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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Turkey’s ISIL mandate includes 'military action abroad, opening bases to foreign troops'

The mandate the Turkish government is seeking from the Parliament to authorize the army to send troops into Iraq and Syria to deal with growing threat of extremist jihadists does also include opening its bases to foreign troops, a senior government official has said, signalling about potential Turkish contribution to the international military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The motion we are about to send the Parliament is going to be comprehensive and to deal today’s and tomorrow’s threats,” deputy Prime Minister and spokesperson of the government, Bülent Arınç told reporters Sept. 30 following weekly cabinet meeting.

Monday 29 September 2014

US-led airstrikes fail to deter ISIS advance

US-led coalition air raids targeted areas in Syria controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group Monday, but the group continue to advance on the strategic town of Kobani.

Washington and its Arab allies opened their air assault against the Islamic State extremist group last week, going after its military facilities, training camps, heavy weapons and oil installations. The campaign expands upon the airstrikes the United States has been conducting against the militants in Iraq since early August.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Catalan president announces independence referendum

 Catalan President Artur Mas has signed a decree calling for an independence referendum on November 9, defying the Spanish national government’s vow to halt such a vote.

Mas said on Saturday that semi-autonomous Catalonia wanted to "vote and decide."

Calls for an independence vote have grown in the wake of fiscal crisis that hit Spain and led to austerity measures.

Friday 26 September 2014

Abbas at UNGA: Israel perpetrated genocide in Gaza, we won't forget or forgive

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of conducting a "war of genocide" during the 50-day summer conflict in Gaza but stopped short of saying he will pursue war crime charges against Jerusalem at the International Criminal Court...

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Abbas also said he will seek a UN resolution to set a deadline for Israel to pull out of Palestinian lands captured in the 1967 war. He did not, however, include a three-year deadline as his aides had said he would, evidently due to concerns that the U.S. would veto such a resolution, Palestinian officials told Haaretz. 

Thursday 25 September 2014

G-7 Foreign Ministers' Joint Statement on Ukraine (U.S. State Department)

Office of the Spokesperson, New York City, September 25, 2014:
The text of the following statement was released by the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and High Representative of the European Union:

Wednesday 24 September 2014

China, Japan restart maritime talks. (Chinese FM)

China and Japan have restarted high-level consultations on maritime affairs, according to a press release issued by the Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday.

A meeting was held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, with Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Makita Shimokawa, deputy director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, as the chief representatives from both sides.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Obama vows more strikes on ISIL in Syria. (the US is not fighting alone)

US President Barack Obama has said that the participation of five Arab nations in Syria airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters "makes it clear to the world this is not America's fight alone".
In a short statement on Tuesday, hours after the first US-led airstrikes hit the group's headquarters in eastern Syria, Obama vowed to continue the fight, which he said was vital to the security of the United States, the Middle East and the world.

Monday 22 September 2014

US, EU interference in other countries’ affairs unacceptable (Russia's ambassador to OSCE)

US and EU interference in other countries’ affairs is unacceptable, Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said on Monday.

“The US claims to be monitoring the human rights situation in other countries, which no one has asked it to do. At the same time, it cannot solve its own human rights problems. Unlike other countries, the US has not expanded its participation in international treaties and conventions over the past several years,” Kelin said at the Warsaw Human Dimension Session of the 2014 OSCE Review Conference.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ahead of summit, UN Headquarters complex becomes canvas inspiring action on climate change...

UN, 20 September 2014 – In the lead-up to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Climate Summit, the United Nations lit up its iconic Headquarters complex in New York with a spectacular 30-story architectural projection show aimed to inspire global citizens to take climate action.

