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The Magog Invasion

 

 Introduction:

 

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


[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]

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Desperate Gazans flee to Europe in risky sea trips

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:05 PMGo to full article
In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 photo, Palestinian Ahlam Abu Toaimeh, 47, holds a picture of her son Mohammed Abu Toaimeh, 22, as she speaks to an Associated Press reporter at her house in the town of Abasan, in the southern Gaza Strip. Desperate to flee Gaza after suffering through years of border closures and three wars, Mohammed paid traffickers to smuggle him to Europe. But he and dozens of other Gazans are missing amid reports that smugglers sunk their vessel on purpose. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)ABASSAN, Gaza Strip (AP) — The university student was desperate to flee Gaza after suffering through years of border closures and three wars.
 
 

Muted expectations for Obama, Rouhani meeting

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:31:23 PMGo to full article
In this Sept. 10, 2013 photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an interview with state television at the presidency in Tehran, Iran. One year ago, President Barack Obama and Rouhani came close to ending the decades-long freeze on face-to-face meetings between their countries’ leaders. In late September 2014 both men are scheduled to again be in New York for United Nations meetings but expectations for even a handshake are more muted than they were last fall. (AP Photo/Presidency Office, Rouzbeh Jadidoleslam)WASHINGTON (AP) — One year ago, President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came close to ending the decades-long freeze on face-to-face meetings between their countries' leaders.
 
 

Kosovo imams arrested in push to stop fighters going to Syria, Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:13 PMGo to full article
By Fatos Bytyci PRISTINA (Reuters) - At least nine imams were among 15 people arrested in Kosovo on Wednesday in the second major operation in weeks to try to stem the flow of young ethnic Albanians joining Islamist fighters in Iraq and Syria. A police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the 15 faced charges including "terrorism, threatening the constitutional order, incitement and religious hate speech". In the last such operation on Aug. 11, 40 people were arrested on suspicion of fighting in Iraq and Syria or recruiting insurgents. ...
 

Islamic State campaign tests Obama's commitment to Mideast allies

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:13 PMGo to full article
Shi'ite fighters, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), take part in field training in the desert in the province of NajafBy Jason Szep WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After about 15 hours of flying and five hours of meetings, sleep finally caught up with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Baghdad. It was 6:04 p.m.  After sinking into his seat at the center of the cavernous interior of a C-17 military transport plane, he cradled his head in his palm, put his feet on a desk and shut his eyes. ...
 
 

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:58:47 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama speaks at US Central Command (CentCom) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Obama spoke to members of the military after consulting with military officials about the U.S. counterterrorism campaign against Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)TAMPA, Florida (AP) — President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own.
 
 

AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:08:57 PMGo to full article
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Iraq’s new prime minister says foreign ground troops are neither necessary nor wanted in his country’s fight against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."
 
 

Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:26:01 PMGo to full article
Photos of the day - September 16, 2014PARIS (AP) — About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday.
 
 

World holds its breath, mostly hoping Scots vote 'No'

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:20:05 PMGo to full article
By Paul Taylor PARIS (Reuters) - The world is holding its breath but mostly hoping Scotland will vote "No" to independence from Britain in Thursday's referendum. For reasons of self-interest and geopolitics, major powers from Beijing to Washington and Moscow to New Delhi are quietly praying the United Kingdom holds together and does not create a contagious precedent of state fragmentation in unstable times. ...
 

Harassment cases blighting Asian Games countdown

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:10:31 PMGo to full article
A man walks by dolls of the three official mascots, from left, Chumuro, Vichuon and Barame, of the the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. The games will be held in the South Korea's west city from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — A second sexual harassment case at the Asian Games was being investigated by South Korea police on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony.
 
 

Wary lawmakers ready to OK arms for Syrian rebels

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:42:40 AMGo to full article
Members of the anti-war activist group CodePink interrupt a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. It is the first in a series of high-profile hearings that will measure congressional support for President Barack Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — Wary House lawmakers are on track to give President Barack Obama authority to order U.S. military training and arms for moderate rebels confronting the growing danger of Islamic State militants in Syria.
 
 

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

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:32:14 AMGo to full article
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean border guards arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across a river into rival North Korea, a South Korean defense official said Wednesday. The man was apprehended Tuesday night while lying on a bank of the Han River, which is in a restricted military area near the border, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to office policy. The man was in his late 20s or early 30s, Yonhap news agency said, and had told investigators that he tried to go to North Korea to meet leader Kim Jong Un.
 

Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:44:33 AMGo to full article
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the first in a series of high-profile Capitol Hill hearings that will measure the president's ability to rally congressional support for President Barack Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Obama last week outlined his military plan to destroy the extremists, authorizing U.S. airstrikes inside Syria, stepping up attacks in Iraq and deploying additional American troops, with more than 1,000 now advising and assisting Iraqi security forces to counter the terrorism threat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — American ground troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces in the Middle East if President Barack Obama's current strategy fails, the nation's top military officer said Tuesday as Congress plunged into an election-year debate of Obama's plan to expand airstrikes and train Syrian rebels.
 
 

Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:53:04 AMGo to full article
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the first in a series of high-profile Capitol Hill hearings that will measure the president's ability to rally congressional support for President Barack Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Obama last week outlined his military plan to destroy the extremists, authorizing U.S. airstrikes inside Syria, stepping up attacks in Iraq and deploying additional American troops, with more than 1,000 now advising and assisting Iraqi security forces to counter the terrorism threat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — American ground troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces in the Middle East if President Barack Obama's current strategy fails, the nation's top military officer said Tuesday as Congress plunged into an election-year debate of Obama's plan to expand airstrikes and train Syrian rebels.
 
 

US cools talk of combat role in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:03:17 AMGo to full article
The United States has already spent billions of dollars training and equipping Iraqi security forcesWashington (AFP) - The White House and the US military scrambled to play down a suggestion by the nation's top officer that deploying ground forces in Iraq to fight Islamic State jihadists was an option.
 
 

Obama meets with generals planning IS assault

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:09:18 AMGo to full article
An F/A-18C Hornet takes off for Iraq from the flight deck of the US navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on August 15, 2014 in the GulfTampa (AFP) - President Barack Obama meets Wednesday with generals planning his assault against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq as he wraps up a two-day trip devoted to sudden national security crises over jihadism and Ebola.
 
 

U.S. general says cannot rule out larger ground role in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:05:43 AMGo to full article
Photos of the day - September 16, 2014By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The most senior U.S. military officer raised the possibility on Tuesday that American troops might need to take on a larger role in Iraq's ground war against Islamic State militants, but the White House stressed they would not deploy on a combat mission. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was no intention now to place American military advisers on the ground in direct combat. U.S. assistance is taking other forms, including air strikes. ...
 
 

Traffickers 'laughed' as they capsized boat to drown refugees

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:05:14 PMGo to full article
European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom delivers a press conference in Brussels on September 1, 2014Rome (AFP) - Survivors of Europe's most deadly migrant shipwreck in years have described the horrifying moment traffickers capsized their boat and left them to drown, as the EU cried murder and vowed to step up the fight against people smugglers.
 
 

West Coast could suffer from Match Play move

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:03:05 PMGo to full article
Adam Scott, of Austraila, hits from the tee on the second hole during the third round of play in the Tour Championship golf tournament Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)ATLANTA (AP) — Some 20 years ago, there was a feeling that the PGA Tour didn't really get going until Florida.
 
 

Netherlands ups defence spending in wake of downed MH17

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:31 PMGo to full article
Dutch King Willem-Alexander addresses the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives from the throne in the Hall of Knights next to Queen Maxima, on September 16, 2014 in The Hague, the NetherlandsThe Hague (AFP) - The Netherlands is to increase defence spending after being hard hit by global conflicts including the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, King Willem-Alexander said on Tuesday.
 
 

Scotland's 'Yes' campaign winning Facebook battle

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:50:42 PMGo to full article
'Referendum cupcakes' are pictured in a bakery in Edinburgh on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independenceLondon (AFP) - Scotland's "Yes" campaign appears to have the edge online, figures released by Facebook on Tuesday showed, even though it is still trailing slightly in the polls despite a late surge.
 
 

Lawmakers to test EU's five billion euro carbon permit giveaway

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:35 PMGo to full article
Buildings in the financial district are obscured in a haze, as seen from Crystal Palace in south LondonBy Ben Garside LONDON (Reuters) - European lawmakers will vote next week on whether to force Brussels officials to rethink giving billions of euros worth of carbon allowances away for free to heavy industries, after a senior Green member lodged an objection. The European Commission, the EU's executive, in May proposed that the vast majority of industry sectors should keep getting most of their allowances for free over 2015-2019 to help meet their obligations under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). ...
 
 

UN brokers Gaza reconstruction deal

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:09:44 PMGo to full article
UN brokers deal to facilitate reconstruction of the Gaza Strip while keeping materials out of the hands of Hamas militantsUnited Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United Nations has brokered an Israeli-Palestinian deal on delivering construction materials to Gaza that would ensure they will not be diverted by Hamas militants, an envoy said Tuesday.
 
 

U.S. pledges 3,000 troops to fight Ebola; experts say more needed

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:13:27 PMGo to full article
Health workers bring woman suspected of having contracted Ebola virus to an ambulance in front of a crowd in MonroviaBy James Harding Giahyue and Jeff Mason MONROVIA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has pledged to send 3,000 troops West Africa, using its military muscle to battle the biggest ever outbreak of Ebola by building treatment clinics and training health workers to halt the spread of the deadly virus. President Barack Obama is expected to outline the action later on Tuesday, his second announcement of a major military operation in two weeks after his declaration that Washington would bomb Islamic State fighters in the Middle East. The U.S. ...
 
 

U.S. says won't unleash 'shock and awe' air campaign in Syria

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:15 PMGo to full article
Hagel and Dempsey testify at a hearing about the IS on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is not preparing to unleash a "shock and awe" campaign of overwhelming airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State fighters and instead envisions a more modest, longer-term campaign, Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military's current plan would be outlined to President Barack Obama on Wednesday by the U.S. military's Central Command and envisioned striking the group's safe havens to knock out infrastructure, logistics and command capabilities. General Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. ...
 
 

100 million people saved from hunger over last decade: UN

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:57:52 PMGo to full article
Malnourished children receive treatment at the Leer Hospital, South Sudan on July 7, 2014The number of hungry people in the world has dropped by 100 million over the last 10 years but one in nine are still undernourished, with Asia home to the majority of the underfed, the UN said on Tuesday.
 
 

Obama mulling combat role for US troops in Iraq 'case by case'

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:30:45 PMGo to full article
US General Martin Dempsey -- the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, on September 16, 2014Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama will consider sending US military advisers into combat in Iraq on a "case by case basis," the American military's top-ranking officer told senators on Tuesday.
 
 

U.S. says won't unleash 'shock and awe' air campaign in Syria

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:30:10 PMGo to full article
By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is not preparing to unleash a "shock and awe" campaign of overwhelming airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State fighters and instead envisions a more modest, longer-term campaign, Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military's current plan would be outlined to President Barack Obama on Wednesday by the U.S. military's Central Command and envisioned striking the group's safe havens to knock out infrastructure, logistics and command capabilities. General Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. ...
 

Islamic State goes underground in Syrian stronghold

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:01:41 PMGo to full article
Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa provinceBy Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure. In the city of Raqqa, 450 km (280 miles) northeast of Damascus, residents say Islamic State has been moving equipment every day since Obama signaled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria. ...
 
 

US to assign 3,000 from US military to fight Ebola

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:48:17 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia. The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.
 
 

U.N. says Palestinians, Israelis reach deal on Gaza reconstruction

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:50:17 PMGo to full article
UN special envoy Robert Serry gestures as he leaves in a car in SimferopolUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the war-torn Gaza Strip with U.N. monitoring of the use of materials, U.N. Middle East envoy Robert Serry said on Tuesday. Serry told the U.N. Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal "to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through U.N. ...
 
 

AP names Lynne O'Donnell Kabul bureau chief

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:24:21 PMGo to full article
This undated 2009 photo shows journalist Lynne O'Donnell in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. O’Donnell, a foreign correspondent who has covered major stories throughout the Middle East and Asia for two decades, has been named Kabul bureau chief for The Associated Press, leading the agency’s coverage of Afghanistan at a time of transition and turmoil. The appointment was announced on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 by Ian Phillips, AP’s Middle East news director, and Dan Perry, the regional editor for text. (AP Photo/Courtney Body)CAIRO (AP) — Lynne O'Donnell, a foreign correspondent who has covered major stories throughout the Middle East and Asia for two decades, has been named Kabul bureau chief for The Associated Press, leading the agency's coverage of Afghanistan at a time of transition and turmoil.
 
 

Al Qaeda groups urge warring militants in Iraq, Syria to unite

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:18:04 PMGo to full article
Islamic fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra FrontBy Amena Bakr DOHA (Reuters) - Two al Qaeda branches urged warring militant factions in Iraq and Syria to stop fighting each other and unite against a U.S.-led alliance preparing to attack the ultra hardline Islamic State armed group, according to a joint statement posted online. "Stop the infighting between you and stand as one rank against America's campaign and that of its satanic alliance that lies in wait for all of us, to break us stick by stick," al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said in a rare joint statement. ...
 
 

AP names Maya Alleruzzo Mideast photo editor

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:15:02 PMGo to full article
This Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 photo shows Mideast regional photo editor Maya Alleruzzo posing for a photograph in Cairo, Egypt. Alleruzzo, a photographer who has covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during a 12-year stint in the region, has been named regional photo editor for the Middle East by The Associated Press. The appointment was announced on Tuesday by Ian Phillips, AP’s Middle East news director. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)CAIRO (AP) — Maya Alleruzzo, a photographer who has covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during a 12-year stint in the region, has been named regional photo editor for the Middle East by The Associated Press.
 
 

Chief rabbi says French society has turned indifferent to anti-Semitism

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:11:36 PMGo to full article
PARIS, (Reuters)- France's government has reacted strongly to a rising tide of anti-Semitic acts this year but French society seems indifferent to the threat they present, the country's newly elected chief rabbi said on Tuesday. Haim Korsia, who was elected in June, recalled the huge crowds that demonstrated in Paris in 1990 after a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in the southeastern town of Carpentras. ...
 

Indonesia anti-terror police question four foreigners

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:23:36 PMGo to full article
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian anti-terror police are questioning four foreign nationals in a sign of tightening security in the country with the world's largest Muslim population, officials confirmed on Tuesday. Indonesia grappled with a string of militant attacks during the 2000s, including a bombing at a Bali nightclub that killed 202, with 88 Australians among them. Since then, it has been largely successful in cracking down on homegrown militant cells. ...
 

NKorea main focus of attention at Asian Games

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:36:16 PMGo to full article
Members of the North Korea team wave to the crowd after defeating Vietnam in their women's first round group C soccer match at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — The North Korean women's football team had more reasons than usual to kick off its Asian Games campaign with a commanding win.
 
 

North Korea ratchets up 'hostage diplomacy' with US

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:48:58 AMGo to full article
US citizen Matthew Miller (C), who was sentenced to six years of hard labour for "hostile" acts against Pyongyang, pictured on September 14, 2014 at the North Korean Supreme Court in PyongyangSeoul (AFP) - North Korea's use of captured or detained Americans to score propaganda points and extract political concessions from Washington has a long history stretching back to the Cold War, but analysts say the tactic may be wearing thin.
 
 

Al-Qaida-inspired killers spreading like weeds

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:33:11 AMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida dispersed, yet the horrors keep coming.
 

U.S. partners unclear on roles in fight against Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:21:32 AMGo to full article
(Reuters) - Many countries have said they support a coalition the United States hopes to build to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, but most have been vague about any specific role they might play. Below is a list of some of the key countries that may take part in the anti-IS coalition and where they stand. FRANCE France has signaled it will carry out air strikes in Iraq and send special forces to the country to help direct them and to train armed forces. ...
 

Kerry: US open to talks with Iran on Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:23:24 AMGo to full article
French President Francois Hollande, second right, discusses with his Iraqi counterpart Fouad Massoum, second left, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Monday, Sept. 15 2014. Reconnaissance planes at the ready, Hollande said there was "no time to lose" in the global push to combat extremists from the Islamic State group, minus the two countries who share most of Iraq's borders. (AP Photo/Etienne Laurent, Pool)PARIS (AP) — As more than two dozen nations pledged Monday to help Iraq fight the Islamic State militants, the United States said it was open to talking to Iran about a role in resolving the crisis, despite Washington's earlier opposition to Tehran even attending the conference.
 
 

Iran supreme leader spurns U.S. overture to fight Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:08:55 AMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters check the direction before launching rockets towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near MosulBy Jason Szep and Mehrdad Balali PARIS/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader said on Monday he had personally rejected an offer from the United States for talks to fight Islamic State, an apparent blow to Washington's efforts to build a military coalition to fight militants in both Iraq and Syria. World powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight Islamic State fighters in Iraq. France sent jets on a reconnaissance mission to Iraq, a step toward becoming the first ally to join the U.S.-led air campaign there. ...
 
 

Iran supreme leader spurns U.S. overture to fight Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:26:00 AMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters check the direction before launching rockets towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near MosulBy Jason Szep and Mehrdad Balali PARIS/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader said on Monday he had personally rejected an offer from the United States for talks to fight Islamic State, an apparent blow to Washington's efforts to build a military coalition to fight militants in both Iraq and Syria. World powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight Islamic State fighters in Iraq. France sent jets on a reconnaissance mission to Iraq, a step toward becoming the first ally to join the U.S.-led air campaign there. ...
 
 

Saudi court jails 13 Islamists for fighting abroad

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:00:40 PMGo to full article
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud seen at the Royal Palace on September 11, 2014 in JeddahRiyadh (AFP) - A court in Saudi Arabia on Monday jailed 13 defendants for up to 10 years on charges including joining a radical Islamist group and fighting and supporting fighters abroad.
 
 

Tiny Qatar plays outsize role in US war strategy

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:36:06 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just miles (kilometers) from where former Guantanamo Bay terror suspects have resettled, American warplanes take off from Qatar's al-Udeid air base in the global war on extremism.
 

Kerry to chair UN Security Council meeting on Iraq

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:50:35 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to New York this week to chair a meeting of the United National Security Council on Iraq.
 

Tiny Qatar plays outsize role in US war strategy

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:44:10 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry leaves after a family photo at the conference intended to come up with an international strategy against Islamic State extremists in Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. As diplomats from around the world sought a global strategy to fight Islamic State extremists, Iran ruled out working with any international coalition, saying it had rejected American requests for cooperation against the militants. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski; Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — Just miles from where former Guantanamo Bay terror suspects have resettled, American warplanes take off from Qatar's al-Udeid air base in the global war on extremism.
 
 

UN withdraws many peacekeepers from Golan Heights

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:41:16 PMGo to full article
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations said Monday it has withdrawn its peacekeepers from many positions on the Golan Heights because of escalating fighting in the war between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters.
 

700 feared dead in 2 Mediterranean boat wrecks

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:38:46 PMGo to full article
In this image made available from the UNHCR on Monday Sept. 15, 2014 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, visits Dr. Ayman Mustafa, a Syrian refugee, at his apartment in Valetta, Malta on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. On October 11, 2013 a boat on which he, his wife and daughter boarded to seek refuge, capsized. His wife and daughter drowned. Since the start of 2014, more than 2,500 asylum seekers have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean.. (AP Photo/Pete Muller/Prime for UNHCR)GENEVA (AP) — This year is on track to become the deadliest ever for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea after two heavily loaded boats were wrecked in the past week, possibly killing 700 people fleeing Africa for Europe — the same number as died during all of last year.
 
