Monthly Archives: November 2012

34 dead, several injured in Damascus twin bomb blasts

At least 34 people are reported to have been killed and many injured by two car bomb explosions in a south-eastern district of Syria’s capital, Damascus. State media said “terrorists” were behind the blasts in Jaramana and broadcast pictures showing several charred vehicles and damaged buildings. The district is predominantly Druze and Christian, two communities which have so far not joined the uprising. Earlier, there were clashes between security forces and rebels in Jaramana. There has been fierce fighting in recent days in eastern parts of the countryside around Damascus, known as the Ghouta. Pro-government TV channel Addounia said the car bombs had exploded in Jaramana shortly after 06:40 local … Continue reading

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ICJ redraws Colombia’s maritime border

Colombia has announced it no longer recognises the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague. The decision comes nine days after the ICJ redrew Colombia’s maritime border in the Caribbean in favour of Nicaragua. The court’s ruling ended a decades-long dispute over the San Andres islands. President Juan Manuel Santos said individual countries, and not courts of law, should fix their borders. The ICJ ruled that the islands and a group of islets near the Nicaraguan coast in the western Caribbean belonged to Colombia. But it set up new maritime borders in the potentially oil-rich area, extending Nicaragua’s territory by some 70,000 square km (19,000 square miles). … Continue reading

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Susan Rice beats quick retreat over Benghazi ‘terror attack’

  A US diplomat hotly tipped to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted releasing incorrect information after September’s attack on the American consulate in Libya. UN Ambassador Susan Rice said there had been no attempt to mislead the public, but Republicans were unconvinced. After meeting Ms Rice on Tuesday, senators said they were troubled. The envoy said her initial line that the deadly Benghazi attack sprang from a protest had been wrong. The 11 September assault on the US consulate triggered a major political row over who knew what and when. Days after the assault, Ms Rice, 48, said in a series of TV interviews that it developed … Continue reading

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McCain says U.N.’s Rice could change his mind over Benghazi

US Senator John McCain, a vocal opponent of Susan Rice’s possible nomination as Secretary of State, said on Sunday that the U.N. ambassador could change his mind after she explained her statements on the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. “Sure. She can – I’d give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took,” McCain said on the “Fox News Sunday” program when asked if Rice could reverse his opposition. “I’d be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her,” he said. In what could become the first ugly nomination fight of Democratic President Barack Obama’s second term, Republicans have criticized … Continue reading

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Tension and fear in Gaza Strip after cease-fire

In the 12 years that he has lived here in the Abassam neighborhood adjacent to Gaza’s eastern border, Eyad Qudaih said, he had never ventured more than 20 yards east of his white stucco home because Israel said the area was off limits. But on Friday morning, emboldened by the new cease-fire, he took his four young daughters 300 yards east, to the small plot of land where he dreams of growing wheat as his father once did. “It was like someone who was hungry and had a big meal,” Mr. Qudaih said, shortly after touching the border fence for the first time. “Grilled sheep with nuts.” But around 11 … Continue reading

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Gaza journalists defiant in face of attacks from Israel

The targeting of local journalists in Gaza has been seen as the Israeli government’s latest attempt at preventing the broadcasting of what many Palestinians consider to be the achievements of their resistance against Israeli aggression. On Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes killed three Palestinian journalists. Mohammad al-Koumi and Houssam Salam, both cameramen for al-Aqsa television, were hit while traveling in a car clearly marked as belonging to the broadcast media, according to the station. Mohammad Abu Aisha, a journalist with al-Quds Educational Radio, was also killed later that day, when an airstrike hit his car. The official Israeli response to these killings said initial investigations demonstrated that the three people who were … Continue reading

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US diplomat Susan Rice defends Benghazi comments

The US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has defended comments she made days after a deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. She said her remarks in a series of TV interviews on 14 September were based on information provided by the US intelligence community. Ms Rice has faced Republican criticism after saying the attacks stemmed from protests over an anti-Islamic film. She is tipped to be President Obama’s next choice as Secretary of State. Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not expected to continue in the role for a second four-year term. Ms Rice, 48, is a long-term ally and supporter of Mr Obama, … Continue reading

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UN prosecutor unhappy at reverse of Croat generals’ convictions

The chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal expressed disappointment Wednesday that appeals judges at the U.N. court overturned the convictions of two Croat generals for involvement in violence that drove thousands of Serbs from their homes and left hundreds dead. The generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, were released last Friday after the appeals judges, by a 3-2 majority, reversed convictions for crimes including murder and illegal deportations during a 1995 military campaign known as Operation Storm. In an unusual step, the Hague tribunal’s chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, issued a statement saying his office was “disappointed by the outcome.” Brammertz said he is aware Serb victims “are not … Continue reading

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Assad’s forces bombard southern Damascus suburbs

Syrian government forces fired rockets into southern Damascus Monday in what opposition activists called an indiscriminate bombardment to stop rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad advancing from the working class suburbs to the city centre. The activists said it was the heaviest bombardment in 40 days of air strikes and artillery shelling aimed at blunting the gains by rebels operating from the Sunni Muslim neighbourhoods on the edge of the capital. “Fighter jets hit what looked like specific rebel targets yesterday. Today the multiple rockets launchers are just making huge, random destruction,” said Rami al-Sayyed of the Syrian Media Centre, an opposition activists’ organisation monitoring Assad’s crackdown on the 20-month … Continue reading

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Dr David Petraeus tesfies on Benghazi attack

David Petraeus, who stepped down from his post as CIA director after the revelation of an extramarital affair, testified on Friday morning at a closed-door congressional hearing about the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi. He told lawmakers that he believed all along the deadly attack was “a terrorist attack,” according to Peter King, a Republican representative on the House intelligence committee. “He also stated that he thought all along he made it clear that there were significant terrorist involvement, and that is not my recollection of what he told us on Sept. 14,” King said. Lawmakers say Petraeus told them that CIA talking points written after the … Continue reading

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