Friday, March 4, 2016

ApriFate Etos international News in brief (April 2016)

United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday the Syrian people, not foreigners, should decide the fate of their President Bashar al-Assad.

"Can't we leave the Syrians to actually decide on that? Why should we be saying in advance what the Syrians should say, as long as they have the freedom and the opportunity of saying so?" de Mistura told France 24 TV......Only Syrians Can Decide President Assad’s Fate


  1. Hope fading for survivors in India Kolkata flyover collapse...

    Hopes of finding more survivors trapped under a collapsed flyover are fading in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta).

    Rescuers have worked through the night in the Girish Park area, where the bypass was under construction when it collapsed suddenly on Thursday afternoon.

    At least 23 people were killed and scores were injured.

    The 2km-long (1.2 mile) flyover started construction in 2009 and missed several deadlines for completion....BBC

  2. Turquie: reprise du procès de deux journalistes anti-Erdogan...

    Le procès de deux célèbres journalistes accusés d'espionnage et de tentative de coup d'Etat dans un dossier considéré comme un test pour la liberté de la presse en Turquie, a repris vendredi devant une cour criminelle d'Istanbul.

    Farouches critiques de son régime islamo-conservateur, Can Dündar, rédacteur en chef du quotidien Cumhuriyet, et Erdem Gül, son chef de bureau à Ankara, risquent la prison à vie pour avoir accusé le gouvernement de leur pays d'avoir livré des armes aux rebelles islamistes de Syrie.

    "Nous allons gagner, nous avons toujours gagné dans l'histoire. Nous pensons que les lois nous donneront raison et que nous serons acquittés", a lancé M. Dundar en arrivant au tribunal pour cette deuxième audience du procès qui a débuté le 25 mars.

    La cour avait alors décidé de poursuivre le procès à huis clos pour des raisons de "sécurité nationale".

    "C'est le journalisme qui est jugé ici aujourd'hui, ce procès n'a pas raison d'être car le journalisme n'est pas un crime", a renchéri M. Gül devant un collectif de soutien, entouré d'un fort dispositif policier.

    La présence à la première audience de diplomates occidentaux, dont certains de l'Union européenne, avait provoqué la colère du président islamo-conservateur Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara avait communiqué son "malaise" aux pays concerné

  3. France says be ready for Libya intervention...

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday urged the international community to prepare to help Libya’s unity government if asked, providing military support if necessary.

    The country’s UN-backed unity government is trying to assert its authority in Tripoli, but the sudden arrival of a new prime minister-designate has drawn fury from the unrecognized body in charge of the capital.

    “Libya is a concern shared by all the countries of the region and beyond,” Ayrault said in comments to a French newspaper.

    “The chaos which reigns there today aids the rapid development of terrorism. It is a direct threat to the region and to Europe,” he said.

    While ISIS militants are being pushed back in Syria and Iraq with the help of international intervention, the extremists are gaining ground in Libya, the foreign minister warned.

    “We must be prepared to respond if the national unity government of (prime minister-designate Fayez) al-Sarraj asks for help, including on the military front,” he said.

    Asked specifically on the likelihood of military intervention, Ayrault replied: “That will depend on the legal government. To think of launching air strikes outside of the political process is not an option.”

    Libya’s unrecognized authorities in control of Tripoli on Wednesday demanded that the head of a UN-backed unity government Fayez al-Sarraj leave just hours after he arrived in the capital.

    In a televised address, the head of the Tripoli authorities Khalifa Ghweil said Sarraj’s government was “illegal”, asking him to leave the capital or to “hand himself in”.

    Ayrault cautioned that the international community must avoid the mistakes of the past, citing military intervention in

  4. New clashes on Greek 'hotspot' island ahead of planned migrant returns...

    Three migrants were hospitalised Friday after a brawl in a camp on the Greek "hotspot" island of Chios, the ANA news agency said, as the country prepared to begin returning migrants to Turkey under an EU deal.

    The agency said police used stun grenades to restore calm during the late-night fight, which caused serious damage to the island's Vial camp, including the medical dispensary.

    Pro-migrant activists said the trouble began after demonstrations Thursday evening by migrants demanding they be allowed to leave the camp.

    Eight migrants were also hospitalised early Thursday after a fight between Syrians and Afghans in the overcrowded migrant camp at the Greek port of Piraeus near Athens....AFP

  5. Syrian government airstrikes on the outskirts of Damascus that killed 33 were designed to "terrorize" the Syrian people and erode attempts to find a political solution to the conflict, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said Friday...

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said earlier that the strikes on the Deir al-Asafir district southeast of the Syrian capital Thursday had mostly killed women and children.

    "France condemns the airstrikes carried out by the regime," Nadal told reporters in a weekly briefing. "This attack, which deliberately targeted civilians, including children, show that the regime is continuing its abuses and violating the truce.

    "This abject act is designed to terrorize the Syrian people and sap efforts by the international community to find a political solution."

  6. China stepped up its criticism of the United States on Friday after a senior U.S. official said Washington had told Beijing it would not recognise an air defence zone over the disputed South China Sea if China set one up...

    U.S. officials have expressed concern that an international court ruling expected in coming weeks on a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims could prompt China to declare an air defence identification zone, or ADIZ, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013.

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said on Wednesday the U.S. would view such a move as "destabilising" and would not recognise such an exclusion zone in the South China Sea, just as it did not recognise the one China established over the East China Sea.

    Speaking a day after China's Defence Ministry accused Washington of "gesticulating" over the issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said setting up an ADIZ had nothing to do with territorial disputes.

    Whether to do set one up depended on whether China's air safety was being threatened and the level of the threat as well as other reasons, Hong told a daily news briefing.

    "At present, as I've said, the situation in the South China Sea generally speaking is stable," he said.

    China claims most of the South China Sea through which more than $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.....REUTERS

  7. Migrant crisis: Concern rises as EU-Turkey deal looms...

    There is growing concern over a lack of preparation for the plan to send migrants back from Greece to Turkey, two days before it goes into effect.

    A BBC correspondent who has been to one of the registration sites in Turkey says there are few signs it is ready.

    The UN and rights groups have expressed fears about migrant welfare and whether some may be forced back into Syria.

    The EU-Turkey deal is aimed at easing the uncontrolled mass movement of people into Europe.

    Under the deal, migrants arriving illegally in Greece are expected to be sent back to Turkey from 4 April if they do not apply for asylum or if their claim is rejected.

    An EU official said it was hoped that several hundred would be returned on Monday....BBC

  8. Abdeslam 'chose not to blow himself up' in Paris...

    The suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, decided not to blow himself up during the wave of killings in the French capital last year, his brother has said.

    Mohamed Abdeslam said his brother "voluntarily chose not to blow himself up" along with the other Islamic State jihadists who killed 130 people in gun and suicide bomb attacks in November.

    "If I wanted, there would have been more victims," Salah Abdeslam told his brother from prison in northern Belgium, according to Belgian media chain BFMTV.

    "Luckily, I did not follow through."

    Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect in the November attacks in Paris, was arrested in Brussels on 18 March after four months on the run as Europe's most wanted

  9. Turkey starts work on centers for migrant returnees...

    Turkey has begun work on two centers to process Syrian and other migrants after they return from Greece under a deal with the EU which comes into force next week, local officials and reports said Saturday.

    Under the controversial agreement, Turkey is due to start receiving migrants who crossed the Aegean Sea for EU member Greece from Monday but so far details have been vague over how the transfer will be implemented.

    Work has now started on a center in the major Aegean tourist resort of Cesme in Izmir province, which faces the Greek island of Chios that has been a major target for migrants, the town’s mayor said.

    Water pipes and electricity cables are now being laid for the 500 square-meter area by the Ulusoy harbor in Cesme, mayor Muhittin Dalgic was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency....AFP

  10. Heavy Fighting Breaks Out Between Armenia, Azerbaijan ...

    Heavy fighting has broken out between regional rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan in the tense, separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, during a clash serious enough to warrant the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    At least one child is believed to have been killed in the fighting between the two former Soviet republics that broke out late Friday. Each side blames the other for starting the fighting, and both sides say the other has sustained heavy losses.

    Russia's President Putin on Saturday urged both sides to cease firing and "show restraint," according to a Kremlin

  11. Vor dem Start des EU-Türkei-Paktes: Noch hoffen die Flüchtlinge von Chios ...

    Kurz vor Inkrafttreten des EU-Türkei-Abkommens versuchen offenbar Hunderte Flüchtlinge, einer Abschiebung zu entgehen. Rund 500 harrten in der Nacht am Hafen von Chios aus, in der Hoffnung die griechische Insel verlassen zu können. Unterdessen laufen die Vorbereitungen für die Umsetzung des Paktes.

