Showing posts from December 10, 2017

Mexico’s Presidential Front-Runner Proposes Giving Amnesty To Drug Lords

In a bid for presidency, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leading candidate, has promised to put an end to the drug war in Mexico if he is elected. Mexico’s drug war has cost 200,000 lives over the last decade. Obrador announced a willingness to open a dialogue with the cartel drug lords, proposing to grant amnesty to them with the aim to restore peace in the country. Given the atrocities committed by the cartels, his announcement was not met with approval, stirring outrage among the population. People condemned him for being “insensitive”,  furious with his idea of achieving peace by offering narcos a “hall pass”, even accusing him of earning the votes of the cartel members. Advertisement This year, Mexico may have one of the bloodiest since 2011. October 2017 was reportedly registered as the most murderous month in years with 2,317 victims recorded. Mexico’s Presidential Front-Runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador Since 2011, at least 300,000 people were displaced and more tha

Former al-Qaeda affiliate pushes to assert control in northwestern Syria

The rebel authority of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in northwest Syria is positioning itself as the only opposition authority in the region after giving its main political rival - the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) - a 72-hour deadline this week to cease operations. The Syrian Salvation Government (SSG) is a civil authority formed in Idlib province in early November and backed by hardline rebel coalition HTS, whose leading faction is Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. On Tuesday, the SSG warned all offices headed by the opposition-run SIG in a statement that they must close their doors by Friday or “be held responsible”. Tuesday’s SSG statement follows weeks of conflict between the HTS-backed government and the Turkey-based SIG, an alternative to the government in Damascus that was formed in 2013. The ultimatum is the latest in a series of moves by HTS to monopolise authority in northwestern Syria by dismantling its political and military rivals - f

UN expert says torture continues at Guantanamo Bay

An independent UN human rights investigator said on Wednesday that he had information about an inmate being tortured at the US Guantanamo Bay detention facility, despite Washington banning "enhanced interrogation techniques" almost 10 years ago. The US Department of Defence denied the allegation, saying there was no credible evidence to support it. Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said he had information that Ammar al-Baluchi - accused of being a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks on the United States - was being subjected to treatment that is banned under international law. "His torture and ill-treatment are reported to continue," a statement from the UN human rights office said, without giving details of the source of Melzer's information. "In addition to the long-term effects of past torture, noise and vibrations are reportedly still being used against him, resulting in constant sleep deprivation and related physical and me

Southern Syria faces more uncertainty as US pulls funding for anti-Assad militias

Southern Syria faces more uncertainty as US pulls funding for anti-Assad militias AMMAN  - In the coming weeks, between 10,000 and 20,000 men in southern Syria will get their last month’s pay from the US government. The men are part of the Southern Front, a loose collaboration of dozens of anti-Assad, Western-vetted militias operating in Daraa and Quneitra provinces. For close to four years, they have been paid, armed and directed by the Military Operations Command, or MOC – a US-led support mechanism and weapons bridge operating out of Amman. But before the month is out, that support and oversight will end as the US government, under a  directive  from President Donald Trump, ceases support for Syria’s anti-Assad rebels.  The end of the status quo Southern Syria has been largely quiet for more than a year and a half, and particularly quiet since a truce began on 9 July when the US, Russia and Jordan agreed to support a de-escalation zone in Quneitra, Daraa and parts of Su

Mass grave of 400 Daesh victims discovered in northwestern Iraq

The photo taken from online social media shows the mass grave holding the bodies of 400 victims of Daesh terror in the city of Sinjar in the northwestern Nineveh Province on December 14, 2017. Iraqi security forces have discovered yet another mass grave containing the bodies of at least 400 people slain by Daesh terrorists in the city of Sinjar in northwestern Nineveh Province. On Thursday, Al-Sumaria television network cited an informed Iraqi source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the victims are mainly from the Izadi minority “brutally murdered” by Deash Takfiri terrorists. Back in August 2014, Daesh terrorists overran Sinjar, killing, raping and enslaving large numbers of Izadi Kurds. The region was recaptured in November 2015, during an operation by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Izadi fighters. Since then, Iraqi security forces have discovered dozens of mass graves across Nineveh Province. The Endowments and Religious Affairs Ministry of the semi-au

