US and European Countries Condemn Killing of Journalist James Foley

The United States, United Kingdom and France have all condemned the beheading of freelance journalist James Foley by the Islamic State (IS). The IS released a video that portrayed a prisoner wearing an orange jumpsuit. Beside him was an IS fighter with a knife in hand, mentioning that it is the United States’ fault the man named James Wright Foley will be beheaded.

Another slide in the video showed another journalist the IS targets to behead if the United States will not withdraw air support for Iraq and Kurdish forces.

France said that the IS’ beheading was “barbaric.” UK mentioned that it was a depraved act.

James Foley, a 40-year-old freelance journalist who previously worked for GlobalPost, had remained in the Middle East for five years. Former Libyan Leader Muammar Qadaffi had imprisoned him during his coverage of the crisis in the country. He had also worked with AFP and other media outlets worldwide.

US Intelligence Agencies are still verifying the authenticity of the video. If proven true, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said “we were appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist.”

Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Minister pointed out that the IS fighter beside Foley in the video was British, indicating the IS’ use of western fighters who practice the same fight who continue to recruit others into the extremist faction.


Israel-Gaza Treaty is Over Before it Started

Israel has bombarded Gaza once again after the Hamas had broken the treaty just a few hours before it started. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu had vowed to do anything in Israel’s power to remove the threat of Hamas from Gaza. He also noted the support of the United States throughout the ordeal.

The talks scheduled for Cairo have been stalled. Israeli officials have announced their absence because of the failure of the 72-hour ceasefire brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Many nations, particularly Arab countries, had viewed the ceasefire as the start of paving a way for a ceasefire.

Obeservers said that the ceasefire for Israel and Gaza should not be limited to a conventional ceasefire. Israel wanted to continue destroying the Hamas underground tunnels despite the ceasefire. Negotiations to disarm Hamas are also unfair to Gaza, as it does not hold any power during the truce.

Meanwhile, the death toll for the Israel-Gaza conflict is now over 1,700. The IDF had bombed different areas of Gaza after the discovery of missing Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, who had died in the Rafah area. The Israeli military believes that Goldin was kidnapped by militants during the fighting and was killed a few hours after the ceasefire.

In total, 68 Israel soldiers have died during the fighting.


Pro-Russian Rebels Hand Over MH17 Black Boxes

The Pro-Russian rebels of Donetsk had turned over two black boxes of the downed Malaysian Airlines Passenger Jet to the Malaysian Investigation Team in Ukraine. According to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the rebels had submitted the black boxes at 9pm. The black boxes of the aircraft will answer about the fate of the passengers of the doomed flight.

Najib had admitted that he had been secretly contacting the pro-Russian rebels to secure the aircraft black boxes. He described it as difficult, but it had borne fruit and it had gained Malaysia its black boxes and the unfettered right of the Malaysian Investigation Team to survey the crash site.

From Torez, the 282 dead bodies of passengers will be moved to Kharkiv to the hands of Malaysian Airlines representatives from the Netherlands. Six members of the recovery team will accompany the refrigerated train. A Dutch C130 Herculates will fly to Amsterdam, where it would have forensic investigation, and then sent back to Malaysia.

Najib said that there is much work to be done until the MH17 incident is finally give a close, including maintaining contact with Rebel Leader Alexander Borodai. Najib said their cooperation had been done in good faith, and their agreement is honoured by both sides.

Meanwhile, Russian denial stories are rebutted by the United States. The Russian government’s recent story of a Ukrainian Military Jet tailing the plane and shooting it out of the sky is a farfetched tale, according to political analysts. US intelligence also has evidence that it had supplied separatists with surface-to-air missiles days before the incident.


Netanyahu Warns Hamas of Vengeance for Killing Three Israeli Hitchhikers

Three Israeli teenagers hitchhiking in the West Bank went missing two weeks ago. The Israeli military recently found their bodies near the area after a thousand-troop search and rescue operation that led to the arrest of 400 Hamas operatives, with two top suspects still on the loose. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore vengeance against Hamas for their crimes.

The Israeli public also cried for blood. The public, along with Israeli media, continued to be updated about the situation of the three Israeli teenagers. One of the teenagers had a US citizenship, and they were only common teenagers. Not one of them has a link to any political figure.

Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, 19, and the last two 16 years old, were found in a shallow grave in an open field at the West Bank village of Halhul, Hebron. The Israeli military locked down the area.

US President Barack Obama shared his condolences and called the murder a “senseless act of terror.”

However, Netanyahu might have political difficulties as he is pressured to act with justice against Hamas, but he will be risking a possible long-term warfare. International pressure may call on him to practice restraint.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticised the act. They had also pledged in the search. Meanwhile, the Hamas did not admit being part of the kidnapping, but praised what had happened. Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said it is a possible pretext to act against Hamas in a politically justifiable manner.


Iran Accuses the US for Taking Advantage of the Iraq Crisis

The Iraq Military is helpless against fighting a vicious, war-hardened militant threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS with low military morale and inadequate equipment. However, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei accused the United States for exploiting the Iraqi crisis by sending in 300 military advisers to support the Iraqi military’s efforts to contain the threat.

Khamenei’s statement might reduce the likelihood of the US and Iran cooperating to create a security measure for Iraq. Iran had expressed its willingness to support Iraq against the threat, but it views US actions as having vested interests.

The Iran leader said that the United States is trying to retake Iraq by exploiting possible sectarian troubles in the country. The ISIS are Sunni Muslims, who Sunni believe to be fighting for the rights of their people. Iraq is a country run by President Nouri al-Maliki, who is a Shia Muslim and had established laws the discriminate against the Sunni Muslims.