    Ab Montag tritt der EU-Türkei-Pakt in Kraft, dann sollen die ersten Flüchtlinge aus Griechenland in die Türkei zurückgebracht werden. Doch schon jetzt zeichnet sich ab, dass die Rückführungen wohl nicht ohne Konflikte stattfinden werden.

    Bereits am Freitag waren Hunderte Flüchtlinge aus dem griechischen "Hotspot" von Chios ausgebrochen und Richtung Hafen marschiert. 500 Menschen, unter ihnen viele Kinder, verbrachten dort die Nacht im Freien. Sie harren weiterhin im Hafen aus und hoffen mit einer Fähre die Insel verlassen zu können, um einer Abschiebung zu entgehen. Doch Fähren laufen den Hafen nicht mehr an. Sie würden zum Inselort Mesta umgeleitet, damit die Menschen nicht auf die Schiffe stürmen, meldete der Radiosender "Athina 984". Zuvor hatte es in dem Lager auf Chios Ausschreitungen

  12. The UN war crimes tribunal has indefinitely halted the trial of former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic, who was provisionally released a year ago for ill health, his lawyer said Saturday...

    The 57-year-old is the last of 161 suspects charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

    "The decision to halt the proceedings against Goran Hadzic... for an indefinite period was reached on March 24," his lawyer, Zoran Zivanovic, told AFP. The deadline for the prosecution to appeal expired on Thursday, he added.

    The decision by The Hague-based court means that if Hadzic's health improves the trial will resume, Zivanovic said.

    But "due to the nature of his illness, Hadzic's health condition is rather serious," he said.....AFP

  13. Greece began sending the first boats of deportees to Turkey as part of an EU plan to ease the mass influx of migrants into Europe...

    About 130 migrants -- mostly from Pakistan -- boarded ferries on the Greek island of Lesbos, arriving in Dikili, western Turkey, Frontex, the EU's border agency, told the BBC. Another ferry was scheduled to leave Chios on Monday.

    Human rights groups have attacked the arrangement partly because migrants have not been given information about the asylum process and are being sent back to Turkey because they either have not applied or their application was rejected.

    As part of the deal, Syrian migrants returned to Turkey are exchanged for Syrian refugees who have made a legitimate request for asylum.

    In turn, Turkey has won financial and political considerations.

    CNN reported no women or children, only men were boarded onto the boats in

  14. L'Iran prêt à apaiser les tensions entre l'Arménie et l'Azerbaïdjan...

    L'Iran a demandé lundi à ses deux voisins, l'Arménie et l'Azerbaïdjan, de faire preuve de retenue et s'est déclaré prêt à apporter son aide, a déclaré le ministre iranien de la Défense Hossein Dehghan, selon l'agence Irna.

    "La République islamique d'Iran fera tout pour apaiser la crise" entre les deux pays, a déclaré M. Dehghan lors d'un entretien téléphonique avec son homologue azéri Zakir Hasanov. Il a demandé aux deux pays ayant une frontière avec le nord-ouest de l'Iran de faire "preuve de retenue et (...) de régler la crise par des voies pacifiques". L'armée azerbaïdjanaise a annoncé lundi la mort de trois de ses soldats dans des affrontements avec les forces arméniennes, au troisième jour des combats les plus violents en vingt ans au Nagorny-Karabakh, région séparatiste de l'Azerbaïdjan à majorité armé

  15. Iran has sent commandos to Syria as advisers, a military official said on Monday, suggesting it is using its army as well as paramilitary forces to help President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the country's civil war...

    Tehran is Assad's main regional ally and has provided military and economic support to his fight against rebel groups and Islamic State militants.

    "We are sending commandos from army's Brigade 65 and other units to Syria as advisers," General Ali Arasteh, deputy chief liaison of the army's ground force, was quoted as saying by the Tasnim news agency....REUTERS

  16. The European Commission on Monday said Turkey's had met the legal requirements for taking back migrants sent from Greece, under a disputed EU scheme to shut the human smuggling route across the Aegean Sea...

    Asked about whether Turkey had met all the requirements for the first boats of migrants arriving on Monday to be "legally sound", a spokeman for the EU executive said: "Yes."

  17. David Cameron is coming under pressure to stop British overseas territories and Crown dependencies being used by the wealthy to reduce their tax bills...

    A massive data leak from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca showed it registered more than 100,000 secret firms to the British Virgin Islands.

    Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the government needed to "stop pussyfooting around" on tax dodging.

    Downing Street said the UK was "ahead of the pack" on tax transparency.....BBC

  18. Russian military aviation did not perform any tasks near the Syrian city of Aleppo where media reports say a fighter jet was downed, Russian Defense Ministry’s official spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday...

    "Russian Aerospace Defense Forces’ aviation did not perform any military tasks in the city of Aleppo or around it," Konashenkov said.

  19. Azerbaijan agrees truce with authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh...

    Azerbaijan confirmed Tuesday that a ceasefire had been agreed with Nagorny-Karabakh as talks to end the worst violence in decades in the disputed territory kicked off in Vienna after 64 people were killed in four days of fighting.

    Sixteen Azeri servicemen were among those killed in the past two days, Azerbaijan's defence ministry said Tuesday.

    Tuesday's meeting will gather Russia, the United States and France in the so-called Minsk Group to spearhead attempts to end a longstanding but low-key conflict that flared dangerously last Friday.

    Analysts say the crisis could set a spark to the Caucasus, a tinderbox region of rival ethnic groups.

    Russia and the United States have called for the fighting to end but Turkey is standing by Azerbaijan, predicting that the disputed territory its ally lost will "one day" be

  20. Greece has postponed the return of the next group of migrants to Turkey under a deal with the European Union until Friday, a Turkish government official said Tuesday, with no other deportees expected before then...

    A first group of migrants, mostly Pakistani and Afghan, were shipped back to Turkey on Monday under the deal with the EU, which will see Ankara take back all migrants and refugees who cross the Aegean to enter Greece illegally.

  21. The dreaded Islamic State outfit has threatened a new wave of terror attacks as deadly as the Paris massacre in London, Berlin and Rome in a latest chilling video which shows images of the UK Parliament and Eiffel Tower crashing to the ground...

    The video shows footage of the Paris and Brussels attacks as well as 9/11 strikes, calling previous massacres a "cautionary message".

    "If it was Paris yesterday... Tomorrow it will be London, or Berlin, or Rome. Nations of the cross, this message is for you. Know that your options are few, either you join Islam, or pay tribute, or freeze the war," warns the video released by the group's Alwa'ad media arm yesterday....

  22. The European Commission is due to unveil options for reforms to the way EU countries handle asylum claims in response to the migrant crisis...

    The move is in part a reaction to the difficulties faced by Greece and Italy in coping with large numbers arriving from the Middle East and Africa.

    The current EU system is widely thought to have failed because of the influx of a million people through Greece.

    Under the rules refugees should claim asylum in the country they arrive in.

    But the so-called Dublin regulation proved unworkable when Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the door to Syrian refugees last August.....BBC

  23. An air force jet with six people on board was missing in southwest Japan on Wednesday (Apr 6), public broadcaster NHK reported...

    The U-125 aircraft left a base in Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu in the early afternoon, NHK said, citing the defence ministry and other sources.

    Contact with the plane was lost when it was 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) north of the base, NHK said, adding helicopters were sent to search for it.

    The defence ministry could not immediately confirm the report.
    – AFP/ec

  24. Kerry urges Iran to help end wars in Yemen, Syria ...

    US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Iran on Thursday to help end wars in Yemen and Syria, where Tehran and its Gulf Arab rivals are backing opposing sides.

    Kerry called on Iran to “help us end the war in Yemen... help us end the war in Syria, not intensify, and help us to be able to change the dynamics of this region,” he told a news conference in Bahrain ahead of a meeting with his Gulf counterparts.

    He said Tehran should “prove to the world that it wants to be a constructive member of the international community and contribute to peace and stability.”

    All the Gulf Arab states, apart from Oman, are taking part in an Arab Coalition that has been battling Iran-backed militias in Yemen since March last year in a war which the United Nations says has killed around 6,300

  25. Panama Papers: Argentina President Macri has 'nothing to hide'...

    Argentine President Mauricio Macri has pledged to assert his innocence when he appears before a federal prosecutor to explain his financial dealings.

    An investigation began on Thursday after it transpired Mr Macri was mentioned in the Panama Papers, leaked files of law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    According to local media reports, Mr Macri was listed as director of an offshore company in the Bahamas.

    In a TV address, President Macri vowed to prove he had done nothing wrong.

