News from 01/2017

31 January 2017

Concern over spate of deaths in Greek refugee camps

A third person has died in a week in the Moria refugee camp on Greece's Lesbos island, raising alarm about the grim winter conditions in overcrowded facilities that critics have denounced as deplorable.

The dead man is believed to be about 20 years old and from Pakistan, a police official on the island said. Another man who shared his tent was critically ill and taken to hospital.

Helpless refugees freezing in cold-hit Greece The death at the island's Moria camp follows those of a 22-year-old Egyptian and a 46-year-old Syrian who shared a tent…Read

Trump voters say US president is ‘doing a fabulous job’

Some Americans believe that US president: Donald Trump is right for them.

In Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a town that flipped from voting Democrat to Republican in 2016, President Trump's supporters are delighted by his first week in office.


America dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016

Most Americans would probably be astounded to realize that the president who has been painted by Washington pundits as a reluctant warrior has actually been a hawk. The Iran nuclear deal, a herculean achievement, and the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba unfortunately stand alone as President Obama’s successful uses of diplomacy over hostility.

While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W Bush’s wars, he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in US history. He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with…Read

30 January 2017

Calls to stop President Trump’s state visit to UK

Calls are being made to cancel a proposed state visit to the UK by President Trump after he clamped down on immigration to the US. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it would be "totally wrong" for the visit to go ahead later this year. A petition to stop it has gathered nearly 900,000 signatures in a day, far more than the 100,000 needed for Parliament to consider a debate. The visit was announced during PM May's trip to the US - no date has been set. Downing Street was asked for a response to the calls to cancel. A spokesman…Read

Trump executive order: Oscars chiefs dismayed by US entry ban

Oscars organisers have said it is "extremely troubling" that the makers of an Iranian film nominated for an Academy Award may be barred from entering the US. The Salesman, from director Asghar Farhadi, is nominated for best foreign-language film. Lead actress Taraneh Alidoosti has said she will boycott the ceremony. This year's Academy Awards take place on 26 February, during the 90-day order banning Iranian nationals from the US. An Academy spokeswoman said: "As supporters of film-makers - and the human rights of all people - around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director…Read

27 January 2017

The Wall

President Donald Trump has set in motion his plan to build an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall" between the US and Mexico. The border is about 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long and traverses all sorts of terrain. Mr Trump says his wall will cover 1,000 miles and natural obstacles will take care of the rest. But how much will it cost and who is going to foot the bill?


26 January 2017

Mexico: We will not pay for Trump border wall

Mexico will not pay for Donald Trump's border wall, the country's president has said in a message to the nation. Enrique Pena Nieto said he "lamented" the plans for the barrier, adding that "Mexico doesn't believe in walls". But he made no mention of cancelling or postponing a trip to Washington on 31 January to meet the new US president. Mr Trump has signed an executive order for an "impassable physical barrier" and has insisted Mexico would reimburse the US for it. Mr Pena Nieto said: "I've said time and again; Mexico won't pay for…Read

24 January 2017

Syria conflict: War of words as peace talks open in Astana

The Syrian government's lead negotiator has denounced what he called his rebel counterpart's "provocative" comments at the start of peace talks in Astana. Bashar Jaafari said Mohammed Alloush had acted in a way "removed from diplomacy" at the indirect negotiations convened by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Mr Alloush described the Syrian government as a "terrorist entity". He also said a political solution to the civil war was the rebels' preferred choice, but "not the only one".

More than 300,000 people have been killed and 11 million others displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in…Read

23 January 2017

Morocco turns on what will become the world’s largest solar power plant

Morocco has turned on its massive solar power plant in the town of Ourrzazate, on the edge of the Saharan desert. The plant already spans thousands of acres and is capable of generating up to 160 megawatts of power. It's already one of the biggest solar power grids in the world, capable of being seen from space. And it's only going to get bigger.

The current grid, called Noor I, is just the first phase of a planned project to bring renewable energy to millions living in Morocco. It will soon be followed by expansions, Noor…Read

22 January 2017

Trump inauguration: President attacks ‘dishonest’ media over crowd photos

President Donald Trump has accused the media of dishonestly reporting the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

He said the crowd had reached the Washington monument as he spoke at the US Capitol, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. Later, his White House press secretary said it had been "the largest audience to ever see an inauguration, period".

On Saturday, millions in the US and around the world protested against Mr Trump's new administration. The largest US rally was in the capital Washington, which city officials estimated to be more than 500,000-strong. By…Read

21 January 2017

Most newspapers across Europe predict that Donald Trump will be a reckless world leader

Most newspapers across Europe predict that Donald Trump will be a reckless world leader, viewing him as a buffoon and fearing that he will undermine transatlantic relations and weaken the European Union.

They are also worried that he might make deals with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, at the expense of smaller countries in central and eastern Europe.

Newspaper articles published over a seven-day period prior to Trump’s inauguration are said to reveal a level of trepidation about the incoming American president that is probably unparalleled in recent history.


Women’s March on Washington kicks off Down Under

Australia and New Zealand first to hold rallies as part of a global movement reacting to Donald Trump's inauguration.

