Friday, February 27, 2015

More Than 25,500 Egyptians Have Left Libya Following Beheadings

CAIRO – More than 25,000 Egyptians have fled Libya since the beheading of around 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians by the Libyan branch of the Islamic State jihadist group, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced Friday.

The massive exodus of Egyptian citizens living or working in Libya began on Feb. 16 following the release of a video in which jihadists loyal to IS showed the beheadings of the Copts who had been kidnapped in the northern city of Sirte.

A Foreign Ministry statement said that a total of 21,407 of those Egyptians returning home entered Egypt through the border crossing of Al Salum in the northwest of the country.

Another 4,122 arrived by air at Cairo International Airport from Tunisia, where they arrived through the border crossing of Ras Ajdir, linking Libya and Tunisia.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Aty told Efe earlier this week that there was no evacuation operation organized by the government and it was a voluntary decision by those citizens who decided to return home.

Following the release of the video of the beheading, the Egyptian Air Force bombed jihadist targets in Libya.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered his government to ban Egyptians from traveling to Libya, as well as to facilitate the return of citizens to Egypt.

Argentine Judge Rejects Cover-Up Charges against President

BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine judge on Thursday dismissed the charges late prosecutor Alberto Nisman brought against President Cristina Fernandez of trying to conceal Iranian involvement in a 1994 attack on a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead.

The evidence does not provide even minimal support for the accusations against Fernandez, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and six other people, magistrate Daniel Rafecas wrote in a ruling that is subject to appeal.

On the contrary, according to the judge, the evidence “categorically contradicts” Nisman’s notion of a conspiracy.

Nisman, the special prosecutor for the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish organization, was found dead Jan. 18, four days after he announced the charges against Fernandez.

The prosecutor died of a single shot to the temple, fired from a gun he had borrowed from a colleague. The case remains under investigation as a “suspicious death.”

Another prosecutor, Gerardo Pollicita, took up the accusation following Nisman’s death and filed a brief with Rafecas two weeks ago asking the judge to approve formal charges against Fernandez and the others.

Nisman’s accusation against Fernandez cited the Memorandum of Understanding her administration signed with Iran in 2013 to facilitate the AMIA investigation as the principal instrument of the purported cover-up.

The late prosecutor said that intercepts of telephone calls among some of the prospective defendants – though not Fernandez or Timerman – showed the outlines of a plan for Argentina to get Interpol to rescind the red notices the international police agency had issued for the arrest of Iranians accused in the AMIA bombing.

Yet the man who headed Interpol for 15 years until last November rebutted Nisman’s key accusation.

“I can say with 100 percent certainty, not a scintilla of doubt, that Foreign Minister Timerman and the Argentine government have been steadfast, persistent and unwavering that the Interpol’s red notices be issued, remain in effect and not be suspend or removed,” Ronald K. Noble said last month.

Many in the Argentine Jewish community believe the AMIA bombing was ordered by Iran and carried out by Tehran’s Hezbollah allies.

Both the Iranian government and the Lebanese militia group deny any involvement and the accusation relies heavily on information provided by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Prosecutors have yet to secure a single conviction in the case.

In September 2004, 22 people accused in the bombing were acquitted after a process plagued with delays, irregularities and tales of witnesses’ being paid for their testimony.

U.S Blogger hacked to death " Killed , VIDEO

More Than 500 Indonesians Have Joined Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

BANGKOK – More than 500 Indonesians have joined the ranks of the Islamic State, IS, jihadist group in Iraq and Syria while the authorities have not taken any precautionary measures, according to the country’s largest Muslim body, local media reported Friday.

“At least 514,” Nadhlatul Ulama Chairman Said Aqil Siraj told kompas.com, referring to the number of people who have joined the IS, after a meeting Thursday with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Siraj said that the president had not commented on the increasing number of Indonesians joining the jihadist group, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper.

A report by the country’s intelligence revealed the existence of an underground network, which was spreading around the country, for recruiting and indoctrinating people for the IS, despite an official ban on these activities.

The president has sought the support of the Muslim organization to fight radicalism, and threatened to criminalize support to the IS and revoke the citizenship of those found guilty of non-compliance.

Most Islamic countries have asked the president to bring Indonesia to the frontline in the fight against IS and radicalism, according to Siraj.

Indonesia is known to have the largest number of Muslims in the world, or more than 200 million people, most of whom are Sunnis.

