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  • Body of Russian pilot is dragged through the dirt after helicopter is shot down by Syrian rebels – as mystery surrounds ID card found in wreckage showing blonde woman

     

    • Russian Mi-8 helicopter shot down by rebels in the Idlib region of Syria
    • Gruesome pictures show what is believed to be the body of a Russian pilot
    • Russia says aircraft was returning from delivering aid to war-torn Aleppo
    • All five on board killed when the aircraft crashed down, Kremlin reveals

    A Russian military helicopter has been shot down by rebels in Syria killing all five people on board, it has been revealed.

    The aircraft, carrying three crew and two officers, crashed down in the Idlib province in north western Syria on its way home to a Russian airbase.

    Gruesome pictures have since emerged showing what is believed to be the body of a Russian pilot being dragged through the dirt and loaded on to a truck.

    It comes as mystery surrounded the discovery in the wreckage of an ID card with a picture of a blonde woman.

    The aircraft, carrying three crew and two officers, crashed down in the Idlib province in northwestern Syria

     

    The aircraft, carrying three crew and two officers, crashed down in the Idlib province in northwestern Syria

    Gruesome pictures show what is believed to be the body of a Russian pilot being dragged through the dirt after the aircraft was gunned down

     

    Gruesome pictures show what is believed to be the body of a Russian pilot being dragged through the dirt after the aircraft was gunned down

    Mystery surrounded the discovery in the wreckage of an ID card showing a picture of a blonde woman

     

    Mystery surrounded the discovery in the wreckage of an ID card showing a picture of a blonde woman

    Russia's Ministry of Defence said the helicopter was returning to the its main air base in the western province of Latakia following a delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Aleppo

     

    Russia’s Ministry of Defence said the helicopter was returning to the its main air base in the western province of Latakia following a delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Aleppo

    The image was found along with a haul of personal belongings of those inside, including Russian drivers’ licences, passports and insurance cards, as well as Orthodox Christian icons.

    Russia’s Ministry of Defence said the helicopter was returning to the its main air base in the western province of Latakia following a delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Aleppo.

    Two activist groups – the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees – say rebels shot down the Mi-8.

    Read more »
  • Boko Haram 'ousted from Sambisa forest bastion

     

    The Nigerian army has driven Boko Haram militants from the last camp in their Sambisa forest stronghold, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

    "The terrorists are on the run and no longer have a place to hide," Mr Buhari said in a statement.

    The Islamists' camp fell at 13:35 local time (12:35 GMT) on Friday, he added.

    The army has been engaged for the last few weeks in a major offensive in the forest, a huge former colonial game reserve in north-eastern Borno state.

    @BBC.com

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  • Sisi meets with Eritrean leader ‘to pressure Addis Ababa’

    Isaias Afwerki in Cairo in a meeting that was a “deliberate move” against Ethiopia, political sources in Cairo told The New Arab.

    The two leaders met on Tuesday to discuss enhancing bilateral relations across all levels and projects related to fishing and agriculture, local media reported.

    Ethiopia is building a hydropower dam on the Nile close to its source in the Ethiopian highlands, raising fears in Egypt, which depends on controlling the flow of the Nile’s waters for its survival.

    “Approachment with Ethiopia’s enemy and demonstrating the possibility of cooperation could pressure Addis Ababa to be more flexible in dealing with the Renaissance Dam or it could make the situation worse,” the source said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    “The aim of this meeting is to send a message to Ethiopia. In the past there has been non-serious talk about Egypt striking Ethiopia, however, it could possibly supply Eritrea with arms,” he added.

    Former Egyptian diplomat Maasoum Marzouq said that using Eritrea to intimidate Ethiopia was a tactic that must be used with “extreme caution”.

    In October, Ethiopia accused Egypt and neighbouring Eritrea of supporting outlawed rebels and stoking an unprecedented wave of protests that has led the government to declare a six-month state of emergency.

