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Sep 27, 2015

Spain : Independence Parties Win Majority in Catalan Parliament

The independence alliance Junts pel Si won 62 seats, which combined with fellow independence party CUP, with 10 seats, makes an absolute majority.

With over 96 percent of votes counted, pro-independence parties have achieved an absolute majority in Catalan parliament elections Sunday, paving the way for the Spanish region to start a possible unilateral process of secession from Madrid.

With all votes counted, independence alliance Junts pel Si won 62 seats, which combined with fellow independence party CUP, with 10 seats, makes an absolute majority.

However, although independence parties have won a majority of seats, in percentage they are lagging behind pro Spanish parties, who are up by about 4 percent.

An added complication is that although CUP supports separation from Madrid, the left-wing, socialist party which prioritizes environmental issues, has not officially pledged support to Junts pel Si if it is called upon to form a coalition.

Citizens, a moderate, non-independence party, are the second political force in Catalonia with 25 seats.

The Catalan branch of the left-wing PODEMOS, Si Que Es Pot, won 10 seats.

Turnout hit record levels for the vote considered crucial in deciding the future of Catalonia, at 77.21 percent.

Catalan president, Artur Mas, has said that the parliamentary election was a de facto independence plebiscite, and that an absolute majority would allow him to unilaterally declare independence within 18 months.

The independence movement faces fierce opposition from Madrid, which has threatened to withdraw Spanish nationality from Catalans, and manipulated a quote from European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker to read that an independent Catalonia would not be recognized by the European Union. The quote, mistranslated from English, in fact said that it was not a matter that the Commission would comment on. The vote may have reverberations in Spain’s general elections in December.

Source : Telesur

Sep 25, 2015

Russian Naval Flotilla Heading for Syria

A fleet of Russian warships is bound for the Eastern Mediterranean for drills off the coast of Syria, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday.

The flotilla, led by the Black Sea Fleet flagship — the guided missile cruiser Moskva — sailed from Sevastopol, Crimea on Thursday and is due to reach the exercise area late on Sunday.
 Also taking part in the drill will be the guided missile frigate Smetlivy and the Tapir-class landing ship Saratov as well as a variety of auxiliary ships.

They will join another frigate and a missile gunboat that had earlier transited out of the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

Civilian aircraft have already been warned to stay away from an area between Cyrpus and the Tartus Russian naval base in Syria.

During the exercise, to run into October, the sailors are to perform over forty different combat missions, including missile and artillery firings at surface and aerial targets, anti-ship and air defense as well as search-and-rescue activities and rendering assistance to a distressed vessel.

Source : SputnikNews

Sep 18, 2015

Russia Ends Production of Genetically Modified Food (GMO)

Russia's government has decided against producing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the country's Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Friday.

The deputy orime minister underscored the need to draw a "clear distinction" between this decision and science and research projects in fields such as medicine.

"As for genetically modified organisms, we have decided against the use of GMO in food production," Dvorkovich said.

A law requiring manufacturers to label products whose GMO content is higher than 0.9 percent has been in effect since 2007. On December 31, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a federal bill imposing fines up to $6,000 for violating the GMO labeling rule.


Sep 12, 2015

Hungary Will Seal Border With Serbia to Stop Refugees

The far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his government will not continue to provide relief to refugees and called upon Greece to watch its borders.

The Hungarian government deployed nearly four thousand troops to its border with Serbia on Saturday, after announcing Friday that it would seal its border starting next week.

Also on Saturday, far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban called on the European Union to give Syria's neighbors – Turkey and Lebanon – 3 billion in financial aid to help those displaced by the civil war.

The announcement made by Orban comes as the European Union is urging its member states to host thousands of refugees.

As Orban explained Friday that, starting next week, anyone trespassing into his country will be “immediately arrested.” The Hungarian government has also reinforced its border fence.

The soldiers sent to the border will also have the task to complete the 4-meter-high fence, which currently extends along parts of the border. The remaining parts are secured by coils of razor wire.

