North Korea hydrogen bomb test: South Korea punishes Kim Jong-un with K-pop

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North Korea hydrogen bomb test: ‘successful’ nuclear bomb a strategic move Kim Jong-un, funny until he’s not Seoul: With Kim Jong-un turning up the heat with North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, South Korea responded on Friday by pumping up the volume. Literally. At noon on the North Korean leader’s birthday, South Korea fired up loudspeakers along the heavily fortified border and resumed the propaganda blasts that brought the reclusive regime to a war footing in August – and then to the ... Read More »

China just made yet another provocative move in the disputed South China Sea

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China just made another potentially destabilizing move in some of the world’s most disputed territory. Business Insider  Alex Lockie, Armin Rosen and Reuters On January 4th, Vietnam formally accused China of violating its sovereignty and a recent confidence-building pact on Saturday by landing a plane on an airstrip Beijing built on an artificial island in a contested part of the South China Sea, according to Reuters. Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said the airfield, had been “built illegally” on Fiery ... Read More »

Oregon militia threatens showdown with US agents at wildlife refuge

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Local ranchers and other armed men occupy Malheur refuge in dispute over jail term for two men convicted of arson The Guardian – Jason Wilson in Burns, Oregon @jason_a_w Video: Armed militia to occupy Oregon wildlife refuge ‘as long as necessary’ Tensions over the treatment of two cattle ranchers in Oregon escalated into an armed standoff over the weekend when members of a rightwing militia occupied a wildlife refuge and threatened a confrontation with federal authorities. Ammon Bundy, the son of the Nevada ... Read More »

Iran fires rockets in Strait of Hormuz: “highly provocative” says US

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Strait of Hormuz again at centre of US-Iran strife Gulf’s new Ground Zero London:  An Iranian naval vessel fired several rockets close to a US aircraft carrier and destroyer and a French frigate in the Strait of Hormuz, the US Navy has confirmed, calling the action “highly provocative”. The rockets came within 1500 metres of the aircraft carrier’s right-hand side, but they were not fired in the direction of military and commercial vessels, Commander Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet, said ... Read More »

New Polish authorities raid NATO spy centre, fire staff

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Poland’s new conservative government on Dec. 18 continued a controversial drive to replace senior officials with its own appointees when it raided a NATO counter-espionage centre in Warsaw and fired its senior staff. Hurriyet – WARSAW – Agence France-Presse Colonel Krzysztof Dusza, the sacked head of the Counter Intelligence Centre of Excellence, said defence ministry officials and military police raided the joint Polish-Slovak centre in the early hours of Dec. 18. “I told them their presence here was illegal. When they ... Read More »

Russia begins deporting Turkish businessmen, seizing Turkish products

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Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday called for tough sanctions against Turkey that could bite into more than $US30 billion ($41 billion) in trade ties between the two countries, as police here began seizing Turkish products and deporting Turkish businessmen. Andrew Roth Russian officials are seething after Turkish F-16s downed a Russian warplane over the Syrian border in a debacle that ultimately left two Russian servicemen dead. Turkey says that the Russian plane breached its airspace and was warned five ... Read More »

Crimea launches sabotage case against organizers of blackout

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RT – The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is investigating the recent bombings of the Ukrainian power grid that have led to blackouts in the Crimean Republic, chief Crimean prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya has told reporters. She said that the FSB had started the criminal investigation under the article ‘sabotage’. In the Russian Federation, this crime can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Earlier, Poklonskaya noted the FSB had started the probe at the prosecutors’ request, and ... Read More »

Israel to push ahead with 454 new settler homes in East Jerusalem

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‘The terrorist was shot and killed; that is the right response’ Israelis and Palestinians turn their eyes to Jerusalem after a bloody week Jerusalem:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the marketing of land for the construction of 454 homes in two settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a government official. The building of 436 of the housing units, in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, was approved in 2012, but ... Read More »

