(JPost) Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced Friday that police had thwarted the smuggling of a large shipment of heavy weapons and ammunition from Libya to Gaza, Egyptian news site Al Youm7 (The Seventh Day) reported.
According to the report, Ibrahim said at a press conference that the shipment included 138 rockets and some seven thousand rounds of ammunition.
Ibrahim said that an exchange of fire ensued during the seizure of the weapons, in which one of the smugglers was killed.
Last month Egyptian security forces have seized 40 surface-to-surface missiles and other heavy weapons being smuggled along the northern coastal highway from Libya by a group from the Sinai Peninsula, state media reported on Thursday.
The arms had been seized on the road between Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, state media reported. The smugglers had confessed to bringing the weapons to the country to sell them on to dealers, the state news agency MENA said. There was no word on the source of the weapons.
Israeli officials said last year that Libya, which borders Egypt to the west, had become a major source of weapons being smuggled into the Sinai Peninsula, which borders both Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The MENA news agency said the cache included mortars and heavy ammunition.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
PARIS (Reuters) - The French government is considering extending the television license fee to include computer screen owners to boost revenues for public-sector broadcasting operations, the culture minister said on Saturday.
President Francois Hollande's Socialist government already aims to raise an extra 7.5 billion euros this year through tax rises included in an amended budget bill to be unveiled next week.
"Is it necessary to extend the fee to (computer) screens when you do not have a television? It is a question we're asking ourselves, but obviously it would be a fee per household and you would not have to pay an (additional) fee if you have a computer and a television," Aurelie Filippetti said on RTL radio.
(JPost) The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Friday became the first World Heritage Site to be listed under the name of Palestine.
Its approval, by a 13 to 6 vote with two abstentions, marks the second victory in less than a year for the Palestinian Authority’s pursuit of unilateral statehood at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The vote, which was held by a secret ballot, gives an emotional boost to the Palestinian drive to eventually be recognized unilaterally as a member state of the United Nations.
Resounding applause greeted the announcement of the vote by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th meeting at its 36th session held this week and next in St. Petersburg Russia.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riad Malki who was in St. Petersburg for the vote thanked the committee for helping the Palestinians obtain their cultural right to self-determination.
Already in October UNESCO agreed to accept Palestine as its 195th member state, even though it is not a member of the overall United Nations. It does, however, now have state rights in all UNESCO related bodies, such as the World Heritage Center.
For technical reasons relating to the signing of the convention, the PA must meet the cut-off to submit the church for registration as a World Heritage site, and therefore requested that it be considered under an emergency procedure. It said that the church needed urgent repairs and that it was additionally in danger from Israel’s “occupation” of the area.
The World Heritage’s technical advisory body, as well it’s the committee’s secretariat both advised the committee prior to its Friday meeting that the application did not meet the necessary criteria to be listed through the emergency procedure. But 13 of the 21 member states on the committee disregarded that advice.
Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan said that it was a mistake for the committee to ignore the technical advice of its own advisers.
There was no link he said between the water damage to the church roof and its placement on the list through an emergency procedure. He noted that nothing prevented the Palestinian Authority from fixing the roof.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) blasted the decision as proof that UNESCO is motivated by political objectives and not cultural ones.
"Instead of the Palestinians taking steps to further peace, they are acting in a unilateral way that only distances peace," a statement released by the PMO read. "The world must remember that the church of the Nativity which is holy to Christianity was desecrated by Palestinian terrorists."
"And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality."
~Barack Obama, Cairo, June 4, 2009
~Barack Obama, Cairo, June 4, 2009
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)-- Native Christian missionaries in Egypt remained concerned Saturday, June 30, saying at least two fellow believers were killed by suspected Islamists since Mohammed Morsi was declared the country's president.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood "announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn't win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq," am Egyptian missionary leader said in a letter distributed by Christian Aid Mission (CAM) group.
"Yesterday they began by killing two believers in [the area of] el Sharqiya because of this," the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The names of the two Christians known to the missionaries were not immediately released.
These latest reported killings came just weeks after video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims was shown on on Egyptian television.
That graphic incident, which was reported to have taken place in Tunisia, was aired on the Egypt Today program. That footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat.
One man was heard chanting a number of Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity.
The man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts.
The Egypt Today presenter was reportedly distressed by the scenes and openly wondered what direction his nation would go under the influential Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis groups.
Friday, June 29, 2012
(India) On Monday last, fire engulfed and destroyed a 200-year-old Islamic shrine in Srinagar city, Kashmir. The building was old, made of wood, and so all that remains is ash. Well, instead of helping the fire brigade fight the fire, the local Islamic population rioted and actually attacked the fire brigade (including gutting one fire engine) as they deemed that the fire brigade took their time in getting to the fire.
Five days later and the Muslims are still playing the victim card, they are on a fifth day of strike. (From what? Claiming benefits, murdering innocents, uttering "Allah Ackba" and going bang?)
What is it about Muslims who have no problem protesting about the most trivial subject, yet remain silent over the daily incidents of murder and destruction carried out in their name?
Religion of peace my arse.
Five days later and the Muslims are still playing the victim card, they are on a fifth day of strike. (From what? Claiming benefits, murdering innocents, uttering "Allah Ackba" and going bang?)
What is it about Muslims who have no problem protesting about the most trivial subject, yet remain silent over the daily incidents of murder and destruction carried out in their name?
Religion of peace my arse.
(Syria) When democratically elected Hamas decided to ape the Sparks song "This town ain't big enough for the both of us", they hit on the idea of throwing members of Fatah off of high place.
Well, seeing as it worked so well in Gaza, the Islamist idiots in Syria have decided that as it worked so well there, why not do the same in Syria?
Well, seeing as it worked so well in Gaza, the Islamist idiots in Syria have decided that as it worked so well there, why not do the same in Syria?
(NBC) The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating after the words "Allah Wakbar" were found written on a granite seat at the Sept. 11 memorial on Tuesday, law enforcement sources tell NBC 4 New York.
A private custodian cleaning the area found the graffiti, written in pink and black marker, on a seat in the plaza area between the north and south pools around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Investigators believe someone wrote the words that day. No incidents were reported on Tuesday, and the area is not in the view of any security cameras.
