Monday, December 1, 2014

GEO Prisma and Intel agencies news in brief (December 2014 -b)

Russia considers Turkey a reliable partner capable of making independent decisions, Russia’s Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said Wednesday on Rossiya 24 TV channel.

“Turkey is acting rather independently,” Chizhov said. “And if it comes to implementation of its own decisions, the country has both the political will and resources to implement these decisions.”................Russia considers Turkey reliable partner capable of making independent decisions


  1. Australian Senate inquiry finds government responsible for deadly asylum-seeker riots ...

    (Reuters) - The Australian government failed to protect asylum seekers in its custody during a deadly riot at an immigration detention center earlier this year, and as such was guilty of human rights abuses, said a Senate inquiry report released on Thursday.

    The blistering 200-page report also found that staff from security company G4S took part in the violence, and accused Australia's immigration minister of deliberately misleading the public to cast blame on the riot's victims.

    Australia uses offshore detention centers in Papua New Guinea and the tiny South Pacific island nation of Nauru to process would-be refugees trying to reach the country, often in unsafe boats after paying people smugglers in Indonesia...........

  2. Bulgaria is ready to place on its territory a gas distribution European-scale station, instead of the South Stream project, according to a verbatim account of a meeting of the Bulgarian government on Wednesday...

    “We can build a gas storage facility in Varna, where /South Stream/ pipes were to come out of the Black Sea. The European Commission, under the plan /of its President Jean-Claude/ Juncker, may finance the construction of a liquefied gas storage facility. It will be filled there and pumped from there to Europe,” Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said. “The European Commission will sponsor this hub. We make a distribution centre of the Energy Union in Varna, and we are number one in terms of diversification. It is not in the interests of Turkey or Greece, or any other country. It is in our interests and in the interests of the European Union, and we must solve this problem. We offer the European Commission and the entire Europe a perfect option of placing a gas hub in Bulgaria, not in Turkey.”

    Borisov instructed the ministers to notify all parties concerned about this initiative.......

  3. The United States on Wednesday called for joint efforts to ease tensions following the death of a Palestinian minister at the hands of Israeli soldiers....

    State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki voiced "deep concern" about the death of Ziad Abu Ein, the Palestinian minister of settlement who died early Wednesday after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers who were dispersing an anti-settlement rally in the village of Termos Meya near Ramallah in the West Bank.

    "We offer our condolences to his family and the Palestinian Authority," Psaki told reporters at a daily news briefing. "And at this difficult time we continue to call on both sides to work to lower tensions and prevent an escalation of violence."

    She also urged Israel to open a "swift, fair and transparent" investigation into the incident.

    Tensions have heightened over the past months in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the Israeli army was reportedly bracing for more violence over Ein's death.

    Psaki said Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Rome on Sunday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a number of issues, including recent developments in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the region.

  4. President George W Bush 'knew everything' about CIA interrogation...

    Former US President George W Bush was "fully informed" about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says.

    Speaking to Fox News, Dick Cheney said Mr Bush "knew everything he needed to know" about the programme, and the report was "full of crap".

    The CIA has defended its use of methods such as waterboarding on terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks.

    The Senate report said the agency misled politicians about the programme.

    But the former Republican vice-president dismissed this, saying: "The notion that the committee is trying to peddle that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis and that we weren't being told - that the president wasn't being told - is a flat-out lie."

    In the interview on Thursday, Mr Cheney said the report was "deeply flawed" and a "terrible piece of work", although he admitted he had not read the whole document.

    President Bush "knew everything he needed to know, and wanted to know" about CIA interrogation, he said. "He knew the techniques... there was no effort on my part to keep it from him....................

  5. Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis has wrapped up his meetings in Washington DC, expressing satisfaction and saying they were useful contacts...

    Mavroyiannis met with high ranking officials of the American government, members of the Congress and important think tanks.

    Speaking to CNA, Mavroyiannis said his contacts took place in the framework of cooperation Nicosia and Washington have established, adding that he briefed his interlocutors on developments in the Cyprus issue and they exchanged views.

    Ambassador Mavroyiannis pointed out that at this point the Greek Cypriot side is looking forward to the continuation of the bicommunal talks, should the circumstances allow this to happen...................- See more at:

  6. Le Parlement irlandais a voté pour la reconnaissance d'un État palestinien ...

    Les députés irlandais ont adopté mercredi une motion symbolique demandant à leur gouvernement de reconnaître un État palestinien.

    Le Parlement irlandais est le dernier parlement européen à avoir voté en ce sens après les parlements français, britannique et espagnol, témoignant d'un sentiment grandissant de frustration vis-à-vis d'Israël et de la stagnation du processus de paix.

    La motion, qui n'est pas contraignante, demande au gouvernement irlandais de "reconnaître officiellement l'État de Palestine sur la base des frontières de 1967 et avec Jérusalem Est comme capitale, comme stipulé par les résolutions des Nations unies..............

    1. Israel has slammed the decision of the Irish parliament to adopt a non-binding resolution supporting an independent Palestinian state...

      Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon expressed disappointment Thursday at the decision, accusing the Irish parliament of giving voice to "statements of hatred and anti-Semitism directed at Israel in a way which we have not heard before."

      Some Irish lawmakers accused Israel of genocide during the parliamentary debate on Palestinian recognition.

      Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said Wednesday that Ireland is considering early recognition of Palestinian statehood as a possible tactic for kick-starting Middle East peace talks.......

  7. Türkei geht auf Distanz zu Gas-Deal mit Russland...

    Trotz des russischen Angebots zum Bau einer gemeinsamen Gasleitung hält die Türkei nach Angaben ihres Außenministers Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu den Bau der Transanatolischen Pipeline (TANAP) für wichtiger, schreibt die Zeitung „RBC“ am Donnerstag.

    „Wir werden das Angebot von Wladimir Putin in Bezug auf eine neue Gaspipeline über die Türkei erörtern und beurteilen. Doch das TANAP-Projekt hat weiter Priorität“, sagte der türkische Außenminister nach einem Treffen mit seinen georgischen und aserbaidschanischen Amtskollegen. Er erinnerte daran, dass Ankara und Moskau eine Absichtserklärung unterzeichnet haben, die Gespräche über den Bau einer Gaspipeline aus Russland in die Türkei vorsieht. Nach den Erörterungen werde die Türkei ihre Antwort geben, so Çavuşoğlu.

    Das russische Energieministerium und der Energiekonzern Gazprom nahmen bislang keine Stellung zu den Äußerungen des türkischen Chefdiplomaten................

  8. Australia to Provide $2Mln to Ukraine's Armed Forces: Kiev ...

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday pledged to provide over two million dollars to Ukraine's armed forces, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's press service said.

    "Tony Abbott announced the decision to provide help to the armed forces of Ukraine in the amount of more than two million dollars," a release published on the president's website said.

    The statement also said that Australia will give Ukraine $100 million within the framework of IMF (International Monetary Fund) assistance................

    1. Poroschenko macht erneut Russland für Situation in Ukraine verantwortlich...

      Der ukrainische Präsident Pjotr Poroschenko hat ein weiteres Mal Russland die Verantwortung für die Situation in der Ukraine zugeschoben.

      Die ukrainischen Behörden und die westlichen Länder werfen Russland regelmäßig eine Unterstützung der ostukrainischen Volkswehr vor. Moskau hat mehrmals erklärt, Russland sei keine Konfliktseite und habe mit den Ereignissen im Südosten der Ukraine nichts zu tun.

      „Stoppt bitte das Feuer. Lasst bitte die Geiseln frei. Zieht bitte die Truppen von meinem Territorium ab“, wandte sich Poroschenko an Russland in einer Pressekonferenz im australischen Melbourne...................

  9. Russia, India Sign Agreement on Economic Cooperation in Crimea ...

    A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Republic of Crimea and Indian business group Indian-Crimean Partnership during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to India on Thursday.

    The document, which aims to facilitate India’s deepening economic cooperation with Crimea, was signed by Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov on the Russian side, and by Gul Kripalani, chairman of the Indian-Crimean Partnership, on the Indian side, according to the official press-release. Aksyonov arrived in New Delhi earlier in the day. It's the first visit of officials from the Republic of Crimea to India.

    “The signing of the MoU will contribute to long-term and mutually beneficial interactions in a wide variety of industries — from engineering, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and tourism to information technology, microelectronics and industrial parks,” the press release said.....................

  10. L'Unione Europea vieta ai suoi cittadini di investire in Crimea ...

    I funzionari dell'Unione Europea stanno prendendo in considerazione l’ampliamento delle restrizioni sull'interazione dei propri cittadini con la Crimea.

    Nel mese di giugno, il Consiglio dell'Unione Europea ha deciso di vietare l'importazione di merci dalla Crimea in relazione al mancato riconoscimento della legittimità della sua adesione alla Russia. Secondo le nuove proposte dei funzionari europei, non sarà permesso ai cittadini dei Paesi europei di finanziare o acquistare società della penisola. Inoltre, sarà vietato ai cittadini dell'UE di vendere tecnologia alle aziende della Crimea collegate al petrolio e al gas, nonché di impegnarsi nella regione nel settore turistico.
    Per saperne di più:

  11. Bulgarien findet Ersatz für South Stream ...

    Der bulgarische Premierminister Boiko Borissow hat vorgeschlagen, in Warna, wo die bulgarische Strecke der Pipeline South Stream beginnen sollte, Gasspeicher zu bauen.

    Wie der Leiter der bulgarischen Regierung unterstrich, kann die EU den Bau finanzieren. „Falls die EU-Kommission diesen Hub bezahlt und wir in Warna ein Verteilungszentrum der Energieunion gründen, werden wir nach Diversifizierung zur Nummer Eins“, erklärte Borissow...............Weiterlesen:

  12. France's upper house of parliament on Thursday urged the government to recognise Palestine as a state, following a similar and highly symbolic vote in the lower house....

    The Senate resolution, calling for French recognition of Palestine and an "immediate restarting" of peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis, passed narrowly, with 153 votes in favour and 146 against.

    The vote came as European countries seek alternative ways to restart the stalled Middle East process and followed an unopposed motion in the Irish parliament to recognise Palestine -- the fourth assembly in Europe to do so.

    Lawmakers in Britain and Spain have already passed similar motions and Sweden has gone even further, officially recognising Palestine as a state, in a move that prompted Israel to recall its ambassador.

    Earlier this month, French MPs voted 339 to 151 in favour of a motion urging the government to recognise the state of Palestine as a way of achieving a "definitive resolution of the conflict."

    The vote drew a swift and angry response from Israel, which said it would send the "wrong message" to the region and would be counterproductive to the drive towards peace.....................

