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What Happened Today?

Ukraine:

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko allowed a ceasefire that was set to end Monday night to lapse, and promised to fully fight off the separatists in the Eastern region. Ukrainian officials applauded the move, while Russian President Putin again reaffirmed his right to protect Russians residing in Eastern Ukraine.

Israel:

Funeral for Eyal Yifrach

In response to 20 rockets from Gaza, Israel launched tactical strikes on 34 targets within the Strip. Palestinian casualties mount up, as hostilities rise again following the discovery of the dead bodies of three abducted Israeli teens in the West Bank.

Nigeria:

image

56 casualties are counted after a car bomb explodes in Maiduguri. The Northeastern city is also known as the birthplace of the Boko Haram terrorist group, responsible for the seizure of more than 250 young girls.

USA:

BNP Paribas concealed over USD 190 billion worth transactions for clients(REUTERS)

French bank BNP Paribas was fined close to $9 billion, among other penalties, for helping clients go around US sanction on Cuba, Iran, and Sudan. The bank had recently plead guilty on the charges.

Malaysia:

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Tuesday, 1 July 2014.

Malaysia will comply with an extradition request from New Zealand for a junior military official after he was charged with sexual assault.

France:

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is detained by authorities on influence peddling charges.

Northern Ireland:

AFP Photo / Andrew Meares

Recent racist attacks in Northern Ireland bring fear that the KKK are raising their influence, shortly after a KKK flag goes up in Belfast.

EU:

Martin Schulz (L) and Jean-Claude Juncker

Martin Schulz, left, of the German Social Democrats, has been re-elected to lead the European Parliament.

Iraq:

iraq_kurds

The Iraqi Council of Representatives failed to form a unity government to counter the ISIL movement after a call for a quorum was not answered.

Japan:

The Japanese Cabinet has allowed the Japanese Self-Defense forces to have the authority to fight overseas, a marked shift from years of pacifism. Japan is one of a number of Asian countries currently riled in controversy with China for control of the South China Sea.

Filed under world news politics

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"Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, whose court-martial made him the public face of the military’s struggle to prevent and police sexual misconduct in the ranks, dodged a jail sentence," yesterday, reports The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock.
Instead, a military judge reprimanded him and fined him $20,000. Sinclair admitted to having an extramarital affair with a junior officer, but denied assaulting or threatening her. He also pled guilty to having improper relationships with two other women. http://wapo.st/1gKIitf

"Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, whose court-martial made him the public face of the military’s struggle to prevent and police sexual misconduct in the ranks, dodged a jail sentence," yesterday, reports The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock.

Instead, a military judge reprimanded him and fined him $20,000. Sinclair admitted to having an extramarital affair with a junior officer, but denied assaulting or threatening her. He also pled guilty to having improper relationships with two other women. http://wapo.st/1gKIitf

Filed under us crime news law general defense sex assault

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"The Pentagon has put the brakes on an environmental assessment of the effects of eliminating potentially dozens of intercontinental ballistic missile silos as defense officials sort out two conflicting provisions in the fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill.
"Last month, Pentagon officials asked the Air Force to proceed with the study, which could be the firststep toward decommissioning silos at sites in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. But in an interview Thursday, a defense official said the department has put that assessment on hold as officials review whether they can proceed with the study.” http://goo.gl/0zRPws

"The Pentagon has put the brakes on an environmental assessment of the effects of eliminating potentially dozens of intercontinental ballistic missile silos as defense officials sort out two conflicting provisions in the fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill.

"Last month, Pentagon officials asked the Air Force to proceed with the study, which could be the firststep toward decommissioning silos at sites in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. But in an interview Thursday, a defense official said the department has put that assessment on hold as officials review whether they can proceed with the study.” http://goo.gl/0zRPws

Filed under us missile silo study news defense

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Two suspected Al-Qaeda militants killed in US drone strike in Hadhramaut, Yemen.Yemen has been attacked since April 2009 by various forces. Some say it is by secessionist groups, others say it is by militaristic insurgents.

Two suspected Al-Qaeda militants killed in US drone strike in Hadhramaut, Yemen.

Yemen has been attacked since April 2009 by various forces. Some say it is by secessionist groups, others say it is by militaristic insurgents.

Filed under yemen news

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Guantanamo Bay and the state of the US prison system:

