Turkey arrests local Amnesty International leader
Publish Time: 2017-07-18 09:49:00
A court in Istanbul ordered six human rights activists — including Amnesty International's Turkey director — formally arrested Tuesday pending a trial over accusations that they aided an armed terror group, adding to concerns over rights and freedoms in the country, foreign media say.Four others activists were released from custody pending the outcome of a trial. They have been barred from traveling abroad and have to report regularly to police.The group was detained earlier this month in a police raid at a hotel on Buyukada Island where they were attending a training workshop on digital security. They are suspected of "committing crime in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member."Amnesty International described the court decision as a "crushing blow for rights in Turkey." "This is not a legitimate investigation, this is a politically motivated witch-hunt that charts a frightening future for rights in Turkey," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general. Shetty said: "Today we have learnt that standing up for human rights has become a crime in Turkey. This is a moment of truth, for Turkey and for the international community."
Turkish Police kill 5 Islamic State militants in Konya
Publish Time: 2017-07-12 11:44:00
Turkish police killed five Islamic State militants in a raid on a house in the city of Konya on Wednesday and four police were slightly wounded, the Dogan news agency said.Special forces police launched the operation at the house in the Meram district of Konya, in central Turkey, at 5:15 a.m. (3.15 a.m. BST) because they believed the militant cell was planning an attack, the agency said.Police sealed off the area and approaching vehicles were searched after the clash, which occurred during raids conducted by the police on 10 different addresses in Konya, it said.
Turkey's failed coup: Warrants issued for 105 tech experts
Publish Time: 2017-07-11 15:06:00
Turkish authorities have issued detention warrants for 105 information technology experts suspected of aiding last year's failed coup, the state-run news agency reported.The warrants were issued Tuesday as Turkey kicked off a week of events commemorating the July 15 anniversary of the thwarted coup and remembering about 250 people who were killed.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim visited a graveyard in Istanbul where some of the victims were buried, while special prayers were to be recited in honor of the dead at mosques across the country.Anadolu Agency says 52 of the suspects, who include ex-employees of Turkey's scientific research council and of the telecommunications authority, have been detained so far. They are accused of providing technical support to the coup plotters.Turkey has blamed U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup and is seeking his extradition. Gulen has denied involvement.Turkey declared a state of emergency following the attempt and embarked on a sweeping crackdown, arresting some 50,000 people for alleged links to the coup and dismissing over 100,000 from government jobs.
Islamic State admits: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead
Publish Time: 2017-07-11 13:02:00
Members of the jihadist group Islamic State admitted the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This was announced by the TV channel "Alsumaria", referring to the local source in the Nainawa province of Iraq, - foreign media sources say. According to the information, extremists have given a brief statement confirming the death of Al Bagdadi. But it is not clear where the jihadist leader was killed. Some weeks ago, when unconfirmed evidence of his death was revealed, it was not clear how and where it happened. Some sources say this happened during a US bombing in Iraq. According to others, including Moscow, Al-Baghdadi may have died in the Russian raid bombing.
Iran holds Donald Trump cartoon contest
Publish Time: 2017-07-05 14:00:00
A cartoon contest has been held in Tehran, Iran in which hundreds of entrants were invited to mock US president Donald Trump.Courting controversy, the T in the 'Trumpism' contest's logo was styled like a swastika, with one entry seeing Trump painting a Hitler-esque moustache on the Statue of Liberty.“The ism in Trumpism is a reference to racism and Nazism,” organiser Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei told the AP. "Many believe his remarks are similar to Hitler. He has had a bad attitude toward media, refugees.”Iranian Hadi Asadi won first prize and a $1,500 award for his artwork, which sees Trump wearing a jacket made of dollar bills and drooling. “I wanted to show Trump while trampling symbols of culture,” Asadi said (via AP), adding that he sought to highlight the president's "money-mindedness and war monger nature".Violence against women and wall building were also depicted in the contest, which followed last year's Holocaust-themed one, designed to draw attention to Western double standards on free speech and not cast doubt on the Nazi genocide.Opened on Monday, the exhibition includes works of some 1,614 Iranian and foreign participants from 74 countries, including four works from American cartoonists, two of which two were awarded.
