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Showing posts from December, 2018

Saudi-led coalition accused of using Sudanese child mercenaries ‘like firewood’ to fuel Yemen war

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is recruiting Sudanese child soldiers from war-torn Darfur to serve on the front lines, according to a new report claiming children as young as 14 comprise up to 40 percent of some units.
Reports from Sudanese soldiers who’ve returned from Yemen indicate up to 14,000 Sudanese have been fighting for the Saudi-led coalition. 
Most hail from Darfur, a region still mired in chaos after a prolonged and bloody war that saw 300,000 people killed and 1.2 million displaced from their homes, and many are children, according to a shocking report from the New York Times.
So few are opportunities in war-torn Darfur that some families actually bribe militia officers to take their sons to fight in Yemen, according to the report. 
The Times interviewed five fighters returning from Yemen who confirmed children as young as 14 comprised at least a fifth of their units. Two soldiers said the proportion was closer to 40 percent.
The Sudanese mercenaries were literally cannon fo…

Britain deploys extra patrol boats as migrant crossings rise

Britain is recalling two patrol boats from overseas deployments to help deal with an increase in the number of migrants trying to reach the country from France, interior minister Sajid Javid said on Monday.
Javid said there had been an increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel from France and last week he declared the situation a “major incident”.
On Monday, following a meeting of officials in London, he said two the additional ships would join three other vessels already working in the channel.
He said 230 migrants had attempted to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in December, although almost half were prevented from leaving France.
The number is a tiny fraction of those regularly attempting to reach European Union territory by crossing the Mediterranean from northern Africa and Turkey, many of whom are fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
But, their attempts to cross into Britain have attracted extensive domestic scrutiny amid a…

Bomb outside shopping center kills two, wounds 28 in Philippines

A crude bomb, blamed by security forces on a small pro-Islamic State militant group, killed two people and wounded dozens on Monday in the southern Philippines, an army commander said.
Islamist militants operate in the south of the largely Christian Asian country and some are known to have links with groups abroad, including al Qaeda and Islamic State.
Major General Cirilito Sobejana, an army division commander, told Reuters the bomb bore a “Daesh-inspired signature”, referring to Islamic State by another name.
The bomb went off at the entrance to a shopping mall in the city of Cotabato in the early afternoon. As well as the two people killed, 28 were wounded, he said.
A second bomb was recovered in the same area, he said.
Sobejana said he suspected the blast was retaliation for the killing by government troops of seven members of a small militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Iraqi warplanes strike Islamic State leaders in Syria: military

Iraqi warplanes hit a meeting of Islamic State leaders near Deir al-Zor in Syria on Monday, destroying the building they were gathered in, the military said in a statement, without giving further details about the militants targeted.
The statement said F-16 fighter jets carried out the raid around al-Sousa village in eastern Syria, as “30 leaders from Daesh (Islamic State) gangs” met in the building.
The strike came a day after Iraq’s government hinted at greater involvement for its armed forces in Syria as the U.S. begins withdrawing troops from the country.
Iraq fears that Islamic State militants in Syria will try to cross the border, and analysts warn of increasing insurgent-style attacks in both countries.
Baghdad has carried out several air raids in Syrian territory with the agreement of President Bashar al-Assad. Its army and Shi’ite paramilitaries have reinforced at the border in recent months.

Palestinian court jails U.S.-Palestinian for life for Jerusalem land sale

A Palestinian court sentenced an American-Palestinian on Monday to life imprisonment for violating a ban on selling land to Israelis, judiciary officials said.
The U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, called in November for dual national Issam Akel to be released, saying his suspected crime was “selling land to a Jew” and his incarceration violated American values.
Akel was accused of attempting to sell a property in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem without the permission of his business partners or Palestinian authorities. 
Palestinian officials have not publicly identified the intended buyer.
The Higher Offences Court in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, convicted Akel of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state,” the judiciary media office said.
“In light of the conviction, the court handed down a life sentence with hard labor,” it said. Akel can appeal, a judiciary official said.
An official at the U.S. embassy said: “We are aware of reports…

Iran's Revolutionary Guards plan to upgrade speed boats with stealth technology

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Monday they plan to upgrade their speed boats in the Gulf with radar-evading stealth technology and new missile launchers as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington in the vital oil shipping route.
Ending a long absence of U.S. aircraft carriers in the region, the USS John C. Stennis entered the Gulf last week, and was shadowed by the Revolutionary Guards’ speed boats.
There have been periodic confrontations between the Revolutionary Guards vessels and U.S. military in the Gulf, although the number of incidents has dropped in recent months.
“We are trying to increase the agility of the Guards’ speed boats and equip them with stealth technology to facilitate their operations,” Alireza Tangsiri, the Revolutionary Guards’ navy chief, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
Tangsiri also said the speed boats will be equipped with new missiles, and their speed will reach 80 knots per hour.
He did not elaborate on whether Iran had already maste…

