Chuck Hagel: U.S. Ready To Strike Syria

Chuck Hagel U.S. Ready To Strike SyriaAmerican forces are “ready” to launch strikes on Syria if President Barack Obama chooses to order an attack, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says.

‘Must be held accountable’

The White House said the US would release intelligence on last week’s suspected attack in the next few days. Prime Minister David Cameron said the world could “not stand idly by” after seeing “appalling scenes of death and suffering” caused by suspected chemical weapons attacks.

The crisis follows last Wednesday’s suspected chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus, which reportedly killed more than 300 people.

US Vice President Joe Biden said there was “no doubt who was responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: The Syrian regime”. In a speech to a veterans’ group in Houston, Mr Biden said that “those who use chemical weapons against defenceless men, women, and children… must be held accountable”.


‘Western intervention’

French President Francois Hollande said France was “ready to punish” whoever was behind the attack, and had decided to increase military support for Syria’s main opposition. Meanwhile the Arab League said it held Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the attacks and called for UN action. Syrian opposition sources have said they have been told to expect a Western intervention in the conflict imminently.

Russia and China, allies of the Syrian government, have stepped up their warnings against military intervention, with Moscow saying any such action would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he rejects “utterly and completely” claims that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, and his government has blamed rebel fighters.

Do you believe the Syrian regime itself is responsible for the said chemical attacks that killed over 300 citizens? Do we see a war with western countries looming over Syria?

Source: BBC News

Image: 23 ABC

British MPs Vote In Favor Of Gay Marriage

British MPs Vote In Favor Of Gay MarriageMPs have approved same-sex marriage in England and Wales in a key Commons vote, despite the opposition of almost half the Conservative MPs. The Commons voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a full day’s debate on the bill.

‘Equality and justice’

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the move as “an important step forward” that strengthens society. Voting lists show that 136 Conservatives opposed the bill. This figure includes two cabinet ministers – Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Welsh Secretary David Jones – eight junior ministers, and eight whips. Of the remaining Conservative MPs, 127 were in favour, 35 did not vote, and five registered an abstention by voting both in favour and against.

Junior justice minister Helen Grant said: “As Tories we do differ at times. We have squabbles – we’re like any other family.” But she described the legislation as “a major step forward for equality and justice”.


‘Landmark for equality’

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain… Tonight’s vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favour of equal marriage… No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay.”

MPs were given a free vote on the bill, meaning they were not ordered to vote a particular way by party whips. Their decision to back the bill at second reading signifies that they approve of it in principle. The legislation will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.

How about you — are you for or against gay marriage? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions regarding this issue!

Source: BBC News

Image: London Evening Standard