[An Nahar] Sudanese troops clashed with South Sudanese forces along their restive border, South Sudan's army said Thursday, a day ahead of planned talks between the presidents of the two rival nations.
Sudanese planes also dropped bombs as the rival forces clashed on Wednesday in South Sudan's remote north Raja region in Western Bahr el-Ghazal state, said the South's army front man Philip Aguer.
"They attacked on Wednesday, and the fighting continued until late in the afternoon.... It is a remote region so we are still awaiting updates on casualties," he said.
United Nations ...an idea whose time has gone... peacekeepers could not confirm the reports and the claims could not be independently verified.
Sudanese army officials could not immediately be reached.
The accusations come ahead of a meeting scheduled for Friday between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and eventually appointed himself president-for-life. He has fallen out with his Islamic mentor, Hasan al-Turabi, tried to impose shariah on the Christian and animist south, resulting in its secessesion, and attempted to Arabize Darfur by unleashing the barbaric Janjaweed on it. Sudan's potential prosperity has been pissed away in warfare that has left as many as 400,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced. Omar has been indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court but nothing is expected to come of it. and South Sudan's Salva Kiir, to push stalled economic and security deals, including a demilitarized border buffer zone.
However, man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them... South Sudan's Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Kiir was still committed to the talks.
"The talks will still take place as planned, we have given our word and we are committed to them," Benjamin told AFP.
"Our chief negotiator Pagan Amum is already in Addis Ababa.... This summit is important because we want to ensure the full implementation of the agreements we have already signed."
State-owned Sudan News Agency (SUNA) announced that Sudan's president will also attend the scheduled talks.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has been accused of taking 10 billion Egyptian pounds (U.S. $1.5 billion) from the American government, according to claims by Egyptian lawyers.
An immediate investigation into the accusation was ordered by Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah on Thursday.
The lawyers, Mohamed Ali Abd al-Wahab and Yasser Mohamed Sayab, filed the complaint against the Muslim Brotherhood for the allegedly illegal money transaction, Egypt's private daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Jan. 3.
The complaint noted that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the recent U.S. presidential election, had said that $1.5 billion was given to support Egypt's Brotherhood by the Obama administration.
In addition, the lawyers accused the Muslim Brotherhood of having armed mercenaries or a "third party," who have instigated violence during and after the revolutionary uprising in the country.
The armed mercenaries are trained in the desert, which lies between the city of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh in Egypt, the lawyers alleged.
[Libya Herald] The head of the Benghazi Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Abdulsalam Al-Mihdawi, was kidnapped yesterday evening in Benghazi by an unknown group of gunnies.
Sources told the Libya Herald that Mihdawi and two colleagues were waiting in their vehicle at a traffic light on Venezia Street in the Hawari district of Benghazi when two masked gunnies jumped out of a nearby car and seized the officer.
Shortly after the incident was reported, local police organised search squads to check nearby roads for any sign of the officer or his kidnappers, and later that evening, residents of Benghazi and officers from the security forces gathered outside the Tebesti hotel to condemn the abduction.
Today, the head of Benghazi's local council, Mahmoud Buraziza, told the Libya Herald that the council and city authorities strongly condemned the incident, saying: "We are against killing, kidnapping or any such crimes, and we are firmly on the side of the law."
Buraziza also pointed out that Mihdawi had only recently been appointed to his post in the CID in Benghazi.
[An Nahar] One of the armed Islamist groups occupying northern Mali, Ansar Dine, said Thursday it was revoking a pledge to end hostilities made last month during peace negotiations in Algeria.
"Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) has decided to revoke the offer to stop hostilities together with the negotiations being conducted in Ouagadougou," said Ansar Dine's leader, Iyad Ag Ghaly, in a statement published by Mauritanian news agency Sahara Medias.
The Ouagadougou talks are being led by Burkina Faso ...The country in west Africa that they put where Upper Volta used to be. Its capital is Oogadooga, or something like that. Its president is currently Blaise Compaoré, who took office in 1987 and may be in the process of being chased out now... President Blaise Compaore, west Africa's chief mediator for the crisis in Mali, where Islamists seized control of the north in the wake of a March 22 coup.
