#AceNewsServices – Dec.21 – The UN General Assembly has nearly unanimously approved a resolution urging Israel to pay Lebanon some $850mn compensation to cover the clean-up cost of an oil spill caused in 2006 by the IDF jets attack on oil storage tanks during the war with Hezbollah.

' Oil from the bombed power plant of Jieh contaminating the beaches of Beirut ' (Photo from Wikipedia.org)

‘ Oil from the bombed power plant of Jieh contaminating the beaches of Beirut ‘ (Photo from Wikipedia.org)

The UNGA assembly voted 170-6 in favor of the non-binding resolution. Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, Micronesia and Marshall Islands voted against the motion.

Taking into account the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which in principle requires the polluter to pay environmental damage costs, the assembly found Israel guilty of the July 15, 2006 environmental disaster.

The disaster was caused by the Israeli Air Force strike on the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Jiyeh electric power plant in Lebanon. As a result an oil slick covered the Lebanese coastline entirely, stretching all the way to the Syrian coastline.

A crab covered in oil struggles towards the sea polluted with heavy fuel oil in Beirut 29 July 2006. (AFP Photo/Patrick Baz)

A crab covered in oil struggles towards the sea polluted with heavy fuel oil in Beirut 29 July 2006. (AFP Photo/Patrick Baz)

The assembly decision follows the assessment report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon which stipulates the value of damage to be $856.4 million. Now the Assembly is asking Israel to provide“prompt and adequate compensation.”

Israel has been highly critical of a UN General Assembly resolution that calls it to compensate Beirut for the damages caused by a major oil spill that was a result of an Israeli air force strike during the Israel-Hezbollah War in July 2006.

“It’s the sort of UN decision that we’re used to, mixing alternative history, manipulation politicization and self-interested narrow-mindedness,” the Israeli mission to the UN said in a statement Friday night, AP reports.

“The UN has never stopped to check the cost of the war on Israel. Apart from the heavy cost in lives, the war caused huge environmental damage in the north of the country. All that, without even mentioning that the war was a consequence of a terrorist organization, Hezbollah,” the statement said.“The time has come for the UN to look around and notice the real sources of the threats against it.”

Calling the extensive pollution caused by the oil tanks’ destruction an “environmental disaster,” the non-binding resolution was supported by 170 members of the General Assembly on Friday. Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia were among six countries voting against it, with three abstentions.



#AceNewsServices – NIGERIA:Dec.21- In this featured report on the rise of the Boko Haram Group AP reported today that thousands of members of Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist Boko Haram group strike across the border in Cameroon, with coordinated attacks on border towns, a troop convoy and a major barracks.

' Boko Haram Group Recruitment '

‘ Boko Haram Group Recruitment ‘

Farther north, Boko Haram employs recruits from Chad to enforce its control in northeastern Nigerian towns and cities.

In Niger, the government has declared a “humanitarian crisis” and appealed for international aid to help tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees driven from their homes by the insurgency.

These recent events show how neighbouring countries are increasingly being drawn into Nigeria’s Islamic uprising.

Thousands of people have been killed in Nigeria’s 5-year insurgency and some 1.6 million people driven from their homes. A number of soldiers were sentenced to death on Wednesday for refusing to report for duty in an operation against the Boko Haram the African Mail reported.

In a similar case in September, 12 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny after firing on their commanding officer in the northeast city of Maiduguri, where troops are battling against Boko Haram.

Both sentences are subject to approval by top army brass, but there has so far been no indication that senior officers oppose the rulings.

Poor military equipment
Frontline troops have consistently complained that they lack the weapons and other supplies needed to face Boko Haram in insurgent strongholds.

The Islamists, waging a five-year uprising to create a caliphate in northern Nigeria, are known to have tanks, rocket propelled grenade launchers and other heavy weaponry, while troops have reported lacking ammunition for basic assault rifles. 

These series of attacks as outlined blow have continued and are continuing with no end in sight.

File - In this Wednesday, June, 25, 2014, file photo, a Nigerian soldier, center, walks, at the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria. Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group whose birthplace is Maiduguri, is accused of a series of recent bomb attacks

photo: AP / Olamikan Gbemiga



#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON:Dec.20 – Pentagon reports that U.S. and coalition air strikes have killed multiple senior and mid-level Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leaders since mid-November, it was reported Thursday.  

A U.S. official confirmed the deaths of at least two senior leaders and a mid-level leader that was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. 

Between Dec. 3-9, U.S. airstrikes killed Abd al Basit, the “military emir” of ISIS, and Haji Mutazz, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s right hand man, the official confirmed. 

