News from 02/2016

29 February 2016

Will Germans embrace or shun refugees?

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are being dispersed throughout Germany. One family in the east of the country describe how their small city is adapting to life alongside the country's new residents.

In a crowded market square in Gera, poets and performers take to the stage. Above them is a banner that has become a familiar sight at train stations across Germany. "Refugees Welcome," it reads in big letters.

Die Linke, a left-wing German political party, has set up a stall to welcome the newcomers, alongside a local charity.

The Left …Read

28 February 2016

Apparently We Are Alone in the Universe

George Putic

February 26, 2016 10:42 AM

Since the universe is so huge, most astronomers think that there must be a planet, somewhere out there, similar to Earth. But a computer model created at Sweden’s Uppsala University says that our planet may in fact be the only one supporting life.

Astrophysicist Erik Zackrisson combined all human knowledge about how the universe was created, from the Big Bang to the present, and fed it to a powerful computer. The machine came up with a concrete number of what we already knew. There are about 700 quintillion…Read

27 February 2016

Russian air strikes

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the peace process in Syria would be "complicated" but that there were no other ways of ending the conflict.

He added, however, that his country's air force would continue its bombing campaign against ISIL, al-Nusra and other "terrorist groups" in Syria after the truce deal enters into force.

"The decisive fight against them will, without doubt, be continued," the Russian president said during a meeting of the FSB security service in Moscow.  


26 February 2016

25 February 2016

The EU can learn from Turkey’s refugee experience

In Turkey the Afet ve Acil Durum Yonetimi Baskanligi (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, AFAD), an organisation established in 2009 to deal with natural disasters, has pioneered building refugee camps across Turkey of which there are now 23. It is building new two-storey, container-type housing for the people. (Read the full article" by Seth J Frantzman


News from the Turkish/Syrian border

Relentless air strikes from Russia on civilians, schools and hospitals.  Turkey has refused to open the border.  Europe must do more to help the refugees in this dreadful Human rights situation.


24 February 2016

8,000 refugees have been trapped on Greece’s northern border

On Tuesday, hundreds of Afghan refugees stranded at the Greece-Macedonia border staged a sit-in at the Idomeni border crossing demanding passage.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Idomeni, said the closure was causing a lot of anxiety not only to the Afghan refugees, but also to the Iraqis and Syrians




23 February 2016

21 February 2016

Hillary Clinton won more votes at the Nevada caucus but Bernie Sanders was not really the loser.

While the former secretary of state notched her most convincing victory of this early election season, that's not saying much at all. It certainly wasn't the dominating performance that her campaign had hoped would reveal her early struggles against the Vermont senator were a regional aberration.

Instead both candidates emerge from the "First in the West" caucuses feeling like a bit of a winner and a bit of a loser.




19 February 2016

Here’s a look at the state of the Nevada race:

Washington (CNN)—Likely Democratic caucusgoers in Nevada are split almost evenly between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ahead of Saturday's caucuses, accordOverall, 48% of likely caucus attendees say they support Clinton, 47% Sanders. Both candidates carry their demographic strong points from prior states into Nevada, with Clinton holding an edge among women, while Sanders tops the former secretary of state among voters under age 55, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.

Though Clinton holds an edge over Sanders on handling a range of top issues, the results suggest the extremely close race hinges on divided opinions on…Read

17 February 2016

Bernie Sanders will have an opportunity to answer the central question for many Democrats in Nevada

After solid showings in two overwhelmingly white states, Mr. Sanders will have an opportunity to answer the central question for many Democrats trying to judge whether he is more than a particularly strong early-contest protest candidate. This state is as racially diverse as Iowa and New Hampshire are not: About 20 percent of the Democratic electorate is Hispanic, and 13 percent African-American. Over 95 percent of Vermont, his home state, is white.



15 February 2016

Saudi Arabia will deploy fighter aircraft

Saudi Arabia may choose to deploy its Typhoon aircraft which are at least as capable in the air superiority role, and have previously performed well in RSAF service dropping the extremely accurate British-made Paveway IV bomb against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in Iraq.

Of course, aircraft capable of confronting potential Russian provocations over Syria are already in the region.

The USAF already has small numbers of the unrivalled F-22 Raptor, France has deployed its formidable Rafale, and the RAF has deployed six Typhoons to assist in strike operations against…Read

14 February 2016

Nato launches naval patrols to return migrants to Turkey

Nato has sent a patrol of three warships to intercept migrants trying to reach Greece by sea and send them back to Turkey, as Europe steps up efforts to contain the refugee crisis.

