International

10.1.14:  Bodies found on Japan volcano, raising toll to 48

 

OTAKI, Japan (AP) — A dozen more bodies have been found near the summit of a Japanese volcano that erupted Saturday, bringing the death toll now to 48.

 

Searches resumed today at the ash-covered Mount Ontake amid concern of toxic gasses and another eruption.

 

Helicopters are bringing bodies down.


10.1.14:  Airstrikes launched amid intelligence gaps

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Current and former U.S. officials say the Pentagon is grappling with significant intelligence gaps as it bombs Iraq and Syria. It’s also operating under less restrictive targeting rules than those President Barack Obama imposed on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen.

 

The U.S. military says its airstrikes have been discriminating and effective in disrupting an al-Qaida cell called the Khorasan Group and in halting the momentum of Islamic State militants. But independent analysts say the Islamic State group remains on the offensive in areas of Iraq and Syria, where it still controls large sections.

 

Human rights groups say coalition airstrikes have killed as many as two dozen civilians. U.S. officials say they can’t rule out civilian deaths but haven’t confirmed any.


9.30.14:  Netanyahu says militant Islam is a cancer

 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says militant Islam is a cancer that’s spreading and must be removed before it’s too late.

 

In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu warned that wherever militant Islam rules, “women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die.”

 

The Israeli leader said Hamas and the Islamic State group are “branches of the same poisonous tree,” both bent on world domination through terror, just as the Nazis were. But a Palestinian official says the speech was “a blatant manipulation of facts,” hate language and slander.

 

Turning to Shiite Islam, Netanyahu warned that the gravest threat to the world today is the danger of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

 

He concluded his speech by quoting a verse from the Bible’s book of Isaiah: “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still until her justice shines bright and her salvation glows like a flaming torch.”

 


9.29.14:  More bodies spotted at Japanese volcano

 

KISO, Japan (AP) — Five more bodies have been found near the summit of a Japanese volcano, bringing the total presumed dead to 36. But toxic gases and ash from the still-erupting mountain have forced rescue workers today to halt efforts to recover the victims.

 

Police say eight bodies were airlifted today off Mount Ontake before work on the peak was called off. Together with four victims brought down on Sunday, 12 bodies have now been recovered. That leaves 24 near the summit.

 

Exactly how they died remains unclear, whether from gases, suffocating ash, falling rocks or other causes.

 

Police say the latest victims were found near a shrine at the summit, the same area where other victims were reportedly found.

 

Mt. Ontake, a popular climbing destination, erupted Saturday, as at least 250 people were going for a hike.


9.29.14:  US-led airstrikes hit 4 Syrian provinces

 

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say the U.S.-led coalition has carried out several airstrikes targeting Islamic State group positions in northern and eastern Syria.

 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the air raids overnight took place in four provinces: Aleppo, Raqqa, Hassakeh and Deir el-Zour. The entrance to Syria’s largest gas plant, Conoco in Deir el-Zour, was among the targets.

 

The Observatory says there were casualties in the airstrikes, but that it has no concrete figures.

 

A resident on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey frontier says strikes this morning also struck the Islamic State-controlled town of Tel Abyad. The town is home to a border crossing. He says the strikes hit an abandoned military base and an empty school.

 


9.26.14:  US-led strikes hit IS group oil sites for 2nd day

 

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say they don’t have concrete figures but there are reports of casualties in the latest raids on Islamic State group territory in eastern Syria.

 

Warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition bombed oil installations and other facilities for a second consecutive day, looking to dent a $2 million a day revenue source for the extremists.


9.25.14:   New airstrikes on Syria

 

— A third day of U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Activists say that today’s strikes killed nearly 20 people, as the U.S. and allies targeted at least four oil installations and three oil fields controlled by Islamic State.

 

Militants in the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa have released at least 150 people held, fearing more strikes.   Activists say other airstrikes targeted the Syria al-Qaida affiliate called Nusra Front.

 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey has issued a security warning, urging U.S. citizens to be vigilant against possible terrorist attacks in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group.

 

In a warning issued late Wednesday, the embassy says there’s no information about any specific threats but the possibility of terrorist attacks in Turkey “remains high.”

 

It’s asking that Americans be cautious in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces.


9.24.14:  US strikes militant staging area in Syria

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pentagon spokesman says the United States executed two airstrikes Wednesday on an Islamic State group staging area in eastern Syria.

 

Rear Adm. John Kirby says the target of the strikes was an area used by the militants to move equipment across the border into Iraq.

 

Earlier Wednesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported airstrikes in and around the eastern Syrian city of Boukamal.

 

Kirby told CNN that the U.S. also struck Islamic State targets in Iraq, near the Kurdish city of Irbil and the capital, Baghdad.


9.23.14:  US and 5 Arab nations attack IS in Syria

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. and five Arab countries have launched airstrikes on militants in the Islamic State group in eastern Syria.

 

The airstrikes were carried out Monday night Eastern Time, and activists say not only did they target the Islamic State group, resulting in casualties, but also the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

 

One target was the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self-declared capital in Syria.

 

Syria’s foreign ministry says Washington informed the Syrian envoy to the United Nations before launching the airstrikes along with Bahrain, Qatar , Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

 

The United States on its own has carried out an air attack in Syria on what it calls an al-Qaida affiliate west of the city of Aleppo.

 

U.S. Central Command says American warplanes launched eight airstrikes “to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests” by a network of “seasoned al-Qaida veterans” — sometimes known as the Khorasan Group — who’ve established a haven in Syria.

 

They targeted training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities.

 


9.22.14:  Hong Kong students on strike in democracy battle

 

HONG KONG (AP) — Thousands of university students are boycotting classes in Hong Kong today to protest Beijing’s decision to restrict election reforms.

 

China’s legislature insists that candidates for Hong Kong’s next leader be vetted by an elite committee similar to the body of mostly pro-Beijing elites that has until now selected the city’s leaders.

 

Today’s class boycott kicks off a week of protests.