Friday, February 24, 2012

Afghanistan demands NATO put Koran-burners on trial

Afghanistan demands NATO put Koran-burners on trial 23 Feb 2012 Afghanistan wants NATO to put on public trial those who burned copies of the Koran at a NATO base, President Hamid Karzai's office said on Thursday, after a third day of bloody protests over the incident. It said NATO had agreed to a trial, but that could not be immediately confirmed. Demonstrations have drawn thousands of angry Afghans to the streets, chanting "Death to America!" amid violence that has killed 11 people including two U.S. service personnel.

Nations to call on Syria to agree to cease-fire or face yet-to-be named response 24 Feb 2012 World powers convening Friday in Tunisia are mapping out a plan to deliver humanitarian aid and give political legitimacy to the Syrian opposition overthrow the Syrian government for Exxon Mobil, while details emerged that Arab nations have begun supplying arms to Syrian rebels, sources told CNN. Diplomatic sources told CNN late Thursday that a number of Arab nations are supplying arms to the rebel Syrian army and militias. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, would not identify the countries.

'Friends of Syria' ready ultimatum for Assad [Is there a 'Friends of America' to ready an ultimatum for the US?] 24 Feb 2012 The United States, European and Arab nations are set deliver a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad that he must agree to an immediate cease-fire and allow humanitarian aid into areas hardest hit by 'his regime's brutal crackdown on opponents' or face as-yet unspecified punishments and an increasingly emboldened and powerful armed resistance. On the eve of a major international conference on Syria in Tunisia, U.S., European and Arab officials worked out details of the demands in London on Thursday as the former United Nations chief, Kofi Annan, was named to be a joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to deal with the crisis. Russia and China, foes of any foreign intervention in Syria, reiterated their opposition to an international resolution.

US Now in 4 African Countries to Fight LRA --US troops now stationed in bases in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic 23 Feb 2012 U.S. troops helping in the fight against a rebel group called the Lord's Resistance Army are now deployed in four Central African countries, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa said Wednesday. The U.S. announced in October it was sending about 100 U.S. troops - mostly special operations forces - to Central Africa to advise in the fight against the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony.

Afghan soldier shoots dead two US troops over Qur'an burning 23 Feb 2012 At least two US troops have been shot to death and four others wounded after an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on them as fierce anti-US protests over the desecration of the Holy Qur'an are sweeping the war-battered Asian country, Press TV reports. "An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members in eastern Afghanistan today, killing two service members," NATO-led ISAF said in a brief statement on Thursday.

7 Marines killed in helicopter collision in Arizona 23 Feb 2012 Two military helicopters collided over the California desert during nighttime training exercises, killing seven Marines in the latest of several similar accidents in the region. The service members with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing were based at Camp Pendleton north of San Diego, Lt. Maureen Dooley with Miramar Air Base in California said Thursday. The crash happened around 8 p.m. Wednesday and involved an AH-1W Cobra that carries two crew members and a UH-1 Huey utility helicopter carrying the other five. The aircraft collided in a remote portion of the Yuma Training Range Complex on the California side of the Chocolate Mountains very close to the Arizona border, Dooley said.

NYPD intelligence chief wanted sources in every mosque within 250 miles --Latest disclosures reveal ambitions of ex-CIA man David Cohen as criticism grows of NYPD's monitoring of Muslim communities 23 Feb 2012 The most senior intelligence chief in the New York police department wanted a source in every mosque "within a 250-mile radius" of the city, according to the latest in a series of revelations about NYPD-led surveillance of Muslims across north-eastern America. The latest disclosures, by the Associated Press, reveal the ambitions of an effort led by David Cohen, a former CIA officer who went on to become the NYPD's deputy commissioner for intelligence.

Accused NYC Subway Terrorist to Face Anonymous Jury 23 Feb 2012 In an unusual legal move, when a New York City man goes on trial this spring for allegedly plotting to blow up the subway, it will be an anonymous jury that determines his fate. U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Dearie sided with prosecutors who argued for an anonymous jury because the charges against Adis Medunjanin "are of the highest possible seriousness." In the case of an anonymous jury, any identifying information for the jurors is withheld from the public and they are only referred to by an assigned number.

Suspicious letters sent to lawmakers and media outlets prompt investigation --Authorities: Mailings have tested negative for harmful substances 23 Feb 2012 Federal authorities said Thursday that they are investigating the existence of at least a dozen suspicious letters with powdery substances sent this week to lawmakers and national media outlets. A district office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) received one of the letters, as did district and state offices of other members of the House and Senate, according to FBI spokesman Christopher Allen. The New York offices of Fox News and two comedians also received letters. The FBI is working on the investigation with U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Lieberman's Office Evacuated Because of Suspicious Mail 23 Feb 2012 Sen. Joe Lieberman's Hartford office is evacuated after receiving a suspicious package. Lieberman's office received a warning on Wednesday to look out of packages after some Congressional offices received threatening letters. The letters contain a suspicious powdery substance that was tested and proved to be harmless, the FBI and the Senate's top law enforcement officer told the Associated Press. The letters bear a return address from "The MIB" [LOL!] and were postmarked Portland, Ore., the AP reports.

Ex-KBR CEO Stanley Gets 2 1-2 Years in Prison for Foreign Bribes 24 Feb 2012 Albert "Jack" Stanley, the former KBR Inc. chief executive officer, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for bribing Nigerian officials to win $6 billion in natural gas contracts for the company and its partners. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, who handed down the sentence yesterday in Houston, also sentenced Stanley to three years of supervised probation. Stanley pleaded guilty in September 2008 to violating the U.S. anti-bribery law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to make restitution of $10.8 million, of which $1.55 million remains to be paid.

Judge: BP liable for civil penalties for oil spill 22 Feb 2012 A federal judge has ruled that BP PLC and one of its minority partners in the blown-out Macondo well are liable for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act for their roles in the nation's worst offshore oil spill. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier also ruled Wednesday that Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean Ltd. may be liable under the same law as an "operator" of the well. The judge, however, said he couldn't decide before a trial scheduled to start Feb. 27 whether Transocean meets the definition of that term.

Maryland same-sex marriage bill goes to governor 24 Feb 2012 Gay marriage is all but legal in Maryland after the Legislature gave its final OK Thursday to the law that's being sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who said he expects to sign it this week. The state Senate voted 25-22 for the law. The vote comes less than a week after the House of Delegates barely passed the measure. Maryland will become the eighth state to allow gay marriage when O'Malley - who sponsored the bill - signs the legislation.

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