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The pro-Russian party would boycott next month's parliamentary polls
2014.09.15 03:28:17

The pro-Russian party that ruled Ukraine under ousted president Viktor Yanukovych said Sunday it would boycott next month's parliamentary polls and form an "opposition government" to fight for regional powers and against Kiev's westward course.

The decision by the once-dominant Regions Party came as top politicians formed leadership lists for the October 26 election that was called early to regain people's trust after two decades of post-Soviet corruption and economic malaise.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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NATO weapons are on the way to Ukraine
2014.09.15 03:14:45

Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Heletey says that NATO weapons are on the way to Ukraine after agreements about weapons delivery were reached at the NATO summit in Wales.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | NATO

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Reports of shelling
2014.09.15 03:13:27

Reports of shelling of neighborhoods near in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Sunday , jeopardizing the cease fire agreement.

The city council of Donetsk said Sunday that two neighborhoods in the north of the city had been repeatedly hit by shelling.

That part of the city is closest to the government-held airport, which has become the site of increasingly intense fighting between the pro-Russian separatists and Kiev's forces.

Volodymyr Polyovyi, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, told journalists Sunday that Ukrainian troops had repelled an attack at the airport by about 200 fighters during the night. He said
there were no military casualties.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Kerry 'extremely encouraged' by pledges of military support against IS
2014.09.15 02:59:17

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was "extremely encouraged" by pledges of military assistance against the Islamic State group by countries inside and outside the Middle East.

On the CBS program 'Face the Nation,' Kerry said some countries have offered ground troops for the effort, but "we are not looking for that at this moment anyway." He did not identify the countries.

"This is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they are prepared to do," Kerry said in the interview taped on Saturday in Egypt.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Syria | John Kerry | Egypt

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Qardawi criticizes US role against Islamic State
2014.09.15 02:57:35

Prominent Sunni Muslim scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has criticized the US's role in a campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq and Syria as purely self-interested.

Qatar-based Qaradawi, seen as a spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in his native Egypt, said on Saturday that he disagreed with the plan that "the one to fight it [IS] is America."

"I totally disagree with Da'ish [Islamic State group] in ideology and means, but I don't at all accept that the one to fight it is America, which does not act in the name of Islam but rather in its own interests, even if blood is shed."

The US won backing on Thursday for a "coordinated military campaign" against IS from 10 Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq | Qatar | Muslim Brotherhood | Egypt

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Ukrainian government accuses pro-Russian separatists
2014.09.15 02:55:08

The Ukrainian government accused pro-Russian separatists on Sunday of threatening a tenuous push for peace as booming rounds of heavy artillery fire echoed across the insurgent stronghold of Donetsk.

It said the rebels had been intensifying their attacks on government positions in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire backed by Kiev and Moscow nine days ago.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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France says 930 citizens or residents involved 'in jihad'
2014.09.15 02:43:03

The French interior ministry say around 930 French citizens or residents, including at least 60 women, are either actively engaged in jihad in Iraq and Syria or are planning to go there.

In an interview with Le Journal de Dimanche weekly, Bernard Cazeneuve, said "930 French citizens or foreigners usually resident in France are today involved in jihad in Iraq and Syria."

According to the minister, "350 are on the ground, including 60 women.

Around 180 have left from Syria and 170 are en route for the zone."

In addition, some 230 people are looking to head to areas held by jihadists. Added to this total of 930, an estimated 36 have already died out there, said Cazeneuve.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France | Syria

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Indonesia arrests four Turks over Islamic State link
2014.09.15 02:41:10

Indonesia's anti-terrorism police have arrested four Turks and three Indonesians suspected of being linked to the Islamic State group.

The elite Detachment 88 police squad arrested the men, along with three Indonesians, after tailing their car on Saturday in central Sulawesi district of Poso, police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told the AFP news agency.

"They are Turkish," Amar said, confirming the arrest and adding that the men were being investigated for their connection to the dreaded Islamist group.

"We suspect they are linked and are investigating further," he said.

[AFP]



Tags: Indonesia | Islamic State | Syria | Iraq

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Germany's Committee on Eastern European Economic relations
2014.09.15 02:39:53

Eckard Cordes, chairman of Germany's Committee on Eastern European Economic relations, said his group, which represents the interests of about 200 companies with investments in Russia, had wanted sanctions to be delayed to help bolster the ceasefire.

"The European Union's new economic sanctions against Russia are a "mistake" because they were imposed just as a week-old ceasefire was bringing calm to the embattled east of Ukraine"

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Germany

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Australia commits 600 troops to anti-IS campaign
2014.09.15 02:24:02

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said Australia would deploy 600 troops to the United Arab Emirates to join the US-led international coalition gearing up for war against the Islamic State group.

Abbott said the deployment of about "400 air personnel and about 200 military personnel" followed a formal request from Washington for Australia to contribute to the international coalition against the rampaging Islamist group.

"Australia is prepared to engage in international operations to disrupt and degrade ISIL (IS) because of the threat that this murderous death cult poses not just to the people of Iraq, not just to the people of the Middle East, but to the whole world including to Australia."

