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Friday April 18th, 2014

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Back to Rantburg
Government: Administration punts on Keystone, Obama faces Dem revolt
Posted by DarthVader 04/18/2014  16:31 2 Comments 0 words Read the whole thing on page 6

Government: Wendy Davis Deals Are the Subject of an FBI Corruption Investigation
Posted by DarthVader 04/18/2014  14:18 2 Comments 0 words Read the whole thing on page 6

-Land of the Free: The United States of SWAT?
Posted by DarthVader 04/18/2014  14:17 9 Comments 0 words Read the whole thing on page 4

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia: Putin Isn't a Genius -- We Are Complete Idiots
Posted by g(r)omgoru 04/18/2014  04:52 6 Comments 400 words Read the whole thing on page 4
Vladimir Putin happily allowed the Kiev authorities to shoot a few pro-Russian demonstrators while keeping his military forces on ice across the border. I predicted (and am sticking to my story) that Russia will not seize more territory in Eastern Ukraine--not for the time being, in any case. Russia will stand back and watch Ukraine implode, the way Egypt did during the two years following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
Note the new management is very friendly with Russia
Before the Maidan coup, Putin was willing to sit on $15 billion in arrears to Gazprom and put up $18 billion in new money. Now he wants $35 billion in back gas bills, on top of Ukraine's $15 billion a year current account deficit. The IMF wants massive cuts in subsidies, which will make the Kiev government an object of hatred without putting a dent into the problem. Western taxpayers won't cough up $50 billion for Ukraine, not even a small fraction of it.

Yankee Doodle went to Maidan, stuck a feather in his hat and called it democracy. Our foreign policy ideologues are like UFO cultists who are so convinced that space aliens are invading the earth that they see moon men in every glare of swamp gas. In this case, it isn't moon men, but aspiring republicans. First Tahrir Square, then Maidan, were glorious proof of the Manifest Destiny of Western democracy.

A Google search with the terms "Putin" and "genius" yields over 10 million hits. If I hear another pundit's panegyric to Putin's great intellect, I'll lose my lunch. Putin is not that smart; the trouble is that we are complete idiots. When Ukraine imploded, our leaders--from Victoria Nuland at the State Department to the neo-conservatives--rather assumed that we would reverse Ukraine's polarity to the West, and humiliate Russia with the loss of Crimea. Putin called our bluff, and we had no viable military options.

Putin doesn't need to send the Red Army into Ukraine. Every Ukrainian officer above the rank of major came up through the ranks in the Red Army. Ukrainian commanders won't fight the Russians. They are the Russians. Yesterday we watched Ukrainian paratroopers turn their armored vehicles over to Russian separatists. Maybe John McCain can send them more weapons to hand over to Moscow.
#1: Putin called our bluff.

This is Putin's mistake; it is well documented and said by Obama himself the he does not bluff.
Posted by: Airandee|| 2014-04-18 06:55 ||Comments

#2: I read the other day that the U.S. is an oligarchy. I disagree. Our current rulers and the regime, the politburo, are an idiocracy.
Posted by: JohnQC|| 2014-04-18 08:08 ||Comments

#3: White House bluff and bluster, threats of sanctions, are all diplomatic theater and a convenient distraction. Victoria Nuland's attitude toward the EU might indicate a calculated early assessment pointing toward a EU 'do nothing, hands off approach' toward events in the Ukraine. Without our EU partners, our response is conveniently reduced to talking points and meaningless rhetoric.

When Champ pulled the missile defense, the deal had been cut. Not entirely certain what Champ got out of the package, assistance with the AFG withdrawal could have been one element.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 08:45 ||Comments

#4: I can't argue one wit with Spengler's assertion that American leaders are complete idiots.

However, while Putin may not be a 'genius', he's quite shrewd. He's confident as a man can be when he knows the cards he's holding in his hand and also the cards his opponents are holding. Putin has a clear understanding of what "Russia" should be even if he doesn't care one fig about ordinary Russians.

That alone makes him the smartest man in the G8.
Posted by: Steve White|| 2014-04-18 09:10 ||Comments

#5: No US president has done so much to advance Russian ambitions since FDR.
Posted by: Iblis|| 2014-04-18 09:25 ||Comments

#6: Putin is in a battle of wits with an unarmed leadership.
Posted by: Bill Clinton|| 2014-04-18 21:40 ||Comments

Europe: The Louder They Come, the Harder ...
Posted by g(r)omgoru 04/18/2014  04:40 1 Comments 316 words Read the whole thing on page 4
A surprise deal has been reached at the Four Party talks in Geneva, which the president touted as his diplomatic option. Nothing had been expected to come of the talks and the standoff had been predicted to continue. The Daily Telegraph reports that a decisive movement occurred instead. "Vladimir Putin has secured key concessions from Ukraine and its Western supporters as the Kremlin was offered a central role in determining the future of its neighbour and former client state."

In return the West gets to send observers who can watch as Russian agents relinquish their hold on public buildings. The price: Russian say-so over the future of Ukraine.

...Obama was trying to manage expectations, probably to inoculate the public against harder and heavier tidings to follow. The Washington Post quoted the president as having misgivings about the deal, even as his emissaries embraced it.

...This doesn't sound very victorious. But the president's style is to bluff his way to victory. Recently he claimed that the Obamacare debate was over even though he's ordered the census bureau to revise its metrics so nothing can be measured. He's even reserved the right to make changes to the program, claiming the Republicans have no right to input until they change their attitude.

Too bad that doesn't work with Putin.

But he's always winning -- or so you would think if you listened to his hagiographers. The low information voters think he's the baddest and smartest puncher on the planet, who doesn't even have to fight, just point out that it is pointless to fight him, to emerge triumphant. Why, only two days ago he said that it was not in Russia's interest to carve up the Ukraine, a process for which he has just provided the carving-knife. Perhaps the only conclusion to draw is that anyone who hands Obama the slicer is subconsciously a turkey.
#1: Hard to take the ONE seriously when the line in the sand keeps moving and the consequences for actions are faux.
Posted by: JohnQC|| 2014-04-18 08:39 ||Comments

Europe: Western UN envoys blast Russian 'fantasy narrative' on Ukraine
Posted by g(r)omgoru 04/18/2014  04:16 0 Comments 11 words Read the whole thing on page 3
Tell me who your friends are...

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: US releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report
Posted by g(r)omgoru 04/18/2014  04:10 6 Comments 63 words Read the whole thing on page 2
WASHINGTON - The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the US State Department said on Thursday.
#1: Well, sure, but Champ is standing firm on the refusal of the envoy. [shakes head]
Posted by: Bobby|| 2014-04-18 08:11 ||Comments

#2: Good thing, too. Centrifuges ain't cheap.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia|| 2014-04-18 09:05 ||Comments

#3: The politicians never learn, do they.
Posted by: DarthVader|| 2014-04-18 09:16 ||Comments

#4: "more flexibility"
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 10:30 ||Comments

#5: After DNC handling fees, exactly how much of the $450m did the Iranians actually realize ?
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 10:43 ||Comments

#6: Enough to give to the Mormons in that airplane.
Posted by: Lemuel Craise7265|| 2014-04-18 21:37 ||Comments

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia: Russian tug off Florida: supporting nuclear attack subs or observing SpaceX launch?
Posted by 3dc 04/18/2014  03:45 10 Comments 300 words Read the whole thing on page 3
A Russian tug has been operating off Florida for some weeks. What is it doing over so far from home?

The Russian tug Nikolay Chiker is an ocean tag that has often deployed alongside Russian Navy's high value assets. According to Information Dissemination, the ship accompanied Russia's spy ship Viktor Leonov to Cuba last month, before moving off Florida, where it was parked on Mar. 15, ahead of the launch of Dragon spacecraft (Space Shuttle Orbiter replacement) on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket scheduled of Mar. 16 from the SLC-40 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

However, the SpaceX launch was delayed and, since then, the ship has moved back and forth along U.S. East coast: it headed southbound, has made a port visit to Curacao, then it has operated in the Caribbean Sea and eventually returned more or less where it was on Mar. 15 and it is right now: off Cape Canaveral.

