Europe – Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency The largest news and information source in Afghanistan Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:27:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 19 killed, over 50 wounded in Manchester city explosion Tue, 23 May 2017 05:17:00 +0000 Read the full article...]]> At least nineteen people were killed and over fifty others were wounded in an explosion in Manchester city of the United Kingdom.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack.

The incident took place late on Monday night following a pop concert by the US singer Ariana Grande.

Two US officials quoted in a report by Reuters have said the explosion was likely triggered by a suicide bomber.

A witness who attended the concert told Reuters she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush by thousands of people trying to escape the building.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident so far.

This comes as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group had claimed responsibility behind an attack in London city late in March this year which left at least five people dead.

The incident took place near the Houses of Parliament on 22nd March after a suspected terrorist drove a car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, mounted the pavement, and began hitting pedestrians indiscriminately.

]]> 0
Ghani reacts at Russia bombing saying combined efforts must to defeat terrorism Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:01:51 +0000 Read the full article...]]> President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in reaction to St Petersburg bombing in Russia has said combined efforts are must to defeat terrorism.

Condemning the bombing in strongest terms, President Ghani said the Afghan nation can feel the pain of the incident more than anyone else since the Afghan people have long been suffering and are victims of terrorism.

Calling terrorism a serious threat to the region and the world, President Ghani insisted that the terrorists have no respect to any religion or law.

He once again emphasized on a serious and combined fight against the terrorist groups and without any distinction of good or bad.

At least 11 people were killed and 45 others were wounded after an explosion ripped through a metro station in St Petersburg on Monday.

The Central Asian country’s security services have said the suspect is believed to be a Russian citizen originally hailing from Kyrgyzstan.

The Kyrgyz security service named the bomber as Akbarzhon Jalilov, who was born in Osh in 1995.

However, the circumstance surrounding the explosion has still not been ascertained and it is yet not clear if it was a suicide attack or not.

According to reports, three days of mourning has been declared by the authorities in St Petersburg following the incident.

]]> 0
Syrian migrants who named child Angela Merkel have asylum application rejected Thu, 24 Nov 2016 15:44:34 +0000 Read the full article...]]> angela-merkel-al-hamzaThe authorities in Germany have rejected the asylum application of a Syrian family who named their newborn baby girl Angela Merkl in honour of the country’s chancellor for her open door policy, it has been reported. (Photo WEB.DE)

The couple, Mamon Al-Hamza and Tema Al-Hamza, arrived in Germany last year and their daughter was born in December last year.

In a bid to show gratitude to Merkl and her open door policy, the couple decided to name their newborn baby girl Angela Merkl Al-Hamza.

However, the German authorities have reportedly sent a letter to them to inform regarding the status of their asylum application which the family say has been rejected.

Living in the city of Moenchengladbach, Mr. Al-Hamza has admitted that ‘The letter has given me great fear.’

As the family will eventually be asked to leave the country, they have reportedly received so-called ‘subsidiary protection’ which will allow them to stay in Germany temporarily.

The protection will allow the family from deporation which may apply to asylum seekers who be at risk of serious harm as per the EU law.

According to the officials in Germany’s Federal Office for Migration, the family was not allowed asylum as they had travelled through a safe third country on their way to Syria.

The rejection by the authorities means that the family will eventually be sent back to Turkey unless they unless they secure a long term stay by securing a job and enough knowledge of German language during their temporary stay.

]]> 0
10 killed in gunman attack on a shopping mall in Germany Fri, 22 Jul 2016 17:08:58 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Germany shopping mall shootingA major operation is underway in Munich city of Germany after a group of armed man attacked a shopping mall.

At least ten people have reportedly been killed and several others have sustained injuries in the attack.

The police sources have said at least 10 people have also sustained injuries and an investigation is also underway to ascertain if one of the assailant is among those killed.

The police forces sealed off the area around the shopping centre in the district of Moosach.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper earlier quoted police sources saying that several people have been killed but the authorities have not formally confirmed the report so far.

Eyewitnesses have said the attack has been carried out by at least three people who are on the run.

This comes as the security forces have been on alert after a migrant stabbed five people on a train in Bavaria on Monday.

]]> 0
84 dead in truck attack in France Fri, 15 Jul 2016 06:09:39 +0000 Read the full article...]]> France truck attackAt least 84 people lost their lives after a truck plowed into pedestrians during Bastille Day celebrations in the popular French seaside city of Nice on Thursday.

The French President Francois Hollande called the incident ‘obviously a terrorist attack’.

In his address earlier this morning, Hollande pledged to step u efforts to fight terror in Iraq and Syria while condemning the attack which also left several children dead.

“France is deeply saddened, but it is also very strong,” Hollande said. “I can assure you we will always be stronger than the fanatics who are trying to attack us.”

The driver of the truck was fatally shot by police after he slammed the truck into revelers gathered on a promenade to watch fireworks.

According to French media citing police sources, ID papers belonging to a French-Tunisian were found in the truck.

A source told NBC News the driver is believed to have been a French national of Tunisian descent

The truck struck the crowd at around 10:40 p.m. local time (4:40 p.m. ET) shortly after a fireworks display, officials and witnesses said.

The Ministry of Interior of France has said at least 18 people have also suffered critical injuries in the attack.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident which comes as France has been on edge since a series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris in November that left 130 people dead.

The terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack earlier.

]]> 0
Over 700 refugees feared drowned off Italy: UN Sun, 29 May 2016 12:46:44 +0000 Read the full article...]]> 500 migrants feared deadOver 700 refugees may have drowned in three Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks south of Italy in the last few days, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

A spokesperson for UNHCR Carlotta Sami has told The Associated Press that an estimated 100 people were missing from a smugglers’ boat that capsized on Wednesday.

Sami further added that around 550 others were missing from a boat that capsized on Thursday morning.

In the meantime, the refugees have said that the boat which was carrying about 670 people did not have an engine and was being towed by another smuggling boat before it capsized.

At least 25 people from it survived and 79 others were rescued by patrol boats and 15 dead bodies were recovered.

According to Sami, around 45 more bodies were recovered from a shipwreck on Friday and many more were reported missing.

Meanwhile, the AFP news agency reported that 19 refugees were rescued from a boat in English Channel in a separate development.

]]> 0
Sadiq Khan officially declared the first Muslim Mayor of London Sat, 07 May 2016 07:47:35 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Sadiq KhanA Muslim politician has been elected the first Muslim Mayor of London after receiving the majority of votes during the election.

According to the local media reports, Sadiq Khan was running for the post with Tory Zac Goldsmith whom he defeated comfortably by receiving more votes.

Khan who is an opposition Labour lawmaker received 1, 310,143 votes while Goldsmith secured 994,614.

“This election was not without controversy and I’m so proud that Londoners have today chosen hope over fear and unity over division,” Khan said.

Khan further added “I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again. Fear doesn’t make us safer, it only makes us weaker, and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

Promising to be a mayor for all Londoners, Khan said he was “deeply humbled’ and was ‘so proud’ of London.

He referred to his humble origins on a council estate and said he had never imagined that “someone like me could be elected as mayor of London.”

Khan succeeds the charismatic Boris Johnson, an advocate of Britain’s departure from the European Union who is seen as one of the favourites to succeed Cameron.

]]> 0
Russian warplanes make ‘simulated attack’ passes near US destroyer Thu, 14 Apr 2016 08:48:17 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Russian pass near US destroyerThe American officials have said Russian warplanes flew simulated attack passes near a guided missile destroyer almost a dozen times.

The officials further added that the SU-24 jets flew close to the destroyer in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday with one of the officials saying the passes were one of the most aggressive interactions in recent memory.

The planes carried no visible weaponry, the officials said, adding that the flights were so close they created wake in the water.

According to the officials, the passes were “unsafe, potentially provocative” and “could have caused an accident”.

A Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter also made seven passes around the USS Donald Cook, taking pictures, with the closest pass is said to be about 9 meter.

A statement from the United States European Command said the Donald Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an Allied military helicopter when the jets made their passes.

This comes as a similar incident occurred last June, when Russian warplanes made close passes over a US destroyer in the Black Sea.

]]> 0
Coordinated suicide attack reported on a police station in Russia Mon, 11 Apr 2016 08:51:05 +0000 Read the full article...]]> attack in RussiaA group of suicide bombers have reportedly launched a coordianted suicide attack on a police station in South of Russia.

According to the reports, one of the suicide bombers detonated his explosives near the police station in Stavropol region.

Police officials in Stavropol have confirmed that an attack occurred on the police station in Novoselitsk district.

The official further added that information is being gathered regarding the incident, confirming that no casualties were reported in the incident.

Meanwhile, a military official has said the two other suicide bombers were eliminated by the security forces.

RIA Novosti cites a security source as saying that three suicide bombers used at least five explosive devices in the attack and the three suicide bombers were only ones killed in the incident.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the coordinated attack so far.

This comes as Russia is heavily involved in a military campaign to suppress the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Syria.

]]> 0
Turkey forcibly deports dozens of Afghan refugees Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:26:11 +0000 Read the full article...]]> RefugeesAmnesty International has learnt that Turkey has forcibly sent back dozens of Afghan refugees to Kabul without allowing them to complete the asylum procedures.

The organization says that the forcible return of around 30 Afghan asylum seekers just hours after the European Union (EU)-Turkey refugee deal came into force shows that implementing the deal would risk refugees’ lives from the word go.

Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday that it has received credible information indicating that Turkey violated European and international law by forcibly returning the asylum-seekers, who fear attacks by the Taliban, to Kabul without granting them access to an asylum procedure.

“The ink wasn’t even dry on the EU-Turkey deal when several dozen Afghans were forced back to a country where their lives could be in danger. This latest episode highlights the risks of returning asylum seekers to Turkey – and the knock-on effects the deal is likely to have for refugees transiting through Turkey. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia is quoted as saying in the report.

Story of one of the thirty deportees as per the report:

At 23:40pm on Friday 18 March, a few hours after EU and Turkish leaders signed the deal in Brussels, Amnesty International received a panicked call from an Afghan asylum-seeker, “H.R.” [initials changed for security reasons].

He said he was on a plane in Istanbul, and then called again around an hour later during the flight’s layover in Ankara. He said he was being forcibly returned to Kabul along with around 30 other Afghan women, men and children, after their requests to apply for asylum in Turkey were refused.

H.R. said that he had been part of a group trying to reach Greece by boat. They were apprehended by the Turkish coastguard and then detained in the western coastal city of İzmir.

After five days in detention, he said he was physically forced to put his thumbprint on a document “agreeing” to a voluntary return to Afghanistan. He was not given a copy of the document. H.R. told Amnesty International by phone:

“We don’t want to go back because we are in danger in Afghanistan. If we go back, we will be killed by the Taliban.”

The flight from Ankara to Kabul left at 1:30am on Saturday 19 March. Amnesty International has seen a photo of H.R.’s boarding pass, as well as a travel document issued by the Afghan authorities in Turkey, apparently showing that he was “deported because of illegal entry [to Turkey]”.

Although H.R. responded to messages mid-day on Sunday in Kabul, subsequent attempts to reach him have failed and his phone appears to have been switched off.

Turkish authorities contacted regarding the matter:

When contacted by Amnesty International about the returns, the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management acknowledged the return of 27 Afghans, but insisted that all were returned voluntarily and that none had requested asylum.

The events described by H.R. are identical to forced returns and other abuses documented by Amnesty International in a December 2015 report.

The organization found that refugees and asylum-seekers were apprehended at the western border, detained without access to lawyers, and then forcibly returned to Syria and Iraq after being forced to sign “voluntary return” papers.

At the time the European Commission responded that it would keep this “serious matter under review”, however it is still not acknowledging the violations as documented by Amnesty International.

In recent months, growing numbers of refugees intercepted en route to Greece have been transferred to the EU-funded Erzurum Removals Centre, from which they have been forcibly returned to their countries of origin without access to lawyers and asylum proceedings.

Without any human rights benchmarks or independent monitoring of the EU-Turkey deal’s implementation, there is no guarantee that such abuses will not be repeated.

“Returns to Turkey cannot proceed on the basis that Turkey is a safe country for refugees. The EU should adopt an independent resettlement plan and work with its partner Turkey to end the abuse of refugee rights,” John Dalhuisen is quoted as saying.

]]> 0
Dutch prisons are closing as falling crime rate leaves cells empty Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:39:28 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Dutch prisons closing due to less crimesThe authorities in Netherlands are planning to close five more prisons as the falling crime rate leaves the cells empty, it has been reported.

The decision by the authorities to close the prisons has been taken in a bid to prevent the useless cost incurred by empty cells, the country’s justice minister Ard van der Steur told parliament.

Van der Steur further added that judges were imposing shorter sentences, meaning criminals were spending less time on average in jail.

More serious crimes are also becoming less common, he said, adding that the empty cells were costing the state too much.

According to reports, the downward trend in crime, has fallen by an average of 0.9% in recent years, mainly due to relaxed drug laws, a focus on rehabilitation over punishment, and an electronic ankle monitoring system that allows people to re-enter the workforce.

The decision to close further prisons due to useless expenditure comes despite Dutch government has reclaimed part of the cost by importing prisoners from countries with a surplus, according to the locan media, Dutch News.

Last September the first of 240 Norwegian convicts were transferred to Veenhuizen jail, in Drenthe, under a deal between the two governments for an initial period of three years.

]]> 0
31 killed, over 100 wounded as back-to-back explosions rock Brussels Tue, 22 Mar 2016 07:49:04 +0000 Read the full article...]]> explosions in Brussels airportAt least 31 people were killed and over 100 others sustained injuries as back-to-back explosions rocked Brussels earlier today.

