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August 30, 2016

Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation \’Euphrates Shield\’

Turkey invades Jarabulus, Syria under operation ‘Euphrates Shield’

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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On Monday, special presidential envoy for the coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Brett McGurk, urged for the “unacceptable” clashes between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Turkish troops, who are allied with theFree Syrian Army (FSA) to end.

Over the weekend Turkey targeted the PYD in Jeb el-Kussaa, near the border of Turkey in Northern Syria. Reports state at least 20 civilians died, and 50 were wounded due to Turkish air-strikes and artillery fire. On Sunday, another 15 civilians died, many of which are reported to be Kurdish civilians. So far, 35 civilians have died due to the operation, however on Monday, Turkey refuted this and claims only 25 Kurdish militants died in the strikes.

Turkish forces in allegiance with the (FSA) and backed by the U.S, launched operation “Euphrates Shield” on August 24, and quickly captured the ISIL held city of Jarabulus, where ISIL fighters seem to have fled without a fight. Approximately 40 Turkish tanks and 2,000 FSA troops entered Jarabulus via the Turkish border that day. In support of the operation, U.S. A-10 and F-16 warplanes also hit targets within Syria.

Turkish President, Recap Tayyip Erdogan said operation “Euphrates Shield” targets “terrorist groups” such as ISIL and the PYD, who Erdogan claims have been threatening and attacking Turkey from Syria. However analysts have said the operation is really to prevent the PYD, who had been marching towards Jarabulus, from gaining territory in Northern Syria and creating an independent state.

Ankara considers the PYD and its military wing (YPG) to be a faction of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who are regarded as enemies of the Turkish government for starting an insurgency within Turkey. Earlier this month, the YPG helped regain control of the formerly ISIL held city of Manjib, and have been deemed as one of the strongest U.S. backed forces in Syria.

On Thursday, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. sided with Turkey’s demands and asked the Kurdish troops to withdraw over the Euphrates River or risk losing U.S. support. Later that day, US State Secretary John Kerry said the Syrian Kurdistan forces had retreated east from Euphrates.

The Syrian regime condemned Turkey’s actions claiming their invasion violates Syria’s sovereignty and added that Turkey was merely “replacing one terrorist group with another.” Following a complaint from Syria to the United Nations (UN), a spokesman from Secretary General Stephane Dujarric de la Rivière, confirmed Turkey’s actions were considered an invasion.


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August 26, 2016

India proposes ban on commercial surrogacy

India proposes ban on commercial surrogacy

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj announced on Wednesday a draft law to ban commercial surrogacy in the country. Commercial surrogacy is where a person or couple pay another woman (the surrogate) to carry a pregnancy for them. The new proposed law will allow only infertile couples who’ve been married five or more years to use a surrogate to conceive, on the condition that the surrogate is a close relative of the couple’s.

File photo of Sushma Swaraj, 2014.
Image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office .

The proposed ban will prevent single women, foreigners, non-resident Indian nationals, and the LGBTI community from accessing surrogacy services.

Minister Swaraj was quoted in the Indian Express newspaper saying, “we do not recognise live-in and homosexual relationships … this is against our ethos,” adding that Indians living overseas would be banned as “divorces are very common in foreign countries”.

The draft bill will now go to parliament for approval. If approved, minister Swaraj said the ban on commercial surrogacy would come into affect 10 months after passing parliament, allowing for women already in commercial surrogacy arrangements to give birth.

Experts in surrogacy have criticized the proposed law, saying that a complete ban on commercial surrogacy will simply force ineligible couples into illegal surrogacy arrangements. India is one of few countries in the world that currently allows commercial surrogacy. In 2012 the United Nations estimated that there are over 3,000 fertility clinics in India, generating approximately $400 million USD a year from commercial surrogacy.



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August 25, 2016

North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine

North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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North Korea test fired a ballistic missile from a submarine yesterday, which landed in the Sea of Japan after travelling approximately 500 km (about 300 miles), according to officials of South Korea and the US.

