Showing posts from 2013
Russia terrorist attack highlights increase in female suicide bombers Western intelligence agencies and analysts for years have been warning that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are increasingly relying on a deadly weapon in their tool kits: female suicide bombers.
Kalashnikov, designer of revolutionary AK-47 assault rifle, dies in Russia Osama bin Laden always kept one within arm’s reach. Its silhouette can be seen crossed with a hoe on the national flag of Mozambique . Chilean leftist President Salvador Allende died in the famous 1973 coup holding one — a gift from Cuban ally Fidel Castro . Its distinctive image has been emblazoned across T-shirts and vodka bottles around the world.  
An execution in North Korea As falls go, the purge and brisk execution of Jang Sung Taek will rank among the most precipitous and astonishing.
Indian diplomat's arrest in U.S. upsets New Delhi   An Indian diplomat was arrested in New York on Thursday on the charge that she allegedly used "false and fraudulent" documents to support the US visa application for an Indian woman she employed as a babysitter and housekeeper.
Urge Karzai to ink security pact, U.S. tells India US President Barack Obama’s administration -- frustrated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s reluctance to sign a security agreement that would keep US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 -- has asked India to lean on the Afghan President to initial the pact.
U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence Gunmen shot dead an American teacher as he was jogging Thursday in Benghazi, the city in eastern Libya where the U.S. ambassador was slain last year.
Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists Westerners have joined al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria in unprecedented numbers, increasing the risk that they will strike their home countries, including the U.S., a key Republican lawmaker said Thursday.
China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone China accused Japan of threatening regional stability Wednesday, less than two weeks after Beijing expanded its air defense zone around a group of East China Sea islands claimed by both Japan and China .
No territorial budging on East China Sea by Biden or Beijing Vice President Joseph R. Biden delivered stern warnings to Chinese leaders Wednesday over their territorial dispute with Japan , but his message appeared to fall flat as China ratcheted up its war of words with Tokyo.
Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program Economic sanctions against Iran “have failed utterly,” the Islamic republic’s foreign minister said of Western efforts to curtail Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, just days after securing a deal with world powers to temporarily ease some of those same sanctions.
A game of chicken in Kabul The word dysfunctional best sums up the state of the relationship between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Washington.
Economy top concern of post-Arab Spring Tunisians: poll Most Tunisians say their economic situation is worse than it has ever been, worry that their country is headed in the wrong direction but prefer an unstable democracy over a stable authoritarian regime.  
Obama weak on foreign policy, national security: poll The majority of Americans believe President Obama is too weak on foreign policy and national security issues, and they fear that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center .  
Thai demonstrators storm army HQ, promise bigger protest Sunday Thai protesters briefly stormed the army ’s headquarters in Bangkok on Friday and called on the military to help oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra , just as it had toppled her brother in a 2006 coup.
Iran ready to halt N-weapon plan Iran and six world powers meeting in Geneva on Sunday reached a deal that temporarily freezes Tehran’s nuclear programme and marks a historic first step toward a more permanent agreement.
Libya losing its grip on security; civilians battling militants for control Libya ’s deteriorating security was evident Monday when troops and armed civilians in Benghazi clashed with members of a militant group blamed for the attack last year that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
Central African Republic negotiating for surrender of warlord Kony The Central African Republic says it is negotiating the surrender of warlord Joseph Kony , leader of the Lord's Resistance Army ( LRA ) who is the subject of a U.S.-aided manhunt, but the Obama administration said Thursday it has “little reason to believe” the Ugandan rebel is part of the talks.
Spare a thought for the homeless As the international community sets the stage for Geneva 2 -- an optimistic, and some have even suggested unrealistic attempt to end Syria’s nearly 3-year-old civil war -- spare a thought for the millions of Syrians who live day in and day out with the horrors of the conflict.
Terrorists slaughter African elephants, use ivory to finance operations A growing number of terrorist groups in Africa are turning to the illegal trade of elephant tusks to finance their operations, cashing in on a massive demand for ivory spurred by a burgeoning, wealthier middle class in Asia.
Debris, destruction in Philippines slow flow of aid Food, water and medical supplies trickled into hard-hit areas of the Philippines on Tuesday, as the U.S. dispatched an aircraft carrier group to lend aid and the U.N. appealed for $301 million in emergency assistance to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 2,000 people.
Pakistani Taliban chose Malala plotter as new leader Pakistani Taliban militants have named a hard-liner opposed to peace talks and linked to the shooting of a Pakistani schoolgirl as successor to their leader who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week.
