President Bashar al-Assad´s forces have removed several Scud missiles and dozens of launchers from a base north of Damascus, possibly to protect the weapons from a Western attack, opposition sources said on Thursday. The move from the position in the foothills of the Qalamoun mountains, one of Syria´s most heavily militarized districts, appears part of a precautionary but limited redeployment of armaments in areas of central Syria still held by Assad´s forces, diplomats based in the Middle East told Reuters. They said rebel raids and fighting near key roads had blocked a wider evacuation of the hundreds of security and army bases
WASHINGTON — The goal of the cruise missile strikes the United States is planning to carry out in Syria is to restore the smudged “red line” that President Obama drew a year ago against the use of poison gas. If carried out effectively, the strikes may also send a signal to Iran that the White House is prepared to back up its words, no small consideration for an administration that has proclaimed that the use of military force remains an option if the leadership in Iran insists on fielding a nuclear weapon. But the military strategy that the Obama administration is considering
HOMESTEAD — An 82-year-old woman went home Thursday after spending two weeks first in the hospital, and then in rehab. She was discharged hours after 18-year-old Michael Duku of the North Side was taken into custody on charges including robbery, assault and conspiracy. Police say Duku and another man shoved the elderly woman to the sidewalk two weeks ago after she attended Sunday church services in Homestead. Duku ran off with her purse. Rev. Robert Buczak of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, where the woman has been a long-time member of the congregation, said he paid several visits to the Source corrected by Staff.
Former President Jimmy Carter condemned possible chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but called for a “peace conference” and working with the United Nations, rather than using a military solution. In a statement Friday from the Carter Center, the former president said that the U.N. investigation into possible chemical weapons attacks in Syria is under way and urged against action in the country without U.N. support. “It is imperative to determine the facts of the attack and present them to the public. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must bear personal responsibility,” Carter said in the statement. “The chemical attack should
A Facebook post said to be written by the 11-year-old son of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and “liked” or commented on by several people who appear to be the children and grandchildren of other senior members of Mr. Assad’s government, may offer a glimpse into the mindset of Syria’s ruling elite as the country braces for a potential Western strike in response to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21. It is impossible to confirm whether the Facebook account does, in fact, belong to the son, Hafez al-Assad, and aspects of it invite doubt. For example, the owner of the
In an article recapping the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington,” the Los Angeles Times claimed that the Democratic Party led the passage of key civil rights legislation during the 1960s. In return, critics pointed out that a greater percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On Wednesday, while reviewing the lack of Republicans present at the MLK rally, Times reporters Kathleen Hennessey, Richard Simon, and Alexei Koseff wrote: “Since Democrats led the passage of civil rights legislation that marchers pushed for in 1963, Republicans have struggled to recover with black voters”. Conservative media-watching outfit NewsBusters
President Obama Friday that he sympathizes with Americans’ war-weariness but is considering a “limited, narrow” military response to Syria’s use of chemical-weapons. “A lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it,” Mr. Obama said shortly after his administration made a forceful case that the Syrian regime killed more than 1,400 of its own civilians on Aug. 21 near Damascus. “There is a certain weariness, given Afghanistan,” the president said. “There is a certain suspicion of any military action, post-Iraq. And I very much appreciate that.”