Hungary has been widely criticized for its mistreatment of thousands of refugees, mostly coming from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, fleeing from conflict in those countries.

“We will not courteously accompany them (refugees) as (we have been doing) until now,” Orban added, disregarding criticisms.

Hours before Orban's announcement, an online video emerged of crowds begging for food in a border camp, as police in surgical masks tossed them packs of sandwiches, an image many on social media compared to feeding animals.

Volunteers from neighboring Austria continue crossing into Hungary to provide relief for the refugees and drive them, after last week activist organized a social media campaign dubbed Convoy Budapest-Vienna.

However, on Friday, the Nickelsdorf-Mikloshalma border crossing in northern Hungary was closed by Austria’s motorway management company (Asfinag).

The closure only applies to vehicles, since the refugees are allowed to enter the country by foot.

Hungary has had to cope with the entry of around 2,000 to 3,000 refugees crossing its border this week.

Source : Telesur

Sep 9, 2015

Denmark Stops All Trains From Germany Amid Refugee Crisis

Denmark stopped all railway operations with Germany amid refugee crisis, Reuters reported citing statement of Denmark's state owned train operator DSB.

According to the Danish railway company DSB's statement all train service with Germany has been halted due to exceptional passport checks at the border.

Danish authorities undertook this measeure after the country's police stopped hundreds of refugees arriving by train from Germany.
 Hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North and Sub-Saharan Africa have been attempting to reach European countries as they flee violence at home.

Earlier on Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on EU member states to relocate 160,000 migrants throughout the bloc over the next two years.

Some 500,000 people have arrived in Europe since the beginning of 2015, many from Syria and Libya, Juncker said.

Source : SputnikNews

Sep 5, 2015

Expert Warns of Increasing ISIL Threat in Poland, Slams the West

Poland may face the ever-increasing number of those who back militants from the Islamic State group, according to Polish political scientist Konrad Rękas, who is also president of the European Center of Geopolitical Analysis.

In an interview with Sputnik, Konrad Rękas, Polish political scientist and head of the European Center of Geopolitical Analysis, predicted that the next few months may see the ever-increasing number of supporters of the Islamic State group in Poland.
 He accused Western countries of turning a blind eye to the fact that the Islamic State supporters acting in the Caucasus are being trained in Ukraine under the auspices of what he described as "the Kiev junta."

He also blamed the former Polish government for the growing Islamic State threat in his country.

"As for the growing emergence of Islamists in Poland (and this threat is imminent enough), all this is connected with the consequences of the foreign policy of former Polish governments," Rękas said.

He accused them of rendering "unquestioning political, military and financial support to the US' military interventions that destabilized the situation in the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin."

"We should also mention the fact that the former Polish government backed such a controversial act as the CIA prisons on Polish territory, which, in fact, was an open provocation against Muslims," Rękas said.

According to him, it is safe to say that the former governments' 'incorrect and anti-Polish foreign policy' added significantly to the current unstable security situation in Poland.
 Earlier, it was reported that a Polish jihadist militant took part in a suicide attack on a refinery in the Iraqi city of Baij in June, which left at least 11 people killed and 27 more injured.

Source : SputnikNews

Sep 2, 2015

Russia to Build Protective Fence on Border With Ukraine

The length of the fence is reported to reach 3.22 kilometers. The construction aims to prevent illegal activity on Russian-Ukrainian border.

Russia’s FSB border service released an online order for the construction of the protective fence on the most vulnerable spots of the state border in Russia’s Rostov region.

"The construction is designed to curb illegal activities on the state border," the service’s representative told RIA Novosti.

The maximum contract price will reach 9.9 million rubles (about $150 000). The work is expected to be completed by December 1, 2015.

Protective constructions on the Russia-Ukraine border have also been built in the past. Authorities created protective engineering constructions stretching 140 kilometers, including 100 kilometers of ditches and 40 kilometers of fences.
 Recently, the construction activities intensified amid an increase in attempts to smuggle arms and ammunition. They also serve to prevent illegal crossing of the state border by car.