Turkish fans boo moment of silence for victims of Paris attacks

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Turkish supporters attending an international football friendly against Greece on Nov. 17 refused to participate in a minute of silence following the recent jihadist attacks on France, choosing instead to boo the commemoration. Hurriyet – Istanbul A section of the crowd at Fatih Terim Stadium in Istanbul’s Başakşehir district had first whistled during the playing of the Greek national anthem, prompting Turkish star Arda Turan to remonstrate with the crowd. Arda’s intervention, however, failed to stop the booing. During the ... Read More »

Amazon fires: Brazil indigenous reserve blazes contained

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Brazilian officials have managed to contain several forest fires that have destroyed half of an indigenous reserve in the Amazon region. BBC – Some 12,000 indigenous people live in the Arariboia reserve, in the state of Maranhao. Their leaders say the fires were started more than a month ago by hostile loggers and farmers who want exploit the area’s natural resources. Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers had been trying to put out the blazes. Their work has been helped by ... Read More »

CHP deputies: Gov’t rejects probe into Turkey’s role in Syrian chemical attack

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Two deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have claimed that the government is against investigating Turkey‘s role in sending toxic sarin gas which was used in an attack on civilians in Syria in 2013 and in which over 1,300 Syrians were killed. Today’s Zaman – CHP deputies Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker held a press conference in İstanbul on Wednesday in which they claimed the investigation into allegations regarding Turkey’s involvement in the procurement of sarin gas ... Read More »

Malaysia views ‘new islands’ in South China Sea as provocation, says Armed Forces chief

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BEIJING: China’s construction work on islands in the disputed South China Sea is “unwarranted provocation”, Malaysian Armed Forces chief said on Sunday in a rare public comment about the spat from a country which has its own claims in the seas. China’s relations with several South-east Asian countries, especially the Philippines and Vietnam who have competing claims in the South China Sea, have been strained by Beijing’s increasingly assertive tone in an area through which US$5 trillion (RM20.9 trillion) in ... Read More »

Turkey Still Dances with ISIS

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Originally published under the title “Turkey’s Grisly Dances with the Islamic State.” Middle East Forum – by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute On October 10, Turkey woke up to the worst single terror attack in its history. The twin suicide-bomb attack in Ankara killed 97 and injured nearly 250 people, with more than 60 of the wounded being treated in intensive care. As of October 14, no one had claimed responsibility, but all indications pointed to the Islamic State (ISIS, ... Read More »

Militant Nationalism Is Threatening Turkey’s Social Fabric

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The cycle of violence that has engulfed Turkey amid the resumption of the fight between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkey is increasing its toll. The wider and bloodier it gets, the more consequential it becomes. The Huffington Post – Galip Dalay, Research Director, Al Sharq Forum What started as largely contained low-intensity warfare between the military and the PKK is increasingly having implications for the fabric of Turkish society and leaving its imprint on Turkey’s collective psyche. Since ... Read More »

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city’s past was killed for protecting its future

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After a month, the militants realised that Khaled  al-Asaad knew nothing – or would say nothing – and so they decapitated the old man and strung his torso to a Roman pillar The Telegraph – Robert Fisk Isis has killed “the guardian of Palmyra”. Tortured for a month and then beheaded for refusing to betray the secret location of the Roman’s city’s priceless artefacts, Khaled al-Asaad’s gruesome death has appalled his fellow archeologists. “[He was] a joyful guy. You had ... Read More »

Why Israel and Armenia Should ‘Adopt’ the Yazidis

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JERUSALEM — The recent horrifying New York Times exposé on the Islamic State’s sex slavery system targeting Yazidi women was one of the most-read articles on the paper’s website in the last days. And yes, in a doubly perverse sense it feels good to be morally outraged at ISIS for a few minutes. But let us not get all too comfortable with our outrage over what the Times titled “Theology of Rape,” because we like to forget just how easily ... Read More »