File photo of a North Korean soldier.
Image: Staff Sgt. Bryanna Poulin.

The missile was fired from a submarine off North Korea’s east coast near Sinpo, officials said, and was reportedly North Korea’s first successful launch after missiles only traveled a small distance in previous tests. The South Korean military accused the North Korean government of using the test to increase military tension during the annual South Korean–US joint military drills, which involve 80,000 South Korean and US troops. North Korea has threatened a preemptive nuclear strike saying the drills were practice for an invasion.

This came on the same day as a meeting between the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea where, according to Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, they “urge[d] North Korea to exercise self-restraint regarding its provocative action, and to observe the UN Security Council‘s resolutions”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the test’s intrusion into Japan’s air defense identification zone “a grave threat to our country’s security.”


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August 22, 2016

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte threatens to leave UN

Filed under: Asia,Disputed,Philippines,United Nations — admin @ 5:00 am

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte threatens to leave UN

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Yesterday President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte threatened to leave the UN after it criticized the way he fought the war on drugs, describing his conduct as a crime under international law.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte

He accused the organisation, which aims to increase world peace; of being useless, having achieved nothing and having just complained saying. “Take us out of your organization. You have done nothing anyway.”

The UN’s comments come after a spike in government sanctioned vigilante killings, there have been 900 unexplained murders and 650 police killings since June when the government’s crackdown began. President Duterte has accused several rival politicians of being involved in the drug trade, while maintaining that the 650 police killings where justified and in self defense. Saying that “My orders are for the police to go out and hunt for criminals, I tell them to arrest these criminals if they surrender peacefully, but kill them if they put up a violent struggle. I assume full responsibility for what happens.”

Four days ago the UN responded to this by urging the Philippine’s president to “adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions”. Saying that “The State has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offences or not”.



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August 14, 2016

Turkey and Iran pledge to cooperate for Syria

Turkey and Iran pledge to cooperate for Syria

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

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Turkey‘s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Iran‘s career diplomat Javad Zarif have decided to join forces in resolving the civil war in Syria, regardless of being on opposite sides of the crisis.

File photo of Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, 2015.
Image: Mohammad Hassanzadeh.

Diplomat’s, Çavuşoğlu and Zarif have both pledged greater cooperation on the conflict in Syria at a joint news conference in Ankara on Friday. The coming together of these two neighbouring nations has come as a surprise to many as both Cavusoglu and Zarif have held opposing positions on Syria, with Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Turkey, backing his political departure. However, despite their differences on this matter, the two nations are prepared and are now willing to strengthen their relationship together, so that they can work together in fighting extremism in Syria and allow it to once again become a nation that is without threats and danger.

File photo of Javad Zarif, 2014.
Image: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres (flickr).

Since Turkeys failed coup just last month, Iran has been expressing great praise to the nation. Iran has supported Turkeys choice of defying the coup and not going ahead with force as was planned. Zarif has stated that he no longer supports the decisions of overthrows and that they hold no place in Iran. Since the failed coup attempt by Turkey on July 15, Zarif had not visited Turkey again until recently at the joint news conference in Ankara. This meeting between the Iranian and Turkish officials is said to be the first step in bringing forward a calm and tranquil Syria.

The union of Çavuşoğlu and Zarif in their mutual goal to bring Syria back into a positive strife, follows a similar agreement that was made between the Turkish government and Russia over Syria, directing thoughts that the Erdoğan government is radically rethinking their position on the Syrian Civil War conflict.

It has been stated by the Turkish foreign ministry that Javad Zarif will also be meeting with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.



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August 12, 2016

Syrian Arab Army counters Jaysh Al-Fateh with help of Russian air strikes in Aleppo

Syrian Arab Army counters Jaysh Al-Fateh with help of Russian air strikes in Aleppo

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Friday, August 12, 2016

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On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), backed by Hezbollah and the Russian Air Force (RuAF), went on the offensive after ten days of defense against jihadists, whom are mostly members of Jaysh Al-Fateh (the Army of Conquest), in Aleppo, Syria.

