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Saudi opposition reports King Abdullah has terminal lung cancer

Saudi King Abdullah

Special to WASHINGTON — Saudi King Abdullah was said to be dying of cancer. An opposition research group said Abdullah was diagnosed with lung cancer. The Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs, quoting sources in Saudi Arabia and the United States, said Abdullah was told he could be dead by the end of 2014. “The [...]

Posted in BB Top Story,Exclusives,Mideast,Saudi Arabia | Read More »

Al Qaida bloodbath in Syria terminates Nusara Front commander, wife, daughter, brother and two assassins

Abu Mohammed Al Ansari

Special to NICOSIA — A leading rebel commander has been killed in the Al Qaida war in Syria. Abu Mohammed Al Ansari was killed in the northern Syrian province of Idlib on April 16 in the latest attack by the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Al Ansari, a commander for Al [...]

Posted in BB Middle East,Exclusives,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Kurdistan completes border trench to stop Al Qaida infiltration from Syria

3-meter-wide trench is to stretch along 17 kilometers of the Iraq-Syria border.  /AFP/Safin Hamed

Special to BAGHDAD — Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan has sought to seal its border with Syria. The Kurdistan Regional Government has completed a barrier meant to block infiltration of Al Qaida from Syria. The barrier spans 17 kilometers and consists of a huge trench that blocks foreigners. “This is part of Iraqi government [...]

Posted in BB Middle East,Exclusives,Iraq,Mideast,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Neo-Soviet chess: Ukraine checked in drama starring Russian aggressors as victims

Armed Moscow supporters take over police station in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk on April 12.  /Efrem Lukatsky/AP

UNITED NATIONS — The fate of Ukraine, one of Eastern Europe’s largest countries, hangs in the balance. On the one hand, ”spontaneous” political demonstrations and government building seizures by pro-Russian separatists, are bringing an air of deliberately planned disorder to the country’s eastern regions bordering Russia. On the other, rhetorical posturing by the United States [...]

Posted in Africa / Europe,BB Columnists,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Exclusives,John Metzler,Russia,Top Stories,Ukraine | Read More »

Jordan air strike at Syrian border said to hit convoy of U.S.-trained rebels

This aerial photo shows a truck burning after a Jordanian air strike on a convoy at the border between Jordan and Syria on Wednesday, April 16.  /AP

Special to AMMAN — For the first time, Jordan has launched air strikes on neighboring Syria. The Jordanian military said fighter-jets attacked armored vehicles in southern Syria as they sought to cross the border into the Hashemite kingdom. A military statement said the camouflaged vehicles, identified as Land Rovers, were destroyed. Later, diplomatic sources [...]

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New radiation belt said to optimize survival in nuclear catastrophe

StemRad 360 Gamma

Special to TEL AVIV — Israel has overseen the development of a belt that protects against nuclear radiation. The Israeli company Stemrad has developed a belt designed to block harmful gamma radiation. The product, called “StemRad 360 Gamma,” was meant to protect the pelvic area, which contains most of the body’s renewable bone marrow. [...]

Posted in BB Middle East,Exclusives,Israel,Mideast,Top Stories | Read More »

S. Sudan government charges Khartoum backing rebels who claim key oil town

South Sudan troops wrested control of Bentiu from rebels in January but have lost the town again.  /Reuters

Special to CAIRO — Rebels have claimed the capture of an oil-rich area of South Sudan. On April 15, the rebels, despite a ceasefire agreement, said they captured Bentiu, a city in the oil-rich Wehda state. The rebels said they were advancing in Wehda and would end operations by foreign energy contractors. The South [...]

Posted in Africa / Europe,BB Africa,Exclusives,South Sudan,Top Stories | Read More »

Hamas military wing again stung: 4 die from ‘mysterious explosion’


Special to GAZA CITY — The Hamas military and its allies have been hampered by a series of explosions amid suspected weapons tests. Over the last month, at least four people were killed in two blasts in the Gaza Strip. The casualties, acknowledged by Hamas, were said to have included military commanders. On April [...]

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Trilateral this, trilateral that but in Northeast Asia, three’s a crowd

The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat is in Seoul. Above is the Gangnam section of the South Korean capital.

Special to By Donald Kirk, SEOUL — The word “trilateral” has a certain allure among those in search of ways to pull disparate nations or regions together. A group of three might cooperate while a group of two might form an alliance and fight the third one, the odd man out. Rather than [...]

Posted in BB Columnists,China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Donald Kirk,Exclusives,Japan,NE Asia,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

The purge that has filled N. Korean gulags and the nation-wide power base that triggered it

A number of officials in the Administration Department of the Workers’ Party linked to Jang Song-Thaek have either been executed or sent to gulags.

Special to By Lee Jong-Heon, SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is closing in on his goal of eliminating the network of his late uncle and associates by the April 15 birthday of his grandfather Kim Il-Sung, sources and media reports here said. The North’s once powerful Administration Department of the Workers’ Party headed [...]

Posted in BB NE Asia,Exclusives,Intel Brief,NE Asia,North Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

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