The End : Obama’s last day in White House

After eight historic years as America’s first black president, Obama departed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and prepared to hand over the keys not to America’s first female president in Hillary Clinton, as he hoped and expected, but to Donald Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Battling towards the edges of Mosul

ISIL expanded its attacks on Monday against the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces, trying to relieve pressure on its own defences around Mosul, the group’s last major urban stronghold in the country. About 80 villages and town held by ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS) were retaken in the first week of the offensive, bringing Iraqi and Kurdish forces closer to the edge of the city itself – where the battle will be hardest fought.
The Mosul campaign, which aims to crush the Iraqi portion of ISIL’s declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, may become the biggest battle yet in the 13 years of turmoil triggered by the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Some 1.5 million residents remain in the city, and worst-case forecasts see up to a million being uprooted, according to the United Nations. UN aid agencies say the fighting has so far forced about 7,400 people to flee their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G7 leaders shovel soil in tree-planting ceremony

(L to R) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Barack Obama, Japanes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participate in a tree-planting ceremony on the grounds at Ise-Jingu Shrine in the city of Ise in Mie prefecture on the first day of the G-7 leaders summit.

Syrians protest against the Russian airstrikes

Syrians wave their national flag during a protest against the airstrikes which broke the Russian-US brokered ceasefire a day before, the rebel-held city of Douma, 10 km north-east of Damascus, Syria. The ceasefire agreement enters its third week today.

Tornadoes touch down across East Texas

A tattered U.S. flag that had been attatched to a tree waves over the debris in Garland, Texas. A meteorolocical assault of tornadoes, blizzards and heavy rain have left dozens dead and a large path of property damage in the Central, U.S.

Afghan students attend a class under a tent

Afghan students attend a class under a tent in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province.

Miyoshia Bailey of Chicago holding a photo of her slain son Cortez

Miyoshia Bailey of Chicago struggles to speak while holding a photo of her slain son Cortez, during a press conference on gun violence in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized for Mavi Murmara Attack

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan an...
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 7, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he “expressed apology” to Turkey for any error that led to the death of nine Turkish nationals in 2010 in the Gaza flotilla incident. 
Netanyahu also said on Friday that Israel has also agreed to compensate the families of the victims.
In a phone call between Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “the two agreed to normalisation between the countries, including returning ambassadors and cancelling legal proceedings against IDF [Israeli army] soldiers,” the statement said.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu apologised to the Turkish people over every mistake that could have led to the loss of lives and agreed to complete the agreeement with compensation.”
Netanyahu also told Erdogan that Israel had “substantially” lifted restrictions on the entry of civilian goods into the Palestinian territories, including Gaza.
During the phone call, Erdogan underlined the importance of strong cooperation and friendship between Turkey and Israel, his office said.
“Erdogan told [Israeli premier] Binyamin Netanyahu that he valued centuries-long strong friendship and cooperation between the Turkish and Jewish nations”.
The White House said President Barack Obama has congratulated Netanyahu over the call, in which he apologised for “operational mistakes”. Obama has reportedly arranged the call during his first visit to Israel as president.
Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston, reporting from Jerusalem, described Netayahu’s apology as “an incredible development” adding that it would be seen as a “huge achievement” of the Obama administration.
Johnston also said that it is a “great win for Turkey,” which has been demanding the apology. 
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Elif Ural, reporting from Istanbul, said that Hamas has sent a message expressing disappointment that Turkey has accepted the apology. 
Commando raid
On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of six humanitarian ships on their way to Gaza.
Source : Aljazeera English
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Died

 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, ending the socialist leader’s 14-year rule of the South American country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro has said in a televised speech.
Maduro, surrounded by other government officials, announced the death in a national television broadcast on Tuesday.
“In the immense pain of this historic tragedy that has affected our fatherland, we call on all the compatriots to be vigilant for peace, love, respect and tranquility,” Maduro said.
Maduro said the government had deployed the armed forces and police “to accompany and protect our people and guarantee the peace”.
Elias Jaua, the foreign minister, said Chavez’s hand-picked successor Maduro would take over as interim leader pending the next election, declaring: “It is the mandate that comandante President Hugo Chavez gave us.”
Venezuela’s constitution, however, specifies that the speaker of the National Assembly, currently Diosdado Cabello, should assume the interim presidency if a president can’t be sworn in.

Military commanders quickly pledged loyalty to Maduro.

Defence Minister Diego Molero said the armed forces would defend the constitution and respect Chavez’s wishes.

The authorities said a new vote would be called within 30 days.
Chavez’s body will be taken to a military academy on Wednesday, where he will lie in state until a memorial service with foreign leaders on Friday. The government has announced seven days of mourning.
صدر ہوگو شاویز وینزویلا کے صدر تھے ایک مرتبہ اقوام متحدہ کی جنرل اسمبلی میں انہوں نے صدر بش کی طرف اشارہ کر کے کہا تھا کہ یہ کتا ہے اور اسی کی وجہ سے آج دنیا کا امن تباہ ہو رہا ہے

Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader who lost to Chavez in October last year, said: “This is not the time for differences. This is the time for unity, the time for peace,” he said, insisting he and Chavez were “adversaries, but never enemies”.