The fact that the tug moved off Cape Kennedy in the days of the scheduled launch of SpaceX and returned there in anticipation of the new launch window suggests that the Nilolay Chiker is somehow interested in observing the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft on the company's third commercial resupply mission and fourth visit to the space station.

However, there's someone who suggested that the ocean tug is actually supporting Russian nuclear attack submarines monitoring U.S. Navy East coast bases.

Hard to say.

For sure the Russian tug is not there by accident. During the Cold War, Russian and Americans have monitored each others special special operations, military exercises, invasions, maiden flights etc. This is not changed with the collapse of the USSR. On the contrary, close encounters (as the one in the Black Sea) and reciprocal snooping are probably going to increase.
#1: Knowing Russians, both.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru|| 2014-04-18 04:02 ||Comments

#2: neither makes sense

surface ships provide no value added to a missile submarine unless the submarine has a damaged communication system

also a surface ship off the coast provides no value added for observing a high tech launch if your satellites are working
Posted by: lord garth|| 2014-04-18 07:43 ||Comments

#3: Vlad's sticking his thumb in Obama's eye.
Posted by: Raj|| 2014-04-18 10:05 ||Comments

#4: Not saying this is true or not, but a surface ship would provide a sort of shield; can't harass the sub without also harassing the surface ship. Well, at least not as easily. Hiding out in the open.
Posted by: swksvolFF|| 2014-04-18 10:14 ||Comments

#5: Terrorist Clive Bundy re-supply vessel ?
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 10:46 ||Comments

#6: A diver and submersible launch platform for repairing/replacing seabed communications lines. Maybe tapping the feed to the G.bay facility.
Posted by: Skidmark|| 2014-04-18 11:23 ||Comments

#7: When I was a teenager, my dad and I went fishing out of Port Canaveral. On the way out we saw a US boomer, ships for supporting NASA launches, and, after we left the harbor a couple of Tomcats that had been flying escort for a shuttle returning from the west coast landing site.

Right at the edge of international waters was a Russia. "fishing trawler"... Whether they were there for the shuttle or the sub, hard to say. But this is nothing new.
Posted by: Rob Crawford|| 2014-04-18 11:34 ||Comments

#8: These fishermen hungrily staring
Imply that their birds need repairing.
With their nets and their dishes,
Are they there for the fishes,
Or are they just sharing red herring?
Posted by: Zenobia Floger6220|| 2014-04-18 15:55 ||Comments

#9: I offer an alternative explanation: the condition of the Russian navy has become so poor that an ocean going tug is sent along with higher value ships to tow them home if they have a major breakdown.
Posted by: Chantry|| 2014-04-18 19:22 ||Comments

#10: Gievn the recent incidents invol the RussNav, "towing the Sub(s) in case of breakdown" is as valid a reason as any.
Posted by: JosephMendiola|| 2014-04-18 19:47 ||Comments

Israel-Palestine-Jordan: Netanyahu loses majority for deal to extend talks with Palestinians
Posted by g(r)omgoru 04/18/2014  03:41 0 Comments 191 words Read the whole thing on page 2
Efforts to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on extending talks hit a snag on Thursday when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lost his majority for such a deal.

American mediators have been trying to broker an agreement in which Israel releases a fourth round of Palestinian prisoners. As a gesture to Israel for releasing Israeli Arabs as part of the deal, the US intended to commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

The deal had a majority among the 23 members of the cabinet, thanks to support from Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, all of the Likud, five ministers from Yesh Atid, two from Hatnua and two from Yisrael Beytenu.

But Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch of Yisrael Beytenu surprised Netanyahu's associates when he told Army Radio that he opposes extending the negotiations if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not publicly condemn Monday's terrorist attack that killed senior police officer Baruch Mizrachi.

Abbas condemned the attack privately in a meeting with leftwing MKs in Ramallah on Wednesday. But he refused to come out to waiting Israeli journalists who accompanied the legislators.

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia: Russia opens Museum of U.S.-NATO Aggression
Posted by ryuge 04/18/2014  00:00 4 Comments 178 words Read the whole thing on page 3
A museum dedicated to the victims of U.S. and NATO military aggression has opened in the North Caucasus city of Vladikavkaz.

The exhibition opened Thursday to visitors over the age of 16, and displays artifacts "attesting" to "the state terrorism" of Western nations, said organizer Vyacheslav Lagkuyev.

Among the exhibition's themes are the conflicts in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan — each of which has its own display in the museum. The U.S. war in Vietnam and the NATO bombing of Serbia are also detailed.

A special place has been set aside to celebrate Russia's "enforcement of peace" in Georgia, with whom it went to war over the breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Lagkuyev said, "The exhibition is meant to remind visitors how the U.S. imparts its own understanding of the word 'Freedom' to other countries.

He said, "This is the only museum on this subject in Russia," adding that people from across the nation had contacted the organizers to say they had their own "documentation" of NATO atrocities that they wished to be put on display.
#1: Many here in the States will not be able to visit Vladikavkaz. Hopefully selected exhibits will be made available for periodic loan to the Barack Obama Presidential Libraries in Chicago and Nairobi.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 01:06 ||Comments

#2: built by Siberian Zeks
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 10:34 ||Comments

#3: Well, if not the Barack Obama Presidential Libraries in Chicago and Nairobi, I'm sure numerous campuses in CA and the North East will gladly welcome such an exhibit.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 12:27 ||Comments

#4: Are they going to have one of those machines that makes a KGB medal by press-milling a one cent piece?
Posted by: Uncle Phester|| 2014-04-18 21:49 ||Comments

Southeast Asia: Philippine military accused of attacking MILF forces
Posted by ryuge 04/18/2014  00:00 1 Comments 291 words Read the whole thing on page 1
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has accused the Philippine military of attacking its forces in Basilan province and said three of its fighters had been killed by soldiers. It said one civilian was also killed and three others injured by the military assault. It said the military violated the cease-fire agreement between the MILF and the government.

Marine Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the military launched the operation on April 11 against Abu Sayyaf leaders Puruji Indama and Nurhassan Jamiri, who have been interfering with a government road project there.

Muyuela said the military operation was coordinated with the MILF in Basilan. She said, "The launching of the combat operation has been coordinated with the AHJAG, CCCH and the PNP in pursuit of the lawless elements, primarily the Abu Sayyaf, which is believed to be responsible in several extortion and kidnapping cases here in the Mindanao area."

But the MILF, which recently signed a peace deal with Manila, denied the report, saying the assault was launched without any coordination and this triggered a fierce gun battle between its forces and government troops after security forced encroached into its territories.

It said the military assault against the Abu Sayyaf in the village of Kurellem lasted only for two hours, but the exchange of gun fire between MILF forces and the government troops took several hours.

AFP chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said there are reports that MILF militants fought alongside Abu Sayyaf rebels in Basilan. He said some MILF members who have relatives with the Abu Sayyaf were involved in the fighting.

Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said they are still verifying reports that as many as 32 militants were killed and injured in the fighting.
#1: At last check, Macalanang = PHIL Govt. is denying the attack + promising a full investigation.
Posted by: JosephMendiola|| 2014-04-18 19:42 ||Comments

Southeast Asia: Demilitarizing the Thai peace talks
Posted by ryuge 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 0 words Read the whole thing on page 4

Good morning
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 22 words Read the whole thing on page 1

India-Pakistan: Man injured, houses damaged in IED blast
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 245 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[DAWN] One person was injured and several houses were damaged when an improvised bomb went off outside the residence of a PPP leader in a street in Gulbahar-4 here on Wednesday morning.

"We were asleep when we heard a huge blast outside our house at about 5am," Anwar Safi, who had contested last general election from PK-2 constituency of the picturesque provincial capital, told Dawn. He said the blast destroyed gates and walls of the nearby houses and smashed the windowpanes," he said, adding when he came out of his residence there was thick black smoke and dust in the street.

Mr Safi said the blast also damaged water and gas supply lines and electricity pylons. A man in the neighborhood, he said had sustained injuries after being hit by a falling gate.

"We have no enmity with anyone and the people are worried as to who is involved in the terrorist act," he said.

Mr Safi, who is also a businessman, said he had received no threats or demands for extortion.

