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al Qaeda leader lived in Arizona, arrested for murder: feds

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A man accused of killing two police officers while acting as the leader of an al Qaeda group in the Iraqi city of Fallujah was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, federal officials said on Friday.

Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri, 42, is wanted in Iraq on charges of premeditated murder of the Iraqi police officers in 2006, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Arizona.

READ MORE: Canadian aid to Syria stolen by Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, documents show

An Iraqi judge issued a warrant for Al-Nouri’s arrest and the government there issued an extradition request to the U.S. Justice Department, the statement said.

The Justice Department sought an arrest warrant for Al-Nouri and he was taken into custody on Thursday in Phoenix.

He appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Phoenix on Friday in connection with proceedings to extradite him to Iraq, the statement said.

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According to the Iraqi government, al-Nouri was the leader of an al Qaeda group in Fallujah which planned operations targeting Iraqi police.

Osama bin Laden’s son reportedly killed in military operation
Osama bin Laden’s son reportedly killed in military operation

The statement noted the details in the Iraqi complaint were allegations that had yet to been proven in court.

Al-Nouri’s extradition would have to be certified by the U.S. court and the U.S. Secretary of State would then decide whether to surrender him to Iraq, the statement said.

It was not immediately possible to contact Al-Nouri for comment or determine whether he had hired a lawyer.

The statement did not provide information on when Al-Nouri entered the United States or how long he had lived in Phoenix.

© 2020 Reuters

Source: Global News

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Husband of Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter Maeve, 40, pays tribute to missing wife

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The husband of Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter, Maeve, has paid heartbreaking tribute to his wife and young son a day after they disappeared while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. 

In a Facebook post penned late Friday, David McKean claimed it was all but certain his wife Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and their son Gideon, eight, had drowned when they went out on the water to fetch a missing ball on Thursday afternoon. 

‘Maeve was my everything,’ David wrote. ‘She was my best friend and my soulmate. I have already thought many times over today that I need to remember to tell her about something that’s happening. I am terrified by the idea that this will fade over time.’

David and Maeve were married in 2009. Gideon is their oldest child. They also share daughter, Gabriella, seven, and son, Toby, two.  

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon, eight, are feared to have drowned Thursday while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon, eight, are feared to have drowned Thursday while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon, eight, are feared to have drowned Thursday while kayaking on Chesapeake Bay

Meave and husband David McKean are pictured with their three children, Gideon, Gabriella and Toby in a recent Facebook snap

Meave and husband David McKean are pictured with their three children, Gideon, Gabriella and Toby in a recent Facebook snap

Meave and husband David McKean are pictured with their three children, Gideon, Gabriella and Toby in a recent Facebook snap 

Daviod shared his heartbreaking post to Facebook after the Coast Guard called off the search for his wife and young son

Daviod shared his heartbreaking post to Facebook after the Coast Guard called off the search for his wife and young son

Daviod shared his heartbreaking post to Facebook after the Coast Guard called off the search for his wife and young son

David explained that he and Meave had decided to take their children to a family lakehouse in Shady Side, Maryland to give them more space during the coronavirus lockdown. 

‘Maeve and Gideon were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water. The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake. They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay,’ David stated in the post. 

About half an hour later, the mother and son were spotted far from the shore by an onlooker, and the police were promptly called. 

‘After that last sighting, they were not seen again. The Coast Guard recovered their canoe, which was capsized and miles away, at approximately 6:30 yesterday evening,’ David somberly stated. 

Meave and Gideon are pictured with David with their three children last Halloween

Meave and Gideon are pictured with David with their three children last Halloween

Meave and Gideon are pictured with David with their three children last Halloween 

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her family were at a family lakehouse in Shady Side, Maryland (above) when she and  Gideon set off in a canoe but failed to return to shore

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her family were at a family lakehouse in Shady Side, Maryland (above) when she and  Gideon set off in a canoe but failed to return to shore

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her family were at a family lakehouse in Shady Side, Maryland (above) when she and  Gideon set off in a canoe but failed to return to shore

He went on to pay tribute to his oldest child, Gideon. 

‘Gideon was 8, but he may as well have been 38. He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children’s songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly. He hated if I accidently let a bad word slip. He spent hours upstairs reading, learning everything he could about sports, and trying to decipher the mysteries of the stock market. But he was also incredibly social, athletic, and courageous,’ he wrote. 

‘I used to marvel at him as a toddler and worry that he was too perfect to exist in this world. It seems to me now that he was.’

