Erdogan: Turkey does not recognize US ambassador after visa spat
Publish Time: 2017-10-11 07:55:00
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that his country does not recognize the authority of the current US ambassador, John Bass, after the United States decided to suspend visa services within Turkey on Sunday, as reported by CNN."In fact, this ambassador is doing his farewell visits," remarked Ergodan. "And right now, be it our cabinet ministers, parliament head -- and I personally am not accepting his farewell visit, and will not do so, because we do not see him as a representative of the United States in Turkey -- let me say that clearly."Bass, who was sworn in as ambassador to Turkey in September 2014, was recently confirmed by the US Senate for his next post as ambassador to Afghanistan.Speaking at a news conference in Belgrade, Erdogan went on to speculate whether Bass made the decision to suspend visa services without the prior approval of the State Department or White House, an unlikely possibility for which he offered no evidence."If he made this decision in his head himself, then higher US authorities should not keep him in his position one minute longer," said Erdogan. "'How can you disparage Turkish-American relations like that? Who gave you that power?' they should say."
California wildfires kill at least 15, more than 200 reported missing in wine country
Publish Time: 2017-10-11 07:46:00
At least 15 people are dead and more than 200 have been reported missing as explosive, wind-whipped wildfires rage through Northern California's famed wine country, forcing fire crews to race to get the massive blazes under control. Sonoma County spokeswoman Maggie Flemings said Tuesday afternoon about 200 missing-person reports have been lodged as family members and friends scramble to locate loved ones while wildfires ravage the region. Flemings said it's possible that most of those reported missing are safe but can't be reached because of the widespread loss of cellphone service and other communications. Officials are advising people with access to the internet to declare themselves safe on social media or contact the Red Cross.Cal Fire officials said Tuesday morning 17 wildfires in nine counties have already burned more than 115,000 acres in the past 12 hours, and winds gusting in excess of 50 miles per hour have caused "extreme rates of spread and volatile burning conditions."Fire officials told Fox News there is zero percent containment on all fires. Some of the largest of the blazes burning were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world.California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott said Tusday that 2,000 homes and businesses, in addition to other structures, have been destroyed. At least 4,000 personnel are helping to fight the wildfires.
4 ships banned from all ports for violating NKorea sanctions
Publish Time: 2017-10-10 07:35:00
The U.N. Security Council has banned all nations from allowing four ships that transported prohibited goods to and from North Korea to enter any port in their country.Hugh Griffiths, head of the panel of experts investigating the implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, announced the port bans at a briefing to U.N. member states on Monday. A North Korean diplomat attended the hour-long session, as reported by The Tribune.Griffiths later told several reporters that "this is the first time in U.N. history" that the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang has prohibited ships from entering all ports. He identified the four cargo ships as the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun.According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea. It does not list the flag of Tong San 2 but said that on Oct. 3 it was in the Bohai Sea off north China.Griffiths said the four ships were officially listed on Oct. 5 "for transporting prohibited goods," stressing that this was "swift action" by the sanctions committee following the Aug. 6 Security Council resolution that authorized port bans.That resolution, which followed North Korea's first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, also banned the country from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products. Those goods are estimated to be worth over $1 billion — about one-third of the country's estimated $3 billion in exports in 2016.The Security Council unanimously approved more sanctions on Sept. 11, responding to North Korea's sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion on Sept. 3.
California wildfires: 10 killed in 'unprecedented' wine country blaze
Publish Time: 2017-10-10 07:31:00
Ten people have died in northern California after what officials are describing as an “unprecedented” wild fire that has already destroyed 1,500 structures and devastated large swaths of wine country.Amy Head, the fire captain spokesperson for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection, confirmed the number of fatalities late on Monday. “We often have multiple fires going on, but the majority of them all started right around same time period, same time of night – it’s unprecedented,” she told the Guardian. “I hate using that word because it’s been overused a lot lately because of how fires have been in the past few years, but it truly is – there’s just been a lot of destruction.”California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has declared a state of emergency in eight mostly northern counties – Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma and Yuba counties. The flames are barely contained and are threatening thousands of homes and vineyards in the wine country north of San Francisco.Nine of the deaths occurred in Napa and Sonoma counties, while another was farther north, in Mendocino county, officials said, as reported by The Guardian.The wildfires, whipped by powerful winds early on Monday, sent residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. Around 20,000 people have been evacuated, including hundreds of senior citizens from local nursing homes.Entire neighborhoods and a trailer park in the town of Santa Rosa, 55 miles from San Francisco, have already been razed, along with a Hilton hotel, according to local reports.Officials say the high winds are hampering firefighting efforts in the region about 140 miles (225km) north of San Francisco. To assist with the efforts the country’s largest firefighting aircraft – a converted 747 – has been deployed.
