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Showing posts from April 22, 2013

North Korea 'moves missile launchers'

South Korean report says Pyongyang has moved two launchers to its east coast in preparation for expected missile test.

North Korea has reportedly moved two more missile launchers to its east coast, where preparations have apparently begun for a missile test as tensions continue to simmer on the peninsula.

The North had said before fresh reports of the missile move emerged on Sunday that it was willing to discuss disarmament but rejected a US nuclear condition for talks.

Expectations had been high that Pyongyang would carry out a test to coincide with celebrations marking the birth of North Korea's late founding leader Kim Il-Sung on April 15 but it did not materialise.

The North's military moved two launchers believed to be for scud missiles to the northeast province of South Hamgyong last week, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, which cited a senior Seoul official.

"We have discovered the North has moved two additional TELs (transporter erector launchers) t…

Taliban detain Turks in eastern Afghanistan

Nine people captured after helicopter makes emergency landing in Logar province, according to local officials.


Taliban fighters have seized nine people from a civilian helicopter which made an emergency landing in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

The Turkish helicopter made an emergency landing on Sunday evening, said Rais Khan Sadeq, the deputy police chief of Logar province, south of Kabul.

"Security forces found the helicopter but the nine people were not in it. They are taken by the Taliban," Sadeq told the AFP news agency.

"They are Turkish nationals and are nine people including the crew."

Hamidullah Hamid, governor of Azr district where the helicopter came down, also confirmed nine Turks on board had been seized by the Taliban. Local tribal elders are reportedly working to secure their release.

Hamid said the aircraft, which had came from the eastern city of Khost and was heading for Kabul, belonged to a Turkish company which has a big project in Khos…

Nearly 200 killed in Nigeria violence

At least 185 people killed during fighting between Boko Haram group and troops centred on fishing community in north.



Fighting between Nigeria's military and the armed group Boko Haram has left at least 185 people dead in a fishing community in the nation's far northeast, officials said on Sunday.

The fighting in Baga began on Friday and lasted for hours, sending people fleeing into the arid scrublands surrounding the community on Lake Chad, according to the AP news agency.

By Sunday, when government officials finally felt safe enough to see the destruction, homes, businesses and vehicles were burned throughout the area.

The assault marks a significant escalation in a long-running insurgency in the predominantly Muslim north, where Boko Haram has mounted a coordinated assault on soldiers using military-grade weaponry.

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, has said it wants its imprisoned members freed and N…

Hagel: US-Israel Weapons Deal a 'Clear Signal' to Iran

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says a major U.S. arms deal with Israel sends a "very clear signal" to Iran that military action could be used to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Hagel made the comment to reporters on Sunday, as he flew to Israel to finalize the sale of advanced U.S. weapons including missiles designed to destroy enemy air defenses, aerial refueling tankers and troop transport planes.

Israel could use those weapons to attack the Iranian nuclear program, which the Jewish state says is aimed at making weapons that threaten its existence. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful.

When a reporter asked Hagel if the U.S.-Israeli arms deal indicates that either of the two allies could use a military option against the Iranian program, he said "I don't think there is any question that is another very clear signal to Iran."

Hagel said there is no "daylight" (disagreement) between the United States and Israel about their goa…

Syria Activists: Pro-Assad Forces Kill 80 Near Damascus

Syrian opposition activists say pro-government forces have killed at least 80 people in five days of fighting to recapture a rebel suburb of Damascus.

In statements to the media Sunday, the activists said the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the killings after entering the suburb of Jdaidet al-Fadl. They said pro-government patrols of the town were making it difficult to document the number of dead.

An activist video posted on the Internet claimed to show several bodies of those killed covered in bags and laid out on the ground. Some appeared to have been executed with gunshot wounds to the head.

There was no immediate response from the Syrian government to the accusation.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian troops also have captured territory around the western rebel stronghold of Qusair, with the help of pro-government militia and Lebanese Hezbollah militants.

It said the pro-Assad forces seized two villages on Saturday in their …

Center-Right Cartes Wins Paraguayan Presidential Election

Horacio Cartes won Paraguay's presidential election Sunday, succeeding former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo, who was impeached last year for poor performance.

Cartes, a business magnate who made his fortune in banking and tobacco, has vowed to create jobs in a nation where nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty level.

Cartes' election marks a victory for the center-right Colorado Party over challenger Efrain Alegre's leftist Liberal Party, which previously controlled the government. Cartes took 46 percent of the vote to Alegre's 37 percent.

The incoming president will face challenges such as repairing the ailing economy, creating jobs, and combating drug trafficking, smuggling and corruption.

Liberal Federico Franco has led the landlocked, South American country since last June after Lugo was ousted from office.

ROK Foreign Minister Cancels Japan Trip Over Shrine Visits

South Korea's top diplomat cancelled an official trip to Tokyo this week after Japan's prime minister made donations and three cabinet officials prayed at a controversial military shrine, where some war criminals are honored.

South Korean officials said Monday that Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se had planned to outline the direction of bilateral relations with Japan, but cancelled the trip in protest after three Japanese cabinet members prayed at the Yasukuni shrine in recent days.

A Japanese government spokesman says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit the shrine but donated a ceremonial tree.

The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo honors Japan's war dead, including 14 wartime leaders convicted of war crimes after World War Two. Visits by government officials to Yasukuni remains irritant to Japan's Asian neighbors.