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Posts tagged ‘Norway’

China F-35: Secrets Stolen From US Show Up in Its Stealth Fighter.


China obtained F-35 secrets through an extensive cyber spy operation carried out in 2007 against U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, U.S. officials and defense analysts said, and they have shown up China’s new stealth fighter jet.

Codenamed Operation Byzantine Hades, the multiyear cyber-espionage operation yielded sensitive technology about the United States’ latest fighter jet which in turn was incorporated into the development of China’s new J-20 fighter, the Washington Times reported.

According to Defense officials, a Chinese military unit known as the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau (TRF), located in the nation’s Chengdu province, was behind the cyber-espionage. Once the data had been acquired, the TRF is said to have transferred it to the state-run Aviation Industry Corp. of China, which then used that stolen data in building the J-20 fighter jet, the Washington Free Beaconreported.

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Having started 10 years ago, the F-35 development program is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon that has cost $392 billion, making it the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program ever. The program’s original price tag was $233 billion; however it ballooned due to delays brought on by cost overruns.

Referred to as a “fifth-generation” warplane, the F-35 fighter jet will be replacing the popular F-16 and more than a dozen other warplanes that are currently in use by the United States and foreign governments around the world.

As of late 2013, the U.S. partner countries of Britain, Canada, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and Denmark, Israel, and Japan have already ordered F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.

Also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 is said to be the most technically-advanced plane in the United States’ arsenal with 7.5 million lines of computer code controlling its weapons system, which is triple the amount of coding currently used in the top Air Force fighter, the Government Accountability Office told The Wall Street Journal.

“You’ve seen significant improvements in Chinese military capabilities through their willingness to spend, their acquisitions of advanced Russian weapons, and from their cyber-espionage campaign,” James A. Lewis, a cyber-policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Washington Post. “Ten years ago, I used to call the [People’s Liberation Army] the world’s largest open-air military museum. I can’t say that now.”

In addition to the apparent cyber theft of secrets pertaining to the F-35’s development, China has also reportedly accessed other U.S. weapons systems, including the Patriot missile system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and the Army’s ballistic missile interceptor program.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Michael Mullins

McCain Bashes ‘Ignorant’ Obama Ambassador Nominees.


Sen. John McCain admits it is “kind of entertaining and amusing” to see how “ignorant” some of President Barack Obama’s ambassador nominees are about the countries they will be serving in, but it’s also worrying, he says.

“[I]t’s also really disturbing because it’s a disservice to our country to send that kind of unqualified candidate to represent us and our interest there in these countries,” the Arizona Republican said Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” 

McCain appeared to be having a good time grilling a trio of nominees earlier this year who clearly knew little to nothing about the countries where they are set to serve.

Norway ambassador nominee George Tsunis had positive words for the country’s president even though it doesn’t have one. It is a constitutional monarchy. He also stumbled through an answer in which he said that the Progress Party was denounced by the government. McCain reminded him that the Progress Party is part of Norway’s coalition government.

Story continues below video.

Video of that exchange has gone viral in Norway, McCain told Van Susteren, and “Frankly, the Norwegian people are not very happy about getting that kind of ambassador to represent the United States in their country.”

He and other Republicans are objecting to the nominees, he said, but Democrats have the majority. And since Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the “nuclear option” last year, nominees now need only 51 votes. Republicans have only 45 members in the Senate.

The appointees to Norway, Argentina, and Iceland all admitted they had never been to the countries to which they were being appointed. Another thing they have in common is big political donations to Obama’s re-election campaign.

On Wednesday night’s “Daily Show,” host Jon Stewart then noted that the future Norway ambassador raised $850,000, while the Argentina nominee raised $500,000 and the Iceland nominee raised $1.6 million.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., last week was confirmed by the Senate to be ambassador to China by a 96-0 vote. Baucus is not an Obama campaign bundler, offering Stewart hope that he knows more about that country because of the business and political sensitivites between them and the United States.

“I am no real expert on China,” Baucus said in a clip.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Report: US Press Freedom Declines Under Obama.


Image: Report: US Press Freedom Declines Under Obama

By Melissa Clyne

Freedom of the press in the United States has plunged during the Obama administration, according to the 2014 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index.

“The U.S. under President Obama, who once promised to run the ‘most transparent’ administration in the country’s history, fell from 32nd to 46th in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, a drop of 13 slots,” The Washington Times reports.

The report reviews the state of media freedoms in 180 countries. Major declines occurred in the United States, the Central African Republic, and Guatemala, while marked improvements took place in Ecuador, Bolivia, and South Africa, according to the index compiled by the press advocacy group.

Finland, the Netherlands, and Norway continue to lead the index for press freedoms and government openness, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea “continue to be the biggest information black holes, again occupying the last three positions.” Syria also ranked near the bottom.

The rating was based on seven criteria: the level of abuses, the extent of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legislative framework, transparency, and infrastructure, according to Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire.

“It makes governments face their responsibilities by providing civil society with an objective measure, and provides international bodies with a good governance indicator to guide their decisions,” Deloire said in a statement.

The report cited the handling of three events as major contributors to the declining rating for reporter freedoms the United States, according to The Washington Times.

• Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of top secret information related to U.S. spying programs;

• Army Pvt. Bradley Manning’s leak of classified documents to WikiLeaks;

• The Justice Department’s handling of a probe of The Associated Press and other media organizations suspected of receiving leaked data.

