, he added.

Haney described the investment in nuclear modernization as an insurance policy for deterrence well into the future. He noted that the United States needs to respond to nuclear modernization in Russia and China in order to preserve a safe, secure, effective and credible deterrent in the future.

"The cost of not doing it can be more of a problem than the cost doing it," the STRATCOM Commander said.

US Congressional Budget Office estimates project that the United States will have to spend approximately $35 billion annually to achieve the US Barack Obama administration's goals to maintain and upgrade the US nuclear triad. From 2015 through 2024, the total cost would amount to approximately $348 billion.

The cost of upgrading the US nuclear arsenal will reach $1 trillion in the next three decades, according to The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The US Strategic Command is one of nine unified commands in the US Department of Defense that is charged with nuclear command and control, space operations and global strike. The Command is also responsible for critical communications, surveillance and reconnaissance.

 

 

 

Rouhani writes to Obama as Iran talks near deadline

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:59:04 AMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 26, 2015 - Iran's president Thursday appealed to global leaders including Barack Obama as negotiators raced against the clock to agree the outlines of a deal that puts an Iranian nuclear bomb out of reach.

Hassan Rouhani wrote to the American president, US officials confirmed, as well as to the leaders of the five other powers heading efforts to resolve the 12-year standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.

The content of the letters was not known. But Rouhani, whose 2013 election led to the current diplomatic push, also phoned the leaders of Russia, China, Britain and France, his office said.

"We are acting in the national and international interest and we should not lose this exceptional opportunity," Hassan Rouhani told British Prime Minister David Cameron by phone, the presidency said.

"Hope was expressed for success at the new round of talks in Lausanne," the Kremlin said after Rouhani spoke with President Vladimir Putin, while noting with "satisfaction the progress" made.

Francois Hollande, "insisting on Iran's legitimate right to use peaceful nuclear power, insisted on the need to work towards a lasting, robust and verifiable agreement," the French presidency said.

- Iran wants all sanctions lifted -

Highlighting the difficulties of talks that resumed in Switzerland Thursday between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Rouhani also said Iran wants all sanctions lifted.

"The peaceful character of (Iran's) nuclear activities and the necessity to annul all the unjust sanctions can lead us to a final deal," Rouhani's office quoted him as telling Cameron.

The six powers negotiating with Iran -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- are however insisting that sanctions will only be suspended, not lifted, to enable them to be quickly put back in place if Tehran violates the deal.

Cameron "emphasised the importance of Iran showing flexibility on the outstanding issues in order for a deal to be reached," Downing Street said afterwards.

Kerry's talks in Lausanne with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and officials from the powers are aimed at agreeing the outlines of a nuclear deal by March 31 after two missed deadlines in 2014.

The two men met for more than four hours on Thursday, and their political directors resumed talks later in the evening.

"It's going well, we're working, we're meeting," Kerry said, pursued by reporters as he walked late Thursday through the streets of Lausanne.

A comprehensive deal, meant to be finalised by June 30, would see Iran downsize its nuclear programme to ensure that any covert dash for an atomic weapon would be all but impossible.

Kerry is under severe pressure from the US Congress to return from Lausanne with something concrete but it is unclear how detailed any "framework" accord will be, or even whether it will be a written document.

Both Iran and France, whose hawkish Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius plans to join the talks on Saturday, have criticised the two-step process, with France's US ambassador calling it a "bad tactic".

- Path forward -

"We very much believe that we can get this done by (March) 31," a senior State Department official said however.

"We can see a path forward here to get to an agreement, we can see what that path might look like," the official told reporters, cautioning however that this "doesn't mean we'll get there".

Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told AFP in an interview in Lausanne that he was "on the whole optimistic" about the talks.

But he warned "there are those who have an interest in more troubles and not dealing with this question have not been inactive. They are trying to make sure there is no deal."

There were concerns however that a crisis in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia Wednesday launched air strikes against Shiite rebels who have seized control of the capital, could sour the atmosphere in Lausanne.

A State Department spokesman, Jeff Rathke, confirmed: "Secretary Kerry did briefly raise Yemen with his Iranian counterpart. But let me stress, this was not and is not the focus of the talks."

And another US official insisted the air strikes would have "no impact" on the nuclear talks.

