Boston Bomber Sentenced To Death, Apologises For The Lives He Took

US judge formally sentenced convicted Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death on Wednesday.

Tsarnaev, a US citizen of Chechen descent was sentenced to death on six counts over the 2013 bombings, one of the worst assaults on US soil since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The bombings wounded 264 people, including 17 who lost limbs, near the finish line at the northeastern city’s popular marathon.

Tsarnaev, who alongside his brother Tarmalin committed the gruesome act went both went on the run and killed a police officer, before Tamerlan was shot dead and Tsarnaev arrested, four days later.

He was found, injured, in a grounded boat on which he had scrawled a bloody message defending the attacks as a means to avenge US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Judge George O’Toole officially imposed the death sentence, which had been reached unanimously by the 12-person jury on May 15.

“I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution,” O’Toole told Tsarnaev, before he was led away by US Marshals.

Moments before he was sentenced, Tsarnaev apologized for the first time to his victims for the suffering he caused.

“I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors,” said the 21-year-old former university student in his first public remarks since the April 15, 2013 bombings that killed three people.

“I am guilty,” he said, standing pale and thin in a dark blazer. “Let there be no doubt about that.”

The former pot-smoker said he listened throughout the 12-week trial as he learnt about the victims from often harrowing testimony.

“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering, the damage that I have done,” he said, beginning his remarks in the name of Allah and asking for God’s forgiveness.

“I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased,” he said. “I ask Allah to have mercy upon me, upon my brother, upon my family.”

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British Students Invent Condom That Changes Colour If It Detects STI

A group of teenagers from London just invented a condom that glows when it detects an STI.

The S.T.EYE condom is the brainchild of students Muaz Nawaz (13), Daanyaal Ali (14), and Chirag Shah (14), from London’s Isaac Newton Academy.

They came up with the idea, which won top prize at the TeenTech Awards, as a way to combat soaring rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The condom uses a built-in layer of molecules that glow when they come into contact with bacteria and viruses associated with the most common STIs.

And they glow a different colour depending on the infection detected – green for chlamydia, yellow for herpes, purple in the presence of the virus which causes genital warts, and blue for syphilis.

As Daanyaal, one of the 14-year-old designers, explains: ‘We wanted to create something that makes detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the invasive procedures at the doctors.’

He added: ‘We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and make sure people can be more responsible than ever before.’


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Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe Missing For Past Two Weeks

The President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, has not been seen in public for the past two weeks. His sudden disappearance from public life has led to speculation about the state of his health.

The last time Gnassingbe was spotted in public was two and a half weeks ago, on June 5, 2015. He was seen in Ghana consoling the families of victims of the gas station explosion in the nation’s capital, Accra.

A reputable French Newspaper, Lettreducontinent, reported that Gnassingbe is currently sick at a hospital in Turin, Italy where he is receiving treatment for an unknown condition.

The silence surrounding the President and his aides is emboldening rumors of his hospitalization, and there has been no public notification from anyone in his government.

This is not the first occasion where the Togolese government remained silent about the illness or death of its Head of State. The father, and previous President of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, died while being evacuated to seek medical treatment in Tel Aviv which was not immediately announced by the government.

Fellow Head of States in neighboring West African countries are particularly concerned especially since President Gnassingbe was absent at the 25th African Union summit held in Johannesburg on the 14th and 15th of June.

Faure Gnassingbe won his third term in April 2015, defeating his main challenger, Jean-Pierre Fabre. Moreover, no oaths have been administered by the Supreme Court leading some critics to worry that there may be a constitutional crisis in the coming days.

No official word yet from the Togolese government regarding the well being of Gnassingbe.

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Senegal Dissolves Senate Arm Of National Assembly To Save Cost

Senegalese lawmakers, who are divided between a 150-seat National Assembly and a 100-seat Senate, voted to do away with the Senate, passing a law, which dissolves the institution in order to save an estimated $15 million.

