January 31, 2015
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Cuba’s Raul Castro demands end to U.S. embargo against Cuba

Cuba’s Raul Castro demands end to U.S. embargo against Cuba

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA (BNO NEWS) — Cuban President Raul Castro has called on the United States to put an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba, saying that the communist country is willing to normalize diplomatic relations with the U.S. but that the current embargo would make such an effort difficult.

Castro, speaking in Costa Rica at a Latin American summit, praised U.S. President Barack Obama’s efforts to renew ties, but emphasized that he would not make any political concessions or give up any of the regime’s principles.

“Cuba is willing to normalize relations but the main problem has not been solved: the economic and financial blockade,” Castro said, as quoted by TeleSUR TV. “We should not pretend that Cuba will renounce its ideals of independence and freedom of their principles in the process of diplomatic relations with the U.S.”

Castro added that while the restoration of diplomatic relations is the beginning of a normalization of bilateral ties, it may not be possible until the economic blockade is lifted.

He has called the embargo a “violation of international rights,” which he believes has caused significant human and economic damage.

“It would not be ethical, fair, or acceptable if these problems are not solved,” he said, TeleSUR reported.

The Obama administration has yet to respond to Castro’s remarks.

(Copyright 2015 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

Jordan says ready to release Iraqi terrorist in exchange for pilot

Jordan says ready to release Iraqi terrorist in exchange for pilot

By Lee Jones

AMMAN, JORDAN (BNO NEWS) — The Jordanian government said Wednesday it is willing to release imprisoned would-be suicide bomber Sadija al-Rishawi in exchange for the safe return of a Jordanian pilot being held hostage by the Islamic State (ISIS) group, state-run media reported.

Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communication Mohammad al-Momani said Jordan had agreed to release Sajida al-Rishawi if pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh is released by ISIS unharmed, the state-run Petra news agency reported. Al-Momani stated that Jordan’s stance was aimed at protecting al-Kasasbeh, who was captured after his plane crashed over Syria in December.

ISIS has demanded the release of Sajida in exchange for al-Kasasbeh and Kenji Goto Jogo, a Japanese journalist who was captured by ISIS in 2014. In a new video on Tuesday, Jogo read out a statement warning that he and Jordanian pilot al-Kasasbeh had less than 24 hours to live if the demand was not met immediately.

Jogo appeared in another video on Saturday after the Japanese government refused to provide ISIS with more than $200 million in ransom for the release of Jogo and fellow hostage Haruka Yukawa. The recording showed Jogo holding a paper showing the decapitated body of Yukawa.

Sajida al-Rishawi is on death row in Jordan for her connection to a string of terrorist attacks that killed 60 people in Amman, Jordan, on November 9, 2005.

(Copyright 2015 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

Ministry: 10 dead, 13 injured in Greek F-16 crash at Spanish airport

Ministry: 10 dead, 13 injured in Greek F-16 crash at Spanish airport

ALBACETE, SPAIN (BNO NEWS) — At least 10 people were killed Monday and 13 others were injured after a Greek F-16 fighter jet crashed at Albacete Airport in southeastern Spain, the country’s ministry of defense said.

The accident happened when the aircraft lost power while attempting to take off, causing it to crash into other planes on the ground and sparking a major blaze. Among the dead are the plane’s two pilots and eight people on the ground.

The defense ministry, which cautioned that the figures are preliminary, said seven of those injured were in a critical condition at University Hospital of Albacete after suffering burns. The condition of five others was not immediately known. A thirteenth victim had already been discharged after being treated.

“As more information is confirmed it will be passed on,” the ministry said in a statement.

The plane crashed while participating in a NATO training exercise at Spain’s Los Llanos (Albacete) airbase, which regularly hosts NATO aircraft for training, the defense ministry said.

(Copyright 2015 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

4 journalists among 11 dead in South Sudan ambush – radio

4 journalists among 11 dead in South Sudan ambush – radio

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN (BNO NEWS) — At least four journalists working for South Sudan’s state-run media were among eleven people killed Sunday when a convoy carrying a local government official and journalists was ambushed in the country’s west, independen…

French charity worker kidnapped in Central Africa released

French charity worker kidnapped in Central Africa released

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (BNO NEWS) — A French charity worker who was abducted earlier this week in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) has been released, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement on Friday, prov…

Lebanese soldiers clash with jihadists near Syria border, 12 reported dead

Lebanese soldiers clash with jihadists near Syria border, 12 reported dead

BEIRUT, LEBANON (BNO NEWS) — At least three Lebanese soldiers and nine jihadist militants are believed to have been killed in ongoing fighting near Lebanon’s northeastern border with Syria, a local newspaper reported on Friday, though official figures…

Hutchison negotiating $15.3 billion deal to buy O2 UK

Hutchison negotiating $15.3 billion deal to buy O2 UK

LONDON, ENGLAND (BNO NEWS) — The parent company of UK telecom operator Three has entered into negotiations with Spain’s Telefonica to acquire its telecommunications subsidiary, O2 UK for $15.3 billion, Hutchison Whampoa Limited said in a statement on Friday.

The talks are for a deal with an indicative price of £9.25 billion ($13.8 billion dollars), plus up to £1 billion ($1.49 billion) in deferred upside interest sharing payments. If approved by Telefonica and regulators, the combined group would become the largest telecommunications operator in the United Kingdom.

“Subject to agreement as a result of these negotiations and any necessary approvals including merger clearance, this will strengthen our future as a leading, and highly trusted UK communications provider at a time when the demand for mobile connectivity has never been greater,” O2 said in a statement.

It added: “Three is known for campaigning on behalf of its customers, much like O2. We are confident that an agreement will mutually benefit the customers of both companies, as well as drive better value, quality and investment in one of the most digitally competitive countries in the world.

(Copyright 2015 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed: Price of oil will never reach $100 again

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed: Price of oil will never reach $100 again

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who is one of the world’s richest and influential people, said in interviews Friday that he does not believe the price of oil will ever reach $100 a barrel again, and will likely continue…

Children among 32 dead in airstrikes near Damascus – activists

Children among 32 dead in airstrikes near Damascus – activists

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BNO NEWS) — Syrian government forces have carried out airstrikes on a rebel-held village near the capital Damascus, killing at least 32 civilians, including six children, an activist monitoring group reported on Friday, describing the…

Saudi King Abdullah dead at 90, state TV announces

Saudi King Abdullah dead at 90, state TV announces

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (BNO NEWS) — Saudi Arabia’s ailing King Abdullah, who was hospitalized in Riyadh on New Year’s Eve, has died at the age of 90, according to a Royal Court statement read on state TV. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Salma…