International - Valero: Syrian regime bears responsibility of violence
 

Thu 10/05/2012 18:17

NNA - 10/5/2012 France sternly condemned the two explosions that occurred on Thursday in Damascus, holding the Syrian regime fully responsible for the one-year violent acts taking place there.

Two suicidal attacks targeted this morning Al-Qaza district in the southern Syrian capital, Damascus, leaving 55 dead and more than 370 injured.

French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bernard Valero said, "Once more, these catastrophic incidents reflect the stringent need to implement Security Council Resolutions 2042 and 2043, in addition to Kofi Annan's plan to end the crisis through ensuring a peaceful, democratic political transition."

Valero also stressed that the plan put forward by Annan constitutes the last chance to exit out of the crisis, saying it is time for the Syrian regime to seize Annan's plan and alter its conduct.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Annan's spokesman: Peace plan partially implemented
 

Fri 4/05/2012 19:12

NNA - 4/5/2012 - Ahmed Fawzi, Spokesman for UN envoy Kofi Annan, said Friday that there seems to be slight indicators of the implementation of Annan's peace plan for Syria.

"Indicators were minor as some heavy weapons have been withdrawn while many others remained. Violence regressed, but it did not stop," he explained, deeming this situation as unsatisfactory.

Fawzi announced that "Annan will inform the Security Council of his plan's outcomes on May 8."

"Annan's peace plan is on the right track, yet solving a crisis which had flared up over a year ago cannot be accomplished in just a day or a week period," he added.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia notes less violence in Syria
 

Fri 4/05/2012 17:16

NNA - 4/5/2012 - The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday that Moscow has remarked a decline in the violence level in Syria despite continuous violations of an agreed cease-fire.

"The situation in Syria is very tense, but we do not intend to put it in a dramatic frame; even though the commitment to the ceasefire remains incomplete, the level of violence has considerably toned down," Russian news agency Novosti quoted the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Alexandre Loukachevitch, as saying.

"Some powers are not satisfied with the decrease in violence," he said, noting dramatic expectations about the failure of the mission of UN-Arab peace envoy, Kofi Annan.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia notes less violence in Syria
 

Fri 4/05/2012 17:16

NNA - 4/5/2012 - The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday that Moscow has remarked a decline in the violence level in Syria despite continuous violations of an agreed cease-fire.

"The situation in Syria is very tense, but we do not intend to put it in a dramatic frame; even though the commitment to the ceasefire remains incomplete, the level of violence has considerably toned down," Russian news agency Novosti quoted the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Alexandre Loukachevitch, as saying.

"Some powers are not satisfied with the decrease in violence," he said, noting dramatic expectations about the failure of the mission of UN-Arab peace envoy, Kofi Annan.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Libya drops ban on religion-based parties
 

Wed 2/05/2012 22:51

NNA - 02/05/2012 -(Reuters) - Libya has dropped a ban against parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity, an official said, after the law irked Islamist parties in the run up to the first free election in June.

Members of the ruling National Transitional Council's judicial committee on Wednesday read out an amended version of a law governing the formation of political parties, making no mention of the ban, which was announced last week.

"This point has been dropped and so any party or political organisation will follow the law as it is now," Salwa Al-Dgheily, a member of the NTC judicial council, told Reuters.

Libyans go to the ballot box in June to elect a national assembly for the first time since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Eighty of the 200 seats will go to political parties, with the rest reserved for independent candidates.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Kabul's blast response to Obama's visit
 

Wed 2/05/2012 08:49

NNA - 2/5/2012 Afghanistan's Taliban Wednesday said it had carried out a suicide car bombing against Kabul's Western military compound to protest President Barack Obama's visit to the country.

Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesperson, said that the attack was also in response to Obama's signing of a strategic agreement with President Hamid Karzai's government.
L.W.
 

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International - Afghan defence ministry says 32 insurgents killed in attacks
 

Mon 16/04/2012 11:32

NNA - 16/04/2012 (Reuters) - Afghan security forces killed 32 insurgents and arrested one more in operations to stop coordinated attacks by Taliban insurgents that hit the capital of Kabul and three other provinces, the defence ministry said on Monday.
Three Afghan soldiers were killed and ten others wounded in fighting in Kabul that began around midday on Sunday and ended on Monday morning, defence ministry officials said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - U.S. says attacks in vicinity of embassy in Kabul
 

Sun 15/04/2012 14:23

NNA - (Reuters) - The area around the U.S. embassy in Kabul was targeted in the multiple attacks on the diplomatic areas of the Afghan capital on Sunday but no staff members have been injured, the embassy said.
"Attacks are ongoing in the vicinity of the U.S. embassy in Kabul. Avoid the area. Shelter in place," the embassy said in a mobile phone text message.
"The U.S. embassy is currently in lockdown ... all compound personnel are accounted for and safe," it said in a statement.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Afghan capital hit by blasts, gun attacks
 

Sun 15/04/2012 12:57

NNA - 15/04/2012 (Reuters) - At least a dozen large explosions and automatic gunfire rocked Kabul on Sunday in what appeared to be a coordinated attack across several areas of the city centre and concentrated on the heavily guarded diplomatic area, Reuters witnesses said.
Gunfire appeared to be coming from various directions in the barricaded diplomatic area of the city, close to both the U.S. and British embassies, and embassy alarms were sounding.
Smoke billowed from the direction of the German embassy, while explosions from rocket-propelled grenades rocked nearby buildings. The embassies were not immediately available to comment.
Afghan security forces were scrambling to reinforce areas around the so-called green zone.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - North Korea suffers major blow as rocket crashes
 

Fri 13/04/2012 11:42

NNA - 13/04/2012 (Reuters) - North Korea said its much hyped long-range rocket launch failed on Friday, in a very rare and embarassing public admission of failure by the hermit state and a blow for its new young leader who faces international outrage over the attempt.
The isolated North, using the launch to celebrate the 100th birthday of the dead founding president Kim Il-sung and mark the rise to power of his grandson Kim Jong-un, is now widely expected to press ahead with its third nuclear test to show its military strength.
"The possibility of an additional long-range rocket launch or a nuclear test, as well as a military provocation to strengthen internal solidarity is very high," a senior South Korean defence ministry official told a parliamentary hearing.
The two Koreas are divided by the world's most militarised border and remain technically at war after an armistice ended the Korean War in 1953.
The United States and Japan said the rocket, which they claimed was a disguised missile test and the North said was to put a satellite into orbit, crashed into the sea after travelling a much shorter distance than a previous North Korean launch.
Its failure immediately raised questions over the impoverished North's reclusive leadership which maintains one of the world's largest standing armies but which cannot feed its people without outside aid, largely from its solitary powerful backer, China.
"(There is) no question that the failed launch turns speculation toward the ramifications for the leadership in Pyongyang: a fireworks display gone bad on the biggest day of the year," said Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In a highly unusual move, the North, which still claims success with a 2009 satellite that others say failed, admitted in a state television broadcast seen by its 23 million people that the latest satellite had not made it into orbit.
The failure is the first major and very public challenge for the third of the Kim dynasty to rule North Korea just months into the leadership of a man believed to be in his late 20s.
"It could be indication of subtle change in the North Korean leadership in how they handle these things, something that may be different from the past," said Baek Seung-joo of the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses a thinktank affiliated with South Korean Defence Ministry.
"I mean it would have been unthinkable for them to admit this kind of failure in the past, something that could be seen as an international humiliation. The decision to have come out with the admission had to come from Kim Jong-un."
Embarrassingly, the rocket flew for just a few minutes covering a little over 100km to explode over a sea separating the Korean peninsula and China, far less than the last rocket in 2009 that travelled 3,800km, alarming Japan which it over-flew.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama, Sarkozy Syria has not implemented ceasefire
 

Thu 12/04/2012 20:39

NNA - 12/04/2012 - (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed on Thursday that the Syrian government has not yet fully implemented the ceasefire plan laid out by U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, the White House said.

"The leaders called on the regime to fully implement the Annan plan, noting that the international community would judge the regime by its actions, and not its words," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing.

He also said that Syrian forces were currently observing a "tentative" not full ceasefire, and that by keeping forces in place in cities, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was still in a position to resume assaults against the opposition. It would not be a full ceasefire until all troops and heavy equipment are pulled out of urban areas, Carney said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Kenya, Tanzania issue tsunami warnings
 

Wed 11/04/2012 16:58

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Reuters - Kenya and Tanzania issued tsunami warnings along their eastern Indian Ocean coastlines after a powerful 8.6 magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia on Wednesday.

Some 164 people were killed and more than 2,300 were displaced in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Seychelles, and Somalia after the disastrous 2004 Asian tsunami.

The waves are expected to hit the Kenyan coast, a popular tourist destination, at about 1700 GMT, officials said. One person in Kenya was killed in the 2004 tsunami.

"The government of Kenya has consequently issued a tsunami warning for the people living along the Kenyan coastline," Esther Murugi, the minister of state for special programmes said in a statement.

"The water levels are expected to rise up to 2 to 3 metres in areas of Malindi, Lamu, up to Kiunga while in Kilifi, Mombasa up to Shimoni, the levels are expected to rise up to 2 metres," she said.

Senior Assistant Director at Kenya's Met office, Ali Mafimbo, said an alert had been issued to keep people on the lookout and to stay out of the sea once they saw water levels receding.

Tanzania said it expected waves of up to 1.5 metres to hit the coastline between 1600 GMT and 1800 GMT. "There will likely be huge waves in the Indian Ocean all fishermen and other vessels should keep off the sea," Tanzania's Meteorological Agency director, Agness Kijazi, told Reuters.

"People should evacuate coastlines, especially in northern parts of the country."

Madagascar's National Office for Disaster and Risk Management said they did not expect the tsunami to cause damage on the Indian Ocean island.

"We don't expect the wave to have a big impact on Madagascar. We are not planning to move anybody. We urge people not to panic," Louis de Gonzague Rakotonirainy said, before the latest wave of aftershocks.

"In the event the situation develops, the inhabitants of the east coast will be advised to move to higher ground. A meeting is taking place right now to evaluate the situation."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia urges Annan to press Syria opposition on truce
 

Tue 10/04/2012 18:16

NNA - 10/04/2012 - (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on Tuesday to step up efforts to ensure Syrian opposition groups adhere to his ceasefire plan, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In a telephone conversation with Annan, Lavrov "put special emphasis on the fact that the Syrian opposition and countries supporting it must also take urgent measures aimed at providing for a stable ceasefire, calling on Annan to increase work with them in that direction," it said.
 

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International - U.S. says no evidence so far of Syrian army pullback
 

Tue 10/04/2012 18:09

NNA - 10/04/2012 - (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday it had seen no evidence so far of a Syrian army pullback and would work with international partners on "next steps" against Damascus if it failed to meet its commitments under a U.N.-brokered ceasefire deal.

"We have seen much evidence of further brutality and oppression against innocent civilians," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One headed for Florida.

He said the U.S. government was awaiting international envoy Kofi Annan's assessment of actions by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran says arrests "major terrorist group" linked to Israel
 

Tue 10/04/2012 17:31

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Reuters - Iran said on Tuesday it had identified a "major terrorist group" it said was affiliated to its arch-foe Israel and had arrested some of its members, the official IRNA news agency reported, citing a report by the country's Intelligence Ministry.

"Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced it has identified a major terrorist group from the Zionist regime (of Israel) and has arrested some of its protected operational members inside the country," IRNA reported without making clear when the arrests had taken place.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the suspects were arrested "while preparing to carry out terrorist acts", adding that a considerable number of bombs, machine guns, military and communication equipments were seized.

Tehran has in the past accused Israel of being behind the killings of its nuclear scientists.

The Islamic state blamed Israel in January when a nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran.

Iran denies Western suspicions that its nuclear programme has military goals, saying it is for purely peaceful purposes.

Fars cited the Intelligence Ministry's statement as saying that further information would be announced later.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Tehran Confirms Iran/5+1 Meeting in Istanbul
 

Mon 9/04/2012 15:53

N.N.A. April 9, 2012 Tehran confirmed attending a summit conference over its nuclear capability file with the 5+1 Group in Istanbul following a 15-months' procrastination in protest against alleged Turkish backing of the Free Syrian rebel army.

News of the Istanbul summit was corroborated by Catherine Ashton the spokeswoman of the E.U.-Foreign Department who stated Jalili's consent to the 14th of April opening date. Jalili; a senior spokesperson of the Supreme Iranian Security Council for his part, reiterated need for holding a further round of talks between Iran and all 5+1 group members in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

G.G./N.AF

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International - China urges Syrian government, opposition to honour ceasefire
 

Mon 9/04/2012 12:29

NNA - 09/04/2012 (REUTERS) China on Monday urged the Syrian government and opposition groups to abide by pledges for a ceasefire in the year-old conflict.
Beijing's appeal was issued after Syrian President Bashar Assad's demand for written guarantees from his opponents threw doubt on the prospects for a ceasefire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan taking hold.
"China urges the Syrian government and opposition groups to seize the current critical moment to abide by cease fire and troop withdrawal promises, cooperate with special envoy Annan's mediation efforts to alleviate the current tense situation and facilitate humanitarian assistance, and promote a political solution to the conflict in Syria," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a news briefing.

 

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International - Pope Benedict: Syrian Blood Bath Must Stop!
 

Sun 8/04/2012 16:52

NNA - April 8, 2012 - Pope Benedict XVI appealed for the immediate halting of the Syrian blood bath and condemned the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa.

The Pope and, his Urbi et Orbi Easter blessing, said from the San Pedro window today that violence in Syria must stop and so must we see an end to anti-Christian discrimination and persecution in Africa and the Middle East.

Pope Benedict heeded Kofi Annan's call upon the Syrian government and rebels to engage in dialogue rather than bloodshed. He retorted that those displaced from their homes must find all the care and hospitality rightfully due them.

He urged the Iraqis not to spare any chance for peace and that Palestinians and Israelis must prove resilient enough in pursuing their peace process. The Pope beseeched Christ to alleviate the persecution of Christians of Africa and Arab lands who continue to exact a high price for their faith as he said.
G.G./A.B

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International - Pope, in Easter message, backs Syria peace plan
 

Sun 8/04/2012 13:54

NNA - 08/04/2012 (Reuters) - A fatigued-looking Pope Benedict threw his weight behind a United Nations plan to end bloodshed in Syria in his Easter Sunday message, calling for "an immediate commitment" to peace efforts there.
The 84-year-old pope gave a shorter-than-usual blessing from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica after an outdoor Easter Mass attended by more than 100,000 people in a St Peter's Square bedecked with yellow and white flowers.
"May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights," he said.
"Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community," he said, speaking to a festive crowd packed into the square and surrounding streets.
There was no official explanation why his twice yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) speech was shorter than in previous years but the pope, who turns 85 on April 16 and has appeared frail recently, looked drawn and tired at Sunday's Mass.

Easter Sunday, the most important day in the Christian liturgical calendar, capped an intense period of recent activity for the pope, including a grueling trip to Mexico and Cuba late last month and five religious services this past week.
As the pope spoke in Rome, Syrian troops pounded opposition areas, activists said, killing 74 civilians in an offensive that has sent thousands of refugees surging into Turkey before next week's U.N.-backed ceasefire aimed at staunching a year of bloodshed.
A peace plan formulated by U.N-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan calls for a truce to take effect early on Thursday if government forces begin pulling back from towns 48 hours earlier. Both sides have accused the other of intensifying assaults in the run-up to the truce.
The pope also made an appeal on behalf of civilians fleeing the Syrian conflict, most by fleeing to Turkey.
"May the many refugees from that country who are in need of humanitarian assistance find the acceptance and solidarity capable of relieving their dreadful sufferings," he said.

He also called for "stability and development" in Iraq, urged Israelis and Palestinians to "courageously take up anew the peace process," and condemned recent "savage terrorist attacks" against Christian churches in Nigeria.
While the Mass was in progress, the Vatican announced that the pope will visit Lebanon on Sept. 14-16 to deliver the results of a Vatican synod of bishops on the Middle East in 2010.
At the end of his Easter message, Benedict wished the world a Happy Easter in 65 languages, including Arabic, Hebrew and other languages spoken in the areas in mentioned in his peace appeals
Benedict started Easter celebrations on Saturday night when, at a solemn vigil Mass in St Peter's Basilica, he said technological progress, in the absence of awareness of God and moral values, posed a threat to the world.
"The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil," he said.
 

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International - Malawi President Mutharika dead - govt sources
 

Fri 6/04/2012 11:36

NNA - 06/04/2012 (Reuters) - Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has died after a heart attack, medical and government sources said on Friday.

The 78-year-old was rushed to a Lilongwe hospital on Thursday after collapsing but was dead on arrival, the sources said.
The constitution makes clear that Vice-President Joyce Banda is first in line to take over as head of state in the impoverished southern African nation, although Banda's expulsion from the ruling party in 2010 may complicate the transition.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist who had been accused of despotism and mishandling the economy in his final months, appeared to have been grooming his Foreign Minister brother Peter as his successor.

Peter Mutharika had tended to deputise in his brother's absence.
Police deployed in force across the capital on Thursday after Mutharika's admission to hospital, while 15 army officers took up position around Banda's residence, witnesses said.
Before his death, Mutharika's condition drew little sympathy on the streets of Blantyre, the commercial capital, where many people viewed him as an autocrat responsible for chronic shortages of fuel, food and foreign exchange.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - France dismisses Tuareg independence move in Mali
 

Fri 6/04/2012 11:33

NNA - 06/04/2012 (Reuters) - France on Friday dismissed a declaration of independence by Tuareg-led rebels who have set up their own state in a swathe of territory in northern Mali, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said.
"A unilateral declaration of independence which is not recognised by African states would not have any meaning for us," Longuet told Reuters.
Capitalising on chaos in the southern capital Bamako after a March 22 coup, nomadic rebels have taken control of a largely desert zone that covers the northern part of Mali, including historic population centres such as the ancient trading post of Timbuktu. They have been aided by Islamists who have loose ties to local al Qaeda agents.
 

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International - UN peacekeeping advance team in Syria within 48 hours
 

Tue 3/04/2012 15:11

NNA - 3/04/2012 - An advance team from the U.N. peacekeeping force is expected in Damascus within 48 hours to discuss deployment of observers to monitor a ceasefire in Syria, the spokesman for U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said on Tuesday.

U.N. peacekeepers are planning for a ceasefire monitoring mission that would have 200 to 250 unarmed observers as part of the six-point peace plan put forward by Annan to bring the Syrian crisis to an end.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Washington doubts Damascus will to implement Annan's plan
 

Mon 2/04/2012 21:01

NNA - 02/04/2012 - The United States and other Western nations voiced skepticism with regard to Syria's promise to start implementing the peace plan by April 10, Washington's UN envoy Susan Rice said on Monday.

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan relayed on Monday Syrian President Bashar Assad's consent to a deadline to start implementing his six-point peace plan which is expected to lead to a full cessation of hostilities within 48 hours of the deadline.

"Past experiences would lead us to be skeptical and worry that over the next few days we might witness an escalation of the violence rather than a diminution of it," Rice said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Pope preaches unity on Palm Sunday after Latin America visit
 

Sun 1/04/2012 14:06

NNA - 01/04/2012 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict preached a message of unity as he opened Holy Week celebrations on Palm Sunday before tens of thousands of faithful packed into St Peter's Square.