“We believe that the loss of these key leaders degrades [ISIS’s] ability to command and control current operations against Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including Kurdish and other local forces in Iraq,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement Thursday. 

In late November, another strike killed a mid-level commander, Radwin Talib, ISIS’s governor in Mosul, the official confirmed.

“It is disruptive to their planning and command and control, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Journal in an interview Thursday. “These are high-value targets, senior leadership.”

The deaths reflected some progress in the four-month long fight. The top U.S. commander in Iraq told reporters Thursday that the coalition was seeing “initial successes” in the fight. 

“My assessment is that Daesh has been halted [and is in] transition to the defense, and is attempting to hold what they currently have,” Army Lt. Gen. James Terry said at a Pentagon briefing, using a derogatory Arabic name for the terror group.

The U.S. has deployed 1,600 troops to Iraq, and the U.S.-led coalition has conducted 1,361 airstrikes against ISIS, Terry said. 

The general added that ISIS was unable to launch broad offensives, which hurts the group’s propaganda and outreach. He also said ISIS was having a harder time commanding and communicating with their forces in battle and resupplying fighters.

“We will continue to be persistent in this regard and we will strike Daesh at every possible opportunity,” he said.



#AceNewsServices – SCOTLAND:Dec.20 – Scotland’s top prosecutor has reaffirmed Abdelbaset al Megrahi’s guilt in the Lockerbie bombing following an appeal by victims’ families to have the late Libyan’s name cleared.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said no Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised concerns about the evidence linking al Megrahi to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Al Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent who died in 2012, was convicted in 2001 of the murder of 270 people, including 11 people on the ground in the small Scottish town.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi

Al Megrahi was returned to Libya in 2009

His role in the deadly attack has been called into question in a series of books, documentaries and testimony to Scottish Parliament.

In June, victims’ relatives joined politicians and members of al Megrahi’s family in launching an appeal against his conviction. 


#AceNewsServices – A story just breaking say that police have shot dead a man who stabbed three officers in a police station in central France Sky News reported.  

The 20-year-old reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) as he carried out the attack in Joue-les-Tours, near the city of Tours, on Saturday.

He ran into the station and pulled out a knife and stabbed three officers who tried to calm him down, Le Figaro newspaper said.

He wounded a female police officer, injuring her cheek and ear, and then stabbed two other officers.

A police officer pulled out a gun and shot him twice, killing him instantly, the newspaper reported.

Other reports said he was shot by two officers.

The Burundi-born man had a criminal record and was known for his “radical Islamic views”, Le Figaro said.

Anti-terror investigators are probing the incident, a source told AFP news agency.

The source said the man “shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ from the moment he entered until his last breath”.

He was not on any terror watch lists run by France’s main domestic intelligence service, the General Directorate for Internal Security.

But the source said his brother was known to security agencies for his radical beliefs and had at one point planned to travel to Syria.

“The investigation is leading towards an attack on police forces on radical Islamist motives,” another source told AFP.

A police spokesman said the three officers are in a stable condition.

More follows…



#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON:Dec.20 – Four Guantanamo Bay detainees have been released and sent home to Afghanistan, the Pentagon has revealed.

From top left: Shawali Khan, Abdul Ghani, Mohammed Zahir, Khi Ali Gul

From top left: Shawali Khan, Abdul Ghani, Mohammed Zahir, Khi Ali Gul

The men, who were held at the US military prison for over a decade, were flown to the Afghan capital Kabul overnight on a US military plane.

Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir were then handed to Afghan authorities who are not required to further detain them.

The Department of Defence said the men, all Afghan nationals, were freed after a thorough review of their individual cases.

“As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force,” a Pentagon statement said. 

Their release follows the transfer of six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay for resettlement earlier this month.




#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON:Dec.20 – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) heads into the next Congress newly empowered by her feisty opposition to a year-end spending package that outraged her caucus Mike Lillis reported. 

Although the California Democrat was ultimately on the losing side of the debate over a $1.1 trillion government-funding measure, her decision to take on President Obama and side with a vast majority of House Democrats won across-the-board accolades from her troops at a time when many are grumbling about their party’s future.

Big banks are unnerved by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) rise in Democratic circles, which is raising the prospect of her running for the White House Kevin Cirilli reported. 

Supporters who have launched campaigns to push her into the race as a rival to Hillary Clinton launched a protest in Warren’s name outside Citigroup’s Manhattan offices on Thursday, which only added to the industry’s anxiety.