 

 

Kerry on historic mission for Iran nuclear deal

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:59:04 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 25, 2015 - US Secretary of State John Kerry left Washington on Wednesday for a date with history, hoping to seal a deal reining in Iran's nuclear ambitions for years to come.

After months of closed-door negotiations, Kerry and his team was headed once again for talks in Switzerland with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The two nations broke diplomatic ties more than three decades ago during a 444-day hostage taking in the American embassy in Tehran and have remained foes ever since.

But now, negotiators from six world powers hope to meet a March 31 deadline for a landmark political agreement Iran to stop the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear bomb.

In return, Tehran wants a labyrinth of crippling economic sanctions to be eased or lifted, to free up billions of dollars frozen in bank accounts and to regain access to lucrative oil markets and global trade.

Any deal that brings Iran in from the cold will face opposition from key US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia and from hawks in the US Congress who see it as a naive capitulation.

But Kerry will mount a robust defense, telling an audience of senior US diplomats before he left: "Anybody standing up in opposition to this has an obligation to stand up and put a viable realistic alternative on the table.

"And I have yet to see anybody do that"

An accord would cap more than a decade of painstaking negotiations which, after protracted delays and hurdles, have gathered fresh impetus since the 2013 election of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

It would also mark a legacy-making foreign policy coup in the final years of Barack Obama's presidency, and a personal triumph for veteran politician and diplomat, Kerry.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told CNN Wednesday that "it's a key week" for the negotiators who aim to increase the so-called "breakout time" for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon to about a year.

"The fact is, without these negotiations Iran was moving towards a nuclear weapon," Psaki said, saying opponents of the deal were not offering any other solutions.

"What we're doing here is extending the period of time giving us more time, giving the international community more time to track and watch what they're doing."

- Opposition gathers steam -

As the clock has ticked down to Tuesday's deadline, simmering tensions with opponents of a deal have reached boiling point.

And Obama's Republican foes in Congress are lining up to vote on new Iran sanctions next month, should diplomacy fail.

Washington has also found itself at odds with allies like France, wary that Obama's administration may be making too many concessions in its haste to reach an agreement.

At best, opponents argue the deal will only delay Iranian nuclear ambitions for a decade or so. At worst, they say, the country's leaders will be able to covertly move ahead with developing a nuclear weapon.

Kerry's return to Lausanne to resume the talks with Zarif on Thursday will only fuel speculation that now an agreement is within sight in the coming days.

Other foreign ministers from the so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- are reportedly expected to arrive in the lakeside Swiss town over the weekend.

The complex deal on the table would likely involve Iran reducing its nuclear activities, allowing strict, and perhaps even unannounced UN inspections, while mothballing sophisticated equipment needed to enrich uranium.

Iran has always denied seeking a nuclear weapon, and says its atomic energy program is purely for civilian purposes.

 

 

Israel wraps up mission lobbying against Iran deal

 
‎27 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:59:04 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) March 24, 2015 - Israel's intelligence minister on Tuesday wrapped up a two-day European diplomatic offensive against making concessions to Iran in nuclear negotiations with world powers, his spokesman said.

"Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz completed two days of intensive discussion in Paris and London," a statement from Eyal Basson said, adding that the minister was accompanied by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen and "intelligence experts".

"They met the British negotiating team, headed by Simon Gass, and senior intelligence officials," the statement said, adding that Steinitz in his meetings talked about Iranian research and development on advanced centrifuges.

These highly sophisticated machines enrich uranium gas at supersonic speeds to make it suitable for power generation. At high purification levels it can also be used in an atomic bomb.

Iran currently has about 19,000 centrifuges, of which just over 10,000 are operational.

Steinitz said that a deal with Tehran should oblige it to reveal details about past experiments it has carried out in nuclear weapons technology, the statement said.

It gave no details about the Israeli delegation's talks in Paris.

A statement on Sunday said that Steinitz was "on a mission from Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) for a short visit to Europe in an attempt to influence the details of the emerging agreement on the Iran nuclear issue".

Netanyahu has repeatedly called for Iran's entire nuclear capability to be dismantled.

Both France and Britain are members of the P5+1 group of powers in nuclear talks with Iran that are set to resume on Wednesday or Thursday in Switzerland.