IRAN: Police attack peaceful protesters outside Tehran court

Police in Tehran attacked 3,000 protesters supporters of a spiritual group gathered in peaceful protest outside the city's Revolutionary Court before the trial of their faith's founder.
Intelligence Ministry agents used tear gas on the crowd, and arrested some who were transported to an unknown location.The violent scenes forced shops and businesses in the area to close down, and it took the police two hours to clear the area of demonstrators.
The trial involved allegations against Mohammad Ali Taheri, founder of Erfan-e-Halgheh group who was arrested on May 4, 2011, by officials linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and was held in Evin Prison.
He was later charged with 'spreading corruption on Earth', a catch-all indictment of political dissent which carries the death penalty.
His supporters have gathered on numerous occasions outside Tehran’s Evin prison chanting 'freedom of expression is our right'.
International rights groups have issued statements expressing concern about welfare of Mr Taheri, who is serving his sentence in solitary confinement and his repeated requests to be transferred to a cell shared with other inmates have been denied, leading him to go on hunger strike.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

PCSD searching for two men accused of stealing 8,000 cigarettes

TUCSON- The Pima County Sheriff's Department is searching for two men accused of stealing 8,000 cigarettes from a Northwest side convenience store.

According to PCSD, the theft occurred on February 14 around 4:40 a.m. at the Circle K located at 2080 W. Ruthrauff Rd.  
The two men walked into the store, went behind the counter and stole the 40 cartons of cigarettes, PCSD said.
The clerk told deputies he was in the back of the store when the theft was occurring and called 911 when he came out front and saw the men.
PCSD said the men were wearing dark colored clothing and hooded sweatshirts.  Both men had bandanas over their faces and were carrying duffle bags.  
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

U.S. looking into NCRI’s revelation of secret Iran nuclear site, Kerry says

Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday that a final nuclear deal with Iran could be derailed if new allegations from an Iranian dissident group that Iran is running a secret uranium enrichment operation at a facility near Tehran prove true,” The Washington Timesreported.
Mr. Kerry told lawmakers that U.S. officials knew of charges related the site prior to this week, but that “it has not been revealed yet as a nuclear facility.”
“It is a facility that we are well aware of, which is on a list of facilities we have,” the secretary of state said during a Capitol Hill budget hearing on Wednesday morning. “I’m not going to go into greater detail.”
“But these things are obviously going to have to be resolved as we go forward,” he said.
Mr. Kerry made the comments during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, in which lawmakers raised questions about the revelations Tuesday by the National Coalition of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), exposing a secret facility has never before been revealed to international officials.
On Wednesday, a State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We have seen these claims and we take all such reports seriously”, according to The Washington Post.
The NCRI revealed on Tuesday the details of Lavizan-3 top-secret site currently used by Iranian regime for research & development on nuclear field using advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment. 
The NCRI announced that the explosive revelation was result of several years of detailed work by the network of the Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization in Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, said in the hearing: “They [PMOI (MEK)] are the ones that told the world about the Iranian nuclear program.” “They now say that there’s a secret facility at Lavizan-3.”
PMOI's sources established that since 2008 the Iranian regime has secretly engaged in research and uranium enrichment at this site.
The NCRI provided Satellite imagery of the site, its entrance, and overview of the site in the press conference.
The NCRI representatives ripped the Iranian regime’s claim regarding transparency in the nuclear talks and went on to say the Iranian regime is deceiving international community.
They pointed out that research and development with advanced centrifuges in highly secret sites are only intended to advance the nuclear weapons project.
The NCRI stressed if US is serious about preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make continuation of the talks predicated on the IAEA’s immediate inspection of the site before the regime gets a chance to destroy the evidence.