After cops were called, the words were removed by a power washer, sources said. The rest of the memorial was inspected, but no other graffiti was found.
The memorial had no immediate comment.
(ABC) In the latest example of Mexico's warring drug cartels taunting each other with gruesome on-line videos, footage posted on a popular cartel-tracking blog shows members of the Gulf cartel interrogating and then beheading at least three members of the Zetas cartel.
The grainy three-minute video, which appeared on Mundonarco.com Wednesday, depicts five shirtless men on their knees, their chests painted with large black "Z"s, surrounded by masked members of the Gulf cartel wielding machetes.
Each Zeta prisoner states his name for the camera, at the prompting of an unidentified voice behind the camera. When asked who sent them, each responds "Z-40." "40," as he is known within the Zetas organization, is Miguel Angel Treviño Morales -- the cartel's second-in-command. The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of "40," and he and his two brothers are also under federal indictment in Texas for alleged laundering of cocaine profits through a U.S. horseracing venture.
"You find yourselves here because you came to f*** us," says the narrator of the video, after the hostages have finished speaking. "Pay attention, men."
Then the slow and bloody process of hacking off their heads begins. "This is how all your filthy people are going to end," says the narrator as the victims plead for mercy.
Over a minute later, the video ends with masked Gulf members holding up three severed heads for the camera. "Very good, very good," says the narrator. The two other Zetas prisoners are not shown.
According to Mundonarco.com, the video was shot in Río Bravo, Mexico, on the U.S. border just south of McAllen, Texas in the state of Tamaulipas. Río Bravo is six miles from the Donna International Bridge border crossing. No date is given for the creation of the video.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
(WT) [...] In voting to uphold Mr. Obama’s disastrous health-care overhaul, the chief justice took away the president’s main line of attack that surely would have been deployed had the court voted 5-4, along party lines. The Divider in Chief, already bent on stoking cultural warfare — upper-middle class vs. lower-middle class, white against black against Hispanic, gay against straight, believers against non-believers — had no doubt hoped to win one more target for his bilious bifurcation.
Were the five justices appointed by Republican president to have stuck together in opposition, Mr. Obama would have toured the country (at taxpayer expense) to decry the court’s action as nothing more than an act political usurpation — how dare those five men take away the will of the people?!
But Justice Roberts did just the opposite (and, bonus, also strictly adhere to the original intent of the Constitution). Obamacare is unconstitutional if it were to be enacted via the Commerce Clause, but not if it’s simply a tax, the justice wrote. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
In so doing, Justice Roberts has just busted Campaign 2012 wide open. The high court’s ruling leaves in place 21 tax increases costing nearly $700 billion. Of those taxes, 12 would affect families earning less than $250,000 per year.
Now that Obamacare’s penalty is a “tax,” not a “fee,” Mr. Obama is breaking a 2008 campaign pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $250,000. This new “tax” will hit across the economic spectrum, despite his campaign declaration that health care should “never be purchased with tax increase on middle-class families.” Now, Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats have enacted the largest tax increase in history.
Chief Justice Roberts has given Mitt Romney a key attack: The president is a tax-and-spend liberal bent on expanding government to unprecedented levels. And the presumed Republican nominee knows it: “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama,” he said from a rooftop in Washington overlooking the Capitol. “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president.”
Mr. Obama, of course, gloated about the win. “The highest Court in the land has now spoken,” he said. Indeed it has: And a majority of the justices are calling your “fee” a “tax.” [...]
The last time Democrats gloated this hard after a health care victory, they lost 60 House seats. #victory
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) June 28, 2012
(Ynet) The mystery surrounding the assassination of Hamas official Kamal Ranaja in Damascus on Wednesday has yet to be resolved, but media outlets released new details Thursday shedding light on the life of the man who replaced Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and was claimed to be a key player in the organization's military wing.
According to reports, between 12 and 24 hours passed before Ranaja's body was discovered. Several eyewitnesses have reported that the house was torched by the assassins, but neighbors claim only the kitchen and entrance were set on fire.
The house in which Ranaja was assassinated belonged to his family, and neighbors said that he did not frequent it often.
An Arab news agency quoted a senior Hamas operative as saying that Ranaja survived several attempts on his life in Damascus and Beirut due to the extreme security measures that he took. According to the official, Ranaja had deep connections with Syria's security apparatus, as well as with Hezbollah and authorities in Iran.
A delegation of Hamas officials headed by Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal arrived Thursday afternoon in Jordan in order to attend Ranaja's funeral. The high profile event strengthens the claim that Ranaja held a high position in the terror organization.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bombings in and around Baghdad killed at least 21 people and wounded over 100 on Thursday, health and security sources said, the latest attacks in a bloody month that have stoked fears Iraq could return to broad sectarian fighting.
Tensions have been high in the country since the last U.S. troops left in December, with ongoing political crises between Iraq's main Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions further aggravating concerns.
In the deadliest incident, at least eight people were killed and 30 wounded when a bomb in a parked taxi exploded at the entrance of a Baghdad market in the mainly Shi'ite Muslim district of Washash, police said.
"There were bodies scattered everywhere. Glass and vegetables covered the whole place," said police officer Ahmed Nouri, who was on patrol nearby when the bomb detonated.
"I feel like my clothes are completely covered in blood and the smell of it is in my nose," he said.
Most of the victims were vendors setting up their produce in the early hours before shoppers arrived, he said.
LONDON (AP) — London police have detained two British Muslim converts on suspicion of terror offenses Thursday, a U.K. security official told The Associated Press.
The official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said it wasn't clear whether the arrests were related to the upcoming Olympic Games. Security is tight ahead of the London games, which begin on July 27.
"This doesn't appear to be a big investigation, but it's still early days," he said, downplaying the importance of the arrests.
Scotland Yard identified the men as an 18-year-old and a 32-year-old, but didn't give their names. The force said in a statement the pair was arrested early Thursday at separate addresses in east London.
A man who identified himself as a friend of the detainees identified the 18-year-old as Jamal ud-Din and said the older man was someone he knew only as "Zakariya."
Mizanur Rahman, 29, said the arrests "might have had something to do with the fact that they recently went canoeing" on the River Lee, a branch of which runs through the Olympic site in east London. He said the pair also recently went shooting with an air rifle in Essex, a largely suburban and rural county east of London.