France has expressed scepticism about the speed of a potential deal in which Iran would place its nuclear programme under severe restrictions in exchange for a stage-by-stage lifting of international sanctions.

Netanyahu, who was elected to a third term last week in a close-fought general election, spoke to the US Congress during his campaign to denounce the agreement under negotiation as a "bad deal".

"That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons," he told the US lawmakers.

"It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them."

UN nuclear agency regrets slow pace of Iran cooperation
Washington (AFP) March 23, 2015 - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency voiced regret Monday that little progress had been made in recent months on Iranian cooperation over any possible military dimension of its nuclear program.

"It is true that we have had some engagement from Iran on issues with possible military dimension. But in the past several months, progress is very limited," Yukiya Amano, the head of the agency said on the sidelines of a conference on nuclear proliferation.

His remarks come as US Secretary of State John Kerry is to return to Switzerland for talks Thursday with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on a deal to restrain Tehran's nuclear program, Kerry's office said.

Kerry's return to Lausanne will again feed speculation that the top world powers represented in the "P5+1" group are nearing an agreement with Tehran, with a March 31 deadline looming to agree to the outlines of a deal.

The complex deal on the table would likely involve Iran reducing its nuclear activities, allowing tight inspections, and limiting development of new nuclear machinery.

In exchange, Iran -- which denies wanting nuclear weapons -- would get relief from the mountain of painful sanctions that have strangled its oil exports and hammered its economy.

The IAEA for years has been investigating the possible military dimensions (PMD) of the Iranian nuclear program.

"We need to accelerate that clarification," Amano said. "But the fact is that progress is limited.

"I think the clarification of the issues of PMDs is needed to enhance the confidence in Iran's nuclear activities," he said.

The Japanese diplomat sounded upbeat about the potential for an agreement being implemented -- if one is reached.

"If a new agreement is agreed, it is the interest of Iran to implement it. ... We may have some problems from time to time. That happens with any country. We don't have particular reason that it will not be implemented."

Israeli minister warns French against 'bad accord' with Iran
Paris (AFP) March 24, 2015 - An Israeli cabinet minister visiting Paris warned Tuesday against concluding a "bad accord" on Iran's nuclear programme, telling French daily Le Monde his country shares France's wariness of trusting Tehran.

"We believe it would be a bad accord with severe gaps in it," said Israeli Intelligence Minister Youval Steinitz, who met French President Francois Hollande's diplomatic advisor on Monday.

The visit came amid an Israeli lobbying campaign against a nuclear accord with Iran, which saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deliver a controversial address to the US Congress warning legislators about any deal.

"This is perhaps the last opportunity to influence these negotiations before a memorandum of understanding is signed," Steinitz said.

Tehran and the world's major powers are facing a March 31 deadline to conclude a framework agreement to pare back Iran's nuclear programme to ensure it can never build an atomic bomb.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif are scheduled to resume talks in Lausanne Thursday in a bid to beat this month's deadline for a deal that must be finalised by July.

But as efforts to make sufficient progress to conclude a deal in time have picked up pace, divisions have appeared within the so-called P5+1 group made up of the UN Security Council permanent members the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia plus Germany.

Paris in particular has expressed fears a rush to sign an agreement may grant Iran enough concessions for Tehran to cheat or otherwise pursue military nuclear development.

During his visit, Steinitz echoed French concerns about an overly flexible deal.

"We see things the same way France does. We have the same suspicions about Iran, its intentions in the Middle East and the possibility it will not respect the accord," Steinitz warned.

"If Iran became a (nuclear) country, many Sunni nations in the region would join the nuclear race."

Israel itself is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East but has an official policy of neither confirming or denying it has such an arsenal

 

 
 

Arms Reductions Treaty Between US, Russia Unlikely in Near Future

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015 - Russia and the United States are unlikely to achieve a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in the near future, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Tuesday.

"A new deal on strategic arms reduction between Russia and the United States will be difficult to achieve in the near future, if it is ever achievable," Antonov said.

The deputy defense minister added that Russia's security depends not only on strategic nuclear balance, but also on many other factors, including the development of US missile defense system, current use of sea-launched cruise missiles and other long-range high-accuracy systems.

