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Wednesday
Dec292010

US Revokes Venezuelan Ambassador's Visa after Rejection of US Ambassador to Caracas

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. has revoked the visa of Venezuela's ambassador, Bernardo Alvarez, in retaliation to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's rejection of Obama's proposed envoy, State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirms. 

Earlier this month, Chavez rejected the Obama administration's proposed ambassador, Larry Palmer, to Caracas.  While the U.S. had warned it would retaliate, Chavez dared the U.S. to kick the Venezuelan ambassador out of the country.

"We said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government rescinded agrement [sic] regarding our nominee -- Larry Palmer.  We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action," Toner said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

Pentagon Team Will Assess Evacuation of Ivory Coast Embassy

Photo Courtesy --Getty Images(WEST AFRICA) – A Pentagon team has arrived in the Ivory Coast to assess whether to evacuate the embassy there amid tensions over the ex-president’s refusal to step down.

The team arrived in the country Tuesday, and according to the State Department, will look at “contingencies” should things get worse.

The embassy has been under so-called “ordered departure” since December 20 as tensions send the country closer into full-blown conflict. All non-essential personnel and families of Americans stationed there have been removed from the country.

Last week, the embassy’s perimeter was hit by a stray RPG round during fighting nearby. Nobody was injured in the incident, however. 

The nation’s ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, has refused to step down after losing last month’s elections. Last week, the U.S. slapped travel sanctions on Gbagbo and his inner circle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

'Mumbai-Style' Attack Planned on Danish Newsroom

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) – Danish Intelligence Services say a “Mumbai-style” attack was planned on a Danish newsroom.

Investigators arrested five men who allegedly had planned to storm the newsroom of the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and shoot as many people as possible.

Officials arrested four of the men in two separate raids outside of Copenhagen and a fifth man in Stockholm. Police recovered automatic weapons, a silencer and ammunition.    
 
Jyllands-Posten is the newspaper that published the controversial prophet Mohammed cartoons five years ago.
 
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

Ex-White House Spokesman, National Security Analyst Urge Ahmadinejad to Allow Inspections

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(WASHINGTON) – A former White House spokesman and a national security analyst are urging Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow nuclear inspections in the country. Meanwhile, the ratification of the START treaty has brought increasing world attention to Iran as a potentially rouge nuclear state.

In an OpEdNews article Wednesday, ex-White House staffer Robert Weiner and national security analyst James Lewis said Iran’s “nuclear ambition seems likely” given that the country borders Pakistan. They also reinforced the concern that perceived nuclear development by the country could lead to an arms race.

“The U.S. believes that Iran is now developing advanced missile technologies with the assistance of North Korea,” the article read. “These advances and further cooperation have increased the range and accuracy of Iran's Shahab missile program capable of delivering nuclear warheads."

The article also addressed Ahmadinejad’s concerns that Iran in unfairly being portrayed as “the bad guy.” Weiner and Lewis say it is important for the U.S. to understand the basis of his concern.

“Regrettably, the government of the United States has not only used nuclear weapons, but continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries, including Iran,” they wrote.

Still, the article argues that the only way for Iran to alter the world’s perception of its nuclear activities is to allow nuclear inspections.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

Canada Most Internet-Addicted Country, Eh?

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(TORONTO) – Canadians spend more time on the Web than any other country, according to a new report.

The ComScore report says that around 68 percent of Canadians surf the Web regularly and spend an average of 42 hours online each month. It also doesn’t hurt that 51 percent of the population -- around 17 million -- have Facebook accounts.

France and Britain came in second with 62 percent. Germany followed with 60 percent while Americans trailed slightly behind at 59 percent.

Italy was among the least Internet-crazed country, with just 36 percent of the population using the Web regularly.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec282010

Hong Kong to Present One of World's Largest, Most Spectacular Pyrotechnic Displays for New Year's Eve Countdown Celebration

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- The Hong Kong Tourism Board is planning what it calls the "most extravagant, most dazzling display ever" to celebrate the incoming New Year.  The Countdown Celebration will begin Dec. 31 moments before midnight.

The pyrotechnics display will include new visual effects incorporating colorful patterns atop 44 Hong Kong buildings and skyscrapers symbolizing a flying dragon and numeric patterns for the countdown.  The show, lighting up the sky above Victoria Harbour, will also be synchronized to music.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board will also provide satellite feed of the entire event for television broadcasters worldwide.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec282010

Yemeni Gitmo Detainees Video Chat with Families

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(YEMEN) – Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being connected to their families through live videoconferencing.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has allowed for 90 detainees to connect with their families via video for up to an hour. Previously, only phone calls or brief messages had been available to the detainees.

For many, the video chats - the first of which were made around 10 days ago - are the first glimpse of their families they’ve had since 2001 or 2002.

The ICRC has been operating in Yemen since 1962.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec282010

US Missile Attacks Kill 15 in Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GHULAM KHAN, Pakistan) -- At least 15 people were killed in four separate drone attacks Tuesday in the Ghulam Khan area of North Waziristan, Pakistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan.

The first of four U.S. attacks on the region came when four missiles were fired on two compounds, killing five. Shortly thereafter, another two missiles were fired on the same site. Three were killed.

A car was targeted in the third drone attack. Three militants were killed.

In the fourth attack of the day on Ghulam Khan, two missiles hit another car, killing four militants.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec282010

Iraqi Prime Minister Says US Not Welcome After 2011

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has closed the door on any possibility that American troops might be asked to stay in Iraq beyond the mutually agreed end of 2011 pullout date. Maliki says his country's security forces are more than up to the task of taking on whatever security threats remain in Iraq.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Maliki said the security deal with the U.S. will not be renegotiated.

In late 2008, the Bush administration and Maliki's government agreed on a security pact that required U.S. forces to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Working within that agreement, the Obama administration set its own timetable to reduce the number of U.S. troops to 50,000 by September of this year.

There are currently 48,500 American troops left in Iraq conducting a training and assistance mission that is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2011. A U.S. defense official tells ABC News the plan is to maintain these force levels through the summer of 2011 at which point the size of the force could be reduced by a brigade. Further force reductions would not occur until the end of the year.

Though al Qaeda insurgents continue to launch high profile bombings in Iraq, Maliki told the Journal the ongoing security threat was something Iraqi security forces could handle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec282010

Iran Hangs Man Convicted of Spying for Israel's Mossad

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iranian officials announced Tuesday they have hanged a convicted Iranian spy for Israel.

Iran's state news agency says authorities at Tehran's Evin prison have hanged Ali Akbar Siadat, a man convicted of spying for Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, from 2004 until 2008.

Iran's state report says Siadat confessed to giving Israeli agents classified information on Iranian military maneuvers, bases and missile capabilities in exchange for over $60,000.

Details on Siadat's arrest, the evidence against him and his trial were never made public, which has led some analysts in Israel to question the charges.  Officials in Jerusalem are not commenting on the report.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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