    He said he wanted to co-operate fully with any inquiry....BBC

  26. Migrant deportations from Greece to Turkey resume...

    A ferry carrying 45 migrants has arrived in Turkey after leaving the Greek island of Lesbos for, the second such journey carried out under a controversial EU deal to stem mass irregular migration to Europe.

    A second boat carrying a larger group was scheduled to leave the island later in the morning, state TV reported.

    Those who departed on the first boat of the day were from Pakistan, it said.

    The first group of 202 migrants to be returned, most of them from Pakistan and Afghanistan, were sent back to Turkey on Monday.

    At the port of Mytilene, at least two activists jumped into the water close to the small ferry, dangling from the heavy chain of the anchor and flashing the 'v' sign for victory.

    They were hoisted out of the water by the Greek

  27. Turkey, Israel near deal on normalising ties...

    Turkish and Israeli teams made progress towards finalising an agreement to mend ties between the two countries in talks and agreed a deal will be finalised in the next meeting to be convened very soon, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday.

    Turkey was once Israel’s closest regional ally but ties collapsed in 2010 over the killing by Israeli marines of 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the Gaza blockade.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, the Israeli prime minister’s special envoy, Joseph Ciechanover, and acting chairman of Israel’s National Security Council, General Jacob Nagel, met in London on Thursday, the Turkish ministry said in a statement.

    “The teams made progress towards finalising the agreement and closing the gaps, and agreed that the deal will be finalised in the next meeting which will be convened very soon,” the ministry

  28. EU threatens to sanction tax havens like Panama...

    The European Union has threatened to sanction countries like Panama if they continue to refuse to cooperate fully to fight money laundering and tax evasion, after a leak of data showed the tiny country remains a key destination for people who want to hide money.

    A leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca showed it had helped thousands of individuals and companies from around the world to set up shell companies and offshore accounts in low-tax havens. Because such accounts often hide the ultimate owner of the money, they are a favored tool to launder money, pay bribes or evade taxes.

    So far, the scandal has brought down the leader of Iceland and raised questions about the dealings of the presidents of Argentina and Ukraine, senior Chinese politicians, famous actors, athletes and the circle of friends of Russian Vladimir Putin, who some allege has profited indirectly from such accounts.

    "People are fed up with these outrages," said Pierre Moscovici, who heads financial affairs for the 28-nation EU. He took to task countries like Panama that facilitate such secretive, low-tax accounts.

    "The amounts of money, the jurisdictions and the names associated with this affair are frankly shocking," he said. Speaking of countries like Panama, he said the EU has to "be ready to hit them with appropriate sanctions if they refuse to change."..AP....

  29. ISIS massacres 175 captured workers from cement plant northeast of Damascus: Syrian military

  30. A Spanish far-left party filed a court complaint Thursday against acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for "crimes against humanity" over his support of a controversial EU accord to send refugees back to Turkey...

    Activists, rights groups and opposition parties in Spain have been hugely critical of the deal struck last month to try and rein in Europe's biggest migration crisis since World War II, joining a rising chorus of outrage on the continent.

    "Mr. Rajoy is making us accomplices of this atrocity," Alberto Garzon, head of Izquierda Unida (IU), told reporters.

    He said that refugees were fleeing from "terrorism" and "wars often directly provoked by Western countries... and by the Western military industry."

    "At the doors of Europe, they come across a lack of solidarity and asylum, and detention camps that clearly violate human rights, international law, and the principles and values on which the European Union should have been built," he added......AFP

  31. Vietnam Demands China Move Oil Rig...

    Vietnam demanded Friday that China remove an oil exploration rig from an area of the South China Sea where their border is still being demarcated, and said Beijing's unilateral actions were complicating the situation.

    The oil rig was at the center of standoff between the countries in 2014 when China parked it near the Paracel islands, which Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone. The incident sparked deadly riots in Vietnam.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said China has moved the oil rig into an area in the Gulf of Tonkin where the countries are negotiating the demarcation of their sea border.

    “Vietnam resolutely opposes and demands that China abandon drilling plans and immediately withdraw the Hai Duong 981 oil rig from this area, and that it not take additional unilateral actions that further complicate the situation” in the South China Sea, Binh said in a statement, referring to the oil rig by its Vietnamese name.

    He said Vietnam had lodged a protest with the Chinese Embassy in

  32. North Korea claims successful missile test...

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised a successful test of a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), its state media said.

    It is the latest claim of making advances in its arms programme that has brought UN sanctions.

    Tension has remained high on the Korean peninsula after the North's nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch earlier this year.

    The engine was ignited at Mr Kim's command and released a fiery blast, and the test showed the indigenously designed rocket fulfilled all required conditions, KCNA said.

    The test was conducted at the country's missile station near its west coast where in February it launched a long-range rocket that put an object into space orbit and was supervised by Mr Kim, the North's KCNA news agency said......

  33. Five migrants drown off Greek island of Samos after boat capsizes...

    Five migrants - four women and one child - drowned when their boat capsized off the Greek island of Samos close to Turkey's coast, Greek coast guard officials said on April 9.

    Five other migrants were rescued, the officials said, and coast guard vessels assisted by a helicopter were searching for more survivors.

    The incident occurred a day after two ferries took more than 120 migrants back to Turkey from the Greek island of Lesbos, in the second round of returns under an EU deal with Ankara to halt mass migration across the Aegean Sea to Europe....REUTERS

  34. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan Saturday hoping to promote cooperation from a would-be "unity" government he helped create less than two years ago, but which has proved largely incapable of governing...

    Following his trip to Iraq, it is the top American diplomat's second unannounced trip in as many days to a country the United States just can't seem to stabilize.

    Kerry will gather together with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, before meeting the two leaders separately. He'll also take part in a set of security, governance and economic development talks with Afghanistan's foreign minister that should underscore the range of difficulties besetting a nation that remains largely ungoverned, rife with corruption and beset by the Taliban's stubborn insurgency.

    The objective for the trip is far from ambitious. "The secretary wants to signal continuing U.S. support for the national unity government. It's at the 18-month mark in a five-year term, and we remain committed," said Richard Olson, President Barack Obama's special representative for the country, previewing the trip for reporters....AP

  35. British PM David Cameron says he mishandled Panama Papers tax scrutiny...

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday he should have handled scrutiny of his family's tax arrangements better, seeking to reassert his leadership after days of negative media coverage and calls for his resignation.

    After four days and four different statements over his late father's inclusion in the "Panama Papers", Cameron said on Thursday he once had a stake in his father's offshore trust and had profited from it.

    "Well, it's not been a great week," Cameron said, speaking in London at a meeting of members of his Conservative Party. "I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them."..REUTERS....

  36. Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the driving force behind the country's hardline stance on migrants, is to step down as part of a party reshuffle, Austrian media reported Saturday...

    The 52-year-old, who belongs to the conservative OeVP party, will become acting governor of her home state of Lower Austria, while the incumbent Wolfgang Sobotka would take over as interior minister, the APA news agency reported.

    It is not clear when the swap would take place, but the reshuffle was likely to be confirmed on Sunday at a meeting of the OeVP, which sits in the ruling coalition with the Social Democrats.

    "It's no secret that the minister's heart pulls her back to Lower Austria," her spokesman Hermann Muhr told AFP but refused to comment further....AFP

  37. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced on Sunday that he will submit his resignation on Tuesday Apr. 12, after two months of continuous pressure practiced by his coalition partners to step down from his post...

    "I decided to resign from the post of Ukraine's prime minister. On Tuesday, April 12, the decision will be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament)," Yatsenyuk said in a message to the nation broadcasted by several Ukrainian television channels.

    After resisting resignation for two months amid pressures that even included President Petro Poroshenko to dismiss him, Yatsenyuk stressed on Sunday that Ukraine's pro-European political forces must form a new coalition and a new government without delay.

  38. John Kerry will not offer an apology for the United States' use of the atomic bomb against Japan when he becomes the first US secretary of state to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum tomorrow, a senior US official said...

    Mr Kerry is visiting the city, which was obliterated by a US atomic bomb on 6 August 1945, to attend a gathering of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies.

    The US diplomat is to join his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan tomorrow to tour the city's atomic bomb museum and to lay flowers at a cenotaph for its victims - becoming the first in his post to do so.

    "If you are asking whether the Secretary of State came to Hiroshima to apologise, the answer is no," a senior US official told reporters

  39. Thousands of Iraqis have returned to the western city of Ramadi three months after Iraqi troops backed by US-led airstrikes drove ISIS out of the provincial capital, the city's mayor said Sunday...

    The returning families must go through security checks and are only allowed to return to areas cleared of mines and booby traps left behind by the ISIS, Mayor Ibrahim al-Osaj said.

