Daily Archives: July 21, 2015

Leader of Khorasan Group in Syria killed in U.S. airstrike

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TerrorismLeader of Khorasan Group in Syria killed in U.S. airstrike

Published 22 July 2015

The leader of the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group in Syria, was killed on 8 July in a U.S. airstrike in Syria, the Pentagon said. Kuwait-born Muhsin al-Fadhli, who had a $7 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government, was killed when a vehicle in which he was traveling near the Syrian town of Sarmada was hit by a missile. Islamic State has captured the headlines, but security experts say that Khorasan may pose a more immediate danger to the United States and Western European countries.

The leader of the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group in Syria, was killed on 8 July in a U.S. airstrike in Syria, the Pentagon said.

Kuwait-born Muhsin al-Fadhli, who had a $7 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government, was killed when a vehicle un which he was traveling near the Syrian town of Sarmada was hit by a missile.

Islamic State has captured the headlines, but security experts say that Khorasan, whose members are senior Qaeda operatives, has established itself in Syria in the past year, and may pose a more immediate danger to the United States and Western European countries. Al-Qaeda considers attacks on Western powers as a necessary step before the establishment of an Islamic caliphate because such a caliphate would have a better chance of success if Western countries and the Arab regimes they support were driven out of the Middle East first (see “Al-Qaeda-affiliated Khorasan group more dangerous than ISIS: Analysts,” HSNW, 23 September 2014; and “U.S. strike kills Khorasan Group’s chief bomb-maker,” HSNW, 7 November 2014).

In its statement, the Pentagon said that “a kinetic strike” had killed the group’s leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli. “His death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of al-Qaeda against the United States and our allies and partners,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a written statement.

The State Department said al-Fadhli was among Osama bin Laden’s closest advisers and was among the few al-Qaeda leaders who knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks.

The New York Times notes that little is known about the Khorasan Group, but that intelligence, law enforcement, and military officials have described it as being made up of members of al-Qaeda from the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. The group appears to be especially interested in planning terrorist attacks which use concealed explosives.

CNN notes that one of the group’s bases was hit in a strike last September on the first night of U.S.-led strikes inside Syria. Coalition aircraft have subsequently attacked more of Khorasan’s training camps and arms depots inside Syria.

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Yemen: first UN food aid arrives in Aden as intense fighting takes ‘serious toll’ on civilians

21 July 2015 – In “a major breakthrough,” the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that its first ship since conflict erupted in Yemen in March berthed today in the port of Aden after repeated attempts to reach huge numbers of increasingly desperate people and as intense fighting continues to take a serious toll on civilians.

“In the coming days we hope to reach more people, not only in Aden but throughout Yemen,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, in the latest report on the toll the fighting is taking, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that at least 165 civilians, including 53 children and 23 women, were killed between 3 and 15 July, and another 210 were injured during this period.

“The majority of the casualties are reported to have been caused by air strikes, but civilians are also regularly being injured and killed by mortar fire and in street fighting,” OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The total death toll since 26 March is now at least 1,693 civilians, with another 3,829 injured,” Mr. Colville said.

Reports suggest that Houthi-affiliated Popular Committees have actively been recruiting fighters, including children, who have been posted across the towns.

Ground clashes, shelling, sniping and detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices also continued between the Houthi-affiliated Popular Committees and armed groups loyal to former President Saleh on one side and the Local Popular Committees on the other side, the spokesman said.

As humanitarian needs mounted and intense fighting continued in Yemen, WFP announced that the MV Han Zhi, with 3,000 metric tonnes of food – enough to feed 180,000 people for one month – docked at Aden’s oil port of Al-Buraiqa.

Although the ship had arrived off Aden on 26 June, it had been forced to wait over three weeks for a safe window to berth, according to the agency.

“This is a major breakthrough for our humanitarian response in Yemen. While we have been able to reach several southern areas by land, docking at the port of Aden allows us to accelerate our response to meet urgent needs in southern Yemen,” said WFP’s Mr. Hadi.

WFP said it had made repeated attempts to send ships to Aden, all of which until today were blocked due to severe fighting in the port area.