 

As many as 700 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:16:09 PMGo to full article
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - More than 700 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East may have drowned in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean over the last week, bringing the death toll this year to almost 3,000, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Monday. In the worst incident, as many as 500 migrants are believed to have died after traffickers rammed their ship off Malta's coast last week, an event that only came to light this weekend in testimony from two of nine survivors. ...
 

Dubai's Atlantis resort to get $1.4B expansion

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:54:26 PMGo to full article
This artist's rendering made available by Atlantis Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 shows the proposed Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences, right, a $1.4 billion expanse of lavish suites and 250 luxury residences that developers said Monday they will build next to the famed Atlantis resort, left, on Dubai’s man-made palm-shaped island in the United Arab Emirates. Tourism is a major source for revenue for Dubai, which is preparing to host the World Expo in 2020. (AP Photo/Atlantis)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Developers said Monday they will build a $1.4 billion expanse of lavish suites and residences next to the famed Atlantis resort on Dubai's man-made palm-shaped island as part of the emirate's drive to build up tourism revenue.

 

 

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Muted expectations for Obama, Rouhani meeting

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:25:45 PMGo to full article
In this Sept. 10, 2013 photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an interview with state television at the presidency in Tehran, Iran. One year ago, President Barack Obama and Rouhani came close to ending the decades-long freeze on face-to-face meetings between their countries’ leaders. In late September 2014 both men are scheduled to again be in New York for United Nations meetings but expectations for even a handshake are more muted than they were last fall. (AP Photo/Presidency Office, Rouzbeh Jadidoleslam)WASHINGTON (AP) — One year ago, President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came close to ending the decades-long freeze on face-to-face meetings between their countries' leaders.
 
 

Nuclear deal elusive as Iran, six powers resume talks in New York

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:03:53 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the media during a news conference in ViennaBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A diplomatic breakthrough is unlikely on a nuclear deal to end sanctions against Iran when talks resume in New York this week between Tehran and six world powers deadlocked after a year of negotiations. The talks between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are re-starting after a two-month hiatus and amid Washington and Tehran ruling out cooperation on fighting Islamic State militants who have taken over swaths of Iraq and Syria. ...
 
 

Iranians back nuclear deal, fear tough demands

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:52:22 PMGo to full article
The reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran on October 26, 2010Washington (AFP) - As Iran and world powers prepare to resume nuclear talks, a new poll Wednesday revealed most Iranians back a deal but consider unacceptable some of the toughest demands to rein in their atomic program.
 
 

Iran's Rouhani: Islamic State beheadings a concern for mankind: NBC

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:47:23 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced Islamic State's beheading of innocent people, saying the militant group's shameful actions violate Islamic principles, NBC News said in excerpts of an interview released on Wednesday. "From the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity," Rouhani told the television network, according to NBC. ...
 

Ringleader in Canada terror case pleads guilty

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:30:06 PMGo to full article
The alleged ringleader of a Canadian terror cell accused of planning attacks against the military was jailed for 24 years after admitting to possessing an explosive deviceOttawa (AFP) - The alleged ringleader of a Canadian terror cell accused of planning attacks against the military was jailed for 24 years on Wednesday after admitting to possessing an explosive device.
 
 

France drops case against Iranian dissidents after 11-year probe

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:45:01 PMGo to full article
PARIS (Reuters) - Prosecuting judges in Paris on Wednesday dropped all charges of money laundering and fraud against nine people close to an exiled Iranian opposition group more than 10 years after they were arrested on terrorism charges. The five women and four men were among 167 sympathizers of the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) who were rounded up in 2003 during a police raid on the outskirts of Paris for questioning over possible links to terrorism and suspicion of money laundering. ...
 

AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:08:57 PMGo to full article
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Iraq’s new prime minister says foreign ground troops are neither necessary nor wanted in his country’s fight against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."
 
 

Iran's Rouhani to attend UN assembly

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:36:02 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a historic telephone call with his US counterpart only a few weeks after assuming power in August 2013Tehran (AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will address the UN General Assembly in New York next week but is not scheduled to meet Barack Obama, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
 
 

French case against Iran opposition group dropped

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:31:02 PMGo to full article
PARIS (AP) — French judges have thrown out terrorism-linked charges against nine members of an exiled Iranian opposition group, closing the last part of a case that began 11 years ago with mass arrests that provoked several deaths by protesters setting themselves afire.
 

World holds its breath, mostly hoping Scots vote 'No'

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:20:05 PMGo to full article
By Paul Taylor PARIS (Reuters) - The world is holding its breath but mostly hoping Scotland will vote "No" to independence from Britain in Thursday's referendum. For reasons of self-interest and geopolitics, major powers from Beijing to Washington and Moscow to New Delhi are quietly praying the United Kingdom holds together and does not create a contagious precedent of state fragmentation in unstable times. ...
 

Harassment cases blighting Asian Games countdown

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:10:31 PMGo to full article
A man walks by dolls of the three official mascots, from left, Chumuro, Vichuon and Barame, of the the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. The games will be held in the South Korea's west city from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — A second sexual harassment case at the Asian Games was being investigated by South Korea police on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony.
 
 

Queiroz to coach Iran through to 2018 World Cup

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:04:14 PMGo to full article
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz, who guided Iran at the recent World Cup finals in Brazil, said in June he was on the verge of stepping down, claiming he had the support of neither the government nor the national federationTehran (AFP) - Portugal's Carlos Queiroz has signed a four-year contract extension to stay on as Iran coach until the 2018 World Cup.
 
 

Iran's current uranium enrichment not acceptable says US

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:52:26 PMGo to full article
Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium above 5 percent as part of a landmark deal it signed with world powers in November 2013Washington (AFP) - Iran cannot convince the world that its current ability to enrich uranium is acceptable, the top US negotiator said on Tuesday ahead of new nuclear talks with global powers.
 
 

Russia and West at odds over Syria at U.N. nuclear meeting

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:29:07 PMGo to full article
The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA flies in front of its headquarters during a board of governors meeting in ViennaBy Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Russia is pushing for the issue of Syria's alleged past nuclear activities to be removed from the agenda of the U.N. atomic agency's board, diplomats said on Wednesday. Western members of the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency are against the Russian initiative as they believe Damascus should be kept under pressure to cooperate with the IAEA's long-stalled inquiry, the diplomats said. ...
 
 

Police investigate 2nd harassment case at Asiad

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:50:49 AMGo to full article
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean police are investigating a second sexual harassment case involving a football player or official at the Asian Games in Incheon.
 

EU, Iran to hold fresh nuclear talks

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:56:11 AMGo to full article
(From L) Outgoing European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton meet on September 1, 2014 in BrusselsBrussels (AFP) - EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton will meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif on Wednesday in New York for further talks on Tehran's contested nuclear programme, her spokeswoman said.
 
 

Iran's current uranium enrichment not acceptable says US

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:10:35 AMGo to full article
A handout picture released by the official website of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on August 25, 2014, shows an alleged Israeli drone that was shot down above the Natanz uranium enrichment siteWashington (AFP) - Iran cannot convince the world that its current ability to enrich uranium is acceptable, the top US negotiator said ahead of new nuclear talks with global powers.
 
 

Iraqi official briefs Syria's Assad on efforts against Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:39:27 PMGo to full article
U.S. Involvement in ISIS Fight Will Be LongBy Tom Perry and Sylvia Westall BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iraq's national security adviser briefed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on efforts to counter Islamic State on Tuesday, in the first such meeting since the United States launched air strikes on the radical group in Iraq. The United States and other Western governments have dismissed the idea of cooperating with Syria in the fight against Islamic State, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria. Western governments see Assad as part of the problem and say he must leave power. ...
 
 

Turkish reluctance hurts U.S. plans for coalition against Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:09:15 PMGo to full article
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan talk at the beginning of a meeting in AnkaraBy Jonny Hogg and Nick Tattersall ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - When Washington takes its bombing campaign against Islamic State fighters into Syria, the most it can probably hope for from one of its closest allies in the region will be grudging consent. Turkey, a NATO member with a big U.S. air base and long borders with both Iraq and Syria, has made clear that it is still unconvinced by U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to bomb Islamic State fighters in two of its neighbors. ...
 
 

Iraq parliament rejects interior, defense nominees

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:57:00 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 file photo, Iraqi lawmakers attend a session to approve the new government in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's parliament rejected defense and interior nominees on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, leaving the crucial ministerial posts unfilled as a U.S.-led coalition intensifies its air campaign against Islamic extremists who have seized a third of the country. The two powerful security portfolios have long been a source of tension among Iraq's feuding political factions, and the failure to agree on the nominees marked the latest in a series of delays in forming a unified government that can confront the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's nominees Tuesday to lead the defense and interior ministries, leaving the crucial Cabinet posts unfilled as an emerging U.S.-led coalition intensifies its air campaign against Islamic State extremists who have seized a third of the country.
 
 

Iran looks to boost Asia ties as N.Korea FM visits

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:02:20 PMGo to full article
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) shakes hands with North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong (L) during a meeting in Tehran on September 16, 2014Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday he wants to boost diplomatic relations with Asian countries, as North Korea's foreign minister visited Tehran, the government's official website said.
 
 

Iraqi official meets Syria's Assad on Islamic State: Syrian state TV

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:20:13 PMGo to full article
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iraq's national security adviser briefed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on efforts to counter Islamic State on Tuesday, Syrian state media reported, the first such meeting since the United States launched air strikes on the radical group in Iraq. The United States and other Western governments have dismissed the idea of cooperating with Syria in the fight against Islamic State, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria. Western governments see Assad as part of the problem and say he must leave power. ...
 

Iran agrees new deal with Queiroz as head coach

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:08:14 PMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Iranian football federation has extended the contract of Carlos Queiroz according to Iranian state TV.
 

Kurds in Europe take up arms against IS group

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:55:17 PMGo to full article
In this image provided by Shaho Pirani shows Shaho Pirani posing with an automantic weapon near the village of Koya in Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2014. The Iranian Kurd living in Denmark, was on a month-long training camp for the Kurdish diaspora organized by Iranian branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. He joined Kurds from Norway, Switzerland and Britain for a crash-course on politics followed by weapons training. Shaho Pirani says he's just a phone call away from leaving his quiet life in Denmark and joining Kurdish forces battling against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The 30-year-old Kurd, who fled from Iran with his older brother in 1991, says he feels a moral duty to help the Peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government, to fight the "psychopaths" of the IS group. (AP Photo/Shaho Pirani)KOEGE, Denmark (AP) — Shaho Pirani says he's just a phone call away from leaving his quiet life in Denmark and joining Kurdish forces battling against Islamic State militants in Iraq.
 
 

Syria criticises exclusion from anti-jihadist talks

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:53:05 PMGo to full article
Islamic State militants have established a stronghold in the Syrian city of Raqa after forcing pro-regime forces from the eastern city in July 2014Damascus (AFP) - A senior Syrian official on Tuesday criticised the international community for excluding Damascus from recent talks on building a coalition to tackle the Islamic State group.
 
 

NKorea main focus of attention at Asian Games

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:36:16 PMGo to full article
Members of the North Korea team wave to the crowd after defeating Vietnam in their women's first round group C soccer match at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — The North Korean women's football team had more reasons than usual to kick off its Asian Games campaign with a commanding win.
 
 

US bombs Islamic State stronghold near Baghdad

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:50:06 AMGo to full article
An F/A-18C Hornet coming from Iraq lands on the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier that is currently stationed in the GulfParis (AFP) - US warplanes carried out their first air strike on the Islamic State near Baghdad, as world diplomats pledged to support Iraq in its fight against the militants.
 
 

Iran FM heads to New York for nuclear talks

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:17:20 AMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference in Tehran, on August 31, 2014Tehran (AFP) - Iran's foreign minister headed to New York on Tuesday to resume nuclear talks with major powers but it was unclear if there would be a repeat visit by President Hassan Rouhani, who launched Tehran's opening a year ago.
 
 

U.S. scouts for Sunni allies on the ground in Iraq

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:11:56 AMGo to full article
Members of Iraqi security forces are pictured during a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State on the outskirt HadithaBy Oliver Holmes, Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Jason Szep and Ned Parker BAGHDAD/AMMAN (Reuters) - Unwilling to send U.S. troops back to Iraq, Washington is trying to persuade armed Sunni factions and tribal figures to fight Islamic State militants in an echo of the "Awakening" movement that drove al Qaeda from the country six years ago. "There is a lot of traffic right now,” James Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who was U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2010-2012 and maintains close ties to the government in Baghdad. "There were meetings in Arbil. ...
 
 

Kerry: US open to talks with Iran on Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:23:24 AMGo to full article
French President Francois Hollande, second right, discusses with his Iraqi counterpart Fouad Massoum, second left, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Monday, Sept. 15 2014. Reconnaissance planes at the ready, Hollande said there was "no time to lose" in the global push to combat extremists from the Islamic State group, minus the two countries who share most of Iraq's borders. (AP Photo/Etienne Laurent, Pool)PARIS (AP) — As more than two dozen nations pledged Monday to help Iraq fight the Islamic State militants, the United States said it was open to talking to Iran about a role in resolving the crisis, despite Washington's earlier opposition to Tehran even attending the conference.
 
 

Iran supreme leader spurns U.S. overture to fight Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:08:55 AMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters check the direction before launching rockets towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near MosulBy Jason Szep and Mehrdad Balali PARIS/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader said on Monday he had personally rejected an offer from the United States for talks to fight Islamic State, an apparent blow to Washington's efforts to build a military coalition to fight militants in both Iraq and Syria. World powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight Islamic State fighters in Iraq. France sent jets on a reconnaissance mission to Iraq, a step toward becoming the first ally to join the U.S.-led air campaign there. ...
 
 

US cites state secrets in civil lawsuit over Iran

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:44:43 AMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government, citing state secrets and a threat to national security, has asked a judge to toss out a defamation lawsuit that a wealthy Greek shipping magnate brought against a nonprofit organization seeking to thwart Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.
 

Iran supreme leader spurns U.S. overture to fight Islamic State

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:26:00 AMGo to full article
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters check the direction before launching rockets towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near MosulBy Jason Szep and Mehrdad Balali PARIS/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader said on Monday he had personally rejected an offer from the United States for talks to fight Islamic State, an apparent blow to Washington's efforts to build a military coalition to fight militants in both Iraq and Syria. World powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight Islamic State fighters in Iraq. France sent jets on a reconnaissance mission to Iraq, a step toward becoming the first ally to join the U.S.-led air campaign there. ...
 
 

Iraq wins pledge of military support against IS

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:13:41 PMGo to full article
Iraqi soldiers celebrate after liberating the village of Sulaiman Bek from Islamic State (IS) fighters on September 1, 2014Paris (AFP) - The world's top diplomats pledged Monday to support Iraq in its fight against Islamic State militants by "any means necessary", including "appropriate military assistance", as leaders stressed the urgency of the crisis.
 
 

Iraq FM says 'regrets' Iran not invited to Paris conference

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:39:14 PMGo to full article
Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari gives a press conference as part of the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, September 15, 2014, in ParisParis (AFP) - Iraq's foreign minister on Monday voiced "regret" that Iran was not invited to an international conference in Paris to discuss the threat posed by Islamic State (IS) militants.
 
 

Iran rejects US-led coalition against jihadists

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:29:11 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) - Iran said Monday it rejected a US request for its cooperation against the jihadist Islamic State as part of an international coalition whose true aim Tehran sees as regime change in Syria.
 

Iran supreme leader spurns U.S. overture to fight Islamic State

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:19 PMGo to full article
By Jason Szep and Mehrdad Balali PARIS/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader said on Monday he had personally rejected an offer from the United States for talks to fight Islamic State, an apparent blow to Washington's efforts to build a military coalition to fight militants in both Iraq and Syria. World powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight Islamic State fighters in Iraq. France sent jets on a reconnaissance mission to Iraq, a step towards becoming the first ally to join the U.S.-led air campaign there.
 

At summit against Islamic State, leaders pledge to take 'all means necessary'

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:34 PMGo to full article
Iraqi President Fouad Massoum, right, talks with Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Saud al Faisal, center, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari, right, as they arrive for a group photo at the French Foreign ministry in Paris, Monday Sept. 15, 2014, prior to a meeting on the Islamic State group. Diplomats from around the world are in Paris pressing for a coherent global strategy to combat extremists from the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)The pledge of 26 foreign ministers in Paris today to combat the self-declared Islamic State with “all means necessary” gives an important boost to the international efforts to dismantle the militant group that is imposing its will on large parts of Syria and Iraq. “It shows a political will to tackle [the extremists] collectively,” says Yves Boyer, associate director of the French think tank Foundation for Strategic Research, which he says is crucial for legitimacy. The United States has been seeking such international backing since President Obama unveiled his plans to counter IS extremists, who have now beheaded three Westerners, including two American journalists and, most recently, a British aid worker. Despite the political risks of following the US into the conflict, European governments have spoken urgently about the need to act against Islamic State militants, in no small part because many of the IS fighters are Europeans and, leaders say, represent a threat to European security.
 
 

UN nuclear watchdog head ups pressure on Iran

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:38:57 PMGo to full article
The reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran on October 26, 2010Vienna (AFP) - The head of the UN atomic watchdog hit out Monday at Iran over its lack of cooperation with a probe into its nuclear programme, three weeks after Tehran missed a deadline to provide important information.
 
 

Kerry says refuses to be drawn into 'back and forth' with Iran

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:14:07 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry leaves after a family photo at the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, at the Quai d'Orsay in ParisBy Jason Szep PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry refused be drawn into a "back and forth" with Iran on Monday following Tehran's assertion that it had rebuffed a U.S. request to coordinate a response to the Islamic State jihadist group. "I'm not going to get into a back and forth. I don't want to do that. I don't think that is constructive, frankly,” Kerry told reporters at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris after an international conference on Iraq attended by 26 countries. Earlier, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tehran had vetoed a U.S. ...
 
 

Iran says it rebuffed US invitation to join anti-Islamic State coalition

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:02:20 PMGo to full article
By Mehrdad Balali DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday he had vetoed a U.S. invitation to cooperate in fighting Islamic State, but Washington insisted it would not coordinate militarily with Iran against the militants. “The American ambassador in Iraq asked our ambassador (in Iraq) for a session to discuss coordinating a fight against Daesh (Islamic State),” said Khamenei, in quotes carried on state news agency IRNA. “Our ambassador in Iraq reflected this to us, which was welcomed by some (Iranian) officials, but I was opposed. ...
 

Iran nuclear bomb probe will not be 'endless': IAEA

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:47:51 PMGo to full article
IAEA Director General Amano talks to the media as he arrives at Vienna's airportBy Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - A U.N. nuclear agency investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Iran will not be an "endless process", its chief said on Monday, pressuring Tehran to step up cooperation with the long-stalled probe. Three weeks after Iran failed to meet a deadline for providing requested information to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director General Yukiya Amano said Tehran needed to do much more to address the IAEA's concerns. ...
 
 

Israel sees mass Hezbollah incursion in future fight

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:45:26 PMGo to full article
An image grab from Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite Muslim movement, giving a televised address to mark the eighth anniversary of the 2006 war with Israel on August 15, 2014Jerusalem (AFP) - A future war with Lebanon's Hezbollah could see the Shiite militant group cross the border in strength and seize Israeli territory, a senior officer said in comments widely reported by Israeli media Monday.
 
