World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama appeared poised on Friday to pick former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the next U.S. defense secretary and the announcement may come early next week.
Sources on Capitol Hill and in the national security community said all signs were pointing to Hagel as Obama's choice to replace current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The choice would likely set up a confirmation battle in the Senate over whether Hagel strongly supports key U.S. ally Israel. Gay rights groups have also complained about some of Hagel's past remarks, which were seen as disparaging to them.
However, if Obama were to back down from picking Hagel, it would be the second embarrassment for him, after his preferred candidate for secretary of state, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration in the face of determined opposition.
The White House insisted Obama had not yet made a final decision on Hagel, but a source close to the situation said the White House had signaled to Hagel's camp that he remained Obama's leading candidate for the post.
The source said the process was on track for likely nomination announcement on Monday or Tuesday.
It was not known whether Obama had finalized his decision or if Hagel had been directly informed. The source said Hagel's closest advisers had received "messages of reassurance" in recent days in the face of a campaign by Hagel's critics aimed at derailing his nomination.
Hagel has already faced an onslaught over his record on Israel and Iran led by some pro-Israel groups and neo-conservatives.
A Republican operative involved in the opposition to Hagel's nomination predicted he would have trouble getting confirmed by the Senate. "It's going to be a vicious fight," the operative said.
It was said that the strikes were in response to the firing earlier of six rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.
"Steps are being taken - above all by those who seized power in Kiev - not only that do not fulfil, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement," he said.
A row between the two countries on Ethiopia's controversial multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the Nile River has been at the center of a crisis in bilateral relations.
Grand Mufti Mohammed Hussein said he was present at Sunday's protests and said police "threw the sound bombs into the (al-Aqsa) mosque itself".
The Sunday raids came only one day after another drone attack on an Al-Qaeda hideout in the central Al-Bayda' province left ten rebels and three civilians dead, according to a security source.
The deal was struck within the framework of peace talks between Hamas and Fatah.
JI chief Sirajul Haq said the real problem facing the country was "political and economic terrorism."
The shrine has long been a flashpoint between Japan and neighbours China and both Koreas. They see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism
Witnesses said that more than 20 settlers from a nearby Israeli outpost chopped down the five-year-old trees in a private Palestinian field.
Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and two other crew members were arrested last week on negligence charges, with prosecutors announcing four further arrests
A U.S. Navy remote controlled submarine, the Bluefin-21, was on its ninth mission scanning the largely unmapped stretch of sea bed where the pings are believed to have come from, with still no trace found
Five men sentenced to death, another 37 people were sentenced to terms of three to 35 years for assisting the attacks in northeastern Riyadh.
The stowaway told FBI officials that he had run away from home, climbed a fence at the airport in San Jose, California, crossed the tarmac and crawled into the wheel well of Hawaiian Airlines flight
Fearless and scathing critic of the military government, Win Tin helped found National League for Democracy with current opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1988.
The changes follow Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and tension in the largely Russian-speaking east of Ukraine.
Besides the cash compensation, the mountain guides have demanded that the government pay for the treatment of the injured and raise the insurance cover to $20,000.