Newscast Media JOHANNESBURG—The Nelson Mandela Foundation has announced the
death of the international icon who after a long illness has passed away. On its Web
site, the message read in part:
It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson
Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly
make further official announcements.
We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this
enormous loss to our nation and to the world.
We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian
causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for
our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to
continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.
The renowned freedom fighter was jailed for over a quarter of a century by the
apartheid government, and after he was released in 1990, he became South Africa’s
first Black president in 1994.
In 1985, Mandela turned down the government’s offer to free him if he renounced
armed struggle against apartheid. It wasn’t until South African President P.W. Botha
had a stroke and was replaced by F.W. de Klerk in 1989 that the stage was set for
His life was a triumph over racial oppression. The statesman died at age 95 from a
recurring lung infection and will receive a state funeral.
Newscast Media BENGHAZI—Two Libyan soldiers and a US teacher were shot dead in separate incidents Thursday in the increasingly lawless eastern city of Benghazi, security officials said. The killings are the latest in a series of attacks in Benghazi on members of the military and the police force, as the North African nation struggles against insecurity.
Medics at the Al-Jala hospital named the murdered soldiers as Ahmed Hamdi, 23, and Salah al-Werfelli, 28, adding that both men had been shot in their heads.
Further east, in the Islamist bastion of Derna, residents on Thursday staged new demonstrations against what they say is anarchy in the city, demanding a police and army presence.
Like Benghazi, Derna has in recent months seen a wave of killings of members of the security forces and the judiciary.
The violence is blamed on jihadist groups that have mushroomed since the toppling and killing in 2011 of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
Chief among these is Ansar al-Sharia, a jihadist group blamed for a 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
The group implicitly denied responsibility for Monday’s attack on protesters in Derna.
“Opening fire with live rounds on protesters … is a dangerous thing,” the group said in a statement received on Thursday by AFP. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan announced on Wednesday that preparations were under way to send troops to Derna, where law and order is almost non-existent.
The country’s new authorities have tried in vain to integrate former rebels who helped topple Kadhafi into the regular armed forces, with many militias carving their own fiefdoms, each with its own ideology and regional allegiances.
The dead US teacher worked at the city’s international school, a Benghazi Medical Centre official said.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media VATICAN CITY—A State official is clearing the misinformation and rumor mongering out there about the moving of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. Shaun Casey, as special adviser for faith-based community initiates at the U.S. State Department clarified that the United States is moving the location of the Embassy to a building that is safer, bigger, and architecturally more appealing. It also is slightly closer to Vatican City.
At the end of 2014 or early 2015, the U.S. will move the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See from its current location near the Circus Maximus in Rome to a U.S. government-owned compound less than two miles away. The new location, which also houses the U.S. Embassy to Italy and U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies, is actually closer to Vatican City than the current location.
The historic and beautiful building that will house the future Embassy provides ideal and expanded office space for the U.S. diplomats who do the critical work of representing the United States to the Holy See. The future Embassy will be 78 percent larger than the current Embassy. The residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See will not change.
All three diplomatic missions on the U.S. compound will retain their distinct character and functions. Each will continue to have independently accredited ambassadors working in separate buildings. Each Embassy will have a separate street address and entrance. The Embassy to the Holy See will continue to operate independently from the other two U.S. Embassies in Rome. It will remain one of the largest foreign missions from any country accredited to the Holy See.
Newscast Media BEIJING—China has spread its tentacles into Africa. The U.S. is
extremely nervous…and rightfully so. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is currently in
China trying to slow the Chinese down. Yet Africans have openly embraced the
Chinese due to their “hands off” approach on Africa’s domestic affairs.
The no-strings-attached loans being extended to the Continent by their newly-found
Asian friends are a lot more appealing than the U.S. dollars that the West dangles like
a carrot in the faces of Africans, with pre-conditions attached.
Africa is rising. The economies are booming. Even the native African doomsday sayers
who are paid to paint a negative picture about the Motherland have run out of dismal
articles to write about the Continent, because the transformation is self-evident.
