Home Authors Posts by Roy Siemens

Roy Siemens

2119 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
Roy likes politics. Knowledge is power, Roy constantly says, so he spends nearly all day gathering information and writing articles about the latest events around the globe. He likes history and studying about war techniques, this is why he finds writing his articles a piece of cake. Another hobby of his is horse – riding.

A Saudi intelligence officer ordered dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has concluded.

The intelligence officer was tasked with persuading Jamal Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia, a spokesman said.

Jamal Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after a struggle in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, he added.

The Gulf kingdom’s public prosecutor has charged 11 people over the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

Their cases have been referred to a court while investigations into another 10 people suspected of involvement continue.

Meanwhile, the US treasury department imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials who it said had “targeted and brutally killed” Jamal Khashoggi, who lived and worked in the US, and had to “face consequences for their actions”.

They included Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who the treasury department alleged was “part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder; Maher Mutreb, who it said had “coordinated and executed” the operation; and Mohammed Alotaibi, the Istanbul consul-general.

According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the sanctions were “an important step in responding to Khashoggi’s killing” and vowed to “continue to seek all relevant facts, consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved”.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Canada Confirms It Heard Murder Tape

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Turkey Shared Murder Tapes With Key Foreign Nations

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Saudi Arabia Admits Journalist Was Murdered

Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed in Consulate Fight, Saudi Arabia Says

At a news conference in Riyadh on November 15, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan said Jamal Khashoggi’s body was dismembered inside the consulate after his death.

The body parts were then handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the grounds, he added. A composite sketch of the collaborator has been produced and investigations are continuing to locate the remains.

The prosecutor did not identify any of those charged with the murder.

However, Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaane said investigations had “revealed that the person who ordered the killing was the head of the negotiations team” sent to Istanbul by deputy intelligence chief Gen Ahmed al-Assiri to force Jamal Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia from his self-imposed exile.

“[The crown prince] did not have any knowledge about it,” the prosecutor insisted.

Crown Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, has denied any role in what he has called a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”.

However, critics believe it is highly unlikely the crown prince would not have been aware of the operation.

Several of the 21 people arrested over the murder have been seen in his security detail in the past. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani have also been sacked over the incident.

The prosecutor said Saud al-Qahtani had been banned from travelling and remained under investigation, but he did not say what had happened to Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government” but that he does not believe King Salman gave it.

On November 15, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that some of the statements by the Saudi deputy public prosecutor were “unsatisfactory”.

Turkish officials have alleged that the 15 Saudi agents who flew to Istanbul in the hours before the murder, one of whom is believed to have been a forensic pathologist working for the Saudi interior ministry, were carrying a bone saw.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has confirmed that his country’s intelligence has heard an audio recording of the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He said: “Canada has been fully briefed up on what Turkey had to share.”

PM Trudeau is the first Western leader to confirm his country has listened to the purported tape of the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

On November 10, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he had given copies to the US, UK, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia.

“We gave them the tapes,” he told reporters before flying to Paris for a gathering of world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

“They’ve also listened to the conversations, they know it.”

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Turkey Shared Murder Tapes With Key Foreign Nations

Jamal Khashoggi Case: Saudi Arabia Admits Journalist Was Murdered

Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed in Consulate Fight, Saudi Arabia Says

However, the US has not said whether it has received a tape and France’s foreign minister has said it is not in possession of one as far as he is aware.

Saudi Arabia has admitted a team of agents murdered Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic who was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing for the Washington Post, and it has arrested 18 people allegedly involved.

At a news conference in Paris on November 12, PM Justin Trudeau said Canadian intelligence agencies had been working very closely with Turkey on the murder investigation.

He added: “I had a conversation with Erdogan a couple of weeks ago over the phone. Here in Paris we had brief exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation.”

When asked whether Canada had heard the purported audio recordings, PM Trudeau said “yes”. But he added that he had not listened to them personally.

According to recent reports, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s spy service, travelled to Turkey to discuss the investigation and listened to the recording.

The director then briefed PM Trudeau and other Canadian officials on his visit to Turkey.

Justin Trudeau sidestepped a question about whether such evidence would have consequences for Canada’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“We are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to the next steps with regard Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Justin Trudeau has faced calls to cancel a $13 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for tanks and armored fighting vehicles built by an Ontario-based unit of the American firm General Dynamics.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada are already strained. In August, Saudi Arabia accused Canada of violating its sovereignty and froze new trade after Canadian officials called for the release of detained civil society and women’s rights activists.

On November 12, Turkey reacted angrily after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian contradicted President Erdogan’s assertion that France had received an audio recording from the consulate and accused the Turkish leader of playing “political games”.

Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 2 television: “The truth isn’t out yet. We want to know the truth, the circumstances of his death and the identity of the culprits. Then we will take the necessary actions.

“If the Turkish president has information to give us, he must give it to us. For now, I don’t know about it.”

Asked if that meant President Erdogan was lying, the foreign minister replied: “It means that he has a political game to play in these circumstances.”

The Turkish presidency’s communications director called the comments “unacceptable” and insisted a representative of French intelligence had listened to the tape on October 24.

Fahrettin Altun told AFP: “If there is miscommunication between the French government’s various agencies, it is up to the French authorities – not Turkey – to take care of that problem.”

0

Commemorations took place around the world on November 11 to mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended WWI.

President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, were among those who attended a service beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

About 70 world leaders gathered in Paris on November 11 for remembrance events.

French President Emmanuel Macron led the main event of the centenary – a somber commemoration at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to France’s fallen under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Image source kremlin.ru

WWI centenary: World leaders and royals attend UK and Belgium events

Bosnia marks centenary of WWI spark in Sarajevo

Armenian genocide: Turkey offers condolences for WWI mass killings

President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a peace conference – the Paris Peace Forum – with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On November 10, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel visited the town of Compiègne in northern France. They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.