Turkey-US row: Erdogan 'upset' by visa suspension
Publish Time: 2017-10-10 00:22:00
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described a US decision to suspend most visa services as "upsetting". He said Turkish officials had contacted their US counterparts about the move, which was prompted by the detention last week of a Turkish national working at the US consulate in Istanbul.Turkey has also suspended visa services in the US. Prosecutors are seeking another consulate worker for questioning as a suspect, the state news agency reports.The first worker was held over alleged links to a cleric blamed for the failed 2016 Turkish coup, but no reason has been given for the latest action."This decision is very, very saddening. For the Ankara [US] embassy to take a decision like this, to put into practice is saddening," Mr Erdogan said at a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.Several Turkish news networks announced earlier on Monday that a warrant had been issued for a second US consulate worker.Turkish officials have not confirmed the warrant, but later the state news agency Anadolu reported that prosecutors were seeking the man for questioning as a suspect, adding that he did not have diplomatic immunity. It said the suspect's wife and child had been detained in the city of Amasya, in northern central Turkey, BBC reports.
Jens Stoltenberg attended the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Publish Time: 2017-10-09 12:40:00
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended the NATO Parliamentary Assembly as part of his visit to Romania.Addressing a plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NPA), which is made up of parliamentarians from NATO Allies and partners, the Secretary General praised the NPA’s role in explaining to the people they represent what NATO is, and what NATO does.Acknowledging that the Alliance is facing many different threats and challenges at the same time, he outlined steps NATO has taken to strengthen its collective defence, proof that NATO is an Alliance that keep its promises. The NPA was also addressed by Klaus Werner Iohannis, the President of Romania, Mr. Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, President of the Senate, Mr. Liviu Dragnea, President of the Chamber of Deputies, and the NPA President, Mr. Paolo Alli.
Reuters: Catalonia will apply referendum law calling for independence declaration
Publish Time: 2017-10-09 09:10:00
Catalonia will apply a referendum law, which calls for a declaration of independence if a referendum shows a majority in favor, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says in a television program to be broadcast later on Sunday.“The declaration of independence, that we don’t call a ‘unilateral’ declaration of independence, is foreseen in the referendum law as an application of the results. We will apply what the law says,” Puigdemont says in the program on Catalonia’s TV3, according to excerpts on the broadcaster’s website.The Catalan government says more than 90 percent of people who voted in an Oct. 1 referendum voted in favor of independence from Spain. The referendum was declared illegal by Spanish authorities and turnout was only 43 percent.The Catalan law paving the way for the referendum said the parliament of Catalonia would declare the region’s independence within 48 hours of a “yes” vote being proclaimed by the Catalan electoral office.Source: Reuters
12 dead, scores missing as boat packed with Rohingyas sinks
Publish Time: 2017-10-09 09:07:00
At least 12 people died and scores were missing today after a boat packed with Rohingya refugees, many of them children, capsized, the latest tragedy to strike those fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.Coast guard and border guard officials said the boat was overloaded with about 100 people when it sank late Sunday in the mouth of the Naf river that separates Myanmar from Bangladesh.Border guard boats have rescued 13 Rohingya including three women and two children after scouring the estuary of the Naf river, Jalil said, adding that since the boat capsized near the Myanmar side of the border, many may have swum to the Rakhine coast.The coast guard said the boat sank at around 10:00 pm.Local media quoted a survivor as saying the vessel capsized due to high waves and bad weather.Nearly 5,20,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine state for Bangladesh since late August, many walking for days through thick jungle before making the perilous boat journey across the Naf river.Around 150 Rohingyas, many of them children, have drowned while trying to reach Bangladesh in small, rickety fishing boats that coastguards say are woefully inadequate for the rough seas. Last week more than 60 Rohingya refugees are feared to have died after a boat carrying them from Myanmar capsized in rough weather in the Bay of Bengal just off the Bangladesh coast. The bodies of 23 people were retrieved, but the death toll was expected to surge, with many of the dead likely to be young children too weak to swim through the churning water.The refugee crisis erupted after Rohingya militant raids on Myanmar police posts on August 25 prompted a brutal military backlash. The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingyas as a distinct ethnic group and considers them illegal migrants from Bangladesh.The United Nations has said the army campaign could amount to “ethnic cleansing” while Myanmar military leaders have blamed the unrest on the Rohingya.While the worst of the violence appears to have abated, insecurity, food shortages and tensions with Buddhist neighbors are still driving thousands of
RT: 3,000 people evacuated, helicopters deployed as market outside Moscow erupts in flames
Publish Time: 2017-10-09 01:30:00
A massive fire has today erupted at a builders market in Moscow.Russian media reported several cars have exploded in an underground car park while structures have collapsed inside the burning complex.Around 3,000 people were reportedly evacuated from the Sindika market as witnesses fled in panic when the fire erupted.Russia Today reported the fire broke out in a ground floor warehouse and spread to an underground car park where vehicles combusted.The cause of the blaze is not known at this stage.At least one person was injured in the fire with a man taken to hospital with smoke inhalation, according to Russia Today.
