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Obama honors US vet who survived harrowing Afghan battle WASHINGTON: A US soldier who fought off an "onslaught" of Afghan insurgents despite wounds to his arm and legs received the country's highest military honor on Monday at a White House ceremony.Ryan Pitts, a retired US Army staff sergeant, was hailed by President Barack Obama for keeping a huge force of Taliban at bay in one of the bloodiest battles of the 13-year-war in Afghanistan."Machine gunfire and mortar and rocket propelled grenades poured down from every direction," said Obama, recounting a Taliban ambush near the village of Wanat on July 19, 2008."Against that onslaught, one American held the line," Obama said of Pitts.Only the eighth living recipient to receive the Medal of Honor, Pitts was lauded for his role in a controversial battle. The ambush, which left nine soldiers dead and 27 wounded, sparked accusations that senior officers had overextended American forces in the area.A military investigation later concluded commanders ...

Body of fugitive South Korea ferry tycoon 'found by police': report SEOUL: South Korean police believe they have found the body of a fugitive business tycoon wanted after the Sewol ferry sank in April killing hundreds, a report said on Tuesday.A massive manhunt had been launched for billionaire Yoo Byung-eun, a 73-year-old patriarch whose family own ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co. He went on the run shortly after the vessel sank killing over 300, most of them school children. A heavily decomposed body found last month ...

Violence simmers in Central Africa as peace talks open BRAZZAVILLE: Key players in the Central African conflict launched a fresh round of talks in Brazzaville on Monday to end more than a year of sectarian bloodshed in the direly poor nation.But even as negotiators huddled in Congo, fresh violence erupted in the capital Bangui with the killing of a former Seleka rebel that sparked an immediate riposte.The three-day forum for reconciliation and political dialogue, chaired by Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, is aimed a ...

15,000 people displaced after Boko Haram raid in Nigeria: official MAIDUGURI: A massive assault by Boko Haram in the northeast Nigerian town of Damboa displaced more than 15,000 people, an official said Monday, as the security forces sent reinforcements to flush out the Islamist fighters. The attack on Damboa began late Thursday but continued through the weekend, with witnesses saying that civilians were left defenceless by the security forces who withdrew from the area earlier this month. Officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) ...

Canada to impose further Russia sanctions over Ukraine OTTAWA: Canadian prime minister on Monday announced further economic sanctions against Russian entities and individuals, calling the downing of flight MH17 a "direct product of Russia's military aggression and illegal occupation" of Ukraine.Stephen Harper also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to order a withdrawal of his troops from the border with Ukraine, stop a flow of weapons and militants into the country, urge separatist rebels to lay down their arms and allow investigators access ...

British far-right leader steps down LONDON: Nick Griffin has stepped down as leader of the British National Party, the far-right group announced Monday, following disastrous results at the European Parliament elections.Griffin, 55, stepped aside at a party leadership meeting after nearly 15 years in charge of the anti-immigration group, which campaigns for Britain to leave the European Union. Having won 6.3 percent of the vote in 2009, the party polled just over one percent in May's European elections, with Griffin ...

Dutch Twitter avatars go black demanding MH17 bodies return THE HAGUE: Dutch social media users are turning their profile photos black and tweeting the hashtag #BringThemHome as anger mounts that bodies from flight MH17 have not yet been repatriated from Ukraine.Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans was one of the first to make his Facebook cover photo black in a sign of mourning.Since then Twitter and Instagram users in the Netherlands and around the world have posted black screens or ribbons, demanding the 298 dead, ...


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