A Turkish official warned of a new “tsunami” of Syrian refugees hitting Turkey and Europe as a result of the assault on the northern city of Aleppo being waged by the Russians and the Syrian regime.



13 February 2016

Nevada election for Democrats Saturday Feb 20

Nevada election for Democrats Saturday Feb 20 Until the next polls come out, it’s a waiting game for those trying to predict what will happen in Nevada. The Democratic caucuses will be Saturday, Feb. 20, with the Republican caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

However Huffington Post predict: 45% Hillary Clinton and 45% Bernie Sanders.



12 February 2016

Sanders’ Middle East policies under scrutiny

Rami Khouri, a Middle East expert and senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, said "not very much" is known about Bernie Sanders' foreign policy, but that the Vermont senator would be "forced in the coming months" to address questions on the Middle East - especially if he continues to gain momentum against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. "He has not spoken very much about issues in the Middle East", including the issue of Palestinian statehood, Khouri said of Sanders, in an interview with Al Jazeera. "So we can't judge him."

Khouri, however, said that based on…Read

8 February 2016

New Hampshire primary 9th Feb 2016

Sen. Bernie Sanders hopes to get some serious momentum from New Hampshire voters where he has a double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton in the polls. However he said he expects Tuesday’s primary to be a close one. Clinton has acknowledged Sanders’ significant lead in the primary, but said she is not willing to give up on New Hampshire yet. Like Iowa, New Hampshire's importance is tied to its early-voting status and the attention that comes with it, not because of the delegates it controls.


7 February 2016

Airport becomes refugee shelter

A German airport made famous during the Cold War is being used as emergency accommodation to house refugees, as the country struggles to cope with the continued arrival of thousands of asylum seekers. Henry Ridgwell reports from Berlin.



6 February 2016

Refugees flock to Turkey border to escape Aleppo fighting

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are heading to the border with Turkey to escape heavy fighting in Aleppo. It comes as a conference of donor countries in London pledged £7bn ($10bn) to help Syrians affected by the five-year conflict. Bridget Kendall reports.



Syria war: Thousands fleeing fighting mass at Turkey border

At least 15,000 Syrian refugees fleeing fighting in northern Aleppo province have gathered at a border crossing with Turkey, UN and Turkish officials said. The frontier is shut but Turkey has said it is prepared to feed and shelter the refugees. In the past few days, the Syrian army backed by Russian air power has made a series of gains in Aleppo province. The advance threatens to surround the city of Aleppo, Syria's largest, landing a major blow to the rebels. Nato has accused Russia of "undermining" Syrian peace efforts through its strikes, which it says are mainly aimed…Read

5 February 2016

Clinton versus Sanders

The two remaining Democratic presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, held a tense and angry debate Thursday night in New Hampshire, days before the Northeastern state holds the nation's first presidential primary.

Clinton trails Sanders by 16 percentage points in the polls after barely beating him in the Iowa caucuses. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley dropped out of the race after a poor showing in Iowa.



4 February 2016

Life Goes On - Leaders to gather in London for Syria donor conference

World leaders will gather for a donor conference in London on Thursday in an attempt to raise £6.2bn ($9bn; €8.3bn) for those affected by the war in Syria. Some 70 leaders are expected to attend the conference, the fourth of its kind, including UK PM David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They are aiming to raise funds for education and jobs for Syrian refugees.




Peace Talks suspension till February 25.

Diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian conflict have been plunged into a fresh crisis with the UN special envoy announcing a temporary suspension of talks in Geneva between the opposition and the government.

Following a meeting with the opposition's Higher Negotiations Committee (HNC) in the Swiss city on Wednesday, Staffan de Mistura fixed February 25 as the date for resuming talks.

"This is not the end and not the failure of the talks. They both came and they both stayed - and both sides insisted on a political process," he said, referring to the government…Read

3 February 2016

Give Syria peace talks a chance

The second day of exploratory talks on a peace process in Syria have ended in Geneva, with opposition delegates calling off a meeting with the UN special envoy, Staffan de Mistura.

A Syrian military offensive backed by heavy Russian air strikes threatened to cut critical rebel supply lines into the northern city of Aleppo, as peace talks in Switzerland appeared to be in jeopardy on Wednesday.

The government attack north of Aleppo that began in recent days is its first major offensive there since Russian air strikes…Read

2 February 2016

UN Urges Cease-fire as Syria Talks Start

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura is meeting Tuesday in Geneva with representatives of the Syrian government after declaring the start of indirect peace talks and calling on world powers to live up to their pledge to secure an accompanying cease-fire.