President Donald Trump caused controversy by canceling a trip to a cemetery for the war dead because of bad weather.

A group of around 50 activist organizations held a demonstration in Paris in protest against President Trump’s visit.

0

President Donald Trump wants to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran removed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The White House said it was “the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed” on Tehran. The sanctions target both Iran and states that trade with it.

However, temporary waivers will be granted to eight countries to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the move “disgraced” US prestige and liberal democracy.

He tweeted on November 3: “The challenge between the US and Iran has lasted for 40 years so far and the US has made various efforts against us: military, economic and media warfare.”

“This new US president has disgraced the remnant of America’s prestige,” he said, adding that “America today is far weaker”, suggesting that US military power was beginning to “wane and deteriorate”.

The sanctions will be reintroduce on Monday, November 5.

President Donald Trump Pulls US Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron Discuss New Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Meanwhile, EU states that backed the nuclear deal have said they will protect EU companies doing “legitimate” business with Iran.

President Trump withdrew from the agreement in May, describing it as “defective at its core” because it had not stopped Iran developing a ballistic missile program and intervening in neighboring countries.

The president tweeted after the announcement: “Sanctions are coming,” referencing the TV series Game of Thrones and its motto “Winter is coming”.

The US has been gradually re-imposing sanctions, but analysts say this move is the most important because it targets the core sectors of Iran’s economy.

The agreement saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

The US sanctions will cover shipping, shipbuilding, finance and energy.

More than 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft will be put on the sanctions list, including major banks, oil exporters and shipping companies.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that the Brussels-based Swift network for making international payments was expected to cut off links with targeted Iranian institutions.

Being disconnected from Swift would almost completely isolate Iran from the international financial system.

They are the second lot of sanctions re-imposed by President Trump since May.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set out 12 demands that Iran must meet if sanctions are to be lifted – including ending support for militants and completely ballistic missile development.

Mike Pompeo did not name the eight countries that been granted waivers to continue importing Iranian oil.

The secretary said the eight had “demonstrated significant reductions in their crude oil and co-operation on many other fronts”. Two would eventually stop imports and the other six greatly reduce them, he added.

US allies such as Italy, India, Japan and South Korea are among the eight, the Associated Press reports. Turkey also obtained a waiver, Reuters says.

All have been have been top importers of Iranian oil.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told state TV that Iran had “the knowledge and the capability to manage the country’s economic affairs”.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Saudi Arabia has admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and blamed his killing on a “rogue operation”, giving a new account of an act that sparked a global outcry.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News “the murder” had been a “tremendous mistake” and denied the powerful crown prince had ordered it.

Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Saudi government, under intense pressure to explain Jamal Khashoggi’s whereabouts, has offered conflicting accounts.

They initially said Jamal Khashoggi had left the consulate on October 2 – but on October 19 admitted for the first time he was dead, saying he had been killed in a fight. This claim met widespread skepticism.

Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed in Consulate Fight, Saudi Arabia Says

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: President Trump Suggests Rogue Killers to Blame

Jamal Khashoggi: Secretary Mike Pompeo Meets King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: Turkish Officials Have Evidence Proving Saudi Murder

Turkish officials believe the journalist, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the building and say they have evidence to prove it.

Adel al-Jubeir’s comments, describing the incident as murder, are some of the most direct to come from a Saudi official.

He said: “We are determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.”

“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he added.

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

Adel al-Jubeir also said that Saudi Arabia did not know where the body was and insisted the action had not been ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as the country’s most powerful figure.

“Even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware of this,” he said, calling it a “rogue operation”.

However, Yeni Safak, a media outlet close to Turkey’s government, says it has information showing that the office of the crown prince received four phone calls from the consulate after the killing.

On October 21, Reuters reported it had spoken to a Saudi official who said Jamal Khashoggi had died in a chokehold after resisting attempts to return him to Saudi Arabia. His body was then rolled in a rug and given to a local “co-operator” to dispose of.

A Saudi operative then reportedly donned Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and left the consulate.

0

Image source YouTube

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge – the world’s longest sea bridge and tunnel linking Hong Kong to mainland China via Macau – is set to open on October 22, years late.

Stretching more than 34 miles, the bridge spans the Pearl River Delta and is an unparalleled engineering feat.

From end to end, including its two link roads, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau  (HZMB) is about 20 times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

The bridge’s structure is designed to withstand earthquakes, the seasonal typhoons which tear through the region and accidental ship strikes.

To allow ships to continue passing through the estuary, the bridge plunges underwater for 4 miles midway, via two artificial islands.

The project also crosses the flight path of Hong Kong’s international airport. That meant engineers had to stay within a strict height limitation.

Construction on the project began in 2009 but has been marred by delays and safety concerns. It has repeatedly overshot its budget, ultimately costing more than $20 billion.

Europe Bridge: World’s Longest Hanging Bridge Opens near Zermatt

Vladimir Putin Inaugurates Kerch Strait Bridge Between Russia and Crimea

World’s Highest and Longest Glass Bridge to Open in China

The original opening date had been set for 2016 and even the actual opening this month had not been confirmed until just before it happened.

The bridge has not only overshot budget and schedule but also taken a deadly toll on the workforce. Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities have each reported nine worker deaths during the work.

It connects three very different parts of China – the two Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong and the mainland. That means the project stretches across different legal and political systems.

Buses and commercial vehicles will carry passengers and freight over the bridge. Local taxis are not allowed on it and only a few private cars will get a permit to cross.

Travelling between Hong Kong and the mainland requires passing border controls. Two immigration centers have been built to process bridge users.

The bridge has been built to save time. The land journey around the delta takes at least four hours – the new bridge is to cut it to a mere 30 minutes.

However, some in Hong Kong have questioned the purpose of the bridge, saying no-one really needed it and that it’s largely an attempt to symbolically bring Hong Kong closer to the mainland.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia’s state TV reported quoting an initial probe.

