Foreign articles

Russia vows to sell missiles to Syria

Russia vows to sell missiles to Syria

MOSCOW – Russia announced on Saturday that it intended to fulfil its contract to supply Syria with cruise missiles despite the turmoil shaking the Arab world and Israel’s furious condemnation of the deal.
“The contract is in the implementation stage,” news agencies quoted Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as saying. Russia initially agreed to send a large shipment of anti-ship Yakhont cruise missiles to Syria in 2007 under the terms of a controversial deal that was only

Egypt army apologises for beating Tahrir protesters

CAIRO – Egypt’s ruling military council apologised after military police beat protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but activists called for fresh protests to denounce violence by the authorities.
A security official and witnesses said that military police surrounded protesters shortly after midnight, beating them with batons and using tasers to disperse a crowd of several hundred that had gathered to push for reforms.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that “what

Reigning party suffers huge defeat in Ireland

DUBLIN – Ireland’s ruling Fianna Fail party suffered a crushing defeat in the general election and the opposition Fine Gael party is set to lead the next government, according to an exit poll on Saturday.
Fine Gael, led by former teacher Enda Kenny, won 36.1 percent of the vote on Friday, its best result since November 1982 but not enough for a parliamentary majority, the Millward Brown Lansdowne poll for the RTE broadcaster showed. By contrast the Fianna Fail party of Prime

Bangladesh dog lovers protest culling

DHAKA – Scores of dog lovers shouting “Don’t kill, sterilise” marched through Dhaka on Saturday to protest Bangladesh’s brutal canine culling, which involves breaking the animals’ necks. Carrying banners with slogans, the protesters linked hands in front of the Dhaka City Corporation, the main government agency responsible for the culling thousands of dogs every year.
Organisers, who arranged the protest using media such as Facebook and Twitter, said they believed it was the

Iran to ‘remove fuel’ from Bushehr N-plant

TEHRAN – Iran said on Saturday it is removing the fuel from the reactor of a Russian-built nuclear power plant, a move seen as a big blow to its controversial nuclear programme.
The decision to remove the fuel from the reactor of the nuclear plant in the southern city of Bushehr comes just months before the facility – which has seen a roller-coaster ride since its construction began in the 1970s – was scheduled to generate electricity.
“Based on the recommendation of

Thousands of Bahrainis march against regime

MANAMA – Thousands demonstrators marched in Manama on Saturday to demand the Sunni ruling regime stand down, upping pressure on the government one day after tens of thousands flooded the streets.
“Leave Hamad, leave Hamad” and “Down Hamad, down Hamad,” chanted the flag-waving demonstrators as they poured out of Pearl Square, epicentre of the protests which began on February 14. “The people want to topple the regime,” they roared as they formed a procession towards a major

Militants attack southern Russian city

MOSCOW – Up to a dozen militants have staged a daring attack on the capital of a southern Russian republic popular with downhill skiers and budget tourists, news reports said on Saturday. The overnight attack on Kabardino-Balkaria came a week after three Moscow tourists were gunned down in the area while travelling to the Elbrus mountain resort, which is one of Russia’s most popular winter tourist destinations.
No one was reported killed in Friday night’s strike on the

Israeli jets hit militant camps in Gaza

GAZA CITY – Israeli warplanes bombed militant training camps in the Gaza Strip for a second time on Saturday, wounding one person, Palestinian officials said. The jets hit two training camps of the Ezzedine al-Qassem Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement, in the southern city of Rafah, Hamas security officials said, adding that one bystander was lightly wounded. The raids came after pre-dawn strikes against two training camps of the hardline Islamic Jihad group.

US military pulls out of key eastern Afghan valley

WASHINGTON – The US military has begun pulling soldiers out of the Pech valley in eastern Afghanistan, a location once said to be vital to the war effort in the region, the Pentagon said on Friday.
The commander of US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan, Major General John Campbell, is “repositioning” forces “within the province to achieve greater effect and allow for more flexibility,” said Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokesperson.
Campbell, “is moving

Germany, Britain back ‘severe’ sanctions on Libya

BERLIN – The leaders of Germany and Britain agreed on Saturday on the need for “severe” international sanctions to be imposed as quickly as possible on the Libyan regime, Berlin said. In a telephone conversation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on the need for urgent United Nations sanctions, the German government’s deputy spokesman, Christoph Steegmans, said in a statement.
The two leaders believe “the United Nations Security

Italian report details arms sales to Libya

ROME – Italy has sold Libya explosives, gun targeting equipment and other military hardware worth tens of millions of euros (dollars) in the past two years, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday.
The newspaper quoted an official report from the Italian interior ministry that listed signed contracts as well as ongoing negotiations between Libya and several major Italian defence companies including industry giant Finmeccanica. Missile systems maker Mbda Italia

Libya faces call for exclusion from UN rights council

GENEVA – The UN rights chief decried Moamer Gaddafi regime’s “callous disregard” for Libyans during a special Human Rights Council session on the crisis on Friday, amid calls for an international probe into the violence. Western nations also led a call for the country to be excluded from the council, but Cuba opposed the move while China and Russia expressed reservations.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned the 47 member council that thousands may have been

NATO, Europe pile pressure on Gaddafi regime

GODOLLO – NATO and the EU piled pressure on Moamer Gaddafi’s regime on Friday, joining forces to rescue foreigners stranded in Libya while EU governments prepared to take part in a possible no-fly zone. As the European Union prepared sanctions against Tripoli, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with EU defence ministers in Godollo, Hungary, to discuss the vast evacuation effort under way in the strife-torn country.
Rasmussen also convened a separate emergency meeting of the

China activists charged over ‘Jasmine rally’ call

BEIJING – Police have levelled subversion charges against several top activists who urged Middle East-style protests in China, in what appears to be a severe crackdown on dissent, rights groups said on Friday. Ahead of an appeal for fresh “Jasmine rallies” in 13 Chinese cities on Sunday, skittish authorities in Beijing called the foreign press into line, telephoning journalists and using state media to reiterate the reporting rules. More than 100 activists have been subjected to

Irish vote in poll dominated by economic woes

DUBLIN – Irish voters on Friday look certain to oust their government in elections dominated by the collapse of the economy and a hated international bailout.
The widely expected defeat for the eurozone country’s traditional party of government, Fianna Fail, would make the Irish government the first to fall victim to the eurozone debt crisis. “They’re getting a good kicking, and they deserve it,” said Brendan Buckley, a 47-year-old civil servant, at a polling station in north

Clashes spread to Ivory Coast’s political capital

ABIDJAN – Clashes between Ivory Coast security forces and supporters of would-be president Alassane Ouattara spread in the early hours to the political capital, Yamoussoukro, witnesses said on Friday. Patrols of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) loyal to outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step down after November elections, came under fire in the Dioulabougou district, and sustained shooting went on until 7am (0700 GMT). A local journalist told AFP that sporadic

US Army ordered psy-ops on own lawmakers: report

WASHINGTON – The US Army ordered the illegal use of psychological operations to influence US lawmakers on the Afghanistan war, Rolling Stone magazine reported on Thursday, forcing the US commander there to launch an inquiry.
The explosive article said the command of General William Caldwell, in charge of training Afghan troops, pressured US soldiers specializing in “psy-ops” that normally influence enemy behavior, to manipulate visiting US senators and congressmen — as well as