• Joint call for EU citizens to stay in UK, British Prime Minister gives conditions - BBC reports

    18/Dec/2016 // 926 Viewers

     

    Businesses and trade unions have called on Theresa May to guarantee immediately the right of EU citizens to stay in the UK after Brexit.

    The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which represents companies with a combined workforce of five million people, and the TUC made the call in an open letter to the prime minister.
    Failure to do so would damage the UK economy, the two bodies said.

    Downing Street said Mrs May wanted to protect the status of EU nationals.
    The bluntly-worded letter was jointly signed by TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady and BCC director-general Adam Marshall.

    "We call upon you to demonstrate leadership by providing EU citizens in the UK with the reassurance we would expect to be shown to UK citizens across the Continent - not by making one conditional upon the other," they wrote.

    "Now is the time to end insecurity for EU workers and for British businesses alike."

    There were 2.1 million people from EU member nations working in the UK as of March this year, according to the ONS. That was 224,000 more than the total for the first three months of 2015.
    'Right thing'

    Mr Marshall said the government could give an early Christmas present to both businesses and workers by making an "unequivocal commitment" to EU citizens working in the UK.

    "Business communities across the UK are deeply frustrated that ministers have declined to guarantee the residence rights of their EU employees and colleagues. Some firms are already losing key members of staff due to this avoidable uncertainty," he said.

    "Such a move before the start of a complex Brexit negotiation would be bold, but it is the right thing to do."

    Jess Hurd
                          TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

     
    Ms O'Grady said: "Continued doubt about the status of workers from the rest of the EU is bad for business, and it puts services like the NHS at risk."

    The joint call echoed one made by the TUC and the CBI, which represents businesses employing about seven million workers, the week after voters backed taking Britain out of the European Union.
    The two bodies said that the government needed to allay the concerns of EU nationals working in the UK, as well as UK citizens in the EU, as a "matter of urgency".

    Last week peers said the UK had a "moral" duty to guarantee the status of EU nationals living in Britain before Brexit negotiations begin.
    The Lords EU Justice sub-committee called for an immediate "unilateral undertaking" that EU nationals could continue to live, work and study in the UK after Brexit.

    A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister has been clear that she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here, and the only circumstances in which that wouldn't be possible is if British citizens' rights in European member states were not protected in return." - (BBC)


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  • Dozens killed as large explosion rocks Turkish capital Ankara

    18/Feb/2016 // 211 Viewers

     

    Twenty-eight people were killed and dozens wounded in Turkey's capital Ankara on Wednesday when a car laden with explosives detonated next to military buses near the armed forces' headquarters, parliament and other government buildings.

    The Turkish military condemned what it described as a "contemptible and dastardly" attack on the buses as they waited at traffic lights in the administrative heart of the city.
    Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said 28 people including soldiers and civilians had been killed and 61 wounded in the blast, which took place near a busy intersection less than 500 metres from parliament during the evening rush hour.
    Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag described the attack as an act of terrorism and told parliament, which was in session when the blast occurred, that the car had exploded on a part of the street lined on both sides by military vehicles.
    In a statement, French President François Hollande called the bombing an “odious attack” and expressed “support and solidarity with the Turkish authorities and the Turkish people”.
    A senior security source said initial signs indicated that Kurdish militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were responsible. Separate security sources in the southeast, however, said they believed Islamic State (IS) group militants may have been behind the bombing.
    There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu immediately scrapped his trip to Brussels for a mini-summit on Europe's refugee crisis, diplomats said Wednesday. The talks, taking place ahead of a full summit of the 28-nation European Union, were to gather the leaders of 11 EU countries and the Turkish PM to focus on how to resettle Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey.
    Multiple threats

    “I heard a huge explosion. There was smoke and a really strong smell even though we were blocks away,” a Reuters witness said. “We could immediately hear ambulance and police car sirens rushing to the scene.”
    Images on social media showed the charred wreckage of at least two buses and a car. The explosion sent a large plume of smoke above central Ankara.
    Turkey, a NATO member, faces multiple security threats. It is part of a US-led coalition fighting the IS group in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, and has been shelling Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria in recent days.
    It has also been battling militants in its own southeast from the PKK, who have fought a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy. The group has frequently attacked military targets in the past, although it has largely focused on the mainly Kurdish southeast.
    Wednesday’s bombing comes after an attack in Ankara in October that was blamed on the IS group when two suicide bombers struck a rally of pro-Kurdish and labour activists outside the capital’s main train station, killing more than 100 people.
    A suicide bombing in the historic heart of Istanbul in January, also blamed on the IS group, killed 10 German tourists.
    Meanwhile in Sweden on Wednesday an explosion severely damaged part of a building that housed a Turkish cultural association.

