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WORLD

WH won't call Morsi's ouster coup; Morsi's followers urge uprising

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 21:09  |  Published in WORLD

 CAIRO, July 8 (UPI) -- The White House didn't call the military ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a coup as Morsi's followers urged a popular uprising against the military.

 "This is an incredibly complex and difficult situation," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday "President Obama made clear our deep concern about the decision made by the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Morsi from power and to suspend the constitution. It is also important to acknowledge that tens of millions of Egyptians have legitimate grievances with President Morsi's undemocratic form of governance and they do not believe that this was a coup."

Michelle Obama, Laura Bush compare first lady notes

Written by  |  Tuesday, 09 July 2013 20:02  |  Published in WORLD

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, July 2 (UPI) -- Michelle Obama said being first lady can be confining "but it's a really nice prison," and former first lady Laura Bush said at least the prison has "a chef."

Obama and Bush appeared together Tuesday at the African First Ladies Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where Obama was asked about past comments U.S. first ladies are able to draw attention to important issues that ordinarily might be overlooked.

Mandela hospitalized for recurring lung infection

Written by  |  Saturday, 08 June 2013 21:18  |  Published in WORLD

Nelson MandelaPRETORIA, South Africa, June 8 (UPI) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized for a recurrence of a lung infection, the government said Saturday.

Mandela, 94, remains in "serious but stable condition" in a Pretoria hospital, the office of President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

Kerry 4B West Bank plan could underpin peace with Israel

Written by  |  Sunday, 26 May 2013 18:30  |  Published in WORLD

DEAD SEA, Jordan, May 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a $4 billion plan to rebuild the West Bank economy could be a strong underpinning of a lasting peace with Israel.

At the same time, in a separate speech at the same World Economic Forum, Israeli President Shimon Peres told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas he was Israel's partner for peace.

Kerry, Peres and Abbas agreed Kerry's economic proposal would not replace a political solution to the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The truth is that when considering the security of Israelis or Palestinians, the greatest existential threat and the greatest economic threat to both sides is the lack of peace," Kerry said at the economic forum on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan.

"To not try to head these off would be tragic and it would be irresponsible."

McCain talks with rebel leaders in Syria

Written by  |  Monday, 27 May 2013 07:38  |  Published in WORLD

ALEPPO, Syria, May 27 (UPI) -- Sen. John McCain Monday entered Syria for talks with rebel leaders, The Daily Beast reported.

The report said McCain is the highest-ranking U.S. official to enter Syria since the civil war began more than two years ago. McCain, R-Ariz., is a critic of the Obama administration's non-involvement policy in Syria.

The senator made the unannounced visit across the Turkey-Syria border with Gen. Salem Idris, leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, The Daily Beast reported.

The visit lasted several hours.

While meeting with McCain, rebel leaders urged the United States to provide them with heavy weapons and a no-fly zone, and launch airstrikes on the Syrian regime forces and the forces of Hezbollah, the report said.

British govt weighs options for Syrian rebels

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 May 2013 04:30  |  Published in WORLD

LONDON, May 22 (UPI) -- World leaders need to consider "every way" possible to increase the pressure on the Syrian president, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.

Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon this week were suspected of playing a role in pro-government attacks on rebel strongholds in Syria. The allegations followed reports small amounts of chemical weapons may have been used during the civil war.

Hague said in a speech before a conference on Syria the conflict was taking a new turn, describing Syria as the top destination for Islamic radicals and making support for coordinated opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad more necessary now.

"The case for further amendments to the arms embargo on Syria is compelling, in order to increase the pressure on the regime, and to give us the flexibility to respond to continued radicalization and conflict," he told British lawmakers. "We have to be open to every way of strengthening moderates and saving lives rather than the current trajectory of extremism and murder."

Opponents of supporting Syrian rebels through military means are concerned about the possibility of putting weapons in the hands of al-Qaida groups waging war against Assad's regime. Hague stressed that there is no military option available for victory, however.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Wednesday in Jordan ahead of the Syrian peace meeting. Hague said he supported a proposal by Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for an international dialogue aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict.

Musharraf remains under house arrest

Written by  |  Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:52  |  Published in WORLD

ISLAMABAD, May 18 (UPI) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will remain on house arrest for at least another two weeks, a Pakistani court ruled Saturday.

