The Syrian civil war has given rise to a wave of kidnappings and ransoms as desperate members of the opposition movement struggle to support themselves and their cause, Patrick Cockburn writes at The Independent.
Delegates from the United States and Europe walked out of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday afternoon in the middle of a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he began expressing anti-Israeli sentiment.
Piracy has gotten so bad off the coast of Somalia that the European Union is prepared to form an anti-piracy force to police the region. The unresolved seizure of a freighter loaded with Russian tanks is the most recent in a spate of incidents involving more than 60 vessels and $30 million in ransom so far this year.
The July 2nd rescue of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and U.S. mercenaries employed by the Northrop Grumman Corp. was heralded as a dramatic victory over the anti-imperial FARC guerrilla forces in Colombia. The real story may be significantly less daring. The mainstream media’s heroic rescue narrative is being contradicted by claims that a $20-million ransom payment was made.
U.S. forces are making a military and multimedia blitz in and around Baghdad to find the three American soldiers missing since last weekend. Planes dropped leaflets offering a $200,000 reward, the same message was broadcast over loudspeakers and local radio, and hundreds of Iraqis have been held for questioning in recent days, according to the Los Angeles Times.