Iraqi officials: Islamic State now using chemical weapons

Newscast Media BAGHDAD—Iraqi officers say that “Islamic State” fighters have used
low-grade chemical weapons while fighting north of Baghdad. US Secretary of State
John Kerry issued a warning about the severity of these allegations.

“Islamic State” (IS) militants have begun using low-grade chemical weapons, several
Iraqi officials said on Friday. The anonymous officials told the AP that IS had dropped
bombs filled with chlorine gas while fighting near the towns of Duluiya and Balad,
around 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

“The IS fighters seized some quantities of chlorine after seizing control of some water
purification plants,” said one senior official. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm

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Barack Obama hugs Ebola-free patient Nina Pham

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The 26-year-old nurse from Dallas who contracted
Ebola and was cured made a stop at the White House where she was greeted with a
hug by the president.

The White House print pool was not allowed in to the Oval Office for President Barack
Obama’s visit with newly Ebola-free nurse Nina Pham. A stills-only pool was allowed.
Obama hugged Pham after the president said something to the effect of, “Let’s give a
hug for the cameras” – according to two photographers allowed into the Oval. Photos
show Pham with a radiant smile. Photographers say they didn’t see a kiss but said hug
was a full embrace. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:49 pm

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Arab media: Russia-Iran anti-ISIL operations room in Iraq

Newscast Media BAGHDAD—A report that Iran and Russia were to run a joint
operations room in Iraq to combat the Islamic State (IS) group is spreading across
Iran’s media.

The report originates in Lebanon’s “Al-Mustaqbal” newspaper, which cites unnamed
“Iraqi source” as saying that Russian and Iranian military experts were to work with
the Iraqi military to establish a joint anti-IS operations room.

The unnamed Iraqi sources went on to say that more than 60 Russian and other
experts were currently in Baghdad and staying at the Royal Tulip Al Rasheed Hotel in
Baghdad’s Green Zone. The experts specialize in the training of officers and Iraqi
pilots as well as the use of Russian military equipment, including the helicopters that
Moscow recently supplied to Baghdad. Earlier this month, Russian media reported that
Iraq had received a third consignment of Russian Mi-35M helicopters.

“Al-Mustaqbal” wrote that the Russian-Iranian axis would compete with their American
rivals to provide military and logistical assistance to the Iraqi government in its battle
against IS militants.

It is not possible to independently verify the “Al-Mustaqbal” report.
Russia’s official media has—unsurprisingly—not reported on any rumors of plans for a
joint operations room with Iran in Iraq.

However, Moscow is continuing to stress that it is providing both Iraq and Syria with
aid, including military assistance, to help them combat IS.

The TASS news agency published an interview with Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary
of Russia’s Security Council, who visited Iran this week, and who insisted that “the
actions of any coalition on the territory of a sovereign state should be based on a UN

Patrushev said that Russia had “always supported and continues to support the
efforts of the Iraqi and Syrian authorities to combat militants from various extremist
groups. The assistance provided by us was also in the military field. We supply Iraq
and Syria with weapons that actually strengthen their ability to counter terrorists.”
On October 23, Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced that Moscow had provided
humanitarian assistance, including foodstuffs, blankets, mobile generators, and tents
to Iraqi Kurds in Irbil who are “suffering as a result of continued fighting with the
terror group IS in north western Iraq.”

Over the past week, Russia has also said that Iran is an important partner in the fight
against IS. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said on
October 21 that “the so-called coalition [the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition] refuses to
cooperate with Damascus and Tehran, who are logical allies in the fight against
terrorism in the region.”

Source: Radio Free Europe


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm

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Recent polls shows Greg Abbott significantly ahead of Davis

Newscast Media AUSTIN—A poll conducted by Crosswind Media and Public Relations
shows Republican Greg Abbott leading Democrat Wendy Davis by 52.4 percent to 31
percent in the race for Texas governor, with 16.2 percent of voters undecided. The
live telephone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Oct. 9-12. The margin of
error for the poll was 4.33 percent.

The same poll shows Republican Dan Patrick beating Democrat Leticia Van de Putte
by 42.8 percent to 23 percent in the lieutenant governor’s race, with 33 percent of
Texans undecided.

“Greg Abbott has a commanding lead and has successfully motivated the Republican
base,” said Crosswind President Thomas Graham. “Texas remains a red state, at least
among likely voters in non-presidential years, and Wendy Davis does not appear to
have made a dent in that strength.”

Meanwhile, Real Clear Politics shows Greg Abbott with 51 percent while Wendy
Davis is still trailing at 38 percent.