"Among important issues are the balance of conventional armed forces, placement of numerous military bases with developing military infrastructure close to the Russian territory," Antonov said.

Antonov added that the full range of defense issues should be thoroughly discussed before launching comprehensive talks on arms reductions.

Moscow and Washington have concluded three nuclear arms reduction treaties since 1991, with the latest deal signed by country's leaders in 2010.

The current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), due to expire in 2021, stipulates that each of the two countries should limit the number of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, also restricting the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers.

Source: Sputnik News

 

 

Russia to Deploy 10 Strategic Bombers to Crimea for Snap Drills

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015 - The Russian military will deploy ten Tu-22M3 Backfire C supersonic strategic bombers to Crimea as part of the current large-scale snap inspection of combat readiness, a source in the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

"In the framework of the snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Northern Fleet and some units of the Western Military District, 10 TU-22M3 strategic bombers will be deployed to the Crimean Peninsula," the source said.

Tu-22M3 is a long-range strategic bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

The source added that a large motorized infantry unit from the Central Military District will also be deployed to Crimea as part of the training exercises.

The snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Northern Fleet as well as several units of Western, Southern and Eastern Military Districts began on March 16 and will last until Saturday.

Source: Sputnik News

 

 

Russian Northern Fleet's Nuclear Forces Hold Snap Drills

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 23, 2015 - As part of the check, Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov visited one of the fleet's six Delta IV-class ballistic missile submarines.

The results of the training confirmed that ballistic missile crews were ready to perform their combat tasks, the ministry said in a statement.

Snap inspections of combat readiness that involve all branches of the Russian Armed Forces have become regular since Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu took his post in November 2012.

The latest combat readiness check began on Monday and will be held through March 21. It focuses on training in the Arctic Region and involves more than 38,000 servicemen, as well as armored vehicles, ships, submarines and aircraft.

Some 76,000 servicemen are involved in the ongoing large-scale exercises of the Northern Fleet aimed at testing Russia's defense capability in the Arctic, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

"The snap inspection of the Northern Fleet...allows the commanding staff of the newly-formed joint strategic command to practice the troops management during operational deployment," Shoigu said at a meeting in the National Defense Center in Moscow.

According to the minister, the snap drills also involve 65 warships, 15 submarines, 16 auxiliary ships, over 10,000 combat and support vehicles, as well as more than 200 aircraft.

Source: Sputnik News

 

 

Korea's global development model has lessons for the North and developing world

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Mar 19, 2015 - South Korea's growing international development experience will stand it in good stead in any future unification scenario with North Korea, Amb. Young-mok Kim told a Washington D.C. audience recently. Amb. Kim is president of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) now active in over 100 countries.

He said that the experience in assisting less-developed countries with health, education, and infrastructure projects provided lessons that would prove invaluable in assisting the economically backward North in the future. Per capita GDP in South Korea is 30-40 times greater than that in the North.

KOICA's work in former communist countries such as Laos and Cambodia could prove especially helpful, he said, as they showed North Korea a model for transition. Amb. Kim was speaking at a March forum jointly sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Global Peace Foundation on "The United States, South Korea and Civil Society Cooperation in Global Humanitarian Development."

Introducing his remarks, Amb. Kim said, "This may be the first time Korea has introduced its work for global development in D.C." He described Korea's dynamic transition from an aid recipient with a per capita GDP in 1953 of $73 to an official donor country. In the fifty years after 1945 Korea received $12 billion in international aid, 44 percent of which came from the U.S. In 2015 Korea is expected to contribute about $2.2 billion to overseas development assistance.

But Korea also learned to help itself, not only through a growing industrial sector in the 1970s but also through the Saemaul Undong or "New Village Movement." This encouraged enterprise and self-reliance in rural communities. It balanced development there with the advances in the urban industrial sector and helped to limit income inequality.

The Korean experience of growth is one that many developing nations are now anxious to learn from. "Many developing nations consider Korea an exemplary model for development," Amb. Kim said. "Over 30 countries are planning to adopt Saemaul Undong," he continued. They are attracted by its focus on grassroots rural community development.