Seven dead, dozens trapped under rubble after Russian gas blast: agencies

As many as 40 people could still be trapped in the rubble of a Russian apartment block that partially collapsed in a gas explosion on Monday, killing at least seven people, news agencies reported.
The blast, thought to have been caused by a gas leak, damaged 48 apartments in a nine-storey building in Magnitogorsk, an industrial city in the Urals some 1,700 km (1,050 miles) east of Moscow, the emergencies ministry said.
President Vladimir Putin flew into Magnitogorsk late on Monday afternoon, visiting the injured in hospital and meeting with local authorities, state television showed.
Putin looked on as rescue workers toiled in temperatures of -22 Celsius (-8 Fahrenheit) to locate people trapped under the debris.
Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev said at a meeting with Putin there were “presumably between 36 and 40 people under the rubble” as of Monday evening, agencies reported.
After reporting four casualties earlier in the day, Zinichev said that another three bodies had been discove…

Israel protests after Jordanian spokeswoman steps on its flag

Israel protested to Jordan on Sunday after the spokeswoman for the government in Amman was photographed stepping on the Israeli flag during a meeting with trade unionists.
Jumana Ghunaimat, Jordan’s minister for media affairs and communications and the government spokeswoman, on Thursday walked over an Israeli flag painted on the floor of the headquarters of Jordan’s professional unions in Amman.
She was on her way to attend a meeting between Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al Razzaz and union representatives. Razzaz, however, entered the building through a rear door, avoiding having to walk over the flag.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday deploring the flag “desecration”, and said it had summoned acting Jordanian ambassador Mohammed Hmaid for a reprimand and that the Israeli embassy in Amman had also issued a “sharp protest”.
The flag was painted on the floor of the building several years ago to encourage passers by to tread on it, a mark of disrespect, unions said at …

Israeli general sees possible threat from Iraq as Iran's clout grows

Iran could use its growing clout in Iraq to turn it into a springboard for attacks against Israel, the chief of Israeli military intelligence said on Monday.
Israel sees the spread of Tehran’s influence in the region as a growing threat, and has carried out scores of air strikes in civil war-torn Syria against suspected military deployments and arms deliveries by Iranian forces supporting Damascus.
Iraq, which does not share a border with Israel, is technically its enemy but was last an open threat in the 1991 Gulf War. Since a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim, Israel has worried that Iraq’s Shi’ite majority could tilt towards Iran.
“Iraq is under growing influence of the (covert Iranian foreign operations unit) Qods Force and Iran,” military intelligence chief Major-General Tamir Hayman told a conference in Tel Aviv.
With U.S. President Donald Trump disengaging from the region, Hayman said, the Iranians may “see Iraq as a convenient theater …

Israel's Netanyahu said would not resign during possible indictment hearing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he would not resign from office should the attorney general accept police recommendations to indict him before his side of the case is heard.
Netanyahu last week announced a snap election would be held in April, seeking a fresh political mandate that could help him weather possible charges in corruption investigations.
The Israeli leader is enmeshed in three graft cases and denies any wrongdoing.
Should Israel’s attorney-general decide to press charges against Netanyahu, he would announce the indictment pending a hearing, after which charges could be filed in court.
Asked at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro whether he would bow out of the election race should that happen, Netanyahu said: “I don’t intend to resign.”
“According to the law, the prime minister does not have to resign during the hearing process ... The hearing doesn’t end until my side is heard,” he said.
“Imagine what would happen if a prime minister is ousted before t…

France's Macron pledges more reform medicine in 'decisive' 2019

France’s embattled president, Emmanuel Macron, vowed on Monday to press on with his reform agenda in 2019 despite a spate of “yellow vest” protests that have challenged his government and extended a plunge in his approval ratings.
Promised overhauls of France’s unemployment benefits, civil service and public pensions will be undertaken in the coming year, Macron said in his televised New Year message.
Confounding some expectations of a more contrite message, Macron struck an unapologetic note as he urged voters to face up to economic realities underpinning recently enacted reforms of French labor rules, and others yet to come.
“In recent years, we’ve engaged in a blatant denial of reality,” Macron said in the address, delivered - unusually - from a standing position in his Elysee Palace office. 
“We can’t work less, earn more, cut taxes and increase spending.”
In a veiled attack on the far-left and hard-right groupings active on the fringes of the often violent protests, Macron also decrie…

Tel Aviv furious over Jordanian minister ‘desecrating’ Israeli flag

Israel has summoned the Jordanian ambassador and condemned one of the country’s ministers after the official was pictured walking over an Israeli flag painting on the floor of the engineers trade union’s office in Amman.
Frustrated by the Israeli policies and Jordan’s peace treaty with Tel Aviv, the owners of the trade union building had drown a blue Star of David on a white background in the lobby with footprint dots encouraging visitors to walk all over the Israeli flag. 
Such an unwelcoming gesture went largely unnoticed for years in Israel, but sparked instant fury after Jordanian communications minister, Jumana Ghneimat, was photographed stepping on it over the weekend.
The minister was headed for a meeting between Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al Razzaz with the union representatives. 
To avoid controversy, Razzaz showed a more diplomatic approach entering the building through the side door.
On Sunday, Israeli foreign ministry filed a strong condemnation with the Jordanian government…

