Bush plotter arrested
An Iraqi man who applied for asylum two years ago hatched a plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush in retaliation for casualties against his compatriots during the Iraq war, the government said on Tuesday. Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, also schemed to smuggle other Iraqis into the nation from Mexico to aid in the plot, after which they were to have been smuggled back out through Mexico, said a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio. Shihab insinuated that he had contacts with the Islamic State group, but it did not appear that the plot came close to materializing, with confidential informants briefing the FBI from April last year through this month, the complaint said. If convicted, Shihab could face up to 30 years in prison and US$500,000 in fines. “President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” said Freddy Ford, the chief of staff at the 75-year-old former president’s office.
Three missiles launched
Pyongyang yesterday fired a volley of missiles, including a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, just hours after US President Joe Biden left Asia. Three missiles were fired from the Sunan area in the capital, where an airfield has become a key site used in multiple recent weapons, South Korean officials said. The launch, one of nearly 20 weapons tests by Pyongyang so far this year, prompted joint US-South Korea live fire missile drills in response, as both sides slammed what they called continued “provocations” by the nuclear-armed state. The tests are “an illegal act in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Seoul said. The US condemned the “destabilizing” launches and called for Pyongyang to “engage in sustained and substantive dialogue,” a US Department of State spokesman said.
Teen dies after clashes
A 16-year-old Palestinian died early yesterday after clashes in Nablus, the Ministry of Health said. The ministry identified the teen as Gaith Yamin. It said Israeli forces shot him near Joseph’s Tomb. The Israeli military wrote on Twitter that it responded with live fire to hundreds of Palestinians who hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers during a visit by Jews to Joseph’s Tomb on Tuesday night. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it treated at least 80 people during clashes around the site, including wounds from live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation.
Turkish soldiers killed
Five Turkish soldiers serving in northern Iraq as part of operations against Kurdish militants were killed on Tuesday, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said yesterday, updating an earlier toll. Another two soldiers were wounded during fighting, the ministry said in a statement, which did not say where the clash took place. An earlier toll provided by the military had three soldiers killed and four wounded. Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said that the Turkish soldiers had clashed with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said that Turkey would soon launch a new military operation into northern Syria, which he said was designed to create a 30km “security zone” along their border.
A long trek across the desert of northeastern Niger brings visitors to one of the most astonishing and rewarding sights in the Sahel: fortified villages of salt and clay perched on rocks with the Saharan sands laying siege below. Generations of travelers have stood before the “ksars” of Djado, wondering at their crenelated walls, watchtowers, secretive passages and wells, all of them testifying to a skilled, but unknown hand. Who chose to build this outpost in a scorched and desolate region — and why they built it — are questions that have never been fully answered. Just as beguiling is why it
‘NATURAL CAUSES’: New evidence indicated Kathleen Folbigg’s two daughters died of myocarditis caused by genetics, while a son died of a neurogenetic disorder An Australian woman who spent 20 years in prison was pardoned and released yesterday based on new scientific evidence that her four children died by natural causes as she had insisted. The pardon was seen as the quickest way of getting Kathleen Folbigg out of prison and a final report from the second inquiry into her guilt could recommend that the state Court of Appeals quash her convictions. Folbigg, now 55, was released from a prison in Grafton, New South Wales, following an unconditional pardon by state Governor Margaret Beazley. Australian state governors are figureheads who act on instructions of governments. New South
RE-ENGAGEMENT: Both sides described the talks as ‘candid’ and ‘productive,’ with the US State Department saying that it wants to restore ‘high-level diplomacy’ Senior US and Chinese officials yesterday held “candid” talks in Beijing, days after the two countries’ defense chiefs squared off at a security forum. US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink met with Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu (馬朝旭), becoming the most senior US official to publicly travel to Beijing since an alleged Chinese spy balloon was downed in the US. Both sides described the talks as “candid” and “productive” in their readouts, with the US Department of State saying that the exchange was part of ongoing efforts to restore “high-level diplomacy.” The Chinese
OPERATION BLACKSTONE: Belgian diplomats implied that it is worth releasing Iranians detained on terrorism charges to allow for innocent people to return home Three Europeans released from detention by Iran arrived in Belgium early yesterday, the latest in a series of prisoner swaps. One Dane and two Austrian-Iranian citizens landed shortly before 2:45am at Melsbroek Air Base just outside Brussels. They had flown from Muscat, the capital of Oman, which helped broker their release. Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib welcomed them at the airport, along with Danish and Austrian diplomats. The trio’s release, as well as that of a Belgian aid worker a week earlier, were part of a prisoner swap in which Tehran got back an Iranian diplomat convicted and incarcerated in Belgium