May 24th, 2012
06:25 PM ET

Massive fire on nuclear powered submarine

Firefighters extinguished a blaze in a nuclear submarine early Thursday at a U.S. Navy shipyard in Maine after battling it for hours, according to a statement released by the shipyard.

Seven people were injured and were treated either on the scene or at "a local medical facility," the statement from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard read. Among those injured were three firefighters from the shipyard, two ship crew members and two civilian firefighters, who assisted the Navy's fire crew.

The USS Miami's reactor was not operating at any time the fire broke out and remained unaffected and stable throughout, said Capt. Bryant Fuller, commander for the shipyard, which is in Kittery, Maine.

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May 24th, 2012
05:59 PM ET

U.N. chief: 'No Plan B' in Syria

With the carnage in Syria that has left thousands dead now entering its fifteenth month, the United Nations Secretary General says there is no clear path beyond the current mission being led by Kofi Annan.

"At this time, we don't have any plan B," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview for 'Amanpour' on CNN International. "The joint special envoy Kofi Annan has proposed six peace proposals, among which the complete cessation of violence is number one. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented while with the deployment of monitoring missions, we have seen some dampening effect."

Many regard the Annan mission in Syria to be a failure already.

There will be discussions in the Security Council next week about the situation in Syria Mr. Ban said, and he will make a report about the situation. But the lack of cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is making the situation very difficult.

Watch the Secretary General discuss the situation in Syria with Christiane Amanpour here.


Filed under: Amanpour • Assad • Syria • United Nations
May 24th, 2012
04:22 PM ET

Little-known State Department unit targets al Qaeda online

By Suzanne Kelly and Jamie Crawford

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered rare insight this week into a little-known unit within the Department of State that aims to counter terror groups like al Qaeda who are actively seeking new recruits online.

Speaking Wednesday at a special operations dinner in Tampa, the secretary laid out the challenge and the team's mission. She gave an example:

"A couple of weeks ago, al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen began an advertising campaign on key tribal Web sites bragging about killing Americans and trying to recruit new supporters," Clinton said. "Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll al Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people. "

The online posting was carefully crafted in Arabic by the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which was brought together under a presidential directive issued last fall. The CSCC's message was described by a government official, who is not authorized to talk publicly about the program, as a parody of al Qaeda's earlier ad bragging about killing Americans. FULL POST

Senators hold aid to Pakistan after doctor jailed
Dr. Shakil Afridi, attending a Malaria control campaign in Khyber tribal district on July 22, 2010.
May 24th, 2012
03:42 PM ET

Senators hold aid to Pakistan after doctor jailed

By Jamie Crawford

Outrage over the imprisonment of a Pakistani doctor who tried to help the CIA locate the hiding place of Osama bin Laden was in full force Thursday as the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to cut another $33 million from the military aid package to Pakistan.

The figure derived from the 33-year sentence for treason that a Pakistani court meted out to Dr. Shakil Afridi on Wednesday.

The 30-0 roll call was based on an amendment to the Senate version of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The amendment calls for the $33 million to be upheld until "the Secretary of State reports to the Committees on Appropriations that Dr. Shakil Afridi has been released from prison and cleared of all charges relating to the assistance provided to the United States in locating Osama bin Laden."
FULL POST

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • McCain • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Senate
State Dept: Crackdown on Arab uprisings destabilizing region
May 24th, 2012
10:52 AM ET

State Dept: Crackdown on Arab uprisings destabilizing region

By Elise Labott

The uprisings that swept through the Mideast have inspired the world, and efforts by Arab dictators to crush the dissent have destabilized the region, the United States State Department said Thursday in its annual human rights report.

"In too many places, governments continue to stifle their own people's aspirations. And in some places, it is not just an assault on free expression, but an assault on the lives of the people themselves," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

"The Syrian regime's brutality against its own people must end. All Syrians deserve the chance for a better future," she will say.

The report itself says: "The yearning for change we have witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria is inspirational, and yet change often creates instability before it leads to greater respect for democracy and human rights."

"In 2011 we saw too many governments crack down in the name of restoring order when their citizens demanded universal human rights and a voice in how they were governed," says the introduction, an early copy of which was obtained by Security Clearance.

"These acts of repression triggered more confrontation, more chaos, and ultimately greater instability, the report said.

"The events of the year showed that the real choice is not between stability and security; it is between reform and unrest," the report argued. FULL POST

Where is outrage over upcoming Iran launch?
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi says the satellite launch proves Iran's scientific prowess.
May 24th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Where is outrage over upcoming Iran launch?

By Jamie Crawford

When North Korea tried unsuccessfully to launch a rocket last month supposedly to put a satellite in orbit, most of the international community condemned the attempt as a dangerous provocation. Iran recently announced its intention to make a similar attempt, but the chorus of opposition this time seems to be a great deal quieter.

Iran said it was aiming to launch its fourth satellite into orbit this week - coincidentally about the same time world powers were meeting in Baghdad for talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program. And that, analysts say, could be one reason for the lack of overt outrage.
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Filed under: Iran