Jon Brause, director of the World Food Program's (WFP) D.C. office, added that Korea's unique development experience, which includes a strong civil society element, is being recognized by other countries. "Korea gives nations the confidence to say 'We can do it too.'" WFP has partnered with KOICA for 51 years. They are currently cooperating to implement Saemaul Undong in several African countries.

Amb. Kim stressed the importance of public and private partnerships for KOICA and for successful development work in general. Although KOICA does not work directly in North Korea it cooperates closely with a number of UN agencies that are active there and helps facilitate their work. KOICA also has close working arrangements on many projects with the U.S. agencies, USAID and the U.S. Peace Corps.

In the private sphere, "KOICA is very keen to seek for innovative partnerships with prestigious global NGOs and foundations that will bring far-reaching impact," he said. Domestically, KOICA has worked with civil society groups for 20 years to leverage resources and experience. It is engaged with 130 civil society partners. In 2013, Korea's non-profit sector raised $3.8 billion to support 1,400 projects in 103 countries.

Such partnerships, public and private, domestic and international, would prove vital, said Amb. Kim, in "helping countries in transition or in transformation to succeed and finally achieve democracy and prosperity."

 

 

Iran's leader rules out regional cooperation with US

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) March 21, 2015 - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday ruled out any cooperation with the United States in the troubled Middle East, saying talks with Washington are confined to nuclear issues.

In a closely watched speech marking the Persian new year festival of Nowruz, Khamenei took steps to quell speculation that any nuclear deal with the West could lead to a wider rapprochement.

"No way," he told a raucous crowd in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, on the chances of an agreement on Iran's atomic programme having other policy implications.

"Negotiations with the United States are on the nuclear issue and nothing else," he said.

"US objectives on regional matters are the opposite to our objectives," Khamenei said, accusing Washington of creating instability in Syria, Libya and Egypt.

His remarks were greeted by chants of "Death to America" from the tightly packed thousands who gathered to hear him speak.

Khamenei's comments appeared to be a blunt rejection of overtures made by US President Barack Obama that a nuclear deal could lead to cooperation in the Middle East, chiefly against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Iran is currently in talks with the United States and other major world powers over ending the 12-year standoff over its disputed nuclear programme.

With time running out on a March 31 deadline for a political deal, the two sides said they remained at odds as negotiations broke up in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday.

The talks are set to resume on Wednesday.

Khamenei, who spoke for more than an hour, reiterated that Iran wants sanctions lifted under a nuclear deal, backed his negotiating team and called on all Iranians to support the government's aims.

"The lifting of sanctions is part of the negotiations and not the outcome," he said, insisting there could be no delay between the implementation of a deal and the removal of sanctions.

"Sanctions are the only tool that the enemy has against our nation," he added, calling on the country to intensify its domestic economy, stating that relying on foreign help was not a risk worth taking.

Khamenei also dismissed as "insincere" a near five-minute video address for Nowruz that Obama made to the leaders and people of Iran, in which he urged them to choose opportunity over isolation.

He denied a suggestion from Obama that there were people in Iran who did not want a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue.

"What the Iranian nation does not want is to accept what the Americans want to impose by force," he added. "Officials, our negotiators and the people will not accept it at all."

 

 

Israel vote won't affect Iran nuclear talks: Obama

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 22, 2015 - Israel's elections, which saw Benjamin Netanyahu clinch a third term, will not greatly affect Barack Obama's defense of any deal reached with Iran, the US president said.

"I don't think it will have a significant impact," Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview Friday published in full on Saturday.

Iran and six world powers are in negotiations to clinch a landmark deal that would have the country scale back its controversial nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions.

Western powers in London affirmed their "unity of purpose" in Iran nuclear talks Saturday, urging the Islamic Republic to take "difficult decisions."

Netanyahu won re-election this week after a close-fought parliamentary campaign.

The Israeli leader opposes any accommodation with Tehran and came to Washington during his election campaign to address US lawmakers, denouncing the agreement under negotiation as a "bad deal."

Obama, however, was cautiously optimistic about the progress of the nuclear talks while acknowledging the bitterness between Iran and Israel.

"Obviously, there's significant skepticism in Israel generally about Iran, and understandably. Iran has made vile comments, anti-Semitic comments, comments about the destruction of Israel.