Syrian war refugees find crowds, crime, contagion at camps Kilian Kleinschmidt , a hardened veteran of international humanitarian crises, finds it too painful to listen to the stories of death and destruction from refugees fleeing Syria ’s relentless civil war, as they flood across the border to a crowded camp in northern Jordan .
Iraq needs help Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to Washington this week with a stark message: the war against al Qaeda is not over and the U.S. must help fight it. Every day brings grim headlines from Iraq.
Iraqi premier asks U.S. for arms, intel to battle al Qaeda Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged the U.S. Thursday to provide his government with counterterrorism aid, including intelligence sharing, to help it tackle a rising tide of al Qaeda -inspired violence.
Iraqi government complicit in deadly attack at Camp Ashraf on Iranian refugees, report shows The Iraqi government was complicit in a deadly attack on a camp for unarmed Iranian dissidents north of Baghdad on Sept. 1 in which gunmen appeared to have used U.S. weapons, according to an investigation led by a Washington-based human rights lawyer.
Chinese president persecutes activists despite promise to tackle graft Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to tackle corruption in the country’s vast communist power structure, yet in his seven months in power, Chinese authorities have cracked down on activists who fight for honest government.
North Korean activity signals plan for another rogue nuclear weapons test Increased activity at North Korea's main underground nuclear test site suggests that the rogue communist nation is preparing to conduct another illegal atomic weapons blast, according to a report by a Washington-based research institute.
Obama likely to deny Pakistani request to stop drone strikes Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to ask President Obama to end U.S. drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan and mediate a long-standing dispute with India when the two leaders meet at the White House on Wednesday.  
State Dept. knocks election in Azerbaijan The Obama administration said Thursday that the election of Azerbaijan ’s President Ilham Aliyev to an unprecedented third term fell short of international standards.
Sharif-Obama meet unlikely to yield much Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to leave his meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday a disappointed man.
Clerics encourage hungry Syrians to eat dogs and cats Syria ’s civil war has become so dire that some Islamic clerics are telling starving Syrians to eat cats and dogs.
Libya held hostage It is not every day that the head of a country gets abducted at gunpoint by the very people he has been chosen to serve. That’s precisely what happened in Libya last week.
Kidnapping of Libya’s prime minister shows militias’ power The abduction of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in Tripoli on Thursday by heavily armed gunmen on the government payroll underscores the power militias wield in the North African nation two years after the ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
U.S. suspending aid to Egypt to signal displeasure The Obama administration said Wednesday it is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid, including the delivery of defense equipment and cash, to Egypt in an attempt to nudge the interim government in Cairo to pave the way for an inclusive, democratically elected government.
Azerbaijan: An American ally in a sea of threats In an increasingly polarized world, the small Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan is a tantalizing study in contradictions.
Trust, but verify Ronald Reagan would often use the Russian proverb doveryai, no proveryai (trust, but verify) while dealing with the Soviet Union. So much so that his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, once remarked: “You repeat that at every meeting.” The American president replied: “I like it.”
EU diplomat wary of Iran’s overtures to West The European Union's foreign policy chief warned Monday against rushing to ease economic sanctions on Iran following last week's diplomatic breakthroughs between the Islamic republic's new leadership and the West.
US, Iran Presidents speak over phone after 34 years US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on the phone on Friday in the first talks between the leaders of the two nations since 1979.
Manmohan-Obama meet boosts defence, security ties The US and India sought more intensive engagement on a gamut of issues, including defence, security, bilateral trade, and efforts to dismantle terrorist safe havens and promote clean energy. This declaration was made in a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met US President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday.
R'mber the backseat guy? There’s no community like the one provided by your extended alumni in a foreign land.
N-stalemate: US-Iran talks raise prospects of breakthrough The US and Iran held their first official high-level talks since the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Thursday in New York, raising the prospect of a breakthrough in a years-long stalemate over Iran's nuclear programme.
India, US seal first commercial civil nuke power deal In the aftermath of this week’s terrorist attack in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday lowered expectations of his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, saying the epicentre of terrorism remains in Pakistan.
Alliance of rebel groups calls for an Islamist Syria, not a U.S.-backed democracy Eleven Syrian rebel groups, including a powerful al Qaeda affiliate, have rejected the Western-backed opposition coalition, calling for a new Syria under Islamic law and dealing a severe blow to U.S.-led efforts to support a democratic alternative to embattled President Bashar Assad.
