Friday, May 1, 2015

Mayisin son Durum News (May 2015 -B)

A French navy ship sent to boost EU migrant patrols in the Mediterranean rescued 217 people Saturday off the coast of Libya, officials said.

The migrants – all men – had been on board three boats, the authorities said, adding that two suspected people smugglers were also caught and will be handed over to Italian police...............
French patrol ship rescues 217 migrants off Libyan coast


  1. Boston Marathon bomber given death sentence...

    A US jury has sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for helping carry out the 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded 264 others at the world-renowned race, taking 15 hours to reach a decision.

    The federal jury chose death by lethal injection for Tsarnaev, 21, over its only other option: life in prison without possibility of release.

    The same panel last month found the ethnic Chechen guilty of placing a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on 15 April 2013, as well as fatally shooting a policeman. The bombing was one of the highest-profile attacks on US soil since 9/11 attacks in

  2. Kerry discusses shelter for Rohingya with Thai minister...

    The United States said on Friday it had urged Thailand to consider sheltering stateless Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and are adrift in boats in the Indian Ocean, and urged countries in the region not to send the migrants back to sea....REUTERS

  3. China, India sign 24 deals after Li-Modi meeting ...

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met expectations on Friday.

    "We just had in-depth talks and touched a wide range of topics, which we both expect to yield common ground and results. It is fair to say that we met expectations," Li said after the talks with Modi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

    Modi said he was honored that Chinese President Xi Jinping gave him a warm welcome in Xi'an, capital city of Shaanxi Province and Xi's hometown, on Thursday afternoon.

    This is the first time Xi has welcomed a foreign leader to his hometown.

    "President Xi's welcome also touched the hearts of 1.25 billion Indian people," Modi said....

  4. Griechenland droht Staatspleite ....Athen bettelt Botschaften und Konsulate um Geld an...

    Es ist eine beispiellose Aktion: Auf der Suche nach neuen Geldreserven hat Griechenlands Regierung Botschaften und Konsulate aufgefordert, nicht verwendete Gelder nach Athen zu schicken.

    Trotz akuter Finanznöte Griechenlands hat der Staat den beschäftigten im Öffentlichen Dienst pünktlich die Gehälter überwiesen. Die jeweils Mitte des Monats fälligen Gelder seien ausbezahlt worden, teilte das Finanzministerium mit. Es seien rund 500 Millionen Euro, sagte ein Insider im

  5. Obama seeks to reassure Gulf allies, sees no early end to Syria war...

    U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that Washington would help Gulf allies face conventional military aggression but also get them to work more in their own defence against any unconventional menace, such as destabilising Iranian actions in the region.

    Speaking to Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television following a rare summit with Gulf Arab leaders he described as "very frank and honest", the U.S. leader reiterated his reluctance to take unilateral American action overseas.

    Obama said Syria's civil war would "probably not" end before he left office, describing the situation as heartbreaking but adding that Washington could never on its own have brought that conflict to an end.

    Many states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are critical of what they see as Obama's hesitant approach to the war in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is backed by their regional rival Iran........Reuters

  6. Egypt's Morsi sentenced to death...

    An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted president Mohammed Morsi to death over a mass prison break in 2011.

    The former leader has already been sentenced to 20 years in jail for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters during his time in power.

    The country's religious authorities will now have to give their opinion before the sentence can be carried out.

    Morsi was deposed by the military in July 2013 following mass street protests against his rule.

    Since then, the authorities have banned his Muslim Brotherhood movement and arrested thousands of his supporters....BBC

  7. L'ex-président islamiste égyptien Mohamed Morsi, destitué par l'armée en 2013, a été condamné à mort en première instance samedi pour des évasions de prison et des violences durant la révolte populaire de 2011...

    Une centaine d'autres hommes et une femme, dont des dirigeants éminents de sa confrérie des Frères musulmans, ont également écopé de la peine capitale qui doit, pour tous les accusés, recueillir l'avis, non contraignant, du mufti d'Egypte avant d'être confirmée ou infirmée le 2 juin. M. Morsi, premier président jamais élu démocratiquement en Egypte, peut faire appel. Il avait déjà été condamné à 20 ans de prison il y a trois semaines dans un premier procès pour des violences contre des manifestants durant sa courte mandature d'un an. Le tribunal qui le jugeait au Caire devait prononcer les verdicts dans deux procès: le premier concernant M. Morsi et 128 co-accusés, dont des membres des Frères musulmans, du Hamas palestinien et du Hezbollah libanais, pour des évasions massives de prison suivies de violences pendant la révolte populaire de 2011 ayant chassé le président Hosni Moubarak du pouvoir; le second pour espionnage, de 2005 à 2013, notamment au profit du Hamas, du Hezbollah et de l'Iran. Dans ce second procès, M. Morsi, qui comparaissait souriant dans une cage insonorisée, a échappé à la peine capitale, dont ont écopé 16 accusés. (Belga)

  8. US plays down IS militants' gains in Iraq ...

    Despite major new setbacks in Iraq, the US military command leading the fight against Islamic State militants insisted Friday that its strategy is working and that the militants' takeover of a key oil refinery and a government compound are fleeting gains feeding an IS propaganda machine.

    "We believe across Iraq and Syria that Daesh is losing and remains on the defensive," said Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the international campaign fighting IS. "Daesh" is the Arabic acronym for the militant group that swept into Iraq from Syria last June and swiftly took control of much of Iraq's north and west.

    Even as Weidley spoke to reporters by phone from his headquarters in Kuwait, IS militants were defying his description of them as a force on defense. Iraqi officials said IS fighters had captured the main government compound in Ramadi, the capital of battle-scarred Anbar province. Other officials said they had gained substantial control over the Beiji oil refinery, a strategically important prize in the battle for Iraq's future and a potential source of millions of dollars in income for the militants.

    The battle to push IS out of Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which some had hoped would begin this spring, now seems a more distant goal.........

  9. Beijing rebukes US over South China Sea islands row...

    Beijing is the heavily indebted US government's biggest foreign creditor, figures from Washington showed Friday, reclaiming top spot from Japan with more than $1.26 trillion in Treasury bonds.

    Kerry was due to meet senior political and military leaders later.

    Beijing bases its territorial claims in the South China Sea on a segmented line dating back to Chinese maps of the 1940s.

    Pentagon officials last week revealed that it is building artificial islands on top of South China Sea coral reefs at an unprecedented pace, in a land reclamation effort dubbed a "great wall of sand" by one American commander.

    The rapid construction comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total created in the last five months alone, and includes a runway said to be 3,100 metres (10,200 feet) long.

    US officials increasingly believe Washington needs to send a clear signal about China's activities around the Spratly Islands and other disputed territories, while avoiding triggering a crisis........AFP.........

  10. Pope calls Abbas 'angel of peace' during visit...

    Pope Francis has praised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an "angel of peace" during a meeting at the Vatican.

    Francis made the compliment Saturday during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace. He presented Abbas with a medallion and explained that it represented the angel of peace "destroying the bad spirit of war."

    Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since "you are an angel of peace."

    Abbas is in town for the canonization Sunday of two new saints from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. It also comes days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the "state of Palestine," making explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.

    Abbas, for his part, offered Francis relics of the two new saints.

  11. US forces kill senior Islamic State leader in Syria...

    US special forces have killed a senior group leader from the so-called Islamic State group and captured his wife in eastern Syria, the Pentagon said.

    The militant was identified as Abu Sayyaf, who helped direct the group's oil, gas and financial operations.

    He was killed when he engaged US forces, the statement said.

    The raid was carried out at the direction of President Barack Obama.

    The President's spokeswoman on national security matters, Bernadette Meehan said in a statement: "Last night, at the president's direction, US personnel based out of Iraq conducted an operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria to capture an ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm Sayyaf."

    "During the course of the operation, Abu Sayyaf was killed when he engaged US forces."..........

  12. Ukraine: le président promulgue des lois controversées sur la désoviétisation...

    Le président ukrainien Petro Porochenko a promulgué vendredi des lois interdisant toute propagande communiste et glorifiant les combattants nationalistes ayant provoqué la colère de la Russie. Des statues de Lénine seront démontées et des localités rebaptisé

  13. Migrants in 'maritime ping-pong' as Asian nations turn them back...

    A boat crammed with migrants was towed out to sea by the Thai navy and then held up by Malaysian vessels on Saturday, the latest round of "maritime ping-pong" by Asian states determined not to let asylum seekers come ashore.

    The United Nations has called on countries around the Andaman Sea not to push back the thousands of desperate Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar now stranded in rickety boats, and to rescue them instead.

    "We're not seeing any such moves from any governments in the region even though we're calling on the international community to take action because people are dying," said Jeffrey Savage, who works with the UNHCR refugee agency in Indonesia, where some 1,400 migrants have landed over the past week.

    Nearly 800 came ashore near Langsa in Indonesia's Aceh province on Friday, many with stories of a grueling voyage that included push-backs from the Malaysian and Indonesian coasts............REUTERS

  14. Turkish military jets shot down a Syrian aircraft after it violated Turkey's airspace on Saturday, media reported...

    It was not immediately clear what kind of aircraft was shot down. Turkey's NTV news channel said it came down in Syrian territory.

    A Turkish military official confirmed that two F-16 fighters flying out of the Incirlik base in southern Turkey had opened fire, but was unable to give any details about the target.....MME.INT

  15. Türkische Kampfflugzeuge haben im Grenzgebiet zu Syrien ein Flugzeug aus dem Nachbarland abgeschossen...

    Die Maschine habe zuvor zweimal den türkischen Luftraum verletzt, berichteten türkische Medien am Samstag unter Berufung auf Angaben des türkischen Militärs weiter. Zwei türkische F-16-Jets seien aufgestiegen und hätten Raketen abgefeuert. Es sei zu sehen gewesen, dass die syrische Maschine getroffen wurde und über syrischem Gebiet abstü

  16. Syrian state media denied the reports, saying what had been shot down was a small, remotely controlled surveillance drone.

    Eyewitnesses in Turkey's Hatay province, which borders Syria, reported seeing an aircraft fired upon by jets and break apart in the

  17. A Ukrainian soldier was killed and three were wounded in fighting between government forces and separatists in eastern Ukraine, the armed forces said Saturday....

    On a visit to Kiev, US diplomat Victoria Nuland urged the sides to respect the terms of a February ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk.

    "It's now important that all sides walk the walk, not just talk the talk,"said Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

    Military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a press briefing: "The situation in the anti-terrorist operation zone remains tense. The armed rebels regularly breach the ceasefire."

    He also charged that separatist "bandits" were building up "military equipment, ammunition and manpower along the frontline" while "the Ukrainian soldiers are strengthening their line of defence."

    Pro-Russian separatists have in turn reported violations of the ceasefire by Ukrainian forces.........AFP..........

  18. France calls for fairer asylum seeker distribution within EU...

    The European Union needs a system of border controls and a way for asylum seekers to be more fairly distributed among EU member states, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Saturday.

    Nearly 1,000 people, many migrating from Africa via Italy, were intercepted in southern France near the Italian border in the past three days, officials said at the weekend.

    In response, border police forces and controls on highways, trains and buses and various check points have been beefed up, Valls said as he visited Menton, a Riviera town only a few kilometres from the Italian border.

    “We need to create a European system of border controls,” Valls said, adding that France was making concrete proposals to Brussels on the matter.

    “Asylum seekers need to be distributed among EU states more fairly,” he said, calling for a renewed crackdown on criminal networks profiting from the refugees’ travels.

    Valls said France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom had accepted 75 percent of asylum seekers in Europe and that France “had already done a lot,” having welcomed already 5,000 from Syria and 4,500 from Iraq since

  19. FYROM protests: Anti-Gruevski rally in Skopje...

    Tens of thousands of protesters in the FYROM capital Skopje are demanding the resignation of long-serving Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

    The rally follows the release by the opposition of covert recordings which appear to show ministers plotting vote-rigging and the cover-up of a murder.

    Mr Gruevski denies the allegations.

