• Mother Teresa to be made a saint as second miracle recognised by pope

    18/Dec/2015 // 179 Viewers


    © AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar | An Indian nun from the Catholic Order of the Missionaries of Charity leaves after taking part in a mass to commemorate the 105th birthday of Mother Teresa in Calcutta on August 26, 2015

    Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Nobel laureate who dedicated her life to helping the poorest of the poor, will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said on Friday.

    Pope Francis has cleared the way for her sainthood by approving a decree recognising a miracle attributed to her intercession with God.

    Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 at the age of 87, was beatified in 2003 by the late Pope John Paul. Beatification, which requires one miracle, is the last step before sainthood.

    The second miracle attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa, which is required for canonisation, involved the inexplicable healing of a Brazilian man who was suffering from a multiple brain tumours, according to Catholic media reports.

    Relatives prayed to Mother Teresa and he recovered, leaving doctors at a loss to explain how.

    Known as the “saint of the gutters”, the diminutive nun is expected to be canonised in early September. It was not clear if the ceremony would take place in Rome or if the pope would travel to India to preside over it.

    Mother Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in Macedonia in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

    She founded the Missionaries of Charity to help the poor on the streets of Calcutta and the religious order later spread throughout the world. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.


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

    18/Dec/2016 // 955 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 // 226 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 // 279 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.





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

    18/Jul/2016 // 362 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 // 948 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 // 212 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 // 190 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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  • No longer at ease, ITALY takes drastic steps to stop migrants from NIGERIA, other African countries, bolsters Libya migrant deal as arrivals surge

    18/Mar/2017 // 3305 Viewers


    Italy will host a meeting between European and North African countries next week in a bid to strengthen support for an agreement it struck with Libya to fight people smuggling as migrant arrivals from Nigeria,  other African countries surge, Reuters reports.

    The prime minister of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, Fayez al-Seraj, will meet with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and interior ministers from eight European countries including Germany and France on Monday.

    Last month Italy pledged money, training and equipment to help Libya fight people smugglers, a deal that was endorsed by European Union member states.

    But Libya is still far from stable. Two governments are vying for power - in Tobruk to the east and Tripoli to the west - and the country remains mired in factional fighting and lawlessness.

    The authorities in eastern Libya have rejected the deal struck between Rome and Tripoli.

    "I'm not so naive as to not understand the situation there," Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti told reporters. "But we cannot remain immobile and wait for the country to stabilise."

    He said the Libya agreement and next week's meeting were not just "talk", but strategic steps toward managing mass migration to Europe.

    So far this year more than 16,000 migrants - a 36 percent increase on the same period last year - have been rescued at sea and brought to Italy after Libya-based people smugglers piled them onto flimsy boats.

    As part of the deal, Italy and the EU have promised to fund migrant camps on Libyan soil, but they need U.N. agencies to help manage them. Those same agencies have said Libya is not safe for migrants.

    "Migrants and refugees in detention (in Libya) are held outside any legal process and in conditions which are generally inhuman. They are exposed to malnutrition, extortion, torture, sexual violence and other abuses," four U.N. chiefs said in joint statement last month.

    On Friday, Italy's opposition 5-Star Movement also took issue with the Libya agreement, calling it "a sham". In a statement, 5-Star lawmakers said Libya was too dangerous for Italy's diplomats, urging the closure of the embassy in Tripoli.

    Last week Tripoli was gripped by heavy fighting as armed groups allied with Seraj took over a compound that had been occupied by a rival leader, while forces in Libya's Oil Crescent battled for control of two major oil ports.

    EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and interior ministers from Algeria and Tunisia will also attend the meeting.

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  • Breaking: French official: Man killed by security at Paris airport had shot an officer at earlier traffic stop

    18/Mar/2017 // 671 Viewers


    PARIS — The same man fatally shot early Saturday at Orly airport after stealing a soldier’s gun had lightly wounded a police officer at a traffic stop in a northeastern Paris suburb earlier in the day, said Bruno Le Roux, France’s Interior Minister.
    The man, who was known to police and intelligence services, then proceeded to hijack a car at gunpoint in another nearby suburb, Le Roux added, before continuing on to Orly, where he grabbed an assault rifle from a security officer on duty. The Paris prosecutors’ office said its anti-terrorism section has taken over the investigation.
    The stolen car was recovered near the airport, French authorities said.
    At about 8:30 a.m., the man — whose identity has not been disclosed — then stole a FAMAS assault rifle from a heavily armed officer and hid in a shop in the airport’s south terminal, Interior Ministry officials said. Officers then fatally shot him.
    No other injuries were reported. Witnesses at Orly described rapid gunfire in a bustling terminal full of weekend travelers.
    “We had queued up to check in for the Tel Aviv flight when we heard three or four shots nearby,” Franck Lecam told the AFP news agency.
    “The soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers,” another witness, identified only as Dominique, said on France’s BFM television.
    “The man managed to seize the weapon of a Sentinel soldier,” Brandet added, referring to an elite squadron of French security forces established in 2015 to combat terrorism. “He was quickly neutralized by security forces.”
    Devised in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, Operation Sentinel is a special force that includes nearly 10,000 soldiers, roughly half of whom patrol in the Paris region, mostly at tourist destinations and commuter hubs.
    A police operation is ongoing at Orly, France’s National Police confirmed on Twitter. Meanwhile, air traffic into Orly, the second-busiest airport in France, has been shut down, with incoming flights directed to nearby Charles de Gaulle Airport, France’s Civil Aviation Authority said.
    About 3,000 passengers were evacuated from the south terminal, and passengers in Orly’s west terminal were confined, Brandet said.
    Also Saturday morning, a police officer was shot in a vehicle attack in the northern Paris suburb of Saint Denis. The suspected escaped.
    The incident mirrored a shooting Feb. 3, when an Egyptian man attacked Sentinel soldiers outside the Louvre museum and was heavily wounded by soldiers.
    France has been under an official state of emergency since November 2015, when a cell of Islamic State militants carried out attacks on a concert hall, a stadium and a number of cafes across Paris. One hundred thirty people were killed.
    In June 2016, a lone driver, allegedly inspired by the Islamic State, plowed through crowds in the seaside city of Nice who had gathered to celebrate a national holiday, killing 86.
    The country is on edge heading into presidential elections in late April and early May, in which issues of national security and immigration have been central talking points from candidates across the spectrum. (Washington Post)


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