Freedom of the press is increasingly under siege as governments around the globe are targeting journalists — to get to their sources and those people who leak sensitive information, according to the report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama to Pitch Ideas in Speech for Spurring ‘Upward Mobility’.


President Barack Obama will urge the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to do more to help poor and middle-class Americans move up the economic ladder.

Both Obama and congressional Republicans view that issue as a high priority, a rare point of agreement between the two sides. But the Democratic president and Republicans disagree on the remedies, setting up a debate that Obama will discuss in his State of the Union address to Congress.

In the speech, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Obama will push an agenda for increasing economic upward mobility and propose aid to the long-term unemployed, an increase in the minimum wage and an expansion of early-childhood education.

After Obama’s speech, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, will deliver a response on behalf of her party. She will likely emphasize free-market ideas for improving prosperity.

Senator Marco Rubio and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, two Republicans who are both seen as potential 2016 presidential candidates, spoke this month on proposals for helping people climb out of economic hardship.

Rubio has suggested shifting responsibility for many federal benefit programs to the states. Ryan has floated the idea of providing a single benefit to low-income families, modeled on one in Great Britain.

The problem of economic stagnation is expected to be a theme in congressional election campaigns this year.

Analysts said social mobility was a potent political issue because the United States has long seen itself as a place where anyone with grit and determination can succeed.

In recent years, however, the wages of many low- and middle-income workers have held steady or fallen on an inflation-adjusted basis. The slow growth after the 2007-2009 recession has exacerbated this trend.

At the same time, the wealthiest and most highly educated Americans, referred to as the “1 percent,” have grown more prosperous.

 

Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concern about studies showing that economic mobility in the United States lags that of some other industrialized economies, calling into question the nation’s reputation as a land of opportunity.

More than 40 percent of American men born into the poorest one-fifth of earners remain there, a 2006 study led by Finnish economist Markus Jantti showed. In Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden, only about 25 percent of such men stay in that income segment.

American sons of low-income fathers are more likely to remain stuck in the bottom tenth of earners as adults than are Canadian sons, University of Ottawa economist Miles Corak said in a study published in 2010. In the United States, 22 percent of men born to low-income families stayed in that category, while the same was true of only 16 percent of Canadians.

In 2012, former U.S. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger published a study that linked income inequality with low levels of upward mobility. He devised a chart he named “The Great Gatsby Curve” after the fabulously wealthy protagonist of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It showed the United States toward the upper end of the range of both inequality and low economic mobility, along with Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. At the opposite extreme, with low inequality and high mobility, were Denmark, Norway and Finland.

A study from a group led by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty added a new wrinkle to the debate with its finding that American children’s chances of moving up the economic ladder had not changed much in the past few decades. The study also made clear that children’s prospects were tightly linked to their parents’ socio-economic status – more so in the United States than in some other leading economies.

“It’s not so much that we’re losing the American dream,” said Harvard economist Nathaniel Hendren, one of the study’s authors. “It’s did we ever have it, and do we want it?”

The focus on economic mobility builds on a pledge Obama has emphasized over the past two years: to improve the standing and security of the middle class.

The theme is newer for Republicans, who failed to capture the White House in 2012 in part because many voters perceived their party’s candidate, Mitt Romney, as dismissive of the struggles of the poor and working classes.

But analysts say a promise to boost economic mobility could resonate across the ideological spectrum.

“The idea of the United States being exceptional in its ability to promote economic opportunity or the notion of the nation being suited to help people rise is very much part of our national ethos,” said Erin Currier, director of economic mobility for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Americans feel strongly that the United States should be the land of opportunity.”

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Foreskin 419 – The Heaviest Assault On African Men’s Sexual Life Since Colonial Times Remains Uncovered.


By Felix Riedel

In the ages of Muslim, Christian and indigenous slavery, many African men were castrated to serve as eunuchs. In colonial racist regimes African men were forbidden to mate white women. Not few were abused for medical experiments in the twentieth century – even in the USA, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment denied treatment to 399 poor black men until 1972[1]. Racism has always paired with sexual aggression. Today, African men take part in a mass-experiment by the WHO and UNAIDS[2] and African doctors, who all promise to eradicate HIV through circumcision – the force is less brutal but far more effective than ever. Global health agencies and local authoritarian structures pressurize and bribe men into sacrificing a part of their genitals.

Zimbabwe’s circumcision rates had been as low as 10 % until 2009, when a government campaign vowed for the circumcision of at least 1.2 million men.[3] From 1997 to 2007 the HIV-infection rates dropped from 29% to 16% of the population,[4] but the winning team of awareness campaigns was changed in favour of circumcision. This campaign no longer alters the minds of men and women but male genitals. Authoritarian systems don’t want their populace to think, but to obey with their bodies. Similar campaigns are running in Uganda and Swaziland. Discrimination of uncircumcised men has been reported in the course of those campaigns. Uncircumcised Ugandan men were threatened by mobs who blamed them for infecting women. At the same time circumcision rates dropped heavily in Western countries, where individuals have free access to information about circumcision.

The moderate sceptic might ask: To eradicate HIV, wouldn’t it be a small price to sacrifice a tiny part of male skin?