Abbott's announcement comes two days after Canberra lifted its terror alert level to "high" on growing concern about Australian jihadists returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria | Australia

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Syria air strike on jihadist camp kills 18
2014.09.15 02:22:46

A Syrian air strike on an Islamic State (IS) group training camp killed at least 17 fighters and a child, a monitoring group said on Sunday.

The Saturday strike hit dormitories in the camp in the Euphrates valley town of Tibni in Deir Ezzor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The child who was killed had been visiting his elder brother who was training with IS, the Observatory said.

President Bashar al-Assad's regime has stepped up its air campaign against the armed rebels in recent weeks, carrying out near-daily air strikes against areas under their control. [AFP]



Tags: Syria

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Fresh US and EU sanctions on Moscow
2014.09.15 02:21:40

Fresh US and EU sanctions imposed on Moscow will bring an abrupt halt to exploration of Russia's huge Arctic and shale oil reserves and complicate financing of existing Russian projects from the Caspian Sea to Iraq and Ghana.

On Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil Surgutneftegas and Rosneft, banning Western firms from supporting their activities in exploration or production from deep water, Arctic offshore or shale projects.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | France | United States

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Iraqi PM renounces British citizenship by law
2014.09.15 02:11:07

Iraq's new Prime Minister Haider al-Abaddi has renounced his British citizenship since assuming office last week, three government officials close to the prime minister said on Sunday.

According to the officials, who declined to be named because they are not authorized to discuss the matter, al-Abadi surrendered his British passport after his government was officially approved by parliament on Sept. 8.

Iraq's constitution stipulates that an Iraqi citizen may hold multiple passports. However, anyone who assumes a senior security or government position must abandon any other acquired citizenship.

Al-Abadi moved to the United Kingdom in the late 1970s, where he pursued a PhD at the University of Manchester. He later went on to become the Britain-based spokesman for his Islamic Dawa Party, and would spend more than 20 years in exile in the UK before returning to Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. [AP]



Tags: Iraq | Haider al-Abbadi

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A convoy of more than 200 white trucks returned to Russia
2014.09.15 01:28:23

A convoy of more than 200 white trucks returned to Russia on Saturday after delivering humanitarian aid to the battered Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a move made without Kiev's consent yet met with silence by Ukraine's top leaders.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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The murder of David Haines
2014.09.15 01:14:12

The Islamic State group claims to have killed a hostage it had been holding since 2013. UK Prime Minister David Cameron called the murder of David Haines, a humanitarian aid worker, an act of pure evil.

Read our full report here.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United Kingdom | David Haines

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Berlin to send around 40 soldiers to northern Iraq
2014.09.14 03:33:19

Berlin is preparing to send around 40 soldiers to northern Iraq to train Kurdish fighters battling against militants from the Islamic State, the German army said on Saturday.

Berlin's defense ministry said it had sent six soldiers to its consulate in Arbil, northern Iraq, to "coordinate" joint training exercises.

Additional teams will be "temporarily" deployed to Iraqi Kurdistan, with up to 30 Kurdish soldiers traveling to Germany in exchange, it said.

The first batch of German weapons, which includes "anti-tank rockets and machine guns," will arrive in northern Iraq on September 24 and will be followed "quickly" by the military trainers, according to a defense ministry spokesman.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Germany

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Mahdi Army
2014.09.14 03:31:44

Fighters from Shiite group Mahdi Army and an Iraqi army unit say they have pushed back Islamic State fighters from the village of Albouhassan in Amerli region in Salahuddin province.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Air strikes on Islamic State should not kill civilians
2014.09.14 03:30:43

Salim Al-Jaboury said on Saturday that the only condition mentioned for using air strikes was for it to be precise and to target positions of terrorists and ISIS which have been proven with absolute certainty that it is ISIS or terrorists.

"As for air strikes that are random, which will target citizens, this is something that we reject, naturally, and we do not consider that is a constructive military strategy because it is the innocent who will pay the price and as such we will lose many souls and their hatred will increase.''

He also pointed this out while speaking to US Secretary of State John Kerry expressing that air strikes on Islamic State should not kill civilians, the speaker told Reuters News Agency in an interview.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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On the pretext of fighting terrorism
2014.09.14 03:21:17

The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council accused the United States on Saturday of violating the sovereignty of nations on the "pretext of fighting terrorism" in Iraq and Syria.

"On the pretext of fighting terrorism, the United States want to pursue their unilateral policies and violate the sovereignty of states," Ali Shamkhani said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

On the other hand, the speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani, warned the US that launching strikes against Iran's ally Syria as part of its campaign against the fighters of the Islamic State group would be "playing with fire".

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Syria | Iran

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Syrian troops pound central village amid offensive
2014.09.14 03:06:36

Syrian jets and helicopter gunships have reportedly struck several targets in war-torn Hama in what appears to be preparations for a ground offensive on the rebel stronghold.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Syrian fighter jets conducted at least eight airstrikes on the town of Kfar Zeita in Hama province. It had no word on casualties.

A Hama-based activist who goes by the name of Yazan Shahdawi said that by the afternoon there had been about 20 strikes, as well as artillery shelling.

Saturday's bombardment of the central town came two days after government forces captured the nearby town of Halfaya.

[Associated Press]



Tags: Syria

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