Rahman said he saw nothing amiss with the activities. "It's just people trying to get into the Olympic spirit," he said, adding that he believed authorities would try "painting it as jihad training."
Rahman pointed the AP to what he said was a photograph of ud-Din. The picture showed a stocky, pale-faced man with a bushy red beard and it appeared to match a man who appeared last year in a YouTube video entitled "The Test of Allah by Jamal ud Deen."
The speaker on the video, who Rahman confirmed was ud-Din, expresses contempt for democracy and non-Muslims, admiration for Islamist firebrands including jailed Egyptian preacher Abu Hamza, and anger at the Danish cartoons which infamously caricatured Muhammad — whom Muslims revere as a prophet.
At one point the speaker approvingly quotes someone he refers to only as "the sheikh."
"We're not like the Christians; if you slap us on the left cheek, we'll slap you back," he tells an unseen audience. "This is so true, brother. We're Muslims. We defend ourselves, brother."
Security services across Europe have long been alert to the activities of extremist Muslim converts.
BEIJING (Reuters) - China has begun combat-ready patrols in the waters around a disputed group of islands in the South China Sea, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, the latest escalation in tension over the potentially resource-rich area.
Asked about what China would do in response to Vietnamese air patrols over the Spratly Islands, the ministry's spokesman, Geng Yansheng, said China would "resolutely oppose any militarily provocative behavior".
"In order to protect national sovereignty and our security and development interests, the Chinese military has already set up a normal, combat-ready patrol system in seas under our control," he said.
"The Chinese military's resolve and will to defend territorial sovereignty and protect our maritime rights and interests is firm and unshakeable," Geng added, according to a transcript on the ministry's website (www.mod.gov.cn) of comments at a briefing.
BEIRUT/ISKENDERUN, Turkey (Reuters) - Rebel forces attacked Syria's main court in central Damascus on Thursday, state television said, while Turkey deployed troops and anti-aircraft rocket launchers to the Syrian border, building pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.
There was a loud explosion and a column of black smoke rose over Damascus, an Assad stronghold that until the last few days had seemed largely beyond the reach of rebels. State television described it as a "terrorist explosion" in the court car park.
The car park is used by lawyers and judges working at the Palace, Syria's highest court. It was unclear if there were casualties in the attack on a potent symbol of Assad's authority.
In southeastern Turkey, Turkish military convoys moved towards the Syrian frontier, reacting to Syria's shooting down of a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday.
The build-up of defenses coincided with an escalation of violence in Syria itself and a growing sense of urgency in Western- and Arab-backed diplomatic efforts to forge a unity government and end 16 months of bloodshed.
Funny, isn't it?
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 26: Demonstrators protest against military intervention in Syria outside President Barack Obama’s national campaign headquarters on June 26, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The protest, organized by a coalition of anti-war groups, was held today to coincide with an emergency meeting NATO was holding to consider military action in Syria. (Getty Images)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a damaged equipment storage room of the Ikhbariya TV station is seen after it was attacked by gunmen in the town of Drousha, about 20 kilometers (14 miles) south of Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Gunmen raided the headquarters of a pro-government Syrian TV station early Wednesday, demolishing the building and killing several employees, the state media reported. Syrian officials denounced what they called a rebel "massacre against the freedom of the press." (AP Photo)
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Gunmen stormed a pro-government Syrian TV channel headquarters on Wednesday, bombing buildings and shooting dead three employees, state media said, in one of the boldest attacks yet on a symbol of the authoritarian state.
President Bashar al-Assad declared late on Tuesday that his country was "at war". U.S. intelligence officials said the Syrian government was "holding fairly firm" and digging in for a long struggle against rebel forces who are getting stronger.
The dawn attack on Ikhbariya television's offices, located 20 km (15 miles) south of the capital, as well as overnight fighting on the outskirts of Damascus showed 16 months of violence now rapidly encroaching on the capital.
Ikhbariya resumed broadcasting shortly after the attack, displaying bullet holes in its two-storey concrete building and pools of blood on the floor. One building had been almost completely destroyed.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Natasha Smith: “Please God. Please make it stop.”
British historian dubbed racist for calling out a group of Pakistani Muslim men behind a child sex exploitation ring
Just prior to the committee's decision to reopen his ethics case, Jackson's wife, Sandi Jackson, publicly revealed their marital issues and the congressman's admitted extramarital affair.Well, gee, what a coincidence.
(STOCKHOLM) — A Norwegian man has received terrorist training from al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen and is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies told The Associated Press on Monday.
Western intelligence officials have long feared such a scenario — a convert to Islam who is trained in terrorist methods and can blend in easily in Europe and the United States, traveling without visa restrictions.
Officials from three European security agencies confirmed Monday the man is “operational,” meaning he has completed his training and is about to receive a target. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly. They declined to name the man, who has not been accused of a crime.
“We believe he is operational and he is probably about to get his target,” one security official said. “And that target is probably in the West.”
(Military Times) NPR reports the FBI has conducted more than 100 investigations into suspected Islamic extremists within the military. About a dozen of those cases are considered serious, according to NPR, which cited unnamed officials.And then we're being told that "Islamophobia" is a crime or something and is totally unwarranted.
The FBI and DoD say these “insider threats” include not just active and reserve military personnel but also individuals who have access to military facilities such as contractors and close family members with dependent ID cards.
(NYP) Is this the democratic Muslim world President Obama called for in his much-publicized Cairo address three years ago?
Chaos there and a US impotent to do much of anything about it?
With the election this past weekend of Mohammed Morsi as president, Cairo became capital to an Egypt under the banner of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
Obama’s 2009 speech, recall, was a mishmash of moral equivalence — apologizing for US intervention in the Middle East; comparing the CIA’s alleged role in the 1953 Iranian coup to the 1979 Iranian Revolution’s hostage-taking and subsequent state-sponsorship of terror.
Most reasonable people were at least skeptical as Obama stretched out a hand to the Muslim world, urging it to reject extremism and move closer to Washington.
Such skepticism has proved warranted.
Egypt’s Arab Spring democracy movement, for better or for worse, led to longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak being nudged aside — and the rise of the Brotherhood.
In Libya, the US “lead from behind” strategy to push out Moammar Khadafy accomplished that goal — but a dangerous leadership vacuum persists and the future is dark.
