Video: Dr. Kizza Besigye sworn in as Uganda’s president on May 11, 2016

Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye being sworn in as Uganda's president. —Screen capture

Newscast Media KAMPALA—Opposition leader Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye was sworn in today May 11, 2016 as Uganda’s president, with thousands of Forum of Democratic Change (FDC) supporters cheering him.

Besigye asserted that any swearing in by his opponent Yoweri Museveni, would be illegitimate because he (Besigye) won the election, and has evidence to support his claims.

Holding a Bible in his right hand, Besigye made the utterance, “I, Kizza Besigye Kifefe, swear in the name of the Almighty God, that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Uganda and that I shall preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Uganda. So help me God.” CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - May 12, 2016 at 2:44 am

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Senior sheriff official resigns after racist e-mails discovered

Newscast Media LOS ANGELES—A senior official at the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department resigned Sunday following criticism over e-mails he sent disparaging blacks, Muslims, Latinos and women, the department said in a statement.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell said he accepted the resignation of his chief-of-staff Tom Angel after the emergence of emails he forwarded from his work account while serving as a top police official in Burbank city near Los Angeles in 2012 and 2013.

According to the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the emails, one message on Jan. 7, 2012 lists a series of terrorist attacks attributed to “devout Muslim male extremists” and says “Muslims, gotta love em can’t punish em…….?”

Another e-mail read: “I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”

McDonnell said he found the e-mails both “inappropriate and unprofessional” and deeply troubling.

“Chief Angel has offered his resignation, and I have accepted it,” he said, adding he hoped to turn the situation into “a learning opportunity” for all personnel in the sheriff’s department.

Officials at the sheriff’s office in Burbank could not be reached for comment, but Angel had earlier told the Times he did not mean to embarrass or demean anyone, saying it was unfortunate his work emails had not remained private.

“Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn’t have forwarded,” Angel told the Times. “I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes.”

The resignation comes after three San Francisco police officers left their jobs last week after they were found to have sent racist and homophobic text messages and emails in which they referred to minorities as “barbarians” and “wild animals.”

Sources: Daily Star

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - May 2, 2016 at 7:39 pm

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Venezuela’s Maduro continues to hold the pieces together

Newscast Media CARACAS—It’s a new time in Venezuela. On Sunday, the clocks in the South American country were brought forward to save electricity. The switch to daylight saving time could be a harbinger of political change.

Over the past several days, more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have signed a petition for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro. Thanks to his mother – who smuggled the petition into the prison where he has been held since 2014 – opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was also able to sign it.

“I’m full of hope,” Lopez has written about the petition. “The signs suggest that change is on the way.”

The response to the petition has emboldened the opposition, which also won parliamentary elections in December 2015. This week, the lists of signatures are scheduled to be put before the national electoral council for inspection. If the council decides that they are sufficient, a referendum can be held to vote Maduro out of office.

The clock is ticking for the Bolivarian Revolution announced by Maduro’s more charismatic presidential predecessor, the now-deceased Hugo Chavez, after his election in 1998. Seventeen and a half years on, Venezuela – the country with the biggest oil reserves in the world – is economically and politically on the brink.

Both Chavez and Maduro believe outside influences are behind the sabotage of Venezuela’s financial system, in an effort to hijack the country’s oil, just like what happened in the Middle East.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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Massive data leak of offshore intrigues has world leaders panicking

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—World leaders have scrambled to react to the leak of a trove of documents linking many of them to secretive offshore companies that enabled vast sums of money to move around the world hidden from law enforcement and regulators.

A massive report called The Panama Papers, published simultaneously by multiple news organizations in multiple languages on April 3, divulged details about the offshore holdings of 12 current or former heads of states, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca also revealed that relatives or associates of 17 other current or former leaders held offshore accounts, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Several world leaders on April 4 confronted the report head-on, saying the report did not reveal anything implicating them in wrongdoing.