First of all, it is not a tiny part of skin. The external part of the foreskin protects the glans from sunburn and injuries while the interior mucosa keeps the glans moist and sensitive. Both parts together make up to 60 % of the penile skin including the most sensitive areas of the penis at the tip of the foreskin. You would not sacrifice a finger to prevent HIV, but the foreskin underwent decades of heavy discrimination as small, smelly, wizened, ugly and useless – a discrimination strategy well known from the discrimination of female genital organs.

But does circumcision indeed prevent HIV? First of all, circumcision inflicts a wound that needs at least 4 weeks to heal. In the meantime the entire penis remains swollen and is very open to infections of all kind. The scar is vulnerable to unsensitive techniques of masturbation and rough sexual intercourse – it can open up any time and especially in the first year which results in bleedings and itching. In the months after circumcision, the glans skin totally alters into a rather dry, hard skin with sharp transition areas around the external urethral orifice. The peeling of callused skin often creates micro-fissures on the glans. Any of these side-effects increases the risk of infection with HIV. Also consider the fact, that the foreskin provides moisture and enables the penis to perform elastic movements, and that the inflexible state of a circumcised penis creates more friction and fissures on all involved sexual organs.

Therefore, common sense dismisses the claim, that circumcision would decrease the risk of contracting sexual diseases. Anyone can easily compare infection rates in different countries and find not a single hint at any beneficial effect of circumcision. Just the opposite: the HIV-rates in the USA (0.6%) with a majority of circumcised men are six times higher than in Norway (0.1%) with only a small minority of circumcised men.[5] If other factors dominate the infection rates in such a massive way, it is irresponsible to promote the amputation of the foreskin as a cure for HIV.

The most optimistic studies boast 60% of prevention rates for circumcised men. Here we come to methods. Critical medical doctors are very wary against strategies used by pharmaceutical companies to produce bloated figures to sell their products. If you have two cohorts of 1000, then the difference between 4 infected persons in the first cohort and 6 infected persons in the other, the overall insignificant difference can be inflated easily through percentage calculation. Undisputedly, a condom offers up to 99% of protection – subject to the condition of proper use. In the aftermath of circumcision-campaigns, more men and women will pressurize and seduce their partners into unprotected intercourse.

Until more of the affected African men will have the means to question the onslaught carried out on their private sphere by campaigns masked as modern medicine, some will already have died from fatal complications, others will have suffered from severe complications like necrosis of the penis and all will have lost their foreskin. In a far future, cultural anthropology will produce nice volumes discussing the bygone bio-politics of African authoritarian systems. They should rather use their privileges now and today to advise African men against such campaigns and to speak out publicly against one of the most destructive features of Global Health policies in recent times.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

[1] http://blackusa.com/tuskegee-syphilis-experiment/.

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision_and_HIV.

[3] See: National AIDS Council Zimbabwe. http://www.nac.org.zw/news/women-also-benefit-male-circumcision

[4] http://www.safaids.net/content/zimbabwe-circumcision-drive-targets-cabin….

[5] http://www.mapsofworld.com/thematic-maps/world-hiv-aids-adult-prevalence….

French Upper House Backs Same-Sex Marriage Law.


PARIS — France’s Senate upper house voted in favor of same-sex marriage on Friday, paving the way for it to enter law after street marches rallied hundreds of thousands of demonstrators both for and against it.
The move is France’s most important social reform since the 1981 abolition of the death penalty and was a keynote campaign pledge by President Francois Hollande’s ruling Socialists.
But it is opposed by social conservatives in the majority Catholic country, and by many French Muslims and evangelical Christians.
The bill, approved by a show of hands with minor amendments, returns in May to the National Assembly lower house where the Socialists have an absolute majority. After final approval there, it is due to take effect mid-year.
France joins 11 other countries including Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Norway, and South Africa where same-sex marriage is legal.

 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

How Japan’s ‘flammable ice’ breakthrough could revolutionize the energy industry.


 

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The country may have found the successor to fracking

On Tuesday, Japan became the first country to ever successfullyextract natural gas from underwater deposits of methane hydrate, a frozen gas sometimes referred to as “flammable ice.” The breakthrough could be a boon to the energy-poor nation, which imports almost all of its energy. And if the technology provescommercially viable, it could benefit other countries — including Canada, the U.S., Norway, and China — that are also seeking to exploit methane hydrate deposits.

Japan has reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of flammable ice, a Holy Grail that could satisfy the country’s future energy demands as Japan weans itself off nuclear power in the aftermath of the leak at the Fukushima Daichii plant. Japanese officials are virtually giddy at the prospect. “Japan could finally have an energy source to call its own,” proclaimed Takami Kawamoto, a spokesperson for the Japan Oil, Gas, & Metal National Corp. (Jogmec), the government-run company that is leading the effort.

According to The New York Times, “Methane hydrate is a sherbet-like substance that can form whenmethane gas is trapped in ice below the seabed or underground.” Jogmec says there are at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters of the stuff in the trough where it is currently drilling, just off the Pacific Coast. If Japan can perfect its extraction technique, the area would provide the country with enough natural gas to last 11 years. Japan’s waters reportedly contain a total of 7 trillion cubic meters of flammable ice, which would supply the country with natural gas for many, many decades to come.