    Police said all the windows of the centre, in a Stockholm suburb, were blown out and that technicians were on site to investigate the cause. “No one was inside. No one was injured. It had been locked since earlier in the evening,” a police spokesman said. No one has been arrested and there are currently no suspects, he added.
    (FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)


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  • Avalanche kills five soldiers during training in French Alps

    18/Jan/2016 // 263 Viewers

     

    Five French Foreign Legionnaires were killed Monday in an avalanche as they were on a training exercise in the French Alps, police sources said.

    Another six were injured near the resort of Valfrejus, with one in intensive care in hospital after suffering hypothermia.

    They were among a group of 50 soldiers taking part in the skiing exercise.

    Three helicopters were involved in the search.

    The nationalities of the victims were not immediately known. The French Foreign Legion attracts recruits from around the world.

    The accident comes after two teenagers on a school trip and a Ukrainian tourist were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps last Wednesday.

    A French teacher who took the students onto a closed skiing piste in that incident has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

     

     

     

    (AFP)


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  • Turkey Coup: EU wades in, cautions Turkey on coup plotters

    18/Jul/2016 // 340 Viewers

     

    Turkey must protect the rule of law as it cracks down after the failed coup, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday, as the bloc said it looked like the government had prepared a list of people to arrest beforehand.

    “We are the ones saying today rule of law has to be protected in the country, there is no excuse for any steps that take the country away from that,” Mogherini said as European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels.

    “As we have been the first ones to say that in that tragic night (of Friday’s coup attempt), the democratic and legitimate institutions needed to be protected,” she told reporters.

    “Today we will say together with ministers that obviously doesn’t mean that rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country does not count. On the contrary it needs to be protected for the sake of the country.

    “So we will send a strong message on that.”

    Would-be EU member Turkey carried out fresh raids on Monday as the EU ministers were meeting, prompting growing international concern over the scale of the crackdown.

    Judges and military commanders are among 6,000 people who were arrested over the weekend as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to stamp out the “virus” of the coup plotters.
     
    The EU commissioner dealing with Turkey’s long-stalled bid for membership of the bloc meanwhile said it appeared that the government had already prepared a list before the coup of people to be rounded up.
    “I mean, (that) the lists are available already after the event indicates that this was prepared and at a certain moment should be used,” EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters.

    Turkey’s attempts to join the 28-nation European Union have been hobbled in recent years by concern over the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan’s record on human rights and press freedom.

    But the EU agreed to speed up its membership bid and give visa-free travel to Turks as part of a migrant crisis deal in which Ankara agreed to take back people landing in the Greek islands.
    French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that “the rule of law must prevail”.

    “France has condemned the coup, you can’t accept the military taking power,” he said. “At the same time we have to be vigilant that the Turkish authorities don’t put in place a system which turns back democracy.”

    Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also urged restraint, saying: “It’s normal to punish those involved in the coup, but it’s normal to ask for respect for the rule of law.”


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  • Breaking News: Read what experts say Nigerians will face as inflation hits 16.5%

    18/Jul/2016 // 925 Viewers

     

    The National Bureau of Statistics on Monday released the Consumer Price Index which measures inflation stating that the country’s inflation rate has risen from 15.6 per cent to 16.5 per cent in June.

    The 16.5 per cent increase in inflation rate represents one of the highest increases to be recorded by the country in recent times.

    The bureau attributed the rise in inflation to increase in prices of electricity, kerosene, furniture and furnishing materials, passenger transport by road, fuel and lubricants as well as transport equipment.
     
    The inflation rate had been experiencing an upward swing within the last seven months, a development which analysts have described as worrisome.

    The implication of the resurgence in inflation according to analysts is that consumers may experience more tougher times ahead owing to reduction in their purchasing power.

    The NBS said, “In June, the Consumer Price Index which measures inflation continued to record relatively strong increases for the fifth consecutive month.

    “The Headline index increased by 16.5 per cent (year-on-year), 0.9 percentage points higher from rates recorded in May (15.6 per cent).

    “During the month, the highest increases were seen in the electricity, liquid if fuel (kerosene), furniture and furnishings, fuel and lubricants.”


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  • Italy rescues hundreds of migrants at sea, recovers body

    18/Mar/2016 // 205 Viewers

     

    ROME (Reuters) - Italian ships picked up some 600 migrants and recovered one body on Friday, as European leaders met in Brussels to try to stem the flow of migrants to the continent.

    Italy's coastguard and navy tweeted that they had picked up the migrants from several different vessels. Rescue operations were continuing and the number was likely to rise, a coastguard spokesman said.

    "Despite some bad weather and choppy sea conditions, the boats are coming," the coastguard spokesman said.

    More than 1.2 million migrants, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, have arrived in Europe since the beginning of 2015. Arrivals from Libya have risen this week, when three bodies were recovered before the latest death.

    "This year we are actually noticing a slight increase in the number of migrants arriving from Libya," Federico Soda, director of the International Organization for Migration Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, said in the statement.