Syria Flag
Image: INeverCry.

This offensive allowed the SAA to regain full control over five building blocks in the 1070 residential area in Southern Aleppo. Field sources reported the SAA were also able to recover more territory near the military academy and the 1070 residential area.

Over the last week, 1,000 enemy combatants were killed in the battle in and around Aleppo, according to the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy.

A member of the elite Tiger Forces, from the Syrian Armed Forces, told Al-Masdar News on Thursday morning, that the Syrian Armed Forces were engaged in intense combat with the Jaysh al-Fateh jihadists on the ground near the Al-Ramouseh District.

A large number of Jaysh al-Fateh casualties were inflicted after the SAA and their allies, launched their counter-attack on Jaysh-al Fateh militants in the south and west of Aleppo. A military source reported this counter attack caused the militants to lose forces, weapons and armored vehicles with attached machine guns and artillery, a long with suicide vehicles.

These developments occurred after the SAA, supported by air strikes and artillery fire from Hezbollah and Russian allies, opened heavy fire on Jaysh al-Fateh positions and gatherings in al-Ramouseh, al-Shorfa al-Moqla and al-Jabs Market in the Eastern parts of al-Rashedeen and the Southern parts of 1070 residential area.

On Wednesday, the Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff, Sergei Rudskoy, said about 7,000 armed jihadist militants had gathered on the south-western access points to the City of Aleppo, Syria. The militants have been garnering reinforcements by pulling their troops from the controlled areas in neighbouring regions of Idlib, Homs and Hama, Rudskoy continued.

Intense combat has been ongoing since the jihadist militants launched a series of attacks in Aleppo last weekend, in an attempt to reconnect an SAA besieged area in east Aleppo with the insurgent territory in the west.



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August 11, 2016

Twin bombing at Thailand\’s Hua Hin resort leaves one dead, many injured

Twin bombing at Thailand’s Hua Hin resort leaves one dead, many injured

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

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On Thursday, two bombs exploded at the Hua Hin resort, in Thailand, killing one woman and resulting in many injuries. The bombs exploded about 30 minutes apart from each other. Most of the people injured were tourists of German, Swiss, and Italian nationalities, while the woman who died was a Thai street vendor. Suthipong Klai-udom, a Hua Hin district official, said the bombs were hidden inside of planters, and detonated by cellphone.

File photo of a market in Hua Hin.
Image: Jarcje.

Edwin Wiek, a 30-year resident of, claimed one bomb was near the London Bar. A video he released shows an emergency responder examining items next to the deceased woman’s food cart. In a tweet, he stated: “Bombs in #Huahin were in plant pots, not in motorbikes.”

“We don’t know who is responsible for the attacks”, said Mr. Suthipong in an interview, noting local officials had no prior information about an attack. Tawee Narissirikul, the governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, where Hua Hin is located, stated this was the first bombing at Hua Hin, saying “Now we have to be more cautious about the situation.”

Hua Hin is a resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, 145 kilometres (90 miles) south-west from Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Many people stayed there in preparation for a Thai holiday marking the birth of queen Sirikit.



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August 7, 2016

Paralympics bans Russian athletes from Rio Games after doping scandal

Paralympics bans Russian athletes from Rio Games after doping scandal

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed the ban on all Russian athletes from the games in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio today.

Paralympic logo

“The Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter athletes into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games”, IPC President Sir Philip Craven told a Rio de Janeiro press conference today. “It is our responsibility to ensure fair competition. That is vital to the integrity and credibility of Paralympic sport. I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its athletes. The medals over morals attitude disgusts me.” The international committee considered arguments from the Russian committee before confirming the ban.