Just back from a six-day visit to Mexico and Cuba, the 84-year-old pontiff on Saturday learnt that communist Cuba had agreed to his request of declaring Good Friday a holiday this year.
In a homily built on the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem the week before he was crucified, Benedict said the underlying resonance of the Easter celebration was the shared destiny of humanity.
"Here we find the first great message that today's feast brings us: the invitation to adopt a proper outlook upon all humanity, on the peoples who make up the world, on its different cultures and civilizations," he said.
Clad in a red and gold robe, the pope led the service before dozens of bishops and cardinals as well as pilgrims holding palm and olive leaves to commemorate the branches said to have been laid down before Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
The German pontiff, who celebrates his 85th birthday on April 16 and who has appeared frail, now faces an intense week of church celebrations.
 

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International - Gunfire heard in Timbuktu, rebels say control Gao
 

Sun 1/04/2012 13:28

NNA - 01/04/2012 (Reuters) - Residents in the northern Mali town of Timbuktu reported gunfire on Sunday and army soldiers abandoning their bases, as rebels pressed ahead with their lightning campaign to carve out a desert homeland.
The alliance of Tuareg and Islamist rebels already claimed control of the garrison town of Gao on Saturday, a day after seizing another regional centre, Kidal. The ancient trading town of Timbuktu is the third and last major centre in their sights.

"It's our turn now. There is gunfire everywhere," local Mohamed Ould Ali said by telephone.
A second resident said the gunfire started around 5:00 a.m., adding however it was local militia shooting in the air rather than the start of fighting. The location of rebels who have been gathering near the town for days was not clear.
Other local sources said the regular army had fled its main positions there.
"The (military camp) is empty. Most of the soldiers from the south (of Mali) have fled. It is only the Arabs who are defending the town," a Malian source in contact with local residents and the military said of Arab-origin Malians both in the regular army and who have formed a local militia.
The main MNLA rebel group claimed control of Gao after Mali's newly installed military junta issued a statement on Saturday saying its soldiers had chosen not to fight to avoid battles near residential areas.
If they manage to seize Timbuktu, the rebels will have gained effective control of the northern half of Mali, a sparsely populated desert territory bigger than France.

The rebel advance has piled pressure on Mali's new junta who also have till midnight on Sunday to start handing back power or expose their land-locked country to economic suffocation by neighbours threatening to shut its borders.
Mid-ranking officers ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure in protest at not having adequate weaponry to tackle an alliance of nomadic and Islamist rebels boosted by heavy arms spilling out of Libya from last year's war.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - U.S. Treasury targets Syrian officials over violence
 

Fri 30/03/2012 18:08

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Reuters - The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday targeted three senior Syrian government officials for helping foster violence against the country's citizens, and banned Americans from any dealings with them.

Treasury named Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army Munir Adanov and Zuhayr Shalish, head of presidential security. The government said its action was intended to underline U.S. commitment to stand with the Syrian people against the use of violence.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Ban arrives in Bagdad
 

Thu 29/03/2012 09:33

NNA - 29/3/2012 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived tin Bagdad today to partake in the Arab summit.

Ban was receieved by Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
L.W.

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International - U.N.'s Ban urges Assad to implement peace plan
 

Wed 28/03/2012 17:01
NNA - 28/3/2012 - Reuters - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday to quickly implement a peace plan that he has accepted which calls for the army to return to its barracks.

Speaking in Kuwait, Ban said: "I strongly urge President Assad to put these commitments into immediate effect. There is not time to waste."

He was referring to a plan the U.N.-Arab League's special envoy Kofi Annan said Assad has agreed to, which stipulates Assad pull troops and heavy weapons from cities before peace talks with his opponents.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

International - Obama says still time for diplomacy with Iran
 

Sun 25/03/2012 13:36


NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday there was still time to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff with the West through diplomacy but that the window for such a solution was closing.
Obama reiterated his position on Iran after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of a nuclear security summit in Seoul.
"I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically but that window is closing," Obama told reporters.
Tehran says its nuclear programme is purely peaceful, but Israel and Western nations believe it is moving towards a nuclear bomb that could change the regional balance of power.
Obama has pressed Israel to hold off on any attack on Iran's nuclear sites to give sanctions and diplomacy time to work. But he has said military action remains an option if all else fails.
Erdogan spoke to Obama of his planned visit to Iran before the end of the month and said he would also talk to Iranian leaders about the violence in Syria, an ally of Tehran, a senior U.S. official said.
Iran and North Korea are not on the guest list or the agenda for the Seoul summit, but their nuclear standoffs are dominating talks on the sidelines of the conference that is ostensibly focused on preventing nuclear terrorism.
Obama has spearheaded international efforts to isolate Tehran, which include several rounds of sanctions, but it has remained defiant on its nuclear programme, despite showing an openness to possibly resuming long-suspended talks with world powers.
 

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International - Chavez returning to Cuba for radiation therapy

 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:21

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will fly back to Cuba to begin radiation treatment for cancer on Sunday, but said he was in good shape and would be back home in several days.
Since making a triumphant return to Caracas from Havana a week ago after a third operation in less than a year to remove a malignant tumor from his pelvis, the 57-year-old socialist leader had been saying he would start radiation therapy soon.
But until Saturday he had not revealed whether he would go to Cuba or stay in Venezuela for the treatment, which is expected to leave him weaker during his campaign to win a new six-year term at a presidential election on Oct. 7.
His latest departure will worry supporters concerned about his health, as well as fan persistent rumors of a nascent power struggle between his top aides. Chavez has no clear successor.
"Tonight I leave for Havana. I have decided, on the recommendation of my medical team and my political team, to begin the radiation treatment tomorrow," Chavez said during a televised cabinet meeting.
Little is known about what kind of cancer the president has, nor how serious it is. So big questions remain about his future.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Rallies held around country for Trayvon Martin
 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:19

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - Rallies are being held in cities across the country this weekend to protest the failure of police to arrest a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer for shooting to death an unarmed black teenager.
Protesters, some dressed in "hoodie" hooded sweatshirts like the kind 17-year-old Trayvon Martin wore at the time of his death, gathered for events in Columbia, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Chicago Saturday.
Rallies are being planned for other cities Sunday, and a protest is planned Monday in Sanford, Florida, the Orlando suburb where the shooting took place.
Martin was shot dead on Feb. 26 after George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch captain, believed the young man walking through the gated community in a hoodie looked suspicious. Zimmerman followed him and an altercation ensued.
Zimmerman has said he was acting in self-defense. He has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are investigating.
About 300 people, of various races and ages, gathered in Daley Plaza in Chicago on a cool, wet Saturday afternoon. Protesters held signs with slogans like, "It's not a crime to be black" and "Wearing a hoodie is not a crime."
Martin reportedly had been returning from a convenience store carrying Skittles candy and a can of iced tea when he encountered Zimmerman. One protester, Tracie Roberson, 31, of Chicago, made a sign that said "BEWARE, I'm packin Skittles," with a box of Skittles taped beneath the words.
"I think it's a big injustice to our people," said Roberson, who is black. She thinks Martin was targeted because of his race.
Craig Sonner, Zimmerman's lawyer, said his client was acting out of self-defense, not racial bigotry.
Roberson said she usually did not get involved in politics, but the Martin case "really touched my spirit. I felt I had to do something."
Takisha Walters, 34, of Chicago said she also usually didn't go to rallies but "this tugged at my heartstrings." Both she and her daughter, Ana, age 7, wore hoodies.
Andre Robinson, 51, of Chicago, said Florida's gun laws were too lax. "That could have been easily been my son," said Robinson, who is black. He wore a hoodie which featured the images of President Barack Obama and civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law allows people to use deadly force in self-defense. Similar laws are in effect in at least 23 states, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
At city hall in Washington D.C., which stands a few blocks from the White House, about 500 people gathered to protest Martin's killing. Many were in hooded sweatshirts, and most were black.
One of the D.C. organizers compared the case to that of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago who was murdered by white men in Mississippi in 1955 after reportedly flirting with a white woman.
Jonathan Hutto of the Prince George's People's Coalition for Police Accountability told the crowd that the Martin case "is not only civil rights, but human rights, denied."
"We appeal for redress for Trayvon Martin and the Trayvon Martins of society," said Hutto.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Cheney gets heart transplant, in intensive care
 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:10

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering on Saturday after undergoing heart transplant surgery, a once risky procedure whose survival rates have improved over the years.
The 71-year-old Republican, who wielded unprecedented power as vice president during the George W. Bush administration's war on terrorism, was in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.
Cheney, who has suffered five heart attacks, the first at age 37, had been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months before he received the heart from an anonymous donor.
"Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," the spokeswoman, Kara Ahern, said.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, about 88 percent survive the first year after heart transplant surgery and 75 percent survive for five years. The 10-year survival rate is about 56 percent.
Cheney's transplant followed a series of procedures in recent years to extend the use of his heart. Cheney had bypass surgery in 1988 and later had two angioplasties. In 2001, he had a defibrillator implanted in his chest.
He had a heart pump implanted in 2010 to compensate for worsening "end-stage" congestive heart failure. He said after the operation he was considering whether to seek a full heart transplant.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama says still time for diplomacy with Iran
 

Sun 25/03/2012 13:36

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday there was still time to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff with the West through diplomacy but that the window for such a solution was closing.
Obama reiterated his position on Iran after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of a nuclear security summit in Seoul.
"I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically but that window is closing," Obama told reporters.
Tehran says its nuclear programme is purely peaceful, but Israel and Western nations believe it is moving towards a nuclear bomb that could change the regional balance of power.
Obama has pressed Israel to hold off on any attack on Iran's nuclear sites to give sanctions and diplomacy time to work. But he has said military action remains an option if all else fails.
Erdogan spoke to Obama of his planned visit to Iran before the end of the month and said he would also talk to Iranian leaders about the violence in Syria, an ally of Tehran, a senior U.S. official said.
Iran and North Korea are not on the guest list or the agenda for the Seoul summit, but their nuclear standoffs are dominating talks on the sidelines of the conference that is ostensibly focused on preventing nuclear terrorism.
Obama has spearheaded international efforts to isolate Tehran, which include several rounds of sanctions, but it has remained defiant on its nuclear programme, despite showing an openness to possibly resuming long-suspended talks with world powers.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Chavez returning to Cuba for radiation therapy

 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:21

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will fly back to Cuba to begin radiation treatment for cancer on Sunday, but said he was in good shape and would be back home in several days.
Since making a triumphant return to Caracas from Havana a week ago after a third operation in less than a year to remove a malignant tumor from his pelvis, the 57-year-old socialist leader had been saying he would start radiation therapy soon.
But until Saturday he had not revealed whether he would go to Cuba or stay in Venezuela for the treatment, which is expected to leave him weaker during his campaign to win a new six-year term at a presidential election on Oct. 7.
His latest departure will worry supporters concerned about his health, as well as fan persistent rumors of a nascent power struggle between his top aides. Chavez has no clear successor.
"Tonight I leave for Havana. I have decided, on the recommendation of my medical team and my political team, to begin the radiation treatment tomorrow," Chavez said during a televised cabinet meeting.
Little is known about what kind of cancer the president has, nor how serious it is. So big questions remain about his future.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Rallies held around country for Trayvon Martin
 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:19

- 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - Rallies are being held in cities across the country this weekend to protest the failure of police to arrest a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer for shooting to death an unarmed black teenager.
Protesters, some dressed in "hoodie" hooded sweatshirts like the kind 17-year-old Trayvon Martin wore at the time of his death, gathered for events in Columbia, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Chicago Saturday.
Rallies are being planned for other cities Sunday, and a protest is planned Monday in Sanford, Florida, the Orlando suburb where the shooting took place.
Martin was shot dead on Feb. 26 after George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch captain, believed the young man walking through the gated community in a hoodie looked suspicious. Zimmerman followed him and an altercation ensued.
Zimmerman has said he was acting in self-defense. He has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are investigating.
About 300 people, of various races and ages, gathered in Daley Plaza in Chicago on a cool, wet Saturday afternoon. Protesters held signs with slogans like, "It's not a crime to be black" and "Wearing a hoodie is not a crime."
Martin reportedly had been returning from a convenience store carrying Skittles candy and a can of iced tea when he encountered Zimmerman. One protester, Tracie Roberson, 31, of Chicago, made a sign that said "BEWARE, I'm packin Skittles," with a box of Skittles taped beneath the words.
"I think it's a big injustice to our people," said Roberson, who is black. She thinks Martin was targeted because of his race.
Craig Sonner, Zimmerman's lawyer, said his client was acting out of self-defense, not racial bigotry.
Roberson said she usually did not get involved in politics, but the Martin case "really touched my spirit. I felt I had to do something."
Takisha Walters, 34, of Chicago said she also usually didn't go to rallies but "this tugged at my heartstrings." Both she and her daughter, Ana, age 7, wore hoodies.
Andre Robinson, 51, of Chicago, said Florida's gun laws were too lax. "That could have been easily been my son," said Robinson, who is black. He wore a hoodie which featured the images of President Barack Obama and civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law allows people to use deadly force in self-defense. Similar laws are in effect in at least 23 states, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
At city hall in Washington D.C., which stands a few blocks from the White House, about 500 people gathered to protest Martin's killing. Many were in hooded sweatshirts, and most were black.
One of the D.C. organizers compared the case to that of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago who was murdered by white men in Mississippi in 1955 after reportedly flirting with a white woman.
Jonathan Hutto of the Prince George's People's Coalition for Police Accountability told the crowd that the Martin case "is not only civil rights, but human rights, denied."
"We appeal for redress for Trayvon Martin and the Trayvon Martins of society," said Hutto.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Cheney gets heart transplant, in intensive care
 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:10

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering on Saturday after undergoing heart transplant surgery, a once risky procedure whose survival rates have improved over the years.
The 71-year-old Republican, who wielded unprecedented power as vice president during the George W. Bush administration's war on terrorism, was in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.
Cheney, who has suffered five heart attacks, the first at age 37, had been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months before he received the heart from an anonymous donor.
"Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," the spokeswoman, Kara Ahern, said.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, about 88 percent survive the first year after heart transplant surgery and 75 percent survive for five years. The 10-year survival rate is about 56 percent.
Cheney's transplant followed a series of procedures in recent years to extend the use of his heart. Cheney had bypass surgery in 1988 and later had two angioplasties. In 2001, he had a defibrillator implanted in his chest.
He had a heart pump implanted in 2010 to compensate for worsening "end-stage" congestive heart failure. He said after the operation he was considering whether to seek a full heart transplant.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama scans tense Korean DMZ, North mourns Kim Jong-il
 

Sun 25/03/2012 11:09

NNA - 25/03/2012 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama peered across South Korea's tense border with the North on Sunday in a show of solidarity with U.S. ally Seoul and a message of resolve to Pyongyang's new young ruler in his country's nuclear standoff with the West.
Arriving on the eve of a global summit on nuclear security hosted by South Korea, Obama flew by helicopter to a U.S. base on the edge of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as a solemn North Korea came to a halt to mark the 100th day after "dear leader" Kim Jong-il's death.
"You guys are at freedom's frontier," Obama told about 50 troops crammed into the Camp Bonifas mess at one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers.
"The contrast between South Korea and North Korea could not be clearer, could not be starker, both in terms of freedom and in terms of prosperity."
He spent about 10 minutes on a viewing platform at the DMZ, talking with some of the soldiers on guard as the flags of the United States, South Korea and the United Nations flapped loudly in the brisk, cold wind.
Obama peered through binoculars from behind bullet-proof glass across to North Korea, pointing at something in the distance. He turned to look at the opposing flags of the two countries being flown on towering masts either side of the DMZ. The North Korean flag flew at half-mast for Kim.
Obama's tour, which followed in the footsteps of White House predecessors and bristled with Cold War symbolism, came amid rising concern over a planned North Korean rocket launch next month that threatens to derail a deal to resume U.S. food aid.
Washington has condemned reclusive and impoverished North Korea's rocket launch plan, which it says will send a satellite into orbit, as a violation of its promise to halt long-range missile launches, nuclear tests and uranium enrichment.
Obama plans to lobby the leaders of China and Russia at the Seoul summit to pressure Pyongyang to stop next month's launch, timed to coincide with big celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the state's founder, Kim Il-sung.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted a military official on Sunday as saying the main body of the rocket had been moved to the launch site on North Korea's west coast.
The White House cast Obama's first visit to the DMZ, which has bisected the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953, as a way to showcase the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance and thank some of the nearly 30,000 American troops still deployed in South Korea.
Televised images of Obama venturing into the heavily mined DMZ could burnish his commander-in-chief credentials in an election year and help counter Republican accusations that he has not been tough enough on America's foes.
But North Korea's defiance is clouding Obama's much-touted nuclear disarmament agenda, which is also being challenged by Iran's continued nuclear developments in the face of sanctions and international criticism.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Japan on high-alert against N.Korea
 

Sat 24/03/2012 14:58

NNA - 24/03/2012 The Japanese parliament approved a resolution condemning North Korea's planned missile launch, and the country is also preparing contingencies should the missile veer off course and pose a threat to Japan.

Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the Japanese military will be prepared for any eventuality.