  13. Ukraine's arms manufacturer sends almost 97% of weaponry to eastern Ukraine...

    Ukraine’s state-owned concern, Ukroboronprom, sends almost 97% of produced weapons and hardware to Ukrainian security forces for in the east, the concern’s first deputy director, Serhiy Pinkas, said on Thursday.

    Plants of the defense sector provide hardware at prices, which do not exceed the cost of production. Earlier, this was not done when all hardware was exported at prices, which were two or three times higher.

    At present, Ukroboronprom intends to reduce weapons supplies abroad by selling only double-purpose products — engines.

    According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2013 Ukraine ranked eighth in the list of arms suppliers. Its share reached 3%.

  14. Al Jazeera journalist dies covering Syria conflict ...

    A correspondent working for Al Jazeera Arabic died while covering battles in southern Syria, the pan-Arab news network said on its website on Thursday.

    He was the fourth Syrian journalist to die this week in Syria.

    More than 70 journalists have been killed while reporting on the Syrian conflict, which is now in its fourth year, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

  15. Main opposition leader blasts Turkey’s human rights violations ...

    Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed Turkey’s record of violating human rights, while also blaming President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, without openly mentioning his name, for individuals killed by security forces.

    “I can’t stop myself back from asking this question: Between 1946 and 2014, have we been trying to destroy democracy, rather than enhance it?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, speaking at an event organized by Ankara’s Çankaya Municipality’s Contemporary Arts Center on Dec. 11, within the scope of Human Rights Week..................

  16. European Commission Bans All Libyan Airlines From EU Airspace ...

    The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has updated the EU air safety list, banning all Libya-based airlines from operating in European airspace.

    "Recent events in Libya have led to a situation whereby the Civil Aviation Authority is no longer able to fulfil its international obligations with regard to the safety of the Libyan aviation sector," Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport, was cited as saying on the Commission's official website.

    In mid-2014, Libya was hit by the worst wave of unrest following the 2011 overthrow of long-term leader Muammar Gaddafi. The country is currently facing clashes between numerous militias that control parts of its territory...................

  17. Commissioner Moscovici signs Memorandum of Understanding on Macro-Financial Assistance for Georgia (EC)...

    Brussels, 11 December 2014
    Georgia can count on continuing support from the European Union. Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, today signed the Memorandum of Understanding for a €46 million Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme to Georgia. The assistance will be distributed evenly between grants and loans and will be disbursed in two equal tranches in 2015. The MFA programme is intended to strengthen Georgia's balance of payments and budgetary position and to support reforms aimed at reinforcing economic governance, increasing social inclusiveness and promoting closer economic integration with the European Union.

    "The EU is helping Georgia ease its financing constraints while supporting the government's economic reform agenda. We support Georgia's efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability while implementing growth-enhancing reforms and facilitating closer economic integration with the EU", said Commissioner Moscovici.

    The disbursement of the assistance will be conditional on a number of economic policy measures outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding and on the successful implementation of an IMF Stand-By Arrangement, approved by the IMF Executive Board on 30 July 2014. The policy measures focus on public finance management, strengthening the social safety net, reinforcing banking regulation and trade and competition policy measures to support the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU.

    The next step necessary in the implementation of the MFA assistance is the ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Loan Facility Agreement by the Georgian Parliament...................

  18. Polonia alerta de una actividad militar rusa 'sin precedentes' sobre el mar Báltico ...

    El ministro de Defensa de Polonia, Tomasz Siemoniak, ha manifestado este jueves que desde hace varios días se ha registrado "una actividad militar rusa sin precedentes sobre el Mar Báltico" y ha mostrado su preocupación ante el incremento de vuelos de las fuerzas armadas rusas sobre la región.

    En declaraciones que hoy emite la cadena de televisión TVN24, Siemoniak ha descartado, no obstante, que la situación exija poner al Ejército polaco en estado de alerta. "Esto nos preocupa, pero no vemos ninguna necesidad de poner a nuestras tropas en estado de alerta", ha dicho................

  19. Tortures dans les prisons de la CIA: pas de justification possible (Ankara) ...

    La Turquie a condamné sans réserve les tortures infligées aux terroristes présumés dans les prisons secrètes de la CIA, rapporte jeudi le ministère turc des Affaires étrangères.

    "Selon les premières évaluations du rapport du Sénat américain sur les tortures infligées par la CIA aux terroristes présumés dans les prisons secrètes, il s'agit de violations très graves des droits de l'homme (…). Une telle pratique n'a aucune justification", lit-on dans le communiqué...................

  20. Le président américain Barack Obama a l'intention d'introduire de nouvelles sanctions contre la Russie si elles sont soutenues par l'Union européenne...

    Selon Obama, la diversité des sanctions de l'UE et des Etats-Unis pourrait provoquer un schisme entre Bruxelles et Washington.

    « Si elles (les autorités russes) voient qu’il n’y a pas de schisme dans la coalition, après un moment, elles vont dire que le préjudice de leur économie l'emportent sur les avantages stratégiques de leurs actions », a déclaré Obama.

    En outre, Obama a indiqué qu'il considérait comme un « mauvais calcul » le point de vue que « nous ne pouvons que tout simplement promouvoir les sanctions et, plus tard, Poutine va nécessairement changer son esprit ».
    Lire la suite:

  21. Italy, Turkey to service F-35 jet, engine in Europe: Pentagon ...

    (Reuters) - The Pentagon has chosen Italy and Turkey to provide initial heavy maintenance of Lockheed Martin Corp's new F-35 fighter jet and its engine in Europe starting in 2018, a move that will result in significant orders for companies there.

    The decision announced on Thursday paves the way for billions of dollars of work by companies in those countries, and several others in coming years, as the new radar-evading warplane starts operating around the world.

    Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who runs the F-35 program for the U.S. Department of Defense, said the decision followed months of reviews and site visits. He said the countries involved would release details about which companies would do the work......................

  22. Israel slammed Switzerland on Thursday for convening a special meeting of the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention next week expected to severely censure Israel for its actions in the West Bank and Gaza....

    Switzerland, the Depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention, called the meeting following a request put forward by the Palestinians after their joining the convention in April following the breakdown of the US-backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

    The meeting is scheduled for December 17.

  23. Turkey, Italy to collaborate on solution for Libya ...

    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi agreed to work together to find a solution for the conflict in Libya.

    "We will jointly work towards a comprehensive reconciliation process in Libya that will bring together all the parties in the country," Davutoglu said, speaking at a joint press conference in Ankara with the Italian prime minister.

    He described bringing peace and stability to Libya as important not only for Turkey but also for Italy and for all of Europe. " Italy andTurkey will create working groups on illegal immigration and refugees from Libya."

    Davutoglu noted that Italy is Turkey's fourth-largest trading partner, with a trade volume of about $20 billion in 2013.

    "To improve relations, we agreed to promote mutual investments, and jointly to develop projects in third countries," he said.

    Further, Davutoglu proposed establishing a Turkish-Italian University....................

  24. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin got straight down to business on Thursday, discussing boosting nuclear and defense cooperation at a summit aimed at reviving an old friendship that has faded over the years....

    Putin's one-day visit to India comes at a time when Russia is at odds with the West over Ukraine, and its economy is stalling as oil prices tumble to their lowest in five years.

    The tension over the conflict in Ukraine intruded on the choreographed visit when it emerged that the leader of Crimea, the former Ukrainian territory that has been annexed by Russia, had travelled with Putin to India for unofficial talks to enhance trade.

    India does not support Western sanctions against Russia, but the Crimean leader's presence may prove an irritant ahead of a visit from US President Barack Obama..............

  25. High Representative/Vice President Mogherini meets with Minister Besimi of the FYROM...

    High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini met Deputy Prime Minister of the FYROM, Fatmir Besimi, today for the first time.

    They discussed the challenges the country is facing. The High Representative/Vice-President reaffirmed the European perspective of the country and stressed the importance
    of the reforms progressing swiftly, the need for all parties to work on a mutually agreed solution to the name issue as well as good neighbourly relations.
    The High Representative/Vice-President is looking forward to working with the minister and the government in the months ahead.

  26. House votes to avoid govt shutdown, passes $1trn spending bill ...

    The House of Representatives voted to pass a massive spending bill that will keep the government running into next year, narrowly avoiding a shutdown as Republicans and Democrats spent the night at odds over various provisions.

    Next, the Senate will vote on the bill – the so-called “cromnibus” – which is part continuing resolution and part omnibus spending bill. If approved by the chamber, it will head to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. Obama previously said he would support the bill’s passage.

    Following a day of intense debate over immigration reform and provisions that roll back some regulations in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act, the Republican-led House passed the $1.1 trillion bill by a vote of 219-206.

    “This plan was put together after consultation with our members,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “And we worked through this process in a bipartisan, bicameral way.” ...............

  27. Armenia’s EEU Membership to Leave Relations With US Unchanged: State Dep't...

    Washington's collaboration with Yerevan will continue after Armenia officially becomes a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the US State Department, has announced.

    "The United Sates will continue to work with Armenia to support democratic and economic reforms and preserve the progress made through the US-Armenia relationship," Psaki said at a press briefing Thursday.

    The spokesperson emphasized that all countries have the right to choose their own path of economic integration and development in accordance with their national interests.

    "No country has the right to determine the political and economic orientation of another country, nor decide which alliances and trade agreements it can join," Psaki stressed....................

  28. Sanctions antirusses: le Sénat US adopte une nouvelle loi...

    Le Sénat américain a adopté jeudi un projet de loi autorisant le président Barack Obama à décréter de nouvelles sanctions contre la Russie et prévoyant l'octroi d'une aide militaire à l'Ukraine.

    Le document autorise le chef de la Maison Blanche à introduire des sanctions à l'encontre "de représentants de la Fédération de Russie et de sociétés contrôlées par le gouvernement russe".

    Le projet de loi prévoit également la possibilité d'imposer des sanctions contre les étrangers faisant d'importants investissements dans des projets liés à l'industrie pétrolière russe.

    Dans le même temps, les sénateurs proposent d'apporter une assistance militaire directe à Kiev pour un montant total de 350 millions de dollars en 2015, ainsi que de soutenir l'opposition syrienne au motif qu'elle combat les forces gouvernementales qui disposent d'armes de fabrication russe.

    Désormais, le document doit être examiné par la Chambre des représentants du Congrès américain..................

  29. Las milicias confirman que se observa la tregua en Donbás...

    Los milicianos de la autoproclamada República Popular de Donetsk (RPD) confirmaron este viernes la declaración del presidente ucraniano, Pertó Poroshenko, de que ambas partes del conflicto acatan la tregua, anunciada el pasado 9 de diciembre.