CONTINUE TO FULL ORIGINAL STORY>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Thieves in Mexico have stolen a truck carrying radioactive material used for medical purposes that could be “extremely dangerous” if it is removed from its casing, the United Nations’ nuclear energy watchdog said Wednesday.
The Volkswagen truck was transporting radiotherapy equipment containing the powerful radioactive isotope cobalt-60 when it was stolen Monday morning in the town of Tepojaco near Mexico City, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.
“At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded. However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it were damaged,” the IAEA said.
Mexican authorities said Wednesday that law enforcement units had been mobilized in several states to hunt for the truck, which was equipped with a crane and stolen at a gas station.
The material came from a hospital in the northern Mexican city of Tijuana and was being transported to a radioactive waste storage center when it was stolen, the IAEA said.
A US official told NBC News that the US Border Patrol had been notified of the theft and the contents of the truck. One federal official said that “whoever stole the truck had no idea what was inside and was more interested in getting a truck,” NBC News reported.
NBC News cited an unidentified law enforcement official as saying that the truck was carrying a thumb-size amount of cobalt-60 that would be perilous for anyone who tries to fashion a makeshift nuclear device out of it.
“It would be extremely dangerous to anyone who tried to grind it up for use in a dirty bomb,” NBC News cited the official as saying.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington-based anti-proliferation group, tracked 15 reported thefts and seizures of radioactive material last year, including incidents involving Russia and several former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Moldova.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media AUSTIN—A Texas federal grand jury in Brownsville has indicted
former Tamaulipas governor Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, 56, and the owner of a
Mexican construction firm, Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez, 57, charging them of
conspiring to violate provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization
statute (RICO), as well as conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud and
conspiracy to make false statements to federally insured U.S. banks.
According to France 24, Yarrington has been a fugitive from justice since 2012, and is
only the latest politician indicted by prosecutors in Texas, in what could be a
potentially embarrassing string of cases for Mexico’s current administration.
Yarrington has been charged with:
* Violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Statute.
* Conspiracy to launder money.
* Conspiracy to defraud.
* Conspiracy to make false statements to federally insured U.S. banks.
* Violating the Controlled Substances Act.
* Two counts of bank fraud.
* Conspiracy to structure currency transactions at a domestic financial
The indictment was filed under seal in May 2012, but has just been unsealed in the
past 24 hours. Newscast Media has obtained the unsealed 53-page indictment:
Beginning around 1998, Yarrington allegedly began to receive millions of dollars in
bribes from drug traffickers, including the notorious Gulf Cartel, to allow smugglers to
freely conduct their operations. He then purchased valuable assets, including a luxury
condo in South Padre Island, Texas, according to the indictment.
If found guilty, the ex-governor could face up to 60 years in jail.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United States has signed agreements with the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the U.S. Treasury Department said November 29. The bilateral pacts represent the first FATCA agreements in the Caribbean and Central America.
The department said on its website November 19 that “FATCA is rapidly becoming the global model for combating offshore tax evasion and promoting transparency.”
“Today’s announcement marks a milestone in the effort to promote global tax transparency,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Tax Affairs Robert B. Stack. “These agreements underscore growing international cooperation in the effort to end tax evasion everywhere.”
FATCA, enacted in 2010, seeks to obtain information on accounts held by U.S. taxpayers in other countries. It requires U.S. financial institutions to withhold a portion of payments made to foreign financial institutions that do not agree to report information on U.S. account holders. The foreign institutions have the option of entering into agreements directly with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement, or through one of two alternative agreements signed by their home country.
The Cayman Islands signed a “Model 1B agreement” November 29, meaning that financial institutions there will be required to report tax information about U.S. account holders directly to the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority, which is the sole channel in the Cayman Islands for sending tax-related information to other governments. The Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority will relay that information to the IRS. Additionally, the Treasury Department said, the United States and the Cayman Islands signed a new Tax Information Exchange Agreement to replace one signed in 2001.