David paid tribute to oldest son Gideon, eight, who is thought to have drowned along with his mother Thursday

David paid tribute to oldest son Gideon, eight, who is thought to have drowned along with his mother Thursday

David paid tribute to oldest son Gideon, eight, who is thought to have drowned along with his mother Thursday

David then turned his thoughts to Maeve, whom he married 11 years ago.  

‘She was my best friend and my soulmate… You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy that she would put toward inventing games for our children, taking on another project at work or in our community, and spending time with our friends,’ he stated. 

‘She did the Peace Corps, she ran the Boston Marathon, she knew how rub Gabriella’s legs when they cramped, and being in her presence somehow allowed you to be a better version of yourself. She was the brightest light I have ever known.’

If Maeve and Gideon are not discovered safely, David will face raising his two younger children as a single father. 

‘At seven, Gabriella is heartbroken, but she amazes me with her maturity and grace. Toby is two-and-a-half, so he’s still his usual magical and goofy self. I know soon he will start to ask for Maeve and Gideon. It breaks my heart that he will not get to have them as a mother and brother,’ he penned. 

David then poignantly wrote: ‘As Gabriella and Toby lay sleeping next to me last night, I promised them that I would do my best to be the parent that Maeve was, and to be the person that Gideon clearly would have grown up to be. Part of that is keeping their memories alive’. 

'You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy': David wrote poignantly about his wife Meave (pictured after a recent marathon)

'You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy': David wrote poignantly about his wife Meave (pictured after a recent marathon)

‘You could hear Maeve’s laugh a block away—and she laughed a lot. She was magical—with endless energy’: David wrote poignantly about his wife Meave (pictured after a recent marathon)

Meanwhile, Meave’s uncle, Robert F Kennedy Jr, update the public on Instagram Friday night.

 ‘Tonight, the Coast Guard informed our family that It has terminated rescue operations. The search for remains continues. Rest In Peace Maeve and Gideon.’ 

Kathleen herself said in a statement Friday night: ‘With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery’. 

Coast Guard sector commander Matthew Fine told CNN: ‘This was a difficult case, and even more difficult to make the decision to suspend the search.

‘Our crews and partners did everything they could to find them. We’ve kept the family informed at every step during the search, and our thoughts are with them tonight.’

The search had started on Thursday afternoon after authorities responded to a report of two people on a canoe in the Chesapeake Bay who appeared to be overtaken by strong winds. 

Authorities said the pair, who they didn’t name, were paddling the canoe from their home in Shady Side to retrieve a ball but couldn’t paddle back to shore.  

Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan addressed the pair’s disappearance during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, during which he offered sympathies to the family. 

‘I reached out to and spoke with Lt. Gov. Townsend this morning and on behalf of the people of Maryland I expressed our most heartfelt sympathies and prayers to her and to her entire family during this difficult time,’ Gov Hogan said.  

Robert F Kennedy Jr announced that the rescue search had been called off

Robert F Kennedy Jr announced that the rescue search had been called off

Robert F Kennedy Jr announced that the rescue search had been called off

McKean's mother, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is the eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and niece of the late President John F. Kennedy. Kathleen (right) and her daughters Maeve (center) and Katie (left) are pictured above in 1995

McKean's mother, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is the eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and niece of the late President John F. Kennedy. Kathleen (right) and her daughters Maeve (center) and Katie (left) are pictured above in 1995

McKean’s mother, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is the eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and niece of the late President John F. Kennedy. Kathleen (right) and her daughters Maeve (center) and Katie (left) are pictured above in 1995

Maeve, who is the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, had tweeted a photo of her son Gideon just last week as she home-schooled him during the coronavirus pandemic

Maeve, who is the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, had tweeted a photo of her son Gideon just last week as she home-schooled him during the coronavirus pandemic

Maeve, who is the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, had tweeted a photo of her son Gideon just last week as she home-schooled him during the coronavirus pandemic 

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said Friday: ‘News of this tragedy hit me and my family hard this morning.’

‘We are holding Kathleen and her family in the light and holding our own loved ones a little closer as we reflect on their pain and their loss,’ he said.  

Maeve’s husband, David McKean, told the Washington Post that the family had been at his mother-in-law’s home when the ball they were playing with flew out into the water. 

He said his wife and son ‘popped into a canoe to chase it down’ but said ‘they just got farther out than they could handle and couldn’t get back in’.    

The Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and local police and fire departments all joined the search the the mother and son. The search was called off overnight but resumed Friday morning

The Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and local police and fire departments all joined the search the the mother and son. The search was called off overnight but resumed Friday morning

The Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and local police and fire departments all joined the search the the mother and son. The search was called off overnight but resumed Friday morning 

The Maryland State Police, US Coast Guard, and local police and fire departments all joined the search for the mother and son.   