And in Syria, a full-blown civil war rages.
In a nutshell, the US has far less influence in Egypt today than at any point during the last four decades — a fact of serious consequence strategically and economically.
Morsi says Egypt will remain steadfast to its international commitments — including the Camp David accords with Israel.
Time will tell; the military — which retains strong strategic relationships with the United States — has a say in that.
But as a popularly elected leader, Morsi could be a focus for continued unrest and protest against military rule.
The White House calls Morsi’s election a milestone in Egypt’s road to democracy.
What else can it say?
But, in truth, Obama has demonstrated that while he had nice words three years ago, he has no clue — no vision — as to what Egypt or the rest of the Middle East should look like years from now.
In 1979, the United States stood helplessly on the sidelines as once-ally Iran slipped into Islamist hands.
Is there cause for optimism today?
Monday, June 25, 2012
(Yahoo!) The White House on Monday promised to work with Turkey and other NATO allies to hold Syria "accountable" for what American officials have described as the deliberate downing of a Turkish military jet, apparently in international airspace.We would have to be f'n morons to help Turkey wage a war on Syria. We should remind them of how they screwed us in 2003 by refusing US troops and planes access to Turkey and its airspace at the beginning of the Iraq war.
Turkey said it would push NATO, whose governing body meets Tuesday to discuss the matter, to consider the June 22 incident an attack on the entire alliance. Under Article V of NATO's founding document, an attack on one member is considered an attack on all.
"We stand in solidarity with Turkey, a key U.S. ally," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. "We will work with Turkey, and other partners, to hold the Assad regime accountable."
Not one US soldier, plane, or ship should be used to help Erdogan.
Is Islam a beautiful thing or what?
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Nine young soccer players and fans were killed when a bomb exploded near a pitch in southern Iraq, health officials said, in the latest of a wave of attacks raising fears of a return to widespread sectarian violence.
The explosion in a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim area of the city of Hilla came the same day as police and hospital sources said a roadside bomb killed five people near a pet shop popular with young people in a Sunni Muslim area of the northern city of Baquba.
More than 140 people have been killed in June in bombings targeting mainly Shi'ite pilgrims and shrines as political and sectarian tensions remain high. [...]
The dead and injured soccer players and fans were aged between 15 and 20, said Abdul Amir al-Jibouri, a media manager for the health department in Babil province. More than 30 others were injured, he added.
Report: African Muslim terrorist groups Boko Haram, al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb linking up
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three of Africa's largest extremist groups are sharing funds and swapping explosives in what could signal a dangerous escalation of security threats on the continent, the commander of the U.S. military's Africa Command said on Monday.
General Carter Ham said there are indications that Boko Haram, al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - groups that he labeled as the continent's most violent - are sharing money and explosive materials while training fighters together.
"Each of those three organizations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat," Ham said at an African Center for Strategic Studies seminar for senior military and civilian officials from Africa, the United States and Europe.
"What really concerns me is the indications that the three organizations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts," Ham said. "That is a real problem for us and for African security in general."
(Shark Tank) Back in April, the Shark Tank floated the likelihood that Democratic National Committee Chairwoman (DNC) Debbie Wasserman Schultz was perhaps on her way out as DNC Chairwoman. We now have learned that Wasserman Schultz will not be back as DNC Chairwoman after the November elections.
According to our source within the Democratic Party, who is also a close associate of Wasserman Schultz, the arrangements have already been made for her to leave DNC regardless if President Obama wins re-election or not.
This same source believes that Wasserman Schultz will be forced to resign behind closed doors and then stage an press event in which she tells Americans that her job as the DNC chair was a temporary one and that she is moving on with her congressional career.
How bad things are for the Assad regime? That bad.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Dozens of members of Syria's military defected to Turkey overnight with their families, a Turkish official said Monday, at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over Syria's downing of a Turkish military plane.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said 33 soldiers crossed into Turkey overnight and the group — 224 people in all — included a general and two colonels.
A government official, however, said the group included three colonels and there was no general among them. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, did not know the overall number of defectors and the two accounts could not immediately be reconciled.
Turkey's Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, meanwhile, signaled that his government is to cut electricity supplies to the conflict-torn country, where escalating violence has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Turkish companies provide Syria with on average 2 billion kilowatt/hour of electricity per year — around 10 percent of Syria's annual power consumption. Yildiz said a decision on the issue could be announced Tuesday by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is expected to address his party legislators in parliament and reveal what retaliatory measures Turkey will take against Damascus for downing down the plane.
The defections come three days after Syria shot down the aircraft, further fraying relations between the two countries that were once allies.
Women's basketball team, Saudi Arabia's Jeddah United, pose at Kuala Lampur airport in this undated photo. [...] (Reuters Pictures)
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will enter women athletes in the Olympics for the first time ever in London this summer, the Islamic kingdom's London embassy said on Sunday.I guess this guy should now get himself slaughtered, if he's man enough to honor his word: "Saudi Sports Commentator: I'd Rather Be Slaughtered Than See Saudi Women at the Olympics"
Human rights groups had called on the International Olympic Committee to bar Saudi Arabia from competing in London, citing its failure ever to send a woman athlete to a Games and its ban on sports in girls' state schools.
Powerful Muslim clerics in the ultra-conservative state have repeatedly spoken out against the participation of girls and women in sports.
Meanwhile, John Kerry warned against “prejudging” the Muslim Brotherhood.
(AFP) Egypt's Islamist president-elect, Mohamed Morsi, wants to "reconsider" the peace deal with Israel and build ties with Iran to "create a strategic balance" in the Middle East, according to an interview published by Iran's Fars news agency on Monday.Have you noticed how Obama's Middle East doctrine is remarkably similar to that of Muslim Brotherhood's?
The stated goals are certain to alarm Israel and its ally the United States as they adapt to the new direction Egypt will chart with Morsi at the helm.
They could also boost Iran's influence in the Middle East at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and the West.
"We will reconsider the Camp David Accord" that, in 1979, forged a peace between Egypt and Israel that has held for more than three decades, Morsi was quoted as telling a Fars reporter in Cairo on Sunday, just before his election triumph was announced.
He said the issue of Palestinian refugees returning to homes their families abandoned in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the 1967 Six-Day War "is very important".