The Ansar Dine statement lashed out at the Malian government, saying it had given nothing in return for the promise to end hostilities and was instead busy "recruiting mercenaries" to fight in the north of Mali.
The U.N. Security Council on December 20 approved the deployment of an international force in Mali to reclaim the north, but did not give a precise timetable and said the troops should be sent in stages.
The Security Council also insisted on the need for dialogue with gangs in the north that reject terrorism and the partition of the country.
The day after the Council's decision, Ansar Dine and another gang in the north, the ethnic-Tuareg separatist movement MNLA, announced they were ready to put down their weapons and negotiate with the Malian transitional government.
Ansar Dine's leader said Thursday that the pledge to end hostilities had been "torn out" of his delegation during "rough negotiations".
He said he was still open to "new negotiations, even if (Ansar Dine) has never detected a willingness from the other party to reciprocate".
[An Nahar] Nigerian soldiers have killed five gunnies believed to belong to the Islamist group Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... while losing a soldier and a policeman during a gunbattle in the country's volatile northeast, the military said on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, the military front man in Maiduguri, the hotbed of the Boko Haram's insurgency, said the gunnies had attacked the troops at Marte on Wednesday.
Marte is 100 kilometers from Maiduguri and is on the border with Cameroon.
"In the process, one soldier, one police personnel and five gunniesbit the dust during an exchange of fire," Musa said in a statement.
He said that arms and ammunition, including two AK 47 rifles, one locally made double barrel gun and three magazines loaded with 35 rounds of assorted ammunition, were recovered.
[An Nahar] Heavily armed gunnies killed four people in an attack Thursday that burnt a cop shoppe and a government building in a northeastern Nigerian town, police said.
The gunnies attacked the cop shoppe in the town of Song near the border with Cameroon and engaged soldiers and coppers in a shootout, police front man Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.
"A coppers, a soldier and two non-combatants were killed in the attack on the divisional cop shoppe in Song around 1:00 am today by unknown gunnies," Ibrahim said.
"The gunnies used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the attack in which the cop shoppe and nearby local government secretariat were burnt."
Two civilians were maimed in the attack, he added. The attackers fled, but police and military teams deployed in the area were in search of the gunnies, according to Ibrahim.
Islamist beturbanned goon group Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... has carried out deadly attacks in Adamawa state, where Song is located, although armed robbers also commit crimes under the guise of the group.
Border towns in Adamawa state have previously been hit by robbery gangs.
Saudi Arabia has provided fighter jets to assist the United States with its drone strikes against Al-Qaeda targets in Yemen, the London Times reported on Friday.
Front page at the Times website but you need to be a subscriber.
US drones are backing Yemeni forces combating militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The group's Yemen branch is considered by Washington to be the most active and deadliest franchise of the global jihadist network.
The Times cited a US intelligence source as saying that "some of the so-called drone missions are actually Saudi Air Force missions".
US drone attacks in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, according to the Washington-based think tank New America Foundation, and for the first time totalled more than in Pakistan last year.
...Some - SOME - of the RSAF's stick actuators are pretty good, at least as good as our guys. One of 'em got two kills during Desert Storm, tho there's some evidence to indicate he was handed the second one to make the RSAF look good. On the other hand, they never forget they're Muslim first and 21st century human beings second. During DS, a bunch of Saudi Tornado crews had a bad habit of salvoing their bombs into the desert rather than drop them on a fellow Muslim.
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski ||
[An Nahar] A new U.S. drone strike on Thursday killed three al-Qaeda suspects in the town of Rada in Yemen's central al-Bayda province, the site of similar recent attacks, tribal sources there said.
Mukbel Abbad, brother-in-law of Tareq al-Dahab who led the al-Qaeda gunnies in a brief January 2012 raid on Rada, was killed along with two other suspects, the sources said. "They're dead, Jim!"
Abbad was a "leading" al-Qaeda figure, one source said.
