page 7.qxd - Greater Jammu

Group linked to ISIS says it's behind assault on Libyan Hotel
Militants claiming allegiance to the Islamic State
said they were responsible
for an armed assault on a
luxury hotel that killed at
least five people here on
Tuesday, the most significant in a string of terrorist
attacks against Western
interests and government
institutions in the capital
since the ouster of Col.
Muammar el-Qaddafi more
than three years ago.
Four or five gunmen
stormed the hotel, the
Corinthia, in the early
morning, firing their guns
into the lobby, battling
guards, and shooting at
least one Filipino woman
and possibly other civilians,
according to news reports
and people in contact with
associates inside the hotel.
Fighters wearing black
uniforms labeled "police"
and loyal to the Tripoli government - one of two rival
governments now fighting
for control of Libya -
Battles continue outside Syria's
Kobani after Kurds claim victory
Kurdish forces battled
Islamic State fighters outside Kobani on Tuesday, a
monitoring group said, a
day after Kurds said they
had taken full control of the
northern Syrian town following a four-month battle.
Known as Ayn al-Arab
in Arabic, the mainly
Kurdish town close to the
Turkish border has become
a focal point in the international fight against Islamic
State, an al Qaeda offshoot
that has spread across Syria
and Iraq.
There were clashes to
the southeast and southwest
of Kobani, the Britainbased Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights said,
although it added the
Kurdish People's Protection
Units (YPG) had managed
to recapture a village outside the town.
The YPG said on
Monday Kobani had been
"completely liberated" from
Islamic State, which it
referred to using the pejorative
"Daesh". "The defeat of
Daesh in Kobani will be the
beginning of the end for the
group," a statement on its
website said. Islamic State
still has fighters in hundreds of nearby villages.
The Observatory reported
airstrikes around Kobani on
Tuesday, and on Monday
the Pentagon said the fight
for the town was not yet
over. Islamic State supporters denied the group had
responded to the attack,
cordoning off streets and
surrounding the hotel. Their
forces entered a long standoff with assailants still
inside. A car exploded in
the hotel parking lot,
although it was unclear
whether the cause was a car
bomb, a rocket-propelled
grenade or some kind of
The hotel, one of the
most luxurious in Tripoli,
the capital, is a hub for foreign tourists and businessmen visiting Libya, and it
also houses the offices of
several foreign embassies.
But most foreigners have
fled as the country has
descended into chaos and
armed conflict since last
summer. Libyans who do
business in the hotel said it
was largely empty when the
attack began.
An unnamed hotel
Associated Press that
guests, including British,
Italian and Turkish visitors,
had fled out the back as the
attackers entered the lobby.
There were initial reports
that some of the attackers
had taken hostages. By
midday, however, security
officials interviewed on
Libyan television said that
there were no hostages and
that at least two of the
attackers had been killed.
A group calling itself the
Tripoli Province of the
Islamic State, the extremist
group that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq,
issued a statement on social
media claiming responsibility for the attack just as it
was beginning. The group
portrayed the assault as
retaliation for the abduction
last year by American commandos of a Libyan Qaeda
operative, Nazih AbdulHamed al-Ruqai, also
known as Abu Anas al-Libi.
North Korea conducts military
drill amidst tension with US
SEOUL, JAN 27: North Korean leader
Kim Jong-un has overseen a large-scale
military exercise of infantry troops and
weapons in a show of force that comes at
a time of high tension with the United
States, the state news agency KCNA
reported Tuesday.
During the manoeuvres, Kim urged
the troops "to achieve victory in the confrontation with the United States" and
"eliminate merciless aggressors should
they dare to make a pre-emptive strike",
the agency said.
The military exercises which took
place along the country`s western coast
and were also overseen by senior officers
of the People`s Army featured large numbers of tanks and rocket launchers in live
fire exercises.
North Korea`s KCTV also reported the
war games and emphasised the claim that
the US aimed to overthrow the country`s
rigid Communist regime.
US President Barack Obama said last
week that it would be the internet and not
the military or conflict that would bring
down the government of North Korea
since it would break the isolation to
which the country subjects its population.
Relations between the two countries
have deteriorated since the November
cyber attack on Sony Pictures
blamed on Pyongyang over the release of
the film "The Interview", a comedy
which pokes fun at Kim Jong-un.
Washington this month authorised new
sanctions on North Korean organisations
and threatened to put the country once
again on the list of nations that sponsor
terrorism, escalating tensions between
the two.
