Back to Iraq? Send in the G.O.P.

Sen. John McCain said Thursday that President Barack Obama’s entire national security team should resign over the resurgence of Islamic militants in Iraq. “Everybody in his national security team, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ought to be replaced,” the Arizona Republican told reporters ahead of a classified Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. “It’s a colossal failure of American security policy.” The Sunni militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, vowed Thursday to march into Baghdad after overrunning Iraq’s government forces in Tikrit and Mosul. The offensive is sparking a wave of Republican criticism over Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2011 — and concerns that the U.S. gains in the Iraq war were about to completely evaporate. Less than three years after the end of the U.S. war in Iraq, the Obama administration and members of Congress are now mulling whether the U.S. has to re-engage militarily in order to save the gains made during the eight-year war that saw more than 4,000 U.S. troops killed. “There is no scenario where we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American air power,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C.. “It is my worst fear come true. If the president is willing to adjust his policies, I’m willing to help him.” Inside the secure briefing room in the Capitol’s basement, lawmakers were reported to be shocked by administration briefers who said that up to four entire divisions of the Iraqi military folded in an instant — allowing insurgent troops to pour into the city of Mosul and other cities near the border with Turkey.
via GOP on Iraq: We told you so – Print View.

Thousands crossing Mediterranean

Thousands of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean in the past few days, taking advantage of good weather conditions to launch dozens of boats from Libya in a desperate effort to reach Europe. Up to 600,000 people are estimated to be waiting in Libya for an opportunity to make the treacherous sea crossing, prompting warnings by European authorities of an impending humanitarian crisis. About 4,500 migrants have been picked up by the Italian navy since Thursday. The largest contingent of 1,300 – including hundreds of women and dozens of babies –was rescued on Sunday and taken to the southern Italian city of Taranto. Another group of 998, including 214 women and 157 minors, was picked up on Friday in a rescue operation that involved merchant ships flying Hong Kong, Italian, Moldovan and Panamanian colours as well as the Italian navy. Most of those being brought into port in the past few days are Syrian, Sudanese and Eritrean. Many have been taken to Sicily, where authorities are struggling to cope with the influx.

via Thousands of migrants cross Mediterranean in effort to reach Europe | World news |

‘This is a revolution!’

In a shooting rampage that left five people dead, two assailants killed two Las Vegas police officers on Sunday at a pizza restaurant and fatally shot a third person at a nearby Walmart before dying in a suicide pact, the authorities said. The attackers, one male and one female, ambushed the two police officers as they were eating lunch at a CiCi’s Pizza around 11:20 a.m., Sheriff Douglas Gillespie of Clark County said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon. The sheriff identified the officers as Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, and said that one of them fired at the attackers before he died, but that it was unclear whether the officer struck either assailant. The attackers took the officers’ weapons and ammunition before they fled across the street to a Walmart store in the same plaza. There, they fatally shot one other person inside the entrance, Sheriff Gillespie said. Officers responding to the shooting confronted the man and the woman and exchanged gunfire with them, then they heard several shots, the sheriff said. The female suspect is believed to have shot the male suspect before killing herself, Sheriff Gillespie said. Larry Hadfield, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said earlier on Sunday that investigators believed the couple had a suicide pact. Some witnesses reported that the couple had shouted “This is a revolution!” while firing on the officers at the pizza restaurant. But Sheriff Gillespie said he could not confirm that. The CiCi’s Pizza is about nine miles from the Las Vegas Strip. The restaurant and the Walmart are in a shopping plaza in the Las Vegas Valley that was bustling with activity on Sunday morning.

via Five Dead in Shooting Rampage in Las Vegas –

Missing U.K. vet found at D-Day events

LONDON AP — An 89-year old World War II veteran who was reported missing from a nursing home in England has been found in Normandy after traveling to attend D-Day commemorations, police said Friday. Bernard Jordan was last seen at The Pines home in Hove, southern England, on Thursday morning. Staff called police when he did not return that evening. Sussex Police said Friday that another veteran later called to say he and Jordan were at a hotel in Ouistreham, France. Officers also spoke to Jordan and determined he was fine. The force said Jordan left the home wearing his service medals and joined a group of veterans heading to France by bus.Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp tweeted: “Veteran reported missing by care home who said he can’t go to Normandy for D-Day remembrance. We’ve found him there!”

via Missing UK veteran found at D-Day events in France – Yahoo News.

L’Iran n’est pas très appie

La cour révolutionnaire de Téhéran a prononcé, ce mardi 27 mai, des condamnations très lourdes pour un total de 123 ans de prison contre huit Iraniens en raison de leurs activités sur Internet, et notamment sur Facebook. Ces peines, allant de 7 ans pour certains à 20 ans pour d’autres, sont d’une sévérité jamais vue ces dernières années dans l’histoire de la justice iranienne. Selon le site Kaleme, proche du leader réformateur Mir Hossein Moussavi, assigné en résidence surveillée depuis 2011, les huit Iraniens en question ont tous été arrêtés par la cybermission des gardiens de la révolution à l’été et en automne 2013.  Parmi les condamnés, Roya Saberinejad, qui a écopé de 20 ans de prison, détient, selon The Guardian, la double nationalité irano-britannique. Les autres condamnés sont : Amir Golestani, 20 ans de prison, Masoud Ghasemnkhani, 19 ans, Fariborz Kardarfar, 18 ans, Masoud Seyyed Talebi, 15 ans, Amin Akramipour, 13 ans, Mehdi Reyshahri, 11 ans, et Naghmeh Shahi Savandi Shirazi, 7 ans. Leurs chefs d’inculpation : rassemblement et conspiration contre la sécurité nationale, insultes à l’égard du Guide suprême et des autorités, propagande contre le régime, insultes au sacré, propagation de mensonges et perturbation de l’opinion publique.

via Iran : lourdes condamnations contre des cyberactivistes | Nouvelles d’Iran.

Crocodile crushed by large Russian woman

Plenty of stories from Russian roadways are the kind you have to see to believe. Dashboard camera footage and the Internet often make that possible. But on this one, you’re just going to have to trust RIA Novosti. The news agency, which operates under the purview of the government, reports that a crocodile was hospitalized last Tuesday following an accident involving a 260-pound woman. The seven-foot reptile, named Fyodor, was traveling in a circus bus when the vehicle took a sharp turn and sent the woman, who was not wearing a seatbelt, tumbling into his pit, according to the AFP. The woman was not seriously hurt, suffering only a few scrapes. However, Fyodor was taken to a vet after he began vomiting and continued to do so for the next three hours, according to Rocket News. This can be a sign of a severe internal injury for crocodiles, apparently. It appears that the crocodile is okay now. Unfortunately, it appears the woman involved had insult added to injury. HuffPost UK notes: The accountant suffered cuts, bruises and a reprimand, with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reporting she was “advised to lose weight and observe safety precautions”. Wear your seat belts, folks.

via Crocodile Hospitalized After Being Crushed By Heavy Russian Woman On Circus Bus.

Radio nutjobs out of a job

ROCHESTER, N.Y. AP — Two upstate New York radio hosts have been fired over their on-air comments about Rochester’s decision to cover gender reassignment surgery for city employees.Entercom Rochester on Thursday announced the firings of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck from WBZA, calling their comments “hateful” and saying they don’t represent the station. Ray referred to someone seeking gender reassignment surgery as “a nut job.” Beck equated the issue to having the city pay for breast enhancement or liposuction for a mentally ill woman. The discussion on their “Breakfast Buzz” show Wednesday had generated 4,000 signatures by Thursday on a removal petition.
via News from The Associated Press.