An official of Gul Bahar police said the bomb contained about 800 grams of explosives which was packed in canister and possibly targeted the trader. He said a case against unidentified gunnies had been registered.

India-Pakistan: Lal Masjid names library after Osama bin Laden
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 3 Comments 453 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[DAWN] Jamia Hafsa, a religious school for women in the Pak capital Islamabad connected to the notorious Lal Masjid has renamed its library in honour of slain al Qaeda leader the late Osama bin Laden
... who used to be alive but now he's not...

The seminary is run by controversial hardline holy man Maulana Abdul Aziz
...nutball holy man who runs the Lal Masjid in the heart of Pakistain's capital. After instigating a rebellion against the state in 2007, he was caught trying to sneak away dressed in a burka. He rejects democracy as un-Islamic, which it probably is...
, the imam of the city's Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), once infamous as a hideout for hardliners with alleged krazed killer links.

The mosque was the scene of a week-long military siege against faceless myrmidons during former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Perv Musharraf
... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ...
's regime in 2007 which left more than 100 people dead and unleashed a wave of terrorist attacks across Pakistain.

Now the Jamia Hafsa seminary connected to it has named its small library, stocking Islamic texts, in honour of bin Laden, who criminal masterminded the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

"It is true that we have named the library after Osama bin Laden," a source told AFP Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity
... for fear of being murdered...

"He might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist. For us he was a hero of Islam."
#1: A hero of Islam who killed six times as many Moslems as he killed kuffirs. It was the least they could do to name a Library after him. Only ONE book in the Library, of course. I think you can guess which one.
Posted by: Big Thromoth3646|| 2014-04-18 04:26 ||Comments

#2: No, no Big.

Many copies of that one book.
Posted by: AlanC|| 2014-04-18 07:50 ||Comments

#3: Ceremonial sacrifice of a Christian to follow shortly after the opening.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 12:29 ||Comments

Afghanistan: Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says Afghanistan
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 1 Comments 361 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[DAWN] A leading Taliban peace negotiator has been sent to his room in the United Arab Emirates, officials said on Thursday, dealing a blow to President Hamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai
... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use...
's efforts to jump-start a nascent Afghan grinding of the peace processor before leaving office.

Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, has been missing for over a week, according to the Afghan government, disappearing after arranging a meeting in Dubai between Afghan and Taliban officials in February.

"Mutassim ... one of the key Taliban leaders and who supported Afghan peace initiative, was put under house arrest in the UAE where he lived," the Afghan High Peace Council, a body formed by Karzai to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, said on Thursday.

"The Afghan government has made requests to the UAE authorities to lift all the restrictions," it said in a statement.

A Western security source in Kabul confirmed Mutassim had been put under house arrest, and that the UAE was considering deporting him to Afghanistan.

It was not immediately clear why Mutassim was confined to his home, or who was behind his arrest.

Authorities in the UAE declined to comment.
#1: Sounds like he wasn't being politically correct.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305|| 2014-04-18 14:29 ||Comments

India-Pakistan: New status for TTP?
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 496 words Read the whole thing on page 4
[DAWN] ON April 4, the prime minister ordered the release of 19 'non-combatant' TTP prisoners. By recognising the non-combatant status of such prisoners the release implicitly recognised the presence of Taliban 'combatants' in Pakistain. Later, the National Assembly passed the Protection of Pakistain (Amendment) Bill, 2014 (PPO). This time round, the law has explicitly recognised the category of 'combatant enemy'.

While many in the media have lamented the PPO's draconian nature, it is the resulting categorisation of TTP as 'combatant enem[ies]' which is problematic considering further that negotiations with organised gangs of non-state actors (NSAs) moves them closer towards attaining the coveted status of belligerents under international law, especially when such militias exercise territorial control.

Under Article 1 of the Additional Protocol II (AP II) to the Geneva Conventions, a Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC) encapsulates a typical civil war situation. While Pakistain has not ratified AP II, most of its provisions have attained the status of customary international law and are binding upon Pakistain. Furthermore, AP II codifies Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which binds every state to provide at all times certain minimum human rights
...which are often intentionally defined so widely as to be meaningless...
protections and guarantees.

Historically, Pakistain has denied the presence of an NIAC, probably because such an admission would result in an international recognition of the conflict which, consequently, would result in certain privileges, guarantees and treatment required to be meted out to NSAs -- such as endeavouring to grant amnesty.

Interestingly, even under AP II, NSAs fighting the state are classified as 'persons' rather than as 'combatants'. This is because, at the time of the AP II's promulgation, most nations held serious reservations over according NSAs combatant status, thus granting them combatant immunity. States felt that providing such status would be an infringement of their own illusory sovereignty, as a fighter with combatant immunity is immune from prosecution under the domestic criminal justice system and can only be tried for crimes violating the international laws of war.

Therefore, if TTP forces are categorised as enemy combatants, and any violence on their part against Pak armed and paramilitary forces and objects or civilian persons and objects is compliant with international humanitarian law (IHL) when conducted in the pursuance of a military advantage and necessity respectively, then under IHL there is a strong argument that TTP forces are immune from criminal prosecution. This would mean that TTP cannot be tried for using lethal force so long as it is complying with IHL norms in the pursuance of a military advantage not just in Fata but also in major urban centres of Pakistain.

India-Pakistan: Army to take over security of polio teams in KP
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 223 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[DAWN] In a major development, the Pakistain army was asked to assist the civilian government by taking over security of polio
...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set...
eradiction teams in militancy-hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...

A meeting was held Wednesday at the General Headquarter in Rawalpindi to coordinate details of the campaign with particular emphasis on security and access to affected areas.

Representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), and representatives of the federal and KP government and the FATA secretariat attended the meeting.

-Short Attention Span Theater-: 'Bear drags' Florida woman from garage
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 4 Comments 128 words Read the whole thing on page 3
[Dhaka Tribune] A Florida woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear, reported the CNN.

The report read: "She was ambled into her open garage and sifted through her garbage cans in search of food, sheriff's deputies said Sunday."

The woman said as many as five bears "of various sizes" were rooting through her trash when she walked into the garage, Seminole County Sheriff's Lt. Pete Brenenstuhl said.

The woman escaped and ran back into her home, where her husband called 911, he said. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Lt. Jeff Hudson said the woman had an "encounter with a black bear" but could not confirm the reports of multiple bears being involved in the incident.
#1: They might not confirm multiple bears were involved but multiple bears have been terminated by FWC since "they were coming right for us!" FWC now has a reward out since they believe somebody in the neighborhood was feeding the bears involved. You know that slippery slope "people give me food" to "people are food". Also one should note that about 20 years ago the animal rights loonies got the FWC to ban hunting black bears because they were becoming endangered.
Posted by: Snavise Cholurt4299|| 2014-04-18 09:13 ||Comments

#2: Large concentrations of retirees (The Villages) have forced native animal populations from their historic habitats. The land must be reclaimed by the Gov't and returned to the rightful animal kingdom owners.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 11:03 ||Comments

#3: ...appropriate for all those east of the Mississippi. Maybe they'll get the clue Westerners have been living with for generations. I suppose the original 13 states might be grandfathered, but the rest were developed on 'national' land to begin with.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 12:32 ||Comments

Posted by: Shipman|| 2014-04-18 16:16 ||Comments

Southeast Asia: Malaysia set to form international panel on missing jet
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 3 Comments 15 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[Iran Press TV] Yep. That oughta do it.
#1: 1. Somebody did something really, really stupid aboard that airplane.

2. The Malaysian government - never known for its willingness to admit error - panicked.

I suspect the Malaysians have a perfectly good idea as to what happened, but they're never going to admit it because that would be to admit fallibility, and in that part of the world that gets you in prison at best and at worst communing with Allan.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski|| 2014-04-18 11:37 ||Comments

#2: At this point, I wouldn't trust the Malaysian govt to search for Malaysia. Or to admit it if they found it.
Posted by: SteveS|| 2014-04-18 17:05 ||Comments

#3: from a FB friend:

Spare a thought for the guy who told his wife that he was going on a business trip to China aboard that ill-fated Malaysian flight MH 370 and now can't leave his girlfriend's apartment!
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 20:51 ||Comments

Africa Horn: Over dozen civilians injured in S Sudan's Bor
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 169 words Read the whole thing on page 3
[Iran Press TV] Several people have been maimed in South Sudan in an attack on a sheltering inside a UN peacekeeping base in the town of Bor, the capital of Jonglei state.