On Saturday, a similar drone strike killed three suspected bully boyz in the same region, in what was the fourth attack in one week.
Thursday's attack brings to 14 the number of al-Qaeda suspects killed in Yemen since December 24, when attacks by the unmanned planes on targets in al-Bayda and the eastern Hadramawt province were stepped up.
Dahab, who led the al-Qaeda gunnies in the January raid on the town, was rubbed out in February 2012 by his half-brother, who a tribal chief said was hired by Yemeni authorities.
Dahab's other brother-in-law was U.S.-born holy man Anwar al-Awlaqi, who was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in September.
[Bangla Daily Star] Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir ... the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh... fiercely clashed with police in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country, leaving at least 30 people injured yesterday.
During the festivities, Jamaat-Shibir men charged cocktails, damaged vehicles and threw brick chips at the law enforcers, forcing them to fire rubber bullets and teargas canisters, and charge batons.
In Dhaka, at least 10 people were maimed as chases and counter chases took place between the activists and police at Motijheel and Mohakhali areas in the morning.
Around 100 Shibir men brought out a procession at Motijheel around 10:30 am. As police tried to intercept the procession, the activists fled blasting several cocktails, said Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner (DC) of Motijheel Division.
They hurled brick chips at police and vandalised at least five vehicles in the area, he added.
Police tossed in the slammer Drop the rod and step away witcher hands up! a Shibir activist when around 150 Jamaat-Shibir men were locked in chase and counter chase with the law enforcers near Mohakhali flyover around 10:00 am, said Ashraful Islam, officer-in-charge (OC) of Banani Police Station.
Our Rajshahi correspondent reports, at least 20 people were maimed, two by rubber bullets, during a clash between the activists and police near Sonadighi intersection yesterday afternoon.
[Dawn] A suspected Pak al Qaeda operative accused of planning attacks in the United States, Britannia and Norway was on Thursday extradited to the US, the interior ministry in London announced.
"We can confirm that today, January 3, Abid Naseer was extradited to America where he is accused of terrorism offences. His case is now a matter for the US authorities," a statement from the Home Office said.
The 26-year-old is wanted by the US authorities over allegations that he provided material support to al Qaeda and conspired to use explosives.
He was named as a suspect in an alleged transatlantic plot directed by Pak-based al Qaeda groups, which included an attempt to bomb the New York subway in 2009.
Naseer was originally locked away Drop the rosco, Muggsy, or you're one with the ages! in Britannia along with 10 other Pak men in 2009 over a suspected bomb plot. But they were released without charge after prosecutors said there was not enough evidence, and ordered to be deported.
An immigration judge subsequently ruled that despite Naseer being "an al Qaeda operative who posed and still poses a serious threat", he could not be returned to Pakistain as his safety could not be guaranteed.
Two months after his release, in July 2010, Naseer was arrested again on a US arrest warrant.
In January last year, a judge approved Naseer's extradition to the United States.
He appealed to the European Court of Human Rights but his case was thrown out in December.
Metropolitan Police officers on Thursday escorted Naseer from Belmarsh Prison to London's Luton Airport where he was taken into custody by US authorities.
For a map, click here.For a map of Zacatecas state click here.
By Chris Covert
A Mexican Army unit with the 97th Infantry Battalion exchanged gunfire with armed suspects Wednesday afternoon, killing 12 in Zacatecas state, according to Mexican news accounts.
According to a news item posted on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily, an army detachment was dispatched to El Capul√≠n hill near the village of Almoloya in Rio Grande municipality Wednesday afternoon on anonymous complaints of armed suspects in the area.
According to the article, armed suspects were travelling in a convoy when the army unit appeared and exchanged gunfire. Among the dead were two women. An undisclosed number of other suspects were detained as well.
Seized in the aftermath were 11 rifles including AR-15 and AK-47 rifles, weapons magazines, five grenade launchers, ammunition, satellite radio equipment, drugs and several Humvees.
The army operation was unusual in that the ground unit was supported by helicopters.
Meanwhile in Fresnillo municipality a Mexican naval infantry unit detained 18 suspects in a counternarcotics sweep last Monday.
