Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tunisians voting for new president 21 DECEMBER 2014 Beji Caid Essebsi , Marzouki,

The Sigma Conseil company's exit polls, which have consistently come close to matching official results released later, gave Essebsi 55.5 percent of the vote and his opponent Moncef Marzouki, the outgoing interim president, 44.5 percent. 
The run-off between the two candidates is the third election in the last two months and represents the final stage in the country's democratic transition since the Arab Spring revolution that overthrew long-ruling president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Alone among the countries that experienced pro-democracy uprisings, Tunisia's transition has remained on track.
"It is important because we don't know ahead of time who will win, unlike in the past," said Hatem Dekali, an employee of the national airline, as he cast his vote in the Tunis suburb of Carthage.
The contest pits Beji Caid Essebsi, an 88-year-old minister in previous Tunisian governments, against Moncef Marzouki, a rights activist who became interim prime minister after the revolution.
Mr Essebsi is favorite to win after taking 39% of the vote in last month's first round and has promised to restore the "prestige of the state" after the chaotic first years after the revolution marked by unrest and economic problems.
Mr Marzouki, who took 33% of the vote last month, has warned that Mr Essebsi, whose party also won October's parliamentary election, will bring back the authoritarian policies of the previous regimes.
Tunisia's moderate Islamists, who still have a great deal of support in the country, are not officially backing either candidate but are believed to lean towards Mr Marzouki.
The eve of the election was marked by violence with a shotgun blast wounding a soldier near the city of Kairouan.
Islamic radicals vowed further attacks on security forces in a video that surfaced on social networks on Wednesday calling on people to boycott the election.
According to authorities, about 100,000 police and soldiers will secure the polls. Certain stations in the border regions with Algeria will close early because of security reasons.



Friday, December 19, 2014

World News December-2014



Kashmiri women stand in a queue to cast their votes during the third phase polling of the Jammu and Kashmir state elections in Budgham, about 17 miles southwest of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Elections are being held in five stages to allow government forces to better guard against any violence or anti-India protests. Results are due December 23. (AP
Australian defence officials are claiming success in the air campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and say it has helped check the group’s advances – however the assessment comes amid renewed warnings about the scale of the humanitarian crisis within Iraq and Syria.
The UN has launched an appeal for aid to help the more than 2.1 million people displaced across the country and 5.2 million in need of humanitarian aid – of whom 2.2 million are in areas under the control of Islamic State.
In Syria, the UN now estimates that 12.2 million people require humanitarian assistance.
Australian air force F/A-18 Super Hornets are flying as part of the air campaign against Islamic State militants.
RAAF pilots have contributed more than 180 sorties since operations began in October. More than 100 bombs and missiles have been fired at 44 targets by Super Hornet pilots, destroying 36 and damaging a further six.
Australian special forces are on the ground training Iraqi soldiers in counter-terrorist tactics, co-ordinating air strikes and dealing with improvised explosive devices.

Vice Admiral David Johnston, the chief of joint operations, says Islamic State fighters are coming under immense pressure.
“The militants’ momentum has been checked since the air campaign commenced,” he said
The update from the Australian Defence Force follows a US assessment that Islamic State extremists have lost momentum in both Iraq and Syria and have been demoralised by heavy casualties inflicted by American air strikes.
US officials say that since the western air strikes began in mid-November senior and mid-level leaders as well as about 1,000 fighters have been killed, particularly around the fiercely contested Kurdish town of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border.
US jobless aid applications decline to 289,000
18 December 2014 - Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of solid job security and growing confidence among employers. Hiring is accelerating. In the first 11 months of this year, employers have added 2.65 million jobs. That already makes 2014 the best year for hiring since 1999. Employers added 321,000 jobs in November, the most in nearly three years.
President Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba
17 December 2014 - President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba on Wednesday and declared an end to America's 'outdated approach' to the communist island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity. 'These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,' President Obama said in remarks from the White House. 'It's time for a new approach.'

Muhammad Ali taken to hospital with pneumonia

Three-time world heavyweight champion, who has Parkinson’s disease, in stable condition, says spokesman.

Peshmerga forces heave Isis away from Mount Sinjar

As many as 300 militants are believed killed as US-led airstrikes assist the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq

Kurdish peshmerga forces backed by US-led air strikes pushed Islamic State militants out of a large area around Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, according to Kurdish officials.
“We have managed to free 3,000 sq km during the last 24 hours,” Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, told reporters on top of Mount Sinjar. “Most of Sinjar is under our control now and with the help of God, we will free all of it.”
From a remote desert mountaintop in Iraq, Kurds battle to free a town held by Islamic State

The road to the battlefront plunges straight down the steep face of Mount Sinjar, whipped by a fierce wind. It is littered with trucks and cars that couldn't get up that incline, abandoned by their owners months ago as they fled the rampage of Islamic State group extremists.