The incident occurred on Thursday when gunnies opened fire on civilians seeking refuge in the fortified base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The center hosts some 5,000 people displaced by the months-long conflict in the world's newest nation.

Mayor Nhial Majok said the shooting erupted when a group of local youths were demonstrating, but it was not immediately clear who had fired the shots.

Majok said at least 14 people had been seen with gunshot wounds, but noted that the number could be more.

The top UN aid official in the country, Toby Lanzer, expressed outrage at what he described as an "attack of armed youth in Bor on civilians seeking protection."

Africa North: Tunisian diplomat abducted in Tripoli
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 179 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[MAGHAREBIA] A Tunisian diplomat was kidnapped in Tripoli
...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn...
on Thursday (April 17th), a security source told AFP. Details remain sketchy about the circumstances of the abduction, which came two days after gunnies seized Jordan's ambassador.

Tunisia's ambassador to Libya, Ridha Boukadi, declined comment.

In other security news, gunnies attacked the headquarters of the Joint Security Room in the city of Ubari, Libya Herald reported on Wednesday. The assailants were reportedly trying to free a detainee at the premises.

One officer was injured in the attack.

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: 100 militants in Syria surrender to authorities
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 106 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Iran Press TV] Around 100 foreign-sponsored Death Eaters fighting the Syrian government have turned themselves in to authorities.

The krazed killers, who were from two areas in the Damascus countryside, also submitted their weapons to the Syrian army on Thursday.

Officials said those who did not commit crimes will be set free after promising not to carry arms again, or carry out any act to destabilize the security of the country.

Afghanistan: Two Afghan Soldiers and Seven Taliban Killed in Laghman
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 228 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Tolo News] Seven Taliban--one of which was the leader--and two Afghan soldiers were killed, while four other forces of Evil and a policeman were maimed in an operation led by Afghan forces in eastern Laghman on Tuesday, local officials said on Wednesday.

The operation launched in Alingar district of Laghman early Tuesday and continued through the evening to clear the area of bully boys. During the operation, residents of the Nolamsib valley in the Alingar district rebelled against the forces of Evil in support of the Afghan forces, Provincial Governor Spokesman Sarhadi Zhwak said.

Zhwak added that the Afghan forces have cleared Jabarkhil, Pariyana and several other villages of Alingar district of bully boys.

Alingar distinct is known as an insecure province where forces of Evil have been very active in targeting Afghan cops.

Home Front: Culture Wars: The slow death of free speech
Posted by badanov 04/18/2014  00:00 3 Comments 111 words Read the whole thing on page 4
Quips Steyn:

This is the aging of the dawn of Aquarius: new blasphemy laws for progressive pieties. In the New Statesman, Sarah Ditum seemed befuddled that the 'No Platform' movement — a vigorous effort to deny public platforms to the British National party and the English Defence League — has mysteriously advanced from silencing 'violent fascists' to silencing all kinds of other people, like a Guardian feminist who ventured some insufficiently affirming observations about trans-women and is now unfit for polite society. But, once you get a taste for shutting people up, it's hard to stop. Why bother winning the debate when it's easier to close it down?
#1: Why bother winning the debate when itâ€�™s easier to close it down?

That is the crux of what is going on now. There is no debate--only political correctness. Next, there will be re-education camps to get your head straight and to get back in line? The left will reap what it sows. Things follow cycles--soon the left will fade into obscurity--it has nothing to offer other than name calling, no freedoms, lies, and shrill diatribes.
Posted by: JohnQC|| 2014-04-18 08:17 ||Comments

#2: Well, there were too many words in the English language anyhow. Maybe when we get it down to 500 allowable words, we'll communicate better. And grade school test scores would go up!
Posted by: Bobby|| 2014-04-18 11:28 ||Comments

#3: The slow death of free speech in the US has already started and was signed into law...

Posted by: Black Charlie || 2014-04-18 12:59 ||Comments

Afghanistan: ANP Officers Kidnapped on Kabul-Kandahar Highway
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 400 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Tolo News] While traveling along the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, a group of Afghan National Police (ANP) officers were attacked by turbans and two of them were taken captive. The Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) has confirmed that three coppers and one Afghan National Army (ANA) member were killed.

Interior Ministry front man Sediq Sediqi said that an operation to free the two soldiers was underway in the Said Abad district of Maidan Wardak province. So far 17 snuffies have been reportedly killed.

The Kabul-Kandahar highway is one of the most important highways in Afghanistan, with thousands of Afghans using it daily for personal and commercial commutes to over 10 provinces. However,
a lie repeated often enough remains a lie...
it has also become a hotbed of hard boy violence and organized crime in recent years, making passage dangerous for anyone, let alone security forces.

According to reports, the group of officers were attacked by snuffies clothed in normal civilian garb in the Pul Surkh area of Maidan Wardak.

Some of those who use the Kabul-Kandahar highway the most, like commercial truck drivers, are understandably the most fearful of the security issues it faces. Last fall, hundreds of truck drivers went on strike demanding that security forces do more to ensure safe passage along the highway.

Since then, new security check posts have been erected along the highway. However,
a lie repeated often enough remains a lie...
as this week's attack and abductions stand to show, there remains much to be done if the Kabul-Kandahar throughway is to be freed of its perils.

Africa North: French troops free 5 aid workers kidnapped in Mali
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 62 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Beirut Daily Star] French troops in Mali on Thursday freed five local aid workers kidnapped in February, the presidents of France and Mali said in a joint statement.

Four of the aid workers work for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The statement said the aid workers were freed near the northern town of Timbuktu and were in good health.

Europe: Kerry warns Russia of more sanctions if no progress on Ukraine
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 7 Comments 82 words Read the whole thing on page 3
[Beirut Daily Star] US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia Thursday that if there was no progress in de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine, there would be more sanctions imposed on Moscow.

"If we don't see progress... there will be additional sanctions, additional costs," he told reporters after reaching an agreement in Geneva with his Russian, Ukrainian and EU counterparts.
Maybe even a strongly-worded letter.
#1: More Sanctions, Why, the Sanctions din't work.
Posted by: Redneck Jim|| 2014-04-18 01:29 ||Comments

#2: Maybe even a strongly-worded letter

To be placed in a museum?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru|| 2014-04-18 03:47 ||Comments

#3: Is this another "Red Line"?

Maybe more of a pastel pink?

Drawn in invisible ink?

What difference does it make?
Posted by: AlanC|| 2014-04-18 07:57 ||Comments

#4: The Ukraine has been moving closer to the EU since it's break-away from the FSU in 1991. Putin has been watching and making threats [cut off of natural gas] as far back as 2010. With Putin's heavy had in Georgia and other FSU break aways, what strategic intelligence analyst could have predicted a Ukrainian row? Only an analyst asleep at the wheel.

Fast forward to Feb 2013 and the stepping down of the Hildebeast as Secretary of State. Useful idiot and hand wringer Kerry stumbles into the breach.

Nicely played ek se.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 08:27 ||Comments

#5: Slobbering ABC article of the Hildebeast stepping down as Secretary of State.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 08:29 ||Comments

#6: Kerry is not fooling around this time. With his Heinz connections, he could totally shut down ketchup exports to the entire Russian Federation.
Posted by: SteveS|| 2014-04-18 15:32 ||Comments

#7: Only an analyst asleep at the wheel.

Doesn't take much analysis when the people receiving the reports ignore them because of a fallacious if not fantasy view of the world. These are the same people who ignore empirical data and choose to keep pushing a warming theory that somehow has failed in its predictive models. They think they're smarter than reality.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 18:38 ||Comments

Home Front: WoT: Teen involved in 'Jihad Jane' case sentenced to five years in prison
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 273 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Beirut Daily Star] A Pak immigrant who is the youngest person ever to be convicted of U.S. terror charges was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday by a federal judge after pleading guilty to taking part in a plot to kill a Swedish artist.

