Archive for January, 2014

Amanda Knox found guilty again–Italy may seek to extradite her

Amanda Knox

Newscast Media FLORENCE, Italy—An Italian court on Thursday upheld the guilty
verdict against Amanda Knox, an American citizen, and her Italian ex-boyfriend
Raffaele Sollecito on Thursday, in a new appeal over the murder of British student
Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Anxiety and tension were palpable, for “Meredith’s case” — as it became known in
Italy — drew an unprecedented media attention from all over the world.

Amanda’s story has kept changing from the time she attempted to frame a Black man
by the name Patrick Lumumba from Congo, whom Amanda claimed introduced her to
Meredith, then right in front of her, Lumumba killed Meredith while she covered her
eyes. Had it been in America, Lumumba would probably be on death row based on
the popular “Black-man-did-it” narrative.

However, the Italians were too smart to be fooled. Police investigators concluded
that Amanda was trying to frame Patrick Lumumba for Meredith’s murder.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm

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U.S. government seeks death penalty for Boston bomber

Attorney General Eric Holder

Newscast Media BOSTON—The Justice Department has recommended the death
penalty for Dzokhar Tsarnaev, if found guilty of carrying out the bombings last April
during the Boston Marathon.

Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, submitted a motion through federal prosecutors
notifying the court of his intent to seek the death penalty for Tsarnaev for his role in
the blasts that killed three people on April 15, 2013.

Tsarnaev along with his brother Tamerlan who died during a police shootout, are both
Chechens from Russia. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 12:33 am

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China’s Lenovo acquires Motorola to boost smartphone business

Motorola plant in Fort Worth, Texas

Newscast Media FORT WORTH—Lenovo will buy Motorola Mobility from Google for 2.9 billion U.S. dollars, in a bid to boost its smartphone business in the Americas and access thousands of patents, the Chinese company announced on Thursday.

Under the deal, Lenovo will pay 1.41 billion U.S. dollars in cash and its ordinary shares. The remaining 1.5 billion U.S. dollars will be paid over three years. The announcement came about a week after Lenovo said it would buy IBM’s low-end server business for 2.3 billion dollars. The company acquired IBM’s thinkpad PC
business in 2004 for 1.25 billion dollars.

The deal is still subject to regulatory review in the United States, but analysts say Lenovo’s rising global profile and a number of cross-border deals in recent years will make it easier for the company to get the go-ahead from regulators in the U.S.

“The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices. It’s why we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo, which has a rapidly growing smartphone business,” Google’s CEO Larry Page said in an online newsletter.

He added that Lenovo will keep the Motorola brand and “has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem.”

Shares of Google at NASDAQ gained 2.18 percent to 1,131 dollars in after-hours trading. Shares of Lenovo Group went through choppy trading in Hong Kong to close down 8.2 percent during the half-day trading on the eve of Chinese New Year. Google will continue to hold the patents from Motorola Mobility after the deal, but will grant Lenovo license to access its patents.

“The move will boost Lenovo’s smartphone business in North and Latin Americas while strengthening our market in west Europe so that they will be on par with the fast growth in emerging markets,” Lenovo said in a statement.

Google’s 12.5 billion U.S. dollar purchase of Motorola Mobility in 2012 was widely seen as the company’s strategy to boost its patent portfolio in its legal battle with rival Apple.

Under Google, the smartphone maker rolled out its Moto X and Moto G android smartphone alongside its existing Droid line, but still failed to swing back to profit. Motorola Mobility reported a loss of 249 million dollars in the third quarter of 2013, up 24 percent from the same period a year ago.

Antonio Wang, associate director of research firm IDC China, said the deal will bolster Lenovo’s product research and development capabilities and the patent portfolio from Motorola Mobility will ease Lenovo’s entry into new markets.

Lenovo became the world’s largest PC maker in 2013 and is ramping up efforts to grow its mobile devices business. So far the Beijing-based company is the second biggest smartphone seller in China and comes in fourth in global smartphone sales, after Samsung, Apple and Huawei.