Global reactions

Messages of condolences for Chavez’s death came from around the world.

US President Barack Obama, in a statement, called Chavez’s passing as a “challenging time” for Venezuela.

“The United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government,” Obama said.
“As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.”
Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, said he is “conveying condolence” to the Venezuelan president’s “family and the people of Venezuela”, according to Al Jazeera’s James Bays, who was reporting from New York.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, also issued as statement describing Chavez’s death as a “tragedy”.
“He was a great politician for his country and for the world as a whole,” Churkin said.     
Meanwhile, a teary-eyed Bolivian President Evo Morales, one of Chavez’s closest allies in Latin America and most loyal disciples, declared that “Chavez is more alive than ever.”
“Chavez will continue to be an inspiration for all peoples who fight for their liberation,” Morales said on Tuesday in a televised speech. “Chavez will always be present in all the regions of the world and all social sectors.”

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Caracas, said “millions of people” are expected to attend the funeral.
“Chavez is known as a guy who could bring out his supporters and that is what’s going to happen,” Elizondo said. “He is such a big figure here in Venezuela, you cannot overstate it. He is larger than life”.
Much of the capital, Caracas, was quiet overnight, with streets deserted especially in richer parts of the capital. Most shops locked their doors as the news spread, fearing looting.

Chavez easily won a new six-year term at an election in October and his death shocked millions of supporters.

“He was our father,” said Nancy Jotiya, 56, in Caracas’ central Plaza Bolivar. “He taught us to defend ourselves. Chavismo is not over! We are the people; we will fight!”

Confrontational style
During more than 14 years in office, Chavez routinely challenged the status quo at home and internationally.
Chavez polarised Venezuelans with his confrontational and domineering style, yet was also a masterful communicator and strategist who tapped into Venezuelan nationalism to win broad support, particularly among the poor.
The Leftist leader repeatedly proved himself a political survivor. As an army paratroop commander, he led a failed coup in 1992, then was pardoned and elected president in 1998. He survived a coup against his own presidency in 2002 and won re-election two more times.

The burly president electrified crowds with his booming voice, often wearing the bright red of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela or the fatigues and red beret of his army days.
Before his struggle with cancer, he appeared on television almost daily, talking for hours at a time and often breaking into song of philosophical discourse.
Chavez used his country’s vast oil wealth to launch social programs that include state-run food markets, new public housing, free health clinics and education programs.
Poverty declined during Chavez’s presidency amid a historic boom in oil earnings, but critics said he failed to use the windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the country’s economy.
Inflation soared and the homicide rate rose to among the highest in the world.
The populist leader of oil-rich Venezuela became Latin America’s most vocal and controversial leader and was Washington’s chief antagonist in the region.

Source : Aljazeera English
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Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928 in Kafr-El Meselha, Egypt. In 1972, President Anwar el-Sadat appointed him commander of the air force. Three years later, Sadat named him vice president. On October 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated and Mubarak became president of Egypt. He held the position until February 2011, when demonstrations across Egypt forced him to step down.
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, known as Hosni Mubarak, was born on May 4, 1928 in Kafr-El Meselha, Egypt. The son of a government official, Mubarak began pursuing a military career path at a young age. He completed his studies at the Military Academy in 1949, and furthered his education at the Air Force Academy, where he learned to be a pilot. During his time at the Air Force Academy, Mubarak traveled to the Soviet Union to get some hands-on experience with their aircraft, which was also used in Egypt.
After graduating from the academy, Mubarak worked as a flight instructor. He rose through the ranks in the Egyptian Air Force, eventually becoming its director in 1966. In 1972, President Anwar el-Sadat appointed Mubarak as chief commander. Mubarak showed a talent for military strategy, distinguishing himself during the Yom Kippur War with Israel in 1973.

Political Career

In 1975, Mubarak was selected to serve as Sadat’s vice president. He became active in negotiations with other powers in the region. On October 6, 1981, Mubarak was sitting next to Sadat when he killed by Muslim extremists during a military parade. He was elected president of Egypt the following week.
As president, Mubarak was an influential force in the Middle East, helping with negotiations on several issues. He supported Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and U.S. efforts in the region, including the Persian Gulf Crisis. Within Egypt, however, Mubarak faced growing unrest during his time as president. Many objected to his restrictive regime, and sought greater personal and political freedoms. He survived two assassination attempts in the 1990s.

Final Years as President

Beginning in January 2011, Mubarak faced increasing pressure to step down from office. Crowds of protestors filled the streets of Cairo, demanding for the end of his presidency and for democratic reforms. His regime attempted to end the protests through force, resulting in the deaths of several civilians. American PresidentBarack Obama was just one of the world leaders who offered his support to the protesters. He called for Mubarak to step down as Egypt’s president, saying “an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.” After weeks of intense pressure, Mubarak finally agreed to resign on February 11, 2011. He and his family left Cairo and sought refuge at their home in the resort town Sharm el-Sheikh.
Newly ousted Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were taken into custody in April 2011, as they were being investigated on corruption and abuse of power, among other charges. After being taken in custody, Mubarak had a “mild heart attack” during questioning.

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