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29 April, 2013


Cargo plane crash at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan kills seven

A civilian cargo aircraft crashed at Bagram Air Field near the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, killing all seven people aboard, the US-led military coalition said. The plane came down shortly after take-off and crashed within the boundaries of the US-run airbase, a NATO spokesperson at the base said. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the crash, but the coalition dismissed the claim as “false” in a statement to AP. The cause of the crash is being investigated by emergency crews, but no sign of insurgent activity in the area was spotted at the time, the statement added.


Egypt withdraws from nuke non-proliferation conference in Geneva

Egypt has withdrawn from the preparatory committee for the 2015 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) review conference in Geneva, Egyptian state news agency reported on Monday. According to the report, the country decided to withdraw its diplomatic mission in response to the failure of the international community to end the presence of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.


Gaza militants fire mortar at southern Israel

Militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday fired a mortar shell into an open area in southern Israel, the Israeli army said. "A mortar shell struck an uninhabited area in the Eshkol region near the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip," AFP quoted an army spokesperson as saying. The incident came 24 hours after Israeli warplanes launched air strikes against the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis. The strike reportedly targeted weapons depots and a training site for the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the military said.


EU court finds 5 guilty for Kosovo human organ-trafficking ring

An EU-led court in Kosovo has found five people guilty in connection with a human organ-trafficking ring, the BBC said. The five are accused of carrying out dozens of illegal transplants at the Medicus Clinic in the Kosovar capital Pristina. Two former government officials also charged in the case have been cleared of involvement.


Iran announces new nuclear reactor

Iran will build another nuclear reactor in the northwestern city of Bonab in East Azarbaijan province, Tehran's energy chief said. Fereidoun Abbasi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said the “harmless” research reactor will be used for medical purposes. Iran is “self-sufficient in producing nuclear fuel material and can even export specialized services” in the field of nuclear energy, Abbasi said.


Mississippi man in ricin case denies sending poison letters

A Mississippi man who described himself as a patriot with no grudges against anyone is expected to appear in court Monday on charges of making and possessing ricin. The charges are part of the investigation into poison-laced letters sent to President Barack Obama, US senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and an 80-year-old county judge. James Everett Dutschke, 41, who was arrested Saturday, said he did not send the letters.


Half of Britons expect living standards to fall further by next election

Nearly half of Britons expect their standard of living to fall further by the time they vote in the next election in 2015, a pollster said on Monday. A YouGov poll showed 46 percent of respondents thought they would be worse off in 2015 than now, Reuters reported. Only seven percent predicted a full recovery in the next two to three years.


Somalia famine kills 260,000 – report

The 2011 famine in Somalia killed an estimated 260,000 people, half of them aged 5 and under, according to a new report to be published this week. The aid community believes that tens of thousands of people died needlessly because the international community was slow to respond to early signs of approaching hunger in East Africa in late 2010 and early 2011, officials told AP. The report is being made public on Thursday by FEWSNET, a famine early warning system, and by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of Somalia.


EU to ban bee-harming pesticides – reports

The European Commission will temporarily restrict the use of three of the world's most widely used pesticides over fears they harm bees, a Commission source said Monday. In a vote earlier in the day, EU governmental officials failed to decide whether to impose a two-year ban on the class of pesticides known as ‘neonicotinoids,’ Reuters said. “Even though there was no clear decision, 15 member states voted in favor of the proposal, so the Commission will proceed with adoption,” a source said.


Pyongyang delays departure of last S. Korean personnel from joint factory

North Korea delayed the departure of the last South Korean personnel from a joint industrial complex on Monday by not immediately giving them permission to return home across the border, South Korean officials said. South Korea's Unification Ministry said Northern officials had been meeting with the personnel for nearly four hours. The ministry hopes that all 50 remaining South Koreans will be withdrawn on Monday.


385 now confirmed dead in Bangladesh building collapse

The number of victims confirmed dead in last Wednesday’s garment factory collapse has now risen to 385, rescue officials in Bangladesh said on Monday. Heavy cranes have been brought in to lift massive blocks of concrete from the wreckage, as rescue officials say they are continuing in their efforts to find survivors. However, army spokesman Shahinul Islam said at this stage, “there is little hope of finding anyone alive”, Reuters reports. Around 2,500 people have been pulled from the rubble thus far, with 1,000 suffering serious injuries. On Sunday, a fire broke out in the rubble of the decimated complex, killing what officials believe was the last remaining survivor.


