World roundup: Thursday, March 8 | Print |
Written by Jason Spencer   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 12:33

Here are some of’s International headlines for Thursday, March 8:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly agreed to hold off on attacking Iran until 2013. COURTESY Wikimedia Commons

Israel and United States collude over Iranian nuclear threat

The Globe and Mail reported that that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu secretly agreed to hold off on attacking Iran until 2013, in exchange for “bunker-busting” bombs to be sold to his country by the United States.

According to Israeli newspaper Maariv, the meeting took place in Washington between U.S. President Barack Obama and Netanyahu on Monday, with the details being sussed out by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

The deal also included Washington selling the latest in long-range refueling aircraft to Israel.

The U.N. Security Council is meeting with Iran this week.


U.S. authorities investigate Afghan Air Force drug and weapon smuggling claims

The U.S. Air Force is examining allegations that the Afghan Air Force (AFF) is transporting narcotics and illegal weapons, according to Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. military is also looking into whether or not an incident which took last April at the Kabul Airport, involving the deaths of eight U.S. Air Force officers at the hands of an AFF colonel is some how connected.

The AFF, which was primarily set up and funded by the U.S., is denying the allegations.

The Georgia Straight reported last December that accusations have arisen at the Kandahar Airfield that some Afghan translators have been selling heroin to NATO soldiers.

Afghanistan supplies 90 per cent of the world’s opium supply – the key ingredient in heroin.


China’s ruling Communist Party announces legislation to detain dissidents

The National People’s Congress revealed today their law to give the police the power to hold dissidents in secret.

Reuters reported that the China’s Communist Party responded to reporters by stating that the families of detainees will be notified within 24 hours, unless the person in question is involved in terrorism or crimes against the state.

Internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained by the Chinese government last April, is highly critical of the party’s draconian policies.

“This is a massive threat to the judicial system and to the citizens’ security,” he said.

Reuters added that since the Communist Party runs the court system, they “rarely challenge” cases of people accused by the police of subversion.


Mass funeral to take place in Congo for victims of armoury explosions

According to the Associated Press, state radio in the Republic of Congo announced today that a mass funeral for the more than 240 victims of deadly blasts, will be held Saturday.

The Canadian Press said that at least 246 people were killed when a munitions depot caught fire on Sunday, hurling rockets, mortars, and shells into a densely populated area of the DRC’s capital of Brazzaville.

The blasts, which lasted until Tuesday morning, destroyed homes, churches, stores and government buildings within a 2.6 square kilometer radius of the military camp, leaving 1,300 injured and 5,000 homeless – with several still buried under rubble.

A British-based Mines Advisory Group warns of unexploded rockets and mortars that are strewn throughout the city.

DRC president Denis Sassou-Nguesso’s government said a short circuit ignited the fire.

The wasn’t the first time this took place, a non-lethal blast occurred in Brazzaville in 2009, and at that time the government said that they would remove munitions depots, from the city.


Syrian deputy oil minister rejects Assad regime

Syria’s deputy oil minister Abdo Hussameddin posted a YouTube video today announcing his resignation and his defection to the Syrian rebel army.

The announcement came after the special envoy for the UN-Arab League, Kofi Annan, said that he would urge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop fighting and seek a diplomatic solution.

After 33 years in government, Hussameddin made his decision to join the revolution knowing that, he said, “This regime will burn my house and persecute my family.”

Hussameddin is the first senior civilian official to defect, since the Syrian uprising began, just over a year ago.


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