RT news – January 13, 2015
France votes to extend airstrikes in Iraq after Paris attacks
France’s lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly by 488 votes to 1 to extend airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The Tuesday vote came after France’s worst terror attacks in decades. The attacks killed 17 people, with one of the terrorists claiming allegiance to the Islamic State. France joined the US-led airstrikes against the jihadists after they took over parts of Iraq and Syria last year, but French law requires a vote on extending such operations after four months.
Turkey arrests 6 over Istanbul suicide bombing
Turkish police have detained six people, including three foreigners, over a suicide bombing that took place in the middle of Istanbul’s tourist district last week, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. A female suicide bomber blew herself up last Tuesday in the Sultanahmet district, killing a policeman and injuring another in the attack. The nationalities of those detained have not been made clear, but the bomber was named by Turkish media as Diana Ramazova from the Russian region of Dagestan. Security is on high alert in Turkey due to fears of attacks by jihadists – who control parts of Iraq and Syria near the Turkish border – and Kurdish militants.
Hamas employees begin sit-in near Palestinian unity govt HQ
Hundreds of Hamas employees began a sit-in in front of the headquarters of the Palestinian unity government in Gaza Tuesday, AFP said. “We will stay here until our members are recognized and their salaries are paid,” union spokesman Khalil al-Zayan said. Staff recruited by the former Hamas administration have not reportedly received any wages for seven months. Hamas had demanded that the new government pay the salaries of the 50,000 civil servants it recruited after its takeover of Gaza in 2007, who took the jobs of 70,000 Fatah employees.
11,000 flee NE Nigeria into Chad after Boko Haram attacks – UN
The latest wave of Boko Haram’s “ruthless attacks” in northeastern Nigeria has sent 11,320 people fleeing into Chad in a matter of days, the UN said Tuesday. Militants from the Islamist group stormed the town of Baga on January 3, and subsequently razed it and at least 16 surrounding settlements, AFP reported. Aid workers fear the attack could have been the worst massacre since Boko Haram’s insurgency began in 2009. Some 20,000 people are said to have fled their homes in the area, and some 11,320 people have arrived in neighboring Chad alone, according to the UN refugee agency.
11 airstrikes hit Islamic State targets in Syria, Iraq
Four more airstrikes have been conducted against Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria and seven airstrikes in Iraq, Reuters reported. The strikes, which began Monday, destroyed various fighting positions as well as four units of IS fighters, according to the Combined Joint Task Force. Three strikes in Syria hit near the border town of Kobani and one strike hit near Dawr az Zawr. The strikes in Iraq were targeted near Tal Afar, Sinjar, Mosul and Baghdad.
Egypt’s Mubarak to remain in detention pending judicial order – reports
Ousted President Hosni Mubarak will remain in detention until the Egyptian judiciary orders his release, AFP said, citing state media reports. On Tuesday, a court overturned a three-year prison sentence and ordered a retrial. Mubarak is currently detained in a military hospital. He will not be released without a decision by the prosecution or the court that will retry him, MENA news agency quoted a security official as saying.
Greek anti-bailout Syriza party holds 3 percent lead over conservatives – poll
Greece’s radical leftist Syriza party holds a steady lead over Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ conservatives ahead of a January 25 snap election, Reuters reported, citing a poll published Tuesday. Alexis Tsipras’ anti-austerity Syriza led by 3 percentage points over Samaras’ New Democracy party, and would garner 30.2 percent of the vote against 27.2 percent for the conservatives, according to the survey conducted by pollsters Rass January 11-12. The leftists have vowed to cancel austerity measures and renegotiate an international bailout.
143 Boko Haram militants killed after attack near Nigeria border – Cameroon
Cameroon’s government has said the military has killed 143 militants from neighboring Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, AP said. Hundreds of militants attacked a military camp the day before near the border with Nigeria, Cameroon officials said Tuesday. Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the fight lasted five hours, adding that a Cameroon army corporal was killed and four other soldiers were wounded.
