Showing posts from September 28, 2014

ISIS Use Beheadings to Make Up for Losses, Say US Officials

For months, Islamic State militants rampaged across Syria and Iraq, seizing cities, taking hostages and terrorizing all who dared to confront them. The tide began to turn in mid-August, when U.S. airstrikes pushed them from key Iraqi battlegrounds. Then, on Aug. 19, the group released a video that showed the beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley. The pattern continued. Within days of a military defeat, the group would release images of more beheadings — at least nine over six weeks — of Western journalists, aid workers and Muslim soldiers. The tactic signals that even as the Islamic State group suffers battlefield losses, it is holding on to its edge in the propaganda war. U.S. officials say that's the only way the militants can continue to maintain support and attract new recruits. AP ISLAMIC STATE TIMELINE On Friday, the Islamic State group released a new video showing the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning after nearly two strai

Sweden to become first major European country to recognize state of Palestine

Source: STOCKHOLM: Sweden's new centre-left government will recognize the state of Palestine in a move that will make it the first major European country to take the step, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Friday.  The UN general assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries, have yet to give official recognition.  "The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law," Lofven said during his inaugural address in parliament.  "A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine."  For the Palestinians, Sweden's move will be a welcome boost for its ambitions.  With its reputation as an honest broker in international affairs and with an influential voice in EU foreign policy, the decision may well

Hong Kong govt denies using triad gangs to break up protests

Hong Kong's security chief furiously denied the government had used triad gangs against pro-democracy protesters on Saturday after accusations hired thugs had been brought in to stir up violent clashes.  Two of the city's busiest shopping districts descended into chaos on Friday as groups targeted protesters who have brought parts of Hong Kong to a standstill for the past week. The protesters are demanding the right to nominate who can run as their next leader in 2017 elections, while Beijing has said only candidates it has approved will be able to stand. China has accused democracy campaigners of destabilising the city and on Saturday said they were "daydreaming" over the prospect of change. "The actions taken by Hong Kong police to handle Occupy Central are an inescapable necessity to preserve the rule of law," an editorial in Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily said. Out of 19 people arrested during Friday's clashes, police

Malaysia discovers 155 Uighurs crammed into 2 apartments

Malaysian authorities have detained 155 Uighurs, more than half of them children, who were found crammed into two apartments in the capital Kuala Lumpur, immigration officials said. The Uighurs, a Muslim people from China's far-western region of Xinjiang, were discovered when officers from Malaysia's Immigration Department raided the residential units on Oct. 1 after receiving a tip-off. Ninety people, including 44 children, were crammed into one unit, while the remaining 65 were in a second unit, according to a report from enforcement operations unit chief Basri Hassan. "We had not expected to see so many of them in one unit," said an immigration officer who took part of the raid, adding that the Uighurs were found in cramped and smelly conditions. He added that the Uighurs were carrying Turkish passports that were suspected to be fake. "We are trying to determine where they came from and where they are headed. As of now we are uncertain whether they

Bomb attack at Pakistan bus stop kills six, injures 17 people

At least six people were killed and 17 others wounded when a bomb exploded at a bus stop in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Saturday.  “The blast occurred at a small bus stop in Kohat city. At least two vehicles were damaged in the explosion,” Salim Khan Marwat, district police chief in the town of Kohat, told AFP. “The explosion has left six people dead and 17 injured,” he added. Fazal Khaliq, head of the emergency department at Kohat’s main government hospital, also confirmed the toll. In February, 12 people including two women and a child were killed in a bombing at the same bus stop. It is the second attack on a passenger vehicle to hit northwest Pakistan in a week. On Thursday, a bomb blast on a coach in the city of Peshawar killed at least seven people and wounded another six. Meanwhile two unknown gunmen killed a local politician and his bodyguard in the picturesque Swat valley. The gunmen, riding a motorbike, chased Ashraf Khan and

Alan Henning's wife on Isil beheading: 'The news we hoped we would never hear'

Latest coverage and reaction as second British hostage Alan Henning murdered by Isil jihadists, who then threaten US aid worker Peter Kassig Alan Henning's wife has described her family's devastation at receiving "the news we hoped we would never hear", following the beheading of the British aid worker by Isil jihadists in Syria. Her statement followed the release of a video by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in which the British-accented Jihadi John again appeared to behead a Western hostage, claiming that Mr Henning’s death was in retaliation for UK strikes against the jihadist group. In the statement, issued by the Foreign Office, Barbara Henning says there are "few words to describe how we feel at this moment", but that the family is "numb with grief". She writes: "We always knew that Alan was in the most dangerous of situations but we hoped that he would return home to us. That is not to be." Earlier o