Minister of Justice Aminata Toure explained that the suppression on Tuesday of the Senate is intended to curb government spending, and would provide the cash needed to help the victims of the yearly rains, which have left thousands homeless and killed at least 13 people.

Unlike the National Assembly, the senate is a relatively recent institution, and has become a symbol of government waste.

It’s been frequently pilloried and described as an instrument of cronyism, a way to reward loyal party workers who did not get elected to the larger National Assembly. Around half the senators are directly appointed by the president.

Congress also voted to abolish the Office of the Vice-President, established in 2009 by then President Abdoulaye Wade, the BBC reports. It has never been occupied.

•Culled from Associated Press

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Al Jazeera Investigates Syrian Electronic Army

  • Syrian activist tells of being tortured for his Facebook details
  • Opposition’s battle plans hacked over Skype
  • SEA has technology to monitor 8000 IP addresses per day
  • SEA is able to access activists’ computers via remote control, steal their passwords, and spy on them through their computer cameras

Last week, the US Army’s website was taken offline after being hacked by The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), who posted a message telling visitors, “Your commanders admit they are training the people they have sent you to die fighting.”

Last night on Al Jazeera, People & Power screened Syria’s Electronic Armies, an investigation into the cyber troops loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The story of how Syrian activists used social media and the internet as tools of liberation to organise protests against President Assad has frequently been told.

Similarly, it’s common knowledge that the hacking collective Anonymous defaced Syrian government websites like the Ministry of Defense, and that Syrian activists hacked into President Assad’s personal email to reveal intimate and embarrassing secrets that made headlines around the world.

Far less is known about what happened next. As Al Jazeera’s Juliana Ruhfus explains, “The security agency realized the role that the internet was playing in mobilizing people and started using it against the activists.”

Media activist Rami Jarrah says, in terms of cyber warfare, the Syrian government “weren’t advanced before the conflict, but just after the conflict began, the uprising began, we could see the difference. We could see how they advanced themselves and it was obvious that they were getting help.”

Jarrah tells Ruhfus of being tortured for three days and how his interrogators wanted to know his Facebook account and all the IP addresses that he’d accessed his account from.

A Syrian hacker tells Ruhfus of being approached to join SEA. In addition to offering generous salaries, he says the hackers are extremely well-equipped. For example, he was told they had the technology to monitor 8 000 IP addresses per second.

Laura Galante, a senior threat intelligence analyst with FireEye, tells Ruhfus SEA accessed 31 000 Skype conversations, some of which included the opposition’s advanced strategic battle planning.

Galante adds that pro-Assad hackers are posing as beautiful women to target opposition fighters on Facebook and matchmaking sites.

Ruhfus also interviews Jean Pierre Leseur, a French programmer whocoded one of SEA’s most powerful weapons while still in his teens. He explains how – to his dismay – the SEA is exploiting his open-source Dark Comet software to access activists’ computers via remote control, steal their passwords, and spy on them through their computer cameras.

Ruhfus started her investigation after French TV network TV5Monde had 12 TV channels taken off air by hackers in April, not to mention their website, apps and social networks.

The attack, which displayed messages from a ‘Cyber Caliphate,’ was initially blamed on ISIL-linked groups, but analysts now say the attack came from a Russian hacking group, APT28, pretending to be ISIL.

TV5Monde director Yves Bigot says, “We are the example for the general public to understand that there’s a new war that’s going on now that is a cyber war, which means your territory is not attacked by soldiers or tanks but there’s a war in cyberspace going on.”

“As the Syrian revolution descended into a brutal war, the rest of the world watched on from a position of safety. But cyber war respects no borders,” says Ruhfus. “The Syrian conflict is a likely blueprint for the way future wars will be played out …”

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US Commits $5m To Task Force To Fight Boko Haram

The United States says it has announced a $5 billion contribution to the Multinational Joint Task Force to boost the military operation against the Boko Haram insurgency.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced this at news briefing via telephone from the African Union Summit on Monday.

“We have been working with Nigeria as well as the African countries to address their concerns about Boko Haram because we don’t see this as just a Nigerian problem.