This comes after the publication of the McLaren report, which described state-sponsored doping in the Russian team. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also claimed the doping cover-up operation was sponsored by the state, with samples destroyed to eliminate evidence of doping. Drug test laboratory director turned whistleblower Dr Rodchenkov acknowledged the state security forces — in the words of the WADA report — “actively imposed an atmosphere of intimidation on laboratory process and staff”. He also claimed he was part of state-organised doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics, destroying urine samples and giving athletes banned drugs.

Russia has denied these allegations, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko calling WADA’s doping report, when it first came out, “unverified sources, on unverified facts”. According to Russian news agency Tass, Mutko said Russia would appeal today’s IPC ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Russian gold medal winner Yuriy Borzakovskiy expressed scepticism of the allegations, saying “The report itself contains a lot of allegations but not many facts […] The pressure [to expel Russia from the Olympics] is very much political”.


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Russian vice-consul reportedly shoots mugger dead in Rio

Russian vice-consul reportedly shoots mugger dead in Rio

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

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The Russian Vice-Consul for Rio de Janeiro — by reports disputed by the Russian Consul — shot and killed an attacker on Thursday , after two individuals attempted to commit a robbery.

As reported, Brazilian lawyer Marcos Cesar Feres Braga — so-named by the Daily Mail newspaper — working for the Russian Consulate, was driving with his family through the suburb of Barra da Tijuca near the main Olympic Park complex when the incident occurred. According to reports from the Rio newspaper O Globo, the 60-year-old man, his wife, and his daughter were stopped in traffic due to the Olympic torch procession in a nearby neighbourhood. Two individuals on motorbikes approached and used a gun to smash the car window. Braga, trained and considered an expert — according to reports — in jujutsu, took control of the attacker’s firearm and proceeded to shoot dead the alleged attacker, while the second suspect fled the scene.

Rio de Janeiro’s homicide branch has released a statement in relation to the incident. “The vice consul got into a physical struggle with the assailant and during the fight the aggressor’s weapon fired shots. The assailant died of his wounds on the spot.”

However, Russia’s Consul General Vladimir Tokmakov has released a statement claiming no Russian diplomats or employees of the consulate general were involved in the incident. “Information circulating in the Brazilian press about the alleged shooting […] of a Brazilian national by a Russian diplomat during an armed robbery does not reflect reality”.



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August 3, 2016

Olympics \”Day -2\” includes six women\’s football matches

Olympics “Day -2” includes six women’s football matches

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Canada versus Australia. Agência Brasil Fotografias

American swimmers Allison Schmitt and Michael Phelps are seen here in the restaurant of the Athletes Village. At the event’s peak, the venue will prepare 60,000 meals each day. Phelps’ diet has received headlines in the past, clocking in at 12,000 calories a day in 2008.

It’s two days to go until the opening ceremonies, but the football competitions for the 2016 Summer Olympics have begun in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Meanwhile, athletes are arriving to the Olympic Village, which has been one of the many lightning rods of controversy for the event.

Wednesday includes six women’s football match-ups, between Sweden and South Africa, Canada and Australia, Brazil and China, Zimbabwe and Germany, United States and New Zealand, France and Colombia. Canada’s forward Janine Beckie scored a goal just 20 seconds into the game, the quickest in Olympic history. The team beat Australia 2-0.

The men face off Thursday with Iraq vs Denmark, Honduras vs Algeria, Brazil vs South Africa, Mexico vs Germany, Portugal vs Argentina, Sweden vs Colombia, Fiji vs South Korea, and Nigeria vs Japan.

Canada vs. Australia

Zimbabwe vs. Germany

Many athletes are arriving in Rio, for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Teams are welcomed with ceremonies, the India, Bahama, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Norway delegations receiving their a 45-minute welcome Wednesday. While members of the US swim team have been photographed in the Athletes Village restaurant, recent reports suggest that Team USA men’s basketball will be staying in a luxury cruise ship, docked off the Port of Rio. Canadian tennis player Daniel Nestor has suggested the village lacks hot water. Members of the Australian team had their three laptops stolen last week, during a building evacuation due to a nearby fire.



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