Sunday, June 24, 2012
(CNSNews.com) – President Obama phoned the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi on Sunday evening to congratulate him on becoming Egypt’s new president, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said in a Twitter message around 7 PM eastern time.
Earlier, White House press secretary Jay Carney in a statement called the Islamist’s election a “milestone” in Egyptians’ transition to democracy.
“Millions of Egyptians voted in the election, and President-elect Morsi and the new Egyptian government have both the legitimacy and responsibility of representing a diverse and courageous citizenry,” he said. [...]
Carney commended both the election commission and the military council “for their role in supporting a free and fair election, and look forward to the completion of a transition to a democratically-elected government.”
“We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States,” the statement read.
A woman wears a pin which says "Hispanics for Obama" before U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) annual conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida June 22, 2012. (Reuters Pictures)
Michelle Halpain, a volunteer with President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, joins fellow democrats marching in San Francisco's 42nd annual gay pride parade on Sunday, June 24, 2012. Organizers say more than 200 floats, vehicles and groups of marchers will take part in the parade. (AP Photo)It's not going to help him.
BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi press freedom group condemned authorities on Sunday for ordering the closure of 44 news organizations, including a U.S.-funded radio station. The country's media commission said it was only targeting unlicensed operations.
No media outlet is reported to have been forced to close so far. But critics say Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom they accuse of sidelining and silencing opponents in order to consolidate his Shiite party's power, is sending a warning to the media.
The dispute calls into question the future of Iraq's fledgling democracy, nine years after the ouster of Saddam Hussein and six months after the last of the U.S. troops who overthrew him withdrew.
Ziyad al-Aajely, head of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, called the move to shut down media offices "a setback to the freedom of journalism in Iraq."
"It is a government message to the media outlets that if you are not with us, then you are against us," he said by telephone.
The list, which officials say was compiled a month ago, only became public on Sunday.
Most of the 44 newspapers, radio and television stations targeted for shutdown are Iraqi, although foreign broadcasters including the BBC and Voice of America were on the list as well as the U.S.-funded Radio Sawa. The BBC and Voice of America have closed most permanent news operations in Iraq.
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Tunisia extradited deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's former prime minister on Sunday, making him the first senior official to be returned for trial under Libya's transitional leadership.
Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib told reporters on Sunday that the Justice Ministry was holding Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi in prison.
"The suspect is in the custody of the judicial police as per an arrest warrant ordered by the prosecutor general's office charging him with committing crimes against the Libyan people," said Keib.
A spokesman for Tunisian President Moncef al-Marzouki said the president had not authorized any such handover.
"The president did not sign any documents authorizing the handover of Baghdadi and he said that if the information about the handover is confirmed, it is up to the prime minister's office to assume responsibility because this happened without the approval of the president," the spokesman said in a statement posted on Marzouki's official Facebook page.
DURHAM, NH (Fox News) – A New Hampshire town is asking the Obama campaign to foot the up to $30,000 bill for the president's upcoming campaign stop in their city.
MyFoxBoston reports the town of Durham is asking Obama's campaign to reimburse the estimated $20,000 to $30,000 needed to fund additional police and fire safety services during his Monday visit to the University of New Hampshire.
"Community leaders do not believe that costs associated with the campaign should be borne by local taxpayers," the release says according to MyFoxBoston.
City officials say they usually would foot the bill for a presidential visit, but since this is a campaign stop they believe the Obama campaign should have to pay for the extra security.
No agreement between the Obama for America campaign and the Town of Durham had been reached on the issue as of Friday, but city officials say they are hopeful the matter will be resolved before the end of the weekend.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Poor judgment and poor oversight led to the teaching of anti-Islamic material at a military school for officers, according to a Pentagon report Wednesday.
Though an Army lieutenant colonel who taught the class has been relieved of his teaching duties, investigators recommended reviewing the actions of two civilian officials at the Virginia school to see if they also should face discipline, the Defense Department said in a statement.
Materials in a course for military officers at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., portrayed the U.S. as at war with Islam. That's an idea counter to repeated assertions by U.S. officials that the war being fought by America is one against terrorists.
Some of the material suggested the U.S. ultimately might have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following World War II precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Japan, or the allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany.
The teacher, Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, also taught that the Geneva Convention, which guides behavior toward prisoners, was "no longer relevant" and instructed officers that Muslims "hate everything you stand for."
The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that its curriculum, too, was critical of Islam.
The report comes from the office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who had ordered all service branches to review their training to ensure that other courses don't use anti-Islamic material and that procedures are in place to screen course content.
The two-part review found that such issues with approving curricula, presentations and guest lecturers only existed at Joint Forces Staff College, said a statement from Dempsey's spokesman, Marine Col. Dave Lapan.
The inquiry into the Norfolk elective course, called "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism," found there were "institutional failures in oversight and judgment" that allowed the course to be modified over time in a way that left out instruction on U.S. counterterrorism strategy and policy. Somewhere along the line, it adopted "a teaching methodology that portrayed Islam almost entirely in a negative way," Lapan said.
Dooley was removed from his teaching job this year. Lapan said he is due for a routine transfer to another assignment in August.
Among other recommendations are that the course should be redesigned to include aspects of U.S. policy, and that the course should rely less on outside instruction, which included guest speakers. The report suggested changing the school's system for reviewing and approving course curricula.
The head of Gaza's Hamas government Ismail Haniya, joins others as they celebrates in Gaza City after the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi (poster behind) was declared the winner of the Egyptian elections, on June 24, 2012. Morsi was declared the first president of Egypt since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak, capping a tumultuous and divisive military-led transition. (Getty Images)Obama's biggest foreign policy achievement yet - paving the way to power for Muslim Brotherhood.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamist Mohamed Morsy was declared Egypt's first freely elected president on Sunday, sparking joy among his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on the streets who vowed to continue a struggle to take power from the generals who retain ultimate control.Egyptian Liberals: U.S. Is Supporting Muslim Brotherhood. Statement decries American interference in presidential election.
Morsy defeated former general Ahmed Shafik in a run-off last weekend by a convincing 3.5 percentage points, or nearly 900,000 votes, taking 51.7 percent of the total, officials said, ending a week of disputes over the count which left nerves frayed.
