Newscast Media MOSCOW—The United States and Russia reached agreement on Tuesday to encourage opposing sides in the Syria conflict to find a negotiated solution. Visiting Moscow, US Secretary of State John Kerry held more than five hours of talks in total with President Vladimir Putin and then with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in an effort to find common ground on the issue.
The two powers have repeatedly taken opposing sides on the matter, with Russia—a long-standing arms supplier to Syria—maintaining close links with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Moscow claims Washington has worsened the situation by seeking regime change and siding with the rebels. Meanwhile Western nations have accused Russia of failing to use its influence with Damascus and scuppering efforts to take action against him through the UN Security Council.
However, both sides downplayed their differences in a press conference after the talks.
“We agreed that Russia and the United States will encourage both the Syria government and opposition groups to find a political solution,” Lavrov said at a concluding news conference that ended just after midnight.
Lavrov maintained that Russia did not believe the removal of Assad from office should be a precondition for talks, but insisted that Moscow was not propping up the Syrian leader.
“We are not concerned by the fate of any individual. We are concerned by the fate of the Syrian people.”
There was agreement on the need to implement a plan for a transitional government set out in the Geneva accord, agreed by world powers last June, as soon as possible.
“The alternative is that there is even more violence,” said Kerry. The alternative is that Syria heads closer to an abyss, if not over the abyss and into chaos.”
Kerry also said there had been a “very productive, very warm and friendly discussion” with Putin in the earlier meeting, which he added “has contributed significantly to our ability to map a road ahead.”
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Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—After a deadly attack by rebels on top Syrian officials, there was much speculation about the whereabouts of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Several rumors suggested that Assad might have left the capital, but the president disproved those rumors by appearing on TV with newly-named Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij.
One of the victims killed in the blast was the president’s brother-in-law. The location of the killings took place in one of the most tightly secured neighborhoods in the city. The National Security headquarters is located in Rawda, in the upscale Abu Rumaneh neighborhood. It lies in a square that contains the Turkish, US, Iraqi, and several EU embassies.
President Assad with his newly-named Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij
According to Al-Akbar, the ambush which targeted the commanders of the security unit was claimed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). But there were several accounts. One spoke about a suicide bomber inside the building. Another said an explosive device had been installed inside the meeting room. Others claimed a number of FSA brigades penetrated the security structure and planted an explosive device in the meeting room.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — A group of the Palestinian wing of the hackers who identify themselves as Anonymous, claimed responsibility for taking down Israel’s Haaretz Hebrew-language site, in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, as a cyber war between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian hackers continued.
In a Twitter message, Anonymous Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack:
“haaretz.co.il Tango Down : )”. The hackers promised to continue the attack on Israeli websites and in fact, several hours later, the website of Israel Hayom newspaper was also paralyzed, with the hackers tweeting a similar message, “israelhayom.co.il tango down!”
Also on Wednesday, the website of the Israel Festival was brought down. Pro-Palestinian hackers wrote “Free Palestine” in several parts of the site, and featured an image of the Israeli and American flag burning.
Israeli hackers have launched some counter attacks, though the Israeli government has asked them to show restraint. http://www.newscastmedia.com/haaretz.html
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Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas –After four months military conflict in Libya between Gaddafi’s forces and the pro-democracy movement, Libya’s embattled leader says he is ready to make his exit once and for all. On Monday, Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the Libyan regime was in talks with the French
“The truth is that we are negotiating with France and not with the rebels,” the Algerian El Khabar newspaper quoted Saif al-Islam as saying from Tripoli. Gaddafi’s Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi told French daily, Le Figaro , that the embattled regime was ready to begin talks with Paris and the rebels without the interference of the “Guide”.
“We are ready to negotiate unconditionally. We simply want a stop to the bombardments. We cannot talk as bombs rain down,” he said.
Mahmud Shamman, spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council said they would only respond to serious initiatives concerning the departure of Gaddafi from power. The military situation in Libya has stabilized with much of the country in rebel hands, but Gaddafi’s forces still control Tripoli and most western towns.
On March 17, a U.N. Security Council resolution was approved allowing outside forces to use all measures necessary to protect civilians in Libya, including a no-fly zone that banned all flights in the country’s airspace.
Newscast Media –After an extensive investigation into the illegal kidney trafficking business, five Five doctors from South Africa’s health group Netcare have been charged for allegedly participating in an international kidney trading cartel.
Over 100 operations between 2001-2003 were conducted in Durban, in which poor Brazilians and Romanians were paid to donate kidneys to wealthy Israelites. In addition to the five doctors who were charged, two transplant unit staff, Netcare group, Netcare’s CEO and the Durban hospital where the operations are alleged to have taken place, South Africa’s Mercury and Times newspapers reported. In addition, an Israeli interpreter was also charged.
Despite the charges that include fraud, forgery, serious assault, Netcare has denied any wrongdoing. The trafficking cartel was initially uncovered in 2003. An Israeli organ broker who became a state witness and is expected to testify about his role in the alleged syndicate. More doctors are expected to be charged in the coming days. http://newscastmedia.com/southafricakidney.htm