Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Nusra Front together with other Syrian rebel factions launched attacks against Syrian army checkpoints, police headquarters and the governor’s office in Northwestern Syria Monday. The clash had left 35 Syrian troops and rebels dead in Idlib.

 

Syrian rebels are gaining ground against the Syrian regime. The rebels have taken over villages and towns in strategic locations to launch guerilla tactics and gain a foothold of government bases and armories. Syrian forces were powerless against the surprise attacks.

 

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian military is facing difficulty handling the Nusra Front and simultaneous checkpoint attacks. Working with a network of Syrian activists inside the country, the observatory noted that Nusra Front suicide bombers have targeted regime forces to lower their numbers.

 

Activist Asad Kanjo said that the attacks morally defeated many Syrian regime soldiers. According to Activists, policemen aided rebels in entering the governor’s office.

 

Mastoumeh Hill in the Idlib Province was also overtaken. Syrian helicopters had targeted the sight. The skirmish left 15 rebels and 20 soldiers dead.

 

In the province of Deir al-Zour, a car bomb exploded near an Islamic State-run hospital, which killed four people and a child.

 

Meanwhile, fighting has intensified in Kobane where Syrian Kurdish fighters are defending the strategic town from the hands of the Islamic State.

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the military audience in Florida, US President Barack Obama promised that recent actions against ISIS will not involve sending ground troops to the front lines. After Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey recommended sending ground troops, Obama replied with a responding “no” to the possibility.

Currently, the more than 400 military advisers in Iraq will be sufficient to deal with the threat of ISIS. These military advisers assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Iraqi and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and outfit them with the weapons and supplies provided by supporting nations. These advisers can also call in airstrikes from US air fighters and drones.

Airstrikes do not count as a front combat role, but rather a supporting role The White house official policy insisted that Dempsey’s recommendations were in line with a narrow definition of combat that overlooks the lines of combat in the field.

“I want to be clear. The American Forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not, and will not have a combat mission. They will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists” Obama said in a gymnasium at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had also said that US troops will not play a combat role in Iraq. He said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that coalition members agreed to help in other ways, such as cutting off funding for the Islamic State, stopping the number of recruits flying in to support the combat efforts and providing humanitarian aid.

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French President Francois Hollande is now deep with his government in the biggest political crisis in France as the government has failed after austerity talks have failed. According to The Elysee, Hollande has commissioned Prime Minister Manuel Valls to create a new government to address the situation.

Arnaud Montebourg and Education Minister Benoit Hamon of the Socialist party have criticised the government’s economic policies and its effectiveness in addressing France’s economic stagnancy early this year.

According to Montebourg, France’s economic crisis was a result of erroneous political decisions regarding austerity policies extending the economic crisis. It is due to the stubbornness of the French government and other European countries about austerity measures that had left economic troubles in other areas of the country.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi had encouraged countries to boost demands for their products and go away from austerity to reviving the growth of economies. He said policymakers were ready to add monetary stimulus to save Europe’s economy.

The euro bloc is facing great deficits after unemployment remained high a few months after the growth post-euro zone crisis. With high unemployment, Europe remains fragile to economic recession, with Germany and France reaching economic stagnancy with economies contracting by 1%

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A Malaysian Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed by the Ukraine Military, according to Pro-Russian Rebels in Ukraine. The Commercial Boeing 777 had crash-landed into the Ukrainian war zone. According to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the disaster was “deeply shocking” and he pushed that preliminary investigation into the case should not be hindered.

Prime Minister Razak also said that it has become a “tragic year” for Malaysia, with two Malaysian Airline flights having been lost to external forces. The MH370, which continues to be missing, have international efforts concentrating on continued surveillance and survey of areas the flight could have crash-landed.

The flight was carrying more than 300 passengers, with 154 Dutch, 27 Australians, 43 Malaysians including its crew, 12 Indonesians, nine British Nationals and three Filipinos. Other nationalities, including Germans, Belgians and Canadians, have numbers unaccounted as of yet.

According to political analysts, the situation in Ukraine could get worse and may push the US to consider better military action to isolate Russia, already pounded with international sanctions for annexing Crimea and covertly supporting Pro-Russian militants with high-grade arms.

Early investigations suspect that the airline was shot with a rocket from the Ukraine warzone and it crash landed immediately upon impact on one of the engines of the aircraft.

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The Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari had publicly asked the United States for air attacks against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have captured the largest Iraqi Oil Refinery and are tightening their grip on the facility. The Foreign Minister appeared on the al-Arabiya television to plea for the support of the United States.

The ISIS militants had seized the Baiji refinery, located between the ISIS-captured cities of Mosul and Tikrit in the northern part of Iraq, on Wednesday. Iraqi soldiers have held out against the rebels along with foreign security contractors. Plant employees have been evacuated to Baghdad, Iraq’s capital. The capital is also increasing its security measures to defend against the militants.

The loss of Baiji would mean a great economic loss for Iraq, and the biggest shame of the Iraqi military as it had lost 50,000 soldiers the previous week by summary execution.

The Obama administration is still considering their military options. However, General Martin Dempsey had said that the US military’s intelligence gathering is still incomplete. If a US air strike happens, it could be a costly error if the information received is still inadequate for the operation.

Iraqi drone activity and strikes have increased as requested by the Iraqi government. Most of Iraq’s remaining troops have come from militias, many Shia volunteers.

Meanwhile, the United States is asking for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign, as it may defuse the situation.

