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2009 May


May 31 2009 Israel Conducts Major Civil Defense Drill

JERUSALEM - Israel is holding the biggest civil-defense drill in its history. 
Amid growing tensions with Iran, Israel is training soldiers, emergency crews, and civilians for the possibility of all-out war. Major Chezi Deutch is an officer in Israel’s Home Front Command.
“It is part of the overall plan to increase preparedness and readiness in the country, […]


May 31 2009 Former Iraq Trade Minister Falah al-Sudani Arrested

BAGHDAD - Police have arrested Iraq’s former trade minister in connection with corruption allegations, after he tried to leave the country.
The chairman of the parliamentary integrity commission, Sabah al-Saedi, told reporters Saturday that ex-minister Falah al-Sudani had tried to escape on a plane headed to the United Arab Emirates, but the flight was ordered to […]


May 30 2009 US Announces Plans To Protect Cyber Security

WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Barack Obama is taking steps he says will better protect the safety of America’s computer systems. The president will appoint a special assistant to oversee the cyber security efforts.
President Obama says the threat posed by computers is real. “Indeed, in today’s world, acts of terror could come not only from […]


May 30 2009 Christians In Nigeria Pray For Peace

ABUJA - Nigerian Christians are gathered in the Niger Delta city of Warri to fast and pray with the hope that peace and stability will be restored in the Niger Delta.
Thousands of Christian worshippers sing at the special prayer session for peace in the Niger Delta. Some Nigerian Christians are deeply troubled by the fighting […]


May 29 2009 North Korea Threatens To Abandon Armistice Agreement

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says there was no need to increase troop numbers in South Korea, after North Korea threatened an attack following its latest test of a nuclear bomb.
Speaking with reporters early Friday on a flight to Singapore, Gates says he is not aware of any unusual troop movements in North […]


May 28 2009 Israel Rejects Calls To Freeze Settlements

JERUSALEM - Israel has rejected a call by the United States for a total freeze on settlement expansion in the occupied territories.

Israel said construction in Jewish settlements will continue despite U.S. pressure. President Barack Obama began pressing the settlement issue at a White House summit last week with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And […]


May 28 2009 US Raises Defense Alert Conditions

SEOUL - South Korea and the United States have raised their defense alert levels on the Korean peninsula, a day after the North said it was willing to discard the 56-year old armistice that paused the Korean War. Analysts expect more tension in the days ahead.
South Korea and the United States boosted defense alert conditions […]


May 27 2009 France Opens Military Base In Abu Dhabi

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has inaugurated France’s first military base in the Gulf region at a time of heightened political sensitivities in the volatile Middle East - and as France seeks to expand its presence in the region.
Based in the Emirates state of Abu Dhabi, the French base amounts to France’s first new […]


May 27 2009 US: North Korea Will Pay A Price For Nuclear Test

WASHINGTON - The United States said Tuesday it is working for quick action in the U.N. Security Council to make North Korea “pay a price” for its nuclear test Monday. But officials say they still hope to get Pyongyang to return to Chinese-sponsored disarmament talks. 
State Department officials say the United States wants the Security Council […]


May 26 2009 North Korea Continues To Test Fire Missiles

SEOUL - A South Korean news agency is reporting that North Korea has test-fired two more short-range missiles, even as international condemnation of its Monday test of a nuclear bomb grows.
The Tuesday report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cites unnamed government sources who say the missiles were fired from an east coast launch pad.
The […]


May 25 2009 President Obama Condemns North Korea Nuclear Test

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test, saying the international community must stand up to Pyongyang. Mr. Obama says North Korea’s actions endanger its neighbors, and are a blatant violation of international law.
President Obama appeared before television cameras at the White House to deliver a blunt message to North […]


May 25 2009 North Korea Violates International Law

WASHINGTON - The international community responded swiftly with outrage and condemnation on Monday to reports of North Korea’s nuclear test and firing of three short-range missiles.
U.S. President Barack Obama said North Korea’s actions are violations of international law that constitute a “threat to international peace and security.” Mr. Obama said North Korea’s activities warrant action […]