The Ukrainian government announced earlier plans to build a modern powerful complex of fortifications on the border with Russia. Kiev is planning to implement the initiative in the course of three years, though experts doubt that Ukrainian authorities will meet the deadline due to the high cost of the project ($ 4 billion).

Source : SputnikNews

Sep 1, 2015

Hungary Shuts Down Railways to Stop Europe Refugee Migration

Officials forced the migrants out of the station Tuesday morning, even though many had already spent hundreds of dollars on tickets.

Hungary closed its main train station Tuesday in an attempt to block hundreds of refugees from continuing their migration further into Western Europe.

The move follows chaotic scenes at the Keleti Train Station station in Budapest Monday, when people were let onto the trains without visa checks, after they had been waiting and sleeping outside the station for weeks.

According to a government spokesperson, Hungarian officials are merely trying to enforce European Union law that requires all foreigners traveling within the Schengen zone – comprised of 26 European countries, including Hungary – to hold a valid passport and visa. 

The waiting refugees gathered outside the station after being forced out Tuesday morning chanting slogans such as “Freedom! Freedom!” demanding they be able to travel.

In many cases, they had already bought expensive tickets into Germany with set train departure times, but were still denied access to travel.

“I came here and they bought a ticket for three people to Munich It was €370.20 (US$417.00). My train was at 7am this morning and the police didn’t let me into the station, and after you see what happened,” said Rafir Kozma from Syria.

Others complained that the ticket salesperson had sold them expensive return journeys, only to be denied entry into the station on their departure day.

“Why have they sold us return tickets? We are refugees, we are one-way,” said Mohammed, who had travelled from Damascus, adding, “These people are thieves.”

The closure appeared to be motivated by other E.U. countries claiming to be overwhelmed by the influx of migrants, putting pressure on Hungary to slow the tides of people.

Thousands of refugees have been traveling through the Balkans over past weeks, after they arrived on Greece's islands via a dangerous crossing through the Mediterranean and ferried to the mainland by Greek officials.

The refugees have so far made their way west either by foot, bus or train from Greece, with many of them eying Germany as their final destination. So far they have encountered closed borders, violent border patrols, and been subjected to further human trafficking in their efforts to make it to western Europe by any means possible.

Most of the refugees are fleeing situations of poverty or violence in areas such as Syria and Afghanistan – ironically, areas where Europe has contributed to the ongoing conflicts.

Despite months of refugees arriving on the continent, European leaders have failed to develop a coordinated response to the issue, leaving each country to deal with it with their own means.

This has resulted in Macedonia declaring a state of emergency and sending the national guard to its border with Greece, Hungary building a barbed-wire fence along its border, and Austria reinforcing strict controls at its main border crossings – which normally means officials turn back to Hungary those without proper travel documents or who are not seeking asylum in Austria.

Truckers complained traffic was backed up for at least 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) Monday outside the Austrian border, due to the controls. Officials in Vienna said 3,650 migrants arrived Monday from Hungary via train, most of whom were continuing onto Germany.

Source : Telesur

Aug 25, 2015

Germany Moves to Ban GMO Seeds

Germany will invoke new legislation banning the growing of genetically modified crops in country – even those varieties that have been approved as being safe.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt plans to make use of new "opt-out" rules to stop GMO crop cultivation, a letter from the agriculture ministry seen by Reuters shows.

"The German government is clear in that it seeks a nationwide cultivation ban. There's resistance from all sides, from the public to the farmers," Agriculture Ministry Spokesman Christian Fronczak said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.

In March, a new EU law meant GMO crops could be approved. But the law also granted each country the right to opt out by banning GMOs even after they have been approved as safe by the European Commission.

Previously, when the EU approved crops as safe to produce they had to be permitted for cultivation in all EU states, Reuters reported.

In its letter, the Agriculture Ministry asked for the backing of state ministries. Germany gave state governments until September 11 to reply. If it hears no objections from the states, it will ask that companies exclude Germany from their applications to sell GMO seeds, Bloomberg reported.

