Posts Tagged ‘libya’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An Afghan teenager killed anAmerican soldier in eastern Afghanistan by stabbing him in the neck while he played with a group of local children, officials said Monday.

The killing comes as the monthly U.S. death toll rose sharply in March to 14 with the start of the spring fighting season when the Taliban and other insurgents take advantage of improved weather to step up attacks.

Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, was guarding Afghan and U.S. officials meeting in a province near the border with Pakistan when the stabbing occurred last Wednesday, two senior U.S. officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

The attack occurred after the soldiers had secured the area for the meeting, but one of the U.S. officials said the youth was not believed to have been a member of the Afghan security forces or in uniform so it was not being classified as an insider attack.

The official said the attacker was thought to be about 16 years old, but the age couldn’t be verified.

The Afghan and American dignitaries were attending the swearing-in ceremony of Afghan Local Police in Shinwar district in Nangarhar province, senior district official Zalmai Khan said. Afghan Local Police, or ALP, recruits are drawn from villages and backed by the U.S. military.

The soldier was playing with a group of children outside when the attacker came from behind and stabbed him in the neck with a large knife, Khan said, adding the young man had escaped to nearby Pakistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the young man was acting independently when he killed the soldier but had joined the Islamic militant movement since fleeing the scene.

The Pentagon said in a statement last week that Cable, of Philpot, Ky., died from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by enemy forces.

At least 14 U.S. soldiers died in March, compared with four in the previous two months, according to an Associated Press tally.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan has dropped sharply as international forces increasingly take a back seat while preparing to end their combat mission by the end of 2014. But they continue to face dangers ranging from roadside bombs to attacks by their Afghan counterparts or insurgents disguised as government forces.

___

Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier and Amir Shah contributed to this report.

North Korean Kim Jong-un meets military officials (Unverified picture released by KCNA news agency 29 March)

The North Korean situation could spiral out of control, Russia has warned, after another day of inflamed rhetoric from Pyongyang.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of a “vicious circle” and told all sides to avoid unilateral action.

On Thursday, the North threatened to “settle accounts” and said it had put missiles on stand-by to hit the US.

The US, which flew stealth bombers over South Korea this month, condemned the North’s “bellicose rhetoric”.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the rhetoric only deepened North Korea’s isolation.

North Korean state media reported leader Kim Jong-un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists”.

North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America!!

Analysis

Charles ScanlonBBC News

Bluff has long played a fundamental role in North Korean strategy. The regime in Pyongyang needs its much more powerful neighbours and antagonists to take its threats seriously. By threatening potential chaos and war in the heart of the world’s most dynamic economic region, it has in the past been able to transcend its own weakness and extract diplomatic concessions.

But the United States may be about to call North Korea’s bluff. The US treasury department is taking steps to squeeze North Korea financially, and the Pentagon has flown B-52 and B-2 bombers over the Korean peninsula – moves that are guaranteed to provoke a hostile reaction.

Washington’s tough stance presents Kim Jong-un with a dilemma. He wants to show his generals and the North Korean people that he can force concessions from the United States – in the same style as his father and grandfather. He could now be tempted to take brinkmanship to a new level, to try to convince the US and the region that confrontation does not work and carries too many risks.

He was said to have condemned US B-2 bomber sorties over South Korea as a “reckless phase” that represented an “ultimatum that they will ignite a nuclear war at any cost on the Korean Peninsula”.

US mainland and bases in Hawaii, Guam and South Korea were all named as potential targets.

North Korea’s most advanced missiles are thought to be able to reach Alaska, but not the rest of the US mainland.

‘Increasing military activity’

State media in the North showed thousands of soldiers and students at a mass rally in Pyongyang supporting of Kim Jong-un’s announcement.

China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner, immediately reiterated its call for all sides to ease tensions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news conference that “joint efforts” should be made to turn around a “tense situation”.

He made similar remarks on Tuesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov went further, voicing concern that “we may simply let the situation slip out of our control and it will slide into a spiral of a vicious circle”.