According to the report, deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, a senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.

President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that Saudi Arabia was a “great ally”.

This is the first time Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi has died.

The acknowledgement follows two weeks of denials that the Saudi kingdom had any involvement in the disappearance of the prominent Saudi critic when he entered the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to seek paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

Saudi Arabia had come under increased pressure to explain Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance after Turkish officials said he was deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered.

On October 19, Turkish police widened their search from the consulate grounds to a nearby forest where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of.

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: President Trump Suggests Rogue Killers to Blame

Jamal Khashoggi: Secretary Mike Pompeo Meets King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: Turkish Officials Have Evidence Proving Saudi Murder

Observers are questioning whether Saudi Arabia’s Western allies will find the Saudis’ account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

A statement from the kingdom’s public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Jamal Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favor with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

The investigations are still under way, the statement said, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

State media said King Salman had ordered the sacking of two senior officials.

Saud al-Qahtani is a prominent member of the Saudi Royal Court and adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri has acted as the top spokesman for Saudi Arabia about the war in Yemen.

King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.

Saudi Arabia said it had acted on information provided by Turkish authorities as part of its inquiry, investigating a number of suspects.

President Trump praised Saudi Arabia for acting quickly, and while he said sanctions were an option against the kingdom, he spoke of the possible effect such moves would have on the US economy. He said the arrests were an important “first step”.

Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, the president replied: “I do.”

President Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the kingdom in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

Donald Trump spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110 billion arms deal he signed with the kingdom.

He said: “I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution.”

Earlier this week President Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed Jamal Khashoggi.

The White House said in a separate statement the US was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

Turkish officials believe Jamal Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed – and they say they have video and audio evidence to back this up.

Saudi Arabia has denied this, and initially insisted Jamal Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

Turkish newspapers with close links to the government have published gruesome details of the alleged audio, including what they describe as the sounds of screams and Jamal Khashoggi being interrogated and tortured.

Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Speaking to reporters after a phone call with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump has suggested “rogue killers” could be behind the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

He said the Saudi king had firmly denied knowing what had happened to Jamal Khashoggi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is flying to Saudi Arabia immediately.

Turkish police have, for the first time, been inside the Saudi consulate where Jamal Khashoggi was last seen.

They entered the building around an hour after a group of Saudi officials.

Turkish officials believe Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents nearly two weeks ago but Riyadh has always strongly denied this.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed media reports suggest Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that Jamal Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong and that the original intention had been to abduct him.

Arabic channel Al-Jazeera quotes Turkey’s attorney-general’s office as saying it has found evidence to back claims that Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the mission.

Jamal Khashoggi: Secretary Mike Pompeo Meets King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: Turkish Officials Have Evidence Proving Saudi Murder

Jamal Khashoggi: Missing Washington Post Journalist Killed at Saudi Consulate in Istanbul?

The issue has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with its closest Western allies.

President Trump addressed snatched questions from reporters over helicopter engine noise at the White House, describing King Salman’s denial as “very, very strong”.

“It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers,” he added.

“Who knows?”

President Trump provided no evidence to back his comment.

Last week, the president threatened Saudi Arabia with “severe punishment” if it emerged that Jamal Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but ruled out halting big military contracts with Riyadh.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Saudi Arabia will be followed by a stop in Turkey.

Diplomatic pressure is growing on the Saudis to give a fuller explanation.

On October 15, King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.

“The king has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the information from the joint team in Istanbul,” a Saudi official quoted by Reuters said.

The official said the prosecutor had been instructed to work quickly.

Last week, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to investigate Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Investigators entered the consulate in Istanbul on October 15 – first a Saudi team followed roughly an hour later by Turkish forensic police.

Turkish diplomatic sources had said the consulate would be searched by a joint Turkish-Saudi team.

A group of cleaners was seen entering earlier.

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to conduct a search but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood. It is not clear whether that happened.

King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on October 14, officials said, and stressed the importance of the two countries working together on the case.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met King Salman in Riyadh.

Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Turkish officials believe the journalist was murdered by Saudi agents but the Saudis have denied this.

However, US media are reporting that the Saudis may be preparing to admit that Jamal Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong.

Overnight, Turkish police completed a search of the consulate after being admitted by Saudi authorities.

Mike Pompeo and King Salman have now met in Riyadh.

While much of what was discussed during has yet to be announced, the US State Department said that Mike Pompeo had used the time to thank the king for his “commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation” into Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance: Turkish Officials Have Evidence Proving Saudi Murder

Jamal Khashoggi: Missing Washington Post Journalist Killed at Saudi Consulate in Istanbul?

The secretary of state was also expected to seek further clarification over a conversation between the king and President Donald Trump on October 15.

Tweeting earlier about the call, President Trump said: “Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!”

The president later told reporters: “The denial was very, very strong. It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”

There is a lot at stake given the strength of Saudi-US ties. President Trump has already ruled out cancelling a lucrative arms deal, although he did threaten “severe punishment” if the kingdom were found to be responsible for the death.

On October 15, King Salman ordered an investigation into the missing journalist. Saudi statements up to now have dismissed allegations of a killing as “baseless” and “lies”.

Mike Pompeo is also expected to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his day in Riyadh. The secretary of state may then head to Turkey.

The New York Times and on CNN reported, quoting unnamed sources, that Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that Jamal Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong and the intention had been only to abduct him from Turkey.

This may explain in part President Trump’s “rogue killers” line.

Who such killers could be and how it fits into reports of a Saudi team being dispatched to the consulate before Jamal Khashoggi’s arrival will presumably need to covered.

Jamal Khashoggi’s family in Saudi Arabia issued a statement calling for an “independent and impartial international commission”.

0

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

According to recent reports, Turkish officials have audio and video evidence that shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Washington Post’s writer Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, has not been seen since he entered the consulate on October 2.

