December 4, 2013 |
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry paid a whirlwind, four-hour visit to Moldova on Wednesday, the first time America's top diplomat dropped by the former Soviet republic in more than 20 years. Kerry's unexpected stop followed a decision to skip a planned visit to Ukraine, which has been engulfed in political unrest since President Viktor Yanukovich announced he was shelving plans for association and trade agreements with the European Union. Moldova and Georgia went through with their pledges to boost economic and political ties with the 28-nation Western bloc in spite of pressure from Russia to join the emerging, Moscow-led Eurasian Union instead.
November 29, 2013 |
BEIJING -- North Korea said Saturday the 85-year-old Korean War veteran from Palo Alto it detained last month was held because of “hostile acts” against the Communist regime during the war and during his 10-day trip as a tourist. Pyongyang's official news agency also published what it said was a letter of apology from the retiree, Merrill Newman, and added that the North Koreans had accepted his apology -- implying that he might soon be released. The statements said Newman had directed anti-Communist guerrillas during the 1950-53 war and had asked his North Korean guides during his October trip for help getting in touch with any survivors or their families still living in North Korea.
October 25, 2013 |
ANTAKYA, Turkey - Syrian government forces killed more than 40 rebels in an ambush in a strategic region east of Damascus, the official news agency said Friday, as fierce clashes were reported outside the capital. Also, state-run television said Abu Mohammed Jolani, the leader of Al Nusra Front, or Jabhat al Nusra, a group of Islamist fighters, was killed in Latakia province. The report could not be confirmed. Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders, an international aid group, reported that more than 100,000 civilians had fled in recent weeks from the town of Safira, southeast of the battleground city of Aleppo, amid heavy bombardment and fighting in the area.
October 15, 2013 |
The Islamic world's annual pilgrimage to Mecca came to an orderly and peaceful conclusion Tuesday, with less than half as many Muslims taking part in the hajj this year due to fears that a Middle East-based respiratory illness could spread among the throngs of faithful. At least 51 people have died in Saudi Arabia over the last year from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, a virus related to SARS, which killed hundreds worldwide a decade ago. Limits on visas for foreigners hoping to take part in the pilgrimage that all able-bodied Muslims are expected to fulfill at least once in their lifetime cut the number arriving from abroad to 1.38 million, the Public Statistics Department said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
October 2, 2013 |
Gunmen stormed the Russian Embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, on Wednesday night, scrambling over the walls of the compound, tearing down the Russian flag and opening fire on cars and buildings, Russian and Libyan news agencies reported. The attack was suspected to be revenge for the killing a day earlier of a Libyan air force pilot by a Russian woman, who the gunmen thought had taken refuge in the diplomatic mission, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported. "The Wednesday attack may be linked with the incident on Tuesday," in which local media reported that a Russian woman -- some identified her as Ukrainian -- shot and killed Libyan air force officer Mohammed Susi in Tripoli, then attacked the pilot's elderly mother with a knife, ITAR-TASS reported . The Russian news agency, citing local security sources and the Libyan news agency LANA, said the woman had not been identified, nor was a motive in the attacks known.
September 6, 2013 |
MOSCOW -- Russia will continue to supply weapons to Syria in the event of a U.S. military strike, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, as three naval ships headed to the eastern Mediterranean to bolster the country's fleet near the Syrian coast. “Will we help Syria? Yes, we will,” Putin said in response to a journalist's question at the conclusion of a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg. “We are helping them now. We are supplying weapons, cooperating in the economic sphere.” President Obama used the meeting of world leaders to press his case for punitive strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a reported Aug. 21 chemical attack on pro-rebel suburbs of Damascus.