International  February 28, 2015
Assad or no Assad, West asks, as IS rises and conflict rages
PeopleFaced with a seemingly unending bloody conflict in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State group, is President Bashar al-Assad the lesser of the country's evils and should the West re-engage with him?While world powers such as the United States, France and Britain refuse to have anything to do with a leader the French prime minister described as a ...  Full Story
Australia may join New Zealand's Iraq training mission
Iraqi volunteer soldiers march after graduating from a training camp in the central city of Kufa on September 1, 2014Australia is considering joining New Zealand in a training mission in Iraq to help counter the Islamic State (IS) militant group, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Saturday.New Zealand announced Tuesday it will send troops to Iraq on a "behind-the-wire" non-combat mission to boost the local military's ability to fight the jihadists.Abbott said while ...  Full Story
Germany approves Greek bailout extension despite unease
Despite scepticism, German lawmakers are expected to approve GreeceGerman lawmakers approved a hard-won bailout extension for Greece's new anti-austerity government in a move Berlin's finance chief called "not easy" but necessary, keeping a crucial lifeline open to Athens.Greece's left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed the German vote Friday as "a political act of common sense and democracy", saying ther...  Full Story
US sets out 'bottom lines' for Iran nuclear deal
The director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, leaves after a meeting on February 23, 2015 in GenevaThe United States set out what it called its "bottom lines" to reach a deal with Iran to rein in its nuclear program, ahead of new talks next week.Washington had stuck to its guns that it wanted a "good deal" and had agreed to several extensions of the negotiations "because we have held firm to certain bottom lines," a senior US administration offi...  Full Story
Military operations force Boko Haram back to urban warfare
Picture released by State House Photo on February 26, 2015 shows soldiers fighting Boko Haram Islamists cheering Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on his arrival in Mubi, recently recaptured from insurgentsBomb attacks in Nigerian towns and cities look likely to increase in the run-up to forthcoming elections, despite the military claiming increasing successes against Boko Haram in captured territory.At least 86 people were killed in explosions blamed on Boko Haram this week alone, all of them at crowded bus stations in the northeast, wider north and...  Full Story
US Congress averts Homeland Security shutdown
The US Senate approves funding for the Department of Homeland Security hours before a midnight deadline, but remaining congressional hurdles pushed the agency responsible for domestic security to the brink of shutdownFeuding US lawmakers narrowly avoided a Department of Homeland Security shutdown at the 11th hour, but funded the agency only until March 6, forcing Congress to revisit the issue next week.House and Senate members scrambled to prevent the premier agency securing the United States against terror threats from running out of money at midnight, as DHS ...  Full Story
Stopgap DHS funding fails in US House, midnight shutdown looms
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and former Homeland Security secretaries Tom Ridge (L) and Michael Chertoff (R) leave after speaking about the possible shutdown of the department at a press conference in Washington, DC, February 25, 2015The US House rejected Republican leadership, failing to approve a three-week extension of Department of Homeland Security funding and setting up a dramatic showdown hours before the agency goes into partial shutdown.Funding for crucial national security programs freezes at midnight. If Congress can not pass legislation that allows money to flow, 30...  Full Story
Ukraine conflict at 'crossroads' as troop deaths shake truce
A photo taken and released on February 18, 2015 by the Ukrainian presidential press-service shows Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaking during the Security and Defence Council in KievInternational monitors said the conflict in Ukraine was at a "crossroads" as further losses among government forces rattled a two-week-old truce just as it seemed to be gaining traction.The deaths of three Ukrainian soldiers after a two-day lull in clashes with pro-Russian separatists highlighted the fragility of the ceasefire as the UN said some f...  Full Story