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BBC: France acid attack - US tourists assaulted in Marseille
Publish Time: 2017-09-17 18:02:00
Two US tourists have had hydrochloric acid thrown in their faces at Marseille train station, French media say.The victims in their early 20s have been taken to hospital for treatment, La Provence newspaper reported.Two other members of their group were also attacked at Saint-Charles station, but did not get acid in their faces.The incident is not believed to be terror-related. The attacker, described by police as a mentally unstable 41-year-old woman, has been arrested.The report says she remained at the site after the attack, and showed photographs of herself with burns.There have been numerous acid attacks across western Europe in recent months. including Britain and Germany. But the problem is now to be found all over the world.Source: BBC 
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Former head coach of Georgian judo team released from Kiev court hall
Publish Time: 2017-09-09 14:26:00
Peter Zaizenbacher, former head coach of the Georgian judo team, has been released from the Kiev court hall. Austrian Zaizenbacher was detained in his own apartment in the capital of Ukraine in August.Despite this, extradition proceedings of two-time Olympic champion will continue. According to, extradition of 57-year-old Austrian is planned in September.Zaizenbacher was charged with sexual offenses in relation to two minor girls in October last year. The case dates back to the late 1990s and early 2000s when Peter Zaizenbacher worked in one of the sports clubs in Vienna.The well-known judoka worked as a coach in the Georgian judo team in 2010-12. Under his leadership, Lasha Shavdatuashvili won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
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EU Foreign Ministers stress urgency in building anti-terrorism mechanism
Publish Time: 2017-09-09 12:38:00
The foreign ministers of European Union member states, with one voice, stressed the urgency of building a cooperation mechanism to fight terrorism in the world, according to a press conference held in Tallinn, Estonia on Friday (September 10).During the second day of the two-day informal meeting of the EU's foreign ministers, a working session was held with candidate countries for EU membership on the issue of "preventing and countering radicalization and violent extremism".The EU is working extensively with Western Balkan countries and Turkey in the area of anti-terrorism. EU anti-terrorism experts are engaged in a number of efforts, and meetings and consultations have been taking place in this field, said the press release following the session."In the Balkans, in Turkey, in the Middle East, in north Africa, but also in some areas of Africa and Southeast Asia, so we have developed a network of counter-terrorism experts that are deployed there from the European Union, a series of counter-terrorism dialogues with the authorities of these countries to exchange practices and also to learn from some of them how to address the prevention of radicalization of youth," said Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, at a press conference following the session on Friday.A number of EU projects are being implemented focusing mainly on prevention, with many activities meant for younger parts of the population and non-governmental organizations, according to the press release.Though extremist groups, such as the Islamic State (ISIS), have experienced some setbacks after a series of collaborative actions taken by some countries, there is still the possibility that ISIS and its ideology will continue to spread.Therefore, the FMs also advocated the advancement of the EU's anti-terrorism efforts in tackling both the technical and ideological aspects of terrorism."It's not a question of whether we should fight terrorists and terrorist organizations in the places where they find safe havens with weapons in hands or we should fight radicalization on the ideological battlefronts -- we will have to do both. And we are doing both," noted Sven Mikser, Foreign Minister of Estonia.The FMs also discussed the need to preserve unity on various foreign policy topics, while Mikser s
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Russia says its air strike kills several top Islamic State commanders in Syria
Publish Time: 2017-09-08 10:40:00
A Russian air strike has killed around 40 Islamic State fighters, including four senior commanders, near the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday.The strike, carried out by Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-35 fighters, came after an intelligence report on Sept. 5 showed that top Islamic State commanders were meeting at a secret underground command post in the vicinity of Deir al-Zor, the ministry said on its Facebook page.Among those killed was Abu Muhammad al-Shimali, who oversees foreign fighters at IS, it said. The defense ministry also said it had evidence that Gulmurod Khalimov, Islamic State’s “minister of war”, was present at the meeting in the bunker and had been fatally wounded in the strike and evacuated to the al-Muhasan area, 20 km (13 miles) southeast of Deir al-Zor.Khalimov, the U.S.-trained commander of Tajikistan’s elite police force, defected to Islamic State in April 2015 and later posted a video address, vowing to return home to establish sharia law in his Central Asian nation and to take jihad to Russia and the United States.A top official at Tajikistan’s national security service told Russia’s RIA news agency that Moscow had been asked to provide details proving Khalimov’s elimination.On Tuesday Syrian government forces, supported by Russian air strikes and cruise missile launches, reached troops besieged for years by Islamic State in Deir al-Zor, the militants’ last major stronghold in Syria.  
