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Monday
Nov012010

US Boosts Counterterrorism Funding to Yemen in Recent Years

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. has boosted counterterrorism funding for Yemen in recent years, in addition to the annual baseline funding provided by the State Department. This year was the highest amount by far, a total of $155 million. Baseline funds will increase from $72.3 million this year, to a requested $106.6 million for fiscal year 2011. In 2008, it was only $17.2 million.

The counterterrorism funding is known as Section 1026 funding -- named for the section in the law that allows the State Dept. and the Pentagon to provide the funding to the countries they choose. International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. David Petraeus made the recommendation earlier this year to boost the counterterrorism funding to Yemen when he was in charge of Yemen as CENTCOM Commander, and both the State Dept. and the Pentagon agreed.

Total assistance to Yemen for FY 2010 -- including security, humanitarian, and bilateral aid, was $296 million.

The State Department says that its FY 2011 request for total aid to Yemen will be around the same level.

While the State Dept. is sending two special agents from its Bureau of Diplomatic Security to Yemen to aid in an FBI-led investigation of last week's plot, officials say the U.S. embassy in Sana'a has not altered its security posture or modified staffing as a result of last week's events. No new travel warnings, alerts, or warden messages are planned.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Nov012010

At Least Four Killed After Attack on Pakistani Police Station

Photo Courtesy - John Moore/Getty Images(SWABI, Pakistan) -- Two police men were killed Monday after four militants tried to break into a police station in northern Pakistan.

According to the police chief of Swabi, one militant blew himself up while trying to get through the station's guarded gate, killing two police officers in the suicide attack.  Another militant was shot and the two others remaining escaped the scene.

There are also reports of injuries from the suicide bomb, but it is unclear how many people were wounded.

Swabi's police chief says a search is ongoing for the two militants who fled.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct312010

Report: Israel's Netanyahu Proposes Interim Peace Deal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is proposing an interim peace agreement instead of a permanent one, according to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

The report cites an unnamed senior Palestinian source who says Netanyahu has presented U.S. mediators with a transitional 10-year peace plan that gives temporary borders to a future Palestinian state and leaves Israel in control of 40 percent of the West Bank. The plan pushes off resolving the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees until after the transitional 10-year period.

Netanyahu's office has refused to comment on the report.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct312010

Indonesian Volcano Spews Ash

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JAKARTA, Indonesia) -- Indonesia's Mt. Merapi ended its temporary lull, spewing hot ash into the sky and down over the surrounding area.  The volcano has killed at least 38 people in its latest eruption, which began on Tuesday.

Sunday's activity caught many off guard.  Some of the 50,000 people who had evacuated the area around Mt. Merapi had returned to survey the damage. 

Indonesia is struggling to recover from a tsunami sparked by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that killed an estimated 450 people in some of the remote islands.  It sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where a series of faultlines makes the earth prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct312010

First Passenger Plane to Land in Baghdad in 20 Years

Photo Courtesy - AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- A French airline landed an Airbus 319 at Baghdad International Airport Sunday, making it virtually the first passenger plane to arrive there in two decades. A Scandinavian company tried briefly to run flights from Copenhagen to Baghdad last year but the effort lasted only a few days.

The London Telegraph says the Aigle Azur flight carried 111 passengers, most of them businessmen.

France’s ambassador to Baghdad, Boris Boillon, called the arrival “historic."  Other western airlines are examining the possibility of resuming flights to Baghdad but many are reluctant because while more stable, the country is still plagued by sectarian violence.  German airline Lufthansa had scheduled passenger flights but canceled them because too few passengers were willing to fly there for it to be profitable.

An Iraqi firm is scheduled to launch flights from London to Baghdad next week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct312010

78 Taliban Killed in Failed Attack on US Base in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - Defense Department(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The U.S. military says 78 Taliban fighters died in a failed attack on a U.S. base in the Paktika province of Afghanistan on Saturday.  Afghan and coalition forces are searching four areas around Margah Combat Outpost in the Bermel region of the province, where there was direct fire and helicopter attacks as insurgents tried unsuccessfully to surround and overrun the base.

The military has confirmed the deaths of 38 insurgents; another estimated 40 deaths have yet to be confirmed.  Two insurgents were taken captive and are being questioned.  Five coalition troops were injured, but all continued to fight.

“The fact the insurgents left both their dead and wounded laying there on the battlefield is significant,” said U.S. Army Major General John F. Campbell, commanding general for NATO’s Regional Command-East. “We had multiple indicators an attack like this was going to happen in that area in an attempt to gain victory before the end of the fighting season, and our combined Afghan and coalition forces were ready for them.”

U.S. Army Brigadier General Stephen Townsend, deputy commanding general for operations said,  “Not only did the Soldiers and Afghan Border Policemen warn of the attack, they also disrupted it for approximately 20 minutes allowing the main defense to decisively respond. Once their mission was complete, they repositioned to reinforce the main defense.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct312010

22 Hurt in Turkey Suicide Bombing

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- A suicide bombing that targeted police in Istanbul, Turkey injured 22 people - 12 civilians and 10 police officers - on Sunday. There has been no claim of responsibility.

It happened in Taksim Square, a major tourist attraction and transportation hub.

"Those who threaten Turkey's peace, security and development will not be tolerated," said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a televised speech.

The city has been targeted in the past by Kurdish separatist militants and al Qaeda.  In recent weeks, Turkish police have arrested several people suspected of supporting al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  Officials say the bomber, who has not been identified, appears to have been male.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct312010

Kentucky Teen Wins 'Miss World'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SANYA, China) -- An American woman has been crowned Miss World.

Alexandia Mills, 18, of Louisville, Kentucky took the competition’s top honor this weekend in China, edging out Emma Wareus of Botswana and third-place Adriana Vasini of Venezuela.

“It’s a cliché but this really is a dream come true,” Mills said.  “I can’t believe it’s happening to me.”

The 60th Miss World competition consisted of contestants from more than 100 countries.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct302010

Now a Hurricane, Tomas Bears Down on Caribbean

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MIAMI) -- Tropical Storm Tomas is now a category one hurricane that forecasters predict will dump 4 to 8 inches of rain on the Windward Islands before moving into the Eastern Caribbean.

“We're expecting it to steadily strengthen to a major hurricane…and at that point the storm should be positioned somewhere south of Hispaniola or southeast of Jamaica,” said John Cangialosi of the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is not expected to hit the U.S. mainland, but Cangialosi says it could affect Puerto Rico.

Tomas is the 12th hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct302010

Militants Ambush NATO Base in Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- An overnight attack on a NATO base in the southeastern Afghan province of Paktika left 30 militants dead and five coalition soldiers wounded.

Insurgents surrounded the post and attacked with small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars before NATO called in close air support.

The attack is the region's second this month.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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