• Exporting western democracy to Iraq, Libya is wrong - Pope Francis criticizes the West

    17/May/2016 // 559 Viewers


    ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis criticized Western powers for trying to export their own brand of democracy to countries such as Iraq and Libya without respecting indigenous political cultures, according to an interview published on Monday.

    Speaking to France's Roman Catholic newspaper, La Croix, Francis also said Europe should better integrate migrants and praised the election of the new Muslim mayor of London as an example of where this had been successful.

    "Faced with current Islamist terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure," he said.

    "We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account," the pope said.

    "As a Libyan said recently, 'We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty", Francis said in reference to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was deposed and killed in 2011.

    Francis has frequently attacked what he calls "cultural colonialism", in which Western countries seek to impose their values on developing ones in return for financial aid.

    The pope said that "ghettoising" migrants was not only wrong but was also misguided in the fight against terrorism.

    He cited the militant attacks in Brussels in March when three suicide bombers killed 32 people, in which "the terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto".

    By contrast, the pope praised this month's election of Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim mayor of London.

    "In London, the new mayor was sworn in in a cathedral and will probably be received by the queen. This shows the importance for Europe to regain its ability to integrate," Francis said.

    Ten days ago, the pope lambasted Europe over what he sees as its inadequate response to the influx of migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle-East and Africa.

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  • UK-bound flight grounded over bomb scare

    17/May/2016 // 409 Viewers


    A Ryanair flight from Norway to Manchester was evacuated before take-off due to “suspicious behaviour” of two passengers, police have said.

    Sky News reports that Norwegian police spokesman, Anders Stroemsaether, told public broadcaster NRK that the incident at Rygge airport, near Oslo, happened during boarding when the two passengers were overheard arguing in an airport toilet.

    He said other passengers heard the word “bomb” being used and told the captain as they boarded the aircraft.
    The captain informed police who evacuated the plane and took the two passengers in for questioning.

    A bomb squad searched the aircraft but found nothing suspicious.

    Police said on Twitter that the two passengers were discharged after being interviewed.

    “After questioning of witnesses and those brought in, the police have concluded that the situation is a result of a misunderstanding,” police said.

    Ryanair put on a replacement flight from Rygge to Manchester at midnight on Sunday.

    The incident came just hours after a fake bomb was found at Manchester United’s football stadium, prompting police to call off a Premier League match.

    Police later said it was a training device that was left inside the stadium following an earlier security exercise.

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  • England, Wales hit record high in 2015 abortion rate

    17/May/2016 // 279 Viewers


    Official figures in England and Wales show that the number of abortions carried out in 2015 was the highest in five years as the number of pregnancy terminations among women in their 30s and 40s is on the rise.

    According to an annual statistics report released by the UK Department of Health on Tuesday, 185,824 abortions were carried out on women and girls in England and Wales last year, that was 1,253 (0.7%) more than the 184,571 performed in 2014, and the largest number since the 189,931 carried out in 2011.

    “Since 2005 the rates for women aged 30 to 34 have gone up from 14.5 per 1,000 women in 2005 to 17.1 in 2015, and rates for women aged 35 or over have gone up from 6.8 per 1,000 women in 2005 to 7.8 in 2015,” the report said.

    It also added that almost four in 10 terminations are now carried out on women that have undergone the procedure before.

    The figures further indicate that 833 women traveled from Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where abortion is still illegal, to England or Wales to have a termination in 2015.

    The report has been met with a backlash from the UK anti-abortion groups, which have voiced discontent over the issue.

    Meanwhile, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service confirmed the report saying, “The last decade has seen a considerable rise in the proportion of women having terminations who are either in a relationship or married,” adding that, “Last year 70% of women ending a pregnancy were either married or had a partner – a big rise from 48% in 2005.”

    Among teenage girls, 1,853 under the age of 16 had an abortion last year, including 509 who were under 15 and 79 who were under 14, it added.