Nelson Mandela was a man who emulated forgiveness, and Obama himself praised the “eye-opening” words that the former South African prisoner-turned-president spoke. However, Mandela also said that if you are to truly understand a country, you must be within its prisons - and the United States is not doing so well in the understanding department. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world - 500/100k citizens. We also have a high racial disparity in our prison population. 1/3 of black males can expect to see prison cells compared to 1/17 white males, for instance. Guantanamo Bay is a prime example of what the United States is capable of. There were 240 prisoners when Obama was elected, 24 with the charge of plotting against the US. Today, there are 158 prisoners, 79 cleared for release (yet still imprisoned). Stories of how prisoners were nabbed off the streets are akin to how a more sinister country operates. Obama appointed 3 liaisons in charge of overseeing the process of shutting Gitmo down. Since then, 12 prisoners have been repatriated to their countries. However, Yemen seems to be a particular country that is getting a hold on their detainees: the 2014 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Bill) that was recently signed authorizes the President to repatriate Gitmo prisoners to their countries (but not to another US facility), and 55 Yemenis have been cleared to go home. The caveat here is that the US is demanding the building of a new ‘rehabilitation center’ in Yemen to house the detainees with some claiming this is so that the detainees do not give out their accounts of being poorly treated (which is an understatement). So while the United States and Yemen are disagreeing over how to fund and open this facility, the Pentagon announced a gag order on hunger strikes the detainees are participating in. Last February, there were 106 prisoners committed to the hunger strike. A recent survey has also shown that out of the 603 prisoners released from Gitmo, 3.5% either went back to or are suspected of participating in terrorist activity against the US. How dangerous are the detainees and are we really trying to cover up our mistakes more than anything else?

Guantanamo Bay and the state of the US prison system:

Nelson Mandela was a man who emulated forgiveness, and Obama himself praised the “eye-opening” words that the former South African prisoner-turned-president spoke. However, Mandela also said that if you are to truly understand a country, you must be within its prisons - and the United States is not doing so well in the understanding department.

We have the highest incarceration rate in the world - 500/100k citizens. We also have a high racial disparity in our prison population. 1/3 of black males can expect to see prison cells compared to 1/17 white males, for instance. Guantanamo Bay is a prime example of what the United States is capable of. There were 240 prisoners when Obama was elected, 24 with the charge of plotting against the US. Today, there are 158 prisoners, 79 cleared for release (yet still imprisoned). Stories of how prisoners were nabbed off the streets are akin to how a more sinister country operates.

Obama appointed 3 liaisons in charge of overseeing the process of shutting Gitmo down. Since then, 12 prisoners have been repatriated to their countries. However, Yemen seems to be a particular country that is getting a hold on their detainees: the 2014 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Bill) that was recently signed authorizes the President to repatriate Gitmo prisoners to their countries (but not to another US facility), and 55 Yemenis have been cleared to go home. The caveat here is that the US is demanding the building of a new ‘rehabilitation center’ in Yemen to house the detainees with some claiming this is so that the detainees do not give out their accounts of being poorly treated (which is an understatement).

So while the United States and Yemen are disagreeing over how to fund and open this facility, the Pentagon announced a gag order on hunger strikes the detainees are participating in. Last February, there were 106 prisoners committed to the hunger strike. A recent survey has also shown that out of the 603 prisoners released from Gitmo, 3.5% either went back to or are suspected of participating in terrorist activity against the US. How dangerous are the detainees and are we really trying to cover up our mistakes more than anything else?

Filed under yemen news politics guantanamo bay usa prison terrorism oped

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Civilian Deaths in Iraq at worst levels yet. Three suicide bombers recently killed at least 29 in Baghdad, Youssifiyah, and Latifiyah, targeting pilgrims migrating to Karbala for the holy holiday of Arbaeen. A former Sahwa official and his four family members were also shot dead by military-clad gunman in Abu Ghraib. The death toll in Iraq was 659 in November alone.

Civilian Deaths in Iraq at worst levels yet. Three suicide bombers recently killed at least 29 in Baghdad, Youssifiyah, and Latifiyah, targeting pilgrims migrating to Karbala for the holy holiday of Arbaeen. A former Sahwa official and his four family members were also shot dead by military-clad gunman in Abu Ghraib. The death toll in Iraq was 659 in November alone.

Filed under iraq sectarian violence politics news

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Afghanistan: Latest News

  • Policy circles are looking to back off a deadline in terms of signing a bilateral security agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, pulling out US troops by the end of 2014. Karzai has refused to sign any agreements until April elections, and there is internal disagreement in the US about waiting out for Karzai, or not letting him “direct foreign policy”.
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Demsey says he has not fully considered the ‘zero option' of pulling out all US troops from Afghanistan at the end of the year if Karzai doesn't sign the BSA. Karzai, apart from wishing to wait until April elections, wants nighttime raids to end and a peace process with the Taliban to start. If the BSA is signed, US troops may remain in Afghanistan in small numbers until 2024. Karzai himself says that there is no deadline, and the US is holding things up themselves.
  • An Afghanistan National Directirate of Security spokesman says that a blast in a weapons cache today near the United States embassy was an accident caused by an electrical fault. No one was injured.
  • The United States has secretly lobbied India to persuade Afghanistan to sign the BSA.

Filed under afghanistan news politics international

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Iran: Latest News

  • There was a recent ‘misunderstanding' between the White House and PolitiFact over whether an Iranian missile test would come in defiance of the newly signed temporary agreement between the P5 and Iran. Iran says the missile test is for their space program, while others say it is a test to develop ICBMs capable of reaching the United States.
  • A meeting is set for January 21st between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran to discuss ‘further steps’ to meet transparency requirements in its nuclear program.
  • Developments in Iran’s Parchin base have recently diminished, according to a satellite image, leading some to suspect whether nuclear experiments have been ceased or completed.

Filed under iran news politics