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Spanish PM Rajoy to ask constitutional court to suspend Catalan referendum
Publish Time: 2017-09-07 17:36:00
Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, on Thursday said he was asking the country’s constitutional court to suspend a bid by leaders in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence from Spain.He added that he had also asked the Spanish courts to suspend from office all members of the Catalan parliament involved in the referendum vote, which is scheduled for October 1. He urged local mayors and civil servants to try and stop the referendum.The comments from Mr Rajoy, after a meeting with members of his cabinet, came after the Catalan parliament yesterday agreed a bill to give legal basis to the long-planned referendum.“What happened yesterday is an act of dishonourable disobedience to our democratic institutions,” said Mr Rajoy. “We are all obliged to comply with the decisions of the Constitutional Court.”The bill has put the Catalan regional government in open conflict with the Spanish government as well as the country’s judiciary. The vote has been ruled illegal by the constitutional courts.Source: FT
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Casualties confirmed after blast at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan - US military
Publish Time: 2017-09-06 20:23:00
A suicide bomber has reportedly detonated explosives at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, TOLO News reports. The US military has confirmed a "small number of casualties.""An explosion occurred outside an entry control point at Bagram Airfield at 5:38 p.m. local time today," the military said in a statement. "The explosion resulted in a small number of casualties," it continued, adding that the airfield is secure and the incident is being investigated. Eyewitnesses cited by TOLO reported that multiple people had been wounded. The detonation occurred at one of the entrances to the airbase, according to the news outlet, as reported by Russia Today.It comes just hours after a senior US commander in Afghanistan apologized for a "highly offensive" leaflet which was distributed by US forces in the province of Parwan.The leaflet depicted part of the Taliban flag, which includes a passage from the Koran, on a dog - an animal which is considered unclean in Islam.The Taliban responded to the leaflet by saying it showed America's "hatred" for Islam, and that it proves the war in the country is a "war between Islam and unbelief," Reuters reported.It also comes after US President Donald Trump performed a U-turn on Afghanistan, abandoning his previous position of disengagement.Trump has vowed to "expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan" in a new push against the Taliban.Bagram was the scene of controversy in February 2012, when Korans were mistakenly burned at the base alongside damaged books and texts from the airfield's library. The incident prompted widespread protests and led to multiple deaths.
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Donald Trump ‘Not My Bride,’ Vladimir Putin Says
Publish Time: 2017-09-05 12:59:00
President Vladimir V. Putin seemed to be in top form during a news conference in China on Tuesday, answering a question about President Trump by saying the American leader is “not my bride, and I am not his groom.”While the comment could be interpreted as a subtle jab by a macho Mr. Putin against an equally macho counterpart, the Russian president offered it as an explanation of why he could not comment on domestic American politics.It came in response to a question about whether the Russian leader takes into account the possibility of Mr. Trump being impeached. Mr. Putin refused to answer, but he did say that Moscow reserved the right to respond to the United States’ having ordered the closing of the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and of two other annexes, the latest move in a diplomatic tit-for-tat between the two countries.Mr. Putin also condemned North Korea’s most recent nuclear tests, but said that he doubted sanctions would deter the secretive country’s leaders. “They would rather eat grass than give up their nuclear program,” he said, as reported by New York Times.Mr. Putin is in Xiamen, China, for a meeting of leaders from the so-called BRICS group, a quintet of nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — once hailed as dynamic and fast-growing, but that have fallen, to varying degrees, on hard times.At the news conference, he called the shuttering of some Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States “an obvious violation of property rights” and said that, “for starters,” he would instruct the Foreign Ministry to challenge the decision in court. “We’ll see how efficient the much-praised American judiciary is,” he added.Failing that, Mr. Putin said he could reduce United States diplomatic staff in Russia by 155 more positions, in addition to the 755 already eliminated. “But we won’t do that yet,” he said. “Let’s see how the situation develops.”Mr. Putin said he was not happy about the “boorish manner” in which Russia was stripped of diplomatic property in the United States. “It’s hard to deal with people who confuse Austria and Australia, but there’s nothing you can do about this,” he said, probably referring generally to Washington foreign policy circles, though the original gaffe is attributed toformer President George W. Bush. “Apparently, this is the level of political culture within a certain part of the U.S. establishment.”
