CAPITOL HILL: ‘ MARK UDALL’S PUBLIC CAREER COULD BE OVER BEFORE THE RACE BEGINS ‘


#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – October 20 – Critics of the government’s spy agencies are worried that Colorado’s hotly contested Senate race could end the public career of one of their best allies in Congress.

Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) possible defeat would leave a void in the Senate and on the powerful Intelligence Committee, civil liberties and anti-secrecy advocates fear.

“I do think it would be a significant loss for the movement,” said Laura Murphy, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office.

“What Udall has is the institutional memory, and the relationships in the civil liberties community, in the Democratic Party and in the tech industry so that we don’t have to start over again with someone new,” she added, while noting that her concern would be the same if Republican civil liberties advocates were also at risk of losing their seats.

Udall has long been one of the Senate’s biggest fighters against government secrecy, tough spying programs, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and other issues important to civil libertarians. 

He was the first lawmaker to call for CIA Director John Brennan to resign this summer, following his agency’s confirmation that some officials gained unauthorized access to Senate staffers’ files.

He also criticized the Senate bill to reform the National Security Agency (NSA) for not going far enough to stop “back-door” searches of Americans and opposed a contentious cybersecurity bill on the grounds that it would shuttle people’s personal data to the NSA.    

“Were Sen. Udall to lose, I think he would be sorely missed,” echoed Scott Roehm, a senior counsel at the Constitution Project. “He was one of the earliest voices for meaningful surveillance reform even before the Snowden leaks.”

By Julian Hattem @ The Hill 

#ANS2014 

SYRIA: ‘ ISIL TRANSFERS WAR CASUALTIES TO TURKISH HOSPITALS ‘


#AceNewsServices – October 20 -The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been transferring its war casualties in Northern Syria, specially those wounded in the town of Kobani, to Turkish hospitals, local sources reported on Monday.

“Since Saturday evening, the ISIL terrorists have been transferring a number of their injured members to Turkey through Tal Kania Araban road,” independent local sources in Syria’s Kurdish region told FNA on Monday.

“The Turkish army lit the sky by the help of flares to facilitate this transfer at night,” they added.

Meantime, other reports said that 124 volunteer forces have managed to cross the Turkish border on Sunday to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces in the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani to fight against the ISIL terrorists.

The YPG forces announced that they have killed a large number of terrorists in the past two days.

Sunday reports from Kobani said that clashes between the Kurdish resistance fighters and ISIL had taken the form of street war after the YPG forced ISIL militants out of a major part of the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani and as the coalition states avoid targeting concentration camps of the terrorists outside the city.

“The clashes between the terrorists and the YPG forces now continue in the form of street wars with warring sides only 5 to 10 meters in distance,” a journalist from Kobani city, Farhad Shami, told FNA on Sunday.

He also said that the terrorists had fired over 50 mortar rounds on the city center and their attacks continue to break the resistance of the popular forces.

Asked about the US-led coalition’s airstrikes on ISIL forces, Shami said the bombing campaign which targeted ISIL positions in the Eastern and Southern parts of the city were useless as terrorists’ artilleries and other heavy weapons and equipment and the main transit route of the terrorists, from Tal Abyaz and Jerablus towards Kobani, were not raided at all.

As a result, he said, ISIL is very calmly reorganizing its troops to prepare for more attacks.

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SOUTH KOREA: ‘ SCHEDULED TO HOLD DEFENCE TALKS WITH US OVER DEAL TO STRENGTHEN COMBINED DEFENCE STRATEGIES ‘


#AceNewsServices – SOUTH KOREA (Seoul) – October 20 – The foreign and defence minsters from South Korea and the United States are scheduled to have a meeting later this week to discuss an array of security issues, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Monday.

South Korea and the U.S. plan to hold a “two plus two” meeting of their foreign and defense ministers Thursday afternoon (Washington Time) in the U.S. capital, according to the foreign ministry.

The planned meeting will bring together South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Defense Minister Han Min-koo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

“The two sides are fine-tuning the agenda for the meeting,” a foreign ministry official said without elaborating.

The planned meeting, the third of its kind, comes on the heels of the agreement made between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama at a summit in April.

Such talks were held in 2010 and 2012 when the two countries discussed how to strengthen their alliance and cope with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The two allies will hold their annual defense ministers‘ talks, known as the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), before the two plus two meeting opens.