Poroshenko took to Facebook to defend himself after the leaked documents reportedly showed that he moved his confectionary business, Roshen, to the British Virgin Islands in August 2014 amid some of the heaviest fighting between Kyiv’s forces and Russia-backed separatists.

“Having become president, I recused myself from the management of my assets and delegated this to the respective consulting and law firms,” Poroshenko wrote. “I expect that they will provide all necessary details to the Ukrainian and international media.”

He added that he took the issues of income declaration, paying taxes, and conflicts of interest “very seriously” and was in “in full compliance with the Ukrainian and international private law.”

Earlier in the day, the head of Ukraine’s populist Radical party called for an impeachment investigation of Poroshenko over allegations he used the offshore account to avoid taxes. Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office said it had seen no evidence that Poroshenko committed a crime based on the leaked documents.
In Moscow, meanwhile, the Kremlin slammed the leak of the tax documents as an attack aimed primarily at Putin.

Putin is not named in the leaked documents. But the report claims to have documented a vast network of shady money transfers, several of which it details, used by close associates of Putin to funnel as much as $2 billion into offshore shell companies.

“Putin, Russia, our country, our stability and the upcoming [parliamentary] elections are the main target, specifically to destabilize the situation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on April 4.

He added that there was “nothing new or concrete” about the Russian leader in the leaks and suggested that U.S. intelligence was behind the revelations.

“We know this so-called journalist community,” Peskov said. “There are a lot of journalists whose main profession is unlikely to be journalism: a lot of former officials from the [U.S.] State Department, the CIA, and other special services.”

The information stems from millions of e-mails, spreadsheets, corporate records, and others materials leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm with representatives in dozens of countries that specializes in setting up shell companies, the report says.

The leaked data was initially provided to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. It was then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), based in Washington, which collaborated with media outlets around the world over the course of a year to organize, analyze, and publish the materials.

The British government has requested a copy of the leaked data, which could prove embarrassing for Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been a vocal critic of tax evasion.

His late father, Ian Cameron, is mentioned in the documents, as are members of the prime minister’s Conservative Party in the upper house of parliament, former Conservative lawmakers, and party donors, according to British media reports.

“We will closely examine this data and will act on it swiftly and appropriately,” said Jennie Granger, director-general of enforcement and compliance at the British Revenue and Customs.

Cameron’s spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the prime minister’s family had invested in offshore entities set up by his father, calling it a “private matter.”

Source: Radio Free Europe

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - April 5, 2016 at 2:45 am

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Museveni’s men accused of stealing Mbabazi’s evidence

Newscast Media KAMPALA—Opposition group Go Forward, that filed a lawsuit against Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni, on behalf of Amama Mbabazi, has accused the Uganda Police of breaking and entering the offices of lawyers representing Mbabazi.

Crucial evidence and numerous computers are now missing, as the case unfolds to determine whether or not Museveni rigged the election that occurred on February 18. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 11, 2016 at 10:20 pm

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Russia’s Lavrov and Sec. Kerry hail Syrian ceasefire progress

Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday, during a phone conversation, praised “real progress” of the Syrian ceasefire agreement, that has ensured a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

“The two sides expressed an overall positive assessment of real progress in achieving a truce on Syrian soil, which is generally respected and has already led to a sharp decrease in the level of violence,” Russian Foreign Ministry said in an online statement.

Lavrov and Kerry stressed the need to prevent delay of intra-Syrian talks under UN auspices, as well as to provide humanitarian aid to blocked areas in Syria.

“It is essential to ensure from the very beginning the participation (in the intra-Syrian negotiations), along with the delegation of the Syrian government, of a wide spectrum of all opposition forces, including Syrian Kurds,” the ministry quoted Lavrov as saying.

The two diplomats confirmed that joint efforts would be paid by both countries’ representatives in Geneva to ensure smooth work of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) task forces on humanitarian and ceasefire issues.

Lavrov and Kerry discussed a schedule of political contacts for the nearest future.

They also agreed to continue cooperate with all involved parties in order to find ways to settle Yemeni conflict through political dialogue.