He succeeds Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown 16 months ago after a popular uprising. The military council which has ruled the biggest Arab nation since then has this month curbed the powers of the presidency, meaning the head of state will have to work closely with the army on a planned democratic constitution.
Brotherhood officials, speaking as supporters turned Cairo's Tahrir Square into a roaring sea of flags and chants of "Allahu akbar!" (God is greatest), said they would press on with protest vigils to demand that the ruling military council cancel this month's dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament and a decree which gave the generals powers that will restrict the president.
(WJD) Egypt's liberal-democratic opposition, mostly sidelined in recent elections by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling military council, issued a defiant and shocking statement on Saturday, accusing the United States of handing Egypt over to Brotherhood rule.
Perhaps in reaction to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's demand that the military "support the democratic transition, to recede by turning over authority" to the winner of recent presidential elections, the liberals "accused the United States of putting pressure on the ruling military council to hand power to the Brotherhood."
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Members of Hamas' security forces survey the damage to a Hamas security site in Gaza City June 23, 2012. Israel launched air raids early on Saturday against three Hamas security targets in the Gaza Strip, wounding at least 17 people, Hamas medical officials said. (Reuters Pictures)
(JPost) The Israel Air Force struck three Palestinian terror bases in the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning after Palestinians continued firing rockets into Israel. Palestinian media reported that between 17 and 21 people were wounded in the strike- the third of its kind in recent hours, which altogether have also resulted in the death of at least one terrorist.
The IDF Spokesman's Unit stated that aircraft registered direct hits on the three targets - two of which are in northern Gaza and one of which is in the South.<
Just prior to the attack, Palestinians fired another rocket into Israel, bringing the total to seven in recent hours. The rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area, failing to cause damage or injury.
The violence all but erases diplomatic progress made in the form of an informal ceasfire brokered by Egypt on June 20, which brought two days of relative quiet to southern Israel.
Late Friday, the IAF initiated two forays into the coastal territory in response to rocket fire. The first strike targeted a terror cell preparing to launch a rocket at Israel, killing one member of a pro al-Qaida fringe Salafist Islamist group and wounding two others at the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The Palestinians had originally reported that the man was a member of the Popular Resistance Committees, a terrorist group that is often involved in rocket shooting into Israel.
ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Turkey promised on Saturday to do "whatever necessary" in response to Syria's shooting-down of a Turkish fighter, but did not immediately contest an assertion by Damascus that the jet had been in its airspace at the time.
The downing of the aircraft, at a point close to the sea borders of both countries, provided a demonstration of Syria's formidable Russian-supplied air defenses; one of the many reasons for Western qualms about any military intervention to halt bloodshed in the country.
Ankara's once-friendly relations with Damascus had already turned icy over President Bashar al-Assad's violent crackdown on a 16-month-old revolt, but signals from both sides suggested neither wanted a military confrontation over the incident.
"It is not possible to cover over a thing like this, whatever is necessary will be done," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, according to state news agency Anatolia, adding that Ankara had been in telephone contact with Syrian authorities.
He said it was routine for fast-flying jets to cross borders for a short distance and that an investigation would determine whether the F-4 fighter was brought down in Turkish airspace.
Syria's military said the Turkish aircraft was flying low, just one kilometer off the Syrian coast, when it was shot down.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. , takes questions about the contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo)
Police officials and local residents gather at a damaged Sufi Shrine after a bomb explosion in Peshawar on June 21, 2012. A bomb attack killed two people and wounded 16 others at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan's Taliban-infested city of Peshawar on June 21, police said. The explosives were planted near the Panj Peer shrine in a densely populated part of the northwestern city, which runs into Pakistan's tribal belt strongholds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. (Getty Images)
Afghan Taliban gunmen attack popular Kabul lakeside hotel with rocket propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, take hostages, several dead
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan Taliban gunmen, some armed with rocket propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, have attacked a hotel in Kabul's popular Qargha Lake recreation area, triggering a gunbattle, Afghan police said on Friday.
"Insurgents armed with RPG rockets, and heavy and light weapons, are inside the Spozhmai Hotel and fighting with security forces. We don't know their numbers and if there have been casualties," said Mohammad Zahir, head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Kabul police.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying wealthy Afghans and foreigners used the hotel to have "wild parties" in the leadup to the Friday religious day holiday.
Attacks across Afghanistan have surged in recent days, with three U.S. soldiers and more than a dozen civilians killed in successive attacks, mostly in the country's east, which has so far been a focus for NATO-led forces during the summer fighting months.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a speech to a special session of parliament on Thursday that attacks by insurgents against local police and soldiers were increasing as foreign combat troops prepare to exit the country in 2014.
Afghan insurgents attacked Kabul's heavily-protected diplomatic and government district on April 15 in an assault eventually quelled by Afghan special forces, guided by Western mentors.
(INN) The IDF held its first sniping championship in five years last Thursday, and the largest such championship in 14 years. While the military's most elite of elite units – including Sayeret Matkal and Yamam – were represented, it was the Givati Brigade that received the most accolades among military units. Its reconnaissance battalion defeated more famous units like Maglan and Egoz to take first place among the elite infantry units, while its Shaked and Tzabar infantry battalions took first and second places among the infantry battalions.
The championship trophy was won by the Yamas, however – a special police unit that works undercover, disguised as Arabs. Yamas took first place among the non-infantry special units, with second and third places taken by the Shayetet 13 naval commando and the IAF's Shaldag unit, respectively.
The IDF Website's Idan Sonsino reported that the competition gave representatives from every infantry, commando, and Special Forces unit the opportunity to test their shooting capabilities in combat simulations, and compete with fellow soldiers for precision and skill.
The competition was held last week at the Adam Facility, home of the Israeli Counter-Terror School and the IDF’s Sniper Course.
Head of the Counter-Terror School, Lt. Col. Lior Kenan, said IDF snipers have benefited from recent changes and improvements. “We added new armaments, including the Barak sniper rifle, which has a longer range and is more reliable. We also made the training course longer and refocused on how to improve professionalism.”
Maj. Ofer, head of the IDF Snipers Department, seemed highly pleased with the results: "Today the level of our capabilities is very high, and that has allowed us to maintain a fantastic standard across all units from the infantry to the Special Forces," he said.
