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Syria rebels, Islamic State in 'non-aggression' pact near Damascus

Syrian rebelsSyrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire deal was agreed between IS and moderate and Islamist rebels in Hajar al-Aswad, south of the capital.

Under the deal, "the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime."

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Israeli intelligence veterans refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

Israeli intel refuse to serve in territoriesForty-three veterans of one of Israel’s most secretive military intelligence units – many of them still active reservists – have signed a public letter refusing to serve in operations involving the occupied Palestinian territories because of the widespread surveillance of innocent residents.

The signatories include officers, former instructors and senior NCOs from the country’s equivalent of America’s NSA or Britain’s GCHQ, known as Unit 8200 – or in Hebrew as Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim.

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Germany passes ban on Islamic State

Angela MerkelGermany passed a ban on all images and activities related to the Islamic State (IS) Friday, including social media endorsement.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said flouting the ban "is a crime with immediate effect."

The ban includes the IS flag, social media activity, demonstrations and supporting the group financially. It's an attempt to prevent German jihadists from carrying out attacks in their homeland.

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Judge: Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide

PistoriusA South African judge on Friday found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and declared him not guilty of murder and premeditated murder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said Friday that the double-amputee athlete was not guilty of murder, as prosecutors had alleged. She ordered Pistorius to stand before she delivered the verdict.

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Israeli military opens its own probe into Gaza war

IDF investigatedThe Israeli military says it has opened criminal investigations into two high-profile cases involving Palestinian civilian casualties in this summer's Gaza war.

Wednesday's announcement is likely an attempt to head off international investigations into the military's conduct during the 50-day conflict.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, three-quarters of whom were civilians, were killed in the fighting, according to Palestinian and U.N. estimates.

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Death toll in India, Pakistan floods reaches 400

floods in IndiaThe death toll from floods in Pakistan and India reached 400 on Tuesday as armies in both countries scrambled to help the victims and authorities in Islamabad warned of more flooding in the days ahead.

The flash floods, which began on Sept. 3, have put more than half a million people in peril and rendered thousands homeless in the two neighboring states.

Pakistani and Indian troops have been using boats and helicopters to drop food supplies for stranded families and evacuate victims.

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Former US ambassador to the UN in alleged money laundering scheme

khalilzad investigatedZalmay Khalilzad, who served as US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN under President George W Bush, is being investigated by American authorities for suspected money laundering, Austrian officials said Monday.

State prosecutor Thomas Vecsey confirmed a report in the Austrian weekly Profil about the investigation of Khalilzad, who played a key role in the political transition in Afghanistan after the 2001 US-led invasion and the fall of the Taliban.

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