US ‘slowing things down’ on troop withdrawal from Syria – top senator

The US troop withdrawal from Syria needs a “pause” in order to protect the Kurds, the potential interests of Israel, and to prevent Iran from scoring a big win in Syria, a top GOP senator has said.
The withdrawal of the US military from the country is currently in a “pause situation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- SC) told reporters on Monday after having lunch with President Trump at the White House.
“We talked about Syria. He told me some things I didn’t know that made me feel a lot better about where we’re headed in Syria,” said Graham, who is an outspoken critic of Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria.
I think we’re slowing things down in a smart way.
Earlier this month, Trump announced his decision to withdraw the US contingent – believed to be some 2,000-strong – from Syria, yet again claiming victory over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). Graham believes the group was not actually defeated and the president promised to destroy it again.
“He promised to destroy ISIS. He’s goin…

Newly released VIDEO is said to show Saudi hit team carrying Khashoggi’s body parts in suitcases

As the death of Jamal Khashoggi continues to cause international outrage, new footage has emerged purporting to show the journalist’s killers carrying body parts in suitcases into the house of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul.
The video, which was initially leaked to Turkish news channel A Haber, was made public on Sunday evening. 
It shows several people – presumed to be the team that killed the Washington Post columnist – carrying suitcases and bags. 
They are seen entering the Saudi consul-general’s residence in Istanbul, several hundred meters from the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was killed.
The video, dated October 2, the day that Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, entered the consulate and never came back out.
Journalists from the daily Sabah newspaper, who on Sunday released a book on their own investigation into the murder of the renowned journalist, say that all evidence points to “the well of the Saudi consul’s residence” in Istanbul.…

‘Caught in the act of spying’: US citizen detained in Moscow ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations

An American citizen was apprehended during a “spying action” in Moscow, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said. 
He is currently being detained on suspicion of espionage.
FSB agents detained a US national named Paul Whelan on Friday during “a spying action,” the agency’s press office told TASS.
Criminal proceedings were launched against the man under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code, which covers the crime of espionage.
No details of the suspect’s identity or facts surrounding the operation were immediately disclosed.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US Embassy in Moscow was notified of Whelan’s detention.
News of the American citizen’s arrest comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Russia. 
Washington has accused Moscow of meddling in its domestic affairs and of various spy activities.
In October, the US Ministry of Justice accused seven Russians of being GRU military intelligence officers, and charged them with hacking and committing wire fraud.
Four men …

Was UK’s most notorious UFO sighting a REVENGE PRANK played on US airmen by SAS commandos?

Reported in detail by ranking military personnel, the 1980 UFO sightings in Sussex’s Rendlesham Forest, spawned their own cottage industry of speculation. 
But now a leading ufologist says it was all just a vengeful prank.
Thirty-eight years ago, on three nights between December 26 and 28, different sets of US Air Force personnel stationed at the RAF Woodbridge base, which reportedly housed nuclear warheads, witnessed bright orange, red, blue and white lights in the sky.
Sent out to further investigate, one serviceman on patrol reported a “smooth, opaque, black glass” craft on the forest floor, covered in incomprehensible hieroglyphs, while on another night a different team encountered an object the size of a basketball turn into a spaceship, and had a “silent standoff” with what appeared to be a humanoid alien. 
The team, some of whom have since been diagnosed with PTSD, said that indentations in the ground, damage to the forest, and abnormal radiation readings proved that these were not…

برای نخستین بار یک زن نماینده دائم افغانستان در سازمان ملل شد

«عادله راز» معاون وزارت خارجه افغانستان در امور همکاری‌های اقتصادی به سمت نمایندگی دائم این کشور در سازمان ملل متحد انتخاب شد.
«شاه حسین مرتضوی» معاون سخنگوی ریاست جمهوری افغانستان روز دوشنبه به صدای آمریکا گفت، خانم عادله راز پس از پیشنهاد وزارت خارجه، از سوی رئیس جمهور به این سمت گماشته شده است.
این نخستین بار است که دولت افغانستان یک زن را به نمایندگی این کشور در سازمان ملل متحد منصوب می‌کند.
در حال حاضر، «محمود صیقل» سمت نمایندگی دائم افغانستان در سازمان ملل را به عهده دارد، که گفته می‌شود دوره ماموریت او در این سمت به پایان رسیده است.
عادله راز، در دولت پیشین سمت معاون سخنگوی ریاست جمهوری افغانستان را بر عهده داشت و در سال ۱۳۹۵به معاونت وزارت خارجه در امور همکاری‌های اقتصادی رسید.
کابل همچنین یک ماه قبل خانم «رویا رحمانی» را به عنوان سفیر افغانستان در ایالات متحده منصوب کرده بود.