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UN Reports Rise in Opium Cultivation in Burma

United Nations officials say opium cultivation in Burma rose for the third straight year as ethnic rebel groups sell drugs to buy arms. The increase reverses past successes in cutting opium cultivation in Southeast Asia.   The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC - said Monday that opium poppy cultivation in Burma rose more than 10 percent in 2009 - the third successive year of growth.   The agency's latest report covering Thailand, Laos and Burma says the area poppies are cultivated on around 31,700 hectares.

ECOWAS Leader Calls for Intervention Force in Guinea

The head of West Africa's regional alliance says foreign troops should be sent to Guinea to establish security, following the shooting of the country's military leader.  Talks to resolve Guinea's political crisis resumed Sunday in Burkina Faso. The secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, says Guinea needs a regional intervention force to prevent further violence. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the preventative deployment of such a force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and establish a safe environment for the Guinean people.

Man Attacks Italian PM, Breaks Nose and Teeth

Police in Italy say a man with a history of mental problems hit Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the face with a statue Sunday. Mr. Berlusconi was taken to a hospital with a broken nose, two broken teeth, and a cut lip. Italy's ANSA news agency said the prime minister told reporters that he was fine after emergency treatment. But doctors say they want to keep him in the hospital overnight for observation. Mr. Berlusconi was signing autographs and shaking hands after a rally in Milan Sunday. His attacker moved close enough to throw a small statue at the prime minister's face.

IJC Operational Update, Dec. 14: Militants Detained in Khowst, Kandahar

An Afghan-international security force detained a Haqqani weapons facilitator and a small group of other militants in Khowst province today. The facilitator is responsible for the supply and distribution of weapons to several militant elements in the area. The joint force searched a compound near the village of Paru Kheyl in the Sabari District where intelligence sources reported the facilitator to be located.

Iraqis Arrest 4 Terrorism Suspects

Iraqi soldiers and police arrested four terrorism suspects in two operations yesterday, military officials reported.  Iraqi soldiers arrested a suspect yesterday during an operation in northeastern Baghdad targeting the Promised Day Brigade terrorist network. The soldiers and U.S. advisors searched a home for a suspected leader of the group believed to be responsible for attacking security forces in the Baghdad region.

Rolling Stoned - Soldier Gets Rocked by Stone Throwing Afghan Crowd

"Sticks and stones may break my bones" is an old adage that has new meaning for Sgt. Kathryn Burke, 402nd Brigade Support Battalion, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Burke was manning the gunner's hatch of a Mine Resistant Armor Protected vehicle in a resupply convoy bound for Forward Operating Base Frontenac when she gained her new insight. After a few convoy briefs and a few cigarettes, Burke climbed into the MRAP and took up her place in the hatch as gunner for the first time.

Carl Vinson Air Department Works to Certify Flight Deck

Air Department Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) are working toward carrier flight deck certification during the December underway period. The flight deck certification is a two-day process to conduct flight deck drills demonstrating Air Department can safely handle all emergency situations such as an aircraft fire or crashes on the landing area. The first day consists of day launching, day recovery and taxi drills during the night. Day two of the flight deck certification is day and night launch and recovery of the squadron aircrafts.

Live-fire demo showcases future weapons

The Small Arms Branch of the Soldier Requirements Division rolled out more than 30 weapon systems - including pistols, rifles, sniper weapons, machine guns and grenade launchers - for a special live-fire demonstration Tuesday at Red Cloud Range. The weapons, including new sniper technology, weapons upgrades and an air burst rifle prototype, represent 60 percent of the Army's small arms strategy, said Lt. Col. Thomas Henthorn, chief of the small arms branch. The demonstration was to familiarize Maj. Gen.

A Christmas Message from LtCol Oliver North

Dear Proud American, “I immediately reached down – up, really, since I was upside down – for my legs.  I could tell they were gone.”
An American Hero, 25-year-old Lt Dan, recalls what happened to him in August, when an IED blew up under him, in Kandahar province, near the

Turkey Tense as Court Considers Kurd Party's Fate

The future of Turkey's main Kurdish party hangs in the balance as the country's constitutional court deliberates whether to shut down the Democratic Society Party.  The government has accused the party of supporting terrorism. Turkey's highest court this week began final deliberations on a case seeking to shut down the main Kurdish party on charges of backing the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, a charge the Democratic Society Party has denied. DTP leader Ahmet Turk condemned the case. "Unfortunately this is such a wrong reasoning," he said.  "We are face-to-face with such a wrong lo

US: Top al-Qaida Leader Killed in Pakistan

U.S. officials say a top al-Qaida leader has been killed in a drone attack in restive northwestern Pakistan. The officials did not identify the person killed, but they said it was not al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.   A U.S. television network, NBC, first reported the drone attack earlier this week.  The exact date of the attack is unclear. Earlier this week, Pakistani officials said a suspected U.S. drone attack killed at least three people in northwestern Pakistan.

Angolan Leader to Delay Presidential Vote

Angola's president says the country's first post-war presidential election will likely be delayed for another three years. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who had previously said the vote would take place in 2009, says he wants his MPLA party to complete the mandate it won in last year's parliamentary elections.   That suggests the presidential vote would take place at the same time or after the next legislative polls in 2012. Mr.

IJC Operational Update, Dec. 11: Haqqani Facilitator Detained in Khowst; Security Discussed in Farah

An Afghan-international security force detained a couple of militants in Khowst province today, one of whom was a sought after Haqqani facilitator. The facilitator is responsible for the shipment and distribution of weapons to other militant elements in the area. The joint security force searched a compound near the village of Badal Kalay in the Nader Shakhot district where intelligence sources indicated the facilitator was located. The facilitator identified himself and surrendered without incident.

Suspected AQI-network leaders captured in Baghdad, Diyala Provinces

Iraqi Security Forces arrested three suspected leaders within their respective al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) cells, as well as three suspected criminal associates, during three joint security operations conducted today in Baghdad and Diyala Provinces.   In Baqubah, located northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi Police and U.S. advisors searched two buildings for a suspected AQI leader for the Tarmiyah area. Iraqi Police identified and arrested the suspected AQI leader, who allegedly assists in acquiring suicide vests and coordinating suicide attacks in the region.

Closing Arguments This Morning In LtCol Chessani Board of Inquiry

This morning, at approximately 9:00am Pacific Standard Time, Thomas More Law Center attorney Robert Muise will make closing arguments to the Board of Inquiry on behalf of Marine LtCol Jeffrey Chessani.  This is the final opportunity for Muise, a former Marine Infantry officer himself, to thwart the efforts of the government to destroy the 22-year career of Marine LtCol Jeffrey Chessani, one of America’s most effective combat commanders in Iraq. It is expected the Board will render