    "En las últimas 24 horas no registramos ningún incidente, no hay muertos ni heridos", comunicó a RIA Nóvosti el comandante adjunto de las milicias, Eduard Basurin.

    Poroshenko declaró desde Australia, donde ejerce la primera visita en la historia de relaciones bilaterales, que se pactó en Ucrania "una tregua verdadera"...............

  30. Ausschuss im US-Senat genehmigt Obamas Krieg gegen ISIS ...

    Der Auswärtige Ausschuss des US-Senats hat Präsident Obama nachträglich den Krieg gegen die IS-Extremisten gebilligt. Nun soll der Senat abstimmen.

    Zum ersten Mal seit Beginn des Krieges gegen die Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat (IS) haben Mitglieder des US-Kongresses über den ausgedehnten Militäreinsatz abgestimmt. Der auswärtige Ausschuss im Senat stimmte am Donnerstag mit zehn zu acht Stimmen dafür, den Kampf gegen die Extremisten für bis zu drei Jahre zu genehmigen..........

  31. Greek counter terrorism police were investigating a pre-dawn drive-by gunfire attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens on Friday, which caused no casualties...

    Two unidentified motorcyle-riding gunmen approached the embassy compound and opened fire on it with an AK47 automatic rifle before managing to flee the scene.

    According to police sources, investigators were already examining closed circuit security cameras of the embassy and nearby buildings.

    Political, police, judicial and financial establishments have been targets of attack by Greek terrorist groups in recent years.

    The residence of the German ambassador in Athens came under a similar attack in December 2013, which caused no injuries but only property damage...........

  32. Verteidigungsminister: Ukraine wird 2015 Armee um 7,5 Prozent aufstocken ...

    Laut dem ukrainischen Verteidigungsminister Stepan Poltorak will die Ukraine die zahlenmäßige Stärke ihrer Streitkräfte im Jahr 2015 von 232 000 auf 250 000 Mann aufstocken. Zum Grundwehrdienst sollen 45 000 Rekruten einberufen werden. 10 500 unter Vertrag stehende Armeeangehörige werden an militärischen Lehreinrichtungen ausgebildet, wie Poltorak in der Rada sagte.

    Seinen Worten nach plant das ukrainische Verteidigungsministerium, im Jahr 2015 eine Reihe von Truppeneinheiten in den Südosten zu verlegen und dort neue Truppenteile zu stationieren.

    1. L’Ucraina ha annunciato l'intenzione di nuovi dispiegamenti nel Donbass ...

      Le autorità di Kiev stanno progettando di trasferire nel 2015 diverse unità militari nel sud-est del Paese e dispiegare nuove parti. Lo ha detto il Ministro della Difesa ucraino Stepan Poltorak.

      Inoltre, ha riferito che il numero delle forze armate per l'anno prossimo verrà aumentato da 232 mila fino a 250 mila soldati. Verranno richiamati al servizio militare 45 mila persone, ha detto il Ministro. In precedenza Poltorak aveva detto che l'Ucraina ha bisogno di stabilire una riserva di attrezzature militari e di personale.
      Per saperne di più:

  33. Australie: Moscou condamne la profanation de tombes russes ...

    Dans la nuit du 10 au 11 décembre, des inconnus ont profané 76 tombes dans la section orthodoxe du Cimetière de Rookwood où reposent les dépouilles des immigrés russes en Australie.

    Selon la diplomatie russe, la police locale a lancé une enquête sur cet acte de vandalisme.................

  34. Palestinian injured five Israelis in acid attack ...

    A Palestinian man threw a chemical substance believed to be acid at an Israeli family in the occupied West Bank on Friday, injuring a man and four children, Israeli police and the military said.

    The assailant was shot and wounded immediately after the attack, which took place at a checkpoint south of Jerusalem.

    Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the attacker had “poured an unknown substance suspected to be acid on a Jewish family.”

    She said a civilian at the scene shot and wounded the assailant.

    Israeli public radio said the attack occured at a checkpoint outside Bethlehem and near the Gush Etzion settlement..................

  35. Georgia expects $87 mln in US, EU aid to boost defense, carry out reforms ...

    The European Commission will allocate over $57.2 million to Georgia as macro-financial assistance, while the US promised $30 million in military funds as part of US Foreign Military Financing program.

    The Georgian Foreign Ministry announced Friday it expected to get a total of $87 million in aid from the United States and the European Union to boost its military capabilities and tighten trade competition rules ahead of the entry to EU free trade zone........Read more:

  36. Abdullah, Sisi call for renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations ...

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan called for the revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations during talks in Amman on Thursday, Israel Radio reported.

    The two leaders released a joint statement at the end of their meeting in the Jordanian capital, calling to remove obstacles standing in the way of renewing the peace process, and work toward a two-state solution.

    They also warned against a blow to the current status quo in Jerusalem.

    The meeting marked Sisi's first visit to Jordan since assuming his presidential post in May.........................

  37. The “solution process” to end Turkey's 40-year conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is advancing positively and no one will be able to disturb this process, the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said...

    Addressing Turkish businessmen on Friday at the new presidential palace in Ankara, Erdogan said: "The people, especially of our southeastern regions, are not giving credit to those trying to disturb the process, including that party claiming to defend the rights of Kurds."

    "Those who threaten this process with taking to the streets or with restarting guerilla fighting are not respected any more in Turkey," Erdogan said.

    The leftist and pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, has said it will oppose new legislation on domestic security – should it be approved in parliament – and call for street protests................

  38. The car in which the missing former head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security Petko Sertov was travelling crossed the border into Greece on December at about 8pm, a few hours after he left his Sofia home, reports on December 12 said...

    Media reports claimed that a review of recordings from cameras at the Kulata border checkpoint between Bulgaria and Greece had established that this was the car in which Sertov had been travelling.

    Earlier reports said that Sertov, officially missing since December 6 and posted as a missing person on the Interpol website on December 9, had been travelling alone.

    On December 10, the Interior Ministry said that it had used a helicopter to search for the car in southern Bulgarian near the Petrich region, where Sertov is said to have been spotted some hours after leaving home, but with no result.

    The Interior Ministry had hinted that Sertov could be in Greece. As two European Union countries, with citizens able to cross the border using only official identity cards, Bulgaria and Greece do not keep records of their citizens crossing borders..................

  39. Nicosia rejects Turkish proposal for meetings in occupied Cyprus with illegal authorities ....

    The Republic of Cyprus has made it clear that it cannot discuss any proposal made by the Turkish side for meetings of the Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministers in “the north and the south” of the island.

    CNA requested the Government`s reaction to a the latest statement that the proposal made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Greece, during a meeting with his Greek counterpart, for a joint meeting with Cyprus President includes meetings with the illegal authorities in the northern Turkish occupied part of the island.

    CNA correspondent in Ankara has learned that this proposal was made in the context of an earlier statement by the Turkish Premier to visit “the north and the south“ of the island along with his Greek counterpart..............- See more at:

  40. La Oficina de la ONU para la Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios (OCAH) constató que se respeta el alto el fuego decretado en el sureste de Ucrania este martes...

    "El "día de silencio" anunciado por las partes de conflicto, entró en vigor a las 10.00 del 9 de diciembre y dura toda la semana sin que se reportaran víctimas entre la población en ese periodo", dice un informe de la OCAH que abarca el periodo del 29 de noviembre al 12 de diciembre de 2014.

    Eso da motivos, según el documento, para calificar de "exitoso" el régimen de silencio............

    1. Starting from the moment the regimen of silence in the east of Ukraine took effect there has not been a single report of civilian casualties, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a report on Friday.

      “The regimen of silence” began by mutual consent of all parties to the conflict at 10.00 on December 9 to have lasted for a whole week. During this period there have been no reports of civilian casualties. The UNOCHA described this as a “noteworthy success.”

      The UNOCHA also mentioned the latest statistics of fatalities and casualties during the conflict between Kiev and the militias.

      “As of December 7 at least 4,634 people were killed (including 298 in the Malaysian Boeing crash), and 10,243 others were injured," the report says..............

  41. The U.S. Congress authorized a massive U.S. annual defense policy bill on Friday which includes $5 billion in emergency funding for military operations and training for Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as President Barack Obama requested......

    Obama’s $5 billion request for fighting ISIS includes $3.4 billion for deployment of U.S. forces as part of operation “Inherent Resolve,” and $1.6 billion for a program to equip and train Iraqi Kurdish forces for two years.

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), formally authorizes the extension of training and equipping for moderate Syrian rebels, a program that had been authorized to last only until December 11, using existing Pentagon money...............

  42. Russia says will react if U.S. imposes new sanctions ...

    (Reuters) - Russia will take counter measures if Washington imposes new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday.

    The U.S. Congress has readied new sanctions on Russian weapons companies and investors in the country's high-tech oil projects, but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to sign a corresponding bill into law.

    "We will not be able to leave that without an answer," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. He did not say what form of counter-measure Moscow might take........................

    1. La Russia risponderà alle nuove sanzioni degli Stati Uniti ...

      Mosca risponderà sicuramente nel caso di introduzione di nuove sanzioni da parte degli Stati Uniti.

      Lo ha dichiarato il vice ministro degli Esteri russo Sergej Ryabkov.

      Come riportato in precedenza, la Casa Bianca non può ancora affermare con certezza che il presidente americano Barack Obama firmi il decreto sulle nuove sanzioni contro la Russia per la crisi in Ucraina.
      Per saperne di più:

  43. 160,000 Christians have fled militant-held Iraqi city, lawmaker says...

    At least 160,000 Christians have been forced to flee Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, since Islamic State militants seized the city in June, a Christian lawmaker said on Saturday.

    "Christian families have been displaced from the city because of violence and death threats from this terrorist group," member of parliament Emad Yukhana told independent Iraqi news site Almada Press.

    After the capture of Mosul as part of its incursion into northern Iraq, Islamic State ordered local Christians to convert to Islam, pay a protection tax, or face death......................

  44. Islamic State (IS) militants have shot down an Iraqi helicopter, killing both pilots on board, Associated Press reported on Saturday, quoting an Iraqi senior Defense Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity...

    The EC635 helicopter was shot down on the outskirts of the city of Samarra, about 95 kilometers north of Baghdad.

    The militants supposedly used a shoulder-fired rocket launcher. The agency says an Iraqi army official has confirmed the information......................

  45. Immigration : Juncker règle ses comptes avec Cameron ...

    Jean-Claude Juncker hausse le ton envers le chef du gouvernement britannique, David Cameron. Dans un article publié samedi par le quotidien The Guardian , le président de la Commission européenne appelle David Cameron à cesser de stigmatiser les travailleurs immigrés, dénonçant une pratique consistant à « taper sur les autres » par calcul politique. « Il faut cesser, en particulier au Royaume-Uni (...), cette pratique qui consiste à faire de la discrimination envers les autres pays juste parce que ça fait bien, chez soi, de taper sur les autres », déclare Jean-Claude Juncker. « L’autoflagellation a du bon parfois », a-t-il dit.