“By working together to detect, deter and discourage offshore tax abuses through increased transparency and enhanced reporting, we can help build a stronger, more stable and accountable global financial system. We look forward to collaborating with the government of the Cayman Islands to further these objectives,” said Julie Nutter, minister-counselor for economic affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London, who signed on behalf of the United States.
The Costa Rica agreement was signed November 26 and is a “Model 1A agreement,” meaning that the United States will also provide tax information to the Costa Rican government on Costa Rican citizens with accounts in the United States.
“Today’s signing marks a significant step forward in our efforts to work collaboratively to combat offshore tax evasion — an objective that mutually benefits both our countries,” said Gonzalo R. Gallegos, chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, who signed on behalf of the United States.
In addition to the 12 FATCA agreements that have been signed to date, the Treasury Department said, it has also reached 16 agreements in substance and is engaged in related conversations with many more jurisdictions.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian police said Monday that they have broken up a
trafficking ring in Moscow that forced women from the former Soviet country of
Moldova into sexual slavery.
Six Moldovan women were freed and one 45 year-old Moldovan man arrested as a
result of the operation, according to a police statement.
“After arriving in the Russian Federation, the group put [the women] in flats or houses
in the Moscow region, took their documents and, with threats or beatings, forced
them to work as prostitutes,” the statement said.
Police said the women were recruited in Moldova, a small landlocked country
sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, with the promise of jobs in Russian cafes
and bars. Moldovans do not need visas to enter Russia.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, with more than 25 percent of its population
living below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
Source: Ria Novosti
by Katherine Weber
Newscast Media AUSTIN—Two same-sex couples in Texas filed a federal lawsuit this
week challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that was
overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2005. The couples argue that the ban
unconstitutionally prevents them from enjoying the benefits of married couples, while
the state’s Attorney General Greg Abbott has vowed to vigorously defend the ban.
Lawyers for the couples said in court documents filed this week in the U.S. District
Court in San Antonio that their clients are being unconstitutionally discriminated
against by not being allowed to marry in the state, where in 2005, nearly 75 percent
of voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between
one man and one woman. The lawsuit specifically argues that the June ruling by the
U.S. Supreme Court that overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act
conflicts with state-to-state bans on same-sex marriage.
The two couples, Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin and Victor Holmes
and Mark Phariss of Plano, are seeking an injunction to halt the state law banning
same-sex marriage. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government
purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority
of society,” attorney Barry Chasnoff, who is representing that plaintiffs, said in a
statement to the Associated Press. Currently, 16 states in the U.S. have legalized
same-sex marriage, the most recent ones being Illinois and Hawaii.
Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said the attorney general is prepared to
defend the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, arguing that the Supreme
Court was clear to ensure in its ruling that individual states would have the authority
to determine same-sex marriage legalization. “The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that
states have independent authority to establish their marriage laws. Texans adopted a
constitutional amendment defining marriage. We will defend that amendment.”
Newscast Media MOSCOW—With hundreds of thousands of Russians dying of
excessive drinking every year, the Kremlin says it plans to hike minimum prices for
strong spirits, including vodka. But the move may not yield the desired effect.
According to a draft decree published by the government on Friday, Russia looked set
to once again raise minimum vodka prices as of next year, with consumers having to
spend about a fifth more for the same quantity from January 2014.
The document said the cheapest half-liter bottle of vodka would then cost 199 rubles
($6, 4.42 euros), up from the current 170 rubles.
It also noted the price for strong spirits would further rise to 220 rubles per half liter
from August 2014, bringing total increases next year to almost 30 percent.
Alcoholism was estimated to contribute to 30 percent of deaths in the nation of 143
million inhabitants, medical surveys indicated.
The Kremlin had already been tightening regulations for producers of vodka and beer
such as Russia’s Synergy or Danish brewer Carlsberg. It had banned alcohol
advertizing, raised excise taxes and banned sales after 11 p.m.