How does the drilling process work exactly? “Japan used depressurization to turn methane hydrate to methane gas,” says Reuters, “a process thought by the government to be more effective than using the hot water circulation method the country had tested successfully in 2002.”

The technology, however, is still in its infant stage. At the moment, it’s far too expensive to be sustainable, though Japan hopes to have a commercially viable model in place by 2019. Furthermore, flammable ice remains something of a mystery, which could result in technical glitches and setbacks in the future. “We are studying many things that are not yet known about methane hydrate,”according to Kawamoto.

Still, Japanese officials point to the U.S.’s recent natural gas boom as evidence that technologically complex drilling processes can result in an energy bonanza. The U.S.’s production of natural gas has skyrocketed due to hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — of shale rock, an intensive process that has become widespread in recent years.

Fracking remains a controversial technique, with environmentalists claiming that it could do significant damage to the environment. So far, scientists know little about the impact flammable gas extraction could have on the environment.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Ryu Spaeth | The Week

Nigeria Is Not Impressed by Kim Kardashian.


Naijaxclusive.com

Kim Kardashian went to Nigeria to promote a party. Stop, we can feel your eye roll from here. That said, we were wondering what her reception was like and (surprise?) it appears Nigerians dislike Kardashian as much as most Americans do—but for completely different reasons.

BY ALEXANDER ABAD-SANTOS

NOV 14, 2012

The Whole World Is Very Entertained by the Petraeus Scandal

Let’s be honest, this Petraeus thing is just odd. So odd that we are having trouble giving it a name because it’s an undulating charybdis of adultery, ill logic, adults acting stupid, and embarrassment involving people who are supposed to be the most upstanding Americans in the country. And we were wondering how this mess looks to everyone who doesn’t live here.

Comment (1) | 2,863 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

NOV 6, 2012

The World Is Taking a Crash Course in the Crazy American Electoral Process

American elections are always a global event, but with this year’s emphasis on the Electoral College, foreigners are cramming to re-learn the complicated state-by-state election system.

Comment (1) | 2,624 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

JUL 24, 2012

The Rest of the First World Is Astounded by America’s Enduring Gun Culture

We learned today that the Aurora mass shooting is as big a story around the world as it is in the U.S., but the reaction is not. A headline in Norway’s largest newspaper captured the disbelief in other industrialized countries in the wake of the tragedy: “Stricter Firearms Is a Non-Issue Even After Massacre.”

Comments (100) | 17,291 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

JUL 11, 2012

World Wants Obama’s Hands Off the Internet’s Off Switch

President Obama’s recently signed executive order outlining emergency control of the Internet didn’t get much attention in the U.S. but it’s spooking foreign journalists.

Comments (4) | 4,398 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

JUN 6, 2012

Europe Is Dumbfounded by Scott Walker’s Victory

The recall victory of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is sending shockwaves through Europe as right-wing and left-wing newspapers marvel at the Republican’s ability to survive an election months after stripping the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions.

Comments (56) | 3,408 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

MAY 24, 2012

In Pakistan, No Tears for Imprisoned Doctor

The Pakistani press does not share the outrage of U.S. lawmakers at the 33-year prison sentence of the doctor who helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden. In fact, Dr. Shakil Afridi, charged with running a fake vaccination clinic to collect bin Laden’s DNA, should be glad he wasn’t executed according to some Pakistani dailies.

Comments (6) | 747 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

MAY 22, 2012

Indian Media React to Dharun Ravi’s Jail Sentence

India’s leading newspapers latched onto yesterday’ssentencing of former Rutger’s University student Dharun Ravi convicted of bias intimidation against college roommate Tyler Clementi.

Comment (1) | 1,113 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

MAY 9, 2012

Switzerland Ponders Michele Bachmann’s Dual Citizenship

She may be America’s Tea Party darling but Congresswoman Michele Bachmann can now run for public office in Switzerland.

Comments (3) | 2,903 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

APR 5, 2012

Europe Is Baffled by the U.S. Supreme Court

Europe is scratching its head over the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

Comments (497) | 31,884 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

MAR 20, 2012

Indian Media Cast Doubt on Dharun Ravi Verdict

He’s a native son of India and the press has his back.

Comments (9) | 3,463 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

MAR 5, 2012

World Reacts to Obama’s Security Pledge to Israel

President Obama’s pledge that the United States “will always have Israel’s back” and will attack Iran if it develops a nuclear weapon reverberated across the world Monday.

Comments (21) | 6,280 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

FEB 21, 2012

Indian Media Grapples with Tyler Clementi Cyberbullying Trial

The cyberbullying trial following the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi in 2010 may be happening in New Jersey, but in India, the proceedings are being broadcast live as Indian-American defendant Dahrun Ravi faces up to 10-years in state prison.

Comments (5) | 3,184 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

JAN 17, 2012

Rick Perry’s Name Is Mud in the Turkish Press

Texas governor Rick Perry caused something of an international incident Monday, suggesting that longtime NATO-ally Turkey was ruled by “Islamic terrorists.”

Comments (8) | 2,433 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

DEC 7, 2011

The World Reacts to Clinton’s Gay Rights Speech

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bold U.N. speech condemning the discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgendered people across the world had a significant impact in the U.S. But how’s it playing around the world?

