Mandela responding to treatment in hospital U.S.: Vet fought with al-Qaida UN arms trade treaty blocked UN approves Congo force
JOHANNESBURG -- Nelson Mandela was back in the hospital for the third time in four months Thursday, and the 94-year-old former South African president was reported to be responding well to treatment for a chronic lung infection.
South Africa's presidency said that doctors were acting with extreme caution because of the age of the anti-apartheid leader, who has become increasingly frail in recent years.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was admitted just before midnight to a hospital in Pretoria, the South African capital. He has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment for fighting white racist rule in his country.
Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A U.S. Army veteran, who boasted on Facebook of his military adventures with Syrian rebels, was charged Thursday with firing rocket propelled grenades as part of an attack led by an al-Qaida group against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was charged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction -- specifically, a rocket propelled grenade launcher -- outside the U.S.
According to an FBI affidavit, Harroun, who served three years in the Army before being medically discharged, was engaged in military action in Syria, siding with rebel forces against the Syrian government, from January to March of this year. Harroun participated in an attack on a Syrian army encampment that was carried out jointly by the Free Syrian Army and the al-Nusrah Front, commonly known as "al-Qaida in Iraq" and designated a terrorist group by the U.S., according to the affidavit.
UNITED NATIONS -- Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption Thursday of a U.N. treaty that would regulate the multibillion-dollar international arms trade which required agreement by all 193 U.N. member states.
In an unexpected twist, Mexico proposed that the conference go ahead and adopt the treaty Thursday without the support of the three countries, saying there was no definition of "consensus."
Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott, the meeting chair, suspended the meeting after Iran, North Korea and Syria raised their nameplates signifying their refusal to join consensus.
Both Iran and North Korea are under U.N. arms embargoes over their nuclear programs, while the Syrian government is now in the third year of a civil war.
UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council authorized a new "intervention brigade" for Congo on Thursday with an unprecedented mandate to take military action against rebel groups to help bring peace to the country's conflict-wracked east.
The resolution, which the council adopted unanimously, gives the brigade a mandate to carry out offensive operations alone or with Congolese army troops to neutralize and disarm armed groups.
The intervention brigade is unprecedented in U.N. peacekeeping because of its offensive mandate.