News from 01/2016

31 January 2016

Bernie versus Hillary

Polls of the Democratic field in Iowa constantly show Clinton and Sanders within the margin of error: on Saturday the average of polls in the state had Clinton at 46.8% and Sanders at 44.3%, with former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley way behind at 4.3%.

Hillary Clinton may be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, however she's increasingly seeing a real challenge from the left from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Sanders has galvanized the progressive left, and he has become a threat to win more left-leaning, early-voting…Read

30 January 2016

Geneva peace talks

Syrian peace talks have opened in Geneva, with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura meeting the Syrian government's delegation on Friday.


The U.S Political Scene

Voters in Iowa will head to the polls on Monday 1st Feb to pick their parties' presidential nominees for the 2016 campaign. 


29 January 2016

Syria conflict: Boycott threat to Geneva peace talks

Syria's opposition insists it will not attend talks on political solution to the war in the country despite the UN announcing they will begin on Friday. Opposition leaders say representatives will not travel to Geneva unless steps are taken to alleviate the plight of civilians under siege and bombardment.



Syria talks at risk as rival sides fail to agree terms

Negotiators say they will only go to Geneva if conditions, including an end to air strikes and sieges, are met.

e Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee (HNC) says it is still debating whether or not its delegates will attend peace talks in Geneva, which had been scheduled to start on Friday.

The committee had set a number of conditions for its participation in the talks, including a lifting of sieges and a halt to air strikes.

"We want the talks to start, but the main obstacle is those who continue bombing our…Read

28 January 2016

UK to give sanctuary to unaccompanied refugee children

Welfare and safety'  

In a statement, Home Office minister James Brokenshire said that the government's focus would be on children whose needs cannot be met in the region and "whose best interests would be met through protection in the UK". "The UK government takes its responsibility in asylum cases involving children very seriously," he said. "Ensuring their welfare and safety is at the heart of every decision made.


27 January 2016

Has the West betrayed the Syrian People

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Marwan Bishara Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

Listening to Staffan de Mistura during Tuesday's press conference, I could only shake my head in amazement. The charming UN mediator has tried to fudge and blur the true nature of the diplomatic process he's fronting, but he left little doubt in my mind as to who's dictating the preconditions for a Geneva-3.

The Swedish Italian diplomat insisted that there would be no Syrian precondition to the kicking off of what he called "proximity talks" between the…Read

Syria Talks - Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader says his faction not yet been invited

The Syrian opposition platform created in Saudi Arabia last month, who were meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday to decide whether to send their delegation to the talks, say the PYD should be part of the government delegation.

Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from Geneva, said that the PYD leader was not invited to the talks."We spoke to the PYD leader, Salem Muslim, who is in Switzerland but said he was not invited to the talks," Bays said.Turkey said earlier on Tuesday that it opposes the involvement of the PYD or its armed wing, the…Read

26 January 2016

25 January 2016

The U.K government is looking at calls to take in thousands of unaccompanied refugee children

Charities have been calling on the UK to admit 3,000 child refugees as part of its response to the migrant crisis. Labour's leadership is urging Mr Cameron to do more. Yvette Cooper, chair of Labour's refugee taskforce, said it was "good news that the government seems to be responding" to calls to help unaccompanied refugee children.

Alasdair Roxburgh from charity Save the Children told BBC Radio 5live: "We'd need to make sure they were protected and safe but we would be looking at foster families or other appropriate care. The UK is very…Read

23 January 2016

Ex Russian Spy Murdered in London

A public inquiry into the killing of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko has concluded that President Vladimir Putin probably approved his assassination. But who was he and why did his death cause such controversy?

23 Nov 2006 - Litvinenko dies three weeks after having tea with former agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun in London

24 Nov 2006 - His death is attributed to polonium-210

U.K.Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary said the post-mortem examination carried out on Mr Litvinenko's body had been correctly described as the "most dangerous... ever undertaken in the…Read

22 January 2016

21 January 2016

Air drop food to starving Syrians, UN tells Britain

The United Nations has given approval to Western countries including Britain to carry out air drops over besieged Syrian towns without regime permission, The Telegraph can disclose. There have been growing calls for Britain to intervene in the wake of scores of deaths from starvation in the Syrian town of Madaya, which is besieged by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.



20 January 2016

New figures show that 950,000 asylum seekers have entered Germany so far this year

The German interior minister has called for the European Union to set a limit on how many refugees will be allowed into the bloc as his country struggles to cope with the influx. Thomas de Maiziere’s demand for EU action comes just one day after Angela Merkel refused to set a limit on how many asylum seekers will Germany will take in a defiant speech to MPs.




