Tag Archives: Leader

North Korean leader Kim’s H-bomb claim draws scepticism

SEOUL North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared on Thursday to claim his nation has developed a hydrogen bomb, a step up from the much less powerful atomic bomb, but outside professionals have been skeptical.

Kim created the comments as he toured the Phyongchon Revolutionary Internet site, which marks the feats of his father who died in 2011 and his grandfather, state founder and eternal president, Kim Il Sung, the official KCNA news agency mentioned.

The work of Kim Il Sung “turned the DPRK into a strong nuclear weapons state prepared to detonate a self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation,” KCNA quoted Kim Jong Un as saying.

DPRK are the initials of the isolated North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. A hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear bomb, utilizes a lot more sophisticated technologies to make a significantly more strong blast than an atomic bomb.

North Korea performed underground tests to set off nuclear devices in 2006, 2009 and 2013, for which it has been subject to U.N. Safety Council sanctions banning trade and financing activities that help its weapons system.

An official at South Korea’s intelligence agency told Yonhap news agency there was no evidence that the North had hydrogen bomb capacity, and believed Kim was speaking rhetorically.

The Foreign Ministry in China, North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, mentioned China was dedicated to making certain the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and resolving troubles through talks.

“We hope that all sides can do a lot more to ameliorate the circumstance and make constructive efforts to sustain peace and stability on the peninsula,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a everyday news briefing when asked about Kim’s remarks.

Impoverished North Korea and rich, democratic South Korea stay technically at war following their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty. The North has threatened to destroy the South and its major ally, the United States, in a sea of flames.

In spite of the underground tests, outdoors authorities suspect the North is brief of attaining the capability to place a nuclear warhead on a missile, despite the fact that it has boasted it had succeeded in the miniaturization of a weapon.

If the hydrogen bomb claim is correct, it would indicate advances in the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“I consider it really is unlikely that they have an H-bomb at the moment, but I never count on them to preserve testing basic devices indefinitely, either,” said Jeffrey Lewis of the California-primarily based Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

It was possible the North was referring to the technology of boosting the yield of a nuclear device, possibly using fusion fuel, Lewis mentioned.

North Korea claimed in 2010 that it had effectively developed fusion technologies.

Assessing progress of the North’s nuclear plan is hard because no a single outdoors a close circle of leaders and authorities knows what advances have been made.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and James Pearson Extra reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie)

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Central African Republic dubs rebel leader enemy no. 1

BANGUI The Central African Republic government dubbed a Seleka rebel leader “enemy number one particular” on Sunday in a move probably to further complicate the possibilities of ending the existing wave of political turmoil.

The majority Christian nation has been embroiled in a violent crisis because early 2013 when primarily Muslim Seleka rebels seized energy in a coup just before ceding energy to a transitional government soon after sturdy international pressure.

The transitional government has been tasked with steering the landlocked nation to elections scheduled for Dec. 27. The initial poll date, Oct. 18, was pushed back due to an outbreak of violence that has killed around one hundred men and women in the capital because September.

“The government … calls on every single Central African to be vigilant in resolutely continuing to help the return to the constitutional order that will only be accomplished by the voice of the polls,” the statement reads.

But on Sunday it took objection to a statement by Nourredine Adam, a leader of a faction of Muslim Seleka rebels, who stated on private radio station Radio Ndeke Luka that underdevelopment in his base area had pushed him and his group to take up arms.

“If they send us physicians and teachers to heal and educate our households, they will be welcome,” he mentioned. “But the other government workers, we can’t accept them. The electoral method in the existing context is not attainable.”

The government stated in its statement that Adam’s threat to block elections amounted to an act of war given that he did not respect peace accords and ceasefires. It labeled Adam “enemy quantity one”.

It was not clear no matter whether the government will take further action.

In 2014 the United Nations leveled sanctions like a travel ban and asset freeze against Adam, a Christian anti-balaka leader and Francois Bozize, president until the coup.