    « Je suis férocement opposé à tout attitude qui reviendrait à dire que les Polonais, Roumains, Bulgares sur le marché du travail européen ont une mentalité criminelle. Ce sont des gens qui travaillent et qui gagnent leur vie », a-t-il martelé...............En savoir plus sur

  46. Steinmeier: OSZE soll in Ostukraine glaubwürdige Informationen beschaffen ...

    ...........Der Westen wolle nicht auf Medienberichte angewiesen bleiben. In diesem Zusammenhang werde die OSZE eine wichtige Rolle spielen. Auf die Frage, warum westliche Medien oft über eine Präsenz russischer Truppen auf dem Territorium der Ukraine berichten, ohne das mit Bildern oder anderem Material zu belegen, sagte Steinmeier, er sei nicht für Truppenbewegungen in der Ostukraine verantwortlich und habe keine Aufgabe, sie zu dokumentieren.................

  47. Air strikes, clashes near two eastern Libyan oil ports...

    BENGHAZI, Libya - Forces loyal to Libya's recognized government on Saturday conducted air strikes on targets near the eastern oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es-Sider to stop an advance by a rival force, officials said.

    The clashes are part of a wider struggle in the North African country between competing governments allied to armed factions over control of the vast oil reserves, three-and-a-half years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

    The recognized prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been forced to work out of a rump state in the east since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital in August and set up its own government and parliament...............

    1. Extremist fighters launched a three-pronged attack Saturday on a key oil region in eastern Libya but were pushed back by pro-government forces, military officials said...

      Fighters from Fajr Libya, an anti-government extremist coalition, staged an assault on the region of Al-Hilal from three sides but the air force repelled them, said Brigadier General Saqr Jarushi.

      "Air force jets and helicopters struck the fighters as they advanced on Al-Sidra oil terminal," he said, adding that the air raids had caused "a large number of casualties".

      Earlier a statement from Fajr Libya said the Islamist coalition had launched a military operation to "liberate oil fields and terminals".

      Jarushi said that after the army fended off the attack, clashes broke out between soldiers and Islamist fighters.

      A "state of emergency" was declared in the region, added Jarushi, who is part of anti-extremist forces led by ex-general Khalifa Haftar battling for control of the capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.

  48. Egypt denies entry to U.S. analyst, with no reason given ...

    (Reuters) - A U.S. think tank analyst and former diplomat who has written articles critical of Egypt's government said she was blocked from entering the country to attend a conference on Saturday.

    Michele Dunne, a former diplomat once posted to Cairo and a senior associate at the Washington, D.C.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said she was given no reason when she was turned back at Cairo International Airport.

    "I come into the country two to four times a year, for the past 10 years at least," Dunne told Reuters from Frankfurt's airport, where she was waiting for a flight to return to the United States after leaving Cairo Saturday morning.

    A foreign ministry spokesperson declined to comment and referred questions to the interior ministry. Calls to the ministry and its spokesperson were not answered..............

  49. The UN Security Council called for a speedy and transparent investigation after a senior Palestinian official died during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers...

    The Palestinian leadership has blamed Israel for "killing" 55-year-old Ziad Abu Ein on Wednesday, which came during an anti-settlements protest march by roughly 300 Palestinians who intended to plant olive trees as a symbolic act.

    Israeli authorities say an investigation has been launched and called for calm, amid speculation the Palestinian Authority would suspend security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.........

  50. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that fresh US sanctions against the country's government officials are an intimidation tactic that could start a conflict between Washington and Caracas, the El Nacional newspaper reports...

    "They [the United States] seek to intimidate us with those sanctions. These visas are the give away," Manduro said as quoted by El Nacional Saturday, referring to the newly-approved US visa bans and asset freezes, which target current and former Venezuelan officials over human rights abuses during anti-government protests that took place in the country in February-May................

  51. Russia's Defence Ministry on Sunday denied Swedish claims that for the second time this year a Russian military aircraft had nearly collided with a passenger jet over Sweden, insisting that the two planes were never less than 70 kilometres apart....

    Scandinavian Airlines, which was operating the commercial flight, also said the incident had been blown out of proportion and that no danger had been posed to Friday's flight from Copenhagen to Poznan, Poland.

    Swedish military officials raised the alarm on Saturday by announcing that the Russian intelligence plane, which had turned off its transponders to avoid commercial radar, had come dangerously close to colliding with the passenger jet.

    "This is serious. This is inappropriate. This is outright dangerous when you turn off the transponder," Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said on Swedish radio...Read more:

  52. Turkish police raid media linked to Erdogan critic ...

    Police conducted raids in a dozen Turkish cities Sunday, detaining at least 24 people – including journalists, TV producers and police – close to a movement led by a moderate Islamic cleric who is a strong critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    It was the latest crackdown on cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, which the government has accused of orchestrating an alleged plot to try to bring it down. The government says the group’s followers were behind corruption allegations that last year that forced four Cabinet ministers to resign.

    Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania in the United States, denies the accusations................

    1. Erdoğan lässt 25 Regierungskritiker verhaften...

      Die türkische Polizei hat unabhängige Journalisten und andere missliebige Personen verhaftet. Präsident Erdoğan drohte zuvor, "die Handlanger böser Mächte" zu verfolgen.

      Die türkische Polizei ist gegen Anhänger des islamischen Predigers Fethullah Gülen vorgegangen. Laut der Nachrichtenagentur Anadolu gab es in 13 türkischen Städten insgesamt mindestens 25 Festnahmen. Polizisten durchsuchten die Redaktion der Zeitung Zaman in Istanbul und nahmen den Chefredakteur Ekrem Dumanli fest. Auch mehrere Mitarbeiter eines Gülen nahestehenden Fernsehsenders wurden festgenommen.

      Der türkische Präsident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hatte am Freitag angekündigt, er werde Gülens Anhänger "bis in ihre Schlupfwinkel verfolgen". Es handle sich nicht allein um ein soziales Netzwerk, sondern um "Handlanger böser Mächte im In- und Ausland". Den festgenommenen Personen wird unter anderem die Bildung einer Vereinigung vorgeworfen, die die Macht im Staate an sich reißen wolle...................

    2. Turkey’s journalists association, union condemn police operation on media...

      The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) and the Turkey Journalists’ Labor Union (TGS) have released a joint statement to condemn the Dec. 14 police operation against the Zaman and Samanyolu media outlets, saying freedom of press and opinion are being “punished” in Turkey.

      “Almost 200 journalists were previously held in prison on charges of being a member of a terror organization, violating their right to a fair trial. Journalists are now being detained once again. These developments mean that freedom of the press and opinion are punished in Turkey, which takes its place in the class of countries where the press is not free,” the statement read.

      TGC and TGS called on all journalists to “stand in solidarity” until the country reaches a level of press freedom compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights and developed democracies....................

  53. Le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu a rejeté catégoriquement dimanche l'idée d'un retrait de Cisjordanie et de Jérusalem-est d'ici deux ans, à la veille d'une rencontre à Rome avec le secrétaire d'Etat américain John Kerry...

    "Nous sommes confrontés à la possibilité d'une attaque diplomatique, autrement dit d'une tentative de nous imposer par des décisions de l'ONU un retrait aux lignes (frontières) de 1967 dans un délai de deux ans", a affirmé Benjamin Netanyahu en conseil des ministres, selon un communiqué de ses services.

    Un tel retour "amènerait les islamistes extrémistes dans les banlieues de Tel Aviv et au coeur de Jérusalem", a prévenu le Premier ministre. "Nous le permettrons pas. Nous le rejetterons fermement et de façon responsable"..................

  54. Poroshenko orders law enforcers to work on heat, electricity supplies to people in Donbass...

    Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko ordered heads of law enforcement authorities to work on supplies of heat and electricity to the people living in Donbass, the presidential press service reported on Sunday.

    “We should be sure people have opportunities to survive under the complicated conditions,” he told at meeting with heads of law enforcement authorities.

    The president also touched upon humanitarian assistance to people living in Donbass, supplies of food products and medicines to Ukrainian citizens who are in the territories controlled by Kiev.

    “They have the right and opportunity to rely on state support,” Ukraine’s president said.

    In compliance with the presidential order of November 15, Ukraine’s government stopped at certain territories in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions work of state companies and organisations. The country’s National Bank was ordered to undertake measures to stop serving bank accounts’ operations.....

  55. Dayton agreement 'guilty for dysfunctional Bosnia'...

    The Dayton Peace Agreement, or DPA, is to blame for the dysfunctional political organization of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian intellectuals said on Monday.

    They made their comments at the session of Association of Independent Intellectuals held in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on Monday, marking the 19th anniversary of the agreement.

    The DPA is "guilty" for the dysfunctional state in place today, said Mirko Pejanovic, a prominent professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo.

    Pejanovic underlined that the ethnic criteria used for the territorial division of the country is still the main guideline of those who make decisions about the country today.

    "Consequently, the agreement is guilty for the dysfunctional organization of the country," he concluded.....................

  56. CIA Secretly Used Szymany Airport in Poland for Torture ...

    The former managing director of Szymany Airport in Poland has revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency used the airstrip secretly for its torture program.

    Mariola Przewlocka told The Daily Mail on Sunday that the agency flew terror suspects into the airport and then to a “dark site” for brutal interrogation techniques.

    She said mysterious flights arrived with little notice and several cars with darkened windows took passengers from planes. Anonymous officials paid the landing fees.

    According to Przewlocka, airport employees were banned to approach the aircraft.

    She claimed that famous 9/11 prisoner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was also among those who landed in the airport................

  57. Several people have been taken hostage by at least one armed man at a Lindt cafe in Sydney, Australia....

    Hundreds of armed police have sealed off the normally busy Martin Place in the central business district.

    At least three people have been seen inside the cafe with their hands up against a window, and holding up a black flag with Arabic writing.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the incident as "deeply concerning". ...........

  58. UN Syria Envoy Struggles to Forge Aleppo Truce ...

    The United Nations' Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura is struggling to arrange a cease-fire between government and rebel forces fighting near the city of Aleppo.

    De Mistura says Aleppo's population is in desperate need of food and other humanitarian aid.

    He says if the city falls, it could create another 400,000 refugees.

    Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, is split between government troops and rebels who are fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

    The Assad military said Sunday it killed 21 rebel fighters near Handarat Hill, north of Aleppo, where government troops are trying to seize a rebel supply line.

    Official Syrian media report the military now controls the Mallah farms area near Handarat.