Despite assertions by companies like Switzerland's Syngenta AG and US rival Monsanto Co. that the seeds are safe, GMO crops have divided opinion in Europe. England is among those in favor of them, while France and Germany are among those opposed. Scotland banned GMO crops under the new EU measures earlier this month.

The new EU rules give countries until October 3 to inform the Commission that they wish to opt out of new EU GMO cultivation approvals, according to the ministry letter.

Source : SputnikNews

International Creditors Plan to Forgive 20 Percent of Ukraine's Debt

Kiev has long campaigned for a group of international creditors to write off as much as 40 percent of Ukraine's sovereign debt but investors are reported to have agreed to a 20-percent haircut in a bid to fulfill the conditions of a $40 billion IMF bailout.

The sides are allegedly close to signing a restructuring agreement, although a formal announcement has yet to be made. The deal will mark a breakthrough for the talks that have been deadlocked for months.
 The agreement between the Ukrainian government and its private lenders could be inked by the end of this week, Elaine Moore, an expert on global debt, reported, citing a source close to the negotiations.

However, other sources familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that the deal could fall through since it has not been finalized. Ukraine's Finance Ministry maintains that talks are far from being over and "all options remain on the table."

Hole Lot Of Trouble
"There is no agreement yet, negotiations are still going on to meet the IMF targets. The government of Ukraine has taken no decision and all options remain on the table," the agency said in a statement.

The investors were initially strongly opposed to the deal saying the Ukraine government could repair the country's depressed economy without a major debt relief.

Ukraine has been edging economic collapse since the US-sponsored coup brought the current Kiev authorities to power. The country relies heavily on external financial assistance to breathe life into its stagnant economy, plagued by an ongoing civil war, mismanagement and corruption.

The Bank of America named Ukraine the world's third riskiest sovereign borrower, meaning the country could default on its debt.

Source : SputnikNews

Aug 21, 2015

Europe’s Horrific Mistreatment of Migrants, the Victims of United States’s Wars

Refugees fleeing war zones, persecution, or poverty and unemployment are the world’s least welcome people. America bears full responsibility for millions leaving Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Donbass and elsewhere – seeking safe havens in Europe or countries bordering their own.

Hungary deployed thousands of police to its border with Serbia. It’s “under attack (by) increasingly aggressive migrants,” according to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff. Around 130,000 arrived this year so far – triple 2014’s number.

Over 160,000 arrived in Greece – about 50,000 in the last month alone. Welcome mats don’t greet them. Conditions are deplorable.
Families sleep outside because of overcrowding.

Sanitation is lacking. Little medical care or nutritious food is available. Babies are given sugar water instead of milk.

A UNHCR report said 60 million people were forcibly displaced by end of 2014. Globally one in every 122 people are asylum seekers, refugees or internally displaced persons. More than half the world’s refugees are children.

Last month, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Greece’s Dodecanese Islands reception center is on the verge of collapse.
Thousands of migrants sleep outside or in abandoned buildings for lack of accommodations. They haven’t enough food, clean water, medical care, and basic sanitation.

In Kos, hundreds sleep on floors “amidst rubble and shattered glass in an overcrowded, dilapidated building.” MSF teams do their best “treating conditions linked to unhygienic living conditions, including scabies and skin infections.”

Desperately needed humanitarian aid isn’t available in amounts needed. MSF’s Stathis Kyroussis called the situation “a violation of Greece’s and the EU’s obligations toward asylum seekers and migrants…”

Given Athens’ struggling economy, it can’t cope on its own. Help from EU member states is needed. MSF’s Lesvos emergency coordinator said “(l)eaving people to fend for themselves in a field full of garbage or in an abandoned building where there is hardly any water or latrines is simply unacceptable and is putting people’s health at risk.”

Growing thousands needing shelter, toilets, organized food distribution, access to medical treatment and other essentials aren’t getting it.

Despite urgent calls for help, there’s been little or no improvement. Migrants are increasingly on their own to survive. Thousands perish at sea from drowning, starvation, thirst or weather conditions en route to safe havens. Arrivals don’t find it.

