RT – Syrian armed forces launch large-scale offensive against ISIS – Syrian General Staff

RT NEWS
Published time: 8 Oct, 2015 07:13
Edited time: 8 Oct, 2015 12:52

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Multiple rocket launchers Grad fire at positions of ISIS militants near the border between Homs and Hama Governorates, Syria. © Michael Alaeddin / RIA Novosti

 

The Syrian Army announced a large-scale offensive aimed at retaking several key cities and regions from terrorist forces after a week-long bombing campaign by Russia targeting the jihadists.

The government forces “have been keeping the initiative for several years,” said General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, the head of the Syrian General Staff, announcing the offensive. The offensive was made possible by the effort made by Russia in supporting the Syrian government militarily, Ayyoub said.

“The airstrikes of the Russian Air Force have damaged the capabilities of the international terrorist organization Islamic State and other groups,” the general said.

READ MORE: Less talk, more action: Russian jets destroy ISIS HQs, tanks, munition depots – all in just 1 week

Russian warplanes began attacking terrorist targets in Syria last week, hitting over 100 targets throughout the country. According to Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, Russia “has produced significant results in several days that greatly surpass those achieved by the [US-led anti-ISIS] coalition in over a year.”

 

Syria: Assad’s ground troops launch offensive against IS in Hama and Idlib

 

 

Earlier, local media reported that government forces were deployed in several Syrian provinces with the biggest operation taking place in Hama, 200 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus. Lebanese TV channel Al-Manar said the Syrian army group in Hama advanced some 50 kilometers on Wednesday, taking several towns and strategically important mountain strongholds from militants of the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, and other terrorist groups operating in the area.

Syrian government forces also went on the offensive in the Idlib province.

Arms, Conflict, Corruption, Hillary Clinton, Law, Middle East, Military, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scandal, Security, USA

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds hands with her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton (Reuters / Jim Young)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds hands with her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton (Reuters / Jim Young)

As the Obama administration increased military weapons exports, Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved transfer of more than $300 billion worth of arms manufactured by US defense contractors to 20 nations that were or have since become donors of the Clinton Foundation, a major philanthropic organization run by the Clinton family. According to a review of available records of foundation donors by the International Business Times, those countries included governments that have received frequent criticism by the State Department for repressive policies.

“Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents,” IBT wrote.

‘Clinton is epitome of financial corruption’ – David Swanson

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Algeria, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar were nations that directly donated to the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s term as secretary of state, even as they were requesting weapons shipments. The donated money represents a loophole in US law regarding political contributions.

“Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions — a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy,” IBT noted. “But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.”

The reviewed sales — both commercial and Pentagon-brokered — represent those made during “three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as secretary of state (from October 2010 to September 2012),” IBT reported. The deals made with the nations in question during this time add up to far more than arms agreements made with the same countries during the last three full fiscal years of George W. Bush’s administration, according to the report.

“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, told IBT. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”

The Clinton Foundation’s donor list has come under closer examination since Hillary Clinton announced she is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. In April, the Clintons acknowledged they have made “mistakes” regarding transparency amid increased public scrutiny concerning donations from foreign entities, especially when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, from 2009 to 2013.

Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton defended his family foundation’s donors.

“I don’t think there’s anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people in countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up,” Mr. Clinton told NBC News.

The Clinton Foundation signed a foreign donor disclosure agreement just before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, yet neither the department nor the White House raised issues with potential conflicts of interest regarding the weapons agreements.

IBT reported that in 1995 President Clinton signed a presidential policy directive demanding the State Department take into account human rights abuses when considering the approval of military equipment or arms purchases from US companies. Yet Mrs Clinton’s State Department ignored this stipulation, helping the Obama administration increase weapons transfers.

The State Department, under the aegis of Clinton, hammered the Algerian government in its 2010 Human Rights Report for “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association,” allowing “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.”

“That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country,” IBT reported. “The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as ‘toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment’ after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.

“During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria — nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year — a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.”

IBT also reported that major US weapons manufacturers and financial corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton lucrative speaking fees “reaching $625,000” just as arms deals they had an interest in were in the works with Mrs Clinton’s State Department.