    ISIS militants seized Ramadi last May and held the town until they were driven out in December. As in other cities and towns in Syria and Iraq, the fight to retake Ramadi demolished large parts of the city. Al-Osaj said seven neighborhoods are still off-limits to residents, not only because of the presence of explosives, but because the areas are "totally ruined."....AP

  40. AFGHANISTAN EARTHQUAKE: At least 6 killed, 46 injured in Pakistan by Afghanistan earthquake...

    At least six people died, while 46 others were injured in northwestern Pakistan as a result of a magnitude 6.6 earthquake on Sunday that shook several Asian countries and had its epicenter in Afghanistan, officials told EFE.

    Five deaths and 45 injuries were reported in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistani national disaster management official Latif ur Rehman said.

    In the neighboring region of Gilgit Baltistan, one death was reported, while another person was injured.

    The earthquake was detected at 2.48pm local time (10:18am GMT) and the epicenter was recorded at a depth of about 210 kilometers deep in the region of Hindukush, Badakhshan province, according to the US Geological Survey, which observes seismic activity around the world.

    The quake shook other Pakistani cities such as Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, while many residents ran out to open spaces on the streets.

    Hindukush is a mountainous area stretching between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, which forms part of the Himalayan region.

    In October 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 and an epicenter in the same area as today's quake left around 300 people dead and nearly 2,000 injured in both countries.

  41. Okinawa protesters call for return of Futenma 20 years after pact was reached...

    About 200 people in Okinawa rallied Sunday to push for the early return of land occupied by the Futenma military base ahead of the 20th anniversary of the bilateral accord on returning it to Japanese control.

    The protesters gathered near U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is located in a crowded residential area of Ginowan, and held placards with slogans such as “Take down the fence!” and “Let’s take back Futenma.”

    In the wake of public anger over the 1995 rape of a local girl by three American servicemen, Tokyo and Washington agreed on April 12, 1996, that the land used for Futenma should be returned to

  42. Three suicide bombers carried out explosions in a village in Russia's Stavropol region, close to the North Caucasus, Interfax news agency quoted a police source as saying on Monday...

    The suicide bombers were killed by the blasts and no one else was hurt, according to RIA news agency.

  43. Iran says Russia delivers first part of S-300 air defense system...

    Russia has sent the first part of its S-300 air defense missile system to Iran, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency on Monday.

    Russia says it canceled a contract to deliver S-300s, among the world's most capable air defense systems, to Iran in 2010 under pressure from the West. But President Vladimir Putin lifted that self-imposed ban in April 2015 following an interim nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

    Israel strongly opposes the supply of the system to Iran, which does not recognize the Jewish state.

  44. Turkey concerned over new wave of migrants from Aleppo...

    Renewed fighting in Syria has been fueling Turkey’s concerns over a new wave of migrants from Aleppo, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın has said, stressing that “neither the Syrian regime nor its supporters” have been acting in line with the U.N.’s priorities for achieving a political transition
    Speaking at a press conference on April 11, İbrahim Kalın was reminded of Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaki’s remarks during a visit to Moscow on April 10 when he said the Russian air force and Syrian army are preparing for a joint operation to “liberate” Aleppo.

    Kalın initially referred to U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s announcement that the next round of peace talks in Geneva, due to begin on April 13, will focus on a political transition for Syria, where the civil war is now in its sixth year.

    “So on one side you will reach an agreement with the entire international community’s contribution and support a ‘cessation of hostilities,’ but on the other side - in Aleppo, in Idlib and in other places - under the pretext of ‘We are fighting Daesh,’ you will resume operations? Of course it is not possible to accept this,” Kalın said, in an apparent reference to the “cessation of hostilities agreement” brokered by Russia and the U.S., which came under new strain as government and rebel forces clashed near Aleppo.

    “Our concerns over a new wave of migration that may come from Aleppo are also continuing. If a comprehensive military operation is launched there, where will these people go? They will come to Turkey, which they see as the closest shelter. So perhaps a new humanitarian drama, a new refugee crisis, will occur,” he added......

  45. Syrian Air Force destroys ISIS and al-Nusra terrorists’ fortified positions...

    The Syrian Army Air Force continued Tuesday striking gatherings and fortified positions of terrorist groups of ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra.

    The Syrian Air Force destroyed gatherings of “Jabhat al-Nusra” terrorists in al-Ankawi, Kafar Nabouda, Tal Waset, al-Qahera and al-Mansoura in the countryside of Province, a military source told SANA.

    In the neighboring province of Homs, the Syrian Air Force destroyed fortified positions for ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations in Teir Ma’ale, Talbise, Deir Fuol, Ezzeddin, and the vicinity of Jizel oil field in the countryside of the province.

  46. Philippine diplomat warns China over disputed shoal in South China Sea...

    A Philippine diplomat warned Tuesday that any Chinese move to turn a disputed shoal, where the U.S. Navy recently spotted a suspected Chinese survey ship, into an island will escalate the disputes in the South China Sea and asked Washington to convince Beijing not to take that "very provocative" step.

    Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia Jr. told a news conference in Manila that a senior U.S. Navy official reported spotting a suspected Chinese survey ship in the Scarborough Shoal a few weeks ago and expressed concern about its presence in the disputed offshore area.

    The Philippine military checked but found nothing, possibly because the Chinese ship later left the shoal, he

  47. Taliban vows large-scale offensives against Afghan military forces...

    The Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive on Tuesday, pledging to launch large-scale offensives against government strongholds backed by suicide and guerrilla attacks to drive Afghanistan's Western-backed government from power.

    The announcement of the start of "Operation Omari," named after the late Taliban founder Mullah Muhammad Omar, came just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul and reaffirmed US support for a national unity government led by President Ashraf Ghani.

    "Jihad against the aggressive and usurping infidel army is a holy obligation upon our necks and our only recourse for reestablishing an Islamic system and regaining our independence," the Taliban said in a statement.

    The insurgency has gained strength since the withdrawal of international troops from combat at the end of 2014 and the Taliban are stronger than at any point since they were driven from power by US-backed forces in 2001.....

  48. The Turkish government Tuesday submitted a draft proposal to parliament to remove the immunity of parliamentarians from prosecution, ruling AK Party officials said...

    All 316 AK Party lawmakers signed the draft, they told Reuters.

  49. Israel's defense minister says Saudi Arabia has given Israel written assurances the kingdom will guarantee Israel freedom of passage in the Tiran Straits...

    Tuesday's announcement comes as Egypt readies to hand over control of two islands in the straits to the kingdom.

    Moshe Yaalon says an agreement was reached by which Saudi Arabia will continue to fulfill Egypt's commitment to free passage.

    Israel and Saudi Arabia have no official relations, but ties have warmed recently mainly over shared concerns about Iran's growing influence in the region.

    The two islands control entry to ports in Israel and Jordan. Access to the waterway was a factor in past wars.

    Israel captured them in the 1967 Mideast war but returned them to Egypt after the two nations signed a peace treaty in 1979.

  50. China Accuses Taiwanese Nationals Deported From Kenya of Fraud ...

    China says it is investigating a group of Taiwanese nationals deported from Kenya for suspected fraud, pushing back against angry protests from Taipei over the deportations.

    A total of 45 Taiwanese nationals have been sent to mainland China between Monday and Tuesday, all of them arrested in Kenya in 2014 and charged with cybercrime. A Kenyan court dismissed the charges and gave the group 21 days to leave the country.

    Taipei has angrily accused Beijing of kidnapping its nationals by pressuring Kenya to deport them to China. But An Fengshan, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said the group had stolen millions of dollars from Chinese citizens and

  51. Philippines, Vietnam to explore joint patrols in South China Sea...

    Defense officials from the Philippines and Vietnam will meet this week to explore possible joint exercises and navy patrols, military sources said, shoring up a new alliance between states locked in maritime rows with China.

    Ties have strengthened between the two Southeast Asian countries as China's assertiveness intensifies with a rapid buildup of man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago, to which Vietnam and the Philippines lay claim.

    Both states are also on the receiving end of a renewed charm offensive by the United States, which is holding joint military exercises in the Philippines to be attended this week by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

    Vietnam and the Philippines would discuss patrols and exercises, but a deal this week was unlikely, a senior military official told

  52. La justice panaméenne écarte toute mesure contre Mossack Fonseca...

    Le procureur panaméen chargé de la lutte contre le crime organisé a écarté mercredi de prendre des mesures "pour le moment" contre le cabinet d'avocats Mossack Fonseca, au coeur du scandale des "Panama Papers", au termes de 27 heures de perquisition.

