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Somali anti-insurgent push leaves 50 dead

MOGADISHU – Somali government forces backed by African Union troops on Wednesday launched a fresh offensive against Al Qaeda-inspired rebels, leaving at least 50 people dead nationwide, witnesses said. “We have counted at least 20 civilians killed,” Ali Muse, head of the Mogadishu ambulance service said. Residents spoke of one…

Cyber-titan Estonia drafts e-squad to secure election

TALLINN – Estonia announced Tuesday it was drafting in its newborn cyber-squad to ward off potential attacks on the Baltic state’s pioneering e-voting system in its looming general election. “The cyber-unit of the Estonian Defence League will keep an eye on Internet traffic and will react in the event of…

Inter-Korea military talks collapse: official

SEOUL — Military talks aimed at easing high tensions between North and South Korea collapsed Wednesday when the North’s delegation walked out, Seoul’s defence ministry said. It was the first cross-border dialogue since the North’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island on November 23, which briefly sparked fears of…

American kills Pakistani in ‘self defence’: police

An American man shot dead a Pakistani motorcycle rider in a street in Lahore city on Thursday, a senior police official told AFP, claiming that he fired his pistol in self defence. “The American national told us he was driving his vehicle and stopped at a traffic signal. He saw…

Khodorkovsky handed 14-year jail term

A Moscow court Thursday sentenced Russia’s former richest man Mikhail Khodorkovsky to 14 years in jail in his second fraud trial, in a verdict the defence said was ordered by his nemesis Vladimir Putin. Under the terms of the verdict, the sentence means the jailed Yukos oil company founder and…

New Zealand military releases UFO files

WELLINGTON – The New Zealand military released hundreds of previously classified reports Wednesday detailing claims of unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings and alien encounters. The reports, dating from 1954 to 2009, were released under freedom of information laws after the New Zealand Defence Force removed names and other identifying material.…

N. Korea ‘won’t hit back’ at S. Korea live-fire drill

South Korea staged a live-fire exercise Monday on a flashpoint island near the disputed border, but North Korea said it would not hit back despite having vowed deadly retaliation. Pyongyang’s announcement eased fears of war on the peninsula, where tensions have been acute since a deadly bombardment by North Korea…

Pakistan court jails five Americans for terrorism

SARGODHA, Pakistan (AFP) – A Pakistani court on Thursday sentenced five Americans to 10 years in jail each after finding them guilty of waging war against the state and funding a terrorist group, lawyers said. The five, aged 19 to 25, had been on trial in a closed court in…

US demands N. Korea be made to pay for ‘provocations’

The United States demanded North Korea pay a price for allegedly sinking a South Korean warship even as Washington and its Asian allies brace for possible “provocations” by the Pyongyang regime. In a show of solidarity, US, Japanese and South Korean defence chiefs met in Singapore to discuss punitive steps…

Pakistan war games show of force for India: analysts

KHAIRPUR TAMEWALI, Pakistan — Pakistan is flexing its military might near the Indian border in massive war games analysts say are aimed at putting on a show of force for its nuclear-armed rival. All branches of the military are taking part in the exercises named “New Resolve”, which despite the…

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