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Nearly a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in EU, report claims 

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:55

Nearly a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in EU, report claims Nearly a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in the European Union, according to the most thorough investigation yet into how the jihadist group acquired its vast arsenal.   Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants relied heavily on guns and ammunition produced by Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany, a report released on Thursday by Conflict Armament Research (CAR), an international organisation that documents weapons trafficking in war zones, revealed. The only bigger producer of weapons used by the group was found to be China. The revelation sits uncomfortably with the EU’s effort to degrade the group’s military capacity, CAR researchers say, and highlights how easily weapons can end up in the wrong hands in "messy" conflicts. Their 200-page report provides the most comprehensive, verified study of the group’s weapons to date, presenting an analysis of more than 40,000 items recovered from Isil forces over three years. It concludes that international weapon supplies intended for rebel factions in the Syrian conflict ended up with Isil, “significantly augmenting the quantity and quality of weapons in its arsenal”. Nearly a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in the European Union Credit: Conflict Armament Research (CAR) In the early phase of the conflict, most of the group's cache had been captured from Iraqi and Syrian forces. But from the end of 2015, CAR started to see another significant source - factories in Eastern Europe. The weapons and ammunition was being manufactured in Europe, sold to the US and Saudi Arabia, and transported across the Turkish border into Syria. They said supplies of weapons by the Washington and Riyadh to Syrian opposition groups indirectly allowed Isil to obtain a substantial amount of sophisticated anti-armour ammunition and anti-tank guided weapons (ATGW), which have then been used against coalition forces they support. "Time and again, states that seek to accomplish short-term political objectives supply weapons to groups over whom they exert little to no control," said James Bevan, the executive director of CAR. "These weapons often gravitate to the most organised and effective rebel and insurgent forces." In one case CAR tracked a number of advanced ATGWs. Using their production numbers they discovered they were manufactured in the EU, sold to the US, which supplied them to an opposition group in Syria, where they were then transferred to Isil fighters in Iraq. The 200-page report provides the most comprehensive, verified study of the group’s weapons to date, presenting an analysis of more than 40,000 items recovered from Isil forces over three years Credit: Conflict Armament Research (CAR) The full chain of transactions occurred within two months of the weapons' dispatch from the factory. In another instance, in October 2014, Romania sold 9,252 rocket-propelled grenades, known as PG-9s, to the US military. The grenades were sent by the US to Jaysh Suriyah al-­Jadid, a Syrian militia armed and trained by America to fight Isil in the east of the country. But somehow, PG-9s from this same shipment made their way to neighbouring Iraq, where Isil experts separated the stolen warheads from the original rocket motors before adding new features that made them better suited for urban combat such as the battle for Mosul. It is not clear in each case whether the weapons were willingly traded by rebel groups, or plundered by Isil. CAR also recorded a number of weapons finding their way to Syria and Iraq from other conflicts, including Libya, Yemen and South Sudan, transferred through bordering countries Turkey and Jordan. The researchers found several factories in northern Iraq and were surprised by the level of production and sophistication of their work. Credit: conflictarm.com They warn that while the Isil has lost most of its territory, evidence shows the jihadists gained advanced weapons knowledge that can be used in future. The researchers found several factories in northern Iraq and were surprised by the level of production and sophistication of their work. “They have a demonstrated ability to manufacture improvised weapons on a large and sophisticated scale; and are able to tap into regional and international commercial markets to acquire chemical precursors for the development of ‘new’ weapons,” they reported. “Combined with global reach, demonstrated logistical and organisational capacity, and willing recruits around the world, these factors translate into an exportable capacity to conduct insurgency and terrorism well beyond the region.”


The Actual Rohingya Death Toll Is 22 Times Higher Than Official Estimate, Survey Shows

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:50

The Actual Rohingya Death Toll Is 22 Times Higher Than Official Estimate, Survey ShowsThe outbreak of violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority has reportedly killed thousands more people than the government admits.


Royals join bereaved families in London tower fire memorial

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:23

Royals join bereaved families in London tower fire memorialLONDON (AP) — Britain's royals and Prime Minister Theresa May joined survivors and families of those who died in London's Grenfell Tower fire for a memorial service Thursday for the 71 people killed in the June blaze.


Thursday's Morning Email: Why Millennials Are Facing The Scariest Financial Future Since The Great Depression

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:54

 Why Millennials Are Facing The Scariest Financial Future Since The Great DepressionTOP STORIES (And want to get The Morning Email each weekday?


Three-man crew returns from space station: NASA TV

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:18

 NASA TV(Reuters) - A capsule carrying U.S., Russian and Italian astronauts from the International Space Station landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a five-month mission, a NASA TV live broadcast showed. The spacecraft brought back Randy Bresnik from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Sergey Ryazanskiy from Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Italy's Paolo Nespoli with the European Space Agency. The capsule landed in the windswept and snow-covered steppe in Kazakhstan's central Karaganda region at 2.37 p.m. (0837 GMT). ...


Epic Gingerbread House Fails Are Your New Favorite Holiday Tradition

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:17

Epic Gingerbread House Fails Are Your New Favorite Holiday TraditionPeople around the world are getting into the festive spirit by attempting to create their own gingerbread houses.