    An Ethiopian minister said there was “ample evidence” that Egypt had provided training and financing to the Oromo Liberation Front, a group labelled a terrorist organisation by Ethiopia.

    He added that “elements in the Egyptian political establishment” were fomenting rebellion, seeking to promote “historical rights” over access to the River Nile.

    Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a two-year border war between 1998 and 2000 which left 80,000 dead, and tensions between the neighbours flared again earlier this year.

    Ethiopia’s government is facing the biggest challenge of its 25 years in power from protesters who have turned their anger against foreign-owned companies, torching several farms and factories in the past week.

    Rights organisations have already criticised authorities for a harsh security crackdown on nearly a year of protests that has killed hundreds.

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  • Global Firepower Rank

    The finalized ranking relies on over 50 factors to determine a given nation's Power Index ("PwrIndx") score. This allows smaller, though more technologically-advanced, nations to compete with larger, lesser-developed ones. Modifiers in the form of bonuses and penalties are added to refine the list. Some things to observe in regards to the finalized ranking:

    • Ranking does not simply rely on the total number of weapons available to any one country but rather focuses on weapon diversity within the number totals to provide a better balance of firepower available (i.e. fielding 100 minesweepers does not equal the strategic and tactical value of fielding 10 aircraft carriers).
    • Nuclear stockpiles are NOT taken into account but recognized / suspected nuclear powers receive a bonus.
    • Geographical factors, logistical flexibility, natural resources and local industry influence the final ranking.
    • Available manpower is a key consideration; nations with large populations tend to rank higher.
    • Land-locked nations are NOT penalized for lack of a navy; naval powers ARE penalized for lack of diversity in available assets.
    • NATO allies receive a slight bonus due to the theoretical sharing of resources.
    • Current political / military leadership is NOT taken into account.

    As of 4/1/2016 there are a total of (126) countries included in the GFP database.

     

     
    0.0897 - United States of America (North America; NATO)
     
    0.0964 - Russia (Asia)
     
    0.0988 - China (Asia)
     
    0.1661 - India (Asia)
     
    0.1993 - France (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2164 - United Kingdom (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2466 - Japan (Asia)
     
    0.2623 - Turkey (Asia; Middle East; NATO)
     
    0.2646 - Germany (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2724 - Italy (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2824 - South Korea (Asia)
     
    0.3056 - Egypt (Africa; Middle East)
     
    0.3246 - Pakistan (Asia)
     
    0.3354 - Indonesia (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.3359 - Brazil (South America; Latin)
     
    0.3591 - Israel (Middle East)
     
    0.3684 - Vietnam (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.3909 - Poland (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.3958 - Taiwan (Asia)
     
    0.4068 - Thailand (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.4071 - Iran (Middle East)
     
    0.4192 - Canada (North America; NATO)
     
    0.4209 - Australia (Asia)
     
    0.4335 - Saudi Arabia (Middle East)
     
    0.4442 - North Korea (Asia)
     
    0.4514 - Algeria (Africa)
     
    0.4913 - Spain (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.5147 - Greece (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.5774 - Sweden (Scandanavia; Eunion)
     
    0.5867 - Ukraine (Europe)
     
    0.6286 - Mexico (North America; Latin)
     
    0.6378 - Czech Republic (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.6584 - Myanmar (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.6679 - Malaysia (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.7073 - Argentina (South America; Latin)
     
    0.7078 - Syria (Middle East)
     
    0.7112 - Switzerland (Europe)
     
    0.7147 - Norway (Scandanavia; NATO)
     
    0.7182 - Netherlands (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.7501 - Peru (South America)
     
    0.7502 - Colombia (South America; Latin)
     
    0.7619 - Ethiopia (Africa)(46th)
     
    0.7744 - Romania (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.7856 - Nigeria (Africa)
     
    0.7882 - Venezuela (South America; Latin)
     
    0.8252 - South Africa (Africa)
     