Source: Xinhua


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

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Richest eight percent own 50 percent of the world’s wealth

Ruling elite

Newscast Media HOUSTON—According to a recent report released by the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP) the richest eight per cent of the world’s
population earns half of the world’s total income, while the remaining 92 per cent of
people are left with the other half.

Last week, Oxfam released a report estimating that the share of global wealth owned
by the world’s 85 wealthiest people is roughly that owned by the poorest 3.5 billion.
That leaves a tiny fraction for the world’s poorest people. Indeed, the share of global
wealth controlled by the world’s poorest thirty per cent fell from just 1.5 per cent in
1988 to one and a quarter (1.25) per cent in 2008.

Evidence suggests that where economic power is heavily concentrated in the hands
of a few, political power may also be entrenched in the hands of elites with undue
influence. This then creates structural barriers to the promotion of greater equality;
for example, through regressive taxation or under-investment in public goods and
infrastructure such as education or public health systems and services.

High inequalities may also be associated with high crime rates and political
unrest. The resulting risk-levels may then distort public spending towards security
measures and away from those essential for human development progress.

The Report documents high rates of inequality in the non-income dimensions of
well-being – such as health, nutrition, and education – despite improvements in
national averages of progress in these areas. It calls for increasing public expenditure
on basic services, with the aim of achieving universal provisioning, coupled with a
particular emphasis on the groups currently experiencing the greatest disadvantages.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 12:58 am

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Russian credit card hacker pleads guilty in Atlanta court

Credit card

Newscast Media ATLANTA—A Russian national pleaded guilty in Atlanta to creating
malware that infected 1.4 million computers and extracted credit card information,
the FBI said Tuesday.

Aleksandr Panin admitted in a federal court in Atlanta to creating SpyEye program,
which he then sold to clients with “nefarious” purposes, the agency said in a

The program allowed users to create botnets, or networks of infected computers, and
steal users’ personal information. Many affected machines were located in the United

Between 2009 and 2011, Panin sold the program to some 150 clients for anywhere
between $1,000 and $8,500, the FBI said.

At least one client recouped his investment manifold, making $3.2 million through
SpyEye, digital news website said. Panin, 24, a native of central
Russia’s Tver Region, was seized in the Dominican Republic last year.

His arrest and extradition prompted an outcry from the Russian government, long
disgruntled with US seizures of Russian criminal suspects such as Panin and convicted
arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Panin, who operated under the nicknames “Harderman” and “Gribodemon” (“Mushroom
Demon”), faces up to 30 years behind bars, Krebsonsecurity said, citing the hacker’s

The man’s alleged accomplice, Algerian national Hamza Bendelladj, was also extradited
to the United States last year after being arrested in Thailand. Add Comments>>

Source: Ria Novosti


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 29, 2014 at 11:31 pm

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Excerpts from Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address

“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.\

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Tonight, the president will be delivering his State of
the Union Address. Below are some of the excerpts in advance, that have been
prepared for his delivery to the American people:

“Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than
three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in
technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class
jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices
have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But
average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility
has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many
Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead.
And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse these tides. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t
agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical
proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new
ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action,
and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and
neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to
expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

“Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to
restore that promise.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 12:45 am

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Feds reach deal with U.S. Internet giants over data disclosure


Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The U.S. government has reached an agreement with
leading Internet companies that would allow them to reveal more details about online
data collected by government agencies. The deal marked the latest move aimed at
easing public distrust of the controversial surveillance programs of the U.S. National
Security Agency (NSA).

The agreement would allow Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo to
disclose more aggregate information about how many information requests they
received from the government and how many customer accounts had been affected
under NSA’s mass surveillance programs, the U.S. Justice Department said.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm

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Barack Obama to raise minimum wage to $10.10 per hour using Executive Order

President Barack Obama before giving speech —Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The President wants to work with Congress to pass
the Harkin-Miller bill that would increase the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 per
hour, and index it to inflation thereafter, and he will continue to work with Congress
to get that done. The President has also looked at what he can do through executive
action to help raise wages for hardworking Americans.