    Adding to the political instability, last weekend eight police officers and 14 ethnic Albanian fighters were killed in clashes in the city of Kumanovo.....BBC

  20. Egypt restricts women travelling to Turkey...

    Egypt has imposed restrictions on female citizens travelling to Turkey, police said on Sunday, months after introducing similar measures for men to stop them joining the Islamic State jihadist group.

    Women aged 18 to 40 are now required to obtain security clearance before going to Turkey, a senior police officer told AFP, without specifying why.

    "A security clearance can be acquired within 72 hours, and it is now mandatory for women travelling to this country (Turkey)," the officer said.

    The restriction took effect on Thursday, a Cairo airport official said. In March Egypt's state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, warned women against marrying IS fighters over the Internet who woo them to travel to jihadist-controlled

  21. Turkey wants EU sanctions on Egypt after Morsi verdict...

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the international community and the European Union to impose sanctions on Egypt after the death penalty given to former President Mohamed Morsi, blasting them for remaining silent toward Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

    “Hey, Europe! Hey, West! Wasn’t the death penalty prohibited there? So why are you silent? Why do you side with Sisi? I call on the entire world, international institutions: Why don’t you impose sanctions?” Erdoğan said on May 17 during a public rally in the Central Anatolian town of Kayseri.

    “You were attacking us during the Gezi protests with all your media, because the real issue was something different: To weaken Turkey. But they failed. They thought we would collapse economically. But they were defeated,” he added.

    “What has been done against Morsi and his friends is not acceptable. The world is in self-denial by keeping silent. If you say ‘democracy, election,’ you should see that this verdict is a sentence given to elections, to democracy, and to the national will,” Erdoğan

  22. UN Yemen Envoy Calls for Extending Truce 5 Days...

    The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, called on a Saudi-led military coalition and the country's warring parties to extend by five more days a ceasefire set to expire on Sunday evening.

    The Mauritanian diplomat was speaking at a conference of Yemeni parties in the Saudi capital Riyadh aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen.

    For his part, Yemen's Vice President Khaled Bahah said on Sunday his administration favored an extension of a five-day ceasefire expiring in the evening but this would depend on the situation on the ground.

    "We need the ceasefire to continue for long, not just for a few days, but it depends on the operation on the ground," Bahah told Reuters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

    "There is an effort for an extension, but it depends on how it is on the ground. But it's our wish from the government side that we need to extend it," he added.

    Yemen has been since March 26 under brutal aggression by Saudi-US

  23. Two Russian servicemen arrested in east Ukraine: Ukrainian military...

    Ukrainian troops have arrested two Russian servicemen in the country's separatist eastern territories, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on Sunday, reporting further casualties in rebel attacks despite a three-month-old ceasefire deal.

    Ukraine and NATO accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russian separatists with troops and military supplies, a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

    "Two Russian servicemen are under arrest - our investigators are working with them," spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a briefing, without giving further details.

    Three Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 17 wounded in the past 24 hours, he said. Two of the deaths were a result of a mortar attack near the town of Svitlodarsk, northeast of separatist-controlled Donetsk.

    While violence has lessened significantly since the ceasefire came into force in February, both sides accuse the other of violations and casualties are reported almost

  24. Saudi-led alliance resumes air strikes on Yemen...

    Saudi Arabian-led coalition resumed air strikes against Yemen's Houthi militia in Aden overnight, hours after the expiry of a truce meant to facilitate badly needed humanitarian aid, a Reuters eyewitness said.

    The witness said explosions could be heard near the southern city's airport and the districts of Khor Maksar and Crater shortly the five-day ceasefire expired on Sunday at 4 pm EDT. No further details were immediately available.

    Late on Sunday a spokesman for the army, much of which is allied to the Houthis, welcomed a request by the U.N. envoy to Yemen to extend the truce to allow more aid to be delivered to the war-damaged Arabian Peninsula country.

    "We welcome the call by the UN envoy to Yemen ... regarding the extension of the truce and the need to deliver humanitarian aid to citizens," Yemen's Houthi-controlled state news agency SABA quoted Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman as saying.....REUTERS

  25. Yemen's army welcomed a request by the country's United Nations envoy to extend a humanitarian truce to allow more aid to be delivered to the country, an army spokesman said in a statement reported by the country's state news agency...

    Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made his appeal at the opening of a conference of Yemeni parties that convened in the Saudi capital Riyadh to discuss ways of ending political turmoil in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

    Since Tuesday Saudi-led forces and Yemen's Houthi militias have largely observed a ceasefire meant to allow delivery of food, fuel and medical supplies to millions of Yemenis caught in the conflict since the alliance began air strikes on March 26. The truce ended on Sunday at 8:00 PM GMT.

    "We welcome the call by the UN envoy to Yemen ... regarding the extension of the truce and the need to deliver humanitarian aid to citizens," SABA quoted Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman as saying.......

  26. Russia reiterates no troops in east Ukraine after Kiev says captured two...

    The Kremlin reiterated on Monday that there were no regular Russian troops fighting in east Ukraine, a day after Kiev said it had captured two Russian servicemen there.

    Ukraine and NATO accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russian separatists with troops and military supplies, a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

    Asked to comment on the detention of the two Russian servicemen, reported by Ukraine's military on Sunday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "I cannot confirm that. We (the presidential administration) are not the right place to address such questions."

    "Both we and the defence ministry have said multiple times that there are no Russian servicemen in Donbass," he told reporters, referring to a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian

    1. Captured Russian Soldier 'Admits' on Video to Spying in Eastern Ukraine ...

      One of two Russian servicemen Ukraine says it captured while fighting with separatists in eastern Ukraine admitted on a video circulating on Monday that he had been part of a Russian special forces spying mission.

      Moscow, which has acknowledged in the past that Russian national "volunteers" might be fighting for the separatists, repeated its denial that any regular Russian troops were involved in the campaign which has cost over 6,100 lives.

      The wounded soldier, who identified himself as a sergeant in the "spetsnaz" from the central Russian city of Togliatti, said he was part of a 14-member group operating near the big border town of Luhansk.

      The video could not be independently verified but if the soldier, who spoke from a hospital bed, did turn out to be a serving Russian officer it would support Kiev's accusations of direct Russian military involvement in the separatist conflict.

      The Ukrainian military said on Sunday that the two Russian soldiers had been captured during a battle with rebels at Shchastya, near Luhansk, in which a Ukrainian soldier was

  27. Iranian warships begin escorting Yemen-bound cargo vessel: media reports...

    Two Iranian warships have begun escorting the Yemen-bound Iran Shahed cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, the vessel's captain said in remarks published by Iran's Tasnim news agency Monday.

    "The 34th fleet has made contact with us and told us that they will keep an active presence alongside the aid ship," Massoud Ghazi Mirsaid was quoted as saying by Tasnim, referring to a destroyer and a support vessel in the Gulf of Aden.

    The warships will escort the cargo ship all the way to the port of Hodaida in western Yemen, which it is expected to reach on May 21, Mirsaid added.

  28. Warnung der Bundesbank: „Die Lage in Griechenland ist besorgniserregend“...

    Seit Monaten verhandeln Griechenland und seine Geldgeber über Reformen und neue Hilfen. Bisher ergebnislos. Damit steigt die Gefahr, dass Athen in die Pleite rutscht. Die Bundesbank schlägt Alarm.

    Griechenland ist aus Sicht der Deutschen Bundesbank massiv von einer Staatspleite bedroht. „Die Lage in Griechenland ist weiter besorgniserregend“, betonte die Notenbank in ihrem am Montag in Frankfurt veröffentlichten Monatsbericht. Aktuell seien Athen und griechische Banken nur deshalb zahlungsfähig, weil die Banken mit ELA-Notkrediten („Emergency Liquidity Assistance“) der griechischen Zentralbank versorgt werden. Griechenland müsse deshalb rasch durch wirtschafts- und finanzpolitische Reformen die Basis für tragfähige Staatsfinanzen schaffen und brauche zumindest vorübergehend weitere Hilfszahlungen, warnt die

  29. EU-Turkey Association Council....

    The EU-Turkey Association Council held its 53rd meeting on Monday, 18 May 2015, in Brussels.

    The meeting was chaired by Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey. He was accompanied by Mr. Volkan Bozkir, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator. Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs , Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, led the EU delegation (on behalf of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini). Mr Johannes Hahn, Commissioner responsible for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, represented the European Commission.

    The meeting provided a timely opportunity to review EU-Turkey relations and exchange views on a range of issues. It reaffirmed the significance the EU attaches to its relations with Turkey, as a candidate country and a key partner for the EU.

    The EU commended the considerable efforts made by Turkey in hosting around 2 million refugees fleeing the violence in Syria and Iraq. In this context, the EU underlined that the very serious developments in the region, in particular in Syria and Iraq, render it crucial that dialogue and cooperation on foreign policy issues is increased.

    The EU proposed to develop closer cooperation against ISIL/Da'esh and its funding networks and to stem the flow of foreign fighters.

    The active counter-terrorism dialogue between the EU and Turkey was welcomed along with the exchange of best practice on the prevention of radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism. The EU also confirmed its intention to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation and underlined the importance of developing police and judicial cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

    Referring to the key issue of illegal migration, the EU reiterated its commitment to step up cooperation with Turkey on preventing illegal migration flows, as also expressed by the European Council on 23 April 2015. The EU also expressed concern about the significant increase in irregular crossings at the sea borders with neighbouring EU Member States. The EU recognised that border cooperation across the land border with Greece and Bulgaria had improved and expressed appreciation of the dialogue developed between the Turkish authorities and the authorities of Greece and Italy in addressing irregular migration across the sea.......

  30. Greek debt deal within next week, says Varoufakis...

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said he expects an agreement with the country's international creditors within the next week.

    Greece is fast-approaching bankruptcy and is due to make a payment of €1.5bn (£1.09bn) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 5 June.

    Mr Varoufakis told Star TV a deal with creditors was "very close" and denied the country might leave the eurozone.

    "Another currency is not on our radar," he added.....BBC

  31. EU approves naval mission to tackle people smugglers in Mediterranean...

    The European Union agreed a naval mission on Monday to target gangs smuggling migrants from Libya, but parts of a broader plan to deal with the influx began to unravel in a row over national quotas for the housing of asylum seekers.

    Many hundreds of deaths at sea, including the drowning of up to 900 on a single vessel in the Mediterranean last month, have jolted European governments into a more robust response, but beyond greater funding for rescue operations, the EU is divided on how to act as anti-immigrant parties gain support at home.

    “This is just the beginning. Now the planning starts,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said of the naval mission, adding that the operation could start next month.

    Details remain unclear as member states consider their options.

    “There is a clear sense of urgency,” Mogherini said of the migrants, most of whom make for her native Italy. “As summer comes, more people are travelling.”

  32. Australian PM closes doors to citizens who joined foreign militant groups ...

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday ruled out an amnesty for Australian citizens seeking to quit foreign militant groups and return home in the wake of media reports that his government was negotiating with potential defectors.

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Australian authorities in the Middle East were negotiating with three Australian fighters with the Islamic State radical group who wanted to leave but feared imprisonment at home.

    Abbott seemed to confirm their fears on Tuesday, taking a hard line that includes prison time for those who have ignored Australian laws expressly barring them from participating in the conflicts in Syria and

  33. Iraqi troops repel ISIS attack on Anbar town...

    A tribal leader says government forces and allied Sunni tribesmen have repelled an attack by ISIS militants on a town between two militant-held cities in the western Anbar province.

    Sheikh Rafie al-Fahdawi said Tuesday the offensive started shortly before midnight to capture the town of Khaldiya, which is between Fallujah and Ramadi, Anbar’s provincial capital, which the IS group seized over the weekend.

    Al-Fahdawi says the militants captured a small village outside Khaldiya. He says no troops or tribal fighters were killed in the clashes.

    On Sunday, ISIS militants captured Ramadi in their most significant advance since a U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the extremists last summer.....

  34. The leaders of the eurozone’s two largest countries have both called for the negotiations between Greece and her creditors to speed up...