Among those detained was an unidentified female with a newborn baby in her arms. Twelve of the suspects detained were minors. Contraband seized included nine rifles, two handguns, six weapons magazines, 268 rounds of ammunition, two grenade launchers, 37.245 kilograms of marijuana, personal quantities of cocaine and marijuana, and three vehicles.
Two days later criminal groups in Fresnillo municipality threw up several narcobloqueos or roadblocks in response to naval infantry operations in the area.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
A teenage Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education has been released from hospital.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham officials said Friday that Malala Yousufzai will be treated as an outpatient before being readmitted for further cranial re-constructive surgery at the end of the month, or in early February.
Experts have been optimistic that Yousufzai, who was airlifted to Britain from Pakistan to receive specialized medical care, has a good chance of recovery because the brains of teenagers are still growing and can better adapt to trauma.
Dr. Dave Rosser says her medical team decided she'd benefit from being at home with her family.
Malala was returning home from school in Pakistan last year when she was targeted.
[Dawn] The guards posted at Torkham border here on Wednesday sent back hundreds of Afghan nationals to Afghanistan when they failed to produce legal travel documents.
The border guards and immigration staff at Torkham have intensified checking of passports and visas of Afghan nationals, entering Pakistain for multiple purposes, after Afghan police tortured 29 Pak labourers and three transporters on December 22 and 28 respectively.
The Afghan officials, posted at the other side of the border, made announcements through loudspeakers and urged their countrymen to go back if they didn't possess valid passports and visas.
Both the countries had agreed after the three incidents of torture of each other's nationals by police and sleuths of intelligence agencies for no apparent reason that neither side would allow its people to cross the border without legal travelling documents.
Ambulances carrying patients and Pak-Afghan Friendship Bus were also returned to Pakistain by the Afghan guards after Pak authorities denied entry to Afghan nationals without documents.
The Pak officials had closed the border on December 22 and December 28 to protest the ill-treatment of Paks at the hands of Afghan police near Kabul. Unidentified persons also forcibly disembarked some Afghan nationals from vehicles and beat them near Torkham border on December 27 when they were on their way to Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
[Dawn] Five students were maimed slightly when an bomb went off at University of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. (UoP) here on Wednesday, sources said.
The blast created panic at UoP as students staged a protest demonstration after the incident, alleging that the campus had become unsafe. The protesting students also demanded suspension of officials at Campus cop shoppe for their failure to protect students.
About one kilogram of explosives were used in the blast occurred in the conference hall of Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies, UoP, Campus cop shoppe SHO Saidullah Afirdi told Dawn.
However, by candlelight every wench is handsome... UoP spokesperson claimed that nobody was injured in the blast as the conference hall was empty at the time of kaboom. He said that the blast caused damage to the furniture, doors and windows of the hall and a nearby computer laboratory.
An official of bomb disposal squad said that the explosives were packed in a plastic container. "We found ball bearings from the blast site that created a crater and also caused a three feet wide hole in a corner of the wall of the main hall," he said, adding it was a time device, which went off after midday.
The UoP spokesperson said that the conference hall was used for faculty meetings and defence of theses by PhD scholars and researchers. He said that situation was under control and routine academic activities would continue as per schedule on the campus.
A teacher said that about five boys and girl students were maimed slightly in the blast. They were hit by broken glasses of the windowpanes but they seemed traumatised after the incident, he added.
Sources said that the injured students were taken to Khyber Teaching Hospital for treatment. They were identified as Naheed Afridi, Mehnaz, Nasira, Sundas and Mohammad Tayyeb. However, by candlelight every wench is handsome... they were discharged after giving first aid at the hospital, sources said.
It was second incident of kaboom on the UoP campus as the first kaboom had taken place in a laboratory of geology department on Dec 27 wherein two professors and a girl student had sustained injuries.
A reliable source said that the UoP campus had become an accessible place for suspected hard boyz as they collected donations in the university mosques, spoke to people and also displayed banners and posters with no check from the authorities concerned.