“We are concerned that… unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

Timeline: Korean tensions

  • 12 Dec: North Korea fires three-stage rocket, in move condemned by UN as banned test of long-range missile technology
  • 12 Feb: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test, its third after tests in 2006 and 2009
  • 7 Mar: UN approves fresh sanctions on Pyongyang; North Korea says it has the right to a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” on the US
  • 11 Mar: US-South Korea annual joint military drills begin; North Korea says it has scrapped the Korean War armistice (the UN says the pact cannot be unilaterally scrapped)
  • 19 Mar: US flies B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over Korean peninsula, following several North Korean threats to attack US and South Korean targets
  • 20 Mar: Broadcasters and banks in South Korea hit by cyber attack, the origin of which remains unknown, days after North Korea says some of its sites were hacked
  • 27 Mar: North Korea cuts military hotline with South, the last official direct link between the two
  • 28 Mar: US flies stealth bombers over Korean peninsula; showcasing ability for precision strike “at will”

In an earlier statement, the US military said that the B-2 stealth bombers demonstrated America’s ability to “provide extended deterrence” to its allies and conduct “long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will”.

“The North Koreans have to understand that what they’re doing is very dangerous,” US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters on Thursday.

“We must make clear that these provocations by the North are taken by us very seriously and we’ll respond to that.”

The US had already flown nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea earlier this month, in what it called a response to escalating North Korean threats.

Tensions in the Korean peninsula have been high since North Korea’s third nuclear test on 12 February, which led to the imposition of fresh sanctions.

North Korea has made multiple threats against both the US and South Korea in recent weeks, including warning of a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” on the US and the scrapping of the Korean War armistice.

While North Korea has issued many threats against the US and South Korea in the past, this level of sustained rhetoric is rare, observers say.

On 16 March, North Korea warned of attacks against South Korea’s border islands, and advised residents to leave the islands.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

When you look at occasions where something really did happen, such as the artillery attack on a South Korean island in 2010, you see there were very clear warnings”

Professor John Delury, Yonsei university

In 2010 it shelled South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island, causing four deaths.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang also cut a military hotline with the South – the last direct official link between the two nations.

A Red Cross hotline and another line used to communicate with the UN Command at Panmunjom have already been cut, although an inter-Korean air-traffic hotline still exists.

The jointly run Kaesong industrial park is still in operation.

North Korea missile ranges map

Is North Korea Steps Up Its Threats, Drawing U.S. Rebuke?…!!

Read the Full story below—

nn_03iwi_korea_130328.vmodv4

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean state media said Friday that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had ordered his missile units to be ready to strike the United States and South Korea, which South Korean officials said could signal either preparations for missile tests or just more blustering.

The United States criticized the North Korean threat, which came one day after American forces had carried out an unusual practice bombing exercise with advanced aircraft across South Korea.

“The United States is fully capable of defending itself and our allies,” said Lt. Col. Catherine Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman in Washington.”North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric and threats follow a pattern designed to raise tensions and intimidate others.”

The back-and-forth was viewed with worry by China and Russia. China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its calls for restraint. Russia was more explicit, with its foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, telling reporters in Moscow that he was increasingly concerned about a situation that could “get out of control — it will descend into the spiral of a vicious cycle.”

Mr. Kim’s order, which North Korea said was given during an emergency meeting early Friday, was similar to the one issued Tuesday when the North’s top military command told all its missile and artillery units to be on the “highest alert” and ready to strike the United States and South Korea in retaliation against their joint military exercises.

But by attributing such an order to its top leader, North Korea tried to add weight to its threat.

“We believe they are taking follow-up steps,” said Kim Min-seok, spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry, referring to increased activities of the North Korean military units. “South Korean and American intelligence authorities are closely watching whether North Korea is preparing its short, medium, and long-range missiles, including its Scud, Rodong and Musudan.”

He did not elaborate. But government officials and South Korean media said that there had been a surge in vehicle and troop movements at North Korean missile units in recent days as the United States and South Korea has been conducting joint military drills. The national news agency Yonhap quoted an anonymous military source as saying that North Korean vehicles had been moving to Tongchang-ri near the North’s western border with China, where its Unha-3 rocket blasted off in December.

North Korea might be preparing for an engine test ahead of a long-range rocket test, the source was quoted as saying. Scud and Rodong are the North’s mainstay short- and medium-range missiles. The Musudan, deployed around 2007 and displayed for the first time during a military parade in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in 2010, is a road-mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile with a range of more than 1,900 miles, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.

In an angry reaction to the sanctions that the United Nations imposed after North Korea’s launching of a three-stage rocket in December and its third nuclear test last month, the North has repeatedly threatened to strike Washington, as well as the American military bases around the Pacific and in South Korea, with nuclear-armed long-range missiles.

