Home Authors Posts by Diane A. Wade

Diane A. Wade

Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani has said there were “pockets” of people celebrating when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001.

Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor at the time, disputed claims by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that thousands of people were involved.

Donald Trump’s comments have been refuted by local political leaders because of a lack of evidence.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie simply said “it didn’t happen”.

Rudy Giuliani, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican nomination himself, said: “We did have some [reports of] celebrations, there were pockets of celebration, some in Queens, some in Brooklyn.”

The former mayor said in one specific report which was later proved to be true, owners of a sweet shop were celebrating and children from a nearby housing development “beat them up”.

However, Rudy Giuliani said Donald Trump was willfully exaggerating the numbers and he himself “would’ve been thrown out of the race” had he made such an inflated claim during his 2008 campaign.Rudy Giuliani on 9-11 celebration

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik later backed up Rudy Giuliani’s comments, saying “10-50” people were reported to be celebrating in different areas throughout the city.

Donald Trump, who comes from New York and runs his billionaire property empire from the city, has come under constant attack for days, ever since he made his controversial 9/11 remarks at a rally in Alabama.

The mayor of Jersey City, which Donald Trump named, said no such thing happened and accused the Republican of “shameful politicizing”.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, his Republican rival in the race for the White House, said it was not true.

“It didn’t happen and the fact is, people can say anything, but the facts are the facts, and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and hasn’t happened since.”

Donald Trump leads the Republican race to be presidential nominee, two months before voting begins in the primary contests.

The Republican presidential hopeful has also urged increased surveillance of Muslims in the US, in light of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people.


The US State Department has announced it will tighten travel restrictions on foreigners who visit the country without needing full visas.

About 20 million people from 38 countries enter the United States each year under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The move has come under increased scrutiny since last month’s attacks in Paris, with lawmakers expressing concern that militants could get into the US.

Under changes that are be submitted to Congress, all countries in the scheme would be asked to issue “e-passports”.US Visa Waiver Program after Paris attacks

Their registrations would come under greater scrutiny from US agencies, and travelers would also be screened to see if they had traveled to militant-held areas.

The Department of Homeland Security will also ask Congress for additional powers, including increase fines for airlines that fail to verify passport data.

The changes will “enhance our ability to thwart terrorist attempts to travel on lost or stolen passports”, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Paris, where President Barack Obama is attending UN talks on climate change.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows people from designated countries to visit the US for 90-day stays without getting a visa.

Several of the suspected perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks were from Belgium and France, which are countries on the list.

According to Indonesian officials, a faulty component was a “major factor” when an AirAsia plane crashed into the Java Sea in December 2014, killing 162 people.

The first major report into the crash found that actions by the crew in response to the malfunction also contributed to the disaster.

The Airbus A320-200, going from Surabaya to Singapore, was 40 minutes into the flight when contact was lost.

The report is the result of a year-long investigation.

Investigators had initially indicated that bad weather was a major factor in the crash.

However, the new report has found that the soldering on a tiny electronic part in the system that controlled the rudder was cracked, causing it to send four warning signals to the pilots.

Photo AP

Photo AP

The crew tried to fix the problem by resetting the computer, but this disabled the autopilot. They then lost control of the plane.

The AirAsia plane then entered “a prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the flight crew to recover,” said Indonesia’s national transport safety committee.

Maintenance crews were aware of the problem as it had occurred 23 times in 2014, and resetting the system was one of several methods used previously to address it, the report said.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes thanked investigators on Twitter and added that “there is much to be learned here for AirAsia, the manufacturer and the aviation industry”.

“We will not leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from this tragic incident.”

The plane’s wreckage was found days after the crash at the bottom of the Java Sea near Borneo.

Most of the passengers were Indonesian, and others on board included a Frenchman, a Singaporean, a Malaysian, a Briton, and three South Koreans.

Only 106 bodies have been retrieved so far.

The AirAsia crash capped a year of major air disasters including the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting of MH17- both flights operated by Malaysia Airlines.


President Barack Obama has visited the scene of the Bataclan concert hall attack in Paris, after arriving in the French capital for the UN climate change summit.

Accompanied by President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Barack Obama laid a single white rose at the venue where 90 people were killed.

Security was stepped up for the visit, with helicopters flying overhead and roads in the area sealed off.

About 150 world leaders are attending the climate change summit which opens on November 30.

Barack Obama’s motorcade went straight to the Bataclan shortly after the US president arrived at Orly Airport.

