Tag Archives: &#39to

US-backed Syria force says time up for IS 'to surrender'

US-backed Syria force says time up for IS 'to surrender'US-backed forces said Sunday time was up for Islamic State group jihadists hunkering down in their eastern Syrian holdout and an assault was imminent. “The timeline (we gave) ISIS to surrender themselves is over,” Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustefa Bali said on Twitter, using another acronym for IS. “Our forces have received orders for military action to finish off what is left of the terrorists in Baghouz,” a village near the Iraqi border, he said.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Russia claims no knowledge of plane sent to Venezuela 'to extract 20 tonnes of gold' from national bank

Russia claims no knowledge of plane sent to Venezuela 'to extract 20 tonnes of gold' from national bankRussian authorities have moved to quash suspicions that 20 tonnes of gold are about to be moved from the Venezuela’s national bank to Moscow. Allegations that a Russian jet which landed in Caracas was due to load an $ 840 million portion of the country's gold reserves surfaced early on Wednesday. Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament, sidelined by the Maduro regime, said in a tweet that they received information from the Bank of Venezuela that a plane from Moscow arrived to Caracas to “extract at least 20 tons of gold” - 20 per cent of the bank’s holdings. “We are demanding the Bank [to reveal] details of what is happening. That gold does not belong to Calixto Ortega, [head of the Bank]. It belongs to the Venezuelan people,” the tweet read.  Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said on Wednesday that he is not aware of any plans to bring gold to Moscow.  Hyperinflation in Venezuela “Russia is prepared to help resolve the political situation [in Venezuela] in any way possible, without interfering into the country’s internal affairs,” Mr Peskov was quoted as saying by the RBC news outlet.  On Monday, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that an empty passenger plane departed from Moscow to Caracas.  The Boeing 777, with space for some 400 passengers and belonging to Russia's Nordwind Airlines, was parked by a private corner of the airport after flying direct from Moscow, according to flight tracking data and Reuters photos. It was the first time it had made the route, the data showed. Novaya Gazeta said that the plane carried two crew teams and suggested there was no obvious reason for it to fly there: Russian tourists are officially recommended not to visit Venezuela, sales of package tours to the country have stopped long ago, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry hasn’t announced plans to evacuate Russian citizens from the country.  Venezuelan social media was alive with theories, including that the place had brought mercenaries, or was there to escort Maduro into exile. Venezuela's Finance Minister Simon Zerpa claimed there were no Russian planes in the Caracas airport, despite the pictures. Responding to questions about the gold, Peskov urged journalists "to be careful with different hoaxes."  Maduro claims he is facing a Washington-backed coup attempt led by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who last week proclaimed himself president and was recognized by the United States as the legitimate head-of-state. Russia has accused US President Donald Trump's administration of trying to usurp power in Venezuela and warned against any military intervention. The Kremlin on Tuesday condemned new U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's vital oil sector as illegal interference in the OPEC member's affairs. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russian government “will do anything” to support Maduro.  Guaido is currently petitioning the Bank of England to prevent Mr Maduro getting his hands on $ 1.3 billion (£1 billion) in gold held in London vaults. Venezuela, which is struggling to provide basic services, has some $ 8 billion in foreign reserves around the world. On Monday the US placed sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company – a move designed to cripple Maduro’s regime financially, and sway the military to defect.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Foreign troops 'to quit Afghanistan in 18 months under draft deal,' Taliban officials say

Foreign troops 'to quit Afghanistan in 18 months under draft deal,' Taliban officials sayTaliban officials said U.S. negotiators on Saturday agreed a draft peace deal stipulating the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within 18 months of the agreement being signed. The details were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the United States' longest war. While neither side released an official statement, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made "significant progress" and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials. "Meetings here (in Qatar) were more productive than they have been in the past. We have made significant progress on vital issues," he wrote, adding that numerous issues still needed work. "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire," he said in the tweets. A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined further comment. It was not clear if the draft described by the Taliban sources is acceptable to both sides or when it will be completed and signed. According to the sources, the hardline Islamic group gave assurances that Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United States and its allies - a key early demand of Washington. They said the deal included a ceasefire provision but they had yet to confirm a timeline and would only open talks with Afghan representatives once a truce was implemented. Up until now, the Taliban has repeatedly rejected the Afghan government's offer of holding talks, preferring instead to talk directly to the U.S. side, which it regards as its main enemy. "In 18 months, if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented then other aspects of the peace process can be put into action," a Taliban source said, quoting from a portion of the draft. More talks on the draft are expected in February, again in the Qatari capital Doha, the Taliban sources said. They expect their side to be led by new political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the movement's co-founder and a former military commander who was released from prison in Pakistan last year. While they said his appointment had boosted momentum for a deal, it was unclear if he joined the talks. Taliban officials believe the U.S. was keen to get Baradar - who was captured in a joint Pakistani-U.S. intelligence raid in 2010 - to the table so they could be sure of speaking to the movement's most powerful figures. Other clauses in the draft include an agreement over the exchange and release of prisoners, the removal of an international travel ban on several Taliban leaders by Washington and the prospect of an interim Afghan government after the ceasefire is struck, the Taliban sources said. The suggestion to appoint an interim government in Afghanistan comes at a time when top politicians including Ghani have filed their nominations for the presidential polls in July this year. Ghani has repeatedly rejected the offer to agree to the formation of an interim government. News of progress on a deal comes as the Taliban continues to stage near-daily attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces. Despite the presence of U.S.-led foreign forces training, advising and assisting their Afghan counterparts 17 years after the U.S.-led an invasion to drive them from power, the Taliban controls nearly half of Afghanistan. Ghani said last week that 45,000 members of the country's security forces had been killed since he took office in 2014. The United States has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, known as Resolute Support, as well as a U.S. counter-terrorism mission directed at groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Despite reports in December last year that the United States was considering pulling out almost half of its forces, a White House spokesman said that U.S. President Donald Trump had not issued orders to withdraw the troops. However, the administration has not denied the reports, which have prompted fears of a fresh refugee crisis. The Taliban sources also confirmed provisions in the draft that have broader implications for Afghanistan's ties with its neighbours, particularly Pakistan, India and China. They said the deal included provisions that Baloch separatist militants will not be allowed to use Afghan soil to target Pakistan. Balochistan, a resource-rich yet often-neglected province in south west Pakistan, has been the source of separatist insurgencies for more than 60 years.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Gabon soldiers arrested after announcing coup 'to restore democracy' as president languishes