Tanaka says he is ordering officials to prepare deployment of PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles and Aegis destroyers carrying a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could attempt to shoot down the rocket.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - French gunman's brother whisked to Paris intelligence HQ
 

Sat 24/03/2012 14:17

NNA - 24/03/2012 (Reuters) - The brother of an al Qaeda-inspired gunman who murdered seven people was whisked to Paris on Saturday for further questioning and a police source disclosed he had said he was "proud" of his late sibling's killing spree.
President Nicolas Sarkozy summoned ministers and police chiefs to a meeting on Saturday to discuss the consequences of Mohamed Merah's massacre, which has raised troubling national security questions four weeks ahead of a presidential election.
Sarkozy is facing an uphill re-election battle and his chief intelligence adviser sought to head off media questions about the handling of the affair in the southwest city of Toulouse.
Abdelkader Merah, elder brother of the 23-year-old gunman who died in a hail of police gunfire on Thursday, was taken by car from police barracks in Toulouse for transfer to the capital, along with his wife, a judicial source said.
Both were arrested on Tuesday as negotiators sought their help in trying to persuade Merah to turn himself in. Merah's mother, who was also arrested that day, was likely to be released later on Saturday, according to the same source.
Merah was killed by a sniper after a gunbattle with police that ended a more than 30-hour siege at his Toulouse apartment, during which he admitted killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three soldiers in three separate attacks.
Abdelkader Merah and his wife, whose name was not given, were transferred to a detention centre at the headquarters of the DCRI domestic intelligence agency in Paris and will be brought before a judge to decide whether there were grounds for opening legal proceedings over possible links with Mohamed Merah's attacks, another source said on Friday.
Police have found explosives in a car Abdelkader owned, according to the public prosecutor leading the case. He was already known to security services for having helped smuggle jihadist militants into Iraq in 2007.
A police source said on Saturday that at a closed hearing in Toulouse he had declared himself "proud" of his brother's killings and had admitted helping Mohamed steal the scooter used in all seven murders. He had denied any knowledge of his brother's murderous plans, however, the source added.
DCRI head Bernard Squarcini told the daily Le Monde on Friday that there was no evidence Merah belonged to any radical Islamist network and that he appeared to have turned fanatic alone.
Yet investigators are still trying to establish whether the young Frenchman of Algerian extraction had any logistical or ideological support or really was a genuine "lone wolf".
Merah's brother, and a sister, were known to have studied the Koran in Egypt in 2010 and French police had in the past found links between them and a radical Islamist group based in southern France led by a Syrian-born Frenchman dubbed "The White Emir" by French media because of his fair hair and beard.
The shootings shifted the focus of political debate away from France's economic woes and played to the strengths of Sarkozy as he fights for re-election in a two-round vote in April and May.
Polls show that about two-thirds of voters approved of his handling of the Toulouse crisis, which reduced his challengers, chief among them Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande, to the role of bystander.
Sarkozy's intelligence adviser, Ange Mancini, sought to head off increasing media debate about whether Merah could have been stopped before he started killing, saying the intelligence and police services had done an "exemplary" job and that it was always easy to ask after the fact if there were flaws.
"Obviously the aim now will be to dig deeper, not just to know more about the case in question, but to see whether there are other lessons, to try to identify whether anyone else might be heading down the same road," Mancini told news channel BFM TV.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said earlier this week that the question of any possible failings would have to be clarified in due course.
"I have a lot of respect for Alain Juppe but he is not an intelligence and intervention specialist," Mancini said.
An opinion poll released on Saturday appeared to contradict the idea that national security had shot to the top of the agenda for voters despite a week when national and international media provided round-the-clock coverage of the killings and the siege that culminated with a dramatic shootout and death of Merah.
The Ifop polling agency said 53 percent of people believed France faced a high risk of terrorist attack. It was the lowest worry score recorded since Ifop started sounding people out on the issue at the time of the suicide airliner attacks in the United States in 2001, when the number who perceived a high risk of terror attack was 78 percent, according to IFOP.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Pope visits Mexico pledging to fight drugs 'evil'
 

Sat 24/03/2012 14:15

NNA - 24/03/2012 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict arrived in Mexico on Friday promising to "unmask the evil" of drug trafficking in a country ravaged by gang violence that has killed 50,000 people in the past five years.
The pope began his three-day visit to the world's second-most populous Catholic state in the central city of Leon, where he received one of the most exuberant welcomes of any of his foreign trips.
Tens of thousands of people, 20 deep in some places, lined the streets on his 22-mile (35-km) drive through the city.
He touched down in Mexico after making strong statements aboard his papal plane about the country's spiraling drug war.
"We must do whatever is possible to combat this destructive evil against humanity and our youth," he told reporters, referring to the violent conflict between rival drug cartels and the state that has killed 50,000 people since 2007.
"It is the responsibility of the Church to educate consciences, to teach moral responsibility and to unmask the evil, to unmask this idolatry of money which enslaves man, to unmask the false promises, the lies, the fraud that is behind drugs," the pope added.
Raising his arms aloft as he exited the plane, Benedict descended the stairs slowly, holding the handrail. He was greeted by President Felipe Calderon and a group of children while crowds cheered and waved Vatican flags.
Addressing the masses gathered at the airport in a steady, measured tone, the pope, speaking in Spanish, said he had come as a "pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love."
"I will pray especially for those in need, particularly those who suffer because of old and new rivalries, resentments and all forms of violence," said Benedict, adding that he hoped his message would also reach Mexicans outside of their homeland.
The bloodshed across Mexico was in the mind of many waiting to see Benedict in the city, a Roman Catholic stronghold that has avoided the worst of the brutal turf wars.
Throngs of Catholics dressed in white t-shirts and caps threw yellow and white confetti, having waited since early morning to see the pope pass. Many of them were young people let out of school for the day.
Several stood in front of a large banner that read "Pope, pray that the violence ends, pray that peace returns."
"Violence is the country's biggest priority. There are some places where you can't even set foot outside it's so dangerous," said 16-year-old Martin Zamora who hung the sign with his Catholic youth group.
"Many young people have decided to join up with organized crime instead of fighting it. That's what the pope is coming here for, to help save young people."
Benedict, who turns 85 next month, will rest for 24 hours to recover from jet lag. His main message will be delivered on Sunday at a massive outdoor service that hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend.


The pope's strong words on the drug menace should offer comfort to Calderon, who has staked his reputation on beating down the cartels. The government's inability to stem the violence has eroded support for his conservative National Action Party (PAN), which has strong Catholic roots and faces an uphill struggle to retain the presidency in elections in July.
Calderon hailed Benedict's arrival, saying it was of great significance at a time of "many hardships" for Mexico.
"Mexico has suffered, as your Holiness knows well, the ruthless and cruel violence of organized crime," Calderon said in his welcome speech, which was followed by a performance of traditional folk dancers and mariachi musicians.
A survey by polling firm GCE published in the Milenio newspaper on Friday showed 72 percent of respondents wanted the pope to speak out on the security situation in Mexico.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Dehloran jolted by 4,8 earthquake
 

Sat 24/03/2012 13:28

NNA - 24/03/2012 - The Iranian border town of Dehloran was rocked by an intermediate earthquake measuring 4,8 on the Richter scale early this morning with no immediate word on damage or casualties.

Tehran-based Geophysical centers in the capital Tehran, reported quake epicenter lying at latitude 32/53 and longitude 46/94.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Syrians in U.S. to get "temporary protected" status
 

Sat 24/03/2012 13:13

NNA - 24/03/2012 (Reuters) - The U.S. government said on Friday it would allow Syrians to remain in the United States temporarily because it was too dangerous for them to go home.
"Conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement.
The Department of Homeland Security will publish guidelines next week on eligibility requirements and registration for the temporary program, which gives beneficiaries the right to work and prevents deportation regardless of visa status.
Senator Dick Durbin, one of a group of Democratic lawmakers who wrote to President Barack Obama this month seeking the waivers, said the U.S. decision would prevent Syrians from being forced to return "to one of the most violent places on earth."
Syria will joint El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan on the list of countries whose citizens are eligible for the program.
The United States issued more than 8,400 visas to Syrian nationals in the 2010 fiscal year, Durbin's office said in a statement.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - U.N. Security Council agrees to statement on Syria
 

Wed 21/03/2012 18:38

NNA - 21/3/2012 - Reuters - The U.N. Security Council, including Russia and China, has agreed to a statement on Syria that backs U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's bid to end violence that has brought the country to the brink of civil war, council diplomats said on Wednesday.

The statement also threatens Syria with "further steps" if it fails to comply with Annan's six-point peace proposal, which calls for a cease-fire, political dialogue between the government and opposition, and full access for aid agencies.

The "presidential statement," which Western powers diluted on Tuesday in an effort to ensure Russian support, was due to be formally adopted by the 15-nation U.N. Security Council later on Wednesday morning.

Unlike resolutions, which are legally binding and need nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent council members to pass, statements are generally non-binding but require unanimous support from the council.

The latest draft presidential statement is separate from a U.S.-drafted resolution calling on Syria to allow access to humanitarian aid workers in the country.

The last time the council passed a presidential statement on Syria was August 2011, although council members reached a rare unanimous agreement on informal remarks to the press on March 1 to rebuke Damascus for not allowing U.N. humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos into the country.

Shortly after the council approved those remarks to the press, Amos was allowed to visit Damascus.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Khamenei: Iran shall respond to any Zionist or American attack
 

Tue 20/03/2012 17:54

NNA - 20/3/2012 In his address broadcasted live on Television marking Iranian New Year, Iran's Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Iran shall respond to any attack by the US or Israel.

"We said that we neither own nuclear weapons nor we shall manufacture them... However, if the enemy, whether the US or the Zionist regime, stages any attack, we shall counter them in the same level," Khamenei said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Anti-Communist pastor set to become German president
 

Sun 18/03/2012 14:09

NNA - 18/03/2012 (Reuters) - Joachim Gauck is poised to become Germany's third president in just two years on Sunday after winning support from the country's main political parties, but the feisty theologian may prove an awkward partner for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel reluctantly accepted Gauck for the mainly ceremonial post after her coalition ally joined opposition parties last month in backing him to replace Christian Wulff, who resigned in a scandal over financial favours.

Unlike Wulff, a former lawmaker from Merkel's ruling centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), the 72-year-old Gauck has no party affiliation. But he is known for speaking his mind - with the eloquence of a seasoned preacher - on controversial issues.
Eighty percent of Germans trust Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor and human rights activist, according to an opinion poll by Infratest published on Saturday.
Yet two thirds said they thought he would be an "uncomfortable" president for the country's political parties.
In Germany, the president is chosen not by voters but by a special federal assembly comprising all 620 members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament and an equal number of delegates from the country's 16 regions.
Gauck's election is assured as he has the support of the three ruling coalition parties including the CDU and of the opposition Social Democrats and Greens.
"We expect a big majority (for Gauck)," said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, leader of the opposition Social Democrats.
His only opponent is Beate Klarsfeld, 73, an anti-Nazi activist endorsed by the small Left Party.
The German head of state has little executive power but is supposed to provide moral leadership, a role for which Gauck, a prominent figure in the peaceful protest movement that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, seems well-suited.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Dozens arrested at Occupy's 6-month anniversary rally
 

Sun 18/03/2012 11:31

NNA - 18/03/2012 (Reuters) - Police arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters on Saturday night during a protest marking the movement's six-month anniversary at its birthplace in New York's Zuccotti Park.
The sweep of the park by police just before midnight capped a day of demonstrations and marching in lower Manhattan. There was no official word on the number of arrests but dozens of people were handcuffed and led out of the park.
Earlier in the day, 15 people were arrested and three officers suffered injuries, police said.
Protesters reconvened at the park following afternoon marches through New York's financial district. By 11 p.m. roughly 300 had gathered there.
"This is our spring offensive," said Michael Premo, 30, of New York, who identified himself as a spokesman for the movement. "People think the Occupy movement has gone away. It's important for people to see we're back."
Inspired by the pro-democracy Arab Spring, the Wall Street protesters targeted U.S. financial policies they blamed for the yawning income gap between rich and poor in the country, between what they called the 1 percent and the 99 percent. The demonstrators set up camp in Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17 and sparked a wave of protests across the United States.
On Saturday evening, several dozen police ringed the park and watched the crowd. Detective Brian Sessa said no action would be taken as long as the activists made no move to establish a camp.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m., some protesters began to erect tents near the center of the park and police began to move in, according to protester Cari Machet.
"They came in to shut it down," Machet said. "They told us we had to leave because the park was closed."
When about 100 officers entered the park, dozens of protesters sat on the ground and refused orders to leave. They were then carried out in plastic handcuffs and put in police buses and vans.
The park was cleared within 20 minutes, and by midnight no protesters remained in its boundaries.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Mauritania arrests Gaddafi spy chief, says state agency (Adds details)
 

Sat 17/03/2012 13:21

NNA - 17/03/2012 (Reuters) - Mauritanian authorities arrested former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's chief of intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, as he arrived at Nouakchott airport, Mauritania's official state news agency AMI said on Saturday.
It said Senussi, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity, arrived late on Friday from Casablanca in Morocco, bearing a falsified Malian passport.
The Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant in June 2011 for both Senussi and Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, who was captured disguised as a Bedouin in the Sahara desert in November.
Both men have been charged as being "indirect co-perpetrators" of murder and persecution.
Mauritania has not signed the Rome Statute governing the ICC and authorities were not immediately available to comment on what they planned to do with Senussi.
Senussi is suspected of a key role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli's Abu Salim prison in 1996. It was the arrest of a lawyer for victims' relatives that sparked Libya's Arab Spring revolt in February last year.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Actor Clooney arrested at anti-Sudan protest in Washington
 

Fri 16/03/2012 21:34

NNA - 16/03/2012 (Reuters) - Hollywood movie star George Clooney was arrested at Sudan's embassy in Washington on Friday at a protest of an escalating emergency as Sudan blocks humanitarian aid from reaching a volatile border region where hundreds of thousands of people are short of food.
Clooney, his father Nick and other anti-Sudan activists ignored three police warnings to leave the embassy grounds and were led away in plastic handcuffs to a waiting van by uniformed members of the Secret Service, a Reuters journalist covering the demonstration said.
"We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," Clooney told reporters just before his arrest.
"The second thing we are here to ask is for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That's all we ask."
Clooney, who on Wednesday was a guest at the White House banquet in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and several others posted bail and walked free later on Friday.
"You never know if you are accomplishing anything ... We hope it helps," Clooney told reporters after his release, adding that the arrest was his first and "let's hope it's my last."
Activists have drawn parallels between the current crisis in Sudan's Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces and the violence almost a decade ago in the western region of Darfur, where Khartoum sparked international condemnation by violently suppressing a rebellion in a conflict that the United Nations estimates killed some 300,000 people.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Uganda to head new military force to hunt for Kony
 

Fri 16/03/2012 21:24

NNA - 16/03/2012 (Reuters) - Uganda will head a new four-nation military force to capture Joseph Kony, the fugitive warlord whose global profile has soared in recent days due to a celebrity-backed Internet campaign to bring him to justice.
Announcing the creation of the regional military force on Friday, Ugandan Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga said it had been conceived before the web campaign to hunt down Kony and the remnants of his Lord's Resistance Army took off.
"We are creating a brigade of about 5,000 troops, with the commander provided by Uganda," Kiyonga told reporters. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan would take part in the force, he said.
One hundred U.S. military advisers deployed to Uganda were already helping hunt for Kony, but the task force needed more international support, Kiyonga said.
"We still need more help because these soldiers are moving big distances, most of the time on foot. If we could have airlift capacity it would make things faster," he said.
A video about Kony posted on YouTube by a California film-maker has been viewed by tens of millions of people, promoted on Twitter with tags that include �Kony2012 and endorsed by the likes of Justin Bieber, George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey.
The 30-minute video has brought unprecedented international attention to Kony, accused of terrorising northern Uganda for two decades, but it rubbed raw scars when it was screened this week in Lira, a small town haunted by LRA atrocities.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, accused of abducting children to use as fighters and sex slaves and said to have a fondness for hacking off limbs.
Violence has subsided since 2005 and Kony is believed now to command only hundreds of followers, scattered in remote jungle hideouts.
The defence minister said the LRA had been reduced to a force of between 200 and 250 fighters split up into groups of about 10 and 20.
Kiyonga called for international assistance for the task force in the form of technology, equipment and wages for troops.
"Those who can help us should help us so that we move faster, with technology and equipment," he said. It was not clear when the force would start its operations.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Man killed in French mosque attack-police
 

Fri 16/03/2012 21:21

NNA - 16/03/2012 (Reuters) - One man was killed and another seriously injured on Friday when a man brandishing a baseball bat entered a mosque in the town of Arras in northern France and started beating worshippers, a police source said.
The attacker, who was identified as a 32-year-old French man of Moroccan origin, was suffering from mental health problems and was being questioned by police, the source said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Lavrov criticizes Syrian delay in making reforms
 

Wed 14/03/2012 15:18

NNA - 14/3/2012 - Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, on Wednesday criticized Syrian President, Bashar Assad, over "the considerable delay" in making reforms to end the crisis in Syria, Russia's ally.

"Assad's regime has adopted good reforms as to modernization and openness to pluralism, but this came belatedly," Lavrov said during a Q&A session at the State Duma today.

The Russian official maintained that his country's aim was to restore peace in Syria, save lives, and shirk "sectarian explosion" in the Mideast region.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Italy closes embassy in Damascus
 

Wed 14/03/2012 15:07
NNA - 14/3/2012 - Italy decided on Wednesday to close its embassy in Damascus, in objection to "the unacceptable violence by the Syrian regime."

A statement by the Italian Foreign Ministry said "Italy suspended today the activities of its embassy in Damascus and withdrew its personnel."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - International justice must punish Syrian regime, Juppe
 

Mon 12/03/2012 19:51

NNA - 12/3/2012 - French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, on Monday said that the Syrian authorities must be brought before the international justice for their acts.

He said the circumstances must be set so as to refer the Syrian dossier to the International Criminal Court, calling Russia and China to "listen to the voice of Arabs and world conscience."

"The Syrian regime's crimes must not remain unpunished. The day will come when the civil and military authorities will be impugned before justice," he said, maintaining that the priority is to reach violence ceasing and allowing humanitarian aid to reach to Syrian civilians.

"The history of humanity will remember Homs as the city of unforgettable suffering," he concluded.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia sees "manipulation" inside Security Council
 

Mon 12/03/2012 19:04

NNA - 12/3/2012 - Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, on Monday said there is "manipulation" inside the Security Council pertaining to Syria.

He said sanctions which are tightened by one party, the push towards changing the regime in Syria, and the encouragement which the armed opposition is enjoying constitute "dangerous recipes for a geo-political manipulation that would only extend the conflict."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - US calls to support Arab solution to Syria's crisis
 

Mon 12/03/2012 18:38

NNA - 12/3/2012 - US State Secretary, Hilary Clinton, renewed calls upon Russia and China to change their position vis-a-vis Syria, as speaking before the UN Security Council on Monday.

She urged "all states to support the Arab League's plan to solve the political and humanitarian crisis in Syria." "We believe that it is about time for all the countries to support the Arab League's plan."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Ban urges Syria to act regarding Annan's peace proposals
 

Mon 12/03/2012 18:22

NNA - 12/3/2012 UN Chief Ban Ki-moon urged Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday to take action within "the coming few days" regarding peace proposals made by Special UN and Arab League Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan.

Ban said Syrian government did not assume its responsibility in protecting its people, but rather subjected its citizens in various Syrian towns to military attacks and excessive use of force.

"These disgraceful operations are still ongoing," Ban said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Rogue US soldier kills, wounds up to 16 - Afghan official
 

Sun 11/03/2012 12:25

NNA - (AFP) Up to 16 Afghans were killed or wounded by a rogue American soldier who opened fire on civilians in southern Kandahar province, an Afghan official said Sunday.

"Today at around 3:00 am a US soldier walked off his base and started shooting at civilians. Ten to 16 people are killed and injured," Ahmad Jawed Faysal, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor, told AFP.

"What we know at this stage is that there have been casualties in two villages, Alokozai and Garrambai villages (in Panjwayi district)," he told AFP.

"A delegation has been sent to find out how this has happened as well as to determine the dead and injured."

The soldier has been detained, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

"A United States service member was detained today in connection to an incident that resulted in Afghan casualties in Kandahar province," it said, without specifying the number of victims.

"This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved," ISAF said.