After placing his rose, Barack Obama stood in silence with his head bowed and his hands clasped in front of him. He then walked away with his arms around Francois Hollande and Anne Hidalgo.Barack Obama Bataclan memorial

Paris terror attacks – claimed by the ISIS – on November 13 left 130 people dead and more than 360 wounded.

Gunmen opened fire or set off bombs at seven locations in Paris.

France is still in a state of emergency after the attacks.

French prosecutors say at least 11 militants in three co-ordinated teams were involved in the killings.

Nine are dead and two suspects – Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini – are still on the run.

French police have carried out hundreds of raids across the country and raids have also taken place in the Belgian capital Brussels where some of the attackers were from.

On November 29, more than 200 demonstrators were arrested in Paris after clashes with police.

It came as climate change activists formed a human chain along the route of a march that was called off after the attacks.

Some of the demonstrators in Place de la Republique were apparently protesting against France’s state of emergency, and have been disowned by the main organizers.


Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are attending a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Uganda.

Pope Francis is speaking at a Catholic shrine dedicated to Christians martyred for their faith in the 19th Century, on the second stage of his three-country trip to Africa.

The Mass marks the 50th anniversary of the martyrs’ canonization.

There were huge cheers as Pope Francis began the open-air ceremony at Namugongo, near Kampala.

It was there where many of the 45 Anglican and Catholic martyrs were burned alive.

The martyr’s execution was ordered by a king worried about the spread of Christianity.Pope Francis Honors Christian Martyrs in Uganda

Thousands of pilgrims braved rain to spend the night holding a vigil near the martyrs’ shrines and there were long lines of pilgrims still trying to access the shrine as Pope Francis began to address the crowds on Saturday morning.

Uganda is a deeply religious country, with over 14.1 million Catholics – and even adherents of other faiths will be paying close attention to the Pope’s words, say correspondents.

Pope Francis arrives in Uganda during the third week of a presidential campaign being fought by the country’s ruler for the past 29 years, President Yoweri Museveni.

Francis is the third Pope to visit Uganda, and he is likely to continue to preach his message of mercy and care for the poor, and to speak out against corruption – a message that was welcomed by people in Kenya.

The pontiff may also talk of the need for reconciliation amongst different tribes and, perhaps, pray for a peaceful vote here in February 2016.

However, there were critical references to the Pope’s visit on Twitter – with some wondering “how many people have HIV today because contraception isn’t allowed?” while others accused him of ignoring extreme anti-gay attitudes in Uganda.

Pope Francis will travel to the Central African Republic (CAR), which has been hit by serious violence between Christian and Muslim militias in recent years, on November 29.


France is holding a national memorial service for the 130 people who died in a series of attacks in Paris two weeks ago.

Around 1,000 people attended the service in central Paris, including President Francois Hollande, survivors of the attacks and victims’ families.

A minute’s silence was held and the names of all the victims read out.

Attackers with assault rifles and suicide belts targeted a number of sites in the capital. ISIS later said it was behind the assault.

In his speech, President Francois Hollande said France would “do all it can to destroy this army of fanatics”.

“It will operate relentlessly to protect its children,” he said.

Francois Hollande vowed that France would respond with more music, concerts and sporting events, after some of the attacks targeted a concert venue and a stadium.

Among those attending the service were the parents of British victim Nick Alexander, who said that they were now “intrinsically linked” to those who had also lost loved ones.Paris attack memorial service

However, not all the victims’ families accepted the invitation to attend the service at the grand Les Invalides complex that houses a military museum and Napoleon’s tomb.

The family of one victim told French media they had refused, saying not enough had been done to protect the nation in the wake of other attacks earlier this year.

In the November 13 attacks, the gunmen opened fire on restaurants and bars in Paris and stormed the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people were shot dead.

Three more attackers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, after staff denied them entry to a football match between France and Germany.

More than 350 people were injured in the attacks – the worst in recent French history.

At least nine people are believed to have been directly involved in carrying out the latest attacks.

They are all dead, but two more men, including suspect Salah Abdeslam, are still on the run as a huge manhunt continues in France and Belgium.

Some of the attackers – including suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who died in a police raid in Paris last week – had lived in Brussels.


North Korean and South Korean officials are holding rare talks aimed at improving long-strained ties, after a military stand-off in August.

The meeting is taking place at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone.

Tension between North Korea and South Korea ramped up in August when a border blast injured two South Korean soldiers.

Meetings at that time eventually led to the two Koreas stepping away from a military confrontation.

The two sides are expected to discuss details such as the timing and agenda of higher-level talks, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.