 Kim Jong Un




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

George W. Bush Should Face Probe Over Post 9/11 Torture: Amnesty Internationa' December-2014

mnesty International’s US director demands justice over officials responsible for torturing detainees. Among them is former President George W. Bush who reportedly granted the CIA’s request to use waterboarding and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques.NEW YORK, December 9 (Sputnik) — Former US President George W. Bush should be investigated for his role in the CIA torture program, Amnesty International’s US director Steven Hawkins said in a statement released Tuesday in light of the publication of a US Senate Committee report on the CIA's torture practices.

“Former President George W. Bush should have been investigated long ago for his role in authorizing this program, including his assertion since leaving office that he personally granted the CIA’s request to use waterboarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against particular detainees,” Hawkins said in the statement.
The Amnesty International's executive stressed that no person, "however high the office they may have held, is above the rule of law.”

On Tuesday, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released a 500-page summary of a detailed investigation into the CIA's interrogation techniques that were used on alleged al-Qaeda agents in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington.

US foreign missions and military bases around the world have seen increased security ahead of the report's release amid fears that evidence of the CIA using torture may incite revenge attacks against the United States.
“Today’s release once again makes crystal clear that the US government used torture. Torture is a crime and those responsible for crimes must be brought to justice,” Hawkins said.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

China News Agency Middle East Web Site

Syrian refugees flood into Turkey to flee IS violence 2014.09.25 04:04:16
·At least 59 killed in air strikes, clashes in Iraq 2014.09.24 23:10:47
·9 PKK rebels surrender to Turkish military 2014.09.25 07:41:17
·U.S. airstrikes hit IS positions in Syria 2014.09.24 19:37:32
·Dozens Palestinians clash with police in Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem 2014.09.24 17:39:21
·Middle East issues should be resolved by its own people: China's envoy 2014.09.24 05:59:51
·News Analysis: Palestine pressures Israel, U.S. to end occupation 2014.09.24 19:42:12
·Jordan court orders release of radical cleric Abu Qatada 2014.09.24 15:30:05
·U.S. informs Damascus of strikes against IS beforehand 2014.09.23 15:38:43
·WFP assistance reaches over 1 mln displaced in Iraq 2014.09.24 09:22:27

Middle East News Web Sites

Scotland votes ' No ' to independence 19 September 2014

Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom after voters decisively rejected independence.

With the results in from all 32 council areas, the "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes".

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond called for unity and urged the unionist parties to deliver on more powers.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted the UK would remain together and that commitments on extra powers would be honoured "in full".

Mr Cameron said the three main unionist parties at Westminster would now follow through with their pledge of more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

He announced that Lord Smith of Kelvin, who led Glasgow's staging of the Commonwealth Games, would oversee the process to take forward the commitments, with new powers over tax, spending and welfare to be agreed by November, and draft legislation published by January.

Results graphic

World and Local News wednesday, September 24th, 2014


World News Web Sites September-2014

  • Fleeing ISIS, Refugees Pour into Turkey (Sept. 1): About 130,000 mostly Kurdish refugees from north-central Syria flood into Turkey as ISIS militants seize large swaths of territory in the region and unleash attacks on the population. The influx of refugees create a humanitarian crisis. More than 1 million refugees had already entered Turkey from Syria.
  • ISIS Members Kill Second American Journalist (Sept. 2): ISIS releases a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, 31, who worked for Time and had been abducted in 2013 in Syria. Sotloff's execution comes two weeks after American journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS in reaction to the U.S. airstrikes against the terrorist group. Sotloff is executed even though his mother pleaded directly to ISIS's top leader to spare her son's life. Meanwhile, the day before, a coalition of Shiite militias delivers ISIS its first major setback in Iraq. ISIS had been surrounding and attacking Amerli, a town between Erbil and Baghdad that is home to Shiite Turkmens, for about three months before the militias, aided by U.S. airstrikes, beat back ISIS, ending the siege. (Sept. 10): President Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. He also asks Congress to authorize money to fund and train moderate rebel groups in Syria to aid in the fight, which it does in late September. During a prime-time televised speech, Obama says, "ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East-including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States." The White House uses the name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). (Sept. 13): ISIS beheads a third victim, 44-year-old British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines. (Sept. 23): Airstrikes begin in Syria, with Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joining the U.S. in its campaign against ISIS bases and training camps in Raqqa, which is considered the group's capital, and four other provinces.
  • Ukraine Cease-Fire Begins (Sept. 5): Representatives from the Ukrainian government, the Russian-backed separatists, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who had been meeting in Minsk, Belarus, announce that they have agreed on a cease-fire. The terms include an immediate end to fighting, the exchange of prisoners, amnesty for those who did not commit serious crimes, a 6-mile buffer zone along the Ukrainian-Russian border, decentralization of power in the Donbass region (the area dominated by the Russian-backed rebels), and the creation of a route to deliver humanitarian aid. "The whole world is striving for peace, the whole of Ukraine is striving for peace, including millions of citizens in Donbass," Poroshenko says in a statement. "The highest value is human life, and we must do everything possible to stop the bloodshed and put an end to suffering."
  • Scotland Votes to Remain with UK (Sept. 18): In an independence referendum, Scottish voters opt, 55% to 45%, to remain part of the United Kingdom. More than 4.2 million voters (86% turnout) take to the polls in record numbers to vote on the referendum question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" When the votes are tallied, it is 2,001,926 (55.3%) for No to 1,617,989 (44.7%) for Yes. Moving forward, the Westminster powers that be will have to take a hard look at the very structure of the United Kingdom. A margin of victory of 10% is decisive; however, British leaders have promised to listen to the 1.6 million who voted for independence.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

