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Showing posts from March 11, 2013

Several bodies turn up in Aleppo river

At least 20 bodies were pulled out of Syria's River Quwaiq, most with their hands tied and gunshot wounds to the head.

Syrian opposition campaigners have said at least 20 bodies of young men shot by security forces were found in a small waterway running through the contested city of Aleppo.

Sunday's discovery was the largest in a single day of number of bodies lifted from what became known as "the river of martyrs", after 65 bodies turned up in late January.

An average of several bodies a day have been appearing in the river since, several activists in the northern city, which is near Turkey, told Reuters news agency.

Most bodies found so far floated down the River Quwaiq to the opposition-held Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood after being dumped in an upstream district in central Aleppo under the control of President Bashar al-Assad's forces where several security compounds are located, opposition activists in Aleppo said.

There was no official comment from the governmen…

S Korea-US drill stirs tensions with North

Pyongyang condemns joint military exercise as provocative invasion rehearsal and threatens with nuclear attack.

South Korean and US troops have launched a joint military exercise as North Korea, which has slammed the drill and threatened both countries with nuclear attack, severed its hotline with Seoul.

The start of the two-week annual "Key Resolve" exercise follows a week of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea lashing out over tightened UN sanctions adopted after its third nuclear test last month.

Pyongyang has condemned the joint manoeuvres as a provocative invasion rehearsal and announced that - effective Monday - it was scrapping the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War with the South.

The South's Unification Ministry confirmed that the North appeared to have carried through on another promise to sever the hotline between Pyongyang and Seoul.

The two sides habitually speak twice a day, but "the North did not answer our call this morning,&q…

Victims of Hamas attacks to sue French bank that handled terror group's funds

It was nearly 10 years ago when Steve Averbach, a New Jersey-born Israeli police officer, realized a fellow passenger on a Jerusalem bus was a suicide bomber disguised as an Orthodox Jew and made a decision that saved potentially dozens of lives -- and changed his forever.

Averbach drew his gun, but before he had the chance to shoot the man exploded his bomb, killing seven people and injuring 20 more. The then 37-year-old father of four had prevented the Hamas-linked bomber from getting to the densely populated city center where the body count would almost certainly have been much higher. But Averbach was left a quadriplegic, and died in June 2010, having suffered deteriorating health as a result of his injuries.

Last week, a Brooklyn federal judge ruled that Averbach's family, and the American survivors and the families of dozens of other victims of Hamas attacks that took place between 2002 and 2004 in Israel, can sue Credit Lyonnais, the French banking giant that handled money fo…

North Korea vows nuclear attack on US, saying Washington will be 'engulfed in a sea of fire'

North Korea amplified its threatening rhetoric as the U.N. Security Council approved new sweeping sanctions, vowing to launch a first-strike nuclear attack against the United States and threatening to engulf Washington in a "sea of fire."

An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors" because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.

At a mass rally in Pyongyang on Thursday, Army Gen. Kang Pyo Yong told the crowd that North Korea is ready to fire long-range nuclear-armed missiles at Washington.

"Intercontinental ballistic missiles and various other missiles, which have already set their striking targets, are now armed with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads and are placed on a standby status," Kang said. "When we shell (the missiles), Washington, which is the stronghold of evils, .... …

Hundreds of Christians clash with Pakistani police after homes burned by Muslim mob

LAHORE, Pakistan – Hundreds of Christians protesting the burning of their homes by a Muslim mob over alleged blasphemous remarks made against the Islam's Prophet Muhammad clashed with police on Sunday in eastern and southern Pakistan.

Around 150 people have been arrested for setting dozens of Christian houses on fire in the eastern city of Lahore after a non-Muslim was accused of making offensive comments about the prophet, police said.

Christians across the country rallied against the incident, but the main demonstrations were in Lahore, the southern port city of Karachi, the capital, Islamabad, and the adjoining city of Rawalpindi.

The Christian demonstrators blocked a main highway in Lahore and police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters who demanded assistance from the government, said police official Malik Awais. He said the protesters damaged several vehicles, uprooted a fence along the road and burned an electricity generator.

Seven policemen were injured when the p…

Karzai, Hagel news conference canceled as Afghan leader says US working with Taliban

A news conference between Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai was canceled Sunday on the heels of the Afghan leader's accusation that the Taliban and the U.S. are working together to convince Afghans that violence in the country will worsen if foreign troops leave as planned by the end of next year.

U.S. officials say the news conference was canceled due to a security threat, but the two men plan to meet privately.

According to the Associated Press, the cancellation comes a day after a suicide bomber on a bicycle struck outside the Afghan Defense Ministry, killing nine Afghan civilians and wounding 14 others.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the cancellation was not due to remarks Karzai made earlier accusing the Taliban and the U.S. of colluding to keep foreign troops in Afghanistan past the planned drawdown date -- an allegation the top commander in Afghanistan rejected as "categorically false."

Karzai said two suicide bombings that k…

Nepal police arrest Tibetans on anniversary of uprising

Nepalese police arrested 18 people in Kathmandu on suspicion of "anti-China activities" today, the anniversary of the 1959 rebellion against China's rule in Tibet.

"Some of the people we arrested were Tibetan but we have not interrogated all of them yet," police spokesman Uttam Subedi told AFP, saying all but three had been released on the same day.

Nepal, home to around 20,000 Tibetans, is under intense pressure from Beijing over the exiles, and has repeatedly said it will not tolerate what it calls "anti-China activities".

On February 13 a Tibetan monk doused himself in petrol in a Kathmandu restaurant and set himself on fire, becoming the 100th self-immolation bid in a wave of protests against Chinese rule since 2009.

The gruesome burnings, most of which have occurred in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China, are seen as a sign of desperation in the community over perceived religious and political persecution in Chinese-ruled Tibet.

In the lead-up to today&#…

North Korea cuts off hotline with South Korea

SEOUL , Mar 11, 2013 , (Reuters) -

North Korea has cut off a Red Cross hotline with South Korea as it escalates its war of words against Seoul and Washington in response to a military drill in the South and U.N. sanctions imposed for its recent nuclear test.

The North had threatened to cut off the hotline on March 11 if the United States and South Korea did not abandon their joint military exercise.

The Red Cross hotline is used to communicate between Seoul and Pyongyang which do not have diplomatic relations.

"We called at 9 a.m. and there was no response," a government official from South Korea said. The line is tested each day.

Pyongyang has also threatened to cut off a hotline with U.N. forces in South Korea, at the border "truce village" of Pammunjom.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen since the North conducted a third nuclear test on February 12, prompting new U.N. sanctions.

South Korea and U.S. forces are conducting large-scale military drills until the …