 

UN nuke agency indicates slow going on Iran probe

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:01:14 PMGo to full article
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Reza Najafi waits for the start of the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)VIENNA (AP) — With his probe of suspected nuclear weapons work by Iran sputtering, the head of the U.N. atomic agency on Monday urged Iran to either cooperate or accept the prospect of a ruling on the allegations based on incomplete information.
 
 

Washington wins diplomatic support for campaign in Iraq; Syria trickier

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:55:49 PMGo to full article
French President Francois Hollande and Iraq's President Fuad Masum arrive to attend the opening of the Iraq conference in ParisBy John Irish and Jason Szep PARIS (Reuters) - World powers backed military measures on Monday to help defeat Islamic State fighters in Iraq, boosting Washington's efforts to set up a coalition, but made no mention of the tougher diplomatic challenge next door in Syria. France sent fighter jets on a reconnaissance mission over Iraq, a step closer to becoming the first ally to join the United States in new bombing there since President Barack Obama declared his plans to establish a broad coalition last week. Paris also hosted an international conference, attended by the five U.N. ...
 
 

U.S. rules out military coordination with Iran

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:43:26 PMGo to full article
PARIS (Reuters) - The United States on Monday ruled out any possibility of future military coordination with Iran in a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State fighters but held out the prospect of separate talks with Tehran on Iraq, describing the jihadists as a “serious threat” to Iran and the region. The comments follow a statement by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Twitter on Monday in which he dismissed as hollow and self-serving U.S. efforts to build a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and rejected what he called a “U.S. ...
 

Mideast complexities confound US coalition effort

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:10:19 PMGo to full article
The Middle East has confounded outsiders for years, so it is no surprise that another U.S.-led project with a straightforward goal — destroying a marauding organization of extremists — is bumping up against age-old rivalries and a nod-and-a-wink-style political culture.
 

Syrian army destroys Islamic State-controlled bridge

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:49:49 PMGo to full article
Syrian special forces on Monday destroyed a bridge over the Euphrates River used by Islamic State to move supplies in eastern Syria, media run by Hezbollah said, a blow to the group in the swathe of Syrian territory it controls near Iraq. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war, said an explosion had destroyed the bridge in Deir al-Zor city that is of vital importance to Islamic State as the only way for it to move into parts of the city it controls. Islamic State seized control of most of Deir al-Zor province in July as its fighters took territory from rival insurgent groups using weaponry brought in from Iraq. "The Syrian armed forces destroyed the Political Bridge in Deir al-Zor in a special operation carried out by special forces and army engineers, leading to the killing of the militants who were on it," al-Manar, a media organization run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, reported on its website.
 

Iran's leader leaves hospital after operation, in good health: state TV

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎12:13:06 PMGo to full article
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in TehranIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 75, left hospital on Monday a week after undergoing prostate surgery, state television reported. Khamenei succeeded Supreme Leader and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989. He was Iran's president for two successive terms from 1981-1989 and survived an assassination attempt that paralyzed his right arm in 1981. He has repeatedly denounced the West, particularly the United States, over its actions against Iran's disputed nuclear program and its broader Middle Eastern policy.
 
 

India's weightlifters throw off spectre of doping

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:14 AMGo to full article
India's Sukhen Dey competes during the men's weightlifting 56kg class at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 24, 2014India's weightlifters will be looking to build on their new-found clean status at the Asian Games in Incheon after bagging 12 medals at this summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Indian weightlifting, dogged by rampant doping scandals in the past, appeared to turn a new leaf at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when no positive tests were reported and they emerged as the top nation in the event. If it was an improvement on four years earlier at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, where the tally was eight medals with two golds, it was light years ahead of where they were in 2006. The haul in Glasgow was a reward for the years of effort spent cleaning up the sport in conjunction with the National Anti-Doping Agency, according to India's weightlifting chief.
 
 

Iran's top leader discharged from hospital

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:40:29 AMGo to full article
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been discharged from hospital, a week after he underwent prostate surgery.
 

Several Arab countries offer to join air campaign on Islamic State, say U.S. officials

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:28:20 AMGo to full article
By Jason Szep PARIS (Reuters) - Several Arab countries have offered to join the United States in air strikes against Islamic State targets, U.S. The officials declined to identify which countries made the offers.
 

Diplomatic push grows against Islamic State group

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:44:27 AMGo to full article
Iraq President Fouad Massoum, right, followed by Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, left, arrive with Iraqi officials at Orly airport south of Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 ahead of a conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and diplomats from around the world. The conference on Monday aimed at helping Iraq fight off extremists from the Islamist State group, with an added urgency following the release of a video showing the beheading of a British aid worker, the third Western hostage killed in recent weeks by the militants. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)PARIS (AP) — Newly outraged by the beheading of yet another Western hostage, diplomats from around the world are in Paris pressing for a coherent global strategy to combat extremists from the Islamic State group — minus two of the main players and without any ground troops — in a conflict that threatens to spill beyond the Mideast.
 
 

Several Arab countries offer to join air campaign on Islamic State, say U.S. officials

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:22:44 AMGo to full article
By Jason Szep PARIS (Reuters) - Several Arab countries have offered to join the United States in air strikes against Islamic State targets, U.S. The officials declined to identify which countries made the offers.
 

Political football as Asian Games competition starts

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:18:35 AMGo to full article
Asiang Games mascots Barame (L), Vichuon (C) and Chumuro pose at the Athletes' Village, ahead of the upcoming Asian Games, in Incheon, on August 26, 2014Japan and hosts South Korea will get the Asian Games off to an unofficial start on Sunday when the bitter rivals begin their bids for glory in what could be a tense football competition. Former war-time aggressor Japan, the defending champions, can expect a frosty reception by home fans as they taste their first action in Incheon, five days before the opening ceremony. Officials will be braced for a repeat of their controversial London Olympics clash if both Japan and South Korea, bracketed in separate groups, reach the October 2 final. In 2012, after South Korea won 2-0 to secure the bronze medal, Park Jong-Woo held up a sign saying "Dokdo is our territory", referring to a highly charged dispute over a group of islands.
 
 

Iraq PM says he will protect civilians after U.S.-Iraq air strikes against IS

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:50:56 AMGo to full article
A Shi'ite fighter from Mahdi Army runs during heavy fighting with Islamic State militants at Bo Hassan villageBy Oliver Holmes and Jason Szep BAGHDAD/CAIRO (Reuters) - Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday that he had ordered his air force to halt strikes on civilian areas, following attacks by both Iraqi and U.S. The announcement, which comes as the United States tries to build regional support for deeper military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, may be aimed at winning Sunni Muslim support for Abadi's new Shi'ite-led government as it battles the group which controls one third of Iraqi territory. Secretary of State John Kerry has been touring the Middle East to coordinate a response to Islamic State's growing power in eastern Syria and western Iraq.
 
 

Kerry seeks Cairo's support for 'war' on jihadists

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:23:37 PMGo to full article
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on September 13, 2014 in CairoUS Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday Egypt was on the frontline against "terrorism" after he met its leadership to garner support to fight Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria. Egypt's formidable army is unlikely to take part in a military coalition against IS, but has closely cooperated with the United States on counter-terrorism. The Arab world's most populous state boasts the prestigious Sunni Muslim authority Al-Azhar, which Kerry said would fight back against the Islamic State's use of the religion. Washington says it is "at war" with IS and has named retired Marine general John Allen, a hawkish former commander in Afghanistan and Iraq, to coordinate its campaign against the movement that has seized large chunks of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
 
 

Iran says Paris anti-jihadist meeting just for show

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:11 PMGo to full article
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian speaks at a press conference in Moscow on July 1, 2014Tehran (AFP) - Iran said Saturday it has no wish to attend an international conference in Paris next week on fighting the jihadist Islamic State group, dismissing the meeting as just for show.
 
 

Kerry seeks Egypt aid in battle against extremists

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:11:49 PMGo to full article
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. Kerry described Egypt as an “important partner” as he makes a short stop in Cairo to shore up support for President Barack Obama's initiative to assemble a coalition of nations to go after the Islamic State group, which holds large parts of Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)CAIRO (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday hailed Egypt as an "important partner" in the emerging coalition aimed at beating back the extremist Islamic State group, while stressing that the need for Cairo's support would not lead Washington to ignore human rights concerns.
 
 

Islamic State destroys Sufi shrines in eastern Syria: watchdog

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:36:49 PMGo to full article
The hardline al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State has destroyed several Sufi Muslim shrines and tombs in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor, a monitoring group said on Saturday. The Sunni Muslim group, which enforces a strict interpretation of Islamic law in territories under its control in Iraq and Syria, has destroyed dozens of shrines, tombs and Shi'ite Muslim mosques. Sites affiliated with the Sufi sect, a mystical school of Islam opposed by puritanical Salafists from which Islamic State draws its members, have been among the group's main targets. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the latest destruction included two shrines and two tombs devoted to Sufi sheikhs, all in Deir al-Zor province, which is almost entirely controlled by Islamic State militants.
 

Philippines starts inquiry into Filipino militants in Syria

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:12 AMGo to full article
By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines is investigating the involvement of Filipino Islamists in the three-year civil war in Syria after two locals were reported killed fighting for Islamic State militant group, an intelligence official said on Saturday. A senior police intelligence official said Manila was also monitoring young Filipino Muslims who have gone to Syria and Iraq, and then tried to radicalize others on their return home.
 

Cobbling coalition for Iraq, Syria no easy task

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:49:50 AMGo to full article
In this photo released by the Turkish Presidency Press Office, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speak before a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Kerry is in the region to speak with leaders about strategies to address the threat from the Islamic State, a militant extremist group. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that the US would provide an additional $500 million in humanitarian aid to victims of the war in Syria, bringing total American assistance to $2.9 billion since the start of the conflict in 2011. (AP Photo/Turkish Presidency)ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Assembling a coalition to fight the militants from the Islamic State group is proving to be a complicated affair.
 
 

Kabaddi, Sepaktakraw add Asian flavor to games

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:17:04 AMGo to full article
Women walk by the signboard for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. As the port city of Incheon prepares to host the Asian Games this month, some are worried about what happens when the party leaves town. Aside from looming potential debt, the Sept. 19-Oct. 4 games will also double as an expensive rehearsal for the 2018 Winter Olympics at the ski resort town of Pyeongchang. Incheon could either be a model for Pyeongchang or a cautionary tale. Nearly 10,000 athletes will compete in 42 sports. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)ISLAMABAD (AP) — India found a way to ensure the Chinese juggernaut didn't dominate every sport at the Asian Games — the introduction of kabaddi saw to that.
 
 

Obama 'confident' of Islamic State group's defeat

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:11:18 AMGo to full article
President Barack Obama listens to Vincent Vaise, National Parks Service Ranger and Chief of Interpretation at Fort McHenry, left, talk about the original manuscript of the 'Star Spangled Banner' during his tour of Fort McHenry Visitor and Education Center in Baltimore, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Also joining the tour with Obama are Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left, and Burt Kummerow, right, CEO of Maryland Historical Society. Obama traveled to the historic site that is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and will also attend a private Democratic fundraiser before returning to Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)BALTIMORE (AP) — President Barack Obama cast the worldwide campaign he's leading to destroy the Islamic State group on Friday as part of a broader effort to root out extremism within the Muslim world, telling Jewish donors the U.S. "is on the right side of history."
 
 

Kerry opposes Iran role in anti-Islamic State coalition

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:12:47 AMGo to full article
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan meet in AnkaraSecretary of State John Kerry said on Friday it was "not appropriate" for Iran to join talks on confronting Islamic State militants, as he appeared to play down how fast countries can commit to force or other steps in an emerging coalition. Kerry met Turkish leaders to try to secure backing for U.S.-led action against Islamic State militants, but Ankara's reluctance to play a frontline role highlighted the difficulty of building a willing coalition for a complex military campaign in the heart of the Middle East. As he tours the region to gather support for President Barack Obama's plan to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier to defeat Islamic State Sunni fighters, Kerry said Shi'ite Iran should have no role in talks on how to go about it.
 
 

Kerry opposes Iran role in anti-Islamic State coalition

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:24:52 AMGo to full article
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan meet in AnkaraSecretary of State John Kerry said on Friday it would be "inappropriate" for Iran to join talks on confronting Islamic State militants, as he appeared to play down how fast countries can commit to force or other steps in an emerging coalition. Kerry met Turkish leaders to try to secure backing for U.S.-led action against Islamic State militants, but Ankara's reluctance to play a frontline role highlighted the difficulty of building a willing coalition for a complex military campaign in the heart of the Middle East. As he tours the region to gather support for President Barack Obama's plan to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier to defeat Islamic State Sunni fighters, Kerry said Shi'ite Iran should have no role in talks on how to go about it.
 
 

Iran says nuclear talks hit by disagreements

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:04:43 AMGo to full article
Iran insists the Bushehr reactor and its other nuclear facilities are purely for civilian energy purposesA top Iranian nuclear negotiator said Saturday that "disagreements over serious questions" persisted in the latest talks with the world powers on his country's atomic programme. "After two rounds of negotiations with the European representatives, our positions have not been reconciled and disagreements over serious questions still exist," said Majid Takht-Ravanchi, who is also a deputy foreign minister. Takht-Ravanchi urged the so-called P5+1 group to "respect the red lines" drawn up by Iran to reach an agreement that would end the decade-old dispute.
 
 

US and France ramp up anti-jihadist efforts

 
‎13 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:32:59 AMGo to full article
French president Francois Hollande (R) walks with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, on September 12, 2014France's president travelled to war-torn Iraq and Washington's top diplomat to neighbouring Turkey Friday, ramping up efforts to address what they now see as the global threat posed by jihadists. Francois Hollande was the first head of state to visit Iraq since jihadist-led militants seized large parts of it in June, and he said France is ready to step up its military involvement. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in neighbouring Turkey, which many observers see as holding one of the keys to turning the tide on the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group's expansion in Iraq and Syria.
 
 

Kerry says no to Iran's help against Islamic group

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:20:20 PMGo to full article
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Even as it discouraged Iran from joining diplomatic talks on how to defeat the Islamic State militant group, the United States could not outline Friday what other nations have volunteered to contribute to a worldwide effort against the insurgency that has overtaken a third of Iraq and Syria and threatens to upend the Mideast.
 

Analysis: US strikes unsettling for Damascus

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:46:36 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syria's President Bashar Assad is sworn for his third, seven-year term, in Damascus, Syria. The Syrian government has said it welcomes U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria. But it had been gambling that Washington would partner with it against the extremists, hoping for a dramatic reversal in the U.S. policy calling for Assad’s removal. (AP Photo/SANA, File)BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad's government is angry Washington has not taken it on as a partner in the international campaign to hit the Islamic State group, likely for a very significant reason: It is worried that once the United States has crossed the Rubicon of airstrikes in Syria, it could next turn its sights on Assad himself, aiming for his eventual downfall.

 

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Biden: Troops not needed now, but will reassess

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:34:33 PMGo to full article
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is apparently leaving the door open to U.S. ground troops helping Iraqi security forces repel Islamic State militants.
 

Kurds not ready to recapture Mosul: Iraqi minister

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:30:42 PMGo to full article
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters hold a position on the front line in Khazer near the Kurdish checkpoint of Aski kalak on September 16, 2014Arbil (Iraq) (AFP) - Iraq's Kurdish peshmerga forces are not yet ready to wrest the city of Mosul back from the jihadist fighters who captured it on June 10, a top leader said Wednesday.
 
 

Muted expectations for Obama, Rouhani meeting

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:25:45 PMGo to full article
In this Sept. 10, 2013 photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an interview with state television at the presidency in Tehran, Iran. One year ago, President Barack Obama and Rouhani came close to ending the decades-long freeze on face-to-face meetings between their countries’ leaders. In late September 2014 both men are scheduled to again be in New York for United Nations meetings but expectations for even a handshake are more muted than they were last fall. (AP Photo/Presidency Office, Rouzbeh Jadidoleslam)WASHINGTON (AP) — One year ago, President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came close to ending the decades-long freeze on face-to-face meetings between their countries' leaders.
 
 

Jihadists claim bomb that killed six Egypt police

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:16:38 PMGo to full article
A convoy of Egyptian armoured vehicles head along a road in El-Arish on the Sinai Peninsula on the way to the city of Rafah near the Gaza border on August 13, 2011Cairo (AFP) - Egypt's deadliest militant group has claimed the killing of six policemen in a roadside bomb in the Sinai Peninsula, where security forces frequently clash with jihadists.
 
 

Spain to replace Dutch in Turkey Patriot missile deployment

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:14:07 PMGo to full article
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will send a Patriot anti-ballistic missile battery to Turkey's southern border with Syria as part of a NATO initiative, Defense Minister Pedro Morenes said on Wednesday, replacing the Netherlands' contribution to the deployment. The Netherlands, Germany and the United States had each sent two Patriot missile batteries and soldiers to operate them in early 2013, after Turkey, a NATO ally, called for aid to defend itself against attacks from Syria, on its southern border. "We will collaborate... ...
 

Biden says 'Shylocks' was poor choice of words

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:04:39 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday he used a poor choice of words when he referred to unscrupulous moneylenders as "Shylocks," and a prominent group that fights anti-Semitism called it a teachable moment about the harmful effects of stereotypes.
 

Nuclear deal elusive as Iran, six powers resume talks in New York

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎09:03:53 PMGo to full article
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the media during a news conference in ViennaBy Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A diplomatic breakthrough is unlikely on a nuclear deal to end sanctions against Iran when talks resume in New York this week between Tehran and six world powers deadlocked after a year of negotiations. The talks between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are re-starting after a two-month hiatus and amid Washington and Tehran ruling out cooperation on fighting Islamic State militants who have taken over swaths of Iraq and Syria. ...
 
 

Attacks kill at least 11 in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:56:44 PMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bombing on a security post outside Baghdad and explosion on a crowded commercial street in the Iraqi capital killed at least 11 people Wednesday, officials said.
 

U.N. Security Council to discuss Dutch report on MH17 downing

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:50:58 PMGo to full article
Members of a group of international experts inspect the territory at the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, near the village of HraboveBy Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine will be discussed by the U.N. Security Council on Friday after Russia requested a meeting on a Dutch finding that a large number of fragments hit the plane and tore it apart. Several foreign ministers are expected to attend the United Nations meeting on Friday morning, diplomats said, since they were already scheduled to attend a Security Council debate on Iraq on Friday afternoon, chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. ...
 
 

Emir assures Merkel Qatar doesn't fund extremists in Syria, Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:47:23 PMGo to full article
By Stephen Brown BERLIN (Reuters) - Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani assured the West on Wednesday that it was not aiding Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, telling Germany that his own country's security was jeopardised by the militants. Last month, a German cabinet minister accused Qatar of financing Islamic State militants and the United States has expressed concern about funding from Arab states, although Qatar has now promised to support U.S.-led efforts to combat IS. ...
 

Obama could deploy U.S. military advisers to forward positions in Iraq: White House

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:46:16 PMGo to full article
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - President Barack Obama would consider requests to "forward deploy" U.S. military advisers with Iraqi troops "on a case-by-case basis" if they are needed, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday. "They would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy," Earnest told reporters traveling back from Tampa with Obama. (Reporting by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)
 

Mercy Corps: Global Community Must Not Overlook Syria's Next Generation

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:45:00 PMGo to full article
PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The next generation of Syrians – adolescents on the cusp of adulthood – is in danger of being overlooked by the global community's humanitarian and educational response in the region. Of the 1.5 million Syrian refugee children under the age of 18, nearly one in every four is an adolescent. These highly vulnerable young people lack sufficient psychosocial support, education and skills-building programs. ...
 