Islamic State: British aid worker Alan Henning purportedly beheaded in video released by militant group

A video purportedly showing the beheading of British hostage Alan Henning has been released by Islamic State (IS) militants. The Salford taxi driver was delivering aid to Syria in December when he was kidnapped then held hostage by IS. The one-minute video, titled Another Message to America and its Allies, showed the British aid worker introducing himself, said SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist groups. Mr Henning says "because of our parliament's decision to attack the Islamic State, I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision," according to SITE. Dressed in an orange prison-style outfit and on his knees, Mr Henning was filmed with a masked militant standing over him wielding a knife. The video is almost identical to those released after three previous murders, including those of US journalists  James Foley  and  Steven Sotloff . British prime minister David Cameron, in a statement released after the video

22 Mexico police officers arrested over six civilian deaths

The Mexican government has charged 22 municipal police officers with murder for their alleged involvement in the shooting of six civilians, authorities say. The six police officers may be also found guilty of “forced disappearance” following the kidnapping of dozens of people in the Guerrero State last week, state prosecutor Iñaki Blanco said of the Tuesday indictment. On September 26, six people, including a woman, lost their lives when police opened fire on them during two separate incidents in the southern Mexican town of Iguala in the Guerrero State. In an attempt to justify their deaths, however, the detained police officers said the deceased individuals were carrying weapons. Following the attacks, 57 students went missing after municipal police and unidentified gunmen opened fire on a convoy of buses in Iguala. So far, 14 of the 57 students reported missing have been located, authorities said. The incidents mark the latest in a series of violence in the Guerrero S

1 killed in clashes between Brazil army, drug gangs

Clashes have erupted between army soldiers and drug gang members in a slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, leaving at least one person dead. Officials say the victim was a suspected gang member. The clashes halted the traffic flow on one of the area's main highways.  The clashes broke out on Wednesday after rival gangs started fighting at a local complex. When the fighting between the different gangs started, soldiers patrolling the area since April intervened. The Mare slum complex is one of the country’s several impoverished areas in Rio where police or soldiers have been seeking to eliminate gangs and establish permanent posts. The move is part of army's effort to make the city safer ahead of the 2016 Olympics. With the aim of improving security in Rio, the police have implemented the widespread "pacification" program since 2008. Source:

Two killed, ten injured in Yemen bomb blast

A bomb blast in northern Yemen has left at least two people dead and ten others injured. The attack reportedly took place in Amran Province, situated 53 kilometres (33 miles) northwest of the capital, Sana’a, on Friday after an explosive device planted inside a car was detonated in a popular local market. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Amran has been the scene of violent clashes between Yemen’s Ansarullah revolutionaries, and Salafists who are backed by government forces over the past weeks. This comes as Jamal Benomar, the United Nations envoy to Yemen, left Sana’a on Thursday, following weeks of unrest in the capital and the country's failure to name a new head of government. Benomar expressed concern over the “sensitive and unpredictable” situation in Yemen, saying the only way to bring peace to the crisis-hit country is the full implementation of agreements between the revolutionaries and the government. “The only way forward for the success of th

Iran Leader: Takfiris created to split Muslims

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Takfiri groups are spreading atrocities in the West Asian region in a bid to sow discord among Muslims. Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a message to the Hajj pilgrims on Friday. The full text of the message is as follows: In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful And praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds and Allah’s Greetings to Mohammad (PBUH) and His Holy Progeny A salutation and greeting arising from enthusiasm and reverence on you, the fortunate people who have accepted the call of Quran and have rushed to be guests at the House of God. The first word of advice is to know the value of this great blessing and try to endeavor to get close to its goals by musing about personal and social and spiritual and international dimensions of this unique obligation and ask the Merciful and Powerful host to help you do this. I, accompanying you both with my heart and my words, ask the forgiving

Poll: Half think U.S. at high risk of terror attack

WASHINGTON  — Half of Americans think there’s a high risk of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, yet only a third are closely following news of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic extremists in the Middle East. Most people do think the airstrikes are a good idea. Two-thirds of those questioned for an Associated Press-GfK poll say they favor the offensive by the U.S. and allies. And, despite, more than a decade of costly war, about one-third favor going beyond that and putting American military boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria. President Obama says he has no plans to send ground troops to either country. A little more than a third say they are opposed to the idea, and about one in four say they neither favor nor oppose it. That’s thousands of miles away. What about concern at home? According to the poll, most think there’s a high risk of a terrorist attack inside the United States, 53 percent, though just 20 percent call it an “extremely high risk.” An additional 32 percent say