Britain’s standing on the world stage has suffered an unprecedented blow, with David Cameron mocked on both sides of the Atlantic for failing to back President Obama in intervening in Syria. Urgent calls were made to the White House last night soon after the government defeat amid claims by one Whitehall official that Britain had ‘handed back its deputy sheriff badge’. But US newspapers were united in their view that the ´normally reliable Brits´ had ´balked´ at the prospect of a new conflict in the Middle East, leaving Mr Obama to go it alone.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pressed top administration officials Thursday night to take military action to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to reports that he used chemical weapons in his nation’s ongoing civil war. “It is clear that the American people are weary of war. However, Assad gassing his own people is an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security,” Pelosi said in a statement after the 90-minute conference call with members of the National Security Council and 26 high-ranking lawmakers. (Snip) Pelosi “said we should do something,” the second source said, adding that Pelosi
Sen. Rand Paul said Friday that President Obama appears to be interested in “saving face” when it comes to his pending decision on whether to approve U.S.-led military strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Mr. Paul, a likely contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, said that Mr. Obama, a Democrat, painted himself into a corner by declaring in 2012 that the use of chemical weapons represented a “red line” for the United States. “It sounds to me like saving face because he has made a promise, so he is going to follow through with his promise,”
In laying out the case for military strikes on Syria, Secretary of John Kerry on Friday had praise for the French, who he called “our oldest ally,” but snubbed any mention of the British, who have long believed they enjoyed a “special relationship” with the U.S. Mr. Kerry was trying to rally world support for retaliatory strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and pointing to other nations that have concluded troops loyal to the Assad government used chemical weapons last week. Mr. Kerry cited Australia, Turkey and the Arab League — as well as the French.
With just over a month until the Affordable Care Act reaches a major milestone, as the law’s insurance exchanges are rolled out, the battle over the law is heating up again. Both sides are bringing out their biggest stars. Supporters will get help from Bill Clinton, who will resume his role as “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” next week at his presidential library in Arkansas, where he will give a major policy speech covering the Affordable Care Act and the changes ahead. White House Senior Adviser Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted about the announcement. (Snip for graphic)Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has lent her signature
WASHINGTON (AP) — Months after gun control efforts crumbled in Congress, Vice President Joe Biden stood shoulder to shoulder Thursday with the attorney general and the top U.S. firearms official and declared the Obama administration would take two new steps to curb American gun violence. But the narrow, modest scope of those steps served as pointed reminders that without congressional backing, President Barack Obama´s capacity to make a difference is severely inhibited. Still, Biden renewed a pledge from him and the president to seek legislative fixes to keep guns from those who shouldn´t have them
The Pakistani doctor who was hailed a hero after helping the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden has had a 33 year prison sentence for treason overturned. Shakil Afridi was convicted in May 2012 on charges unrelated to the bin Laden incident of ´conspiring against the state´ by giving money and providing medical treatment to Islamic militants in Pakistan´s Khyber tribal area. The doctor´s family and the militants denied the allegations. Yesterday a senior Pakistani judicial official overturned the sentence and ordered a re-trial, on the grounds that person who had issued the sentence had not been authorised to hear
Top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden have revealed how a clandestine NSA unit helped bug phones to locate Osama Bin Laden, a previously undisclosed lab helped confirm his DNA and the SEALS who raided his compound were guided from space. According to a packet of classified intelligence documents that were leaked to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor-turned-Russian émigré Edward Snowden, the successful raid on Bin Laden´s lair was made possible in part thanks to a team of top secret operatives known as the Tailored Access Operation group. The elite hackers are tasked with breaking into computers and cell
President Barack Obama is planning for the possibility of launching a unilateral American military action against Syria within days after Britain opted out in a stunning vote by Parliament. Facing skepticism at home, administration officials spoke with a group of lawmakers for more than 90 minutes Thursday evening to explain why they believe Bashar Assad´s government was the culprit in a suspected chemical attack last week. Afterward, the House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, pointedly sided with Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in urging the administration to do more to engage with Congress on the matter. She
One voice in Washington that has been remarkably absent from this week’s Syria debate has been that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton hasn’t said anything at all about President Obama’s plans for military strikes against the dictatorship in Damascus. As someone who dominated the US foreign policy landscape over the past four years, Clinton’s silence on Syria is striking. What explains this? [Snip] Firstly, a US military intervention in the Syrian civil war is strongly opposed by the vast majority of the American public.