    0.8283 - Chile (South America; Latin)
     
    0.8384 - Uzbekistan (Asia)
     
    0.8449 - Belarus (Europe)
     
    0.8453 - Denmark (Scandanavia; Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.8661 - Philippines (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.8683 - Bangladesh (Asia)
     
    0.8722 - Kazakhstan (Asia)
     
    0.8878 - Angola (Africa)
     
    0.8952 - Finland (Scandanavia; Eunion)
     
    0.9011 - Morocco (Africa)
     
    0.9135 - Austria (Europe; Eunion)
     
    0.9301 - United Arab Emirates (Middle East)
     
    0.9342 - Iraq (Middle East)
     
    0.9349 - Azerbaijan (Asia)
     
    0.9678 - Yemen (Middle East)
     
    1.0007 - Hungary (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0199 - Portugal (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0241 - Singapore (Asia; Southeast)
     
    1.0391 - Belgium (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0611 - Afghanistan (Asia)
     
    1.0657 - Bulgaria (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0733 - Croatia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.1582 - Ecuador (South America)
     
    1.2354 - Jordan (Middle East)
     
    1.2356 - Sudan (Africa)
     
    1.3169 - Libya (Africa)
     
    1.3384 - Democratic Republic of the Congo (Africa)
     
    1.3687 - Slovakia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.3731 - Kenya (Africa)
     
    1.4089 - Tunisia (Africa)
     
    1.4219 - Oman (Middle East)
     
    1.4601 - Kuwait (Middle East)
     
    1.4637 - Cuba (Central America)
     
    1.5148 - Georgia (Asia)
     
    1.5483 - Bolivia (South America)
     
    1.5508 - Zimbabwe (Africa)
     
    1.5868 - Serbia (Europe)
     
    1.6268 - Sri Lanka (Asia)
     
    1.6539 - Zambia (Africa)
     
    1.6722 - Turkmenistan (Asia)
     
    1.7981 - Mongolia (Asia)
     
    1.8224 - Cambodia (Asia; Southeast)
     
    1.8307 - Chad (Africa)
     
    1.8564 - Albania (Europe; NATO)
     
    1.8778 - Bahrain (Middle East)
     
    1.8793 - Uganda (Africa)
     
    1.8956 - Qatar (Middle East)
     
    1.9113 - Armenia (Asia)
     
    1.9243 - Lebanon (Middle East)
     
    1.9561 - Tanzania (Africa)
     
    1.9598 - Lithuania (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.9741 - Nepal (Asia)
     
    1.9801 - South Sudan (Africa)
     
    2.0476 - Ghana (Africa)
     
    2.0791 - New Zealand (Asia)
     
    2.1576 - Guatemala (South America)
     
    2.1777 - Latvia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    2.2177 - Paraguay (South America; Latin)
     
    2.2291 - Uruguay (South America; Latin)
     
    2.2407 - Cameroon (Africa)
     
    2.2971 - Honduras (Central America)
     
    2.3061 - Mozambique (Africa)
     
    2.3138 - Estonia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    2.3158 - Kyrgyzstan (Asia)
     
    2.3958 - Slovenia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    2.4322 - Tajikistan (Asia)
     
    2.4372 - Nicaragua (Central America)
     
    2.4719 - Niger (Africa)
     
    2.4901 - Ivory Coast (Africa)
     
    2.6638 - Mali (Africa)
     
    2.7535 - Madagascar (Africa)
     
    2.8204 - Gabon (Africa)
     
    2.8447 - Republic of the Congo (Africa)
     
    2.8574 - Bosnia and Herzegovina (Europe)
     
    2.8947 - Laos (Asia; Southeast)
     
    3.0997 - El Salvador (Central America)
     
    3.2877 - Panama (Central America)
     
    3.3534 - Namibia (Africa)
     
    3.4241 - Somalia (Africa)

     

    3.7343 - Central African Republic (Africa)
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