BY Wire Reports
Sunday, November 11, 2012
11/11/12 at 2:54 AM
Baghdad: Iraq reconsidering arms deal with Russia
Iraq is reconsidering plans to buy more than $4 billion in arms from Russia, officials said Saturday, throwing the proposed purchase into question just weeks after it was announced.
The turnaround follows the ouster of Russia's defense minister earlier this week and allegations by Iraqi lawmakers and local media that the pending deal is tainted by graft.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to Moscow in October and outlined plans to buy the weapons, including helicopter gunships and air defense missiles.
The deal would have strengthened Russia's ties to oil-rich Iraq at a time when the ruling regime of longtime Mideast ally Syria risks falling in the country's civil war.
It now appears unlikely the sale will go through as planned.
Goma, Congo: Congo forces attack rebel base, ending ceasefire
The Congolese army has attacked M23 rebel positions, ending a two-month ceasefire, charged the rebel spokesman.
Ten civilians were killed when government forces fired on the rebel base in Kitagoma, in eastern Congo, near the border with Uganda, said M23 political branch spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa Saturday. He said the attack was on Friday.
"Our forces did not fight back and only protected themselves," Bisimwa said. "The M23 considers this provocation as a violation of the ongoing ceasefire and grants itself the right to respond and push back the threat as far as possible to protect the civilian population."
The Congolese army denied the attack. "Kitagoma is under M23 control and far into their territory, it is impossible for us to go there. It is the M23 that has massacred civilians and is blaming us for it," said Col. Olivier Hamuli, spokesman for the Congolese army.
Sao Paulo: Murder rate soars in Brazil's largest city
At least 140 people have been murdered in South America's biggest city over the past two weeks in a rising wave of violence, Sao Paulo's Public Safety Department says.
Killings in Sao Paulo began sharply increasing in September, a month in which 144 people were killed, the department's website says. It says a total of 982 homicides took place in the city during the first nine months of the year.
The victims included 90 police officers, most of them gunned down while off duty.
A Public Safety Department official said Saturday that the killings of police have been ordered by imprisoned leaders of an organized crime group called the First Capital Command in reprisal for a crackdown on the drug trade. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Based in Sao Paulo state prisons, the group allegedly was behind several waves of attacks on police, government buildings, banks and public buses in 2006. Those assaults and counterattacks by police in the slums killed more than 200 people.
Algiers, Algeria: Foreign military action in Mali useless, official says
An international military intervention into Mali at this time would be useless, a top adviser to Algeria's president said Saturday.
The remarks by Kamal Rezzag Bara, terrorism and security adviser to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, underline Algeria's deep-seated unease with international plans to invade northern Mali.
Bara said internationalizing the crisis would only "aggravate the situation" and that Mali itself should be helped to come up with a roadmap and agreement involving all the actors to resolve the crisis.
His remarks, however, come as the West African regional bloc ECOWAS moves forward with plans to invade.
Accra, Ghana: Argentine ship held in Ghana blocks boarding
Sailors aboard an Argentina navy sailing ship seized in a billion-dollar international debt controversy brandished weapons to block Ghanaian officials from moving the vessel to a less busy dock, an official of the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority said Saturday.
Crewmen on the ARA Libertad showed their rifles to deter Ghanaian officials from boarding the South American ship Thursday.
Ghanaian judge Richard Agyei-Frimpong ruled last week that the Libertad should be moved from its current position while Argentina fights a court order to hold the ship against payment of $1.3 billion to a group holding bonds on which Argentina defaulted in 2002.
Ports officials say the ship's current location prevents other vessels from berthing, costing the agency tens of thousands of dollars a day in lost fees.
A Bahraini anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister back toward riot police who fired it during clashes after the funeral for a teenager in Muharraq, Bahrain, on Saturday. HASAN JAMALI / Associated Press