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The UK had helped in a huge rescue operation to save hundreds of high school children boarding a sinking South Korean passenger as half the ship began to sink into the sea on Wednesday. More than two people were killed and a more than a dozen passengers were wounded during the ordeal.

Different coastline securities have sent out dozens of boats, helicopters and divers to save the 470-people passenger boat. The 325 students were part of a school trip. The ferry was sailing to the southern island of Jeju when it began to transmit a distress call after the ship began leaning to one side.

At least 95% of the ship had been submerged during the aftermath of the disaster.

No details about the reasons why the ferry sunk or the conditions of other passengers had been relayed to the media. A student said that he jumped into the ocean with other students wearing a life jacket as they headed towards rescue boats. They tripped and bumped into each other during the ordeal.

According to the student, they felt the need to hurry as the water was cold and that they needed to survive.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin had placed the first steps to integrating Crimea with Russia as signs a decree on Monday regarding Crimea as sovereign and not part of Ukraine. The decree had effected immediately and Moscow now considers Crimea as independent of Ukraine’s constitution.


Crimea’s leaders have also seceded from Ukraine with a vote considered illegal by Ukraine, the EU and the United States. The Crimean Parliament had also asked Russia to consider it as the Republic of Crimea as its new subject.

Ukraine’s leaders said that they will not accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov said that his government will focus on resolving the crisis in a diplomatic matter. He also said, “we offer peace, and Russia offers war”.

UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague had also expressed his disappointment in Russia and he still insisted Crimea is still a part of Ukraine.

Russia said that it is “proud to be sanctioned” by the western world. According to Putin’s aid Vladislav Surkov, he considers the decision of the Washington administration as a recognition of his service to Russia. The US had now singled out 11 individuals banned for travel and with frozen assets in the country.

The EU had also announced sanctions for 21 Russian individuals. EU International Policy Chief Catherine Ashton announced sanctions against 21 people who “undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

Source:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/bidens-europe-trip-signal-putin-n55176

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/17/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26618132

The UK government is alarmed at the rate insurance premiums for car accidents are increasing. An average UK driver needs to pay at least 50% to 65% more for their premiums because of fraudulent car accident injuries winning compensation from insurers. Insurers are left powerless because of high legal fees to challenge suspicious claims.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is planning to establish an independent medical board that would oversee whiplash injury claims to ensure genuine injuries have compensation while the board will make it difficult for fraudsters to make an insurance claim. The UK High Court also intends to lower the legal fees to enable insurance companies to challenge suspicious insurance claims.

According to insurance companies, payouts have increased from 2011 onwards with car accidents dropping at great lengths at the second to third quarter of the same year. With road safety on the increase, it could only mean that most of the whiplash accidents happening during the time are fraudulent with insurance companies powerless to act.

While the UK Courts plan to make use of the Small Claims Court to pay out for small whiplash injuries, some critics said that the Small Claims Court’s payouts are too small for whiplash injuries.

Whiplash is an injury suffered in the neck because of an abrupt stoppage during a collision. It induces nausea and disorientation. In severe cases, it could paralyze victims. Most no win no fee claims companies handle whiplash compensation claims as well.

According to political analysts, Russia’s best move in the Ukraine Protests is to remain silent. However, its favour must rest in the decentralization of Ukraine’s political environment. However, many political analysts agree that Russia had downplayed its role to a modest observer during the events of the protests.

Despite the signing of an agreement that helped calm the protests in Kiev that had claimed dozens of lives and destroyed millions worth of properties, political analysts said that it will still not be the end of the political unrest in the country. Russia’s envoy to Kiev did not co-sign the agreement.

Political analysts also see that Russia has less to do with the protests rather than being the root cause of it all. Many perceive that Former Ukraine President Yanukovych, who had resigned, had been a “puppet” of Russia. Analysts said that Yanukovych had made judgments “based on his own decisions” rather than Russia influencing his decisions, specifically due to the bond deals that surpassed the amounts the EU could provide Ukraine.

They also said that the protests in the EU may be triggered by Ukrainian business and finance leaders who are afraid to be overtaken by Russian businessmen.

They said that Yanukovych realized the deal will not provide financial backing from the EU for the Ukraine enough to raise its profits and that the Russian deal will indeed help offset the drop in trade with Russia and other countries.

Russia and Ukraine initially agreed to have Russia buy $15 Billion in Ukrainian Government Bonds.

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The United Nations warns that Central Africa is spiralling into a humanitarian disaster as people are fleeing the conflict between Christian and Muslim Militias in the country. Measles and other diseases spread quickly towards people due to overcrowded camps with poor sanitation.

Around 10,000 people are currently seeking refuge in camps as rival militias clash in-country. The Country’s President, Michel Djotodia had flown to a regional summit to Chad. While he had been called to resign, an official spokesman said that he had flown away but he is not resigning.

However, experts speculate that the president may step down at any time because of his failure to stop the violence between the rival militias. They also said that the regional summit in Chad may also force him to resign as the leaders of Chard have also run out of patience with the president.

President Djotodia seized power in March 2013 after his group the Muslim Selenka rebels had overtaken the seat. He has forced away President Francois Bozize, who had come from the Christian majority to exile.

Unicef, the UN Children fund, said it was racing to vaccinate 210,000 children who had sought refuge from the violence in Bangui.

France had contributed 1,600 soldiers to try to quell the violence, but fighting still continues in the area.
Half of Bangui’s population were driven away from their homes. A total of 513,000 people. More than 1,000 people had been killed since the start of the conflict in December 2013.