  59. The Embassy of Israel in Australia said it was following developments on the ground closely, as dozens were being held hostage in a Sydney cafe on Monday...

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent people held hostage in Sydney," a statement released by the embassy read.

    The statement also Israel and Australia stood "together" in the face of terror.

  60. French police dismantle network sending jihadist fighters to Syria ...

    French police launched raids across the country early on Dec. 15, dismantling a network sending jihadist fighters to Syria, a police source told AFP.

    Elite and anti-terror police units descended on around a dozen targets, mostly in the southern region of Toulouse, but also around Paris and in the northern region of Normandy, the source said on condition of anonymity.

    It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested...........

  61. The Palestinians are to present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council Wednesday that would set a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation, an official said...

    "The Palestinian leadership took a decision to go to the Security Council next Wednesday to vote on their project to end the occupation," senior Palestine Liberation Organisation member Wassel Abu Yussef told AFP Sunday after a meeting in Ramallah................

    1. Netanyahu snubs Palestinian U.N. ultimatum ...

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday rejected any Palestinian attempt to set an ultimatum through a U.N. Security Council resolution for Israel to end its occupation.

      "We will not accept attempts to dictate to us unilateral moves on a limited timetable," he said in a statement before heading for Rome to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

      "In the reality in which Islamic terrorism is reaching out to all corners of the globe, we will rebuff any attempt that would put this terrorism inside our home.

      "We will stand firm in the face of any diktat.".............

  62. Four armed men have entered an apartment in the western Belgian city of Ghent. Police have blocked off a wide perimeter around the area....

    Police said on Monday that it was still unclear what the men’s intentions were and whether they had taken any hostages.

    At first sight, it did not appear to be an act of terror, said federal police spokeswoman Annemie Serlippens. “There appears to be nothing political. And it does not seem to be going that way.”

    By mid-morning a big police operation had been set up in the neighbourhood to keep bystanders away from the scene.

    More details soon …

    1. Belgian police surrounded an apartment in the city of Ghent on Monday (Dec 15) after four armed men were believed to have taken a hostage, but there were no immediate indications of terrorism, prosecutors said...

      Special armed police set up a wide perimeter around the building after the siege started several hours ago in a working-class area of the northwestern, Flemish-speaking city.

      "There is no indication that this is linked to terrorism, the Islamic State or what is happening at the moment in Sydney," the prosecutor told AFP. The Belgian siege happened at the same time as a lone gunman kept terrified staff and customers captive in a cafe in Australia's largest city, brandishing an Islamic flag...................

  63. About 300 Chinese people are fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Monday, a rare tally that is likely to fuel worry in China that militants pose a threat to security...

    China has expressed concern about the rise of Islamic State in the Middle East, nervous about the effect it could have on its Xinjiang region. But it has also shown no sign of wanting to join US efforts to use military force against the group.

    Chinese members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) are traveling to Syria via Turkey to join the Islamic State, also known as IS, the Global Times, a tabloid run by China's ruling Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily, said....................

  64. Ukraine: l'Onu accuse les forces ukrainiennes et prorusses de "torture"...

    L'Onu a accusé lundi aussi bien les forces ukrainiennes que les rebelles prorusses de se livrer à des actes de "torture" contre les civils dans l'est de l'Ukraine, en proie à un conflit meurtrier depuis huit mois.

    Dans un nouveau rapport sur les droits de l'Homme publié lundi, l'Onu déplore également une nette détérioration des conditions de 5,2 millions d'habitants se trouvant dans la zone du conflit, en plein hiver, et qui vivent dans des maisons sans eau ni chauffage, les combats ayant endommagé les installations.

    "La situation devient extrêmement compliquée pour la population surtout pour les personnes âgées, les enfants et ceux qui sont pris en charge par les institutions publiques dont beaucoup sont à la limite de la survie", selon le rapport.

    En novembre le gouvernement ukrainien a cessé de verser toute prestation sociale aux territoires sous contrôle rebelle..............

  65. Iraqi Army Starts Extensive Campaign against ISIL in Salahuddine Province ...

    The Iraqi army, backed by the popular committees, started an extensive campaign against ISIL terrorist group in the county of Balad in Salahuddine province, according to Iraqi media reports.

    After liberating al-Moatasem district and expelling ISIL militants from its territories, the Iraqi army secured completely the area of Samara, according to the same reports..................

  66. German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Bulgaria on Monday in its bid to seek new talks with Russia about the South Stream gas pipeline after Moscow shelved the project this month in favour of an alternative link via Turkey...

    The EU, at odds with Moscow over the Ukraine crisis and keen to reduce its energy reliance on Russia, had raised objections to the $40 billion South Stream pipeline, which was to run under the Black Sea and enter the EU via Bulgaria.

    Critics of the plan said they believed it breached EU law, but some EU member states saw the pipeline, which would bypass Ukraine, as the best way to secure their own gas supplies and economic interests and still hope it can be revived.

    "We need to examine all legal questions surrounding the South Stream project and then use these to move discussions forward with Russia," Merkel said after talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov in Berlin.....................

  67. Jordan said Monday it had no immediate plans to push for a vote on a UN Security Council resolution to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories despite Palestinian statements that the move was imminent...

    Jordan's UN Ambassador said she was awaiting the outcome of meetings that US Secretary of State John Kerry is having with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European governments on the next step at the United Nations.

    Jordan, which represents the Arab League at the council, had circulated the Palestinian text setting a deadline of November 2016 for a full Israeli withdrawal.................

  68. White House has not yet decided on Russia sanctions bill ...

    (Reuters) - The Obama administration has not yet made a decision on whether the president will sign a bill authorizing new sanctions against Russia over its activities in Ukraine, a senior administration official said on Monday.

    "We are looking at the bill now," the official said in an email. The official, who declined to be identified, said the administration "remains deeply concerned about the aggressive actions of Russia in Ukraine."

    But the administration also feels it is important that any sanctions regime maintains a united front with U.S. allies and minimizes the impact on U.S. business, international oil markets and the global economy, the official said.....................

  69. Russia Says It Wants East Ukraine to Stay With Kiev Under Reformed Constitution ...

    Moscow wants Ukraine to carry out a constitutional reform to allow more autonomy to Russian-speaking eastern regions that would then stay with Kiev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments published on Monday.

    In an interview with the Interfax news agency, Lavrov said Ukraine needed a constitutional reform "with the participation of all regions and all political powers" that would allow the two rebellious eastern regions to remain part of the country.

    Lavrov put the blame on Kiev for what he said was forcing the eastern regions out of Ukraine by refusing to give them more autonomy to seek ways out of the conflict that has killed more than 4,700 people since the violence started mid-April...................

  70. Peru May Seek Extradition of Greenpeace Activists After Nazca Message ...

    Peru said on Monday that it may seek the extradition of members of environmental group Greenpeace for causing "irreparable" damage to the Nazca Lines - giant designs mysteriously etched into the sand and preserved for more than 1,500 years.

    The activists left Peru after leaving behind a trail of footprints in a delicate stretch of desert near the iconic Nazca figure of a hummingbird, where they spelled "Time for change!

    The future is renewable" in large cloth letters, said Culture Minister Diana Alvarez-Calderon.

    The message, on a protected UNESCO world heritage site, aimed to pressure negotiators at a United Nations climate change summit in Lima that ended on Sunday..............

  71. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students...

    A provincial official said 126 people have been killed, with 122 injured.

    More than 100 of the dead are school children.

    Senior provincial minister Inayatullah Khan earlier said at least 104 bodies had been taken to two hospitals in Peshawar, the northwestern city where the attack took place.

    Reports from the scene described heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it.

    Police said they heard three explosions at the school.

    Military officials said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School.

    Four gunmen have been killed, the search for others is continuing..................

    1. "The operation is completed," said Bilal Ahmad Faizi, the head of the state-run rescue organization, speaking to reporters after leaving the school area...

      An intelligence official said nine militants had been killed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Earlier reports from the chaotic situation said that an estimated six to eight attackers had carried out the violence. It was not immediately clear if the militants were all killed by the soldiers or whether they blew themselves up.

      The horrific attack, carried out by a relatively small number of militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban, a Pakistani militant group trying to overthrow the government, also sent dozens of wounded flooding into local hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children.............Read more:

  72. Russia carried out snap military drills in Kaliningrad region ...

    President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills in Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region earlier this month, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The drills, which mobilized 9,000 soldiers and more than 55 naval ships, were carried out to test the military's combat readiness in Kaliningrad, an exclave that borders NATO members Lithuania and Poland.

    The drills were carried out between Dec. 5-10............................

  73. Israeli police arrested early on Wednesday 10 members of a far-right Jewish organization after an extensive undercover investigation into its operations, a police spokesperson said....

    Police spokesperson Luba Samri said in a statement that the detainees are members of Lehava, a Jewish anti-assimilation group. "They were detained for questioning on suspicion of incitement to carry out violent acts and terror for racial motivations," Samri said.

    Advocate Itamar Ben Gvir, a prominent far-right activist, said that one of those arrested was Lehava leader Bentzi Gopstein.

    The arrests come a day after three Lehava members were indicted in the Jerusalem District Court for setting fire to the Hebrew-Arab bilingual school in Jerusalem.................

  74. Iran said on Tuesday bilateral nuclear talks with the United states were proceeding in a good atmosphere despite lingering gaps over key issues such as Tehran's uranium enrichment capacity and how fast economic sanctions should be lifted...

    US and Iranian diplomats began a two-day meeting in Geneva on Monday to pave the way for resuming broader negotiations involving Iran and six world powers there on Wednesday....................

  75. Drop in oil prices big advantage for Turkey: minister...

    Declining oil prices will have significant positive effects on Turkey’s current account deficit and inflation next year, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Tuesday.

    Addressing a press conference at the “Exports Oriented Production Strategies” forum, Zeybekci said the positive effects of the steep decline in oil prices would be observed in the current account deficit figures, starting from December.

    The minister said Turkey had managed to reduce its current account deficit by 37 percent during the Jan.-Oct. period year-on-year without the support of drop in oil prices. He added that the new prices would help further reduce the deficit and curb inflation................

    1. Turkish Lira hits new record low on emerging market jitters ...

      The Turkish Lira hit a new record low on Dec. 16 as investors moved out of emerging markets amid the collapse of the Russian ruble and fretted over the impact of recent raids against Turkish media.

      The lira hit a record low of 2.41 lira to the dollar, worse than Dec. 15's record low of 2.39 lira to the dollar. It subsequently recovered a little to trade at 2.37 lira to the dollar.

      Against the euro, the currency hit a low of 3.03 lira to the euro, before recovering to 2.98 lira to the euro.

