27 Mar 15
Top violator of women's rights around the world? It's Israel says UN
At least that is the view of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). CSW ends its annual meeting on Friday, March 20 by condemning only one of the 193 UN member states for violating women’s rights – Israel.
Army Special Operations Command pushes back against alarmist claims about upcoming exercise
U.S. Army Special Operations Command is pushing back against alarmist claims that an upcoming U.S. military exercise is a preparation for imposing martial law or subduing right-leaning groups and individuals.
Conspiracy theories about the exercise, known as JADE HELM 15, appeared online this week.
Egypt poised to join Saudi assault on Yemen rebels
Saudi jets pounded neighboring Yemen on Thursday and Egyptian warships steamed toward its coast in the start of an Arab-led offensive against Shiite rebels that has become a showdown between the major powers in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies plunged into the Yemen crisis after ...Houthis, pushed from their power base in the north into the south...
Australia passes controversial new metadata law
Australia has passed a controversial security law that will require its internet and mobile phone providers to store customer data for two years.
The government bill got Senate approval by 43 votes to 16, with the support of the opposition Labor party.
Internet providers and and mobile phone networks will now be required to store customers' metadata - the sender, recipient and time of emails and calls.
Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone in lockdown
The authorities in Sierra Leone are enforcing a three-day lockdown to curb the spread of Ebola, with the entire population ordered to stay at home.
There is a two-hour exemption on Friday to allow Muslim prayers and a five-hour window for Christians on Sunday.
Volunteers are going door-to-door, looking for people with signs of the disease and reminding others how to stay safe.
U.S. Caves to Key Iranian Demands as Nuke Deal Comes Together
The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.
Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say
Syrian government airstrikes and shelling in the country's south killed at least 18 people on Thursday, including three children, opposition activists said.
North Korea 'arrests two South spies'
North Korea says it has arrested two South Korean men who it accused of spying for Seoul.
In a statement late on Thursday, state media said the two men, based in the Chinese border city of Dandong, were working to smear North Korea.
South Korea described the allegations as "groundless".
With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S.
Saudi Arabia kept some key details of its military action in Yemen from Washington until the last moment, U.S. officials said, as the kingdom takes a more assertive regional role to compensate for perceived U.S. disengagement.
Palestinian rockets killed more Gazans in 2014 war: Amnesty
Amnesty International said Thursday Palestinian rocket fire during the 2014 summer war in Gaza had killed more civilians in the Gaza Strip than in Israel.
Such deadly attacks on civilians on both sides constituted "a war crime," it said.
26 Mar 15
Saudi Arabia: the Gulf's best-equipped army
Riyadh - Saudi Arabia has the best equipped armed forces in the Gulf region, while counting on its Western partners to guarantee its security, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says.The Saudi military numbers 227,000 troops, including 75,000 in the army, 13,500 in the navy and 20,000 in the air force.
Iran may run centrifuges at fortified site
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press.
UN Mideast envoy calls on Security Council for Israel action
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N.'s top Mideast envoy challenged the Security Council on Thursday to lead the way to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, suggesting it should present a framework for negotiations that "may be the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution."
Explosion, massive fire reported in Manhattan's East Village
An explosion rocked New York City's East Village neighborhood Thursday afternoon and after the blast two buildings were engulfed in flames and and at least a partial building collapse has been reported. Witnesses at the scene tweeted photos showing the two burning buildings smoke pouring out of the roofs of both. The buildings are both low-rise tenement-style structures.David Godlis, who lives on St. Marks Place, just around the corner from the explosion site, said he felt his building shake and looked out the window to see people fleeing.
Alone at controls, co-pilot 'intentionally' destroyed plane
PARIS — The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and intentionally rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain's frantic pounding on the door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday.
US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel's Nuclear Program
Obama revenge for Netanyahu's Congress talk? 1987 report on Israel's top secret nuclear program released in unprecedented move. In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel's nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.
Superhighway: Russian official proposes road that could connect London to NYC
One of Russia's most powerful tycoons and a close pal of President Vladimir Putin has proposed a long and winding road that theoretically could connect Great Britain to Alaska, via Mother Russia. And while a nearly 13,000-mile highway sounds like a stretch – a really long stretch – the major roadblock is likely money, not feasibility. “This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project,” Russian Railways boss Vladimir Yakunin told the Russian Academy of Science, where he presented his plan for the Trans-Eurasian belt Development, which he acknowledged would cost “trillions” of dollars.
Greece optimistic on deal with euro zone next week
After talks with EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past week, Athens said it would present a package of reforms to its euro zone partners by Monday in the hope of unlocking aid and avoiding bankruptcy.
The internet is abuzz with discussion about asteroid 2014 YB35. Some media outlets are reporting that this kilometer-class space rock will "skim past Earth" for a "terrifying" close encounter on Friday, March 27th.
USGS upgrades Aleutian volcano alert level
Seismic activity at the Semisopochnoi volcano began in January, but "has increased in intensity over the past few days," USGS wrote in the notice. "In addition, we have detected brief periods of seismic tremor, which can indicate movement of magma or magmatic gases."
US, UN push Europe to make strong return to peacekeeping
Russia's aggressiveness in the east. The Islamic State group's sudden rise in the south. As Europe finds new threats close to home, it's now being asked by the United States to make a strong return to peacekeeping around the world as well.
Saudi Arabia launches airstrikes against Yemen rebels
Saudi Arabia has launched a military operation against Shiite rebels threatening the government in Yemen, the kingdom’s ambassador to the US said Wednesday night, as five Gulf states said they would protect embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Decline, Business Spending Declines 6th Month
The durable goods report for February was released on Wednesday. It was another disaster in a long line of weak economic reports. And once again economists missed their optimistic estimates by a mile.
Earthquake in the northwest suburbs
A minor earthquake occurred northwest of Chicago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The tremor, which occurred shortly after 6 p.m. yesterday, was centered near Lake in the Hills and measured 2.9 on the Richter scale, the federal agency said.
Is Obama strong-arming Netanyahu into unity deal with the left?
The Obama administration’s most recent threat to “re-evaluate” the US approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to be exposed for what it is: a backhanded attempt to influence the composition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s forthcoming ruling coalition and pressure him into a unity deal with left-wing parties.
Iran-backed rebels loot Yemen files about U.S. spy operations
Secret files held by Yemeni security forces that contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say.
Peru mudslide emergency declared in Chosica near Lima
The Peruvian authorities have announced a state of emergency in a town which was hit by an avalanche of mud and rocks on Monday.
A torrent of mud and water sent car-sized boulders crashing through the town of Chosica, 47 km (29 miles) from the capital Lima.
At least seven people were killed and 65 houses destroyed.
Two dead as flash flooding hits Chile Atacama desert region
Flash floods in one of the driest regions in the world - Chile's Atacama desert - have left two people dead and 24 missing, officials say.
They say thousands of people are now without electricity or water, as heavy rains in the Andes sent floodwater down into the valleys and towns below.
In the city of Copiapo, the river burst its banks.
US warns Westerners may be targeted in Uganda's capital
The US embassy in Uganda has warned that Westerners - including Americans - may be targeted for terrorist attacks in the capital Kampala.
It said it had "received information of possible threats" at city locations where Western nationals gather.
Islamic State conflict: US launches Tikrit air strikes
The US has begun air strikes against Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, the United States military has confirmed.
The order followed a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for assistance, after an Iranian-backed ground offensive in the city stalled.