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Tuesday 30 December 2014

UN Security Council action on Palestinian statehood blocked

UN, 30 December 2014 – Falling short of the required number of positive votes and faced with a veto from one of its permanent members, the United Nations Security Council today failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have affirmed the “urgent need” to reach within 12 months a peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East and would have paved the way to a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinians demand UN vote on Israeli withdrawal, defeat likely

UN Security Council is expected to vote as early as Tuesday afternoon on a Palestinian draft resolution that calls for a peace deal with Israel within a year and an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Winds hamper burning ferry rescue off Greece (About 160 rescued)

At least one person has been killed and hundreds more remain trapped after an Italian ferry with almost 500 people on board caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu, the Italian Navy has confirmed.
About 160 people have been rescued so far, while Italian and Greek helicopter crews prepared to work through the night to airlift passengers in pairs off a burning ferry adrift in the Adriatic Sea.

Friday 26 December 2014

Asia Marks 10th Anniversary of Tsunami (UN says world better prepared for natural disasters)

Beach side memorials, moments of silence, and religious services are planned across Asia on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed at least 220,000 people in 2004.
The gigantic wave stuck a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean rim. It destroyed entire coastal communities, wiped out families and crashed over tourist-filled beaches the morning after Christmas.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

France deploys extra army patrols in wake of attacks

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday said France had deployed 300 extra troops to patrol public areas over the Christmas period following a spate of attacks on police officers and shoppers.

In an announcement broadcast on live TV, Valls said he appreciated that the “deeply shocking” events had “understandably created great concerns”, but insisted that “each event must be treated separately”.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Economic slump in Russia to wield telling impact on Germany companies

Economic slump in Russia poses an increasingly serious threat to the German companies operating in that country, the President of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Dr. Volker Treier said in an interview published by Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

The crisis in the Russian economy is putting an increasingly bigger brake on the business operations of German companies in Russia, Dr. Treier said, adding their activities were suffering in the first place from the falling exchange rate of the ruble.

Friday 19 December 2014

Obama: 'We will respond' to N. Korea hack

US President Barack Obama warned Friday that Washington "will respond" to North Korea's cyber attack on Sony Pictures over "The Interview," a satirical film about a CIA plot to kill Kim Jong-Un.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Obama says US restoring ties with Cuba (five decades after diplomatic relations were severed)

The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, US President Barack Obama has said, just hours after Havana announced it had released a US aid worker who had been jailed for five years in Cuba.

Monday 15 December 2014

Erdogan tells EU to 'mind own business' in Turkey arrests. EU's Mogherini 'very surprised' at Erdogan comments on arrests

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday (Dec 15) lashed out at the European Union for criticising the mass arrests targeting opposition media outlets, telling Brussels to "mind its own business."

Saturday 13 December 2014

Climate talks run into overtime as nations clash

LIMA, Peru: Negotiations on forging a UN pact to fight climate change headed into an unscheduled 13th day on Saturday (Dec 13) in a frantic quest to bridge a rift between rich and poor countries.

Ministers and senior officials from 195 states were to examine a compromise for calming a bust-up over who bears responsibility for fighting climate change.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Fidel Castro awarded China's Confucius Peace Prize

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been awarded with the Confucius Peace prize, China’s own version of the Nobel Peace Prize which organizers of the alternative distinction consider biased against the Asian giant.

The ceremony was held at the Beijing University with Cuban students representing Castro, receiving a statuette, a diploma and money on behalf of the historic leader of Cuba’s revolution.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

US Senate report finds CIA interrogations 'far more brutal' than agency admitted

"Enhanced interrogation" techniques used by the CIA on militants detained in secret prisons were ineffective and never produced information which led to the disruption of imminent terrorist plots, the declassified report by the Senate Intelligence Committee has found.
The report said the CIA misled the public and government policymakers about the effectiveness of the programme, which ran from 2002 to 2006 and involved questioning Al-Qaeda and other captives around the world.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Syria: Israeli jets bomb army facilities near Damascus airport. (no reports of casualties)

Syrian media reported on Sunday evening that Israeli jets had bombed targets near Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, north of Damascus and near the border with Lebanon.
There were no reports of casualties in the reports, but the general command of the Syrian army said in a statement that several facilities had been hit, both at the Damascus International Airport and in the area of Dimas.