Lateral blinking Astute Russian diplomacy made the US hold fire on Syria.
Wolf calls for arrest of Sudanese leader at U.N. General Assembly A senior House Republican wants the Obama administration to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir , who is accused of war crimes, if he arrives in the U.S. to attend a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly this week.
NAM to Namonia How would the world deal with ‘Prime Minister Modi’? And vice versa?
Sudan’s Omar Bashir, accused of war crimes, puts U.S. in bind with visa request An accused war criminal wants to address the U.N. General Assembly this week, and the Obama administration doesn’t know what to do with him.
Kerry tells U.N. to focus on ridding Syria of chemical weapons, not on sarin attack Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Thursday urged the U.N. Security Council to ignore Russia ’s questions about the source of chemical weapons used in the Syrian civil war and to back quickly the plan to rid Syrian President Bashar Assad ’s regime of its stockpile.
Al Qaeda pushing Iraq toward civil war, ambassador says A resurgent al Qaeda is trying to push Iraq toward a civil war, Iraq ’s ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh court issues death sentence in war crimes trial Bangladesh ’s Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced to death a leader of the country’s main Islamist party for his role in a mass murder during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan .
Barack Room Ballads A few punters cry war, but the lines are blurred on this one.
U.N. inspectors: Chemical weapons used on a ‘relatively large scale’ in Syrian civil war U.N. inspectors have found that the banned nerve agent sarin, loaded in rockets, was used “on a relatively large scale” in an attack on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, last month that the Obama administration says killed more than 1,400 people.
Lack of mutual trust could kill Syria talks on chemical weapons The success of any effort to take control of Syria ’s stockpile of chemical weapons hinges on trust — a quality in short supply between the United States on the one hand, and Syria and its ally Russia on the other.
Modi to address BJP meet in U.S. via videolink Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is coming to the U.S. — via videolink.
A glimmer of hope in Syria? After days of telling the American public that it had exhausted all avenues of diplomacy to resolve the crisis over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Obama administration’s top diplomat, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, inadvertently let out a rhetorical proposal that could provide the best shot at avoiding punitive U.S. military strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime.
Obama delays strike as Syria agrees on Russian plan  U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday night made the case for military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but said he had instructed the US Congress to delay a vote on the decision in order to give diplomacy a chance.  
Threats to diplomatic missions increase one year after Benghazi attack One year after terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, threats to U.S. embassies and consulates have increased, especially in the Arab world.
Doubts emerge about Assad’s control of Syria’s chemical weapons President Bashar Assad likely does not have complete control over Syria ’s stockpile of chemical weapons — one of the world’s largest — which is dispersed across the country and believed to have been shared with its allies, including the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah , analysts say.
Syrian opposition condemns video of execution of soldiers A Syrian opposition coalition on Thursday condemned a video that purportedly shows rebels executing seven soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad .
Pace of negotiations frustrating to Syrians Syrians at the receiving end of President Bashar Assad ’s deadly crackdown are vexed by the pace of deliberations in Washington and other Western capitals on how to respond to the regime’s suspected use of chemical weapons last month.
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52 Iranian exiles killed at Iraq’s Camp Ashraf More than four dozen members of an Iranian dissident group have been killed in an early morning attack at their camp north of Baghdad on Sunday, according to the Iranian exiles.
Syrian opposition unready for fall of Assad The Syrian opposition coalition favored by the U.S. and its allies is in no position to fill a political vacuum that could be created if an anticipated U.S.-led military strike hastens the downfall of President Bashar Assad.
Troops led by Assad’s brother likely to blame for chemical weapons, Syrian activists say Divisions of elite Syrian troops led by President Bashar Assad ’s brother were likely responsible for the suspected chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb last week that killed more than 1,400 people, according to Syrian opposition activists.
Beware of Syria In June, the White House concluded that Syria’s embattled President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people and, in doing so, had crossed a red line set by President Barack Obama.
Despite loss of influence in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood branches stay strong The Muslim Brotherhood — battered in Egypt and losing popularity in some Arab countries — remains a political force across the Middle East and North Africa where the Islamist group is the main beneficiary of Arab Spring protests that have toppled entrenched dictatorships since 2010.
More clashes, more deaths as Egyptians end Friday prayers Angry supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi clashed Friday with Egyptian police , who have orders to use live ammunition against the protesters.