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

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Obama’s fundamental problem–the midterm elections

President Barack Obama giving a speech—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The US economy is failing to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, says political scientist William Galston in an interview with Deutsche Welle. What are the implications for the midterm elections and beyond – and does anyone have the solution?

Galston believes that even though figures show a strengthening of the US economy, a large group does not feel it. It includes not only low-wage workers who might be affected by an increase in the minimum wage, but also by substantial portions of the middle class, who have seen no wage increases for a very long time.



Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm

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American hostage Jeffrey Fowle released by North Korea

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United States has successfully negotiated the
release of an American who had been detained by the North Korean government since
May 2014.

The State Department confirmed on Tuesday that Jeffrey Fowle had been allowed to
depart the DPRK and is on his way home to re-join his family. The US government
welcomed the DPRK’s decision to release him.

“While this is a positive decision by the DPRK, we remain focused on the continued
detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on the DPRK to
immediately release them. The U.S. Government will continue to work actively on their

“We thank the Government of Sweden for the tireless efforts of the Embassy of
Sweden in Pyongyang, which acts as our Protecting Power in the DPRK,” Deputy
Department Spokesperson, Marie Harf said.

As a condition of his release, the DPRK authorities asked the United States
Government to transport Mr. Fowle out of the country. The Department of Defense
was able to provide transportation for Mr. Fowle in the time frame specified by the

Fowle had traveled to North Korea on a tourism expedition.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:28 pm

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Obama compares Russian policies with ISIL and Ebola

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—US President Barack Obama said Russian policy is one
of the three main reasons Americans should worry about, along with the Ebola virus
and the Islamic State terrorist group.

“But people are still anxious. And they’re anxious for three reasons: one,
internationally, we’re seeing a tumultuous time in the Middle East… The Ebola crisis…
The situation in Ukraine and Russia’s aggression – that has concerned people. So you
have this sense of uncertainty overseas,” Obama stated Monday.

Earlier, such statements by Obama were met with sharp criticism from Moscow.
For the first time, Barack Obama used the comparison of Russia with terrorists and
the Ebola virus in the September speech at the UN General Assembly.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called Obama’s speech “a set of cliches and propaganda
slogans.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that such estimates were
“beyond good and evil.”

Source: Ria Novosti


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

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World Health Organization declares Nigeria 100% Ebola free

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The World Health Organization (WHO) officially
declared Nigeria Ebola free on Monday, after no new cases were confirmed in the past
42 days.

WHO Country Representative in Nigeria Rui Dama Gaz made the announcement at an
ongoing event in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

“This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be
contained,” the WHO official said, noting the war against the disease will only end in
the region when West Africa is also declared free.

Ebola was spread to Nigeria in July, by Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who died
days after he arrived in Africa’s most populous country. Thereafter, Nigeria officially
recorded 19 cases which resulted in seven deaths and 12 recoveries.

The southwestern state of Lagos and the Nigerian oil hub Port Harcourt, capital of
southeast Rivers State, were most-hit by the outbreak in Nigeria.

Welcoming WHO’s declaration on Monday, Nigerian Minister of Health Onyebuchi
Chukwu attributed the success to good leadership and collaboration among respective

Noting within three months the African nation was able to completely contain the
Ebola virus, Chukwu specially lauded the strong collective efforts from the medical
officials who combated the virus and treated the patients.

While awaiting WHO’s clearance, Nigeria had received global commendations for its
robust and effective national response to the virus.

No new case of Ebola was reported in the country since Aug. 31.

Source: Xinhua


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm

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US drops arms upon Kurds in Kobani–ISIL devasted by Kurds

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The U.S. military said late Sunday that it had
dropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies to Kurdish forces battling to hold
the Syrian border town of Kobani against the so-called ISIL terrorists.

The airdrops were the first of their kind and followed weeks of U.S. and coalition
airstrikes in and near Kobani. Earlier Sunday, U.S. Central Command (CentCom) said
that it had launched 11 airstrikes overnight in the area.

CentCom said U.S. C-130 cargo planes made multiple drops of arms and supplies
provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. It said they were intended to enable continued
resistance to ISIL efforts to take full control of Kobani.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Kurdish fighters in Ain al-Arab town (Kobani) dealt ISIL
fighters a devastating blow that brought all the ISIL propaganda about its strength
and bravery to an end.

The Syrian army has been able recently to score a series of military achievements
against the takfiri groups in different Syrian regions especially Aleppo. Sources
reported that the Syrian army controlled Al-Amusalamiyah village in northeast of
Aleppo in light of the withdrawal of a large number of militants following the killing of
dozens of them.

