• Italy rescues hundreds of migrants at sea, recovers body

    18/Mar/2016 // 179 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 // 166 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 // 392 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 // 394 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 // 245 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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  • JUST IN: Another 100 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

    18/Nov/2016 // 639 Viewers

     

    Rome (AFP) - The toll of missing and dead rose Thursday in a grim week of Mediterranean crossings as African survivors described being robbed of life jackets and boat engines and abandoned to a watery grave.

    A group of 27 survivors, all men, were plucked to safety on Wednesday, but roughly 100 other passengers who set off with them from Libya were missing and feared drowned, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.

    Along with two other shipwrecks this week, the latest incident pushed the toll to 18 confirmed dead and 340 missing, in what was already the most lethal year ever recorded for migrant deaths at sea.

    The survivors rescued Wednesday by a British Navy ship, described being stripped of their sole means of survival by the men they had paid for safe passage.

    They had set off before dawn on Monday from a beach close to Tripoli. After several hours the traffickers, travelling aboard a separate boat, ordered them at gunpoint to hand over life jackets they had paid for, as well as the boat engine, and left them without a satellite phone to call for help.

    "At that point I thought we were going to die", said Abdoullae Diallo, 18, according to MSF. "Without a motor, we couldn't go far. A trafficker told us we would be rescued but I felt like we were going to die."

    The overcrowded dinghy began rapidly taking on water and deflated. Tossed for two days and nights on rough seas, some passengers fell overboard, while others succumbed to exhaustion.

    By the time the British Royal Navy's HMS Enterprise -- engaged in the anti-trafficking Sofia operation -- found them, just 27 people were left alive, clinging to what was left of the dinghy.

    - 'Exhausted, traumatised' -

    "They are exhausted, shocked and traumatised," MSF coordinator Michele Delaro told AFP by satellite telephone from the Bourbon Argos rescue ship.

    The survivors, who hail from Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone, along with eight bodies retrieved from the dinghy were transferred to the MSF ship, which had just returned to the area after disembarking nearly 800 other migrants on the Italian island of Sicily.

    The week's succession of tragedies at sea started with the recovery of just 15 of 150 people aboard one rickety dinghy on Monday. On Tuesday 23 were found on another boat that initially had 122 aboard.

    The first group of survivors were brought to Catania, in Sicily, while the second group were expected to arrive on Italy's mainland in the port of Reggio Calabria

    - Search for the missing -

    Some were children. "One young boy has been weeping, asking for his mother," Mathilde Auvillain, a spokeswoman for SOS Mediterranee told AFP.

    "Another has written a list of names of the people travelling with him and re-reads it over and over. He wants to know if his friends are on the boat or in the sea," she said.

    Over 3,350 people have been rescued from crowded and unseaworthy dinghies since Saturday, according to the Italian coast guard, including 146 people on Thursday.

    The total is the same as for the whole month of November 2015 and, following a record number of arrivals in October, shows departures from Libya are not being deterred by worsening weather in the Mediterranean.

    Meanwhile the number of rescue boats patrolling the crossing zones has declined as winter approaches, due to financial and logistical constraints.

    Since the start of the year, over 167,000 people have been brought to safety in Italy, a figure that has already passed the 153,000 number recorded in 2015 and is closing in on the 170,000 figure recorded in 2014.

    "The unending rescues and high number of victims in recent days show how critical the situation is in the Mediterranean, it is a real humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place before our very eyes", said Sophie Beau, head of SOS Mediterranee.

    "Europe urgently needs to take responsibility and put in place an adequate response" to the crisis, she said.


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  • Germany to proceed against EU member countries for refusing refugees

    19/Dec/2015 // 403 Viewers

     

    AFP: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier threatened legal action on Saturday against EU countries that refused to accept refugees under the bloc’s quota programme.

    Steinmeier said in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel that “if it cannot be done otherwise, things will be resolved through the appropriate legal channels”, adding that “Europe is a community of law”.

    The German minister spoke specifically of Slovakia and Hungary, which have both made their own threats of legal action against the controversial quota system.

    Slovakia said last month that it would complain against the EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc.

    Few migrants have entered Slovakia on their voyage to western Europe, and even fewer asylum seekers have chosen to stay. Under the EU’s quota system, Bratislava is expected to take in just under 2,300 migrants.

    “European solidarity is not a one-way street,” Steinmeier said, adding that “those who refuse (to welcome refugees) must know what is at stake for them: open borders in Europe”.

    Europe’s Schengen passport-free area is cherished as one of its most important achievements and the European Commission has repeatedly expressed concern that re-imposing border controls threatens its future.