The disappearance comes less than a year after Saoirse Kennedy Hill, another of Robert F Kennedy's granddaughters, died from an overdose at the age of 2

The disappearance comes less than a year after Saoirse Kennedy Hill, another of Robert F Kennedy's granddaughters, died from an overdose at the age of 2

The disappearance comes less than a year after Saoirse Kennedy Hill (above), another of Robert F Kennedy’s granddaughters, died from an overdose at the age of 22. Saoirse, who was the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, is Maeve’s cousin

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s coronavirus-related shutdown has prohibited most forms of recreational boarding but kayaking and paddleboarding are still allowed. 

There are currently more than 2,700 infections recorded in the state with the death toll now at 42.    

Maeve had tweeted a photo of her son Gideon just last week as she home-schooled him during the coronavirus pandemic.

The photo showed the eight-year-old smiling as he watched an interview between Stephen Curry and Dr Anthony Fauci – the nation’s top coronavirus expert.  

‘@StephenCurry30 and Dr. Fauci’s very informative interview was part of my 8-year old son’s homeschooling today! #ParentingInAPandemic,’ she tweeted alongside the photo.   

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's is pictured above with her family, including her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean (bottom right)

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's is pictured above with her family, including her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean (bottom right)

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean’s is pictured above with her family, including her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean (bottom right)

Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan addressed the pair's disappearance during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, during which he offered sympathies to the family and said an intensive search had been underway

Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan addressed the pair's disappearance during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, during which he offered sympathies to the family and said an intensive search had been underway

Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan addressed the pair’s disappearance during a coronavirus briefing on Friday, during which he offered sympathies to the family and said an intensive search had been underway

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's coronavirus-related shutdown has prohibited most forms of recreational boarding but kayaking and paddleboarding are still allowed. There are currently more than 2,700 infections recorded in the state with the death toll now at 42

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's coronavirus-related shutdown has prohibited most forms of recreational boarding but kayaking and paddleboarding are still allowed. There are currently more than 2,700 infections recorded in the state with the death toll now at 42

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s coronavirus-related shutdown has prohibited most forms of recreational boarding but kayaking and paddleboarding are still allowed. There are currently more than 2,700 infections recorded in the state with the death toll now at 42 

Maeve, a public health and human rights lawyer, has served as executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. 

The initiative’s website says her work focuses on “the intersection of global health and human rights’.

She previously served as an associate research professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health. 

The disappearance of the mother and son is the latest tragedy to involve the Kennedy family. 

It comes less than a year after Saoirse Kennedy Hill, another of Robert F Kennedy’s granddaughters, died from an overdose at the age of 22. 

Among the prescription drugs found in her system were diazepam and nordiazepam (first marketed as Valium), fluoxetine (Prozac) and norfluoxetine (the anti-depressant Luoxetine).

Her death came just one month before she was set to start her senior year at Boston College. 

Saoirse, who was the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, is Maeve’s cousin.

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4 soldiers, 63 jihadists killed in clash in western Niger: officials

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Four soldiers and 63 jihadists have been killed in fighting between Niger’s army and heavily armed extremists in the nation’s west, the government said Friday.

Extremists on motorcycles fought the army Thursday in the Tillaberi region near the border with Mali before being forced to flee, according to a defence ministry statement. The army was able to recover dozens of weapons and motorcycles, it said.

READ MORE: 2 killed in knife attack in France: officials

Since December, at least 174 soldiers have been killed in Niger in several attacks. At least two were claimed by fighters linked to the Islamic State group.

Extremism has grown in West Africa’s Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert, with attacks increasing near the borders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, where many jihadists linked to al-Qaida or IS operate.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press

Source: Global News

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Coronavirus: Global diplomacy strained amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Entire countries are on lockdown, state visits cancelled, travel curtailed, key meetings postponed or moved online.

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered international diplomacy. While the interruptions may seem to many like trivial inconveniences for a well-heeled jet set, they may have significant implications for matters of war and peace, arms control and human rights.