"US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), in cooperation with Afghan authorities, will investigate this incident and release additional information as appropriate."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Blast at funeral in Pakistan kills 13
 

Sun 11/03/2012 11:46

NNA - 11/03/2012 (REUTERS) A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 13 people and wounded 29 in an attack on a funeral on the outskirts of the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar on Sunday, a police official said.
The deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, Khushdil Khan, was at the funeral, but he was unharmed.
"It seemed to be a suicide attack," the police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "And the target is believed to be Khushdil Khan."
Khushdil is a leader in the Awami National Party, the dominant political party in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, and has raised a tribal militia to battle militants in his area.
The injured were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Japan mourns tsunami dead; grapples with aftermath
 

Sun 11/03/2012 11:30

NNA - 11/03/2012 (Reuters) - With a moment of silence, prayers and anti-nuclear rallies, Japan marked on Sunday one year since an earthquake and tsunami killed thousands and set off a radiation crisis that shattered public trust in atomic power and the nation's leaders.
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake unleashed a wall of water that hit Japan's northeast coast, killing nearly 16,000 and leaving nearly 3,300 unaccounted for, and the country is still grappling with the human, economic and political costs.
In the port of Ofunato, hundreds of black-clad residents gathered at the town hall to lay white chrysanthemums in memory of the town's 420 dead and missing.
"We can't just stay sad. Our mission is to face reality and move forward step by step," said Kosei Chiba, 46, who lost his mother and wife in the disaster.
"But the damage the town suffered was too big and our psychological scars are too deep. We need a long time to rebuild."
The country observed a minute of silence at 2:46 p.m. (0546 GMT), the time the quake struck.
Residents of Ofunato gathered before a makeshift altar with a calm, sun-flecked sea behind them. Ofunato paused again 33 minutes later -- the time when a year ago a 23-metre (75-foot) tsunami engulfed the town of 41,000.
Just a kilometre (half a mile) from Tokyo Electric Power Company's (Tepco) wrecked Fukushima plant, where reactor meltdowns triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, residents of the abandoned town of Okuma were allowed back for a few hours to honour the dead.
"It was a wonderful place. If it wasn't for all that has happened, I'd be able to come back. But thanks to Tepco, I wasn't even able to search for the bodies of my relatives," said Tomoe Kimura, 93, who lost four members of her family in the tsunami, two of whom were never found.
Authorities have imposed a 20-km (12 mile) no-go zone around the plant and residents may never be allowed back.
Along the northeast coast, police and coastguard officers, urged on by families of the missing, continue their dogged search for remains despite diminishing chances of finding any.
The Japanese people earned the world's admiration for their composure, discipline and resilience in the face of the disaster while its companies impressed with the speed with which they bounced back.
As a result, the �5 trillion economy looks set to return to pre-disaster levels in coming months with the help of about �230 bill lion earmarked for a decade-long rebuilding effort agreed in rare cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties.
Emperor Akihito, recovering from coronary bypass surgery last month, attended a memorial service in Tokyo's National Theatre and urged people to work together, echoing his unprecedented televised address five days after the disaster.
"I expect many difficulties on the path to recovery. I hope all the people will keep the victims in their hearts and work so that the situation in the disaster-hit areas improves," the 78-year-old monarch said at the televised ceremony.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Nairobi bus station blast toll rises to five -Red Cross
 

Sun 11/03/2012 11:28

NNA - 11/03/2012 (Reuters) - A grenade attack at a bus station in central Nairobi killed five people and wounded 69, the Kenya Red Cross said on Sunday.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The attack was similar to two strikes at a nearby bus station and a bar that killed one person and wounded more than 20 in October, soon after Kenya sent troops into Somalia to fight Islamist rebels.
Police blamed al Shabaab, the Somali militant group allied to al Qaeda that has pledged to carry out more reprisal attacks in Kenya until the east African country pulls its soldiers out of Somalia.
Witnesses say a grenade was tossed from a passing vehicle into the Machakos bus terminal near the central business district of Kenya's capital early on Saturday evening.
The Kenya Red Cross said on Sunday morning that 59 men and 10 women had been admitted to hospital, two of them were in intensive care, and five people were confirmed dead.
After the attack a fire blazed in a small crater at the bus station and police cordoned off the area where the body of a man lay facing upwards and dressed in a blue jacket and white trousers. Bystanders helped carry the wounded to ambulances.
Witnesses said they believed there were multiple blasts.
A Kenyan man who admitted to carrying out the October grenade attack on a Nairobi bus station admitted to being a member of al Shabaab. He was jailed for life.
The October attacks spooked Kenyans and security was beefed up in the capital at hotels, government buildings, restaurants, bars and shopping malls.
On Saturday morning, Kenyan police at a regular weekly briefing had again urged people to remain vigilant as the threat of attack from Somali militants remained.
There was no immediate reaction from al Shabaab. After the October strikes, a top al Shabaab official urged its supporters in Kenya to carry out a major strike, rather than tossing grenades at buses.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama contacts Russian president-elect
 

Fri 9/03/2012 21:21

NNA - 9/3/2012 US President Barack Obama contacted by phone Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin.

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said that Obama opened as such a new phase in relations with Moscow.

No details of phone call content have been available till present.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama contacts Russian president-elect
 

Fri 9/03/2012 21:21

NNA - 9/3/2012 US President Barack Obama contacted by phone Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin.

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said that Obama opened as such a new phase in relations with Moscow.

No details of phone call content have been available till present.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Kahmenei hails Obama's call to avoid military option
 

Thu 8/03/2012 13:46

NNA - 8/3/2012 Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Thursday praised U.S. President Barack Obama's call to avoid military option against Iran's controversial nuclear program.

"Obama's speech on avoiding every strike against Iran is a well discourse which shows that the Americans are escaping an illusion," the Iranian leader's official website stated.
L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Clinton says U.S. ready to work with Putin
 

Thu 8/03/2012 09:55

NNA - 8/3/2012 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday declared that the United States is ready to work with Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin.

U.S. diplomat stated that despite the number of concerns Russia's presidential electoral process bore, Vladimir Putin was the winner.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama meets Libya's PM, stresses need for elections in June
 

Wed 7/03/2012 21:58


NNA - 07/03/2012 - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday held a previously unannounced meeting with Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib and stressed the need for elections to go ahead in June.

"The US President hailed the robust role of al-Kib during this democratic transitional phase and efforts by his cabinet to rebuild the nation," a White House statement read.

Obama also highlighted the importance of performing transparent elections in cooperation with Libya's active people, the statement added.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - French Foreign Ministry: Closure of Embassy in Damascus takes effect today
 

Tue 6/03/2012 19:07

NNA - 6/3/2012 French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bernard Valero declared that the closure of French Embassy in Damascus, pronounced by President Sarkouzi, shall be in effect as of today (Tuesday).

"The closure of Embassy is scheduled to take effect today... Erik Chovalier [French Ambassador] is expected to leave Syria today or tomorrow morning," Valero said during a press conference.

Valero also disclosed that deliberations are ongoing to determine which country shall manage French interests in Syria as of today.

It is to note that around two thousand French citizens (holders of two nationalities Syrian and French) are currently in Syria.
-----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Banita vows Israel's "military supremacy"
 

Tue 6/03/2012 19:04

NNA - 6/3/2012 - US Defense Secretary on Tuesday said the US will provide all necessary support to Israel to keep its "military supremacy" to face its enemies.

"The US will provide all the support needed by Israel to preserve its military superiority over any state or coalition as well as over any party outside the states' scope," Leon Banita told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) today.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


International- "Air France" cancels flight between Paris and Damascus
 

Mon 5/03/2012 12:34

NNA - 5/3/2012- French Air Lines "Air France" decided to cancel its flight between Paris and Damascus which was supposed to take place today at 1:40 pm according to local time, "because of violent events in Syria," as mentioned to the company.

A spoksman on behalf of the company told French Press Agency that "Air France flight 570 from Paris to Damascus is cancelled due to the situation in Syria."

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia's Putin seeks convincing Kremlin return
 

Sun 4/03/2012 13:33

NNA - 04/03/2012 (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin sought a convincing victory in Russia's presidential election on Sunday to strengthen his hand in dealing with the biggest opposition protests since he rose to power 12 years ago.
Listing alleged irregularities online, opponents said the voting was marred by fraud and skewed to help the former KGB spy return to the Kremlin after four years as prime minister, and vowed to step up protests after the election.
But Putin's victory was not in doubt in voting across the icy tundra, large swathes of unpopulated territory and heavily industrialised urban centres from the Pacific coast to the western borders with the European Union.
The man credited by many Russians with rebuilding the country's strong image and overseeing an economic boom in his first presidency hoped to win outright in the first round and portray this as a strong mandate for six more years in power.
Early signs were that turnout would be high. Officials said more than 30 percent of voters had cast their ballots by 1 p.m. Moscow time (0800 GMT), more than in the 2008 election that brought Putin's ally, Dmitry Medvedev, to the Kremlin.
Some voters expressed anger at being offered no real choice in a vote pitting Putin against four weaker candidates - communist Gennady Zyuganov, nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, former parliamentary speaker Sergei Mironov and billionaire metals tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov.
Others said Putin, 59, who has portrayed himself as a man of action and guardian of stability, was the tough national leader the world's biggest country and energy producer needed.
"I will vote for Putin... the country needs a strong leader," army serviceman Dmitry Samsonov, 23, said on a cold day in Moscow. "They didn't let any other candidates through... There is no one else to vote for but Putin."
Opinion polls showed Putin, who was president from 2000 to 2008 before constitutional limits barred a third straight term, would win 59 to 66 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a second-round runoff.
But some voters are tired of his macho antics and a system that concentrates power in his hands. They fear he could win two more terms, ruling until 2024 - almost as long as Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
Pyotr Kirillov, 75, said in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg that he had not changed his ideals in the past 50 years despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, and voted for the communists.
Margarita Alyoshina, a 62-year-old Muscovite, said she would not vote for Putin so that he did not become complacent.
"I won't vote for Putin just to make him think a bit, show that he is not the only man in the world. But anyway he will win", she said.
NAKED PROTEST
Putin, who voted in Moscow with his wife Lyudmila in a rare joint public appearance, dropped his ballot paper before voting and had to pick it up. Asked by reporters whether he ruled out a runoff, he said it would "depend on the voters."
Three women from a group specialising in naked protests were detained by police after stripping topless at the polling station, moments after Putin left, chanting: "Putin is a thief."
Vote monitors from the opposition and bloggers posted allegations of election rigging countrywide.
Television host Ksenia Sobchak said observers were barred from in the St Petersburg district where she was helping out as a vote monitor. Golos, an independent monitoring group, said it already registered 2,030 reports of violations nationwide.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said there had been no major violations. Election officials also dismissed reports of widespread fraud in a parliamentary election on Dec. 4 which triggered the opposition protests.
In an attempt to allay fears of vote rigging, Putin ordered 182,000 web cameras to be installed at 91,000 polling stations to stream footage of ballot boxes and vote-counting onto a website during the election.
Thousands of opposition activists as well as an international observer mission were also monitoring the polls. Exit polls will be released shortly after voting ends.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Fifteen dead in Poland after two trains collide
 

Sun 4/03/2012 12:24

NNA - 04/03/2012 (Reuters) - Fifteen people were killed when two passenger trains collided head-on in southern Poland late on Saturday in the country's worst train crash in more than 20 years.
The two trains carrying an estimated 350 passengers were travelling at high speed on the same track when they crashed in a rural area near the town of Szczechociny. At least 56 people were injured, police said.
The battered locomotive of one of the trains had jack-knifed upwards from the force of the crash. Several cars had derailed and some were lying on their sides.
"This certainly is the most tragic train catastrophe in our history in many, many years," said Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who arrived at the site of the crash with several other government officials early on Sunday.
Rescuers said they had pulled 14 bodies from the twisted wreckage. One body found by sniffer dogs inside a mangled train car remained trapped and could only be removed with the help of heavy equipment.
"There was no braking, only the crash, and the lights went out, people were screaming," passenger Dariusz Wisniewski told a local television station. "When we got out we saw bodies and wounded all over, as well as the twisted wreckage. I had never seen anything like it."
President Bronislaw Komorowski visited survivors at a hospital and was headed to the crash site.
Tusk said it was too early to speculate about the cause of the collision, but added that human error could not be ruled out.
Authorities were opening an investigation.
The fate of the two drivers was not immediately known as the authorities were still identifying the dead bodies.
More than 350 firefighters rushed to the scene, but had to carry their equipment by hand because the trains collided in the middle of a field crossed only by the train tracks.
In the hours following the 9.00 p.m. (2000 GMT) collision, they searched the wreck and pried out many of the survivors. The injured were taken to hospitals in the region by helicopter and ambulance.
Among the passangers were several Ukrainians along with French and Spanish citizens. None of them were hospitalised.
One of the trains had been going from Warsaw to Krakow and the other from the city of Przemysl to the capital.
The wreckage on one of Poland's most heavily used train routes was causing heavy delays on Sunday.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Bodies of Ochlik, Colvin arrive in France
 

Sun 4/03/2012 11:39

NNA - 04/03/32012 - The plane carrying the remains of American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik, killed February 22 in Homs, Syria, landed Sunday morning at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Air France flight 571, which flies the Paris-Damascus route via Amman, landed shortly after 6:15 Sunday morning. The plane took off from Damascus Sunday at 00:25. The bodies had been formally identified in Damascus on Friday by French and Polish diplomats.

"The two bodies arrived to Paris," confirmed an airport source. The family of Remi Ochlik, 28 years, received the body of the photographer. The body of Colvin is expected to be flown on to the United States tomorrow or Tuesday, according to a representative of her newspaper, Britain's The Sunday Times.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Sarkozi: France will close its embassy in Syria
 

Fri 2/03/2012 13:36

NNA - 2/3/2012 - France will close its embassy in Syria, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced on Friday.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Qatar calls to skim through saving Syrian people
 

Thu 1/03/2012 15:14

NNA - 1/3/2012 - Qatari Prime Minister, Hamad Ben Jassem Al-Thani, on Thursday said his country was now ready to skim through "all options to save the Syrian people."

"The sole solution in Syria is to accept the recommendations of the Arab League," he said following his meeting with EU Parliament Speaker in Brussels today.

The Prime Minister did not fail to renew calls to cease "massacres" in the unrest-swept nation, denying the presence of Qatari soldiers on the Syrian territories.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Britain recalls diplomats from Syria
 

Thu 1/03/2012 13:25

NNA - 01/03/2012 - Britain recalled all its diplomatic employees in Syria for "security reasons", British Foreign Minister William Hague said in a statement on Thursday.

"I would like to inform the House of Commons about my decision to suspend services offered by the British Embassy in Damascus and the withdrawal of all diplomats for security reasons."
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Sarkouzi affirms Edith's arrival to Lebanon
 

Tue 28/02/2012 18:08

NNA - 28/2/2012 French President Nicholas Sarkouzi affirmed that the wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier arrived to Lebanon from Syria.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia says Syria must cooperate with ICRC
 

Tue 28/02/2012 16:44

NNA - 28/2/2012 - It is important that the Syrian government cooperates with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which asked for a two-hour daily truce, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, currently holding an emergency meeting on the humanitarian condition in Syria, he called upon both the Syrian government and the armed groups to take immediate measures to curb any deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the unrest-swept nation.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Syrian delegation withdraws from Geneva Human Rights meeting
 

Tue 28/02/2012 16:37

NNA - 28/2/2012 - The Syrian delegation to the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday lambasted the emergent meeting at the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Syria and withdrew from what it termed as "the futile discussion."

Syria's representative at the Council, Fayez Khabbaz Hamwi, said the real aim of this session was to flare up terrorism.

"Therefore, we announce the withdrawal of our delegation from this futile debate," he said, stressing that his country does not acknowledge the legitimacy of this meeting.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Salehi, Annan tackle Syria's turmoil
 

Tue 28/02/2012 13:03

NNA - 28/02/2012 - Latest security developments at the Syrian scene featured high Tuesday on talks between Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, and the newly appointed UN Secretary General and Arab League Representative, Kofi Annan.

Both men met yesterday evening at the sidelines of the Human Rights Council's 19th conference, currently taking place in Geneva, upon the request of Annan.

The pair discussed the best means to peacefully end the Syrian crisis.

For his part, Salehi reiterated Iran's support to a peaceful solution the Syrian crisis, away from foreign intervention.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Attempt to kill Russia's Putin foiled-security agencies
 

Mon 27/02/2012 21:19

NNA - 27/02/2012 - (Reuters) - Security services in Russia and Ukraine said on Monday they had foiled a plot to kill Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, but his opponents ridiculed the announcement as a campaign stunt six days before he runs in Russia's presidential election.

Russia's pro-government Channel One television said two men arrested belonged to a group seeking an Islamist state in Russia's North Caucasus. A computer seized contained numerous video files showing Putin's motorcade, usually heavily guarded, moving about Moscow. "Our final goal was to go to Moscow and attempt to assassinate Putin," a bruised man described as one of the plotters was shown saying in a police interview transmitted on Channel One. "Our deadline was after the election of the president of Russia."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Thousands of Russians hold hands against Putin
 

Sun 26/02/2012 13:38

NNA - 26/02/2012 (Reuters) - Thousands of Russians joined hands to form a ring around Moscow city centre on Sunday in protest against Vladimir Putin's likely return as president in an election next week.
Many of the protesters who stood in a long line around the 16-km (10-mile) Moscow Garden Ring Road, despite gently falling snow, wore the white ribbons that symbolise the biggest opposition protests since Putin rose to power 12 years ago.
Putin is all but certain to win the presidential election on March 4 but the growing protests have highlighted demands for greater democracy and openness from mainly urban voters fed up with widespread corruption and one-man rule.
"I don't know that there will be any result (from the protest) but I've come to show the government that there are many of us and that there are many people together," said Nikolai Chekalin, a 66-year-old scientist.
"I would like transparency, an honest court and conditions for business to develop."
The mood was festive as the people forming the ring, many of them dressed in white scarves, waved at cars passing by. Many cars hooted in support and some of the protesters chanted: "Russia without Putin".
Some protesters held blown-up condoms - Putin mocked the protesters late last year by saying he had mistaken the white ribbons pinned to their coats for contraceptives.
The organisers said they needed 34,000 people to complete the circle around Moscow's historic centre, which includes the Kremlin, the main centre of power in Russia. It was not immediately clear how many had gathered.
The protests began after allegations of fraud in a parliamentary election won by Putin's party on Dec. 4. The Kremlin has offered token electoral reforms but not met any of the protesters' main demands, including a rerun of the election.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Suicide bomber attacks Nigerian church in Jos
 

Sun 26/02/2012 12:19

NNA - 26/02/2012 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a church in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday, killing two people and wounding 38, the emergency services said, and angry Christian youths reacted by beating two Muslims to death.
A Reuters reporter at the scene of the blast saw two bodies from the explosion, which police said included the suicide bomber, who had rammed his Volkswagen into the church before detonating explosives.
"NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency) confirms three dead in suspected suicide car explosion in Jos today, including the bomber whose body was shredded to pieces," NEMA spokesman Yushua Shuaib said by text message.
"As of now 38 victims have been admitted to hospital for treatment. NEMA and the Red Cross have completed evacuation (of the church)."
Security forces cordoned off the area, while angry Christian youths set up a roadblock where they dragged two Muslim men off their motorbikes and beat them to death, police said.
The Reuters reporter saw the bodies of the two men on the roadside.
Ethnic and religious tensions run high in the city, which sometimes sees dozens killed in bouts of intercommunal violence.
"I heard a loud explosion near the church and I hit the ground. It shook buildings," said local resident Ishayaa Makut.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Islamist militant group Boko Haram has targeted churches as part of its growing campaign of violence against the government.
Attacks on churches have raised fears the sect, styled on the Taliban whose name means "Western education is forbidden", is trying to ignite sectarian strife in Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer.
Another bomb exploded near a church in the Nigerian town of Suleja, on the edge of the capital Abuja, on Sunday, wounding five people.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Afghan policeman kills 2 American advisors: Kabul
 

Sun 26/02/2012 12:00

NNA - 26/02/2012 An Afghan police officer working at Interior Ministry in Kabul is responsible for the murder of two American advisors, a high ranking Afghani official speaking on the basis of anonymity said Sunday.

Tension in the volatile country has increased after a number of US soldiers burnt copies of the Quran in their base stationed in Afghanistan.

Abed al Sabour, twenty five years old, worked for the intelligence branch and shot the two American officials at close range killing them instantly on Saturday.