Iran news in brief, 25 February 2015

Iran regime's hysteric reaction to NCRI revelations of nuclear sites

Some 30 hours after the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) unveiled for the first time details of a secret nuclear site has resorted to a hasty, desperate and pathetic propaganda blitz against the Iranian Resistance.
At a news conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the U.S. Representative Office of NCRI, unveiled information about Lavizan-3 site, where research and testing with advanced centrifuge machines for the purpose of uranium enrichment were being conducted.
Instead of addressing the concerns of the international community about the nature at the site and instead of providing access to the International Atomic Energy Agency, resorted to the pathetic propaganda blitz.
On Sunday, February 22, the NCRI-US announced that it intends to hold a press conference on "Secret, Parallel Nuclear Program in Iran – Details to Be Unveiled." The next day, the regime's president Hassan Rouhani and the head of the expediency council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, attempted to preemptively cast doubt on what was going to be made public, describing it as a "big lie." Following the press conference on Tuesday, February 24, the Iranian regime's envoy to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, and Mansour Haqiqat-pour, the deputy chair of the national security and foreign policy committee of the regime's parliament, side stepped NCRI's intelligence entirely, and instead cried out that the NCRI was "anti-humanitarian" and a "spent, mercenary force."
If that were not enough, a website in an article written by an unidentified individual claimed that the image of the 40 cm thick and radiation-proof doors of the four-hall underground Lavizan-3 site, which was presented at the news conference and included in the NCRI report, was fabricated and was actually taken from the website of a company in Iran called Ganjineh Mehr Pars (GMP). One other discredited website, whose collaboration with the Iranian regime has been common knowledge for the past 10 years, posted the same story.
The NCRI-US offers the following clarification:
1. The Iranian Resistance reiterates most emphatically its call on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to demand immediate access to Lavizan-3 and see the centrifuge machines in-situ.
2. Instead of beating around the bush, the Iranian regime must grant immediate access to the IAEA to conduct a thorough inspection of Lavizan-3. However, by engaging in such publicity stunts, Tehran is trying to buy time to destroy the evidence of its decade-long illicit activities at Lavizan-3. This ruse is simply a pathetic and desperate smokescreen on the part of the Iranian regime to conceal the truth and to overshadow the impact of the exposure of its secret uranium enrichment research using advanced centrifuges in an underground site.
3. At the news conference on Tuesday, the NCRI showed the image of the door and identified it as one of the doors that had been installed at one of the underground halls at Lavizan-3 site. The NCRI, through its sources within Iran, was fully aware that these doors had been built by GMP Company for the purpose of being installed at Lavizan-3.
4. The image displayed at the press conference had been provided to the NCRI by its sources in Iran and was not grabbed from the GMP website. In fact, that image was posted on the Company's website recently as a product sample, whereas the NCRI had been working on compiling information on Lavizan-3 for the past several years and thus possessed the image long before it was posted on the GMP website.
5. This is the image of one of the doors installed at one of the underground halls at Lavizan-3. It was taken after its construction at GMP workshops and prior to being transferred to Lavizan-3 for installation. In its report, NCRI did not specify the name of the company that had built the doors, and it chose not to show the full picture for security reasons and to protect the source(s) of the information.
6. In 2005, Kalaye Electric Company ordered 4 of these doors from GMP. The individual who referred the GMP Company to Kalaye Electric was named […] Shahbazian, who is a friend of Farrokh Esfandiari, the Director General of GMP. At the time, the cost for building each door was about $30,000 and it took about three months to build them.
7. GMP installed the doors at Lavizan-3. Trucks transported the doors to the site. They were then lowered into the tunnel, using cranes, through the elevator shaft area (because the elevator had not yet been installed). Once underground, the doors were moved around by small manual cranes and mounted on a roller pulled by a Land Rover pick-up, which had also been lowered to the underground site.
8. GMP built a number of vault doors for the Natanz site in the same year. This company is currently engaged in manufacturing doors for weapons depots of the Intelligence Ministry to be installed in the [Iran-Iraq] border region. In 2014, GMP built explosion-proof doors for Pars Garma Company (affiliated with the Ministry of Defense) to be installed in Gachsaran in Khuzistan Province.
9. In a marketing booklet published by GMP, it boasts that "highly advanced technology is used in the construction of these doors," and that "GMP Company is the sole producer of this product inside Iran in compliance with international standards." "This product will probably be used in Iran's nuclear energy program, and as such is under [international] sanctions and cannot be practically procured from abroad…," the booklet adds. Two of its six utilities listed in the booklet include, "nuclear energy centers and nuclear facilities," as well as "military capabilities in nuclear and laser testing systems." (The marketing booklet written in Farsi language is available)

FBI Arrests 3 New York Men Planning to Join IS in Syria

NEW YORK – The FBI on Wednesday arrested three New York residents who allegedly were planning to join the jihadist Islamic State and commit terrorist acts in the United States, officials with the agency and the Justice Department said.

Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev and Abror Habibov, both citizens of Uzbekistan, and Akhror Saidakhmetov, a citizen of Kazakhstan, are facing charges of conspiracy for supporting that terrorist group.

The arrests of the three men, all residents of the New York borough of Brooklyn and who had been under observation by law enforcement for several months, were made in New York and Florida.

The FBI investigation revealed that Juraboev, 24, and Saidakhmetov, 19, were planning to travel to Syria via Turkey to join the Islamic State, while Habibov, 30, helped finance Saidakhmetov in his efforts but had no plans to leave the country.

Saidakhmetov was arrested Wednesday morning at JFK international airport in New York as he was getting ready to board a flight to Istanbul, while Juraboev had bought a ticket for next month to travel to the same destination and was arrested in Brooklyn.

According to local media, Habibov was arrested in Florida.

In the indictment, prosecutors say Juraboev first came to the attention of law enforcement authorities last August when he posted a message on an Uzbek-language website that propagates the Islamic State ideology saying he and his companions wanted to “pledge our allegiance” to the IS “and commit ourselves.”

In the same post, he offered to assassinate President Barack Obama if the terrorist group ordered him to do so. He also threatened to plant a bomb on New York’s Coney Island.

Meanwhile, Saidakhmetov intended to carry out an attack on U.S. soil if he was unable to travel to Syria to join the IS, and recently he expressed his intention to buy a pistol to shoot police officers and FBI agents if they learned of his plans.

“The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,” said the U.S. attorney for Eastern New York, Loretta E. Lynch, in the statement announcing the arrests.

