SIRTE, January 31 -- Related local sources confirmed the death of one Islamic State commander, last night, in Sirte, Sudanese national called Hamad Abdel Hady, nicknamed Abu Anas Al-Muhajer.
Sources said, to Al-Wasat website, that a sniper inside the city managed to kill the Sudanese, an official in the IS sharia court, upon his arrival to medical facility opposite to a park in Sirte. “State of terror prevailed among the IS ranks after the death of Al-Muhajer, they randomly shot in the air to scare inhabitants, while searching for the sniper” one source said.
On another side, source inside the common security chamber in the Central Region of Libya said that the military planes flied over Sirte, Hawara, Bin Jawad and Nufalya to monitor movements and positions of the IS elements, and according to sources, the airplanes are affiliate to chief staff of the General National Congress (GNC).
Inside Bin Jawad, sources said that IS elements confiscated number of Salafist houses and wrote slogans as “property of IS”.
Banning of pants
The IS elements detained many citizens affiliate to police and army, accused them of Infidelity giving them time till the end of October.
Some displaced citizens from Sirte in Ajdabiya said that the IS banned youth from wearing tight pants.
At Bin Jawad, the group stormed many houses, and announced it will revenge detainees, who were arrested last week, for different reasons including cooperation with the army, Libya Dawn, Operation Dignity, and others fled the city.
The IS control Bin Jawad since the 4th January after retreating from Al-Sedra and Houroj oil ports.
BEIJING, January 27 -- New UN resolution on North Korea should not provoke aggravation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday at a joint press conference with US State Secretary John Kerry.
Wang also said that new UN Security Council resolution on North Korea should bring the sides back to the negotiations table on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. China refutes ungrounded speculations about Beijing’s position regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, Wang Yi went on to say. He stressed that China’s position on the Korean issue will remain unchanged under influence of temporary factors and short-term developments.
According to Chinese Foreign Minister, international sanctions against North Korea should not be the goal in itself but rather serve as means of resuming negotiations on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "Sanctions do not represent the end [of international efforts] and its goal. The goal is to maintain peace and stability in the region, continue negotiations and complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Wang said.
North Korea announced on January 6 that it had successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test. The country’s government said in a statement circulated by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the test had had "no adverse impacts on the environmental situation." Now, according to the statement, North Korea "possesses the strongest deterrent forces." North Korea previously conducted three nuclear tests: in 2006, in 2009 and in 2013. Following these tests, the United Nations Security Council imposed various sanctions on Pyongyang. In the past two years, North Korea refrained from nuclear tests limiting itself to ballistic missile launches as a response to the US-South Korea large-scale military drills.
ROTTERDAM, January 25 -- Welcome to “Catching Tigers and Flies,” China’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012.
Corruption is a long festering canker on both the work and popular reputation of China’s Communist Party, and one that Xi’s predecessors also sought to combat. But Xi has undertaken the task with unprecedented zeal and acumen. Scything through the Chinese Communist Party’s cadre ranks, Xi’s deputies—most prominent among them the Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) which he commands—have felled officials of both high and low rank, or as Xi himself put it in a memorable phrase, both “tigers and flies.”
To date, tens of thousands have been swept out of office. Whether their fortunes have suffered primarily because of their corrupt acts or rather—as many both inside and outside of China argue—as a direct or indirect result of Xi’s consolidation of power remains, nearly three years into Xi’s tenure, an open and hotly debated question. Information about targets of the campaign abounds, but so too do speculation and rumor.
Meanwhile, the campaign continues. Just last week, the CCDI released a communiqué promising to maintain “unabated forces and unchanging rhythm” in pursuing the goal of a China where, as Xi put it, officials are “unable and unwilling to be corrupt.”
“Catching Tigers and Flies” is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about nearly 1,500 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced either by the CCDI, its official media partners, or related Chinese government organs.
For the time being, we have confined this database to figures whose cases have been announced by official Chinese sources. Given the flood of available information on the campaign, this struck us as the best way to impose limits on the data we are presenting. It does mean, though, that the tool does not include some highly probable targets of the campaign whose cases have been reported widely by reputable media organizations both inside and outside of China.
At ChinaFile, we have only begun to explore the data we have collected ourselves. Our hope is that by making it available to you and to the journalists and scholars who follow the campaign most closely, we’ll help produce new insights on the ways it has been pursued thus far, and the direction it will take going forward. Below, you will find a form for submitting comments and corrections. Please make use of it.
In the meantime, a few preliminary observations drawn from our data as it stood the day we published. We update our database daily:
This should give them the confidence and stimulus to put these rules in place."
Under the previous IOC guidelines, approved in 2003, athletes who transitioned from male to female or vice versa were required to have reassignment surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy to be eligible to compete. Now, surgery will no longer be required, with female-to-male transgender athletes eligible to take part in men's competitions "without restriction".