Friday 5 December 2014

France, US strike deal to pay $60 mln for Holocaust victims deported by SNCF

France said today it had agreed to put $60 million into a fund managed by the United States to compensate Holocaust victims deported by French state rail firm SNCF to Nazi death camps, a deal that protects it from future US litigation.
About 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported in appalling conditions in railway boxcars to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most died.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

China rejects Britain's "moral duty" to Hong Kong

BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday rejected Britain's "moral duty" to Hong Kong, adding some British lawmakers' attempts to meddle in China's internal affairs is "not acceptable" and "doomed to fail."

Monday 1 December 2014

China slams British MPs’ attempt to visit Hong Kong

China on Monday explained its refusal to allow British lawmakers to visit Hong Kong and urged them not to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs.

Saturday 29 November 2014

Arab League to push UN on Palestinian state. (Draft resolution to the Security Council setting a timeframe for creation of Palestinian state)

The Arab League has agreed to present to the UN Security Council a draft resolution that will set a timeframe for the creation of a Palestinian state.

"We can no longer wait. We can no longer live with the status quo. Israel wants us to be an authority without authority," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said. "I understand the consequences of the UNSC move, but the most dangerous situation we can be in is remain in the status quo."

Thursday 27 November 2014

Oil prices sink as OPEC rejects output cut

Oil prices sunk to fresh four-year lows on Thursday, with New York crude plunging below $70 a barrel, after OPEC decided against cutting output despite a huge oversupply in world markets.
At about 16:10 GMT, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery struck $69.11 per barrel -- last seen on May 25, 2010. Brent North Sea crude for January hit $72.74, a level last witnessed on July 7, 2010.
Asked whether the oil OPEC had decided not to reduce production, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters in Vienna: “That is right.”

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Iran split on nuke talks extension

Iran's media were deeply split Tuesday on the merits of ­extending nuclear talks with the West, with conservative newspapers criticizing the move as reformist outlets said progress had been made.

Friday 21 November 2014

Iran says no proposals from P 5+1 negotiators to Iran that require coordination

P 5 + 1 negotiators /five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany/ have not made any considerable proposals that would require coordination with Teheran, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told reporters on Friday.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

UN condemns N.Korea ‘rights abuses’ (Resolution is symbolic, faces possible veto in Security Council)

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution condemning North Korean rights abuses and called for the Security Council to consider referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Israelis demand govt resignation after Jerusalem attack

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated in west Jerusalem on Tuesday to demand the government's resignation in the wake of a deadly attack on a Jewish synagogue in which four Israelis were killed.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Israel will ‘never’ limit Jerusalem settlements (Avigdor Lieberman)

Israel will never agree to limit its construction activity in Occupied East Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday. “One thing should be clear: we will never accept the definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem as settlement activity,” he said at a news conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Thursday 13 November 2014

US President Raises Tibetan Rights Issue with Xi Jinping

DHARAMSHALA: President Barack Obama raised the Tibet issue during a joint press conference in Beijing on Wednesday with Chinese president Xi Jinping, the Daily Mail reported.
‘We are not in favor of independence,’ President Obama said at the press conference.

‘But we did encourage Chinese authorities to take steps to preserve the unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people,’ he said.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Pope Francis urges G20 leaders not to forget the poor

Pope Francis has called on G20 leaders not to forget the poor, saying to do so would be "regrettable" as the heads of the world's most powerful economies prepare to meet in Australia.

The Group of 20 leaders are expected to sign off in Brisbane this weekend on a pledge to boost the level of their combined economic output by at least two percent above the currently projected level in the next five years, creating millions of jobs.
In a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who holds the G20's rotating presidency, the pope said world powers "must not forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions".