The Russia-U.S.-backed cessation of hostilities plan went into effect at midnight last Friday in all Syrian cities. The truce has so far been largely adhered to despite sporadic violations.

Currently, a UN-mediated intra-Syrian talk is scheduled for March 9 in Geneva as a fresh diplomatic effort to politically settle the Syria crisis.

Source: Xinhua

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm

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The U.S. pressures Europe to spend more on the military

Newscast Media COPENHAGEN, Denmark—According to Danish newspaper Berlingske, the US is pushing the line that the ‘Russian threat’ is real and must be confronted via military means, essentially starting a new Cold War. However, some nations remain skeptical of Washington’s rhetoric.

This diplomatic effort comes ahead of the upcoming NATO summit scheduled to take place in Warsaw in July, as Washington seeks to persuade European member states to increase their financial contribution to the alliance’s needs. FULL STORY>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - March 1, 2016 at 8:48 pm

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Clinton to shift focus to Trump’s unpredictable campaign

Newscast Media COLUMBIA, South Carolina—Hillary Clinton is shifting her focus to Republican front-runner Donald Trump as her party looks for the best ways to challenge the billionaire’s unpredictable nature in a general election.

As Clinton enters the series of Super Tuesday contests this week after a strong win in South Carolina’s primary over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democrats are stockpiling potential ammunition about Trump, reviewing court filings, requesting information about his business dealings and conducting new polls to test lines of attack.

Among the likely options: Questioning Trump’s qualifications and temperament to be president, scrutinizing his business practices and bankruptcy filings, and re-airing his inflammatory statements about women and minorities who will be central to the Democrats’ efforts in November. FULL STORY>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:45 pm

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Uganda: Compromised election likely to yield faulty results

Newscast Media KAMPALA, Uganda—The election in Uganda that concluded on February 18, was as embarrassing to the Government of Uganda, as it was controversial.

From the day Electoral Commissioner Badru Kiggundu had to apologize for the inclusion of 20,000 ghost voters, to the day he struggled to explain why voting had been delayed for almost five hours in an opposition candidate’s stronghold, voters did not rule out the hunch that there was a great chance the election had been compromised.

“At least 20, 000 names were to be deleted – because those people had either died or were not known to the people in the polling stations,” Kiggundu cried.

As a sign of atonement, Dr. Kiggundu even promised that in this 2016 election cycle, he would announce the correct winner.

As of Friday no winner had been announced by Museveni’s electoral commission, but Dr. Kizza Besigye, the main challenger of the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, and General Mugisha Muntu were arrested after it was revealed that they planned to announce the election results Besigye’s organization tallied, at a press conference.

Results from Team Besigye Tally Center

According to Team Besigye’s numbers, Kizza Besigye has won the 2016 election with 51.9 percent, while Yoweri Museveni trailed at 44.6 percent.

Besigye had been arrested earlier, because, according to him, he bum-rushed a house in the Naguru area suspected of rigging votes in favor of Museveni.

Team Besigye says that their candidate had just cause, because they observed suspicious activity from a Toyota Corolla, registration numbers UAD 040K, a Toyota Wizard registration numbers UAV 311L, and a Toyota Premo UAK 453B, that they allege were carrying pre-checked ballots and government agents, for the purpose of rigging the election, as shown in the memo below:

Team Besigye explains the suspected vote rigging

After voting on February 18, having gathered enough information about the house in Naguru, Besigye concluded that an illegal police ring was operating from the premises with the purpose of compromising the election, and even the electoral commissioner doesn’t know where the results he is reading are coming from.

Team Besigye explains vote rigging

This of course is a source of embarrassment for Museveni, who has since charged Besigye with trespassing on a military installation, charges Besigye says are a sham.

Museveni’s paranoia was on display yesterday when government blocked social media outlets partly to demoralize the population, and stifle mobilization of the masses to polling centers. The government says, it simply blocked social media to stop the spread of lies, and for national security purposes.