Eyeing 2016, Rubio pushes American strength abroad

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:44:23 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rubio is positioning himself as the leading foreign policy hawk among Republicans considering runs for the White House, pushing for more military spending and greater intervention abroad as the United States confronts Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)MIAMI (AP) — Sen. Marco Rubio called Wednesday for boosting defense spending and greater intervention abroad, positioning himself as the leading foreign policy hawk among Republicans considering runs for the White House.
 
 

Austrian court unfreeze ex-U.S. diplomat's family assets

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:44:12 PMGo to full article
VIENNA (Reuters) - An Austrian court has unblocked assets owned by the wife of former U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, ruling that Vienna prosecutors overstepped their authority by having her bank accounts frozen, the couple and their lawyers said. Khalilzad - U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations under President George W. Bush - and his wife, author Cheryl Beard, had fought the seizure, which came to light after Profile magazine reported U.S. authorities were investigating him for suspected money laundering. ...
 

Skepticism Grows About Destroying ISIS Without U.S. Ground Troops

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:33:00 PMGo to full article
Skepticism Grows About Destroying ISIS Without U.S. Ground TroopsWith the Obama administration’s strategy for destroying ISIS very much in flux, an uneasy Congress is preparing to approve a massive spending measure that includes authority to arm and train Free Syrian Army rebels allied with the U.S. There’s little doubt lawmakers will complete work this week on the roughly $1 trillion stopgap-spending measure to keep the government operating beyond the start of the new fiscal year Oct. 1, while granting President Obama the authority to spend $500 million to train the Syrian rebels.   Yet many Democrats worry about giving Obama a blank check to escalate the conflict in Iraq and neighboring Syria, while Republicans fear Obama’s plan for “degrading and ultimately destroying” ISIS through stepped-up airstrikes and counterterrorist activities is woefully inadequate. Now, a new report by Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim says the CIA is skeptical that Obama’s Syria strategy will work.
 
 

Ringleader in Canada terror case pleads guilty

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:30:06 PMGo to full article
The alleged ringleader of a Canadian terror cell accused of planning attacks against the military was jailed for 24 years after admitting to possessing an explosive deviceOttawa (AFP) - The alleged ringleader of a Canadian terror cell accused of planning attacks against the military was jailed for 24 years on Wednesday after admitting to possessing an explosive device.
 
 

School police stock up on free military gear

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:25:31 PMGo to full article
LOS ANGELES (AP) — School police departments across the country have taken advantage of free military surplus gear, stocking up on mine resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles.
 

Genetic history of modern Europeans a tangled tale, research finds

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:17:44 PMGo to full article
File photo of Members of Russian ensemble performing a traditional Cossack's dance during the opening of the 3rd Krasnoyarsk Asian-Pacific International musical festival in KrasnoyarskBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The genetic origins of modern Europeans may be more complicated than previously thought. Ancient people from Siberia who were related to the first humans to enter the Americas during the Ice Age also mingled with prehistoric populations in Europe and left their mark on the DNA of today's Europeans, scientists said on Wednesday. Their study, published in the journal Nature, is the latest to use sophisticated genetic research to clarify the ancestry of modern populations. Experts had thought today's Europeans descended from two other groups of people. ...
 
 

Kosovo imams arrested in push to stop fighters going to Syria, Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:13 PMGo to full article
By Fatos Bytyci PRISTINA (Reuters) - At least nine imams were among 15 people arrested in Kosovo on Wednesday in the second major operation in weeks to try to stem the flow of young ethnic Albanians joining Islamist fighters in Iraq and Syria. A police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the 15 faced charges including "terrorism, threatening the constitutional order, incitement and religious hate speech". In the last such operation on Aug. 11, 40 people were arrested on suspicion of fighting in Iraq and Syria or recruiting insurgents. ...
 

Islamic State campaign tests Obama's commitment to Mideast allies

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:13:13 PMGo to full article
Shi'ite fighters, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), take part in field training in the desert in the province of NajafBy Jason Szep WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After about 15 hours of flying and five hours of meetings, sleep finally caught up with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Baghdad. It was 6:04 p.m.  After sinking into his seat at the center of the cavernous interior of a C-17 military transport plane, he cradled his head in his palm, put his feet on a desk and shut his eyes. ...
 
 

Obama vows no ground war in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:11 PMGo to full article
By Jeff Mason MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Fla. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq, seeking to reassure Americans about the level of U.S. involvement after a top general suggested combat troops could be deployed against Islamic State forces. Obama, who has spent much of his presidency distancing himself from the Iraq War, stressed during a speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa that airstrikes would be the central U.S. ...
 

Obama vows U.S. will not fight another ground war in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:59:23 PMGo to full article
By Jeff Mason MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Fla. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq, seeking to reassure Americans about the level of U.S. involvement after a top general suggested combat troops could be deployed against Islamic State forces. Obama, who has spent much of his presidency distancing himself from the Iraq War, stressed during a speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa that airstrikes would be the central U.S. ...
 

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:58:47 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama speaks at US Central Command (CentCom) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Obama spoke to members of the military after consulting with military officials about the U.S. counterterrorism campaign against Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)TAMPA, Florida (AP) — President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own.
 
 

Displaced Iraqis brace for onset of Kurdish winter

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:57:46 PMGo to full article
Displaced Iraqis, who have fled the offensive led by the Islamic State jihadist group, on September 13, 2014 at a camp for displaced people in KhankeKhanke (Iraq) (AFP) - Displaced Iraqis who escaped a jihadist-led onslaught north of Baghdad during the scorching summer are braced to face another enemy: the onset of winter in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.
 
 

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:56:46 PMGo to full article
USA-OBAMA/TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own.
 
 

Iraqi army launches offensive on Islamic State in three cities

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:50:27 PMGo to full article
Iraqi security forcesBAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forces launched an intense military operation against Islamic State insurgents in three cities in central Iraq on Wednesday, fighting to regain control of lost ground, security sources said. The offensives in Ramadi, Falluja and Haditha in the western province of Anbar started before dawn, security sources in the three cities said. Sunni tribes revolted in these areas in late 2013 when Iraq's former prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, moved his forces into the cities to suppress a year-long anti-government protest movement. ...
 
 

Social Media Sleuths Help Track Down Hate Crime Suspects

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:50:09 PMGo to full article
Social Media Sleuths Help Track Down Hate Crime SuspectsSocial media sleuthing may be a questionable tactic (remember Reddit and the Boston bombers?), but crowdsourcing successfully helped an investigation this week.
 
 

IS quits Syria bases as US poised to strike

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:48:05 PMGo to full article
Rebels stand on the back of a pick-up truck driving through the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on March 10, 2014Beirut (AFP) - Jihadists in a Syrian stronghold near Iraq have abandoned some bases and redeployed their forces and armour from other positions, with the US military poised to strike, activists said Wednesday.
 
 

Five Best Wednesday Columns

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:44:47 PMGo to full article
Five Best Wednesday ColumnsKrishna Guha in The Financial Times on why the United States must work harder to secure support from Arab states in the fight against ISIS. Guha suggests that much of the Arab world remains disillusioned and distrustful of the U.S. "Nobody has forgotten America’s failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, its abandonment of the region after the failures of the Arab uprisings and the millions of refugees and homeless those failed wars have spawned." Guha urges the U.S. to recognize this and put substantially more effort in reinforcing these fragile alliances. ...
 
 

Iraq Jihadists face growing pressure, but no US troops

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:41:16 PMGo to full article
An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds a position on the front line in Khazer near the Kurdish checkpoint of Aski kalak, on September 16, 2014Baghdad (AFP) - Elite Iraqi troops backed by US jets battled jihadists near Baghdad Wednesday as President Barack Obama insisted US ground troops would not be deployed to battle the Islamic State group.
 
 

Despite beheadings, US against hostage ransoms

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:34:54 PMGo to full article
An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State Group and identified by SITE Intelligence Group purportedly shows a masked militant holding a knife as he speaks before beheading British aid worker David Haines on September 13, 2014Washington (AFP) - Executions by jihadists have not changed Washington's opposition to paying hostage ransoms, leaving it at odds with the European allies it hopes will join the fight against extremists in Iraq and Syria.
 
 

Islamic State support on rise since US airstrikes: FBI

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:20:56 PMGo to full article
(L-R) FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen testify before the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington, DC, on September 17, 2014Washington (AFP) - Support for the Islamic State organization has grown since the US launched airstrikes in Iraq and the group is attracting many new jihadist fighters, top US officials said Wednesday.
 
 

War may make hundreds of thousands of young Syrians stateless

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:07:47 PMGo to full article
Syrian Refugees walk inside an informal settlement in Deir al-Ahmar, Bekaa valleyBy Emma Batha THE HAGUE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hundreds of thousands of exiled Syrian children may become stateless because of the fighting in their country, putting them at risk of exploitation and potentially hindering their return home, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. High casualty rates and forcible separation mean a quarter of Syrian refugee families are headed by women, but Syrian law does not allow women to pass their nationality to their children. ...
 
 

Wary lawmakers ready to OK arms for Syrian rebels

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:04:37 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama reaches into the crowd to greet members of the military after speaking at US Central Command (CentCom) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Obama received a briefing Wednesday from officers at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. That command oversees military efforts in the Mideast. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — Wary House lawmakers prepared to give President Barack Obama authority to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State militants Wednesday as Iraq's new prime minister dismissed the notion that the struggle could lead to U.S. forces again fighting on the ground in his country.
 
 

Obama: US troops will have no combat mission in Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:08 PMGo to full article
US President Barack Obama speaks at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on September 17, 2014MacDill Air Force Base (United States) (AFP) - President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that US troops have no combat mission in Iraq, after his top general suggested some US advisors could join Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State group.
 
 

Obama Rallies the Troops by Proclaiming America Is Basically the Ghostbusters

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:55:55 PMGo to full article
Obama Rallies the Troops by Proclaiming America Is Basically the GhostbustersPresident Obama traveled down to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to rally U.S. troops behind his battle plan for the Islamic State, and he more or less compared the world's only superpower to the Ghostbusters.
 
 

France drops case against Iranian dissidents after 11-year probe

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:45:01 PMGo to full article
PARIS (Reuters) - Prosecuting judges in Paris on Wednesday dropped all charges of money laundering and fraud against nine people close to an exiled Iranian opposition group more than 10 years after they were arrested on terrorism charges. The five women and four men were among 167 sympathizers of the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) who were rounded up in 2003 during a police raid on the outskirts of Paris for questioning over possible links to terrorism and suspicion of money laundering. ...
 

Ray Rice Formally Files Appeal of His Indefinite Suspension

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:15:18 PMGo to full article
Ray Rice Formally Files Appeal of His Indefinite SuspensionYesterday evening, the NFL Players Association announced they have formally filed an appeal of Ray Rice's "indefinite suspension" from the NFL. Rumors of the appeal began circulating yesterday, but union has issued this statement:
 
 

Gunmen capture Lebanese soldier in border town

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:11:32 PMGo to full article
BEIRUT (AP) — Gunmen crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon and captured a Lebanese soldier on Wednesday in the first such kidnapping since an incursion last month raised fears of growing spillover from Syria's deadly civil war.
 

Wary lawmakers ready to OK arms for Syrian rebels

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:10:16 PMGo to full article
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi listens to a question during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Iraq’s new prime minister says foreign ground troops are neither necessary nor wanted in his country’s fight against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)WASHINGTON (AP) — Wary House lawmakers prepared to give President Barack Obama authority to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State militants Wednesday as Iraq's new prime minister dismissed the notion that the struggle could lead to U.S. forces again fighting on the ground in his country.
 
 

AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:08:57 PMGo to full article
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Iraq’s new prime minister says foreign ground troops are neither necessary nor wanted in his country’s fight against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."
 
 

Iraq suicide blast kills 7, destroys bridge in Ramadi

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:57:30 PMGo to full article
Iraqi security forces lost control of Anbar province after jihadists launched a major offensive across northern and western Iraq in June 2014Ramadi (Iraq) (AFP) - A suicide car bomb attack killed seven people and destroyed a vital bridge Wednesday in Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar where government forces have been battling jihadists.
 
 

Top U.S. general urges Congress to think again on defense cuts

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:41:19 PMGo to full article
U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Odierno and Fang, Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, pose for photographers in BeijingBy Adrian Croft WIESBADEN Germany (Reuters) - Congress should look hard at whether to continue automatic budget cuts that weaken the U.S. military at a time when security around the world is deteriorating, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday. The rapid advance of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region has fueled calls by current and former military chiefs and the U.S. defense industry for a rethink of the hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic cuts, known as "sequestration". ...
 
 

French case against Iran opposition group dropped

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:31:02 PMGo to full article
PARIS (AP) — French judges have thrown out terrorism-linked charges against nine members of an exiled Iranian opposition group, closing the last part of a case that began 11 years ago with mass arrests that provoked several deaths by protesters setting themselves afire.
 

Qatar doesn't back extremists, emir says in Germany

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:30:09 PMGo to full article
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani following talks in Berlin, on September 17, 2014Berlin (AFP) - Qatar's emir said in Germany on Wednesday that his wealthy Gulf state does not back Islamic "terrorist organisations", and Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had no reason to doubt him.
 
 

World holds its breath, mostly hoping Scots vote 'No'

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:02:36 PMGo to full article
'Yes' and 'No' campaigners hold balloons after a 'No' campaign rally in GlasgowBy Paul Taylor PARIS (Reuters) - The world is holding its breath but mostly hoping Scotland will vote "No" to independence from Britain in Thursday's referendum. For reasons of self-interest and geopolitics, major powers from Beijing to Washington and Moscow to New Delhi are quietly praying the United Kingdom holds together and does not create a contagious precedent of state fragmentation in unstable times. ...
 
 

Air strikes not enough to destroy Islamic State: U.S. general

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:45:14 PMGo to full article
By Adrian Croft WIESBADEN Germany (Reuters) - Air strikes alone will not be enough to destroy Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, and Baghdad will need training to rebuild ground forces capable of “going after them and rooting them out,” the U.S. Army Chief of Staff said on Wednesday. Three years after U.S. forces pulled out of Iraq, President Barack Obama has ordered air strikes to halt Islamic State fighters who made rapid advances earlier this year as Iraqi forces melted away. General Ray Odierno, who commanded U.S. ...
 

Exclusive: Syria reveals more chemical weapons facilities to watchdog - sources

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:35:39 PMGo to full article
By Anthony Deutsch THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Syria has revealed a previously undeclared research and development facility and a laboratory to produce the poison ricin to the global chemical weapons watchdog, diplomatic sources told Reuters. Syria has detailed three new facilities to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as part of an ongoing review of the state's toxic arsenal, three sources said. ...
 

Rise in extremists recruiting French women, girls

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:32:37 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this June 4, 2014 file photo, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, right, and Belgium's Interior Minister Joelle Milquet speak with the press after laying a wreath at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Recruiters for Islamic extremist groups are increasingly targeting French women and girls, with nearly 100 either in Syria or on their way and 175 being monitored at home, security officials say. France’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday Sept.16, 2014 posted a video showing anguished family members of young people who left to fight alongside extremists, including a young man whose 15-year-old sister set out for what she thought was a humanitarian aid mission. She has not returned. (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse, File)PARIS (AP) — Recruiters for Islamic extremist groups are increasingly targeting French women and girls, with nearly 100 either in Syria or on their way and 175 being monitored at home, security officials say.
 
 

Eyeing 'fatal blow' against IS, Britain lays ground to join U.S. air strikes

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:30:11 PMGo to full article
Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Clegg arrives at Downing Street in LondonBy William James and Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - The British government is preparing the ground to join the United States in launching air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, but is moving cautiously to ensure it avoids a parliamentary defeat and acts as part of a regional coalition. Britain was quick to join U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq a decade ago. But a war-weary public and parliament's rejection last year of air strikes on Syria have made Prime Minister David Cameron wary. He has also had to prioritize Scotland's independence vote on Thursday over possible action. ...
 
 

U.S. airstrikes boost Islamic State, more hostages possible: FBI

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:27:31 PMGo to full article
A view is seen of smoke billowing after American air strikes in KhazirBy Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Support for Islamic State increased after U.S. airstrikes began in Iraq and the militant group may take more hostages to try to force concessions from Washington, the FBI director told Congress on Wednesday. Islamic State is "committed to instilling fear and attracting recruits" and to drawing public attention, as shown through its use of social media and in videos it released of the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, said FBI Director James Comey. ...
 
 

American ISIS Supporter Charged With Trying to Kill Soldiers Returning from Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:13:44 PMGo to full article
American ISIS Supporter Charged With Trying to Kill Soldiers Returning from IraqA federal grand jury has charged a Yemeni-born American citizen with seeking to deliver money and support to ISIS. Specifically, he sought to help three men get to Syria to join ranks with the radical Sunni group.
 
 

Top Saudi clerics issue edict against terrorism

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎04:07:38 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2010 file photo, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and head of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik, prays at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque during Eid al-Fitr morning prayers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The council issued a religious ruling Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, calling terrorism a “heinous crime” and saying its supporters and perpetrators deserve punishment according to Islamic law. Earlier this year Al-Sheik, said that terrorist groups were Islam’s number one enemy. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's highest body of religious scholars issued a stern ruling on Wednesday calling terrorism a "heinous crime" and saying perpetrators including Islamic State militants deserve punishment in line with Islamic law.
 
 

Czechs to train Iraqi helicopter pilots

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:48:56 PMGo to full article
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Defense Ministry says it has signed a deal with Iraq to provide training to 31 helicopter pilots from the Iraqi air force.
 

The Daily Fix: NYC Plans for Immigrant Children, Adrian Peterson Won't Play Sunday, and Giant Squid Dissected

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:42:50 PMGo to full article
The Obama administration’s response to the surge of immigrant children coming to the United States to escape violence in Central America has been a program of “rocket dockets”—pushing these cases through immigration courts quickly, sometimes deporting children in a matter of months to deter would-be immigrants.
 

The House Vote on Arming Syrian Rebels Against ISIS Will Be All Over the Map

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:39:58 PMGo to full article
Five Best Wednesday ColumnsThe House on Wednesday is expected to vote on – and likely pass – an amendment authorizing President Obama to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in his war with the Islamic State, but don't expect the vote to fall neatly along party lines.
 
 

Iraqi prime minister: International community must stop IS group in Syria, not just Iraq

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:32:52 PMGo to full article
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi prime minister: International community must stop IS group in Syria, not just Iraq.
 

Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:26:01 PMGo to full article
Photos of the day - September 16, 2014PARIS (AP) — About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday.
 
 

World holds its breath, mostly hoping Scots vote 'No'

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:20:05 PMGo to full article
By Paul Taylor PARIS (Reuters) - The world is holding its breath but mostly hoping Scotland will vote "No" to independence from Britain in Thursday's referendum. For reasons of self-interest and geopolitics, major powers from Beijing to Washington and Moscow to New Delhi are quietly praying the United Kingdom holds together and does not create a contagious precedent of state fragmentation in unstable times. ...
 

Newest ISIS Recruitment Video Styled After a War Movie Trailer

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:12:15 PMGo to full article
Social Media Sleuths Help Track Down Hate Crime SuspectsThe AlHayat Media Center released a new propaganda video for the Islamic State overnight. The video, titled "Flames of War Trailer," is styled after a war movie trailer, complete with slow motion effects, explosions and high powered weaponry. The tragic and unfortunate truth: this video is completely real and shows horrific acts of war from ISIS.
 
