• Resurgent Russia no threat to anyone ... but will defend our interests if need be - Russia warns US

    05/May/2016 // 432 Viewers

     PARIS, MAY 5, 2016: (DGW) - THE Kremlin has reacted to warnings from the USA early this week by the United States Defence Secretary Ash Carter that NATO will increase its military presence on the Eastern European borders with Russia.

    The US defence chief said this would be a retaliation of Russia's military build-up near the Baltic States and the Artic Circle but in a swift response to that warning, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry  said on Thursday a strong and resurgent Russia is no threat to anyone and should, therefore,  not be feared but consequently warned that Russia can not ignore any action which poses a direct or potential  threat to its national interest.

     His words, “a resurgent Russia is not a threat to anyone but at the same time, Russia certainly cannot ignore any actions that may pose a direct or potential threat to its national interests and, traditionally, the Russian side will defend its interests if need be.”

    Recall Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014,  a move condemned by many international powers, including NATO. In the ensuing years, Russia established a  completed a military base in the Arctic Circle and deployed troops near the borders of some of the Baltic states with frequent  air drills near northern European countries.

    US defence chief has said plans are on course by the Pentagon to deploy a third U.S. army brigade and 4,000 additional NATO troops to the Baltic States in the coming year while condemning  Kremlin’s frequent statements regarding its potential willingness to use a nuclear weapon.

     


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  • Real Madrid striker Benzema to appear in French court in blackmail case

    05/Nov/2015 // 238 Viewers

    © AFP/File | France forward Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring against Armenia in Nice on October 8, 2015

     

    PARIS (AFP) - 

    Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will appear in court on Thursday in connection with alleged blackmail over a sex tape involving fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena, after spending the night in custody.

    Benzema, 27, was driven away from the police station in Versailles outside Paris in a police car with tinted windows, AFP journalists saw.

    "Karim Benzema has been taken to the court to appear before an investigating magistrate who will decide what happens next in the procedure," the prosecutor's office said.

    Investigators are trying to determine the extent of Benzema's involvement in an attempt to extort money from Valbuena after a sex tape found its way into the hands of suspected blackmailers.

    According to an investigation source, Benzema mentioned the video to Valbuena when the French national team met for training last month, ahead of matches against Armenia and Denmark.

    Benzema's lawyer said he had played "no part" in the plot and was keen to clear his name.

    The centre-forward is a key part of the French national team with 27 goals in 81 appearances and is one of the biggest names in the star-studded Real Madrid squad.


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  • Forbes names Putin world’s most powerful person

    05/Nov/2015 // 246 Viewers

    Alexandre Zemlianichenko, POOL, AFP | Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a meeting with Iran's Parliament speaker Ali Larijani (not pictured) in Sochi on October 22, 2015

    Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting US president to slide out of the top two power rankings as published by Forbes, beaten not just by Vladimir Putin but also Angela Merkel.

    The magazine published its seventh annual ranking just weeks after Putin opened a new front in the Syria war by conducting air strikes, then Putin hosted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Moscow.

    "As Obama enters the final year of his presidency, it's clear his influence is shrinking, and it's a bigger struggle than ever to get things done," Forbes wrote.

    "At home, his approval ratings are perpetually stuck under 50 percent; abroad, he's outshined by Merkel in Europe, and outmaneuvered by Putin in the Middle East."

    In August, Putin's domestic approval rating soared to 87 percent, the highest level in six years, according to an independent polling center.

    His intervention in Syria has seen Putin seek to muscle his way back to global influence after months of Western isolation over Ukraine.

    "Putin continues to prove he's one of the few men in the world powerful enough to do what he wants – and get away with it," said Forbes.

    Despite international sanctions imposed after Moscow annexed Crimea and over the conflict in Ukraine, Putin has made the US and NATO look weak, and helped rebuild Russian influence abroad, Forbes said.