Civilian cargo aircraft crash at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan

An unidentified cargo airplane crashed today at Bagram Air field in Afghanistan, about 50 kilometers north from the country’s capital Kabul, at around 3:00pm local time, AP reported. ISAF spokesperson Capt. Luca Carniel said that the aircraft crashed at a low altitude immediately after take-off. No information about the number of people on board or casualties has been reported.


Militants besiege Libyan Foreign Ministry

Dozens of gunmen besieged Libya's Foreign Ministry for a second straight day on Monday, demanding it sack officials from the regime of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, AFP reported. Around 30 vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, and armed men have encircled the ministry since Sunday. Gunmen said the siege will be lifted when their demands are met through a vote in the General National Congress on a bill calling for the expulsion of former Gaddafi regime employees.


Germany charges 4 over Iran reactor part sales

Federal prosecutors have charged three German-Iranian dual nationals and a German man for allegedly breaking export laws by supplying Iran with parts needed to build a nuclear reactor in violation of the trade embargo on the country. Prosecutors said Monday they suspect Hamid K., 80, set up contact with other businessmen, and that a Thuringia firm producing valves needed for nuclear reactor construction was involved. The group is accused of supplying Iran with 92 German-made valves and another 856 Indian-made valves in 2010 and 2011.


China arrests 'terrorists' after Xinjiang violence

China has arrested more "terrorists" in the ethnically divided region of Xinjiang, where violence last week killed 21 people, media reports said. Local authorities told AFP that eight members of the Uighur ethnic group were arrested in connection with last week's unrest. The region is home to millions of Uighurs, who are predominately Muslim.


Suicide bomber kills 8 in Peshawar, Pakistan

A suicide bomber killed at least eight people and wounded 45 others when he rammed his motorcycle into a bus in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, police said. Monday's suicide bombing targeted a senior official in the city administration, Sahibzada Anees, who passed by shortly before the blast in the Jehangir Abad neighborhood, AFP reported. The explosives weighed up to six kilograms, bomb disposal officials said.


3 car bombs kill 19 in South Iraq – officials

Three car bombs have killed 19 people and wounded dozens in two Shiite cities in southern Iraq, officials said. Two bombs in parked cars went off simultaneously Monday morning in the city of Amarah near a gathering of construction workers and a market, killing 12 civilians and wounding 25. Amarah is located 320 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. Another car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the city of Diwaniyah, 130 kilometers south of Baghdad, killing seven civilians and wounding 15 others.


10 missing as 2 cargo ships collide off southwest Greece

Ten crewmembers are missing after a cargo ship sailing under a Cook Islands flag sank early on Monday off southwestern Greece after colliding with another cargo carrier, the Greek coastguard said. The Cook Islands ship, the Pirireis, collided with a ConSouth carrier sailing under an Antigua-Barbuda flag, about 75 nautical miles off the islet of Sapienza, Reuters reported. The ConSouth was not seriously damaged, and its crew of 16 is safe.


Car bomb blasts kill 11 in Iraq

At least 11 people were reportedly killed when three car bombs exploded in public markets early on Monday in the Shiite provinces of Amara and Diywaniya in southern Iraq, Reuters said, citing medics and police sources. Security forces raided a Sunni Muslim protest camp last week, triggering widespread violence across Iraq.


Pakistan suicide bomb attack on police kills 4

A suicide bombing targeting patrolling police officers has killed four people in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, police reported. The city's police chief said that the attack also wounded over 30 people. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though the Taliban are seen as the likely culprit as they are currently mounting a terror campaign to disrupt Pakistan’s May 11 general elections. Two Taliban bombings in Pakistan on Sunday killed 11 people at campaign offices.


Italy to reveal new program

Italy’s new Prime Minister Enrico Letta is set to reveal his coalition government's plan for the country on Monday. Letta, who previously said that the European policy on austerity "is no longer enough,” is expected to address parliament at 1300 GMT. The PM said he wants to tackle high unemployment and move away from the austerity imposed by his predecessor Mario Monti. Crisis-battered Italy was effectively deadlocked without a government for two months, following an inconclusive election in February.