International aid agency Oxfam has praised the upcoming Geneva peace conference in November that may bring Syrians closer to a much-needed resolution to the two-and-a-half-year civil war that has torn the nation apart.
"The Syrian people have cried out for peace for more than two years, and the world has finally answered their pleas," Oxfam said in a statement. "Secretary Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov now have a real opportunity to help bring an end to the death, displacement, and suffering taking place."
A number of leading nations are expected to be involved in the US-Russia peace talks, including Britain, France and China, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius revealed on Monday. The conference, being dubbed Geneva 2, will include all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, rebuffing claims by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Europe needs to stay out of the talks. more >>
Gunmen from terrorist group Boko Haram stormed a college dormitory in Nigeria on Sunday and killed as many as 40 students who were sleeping, in its latest shocking attack on civilians.
"Boko Haram terrorists who went into the school and opened fire on students," Lazarus Eli, a military spokesman in the town of Gujba in Yobe state, told AFP. One of the witnesses at the College of Agriculture, 23-year-old student Salamanu Ibrahim, said that there were dozens of gunmen who took part, firing indiscriminately into the dorm rooms.
"The attackers went berserk," Ibrahim said. "They were fully armed with sophisticated rifles, and improvised explosives." more >>
Of the many pieces of recent federal legislation, few elicit as much emotion and controversy as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Commonly known as "Obamacare," the bill became law in March 2010 and has been the subject of scores of bills and lawsuits meant to bring it down.
In contrast to many bills out there, Obamacare succeeded with little bipartisan support. The initial H.R.3590 bill had 40 cosponsors, of whom only three (Reps. Walter B. Jones, Jr. of North Carolina, Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, and Russell Todd Platts of Pennsylvania) were Republican.
During the much covered House votes on Nov. 7, 2009 and March 21, 2010, only one Republican voted in favor of either bill. For the Nov. 7 vote, 39 Democrats joined House Republicans in voting against it and on March 21, 34 Dems did likewise. This means that opposition to the sweeping health care overhaul was more bipartisan than its support. more >>
The deadliest attack on Christians ever on Pakistani soil that left 83 people dead on Sunday has been condemned by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which warned that words will not be enough to stop the violence against religious minorities in the Islamic nation.
"Mere words will not do. The government of Newaz Sharif must take robust measures to end violence against Christians and other religious minorities and the cycle of impunity that plagues Pakistan. Arrests and prosecutions will send a powerful message that the government takes seriously its responsibility to protect citizens of all faiths," USCIRF chairman Robert George said in a statement.
Two suicide blasts on Sunday left 83 people dead and over 150 wounded at the All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. The attack occurred when over 400 worshipers were leaving church services, with a faction of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claiming responsibility. more >>
Renowned evangelist Billy Graham is asking Iran's president Hassan Rouhani for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini from prison, pointing out that such an action might be perceived by U.S. leaders as a significant step in reducing tensions.
"On September 26, the one-year anniversary of Pastor Abedini's imprisonment, thousands will attend prayer vigils in more than 70 U.S. cities, calling on your country to release this husband, father and servant of God," Graham writes in a letter addressed to Rouhani and published on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. "I join them by respectfully asking you to release Pastor Saeed Abedini from prison. Such an action would, I believe, have a positive impact in our nation, and might well be perceived by our leadership as a significant step in reducing tensions."
Abedini has been in Evin Prison in Tehran since his arrest last year, and was later sentenced to eight years in jail, supposedly for endangering national security. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) recently launched the largest campaign in its history aimed at sending thousands of letters each week to Rouhani, petitioning for the U.S. pastor. The ACLJ, which represents his wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children in the U.S., says that Iran has targeted the pastor for his Christian faith. more >>
President Barack Obama has been urged by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to speak out on the extreme sectarian violence that has led to Christians being slaughtered in churches in Nigeria, following a meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
"We respectfully urge you, Mr. President, to strongly address with President Jonathan the importance of the Nigerian government arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of sectarian violence," USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George wrote to Obama on Monday before the meeting.
"The Nigerian government's overreliance on the use of force to tackle communal and Boko Haram violence and its failure to promote rule of law and human rights will only further destabilize this important ally." more >>