    The German chancellor, jumped up three places to grab the second spot, last year occupied by Obama.

    "Merkel is the backbone of the 28-member European Union, and her decisive actions dealing with the Syrian refugee problem and the Greek credit crisis helped bump her up the list," Forbes said.

    Pope Francis was number four and Chinese leader Xi Jinping number five, falling two spots from last year. The 2015 list ranks 73 powerbrokers among 7.3 billion people on the planet.

    Among the eight newcomers were Saudi Arabia's new monarch, King Salman, number 14, and US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at number 58 and 72 respectively.

    Thirty on the list come from the United States, eight come from China, and four each from Japan and Russia.

    Nine women made the cut.

    The youngest on the list are 31-year-old Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, at number 19, and North Korea's 32-year-old leader Kim Jong-un at number 46.

    (AFP)


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  • Secret German World War II Base Rediscovered Near North Pole

    05/Nov/2016 // 267 Viewers

     

    The remains of a secret World War II German base have been rediscovered on an island near the North Pole by a team of Russian researchers.
     
    The wartime "Schatzgrabber" ("Treasure Hunter" in German) weather station was built by the German military in 1943 on Alexandra Land, one of the isolated Franz Josef Land islands in the Barents Sea, located more than 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) north of the Russian city of Arkhangelsk.
     
    The islands are snowy and ice-bound for much of the year and the site was last visited in the 1980s, the researchers said. But earlier this year, in August, a Russian archaeological team was able to explore and catalog the remains of the wartime weather station for the first time. 
     
    "This summer in the Arctic was very warm, so the entire area of Schatzgrabber was completely free of snow and ice, which made it possible to explore the area fully," team leader Evgeny Ermolov, a senior researcher with the Russian Arctic National Park, which now administers the island, said in a statement.
     
    Among the finds are the remains of several German army and naval uniforms, and fragments of weapons and ammunition — including rifle and machine-gun rounds, land mines and hand grenades — that were abandoned when the last of the base's occupants were evacuated by a German U-boat in 1944.
     
    About 10 German meteorologists and laborers were stationed on the island from 1943, as part of a secret network of Arctic stations to give advanced warnings of weather conditions over the northern oceans and northern Europe, which the German military considered essential to their strategic operations.
     
    Ermolov said the research team recovered more than 600 objects from the remains of the base station buildings, an emergency supply depot near the base station and an emergency aircraft landing strip. These artifacts have been sent to the Arctic National Park museum in Arkhangelsk for further study, the researchers said.
     
    Ermolov said the very dry and almost microbe-free environment of Alexandra Land also helped to preserve many wood, leather and cloth objects at the sites, as well as many remains of books and documents, including German naval manuals, meteorology textbooks, astronomical tables, weather records, magazines and a copy of Mark Twain's classic novel "Tom Sawyer."


     
    Potluck polar bear
     
    The research team also found supplies of canned food at the base, including sardines from Portugal, curiously labeled in English that they were for sale in America. [Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 7 Declassified Military & CIA Secrets]
     
    But sardines weren't the only thing on the wartime menu in Alexandra Land. The waters of the bay beside the weather station began to freeze as the winter approached, and several boats filled with supplies and equipment were crushed by ice, the researchers said.



     
    "Some of the supplies and equipment sank, and so the diet for the weather over the winter was rather limited. It is no surprise that they wanted some fresh meat, and so they killed polar bears, because that's all there was," Ermolov said.
     
    But he added that the weathermen failed to cook the bear meat properly, and almost everyone who ate it suffered a bout of trichinosis, a painful and unpleasant roundworm infection caused by eating contaminated meat.



     
    In response to the medical emergency at Alexandra Land, a daring rescue flight set out from a German air base at Banak, in Norway, in July 1944, to carry a doctor to the island and to bring back the stricken weathermen, according to the German historian Franz Selinger.
     