“The competition gives us a chance to see the state of our sniping capabilities on a large scale," he added. "We are performing well beyond expectations and are more than ready for the next conflict.”
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: The U.S. Robin Hood Tax Campaign protest outside JP Morgan Stanley Corporate Headquaters on June 19, 2012 in New York City. (Getty Images)
Demonstrators, dressed like Robin Hood, call for a "Robin Hood tax" on Wall Street transactions at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Examining Bank Supervision and Risk Management in Light of JPMorgan Chase's Trading Loss on Capitol Hill in Washington June 19, 2012. (Reuters Pictures)
KADUNA/ABUJA (Reuters) - At least 80 people have been killed since Monday in clashes in northern Nigeria triggered by Islamists waging an insurgency against the government, figures from police and the Red Cross showed on Wednesday.
The violence - some of which was sparked by church bombings over the last three Sundays - has heightened sectarian tensions in Africa's most populous country, which is evenly split between Christians and Muslims.
Boko Haram insurgents waged gun battles with security forces in the remote northeastern city of Damaturu, near the radical sect's heartland, throughout Tuesday, police chief for the surrounding Yobe state Patrick Egbuniwe told Reuters.
He said 40 people were killed, 34 insurgents and six security personnel.
In separate clashes between Muslim and Christian residents of the northern city of Kaduna on Tuesday, at least 40 people were killed and 62 wounded, according to local Red Cross official Awwal Sani.
His organization was helping collect bodies and treat the wounded, following riots in which Muslim youths fired AK-47 rifles, burned tires and destroyed a church in Kaduna.
An Afghan man receives treatment at a hospital after a suicide bomb blast in Khost province June 20, 2012. A suicide bomber on a motorbike attacked a convoy of NATO troops in the eastern Afghan city of Khost on Wednesday killing 10 civilians, hospital officials said, the second attack on foreign forces in the troubled province this month. (Reuters Pictures)
KHOST, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber struck a security checkpoint in Afghanistan's city of Khost on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and wounding 30, police said, the latest attack to raise questions about stability in the volatile eastern region bordering Pakistan.
A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said the casualties included foreign troops, but declined to say how many and whether that meant deaths or injuries.
Sardar Mohammad Zazai, police chief of Khost province, said the bomber, riding a motorbike, detonated his explosives at the checkpoint manned by local and foreign security forces.
The attack took place near a mosque in a crowded part of the city, which lies near the border with Pakistan. Women and children were among the wounded, local officials said.
Elite police officers from the GIPN brigade arrive at a bank after a gunman took four people hostage in a bank in the southern French city of Toulouse and fired a shot, police said, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. French television reported that he claimed allegiance to the al-Qaida terrorist group. (AP Photo)
TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - A man claiming to be a member of al Qaeda was holding several people hostage in a bank in the southwestern French city of Toulouse on Wednesday, including the bank manager, police officials said on Wednesday.
The man took the hostages in a branch of French bank CIC around mid-morning and fired a shot after an attempted armed robbery apparently went wrong, UNSA police union official Cedric Delage said.
Two other police sources said there were four hostages in the latest drama to hit the Toulouse region since a young al Qaeda-inspired gunman shot dead three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children in March.
"We don't know yet exactly what this individual wants, but it seems to be an armed robbery that went wrong," Delage said.
"You have to ask why somebody who claims to be from al Qaeda would go to a bank when there are better locations to target if you have a grudge against the state."
Anti-terrorist police brought in from the nearby cities of Bordeaux and Marseille were at the scene and the area was sealed off.
The hostage-taker had asked for the elite RAID commando unit to come to the scene - the same squad which shot dead 23-year-old gunman Mohammed Merah in March after a long standoff at his home, which was just meters from the site of Wednesday's siege.
Police at the scene had not had direct contact with the hostage taker and were waiting for the RAID unit to arrive to begin negotiations.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
(Yahoo!) President Barack Obama has the "bully pulpit" of the White House, but apparently his campaign is the one feeling like it's being shaken down at recess for its lunch money by Mitt Romney-supporting hecklers.
"We have sent a strong message to our supporters that this campaign should be an open exchange of ideas, not one where we drown out the other side by heckling and crashing events," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Tuesday.
LaBolt pointed to news reports quoting Romney as refusing to condemn disruptive heckling of Obama campaign events. Over the weekend, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod scolded hecklers whose shouts led Romney to flee one of his campaign stops.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon(R) welcomes US President Barack Obama prior to the opening of the G20 Leaders Summit in Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico on June 18, 2012. World leaders struggled Monday to inject confidence into the global economy at a G20 summit in Mexico dominated by a spiraling European debt crisis that is spooking markets and paralysing growth. (Getty Images)
This administration really can't keep its mouth shut: U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus to slow Iranian nuclear efforts, officials say
(INN) Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s health took a turn for the worst on Tuesday, and state-run media reported that he has been declared clinically dead following his transfer to the Maadi Military Hospital.
The Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that Mubarak was taken to the intensive care unit upon his arrival to get treatment for a stroke he had suffered earlier Tuesday. The report said the doctors in the Tora prison, where Mubarak had been held, had failed to treat the stroke.
Earlier, The Associated Press reported that Mubarak was likely to be moved out of his prison hospital to the military facility. The report cited state TV which said Mubarak was in a “critical” condition and has been placed on a respirator. MENA reported that Mubarak’s heart stopped and a defibrillator was used to restart it.
A prison official speaking to AP said doctors reported that the 84-year-old former president has fallen unconscious. He added the prison authorities are considering moving him to the military hospital nearby in Maadi, a suburb near Tora prison where he is held.
MENA also reported Mubarak will likely be moved in the next hours if his health deteriorates.
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis under siege by Palestinian Gaza terrorists, 44 rockets counted since midnight
Media members stand next to the remains of a rocket launched from Gaza strip which hit a border patrol base near the kibbutz of Yad Mordechay, causing injuries and damage, on June 19,201. The armed wing of Gaza's ruling Hamas movement on Tuesday said it fired 10 rockets at Israel in a rare show of force after three Israeli air strikes killed six Palestinians. (Getty Images)
(INN) Four people were hurt, one of them seriously, in a terror rocket strike on the Hof Ashkelon Local Authority Tuesday night. The Maariv website says the injured Israelis are Border Policemen, and that the seriously injured man is an officer.
