April 12, 2013 |
CAIRO - The Mass was celebrated as if from centuries past: A bearded priest veiled in incense chanted for grace in a church along the Nile, near the spot where Christians believe Jesus and his mother sought refuge in an earlier age of bloodshed and uncertainty. Marianne Samir knelt and prayed for the Coptic Christians killed in a spasm of sectarian violence that has further shaken a nation engulfed in economic and political anxieties. "I feel unsafe," said Samir, a high school philosophy teacher with a cross tattooed on her wrist.
March 27, 2013 |
PARIS - Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, sits calmly behind a desk in a large, messy office with no sign outside indicating the name of his publication. True, there is a riot police car stationed in the street, but basically, he says, he doesn't see what all the fuss is about. "It just so happens I'm more likely to get run over by a bicycle in Paris than get assassinated," says Charb, the soft-spoken editor of Charlie Hebdo, a left-leaning French satirical weekly, which since 2006 has been sued, threatened and firebombed for its sporadic publication of cartoons mocking the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
March 15, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The CIA has stepped up secret contingency planning to protect the United States and its allies as the turmoil expands in Syria, including collecting intelligence on Islamic extremists for the first time for possible lethal drone strikes, according to current and former U.S. officials. President Obama has not authorized drone missile strikes in Syria, however, and none are under consideration. The Counterterrorism Center, which runs the CIA's covert drone killing program in Pakistan and Yemen, recently shifted several targeting officers to improve intelligence collection on militants in Syria who could pose a terrorist threat, the officials said.
February 27, 2013 |
This time will be different. That is the word from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Syrian rebels who have become so frustrated by empty promises of help to overthrow President Bashar Assad that they had threatened to boycott a Thursday meeting in Rome of the Friends of Syria alliance. Hints of meaningful assistance remain vague, though, giving rise to fear of more dashed expectations. “We are not coming to Rome simply to talk, we are coming to Rome to talk about next steps,” Kerry told reporters in London after meeting with his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary William Hague.
February 8, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A suicide bomber blew himself up at a military checkpoint outside the northern Mali city of Gao on Friday, in the first sign that Al Qaeda-linked militias may be adopting new tactics since being driven back by a French-led invasion. A man on a motorcycle approached a group of soldiers at a military checkpoint and detonated explosives, according to a military officer contacted by The Times. The attack was confirmed by Gao Mayor Sadou Diallo in a telephone interview.
December 11, 2012 |
Mali was thrown into turmoil again Tuesday following the arrest of Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra by soldiers who forced him to resign, an unsettling ouster that could derail plans to eject Islamic extremists from the northern stretches of the troubled country. The prime minister appeared on state television before dawn to abruptly announce he and his entire government were resigning because the country was embroiled in crisis and “hoping for peace.” Soldiers had reportedly smashed in his door and seized him hours earlier.