Al-Qaeda-linked group warns US-led coalition
Nusra Front vows retaliation over military operation in Syria as air raids target ISIL fighters besieging Kurdish town.
Last updated: 28 Sep 2014 07:10
A group linked to al-Qaeda has pledged retaliation over the ongoing air strikes in Syria, as the US-led coalition widens its assault on ISIL targets in Syria and British warplanes fly their first combat missions over neighbouring Iraq.
In its first reaction to the military operation aimed at destroying ISIL, or the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, said the air strikes in Syria were a “war against Islam”, and threatened to attack the worldwide interests of participating Western and Arab countries.
A US attack on a Nusra base in Aleppo on the first day of the air campaign killed dozens of the group’s fighters.
War against Isis: It’s started, but do we know what we’re doing?
Military experts are among the doubters
Mark Leftly Author Biography , Jane Merrick , James Hanning Sunday 28 September 2014
The first RAF Tornado combat jets, carrying laser-guided bombs, may have started their mission in Iraq, but military experts, politicians and Brits on the ground in Baghdad, haunted by what followed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, are struggling to convince themselves that the current strategy will produce the desired outcome – and, in some cases, what that outcome is.
Concerns over the House of Commons’s overwhelming vote on Friday to join the United States in carrying out air strikes on the Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq reflect the complications of fighting an oil-rich terrorist group that operates either side of the border with Syria. The vagaries of international law and yet another war in Iraq only compound a situation that even supporters of the strikes acknowledge is both tense and fluid.
Hong Kong activists carry out pro-democracy protest threat
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have moved forward the start of a planned protest, using the momentum generated by student demonstrations in the city. Several people have been arrested.
Hong Kong pro-democracy group Occupy Central on Sunday launched a long-threatened protest on the back of student demonstrations calling for more political freedoms from Beijing.
Occupy Central brought forward the offical launch of its plan to paralyze the city’s central business district by three days after students stormed government headquarters late on Friday following a week-long strike. The students later received support from thousands of more protesters who joined them outside the complex on Saturday evening.
Police made at least 74 arrests – including that of prominent 17-year-old student activist leader Joshua Wong – and urged protesters to leave what the authorities called an “unlawful assembly.” Many protesters wore goggles and wrapped their faces in plastic film in case the police used pepper spray as they did at angry scenes earlier in the week.
Grim life awaits refugees in Cambodia
Lindsay Murdoch South-East Asia correspondent for Fairfax Media
Phnom Penh: Since she was 10 years old Srey Kuoch has lived in a park within sight of the official residence of Australia’s ambassador in Cambodia.
She can’t imagine life in the two-storey French-colonial house behind high grey walls, where the Australian flag hangs limply in the sticky heat of late afternoon.
On a good day Srey Kuoch earns $5 providing sex for mostly Khmer men who prowl the park around historic Wat Phnom, a tourist attraction that for years has also been a centre for sex workers, drug users and beggars.
Leader of Catalonia calls for independence referendum
The president of Spain’s Catalonia region formally called for an independence referendum Saturday. The Spanish government will hold an emergency cabinet meeting to challenge the referendum, which they say is unconstitutional.
By Joseph Wilson and Ciaran Giles, Associated Press
Barcelona,Spain – The president of Spain’s powerful northeastern region of Catalonia on Saturday formally called an independence referendum, the latest secession push in Europe and one of the most serious challenges to the Spanish state in recent years.
Catalan leader Artur Mas signed the decree to call the referendum in a solemn ceremony in the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, flanked by most of the region’s political leaders who support the vote.
“Like all the nations of the world, Catalonia has the right to decide its political future,” said Mas.
Questions linger over Hamas’ role in West Bank kidnapping that led to Gaza war
By Joel Greenberg McClatchy Foreign Staf
JERUSALEM – After the killing Sept. 23 of two Palestinians suspected of kidnapping and fatally shooting three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank in June, Israeli officials declared the closure of a case that shook Israel and triggered a series of events that culminated in a 50-day war with Hamas in Gaza.
What remains unclear, however, is what role, if any, the militant Islamist group Hamas played in the abductions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of responsibility for the kidnapping, then began a harsh crackdown that led to the worst eruption of Palestinian-Israeli violence in years.