Pyongyang has denied involvement in
the cyber attack and in the past months
intensified its aggressive rhetoric against
the US. (Agencies)
Commuters make their way in New York's Times Square during a snow storm. (Agencies)
'Historic' winter storm
churns up blizzards but EU calls for stance
also sighs of relief as against anti-Semitism
BRUSSELS : People around the world must inform the generpunch less severe
ations born after the Holocaust about the terrible events and
From New York suburbs to
Maine fishing ports, much
of the East Coast faced a
winter lockdown Tuesday
as a wind-whipped storm billed in advance as a "historic" blizzard - closed airports, shut down subway
and rail lines and turned
cities into snowy ghost
towns. But there also was
something of a collective
sigh of relief. The warnings
of a monster whiteout
appeared to fall short, especially in New York and
points south. The National
Weather Service said the
storm moved faster - and
farther out to sea - than earlier tracking forecasts. The
result was still an impressive display of winter
wrath. Snowfall up to twofeet deep was expected in
some of the hardest-hit
areas from eastern Long
Island to Maine. (Agencies)
Airlines halt flights to Baghdad Indonesian military halts search for
Victims of AirAsia crash
after gunfire hits plane
DUBAI, JAN 27: Several
airlines suspended flights
to Baghdad on Tuesday
after a passenger plane
Mideast's busiest airport
in Dubai came under fire
as it landed in the Iraqi
A prolonged disruption
in flights could seriously
limit travel options for
Iraqi travelers and overseas
diplomats and aid workers
who rely on foreign carriers to deliver them to larger international transit
hubs, particularly in the
oil-rich Gulf.
Minister Bayan Jabr said
authorities believe the
shooting was unintentional - possibly from someone firing off rounds at a
social event such as a
wedding or funeral - but
they are not ruling out the
possibility that it was an
intentional terrorist attack.
He said three rounds
struck the plane, including
one that penetrated the
passenger cabin, and that a
girl onboard was slightly
Security was tightened
around the airport after the
shooting. Officials have
examined the location
from where they believe
the shots were fired, Jabr
said, as he urged airlines
to resume flights to Iraq.
FlyDubai said flight 215
was struck on the fuselage
by what appeared to
small-arms fire as it
touched down Monday.
All passengers were able
to disembark normally and
none required medical
attention at the airport, the
Dubai government-owned
Hundreds of South Sudan
child soldiers freed: UNICEF
JUBA, JAN 27: South
Sudanese rebels today
released 280 child soldiers,
the first batch of some 3,000
to be freed but with thousands
more still fighting, the UN
children's agency said. Some
12,000 children, mainly boys,
have been forcibly recruited
by armed groups across the
country in the past year alone
to fight, according to
Those freed included
some as young as 11, who
had been fighting for up to
four years and have never
attended school. "The first
group of 280 children were
released today, at the village
of Gumuruk in Jonglei state"
in the east of the country,
UNICEF said in a statement,
calling it "one of the largest
ever demobilisations of children". The remaining children will be released in the
weeks ahead. South Sudan,
the world's youngest nation,
has been locked in civil war
since December 2013 when
President Salva Kiir accused
his sacked deputy Riek
Machar of attempting a coup.
The fighting in the capital
Juba set off a cycle of retalia-
tory massacres across the
country. "These children have
been forced to do and see
things no child should ever
experience," UNICEF chief
in South Sudan Jonathan
Veitch said. The children
were in a rebel force led by
David Yau Yau, who heads
the South Sudan Democratic
Army (SSDA) Cobra Faction
insurgents, a small forced
based in the Pibor region of
Jonglei. Yau Yau launched his
rebellion in 2010 after losing
out on a seat in elections, a
year before South Sudan
became independent from
Sudan. Children freed are
being health checks, food,
clothing and education. The
UN is trying to reunify them
with their families, which it
called a "daunting task" in a
country where over two million have fled their homes to
escape fighting. Over a half
million of those people are
now refugees in neighbouring
nations. South Sudan's rival
leaders are to meet later this
week in Ethiopia in the latest
push by regional nations to
enforce a ceasefire already
agreed and broken six times.
carrier said.
back to Dubai were put on
a different plane. A
FlyDubai flight due to
depart to Baghdad on
Tuesday has been cancelled. The airline later
said it was working with
authorities to determine
what happened but that the
damage "at this early stage
appears to be non-intentional."
