Bamako/Markala, Mali-French and Malian soldiers wrested control of the central town of Diabaly from Islamist rebels on Friday, its mayor said, and West African reinforcements arrived in Bamako to take on the insurgents dominating the north of Mali. France, warning that Islamist control over Mali´s vast desert north threatens the security of Africa and the West, had targeted Diabaly in an eighth day of air strikes aimed at dislodging hardened al Qaeda-linked fighters there.(Snip) A total of 2,500 French troops are expected in Mali but Paris is keen to swiftly hand the mission over to West Africa´s ECOWAS bloc,
Comments: *(Additional reporting by Tiemoko Diallo and Adama Diarra in Bamako, Benkoro Sangare in Niono, Noel Tadegnon in Lome and David Lewis in Dakar; Writing by Daniel Flynn and David Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
In his much-discussed op-ed in The New York Times last week, President Vladimir Putin has made a curious case to the American people and the international community about the conflict in Syria. Using flowery language about internationalism, diplomacy and compassion, Putin made a few reasonable points, but by and large he drew entirely the wrong conclusions about the nature of the Syrian conflict and the lessons he should learn about the U.S. response. Putin wryly characterizes his opposition to Western involvement in Syria as a benevolent appeal of empathy for the innocents and respect for international law.
West Virginia Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant announced her candidacy for Senate Tuesday and wasted no time distancing herself from President Barack Obama on the all-important issue of coal. Her two-day announcement tour, with stops in five cities, comes the same week that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to roll out more stringent emission rules for new power plants. (Snip) Tennant, an Obama delegate at last year’s Democratic National Convention, needs to get out front on the issue to credibly challenge Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the frontrunner in the race to succeed the retiring Jay Rockefeller.
Democrats have their recruit in the West Virginia Senate race, as Secretary of State Natalie Tennant officially launched her campaign Tuesday. Tennant also launched a bare-bones Web site that allows supports to contribute to her campaign. (Snip) Assuming she wins the general election, Tennant will likely face Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in what should be one of the marquee Senate races of 2014. Update 12:54 p.m.: Retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has endorsed Tennant, cementing her status as the presumptive Democratic nominee. "I firmly believe that the next leader in the United States Senate is Natalie Tennant," Rockefeller said.
Washington - The gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday test fired an AR-15 assault rifle at a Virginia gun store last week but was stopped from buying one because state law there prohibits the sale of such weapons to out-of-state buyers, according to two senior law enforcement officials. (Snip) “He went inside the building and assembled it in a bathroom.” The gunman then perched himself above an atrium where he fired down on people who had been eating breakfast, officials said, adding that he used shotgun shells that had roughly a dozen large ball-bearing-like
Lorton, Va.-The man who took 12 lives in a hail of gunfire at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday entered the military base with a six-round 12-gauge shotgun before stealing a gun from a police officer, according to a long-time employee of the gun shop where the weapon was sold. And as a renewed national debate rages over background checks for gun buyers, an employee of the store said of gunman Aaron Alexis that it is ´an absolute lie ... to say that because he was from out-of-state, he didn´t need a background check.´ Alexis purchased a ´very basic´
A bill banning abortions in Albuquerque after 20 weeks of pregnancy will be put to voters in New Mexico´s most populous city in November and could become the first municipal abortion ban in the nation. The city council voted 5-4 late on Monday to put on the ballot the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance," which contains few of the standard abortion exceptions seen in many states. In the latest salvo in the national debate over abortion, the city council was forced to act after abortion foes gathered enough signatures on a petition to require the council to either approve
Brasilia - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has called off plans for a state visit to Washington in October because of revelations that the United States spied on her personal communications and those of other Brazilians. Rousseff´s decision, which came despite a 20-minute telephone call from President Barack Obama on Monday night in an attempt to salvage the trip, is a big blow to relations between the two biggest economies in the Americas. Both the White House and Rousseff´s office billed the decision as a mutually agreed postponement, and said a state visit could take place at an unspecified later date.
Vice President Joe Biden’s niece was arrested Tuesday after she tried to take a swing at a police officer in her TriBeCa apartment, law enforcement sources said. Caroline Biden, 26, was in a heated argument about the rent with her roommate in their Desbrosses Street apartment at 9:15 a.m. when police were called to the building, sources said. While cops were filling out a report, Biden started mouthing off to the officers and then threw a punch and lunged at a female officer, sources said. “She is highly uncooperative now,” a source said. She was charged with obstructing governmental administration,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet US President Barack Obama in Washington on September 30, the prime minister told his cabinet on Tuesday, for talks that will center on halting Iran´s nuclear ambitions. "Stopping the Iranian nuclear program necessitates four steps," Netanyahu told the cabinet meeting, postponed by two days due to the government´s Yom Kippur War memorial ceremony on Sunday. "One, stopping all uranium enrichment. Two, removing all the enriched uranium. Three, closing Qom. Four, stopping the plutonium track." Netanyahu told his ministers that only a combination of those four steps would truly constitute an end to the nuclear
Washington Naval Yard gunman Aaron Alexis began treatment for serious mental illness in August as friends of the shooter today revealed he was devastated last year when a Thai girlfriend left him broken-hearted. According to anonymous law enforcement officials, Alexis, 34, sought treatment from the Veterans Administration for paranoia, insomnia and possible schizophrenia just one month before his shooting rampage which claimed the lives of 12 people on Monday. Prior to this, Alexis visited Thailand in 2012 where he spent his time frequenting massage parlors and was crushed when a girl he liked rejected his offer to come and live
D.C. officials said at least 13 people are dead after a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. The U.S. Navy said shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work. Seven victims identified - Police have confirmed the names and ages of seven victims killed in today’s attack at the Navy Yard whose families have been notified. None are military personnel. Michael Arnold, 59. Sylvia Frasier, 53. Kathy Gaarde, 62. John Roger Johnson, 73. Frank Kohler, 50. Bernard Proctor, 46. Vishnu Pandit, 61.