Twin blasts hit Zaventem airport while the Belgian public broadcaster RTBF reported a second blast striking a metro station in the capital shortly afterwards.

Terrified people running from the terminal as plumes of smoke rising to the sky were shown in the footage of the incident that emerged online following the back-to-back explosions.

The local media reported that up to 12 people had been killed, however the authorities have not confirmed the toll formally so far.

Zaventem airport in Brussels is the main international airport which was evacuated following the back-to-back explosions.

The deadly attacks on two key areas in Brussels follows four days after the security forces arrested a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

]]> 0
Explosion leaves four killed, several wounded in Turkey Sat, 19 Mar 2016 10:39:44 +0000 Read the full article...]]> TurkeyFour people have been killed and several others wounded in a heavy blast, believed to be suicide bombing, in Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

The explosion targeted a busy shopping area where a crowd was busy buying goods.

Soon after the blast security forces reached and cordoned off the area.

Ambulances were seen arriving at the site for transporting victims to the hospital.

Officials have not officially confirmed type of today’s blast on Istanbul’s central Istiklal Street but it is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

This comes days after a car bomb blew up near a bus stop in the Turkish capital, Ankara, leaving at least 34 people killed and 125 wounded.

No group has claimed responsibility for today’s blast but Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is suspected to be behind it.

PKK separatist claim to be fighting for autonomy for Turkey’s large ethnic Kurdish minority.

Turkey is also facing a security threat from the Islamic State (IS) for being part of the US-led coalition that has been battling the group in Syria and Iraq.

]]> 0
World’s largest cruise ship capable of holding 6,000 passengers starts sea trial Sun, 13 Mar 2016 18:39:03 +0000 Read the full article...]]> World's largest cruise ship

The world’s largest cruise ship capable of holding up to 6,000 passengers has started sea trail from France, weighing in at 227,000 tons and 124ft long than the Eiffel Tower is tall.

The ship, Harmony of the Seas, has been built at a cost of more than $1 billion and started its trial voyage last week from Saint-Nazaire in France.

It includes Broadway’s hit musical, Grease in the full-size theatre, a state-of the-art multimedia ice rink spectacular and high-flying acrobatics as part of its entertainment, according to Mail Online.

The ship also has 16 restaurants and cafes – including a Jamie’s Italian – boutique shopping on the Royal Promenade, and high-speed wi-fi in the staterooms. And for voyagers wanting a challenge, there’s the Escape Room where guests have to try to break out by solving a series of puzzles.

Vast and full of surprises, Harmony Of The Seas is like something from the imagination of Jules Verne.

According to reports, Royal Caribbean International is the owner of the ship which started work on the liner in September 2013.

The Harmony of the Seas is due to undergo another trial before the end of April before becoming fully operational in May. The first cruise of the ship is set to be around the Mediterranean from Southampton to Barcelona.

]]> 0
Woman kills boyfriend after claiming he ‘spent too much time on Facebook’ Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:24:36 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Woman murders boyfriend over FacebookA woman has reportedly murdered her boyfriend over an an alleged row triggered due to the amount of time he was spending on Facebook social media website.

The incident took place last year in Lancashire town in northwest England, according to The Independent, citing a report by the local newspaper Lancashire Evening Post.

The woman, 23-year-old Terri-Marrie Palmer, was found guilty on Friday of stabbing her boyfriend Damon Searson to death following a heated argument over his social media use.

Police authorities quoted by the newspaper said police were called to a caravan on Stud Farm Park in Morecambe in August 2015, and found 23-year-old Mr Searson with serious stab wounds in his chest.

“He p***es me off sitting on Facebook, completely blanking me when I’m talking to him. All he does is sits there and adds loads of girls,” Palmer allegedly told a friend.

According to the newspaper, she also claimed she was planning to leave Mr Searson and move into her mother’s house after she was forced to pay their rent while he spent money on a mobile phone and shopping.

The woman had initially told police that her boyfriend stabbed himself in the chest after they had been playing-fighting with a knife and she had accidentally knocked it into him.

According to the police authorities, a blood-stained knife was found on the sofa as they discovered Mr. Searson on the floor inside the caravan.

The woman was tried at Preston crown court and will serve a minimum sentence of 12 years before she is eligible for parole.

]]> 0
Afghan teen arrested on adultery charges in Belgium Sat, 20 Feb 2016 05:27:01 +0000 Read the full article...]]> policeA teenage Afghan immigrant has been charged with raping a female worker at an asylum seekers’ center in Belgium, authorities said, prompting outrage from anti-immigrant politicians, Reuters reports.

The 16-year-old Afghan asylum seeker followed a worker from a catering firm into the basement and raped her at the center in Menen, near the French border, prosecutors said. The judge ordered him detained in youth custody until his next hearing.

A spokeswoman for the Red Cross said it was the first time in 25 years such an alleged incident had occurred at one of the organization’s asylum seeker centers in the country.

“Two weeks ago we gave a course about how to treat women in Flanders and the boy was present there,” the spokeswoman said.

The allegation feeds into a highly charged debate over immigration in Europe, particularly since authorities in neighboring Germany accused gangs of migrants of sexually assaulting women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

“I repeat: people who need a course on how to treat women should not be there in the first place,” Tom Van Grieken, leader of anti-immigrant party Vlaams Belang said on Twitter.

Belgium received 35,476 asylum requests in 2015, more than twice the level of 2014.

]]> 0
Iraqi refugee who raped 10-year-old Austrian boy, says it was ‘sexual emergency’ Sat, 06 Feb 2016 18:27:49 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Iraqi refugee raped Austrian boyAn Iraqi refugee has raped a 10-year-old boy in Austria with police officials saying the perpetrator has admitted to the wrongdoing, saying sexual assault on the child was as a result of ‘sexual emergency’.

According to reports, the incident took place in a public swimming pool in Vienna, the capital city of Austria late last year.

Local newspaper Kronen Zietung quoting police officials reported that the 20-year-old Iraqi refugee dragged the boy into the changing rooms on 22 December, pulling down his swimming trunks and assaulting him.

The man was arrested after police was informed regarding the incident that resulted to severe injuries to the child was then admitted to the hospital for the treatment.

According to the newspaper, the man told police the attack was the result of a “sexual emergency” as he had not had sex in four months.

The man further added that he knew it was “a huge mistake” and said he did not mean to “scar the boy”.

“Such a thing is forbidden in any country in the world,” the man admitting to his wrongdoing said while responding to a question whether it was illegal to have sex with young boys in Iraq.

]]> 1
ISIS threatens targeting Britain Mon, 25 Jan 2016 07:14:08 +0000 Read the full article...]]> isis2The terrorist group of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has released a new video showing nine militants who purportedly carried out a string of attacks in Paris last year in which more than 200 people were killed and wounded.

 The video which is said to have been filmed somewhere in Syria shows the militants beheading prisoners and giving their final speeches.

“These are the last messages of the nine lions of the caliphate who were mobilised from their lairs to make a whole country, France, get down on its knees,” a narrator in the video said.

The attackers are identified in the video by noms de guerre referring to their nationalities – three French, four Belgian and two Iraqis, referred to as Ali al-Iraqi and Ukashah al-Iraqi.

The video also shows footage of British Prime Minister David Cameron expressing solidarity with the French people after the attacks, and concluded by flashing a slogan on the screen saying: “Whoever stands in the ranks of kafir (infidels) will be a target for our swords.”

Reuters news agency reports that the authenticity of the video could not be independently verified which showed the men delivering anti-Western diatribes and concluded with an apparent threat to attack Britain.

The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the video uploaded to Islamic State’s official Telegram channel.

On November 13, eight to nine attackers targeted six sites in Paris, including a stadium where a soccer match was going on between France and Germany.

The attacks left at least 153 people killed and over 100 others wounded.

]]> 0
Five killed, 39 wounded in car bomb attack on police HQ in Turkey Thu, 14 Jan 2016 06:07:16 +0000 Read the full article...]]> TurkeyFive people have been killed and 39 others sustained injuries after a car bomb targeted police headquarters in south-eastern Turkey.

Reports suggest that the Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was detonated at the entrance of the multi-storey police building.

The blast was so powerful that also damaged nearby residential buildings besides almost completely destroying the police HQ.

The provincial governor’s office while confirming the explosion held the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) responsible for it.

Information released by the governor’s office states that Kurdish militants launched a car bomb attack on a police complex in the province of Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey overnight, killing five people and wounding 39.

Diyarbakir province has the seen violent clashes between PKK separatists and the Turkish army in recent months.

Last night’s attack comes a day after at least ten people were killed and fifteen others wounded in an ISIS-linked attack in Sultanahmet tourist district of Istanbul.

]]> 0
Including 20 % Afghans, over 1 million people used sea to reach to Europe in 2015 Thu, 31 Dec 2015 08:17:21 +0000 Read the full article...]]> seaEscaping war and poverty in their respective countries, including 20 percent Afghans, over one million refugees and migrants have fled to Europe by sea this year, many on board dangerously inadequate vessels run by people smugglers.

The latest figures released by UNHCR shows that some 1,000,573 used the Mediterranean Sea to reach out to Europe, mainly to Greece and Italy, in 2015, out of which 3,735 have gone missing, believed drowned.

“Over one million people have landed on Europe’s shores, fleeing war and persecution, seeking a better life for their families,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Director of the Bureau for Europe. “Tragically, over 3,700 other children, women and men did not survive the perilous journey by sea and their hope for a fresh start died with them.”

“If there were more legal avenues for refugees to reach Europe, perhaps some of those who died at sea could have found peace and safety instead. For the refugees who risked everything and have now safely reached Europe, we hope they will be received in the context of the European values of dignity, solidarity, and human rights, so that they may find their new beginning,” Cochetel added.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, in addition to the sea crossings, recent figures also estimated that a further 34,000 have crossed from Turkey into Bulgaria and Greece by land.

The number of people displaced by war and conflict is currently the highest seen in Western and Central Europe since the Balkan crises of the 1990s, when several conflicts broke out in the former Yugoslavia.

One-in-every-two of those crossing the Mediterranean this year  half a million people  were Syrians escaping the war in their country. Afghans accounted for 20 per cent and Iraqis for seven per cent.

“As anti-foreigner sentiments escalate in some quarters, it is important to recognize the positive contributions that refugees and migrants make to the societies in which they live and also honour core European values: protecting lives, upholding human rights and promoting tolerance and diversity,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

Despite strong winds and choppy waves, on December 30 dozens of families continued to land on the Greek island of Lesvos in overstuffed inflatable boats designed to carry just eight people. One boat arrived carrying 69 refugees from Afghanistan.

“Everybody was traumatised and shaken up from being at sea for so long,” said Shirlene Afshar, a UNHCR field protection officer working on Lesvos. “As I was helping people off the boat they were crying but also thankful to have arrived safely.”

Over 800,000 refugees and migrants came via the Aegean Sea from Turkey into Greece, accounting for 80 per cent of the people arriving irregularly in Europe by sea this year. At the same time, the number of people crossing from North Africa into Italy dropped slightly, from 170,000 in 2014 to around 150,000 in 2015.

The number of people crossing the Mediterranean increased steadily from around 5,500 in January to reach a monthly peak in October of over 221,000.

After an initial chaotic reaction which resulted in tens of thousands of people moving from Greece through the Western Balkans and northwards, and finding themselves blocked at various borders, a more coordinated European response is beginning to take shape.

UNHCR launched an emergency response to support and complement European efforts. Over 600 emergency staff and resources were deployed to 20 different locations, providing life-saving assistance and protection, and advocating for human rights and access to asylum  particularly for refugees with specific needs, such as unaccompanied children and women-headed households.

Much more needs to be done, however, to reinforce the required reception capacity at the points of entry, to allow for the humane and effective accommodation, assistance, registration and screening of people arriving every day  to identify those who are in need of protection, those that should be relocated to other countries within the European Union, and those who do not qualify for refugee protection and for whom effective and dignified return mechanisms have to be put in place.

At the same time, UNHCR continues to call for safe, regular ways for refugees to find safety through more resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, more flexible visa arrangements, more private sponsorship programmes and other possibilities.

]]> 0
Cristiano Ronaldo gives guided tour of his luxury $7.1m mansion Tue, 22 Dec 2015 18:40:53 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Ronaldo Mansion6

The Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has given a chance to his fans to have an insight into his mansion by opening his door to a camera this Christmas.

Situated in the La Finca part of Pozuelo de Alarcón, one of Madrid’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, the mansion is estimated to be around $7.1 million with complete lavish furnishing and top-of-the-range modern conveniences.

The film has been recorded by a cameraman of Unscripted Sport and was shared by Ronaldo through his official Twitter account today.

Ronaldo is shown giving viewers a peek at his bedroom, living room and garden, complete with mini goals where Cristiano Jnr can follow in his father’s footsteps.

His initial has been embossed into the metalwork of the front door of his mansion, presumably so he doesn’t accidentally try to get into next door’s while tired and emotional in the early hours.

Ronaldo seems to be giving more importance to his room which features a leopard print bedspread which the 30-year-old confesses to lying in for “nearly half a day”.

“I spend nearly half a day here because to perform good and be at a good level you have to rest good,” he reveals to the camera while giving a tour of his mansion.

He has hot tub and swimming poolmini in his garden along with a football pitch where Cristiano junior tries to emulate his father, and three Christmas trees.

He says “And here is where Cristiano plays football – the nets there. We also have a Christmas tree because soon it will be Christmas.”

Ronaldo finishes the video saying “I wish everyone Merry Christmas, have a good year and be happy – which for me is the most important.”