Greek anarchists target Saudi embassy over Yemen conflict

A Greek anarchist group threw paint at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Athens at dawn on Thursday to protest against Riyadh's "medieval" repression and its involvement in the Yemen conflict. A video by the group, Rouvikonas, showed at least three persons wearing motorcycle helmets smashing the windows of a guard post outside the embassy, while another stands watch. There was no effort to stop the assault, and no arrests were made. "At about 0400 GMT, a few people caused damage to the outside of the embassy... They threw some paint," a police source told AFP, adding that an inquiry was underway. In a statement posted online, the group, whose name means Rubicon in Greek, said the Saudi royal family had imposed a "medieval dystopia" on its people and was now seeking to export it abroad. "What IS has been doing, which rightly caused global revulsion, has been happening in Saudi Arabia for decades, in broad daylight, and it is accepte

6,700 Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence: Doctors Without Borders

YANGON: At least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in the first month of a Myanmar army crackdown on rebels in Rakhine state that began in late August, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday. The figure is the highest estimated death toll yet of violence that erupted on August 25 and triggered a massive refugee crisis, with more than 620,000 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh over a three-month period. The UN and US have described the military operation as "ethnic cleansing" of the Muslim minority, but have not released specific death tolls. "At least 6,700 Rohingya, in the most conservative estimations, are estimated to have been killed, including at least 730 children below the age of five," MSF said Thursday. The group's findings come from six surveys of more than 11,426 people in Rohingya refugee camps and cover the first month after the crisis erupted. "We met and spoke with survivors of violence in Myanmar, who are now she

US military ‘close’ to sending cyber soldiers to battlefields

Coming soon to the front lines of combat,  US cyber soldiers, armed with keyboards, codes and electromagnetic tools to support traditional military operations. The US Army  Cyber  Command, now in its eighth year of operation, says it is getting close to regularly deploying cyber soldiers to the battlefield. The goal is to be able to disable adversaries in the field, in real-time. Al Jazeera's Heidi Zhou-Castro reports from Washington, DC. Source:

Sri Lanka becomes 163rd nation to accede to landmine ban treaty

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has become the 163rd nation to accede to the anti-personnel mine ban convention, fulfilling the pledge it made last year to join the international community in supporting the ongoing landmine clearance programme, the foreign ministry said here today. Sri Lanka's Permanent Mission to the UN Rohan Perera deposited the Instrument of Accession to the Convention of the Prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction, it said. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly referred to as the Mine Ban Treaty or Ottawa Treaty, was adopted on September 18, 1997 at the Diplomatic Conference on an International Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Land Mines at Oslo, Norway. The treaty, which came into force on March 1, 1999, prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines. By joining the

Nigerian soldiers warned after Boko Haram attack

KANO: Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram were today put on high alert after four military vehicles went missing during a raid on a army post in the restive northeast. A message sent to all military bases across the region called for "all units and troops to remain at alert and not be taken by surprise". Two armoured cars and two all-terrain pick-up trucks were taken after the jihadists tried to take over a military base at the village of Mainok in Borno state yesterday.   Troops managed to repel the attack with reinforcements from the nearby town of Benisheik. The attack was the latest against "hard" military targets in recent weeks. At least nine Boko Haram fighters were killed in the hour-long shootout, which forced motorists on the Maiduguri to Damaturu road to take cover until it had ended. The army message, which was seen by AFP, also said: "All troops to ensure they check all vehicles and not to assume as BHT (Boko Haram terrorists) may dis