The slain men were a Colonel and a Major.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Magnitude 6.8 quake hits Siberia near Mongolia border
 

Sun 26/02/2012 11:39

NNA - 26/02/2012 (Reuters) - A strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Russia's southeastern and sparsely populated region of Tuva on Sunday, shaking residents near the Mongolian border from their sleep, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake was some 90 kilometres (60 miles) east of the Russian city of Kyzyl in the Tuva region of Siberia. It struck around 0617 GMT at an estimated depth of 11.7 km (7.3 m).
It was the second strong quake to rock the region in two months. In December, coal mining operations in Russia's largest coal producing region, the Kuzbass, were suspended when a 6.9 magnitude quake hit near Kyzyl.
Residents in Kyzyl's city centre gathered outside as the local emergencies ministry warned of potential aftershocks, the state RIA news agency reported.
"The dishes fell off the shelves at home, the tremors were very strong. They reminded me of the December earthquake," one local resident told the agency.
RIA cited the regional emergencies ministry for eastern Siberia as saying no one had been injured and no damage yet reported in the quake.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Two foreigners killed in Afghan interior ministry- sources
 

Sat 25/02/2012 15:12

NNA - 25/02/2012 (Reuters) - Two Westerners were killed inside the heavily barricaded Interior Ministry in the centre of Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Saturday, security sources and a local television station said.
Tolo TV reported that the two people who were gunned down were foreign advisers. The ministry has been sealed shut and no one is allowed in or out, security sources said.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Two foreigners killed in Afghan interior ministry- sources
 

Sat 25/02/2012 15:12

NNA - 25/02/2012 (Reuters) - Two Westerners were killed inside the heavily barricaded Interior Ministry in the centre of Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Saturday, security sources and a local television station said.
Tolo TV reported that the two people who were gunned down were foreign advisers. The ministry has been sealed shut and no one is allowed in or out, security sources said.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Mandela admitted to hospital in South Africa
 

Sat 25/02/2012 11:39

NNA - 25/02/2012 (Reuters) - Former South African president Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday for treatment for a "long-standing abdominal complaint", the government said.
A statement said the 93-year-old anti-apartheid leader needed specialist medical treatment. It wished him a speedy recovery, but provided no further details.
Mandela, who is known to be in frail health, spent several days at Johannesburg's Milpark hospital just over a year ago with respiratory problems.
Since then he has not appeared in public, and has spent his time between Johannesburg and his ancestral village of Qunu in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Most recent war games in Iran
 

Sun 19/02/2012 12:34

NNA - 19/02/2012 - Most recent war games in central Iran, featured Sunday land maneuvers by elite troops of the Iranian revolutionary guards.

Code-named "dawn" land forces partaking in the war games were commanded by General Mohammad Pakpour.

According to Pakpour the purpose of Sunday's exercise is to test the preparedness of revolutionary guards' land forces in order to demonstrate their ability to confront any potential military threat.

A secondary purpose the general added, is to show to the enemy Iranian deterrent and defensive capability.

General Pakpour disclosed a number of Iranian-made top-of-the-line weapon systems specially devised for tactical defensive purposes.

The 2-day land-based war games were preceded by sea maneuvers in the strait of Hormoz to show Iran's determination to close the strait in the event of outside aggression the general concluded.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Romania nightclub blasts injure 17
 

Sun 19/02/2012 12:13

NNA - 19/02/2012 (Reuters) - Two explosions injured 17 people at a nightclub in the northern Romanian town of Sighetu Marmatiei, emergency services said on Sunday.
The first explosion ripped through the club in the early hours of Sunday, injuring seven. A second blast at the building several hours later injured another ten people, said Cornel Babut, spokesman for the local Maramures emergency office.
"Seven people were injured in the first explosion and another ten in the second," Babut told Reuters. "We are checking what caused it."
Some of the victims were evacuated by air to the capital Bucharest, about 650 km (400 miles) away along snow-covered roads, for specialist burns treatment.

 

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International - Japanese emperor's heart bypass operation a success - NHK
 

Sat 18/02/2012 11:48

NNA - 18/02/2012 (Reuters) - Japan's Emperor Akihito had on Saturday a successful heart bypass operation, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Akihito, 78, has been receiving treatment for heart problems for the past year and doctors decided last week that he needed a coronary bypass operation.
Akihito ascended to the throne after the death of his father, Hirohito, in 1989. He has spent much of the past two decades working to heal the wounds of a war waged across Asia in his father's name and helped bring the monarchy closer to ordinary citizens.
Akihito checked into the University of Tokyo Hospital on Friday and is expected to remain hospitalised for about two weeks.
Akihito had surgery for prostate cancer in 2003 and suffered stress-related health issues in late 2008. The following year, the royal agency said he would cut back on official duties such as speeches and meeting foreign dignitaries.
Save for rare occasions, the Japanese imperial family is spared the intense public attention or media scrutiny that Britain's royals get.
But it serves as a comforting link with tradition at times of distress.
Five days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, Akihito made a rare public televised address and in April travelled to the disaster area with Empress Michiko.
Akihito's hospital stay last year gave Japan a rare opportunity to see his heir Crown Prince Naruhito, 51, step in for his father and perform public duties.
While Akihito's reign was defined by his reconciliation efforts, it is less clear what role the scholarly Naruhito may play, though royal commentators expect him to continue his father's efforts to reach out to ordinary citizens.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - U.S., EU welcome Iran nuclear letter, suggest talks possible
 

Fri 17/02/2012 21:08

NNA - 17/02/2012 (Reuters) - The United States and European Union expressed cautious optimism on Friday over prospects that Iran may be willing to engage major powers in new talks, but underscored any new negotiations must be sustained and focus on the nuclear issue.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that Iran's recent letter to Ashton might mark a step forward.
"We think this is an important step and we welcome the letter," Clinton said in a joint meeting with Ashton. She stressed that the major powers were still reviewing their formal response to Tehran's offer.
Ashton, who handles contact with Iran on behalf of the "P5+1" group comprised of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, said the letter showed "a potential possibility that Iran may be ready to start talks."
Iran's letter to Ashton, which was obtained by Reuters on Thursday, proposed resuming the stalled talks and said Tehran would have "new initiatives" to bring to the table.

But the brief letter, which responded to a letter Ashton sent to her Iranian counterpart in October, offered no specific proposals, leaving a question mark over Tehran's willingness to enter substantive negotiations on its nuclear work.
Clinton, however, said the Iranian letter "appeared to acknowledge and accept" the western countries' longstanding condition that any talks begin with a discussion of its nuclear program.
"We must be assured that, if we make a decision to go forward, we see a sustained effort by Iran to come to the table, to work until we have reached an outcome that has Iran coming back into compliance with their international obligations," Clinton said.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - UN chief ups pressure on nuclear test ban holdouts
 

Fri 17/02/2012 20:46

NNA - 17/02/2012 (Reuters) - The United Nations chief stepped up efforts on Friday to persuade eight holdout states to ratify a 1990s treaty to ban nuclear weapon tests, and said governments were now spending vast amounts on building "arsenals of death."
More than 150 countries have so far ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) but the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, North Korea and Egypt must also do so before it can become international law.
"It is distressing that this treaty has yet to enter into force," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a conference on the pact in Vienna, where its Preparatory Commission is based.
"Any country opposed to signing or ratifying is simply failing to meet its responsibilities as a member of the international community."
Ban said he was ready to meet leaders of those states which are still reluctant or may have doubts about the ratification of the test ban treaty, which was negotiated in the 1990s but has yet to take force.
India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel are outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 1970 pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Iran is part of the NPT but the West accuses it of seeking to develop a capability to build atomic bombs. Tehran denies the charge.
The United States and China are among the world's five recognised nuclear weapons states, together with Russia, France and Britain.
Proponents say U.S. ratification of the pact, rejected by lawmakers in 1999, could encourage other holdouts to sign.
"It is irresponsible to see this treaty still waiting to come into effect 15 years after it was opened for signature," Ban said, without naming the eight states. "Governments now spend vast sums of money to build and test arsenals of death."
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama said in May last year that it was preparing a push for approval of the treaty, arguing that Washington no longer needs to conduct such tests but does need to stop other countries from doing so.
But it has not given a precise time when it would seek a Senate vote on the treaty, which the chamber rejected when fellow Democrat Bill Clinton was president in the 1990s. A two-thirds majority would be needed for approval.
Obama, who will seek a second term this year, has made clear he sees the test ban pact as a step toward his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, such as the new START arms reduction treaty the Senate approved last year.
At the time of the Senate vote in 1999, opponents argued that a permanent end to testing could erode the reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The country last carried out a test nearly 20 years ago.
Some also questioned whether cheaters could be detected.
Ban said: "There is no good reason to avoid signing or ratifying this treaty."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - NATO to stay out of Syria even if UN mandate emerges
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:13

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Reuters - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Western alliance had no intention of intervening in Syria even in the event of a U.N. mandate to protect civilians, and urged Middle East countries to find a way to end the spiraling violence.

"We have no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria," Rasmussen said in an interview, during a visit to mark the 60th anniversary of Turkey joining the alliance.

While NATO had acted under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians in Libya and had also received active support from several fellow Arab countries, neither condition had been fulfilled in Syria.

Asked if NATO's stance would change if the United Nations provided a mandate, Rasmussen was doubtful.

"No, I don't think so because Syria is also a different society," he said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - U.N. head sees possible crimes against humanity in Syria
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:12

NNA - 16/2/2012 -Reuters- U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Syrian authorities to stop killing civilians and said potential crimes against humanity were taking place in the country.

"We see neighbourhoods shelled indiscriminately, hospitals used as torture centres, children as young as 10 years old killed and abused. We see almost a certain crimes against humanity," he told reporters after meeting Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Thursday.

Ban said he had read of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's plan to hold a referendum that could lead to multi-party elections within 90 days but said the priority now had to be halting the bloodshed.

"What is important at this time is that first Syrian authorities must stop killing their own people, must stop violence. This violence should stop from all sides, whether by national security forces or by opposition forces," he said.

Ban, who opened an international conference on fighting the illicit drugs trade from Afghanistan, said he would meet the foreign ministers of Russia and France in Vienna on Thursday to discuss stalled U.N. Security Council action on Syria.

He called it "regrettable" that the Council could not agree so far on a resolution, and said: "Now that is behind us. We have to look to the future."
 

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International - U.S. sneers at Assad's call for referendum on new constitution
 

Wed 15/02/2012 21:42

NNA - 15/02/2012 - The U.S. described Assad's call for referendum over a new constitution as laughable, according to a White House Statement issued on Wednesday.

"It makes a mockery out of the Syrian revolution," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran stops oil exports to six EU countries - state TV
 

Wed 15/02/2012 17:04

International - U.N. head sees possible crimes against humanity in Syria
 

Thu 16/02/2012 16:12
Sava Print Article
 
[ - ] Text [ + ]

NNA - 16/2/2012 -Reuters- U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Syrian authorities to stop killing civilians and said potential crimes against humanity were taking place in the country.

"We see neighbourhoods shelled indiscriminately, hospitals used as torture centres, children as young as 10 years old killed and abused. We see almost a certain crimes against humanity," he told reporters after meeting Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Thursday.

Ban said he had read of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's plan to hold a referendum that could lead to multi-party elections within 90 days but said the priority now had to be halting the bloodshed.

"What is important at this time is that first Syrian authorities must stop killing their own people, must stop violence. This violence should stop from all sides, whether by national security forces or by opposition forces," he said.

Ban, who opened an international conference on fighting the illicit drugs trade from Afghanistan, said he would meet the foreign ministers of Russia and France in Vienna on Thursday to discuss stalled U.N. Security Council action on Syria.

He called it "regrettable" that the Council could not agree so far on a resolution, and said: "Now that is behind us. We have to look to the future."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved



NNA - 15/2/2012 - Reuters - Iran has stopped oil exports to six European states in retaliation for European Union sanctions imposed on the Islamic state's key export, its English-language Press TV reported on Wednesday.

"Iran cuts its oil exports to six European countries," Press TV reported.

Press TV said Iran has stopped exporting oil to Netherlands, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Brent crude oil prices were up �1 a barrel to �118.35 shortly after the announcement.

The EU's 27 member states have decided to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1 over its disputed nuclear programme.

Iran's oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would certainly cut its oil exports to "some" European countries.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Internatioanl - Sarkozy set to enter election race Wednesday
 

Tue 14/02/2012 14:48

NNA - 14/02/2012 (Reuters) - Nicolas Sarkozy is set to formally enter France's 2012 presidential race on Wednesday, kicking off a rapid-fire re-election campaign with the odds stacked in favour of Socialist challenger Francois Hollande.

The conservative leader is expected to declare his candidacy on prime time television on Wednesday evening and hold his first campaign rally on Thursday in the Alpine town of Annecy, where his ruling UMP party expects a deluge of supporters.
Sarkozy is set to flesh out his campaign platform in a keynote speech to an audience of several thousand in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille on Sunday.
Sarkozy's office would not comment on the timing of the launch, but TF1 television has the president as a provisional guest on its 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) news show and Le Figaro daily, which backs Sarkozy, said he would make the announcement then.

Stuck with a 68 percent disapproval rating and trailing Hollande in opinion polls, Sarkozy has been working for weeks on a campaign based around reforms to boost flagging industrial competitiveness and restore growth that has petered out to zero.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - China's Wen says urgent to prevent chaos in Syria
 

Tue 14/02/2012 12:36

NNA - 14/02/2012 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Tuesday it was urgent to prevent war and chaos in Syria and vowed to work through the United Nations to seek an end to civil strife in the country.
His comments came days after China and Russia blocked a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that backed an Arab plan urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quit amid his government's violent crackdown on opposition groups.
Wen, briefing reporters with the European Council and European Commission presidents at the start of an EU-China summit in Beijing, added that Beijing did not seek to protect any party, including the government of Syria.
"On the issue of Syria, what is most urgent and pressing now is to prevent war and chaos so that the Syrian people will be free from even greater suffering," Wen said in response to question from reporters.
"To achieve this objective, China supports efforts consistent with the UN charter and principles and we are ready to strengthen communication with all parties in Syria and the international community and continue to play a constructive role. China will absolutely not protect any party, including the government of Syria."
China has come under fire for blocking the draft UN Security Council resolution, a stance it has defended as being consistent with its practice of not interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.
Joining Wen at the Great Hall of the People, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said all UN Security Council members should act on Syria.
Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were in Beijing for a summit with Chinese leaders, delayed since late last year as European leaders struggled to deal with an escalating debt crisis.
On Monday, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching an "indiscriminate attack" on civilians to end pro-democracy protests and said he had been emboldened by the failure of the Security Council to condemn him.
Pillay told the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly the Feb. 4 veto by Russia and China of a draft Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government and endorsing an Arab League plan for Assad to step aside had encouraged Damascus to intensify its attacks.
Syria's uprising, in which the United Nations says more than 5,400 people have been killed, has become one of the bloodiest of the Arab Spring revolts sweeping the region since the end of 2010.

 

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International - France warns of foreign military intervention in Syria
 

Mon 13/02/2012 17:58

NNA - 13/2/2012 - French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, on Monday warned of any foreign military intervention in Syria, following an Arab League's decision to deploy a joint Arab-international peacekeeping force in the unrest-swept nation.

"We believe that any foreign military intervention would only exacerbate the situation as long as the Security Council, considered as the sole body empowered to allow a military intervention, has not issued any resolution yet," Juppe told a news conference in Bordeaux today.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Pope to Syria: Respect People's 'Legitimate' Hopes
 

Sun 12/02/2012 15:29

NNA - 12/02/2012 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict urged the Syrian government on Sunday to recognize the legitimate aspirations of its people and embark on a national dialogue to put an end to a violent crackdown on protesters which has killed thousands since March.

Speaking to pilgrims after his weekly Angelus blessing, the pope said Syrian authorities also had to answer to the concerns of the international community over the fighting and unrest.
"It's urgent to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the different sections of the nation, as well as the auspices of the international community," the pope said.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia to continue search for solution to crisis in Syria
 

Wed 8/02/2012 18:26

NNA - 8/2/2012 - The search for a solution to the crisis in Syria must continue, including in the Security Council, a statement by the Kremlin quoted Russian President Dmitri Medvedev as saying on Wednesday.

Medvedev highlighted to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a telephone conversation today the necessity to continue the search for a solution, the statement added.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - France calls Syrian president's promises "manipulation"
 

Wed 8/02/2012 16:09

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Reuters - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's promises to Russia to implement reforms (...) are a "manipulation" that France does not believe, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Wednesday.

"It is a manipulation and we are not going to fall for it," Juppe told France Info radio when asked if he believed Assad was being sincere.

"It's not the first time someone has gone to meet Bashar and been given guarantees."

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, where he said both nations wanted to revive an Arab League monitoring effort that was suspended due to violence and push ahead with a reform programme.

Paris, which helped draft a U.N. resolution with Arab League backing that was vetoed by Russia and China, is working on creating an international group to bring together all those opposed to the violence.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia's Putin warns against outside interference
 

Wed 8/02/2012 16:06

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Reuters - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday the world faced a growing "cult of violence" and Moscow must not let events like those in Libya and Syria be repeated in Russia, issuing a warning to the West against interference.

"We of course condemn all violence regardless of its source, but one cannot act like an elephant in a china shop," Putin told Russian religious leaders at a meeting as talk turned to Libya and Syria.

"Help them, advise them, limit, for instance, their ability to use weapons but not interfere under any circumstances," said Putin, whose country vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution last week backing an Arab League call for Syria's president to cede power.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Netherlands recalls ambassador to Syria
 

Tue 7/02/2012 18:19

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Netherlands recalled Tuesday its ambassador to Syria for "consultations."

"I decided to recall the Dutch ambassador in Damascus for consultations, and he will be probably returning today," Netherlands' Foreign Minister said from The Hague today.

He added that the Syrian ambassador to Netherlands, residing in Brussels, was also recalled.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Spain recalls Ambassador to Syria
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:57

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Italy recalled its Ambassador to Syria for negotiations, a statement issued by the Italian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
Earlier today, Spain recalled its Ambassador to Syria for negotiations, a statement issued by the Spanish Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Italian Embassy, located in the Syrian capital, kept its doors open and continued support to Italian nationals residing on Syrian territories, the statement added.

Yesterday, British Foreign Minister, William Hague, said that Britain's Ambassador to Syria had been recalled for consultations. The decision was announced after the U.S. said it had closed its Embassy in Damascus and pulled all American diplomats out of Syria.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Italy recalls Ambassador to Syria
 

Tue 7/02/2012 13:24

NNA - 07/02/2012 - Italy recalled its Ambassador to Syria for negotiations, a statement issued by the Italian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Italian Embassy, located in the Syrian capital, kept its doors open and continued support to Italian nationals residing on Syrian territories, the statement added.

Yesterday, British Foreign Minister, William Hague, said that Britain's Ambassador to Syria had been recalled for consultations. The decision was announced after the U.S. said it had closed its Embassy in Damascus and pulled all American diplomats out of Syria.
 

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International - Britain recalls Ambassador to Syria
 

Mon 6/02/2012 19:14

NNA - 06/02/2012 - The British Ambassador to Syria has been recalled for consultations, British Foreign William Hague said on Monday.
The decision was announced after the U.S. said it has closed its Embassy in Damascus and pulled all American diplomats out of Syria

"We have summoned the Syrian Ambassador to London to voice objection to the prevailing situation there. Britain is resorting to multiple channels to express its abhorrence at the violent crackdown on dissidents by the Syrian regime," Hague said, deeming said acts as utterly unacceptable.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


International - Washington closes embassy in Damascus
 

Mon 6/02/2012 16:54

NNA - 6/2/2012 - Washington announced Monday the closure of its embassy in Damascus and the evacuation of its personnel in Syria.