 

Robert Gates: 'To promise that we’re going to destroy ISIS or ISIL sets a goal that may be unattainable'

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:11:54 PMGo to full article
The former U.S. defense secretary criticized President Barack Obama's strategy to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic extremist group in Iraq and Syria without sending in ground troops.
 

Harassment cases blighting Asian Games countdown

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:10:31 PMGo to full article
A man walks by dolls of the three official mascots, from left, Chumuro, Vichuon and Barame, of the the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. The games will be held in the South Korea's west city from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — A second sexual harassment case at the Asian Games was being investigated by South Korea police on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony.
 
 

American Academy of Ophthalmology's Annual Meeting To Showcase Latest in Eye Care Research, Technology, Clinical Education and Legislation

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎03:00:00 PMGo to full article
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, today announced the highlights of its upcoming 118th annual meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the European Society of Ophthalmology Oct. 17-21 at Chicago's McCormick Place. Known as the place "Where all of Ophthalmology Meets," the event is expected to draw more than 25,000 attendees, making it among the largest medical meetings in the United States. ...
 

Qatar emir: No support for extremists

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:54:39 PMGo to full article
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, left, address the media during a joint press conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)BERLIN (AP) — The emir of Qatar says his oil-rich Gulf nation has provided no support for the Islamic State extremist group.
 
 

New IS video warns US over Iraq deployment

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:52:08 PMGo to full article
BEIRUT (AP) — The militant Islamic State group released a video warning the United States that its fighters are waiting for it in Iraq if President Barack Obama sends troops there, as his top general said may happen if the current strategy of airstrikes fails.
 

Ebola survivor: No time to waste as Obama ups aid

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:30:05 PMGo to full article
President Barack Obama speaks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Obama traveled to the CDC, to address the Ebola crisis and announced that he is sending 3,000 American troops to West Africa nations fight the spread of the Ebola epidemic. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — An American doctor who survived Ebola said there's no time to waste as President Barack Obama outlined his plan to ramp up the U.S. response to the epidemic in West Africa.
 
 

America's Top General Says Half of Iraqi Army Is Basically Useless

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:58:00 PMGo to full article
Obama Rallies the Troops by Proclaiming America Is Basically the GhostbustersSeveral years and $25 billion later, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey says that nearly half of the Iraqi army is too heavily populated with Shiite fighters to credibly confront ISIS. As Fox News reported, Dempsey made the comments in Paris on Wednesday:
 
 

After Obama speech, Islamic State wins new recruits in Syria-monitor

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:41:50 PMGo to full article
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State has won new recruits in Syria since President Barack Obama signaled last week that air strikes against the group will be expanded from Iraq to its strongholds in northern and eastern Syria, a group monitoring the war said on Wednesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 162 people had joined Islamic State training camps in Aleppo province since Sept 10, when Obama said he would not hesitate to strike Islamic State in Syria. ...
 

Kosovo police jail 15 suspected Islamic radicals

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:35:46 PMGo to full article
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo police say they have arrested 15 people suspected of links with Islamic radicals, including Muslim clerics and a politician.
 

10 Things to Know for Today

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎01:15:35 PMGo to full article
This Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 photo shows the autographed gas tank of the Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in “Easy Rider” at the Profiles in History auction house in Calabasas, Calif. It’s one of the most recognizable motorcycles of all time. The auction house Profiles in History tells The Associated Press it estimates the Harley-Davidson will bring between $1 million and $1.2 million at its Oct. 18, 2014 sale. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
 

 

 
Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defence

 

 

 

 
 

China's Xi pledges closer defence ties with Sri Lanka

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Colombo (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
China's President Xi Jinping Tuesday announced increased defence and maritime security cooperation with Sri Lanka, whose Beijing-funded strategic port developments have caused unease in neighbouring India. Xi said his proposal for a 21st century maritime silk road and his host President Mahinda Rajapakse's vision to turn the Indian Ocean island into a regional shipping and aviation hub were
 

Russia to deploy reinforcements to Crimea area: minister

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
Russia is to reinforce its troop deployments in annexed Crimea and southern Russia because of the worsening crisis in Ukraine and the buildup of foreign forces nearby, the country's defence minister said on Tuesday. Sergei Shoigu told a meeting of defence ministry top brass it was a "priority" to deploy a "full and self-reliant group of troops in the direction of Crimea," Russian news agenci
 

Laser turret for fighter aircraft tested

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Sunnyvale, Calif. (UPI) Sep 15, 2014
An aircraft laser turret to expand the weapon's effectiveness on fighter aircraft has been flight tested by Lockheed Martin. The testing, for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, was conducted with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of Notre Dame, the company said, and demonstrated the beam control turret's airworthiness. "These initial flight tes
 

Fighter jets land on Taiwan highway in 'China attack' war games

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Chiayi City, Taiwan (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
Taiwan displayed how its fighter jets and early warning aircraft could land, refuel and take off on a closed motorway on Tuesday, in a scenario simulating a Chinese attack that wiped out the island's air force bases. The exercise - the first of its kind since 2011 - was a reminder of lingering Chinese hostilities towards the island despite warming ties between the two rivals. "The scen
 

Government data requests up 150 pct in 5 years: Google

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
Google said Monday that worldwide government requests for user data rose 150 percent over five years, as the Internet giant renewed its call for reforms to allow for greater disclosure. Updating the company's twice-yearly "transparency report," Google legal director Richard Salgado said "we've seen a 15 percent increase since the second half of last year, and a 150 percent jump since we firs
 

China's Xi visits India, sets tone for future relations

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Ahmedabad, India (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
India's new prime minister will spend his 64th birthday Wednesday at a private dinner with Xi Jinping in his home state of Gujarat, as the Chinese president begins a visit that will set the tone for relations between Asia's rival superpowers. Despite his hardline nationalist reputation, Narendra Modi moved quickly to engage with traditional rival China after taking office in May, and has pul
 

US general says 'advisors' could join Iraqi fight

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
The United States plans to strike the Islamic State group in its Syrian strongholds and could yet send military advisors into combat alongside Iraqi troops, American commanders said Tuesday. The White House scrambled to play down talk of US ground troops joining the battle after top US officer General Martin Dempsey said they could "provide close-combat advising" to Iraqi forces. As chai
 

Netherlands ups defence spending in wake of downed MH17

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
The Hague (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
The Netherlands is to increase defence spending after being hard hit by global conflicts including the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, King Willem-Alexander said on Tuesday. Giving his traditional opening of parliament speech, which this year marks the 200th anniversary of the Dutch kingdom, Willem-Alexander highlighted the threats facing the Netherlands. "Conflict
 

Space Launch System Will Use Massive Welding Tool

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 15, 2014
The largest spacecraft welding tool in the world, the Vertical Assembly Center officially is open for business at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The 170-foot-tall, 78-foot-wide giant completes a world-class welding toolkit that will be used to build the core stage of America's next great rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). SLS will be the most powerful rocket eve
 

Kurds retake Christian villages from Iraq jihadists

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Sept 16, 2014
Kurdish peshmerga forces on Tuesday recaptured seven Christian villages in northern Iraq in clashes with Islamic State (IS) jihadists, an officer and a cleric said. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians, most of them Chaldeans, fled their homes when IS militants launched a renewed drive in the north in early August. Iraq's largest Christian town, Qaraqosh, and dozens of other villages we
 

Not just cool - it's a gas

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Sep 15, 2014
In space, a new way of producing gas is being tested for steering satellites. On Earth, it is now fighting fires without harming the environment - and business insiders say it could be revolutionary. Supported by ESA, a Dutch start-up company is applying this space-age 'cool-gas generator' to fighting fires in sensitive locations, like data centres, libraries and petrochemical plants.
 

4th SpaceX Cargo Mission to ISS Dragon Scheduled for Sep 20

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 15, 2014
The launch of the next SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been scheduled for September 20, NASA said in a statement Saturday. The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the ISS will launch from space launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 2:16 a.m. local time [6:16 GMT]. The spacecraft will be launched into space by the company's Falcon
 

Western Sanctions Fail to Impede GLONASS Satellite Production

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 16, 2014
JSC Russian Space Systems (RSS) is continuing to produce equipment for GLONASS satellites, despite difficulties with shipments of foreign electronics, caused by the Western economic sanctions, RSS Director General Andrei Tyulin told journalists on Monday. "We are working and ensuring the production of components for GLONASS satellites, they will be deployed according to the program. There
 

EIAST visits the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Dubai, UAE (SPX) Sep 15, 2014
A high level delegation from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) visited recently the the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan, Kazcosmos. The delegation, headed by H.E. Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of EIAST, also included Eng. Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs. The UAE delegation met with their counter p
 

Orders secured for new fibre-optic gyro from ADS after qualification

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:22:01 PMGo to full article
Toulouse, France (SPX) Sep 16, 2014
The "Astrix 1090" fibre-optic gyro (FOG) inertial reference unit has been certified as "space-qualified" in an internal review by the Electronics Business Line of Airbus Defence and Space. The new FOG has already been baselined by two prime GEO telecom satellite contractors, and the first orders have been confirmed after successful qualification. The Astrix 1090 is an evolution of th
 

UN nuclear watchdog head ups pressure on Iran

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Vienna (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
The head of the UN atomic watchdog hit out Monday at Iran over its lack of cooperation with a probe into its nuclear programme, three weeks after Tehran missed a deadline to provide important information. "In order to resolve all outstanding issues, it is very important that Iran continues to implement, in a timely manner, all practical measures agreed" to improve transparency, International
 

Submarine work contract awarded to General Dynamics Electric Boat

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Groton, Conn. (UPI) Sep 14, 2014
Planning yard work, engineering and technical support for U.S. Navy nuclear submarines is to be conducted by General Dynamics Electric boat. The company said the Navy contract it received for the work is worth $234 million. However, if all options are exercised over the five-year life of the award, the potential total value would be $1.5 billion. The work to be provided includes
 

Australia facility to tackle chem-bio threats

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Sep 15, 2014
Australia's Defense Science and Technology Organization has broken ground for an upgraded defense science research facility in the State of Victoria. The purpose-built facility in Melbourne will be pivotal in "achieving an enhanced protective capability against life-threatening diseases and toxic materials," according to Assistant Minister for Defense Stuart Robert at a ground-breaking
 

Raytheon announces full-rate production of Talon rocket

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Tucson (UPI) Sep 15, 2014
Raytheon's Talon laser-guided rocket has entered full-rate production for the United Arab Emirates under a 2013 order. Talon is a digital, semi-active laser guidance-and-control kit co-developed with the United Arab Emirates. It fits directly to the front of the legacy 2.75-inch Hydra-70 unguided rocket for use in urban environments and for counter-insurgency and swarming boat defense m
 

Lockheed Martin partners with Saudi firm for Sniper ATP support facility

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Orlando, Fla. (UPI) Sep 15, 2014
The first overseas support facility for Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods is being opened in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Lockheed Martin. The repair-capable facility, designed to support ATPs used by the Royal Saudi Air Force, is being established in partnership with AEC, a local company focused on electronics manufacturing, system integration, and repair and maintenance services.
 

Work starts on new patrol vessel for Singapore

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Singapore (UPI) Sep 15, 2014
Singapore Technologies Marine has held a keel-laying ceremony for the Republic of Singapore Navy's first of eight Littoral Mission Vessels. The LMVs being built by ST Marine will replace the navy's existing Fearless-class patrol vessels, which have been in service for nearly 20 years. "The LMVs, to be equipped with advanced combat systems, will be highly versatile and capable of
 

Renegade claims jet raid on Libya militia position

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Tripoli (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
A warplane carried out an air raid Monday on a military base in western Libya held by anti-government militias, in an attack claimed by renegade former general Khalifa Haftar. State news agency LANA said 15 people were lightly wounded as the raid hit a munitions depot in the town of Gharyan, 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of the capital. The militias in Gharyan form part of Fajr Lib
 

US rejects military cooperation with Iran in Iraq, open to talks

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday ruled out military cooperation with Iran but said Washington remained open to talks with Tehran about the threat posed by Islamic State militants. "We will not be coordinating with Iran" on military action, "but as I said, we are open to have a conversation," Kerry told reporters in Paris after an international conference on Iraq. "On Syria stri
 

Exelis receives new order for night vision goggles

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Roanoke, Va. (UPI) Sep 14, 2014
More Generation 3 night vision equipment has been ordered from Exelis, with deliveries to occur from late this year and early into 2015. The order, under a 2011 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity OMNI VIII contract, carries a value of $8 million, the technology company said. "As a cost-effective manufacturer of high-reliability night vision goggles, Exelis continues to provi
 

Israeli arms sale to Ukraine blocked: report

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
A proposed sale of Israeli weapons including drones to Ukraine has been blocked for fear of antagonising Russia, Channel Two television reported on Monday. The broadcaster said a Ukrainian delegation had visited Israel with a view to acquiring military hardware including drones to use against pro-Russian separatists. It was not reported when the visit took place or when the decision to t
 

Iran rejects US-led coalition against jihadists

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
Iran said Monday it rejected a US request for its cooperation against the jihadist Islamic State as part of an international coalition whose true aim Tehran sees as regime change in Syria. Seen from Tehran, which has helped both Damascus and Baghdad to confront IS advances, the coalition lacks credibility because some of its members had financed and armed the group as part of their campaign
 

Iraq wins pledge of military support against IS

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
The world's top diplomats pledged Monday to support Iraq in its fight against Islamic State militants by "any means necessary", including "appropriate military assistance", as leaders stressed the urgency of the crisis. Representatives from around 30 countries and international organisations, including the United States, Russia and China, gathered in Paris as the savage beheading at the week
 

Harris Corporation supply Falcon III RF-340M radios to U.S. military

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Rochester, N.Y. (UPI) Sep 14, 2014
Falcon III RF-340M multi-channel manpack radios, which provide enhanced command-and-control, have been ordered from Harris Corporation by the U.S. military. "This is our second order for the RF-340M, demonstrating the growing interest in Harris' next-generation, two-channel solution for mounted and dismounted tactical communications," said George Helm, president, Department of Defense b
 

"Artificial Spleen" Could Increase Survival Odds for Future Sepsis Patients

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 16, 2014
Sepsis - a life-threatening over-reaction by the immune system to infection - afflicts 18 million people a year worldwide and kills between 30 and 50 percent of them. Sepsis poses a significant threat to warfighters who suffer combat injuries that predispose them to infection. Antibiotics can kill sepsis-inducing microbes but their overuse is contributing to the threat of drug-resistant mi
 

US steps up efforts to target extremists at home

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:55:20 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
The United States announced Monday it was stepping up efforts to target extremists at home as it seeks to build a broad global coalition against Islamic State militants. Through a series of new pilot programs in cities across the country, the goal is to create a network of community partnerships "to keep our nation safe," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "We have establi
 

British PM holds fire on IS, pursues cautious strategy

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 14, 2014
The murder of British aid worker David Haines has upped the pressure on London to take the fight to the Islamic State, but Prime Minister David Cameron is proceeding with caution - and some confusion. Cameron said Sunday he was ready to "take whatever steps are necessary" to destroy the militant group which has seized territory across Iraq and Syria, and has now killed three Western hostage
 

Tehran mocks anti-jihadist front without Damascus

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
Tehran ridiculed an international conference on the jihadist threat that opened in Paris on Monday, insisting the Islamic State cannot be defeated without the support of its ally Damascus. Neither Iran nor Syria were invited to the meeting in the French capital, despite the Damascus government's involvement in almost daily military action against IS. "The best way of fighting IS and terr
 

Briton's beheading boosts resolve of anti-IS coalition

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 14, 2014
The Islamic State's beheading of another Western hostage has strengthened the resolve of a US-led coalition ahead of a Paris conference Monday on how to jointly eliminate the jihadist group. Prime Minister David Cameron vowed on Sunday that Britain would hunt down the killers of British aid worker David Haines, an act he described as the "embodiment of evil". Britain was prepared to "ta
 

Signs of N. Korea developing missile submarine: South

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
North Korea appears to be developing a new weapons system capable of launching submarine-based ballistic missiles, the South's defence ministry said Monday. "Based on recent US and South Korean intelligence, we have detected signs of North Korea developing a vertical missile launch tube for submarines," a ministry official told AFP. Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told a regular press br
 

'All bases covered' in coalition bid to crush IS

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 14, 2014
"All bases are covered" in a US-led multinational coalition against the Islamic State, John Kerry said, as Washington rallies diplomatic and public support to smash the jihadists. The US Secretary of State told CBS's Face the Nation that there were allies willing to join the United States in air strikes on IS, which has overrun large swaths of northern Iraq and Syria in a brutal and lightnin
 

China's Xi starts South Asia tour in "paradise"

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Male, Maldives (AFP) Sept 14, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the Maldives Sunday, making a historic visit to the Indian Ocean tourist destination at the start of a three-nation South Asian tour. Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen received Xi and his entourage at the international airport, located on a small islet near the capital island Male where an official state welcome awaits him Monday. Xi and his wife
 

Russia Plans to Launch 5 Angara Heavy Rockets Per Year by 2025

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 12, 2014
The United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC) is planning to start launching five Angara heavy rockets a year by 2025, according to the program of financial recovery at the Khrunichev Center, presented by the URSC Deputy CEO Pavel Popov. "Since 2021, Proton [carrier rocket] will be used almost exclusively for commercial launches. Angara is to be used for federal launches, starting in 2018
 

Proton Launches May Compete on Price With US Falcons

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 12, 2014
Future commercial launches of Russian Proton launch vehicles will be able to compete with the US Space X's Falcon 9 rockets but on certain conditions, the Deputy Director General in charge of Economics and Finance of the United Rocket and Space Corporation said Thursday. "If Space X enters the market with the prices and features it is talking about, if it can launch the Falcon 9 to a geost
 

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Nears Completion, Ready for Fueling

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Cape Canveral FL (SPX) Sep 12, 2014
NASA is making steady progress on its Orion spacecraft, completing several milestones this week at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for the capsule's first trip to space in December. Engineers finished building the Orion crew module, attached it and the already-completed service module to the adapter that will join Orion to its rocket and transported the spacecraft to a new
 

Baghdad blast turns wedding joy into funeral grief

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 15, 2014
Raghda Yaqub was just days away from marriage, but a bombing in east Baghdad meant the 24-year-old Iraqi was buried wearing her wedding dress instead. "Last Thursday was her engagement, and this Thursday we buried her," the young woman's weeping mother Sana says at her home, where she and other family members are receiving condolences. "Which religion accepts these crimes?" Raghda we
 

Israel intelligence hits back over refuseniks' letter

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 14, 2014
Scores of veterans of elite Israeli intelligence unit 8200 rallied to its defence Sunday after 43 comrades said they would no longer take part in its "injustices" against millions of Palestinians. The open letter, which was sent to Israel's political and military leadership last week, was one of the most high-profile expressions of conscientious objection in years. The signatories - res
 

Turing biopic wins Toronto film festival top prize

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Ottawa (AFP) Sept 14, 2014
"The Imitation Game," a biopic of British codebreaker Alan Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch, won the Toronto film festival's top prize Sunday, confirming its status as an early Oscars contender. Morten Tyldum's World War II-era drama also stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Allen Leech of the hit television series "Downton Abbey," and features a rare German Enigma code machine from
 