Ronaldo Mansion1

Ronaldo Mansion3

Ronaldo Mansion4


]]> 0
Afghan opium processed into heroin in Turkish labs for Europe Tue, 22 Dec 2015 10:20:33 +0000 Read the full article...]]> heroinThe director of Russia’s Federal Narcotics Control Service said on Tuesday that Turkish laboratories are processing Afghan opium into heroin for deliveries to Europe.

According to Russia’s Sputnik news, Viktor Ivanov said that Russian and Afghan drug police confiscated more than 600 kilograms (over 1,300 pounds) of opium in a joint operation in December.

“The cargo traveled along the route of Badakhshan-Doshi-Bamiyan-Herat, then further through Iran and into Turkey, where the opium was processed in well-equipped laboratories … into high quality heroin, and then was to be sent to Europe and Russia,” according to Sputnik, Ivanov said during an anti-narcotics committee meeting.

Last week, Ivanov said that large shipments of Afghan heroin were being transited through Turkey into the Balkan states and on into the European Union.

Ivanov says the drugs from Afghanistan generate profits estimated at $150 billion annually for the people involved in the operations with them.

His comments come as Afghanistan has been designated among 22 countries as “major drug transit and/or major illicit drug producing countries” for 2016.

President Barack Obama said in September that “Illegal poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is among the most difficult international drug-control problems.”

]]> 1
President Ghani arrives in Paris for Climate Change Summit Mon, 30 Nov 2015 04:31:28 +0000 Read the full article...]]> President Ghani 4President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani leading a high-level government delegation arrived in Paris last night to take part in the Climate Change Summit.

President Ghani is accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabani, Minister of Finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi and Nasrin Oryakhil who is Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled.

He is scheduled to have a speech at the conference and meet with some world leaders being part of the summit including his French counterpart François Hollande.

Upon the conclusion of his visit to France, the President is reportedly visiting Italy, Germany and Sweden.

On Monday, he will meet Italy’s President and Prime Minister and discuss improving relations between the two countries.

On Tuesday, the President is scheduled to visit Germany and take part in the event organized to mark the 100 years of the country’s friendship with Afghanistan.

Late on Thursday, Afghan delegation will leave Germany for Sweden where a number of agreements would be signed between the two sides.

]]> 0
Erdogan warns Putin not to ‘play with fire’ Sat, 28 Nov 2015 05:33:07 +0000 Read the full article...]]> erdogan-putinAs relations between Turkey and Russia heighten over the downed jet, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given a straight warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin not to “play with fire”.

“It is playing with fire to go as far as mistreating our citizens who have gone to Russia,” According to Reuters news agency, Erdogan told supporters during a speech in Bayburt, in northeast Turkey on Friday. “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia … We don’t want these relations to suffer harm in any way.”

To resolve issues, Erdogan has called for a “face-to-face” meeting with Putin at the sideline of the climate change summit in Paris but Russia wants Turkey to apologize for “backstabbing” when it shot down the jet.

Erdogan claims the jet was in Turkish airspace when it was downed but Putin says it was flying over Syria at the time.

“This incident stands out against the usual fight against terrorism. Our troops are fighting heroically against terrorists, risking their lives,” Putin said last week. “But the loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists.”

Putin said the incident will have grave consequences for Russia’s relations with Turkey, Warning that the act by Turkey would not go without an answer.

]]> 2
Four Afghans among six children drown as boat sinks off Turkish coast Sat, 28 Nov 2015 04:38:50 +0000 Read the full article...]]> A man carries a child to a dinghy as migrants prepare to travel by dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Chios, near Cesme, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Well over half a million migrants have arrived in Greece from Turkey and the vast majority don't want to stay so head north through the Balkans to other, more prosperous European Union countries.(AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

Six children have drowned in Turkish water in two separate incidents, among them were four Afghans.

The children died after their boat on their way to Greece sank off Turkey’s coast, local media reported.

One vessel was carrying 55 Syrian and Afghan migrants that capsized due to bad weather conditions off the town of Ayvacik from where the Turkish coastguards recovered the bodies of four Afghan children.

Another wooden boat on its way to island of Kos carrying around 20 refugees sank off due to harsh weather condition near the southwestern resort of Bodrum on Friday.

Turkish coast guards say dead bodies of two children were recovered reportedly sisters of one and four years of age.

Turkey has become the main transit point for people fleeing war and misery for a better life in Europe and the town of Ayvacik is the core crossing point for refugees trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos.

Meanwhile, European Union (EU) has agreed with Turkish officials in principle to a refugee action plan, which is expected to be finalized at a summit on Sunday.

]]> 0
NATO calls for calm and de-escalation after Russian jet downed by Turkey Wed, 25 Nov 2015 06:08:11 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Jens Stoltenberg on Russian jet downedThe NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called for calm and de-escalation after a Russian was shot down by Turkey, prompting anger among the Russian officials.

However, Mr. Stoltenberg said “I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and I call for calm and de-escalation,” insisting that diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation.

Stoltenberg also added that “Turkey informed Allies about the downing of a Russian Air Force plane violating Turkish airspace.”

He said “I have previously expressed my concerns about the implications of the military actions of the Russian Federation close to NATO’s borders.”

“This highlights the importance of having and respecting arrangements to avoid such incidents in the future,” Stoltenberg, said adding that “As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO Ally, Turkey.”

The Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Turkey for shooting down the Su-24 jet, saying the loss is a result of stab in the back delivered by accomplices of terrorists.

Condemning the act as ‘severe violation of international law’, a top Russian defense official, said the Su-24 was downed over the Syrian territory.

He also claimed that the crash site was four kilometers away from the Turkish border, accusing Turkey for violating the Syrian airspace.

One of the two crew members of the downed jet was killed after rebels opened fire when they ejected. Another Russian marine was killed shortly after the jet was downed when he was on a helicopter mission to rescue the crew of the jet.

]]> 1
Turkey stabbed Russia in the back by shooting Russian fighter jet: Putin Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:11:39 +0000 Read the full article...]]> In his reaction following the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has Turkey has backstabbed Russia, calling the act a stand out against the fight to suppress terrorism.

He said “This incident stands out against the usual fight against terrorism. Our troops are fighting heroically against terrorists, risking their lives.”

“But the loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists,” Putin added.

Stressing that the Russian Su-24 fighter jet did not pose any threat to Turkey, Putin said the plane was about a kilometer away from the Turkish border and was hit by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-1 jet.

He also added that the crash site is four kilometers from the border and the fighter jet was targeting terrorist targets in the Latakia province of Syria when it came under attack.

In regards to the financing of terrorist groups in Syria, Putin said Russia is aware of oil going from Syria under the control of terrorists to Turkey for a long time.

“IS has big money, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, from selling oil. In addition they are protected by the military of an entire nation. One can understand why they are acting so boldly and blatantly. Why they kill people in such atrocious ways. Why they commit terrorist acts across the world, including in the heart of Europe,” he added.

Putin said the incident will have grave consequences for Russia’s relations with Turkey, Warning that the act by Turkey would not go without an answer.

]]> 0
Turkey shoots down Russian Su-24 fighter jet Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:23:13 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Russian shot down by TurkeyA Russian Su-24 fighter jet has been shot down on the Turkish-Syrian border with the Turkish officials saying the plane was shot after it entered the Turkish airspace, the officials said.

Quoting defense officials, the state-run Sputnik International report that the “Su-24 of the Russian aviation group has crashed in the Syrian Arab Republic after alleged fire from the ground.”

The report further added that the plane was gunned down from the ground, citing preliminary reports.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia said the Su-24 bomber jet was in Syrian airspace at the altitude 6,000 meters. The pilots were reportedly able to parachute out of the jet before it crashed.

A statement by Ministry of Defense of Russia said “The plane was located at an altitude of 6,000 meters. The fate of the pilots is still unknown. According to the preliminary data, the pilots were able to eject. The circumstances of the plane’s crash are under investigation. The Russian Ministry of Defense notes that during the flight the plane was located strictly in the Syrian airspace. It was registered.”

However, the Turkish army officials say the Russian plane had violated the country’s air space close to the Syrian border and was shot down after ignoring several warnings.

According to the Turkish officials, the plane was shot down earlier this morning with an F-16 fighter jet.

]]> 0
Putin’s enormous multibillion-dollar war room revealed Sun, 22 Nov 2015 09:48:58 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Putin War Room

As Moscow is expanding its counter-terrorism operations in Syria following a deadly terrorist attack on the country’s passenger jet last month, the Russian defense ministry’s new three-tiered, multi-billion-rouble National Control Defence Centre was the star of the show of a press briefing in Moscow earlier this week.

Putin went straight to the Centre after the Russian officials confirmed on 17th November that the charter jet crashed due to an act of terrorism.

With a capability to coordinate action by the Russian military around the world, including launches of ballistic missiles and the deployment of nuclear weapons, the long-range strategic bombers were shown in cinema sized screens taking off from the Russian air bases to fly missions to Syria.

As Russia seeks a central role in a proposed anti-terrorist coalition, Putin instructed commanders in Syria to “make contact with the French and work with them as allies”.

According to reports, the fortified center is sitting on top a maze of underground tunnels, on the Frunze Naberezhnaya on the left bank of the Moscow river, a little over two miles from Red Square.

The multi-billion dollars center is part of a massive, decade-long modernization of Russia’s army which was completed in 2014.

In a breathless headline this week, a Russian news agency noted “Russian Defense Data Center Outperforms US Facility Threefold: Official.”

The building is roughly the equivalent of the U.S. National Military Command Centre used by the Pentagon, the center also includes a helicopter pad that was deployed on the Moscow River late last year and can accommodate Russia’s Mi-8 transport helicopter.

The Centre would serve as the Russia’s premier communications center with the country’s Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu saying the Centre represents a step toward “forming a single information space for solving tasks in the interests of the country’s defense”.

]]> 1
APEC: Towards Open and Equal Cooperation in the Interests of Development Fri, 20 Nov 2015 07:31:10 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Putin on APECIn the run-up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on November 18–19 in the Philippines, an article by Vladimir Putin, APEC: Towards open and equal cooperation in the interests of development. 

November 17, 2015

The latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit will take place on November 18–19 in Manila. This year’s summit takes place under the motto chosen by the Philippines presidency – Building inclusive economies, building a better world.

For a long time trade has been the driving force of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world. However, as the effect of tariff liberalisation started to wear off, it became clear that we need additional agreements covering services, investment, non-tariff barriers, competition policy, and subsidies. Of course, we cannot reach such agreements without complicated negotiations and mutual concessions.

Deeper regional economic integration offers us a possible way out of the current situation. Today, Russia and its close neighbours – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan – have taken successful steps to develop the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Our integration project is based on the WTO’s universal, transparent principles and is designed from the outset to work together with other countries and their organisations. In May this year, we signed a free trade agreement between the EAEU and Vietnam. Another 40 countries are examining the possibility of signing similar agreements.

One example of responsible and transparent partnership is the agreement to converge our EAEU project with China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. This will allow us to resolve a number of bottlenecks in transport infrastructure and procedures for cross-border movement of goods and services. It will also give a big boost to effective integration of the Asia-Pacific economies.

We hope to reach mutually advantageous agreements on traditional and renewable energy sources, emergency and disaster response, food security and agriculture at the Russia-ASEAN summit next year in Sochi.

Overall, the creation of new free trade zones will help to create good conditions for liberalising trade and investment flows in the region. At the same time however, the confidential fashion in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations were conducted is probably not the best way to facilitate sustainable growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

We believe that the strategic road ahead lies not only in increasing the number of free trade zones, but also in joint development and implementation of the best liberalisation practices among all APEC members, taking into account each other’s positions and interests. In this respect, we should continue our course of bolstering APEC’s role as a coordinator of various integration initiatives aimed at developing in the region a common and open market, free of discrimination and bloc-based barriers. Here, effective implementation of the Beijing roadmap for APEC’s contribution to establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade zone, approved in Beijing in 2014, is particularly important.

Realising the APEC countries’ development potential will take more than just reaching agreement on the rules of the game for today’s trade flows. We need to work out common approaches to development and regulation of the emerging markets that make up the digital technology-based ‘new economy’. We need to put in place the institutions and rules that will contribute to development and create new opportunities for our countries’ businesspeople to create modern, promising products and high quality jobs.

Russia, for its part, is active in the work of the region’s new financial institutions – the [New Development] Bank BRICS and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. I am sure that their work will help to develop the region and will also help to make the global financial system stronger and more stable.

At the national level, Russia continues its efforts to create the most comfortable business climate. Our efforts have received international appraisal and over the last 4 years, Russia has moved up 69 points in the World Bank’s Doing Business rating, from 120th place to 51st place.

We place great importance on developing the potential of Russia’s Far East. This year, we began developing the priority development areas – economic zones offering what for Russia are unprecedented tax and other incentives. A special law was passed on a free port in Vladivostok. We plan to extend this status to other key ports in the Far East. The Far East ports, the Northern Sea Route, and modernisation of our mainline railways will all contribute to greater integration with the Asia-Pacific region and create an important infrastructure link between the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

APEC countries are showing real interest too in Russia’s proposals to form a common education space in the region. Today, when the Asia-Pacific region has established itself ever more solidly as part of the world’s leading technology centres, it is more relevant than ever to combine our efforts to create big research platforms and centres. Recognising Russia’s sense of initiative in this area, our partners have entrusted our country, together with Peru, the right to preside over the APEC Education Ministerial Meeting, which will take place in Lima in 2016.