The US and its anti-terrorism narrative

The plot has been turned on its head by Donald Trump. Pakistan’s complicity is finally coming under the radar Former US president Barack Obama astounded audiences in New Delhi when he proclaimed that the US had no evidence of Pakistani government complicity in the prolonged stay of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad. Obama’s statement was particularly astonishing because bin Laden lived in a huge mansion with a large family barely a kilometre away from the Pakistan Military Academy. It is impossible for any foreigner to live even for a day in Abbotabad cantonment without the knowledge and approval of the Pakistani army. Obama was fully aware of Pakistani complicity in providing bin Laden safe haven. He also turned a blind eye to Pakistani assistance to the Taliban, which resulted in the killing of over 2000 American soldiers. Obama firmly believed he needed Pakistani cooperation in arranging for an early withdrawal of American forces in Afghanistan. Moreover, he was quite ready to wi

US gun debate five years after Sandy Hook massacre

It has been five years since 26 people, including 20 school children, were massacred in the US state of Connecticut. Since that attack at  Sandy Hook  elementary school, several mass shootings have taken place in the US. But despite these incidents, there has been no congressional action on  restricting guns . Source:

Suicide bomber kills 17 at Somalia police academy

Police officer Farah Omar who was at the scene at the time of the blast said the bomber targeted a spot where dozens of soldiers had gathered. An Islamic extremist suicide bomber disguised as a police officer killed at least 17 and injured 20 at a police academy in Somalia’s capital on Thursday, police said. Col. Mohamud Aden said that 20 other officers were wounded by the blast, some of them seriously. The bomber, with explosives strapped around his waist and torso, infiltrated Gen. Kahiye Police Academy and targeted officers gathering for special morning exercises, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. The officers were rehearsing for Somalia’s Police Day celebrations scheduled for Dec. 20, Hussein said. The bomber walked into the police academy undetected and joined a long line of officers in the rehearsal parade before he detonated the explosives under his sportswear, Hussein said. “He detonated his bomb vest having realized that his presence had drawn suspicion among officers in the

'State of Israel' does not exist, has no capital: Hamas leader

Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar wave during a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the movement, in Gaza City, on December 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP) The leader of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has strongly condemned the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of the Tel Aviv regime, stressing that the so-called ‘state of Israel’ does not exist and cannot have a capital of its own. Addressing Hamas supporters on the 30th anniversary of the founding of the movement in Gaza City on Thursday afternoon, Ismail Haniyeh lauded the sacrifices made by members of the resistance movement to keep the Palestinian cause alive. “Hamas was created in order to defend Palestine; and occupied Jerusalem al-Quds in particular,” he pointed out. Haniyeh went on to say that all freedom-loving people of the world supported th

Justice for Congo: Militia members get life in prison for gangraping children

Young girls were raped in the militia members' superstitious belief that it would make them ‘impervious to bullets.’  The court awarded USD 5,000 to each victim of sexual violence and USD 15,000 to the families of those killed for criticising the militia's actions. (Photo: File/Representational) Kinshasa (Congo) :  In a groundbreaking trial in a country where sexual violence is rampant and perpetrators often go unpunished, a military court in eastern Congo has sentenced 12 militia members to life in prison for the gang- rapes of dozens of children as young as 11 months old, and for murder. The court Wednesday convicted provincial deputy Frederic Batumike for organising the violence that began in 2013 and continued for years in the village of Kavumu, about 25 kilometres north of Bukavu city. Young girls were raped in the militia members' superstitious belief that it would make them "impervious to bullets," a United Nations report said earlier in 2

‘Wait for us’: ISIS threatens US over Trump’s Jerusalem decision

 Militants including people claiming allegiance to Islamic State have carried out scores of deadly attacks in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the United States over the past two years. (Photo: File/Representational) Cairo :  Islamic State threatened attacks on US soil in retaliation for the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, one of the group’s social media accounts reported on Thursday without giving any details. In a message on one of its accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service titled “Wait for us” and “ISIS in Manhattan”, the group said it would carry out operations and showed images of New York’s Times Square and what appeared to be an explosive bomb belt and detonator. “We will do more ops in your land, until the final hour and we will burn you with the flames of war which you started in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria and Afghan. Just you wait,” it said. “The recognition of your dog ‘Trump’ (sic) Jerusale