Typhoon causes mudslides, blackouts
Publish Time: 2017-07-05 11:34:00
Typhoon Nanmadol ripped through the Japanese archipelago Tuesday, dumping heavy rain, disrupting traffic and leaving nearly 70,000 without power as it traveled east after making landfall in Nagasaki in the morning.The season's third typhoon is expected to reach the Pacific Ocean east of Japan and be downgraded to a tropical depression by Wednesday morning, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.Around 68,500 households suffered brief blackouts in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures in southwestern Japan, while power outages were also reported in Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, the Kyushu Electric Power Co. said.Some rail services, including bullet trains between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo, were disrupted on the southwestern main island of Kyushu.In Kumamoto city, a first-grader suffered a slight hand injury when a window broke at his school. Strong winds in neighboring Oita Prefecture also caused a man and a woman fall and sustain minor injuries.The city of Aso in Kumamoto saw over 80 millimeters of rain over an hour period and Nagasaki some 50 mm, the typhoon also brought downpours to the Hokuriku area on the Sea of Japan, measuring over 60 mm in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.The weather agency warned against possible landslides in some areas in Niigata, Toyama, and the northern part of Nagano Prefecture that saw heavy rainfalls of up to a total of 300 mm over a period of several hours.
French Senate Votes for Extension of State of Emergency for 3 Months
Publish Time: 2017-07-05 09:51:00
According the Ouest France newspaper, 312 lawmakers supported the prolongation of the emergency legislation, set to expire on July 15, while 24 others expressed their opposition with regard to the measure.The document of the emergency state’s extension is set to be submitted to the lower house of the French parliament, or the National Assembly, of Thursday.Earlier in the day, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that the state of emergency would be lifted by November 1.The state of emergency was introduced in the follow-up to deadly terror attacks that hit Paris and its suburbs on November 13, 2015.
UN agrees on deep budget cuts to peacekeeping missions
Publish Time: 2017-07-01 13:54:00
A tentative deal on nearly $600 million in cuts to the UN peacekeeping budget has been reached following weeks of tough negotiations over US demands for sharp cost reductions. UN General Assembly approved the deal on Friday.The United Nations will spend $7.3 billion on peacekeeping in the coming year, down from the current budget of $7.87 billion, roughly a seven percent cut, according to diplomats familiar with the negotiations.The United States, the biggest financial contributor to the peacekeeping budget, had sought a nearly $1 billion cut to the bill and the European Union had also pushed for savings to bring costs down to $7.3 billion.Negotiators clinched the budget deal at 4:30 am Wednesday after marathon talks. Hardest hit by the cuts will be the UN missions in Sudan's troubled region of Darfur and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two costliest operations with budgets that run over $1 billion.A Security Council diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said however there will be "cuts across the board" in the 13 peacekeeping missions as a result of US pressure to scale back the budget.Washington pays 28.5 percent of the peacekeeping budget and 22 percent of the UN's core budget of $5.4 billion.The deal falls short of the request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who had asked for $7.97 billion for the annual budget which runs from July 1 to June 30 of next year.
Sir Paul McCartney and Sony 'reach deal' on The Beatles song rights
Publish Time: 2017-07-01 11:47:00
Sir Paul McCartney and Sony have a reached a deal in a battle over who owns publishing rights to The Beatles' songs, The Hollywood Reporter says.The musician had gone to a US court, seeking to regain the rights to 267 of the band's classic tracks. He has been trying to get them back since the 1980s, when Michael Jackson famously out-bid him for the rights. Jackson's debt-ridden estate sold the songs to Sony last year, along with others including New York, New York.Sir Paul's legal case, filed in a Manhattan court in January, was over what is known as copyright termination - the right of authors to reclaim ownership of their works from music publishers after a specific length of time has passed.He claimed that he was set to reacquire the Beatles songs in 2018, but said Sony had not confirmed that it would transfer the copyrights to him. "The parties have resolved this matter by entering into a confidential settlement agreement," Sir Paul's attorney Michael Jacobs wrote in a letter to US District Judge Edgardo Ramos.
Overruling diplomats, US to drop Iraq from child soldiers' list: Report
Publish Time: 2017-06-24 15:23:00
In a highly unusual intervention, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to remove Iraq and Myanmar from a US list of the world’s worst offenders in the use of child soldiers, disregarding the recommendations of State Department experts and senior US diplomats, US officials said.The decision, confirmed by three US officials, will break with longstanding protocol at the State Department over how to identify offending countries and may prompt accusations the Trump administration is prioritizing security and diplomatic interests ahead of human rights.Tillerson overruled his own staff’s assessments on the use of child soldiers in both countries and rejected the recommendation of senior diplomats in Asia and the Middle East who wanted to keep Iraq and Myanmar on the list, said the officials, who have knowledge of the internal deliberations.Tillerson also rejected an internal State Department proposal to add Afghanistan to the list, the three US officials said.One official said the decisions appeared to have been made after pressure from the Pentagon to avoid complicating assistance to the Iraqi and Afghan militaries, close US allies in the fight against militants. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.Foreign militaries on the list may face sanctions, including a prohibition against receiving US military aid, training and US-made weapons unless the White House issues a waiver.Human rights officials expressed surprise at the delisting, which was expected to be announced on Tuesday, the officials said, as part of the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.A State Department official said the TIP report's contents were being kept under wraps until its release, and that the department "does not discuss details of internal deliberations".The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, the US government must be satisfied that "no children are recruited, conscripted or otherwise compelled to serve as child soldiers" in order for a country to be removed from the list and US military assistance to resume.In the lead-up to Tuesday's report, the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which researches the issue and helps shape US poli
With cameras banned, CNN sends sketch artist to White House briefing
Publish Time: 2017-06-24 04:13:00
The White House has been prohibiting cameras at some press briefings, so on Friday CNN got creative and sent a sketch artist.Bill Hennessy, the network's regular sketch artist for Supreme Court proceedings, headed over to the White House on Friday afternoon and drew Press Secretary Sean Spicer's afternoon briefing.He didn't have his usual easel, but he stood in the back of the briefing room to document the scene.Hennessy's sketches aren't exclusive to CNN; other news outlets may also use them.Some conservative media voices dismissed it as a stunt, but CNN argued that the sketch session did serve a journalistic purpose, in the same way that courtroom sketches do.
