The Malaysian Ministry of Information has released some truly frightening images that show how dire the situation facing many migrants really is. Officials from in Myanmar recently rescued more than 200 people packed in an 80-foot boat in the Andaman Sea. Many of the group—which included some children—are Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing religious persecution in the country. A UNHCR spokesperson said in a statement,
We hope that this recent positive development will be followed by other disembarkations in Myanmar and across the region. This needs to happen before the coming monsoon rains. As we have previously emphasized, the priority is to save lives by getting people safely off these boats as soon as possible.
They estimate that as many as 3,500 are currently stranded in boats in the waters near the country. Both Indonesia and Malaysia are currently providing humanitarian assistance migrants rescued at sea ... Discuss
Officials from the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have said that their country’s military now has the ability to create nuclear warheads that can fit on missiles—missile engineered to reach the U.S. Officials in the U.S. however aren’t necessarily buying the new claims about North Korea’s “world-level strategic weapon,” pointing to the fact that the country frequently exaggerates—or completely fabricates—information about its regime and military. A Joint Chiefs of Staff official said that despite “clever video editors and spinmeisters,” DPRK has “not gotten as far” as they claim in developing the technology, telling a D.C. forum, “They are years away from developing this capability.”
However, as The Washington Post notes, the prospect of the North Korean military creating a missile-sized nuke may not be that far off according to some experts. An expert for the International Crisis Group, Daniel Pinkston, told the paper, “I think they probably have a small device that they can put on a missile, but as far as actually using it goes, no one has been able to demonstrate anything" ... Discuss
After a series of “heavy clashes” with government forces in Syria, ISIS militants have reportedly seized as much as a third of the Syrian town of Palmyra. Palmyra, situated in central part of the country, is a known for its ancient ruins, which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thousands of years ago, Palmyra was an important caravan stop for travelers. According to UNESCO, “From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.” ISIS has been known to destroy ancient artifacts and historical sites as part of the group’s goal to create a unified Muslim caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Just a few days ago, ISIS militants took control of Ramadi—the capital city of Anbar province in Iraq—displacing thousands of civilians. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian government forces are still fighting ISIS for control of the rest of Palmyra ... Discuss
According to the AP, as many as 500 civilians have been killed during ISIS’ takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi. At least 8,000 people have been displaced during the fighting and the invasion of the radical Islamist militants. American officials have deployed 32 airstrikes in the region in recent weeks, targeting ISIS, and have promised to help try to take back the large city. Despite a televised plea from the country’s Prime Minister, there are reports that local security forces abandoned their bases during the battle, leaving weaponry and military equipment behind ... Discuss
The Islamic State (ISIS) launched a full-scale attack on security forces in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, according to several news sources. The assault, which began yesterday and continues today, includes suicide bombings by militants dressed as Iraqi soldiers.
As of Friday afternoon, ISIS “seized the main government headquarters in Ramadi, and raised their black flag before setting fire to the compound,” reported The New York Times.
More from the Times:
The Islamic State’s capture of the government quarter, even though it was too early to declare that the entire city had fallen, represents a significant setback in the Iraqi government’s long fight to defend Ramadi, the capital of the sprawling western desert province of Anbar.
As ISIS fighters advanced on Friday there were reports of mass executions. Sheikh Omar Shihan al-Alwani, a tribal leader whose men have been fighting ISIS there, said that more than a dozen families had been killed in his area of Ramadi, and an estimated 50 policemen and tribal fighters.