Denver - Search-and-rescue teams bolstered by National Guard troops fanned out across Colorado´s flood-stricken landscape on Monday, as a week of torrential rains blamed for eight deaths and the destruction of at least 1,600 homes finally gave way to sunny skies. Much of the evacuation effort was focused on remote foothill and canyon communities in north-central Colorado, where the bulk of nearly 12,000 people evacuated since last week were stranded due to washed-out roads, bridges and communication lines, state emergency officials said. The overall flood zone has encompassed 17 Colorado counties across a normally semi-arid region nearly the size of
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., responded to Monday’s tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard with another plea for Congress to take action against gun violence. “This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?” asked Feinstein. “Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless
Leadership sources tell me the House GOP will soon vote on a continuing resolution that simultaneously funds the federal government and defunds Obamacare. Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are expected to announce the decision at Wednesday’s closed-door conference meeting. This means the conservatives who have been urging Boehner to back a defunding effort as part of the CR have won a victory, at least in terms of getting the leadership to go along with their strategy. But getting such a CR through the Democratic Senate and signed into law will be very difficult — and many House Republican
Washington -- The White House defended President Barack Obama from criticism that he was tone deaf in his reaction to the mass shootings at Washington Navy Yard. For a second straight day, White House press secretary Jay Carney faced questions about a Monday afternoon event that occurred as the situation at the Navy Yard was still unfolding. Obama touched on the tragedy before forcefully criticizing conservative Republicans who are threatening to shut down the government. "I understand that some Republicans are trying to make something of this," Carney said
They call semiautomatics like this sport rifles. You bet. Mostly for the sport of killing innocent people, and killing them fast. So it takes nine months and two days from Newtown, from 20 dead children and six adults, for someone else to carry the same kind of AR-15 that Adam Lanza carried into Sandy Hook Elementary School into the Washington Navy Yard. They call semiautomatics like this sport rifles. You bet. Mostly for the sport of killing innocent people, and killing them fast. This time the shooter is reported to be a Navy reservist named Aaron Alexis and when he is shot dead
For the last few weeks, House Speaker John Boehner has been trying to find a way to convince his caucus to vote for a bill that keeps the government open after Sept. 30 without picking a fight over Obamacare. But a minority of his caucus has been insisting on defunding Obamacare, egged on by outside conservative groups and a handful of far-right Republican Senators, most importantly Ted Cruz (Texas). This has been pretty annoying for a lot of House Republican members and staff. Jonathan Strong and Andrew Stiles of National Review got an anecdote out of a closed Republican Study Committee
On Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) urged House Republicans to not shut down the federal government. “I hope my colleagues in the House who believe we need to shut down the government will understand that that’s not want the American people want,” McCain said on CNN. “They hate government, but they don’t want it to stop functioning.” President Barack Obama and Republicans have to agree on another resolution to fund the government before the current resolution expires on September 30. As The Hill notes, at least a third of House Republicans want the Republican leadership to use the next round of budget
President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to "vetted" opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., in 2001. Assad´s regime is backed by Iran and Hezbollah. The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would "waive the prohibitions in sections 40
If you have any doubts that President Obama’s handling of Syria is an utter debacle, witness the embarrassing spectacle this morning as his top aides scramble to place blame for it at their boss’s feet. In today’s Wall Street Journal, senior officials leak how they desperately tried to talk Obama out of his “head-spinning reversal” on airstrikes and his decision to go to Congress. “He received swift — and negative — responses from his staff,” the Journal reports. National security adviser Susan Rice, we learn, warned that “he risked undermining his powers as commander in chief.” Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer
Suffice it to say, it’s hard to do a deal when the only thing the other guy wants is the one thing you can’t give him. This null set scenario is, unfortunately, precisely where we find ourselves in the debate over funding the government beyond September 30th. House Republicans are insisting that any funding measure simultaneously de-fund Obamacare, while Democrats have rightly proclaimed this idea preposterous. And there appears to be no wiggle room in the GOP position. According to The Wall Street Journal, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked House Speaker John Boehner what else on the entire
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday wearily lamented “yet another mass shooting,” this time in the nation’s capital where the debate that raged earlier this year over tightening firearms laws has stalled amid opposition from gun-rights advocates. The shooting at the Washington Navy Yard came a week after voters recalled two Colorado legislators who supported tougher gun measures, illustrating the strong political headwinds faced by lawmakers seeking to respond to the violence. Obama, for one, has been powerless to get legislation passed despite a string of mass shootings during his presidency. In the wake of the shooting at the Navy Yard, Obama
The University of California has leased an Oakland residence for incoming system president Janet Napolitano for $9,950 a month, officials said Monday. Napolitano, the former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, will be provided the housing plus an annual $570,000 salary, $8,916 a year for car expenses and $142,500 for one-time relocation costs. Napolitano is scheduled to begin her UC presidency Sept. 30, with her office at UC system headquarters in downtown Oakland. The two-year lease for the 3,500-square-foot residence began Sept. 1.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin exploded over the Obama administration’s anti-coal policies Tuesday. “We’re getting the living crap beaten out of us,” Manchin said during a Senate hearing with President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the country’s top energy regulator. “There has been nothing more beat up than coal.” Manchin voiced his frustrations with rules put forward by Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency which have made it more costly and difficult for coal plants and coal mines to operate. “They just beat the living daylights out of little West Virginia, but they sure like what we produce,” Manchin added. “We