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Belgian military pilot falls from helicopter during airshow
Publish Time: 2017-09-04 03:28:00
Troops are searching an area of eastern Belgium where a pilot fell out of his military helicopter during an air show.Three troops had jumped with parachutes from the Agusta A-109 helicopter, but the pilot and co-pilot did not have parachutes, Belgian media report.They say the co-pilot helped the three jump, but then saw the pilot's seat empty and his door wide open. He grabbed the controls and landed safely.The air show was at Amay near Liège. The pilot fell several hundred metres. The reason for the pilot's fall remains a mystery, BBC reports.
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US orders Russia to close consulate and annexes in diplomatic reprisal
Publish Time: 2017-09-01 11:13:00
The US has ordered Russia to close diplomatic offices in San Francisco, New York and Washington within the next two days, in the latest round of punitive measures between the two countries that began at the end of last year.The secretary of state Rex Tillerson spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a phone call on Thursday. Lavrov said Moscow “regrets an escalation of tension not initiated by Russia”, according to the state-run RT news channel. A senior US administration official said the call was “professional” and that Lavrov “agreed to the sentiment that it was important to find a way to improve our relations”.No Russians will be expelled in this latest move, and US officials said staff at the offices affected could be reassigned to other Russian diplomatic missions around the country. But they made it clear that the buildings had to be vacated and would have to be sold or have their leases ended.In this latest retaliatory move, the state department appeared to call Moscow’s bluff, after the Kremlin claimed it wanted parity between the US and Russian missions in each other’s countries.The closures were announced on the day the new Russian ambassador, the former deputy foreign minister Anatoly Antonov, arrived in the US. His predecessor, Sergey Kislyak, was at the centre of the scandal surrounding contacts between aides to Donald Trump and the Putin regime. 
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Russia's First TV channel reporter abducted in Kiev
Publish Time: 2017-08-30 16:42:00
Anna Kurbatova, a reporter with Russia’s Channel One, was kidnapped in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Wednesday, has reported according to Sputnik. There is no additional information about the incident. Anna Kurbatova’s name was in Ukraine’s famous Mirotvorets (Peacemaker) website.The Russian journalist is reportedly accused of "manipulating publicly important information and participation in anti-Ukrainian propaganda" when reporting from a military parade in Kiev, dedicated to Ukraine's Independence Day last week.
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Two dead, four injured in shooting at New Mexico library
Publish Time: 2017-08-29 10:42:00
Two people were killed and four others were wounded when a gunman opened fire Monday afternoon inside a public library in Clovis, N.M. A lone male suspect is in custody, police say, but his motive remains unclear.Speaking at a hastily arranged news conference Monday evening, Clovis Mayor David Lansford credited the city’s police department for its quick and immediate response, saying, “This could’ve been much worse, but because of their training and their expertise and their courage, it was kept at a minimum.”The shooting occurred around 4:15 p.m. local time. Police Chief Douglas Ford said during the news conference that two females had been killed, and two males and two females were injured. The injured were transported to a hospital across the state line in Lubbock, Tex., the Reuters news agency reported.Officials have not provided names or ages for the victims or the alleged shooter, pending notification of their families.Ford said the alleged gunman did not exchange fire with authorities and surrendered immediately when confronted. He did not resist arrest, the chief said. Police then swept the building to ensure there were no other threats, The Washington Post reported. 
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Donald Trump threatens to 'close government' to build Mexico wall
Publish Time: 2017-08-23 11:14:00
Donald Trump threatened to shut down the government in order to secure funding to build his controversial wall along the border with Mexico, in a remarkable Arizona speech on Tuesday night. Afterwards, his critics openly questioned whether he was 'fit' to be President.During a divisive 80-minute speech, Mr Trump defended his response to the Charlottesville white supremacist violence and took aim at the media, blaming them for giving far right groups "a platform". The President's efforts to build a barrier along America's southern border have stalled in Congress, where many lawmakers question whether his main campaign promise is really necessary.The House has passed a spending bill with funding for the costly project, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate. But with a budget battle looming, Mr Trump said he would be willing to do what it takes to secure the necessary funding for the wall, as reported by The Telegraph.