Armed males killed eight civilians and one particular U.N. peacekeeper at a camp for displaced people just days soon after the Pope’s pay a visit to final month, the U.N. humanitarian office stated Friday.

(Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette Writing by Makini Brice Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Exclusive: Burkina charges former coup leader over murder of Sankara

OUAGADOUGOU Authorities in Burkina Faso have charged a general who led a failed coup in September with complicity in the 1987 assassination of President Thomas Sankara, senior security sources told Reuters.

Sankara’s murder is one of the most high-profile killings in Africa’s post-independence history and the charge against General Gilbert Diendere appears to represent a breakthrough in a case that has haunted the West African country for decades.

It follows a pledge by the transitional government to investigate the murder and a decision in May to exhume the remains of a body believed to be Sankara’s, which was buried at a cemetery on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou.

“General Gilbert Diendere is formally charged in the Thomas Sankara case,” said a senior security source with direct knowledge of the case. Diendere was charged last month with complicity in assassination and attack, the source said.

Diendere’s lawyer, Mathieu Some, told Reuters on Sunday his client had been charged over Sankara’s death and he would prepare his legal defense. The charges are yet to be made public.

Ten others, less senior than Diendere, have already been charged. The senior security official said most were soldiers in the elite presidential guard of former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October 2014.

Diendere was Compaore’s intelligence chief and right-hand man. In September, he led the presidential guard in a short-lived coup in which soldiers took transitional President Michel Kafando and the prime minister hostage.

The coup failed and in its aftermath, the presidential guard was disbanded and Diendere sought refuge at the Vatican embassy. He was then arrested and charged with murder and threatening state security. He is still in detention.

“AFRICA’S CHE GUEVARA”

Sankara took power in a coup in 1983 and pursued a philosophy of Marxism and pan-Africanism that led him to be called “Africa’s Che Guevara”.

Many African intellectuals view him as a visionary on a par with Congo’s first prime minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1961, or South African anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko, who was killed in 1977.

He nationalized land and mineral wealth, moved to improve health and education, pressed for debt reduction, promoted women into leadership and changed the country’s name from Upper Volta. The changes made an impact on Burkina Faso, a landlocked country that produces gold and cotton but remains impoverished.

Sankara was known for his trademark red beret and rejection of the lavish lifestyle typical of African leaders. In October 1987, he was murdered in a coup that brought Compaore to power.

Compaore reversed many of Sankara’s policies and established a reputation as one of the region’s most powerful men but mystery surrounding the killing dogged him, not least because attempts to mount a judicial investigation during his tenure stalled.

Compaore was toppled by protesters who opposed his bid to change the constitution so that he could extend his rule.

The charges against Diendere come at a critical moment for Burkina Faso as it makes a democratic transition that is seen as an example for other African states.

Voters elected former Prime Minister Roch Marc Kabore as president a week ago and when sworn in he will be the country’s first new leader in decades.

Kabore was an ally of Compaore who went into opposition in early 2014. The election was key for a nation ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

(Additional reporting by Joe Penney; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Advisor to Iran’s prime leader calls fate of Syria’s Assad a ‘red line’

DUBAI A best advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader on Sunday stated the future of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad could only be determined by the Syrian folks and this was a “red line” for Tehran.

Assad’s fate is a sticking point in talks between planet powers aimed at discovering a political answer to the crisis in Syria. Iran and Russia want him to stay in power till elections are held, whilst Western and Arab powers say he need to go.

“Bashar al-Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red line due to the fact he was elected president by the Syrian men and women,” mentioned Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The Syrian individuals have to make a decision their own fate, and nobody outdoors Syria’s borders can pick for the Syrian men and women,” he added.

Velayati also mentioned Iran would try to ease tensions between Turkey and Russia. Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet last month that it said had violated Turkish airspace while flying a mission in Syria.

