• Two Americas: U.S. wars take uneven toll

    In today’s wars, Americans who die or are wounded in battle are disproportionately coming from poorer parts of the country. By analyzing over 500,000 American combat casualties from the Second World War through Iraq and Afghanistan, researchers found growing socioeconomic inequality in military sacrifice.

  • Europol deploys 200 counterterrorism officers to Greece to thwart ISIS infiltration

    Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that 200 counter terrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands within weeks in an effort to thwart a “strategic”-level campaign by ISIS to infiltrate terrorists into Europe. The new task force will be deployed alongside Greek border guards and use technologies developed by British security forces at Heathrow to help spot potential terrorists.

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  • Mayors of French coastal towns refuse to rescind burkini ban despite Friday’s court ruling

    The majority of French mayors who have issued bans on the wearing of burkini on municipal beaches  are refusing to lift the restrictions even though France’s highest administrative court on Friday ruled that prohibiting the ban would be a “serious and manifestly illegal violation of fundamental freedoms.” The burkini bans have plunged France into an intense debate about secularism, freedom of religion, and how best to help integrate Muslims into French life and culture.

  • Ex-Shin Bet chief: Hezbollah “learning to fight on a large scale” in Syria, threatening Israel

    The Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah is gaining valuable experience while “learning to fight on a large scale” in Syria, a former Shin Bet chief told a visiting delegation of U.S. congressional advisers last Monday. Avi Dichter, currently the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Hezbollah in Syria is “learning to fight on a large scale, in platoons and battalion, while using sophisticated weaponry and heavy, precise arms that they receive from Iran.” These new capabilities will ensure that the “next round” in the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel will be much different.

  • French court suspends Burkini ban, declaring the prohibition “clearly illegal”

    France’s highest administrative court has earlier today (Friday) ruled that Burkini bans now enforced on the country’s beaches are illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties. Burkinis are swimsuits covering the hair and body, which some Muslim women in France began to wear earlier this summer, arguing the Burkini allows them to go the beach while preserving their modesty. Supporters of the ban argue that the. The spread of the Burkini bans from Nice, where it was launched, to many beach communities around the country, has sparked an intense debate about France’s secular values, women’s rights, and religious freedom.

  • Watchdog: Evidence suggests Assad kept chemical weapons program in violation of 2013 deal

    After launching a lethal sarin gas attack in August 20013 — which killed 1,400 Sunni civilians in a Damascus suburb — the Assad regime agreed to get rid of its nerve agents under the supervision of OPWC, the UN chemical weapons watchdog. In summer 2014 OPCW announced that Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile had been removed – but in a classified report submitted Wednesday to the Security Council, OPWC says that Syria has violated the 2013w agreement by keeping some of its chemical weapons program, and by continuing to use chemical weapons in attacks against civilians.

  • U.S. has given 1.4 million guns to Iraq, Afghanistan -- but doesn’t know where, by whom these weapons are currently being used

    The United States has given more than 1.4 million guns to Iraqi and Afghan forces, as part of the more than $40 billion worth of U.S. Department of Defense arms and munitions contracts since 9/11. The Pentagon has only partial, and not necessarily accurate, information not only about the total number of firearms involved, but how, where, and by whom these weapons are currently being used. Journalists have offered evidenced that many firearms openly available for purchase on black markets and on social media throughout the Middle East were originally provided by the Pentagon to U.S. associates in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • How the Islamic State recruits and coerces children

    This week the world once again witnessed an Islamic State’s use of at least one child bomber, perhaps two – this time for blowing up the wedding in Gaziantep, Turkey, killing fifty-four people on 20 August. There are important differences in how groups engage children in militant activities. Differences between children in terrorist groups and child soldiers include how children are recruited and what role the parents and community play in recruitment. Understanding these differences helps us know how best to approach treating the children’s trauma, and figure out which children can be rehabilitated and which ones might be vulnerable for recidivism as adults. The number of children who have been exposed to violence in the so-called Islamic State requires efforts be taken to address the trauma, and determine whether these children are victims or perpetrators.

  • French schools to hold security drills, including mock terrorist attacks

    As part of the French government’s bolstering of security measures in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks, French schools, beginning with the new school year, will now conduct three security drills a year – including at least one drill in which a mock assailants enter the school building.

  • UN releases follow-up to report on the mysterious death of former UN chief Hammarskjöld

    UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon the other day released a follow-up note to the 2015 report of an Independent Panel of Experts that was established to examine and assess new information regarding the 1961 death of former UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld. Hammarskjöld’s plane crashed in September 1961 near Ndola, in what was then the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, and is now Zambia. He was on his way t negotiate an end to the war between Congo, which was supported by the Soviet Union, and the breakaway, mining-rich region of Katanga, which was supported by Belgium (openly) and the United States (covertly).The UN is especially frustrated with the United Kingdom for not releasing more intelligence documents which would shed light on the question of whether Hammarskjöld’s plane was brought down by Western intelligence services who wanted Katanga to remain independent of Congo.

  • Why do some people more readily accept the use of torture?

    Psychologists have shown that authoritarian people and those who perceive their own group as socially superior to others are often more inclined to accept the use of torture. The thing that unites them is not primarily the urge to defend their own group, but their strong tendency to dehumanize people who do not resemble their own kind.

  • Large Turkish forces enter Syria to drive ISIS out of border area

    Dozens of Turkish tanks have crossed into Syria earlier this morning as part of a massive operation – code named “Euphrates Shield” — to capture ISIS strongholds around the town of Jarablus and drive the militants out of the area. The land invasion, which also included hundreds of troops, follows hours of relentless airstrikes and artillery barrages against ISIS targets along the Syria-Turkey border. Among the targets hit in the bombardment were arms depots and oil tanks, and huge explosions lighted up the night sky.

  • Colombia, FARC to sign historic peace deal today, ending 52-year war

    Colombia’s government and the leftist FARC rebel organization have reached a final and comprehensive peace agreement which puts an end to Latin America’s longest war. The FARC campaign against successive Colombian governments began in 1964, leaving more than 220,000 people dead and more than six-and-a-half million displaced. After four years of negotiations, the pace deal will be signed Wednesday evening in Havana, Cuba.

  • Boko Haram leader “fatally wounded in army air strike”: Nigeria

    Nigeria claims to have “fatally wounded” Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in an air strike targeting a meeting of the commanders of the Islamist group. The Nigerian military says that Shekau and other senior leaders of the group gathered for prayers on Friday, and that they were hit by an “air force raid.”

  • Germany to unveil a civil defense plan calling on citizens to stockpile food, water

    The German government will tell citizens to stockpile food and water in their homes in order to prepare for a terror attack or catastrophe. The German cabinet will on Wednesday debate an Interior Ministry report, called the “Concept for Civil Defense,” which, among other things will require the population to stockpile enough food ten days and water for five days.