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Kaifiyat Express derailment highlights: Over 70 injured, restoration work underway
Publish Time: 2017-08-23 11:11:00
Over 70 people were injured after nine coaches of the Kaifiyat Express derailed near Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh, India, during the early hours of Wednesday. No deaths have been reported as of now. The train met with an accident after a loader carrying sand overturned on road parallel to the track in Achhalda area of Auraiya district around 2.45 am.Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the injured have been shifted to nearby hospitals, reported news agency ANI. A NDRF team has been deployed to the accident spot to conduct rescue operations. Kaifiyat Express runs between Azamgarh and New Delhi.The incident comes just three days after 14 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli on Saturday killing 22 people and injuring dozens, The Indian Express reports. 
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Rare white koala born at Australia Zoo seeks perfect name from Facebook fans
Publish Time: 2017-08-22 14:52:00
A rare white koala joey has been born at a Queensland zoo, and the search is now on for the right name. Australia Zoo, north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, welcomed its first white koala joey this breeding season.The female is not albino — its extremely pale colouration is caused by a recessive gene and thought to be inherited from mother Tia, which has had other pale coloured joeys in the past.Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital director Dr Rosie Booth said it was more unusual to see a koala with fur this light — and with eyes and skin remaining the usual brown black — than it was to see a koala with albinism."In veterinary science it's often referred to as the 'silvering gene', where animals are born with white or very pale fur and, just like baby teeth, they eventually shed their baby fur and the regular adult colouration comes through," Dr Rosie said.Dr Booth said koalas were known to vary in colour depending on their environment, with southern koalas being much darker and larger than those found in Queensland and New South Wales.Australia Zoo and Tourism Australia have put the call out on their Facebook page for names, ABC News reported. 
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Fifty-eight injured in Rostov-on-Don fire
Publish Time: 2017-08-22 10:57:00
Nearly 60 people have sought medical attention after the fire in Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don, nine of them have been taken to hospitals, Head of the regional emergencies department Sergey Panov told a meeting of the emergency response center."According to the latest data confirmed by the Ministry of Health, 58 people have been injured, 9 have been taken to hospitals," he said.On Monday, a massive fire broke out in Rostov-on-Don’s historical center. Private houses on an area of 10,000 square meters were affected by blazes. At 18:53 Moscow Time it was announced that the fire had been localized. The fire destroyed about 120 buildings, of these nearly 100 were residential facilities.A state of emergency has been declared in the Rostov-on-Don region. Earlier reports said that, according to various sources, from 36 to 45 people had sought medical attention, some of them were taken to hospitals, including three police officers and a Russian Emergencies Ministry rescuer.About 600 people have been evacuated from the nearby houses. A criminal case has been opened under the section of the Russian Criminal Code titled "Deliberate destruction or damage to someone else’s property," which provides for up to five years in jail. 
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Dubai Creek Tower: New pictures emerge of world's next tallest tower
Publish Time: 2017-08-19 13:33:00
After breaking ground in October 2016, Dubai Creek Tower is on the up -- although it hasn't yet reached ground level.Intriguing new photos have emerged courtesy of developer Emaar Properties showing an aerial shot of the tower's vast footprint, along with workers deep underground finishing the foundations, CNN reported.Building within the 2.3 square-mile Dubai Creek Harbour complex, Emaar is looking to eclipse its most famous creation the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest structure since 2010. To do so has required laying 236ft deep foundation piles -- a world record -- set to be capped with 1.59 million cubic feet of concrete. When completed, the 3,045ft tower will best the Burj by a massive 322ft.The Emaar Properties and Dubai Holdings joint venture is inspired by the lily flower and mosque minarets, say its developers, and will feature a 68-mile array of supporting cables. Swiss-Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has designed a 360-degree observation deck and a capacious Hanging Gardens of Babylon-style floor into the structure, with views over the nearby Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.Previously known as The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour, the project now shares the same name as a 384ft building completed in 1995. Emaar would not confirm a completion date to CNN, but previous reporting has said the tower would be ready in time for Dubai Expo 2020.