May 25 2009 North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test

WASHINGTON - North Korea says it has successfully conducted an underground nuclear test, defying international warnings and raising concerns over its nuclear weapons program.
Pyongyang said Monday’s test was more powerful than the country’s first test two-and-a-half years ago.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency also reports that North Korea test-fired a short-range missile just hours after the […]


May 24 2009 Israel Will Accommodate Natural Growth

JERUSALEM - A U.S. demand to curb settlement activity topped the agenda at Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet that Israel will not build new West Bank settlements, but it will continue construction in existing communities to accommodate “natural growth.” The announcement follows a White House summit last week, during which […]


May 24 2009 US Offers To Resume Talks With Cuba

WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department says it has offered to resume talks with Cuba on Cuban migration to the United States.
The State Department said Friday it proposed that the discussions be restarted to “reaffirm both sides’ commitment to safe, legal and orderly migration.” There was no immediate response from Cuban officials to the offer. […]


May 24 2009 US, Italy Sign Clean Coal Accord

WASHINGTON - A day ahead of the opening of the G-8 summit of energy ministers in Rome, the United States and Italy signed a cooperation agreement on clean coal and carbon capture technology.
The accord on clean coal and carbon capture technology was the first signed by the United States with a foreign nation. U-S Energy […]


May 23 2009 Israel Conducts War Games Exercise

JERUSALEM - Israel conducted war games this week amid growing tensions with nearby Iran. 
The Israeli Air Force concluded a major, four-day exercise to prepare for the possibility of all out war. Military sources said the exercise simulated war on several fronts, including with Iran.
In a terse statement, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it was a […]


May 22 2009 Joe Biden Visits Lebanon

BEIRUT - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman in Lebanon Friday during a short visit to show support for that country’s Western-backed government ahead of parliamentary elections.
Biden told reporters after the meeting he had not come to “back any party” and urged Lebanese to choose peace.
Biden was also scheduled to […]


May 22 2009 Admiral Mullen Alarmed By Al Qaida Taliban Ties

WASHINGTON - The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, is expressing concern about the growing ties between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida.  
Admiral Mullen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that President Barack Obama’s new strategy in that country is aimed at creating an environment that will not permit […]


May 22 2009 Netanyahu: Jerusalem Will Remain Under Israel Sovereignty

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says all of Jerusalem will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.

Mr. Netanyahu said united Jerusalem is the Jewish state’s capital, and will never again be partitioned or divided.

The prime minister spoke Thursday on Jerusalem Day at a ceremony marking 42 years since Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in […]


May 21 2009 Former Vice President Criticizes Obama National Security Policies

WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has defended the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation methods, saying they were necessary to get information from terrorists and save American lives.
In a speech Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Cheney said President Barack Obama and other officials have largely “mischaracterized” the previous administration’s […]


May 21 2009 US Senate Blocks Transfer Of Detainees To America

CAPITOL HILL - The U.S. Senate Wednesday voted to block the transfer of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention center and withhold money requested by the Obama administration to close the facility. It is a major setback for President Barack Obama, who on Thursday is expected to address lawmakers’ concerns about his plan to […]


May 20 2009 Bill Clinton Appointed UN Special Envoy To Haiti

NEW YORK - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named former U.S. President Bill Clinton as his special envoy to Haiti.

The secretary-general said Tuesday he is confident that Mr. Clinton will bring energy, dynamism and focus to the task of mobilizing international support for Haiti’s economic recovery and reconstruction.  

A statement issued through Mr. Clinton’s […]


May 20 2009 Palestinians Swear In New Government

RAMALLAH - A new Palestinian government in the West Bank has been sworn in. 
The new cabinet took the oath of office Tuesday at Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
The government consists of about two dozen ministers and is composed mainly of members of the Palestinian faction Fatah - but none from […]


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