While Museveni relied heavily on media houses, that acted as his press secretaries to get his message out, Besigye relied on an organic grassroots structure to gain traction against the incumbent. Tens of thousands descended upon venues that Besigye had been scheduled to make appearances at, and offered him their support in form of money and gifts, as they implored him to lead their poverty-stricken nation.

Many had wondered if Besigye could convert crowds into votes, in this two-horse race, yet if his tally center proves accurate, he will go down in history as the man who ended Museveni’s dictatorship that has been suffocating Uganda and its neighbors.

Moreover, despite Dr. Badru Kiggundu’s promise to announce the winner this time, there is trouble in the Museveni camp, and he (Museveni) understands that his masters in the United States will not tolerate any foolishness he attempts to exhibit, that will cost the citizens of Uganda their lives.

Secretary John Kerry has made it very clear to Museveni in a phone call today, that “The United States stands by the Ugandan people as they undertake this most essential democratic endeavor.”

As of Friday night, Besigye’s wife Winnie Byanyima said she was unaware of Besigye’s whereabouts, and his phone was turned off. It is likely that by Saturday, a few phone calls from Washington to Museveni, will secure Besigye’s release.

Investigating the inconsistencies will be no good, since it will be done by government agents, who are viewed as having “unclean hands”. Because the election is tainted with fraud, and because fraud vitiates everything it enters, legally, the election should be declared null and void, and a new one scheduled within 30-60 days to uphold the democratic principles upon which the Ugandan Constitution was founded.

It is however, unlikely that the government would wish for another round of voting, and would prefer to keep the election results, however tainted they may be.

Accordingly, anyone who gains anything using dishonest means, will always be remembered as the bird that hatched an egg, it did not lay.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - February 19, 2016 at 8:52 pm

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US delegation sensitive to any close Euro-Russian relations

Newscast Media MUNICH—The US delegation led by Senator John McCain showed its dissatisfaction with the recent visit of Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer to Moscow by “deliberately” boycotting the gala dinner which the Bavarian politician traditionally arranges at the Munich Security Conference.

A recent meeting between Seehofer and Russian President Vladimir Putin has resulted in “a small scandal” at the Munich Security Conference, the German magazine Spiegel Online wrote.

In an attempt to display its disapproval of Seehofer’s visit to Moscow, the US delegation boycotted a traditional gala dinner organized by the Bavarian Prime Minister.

The boycott has once again demonstrated US sensitivity towards any European attempts to maintain friendly relations with Russia, the German magazine Spiegel Online wrote.

According to reports, only one of the US Senators attended the dinner party in Munich. Known for their negative attitude toward Russia, John McCain and several other politicians “deliberately ignored” the event.

Seehofer has been repeatedly criticized by his German colleagues for his attempts to maintain friendly relations with Russia. After he stressed the negative impact of anti-Russian sanctions on the German economy and paid a visit to Moscow, the politician was accused of playing into Putin’s hands.

Earlier, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that during his recent visit to Moscow, the Bavarian Prime Minister acted “solely in the interests of Germany” and did not attempt to pursue a course which was different from that of Berlin.

Source: Sputnik

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - February 16, 2016 at 7:21 pm

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Abducted Americans suddenly reappear in Iraq

Newscast Media BAGHDAD—Three US citizens abducted in Iraq in January have been handed over to the US embassy in Baghdad. The incident was seen as an attempt by Shiite militias to undermine the Iraqi state’s control.

“We sincerely appreciate the assistance provided by the government of Iraq and its whole-of-government effort to bring about the safe release of these individuals,” US State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement on Tuesday.

A senior Iraqi official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity: “A force belonging to the intelligence services was able to free the kidnapped Americans.”

Dozens of foreign citizens were kidnapped in Iraq in recent months. In December, more than two dozen Qataris were abducted from the country’s south, but this was the first incident where US citizens had been kidnapped.

The three individuals went missing last month from a “suspicious apartment” from Dora, a Baghdad neighborhood housing members of the rival Shiite and Sunni communities.