At least 11 dead in southwestern Pakistan explosion
Publish Time: 2017-06-23 11:23:00
An explosion targeting a police vehicle in Pakistan's southwestern Quetta city on Friday killed at least 11 people and injured around 20 others, officials said.The explosion occurred in front of the office of the police chief in Quetta, which is capital of mineral-rich southern Balochistan, a province that is rife with separatist and Islamist insurgency. "Eleven people have died... and at least 20 others are injured," Fareed Ahmed, medical superintendent at Civil Hospital told AFP, saying the death toll had increased from five earlier in the morning.Four policemen were among the dead, while three others remain in critical condition, he said. Police surgeon Dr Ali Mardan confirmed the toll.Police said that their vehicle was targeted in the attack, but that the nature of the explosion was not yet known.
Carla Fendi, philanthropist and fashion force, dies
Publish Time: 2017-06-20 12:39:00
Carla Fendi, one of the five sisters who transformed the family leather goods business into a global luxury fashion house long known for its furs, has died following a long illness. She was 79.The Rome-based fashion house confirmed Fendi's death Monday, expressing pain for the loss and gratitude for her continued contributions.The sisters opened the first Fendi store in Rome's historic center in 1964, and a year later hired a young designer named Karl Lagerfeld who helped catapult the Italian brand into global fame, with a focus on designing luxury furs.Each sister had her role, and Carla Fendi, as Fendi president, was the family business' public face until they sold to the French luxury group LVMH in 1999. She was honorary president until her death, Miami Herald reported.
Colombia conflict: Two Dutch journalists kidnapped
Publish Time: 2017-06-20 11:21:00
Two Dutch journalists have been abducted in Colombia in an area near the Venezuelan border. Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender went missing at the weekend in Catatumbo, a region where several armed groups operate, including the left-wing ELN.They were searching for the mother of a Colombian child adopted in the Netherlands a few years ago. The Colombian authorities tweeted a demand "for the immediate release of the two men."Last year the ELN rebel group kidnapped a Spanish journalist and several Colombians in the same area. All were later released.The Colombian army says it has sent specialist forces to the region to search for the Dutchmen. They work for the Dutch TV programme Spoorloos, which traces lost relatives. Derk Bolt is a presenter and Eugenio Follender a cameraman.The two men were working in the municipality of El Tarra on the border with Venezuela - an area where rebel group the ELN (the National Liberation Army) is strong. There are strong suspicions that the group was responsible.Last year in the same area Spanish-Colombian journalist Salud Hernández Mora was kidnapped by the ELN, as were two Colombian journalists, Diego D'Pablos and Carlos Melo, who had gone to the area to cover the story, BBC reports.
France votes in second parliamentary round
Publish Time: 2017-06-18 11:26:00
France votes in the second round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, in a run-off between the top candidates from last Sunday's first round, - BBC reported.President Emmanuel Macron is hoping to obtain a strong mandate in parliament to help him pursue his reform plans.His La République en Marche (Republic on the Move or LREM) with its MoDem allies is expected to win most seats.Traditional parties are urging voters to back Mr Macron's rivals to stop a monopolisation of power.President Macron formed his party just over a year ago, and half of its candidates have little or no political experience.They include a retired bullfighter, a Rwandan refugee and a mathematician.A party needs 289 seats to control the 577-seat National Assembly. LREM is predicted to win more than 400.
