Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeated warnings over air space violations, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space. It was the first time a NATO member’s armed forces have downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s and Russian and Turkish assets fell on fears of an escalation between the former Cold War enemies.
A Kremlin spokesman said it was a “very serious incident” but that it was too early to draw conclusions. Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it. The plane went down in area known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”, it said.
Separate footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed. Reuters
U.S. State Department issues worldwide alert for American travelers
The U.S. State Department issued a relatively rare global travel alert Monday, warning American travelers to “exercise particular caution” wherever they are in the world. The alert said there are increased threats from ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram, and the possibility that people unaffiliated with these groups might be inspired by recent attacks in Paris and Mali.
“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation,” the alert said. “Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places.” Alerts from the State Department ordinarily focus on specific countries and reasons — for instance, threats of extremist violence in Bangladesh or Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. This is one of the busiest travel times for Americans, with millions traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. USA Today
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to have demoted one of his top officials and sent him to a rural collective farm for reeducation, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Tuesday.
If confirmed, the banishment of Choe Ryong Hae would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and dismissals that Kim has orchestrated in what analysts say is a further strengthening of his grip on power since taking over in late 2011. According to the CNN, Choe Ryong Hae is number two behind Kim Jong-Un.
The office of lawmaker Shin Kyung-min said the National Intelligence Service disclosed the information in a closed-door briefing for members of the legislature’s intelligence committee. A memo on the briefing provided by Shin’s office cited the NIS as saying it has information that Choe was sent to the farm for reeducation in early November. USA Today
Hillary Clinton asked voters here in Nevada on Monday to not be swayed by Republicans “fear tactics and scare mongering and inflammatory rhetoric” on terrorism. She told the fired up audience that she shakes her head at what Republicans are saying about fighting ISIS and protecting the United States from another attack.
Clinton’s comments come days after Republican front-runner Donald Trump suggested that he saw video of “thousands of people … cheering” in New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers fell during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Trump has also suggested compelling all Muslims in America to register for a national database.
“I don’t think it is smart for us to act like we are waging war on every Muslim in the world,” Clinton said. “That is not smart.” “These terrorists are killers, they are thugs, they are criminals, they need to be treated like that, not elevated as thought they are representing a religion because even if though they claim to, they are not,” she said, speaking at E.L. Pine Middle School in Reno.
Clinton, who spent the day in northern Nevada, revisited a speech she delivered earlier this month on defeating ISIS. CNN
A Bangkok military court has indicted two men accused of carrying out the August 17 bombing at a popular shrine that killed 20 people. The court on Tuesday indicted Bilal Mohammed and Mieraili Yusufu on 10 counts connected to the blast, including conspiracy to explode bombs and commit premeditated murder.
Thailand authorities have not officially named the bombing of Erawan Shrine an act of terror, and accordingly neither suspect was charged specifically with terrorism. Police issued 17 arrest warrants following the bombing but only Bilal and Mieraili have been detained. They are described as ethnic Uighurs, a minority group based in China’s Xinjiang region. They have been held in custody since their arrests in late August and early September.
Thai officials have said the blast was carried out by a people-smuggling gang seeking revenge on Thai authorities for cracking down on their operation. The August 17 blast at the Erawan Shrine – a popular tourist destination – was one of the most deadly acts of violence in Bangkok in decades, and left 20 people dead and more than 120 injured. Of the dead, 14 were tourists. VOA News
French President Francois Hollande’s push to get world powers to work more closely together to fight Islamic State militants comes to Washington Tuesday as he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Hollande hosted British Prime Minister David Cameron Monday, and will hold separate talks later this week with the leaders of Russia, China, Germany and Italy. The White House said Obama and Hollande will discuss “further cooperation” as part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria for more than a year. VOA News
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