Affairs summoned the
express its concern over
the shooting and demanded that Iraqi authorities
launch a "comprehensive
investigation ... and take
necessary measures to
agreements on civil aviation safety," according to a
Indonesia's armed forces
on Tuesday officially halted the search for victims
from the AirAsia plane that
crashed into the Java Sea
last month, killing all 162
people aboard.
A civilian agency will
not abandon its search for
victims, but the military
has been the mainstay of
the operation.
A total of 92 people
remain unaccounted for
since the plane, an Airbus
A320-200 flying as Flight
8501, crashed on Dec. 28
less than an hour after taking off from the Indonesian
city of Surabaya, bound for
Search teams working
off ships recovered 70 bodies, most of which have
been identified by forensic
Surabaya and returned to
their families for burial.
"All ships have been
ordered to pull back to
base for consolidation. But
any time we will be
ordered to go back again,
we will be ready," said
First Adm. Manahan
Indonesian Navy divers,
fighting severe underwater
currents and giant surface
waves, had removed bodies from inside the sunken
fuselage, lying off the
southern coast of Borneo
Island, at a depth of around
100 feet. They also unsuccessfully attempted to raise
the fuselage to the surface.
Indonesian procedures
call for searches to be conducted for 30 days, and
Tuesday was the final day
of that period.
Families of the victims
had previously asked the
Obama seeks close, candid
ties to Saudi king: Aide
President Barack Obama
sought to cement ties with
Saudi Arabia as he came to
pay his respects on Tuesday
after the death of King
Abdullah, a trip that underscores the importance of a
U.S.-Saudi alliance that
extends beyond oil interests
to regional security.
Security Adviser Ben
Rhodes told reporters
Obama wanted to discuss
with the new Saudi King
Salman the fight against
Islamic State, the volatile
situation in Yemen and
talks on ending a long-running dispute about Iran's
nuclear ambitions.
"We do believe that
Saudi policy will remain
quite similar to how it's
been under King Abdullah,"
he said, adding Obama
wanted to forge the same
kind of "close relationship"
with Salman as he had with
his predecessor.
"They didn't always
agree, they were candid in
their differences, but they
were also were able to do a
lot of things together," he
Obama's visit comes as
Washington struggles with
worsening strife in the
Middle East, where it
counts Saudi Arabia among
its few steady partners in a
campaign against Islamic
State militants who have
seized swathes of Iraq and
headache worsened last
week with the resignation
of Yemen's government
after clashes in the capital
rebels -- a setback to U.S.
efforts to contain al Qaeda
in that country and to limit
the regional influence of
Shi'ite Muslim Iran.
The Yemen government's collapse is of deep
concern to Saudi Arabia
because of the long border
they share and because of
the advance of Iran, the
main regional rival of
Sunni Muslim Saudi
The Saudi role in rallying Arab support for action
with Western countries
against the Islamic State,
also known as ISIL or ISIS,
Washington, which along
with other Western nations
values the kingdom as an
important market for its
defense industries.
Following Abdullah's
death last week, Obama
will try to get relations
off to a smooth start with
King Salman, who takes
power after a period of
sometimes tense relations
Washington and Riyadh.
Showing how crucial the
Saudi alliance is for
Obama, he cut short his
visit to India to lead a
high-ranking delegation
to Riyadh. (Reuters)
Indonesian government to
continue searching until all
the victims were recovered.
The head of the navy's
western fleet, Rear Adm.
Widodo, who goes by one
name, told reporters on
Tuesday in the city of
Pangkalan Bun, on Borneo
Island, that there were no
bodies left in the fuselage,
the Jawa Pos news network
The city has served as a
base for search and recovery operations by military
and civilian teams. "We
apologize to the families of
the victims. We tried our
best to look for the missing
victims," Admiral Widodo
said, according to Reuters.
Because it was proving too
difficult to raise the fuselage to the surface, he said,
it would remain on the
Thai Junta Chief
defends controversial
cyber law plans
Thailand's junta chief
Tuesday defended proposals for a cyber law that critics say will grant the government
surveillance powers with
little judicial oversight. A
new law granting authorities the right to access
emails, telephone records,
computers and postal mail
without court approval -- if
they suspect national security is at risk -- is tabled for
discussion by the country's
rubber-stamp parliament.
The draft wording of the
legislation has alarmed
Internet rights groups in a
country which has already
seen press freedom and
restricted since the military
imposed martial law and
took over last May after
months of street protests.