A photo released by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday showed Mr. Kim conferring with his top generals on what the agency called “plans to strike the mainland U.S.” A military chart behind them showed what appeared to be trajectories of North Korean missiles hitting major cities in the United States.

North Korea also said its leader, Mr. Kim, “finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the K.P.A., ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea.” K.P.A. stands for the Korean People’s Army.

Kim Min-seok, the South Korean spokesman, said the North’s “unusual” public announcement of such plans was partly “psychological.” Many experts and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has such long-range missiles, much less the know-how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on such rockets.

But other analysts believed that the North’s new KN-08 missiles, which were put on public display last April, were indeed intercontinental ballistic missiles, although they and Musudan have never been test-launched before. They wondered whether North Korea might use the current tensions as an excuse to launch them.

The country is barred from launching ballistic missiles under United Nations sanctions. North Korea’s development of the KN-08 was one of the reasons the Pentagon cited last Friday when it announced a $1 billion plan to add more missile interceptors in Alaska to better protect the United States against a potential North Korean missile attack.

Although North Korea issued strident threats and stirred up fears of American invasion during previous joint American-South Korean military drills, Mr. Kim has been far more aggressive in issuing such threats personally than his late father, Kim Jong-il, was. Unlike his father, who had expanded his power base from his youth, Mr. Kim was catapulted into top leadership after his father’s sudden death in 2011 and must build his credentials as head of his “military-first” government, South Korean analysts and officials said.

Hours after Mr. Kim’s call to arms, thousands of North Koreans turned out for a 90-minute mass rally at the main square in Pyongyang, chanting “Death to the U.S. imperialists” and “Sweep away the U.S. aggressors,” according to The Associated Press, which has a bureau in Pyongyang. Soldiers and students marched through downtown Pyongyang.

On Thursday, the American military carried out a rare long-range practice bombing run over the Korean Peninsula, sending two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on a practice sortie over South Korea, underscoring Washington’s commitment to defend its ally amid rising tensions with North Korea.

“The reaction to the B-2 that we’re most concerned about is not necessarily the reaction it might elicit in North Korea, but rather among our Japanese and Korean allies,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a news conference at the Pentagon. “Those exercises are mostly to assure our allies that they can count on us to be prepared and to help them deter conflict.”

North Korea puts rockets on standby as US official warns regime is no ‘paper tiger’

By Courtney Kube and Ian Johnston, NBC News

North Korea put its rocket units on standby Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after repeated threats and one day after two American stealth bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a military exercise.

A U.S. official warned that the isolated communist state is “not a paper tiger” and its reaction should not be dismissed as “pure bluster.”

According to the North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, the country’s leader Kim Jong Un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation” at a midnight meeting of top generals, Reuters reported.

The latest threat comes one day after two nuclear-capable stealth bombers flew from Missouri to drop inert munitions on a range in South Korea as part of a major military exercise.

KCNA via EPA

Kim Jong Un, seen at what was described as an urgent meeting overnight, has ordered his rocket forces to be on standby to strike U.S. and South Korean targets at any time.

The U.S. official emphasized the danger posed by North Korea’s military and the unpredictable nature of its 30-year-old leader.

“North Korea is not a paper tiger so it wouldn’t be smart to dismiss its provocative behavior as pure bluster. What’s not clear right now is how much risk Kim Jong Un is willing to run to show the world and domestic elites that he’s a tough guy,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “His inexperience is certain — his wisdom is still very much in question.”

There was a mass demonstration in support of Kim involving tens of thousands of people in the main square of North Korean capital Pyongyang Friday, The Associated Press reported.

Placards read “Let’s crush the puppet traitor group” and “Let’s rip the puppet traitors to death!”

‘War for national liberation’
The state-controlled KCNA also published an article that said the “opportunity for peacefully settling the DPRK-U.S. relations is no longer available as the U.S. opted for staking its fate. Consequently, there remains only the settlement of accounts by a physical means.” DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

“A battle to be fought by the DPRK against the U.S. will become a war for national liberation to defend the sovereignty and dignity of the country and, at the same time, a revolutionary war to defend the human cause of independence and the justice of the international community,” the article by “news analyst” Minju Joson said.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean military official as saying that there had been “increased movement of vehicles and forces” at missile launch sites in the North. “We are closely watching possibilities of missile launches,” the unnamed official said.

North Korea routinely issues hostile statements but analysts have noted recent remarks have become more belligerent. In December, the North carried out a long-range rocket test and then detonated a nuclear bomb in a test earlier this year.

