Monthly Archives: August 2012

Woman who killed Russian Sufi Muslim leader identified

Russian police on Wednesday identified the female suicide bomber who killed an influential Muslim leader in a terrorist attack that could worsen a longstanding confrontation between radical Islamists and moderate Muslims in the volatile Caucasus region. Said Afandi, 74, the powerful leader of a Sufi Muslim brotherhood in Russia’s unstable province of Dagestan, was killed Tuesday along with six other people, including an 11-year-old boy, in the central village of Chirkei by the bomber, who approached his house disguised as a pilgrim. Afandi’s tens of thousands of followers included influential officials, clerics and businessmen. Police in Dagestan said Wednesday that the bomber was Aminat Kurbanova, a 30-year-old resident of Dagestan’s … Continue reading

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Mitt Romney goes neck to neck with Obama in polls

By Chris Cillizza Sharing TV time with a Gulf Coast hurricane is a bad thing for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. Romney now holds a slim, seven-point edge among registered voters when it comes to handling the economy, even as there is also limited faith that things would quickly get better if he was to win. Obama counters with an equivalent advantage over Romney when it comes to who is seen as having a better understanding the financial problems people are facing. Obama’s campaign has spent freely to portray Romney as a businessman more interested in profits than creating jobs, and one who enriched himself even as his company, … Continue reading

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More than 300 civilians feared massacred in Damascus suburb

Syrian opposition activists have accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army on Sunday of massacring scores of people in a town close to the capital that it recently recaptured from rebels. More than 200 bodies, some of them women and children, were found in houses and basements around Daraya, according to activists who said most had been killed “execution-style” by troops during house-to-house raids. Due to restrictions on non-state media in Syria, it was impossible to independently verify the accounts. “Assad’s army has committed a massacre in Daraya,” said Abu Kinan, an activist in the town, using an alias to protect himself from reprisals. The killings in Darayya, a working class … Continue reading

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Obama admin divided over wisdom of prosecuting Assange

Despite claims by Julian Assange that Washington is plotting to extradite and execute him, U.S. and European government sources say the United States has issued no criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder and has launched no attempt to extradite him. Moreover, Obama administration officials remain divided over the wisdom of prosecuting Assange, the sources said, and the likelihood of U.S. criminal charges against him is probably receding rather than growing. The Obama administration has said Assange’s immediate fate is in the hands of Britain, Sweden and Ecuador. Earlier this year, British authorities obtained a court order authorizing them to extradite Assange to Sweden for questioning in a sexual molestation case. … Continue reading

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Use chemical weapons and we come after you – Obama warns

US President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a “red line” that would change his thinking on intervention in the crisis. He said he had “at this point not ordered military engagement” but added: “There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons.” President Obama, speaking to reporters at a White House briefing, said the deployment or use of biological weapons would widen the conflict in the region. He said: “It doesn’t just include Syria. It would concern allies in the region, including Israel, and it would concern us.” He warned … Continue reading

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Lakhdar Brahimi succeeds Kofi Annan in volatile Syria seat

Veteran diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi will be the new Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria, taking over the peace-facilitation role played over the past several months by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a spokesperson for the world organization said Saturday. Mr. Brahimi is expected to assume his duties following the expiration of Mr. Annan’s mandate on 31 August 2012. “The Secretary-General appreciates Mr. Brahimi’s willingness to bring his considerable talents and experience to this crucial task for which he will need, and rightly expects, the strong, clear and unified support of the international community, including the Security Council,” a UN … Continue reading

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Britain tones down rhetoric on Assange stand-off

Britain has indicated it wants an “amicable solution” to the diplomatic crisis over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after Ecuador granted him political asylum. An Ecuadorean government spokesman said they had received a phone call from the Americas desk at the Foreign Office with a message they believed to have come from Foreign Secretary William Hague. It comes as its government said it had received a call from the UK Foreign Office saying temperatures on both sides needed to be cooled down. Mr Assange took refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in London in June as he faced extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies. Ecuador announced on Thursday it … Continue reading

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West Bank conference scrapped after Israel bars envoys

  A meeting of international envoys due to be held in the West Bank to show support for the Palestinian leadership was scrapped on Sunday after Israel refused to admit attendees from four countries, Palestinian officials said. The meeting involved high-level representatives from the Non-Aligned Movement, a group of states that aims to represent the interests of the developing world. They were due to sign a declaration backing the Palestinians ahead of their fresh campaign to win recognition as a state at the United Nations next month. Israel barred the foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia along with ambassadors from Cuba and Bangladesh on the grounds the four countries do … Continue reading

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