Tag: sputnik

Colombian Government, FARC Sign New Peace Deal After Referendum Rejection

Colombian authorities have signed a new peace accord with FARC rebels, after the previous agreement was rejected in a national referendum in October.

The new deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels was stricken in Havana, Cuba on Saturday.

“We have reached a new final agreement to end the armed conflict, which includes changes, clarifications and input from a variety of walks of life, which we considered successively,” Cuban Ambassador to Colombia, Ivan Mora, said after the talks.

Mosul Offensive: US Drops One Bomb Every Eight Minutes

During the first three days of the ongoing military operation to win the Iraqi city of Mosul back from Daesh control, the coalition carried out airstrikes at a rate of one bomb every eight minutes.

Iraqi security forces, assisted by the US-led coalition, the People’s Mobilization Forces (PMF) and Kurdish fighters are currently focused on liberating Mosul, the second largest city in the country and the last bastion of Daesh militants there.

Colonel Daniel Manning, deputy director of the Combined Air Operations Center, on Friday told Military.com in a telephone conversation that the intense bombing is what makes this anti-Daesh operation stand out, especially if you take into account that each of these bombs are precision-guided weapons.

Most Japanese See US as a Threat, Survey Reveals

A poll conducted earlier this year revealed the majority of Japanese view the US as a threat to Japan, despite playing a less important role in the world than they did a decade ago.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in April and May in Japan revealed that the majority of Japanese people view their ally, the United States, as one of the major threats to their country. They also believe the US is playing a less important role in the world than it did 10 years ago. Perhaps paradoxically, however, most of the 1000 respondents still share a favorable view of the US.
According to the poll, 72% have favorable view of the US in general. However, 61% of them see America as being in decline, as compared to a decade ago. Fifty-two percent of respondents named the US as 6th out of 8 major threats to their nation, after cyberattacks from other nations, Daesh and China’s emergence as a world power. Global climate change and economic instability are also among the top threats.

Japanese Ex-PM Koizumi: Abe ‘Lied’ Claiming Fukushima ‘Under Control’

On Wednesday, former Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi said that current Japanese President Shinzo Abe told a “lie” by downplaying the damage wrought by the Fukushima nuclear accident, and claiming that the radioactivity contaminating the site was “under control.”

After a March 2011 tsunami and earthquake caused a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Koizumi, who served as premier from 2001 to 2006, began sharply criticizing nuclear power, saying he was “ashamed” for believing that nuclear energy was a clean, safe and cheap energy alternative for Japan.

Native Americans Gain Partial Victory in Pipeline Protest Saga

Native Americans of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have achieved a partial victory after a district judge ordered a partial halt to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

According to reports, US District Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday ordered construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) stopped over some of the planned territory. A final ruling is expected to come by the end of Friday.

Judge Boasberg said that work will temporarily halt between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and an area 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway, as he believes that the US Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction over privately-owned land.

One of World’s Longest-Running Wars to End With Colombia-FARC Peace Deal

The Colombian government and FARC rebels have officially reached an historic peace deal, bringing an end to a 50-year war.

The accord, announced in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday, requires the Colombian government to carry out substantive land reform and overhaul its drug trafficking policies. It also requires Bogota to expand state services into rural sections of the country.

Hundreds Demand Halt to Dakota Pipeline at Washington Protest

No decision was made on Wednesday as to whether there will be an injunction on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as hundreds gathered in protest outside a Washington DC courtroom and in North Dakota.

As the injunction hearing took place, protesters, including actresses Shailene Woodley and Susan Sarandon, rallied outside the US District Court in Washington DC. Simultaneously in North Dakota, hundreds more marched across the 2,370-foot-long Veterans Memorial Bridge in Bismarck.

Iraqi Forces Prep Armed Robot to Dislodge Daesh From Mosul (VIDEO)

In preparation for an offensive on Mosul, a major stronghold of Daesh (also known as ISIS/Islamic state) in Iraq, a new weapon, in the form of a robot armed with a machine gun, will reportedly be deployed.

A wheeled ground vehicle, dubbed “Alrobot” (‘robot’ in Arabic), is being prepared for combat in northern Iraq, the Baghdad Post reported.

Video footage displaying the Alrobot showcases that the machine is the size of a mini-car and has an automatic turret appearing to be based on the Russian Degtyaryova-Shpagina Krupnokaliberny (DShK) heavy machine gun and a launcher compatible with Russian Katyusha missiles.

South China Sea Ramp-Up: New Chinese Aircraft Carrier’s Shocking Combat Features

As tensions mount in the South China Sea, the country’s state television has heralded the Liaoning aircraft carrier’s expanded lethality.

