Cost of making pricey US fighter jet on decline: general

The cost of making the US military’s futuristic F-35 fighter jet — already the most expensive weapons project in history — is on the decline, the officer in charge of the program said Wednesday. “Production costs continue to come down,” US Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan told a news briefing. “When it comes to the price of the airplane and the price of the engine, it continues to come down lot after lot.” The […]

US, allies target N. Korea finances after rocket test

PAJU, South Korea (AFP) — The United States and its Asian allies tightened the economic screws on North Korea Thursday with the US Senate adopting fresh sanctions and South Korean firms abandoning a joint industrial park that helped fund Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. The unilateral moves, which also included Japanese sanctions, came with UN Security Council members still stalled on how far to go in punishing the North for its latest nuclear test and long-range […]

U.S. Senate unanimously backs tougher North Korea sanctions

WASHINGTON D.C., USA (Reuters) — The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday (February 10) to toughen sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program, human rights record and cyber activities, as U.S. lawmakers sought to crack down on Pyongyang for its nuclear tests. “Weak sanctions against North Korea have clearly proven unsuccessful. The legislation before us today represents the tough response that is necessary to send this message directly. To North Korean leaders, disarm or […]

U.S. Justice Dept. sues Ferguson, Missouri, over police reforms

WASHINGTON D.C., USA (Reuters) — The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday (February 10) to enforce a police and court reform plan after the city said it wanted to amend some aspects of a consent decree it had reached with the federal agency. The Justice Department initiated a civil rights investigation into Ferguson’s policing after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer in 2014. […]

Robert Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan faces parole board again

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, USA (Reuters) — Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968, faces a California parole board for the 15th time on Wednesday (February 10). Sirhan, 71, will have a suitability hearing at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego, the California Board of Parole Hearings said on its website. The Palestinian-born Sirhan is serving a life sentence for gunning down Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los […]

Turkey’s Erdogan lambasts US over support for Syrian Kurds

ANKARA, Turkey (AFP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday bitterly attacked ally the United States over its support for Syrian Kurdish groups, as they seized an airport near Aleppo and sought to build ties with Russia. In an impassioned and sometimes angry address, Erdogan accused Washington of creating a “pool of blood” in the region by working with Kurdish groups Ankara lists as terror organisations. The US has been supporting Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union […]

Russian air strikes in Syria ‘directly enabling’ IS: US

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Russian air strikes in and around the city of Aleppo against opponents of the Syrian regime are benefitting the Islamic State group, a senior US official charged Wednesday. “What Russia’s doing is directly enabling ISIL,” Brett McGurk, President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the coalition fighting the group in Syria and Iraq, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. US Secretary of State John Kerry has taken the lead over the past […]

Female suicide bombers kill over 60 people in northeast Nigeria -officials

DIKWA, Nigeria (Reuters) — Two female suicide bombers killed more than 60 people at a camp for people displaced by an insurgency of the jihadist Boko Haram group in the northeast Nigerian town of Dikwa, military and emergency officials said on Wednesday (February 10). The attack occurred 85 km (50 miles) outside the capital of Borno state, centre of the seven-year insurgency, they said. It took place on Tuesday (February 9), but a breakdown in […]

Kurds, allies seize key air base in north Syria: monitor

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Kurdish forces backed by Arab rebel groups captured a strategic air base and the adjacent town in northern Syria from rival anti-government factions overnight, a monitoring group said early Thursday. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its Arab allies expelled Islamist and other rebel fighters from the Minnigh air base and adjacent town, north of Syria’s second city Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP. The advance comes […]

Japan announces fresh N. Korea sanctions after rocket launch

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan announced fresh sanctions against North Korea on Wednesday for its latest rocket launch, including a total ban on shipping from the country and barring Pyongyang’s nationals from entering. Japan’s announcement comes after the UN Security Council strongly condemned Sunday’s rocket launch and agreed to move quickly to impose new sanctions of its own. “We have decided to take firm sanction steps,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters of the […]

Researchers in Singapore develop test kit for Zika virus

  (Reuters) — Researchers in Singapore have developed a test kit for the Zika virus that could be used in hospitals soon. Global health officials have said the virus has been linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, and is rapidly spreading internationally. On Wednesday (February 10) China confirmed its first case in a man who had recently travelled to South America, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Masafumi Inoue at […]

Three killed, one missing in Indonesia military plane crash

(Reuters) — An Indonesian military aircraft crashed into a house in a densely populated area in Malang on Wednesday (February 10), leaving two civilians and a pilot dead and one technician missing, local media reported. The Brazilian-made aircraft Super Tucano took off from Abdurrahman Saleh military base in East Java province, five kilometres away from the crash site, for a flight simulation training exercise, according to local media. “I felt a tremble and people started […]