Latest blog articles
Iraqi forces moving 'faster than expected' on Mosul: Iraq PM
Paris (AFP) - Iraqi forces are "advancing faster than expected" in a major offensive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State jihadists, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday.
"We are advancing faster than we had expected and planned," Abadi said, speaking on a videoconference link to an international meeting co-hosted by France and Iraq on the future of Mosul following the start of the offensive this week.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had warned Tuesday that the battle to retake Iraq's second-biggest city could take "months".
French President Francois Hollande told Thursday's meeting that the jihadists were already fleeing to Raqa, their stronghold in neighbouring Syria.
"We can't afford mistakes in the pursuit of the terrorists who are already leaving Mosul for Raqa," Hollande said, adding: "We cannot allow those who were in Mosul to evaporate."
The French president added: "Everything must be done to protect civilians who are exposed in combat zones and used as human shields" by IS fighters.
The long-awaited offensive on Mosul was launched on Monday, with some 30,000 troops involved in Iraq's largest military operation since the pullout of US troops in 2011.
Abadi told the meeting: "Our war in Mosul is an Iraqi war for the Iraqis, for the defence of Iraqi territory."
Representatives from around 20 countries including the United States, Turkey, Iran, Gulf states and EU member states are attending the Paris meeting co-chaired by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Thursday's talks come ahead of a meeting in Paris next Tuesday of the coalition's defence ministers to assess progress in the Mosul offensive.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter will be among 13 ministers at the talks, an aide to Le Drian said.
Mosul, held by the jihadists since June 2014, was where IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria that month.
"The battle for Mosul is decisive because it is hitting Daesh in the heart of its sanctuary where it wanted to build its caliphate," said Hollande, using an alternative name for IS.
The city's loss is widely predicted to deal a death blow to the group's ambitions as a land-holding force in Iraq.
Dubai tourism launches major tourism push in UK
Dubai Tourism is launching an innovative new experiential marketing campaign, Here Today, Dubai Tomorrow, designed to give British holidaymakers a ‘live’ taste of what they could enjoy on a trip to Dubai – and further boost the city’s reputation as one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations. The campaign will see London’s Waterloo Station transformed into a living, breathing recreation of Dubai’s top experiences from September 4th-11th. Cutting-edge technology will let people experience… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Economy projected to improve in 2017 driven by private sector
The regulating body said on November 10 that institutional reforms would improve the business environment towards being more conducive to the private sector. Vietnam’s growth would also be boosted by the likely recovery of global energy and agricultural commodity prices, the NFSC added. Nevertheless, Vietnam still face numerous challenges of an uncertain global economy and natural disasters at home while it has only minimal policy room and limited financial resources, the regulator warned.… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Cameroon train crash death toll tops 70
By Sylvain AndzongoDOUALA, Cameroon (Reuters) - More than 70 people were killed and over 600 injured when a packed passenger train crashed in Cameroon on Friday, the president announced on Saturday, declaring a national day of mourning to commemorate the dead.The packed Camrail train had been traveling from the capital Yaounde to the port city of Douala. It derailed at around 11 a.m. local time (1000 GMT) near the station in the town of Eseka, 120 km (75 miles) west of the capital, causing… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
More Western Europeans visit Vietnam in May
May has seen a strong increase in visitors from five Western European countries whose citizens are exempt from Vietnam entry visa for a stay of no more than 15 days, showed statistics of the General Statistics Office (GSO). Foreign tourists are seen strolling in downtown HCMC in this file photo. May has seen a strong increase in visitors from five Western European countries whose citizens are exempt from Vietnam entry visa for a stay of no more than 15 days French tourist arrivals in May are… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
The integrity that roils South Korea’s corrupt
The integrity that roils South Korea’s corruptClean prosecutors who honor equality before the law have been key to a probe of high-level corruption from the presidency to Samsung. A stronger democracy is South Korea’s core defense.By the Monitor’s Editorial BoardFor the past three decades, while North Korea’s dictators were building nuclear weapons, South Korea has been building something far more potent. It has steadily – if at times fitfully – restored its democracy, uniting citizens around… chat_bubble_outline Read More...