Rapid economic growth is not possible without guaranteed energy security in the APEC region and fair and long-term climate regulation. Russia supports APEC’s efforts to establish good conditions for investing in the regional energy transport system, develop integrated energy markets, increase the share of eco-friendly and renewable energy sources, and ensure access to low-carbon technologies.

The Paris Climate Change Conference will take place soon, in December. This conference will try to reach a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Russia wants to see this work succeed and we have already presented our report on our country’s contribution to these efforts.

The scale and diversity of APEC’s tasks is very impressive. I believe that we will be successful in resolving these tasks if we keep to the fundamental principles of working together as partners and acting in the interests of our peoples and our efforts to create a united Asia-Pacific family.

]]> 0
Europe’s first female suicide bomber had no interest in religion Thu, 19 Nov 2015 18:31:28 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Europe's first female suicide bomber

Terrorist groups are usually using individuals with less or no knowledge regarding religion to carry out terrorist and suicide attacks and such is the case with the latest suicide blast in Paris where a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives during a police raid.

New distressing details have emerged regarding the 26-year-old Hasna Ait Boulahcen who blew herself up, suggesting that she had no interest in religion and had never read the holy book of Islam – Quran.

The incident reminds of Zar Ajam who was originally a Pakistani citizen and was involved in a deadly attack on a private bank branch in Jalalabad city of Afghanistan.

Ajam who was not even aware of the capital city of Pakistan, killed at least 40 civilians and injured over 80 others after storming the bank branch. Later, he was executed for the horrific attack on civilians.

In the meantime, revealing pictures of Europe’s first female suicide bomber have emerged online showing her relaxing in a bubble bath and posing with friends.

Described as party-loving boozer, Hasna had no interest in religion or the Quran, according to her brother whose statement was cited in a report by MailOnline.

Ait Boulahcen’s head and spine flew through a window in yesterday’s anti-terror police gun battle as the suicide bomber screamed, ‘help me, help me!’ and ‘I’m not his girlfriend!’, before detonating her explosive vest.

The ferocious gun battle took place north of Paris, where the mastermind of the Paris bombings, her cousin Belgian ISIS fighter Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed.

Eight people were arrested in the raid, including two found in the rubble of the building close to the Stade de France, where last Friday’s attacks started with suicide bombings during a France-Germany football international, according to MailOnline.

]]> 0
Two suspects killed, one blowing herself up, during raid in suburb of Paris Wed, 18 Nov 2015 07:36:26 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Paris

Two suspects have been killed including a female who reportedly blew herself up with own explosives north of Paris.

Gunfire and explosions were also heard in the area and later officials said that four policemen sustained injuries.

Reports suggest that seven more suspects were arrested during the pre-dawn raid on an apartment in Saint Denis suburb of Paris.

The anti-terrorism raid which lasted almost seven hours was carried out on suspension that Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud might be inside the apartment but officials have not immediately revealed whether the suspect was in fact inside or not.

France has speeded up its anti-terrorism operation after the deadly attack on Friday that left 153 people killed and more than 100 wounded.

The attacks were later claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which prompted anger of France.

The country’s president has said that France would be merciless towards ISIS.

French fighter jets recently bombed a command center, training site and other positions of ISIS in Syria in retaliation to the attacks.

]]> 0
G20 summit kicks off in Turkey amid tight security Sun, 15 Nov 2015 10:34:21 +0000 Read the full article...]]> G20The tenth G20 summit has kicked off in the southwestern Turkish city of Antalya on Sunday amid tight security after deadly attacks in Paris where hundreds of people were killed and wounded.

Around 13,000 officials and 3,000 journalists from across the world have reached to Belek town, which has been declared a high-security Red Zone and a virtual no-go zone for the non-delegates, for the summit at the town’s Regnum Carya Hotel Convention Center.

Thousands of additional security personnel have been deployed and high-tech surveillance systems placed as leaders of the world’s 20 top economies congregated for the two-day G20 Summit in the resort town.

The summit is made up of 19 countries and the EU but this year, six more countries have been invited as guests.

Over 12,000 security personnel, drone detection equipments, 350 mobile cameras with license-plate recording and face-recognition systems are part of the measures taken for the meeting.

More than this, no tourists are allowed to stay in the hotels in Belek until the end of the summit.,

Market places and shops have been closed and barricades and placed by security forces alongside roads leading to the venue.

The country’s national defense and security agencies have been put on alert to respond to any possible threat.

The world leaders taking part in the summit include U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international organizations.

]]> 0
Seven Afghans, one Ukrainian killed in helicopter crash in Slovakia Sun, 15 Nov 2015 05:06:15 +0000 Read the full article...]]> 1785410Seven Afghans and one Ukrainian have lost lives in a helicopter crash in central European country of Slovakia, the country’s interior ministry said on Saturday.

Reuters news agency reports that a Ukrainian civilian helicopter that illegally entered Slovak airspace and crashed on Wednesday killed eight people aboard including a Ukrainian pilot and five men and two women from Afghanistan.

According to the report, Slovak authorities have said an unidentified helicopter was detected in Slovak airspace on Wednesday night. They said Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed that any aircraft had crossed the border, which is also the EU’s eastern border.

Ivan Netik, spokesman for the ministry has been cited as saying that a search operation was begun after the crash but due to heavy fog found the crash site only on Friday,.

“The Mi-2 helicopter with Ukrainian markings was flying at a low altitude in very bad weather conditions, as if it was trying to avoid being detected,” Netik said.

Documents in Arabic were found at the site which point to the victims being from Afghanistan, he said.

The ministry said it was working with Ukrainian authorities to investigate and has hinted that people smuggling may have been involved.

]]> 0
ISIS held responsible for deadly Paris attacks, three days of national mourning announced Sat, 14 Nov 2015 10:51:54 +0000 Read the full article...]]> paris-1French President Francois Hollande has held the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) responsible for Friday’s deadly attacks and announced three days of national mourning.

Without naming any country, Hollande said the attacks were co-ordinated, planned and organised from abroad with assistance from inside France.

“I pay homage to the country’s defenders who fought the terrorists yesterday,” he said. “Everyone has given their utmost and will be putting in their best efforts in the day to come.”

Hollande called the attack an “act of war” and “cowardly” and said that every measures would be taken to fight the phenomena of terrorism.

“In this most serious and uncertain time, I call for unity and courage,” he said. “Even if France is wounded, she will rise.”

ISIS’s propaganda wing, the Al-Hayat Media Centre, has released an undated video where a militant says France “will not live in peace as long as bombing continues”.

A bearded man, speaking in Arabic, is shown calling on the Muslim community in France to conduct attacks there in case can’t go to Syria.

“As long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace. You will even fear traveling to the market,” he says, according to a Reuters translation.

Eight attackers targeted six sites in Paris, including a stadium where a soccer match was going on between France and Germany, made a shocking night on November 13.

The attacks left at least 153 people killed and over 100 others wounded.

ISIS had reportedly claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine which left 12 people killed in January this year.

]]> 0
Paris attacks death toll climbs to 153 Sat, 14 Nov 2015 05:13:22 +0000 Read the full article...]]> French security moves people in the area of Rue Bichat in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital Paris following a string of attacks on November 13, 2015. At least 18 people were killed as multiple shootings and explosions hit Paris, police said. Police also said there was an ongoing hostage crisis in the Bataclan a concert hall in the French capital. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

The death toll from last night’s attacks in Paris has claimed to 153 with several others wounded.

Thousands of fans had gathered at a stadium to watch a match between France and Germany when a series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Paris last night.

Reports suggest that eight individuals carried out the attacks using AK-47s and bombs.

All of the attackers are believed to have been killed, seven of them in suicide bombings, but police are still hunting down for any accomplices.

French President Francois Hollande has declared national state of emergency, tightening security at borders and around Paris.

Talking to reporters outside the concert hall of Le Bataclan, an attack site, President Hollande threatened that: “We are going to lead a war without mercy.”

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the string of coordinated attacks but President Hollande told reporters “We know who they are, we know where they come from.”

Six sites were hit in the attacks which is the deadliest in the western capital after 2001.

The White House said “This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

]]> 0
Norway warns Afghan migrants arriving from Russia of one-way ticket to Kabul Tue, 10 Nov 2015 07:18:35 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Refugees and migrants gather near a check point on the Russian-Norwegian border outside Nickel (Nikel) settlement in Murmansk region, Russia, October 30, 2015. The flow of Middle Eastern migrants trying to reach Europe via the Russian Arctic slowed dramatically on October 29, partly due to a shortage of bicycles to cross the border, a source who deals with them told Reuters. According to officials, many Syrians obtain business or study visas to enter Russia and then travel through Moscow and Murmansk to Nickel, a town of some 12,000 population named after the metal mined there. REUTERS/Fyodor Porokhin


The Norwegian government has sent a stern warning to Afghan asylum seekers coming across the border from Russia: You could get a one-way ticket to Kabul, reported Cable News Network (CNN) reported on Monday.

“It is important that the Norwegian authorities are sending a clear signal to people who do not need protection or already are legally residing in Russia,” said the country’s minister of Justice and Public Security in a statement.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) that is responsible for processing applications from foreign nationals who wish to visit or live in Norway says that all cases of Afghans arriving from Russia will be assessed and those with legal status in Russia might be sent back there.

“All cases will be individually assessed. People who have been legally residing in Russia may also be refused residence and sent back to Russia.” Martin Andersson, a press adviser with the UDI told CNN.

According to the report citing UDI, hundreds of migrants have been crossing into Norway from Russia each week via the frontier above the Arctic Circle — but last week marked a turning point, with more Afghans than Syrians seeking asylum for the first time.

]]> 0
Erdogan calls on world to respect election result Mon, 02 Nov 2015 12:00:52 +0000 Read the full article...]]> ErdoganTurkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan made a call on world to respect the country’s parliamentary election result which shows his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), in the lead.

“The entire world needs to respect this. I haven’t seen very much of such respect in the world,” Erdogan said after praying at a mosque in Istanbul on Monday.

While talking to reporters, Erdogan said Turks had voted for stability on Sunday after the failure of coalition talks following a June vote.

“The national will has been manifested as of Nov. 1 in favor of stability and those short-term developments told the national will ‘There is no other way than the national will,’ and displayed the making of such a decision,” Erdogan said, urging the nation to be united in the face of “great plots” that are being set up in the entire country.

In reply to a reporter’s question that some of the international media reports criticized his leadership, Erdogan said, “Why don’t they respect the national will? They haven’t displayed respect since the day when the national will elected Erdogan as president with 52 percent up to this date. One should ask, ‘Is this your understanding of democracy?.”

Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reports that almost all of the votes have been counted and the AKP has received majority of them.

]]> 0
30 killed, 126 wounded in twin explosions in Turkey Sat, 10 Oct 2015 10:37:32 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Turkey30 people were killed and 126 others wounded when two explosions apparently targeting a peace rally by hundreds of people in the capital Ankara on Saturday.

Government called the explosions a terror attack and said that investigation is underway to find out if they were the act of suicide attacker(s).

Turkey’s Interior Ministry said that the explosions occurred as demonstrators were starting to gather for a rally to call for an end to the renewed violence between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.

The ministry condemned the attack which it said “targets Turkey’s democracy and peace.”

The explosions occurred minutes apart from each other near Ankara’s train station from where the demonstration was scheduled to begin by the country’s Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions.

Lami Ozgen, head of the Unions, said two bombs “exploded in very short intervals”. “There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara,” he added.

Video footage on social media showed several bodies lying on the ground with ambulances rushing the victims to the local hospital.

No group had immediately claimed for the attack by the time this report was filed but ISIS was behind a suicide attack in a town near Turkey’s border with Syria which left 33 people killed in July.

Ahmet Davutoğlu, the country’s Prime Minister is expected to hold a meeting with security officials later today.

]]> 0
100s of UK-based Afghans staged protest against Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan Mon, 21 Sep 2015 06:58:12 +0000 Read the full article...]]> London3

Hundreds of Afghans living in the United Kingdom staged a peaceful demonstration in front of Pakistan High Commission in London on Sunday to protest Pakistan’s involvement in Afghan affairs.

The protest was attended by British Afghan community groups, student associations, youth networks, civil society activists, renowned Afghan scholars, poets and writers who expressed anger over to the recent escalation of violence including a wave of suicide attacks in Kabul that left dozens of civilians killed and hundreds of others wounded.

Protesters said that Taliban, Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups in Pakistan are carrying out attacks in Afghanistan that claim the lives of innocent civilians including children and women and as well as foreign aid workers and Afghan and international security forces.

Protesters warned that the fire which is currently burning Afghanistan would eventually reach to Lahore and Islamabad.

“The aim of the protest is to raise our voice against the killing of innocent Afghan brethren and tell the perpetrators to stop their murderous campaigns. Recent spate of suicide attacks such as the ones in Kabul that took the life of hundreds of innocent Afghans is no more bearable”, said Ahmad Farid Mall, from Afghan Association Paiwand and a participant of the demonstration.

Rahela Siddiqui, Refugee Woman for Woman, said “It’s now clear to the world that Pakistan is the nest of terrorism. Pakistan military and intelligence agencies provided safe havens for Osama Ben-Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mullah Omar, Haqqani Network leaders who were responsible for September 11 attacks, 7/7 London bombings and numerous other major attacks around the world. The world cannot afford to stand by and watch Pakistan go about its own business. It must take stringent action against Pakistan to stop the export of terrorism”.