Already the United States has cancelled at least two leaders’ summits it planned to host this year and moved a Group of Seven foreign ministers online. As the global crisis threatens to alter the world balance of power, NATO‘s top diplomats abandoned plans to meet in person this past week, the European Union has scaled back its schedule, a major international conference on climate change in Scotland was called off, and many lower-level U.N. gatherings have been scrapped entirely.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: With travel at a standstill, hotel industry looks to assist hospitals, workers

If the pandemic isn’t brought under control by summer, it could jeopardize the diplomatic granddaddy of the post-World War II era, the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly meeting in virus-stricken New York, which this year is set to commemorate the organization’s 75th anniversary. The General Assembly may have only a fraction of the audience as an global sporting event like the already postponed Summer Olympics in Japan, but it is the diplomatic equivalent of the games.

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The president of the General Assembly said Friday the 193-member world body will make a decision “in the coming month” on whether to delay the gathering, set to begin on Sept. 22.

If there is a global centre of diplomacy, it’s the sprawling U.N. headquarters complex in New York, considered to be a top diplomatic post, if not the top, for almost all countries. It hosts many formal and informal meetings but much of the business of diplomacy takes place over coffee and drinks in the Delegates Lounge, and at lunches, dinners and the numerous nightly receptions.

Coronavirus around the world: April 3, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: April 3, 2020

The arrival of COVID-19, which has turned New York into the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, suddenly ended this diplomatic lifestyle that has existed for decades. As the world fights what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “a war against a virus,” many diplomats are wondering if that life will return when the “war” is over.

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Diplomacy at the United Nations and elsewhere has now moved to phones, emails and virtual meetings, including of the U.N. Security Council. With face-to-face meetings increasingly rare, diplomacy by teleconference and secure video has become the norm, offering easy outs for those unwilling or unable to engage in delicate or controversial negotiations.

In the absence or severe cutback of in-person diplomatic discussions, some fear countries such as Russia and China may seek to exploit the crisis to further weaken international institutions already stressed by the Trump administration’s hostility to them.

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Some fear the virus crisis could fuel diplomatic atrophy.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Trump asks medical supply firm 3M to stop selling N95 respirators to Canada

“It’s making a lot of things harder,” said Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador who is president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. “I don’t think it will stop things from getting done that people want to get done but the epidemic is likely to be an excuse rather than a cause. It’s a very convenient excuse for people not to do things they don’t want to do.”

Peace talks between Afghanistan’s warring factions, between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the government, and long-stalled negotiations on an end to Syria’s war are all diplomatic initiatives that may have to be put on hold because of the virus. At the same time, discussions on human rights, nonvirus global health issues, climate change and trade are likely to be foregone.

Coronavirus outbreak: China criticizes U.S. for making ‘shameless’ comments on data transparency
Coronavirus outbreak: China criticizes U.S. for making ‘shameless’ comments on data transparency

Several U.N. events have been curtailed or scrapped: one to mark the 25th anniversary of the U.N. women’s conference in Beijing that adopted a 150-page road map to achieve gender equality; a session on the Law of the Sea; one on the rights of indigenous people; and the five-year review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“Here at the U.N. in New York we must turn our attention to the tools we have. We must make them work better for the situation we face. And in the process, we might learn something about both what is truly important as well as the wonders of video conferences,” Norway’s U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, told The Associated Press.

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In Geneva, another hub of U.N.-sponsored diplomacy, the coronavirus has torpedoed some gatherings. A Human Rights Council session was suspended in mid-March “until further notice” and two plenary sessions of the Conference on Disarmament were put off.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — U.S. encouraging residents to wear non-medical face masks in public

On Monday, U.N. envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen told the Security Council that the heads of a committee created to talk about Syria’s constitution had agreed on a new agenda for talks, but added, “COVID-19 makes it impossible to convene Syrians in Geneva at present.”

Uncertainty is clouding the prospects for two big Geneva-hosted diplomatic meetings in May and June: the annual assembly in May of the World Health Organization, the U.N. agency that has had a front-line role in fighting coronavirus, and the top annual gathering of the International Labor Organization in June.

In Brussels on Thursday, NATO foreign ministers held the first of their two biannual meetings this year via a two-hour secure teleconference instead of the usual two-day in-person session.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — UN to decide in a month whether to delay meeting of world leaders

The EU has been reduced to conducting its diplomacy at distance. It’s seen a multiplication in the number of meetings, most by video conference, and others with only small groups of officials, formats that diplomats complain have diluted their usefulness.

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Last Thursday, European Parliament President David Sassoli presided over a virtually empty chamber in an emergency session focused on the coronavirus pandemic. “We had to slow down, of course. But we have not stopped, because democracy cannot be suspended in the midst of such a dramatic crisis. Indeed, it is our duty, in these difficult times, to be at the service of our citizens,” he said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death

© 2020 The Canadian Press

Source: Global News

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