Most Jailed Teachers Freed after Deadly Clash with Police in Mexico Port City

Most Jailed Teachers Freed after Deadly Clash with Police in Mexico Port City

MEXICO CITY – Authorities have released the vast majority of the more than 100 teachers arrested after clashes with police in the southern Mexican port city of Acapulco, an incident that left one protester dead, union officials said Wednesday.

A member of the State Coordinator of Education Workers of Guerrero, or CETEG, told Radio Formula that 65-year-old retired teacher Claudio Castillo Peña died as a result of Tuesday night’s crackdown on the protest.

“He lost his life at 4:00 a.m. (Wednesday) due to the blows he received,” said Manuel Salvador Rosas, who added that Castillo Peña was one of the detained protesters who were taken to hospitals in Acapulco, a Pacific port located in the southern state of Guerrero.

The deputy secretary of the Guerrero emergency management office, Raul Miliani, confirmed the death of the retired teacher to Radio Formula, saying his office took him by ambulance to a hospital for treatment for head trauma.

Vidulfo Rosales, the attorney for the relatives of 43 teacher trainees who disappeared nearly five months ago in Iguala, Guerrero, after coming under attack by police, told Efe that 99 of the 106 teachers jailed after the clashes have been released.

“We’re aware that 99 have been released, which would leave seven (still in custody),” said Rosales, who accused the police of using “irrational and excessive” force.

“There was no need to kill a person. They already had the situation under control,” he added.

After CETEG members blocked the road to the Acapulco airport for several hours and engaged in a fruitless dialogue with the authorities, a bus was driven into a line of federal police who were barring access to the air facility.

CETEG accepts no responsibility for “that truck that rammed into not only the Federal Police grenadiers but also teachers” who had formed a human wall to “avoid provocations,” Rosas said.

The riot police responded by using clubs and tear gas against the protesters, who fought back with sticks, pipes and rocks.

At least seven police and five teachers were injured in the clashes, Mexico’s Government Secretariat said in a statement Tuesday night, adding that arrests were made but not giving the precise number.

Guerrero Gov. Rogelio Ortega said the teachers “crossed the line” and that police were “tolerant to the extreme” in clearing the entrance to the airport.

The teachers began the protest at around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday to press demands for unpaid wages; they were dispersed by Federal Police around eight-and-a-half hours later.

CETEG has carried out numerous pretests, some of them violent, against a 2013 education overhaul.

The union also has joined protests over the case of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, a teacher’s college, who went missing last September in Iguala.

Federal authorities say corrupt local cops handed those teacher trainees over to drug-cartel enforcers who killed them and burned their bodies at a dump.

Another teachers union, the CNTE, which represents a third of Mexico’s public school educators, has mounted numerous protests against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2013 education initiative, which subjects teachers to a comprehensive regime of evaluation.

That union says it does not object in principle to teacher evaluation, only to the “punitive” scheme devised by the government, seen by the CNTE as setting the stage for massive layoffs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Vatican: Pope Francis Did Not Intend to Offend Mexico with His Remarks

VATICAN CITY – The Holy See on Tuesday said that the words of Pope Francis regarding the risk of the “Mexicanization” of Argentina had no “stigmatizing intent toward the people of Mexico” and acknowledged the effort being made by Mexico City in the fight against drug trafficking.

“The Holy See feels that the term ‘Mexicanization’ in no way should (be thought to) have a stigmatizing intent toward the people of Mexico and even less so should it be considered a political opinion to the detriment of a nation that is continuing to make a serious effort to eradicate violence and the social causes that give rise to it,” said the Mexican Embassy to the Holy See.

The Mexican Embassy to the Vatican on Tuesday sent a communique to the media after Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi sent a letter with these observations to Mexico’s envoy to the Holy See, Mariano Palacios Alcocer.

In the missive, according to the Mexican Embassy, “the Holy See acknowledged the excellent ... relations with Mexico” and confirmed that Pope Francis “at no time intended to injure the feelings of the Mexican people or the efforts of the country’s government.”

In the press release sent to the media, the Latin American country emphasized that “the Holy See acknowledged that the programs implemented by the Mexican government to preserve social peace and tranquility carry with them confronting the causes that give rise to them.”

The remarks of the Holy See come one day after the pontiff expressed his concern over the advance of drug trafficking in his native Argentina in a private letter directed to Buenos Aires lawmaker Gustavo Vera in which he asked that “the Mexicanization (of Argentina) be avoided.”