Comments (24) | 23,379 Views

BY JOHN HUDSON

DEC 1, 2011

Europe’s Getting a Kick Out of the GOP Field

Checking in on how Europe is covering the race for the GOP nomination, it turns out our media brethren across the Atlantic are just as focused on the candidates’ gaffes and blunders as we are.

Comments (3) | 1,272 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

AUG 19, 2011

What the World Makes of Rick Perry

The international media is talking about his religion, his jobs record, his controversies

Comments (10) | 3,596 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

AUG 8, 2011

What the World Is Saying About the U.S. Debt Downgrade

Europe’s worried, China’s lecturing, and the Arab world? It’s busy

Comment | 1,232 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUL 25, 2011

Europeans See Debt Debate as Sign of American Decline

The superpower status of the United States is at risk, say editorials

Comment (1) | 2,227 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUL 12, 2011

Europe Is Not Impressed by Washington’s Debt Dance

The refrain from European papers: screw this up and the whole world suffers

Comment | 637 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUL 8, 2011

World Wonders Why We’re So Worked Up Over Casey Anthony

Foreign audiences are captivated by our captivation

Comment (1) | 2,041 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUN 28, 2011

Foreign Press: Palin, Bachmann, Whatever

Or a lesson in how gaffes can be global

Comments (3) | 886 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUN 27, 2011

‘Go the F*ck to Sleep’ Sparks Soul-Searching Among German Parents

Your kids are irritating? ‘Easier to say you’re giving up tea for heroin,’ says reviewer

Comments (5) | 2,923 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUN 13, 2011

International Media on the Palin Emails: Well That Was Fun!

Bemusement, amusement, and head-shaking over “Anglo-Saxon” Palin obsession

Comments (6) | 2,852 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUN 13, 2011

The French Are Unimpressed by American Justice

As DSK heads to trial, the French media run explainers–and takedowns

Comments (16) | 4,621 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

JUN 7, 2011

The World Watches Weinergate

If you ever wanted to see a German explain a wiener joke, now’s your chance

Comment | 852 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 31, 2011

The World Puzzles Over Palin on a Motorcycle

Swedish and Japanese media merely note the event; Germans find it vulgar

Comments (3) | 1,519 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 20, 2011

How the Muslim World Heard Obama’s Speech

A roundup of reactions from President Obama’s target audience

Comments (3) | 3,796 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 13, 2011

The World Weighs Newt Gingrich’s Presidential Chances

If Gingrich’s candidacy is mostly a curiosity to Americans, what can foreigners think?

Comment | 636 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 12, 2011

The French Consider Foer’s Vegetarianism: ‘We Are Not Elves!’

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals is published in the land of steak frites

Comments (3) | 3,094 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 10, 2011

World Wonders Why Shriver and Schwarzenegger Split

Global voyeurism sparked by an American phenomenon: the power couple

Comments (2) | 4,239 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, George Clooney! Love, Germany

No major U.S. paper marked the star’s half-century, but Germans sure did

Comments (2) | 1,385 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 5, 2011

Europe’s Icon Needs Satisfied by a Glimpse of the Situation Room

And it’s all the more iconic because we haven’t seen bin Laden’s corpse

Comment | 1,454 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 2, 2011

What the Foreign Op-Ed Pages Say About Bin Laden’s Killing

The French are inflamed with liberal zeal, a Spanish op-ed brings up Melville, and more

Comments (20) | 18,019 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

MAY 2, 2011

Headlines from the Arab World on Bin Laden’s Death

A look at the nuances in headline-writing

Comments (4) | 9,056 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 28, 2011

There Is Very Little in Arabic Media About Lara Logan’s Assault

A mob attack on Lara Logan in Cairo is not major news in the region

Comment | 797 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 27, 2011

The World Watches a Birth Certificate Frenzy

Today’s news raises questions, like what’s the German word for “silliness”?

Comment (1) | 781 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 26, 2011

Gleeks Go Global; Europe Greets ‘Glee’

Perspectives on “le phénomène «Glee»”

Comments (2) | 1,296 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 25, 2011

The Arab World Is Pretty Well-Informed on Mel Gibson

The French, on the other hand, aren’t that interested

Comment | 1,162 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 22, 2011

How the World Sees BP

American media portrays the company as a villain; foreign press see it a little differently

Comments (3) | 3,087 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 19, 2011

The World Considers the Racist Obama Chimpanzee Email

Chinese don’t care, Russians find the Tea Party interesting, Germans love! Obama

Comments (61) | 12,800 Views

BY HEATHER HORN

APR 18, 2011

The World Considers Donald Trump

Home News From Afar: Aside from a South Korean blog, the world is smirking

Comments (7) | 4,326 Views

Source: YAHOO NEWS/ THE ATLANTIC WIRE.

BY ALEXANDER ABAD-SANTOS

Official: 25 more bodies found at Algerian plant.


  • In this image made from video, a group of people believed to be hostages kneel in the sand with their hands in the air at an unknown location in Algeria. Algerian de-mining teams were scouring a gas refinery on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 that was the scene of a bloody four-day standoff, searching for explosive traps left by the Islamist militants who took dozens of foreigners hostage. The siege left at least 23 captives dead, and the American government warned that there were credible threats of more kidnapping attempts on Westerners. (AP Photo/Ennahar TV) ALGERIA OUT, TV OUT

    View PhotoAssociated Press/Ennahar TV – In this image made from video, a group of people believed to be hostages kneel in the sand with their hands in the air at an unknown location in Algeria. Algerian de-mining teams …more 

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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The death toll from the bloody terrorist siege at a natural gas plant in the Sahara climbed to at least 81 on Sunday as Algerian forces searching the complex for explosives found dozens more bodies, many so badly disfigured they could not immediately be identified, a security official said.

