Analysis: In Syria, no good options for West

October 31st, 2014 No comments

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 file photo, thick smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. With the Syrian civil war in its fourth ruinous year, there is no end in sight, hundreds of thousands are dead, and millions have been displaced. The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group, after more than a month, is limited to airstrikes and has not dislodged the radical group from a single major town it controls in Syria or Iraq.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)UNDATED (AP) — With the U.S.-led assault on the Islamic State group, the world community is acting in Syria, but not in the Syrian civil war. When it comes to the issue that has undermined the region — the survival or fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad — there is still no plan.

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Italy PM picks Paolo Gentiloni as new foreign minister in surprise choice

October 31st, 2014 No comments

Italy's Prime Minister Renzi arrives for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in MilanROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Matteo Renzi appointed Paolo Gentiloni, a close ally and former communications minister, to be Italy's new foreign minister on Friday, in a surprise decision. Gentiloni, who was sworn in on Friday night by President Giorgio Napolitano, replaces Federica Mogherini, who left the foreign ministry this week to become the EU's new top diplomat. As foreign minister, Gentiloni, a senior member in the prime minister's Democratic Party (PD), will now play a key role in the remaining two months of Italy's presidency of the European Union, which ends on Dec. 31. …

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Muslim men over 50 pray at Jerusalem’s Aqsa mosque amid tight security

October 31st, 2014 No comments

Palestinians pray as Israeli police officers stand guard during Friday prayers in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi al-JozBy Luke Baker JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Muslim men over 50 prayed at the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday amid intense security, a day after Israel closed all access to the sacred compound for the first time in more than a decade following violence on the streets. More than 1,000 Israeli police were deployed around the Old City's cobbled streets and the ancient gates that lead to al Aqsa, a spokeswoman said, in addition to undercover anti-riot units and observation balloons floating in the sky. …

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Key Jerusalem holy site reopens

October 31st, 2014 No comments

Israel reopens a key Jerusalem holy site after its temporary closure following the shooting of a prominent Jewish activist.
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Burkina Faso Army: President Compaore Has Resigned – Voice of America

October 31st, 2014 No comments

Voice of America
Burkina Faso Army: President Compaore Has Resigned
Voice of America
Burkina Faso's army said President Blaise Compaore has stepped down after 27 years in power. Burkina24 news quoted an army spokesman as saying the president resigned Friday, a day after demonstrators set fire to parliament to protest a measure that …
Blaise Compaoré Steps Down as Burkina Faso President, Ceding to ProtestersNew York Times
Burkina Faso President Steps Down: MilitaryWall Street Journal
Burkina Faso general takes over as Compaore resignsBBC News
ABC News -Fox News -Times of India
all 284 news articles »

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Covering Iran in the US press

October 31st, 2014 No comments
I have been in the US for more than 30 years, and the propaganda filled coverage of Iran in the US press has not changed one bit.  It is always the same: the clerical regime is on the verge of collapse and the economy is “in shambles”.  This article in the Economist is of a very different quality (despite the cover of the new issue).  It contains facts and figures that you will never ever read in the silly US press: “The most visible shift is in public infrastructure. Tehran, the capital, is a tangle of new tunnels, bridges, overpasses, elevated roads and pedestrian walkways. Shiny towers rise in large numbers, despite the sanctions. Screens at bus stops display schedules in real time. Jack Straw, a former British foreign minister and a regular visitor, says that “Tehran looks and feels these days more like Madrid and Athens than Mumbai or Cairo.”

Smaller Iranian cities have changed even more. Tabriz, Shiraz and Isfahan are working on underground railways. Half the traditional bathhouses in Qazvin, an industrial town west of Tehran, have closed in recent years. In a basement with a domed ceiling built 350 years ago, the forlorn manager sweeps around two kittens and bemoans the loss of a 700-year-old competitor, musing that “people now have bathrooms with hot running water.” In Yalayesh, a remote village near the Caspian sea, entertainment remains old-fashioned: a Kurdish strongman, Ismail the Hero, shows off a lion in a cage on the back of his blue truck. Still, two years ago the government finished piping natural gas into every house, making winters with temperatures of -20ºC “tolerable for the first time”, says a spectator.

During the eight-year presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which ended in 2013, prosperity spread rapidly. Loans, handouts and social-housing programmes, however corrupt and ineptly run, showered billions of oil dollars on the poor. Many found white-collar jobs in government agencies. The middle class ballooned. Villagers streamed into Tehran to buy property as GDP per person rose from $4,400 in 1993 to $13,200 last year (at purchasing-power parity). Despite the sanctions, Iran does not look like beleaguered Cuba; people drive new sedans made locally, not 1950s Chevrolets. Life became harder when sanctions were tightened in 2011, but even now Iranians live much better than most of their neighbours.

Prosperity has inspired an obsession with technology that restrictions on internet access cannot dampen. Facebook is the primary medium for half the country’s youth and Twitter is used by officials to put out statements—never mind that both are banned. Freedom House, an American human-rights lobby, ranks Iran last in the world in terms of internet freedom, but in reality access is cheap and fast. (The fastest speeds are achieved near seminaries, since clerics preach online and get priority on fibre-optic cables.)”

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Eric Frein Shackled With Slain Trooper’s Handcuffs After Capture – ABC News

October 31st, 2014 No comments

ABC News
Eric Frein Shackled With Slain Trooper's Handcuffs After Capture
ABC News
A self-trained survivalist was shackled in the handcuffs used by a Pennsylvania state trooper he allegedly killed in an ambush last month, the state police commissioner said during a news conference. U.S. Marshals captured Eric Frein outside an abandoned …
Facing justice: Trooper ambush suspect Eric Frein makes initial court appearanceFox News
Eric Frein makes first court appearance on cop-killing chargeUSA TODAY
Capture of Accused Cop Killer Eric Frein Saves HalloweenNBCNews.com
Philly.com -Chron.com -Christian Science Monitor
all 1,557 news articles »

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Enrollment in Tertiary Education

October 31st, 2014 No comments
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Imminent Threat?

October 31st, 2014 No comments

In September, the administration said the Khorasan Group was about to attack America. But the terrorist group seems to have fallen off the radar.
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Israel Reopens Jerusalem Holy Site as Police Deploy – Bloomberg

October 31st, 2014 No comments

Haaretz
Israel Reopens Jerusalem Holy Site as Police Deploy
Bloomberg
Israel allowed limited access to the Muslim shrines on a contested Jerusalem hilltop after closing it for the first time in 14 years, as it deployed thousands of police in the vicinity. Friday prayers at the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as …
Even Israel's Best Friends Understand That It Is Disconnecting From RealityThe Atlantic
Heavy security at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque as prayers resumeThe Globe and Mail
Heavy security as Israel reopens Jerusalem siteDaily Mail
Reuters UK -Irish Independent
all 2,398 news articles »

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