SpaceX's next cargo launch set for Sept 20

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
SpaceX's next unmanned cargo trip to restock supplies at the International Space Station is scheduled for September 20, the US space agency said Friday. The Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 2:16 am (0616 GMT) on September 20 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA said. "If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Sunday
 

Ariane rocket launches Asia-Pacific telecoms satellites

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
An Ariane 5 rocket took off from the European space centre at Kourou in French Guiana late Thursday, before placing two Asia-Pacific telecoms satellites into orbit, the launch firm Arianespace said. The twice-delayed launch took place at 7:05 pm (2305 GMT) and shortly afterwards the Measat-3b, of Malaysian operator Measat, and Optus 10, of Australian counterpart Optus were successfully place
 

Three Russian and American astronauts return to Earth

 
‎15 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:06:44 PMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut returned to Earth on Thursday after spending more than six months working together aboard the International Space Station, as tensions between their countries soared over the Ukraine crisis. American Steven Swanson and Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, who left on March 26, landed in the Kazakh steppe at 0223 GMT aboard a Soyuz c
 

US still concerned after arms treaty talks with Russia

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
Washington's concerns that Russia violated a 1987 arms control treaty "were not assuaged" during a meeting between the two sides in Moscow, the State Department said Thursday. US negotiators nevertheless felt they had a "useful exchange of views" with their Russian counterparts and have "agreed to continue the dialogue," it said in a statement. Both sides "acknowledged the importance" of
 

US general Allen to head anti-jihadist coalition

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
Retired US general John Allen, the cerebral ex-commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan who also led troops in western Iraq, has been named to lead the international effort against Islamic State extremists, officials announced Friday. The job will require a difficult balancing act that will be familiar ground to the retired four-star Marine officer, who has plenty of experience managing unwie
 

Obama waits for Congress on Syria rebel aid

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
President Barack Obama learned Thursday that he may have a wait on his hands before Congress signs off on his plan to train and equip Syrian rebels, a key plank in his strategy to destroy Islamic State radicals. Obama oversaw Thursday the 13th anniversary commemorations of the September 11 attacks in 2001 - which fell, in a trace of bitter irony, hours after he steeled Americans for a new b
 

Why an air campaign agains ISIS is not enough

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 12, 2014
One of the most absurd and half-baked geopolitical decisions in recent memory, based on totally erroneous intelligence, has come back to bite us - yet again. The overthrow and hanging of Saddam Hussein was based on his non-existent nuclear weapons, coupled with a harebrained decision to disband the Iraqi army. This, in turn, led to the Islamic State's decision to recruit these f
 

US insists no anti-jihadist coordination with Assad

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
With momentum building for international military action against Islamist extremists in Syria, the United States reiterated Friday it will not coordinate with strongman Bashar al-Assad in the effort. "The answer to the security challenges is not the Assad regime," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters. "They have created this security vacuum. We are not going to
 

Kurdish female fighters face jihadists in Iraq's north

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Makhmur, Iraq (AFP) Sept 13, 2014
Tekoshin stands on a mountain in north Iraq with a rifle slung over her shoulder and a grenade tucked into her belt, facing jihadists in "a struggle to liberate women". Women have been fighting alongside men in the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to wrest Mount Makhmur in northern Iraq back from Islamic State (IS) jihadists, whose treatment of women makes the fight especially personal for th
 

China offers Russia 'helping hand' in Xi, Putin talks

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for Beijing and Moscow to offer each other a "helping hand" in the face of external challenges, at talks with his counterpart Vladimir Putin in Tajikistan Thursday, state media reported. The two leaders met in the Central Asian nation's capital Dushanbe ahead of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a six-nation regional security group that al
 

US threatened Yahoo with huge fine over surveillance

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
US authorities threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it failed to comply with a secret surveillance program requiring it to hand over user data in the name of national security, court documents showed Thursday. The documents, made public in a rare unsealing by a secretive court panel, "underscore how we had to fight every step of the way to challenge the US government's surveillance eff
 

Three condemned to die for 'China's 9/11' mass stabbing

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
Three men were condemned to death Friday and a pregnant woman given life in prison for a mass stabbing that killed 31 people in China, a court said, an attack authorities blamed on separatists from largely Muslim Xinjiang. The three men were convicted of "leading a terrorist group" which planned and carried out the attack, the Intermediate People's Court in Kunming said in a statement. T
 

US Congress wary of greenlighting 'Iraq 2.0'

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
US lawmakers will likely give President Barack Obama authority to train Syrian rebels to combat jihadists, but Democrats and many Republicans are wary of repeating America's Iraq war debacle. Mindful of the risks of war in the Middle East, Congress will rally to an embattled commander in chief's strategy to defeat the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, but seek to keep his war powers in che
 

Thales-operated munition plants to continue Australian military production

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Sep 12, 2014
Australian munition plants operated by Thales Australia will continue operations for the country's military under a five-year plan announced this week. Defense Minister David Johnston said the decision on the facilities in Mulwala, New South Wales, and Benalla, Victoria, allow finalization of negotiations on a munitions program worth more than $320 million. "This is great news f
 

DRS announces U.S. Navy contract win

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Arlington, Va. (UPI) Sep 12, 2014
DRS Technologies Inc. has become eligible to provide command-and-control hardware for the U.S. Navy's Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. DRS, a Finmeccanica company, said its eligibility comes under access to a $31.8 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity award of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division. The Ship Self-Defense System, or SSDS, is a battle manage
 

China warns citizens to avoid Philippines

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) Sept 12, 2014
China on Friday warned its nationals to avoid visiting the Philippines, citing a foiled bomb plot against the Chinese embassy in Manila and the danger of criminal gangs. "Given the worsened security situation in the Philippines, the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges Chinese citizens not to travel to the Philippines for the time being," a ministry statement said.
 

Raytheon providing ongoing support for Patriot air defense system

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
Tewksbury, Mass. (UPI) Sep 12, 2014
The U.S. Army has given Raytheon a $109 million contract for ongoing engineering services and support for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Work under the contract for the Army and Foreign Military Sales customers will include system analysis, software development, testing and logistics support, and other country-specific system requirements. Raytheon said the work will
 

BAE Systems Hagglund delivers combat vehicle to Norway

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:45 PMGo to full article
London (UPI) Sep 12, 2014
The first engineering variant of CV90 Sting armored combat vehicle ordered by the Norwegian military has been delivered by BAE Systems' Swedish subsidiary. The vehicle changed hands at BAE Systems Hägglunds' plant at Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, and was hailed as a milestone achievement for the CV90 program. "We have been working extremely closely with BAE Systems Hagglunds over the co
 

Britain begins assembly of new aircraft carrier in Scotland

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
London (UPI) Sep 11, 2014
The largest hull sections of Britain's second of two new aircraft carriers have been docked in Scotland, marking the beginning of the ship's assembly. The two hull sections - one weighing about 6,700 tons and one weighing at nearly 9,000 tons - were built by BAE Systems at company facilities in Portsmouth, England, and Glasgow, Scotland and are now in dry dock at Rosyth. "Every
 

U.S. military taps Northrop Grumman for new technology

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Linthicum, Md. (UPI) Sep 11, 2014
Wideband digital antenna technology for new radio frequency sensors using active electronically scanned arrays is to be developed by Northrop Grumman. The work was commissioned by the Microsystems Technology Office of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Phase One contract for the Arrays on Commercial Timescales program is worth $11.9 million. The progra
 

Lockheed opens center for optical payload development in California

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Palo Alto, Calif. (UPI) Sep 11, 2014
Lockheed Martin has opened a digital technology center in California for the development of optical payloads for satellites, targeting systems and lasers. The Optical Payload Center of Excellence brings together various design teams and experts across the world from Lockheed Martin, its industry partners and leading research universities into one collaborative unit. "The Optical
 

ISIS is targeting Southeast Asia

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Sep 11, 2014
IS isn't just targeting the Middle East and the US. It's aiming at Southeast Asia, too. Malaysian authorities recently stopped a major IS-influenced attack, and Indonesian and Philippine officials are scrambling to prevent their own growing flocks of IS-inspired terrorists from going on the rampage. IS is a global threat. The Philippines' Foreign Ministry says that 200 of its citizens h
 

Additional live-fire target systems ordered by U.S. Army

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Suwanee, Ga. (UPI) Sep 11, 2014
Targets for U.S. Army infantry and armored units have been ordered from Meggitt Training Systems for use at live-fire training ranges. The order, in support of the Army Targeting Systems program, was issued by the Army's TACOM Life Cycle Command. It carries a value of $17.7 million. "Meggitt's long-standing association with the ATS program coupled with the delivery of these new t
 

Indian Navy added a fifth P-8I to its maritime patrol fleet of aircraft

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Seattle (UPI) Sep 11, 2014
The Indian Navy received its fifth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing, the company reported. The Poseidon, delivered under a 2009 order for eight aircraft, was configured to Indian Navy requirements and features Indian-built sub-systems. "The P-8I program is progressing on schedule, and the aircraft are providing the capabilities to meet our maritime reconnaissance and ant
 

US war on jihadists hinges on shoring up local forces

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
President Barack Obama's war on Islamic State jihadists could damage the militants without defeating them, while increasing the risk of America being sucked into Syria's hellish civil war, experts and former US officials say. The strategy unveiled by Obama in a national address Wednesday envisions local forces trained and armed by the West eventually defeating the well-organized militants in
 

China shows off new missile test on primetime television

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
China has unveiled its latest military hardware on primetime television, an advanced air defence system that reports said has a "high success rate" destroying incoming missiles and aircraft. The HongQi-10 (Reg Flag 10) surface-to-air missile was shown in the evening news bulletin Wednesday being fired from ships and land-based mobile launchers, and exploding in the sky on impact with its tar
 

India and China in wary dance as Xi visits South Asia

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
China's president will kick off his first South Asia tour with a visit to Beijing's latest investment in Sri Lanka, a $1.4-billion port city development to include a marina and a Formula One track - all just 250 kilometres (150 miles) from India's coast. Xi Jinping's trip to the site, next to a major Chinese-funded commercial port, will provide a vivid reminder of Beijing's growing economic
 

Iran, European countries hold nuclear talks in Vienna

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Vienna (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
Officials from Iran and Britain, France and Germany were due Thursday to hold nuclear talks in Vienna towards reaching a potentially historic accord by November. The three European countries form part of a six-nation group including the United States, Russia and China due to resume negotiations with Iran in New York on September 18. The closed-door discussions in the Austrian capital, an
 

Obama eyes air strikes in Syria, fixing Iraqi army

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
President Barack Obama will vow in a national address Wednesday to target the Islamic State with air strikes "wherever they exist" in a sign he plans to attack the jihadists inside Syria for the first time. According to excerpts of his speech released by the White House, Obama will also pledge to lead a broad coalition to fight IS and work with "partner forces" on the ground in Syria and Ira
 

Most US strikes in Iraq focused on defending Mosul dam

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
The majority of US air strikes in Iraq over the past month have targeted jihadists in the country's north fighting for control of the strategic Mosul dam, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, citing a tally of the raids. Out of 154 American bombing raids conducted since August 8 in Iraq, 91 of them were aimed at Islamic State (IS) militants threatening the Mosul dam in the country's north, US
 

What if 9/11 had not happened?

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 10, 2014
This week marks the 13th anniversary of al Qaeda's September 11th attacks against America. Many of the consequences of those attacks and subsequent U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the global war on terror have been tragic. Chaos in Iraq has infected Syria. An Islamic State (IS) that combines the most evil and vile elements of radical Islam has staked claims to grea
 

Space Traffic Control Architecture

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Bethesda MD (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
The number of organizations using the near-Earth space environment for applications ranging from exploration to exploitation and national security is impressive and continues to grow. Safety is a prime concern for both equipment and personnel. For government operators, the control of risk is mandatory. For commercial operators, operational efficiency and favorable cost/benefit consideratio
 

Lockheed Martin to help in Aussie data processing system revamp

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎08:10:01 PMGo to full article
Kingston, Australia (UPI) Sep 10, 2014
Lockheed Martin Australia is to provide centralized data processing services to Australia's Department of Defense. The services, under a contract worth about $740 million, will consolidate infrastructure and applications and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of data center delivery, the department said. "Centralized processing will deliver a smaller number of more reliable
 

Russia to boost nuclear, space defence forces against US

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:50 PMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
Russia will respond to the United States' "prompt global strike" programme designed to take out targets within an hour by upgrading its nuclear and space defence forces, its deputy prime minister said Wednesday. "Our response to the prompt global strike strategy is upgrading our strategic nuclear forces and resources - the strategic rocket forces and the naval ones - and also developing ai
 

More than half of Chinese see war with Japan: poll

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:50 PMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
More than half of Chinese people think their country could go to war with Japan in the future, a new poll revealed Wednesday, after two years of intense diplomatic squabbles. A survey conducted in both nations found that 53.4 percent of Chinese envisage a future conflict, with more than a fifth of those saying it would happen "within a few years", while 29 percent of Japanese view military c
 

Israeli army launches 5 criminal probes over Gaza war

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:50 PMGo to full article
Tel Aviv (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
Israel's army has launched five criminal investigations into incidents involving its forces during the Gaza war, a top legal official said on Wednesday, two weeks after a truce took hold. The United Nations and international rights groups have condemned Israel for numerous attacks which resulted in heavy civilian casualties, in a conflict that killed more than 2,140 Palestinians. The ar
 

What will the US-led war against jihadists look like?

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:50 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 11, 2014
President Barack Obama's vow to take the fight to jihadists in Syria and Iraq will expand a US-led air war already underway and likely require deploying more special forces to help local troops. This is a breakdown of current military operations and what a larger effort might entail: Strikes in Syria Bombing IS jihadists in Syria represents the biggest gamble in Obama's war plan. Wi
 

Israeli Navy awaits arrival of new submarine

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:50 PMGo to full article
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Sep 10, 2014
A new submarine from Germany is sailing toward Israel to join the Israeli Navy following crew training in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The vessel is the INS Tanin, the fourth of six Dolphin-class submarines Israel ordered from German shipbuilder Howaldtswerke Deeutsche Werk and the first in an upgraded design. Upgrades include improved air-independent propulsion, and more mo
 

Vietnam accuses China of attacking fishermen

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:58:50 PMGo to full article
Hanoi (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
Hanoi has accused Chinese sailors of attacking a group of Vietnamese fishermen near a disputed island chain, the latest in a string of maritime spats between the communist neighbours. Vietnam's Foreign Ministry said the vessels were fishing in waters around the Paracel Islands - claimed by Vietnam but controlled by China - when they were attacked. They were stopped by Chinese sailors i
 

Chile military groups proudly claim 1973 coup

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:39:44 PMGo to full article
Santiago (AFP) Sept 10, 2014
Organizations of active and retired Chilean military personnel took out a newspaper advertisement Wednesday proudly claiming the 1973 coup that launched dictator Augusto Pinochet's 17-year rule. Published the day before the 41st anniversary of the coup, the letter said the overthrow of socialist president Salvador Allende set the South American country on the path to "security" and "progress
 

Mitsubishi Electric to Deliver Satellite to Qatari Operator

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:39:44 PMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has been awarded a contract to deliver the Es'hail 2 communications satellite to operator Qatar Satellite Company (Es'hailSat) in Doha. In-orbit delivery is scheduled for the end of 2016. Mitsubishi Electric is the first Japanese satellite manufacturer to enter the Arab commercial communications satellite market. With a more than 15-year design life, t
 

SpaceX launches AsiaSat 6 satellite

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:39:44 PMGo to full article
Cape Canaveral AFB FL (SPX) Sep 09, 2014
The 45th Space Wing supported Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the AsiaSat 6 satellite here from Space Launch Complex 40 at 1 a.m. EDT Sept. 7. The Falcon 9 topped with the SpaceX fairing is 224.4 feet (68.4 meters) tall and 12 feet in diameter (the fairing is 17 feet in diameter). Its nine first-stage Merlin engines generate 1.3 mi
 

China launches remote sensing satellite

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:39:44 PMGo to full article
Taiyuan, China (XNA) Sep 09, 2014
China successfully launched the Yaogan-21 remote sensing satellite into preset orbit at 11:22 a.m. on Monday Beijing Time (0322 GMT) from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. The carrier rocket, a Long March-4B, is also carrying the Tiantuo-2 satellite, designed and built by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). Yaogan-21 will be used for scientific experiments, natural r
 

US Army Europe uses technology to conduct exercises with different nations

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Hohenfels, Germany (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
U.S. Army Europe uses its latest simulation technology to join two training exercises from different countries and allow commanders to view and control troop movements as though units from both exercises are operating in the same area. Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will appear to drop into Germany near Munich, which is just south of the main body of the Saber Junction exerci
 

FirstNet-related Tactical LTE Communications System at Urban Shield Exercise

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Oakland CA (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
At Urban Shield 2014, Mutualink, Sonim and Oceus will participate in a FirstNet-related deployment of an Enhanced System on Wheels (ESOW). The exercise will give public safety officials in northern California the opportunity to prepare for a coordinated, multi-agency, emergency response using advanced collaboration across LTE Band 14. During the Urban Shield exercise, officials from the No
 

Intelsat General Extends Contract to Provide Satellite Capacity to Forces in Afghanistan

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Bethesda, MD (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
Intelsat General has confirmed that it had received a one-year contract renewal for satellite capacity from DRS Technologies, one of several previously referenced renewals that were received in the 2014 third quarter under the Future Commercial Satellite Communications Acquisition (FCSA) vehicle. Under the contract, entering its third year, Intelsat General is supplying satellite services
 

Russian Defense Ministry Denies Reports that Its Satellite Exploded Above US

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 10, 2014
The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday denied media reports of a Russian military satellite that allegedly exploded above the United States. Earlier in the day, the American Meteor Society published more than 30 reports from alleged eyewitnesses, who claimed they observed a blast of Russia's Kosmos-2495 imaging reconnaissance satellite. "The Russian satellite group functions normall
 

Helicopter-Type UAVs May Appear in Russian Navy in One Year

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 10, 2014
Research and development company Radar MMS is waiting for the Russian Navy to place orders for its Breeze, a helicopter-type unmanned flying radar. "If the Navy wants, we are ready to supply it in one year," Sergey Ptitsyn, head of the company's department of electronic equipment development, said at a press conference at the international water and ship-based aviation exhibition Gidroavia
 

Penn study demonstrates wearable sensors to detect firearm use

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
University Park PA (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates that wearable sensors could one day transform the correctional system by tracking gun use by community-based offenders, who account for a disproportionate share of fatal and non-fatal shootings. Currently, detecting and deterring this type of crime can be challenging in the absence of reliable evidence that a particular community
 

Armored Ground Vehicles Could Sprint, Dodge And Shield Their Way Out Of Danger

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
One of the key goals of DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program is improving the survivability of ground-based armored fighting vehicles by increasing vehicle agility. Vehicle agility involves the ability to autonomously avoid incoming threats, either by rapidly moving out of the way or reconfiguring the vehicle so incoming threats have a low probability of hitting and penetrat
 

IBC Engineered Materials to Supply BeralCast Castings for F-35

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Wilmington MA (SPX) Sep 10, 2014
IBC Advanced Alloys Corp reports that its wholly owned US subsidiary, IBC Engineered Materials Corp., has been selected by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to provide critical cast components for the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) on the F-35 Lightning II. The first component covered by this contract is an EOTS azimuth gimbal housing to be manufactured using Beralcast, the Comp
 