    Speaking at a press conference in Berlin today, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande both warned that there is no time to waste.

    Chancellor Merkel told reporters:

    “I’d say the talks need to speed up, rather than that they are going too fast, and we hope the relevant forum - the Brussels Group - can make clear progress because the agreement in February was that a programme should be set up by the end of May.”

    Officials from Greece and her lenders have been talking in Brussels for some weeks, and are still divided over pensions, labour market reforms and the minimum wage.

    Hollande insisted that European leaders does not want to lose Greece:

    “We all have the same stance which is that Greece must stay in the eurozone.”

    (quotes via Reuters)

    These comments come hours after Greek labour minister warned the country must have a deal by 5 June (see here), before facing further repayments to the

  35. Russia may ease food import ban for three EU states: Interfax...

    Russia may exempt around 20 firms in Hungary, Greece and Cyprus from its embargo on food imports from the European Union, Interfax news agency quoted a senior official as saying on Tuesday.

    Russia introduced the ban on food imports from the 28-nation EU last year in response to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its role in the Ukraine crisis, denying many food producers access to the large Russian

  36. Syria and Iran sign economic agreements - Syrian state TV ...

    Syria and Iran have signed several agreements in the oil, electricity and industrial sectors and regarding investments, Syrian state television said on Tuesday.

    It gave no further information in the news flash which came after a top aide to Iran's leader met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

  37. Syria's President Bashar Assad Tuesday praised Iran's support as a "key pillar" in his fight against rebels, as a third Iranian official visited Damascus in less than a week...

    The visits come after several military losses for the Syrian government and as Tehran negotiates a key nuclear deal with the United States, which backs the rebels fighting Assad.

    "The support given by Iran to the Syrian people constitutes a key pillar in the battle against terrorism," official news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying during a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign affairs adviser to Iran's supreme leader.

    Syria's government refers to all those seeking to oust Assad as "terrorists."

    Velayati meanwhile praised the "strategic relations" between Damascus and Tehran, saying they "constitute one of the essential pillars in confronting Western projects... and the illusions... of certain regional countries."

    He said Iran would "continue to support Syria by all means," adding "a small world war is being waged against Syria," SANA

  38. Kiev, Moscow spat over 2 Russians detained in E. Ukraine...

    KIEV, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it has sent a note of protest to Moscow over the alleged involvement of Russian soldiers in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    "Today we have sent an official note of protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry in connection with the detention of two soldiers," Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's special envoy, told a media briefing.

    On Saturday, Ukrainian security officers seized two Russian citizens near the town of Schastie in Lugansk region who claimed to be Russian soldiers, Kuleba said, calling the incident "evidence" of the presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said that the two men captured by the Ukrainian forces had previously served in the Russian army, but are no longer active servicemen.....

  39. La ségrégation s'aggrave en Israël: les Palestiniens ne pourront plus prendre les mêmes bus que les Israéliens...

    Dans le cadre d'un projet pilote prévu pour durer trois mois, "les Palestiniens qui travaillent en Israël devront à partir de mercredi revenir chez eux par le même point de passage sans prendre les autobus utilisés par les résidents de Judée-Samarie", la Cisjordanie occupée, a indiqué à l'AFP cette responsable, qui a requis l'anonymat. Les milliers de Palestiniens employés en Israël doivent désormais passer par quatre postes de contrôle pour se rendre sur leur lieu de travail et revenir chez eux par ces mêmes points de passage. A leur retour en Cisjordanie, les Palestiniens doivent prendre des autobus palestiniens et non plus israéliens pour les ramener chez eux, a-t-on ajouté de même source. Selon la radio publique, le ministre de la Défense Moshé Yaalon à l'origine de cette décision "tirera les leçons de cette expérience à l'issue de la période d'essais de trois mois". La radio a précisé que le ministre estime que ces dispositions vont permettre de "mieux contrôler les Palestiniens et qui sortent d'Israël et de réduire les dangers de sécurité".

    1. Israeli government suspends Palestinian bus 'segregation' trial...

      Israel has suspended new rules that would have had the effect of separating Palestinian and Jewish passengers on buses travelling to the West Bank.

      The defence ministry launched a three-month trial on Wednesday morning, but within hours Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "unacceptable".

      Groups representing Jewish settlers have been campaigning for segregated travel on security grounds.

      But human rights groups described the measures as shameful and racist.

      About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this....BBC

  40. Nordkorea: Kim kann Raketen mit kleinen Atombomben bestücken...

    Der Korea-Konflikt verschärft sich: Nordkorea ist nach eigenen Angaben in der Lage, Raketen mit eigens entwickelten Mini-Atomsprengköpfen zu bestücken. Diese sollen der nuklearen Verteidigung

    1. DPRK is capable of miniaturizing nuclear weapons ...

      The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has entered the phase of miniaturization and diversification of nuclear weapons for quite some time, according to a statement released Wednesday by the country's Policy Department of the National Defense Commission.

  41. Lithuanian President: Modern Russia worse than under Stalin...

    The behavior of modern Russia is worse than under the regime of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said in an interview with Latvian TV on Tuesday, according to Baltic news portal

    "In fact, Russia is worse than in the days of Stalin, and is waging the first non-convention war using cyber-attacks, as well as information and propaganda attacks," Grybauskaitė said.

    According to Grybauskaitė, a Russian-language channel of counter-propaganda is unlikely to be able to withstand such attacks.

    Moreover, she said that the purpose of Russian President Vladimir Putin was to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, but he would not likely do more.

    "Europe is not such a weak point that he could put pressure on it," she said.

    At the same time, Grybauskaitė called for the extension of sanctions against Russia, as the Minsk agreements are not being implemented by Moscow.

  42. Germany to pay compensation to Soviet WW2 prisoners...

    The German government plans to pay a total of 10 million euros in compensation to an estimated 4,000 surviving World War Two Soviet prisoners for their suffering at the hands of Nazi Germany, coalition sources said on Wednesday.

    The German government plans to pay a total of 10 million euros in compensation to an estimated 4,000 surviving World War Two Soviet prisoners for their suffering at the hands of Nazi Germany, coalition sources said on Wednesday.

    Europe marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the war earlier this month, and the event threw a spotlight on some of the more rarely discussed aspects of the conflict, such as the fate of many millions of prisoners of war.

    The sources told Reuters that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have agreed with their Social Democrat (SPD) partners to set aside the sum in a supplementary budget, with each survivor due to receive 2,500 euros (US$2,780).

    The suffering of the 5.3 million Soviet prisoners of war, who were held by German forces between 1941 and 1945, was extreme and more than half died. Held in inhumane conditions, many were executed. Others starved or died of disease.

    In a speech commemorating the end of the war in early May, German President Joachim Gauck emphasized the responsibility Germany bears for these deaths, and said the cruel fate of the Soviet prisoners had not been fully recognized in Germany....REUTERS

  43. Griechenland-Krise: Varoufakis wirft Schäuble Denkfehler vor...

    Der Ton zwischen Griechenland und seinen Geldgebern bleibt scharf. Finanzminister Varoufakis beklagt, dass sein deutscher Amtskollege Schäuble sachliche Argumente durch politische Macht

  44. Islamic State storms ancient Syrian city of Palmyra...

    Islamic State militants took control of areas of the historic Syrian city of Palmyra from government forces in fierce fighting on Wednesday, and the Syrian antiquities chief called on the world to save its ancient heritage from the jihadists.

    The central city, known as Tadmur in Arabic, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and is also a strategic military location in central Syria linked by highways to the cities of Homs and Damascus, some 240 km (150 miles) to the

  45. Saudi-led strikes targeted Houthi depots in several places across Yemen early Wednesday...

    The coalition strikes hit ammunition warehouses and Houthi militiamen in the cities of Sanaa and Amran, and targeted Saada airport. There has been no word on casualties yet.

    The coalition also carried out four raids on militia locations in the port and coastal town of Zinjibar in the Abyan governorate, including a battalion under the control of the insurgents.

    Clashes erupted between Popular Resistance forces – fighting against Houthis militias – and Houthi-allied Republican Guard forces in the city of Lawdar, after the latter had tried to withdraw from its locations across the city following the airstrikes.

    On Tuesday, Saudi-led airstrikes hit the Sanaa, targeting arms depots belonging to Houthis and militias allied to deposed President Ali Abdullah

  46. EU-Osteuropagipfel: Ukraine fordert Beitrittsperspektive von EU...

    Der ukrainische Außenminister Klimkin hat eine Anerkennung als europäischer Staat beansprucht. Sein russischer Kollege beharrt derweil auf die Interessen seines Landes.

    Kurz vor dem EU-Osteuropagipfel hat der ukrainische Außenminister Pawlo Klimkin für sein Land eine klare EU-Beitrittsperspektive gefordert. "Wir möchten jetzt in Riga die konkrete Zusicherung erhalten, dass die Ukraine für eine künftige Mitgliedschaft in der Europäischen Union geeignet ist und die Chance hat, in Zukunft Beitrittskandidat zu werden", sagte der Politiker der Welt. Sein Land brauche dringend eine europäische Perspektive. "Das würde der Stimmung und dem Reformprozess in der Ukraine einen unglaublichen Schub verleihen."

    Zugleich verlangte Klimkin die Zusage, dass die Ukraine im kommenden Jahr Visafreiheit erhält und ukrainische Bürger damit problemlos in die EU einreisen können. Die dafür noch nötigen Reformen werde sein Land umsetzen, versprach der Minister. "Ich kann Ihnen versichern, dass die Visafreiheit nicht zu einer Migrationswelle in die Europäische Union führen wird."

  47. Sinai militants call for attacks on Egypt’s judges ...

    The leader of Sinai Province, a militant group in Egypt with links to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), called on followers to attack judges in an audio statement posted on a prominent jihadist website on Wednesday.

    The statement appeared days after six members of the group were executed for an attack on soldiers in Cairo last year, and follows a court’s decision on Saturday to seek the death penalty for ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.

    Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the recording.

    A spate of attacks on judges suggests they are the latest targets of an insurgency centered in North Sinai that has killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police in the past two years.

    "It is wrong for the tyrants to jail our brothers," cleric Abu Osama al-Masry said, referring to judges. "Poison their food... surveil them at home and in the street... destroy their homes with explosives if you can."

  48. EU-Finanzministertreffen in Riga: Varoufakis soll vertrauliche Gespräche mitgeschnitten haben...

    Der griechische Finanzminister Janis Varoufakis soll die vertraulichen Verhandlungen mit den EU-Finanzministern heimlich aufgenommen haben. Das sagte er zumindest gegenüber der "New York Times".

    Griechenlands Finanzminister Janis Varoufakis hat es nicht leicht: Seit dem Amtsantritt der linksgeführten Tsipras-Regierung und seiner Berufung zum Finanzminister wird das schleppende Vorankommen bei den Verhandlungen mit den Geldgebern immer wieder an seiner Person festgemacht. Als "Amateur", "Spieler" und "Zeitverschwender" soll er beim Finanzministertreffen in Riga im April beschimpft worden sein. Zwar sei es ziemlich handfest zur Sache gegangen, aber eine Bestätigung für diese Worte gab es aus Kreisen der Eurogruppe

  49. Bildt: Putin mustn’t be allowed to redraw borders...

    EU leaders must fulfill their promises and support Kyiv on the way to Europe, thus showing that they will not allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to redraw European borders, former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in an interview with Ukrainian news magazine Novoe Vremya published on Thursday.

    In connection with the opening of the Eastern Partnership summit, the diplomat described why this program was launched in 2009 at the initiative of Poland and Sweden.

    "It was assumed that the Eastern Partnership woulf balance the ‘First of all –Russia’ approach, which at that time was being abused by the European Union," he said.

    "Enormous resources were poured into relations with Russia, while the common neighbors of Russia and the EU, including the most important of them – Ukraine, got nothing," Bildt said.

    "Ukraine was ruled horribly for decades, so it will have to go through radical reforms before it can benefit from the association and integration with the European Union," he said.