    EU leaders on Thursday set an end-of-June deadline to agree on a new border and coastguard force to slow the influx of migrants across the 28-nation bloc’s porous external frontiers.

    They also called for the rapid delivery of a promised three billion euros ($3.25 billion) in aid for refugees in Turkey in return for its help in stemming the flow.

    Following a slew of emergency summits this year, they acknowledged they had been too slow to carry out a joint strategy to tackle Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

     

    SOURCE: AFP

     


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  • Putin lauds Russian secret services for foiling 30 planned attacks

    19/Dec/2015 // 194 Viewers

     

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 19, 2015: As the year  2015 draws to a close, Russian President Vladimir Putin looked back on and patted on the back the country's secret services' achievements for foiling ill-conceived planned attacks and uncovering over 300 cases of foreign spies in the country in the outgoing year.

    The President in a speech poured an encomium of praise on FSB for forestalling planned attacks on Russia which he said totaled no fewer than 30.

    Speaking further, President Putin said, "Our counter-intelligence service carries a great responsibility. This year they identified more than 320 traitorous officers and agents of foreign secret services. We are seeing the secret services of a certain number of countries intensifying... their work in Russia,".

    What brought about an increased  spying activities is not unconnected with the fighting in Eastern Ukraine as Kiev government forces battle pro-Russian separatists, DailyGlobeWatch understands.

    It is noteworthy that Russia though a part of the global military alliance battling IS in Syria, the Kremlin has consistently voiced it support for  President Assad regime, a position which the West kicks against.

    Putin reminded the world that Russia is far from using all its capabilities in the ongoing military campaign in the war-torn country.

     


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  • Turkey's Erdogan meets Hamas leader Meshaal in Istanbul

    19/Dec/2015 // 183 Viewers

     

    ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Khaled Meshaal, leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas, on Saturday in Istanbul, Turkish presidential sources said, a day after Israel and Turkey said they were close to patching up five-year political rift.

    A source from Erdogan's office said Meshaal "briefed Erdogan on the latest developments in the region", without giving further details. Islamist Hamas controls the Gaza strip.

    Israeli officials said late on Thursday that a deal with Turkey was struck to normalize ties following high-level bilateral talks in Switzerland.

    Turkish officials said a final agreement was yet to be sealed, but that given the progress it would not be too long.

    Israel's once-strong ties to Turkey soured in 2010 when Israeli commandoes killed 10 Turkish activists when storming the Mavi Marmara, a ship in a convoy seeking to break an Israeli naval blockade of the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

    Turkey had demanded Israel apologize over the assault, pay compensation and lift the Gaza blockade. For Israel, limiting Hamas activity in Turkey has been key.

    Under the preliminary deal between the two countries, Saleh al-Aruori, a senior leader in the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas who has been living in Turkey, would be barred from the country, the Israeli official had said.

     

    Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk


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  • Russian ambassador assassinated in Ankara Turkey, tensions high but Kremlin yet to react

    19/Dec/2016 // 415 Viewers

     

    Andrey Karlov, Russian ambassador to Turkey, was on Monday killed during an art exhibition in Ankara, capital of Turkey.

    The gunman reportedly stood behind Karlov before he fired his fatal shot.

    The attacker was said to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer who was present.

    The attacker also smashed some of the photographs, AP reported. A source told RIA Karlov had died at the scene.

    Turkish officials said the assassin entered the building claiming he was a police officer. Other bystanders alleged he shouted “Aleppo” when he shot Karlov, but the claims could not be immediately confirmed.

    The attacker was said to have first shot Karlov in the back, before ordering people to leave the room. He then reportedly shot a second time as he lay on the floor. Turkish special forces have surrounded the gallery, believing the attacker to still be inside.

    The Russian foreign ministry said it was in contact with Ankara over the events, RIA Novosti reported. President Vladimir Putin called an urgent meeting with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and the heads of the security services.

    The ambassador had been part of discussions between Turkey that led to an evacuation of east Aleppo getting underway late last week. He had also been a central conduit to the Turkish government’s rapproachment with Moscow in April.

    The incident comes a day before the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, is due in Moscow for talks with Russian and Iranian counterparts.

    Russia and Turkey have recently gone some way to mending ties, following a long freeze in relations after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane in November 2015.

    Fatih Öke, the press attache of Turkey’s embassy in Washington DC, wrote on Twitter: “The bullet to Ambassador Karlov is not only aims him. It aims also Turkish Russian relation. We are praying for his good health and peace.”

    Karlov is a career diplomat who had previously served as ambassador to North Korea.

    Russia and Turkey patched up rocky relations over the summer and have recently been working together on the evacuations from Aleppo, despite supporting opposite sides in the Syrian civil war.


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