Iraq retakes Ramadi from ISIS
Iraqi troops have retaken the city of Ramadi from ISIS, the country’s military said. Troops raised the Iraqi flag on top of the government compound in central Ramadi, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said Monday.
Ramadi, a predominantly Sunni Arab city, fell to ISIS in May, a major setback in the country’s effort to contain the terror group. The city has strategic importance. Anbar province is the heartland of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim population, and Ramadi is close to Baghdad.
Rasoul said he is confident the military will retake other cities captured by ISIS. “We will liberate all the other places like we liberated Juif al Nasser and Tikrit and Baiji and other areas.”
The U.S.-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes on ISIS targets congratulated the Iraqi military Monday. CNN
A mammoth storm system engulfing much of the country has claimed 24 lives, including four soldiers in Missouri. And it’s not over yet. The rash of severe weather has spawned deadly tornadoes in Texas, intense flooding in the Midwest and blizzard conditions in New Mexico.
“The storm system will gradually pull away by Tuesday, but flooding and treacherous travel could (linger) into midweek,” the National Weather Service said.
In Missouri, intense rain and flooding are expected across much of the state Monday, along with snow and freezing rain in the northern part of Missouri. Over the weekend, eight people died in flash flooding, including four international soldiers temporarily stationed at Fort Leonard Wood for training.
In Texas Dallas-area residents trying to recover from a spate of deadly tornadoes will get hit with snow and near-freezing temperatures Monday. The high temperature in Dallas on Saturday was 82 degrees, which plummeted to 41 degrees on Sunday and will drop into the 30s on Monday. CNN
Japan and South Korea have reached a landmark agreement that the foreign ministers from both countries say resolves the longstanding dispute over Tokyo’s responsibility to “comfort women” who were forced to work as prostitutes in Japanese military brothels in World War II.
In Seoul Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se announced they reached a settlement that includes both financial restitution and an official apology from Japan.
“The comfort women issue is an issue whereby many women under the then military’s involvement bore deep scars to their honor and dignity, and from this perspective, the Japanese government acutely feels responsible,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida at a joint news conference.
South Korea’s President Park has repeatedly called on Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make a “sincere apology” and offer reparations to the 46 remaining Korean “comfort women” who are now in their 80s and 90s. VOA
Thai Myanmar tension over murder conviction
Thailand is calling on officials in neighboring Myanmar to contain protests against a Thai court’s controversial death sentence verdict for two migrant workers from Myanmar last week.
Thai Foreign minister Don Pramudwinai told reporters on Monday that authorities have been in touch with their counterparts as the protests continued to spread beyond the capital.
Last Thursday a Thai court convicted two Myanmar migrant workers for the murders of a young British couple on a resort island. The case had been criticized by outside legal and rights groups amid widespread allegations that the evidence used to link the two suspects to the killings was insufficient or tainted.
Since Saturday, there have been reports of several border crossing closures because of demonstrations by angry Myanmar nationals. Thailand has also stopped offering consular services at its embassy in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. Demonstrators also went to the lakeside Yangon home of Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday, asking her to make a plea to authorities in Thailand.
Myanmar’s army chief, General Min Aung Hlain, has asked Thailand to review the evidence in the case, according to the government-owned newspaper New Light of Myanmar.
The crime was widely reported in the British media which recounted that the attractive couple had been in a quarrel with some islanders on the night they were murdered and the crime occurred a night after two British women were reported to have been mugged there by a Thai motorbike gang. VOA
Former El Salvador national team soccer player Alfredo Pacheco has been shot dead, officials say. A man approached Pacheco, 33, and fired several shots at a petrol station in the city of Santa Ana, 76km (47 miles) west of the capital San Salvador.
Police say two other people were injured in the attack, the motive of which is being investigated. The defender, who was El Salvador’s most-capped player, was banned for life in 2013 for match-fixing.
Pacheco and another 13 members of the national team were found guilty of receiving bribes to lose several matches between 2010-13.
He played 86 times for his country. For years, El Salvador – a small nation in Central America – has had one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Earlier this month, Honduran international footballer Arnold Peralta, 26, was shot dead while on holiday in his hometown. BBC
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