Entitled “illUmiNations: Protecting Our Planet”, and organized in partnership with the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) and Obscura Digital, the projections were shown on the white marble west facade of the UN General Assembly Hall and north facade of the Secretariat building from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday evening.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Parties at Minsk Talks Agree on Memorandum Regulating Ukrainian Ceasefire Implementation (MINSK MEMORANDUM, 20.09.14)

Kiev authorities and pro-independence fighters in southeastern Ukraine have agreed on complete ceasefire, establishment of the buffer zone, withdrawal of heavy weapons away from the contact line on both sides, and deployment of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission.

Early Saturday morning parties at the talks in Minsk – Russia, Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – aligned positions and formulated a memorandum of nine provisions that will regulate the implementation of a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and independence supporters in eastern Ukraine. Leonid Kuchma, former Ukrainian president representing the country at the talks, read out the provisions of the memorandum at the conclusion of the talks.

Friday 19 September 2014

Ukraine: UN political chief says adverse security conditions hampering full access to crash site

 UN, 19 September 2014 – Two months after the crash of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine that killed 298 people on board, the top United Nations political official updated the Security Council on developments related to the investigation of the incident.

“While the cease-fire in south-eastern Ukraine, thus far, is holding, contributing to a marked de-escalation on the ground, the conditions are still not conducive for investigators to have full and unfettered access to the site,” said Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

No matter the outcome, ‘Scotland will never be the same again’

Just a day before Scotland votes on the most important decision to face the country in centuries, people in the capital Edinburgh, like the rest of the UK, await the outcome of the referendum with a tangible mix of hope, fear, and apprehension.

In the historic city’s bustling pubs and cafés, the talk is of little else. Local radio and TV coverage is blanket, and tabloid headlines scream from newsagent windows. Hardly a wall in the capital isn’t covered with the now iconic “yes” and “no” posters, and on each of the capital’s cobbled streets are enthusiastic campaigners brandishing placards for both the rival camps.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

US to strike ISIL 'sanctuaries' in Syria

US plans to carry out air strikes against Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL) fighters in Syria and will target the group's sanctuaries, command centres and logistic networks, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel has told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"This plan includes targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control, logistics capabilities, and infrastructure," Hagel told the Committee on Tuesday.
But the US military's top-ranking officer, General Martin Dempsey, told the same hearing that the bombing would not resemble the large-scale raids that accompanied the start of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

Monday 15 September 2014

Cameron warns of 'painful divorce' for Scotland

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would be "utterly heartbroken" if Scotland votes to leave the UK.
Mr Cameron issued a warning that Thursday's referendum is a "once and for all" decision as he made a last-ditch trip north to urge voters to save the union.
Speaking in Aberdeen, the prime minister warned that if Scots vote for independence it would result in a "painful divorce".

He said: "On Thursday, Scotland votes, and the future of our country is at stake.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Already fragile ceasefire under strain in east Ukraine

Fighting flared near an airport in eastern Ukraine in breach of a fragile eight-day ceasefire as the prime minister accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of planning to destroy his country.
Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said only membership of NATO would enable Ukraine to defend itself from external aggression.

Friday 12 September 2014

Russia slams US sanctions, says counter-measures 'won't take long'

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has slammed the latest round of US sanctions over Ukraine as “another hostile move.” Moscow said that this will not change the country’s position, and added that imposing “counter-sanctions will not take long.”
The Foreign Ministry accused the US of adopting a confrontational course toward Russia.
It’s the US that is banking on the escalation of Ukraine’s internal conflict and pressing Russia with sanctions,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that this comes after a ceasefire has been reached in eastern Ukraine at huge effort and there is a hope for a dialogue between the rebel forces and Kiev.
"Of course our retaliatory measures will not keep you waiting, but this is a forced measure," the online statement said.

Thursday 11 September 2014

New anti-Russian sanctions will not be left without proper reaction from Moscow (FM)

New anti-Russian sanctions will not be left without proper reaction from Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday after the EU adopted a new package of anti-Russian sanctions.

