January 7, 2014 |
BEIRUT - The initial consignment of Syria's most toxic chemical weapons material was shipped out of the country Tuesday, international officials said, advancing a cleanup effort widely seen as a success in the midst of a long civil war that has cost more than 100,000 lives. The announcement came as the leader of an Al Qaeda-linked rebel group tried to broker a cease-fire among Syrian opposition factions that have been battling one another. A "first quantity" of so-called priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the Syrian port of Latakia and loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel, Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid the country of its chemical arsenal, said in a statement.
January 3, 2014 |
Once virtually eradicated, polio again stalks the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The innocent victims are mostly young children. The perpetrators are insurgents and indifferent governments. The polio resurgence is preventable and it is time to pull out an old but proven technique to halt its spread: Days of Tranquility. This 30-year-old quaintly named tactic involves a negotiated cease-fire during which insurgents and governments allow humanitarian groups to reach children trapped by fighting and immunize them against infectious diseases, such as polio.
December 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In its last workday of the year, the Democratic-controlled Senate overcame GOP objections Friday to confirm two high-profile Obama nominees to the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service, but put off final approval of Federal Reserve chairwoman candidate Janet L. Yellen until January as part of a late-night cease-fire so lawmakers could adjourn for the holiday recess. After heated debate, the Senate narrowly approved Alejandro Mayorkas, President Obama's controversial pick for the No. 2 job at Homeland Security, in a 54-41 vote.
December 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Senate leaders on Friday called a cease-fire in a weeklong fight over the chamber's new rules that limit filibusters, ending a nearly 48-hour marathon session. In the end, senators' aversion to what would have been a rare weekend session trumped the desire to score political points. Republicans had been dragging out debate over nominations to protest the move by the Democratic majority late last month to all but eliminate the minority's ability to filibuster presidential nominations.
December 13, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Formal peace talks between Taliban insurgents and the central government may be at a dead end, but provisional peace negotiations are underway in the rugged and often unforgiving Afghan countryside. In some remote districts, Afghan army and police commanders have agreed to cease-fires with local Taliban commanders, according to international coalition officials, diplomats and former top Afghan government advisors. Driven by tribal and sometimes family ties, these informal accommodations are viewed as a possible blueprint for a wider, more meaningful national peace deal after 12 years of war. In many instances, former top Afghan government security advisors say, the Taliban is under intense pressure from tribes fed up with the militants' roadside bombings and intimidation of villagers.
October 11, 2013 |
YANGON, Myanmar -- One day after a seven-point agreement was signed between ethnic Kachin rebels and the Myanmar government, analysts and members of the Kachin community expressed skepticism that this represented much of a breakthrough. The two sides failed to agree on a cease-fire over three days of talks that ended Thursday in the Kachin state capital, Myitkyina, instead signing a pact that includes new rules for monitoring fighting and the resettlement of citizens as a result of clashes.
October 9, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Inspectors working under a tight deadline to destroy Syria's extensive chemical arsenal are off to an encouraging start but may need limited cease-fires to complete their task in the midst of a raging civil war, the head of the international agency overseeing the effort said Wednesday. The United Nations' stated goal of eliminating Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year is challenging but “not unrealistic,” Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told a televised news conference held in the Hague, where the international agency is based.
September 13, 2013 |
Philippine Muslim rebels who have laid siege to the port city of Zamboanga for six days agreed to a cease-fire Friday to allow negotiations with the government but continued to hold more than 100 hostages, local media reported early Saturday. Sporadic fighting has killed at least 22 people, including 15 insurgents, and forced the evacuation of more than 20,000 people from the key transport and shipping hub at the southwestern tip of Mindanao Island, the Philippine Star reported.
August 21, 2013 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A Pakistani soldier was killed in an unprovoked Indian attack Wednesday along the de facto border separating the two nations, Pakistani officials and local media said, in the latest case of alleged retaliatory violence. Another soldier was seriously wounded in the “unprovoked shelling by Indian troops,” according to the official Associated Press of Pakistan news service. The Foreign Ministry said it had lodged a strong protest with the Indian ambassador in Islamabad over the shelling, which reportedly started late Tuesday and lasted into early Wednesday.
May 21, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Syria said Tuesday that its forces had destroyed an Israeli vehicle that crossed into Syrian territory from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an account disputed by Israel, which said that shots were fired at a patrol inside Israeli-controlled territory. It was the latest in a series of incidents in recent weeks that have raised fears of renewed violence along the cease-fire line between Syria and Israel. Syria has vowed to retaliate the next time Israel attacks its territory, following three reported Israeli airstrikes this year.