The deaths last week of 16 guides in an avalanche on Mount Everest has increased global awareness of the region's close-knit Sherpa community and the risks some of these individuals take when helping climbers ascend the world's tallest peaks. It's worth noting that the term "Sherpa" does not actually mean "mountain guide," as many people believe, but instead refers to an ancient ethnic community of some 154,000 members. Most — but not all — of the guides who were killed in the recent Everest avalanche were Sherpas. The Sherpas, whose name translates roughly to "Easterners," are settled primarily in the mountainous Solukhumbu region of eastern Nepal, which is also home to Sagarmatha National Park and Mount Everest.
A German former rapper who joined jihadists fighting in Syria was reported dead on Tuesday by jihadist sources, but hours later some retracted the claim, saying he was still alive. Denis Mamadou Cuspert, who rapped under the name Deso Dogg but took on the name Abu Talha al-Almani in Syria, was initially reported to have been killed in a suicide attack Sunday in an eastern province. He was a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and was reportedly killed in a double suicide bombing carried out by Al-Nusra Front, a rival jihadist group that is Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Militants wearing military uniforms carried out an overnight attack against a balloting center in a remote area of the country's north and killed 10 guards, a senior police official said on Tuesday.
France is to unveil policies to stop its citizens joining the Syrian civil war, a government source said on Tuesday, aiming to prevent young French Muslims becoming radicalized and posing a threat to their home country. The Interior Ministry will present some 20 measures on Wednesday, including a plan to stop minors leaving France without parental consent, increased surveillance of Islamist websites that recruit fighters and a system to encourage parents to signal suspicious behavior in their children. "France will take all measures to dissuade, prevent and punish those who are tempted to fight where they have no reason to be," President Francois Hollande told reporters on Tuesday. With radical Sunni Muslims from outside Syria fighting alongside Syrians against President Bashar al-Assad, Western countries are concerned of the security risk at home.
Michael Daly at The Daily Beast on how Chicago became 'Chiraq'. “President Obama may have gotten our troops out of Iraq, but the gunfire in his hometown of Chicago is still earning it a searing nickname coined by young people who live there. “FBI Director James Comey happened to be in Chicago the following Monday, and he ascribed much of the violence to the gang culture so deeply ingrained in the city. But Comey had little to say about what Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy recognizes as the core problem. ‘Until we do something about guns, don’t expect things to change overnight,’ McCarthy said.” U.S. Naval War College professor John Schindler tweets, “There were more casualties in Chiraq (AKA Chicago) than in #Ukraine last (Easter) weekend.
An Iraqi Shiite who proudly fought Sunni rebels in Syria's civil war is now running for parliament in his home country, where the conflict has raised already-high sectarian tensions. Faleh al-Khazali is one of an unknown number of Iraqi Shiites who have gone to fight on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against a Sunni-led rebellion. There are Iraqi Sunnis fighting on the other side of the war, including for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), one of two powerful jihadist groups in Syria with roots in Iraq. The civil war has destroyed swathes of Syrian cities and claimed over 150,000 lives, and in Iraq has sharpened sectarian tensions that have contributed to the worst surge in bloodshed since the height of the violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion.
By Christian Plumb NEW YORK (Reuters) - Launching a weekly Sunday night news comedy show in an era of ever shorter news cycles is both a blessing and a curse, as John Oliver freely admits. As he chooses current events topics to skewer, the bespectacled British comedian will have to pick over what other late-night shows, most notably "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," where he used to work, have already feasted on. "If something happens on a Monday, realistically all the meat is going to be picked off that bone by the time it gets to us - there's probably barely a point in doing it," he said of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," which premieres on HBO on April 27.
Attacks including five suicide bombings hit various areas of Iraq on Monday, killing at least 26 people as parliamentary elections loom next week, the first since American troops departed. Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,750 people so far this year, and the UN envoy warned Monday that militants were seeking to stoke sectarian tensions between the Shiite Muslim majority and the Sunni Arab minority. In the deadliest attack, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives at a police checkpoint in the Suweirah area, south of Baghdad, killing 13 people and wounding 35, a police officer and a medical source said. Another suicide bomber blew up a vehicle at a checkpoint in Madain, killing at least two people and wounding five, while gunmen shot dead one person and wounded at least one other in Latifiyah, officials said.