Algerian special forces stormed the facility on Saturday to end the four-day siege of the remote desert refinery, and the government said then that 32 militants and 23 hostages were killed, but that the death toll was likely to rise.

The militants came from six countries, were armed to cause maximum destruction and mined the Ain Amenas refinery, which the Algerian state oil company runs along with BP and Norway’s Statoil, said Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said. The militants “had decided to succeed in the operation as planned, to blow up the gas complex and kill all the hostages,” he said in a state radio interview.

With few details emerging from the remote site of the gas plant in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed Saturday — seven — was how many the militants had said that morning they still had.

The Algerian security official said the 25 bodies found by bombs squads on Sunday were so badly disfigured that it was difficult to tell whether they were hostages or attackers. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation and said those casualties were not official yet.

The squads were bombing the plant in the Sahara Desert to defuse mines they said were planted throughout the vast site, not far from the Libyan border.

In addition to the bodies found at the site Sunday, a wounded Romanian who had been evacuated and brought home died, raised the overall death toll to at least 81.

The Masked Brigade, founded by Algerian militant Moktar Belmoktar, claimed responsibility for the attack. Belmoktar claimed the attack in the name of al-Qaida, according to the text from a video the Mauritania-based Internet site, Sahara Media, said it had obtained. The site sometimes carries messages of jihadists.

“We at al-Qaida are responsible for this operation that we bless,” Sahara Media quoted the video as saying. The video was dated Jan. 17, a day after the attack began. Belmoktar recently created his own group in a schism with associated in al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, but his statement appears to show his link with the terror group’s motherhouse and put the stamp of global jihad on the action by a special commando unit, “Those Who Sign in Blood.”

The American government has warned that there are credible threats of more kidnapping attempts on Westerners in this North African nation which shares a long border with Mali where a French intervention is underway to end a threat by Islamist militants holding the country’s vast north.

The kidnappers focused on the foreign workers, largely leaving alone the hundreds of Algerian workers who were briefly held hostage before being released or escaping.

“Now, of course, people will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events, but I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched a vicious and cowardly attack,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday. Three Britons were killed and another three believed dead, along with a foreign resident of Britain.

The siege at Ain Amenas transfixed the world after radical Islamists linked to al-Qaida stormed the complex where hundreds of people from around the world work, on Wednesday, then held them hostage surrounded by the Algerian military and its attack helicopters for four tense days that were punctuated with gun battles and dramatic tales of escape.

Algeria’s response to the crisis was typical of its history in confronting terrorists, favoring military action over negotiation, which caused an international outcry from countries worried about their citizens. Algerian military forces twice assaulted the two areas where the hostages were being held with minimal apparent mediation — first on Thursday, then on Saturday.

“To avoid a bloody turn of events in response to the extreme danger of the situation, the army’sspecial forces launched an intervention with efficiency and professionalism to neutralize the terrorist groups that were first trying to flee with the hostages and then blow up the gas facilities,” Algeria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement about the standoff.

An audio recording of Algerian security forces speaking with the head of the kidnappers, Abdel Rahman al-Nigiri, indicates that the hostage-takers were trying to organize a prisoner swap with authorities.

“You see our demands are so easy, so easy if you want to negotiate with us,” al-Nigiri said in the recording broadcast by Algerian television. “We want the prisoners you have, the comrades who were arrested and imprisoned 15 years ago. We want 100 of them.”

People familiar with al-Nigiri confirmed that the voice in the recording was his.

In another phone message, al-Nigiri described how half the militants had been killed by the Algerian army on Thursday and that he was ready to blow up the remaining hostages if security forces attacked again.

SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors videos from radicals, posted one showing al-Nigiri with what appears to be an explosive belt strapped around his waist, dating from Jan. 17, after the start of the attack.

Algeria’s prisons are filled with militants from the long battle with Islamist extremists that began in the 1990s.

David Plouffe, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said Sunday that al-Qaida and al-Qaida-affiliated groups remain a threat in northern Africa and other parts of the world, and that the U.S. is determined to help other countries destroy these networks. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Plouffe said the tragedy in Algeria shows once again “that all across the globe countries are threatened by terrorists who will use civilians to try and advance their twisted and sick agenda.”

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning Saturday night for Americans in or traveling to Algeria, citing credible threats of the kidnapping of Western nationals. The department also authorized the departure from Algeria of staff members’ families if they choose to leave.

Immediately after the assault, French President Francois Hollande gave his backing to Algeria’s tough tactics, saying they were “the most adapted response to the crisis.”

“There could be no negotiations” with terrorists, the French media quoted him as saying in the central French city of Tulle.

Hollande said the hostages were “shamefully murdered” by their captors, and he linked the event to France’s military operation against al-Qaida-backed rebels in neighboring Mali. “If there was any need to justify our action against terrorism, we would have here, again, an additional argument,” he said.