“There is no benefit to tensions mounting up in the region. We have to not take the side of either celebration, and have a duty to lessen tensions between these two countries,” he stated.

(Reporting by Sam Wilkin Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Lebanon’s Maronite leader urges factions to pick a president

BEIRUT Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch on Saturday urged the political factions to elect a new president, successfully throwing his weight behind a energy-sharing plan that would make an ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad head of state.

The head of the Maronite Christian neighborhood, Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, met leaders of Christian political parties this week, like the touted candidate Suleiman Franjieh, right after Saudi Arabia lent its backing to the program.

“I contact on the political blocs to move responsibly, objectively and mindfully toward this new, significant initiative in order to elect a president,” he said at a mass north of Beirut and quoted by Lebanon’s National News Agency.

Rai urged parties to “rise above individual and factional interests” in order to fill the post, which has been vacant for 18 months. He hoped progress could be wrapped up by the finish of the year.

The lack of president has contributed to a political crisis that has paralyzed state institutions, such as the government which has been unable to take basic decisions. Political rivalries have been exacerbated by the war in neighboring Syria.

The proposal, tabled by Sunni politician Saad al-Hariri, would see him return to Lebanon as prime minister and make Maronite politician Franjieh president. Hariri is backed by Saudi Arabia, while Franjieh is a family members friend and close ally of Assad, who is backed by Saudi’s regional rival Iran.

Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing technique, the president need to often be a Maronite Christian. Two other politicians, Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea, have been vying for the post, but neither has been able to garner the cross-celebration consensus required.

Franjieh stated late on Wednesday his candidacy was not but official but he was waiting for Hariri to formally endorse it.

(Reporting by John Davison Editing b y Richard Balmforth)

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Uncertainty deepens over Afghan Taliban leader

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Uncertainty more than the fate of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour deepened on Friday, as speculation grew over a possible successor, regardless of repeated denials by the spokesman of the Islamist movement that he had been badly wounded in a gunfight.

Several sources in the Taliban have stated that Mansour, whose claim to the leadership is rejected by rival factions, was seriously wounded and possibly killed in a shootout at the home of one more Taliban leader close to Quetta in Pakistan on Tuesday.

According to one senior Taliban commander, who mentioned that Mansour had died of his wounds on Thursday, Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada, a single of Mansour’s two deputies, is poised to take over the leadership.

“I personally think Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada and the Emirate will announce his death at an proper time later,” he mentioned, employing the term the Taliban use to describe their movement. “I am hundred % confident that Mullah Mansour is no far more,” he said.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah stated on Twitter on Thursday that Mansour had been wounded in a firefight close to Quetta, but there has been no direct evidence to confirm what happened.

The Taliban’s major spokesman has dismissed the reports as propaganda from Afghan intelligence solutions meant to develop divisions within the movement, saying Mansour is alive and well.

Nevertheless, scepticism has been fueled by the secrecy that surrounded the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, which was only confirmed in July, much more than two years right after he had died in 2013.

There has been no statement so far from Mansour, who had been in efficient charge of the movement at least given that Omar’s death and who swiftly assumed the title of leader after it was confirmed.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stated enhanced safety measures meant it was taking some time to contact Mansour directly, but that a voice recording would be released.

“Well, we are attempting to locate him by way of our folks to get his voice and release to the media to kill these rumors spread by the Afghan puppet government,” Mujahid said.

PEACE Approach

The lack of clarity has clouded prospects for any resumption in a peace process facilitated by Pakistan soon after talks broke down following the news of Omar’s death.

Afghan officials are cautious about what the indicators of rising fragmentation in the Taliban could imply.

“The rift is undoubtedly weakening the movement and if they are not a single united force, it could be simpler to convince them (to accept) peace or eradicate them,” said one particular official, who asked not to be identified.

Other Taliban members close to Mansour have confirmed he had been hurt in the gunfight, which followed a dispute more than how to deal with the factional split in the movement, and had apparently been taken to a private hospital for therapy.