    "The meeting in Riga is unlikely to lead to new initiatives. But they are not needed. Just staying on the chosen course is a strong signal of success. And in the interests of long-term stability, even nationalist Putin's Russia should welcome this," Bildt added.

  50. British Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled plans to include a tough new immigration bill in his Queen’s Speech later this month, after government figures released Thursday showed net migration to the U.K. rose by 50 percent last year...

    Cameron said the new bill would make “Britain a less attractive place to come and work illegally.”

    The Office for National Statistics said 109,000 more people came to Britain last year compared with the previous year.

    “If you have uncontrolled immigration, you have uncontrolled pressure on public services,” Cameron said.

    The current law states that migrants who work illegally can be sentenced to a six months’ custodial sentence and/or an unlimited fine.

    “Uncontrolled immigration can damage our labour market and push down wages,” he said. “It means too many people entering the UK legally but staying illegally.”

    The new bill will allow the government to deport migrants first before they appeal the decision as well criminalizing working in the U.K. illegally, allowing police to seize migrants’

  51. Kiev prisoners 'admit to being in Russian army'...

    Two men captured by Ukrainian troops on Saturday have confessed to being members of the Russian armed forces, a report by European mediators says.

    The pair were interviewed at a military hospital in Kiev by members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

    "They were armed but had no orders to attack," the security body said.

    Russia has not responded to the latest claims, but has previously said the two men were no longer serving soldiers.

    The men had travelled to Ukraine on a "reconnaissance mission", according to the OSCE.

    "One of them said he had received orders from his military unit to go to Ukraine. He was to 'rotate' after three months. Both of them said they had been to Ukraine 'on missions' before," it added.

    "One of them stressed repeatedly that there were no Russian troops involved in fighting in Ukraine."

    The Ukrainian government, Western leaders and Nato say there is clear evidence that Russia is helping the rebels with heavy weapons and soldiers. Independent experts echo that accusation.......BBC

  52. Malaysia sends four ships to look for stranded migrants...

    Malaysia has sent four navy ships to look for stranded migrants at sea, while a Thai official has said Myanmar has agreed to attend an emergency conference on the crisis.

    The Malaysian and Indonesian navy chiefs have been discussing ways to coordinate search and rescue efforts.

    Earlier on Thursday, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak ordered the navy to take action to rescue the estimated thousands of migrants adrift on boats.

    Malaysia and Indonesia say they will temporarily house migrants who land on their shores.

    But Thailand, which is a major transit point for the migrants, says it will not shelter them.

    "There will definitely be no migrant shelters," Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told parliament in Bangkok on Wednesday, adding that existing detention centres would be used to hold those found to have entered Thailand illegally.....CHINANEWS

  53. Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels ...

    Colombia's army killed 18 members of the leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Thursday in a bombing raid, an army official said.

    The operation took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia, a FARC stronghold and a key drug trafficking area.

    The air strike is one of the deadliest between the guerrillas and the government since peace talks between the two sides started more than two years ago.

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos lifted an air strike suspension against the Marxist guerrillas last month after members of the rebel group became suspects in the killing of 10 soldiers.

    FARC has been fighting the Colombian government since the mid-1960s. The civil conflict has killed more than 200,000 people.

    1. Colombie : les Farc lèvent leur cessez-le-feu unilatéral après avoir subi un raid....

      (Belga) La rébellion colombienne des Farc a annoncé vendredi la suspension de la trêve unilatérale qu'elle observait depuis près de six mois au lendemain d'un raid aérien de l'armée qui a provoqué la mort d'au moins 26 guérilleros.

      "Les Farc suspendent leur cessez-le feu unilatéral" du fait de "l'incohérence" du gouvernement du président Juan Manuel Santos, a annoncé sur son portail internet la délégation de la rébellion qui participe aux pourparlers de paix menés depuis fin 2012 à Cuba. Les Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (Farc) ont toutefois réaffirmé leur détermination à poursuivre les discussions de paix de La Havane et à conclure une trêve bilatérale pour mettre fin à ce conflit de plus d'un demi-siècle. "La suspension du cessez-le feu unilatéral et indéfini n'était pas dans nos intentions (...), mais l'incohérence du gouvernement (du président) Santos l'a provoquée, après cinq mois d'offensives terrestres et aériennes", a dénoncé la guérilla. "Contre notre volonté, nous devons poursuivre le dialogue en marge de la

  54. US says air raid in Syria killed two children...

    US air strikes against Islamist extremists in Syria killed two children by mistake, officials said on Thursday, marking the first time the American military acknowledged inflicting civilian casualties in the war.

    "We regret the unintentional loss of lives," Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State group, said in a statement, citing the results of an investigation.

    The air strikes on November 5-6 last year were targeting members of the Khorasan group, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, in Harim City, according to the inquiry's conclusions.

    "The strikes were designed to destroy targets utilized by Khorasan group-affiliated extremists to meet and manufacture explosives," the report said.

    But the bombing killed two children -- including the daughter of a militant -- and caused "minor injuries" to two civilian workers who lived near the buildings that were targeted, it said.......AFP....

  55. Australia rejects criticism of refugee stance...

    Australia has rejected criticism of its response to thousands of migrants stranded at sea in Southeast Asia, saying it is generous towards refugees in the region.

    When asked whether Australia would offer to resettle the migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar's oppressed Rohingya minority, Prime Minister Tony Abbott replied, "nope, nope, nope".

    The reaction led an Indonesian official to suggest the country was shirking its responsibilities under the United Nations Refugee Convention.

    But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said Australia's hardline policy, which includes refusing to resettle asylum-seekers who arrive on boats and turning back vessels, had helped stop people risking their lives at sea.

    Australia was a significant donor to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Indonesia, he said.

    "The fact is we provide, by way of donor support, the largest amount of money to the IOM and to the UNHCR in Indonesia," Mr Dutton said.

    He added that the Australian government offers "significant support to the settlement of refugees in this country".

    Australia currently takes in about 13,750 refugees under its humanitarian programme each year........

  56. EU, Ukraine sign $2 billion loan deal at Eastern summit...

    RIGA, Latvia: The European Union and Ukraine have signed a 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) loan deal in an effort to help revive the cash-strapped country's economy.

    EU and Ukrainian officials signed the agreement Friday at a summit of leaders of EU nations and six post-Soviet countries.

    The deal requires Ukraine to adopt a series of reforms including anti-corruption measures to remedy structural problems in its economy.

    Ukraine's economy contracted by nearly 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from a year earlier as the country struggled with the impact of unrest in the industrial heartland of the east.

    At the Riga summit, the EU also promised grants of 200 million euros ($223 million) to support small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

  57. Insurgents including the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front seized a hospital from government forces on Friday which they had besieged since late April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported...

    The Nusra Front said government forces fled the hospital outside the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. "The Mujahideen (holy warriors) are pursuing them," it said in a Twitter feed.

    Syrian officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The Observatory said the insurgents were in complete control of the hospital. by Reuters

  58. Israel Silent While Hamas Digs More Tunnels...

    “Hamas has gone back to digging tunnels, and it is likely that at least one of them has even crossed the border,” Knesset member and member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Omer Bar-Lev said May 17. “If I were the defense minister, I would instruct the Israel Defense Forces to launch an operation tonight to destroy those rebuilt tunnels.”........

  59. The Gaza Strip has the world's highest unemployment and Palestinians, Israelis and donors must take action to avoid a "dangerous fiscal crisis," the World Bank said Friday...

    The report, prepared ahead of the bi-annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) which coordinates international donor support for the Palestinians, comes nearly a year after the Zionist 50-day war on Gaza, in which around 2,200 Palestinians were killed.

    According to the World Bank, the virtual disappearance of Gaza's exports can be explained by no other variable than "war and the blockade."

  60. La torture, une pratique courante en Ukraine, dénonce Amnesty...

    L'armée ukrainienne et les séparatistes prorusses se livrent régulièrement à des actes de torture et à d'autres abus à l'encontre des prisonniers mais aussi de civils, selon un rapport publié vendredi par l'ONG Amnesty

  61. Suicide bomber attacks Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia...

    A suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi'ite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia during Friday prayers, residents said, and up to 30 people were reported to have been killed or wounded.

    No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, the first to target Shi'ite Muslims in Saudi Arabia since November when gunmen killed at least eight people in an attack on a Shi'ite religious anniversary celebration, also in the east.

    The attack could further harm relations between Sunnis and Shi'ites in the Gulf region, where tensions have risen during weeks of military operations in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition against Shi'ite Houthi fighters seen as proxies of regional Shi'ite power

  62. FT: Greece won't get deal without IMF support...

    The Financial Times has the inside line on last night’s three-way meeting between the leaders of Germany, France and Greece.

    Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande told Alexis Tsipras that there’s no way that Greece will get any funds without the agreement of the International Monetary Fund.

    That is a blow to hopes of a swift deal, or a partial disbursement; Greece, for all its optimism, might not get any funds for some time.

    Here’s a flavour:

    The message, delivered by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to Alexis Tsipras, her Greek counterpart, at a private meeting in Riga, Latvia’s capital, as well as by lower-level European officials to their Greek interlocutors, comes as the IMF has been weighing whether to withhold its €3.6bn portion of the €7.2bn bailout tranche Athens needs to avoid default.

    Eurozone and Greek negotiators have been pushing to complete a deal by the end of the month to free up bailout funds before the first in a series of loan repayments owed the IMF totalling €1.5bn falls due June 5. But securing IMF approval for a bailout deal significantly complicates that

  63. Islamic State claims Yemen mosque attack: Islamic State Twitter statement...

    A bomb exploded at a Shi'ite Houthi mosque in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday, wounding 13 people, a security source said, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Twitter.

    The bombing came against a backdrop of civil war in the country. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have seized large swathes of territory, including Sanaa, prompting formation of a Saudi-backed Arab coalition that is using air power to try to halt their advances. Sunni Islamist militants have been seeking to extend their influence amid the

  64. The European Commission is set to propose next week that 40,000 asylum seekers who have arrived by boat in Italy and Greece should be relocated across the continent in response to what it considers an emergency situation in both countries...

    The proposal, revealed to Reuters by an EU source familiar with a draft, follows plans announced last week for the European Union to take in 20,000 asylum-seekers currently living outside the bloc.

    The Commission has also set a quota system, based on a country's size and economic health, for those resettled migrants as well as for those relocated within the EU.

    The EU measure is due to be finalized on Wednesday and would need majority support from EU nations expecting to take in some of the migrants....Reuters

  65. Baghdad halts Ramadi refugee flow after capture by ISIS...

    The authorities in Baghdad have closed a key bridge, stopping refugees fleeing the city of Ramadi from entering the Iraqi capital.

    More than 40,000 people have left Ramadi since its capture by Islamic State militants earlier this week.

    It is not clear why Bzebiz bridge was closed, though there have been concerns that militants could mingle with the displaced and infiltrate the capital.

    Bzebiz is seen as the one safe crossing to Baghdad from Anbar province.

    The United Nations World Food Program said it was send food aid into the province.

    About 25,000 received emergency assistance on Thursday and supplies for another 15,000 were on their way, the WFP said.

    IS are reported to be pressing eastwards from Ramadi down the Euphrates Valley towards Habbaniya where pro-government forces are massing for a proposed counter-attack on Ramadi.

    If they take Habbaniya, IS will be close to linking up directly with Falluja, a city close to Baghdad which has been held by the Sunni militant group for well over a year despite repeated attacks by government force.....BBC

  66. Mexique: au moins 39 morts dans des affrontements entre policiers et hommes armés...

    Au moins 37 hommes armés et deux policiers fédéraux ont été tués vendredi dans des affrontements dans l'ouest du Mexique, a annoncé à l'AFP un porte-parole du gouvernement fédé

  67. Ukraine Separatists: Car Bomb Kills Rebel Commander, 6 Others ...

    Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say a top rebel commander and at least six colleagues have been killed in a car bombing in a self-proclaimed rebel republic near the Russian border.

    A press service for the separatist Luhansk territory said Oleksiy Mozgovoy, the commander of a key rebel defense battalion and others died Saturday in the explosion near Alchevsk, about 120 kilometers northeast of Donetsk.