In the State of the Union Address, the President will announce that he will use his
executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for those working on new
federal contracts for services.

Hardworking Americans – including janitors and construction workers –
working on new federal contracts will benefit from the Executive Order
(EO). This action will cover workers who are performing services or
construction and are getting paid less than $10.10 an hour. Some examples of
the hardworking people who would benefit from an EO include military base
workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry.

A higher minimum wage for federal contract workers will provide good
value for the federal government and hence good value for the taxpayer.
Boosting wages will lower turnover and increase morale, and will lead to higher
productivity overall. Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the
quality and efficiency of services provided to the government. When Maryland
passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was
an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can
help ensure better quality.

The wage increase will be manageable for contractors. The increase will
take effect for new contracts after the effective date of the order, so
contractors will have time to prepare and price their bids accordingly.

It has been seven years since Congress last acted to increase the minimum wage
and, adjusted for inflation, today the real value of minimum wage is roughly the same
as what it was in the 1950s, despite the fact that the typical American family’s
income has doubled since then. And right now a full-time minimum wage worker makes
$14,500 a year, which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet. Even
after accounting for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, a family of four
supported by a minimum wage worker still ends up living below the poverty line.

The President is using his executive authority to lead by example, and will continue to
work with Congress to finish the job for all Americans by passing the Harkin-Miller bill.
The bill would raise the Federal minimum wage for working Americans in stages to
$10.10 an hour and index it to inflation thereafter, while also raising the minimum
wage for tipped workers for the first time in over 20 years.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:38 pm

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South Sudanese refugees distrust cease-fire–refuse to return home

south sudan

Newscast Media KHARTOUM—In South Sudan the government and the rebels are
accusing each other of having violated the cease-fire. Many displaced persons have
little faith in the agreement anyway and are refusing to return home.

The cease-fire in South Sudan is fragile. The government and the rebels have blamed
each other for the violations and insist that they now intend to honor the agreement,
while the main victims, the refugees, have little hope that there will be peace.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 6:49 pm

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Brazilians take to the streets protesting violently against World Cup

Sao Paolo

Newscast Media SAO PAOLO—As preparations for the 2014 World Cup are under way,
Brazilians are unhappy that the government is spending billions of dollars on new
stadiums that could have been invested in creating job and small business
opportunities for its citizens.

The frustration has triggered acts of vandalism and protests across Brazil with Sao
Paolo, suffering the greatest impact.

According to Russia Today, earlier in June, Brazil was hit with major protests against
the Confederation Cup, a rehearsal tournament before the World Cup. More than one
million people hit the streets to speak out against corruption and improvised public

Many are observing Brazil’s reaction to the World Cup, with some worrying that the
protests will hurt the tournament’s image and affect Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff’s popularity ahead of October elections.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 1:10 am

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Chinese and the US diplomats meet over the Korean nuclear issue


Newscast Media BEIJING—Chinese and U.S. diplomats for Korean Peninsula affairs will
exchange views on denuclearization and resumption of the six-party talks, a Foreign
Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

U.S. special envoy for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Policy Glyn
Davies arrived in Beijing late Sunday on the first leg of a trip that will take him to the
Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan this week.

In Beijing, Davies had talks with Chinese officials, including Chinese Vice Foreign
Minister Zhang Yesui and his counterpart Wu Dawei, spokesman Qin Gang told a
regular press conference.

Davies last visited the three countries in November. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
William Burns and Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific
affairs visited the same countries last week.

The six-party talks between the DPRK, the ROK, the United States, China, Japan and
Russia, have been suspended since late 2008.

Seoul and Washington have demanded Pyongyang show sincerity about
denuclearization before they return to the table.

DPRK’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sin Son-Ho, on Friday repeated a
conciliatory message to the ROK, but demanded cancellation of the annual U.S.-ROK
military drills scheduled to start in late February.

