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Suicide bomber strikes New York City at rush hour

NEW YORK, Dec 11: An ISIS-inspired would-be suicide bomber set off a homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, seriously wounding himself and injuring three others, law enforcement sources said.

The man — a 27-year-old Brooklyn man identified by high ranking police sources as Akayed Ullah — had wires attached to him and a 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his midsection as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub.

The man partially detonated the device, which he was carrying under the right side of his jacket, prematurely inside the passageway to the A, C and E trains at Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street around 7:40 a.m., sources said.

Police quickly took the man into custody.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and possibly born in Bangladesh.

Bratton, who said the man had been living in the US for seven years, “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.”

“So, definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended,” Bratton said.

The man, who suffered the most serious injuries, was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said. One person was taken to St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital, another to Mount Sinai and another person was treated at the scene, officials said.

Investigators briefly spoke to the alleged bomber, who told them he made the explosive device at the electrical company where he works.

Emergency personnel flooded the scene following the incident.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been briefed on the incident.

Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

WASHINGTON, Dec 6: President Donald Trump reversed decades of US policy on Wednesday and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from around the world that the gesture further drives a wedge between Israel and the Palestinians.

In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take years.

The status of Jerusalem -- home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions -- has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts.

Israel considers the city its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognised internationally.

Trump’s decision is likely to please his core supporters - Republican conservatives and evangelical Christians who comprise an important share of his political base.

Trump aides contend the move reflects the reality of Jerusalem as the centre of Jewish faith and the fact that the city is the seat of the Israeli government.

Trump called his decision a “a long overdue” step to advance the peace process.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem. His predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama, had consistently put off that decision to avoid inflaming tensions in the Middle East.

A Palestinian envoy said the Trump decision was a declaration of war in the Middle East. Pope Francis called for Jerusalem’s status quo to be respected, saying new tension would further inflame world conflicts. China and Russia expressed concern the plans could aggravate Middle East hostilities.

US, South Korea launch biggest-ever war drill

SEOUL, Dec 4: Hundreds of aircraft including two dozen stealth jets began training on Monday as the United States and South Korea launched their biggest-ever combined air force exercise. The war games come a week after North Korea test-fired its most powerful missile ever, an ICBM that may be able to target the eastern seaboard of the United States.

The five-day drill, which is called Vigilant Ace, is meant to improve the allies' wartime capabilities and preparedness, South Korea's defense ministry said.

The US Seventh Air Force sent major strategic military assets that include six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the annual training exercise in the Korean Peninsula. About 12,000 US military personnel are participating. In total, 230 aircraft will be flying at eight US and South Korean military installations in the South.

Some local media report that B-1B bombers will also join aerial drills, but officials did not confirm their participation.

The training, held each year in late fall, is not in response to any incident or provocation, the Seventh Air Force said in a statement.

North Korea's state media said the drill pushes the Korean Peninsula "to the brink of nuclear war." Such language is typical in North Korean propaganda because the country claims US-South Korean drills are preparation for invasion.

Still, always bad tensions are at a particularly dangerous point as North Korea edges toward its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range missiles, and as President Donald Trump ramps up his rhetoric toward the North, threatening, for instance, to unleash "fire and fury" against the country.

Pyongyang will "seriously consider" countermeasures against the drill, and the US and South Korea will "pay dearly for their provocations," the Korean Central News Agency said on Sunday before the start of the exercises.

While many South Koreans typically ignore North Korea's rhetoric, some senior American officials have expressed worry following the ICBM test, North Korea's third.

On Sunday, Lindsey Graham, a Republican US senator from the state of South Carolina, said he believes that it's time for US military families in South Korea to leave the country because conflict with North Korea is getting close. The US government has not announced a formal decision to evacuate US citizens from South Korea, and there were no such signs in the diplomatic community in Seoul. An evacuation of dependents by Seoul's closest ally and major military defender could prompt a panicked reaction by other countries, and among South Koreans.

 

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