US suspends all non-immigrant visa services in Turkey
Publish Time: 2017-10-09 01:29:00
The United States embassy in Ankara says it is suspending, with immediate effect, all non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey.The move on Sunday means that Turks will not be given visas to visit the US unless they are planning to move there.A statement issued by the US mission in the Turkish capital said recent events had forced the US government to reassess Ankara's commitment to the security of US facilities and staff.US-Turkey relations strained over US’s support of YPGIn order to minimize the number of visitors to our Embassy and Consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all US diplomatic facilities in Turkey, read the statement. Ankara retaliated later on Sunday, saying that it will cease issuing non-immigrant visas to US citizens.Source: Al Jazera
Reuters: Brother of Marseille attacker arrested in Italy
Publish Time: 2017-10-09 01:02:00
Italian police said on Sunday they had arrested the brother of Anis Hannachi, the Tunisian man who killed two young women with a knife outside the Marseille train station a week ago in a suspected terrorist act.An Italian anti-terrorism squad arrested 25-year-old Ahmed Hannachi in Ferrara, Italy, on Sunday evening on an international warrant issued by France, a police statement said.On Oct. 1, Anis Hannachi shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) as he killed the women, French police sources said.Anis Hannachi was shot dead by a French soldier. The militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but did not name the assailant.After what Italian police described as a “very complex” investigation, Ahmed Hannachi was tracked down in Italy, the statement said, and is being held on suspicion of complicity in his brother’s attack and membership in a terrorist group.No other information was provided about the operation, which was coordinated with French judicial and anti-terrorism authorities, the statement said.Source: Reuters
Georgian delegation attends NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Publish Time: 2017-10-08 12:06:00
The 63rd session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly continues in the capital of Romania. The meeting is attended by delegates from 50 countries, including Georgia.The participants are working on final text of the resolution. One of the main issues of discussion is Russia's aggressive policy that poses threat to the security of the region and its neighbors.The report includes Georgian issue as well; In particular mainly the issue related to occupied Abkhazia.The resolution will be adopted tomorrow. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will deliver a speech.
Man arrested after car hits pedestrians in London
Publish Time: 2017-10-07 18:23:00
Police on Saturday arrested a man in London’s museum quarter after a car hit a number of pedestrians on Exhibition Road, in an incident whose motive the police said they were still investigating. The collision, which the police said had left a number of pedestrians injured, comes only months after three attacks in London in which vehicles were deliberately been driven on to pavements by attackers, The Financial Times reported. However, the area where Saturday’s incident occurred is also notable as an experiment in shared space, with no clear demarcation between the pavement and road, making a chance collision between a vehicle and pedestrians more likely than elsewhere. A statement from the Metropolitan Police said they had been called at 2.21pm to a report of a collision on Exhibition Road, south Kensington. The area concerned is between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, one of London’s busiest tourist areas. Video posted on social media showed a black Toyota Prius in the pedestrian area outside the Victoria and Albert Museum with a Vauxhall Astra, which it appeared to have struck. Ambulance staff were tending a man on the ground. The collision happened at the busy junction between Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road. The police said it was believed a number of pedestrians had been injured.
State Dept. approves $15bn sale of THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia - Pentagon
Publish Time: 2017-10-07 00:45:00
The US State Department approved the sale of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to Saudi Arabia for estimated $15 billion the day after Saudi Arabia agreed to buy Russian S-400 air defense system.The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency “delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale” on Friday, the DSCA said in a statement. The Saudi government has requested 44 THAAD launchers, 360 Interceptor missiles, 16 Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Groups and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars, according to the DSCA.“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country. This sale furthers US national security and foreign policy interests, and supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats,” the agency said.“This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded,” the DSCA added, as reported by Russia today.
PACE President Pedro Agramunt resigns
Publish Time: 2017-10-06 16:21:00
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Pedro Agramunt announced his resignation via Twitter on Friday. “Today, for personal reasons, I have decided to no longer chair the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,” Agramunt said in his tweet.Agramunt’s removal from the post of the PACE President has long been on the agenda.The PACE Bureau, at a meeting of the Assembly’s spring session, resolved that it "has no confidence" in President Pedro Agramunt following his recent "unauthorized" visit to Syria and meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Most members of the Assembly demanded his early resignation.On June 27, the PACE adopted the report “Recognition and implementation of the principle of accountability in the Parliamentary Assembly” by Liliane Maury Pasquier (SOC) with a huge majority (154 in favor, 30 against, 13 abstentions) which introduces the long overdue legal rules of procedure that allow PACE to hold persons in elected offices accountable and – as an ultima ratio – to dismiss them if needed. After adoption of this report, Agramunt’s dismissal was expected.