South Korea’s chief negotiator, Kim Ki-woong, told reporters before the meeting: “We are resolved to maintaining the momentum for dialogue that was started by the August agreement.”Korean talks Panmunjom 2015

In June 2013, North Korea and South Korea agreed to hold what would have been the first high-level dialogue for six years. However, just the day before the scheduled meeting, Pyongyang canceled it, citing the seniority of the South Korean negotiator.

On August 4, two South Korean soldiers by the border were seriously injured by a landmine blast, which was blamed on the North. North Korea denied planting the landmine.

South Korea began propaganda broadcasts into the North, infuriating Pyongyang which in turn declared a “semi-state of war” and began deploying troops to the frontline.

However, after talks, also held at Panmunjom, the two countries reached a deal to de-escalate tensions with South Korea stopping the broadcasts and North Korea pulling back troops.


Pope Francis has celebrated Holy Mass attended by thousands of people at the University of Nairobi campus in Kenya.

The Pope made a plea for traditional values, saying “the health of any society depends on the health of its families”.

He earlier urged Kenyans to work for peace and reconciliation on his first trip as pontiff to Africa, amid a rise in militant violence.

Pope Francis arrived in Kenya on November 25, the first stop on a three-nation tour.

Crowds in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, waited in the rain at the University of Nairobi sports ground since the early hours of November 26. More than one million were expected to attend the Mass.

Wearing a robe embroidered to look like beads worn by the Maasai, Pope Francis told them: “Our faith in God’s word calls us to support families in their mission in society, to accept children as a blessing for our world, and to defend the dignity of each man and woman, for all of us are brothers and sisters in the one human family.”

The pontiff also spoke about abortion and the need for a caring society: “We are also called to resist practices which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women, and threaten the life of the innocent unborn.”

Photo CNN

Photo CNN

Pope Francis appealed to young Kenyans “to shape a society which is ever more just, inclusive and respectful of human dignity”.

He said they “should reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination”.

Ahead of the Mass, Pope Francis had been meeting with religious leaders, who he said should be “prophets of peace” in a violent and hate-driven world.

The Pope earlier said conflict and terrorism fed “on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration”.

Pope Francis has played down security fears about his trip, joking that he was “more worried about the mosquitoes”.

A leading Muslim cleric in Kenya welcomed the visit, saying it gave hope to the “downtrodden in the slums”.

Pope Francis’s five-day visit will also see him go to Uganda and Central African Republic, which has been hit by Christian-Muslim conflict.

Kenya’s government has said that up to 10,000 police officers may be deployed during the visit.

Militant Islamists have carried out a series of attacks in Kenya – including the 2013 siege at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre, which left 67 people dead and the killing of about 150 people during an assault on the Garissa National University College in April 2015.

Pope Francis is later expected to visit the headquarters of the UN Environment Program, and he has already spoken of a “grave environmental crisis” facing the world, and said leaders needed to promote “responsible models of economic development”.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Pope Francis to pray that Kenya succeeds in its fight against corruption.

About 30% of Kenyans – including the president – are baptized Catholics.


Ukraine has decided to ban all Russian planes from using its airspace after exports of Russian gas to Ukraine have been halted by state-controlled giant Gazprom.

The decision was announced by Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk at a televised government meeting.

Gazprom said it had halted gas deliveries to Ukraine because it had used up all the gas it had paid for.

Ukraine said it had stopped buying from Gazprom because it could get cheaper gas from Europe.

The airspace ban applies to military planes as well as civil airliners.

PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk said: “The Ukrainian government has decided to ban all transit flights for all Russian airlines in Ukraine’s airspace.

“The government is instructing [aviation authority] Ukraerorukh, in line with the norms of international law, to inform the Russian Federation that Russian airlines and Russian aircraft do not have the right to use Ukraine’s airspace any longer.”Ukraine closes airspace for Russia

Following previous clashes over gas supplies, the two countries had agreed that Ukraine would pay for its gas in advance.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on November 25 that Ukraine had already used up all the gas it had paid for.

In a statement, Alexei Miller said that “deliveries have been stopped until the receipt of new payments from the Ukrainian company.

“The refusal to buy Russian gas will create serious risks for the reliable transit of gas to Europe through Ukraine and for the supply of gas to Ukrainian consumers during the upcoming winter,” he added.

However, Arseniy Yatsenyuk dismissed Alexei Miller’s comments out of hand.

The prime minister said his government had decided to stop buying gas from Russia as it could get a better deal elsewhere.