Turkish intelligence had “documented evidence” of the murder, a source close to the investigation said.

However, Saudi Arabia denies the allegations. It says Jamal Khashoggi left the building.

The journalist’s disappearance and reported death have prompted international outrage and dented business confidence in Saudi Arabia.

Richard Branson has suspended talks over $1 billion Saudi investment in Virgin space companies and several top business leaders have pulled out of a Saudi investment conference later this month.

The latest reports suggest an assault and a struggle took place in the consulate.

Jamal Khashoggi: Missing Washington Post Journalist Killed at Saudi Consulate in Istanbul?

Saudi Arabia $100 Billion Scandal: Over 200 People Detained in Anti-Corruption Purge

One source cited by the Washington Post said men can be heard beating Jamal Khashoggi; it adds that the recordings show he was killed and dismembered.

Earlier this week leading columnist Kemal Ozturk, considered close to the Turkish government, alleged there was a video of the moment Jamal Khashoggi was killed.

Turkish TV has already broadcast CCTV footage of the moment Jamal Khashoggi walked into the consulate for an appointment at which he was due to receive papers for his forthcoming marriage to Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

Separately, a video has emerged of men described as Saudi intelligence officers entering and leaving Turkey.

A 15-strong team has been identified by Turkish media who are described as involved in Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Turkey’s official line is that the journalist is missing but that it knows “for sure” he has been killed.

However, the government has agreed to a joint investigation with the Saudis, and a Saudi delegation arrived in Turkey on October 12 to take part in talks expected over the weekend.

Their arrival came a day after a senior Saudi royal figure, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, was said to have briefly visited Turkey amid signs that the Saudi monarchy was seeking an urgent solution to the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

Missing Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is feared dead after Turkish officials said they believe he has been murdered at the Saudi consulate in Instanbul.

According to Turkish officials, initial investigations indicated the Saudi national was murdered there.

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Saudi Arabia has denied the accusations, saying it is “working to search for him”.

The Washington Post said it would be a “monstrous and unfathomable act” if Jamal Khashoggi had been killed.

Turkish officials have opened an investigation and have been speaking to the media on condition of anonymity.

They have not given any evidence for their claim, nor suggest how he was killed.

Saudi Arabia Anti-Corruption Purge: Detainees Released After Paying Huge Settlements

Saudi Arabia $100 Billion Scandal: Over 200 People Detained in Anti-Corruption Purge

Jamal Khashoggi is a high-profile critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The journalist has more than 1.6 million Twitter followers and has written for the Washington Post opinion section.

On October 2, he went to the consulate to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, so that he could marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

Hatice Cengiz said she waited outside for 11 hours, but he did not come out.

She said Jamal Khashoggi was required to surrender his mobile phone, which is standard practice in some diplomatic missions. He told her to call an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not return.

The head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association, Turan Kislakci, told the New York Times that Turkish police officers providing security for the consulate had checked their security cameras and did not see the journalist leave on foot. However, diplomatic cars had been seen moving in and out.

On October 3, Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News that Turkish authorities were welcome to search the building because “we have nothing to hide”.

He said: “He’s a Saudi citizen and we are very keen to know what happened to him. And we will continue our dialogue with the Turkish government to see what happened to Jamal there.

“My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time.”

When asked if Jamal Khashoggi faced charges in Saudi Arabia, the crown prince said his country would need to know where he was first.

Jamal Khashoggi is one of the most prominent critics of the crown prince, who has unveiled reforms praised by the West while carrying out an apparent crackdown on dissent. Human and women’s rights activists, intellectuals and clerics have been arrested – meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is waging a war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.

Image source Wikimedia

Macedonia’s referendum on changing its name to North Macedonia has failed to reach the required turnout.

Preliminary results show that just over a third of Macedonians voted in the referendum, with 50% needed.

However, with 90% of those who took part in favor of the change, Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has urged parliament to “confirm the will of the majority”.

The vote aimed to end a long-running dispute with neighboring Greece, which has its own region called Macedonia.

Greece had agreed to end its objections to Macedonia’s EU and NATO membership bids if the change was passed.

Over 85% of votes have been counted so far, but a campaign by some nationalists – including the country’s president – to boycott September 30 referendum seems to have had an impact, with just 36% of eligible voters taking part.

Macedonia and Greece Sign Agreement to End Name Dispute

Macedonia to Become Republic of North Macedonia after Reaching Name Deal with Greece

Greece: Huge Athens Rally over Macedonia Name Dispute

PM Zoran Zaev threatened to call early elections if parliament did not support the proposal, made non-binding by the poor turnout.

He said after polls closed on September 30: “If, as we all expect, we truly have a big visible, tangible majority for [voting in favor], out of those who voted, then the future is clear.

“The vote of the lawmakers in parliament must resolutely be a vote for a responsible acceleration of the processes towards NATO and the European Union.”

Macedonia declared independence during the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece objected to its new neighbor’s name.

The dispute harks back to ancient history, because both present-day Macedonia and northern Greece were part of a Roman province called Macedonia. And both claim the heritage of Alexander the Great two centuries earlier.

Athens’ objections forced the UN to refer to the new country as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Greece also vetoed Macedonia’s attempt to join NATO in 2008 – and blocked its EU membership ambitions.

Since 1991, many suggestions have been proposed, then rejected. However, last year’s change of government in Macedonia finally brought the start of serious negotiations.

If the name will be changed, Greece will end its veto on Macedonia’s accession to NATO and the EU.

Image source Pixabay

China has asked the US to withdraw sanctions on its military over purchases of Russian jets and missiles or “bear the consequences”.

The US says China has contravened its sanctions on Russia introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics.

Beijing recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles.

China has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its Western allies since 2014.

Beijing’s forces took part in giant Russian war games held earlier this month.