    English experts say a majority of abortions in the country are now carried out medically using a pill, and that has increased the numbers being carried out before 10 weeks.- Press TV

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  • More than 240 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean this week

    17/Nov/2016 // 704 Viewers


    More than 240 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean this week, humanitarian groups said on Wednesday, as another 580 people were pulled from overcrowded boats.

    On Monday a rubber boat ripped and flipped over with about 150 on board, U.N. refugee agency spokesman Iosta Ibba quoted some of the 15 survivors as saying when they arrived in Catania on Sicily’s east coast.

    “The survivors made it by hanging on to the pieces of the boat that stayed afloat,” Ibba said. “They were in the water for several hours, some said about 10 hours, before an oil tanker picked them up.”

    On Tuesday, 23 people were brought to safety by another tanker after a rubber dinghy carrying about 122 deflated, said SOS Mediterranee, which operates rescue ship Aquarius. Four bodies were recovered.

    “We waited in the water, grabbing hold of whatever floated, but most people drowned, including my little brother. He was 15 years old,” one survivor in apparent shock told the Aquarius crew.

    On Wednesday, one body was picked up, the Italian coastguard said, while 580 were brought to safety. Six other bodies were recovered on Monday and Tuesday, and witnesses saw a man drown without being able to recover the body.

    The sea between Libya and Italy has become the most dangerous migrant crossing in the world, with the death toll surging to more than 4,270 this year compared to 3,777 in 2015, the International Organisation for Migration says.

    “The boats are increasingly unseaworthy, and are always more crowded,” said the U.N.’s Ibba. “Many tragedies are also tied to bad weather.”

    Almost 500 migrants arrived at the port of Catania on Wednesday, including those from Monday’s shipwreck, as the influx of refugees heading to Europe showed no signs of abating.

    Hundreds of people, mostly men from sub-Saharan Africa, huddled under grey blankets on the deck of the Italian coastguard vessel Diciotti as they started to disembark in pouring rain, reports Reuters.

    There were a record 27,383 arrivals in Italy in October, according to the Interior Ministry. As of November 16, arrivals were already more than double the same month last year amid worsening sea conditions.

    Some 167,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat so far this year, exceeding the total for all of 2015 which stood at 154,000, and quickly approaching 2014’s record of 170,000.

    Italy has borne the brunt of new arrivals since the implementation in March of an agreement between Turkey and the European Union for Turkey to curb the flow of migrants and refugees sailing from its shores to reach Greece.

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  • London Islamic Mayor’s Warning To Trump: Let Muslims Into America Or Face Terrorist Attacks

    17/Nov/2016 // 394 Viewers


    When we as Americans think of terrorist enclaves, we automatically think of ISIS strongholdsin the Middle East, places like Syria, Libya, and Ramadi, and seldom of a place like London.

    And yet London is indeed a Muslim radical enclave of not only hidden terrorist cells, but more openly of British legislators and elected officials, who have publicly warned and perhaps are even calling for attacks on one of our own presidential nominees, namely Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump.

    The new Muslim mayor of London Sadig Khan has issued a warning to Donald Trump: Moderate your stance on Muslims, or they will launch more attacks against America.

    There’s no doubt Britain like many European countries have capitulated for decades on the continued and growing threat of Muslim migrations into their countries, and turning a blinds eye to the radicalization taking place.

    Their refusal to acknowledge that Muslims prefer subjection rather than assimilation of their host country, thus the creation of the new mayor of London, Mayor Sadiq Khan.

    Trump recently praised Sadiq Khan for winning London’s mayoral race, and said he would be willing to create an exception in his policy restricting Muslim entry into the United States in order to allow Khan to visit. But in a statement Tuesday, Khan dismissed Trump’s invitation, and also denounced his views on Islam as “ignorant,”

    Moreover Khan has some serious and troublesome history some of which includes his defense of Islamist extremist Azzam Tamimi, and his platform-sharing with Suliman Gani, a south London imam who has urged female subservience to men, and called for the founding of an Islamic state.