An earlier round of price hikes in 2010 has already affected store sales, but even
higher prices could easily lead Russians to resort more often to bootleg spirits, which
can be fatal if not distilled properly.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media HARARE—Foreign owners of stores and shops in Zimbabwe are still coming to terms with the reality that the government has ordered them to close their shops by the end of the year.
According to Deutsche Welle, the Zimbabwean government announced that retail businesses within the country would only be able to be run and owned by indigenous Zimbabweans. The declaration, the government said, was part of the country’s “indigenization policy.”
This move will mostly affect Chinese and Nigerian nationals who run many of the businesses in Zimbabwe. The newly-announced policy will mean businesses like restaurants, hairdressing salons and other retail outlets will be reserved purely for indigenous Zimbabweans.
The Indigenization Empowerment Act, a law that was signed in 2008, requires foreign business owners to cede 51 percent of control of their businesses to indigenous native Zimbabweans.
“It is a flexible law and investors are given time to comply. It’s not about seizure of assets, it’s not about expropriation,” Zimbabwe’s minister of economic planning and investment promotion, Tapiwa Mashakada, said at an industry conference in Perth, Australia when the act was first signed into law in 2008. The Chinese and Nigerians have had five (5) years to comply with the law, but because of non-compliance, they have until January 1, 2014 to vacate their retail outlets. An excerpt of the law is shown below:
PART II—INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: GENERAL OBJECTIVES
3. Objectives and measures in pursuance of indigenisation and economic
(1) The Government shall, through this Act or regulations or other measures under this
Act or any other law, endeavour to secure that—
(a) at least fifty-one per centum of the shares of every public company and any other
business shall be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans;
(i) merger or restructuring of the shareholding of two or more related or associated
(ii) acquisition by a person of a controlling interest in a business;
that requires to be notified to the Competition Commission in terms of Part IVA of the
Competition Act [Chapter 14:28] shall be approved unless—
(iii) Fifty-one per centum (or such lesser share as may be temporarily prescribed for the purposes of subsection (5)) in the merged or restructured business is held by indigenous Zimbabweans;
*Click here to read or download the entire Indigenisation Act of 2008.
Nigeria itself has its own version called the Indigenisation Decree of 1974 that gives native Nigerians exclusive rights over their resources. The purpose of these laws is to protect Africa from outside exploitation of its resources and prevent what happened during colonialism from happening again. Many have cautioned Africans to be careful with the Chinese because they may have ulterior motives in Africa.
However, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma begs to differ in the interview below:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, went as far as warning Africans of the “new colonialism” while in Lusaka, Zambia on June 10, 2011.
“We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa,” Clinton said in a television interview in Lusaka, the first stop on a five-day Africa tour.
“When people come to Africa to make investments, we want them to do well but also want them to do good,” she said. “We don’t want them to undermine good governance in Africa.”
Uganda is one of the biggest recipients of aid from China, and Press TV had an interesting discussion with Ugandan media practitioners about this subject. Watch:
According to Bloomberg, Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum and chrome, after South Africa, along with deposits of gold, coal, diamonds and nickel. Foreign companies with assets in the Zimbabwe include Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., Anglo Platinum Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group. British banks Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Plc also operate in the country.
Categories: News Tags: Chinese businesses in Uganda, Chinese in Africa, Chinese in Uganda, Chinese in Zimbabwe, Chinese Kilembe mines Uganda, indigenisation decree Nigeria, indigenisation law Zimbabwe, infrastracture programs in Uganda, Karuma dam Uganda, Nigerians in Zimbabwe, Yoweri Museveni Chinese connection, Yoweri Museveni Uganda
Newscast Media TOKYO—The US has defied the Chinese declaration of a new airspace
defense zone, flying two military aircraft around islands contested by Beijing and
Tokyo. US officials have dismissed Beijing’s policy as “inflammatory.”
The US flew two B-52 bombers around the disputed Senkaku Islands, US officials
reported on Tuesday, and without giving advance notice to Chinese authorities.