18 January 2016

First Syrian refugees arrive in NZ

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed 71 Syrian refugees have so far arrived in New Zealand, with a further 11 to arrive by the end of next week.


17 January 2016

Refugees In Northern Ireland to receive Free English Lesson

Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said language classes would help people settling in Northern Ireland to "integrate into society".





14 January 2016

U.K. Grocery Chain reports increased sales over Christmas

Tesco has hailed a "strong Christmas" after its UK sales rose 1.3% on a like-for-like basis in the six weeks ending 9 January.

Tesco PLC is a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom. Founded 1919, in the East End of London.





12 January 2016

Madaya Syria: ‘400 residents need’ urgent evacuation

Madaya, which is about 25km (15 miles) north-west of Damascus and 11km from the border with Lebanon,  has been besieged since early July by government forces and their allies in Lebanon's Shia Islamist Hezbollah movement. Meanwhile, 21 lorries on Monday entered.  Another entered Foah and Kefraya. They were carrying basic food items - including rice, vegetable oil, flour, sugar and salt - as well as water, infant formula, blankets, medicines and surgical supplies.




11 January 2016

Crimes that took place in Cologne during New Year celebrations may have been “coordinated”

In a statement released on Sunday, Cologne police said that they were investigating 516 criminal complaints and that about 40 percent of those allegations were of sexual offenses."If such a horde gathers in order to commit crimes, that appears in some form to be planned," Justice Minister Heiko Maas told the Bild newspaper. "Nobody can tell me that this was not coordinated or prepared.

There seems to be some doubt about whether the crimes that took place in Cologne on New Years Eve were committed spontaneously or were coordinated and planned by right-wing demonstrators…Read

10 January 2016

9 January 2016

Syrian Refugees living in Germany now have their own ‘Arabic’ Newspaper

The newspaper is called "Abwab", Arabic for doors. It's intended readers are Arabic-speaking refugees in Germany. Launched on December 1, 2015, with Ramy Alasheq as its editor-in-chief, the first print run of Abwab hit 25,000 copies and was distributed for free at refugee shelters and community centres across the country. Given its success, a further 10,000 copies needed to be printed.

Abwab is made and run by refugees who work virtually, via Skype and Dropbox, sharing files and discussing editorial angles. Its volunteer contributors are both Syrians and Iraqis, while its layout designer is based in Turkey.


8 January 2016

Saudi Arabia and Iran - and the execution of prominent Shia cleric,  Nimr al-Nimr

Diplomatic tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran began with the kingdom's execution of 47 people convicted of terrorism charges - including a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr - and later saw attacks on Saudi diplomatic posts in the Islamic Republic.

Some nations have followed the Saudis' lead in severing or downgrading ties with Iran, while others have offered words of caution aimed at cooling the war of words before it escalates further.



7 January 2016

Saudi Arabia has executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

Sheikh Nimr's supporters say he advocated only peaceful demonstrations and eschewed all violent opposition to the government. The cleric's nephew, Ali al-Nimr, who was 17 when he was arrested following the demonstrations and also faces execution, was not listed as one of those killed. His brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, said he hoped any reaction to the execution would be peaceful.

Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for "angry demonstrations in front of Saudi sites and interests", but said protests should be peaceful. Lebanon's Shia council called the execution a "grave mistake" while the Hezbollah militant…Read

6 January 2016

Street Vendors in India Complain about the Bribes they have to Pay just to stay in business

A Street Vendors Act aimed at regulating 10,000,000 street vendors and protecting their rights has been passed by parliament, but the New Delhi High Court says the local government has failed to implement the law.

A vendor selling clothes said he regularly pays bribes to police and local authorities. "For so many years I have been hearing about this act, but frankly speaking nothing seems to move on," said Vinod Kumar, 69.

“It's always painful to pay a weekly bribe out of my hard-earned money. We are made to act like criminals as…Read

3 January 2016

Syrian Refugees have become part of daily life in Turkey

The Yusufpaşa neighborhood in the Fatih district of İstanbul has become home to a considerable Syrian population, reminiscent of Chinatown in New York.




2 January 2016

American film actress Susan Sarandon has arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos

Susan was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and received the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in 2006. The purpose of her visit to Lesbos is to publicise the plight of those fleeing into Europe and lend her services to organisations helping refugees.

Lesbos is just 10 kilometers from Turkey, the island is a landing spot for refugees escaping war-torn countries across the Aegean Sea. Over one million refugees have fled to Europe this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, while 7,575 refugees arrived in Greece on Boxing Day alone.…Read