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Sudan army planes ‘downed’ amid UN alarm

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Embattled fighters in north Sudan’s flashpoint state of South Kordofan claimed they had shot down two northern army planes, and said the conflict had so far displaced 75,000 people. UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for an end to the conflict in central Sudan, saying in a statement…

Syria troops seize hotbed town, ‘mass grave’ found

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Syrian troops on Sunday seized the flashpoint northern town of Jisr al-Shughur, state television said, as international outrage mounted at the regime’s harsh crackdown on protesters. Rights activists had earlier reported heavy gunfire and explosions in the town near the Turkish border after troops backed by helicopter…

Indian guru threatens to form yoga militia

NEW DELHI (AFP) – A television yoga guru who has led protests against corruption in India threatened to form a militia on Thursday as a new demonstration against the government drew thousands in New Delhi. Yoga star Swami Ramdev, who was evicted from the capital along with thousands of followers…

Syria to send army to town after scores killed

AMMAN (Reuters) – A restive Syrian town awaited a threatened military crackdown on Tuesday after bloody events in which state media say over 120 security personnel were killed. Exactly what happened in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour at the weekend is unclear, but it seems to have been one of the bloodiest…

Tourists flock to Tiananmen Square for anniversary

BEIJING (AFP) – Thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists flocked to Tiananmen Square on Saturday, the anniversary of the deadly 1989 crackdown on mass pro-democracy protests, amid a noticeable police presence. The sensitive anniversary of the brutal June 4 army action in the heart of Beijing comes as the Chinese…

Yemeni forces kill 21 protesters at sit-in demonstration

SANAA – Forces loyal to Yemen’s embattled president killed 21 protesters as they crushed a sit-in demonstration in Taez, an organiser said on Monday, as suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen killed six soldiers in the south. Security service agents backed by army and Republican Guards stormed the protest against President Ali Abdullah…

Over 100 Libyan army members defect from Gaddafi

ROME (Reuters) – Eight high-ranking Libyan army officers appeared in Rome on Monday saying they were part of a group of as many as 120 military officials and soldiers who had defected from Muammar Gaddafi’s side in recent days. The eight officers — five generals, two colonels and a major…

Anti-Americanism rife in Pakistan army institution: Wikileaks

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Officers received training biased against the United States at a prestigious Pakistan army institution, according to Wikileaks, underscoring concern that anti-Americanism in the country’s powerful military is growing amid strains with Washington. A U.S. diplomatic cable said the former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, found officers…

Obama administration slaps sanctions on Syria

WASHNGTON/AMMAN (Reuters) – Washington imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for human rights abuses on Wednesday in a dramatic escalation of pressure on Syria to cease its brutal crackdown on protesters. Assad had been partly rehabilitated in the West over the last three years but Western powers have condemned…

Rwanda ex-army chief gets 30 years for role in genocide

ARUSHA, Tanzania (AFP) – The UN court for Rwanda handed the general who was army chief for most of the 1994 genocide a 30-year jail term Tuesday for his role in the mass killing, including calling for the murder of ethnic Tutsis. It also jailed two senior officers for ordering…

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