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Showing posts from April 19, 2013

Four UK men jailed in Qaeda inspired toy-car terror plot

The Associated Press -

The terror plot involved targeting British reserve troops using a toy-car packed with explosives.

But investigators said Thursday Britain’s domestic spy agency of MI5 and police were able to stop Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Umar Arshad and Syed Farhan Hussain before they could launch the deadly attack.

Iqbal and Ahmed were given extended sentences of 16 years and 3 months, which means they will be in jail for more than 11 years and put on parole for the rest of the time. Arshad was sentenced to more than six years in jail, while Hussain received more than five years.

The British men - aged between 22 and 31 - pleaded guilty in March to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

The four were arrested a year ago in the town of Luton, north of London, after an operation by police and the MI5.

Prosecutors said the Britons downloaded files containing instructions for an attack, bought survival equipment and collected money for terrorist purpose…

North Korea lays out tough pre-conditions for talks

AFP,Seoul -

North Korea offered talks Thursday with South Korea and the United States, but laid out pre-conditions that Seoul dismissed as “absurd” and analysts said would do little to reduce soaring tensions.

The demands laid out by the North’s main military body included the withdrawal of UN sanctions and a permanent end to South Korea-US joint military drills.

The offer followed a month of increasingly hostile exchanges between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington that have included threats of nuclear war and precision missile strikes.

The North’s conditions were swiftly rejected by South Korea which, together with the United States, has made any talks conditional on the North putting its nuclear weapons program on the table.

“North Korea’s demands are totally incomprehensible. It’s absurd,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young told reporters.

Dialogue has become the new focus of the blistering rhetorical battle that has trapped the Korean peninsula in an escalating cycle of military te…

Leaked video shows Assad forces torturing Alawite officers

Al Arabiya -

A leaked video posted online shows Syrian government forces beating and torturing supposed Alawite officers, who have allegedly been accused of smuggling weapons to the Syrian opposition.

The video clip uploaded by activists shows a reporter from the official Syrian TV channel present during the Syrian regime forces interrogation. Officers can be heard asking men, who have been placed in large metal containers, questions about their alleged involvement while slapping them repeatedly.

The “officers from the Alawite sect” were blindfolded and handcuffed as portrayed in the online video.

This video is one of many that have been leaked recently, showing Assad forces torturing unarmed civilians.

It is impossible to verify the content and when the pictures were taken.

Germany ready to keep up to 800 troops in Afghanistan

Germany on Thursday offered to keep 600-800 troops in Afghanistan for two years from 2015, after the end of NATO combat operations there, to help train and advise the national army in its battle against the Taliban.

The offer comes with several conditions, including a formal request from the Afghan government, because “we want to be welcome” and a UN Security Council resolution, said Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

It would also require a reasonable security situation and matching commitments by NATO allies in other parts of the country, he said, adding that he had informed major German parties of the plan that would require parliamentary approval.

“The government is ready to offer, from 2015 and for initially two years, sending about 600 to 800 soldiers for expected training, advisory and support missions,” De Maiziere said at a press conference.

“This offer is a declaration of intent by the federal government. Germany is taking an early and timely position on this important questio…