A statement by the US Department of State read "the US embassy in Damascus suspended all its activities as of February 6, 2012, considering the continuity of violence and the deterioration of the security juncture."

"The embassy's personnel and their families already left [Syria]," the statement said, calling Americans who are still in Syria to leave the country.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Republican Romney sails to easy win in Nevada
 

Sun 5/02/2012 11:03

NNA - 05/02/2012 (Reuters) - Republican front-runner Mitt Romney cruised to an easy victory in Nevada on Saturday, crushing his three remaining rivals and taking firm command of the party's volatile presidential nominating race.

With support from a broad cross-section of Republicans, Romney won by a big double-digit margin over former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Representative Ron Paul and former Senator Rick Santorum.

The victory was Romney's second in a row and his third in the first five contests in the state-by-state battle to find a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in November's general election.

It propels Romney into the next contests - in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri on Tuesday - on a growing wave of momentum.

Gingrich held a news conference after the results to head off speculation that he might put an early end to his campaign.

"I'm not going to withdraw," Gingrich told reporters, repeating his frequent vow to continue all the way to the Republican nominating convention in Florida in August. "I'm actually pretty happy with where we are."

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, took control of the Nevada contest early after recapturing his front-runner status with a convincing win over Gingrich in Florida last Tuesday.

He benefited from a huge financial and organizational edge in Nevada, which he won with 51 percent of the vote during his failed 2008 presidential bid. A faltering economy and a big bloc of Mormon voters made Nevada friendly terrain for Romney, a Mormon and former head of a private equity firm.

Romney stressed his business background as a cure for the state's ailing economy, which suffers from the country's highest unemployment rate, 12.6 percent in December, and the highest home foreclosure rate.

Entrance polls in Nevada showed that was a persuasive argument, with the economy ranking as the top issue and Romney winning nearly two-thirds of the voters who listed it as their biggest concern.

"America needs a president who can fix the economy because he understands the economy, and I do and I will," Romney told cheering supporters at a Las Vegas casino hotel, aiming his criticism at Obama and ignoring his Republican rivals.

The entrance polls showed Romney won a broad swath of voters, including moderates, conservatives, men, women, the elderly, Tea Party supporters and those who believed the most important quality in a candidate was the ability to beat Obama.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Republican Romney sails to easy win in Nevada
 

Sun 5/02/2012 11:03

NNA - 05/02/2012 (Reuters) - Republican front-runner Mitt Romney cruised to an easy victory in Nevada on Saturday, crushing his three remaining rivals and taking firm command of the party's volatile presidential nominating race.

With support from a broad cross-section of Republicans, Romney won by a big double-digit margin over former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Representative Ron Paul and former Senator Rick Santorum.

The victory was Romney's second in a row and his third in the first five contests in the state-by-state battle to find a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in November's general election.

It propels Romney into the next contests - in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri on Tuesday - on a growing wave of momentum.

Gingrich held a news conference after the results to head off speculation that he might put an early end to his campaign.

"I'm not going to withdraw," Gingrich told reporters, repeating his frequent vow to continue all the way to the Republican nominating convention in Florida in August. "I'm actually pretty happy with where we are."

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, took control of the Nevada contest early after recapturing his front-runner status with a convincing win over Gingrich in Florida last Tuesday.

He benefited from a huge financial and organizational edge in Nevada, which he won with 51 percent of the vote during his failed 2008 presidential bid. A faltering economy and a big bloc of Mormon voters made Nevada friendly terrain for Romney, a Mormon and former head of a private equity firm.

Romney stressed his business background as a cure for the state's ailing economy, which suffers from the country's highest unemployment rate, 12.6 percent in December, and the highest home foreclosure rate.

Entrance polls in Nevada showed that was a persuasive argument, with the economy ranking as the top issue and Romney winning nearly two-thirds of the voters who listed it as their biggest concern.

"America needs a president who can fix the economy because he understands the economy, and I do and I will," Romney told cheering supporters at a Las Vegas casino hotel, aiming his criticism at Obama and ignoring his Republican rivals.

The entrance polls showed Romney won a broad swath of voters, including moderates, conservatives, men, women, the elderly, Tea Party supporters and those who believed the most important quality in a candidate was the ability to beat Obama.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Panetta reassures European allies over defense cuts
 

Sat 4/02/2012 11:43

NNA - 04/02/2012 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reassured European allies on Saturday that Washington remains committed to their security despite an austerity drive, pledging greater support for a NATO rapid-action force even as he cuts U.S. troops in the region.

Panetta said the U.S. Army would still have about 37,000 soldiers in Europe even after it withdraws two of its four combat brigades -- about 7,000 soldiers - as part of efforts to trim �487 billion from the defence budget over the next decade.

"Our military footprint in Europe will remain larger than in any other region of the world," Panetta told a Munich security conference.

"That's not only because the peace and prosperity of Europe is critically important to the United States, but because Europe remains our security partner of choice for military operations and diplomacy around the world. We saw that in Libya last year, and we see it in Afghanistan every day," he said.

The United States has about 80,000 military personnel in Europe when Air Force, Navy and other troops are included. There are 28 U.S. military bases - 16 Army, 8 Air Force and 4 Navy.

The U.S. decision to cut its troop presence in Europe has raised concerns among the North Atlantic allies about waning support for its treaty commitment to mutual security and whether NATO forces would be able to train together enough to be able to conduct joint wartime operations.

Panetta has said the United States would rotate U.S.-based soldiers to Europe for training on a regular basis. On Saturday he pledged to commit one U.S.-based brigade as Washington's contribution to the NATO Response Force.

"The NRF was designed to be an agile, rapidly deployable, multinational force that can respond to crises when and where necessary," he said. "The United States has endorsed the NRF but has not made a tangible contribution due to the demands of the wars - until now."

U.S. lawmakers have been critical of Europe for low levels of defense spending and have pressed for the withdrawal of American forces, saying it was time for the continent to shoulder more of the expense of defending itself.

But with all NATO allies facing budget constraints and falling defense spending, Panetta urged nations to work together to identify key military capabilities they would need over the next decade and cooperate to ensure they are maintained.

"We must all continue to invest in national defence and in the shared responsibility and capabilities of NATO in order to best manage the security challenges of the future," he said.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Syrians storm embassy in Cairo, rally in UK, US
 

Sat 4/02/2012 10:54

NNA - 0402/2012 (Reuters) - A crowd of Syrians stormed the Syrian embassy in Cairo smashing furniture and equipment and setting fire to parts of the building in protest over the latest bloodshed in the country, an embassy official and a witness said on Saturday.
Rallies also broke out outside Syrian embassies in Britain, Germany and the United States after human rights activists reported more than 200 people were killed in shelling by government forces in the city of Homs.
In Cairo, embassy official Ammar Mohamed said he had been told by security officials about the overnight attack and arrived at the site to assess the damage. The scene was calm by early morning and Egyptian police were guarding the embassy.

It was the second such attack on the mission. The embassy was broken into last week in another demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad who has turned his army against demonstrators seeking an end to his rule.
Hundreds of demonstrators also gathered at a police station a few streets from the Cairo embassy to demand the release of as many as 11 Syrians and an Egyptian who they said were detained during the protest at the mission.
"God you are so strong, help us secure victory over Bashar," chanted protesters outside the Cairo police station where they said the detainees from the demonstration were taken.
The gate of the embassy in central Cairo was broken and furniture and computers were smashed on the second floor of the building, a Reuters witness said, viewing the site after the attack. Parts of the first floor were burned, he said.
At the United Nations, the Security Council was due to meet later in the day to vote on a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Assad to resign.
In London, more than 100 people hurled stones at the Syrian embassy, smashing windows and shouting slogans, and five people were arrested after trying to break in, according to TV reports.
A live internet stream from the Washington rally showed dozens of people shouting "Syria soon will be free".
Syrians have also held regular protests outside the Cairo headquarters of the Arab League, which has suspended Syria's membership, imposed sanctions and sent Arab monitors to Syria to assess whether the government was heeding an Arab peace plan.
The League called on Assad to step aside and hand powers to a deputy to start a dialogue with the opposition. Arab officials travelled to New York to seek U.N. Security Council backing for the resolution.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Al-Araby: Russia's stance on Syrian unrest positive
 

Wed 1/02/2012 12:06

NNA - 1/2/2012 - The Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby Wednesday depicted Russia's stance regarding Syrian issue as positive.

Al-Araby said the positivity lies in what the stance bore of Moscow's call on the Syrian government and protesters to hold talks.

"The main target is to come up with a political solution to the Syrian crisis," he said.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Germany sees international resolution on Syria "urgent"
 

Tue 31/01/2012 18:13

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Germany said Tuesday it is urgent that the UN Security Council adopts resolution allowing exerting pressure on Damascus with a view to ceasing violence.

"An urgent resolution must be adopted sooner or later so that we can make progress during today's [Security Council] session," German Foreign Minister told a news conference in Cairo today, following his meeting with his Egyptian counterpart.

As deeming the situation in Syria as "unacceptable," the German Minister said the Security Council must condemn violence on this country.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Syrian authorities agree to Moscow talks - Russia
 

Mon 30/01/2012 17:01

NNA - 30/1/2012 - (Reuters) - Syria has agreed to take part in Moscow-mediated talks on solving the country's crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, calling on the Syrian opposition to join the planned negotiations.

"We have received a positive response from the Syrian authorities to our call (to hold talks in Moscow)," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We hope ... that the Syrian opposition will agree to that in the next few days, putting the interests of the Syrian people above all other concerns."

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Ahmadinejad latest warning
 

Sun 29/01/2012 14:39

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a stern warning against what he termed as western attempts at sawing seeds of religious-sectarianism in the region for the sake of salvaging Israel.

Ahmadinejad who addressed a conference of Islamist awakening in Tehran added that democracy emerging out of the barrel of western guns would never materialize.

The Iranian President said 6 billion dollars worth of western arms supplied to Arab countries were never meant for democracy rather than for war and destruction. He cited the example of western plots to strike at Syria via Turkey which he failed to call by name.

Ahmadinejad also condemned in vigorous terms what he termed as the liberty of offending God and religious sacrosancts in Europe on account of defending Zionist excesses.

Also taking the word pro-Iranian Palestinian official of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah, called on all Arabs and Muslims to rally about Iran which is the main sponsor of his organization. He stressed that Iran remains to be the main protagonist of anti-occupation resistance to Israel as the principle enemy.

Other speakers including Ali Akbar Wilayati stressed the Islamist character of the Arab revolutions and that all of them marched under the banner of Khumeini.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - US police arrests hundreds at Occupy Oakland
 

Sun 29/01/2012 11:17

NNA - 29/01/2012 Oakland police launched Sunday a brutal crackdown on protestors participating in Occupy Wall Street offshoot, arresting around 300 citizens.

The social justice movement spurred out of New York last summer, in a popular struggle against politics of Wall Street; hence, assuming the name of Occupy Wall Street.

Police stormed the rally in Frank Ogawa Plaza with tear gas and sound bombs. In turn, Oakland PD said protestors attacked officers with bottles and metal pipes, injuring three.

Less than two hours after arrests began, cops began erecting barricades around the plaza to curb further protests. However, protesters intend to reconvene this afternoon to regroup at the main branch of the city library.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - 26 perish in rehab center fire - Peru
 

Sun 29/01/2012 10:56

NNA - 29/01/2012 A fire ravished through a drug rehab facility in Peru, killing 26 and injuring 12 others, authorities reported Sunday.

The three story building situated on the outskirts of Lima was set ablaze when one of the patients set fire to his mattress, following a dispute with other residents at the facility.

Fire department commandant Antonio Zavala said most victims suffocated to death as doors of facility were locked and they could not escape.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


International - Yemeni chief arrives in US
 

Sun 29/01/2012 10:45

NNA - 29/01/2012 (Reuters) - Barely clinging to power, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in the United States on Saturday, apparently to treat burns and other wounds suffered in an assassination attempt in June.
U.S. and Yemeni officials confirmed his arrival for a private, short-term medical visit but withheld details. An aide said he was headed to New York but his whereabouts could not be confirmed.
Saleh, who has ruled the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country for more than three decades, traveled to the United States after spending a week in Oman under a plan for him to step down to end a year of protests against his rule.
Under a power transfer plan drawn up by Gulf Arab countries, Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is presiding over a national unity government with presidential elections set for Feb. 21.
U.S. officials first revealed in December Saleh wanted into the country for medical treatment for lingering injuries suffered on June 3, when a bomb blast ripped through a mosque within the presidential palace.
Saleh escaped with his life but suffered burns over much of his body. He went to Saudi Arabia for treatment after the attack and returned to Yemen in September.
Saleh, however, has publicly denied he needed medical attention, saying in December he planned to return to Yemen after a few days in America to help prepare for elections.
The attempt on Saleh's life came after he tried to duck the power-transfer accord, leading to street battles that devastated parts of the Yemeni capital.
Hundreds of people were killed during months of protests seeking Saleh's ouster, part of the Arab Spring that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and rattled other countries such as Syria.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia will not back UN call for Assad to go
 

Fri 27/01/2012 16:03

NNA - 27/1/2012 - Reuters - Russia will not support any U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resign, a senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying on Friday.

"Any decision about a future political settlement in Syria must be made during the political process without ... preliminary conditions," Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying.

"We cannot support a call to support Assad's departure in any U.N. Security Council resolution," he was quoted as saying.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


International - Iranian military jet crashes
 

Thu 26/01/2012 12:17

NNA - 26/1/2012 - Iranian military jet crashed in the early hours of Thursday near the Gulf coast, according to Fars news agency.

"An f-14 crashed three minutes after take-off at 4:30 am near the city of Bushehr", a local government official told the agency.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - EU imposes oil sanctions against Iran
 

Mon 23/01/2012 11:34

NNA - 23/1/2012 - EU agreed on Monday to impose an embargo on Iranian crude oil imports.

EU foreign ministers would meet today (Monday) to impose serious sanctions against Iran through banning the import of Iranian crude oil and imposing restrains on finance and gold sectors.

These measures are aimed to limit the Iranian capability to fund nuclear armed program amid rising fears of confrontations.

EU meeting came following the announcement that a U.S. aircraft carrier sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf, a day after Iran backed away from an earlier threat to take action if an American carrier returned to the strategic waterway.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Moscow denies diplomats' expulsion from Canada
 

Fri 20/01/2012 20:33

NNA - 20/01/2012 Russian Foreign Ministry rebuffed Friday media reports that four of its diplomats were forced out of Canada due to espionage charges.

Media rumors said earlier this week that four Russian diplomats were expelled from Canada due to their involvement in a spying case.

"The diplomats in question left Canada in 2011 upon completion of their mission," a statement by the Ministry said.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - France to avert military action against Iran
 

Fri 20/01/2012 14:58

NNA - 20/1/2012 - France will do its best to eschew any military intervention in Iran, France's Nicolas Sarkozi said as addressing the French diplomatic corps Friday.

He said any military action to coerce Iran to halt its nuclear program would only sow seeds of war and chaos throughout the Middle East and the world.

But the French President maintained that tightening a pile of firmer sanctions would be an alternative to any likely military intervention.


R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Sarkozy: France will not remain silent over oppression in Syria
 

Fri 20/01/2012 13:23

NNA - 20/1/2012 - The French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed Friday that France will not remain silent over the Syrian scandal, refusing to accept the brutal oppression conducted by the Syrian regime against the protestors, dragging the country into total chaos.
D.K./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Russia: Iran sanctions strangle economy
 

Wed 18/01/2012 10:28

NNA - 18/1/2012 Western newly imposed sanctions on Iran aim at strangling the country's economy, Russian News Agency reported Wednesday.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Gunmen kill tourists in northern Ethiopia

 

Tue 17/01/2012 21:34

NNA - 17/01/2012(Reuters) - Gunmen have killed five foreign tourists in Ethiopia's remote northern Afar region, after crossing into the Horn of Africa country from neighbouring Eritrea, state television said on Tuesday.
A Western diplomat told Reuters German nationals were among those killed in the attack which happened late on Monday. He did not confirm the total number of dead.
Afar is known to be a haunt of Ethiopian rebels who regularly cross over the border with Eritrea, Ethiopia's bitter foe, Addis Ababa says. Eritrean rebels and bandits are also in the area at times.

"Five foreign tourists were killed yesterday evening and two seriously injured when armed men attacked the group in Afar region. One tourist has escaped unharmed," Ethiopian state television said, citing security officials.
"The gunmen crossed the border from Eritrea," it said.

Five Europeans were kidnapped in 2007 in the barren, searingly hot corner of the Horn of Africa country where rock-strewn hills rise above vast deserts below sea-level.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Ban sees situation in Syria unacceptable
 

Mon 16/01/2012 17:06

NNA - 16/1/2012 - The situation in Syria is unacceptable, and the Security Council must have a serious stance to cease bloodshed in the country, UN Chief told a news conference in Abu Dhabi Monday.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - 5-Survivors plucked from Italian shipwreck
 

Sun 15/01/2012 15:04

NNA - 15/01/2012 (Reuters) - A South Korean honeymoon couple and an injured crewmember were plucked from a capsized Italian liner on Sunday, more than a day after it was wrecked, as rescue workers struggled to find any others still trapped on board.

Teams were painstakingly checking thousands of cabins on the Costa Concordia for people still unaccounted for after the huge vessel foundered and keeled over with more than 4,000 on board, killing at least three people and injuring 70.

The task is akin to searching a small town - but one tilted on its side, largely in darkness and partly submerged in freezing water. Scores of divers were taking part.

At about 1 p.m. rescue workers airlifted Manrico Gianpetroni, chief purser, hours after making voice contact with him several decks below.
Gianpetroni, who had a broken leg, was lifted from the ship on a stretcher by a helicopter and taken directly to hospital.
"I never lost hope of being saved. It was a 36-hour nightmare," he told reporters.
After midnight, rescue workers had found the two South Koreans still alive in a cabin, after locating them from several decks above, and brought them ashore looking dazed but unharmed.
The captain of the luxury 114,500-tonne ship, Francesco Schettino, was under arrest and accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, Italian police said.
Passengers, comparing the disaster to the movie "Titanic", told of people leaping into the sea and fighting over lifejackets in panic when the ship hit a rock and ran aground near the island of Giglio, late on Friday.
Two French tourists and a Peruvian crew member were known to have died. There was confusion about the number of people still unaccounted for. The president of the Tuscan region said the number stood at 17 but other estimates were as high as 34.
The vast hulk of the 290-metre-long cruise ship, resting half-submerged on its side, loomed over the little port of Giglio, a picturesque island in a maritime nature reserve off the Tuscan coast. A large gash was visible in its side.
Rescue workers including specialist diving teams were working their way through more than 2,000 cabins on the ship, a floating resort that boasted a huge spa, seven restaurants, bars, cinemas and discotheques.
As the search continued, there were demands for explanations of why the vessel had come so close to the shore and bitter complaints about how long it took to evacuate the terrified passengers after the ship ran aground late on Friday.
State prosecutor Francesco Verusio
said investigations might go beyond the captain.
"We are investigating the possible responsibility of other people who could be responsible for such a dangerous manoeuvre," he told SkyTG24 television. "The command systems did not function as they should have."


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - France can overcome crisis with reforms - Sarkozy
 

Sun 15/01/2012 14:09

NNA - 15/01/2012 (Reuters) - President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday France could overcome its debt crisis as long as it was prepared to pull together to adopt economic reforms, two days after the country lost its prized triple-A credit rating.