Monday 10 November 2014

Gaza: Ban Ki-moon forms independent panel to investigate recent conflict

UN,  10 November 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the formation of an internal inquiry aimed at reviewing “certain incidents” reported at United Nations facilities in the Gaza Strip during the recent summer conflict there between Palestinian factions and the State of Israel.

During his visit last month to the war-ravaged enclave, the Secretary-General called for a thorough investigation into incidents where UN facilities – including schools run by the UN agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) – sustained hits resulting in the deaths of numerous innocent civilians and UN staff members.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Mur de Berlin: "L'Occident n'a pas respecté ses promesses de 1989" ...

A l'occasion du 25e anniversaire de la chute du mur de Berlin, le dernier dirigeant d'URSS, Mikhaïl Gorbatchev (83 ans) a vivement critiqué l'Occident qui, selon lui, avaient fait de nombreuses promesses après la disparition des régimes communistes en 1989 mais ne les a, au final, pas respectées.

"Le monde est au bord d'une nouvelle Guerre froide, certains disent qu'elle a même déjà commencé", a-t-il déclaré à Berlin, faisant référence au conflit en cours dans l'est de l'Ukraine. Samedi, il a accusé l'Occident, et plus particulièrement les Etats-Unis, de ne pas avoir tenu leurs promesses depuis la fin de la Guerre froide.

Friday 7 November 2014

China, Japan take steps to bury hatchet after 3 years of dispute

China and Japan have reached an agreement on maintaining peace in the disputed chain of islands in the East China Sea after three years of war mongering. The agreement was reached in Beijing between China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi and the visiting National Security Advisor of Japan, Shotaro Yachi.

The new move may also pave the way for the first ever meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Cooperation summit next week.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Obama takes midterm hit (Result will not impact continuity in Sino-US ties)

The Republicans achieved sweeping midterm election wins on Tuesday, seizing control of the US Senate in a blow to President Barack Obama that will limit his political influence and curb his legislative agenda in his last two years in office, said analysts.

Republicans won in places where Democrats were favored, like a Senate race in North Carolina, pulled out victories where the going was tough, like a Senate battle in Kansas, and swept a number of governors' races in states where Democrats were favored, like Obama's home state of Illinois.

Monday 3 November 2014

West slams leadership votes in east Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not officially responded to the vote yet.

Pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk went to the polls to choose leaders for their self-proclaimed republics, bringing the rebellion in the country's industrialized east to a climax in a move likely to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis.

Alexander Zakharchenko, 38, a mining electrician-turned-rebel leader, on Monday won the election for leadership of the "Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)," the separatists' political and military stronghold in eastern Ukraine.

Friday 31 October 2014

UN Report: Thousands of Foreign Fighters Joining Extremist Groups

According to a U.N. report, an estimated 15,000 fighters from around the world have left their homes to join extremist groups operating in Iraq and Syria. It adds that actual numbers could be even higher...

The report, which was submitted to the U.N. Security Council by a panel that monitors al Qaeda and the Taliban, states that foreign fighters are joining the Islamic State and other extremist groups on "an unprecedented scale." They are coming mainly from the Middle East, Western Europe and North Africa, although there are also some Asians and a smaller number of Americans.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Russian FM statement on the implementation of the Minsk agreements on a settlement in Ukraine and elections in its southeastern regions

From the Official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (Statements and speeches):

Considering the ultimatum issued by Kiev and some Western capitals that elections not be held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, it would be logical to remind the following.
In accordance with the Minsk agreements reached in September this year by representatives of the President of Ukraine and the self-defence forces of southeastern Ukraine with the mediation of Russia and the OSCE, these elections can be held between 19 October and 3 November of this year.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Ukraine: Ban deplores planned holding of November ‘elections’ by rebel groups

UN, 29 October 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today deplored the planned holding by armed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine of their own “elections” on 2 November, calling the potential polls a “breach of the constitution and national law.”

