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Showing posts from March 15, 2013

U.S. imposes sanctions on covert Iran oil-shipping network

By Alister Bull

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States slapped financial sanctions on Thursday on a Greek businessman it says secretly operated a shipping network on behalf of the Iranian government to get around international sanctions on the country's sale of oil.

"Today, we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions," U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.

The sanctions cited Dimitris Cambis and a number of front companies for buying tankers on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company, barred U.S. citizens from doing business with them and froze any of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

Cambis was identified in a Reuters report last month that said Iran was using old tankers to ship oil to China.

Reuters reported that Cambis had bought eight tankers last year, which were then used to transport Iranian crude. Cambis denied trading with Ir…

Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion - study

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars a…

US general: Afghan President Karzai is putting American lives at risk

S. Sabawoon/EPA

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack outside the Afghan Defense Ministry Saturday. Hamid Karzai suggested the Taliban and U.S. colluded over the attack in order to persuade people that foreign forces had to stay in the country.

By Jamieson Lesko and Ian Johnston, NBC News

KABUL — The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has warned that President Hamid Karzai is putting the lives of Western troops in danger with his anti-American rhetoric.

A leaked, confidential memo sent by General Joseph Dunford to officers in Afghanistan said recent comments by Karzai could be "a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces."

Dunford said Karzai’s "inflammatory speech" about the controversial Bagram Prison could prompt members of Afghan government forces to stage insider attacks on American troops and other Western allies.

And he warned that the Afghan president himself "may also issue orders that put our forces at risk.&qu…

Kim Jong Un supervises North Korea artillery drills near disputed border with South

By David Chance, Reuters

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live artillery drill close to a disputed sea border with South Korea, state news agency KCNA reported on Thursday, in the latest sign of increased tensions between the two Koreas.

KCNA did not specify when the drill took place. The border is seen as the most likely site of any clash between the North, which has stepped up military preparations in response to being sanctioned for its February nuclear test, and South Korea.

North Korea has threatened a nuclear strike against the United States in response to new United Nations sanctions and to strike back at South Korea and the United States during military drills that the two allies are holding.

Kim praised the artillery units on two islands after watching them hit targets, in what KCNA described as the "biggest hot spots in the southwestern sector of the front," in practice for striking at two South Korean islands.



KCNA via Reuters

North Korea'…