    "As of today, almost 12,000 migrants have landed in Italy, about 2,000 more compared to the number of migrants that arrived in the same period last year," he said.

    European Union leaders are trying to put together an agreement to stem the flow of refugees from Turkey, which is hosting some 3 million Syrians fleeing war.

    At the same time, EU leaders met to discuss ways to get Libyan factions to back a national unity government, which would clear the way to clamp down on people smuggling.


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  • Paris Massacre Fugitive Captured Alive in Brussels Hometown Neighborhood

    18/Mar/2016 // 176 Viewers

     

    After an intense four-month manhunt across Europe and beyond, police on Friday captured the top fugitive in the Paris attacks in the same Brussels neighborhood where he grew up.

    Salah Abdeslam was shot in the leg and detained by police during a raid in Molenbeek, said Ahmed El Khannouss, the neighborhood’s deputy mayor.

    Police are still searching for another suspect who is holed up in a house that is just a few dozen meters (yards) from two schools, he added.

    Helmeted police with riot shields have cordoned off the area and two explosions were heard.

    Brussels-born Abdeslam, 26, was among the attackers who killed 130 people at a rock concert, the national stadium and cafes on Nov. 13 in Paris.

    In addition to Abdeslam, the whereabouts of two Paris attack suspects remains unknown, including fellow Molenbeek resident Mohamed Abrini and a man known under the alias of Soufiane Kayal.

    Friday’s caputure of Abdeslam comes after Belgian authorities say they found his fingerprints in an apartment raided earlier this week in another Brussels neighborhood.

    In that raid, a man believed to have been an accomplice of Abdeslam — Mohamed Belkaid — was shot dead, Belgian prosecutors say. But two men escaped from the apartment, one of whom appears to have been Abdeslam.

    Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said it was possible Abdeslam had spent “days, weeks or months,” in the apartment.

    Manhunt for Abdeslam

    Police officers secure a street during a raid in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium, Friday March 18, 2016. After an intense four-month manhunt across Europe and beyond, police on Friday captured Salah Abdeslam, the top fugitive in the Paris attacks in the same Brussels neighborhood where he grew up. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Abdeslam fled Paris after the Nov. 13 attacks. Most of the Paris attackers died that night, including Abdeslam’s brother Brahim, who blew himself up. Brahim Abdeslam was buried in the area Thursday.

    Salah Abdeslam, a childhood friend of suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is believed to have driven a group of gunmen who took part.

    The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which Belgian nationals played key roles.

    On Tuesday, a joint team of Belgian and French police showed up to search a residence in the Forest area of Brussels in connection with the Paris investigation, and were unexpectedly fired upon by at least two people inside. Four officers were slightly wounded.

    An occupant of the residence was shot dead by a police sniper as he prepared to open fire on police from a window. Police identified him as Belkaid, 35, an Algerian national living illegally in Belgium.

    A Kalashnikov assault rifle was found by his body, as well as a book on Salafism, an ultraconservative strain of Islam. Elsewhere in the apartment, police found an Islamic State banner as well as 11 Kalashnikov loaders and a large quantity of ammunition, the prosecutor said.

    Belgian authorities initially said Belkaid had no known background in radical Islamic activities. But Friday afternoon, prosecutors issued a statement saying he was “most probably” an accomplice of Abdeslam who had been using a fake Belgian ID card in the name of Samir Bouzid.

    A man using that ID card was one of the two men seen with Abdeslam in a rental car on the Hungarian-Austrian border in September.

    Four days after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, the same false ID card was used to transfer 750 euros ($847) to Hasna Ait Boulahcen, Abaaoud’s niece. Both Ait Boulahcen and Abaaoud died afterward in a police siege.

    Abdeslam slipped through a police dragnet to return to Brussels after the bloodbath in Paris, and though the target of an international manhunt, has not been found since.

    In January, Belgian authorities said one of his fingerprints was found alongside homemade suicide bomb belts at an apartment in another area of Brussels. Belgian prosecutors said it wasn’t known whether he had been at the address in the Schaerbeek district before or after the Paris attacks, or how long he had spent there. - AP

     


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  • UK government unveils new agenda .....

    18/May/2016 // 403 Viewers

     

    LONDON (AFP) - Prime Minister David Cameron's government looked forward to life after Britain's EU referendum by unveiling on Wednesday a new legislative programme in a speech read out by Queen Elizabeth II in parliament.

    On Westminster's grandest day, the queen arrived in a golden horse-drawn carriage and donned a crown and ermine to deliver a speech written by officials with plans for the coming year.

    With a row in Cameron's Conservative party over Europe on hold for the day, the Queen's Speech focused on social reforms and contained little likely to be controversial before the tight June 23 vote.