Besides, he said, there was no check on the stay of outsiders in the university hostels. The administration was avoiding taking action against them, he added.
"We have time and again suggested that all the outsiders should be expelled from the campus but to no avail," a police official said. He added that police had no authority to expel anyone without permission of the relevant officials of the university.
The UoP spokesperson, however, rejected presence of outsiders in the hostels and said that no outsider was living permanently there.
Prof Shfiqur Rehmn, a senior university teacher, told Dawn that it was the second incident of its kind within a week. The teachers were concerned over the prevailing situation, he added.
"The teachers feel that the message is clear that such places are also not safe any longer," he said. The UoP administration tried to downplay the blasts occurred in a laboratory of geology department and the recent incident of the same nature, the teacher said. The reasons could be only that the administration did not want to create panic among the students, he added.
After the blast, students affiliated with various organizations staged a protest against the incident. They rolled their eyes, jumped up and down, and hollered poorly rhymed slogans real loud against the university administration and officials of Campus cop shoppe for their failure to provide security to the students.
[Dawn] Two coppers were bumped off during a robbery in Orangi Town on Wednesday.
Police said the killing took place under the Banaras bridge, where four to five suspects riding three cycle of violences intercepted a hi-roof vehicle (CR-6769) belonging to the Pakistain Post Office (PPO).
The suspects shot at the two police constables -- Naeem Ahmed, 30, and Mohammad Rizwan, 32 -- within the Pirabad cop shoppe remit and escaped with Rs80,000 and a police AK-47 rifle.
The coppers suffered fatal gunshot wounds, one in the head and the other in the neck, which caused their instant deaths, said DIG-West Asif Aijaz Sheikh.
The bodies were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities.
"The coppers were shot on resistance. However, alcohol has never solved anybody's problems. But then, neither has milk... the amount taken away was not clear," the DIG said.
He said the vehicle belonging to the PPO was returning after collecting cash from different post offices in Orangi Town and was heading to the general post office.
The two coppers were deputed with the van for security.
They were posted at the Security Zone, the police said. They said a 9mm pistol was used in the shooting.
Funeral prayers for the coppers will be held at the Security HQ, Hassan Square, at 11am on Thursday.
On Tuesday, the very first day of the year, an assistant sub-inspector posted at the anti-violent crime cell was rubbed out in the SITE area.
Twin brothers attacked
Twin brothers were targeted, one was killed and the other maimed, in Lyari, within the remit of the Kalri cop shoppe, on Wednesday morning.
Police said the incident took place at the intersection of Mirza Adam Khan Road and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Road, where the twins were getting their vehicle tyres checked at a tyre shop when two suspects riding a cycle of violence targeted them, Lyari ...one of the eighteen constituent towns of the city of Karachi. It is the smallest town by area in the city but also the most densely populated. Lyari has few schools, substandard hospitals, a poor water system, limited infrastructure, and broken roads. It is a stronghold of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. Ubiquitous gang activity and a thriving narcotics industry make Lyari one of the most disturbed places in Karachi, which is really saying a lot.... SP Sarfaraz Nawaz said. The suspects escaped.
One of the twins, Jamal Jafar Qadri, 22, suffered a fatal gunshot wound and died before he could be taken to hospital while his brother, Haider Latif Qadri, 22, was maimed in the firing.
The maimed were rushed to the Lyari General Hospital from where he was referred to the Civil Hospital Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
"The twins were heading to college to appear in their BA examination when they were targeted," the SP said.
The motive for the attack was unclear.
Banker rubbed out
A banker was rubbed out in the SITE area on Wednesday night.
Police said the killing took place near the Habib Bank traffic intersection within the remit of the SITE-A cop shoppe, where assailants riding a cycle of violence opened fire on the car (ASV-938) targeting Javed Aziz Memon.
The slain banker was a cousin of Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon.
The suspects escaped after the shooting. The victim was rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He's dead, Jim! on arrival.
Police said the victim was a manager of Al Baraka Bank's SITE branch. He was heading home from work.
"He was driving the car. Two shots were fired at his car. One hit the car's bonnet and the other pierced the victim's skull," DIG-West Asif Aijaz said.