A July Amnesty International report said: “migrants heading for Europe fac(e) abuse and extortion in the Balkans…at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs…”

They’re abandoned by EU policymakers – left “trapped without protection Serbia and Macedonia…” Deplorable conditions await them wherever they arrive. According to AI’s Europe and Central Asia deputy director Gauri van Gulik:
“Refugees fleeing war and persecution make this journey across the Balkans in the hope of finding safety in Europe only to find themselves victims of abuse and exploitation and at the mercy of failing asylum systems.”
“Serbia and Macedonia have become a sink for the overflow of refugees and migrants that nobody in the EU seems willing to receive.”
Both countries “have to do much more to respect migrants and refugees’ rights. But it is impossible to separate the human rights violations there, from the broader pressures of the flow of migrants and refugees into and through the EU, and a failed EU migration system.”
“As increasing numbers of vulnerable refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants become trapped in a Balkan no-man’s land, the pressures on Serbia and Macedonia are mounting.”
“These stresses, like those on Italy and Greece, can only be resolved by a much broader rethink of EU migration and asylum policies.”
Migrants come from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey after arriving by sea, then to Greece followed by land travel to Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and other EU destinations.

They endure nightmarish conditions along the way and after arriving – including beatings, financial extortion and other abuses.

A previous article discussed Britain’s appalling centers for refugees and asylum seekers. They’re locked up indefinitely like criminals with no concern for their welfare or right of appeal. They endure torture and other forms of abuse.

Conditions are so bad, some migrants attempt suicide. Detainees are left to rot. Some give up in despair.

A separate article discussed Syria’s refugee crisis – the gravest since WW II, nearly half the nation’s population internally or externally displaced, fleeing Obama’s war to hellhole refugee camps, largely on their own with minimal lifeline help.

RT International interviewed Dr. David Isaacs. He faces possible prison for exposing Australia’s horrific mistreatment of migrants on Nauru island 3,300km northeast of Brisbane, he explained.
“I am breaking the law by talking to you about this, and I could even go to prison for doing this,” he said. “Anyone who works there – doctors, teachers, nurses – could go to prison for two years for telling the truth about what is happening.”
Things are so bad, he felt he had no choice. One young girl “tr(ied) to hang herself,” he said. Many children developed PTSD. Migrants endure “mental torture.” Conditions are hellish.

Letters written by children said they live in dirty tents, flooded during rainstorms. Officers “treat (them) like animals.”

Isaacs compared Nauru  detention centers to “prisons.” A former employee responsible for security speaking on condition of anonymity said waterboarding and other forms of torture are used.

A May Australian parliamentary inquiry found rampant child abuse. Many detainees complained of sexual assault. No one was held accountable. No changes in deplorable conditions were made.

Refugees and asylum seekers increasingly are unwanted – especially as their numbers grow exponentially from mostly US-devastated war-torn countries and others where they’re abused. The end of their long anguished nightmare is nowhere in sight.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at .  His new book as editor and contributor is entitled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Read more about his book hereYou can also visit his blog site here, where you will find hyperlinks to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio Network’s ’Progressive Radio News Hour’. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Source : GlobalResearch

Aug 20, 2015

Greece : Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Announces Resignation

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation on Thursday to open the possibility of early general elections.

Alexis Tsipras said that the January 25 mandate he received "had exhausted its limit, and now people should decide anew," adding that he "doubted the agreement with creditors was enough".
 Earlier on Thursday a source in the Greek government told Sputnik the decision to hold an early election was taken after more than 35 legislators voted against the third international bailout package.

By June 22, the Greek Government was forced to pass laws to fundamentally tighten Greece's legal and banking system. This was a precondition the troika demanded, because the Greek banking and regulatory system had been in need of reforms for decades.

However, Tsipras' party has been split over the conditions and he is under severe pressure at home from many who say he has given in to the hated Troika and has gone against the fundamental principle of his party, which is to fight against the tough austerity measures.

Many feel that the pension and tax reforms that Tsipras signed up to are too much and that other reforms — including shops opening on Sundays, longer opening hours, changes to pharmacy ownership, new milk and bakery rules and the sale of state assets, including ports and mass privatization — are a step too far.