Mikheil Saakashvili would not dare to attack South Ossetia in 2008, if no one were behind him - Vladimir Putin
Publish Time: 2017-06-14 12:34:00
Former President Mikheil Saakashvili would not dare to attack South Ossetia in 2008, if no one were behind him, - Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a documentary film made by famous American filmmaker Oliver Stone. "I do not have a 100% proof that someone provoked him but it seems to me that he would never dare to commit this provocation independently. I think so. In any case, nobody stopped him," Putin said.The Russian president also clarified that the Russian government was surprised when "Saakashvili's actions were not only supporting, but the Western media tried to portray as if Russia attacked Georgia.""I did not believe my eyes and ears when I saw that western media blamed Russia for the attack. The main thing is that millions have believed it. Mr. Saakashvili himself said that he ordered his own army to start the action," Putin said.
Death toll from Bangladesh landslides rises to 134 after heavy rain
Publish Time: 2017-06-14 10:26:00
At least 134 people were killed in Bangladesh when a series landslides triggered by heavy rain buried hillside homes, officials said on Wednesday. Densely populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods and landslides every rainy season.The landslides hit three hilly districts in the southeast early on Tuesday, killing 98 people in Rangamati, 30 in Chittagong and six in Bandarban, said Reaz Ahmed, head of the department of disaster management.The death toll could rise further as rescuers search for bodies and many people are still missing, he told Reuters. "Rescue operations are being hampered by bad weather while authorities are still struggling to reach some remote areas," Ahmed said.The dead include four soldiers who had joined the rescue operation in Rangamati when another landslide occurred, he said.The latest fatalities came weeks after Cyclone Mora lashed Bangladesh's southeast, killing at least seven people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.In 2007, about 130 people were killed in a landslide in Chittagong in the southeast.
Donald Trump accuses Qatar of funding terrorism 'at very high level'
Publish Time: 2017-06-10 12:35:00
Donald Trump has accused Qatar of funding terrorism at a "very high level", and says that the world wants the small country to rejoin "the unity of responsible nations" in bringing about "the beginning of the end" of the global threat.However, his remarks appeared at odds with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who just hours before urged Gulf nations to go easier on Qatar. Several countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, have imposed a diplomatic blockade on Qatar, and have said that the nation needs to meet several demands – including ending alleged support for terrorism – before it can restart diplomatic ties."The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been a funder of terrorism, and at a very high level", Mr Trump said during an appearance alongside the President of Romania – Klaus Iohannis – at the White House. Mr Tillerson was sitting just few away watching as he was seemingly contradicted by the President.Launching an extraordinary allegation against a key US military partner, Mr Trump derided what he called Qatar's “extremist ideology in terms of funding” terrorist groups, an accusation Qatar has repeatedly and vehemently denied. His comments were a forceful endorsement of this week's move by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to cut off ties to Qatar, The Independent reports.
Trump Plans First Meeting as President with Putin in July
Publish Time: 2017-06-10 04:32:00
Donald Trump will hold his first meeting as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July at the annual Group of 20 summit of leaders of major economies in Germany, an administration official said.The meeting will come amid widening attention to an investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.The administration official told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One on Friday that Trump expects to meet with Putin during the July trip, which will include a stop in Warsaw, Bloomberg reports.
Japan's parliament clears way for emperor's abdication
Publish Time: 2017-06-09 11:32:00
Japan's parliament on Friday passed a law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate, clearing the way for the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in nearly two centuries and the accession of his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, probably late next year.Akihito, 83, who has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, said in rare public remarks last year he feared age might make it hard for him to continue to fulfill his duties, Reuters reported.The soft-spoken Akihito, the first Japanese emperor who was never considered divine, has worked for decades at home and abroad to soothe the wounds of World War Two, fought in his father Hirohito's name. He will be succeeded by Naruhito, 57.In a vote televised live on NHK public television, the upper house of parliament passed the bill with a handful of lawmakers sitting out the vote. It cleared the more powerful lower house last week. "Abdication will take place for the first time in 200 years, reminding me once again of how important an issue this is for the foundation of our nation, its long history, and its future," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after the vote.Now the government has to hammer out the details of the abdication, including the timing, but media reports have said it is likely to take place at the end of 2018, which would mark three decades on the Chrysanthemum throne for Akihito.The abdication, the first since 1817, appears to have support among the general population, who view it as a sign of changing times. "In essence, the emperor is resigning, which I feel was an issue of personal thought," said Masayoshi Matsumoto, a 47-year-old animator. "People live much longer these days. I think while on the one hand it pains him not to be able to carry out his duties properly, he may also wonder why he should have to do the job this long."The government also has to ensure the continuity of a monarchy beset by a shortage of male heirs and shrinking pool of imperial family members. Women are not allowed to inherit the throne and leave the family upon marriage, an issue highlighted last month with the announcement that the Emperor's oldest granddaughter will marry a commoner.The law, which applies only to Akihito and not to future emperors, included a resolution to debate letting female royals stay in the imperial family after marriage but did not touch on the controversial topic of allowing women to inherit. &