Police were immediately not sure about the motive for the killing. "We are trying to ascertain if it was a car snatching attempt or assassination," the DIG added.
Sindh IG Fayyaz Leghari formed a three-member committee, comprising DIG-West Asif Aijaz Sheikh, SSP-CID Raja Umar Khattab and SSP-SITE to arrest the criminals within three days, said Sindh police front man Imran Shaukat.
Young man killed
A young man was rubbed out on Jamshed Road on Wednesday.
Police said the killing took place near the Usmania Hospital in front of the Bloody Karachi Central Jail, where assailants riding a cycle of violence targeted Rameezuddin, 22, who was also on a cycle of violence. The police said the victim suffered a gunshot wound in the head and died before he could be taken to hospital. They said they were unsure about the motive for the killing.
The decomposed body of a young man was found in the Christian graveyard of Ilyas Goth, Korangi Town, within the remit of the Ibrahim Hyderi cop shoppe on Wednesday morning.
Police shifted the body to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for medico-legal formalities.
The police said apparently the victim was kidnapped somewhere else before being killed. His body was dumped at graveyard.
The dead had two bullet holes in his head, the police said. The body was taken to the Edhi morgue for want of identification.
[An Nahar] Iraqi authorities on Thursday ordered the release of 11 female detainees facing criminal charges and vowed to transfer women prisoners to jails in their home provinces, in a move that addresses one of the main demands of a wave of protests by the country's Sunni minority against the Shiite-led government.
The demonstrations erupted nearly two weeks ago following the arrest of bodyguards assigned to Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi, one of the central government's most senior Sunni officials. The protests, however, tap into deeper Sunni grievances of perceived discrimination by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ... Prime Minister of Iraq and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party.... 's government.
Justice Ministry front man Haider al-Saadi said the female detainees' families can secure their relative's release by paying bail. He added that 13 Sunni women convicted of criminal charges will be transferred from a Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... jail to other prisons in their home provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin and Ninevah to complete their sentences there.
A day earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he asked the judicial authorities to accelerate efforts to resolve the cases of the detainees, adding that a special committee was formed to end the issue of female prisoners.
At least 12 Shiite Muslim pilgrims were killed on Thursday in Iraq when a car bomb exploded in the city of al-Hillah, south of the capital Baghdad, police said.
Some 43 were injured in the attack, which targeted a convoy of pilgrims were returning from the Arbaeen pilgrimage that commemorates 40 days after the slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed, police said, dpa reported.
Millions of pilgrims attended this year's ceremony, including 750,000 from other countries, according to security officials.
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction are holding celebrations in Gaza to mark its 48th anniversary.
The rival Hamas movement, which governs Gaza, allowed Fatah to hold its first mass rally there since Hamas ousted Fatah's forces five years ago.
Last month, supporters of Hamas celebrated their movement's founding with a rare rally in the West Bank.
The moves are part of measures to heal a deep rift between the two sides.
Hamas came to power in Gaza after winning Palestinian elections in 2006 and ousting Fatah from the coastal enclave in clashes the following year.
In a pre-recorded message played on giant screens, President Abbas said: "Victory is near and we will meet you in Gaza in the near future," AFP news agency reported.
"Gaza was the first Palestinian territory rid of [Israeli] occupation and settlement and we want a lifting of the blockade so that it can be free and linked to the rest of the nation," he said from his West Bank power-base.
Sea of yellow
Huge crowds, carrying the yellow flags of the Fatah movement and pictures of Mr Abbas, streamed into Gaza City, the climax to a week of smaller celebrations across the strip marking Fatah's first attack against Israel.
Continue reading the main story
Fatah officials said half a million supporters turned out. Hamas put the figure at 200,000.
"The message today is that Fatah cannot be wiped out," Amal Hamad, a member of the group's ruling body, told Reuters news agency.
"Fatah lives, no-one can exclude it and it seeks to end the division."
Mr Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, but it has not been implemented.