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Finland attack – Knifeman stabs six
Publish Time: 2017-08-18 18:20:00
The centre of a Finnish city is on lockdown after six people, including a woman pushing a baby in a pram, were stabbed with a large knife.Armed police scrambled to Turku as a knife-wielding group reportedly rampaged through the city. It is currently unclear if it was just one person with a knife or multiple attackers as there are mixed reports.Bystanders said a number of people were stabbed in Market Square before one person was arrested by Finnish police.It is not clear if this is the same person who is said to have been shot in the leg by police as bystanders say they heard gunshots. One man and five women - one pushing a baby in a pram - were injured in the attack.One person tweeted: "At least 5 victims, most likely some fatalities one was a woman with a baby." Others said a young man and woman were stabbed in the back during the rampage, The Sun reports.
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‘It won’t defeat us’: Merkel condemns Barcelona terror attack
Publish Time: 2017-08-18 14:33:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expressing her sympathy with Spain over the attacks in Barcelona, and says such violence cannot be allowed to change the European way of life.Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Merkel said Friday that “these murderous attacks have once again showed us the total hatred of humanity with which Islamist terrorism acts.” She added “we will not allow these murderers to make us depart from our path, from our way of life.”She said “terrorism can cause us bitter and deeply sad hours, as has happened in Spain, but it won’t defeat us.”She said the Foreign Ministry is still working with Spanish authorities to say whether any Germans were among the victims. “This can’t be said with great precision right now,” she added.
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Military intervention in Venezuela crisis is unacceptable – Lavrov
Publish Time: 2017-08-16 15:04:00
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the idea of any intervention, including military, in the Venezuela crisis, saying that the situation in the country must be resolved through peaceful means.“We are united in the need to overcome the existing disagreements in the country by peaceful means through a nationwide dialogue as soon as possible, without any external pressure, not to mention the unacceptability of the threats of military intervention in the internal affairs of this country,” Lavrov stated.The minister added that most Latin American states also condemn the possibility of such actions. The statement came after a meeting of Lavrov with his Bolivian counterpart Fernando Huanacuni Mamani on Wednesday.On Friday, US President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility of a “military option” to resolve the crisis. “Venezuela is a mess. It is very dangerous mess and a very sad situation,” the US leader said, as cited by AFP. “The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump said.Caracas condemned Trump’s statement, with Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez calling it “craziness.” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also called for nationwide military exercises to fend off a possible “imperialist” invasion.Washington took a harsh stance against Maduro and other Venezuelan officials following last month’s Constituent Assembly elections, which are considered “illegitimate” by the US.The US also added eight Venezuelan officials to the sanctions list, which had already included Maduro himself, banning American citizens from doing business with those blacklisted.  
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Turkey asks Germany to extradite coup suspect: foreign minister
Publish Time: 2017-08-16 13:57:00
Turkey has asked Germany to extradite a theology lecturer suspected of playing a major role in last year's failed coup, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.Turkey sent a diplomatic note requesting the extradition of Adil Oksuz, who the government says was the "imam" of air force personnel who last year bombed parliament as part of the attempt to topple the government.Authorities say Oksuz was detained near an Ankara air base hours after the coup attempt, only to be released by a judge two days later and has been on the run since. Turkish media have reported that he has been spotted in Frankfurt and Ulm and given a temporary residence permit by Germany's Baden-Wurttemberg state. "We sent a diplomatic note to Germany after the news regarding the presence in Germany of the FETO suspect Adil Oksuz, who is currently at large," Cavusoglu told broadcaster TRT Haber in an interview.FETO is the government's label for supporters of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who authorities say was behind the coup attempt.Video footage released after the coup attempt showed Oksuz and businessman Kemal Batmaz, another alleged ringleader in the coup attempt, arriving at Istanbul's main airport two days before the attempted putsch.Authorities say the men were returning from a visit to the United States where they allegedly met Gulen. The cleric, who denies involvement in the attempted putsch and has condemned it, has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Batmaz remains in detention after his arrest in the immediate aftermath of the failed coup.More than 50,000 people have been detained and 150,000 have been suspended in the crackdown that following the attempt. Journalists and opposition figures have also been targeted.The scale of the crackdown has strained ties with some of Turkey's allies, such as Germany, which have voiced concern that President Tayyip Erdogan may be using the coup as a pretext to quash dissent.Ankara says such measures are justified by the threat to democracy now posed by Gulen, a former Erdogan supporter. More than 240 people were killed in the coup, most of them civilians.
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