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Iraqi forces closed in on Tikrit Tuesday, their progress slowed by jihadist snipers and booby traps, on the second day of Baghdad's largest operation yet against the Islamic State group. The government has mobilised a 30,000-strong force for the push to retake Tikrit made up of Shia militiamen and Sunni tribesmen as well as troops and police.

Afghan security forces are suffering heavy casualties on the battlefield and large numbers of troops are resigning or deserting their units, a new report said Tuesday. The US military also has overestimated the size of the Afghan police and army by a significant margin, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, said in a report to Congress. The Afghan army "continues to suffer serious combat losses," SIGAR wrote.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Tuesday that the deal being negotiated between world powers and Iran would leave Tehran free to develop nuclear weapons. In an impassioned address to the US Congress, conducted even as Secretary of State John Kerry was in nuclear talks in Switzerland with his Iranian counterpart, Netanyahu branded Iran a global threat.
US President Barack Obama said there was "nothing new" in Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial speech to Congress Tuesday, insisting the Israeli Prime Minister did not offer a better option than negotiations. Netanyahu "did not offer any viable alternatives," Obama said speaking from the Oval Office. Netanyahu earlier, before an impassioned joint meeting of Congress, pilloried talks with Iran, which if successful would be a key plank of Obama's foreign policy legacy.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan of backing extremism as he met Tuesday with visiting Turkish opposition figures. "Erdogan leads with a destructive policy that does not serve at all the interest of his people, by supporting takfiri (extremist Sunni) forces," state news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying. The delegation included figures from various Turkish opposition parties and was led by Dogu Perincek, head of the ultranationalist Land Party, SANA reported.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said on Tuesday that his country had the power to deter an "ever-increasing nuclear threat" by the United States with a pre-emptive strike if necessary. His rare speech at the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament drew a rebuke from US Ambassador Robert Wood, who urged Pyongyang to stop making threats and rid itself of nuclear weapons.
Edward Snowden, the fugitive whistleblower who has been given refuge in Russia, is willing to return to the United States if he is given a fair trial, his lawyer said Tuesday. "He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen," Anatoly Kucherena, the Russian lawyer who represents the former National Security Agency contractor, told a news conference. Snowden was given political asylum in Russia in the summer of 2013.
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ICT 2014


Annual2013/14
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