Kurdish fighters need more heavy weapons to combat the Islamic State

Kurdish fighters need more heavy weapons to combat the Islamic State

Massoud Barzani, the current president of Iraqi Kurdistan, has officially thanked the nations of the United States-led anti-Islamic State coalition for providing Kurdish fighters with the weapons they need to combat the Islamic militants. However, he also added that the West isn’t providing his Peshmerga forces with the heavy weapons they need to deliver a “decisive blow” against Islamic State militants.

“We’d like to thank the members of the coalition for the support they have provided, but all the support we have received so far is not up to the level that is needed,” Barzani said in an interview aired on Wednesday, as quoted by Reuters. “The heavy weapons systems that we need, especially in terms of quality and quantity, for example the APCs, the helicopters, the artillery we need for a decisive war against ISIS, we have not received these types of weapons.”

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Korean unification could cost somewhere around $500 billion

Korean unification could cost somewhere around $500 billion

Shin Je-Yoon, chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and South Korea’s top financial regulator, has said that developing North Korea’s economy in the event of reunification would cost somewhere around $500 billion, which is the amount supposedly needed to raise the per capita GDP of the North from $1,251 to around $10,000, according to Channel News Asia.

The FSC stressed that the $500 billion figure was open to revision and was by no means an official government position, but rather a starting point for further discussion, and there’s certain to be quite a lot of discussion with a number like that. While a recent survey suggests that most South Koreans support a unified Korea, almost half had no interest in helping cover the cost.

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Tensions rise as Hong Kong protesters try to break into a government building

Tensions rise as Hong Kong protesters try to break into a government building

Tensions have flared once again in Hong Kong as law enforcement officers arrested four men after a small group of pro-democracy protesters wielded metal barricades and concrete slabs as they attempted to force their way into the city’s legislative building, just hours after authorities used court orders to clear a small stretch of the main protest zone.

Pro-democracy legislature member Fernando Cheung attempted to intervene, but was pushed back by the assailants. “This is a very, very isolated incident. I think it’s very unfortunate and this is something we don’t want to see happen because the movement so far has been very peaceful,” he told Reuters.

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ISIS wants to begin minting its own currency

ISIS wants to begin minting its own currency

The Islamic State (ISIS) has announced plans to begin minting its own currency. The startlingly well-funded Islamic militant group released a few mockup designs for bronze, silver, and gold coins yesterday, according to Haaretz. The Islamic State published some extensive designs and a proposed currency breakdown that has quickly circulated among supporters on social media.

The currency is meant to free the members of the militant group from the “tyrannical monetary system that was imposed on the Muslims and was a reason for their enslavement and impoverishment, and the wasting the fortunes of the Ummah making it easy prey in the hands of the Jews and Crusaders,” as quoted by International Business Times.

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Catalonia defies Spanish court, proceeds with secession poll

Catalonia defies Spanish court, proceeds with secession poll

As double-digit unemployment rates and sluggish economic recovery continue to plague Spain, one of the country’s richest and most productive regions is committing full-on mutiny with plans on Sunday to defy Spain’s constitutional court by holding an independence poll, according to a report from The Local.

Artur Mas, the president of the autonomous community of Catalonia, a region of 7.56 million people that includes Barcelona, the second largest and richest city in Spain, has said that the regional government plans to push forward with an informal, non-binding ballot on whether or not to secede from Spain and become an independent country.

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Britain could become a “safe haven” for foreign criminals

Britain could become a “safe haven” for foreign criminals

Next week, the United Kingdom’s members of parliament (MPs) will be voting on whether or not to opt out of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system, according to The Guardian, which enables members of the European Union to require another member nation to arrest and transfer a criminal suspect or sentenced person to the nation which issued the warrant.

In a letter to The Telegraph, 40 prominent legal figures in the United Kingdom claimed that voting for the EAW “was a vote for security” and “effective criminal justice.” Signed by Lord Phillips, the previous president of the Supreme Court, the letter said that there’s “no credible alternative to the EAW” and that the UK risks becoming a “safe haven” for foreign criminals.

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Typhoon Vongfong makes landfall in Japan

Typhoon Vongfong makes landfall in Japan

After injuring at least 30 people on the island of Okinawa, Typhoon Vongfong has made landfall on the Japanese island of Kyushu, causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled and hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. This is the strongest storm to hit Japan this year.

Meteorologists predict that Typhoon Vongfong, which means “wasp” in Cantonese, could pass over Tokyo sometime tomorrow. The massive storm has wind speeds that can reach up to 75 mph (120 km/h), with gusts reaching as high as 110 mph (175 km/h).

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Clashes break out in Hong Kong between protestors and counter-protesters

Clashes break out in Hong Kong between protestors and counter-protestors

Pro-democracy protestors occupying one of the most crowded areas of Hong Kong came under attack earlier today from people seeking to break apart the sit-in. The group began tearing down tents, and have been described by demonstrators as pro-government gangs.

The protests started as a sizable student rally, but have since grown into a massive protests. However, the movement has come under increasing strain from external blows and internal discord and exhaustion. Some were afraid that the demonstration was close to unravelling, and the two student groups and the pro-democracy movement that are supporting the protests have issued a warning that they could call off proposed negotiations with the government.

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EU condemns Israel’s East Jerusalem settlement plans

EU condemns Israel’s East Jerusalem settlement plans

The European Union expressed its believe on Friday that Israel’s plant for new settlements in East Jerusalem are a blatant threat to peace and put Israel’s relationship with the 28-member bloc at risk, joining the United States in its criticism of the decision.

“This represents a further highly detrimental step that undermines prospects for a two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” the European Union’s External Action Service said in a statement. “We stress that the future development of relations between the EU and Israel will depend on the latter’s engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two-state solution.”

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Munitions factory in Bulgaria leaves 15 missing, presumed dead

Munitions factory in Bulgaria leaves 15 missing, presumed dead

As many as 15 people could be dead after an explosion occurred at a munitions factory near the village of Gorni Lom in Bulgaria on Wednesday. The privately-owned explosives factory had been issued numerous penalty notices, but continued to operate. Now somewhere around 15 people are dead, and 3 have been severely injured.

“There are no signs of life at the site of the explosion,” civil defense force head Nikolay Nikolov said. “Unfortunately, all currently available data from the specialized teams that are at the crash site leaves little hope that there are survivors.”

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