The kidnappings were seen as an attempt to undermine confidence in the Iraqi government’s ability to control Shiite militias, which have grown more brazen as US-backed Iraqi security forces fight the Sunni militant group, “Islamic State” (“IS”).

The militias, linked to the umbrella organization “Hashed al-Shabi,” translated as Popular Mobilization Units, have helped US and Iraqi forces fight IS. However, the groups have also been suspected of abuses, summary executions, kidnappings and destruction of property.

Source: Deutsche Welle

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:18 pm

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African Union reverses itself on sending troops to Burundi

Newscast Media ADDIS ABABA—Leaders attending the African Union Summit have decided that no troops will be deployed without Burundi’s consent, marking a 180-degree turn on the AU’s earlier position. Simona Foltyn reports from Addis Ababa.

The African Union has shelved a proposal to deploy 5,000 peacekeeping troops to contain an ongoing crisis in Burundi. AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, said that no stabilization force would be deployed without the consent of Burundi’s government. A high-level delegation will be sent to the capital, Bujumbura, instead to negotiate a solution acceptable to President Pierre Nkurunziza.

“We want dialogue with the government of Burundi. The assembly has decided to send a high-level delegation to the country so they hold a dialogue,” said Chergui at a press conference at the 26th AU summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The timing and composition of the delegation is yet to be determined.

The conflict in the East African nation was among the topics topping the agenda at this year’s AU summit, attended by African leaders and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Burundi plunged into disarray after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a third term last year, a move in violation of term limits enshrined in the country’s constitution. The conflict has claimed more than 400 lives, and has forced 230,000 people from their homes.

Nkurunziza’s government has strongly opposed the deployment of peacekeepers, calling it an “invasion force.” Analysts said that there wasn’t enough support among other African heads of state to deploy the force against Burundi’s will, amid fears that such a decision could set a precedent in an organization known for its culture of non-intervention. A two-thirds majority by the General Assembly would have been required to pass the proposal.

“There is just no consensus anymore, even in the Peace and Security Council,” said Stephanie Wolters, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies. “We have seen a toning down of the commentary by the envoys on what this force will do. They are now positioning it as something that will help the Burundian government to establish stability.”

Now that the AU is taking a less confrontational stance, observers say Nkurunziza might feel emboldened, with the country threatening to spiral into further violence. “If the AU summit doesn’t sanction Burundi in some way, the Burundians will walk away feeling they were successful and that the fraternity of heads of state is on their side,” said Wolters.

Nkurunziza’s government stands accused of grave human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, mass arrests and torture. Given the political deadlock over the deployment of troops, the international community had hoped AU leaders would at least agree on the deployment of additional human rights monitors.

“We think one of the most urgent needs is to get eyes and ears on the ground, credible international AU monitors. The government has systematically prevented that kind of monitoring on the ground,” said US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Thomas Perriello.

However, no agreement on the deployment of additional human rights observers or on the formalization of the mandate of those on the ground was made in the course of the summit.

Source: Deutsche Welle

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - February 1, 2016 at 7:53 pm

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Trump: If elected I will appoint justices to overrule same-sex marriage

Newscast Media DES MOINES—On his weekend interview with FOX’s Chris Wallace, Donald Trump said he doesn’t regret skipping the FOX News debate, because he raised $6 million for retired veterans, something the real estate developer says he is proud of.

Trump also campaigned with Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, who endorsed him and has helped him win over social conservatives and other Christian groups.

When asked by Chris Wallace about the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage, Trump replied, “…If I’m elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench, that I think, maybe could change things, but they’ve got a long way to go. At some point we have to get back down to business, but there is no question about it, and most people feel this way. They have ruled on it, I wish it was done by the state. I don’t like the way they ruled. I disagree with the Supreme Court from the standpoint that it should be a states’ right issue, and that’s the way it should have been ruled on Chris, not the way they did it. This was a very surprising ruling…”

Chris Wallace then asked, “Are you saying that if you become president you might appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?”