Last week, Chinese TV boasted about the “growing combat capabilities” of its Liaoning (CV-16) aircraft carrier, noting that the battle platform can carry up to 20 fighter jets, bolstering Beijing’s balance of naval and aviation power in the Pacific rim amid growing tensions.

Last Monday’s footage revealed the Liaoning carrying eight Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 fighters, along with a Z-18 and a Z-9 helicopter, the largest number of aircraft yet seen on the carrier, suggestive of plans by China to build up its aerial presence in the Pacific Ocean.

From Twitter to Syria, UK’s Anti-Extremism Prevent Program Still Not Working

An MP in Britain has joined renewed calls for a review of the UK government’s counterextremism program, Prevent, following revelations a London teenager, who fled to Syria to join Daesh, has been killed in an airstrike.

Schoolgirl Kadiza Sultana left her home in east London in February 2015 with two friends. Sultana is reported to have died in the Daesh militant’s stronghold in Raqqa. The three girls are thought to have been groomed online by radicalized members of Daesh — also known as ISIL — before choosing to abandon their studies and board a flight bound for Turkey and married jihadis in Syria.

Beijing Crosses Washington’s ‘Red Line’ in South China Sea

The Chinese military appears to be dramatically increasing its presence around a key island in the South China Sea, sending a strong message to Washington.

As Beijing continues its land reclamation projects in the South China Sea, Washington has remained adamant about one island in particular: Scarborough Shoal. Located northeast of the Spratly archipelago, it is claimed by China, Taiwan, and the Philippines, and the US has maintained that any attempts to militarize the shoal would cross a “red line.”

According to Pentagon officials, Beijing may have just crossed it.

While China has maintained a small presence of two or three maritime security vessels around Scarborough Shoal, that number has escalated in the last few weeks. US officials familiar with intelligence reports tell the Washington Free Beacon that there are now over a dozen Chinese ships in the area.

Graffiti Grannies Can! Over 65s Take Street Art by Storm in Portugal

Graffiti is an art scene often associated with youth culture where people of a certain generation are more likely to talk about removing it rather than spray painting it on walls themselves.

Not so in Portugal’s capital Lisbon, where LATA 65 street art collective is redefining who gets to hold the spray can by organizing workshops for the over 65s.

“Our oldest member is a 102 year old woman,” Lara Seixo Rodrigues, founder of LATA 65 told Sputnik.

Shoot for the Stars: Iranian Olympic and Paralympic Archer Who Never Gives Up

Zahra Nemati is a unique person in many ways. The first Iranian woman who won a gold medal at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games, she owns 5 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze Paralympic medals. She set a number of records, including the best shooting accuracy at the Paralympic Games.

Now, she is to become the first flag bearer in the history for both the Olympic and Paralympic Iranian teams at the opening of Rio 2016.

In 2004, Zahra was injured in car accident, which left her with spinal injuries and paralysis of both legs.

“After that tragedy, I tried not to lose heart and continued to live for my family,” she said. “Moreover, I did not leave sports. But it cost me a tremendous effort. My family was very worried about me, seeing how I suffered. It took two years to look for something that could put me on my feet. I’ve tried everything, but in the end, came to terms with my new conditions of life.”

Aleppo’s Liberation is Close, But It’ll Be a Tough Slog

The Syrian Army has surrounded the jihadist-held portions of the city of Aleppo. Offering fighters a chance to lay down their weapons and leave the city, the government is hoping to liberate the area and help put an end to Syria’s long war. However, analysts are warning against too much optimism. Encirclement, they note, does not mean victory.

On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Moscow and Damascus has launched a massive humanitarian operation in Aleppo, establishing exit routes for civilians and any militants wishing to leave the jihadist-held portions of the city. Three routes were designated for civilians, along with a fourth for militants with weapons and equipment.

Snowden Scoffs at Accusations of Russian Hand in US Democrats’ Scandal

In an all-too familiar tactic shared by the US political right and left alike, the Democratic Party has blamed the WikiLeaks release of internal emails on Russia. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, however, isn’t convinced.

Over the weekend, WikiLeaks released a cache of some 20,000 emails from high-ranking members within the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The correspondence has embarrassed party elites, showing an obvious bias against Clinton’s primary opponent Bernie Sanders. The revelations have already forced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down.

Rather than discuss the content of the emails, the DNC has instead launched a smear campaign against WikiLeaks, and alleged that the organization received the information from hackers hired by the Russian government.