China is fast becoming a manufacturer of sophisticated weaponry in its own right but it remains eager to buy advanced Russian weaponry, especially air defense systems and combat aircraft.

Russia – after years of some reluctance – is now more willing to transfer this sort of weaponry to China.

Moscow has also criticized the sanctions on the Chinese military, warning the US against “playing with fire”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement: “It would be good for them to remember there is such a concept as global stability which they are thoughtlessly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russian-American ties.”

US officials have said the sanctions are aimed at Russia, and are not intended to undermine other countries’ defense capabilities and similar action against other countries could be considered.

US to Impose New Tariffs on Chinese Handbags, Rice and Textiles

China Imposes New Tariffs of Up to 25% on 128 US Imports

White House to Announce Sanctions against China over Theft and Transfer of Intellectual Property

China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), which is responsible for improving China’s military technology, and its head, Li Shangfu, are sanctioned for completing “significant transactions” with Russia’s state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

The EDD and Li Shangfu have been added to a Blocked Persons List, meaning any assets they hold in the US are frozen and Americans are “generally prohibited” from doing business with them.

Furthermore, the EDD is denied export licenses and excluded from the American financial system.

The US also blacklisted an additional 33 people and entities associated with Russian military and intelligence.

China and the US countries are currently embroiled in an escalating trade war.

President Donald Trump has imposed three waves of tariffs on about 40% of China’s roughly $500 billion of exports to the US and has also threatened further tariffs.

China has responded with tariffs on about $110 billion of US exports. In 2017, China imported about $130 billion of goods from the US.

There have also been some tensions over disputed territory in the South China Sea, which is subject to overlapping claims by six countries.

China has been accused of militarizing the sea to support its vast claims.

The US says it is “committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific” and has sailed warships close to artificial islands built by China to challenge what it sees as Chinese efforts to restrict freedom of navigation in a strategically important area.

Image source Wikimedia

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at least 29 children have been killed and 30 wounded in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on a school bus in Yemen.

The kids were travelling on a bus that was hit at a market in Dahyan, in the northern province of Saada.

According to the health ministry run by the rebel Houthi movement, the death toll at 43. It said 61 people were wounded.

The coalition, which is backing Yemen’s government in a war with the Houthis, said its actions were “legitimate”.

It insists it never deliberately targets civilians, but human rights groups have accused it of bombing markets, schools, hospitals and residential areas.

Saudi Arabia Intercepts Yemen Ballistic Missile near Riyadh Airport

Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi gets Saudi refuge

Yemeni tribal elders told the AP that the bus was hit as it passed through Dahyan market and that it was transporting local civilians, including many school children.

Save the Children said it had been told by its staff that the kids were on their way back to school from a picnic when the driver of their bus stopped to get a drink.

The bus was stationary when the attack happened, it added.

The ICRC said a hospital it supported in Saada had received the bodies of 29 children, all of them under the age of 15, and 48 injured people, among them 30 children.

It sent additional supplies to the hospital to cope with the influx of patients.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that 47 people were killed and 77 wounded, and broadcast pictures showing the bodies of several young children, some of them wearing school uniform.

The Israeli parliament has approved a controversial bill characterizing the country as principally a Jewish state, fuelling anger among its Arab minority.

The so-called “nation state” law says Jews have a unique right to national self-determination there and puts Hebrew above Arabic as the official language.

Arab lawmakers reacted furiously in parliament, with one waving a black flag and another ripping up the bill.

Om Benjamin Netanyahu praised the law’s passage as a “defining moment”.

He said: “A hundred and twenty-two years after [the founder of modern Zionism Theodore] Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens.”

Among its 11 provisions, the Basic Law describes Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people” and says the right to exercise national self-determination there is “unique to the Jewish people”.

The law also reiterates the status of Jerusalem under Israeli law, which defines the city as the “complete and united… capital of Israel”.

Controversially, the law singles out Hebrew as the “state’s language”, effectively prioritizing it above Arabic which has for decades been recognized as an official language alongside Hebrew.

Image source Wikimedia

Jerusalem Issue: Mahmoud Abbas to Reject Any US Peace Plan with Israel

Jerusalem Issue: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Expects EU Countries to Follow US Recognition

The law ascribes Arabic “special status” and says its standing before the law came into effect will not be harmed.

In one of its clauses, the law stresses the importance of “development of Jewish settlement as a national value”, though it is unclear whether this also alludes to settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The bill has been under discussion since it was first introduced in 2011 and has undergone multiple amendments, with the final version watering down or dropping altogether sections regarded as discriminatory.

Israel has no constitution but instead passed over time a series of Basic Laws which have constitutional status. The nation state law is the 14th such basic law.

The issue of Israel as a Jewish state has become increasingly important in recent years and a key dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Israeli prime minister has repeatedly insisted that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state in any final peace settlement. Benjamin Netanyahu argues that the Palestinians’ refusal to do so is the biggest obstacle to peace, saying it demonstrates that the Palestinians do not genuinely recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, arguing that the Palestinians have long recognized the State of Israel and should not be expected to go further.

The law is important because it is hugely symbolic, and according to Israel’s large Arab minority, evidence that Israel is downgrading their status.

Israeli Arabs, many of whom identify as or with Palestinians, comprise about 20% of Israel’s 9 million-strong population.

Arabs have equal rights under the law but have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens and say they face discrimination and worse provision than Israeli Jews when it comes to services such as education, health and housing.

Israel is often accused by its fiercest critics of practicing a system akin to apartheid against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Israel vehemently rejects the allegation as a smear tactic used by those who reject its very right to exist.

0

The Helsinki summit between President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will go ahead as planned despite tension over Russia’s alleged election meddling, the White House says.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet for talks in the Finnish capital on July 16.

“It’s on,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

However, there are calls for the meeting to be canceled after the US charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with election interference on July 13.

For its part, Russia said it was looking forward to the meeting.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said: “We consider Trump a negotiating partner. The state of bilateral relations is very bad. We have to start to set them right.”