    The report said the bombed vehicle was then hit with machine-gun fire from unknown assailants. It then described the attackers as belonging to a sabotage and reconnaissance group. There was no immediate comment on the attack from the Ukrainian government.

    There have been several earlier attempts to assassinate Mozgovoy, the leader of the separatists' so-called ghost battalion. In August 2014, Mozgovoy said in an interview that the unit was comprised of 1,000 troops, and would soon include Bulgarian, Slovak and German fighters.............

  68. About 40 hooded anti-establishment protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at riot police in central Athens on Saturday, setting fire to a trolley bus...

    Police fired teargas to try and control the crowd outside Athens Polytechnic University, near the central Exarchia district, a Bohemian quarter popular with artists and left-wing intellectuals.

    Local media said the clash started when the crowd forced the bus to stop and told passengers to get off. Their reasons were not immediately clear..........REUTERS

  69. Palmyre : l’Etat islamique aurait tué 400 civils...

    La télévision syrienne dit s’appuyer sur des témoignages d’habitants de la ville. Les civils tués seraient des personnes soutenant le gouvernement syrien.

    Les djihadistes de l’Etat islamique a tué 400 civils à Palmyre, pour la plupart des femmes et des enfants, a annoncé dimanche la télévision syrienne.

    Elle a dit s’appuyer sur des témoignages d’habitants de la ville, appelée Tadmour en arabe et célèbre pour ses vestiges romains classés par l’Unesco au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité.

    Des Syriens militant dans l’opposition ont déclaré sur les réseaux sociaux que des centaines de corps gisaient dans les rues de la ville après sa prise par les fondamentalistes sunnites mercredi. Ces corps seraient ceux de personnes soutenant le gouvernement syrien, ont-ils précisé.
    Source Reuters

  70. Iran general: Army needs more funds to counter ISIS...

    A senior Iranian military official told parliament on Sunday the armed forces need a bigger budget to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group whose influence is growing in neighboring countries.

    “We have to face a new threat in the region. Terrorist groups are close to our borders,” General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan who commands Iran’s ground forces told parliament, media reported.

    “Today we see the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

    Iran’s army and its elite Revolutionary Guards must be strengthened to be able “to buy tanks, transport vehicles and to overhaul our helicopters,” he was quoted as saying.

    ISIS, which has seized chunks of Syria and Iraq to the west of Iran has also gained a foothold in its eastern neighbors Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The Iranian general, who warned that “the battle is on the ground,” did not say by how much the defense budget should be

  71. Shelling by Russian-backed separatists killed at least two people -- one civilian and one Ukrainian serviceman -- in Ukraine at the weekend and halted production at one of Europe's largest coke plants, the police and military said...

    Police said the civilian was killed and two women wounded when Avdiyivka, a government-held town near the frontline, came under intense shelling by separatists.

    A member of the National Guard was killed and two other guardsmen were wounded on Sunday at Shyrokyne, near the strategic port city of Mariupol, a military spokesman told 112 TV channel.

    The weekend attacks put fresh strain on a tenuous ceasefire which has been regularly violated since it was brokered by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France last February........REUTERS

  72. Warplanes from Libya's official government attacked a ship off the Libyan port of Sirte on Sunday, the air force commander said....

    "Our jets warned an unflagged ship off Sirte city, but it ignored the warning," Saqer al-Joroushi told. "We gave it a chance to evaluate the situation, then our fighting jets attacked the ship because it was unloading fighters and weapons," he added.

    An oil official said the ship was actually a tanker which had been carrying 25,000 tonnes of gasoil...........REUTERS

  73. Das große Griechenland-Rauschen...

    Schon wieder hauen die beiden Finanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble und Giannis Varoufakis öffentlich auf den Putz. Auch viele andere, etwa EU-Kommissionschef Jean-Claude Juncker, kommentieren ständig den Schuldenstreit. Entscheiden werden drei andere.

    Giannis Varoufakis ist 54 Jahre alt, twittert regelmäßig, betreibt sein eigenes Blog, gibt unzählige Interviews und Kommentare. Nicht nur in Griechenland, auch im Rest Europas und darüber hinaus weiß mittlerweile jeder, wer gerade Griechenlands Finanzminister ist. Varoufakis wirkt medial allgegenwärtig und seine Äußerungen haben es immer in sich. Vor Kurzem erst verkündete er mit deutlichen Worten: Wenn seinem Land das Geld ausgehe, dann sei die Reihenfolge klar - erst würden die eigenen Angestellten bezahlt, und wenn dann noch etwas übrig sei, bekomme der Internationale Währungsfonds seine Kredite pünktlich zurück. Wenn nicht, soll das heißen, dann nicht. Rums. Allerdings zeigte sich Varoufakis optimistisch, mit den Gläubigern sehr zeitnah eine Einigung zu

  74. Griechenland schafft Zahlung bis Juni nicht....„Das Geld ist nicht da“...

    Griechenland wird die IWF-Raten bis Juni nicht zurückzahlen können, sagt Innenminister Voutsis. Unterdessen bestätigt sein Kollege Varoufakis, beim Eurogruppen-Treffen in Riga Mitschnitte gemacht zu

  75. Thailand’s military has rejected the United States’ offer to help patrol Thai waters in search of migrant boats adrift in the Andaman Sea, local media reported Sunday...

    The U.S. forces had asked Thai military authorities several times to allow an American surveillance aircraft, recently used in a training exercise on Phuket island, to extend its stay. From there, it could assist in providing humanitarian aid to Bangladeshi and Muslim Rohingya migrants stranded in desperate conditions on boats.

    Thai armed forces, however, have rejected the request and asked all U.S. forces to leave with the aircraft by Friday, out of concern over U.S. interference or moves to the disadvantage of Thailand’s handling of the migrant issue, according to the Bangkok

  76. The leader of the militant Hezbollah group said Sunday that the region is facing "unprecedented danger" from extremist groups and vowed his fighters will expand their involvement in Syria's civil war in support of government forces...

    Sheik Hassan Nasrallah spoke during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, vowing to battle Sunni extremists groups such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. He said such factions are an "existential threat" to anyone who does not agree with their ideology.

    Hezbollah openly joined President Bashar Assad forces in the civil war in 2013 and its fighters have been taking part in a major battle in recent weeks against jihadis in the Qalamoun mountain region that borders

  77. Egypt to temporarily re-open Rafah border for entry into Gaza ...

    Egypt will partially open its border crossing with Gaza for two days after months of completely sealing it off.

    According to al-Arabiya news, the Rafah border crossing will be open for those from Egypt to enter Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, people in Gaza will not be allowed to enter Egypt. The reason for this is unclear.

    The decision came after "high-level correspondence" between Egypt and the palestinian embassy in the country.

    The border was completely closed off after two attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula killed 33 security personnel on October 24, 2014. It was considered some of the worst anti-state violence since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown last

  78. Tunisian soldier shot dead after killing comrades ...

    A Tunisian soldier opened fire on colleagues at a military base in the capital Tunis on Monday, killing an officer and two others and wounding 15 more before being shot dead himself, Tunisian authorities said.

    "The armed forces took control of the situation after firing on the soldier," ministry spokesman Belhassen Oueslati told Agence France-Presse.

    It wasn't immediately clear what motivated the soldier but authorities said the shooting "was not a terrorist attack." Meanwhile, a nearby school was evacuated.

    The shooting took place at the Bouchoucha barracks, near the National Bardo Museum where 22 people - mostly tourists - were killed in a terrorist attack on March 18.

    Since overthrowing its secular dictator in in 2011, Tunisia has been battling militant groups with links to ISIS and al-Qaeda, which have carried out attacks on security forces.
    (With AFP, AP and Reuters)

  79. Das Einreiseverbot Russlands für den CDU-Außenpolitiker Karl-Georg Wellmann hat zu Protesten Deutschlands geführt...

    Die Maßnahme sei "unverständlich und inakzeptabel", erklärte ein Sprecher des Auswärtigen Amts (AA). "Die Bundesregierung erwartet die Aufhebung der Einreiseverweigerung."

    Aus dem AA hieß es am Montag, der deutsche Botschafter Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch sei "in der Sache unverzüglich im russischen Außenministerium vorstellig geworden". Die Bundesregierung habe "in Moskau wie auch gegenüber der russischen Botschaft in Berlin gegen die Einreiseverweigerung protestiert".

    Auch Bundestagspräsident Norbert Lammert reagierte (CDU) nach Angaben seines Büros mit "Unverständnis und Enttäuschung" auf die Nachricht aus Moskau.

    Wellmann war auf dem internationalen Flughafen Moskau-Scheremetjewo die Einreise verweigert worden; er musste zurück nach Berlin fliegen. Ihm sei zudem mitgeteilt worden, dass er ein Einreiseverbot bis 2019 erhalte.

    Der CDU-Politiker ist Vorsitzender der Deutsch-Ukrainischen Parlamentariergruppe; im Mai 2014 war er für die Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa (OSZE) als Wahlbeobachter in der Ukraine.

  80. Iran : fin des négociations avec la Russie sur les S-300, un "succès"...

    Moscou et Téhéran ont achevé les négociations sur la livraison de missiles russes S-300 à l'Iran qui devrait intervenir "dans un délai assez bref", a annoncé le vice-ministre iranien Hossein Amir Abdollahian, en visite lundi à Moscou.

    "Les négociations sur ce sujet se sont achevées avec succès. J'estime que la livraison des S-300 aura lieu dans un délai assez bref", s'est félicité le vice-ministre iranien, cité par l'agence de presse russe RIA Novosti.

    "Ce sera fait à la première occasion possible", a-t-il ajouté, après avoir rencontré son homologue russe, Mikhaïl Bogdanov.

    Le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères n'a pas confirmé ces déclarations, se contentant de rappeler "l'importance de maintenir un dialogue russo-iranien régulier" dans un communiqué publié lundi.

    Jusqu'à présent, Téhéran évoquait l'horizon fin 2015 pour la réception des missiles russes S-300, dont la vente, interdite en 2010 par l'ancien président russe Dmitri Medvedev, a été à nouveau autorisée en avril par Vladimir

  81. Griechenland: ESM-Chef Regling warnt vor Staatspleite...

    Der Druck auf die griechische Regierung wächst. Regling mahnt eine verbindliche Reformliste an. Nur dann kann der Rettungsschirm neues Geld

  82. Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 (ACE 15), a large air force exercise arranged by Finland, Sweden and Norway, started on Monday in northern Finland, Finnish media reported...

    More than 100 jets from nine countries including the three Nordic nations as well as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States have participated in it. Except Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, all the other countries are NATO members.

    The planes involved ranged from fighter jets to jamming aircraft and aerial refueling tankers.

    The 12-day multi-national air force exercise will be held in northern Scandinavia until June 5.

    The aim of the exercise is to practice the abilities in planning and implementation of multinational air operations, as well as to develop international cooperation capacity, according to the Finnish Air Force.

    Finland sent 16 Hornet fighters to participate in the exercise. The Finnish Air Force said the exercise is one of its most important events of this year.

  83. Russia's military forces have begun a large exercise involving around 250 aircraft and 12,000 service personnel, according to its defence ministry...

    The ministry described the four-day drill as a "massive surprise inspection", to check combat readiness.

    The tests began on the same day as Nato and some of its partners started an Arctic training exercise.

    Russia's actions in Ukraine and incursions into Western airspace have led to rising tensions with the West.

    According to reports on the Russian agencies Interfax and Tass, the inspection of the aviation group and air defence forces in the central military district involves almost 700 weapons and pieces of military hardware.

    During the exercise, Russia's long-range aircraft are due to carry out cruise missile strikes on practice targets in the Komi republic....BBC

  84. Iraq launches operation to drive ISIS from Anbar...

    Iraq on Tuesday announced the launch of a military operation to drive ISIS out of the western Anbar province, where the extremists captured the provincial capital, Ramadi, earlier this month.

    Iraqi state TV declared the start of the operation, in which troops will be backed by Shiite and Sunni paramilitary forces, but did not provide further details.