“We are having discussions with President Buhari on how we might bolster our support. We have already been working with them and providing information.

“We are providing some training and support and we’ll love to work with the new administration to see how we might increase the level of support to Nigeria.

“At the same time, we’ve just announced at the venue of the AU, five billion dollars contribution to the Multinational Task Force.

“We are also providing some equipment and support and we have a number of meetings with the countries who are members of the Multinational Joint Task Force to look at other areas we might support.”

Mr. Thomas-Greenfield said that Africa had faced “some really horrendous terrorist attacks” over the past two years.

He listed the West Gate and Garissa University attacks in Kenya, and the Boko Haram attacks particularly, the kidnapping of the Chibok girls among others.

“While I would not say Africa is under siege, Africa has some major security challenges.

“That requires a very strong and very concerted strategic effort by African countries and partners to address the security concerns of Africa.”

She said the U.S. is providing a strong support to AU on security as the U.S. has a strong partnership with the continent on security.

“We are working closely with the Lake Chad Basin countries: Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon to address the issues of Boko Haram,” she said.

She said that U.S. had so far trained about 250,000 African peacekeepers, saying U.S. highest priority in Africa remained security.

The U.S. envoy expressed support to the warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court against Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir.

She said that the U.S. frowned at plans by some African leaders to subvert the constitution to extend their terms in office, saying U.S. supports two-term limit in office.


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President Al-Bashir Leaves South Africa For Sudan [Photo]


Sudan said Monday President Omar al-Bashir is flying home from South Africa, despite a court ordering him to stay as it decides whether to order his arrest over alleged war crimes and genocide.

“President Bashir’s plane took off from Johannesburg and will arrive around 6:30 pm (1530 GMT) this evening,” State Minister for Information Yasir Yousef told AFP by phone.

“Bashir will address the crowds that will gather to meet him,” he added.

READ: ICC Charges: South Africa Stops Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir From Leaving The Country

Diplomatic sources said Mr. Bashir left his hotel for the Waterkloof Air Force Base in a Black BMW car and immediately departed the country under tight security.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over allegations that he committed crimes against humanity in Darfur. President Bashir denies the allegations claiming that the ICC was set up to hunt down Africans.


Photo of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir flying to Sudan from South Africa
Photo of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir flying to Sudan from South Africa


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Arrest Of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir Postponed Till Monday

South Africa’s High Court in Pretoria on Sunday postponed an earlier order to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrested, at the request of the South African government.

The order was postponed until Monday to allow the government to present its side of the argument.

Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that al-Bashir not be allowed to leave South Africa pending the finalisation of the application for the government to arrest him and that the Department of Home Affairs ensure the order is sent to every port of entry and exit in the country.

The judge also ordered that there be proof of service of the order and the identity of each person it is served on.

READ: ICC Charges: South Africa Stops Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir From Leaving The Country

William Mokhari, who represents the South African government, told the court that al-Bashir will not be allowed to leave until after the application to have him arrested has been heard.

”We are dealing with a very serious matter which involves a sitting president of another country,” said Mokhari.

He said the only reason al-Bashir was in the country was to attend the summit and there was no reason he would leave until it was over on Monday.

The court issued an order earlier on Sunday, preventing al- Bashir to leave South Africa until an urgent application to have him arrested has been heard.

Al-Bashir was attending the 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg on Sunday, in defiance of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court.

Al-Bashir, dressed in a blue Western suit and looking relaxed, gave the thumbs-up to photographers as he stood for a group picture with other heads of state and government before the summit was kickstarted.

Earlier, the ICC urged South Africa to arrest al-Bashir when he arrived in the country for the AU Summit.

The ICC has two outstanding warrants against al-Bashir for alleged anti-humanity crimes.

The Southern African Litigation Centre filed the application to the court earlier in the day, requesting a court order to have al-Bashir arrested.

The ICC called on South Africa to respect its obligations to the Rome Statute of the ICC, to which the country is a signatory.

Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti told the local media that the ICC was only targeting African leaders.

“President Bashir is a leading president and a member of the African Union, and he will continue attending summits wherever they are,” he said.

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ICC Charges: South Africa Stops Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir From Leaving The Country

A South African court has issued an interim order stopping Sudan’s leader Omar al-Bashir, who faces war crimes charges, from leaving the country.

The Pretoria High Court says Mr Bashir must stay until it rules on Monday on whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

President Bashir is in Johannesburg for an African Union (AU) summit.

He is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the Darfur conflict.

About 400,000 people have died and more than two million have fled their homes since rebels took up arms in 2003, the UN says.

Government forces and allied Arab militias are accused of targeting black African civilians in the fight against the rebels.

President Bashir was welcomed by South African officials as he arrived in Johannesburg. After the court announced it would rule on a request to arrest him, he posed for a group photo with other African leaders.

The High Court initially said it would issue its ruling on Sunday. But it later postponed the hearing until Monday, when the summit is due to end.

Read full on BBC

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Burundi Opposition Leader Zedi Feruzi Killed

The leader of Burundi opposition party, Union for Peace and Democracy (UPD) Zedi Feruzi, has been reportedly killed.

Feruzi was assassinated along with his body guard late on Saturday while he was on his way home in the district of Ngagara, located in the center of the capital Bujumbura, an AFP reporter who saw the bloodied bodies of both Feruzi and a police bodyguard lying outside the house soon after the incident said.

The killing is the latest unrest in the country gripped by weeks of anti-government demonstrations.

The president, Pierre Nkurunziza has insisted on running for a third term after serving out the two terms mandated by the constitution.

Few weeks ago, a section of the army announced a coup dethroning him from power, but the coup later failed. However, protest against Nkurunziza has continued.


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Division In Burundi Army After Coup Attempt, Rival Troops Battle To Take Capital

Intensive infighting broke out between Burundi government troops and coup soldiers in the early hours of Thursday as the two sides continued exchange of fire to seize the capital, following the announcement of Burundi’s armed forces chief that an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza had failed, although the claim was quickly denied by opponents of the central African nation’s leader.

A top Burundian general, former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, launched the coup on Wednesday.
The general has ordered the closure of Bujumbura airport and the landlocked nation’s borders, and declared he had the support of “many” high-ranking army and police officials.

But in an overnight broadcast on state radio, armed forces chief General Prime Niyongabo said the coup had been stopped and that pro-Nkurunziza forces controlled the presidential office and palace.

“The national defence force calls on the mutineers to give themselves up,” he added on state radio, also under the control of forces loyal to the president — who have fired warning shots to keep back protestors.

However a spokesman for the anti-Nkurunziza camp, Burundi’s police commissioner Venon Ndabaneze, told AFP the claim was false and that his side was in control of facilities including Bujumbura’s international airport.

“This message does not surprise us because the general has long been allied to the forces of evil and lies,” he said.

The latest radio announcement and the denial signals that the outcome of the coup attempt remains uncertain, and that overnight negotiations within the armed forces — which appears sharply divided over the issue — may have failed.

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Burundi General Announces Coup Overthrowing President Nkurunziza

A Burundi army general says senior officers are “dismissing” President Pierre Nkurunziza, amid unrest over his bid to be re-elected to a third term.

Maj Gen Godefroid Niyombareh announced that a national salvation committee had been set up to run the country.

However, it is not clear how much support he and the other officers have.

President Nkurunziza is currently in Tanzania meeting other East African leaders to discuss the crisis. His aide dismissed the coup claims as “a joke”.

President Nkurunziza has rejected calls to postpone next month’s election.

Gen Niyombareh said he did not recognise the leadership because the president’s bid for a third term violated the constitution.

Soldiers have surrounded the offices of the national broadcaster.

The unrest began on 26 April and has led to the deaths of more than 20 people.

Tens of thousands of Burundians have fled to neighbouring states in recent weeks.


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