      The currency has now slumped beyond lows seen in late January when Turkey was on the verge of a full scale currency crisis, before the Central Bank intervened with an emergency interest rate hike...............

  76. Libya's rival parliament says open to U.N.-sponsored peace talks ...

    (Reuters) - Libya's rival parliament is open to U.N.-sponsored talks to end the country's conflict if the venue of the next round is changed and certain conditions are met, a parliamentary spokesman said on Tuesday.

    The U.N. had planned to hold a second round of talks this week with Libya's rival governments and parliaments, but no date or venue has been announced yet. On Monday, the world body said the dialogue had been complicated by new fighting of armed factions allied to both sides.

    The OPEC oil producer has had two governments and assemblies when a brigade called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August, setting up its own parliament and prime minister in a conflict Western powers fear will tear apart the desert nation......

  77. Norway FM: We can increase supply of gas ...

    Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende said his country will continue to be a reliable energy supplier, even increasing gas supply if necessary.

    " Norway is one of the leading energy suppliers in Europe and we will continue to be one in the area of natural gas. We can even step up supply if there is demand for that in the years to come," he said. "We will also then, in terms of commercial interest, improve the capacity when it comes to pipes," Brende said, speaking at a press conference with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday.

    Brende said that the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project opens up new opportunities for Turkey as "a main transition country," adding supplies of natural gas from the Caspian Sea, from Azerbaijan and perhaps, in the future, for Turkmenistan. The South Stream project was an EU plan to bring natural gas from Russia to Europe through Bulgaria. Russia has instead decided to build a gas pipeline to Turkey..................

  78. Ten Bosnian Serb wartime officials were arrested on Tuesday over the killing of close to 70 Muslim Bosniak civilians and persecution of many more, including women and children, early in the former Yugoslav republic's 1992-95 war....

    Two decades since the war, Bosnia is still hunting down those behind war crimes committed during a conflict that killed 100,000 people and displaced two million.

    Raiding premises in three towns in eastern Bosnia, police arrested 10 former senior military and police officers on accusations of crimes against humanity, the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) said in a statement.

    The men are suspected of planning, supervising and conducting the persecution of around 120 Bosniaks from a village near the eastern town of Zvornik on July 14, 1992, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

    After the victims were forced out of their homes, they were taken to different locations and detention sites where they were tortured and maltreated in various ways, the prosecution said.

    "On several occasions, the detained civilians were separated into groups and shot en masse. More than 67 civilians were killed," the statement said.

    Eastern Bosnia was a wartime stronghold of the Bosnian Serb army and ethnic Serb paramilitaries, fighting Bosniaks and Croats to carve out an exclusively Serb statelet.

    Earlier this month, 15 former Serb paramilitaries and soldiers were arrested in Serbia and Bosnia for the 1993 murder of 20 people, mainly Bosniaks.

  79. Obama to sign new Russia sanctions bill by end of week ...

    (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will sign legislation authorizing new sanctions on Russia over its activities in Ukraine and providing weapons to the Kiev government by the end of the week, the White House said on Tuesday.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House had continuing concerns about the legislation, because it "includes some sanctions language that does not reflect the consultations that are ongoing."

    "That said, because it does preserve the president's flexibility to carry out the strategy, he does intend to sign the bill," Earnest said at a daily news briefing.............

  80. The Russian government has worked out measures to stabilize the currency market, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Tuesday...

    "We think that the current exchange rate does not correspond to fundamental macroeconomic conditions...We have mapped out a set of measures, which should help stabilize the situation," Ulyukayev said after a government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on financial and economic situation.

    The situation is very complex but "we are neither the first nor the last one to pass through similar circumstances," Ulyukayev said, adding that "it is important to ensure the unity of actions taken by the Central Bank and the government."

    The Russian Central Bank would take measures aimed at increasing foreign currency liquidity supply on the domestic market in order to ensure "greater balance between demand and supply on the domestic foreign currency market", Ulyukayev said..................

  81. African leaders urge West to act on Libya...

    Regional leaders say West has obligation to help after toppling Muammar Gaddafi and leaving country to fend for itself.

    African leaders have urged the West to intervene in crisis-hit Libya and prevent instability from spreading across the Sahel and destabilising fragile regionial governments.

    Speaking at an African security summit in Senegal on Tuesday, leaders from Libya's neighbours called on NATO to help stem the flow of weapons to armed groups in the region.

    Fighting between forces loyal to Libya's Western recognised prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, and self-declared Islamist groups threatens nations including Chad, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso................

  82. Statement by the Spokesperson on the judgement of the General Court of the EU on Hamas ...

    "We respect the General Court of the European Union's judgement delivered today annulling measures against Hamas, namely the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation and the freezing of Hamas' funds.

    This legal ruling is clearly based on procedural grounds and it does not imply any assessment by the Court of the substantive reasons for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation. It is a legal ruling of a court, not a political decision taken by the EU governments. The EU continues to uphold the Quartet principles.

    The EU institutions are studying carefully the ruling and will decide on the options open to them. They will, in due course, take appropriate remedial action, including any eventual appeal to the ruling. In case of an appeal the restrictive measures remain in place."

    1. EU Court: Remove Hamas From Terror List ...

      A European court has ruled that the Palestinian militant group Hamas must be removed from a European Union list of designated terror groups.

      The General Court of the European Union said Wednesday that the EU improperly included Hamas on the basis of information it got from the media and the Internet.

      An EU measure in 2001 also added 12 other groups and 29 individuals to the list, but said they could only be designated terrorists based on "acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities."

      The ruling Wednesday is open for appeal...................

  83. Pakistan lifts death penalty moratorium after school attack ...

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday lifted the country's moratorium on the death penalty the day after Taliban gunmen attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 132 students and nine teachers.

    "It was decided that this moratorium should be lifted. The prime minister approved," a government spokesman told reporters.

    The assault on the army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan's history, has triggered widespread revulsion.

    Political and military leaders have vowed to wipe out the homegrown Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of ordinary Pakistanis in recent years..................

  84. Inquiry clears British soldiers of murder and torture of Iraqis ...

    (Reuters) - Allegations that British troops killed captured Iraqi prisoners and tortured or seriously abused others after a battle in 2004 were “baseless”, a long-running inquiry concluded on Wednesday.

    The Al-Sweady inquiry, which has lasted five years and has cost around 30 million pounds ($47 million), was charged with examining allegations made by Iraqis that British soldiers captured alive and then murdered up to 20 men during and after the battle in southern Iraq.

    Iraqi witnesses told the inquiry that British soldiers killed the men at the Abu Naji army camp in May 2004 and separately that they mistreated nine detainees, whereas the troops said the men died fighting on the battlefield and denied mistreatment.............

  85. U.S. slaps sanctions on Swiss, Dutch companies over Syria ...

    (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on Dutch and Swiss oil trading firms for their dealings with the Syrian government, which has been engaged in bloody civil war with opposition forces.

    The U.S. Treasury put Netherlands-based Staroil B.V. as well as two Swiss-based firms, Rixo International Trading Ltd and Bluemarine SA, on its list of sanctioned entities, which effectively cuts them off from the U.S. financial system.

    The Treasury also put sanctions on several officials from the firms, as well as on a company based in Syria and another from the United Arab Emirates.

  86. USA wollen Beziehungen zu Kuba normalisieren...

    Die USA wollen die Botschaft in Kuba wieder eröffnen. Seit 1961 gibt es keine diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen den beiden Ländern. Es soll weitere Änderungen geben.

    Die USA wollen das Verhältnis zu Kuba verbessern. Die US-Regierung beginne deshalb Verhandlungen mit dem Nachbarland über die volle Normalisierung der diplomatischen Beziehungen, heißt es aus Regierungskreisen. Es solle auch wieder eine Botschaft eröffnet werden. Zwischen den beiden Ländern gibt es seit dem Jahr 1961 keine diplomatischen Beziehungen. ................

  87. EU parliament backs compromise resolution on Palestinian state ...

    The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday supporting Palestinian statehood in principle, in a compromise motion that did not follow some European national legislatures in backing immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.

    Following a deal among the main parties, the motion carried by 498 votes to 88 stated: "(The European Parliament) supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced."

    Lawmakers on the left had originally wanted to urge the EU's 28 member states to recognize Palestine now without conditions...................

  88. Heute ist die erste Runde der griechischen Präsidentschaftswahl. Doch die Regierung braucht 45 Stimmen mehr, als sie Sitze im Parlament hat - eine extrem hohe Hürde...

    Bekommt ihr Kandidat in drei Wahlgängen nicht die notwendige Mehrheit, stehen automatisch Neuwahlen an. Die Opposition ist bereits in Lauerstellung.

    Viel Macht hat ein griechischer Staatspräsident nicht; er hat vor allem repräsentative Pflichten, ähnlich wie der Bundespräsident in Deutschland. Aber die griechische Verfassung schreibt ein verzwicktes Verfahren vor, um den Staatspräsidenten zu wählen, so dass die heute beginnende Präsidentenwahl in Griechenland eine Kettenreaktion auslösen kann – bis hin zum Sturz der jetzigen Regierung in Athen.
    Syriza-Chef rechnet mit Neuwahlen

    Genau darauf spekuliert Oppositionschef Alexis Tsipras von der griechischen Linkspartei Syriza. Er rechnet fest damit, dass die Präsidentenwahl im Parlament in allen drei Wahlgängen scheitert. Dann nämlich gibt es automatisch Neuwahlen. Den Tag des dritten Wahlgangs, den 29. Dezember, hat sich Alexis Tsipras dick im Kalender angestrichen: "Jetzt kennen wir endlich das entscheidende Datum: Der 29. Dezember wird der Tag sein, an dem die katastrophalen Taten dieser Sparpolitik-Koalition enden werden."................

  89. Zarif: Iran, Turkey Discussing New Ways to Find Common Solution to Syrian Crisis ...

    Tehran and Ankara share the view that peace should be established in Syria as soon as possible, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, adding that the two countries are conferring on new ways to find a common solution to the Syrian crisis, FNA reported.

    "Neither Iran, nor Turkey is interested to see the Syrian people be victimized by extremism, terrorism and violence and all of us are seeking establishment of peace in Syria as soon as possible so that the Syrian people can decide their future without any foreign interference," Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Tehran on Wednesday.

    "We think of peace and stability in Syria. Iran and Turkey might have different views in this regard, but both countries are cooperating to find a common solution to the Syrian problem," he added.

    Çavuşoğlu, for his part, confirmed Zarif's remarks, and said Iran and Turkey are the only two countries which are ready for mutual cooperation in all aspects of fight against terrorism and have a firm resolve to this end.

    "Of course, there are some differences in views, but they have not and will not have any (negative) impact on the two countries' relations," he added.............

