Today 19 December
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations arrived Thursday in Central African Republic in the highest profile American effort to date to quell the cycle of violence in this impoverished country that has claimed hundreds of lives and displaced at least 10 percent of the population.
BEIRUT (AP) — A leading international watchdog on Thursday accused an al-Qaida-linked rebel group that controls large parts of northern Syria of running secret prisons in which torture and summary killings are common.
Amnesty International on Thursday accused an Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Syria of abducting, torturing and killing detainees at secret prisons in areas under its control. The rights group said detainees held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) include children as young as eight and that minors have been sentenced to severe floggings and held with adults in "cruel and inhuman conditions". It described individuals being seized by masked men, held for weeks on end in solitary confinement at unknown locations and tried by self-styled Islamic sharia courts that mete out death or floggings with little if any due process. Former detainees described being beaten with rubber generator belts or cables, tortured with electric shocks and being forced into a painful stress position known as the "scorpion" in which the detainee's wrists are bound over one shoulder.
Brasília (AFP) - Sweden's Saab edged out French and US rivals to win a multi-billion-dollar contract to supply Brazil's air force with 36 new fighter jets, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said Wednesday. Saab's Gripen NG was in competition with the Rafale made by France's Dassault company and US aviation giant Boeing's F/A-18 fighter for the long-deferred FX-2 air force replacement program "After analyzing all the facts, President Dilma Rousseff directed me to inform that the winner of the contract for the acquisition of the 36 fighter jets for the Brazilian Air Force is the Swedish Gripen NG," Amorim told a press conference.
By Gulsen Solaker and Humeyra Pamuk ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denounced a corruption crackdown on his allies months ahead of elections as a "dirty operation" to smear his administration and undermine the country's progress. He said those behind the investigation were trying to form a "state within a state", an apparent reference to the movement of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers are influential in Turkey's police and judiciary. A total of 52 people, including three ministers' sons, prominent businessmen close to Erdogan and local government officials, were detained on Tuesday in the country's biggest corruption probe since Erdogan swept to power in 2002. "As we fight to make Turkey in the top 10 countries of the world ... some are engaged in an effort to halt our fast growth.