"It is precisely for that reason that even before I became president, I said Iran could not have a nuclear weapon," Obama added.

"What is going to have an effect on whether we get a deal done is, number one, is Iran prepared to show, to prove to the world that it is not developing a nuclear weapon, and can we verify that in an intrusive, consistent way," Obama said.

"Frankly, they have not yet made the kind of concessions that are I think going to be needed for a final deal to get done. But they have moved, and so there's the possibility."

The foreign ministers' gathering in London came a day after the latest talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- ended without a breakthrough.

The complex deal on the table would likely involve Iran reducing its nuclear activities, allowing tight inspections, and limiting development of new nuclear machinery.

In exchange, Iran -- which denies wanting nuclear weapons -- would get relief from the mountain of painful sanctions that have strangled its oil exports and hammered its economy.

Iran president says all nuclear issues can be resolved
Tehran (AFP) March 21, 2015 - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday differences remain but all issues can be resolved in talks with the West to secure a long-sought deal on his country's disputed nuclear programme.

"I believe an agreement is possible. There is nothing that cannot be resolved and the other party must make its final decision for this," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Rouhani's comments came a day after the latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- ended without a breakthrough.

The long-running talks are aimed at putting an Iranian nuclear bomb out of reach in exchange for easing sanctions on its economy.

"In this round of negotiations (in Lausanne, Switzerland) there were differences on some issues," Rouhani said, but noting that "common views emerged that can be the basis of a final agreement."

However he added: "Some points of disagreement persist."

The negotiations are to resume on Wednesday, leaving the two sides with just one week to meet a March 31 deadline for agreeing the outlines of a nuclear deal they hope will end a 12-year deadlock.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was to leave Switzerland on Saturday for talks in London with his British, French and German counterparts, the State Department said.

On Friday Kerry spoke by telephone with the foreign ministers of Russia and China, the other two powers involved in talks that officially resumed after the 2013 election of Rouhani.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who faced Kerry in talks all week, said Saturday his team had been willing to work through the weekend, but the P5+1 needed time to "coordinate," hinting at a split between the world powers.

"In some cases, their diversity of interests, political views or personal issues or personalities became more sensitive than the actual negotiations," he wrote on his Facebook page, without naming any of the P5+1 countries.

The highly complex mooted agreement, due to be finalised by the end of June, is aimed at assuring the world Iran will not build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy programme.

It would likely involve Iran reducing in scope its nuclear activities, allowing ultra-tight inspections, exporting atomic material and limiting development of new nuclear machinery.

In exchange, Iran -- which denies wanting nuclear weapons -- would get staggered relief from the mountain of painful sanctions that have strangled its oil exports and hammered its economy.

 

 

US can prevent Iran developing nuclear bomb: CIA director

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 22, 2015 - The United States is confident it can prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if the Islamic republic pulls out of talks, CIA Director John Brennan said in remarks broadcast Sunday.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Brennan said America has multiple measures at its disposal to ensure Iran doesn't become a nuclear power.

"There are a number of things that the United States has available to it to prevent Iran from getting a bomb," the director of the Central Intelligence Agency said.

Iran and six world powers are in negotiations to clinch a landmark deal that would have the country scale back its disputed nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions.

"President Obama has made it very clear that we are going to prevent Iran from having that type of nuclear weapon that they were ... going on the track to obtain," Brennan added.

"So, if they decide to go down that route, they know that they will do so at their peril."

In response to a question about America's track record in monitoring Iran's nuclear program, Brennan acknowledged that US intelligence had historically been less than ideal on the issue.

"I think we've gone to school on some of those developments over the last decade or so," he said.

"We can now have a better plan and opportunity to verify some of the things that they are saying they are going to do and not do."

Asked about reports of an underground nuclear site near Tehran, Brennan said: "I am confident that we have a good understanding of what the Iranian nuclear program entails."

When asked if he was concerned about the possibility of a regional arms race, Brennan said partners in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, are confident the United States can act as a regional security guarantor.

"We are going to keep close communication, I'm confident the Saudis will be a responsible partner and player in the region," Brennan said.

 

 

Western powers pledge unity in Iran nuclear talks

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) March 21, 2015 - Western powers on Saturday played down reports of discord in their ranks and affirmed their "unity of purpose" in the Iran nuclear talks, urging the Islamic Republic to take "difficult decisions".