[An Nahar] Furious combat raged around the main airport and a military airbase in northern Syria on Thursday, a day after the United Nations ...a formerly good idea gone bad... gave a staggering toll of 60,000 dead in the 21-month civil war.
Insurgents besieged troops on the perimeter of Aleppo's international airport and around Taftanaz airbase in Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The airport in Aleppo, the hard fought-over main city in northern Syria, has been closed since Tuesday after repeated attacks by rebels, according to an airport official.
Hundreds of fighters from two hardline Islamist rebel groups, the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, battled soldiers around the Taftanaz airbase, the Britannia-based Observatory said as regime warplanes pounded rebel positions.
The rebels had remotely detonated a bomb at one of the base's gates the day before but were pushed back by the army, according to both the Observatory and a military source inside the airbase.
The military source told Agence La Belle France Presse that festivities outside Taftanaz had been non-stop for more than 48 hours and there had been a large number of rebel casualties.
Three rebels were also killed by troops around the Deir Ezzor military airport, as fighting broke out in the lovely provincial capital in the east of the country.
In the town of Mleha, just east of Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... , bodies were being recovered from a service station hit by a regime air strike on Wednesday.
The Observatory said at least 12 bodies were recovered, several of them rebels. The Local Coordination Committees, a grassroots network of activists, estimated that at least 50 people died in the attack.
The Observatory said 160 people were killed in violence across Syria on Thursday, including 72 civilians, almost half of whom were women and kiddies, a day after 219 died nationwide.
Meanwhile, ...back at the sea battle, the Terror of the Baltic's career had come to an abrupt and watery end... a 33-truck aid convoy organized by Turkish and Qatari relief groups left Istanbul on Thursday carrying 850 tonnes of flour.
"Assad's regime is bombing the bakeries and there is a very huge need for flour in Syria," Huseyin Oruc, the vice-president of Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, said.
The overall estimated corpse count of 60,000 in the Syria conflict has unsettled observers.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday called it "truly shocking" as she revealed a vetted U.N. tally nearly a third higher than that previously compiled by the Observatory.
"The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking," she said.
"Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013," Pillay added.
The average number of deaths recorded in recent months was five times that registered mid-2011, reflecting intensifying viciousness and an increased resort by the government to air strikes.
Pillay said that "this massive loss of life could have been avoided" if the government of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad The Scourge of Hama... had not chosen the "ruthless suppression" of what initially were peaceful protests.
Karim Bitar, an analyst at the Gay Paree-based Institute for International and Strategic Relations, was skeptical that the new U.N. toll would have a political impact, however.
"The world has become unfortunately so toughened to these figures, sort of anesthetized. There is this terrible Stalin quote: 'One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic'," he said.
staggering toll of 60,000 dead
Roughly 1/5 the casualties of the Somme. Over the course of a July thru November. It should give pause to the head hammers that when the west goes full crazy, it's not pretty.
[An Nahar] An exchange of gunfire erupted on Thursday evening in Sidon between members of the Popular Nasserite Organization led by ex-MP Osama Saad and the Hizbullah-affiliated Resistance Brigades, leaving one person dead and three others maimed.
Future TV said "fierce festivities erupted in the Nazlet Sidon area between a group belonging to the Popular Nasserite Organization and another belonging to 'Hizbullah's brigades'."
It added that one person was killed and two others were maimed in the clash.
Al-Jadeed television said the army deployed heavily in the area, reporting the same casualty toll.
"A clash between Mahmoud Bazaza and Abu Rabih al-Masri erupted in Sidon's Nazlet Sidon area, which resulted in the death of Mohammed Birar, who belongs to the Resistance That'd be the Hezbullies, natch... Brigades," state-run National News Agency reported later.
"At once, an army force and members of the Internal Security Forces deployed in the area," NNA said.
Meanwhile, ...back at the palazzo, Count Guido had escaped from his bonds and overwhelmed his guard using the bludgeon the faithful Filomena had smuggled to him in the loaf of bread... LBCI television said "a supporter of the Popular Nasserite Organization was maimed in the leg as gunfire erupted in Nazlet Sidon."
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.