“The government has made the decision to order [Ukraine’s national oil and gas company] Naftohaz to stop buying Russian gas.

“They got it all wrong. It is not them who are not supplying gas to us, it is us who are not buying gas from them. This is being done because offers that have come from our European partners – price offers – are much better than the offers from our eastern neighbor.”

Russia cut off gas to Ukraine in June 2014 as the conflict between the government in Kiev and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated.

However, it resumed them following the pre-payment deal.

About 15% of gas used in Europe travels through Ukraine. The EU has been holding talks aimed at keeping supplies running between the two sides.


Five people, including two journalists, who are accused of leaking and publishing Vatican secret documents revealing mismanagement in the Holy See, are set to go on trial.

The journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, who cited the documents in two books will face the tribunal, along with two members of a papal commission and an assistant.

If convicted, they could be jailed for up to eight years.

Media groups have condemned the trial. One of the journalists charged called it “an attack on press freedom”.

Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi carried allegations of the misuse of charitable and other funds in their books Merchants in the Temple and Avarice.

The allegations included the lavish refurbishment of apartments for cardinals and others.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The three accused of leaking the documents are a Spanish priest and an Italian public relations expert who sat on a commission which advised the Pope on economic reform, along with the priest’s secretary.

Media groups have urged the Vatican to drop the charges.

Nina Ognianova, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: “Journalists should be allowed to carry out their role as watchdog and investigate alleged wrongdoing without fear of repercussions.”

The journalists involved called the trial “Kafka-esque”, saying neither they or their lawyers had seen details of the charges.

Emilian Fittipaldi said: “This is a trial against freedom of the press. In no other part of the world, at least in the part of the world that considers itself democratic, is there a crime of a scoop, a crime of publishing news.”

The three accused of leaking the documents are Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda and his assistant Nicola Maio, along with PR expert Francesca Chaouqui.

The special reform commission they were serving was set up by Pope Francis to tackle the Vatican’s financial holdings and propose reforms to improve cash flow to the poor.

Ahmed Mohamed, who was arrested in Texas for taking a homemade clock to class, is seeking $15 million from the City of Irving and MacArthur highschool.

The teenager was held by police and suspended from his school because his teacher mistook the clock for a bomb.

Ahmed Mohamed’s lawyer said in a letter that the incident, which made global headlines, sparked threats against the boy and left him deeply traumatized.

The 14-year-old and his family have since moved to Qatar to complete his education.

The arrest sparked outrage, sympathy and the trending hashtag #StandWithAhmed.

Ahmed Mohamed’s lawyers are asking for $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the Irving Independent School District, saying that Ahmed Mohamed was “publicly mistreated” and remains scarred.Ahmed Mohamed sues Irving City

In addition to the compensation they want an apology, saying that in the aftermath of the arrest, he received threatening emails and feared for his safety, causing “severe psychological trauma”.

The lawyers will file a civil action suit if the school does not comply within 60 days, they said.

“Irving Police officials immediately determined that the clock was harmless. The only reason for the overreaction was that the responsible adults involved irrationally assumed that Ahmed was dangerous because of his race, national origin and religion,” the lawyers wrote in a letter to the City of Irving.

Ahmed Mohamed told reporters at the time it was “very sad” that his teacher thought his clock was a threat.

His arrest was sharply criticized, and he received an outpouring of support including an invitation to the White House.

In October, Ahmed Mohamed met Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The boy’s father is a Sudanese immigrant to the US who once stood as a presidential candidate against Omar al-Bashir.

Ahmed Mohamed also met Google co-founder Sergey Brin and officials from Turkey, Sudan and Jordan.

Texas officials defended their decision, saying they were only concerned with the safety of students.

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community offered him a full scholarship in October.

Ahmed Mohamed’s family announced they would be leaving Texas and moving so he could attend school there.

Argentina’s opposition candidate Mauricio Macri has won the presidential election runoff in, exit polls suggest.

Polls by taken by TV stations shortly after voting closed indicated Mauricio Macri, 56, won, without giving a breakdown.

Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, was up against Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires province.

Loud cheers erupted at Mauricio Macri’s campaign headquarters at the news, Reuters reported.

Party insiders claimed a five- to eight-percentage-point lead.

If the result is confirmed, it will be the first time in more than a decade that Argentina’s center-right opposition has wrested the presidency from the center-left Peronists.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

A spokesman for DanielScioli said they would wait for official figures to come in before commenting.

Neither candidate managed to win the first round of voting in October outright, forcing a runoff – the first in the country’s history.