It followed a weekend declaration by China, which on Saturday published coordinates
for an “East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ),” including the islands.
The ADIZ declaration, if observed to by other nations, would give China control over
airspace above some of the world’s busiest international shipping lanes.
The Senkakus, known as the Diayou in Chinese, are the center of a long-running
dispute for sovereignty between Beijing and Tokyo.
China had warned that it would take “defensive emergency measures” against
aircrafts that fail to correctly identify themselves within the airspace.
Routine training flights, says US
However, US officials said that no changes had been made to normal flight routines.
“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus,” said US military
spokesman Steve Warren.
“We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight
plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies.”
The mission went ahead “without incident,” Warren said. He added that the two
aircrafts had spent “less than an hour” in the zone unilaterally-declared by China.
Both unarmed aircrafts were said to have taken off from the US island of Guam on
Monday as part of a scheduled training exercise, the military sources confirmed.
A Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Crosson, said the mission had
been planned “well before” China declared the zone.
The White House on Tuesday said the dispute over the islands should be resolved
“The policy announced by the Chinese over the weekend is unnecessarily
inflammatory,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnes.
“These are the kinds of differences that should not be addressed with threats or
inflammatory language, but rather can and should be resolved diplomatically,” he said.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against two Houston-based investment advisory firms and three executives for engineering thousands of principal transactions through their affiliated brokerage firm without informing their clients.
One of the firms — along with its chief compliance officer — also is charged with violations of the “custody rule” that requires firms to meet certain standards when maintaining custody of client funds or securities.
In a principal transaction, an investment adviser acting for its own account or through an affiliated broker-dealer buys a security from a client account or sells a security to it. Principal transactions can pose potential conflicts between the interests of the adviser and the client, and therefore advisers are required to disclose in writing any financial interest or conflicted role when advising a client on the other side of the trade. They must also obtain the client’s consent.
“By failing to disclose principal transactions and obtain consent, Parallax and Tri-Star Advisors deprived their clients of knowing in advance that their advisers stood to benefit substantially by running the trades through an affiliated account,” said Marshall S. Sprung, co-chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit.
According to the SEC’s orders instituting administrative proceedings, Bott initiated and executed at least 2,000 undisclosed principal transactions from 2009 to 2011 without the consent of Parallax clients. In each transaction, Parallax’s affiliated brokerage firm Tri-Star Financial used its inventory account to purchase mortgage-backed bonds for Parallax clients and then transferred the bonds to the applicable client accounts. Bott received nearly half of the $1.9 million in sales credits collected by Tri-Star Financial on these transactions.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by R. Joann Harris and Asset Management Unit member Barbara L. Gunn of the Fort Worth Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Jennifer Brandt.
by Napp Nazworth
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Obama
administration to respond to a petition by the Home School Legal Defense Association
to hear an appeal in the Romeikes deportation case.
The Obama administration has sought to deport the Romeikes, a German family that
fled from to the United States to protect their right to homeschool. If they had
stayed in Germany, they risked fines or having their children taken from them, as
recently happened with another homeschooling family in Germany.
An appeals court agreed with the administration, which argued that the freedom to
determine the education of one’s children is not a fundamental right. The
administration also agreed with a German court’s argument that banning
homeschooling teaches tolerance of diverse views. HSLDA petitioned the Supreme
Court to review that appeals court decision in Romeike v. Holder.
The fact that the Supreme Court wants the administration to weigh in on the petition
increases the likelihood that it will hear the case, but it is no guarantee.
“We are pleased by the Court’s interest in the issues we have presented in our
petition,” HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris wrote in an email to HSLDA supporters.
“Romeike v. Holder gives the Court an opportunity to address important religious
freedom and human rights issues. We hope that after due consideration of the
government’s brief they will agree to hear our case.”
Newscast Media VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Vatican on
Monday afternoon with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. It’s the
fourth time the Russian leader has been here to the Vatican – he met twice with Pope
John Paul II in 2000 and 2003 and had an audience with Pope Benedict in 2007.