Meanwhile, male-to-female transgender athletes will need to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain cut-off point for at least one year before their first competition.
"The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition."
"To require surgical anatomical changes as a precondition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights," it added.
HANOI, January 25 -- Indian officials say their country will set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in southern Vietnam that will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth observation satellites that cover the region - including China and the South China Sea.
The move could heighten tensions between the two countries and Beijing. Both states have long-running territorial disputes with China.
India also extended a $100m credit line for Hanoi to buy patrol boats and is training Vietnamese submariners in India, while Hanoi has granted oil exploration blocks to India in waters off Vietnam that are disputed with China.
The facility will be equipped to receive images from India's Earth observation satellites that Vietnam can use in return for granting India the tracking site, said an Indian government official connected with the space programme.
"This is a sort of quid pro quo which will enable Vietnam to receive IRS [Indian remote sensing] pictures directly - that is, without asking India," said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media. "Obviously it will include parts of China of interest to Vietnam."
Earth observation satellites have agricultural, scientific and environmental applications, but can also provide military intelligence. Indian media put the cost of the station at about $23m.
India - whose 54-year-old space programme is accelerating with one satellite launch scheduled every month - has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight. The Vietnam facility will bolster those capabilities, said Deviprasad Karnik, an Indian Space Research Organisation spokesman, according to Reuters news agency.
India has 11 earth observation satellites in orbit, offering pictures with differing resolutions and areas, the ISRO said. Vietnam is one of several Southeast Asian nations involved in a territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea.
Beijing has accelerated its construction of man-made islands in the disputed waters to assert its claim to the sea, which is believed to hold vast oil and natural gas reserves. Earlier in January, Vietnam accused China of violating its sovereignty when it landed a plane on an airstrip built on an artificial island in the Spratly archipelago.
China's foreign ministry rejected the complaint, arguing that the flight was a matter "completely within China's sovereignty".
RIYADH, January 3 -- A war of words has broken out between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Riyadh announced that Shia religious figure Nimr al-Nimr was among 47 men it had executed on terrorism charges.
The Saudi interior ministry announced the executions on Saturday, listing the names of the 47 killed, all of whom had been convicted on charges of terrorism.
The government said those convicted had plotted or participated in attacks against residential compounds and government buildings.
Nimr, who led anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia's east, was previously convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. Nimr did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia faced "divine revenge" over Nimr's execution, saying the religious leader "neither invited people to take up arms nor hatched covert plots. The only thing he did was public criticism."
The Iranian foreign ministry had earlier condemned Nimr's execution, calling it "the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility" on the part of the Saudi government.
"The Saudi government will pay a heavy price for adopting such policies," said Hossein Jaber Ansari, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman.
In response, Saudi Arabia summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest against the Tehran's reaction to the execution. The Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement that by condemning the execution, Iran had "revealed its true face represented in support for terrorism".
The statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, accused Tehran of "blind sectarianism" and said that "by its defence of terrorist acts" Iran is a "partner in their crimes in the entire region". Saudi Arabian Ministry of Justice spokesman Mansour al-Qufari defended the executions. "The judiciary is objective and we deal objectively with the cases on merit," Qufari said. "There is no difference between what a person does regardless of his ethnic origin or affiliation, or what he believes. We deal with facts and criminal intent."
Hussain al-Shobokshi, a prominent Saudi columnist, told Al Jazeera that Saudi authorities did not differentiate between "Shia source of terror and Sunni source of terror". "[Saudi Arabia] made sure it saw no difference between any form of terror, as long as it was threatening its people and its economy," he said.
BEIJING, January 3 -- China’s enormous Divine Eagle UAV is larger than the U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk, recently released satellite imagery suggests.
While China’s UAVs are getting better, if not bigger, little is known about one of its latest models.
Photos of China’s mysterious UAV appeared in May and June while a concept of operations along with payload specs was released earlier in February.
The Divine Eagle (or Shen Diao) is built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation’s601 Institute and will operate as a high altitude long endurance surveillance drone helping defend China’s airspace against would-be adversaries.
China’s concept of operations suggests the drone will provide early warning against enemy aircraft and support the battle management mission directing friendly targeting of enemy carrier groups. A recent space snapshot acquired by DigitalGlobe shows the twin-fuselage, single-engine drone parked on the south end of Shenyang’s runway, possibly indicative of pre-post flight activity. Although, the activity could also suggest taxi trials, it was rumored that the aircraft’s first test flight occurred sometime in December, according to Chinese internet sources.
Imagery also confirmed details about the drone’s specific characteristics. Measurements taken in Google Earth would indicate a wingspan and length of approximately 40 and 15 meters, respectively. With its large size and aft-mounted high aspect ratio wings, it’s suspected to have a take off weight over 15 tons, which would be larger than the Global Hawk, just over 14.5 tons.
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