Friday May 25, 2018
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Death toll rises to 12 in Mali hotel attack

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A French-speaking Special Forces NCO watches weapons marksmanship training for a member of a Malian counter-terrorism unit during one of over 30 pre-scheduled military training engagements planned, coordinated and managed by SOCAFRICA’s JSOTF-TS. Keen in the myriad of different weapons used around the world, Special Forces teams provide capacity development training and advisement to pre-designated host nation units whose mission is to provide for the security of the vast and barren northern territories. Planned, coordinated and managed under the auspices of the State Department’s Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Partnership, Department of Defense TSCTP activities in the region are planned, coordinated and conducted under the auspices of Operation Enduring Freedom (Trans-Sahara) and are managed by SOCAFRICA’s Joint Special Operations Task Force (Trans-Sahara). (Photos are provided by JSOTF-TS Public Affairs)
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Bamako: At least 12 people, including five soldiers, two civilians and one UN staff, have been killed after unknown militants attacked a hotel in central Mali on Friday, Malian officials said.

Photo credit: today.ng
Photo credit: today.ng

Four hostages have been freed from the Byblos hotel used by UN staff, according to the Directorate of Information and Public Affairs of the Malian Army on Saturday, adding that four militants were also killed in the raid, Xinhua reported.

Radhia Achour, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, confirmed that the released hostages were UN contractors — two South Africans, one Russian and one Ukrainian.

Choguel Kokala Maiga, spokesperson of the Malian government, said the Malian troops are searching for surrounding buildings of the hotel in order to capture fleeing militants.

Maiga said the identities of the attackers have not yet been confirmed.

(IANS)

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UN Requests Trump Not to Quit Iran Deal

Under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is committed to slashing the number of its centrifuges, which are machines used to enrich uranium.

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Trump has been a strong critic of the accord, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Iran Flag, Pixabay

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged Donald Trump not to walk away from an international deal designed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Speaking to the BBC, Guterres said there was a real risk of war if the 2015 agreement was not preserved.

Trump has been a strong critic of the accord, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The US president has until May 12, to decide whether to stick with the deal.

Guterres told the BBC that the Iran agreement was an “important diplomatic victory” and should be maintained.

“We should not scrap it unless we have a good alternative,” he said, adding: “We face dangerous times.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged Donald Trump not to walk away from an international deal designed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
Donald Trump

It comes just days after Israel revealed “secret nuclear files” accusing Iran of having covertly pursued nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the files provided proof that the Obama-era nuclear deal was “built on lies”, the BBc report said.

European allies France, the UK and Germany meanwhile have agreed that pursuing the current nuclear deal with Iran is the best way to stop it developing nuclear weapons.

In 2015, Tehran signed a deal with the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain agreeing to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is committed to slashing the number of its centrifuges, which are machines used to enrich uranium.

It is also meant to cut its stockpile of enriched uranium drastically and not enrich remaining uranium to the level needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Trump has frequently voiced his opposition to the “insane” deal, which he has described as the “worst ever”. Unless the European signatories to the deal and the US Congress addressed his concerns, he plans to withdraw on the next deadline for waiving sanctions.

Trump is unhappy that the deal only limited Iran’s nuclear activities for a fixed period (till 2025) and had failed to stop the development of ballistic missiles.

Also Read: Pompeo is Hopeful For the Change in the Course of History on the Korean Peninsula 

He also said it had handed Iran a $100bn windfall that it used “as a slush fund for weapons, terror, and oppression” across the Middle East.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has questioned the legitimacy of efforts by the US and France to change the nuclear deal with his country.

He has said that Iran “will not accept any restrictions beyond its commitments” to comply with international rules in the years ahead. (IANS)

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