His threat of a snap referendum could plunge Greece into another crisis, if the party goes against what Tsipras agreed with the troika in return for a third bailout.

Source : SputnikNews

Aug 14, 2015

Ukrainians Become Jehovah’s Witnesses to Avoid Conscription

Ukrainian men, who due to their age might get drafted into the army, are converting to being pacifist Jehovah’s Witnesses, TV Channel Zvezda reported.

To avoid the war in Donbass, Ukrainian men are abandoning their native faiths and converting to Jehovah's Witnesses must refrain from engaging in any kind of war.

"They [the draftees] come with statements that they can't serve, use weapons and don't want to violate human right," local news portal Ostrov Galichina said, citing words of Drafting Officer Ihor Sorokopud.

The sixth wave of mobilization was launched on June 18 in connection with Kiev's continuing military operation against Donbass independence militias. Three days are left until the end of the mobilization process.
 According to Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Petro Mekhed, there might be a seventh wave of mobilization.

The Ukrainian army suffered heavy desertion and nearly 30 percent of the servicemen called up during the first waves of mobilization abandoned their positions.

Ukrainian residents protested against the ongoing series of mobilization. Many travel to work abroad or reside at their relatives' in other countries. By the beginning of this summer, almost 1.3 million Ukrainian draftees lived in Russia. 

Source : SputnikNews

Aug 3, 2015

Greek Shares Collapse as Exchange Market Reopens

Greece's four major banks, Piraeus Bank, National Bank, Alpha Bank, and Eurobank, suffered the biggest losses after the Athens Stock Exchange opened for the first time in five weeks.

The Athens Stock Exchange lost 22.87 percent after the market opened for the first time in five weeks, the BBC said on Monday.

Greece's four major banks, Piraeus Bank, National Bank, Alpha Bank, and Eurobank, suffered the biggest losses, falling on average by 30 percent each, according to the news outlet.

The five-week suspension was instituted to prevent the Greek banking system from collapsing.
 Greece's total state debt currently stands at $350 billion, of which some $270 billion is owed to its main international creditors, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and some eurozone countries.

Greece is currently negotiating a third bailout package, worth $95-billion, to be granted to the country by its international creditors over the next three years in exchange for economic reforms. The talks are expected to last until August 12.

Source : SputnikNews

Aug 1, 2015

Ukraine : Kiev’s Self-Rule Plan for Donbass Violates Minsk Agreements

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has approved constitutional changes that give more power and functions to regional and local governments and grant limited powers of self-governance to parts of the country’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Poroshenko submitted the bill to parliament on July 15 under pressure from Western leaders to grant those areas some self-rule power as promised in February's cease-fire deal that was agreed in Minsk.
 However, the proposed constitutional amendments are starkly at variance with the spirit of the Minsk accords as they do not provide for any special status for Donbass.

The Verhovna Rada must now pass the measures before the President signs them into law.

The bill needs to receive the votes of 226 MPs in the first reading, and the votes of at least 300 MPs at the next session, leading to the adoption of the constitutional amendments.

According to the draft amendments, "a special law will regulate peculiarities of local self-government” in the districts which are being held by independence supporters in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

However, the President can now suspend the work of these self-government bodies whenever he feels necessary. Moreover, Petro Poroshenko has made it clear that no special status will be granted to these areas.

The independence supporters in Donbass, meanwhile, insist that a special status of the districts they control must be mentioned in the constitution.

Source : SputnikNews

Jul 23, 2015

United Kingdom : Leaked Docs Prove MI5 Covered Up for Pedophiles Among Thatcher Government

Britain’s MI5 security service covered up for pedophile members of the UK government under then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to avoid political embarrassment, local media reported Thursday, citing a recently unsealed trove of Cabinet files.

The documents, reportedly found among unsorted papers stored by the Cabinet Office, indicate that in 1986 head of MI5 at that time Antony Duff informed Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong that an unnamed senior Tory lawmaker had a "penchant for small boys," the Times newspaper reported.