 

At a daily news briefing Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said China was calling for an easing of tensions.

But some fear the situation could be getting out of control.

“It seems that Kim Jong Un is in the driving seat of a train that has been taken on a joyride,” Lee Min-yong, an expert on North Korea at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, told Reuters.

Russia, meanwhile, appeared to criticize the U.S. over Thursday’s bomber mission.

“We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the U.N. Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, according to Reuters.

“The situation could simply get out of control; it is slipping toward the spiral of a vicious cycle,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

Collected from-http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/30/world/asia/kim-jong-un-of-north-korea-orders-missile-readiness.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0
&
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/29/17513218-north-korea-puts-rockets-on-standby-as-us-official-warns-regime-is-no-paper-tiger?lite

Nelson Mandela is making “steady progress” after spending a second day in hospital for treatment of a lung infection, the office of South African President Jacob Zuma says.

The 94-year-old is “in good spirits” and enjoyed a full breakfast, it said.

After Mr Mandela was admitted to hospital late on Wednesday, President Zuma said people “must not panic”.

The former president first contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while detained on windswept Robben Island.

His lungs are said to have been damaged while working in a prison quarry. This latest spell in hospital is his fourth in just over two years.

Mr Mandela served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999 and is regarded by many as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid.

Thoughts and prayers

The statement issued by President Zuma’s office on Friday said: “Former President Nelson Mandela is in good spirits and enjoyed a full breakfast this morning. The doctors report that he is making steady progress.”

Mr Mandela remains under treatment in hospital.

Last December he was treated for a lung infection and gallstones – his longest period in hospital since leaving prison in 1990. In February, he was treated for a stomach condition.

Continue reading the main story

Nelson Mandela: Key dates

  • 1918 Born in the Eastern Cape
  • 1943 Joins African National Congress
  • 1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped
  • 1962 Arrested, convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison
  • 1964 Charged again, sentenced to life
  • 1990 Freed from prison
  • 1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994 Elected first black president
  • 1999 Steps down as leader
  • 2004 Retires from public life
  • 2005 Announces his son has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama said he was “deeply concerned with Nelson Mandela’s health”, adding that “we will be keeping him in our thoughts and prayers”.

Earlier, when asked whether people should prepare for the inevitable, Mr Zuma said: “In Zulu, when someone passes away who is very old, people say he or she has gone home. I think those are some of the things we should be thinking about.”

But he stressed that Mr Mandela had been able to handle the situation “very well” so far.

“Very few outstanding personalities in the world live to his level,” he said.

Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen in public since.

Despite his long imprisonment, Mr Mandela forgave his former enemies and as president urged South Africans of all races to work together and seek reconciliation.

In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

His main home is in Qunu, a small rural village in Eastern Cape province, where he says he spent the happiest days of his childhood.

However, doctors said in December he should remain at his home in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton to be close to medical facilities.

Are you in South Africa? What is your reaction to President Zuma’s comments? Send us your comments using the form below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

WASHINGTON: Expressing concern over the status of health of the South African leaderNelson Mandela, the US President, Barack Obama, today said that he is a hero for all.

“Obviously we’re all deeply concerned with Nelson Mandela’s health. He’s a hero I think to all of us,” Obama told reporters after his meeting with African leaders at the White House.

“I’m sure that I speak for the other leaders here. And we will be keeping him in our thoughts and prayers, and his entire family. He is as strong physically as he’s been in character and in leadership over so many decades, and hopefully he will come out of this latest challenge,” Obama said in response to a question.

“But we all recognise that he has given everything to his people, the people of South Africa, to the people of the continent, and he’s ended up being an inspiration to all of us,” he said.

“When you think of a single individual that embodies the kind of leadership qualities that I think we all aspire to, the first name that comes up is Nelson Mandela, and so we wish him all the very best,” Obama said when asked about the health of the South African leader.

94-year old Mandela, the former South African President, was admitted to a hospital due to a recurrence of a lung infection, but was responding well.

“We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved ‘Madiba’ and his family and to keep them in their thoughts,” South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. “We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery.”

The South African President said that Mandela was responding “positively” to treatment in the hospital.

Mandela served 27 years in jail under the white-minority apartheid regime. He was released in 1990. Four years later, he went on to become South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994 under the banner of the African National Congress. He served as President from 1994 to 1999.