DanielScioli was marginally ahead in the first round, with 36.7% to 34.5%, but has lost ground to his rival in the month since.

Mauricio Macri, the leader of the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition, went into today’s vote with a comfortable lead in opinion polls.

He campaigned on pledges to bring new investment into the ailing economy, tackle crime and fight corruption.

The son of one of Argentina’s richest men, Mauricio Macri had a long career in business before entering politics.

A close ally of current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Daniel Scioli had been expected to win by a greater margin in October.


Crimea has been left without power after pylons carrying power lines which supply electricity from Ukraine were reportedly blown up on November 21.

According to local reports, all four power lines were cut, leaving the region’s two million inhabitants without electricity.

Images circulated on social media appeared to show Ukrainian flags attached to the damaged pylons.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, but the Ukrainian authorities have continued to supply power to the area.

Crimean authorities said they had managed to partially reconnect the cities of Simferopol, Yalta and Saky using generators.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

Crimea’s Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Sheremet said the peninsula’s hospitals had backup power sources and would not be affected.

The Crimean Emergencies Ministry has declared a state of emergency and put rescue teams on high alert.

“Crimea is completely cut off,” Viktor Plakida, the director of Crimea Energy, told Russia’s Tass news agency.

A local emergency response official told Russia’s Tass news agency that Crimea was “operating in standalone mode”.

Crimea can only produce half the power it needs, Mikhail Sheremet said.

Two of the four main power lines were cut in an earlier attack on November 20, reports said.

Ukrainian authorities said they encountered activists blockading the site when they tried to repair the damaged pylons.

“The nature of the damage shows that it took place as a result of shelling or the use of explosive devices,” Ukraine’s state energy company Ukrenergo said in a statement.

Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group native to the peninsula who oppose Russian rule, held a protest at the site of the broken power lines in Kherson region, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.


Five people, including two journalists and a top priest or monsignor, have been charged by the Vatican over the leaking and publication of secret documents.

The leaked documents were cited in two books, by journalists Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, alleging misspending and corruption at the Vatican.

The journalists deny claims that they exerted pressure to obtain information.

Two members of a papal commission advising on economic reform, and an assistant, were also charged.

Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, and fellow commission member, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui, were arrested early in November.

Merchants in the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi and Avarice by Emiliano Fittipaldi, included details of alleged corruption, theft and uncontrolled spending in the Vatican.

In a statement, the Holy See said magistrates “notified the accused and their lawyers of the charges filed… for the unlawful disclosure of information and confidential documents”.

Francesca Chaouqui was released shortly after her arrest after pledging to co-operate with authorities. Monsignor Lucio Valejo Balda remains in a Vatican cell.Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi Vatican leaks scandal

Both, along with assistant Nicola Maio, are accused of forming “a brotherhood of crime” and stealing documents, the Vatican said.

The two journalists have been charged with exerting pressure to obtain the information.

Emiliano Fittipaldi told local media he was “stunned” by the decision.

“Maybe I’m naive but I believed they would investigate those I denounced for criminal activity, not the person that revealed the crimes,” he said.

“I understand they are seriously embarrassed in the Vatican over the things in my book, especially because they could not deny any of it. But I didn’t expect a criminal trial.”

Gianluigi Nuzzi told Reuters he had “never applied pressure on anyone”. He will discuss whether to attend a November 24 hearing with his lawyers.

Reporters without Borders issued a statement saying the journalists had “just exercised their right to provide information in the public interest and should not be treated as criminals in a country that supposedly respects media freedom”.

If convicted, all five could be jailed for up to eight years.


Bangladeshi opposition leaders Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid have been executed for war crimes committed during the 1971 independence struggle against Pakistan.

The two politicians were hanged in Dhaka’s central jail.

They were convicted of genocide and rape – charges they denied.

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury has been an influential politician – he was elected member of Bangladeshi parliament six times. Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid was a top leader of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said they were hanged after President Abdul Hamid rejected appeals for clemency by the two men.Bangladeshi opposition leaders Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid have been executed

However, family members have dismissed reports that the men had made any such appeals, which would have also required admissions of guilt.

“My father said he did not seek any mercy,” Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury’s son, Humam Qauder Chowdhury, told AFP news agency, after meeting his father for the last time hours before his execution.

“He has always said he’s innocent.”

The Supreme Court upheld their sentences earlier this month.

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was the most senior leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party to be sentenced for crimes against humanity.