    But the large FW-200 "Condor" aircraft damaged a wheel when it landed and a second aircraft had to be sent from Banak to airdrop a replacement wheel so that the first aircraft could take off with the medical evacuees.


     
    Ermolov said the researchers had to search a very large area, but they were fortunate to find traces of the emergency airfield, including the remains of fuel barrels, tents, batteries, crates, smoke bombs and signal flares made in 1941.
     
    "Earlier it was only known from written sources, but now we have real proof," Ermolov said.
     
    Last outpost
     
    The German base on Alexandra Land was not lost completely to history: after the war, some of the structures were used by the Soviet military until Russia’s Nagurskoye air base was built on the island in the 1950s.
     
    A team of German military specialists also visited the islands in the 1980s to remove the minefields that had been planted around the wartime base to protect it from an assault, Ermolov said.
     
    But he added that this summer was the first time that the site has been comprehensively studied and recorded since it was abandoned.
     
    "We've made a complete description of the station and all the remaining objects, including [the remains] of the bunkhouse, the weather station, a network of fortifications and the landing strip where the staff were evacuated in July 1944," he said.
     
    The cryptic name of the weather station, from the German word for Treasure Hunter, has fueled speculation that the secret base on Alexandra Land was used for more than keeping a watch on the Arctic weather. Some theories suggest the base was occupied by a unit of Nazi SS troops and may have had a role in the development of secret weapons, or a search for a mythical "Nordic homeland" in the islands of the Arctic Circle.
     
    But polar historian William Barr told Live Science that the base was strictly a scientific base, and one of about 10 German weather stations on the scattered Arctic islands north of Europe (albeit an ill-fated one).
     
    "It was quite disastrous — the expedition leader went crazy, and when they were flown out he had to be strapped down to the floor of the aircraft, so he wouldn’t run riot," Barr said.
     
    And the Russian researchers have found no evidence to back the speculative theories about the Schatzgrabber base: "We have prepared a complete diagram of the station, and geo-referenced all the facilities, including [machinery] that suggests a German origin dating from the time of the Great Patriotic War [World War II]," Ermolov said. "Based on these data, we can eliminate some of the myths that have formed around the station for many years."

    Source: CLICK HERE


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  • Breaking: U.N. says 240 migrants drowned off Libya in 48 hours

    05/Nov/2016 // 735 Viewers

     

    GENEVA (Reuters) - At least 240 migrants have drowned off the coast of Libya within the last 48 hours, possibly as an unintended consequence of European efforts to stop people-smugglers and to train Libyan coastguards, the U.N.'s migration agency said on Thursday.

    Five rescue ships, coordinated by the Italian coastguard, were within sight of the migrants but, despite attempts to rescue them, most died, the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) chief spokesman, Leonard Doyle, said.

    "Two rubber dinghies, which is what they are, rubber dinghies, packed with migrants, totalling over 300 we think in all ... have succumbed to the waves off Libya in very bad weather," he said.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said he was "deeply saddened by another tragedy", and many lives could be saved if European countries volunteered to take in more refugees rather than leaving them to make the risky boat trip.

    "The Mediterranean is a deadly stretch of sea for refugees and migrants, yet they still see no other option but to risk their lives to cross it,” he said in a statement.

    Migrant arrivals in Italy surged to 27,388 in October, more than the two previous Octobers combined, and bringing this year's total to more than 158,000, IOM's Italy spokesman, Flavio di Giacomo, said.

    Migrants have told the IOM that smugglers say European training of Libyan coastguards means that rescue missions will soon be handed over to Libya and so any rescued migrants will be taken ashore in Libya rather than in Italy, Giacomo said.

    That might be causing the rush, despite the bad weather, he said.

    According to Doyle, the use of dinghies, especially unsuitable for the long sea crossing in bad weather, was partly due to European navies capturing and destroying many of the fishing boats that smugglers had been using.