In September this year, Pope Francis also wrote directly to President Putin, as the
city of St Petersburg prepared to host the G20 summit of world economic leaders.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Source: The Vatican
Newscast Media GENEVA—The United Nations set January 22 as the date for holding
the international conference on Syria referred to as “Geneva 2.”
Martin Nesirky, the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that
Ban “expects Syrian representatives to come to Geneva with a serious intent to end
Nesirky quoted Ban as saying that the conference inspires hope, and that the conflict
in Syria has been going on for a long time, therefore it would be unforgivable to waste
this opportunity to put an end to the suffering and destruction the conflict has
According to Nesirky, Ban said that violence in Syria claimed tens of thousands of
lives and displaced millions, in addition to causing turmoil in the region.
He also relayed Ban’s deep gratitude to the Russian and US governments, other
countries and UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, for their work to reach this point.
On a relevant note, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed in a statement
from Rome that the conference will be held on January 22nd, regretting that it
couldn’t be held sooner, holding the Syrian opposition responsible for the delay.
Lavrov said the conference was delayed because the opposition made preconditions
and demanded the departure of the Syrian leadership, describing the opposition as
Newscast Media PARIS—The anti-cervical cancer vaccine ‘Gardasil’ ignited debate
over the weekend after French teenager Marie-Oceane Bourguignon filed a lawsuit
against French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur and the country’s health
She claimed that extreme side-effects were caused by injections of Gardasil, a
vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), when she was 15 years old.
Gardasil is made by Merck and sold throughout Europe by Sanofi.
Bourguignon is suffering from either an evolutive nervous system disease or multiple
sclerosis since February 2011, that she says is caused by the two vaccine injections
she had in October and December 2010.
However, Daniel Floret, the chair of the national committee that oversees
vaccinations, said Monday that there is no evidence linking Gardasil with serious
auto-immune conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
Three other women have announced that they will lodge a complaint against Sanofi
Pasteur over the alleged side-effects of Gardasil within the next two weeks.
But proponents of the vaccine say 2.3 million teenagers are targeted preventively
each year in France.
About 3,000 women will suffer from a cervical cancer every year.
Source: Radio France Internationale
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Obama says an agreement reached
between the six world powers and Iran in Geneva is an initial step that will halt
progress of the Iranian nuclear program for the first time in a decade.
“These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear
weapon,” Obama said in a nationally televised address November 23.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The White House said it is “imperative” that Afghan
authorities conclude a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States before the
end of the year. White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news conference on
November 22: “The bottom line is that we need to conclude the agreement with
signatures between our two governments as soon as possible and certainly by the
end of the year.”
He said that failure to conclude the agreement by that point would make it impossible
for the United States and its allies to plan for a presence [in Afghanistan] post 2014.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a session of the Loya Jirga, or Grand Council, on
November 21 that the Bilateral Security Agreement might have to wait to be signed
until after Afghanistan’s presidential elections in April 2014.
But Carney said the U.S. had made an honest offer and emphasized that Washington
would not be revising the deal. He said, “It is our final offer.”
The Bilateral Security Agreement could clear the way for the United States to keep
thousands of troops in Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw at the end of
U.S. officials responded to Karzai’s comments, saying the deal must be finalized before
the start of 2014. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said on November 22 that
Afghanistan does not recognize U.S. “deadlines.”
Afghan authorities and delegates to the Loya Jirga have voiced concern about parts
of the agreement.
Most recently, the question of U.S. forces entering the homes of Afghan citizens has
held up the deal, but there are reportedly other unresolved issues in the agreement
the Loya Jirga is still considering.
Source: Radio Liberty
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday said that his
army will succeed in ending the Syrian war within the next six months.
Assad made the remarks addressing a delegation of representatives of various Arab countries
participating in the Arab Parties Conference in Damascus, according to Al-Alam’s
During the meeting, Assad confirmed that the Syrian army will achieve decisiveness in
its military operations in the next six months. READ FULL ARTICLE>>