“Though the two-faced military regime in Pakistan pledged support in the fight against terrorism, they covertly provided Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Haqqani Network sanctuaries inside Pakistan and supported them to regroup and launch a murderous campaign in Afghanistan”, said Awesta Telyar Azada, a UK based woman rights and civil society activist, insisting that: “The UN security council should consider declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The protesters demanded Pakistan to immediately put an end to its destructive policies in Afghanistan.

Demonstrators ultimately submitted their resolution to Pakistan High Commission and demanded that terrorist sanctuaries must be eliminated in Pakistan.

]]> 4
Cristiano Ronaldo Brings Tripped Syrian Refugee Boy Onto Soccer Field Sun, 20 Sep 2015 19:20:53 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Cristiano Syrian refugee

The stars of Real Madrid including Cristiano Ronaldo greeted the Syrian refugee family whose plight was made famous when they were tripped by a Hungarian camerawoman.

The Syrian refugee Osama Abdel-Muhsen Al-Ghadab was invited by Madrid together with his sons Mohammad, 18, and Zaid, seven, to the match, which Madrid won 1-0 against Granada.

They were invited to the game as part of a wonderful show of support where they received plenty of applause from the Bernabeu crowd.

“Little Zaid got to know his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, with whom he was photographed on the pitch,” the club said in a statement alongside a picture of the family with the World Player of the Year and a host of his Madrid teammates.

The statement further added “The father of the Syrian family, who was tripped by a Hungarian journalist, and his sons met (coach) Rafael Benitez, the technical staff and the squad minutes before the final training session ahead of the game against Granada.”

Mohsen is a former coach of Syrian first division side Al-Fotuwa and has been offered a job at the CENAFE coaches’ training school run by Galan.

Al-Ghadab was among the scores of refugees fleeing the border in Hungary when he was deliberately kicked by the camerawoman Petra Laszlo.

She was immediately fired after the footage went viral in the media showing Mr. Al-Ghadab screaming in disbelief after he falls on top of the boy as they tumble to the ground with man carrying all his belongings with him.

]]> 0
EU ministers divided over response to migrant crisis Tue, 15 Sep 2015 10:36:38 +0000 Read the full article...]]> RefugeeThe European Union home affairs ministers held an emergency meeting on migrant crisis on September 14 which ended with divisions over response to migrant crisis.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s Migration Commissioner announced after Brussels’ meeting that all of the ministers did not agree on the proposal

“But for our proposal on 120,000 we did not have the agreement that we wanted. The majority of the member states are ready to move on, but not all,” he said.

Hungary and Slovakia are leading the leading oppositions with Budapest saying that the entire system is wrong that will attract more people.

Euronews quotes its reporter as saying that: “From the closing remarks of the meeting it’s clear that the leaders made some concessions towards the hardline politicians in Europe. In the future for example the asylum requests might be judged outside of the EU, and they will also strengthen the border protection at the EU’s external borders.”

]]> 0
French man jailed for 30 years after killing 3-year-old son in washing machine Sat, 12 Sep 2015 07:19:49 +0000 Read the full article...]]> BastienA French father has been jailed for 30 years after killing his three-year-old son in a washing machine, apparently a penalty for misbehavior.

Christophe Champenois, 36, rammed three-year-old Bastien into the washing machine, switched it on and went to serve the internet in the town of Germigny-l’Eveque, east of Paris, in November 2011.

Charlene Cotte, 29, the child’s mother told investigators that she did a puzzle with her daughter, and Champenois used the internet while their son screamed inside the whirring washing machine.

She said when her ex-husband removed Bastien from the machine and noticed he was no longer breathing, he said: “At least he won’t bother us anymore.”

The court sentenced Cotte for 12 years, for “aiding and abetting murder and violence”.

After noticing that Bastien was no more breathing, Champenoiswho called emergency services and said that his “small problem” had fallen down the stairs.

But Bastien’s older sister, then five, told the doctor that her brother was put in the washing machine.

“Daddy put Bastien in the washing machine because he was naughty at school” she said.

A neighbor who saw the child also told investigators that when she arrived she saw the child as “frozen, completely naked. He was all white, limp, practically like a toy.”

Investigators revealed that Bastien was not wanted by his father for having misbehavior at home and school.

Isabelle Steyer, lawyer for a child protection group said that: “This is not an isolated act… it is not a fit of rage or madness, it is the final act of violence against a child who was always mistreated.”

]]> 0
Hungarian camerawoman fired for deliberately kicking and tripping over migrants Wed, 09 Sep 2015 16:05:47 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Hungarian camerawoman kick migrants

A Hungarian camerawoman was fired after she was caught on camera deliberately kicking and tripping over fleeing migrants .

The act by the camerawoman sparked an outraged on social media as well after she was seen in the film tripping a man running with a child in his arms.

The man screams in disbelief after he falls on top of the boy as they tumble to the ground with man carrying all his belongings with him.

The camerawoman identified as Petra Laszlo could also face a criminal investigation as moments later she was seen kicking other migrants as they run including a young girl in the leg.

The Editor in Chief of N1TV station Szabolcs Kisberk said the videographer has been fired calling her behavior as completely unacceptable.

Thousands of people took to a Facebook “shame wall” to criticize her acts by labeling her ‘pathetic’ and ‘disgraceful’.

Laszlo was filming Syrian refugees as they fled across a field on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

She could face a sentence of up to five years in prison as the opposition parties Együtt-PM and the Democratic Coalition are saying they will seek to initiate charges of violence against a member of the community.

]]> 1
Finland’s PM offers his home to refugees Sun, 06 Sep 2015 06:03:40 +0000 Read the full article...]]> FinlandFinland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila has announced on Saturday that he will keep refugees in his home, a sign of solidarity with the refugees who have been fleeing their countries because of war.

Juha Sipila said that he is offering his home to displaced migrants, many fleeing from the war in Syria. “We should all take a look in the mirror and ask how we can help,” said Sipilä in an interview with the Finnish media outlet YLE according to Reuters.

Sipilä said that his seldom-used home in Kempele in northern Finland could welcome refugees starting early next year.

A former businessman, Sipilä assumed office in May 2015 and is not a stranger to personal tragedy. His youngest son, Tuomo, 20, died due to complications from a surgery in February.

As the European Union deliberates how to redistribute the 120,000 refugees who have flocked to Greece, Italy and Hungary, Sipilä said he believes that countries should provide assistance on a voluntary basis but hopes that Finland will set an example.

His government also announced recently that they are preparing to welcome up to 30,000 asylum seekers this year, increasing the number by seven-fold since last year.

]]> 0
Austrian police rescue 24 Afghan migrants locked inside a truck Wed, 02 Sep 2015 05:17:33 +0000 Read the full article...]]> AustPolice in Vienna, capital of Austria, have rescued 24 Afghan migrants who were locked in a truck. Austrian officials said on Tuesday the men aged 16 to 20 were hiding in an air-tight compartment and risked suffocation.

Police told reporters that the sliding of the door was welded shut and the tailgate had been locked leaving the men in a very dangerous situation.

“It was like a rolling prison cell … they were crammed in, sitting and standing on top of each other

“They would not have made it too much further.” Thomas Keiblinger, a Vienna police spokesman told Reuters news agency.

Police also said that the driver of the truck fled as police officers approached but he was later arrested. Initial investigation reveals that the truck had come from Hungary.

This comes days after 71 migrants were found dead inside an abandoned truck. Forensic team believed the Syrian migrants had died of suffocation.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have been fleeing their countries because of war. They have been taking dangerous routes to reach out to Europe. In previous months hundreds of people died when their tiny boats capsized in river.

]]> 0
EU ministers to hold emergency meeting on migrant crisis Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:15:07 +0000 Read the full article...]]> MigrantThe European Union home affairs ministers will hold an emergency meeting on migrant crisis next month in Brussels.

“In order to assess the situation on the ground, the political actions underway and to discuss the next steps in order to strengthen the European response, the Luxembourg Minister for Immigration and Asylum Jean Asselborn decided to convene an extraordinary JHA (justice and home affairs) Council,” said the Luxembourg government in a statement.

Europe is struggling to find a united front to cope with the escalating migration crisis.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor has urged other EU countries to accept a greater share of the refugees.

But EU Parliament’s Vice-President, Mairead McGuiness, says a sustainable solution must be found at European level to stop the migrant crisis escalating further.

These migrants include people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria who have been fleeing their countries because of fighting.

The EU meeting is scheduled to be held on September 14.

]]> 0
Afghan migrants moved from tents to shipping container homes in Greece Mon, 17 Aug 2015 11:19:46 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Afghan refugeesHundreds of migrants, most of them from Afghanistan, who had arrived illegally in Greece and living in tents, have been resettled in shipping container homes by the country’s government.

Each shipping container home can house from six to eight people and equipped with air conditioning, running water and toilets.

Police in Athens District of Votanikos subdivisions say majority of the migrants were concerned that by the pretext of resettlement, the government is actually making it easy to send them back to their respective countries.

“I am afraid that they are going to send us back to Afghanistan. I’m scared of being sent to a fenced place where I won’t be able to go anywhere,” said Zahra Mohseni, an Afghan migrant.

Looking at this reason 30 migrants refused the relocation and some others were still living in other public spaces in Athens.

But the government said that the place is not a detention center and that every person is allowed to easily go and come.

Greece government says they have received more than 130,000 migrants so far this year which has badly affected the country’s economy.

]]> 0
Five Turkish soldiers killed in roadside bombing, attack on helicopter Mon, 10 Aug 2015 11:33:26 +0000 Read the full article...]]> istanbul3Five Turkish soldiers were killed and another wounded in a roadside landmine explosion and armed attack in southeastern Sirnak Province, bordering Iraq and Syria on Monday.

The governor’s office of Sirnak confirming the incident in Silopi district said in a statement that the roadside bomb was detonated with a remote control at around 09:00 am.

“A large-scale operation has been launched to find the perpetrators of this terrorist attack,” the statement added.

In a separate incident, a Turkish soldier lost live when a helicopter came under attack in Beytussebap District of the Sirnak province.

The attack has been blamed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist designated organization by Turkey, US and the EU, has been fighting for self-rule.

“He was severely wounded in the attack carried out by PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorists on the military chopper at 7.05 a.m. [0400 GMT]; he died at 9.45 a.m. [0645 GMT] despite efforts to save his life at a military hospital in Sirnak,” the Turkish military said in a statement.

PKK began fighting for self-rule in 1984 and around 40,000 people have been killed since in the fighting since then.

Turkish government and PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan initiated a peace process in 2012 but the attacks have halted that process.

]]> 0
Two Turkish soldiers killed, 24 wounded in suicide attack Sun, 02 Aug 2015 10:22:41 +0000 Read the full article...]]> TurkeyTwo Turkish soldiers have been killed and 24 others wounded in a suicide attack in eastern part of Turkey.

Officials say a suicide bomber driving a tractor laden with explosives targeted a military police station near the town Dogubayezit in Agri province earlier on Sunday morning.

The blast left two soldiers killed and 24 others wounded but the death toll may rise as the health condition of some of the victims was announced to be critical at the hospital.

Anadolu, the Turkish state news agency reported that two tons of explosive materials were used in the attack and that it was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Sunday’s attack carried out near the Iranian border has been blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) but the group had not commented on the commented on the report by the time it was filed.

Turkish airstrikes began on 24 July, after Turkey allowed US-led coalition forces to use its bases against ISIS in the neighboring Syria.

PKK has been fighting for autonomous homeland for Kurds but Turkey considers it as a terrorist organization.

The group began its armed uprising in 1984 and over 40,000 people have been killed due to the fighting since then.

]]> 0
Turkish police arrest over 800 suspects in counter-terrorism raids Mon, 27 Jul 2015 05:43:26 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Turkish Police Gun Down a Woman in Counter Terrorism Operation

Turkish Police 

The Turkish police have apprehended over 800 suspects during counter-terrorism raids across the country.

The operations started on Friday after a wave of deadly attacks that left at least 33 people killed.

32 civilians were killed and more than 100 others wounded in a single attack that took place near the town of Suruc, located in the southeastern part of Turkey on July 20.

The explosion targeted a cultural center where around 300 people had gathered for a conference a day after a police officer was shot dead by unknown gunman in Istanbul.

Officials say the operations are aimed to find those having links with Daesh, Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and doing other anti-state activities including attacking security forces and staging illegal demonstrations.

Police say over 100 people including a Daesh suspect who goes by its nickname ‘Abu Hanzala’ and 37 foreigners were arrested from Istanbul and others were arrested from other parts of the country.

Turkey is an ally of the US coalition formed against Islamic State that is bombing the militant positions in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

]]> 0
World’s oldest Quran fragments found by British university Wed, 22 Jul 2015 10:22:29 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Quran fragment Britain

The University of Birmingham in United Kingdom has found Manuscript fragments of the Holy Quran dating back at least 1,370 years.

The fragments of the holy Quran was found among the archives of the British higher education establishment of the University of Birmingham.

The pages of the holy Quran, identified to have been written in an early form of Arabic, were part of a collection brought back to Britain from Iraq in the 1920s.

According to a report by BBC, the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognized in the university library and had never been recognized for their antiquity or value for almost a century.

Written on goat or sheepskin, the fragments almost certainly come from between the years 568 and 645, according to the radiocarbon dating indicating the fragments.

The Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit carried out the tests which have an accuracy probability of more than 95%.

Professor of Christianity and Islam David Thomas in the University of Birmingham told BBC “They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam.”