Source: Xinhua


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 27, 2014 at 7:45 pm

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US citizen held by Egypt in secret location with no charges

Jeremy Hodge

Newscast Media CAIRO—Egyptian state security services have been holding US
citizen Jeremy Hodge and Egyptian filmmaker Hossam Meneai, originally from El Arish,
in a secret location without charges since Wednesday 22 January. The two have not
been allowed to meet with a lawyer nor has Hodge been allowed a visit by US
embassy staff.

The Egypt Independent reports that around 7pm before their arrest, security forces
came to their Dokki apartment and began asking questions about Meneai’s film work
and Hodge’s Arabic. READ FULL ARTICLE>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 25, 2014 at 3:35 am

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US agencies join forces to combat growing human trafficking


Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, as part of its commitment to fight human trafficking, has produced the first Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States. The five-year plan, released this month, lays out a path for increased collaboration among more than 15 U.S. federal government agencies.

The plan defines human trafficking as a crime that involves the exploitation of a person for the purpose of compelled labor or a commercial sex act.

Sex trafficking, which is part of human trafficking, is a federal crime and is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a [commercial] sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.

While it is difficult to measure the magnitude of human trafficking, the International Labour Organization estimates that more than 20 million men, women and children are victimized by forced labor and sex trafficking worldwide, including the United States.

Many of these victims are lured with false promises of well-paying jobs or manipulated by people they trust. They are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or other types of forced labor.

“While there is no defining characteristic that all victims share, traffickers frequently prey on individuals who are poor, vulnerable, living in an unsafe situation, or are in search of a better life,” the report says. “Whether made to work in agriculture, a factory or a strip club, forced into commercial sex, or abused in a home as a domestic servant, [U.S.] federal law recognizes these people as victims of human trafficking.”

Although the plan focuses on combating human trafficking in the United States, President Obama, in designating January 2014 as “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month,” called upon the international community to join forces in ending this scourge.

“Because modern-day slavery is a global tragedy, combating it requires international action,” Obama said in his proclamation.

*Click here to read or download the entire Federal Strategic Action Plan.

Dismantling trafficking networks and aiding victims are only part of the work that needs to be done by the United States and the international community, Obama said.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm

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Sudanese rebels unlikely to honor signed peace agreement

Screen capture: South Sudanese rebels said they won't rest until Juba is captured.

Newscast Media KHARTOUM, Sudan—A peace accord was signed on Thursday, in
which the South Sudanese rebels led by Riek Machar and South Sudan’s President
Salva Kiir, agreed to a ceasefire a day before the African Union summit is to be held.

Yet according to the words of the rebels themselves, their goal is to continue fighting
until they capture the capital city Juba, and drive Salva Kiir out of the country.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 1:21 am

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African Union summit overshadowed by current crises

African leaders meeting

Newscast Media ADDIS ABABA—At the African Union (AU) annual summit that begins
on Friday Jan. 24, the crises in South Sudan and Central African Republic may sideline
the original main theme of food security.

The banner of this year’s week-long AU summit shows Africa in its most beautiful
colors: in addition to wind turbines, filled granaries and a boomtown skyline, there is
also a train, presumably symbolizing Addis Ababa’s planned light rail project,
construction of which has brought traffic in Addis Ababa to a standstill for months,
much to the annoyance of residents. READ FULL ARTICLE>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 23, 2014 at 9:53 pm

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Now Wendy Davis blames Greg Abbott for this week’s blowback

Wendy Davis

Newscast Media AUSTIN—When Wendy Davis decided to run for governor, she wrote
a biography that seemed inspirational and turned it into the centerpiece of her
campaign. The problem is, her biography was deceptive, and she’s now experiencing
the blowback from former supporters and media practitioners for distorting the truth.