Khamenei also views the US’ intention to let al-Maliki step down to allow a new “puppet” president in his place as evidence of their intention to take advantage of the situation. He said that Iran believes that Iraq and their religious leaders could end the conflict on their own.


US Urges Americans in Libya to Leave the Country

The United States State Department had warned American expatriates living in Libya to leave immediately, along with tourists and travellers. The travel warning followed after a terrorist group attacked the home of Libya’s new Prime Minister, which continues to make Libya’s security situation questionable.

Meanwhile, the group behind the attack, Ansar al-Sharia, said that should the US decide to interfere in Libyan politics, it will see a fate worse than its defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before Ahmed Miitig, a 42 years old businessman had the GNC elect him as Libyan Prime Minister, the terrorists had also attacked his predecessor Abdullah al-Thani, who in April, resigned after the attacks.

According to Miitig’s aide, the group used rockets and small arms against the Prime Minister’s home in Tripoli. The family escaped unharmed as the Prime Minister’s guards opened fire against the group. The guards had arrested two of the attackers.

The US Embassy in Tripoli had also closed, and in case personnel in the Embassy must be evacuated, the US plans to deploy an amphibious assault ship with 1,000 marines. These precautions serve as an immediate action after the same terrorist group had attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, which had killed several personnel and top US officials.


Ukraine Citizens Speak Up Against Pro-Russian Activists

Ukrainian citizens express their fury against Pro-Russian activists as eastern violence continued to increase. However, Pro-Russian rebels continue to defy and had vowed the region as independent from the Ukrainian government’s influence.

A company chief of a steel mill in Mariupol in the eastern parts of Ukraine had made a speech in front of his employees condemning the Donetsk People’s Republic, whom the Pro-Russian forces support. One of his workers, mill worker Sergey Kulitsh, had said that Mariupol needs a peaceful sky and not tanks and guns in their city.

Rinat Akhmetov had made it imperative his company chiefs meet with workers during the noontime to raise their awareness of Donetsk, and Mariupol’s, political situation. Owning the plant in Mariupol and several others, he has vowed to challenge the insurgents by maintaining and improving the morale of people to not be afraid of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Steelworkers from his company had worked alongside policemen to force out activists occupying government buildings in the Black Sea port.

Houses of citizens had burned down or exploded after encounters from separatists and government forces. Many complained about the gunfire of rebels against government forces hitting homes.

Activist leaders have approached these residents and had claimed that they will pay for all the damages caused by the encounters between government forces.


Syrian Regime Bombing Kills 33 People and 25 Children

Syrian regime forces had dropped three crude barrel bombs in the Hilok district of Aleppo, which is alleged to be holding terrorist forces according to activists. Dozens of people were killed as a civilian-packed street lined with vegetables and meat shops were near the impact points of the barrel bombs.

Activists added that yesterday, the regime forces have also dropped barrel bombs inside an elementary school, claiming the lives of 25 children. However, sources could not verify the authenticity of the claim or the videos sent to an international news station.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights verified the attack on the Hilok district to have claimed 33 lives including women. According to the observatory, the government rarely sent an airstrike to Hilok, which is why it is packed with civilians and a small market had already started blossoming in the area.

Activist Abu Faisal agreed that the Hilok district is a densely populated area and shops sold gasoline, food, and makeshift hospitals were all over the place.

The local Aleppo Media Center put the civilian death toll to 44 casualties.

Despite the attacks in Aleppo, the Syrian regime had also attacked a vegetable market in the town of Atareb in Aleppo with barrel bombs, which killed 30 people and wounded dozens more.


White House Urges North Korea to Stop Nuclear Tests

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said that the White House urges North Korea to stop nuclear tests in response to the latter’s increased nuclear activity in its testing site. According to him “North Korea has a history of taking provocative actions, and we are always mindful of the possibility that such an action could be taken.

Depending on what it is and what they do, if they do anything, it would most likely be in violation of numerous commitments that the DPRK is bound by. But of course, that is something they have, unfortunately, done many times.”

Carney made the White House statement aboard Air Force One as US President Barack Obama and other senior are going on their four-nation tour of Asia. Obama will arrive in Japan on Wednesday and to South Korea on Friday. He will also be visiting Malaysia and the Philippines.

A South Korean news agency had quoted that South Korea’s Defence Ministry had detected increased activity at Punggye-ri, the nuclear testing site of North Korea. According to the Ministry’s Spokesman Kim Min-seok, North Korea had reached a level when it could conduct a nuclear test at a short period of time.

North Korea has not yet commented on South Korea’s press reports as of the moment.


Russian Prime Minister Visits Crimea, Angers Ukraine

Ukraine’s government expressed its anger and disappointment on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who had visited Crimea, which showed Russia “flaunting” its grip on Crimea on Monday.

Russian forces have further “sealed the deal” as it began withdrawing troops from the border of eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin had said in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he is having a “partial withdrawal” of troops from the border, which had 20,000 from 60,000 Russian troops in the border withdrawn.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Ukraine government should introduce federalisation of power. However, the Ukraine government sent a note against Russia, telling it to “mind its own business” and “ Do not attempt to teach others. Better bring order to your own country. You have plenty of problems.” The statement came directly from Ukraine Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.

Russian Prime Minister Medvedev promised to raise the salary of those living in Crimea and he promised to create a special economic zone that would help woo investors to invest in Crimea’s economy. However, political analysts confirm that this sends a firm message that Russia has no plans to give the territory back to Ukraine.

The improvements promised by PM Medvedev include making Crimean holidays more affordable and attractive to feature the unique nature and hospitality of Crimeans, as well as its clean seas.