Sunday, June 30, 2013

Global News as On 30 June 2013


EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying on European diplomats:

 The president of the European parliament has demanded an explanation from US authorities over the latest revelation that EU diplomatic missions in Washington, New York and Brussels were under electronic surveillance from the NSA.“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”  
“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations,”he added. Germany’s justice minister also called for an immediate explanation from the United States saying the news that Washington bugged European Union offices was “reminiscent of the Cold War.”

“It must ultimately be immediately and extensively explained by the American side whether media reports about completely disproportionate tapping measures by the US in the EU are accurate or not,” Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement. 
Other EU diplomats also expressed shock concerning the latest batch of revelations in the NSA leak, reported by Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday. 
“If these reports are true, it’s disgusting,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel. “The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies,” Asselborn continued. “We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately.” 
A spokesman for the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story, Reuters reported. Der Spiegel, quoting from a September 2010 “top secret” US National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, reported on Saturday the NSA was eavesdropping on the EU’s internal computer networks in Washington, as well as at the 28-member bloc UN office in New York. 
The German magazine also reported that five years ago, the NSA also targeted telecommunications at the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home to the European Council, where all EU member states have their offices.

Snowden, 30, fled the US for Hong Kong in May, just weeks before The Guardian and Washington Post published details he provided about a top-secret US government surveillance program that accumulated internet and telephone traffic both at home and abroad.
The whistleblower is presently in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where it is believed he is attempting to gain political asylum in Ecuador.
Lode Vanoost, former deputy speaker of the Belgian parliament, believes that the main purpose of the US surveillance program was “economic spying” on the EU.
“At the moment, the EU is negotiating a new free trade agreement with the United States,” the former deputy speaker noted. “Well, [now the US can gather] what their opponent is already discussing internally of strategy. That is one of the possibilities.”
Vanoost also believes that part of the reason for the spying was due to the decline in US economic strength.
“On the economic level, [the US] is losing ground everywhere,” he said. “Look at what the BRIC countries are doing. The EU is having stronger ties with Russia, with Africa, with Latin America. And the US doesn’t seem to get its economic priorities imposed as it used to. So what I see is a big risk for economic spying.”
He added that there is “too much at stake” for there to be a total breakdown in US-EU bilateral relations, however, “behind closed doors there will be some very tough words” exchanged between EU and American official

China, ASEAN Plan COC for SCS to be envisaged in September

Chinese and ASEAN foreign ministers today released a joint statement committing to “move towards the conclusion of a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus”.
Both China and ASEAN leaders have the “resolve and ability to make the South China Sea an area of peace, friendship and cooperation”. China to host a meeting of senior officials to officially discuss the COC in September.

Croatia joins EU 
Croatia will be officially recognized as a European Union member at midnight on Sunday, becoming the 28th state to join the bloc. Over 170 foreign officials, including 15 heads of state and 13 prime ministers, are expected to attend the grand ceremony in the capital, Zagreb. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy are expected to be among the speakers at the event. “We also believe that the EU has a future,” Ivo Josipovic, Croatia’s president, told local Nova TV. But the mood is far from festive among Croatian populace as the country endures its fifth year of recession and record unemployment of 21 percent. Many believe the former Yugoslav state will become a burden to the EU, which has economic problems of its own, and repeat the sad fate of the bloc’s southern members Greece, Portugal and Spain.

 Earthquake hits Italy’s Tuscany region

A 4.4 earthquake Magnitude has hit parts of central and northern Italy near Lucca in the Tuscany region, the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. A series of smaller earthquakes, measuring from 2. 5 to 3.9 magnitude hit the region on Saturday. Slight shaking was felt, according to

Kurdish protests in Turkey 

Kurdish protesters have entered violent clashes with security forces in the southeastern province of Sirnak. The demonstrators burned tires and closed off a main road in the Cizre district as some lobbed firebombs at police forces who tried to suppress the gathering. Police deployed tear gas against the protesters and turned water cannons on them. The demonstrators had been rallying in solidarity with Friday’s protesters. Security forces had killed an 18-year-old and wounded 10 others who were protesting against the construction of a gendarmerie outpost in the region. A broad-scale antigovernment protest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday also stood in solidarity with the Kurds after Friday’s killing.

US  A progress in restarting Israeli-Palestinian talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel on Sunday without an agreement on resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but said “real progress” had been achieved. “I believe that with a little more work, the start of final status negotiations could be within reach,” Kerry told a news conference before his departure from Tel Aviv. “We started out with very wide gaps, and we have narrowed those considerably.” Meanwhile, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said there were no breakthroughs between Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but acknowledged “some progress” had been made. The US Secretary of State pledged to return to the region soon to continue the discussions.

Blazing heat wave roasts US southwest

Meteorologists predict more extreme temperatures Sunday as a heat wave continues to grip the US southwest, leaving one man dead and another hospitalized in serious condition in heat-related incidences. Las Vegas, Nevada, fire and rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said paramedics on Saturday responded to a call from a home without air conditioning where they found an elderly man dead. More than 40 people have sought medical attention in hospitals in Las Vegas since Friday, but no life-threatening injuries have been reported. Temperatures in Las Vegas soared to 115 degrees (46.1 C) on Saturday afternoon, two degrees short of a record, while Phoenix, Arizona, baked at 119 degrees (48.3 C). In Death Valley, temps hit 125 (51.1 C), according to the National Weather Service. Death Valley’s record high of 134 degrees (56.6 C), set on July 10, 1913, stands as the highest recorded temperature on earth.