Read more
Hillary Clinton: What to know about her recent controversies, scandals

Hillary Clinton had pledged during her Senate confirmation hearings in 2009 that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”

US weapons sales tripled in 2011 to a new yearly high of $66.3 billion, according to the New York Times, mostly driven by sales to Persian Gulf nations allied against Iran. This dollar total made up nearly 78 percent of all worldwide arms deals that year, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Reuters reported in January 2013 that the State Department office that has oversight of direct commercial arms sales “was on track to receive more than 85,000 license requests in 2012, a new record.”

The boom in arms sales by the Obama administration has continued to the present day, as Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are using American-made fighter jets against Islamic State and for proxy wars in places like Yemen and Syria.

According to the Times, foreign weapons sales now represent 25 percent to 30 percent of revenue taken in by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US-based arms dealers.

​Clinton Foundation admits ‘mistakes’ amid concerns of foreign donors 20

RT NEWS – 2 April, 2015

16:10

China protests, 2 US jet fighters make emergency landing at Taiwan air base

China protested on Thursday after two American jet fighters landed at an air base in Taiwan, for the first time in 30 years, AFP said. Two US F-18 fighter jets made an emergency landing at an air force base in the southern city of Tainan on Wednesday. One of the planes had developed a mechanical failure, according to US authorities. “We require the US to abide by the ‘One-China Policy’ and the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and to prudently deal with the relevant issue,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said in Beijing.

15:06

Bahraini rights activist Rajab arrested – family

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been arrested again and could face new charges as he appeals an earlier conviction, AP reported, citing family members. Defense lawyer Jalila al-Sayed confirmed Rajab’s arrest on Thursday. The activist’s wife, Sumaya Rajab, says the arrest was linked to comments Rajab made on Twitter about the treatment of inmates held at Jaw Prison, where unrest broke out last month. Rajab had been free on bail as he appeals a six-month jail sentence for insulting government ministries on Twitter.

14:21

Ukraine president signs law to ban films ‘glorifying’ Russian military, law enforcers

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed amendments to laws to ban films, audio or video products ‘glorifying’ Russian armed forces and law enforcement agencies. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), passed a law in February banning films about Russia’s military and law enforcers. The legislation prohibits the screening of such films and series in Ukraine.

13:59

Second black box found from Alps plane crash

The second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week has been found after a nine-day search, AFP reported, citing French police. Authorities are hoping to unearth more clues about the disaster. The first voice recorder suggested that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately locked the plane on a collision course with the mountains, according to investigators.

13:18

Palestinians, Syrian rebels retake control of Damascus refugee camp from ISIS

Palestinian fighters and Syrian rebels retook control of large parts of a refugee camp in Damascus on Thursday. It had been seized by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), AFP reported. A number of armed factions in the Yarmuk camp in south Damascus “were able to regain control over all of the areas that IS had taken over,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The jihadists overran the camp on Wednesday.

12:46

Planes to fly from Yemen to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals

Two Russian planes are preparing to fly to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals on board, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said on Thursday. “Two Russian planes are at Sanaa’s airport now. One of them has been loaded, there are 167 people aboard. In the next few minutes, it will take off through Cairo [to Moscow],” TASS quoted him as saying. The second plane will carry at least 150 people. At least three aircraft of Russia’s Defense Ministry will help evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday. Clashes have intensified in Yemen between Shia rebels and the Arab military coalition.

10:30

Turkey detains 4 Russian citizens for trying to cross Syrian border illegally

Turkish police have detained four Russian citizens in the southeastern city of Gaziantep after they attempted to cross the border into Syria illegally, the Anadolu news agency reported. Gaziantep officials said the group was planning to enter the conflict zone in Syria. The suspects will reportedly be deported after questioning.

09:36

Heavy fighting between Houthi militants, gunmen in Yemen’s Aden Crater district

Houthi fighters and their allies battled gunmen in Aden’s Crater district on Thursday, Reuters reported. The clashes broke out in the heart of the southern Yemeni port city which is the last major foothold of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Residents saw hundreds of Houthi and allied fighters in Crater, backed by tanks and armored vehicles. It was the first time fighting on the ground had reached so deeply into central Aden, after a week of airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition aimed at stemming the Houthi advances.