The letter was a response to an earlier message sent by Vera in which he had warned the pope about the “ceaseless” growth of drug trafficking in Argentina and reported to him on complaints that he is going to initiate via the La Alameda non-governmental organization, which he heads and which combats human trafficking and slavery.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Iranian Resistance reveals secret nuclear site in Iran used for uranium enrichment with advanced centrifuges

National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed on Tuesday the details of an underground top-secret site currently used by Iranian regime for research & development on nuclear field using advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
Ms. Soona Samsami, the Representative of the NCRI in the US and Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Deputy Director of the NCRI US Representative Office made the revelation in a press conference at Press Club in Washington D.C.
Existence of the site, known as Lavizan-3, was unknown until now and had been kept secret for years by the Iranian regime.
The NCRI announced that the explosive revelation was result of several years of detailed work by the network of the Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization in Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The PMOI has obtained the intelligence from sources inside of Iranian regime, vetting info from scores of sources independently.
PMOI's sources established that since 2008 the Iranian regime has secretly engaged in research and uranium enrichment at this site.
The NCRI provided Satellite imagery of the site, its entrance, and overview of the site in the press conference.
The NCRI representatives ripped the Iranian regime’s claim regarding transparency in the nuclear talks and went on to say the Iranian regime is deceiving international community.
They pointed out that research and development with advanced centrifuges in highly secret sites are only intended to advance the nuclear weapons project.
The NCRI stressed if US is serious about preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make continuation of the talks predicated on the IAEA’s immediate inspection of the site before the regime gets a chance to destroy the evidence.
It underscored that if the US and its partners seek to block Tehran’s pathway to the bomb, any agreement should include complete implementation of all Security Council Resolutions, immediate halt to any enrichment and closure of related facilities, including Natanz, Fordo and Arak, signing the Additional Protocol and start of IAEA’s snap inspection.
The NCRI has exposed some of the most significant dimensions of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, including the Natanz uranium enrichment and Arak heavy water sites in August 2002, Kalay-e Electric centrifuge assembly and testing facility in February 2003, the Lashkar-abad Laser enrichment and Lavizan-Shian sites in May 2003, the Fordo underground enrichment site in December 2005, and the Defensive Innovation and Research Organization, SPND, in July 2011.

Pope Asks That Argentina Avoid “Mexicanization”

BUENOS AIRES – Pope Francis expressed his concern about the growing drug trafficking in Argentina in a letter to Buenos Aires legislator Gustavo Vera, in which he asked that Argentine citizens “avoid the Mexicanization” of their country.

“I was talking with some Mexican bishops and the matter is terrifying,” the pontiff said in the letter posted on the Web site of the non-governmental organization La Alameda, headed by Vera.

“I see your tireless work going full steam ahead. I often ask God to protect you and all those of La Alameda,” Pope Francis said.

The letter was an answer to a previous message from Vera about the constant growth of drug trafficking in Argentina and informing the pontiff about the denunciations he is about to launch through the NGO, whose mission is the fight against people trafficking and slave labor.

The lawmaker and the pope frequently exchange letters, since they have kept up a long-standing friendship, and Vera even visited Francis in Rome and spent a week with him at the papal residence at Santa Marta in 2013.

Coca-Cola Bottler Shuts Down Operations in Mexican City over Security

MEXICO CITY – Coca-Cola Femsa, the company’s bottler, has announced that it will be temporarily suspending operations of its distribution center in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, over security concerns.

The company shut down operations last Friday and will be evaluating the viability of its operations and reviewing its operating procedures keeping in mind the safety of its more than 350 employees in the locality.

The company added that it will continue operating normally in other parts of the state in compliance with its protocols and security measures.

On Feb. 18, teachers from Guerrero detained Coca-Cola employees in Chilpancingo’s main plaza in exchange for the release of three students accused of looting the company’s trucks.

The employees were released by the members of the State Coordinator of Education Workers of Guerrero, CETEG, early the next day after Coca-Cola agreed to withdraw the charges against the students.

CETEG has held several protests, some violent, against the 2013 education reform which did away with privileges that the teaching unions enjoyed during the hiring, evaluating, promoting and retaining of teachers.

It has also joined protests over the case of 43 teacher trainees who were kidnapped on Sep. 26 in the Guerrero town of Iguala after coming under attack by the police and who remain missing.

Coca-Cola Femsa is the multinational’s largest public bottler in the world.

Leaked documents allege Israel PM and Mossad differ on Iran

Sunday, February 22, 2015

At Least 5 Dead in Suicide Attack on Nigerian Market

NAIROBI – At least five people died and 30 were wounded Sunday in a suicide attack staged by a woman at a market in the northeastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, according to what several witnesses told Nigerian media.

The attack came about 1:25 p.m. when the terrorist blew herself up at the market entrance after getting into a dispute with the guards who were attempting to search her at the security checkpoint.

“I heard a loud noise from my house. When we went outside, we saw that the people were removing bodies and transporting them to the hospital,” local resident Mohammed Abbas told Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper.

The spokesman for the police in Yobe state, where Potiskum is located, Toyin Gbadegesin, confirmed the attack but did not provide any casualty figures.

However, according to what several witnesses told the daily, the bomb killed at least five people and wounded more than 30.