The announcement that the Russians had been charged with hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 presidential election sparked a heated war of words between Washington and Moscow.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the claims were a “heap of conspiracy schemes” intended to “damage the atmosphere” before July 16 summit.

It said there was no evidence linking any of the dozen officials to hacking or military intelligence.

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein insisted that “the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election”.

Image NBC News

President Donald Trump Prepared to Be Questioned by Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller Investigation: Michael Flynn Admits Making False Statements to FBI

Robert Mueller Investigation: Donald Trump’s Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Lied About Russia Links

The 11-count indictment names the Russians defendants, alleging they began cyber-attacks in March 2016 on the email accounts of staff for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Russians are accused of using keystroke reading software to spy on the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and hack into the party’s computers.

Rod Rosenstein said the conspirators used fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”, to release thousands of stolen emails.

They are also accused of stealing the data of half a million voters from a state election board website.

During a joint news conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, President Trump said he would “absolutely” ask Vladimir Putin about alleged election meddling.

Top Democrats have urged President Trump to cancel the planned summit altogether following the indictment.

Republican Senator John McCain said the summit “should not move forward” unless the president “is prepared to hold Putin accountable”.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating US intelligence findings that Russians conspired to sway the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor.

As of July 13, the inquiry has indicted 32 people – mostly Russian nationals in absentia – as well as three companies and four former Trump advisers.

None of the charges allege Trump advisers colluded with Russia to interfere with the presidential campaign.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser, have pleaded guilty to making false statements about their contacts with Russians.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were charged with money laundering relating to their political consultancy work in Ukraine.

0

President Donald Trump has asked NATO allies to agree to double the current target of their annual GDP to military spending and to commit to 4%.

The White House confirmed President Trump had made the remarks during the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium.

The meeting also saw Donald Trump single out Germany for criticism over its defense spending.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the main focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2% of GDP.

He declined to answer a specific question about President Trump’s remarks, but told reporters: “I think we should first get to 2%, focus on that now… the good thing is that we are moving to that.”

For decades after the end of the Cold War, he said, NATO countries had cut defense budgets as tensions fell – and now needed to increase them at a time when tensions were rising.

Image source Reuters

Donald Trump: “All NATO Allies Must Pay Their Fair Share of Defense Spending”

Donald Trump on Angela Merkel, Brexit and NATO

Previous US presidents have urged Europe to take more responsibility for their defense and reduce the burden on US taxpayers of maintaining forces in Europe long after the end of the Cold War – but none as bluntly as President Trump.

Confirming President Trump’s comments, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”

The NATO summit in Brussels comes less than a week before President Trump is due to hold his first summit with Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki, reviving concerns among US allies over his proximity to the Russian president.

President Trump’s main objection is that all but a handful of member states have still not increased their defense budgets to meet a goal of spending at least 2% of their annual economic output on defense by 2024.

Of NATO’s 29 members, just six meet that target this year: the US, Greece, Estonia, the UK, Romania and Poland.

At a news conference after the first meetings of leaders at the summit, Jens Stoltenberg insisted that more united NATO than divided it.

“We have had discussions, we do have disagreements, but most importantly we have decisions that are pushing this alliance forward and making us stronger.

“In the history of NATO we have had many disagreements and we have been able to overcome them again and again, because at the end of the day we all agree that North America and Europe are safer together.”

All 29 NATO members released a declaration which reaffirmed a commitment to increase military spending.

The communiqué also condemned “Russian aggression”, including the annexation of Crimea, the use of a nerve agent in southern England and “election interference”.

0

According to new reports, the US Navy is planning to build sprawling immigrant detention centers on military bases, amid a Trump crackdown at the US-Mexico border.

A draft memo obtained by Time magazine outlines plans to build “austere” tent camps to house 25,000 migrants.

According to the memo, the camps would be built on abandoned airfields in California, Alabama, and Arizona.

A camp near San Francisco is being designed for as many as 47,000 people.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokesman said the military had not been asked by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) to draw up the specific plans, but was engaging in “prudent planning… should the DHS ask for assistance in housing adult illegal immigrants”.

Image source Wikimedia

White House Details New Immigrations Measures

President Donald Trump Responds to Racism Accusations

On June 21, the US military said it had been asked by the government to get ready to house up to 20,000 immigrant children.

The US Navy memo estimates the force would spend $233 million to run a facility for 25,000 people for six-months.

The memo gives a sense of the knock-on effect of a “zero tolerance” immigration policy being pursued by the Trump administration, in an effort to deter migrants from Central and South America from attempting to cross into the US.

A decision by the administration to criminally prosecute every migrant crossing the US-Mexico border led to some 2,300 children being separated from their parents in May and June, and sparked a global wave of outrage.

President Donald Trump eventually backed down in the face of overwhelming public pressure and signed an order to halt the family separations, but he insisted he remained committed to his “zero tolerance” policy.

Migrant children taken from their parents are being held in facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Images from one facility in a converted Walmart sparked outrage earlier this week, when they showed children held in wire mesh cages, sleeping on mats with foil blankets.

On June 21, a DHS official said that about 500 children had been reunited with their families since separations began in May, but rights groups remain concern that there is not adequate information to return many young children to their parents.

On June 22, President Trump brought the parents of victims of murders by undocumented immigrants to the White House, where he signed photographs of their late children and invited them to tell their stories.

0

General Kim Yong-chol, one of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s most senior officials, is thought to be travelling to the US, as preparations for a possible summit gather pace.

South Korean news agency Yonhap said Kim Yong-chol was due to arrive in the US on May 30, via Beijing.

His trip to the US could be part of preparation for a proposed meeting between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump.

The summit was thrown into doubt after President Trump pulled out last week.

However, both sides have been working to get the summit – scheduled for June 12 in Singapore – back on track.