The man, Mohammad Hasan Khalid, 20, who was taken into custody three years ago for his role in the "Jihad Jane" conspiracy, will serve an additional two years in prison as a result of his crimes, ruled Petrese Tucker, chief judge for U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Khalid begged the judge for mercy and thanked his parents for their support during a court appearance.

"Mom, Dad, you will forgive me 1,000 times even though I don't ask for it," said Khalid, who pleaded guilty to related crimes when he was as young as 15 and living with his parents' in suburban Maryland.

He was enjugged
Drop the heater, Studs, or you're hist'try!
in 2011 on charges including providing material support for forces of Evil for working with Colleen LaRose, a suburban Philadelphia housewife who went by the nickname Jihad Jane.

In January, LaRose was sentenced to 10 years in prison for planning to murder artist Lars Vilks, who had depicted the head of the Mohammedan Prophet Mohammad on a dog.

Arabia: Saudi conservatives march against kingdom's 'Westernization'
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 234 words Read the whole thing on page 3
[Beirut Daily Star] Soddy Arabia
...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face...
n conservatives have staged a rare protest outside the Royal Court in Riyadh against "Westernizing" reforms including moves to allow physical education for schoolgirls, local media reported Thursday.

Photographs in the Saudi edition of pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat showed dozens of men in traditional clothing walking toward the court -- the seat of government -- and sitting on the grass outside as they demonstrated against the proposed changes.

Last week, the consultative Shura Council urged the government to look into allowing sports classes for girls in state schools, something that many conservatives have long opposed. Most private girls' schools already offer physical education.

Some powerful holy mans, conservatives and their supporters fear the kingdom is losing its Islamic values to Western ideas.

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: Iranian woman forgives son's killer at the gallows
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 4 Comments 223 words Read the whole thing on page 3
[Beirut Daily Star] The execution of an Iranian convicted of murder was halted at the very last minute in a dramatic scene this week when the mother of his victim forgave him as he stood on the gallows with the noose around his neck, according to Iranian media.

The convict, identified by his first name Bilal, had been sentenced to death for killing a teenager, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, during a street fight in the market of the northern Iranian town of Nour seven years ago, the ISNA news agency reported. At the time, both Bilal and Hosseinzadeh were around 17 years old, ISNA said.

Bilal was brought blindfolded to the site of his planned execution Tuesday in a town square. He was stood on a chair on the gallows and the noose was put on his neck, according to pictures of the scene published by ISNA.

But at the last minute, Hosseinzadeh's mother, Samereh Alinejad, forgave him, after giving a speech to the crowd and then slapping Bilal in the face. Hosseinzadeh's father helped take the noose off of Bilal, whose weeping mother hugged Alinejad in thanks, as seen in the photos.

Hosseinzadeh's family had come under calls by famous artists, soccer coaches and town residents to pardon Bilal and accept blood money instead of execution, a provision allowed to victim's families under Iranian law.
#1: Fool, better to let him hang.
Posted by: Redneck Jim|| 2014-04-18 01:31 ||Comments

#2: lucky he wasn't gay
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 10:35 ||Comments

#3: "...and accept blood money instead of execution..."

The concept of Opportunity Costs is, apparently, not lost by the victims survivors.
Posted by: Uncle Phester|| 2014-04-18 18:40 ||Comments

#4: Also, he's lucky. This could have happened to him.
Posted by: Uncle Phester|| 2014-04-18 19:39 ||Comments

Arabia: Gulf ministers meet over Qatar dispute
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 256 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[Beirut Daily Star] Gulf foreign ministers met Thursday at an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh in a bid to defuse tensions between Qatar and three other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, an official said.

Heavyweight Soddy Arabia
...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face...
, as well as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar last month, accusing it of meddling in their internal affairs and supporting the Moslem Brüderbund.

The Gulf official said that the impromptu meeting aimed to settle differences, but pointed out that there was no clear idea as yet about how the foreign ministers will go about doing it.

The GCC also includes Kuwait and Oman, and the move against Qatar was an unprecedented measure among the six-nation group.

Al-Hayat daily cited Thursday Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi as saying that the crisis has been "ended" and that the dispute including belongs to "the past."

Africa Horn: Shaboobs ambush Federal Govt troops in Bay
Posted by Steve White 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 226 words Read the whole thing on page 1
BAIDOA, Somalia -- Ten fighters from the opposing sides have been reported killed after Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab terrorists militants ambushed the Somali federal government soldiers in armored vehicles along the main road leading to Bay regional district of Bur Hakab from Baidoa, Garowe Online reports.
Ambush didn't quite work the way the 'Boobs wanted it to...
Health officials at Baidoa General Hospital in southwestern Somalia on Thursday confirmed to GO that the bodies of four government soldiers were transferred to the hospital while the wounded are receiving medical treatment.

According to witnesses, the pre-planned attack on the military convoy triggered a heavy gun battle which left four soldiers and 6 terrorists militants dead. Al Shabaab fterrorists ighters are said to have used rocket propelled grenades for the ambush.

Somali government forces aided by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers made an immediate reinforcement, pushing back Al Shabaab terrorists militants deeper into the crocodile-infested jungle.

A spokesman for Somali National Army (SNA) noted that the terrorists extremists accustomed to ambushes targeting government troops on Baidoa-Bur Hakaba highway. The beleaguered Al Shabaab terrorists didn't comment on the deadly incident as the military campaign by allied forces continues to gain momentum.

Europe: Germany: Somali gets 12 years for tanker hijacking
Posted by Steve White 04/18/2014  00:00 4 Comments 167 words Read the whole thing on page 2
BERLIN -- A German court has sentenced a Somali man to 12 years in prison for helping lead a group of pirates who seized a German-operated oil tanker in 2010.

The Osnabrueck state court said in a statement that the man was convicted Thursday of kidnapping and extortion in the hijacking of the Marida Marguerite off Somalia. In keeping with German privacy rules, it didn’t give the 44-year-old’s name.
There's a dumb rule...
The defendant was arrested last May at a center for asylum seekers in Germany.
And there's a dumb pirate, seeking asylum in the same country that flagged the ship...
The court says the Marida Marguerite’s 22 crewmembers were tortured during the hijacking — which ended after more than seven months with a $5 million ransom payment. It says the defendant was one of the last pirates to leave the ship.
#1: He get 12 years of room and board. The money launders who backed these operations keep their stash. If there was a justification for some 'wet jobs' in the shadows, those behind all of this seem to come close to qualification.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 09:05 ||Comments

#2: 12 years of being better fed, clothed and medically observed and cared for than in his entire life. Downside?
Posted by: Uncle Phester|| 2014-04-18 18:35 ||Comments

#3: no Khat
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 20:52 ||Comments

#4: Well, that might also be an upside.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 21:04 ||Comments

Europe: Somali pirates sentenced by Spanish Supreme Court for hijacking Naval ship
Posted by Steve White 04/18/2014  00:00 1 Comments 332 words Read the whole thing on page 2
SOMALI pirates who hijacked a Spanish Naval vessel after mistaking it for a private civilian boat are facing tougher sentences following a Supreme Court ruling.
The pirates are, of course, lucky to be alive...
The six men, who invaded the Patiño in the Indian Ocean in 2012, were said to be ‘sufficiently armed’ and to ‘have the intention to take over control of the ship’ and ‘demand a ransom’.

Initially, they were facing between eight and 12 years in jail for an attempted hijack, but a Supreme Court judge in Spain considers that the hijack was in fact achieved even though the fact the ship turned out to belong to the Armed Forces meant the intruders did not get as far as kidnapping the occupants and calling for ransom money.

A First Officer who was on night duty warned officials at around 03.00hrs local time on January 12, 2012 that a passenger boat was trailing the Patiño along its side, and that the occupants were armed and trying to board the ship.

When the Naval officers reacted, the pirates fired a volley of shots at the vessel, making contact with the hull in six places.

Eventually, after what was described as an exchange of gunshots between the two boats’ occupants lasting about two minutes at most, the pirates fled.
Spanish navy needs work at the gunnery range...
The Naval officers pursued them and managed to detain them about an hour after they were first seen. Those on board the Patiño say the pirates had ‘hand grenades, bags, ladders and an indeterminate number of rifles’.