The British, French, German and US foreign ministers noted "substantial progress" in the discussions with Tehran, which are due to resume next week, but said there was still no agreement on some "important issues".

"We will all continue to work together with unity of purpose," read a joint statement following the talks in London, adding: "Now is the time for Iran, in particular, to take difficult decisions".

Iran and six world powers are in negotiations to clinch a landmark deal that would have the country scale back its controversial nuclear programme in return for relief from sanctions.

In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani struck an upbeat tone saying that "an agreement is possible".

"There is nothing that cannot be resolved," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

The foreign ministers' gathering in London comes a day after the latest talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- ended without a breakthrough.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain's Philip Hammond, France's Laurent Fabius, Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the EU's Federica Mogherini said they were "equally committed".

"Any solution must be comprehensive, durable and verifiable. None of our countries can subscribe to a deal that does not meet these terms," they said.

- 'Death to America!' -

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meanwhile moved to quell speculation that a deal with the West could lead to wider cooperation.

"No way," he told a raucous crowd in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad in a closely-watched speech marking the Persian new year festival of Nowruz.

Khamenei's comments appeared to be a rejection of overtures made by US President Barack Obama that a deal could lead to cooperation, chiefly against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

"The lifting of sanctions is part of the negotiations and not the outcome," Khamenei told the crowd, insisting that there could be no delay between the implementation of a deal and the removal of sanctions.

"What the Iranian nation does not want is to accept what the Americans want to impose by force," he said, as the crowd chanted back: "Death to America!"

In the run-up to the London meeting on Saturday, there had been reports of differences emerging between France and the US.

France has expressed scepticism over the speed of a potential deal in which Iran would place its nuclear programme under severe restrictions in exchange for a stage-by-stage lifting of international sanctions.

British newspaper The Guardian, citing diplomats, said that Paris only wanted a symbolic easing of the sanctions initially.

"The Americans are ready for an agreement that is far from the goals that were initially set," a source close to the negotiations told AFP.

- 'Solid and robust' deal -

Iran and the US have announced that the talks would resume on Wednesday or Thursday in Switzerland.

That leaves the two sides less than a week to meet a March 31 deadline for agreeing the outlines of a nuclear deal they hope will end a 12-year stand-off.

That deadline is itself subject to debate, though, with France's ambassador to Washington Gerard Araud calling it "counter-productive and dangerous".

"Need all our time to finalise a complex agreement," he wrote on Twitter, adding that it put "pressure on ourselves to conclude at any price".

Before leaving for London, Fabius said any deal with Iran must be "solid and robust".

The complex deal on the table, due to be finalised by July, is aimed at convincing the world that Iran will not build nuclear weapons under the guise of its ongoing civilian energy programme.

It would likely involve Iran reducing its nuclear activities, allowing tight inspections, and limiting development of new nuclear machinery.

In exchange, Iran -- which denies wanting nuclear weapons -- would get relief from the mountain of painful sanctions that have strangled its oil exports and hammered its economy.

burs-dt/rjm/mfp

 

 

UN sanctions emerge as possible Iran talks 'deal breaker'

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 22, 2015 - On US Secretary of State John Kerry's Swiss bike rides last week to unwind from intense Iran nuclear talks, one emerging tricky issue may well have been going round his head: UN sanctions.

According to negotiators involved and experts, this has become a major snag as Iran and six major powers push for the outlines of a landmark deal by March 31 in marathon talks resuming in a few days.

And it is not just the powers and Iran not seeing eye to eye, there also appear to be divisions on the issue between the United States and France, which has long been wary of too soft a deal with Iran.

According to a European negotiator, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is putting "a lot of pressure" on his team to get "insulting" UN sanctions lifted "on day one" of any deal.

"They (the Iranians) say it is a deal breaker," the negotiator said in Lausanne during five days of talks which broke up on Friday.

After the Islamic Revolution, the US began in the 1980s imposing sanctions on Iran over human rights abuses and alleged support for "terrorism".

The United Nations became involved after concerns emerged in 2002-3 that Iran might be seeking nuclear weapons -- something it denies -- and began imposing sanctions on 2006.