Russian serviceman ‘admits killing’ family of six in Gyumri, Armenia
A soldier at a Russian military base in Armenia has admitted the murder of six members of one family in the city of Gyumri, RIA Novosti reported. Chief investigator Unan Pogosyan said that Valery Permyakov had admitted his guilt in the crime. The soldier said he came to the house of the Avetisyan family “by accident,” and the motive for the killing is still unknown, Pogosyan said. Permyakov was detained while trying to approach the Armenian-Turkish border near the village of Bayandur, on the bank of the River Ahuryan, which separates Armenian and Turkish territory.
Ex-President Mubarak’s jail term for graft overturned as Egypt court orders retrial
An Egyptian court on Tuesday overturned a three-year prison sentence against former President Hosni Mubarak, 86, on corruption charges, AFP reported. A retrial was ordered in the case. In May 2014, a lower court handed down the jail term after convicting Mubarak of embezzling about $14 million earmarked for the maintenance of presidential palaces. Four-year jail sentences were also handed down to the ousted leader’s sons, Alaa and Gamal. An Egyptian judicial official said that there were no legal grounds to detain Mubarak after the court ordered a retrial, AP reported.
Kerry urges Pakistan to target all militant groups
Pakistan must fight all militant groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and US interests, Reuters quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying Tuesday. Speaking in Islamabad, Kerry mentioned among the terror groups the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan’s foreign adviser Sartaj Aziz said that “action will be taken without discrimination against all groups.” The West has suspected Pakistan of fighting some militants while supporting those regarded as strategic assets to be used against rivals and neighbors, India and Afghanistan.
Russia demands official explanation from France over non-delivery of Mistral ships
Russia has sent an official request to the French Defense Ministry, asking it to explain why a Mistral helicopter carrier was not delivered according to the contract, RIA Novosti reported. The Russian Defense Ministry’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said it wanted an official explanation because Moscow “cannot accept oral explanations from individual French politicians.” Paris was due to deliver the first of the two Mistral-class warships to the Russian Navy by November 14, but President Francois Hollande put the deal on hold, citing the situation over Ukraine.
UN chief says India fomenting intolerance with gay sex ban
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has accused India of fomenting intolerance with its ban on gay sex. On a visit to New Delhi, Ban said he “staunchly opposed the criminalization of homosexuality,” referring to India’s colonial-era law that prohibits gay sex, AFP reported. India’s Supreme Court re-imposed a ban on gay sex in late 2013. It also ruled that the responsibility for changing the 1861 law rested with lawmakers, not judges. Ban’s comments came on the same day that a state minister from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party announced his intention to make gays become “normal” in the coastal resort state of Goa.
Policeman kills district governor, commander in Afghanistan’s Helmand
An Afghan policeman shot and killed his commanding officer and a district governor in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, Reuters said, citing officials. Sayed Murad Sadat, chief of Helmand’s Nawzad district, and police commander Shamsullah were killed during a meeting on Monday, according to police. The attack was claimed by Taliban insurgents, who said the policeman had defected to their movement.
7 convicted militants hanged as Kerry visits Pakistan
Pakistan on Tuesday hanged seven convicted militants, AFP reported. This brings to 16 the number of executions carried out since the country lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in December in response to a brutal Taliban assault on a school in Peshawar that left 150 dead. The executions, carried out across the country, came as US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Pakistan.
Pope Francis urges respect for human rights in Sri Lanka
Pope Francis urged respect for human rights in Sri Lanka as he began a two-nation Asia tour on the island Tuesday, AFP said. The visit comes days after the election of a new Sri Lankan president, and is expected to focus on the country’s unity after a 37-year conflict that pitted troops against Tamil separatist rebels. The pope’s second visit to Asia will also take in the Philippines, home to one of the most populous Catholic communities in the region.
Bodies of 4 French Jewish citizens killed in Paris attack arrive in Israel
The bodies of four French Jewish citizens killed in the assault on the kosher supermarket in Paris have arrived in Israel to be buried in Jerusalem, according to an airport official. Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada were at the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday, when the place came under attack from radical Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly. Later, police stormed the building and killed Coulibaly, who was connected to the two armed men that carried out the attack on the headquarters of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo almost a week ago.
Seventeen people were shot and killed during the three-day siege. The owner of the kosher store has expressed his intention to move to Israel, just days after the deadly attack that left 17 dead took place, his brother told Israel’s Army Radio.