Despite the fact that there has, as yet, been no claim of responsibility for the attack, the prevailing suspicion is that it was the work of the Boko Haram jihadist group, which in recent months has staged a number of deadly attacks in public places in Potiskum.

The terrorists carried out a similar attack on the same market on Jan. 11, when two girls blew themselves up killing seven people.

Despite the deployment of the regional military force to fight the terrorists, attacks by Boko Haram are not only continuing but have become more intense in northern Nigeria, and they have even spread into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which border on Africa’s most populous country

Islamic State Burns 43 People Alive in Western Iraq

BAGHDAD – The jihadist group Islamic State, or IS, burned alive on Saturday 43 people kidnapped in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, a security official told Efe.

The IS militants caged their hostages, who were mostly police and members of the pro-government Sunni militias called Salvation Councils, then set them on fire.

The radical group kidnapped the victims more than a week ago in the Al Baghdadi area of Anbar province.

The massacre recalled what happened several weeks ago when the IS aired a video of how it burned to death the Jordanian pilot Muaz Kasasbeh, captured in Syria last December after his plane crashed during an operation of the international coalition against the IS.

Last Feb. 17, the IS executed and burned more than 40 people in the same area, most of them members of the police and the Salvation Councils.

Anbar province is largely dominated by the jihadists, and Al Baghdadi was one of the few cities where the Iraqi government was still in control.

The United States, which leads an international alliance against the IS, has 300 soldiers deployed at the military base of Ain al-Asad, located some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Al Baghdadi, and which has been the target in recent days of some frustrated IS attacks. 

Iran - Masoume Zia ( female ) Sentenced to 74 Lashes and Imprisonment

Posted on: 22nd February, 2015

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Masoume Zia
HRANA News Agency – Masoume Zia, one of the Erfane Halghe activists has been sentenced to 74 lashes and 1 year imprisonment.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Masoume Zia who was arrested in a protest gathering of Erfane Halghe followers in front of Islamic Revolutionary Court, was sentenced to 74 lashes and 1 year imprisonment in a hearing on 7 February 2015 at Islamic Revolutionary court on the charges of disturbing public order and public safety by attending an illegal gathering.
Masoume Zia and 15 other Erfane Halghe instructors attended different hearings during February and in total received 37 years of imprisonment.
It is important to note that “Masoumeh Zia” was sentenced to 1 year suspended imprisonment back in 2006. This sentence was given to her based on the charge of attending the peaceful Women’s gathering which intended to change discriminatory laws against women on 12 June, 2006

Fears mount among Iran's neighbours over nuclear talks

Arak Heavy Water reactor
The emerging terms of a deal to curb Iran's quest for a nuclear bomb is striking fear to neighbouring Arab countries in the region.
Concerns are mounting that the US may allow the Iranian regime to continue with its nuclear programme for civilian purposes - and therefore maintain the technology needed to produce nuclear weapons.
The Washington Post newspaper said: "The direction of US diplomacy with Tehran has added fuel to fears in some Arab states of a nuclear-arms race in the region, as well as reviving talk about possibly extending a US nuclear umbrella to Middle East allies to counter any Iranian threat.
"The major Sunni states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have said that a final agreement could allow Shiite-dominated Iran, their regional rival, to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons, according to these officials, while removing many of the sanctions that have crippled its economy in recent years."
And Arab officials said any deal could drive Saudi Arabia and other states to try to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
One Arab official said: "At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal."
The Obama administration initially said its policy was to completely dismantle Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure as a means to protect Washington’s Middle East allies, the paper said.
But it added: "Arab officials have increasingly spoken about a possible nuclear arms race in the Mideast as the negotiations have continued for 18 months, having been extended twice."
Arab leaders said they are committed to supporting the US coalition fighting Islamic State. But they said the campaign is complicated by fears Washington is aligning with Tehran, it added.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Four Geologists Kidnapped by Suspected Rebels in Northern Colombia

BOGOTA – Four geologists have been kidnapped in a rural area of the northern Colombian province of Norte de Santander, according to the Colombian Geological Service, or SGC, which said ELN leftist rebels are the likely culprits.

A group of people “intercepted and apparently detained” the geologists, employees of the company GEMI S.A.S. who were working as contractors for the SGC, the service said in a statement.

It said it has not yet been able to reestablish communication with the kidnap victims.

The geologists “apparently were approached by the ELN (National Liberation Army),” which has a strong presence in the area, the National Police commander for Norte de Santander, Col. John Jairo Aroca, told reporters.

They were abducted Thursday in the rural district of Santa Ines, part of the municipality of El Carmen, while conducting a water study, Aroca added.

Although the SGC did not provide the names of the four victims, local media identified them as Henry Botero, John Rios, Hernan Ayala and Karina Banquez.

The geologists’ work was essential for planning development and human activities in that area of the country, the service said.

