The news comes from the ‘Air et Cosmos’ specialist magazine, which reported online that a deal had been reached between France and the United States for the sale of two non-armed MQ-9 units. The French air force had already deployed a European-made Harfang drone to Mali, with the country now wishing to acquire more modern models quickly, although any purchase of the US Reapers directly from the manufacturer (as was done with Harfang) is expected to delay delivery by seven months. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is presently on a visit to the US, where he is expected to make the announcement, according to Air et Cosmos. The defense ministry has declined to comment. In a bid to curb the spread of extremism and Al Qaeda-linked militants in the northern parts of its former colony, France started a military operation in January of this year. The anti-government Islamists had spread Sharia law everywhere they went, and it is widely feared that if they are successful in Mali, the country will become a hotspot for extremism and the launching of terrorist attacks against European and other African nations. French efforts have since pushed the militants into mountain and desert hideouts. However, this changed the rules of the game in such a way that they now launch sporadic guerrilla attacks.Operation ‘Serval’ started with a deployment of 2,500 troops and the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declaring on January 30 that they would be out of there “quickly”. Since that time, that number has risen to 4,000, while the departure date had been moved up. Currently, the idea is that half will leave by July, when Mali holds their presidential election. Although Paris has begun withdrawal from the West African nation, ahead of the security handover to the International Mission for Support to Mali (MISMA), Le Drian’s recent visit to London paints a different picture, whereby 1,000 French troops will stay in Mali indefinitely, in case further problems arise. “This is the reason why France will remain with roughly 1,000 troops on Malian territory for an undetermined period of time to carry out counter-terrorism operations if necessary,” said Le Drian. As the battle against extremism in Mali shows no signs of abating, international donors have pledged €3.25bn to its rebuilding, as currently the country is in a state of complete destitution. …
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Russian floors ended Tuesday in positive territory: The MICEX added 1.19 percent to close at 1430.18 and the RTS advanced 1.73 percent to 1451.84, with power company shares the biggest gainers.European markets also closed in the black, setting a series of new records. The Stoxx Europe 600 set a record for the year, gaining 0.3 percent to close at 301.74 on earnings reports from banks HSBC Holdings PLC and Société Générale SA.Germany’s DAX 30 also saw an all-time-high closing, advancing 0.9 percent to end the day at 8,186.16. In France, the CAC 40 was up 0.6 percent to close at 3,930.98. UK stocks returned to action after a bank holiday on Monday, with the FTSE 100 index of leading companies gaining 0.4 percent to close at 6,548.95.Important market news out of Europe on Wednesday will include official German data on industrial production. France is on a national holiday, and markets will be closed on May 8. On Thursday, markets in France and Germany will remain closed for national holidays. The ECB will publish its monthly bulletin on May 9, and Spain will hold an auction of 10-year government bonds. The US will release its weekly initial jobless claims update on May 9.Wall Street set new records during May 7 trading: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 15,000 for the first time, while the S&P 500 also ended at another record high. The Dow added 0.58 percent to close at 15,056.20, the S&P 500 gained 0.52 percent to end at 1,625.96 and the Nasdaq grew by 0.11 percent to 3,396.63.No important news is expected from the US on Wednesday. Investors will be closely watching a Friday speech by Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, as well as official data on the federal budget balance. Also on Friday, finance ministers and central bank heads from the Group of Seven nations will begin a two-day summit.Asian markets are trading higher on Wednesday after another record performance on Wall Street and improvement in Chinese trade: Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.9 percent to 14,304.15; Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1 percent to 5,195.20; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.6 percent to 23,186.94 on HSBC’s earnings report. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Mainland China, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines also saw gains.Oil is trading higher on Wednesday, with Brent up slightly by 0.01 percent and WTI adding 0.16 percent. …
http://www.youtube.com/v/zh-Bg4J-fyU?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata See the article here - Behold A Pale Horse – Full Movie
An armed group on Tuesday abducted four UN peacekeepers from the Philippines in the Golan Heights, which has been hit by a mounting spillover from the Syrian civil war, the United Nations said. The four were patrolling near the Al Jamlah locality in the ceasefire zone between Israel and Syria where…
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The United Nations is now saying it has no conclusive evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria.
The statement marks an about-turn from statements made by Investigator Carla Del Ponte at the weekend when she suggested that rebels had been using the banned nerve agent sarin.
The Syrian government has renewed its demand for an investigation on the ground in Syria, and has called for it to take place as soon as possible.
“We are a hundred percent confident that Syria did not use chemical weapons against its own people. We are one hundred percent sure, but the opposition are fabricating all of these lies to create a real problem and to cover up for the crime committed in Aleppo. Through you we tell the United Nations to come immediately,” said Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.
In America, President Obama has said a red line will be crossed if chemical weapons are used, and some appear convinced they already have – by the government.
“We find it highly likely that chemical weapons, if they were in fact used in Syria – and there is certainly evidence that they were – that the Assad regime was responsible,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
In a separate development in Washington the chairman of Congress’s Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, has introduced a bill which, if passed by house, senate and president, would provide weapons for selected rebel groups.
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