The Supreme Court considered that the shots which damaged the ship were enough to consider that the hijack had been ‘achieved’ rather than being ‘attempted’, meaning the six pirates’ sentences have been increased by five years to between 13 and 17 years each.
#1: shoulda sunk their boats and let them swim for shore. Insh'allah!
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 10:28 ||Comments

Iraq: Iraq policeman dies shielding recruits
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 1 Comments 118 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Beirut Daily Star] An Iraqi policeman sacrificed himself to shield army recruits from a jacket wallah northeast of Storied Baghdad Thursday, as attacks mainly targeting security personnel killed 21 people nationwide, officials said.

The violence comes as Iraq suffers a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,650 people this year despite wide-ranging security operations against myrmidons.

In Baladruz, northeast of Storied Baghdad, policeman Raad Kadhim Hattab threw his arms around a suicide bomber who was trying to target an army recruitment center, the Interior Ministry said.
#1: If you have to go....
I expect most Iraqis have thought about what they'd do in this situation. Hell of a way to live.
And the guys signing up can't be doing it for money.
Posted by:|| 2014-04-18 15:23 ||Comments

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: Rebels attack army barracks in Aleppo
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 899 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Beirut Daily Star] Nearly 50 people were killed Thursday when Syrian rebels attacked one of the largest military barracks in the country, in northern Aleppo, according to the anti-regime Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britannia-based group said at least 27 soldiers and pro-regime Death Eaters were killed and the rebels lost 20, including a commander.

"Rebels, including fighters from the Nusra Front and the Islamic Front, launched an assault today on the barracks in Hanano in Aleppo," Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman said.

State media, meanwhile, reported the army had "foiled an attempt by terrorist groups to infiltrate the barracks" and killed a number of them.

Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad
Supressor of the Damascenes...
's regime refers to rebels battling to topple it as "terrorist" groups.

Abdel-Rahman said the barracks is one of the largest in Syria.

"It's strategically important because it's on a hill that overlooks parts of northern Aleppo," Abdel-Rahman added.

Once Syria's economic hub and its largest city, Aleppo has been divided between regime control in the west and rebel control in the east since shortly after combat began there in mid-2012.

Abdel-Rahman said the attack began when "rebels detonated explosives in tunnels they had dug beneath army positions around the barracks."

State television also reported the rebels had "detonated explosives in three tunnels around the barracks."

Anti-regime activists posted videos purporting to show the first detonation, as well as rebel groups as they moved closer to the barracks.

Abdel-Rahman said the barracks overlooked a key supply route for rebels going north into the rest of Aleppo province.

Regime forces have advanced around some of the eastern outskirts of Aleppo city, reopening its international airport to the east.

The air force has also waged a relentless campaign against eastern parts of the city, including dropping explosives-packed "barrel bombs."

Rebels respond by firing rockets into pro-regime areas. The Observatory said that such rocket attacks killed at least 11 civilians, including two women and a child, Thursday and maimed 40.In the Zahra district in the west of the city, rebels have seized buildings near the Air Force Intelligence headquarters, it said.

Fighting has raged in the area since April 12, with rebels led by the Nusra Front battling to take the key target.

Clashes between regime troops and rebels also raged in areas around the capital, as well as in Deraa, Idlib and Deir al-Zor provinces.

The Observatory said five rebels were killed in fighting around the Deir al-Zor military airport.

In the Damascus suburb of Mliha, two Hezbollah fighters and a rebel were killed in the festivities there, the Observatory said.

Regime troops also sought to push forward with an offensive against besieged neighborhoods of Old Homs, as a rebel and a lieutenant in the National Defense paramilitary group were killed in the festivities, it added.

Syria's government and opposition groups should resume talks to lift the siege on Homs, international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said.

U.N.-Arab League organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
envoy Brahimi said the discussions had been well underway between the government and "a negotiating committee representing the civilians and fighters still trapped in the Old City of Homs as well as the inhabitants of the Waer neighborhood."

"It is a matter of deep regret that negotiations were brutally stopped and violence is now rife again when a comprehensive agreement seemed close at hand," Brahimi added in the statement distributed at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

"We urge all the parties to return to the negotiating table and complete the deal which was on the verge of being signed," he said. "We have reached out to all those who could help put an end to this tragedy."

The Syrian army launched an assault Tuesday against the rebel-held neighborhoods in Homs and "have achieved key successes" and "killed a number of terrorists," Syrian television said.

Homs, Syria's third-largest city, has long been referred to by activists as the "capital of the revolution" because of the huge pro-democracy protests held there when the uprising began in March 2011.

Most of the central city is now under regime control. Rebel-held pockets have been under a siege for nearly two years, leading to dwindling food and medical supplies.

According to rebel groups, around 1,300 people, mainly combatants, are still trapped inside army-besieged neighborhoods, after around 1,400 civilians were evacuated at the beginning of the year.

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: Army arrests key Al-Qaeda agent
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 193 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Beirut Daily Star] The security plan for north Leb and the Bekaa Valley moved forward Thursday with the arrest of a high-level Al-Qaeda operative involved in the killing of UNIFIL soldiers near Arsal and the raiding of a large weapons depot in Tripoli
...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn...

The Lebanese Army said Thursday it has incarcerated
Youse'll never take me alive coppers!... [BANG!]... Ow!... I quit!
a Paleostinian accused of belonging to the Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades

-Land of the Free: This day in History
Posted by Beavis 04/18/2014  00:00 2 Comments 67 words Read the whole thing on page 3
Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942

The April 1942 air attack on Japan, launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet and led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, was the most daring operation yet undertaken by the United States in the young Pacific War. Though conceived as a diversion that would also boost American and allied morale, the raid generated strategic benefits that far outweighed its limited goals.
#1: Resetting cookie
Posted by: Barbar|| 2014-04-18 21:00 ||Comments

#2: Resetting cookie AGAIN. Damn this new keyboard!!
Posted by: Barbara|| 2014-04-18 21:02 ||Comments

Afghanistan: Afghan woman MP shot in Kabul
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 2 Comments 144 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[The Nation (Pak)] A woman member of Afghan parliament was shot and maimed in Kabul, officials said on Wednesday. Mariam Koofi was shot in one of Kabul's upscale districts late Tuesday after an argument with a member of the security forces, the interior ministry said in a statement. Her injury was not life threatening. A man was tossed in the clink
Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please!
and an investigation was under way. The attack came just over a week after Afghans went to the polls to elect a new president.
#1: Nation building anyone?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru|| 2014-04-18 04:06 ||Comments

#2: She should have been in her burqua in the kitchen. Allah just hates it when they try to be politicians.

Women in Congress? I mean really. The next thing you know they will run for President and then what would become of the Poppy crop?
Posted by: Big Thromoth3646|| 2014-04-18 04:23 ||Comments

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: Israel releases five abducted from Shebaa
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 101 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[Beirut Daily Star] Israeli forces Thursday released five Lebanese shepherds kidnapped earlier in the day from the Shebaa Farms, south Leb, a security source told The Daily Star.

Ismail Zahra and his brother, Hassan, along with three women were working on the Bastara farm when they were kidnapped, the source said. Minutes later, the women had been freed.

The Zahra brothers, minors under age 18, were released several hours later through the Naqoura border crossing, the source said.

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: Hezbollah arms facility likely target of Israeli raid
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 2 Comments 256 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[Beirut Daily Star] A utility building suspected to be a weapons storage facility for Hezbollah was the probable target of an Israeli Arclight airstrike on Lebanese territory near Janta in the Bekaa Valley two months ago.

Newly updated satellite imagery to the Google
...contributed $814,540 to the 2008 Obama campaign...
Earth portal dated March 6, 2014 -- 10 days after the Israeli air raid -- shows fire-scorched ground and possible debris where the building once stood beside a dirt track south of Janta. An earlier image of the same location dated Sep. 2, 2012, shows a 21 meter by 11 meter building with an angled roof and what appears to be two drive-through entrances.

The building lay in a Hezbollah-controlled security zone that includes training camps, accommodation buildings, a firing range and a small urban warfare training site that featured in a Hezbollah propaganda video last year.