Georgia's Youth Representative to UN gives speech
Publish Time: 2017-10-06 12:19:00
Giorgi Tumasyan, Georgia's Youth Representative to the United Nations gave a speech at the third committee sitting of UN General Assembly.Tumasyan talked about objectives of sustainable development and Russia’s aggressive policy against Georgia. He said that Russia was continuing occupation of Georgia’s territories.
Indian Air Force helicopter crash kills 5 in India
Publish Time: 2017-10-06 11:07:00
Five military personnel were killed and one critically wounded when an Indian Air Force helicopter crashed at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh this morning, reported NDTV.The Mi-17 V5 chopper was on an "air maintenance mission" when it crashed around 6 am, according to the Air Force.A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to establish what caused the crash. The Mi-17 V5 chopper is the backbone of the Air Force; 48 more have been requisitioned.Over 100 such helicopters are in service. The Mi-17 can carry a substantial payload to higher altitudes and has a very powerful engine.
Six killed in powerful German storm
Publish Time: 2017-10-06 10:23:00
Six people are dead as a storm packing powerful winds capable of knocking over trees and cranes sweeps through northern and eastern Germany.Five of the victims were in their cars when strong winds caused trees to crash into their vehicles in the eastern states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well as the cities of Berlin and Hamburg. One person also died near the Polish border, police said. Several more people in Berlin were injured by falling trees, authorities said, as reported by The Australian.The storm ripped trees from the ground in Berlin, which have fallen across streets, paths and train tracks, blocking local transportation. Strong gusts in the capital city also knocked over mopeds and bikes.The German Weather Service said in a statement that the storm could reach hurricane-strength wind speeds of between 105 and 115 kilometres per hour.The Hamburg fire brigade warned residents not to leave their houses, while its Berlin counterpart declared a state of emergency, saying it could not keep up with the more than 200 emergency calls it had received.A spokesman for the Berlin fire brigade said that threats to human life were being prioritised over damage to property.German rail operator Deutsche Bahn cancelled its train services in the northern states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen, as well as commuter trains in the port city of Hamburg.The company also cancelled long-distance trains to and from the capital Berlin.Berlin's Tegel and Schoenefeld airports temporarily suspended ground operations. Before the all-clear was given, passengers were held in their aircrafts for security reasons while passengers who were due to fly were not allowed to board planes.Several international flights from the airports in Bremen and Hanover were cancelled.
Train Collides With Bus in Russia, Killing At Least 19
Publish Time: 2017-10-06 09:56:00
Russian officials say a train has slammed into a bus at a railway crossing east of Moscow, killing at least 19 people -- many of them apparently citizens of Uzbekistan.Regional police said the collision occurred at around 3:30 a.m. (0030 GMT/UTC) on October 6 near a train station close to the city of Vladimir, about 190 kilometers east of the capital, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.The bus had Kazakh license plates and Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Anuar Zhainakov said it was carrying 55 Uzbek passengers and two Kazakh drivers.One of the drivers was among the dead, Zhainakov said on Facebook. At least one child was killed and at least five injured people were hospitalized after the collision, reports said.The regional Interior Ministry branch said the bus driver was trying to cross the tracks despite a red light.The spokeswoman, Rita Shlyakhova, said that the bus broke down on the railroad crossing and that most of the passengers were asleep at the time. "The driver yelled, and 34 people jumped out of the bus to push it," RIA Novosti quoted Shlyakhova as saying. "They survived. Those who stayed in the bus died. It was literally torn apart."The train was reportedly traveling from St. Petersburg to Nizhny Novgorod. Investigators have opened a probe into the incident.
European Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million
Publish Time: 2017-10-04 15:16:00
The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Luxembourg must now recover the illegal aid.Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said "Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon. As a result, almost three quarters of Amazon's profits were not taxed. In other words, Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules. This is illegal under EU State aid rules. Member States cannot give selective tax benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others."Following an in-depth investigation launched in October 2014, the Commission has concluded that a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg in 2003, and prolonged in 2011, lowered the tax paid by Amazon in Luxembourg without any valid justification.The tax ruling enabled Amazon to shift the vast majority of its profits from an Amazon group company that is subject to tax in Luxembourg (Amazon EU) to a company which is not subject to tax (Amazon Europe Holding Technologies). In particular, the tax ruling endorsed the payment of a royalty from Amazon EU to Amazon Europe Holding Technologies, which significantly reduced Amazon EU's taxable profits.The Commission's investigation showed that the level of the royalty payments, endorsed by the tax ruling, was inflated and did not reflect economic reality. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the tax ruling granted a selective economic advantage to Amazon by allowing the group to pay less tax than other companies subject to the same national tax rules. In fact, the ruling enabled Amazon to avoid taxation on three quarters of the profits it made from all Amazon sales in the EU.