09:05

Plane flying from Cairo to Sanaa, Yemen, to evacuate Russian citizens

A Russian plane sent to evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen left Cairo Thursday for the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Sputnik reported, citing a source at Sanaa’s airport. Russian nationals are gathering in the airport waiting for the plane’s arrival, according to the source. The plane that was sent to evacuate them was earlier turned away by the Saudi-led Arab coalition. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Riyadh has guaranteed that it will let through to Sanaa two planes to evacuate 150 Russian citizens, TASS said.

08:43

Suicide bomber kills 16, wounds 40 in E. Afghanistan

A suicide bomber attacked an anti-corruption demonstration in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 16 people and wounding 40, AP said. The explosion in the eastern city of Khost wounded a local member of parliament, Hamayun Hamayoon, according to a governor’s spokesman. Earlier on Thursday, the police chief of a restive district in the country’s south was killed by a roadside bomb.

08:03

10 Egyptian troops killed in Sinai attacks

Two militant ambushes in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula have killed 10 soldiers, according to Egyptian security officials. The attacks also wounded 11 soldiers and several civilians, AP reported. Egypt battles a growing insurgency in the northern Sinai, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

07:32

Al-Qaeda militants storm prison in SE Yemen, free 300 inmates

Al-Qaeda militants stormed a prison in southeastern Yemen’s Hadramawt province on Thursday. They freed more than 300 prisoners, AFP reported, citing a security official. Khalid Batarfi, a senior Al-Qaeda figure who had been held for more than four years, was among the escapees.

03:28

​Israeli approve Palestinian neighborhood construction in E. Jerusalem

The East Jerusalem municipality has approved a plan to construct 2,200 units of housing, a commercial center and a school for Palestinians, Xinhua reports. The new neighborhood, called Arab al-Sawahra, under the plan would see the development of about 370 acres of land. The move hailed by Arab residents would mark the largest construction project for Palestinian families in East Jerusalem since the 1967 Mideast War.

00:13

9 UK nationals detained in Turkey trying to cross to Syria

Nine British nationals have been arrested by Turkey’s authorities after they tried to illegally cross the border into Syria, the army announced. The arrests took place in the Hatay region of southern Turkey. No more information has been offered. The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports and are on standby to offer consular assistance.

RT NEWS – 24 MARCH, 2015

24 March, 2015

21:03

Russian FM visits Cuba, calls to end blockade

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Cuba has called to end the illegal trade and financial embargo imposed on Cuba. Lavrov also said the two countries are planning to cooperate closely in energetics, transport and civil infrastructure, biotechnologies, healthcare, and civil aviation. According to Lavrov, Russian companies are interested in investing in the Caribbean country’s development. Cuba is the first stop of the Russian foreign minister’s tour of Latin America. The official is to visit Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala later this week.

15:52

Tunisia museum reopening delayed, security boosted

Tunisia’s national museum has delayed its reopening on Tuesday, officials said, as security was boosted around the site of last week’s jihadist massacre that killed 21 people, AFP said. “The Interior Ministry says that for security reasons we cannot receive a large number of visitors,” the museum’s representative, Hanene Srarfi, said. Several events had been planned for Tuesday to protest against the attack.

15:14

US & allies launch 14 airstrikes against ISIS

The US and its allies staged 14 airstrikes on Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) targets in Syria and Iraq, Reuters reported. The strikes were conducted between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, the Combined Joint Task Force said. Five Islamic State fighting positions, four tactical units, a checkpoint and a vehicle were hit near the Syrian city of Kobani, the statement claimed. In Iraq, eight strikes near Bayji, Fallujah, Mosul, Sinjar and Tal Afar hit tactical units, vehicles, storage facilities and other targets.

14:32

‘Normandy 4’ meeting on Ukraine due in Paris on Wednesday – Kiev

Authorities in Kiev have confirmed that a meeting of political directors in the Normandy format will be held in Paris on Wednesday. Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will discuss the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements. Ukraine will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko, RIA Novosti reported.

