Monthly Archives: January 2013

US Air Force continues to support France in Mali

The U.S. Air Force continues to back French air operations in Mali through refuelling efforts, logistical movements, troop transport and information sharing, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today. “Since French operations began Jan. 11, the U.S. has been sharing intelligence with the French,” Little told reporters. The United States has provided airlift support to the French army since Jan. 21, he added, and began refuelling support for French air operations Jan. 27. As of Jan. 27, the U.S. Air Force had flown 17 C-17 sorties, moving more than 391 tons of equipment and supplies and nearly 500 French personnel into Bamako, Little said. One refuelling mission has been conducted … Continue reading

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U.S. to base surveillance drones in Niger, ambassador says

The United States has signed a deal with the central Africa nation of Niger that allows deployment of surveillance drones to keep tabs on Islamic militants in the region, officials from both countries said Tuesday. Niger is next door to Mali, where France joined the fight against Islamic rebels earlier this month Pentagon spokesman George Little said the role of the U.S. military in Niger “has not yet been defined” — but Niger’s ambassador to the United States, Maman Sidikou, told CNN that his government has agreed to let U.S. drones operate from its territory. Sidikou said his understanding of the agreement is the drones will be unarmed and used … Continue reading

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Police officer sentenced to life for murder of Ukrainian journalist

 A former police commander in Ukraine was convicted of strangling an investigative journalist and sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, but the court has failed to determine who ordered the killing that has marred the ex-Soviet nation’s image. Heorhiy Gongadze, co-founder of a news website who exposed high-level corruption, was kidnapped in September 2000 and his decapitated body was found in a forest outside Kiev several months later. On Tuesday, the Pechersk District Court in Kiev convicted Olexiy Pukach, the former chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s surveillance department of the murder. Three other police officers have been convicted and sentenced in the case.Gongadze’s widow, Myroslava, who has received political … Continue reading

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Syrian situation worsens as Aleppo uncovers more mass killings

The bodies of least 65 people shot in a mass killing were found in Aleppo on Tuesday, according to opposition activists. A video posted online Tuesday showed many of the victims lying on the muddy banks of the Quweiq River in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of southwestern Aleppo with their hands bound. Most appeared to have been shot in the head, and some of the victims appeared to be teenagers. Bustan al-Qasr has been the site of heavy fighting in recent days as the Syrian military has launched several attacks to retake the neighborhood from rebel control.Opposition activists said it was not clear who carried out the mass killing, when it … Continue reading

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Bipartisan group of senators unveils immigration reform plan

A bipartisan group of senators outlined a sweeping proposal Monday to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, saying the time has come to fix what they called “our broken immigration system. In a joint news conference, five of the eight senators introducing the plan portrayed it as an effort not only to resolve the plight of millions of illegal immigrants living in the shadows of society but to modernize and streamline the legal immigration system. “We have a long way to go, but this bipartisan blueprint is a major breakthrough,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). He expressed hope that the Senate could pass the bill by late spring or summer. … Continue reading

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North Korea threatens war with South over U.N. sanctions

North Korea threatened to attack rival South Korea if Seoul joined a new round of tightened U.N. sanctions, as Washington unveiled more of its own economic restrictions following Pyongyang’s rocket launch last month. In a third straight day of fiery rhetoric, the North directed its verbal onslaught at its neighbour on Friday, saying: “‘Sanctions’ mean a war and a declaration of war against us.” The reclusive North this week declared a boycott of all dialogue aimed at ending its nuclear programme and vowed to conduct more rocket and nuclear tests after the U.N. Security Council censured it for a December long-range missile launch. “If the puppet group of traitors takes … Continue reading

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Rebel court fills void amid Syrian civil war

Somehow, the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who can’t — or won’t — leave this battleground city have grown accustomed to living in a state of war. But they have also shown that they do not want to live in a state of anarchy. On a side street, not far from where goats graze next to a burned-out ambulance in what used to be a neighborhood park, stand the offices of what can only be described as a rebel court. The United Courts Council operates without the authority or recognition of any central government. It stands on the opposition-held side of the front lines that divide this city. This self-appointed … Continue reading

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White House to nominate Gen John Allen as Nato commander

The White House says it will go ahead with the nomination of Gen John Allen as Nato commander in Europe. The announcement comes after he was cleared of allegations he had “inappropriate” communication with Florida socialite Jill Kelley. He is to relinquish command of the Nato mission in Afghanistan next month. Unrelated harassment complaints by Mrs Kelley led to the revelation of an affair between CIA chief David Petraeus and his biographer. Gen Allen’s nomination to lead the Nato command in Europe was placed on hold after it was revealed last year he had communicated repeatedly with Mrs Kelley, whom he met when he led US Central Command at MacDill … Continue reading

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Syrian opposition leaders fail to form government

Syrian opposition leaders said on Monday they had failed to put together a transitional government to run rebel-held areas of the country, a blow to the exiled group trying to present an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. Political efforts to resolve the conflict have largely faltered because of the rebels’ failure to form a unified front and because world powers are backing opposing sides. Talks held by representatives of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), a 70-member umbrella group dominated by Islamists and their allies, in Istanbul at the weekend only highlighted divisions in the coalition. “This is a big blow for the revolution against Bashar al-Assad,” said one … Continue reading

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As Obama is sworn in, US drones wreck havoc in Yemen

More than 10 suspected al Qaeda operatives were killed by an explosion in a house in south Yemen where they were making bombs, and at least six others died in two strikes from U.S. drones, tribal and official sources said on Sunday. A bomb ripped through a house in the province of al-Bayda on Saturday night, the state news agency Saba and a local official said. Strikes by suspected U.S. drone aircraft killed three people on Saturday and another three on Sunday in two parts of central Maarib province, tribal and government sources said. The Yemeni Defence Ministry said in an SMS text message that a number of militants were … Continue reading

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