On the evening of Feb. 24, Israeli jets reportedly fired four missiles in two separate sorties against an unspecified target, or targets, in the Janta area near the border with Syria.

Israel has staged seven Arclight airstrikes since January 2013 against suspected consignments of advanced weaponry allegedly destined for Hezbollah. The first six raids all occurred in Syria.
#1: And here I thought it was a kindergarten.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru|| 2014-04-18 05:24 ||Comments

#2: Must have misplaced the "Baby Milk Factory" signage.
Posted by: Mullah Richard|| 2014-04-18 13:38 ||Comments

India-Pakistan: Pakistan demands Kabul, NATO for strong measures for protection of Pak-Afghan border
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 2 Comments 356 words Read the whole thing on page 2
[The Nation (Pak)] At her weekly news briefing today, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said protecting this border is the shared responsibility of both the sides. Pakistain, however, has carried an extra burden regarding the protection and management of the border. We have more than twelve hundred posts and also undertake surveillance. She said Pakistain is also keen to introduce biometric system but we also want equally strong measures from NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions...
and Afghan sides for management of the border.

When asked to comment on the perception that Abdullah Abdullah
... the former foreign minister of the Northern Alliance government, advisor to Masood, and candidate for president against Karzai. Dr. Abdullah was born in Kabul and is half Tadjik and half Pashtun...
who is likely to become the next Afghan president is more pro-Indian and anti Pakistain, the spokesperson dismissed the perception that any Afghan leader is against Pakistain. She said it is up to the people of Afghanistan to elect their new government. Pakistain, she said, has repeatedly said that we are not supporting any Afghan party. We do not know who will form the next government there, but whosoever forms the government we will focus on building bilateral relations with the neighboring country and engage with their leaders for this purpose. She said Pakistain wants peace and stability in Afghanistan as it is in the self interest of Pakistain. Stability and and peace in Afghanistan will help us not only in countering terrorism and violence but also open new vistas for joint ventures and trade with the Central Asian States.
#1: We have more than twelve hundred posts and also undertake surveillance.

Not to mention, billeting, messing, communications, ammo resupply, and bus transport for the Taliban to major Pakistani cities and villages for R&R.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 01:12 ||Comments

Posted by: JosephMendiola|| 2014-04-18 19:49 ||Comments

Africa North: Algeria's Bouteflika camp claims election win, rival alleges fraud
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 241 words Read the whole thing on page 3
[REUTERS] Algerian President-for-Life Abdelaziz Bouteflika
... 10th president of Algeria. He was elected in 1999 and is currently on his third or fourth term, who will probably die in office of old age...
looked set to win a fourth term with allies claiming victory in an election on Thursday, despite questions over his health and his rare appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013.

Official results were due on Friday, but Bouteflika's camp claimed the independence veteran backed by the dominant National Liberation Front (FLN) party had succeeded in securing five more years at the helm of the North African OPEC state.

The 77-year-old Bouteflika, who has appeared in public only a few times since his stroke, earlier voted in Algiers while sitting in a wheelchair. He gave no statement and only briefly shook hands with supporters before leaving.

"Our candidate is the winner," Abdelaziz Belkhadem, Bouteflika's personal representative, told Rooters without giving any details. "Without any doubt, Bouteflika got a landslide victory."

Ali Benflis, Bouteflika's main rival in a field of opposition candidates struggling to challenge him, quickly rejected the election results because of fraud but did not cite any specific accusations.

India-Pakistan: Terrorists attack ammunition depot
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 36 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[The Nation (Pak)] Terrorists have attacked the ammunition depot in Landi Kotal chauni in the dark hours of the night. Exchange of fire taking place between the security forces and miscreants. No causalities reported till now.

India-Pakistan: Banned On Paper
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 0 Comments 496 words Read the whole thing on page 4
[The Nation (Pak)] How does the government expect to curb rising sectarianism when it allows sectarian elements to operate with impunity? Does it really expect to be deemed credible when it expresses its resolve to counter sectarian violence simply for public consumption and simultaneously forms alliances and accommodates those who pose the greatest threat? This co-operation takes many forms; from sending monthly stipends to the family of an infamous sectarian leader as he faces a murder trial to securing a seat in the Parliament for an equally infamous individual. All this is done for a few votes from cities like Jhang where sectarianism sells while jeopardizing the security of the increasingly vulnerable minority communities of Pakistain. The entire state machinery appears to be complicit in the exercise. The Election Tribunal, which declared the runner-up Mr Ahmad Ludhianvi as a member of the Parliament after the disqualification of the winner, did so by following rules unknown to anyone. Usually under similar circumstances, a by-election is announced and the people vote once again. But this was not the case here. Why is everyone, including the government, the judiciary and the media, silent on the issue?

The system is so incredibly flawed that even a child could well exploit it. Take Sipah-e-Sahaba's (SSP) story for example. The sectarian organization was banned and thus barred from carrying out any activities, both political and apolitical. How did the SSP beat the 'system'? It changed its name to Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). That's it. The same easily identifiable people with the same extremist and divisive
...politicians call things divisive when when the other side sez something they don't like. Their own statements are never divisive, they're principled...
agenda are working under a new name. And somehow, that is acceptable. SSP wasn't banned because of its name, but due to its ideology and its willingness to resort to violence in order to enforce it. So why then, is the ASWJ allowed to operate freely and even contest general elections (as they did last year)? The media's role with regards to the issue is no less shameful. Rather than calling a spade a spade, it has looked to circumvent critical issues and goes a step further by giving airtime to hate-mongers. Members of the ASWJ, full of malice, sit before talk show hosts on national television in obscene displays of hypocrisy, all the while chanting slogans against minorities before their supporters. Of course, it is difficult and risky to be blunt and just here. But if this means the difference between the life and death for a member of the minority community, it must be said.

Africa Subsaharan: Nigerian military retracts claim that nearly all abducted students were released
Posted by Fred 04/18/2014  00:00 1 Comments 254 words Read the whole thing on page 1
[CNN] In an embarrassing blow to its perception from an increasingly skeptical public, the Nigerian military retracted Thursday a report that nearly all the 129 girls kidnapped this week from a school by suspected Boko Haram
... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality...
bully boyz had been released.

Just hours after one of the parents of an kidnapped girl claimed the Defense Ministry had lied Wednesday about all but eight girls finding freedom, the military issued a statement from the director of defense information that the initial report was "not intended to deceive the public."

Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade's statement didn't indicate how many of the girls were unaccounted for as of Thursday.

It said only: "The number of those still missing is not the issue now as the life of every Nigerian is very precious."

Distraught parents have waited for news for four days, putting their faith in a military rescue, said Lawan Zanna, father of one of the students.
#1: Apparently many of the alleged "released" girls have NOT bben seen nor returned home for some as yet unknown reason???
Posted by: JosephMendiola|| 2014-04-18 19:44 ||Comments

Europe: Katie Pavlich Update: Ukrainian Jewish registration, false flag ?
Posted by Besoeker 04/18/2014  00:00 3 Comments 0 words Read the whole thing on page 3

Home Front: Politix: Harry Reid Calls Cliven Bundy Supporters "Domestic Terrorists," Says Standoff Was "Domestic Terrorism
Posted by Uncle Phester 04/18/2014  00:00 29 Comments 22 words Read the whole thing on page 6
Why, but of course!
Two sides to every standoff, Harry.
#1: Says the corrupt tyrant.
Posted by: DarthVader|| 2014-04-18 00:03 ||Comments

#2: Harry Reid & Son vs Clive Bundy & Son MMA Cage Match. All four simultaneously to the death. Someone, please make it happen.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 00:51 ||Comments

#3: He was in the background until he was exposed as being in the mix. Then he has been throwing a temper tantrum ever since. That proves his guilt.

Probably took a lot of work to get the courts in Vegas to rule against beef producers who have been in business for 140 years. Especially after all but the last one was run out of Nevada.