13:43

Canada expands anti-ISIS mission into Syria

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expanding the country’s military mission against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants into Syria, Bloomberg said. Harper is reportedly seeking approval from lawmakers for a one-year extension of the current mission and authorization to expand attacks into Syria. The mission has been focused so far on airstrikes in Iraq. Harper’s Conservative Party has a legislative majority.

13:17

UEFA elects Platini for 3rd term as president

UEFA on Tuesday elected Michel Platini unopposed for a third straight term as president of European football’s governing body. The French football legend promised to run the world’s most powerful continental federation with more “democracy,” AFP reported. He also offered more cooperation with the heads of other confederations.

12:51

Tunisia again closes airspace to western Libya

Tunisia has again closed its airspace for flights from western Libya, Reuters reported. The move comes days after it allowed Libyan planes from Tripoli back for the first time in around six months. “We’ve suspended temporarily again Libya flights for security reasons,” a Transport Ministry official said on Tuesday, without elaborating. Militants killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack on the national museum in Tunis last week.

12:23

Houthis take Yemen town 100km north of Aden – reports

Houthi fighters and allied army units captured the town of Kirsh, about 100km north of Yemen’s second city of Aden, on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The capture followed heavy fighting with forces loyal to President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, local officials and residents said. The area lies about a 40-minute drive to the north of a major airbase, al-Anad, which remains in the hands of Hadi, who is based in Aden.

11:59

US-led coalition begins surveillance flights over ISIS-held Tikrit

The US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has begun surveillance flights over the extremist-held city of Tikrit, AP reported. Intelligence is being sent to Iraqi forces fighting to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown, a senior official said Tuesday. The flights, which began Saturday, mark the first time the coalition has been involved in the offensive. Up to now it largely has been supported by Iranian advisers including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force.

11:29

Yemen Shiite militia kills 5 protesters in Taez

Shiite Houthi militiamen opened fire on Tuesday at demonstrators in the strategic Yemeni city of Taez, killing five protesters and wounding 80 others, AFP reported, citing a local official and medics. The gunmen attacked the demonstrators as they gathered for a third consecutive day to protest the militia’s arrival in Taez. Houthis have sent thousands of troops south from the capital Sanaa, which they control.

10:41

Iraq’s request to US-led coalition for Tikrit airstrikes ‘imminent’ – report

Iraq’s request to the US-led coalition for airstrikes in the campaign to retake Tikrit from ISIS insurgents is “imminent,” Reuters quoted a senior Western diplomat as saying Tuesday. The coalition has so far not taken part in the campaign. If it accepts the request, the move would see by far the biggest collaboration between Iraqi forces, Iranian-backed paramilitaries and the US and its allies.

09:56

30 people killed in central Yemen as Shiite rebels advance south

At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between pro- and anti-government forces in central Yemen, AFP reported, citing tribal sources. Meanwhile, Shiite rebels backed by forces loyal to the ousted president are advancing into southern Yemen, AP reported. The rebels and soldiers from an army battalion loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken over the governor’s office in the southern regional capital of al-Dhalea, according to eyewitnesses. Rebel forces reportedly clashed with militias loyal to current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has taken refuge in the southern city of Aden.

07:24

US drone kills 9 Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan

A US drone strike killed at least nine Pakistani militants in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province early Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing intelligence officials. The strike, part of a drone campaign against Pakistani militants in Afghanistan, was near the site of fierce fighting on the Pakistani side of the border in recent days. Fighter jets have been pounding positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region. The military says it has killed scores of militants, and at least seven soldiers have also been killed.

07:11

Gunmen attack vehicles on highway in E. Afghanistan, kill at least 13

Gunmen in eastern Afghanistan attacked passing vehicles on a highway during a midnight assault Tuesday, killing at least 13 people, AP reported. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Wardak province’s Sayad Abad district, where Taliban fighters hold a great deal of territory. The gunmen opened fire on three separate vehicles in the attack, including a bus traveling from Kabul. Several recent attacks have also targeted buses in the country.