    "In the absence of those boats and with the migrants determined to leave, and the smugglers interested in making money off them, they have been putting them in completely unsafe rubber dinghies," he said.

    Survivors from one dinghy, whose passengers included about 20 women and six children, all believed to be from West Africa, said they set off from Libya at about 3 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Wednesday, but the boat sank after a few hours.

    Twelve bodies were recovered, including three babies, and about 27 survived, di Giacomo said.

    Another two women said they had survived the sinking of a second dinghy at about the same time. Theirs was carrying about 130 people, they said.

    The IOM said the latest deaths meant 4,220 migrants had died in the Mediterranean so far this year, compared with 3,777 in the whole of 2015.

    Separately, Italy's coastguard said rescuers pulled about 766 people to safety from boats in difficulty in the central Mediterranean on Thursday, and found the dead body of one woman.


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  • 11 Supercars worth more than $8 mn seized from notorious African dictator's son in Geneva (See photo of the Cars)

    05/Nov/2016 // 579 Viewers

     

    Some of the rarest supercars on the planet were seized from the son of a notorious African dictator in a police raid in Geneva on Wednesday, according to authorities and social media accounts.

    The cars belong to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vice-president of Equatorial Guinea, a Swiss prosecutor told LeDauphine.com. The vehicles were reportedly seized at the Geneva airport.

    Among the 11 cars confiscated in the raid were one of the seven Koenigsegg One:1s on Earth, as well as one of the nine Lamborghini Veneno Roadsters built, according to an Instagram video posted online of the cars being hauled away on flatbeds. A Bugatti Veyron—possibly the one-off Bleu Centenaire edition—can also be seen being hauled off in the clip.

    In addition, a Ferrari F12tdf and Ferrari Enzo were also seized by authorities, according to Australian automotive website Wheels. A Porsche 918 Spyder and a McLaren P1 were taken as well, according to LeDauphine.com. An Aston Martin One-77 and a Ferrari LaFerrari also appear to be visible in pictures of the confiscated collection.

    As French website L’hebdo pointed out, Mangue may have been trying to smuggle the fleet of ultra-rare supercars out of Switzerland in advance of a recently reopened investigation against him by Swiss authorities. Mangue is also scheduled to go on trial early next year in Paris over his “ill-gotten gains,” Le Dauphine reports.

    The raid comes almost exactly five years after Mangue’s previous fleet of supercars, including a Porsche Carrera GT, a pair of Veyrons, a Ferrari Enzo, were seized in a police raid in Paris. The cars confiscated there were sold at auction for $4.1 million...which, let's face it, is kind of a deal.

     

    11 Supercars Worth More than $8 Million Seized from Dictator’s Son in Geneva

    Mangue is the son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has served as president of Equatorial Guinea since seizing power from his uncle in a 1979 military coup. Since then, Teodoro has faced extensive criticism from authorities and humanitarian groups for reputedly using the country’s treasury and natural resources as his family’s piggybank, funding a lavish lifestyle while the populace suffers in poverty.


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  • 'Blood oozed through the soil at grave sites. You could see the pits move, some of them were still alive': The secrets of Ukraine's shameful 'Holocaust of Bullets' killing centre where 1.6million Jews were executed

    05/Oct/2016 // 309 Viewers

     

    Seventy years on from the end of the Second World War the full, shocking scale of the Nazi-inspired Holocaust in Ukraine is finally being revealed – thanks to pioneering work by a French Catholic priest to research the truth of the industrial-scale killing.

    Around 2,000 mass graves of Jewish victims have been located where men, women and children were shot and buried by the Germans and their collaborators.

    But there maybe up to 6,000 more sites to uncover, with victims of this ‘Holocaust of bullets’ – so called because unlike in Poland and Germany where gas chambers were used as the means of slaughter – here most were summarily shot and buried nearby.

    In many cases, the Jews were ordered to dig pits and then to strip naked before they were mown down by their murderers.