Was it 1000 people who showed up to protest out numbering the boots on the ground, or an armed revolt or Reid panicked and needed time to think over the weekend as to how to respond? His hand was outplayed in Vegas and he is not a happy gambler.
Posted by: Helmuth, Speaking for McCoy1398|| 2014-04-18 01:11 ||Comments

#4: My take as well Helmuth. He's out of his corner, blood running from his nose, swinging wildly.

It's all he knows.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 01:14 ||Comments

#5: Beef, Pork And Shrimp Prices Soar To Record Highs
Posted by: g(r)omgoru|| 2014-04-18 04:02 ||Comments

#6: Didn't the feds withdraw abruptly only hours after the Reid outfit's business dealings with the Chinese were reported?

Did someone hit a nerve? Were these reports a warning for the Reid outfit?

Reid is part of the legislative branch of the federal government. This standoff shouldn't be a direct personal concern of his.

His strange over-the-top rhetoric however puts on display an intense albeit impotent rage.

Yes, someone did hit a nerve!
Posted by: Elmerert Hupens2660|| 2014-04-18 05:20 ||Comments

#7: Raises questions about his reaction to the Koch brothers. What back room deals of Dingy's are they impinging on...that they may not even know about?
Posted by: AlanC|| 2014-04-18 08:11 ||Comments

#8: Rory Reid, (Harry's now slightly sullied heir-apparent) imho, is proof-positive that Harry Reid boinked a troll. Now, both may be "busted." [LINK]
Posted by: Uncle Phester|| 2014-04-18 08:16 ||Comments

#9: I disagree. What troll-ette would lower herself that much?

Sorry Harry - they are Americans exercising their 2nd amendment rights.

If they had been terrorist they would come out shooting and blowing stuff up. They would be taking hostages and killing civilians. Just go ask Obama's buddy Bill Ayers.

But now the media has free reign to smear them as 'terrorists' since Mr. Slime said so.
Posted by: CrazyFool|| 2014-04-18 08:24 ||Comments

#10: Harry Reid never fails to amaze with the depths at which he will crawl.
Posted by: JohnQC|| 2014-04-18 08:36 ||Comments

#11: I think Cliven would be a fine Senator.
Posted by: Bubba Graiting8281|| 2014-04-18 09:53 ||Comments


Bundy outfit tries to revive calves after rescuing them from BLM custody.
Posted by: Bubba Graiting8281|| 2014-04-18 10:07 ||Comments

#13: Harry Reid needs to be around the neck of every Dem seeking Senate reelection. Or just hung around the neck

I'd be OK with that
Posted by: Frank G|| 2014-04-18 10:38 ||Comments

#14: Mr. Reid, shut up that talk. Really.

OK, here's the deal, straight 8's. Bundy may or may not owe taxes to the fed, that is being figured out. Both sides have arguement, that is what the Courts were intended to be, a forum for case.

Right or wrong, DNM, the Fed decided it was time for force. It was quickly apparent that it was not intended to make good on bad debts, but punishment.

Now, ranchers in particular have been getting wedgies and nuggies and kick me signs for about five years now, and also about two weeks prior to this incident the Fed was talking hard about butt plugs for cattle, which also means taxing the horses and chicken farts. Dust tax. Illegal for their young ones to help out. That's all on top of the health care boondoggle, devaluation of currency, increased infastructure transportation costs everyone (who works) experiences.

Say our most transparent administration in the history of ever autopens and executive order declaring a treaty until approval to adhere to some guideline in which an escrow is set up to collect taxpayer monies until decided in court, that being bovine agra etc buttplugs. You want to know cost/benefit, ranchers have to go bust ice at three in the morning, help calve, make sure water is available when its 100. Hell, the whole premise of Lonesome Dove was to range cattle halfway across North America to supply a demand. Yeah, cost benefit.

And so you have your own business with a profit margin as thin as Al Sharpton, and you get a bill in the mail for a modest $50 per head; you have a herd of 500, suddenly you are out $25,000.00 to the UN via president not congress.

Would you, if you could, pay? What happens if you don't? How many degrees of seperation are you from that tax collection act? Do you even get your money back if challenged and defeated in court?

As a perspective, Mr. Bundy is said to owe $1million in back taxes....assuming leasing is taxing etc so forth. $1million over 20 years is $50,000 per year (no interest). 1000 head cattle comes to...$50 per cow.
Posted by: swksvolFF|| 2014-04-18 11:16 ||Comments

#15: There is another possible angle in the mix:
Posted by: warthogswife|| 2014-04-18 11:49 ||Comments

#16: Link to #15. Quite interesting.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 12:12 ||Comments

#17: Welcome to the oligarchy peasants. Know your place.

Thank you Harry for coming out and admitting it. My god how these people have no grasp of real history and the do's and don'ts that it warns about.
Posted by: Procopius2k|| 2014-04-18 12:22 ||Comments

#18: In this situation Harry is the court jester or clown...

Clown Community Takes on Harry Reid
Posted by: Black Charlie || 2014-04-18 13:11 ||Comments

#19: In this situation Harry is the court jester or clown...

Only in the sense he's 'IT' - "Eater of worlds, and of children!". Fits right on with those rumors of Reid from a 'well placed whitehouse source.'.
Posted by: CrazyFool|| 2014-04-18 13:19 ||Comments

#20: Thankfully US law enforcement is as ineffectual in dealing with domestic "terrorists" as they are with the real ones.
Posted by: regular joe|| 2014-04-18 13:52 ||Comments

#21: As a perspective, Mr. Bundy is said to owe $1million in back taxes....assuming leasing is taxing etc so forth. $1million over 20 years is $50,000 per year (no interest). 1000 head cattle comes to...$50 per cow.

Bundy decided he was not going to pay the fees that was being used to staff a local federal government office whose mission is to put him out of business for special interests in DC. Politicians pass laws (ie those penned by Reid) to put him and 51 other beef producers out of business in a court of law.
Posted by: Herman Wittlesbach9727|| 2014-04-18 13:53 ||Comments

#22: Theft can be made legal if you're the one writing the law.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305|| 2014-04-18 15:56 ||Comments

#23: Of course, none of this proves that Reid is guilty of anything. But it sure looks bad. And when I watched that video of all those cowboys and ranchers squaring off against the federal guys with their military type weapons and uniforms I thought how angry and desperate they must be to go out there and risk a gun fight with the feds. What have Reid and company been doing that would lead to that kind of a confrontation? It can't be good.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305|| 2014-04-18 16:05 ||Comments

#24: The evil man is lying
Posted by: irishrageboy|| 2014-04-18 16:52 ||Comments

#25: He does not owe taxes he owes fees, very different. But the question is more simple, fees for what? Grazing rights? He was never "permitted" to graze his cattle. He cant pay for a permit he was never issued, and by the way, the feds said they would never issue him a permit for grazing cattle on the land. They cant have it both ways, he is either guilty of not paying an agreed on fee or he is trespassing.
Posted by: 49 Pan|| 2014-04-18 18:49 ||Comments

#26: He does not owe taxes he owes fees, very different.
At this point, what difference does it make?
-Chief Justice Roberts
Posted by: swksvolFF|| 2014-04-18 19:25 ||Comments

#27: Which raises the interesting question, who really gave the order for BLM to back down? The White House or Harry Reid?
Posted by: Chantry|| 2014-04-18 19:28 ||Comments

#28: I'm putting my money on arch micro-managers ValJar and Champ. Reid remained quiet until the feds stood down, and then he began his angry tirades. I believe Reid's anger betrayed his obvious disappointment with the outcome on the ground.
Posted by: Besoeker|| 2014-04-18 20:52 ||Comments

#29: Besoeker, I think Champ or one of the czars gave the stand down order with the understanding that Reid would float the balloon that the militia units were terrorists and see where public opinion was before doing another raid later after everyone forgot about things.

This time, I don't think the militia will leave and forget. The feds overplayed their hand with the militarization of the BLM and they acted like the tyrants that they are. When and where ever they move in again with force, there will be armed resistance and this will end in blood, somewhere and someday. These are just the opening moves.
Posted by: DarthVader|| 2014-04-18 21:28 ||Comments

Syria-Lebanon-Iran: Former Iran official describes alleged US sabotage of nuke program
Posted by Squinty 04/18/2014  00:00 1 Comments 0 words Read the whole thing on page 2