Gabon soldiers arrested after announcing coup 'to restore democracy' as president languishesA group of soldiers sought to take power in Gabon on Monday while the country's ailing president was abroad, but the government declared the bid had failed and the rebels had been arrested. Soldiers burst into state radio offices at dawn and called on the public to "rise up" after Ali Bongo, the president, suffered a stroke last year while out of the country. Shots were heard around state broadcasting headquarters in Libreville, capital of the oil-rich West African nation, at about the same time as the message was read at 6:30am. But within a few hours, government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told AFP: "Calm has returned, the situation is under control." Of the five who entered the radio station, "four have been arrested and one is on the run," according to Mr Mapangou. Security forces have been deployed in the capital and will remain there over the coming days in order to maintain order, he said. The elite Republican Guard was deployed around the building and armoured vehicles blocked access to the area, an AFP correspondent saw. Mr Mapangou added that the gunfire earlier was to control a crowd. Gabon has been plunged into uncertainty as Ali Bongo has remained abroad since having a stroke in October Credit: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images The dramatic developments came as Mr Bongo is living at a private residence in the Moroccan capital Rabat after suffering a stroke. He made a televised speech on New Year's Eve but has not been in the country since October. A message was read on state radio by a person who identified himself as Lieutenant Ondo Obiang Kelly, the deputy commander of the Republican Guard and head of a previously unknown group, the Patriotic Youth Movement of the Gabonese Defence and Security Forces. He announced a "national restoration council" would be formed "to guarantee a democratic transition for the Gabonese people". The movement "calls on all young people from forces for the defence and security and Gabonese young people to join us," the officer said. Three soldiers wearing the green beret of the Republican Guard, two of them carrying assault rifles, were visible on a video of the speech circulating on social media and authenticated by AFP. "We cannot abandon our homeland," the officer said. "The eagerly awaited day has arrived when the army has decided to put itself on the side of the people in order to save Gabon from chaos. "If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbours… rise up as one and take control of the street," he said.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Trump on synagogue shooting: 'To see this happening again and again is a shame'

Trump on synagogue shooting: 'To see this happening again and again is a shame'The president discussed the deadly shooting in Pittsburgh.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Pentagon chief in Skopje over Russia bid 'to sway' name change vote

Pentagon chief in Skopje over Russia bid 'to sway' name change voteUS Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Skopje on Monday to throw his support behind a ‘yes’ vote in Macedonia’s upcoming referendum on a name change and to counter “Russian influence” against the move. Slated for September 30, the vote will ask Macedonians whether they want to change the country’s name to the Republic of North Macedonia, in a move which could open the door to NATO and EU membership. The referendum follows a landmark agreement between Athens and Skopje in June which sought to break the stalemate that has poisoned their relations since 1991 and hobbled Macedonia’s integration with the West.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Turkey 'to expand Syria op' to other Kurdish-held towns

Turkey 'to expand Syria op' to other Kurdish-held townsPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday vowed to expand Turkey’s Syria campaign to other Kurdish-held areas up to the Iraqi border, a day after ousting Kurdish militia from their former enclave of Afrin. Indicating there was no plan for the Turkish army to call off offensive, Erdogan described the taking of Afrin as merely a “comma” and also warned Turkey could launch a surprise attack on Kurdish rebel strongholds in Iraq.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Philippines' Duterte 'to limit mouth' in Japan emperor meet

Philippines' Duterte 'to limit mouth' in Japan emperor meetPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday pledged to “limit my mouth” in a meeting with Japan’s revered Emperor Akihito this week following previous concerns in Tokyo the profanity-prone leader would spark diplomatic tensions. Duterte said he would have an audience with the 83-year-old Akihito — a popular and respected figure in Japan — during his two-day visit to Tokyo.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

John McCain Is Worried the U.S. Is Going Back 'to the 1930s'

John McCain Is Worried the U.S. Is Going Back 'to the 1930s'Senator John McCain, echoing the sentiments of his Monday night speech in Philadelphia, said Tuesday that he is worried the United States is reverting to the nationalistic tendencies that characterized the 1930s.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Motorist who ran amok in Times Square says he tried 'to get help'

Motorist who ran amok in Times Square says he tried 'to get help'The U.S. Navy veteran charged with killing a young woman and injuring 20 others by speeding down a crowded Times Square sidewalk in his car said in published remarks on Saturday that he had sought psychiatric care beforehand, to no avail. “I was trying to get help,” Richard Rojas, 26, was quoted as telling the New York Post in a tearful jailhouse interview two days after the carnage in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. According to the Post, Rojas said he had recently spoken to a mental health counselor at a local veterans center who promised to call him on Monday.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines