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Israel has called up 75,000 reservists and struck Hamas Government buildings. Hamas has claimed credit for firing rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The Israeli military said some 150 rockets fired from Gaza had hit Israel since Friday and at least 83 more were intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Gaza is a small place with a lot of people, and there have been at least 38 civilian casualties, some of them children. Israel says it is acting in self-defense, and the rockets Hamas is firing at them come from Gaza.
This morning, Hamas fired 20 rockets at Israel. Israel says Operation Pilar Defense will continue. [more...]
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Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti, was arrested on October 30 for cybercrimes and dead a week later. He had been interrogated and according to an Iranian prosecutor, his body showed signs of torture in several places.
Three of his interrogators were arrested. [More...]
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Read Bob Stein's wonderful piece on the day President Kennedy announced to the American People the presence of nuclear weapons in Cuba.
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On September 15, 2012, the Department of State ordered the departure of all dependents of U.S. direct hire personnel and all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Sudan, following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum.
...On September 14, 2012 the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Tunisia, following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis
The FBI says it is too dangerous to send agents into Libya right now to investigate the embassy attack. [More...]
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking now.
President Obama to speak at 10:35 a.m. from the Rose Garden at the White House. Watch here.
Mitt Romney, speaking before the President, after expressing condolences, quickly pivots to making a political statement. In my view, Governor Romney's political statements are ill timed, at best. Now he is taking questions about the midnight statement his campaign released attacking the U.S. consulate in Cairo. Romney's appearance is, to me at least, a disgrace. Tomorrow is plenty of time to play politics. Today is not the day for this. Poor taste, to put it mildly.
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The United States ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-made video mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.
In a statement confirming the four fatalities, President Obama said he strongly condemned the killing — the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades — and had ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. Previous accounts of the events in Benghazi had spoken of only one death among State Department officials.
“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” Mr. Obama said, calling Mr. Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who had “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi” and, as ambassador, “supported Libya’s transition to democracy.”
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"The United States must vow it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful"
Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange is scheduled to give a statement today at 2pm London time from the Ecuadoran embassy.
How will he do it without stepping outside where British police are waiting? [More...]
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The three female members of the Russian punk rock group "Pussy Riot" were sentenced to two years in prison today following Judge Marina Syrova's 3 hour reading of the verdict, finding them guilty of "hooliganism." What is hooliganism? From the verdict: [More...]
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Some experts weigh in with some possibilities on how Julian Assange will get out of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London and whether Britain would revoke Ecaudor's status under a little if ever used law and go in and seize him.
Among the possibilities being discussed: Having him escape in an oversized diplomatic bag or crate. another one:
Ecuador could name Assange its representative to the United Nations. That would make him immune from arrest while traveling to U.N. meetings around the world. Assange could be stripped of his role as representative by the U.N. General Assembly, but in the meantime would be protected.
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Ecuador has granted asylum to Julian Assange of Wikiliaks.
“The government of Ecuador, faithful to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or in its diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange,” said Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, reading from a government communiqué at a news conference....
“There are indications to presume that there could be political persecution,” and that Mr. Assange would not get a fair trial in the United States and could face the death penalty there.
Ecuador can only provide protection to Assange in Ecuador. And Britain still says it must extradite him to Sweden. How does he get to Ecuador? [More..]
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The New York Times had an article yesterday about impoverished grandmothers in Swaziland who are growing Swazi Gold to support themselves and the orphaned grandchildren they are raising, many of whose mothers died of Aids. They are high up in the hills near a place called Piggs Peak. They fear the police.
Maybe they ought to fear the DEA who could decide to make Piggs Peak the next stop on their excellent African Adventures tour.
If you don't think the DEA is in Swaziland, you'd be wrong. The DEA has an office in South Africa, where is where the Times says the grandmothers' pot ends up, which covers:
Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Mada-gascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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Remember this? Look what's happening now - U.S. and Gulf Allies Pursue a Missile Shield Against Iranian Attack:
The United States and its Arab allies are knitting together a regional missile defense system across the Persian Gulf to protect cities, oil refineries, pipelines and military bases from an Iranian attack, according to government officials and public documents.
When Hillary Clinton proposed this idea in 2008, I wrote:
This is excellent strategic thinking, providing a great alternative to armed intervention in Iran and allowing for hard headed and rational diplomacy with Iran on the question of nuclear weapons. Personally, I would LOVE to get a reaction from Barack Obama to this statement from Hillary Clinton.
President Obama has now reacted as he certainly must approve of this policy. Anyone want to revisit their thinking from 2008?
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The New York Times reports that all three candidates in Mexico's upcoming presidential election are signalling a break from the U.S. in its drug war strategy.
The candidates, while vowing to continue to fight drug trafficking, say they intend to eventually withdraw the Mexican Army from the drug fight. They are concerned that it has proved unfit for police work and has contributed to the high death toll....
The U.S. believes this will result in more drugs coming into the U.S.[More...]
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Rachel Dougall and Julian Ponder are the latest victims of Indonesia's drug laws. They moved to Bali from Great Britain. They have a 6 year old daughter Kitty, who may soon become an orphan. [More...]
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Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted Schapelle Corby clemency this week by cutting five years off her 20 year sentence. What does it mean? The latest her sentence will now end is September, 2017.
Kerobokan Prison Chief Gusti Ngurah Wiratna confirmed at a press conference yesterday Schapelle is eligible for parole starting Monday, since she has served 2/3 of her sentence. But, she's unlikely to be granted parole immediately, and there are other issues. [More...]
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