    "Pour le moment, nous n'avons pas d'éléments probants qui nous permettent de prendre une quelconque décision" contre la société Mossack Fonseca ni contre ses dirigeants et employés, a déclaré Javier Caraballo à la presse, au pied des locaux de Mossack Fonseca au terme de 27 heures de perquisition menée dans les bureaux centraux et les filiales du cabinet d'avocats.

    Les informations récoltées vont "permettre de rassembler les éléments pour prendre une décision ultérieure", a-t-il ajouté.

    "Au Panama, l'évasion fiscale ne constitue pas un délit"

    Selon lui, l'investigation s'avère compliquée, Mossack Fonseca archivant ses documents sous forme numérique, et non physique, dans plus d'une centaine de serveurs différents.

    Quelques heures auparavant, la procureure générale du Panama, Kenia Porcell, avait indiqué que l'enquête était "très complexe"

  53. S.Korea prepares for possible DPRK ballistic missile launch ...

    South Korea's defense ministry said Thursday that the military is preparing for possible launch of ballistic missile by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) around one of its most important national holidays.

    Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Kyun told a press briefing that the military is closely monitoring and preparing for the possibility for the DPRK's fifth nuclear test and the launch of ballistic missiles such as Musudan missiles.

    Moon said it would be in line with top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's orders on March 15 to test a nuclear warhead and ballistic rockets capable of carrying the warhead.

    Regarding possibility for the launch of ballistic missiles from mobile launcher, Moon said it was possible for the DPRK to launch mobile ballistic missiles, noting that the military continued the monitoring and tracking of such possibility.

    The spokesman, however, noted that the DPRK has yet to issue a no-navigation zone in waters off the country, widely seen as a sign to launch ballistic missiles.

    Expectations have grown recently over the DPRK's ballistic missile firings ahead of the so-called Day of the Sun, an annual public holiday in the DPRK that falls on April 15 to mark the birthday of Kim Il Sung, founder of the country and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

  54. Streng geheime Überlegungen: EU will offenbar Flüchtlinge in Krisengebiete zurückschicken...

    Das ARD-Magazin Monitor hat Recherche-Ergebnisse veröffentlicht, nach denen die EU überlegt, Flüchtlinge in Krisengebiete zurückzuschicken. Im Gegenzug will man Diktatoren und international gesuchte Kriegsverbrecher unterstü

  55. Russian military aircraft have conducted a series of "aggressive" overflights of a US destroyer in international waters in the Baltic Sea, a US defense official said Wednesday...

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official described several incidents on Monday and Tuesday, including one in which a Russian Su-24 jet flew just 30 feet (nine meters) above the USS Donald Cook in a "simulated attack profile."

    "This is more aggressive than anything we've seen in some time," the official said. The destroyer was in the Baltic Sea in international waters, about 70 nautical miles from Kaliningrad.

    1. Survol "agressif" d'un navire américain: la Russie affirme avoir respecté les règles...

      Les avions militaires russes, accusés par Washington d'avoir effectué des vols "agressifs" près d'un navire américain en mer Baltique, ont effectué leurs vols "en respectant toutes les règles de sécurité", a déclaré jeudi l'armée russe.

      "Ayant repéré le navire (américain) dans la zone de visibilité, les pilotes russes ont détourné leur appareil du navire en respectant toutes les règles de sécurité", a déclaré le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense, le général Igor Konachenkov, ajoutant "ne pas comprendre la réaction outrée" des Etats-Unis. Un responsable américain de la Défense avait annoncé mercredi qu'un Su-24 russe avait notamment survolé à moins de neuf mètres le navire USS Donald Cook, dans ce qui avait selon lui "un profil d'attaque simulée"

  56. A team of Italian specialists has arrived at the site of the Mosul Dam as part of an emergency campaign to repair Iraq's largest dam before it collapses...

    The advance team, which arrived Thursday, will set up a camp for the group of engineers who are expected to arrive within a few weeks.

    U.S. and Iraqi officials have repeatedly warned that the dam is in imminent danger of collapse.

    In late February, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad called the dam's risk of collapse "serious and unprecedented," and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi asked Mosul residents along the Tigris river to move at least six kilometers (3.7 miles) away from its banks.

    The dam outside the ISIS-held city of Mosul was built in the early 1980s on highly unstable ground.

  57. Russia’s permanent envoy to the UN Vitally Churkin called for closing the Turkish-Syrian borders through which oil and relics are being smuggled from territories seized by ISIS terrorist organization towards Turkey...

    “Russia considers closing the borders as an urgent issue in order to stop the support offered to the terrorists,” Churkin said at a session for UN Security Council on Thursday, adding that his country calls for the spread of independent observers along those borders.

    He also suggested to consider a possibility to impose a full commercial embargo against ISIS, affirming that the largest operations of oil smuggle are mainly done from Iraq through the Turkish lands, and the transporting of gunmen and arms are also made through borders between Turkey and Syria.

  58. Brazil's Supreme Court Rejects Impeachment Block ...

    Brazil's Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by President Dilma Rousseff to block the impeachment process against her.

    The high court vote early Friday, following a lengthy emergency session that began Thursday, clears the way for a crucial Congressional vote on Rousseff, whose tenuous grip on power seems to be slipping away.

    With the court ruling, lawmakers in the lower house of Congress are set to vote Sunday on whether to send Rousseff to an impeachment trial. Latest counts indicate the lawmakers are close to the two-thirds majority needed to approve the motion.

    If the vote passes Sunday, the Senate will have the authority to open a trial against Rousseff, who is accused of illegal government accounting tricks to boost her re-election chances.

    Rousseff denies wrongdoing and has dismissed the impeachment effort as baseless.

  59. ‘Refugees have a right to asylum – not bias and barbed wire,’ Ban says in Washington...

    As the world faces the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated a call to leaders across Europe and throughout the world to show greater solidarity as they strive to combat the deeper roots of conflict and continue to work towards securing human rights for all.

    Arriving in Washington, D.C., this morning to attend the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, the UN chief participated in an event on the development challenges of forced displacement.

    Recalling his visit in March with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to the Middle East region, including Jordan and Lebanon, Mr. Ban said they heard the stories of thousands of refugees, and he was “deeply moved, especially by the dreams and resolve of the young people.”

    “Above all, this is not just a crisis of numbers – it is also a crisis of solidarity,” Mr. Ban said.

    The Secretary-General also underscored that today’s internal displacement and refugee crises are signs of deeper challenges that must be resolved – from Syria to Afghanistan to South

  60. Ecuador earthquake: Death toll jumps as search continues...

    The number of people killed in a powerful earthquake that struck Ecuador over the weekend has risen to about 350, the government has said.

    There have been desperate scenes as rescuers and family members searched for survivors, often with bare hands.

    Teams from Switzerland, Spain and several Latin American countries have arrived to join the search effort.

    More than 2,000 people were injured in the quake, Ecuador's most powerful in decades, which hit its Pacific coast.

    Earlier President Rafael Correa warned that the death toll was likely to rise, and said there were still people alive under the rubble of collapsed buildings....BBC

    1. Rescuers and desperate families clawed through the rubble Monday pulling out the first survivors of an earthquake that killed 413 people and destroyed towns in a tourist region of Ecuador...

      Tearful relatives grabbed chunks of debris with their bare hands as they joined in the search for their loved ones along with stretched firefighting teams and mechanical

  61. UN says Yemen talks delayed, urges rebels to join...

    Peace talks between Yemen's warring parties due to begin in Kuwait on Monday have been delayed, UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said, urging the country's rebels to take part.

    "Due to developments over the last few hours, the start of the Yemeni-Yemeni peace negotiations scheduled to begin today... in Kuwait, will be delayed," the envoy said in a statement, without specifying when they might take place.

    "We are working to overcome the latest challenges and ask the delegations to show good faith (and) participate in the talks in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Yemen," said Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

    "The next few hours are crucial," he warned, calling on all parties to "take their responsibilities seriously and agree on comprehensive solutions"

  62. Grèce: course contre la montre pour décrocher un accord avec les créanciers UE-FMI...

    La Grèce va tenter cette semaine de se mettre d'accord avec ses créanciers UE-FMI pour rester sous perfusion financière et obtenir un allègement de sa dette, mais l'épilogue reste hypothéqué par l'ampleur des sacrifices réclamés à ce pays.

    Après une pause pour la réunion de printemps du FMI à Washington, le quartet représentant les bailleurs de fonds devait retourner lundi à Athènes, les premiers rendez-vous n'étant pas prévus pour avant mardi, a déclaré le ministère des Finances.

  63. Hezbollah Monday condemned Israel’s move to hold a cabinet meeting for the first time in the occupied Golan Heights, in a provocative move to assert its control over the Syrian territory.
    The Daily Star

  64. Several people have been killed and more than 200 have been injured in a huge explosion in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul, officials say...

    Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said a suicide attacker had detonated a vehicle. Gunfire can still be heard.

    A Taliban spokesman said the group carried out the attack.

    It comes a week after it said it was launching its "spring offensive", warning of "large-scale attacks"...BBC

  65. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday warned the European Union to stick by a promise of visa free travel for Turks by June this year, saying otherwise Ankara would not abide by its commitments under a key migrant deal...

    Turkey earlier this year agreed a series of measures to help the EU stem the flow of migrants from Syria and other troubled countries to European shores, in exchange for the promise of visa free travel and a boost for Ankara’s longstanding bid to join the bloc.

    “This is a mutual commitment. If the EU cannot take the necessary steps required of it then of course it cannot be expected of Turkey to take these steps,” Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport before heading to Strasbourg.

    “I maintain my belief that, God willing, we will have the visa exemption in June. In the absence of that, then of course no-one can expect Turkey to adhere to its commitments,” he

  66. Another quake, magnitude 6.2, strikes off Ecuador coast...

    A 6.2 earthquake shook the coast of Ecuador on Wednesday, just days after a bigger quake battered the area and killed nearly 500 people in a blow to the country's already fragile economy.

    The latest earthquake hit 70 km (44 miles) off the Pacific coast town Esmeraldas at a depth of 10 km, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. That was not far from the epicenter of Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake.

    Witnesses in the zone said two strong tremors of about 30 seconds each were felt in the early hours in Cojimies, down the coast from the weekend earthquake. People woke up and rushed into the street.

    No tsunami warning was issued. The quake was not felt in the highland capital of Quito, and there were no immediate reports of major damage.....REUTERS

  67. Turkey's foreign minister said Wednesday the European Union needs to be more pragmatic in releasing a promised 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) meant to help manage the migrant crisis, saying there were problems with the delivery of the money...

    Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu also urged the Syrian opposition to continue with peace talks being held in Geneva.

  68. Brésil: trois ministres supplémentaires abandonnent Dilma Rousseff ...

    Trois nouveaux ministres du parti centriste PMDB dirigé par Michel Temer, vice-président et ancien allié de Dilma Rousseff qu'elle accuse de conspirer pour la renverser, ont démissionné mercredi, alors que la présidente joue une course contre la montre pour éviter sa destitution.En fin de journée, la présidence a indiqué que trois membres du gouvernement, Eduardo Braga, ministre des Mines et de l'Energie, Helder Barbalho, secrétaire aux Affaires portuaires, et Celso Pansera, secrétaire chargé des Sciences et des Technologies, tous membres du PMDB, avaient renoncé à leurs fonctions.

    Avec ces nouvelles défections, il ne reste plus que deux ministres du PMDB sur les sept qui étaient initialement membres du gouvernement de Mme Rousseff, avant que le leader du parti et vice-président, Michel Temer, n'organise la sortie de son parti de la coalition fin mars. Neuf des 32 portefeuilles ministériels sont désormais tenus par des responsables inté

  69. NATO warns migrant smugglers 'shifting routes rapidly'...

    NATO said on Thursday (Apr 21) it had no plans to wind up a mission to stop migrant traffickers in the Aegean Sea and warned smugglers were changing routes very quickly.

    Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said traffickers were still trying to smuggle people from Turkey to Greece, despite the apparent success of an unprecedented naval mission by NATO to help tackle Europe's migration crisis.

    "We have seen a significant reduction in the numbers" attempting the perilous crossing from Turkey to Greece, particularly since the implementation of a deal between Ankara and the European Union, he admitted.

    "But I think it is important not to end this activity too early because we still see that the smugglers are trying to get people over the Aegean," he said at a press conference during a visit to Turkey.

    He said NATO's deployment of ships and helicopters in Turkish and Greek territorial waters, launched in early March, would "stay as long as needed," rather than pull out now that numbers are dropping.

    He warned that leaving could "see a return of high numbers of people," adding that the alliance would "need to remain flexible because the people smugglers are shifting routes very rapidly"

  70. Historic climate deal to be signed in New York...

    Ireland is to join more than 165 countries at the UN Headquarters in New York later today in signing up to the historic climate change agreement reached in Paris last December.

    The agreement commits countries to cut global greenhouse gas emissions and slow the warming of the planet to just 2 degrees, or 1.5 degrees if possible.

    196 nations were party to the talks in Paris, with the 165 signatories representing a record number of countries to sign an international agreement.

    The previous record was set in 1982 when 119 countries signed the Law of the Sea Convention.

    However, signing up to the landmark deal, on Earth Day, is just the first step - countries must then ratify its contents within national policies.

    13 countries - mostly small island developing nations - have already done that..........

  71. Le Venezuela coupera le courant quatre heures par jour pendant 40 jours...

    Le Venezuela, frappé par une sécheresse sévère et une grave crise économique, va couper l'électricité quatre heures par jour pendant 40 jours dans ses dix États les plus peuplés, a annoncé jeudi le gouvernement.

    Dès le lundi 25 avril, le Venezuela commencera à rationner son électricité. À compter de cette date, le pays d'Amérique latine, frappé par une sécheresse sévère et une grave crise économique, va couper l'électricité quatre heures par jour pendant 40 jours dans les dix États (sur 24) les plus peuplés, a annoncé le gouvernement jeudi 21

  72. Turkish demands are posing obstacles to a NATO mission in the Aegean Sea aimed at countering the smuggling of migrants and refugees into Europe, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday...

    NATO sent its ships into Greek and Turkish waters in the Aegean in March. On Thursday, it said the number of migrants and refugees crossing the sea from Turkey was falling significantly, but smugglers can rapidly change routes and authorities must not reduce security efforts prematurely.

    Speaking after a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Athens, Tsipras said obstacles included not having full operational access in the region.....REUTERS

  73. Obama urges Britons to stay in EU ...

    Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday voiced his support for Britain to remain in the European Union (EU), in a message certain to be attacked by Brexit campaigners.

    Obama said he was speaking "with the candor of a friend" in a message published in the Daily Telegraph, one of the leading broadsheet newspapers in the country. He began a three-day visit to Britain late on Thursday.

    However, it is most likely to cut no ice with critics who will insist he is a head of state and should not intervene in the domestic affairs of Britain, particularly the June referendum on EU membership.

    However, Brexit supporter London Mayor Boris Johnson also had a message for the U.S. president.

    "Britain and America can be better friends than ever, Mr. Obama, if we leave the EU," Johnson wrote in the Sun newspaper.

    Johnson also wrote that the United States would never surrender so much power to Brussels............

  74. A Syrian refugee who had part of a leg amputated after a bombing will be one of the torchbearers for the Greek leg of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic flame relay...

    The Greek Olympic committee said Friday that 27-year-old Ibrahim Al-Hussein will carry the torch at an Athens refugee camp hosting 1,500 people next Tuesday - the next-to-last day of the relay in Greece.

    Al-Hussein reached Greece on a rubber dinghy in 2014, and has been granted asylum in the country. He is a former competitive swimmer and judo athlete.

    Despite having part of his leg amputated, he trains regularly in swimming pools and plays basketball, in a wheelchair, with an Athens club.

    The flame, which was lit Thursday at a ceremony in Ancient Olympia, will be handed to Brazilian officials next Wednesday.

  75. Thousands of people are protesting in the German city of Hannover against a proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal...

    They say the deal would drive down wages, and weaken environmental protection and labour rights.

    US President Barack Obama - who is pushing hard for the agreement - says it would create millions of jobs and increase trade by lowering tariffs.

    On Sunday, he will visit the northern city to open a huge trade fair...BBC

  76. A mortar shell fired by terrorists on al-Wafideen Camp neighborhood in the countryside of Damascus on Saturday left a child dead and a woman injured, according to a Police Command source...

    The attack also caused material damage in the site, the source told SANA reporter.

    Several residential areas in Damascus city were also shelled by terrorist organizations.

    One of the shells landed on the roof of one of the houses in al-Salehiyeh neighborhood, while three others fell in al-Adawi neighborhood.

    The terrorist groups also fired DShK shells that hit buildings in George Khouri Square and near al-Tijara Park.

    The attacks caused material damage only without any human casualties, the source confirmed...........

  77. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials are visiting a migrant camp on the Turkish-Syrian border, as they seek to bolster a controversial EU-Turkey deal...

    The delegation is inspecting living conditions at the Nizip camp, home to some 5,000 migrants.

    However, rights groups have criticised the visit as "sanitised".

    They also question the legality of the deal, which deports to Turkey migrants who do not obtain asylum in Greece.