“We even never know where he was taken but some of our people later told us he was admitted in a private hospital and that his situation was ?still crucial,” mentioned a single senior Taliban member close to Mansour.

The rivalry in between the factions led to fierce fighting in the southeastern province of Zabul final month with dozens of people killed. Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a best commander in the breakaway group opposing Mansour, is also reported to have been killed last month.

“The local commanders, who are the backbone of the insurgency, look to disobey their leaders’ orders when it comes to subduing these who do not accept Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the supreme leader,” the Afghan official said.

“The main question they ask is: ‘You told us to go fight the invading or Afghan forces but now you want us to kill every other.'”

(Added reporting by Hamid Shalizi in KABUL Writing by James Mackenzie Editing by Paul Tait and Mike Collett-Whit)

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Fate of Afghan Taliban leader unclear following reports say he was wounded or killed

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Conflicting reports have deepened uncertainty surrounding the fate of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, after the insurgent Islamist group repeatedly denied he had been wounded in a gunfight after a dispute with other senior leaders.

Several sources in the Taliban have said that Mansour, whose claim to the leadership is rejected by a rival faction, was seriously wounded and possibly killed in a shootout at the home of yet another Taliban leader close to Quetta in Pakistan on Tuesday.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said on Twitter Mansour was wounded in a firefight near Quetta, in western Pakistan, but there has been no direct evidence.

The Taliban’s principal spokesman has dismissed the reports as propaganda from Afghan intelligence solutions meant to produce divisions inside the movement, saying Mansour is alive and well.

However, scepticism has been fuelled by the secrecy that surrounded the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, which was only confirmed in July, two years soon after he had died.

There has been no statement from Mansour himself so far and Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said enhanced security measures meant it was taking some time to get in touch with him straight.

“Effectively, we are attempting to find him by means of our people to get his voice and release to the media to kill these rumours spread by the Afghan puppet government,” Mujahid said.

The uncertainty has clouded prospects for any resumption in a peace approach facilitated by Pakistan soon after talks broke down in July following the confirmation of Omar’s death.

Afghan officials are cautious about what the signs of escalating fragmentation in the Taliban could mean.

“The rift is certainly weakening the movement and if they are not one particular united force, it could be less complicated to convince them for peace or remove them,” stated one official, who asked not to be identified.

Other Taliban members close to Mansour have confirmed he had been hurt in the gunfight, which followed a dispute over how to deal with the factional split in the movement, and had apparently been taken to a private hospital for treatment.

“We even never know where he was taken but some of our folks later told us he was admitted in a private hospital and that his situation was ?still critical,” mentioned one particular senior Taliban member close to Mansour.

Dozens of people were killed in the southeastern province of Zabul final month when fierce clashes broke out among rival Taliban factions.

“The regional commanders, who are the backbone of the insurgency, appear to disobey their leaders’ orders when it comes to subduing those who do not accept Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the supreme leader,” the Afghan official said.

(This story adds dropped word “leader” to headline)

(Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi in KABUL Writing by James Mackenzie Editing by Paul Tait)

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Burkina Faso votes to decide on very first new leader in decades

OUAGADOUGOU Burkina Faso voted on Sunday in an election to choose the country’s very first new president in decades, a year after longtime leader Blaise Compaore was toppled in a common uprising in which demonstrators faced down the security forces.

A successful election would establish the nation as a beacon for democratic aspirations in Africa, where veteran rulers in Burundi and Congo Republic have changed constitutions to pave the way for fresh terms in workplace.

It also represents a turning point for a West African nation which, for most of its history given that independence from France in 1960, has been ruled by leaders who came to energy in coups.

Compaore seized energy by that route and ruled for 27 years, winning four elections, all of which had been criticized as unfair. He was ousted in October 2014 when demonstrators protested against his try to change the constitution to extend his tenure.