The European Union seems to have made its choice against peace settlement for the crisis in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Peace means dignity, well-being for all, not just absence of war – (UN officials)

UN, 9 September 2014 – Underscoring that peace is more than just the absence of war, United Nations officials today stressed the need for concerted efforts to achieve the common vision of a life of dignity and well-being for all. 

“We know that peace cannot be decreed solely through treaties – it must be nurtured through the dignity, rights and capacities of every man and woman,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace, convened by the General Assembly. “It is a way of being, of interacting with others, of living on this planet.”

Monday 8 September 2014

Neue Sanktionen gegen Russland - EU gibt Moskau mehr Zeit

Die EU verzögert die Anwendung verschärfter Russland-Sanktionen um einige Tage. Zwar hatten die EU-Staaten am Freitag eine grundsätzliche Entscheidung dazu getroffen. Auch genehmigten die EU-Staaten das Paket grundsätzlich, teilte EU-Ratspräsident Herman Van Rompuy mit. Aber mit der Inkraftsetzung solle noch gewartet werden. "Dies wird uns Zeit geben für eine Beurteilung der Umsetzung der Waffenstillstands-Vereinbarung und des Friedensplans." Mit Blick auf die Situation in der Ostukraine sei die EU bereit, die vereinbarten Sanktionen ganz oder teilweise noch einmal zu überdenken. Diplomaten zufolge sollen die EU-Botschafter am Mittwoch erneut beraten.

Sunday 7 September 2014

Figurines From Ancient Greek Tomb Called Major Discovery

Amphipolis. -Archeologists have unearthed two sculpted female figures, known as Caryatids, as they slowly make their way into an ancient tomb recently discovered in Greece's northeast, the country's culture ministry said on Sunday. They mark a significant new finding in the tomb on the Amphipolis site, about 100 km (65 miles) from Greece's second-biggest city Thessaloniki, which archeologists have hailed as a major discovery from the era of Alexander the Great.
The figures made of Greek marble were unearthed on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.

Saturday 6 September 2014

NATO stages major military exercise in Latvia after Wales summit

RIGA - NATO staged a major military exercise in Latvia on Saturday in a practical demonstration of NATO leaders' commitment to defend its Baltic member states in the face of an assertive Russia.
A NATO meeting in Wales on Friday agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to step up exercises in eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Allies in the Baltics fear Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the same rationale as he used to explain intervention in Crimea - defending Russian speakers - to justify an attack against one of the NATO countries in the Baltics, which also have Russian-speaking minorities.

Friday 5 September 2014

Poroshenko and militia leaders order to cease fire in Ukraine

The press service of the President of Ukraine said that Petro Poroshenko ordered the Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to cease fire starting from 18:00 local time (19:00 MSK), on September 5.

"Based on the appeal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the leaders of illegal armed formations in the Donbass to cease fire, on the base of the protocol signed at the meeting of the trilateral contact group to implement the peace plan of the President of Ukraine, I herewith order the Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to cease fire starting from 18:00 on September 5," said Poroshenko.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

EU prepares to toughen sanctions on Russia

BRUSSELS. -The European Union is preparing to increase sanctions against Russia unless President Vladimir Putin decides to pull Russian troops out of Ukraine, according to the EU Commission on Wednesday.
"European Commission has adopted proposals for consideration by EU member states to take significant further steps," EU Commission spokeswoman, Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, said Wednesday in a statement.
The European Union aims to strike the most important sectors of the Russian economy, including the oil and defense sectors.

Monday 1 September 2014

Ukraine's troops retreat from vital airport. (NATO membership)

Ukraine's military has pulled its forces back from defending a vital airport in the east against what is decribed as a column of Russian tanks, as President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of "direct and open aggression".
The withdrawal from the civilian airport outside the city of Luhansk was the latest in a string of reverses for Ukrainian forces fighting pro-Russian separatists who Kiev says have the direct support of hundreds of Russian troops and armour.

An army statement on Monday said Ukrainian paratroopers were engaging a Russian tank battalion near the airport.

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