Despite insecurity and extreme difficulties reaching Aden by road, WFP said it had delivered food to displaced families in the governorate. Through its local partner, WFP last reached Aden on 14 July with emergency food assistance for more than 27,000 people.

“More WFP-chartered ships are on stand-by near Aden carrying fuel and more food,” the agency said.

The number of food-insecure people in Yemen is close to 13 million, including more than 6 million people who cannot survive without external assistance, it said.

The human rights spokesman said “the conflict continues to take a serious toll on civilians, both in terms of direct violence and in terms of the effect on many economic, social and cultural rights.”

Risen Energy Expands Success in India with 100MWac Project Investment

NINGBO, China, July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Risen Energy, a public limited liability company, organised under the laws of the PRC and a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products, today announced the co-operation between Indian Raasi Green Earth Energy and themselves, encompassing a milestone MoU to jointly invest and develop a 100MWac Solar Plant in Ramnad district, State of Tamilnadu, India.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150721/238736

The scope of the co-operation countenances RISEN Energy’s joint majority investment and development of the solar power plant with Raasi in Tamilnadu and makes it the first majority direct and the largest foreign investment by a Chinese company, in the Indian solar PV market.

Mr. C.Narasihman, chairman of Raasi group of companies said, “we are extremely pleased to partner with RISEN, which is among the most admired Tier-1 Solar company globally and I am fully satisfied with their quality, expertise in technology and motivation. Our selection of Risen, whilst heavily techno-commercially orientated, ultimately was endorsed by our strategic needs of a trustworthy financially stable partner, who can, with us, further leverage the resulting enhanced revenues into additional project developments.”

Risen CSMO, Mr. Bypina Veerraju Chaudary, said, “I am elated to announce this collaborative investment that is in line with our overseas development strategy for emerging solar markets and shows our strong commitment for a long innings in India.” He expounded further, “Raasi’s committed, solid strategy of solar PV growth is highly exciting for us, as we develop our ongoing presence in India. As always, actions speak louder than any words. By jointly investing into an initial notably sized solar PV project, whilst sweeping aside geographical boundaries, each party is demonstrating their capability and visualization of what is possible to create a profitable, minimal risk, growth within a highly competitive field.”

Mr. Ponsekar, Vice President, RISEN mentioned, “We shall leverage our global project expertise to make this a showcase project and deploy Risen’s newest range of high performance anti-PID solar modules, allowing both companies to benefit from the industry’s lowest thermal coefficient of power incorporated within, maximizing energy capture in a hotter working environment. Consistently excelling in energy yields, as demonstrated by Photon’s ranking index (#2) and with more than 3GW of solar modules installed worldwide, Risen is further reaching out to the international market with uncompromising and highly compelling solutions for discerning solar PV consumers.”

About Risen Energy

Risen Energy is a principal, leading manufacturer of high-performance solar photovoltaic products and provider of total business solutions for power generation. The company, founded in 2002, and publicly listed in 2010, compels value generation for its chosen global customers. With local market presence and strong financial bankability status, we are committed, and able, to building strategic, mutually beneficial collaborations with our partners, as together we capitalize on the rising value of green energy. http://www.risenenergy.com

About Raasi Green Earth Energy 

Raasi Green Earth Energy is a utility scale solar power development company located in Bangalore with a “Concept to Commissioning” philosophy. Raasi is committed to developing 10GWp of Solar Projects across India over the next 7 years, and has initiated this commitment with the signing of the first MoU with the Government of Tamilnadu for a 100MWac Solar Park with further 500MWac Solar projects in the pipeline for development in the Southern states of India. http://www.raasienergy.com.

CONTACT: Risen Energy Co., Ltd, Bypina Veerraju Chaudary, CSMO, +86-136-5647-3355,  chaudary@risenenergy.com

WHO: S.Sudan Cholera outbreak spreads, deaths rtise to 39

NNA – Cholera in war-torn South Sudan has spread to another state, with at least 39 dead since an outbreak was declared last month, the World Heath Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

A total of 1,212 cholera cases including 39 deaths have been recorded, according to WHO figures, with the highly contagious infection spreading from the capital Juba in Central Equatoria to neighboring Jonglei state, one of the worst-affected areas by the 19-month civil war.