“These ‘elections’ will seriously undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, which need to be urgently implemented in full,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Peshmerga fighters to deploy to Kobane with heavy weapons: Kurdish officials

An agreement regarding the route for the deployment of Peshmerga fighters to the besieged Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane has been reached and troops are on the verge of departing, officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) told Anadolu Agency on Oct. 28.

The spokesman of the KRG’s Peshmerga Ministry said discussions had dragged on because of negotiations regarding the heavy weaponry that the troops from Arbil will bring to assist Kurdish fighters in Kobane in their struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Monday 27 October 2014

EU politicians not unanimous over Ukraine's future after parliamentary elections

German government considers those elections an important step towards stability, whereas an Italian politician and journalist Giulietto Chiesa believes that stability in Ukraine is still very far away ...

MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Ukraine’s newly-elected parliament is unlikely to restore Ukraine to stability, Italian politician and journalist, Giulietto Chiesa, has told TASS.
“Stability is still very far away. Apparently, after the elections the prevailing presence of right-wing parties inside the Verkhovna Rada will be used as a pretext for an offensive (against Donetsk and Luhansk regions),” Chiesa said.

Friday 24 October 2014

Kerry Says US Concerned About Reports on IS Chlorine Usage in Iraq

WASHINGTON, October 24 – The United States takes the reports about chlorine attacks against Iraqi police officers by the Islamic State (IS) extremists very seriously, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

"I'm not in a position to confirm it, but we take these allegations very, very seriously. In particularly, the most recent allegations about the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon," Kerry said at a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Blackwater guards convicted in Iraq killings

Four former employees of the US security company Blackwater have been convicted of almost every charge related to the shootings of more than 30 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad seven years ago.
The jury in Washington found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder, and the three other ex-security guards - Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard - were convicted on Wednesday of committing multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.

Monday 20 October 2014

Déclaration du vice-Premier ministre et ministre des Affaires étrangères suite à la présence du navire de recherche turc Barbaros dans la ZEE chypriote

MAE Hellénique,  lundi, 20 octobre 2014:

«Malheureusement, la Turquie n’a pas entendu la voix de la communauté internationale, elle n’a pas entendu la voix de l’ONU et de l’Union européenne, elle n’a pas entendu la voix de la légalité internationale.

Son navire, le Barbaros, se trouve dans la zone économique exclusive et le plateau continental chypriote et tentera d’effectuer des recherches qui manifestement constituent une violation flagrante du droit international de la mer, car dans cette région la délimitation du plateau continental et de la zone économique exclusive de la République de Chypre n’est pas contestée.

Sunday 19 October 2014

UN agency ramps up for Gaza reconstruction push. (UNRWA has consistently called for the lifting of the blockade)

UN, 19 October 2014 – A week after a major conference in Cairo on the reconstruction of war-ravaged Gaza, and in the wake of recent visits to Gaza by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, the key UN agency on the ground there has begun scaling up its response to meet critical needs of people in the Strip.
In a press release, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced today that it is now focusing on providing food, water and sanitation services to over 40,000 displaced people in 18 of its installations, psycho-social support particularly for children, cash grants to the homeless for rent, as well as urgent repairs to 118 UNRWA installations, so that we can bring our services to full capacity.

Saturday 18 October 2014

В Калифорнии совершил посадку секретный беспилотный космический корабль ВВС США Х-37В

Экспериментальный беспилотный космический корабль ВВС США Х-37В совершил успешную посадку на военно-воздушной базе Ванденберг (США). Об этом сообщили представители базы. 

Космический корабль провел на орбите 674 дня, или 22 месяца. Ранее сообщалось, что миссия осуществлялась в интересах министерства обороны США. Аппарат был запущен в декабре 2012 года с помощью ракеты-носителя Atlas 5 с мыса Канаверал (штат Флорида).