Duff wrote that they had accepted the parliamentarian’s denial on the grounds that "the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger," the letter continued.

The government admitted the existence of the papers after months of requests from Sky News, a British TV station.
 The station had named several key Westminster figures who were allegedly embroiled in the child sexual abuse scandal. These included Thatcher's Parliamentary Private Secretary Peter Morrison, Home Secretary Leon Brittan, diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and Northern Ireland minister William van Straubenzee. All four have since passed away.

Sky News cited a spokesman from a children rights lobby group, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSCC), who said the disclosure showed how people at the highest levels of government "simply weren't thinking about crimes against children."

Source : SputnikNews

Russian Navy Permanently Deploys 10 Ships in Mediterranean

Up to 10 warships and support vessels are permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Alexander Vitko told reporters on Thursday in Sevastopol.

Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Alexander Vitko commented on the deployment:

"Since the end of 2012, an average of 10 ships and auxiliary vessels from the Black Sea, Baltic and Northern fleets are permanently in the Mediterranean Sea, but the command of the permanently deployed Navy in this region is carried by the Black Sea Fleet and the burden of performing the tasks of this group lies namely on this fleet's warships and auxiliary vessels," Vitko said.

Source : SputnikNews

Jul 19, 2015

Europe : Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold discovered in picturesque European village in Bosnia-Hercegovina

Picturesque: Land in Osve in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Europe, is being bought by ISIS fighters, it has been claimedIslamic State militants have established a stronghold in a picturesque village in mainland Europe where everyone is 'ready to respond to the summons to jihad (holy war)', it has been revealed.

Land in Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina, is being bought by ISIS fighters and security services believe the area is used to train terrorists.

The discovery comes after the mountain village of Gornja Maoca in the country, where residents fly the notorious ISIS flag, was raided by police.
Picturesque: Land in Osve in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Europe, is being bought by ISIS fighters, it has been claimed

A terrorism expert said a large number of people are going to fight in Syria from Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina
A terrorism expert said a large number of people are going to fight in Syria from Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina

Isolated: The area in Bosnia-Hercegovina is believed to have been used to train terrorists who then head to Syria to fight
Isolated: The area in Bosnia-Hercegovina is believed to have been used to train terrorists who then head to Syria to fight
According to Patrick Hill and Ed Wight at the Sunday Mirror, at least 12 jihadis trained in Osve and travelled to Syria in recent months. Five have reportedly been killed.

A number of high-profile terrorists are said to have bought land and properties in the area.

Terrorism expert Dzevad Galijasevic told the Sunday Mirror that a large number of people are going to Syria from the village, which he describes as the source of a major terror threat.

'There is no one there who isn’t ready to respond to the summons to jihad,' he added.

However, radical Muslims are a minority in Bosnia, which has a mostly moderate and secular Muslim population. 

However some youngsters have embraced the ideas of the puritanical Sunni Wahhabi sect.

Land in Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina, is being bought by ISIS fighters. The discovery comes after the mountain village of Gornja Maoca in the country was raided by police
Land in Osve, Bosnia-Hercegovina, is being bought by ISIS fighters. The discovery comes after the mountain village of Gornja Maoca in the country was raided by police

The recognisable Islamic State flag is displayed at the entrance to Gornja Maoca in Bosnia-Hercegovina
The recognisable Islamic State flag is displayed at the entrance to Gornja Maoca in Bosnia-Hercegovina

The distinctive ISIS flag adorns buildings in Gornja Maoca, which is home to followers of the radical Wahhabi movement
The distinctive ISIS flag adorns buildings in Gornja Maoca, which is home to followers of the radical Wahhabi movement

Gornja Maoca (pictured) is home to Bosnian followers of Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam
Gornja Maoca (pictured) is home to Bosnian followers of Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam

In April, Bosnia introduced jail terms of up to 10 years for citizens who fight or recruit fighters for conflicts abroad. 

In September, Bosnian police detained 16 people on charges of financing terrorist activities, recruiting and fighting for radical groups in Syria and Iraq, authorities said.