Whether it is discernment or foresight, this journalist wrote piece 48 hours before the
Dallas Morning News story broke exposing her inconsistencies, and in that article I
cautioned the Davis campaign about using “fuzzy math” because I could foresee it
damaging her credibility, which it has. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 2:55 am

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Ban Ki-moon: Assad’s future up to Syrian people to determine

Ban Ki-moon

Newscast Media GENEVA—While the Geneva II conference commenced on Wednesday
to resolve the Syrian crisis, CCTV reporter Liu Xin was at Ban Ki-moon’s press
conference in Montreux, where she asked the UN chief about the Syrian opposition’s
demand that President Bashar Assad leave office. Ban said Assad’s status should be
determined by the Syrian people.

“As the Secretary General of the United Nations, I have been stating that the status
or future of President Assad, that is an issue which needs to be determined by the
Syrian people. Therefore, that is something which will have to be discussed between
the two parties…” Secretary General Ban said.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 12:19 am

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US welcomes election of CAR President Catherine Samba-Panza

Catherine Samba-Panza

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The parliament of embattled Central African Republic
(C.A.R) elected Catherine Samba-Panza president, 24 hours ago, to lead the country
out of the chaos that has plagued it for the past several months. As former mayor of
Bangui, Samba-Panza, a lawyer, has vowed to organize free presidential elections and
to also lead the country out of civil strife that has gripped the nation.

“From today, I am the president of all Central Africans. I appeal to each and every
one of you to help rebuild our fatherland,” she said immediately after being elected
interim president of the Central African Republic.

The US government welcomed the election results of the parliament and said in a

“The United States welcomes the selection of Catherine Samba-Panza as
Transitional President in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). As C.A.R.’s first
woman head of state since the country’s independence, and with her special
background in human rights work and mediation, she has a unique opportunity
to advance the political transition process, bring all the parties together to end
the violence, and move her country toward elections not later than February

We also commend the Transitional National Council for conducting the selection
process for the new C.A.R. Transitional President in a deliberate, open, and
transparent manner that ensured the airing of a full range of views from C.A.R.’s
civil society.

The United States has been deeply engaged in the work to help pull C.A.R. back
from the brink, including the pivotal visits of Ambassador Power and Assistant
Secretary Thomas-Greenfield less than a month ago…”

The new president is now facing the daunting task of extinguishing the ongoing
conflict between Muslim fighters and Christian militia.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

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US offers Russia anti-terrorism technology for Olympics

US Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks with his Russian counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov during a NATO meeting for defense chiefs in Brussels, January 21, 2014—Photo courtesy US Department of Defense/US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Hinton.

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United States and Russia on Tuesday discussed using
US technology to combat terrorism at next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi amid
concerns that extremists could target the games, the Pentagon’s news service

US Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told his Russian
counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov that the United States is willing to share technical
information on countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs) prior to the February 7
start of the Sochi games if the American technology is compatible with Russian
systems, the American Forces Press Service (AFPS) reported. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 3:19 am

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Iran sends warships to Atlantic–Netanyahu vows to stop Iran’s nuke program

Iran warship

Newscast Media TEHRAN—The Iranian Navy’s 29th fleet of warships, comprised of the
Khark logistic helicopter carrier and the Sabalan destroyer, set sail on Tuesday from
the southern port city of Bandar Abbas for the Atlantic Ocean on a three-month

It is the Navy’s first-ever mission to the Atlantic Ocean.

During a ceremony held before the dispatching of the warships, Rear Admiral
Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Iranian Navy, said that the warships are
tasked with maintaining the security of Iranian vessels in international waters.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to stop Iran’s ambitions to acquire
a nuclear weapon.

“Iran’s military nuclear program must be stopped, and Iran’s military nuclear program
will be stopped,” Netanyahu said at a joint news conference with his Canadian
counterpart Stephen Harper, without saying how, according to Lebanon’s Al-Manar News Agency.

Tehran Times reports that Iranian Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the Iranian
warships are sent to international waters to show the might of the Iranian Navy,
adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran is today one of the most important countries
that maintains the security of shipping routes in the Gulf of Aden and the

Source: Tehran Times


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - January 21, 2014 at 8:51 pm

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