A SALUTE TO OUR NEIGHBORS UP NORTH
A SALUTE TO OUR NEIGHBORS UP NORTH
Ten years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains “enmeshed in a grim cycle of human rights abuses,” Amnesty International said in a report Monday.
“Many Iraqis today enjoy greater freedoms than they did under his Ba’athist regime, but the fundamental human rights gains that should have been achieved during the past decade have signally failed to materialize,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa deputy director at Amnesty International.
The report said government forces commit torture with impunity, targeting particularly those arrested on suspicion of carrying out terrorism acts.
Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the destruction of a Syrian Army convoy in western Iraq last week that killed some 48 Syrians and nine Iraqi soldiers.
The militant group released a statement on jihadist forums Monday.
The group claims it intercepted the convoy while the Syrian troops were on their way to camps secretly provided by the Iraqi government.
[Updated at 7:39 a.m.] North Korea has taken a step it’s warned about for a few days: It declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953.
That news, from the official newspaper of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party, comes four days after the U.N. Security Council passed tougher sanctions against North Korea in response to its February 12 nuclear test.
It remains to be seen whether the invalidation means that either North Korea or South Korea can resume hostilities. However, the North has nullified the agreement on several occasions in the past.
[Posted at 3:57 a.m.] Joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States began Monday, the South Korean defense ministry said.
The latest military drills involving the two allies are called Key Resolve and follow the Foal Eagle joint exercises that began March 1, which are scheduled to last two months.
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[Updated at 11:38 a.m. ET] An update on the casualties: Two American service members and two Afghan army personnel were killed in Monday’s attack in eastern Afghanistan by a gunman wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform, ISAF and Afghan officials said.
At least 10 Americans were wounded as well, a U.S. military official told CNN.
[Posted at 7:37 a.m. ET] Several NATO and Afghan service members were killed Monday when an assailant wearing an Afghan service uniform opened fire on the group, NATO said.
The attack happened late Monday morning in eastern Afghanistan, said Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
The incident appeared to be the latest so-called “green-on-blue” attack, or strike against coalition members by people dressed in police or army uniforms. Assailants conducting similar subterfuge killed dozens of coalition troops in 2012.
By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA Associated Press
Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius have filed an appeal in a South African court against bail restrictions imposed on the Olympian, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend, according to papers released by the Pistorius family on Monday.
The appeal reflected the robust defense strategy of lawyers for Pistorius, who has been staying at his uncle Arnold’s home in a Pretoria suburb since he was released on bail on Feb. 22.
It is a delicate balance because the Pistorius family has also sought to keep a low profile, expressing sorrow for the death of Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14. Pistorius says he mistakenly shot Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder in his home. Prosecutors believe he killed her intentionally after an argument.
(CNN) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met over dinner in the Afghan capital on Sunday in an attempt to smooth over the latest dispute in the already strained relationship between the two allies.
Hagel told reporters he tried to reassure Karzai that the United States had no unilateral back-channel talks with the Taliban and said Washington is still on track to wind up its 11-year combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“The fact is, any prospect for peace or political settlements — that has to be led by the Afghans. That has to come from the Afghan side,” Hagel said. “Obviously, the United States will support efforts if they are led by the Afghans to come to some possible resolution.”
Hagel, a former senator who took the helm at the Pentagon last month, is making his first trip to Afghanistan as defense secretary. Karzai, meanwhile, has been increasingly critical of American forces in recent months.