On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was “appalled” at the idea that blame would be laid on Algerian authorities instead of the jihadist captors.

“The terrorists … they’re the ones to blame,” Fabius said on France’s iTele TV channel. He said Algerian officials were in touch with the French during the crisis. “But they didn’t have to tell us: ‘Here is what we will do.'”

In the final assault, the remaining band of militants killed seven hostages before 11 of them were in turn cut down by the special forces, Algeria’s state news agency said. The military launched its Saturday assault to prevent a fire started by the extremists from engulfing the complex and blowing it up, the report added.

A total of 685 Algerian and 107 foreigner workers were freed over the course of the four-day standoff, the Interior Ministry statement said, adding that the group of militants that attacked the remote Saharan natural gas complex consisted of 32 men of various nationalities, including three Algerians and explosives experts. The military also said it confiscated heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, missiles and grenades attached to suicide belts.

Algeria has fought its own Islamist rebellion since the 1990s, elements of which later declared allegiance to al-Qaida and then set up new groups in the poorly patrolled wastes of the Sahara along the borders of Niger, Mali, Algeria and Libya, where they flourished.

The standoff has put the spotlight on al-Qaida-linked groups that roam these remote areas, threatening vital infrastructure and energy interests. The militants initially said their operation was intended to stop a French attack on Islamist militants in neighboring Mali — though they later said it was two months in the planning, long before the French intervention.

The militants, who came from a Mali-based al-Qaida splinter group run by an Algerian, attacked the plant Wednesday morning. Armed with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers in four-wheel drive vehicles, they fell on a pair of buses taking foreign workers to the airport. The buses’ military escort drove off the attackers in a blaze of gunfire that sent bullets zinging over the heads of crouching workers. A Briton and an Algerian — probably a security guard — were killed.

The militants then turned to the vast gas complex, divided between the workers’ living quarters and the refinery itself, and seized hostages, the Algerian government said. The gas flowing to the site was cut off.

The accounts of hostages who escaped the standoff showed they faced dangers from both the kidnappers and the military. The militants focused on the foreign workers from the outset, largely leaving alone the hundreds of Algerian workers who were briefly held hostage before being released or escaping.

___

Elaine Ganley and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By AOMAR OUALI and PAUL SCHEMM | Associated Press

Algeria: 32 militants killed, with 23 hostages.


  • Two British hostages Peter, left, and Alan, right, (no family name available), are seen after being released, in a street of Ain Amenas, near the gas plant where they have been kidnapped by Islamic militants, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. Algeria's special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the middle of the Sahara desert in a final assault Saturday, killing 11 militants, but not before they in turn killed seven hostages, the state news agency reported.(AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

    View PhotoAssociated Press/Anis Belghoul – Two British hostages Peter, left, and Alan, right, (no family name available), are seen after being released, in a street of Ain Amenas, near the gas plant where they have been …more 

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — In a bloody finale, Algerian special forcesstormed a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday to end a standoff with Islamist extremists that left at least 23 hostagesdead and killed all 32 militants involved, the Algerian governmentsaid.

With few details emerging from the remote site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed on Saturday — seven — was how many the militants had said that morning they still had. The government described the toll as provisional and some foreigners remained unaccounted for.

The siege at Ain Amenas transfixed the world after radical Islamists linked to al-Qaida stormed the complex, which contained hundreds of plant workers from all over the world, then held them hostage surrounded by the Algerian military and its attack helicopters for four tense days that were punctuated with gun battles and dramatic tales of escape.

Algeria’s response to the crisis was typical of its history in confronting terrorists, favoring military action over negotiation, which caused an international outcry from countries worried about their citizens. Algerian military forces twice assaulted the two areas where the hostages were being held with minimal apparent mediation — first on Thursday, then on Saturday.

“To avoid a bloody turn of events in response to the extreme danger of the situation, the army’sspecial forces launched an intervention with efficiency and professionalism to neutralize the terrorist groups that were first trying to flee with the hostages and then blow up the gas facilities,” Algeria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement about the standoff.

Immediately after the assault, French President Francois Hollande gave his backing to Algeria’s tough tactics, saying they were “the most adapted response to the crisis.”

“There could be no negotiations” with terrorists, the French media quoted him as saying in the central French city of Tulle.

Hollande said the hostages were “shamefully murdered” by their captors, and he linked the event to France’s military operation against al-Qaida-backed rebels in neighboring Mali. “If there was any need to justify our action against terrorism, we would have here, again, an additional argument,” he said.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement condemning the militants’ terrorist attack and said all perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of such “reprehensible acts” must be brought to justice.

In the final assault, the remaining band of militants killed the hostages before 11 of them were in turn cut down by the special forces, Algeria’s state news agency said. The military launched its Saturday assault to prevent a fire started by the extremists from engulfing the complex and blowing it up, the report added.

A total of 685 Algerian and 107 foreigner workers were freed over the course of the four-day standoff, the ministry statement said, adding that the group of militants that attacked the remote Saharan natural gas complex consisted of 32 men of various nationalities, including three Algerians and explosives experts.

The military also said it confiscated heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, missiles and grenades attached to suicide belts.

Sonatrach, the Algerian state oil company running the Ain Amenas site along with BP and Norway’s Statoil, said the entire refinery had been mined with explosives, and that the process of clearing it out is now under way.