Uganda gas tank explosion kills 29

A gas tanker explosion on the fringes of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, has killed 29 people and left scores wounded. The tanker burst into flames late on Saturday after colliding with a car. The majority of victims were passenger motorcyclists who had attempted to siphon gas from the tanker. Explosions involving gas tankers frequently occur in the country, killing people who flock to the scene of the incident in order to steal.

Putin signs ‘gay propaganda’ ban,law criminalizing offence of religious feelings

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the so-called ‘gay propaganda’ bill after the upper house, the Federation Council, approved it on June 26. The law introduces administrative liability and fines of up to a million rubles (over US$30,000) for propaganda to minors of non-traditional sexual relations, including in the media, on the internet and via viral adverts. Individuals could be fined up to 100,000 rubles ($3,000) and foreigners could be fined the same amount, held in jail for 15 days and deported. Putin also signed a bill that was proposed during the Pussy Riot trial in August 2012. It forbids insulting people’s religious feelings. The law will allow fines up to half a million rubles (about $15,600) and up to three years of jail time.

​Irish banker apologizes for taped bailout comments after public outrage

David Drumm, the former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, says he regrets the language and tone he used back in 2008 when he was discussing with colleagues demanding bailout cash from the authorities to save the failing bank. ”I cannot change this now, but I can apologize to those who had to listen to it and who were understandably so offended by it,” he told the Sunday Business Post in a first public comment since the scandal erupted. He added the taped recordings, which caused outrage in Ireland and in the EU, which helped saving Anglo Irish, were taken out of context.

Blast in Peshwar 15 killed, 42 injured 

15 people are dead and a further 42 have been injured in the northern Pakistani city of Peshwar after a convoy of security forces was struck by a van carrying an estimated 40kg of explosives. The vehicle struck the military vans near a police station in a crowded market area, leaving three children were among the dead. The 42 casualties, who included security officers, women and children, were taken to local hospitals. No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack, but the Pakistani Taliban frequently target security forces as part of a seven year long domestic insurgency.

​N. Korea  improved border artillery – Seoul

 North Korea is replacing old multiple rocket launchers with upgraded versions, according to South Korean military sources. The new hardware has the range of 70km and can engage targets beyond Seoul, the anonymous source told Yonhap news agency. No official confirmation of the information was immediately available. South Korea’s capital hosts nearly half of the country’s 49 million inhabitants. Its proximity to the border with North has made it a prime target for North Korea’s long-range artillery, which is estimated to include over 5,000 rocket launchers.

​Cambodia reverses pre-election foreign media ban

The Cambodian Information Ministry reversed on Saturday a ban on Khmer-language broadcast of foreign media on local radio stations. The ministry issued the ban a day before in the run-up for the parliamentary election scheduled for next month, drawing criticism from the public and broadcasters. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party, which has been in power since overthrowing the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, is expected to win the election on July 28. Information Minister Khieun Kanharith said on his Facebook page that the Friday ban was issued without his sanction.

​Swastika court rulings spark outrage in Poland

Jewish organizations and anti-Nazi activists are outraged by two legal rulings in Poland. In the first one, the prosecutor in the city of Bialystok ruled that no investigation would be opened after swastikas were discovered painted on electrical transformers, despite fury from the locals. He said that the swastika is a universal symbol and is not necessarily associated with fascism. In the second ruling, authorities in the city of Chorzow released a man who walked around the city wearing a T-shirt with a swastika. The judge ruled that the behavior of the defendant was reprehensible, but it did not promote fascism

Dozens detained at gay-pride event in Russia

Scuffles between police and anti-gay campaigners finished a gay pride gathering in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg. Sanctioned by the city authorities, the LGBT crowd of a few dozen gathered in the center of the city where they were met by around 200 anti-gay activists who verbally insulted them and threw eggs. Citing public discontent authorities then ordered gay activists to end the event. “After the complaints of local residents, representatives of the local administration and the police warned the protestors that their protest was illegal and asked them to leave,” a police spokesperson said. This was followed by scuffles with a much bigger crowd of anti-gay activists. LGBT network claimed that in the riot several activists were beaten and more than 50 were apprehended by the police. Eight of the anti-gay activists were detained as well, the police said.

​Femen activists stage topless protests at Swedish mosque

Three Femen activists have been arrested in Stockholm after staging a topless protest in a mosque. The women burst into the place of worship shouting “Free Women”, “No Sharia” and “No Oppression”. The police did not release their identity but the women are believed to be from Egypt, Tunisia and Sweden. The feminist movement founded in Ukraine in 2008 has been staging worldwide campaigns via topless protests against abuse of women’s rights.

​Scores dead in Somalia after fighting – reports

Up to fifty people may have been killed in two days of fighting in a strategic Somali sea port, according to witnesses. Some locals on the ground report at least 12 bodies while others place the figure somewhere around 50. The violence has intensified in Kismayu since the leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, was nominated by a regional assembly to lead the Jubaland region. Supporter of the rival, backed by the federal government in Mogadishu, clashed with the militia of the regional governor.
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