It would be the first time a North Korean leader has met a sitting US president.

Photo AP

President Donald Trump Pulls Out of Upcoming North Korea Summit

North Korea Destroyed Punggye-ri Nuclear Tunnels

Kim Yong-chol was scheduled to fly to New York on May 30, after speaking with Chinese officials in Beijing, Yonhap reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The former spy chief would be the most high-profile North Korean official to visit the US since 2000.

The apparent introduction of Kim Yong-chol to negotiations would be significant, as it would underline North Korea’s desire to ensure the talks go ahead.

He has been part of recent high-profile diplomatic overtures by North Korea.

Kim Yong-chol, 72, is a controversial figure in neighboring South Korea, and previously served as a negotiator in inter-Korean talks.

During his time as a military intelligence head, Kim Yong-chol was accused of being behind attacks on South Korean targets, including the torpedoing of a South Korea warship which killed 46 seamen, as well as the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures.

As a result of these incidents, the US imposed personal sanctions on him in 2010 and 2015.

Despite reportedly being punished for an “overbearing attitude” in 2016, Kim Yong-chol has continued to hold senior posts in the army and party, and was the head of North Korea’s delegation to the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

He is regularly seen at Kim Jongg-un’s side and has attended meetings with the leaders of China and South Korea, and met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang.

In February, Kim Yong-chol was sent to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he sat close to President Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.

0

North Korea has destroyed tunnels at its only nuclear test site, foreign reporters at the Punggye-ri site in the north-east confirmed.

In a move to reduce regional tensions, Pyongyang later said the site had been dismantled.

Reporters said they witnessed a huge blast.

North Korea’s move is seen as part of a diplomatic rapprochement with South Korea and the US.

However, scientists believe it partially collapsed after the last test in September 2017, rendering it unusable.

Independent inspectors were not allowed to witness the process of the dismantling of the Punggye-ri site in the mountainous region of the country.

Image source Wikimedia

North Korea May Pull Out of Trump-Kim Summit

The move comes ahead of a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.

However, in recent days both countries have said the meeting could be delayed or even called off, amid sharp verbal exchanges between US and North Korean officials.

Three tunnels were collapsed in a series of explosions in front of about 20 handpicked international journalists.

Two blasts were reportedly carried out in the morning, and four in the afternoon.

South Korea welcomed the news.

“[We] expect it to serve as a chance for complete denuclearization going forward,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006 in a system of tunnels dug below Mount Mantap.

It is thought to have been the country’s main nuclear facility and until now the only active nuclear testing site in the world.

The facility is located about 230 miles north-east of Pyongyang.

0

More than 100 former officers have been sentenced to life in prison for their involvement in the 2016 Turkish coup attempt, state media report.

The 104 ex-military officers were given “aggravated life sentences”, which come with tougher terms than a normal life sentence.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously said he backed reintroducing the death penalty for coup plotters.

The failed coup to overthrow him left at least 260 dead and 2,200 injured on July 15, 2016.

The Turkish government has since led a crackdown on alleged coup supporters, with the dismissal of more than 150,000 state employees and the arrest of some 50,000 people.

Photo Reuters

Turkey Coup Attempt: More Than 50,000 People Purged by Government

Turkey Coup Attempt: 2,839 Soldiers and Officers Arrested

Of the 280 ex-military people on trial, the court in Izmir also served lesser sentences to a further 52 defendants.

The Izmir court gave 21 people 20 years in prison for “assisting the assassination of the president”, while 31 others were sentenced to between seven and 11 years for “membership of a terrorist organization”, state news agency Anadolu reported.

President Erdogan had backed reintroducing the death penalty for coup plotters. He also said they should wear Guantanamo Bay-style uniforms. Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004.

The Turkish authorities accused a movement loyal to the Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of organizing the 2016 plot.

Fethullah Gulen, who has been in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999, denies any involvement, and Washington has so far resisted calls from the Turkish authorities to extradite him.

Rebel soldiers had attempted to overthrow the government overnight and plotters tried to detain Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he holidayed in an Aegean resort.

However, he had left 15 minutes before and the coup was thwarted by civilians and soldiers loyal to the president.

A purge followed the coup, in which thousands of public employees from police officers to teachers were sacked or arrested under suspicion of stirring up dissent.

Recep tayyip Erdogan’s critics say he is using the purge to stifle political dissent.

More than one hundred people have died after a Boeing 737 airliner with 104 passengers and six crew members on board crashed near Cuba’s main airport in Havana.

The crash is Cuba’s worst air disaster in decades.

Three women were pulled alive from the wreckage, but are said to be in a critical condition.

The plane, which was nearly 40 years old, was carrying 104 passengers and six crew members.

Cuban authorities have launched an investigation, and two days of national mourning have been declared.

The Boeing 737-201 crashed at 12:08 local time on May 18, shortly after taking off from Havana on an internal flight to Holguin on the east of the island.

All six crew members on board were Mexican and the majority of the passengers were Cuban, with five foreigners reported to be among them.

Image source Wikimedia

US-Bangla Plane Crashes on Landing at Kathmandu Airport Killing 49

Melbourne Plane Crash: Five Confirmed Dead as Charter Flight Hits Direct Factory Outlets Center

Kyrgyzstan Plane Crash: 37 People Killed as Turkish Cargo Crashes Into Village

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said after visiting the crash site: “There has been an unfortunate aviation accident. The news is not very promising, it seems that there is a high number of victims.”

According to authorities, it’s too early to say what caused the crash, but eyewitnesses on the ground describe seeing the jet burst into flames before crashing into a field close to a wooded area near Havana’s main airport.

Mexico’s transport department said on its website that “during take-off (the plane) apparently suffered a problem and dived to the ground”.

Boeing said that it was ready to send a technical team to Cuba, “as permitted under US law and at the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board and Cuban authorities”. A US trade embargo has been in force against Cuba for many decades.