Sarkozy said he would announce reforms at the end of the month and that he intends to implement them rapidly following talks with union leaders and employers this coming week.
"I will tell them (the French people) the important decisions that we need to take without losing any time," he said in a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Michel Debre, father of the constitution of France's Fifth Republic.
"The crisis can be overcome provided we have the collective will and the strength to reform our country."
Three months away from a presidential election, Sarkozy has turned his focus to growth, vowing to overhaul welfare financing, company labour charges and job flexibility, with plans for a so-called "Social VAT" to fund welfare and a tax on financial transactions.
The president is due to meet union leaders and employers for talks on Wednesday.
Sarkozy did not directly address the decision by Standard Poor's to cut France's top-notch rating during the speech, despite criticism this weekend from opposition Socialist politicians who said it was his policies that had been downgraded, not France.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Three die after huge Italian cruise ship runs aground
 

Sat 14/01/2012 11:02

NNA - 14/01/2012 (Reuters) - At least three people were killed and rescuers were looking for other victims on Saturday after a large Italian cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground overnight, took on water and tipped over.

A dramatic nighttime rescue operation involving lifeboats, ships and helicopters was continuing hours after the 114,500 gross tonnes Costa Concordia hit a sandbar near the island of Giglio as passengers were eating dinner.

"We were sitting down do dinner and we heard this big bang. I think it hit some rocks. There was a lot of panic, the tables overturned, glasses were flying all over the place and we ran for the decks where we put on our life vests," passenger Maria Parmegiano Alfonsi told Sky Italia television.

The 290-metre-long ship took on water and started listing.

Pictures taken by rescued passengers after daybreak and broadcast on television showed the shiny, multi-story luxury vessel on its side and about half submerged on the sandbar just a few hundred metres (yards) from Giglio.

Coast guard Captain Luciano Nicastro and police official Giuseppe Lunardi said three people were confirmed dead, fewer than the six reported earlier by Italian media.

But, speaking on live television, Nicastro said rescue workers were still searching the ship, which had just started a winter Mediterranean cruise, and the waters around it.

Most of the 3,200 passengers and 1,023 crew on board the ship had been evacuated to the island of Giglio and from there were being taken to the mainland.

Alfonsi said she and other passengers were first put up in churches on the island and later, with only some blankets to protect them from the cold, were later taken to the mainland.

Nicastro said scuba divers were searching the water and rescue squads were looking in lower decks to see if any people were still on board.

Another unnamed coast guard official on television said the ship was believed to have suffered a large gash on its side.

Most of the passengers on board were believed to be Italian but the cruises are popular with foreigners too.

The cruise ship company said the cause of the incident was being investigated.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - UK, KSA to step up strategic partnership
 

Fri 13/01/2012 15:51

NNA - 13/1/2012 - Saudi King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz and UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, on Friday took up the means to beef up ties between "the world's strategic partners."

The pair met today in Riyadh over a wide-ranging array of most recent developments on both the local and international scenes.

"The visit comes within the framework of the continuous efforts aimed to boost relations between the strategic partners in the world," a statement by Cameron's press office indicated.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys an unmatched power in the region and Islamic world," it added.

The statement maintained that KSA is Great Britain's top trade partner in the Middle East, with an annual exchange volume mounting to 15 billion Pounds Sterling.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - France demands Syria for clarifications over French reporter death
 

Wed 11/01/2012 18:30

NNA - 11/1/2012 - France demanded clarifications over the circumstances of the death of France 2 reporter, Gilles Jacquier, in Syria today, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Wednesday.

"We sternly condemn this atrocious act and we call the Syrian authorities to guarantee the security of international journalists operating in Syria," Juppe said in a statement.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran official blames Israel for assassinating Iranian professor
 

Wed 11/01/2012 10:09

NNA - 11/1/2012 - Tehran accused Israel of the assassination of the Iranian university professor, according to AFP.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iranian professor killed by bomb in Tehran
 

Wed 11/01/2012 09:38


NNA - 11/1/2012 - An Iranian university professor was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran on Wednesday, according to Fars news agency.

Witnesses told Fars agency that they saw two people on the motorbike stick the bomb to the car. As well as the person killed in the car, a pedestrian was also killed by the blast. Another person in the car was gravely injured, they said.

A.A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran shall not succumb before sanctions, says Khamenei
 

Mon 9/01/2012 18:17

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Monday avowed that Iran shall not succumb before US and European sanctions imposed on Iran down to its controversial nuclear program.

Iran's most senior official said the Islamic Republic's firm decision was to resist pressures exerted by great powers.

"Leaders of the West have said repeatedly that they sought to frustrate the [Iranian] people through sanctions and pressures and to push officials to relinquish their projects," Iran's Supreme Leader said in a screened speech today.

The US and Europe have decided to tighten new pile of sanctions on Iran in an effort to make it renounce its nuclear program.

Iran announced today the start of uranium enrichment at underground Fordow and Natanz nuclear plants under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran's envoy to the agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Al-Alam TV network.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Pope urges 'fruitful dialogue' in Syria
 

Mon 9/01/2012 14:22

NNA - 9/1/2012 Pope Benedict XVI Monday said a "fruitful dialogue" between political forces in Syria should be encouraged in the presence of independent observers.

Pope Benedict called, before 160 ambassadors to the Vatican in a speech, for a halt of bloodshed in Syria.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 


International - N.Korea hails new leader as "genius of geniuses"
 

Sun 8/01/2012 14:52

NNA - 08/01/2012 North Korea praised Sunday its new leader as a genius among geniuses in a documentary aired on his birthday following sudden death of his father Kim Jong-Il last month.

State television showed the leader Kim Jong-Un, believed to be in his late 20s, driving a tank and giving orders to troops in artillery, navy and air force units. The documentary dubbed him as a "great successor" to his father who passed away due to a heart attack on December 17.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Ahmadinejad tours Latin America
 

Sun 8/01/2012 11:51


NNA - 08/01/2012 President of Iran left Tehran Sunday morning heading to Venezuela, as part of a five-day-trip to Latin America, during which he is scheduled to also visit Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador to work on fortifying bilateral relations with these four countries.

It will be Mahmud Ahmadinejad's fifth visit to Venezuela, to be followed by a trip to Nicaragua for Tuesday's inauguration of re-elected President Daniel Ortega, and then stops in Cuba and Ecuador. Ahmadinejad has been to all the countries before, and the visit seems aimed at reinforcing ties with leaders who speak up for Iran.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Chinese held for firebomb attack at Japan embassy in Seoul
 

Sun 8/01/2012 11:42

NNA - 08/01/2012 (Reuters): A Chinese man who reportedly said his grandmother was one of many thousnds forced into prostitution for the Japanese army during World War Two was arrested on Sunday for a firebomb attack at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, police said.

The 37-year-old man, identified by his family name Liu, hurled four petrol bombs at the embassy building in central Seoul on Sunday morning, scorching an outer part of the wall, a Seoul police officer said.

There were no reports of injuries.

Police were questioning Liu, a resident of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, who entered the country on a tourist visa via Japan late last month, to determine the reasons behind the attack, the officer said.

The Yonhap news agency said the man had told investigators that his grandmother had served as a "comfort woman" for Japanese troops and that he had staged the attack in protest against Japan's wartime atrocities.

Historians say hundreds of thousands of women from Asian countries, mostly Koreans and Chinese, were forced to work at front-line brothels for the Japanese military. The Korean peninsula was under Japansese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

Tokyo has apologised for its treatment of the women but refused to hold talks on compensating the ageing victims.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran welcomes US rescue of 13 fishermen
 

Sat 7/01/2012 15:27

NNA - 07/01/2012 Iran welcomed Saturday the compassionate act of the US Navy, following rescue of 13 Iranians from Somali pirates, dubbing it a "positive" move.

The US military reported one of its warships, the USS Kidd, rescued 13 Iranian fishermen from the ferocious clasp of Somali pirates after 45 days of capture. The pirates were taken into custody and the Iranians were released to return home on their dhow, which was refueled and restocked with provisions courtesy of the U.S. navy.

"We consider the actions of the U.S. forces in saving the lives of the Iranian fishermen to be a humanitarian and positive act and we welcome such behavior," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast in a statement, "we think all nations should display such behavior," he added.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Turkish ex-army chief in jail over anti-govt plot
 

Fri 6/01/2012 11:30

NNA - 06/01/2012 (REUTERS): Former Turkish armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug spent his first night behind bars on Friday, charged with trying to overthrow the government in an unprecedented development likely to exacerbate tensions with the military.

Basbug, who retired in 2010, is the highest-ranking officer to be caught up in the so-called Ergenekon case, a long-running crackdown on EU candidate Turkey's once all-powerful military and secularist establishment.

The former general was taken from an Istanbul courthouse in the early hours of Friday for a health check before being transported in a police convoy to Silivri prison, some 80 km (50 miles) west of the city, where hundreds of defendants in the Ergenekon case are being tried in a specially-built courtroom.

"The Republic of Turkey's 26th general chief of staff has been remanded in custody for forming and directing a terrorist group. I leave it to the great Turkish nation to judge," Basbug said as he was lead from the courtroom.

The decision to send Basbug to jail came hours after prominent Turkish journalists on trial over alleged ties to the ultra-nationalist Ergenekon network said the charges against them were "a massacre of justice".

Ergenekon is accused by prosecutors of being behind multiple conspiracies against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party government, and several hundred suspects, including retired senior military officers, academics, lawyers and journalists, have been detained in cases related to the network.

Basbug's lawyer said he would challenge the decision to jail him pending trial, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran tests ground-to-ship cruise missile
 

Mon 2/01/2012 14:11

NNA - 02/01/20122 Iran successfully tested Monday a Ghader ground-to-ship cruise missile on the last day of navy war games near the Strait of Hormuz, the official news agency IRNA reported.
The Ghader missile has a range of 200 kilometers (120 miles), and was built entirely by Iranian experts.
"This missile�successfully hit its target and destroyed it," Commodore Mahmud Mousavi told IRNA. He added that it was the first time the missile had been tested.
Iranian leaders and military officials have warned that additional Western sanctions could push them to close the Strait of Hormuz, an essential life-line for the transport of oil, as 40 percent of the world's oil passes through it.
The United States, which bases its Fifth Fleet in the Gulf, said it would not tolerate a closure of the strait.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Unknown assailants destroy John Paul II statue
 

Mon 2/01/2012 13:49


NNA - 02/01/2012 A statue of Pope John Paul II which stood erect in the Italian town of Riccione was wrecked by unknown goons, reported Italy's news agency ANSA Monday.
Local police is investigating the attack, which saw the head and hands of the statue smashed beyond repair.
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

International - Educate young for peace, Pope says at New Year Mass
 

Sun 1/01/2012 16:37

NNA - 01/01/2012 (Reuters) - Humanity faces a decisive challenge educating new generations in justice and peace in order to avoid the violent tragedies of the past, Pope Benedict said in his New Year address on Sunday.

Benedict, 84, marked his seventh New Year as pope by celebrating a Mass for several thousand people in St Peter's Basilica on the day the Roman Catholic Church calls its annual World Day of Peace.

The pope said this year's theme, "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace," is a task for every generation following the two world wars in the 20th century and other conflicts since. Educating the young "in knowledge of the truth, in fundamental values and virtues, is to look to the future with hope," he said in his homily.

Young people needed all-round education, and this required a social commitment to justice and peace, the leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics said. They must use advances in communications technology to promote peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, dialogue and understanding.

"Young people ... are open to these attitudes but the social reality in which they grow up can lead them to think and act in the opposite way, even to be intolerant and violent," he said.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Iran successfully tests domestically made nuclear fuel rods
 

Sun 1/01/2012 16:34

NNA - 01/01/2012 (Reuters) - Iran has successfully produced and tested fuel rods for use in its nuclear power plants, state television reported on Sunday, in a snub to international demands that it halt sensitive nuclear work.

The rods, which contain natural uranium, were made in Iran and have been inserted into the core of Tehran's research nuclear reactor, the television reported.

Nuclear fuel rods contain small pellets of fuel, usually low-enriched uranium, patterned to give out heat produced by nuclear reaction without melting down.

"This great achievement will perplex the West, because the Western countries had counted on a possible failure of Iran to produce nuclear fuel plates," the Tehran Times newspaper said.

The development was announced at a time of growing tension between Western powers and Iran after the U.N. nuclear agency reported in November that Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon. Secret research to that end may be continuing, it said.

The United States and its European allies have increased the sanctions pressure on Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers, to push Tehran to halt the enrichment.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Strong earthquake jolts Japan, no tsunami warning
 

Sun 1/01/2012 12:16

NNA - 01/01/2012 (Reuters) - A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 jolted eastern and northeastern Japan on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages and no tsunami warning was issued.

The earthquake measured 4 in central Tokyo, Fukushima and their surrounding areas on the Japanese intensity scale, which measures ground motion, according to Japan Meteorological Agency, which uses a different measuring system than the U.S. Geological Survey.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power said there were no reports of any abnormalities at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plan following the quake.

Some high-speed train services in northern Japan were suspended after the earthquake, but soon resumed operations, Kyodo news reported.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake, at a depth of nearly 217 miles, was recorded off Japan's southeastern Izu islands on Sunday at 0527 GMT, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has not issued a tsunami warning following the earthquake located south-southwest of Hachijo-jima in the Izu islands.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - Obama expects 2012 to witness more significant changes
 

Sat 31/12/2011 20:06

NNA - 31/12/2011 - US President, Barrack Obama, considered that this past year of 2011 has witnessed great challenges and progress. He referred herein to the complete withdrawal from Iraq and the beginning of withdrawal from Afghanistan. He expected that the upcoming year of 2012 will witness even more significant changes as well.
"We have put an end to a war, and have begun putting an end to another one," said Obama during his weekly speech via the radio and internet. He indicated that a huge blow has been directed to the 'Qaeda" and America's security has been boosted, referring herein to the killing of Ussama ben Laden last May in Afghanistan. He went on to indicate that the United States has supported its friends in the world in the wake of the natural earth quakes that have occurred; in addition to revolutions during a year that has witnessed what has come to be known as "Arab Spring."
With the outset of the New Year, Obama hoped that his country would have all it takes to confront the upcoming challenging changes, and to achieve a more significant economic growth; thus, allowing for additional job opportunities for middle class citizens. It is to note that these points will feature high amongst the major issues President Obama will focus on during his re-election campaign.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


International - British soldier killed in Afghanistan blast
 

Sat 31/12/2011 16:32

NNA - 31/12/2011 British Ministry of Defense announced Saturday the death of one of its soldiers in an explosion in Afghanistan, bringing up the toll of dead British soldiers to 46 in 2011.

The soldier was killed in an explosion while on foot patrol in the district of Helmand province.

The majority of Britain's 9,500 troops in Afghanistan are based in Helmand, a province in the south, fighting Taliban militants as part of an international coalition led by the United States.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - France urges Iran to respect Hormuz shipping rights
 

Wed 28/12/2011 18:47


NNA - 28/12/2011 - REUTERS - France urged Iran on Wednesday to adhere to international law allowing freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz after Tehran threatened to stop oil moving through the strategic shipping lane.

"We call on the Iranian authorities to respect international law and in particular the freedom to navigate international waters and straits," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a regular online news briefing on Wednesday.

"The Strait of Hormuz is an international strait. As a result, all ships regardless of their nationality benefit from the right of transit in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and international maritime customs," he added.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - EU adamant to tighten sanctions on Iran
 

Wed 28/12/2011 18:16

NNA - 28/12/2011 - The European Union on Wednesday said it would not go back on imposing new sanctions on Iran, albeit a menace by Tehran yesterday to close Hormuz Strait, the world's most important oil chokepoint.

An EU spokesperson revealed a possible decision on a new pile of sanctions on Iran could be issued during the European Foreign Ministers' Jan.30 meeting in Brussels.

But Iran's navy chief Habibollah Sayyari today told Iran's English language Press TV that "it is too easy for Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz."


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - 6.9 magnitude earthquake hits southeastern Russia
 

Tue 27/12/2011 18:53

NNA - 27/12/2011 A quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit southeastern Russia near the borders with Mongolia on Tuesday, US Geological Survey said.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - 25 dead in Nigeria church blast
 

Sun 25/12/2011 15:26

NNA - 25/12/2011 (Reuters) - At least 25 people were killed in a bomb attack on a church in a satellite town on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital Abuja on Sunday, emergency services said.
"I cannot give an exact figure of casualties now. But we (National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA) came with 25 body bags and we have exhausted them all. So at this point we are talking of 25 bodies in those bags," said Slaku Lugard, a NEMA official.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Pope ushers in Christmas, decries commercialisation
 

Sun 25/12/2011 12:08

NNA - 25/12/2011 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict ushered in Christmas for the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics on Saturday, urging humanity to see through the superficial glitter and commercialism of the season and rediscover the real significance of the humble birth of Jesus.

The 84-year-old pope, celebrating the seventh Christmas season of his pontificate, also urged that those marking the holiday in poverty, suffering or far from home not be forgotten.

At the start of a Christmas Eve service, he was wheeled up the central aisle of St Peter's Basilica standing on a mobile platform which he has been using since October.

The Vatican says it is to conserve his strength, allow more people to see him and guard against attacks such as one on Christmas Eve, 2009, when a woman lunged at him and knocked him to the ground. He is believed to suffer from arthritis in the legs.

But he seemed to be in good shape during the solemn service in Christendom's largest church as choirs sang, cantors chanted and organ music filled the centuries-old basilica.

Benedict, wearing resplendent gold and white vestments, urged his listeners to find peace in the symbol of the powerless Christ child in a world continually threatened by violence.

"Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God's humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity," he said in his homily to about 10,000 people in the basilica and millions more watching on television throughout the world.

"Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light."

The Christmas story of how Jesus, who Christians believe is the son of God, was born powerless "in the poverty of the stable" should remind everyone of the need for humility... let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals himself to the simple of heart," he said.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Mass rally in Moscow raises pressure on Putin
 

Sat 24/12/2011 15:43

NNA - 24/12/2011 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of flag-waving and chanting protesters called on Saturday for a disputed parliamentary election to be rerun, increasing pressure on Vladimir Putin as he seeks a new term as Russian president.

The protesters chanted "Russia without Putin" and "New elections, New elections" as speakers called for an end to Putin's 12-year domination of the country at the second big opposition rally in two weeks in central Moscow.

"Do you want Putin to return to the presidency?" novelist Boris Akunin asked from a large stage. Whistling and jeering, protesters chanted: "No!"

Police said at least 28,000 attended the rally on Prospekt Sakharova (Sakharov Avenue), named after Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov. One opposition leader put the crowd size at up to 100,000 people.

The big turnout is likely to encourage organisers to believe they can keep up the momentum of the biggest opposition demonstrations since Putin rose to power 12 years ago, although the prime minister seems intent on riding out the protests.

Tens of thousands of people protested in Moscow on Dec. 10 and many more demonstrated across the world's largest country the same day to complain against alleged vote-rigging in the Dec. 4 election won by Putin's United Russia party.

The protesters were heartened by the Kremlin's human rights council saying a new election should be held, although it is only an advisory body whose recommendations are regularly ignored by Russia's leaders.
Many of the protesters wore white ribbons, the symbol of the protests, and others carried balloons and flags at the rally, which brought together liberals, nationalists, anarchists, environmentalists and urban youth on a bitterly cold day.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Canada imposes sanctions on Assad
 

Fri 23/12/2011 20:33

NNA - 23/12/2011 Canada announced sanctions on Syrian regime and trade, a statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Friday.