Algeria has fought its own Islamist rebellion since the 1990s, elements of which later declared allegiance to al-Qaida and then set up new groups in the poorly patrolled wastes of the Sahara along the borders of Niger, Mali, Algeria and Libya, where they flourished.

The standoff has put the spotlight on these al-Qaida-linked groups that roam these remote areas, threatening vital infrastructure and energy interests. The militants initially said their operation was intended to stop a French attack on Islamist militants in neighboring Mali — though they later said it was two months in the planning, long before the French intervention.

The militants, who came from a Mali-based al-Qaida splinter group run by an Algerian, attacked the plant Wednesday morning. Armed with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers in four-wheel drive vehicles, they fell on a pair of buses taking foreign workers to the airport. The buses’ military escort drove off the attackers in a blaze of gunfire that sent bullets zinging over the heads of crouching workers. A Briton and an Algerian — probably a security guard — were killed.

The militants then turned to the vast gas complex, divided between the workers’ living quarters and the refinery itself, and seized hostages, the Algerian government said. The gas flowing to the site was cut off.

Saturday’s government statement said the militants came across the border from “neighboring countries,” while the militants said they came from Niger, hundreds of miles (kilometers) to the south.

On Thursday, Algerian helicopters kicked off the military’s first assault on the complex by opening fire on a convoy carrying both kidnappers and their hostages to stop them from escaping, resulting in many deaths, according to witnesses.

The accounts of hostages who escaped the standoff showed they faced dangers from both the kidnappers and the military.

Ruben Andrada, 49, a Filipino civil engineer who works as one of the project management staff for the Japanese company JGC Corp., described how he and his colleagues were used as human shields by the kidnappers, which did little to deter the Algerian military.

On Thursday, about 35 hostages guarded by 15 militants were loaded into seven SUVs in a convoy to move them from the housing complex to the refinery, Andrada said. The militants placed “an explosive cord” around their necks and were told it would detonate if they tried to run away, he said.

“When we left the compound, there was shooting all around,” Andrada said, as Algerian helicopters attacked with guns and missiles. “I closed my eyes. We were going around in the desert. To me, I left it all to fate.”

Andrada’s vehicle overturned allowing him and a few others to escape. He sustained cuts and bruises and was grazed by a bullet on his right elbow. He later saw the blasted remains of other vehicles, and the severed leg of one of the gunmen.

The site of the gas plant spreads out over several hectares (acres) and includes a housing complex and the processing site, about a mile (1.6 kilometers) apart, making it especially complicated for the Algerians to secure the site and likely contributed to the lengthy standoff.

“It’s a big and complex site. It’s a huge place with a lot of people there and a lot of hiding places for hostages and terrorists,” said Col. Richard Kemp, a retired commander of British forces who had dealt with hostage rescues in Iraq and Afghanistan. “These are experienced terrorists holding the hostages.”

While the Algerian government has only admitted to 23 hostages dead so far, the militants claimed through the Mauritanian news website ANI that the helicopter attack alone killed 35 hostages.

One American, a Texan — Frederick Buttaccio from the Houston suburb of Katy — is among the dead.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday that a Frenchman killed, Yann Desjeux, was a former member of the French special forces and part of the security team. The remaining three French nationals who were at the plant are now free, the Foreign Ministry said.

The British government said Saturday it is trying to determine the fate of six people from Britain who are either dead or unaccounted for.

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said, “There is no justification for taking innocent life in this way. Our determination is stronger than ever to work with allies right around the world to root out and defeat this terrorist scourge and those who encourage it.”

The Norwegian government said there were five Norwegians unaccounted for.

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Saturday one Romanian hostage was killed in the course of the siege, while the Malaysian government said two of its citizens were still missing.

The attack by the Masked Brigade, founded by Algerian militant Moktar Belmoktar, had been in the works for two months, a member of the brigade told the ANI news outlet. He said militants targeted Algeria because they expected the country to support the international effort to root out extremists in neighboring Mali and it was carried out by a special commando unit, “Those Who Signed in Blood,” tasked with attacking nations supporting intervention in Mali.

The kidnappers focused on the foreign workers, largely leaving alone the hundreds of Algerian workers who were briefly held hostage before being released or escaping.

Several of them arrived haggard-looking on a late-night flight into Algiers on Friday and described how the militants stormed the living quarters and immediately separated out the foreigners.

Mohamed, a 37-year-old nurse who like the others wouldn’t allow his last name to be used for fear of trouble for himself or his family, said at least five people were shot to death, their bodies still in front of the infirmary when he left Thursday night.

Chabane, an Algerian who worked in food services, said he bolted out the window and was hiding when he heard the militants speaking among themselves with Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian accents. At one point, he said, they caught a Briton.

“They threatened him until he called out in English to his friends, telling them, ‘Come out, come out. They’re not going to kill you. They’re looking for the Americans,'” Chabane said.

“A few minutes later, they blew him away.”

_____

Paul Schemm reported from Rabat, Morocco. Associated Press writers Aomar Ouali in Algiers; Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines; Elaine Ganley in Paris; Sylvia Hui in London; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen; and Peter Spielmann at the U.N. contributed to this report.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By PAUL SCHEMM and KARIM KEBIR | Associated Press

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