    They argue that Turkey is not a safe place to return people....BBC

  78. Libye: le Conseil d'Etat prend ses fonctions à Tripoli ...

    Le Conseil d’État libyen, la plus haute instance consultative issue de l'accord politique parrainé par l'ONU, a pris ses fonctions et tenu sa première réunion à Tripoli, renforçant le contrôle des nouvelles autorités sur les rouages de l'Etat.

    Après le nouveau gouvernement d'union nationale soutenu par la communauté internationale qui a commencé à prendre les rênes de ministères à Tripoli, le Conseil d’État s'est installé vendredi soir au siège de l'ancien Parlement de Tripoli, le Congrès général national (CGN).

    Aux termes de l'accord controversé conclu fin 2015 au Maroc entre des membres de forces politiques libyennes, les 145 députés du CGN deviennent membres du Conseil d’État. Un peu moins de la moitié de ces députés dont le président du CGN Nouri Abou Sahmein, ont refusé de se joindre au Conseil d’État mais leur décision n'a guère influé sur l'installation de la nouvelle

  79. Palestinian officials slam Abbas for delaying UN resolution on settlements...

    A number of senior Palestinian officials have criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to postpone consideration of a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

    The Palestinian Authority said it was considering suspending its drive to have a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement building passed, following pressure from France — currently pushing for a renewed peace initiative — and other countries, Haaretz reported last week.

    However a senior Fatah official said that the decision to postpone the resolution was a mistake, according to Haaretz. “If we capitulate to pressure now,” he said, according to the report, “then perhaps in the future, we’ll be pressured to postpone the conference or cancel it, and then only Israel and the US will gain more and more time.”

  80. Présidentielle en Autriche: extrême droite en tête, partis historiques éjectés ...

    Pour la première fois depuis la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale, l'extrême droite arrive largement en tête de l'élection présidentielle en Autriche. Lors du premier tour ce dimanche, le candidat du FPö, Norbert Hofer a obtenu plus de 36% des votes. Au deuxième tour, il affrontera un candidat écologiste. C'est donc l'autre enseignement de ce scrutin historique: les partis traditionnels de pouvoir, les sociaux-démocrates et les conservateurs sont éliminés d'entrée de jeu.

    Le score a laminé deux partis historiques de la gauche et de la droite autrichienne. Cet échec représente un tremblement de terre et met en danger l’actuel gouvernement qui aura beaucoup de mal à tenir jusqu’aux prochaines législatives en 2018. Le scrutin prouve aussi que l’extrême droite peut croître en Europe dans des pays en bonne santé économique. L’Autriche reste en effet un havre de prospérité. Le vote avait lieu par contre dans un contexte orageux. Celui de l’arrivée des migrants. Le président sortant social-démocrate Hans Fischer n’a certainement pas servi son camp en affirmant que le nombre des demandes d’asile déposées en Autriche avait dépassé celui des naissances. Il a ainsi alimenté la peur des populations face à des flux migratoires que la politique semblait incapable de maîtriser faute de consensus europé

  81. Crash d'un avion malaisien en Ukraine - "Le vol MH17 abattu par un avion de chasse ukrainien", selon un documentaire de la BBC...

    (Belga) Le vol MH17 de la Malaysia Airlines n'a pas été abattu par un missile sol-air BUK, comme cela a souvent été présenté, mais bien par un avion de chasse ukrainien, à en croire les conclusions d'un documentaire de la chaîne britannique BBC, qui sera diffusé la semaine prochaine. Tous les passagers de l'avion, la plupart des Néerlandais, et les membres d'équipage, soit 298 personnes, avaient perdu la vie dans l'explosion de ce Boeing 777 au-dessus de l'est de l'Ukraine le 17 juillet 2014.

    Une "nouvelle preuve" que l'avion a potentiellement été abattu par un avion de combat ukrainien est apportée par le documentaire. Une autre théorie évoquée est celle de deux bombes se trouvant à bord dans le cadre d'une "opération terroriste" soutenue par la CIA. Des témoins oculaires avaient à l'époque affirmé avoir aperçu plus d'un avion dans les airs le jour du crash. L'une des cent personnes interrogées dans le documentaire assure avoir vu comment le Boeing avait été abattu par deux jets, dont l'un avait visé le cockpit afin d'éliminer l'équipage......

  82. U.S. volunteers seek adventure fighting Islamic State alongside Kurds...

    Towering over his Kurdish partner at a checkpoint in northern Iraq, U.S. volunteer John Cole cuts an unusual figure on the road to the newest front in the war against Islamic State.

    Seven feet (2.1 meters) tall and holding his assault rifle upside down, Cole is among a relatively small band of Westerners who have made their own way to Iraq to take up arms against the militant group - even though Kurdish authorities say they need foreign money and weapons more than men.

    Exactly how much fighting Cole has done is unclear, but the 23-year-old said that - unlike most regular U.S. soldiers stationed nearby - he has participated in offensives against Islamic State that involved artillery fire and airstrikes.

    "You can feel the explosions in your teeth. It's kind of cool actually," he told Reuters, nervously pulling on a

  83. Deutsche Bank Co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen was cleared Monday of allegations he gave false testimony in a legal dispute involving Kirch Media Group that lasted more than a decade...

    Fitschen and other former bank executives were accused of giving false testimony in a civil suit in connection with the collapse of German media mogul Leo Kirch's company. The court also dismissed charges against Fitschen's predecessors, Rolf Breuer and Josef Ackermann, and two other former management board members, Clemens Boersig and Tessen von Heydebreck.

    "The accusations weren't substantiated," said Peter Noll, the presiding judge. Prosecutors have one week to appeal the ruling.

    The verdict is another setback for German prosecutors. Last month Porsche officers were cleared by a Stuttgart court of charges they manipulated Volkswagen AG shares during a failed 2008 takeover.

    Deutsche Bank has been involved in numerous legal battles, including investigations of rate-fixing and currency manipulation. Fitschen, the only board member involved in the current Kirch case, leaves his post next month and Co-CEO John Cryan becomes Deutsche Bank's sole

  84. Justin Trudeau outrage at 'cold-blooded murder' of hostage...

    The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the killing of a Canadian hostage kidnapped by Islamist militants in the Philippines.

    John Ridsdel, 68, was taken from a tourist resort with three others by the Abu Sayyaf group in September 2015.

    In November, the Islamist militants released a video showing Mr Ridsdel and three other captives, and demanded a ransom of $80m (£55m).

    Mr Trudeau called his death "an act of cold-blooded murder".

    On Monday, a severed head was found on remote Jolo, hours after the Abu Sayyaf ransom deadline expired. Local authorities said it belonged to a foreign man but have not confirmed whether it belonged to any of the captives.....BBC

  85. Ukraine has held memorial services to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster...

    In the early hours of 26 April 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that spewed deadly clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.

    Relatives of those who died as a result of the world's worst nuclear accident attended a candle-lit vigil in a Kiev church, built in their memory.

    Others gathered for a service in Slavutych, a town 50km from Chernobyl that was established to house many of those who had to leave their homes for ever.

    The founder of Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche, is to address the United Nations General Assembly at an event to mark the anniversary.

    She has been invited to speak by the Belarusian government during its allocated time.

    More than half a million civilian and military personnel were drafted in from across the former Soviet Union as so-called liquidators to clean-up and contain the nuclear fallout, according to the World Health Organization.

    Thirty-one plant workers and firemen died in the immediate aftermath of the accident, most from acute radiation

  86. US President Barack Obama said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is trying to undermine European unity, which he sees as a threat...

    Speaking to CBS News in an interview set to air Tuesday morning, Obama said Europe's migrant crisis is also a problem for the United States.

    "But more importantly, more strategically, is the strain it's putting on Europe's politics, the way that it advances far-right nationalism, the degree to which it is encouraging a break-up of European unity, that in some cases, is being exploited by somebody like Mr. Putin," he said.

    Putin sees NATO, the European Union and transatlantic unity as a threat, Obama added.

    "Now, I think he's mistaken about that," he said. "I've indicated to him that, in fact, a strong, unified Europe working with a strong, outward-looking Russia, that's the right recipe."

    "So far, he has not been entirely persuaded."

  87. Schulz warnt vor schwarzen Listen für Journalisten...

    Innerhalb weniger Tage hat die Türkei mehreren ausländischen Reportern die Einreise verweigert - die Kritik an dem Vorgehen wird lauter. EU-Parlamentspräsident Schulz warnte die türkischen Behörden vor schwarzen Listen für Journalisten.

    Nach dem erneuten Einreisverbot für einen Reporter hat EU-Parlamentspräsident Martin Schulz die Türkei vor schwarzen Listen mit Namen unerwünschter Journalisten gewarnt. "Listen mit Journalistennamen haben in Demokratien nichts zu suchen", sagte der SPD-Politiker zu "Bild".