The Latest: Turkey suggests opening embassy to Palestine

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:08

 Turkey suggests opening embassy to PalestineJERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the fallout from the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (all times local):


US presses Thailand to downgrade ties with North Korea

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 04:35

US presses Thailand to downgrade ties with North KoreaThe US has urged Thailand to downgrade diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea, a senior Thai official said Thursday after meeting with an American envoy, as the Trump administration pushes ahead with a global campaign to further isolate the nuclear-armed pariah state. General Wanlop Rugsanoah, secretary general of Thailand's National Security Council, told AFP the request was made during his meeting with US special envoy for North Korea Joseph Yun, who arrived in Bangkok Wednesday evening for a two-day trip to the kingdom. "The US asked Thailand to put more pressure on North Korea, put more trade and diplomatic pressure," Wanlop said after his sit-down with Yun in Bangkok.


Americans Don't Really Understand Gun Violence

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 04:00

Americans Don't Really Understand Gun ViolenceThe massacre in Las Vegas this October earned a macabre superlative: the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, with 58 innocents killed and more than 500 injured. The outpouring of attention and support was swift and far-reaching. CNN published portraits of all 58 victims. A man from Chicago made 58 crosses to honor the fallen. Zappos offered to help pay for the 58 funerals. An anonymous man even paid for 58 strangers’ dinners in memory of those who died.


Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory About Alabama Election Gets A Brutal Reality Check

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 01:30

Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory About Alabama Election Gets A Brutal Reality CheckHours after Doug Jones upset Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election, the far right began cooking up conspiracy theories about busloads of voters being brought in from out-of-state:   I am hearing rumors that black voters from MS were encouraged to cross over into AL and vote.


Latest Monsanto GMO seeds raises worries of monopoly

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 22:54

Latest Monsanto GMO seeds raises worries of monopolyThe rapid growth of Monsanto's new GMO seeds resistant to the controversial herbicide dicamba has revived worries about the company's stranglehold over farming during a period of industry consolidation. Long a producer of dicamba, Monsanto last year introduced genetically-modified cotton and soybean seeds that can resist the weed killer. The products took off, amassing more than 20 percent of US soybean fields and 50 percent of US cotton fields in just two years, according to Monsanto data.


11 Congolese Fighters Have Been Jailed for Life For Raping Dozens of Children

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:54

11 Congolese Fighters Have Been Jailed for Life For Raping Dozens of ChildrenA spiritual adviser reportedly told the men raping infants would give them supernatural powers


84 Arrested At Capitol Hill Protest Against GOP Tax Bill

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:50

84 Arrested At Capitol Hill Protest Against GOP Tax BillFresh off an inspiring Democratic win in Alabama’s Senate race, hundreds of progressive activists, many of whom had physical disabilities, converged on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to protest the Republican tax bill.


Ohio passes law barring abortion over Down syndrome diagnosis

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:36

Ohio passes law barring abortion over Down syndrome diagnosisWomen in Ohio would be prohibited from receiving abortions because of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis under a bill that passed the state senate on Wednesday and is heading to Republican Governor John Kasich’s desk. Lawmakers voted 20-12 in favor of the law, which criminalizes abortion if the physician has knowledge that the procedure is being sought due to a diagnosis of Down syndrome, a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Doctors would lose their medical licenses in the state and face a fourth-degree felony charge under the law if they were to perform an abortion with that knowledge.


The Latest: Mother found guilty in 'Baby Lollipops' killing

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:19

 Mother found guilty in 'Baby Lollipops' killingMIAMI (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Florida woman accused of fatally beating her toddler (all times local):


The Latest: Custer park fire in South Dakota grows larger

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:10

 Custer park fire in South Dakota grows largerCUSTER, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on a wildfire at Custer State Park in South Dakota's Black Hills (all times local):


Woman admits letting three-year-old son freeze to death outside house while she slept off drug binge

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:06

Woman admits letting three-year-old son freeze to death outside house while she slept off drug bingeJamie Basinger pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of Landyn Melton and he 24-year-old will be expected to serve 36 months of supervised probation and between 19 and 32 months of prison time, after cutting a plea deal with Prosecutors in her home town of Morganton, North Carolina. “She’s going to have a battle, we all are, she told the Morganton News Herald, adding that she still had unanswered questions about the three-year-old's death. Landyn was found dead on 15 March after a neighbour called the police when they spotted him laying on the porch.


Minnesota Senate appointment creates a mess back home

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:24

Minnesota Senate appointment creates a mess back homeST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The elevation of Minnesota's Republican state Senate president to lieutenant governor as part of a chain reaction after U.S. Sen. Al Franken's resignation will likely lead to a legal fight over whether she can hold two jobs.


Shark Viciously Attacks Woman On Her Honeymoon

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:38

Shark Viciously Attacks Woman On Her HoneymoonSarah Illig’s dream honeymoon in the Bahamas turned out to be a nightmare after she was bitten by a shark.


Funeral held in San Antonio for slain San Marcos officer

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:35

Funeral held in San Antonio for slain San Marcos officerSAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas police officer who was fatally shot last week was a compassionate man who loved being a police officer and a father, mourners recalled Wednesday at his funeral.


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