World News September-23-2014 Obama Syria strikes

Strikes came in three waves
The attacks were "very successful," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday.
While the military can't comment in detail about future plans, the strikes "were only the beginning," Kirby added.
The airstrikes came in three waves, with coalition partners participating in the latter two, Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr. said Tuesday. The first wave, which mostly targeted the Khorasan Group, started at 3:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. ET Monday) and involved U.S. ships firing missiles into eastern and northern Syria.
The second wave, 30 minutes later, involved planes striking northern Syria, with targets including ISIS headquarters, training camps and combat vehicles. The third wave, begun shortly after 7 a.m., involved planes targeting ISIS training camps and combat vehicles in eastern Syria, Mayville said.

Map: Airstrikes in Syria Map: Airstrikes in Syria
Map: Airstrikes in SyriaMap: Airstrikes in Syria
It's too early to say what effect the U.S. strikes had against the Khorasan Group, Mayville said.
The strikes marked the first time the United States used F-22 Raptor stealth aircraft in a combat role. The military has previously run into problems with the aircraft.
Monitor group estimates at least 70 ISIS militants killed
The airstrikes against ISIS focused primarily on the city of Raqqa, the declared capital of ISIS' self-proclaimed Islamic State.
The operation began with a flurry of Tomahawk missiles launched from the sea, followed by attacks from bomber and fighter aircraft, a senior U.S. military official told CNN.
The goal: Taking out ISIS' ability to command, train and resupply its militants.
In all, 200 pieces of ordnance were dropped by coalition members, and four dozen aircraft were used, a U.S. official told CNN. About 150 weapons used were precision-guided munitions. The United States fired 47 Tomahawk missiles, eight of them against Khorasan targets.
The number of casualties was not immediately clear. But U.S. Central Command said the strikes damaged or destroyed ISIS targets including fighters, training compounds, command-and-control facilities, a finance center and supply trucks.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 70 ISIS militants were killed and more than 300 were wounded. But CNN and other news outlets were unable to confirm the figures.
U.S. strikes Khorasan Group and ISIS
U.S. begins airstrikes in Syria
Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIS militants wait behind a fence in Suruc, Turkey, on Sunday, September 21. As many as 200,000 people have left the area surrounding the Syrian city of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, as ISIS advances, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday, September 22. The civil war in Syria has destabilized the country and created an opening for the militant group, which is also advancing in Iraq as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate in the region.Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIS militants wait behind a fence in Suruc, Turkey, on Sunday, September 21. As many as 200,000 people have left the area surrounding the Syrian city of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, as ISIS advances, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday, September 22. The civil war in Syria has destabilized the country and created an opening for the militant group, which is also advancing in Iraq as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate in the region.
Syrian civil war in 2014
Photos: Syrian civil war in 2014 Photos: Syrian civil war in 2014
CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend said these attacks focused on infrastructure, but were just the beginning.
Eventually, she said, there will likely be "a real campaign to go after leadership targets."
Celebration amid fear
For months, civilians in Raqqa have been living under the harsh rule of ISIS after militants took over their city, which had been one of Syria's most liberal cities. The group now controls much of their lives, imposing a strict brand of Sharia law and doling out barbaric punishments, such as beheadings and crucifixions.
Abo Ismail, an opposition activist inside Raqqa, said Tuesday that residents were elated to see the U.S. attacking ISIS targets there.
But at the same time, he said, ISIS has increased security in the city.
"I would dance in the streets, but I am too afraid," Ismail said.
A U.S. intelligence official said that while law enforcement is aware the airstrikes against ISIS in Syria could incite a response, there is no evidence to suggest any terrorist strike is in the works against the United States.