China's President Xi to visit India next week

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sept 09, 2014
China's President Xi Jinping will make his first state visit to rival Asian giant India next week, officials said Tuesday, as Beijing sought to allay fears it is encircling its neighbour. The announcement came just a week after India's recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to take ties to a "new level" with Japan, a move seen as an attempt to shore up regional alliances to c
 

US, Russia to hold talks on 1987 arms control treaty

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 09, 2014
A US delegation heads to Moscow Thursday to discuss the 1987 arms control treaty with their Russian counterparts, with both sides accusing the other of violations. The United States has raised concerns over Moscow's development since 2008 of a new missile banned under the accord, while Russia wants the United States to abandon or limit its anti-missile shield plans in Europe, saying the proj
 

Software improvements to Tomahawk cruise missile demonstrated

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Tucson (UPI) Sep 9, 2014
Raytheon reports that software improvements to the Tomahawk cruise missile have been validated in testing by the U.S. Navy. The first test involved the submarine USS Hampton firing a Tomahawk Block IV missile from its vertical capsule launch system. The missile first flew a pre-planned mission until directed to a new target by strike control personnel. In the second test, a Tomah
 

Obama tries to sell plan to defeat Islamic State

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 09, 2014
President Barack Obama stepped up his bid to convince Americans he has a plan to defeat the Islamic State, meeting top congressional leaders and scheduling a primetime speech for Wednesday. Obama will summon the symbolic weight of a televised address to the nation at 9:00 pm (0100 GMT Thursday), speaking from the ceremonial state floor of the White House. The speech will attempt to redre
 

Ukraine in NATO would be 'unprecedented challenge': Russia

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Sept 09, 2014
Russia said emphatically on Tuesday it did not want Ukraine to become a NATO member, describing such a possibility as an "unprecedented challenge to European security". "Ukraine in NATO would be an unprecedented challenge to European security, the biggest since the collapse of the Berlin Wall," said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's envoy to the European Union. Kiev announced its intentions to
 

Israel, US test upgraded Arrow 2 missile interceptor

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 09, 2014
Israel and the United States on Tuesday successfully conducted a joint test of an upgraded Arrow 2 ballistic missile interception system over the Mediterranean Sea, the defence ministry said. "An Arrow 2 missile was launched and performed its flight sequence as planned," the defence ministry said in a statement, with a spokesman confirming the system had been upgraded. The two countries
 

Arabs rally behind US efforts for anti-jihadist coalition

 
‎11 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:40 AMGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 09, 2014
Arab nations rallied Tuesday behind US efforts to form a broad coalition against jihadists in Iraq and Syria as Secretary of State John Kerry headed to the region to cement their support. Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia is to host talks Thursday between Kerry and ministers from 10 Arab states and Turkey on joint action against the Islamic State group. The moves came as Britain announce

 

 

Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

 

 

UN nuclear watchdog head ups pressure on Iran

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Vienna (AFP) Sept 15, 2014 - The head of the UN atomic watchdog hit out Monday at Iran over its lack of cooperation with a probe into its nuclear programme, three weeks after Tehran missed a deadline to provide important information.

"In order to resolve all outstanding issues, it is very important that Iran continues to implement, in a timely manner, all practical measures agreed" to improve transparency, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said.

This was despite Iran's "statement of a firm, high-level commitment... and its stated willingness to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues," Amano told the IAEA's board of governors, according to the text of his speech.

The IAEA regularly inspects Iran's nuclear facilities, but it also wants Iran to respond to allegations that its programme in the past had "possible military dimensions" -- in other words that it researched how to build a nuclear bomb.

After years of Tehran rejecting these claims, progress began to be made in February, with Iran providing the IAEA with explanations on one out of 12 suspect areas and in May promising information on two more.

Iran however failed to do so by a mutually agreed August 25 deadline. Amano said Monday merely that the IAEA and Tehran has "begun discussions".

Iran also failed to propose new measures by September 2 as requested, he said.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Reza Najafi, said last week that Iran had informed the agency that the August 25 deadline would not be met and that further talks would be held in Tehran in late September.

Not answering the IAEA's long-standing questions -- including suspect activities on a military base in Parchin -- could harm the chances of reaching a historic deal between Iran and world powers, experts say.

That accord would be focused on the future of Iran's declared nuclear facilities, which Tehran says are for peaceful purposes but which Western countries fear could one day enable it to build a bomb.

New talks on this mooted agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are due to resume in New York on Thursday ahead of a November 24 deadline.

Experts and diplomats believe that, at the current pace, the IAEA's probe will take roughly one to two years to complete -- assuming Tehran cooperates.

"At this stage I cannot say how long it will take to clarify the 12 areas.... However this is not an endless process," Amano told a news conference in Vienna.

"With the cooperation of Iran we can clarify these issues within a reasonable timeline."

 

 

Tehran mocks anti-jihadist front without Damascus

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Sept 15, 2014 - Tehran ridiculed an international conference on the jihadist threat that opened in Paris on Monday, insisting the Islamic State cannot be defeated without the support of its ally Damascus.

Neither Iran nor Syria were invited to the meeting in the French capital, despite the Damascus government's involvement in almost daily military action against IS.

"The best way of fighting IS and terrorism in the region is to help and strengthen the Iraqi and Syrian governments, which have been engaged in a serious struggle against terrorism," deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told a visiting French lawmaker.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has not been waiting for the formation of an international coalition -- it has been carrying out its obligations," he told foreign affairs committee chairwoman Patricia Adam, the ISNA news agency reported.

Washington has been strongly opposed to Shiite Iran's involvement in the coalition it has been building to fight the jihadists in Iraq and neighbouring Syria for fear of alienating Sunni governments, particularly regional heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Washington opposed Tehran's participation because of its "engagement in Syria and elsewhere".

The deputy foreign minister is the latest in a string of Iranian officials to criticise US efforts to wage war against the jihadists, who have seized a big chunk of eastern Syria and northern and north-central Iraq.

Iranian officials charge that it was Gulf Arab and US support for the rebels fighting to overthrow the Syrian regime since 2011 that paved the way for the rise of IS.

They say that only a change of policy toward the Damascus regime by Washington and its Gulf Arab allies can turn the tables.

US President Barack Obama announced last Wednesday that he had authorised the expansion to Syria of the US air campaign against IS he launched in early August.

There have been no US strikes so far but Obama's announcement, which was made in defiance of the Syrian government, drew protests from Damascus and its Iranian and Russian allies.

Washington has long backed the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Baghdad blast turns wedding joy into funeral grief
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 15, 2014 - Raghda Yaqub was just days away from marriage, but a bombing in east Baghdad meant the 24-year-old Iraqi was buried wearing her wedding dress instead.

"Last Thursday was her engagement, and this Thursday we buried her," the young woman's weeping mother Sana says at her home, where she and other family members are receiving condolences.

"Which religion accepts these crimes?"

Raghda went with her fiance Alaa, his mother and five-year-old nephew on September 10 to buy sweets, says her father Adel, also in tears.

"Don't be late," Adel instructed her fiance before they left, a warning familiar to parents across the world.

It was the last time he would see his daughter alive.

Three bombs exploded in the Ghadeer area that night, setting fuel tanks for generators and three small nearby shopping malls ablaze.

Alaa was parking the car, but Raghda and the others were inside one of the malls, which was soon engulfed in smoke and fire.

"Had there been a back door to the mall, my daughter would have survived; had there been a fire extinguishing system inside the mall, there would have been a chance of survival," Adel says.

But there was neither, and she died of suffocation. Alaa was seriously wounded; his mother and nephew were also killed.

Raghda and her family are Christian, members of a small, dwindling community in Iraq, but she was not targeted because of her religion.

- 'I buried her instead' -

The Iraqi capital is plagued by blasts ranging from small magnetic "sticky bombs" that destroy individual cars to explosives-rigged vehicles that cause devastation for dozens of metres (yards) around.

Dozens of people are killed in such attacks each month and many more are wounded -- each one a family member lost, or a person who must live with sometimes-permanent disability.

Crowds of people are what militants most frequently target, seeking to damage or destroy as many lives as they can.

Bombs rip through markets, mosques, cafes, football fields, crowded streets and intersections. Some of the attacks are claimed by Sunni extremists, but in many cases, the perpetrators remain anonymous.

Iraq suffered years of brutal sectarian bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007, leaving tens of thousands of people dead and over one million displaced.

Violence was then brought under a semblance of control, but has spiked since April of last year, culminating in a sweeping jihadist-led militant offensive that overran swathes of the country in June.

Raghda's relatives are angry, not just at the attack itself but at the circumstances that led to her death.

Her mother Sana says the owners of "the mall killed them with greed -- if they provided a rear door, many people would have survived."

"If there were firefighters to extinguish the fire, they would have been able to bring out these innocent people," says Ruha, Raghda's older sister.

"I came for her engagement, but I buried her" instead, says Ruha, who lives in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, an area that is largely spared the violence that plagues other parts of the country.

"I buried her... in her wedding dress, the only thing she took with her," she says.

Adel wishes he could have died instead.

"I am ready to rest in her place," he says. "I am over 60, while she has not seen anything of her life yet."

 

 

Signs of N. Korea developing missile submarine: South

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 15, 2014 - North Korea appears to be developing a new weapons system capable of launching submarine-based ballistic missiles, the South's defence ministry said Monday.

"Based on recent US and South Korean intelligence, we have detected signs of North Korea developing a vertical missile launch tube for submarines," a ministry official told AFP.

Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told a regular press briefing Monday that the North's 3,000-ton Golf-class submarine could be modified to fire medium-range ballistic missiles.

"However, there is no confirmed information yet that a North Korean submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles is in operation," Kim stressed.

North Korea's small submarine fleet is comprised of largely obsolete Soviet-era and modified Chinese vessels.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said in June that North Korea appeared to have acquired a sea-based copy of a Russian cruise missile.

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis of the US think-tank said the missile would mark "a new and potentially destabilising addition" to North Korea's military arsenal.

He identified the weapon as a copy of the Russian-produced KH-35 -- a sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile developed during the 1980s and 90s.

 

 

Iran says nuclear talks hit by disagreements

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Sept 13, 2014 - A top Iranian nuclear negotiator said Saturday that "disagreements over serious questions" persisted in the latest talks with the world powers on his country's atomic programme.

"After two rounds of negotiations with the European representatives, our positions have not been reconciled and disagreements over serious questions still exist," said Majid Takht-Ravanchi, who is also a deputy foreign minister.

Takht-Ravanchi urged the so-called P5+1 group to "respect the red lines" drawn up by Iran to reach an agreement that would end the decade-old dispute.

His remarks came after the Iranians and their European counterparts exchanged views Thursday in Vienna ahead of negotiations in New York on September 18.

"We are always optimistic. But we have a difficult road to go," Tehran's lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi said after the latest talks with Britain, France and Germany, which followed a similar meeting last week in Geneva.

The three EU nations form part of the P5+1 group with the United States, Russia and China due to resume negotiations with Iran in New York.

The six powers, all of which except Germany sit on the UN Security Council and have nuclear weapons themselves, want Iran to scale back its atomic programme to ease fears the Islamic republic gets the bomb.

Tehran, which says its nuclear programme is exclusively for electricity generation and medical uses, in return wants painful UN and Western sanctions lifted.

On July 18, two days before a deadline to get a deal and after months of intense talks, Iran and the six powers decided to give themselves until November 24 to agree the accord.

The main issue remains the size of Iran's capacity to enrich uranium, a process that can make fuel for peaceful nuclear uses but also the core of an atomic bomb.

 

 

Iran, European countries hold nuclear talks in Vienna

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Vienna (AFP) Sept 11, 2014 - Officials from Iran and Britain, France and Germany were due Thursday to hold nuclear talks in Vienna towards reaching a potentially historic accord by November.

The three European countries form part of a six-nation group including the United States, Russia and China due to resume negotiations with Iran in New York on September 18.

The closed-door discussions in the Austrian capital, announced by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's office, follow bilateral US-Iranian discussions in Geneva last week.

A US State Department spokeswoman told reporters Tuesday that those talks in Switzerland were an "in-depth exchange on the core issues", without giving further details.

The recent diplomatic flurry also saw Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fly to Moscow, Brussels and Paris as well as Rome to meet Ashton's successor from November 1, Federica Mogherini.

The P5+1 powers, all of which except Germany sit on the UN Security Council and have nuclear weapons themselves, want Iran to scale back its atomic programme to ease fears the Islamic republic gets the bomb.

Tehran, which says its nuclear programme is exclusively for electricity generation and medical uses, in return wants painful UN and Western sanctions lifted.

On July 18, two days before a deadline to get a deal and after months of intense talks, negotiators from Iran and the six powers decided to give themselves until November 24 to nail down the accord.

 

 

Scottish independence may force UK nuclear deterrent rethink

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 06, 2014 - Britain's future as a nuclear-armed nation could be thrown into doubt if Scotland votes for independence on September 18, experts say, raising serious questions about its future status in the international community.

The UK's Trident nuclear submarines are currently based at Faslane naval base on a sea loch west of Glasgow surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery.

But the Scottish National Party (SNP), leaders of the pro-independence campaign which is gaining ground in opinion polls, wants them out of Scotland by 2020 if there is a "Yes" vote.

Some say the cost and complexity of a move could force Britain to re-open the debate about whether it needs a nuclear deterrent at all.

"The Americans like us being a nuclear power -- it would cause problems with them. In the NATO alliance it would cause alarm. Can you really remain a permanent member of the Security Council? I don't know," said Lord Alan West, head of Britain's Royal Navy between 2002 and 2006 and an ex-security minister.

His view is shared by figures including Scottish former NATO secretary general George Robertson.

"The forces of darkness will simply love it," Robertson said in April during a speech in Washington. "It might mean the unilateral nuclear disarming of the remainder of the UK."

The SNP, Scotland's ruling party led by First Minister Alex Salmond, describes Trident as "an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power."

Despite the possible upheaval, Britain's government says it has not done any contingency planning for relocating the facilities at Faslane and nearby Coulport, where warheads are loaded into missiles.

Any such move would be extremely expensive, potentially costing 8 billion pounds (ten billion euros, $13 billion).

This comes against a backdrop of austerity in Britain, where this year's military budget is 33.5 billion pounds as ministers implement eight percent defence cuts in the four years to 2014-15.

"The defence budget couldn't face that," said West, adding that extra money would need to be found.

"There's a distinct possibility that people could say you should just stop being a nuclear power."

Other problems would include finding a suitable alternative site and the timing of the move, likely to take longer than the SNP's deadline.

Professor Malcolm Chalmers of defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute said: "Our estimate is that sometime around 2028 would be an appropriate time to complete the move."

- Ageing submarines -

Britain's nuclear-armed status has underpinned its standing as a diplomatic power for decades.

Under a deal sealed at the height of the Cold War, the US supplies Britain with nuclear missiles.

While formally only the British prime minister can authorise their use, they are part of NATO's collective deterrent.

President Barack Obama hinted at the importance of Trident to the US in July, saying he wanted Britain to remain "a strong, robust, united and effective partner".

There are four submarines in the Trident fleet, at least one of which is on patrol somewhere in the world 24 hours a day.

But the Scottish independence vote comes at what is already a crucial moment in its history.

The submarines are ageing and ministers will take the main decisions on replacing them in 2016.

Even within the British government, this is controversial. Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, want to end 24 hour patrols and procure one less submarine to replace Trident.

Despite the uncertainty, some play down the prospect of Britain giving up its deterrent anytime soon.

Chalmers said London would not want to give up such a symbol of international prestige after such a "major shock".

"There would be a sense of humiliation in the UK, fears about how the UK is seen internationally, so it would be a big step to be seen to be giving up its nuclear force," he said.

 

 

Iran failing to provide answers in nuke probe: UN

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Vienna (AFP) Sept 05, 2014 - Iran failed to meet a deadline to provide answers about its controversial nuclear programme, a UN atomic watchdog report showed Friday, throwing into doubt prospects for a deal with world powers.

Tehran had agreed to provide information to allay concerns it was developing nuclear weapons, something it denies, including explosives tests that could potentially be used in a bomb.

Not answering the International Atomic Energy Agency's long-standing questions over the allegations could harm the chances of a potentially historic deal between Iran and world powers focused on Tehran's current activities.

New talks on this possible accord between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are due to resume in New York on September 18 ahead of a November 24 deadline.

To prepare the ground, Iranian and US negotiators held talks in Geneva for a second day on Friday.

Iran's lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi told the IRNA news agency that the Geneva talks were "useful and I hope they contribute to solving the disagreements, though we are still far from solving the issues".

The mooted deal, after a decade of rising tensions, would kill off fears that Iran might use its nuclear facilities -- which it says are for peaceful purposes -- to develop atomic weapons.

To do this the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany want Iran to scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from painful sanctions.

- A bigger bang -

Vital to the deal is the IAEA's probe into what it calls the "possible military dimensions" of Iran's atomic programme -- work on developing a nuclear weapon that the IAEA suspects took place before 2003 and possibly since.

The US State Department said this week that the investigation is a "key component of what needs to be discussed" by Iran and the six powers.

The IAEA has been pressing Iran to address these claims since 2002 and in late 2011 concluded in a major report that Iran had conducted "activities relevant to the development" of a nuclear bomb.

These allegedly included large-scale explosives tests, studies on how to put a nuclear warhead into one of Iran's Shahab 3 ballistic missiles, computer models on the size of an atomic blast and preparations for a nuclear test.

Until last November, Iran had rejected all the claims out of hand, saying they were based on faulty intelligence provided by Israel's Mossad and the CIA, which it complained it was not even allowed to see.

But this February progress began to be made, with Iran promising to share information on its development of a type of detonator with various uses, such as mining, but also in a nuclear bomb. The IAEA is currently analysing this data.

In May, Tehran also agreed to exchange information on two other areas: large-scale tests of explosives that could be used in a nuclear bomb, and calculations on the size of a nuclear explosion.

It is these two areas that Iran failed to provide answers on by the August 25 deadline, with the IAEA saying in the new report on Friday that they had merely "begun discussions".

The report, seen by AFP, also said that more construction work had been noticed at Iran's Parchin military base, a key site in the nuclear weapons probe, making an investigation there more difficult.

"Iran's failure to take the promised steps is a serious blow to its credibility," Mark Fitzpatrick, analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told AFP.

"If Iran doesn't take the five steps, it makes it harder for (US President Barack) Obama to persuade critics of the value of the negotiations with Iran."

 

 

NKorea nuclear reactor may be operating again: UN watchdog

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Vienna (AFP) Sept 05, 2014 - North Korea's reactor at its main nuclear site, capable of giving the isolated regime plutonium for nuclear weapons, may be operational again, the UN atomic watchdog said in a report seen by AFP Friday.

"Since late August 2013, the agency has observed, through analysis of satellite imagery, steam discharges and the outflow of cooling water" at the reactor at Yongbyon, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

It added that such activity is "consistent with the reactor's operation. However, since the agency has had no access to the five megawatt reactor since April 2009, it cannot confirm the operational status".

The reactor is capable of giving North Korea, which has carried out three nuclear tests, six kilos (13 pounds) of plutonium a year -- enough for one nuclear bomb, experts say.

It shut the reactor down in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament accord, but began renovating it after its last nuclear test in 2013, and previous satellite images suggested renewed activities there.

The IAEA's comments, in a new annual report on North Korea, chime with an assessment by the US think-tank the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) last month, also using satellite images.

ISIS said however that "without more data, such as regular steam production, it is hard to determine the operational status of the reactor and thus to estimate the amount of plutonium produced".