05:30

​5 injured in shooting near university in Tennessee

Five people have been injured in a shooting near the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Two of the injured were taken to hospital via medical helicopter. Local Clarksville police are still searching for the gunman, while the incident took place at around 9pm local time. It is not known if the shooting was connected at all to the university, though Austin Peay State did issue a statement, saying, “Although there does not appear to be a danger to the university community, please take precautions to ensure your safety,” according to Reuters.

04:49

13 dead in Afghanistan after militants attack passenger bus – report

At least 13 people were killed and two others injured after gunmen shot at a passenger bus in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province, Xinhua News Agency cited an official source as saying. Police are investigating the incident.

04:47

Over half of Vanuatu’s population affected by Cyclone Pam – UN

More than 165,000 people living on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu have been touched by Cyclone Pam, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. The body also confirmed that the death toll has risen to 16. “Around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu’s population, have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam on 22 islands,” the UN office said. OCHA warned that “food stocks and water reserves are being exhausted and will not last more than a couple of weeks across the affected islands.” It added that somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of homes have been damaged by the storm and “around 65,000 people are in need of temporary emergency shelter.” Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu on March 13, with the damage categorized as catastrophic. Houses, roads and bridges were destroyed as the wind speeds reached 300 kph (186 mph).

The World in Chaos: 11 airstrikes hit Islamic State targets in Syria, Iraq + More

 

RT news – January 13, 2015

 

18:55

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.

17:42

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.

15:53

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.

14:40

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.

13:36

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.

13:04

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.

12:29

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.

11:43

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.

11:16

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.

10:27

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.

09:06

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.

08:35

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.

08:02

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.

07:46

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.

07:21

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.

07:09

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.

06:11

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.

‘Germany’s intel agency is (apparently) branch of CIA’

The main entrance of Germany's intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) headquarters (Reuters / Michael Dalder)

The main entrance of Germany’s intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) headquarters (Reuters / Michael Dalder)

 

RT news

Published October 20, 2014

The German BND is not an independent intelligent service but more like a CIA branch, Manuel Ochsenreiter, Editor-in-Chief of Zuerst magazine, told RT. Its so-called evidence on the MH17 tragedy is questionable and contradicting, he added.

RT: German intelligence says they have damning evidence, why didn’t they make it public?

Manuel Ochsenreiter: We shouldn’t forget that the German intelligence service, the BND, is not the “Mercedes” among the intelligent services, it is not an independent intelligence service. It is more or less a branch of the CIA or other American intelligent services. When we [look] back in the history of the BND we see some similar stories. For example, last year the BND claimed that they have evidence that the Syrian government is responsible for the chemical attack in Ghouta close to Damascus. This so-called evidence has never appeared. In 2003 the BND delivered the main witness…named Curveball to the world who was testifying that the Iraqi army, Iraqi government, had weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons. So we see there is a history of those so-called evidences to support the Western political position. I think we should be now very careful and simply wait if or until the so-called evidence is presented to public.

Wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the village of Rassipnoe. (AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

Wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the village of Rassipnoe. (AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

RT: What impact could German claims have on the official investigation?

MO: The investigation is still going on and it is deeply questionable simply to claim that there is now the evidence which proves 100 percent which side is responsible for shooting down the airplane. And we can see this as a sort of PR attempt of influencing the international investigations on the plane crash because the question is, if the BND really has that evidence, why don’t they deliver the evidence to the investigation team? Instead of this, they take care that it becomes public that they might have this evidence. So we can see this as an attempt at influencing the international investigations and to put pressure on the investigators.

RT: Do you think this raises more questions? If this is the case why didn’t Kiev mention the missile system was missing months ago?

MO: The situation is much, much more ridiculous…The point is that the Ukrainian government said in July that no rocket system was stolen or captured by the other side so they said from the beginning that they are not missing any rocket systems. So they already said that it is not possible that the pro-Russian fighters got into power of one of those systems. So how should they use then those systems to shoot down the airplane? We see that…the so-called evidence of the BND is deeply questionable and contradicting the official statements of Kiev, and we know that Kiev is an ally of the West. Here we see the conflicting news I think this is a strong sign how deeply unreliable [it is].

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