    Sollte es solche Listen geben, müssten diese "schnellstens öffentlich gemacht werden", sagte auch der CDU-Bundestagsabgeordnete und Außenexperte Karl-Georg Wellmann.
    "Bild"-Reporter abgewiesen

    Der Zeitung zufolge war ein "Bild"-Reporter am Samstag nach der Landung in Istanbul ohne Begründung am Weiterflug gehindert und ausgewiesen worden. Sein Name stehe auf einer Liste, habe es lediglich von türksicher Seite geheißen. Das Auswärtige Amt erklärte, von schwarzen Listen der Türkei keine Kenntnis zu haben. "Die Bundesregierung erwartet, dass deutsche Journalisten in der Türkei ihrer Aufgabe ungehindert nachgehen können", sagte ein Sprecher. Laut "Bild" haben die Grünen zudem eine aktuelle Stunde zum "Umgang mit der Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit in der Türkei"

  88. Turkey has struck a deal with the United States to deploy American light multiple rocket launchers on its border with Syria to combat the ISIS group, according to the foreign ministry...

    The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) "will be deployed on the Turkish border in May as part of an agreement" with Washington, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview published Tuesday.

    The system is being brought in "so we will be able to hit ISIS targets more effectively," he told the Haberturk newspaper, using an acronym for ISIS.....AFP

  89. En Espagne, le Roi Felipe reçoit une dernière fois aujourd'hui les dirigeants des 4 partis arrivés en tête aux élections législatives du 20 décembre...

    Un dernier tour avant de constater, plus que probablement, l’impossibilité de former une coalition.

    Dans la foulée, le parlement devrait être dissout et de nouvelles élections convoquées.

  90. Militants from the Islamic State group seized five villages from Syrian rebels close to the Turkish border Wednesday, further weakening the rebels' foothold in the Aleppo area...

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a network of activists monitoring the Syria conflict, said the extremist group took five villages in Azaz district, north of Aleppo, where rebels hold an enclave host to tens of thousands of internally displaced civilians.

    The IS group's news agency also reported the

  91. The Austrian parliament on Wednesday adopted one of Europe's toughest asylum laws, as the country's political leaders struggle to halt the surging far-right which is leading in presidential polls...

    The hotly-disputed bill, which passed by 98 votes to 67, allows the government to declare a "state of emergency" if migrant numbers suddenly rise and reject most asylum seekers directly at the border, including those from war-torn countries like Syria.

    Opposition parties and rights groups have slammed the legislation, with the UN's refugee agency warning that it "removes a centrepiece of refugee protection".

    But Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka insisted Austria had no other choice as long as "so many other European Union members fail to do their part" to stop the influx.

    "We cannot shoulder the whole world's burden," he said.

    Wedged between Europe's two main refugee routes - the Balkans and Italy -- Austria received around 90,000 asylum requests in 2015, the second-highest in the bloc on a per capita basis.

    More than a million people, primarily from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, landed in Europe last year, triggering the continent's worst migration crisis since the aftermath of World War II.

    Many braved a short but dangerous sea journey from Turkey to Greece, before trekking up through the Balkans toward western and northern Europe.....AFP

  92. UN Syria envoy issues document on transition...

    The Syrian government and main opposition group remain far apart in their vision of a political transition, despite some common ground, the United Nations Syria envoy said on Thursday.

    UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, in a seven-page document issued at the end of a two-week round of talks, said that the two sides shared the view “that the transitional governance could include members of the present government and the opposition, independents and others”.

    Major and regional powers, who form the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), would need to help in elaborating the fundamental issues to reach agreement on a viable political transition in future rounds, he said.

  93. US, EU visitors to Turkey told to use ‘high degree of caution’...

    The US government on Tuesday issued an “emergency message” to its citizens residing in Turkey, warning of what it considers significant terrorist threats within the country.

    The emailed statement was distributed by the US embassy in Ankara and warned of popular tourist destinations being prime targets for attacks, Reuters reported.

    The warning came a day before a suicide bomber blew herself up in the Turkish city of Bursa on Wednesday, wounding 13 people in the latest attack to strike the country, officials said.

    “The US government continues to receive credible indications that terrorist groups are seeking opportunities to attack popular tourist destinations throughout Turkey,” the statement read.

    “Foreign tourists in Turkey have been explicitly targeted by terrorist organizations.”

    It suggested the threat from terrorism in the country “remains high”

  94. Energiekrise in Venezuela: Gewaltsame Proteste gegen Sparmaßnahmen ...

    Plünderungen und brennende Barrikaden: Die Wut über die Energiekrise und die von der Regierung verordnete Stromrationierung treibt die Venezulaner auf die Straße. Die Opposition des Landes sieht die Schuld bei Präsident Maduro und will ihn stürzen.

    Rund 100 Menschen sind in Venezuela bei Protesten gegen die Stromrationierung festgenommen worden. Die Demonstranten gingen in der zweitgrößten Stadt Maracaibo auf die Straßen. Nach Angaben der Behörden kam es vor Ort zu gewaltsamen Ausschreitungen. "Mehr als 95 Menschen wurden wegen Vandalismus festgenommen", teilte der örtliche Sicherheitschef mit.

    In der Hauptstadt des Bundesstaates Zulia soll es nach Angaben des Gouverneurs Francisco Arias Cárdenas in 18 Stadtteilen Proteste gegeben haben. 73 Geschäfte seien dabei attackiert worden. Die Demos und Plünderungen folgten einem "Plan zur Destabilisierung" des Landes, sagte der

  95. Syria stresses entry of 150 US troops into its territory is illegitimate and totally rejected ...

    Syria asserted on Thursday that the entry of 150 US troops into Syrian territory is totally rejected and illegitimate.

    “We received with deep concern the news that 150 US troops have entered the Syrian territory into Rmeilan area,” an official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement to SANA.

    The source expressed Syria’s strong condemnation of this move, dismissing it as a “blatant act of aggression that constitutes a dangerous intervention and a gross violation of the Syrian sovereignty.”

    “This intervention is rejected and illegitimate, and it happened without the Syrian government’s approval,” the source said, reiterating that this move transgresses against the international laws and conventions as it is a “direct attack” that violates the Syrian territory.

    While stressing its total rejection of this act of aggression, Syria calls on the international community to take all necessary measures to stop it, the source noted.

  96. China urged Southeast Asian nations on Thursday (Apr 28) to resolve territorial disputes through dialogue and repeated a warning of "negative consequences" if the Philippines wins an arbitration case in The Hague...

    Four ASEAN member states - the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei - have rival claims with China to parts of the South China Sea and tensions have mounted in recent years since China transformed contested reefs into artificial islands that can support military facilities.

    The Philippines has taken a case against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, where a ruling is due in the coming weeks, which many expect to go against

  97. Police in Orange County, Calif., arrested 20 people after fights broke out and a police car windshield was smashed amid anti-Donald Trump protests Thursday...

    Police, some in riot gear, worked to disperse a crowd that had been building as Republican presidential candidate Trump held a rally at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Fights broke out as some protesters called Trump supporters racists.

    Orange County Sheriff's deputies threatened to arrest hundreds of people chanting "Whose streets? Our streets!" as they blocked an intersection next to the

  98. The U.S. military will announce on Friday that has it taken disciplinary action against 16 service members over a deadly Oct. 3 air strike in Afghanistan that destroyed a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres, U.S. officials tell Reuters...

    The disclosure of the nonjudicial punishments will come during the release of the findings of a U.S. military investigation into the incident, which will broadly conclude that the strike was a tragic mistake, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    That finding is consistent with the results of a preliminary investigation released by the U.S. military in November, when commanders stressed that American forces did not intentionally target the hospital.

    Instead, General John Campbell, who was then-head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, described a series of blunders that allowed the American forces to target the hospital - even though it was on a no-strike list....REUTERS

  99. Libya’s UN-backed unity government called on Thursday on military factions to hold off from any campaign against the ISIS-controlled city of Sirte until a unified military command structure is created...

    The statement came amid signs that factions from both eastern and western Libya could be gearing up for an advance on Sirte, although such operations have repeatedly been announced in recent months without taking place.

    ISIS has held Sirte since 2015, taking advantage of a conflict between loose alliances of armed brigades allied to Libya’s rival governments to seize a 250km strip of coastline around the central Mediterranean city, which lies between the eastern and western power bases.

    Western states are hoping the unity government, which arrived in Tripoli last month, will be able to make Libya’s armed factions work together against the ultra-hardline militant group, and have said they are ready to provide training for Libyan forces if requested by the unity government.

    The United States has already conducted air strikes against ISIS militants in


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