Two years ago, a special war crimes tribunal found him guilty of nine out of 23 charges including genocide, arson and persecuting people on religious and political grounds.

The prosecution said that his father’s residence in Chittagong was turned into a torture cell during the war.

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid was the secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami. He was sentenced to death in July 2013.

He was accused of responsibility for the killings of a number of pro-independence Bangladeshi leaders and intellectuals.

The tribunal found him guilty of five charges, including abduction and murder.

Bangladesh’s government says the war crimes trials are necessary to bring murderers to justice.

However, the opposition says they have been used to persecute them and human rights groups have said the tribunal does not meet international standards.

Mississippi House race has been won by Democrat Blaine “Bo” Eaton II after drawing a longer straw, an official way to break a tie in a legislative election for the state.

Bo Eaton met rival Mark Tullos to draw straws and the Republican drew the shorter one.

The Democrat’s fateful grasp of the longer straw gave him the victory, keeping Republicans from having a supermajority in the state house.

Mark Tullos, not admitting defeat, filed an appeal on November 20.

Bo Eaton, a farmer, said after winning: “There’s always happiness in a good crop year.”

Mark Tullos apparently left the room quickly and did not show emotion.Bo Eaton drawing straw

Bo Eaton, a 20-year incumbent, had said he did not approve of the straw-drawing, but he would accept the results.

“Look, my life’s a gamble,” he said, according to the New York Times.

“I’m a farmer. I depend on the weather and the rain. The statute’s clear, but my life is not.”

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant presided over the short straw-drawing ceremony.

Each candidate had received 4,589 votes in the legislative election for the House seat.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states legally decide the outcome of tied legislative elections by drawing straws or flipping coins.

Similar cases have happened in New Mexico and Alaska, using a coin toss.

Connecticut decided in 2007 to eliminate chance games for breaking ties, a year after a coin toss determined a state house election.


South Korea has accepted an offer from North Korea to hold talks on November 26, Seoul officials have confirmed.

The talks, to be held at the Panmunjom truce village, will set the stage for high-level meetings which were agreed in principle in August.

That deal followed a stand-off in August that began with landmine explosions on the border and involved an exchange of artillery fire.

South Korea said it had sent requests for meetings before but had no response.

North Korea and South Korea are technically still at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.Korean talks 2015

In August 2015, a landmine explosion at the heavily militarized border seriously injured two South Korean soldiers.

In response, South Korea resumed its abandoned practice of blasting propaganda over the border, and evacuated people from the border region. North Korea said it had put its military on a “war footing”.

Tensions bubbled over in a brief exchange of fire at the heavily guarded border.

After crisis talks, South Korea agreed to turned off the loudspeakers while North Korea agreed to step down its military.

The agreement included a pledge to resume talks on improving ties, and to hold the first reunions for families separated during the Korean War in over a year.

North Korea also expressed regret over the mine explosions, though later clarified it was not accepting responsibility for the blast.


Former US Navy intelligence Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel, is set to be released on parole from a federal prison.

Jonathan Pollard, now 61, was caught selling classified documents in 1985 and given a life sentence two years later.

Campaigners and successive Israeli governments have tried to secure Jonathan Pollard’s early release.

The case has been one of the most contentious issues between the two countries for the past 30 years.Jonathan Pollard release

Jonathan Pollard has been serving his sentence at a prison in North Carolina. His parole terms bar him from leaving the US without permission for five years.

He has said he wants to move to Israel to be reunited with his second wife.

In 2014, it was reported that the US was considering freeing Jonathan Pollard in exchange for concessions from Israel to the Palestinians amid faltering peace talks.

Jonathan Pollard’s lawyers said earlier this year that they had found employment and accommodation for their client in the New York area, but gave no further details.

At the time of his arrest, Jonathan Pollard said he gave classified documents to Israel, a key US ally, because Washington was not passing on important information.

However, some intelligence officials have said that Jonathan Pollard also offered information to other countries.

Israel initially denied Jonathan Pollard had spied for them. However, in 1996, Israel made Jonathan Pollard a citizen and two years later officials admitted he was their agent.


New Zealand is voting in a referendum which could see the country getting a new national flag.

People in New Zealand have just under a month to send in a postal ballot on which of five potential new flags they prefer.

A second vote in 2016 will ask whether they want to replace the existing flag, which features the UK’s Union Jack, with the new design.

PM John Key has said the current flag is not representative of modern New Zealand.

He also believes it is too similar to Australia’s, but has admitted that polling indicates most New Zealanders would rather keep it.New Zealand flag referendum

The Flag Consideration Panel received 10,292 entrants to its nationwide design competition.