Professor Thomas further added that the dating of the Birmingham folios would mean that it was quite possible that the person who had written them would have been alive at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

]]> 0
Afghans among 14 killed by train in Southeast Europe Sat, 25 Apr 2015 08:53:49 +0000 Read the full article...]]> MacedoniaSeveral Afghans were among 14 migrants lost their lives after they were hit by a train in central Macedonia, Southeast Europe.
Police say migrants were heading towards the European Union along the railway tracks when hit by a train on Thursday.
According to Macedonian authorities the Afghan and Somali migrants were heading from northern Greek city of Thessalnoiki to the Serbian capital of Belgrade when the incident happened in Veles city, central part of Macedonia.
The city prosecutor in a statement says that the driver of the train saw dozens of people on the tracks.
“At that moment, he took action to stop the train and engage the siren, at which point some people left the tracks. The train was unable to stop before hitting and running over some of them.” the statement states.
Rescue operation was launched soon after the incident but the operation pace was slow because the area was only accessible by railway or foot.
Authorities believe members of the group were between 30-40 people, eight of them arrested and the remaining fled the area before police arrived.
Illegal migrants and refugees usually take the overland route from Greece to central and Western Europe and use railway tracks for guidance.

]]> 1
Death toll climbed to 54 in Russian trawler tragedy Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:44:47 +0000 Read the full article...]]> RussianThe death toll of the Russian trawler that capsized in the freezing waters of the country’s Kamchatka peninsula has climbed to 54 while 15 people are still missing.

A total of 132 people were on board but 63 people were rescued.

Most of the passengers on board were Russians.

78 of those on board were Russian nationals and the rest were from Ukraine, Vanuatu, Lithuania and Myanmar.

Russian Emergencies Ministry states that rescue operation is involving 1,300 people and 29 units of equipment with over two dozen ships and a rescue helicopter to look for the 15 passengers who are still missing.

Russian news agency Tass reports that that trawler sank in the Sea of Okhotsk 330 kilometers west of Krutogorovsky settlement in the Kamchatka region.

Tass states that the possible cause of the incident might be that the vessel have struck an obstacle at around 06:30 local (20:30 GMT Wednesday) that have pierced a hole in the vessel which caused the trawler sank. “The investigators believe that the most probable cause of the fast submersion of the vessel is the possible collision with an obstacle,” Tass stated.

]]> 0
Lamb born with face like an ‘angry old man’ terrifies village in Russia Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:19:39 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Lamb with human face in Russia

A farmer in south-western Russia was left in shock when one of his lambs gave birth to an offspring with a “human-like” face.

The 45-year-old Blasius Lavrentiev from Chirka said he was completely baffled by the unique lamb as both her parents “are normal-looking sheep”.

According to Lavrentiev, the newborn emerged as an angry old man with a protruding nose, huge ears and a gurning mouth.

“We had quite a tough winter and when I noticed she was pregnant I was delighted as it meant I would be able to sell the lambs and start making some money again,” he said.

Lavrentiev said “But when I went down to see how it was going I nearly died from shock when I saw what looked like the hairy face of an old man staring up at me.”

The newborn lamb has become the talk of the village with one of Lavrentiev’s neighbour Dementi Galkin saying “I’ve seen some weird stuff in my time, but nothing like this. She looks like an angry old man with a big nose.”

Another villager Dana Mishina said “She is both freaky and sweet. “I don’t know what to make of it really, But she terrifies my grandchildren. “It will be interesting to see what she looks like when she gets older.”

In the meantime, Lavrentiev said a local circus has proposed to pay 10 times the normal price of the lamb besides receiving several enquiries since the lamb was born.

But he said “Whatever has caused it she’s a little beauty and I definitely won’t be selling her for anyone’s dinner table either as the buyers want her on display.”

“She’ll be staying with us until then,” Lavrentiev added.

]]> 0
Airbus crashes in France with 148 on board Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:19:53 +0000 Read the full article...]]> ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The Airbus A320 was traveling from Barcelona city of Spain to Dusseldorf city of Germany that crashed in Alps mountain range in France on Thursday.

Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France says he fears everyone on board might have been killed.

“We of course don’t know the reasons for the crash. We obviously fear that the 142 to 150 passengers and crew died today, given the conditions of this crash.” He told reporters.

Six crew members were reportedly on the plane apart from 142-150 passengers.

Officials from the transport ministry of France say that before the crash the airbus sent distress signals.

The plane belonged to a German low-cost airline Germanwings which is owned by Lufthansa, the largest airline in Europe.

Germanwings says in an immediate message on its facebook page that they do not know what happened to Flight 4U 9525.

“We do not know exactly what happened to Flight 4U 9525. Our thoughts are now with all the relatives and friends of our passengers and crew. We will do everything possible in order to provide further information.” the message reads.

]]> 0
Charlie Hebdo & The Old World Order Sun, 25 Jan 2015 05:57:36 +0000 Read the full article...]]> By S. Mubashir Noor

In the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo, Western Europe can finally make amends for its mistakes since Armistice Day 1918 by completely clamping down on Muslim migration to the neighborhood. This will force Muslims to learn to love themselves before they expect others to reciprocate. It will help shake off the malaise of learned helplessness that has overwhelmed their lives. They will work towards making their own countries livable, aware that no handouts also mean no strings attached. Sink or swim, do or die.

Charlie Hebdo

This won’t come to pass because the stakes are too high. Misery is big business and business is good. For the many sponsors of manageable chaos, every child born below the poverty line is an opportunity to make a buck. An upwardly mobile third-world is bad for investors, and bad for the soul.

The Entente powers are unwilling to relinquish the right to tut-tut their colonial peasantry. Simultaneously they cannot risk diluting their predisposition to war and disease, for big defense and pharmaceutical contracts depend on it. Immigration is a carrot dangled to these world-weary, a ticket to the promised land of plenty, free of strife and strain.

Now the chickens have come home to roost. The war has announced itself at their doorstep, and freedom fears for its life. Ironically Britain and France have only themselves to blame for a gross miscalculation. At the end of World War I, they greedily divvied up Muslim lands comprising the vanquished Ottoman Empire, thereby dismantling the only leash that would fit rapidly radical Islam, the Caliphate.

Outwardly, the logic was flawless. The Ottoman Empire consisted of local power brokers looking for a leg up. Despite having pledged their allegiances to the Ottoman Sultan, the circumference of nationalities nonetheless provided cracks to chip away at. The Arabian peninsula was especially vulnerable, the Arabs having little in common with their Turk overlords. The Sultan was no mere despot however, he was also Caliph of the Muslim world.

The Islamic institution of the Caliphate was established by companions of the Prophet Muhammed to provide historical continuity to Islam. It survived 1300 years, many relocations and the Mongols. Unlike the Roman Catholic faith where the Pope is law unto himself, the Imam (chief cleric) of the Great Mosque in Mecca has little to no spiritual sway in the Muslim world. The Caliph was considered the spiritual and military leader of the Muslim Ummah (entire community). His personal virtues or lack thereof were irrelevant. He was the only person under Islamic law able to declare offensive jihad.

When the Caliph spoke, Muslims shut up and listened. That was the status quo. It is hard to imagine these alternate realities of Islam slipping into the mainstream had the Caliphate survived. Such theological anomalies and their progenitors would have been flagged and dealt with post-haste to preserve the body politic. Detours of faith propped up by wayward sons would erode the Caliph’s political capital in the Islamic world. That would be unacceptable.

From Morocco to Indonesia, large swathes of Muslim land fell under generations of European rule in the 19th & 20th centuries. Their British & French sovereigns recut the socio-economic fabric to better dress the fealty of their new subjects. Land was exploited, cultures diminished and histories rewritten.

When they grudgingly parted ways after World War II, power was transferred to the local blue-eyed boys, thereby keeping one hook in the national life force. The other hook was planted into infant economies. Promise of money replaced the yoke of tyranny. Neo-colonialism in the form of super-lending entities like the IMF and World Bank came to be. The premise was simple, keep the colonial rat in the money maze. If the Muslim world were addicted to beg and borrow, the Entente owned their first borns for perpetuity.

Trampled underfoot by one scourge after the other, the Muslim consciousness sought refuge in religious introspection. Like a little child it grew possessive of this comfort blanket, lashing out at the mere suggestion of replacement or repair. How else would they get by? For quick perspective, India, that bastion of poverty, has almost 30% of its 1.2 billion living on less than USD $6 a month. 31% of that figure are Muslims.

Muslims display as much humor on the subject of Islam and the Holy Prophet as the Jews do about the Holocaust. They don’t debase other faiths and expect the same courtesy extended to them. If respect is a two-way street then Charlie Hebdo is the land-mine. Three million new copies of another passion-stoking cover may plump up their retirement benefits, but puts them in the crosshairs of other malcontents. Thanks to France and friends, the Muslim world is teeming with them.

]]> 0
Charlie Hebdo again printing cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) on next edition Tue, 13 Jan 2015 06:37:51 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Charlie HebdoCharlie Hebdo announced they will again print the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (peace-be-upon-him) on their next edition.

Charlie Hebdo plans to print 50 times more than what they were printing usually.

Charlie Hebdo is planning to print more than three million copies this time with the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (peace-be-upon-him) on the cover.

This announcement comes at a very sensitive time.

Recent reports published indicate that some 14, 00 people in France have already joined or plan to join the militants groups.

In the meantime France plans to deploy thousands of additional troops to secure the sensitive sites.

This comes after a group of gunmen stormed Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris and killed eleven of their workers.

The attack was later claimed by Al-Qaeda and a video published online showed the announcement of the attackers to Islamic States.

]]> 4
Militants attack French newspaper in Paris, leaving 12 dead Wed, 07 Jan 2015 16:36:22 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Gunmen attack ParisA group of gunmen attacked the office of French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, leaving at least 12 people and several others wounded.

The gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles and  managed to escape after attacking the office.

At least two police officers and four cartoonists of the magazine are among those killed following the attack.

The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said a manhunt is under way in Paris for the assailant militants who escaped in a car.

The four journalists of the magazine killed in the attacked have been named as Stéphane Charbonnier, cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac.

The French President Francois Hollande called the shooting a terror attack and “an act of exptional barbarity”.

No group has far claimed responsibility behind the incident. But, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist grouip has previously wanred it intends to attack France.

Charlie Hebdo has in the past published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, causing furore among the Muslims and its offices were firebombed in 2011. The newspaper has also been poking fun at popes and presidents.

]]> 0
Three men arrested in Belgian hostage siege after police lockdown Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:01:37 +0000 Read the full article...]]> MAIN-Belgium-seige-gunmenThree men were arrested by Belgian police after they allegedly stormed an apartment building and took a hostage in the city of Ghent on Monday.

But police say a hostage allegedly held by the men was released unharmed. 

The alleged motive remains unclear but Belgian authorities have been at pains to say it was “nothing political”. 

Federal police spokeswoman Annemie Serlippens said: “There appears to be nothing political.” 

“We are sure that it has nothing to do with terrorism. We think it might be drug related.”

She later added: “This isn’t the same sort of incident as events in Sydney.”

Four armed men had been reported entering the apartment block early on Monday in the working-class neighborhood, prompting police to set up a large security operation to keep bystanders away.

After several hours, at least two men left the building with their hands up. It was unclear how the third man came out or whether police were still looking for more suspects.

]]> 0
Muhammad becomes the most popular name for boys in UK Mon, 01 Dec 2014 17:19:26 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Mohammad most popular name in UKA new research in United Kingdom has revealed that the name Muhammed has become the top boys’ name chosen by parents in Britain following a huge surge in popularity last year.

The annual data by United Kingdom’s top baby names website – BabyCentre shows the name Muhammad at the top of the list of the most used boys’ name in 2014.

According to the research by BabyCentre, the name has risen 27 places from last year to claim the number one spot for the boys.

This comes as Oliver was the number one name until the spellings of 3,499 Muhammads, 2,887 Mohammeds and 1,059 Mohammads were combined, giving a total of 7,445 babies.

However, the latest research puts Oliver in to second place, Jack in to third place while Sophia took top spot for girls.

The managing editor of BabyCentre Sarah Redshaw said traditionally Mohammed is often given to the first-born boy in Muslim families.

]]> 1
European Parliament voted at Google break up Sat, 29 Nov 2014 05:54:23 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Google to be broken up in EuropeThe European Parliament members have voted that the Google should be broken up, as it favours its own services in search results, BBC reported.

US trade bodies and politicians have expressed their objection and disagreement at the vote.

Google has almost covered 90% of the market share for search in Europe and its rivals have asked Margarethe Vestager, the European Union commissioner who will take the final decision, to investigate the following four areas:

  • The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
  • How Google copies content from other websites – such as restaurant reviews – to include within its own services
  • The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
  • Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines

Many believes that the Commission may not order for the company break-up, as there has never been such an order before.

This comes as Google’s rivals had lodged an anti-competitive case in 2010.

]]> 0
WikiLeaks founder arrested Tue, 07 Dec 2010 10:43:52 +0000 Read the full article...]]> LONDON — Police say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested on a Swedish warrant.

Assange was arrested at 9:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) Tuesday and was due to appear at Westminster Magistrate’s Court later in the day.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to surrender to British police Tuesday as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation – one of a host of international legal, financial, and security challenges closing in on the secret-spilling website.

Lawyer Mark Stephens has said that Assange, who has been hiding out at an undisclosed location in Britain since WikiLeaks’ began releasing hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables to the Web last week, would soon meet with officers from London’s Scotland Yard.

The police force said Tuesday it wouldn’t comment until an arrest had been made.

The Internet-based organization’s room for maneuver is narrowing by the day. It’s been battered by web attacks, cut off by Internet service providers and been subjected to a barrage of muscular rhetoric out of the United States.