Seoul and Washington are expected to unveil a deal on delaying the planned transfer of the wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean forces from Washington to Seoul while reaffirming joint efforts to strengthen combined defense capabilities.

It is widely expected that the two sides are taking a “conditions-based approach” to the issue of delaying the OPCON transfer.

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WASHINGTON: ‘ WHITE HOUSE HOLDS TALKS WITH SENATE OVER EBOLA FUNDING ‘


#AceBreakingNews – WASHINGTON – October 20 – The White House has held preliminary discussions with the Senate about a new funding request to fight Ebola, according to a pair of congressional sources.

Any request would come on top of hundreds of millions of dollars already allocated for the fight against the deadly virus, and would trigger a battle with congressional Republicans over the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced Monday her full panel would meet to discuss the Ebola crisis on Nov. 6, two days after the midterm elections.

The administration has come under fire over its handling of the disease, and Obama on Friday appointed Democratic strategist Ron Klain to coordinate the federal government’s response.

Lawmakers in both parties have been pressing Obama to agree to impose a travel ban on the three West African countries, where the Ebola outbreak is concentrated.

By Jason Sink @ The Hill 

 #ANS2014 

‘ US STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES GLOBAL TERRORISM ALERT TO ALL AMERICAN’S TRAVELLING TO ABROAD ‘


The State Department is renewing its global terrorism alert for Americans travelling abroad, saying it sees a heightened risk of reprisal attacks from the Islamic State group and its supporters.

In a new “worldwide caution” issued on Friday, the department said terrorist groups continue to plot strikes against Americans and U.S. interests in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

It said authorities believe there is “an increased likelihood” of reprisal attacks from Islamic State militants since the U.S. and its coalition partners launched military action against the group in Iraq and Syria.

The alert replaces an existing warning issued in April and also notes the growing threat of kidnapping perpetrated by terrorists.

Fox News Alert 

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INDIANA: ‘ SEVEN BODIES OF WOMEN FOUND WITH LINKS TO SERIAL KILLER HELD IN CUSTODY ‘


#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Indiana) – October 20 – The bodies of seven women found over the weekend in north west Indiana have been linked to an unidentified possible serial killer who is in police custody and led authorities to at least three of the bodies, officials said Monday.

The women were found throughout Hammond and Gary, according to the Lake County coroner’s office. The Chicago Sun-Times cited police sources saying the man in custody is a 43-year-old resident of Gary.

Hammond Chief John Doughty said police will have more information at a press conference Monday at noon local time, but said the man gave police information on three other dead women, all in Gary.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. called the person of interest a “serial killer” in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon and said he has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” that date back to 1994 or 1995.

He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender.

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer,” McDermott wrote.

“The suspect gave up the location of a body in Gary that was confirmed found where he said it would be.”

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BAGHDAD: ‘ MILITANTS UNLEASH CAR BOMB ATTACKS ON SHIITE COMMUNITY IN WORST VIOLENCE FOR YEARS ‘


#AceWorldNews – IRAQ (Baghdad) – Militants unleashed attacks on Iraq’s majority Shiite community on Monday, killing at least 33 people, the latest in relentless assaults that have challenged the Shiite-led government as it battles the Sunni-led insurgency by the Islamic State group.

A suicide bomber hit a mosque in Baghdad as Shiite worshippers left after noon prayers, killing 17 people, while a triple car bombing in the holy city of Karbala killed 16.

Iraq has been plunged into its worst crisis since the U.S. troops left at the end of 2011 in the wake of the blitz by the Islamic State militants this summer.

The extremists group captured large chunks of land in western and northern Iraq, carving out a proto-state on the  territory it controls between Syria and Iraq and imposing its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law, or Shariah.

Since August, U.S. war-planes have been carrying-out air-strikes against the group as Iraqi and Kurdish security forces work to retake territory it has seized.

In Baghdad, the bomber blew himself up among Shiite worshippers as they were leaving a mosque in a commercial area in the city centre after midday prayers Monday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 28, a police officer said.

In Karbala, three separate car bombs went off simultaneously, killing at least 16 people and wounding 41, another police officer said.

The city, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Baghdad, is home to the tombs of two most revered Shiite imams and the site of year-round pilgrimages.

The explosives-laden cars were parked in commercial areas and parking lots near government offices, the officer added.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.

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#ANS2014