Musharraf, who returned from self-imposed exile in March in a failed bid to return to power, has been charged with jailing judges who opposed his institution of martial law during his 9-year rule. Pakistan's special Anti-Terrorism Court has barred the retired general from ever running for office again.

The Express Tribune said the main complainant in the judicial arrest case has disassociated himself from the court proceedings, though Dawn News said the lead plaintiff, Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Ghumman, had yet to withdraw his petition in writing.

It was unclear what if any impact Ghumman's withdrawal would have on the proceedings.

Musharraf also faces potential criminal prosecution for his administration's shoddy security detail that led to the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and for the killing of tribal leader Akbar Bugti in 2006.

The Anti-Terrorism Court adjourned Musharraf's case until June 1.

Nigera declares war on Islamist insurgents

Written by  |  Wednesday, 15 May 2013 06:35  |  Published in WORLD

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 15 (UPI) -- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared war on Muslim militants seeking to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, acknowledging after months of worsening bloodshed that the troubled oil-rich African state is battling a full-blown insurgency.

Jonathan on Tuesday imposed a state of emergency on three northeastern states that are in the eye of the storm -- Borno, Yobe and Adamawa -- to counter what he termed "a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity."

For the first time, Jonathan, a Christian from southern Nigeria, acknowledged that parts of Borno, the heart of the Islamist insurgency, have been "taken over by groups whose allegiance are to different flags than Nigeria's."

These actions, he said, "amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state."

It was the bleakest assessment of the state's battle with Islamists of the Boko Haram group, which was formed in 2006 and unleashed a campaign of violence in 2009.

Some 1,600 people have been killed in the violence but government officials have generally gone out of their way to downplay the scale of the security threat for political reasons.

Jonathan is already wrestling with tribal militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta in the south and oil theft on an industrial scale that costs the state around $2 billion a year in lost revenue. He was clearly spelling out the danger that Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sacrilege" in the northern Hausa dialect, poses to the country.

This group first made its mark in July 2009, when it engaged in a five-day battle with police in and around the city of Maiduguri, the epicenter of the insurgency. More than 800 people were killed in the violence in which the Islamists wielded machetes, bows and poisoned arrows and a few old rifles.

Despite a military crackdown and the death of its leader, Boko Haram survived and has grown into a well-armed rebel force that since 2010 has been trained by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Al-Qaida's North African branch, led by veterans of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Algeria, is extending its operations across the region and, as the Nigerian bloodletting shows, into sub-Saharan Africa.

In a series of recent attacks involving up to 200 fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, tuck-mounted anti-aircraft guns, the Islamists demonstrated firepower and military skills not seen previously, and this has clearly shaken Jonathan's generals.

Jonathan's reference to Boko Haram seizing territory in the north underlines the gravity of the situation because until recently the Islamists hadn't done that. They concealed themselves among the Muslim population of the north.

Nigeria, plagued by official corruption and politicians with their own private militias, has been troubled for years. The country, Africa's most populous nation with 160 million people, is divided more or less equally between Muslims in the north and Christian in the south.

Nigeria's also one of the continent's top oil producers. In recent years much of West Africa has become a major oil-producing zone, which gives the region a strategic importance it didn't have previously have.

Jonathan said he was sending military reinforcements into the three states where the emergency was declared.

He gave no details. But the crackdowns by the military and the security services have been marked by their brutality, and this has driven many Muslims into the arms of Boko Haram.

There also seems to be a growing risk of a religious civil war emerging if Boko Haram isn't crushed.

In April, Christian militants threatened to unleash a "crusade" against the Islamists "in defense of Christianity."

The threat came from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, a coalition of armed groups that's waged an insurgency in the region, the center of Nigeria's oil production, since 2005.

Christians have been a major target of Boko Haram. Scores of churches have been bombed or torched since 2009 and hundreds of Christians killed.

"The bombing of mosques ... Islamic institutions, large congregations of Islamic events and the assassination of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate will form the core mission of this crusade," MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo declared.

Netanyahu, Obama show unity on Iran

Written by  |  Wednesday, 20 March 2013 07:25

TEL AVIV, Israel, March 20 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he and U.S. President Obama believe Israel has the right to act on its own on Iranian nuclear weapons.

Pope Francis: Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Written by  |  Wednesday, 13 March 2013 18:10

VATICAN CITY, March 13 (UPI) -- Jorge Mario Bergoglio, selected Wednesday as the successor to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, was archbishop of Buenos Aires before his elevation to pope.



(C) 2013 Theodore Myles