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  • In the Eternal City, Coen and McDormand reveal secret to enduring marriage

    17/Oct/2015 // 227 Viewers

    ROME (AFP) - 

    One of Hollywood's most enduring couples, acclaimed actress Frances McDormand of "Fargo" fame and her director husband, Joel Coen, revealed the secret to a strong marriage on Friday.

    Like good movies a good marriage comes down to storytelling, McDormand, 58, told reporters on the opening day of the Rome film festival, flanked by 60-year-old Coen of the renowned Coen brothers film-making duo.

    The two met in New York in 1983 when McDormand auditioned for the Coen brothers' debut feature Blood Simple. Before McDormand auditioned, Coen confessed that they "were losing hope of finding anyone for the role."

    With jokey ease, McDormand reminded her husband that she initially said she couldn't make the callback audition because she had "promised to watch her then boyfriend make his two-line debut on a TV soap."

    "That's why you hired me," she jokes, "because I said no." Coen admits that although this may be partly true, it was her talent as an actress that got her the part.

    Since then, McDormand has appeared in many of the Coen brothers' films, including the 1996 crime thriller "Fargo", for which she won an Academy Award.

    Coen reveals that after their first collaboration he always had his wife - whom he calls 'Fran' - in mind when creating female roles.

    Then came the question about the recipe for a happy marriage. "No pressure, darling,"McDormand said, turning to her partner of 32 years.

    After contemplating his response for a moment, Coen declared he would "plead the 5th amendment," asking his wife instead to answer.

    "I think it's having different stories to tell each other," she said. "Although we have often collaborated on films, we have both had really autonomous careers and so we have always had new things to tell each other."

    She also referred to the 21 years spent raising their son, calling it "the most exciting part" of the relationship.

    Over her long career, McDormand has played a number of romantic leads, which led to another personal question: Had jealousy ever crept into the relationship?

    "I think people who are not in the film industry always think that would be an issue," says Coen, shrugging off the assumption. "But when you work in the industry, you know how these scenes get constructed. It's make-believe and it's your job to make it believable."

    McDormand, on the other hand, says that, although she has never been jealous, she has been envious of her husband. "I envied the power he had over his career because his work is self-generated whereas in my job you always have to wait around for someone to give you the role".

    The role of a producer is "a bit more complicated" said McDormand, who both produced and led the cast of the 2014 HBO mini-series "Olive Kitteridge".

    The pair are now preparing for the release of the Coen Brothers' latest period comedy "Hail, Caesar!", which stars McDormand among a star-studded cast and is set for release in 2016.

    In the meantime, the couple say they are looking forward to entering "yet another new phase of their relationship" now their son Pedro has grown up.

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  • Twelve migrants 'drown as wooden boat sinks' off Turkey

    17/Oct/2015 // 377 Viewers

    ANKARA (AFP) - 

    Twelve migrants drowned Saturday when their boat sank off the Turkish coast as they were seeking to reach Greece, while around 25 others were rescued, the Anatolia news agency reported.

    The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies from the wooden boat, which had sailed from northwest Turkey's seaside town of Ayvalik headed for the Greek island of Lesbos, the Turkish news agency said.

    The rescuers managed to save about two dozen others on board the sinking boat who had called for help on their cellphones, Turkish media reported.

    Anatolia did not indicate the migrants' nationalities.

    Turkey has been swamped with an influx of refugees due mainly to the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

    More than 3,000 migrants and refugees have died while trying to get to Europe this year, most of them drowning in the Mediterranean.

    With many refugees currently failing to lodge asylum requests upon arriving in Greece, fearing they will be trapped in the recession-hit country, the European Union's top migration official warned that a recent deal to share out refugees in the bloc could flounder.

    On Friday the EU's much-hyped deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants looked shaky after Ankara said Brussels had offered too little money to cope with the two and half million Syrians who have sought refugee on Turkish soil.

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  • Pope Francis calls on Europe's Catholics to shelter refugees

    17/Sep/2015 // 107 Viewers

    Pope Francis called on Sunday on every European parish and religious community to take in one migrant family each in a gesture of solidarity he said would start in the tiny Vatican state where he lives.