These are focused primarily on preventing Iran getting hold of materials and technologies that might be used in its nuclear and missile programmes.

From 2010 unilateral sanctions from the US, European Union and others began strangling its oil exports and cutting its banks off from the global financial system.

- No termination -

Western officials say that they are only prepared to suspend -- but not terminate -- some of these EU and US measures if Iran agrees to shrink its nuclear programme, and in a phased manner.

"Given Tehran's indigenous (nuclear) knowledge, the group argues it (Iran) will not lose its leverage and could reinstate its programme ... rapidly," an International Crisis Group analysis said.

So US officials say this will be tied to "milestones", some of which -- like dismantling certain nuclear facilities -- would take time to implement and verify.

With Republican concerns about the mooted deal making for a highly charged political situation in Washington, it may for difficult for President Barack Obama to suspend that many US sanctions.

But within six months to a year, the European official said, this suspension of US and EU sanctions would be enough to provide Iran with "huge relief".

- Seeking 'creative' solution -

However, and even though they cause much less economic pain than the unilateral sanctions, Iran is also insisting on getting the UN ones lifted, seeing them as illegal and degrading.

But even a suspension of the UN sanctions is difficult because they are based on the UN atomic watchdog saying it is unable to guarantee that Iran's nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

Getting a clean bill of health from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna might take "years," the European diplomat said.

This is in part because an IAEA probe is stalled into suspected Iranian nuclear weapons research work, mostly before 2003 -- the infamous "PMD" (possible military dimensions) file.

"Lifting UN sanctions too early risks legitimising Iran's nuclear programme while there are still outstanding concerns about ... its past activities," Arms Control Association expert Kelsey Davenport told AFP.

France, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, is seen as being strictly opposed to lifting UN sanctions beyond some minor, periphery measures.

Hawkish Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius even phoned his team in Lausanne to tell them not to budge, the European diplomat said.

US officials say they are looking at a possible phased suspension, with the proviso that they could be "snapped back" quickly -- and possibly without the need for a full Security Council vote.

"Negotiators will need to find a creative way to square the circle. A new (UN) resolution endorsing the deal, but leaving in place some restrictions might be a way to close the gap," Davenport said.

 

 

Kerry, Zarif see progress in 'tough' Iran nuclear talks

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎04:20:53 PMGo to full article
Lausanne (AFP) March 19, 2015 - US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Thursday hailed "progress" in marathon nuclear talks but Washington denied a draft deal was already being circulated.

A European negotiator said meanwhile that Iran and six major powers -- the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- remained "pretty far from a deal" ahead of a March 31 deadline to agree the outlines of an agreement.

"We're pushing some tough issues, but we made progress," Kerry told reporters in the Swiss city of Lausanne during the week-long talks involving Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"We are advancing very well but there's still a lot of work to be done," Zarif told Iran's state news agency IRNA.

But US officials denied as "erroneous" press reports Thursday that a draft document was already being worked on.

Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi also seemed to reject the reports, telling Iranian state television that "for the time being, there is no deal."

"The Iranians go back, go forward, it changes every day," the European diplomat said. "There is nothing agreed in any format".

- Standoff -

The mooted agreement, due to be finalised by July, is aimed at convincing the world after a standoff now in its 13th year that Iran won't build nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian programme.

The highly complex deal would likely involve Iran reducing in scope its nuclear activities, allowing ultra-tight inspections, exporting nuclear material and limiting development of new nuclear machinery.

In exchange Iran would be granted staggered relief from the mountain of painful sanctions that have strangled its oil exports and hammered its economy.

Tehran, which denies wanting nuclear weapons, also wants to expand its activities in order to fuel nuclear power stations and meet its energy needs.

- No breakthrough this week -

The European diplomat said he did not expect a breakthrough by Friday, the tentative scheduled end of this round talks, meaning that negotiators will likely have to return next week.

Araqchi also hinted that could happen, saying Tehran was "prepared to prolong the negotiations if necessary."

Zarif meanwhile said Wednesday that the arrival of other foreign ministers -- which might suggest a deal is at hand -- was not expected this week.

"I don't think their presence will be needed in this round," he told state media.

Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, also present along with US Energy Secretary