In the latest development, Swiss authorities closed Assange’s bank account, depriving him of a key fundraising tool. MasterCard has also pulled the plug on payments to the site, according to technology news website CNET. A European representative for the credit card company didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The attacks appeared to have been at least partially successful in stanching the flow of secrets – WikiLeaks has not published any new cables to the Internet in more than 24 hours, although stories about them have continued to appear in the New York Times and The Guardian, two of the papers given advance access to all 250,000 documents.

WikiLeaks Twitter feed, generally packed with updates, appeals, and pithy comments, has been silent since Monday night, when the group warned that Assange’s arrest might be imminent.

The 39-year-old Australian’s legal troubles stem from allegations leveled against him by two women he met while in Sweden over the summer.

Assange is accused of rape and sexual molestation in one case and of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion in another.

Assange denies the allegations, which Stephens has said stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex.” Stephens said the two women involved made the allegations only after they became aware of each other’s relationships with Assange.

Although unrelated to WikiLeaks’ mass disclosures, which have infuriated U.S. officials, Assange and his lawyers have suggested that the prosecution is being manipulated for political reasons.

Assange’s arrest could happen within hours. Depending on whether Assange decides to fight the extradition attempt, as Stephens has said he was likely to, the process could drag on for weeks or months.

Source: Washington Post

]]> 0
Denmark will remain committed to Afghanistan Thu, 02 Dec 2010 04:40:11 +0000 Read the full article...]]> “Denmark will remain committed to Afghanistan”: Minister for Foreign Affairs visits Helmand and Kabul.

Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Lene Espersen, has completed a two-day visit to Afghanistan. On the first day, Mrs. Lene Espersen visited the Helmand Province together with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik and the Danish Minister of Defence, Mrs. Gitte Lillelund Bech. On the second day, Mrs. Espersen was in Kabul.

During her visit to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Espersen emphasized that Afghanistan is a top Danish foreign policy priority. Afghanistan is one of the largest recipients of Danish development assistance. Mrs. Espersen stressed that Denmark will remain committed to Afghanistan in the years to come.

In Helmand, the Danish high-level delegation had the opportunity to speak with the Danish battle group and key military and civilian actors in Helmand. “The visit to Helmand was a welcome opportunity to discuss the security situation and the civilian and development efforts on the ground. In the years to come, we will gradually transition to Afghan security responsibility”, Mrs. Espersen said.


The Foreign Minister also held meetings with the provincial governor of Helmand, Mr. Gulab Mangal, and she visited the police training center in Helmand, which is supported financially by Denmark. Foreign Minister Espersen said: “Building a capable Afghan police force is a high priority. I will look at how Denmark can do more to help educate and train the Afghan police. Compared to when I visited Helmand in March 2010, I have also witnessed significant progress with regards to governance and development, which is encouraging.

In Kabul, the Foreign Minister had the opportunity to meet with General Petraeus, the ISAF commander in Afghanistan; Mark Sedwill, NATO’s senior civilian representative; and chairman of the High Peace Council Rabbani. The Foreign Minister said: “There is no doubt that the situation in Afghanistan is complex and that major challenges remain. It is important that we continue to look at how we best support the building of the Afghan capabilities – both military and civilians. It is the key to transition.”

Also in Kabul, the Foreign Minister attended a meeting with Afghan women from key civil society organizations, parliament, the High Peace Council and government. The event focused on political empowerment, the legal sector, and women’s role in achieving peace and security. The Foreign Minister underlined that “Denmark will continue the work to promote women being empowered and obtaining influence in the Afghan society. The role of women in peace and security in Afghanistan is critical to create a stable country. Denmark will continue to support Afghan women’s networks, civil society and human rights institutions“.

]]> 0
Prince William and Kate: What Wedding Gift Should Our Country Give them? Thu, 02 Dec 2010 04:02:37 +0000 Read the full article...]]> By: Moe Riyasat

The thought of a wedding gift won’t have crossed our minds if the media hadn’t turned the news into a feeding-frenzy.

The news had just broken: the royal engagement was announced. Prince William finally proposed to Kate Middleton, and what began as a slow day for the media, turned into feverish, bee-hive, activity. The media hounded us, pounded us, and then shifted the story into hyper-drive.  CNN told us, David Letterman told us, the tabloids told us, and even if we still didn’t hear, the village idiot would’ve told us. 

But don’t be distracted by media noise. The real tooth-and-claw action is in trying to get an invitation to the royal wedding: the hottest ticket in the world; and some people are going out of their way to snag it. Old boys’ networks are unearthed and dusted off, favours are called in, buttons pushed, and if all else fails, indecent proposals traded.   

      However, the elusive invitation is frustrating everyone, especially leaders of countries who’re hell-bent on getting it.  You’ll find Presidents, Prime Ministers, and imposters, worldwide, making burnt offerings at dawn, praying that their names are on the guest-list for the wedding, while their spouses are out-sprinting their ancient butlers to check the mailboxes daily, for the royal invitation. They’re all obsessed, becoming basket cases.

       While they’re busy on the lookout for the royal-sealed envelope, it’s in our best interest to help the leader of our country choose the perfect gift for the soon-to-wed couple. After all, we have a stake in it: the gift would represent us too, courtesy of our tax dollars.

       In helping our leader choose the perfect gift for Prince William and Kate, we’ll need to brainstorm and ask a few probing questions, similar to these:

Does size matter?

      We know that the British monarchy has been in existence for centuries. This means that they have thousands upon thousands of paintings, sculptures, handicrafts and keepsakes, gathering dust; and nothing is ever thrown out. As a result of the hoarding problem, there’s a shortage of real estate in the castle and only a couple of bedrooms remain free of stuff. 

So since space is critical, size matters.  

Is it made in China?

      These days, just about everything is made in China. It goes without saying that if we give something “Made in China” to the couple, then it becomes a Chinese gift. A Chinese leader could always show up at the wedding empty-handed, and claimed that it came from him. Could we say otherwise?

The moral of the story: before selecting an item as a present, check where it’s made.

Can it be duplicated? 

       Imagine going to a party and another person wears the same outfit you have on. Think of the emotional shock. Likewise, suppose another leader takes a similar gift as ours, to the royal wedding? The result: our gift won’t stand out and won’t be remembered.

       So the rule of thumb becomes: if it can be duplicated, ditch it, let it go, get rid of it. No hoarding allowed here.  

How expensive should it be?

       The Prim & Proper Advice Column reminded us that at a wedding, it’s polite to give a gift worth more than the cost of a plate of food served at the wedding.

      We can easily get the cost of a plate of food from a simple question: what is the cost of two sprigs of asparagus fencing-in a scrawny chicken leg and resting on an oversized Royal Doulton dinner plate?

      Using that cost as the bare minimum amount to spend, and the maximum amount being our national budget, we could go as expensive as needed, as long as it doesn’t cause taxes to rise or cause a peasants’ revolt.

Is it creative?

       A set of tall beer glasses bought at the dollar store, as the gift, may not identify who we’re as a nation, even if the tall glasses are frosted and dimpled. 

      Our gift should be creative, unique, representing the psyche of the country and coming from deep within our culture.  We could look for guidance from our artisans, sculptors, painters, etc.


And, will it wow the royal couple?

       An oil painting of two chimpanzees scratching their lower body parts, and grinning, may not impress the royal couple, regardless of the price of the frame. It may even rile up the Royal ancestors.

       In wowing Prince William and Kate, our gift should be something unexpected, something  desirable, and something to be treasured.

In closing:

      After we’ve brainstormed, probed, and thought of the perfect gift, it’ll be in our best interest  to suggest it to our leader in time for the wedding. Hopefully, they will listen to us (as was their election promise), and give a gift that will personalize the nation and do us all proud. Equally important, the gift should make Price William and Kate ecstatic and their families thrilled.

 Best wishes on your choice of a gift.

]]> 1
Virat Kohli inspires India to victory over New Zealand Wed, 01 Dec 2010 04:08:38 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Virat Kohli struck his third limited overs century as India secured a 40-run victory over New Zealand in the first one-day international in Guwahati.

Kohli scored 105 in 104 balls, ably assisted by Yuvraj Singh (42), as India were dismissed for 276, with Andy McKay taking 4-62 for the tourists.

New Zealand’s innings began slowly but Ross Taylor injected impetus with 66.

But his team-mates could not provide sufficient support as India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

India’s victory margin would have been wider had Nathan McCullum (35) and Kyle Mills (32) not staged an ninth-wicket rally.

Mills joined McCullum at the wicket with the score at 169-8 as the pair mounted an entertaining 71-run ninth-wicket stand before both men were dismissed in successive deliveries in the 46th over as India wrapped up victory.

The hosts, led by stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir, gave wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, in for the rested Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his one-day debut, as they were put into bat by New Zealand, temporarily captained by Taylor.

Gambhir (38) and Murali Vijay (29) wasted good starts but Kohli, batting at three, took control of the middle orders to notch his second successive one-day century following on from his 118 against Australia at Visakhapatnam last month.

“It feels good. I had a kind of a lean patch in Sri Lanka recently, the team-mates and coach backed me. I would like to thank them,” said the 22-year-old.

“I try to probably stop myself if I feel like playing a big shot and enjoy the singles.”

Kohli was eventually dismissed when he spooned a catch to Jamie How in the covers off a slower Mills delivery, one of three wickets for the seamer.

And the hosts lost their next five wickets for just 26 runs as McKay wrapped up the tail.

New Zealand’s progress was regularly checked by the regular fall of wickets, with only Taylor able to contribute a significant innings, smashing three sixes and three fours, before he was caught off Yuvraj in the 34th over.

McCullum and Mills briefly provided late lusty blows to reduce the margin of defeat as India cruised to victory.

The second one-day international takes place in Jaipur on 1 December.

Source: BBC News

]]> 0
UK and France agree to joint nuclear testing treaty Tue, 02 Nov 2010 04:40:57 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – The UK and France are to sign treaties agreeing to military cooperation including testing of nuclear warheads.

The plans will see one centre set up in the UK to develop technology and another in France to carry out testing.

Prime Minister David Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy will also outline plans, at a London summit, for a joint army expeditionary force.

Downing Street called the measures “practical”, but Labour said they left “big questions” over the UK’s defences.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “This summit marks a deepening of the UK-France bilateral relationship. Ours is now a strategic partnership tackling together the biggest challenges facing our two countries.”

The summit comes two weeks after the UK government announced cuts to its armed forces, in the first strategic defence review since 1998, as part of savings aimed at reducing the country’s budget deficit.

Under the plans £750m will be saved over four years on the Trident nuclear missile system by cutting the number of warheads.

Harrier jump jets, the Navy’s flagship HMS Ark Royal and planned Nimrod spy planes will also be axed, but two new aircraft carriers were spared.

Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy are to sign two treaties – one on greater general military co-operation and the other on nuclear weapons.

Speaking about greater military co-operation, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said there had been a “great deal of hysteria” in the media about the idea of British troops coming under French command.

He said: “Under the existing Nato system our troops could come under Turkish or Polish command. There’s nothing new about that.

“This does not affect our special relationship with the United States. It gives us economies of scale and helps us to welcome France back fully into Nato.”

Asked whether there might be a situation in the future, during a political crisis in which Britain and France did “not see eye to eye”, when British planes were dependent on a French aircraft carrier, he said: “That’s very unlikely to happen.”

“This is not about interdependence. It’s about interoperability,” he added.

Operational veto

The nuclear treaty will establish a centre in the UK to develop technology and another one in France to carry out the testing.

It is understood that each country will still control its own warheads, and that nuclear secrets will not be shared.

The other treaty will allow the setting up of a “combined joint expeditionary force”, thought to involve a brigade of about 5,000 soldiers from each side.

Each country will retain a veto for each operation, which will operate under one military commander to be chosen at the time.

The UK and France have also agreed to keep at least one aircraft carrier at sea between them at any one time.

Each will be able to use the other’s carrier in some form, certainly for training and possibly operations.

Meanwhile, France is to use British A400M fuelling aircraft when there is spare capacity, with plans in place for common maintenance and training.

‘Deepening ties’

Joint work on drones, mine counter-measures and satellite communications is also proposed.

In a statement, the French presidency said the test centre in Valduc, eastern France, would start operations in 2014.

The Valduc laboratory would work with a French-British research centre based in Aldermaston, Berkshire, it added.

Together the facilities would involve “several dozen” French and British experts and cost both countries several million euros.

It said scientists from both countries would be able to ensure the “viability, safety and security in the long term of our nuclear arsenals”.

Mr Cameron told MPs on Monday: “I do seriously believe that this link-up with the French over defence is in the long term interests of both our countries.

“And to those who worry that this might in some way lead to… European armies, that is not the point. The point is to enhance sovereign capability by two like-minded countries being able to work together.”

The UK’s shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: “I support the government’s emphasis on international co-operation, taking forward the good work of the last government.

“We share common threats with countries such as France, from terrorism to privacy to cyber-attack. Deepening military ties is an essential part of modern defence policy.

“Interdependence, however, is different from dependence, and binding legal treaties pose some big questions for the government.”

Mr Murphy also questioned whether the the UK was entering “an era where we are reliant on our allies to fill in the gaps in the government’s defence policy”.

Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute think tank, said Anglo-French military initiatives dated back to Dunkirk and he said: “Both (countries) have got similar problems. They have both got similar interests… and the fact is that if both powers are determined to play a role in the world with military force they are going to find ways of pooling their relatively common force structures if they are going to have some effect.”

Asked about hypothetical scenarios where France and Britain disagreed politically, Professor Clarke said: “You can’t rule them out but they are not the most likely outcome. Most things that happen in the world at the moment – in Afghanistan, in southern Europe, in relation to instabilities in eastern Europe – are things that the British and French do share common interests on.”