Remember that a couple of weeks ago Glenn Greenwald´s husband was stopped at Heathrow airport, detained and had his electronic equipment seized? Well, we now have some idea of what was on it--and it doesn´t make Glenn look good. [Snip] The Government´s accessed just a small portion of an astonishing 58,000 pages of intelligence documents and, according to a witness statement by Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser to the Cabinet, it includes: "personal information of UK intelligence officers, any compromise of which would result in a risk to their lives and those of their family members."
Washington - The U.S. intelligence community believes that a chemical weapons attack ordered by the Syrian government Aug. 21 killed at least 1,429 people, including at least 426 children, an intelligence document says. “The United States government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21," the report issued Friday says. “We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack.” The report is based on spies, intercepts and satellites, as well as video evidence the world has already seen, it says.
In a rare show of unity, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has joined the National Commission on Violence Against Women in the chorus condemning the proposed mandatory virginity test for high school girls. “It is unethical and it is an act of disrespect to women,” he said on Wednesday. of the proposal made by South Sumatra’s Prabumulih education board head. Suryadharma said the implementation of such tests could elicit negative consequences in the long term, not only in a way that would degrade the dignity of female students and women, but by potentially damaging them psychologically.
As the two candidates in Virginia´s governor´s race enter the final stretch this fall, it is starting to look like it´s Democrat Terry McAuliffe´s to lose. A Public Policy Polling survey of 500 likely voters just released has the former Democratic Party boss seven points up over GOP challenger Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. That´s a one point gain over a Quinnipiac University poll released last week and a three point gain over a similar PPP poll from last month. In the new PPP poll, 44 percent support McAuliffe, 37 percent Cuccinelli, 9 percent libertarian Robert Sarvis and 9 percent are
Breaking News: Secretary of State John F. Kerry says the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made preparations three days before last week’s chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus and fired the rockets from regime-controlled areas. This story will be updated shortly. London - French President Francois Hollande said Friday that his country is prepared to act in Syria despite Britain’s surprise rejection of military action, potentially making a nation that turned its back on Washington during the war in Iraq the primary U.S. ally in a possible strike against Syrian forces.
Let’s count up the ways in which the Syria debate has exposed Barack Obama’s utter incompetence and lack of seriousness. 1. Failure to consult Congress. The Obama administration has built no consensus among Congress for any kind of strike. Generalissimo Pelosi wants a strike, but beyond her there is very little appetite for any U.S. action. Democrats are vocally skeptical. Republicans see a replay of Libya, just a couple of weeks before the first anniversary of the deadly attack in Benghazi. Even Dennis Kucinich is starting to make sense. There may be good reasons for striking Syria, but those reasons have
Beirut - The United Nations chemical weapons inspection team in Syria was reported to have wrapped up its field work Friday and was preparing to leave the war-torn country on Saturday. U.N. officials have generally described the 20-member contingent’s work as a success. The inspectors visited several sites of the suspected Aug. 21 poison gas attack and gathered samples, apparently of possibly contaminated soil, tissue and other evidence, and also interviewed victims, witnesses, doctors and others in and around Damascus, the Syrian capital. The U.N. team spent four working days on the ground in
The seven wonders of the ancient world are said to be the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity, yet only six per cent of Britons can actually name them all, a survey has revealed. While 61 per cent of those quizzed managed to name one - in most instances the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, only a paltry 21 per cent were capable of coming up with a second. (Snip) However the lack of knowledge may not be altogether unexpected as out of the all the monuments on original list it is now only possible to visit one -
Making ObamaCare a reality will require massive computing power to track, store and process the millions of individual cases. But in Illinois, contracts to compute that state’s cases – valued as high as $190 million – are being awarded without competitive bidding. The practice already has watchdogs crying foul. “No transparency and with no bidding -- if that’s legal in Illinois, It shouldn’t be.” said Adam Andrzejewski of openthebooks.com, a watchdog group. “To the extent that is happening across the country, the citizens need to know it.”“It has the hallmarks of everything that is Chicago and also Illinois, which is