The Syrian people's uprising, which began over nine months ago demanding the ousting of President Bashar Assad and his Baathist regime, was met with extreme violence in an attempt to put down the revolt.

"Canada will continue to put the clutch on Assad's regime," said Foreign Minister John Baird, "We will not sit idly by, not while Assad and his thugs continue to violate the rights of the Syrian people."

Canada planned the freezing of assets of persons loyal to Assad.
Baird added that Assad's violence must stop, and that, "He must go."


 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Saudi Air-force plane crashes, pilot survives
 

Tue 20/12/2011 19:31

NNA - 20/12/2011 A Royal Air-force plane from the fleet of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia crashed Tuesday while on a training mission near Defense Ministry, whereas its pilot successfully managed to eject in the nick of time.

Spokesperson at the Air-forces said that a bird collided with the plane causing an engine malfunction. "The pilot parachuted out of his plane and survived."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Palestine flag flutters over UNESCO in Paris
 

Tue 13/12/2011 14:34

NNA - 13/12/2011- The Palestinian flag flutters today for the first time over an organization affiliated with the United States, UNESCO, in Paris where Palestinians earned full membership on 31st of October, as mentioned by "French Press Agency" correspondent.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took part in the official celebration that was held for the occasion in which the Palestinian national anthem was performed.

This event recorded a diplomatic success for Palestinians towards the international recognition of their country.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - France finds no relation between UNIFIL attack and Syrian uprising
 

Fri 9/12/2011 20:08


NNA - 09/12/2011 Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs denied Friday finding any relation between attack on French UNIFIL contingent in south Lebanon and France's role in events in Syria.
French government voiced strict condemnation of violence used against civilian protestors in Syria, and called upon Bashar Assad to step down. Today, four French soldiers and a Lebanese civilian were wounded when a bomb went off near a UNIFIL patrol in Naba'a area located between Housh and Burj al Shamali towns east of Tyre.

"We do not have any components that allow us to charge anyone yet," said spokesman Bernard Lavaro, adding that the role of French unit within the UNIFIL may be modified.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Juppe condemns attack against UNIFIL
 

Fri 9/12/2011 14:37

NNA - 9/12/2011 French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe Friday said France is resolved to proceed with practicing its role within UNIFIL.

"I condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly attack carried out against UNIFIL this morning, wounding five French peacekeepers and a civilian," he said.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


International- Pakistani president suffers minor heart attack
 

Wed 7/12/2011 10:42

NNA- 7/12/2011- Pakistani Minister Moustapha Khokhar told Agency of France Press (AFP) that the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari suffered yesterday (Tuesday) a minor heart attack.

He added that " (the Pakistani President) is now in a good health condition and does not intend to resign."

Zaradari was transported yesterday (Tuesday) to Dubai where he had medical tests and check-up.

It has been mentioned that the Pakistani President would return to Pakistan tomorrow (Thursday).

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Moscow attempts to cursh protestors
 

Tue 6/12/2011 14:33

NNA - 06/12/2011 (Reuters): Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Tuesday any unsanctioned street protests must be stopped.

"Those who hold sanctioned demonstrations should not have their rights limited in any way -- and that is what we are observing now," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the day after several thousand Russians protested against the result of Sunday's parliamentary election, which they said was rigged.

"The actions of those who hold unsanctioned demonstrations must be stopped in the appropriate way," he said.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Germany recalls its ambassador in Tehran for deliberations
 

Wed 30/11/2011 19:06

NNA - 30/11/2011 German Foreign Ministry summoned its Ambassador to Tehran on Wednesday for deliberations, in the wake of demonstrators'' attack on British Embassy in the Iranian capital, German Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Considering Tuesday incident [Embassy attack] in Tehran, Foreign Minister Gido Festervelli recalled German Ambassador in Tehran to Berlin for deliberations", statement said.

--------------L.Y
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - London tells citizens in Iran to stay home
 

Tue 29/11/2011 20:45

NNA - 29/11/2011 The UK asked all its nationals residing in or visiting Iran to keep to their homes and avoid the scene of attack on British embassy Tuesday.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Putin runs for presidency...again
 

Sun 27/11/2011 13:09

NNA - 27/11/2011 United Russia ruling party nominated Sunday Vladimir Putin as its candidate in a March 4 presidential vote, paving the way for his return to the country's top office after four years as Premier.

Putin, happy with the nomination, accepted it even before being subject to a final vote at a United Russia congress also attended by President Dmitry Medvedev. Putin and Medvedev had announced plans to swap jobs next year at party meeting on Sept. 24, according to Reuters.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Sarkozy receives Hariri
 

Thu 24/11/2011 13:19

NNA - 24/11/2011 French President Nicolas Sarkozy received this morning former Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
The meeting focused on the latest developments, especially those linked to the funding of the Special tribunal for Lebanon, and recent events on the regional scene.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Italian plane crashes in Dubai
 

Fri 18/11/2011 19:39

NNA - 18/11/2011 Italian military aircraft crashed Friday off the shores of the United Arab Emirates, with both pilot and co-pilot ejecting in the nick of time, stated Dubai police.

The plane took part in Dubai's Air-show and was bound home before crashing. The Air-show opened last Sunday and closed Thursday. Over a thousand exhibitors from some 50 countries attended the show.

The pilot and his assistant were rescued and rushed to hospital for treatment.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Juppe: France summons its Ambassador to Syria
 

Wed 16/11/2011 17:04

NNA - 16/11/2011 - Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe summoned Wednesday the French Ambassador to Syria Eric Chevallier after the violent acts targeting the French "interests" in Damascus.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International (corrected) - Mexican interior minister perishes in helicopter crash
 

Fri 11/11/2011 20:53

NNA - 11/11/2011 Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Blake was killed in a helicopter crash on Friday, statement by cabinet said.

Mexican television images showed the scattered wreckage of the helicopter on a hillside south of the capital, and the government confirmed that Blake and all others on board were killed. It did not say what caused the crash.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Mexican interior minister parishes in helicopter crash
 

Fri 11/11/2011 20:48

NNA - 11/11/2011 Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Blake was killed in a helicopter crash on Friday, statement by cabinet said.

Mexican television images showed the scattered wreckage of the helicopter on a hillside south of the capital, and the government confirmed that Blake and all others on board were killed. It did not say what caused the crash.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - (corrected) Greece's Papandreou steps down
 

Wed 9/11/2011 19:30

NNA - 9/11/2011 - Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, officially resigned Wednesday and wished success for the new Premier, in a screened message broadcast shortly before an expected meeting with President Carlos Papoulias.

He hoped that the new political agreement government, to be soon formed, would "address a strong message to our partners, as per which we, the Greek, know how to shoulder our responsibilities and cooperate."


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Greece's Papandreo steps down
 

Wed 9/11/2011 19:21

NNA - 9/11/2011 - Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreo, officially resigned Wednesday and wished success for the new Premier, in a screened message broadcast shortly before an expected meeting with President Carlos Papoulias.

He hoped that the new political agreement government, to be soon formed, would "address a strong message to our partners, as per which we, the Greek, know how to shoulder our responsibilities and cooperate."


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International = Iranian Foreign Ministry: we are ready for talks on our nuclear program
 

Wed 9/11/2011 19:09

NNA - 9/11/2011 Iran is ready to hold "beneficial and positive" talks on its nuclear program, if undertaken on the basis of equality and respect, Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
"We have always voiced our readiness to hold fruitful and positive talks", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mahmenbrast stressed, reiterating that the success of such talks is conditioned on being undertaken on the basis of equality and respect of people's rights.
Mahmenbrast stressed that confrontation approach does not constitute a good path for talks.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Ahmadinejad: Israel's end is near
 

Mon 7/11/2011 13:55

NNA - 07/11/2011 Iranian President Ahmadinejad accused Monday Israel and the US of seeking world support for a military assault on Iran, in an interview with Egyptian newspaper Akhbar.

Israeli President Shimon Peres warned Iran Sunday of the increasing possibility of an attack. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad countered that by warning Peres of any attack on Iran, stating that the Zionist state was bound to collapse.

"Israel and the West, particularly America, fear Iran's capabilities and role," he said, adding that the US and Israel were shoring up international support for a military operation to halt Iran's position. "The arrogant should know that Iran will not allow them to take any action against it."

Ahmadinejad accused Washington of trying to "Save the Zionist entity, but it will fail to do so." He repeated Iran's frequent denial of seeking nuclear armament and asserted that its atomic program was purely for peaceful purposes.
"[Israel] can be compared to a liver transplanted in a body that rejected it," he said. "Yes it will collapse and its end will be near."

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Lavrov stands by Iran
 

Mon 7/11/2011 11:07

NNA - 07/11/2011 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Monday that his country is against any military hostility on Iran, dubbing such an act a "grave mistake." Lavrov made his comments at the end of talks held with his Irish counterpart Eamon Gilmore.

Israeli President Shimon Peres warned on Sunday that an attack on Iran was becoming increasingly likely, days before a report by the UN's nuclear watchdog on Iran's nuclear program.

"Military intervention only leads to a multiple rise in casualties and human suffering," said Lavrov, adding that there can be no military solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, "just like there can be none for any other problem in the modern world."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Maliki visits Washington Dec 12
 

Fri 4/11/2011 19:36

NNA - 4/11/2011 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki visits Washington on Dec 12, 2011, and will meet with US President Barrack Obama, to discuss strategic partnership between the US and Iraq, the White House announced in a statement on Friday.
"President Obama hails the sacrifice and success of the Iraqi people and all those who served in Iraq in the aim of reaching these rich moments in promises for a permanent friendship between the US and Iraq", White House said.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Russia hopes to join WTO in December
 

Sun 30/10/2011 13:29

NNA - 30/10/2011 An official visit by Swiss Foreign Minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, to Moscow resulted in optimistic talks that Russia may join the World Trade Organization (WTO) by end of year, Reuters reported.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev kindled similar aspirations, and was reported stating that Russia "also very much wants that."
R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Bomber attacks Afghan capital
 

Sat 29/10/2011 10:39

NNA - 29/10/2011 A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of foreign troops in Kabul, Reuters reported Saturday.

Spokesman for Kabul police chief reported no details about casualties as of yet.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Commonwealth: Monarch's first born ascends throne
 

Fri 28/10/2011 20:20

NNA - 28/10/2011 Sixteen member countries of the Commonwealth agreed Friday to change succession rules allowing the British monarch's first-born child, girl or boy, to ascend the throne.

Commonwealth national leaders reversed centuries of tradition by also agreeing at a summit in the Australian city of Perth to lift a ban on monarchs marrying Roman Catholics.

"The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic - this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we have become," British Prime Minister David Cameron told Perth reporters.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Gunman shoots at US embassy in Bosnia
 

Fri 28/10/2011 18:34

NNA - 28/10/2011 A gunman opened fire at the United States embassy in Sarajevo, wounding one security guard, Bosnian state radio reported Friday.

Police cordoned off the area in the central district of the Capital. The gunman armed with a Kalashnikov rifle appeared to be middle aged Wahhabi Islamist. He was shot by a police sniper after an altercation The assailant was reported by police to be wounded but still alive.

The US embassy made a short statement confirming that an incident took place within its vicinity. For the time being the embassy is locked down. No further details were issued.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Obama supports new Crown Prince
 

Fri 28/10/2011 18:21

NNA - 28/10/2011 President Barrack Obama congratulated Saudi Arabia for choosing a new Crown Prince, a White House statement said Friday.

Following the passing of Sultan bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, Prince Nayef bin Abdelaziz was declared the new Crown Prince.

The US administration praised the 35 year long career of Prince Nayef as Interior Minister of the Kingdom. "The United States recognizes and respects his commitment towards combating terrorism," Obama said.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Russia alerts U.S. not to issue nuclear report
 

Wed 26/10/2011 12:20

NNA - 26/10/2011 Russia warned Wednesday the U.S. from issuing its next quarterly report on Iran which is thought to increase doubts over the Iranian Nuclear Program.

"This report might harm diplomatic endeavors aiming at solving the major forces' conflict with Iran," Russia said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report issuance timing might hamper any attempt to conduct serious talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.

Hence, Russia urged IAEA to enclose more civility in handling the publication of such a report on the Iranian cause.

"Such a delicate issue requires serious, responsible, and unbiased management," the statement said.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Turkey quake death toll rises
 

Mon 24/10/2011 13:39

NNA - 24/10/2011 Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bashir Atalay said Monday that the earthquake's death toll rose to 239 killed people and over 1300 injured.

During a press conference, Atalay said major relief campaign is taking place whereby tents are being built and food supplements distributed.

As a result of this massive earthquake, the death toll might increase, Atalay said.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Washington demands clarification over Gaddafi's death
 

Fri 21/10/2011 21:11

NNA - 21/10/2011 The US Administration requested transparency from Libya's National Transitional Council in circumstances of Gaddafi's death, a Washington source said Friday.

"The Obama administration would like prisoners to be treated in a humane manner," Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mark Toner said.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Obama: Iraq war over end of 2011
 

Fri 21/10/2011 19:59

NNA - 21/10/2011 US President Barack Obama announced Friday that war in Iraq will be over by end of 2011, in a statement given from the White House.

The 9 year long war in Iraq will come to a conclusion as American troops return gradually to their homeland. The last of these troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by end of 2011.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - EU imposes sanctions against five over Saudi envoy scheme
 

Fri 21/10/2011 16:03

NNA - 21/10/2011 - The European Union declared on Friday an intention to take steps against five people involved in the alleged Iranian assassination attempt of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

"Following the frustrated plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., the Council subjected five persons to EU restrictive measures aimed at combating terrorism," the Council of EU governments said in a statement.

The statement also indicated that their financial assets in the EU would be frozen and that they would have no access to their funds.

"Member states will afford each other the widest possible assistance with respect to enquiries related to these individuals," the statement read.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - NATO operation winds up, says Juppe
 

Fri 21/10/2011 10:50

NNA - 21/10/2011 French Foreign Minister said Friday that the NATO operation in Libya ought to be considered "finished" now that Gaddafi had been killed.

"We can now say that the military operation is finished, that the Libyan territory is under the National Transitional Council (NTC) control and that, other than few transitory measures in the week to come, Nato operation has arrived at its end," he told Europe 1 radio.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - UN urges to cease violence in Syria
 

Mon 17/10/2011 14:40

NNA - 17/10/2011 - The UN renewed calls on Monday to cease violence in Syria immediately, calling President Assad to accept an international investigation into human rights' violations.
Speaking from Bern today, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki -moon said murdering Syrian civilians must be stopped immediately. He reminded that he had warned Assad to stop "before it was too late."
According to Ban, 3000 people were killed during the repression campaign leveled by the Syrian regime.
R.A.H.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Ki-moon calls for listening to the demonstrating youth
 

Sun 16/10/2011 23:11

NNA - 16/10/2011 - United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, considered that ever since the dawn of the Arab Spring, the youth of the world have resorted to the streets demanding more opportunities to partake in the economic and social life. He added that their future is our future. Hence, he called for listening to the youth demonstrators for fear that the coming centuries would bear instability and oppression, which would constrain aspirations for peace and security flourishing for all.
Ban-Kimoon's words came during the opening Sunday of the 125th conference by the World Parliamentary Union taking in the Swiss Capital, with around 1200 delegates from 130 states participating.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Hammond named Britain's Defense Secretary
 

Fri 14/10/2011 20:39

NNA - 14/10/2011 Philip Hammond was named new Defense Secretary of Britain Friday following sudden resignation of Liam Fox.

Former Defense Secretary resigned Friday after scandalous outing of his friendship with a business man who posed as his adviser. Fox admitted he had allowed the lines between his personal and professional life to blur.

Hammond is a Conservative Party politician, who served as Transport Secretary. Many viewed him to be on the right of the governing Party, but not to the same degree as Fox.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Vatican urges to protect peace between Copts, Muslims
 

Wed 12/10/2011 14:37

NNA - 12/10/2011 - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called for peaceful coexistence among communities in Egypt.

At least 20 persons were killed and over 150 were wounded in fierce clashes which erupted after an attack on a Coptic Church in Egypt Sunday.

The incident earned the Pope's "deep grief," as he mentioned in a word he delivered today at Saint Peter square.

He voiced support for the Egyptian civil and spiritual authorities and urged them to face bids aiming to sabotage Christians-Muslims coexistence.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - IMF expects recession in 2012
 

Wed 5/10/2011 13:09
NNA - 5/10/2011 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Wednesday that it doesn't rule out the possibility of an international recession in 2012 parallel to a regress in the economic activity.

The IMF director in Europe, Antonio Borges, said in a press conference held in Brussels that a slight growth is expected in 2012, yet the economic activity might be regressing what makes more likely the international recession.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Earthquake jolts Japan
 

Thu 29/09/2011 16:47

NNA - 29/9/2011 - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 hit the northeastern prefecture in Japan on Thursday.

The epicenter is situated off Fukushima, which was struck last March by a violent earthquake, American CBS network said.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Palestine's membership bid 'legitimate', says EU Parliament
 

Thu 29/09/2011 16:20

NNA - 29/9/2011 - European Parliament said Palestinian Authority's bid for a UN membership is legitimate, in a decision approved Thursday.

The Parliament called therein upon its members to sidestep divisions through a unified position vis-a-vis PA's bid.

It also called Israel to cease settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Some states, namely France, have told the UN last week that they backed granting Palestine the capacity of an interim observatory state.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Typhoon "Nesat" hits HK
 

Thu 29/09/2011 11:19

NNA - 29/9/2011 The Hong Kong stock market, schools, and most of the government's institutions will remain shut down on Thursday as it has been hit by the Typhoon "Nesat" which left at least 35 dead in Philippines.

The Hong Kong Observatory signaled at night a N.8 warning when heavy rains and severe winds blew in the region.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - No shortcut to end Palestinian-Israeli conflict, says Obama
 

Wed 21/09/2011 19:25

NNA - 21/9/2011 - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said there is no shortcut to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in reference to the Palestinian bid for a UN full membership.

Speaking before the UN General Assembly, Obama said he was convinced that there cannot be any shortcut to finish a decades-aged conflict.

"Peace cannot come through statements and resolutions at the UN, or else, it would have been accomplished by now," he added.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Obama calls UNSC to impose sanctions on Syria
 

Wed 21/09/2011 19:14

NNA - 21/9/2011 - US President Barack Obama called the Security Council to impose sanctions on Syria, in a word he delivered before the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

"There is no excuse for idleness. It is time that the UNSC imposes sanctions on the Syrian regime," he said.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Yemeni Vice Premier calls for cease fire in Sanaa
 

Tue 20/09/2011 21:00

NNA - 20/9/2011 Yemeni Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi called on Tuesday for a cease fire between Yemeni loyal forces and opponents to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital Sanaa, Yemeni Defense Ministry said.
It was reported that partial tranquility is prevailing this evening in Sanaa, after a day of bloody clashes that led to the killing of seven people, raising the death toll to more than 60 in three days.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


International - Air tragedy in Reno kills 3
 

Sat 17/09/2011 11:38

NNA - 17/09/2011 An air racing show in Nevada ended in tragedy on Friday as a World War II fighter plane flown by veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward plunged into the ground killing 3 people and injuring more than 50 spectators.

Reports from the scene of the crash stated that the plane spiraled out of control without warning and appeared to disintegrate upon impact in Reno.
An event official indicated that mechanical problems were to blame for the accident. However, authorities opened an investigation into the crash hoping to find further answers to avoid future tragedies of the sort.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved