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Cuba Criticizes New US Arline Passenger Screening Rules

Cuba has described as "anti-terrorist paranoia" new U.S. rules that tighten security checks for airline passengers who travel from or through the Caribbean island and 13 other countries en route to the United States. Cuban authorities criticized the new security policies Monday in an article published in the state-run Granma newspaper.  The article noted that the United States accuses Cuba of supporting terrorism. The new security procedures follow the botched Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound U.S.

Nigerian Official Says Botched Plane Attack Undermines Re-Branding Efforts

A Nigerian cabinet minister says Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s botched attempt to blow up a plane in the United States has “seriously” undermined the government’s efforts to improve the country’s image. Information minister Dora Akunyili called on President Barack Obama’s administration not to consider Nigeria as a state sponsor of terrorism. “That categorization is very unfair. We don’t deserve that. Nigeria as a country doesn’t have terrorist tendencies. It’s not in our culture. It’s not in our ways. It is not part of us. It is alien to us.

Security Threats Keep US, British Embassies Closed in Yemen

The United States and Britain are keeping their embassies in Yemen closed for a second day Monday because of threats from a local branch of the al-Qaida terrorist network.  It is not clear when they plan to reopen. France also closed its embassy in Yemen Monday.  The French foreign ministry made the announcement. U.S. President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism aide, John Brennan, told CNN Sunday the U.S.

Serbian Police Arrest Bosnian War Crimes Suspect

Serbian news reports say police in Belgrade have arrested a war crimes suspect wanted in connection with the killing of at least 19 civilians during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. Prosecutors identified the suspect as Darko Jankovic.  They say the killings took place in 1992 near the town of Zvornik in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina.  No further details were released. Zvornik, located on the border with Serbia, was the scene of killings, torture and deportations early in the 1992-1995 war. The conflict claimed about 100,000 lives and forced some two million people to flee their homes.

Aerial Bombing Kills 22 Colombian Rebels

Colombian officials say a New Year's Day aerial bombing killed 22 rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The death toll reported Saturday is higher than earlier reports. Authorities say the early Friday morning attack took place in the province of Meta. Military officials now say ground troops captured eight rebels in the area, including five who were wounded.  Initial reports said 13 fighters had been captures. Meta is a lucrative cocaine-producing region for the rebels. The FARC has been fighting the Colombian government for four-and-a-half decades and

Iran Jams Satellites to Block Transmissions by VOA, BBC

Broadcasters in the United States and Britain say the Iranian government has been jamming international satellite transmissions into the country. Television programs by VOA's Persian News Network and a number of radio broadcasts by U.S.-supported news organizations have been affected by the Iranian jamming.  The interference has been aimed at a communications satellite system used by many countries. Iranian authorities have not responded to inquiries by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that oversees all U.S.

Gunmen Kills 4 in Finnish Shopping Mall

Police in Finland say they have found a body they believe to be the gunman who killed five people in a shooting Thursday at a shopping center in the Finnish city of Espoo. Police superintendent Jukka Kaski said the suspect is 43-year-old Ibrahim Shkupolli, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo.  His body was found in an apartment in Espoo.  Police suspect suicide. Police say they also found a body believed to be that of Shkupolli's former girlfriend in another apartment.  She is identified as a Finnish woman born in 1967.  Officials say she had taken out a restraining order against the suspect.

Eritrean Official Denies Sponsoring Insurgents to Destabilize Neighbors

Eritrea’s information minister has described as an unfortunate publicity stunt accusations that President Isaias Afeworki’s government is arming insurgents to destabilize both Ethiopia and Sudan ahead of their scheduled elections in 2010. Ali Abdu said the countries are exploiting the recent United Nations arms embargo imposed on Eritrea. “This is simply a political prostitution and it’s meant to exploit the recent UN resolution, and this click is a comic click of liars. I mean they don’t even blink when they lie.

Iranian Conservatives Hold Mass Pro-Government Rallies

Iranian conservatives are taking part in pro-government rallies in several major cities, in a show of strength against Iran's opposition movement. Tens of thousands of Iranians were expected to attend the demonstrations, organized by the government in response to a recent series of opposition protests.  Many conservatives at Wednesday's rallies chanted pro-government slogans and held pictures of Iran's clerical rulers. Iranian conservatives have reacted angrily to opposition groups holding anti-government protests during last Sunday's observance of Ashura, a solemn Shi'ite festival. I

Three Malians to Soon Stand Trial in US Courts for Alleged Narco-Terrorism

Three citizens of the West African country of Mali will soon go on trial here in the United States on charges of conspiracy to commit acts of narco-terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure, and Idriss Abelrahman were arrested on December 16 in Ghana after they allegedly agreed to transport cocaine through West and North Africa to Europe for al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Islamic Magreb and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia known as FARC. The three organizations have been designated by the U.S.

African Group with Al-Qaida Ties Says it Kidnapped Italian Couple

Italy says it will not negotiate with an al-Qaida group that has claimed responsibility for kidnapping two Italians in Mauritania. The North African al-Qaida branch known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said on Sunday that it was behind the recent kidnapping of an Italian couple in Mauritania. In an audio message broadcast on al-Arabiya television on Monday, a spokesman for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said the group is behind this month's kidnapping of an Italian couple in Mauritania.

Airline Bombing Suspect Spent Months in Yemen in 2009

Authorities in Yemen say the Nigerian man accused of trying to destroy a U.S. jetliner last week lived in Yemen for months, and was in the country as recently as this month. The Yemeni Foreign Ministry says 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from early August to early December.  The ministry says he was granted a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital, Sanaa, where he had previously studied.

Britain Confirms Alleged Airline Bomber was on Watch List

The British government has confirmed that the young Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight on Christmas Day was refused entry into Britain earlier this year and his name was added to a so-called watch list.  Somehow, somewhere, security officials did not pick up on the information at their disposal that allowed an individual on a security watch list onto a plane bound for the U.S.

Nigeria Orders Increased Airport Security after Failed US Plane Bombing

The Nigerian government has enhanced security checks at its airports after a young Nigerian man tried to blow up a U.S.

Iranian Police Arrest 5 Prominent Activists

Iranian opposition groups say authorities have arrested at least five prominent reformists as part of a new crackdown on anti-government protests, following demonstrations in which at least eight people were killed. Opposition Web sites say three advisers to Iran's opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were detained Monday, including his top aide, Ali Riza Beheshti. They say authorities also arrested human-rights campaigner Emad Baghi and opposition activist Ebrahim Yazdi, who was foreign minister after Iran's Islamic Revolution three decades ago. State-run Press TV says eight people