    “I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to ... take in one family of refugees,” he said after his Sunday address in the Vatican.

    The pope’s call goes out to tens of thousands of Catholic parishes in Europe as the number of refugees arriving over land through the Balkans and across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece hits record levels.

    There are more than 25,000 parishes in Italy alone, and more than 12,000 in Germany, where many of the Syrians fleeing civil war and people trying to escape poverty and hardship in other countries say they want to end up.

    The crowd in St. Peter’s Square applauded as the pontiff, himself the grandson of Italian emigrants to Argentina, said: “Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family.”

    The Vatican’s two parishes will take in a family of refugees each in the coming days, said Francis, whose first trip after his election was to the Italian island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and Tunisia, where many migrants arrive by boat.

    The Italian coast guard said on Saturday it had coordinated the rescue of 329 migrants who made distress calls from their rubber boats.

    Francis said taking in migrant families was a “concrete gesture” to prepare for the extraordinary Holy Year on the theme of mercy which is due to begin on Dec. 8.


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  • Romanian PM Ponta to stand trial for corruption: prosecutors

    17/Sep/2015 // 218 Viewers

     AFP/File | Prime Minister Victor Ponta will be the first Romanian head of government to stand trial while still in office
    Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta is to face trial for corruption, the country's anti-graft prosecutors said Thursday.

    The 42-year-old Social Democratic leader, who denies the charges, will be the first Romanian head of government to stand trial while still in office.

    ? 2015 AFP

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  • Ukraine Slammed For Banning Dozens Of Foreign Reporters

    17/Sep/2015 // 205 Viewers

     AFP/File | Ukraine ranks 129th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2015 world press freedom index
    KIEV (AFP) - 
    Ukraine faced global media condemnation Thursday for banning dozens of foreign reporters as it expanded sanctions against Russia for its actions in the war-torn former Soviet state.

    The blacklisted reporters included three Moscow-based journalists with the BBC. The list also named a Spanish correspondent and a writer who Germany's Die Zeit weekly later identified as a freelance contributor to one of its supplements.

    "We are appalled by this ban, which represents an absurd, counter-productive breach of freedom of information," the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.

    The New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists said it also "deplores" Ukraine's pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko's decision and questioned his committment to media rights.

    The group said it had counted 41 reporters and bloggers on Poroshenko's list.

    "While the government may not like or agree with the coverage, labelling journalists a potential threat to national security is not an appropriate response," said the media protection lobby.

    The BBC's foreign editor also denounced the one-year travel restriction as out of step with Ukraine's new commitment to European values and attempts to wrest itself from Russia's influence.

    "This is a shameful attack on media freedom," Andrew Roy said in a statement released to AFP.

    "These sanctions are completely inappropriate and inexplicable measures to take against BBC journalists who are reporting the situation in Ukraine impartially and objectively and we call on the Ukrainian Government to remove their names from this list immediately."

    Poroshenko signed a decree late Wednesday enacting targeted measures against some 400 officials and 90 companies held responsible for the Ukraine's bloody pro-Russian uprising and Moscow's annexation of Crimea last year.

    The list included several major state-owned Russian media companies as well as such financial giants as the national flag carrier Aeroflot and Gazprom Bank.

    Russia portrays Ukraine's 17-month crisis as a "civil war" in which it has played no part.

    "Does this correspond with our two country's national interests? Clearly not," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

    But Ukrainian officials were on the back foot Thursday because of the measures taken again against foreign correspondents for alleged crimes that Kiev failed to specificity.

    The deputy head of Ukraine new information policy ministry said Poroshenko's must be carefully reviewed and more explicitly explained.

    "I believe that we either have to rationally explain a sound reason why they were included in the list, or to exclude them from it," Tetyana Popova told AFP.

    The United Nations estimates that the conflict has killed nearly 8,000 people -- most of them civilians -- since April 2014.

    ? 2015 AFP

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