“I would strongly consider that, yes,” Trump replied.

This message of course, is music to the ears of Evangelicals, many of whom will be voting in the Iowa Caucus today, which is the first major electoral event, in the process of nominating the president of the United States.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, February 1, Trump leads by 31 percent, followed by Ted Cruz at 24, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson at 17 percent and 8 percent respectively.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 6:36 pm

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Syrian army on offensive, regains control with Russia’s help

Newscast Media DAMASCUS—The Syrian army on Wednesday established control over four villages near the strategic town of Salma which was liberated a day earlier.

“An army unit, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, established on Wednesday control over al-Marouniyat village, 1 km north of Salma town in the northeastern countryside of Lattakia province,” SANA news agency reported.

Taking control of the village followed fierce clashes with the terrorist organizations late on Tuesday and early Wednesday that ended up in killing many terrorists, according to the source.

Tens of terrorists fled towards Rabiaa town, near the Turkish borders, SANA added.

Later, a military source told SANA that Army and Armed Forces units, in cooperation with popular defense groups, established control over Sheikh Khalil and Marj al-Khokha village east of Salma town.

The Syrian army on Tuesday took control of Salma town, which is considered a strategic bastion for Takfiri insurgents of Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham in Lattakia countryside.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army is making advances in the countryside of both provinces of Aleppo and Hama, while its units, backed by the Air Force, continue targeting terrorists’ positions in other provinces, destroying more sites and equipment and killing many terrorists. Full Article>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm

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White House: Obama discusses Ukraine and Syria with Putin

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladmir Putin on Wednesday, the White House said. The discussion centered around Ukraine, and reaching a political solution to the ongoing Syrian crisis, White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

According to the White House, the President underscored that the key next step is for the sides to reach agreement on the modalities of local elections in the Donbas region of Ukraine, which must meet Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe standards.

The leaders discussed the urgent need to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria. Further, they noted the necessity of taking steps to foster productive discussions between representatives of the Syrian opposition and regime under United Nations auspices, principally by reducing violence and addressing the urgent humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, especially those living in besieged and hard to reach communities.

Finally, they discussed the importance of a strong and united international response to North Korea’s nuclear test in defiance of Security Council resolutions.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:06 pm

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US: More diplomacy needed before imposing new Iranian sanctions

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The White House has said it needs to do more diplomatic and technical work before it will announce any sanctions in response to ballistic missile launches by Iran.

President Barack Obama’s administration is considering a number of additional targets for sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The U.S. Congress has been notified of those deliberations.

Some lawmakers have criticized the administration for what they describe as delayed punitive action in response to Iran’s recent missile tests.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said the pact that the United States and five other world powers negotiated with Iran last year to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon will not impede future sanctions.

Rhodes said Iran had no say on who the United States targets with sanctions designations. He said Washington expected protests from Iran, but added that won’t affect the final decision.

Rhodes spoke in Hawaii on January 2 as President Barack Obama wraps up his Christmas vacation.

Source: Radio Free Europe

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 4, 2016 at 8:59 am

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Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: House of Saud nearing collapse

Newscast Media TEHRAN—Reacting to Saudi Arabi’s execution of an outspoken cleric, Hezbollah says the regime is looking at “the abyss” and that indications point to its upcoming demise.

“When a regime loses its mind, that means it has reached the abyss,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement, said on Sunday.

“The signs of the end of this corrupt criminal unjust Takfiri terrorist regime have begun to emerge,” he noted, saying, “The killing of our brothers, the spilling of our blood will not go just like that and they must be afraid, they must hide.”

Sheikh Nimr had been arrested in 2012 in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Shia-majority Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time. He had been charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had rejected the charges as baseless.

In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced the clergyman to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. Back then, the UK-based rights body Amnesty International called the sentence “appalling,” saying the verdict should be quashed since it was politically motivated.

Nasrallah, who was speaking during a televised address, said criticism is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, adding that the country is no place for any cleric of any sect casting the kingdom’s policies into question.