“The army units took control of Al-Jabaliyeh village, a cement factory and a strategic
government building in the Northern parts of the Aleppo Central Prison after striking
heavy blows on the positions of the militant groups there,” informed military sources

Source: Al Manar TV News


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 10:31 pm

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US military’s Ebola response in Liberia making progress

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The U.S. military response to the outbreak of Ebola in
Liberia continues to progress, with facilities expected to be fully operational the week
of October 20, the Pentagon’s press secretary, Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, said
October 16.

Speaking at the State Department press briefing, Kirby provided an update on
Operation United Assistance.

“Our forces on the ground in Liberia continue to make progress in setting up
infrastructure and facilities to support the international response,” he said.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm

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Ebola cure–China dispatches Ebola drug to West Africa

Newscast Media BEIJING—A Chinese drug-maker with military ties has sent an
experimental Ebola drug to Africa for use by Chinese aid workers and is planning
clinical trials there to combat a deadly outbreak of the disease, executives at the firm
told Reuters on Thursday.

Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd has supplied several thousand doses of its
drug JK-05 to the region, Chief Operating Officer Jia Zhongxin said. More doses could
be sent if needed, Jia said. Sihuan, part-owned by Morgan Stanley, is hoping to get
the drug fast-tracked for civilian use in China.

It has signed an agreement with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS), a
research unit, to seek approval for its use in China and push it to market.

Source: Hindu Times


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 12:27 am

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UN Security Council Urges More Effort On Ebola Fight

Newscast Media NEW YORK—The UN Security Council has called on the international
community to step up its efforts to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak.

The 15-member council issued a unanimous statement on Wednesday,
saying that the world “has failed to date to adequately address the
magnitude of the outbreak and its effects.”

Warning that Ebola is posing a serious threat to the world peace and security, the
Security Council also urged the international community to “accelerate and
dramatically expand the provision of resources and financial and material assistance”
to the West African countries most devastated by the fatal virus. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 16, 2014 at 11:13 pm

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Houston lesbian mayor Annise Parker’s office acting like little dictators

Newscast Media HOUSTON—In an unprecedented move to encroach upon religious
liberties, the office of Houston’s homosexual mayor Annise Parker subpoenaed four
area pastors demanding they submit their speeches to city council for inspection. The
purpose of this inspection was to identify any anti-gay or gender-related material
that was offensive to the gay community.

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a nationally-known law firm that
specializes in defending religious liberty and is defending the Houston pastors, city
officials are upset over a voter lawsuit filed after the city council rejected valid
petitions to repeal a law that allows members of the opposite sex into each other’s


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 10:38 pm

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Fight against ISIL brings US and Russia closer on Syria

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Russian media is making much of the announcement
by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington and Moscow are set to
increase their intelligence-sharing about the Islamic State (IS) militant
group, suggesting that the move is a sign not only that Moscow is a powerful player
in the region (whose influence is essential to combating IS), but also that
Washington is moving closer to Russia’s position on the Syrian crisis.

Moscow is using the fight against IS to reiterate its position that its ally, Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad, is the proper partner to combat the extremist group.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 2:42 am

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US launches multiple strikes on ISIL in Kobani township

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The US military’s Central Command said US aircraft
carried out 18 airstrikes on “Islamic State” (IS) positions near the besieged Syrian
border town of Kobani on Tuesday and Wednesday.

US officials said several rebel positions were destroyed and 16 buildings, occupied by
the militants, were hit in this latest operation to stop the advance of the IS group.
A further five strikes were carried out against IS targets in Iraq.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US Central Command said the bombing
raids near Kobani were to support besieged Kurdish militia in the region.
Activists and the authorities reported that Kurdish fighters had made small advances
following clashes with IS extremists in and around Kobani just hours after the US-led

Earlier, the Pentagon said 21 airstrikes against IS targets near Kobani overnight
Monday marked the largest number in the region in a 24-hour period since the air
campaign began in Syria last month.

On Monday, Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish rebels inside its borders,
defying calls from Washington to instead focus on the IS.

The strikes were the first against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets since a
March 2013 ceasefire.

There had been increasing tension between Turkey and the PKK over Ankara’s refusal
to allow Turkish Kurds to leave the country to defend Kobani.

The fresh conflict between Ankara and the PKK also highlights the complicated
position Turkey faces as it negotiates its role with the US and NATO allies fighting the

The strikes came ahead of an October 15 deadline set by PKK leader, Abdullah
Ocalan, for a roadmap to salvage the fragile peace process.