Four people survived the crash but one died after being transported to hospital, the director of Havana’s Calixto Garcia hospital, Carlos Alberto Martinez, told Reuters.

The three survivors are all women, according to Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma: one aged between 18 and 25, one in her thirties and the third aged 39.

Both the Argentine and Mexican governments have confirmed nationals from their countries were among the dead.

The plane had been leased to state airline Cubana de Aviación by the Mexican company Aerolineas Damojh.

The Mexican authorities said the plane was built in 1979 and had been successfully inspected last November. Mexico has said it was sending two civil aviation specialists to join the investigation.

Aerolineas Damojh, also known as Global Air, has three planes in operation.

Cuba’s deadliest air crash was in 1989, when a Soviet-made Ilyushin-62M passenger plane crashed near Havana killing 126 people on board and another 24 people on the ground.

0

North Korea has threatened to pull out of a summit with President Donald Trump if the US insists it gives up its nuclear weapons.

The highly anticipated meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is due to take place on June 12.

However, in an angry statement, North Korea’s vice-foreign minister accused the US of making reckless statements and of harboring sinister intentions.

Kim Kye-gwan pointed the finger squarely at US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

He said: “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him.”

The groundbreaking agreement for Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump to meet came about as North Korea said it was committed to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

Photo AP

President Trump Welcomes Three American Detainees Freed by North Korea

Donald Trump to Meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12

Exactly what that would entail has remained unclear, but North Korea has invited foreign media to witness the dismantling of its main nuclear test site later this month.

John Bolton recently said North Korea could follow a “Libya model” of verifiable denuclearization, but this alarms Pyongyang, which watched Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi give up his nuclear program only for him to be killed by Western-backed rebels a few years later.

Kim Kye-gwan’s statement, carried by North Korea’s state media, said that if the US “corners us and unilaterally demands we give up nuclear weapons we will no longer have an interest in talks” and “will have to reconsider” attending the June 12 summit in Singapore.

The official said North Korea did have “high hopes” but that it was “very unfortunate that the US is provoking us ahead of the summit by spitting out ludicrous statements”.

He is known to be highly respected in the North Korean leadership and has taken part in negotiations with the US before. There is very little chance Kim Kye-gwan;s comments were not personally endorsed by Kim Jong-un.

Hours before the announcement, in a sign of growing problems, Pyongyang has also pulled out of a meeting scheduled with South Korea on May 16 because of anger over the start of US-South Korean joint military drills.

Pyonyang had earlier said it would allow them to go ahead, but then called them “a provocative military ruckus” which was undermining its diplomatic efforts.

The sudden change in tone from North Korea is said to have taken US officials by surprise. Analysts said Pyongyang could be trying to strengthen its hand before talks.

The US state department said it was continuing to plan the Trump-Kim meeting, and President Trump is yet to comment.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed and 1,800 wounded by Israeli troops in clashes on the Gaza border, Palestinian officials say.

The clashes took place as the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem, a controversial move that has infuriated Palestinians.

Palestinians see the move as a clear US backing for Israeli rule over the whole city, whose eastern part they lay claim to.

President Donald Trump sent a video message to the opening ceremony, saying Jerusalem move had been a “long time coming”.

The president said: “Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital, but for many years we failed to recognize the obvious.”

Image source Wikimedia

US Embassy to Open in Jerusalem

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement Sparks Protests in Occupied West Bank

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement Sparks Outrage in Arab World

President Donald Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

He assured the US remained “committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement”.

Palestinians hurled stones and incendiary devices while the Israeli military used snipers, as black smoke poured from burning tires.

The Hamas-run health ministry said children were among those killed on May 14.

The mass demonstrations, led by Gaza’s Islamist rulers, Hamas, are part of a six-week protest dubbed the “Great March of Return”.

Israel’s army said 35,000 Palestinians were taking part in “violent riots” along the security fence and that its troops were operating “in accordance with standard procedures”.

It said it had killed three people trying to plant explosives near the security fence in Rafah.

Scores of Palestinians have been killed since the protests began. Thousands more have been wounded.

A 29-year-old man has been killed and other four people wounded in a knife attack in the busy Opéra district of Paris on May 12.

According to witnesses, the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) before being shot dead by police.

ISIS later said one of its “soldiers” had carried out the attack.

France has been on high alert following a series of attacks in Paris and Lyon. More than 230 people have been killed by ISIS-inspired jihadists in the past three years.

Security forces have identified the attacker as being born in 1997 in the Russian republic of Chechnya, although he was not carrying any identification papers and has not been officially named. Chechnya is a republic in the North Caucasus region of southern Russia.

The republic declared independence in 1991 but Russian troops invaded in 1994 to quash it, sparking a decade-long conflict.

Image source Wikimedia

Paris Attack: Gunman Shoots Dead Police Officer on Champs Elysees

How Paris Attacks Impact France’s Service Sector

Jihadist groups, including those aligned with ISIS, have long operated in the region.

The judicial source told French media the suspect had no criminal record and that his parents had been held for questioning. Another source told Reuters the suspect was not previously known to police.

The suspect is believed to be a French national.

This is thought to be the first time an assailant of Chechen origin has carried out a terrorist attack in France.

France is home to some 30,000 people of Chechen origin.

France’s Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the man who died was a 29-year-old passer-by, but gave no further details.

The four who were injured have also not yet been named. AFP news agency, citing sources, said a 34-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman were seriously hurt, while a 26-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man were slightly wounded.

Gérard Collomb said none had life-threatening injuries.

The attacker began stabbing passers-by at about 21:00 local time.

Eyewitnesses described him as a young man with brown hair and a beard, dressed in black tracksuit trousers.

The attacker tried to enter several bars and restaurants but was blocked by people inside.

Police first tried to stop the assailant with a stun-gun before shooting him dead, nine minutes after he began the attack.