NEWS OF THE DAYA former army helicopter pilot was on Monday named as the first “home-grown” British astronaut to head to the International Space Station. Major Tim Peake, 41, will fly out to the ISS in November 2015 as part of a six-man crew, becoming the first Briton ever to travel to space on a British government-funded mission. British-born astronauts have previously gone into orbit as US citizens through NASA, or on privately-funded ventures organised with Russian help.
BAGHDAD: Two days of bombings, attacks on police and a botched hostage rescue killed 57 people in Iraq, among them 24 police who died as security sharply deteriorates in Anbar province, officials said Monday. Anbar, to the west of Baghdad, is home to two of the main centres of Sunni anti-government protests that broke out almost five months ago, and has since seen a number of attacks on security forces. Tensions are festering between the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and Iraqi Sunnis who accuse authorities of marginalising and targeting their community, including through wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism. A wave of bomb attacks across Iraq... more ›
DAMASCUS: A Syrian government assault on the rebel bastion of Qusayr raged into a second day on Monday, with at least 23 members of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah reportedly killed as they fought alongside the army. The battle began on Sunday, when government troops backed by regime ally Hezbollah stormed the western town, a strategic prize in the country’s two-year conflict. The fighting has raised fears of a “massacre” and cast a shadow over US-Russian efforts to organise a peace conference to discuss a political solution to the war. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting had left at least 56 rebels dead, six of them on Monday, and... more ›
PARIS: A proposal to introduce more courses in English and other foreign languages at French universities is set to be debated in parliament from Wednesday amid concerns it will undermine the country’s soul and identity. Several leading unions in the education sector have threatened to strike on Wednesday and the influential Academie Francaise, set up in 1635 and the official authority on the language, has led a chorus of disapproval. The country has for decades zealously propagated the use of French both at home and abroad through cultural institutions and the French-speaking Francophonie bloc of nations. But the use of English has made rapid inroads at home with the vast majority of... more ›
TUNIS: Tunisia’s Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh vowed firm action against Ansar al-Sharia, in remarks published Monday, after bloody clashes between police and members of the radical Salafist group. But the group’s fugitive leader Abu Iyadh insisted, in a message posted online, that his followers could not be defeated despite their “persecution.” Tunisia has been rocked by waves of violence blamed on militant extremists since the January 2011 revolution, and Larayedh reacted angrily to the latest unrest, in which at least one protester was killed and 15 police hurt. He said 200 members of Ansar al-Sharia had been... more ›
GOMA: Rebels from the M23 movement and the army fought Monday just north of Goma, a regional capital in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that the rebels had occupied briefly in November, both sides said. An M23 spokesman, Amani Kabasha, said the clashes were taking place 12 kilometres (7.4 miles) north of Goma. Colonel Olivier Hamuli, spokesman for the DRC’s armed forces, confirmed the fighting was taking place, without saying if there were casualties. Hamuli said the rebel movement, which was formed by army mutineers in North Kivu province in April last year, had threatened the Congolese forces for a week. The clashes are the first to have occurred since the... more ›
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