Source: BBC

]]> 0
Istanbul blast injures at least 22, may be suicide bomb Sun, 31 Oct 2010 10:46:00 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – The blast occurred near the independence monument in Taksim Square

Police say 22 people have been injured in what appears to have been a suicide bomb attack in the centre of Istanbul.

Television pictures from Taksim Square showed body parts lying on the ground.

No group has said it carried out the attack, but a two-month-old ceasefire by Kurdish rebels was due to expire later on Sunday, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Istanbul.

Riot police stationed in the square may have been the target, a police spokesman said.

Nine police officers have been injured, some very seriously, he added. Six civilians were also hurt.

A large explosion was heard throughout central Istanbul just after 0900 GMT.

Past attacks

The explosion took place right next to the independence monument on Taksim Square, which is always crowded with people, our correspondent says.

There are usually squads of riot police posted at this part of the square, as it is often the site of demonstrations.

A police spokesman has said he believes they were the target of the explosion, which he said may have been caused by a suicide bomber.

Eyewitness Aris Virkas told the BBC that he was walking through Taksim Square when he heard the blast.

“I turned around and saw policemen with blood on their face and someone lying on the ground,” he said. “People, including police, were running around in panic.

“There was a big bus with maybe 20 police officers: they ran out of the bus, trying to find out what’s going on.

“After a couple of minutes, they started asking people to step back. I think I think I heard a few gunshots afterwards, but I can’t be certain it wasn’t something else.”

Our correspondent says suspicion is likely to fall on Kurdish separatist factions, or groups linked to al-Qaeda.

The Kurdish separatist PKK party has carried out bomb attacks in Istanbul in the past, as have extreme left-wing and Islamist groups.

Our correspondent says al-Qaeda-linked groups are small but active in Turkey, and police make frequent arrests.

A group with ties to al-Qaeda carried out the bombing of the British consulate in Istanbul in 2003 in which 28 people died.

Source: BBC

]]> 0
UK MPs question Google over Street View data breaches Sat, 30 Oct 2010 06:42:13 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – MPs have accused Google of deliberately collecting wi-fi data for commercial gain.
It is another twist to events kicked off by the search giant collecting of millions of pieces of sensitive information via its Street View cars.
Discovery of the data triggered investigations around the globe.
Google has always maintained that the data was collected in error because of code being mistakenly included in the Street View software.
The code was created by a Google engineer as part of a wider project to map wi-fi hotspots but should never have found its way into Street View cars, the search giant said.
Google’s head of PR told the BBC’s Today programme this week that there was code incorporated into Street View which was intended to map wi-fi hotspots in order to improve Google’s location-based services.
But it was never the intention that any part of it would also suck up personal and sensitive information relating to unsecured wireless networks, he said.
“This data has never been used in any Google product, was never intended to be used by Google and will never be used,” he said.
He added that Google had now stopped collecting any wi-fi data, had “isolated” the personal data and wanted to delete it as soon as investigations by information commissions around the world had concluded.
During a two-hour parliamentary debate on privacy, MPs questioned Google’s version of events.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon questioned Google’s insistence that the details were sucked up by Street View cars as a result of code being accidentally included in the software.
“I find it hard to believe that a company with the creative genius and originality of Google could map the personal wi-fi details, computer passwords and e-mail addresses of millions of people across the world and not know what it was doing,” he said.
“My own feeling is that this data was of use to Google for commercial purposes and that is why it was done.
The question is whether the company underestimated the reaction of the public, and many governments around the world, once it had been revealed what it had done.”
Google said that the allegations were “completely untrue”.
Graham Cluley, a senior consultant at security firm Sophos, told the BBC that he found it “surprising” that Google staff did not realise that the Street View cars were storing more than just the location of wi-fi hotspots.
“If you were competent then it would be surprising that you wouldn’t know that you were storing far more than you actually needed,” he said.
Refuge pictures
During the two-hour parliamentary debate, there was wider criticism of the Street View service, which offers detailed maps of the country on a street-by-street basis.
Conservative MP Mark Lancaster cited a women’s refuge in his constituency which had asked to be removed from Street View.
“Imagine their great concern when on entering the name of the organisation on Google, a picture of the building the refugees use and also their addresses appear on the search engine,” he said.
He said that requests to Google to remove the refuge from the map had received no response.
“I find it staggering that such an invasion of privacy on an organisation whose purpose is to protect others is allowed to occur,” he said.
Google told the BBC that it was unaware of this particular case.
“Anyone can request an image for removal using our simple ‘report a problem’ tool in Street View. When they do we remove the image quickly,” said a Google spokeswoman.
No investigation
In June Privacy International made a complaint to the UK Metropolitan police, saying the data collection put Google in breach of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).
Broadband minister Ed Vaizey revealed during the debate that the police had “decided that it would not be appropriate” to launch a criminal investigation in the matter.
But he said that he planned to meet with Google to discuss the data breaches.
MPs also criticised the way the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had handled the matter, describing it as “lily-livered”.
In July, the ICO said that Google did not harvest “significant” personal details when the data was collected.
But as more details have emerged about the nature of the data it is reassessing its position.
“Earlier this year the ICO visited Google’s premises to make a preliminary assessment of the ‘pay-load’ data it inadvertently collected.
Whilst the information we saw at the time did not include meaningful personal details, we have continued to liaise with, and await the findings of, the investigations carried out by our international counterparts,” it said in a statement.
“Now that these findings are starting to emerge, we understand that Google has accepted that in some instances entire URLs and e-mail and passwords have been captured,” it added.
In the light of this the ICO said it was “deciding on the necessary course of action, including a consideration of the need to use our enforcement powers”.
Investigations conducted by the Canadian information commissioner revealed that Google had collected some highly sensitive information including complete e-mails, lists of names of people suffering from a certain medical conditions, telephone numbers and addresses.
Its findings go against Google’s initial assertion that all the information collected was “fragmentary”.
The Canadian investigation found that Google was in breach of privacy laws but said no further action would be taken if Google tightened up its internal privacy policies.
Medical conditions
The US Federal Trade Commission ended its investigation yesterday, welcoming changes Google has recently announced to its internal processes.
On Friday Google revealed that it would be creating a director of privacy and offering more training and better procedures regarding privacy.
“Every engineering project leader will be required to maintain a privacy design document for each initiative they are working on,” Google said in a statement.
But it still faces on-going investigation in the US, with a lawsuit looming and a large scale enquiry backed by 38 states demanding detailed explanations about the process which led to so much personal data being stored by Google.
It has pressed Google to name the engineer responsible and to explain in full how the code he designed came to be incorporated in Street View.
Google has never publicly named the engineer.

Source: BBC

]]> 0
Russian anti-drugs chief applauds Afghan heroin haul Sat, 30 Oct 2010 05:48:38 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Moscow, Russia (CNN) — Russia’s joint operation with the United States to destroy Afghan drugs laboratories marks the first time it has deployed security forces in the region since the Soviet military withdrew in 1989, Russia’s anti-narcotics chief said Friday.

The operation in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan on Thursday was jointly conducted by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Defense, NATO, the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the Russian drug control agency.

It involved raids on four laboratories associated with a significant dugs trafficker in the province. Approximately one metric ton of heroin worth $250 million was seized, along with a smaller quantity of opium and items used in drug production, U.S. authorities said.

“This is the first operation in Afghanistan in which Russian drug police officers took part,” said Victor Ivanov, head of Russia’s federal drug control agency.

But he stressed they were not in Afghanistan as a military unit, but part of an agreement between Moscow, the Afghan government and the U.S. DEA to share information about the flow of drugs into Russia via its vast southern borders with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

“For the first time our officials handed over information about the location of drug laboratories, which was confirmed by the Afghan Interior Ministry and the U.S. DEA,” he told CNN.

Planning for the operation took three months, during which time coordinates, names, locations, and other valuable data was established, he added.

According to officials, 70 people were involved in the raid close to the Pakistan border, with helicopter gunships and Afghan police providing air and ground cover.

“It was a huge success which became possible as a result of our joint well-coordinated work,” as well as a result of the “resetting” of Russian-U.S. relations,” he told reporters at a news conference in Moscow, in quotes carried by Russia’s Interfax.

Ivanov was referring to the Medvedev-Obama commission, a working group set up in 2009 by the leaders of the U.S. and Russia to improve communication and cooperation between the two former foes.

Russia, estimated by the United Nations to have between one-and-half and six million heroin addicts, has long targeted the poppy fields of Afghanistan as the source of the problem, calling on the U.S. and its NATO allies to do more to eradicate the opium trade.

However the strategy of destroying the poppy fields of southern Afghanistan, which yield much of the heroin flooding out of the country, is viewed as counterproductive by the U.S.-led coalition because it drives farmers into the hands of the Taliban.

The [Afghan] farmers are the hostages of the situation. They are forced to work like slaves in order to survive.
–Victor Ivanov

Ivanov disputes this, pointing out how successful the campaign has been to eradicate the crops used to produce cocaine in Colombia, one of the world’s biggest producers.

“The [Afghan] farmers are the hostages of the situation,” he told CNN. “They are forced to work like slaves in order to survive. They are working on the plantations they do not own. If they were presented with the alternatives, they would accept them.”

With vast quantities of heroin and opium flowing into Russia, Ivanov stressed Moscow was keen to cooperate further with NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

“We are interested in further cooperation in destroying drug laboratories,” he told reporters, in quotes carried by Interfax.

“According to our sources, in Badakhshan alone, there are more than 400 drug laboratories and a large number are located in Helmand. The number of laboratories is huge, as we see.”

But any future could be contingent on Russia helping NATO with its training activities and transit roots into Afghanistan, an issue Ivanov says makes many Russians uneasy.

“I get around 100,000 letters every year from citizens asking questions about drug trafficking and drug production,” he told CNN. “A lot of people have started to ask if Russia is doing the right thing in allowing NATO to use its corridors to Afghanistan, considering it presents a bigger and bigger threat to Russian society.”

Source: CNN Blog

]]> 0
Students aim to bolster French protests Tue, 26 Oct 2010 05:26:29 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – French students will stage protests on Tuesday to try to bolster opposition to the government’s pension reforms amid some signs of cracks in the movement.

The numbers could be a litmus test, correspondents say, after three of 12 national oil refineries voted to end their action and a rubbish collectors’ strike in Marseille was suspended.

The row comes to a head this week.

Parliament is expected to hold a final vote on Wednesday, while a nationwide strike has been called for Thursday.

The vote in parliament is expected to bring into law an increase in the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.

The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris says the students are supposed to be on half-term break but instead are planning a series of marches around the country in opposition to the plan to increase the minimum retirement age.

President Nicolas Sarkozy will be hoping the vote – and the 10-day school holiday – will take the sting out of the protest.

But our correspondent says the students will be out to prove him wrong and how many come out will be the litmus test of where this protest is heading.

On Monday, all of France’s 200 fuel supply depots were cleared of strikers.

And unions said that rubbish collectors in the southern port of Marseille would end their high-profile two-week strike on Tuesday.

However, our correspondent says that seven French refineries are still closed, buffer stocks of petrol and diesel are almost exhausted and unless refineries reopen, France could face an even more serious fuel crisis by the end of the week.

‘French exception’

The government has warned that the disruption is threatening the country’s fragile economic recovery.

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday that the strikes were costing France up to 400m euros (£350m; $560m) a day.

The president says the reform is an “inevitable” measure in the face of France’s rapidly ageing population and growing budget deficit.

His defence of the deeply unpopular reforms has seen his approval ratings plummet to a record low of 29%, according to a poll published last Sunday.

However, the vote in parliament is almost certain to pass.

An MP from Mr Sarkozy’s party, Pierre Mehaignerie, said: “We must be aware that in a world without borders we can’t have a French exception… that exists nowhere else.”

But millions of people have come out on to the streets in a series of protests over the past few weeks and French trade unions have called another nationwide strike on Thursday.

That will be followed by yet another on 6 November, the unions say, unless Mr Sarkozy withdraws the pension law or opens negotiations.

Are you striking? Send us your comments and experiences using the postform below:

At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. In most cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location unless you state otherwise. But your contact details will never be published

Source: BBC

]]> 0
In Russia, it’s an honor to be a deported spy Mon, 18 Oct 2010 13:12:46 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (CNN) — Nearly four months after a Russian spy ring in the U.S. was unmasked and the spies deported, Russia’s president awarded the spies top state honors.

The ceremony took place Monday in the Kremlin, according to a statement from Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova. The awards were given to employees of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), she said, “including the intelligence officers who were working in the United States and returned to Russia in July.”

The event was reported in the Russian media but video and pictures were not shown.

Shortly after news of the spy scandal broke President Dmitry Medvedev, trying to downplay repercussions, said any attempt to destroy warming relations with the U.S. would fail.

In August, however, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, himself a former intelligence agent in Germany during the Cold War, boasted that he met with the spies after their return to Moscow and sang “patriotic songs” with them. He also criticized U.S. authorities for “going out of control” in dealing with the affair.

Eleven intelligence personnel, living and working in the U.S. as “sleeper” agents, were arrested and later allowed to return to Moscow as part of a spy swap. A twelfth was arrested in Cyprus and escaped.

Perhaps the most famous member of the group, 28-year-old year old Anna Chapman, has been relentlessly covered by international media and portrayed as a glamorous spook.

Now, according to the Russian media, she is a consultant to a Russian investment bank and was most recently spotted October 7 at the Baikonur space station working on space exploration projects. Russian media report she also is writing a book on “new internet resources.”

]]> 0