    A spokesman for Iraq's Shiite militias said the operation will "not last for a long time" and that Iraqi forces have surrounded the provincial capital, Ramadi, from three

  85. La droite propose une alliance pour barrer la route à Podemos à Madrid...

    La candidate du Parti populaire (droite) à Madrid Esperanza Aguirre a proposé mardi une grande alliance avec les socialistes et le centre droit pour barrer la route à la candidate de la plateforme Ahora Madrid, soutenue par le parti de gauche radicale Podemos.

    "Mon objectif est de freiner Podemos", a déclaré Esperanza Aguirre, ancienne présidente de région, avant de confirmer qu'elle avait mardi matin appelé le candidat socialiste pour lui proposer une alliance contre Manuela Carmena, une ancienne juge de 71 ans.

    La liste de Manuela Carmena est composée en partie de personnes issues du mouvement des "indignés" et de représentants de Podemos, allié du grec Syriza. Elle est arrivée deuxième avec 20 sièges (31,8% des suffrages) contre 21 sièges (35,5%) pour Esperanza Aguirre, une comtesse par mariage, ancienne ministre et ancienne présidente du Sé

  86. EU-Kommissionspräsident Juncker glaubt, dass sich Varoufakis der Probleme seines Landes nicht bewusst ist. So will der griechische Finanzminister Schwarzgeldkonten straffrei machen...

    EU-Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Juncker kritisiert die Rolle des griechischen Finanzministers Janis Varoufakis im Schuldenstreit. "Er hilft dem Prozess nicht", sagte Juncker in einem Interview der Nachrichtenagentur MNSI. "Varoufakis ist der Finanzminister eines Landes, das großen Problemen gegenübersteht. Er macht nicht den Eindruck, als ob er das wüsste."

  87. US President Barack Obama accused Russia of toughening its battlefield stance Tuesday, as he met with the NATO secretary general to discuss the rolling crisis in Ukraine....

    "We had a chance to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the increasingly aggressive posture that Russia has taken," Obama said, after Oval Office talks with Jens Stoltenberg.

    Both men stressed the need for parties to respect a largely-ignored February ceasefire agreement, which Stoltenberg said could still be a "path to peace."

    The deal, between European powers, Russia and Ukraine was aimed at ending a 13-month war that has claimed nearly 6,300 lives and left well over a million people homeless.

    In recent days there has been particularly heavy fighting between Ukrainian forces and rebels near the strategic port city of Mariupol.

  88. Le Premier ministre libyen Abdallah al-Theni a échappé mardi soir à une tentative d'assassinat à Tobrouk, dans l'est du pays, lorsque des inconnus ont tiré sur son véhicule, blessant l'un de ses gardes, a indiqué le porte-parole du gouvernement...

    "Des hommes armés ont ouvert le feu sur la voiture du Premier ministre au moment où il quittait un endroit où se tenait une séance du Parlement", a déclaré Hatem el-Ouraybi.

    Le Premier ministre reconnu par la communauté internationale "est sorti indemne mais un de ses gardes du corps a été blessé dans la fusillade", a-t-il ajouté, disant: "c'était une tentative d'assassinat".

    Il a encore indiqué que les hommes qui avaient tiré n'avaient pas été identifiés.

    La fusillade a éclaté après une séance du Parlement qui se tenait dans son quartier général à Tobrouk, près de la frontière é

  89. EU to announce migrant quota plan details...

    The European Commission is to announce details of its controversial plans to relocate tens of thousands of migrants who have reached southern Europe from Africa and the Middle East.

    It is being reported that 40,000 asylum seekers would be spread across the EU countries through a quota system.

    The British government says that it will opt out of the relocation plans.

    The idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states.

    France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have all voiced concerns.

    The quota plan is in addition to moves announced earlier this month by the EU for a voluntary scheme to settle 20,000 people fleeing conflict who are currently living outside the EU. .......BBC

  90. US to Seek China’s Help in Pressuring North Korea on Nukes ...

    High ranking diplomatic envoys from the U.S., South Korea, and Japan met in Seoul Wednesday to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s continued efforts to develop its nuclear program. U.S. allies in the region want to increase pressure on Pyongyang but also maintain support from China and Russia to make Korea a nuclear free peninsula.

    After meeting with South Korean Special Representative Hwang Joon-kook, and Japanese foreign ministry envoy Junichi Ihara, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim voiced concerns over the North’s recent claims that it successfully tested a submarine launched missile and built a miniaturized nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on a

  91. China will continue building on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea to serve vessels passing through the waters, a foreign ministry representative said on Tuesday...

    The Ministry of Transport on Tuesday began construction of two lighthouses on Huayang and Chigua reefs in the Nansha Islands. The two 50-meter lighthouses, with lanterns of 4.5 meters in diameter, are designed to have a light range of 22 nautical miles.

    China must fulfill international obligations on maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, marine research, meteorological observation, environmental protection, navigation security and fishery production, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.............

  92. Iraqi security forces and allied militias Wednesday reclaimed positions from Islamic State (IS) militants near the city of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, a provincial security source said...

    The Iraqi army, police, Sunni tribal fighters and Shiite militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization, clashed with IS extremist militants seeking to enter the Anbar University compound, just south of Ramadi, 110 km west of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

    The troops also regained full control of al-Taash and al-Humeriyah areas south of Ramadi after driving out IS militants, the source said.

    The battles in south Ramadi resulted in the death of 20 IS militants along with the destruction of six of their vehicles, the source added.

    Meanwhile, security forces and Hashd Shaabi paramilitaries repelled an IS attack by four suicide truck bombs near the troops' positions at the al-Haiyakel area south of the IS-held city of Fallujah, 50 km west of Baghdad, the source said............

  93. Syrie: l'EI chassé de tous les villages chrétiens assyriens qu'il contrôlait...

    Les forces kurdes ont chassé les djihadistes du groupe État islamique (EI) des 14 villages chrétiens assyriens du nord-est de la Syrie qu'ils contrôlaient depuis février, a indiqué mercredi une

  94. EU judges jail 11 ex-Kosovo Albanian guerrillas for war crimes...

    European Union judges in Kosovo sentenced 11 former Kosovo Albanian guerrillas, two of them close to ex-prime minister Hashim Thaci, to prison terms on Wednesday for war crimes committed during Kosovo's 1998-99 pro-independence uprising.

    In two parallel trials, judges from the EU police and justice mission said atrocities were committed against Kosovar civilians held in a camp run by the then-Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought Serbian security forces in the war.

    Political killings of Kosovo Albanians by their own kin were common in the former Serbian province during and after the war, sometimes over allegations of collaboration with Belgrade.

    The EU mission, established after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, handles sensitive war crimes cases in a country where ex-guerrillas are revered as heroes of the struggle for statehood.

    The charges in the two trials also related to the killing in 1998 of a Serbian police officer and a Kosovo Albanian civilian accused by the KLA of being a spy for Serbia...............REUTERS

  95. Suleimani Accuses "anti-ISIL" Coalition of Supporting ISIL ...

    Commander of the Iranian Al-Quds Brigades, Major General Qassem Suleimani accused that the "anti-ISIL" coalition supports ISIL terrorist group.

    Suleimani said that the states which claim that they are fighting ISIL enable the terrorist group to export the oil it confiscates in the Syrian Deir Ezour and the Iraqi Kirkuk via their territories.

  96. Tony Blair quits Middle East envoy role...

    Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to stand down from his role as Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU, sources confirm.

    He will leave the role next month after he fulfils "outstanding commitments", a source close to Mr Blair told the BBC.

    Mr Blair, who took the role just hours after leaving Downing Street in 2007, has written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to confirm his decision.

    He will "remain active" in the region in an informal role, the source said.

    Mr Blair remains "fully committed to assisting the international community in its work with Israel and the Palestinians to bring about progress on the two-state solution", they said.

    "He believes that he can best support these efforts through working with the key regional players, the USA, the EU and others, without any formal role."...BBC

  97. Ukraine must keep up fight against corruption: Biden...

    Ukraine's government needs to investigate and prosecute corruption at all levels and implement difficult political reforms to retain the support of the United States, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.

    The U.S. government has given Kiev $470 million in economic assistance and signed two loan guarantees, each worth $1 billion, since pro-Western parties took office in Ukraine more than a year ago.

    Another $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee has been promised by the end of the year, but is contingent on reforms, Biden said in a speech at the Brookings Institution think tank.

    "Ukraine needs to use all the tools at its disposal to limit the ability of the oligarchs to abuse their market position or exert pressure on government officials," Biden said.

    "So long as Ukrainian leaders keep faith with the project of reform, the United States will continue to stand with them," said Biden...........REUTERS

  98. French Resistance heroes inducted into Pantheon in Paris...

    France has honoured four members of the French Resistance with a ceremony at the Pantheon mausoleum in Paris.

    Coffins representing two men and two women who resisted the Nazis in World War Two were carried through the French capital before being interred.

    The coffins contained only soil from the fighters' graves as their relatives did not want their bodies disturbed.

    French President Francois Hollande said the group "embodied the spirit of the Resistance".

    A ceremony was held at the Pantheon alongside the coffins of Germaine Tillion, Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Pierre Brossolette and Jean Zay....BBC

  99. Pentagon chief urges end to island-building in South China Sea...

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday called for an immediate end to island-building by China and other countries near the South China Sea, urging the participants to stop militarizing the dispute and find a peaceful solution.

    Carter said China's island-building efforts were "out of step" with the regional consensus and that U.S. military aircraft and warships would continue to operate in the area as permitted under international law.

    "China’s actions are bringing countries in the region together in new ways," he said in a military ceremony in Hawaii. "They're increasing demand for American engagement in the Asia-Pacific. We’re going to meet it."

    "We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come," Carter said.

    Carter's comments, at Pearl Harbor, came a week after the U.S. Navy sent a P-8 reconnaissance plane carrying Navy and television camera crews to film Chinese island-building activity in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

    U.S. officials say China has added some 2,000 acres (800 hectares) to five outposts in the Spratlys, including 1,500 acres since the start of this year..........REUTERS

  100. UK referendum on EU membership will be held in 2017...

    The British government has confirmed that it will pass an early law to hold an in/out referendum on European Union membership by the end of 2017.

    An address from Britain's Queen Elizabeth to parliament today set out the plans of the Conservative government for the coming parliamentary term.

    The speech marks the formal opening of the British

  101. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday he his hopeful Iran and a group of world powers can reach a final agreement on his country's nuclear program "within a reasonable period of time."...

    But during a visit to Greece, Zarif also said an agreement will not happen if there are "excessive demands."

    Iran and the group that includes Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany have given themselves until June 30 to form a final deal curbing Iran's nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief. The two sides agreed to a framework in April, but still need to work out details such as how quickly to lift the sanctions that have hurt Iran's economy.

    U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Wednesday that the U.S. and its partners are focused on the June 30 deadline and not thinking about extending the

  102. Griechische Hoteliers: Reiseveranstalter verlangen Drachmen-Klauseln....

    Internationale Reiseveranstalter fordern Sicherheit, falls Griechenland aus der Eurogruppe ausscheiden sollte: „Drachmen-Klauseln“ sollen dafür sorgen, dass griechische Hotelbesitzer für die anfallenden Kosten

  103. Vietnam and China have voiced their support for South Korea’s opposition to Japan’s bid for a UNESCO World Heritage listing of historical industrial sites, Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday...

    During a meeting with Vietnamese defense chief Phung Quang Thanh in Hanoi on Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo asked for the country’s “understanding and support for Seoul’s effort to stop Japan’s drive,” according to Yonhap.

    “In response, the Vietnamese minister expressed his empathy with the shared painful history, and vowed to deliver Seoul’s request to its relevant department,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a

  104. The US military has started training Syrian opposition fighters in Turkey to combat Islamic State, expanding a program that first launched in Jordan weeks ago, a US official told Reuters on Thursday...

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not offer details on the size of the first group of recruits undergoing training in Turkey or the specific start date.