Friday 17 October 2014

Israeli ministers denounce Kerry remarks on conflict

Two senior Israeli government ministers lashed out at US Secretary of State John Kerry on Oct. 17 over remarks he made linking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the growth of Islamic extremism.
"I respect John Kerry and his efforts but he keeps breaking new records in lack of understanding of our region and the essence of our disputes," Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said in an interview with Israeli public radio.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela elected to serve on UN Security Council

UN, 16 October 2014 – In three rounds of voting the United Nations General Assembly today elected Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for two-year terms beginning on 1 January 2015.
The new members will serve on the Council until 31 December 2016.
Angola Malaysia, Venezuela and New Zealand were elected in the first vote. The Assembly then held two rounds of restricted balloting to elect Spain to fill the remaining seat on the Council open to the Western European and Other States Group. Turkey was the other contender for that seat.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

82 Million Chinese Live on $1 per Day

Over 82 million of China’s residents are surviving on a daily income of $1 despite China's meteoric economic growth and rising export volumes, the Strait Time reports.

“The poverty-stricken population not only suffer from low income but also face various difficulties in getting drinking water, roads, electricity, education, medical care and loans,” said aChinese official Zheng Wenkai, cited by South China Morning Post.

According to the news source, poverty remains a ever present burden for most of the Chinese population. China's rural residents average 2,300 yuan ($368) a year or about $1 a day.

Monday 13 October 2014

Statements of Deputy PM and FM Venizelos and the FM of the Republic of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, following their meeting (Athens, 13 October 2014)

Hellenic MFA, Monday, 13 October 2014:

E. VENIZELOS: It is a great pleasure to welcome to Athens, to the Foreign Ministry, my dear old friend and colleague Ioannis Kasoulides, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus.

With Mr. Kasoulides we had the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting, followed by a meeting of the delegations under our direction. Thus, in two different phases we discussed in detailed depth the situation that has taken shape in Cyprus following the Turkish initiative, in violation of international law, of the declaration, through a NAVTEX, of the carrying out of exploration in maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus, in a region in which the Republic of Cyprus exercises its national sovereign rights; that is, in a region of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Sunday 12 October 2014

In Cairo, Ban urges parties to Gaza conflict to end "cycle of building and destroying"

UN, 12 October 2014 – On the next stop of his tour of North Africa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Egypt today at a conference on the reconstruction of Gaza urged all parties to last summer's war to address the root causes of the protracted conflict to prevent the “cycle of building and destroying” from becoming a ritual. “We are here to stand with the people of Gaza who have endured a terrible summer of suffering,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks to the Cairo Conference on Gaza attended by the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and several foreign ministers including of Egypt, and Norway.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Syrian rebels overrun intelligence base on Golan Heights used to spy on Israel

Syrian rebel forces fighting the government of President Bashar Assad overran a military intelligence base on the Golan Heights that served as a joint Russian-Syrian forward post for information-gathering on Israel.

In a four-minute video clip which was posted on the Internet by the rebels, Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in a building in Quneitra, just near the boundary between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

Friday 10 October 2014

Turkey to support training, equipping Syrian opposition, US says

WASHINGTON - Turkey has agreed to support the training and equipping of the moderate opposition in Syria, the US State Department said on Friday, saying a US military team would visit Ankara next week to discuss the matter.

"Turkey has agreed to support train-and-equip efforts for the moderate Syrian opposition," spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in describing a visit to Turkey by the two senior US officials responsible for building a coalition to fight the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Greek FM Accuses Turkey of Cyprus Negotiations Breakdown. Research ships escorted by two warships are beginning the exploration of mineral resources in the EEZ of Cyprus

Greece has accused Turkey of escalating tensions around Cyprus and undermining negotiations on settlement of the Cyprus issue, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a Thursday statement.

"Unfortunately, at the center ... is Turkey’s refusal to see that the Republic of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign state, a member of the UN and the European Union, that exercises sovereignty and sovereign rights, in accordance with international law.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Turkey: 18 killed in Kurdish protests

At least 18 people have been killed in pro-Kurdish protests in southeast Turkey, the Anadulo news agency reported on Wednesday.
The protesters were angry at Ankara’s lack of action to protect Kurdish population of the Syrian border town of Kobane from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Eight of the deaths came in Turkey’s main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir where the most intense rioting took place overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, a local security official told AFP.

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