    Some were buried in the unmarked plots while still alive.

    Blood oozed through the soil at sites of these graves, according to accounts assiduously collected by French Catholic priest, Father Patrick Desbois, who began his search by seeking to trace his grandfather’s experience as a prisoner of war held in a concentration camp by the Nazis in Ukraine during the Second World War.

    He uncovered accounts of how Jews were killed by the Nazis ‘for fun’, or ‘out of anger, boredom, drunkenness’, or ‘to rape the girls’.

    Yet the Soviet Union, for its own motives, obscured the full scale of the Holocaust on its own territory.

    Leading historian Mikhail Tyaglyy told MailOnline the number of Jewish victims in Ukraine is between 1.4million and 1.6million, significantly higher than the oft-quoted figure of around one million.

    Read full story on original site: http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2016/09/20/blood-oozed-through-the-soil-at-grave-sites-you-could-see-the-pits-move-some-of-them-were-still-alive-the-secrets-of-ukraines-shameful-holocaust-of-bullets-killing-centre-where-1-6million-4.htm/


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  • Breaking: World leaders shrug as Amaechi whitewashes Buhari at Cambridge University, UK

    05/Sep/2016 // 23427 Viewers

     

    PARIS, SEPTEMBER 5, 2016: (DGW) THE Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has irrevocably resolved not to spare anyone found to be corrupt.

    He made this statement on Monday in faraway United Kingdom while delivering a keynote address at the Cambridge University.

    The Minister said prior to Buhari's election as president he made he did not leave anyone in doubt of his desire to fight corruption to a standstill no matter who is involved including members of his cabinet.

    Hiswords:

    “As someone who has been in active politics for more than 30 years, I have learnt that many well-intended reforms are possible only if the leader can offer the requisite leadership and muster the right political will,” he said.

    “In my country, since our President, Muhammadu Buhari was elected, he did not leave anyone in doubt that the fight against corruption will not only be taken seriously but will form a cardinal plank of his policy direction.

    “So far, he has made several pronouncements that set the tone of his commitment to strengthening anti-corruption agencies to go after anyone who has questions to answer. The president’s resolve was enough to signal all of us, members of his cabinet and the citizenry, that an end has come for the old ways of doing things.

    “Currently, many people who have been indicted in one form of corrupt practice or another are being prosecuted in our courts. That, I believe is the way to show leadership and take responsibility.

    “Our president has stopped at nothing to demonstrate that whosoever is caught in corruption-related crimes will not be spared.”

    “They should be held accountable. Leadership is expected to do three simple things, perhaps four: upholding the primacy of leadership and political will, insisting on the force of example, enforcing the urgency of incentives and the necessity of sanctions and finally by leveraging on the power of partnership,” he said.

    “Another important factor is what I refer to as the force of example. There is very little any leader can achieve if he talks the right political talk without offering personal examples.

    “In these days of internet and social media revolution, citizens often spend time to scrutinize the reputation and activities of any leader to find out if they are consistent with what he or she stands for in the media. Essentially leaders must practise what they preach if they expect to be taken seriously both by those within their organisations, state or country.”


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  • Migrants in limbo on French-Italian border

    06/Aug/2016 // 406 Viewers

     

    A dispute between Italy and France over the movement of migrants has resulted in a stand off at the border between the two countries.

    Migrants have been left stranded in Ventimiglia, the last train station before the Italian French border.

    Clashes between the migrant population and Italian and French authorities have occurred, and tear gas was fired by police into crowds of protesting migrants.

    France argues that, according to EU law, the migrants are Italy’s responsibility.

    Although Italy has said that the migrant camps on the Italian side of the border are a “punch in the face” to the EU.

    hose that made it to Menton, a town on the French side of the border mere minutes away by train, were swiftly returned to Italy.

    Migrants have set up a makeshift camps on the rocks near Ventimiglia, facing the sea they crossed to get to Europe.