    The Pentagon declined comment. by Reuters

  105. Putin classifies information on deaths of Russian troops on special missions...

    President Vladimir Putin on May 28 declared all deaths of Russian soldiers during special operations to be classified as a state secret, a move that comes as Moscow stands accused of sending soldiers to fight in eastern Ukraine.

    Putin, who has repeatedly denied any involvement of Russian troops in a pro-Russian rebellion there, amended a decree that had previously classified only deaths of servicemen during war time as secret.

    Asked to explain the rationale behind Putin's move, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov had no immediate comment.

    Russian opposition activists released a report saying at least 220 serving Russian soldiers were killed in fighting in two hot spots in east Ukraine last summer and earlier this year............REUTERS

  106. Migrants en Méditerranée : la Tunisie contre toute intervention militaire...

    Alors que l’Europe veut mettre sur pied une mission militaire et navale destinée à lutter contre le trafic de migrants qui traversent la Méditerranée, le Premier ministre tunisien Habib Essid déclare qu'il est "contre toute intervention militaire pour régler ce problème"

  107. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday signed into force a law that gives the government the right to halt scheduled repayments on its foreign debt if required, his press service said...

    Parliament passed the draft law on May 19 as a wrangle intensified between the near-bankrupt former Soviet republic and its creditors over restructuring of $23 billion of foreign debt in order to make budget savings of $15.3 billion between 2015 and 2018 required by the International Monetary Fund....Reuters

  108. North Korean hackers 'could kill', warns key defector...

    North Korean hackers are capable of attacks that could destroy critical infrastructure and even kill people, a high-profile defector has warned.

    Speaking exclusively to BBC Click, Prof Kim Heung-Kwang said the country had around 6,000 trained military hackers.

    The warning follows last year's Sony Pictures hack - an attack attributed to North Korea.

    Korean technology expert Martyn Williams stressed the threat was only "theoretical".

    Prof Kim has called for international organisations to step in to prevent North Korea launching more severe attacks..........BBC

  109. Greece's government intends to reach an agreement with its lenders on a cash-for-reforms deal by Sunday, its spokesman has, brushing off comments from euro zone officials suggesting a deal was far from imminent...

    Greece and its European and International Monetary Fund lenders have been locked in slow-moving talks on a reforms agreement for four months without a breakthrough in sight. Without a deal, Athens risks default or bankruptcy in weeks.

    A new round of negotiations between technical teams from Athens and its lenders began on Wednesday in Brussels.

    Defending a Greek official's comments on Wednesday that an agreement was being drafted, which were dismissed by euro zone officials, government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said it was time to put agreements between the two sides on paper while resolving remaining

  110. Irish PM welcomes EU investment package for regional development ...

    Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Thursday welcomed the launch of a 320-million-euro (about $349 million) investment package for the country's border, midland and western region.

    The massive investment is backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The ERDF is a fund allocated by the European Union (EU).

    "Today's launch of the 320-million-euro investment package for the border, midland and western region represents a key milestone on our path to secure recovery for all of Ireland," Kenny said at Ballaghaderreen, a town in west Ireland's County Roscommon.

    "This fund will help support small and medium size businesses to grow and create valuable jobs across the region," he said.

    In 2013, the Irish government secured 1.2 billion euros of EU's Cohesion Policy funding for the period 2014-2020.

    Cohesion Policy is the policy behind the hundreds of thousands of projects all over Europe that receive funding from the ERDF and other EU funds.

    This funding will be delivered through the two ERDF regional programs, as well as a national program under the European Social Fund (ESF) and a number of European Territorial Cooperation Programs.

    The ERDF program for the border, midland and western region will have a total value of 320 million euros, including ERDF funding of 160 million euros. (1 euro = 1.09 US dollars)

  111. G7-Treffen der Finanzminister: Kein Wachstum auf Pump, keine schnelle Lösung für Athen...

    Die Wirtschaftsmächte setzen auf Wachstum ohne neue Schulden – wie es Bundesfinanzminister Schäuble will. Griechenland bleibt Problemthema Nummer eins. IWF-Chefin Lagarde spricht vom Grexit als „Möglichkeit“

  112. US removes Cuba from list of state sponsors of terror...

    The United States has removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    The move eliminates a major obstacle toward restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years of hostilities.

    The change allows Cuba to conduct banking in the United States, among other activities.

    Mr Obama announced a historic thaw with Cuba in December, but the US trade embargo against the country remains, and may only be ended by Congress.

  113. Sapin: "il n'y a pas de scénario" de sortie de la Grèce de l'euro ...

    Le ministre des Finances Michel Sapin a assuré vendredi qu'il n'y avait "pas de scenario" de sortie de la Grèce de la zone euro, à l'issue d'une réunion des grands argentiers du G7 en Allemagne.

    "Il n'y a pas de scénario de Grexit", a lancé" M. Sapin lors d'une conférence de presse à Dresde (est). Alors que la patronne du FMI Christine Lagarde a évoqué cette possibilité dans la presse allemande, il a jugé qu'il n'était pas question que le FMI fasse "bande à part" dans les dures négociations entre Athènes et ses créanciers, et que Mme Lagarde n'avait pas tenu de propos "particulièrement durs"

  114. Merkel promises to work with Britain's Cameron on reform of EU...

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised on Friday to work with David Cameron to clinch a deal on reforming the European Union that would keep Britain in the bloc, saying "where there's a will there's a way".

    Both leaders, fellow conservatives with a good personal rapport, dodged the question of whether Cameron's demands for changes to the EU treaty were achievable before Britain holds a referendum on its membership of the bloc.

    Merkel herself has backed the idea of treaty change in past years to bed down closer integration of euro zone countries, but German officials now acknowledge there is little appetite for this in other European capitals, making it unrealistic.

    "I will go into these discussions constructively. I want to find a solution," Merkel said......REUTERS

  115. Larry Summers zu Grexit und Brexit: „Wir würden alle verlieren“...

    Grexit, Brexit, Spardiktat: Der ehemalige US-Finanzminister Larry Summers erklärt im Interview, wieso weder Griechenland noch Großbritannien die Euro-Zone verlassen sollten. Schäubles Sparpolitik greift er scharf

  116. Irrefutable Documents Prove Support of US Intelligence Agencies for Terrorism....

    A US judicial organization unfolded on Thursday classified documents of the American State and Defense Departments that prove Obama administration and its intelligence agencies are being involved in supporting the terrorist groups in Syria since the start of the crisis four years ago...............VIDEO.........

  117. Syrian refugee crisis: EU Trust Fund launches first response programmes for €40 million, helping up to 400,000 people in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq...

    Today, the new EU regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, held its first board meeting and adopted European response programmes for € 40 million. It will provide aid to 400,000 Syrian refugees and host communities in need in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, focusing on education, livelihoods and food security targeting especially children and young people.

    This Trust Fund provides a regional response to the regional dimensions of this crisis, thus enabling the EU and its Member States to intervene jointly, flexibly and quickly, in response to changing needs.

    Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission said: "While the EU continues to support all efforts to achieve a Syrian-led inclusive political transition, the EU and its Member States remain the largest contributors to the international response to the crisis. This Trust Fund is another illustration of the EU's commitment to help the victims of this crisis of unprecedented magnitude in Syria and the neighbouring countries. Our objective is to contribute to a strategic de-escalation of violence in Syria and to help build resilience in the region more generally, in order to alleviate the suffering of the people and create a basis for a sustainable and inclusive political process".......

  118. Around 85,000 people have fled Ramadi since the Islamic State group captured the Iraqi provincial capital two weeks ago, the UN said Friday, warning that Iraqi authorities were blocking many of the displaced from reaching safety...

    The IS jihadists seized the Iraqi city, the capital of Iraq's largest province Anbar, on May 17, marking their most significant victory since mid-2014.

    William Spindler, spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said around 85,000 people had fled the violence in Ramadi since mid-May, and more than 180,000 had been displaced from the city and surrounding area since early April.

    A week ago, the UN said 55,000 people had fled Ramadi since May 15......AFP

  119. Russia issues 89-name EU blacklist, bars politicians...

    Moscow has issued a blacklist of EU politicians barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

    Moscow has issued a blacklist of European Union (EU) politicians barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday (May 29).

    "Russia yesterday handed over a list of people to diverse EU embassies who may not enter Russia any longer," Rutte said at a weekly press conference, adding that two Dutch MPs and a Dutch MEP were on the list.

    The list contains 89 names, according to a letter from Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders tweeted by Belgian MEP Mark Demesmaeker. The letter, which was confirmed as authentic by the foreign ministry to AFP, said that Moscow had asked for the list not to be made public.

    Moscow issued the list on Thursday in response to the EU's own sanctions and travel bans over Russia's annexation of Crimea last year and its alleged involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict, Rutte said.

    A spokeswoman for the EU diplomatic service in Brussels told AFP that Russia had barred several European politicians from entry in recent months, but had so far refused to provide a list of those targeted. "We take note that the Russian authorities have decided to share the list. We don't have any other information on legal basis, criteria and process," the spokeswoman said in an email

  120. McCain seeks defense funding to help Asia against China challenges...

    A leading U.S. senator has proposed that the United States provide hundreds of millions of dollars to help train and equip the armed forces of Southeast Asian countries faced with Chinese territorial challenges.

    Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the proposal in an amendment to the 2016 U.S. Defense Authorization Act expected to be passed later this year, entitled the South China Sea Initiative.

    It allows for the provision of up to $425 million over five years to countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for "equipment, supplies, training and small-scale military construction."

    The amendment was approved by the Armed Services Committee on May 14 by a vote of 22 to four - indicating strong bipartisan support. It still needs to be approved by the full Senate and the House of Representatives, which will vote on the overall bill later in the year.

    McCain's proposal comes at a time of heightened tension in the South China Sea, where China has been increasingly assertive in pushing its claims to territory contested with several Southeast Asia

  121. Méditerranée: plus de 3300 migrants secourus vendredi, 17 morts...

    Les gardes-côtes italiens ont annoncé vendredi avoir coordonné dans la journée le sauvetage de plus de 3.300 migrants en Méditerranée, où la marine italienne a retrouvé 17 cadavres sur plusieurs embarcations de fortune.

    Les appels au secours sont venus de 17 embarcations différentes, essentiellement au large de la Libye mais aussi au sud des côtes italiennes, et d'autres opérations étaient encore en cours dans la soirée.

    Les cadavres ont été retrouvés dans trois canots pneumatiques différents, à bord desquels se trouvaient également plus de 300 migrants en vie, selon le compte Twitter de la marine italienne.

    Contacté par l'AFP, le service de presse de la marine n'était pas en mesure de dire ce qui avait pu provoquer les décè

  122. China, Vietnam can properly handle South China Sea issue...

    A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) general said here Friday that China and Vietnam can properly handle the South China Sea issue through joint efforts.

    When meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, Vice Chief of Staff of the PLA Sun Jianguo said the two countries have expanded their cooperation in various fields and advanced their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership since they forged diplomatic ties 65 years ago.

    "China is willing to join hands with Vietnam to inject impetus to the ties between the two militaries," he said.

    Sun hoped the Vietnamese side should have a clear understanding about the motives of countries outside the region trying to meddle in the issue.

    Sun believed through concerted efforts, the two neighbors can properly address the South China Sea dispute.......

  123. Ukraine - L'ex-président géorgien Saakachvili nommé gouverneur d'Odessa...

    (Belga) L'ex-président géorgien pro-occidental Mikheïl Saakachvili a été nommé samedi gouverneur de la région stratégique ukrainienne d'Odessa sur les bords de la mer Noire, a annoncé le président Petro Porochenko.

    Le président ukrainien Petro Porochenko a présenté à Odessa M. Saakachvili, 47 ans, "un grand ami de l'Ukraine", selon des images diffusées en direct à la télévision. Il a précisé avoir signé la veille un décret accordant à Saakachvili la citoyenneté ukrainienne. "Il reste un grand nombre de problèmes à Odessa: préserver la souveraineté, l'intégrité territoriale, l'indépendance et le calme", a souligné M. Porochenko."Une autre guerre qui est peut-être encore plus importante est celle contre la corruption", a-t-il ajouté. Odessa, principal port ukrainien d'un million d'habitants, proche de la Transdniestrie, région sécessionniste de la Moldavie où sont basées des troupes russes, est convoitée par le président russe Vladimir

  124. Havana Welcomes US Decision to Remove Cuba From Terror List ...

    The United States' official removal of Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism is being celebrated on the communist island and welcomed by many Americans.