Forty-four terrorist rockets slammed into southern Israel between midnight and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Most rockets were of the short range Kassam type but three Grad Katyushas were fired at Netivot.
No casualties were reported but the incessant rocket fire has placed hundreds of thousands of Israeli under siege since yesterday.
The IAF has carried out three strikes on terror targets in Gaza in the last 24 hours, killing at least six terrorists. An IAF strike Tuesday afternoon severely injured a man who was on a motorcycle, Gaza sources said.
Hamas has taken responsibility for the rocket fire at the Negev. It said it was trying to hit the IDF's Zikim base, and that the rockets were a response to IAF strikes last night. No Israeli casualties have been reported but thousands of residents have been forced to spend the day in shelters.
The two terrorists who infiltrated Israel Monday were a Saudi citizen and an Egyptian belonging to a hitherto unknown group called the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen at Al Quds, Associated Press reported. The two appear in a video made public by the group in which they can be seen reading their final wills before launching the attack.
In a leaflet published along with the video, the group dedicates the attack to the Al Aqsa Mosque, Arab terror prisoners held in Israel, and Osama bin Laden.
The terrorists killed one person before being killed themselves.
KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian Muslims fired AK-47 rifles, burned tires and destroyed at least one church in the northern city of Kaduna on Tuesday, two days after rioting by Christian youths killed 52 people, witnesses said.
An explosion also struck a market in Kaduna, residents said, during the latest of a series of retaliatory confrontations between followers of the two faiths in Africa's largest oil producer.
The escalating violence has raised fears of wider sectarian conflict in a country already reeling from months of attacks on government buildings and churches by followers of the Islamist sect Boko Haram.
The movement styled on the Taliban appears bent on provoking Christian-Muslim clashes as part of its campaign to carve an Islamic state out of parts of Nigeria.
"They (the Muslims) are out on the streets, burning tires and shooting. They burned a church," said one witness in Kaduna, who only gave his first name, Suleiman, for fear of reprisals.
LONDON (AP) — A Russian-operated ship said to be carrying military helicopters to Syria appears to have turned back after its British insurer removed coverage for the vessel, U.K. officials said Tuesday.
Britain’s Foreign Office said the ship, the MV Alaed, changed course in Europe after news reports emerged about its alleged contents. Earlier, the Foreign Office confirmed it was aware that a ship carrying a consignment of refurbished Russian-made attack helicopters was heading to Syria.
The ship has “turned back now apparently toward Russia,” Foreign Secretary William Hague told British lawmakers in Parliament. The vessel appeared to have been avoiding U.K. territorial waters and EU territorial waters, his ministry added.
The news came after the U.K.-based insurer Standard Club said it removed insurance coverage for the ship owner when it became aware it was carrying munitions, a clear breach of its rules.
Russian officials have not commented on the ship or its reported contents. The vessel’s Russian operator, Femco, refused to comment Tuesday.
Monday, June 18, 2012
(CBS News) Three Democrats from West Virginia, including first-term Sen. Joe Manchin, are skipping the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this September, where President Obama will formally receive the party's presidential nomination.
The West Virginia Democratic Party told reporters Monday that in addition to Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Nick Rahall do not plan to join West Virginia's delegation. State Party Chair Larry Puccio said Sen. Jay Rockefeller will attend and will serve as the group's honorary chair.
Mr. Obama is unpopular in the state and lost 41 percent of the West Virginia primary vote to a convicted felon. Manchin -- who faces his own re-election battle this year -- has said he's not sure he'll vote for Mr. Obama.
Famous Islamic tolerance.
(Emirates 24/7) An agitated 17-year old Jordanian boy went on a shooting spree and killed all his family members including his uncle due to difference of opinion reported Arabic AFP.
The suspect shot his father – a teacher, his mother, two brothers who were studying at a local University and his uncle who was a retired colonel. [...]
The police spokesperson said, “Almost all the victims have been shot in the head and their bodies were found wrapped in clothes at their apartment.”
Police are investigating the case.
(WT) President Obama says the illegal immigrants being given de-facto amnesty under his suspension-of-deportation policy are “Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.” Under the circumstances, Mr. Obama is probably the wrong person to make that argument.
The new policy, announced Friday, suspends enforcement of immigration laws against aliens who were brought to America before they turned 16 but are younger than 30 and have been in the country for at least five consecutive years. They are also allowed to apply for temporary work permits.
The White House denies this is an election-year move. “The president isn’t going to be stonewalled by politics,” an unnamed administration official told Politico. Despite such protestations, the calculations behind the move are transparent. The White House probably believes the gains they will make among Hispanic voters in battleground states in the South and Southwest will exceed the number of voters alienated by Obama-instituted amnesty.
Amnesty hits the economy hard. “These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag,” the president said in an attempt to redirect the national conversation. What he left out is that these newcomers also take our jobs. Most of the estimated 800,000 immigrants to whom the policy applies are of working age, pitted against young citizens in the competition for scarce employment. The struggle is fierce; youth unemployment and underemployment are about double what the rest of the country is suffering. Young voters who supported Mr. Obama in 2008 have to ask if this is the hope and change they expected.
Another problem central to amnesty is the Obama administration’s disturbing tendency not to enforce laws Mr. Obama doesn’t like. The Justice Department stopped enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, for example. Mr. Obama believes the president is in a position to pick and choose which laws he wants to enforce based solely on his personal and policy preferences.
Selective non-enforcement of the law presents a critical constitutional question. A president who ignores laws he disagrees with stands in direct violation of his constitutional requirements. Every president swears that he “will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” and Article 2, Section 3, clause 4 states that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” It is clear that the Constitution was not designed to give the executive branch discretionary power over whether to execute the law. The Founding Fathers did not design a government in which duly passed and signed laws would then be selectively shredded or allowed to wither on the vine through presidential inaction.
Does the administration argue that the executive may ignore any and every law on the books if he so chooses? Could a Republican administration also stop collecting taxes it disapproved of or enforcing job-killing environmental protection laws? And could Mr. Obama instruct the Justice Department not to enforce laws regarding election irregularities in states and precincts where that might work to his advantage? The White House needs to clarify how far the do-nothing presidency goes.