The Colombian government and the ELN are currently involved in “exploratory dialogues” intended to lead to the opening of peace negotiations like the ones Bogota has held for more than two years in Cuba with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Latin America’s largest insurgency.

Former First Lady of Virginia Sentenced to Prison

Wife of Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell Sentenced to One Year and One Day in Prison in Public Corruption Case

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — The former First Lady of Virginia, Maureen G. McDonnell, 60, of Glen Allen, Virginia, was sentenced Friday to one year and one day in prison, for soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts and other items from Star Scientific, a Virginia-based corporation, and Jonnie R. Williams Sr., Star Scientific’s then chief executive officer, in violation of federal public corruption laws.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer.

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were convicted on Sept. 4, 2014, following a jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right. Maureen McDonnell also was convicted of two counts of honest-services wire fraud and four counts of obtaining property under color of official right, while Robert McDonnell was convicted of three counts of honest-services wire fraud and six counts of obtaining property under color of official right. In total, Maureen McDonnell was convicted of eight of 13 counts and Robert McDonnell was convicted of 11 of 13 counts.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from April 2011 through March 2013, the McDonnell’s participated in a scheme to use the former governor’s official position to enrich themselves and their family members by soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts and other things of value from Star Scientific and Jonnie R. Williams Sr. The McDonnell’s obtained these items in exchange for the former governor performing official actions to legitimize, promote and obtain research studies for Star’s products, including the dietary supplement Anatabloc.

According to evidence presented at trial, the McDonnell’s obtained from Williams more than $170,000 in direct payments as gifts and loans, thousands of dollars in golf outings, and numerous items. As part of the scheme, Robert McDonnell arranged meetings for Williams with Virginia government officials, hosted and attended events at the Governor’s Mansion designed to encourage Virginia university researchers to initiate studies of Star’s products and to promote Star’s products to doctors, contacted other Virginia government officials to encourage Virginia state research universities to initiate studies of Star’s products, and promoted Star’s products and facilitated its relationships with Virginia government officials.

The evidence further showed that the McDonnell’s attempted to conceal the things of value received from Williams and Star to hide the nature and scope of their dealings with Williams from the citizens of Virginia by, for example, routing gifts and loans through family members and corporate entities controlled by the former governor to avoid annual disclosure requirements.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. Dry, Jessica D. Aber, and Ryan S. Faulconer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Deputy Chief David V. Harbach II of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Division, IRS-CI, and the Virginia State Police.

Gunmen kidnap at least 89 boys in South Sudan

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Iran news in brief, 20 February 2015

Drug money is used in Iran’s politics, Interior Minister admits

‘Dirty money,’ including money obtained from drug trafficking ‘has entered the political life in Iran and used in elections and decision making,’ the Iranian regime’s Minister of Interior has admitted.
Abdolreza Ahmadi-fazli was quoted by official news agency IRNA as saying: “A large part of the moral corruption in this country comes from the introduction of dirty money into politics.”Speaking during a seminar of police officials on Monday he said: “Part of this money is now in politics.”
According to Rahmani Fazli money both from drug trafficking and from contraband amounted to the equivalent of nearly $20 billion (17.5 billion euros) every year.
Iran was in 136th place out of 175 last year in an index of nations seen as corrupt by Transparency International, a non-governmental organization.
Recently it was disclosed that 170 members of mullahs’ parliament had received bribes.
This bribery was revealed during the trial of the first deputy of regime’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In the power struggle between the ruling cliques, Ahmadinejad’s deputy Mohammadreza Rahimi has been prosecuted and sentenced to five years in prison.
In an open letter, Rahimi revealed that he has bribed 170 parliamentarians for a total of 1200 billion tomans which was equivalent to $4.5 billion at the time.
The clerical regime affiliated gangs are the main distributor of drugs in the country as its agents intentionally propagate the use of drugs among the youth and teenagers, particularly high school and university students, in order to divert their attention from getting involved in anti-government activities.
The members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have seized control of drug trafficking throughout the country, using the multi-billion-dollar trade to establish links with a global crime network and further its goal of undermining the West.
The mullahs' regime has also counts on the illegal drug trade as an important source of badly-needed hard currency, some of which is spent on the regime's export of terrorism and fundamentalism abroad.
The bulk of the narcotics is sent abroad through international drug trafficking rings.
A member of the Iranian regime's  Quds Force, an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard, that had plotted to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US in 2011, had tried to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up a Washington restaurant

Men in miniskirt protest against student death in Turkey

U.S. Woman Accused of Assisting Al-Qaeda Detained in Germany

BERLIN – A U.S. woman has been arrested in the southwestern German town of Heilbronn accused of providing members of the al-Qaeda terror group with clothing, first-aid equipment and donations.

Police in the federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg and Stuttgart prosecutors said in a joint statement issued Friday that the arrest took place Feb. 10, in compliance with an order issued by authorities in the United States.