    The main announcements included new counter-extremism legislation, measures to tackle corruption, money laundering and tax evasion as well as reforms to how the overcrowded prison system is run.

    In a statement released before the speech, Cameron said it "sets out a clear programme of social reform, so we break down the barriers to opportunity and extend life chances to all."

    Officials said that a new Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill would include stronger powers to disrupt extremists operating in England and Wales.

    This will include new civil orders to control their activities and fresh powers to intervene in unregulated schools teaching children extremist ideologies.

    Following an anti-corruption summit in London last week attended by countries including Nigeria and Afghanistan, plans were also announced to fight international corruption.

    Cameron's government plans to criminalise corporations who fail to stop staff facilitating tax evasion, while there will also be new rules tightening up Britain's anti-money laundering regime.

    Officials claim that prisons will face the biggest shake-up since the 19th century with new plans to give governors more power over the jails they run.

    There were also moves to pave the way for Britain's first ever space port for commercial space travel and the increased use of driverless cars.

    The white-clad monarch, delivering the 63rd Queen's Speech of her reign, arrived in a gold and black carriage with dozens of horsemen to the sound of the national anthem, "God Save The Queen".

    In a bizarre tradition dating back to times of hostility between parliament and the monarchy, an MP was "held hostage" at Buckingham Palace until she returned safely.

    - Splits and bad temper -

    With five weeks to go until the referendum, the debate over whether to leave the European Union or stay in is becoming increasingly charged.

    Boris Johnson, the Conservative former London mayor effectively leading the "Leave" campaign, sparked fury by saying the EU, like German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, wanted to create a European superstate in an interview out Sunday.

    Cameron raised eyebrows among "Leave" campaigners Tuesday by suggesting that the Islamic State group would be "happy" if Britain left the EU.

    Underlining the depth of splits in the ruling party, one of its most senior figures, former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, said Tuesday that Johnson was behaving "irresponsibly" and "recklessly".

    Heseltine, who wants to remain in the EU, said he would be "very surprised" if Johnson ever became Conservative leader, despite him being one of the frontrunners eventually to succeed Cameron.

    Analysts say Cameron -- who is leading the "Remain" campaign -- would probably have to step down if Britain votes to leave the EU. Most of his ministers are also campaigning to stay in the 28-nation bloc.

    The race currently stands at 51 percent support for "Remain" and 49 percent for "Leave", according to an average of the last six opinion polls by the What UK Thinks academic project, excluding undecideds.

    by Katherine Haddon


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  • BREAKING: Nato risks nuclear war with Russia 'within a year', senior general warns

    18/May/2016 // 405 Viewers

     

     

    Nato risks a nuclear war with Russia within a year if it does not increase its defence capabilities in the Baltic states, one of the alliance's most senior retired generals has said. 

    General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as Nato’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe between 2011 and 2014, said that an attack on Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia – all Nato members – was a serious possibility and that the West should act now to avert “potential catastrophe”.

    He has written a fictional book 2017 War with Russia, but told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the events it describes were “entirely plausible”.

    General Shirreff said: “The chilling fact is that because Russia hardwires nuclear thinking and capability to every aspect of their defence capability, this would be nuclear war.

    “We need to judge President Putin by his deeds not his words,” he added. “He has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it. - Independent

    “In a period of tension, an attack on the Baltic states… is entirely plausible.”

    Nato members would be obliged under Article 5 of its founding treaty to come to the defence of another member if it came under attack.

    General Shirreff said that Mr Putin could be persuaded into an intervention in the Baltic by a “perception” of weakness in Nato, and predicted that, as in Crimea, the Russian president would present his actions as an act of defence to protect the large Russian-speaking minorities in those countries. 

    Nato has already stepped up defences in the Baltic states, but General Shirreff said that it needed to “raise the bar sufficiently high for any aggressor to say it is not worth the risk."

    “I would argue the bar is not high enough at the moment,” he added. 

    In the preface to his book, General Shirreff is critical of recent defence cuts in the UK, writing: “A country famous for once ‘walking softly and carrying a big stick’… now had a leadership that shouted loudly but, thanks to ongoing defence cuts, carried an increasingly tiny and impotent stick.”


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  • 1 IS jihadist killed, 21 detained by Turkish security forces

    18/Nov/2015 // 265 Viewers

    Twenty-one  suspected Islamic militants have been arrested and one has been killed while trying to sneak into Kilis region , Southern Turkey, Turkish security forces disclosed to DailyGlobeWatch in Ankara this morning. 

    "Twenty-one people including nine children, were detained,", the army said in a statement and gave no further detail or the nationality of those involved and arrested for illegally trying to cross the Turkish frontiers into the country.

    This is on the heels of a crackdown of IS group militants crossing the border into the country. It would recalled that security forces in Turkey had on Saturday last week killed four IS jihadists  in the south-eastern province Giaziantep near the Syrian border.

     

     


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