  90. Palestinian U.N. draft calls for Israel occupation end by 2017 ...

    (Reuters) - Jordan formally submitted to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday a draft resolution calling for peace between Israel and the Palestinians within one year and an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017.

    The Palestinian-drafted resolution was formally submitted to the 15-member council, which means it could be put to a vote as soon as 24 hours later, but it does not guarantee it will happen. Some drafts formally submitted have never been voted.

    Diplomats say negotiations on the text could take days or weeks. Jordan's U.N. envoy Dina Kawar said she hoped the council could reach a unanimous decision on the resolution................

  91. EU court says British visa rule illegal ...

    The European Court of Justice has ruled that a British-Irish citizen should be allowed to bring his Colombian wife to the UK from their home in Spain without her having to apply for a travel visa.

    The move could potentially open the UK's borders to large numbers of non-European Union nationals.

    The EU's supreme court said the UK government can no longer require entry visas in advance for non-EU citizens who are family members of EU citizens and hold residence rights in other EU states..............

  92. Kuwait accepts Iraq Gulf war pay delay ...

    Kuwait said it accepted an Iraqi request related to reparations imposed by the U.N. Security Council over its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, state news agency KUNA said on Thursday, ahead of discussions in Geneva on the request.

    Asked about reports that Iraq had asked to defer payment of the last tranche of its reparations to Kuwait, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah was quoted as saying: "The brothers in Iraq have presented the request formally and unilaterally and Kuwait has accepted and responded to this request."..................

  93. European Parliament approves EU-Georgia association deal...

    The European Parliament gave its green light to the EU-Georgia Association Agreement on Thursday. The deal will establish deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia, including the progressive opening up of their respective markets.

    The deal is the third in a new series of association agreements that the European Parliament has been asked to ratify, after those with Ukraine and Moldova. It was approved by 490 votes to 76, with 57 abstentions.................

  94. The European Union banned investment in Crimea on Thursday, halting European help for Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration and outlawing European cruise ships from calling at Crimean ports...

    The new measures, which EU governments have signed off on and will take effect on Saturday, reinforce the EU's policy of not recognizing Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in March.

    EU leaders, who meet in Brussels later on Thursday, will pledge to keep up pressure on Russia over its role in Ukraine despite Russia's currency crisis and ailing economy, diplomats said.

    The EU is outlawing investment in Crimea, preventing Europeans and EU-based companies from buying real estate or companies in Crimea or financing Crimean companies, the bloc said in a statement................

    1. EU beschließt Sanktionen: Krim für Kreuzfahrten tabu ...

      Die EU hat weitere Sanktionen gegen die von Russland annektierte Krim verhängt. Unternehmen mit Sitz in EU-Ländern dürfen keine Immobilien oder Firmen mehr auf der Halbinsel kaufen. Zudem dürfen Kreuzfahrtschiffe nicht mehr in den Hafenstädten der Krim anlegen.

      Von Kai Küstner, NDR-Hörfunkstudio Brüssel

      Die EU-Diplomaten betonten, es handele sich nicht um eine Verschärfung der Sanktionen gegen Russland selbst. Die Maßnahmen richten sich gezielt gegen die annektierte Halbinsel Krim im Schwarzen Meer. Unter anderem wird es künftig europäischen Kreuzfahrtschiffen verboten sein, in Hafenstädten wie Sewastopol anzulegen. Darüber hinaus dürfen EU-Unternehmen kein Geld mehr mit Tourismus etwa an den Stränden der Halbinsel verdienen...............

  95. The United States government is deeply concerned about ethnic intolerance, according to a statement released on December 18 by the embassy in Sofia some days after nationalist leader Valeri Simeonov caused uproar by saying in Parliament that Roma people had become “brash, overconfident and ferocious great apes wanting the right to be paid without working”...

    Simeonov, co-leader of the Patriotic Front, told the National Assembly that Roma people “wanted sickness benefits without being ill, child care for children who play with the pigs in the streets and maternal benefits for women with the instincts of street bitches”.

    The statement via the US embassy made no direct reference to Simeonov, but said, “to hear public statements denigrating people on the basis of their race or ethnicity is shocking”...................

  96. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Thursday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to make a "radical change" in attitude to end the crisis sparked by Moscow's intervention in Ukraine...

    "The fact that Russia is in a difficult situation from a financial point of view is not good news, Mogherini told reporters, referring to the collapse of the Russian ruble, partly due to western sanctions.

    "It is not good news for Russian citizens, but also it is not good news for Ukraine, and also it is not good for Europe, or for the rest of the world," she said.

    But she added: "President Putin and the Russian leadership should reflect seriously about the need to introduce a radical change in attitude towards the rest of the world, and switch to a cooperative mode," she said.

    Mogherini, the former Italian foreign minister, added that the world had "never been as unstable and dangerous as it is now."

  97. The general in command of US forces involved in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria said on Thursday he thought it would take a minimum of three years to achieve a turning point against the group....

    Asked at a Pentagon briefing about progress on the ground, Army Lieutenant General James Terry said that the first US air strikes had taken place only four months ago and counseled patience, estimating it would "at least take a minimum of three years."

  98. Kurdish troops open key corridor to free Yazidis ...

    Iraqi Kurdish forces battling ISIS militants managed on Thursday to open up a key corridor so that thousands of people from the country's Yazidi minority who have been trapped on a mountain can flee, a senior Kurdish official said.

    The development was an incremental step in the battle to retake the town of Sinjar, at the foothills of the mountain by the same name, which fell to ISIS militants in early August.

    Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, the Kurdish peshmerga troops, launched the operation to retake Sinjar on Wednesday.

    Masrur Barzani, chancellor of Kurdistan Region Security Council, told the Associated Press that the Kurdish forces advanced in battle, establishing the passageway to the mountain on Thursday................

    1. Erfolg im Kampf gegen die Terrormiliz "Islamischer Staat" (IS)...

      Bei den Luftangriffen der US-geführten Allianz gegen die Dschihadistengruppe sind im Irak nach Pentagon-Angaben mehrere ranghohe Anführer getötet worden. Unter ihnen seien Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, der Stellvertreter von IS-Chef Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, und der mutmaßliche Militärchef der Miliz, Abd al-Basit.

      "Wir glauben, dass der Tod dieser Schlüsselanführer den IS im Kampf gegen die irakischen Sicherheitskräfte, Kurden und lokalen Milizen beeinträchtigt", sagte Pentagonsprecher John Kirby.

      Die kurdischen Peschmerga-Kämpfer hätten die IS-Versorgungslinien durchschnitten und 700 Quadratkilometer Land zurückerobert, sagte der Präsident des Sicherheitsrats der autonomen Kurdengebiete, Masrur Barsani. Die wochenlange Belagerung der Sindschar-Berge durch den IS sei beendet, die Dschihadisten seien in ihre Hochburgen in Mossul und Tall Afar geflüchtet.................

  99. Cubans Imagine New, More Prosperous Life Without an Old Foe ...

    HAVANA— From bus drivers to bartenders and ballet dancers, many Cubans are already imagining a more prosperous future after the United States said it will put an end to 50 years of conflict with the communist-run island.

    News of the historic shift echoed quickly through the Spanish colonial plazas of Old Havana, where strains of trova and son rose from outdoor cafes, Cuban music that is a siren song for foreign tourists.

    From the plaza outside Havana's 18th century cathedral, Daniel Guillen, 53, makes a living directing tourists to a nearby cafe, and he knows a flood of U.S. tourists would pump money into the area.................

  100. EU leaders ready long confrontation with Russia ...

    BRUSSELS - European Union leaders warned Moscow they were ready exercise their combined muscle over the long haul in a confrontation with an economically wounded Russia if President Vladimir Putin refused to pull back from Ukraine.

    "We must go beyond being reactive and defensive. As Europeans we must regain our self-confidence and realize our own strengths," said Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier who chaired a brief EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.................

  101. New US legislation authorising sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis could undermine relations between Moscow and Washington for a long time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Dec. 19.

    In a phone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov said that the new legislation "threatening new sanctions against Russia could undermine the possibility of normal cooperation between our countries for a long time," said a foreign ministry statement.

    President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a law giving him the authority to impose new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. He said he was not about to change the sanctions regime on Russia, which is experiencing a dire economic crisis, but that his administration would "continue to review and calibrate our sanctions to respond to Russia's actions."......................

  102. Germany arrests three Turks accused of spying, Turkey denies involvement ...

    German prosecutors said Dec. 18 that they had arrested three Turkish men accused of spying on compatriots in Germany for Turkish intelligence, but Ankara denied that the suspects were linked to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

    The federal prosecutor’s office said two of the suspects – identified in line with German privacy rules only as Muhammed Taha G. and Göksel G. – were arrested Dec. 17 at Frankfurt airport. The third, Ahmet Duran Y., was arrested at his home in western Germany.

    Muhammed Taha G. is accused of handling the other two as agents, and they collected information for him on Turks in Germany as well as their “organizational structures,” prosecutors said in a statement.

    They did not elaborate or say when the alleged spying took place, but said arrest warrants were issued on Nov. 11.

    The suspects were ordered to be remanded in custody pending a possible indictment..............

  103. Russia's Lavrov criticizes Ukraine statement on neutral status ...

    (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized on Friday a statement by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on ending Ukraine's neutral status as confrontational rhetoric favored by what Russia calls Kiev's 'party of war'.

    "The draft law to reject Ukraine's neutral status as well as the order from Petro Alexeyevich Poroshenko about the economic blockade of the southeast (Ukraine) is a tribute to the rhetoric that the party of war in Kiev thirsts after," Lavrov told a news conference.

    (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Writing by Thomas Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

  104. Up to 11 people are now reported to have died in a winter snow storm gripping much of Japan, as forecasters on Friday warned bad weather would continue....

    Northern and central parts of Japan have been lashed by strong winds that have dumped huge quantities of snow over the last few days, disrupting travel and cutting off isolated communities...............

  105. Gaza rocket lands in open area in southern Israel, no injuries ...

    Police confirmed that a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in open territory near the Eshkol Regional Council on Friday around noon.

    No injuries or damage were reported................

  106. Libya's two biggest oil ports were not damaged during clashes: workers...

    Libya's two biggest oil export ports, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, have not been damaged during recent clashes between forces allied to the country's competing governments, port engineers said on Friday.

    A force allied to a rival government in Tripoli launched an offensive last Saturday to seize both eastern ports held by army forces loyal to the recognized government also based in the east. The state oil firm has shut down both terminals.

    "The port facilities were not damaged," port engineers told a Reuters reporter visiting both terminals. Commanders of a force loyal to the recognized government said both terminals were under their control. REUTERS

  107. One man died and two women were wounded in an ammunition plant explosion on Friday near Bulgarian town of Maglizh, some 260 km east of country's capital Sofia...