Source: Deutsche Welle


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm

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AIDS-infected pastor knowingly infects females in his church

Pastor Juan Demetrius McFarland

Newscast Media MONTGOMERY—A Montgomery, Alabama, Baptist congregation is
reeling after their longtime pastor confessed at the pulpit a few Sundays ago that he
has AIDS, knowingly slept with church members inside the building without revealing
his status, and abused drugs and mishandled the congregation’s money.

The shocking revelation was confirmed by a WSFA 12 news report which noted that
church leaders at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church relieved the offending pastor,
Juan Demetrius McFarland, who is a married man, of his duties on Sunday. McFarland
is also moderator of the Alabama Middle District Missionary Baptist Association, which
includes 34 churches across the state. Association leaders told WSFA 12 that there
were no discussions to remove him from that post. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

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UN calls for investigation of Congo M23 rebel atrocities

Newscast Media NEW YORK—The United Nations has called on authorities in the
Democratic Republic of Congo to carry out criminal investigations into acts of violence
committed by the former March 23 (M23) rebels in the eastern part of the African
country between April 2012 and November 2013.

“In the light of documented breaches of human rights and international
law, it is recommended that Congolese authorities open sweeping,
thorough and fair judicial investigations on the crimes committed by
civilians and fighters in M23 in North Kivu province,” the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a
statement released on Thursday.

The UN accuses the M23 members of killing, raping and torturing hundreds of people,
stressing that the actual number of victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo could
be considerably higher.

It says some of the cases could be considered to be “war crimes and crimes against

The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over
alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo
(FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a
peace deal signed in 2009. The group was defeated last November by government
forces and UN troops.

Several armed groups are active in the eastern Congo and are fighting for control of
the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and
coltan (columbite-tantalite), which is used to make many electronic devices, including
cell phones.

About 2.9 million people have resettled in Congo and some 500,000 have crossed into
neighboring countries, including Rwanda and Uganda.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding
poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has
dragged on since 1998 and left nearly six million people dead.

Source: Press TV


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm

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Grand Ayatollah: US-led operation against ISIL not real

Newscast Media TEHRAN—Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Grand
Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei stressed Monday that enemy’s plots against Iran
throughout years have failed to defeat it, adding that today’s efforts by the United
States and its allies against the terrorists of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and
the Levant’ (ISIL) Takfiri group are not real.

In a meeting he held in Tehran, his eminence said, “If anyone fuels the fire in this
regard (the so-called fight against ISIL), he will definitely be helping sinister America
and Britain which are the creators of the ISIL and al-Qaeda.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also urged Muslims not to get dragged to any move that would
affect their unity and put them into enemies’ hands.

Grand Ayatollah expressed that the enemies of Islam have always sought to ignite
sedition between both Muslim sects – Shiites and Sunnis – in order to deflect their
attention from the real enemy.

“Shias and Sunni shouldn’t help the enemy by desecrating their sanctities and
provoking one another’s sentiments,” the Supreme Leader underlined.

Ayatollah Khamenei added all enemy efforts including their divisive plots against Iran
over the past thirty five years have failed.

Source: Al Manar TV News


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

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Russia: Ebola vaccine ready in six months–testing now begins on primates

Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian scientists prepare to test Ebola vaccine on
primates, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said Monday. She said that
Russia is trying to get enough test material “to repeat tests on primates and start
clinical tests.”

“This work will take several more months,” the minister added.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said, in her turn, that Russian scientists
were “about to finish work on developing the vaccine.”

Earlier in October, Skvortsova stated that the Russian scientists were planning to
introduce vaccines to fight Ebola within the next six months and that Russia had
also begun the work on creation of special drugs for the prevention and treatment of
the deadly virus.

The Ebola epidemic currently taking place in West Africa broke out in southern Guinea
in February, and later spread across the entire region, with cases also having been
reported in Spain and the United States. According to the latest figures by the World
Health Organization (WHO), the number of Ebola victims has reached 4,033.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of those
infected. Though there is no officially approved medication for the disease, several
countries, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan
are currently working on developing Ebola vaccines.

Source: Ria Novosti


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 6:18 pm

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Checklist: Preparing America’s health care facilities for Ebola

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—During the past several weeks, news about the Ebola
virus has dominated news platforms and been on everyone’s mind. The problem is, not
everything that is being reported is accurate. The good news is that we have the
facts and resources for information straight from the director of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 11, 2014 at 3:05 am

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