Elaborating on Riyadh’s way of treating criticism, the Hezbollah chief said, “He, who speaks out is executed. This is Saudi Arabia, which wants to spread democracy in the region.”

He also blasted Riyadh for its way of promoting divisions across the Muslim world, saying when there is difference between Sunnis and Shias “look for Saudi Arabia.”

“Has not the time come to say with courage to the whole world that the main source and the launching pad for Takfiri ideology…is from this regime, from this family,” Nasrallah noted, adding, “They are partners in all the blood which is spilled in the Arab and Islamic countries.”

Source: Press TV

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:35 am

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Iran’s Grand Ayatollah: Divine Revenge Awaits Saudis

Newscast Media TEHRAN—Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia will face “divine revenge” for executing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose martyrdom sparked protests in which the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran was firebombed.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks underlined the fury felt in Iran and other regional countries over the execution of Sheikh Nimr on Saturday, who spent more than two years in Saudi jail before getting murdered.

His eminence called the killing of Sheikh Nimr “a political mistake by the Saudi government” which would “haunt its politicians”. His comments came ahead of protests planned to start in Tehran at 3:00 pm (1200 GMT).

“The unjustly spilt blood of this martyr will have quick consequences,” Sayyed Khamenei told clerics in the Iranian capital. “God will not forgive.”

“This scholar [martyr Sheikh Nimr] neither encouraged people into armed action nor secretly conspired for plots, but the only thing he did was utter public criticism rising from his religious zeal,” he said of Nimr.

Lashing out at the silence of those who claim to be calling for freedom, democracy and human rights and their support for the Saudi regime that sheds innocent blood just because of criticism and protests, Grans Ayatollah said that the Islamic world and the whole world should feel responsible before this crime and similar Saudi crimes committed in Yemen and Bahrain.

The 56-year-old cleric was put to death along with 46 other activists. The executions prompted protests in at least one city in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, as well as in Iraq and Bahrain.

In Tehran the Saudi embassy was ransacked after protesters threw petrol bombs and stormed the building. The kingdom’s consulate in Mashhad, Iran’s second biggest city, was also set on fire.

In Iraq, hundreds demonstrated in the holy Shiite city of Karbala and prominent lawmaker Khalaf Abdelsamad urged the closure of Riyadh’s newly-reopened embassy in Baghdad and the expulsion of its ambassador.

In Yemen, where the kingdom is leading a war, the religious scholars’ association controlled condemned the execution.

Executions have soared in Saudi Arabia since King Salman ascended the throne a year ago – 153 people put to death in 2015, nearly twice as many as in 2014.

Rights watchdogs have repeatedly raised concern about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, where criticizing the regime, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery and rape are all punishable by death.

Source: Al Manar TV News

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:55 am

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Obama vows to destroy ISIS without adding new conflict on ground

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama said in connection with the shooting incident in the city of San Bernardino, California, which left 14 people dead, that the incident was a “terrorist act,” vowing to destroy the ISIS organization which claimed responsibility for the attack.

Obama added that the United States would mobilize “all aspects of American power” to fight the organization, stressing that “the United States should not get involved in a new conflict on the ground.”

Obama indicated, “groups such as ISIS know that they cannot defeat us on the battlefield, and ISIS fighters were part of the groups that we have faced in Iraq. They know that in case of our occupation of a foreign land, they can keep the conflict for years, and the killing of thousands of our soldiers.”

Source: Iraqi News

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - December 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm

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Gov. Abbott to Obama: Texas will not accept Syrian refugees

Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—In a letter written to President Barack Obama, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will not allow Syrian refugees to relocate to Texas in the wake of the Paris bombings.

“I–and millions of Americans–implore you to halt your plan to accept more Syrian refugees in the United States. A Syrian “refugee” appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack. American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger. The reasons for such concerns are plentiful,” the governor wrote. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 18, 2015 at 7:14 pm

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