But junta chief Prayut
Chan-O-Cha, appointed as
premier three months after
the coup, insisted the
National Cyber Security
Bill was a necessary tool to
educate them to take a stand against anti-Semitism and all
forms of discrimination, a senior official of the European Union
(EU) said Tuesday. In a statement to commemorate the
International Holocaust Memorial Day, EU foreign affairs chief
Federica Mogherini said she joined people all over the world
in commemorating a crime unparalleled in human history, in
which six million Jews as well as millions of other innocent victims were murdered in Nazi death camps. "Seventy years
after the Holocaust, there are Jewish communities in Europe
that again feel threatened," Xinhua news agency quoted her
as saying, noting that the latest terrorist attack on a kosher
supermarket in Paris, in which four people were killed, was a
grim reminder that violent anti-Semitism was still alive.
Mogherini said it was not enough to say "never again", adding
that people must turn these words into action. (Agencies)
China to invite Russian President Vladimir
Putin to witness a military parade
BEIJING: Close on the heels of India inviting US President
Barack Obama for its Republic Day parade, China announced
plans hold a major military parade and will be inviting Russian
President Vladimir Putin. Departing from a practice of conducting such events once in a decade, China will hold the military
parade this year in Beijing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of
the victories of World War II, official media here reported.
China will tighten security for the event, Fu Zhenghua, chief of
the Beijing Public Security Bureau was quoted as saying by
state run The Chinese Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Russian state leaders will attend the war commemoration, making this the first time that foreign state leaders will
attend a Chinese military parade. President Vladimir Putin is
likely to be present at the event. China usually holds a military
parade every 10 years to celebrate the founding of the
People's Republic of China in 1949. The most recent parade
was held in 2009. (PTI)
US official urges Thailand to lift martial law
BANGKOK: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian
and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel has urged the Thai government to end martial law that was decreed two days before the
military coup in May, media reported Tuesday. "Ending martial
law throughout the country and removing restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly are important steps as part of a
genuinely inclusive reform process that reflects the broad
diversity of views within the country," Russel said, according to
The Nation newspaper. The US envoy met Monday with
Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn and former prime
ministers Abhisit Vejjajiva and Yingluck Shinawatra to
exchange views on Thai politics after the military took over. On
Friday, the National Legislative Assembly, comprising a handful of people selected by the military government, imposed a
five-year political ban on Yingluck owing to a rice-subsidy controversy which led to considerable financial loss to the government between 2011 and 2014. "I`ll be blunt here: When an
elected leader is deposed, impeached by the authorities that
implemented the coup, and then targeted with criminal
charges while basic democratic processes and institutions are
interrupted, the international community is left with the impression that these steps could be politically driven," Russel commented.(Agencies)
Singapore to set up new cyber
security agency
SINGAPORE: The government will set up the Cyber Security
Agency (CSA) of Singapore from April 1, 2015. Formed
under the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the
CSA will provide dedicated and centralised overview of the
national cyber security functions. A statement from the PMO
said the CSA would consolidate and build upon the government's cyber security capabilities, including those currently
residing in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Infocomm
Development Authority (IDA), and focus on national cyber
security. These include strategy and policy development,
cyber security operations, industry development and outreach. It will also work closely with the private sector to
develop Singapore's cyber security eco-system. Dr Yaacob
Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, will
be appointed as Minister in charge of Cyber Security. David
Koh, deputy secretary (Technology) at the Ministry of
Defence (Mindef), has been appointed as the chief executive
(designate) of the CSA on Jan 1, 2015, and as its chief executive from April 1, 2015. (Agencies)
Desperate woman drowns puppy
in airport toilet to board plane
HOUSTON: A 56-year-old woman from Florida is suspected
of drowning a Doberman puppy in a US airport toilet after
authorities did not allow her to fly with three "too young"
puppies. Cynthia Anderson arrived at a Nebraska airport on
Friday with three puppies and two dogs but grew desperate
when she was told she could not fly with the pups because
they were too young. Then Volusia County resident allegedly drowned one of the puppies - a Doberman - in an airport
bathroom after trying to conceal the pooch in her carry-on
luggage, according to the Grand Island Police. "The puppies, all believed to be three weeks old or less, were too
young to fly," said Grand Island police Captain Dean Elliott.
"Their eyes weren't even open," Elliott was quoted as saying
by Orlando Sentinel newspaper. Dogs must be at least 8
weeks old to fly. The other two puppies were picked up by
the woman's parents, Elliot said. (PTI)