London cleric guilty of courting ISIS: After two decades of constant surveillance by British authorities, a London court has sentenced radical cleric Anjem Choudary for violations of the 2000 Terrorism Act.
Choudary was widely known for his fiery speeches and for his attempts to radicalize his followers, leading a London-based Islamic organization, al-Muhajiroun, which police suspect has links to the July 2005 terror bombing at the Russell Square Underground station.
Tried and convicted alongside associate Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Choudary was arrested in 2014 after publicly pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.
Polio strikes Nigeria: A polio outbreak in Nigeria is being blamed on the Boko Haram militant group. Officials with the World Health Organization say the ISIS-linked terror group is preventing immunization programs from reaching vulnerable children in areas under their control.
Although only two cases have been reported to date, Nigerian officials have expressed concern their plan to immunize 5 million children may be thwarted over suggestions by Muslim religious leaders’ vaccination programs are a stealth ploy to sterilize Muslims.
Russian troops mass on Ukraine frontier: As many as 40,000 Russian troops have massed on eight staging areas on the Ukrainian frontier. The Pentagon also stated the Russian forces include heavy artillery, tanks and other military vehicles.
Pentagon officials say the troops are separate from a large Russian force being mobilized for last week’s announcement of massive maneuvers along the Ukrainian border.
Military analysts suspect the mass of troops and the maneuvers could be a cover for a planned invasion of Ukraine.
North Korea re-starts plutonium production: Japan’s Kyodo news agency is reporting the North Korean Atomic Energy Institute confirmed it has renewed its plutonium enrichment program.
Kyodo also revealed North Korean officials close to Pyongyang’s nuclear program admitted the production was taking place at the Yongbyon nuclear research facility.
A first for North Korea, the announcement follows Pyongyang’s warning it intends to use nuclear weapons against America should the U.S. launch a preemptive strike.
North Korean diplomat defects to South: The top deputy to the North Korean ambassador in London defected with his family to South Korea, Seoul’s government has confirmed.
Thae Yong-ho is said to be in protective custody in the South Korean embassy in London. His main role prior to his defection was to promote a sensational image of North Korea and its leadership.
Thae is believed to be the most-senior-ranking diplomat ever to defect from Pyongyang.
[BBC] [The Verge] [Washington Free Beacon]