U.S. investigators accuse the woman, aged 42, of providing support to al-Qaeda from mid-2013 until earlier this year, in collaboration with others.

The detainee has already appeared in court, where a provisional arrest warrant issued against her was upheld.

Political Activist Murdered in Central Mexico

MEXICO CITY – The local chairwoman of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in the central town of Lagunillas was murdered, her party colleagues said Friday.

Cecilia Izaguirre Camargo was attacked while driving in the nearby community of Pinihuan.

The PRI leader in San Luis Potosi state, Joel Ramirez, condemned the killing and demanded an “exhaustive and expedited investigation” to find those responsible.

Ramirez also expressed concern about an increase in violence against political activists as the state prepares for elections.

Besides representing the PRI, Izaguirre Camargo was coordinator of Social Development in Lagunillas.

One of her relatives, Guadalupe Castillo Olvera, is the PRI candidate for mayor of Lagunillas.

Mexicans will go to the polls July 7 to select federal lawmakers, 1,487 municipal officials and governors in nine states, including San Luis Potosi.

A prospective congressional candidate for Mexico’s center-left PRD and two other members of that party were slain earlier this week in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Iran: Two Kurdish political prisoners executed

NCRI – The Iranian regime's henchmen in the central prison in the city of Orumiyeh have hanged two political prisoners.
Habibullah Afshari, 26 and his brother Ali Afshari, 34, hanged on Thursday, had been sentenced to death for supporting Komala, an Iranian Kurdish opposition group.
They were among the group of six political prisoners including Saman Naseem who were transferred to isolation on Wednesday. There is no information on the fate of the other prisoners.
Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, has called for urgent action to save the life of political prisoners in Iran.
She urged the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and all human rights organizations to take urgent measures to save the lives of the political prisoners facing death in Uromiyeh prison.
She also called on UN Secretary General and Security Council, the United States and the European countries to take urgent and effective measures to save political prisoners in Iran, particularly these six prisoners, who are facing imminent execution.

Mrs Rajavi demanded that the dossier of the clerical regime's crimes including the execution of 120,000 political prisoners be referred to the International Criminal Court by the United Nations Security Council.

Turkey - Brawl see photo - Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)

Turkish Politicians brawl

Tulsa - Woman arrested for trying to bite off boyfriends " penis ,".

TULSA - A night out drinking and an argument with his girlfriend nearly cost a Tulsa man his penis.
Officers responded to a Tulsa hospital early Thursday morning where a man claimed his girlfriend attacked him while he slept.
Amber Ellis was arrested for maiming and assault with a dangerous weapon.
According to the police report, the victim said he and his girlfriend were out drinking and began arguing while walking home "about how needy she had become."  The couple verbally fought in the apartment until the victim told police Ellis stormed off, slamming the bedroom door.
Police say the victim fell asleep on the couch only to wake up to find Ellis "biting his (penis) off."
The victim told police he fought Ellis off but she hit him in the head with a laptop computer.
Once hospitalized, the victim received several stitches to the base of his penis and was treated for injuries to his head, face, neck, fingers and knee.
Ellis was taken into custody for an interview and ultimately booked into the Tulsa County Jail.

Maryam Rajavi calls to save Saman Naseem and 5 Iranian political prisoners facing execution

NCRI - Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, has called for urgent action to save the life of Saman Naseem, who was arrested when he was 17, and five political prisoners being on death row in the central prison in the city of Orumiyeh (northeastern Iran).

The six men were transferred to isolation on Wednesday (February 18) to await their execution.
Mrs Rajavi urged the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and all human rights organizations to take action to save the lives of these political prisoners.
She also called on UN Secretary General and Security Council, the United States and the European countries to take urgent and effective measures to save political prisoners in Iran, particularly these six prisoners, who are facing imminent execution.
Political prisoners Saman Naseem, Younes Aghayan, Sirvan Nejavi, Ebrahim Shapouri, Habibullah Afshari and Ali Afshari have all been sentenced in sham courts of the clerical regime and their death sentences have been confirmed by the mullahs' Supreme Court.
Younes Aghayan, an Azeri political prisoner and a follower of Ahl-Haq, has already spent 10 years in prison.
Saman Naseem, Sirvan Nejavi and Ebrahim Shapouri, have been sentenced to death for cooperating with the Life of Kurdistan Party (PJAK).
Habibullah Afshari, 26 and his brother Ali Afshari, 34, have been sentenced to death for supporting the Komala.
Continuing the policy of appeasement with regards to the Iranian regime, and silence against the dire situation of human rights in Iran, not only has given the ruling mullahs an open hand to impose the cruelest repression against the Iranian people, but it also has emboldened the clerical dictatorship in warmongering and export of terrorism and fundamentalism in the region as well as the world.
Mrs Rajavi demanded that the dossier of the clerical regime's crimes including the execution of 120,000 political prisoners be referred to the International Criminal Court by the United Nations Security Council.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 19. 2015