Thousands of locals and expat Americans have taken to the streets in several cities in New Zealand and in Australia, kicking off the global Women's March on Washington movement following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

In Sydney, Australia, thousands of people gathered on Saturday to march through the city.

Organisers said the demonstration was more than just about Trump.

"We're doing this because we don't want…Read

19 January 2017

Zizek: Electing Trump will ‘Shake Up’ The System

Mehdi Hasan debates with slavoj zizek on trump 

Businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump's electoral success has left many worried, but is there a real reason to fear him?

Cultural critic and philosopher Slavoj Zizek says that while Trump is far from the ideal candidate, his victory will "shake up" the establishment and status quo.

"The current political map has to be redrawn; we need new options," says Zizek, a leftist who initially supported Bernie Sanders. "The main thing is political mobilisation of the left, to break out of a…Read

18 January 2017

Donald Trump inauguration: 20 January 2017

On January 20 Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Where Protests Are Happening on Inauguration Day By KIERSTEN SCHMIDT and SARAH ALMUKHTAR JAN. 17, 2017

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration is expected to draw thousands of protesters to Washington on Jan. 20. Several groups are planning rallies around the National Mall and near the parade route.

Supporters of Mr. Trump are planning their own rallies in addition to the official inauguration events. Two motorcycle groups, Let America Hear Us, Roar For Trump! and Bikers…Read

16 January 2017

Washington protesters vow to fight for civil rights under Trump

By Lacey Johnson | WASHINGTON U.S. civil rights activists vowed on Saturday to defend hard-fought gains in voting rights and criminal justice during the presidency of Donald Trump, kicking off a week of protests ahead of the Republican's inauguration.

About 2,000 mostly black protesters ignored steady rain to march and rally near Washington's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, as speakers urged them to fight for minority rights and President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, which Trump has vowed to dismantle.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, the rally's organizer and a veteran civil rights…Read

15 January 2017

US policy change leaves Cuban migrants stranded

Wet foot, dry foot" policy that created a path to legal residency for thousands of Cubans was abruptly ended.

Hundreds of migrants are stranded in South and Central America after outgoing president Barack Obama ended a policy that had created a path to legal residency for thousands of Cubans who reached US soil.

Elaine Miranda and her partner, Marcos, embarked on a journey involving rough seas and trekking through South America eight months ago.

They felt certain that the $5,000 they spent on transport and people smugglers would be worth it, but the day…Read

14 January 2017

Refugees stranded on Serbia-Hungary border amid winter

More than 6,400 refugees and migrants are stuck in Serbia due to European Union's closed borders.

Kelebija, Serbia - After Serbian police raided the impromptu camp hugging the Serbian-Hungarian border, many of the hundreds of refugees and migrants previously camping in a sparsely populated area moved elsewhere. 

Yet, the nearby Kelebija border crossing remains their last hope of entering the European Union through Hungary, an increasingly difficult point of entry due to the barbwire fence that spans the border.

Food scraps, old cans, abandoned clothes, plastic cutlery and other rubbish is scattered…Read

European countries mistreating refugees in cold weather, says UN

Refugee agency claims people being pushed back over borders, beaten by police and having phones and clothes confiscated

Refugees and migrants at risk of dying in the severe cold weather sweeping across Europe are being moved back over borders and subjected to violence and confiscations, the UN’s refugee agency has said, as it calls on governments to do more to help.

The UNHCR said at least five refugees had died from the cold weather since the start of the year, as temperatures dropped as low as -14C in parts of Greece, and…Read

13 January 2017

Refugees freezing to death across Europe

Two Iraqi men were found dead after walking for 48 hours through heavy snow.

Humanitarian organisations have condemned European governments for leaving refugees to “freeze to death” as the continent is gripped by a deadly cold snap.

At least four asylum seekers are believed to have been killed by the conditions so far and thousands more remain at risk while sleeping on the streets or in tents and inadequate shelters, charities are warning.

Two Iraqi men and a Somali woman have died of hypothermia in Bulgaria after journeying through the snow, while…Read

Migrants at Risk as Extreme Cold Strikes Southeast Europe

Aid agencies say thousands of migrants in southeast Europe are at risk of dying as extreme cold weather sweeps across the region. Temperatures in the Balkan states have dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius this week, and many stranded asylum seekers are sleeping in tents or makeshift shelters. Henry Ridgwell reports.


12 January 2017

Work permits needed for Syrian refugees

Labor and Social Security Ministry has given work permits to 3,800 Syrian refugees who fulfilled the required qualifications. Syrians who fled their country because of the civil war and took refuge in Turkey are benefiting from regulations that allow them to work in Turkey. The regulation about work permits for foreigners given temporary protection in Turkey was published in the official gazette on Jan. 15. Accordingly, 3,800 applicants that are Syrian refugees have been given work permits as they fulfilled the required conditions.