    The statement was made by the regional governor George Ranov.

    The two women with minor burns were taken into hospital with no danger for their lives, officials said.

    In October, 15 people died in an ammunition plant explosion near the Bulgarian village of Gorni Lom.

  108. Turkey issues arrest warrant for Erdogan foe..

    Cleric Fethullah Gulen living in exile in US faces arrest for "leading terrorist organisation," says state media.

    An Istanbul court has issued an arrest warrant for a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States who has emerged as an arch foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media reported.

    Fethullah Gulen - who leads a broad-based Muslim group known as Hizmet (Service) and has lived in the United States since 1999 - is accused of "leading a terrorist organisation," according to state-run TRT television, which broadcast the report on Friday.

    The court also ordered the formal arrest of four people detained in recent raids on a newspaper and a television station affiliated with Gulen, the Associated Press news agency reported.....................

    1. Three Turks accused of spying on compatriots in Germany for the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had no links to either the spy agency or the Directorate of Overseas Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters Dec. 19.

      One of the accused Turks renounced his Turkish citizenship in 2015, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the Turkish Consulate in Germany was closely following the issue but that nothing had yet been clarified.

      The Turkish consulate in Karlsruhe contacted one of the arrested three Turkish men, while another refused to meet with the consul, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

      One of the arrested men carries Turkish passport, another dropped his Turkish citizenship in 2005, and the nationality of the third is not certain yet, according to the official.

      A lawyer has been assigned for the case, while a prosecutor will reveal the court file about the accusations and charges next week, according to the official..................

  109. University opens competition to mark ‘genocide committed by Armenians against Turks’...

    A university in Ankara has opened a controversial poster competition to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1915 incidents from an unexpected perspective - “to remember the genocide committed by Armenians against Turks.”

    The competition, titled “While Everybody was Fast Asleep: Armenian Atrocities from Anatolia to Caucasia,” will be hosted by the Fine Arts Faculty of Ankara’s Gazi University, and will be open to everybody, according to a statement from the organizers.....................

  110. Bulgaria will continue preparatory work on South Stream – PM ...

    Bulgaria will issue “all necessary permits” for the South Stream pipeline and will “continue preparatory work for the implementation of the project”, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said late on December 18 after the EU heads of government summit in Brussels.

    Borissov said that he presented Bulgaria’s position on the issue to his fellow EU leaders, using the opportunity to blame his predecessor, Plamen Oresharski, for the ongoing infringement proceedings opened by the European Commission on suspicions that Sofia breach EU rules on public procurement in awarding the construction contract for the land section of the pipeline.

    “As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a few days ago, Bulgaria has to carry out the preparatory work, especially in the offshore stretch, so that there are no grounds for the Russian side to claim that the project is being stopped because of Bulgaria,” Borissov said after the European Council meeting, as quoted in a cabinet statement....................

  111. China on Friday expressed resolute opposition after U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law legislation authorizing the sale of four Perry-class guided missile frigates to Taiwan...

    "This seriously violates the three China-U.S. joint communiques, particularly the U.S. commitments specified in the August 17 Communique," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a daily press briefing.

    "It brutally interferes with China's internal affairs, sabotages China's sovereignty and security interests, and runs counter to the trend of peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait," Qin said.

    Qin said the Taiwan issue concerns China's core interests and has always been the most important and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations.

    China's firm opposition to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan is resolute, clear and consistent, he said.................

  112. Una scossa di magnitudo 4.1 è stata registrata alle ore 11.36 nell'area del Chianti-fiorentino. L'epicentro è stato registrato ad una profondità di 7,1 chilometri...

    Un'altra scossa, di magnitudo 3.8, è stata registrata sulle colline del Chianti alle 10:39. Le scosse, avvertita con chiarezza anche in tutta la città di Firenze, hanno fatto scattare il piano di evacuazione delle scuole. Anche numerosi uffici sono stati evacuati. La gente è scesa nelle strade.

    Diverse persone nel capoluogo toscano hanno lasciato gli edifici per scendere in strada. Tante le telefonate ai vigili del fuoco, ma per ora non si registrano danni a cose o persone.

    Anche i presenti al palazzo di giustizia di Firenze, nella zona nord della città, sono stati invitati ad uscire, così come all'ufficio delle entrate che si trova invece più vicino al centro. A Firenze sono state evacuate alcune importanti scuole, come i licei Rodolico e Galileo. Evacuazione delle scuole in via precauzionale deciso dal sindaco anche nella vicina Fiesole. A Prato, invece, l'abbandono di alcuni istituti scolastici è stato spontaneo................

  113. Le vol MH370 abattu par les Américains par peur d’une attaque kamikaze ?...

    Neuf mois après la disparition mystérieuse du Boeing 777 de Malaysia Airlines, le romancier Marc Dugain a publié dans "Paris Match" une enquête démontrant que les autorités concernées en savent plus qu’elles ne veulent bien le dire.

    L’enquête a tous les ingrédients de ces récits d’espionnage qui passionnent les foules. Dans un article de six pages paru dans l’hebdomadaire "Paris Match" daté du 18 décembre, l’écrivain français à succès Marc Dugain revient sur le mystère entourant le Boeing 777 du vol MH370 de Malaysia Airlines, disparu le 8 mars 2014.

    Selon l’auteur, un faisceau d’éléments laisserait indiquer que l’appareil, qui transportait 239 passagers, se serait écrasé non loin de Diego Garcia, une île britannique de l’océan Indien abritant un centre de renseignement "sophistiqué" de l’armée américaine. Une thèse que les États-Unis ont toujours rejetée...............

  114. President Barack Obama has vowed a US response after North Korea's alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures....

    The US leader also said the studio "made a mistake" in refusing to release a controversial satire depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    On Friday US authorities linked North Korea to the hack, which saw sensitive studio information publicly released.

    Sony withdrew the film The Interview following continued threats.

    "We will respond," Mr Obama told reporters on Friday, declining to offer specifics. "We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose."

    He added: "We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States."...............

    1. President Barack Obama on Friday said the United States will respond to the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures now that US authorities have linked the strike to the North Korean government...

      "They caused a lot of damage. And we will respond," Obama told reporters in an end-of-the-year news conference.

  115. Комментарий официального представителя МИД России А.К.Лукашевича в связи с подписанием Президентом США антироссийского закона «О поддержке свободы Украины»...

    Глубоко разочарованы тем, что Президент США подписал состряпанный американским Конгрессом на скорую руку закон «О поддержке свободы Украины» - откровенно антироссийский по своему характеру.

    Ничего общего с задачей «поддержки свободы» на Украине или где бы то ни было еще этот текст не имеет. Он носит неприемлемый и вызывающий характер, отражает стремление влиятельных кругов США законодательно и надолго закрепить линию на слом отношений с Россией.

    Мы многократно заявляли и подтверждаем вновь, что попытки экстерриториального применения американского законодательства для нас юридически ничтожны. Они идут вразрез с общепризнанными нормами международного права. Политически же принятое в Вашингтоне решение подводит под российско-американские отношения мощную мину, способную подорвать перспективу нормального взаимодействия по многим направлениям, в т.ч. в вопросах, в решении которых заинтересованы сами США.

    Избавляться от этого «наследия» предстоит, видимо, долго. Вина за последствия целиком и полностью ложится на американскую сторону. Враждебные действия со стороны Вашингтона без реакции мы не оставляем. Решения по возможным ответным мерам будем принимать в зависимости от того, как в США на практике распорядятся новым законом.

    Российская сторона готова к диалогу и сотрудничеству, но только на принципах равноправия, реального учета наших интересов. Попытки оказать на нас давление в любом случае обречены на провал.

  116. Israeli air planes struck targets in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses and the army said early Saturday, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit the Jewish state.

    A spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry said there were no casualties in the attack, the first air strike by Israel on the Palestinian enclave since the summer truce that ended the deadly 50-day war between the sides.

    The Israeli army confirmed the strike, which it said “targeted a Hamas terror infrastructure site”...

    Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said in a statement that the “Hamas terrorist organisation is responsible and accountable for today’s attack against Israel.”

    On Friday, a rocket fired from Gaza hit an open field in southern Israel, Israeli police said, causing no casualties or damage................

  117. Ex-US-Botschafter: Kiews „Träumerei“ von Super-Armee ist gefährlich ...

    Nach der Ankündigung Kiews, eine der stärksten Armeen Europas aufbauen zu wollen, warnt der ehemalige US-Diplomat Thomas Pickering vor schweren Folgen.

    „Das ist eine Träumerei, die zu einem Krieg und noch schlimmeren Folgen führen wird“, sagte Pickering, der von 1993 bis 1996 US-Botschafter in Russland und danach Unterstaatssekretär im US-Außenamt war, einem Gespräch mit Sputnik. „Eine gerechte Vereinbarung bei den Gesprächen in Minsk wäre die beste Lösung für die beiden Seiten.“...............

  118. Pentagon authorizes 1,300 troops for training mission in Iraq ...

    The United States will send up to 1,300 more troops to Iraq beginning in late January, the Pentagon said Friday.

    The deployment is in addition to 1,500 troops that President Barack Obama authorized in November, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said at a news briefing.

    "Their mission will be to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces," Kirby said.

    About 1,000 soldiers will be from a combat team based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Kirby described them as troops with counterintelligence, logistics and communication skills. (DPA) ...................

  119. The Islamic State is turning Christian churches in Iraq and Syria into dungeons and torture chambers after stripping them of priceless artifacts to sell on the black market, according to reports....

    Ancient relics and even entire murals are being torn from the houses of worship and smuggled out through the same routes previously established for moving oil and weapons in and out of the so-called caliphate, a vast region the jihadist army has claimed as sovereign under Sharia law.

    "ISIS has a stated goal to wipe out Christianity,” Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice and the author of "Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can't Ignore," told

    “This why they are crucifying Christians -- including children -- destroying churches and selling artifacts. The fact is, this group will stop at nothing to raise funds for its terrorist mission.”....................

  120. Ukraine: chaque jour de guerre coûte 6,3 M USD (Porochenko) ...

    Chaque jour d'hostilités dans le Donbass coûte à l'économie ukrainienne 100 millions de hryvnias, soit près de 6,3 millions de dollars, a annoncé samedi le président ukrainien Piotr Porochenko.

    "L'opération dans l'est du pays coûte aux contribuables et à l'Etat ukrainien 100 millions de hryvnias par jour", a déclaré M. Porochenko lors d'une réunion du Conseil de sécurité nationale et de défense (SNBO).

    "Cette guerre ravage notre économie", a conclu le président.


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