Egypt’s streets of blood: Full-scale crackdown on Morsi supporters kills more than 500 Egyptian security forces deployed snipers, tear gas and bulldozers Wednesday to break up two sit-ins by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi , in an assault that claimed more than 500 lives, drew swift international condemnation and led to the resignation of the vice president in the military-backed interim government.
Overthrow, crackdown may push Muslim Brotherhood back to extremism in Egypt Egypt ’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters risks driving the Islamist movement back toward the violent extremism it renounced decades ago, analysts said Thursday as security forces spent a second day fighting protesters who torched government buildings, churches and police stations.  
Kerry: Violence in Egypt a ‘serious blow to reconciliation’ Egyptian security forces deployed snipers, tear gas and bulldozers Wednesday to break up two sit-ins by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi , in an assault that claimed more than 200 lives, drew swift international condemnation and led to the resignation of the vice president in the military-backed interim government.
New rulers in Egypt saddled with a protester dilemma More than a month after the military ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi , Egypt ’s new rulers are vexed by this question: How do you get tens of thousands of Mr. Morsi ’s supporters off the streets of Cairo?
Al Qaeda is alive and well If there is one thing that the events of the past week have shown, it is this: al Qaeda is alive and well. Contrary to confident declarations by Western officials that al Qaeda’s core has been decimated, the terrorist group founded by Osama bin Laden still has the capacity and capability to rattle the United States of America.
Classes will be alfresco The University of Northern Virginia rarely set off any bells of recognition. Its owner, Daniel Ho, had hoped to keep it that way. In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2011, Mr Ho said: “We don’t want people to know us”. That changed a bit on July 16, when the  Annandale-based for-profit institution, a short drive from Washington and popular with students from India, was ordered to be shut down because it failed to regain the accreditation it lost in 2008.
Al Qaeda drives Iraq toward chaos Security inside Iraq is unraveling at an alarming pace, and al Qaeda terrorists there aren’t just pulling the thread; they’re setting it on fire.
Tribal, rebel clashes wreck areas in South Sudan A tribal conflict is worsening in South Sudan’s largest state, where the U.S. estimates more than 100,000 civilians already have been displaced, according to a satellite monitoring project.
Taliban leader downplays talks with U.S. The Afghan Taliban ’s top leader says the Islamic radicals who once sheltered Osama bin Laden view talks with the U.S. as a way to put an end to the “occupation” of Afghanistan , but will never abandon their religious principles or national interests.
Bangladesh court blocks Islamist movement from next elections A Bangladeshi court on Thursday banned the South Asian nation’s largest Islamist party from taking part in the next elections, saying the party violates the country’s secular democratic principles.  
African officials seek U.S. drones to fight elephant poachers Tanzania ’s storied wildlife reserves could soon get a watchful, winged inhabitant: U.S. drones.
South Sudan on the brink, again     While the international community’s attention has been focused on crises across the Middle East and North Africa, South Sudan has quietly slipped down its list of priorities. That was until this month.
Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, after 33 years of brutal misrule, seeks another term Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has unleashed brutal attacks on political rivals, executed rampant violations of human rights and crippled the economy during the 33 years of his autocratic regime.
Tanzanian ambassador urges American companies to compete for USA contracts With the U.S. government poised to invest billions of dollars more in aid to Africa, American companies are in danger of failing to cash in on the new largesse because of fears about the continent’s stability, the ambassador from one of Washington’s major African allies told editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Monday.
Obama talks rights, trade with Vietnamese leader President Obama said he had a “very candid conversation” on human rights Thursday with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang at the White House , and the leader of the Southeast Asian nation said the two “still have differences on the issue.”
Activist presses Ukraine for release of Tymoshenko A Ukrainian civic activist says Ukraine ’s president must release a jailed former prime minister and adopt judicial and electoral reforms to meet benchmarks for closer relations with the European Union .
Vietnamese president’s White House visit alarms human rights advocates President Obama is under pressure from members of Congress , human rights groups and union leaders to demand an end to the suppression of human rights in Vietnam when he meets with the leader of the Southeast Asian nation at the White House on Thursday.
Son of ex-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi accuses military of kidnapping father The son of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Monday accused the military of kidnapping his father and vowed to take legal action against the army chief.
European Union designates Hezbollah’s armed wing as terrorist group The European Union on Monday designated the armed wing of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, drawing praise from the Obama administration , Israel and members of Congress .
Egypt: ‘In Sinai, I saw hell’; refugees are easy prey for brutal human traffickers Egypt ’s lawless Sinai Peninsula is a living hell for thousands of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa who are being kidnapped and tortured by a network of rapacious human traffickers.