    The move Friday brings the two Cold War adversaries a step closer to re-establishing diplomatic relations that were severed more than 50 years ago.

    The United States, in announcing the decision, siad it is effective immediately. For many Cubans the decision means righting a longtime injustice.

    "We have always fought for peace, for solidarity. It was an injustice to put us on this list. Now, there is justice," one woman said.

    Another Cuban said, "Cuba has always been affected by terrorism - not to sponsor, not to put bombs anywhere - therefore, it does not deserve to be on the list."

    A young woman said, "Luckily, they realized - they opened their eyes - that we are not bad."

    Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 for aiding rebel movements in Africa and Latin America. But Havana long ago said it had ceased supporting foreign insurgencies.........

  125. Kerry, Zarif in crucial nuclear talks ahead of looming deal deadline...

    Tehran rejected a key Western demand for site inspections Saturday just as US secretary of state John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart launched crunch talks to secure a nuclear deal ahead of a looming deadline.

    The Geneva talks between Kerry and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the run-up to the June 30 deadline come amid heightened diplomatic moves to try and end a 12-year standoff and put a nuclear bomb beyond Iran's reach.

    Kerry and Zarif huddled for negotiations in a leading hotel, greeting each other warmly and chatting as they walked together along the corridor to the meeting room.

    Asked by a journalist whether they expected to meet the deadline, Zarif smiled and said: "We will try." Kerry did not respond.

  126. ‘Ship to Gaza’ activists stay firm to reach Gaza shores...

    Human rights activists from world over and generations are aboard the Marianne Boat as part of “The Ship to Gaza” Freedom Flotilla III that seeks an end to Israel’s stranglehold on Palestinians.

    In interviews with Anadolu Agency aboard the Marianne Boat, which departed from the Swedish Gothenburg port on May 10, the activists said that they were not only unfazed to the dangers posed by the ruthless Israeli military machine, but they were in fact upbeat and determined to reach the shores of Gaza with their messages of peace and love for all.

    Kevin Knish, a 58-year-old Canadian activist, is one of the survivors of the lethal Israeli attack on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship in 2010 that left several people dead.

    “You can say I’m here for the unfinished business. The job is not done. They might have succeeded once to stop us and kill 10 of my good fellow activists, but they couldn’t kill my determination. I’m here today to try it again,” Knish said.

    According to him, The Mavi Marmara incident had succeeded in taking the mask off Israelis and showed the world “what they were really made off: a cruel, brutal and inhuman occupation”.

    “That experience has put things in perspective for me. If they treat us [activists] like that, [then] what about Palestinians? What about the people in Gaza? I can’t even think about it,” he said............

  127. Egypt closes border with Gaza after three-day opening...

    Egypt closed its border crossing with Gaza after a three-day opening period that saw the passage of at least 1,413 Palestinians to their homes in Gaza.

    Rafah Crossing, which was closed since March, was initially scheduled to open for two days. However, Egyptian authorities extended the opening by one day to allow the passage of stranded Palestinians to Gaza.

    Also during the three days, 3,367 tons of construction materials as well as 100 chairs for the disabled passed into Gaza, security sources at Rafah told Egypt's state news agency MENA.

    The crossing, which is the only passage to the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel, was operating in one direction, for outbound traffic only.

    Egyptian authorities have kept the frontier mostly closed since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, citing security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula where troops are battling an Islamist insurgency.

    The Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group have claimed responsibility for the majority of attacks in North Sinai.

  128. EU criticizes 'unjustified' Russian travel blacklist...

    Russia has imposed an entry ban on 89 European politicians and military leaders, according to a list seen by Reuters, a move that has angered Europe and worsened its standoff with the West over Moscow's role in the Ukraine conflict.

    The list, which the Russian foreign ministry compiled and handed to a European Union delegation in Moscow this week, includes outspoken critics of Russia as well as military and intelligence officials. A similar list exists for U.S. citizens, a ministry official told Russian media.

    Since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, the EU has imposed economic sanctions, visa bans and asset freezes on scores of Russian and Ukrainian citizens and organizations.

    Moscow denies Western accusations that it is supporting pro-Russian separatists battling government forces in Ukraine, where 6,200 people have died in the fighting.

    A spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs said that in recent months Russia had denied entry to a number of EU politicians.

    "We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency," she said.

    A spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office said there was no justification for the travel ban.

    "If Russia's intention is to put pressure on the EU to ease sanctions then this is not the way to do it," she said......REUTERS

  129. EU-Reaktionen auf "Schwarze Liste": Scharfe Kritik an Einreiseverboten ...

    EU-Politiker haben Kritik an den von Russland verhängten Einreiseverboten geübt. Eine friedliche Lösung zu finden, werde durch den Schritt erschwert, sagte EU-Parlamentschef Schulz. Außenminister Steinmeier bezeichnete die "Schwarze Liste" als "nicht klug".

    EU-Parlamentspräsident Martin Schulz hat Russlands Einreiseverbot für 89 Politiker und sonstige Persönlichkeiten aus der EU scharf kritisiert. Durch den Schritt würden "jegliche Anstrengungen behindert werden, einen konstruktiven Dialog für eine friedliche und anhaltende Lösung" in dem Konflikt um die Ukraine zu finden, teilte Schulz mit.

    Ähnlich äußerte sich Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Solche Verbote seien "nicht besonders klug", sagte der SPD-Politiker am Rande seines Besuchs in der ostukrainischen Dnepopetrowsk. "In einer Zeit, in der wir uns bemühen, einen hartnäckigen, gefährlichen Konflikt in der Mitte Europas zu entschärfen, ist das nichts, was dazu einen Beitrag leistet." Zumindest hätte Russland die Betroffenen darüber informieren müssen, welche Vorbehalte es gegen sie gebe.
    "Wir werden die Sanktionen nicht lockern"

    Auch für die britische Regierung gibt es für die russischen Maßnahmen "keinerlei Rechtfertigung". Zu den Briten auf der schwarzen Liste sollen der Chef des Inlandsgeheimdienstes MI5, Andrew Parker, der Chef der Streitkräfte, Nick Houghton, der ehemalige Außenminister Malcolm Rifkind und der Ex-Vizeregierungschef Nick Clegg gehören. "Falls Russland vorhatte, Druck auf die EU auszuüben, um die Sanktionen zu lockern, dann war dies der falsche Weg", sagte eine Sprecherin des britischen Außenministeriums.......

    1. EU criticizes 'unjustified' Russian travel blacklist...

      Russia has imposed an entry ban on 89 European politicians and military leaders, according to a list seen by Reuters, a move that has angered Europe and worsened its standoff with the West over Moscow's role in the Ukraine conflict.

      The list, which the Russian foreign ministry compiled and handed to a European Union delegation in Moscow this week, includes outspoken critics of Russia as well as military and intelligence officials. A similar list exists for U.S. citizens, a ministry official told Russian media.

      Since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, the EU has imposed economic sanctions, visa bans and asset freezes on scores of Russian and Ukrainian citizens and organizations.

      Moscow denies Western accusations that it is supporting pro-Russian separatists battling government forces in Ukraine, where 6,200 people have died in the fighting.

      A spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs said that in recent months Russia had denied entry to a number of EU politicians.

      "We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency," she said.....REUTERS

  130. Rebels in Yemen holding at least 4 American prisoners: report...

    At least four Americans are being held in Yemen by rebels who toppled the U.S- backed government, the Washington Post reported late Friday.

    Citing unnamed sources, the report says attempts to free the Americans have failed. The Americans are believed to be imprisoned in the capital Sanaa, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly bombed in a campaign to oust the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, from power, the report said.

    The Houthis had cleared one of the prisoners for release, but the report said members of the Houthi rebellion reversed that decision.

    Three of the prisoners held private sector jobs, and the fourth holds dual U.S.-Yemini citizenship. None is a U.S. government employee, the report says.

    The Post report says the newspaper is withholding details about the four, at the request of relatives and U.S. officials, who cited safety

  131. Fuel tank explodes in clinic in northeast Syria, killing 25: report...

    A fuel tank exploded inside a clinic in the predominantly Kurdish northeastern Syrian town of Qamishli Sunday, killing at least 25 people, including children, state TV and activists said.

    The Syrian TV report said the explosion also wounded 30.

    Juan Mohammed, a Kurdish official in the nearby city of Hassakeh, said the explosion happened as the clinic was packed with children who were brought to receive polio

  132. Saudi FM: Iran interfering in Mideast affairs...

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Sunday that Iran is the only country interfering in the Middle East’s affairs.

    Jubeir, who was speaking at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, also said that the Islamic Republic is supporting terrorism.

    The minister added that his country will not stand idly in the face of Iran’s meddling in the region’s

  133. Iraqi security forces on Sunday continued advance and clashes with the Islamic State (IS) militants in the northern central province of Salahudin, while US-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft pounded suspected IS positions in Anbar province, a provincial official and security sources said....

    The troops and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization, recaptured B'ieji area and several nearby villages in east of the IS-held town of Baiji, some 200 km north of the capital of Baghdad, Mohammed Hameed, mayor of Baiji, told Xinhua by telephone.

    The troops are preparing for a major battle to advance to the center of the town, which many of the IS militants started to flee their positions inside the town after fierce clashes with the troops during the past 24 hours, Hammed said.

    Meanwhile, the security forces and hundreds of Hashd Shaabi fighters continued their heavy clashes with the IS militants in the nearby oil refinery of Baiji, just north of Baiji town, which the extremist militants earlier seized most of its installations, the security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity......

  134. Egypt and Saudi Arabia deny split over Syria..

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says he does not know where reports of Egyptian disapproval over Syria come from.

    Egypt and Saudi Arabia have denied reports of discord among the close allies over the latter's support of rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who is visiting Cairo for the first time since assuming his post, said on Sunday that he did not know where "impressions" of discord came from.

    Riyadh is a key backer of rebels battling to overthrow Assad's government. Egypt's government, which is deeply suspicious of religiously inspired movements throughout the region, says Assad will have to be part of a negotiated settlement.

    Local media say the dispute over Syria has caused discord between the two allies. Saudi Arabia has given billions of dollars to Egypt since the 2013 overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, who was a supporter of anti-Assad rebels.

    Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri says the two countries' policies complement each

  135. A la veille d'une semaine de dernières négociations entre la Grèce et ses créanciers, le premier ministre grec Alexis Tsipras, défend l'action de son gouvernement dans une tribune au Monde....

    Le 25 janvier 2015, le peuple grec a pris une décision courageuse. Il a osé contester la voie à sens unique de l'austérité rigoureuse du Mémorandum afin de revendiquer un nouvel accord. Un nouvel accord qui permette à la Grèce de retrouver le chemin de la croissance dans l'euro avec un programme économique viable et sans renouveler les erreurs du passé.

    Ces erreurs ont été payées cher par le peuple grec. En cinq ans, le chômage a grimpé à 28 % (60 % pour les jeunes) et le revenu moyen a diminué de 40 %, tandis que la Grèce, conformément aux statistiques d'Eurostat, est devenue l’Etat de l’Union européenne (UE) ayant l’indicateur d’inégalité sociale le plus élevé.

    Pis encore, malgré les coups durs qui ont été portés au tissu social, ce programme n'a pas réussi à redonner à l'économie grecque sa compétitivité. La dette publique a flambé de 124 % à 180 % du PIB. L'économie grecque, malgré les grands sacrifices de son peuple, est toujours piégée dans un climat d'incertitude continue engendrée par les objectifs non réalisables de la doctrine de l'équilibre financier qui l’astreignent à rester dans un cercle vicieux d'austérité et de récession...........

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