The UN watchdog also noted "further renovations" at another new facility at Yongbyon that North Korea is thought to be building for enriching uranium, but that it "cannot confirm the purpose of these activities".

The North says the purpose is to produce low-enriched uranium for a new reactor it is constructing, but experts suspect that the real goal is weapons-grade uranium, an alternative to plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

The IAEA said that as of June 2013, external work on the building housing that new reactor "appeared completed" but that since then "little further activity" was observed, with "no indications of the delivery or installation of major components".

It reiterated that North Korea's activities were a "matter of serious concern". IAEA inspectors have not had access to North Korea since being kicked out in 2009.

 

 

US, S. Korea set up wartime unit to destroy North's nukes: report

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 04, 2014 - South Korea said Thursday it would create a joint military unit with the United States, as a report suggested the contingent would target North Korea's weapons of mass destruction if a full-scale conflict broke out.

The mechanised unit led by a US major general will be set up in the first half of next year, the South's defence ministry said, as part of elaborate preparations for any future war between the two Koreas.

"It will be the first combined field combat unit to carry out wartime operations," a defence ministry spokesman said without elaborating on its mission.

He declined to confirm a Yonhap news agency report that its remit would include eliminating weapons of mass destruction in the nuclear-armed North if war breaks out.

The ministry said the contingent would have a joint office of US and South Korean staff in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, where the US 2nd Infantry Division guards a strategically important area as a deterrent to an invasion by North Korea.

In the event of an all-out conflict, a mechanised South Korean brigade would join forces with the US division, which is armed with helicopters and other advanced weapons, it said.

"This would be a symbol of a strengthened military alliance between the allies," a military official said.

Because the Korean conflict ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty, the two Koreas are still technically at war.

Nearly 30,000 US troops are stationed in the South under a bilateral military accord.

If fresh hostilities broke out, the US commander in South Korea would assume control of the South's 640,000 troops.

A transfer of command in a wartime setting was set for 2015, which would allow South Korea control of its own troops, but Seoul wants a postponement citing the increased threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile development.

In June, North Korea announced the successful test of new high-precision, tactical guided missiles, and in the following months the North conducted a series of missile and rocket tests.

Meanwhile South Korea and the United States held an annual military drill in August despite condemnation by North Korea which had threatened a "merciless" retaliatory strike.

The drill simulated the response to a nuclear attack threat for the first time, according to the South's defence ministry, using a strategy of "tailored" deterrence developed last year in the course of joint defence talks.

South Korea is protected by the US nuclear umbrella, and in wartime American soldiers in the South would be reinforced by military contingents from the continental United States and its presence in East Asia.

UN resolutions bar Pyongyang from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology. But the North has defended its missile launches as a legitimate exercise in self-defence.

 

 

World powers, Iran to meet in New York on September 18: EU

 
‎16 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎06:51:34 PMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Sept 04, 2014 - Six world powers and Iran will hold new talks in New York on September 18, EU officials said Thursday, as efforts intensify toward clinching a nuclear deal ahead of a November deadline.

The talks involving the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany and led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton "will continue in New York as of September 18", Ashton spokesman Michael Mann said.

An EU source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the talks would be held at the level of political directors.

Mann said the talks in New York, which typically take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, would be preceded by similar but smaller groupings of officials in both Geneva and Vienna.

Talks were due to begin Thursday in Geneva between senior US and Iranian officials while he added that France, Britain and Germany would hold a separate round of talks with Iran at the political directors level on September 11 in Vienna.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had had "good discussions" with Ashton in Brussels and Tehran was committed to an accord over its contested nuclear programme.

Quoted by the Belga news agency, Zarif said he was "fairly optimistic" after that Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany could reach a deal by the November deadline.

 

 

India, Australia to sign nuclear deal as Abbott visits

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:53:47 PMGo to full article
Mumbai (AFP) Sept 04, 2014 - Australia's prime minister on Thursday hailed a uranium deal he is due to sign with India as a "sign of trust", following a long-standing ban on selling the fuel to the nuclear-armed nation amid proliferation fears.

Tony Abbott is expected to sign the agreement allowing uranium sales to India when he meets the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a fellow conservative, in Delhi on Friday, during a visit aimed at boosting trade ties.

Australia, the world's third biggest uranium producer, had previously ruled out such exports to energy-starved India because it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But Abbott said his government has now received the necessary commitments from New Delhi about only using the ore for its civilian nuclear programme.

"India has an absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record and India has been a model international citizen," he told reporters in Mumbai, on the first leg of a his two-day visit.

"India threatens no one, India is the friend to many, India is the world's emerging democratic superpower. This is an important sign of the mutual trust that exists between Australia and India."

India and Australia kick-started negotiations on uranium sales in 2012 after Canberra lifted a long-time ban on exporting the valuable ore to Delhi to meet its ambitious nuclear energy programme.

Both India and its neighbouring rival Pakistan are nuclear-armed, and along with Israel and North Korea are the only countries not signed up to the non-proliferation treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Australia's nuclear cooperation agreement for peaceful power generation will potentially ramp up India's plans for more nuclear power stations, with only 20 small plants at present and a heavy dependency on coal.

India is struggling to produce enough power to meet rising demand amid its 1.2-billion strong population as its economy and vast middle-class expand. Nearly 400 million still without access to electricity, according to the World Bank, and crippling power cuts are common.

- 'Abundance of opportunities' -

At the start of his visit, Abbott told business leaders in Mumbai that there was an "abundance of opportunities" in India, where Modi swept to power in May promising to open up Asia's third-largest economy to foreign investment.

"The purpose of this trip, as far as I'm concerned, is to acknowledge the importance of India in the wider world, acknowledge the importance of India to Australia's future," Abbott said.

After laying a wreath at a memorial for victims of the 2008 attacks on the city, he visiting Mumbai University to launch a scheme designed to get more Australians studying in the country.

While about 40,000 Indians study in Australia each year, "regrettably right now there are just a few tens of Australian students studying in India," said Abbott.

"That must change and that will change as a result of the New Colombo Plan," he said, referring to the scholarship programme that will be rolled out across the Indo-Pacific region.

The premier also met Indian cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar and former Australian stars Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee, ahead of Australia's hosting of the World Cup next year.

Analyst and former Indian diplomat Neelam Deo said all eyes will be on the nuclear deal, which has been in the works for years and will boost future exports and heralds closer strategic ties.

"The signing of the deal removes one of the only challenges to closer ties between the countries in the region," Deo, director of Mumbai-based think-tank Gateway House, told AFP.

Sanjay Bhattacharya, Indian foreign ministry joint secretary, said on the eve of Abbott's arrival that "significant outcomes" were expected from the visit.

"For us, Australia is a major supplier of resources, particularly energy necessary for our development needs."

Australia's decision to overturn its ban on sales to India followed a landmark 2008 deal between Delhi and Washington for the United States to support India's civilian nuclear programme.

 

 

US to hold new nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva

 
‎12 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎10:53:47 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 04, 2014 - American and Iranian officials will resume negotiations in Geneva on Thursday as they seek to hammer out a full nuclear deal ahead of a November deadline, US officials said.

The US team led by Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Under Secretary Wendy Sherman will meet with Iranian officials on Thursday and Friday in the Swiss city, the State Department said in a surprise late-night statement on Wednesday.

Global powers and Iran agreed in late July to extend a deadline to reach a comprehensive and complex deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions until November 24.

The negotiations being led by a group known as the P5+1 had been expected to resume on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month in New York.

"Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman, and Senior Advisor Jacob J. Sullivan will meet with Iranian officials in Geneva on September 4-5," the State Department said in its announcement.

"These bilateral consultations will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations led by EU High Representative Cathy Ashton," it added, without specifying who would take part on the Iranian side.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had had "good discussions" with Ashton and Tehran was committed to an accord over its contested nuclear program.

Quoted by the Belga state news agency, Zarif said he was "fairly optimistic" after that Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany could reach a deal by the November deadline.

Zarif then met Wednesday in Rome with Federica Mogherini, the current Italian foreign minister who will shortly take over from Ashton as the public face of EU foreign policy.

- Political will -

Mogherini's first major goal will be to wrap up the Iran deal and she said her discussions with Zarif had left her hopeful.

"It is my hope the negotiations will have a positive outcome and that this will be done by November 23, the agreed deadline," she said.

"I was assured that there is a strong political will in Tehran for this to happen and we hope that there will also be the necessary technical steps taken."

The West suspects Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists the program is purely for peaceful purposes.

In exchange for accepting curbs on its nuclear activities, Iran wants a slew of crippling US, EU and UN sanctions to be lifted.

But any deal will have to be approved by the Islamic leadership in Tehran as well as by the US Congress, where many lawmakers are seeking to impose even tougher sanctions on Iran.

The talks will come after Washington this weekend unleashed a new round of sanctions against Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Saturday condemned the new sanctions saying they had "further deepened" mistrust.

His remarks followed the US government's announcement of a slew of penalties targeting dozens of Iranian individuals and entities, including shipping and oil companies, banks and airlines.

"This is not compatible with the atmosphere of the negotiations," Rouhani said of action by the US Treasury and State Department.

"It goes against confidence building measures. Mistrust has further deepened," he told reporters.

 
 

Iran looks to better EU ties with Italian at helm

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:27:31 PMGo to full article
Rome (AFP) Sept 03, 2014 - Iran is looking forward to improved relations with the European Union following the appointment of an Italian to be the bloc's next foreign policy supremo, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said here Wednesday.

Zarif's comments came after talks with Federica Mogherini, the current Italian foreign minister who will shortly take over from Britain's Catherine Ashton as the public face of EU relations with the rest of the world.

Zarif said the crisis in Iraq and Syria demonstrated that the EU and Iran need to work together to address common challenges.

"The same challenges (Iran faces) are before the EU, both as international security and local and domestic security.

"The very sad fact a very large number of foreign fighters are now in Iraq and Syria brings this issue very close to home here in Europe.

"So I think we have common ground both in terms of opportunities for great cooperation, greater economic development, dialogue on human rights as well as cooperation to address these common challenges.

"This mixture... should provide us with a basis for better work together particularly with the role Italy has played as a bridge between Europe and the Islamic world. That role can be further enhanced by the role Mrs Mogherini will play as the High Representative of Europe."

Mogherini's first major goal in her new job will be to wrap up a deal with Iran on the Islamic state's contested nuclear programme, for which a November deadline has been said.

The Italian minister said her discussions with Zarif had left her hopeful that could be achieved.

"We have said that an agreement ought to be reached by November in order to guarantee greater stability in the region," Mogherini said.

"It is my hope the negotiations will have a positive outcome and that this will be done by November 23, the agreed deadline.

"I was assured that there is a strong political will in Tehran for this to happen and we hope that there will also be the necessary technical steps taken."

Mogherini said Italian officials had been in close discussions with their Iranian counterparts on how to bring stability to Iraq/Syria.

"We share a belief in the need to respond with a military presence in the emergency situation we are in but above all we believe in the need for an inclusive government in Baghdad," Mogherini said.

 

 

Radioactive material goes missing in Kazakhstan

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:27:31 PMGo to full article
Astana, Kazakhstan (AFP) Sept 02, 2014 - Authorities in Kazakhstan are on high alert after a container holding the highly radioactive and dangerous substance caesium-137 disappeared in the west of the country, police said Tuesday.

A police spokesman for the Mangistau region said the material -- used for medical purposes and also a by-product of nuclear explosions and reactors -- appeared to have fallen off a vehicle transporting it.

"The container with the radioactive isotope caesium-137 has not been found so far," police spokesman Azamat Sarsenbayev told AFP, adding that authorities discovered it had gone missing last Wednesday.

Exposure to caesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years, can result in severe burns or even death, and locals have been warned not to open the container if they find it.

The country's security services, emergency response workers and the military have been involved in efforts to find the container, which weighs some 50-60 kilogrammes (110-130 pounds).

The origin of the missing material was not revealed by authorities in Kazakhstan, which inherited nuclear warheads and a weapons test site when the Soviet Union collapsed.

The UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to which such incidents are normally reported, had no immediate comment to make on Tuesday.

Caesium-137 is just one of many radioactive substances used in hospitals, universities and industry worldwide. Others include iridium-192, americium-241 -- used in smoke detectors -- and cobalt-60.

Every year dozens of cases of loss, theft or unauthorised activity are reported to the IAEA, and there have been numerous incidents of these substances causing serious illness and fatalities.

But the big worry is that extremists could get hold of the materials and use them in a "dirty bomb" -- a device whereby conventional explosives disperse radioactive materials.

Although the damage and loss of life caused by such a "dirty bomb" would be a fraction of that unleashed by a fission or fusion atom bomb, it could still cause mass panic in an urban area.

 

 

French court upholds nuclear ban on Muslim engineer

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎02:27:31 PMGo to full article
Paris Sept 01, 2014 - A French court Monday upheld a ban on a Muslim engineer from accessing nuclear sites, citing his links with jihadist networks but his lawyer said it was a case of Islamophobia. The 29-year-old working for a firm subcontracted by energy giant EDF had been granted access to nuclear installations as part of his job throughout 2012 and 2013. But in March 2014 the man, who cannot be named according to French law, had his pass to enter the Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear power station revoked. Officials said he had links with a jihadist terrorist group and that he was in touch with an imam involved in recruiting youngsters to fight in Iraq. A court in the north-eastern town of Chalons-en-Champagne upheld the ban saying the management could prevent those "undergoing a process of political and religious radicalisation" from accessing sensitive sites. The lawyer for the man cried foul and argued that his client had no police record. "There is no proof of these supposed links," Sefen Guez Guez told AFP, adding that he was looking at launching an appeal. In June 2014, Guez Guez successfully had the ban revoked by an appeals court. But when the engineer turned up for work, he found he was once again refused access -- this time by EDF -- to his place of work and his lawyer appealed again. France is home to some five million Muslims -- the largest population in western Europe. Like a number of European countries, France has expressed concern over radicalised young people leaving the country to fight in Iraq and Syria, and who could pose a risk to domestic security on their return. According to official estimates, around 800 French nationals or residents -- including several dozen women -- have travelled to Syria, returned from the conflict-ridden country or plan to go there.
 
 

N. Korea fires short-range 'projectile' into sea

 
‎01 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:47:06 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 01, 2014 - North Korea fired a short-range projectile towards the sea off its east coast Monday in the latest of a series of missile and rocket tests, military officials said.

The projectile was launched at 10:30 am (0130 GMT) at a site northeast of Pyongyang towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea), a spokesman for the South's joint chiefs of staff said.

"The projectile flew about 220 kilometres (130 miles), but we have no information yet on its type," he told AFP.

Monday's exercise came as cross-border military tensions run high following a series of missile, rocket and artillery launches in July and August.

Three weeks ago the North fired five short-range rockets into the sea just as Pope Francis arrived in Seoul for a five-day visit.

The North often fires missiles and rockets as a show of force or to express anger at perceived provocations, but the frequency of the recent tests is unusual.

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

But the North has defended the missile launches as a legitimate exercise in self-defence and a response to US war manoeuvres.

N. Korea slams UK TV show on its nukes as 'hideous farce'
Seoul (AFP) Aug 31, 2014 - North Korea Sunday slammed a new British TV drama series revolving around its nuclear weapons programme, urging the British government to scrap the "slanderous farce" if it wants to maintain diplomatic ties.

"Opposite Number" -- a series commissioned by Channel 4 -- features a British nuclear scientist captured in the North during a covert mission and forced to help weaponise its nuclear technology.

The 10-part series will take viewers inside the "closed worlds of North Korea" with "opposing CIA and MI6 agents secretly deployed on the ground in Pyongyang, as the clock ticks on a global-scale nuclear crisis", Channel 4 said on its website.

The TV show is "nothing but a slanderous farce" to insult and distort the North's nuclear capability, said the country's top military body, the National Defence Commission (NDC).

The North is already armed with "unimaginably powerful nuclear weaponry" and has no need to steal foreign technology to further develop it, the NDC spokesman said in a statement carried by the state news agency.

"Those who are talking about 'illegal acquisition of nuclear technology' are no more than blind fools and idiots bereft of even elementary ability to discern the truth," said the official.

The impoverished but nuclear-armed state has staged three atomic tests, most recently in 2013, and has often threatened nuclear strikes against major foes Seoul and Washington.

"No matter how desperately the producers of the above-said TV channel, hooligans and rogues under the guise of artistes, may work to falsify the reality, they can never hide the truth," said the official.

He also accused Downing Street of conniving at the perceived provocations, urging it to "throw reactionary movies... into a dumping ground without delay and punish the chief culprits".

"This would help...preserve the hard-won diplomatic relations between the (North) and Britain," the spokesman said.

The isolated Stalinist state always bristles at foreign movies mocking its system or leadership, especially the Kim family that has ruled the country for some six decades with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult.

In June the North denounced a new Hollywood film about a bid to assassinate its leader Kim Jong-Un as a "wanton act of terror" and warned of a "merciless response" unless the US government banned the film.

"The Interview" stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as two tabloid TV reporters who land an interview with Kim in Pyongyang and are then tasked with killing him.

The North's United Nations envoy lodged a formal protest at the UN against the movie, calling it "the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism".

 

 

Iran says fresh US sanctions have deepened mistrust

 
‎01 ‎September ‎2014, ‏‎05:47:06 AMGo to full article
Tehran (AFP) Aug 30, 2014 - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday condemned a new round of American sanctions linked to his country's nuclear activities, saying mistrust had been "further deepened" by the fresh measures.

His remarks followed the US government's announcement of a slew of penalties targeting dozens of Iranian individuals and entities, including shipping and oil companies, banks and airlines.

The latest sanctions -- which Washington said were levelled because of support for terrorism and as punishment for existing restrictions being skirted -- come despite Iran's ongoing talks with the West which are aimed at ending the decade-long nuclear dispute.

"This is not compatible with the atmosphere of the negotiations," Rouhani said of action by the US Treasury and State Department.

"It goes against confidence building measures. Mistrust has further deepened," he told reporters in Tehran, also defending attempts to circumvent sanctions on the oil sector, banks and other industries.

"Some sanctions like those against drugs or food products are crimes against humanity," Rouhani said. "We fight and go round these sanctions and we are proud of that."

A wide array of international sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme, most of them financial, are considered to have wrecked its economy in recent years but advocates say such tough action brought the Islamic republic back to the negotiating table.

Despite his criticism on Saturday, Rouhani pledged that discussions with the P5+1 powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany -- would continue.

"We hope to achieve a result within the time limit if the other party acts with goodwill," he said, noting that three or four difficult questions remain ahead of a November 24 deadline.

The biggest disagreement in the talks is believed to concern the amount of uranium enrichment that Iran would be allowed to carry out under a comprehensive agreement.

- Talks resume next month -

The talks are scheduled to resume next month on the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York. Rouhani is expected to attend but said Saturday he had no plans to meet US President Barack Obama at the event.

Tehran contends that its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy production reasons and denies international allegations that it has sought to develop an atomic bomb.

Earlier on Saturday, other senior Iranian officials hit out at the US Treasury action.

"The duplicity of the Americans is totally unacceptable," said Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi, a key member of the team that for almost one year has been seeking a nuclear settlement with the West.

"You cannot on the one hand say that you are negotiating with goodwill and then at the same time use such means," he added.

Iran's foreign ministry said the new sanctions were contrary to US commitments under the Geneva agreement, an interim deal under which world powers agreed in November to relieve some penalties on Iran in exchange for curbs on the latter's nuclear activities.