South Sudan’s health ministry officially declared an outbreak of the diarrhoeal disease on June 23, although the first case was tracked back to a U.N. camp in the capital Juba on May 18.

Over 166,000 people have sought shelter inside U.N. peacekeeper bases across the country and over 2.25 million people have been forced from their homes, with fighters on both sides are accused of atrocities including massacres and rape.

The vast majority of cases remain centered around Juba, with one death recorded in Jonglei’s capital Bor, a town left in ruins after swapping hands multiple times in the war, but is now in government control.

Stamping out the disease, which is transmitted through water or food containing contaminated fecal matter, poses an additional major challenge for the government and aid workers.

Efforts to stem cholera are being hampered by rampant inflation and “an ailing economic situation”, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

“Many people can no longer afford to buy enough safe water,” OCHA said, adding that many people drank filthy water straight from the Nile river. “Those who still can afford it, now spend twice as much as they did just a few months ago.”

Last year, at least 167 people died in a cholera outbreak that was later contained.

The civil war began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that has split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.–AFP


Western Cape Community Safety on drop of reported burglary and vandalism incidents

Drop in burglary and vandalism incidents reported over the 2015 winter holiday period

School vandalism does not only come at a cost to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), but to the learners and the community too. We are therefore very pleased that there has been a drop in incidents of vandalism reported over the winter holiday period compared to the same period last year. During the same holiday period in 2014, 23 incidents of burglary and vandalism were reported while 18 incidents were reported for the same period in 2015.

The total number of incidents has dropped by 42% compared to the same period in 2013, when schools reported 31 incidents.

I held a press conference during the second term pleading with communities to assist in the fight against vandalism. I sincerely hope that the drop in vandalism incidents is as a result of communities taking ownership of their local schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools to the police immediately. Schools are in fact a community asset.

In order to protect our schools as far as possible from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate arranges increased security at some of our high risk identified schools.

During the 2015 winter holiday period, 413 schools benefited either from 12 or 24 hour security and cluster patrols.

Unfortunately, despite these measures, some of our schools still fell victim to vandalism and burglaries during the school holiday.

During the July winter school holiday period 18 schools across the province reported minor incidents of vandalism and/or burglary with no major incidents being reported.

Of the 18 schools, the Cape Winelands District again reported the highest number of incidents in the Province, with 5 incidents of burglary and vandalism.

We received 3 reports each from the Metro Central, Metro East and Metro North Education Districts. Metro South District reported 2 incidents. The West Coast and Eden and Karoo Districts each reported 1 incident.

The Overberg District did not report any incidents.

All incidents were classified as minor. An incident is classified as minor if the estimated cost of repairs is below R100 000 and the schools ability to function is not impacted in any way.

The WCED is completing a cost analysis but so far, the cost for repairs for just over half of the schools has come in at around R250 000.

The department and schools could better spend these funds on improving the quality of education in schools. At the end of the day, vandalism represents theft from our learners.

The co-operation of the community is essential in order to combat learner vandalism and to create a safe school environment that promotes teaching and learning. We urge community members to be extra vigilant throughout the year and to immediately report any suspicious behavior or activities that occur within the vicinity of their schools this immediately to the Safe Schools Hotline – 0800 45 46 47 and to the SAPS.

One incident of vandalism is one incident too many. We do however need to acknowledge the decline in reported incidents and for this, I would like to thank Safe Schools, Metro Police, SAPS and members of the community for their sustained efforts in assisting us in putting an end to vandalism and burglary in our schools.

Please note: The WCED does not identify the names of schools that have been affected by burglary and vandalism. In many cases, the damages caused by the perpetrators can result in a security threat or breach. Therefore, it is our policy to not announce the names.

Media enquiries:

Jessica Shelver

Cell: 076 175 0663

E-mail: Jessica.Shelver@westerncape.gov.za