    They were chanting “We need to go”, as their frustration grows.- euronews


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  • As Spanish polls near, disillusioned jobless struggle on

    06/Dec/2015 // 188 Viewers

     

    AFP/File / by Michaela Cancela-Kieffer | In October, official data showed Spain's jobless rate had dropped to a four-year-low, at just 21.2 percent in the third quarter, still the highest in the eurozone after Greece

     

    MADRID (AFP) - 

    Gema Martin remembers with a touch of nostalgia the time when she had medical insurance, holidays... in other words, a job.

    All that was cut short when the 43-year-old was laid off under Spain's previous Socialist government and failed to find another job with the ruling Conservatives -- a drop in the four-million-strong ocean of unemployment that has become a crux issue for upcoming elections.

    "I had an admin position in a company that made cheque books, and I would work from 9am to 2pm, for 800 euros ($870) a month," Martin said in a working-class district of Madrid after helping hand out free clothes at the local church.

    "We were laid off gradually," she recalled. Once out of a job, her unemployment benefits soon ran out, so she and her husband -- who is jobless too -- now depend partly on charity to survive.

    They live with Martin's mother, a 73-year-old former cleaning lady without whom they would likely be on the street.

    "But she has a pension of 632 euros, and the rent alone is 552 euros," Martin said, making it hard to make ends meet, even with the occasional odd jobs that her husband manages to find.

    - Devastating crisis -

    Spain was hit hard by the global financial crisis, experiencing five, difficult years of on-off recession that saw unemployment rocket from a low of around eight percent in 2007 to a high of 27 percent in 2013.

    After he came to power in 2011, Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed tough spending cuts and tax rises, and also tried to encourage companies to hire again by, for instance, reducing social security payments for firms hiring workers under 30 and over 45.

    In October, official data showed that Spain's jobless rate had dropped to a four-year-low, at just 21.2 percent in the third quarter.

    But while the army of Spain's jobless now stands a tad smaller than when Rajoy came to power, it is still the highest in the eurozone after Greece's.

    In addition, his critics say that many jobs that have been created are precarious or badly paid, with a quarter of all new contracts lasting one week or less.

    Far from resolved, the jobless situation has become one of the centrepoints of the December 20 elections.

    Rajoy has promised that the worst is over, pledging to create two million more jobs over the next five years.

    The new, rising, centre-right party Ciudadanos, meanwhile, is promising to reform labour laws, and has put forward the creation of a single employment contract to try and iron out differences between those in stable jobs and others in precarious positions.

    The main opposition Socialists want to train and find jobs for 700,000 youngsters without a degree or job in a bid to reduce youth unemployment that currently stands at a huge 47.7 percent.

    For its part, anti-austerity party Podemos has pledged to bring into force a monthly minimum income of 600 euros.

    - No money even for coffee -

    Back in Madrid's Vallecas district, Lourdes Rodriguez, who at 41 is also without work, says she has felt no improvement since Rajoy came to power.

    Her truck-driver husband, who was also unemployed, has managed to find a job, but he only earns 800 euros a month, compared to the 1,300 euros he used to bring home.

    And as a result of his job, the couple are no longer entitled to help from charities.

    "I don't buy myself anything. It's been years since I've gone into a bar to have a coffee," says Rodriguez.

    Javier Baeza, the priest at the local church where Martin and Rodriguez are helping hand out clothes, says many here find ingenious ways to survive.

    "Some come take clothes to sell them off," he says.

    According to official statistics, more than one in five Spanish households earns less than 16,700 euros a year -- barely enough to survive -- while the Save the Children NGO estimates that 1.3 million children out of 8 million are growing up in poor families.

    "I won't vote for Rajoy, nor for the PSOE (Socialist Party), nor for any of the major parties," says Rodriguez.

    "They have always been up there and they just squash the people, on the right or on the left -- they're all the same."

    by Michaela Cancela-Kieffer


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