The work permits given to Syrian refugees will be valid in the construction, textile and manufacturing sectors.…Read

11 January 2017

Elbphilharmonie: Hamburg’s dazzling, costly castle in the air

The Elbphilharmonie, to give it its proper name, offers a sequence of visual and architectural other worldliness that starts with distant glimpses from the centre of the city and doesn’t stop when you reach your seat in one of its three auditoria, of 2,100, 550 and 150 seats. Its exterior, 110 metres high, is glassy and opalescent, curvy on top, above the brick block of the warehouse, a crystal on top of a rock, teetering because bigger than its base, but also lighter looking. Alternatively – and if metaphors are mixed it’s because the building provokes it – it…Read

10 January 2017

Migrants battle freezing temperatures and cold shoulder at Hungarian border

By Marton Dunai | HORGOS, SERBIA

Dozens of Asian, Afghan and Pakistani migrants, some with children, are camping out in makeshift tents in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) on Serbia's northern border, waiting their turn to try to enter Hungary.

They are among 7,000 migrants from Asia and the Middle East stranded in Serbia. Refugee camps are packed and only women and children are likely to be let into them, leaving the men to seek shelter where they can - in abandoned warehouses in central Belgrade, or the fields just south of…Read

Pound hits new low after Theresa May’s Brexit remarks

The British pound has fallen to its lowest level against the US dollar since 1985, after the UK prime minister hinted at a complete break with the European Union following the conclusion of the Brexit negotiations.

Foreign currency markets had the pound at $1.21 on Monday, down from $1.46 on the day before the referendum to leave the EU in June last year.

In an interview with British broadcaster Sky News on Sunday, Theresa May said the UK would not hold on to "bits of EU membership", but cautioned that a so-called hard Brexit was not an inevitability.<…Read

9 January 2017

Stranded and sick, refugees endure harsh Serbian winter

Belgrade, Serbia - Patches of ice dot a grassless yard where a group of refugees and migrants heat a barrel of water on a campfire to bathe and handwash their clothes on a dimming afternoon in early January.

A teenager from Pakistan sits on his haunches and shivers as he waits for his friend to pour a bowl of hot water down his back, wearing only a pair of undershorts.

Young men sit in tight rings around the campfires. Smoke cylinders rise from the centre of each circle, the wind picking up, dragging the dark…Read

8 January 2017

Syria conflict: Bomb kills dozens in Azaz on Turkish border

At least 43 people have been killed in a car bomb blast in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz, near the Turkish border, reports say. The explosion occurred outside a courthouse in the town, some just 7km (four miles) from the Turkish frontier. Azaz has recently been targeted by so-called Islamic State (IS). The latest blast is the worst since a nationwide ceasefire - brokered by Russia and Turkey. IS is not included in the truce, which has mainly held.

No group has yet said it carried out the bombing, which according to some reports may have killed…Read

7 January 2017

US tanks arrive in Germany to help Nato defences

The largest shipment of US brigades since the fall of the Soviet Union is arriving in northern Germany. The first of the 87 tanks and 144 military vehicles were being unloaded in the port of Bremerhaven on Friday. The equipment and 3,500 US troops are to be deployed along Nato's eastern frontier. The deployment aims to allay worries of potential Russian aggression in eastern Europe. However, some fear the large number will exacerbate tensions with Moscow. Leaders of the left-wing regional government of Brandenburg - one of the German states through which the American brigades will be transported over the next…Read

6 January 2017

Syria army presses fight near Damascus despite truce

Rebels fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner in Wadi Barada warn the fragile ceasefire is in danger of collapse.

Syria's army advanced on Monday, as it battles to capture a rebel region that is key to the capital's water supply, launching air strikes and artillery fire that threatens a fragile nationwide truce.

The ceasefire brokered by ally Russia and Turkey, which backs the opposition, is now in its fourth day, despite sporadic violence and continued fighting in the Wadi Barada area near Damascus.

"Regime forces and fighters from Lebanon's…Read

5 January 2017

Turkey accuses Syria government of truce violations

Turkish foreign minister warns planned peace talks in Kazakhstan could fail if violations do not end.

Turkey has accused the Syrian government of violating a fragile ceasefire in the country and said the new round of negotiations to be held in Kazakh capital Astana was at risk.

The Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire last week has brought calm to large parts of Syria, but has been threatened by ongoing fighting in the Wadi Barada region near the capital Damascus.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday urged the Syrian government and its backers to end…Read

4 January 2017

Syria war: Air strikes kill 25 jihadists in Idlib province, monitors say

Air strikes in northern Syria have killed at least 25 members of a prominent jihadist group, including senior figures, monitors say. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it is not clear who carried out the attack against the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group, formerly known as Nusra Front. Russia and Turkey say the group is not included in a ceasefire deal in Syria. Meanwhile, rebel groups say they are halting preparations for peace talks.

A statement signed by a number of groups cited "many big breaches" by the Syrian government and its allies as a reason. The…Read

2 January 2017

U.N. Security Council Supports Russia-Turkey Peace Efforts In Syria

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday in support of the efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the violence in Syria and "jump-start" a political process.

The resolution also reaffirms the U.N.'s commitment to Syria's sovereignty, and notes that the "only sustainable solution to the current crisis" is through an "inclusive and Syria-led political process." The U.N. also reiterated its calls for humanitarian aid to have "rapid, safe, and unhindered access throughout Syria."