Not all were entirely serious, though some of the rejected designs – including Laser Kiwi – gained something of a cult following.

Four designs were on the shortlist announced in September, but there was criticism that they were too similar or uncreative.

Three featured a fern design and the fourth the curving koru Maori symbol.

After a social media lobbying campaign, New Zealand’s government changed the rules so a fifth design – called Red Peak – also made the final cut.

To help people make a decision, the five flags are being put on display across the country.

Sets of flags are being given out free to communities who have five suitable flagpoles to display them from, so the public can see them in “real-life situations”.


Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans as the House of Representatives has passed a bill that tightens restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, amid security concerns.

The House passed the measure 289-137, in a rebuke to the White House.

President Barack Obama has said he will veto the legislation.

The bill follows the ISIS-led attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead.

Seven of the perpetrators died in the attacks, and one of them is thought to have been a Syrian who entered Europe via Greece with migrants.

The bill still needs to pass the Senate before hitting Barack Obama’s desk.

Photo AP

Photo AP

It would require the head of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence to sign off on each refugee as being “not a threat to the security of the United States,” following an FBI background check.

Calling the Paris attacks “a game changer”, Rep Brad Ashford, a Democrat from Nebraska, said: “I cannot sit back and ignore the concerns of my constituents and the American public.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he supported the bill because “it is against the values of our nation and the values of a free society to give terrorists the opening they are looking for”.

Others urged compassion for those fleeing the war-torn regions.

“Defeating terrorism should not mean slamming the door in the faces of those fleeing the terrorists,” said Rep Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York.

“We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty.”

Republicans do not have the votes to override Barack Obama’s veto, but say that their affirmative vote in symbolic.

Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky who is currently running for president, has highlighted a 2011 case in his home state of two Iraqi refugees who schemed to send rifles, missiles and money to al-Qaeda against US troops in Iraqi. They are now imprisoned.

The White House has said that 2,174 Syrians have been admitted to the US since the attacks in September 2001, and noted that none of them has been arrested or deported for terror offences.

Millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and to Europe since the Syrian conflict began about four years ago.

The Obama administration announced in September that it wanted to resettle about 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US by the same time in 2016.

Donald Trump has said he would be open to having a “Muslim database” in the US in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The Republican presidential hopeful said in an interview with Yahoo Politics that he would consider “drastic measures” for monitoring the community.

Asked if that may include registering Muslims in a database or using special ID cards, Donald Trump did not rule it out.

ISIS militants said they carried out the attacks in Paris.

The suicide bombs and shootings at various venues across Paris killed 129 people on November 13.

Photo Instagram

Photo Instagram

“We’re going to have to do things we never did before,” said Donald Trump, a frontrunner in the Republican race for the White House.

“And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling security is going to rule.”

Donald Trump told Yahoo Politics certain things would have to be done “that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy.”

The US is going to have to do certain things that were “frankly unthinkable a year ago,” said Donald Trumo, who has previously said mosques should come under surveillance and Syrians should be deported.

Dozens of state governors and Republican lawmakers have called for a halt to the processing of Syrian refugees into the US.

One of the suicide bombers in Paris is thought to have entered Europe with refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.

A bill tightening the vetting restrictions is due to come before Congress on November 19.

This week, President Barack Obama criticized Republicans as hysterical and un-American for saying the US should not accept Muslim refugees.


Roanoke Mayor David Bowers has come under criticism in Virginia after he appeared to endorse the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

In a letter, Mayor David Bowers wrote that Syrian refugees should not be resettled in his city, citing security concerns.

To highlight the point, David Bowers, a Democrat, compared the concern over the refugees to the 1940s internment of Japanese Americans.

The internment camps – now considered illegal – are widely considered to be an embarrassing period in US history.

“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it appears that threat of harm to America from [ISIS] now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,” David Bowers wrote.

Photo Washington Post

Photo Washington Post

More than 30 US governors have said they do not want Syria refugees resettled in their states after recent attacks in Paris tied to ISIS killed 129 people.

Although the governors do not have the legal authority to do so, they can complicate the resettlement process. President Barack Obama called their response “hysterical”.

Virginia Republicans sought to distance themselves from David Bowers’ remarks.

“Comparing the prudent step of pausing to evaluate a vetting processes to the unconstitutional internment of American citizens proves that Democrats simply don’t understand national security,” John Whitbeck, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, said in a statement.