Egyptian leader, military warn against violence ahead of planned protests Egypt ’s interim President Adly Mansour said Thursday that elements in the country want to plunge it into turmoil, and the military issued a stern warning against violence a day before large protests are planned by supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohammed Morsi .
7 dead, 200 injured in clashes in Cairo At least seven people were killed and more than 200 injured in clashes in Cairo between Egyptian police and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi early Tuesday.
Egypt swears in new Cabinet that excludes Islamists Egypt ’s interim president on Tuesday swore-in a new Cabinet stocked with liberals, women, secularists and Christians — but no Islamists — and appears to give greater powers to the military chief who toppled the country’s first democratically elected president two weeks ago.
Egypt swears in new Cabinet that excludes Islamists Egypt ’s interim president on Tuesday swore-in a new Cabinet stocked with liberals, women, secularists and Christians — but no Islamists — and appears to give greater powers to the military chief who toppled the country’s first democratically elected president two weeks ago.
A coup by any other name Most dictionaries define a coup as an illegal and sudden seizure of power from a government. That definition would aptly describe the events that transpired in the Egyptian capital Cairo on July 3.
With new officials and Islamist crackdown, Egyptians press on Egypt ’s interim administration on Sunday pressed ahead with a military-backed “road map” to return the country to democratic rule, even as the top prosecutor continued his crackdown on senior figures in the Muslim Brotherhood .
Egypt’s military seeks to arrest Muslim Brotherhood leaders in widening crackdown Egyptian prosecutors on Wednesday ordered the arrest of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders in a widening crackdown on Islamists following the ouster of the country’s first democratically elected president last week.
Egyptians direct anger at U.S. ambassador accused of aiding Morsi The U.S. ambassador to Egypt has become a lightning rod for criticism among Egyptians who accuse her of embracing the deposed Muslim Brotherhood -led government , even as a popular uprising was building against it in the streets of Cairo.
Egypt’s interim president names leadership, Salafists approve Egypt ’s interim president on Tuesday appointed a liberal economist and former finance minister as prime minister and former U.N. atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president for foreign affairs.
Egyptian Islamists, citing ‘bloodbath,’ call for revolt against military Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood issued a call Monday for a revolt against the military after a bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, fueling fears of a civil war.
Egypt’s Morsi stands firm as military’s deadline passes Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi refused to resign Wednesday and a top adviser described developments in the North African nation as a “military coup,” as a military deadline to defuse the political crisis expired.
Egyptian military ousts Morsi as leader decries ‘full coup’ Egypt's military ousted the country’s democratically elected president Wednesday and appointed a caretaker administrator, a move denounced by the deposed leader’s supporters as a coup but celebrated by millions of opponents with rallies and fireworks.
Afghan women’s rights not negotiable To say the Obama administration’s plans to start peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan got off to a rocky start would be an understatement.
Morsi vows not to resign as military’s deadline arrives Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his army generals appeared headed for a showdown Wednesday as they vowed to spill their blood for the country hours before the clock ran out on a military ultimatum Wednesday. The Islamist leader and the opposition were told to defuse a political crisis that has entered its fourth day.  
India rejects NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s plea for asylum India on Tuesday rejected an asylum request from Edward Snowden , the former defense contractor who is wanted in the U.S. on charges of leaking National Security Agency secrets.
Egyptian military gives President Morsi an ultimatum, prepares to step in to quell crisis Egypt's military on Monday threatened to intervene in the political crisis gripping the nation and gave President Mohammed Morsi and the opposition 48 hours to come up with a plan to meet the demands of millions of protesters who want the Islamist leader to resign by Tuesday evening.
Protesters fill Cairo’s Tahrir Square, demand Morsi’s resignation Hundreds of thousands of protesters marked Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s first anniversary in office Sunday with demonstrations in Cairo and in other cities across the country, demanding that the Islamist leader step down for failing to tackle economic and security problems.
US Senate bill to affect Indian firms The United States Senate on Thursday passed a comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and, worryingly for the Indian tech sector, places restrictions on companies that depend on skilled foreign workers.
With social media, middle classes in Brazil, Turkey grow stronger, angrier Mass protests in Brazil and halfway around the world in Turkey are the latest manifestations of the coming of age of a politically aware global middle class that, armed with little more than Twitter and Facebook , is demanding greater government accountability, basic rights and a more equitable distribution of resources.