Mock executions, hunger, thirst, cold, beatings, a makeshift chess game to pass the time... and a "surreal" snowball fight with their jailers. Details are starting to trickle through of the ordeal experienced by the four French journalists who returned home Sunday after being held hostage for 10 months at the hands of the most radical of Syria's jihadist groups, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. According to Didier Francois, 53, an experienced and highly respected war reporter for Europe 1 radio who was kidnapped on June 6 north of Aleppo along with 23-year-old photographer Edouard Elias, the first few days were particularly tough. Francois and Elias were stopped by armed and masked men after they crossed the border into Syria from Turkey.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed at least 33 people and wounded nearly 80 more on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed at least 30 people and wounded nearly 70 more on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month.
Kuwaiti telecom giant Zain said Monday its net profit rose 7.5 percent on year in the first quarter of 2014, mainly on the back of returns from new technology investments. Zain announced a net profit of 55.9 million dinars ($198.9 million) in the first three months of the year compared with 52 million dinars in the same period of 2013. Zain said it secured two major loans of $800 million and $250 million in the past two months, with the latter borrowed on the basis of Islamic Murabaha. Besides Kuwait, Zain has operations in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed at least 19 people and wounded 36 on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month.
By Manash Goswami SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent futures dropped towards $109 a barrel on Monday as investors took profits after steep gains, but uncertainty surrounding the crisis in Ukraine checked the decline. Russia and world powers reached an agreement designed to avert a wider conflict over Ukraine, but the viability of the deal was bought into question after at least three people were killed in a gunfight near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists. U.S. crude oil futures declined 16 cents to $104.14 a barrel. "The market is being supported by Ukraine although we are seeing some profit-taking coming in after the recent rise," said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity sales manager at brokerage Newedge Japan.
ANKARA (Reuters) - An oil pipeline carrying crude from Iraq's Kirkuk oil fields to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan is unusable because of persistent militant attacks, Turkey's energy minister said on Monday. "Of course this is a loss for Iraq," Taner Yildiz told reporters, referring to the Baghdad-controlled pipeline, which has been pumping way below its 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of capacity. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun, Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Crispian Balmer)
Four French journalists taken hostage in Syria were reunited with family and colleagues on Sunday in an emotional homecoming after 10 months in captivity during which they were chained together and held in dingy basements. "It was a long haul, but we never lost hope," said radio reporter Didier Francois, who, like the rest of the group, had shaved the long beard he grew in captivity before the reunion at the Villacoublay base. President Francois Hollande said it was "a day of joy for France" as he met the four men at Villacoublay, where they were due to undergo medical checks. Nicolas Henin, a 37-year-old reporter for Le Point magazine, and freelance photographer Pierre Torres, 29, were seized two weeks later, also in the north of the country, at Raqqa.
Attacks in Iraq, including a suicide bombing at a university in north Baghdad, killed at least 14 people on Sunday, security and medical officials said. The attacks, which come as Iraq suffers a prolonged surge in bloodshed, took place less than two weeks before a parliamentary election that will be a major test for security forces. Officials gave varying accounts of the bombing of Baghdad's Imam Kadhim University. A police colonel said a suicide attacker entered the university before setting off explosives, while another bomber and a gunman were killed by security forces.
PARIS (AP) — Four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria returned home Sunday to joyful families, a presidential welcome and questions about how France managed to obtain their freedom from Islamic extremists.
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's president marked Easter with a tour Sunday of an ancient Christian village recently recaptured by his forces, state media said, as the country's Greek Orthodox Patriarch vowed that country's Christians "will not submit and yield" to extremists.
By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd, on Sunday denounced the "immense wastefulness" in the world while many go hungry and called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Africa. "We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent," he said in his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message. Francis, marking the second Easter season of his pontificate, celebrated a Mass to an overflowing crowd of at least 150,000 in St. Peter's Square and beyond.