The letter drew also ridicule on social media with celebrities condemning David Bowers.

Actor and Japanese-American George Takei wrote on Facebook: “Mayor Bowers, there are a few key points of history you seem to have missed.”

“The internment [not a “sequester”] was not of Japanese “foreign nationals,” but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were US citizens,” George Takei wrote.

“I was one of them, and my family and I spent four years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbour. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.”

Bobby Jindal has dropped out of the race for the White House after struggling for months to gain traction amid a sprawling field of Republican candidates.

Although the Louisiana governor showed some strength in the early voting state of Iowa, he consistently performed poorly in national polls.

Bobby Jindal, 44, was shut out of the main Republican debates, relegated to secondary stages.

“This is not my time,” he said on November 17.

The Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants added diversity to the Republican field, which includes African-American neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carly Fiorina.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

However, Governor Bobby Jindal sought to distance himself from his Indian heritage during the campaign.

“We are not Indian-Americans, African-Americans, Irish-Americans, rich Americans, or poor Americans. We are all Americans,” he told supporters when he launched his campaign in June.

Unpopular in his home state after a budget shortfall, Bobby Jindal had been considered a long-shot for the nomination.

During his campaign, Bobby Jindal sought to appeal to evangelical Christian voters, taking hard lines on gay rights and Islamic extremism.

However, he was courting the same slice of the electorate as rival candidates such as Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Bobby Jindal joins former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who have also suspended their campaigns for president.

Fourteen Republicans remain in the presidential race.


Venezuela’s National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello has accused the United States of kidnapping two nephews of First Lady Cilia Flores, wife of President Nicolas Maduro.

The two were arrested in Haiti last week and taken by the US Drug Enforcement Administration to New York and charged with drug trafficking.

Diosdado Cabello said the arrests were “irregular” and had been carried out to damage the governing party ahead of legislative elections on December 6.

US-Venezuelan ties have been fraught.

The US and Venezuela have not exchanged ambassadors since 2012 and Venezuela regularly accuses the US of trying to destabilize the Latin American country.

Diosdado Cabello, a powerful figure in the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV), was the first official to speak out about the arrest of the two men on November 10.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

In an interview with Venezuelan TV, Diosdado Cabello said that he did not consider it an arrest.

“A plane went to Haiti with six people and they kidnapped two,” he said referring to the fact that the four other people on board had not been charged.

“It’s the DEA’s normal procedure to kidnap lots of people,” he alleged.

The aim of the arrests, Diosdado Cabello added, was “to hurt the Bolivarian revolution” in the midst of an election.

Some polls suggest that the governing coalition could lose its majority in the National Assembly for the first time in 16 years on December 6.

Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 29, and Franqui Flores de Freitas, 30, were charged with one count of drug trafficking on November 12.

The two are nephews of first lady Cilia Flores and travelled on diplomatic passports.

Diosdado Cabello said they had acted independently: “These are grown men who can do what they want in life.”

Their indictment accuses the men of conspiring to import “five kilograms [11 lb] and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine” to the US.

A US law enforcement source had told Reuters that the two men had allegedly planned to smuggle a much larger amount, 800kg, to the US.

Lawyers for Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Franqui Flores de Freitas said they would plead not guilty at their next court appearance.


Black Lives Matter protesters have been demonstrating in Minneapolis over the police shooting of Jamar Clark who witnesses say was unarmed and handcuffed at the time.

A state agency is investigating the incident, which happened on November 15. Relatives of the man concerned say he is on life support.

On November 16, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges called for a federal civil rights investigation into the case.

Black Lives Matter gained prominence after the police shooting of a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

That sparked protests nationwide about the police use of excessive force against African Americans.

Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man, was shot after police were called to a reported assault, and police say he “interfered” with the paramedics assisting the assault victim.

Police officers have said “misinformation” is spreading about Jamar Clark case, and some have told reporters he was not handcuffed.

On November 15, about 150 people gathered to demonstrate at the scene of the shooting and some camped out outside the police station.

The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified yet but two officers have been placed on paid leave.Black Lives Matter protest Minneapolis

Black Lives Matter organizers are demanding the release of any video footage that may exist of the altercation.

“We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson,” Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told Minnesota Public Radio.

“That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately.”

Jamar Clark has convictions for making terroristic threats, aggravated robbery and possessing a small amount of marijuana.

In 2013, Minneapolis police shot and killed 22-year-old black man Terrance Franklin, who was suspected of burglary.

Minneapolis is participating in a federal Justice Department program for increasing trust between police and their communities.