The Libyan National Army has been battling ISIS in the cities of Sirte and Benghazi. The U.S. military has launched airstrikes this month in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Friday, for the first time since September, in Libya. According to a defense official, the drone strike in the desert of central Libya Friday killed "several" ISIS militants in a sign the Pentagon may be ramping up pressure on terror groups in Africa. The most recent strike comes a year after the military launched nearly 500 airstrikes against ISIS in the coastal city of Sirte, located halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi. The September strike killed 17 ISIS fighters.
Education Department officials opened formal negotiations on Monday to rewrite federal rules meant to protect students from fraud by colleges and universities. The talks with university representative and student advocates are taking place as the department faces criticism for delaying consideration of tens of thousands of loan forgiveness claims from students who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges. The 1994 rule, known as borrower defense, allowed loan forgiveness if it was determined that the college had deceived them. But the rule was rarely used until the demise of Corinthian and ITT Tech for-profit chains several years ago, when thousands of students flooded the department with requests to cancel their loans. In 2016, the Obama administration passed revisions to the rule, which clarified the process and added protections for students.
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Islamic State group's growing presence in Somalia could become a "significant threat" if it attracts fighters fleeing collapsing strongholds in Syria and Iraq, experts say, and already it seems to be influencing local al-Shabab extremists to adopt tactics like beheadings. The U.S. military this month carried out its first drone strikes against IS fighters in Somalia, raising questions about the strength of the group that emerged just two years ago. A second strike targeted the fighters on Sunday, with the U.S. saying "some terrorists" were killed. The Islamic State group burst into public view in Somalia late last year as dozens of armed men seized the port town of Qandala in the northern Puntland region, calling it the seat of the "Islamic Caliphate in Somalia." They beheaded a number of civilians, causing more than 20,000 residents to flee, and held the town for weeks until they were forced out by Somali troops, backed by U.S. military advisers.
MOGADISHU, Somalia – U.S. forces say they have carried out three drone strikes within 24 hours in Somalia, stepping up their campaign against the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab and the Islamic State group. The strikes by unmanned drones killed several extremist fighters, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military command in Africa told The Associated Press Sunday. With these three attacks, the U.S. has now carried out 26 attacks in Somalia against extremist targets in 2017, she said. The latest U.S. strikes were carried out in coordination with Somalia's government, she said. The first strike happened Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m. local Somalia time and it killed one fighter for the extremists group, al-Shabab, said a U.S. Africa command statement.
JERUSALEM – The Israeli military says it has shot down an unmanned aircraft that attempted to infiltrate Israeli airspace from neighboring Syria. In a statement, the military said it intercepted the drone Saturday above the Golan Heights using a Patriot missile. It was not immediately clear if the drone had reached the Israeli-controlled side of the Golan when it was shot down. It also was not known who was operating the drone. In September, Israel also shot down an Iranian-made drone sent by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the same area.
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The United States military said Saturday it has carried out a new drone strike against the al-Shabab extremist group in Somalia, killing "several" militants. A statement by the U.S. Africa Command said the strike was carried out Friday night in Lower Shabelle region, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of the capital, Mogadishu. It came a day after another strike in the Bay Region, about 100 miles west of Mogadishu. Friday's airstrike was the 23rd the U.S. military has carried out this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab and the far smaller Islamic State group in Somalia. The Trump administration earlier this year approved expanded military operations against extremists in the Horn of Africa nation.
TEHRAN, Iran – The website of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard reports that a pilot has died after his Sukhoi-22 jet fighter-bomber crashed in the country's south. The Saturday report on sepahnews.com said the plane was taking part in a morning exercise in southern Fars province when it crashed. Iran has a history of air accidents blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance. Iran has both Russian-made and U.S.-made fighter planes. The U.S. aircraft were delivered to Tehran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the western-backed monarchy.
The bombshell Paradise Papers are reportedly implicating key members of the Trump administration. On Nov. 5, one of the largest data leaks in history revealed the offshore endeavors of some of the world's most influential people. Here's what you need to know about the Paradise Papers, so named because many of the offshore assets are held in tropical places like Bermuda. The Paradise Papers refers to a trove of 13.4 million documents that expose the offshore assets of some of the world's biggest companies such as Nike, Apple, and Uber. The leak, which is one of the biggest in history and comes about 18 months after the Panama Papers leak, exposes how these companies and individuals "avoid taxes through increasingly imaginative bookkeeping maneuvers," according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories, according to its website, which has access to the documents.
YANGON, Myanmar – Two foreign journalists accused of illegally flying a drone over parliament buildings in Myanmar have appeared in court for the first time since their arrest last month. The two Malaysians appeared during a hearing in the capital, Naypyitaw, along with their local interpreter and driver. The four men working for Turkish Radio and Television were charged under the Export and Import Law and face up to three years in prison if found guilty. The four were detained on Oct. 27.
MOGADISHU, Somalia – A U.S. drone strike killed "several militants" with al-Shabab in Somalia, the military said, as the Trump administration increasingly targets what has become the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa. The strike was carried out Thursday afternoon in the Bay Region, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of the capital, Mogadishu, according to a statement by the U.S. Africa Command. A spokeswoman told The Associated Press that no civilians were anywhere near the strike. The U.S. military says it has carried out 22 airstrikes this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab and the smaller Islamic State group presence in Somalia after the Trump administration approved expanded military efforts. The U.S. says the latest airstrike, like others, occurred in cooperation with Somalia's government.