The arrests were made in 17 raids across the Balkan country. Television footage showed police making arrests in Gornja Maoca.

Militant Islam was all but unknown to Bosnia's mostly secular Muslim population until the 1990s Balkans wars when Arab mercenaries turned up to help the outgunned Bosnian Muslims fend off Serb attacks. 

These fighters, many of whom settled in Bosnia, embraced a radical version of Islam that Bosnia's official Islamic community opposes.

Source : DailyMail

Jul 15, 2015

Violent Riot Outside Greek Parliament as Leaders Vote on EU Bailout

As the Greek parliament considers the controversial EU bailout plan, violent protests have erupted in the capital.

Greek MPs are expected to approve an 86 billion euro bailout deal which would come with an increased retirement age for Greek citizens and increased tax rates.

Nearly 12,500 people are believed to be participating in the anti-austerity rally in Syntagma Square. Journalists on the scene reported pepper spray and tear gas being released by riot police against protesters who were throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks.

Over 50 people have been detained, Mega TV reported.

Protests began as a general strike with at least 10 separate protests occurring across Athens, largely expressing their frustrations with the new bailout terms approved by eurozone leaders earlier this week. Demonstrators are calling for Greek leaders to reject the bailout and negotiate for better terms from creditors.

According to Greece's Skai TV, a journalist who was covering the riots in Syntagma Square was wounded, sustaining an injury to his leg.

"It may pass through parliament," Greek energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said in a statement, referring to the bailout proposal. "But the people will never accept it and they will be united in their fight against it."

Anti-austerity protesters clash with riot police during a rally in Athens, Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Anti-austerity protesters clash with riot police during a rally in Athens, Wednesday, July 15, 2015
 
Riot police is on fire as anti-austerity protesters throw petrol bombs during clashes in Athens, Wednesday, July 15, 2015.
Riot police is on fire as anti-austerity protesters throw petrol bombs during clashes in Athens, Wednesday, July 15, 2015.
 
On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the bailout package "irrational," but has nevertheless been lobbying parliament to approve the proposal to prevent Greece's exit from the eurozone.
 
Austerity measures would include a top VAT rate of 23% to take in processed foods, 13% rate to cover fresh food, energy bills, and water, and a 6% rate for medicines and books. It would also raise the corporate tax rate from 26% to 29% and implement a luxury tax on cars, boats, and swimming pools.

Over half of the members of the central committee of the ruling Syriza party signed a statement condemning the bailout, saying it amounted to a coup against Greece by European leaders.

Source : SputnikNews

Jul 13, 2015

Another High-Ranking Ukraine Official, Sergei Kucheruk, Switches to Donetsk Republic

The first deputy of the pro-Kiev Donetsk regional department of justice head has resigned and switched to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). This is not the first time Ukrainian officials come over Donetsk opposition forces lately.

“I’ve decided to quit Ukraine’s justice bodies as I do not support actions of the government stirring up the war hysteria. I have a peaceful profession, and it bars both war propaganda and participation in warfare,” former Ukrainian official Sergei Kucheruk, said today at a press conference in Donetsk.

The official, whose relatives live in Donetsk, said he was waiting for “the government to adequately start to deal with the ongoing conflict,” but he never saw this happen.

“People keep dying, it’s awful, it’s unacceptable,” he added.
Sergei Kucheruk also confirmed he is ready to work for DPR.

Earlier this year, there was a wave of Ukraine officials who had jumped ship. Major-general of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and ex-adviser of the minister of defense Alexander Kolomiyets joined the Donetsk People’s Republic on June 22.

Earlier the former head of Ukraine’s Lugansk customs, Oleh Chernousov, switched sides to join the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Brothers Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko, the first serving with the Ukrainian foreign intelligence service (SZRU) and the latter at the Ukrainian embassy in France, also moved to Lugansk in June, owing their transition to them being “unable to tolerate the strangle of traitors, foreign security service agents, fascists and nationalists in the government,” according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Source : SputnikNews

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