“I am proud to have accomplished my duty as a citizen … It’s the initial time that I can be truly positive that we won’t finish up with Blaise Compaore,” said Ousmane Ouedraogo, as he cast his ballot in the capital Ouagadougou.

Individuals formed extended lines at polling stations to vote for the president to serve for a five year term and deputies for the National Assembly. Polls closed at six p.m. (1800 GMT). A second round will be held if no candidate secures a majority.

Top CANDIDATES

Analysts say only two of the 14 presidential candidates stand a actual chance of winning.

One particular is Roch Marc Kabore, prime minister and president of the National Assembly under Compaore. The other is Zephirin Diabre, who was minister of finance in the 1990s prior to stepping down to commence an opposition party.

Kabore heads the Movement of Individuals for Progress (MPP), produced up of disaffected allies of Compaore who left the celebration months prior to he stood down. Diabre fronts the Union for Progress and Alter (UPC), which was the formal opposition.

Kabore draws help from the company elite and, as a member of the largest ethnic group, standard chiefs. Diabre has international ties from his years at the United Nations Improvement Programme and at Areva, a French nuclear company.

“We need to do almost everything to show that civilians can ensure the right government of the country and restore it to democratic normality,” Kabore mentioned as he cast his ballot.

A lot of individuals say they will vote for the candidate who has the best opportunity of advertising financial development in a landlocked nation that exports gold and cotton but remains impoverished.

The election was pushed back from Oct. 11 due to the fact of an abortive coup in September by members of the elite presidential guard, in which transitional President Michel Kafando and his prime minister had been taken hostage.

That coup cost more than $ 50 million in lost revenue, trimming growth by .3 percentage points. The guard has considering that been disbanded. Kafando will step down as soon as a new leader is sworn in.

Corruption and justice are also troubles for voters, prompting a resurgence in the recognition of former leader Thomas Sankara, a Marxist revolutionary dubbed “Africa’s Che Guevara” who was assassinated in a 1987 coup led by Compaore.

(Extra reporting by Nadoun Coulibaly Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg Editing by Ros Russell)

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Burkina Faso votes to choose initial new leader in decades

World | Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:30am EST

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OUAGADOUGOU Polls opened in Burkina Faso on Sunday in the first free election in three decades as the country chooses a replacement for President Blaise Compaore, who was overthrown a year ago in an uprising backed by the army.

Compaore ruled for 27 years until protests at his attempt to change the constitution to maintain his tenure drove him from power. The polls were pushed back from Oct. 11 after an abortive coup in September by members of the now-disbanded elite presidential guard.

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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Elite Kosovo police arrest opposition leader more than tear gas

PRISTINA Masked police armed with rifles arrested a prominent opposition lawmaker in Kosovo on Saturday on charges of releasing tear gas in parliament to protest a European Union-brokered accord amongst Kosovo and its former master, Serbia.

The police, part of an elite unit, broke down the doors of the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) celebration headquarters and arrested founder Albin Kurti and other party members. Hundreds of police in riot gear surrounded the area in the capital, Pristina.

Kurti has been major opposition to the EU-brokered accord below which ethnic Serbs in the majority-Albanian country will get higher regional powers and the possibility of funding from Serbia. He and his supporters also oppose a border demarcation deal with Montenegro.

Kurti has repeatedly released tear gas, and as soon as pepper spray, in parliament to disrupt proceedings. He has been arrested just before, triggering riots in Pristina.

Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 1999 when NATO carried out 11 weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serbian forces attempting to crush a guerrilla insurgency. It declared independence in 2008 and has been recognized by far more than 100 countries, which includes the main Western powers.

Prior to his arrest on Saturday, Kurti addressed numerous thousand folks who gathered in Pristina for a peaceful protest against the accord.

His party said in a statement that police had arrested a lot more than 90 of its members, injuring some of them.

Police stated four individuals such as two police officers were hurt in the operation to arrest Kurti, accusing his supporters of attacking officers with chairs, tables and sprays.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci Editing by Matt Robinson and Helen Popper)

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