Daily Archives: March 16, 2014

Gunmen kill 100 in central Nigeria

Gunmen killed more than 100 people in an attack on three villages in central Nigeria, an area where longstanding disputes over land, religion and ethnicity often erupt into violence, two local government officials said on Sunday.

The police confirmed the attacks by Fulani herdsman late on Friday but declined to give a death toll.

 euronews,.

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Breaking news – Right Sector leader : Kiev should be ready to sabotage Russian pipelines in Ukraine

Dmytro Yarosh

Dmytro Yarosh

 

The leader of Ukrainian ultranationalist group Right Sector, Dmitry Yarosh, has called on the coup-appointed regime in Kiev to be ready to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory.

 

In a fiery address loaded warmongering rhetoric, Yarosh told his followers they should be ready to resist the Russian “occupiers.” The leader of the Right Sector made his address to the coup-appointed government in Kiev, as Crimeans made their way to ballots Sunday to vote to join with Russia or to remain within Ukraine.

 

Edited time: March 16, 2014 13:25

 

“We cannot allow the enemy to carry out a blitzkrieg attack on Ukrainian territory. We mustn’t forget that Russia makes money sending its oil through our pipelines to the West. We will destroy these pipelines and deprive our enemy of its source of income,” Yarosh said.

 

Continuing the bellicose rhetoric, Yarosh appealed to his followers, urging them to take up arms against Russia, if a diplomatic solution cannot be reached.

 

Yarosh said that Crimea was too small to satisfy the appetite of the “Russian Empire,” and that the Kremlin would seek to take over the whole of Ukraine.

 

“Let the ground burn under the feet of the occupiers! Let them choke on their own blood when they attack our territory! Not one step back! We will not allow Moscow’s beserk, totalitarian regime to spark a Third World War!”

 

The phrase “Not one step back!” was used in a famous order by Joseph Stalin during WWII and became a popular slogan for the Soviet people’s resistance against the Nazis. Yarosh’s use of this particular rhetoric attracted attention from many observers, given that the members of his Right Sector group are known to use Nazi insignia.

 

 RT News.

 

 

 

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China : US-sponsored UN resolution on Crimea could aggravate crisis

A vote regarding the Ukrainian crisis is taken at the UN Security Council in New York March 15, 2014.

The UN Security Council resolution on Crimea vetoed by Russia on Saturday could only further worsen the Ukrainian crisis, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

A UN Security Council resolution, calling on countries not to recognize the results of the Crimean referendum, “could currently only lead to confrontation and further aggravate the situation,” according to a statement issued Sunday by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

“This is neither in Ukraine’s interest, nor in the interest of the international community,” the statement said. It warned all sides against taking any steps that would make the Ukrainian crisis worse.

Thirteen out of fifteen members of the UN Security Council voted March 15 in favor of the resolution, saying that the referendum in Crimea is illegitimate. Russia used its right of veto to block the resolution, while China abstained.

Following the vote, Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told the Security Council that China held “an objective and fair position on the Ukraine issue,” as cited by Xinhua.

Liu said Beijing vows to “continue to mediate and promote dialogue so as to play a constructive role in bringing about a political solution to the crisis.”

Chinese ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi.

The diplomat came up with three proposals. He called for setting up an international coordination mechanism to explore possibilities of a political settlement, urged all parties to refrain from escalation, and asked international financial institutions to help restore economic and financial stability in Ukraine.

Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, explained on Saturday why Russia exercised its veto right concerning the draft resolution on Ukraine.

“We cannot accept its basic assumption: to declare illegal the planned March 16 referendum where there residents of the Republic of Crimea should decide on their future,” Churkin said. “The philosophy of the authors of the draft runs counter to one of the basic principles of the international law – the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Article 1 of the UN Charter.”

Crimea is holding a referendum on Sunday, with residents choosing between the republic’s reunification with Russia or remaining part of Ukraine with broader autonomy.

The referendum was prompted by a parliamentary coup in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, where President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted from office in February. Crimean authorities did not acknowledge the new government in Kiev as legitimate and made a decision to hold a referendum on the region’s future.

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Investigators look for motive in Malaysia plane disappearance

A police car is seen coming from the compound of the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the captain of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur

A police car is seen coming from the compound of the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the captain of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur

(Reuters) – Malaysian police are investigating the personal, political and religious backgrounds of the pilots and crew of a missing jetliner, a senior officer said on Sunday, as they try to work out why someone aboard flew the plane hundreds of miles off course.

The government also appealed for international help in the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane across two corridors stretching from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean, diplomats said.

No trace of the Boeing 777-200ER has been found since it vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, but investigators believe it was diverted by someone who knew how to switch off its communications and tracking systems.

“We are not ruling out any sort of motivation at the moment,” a senior police official with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

The disappearance of Flight MH370 has baffled investigators, aviation experts and internet sleuths since the plane vanished from civilian air traffic control screens off Malaysia’s east coast less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

At a news conference on Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said investigators believed somebody steered the plane west, far from its scheduled route.

Electronic signals it continued to exchange periodically with satellites suggest it could have continued flying for nearly seven hours after being last spotted by Malaysian military radar off the country’s northwest coast.

The satellite data revealed by Najib suggests the plane could be anywhere in either of two arcs: one stretching from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, or a southern arc heading from Indonesia to the vast southern Indian Ocean.

A source familiar with official U.S. assessments said it was thought most likely the plane had headed south into the Indian Ocean, where it would presumably have run out of fuel and crashed. Air space to the north is much busier, and the plane would likely have been detected.

Underlining the scale of the task ahead, Malaysian officials listed more countries they were contacting for assistance in searching along the two arcs, which they said were of equal importance.

They range from the former Soviet central Asian republics to the north to Australia in the south, along with France, which administers a scattering of islands deep in the southern Indian Ocean uninhabited except for a handful of researchers.

The Indian Ocean is one of the most remote places in the world and also one of the deepest, posing potentially enormous challenges for efforts to find wreckage or the flight voice and data recorders that are the key to solving the puzzle.

PILOTS’ HOMES SEARCHED

Najib said that in light of the mounting evidence that the plane was deliberately diverted, the investigation into the aircraft’s crew and passengers would be stepped up.

Within hours, special branch officers had searched the homes of the captain, 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid, in middle class suburbs of Kuala Lumpur close to the international airport.

A journalist films the home of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur

A journalist films the home of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur

An experienced pilot, Zaharie has been described by current and former co-workers as a flying enthusiast who spent his off days operating a life-sized flight simulator he had set up at home.

The Transport Ministry said experts were examining the simulator but appealed to the public “not to jump to conclusions regarding the police investigation”.

The senior police official said the flight simulator programs were looked at closely, adding they appeared to be normal ones that allowed players to practice flying and landing in different conditions.

Postings on his Facebook page suggest the pilot was a politically active opponent of the coalition that has ruled Malaysia for the 57 years since independence.

A day before the plane vanished, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to five years in prison, in a ruling his supporters and international human rights groups say was politically influenced.

Asked if Zaharie’s background as an opposition supporter was being examined, the senior police officer would say only: “We need to cover all our bases.”

Malaysia Airlines has said it did not believe Zaharie would have sabotaged the plane, and colleagues were incredulous.

“Please, let them find the aircraft first. Zaharie is not suicidal, not a political fanatic as some foreign media are saying,” a Malaysia Airlines pilot who is close to Zaharie told Reuters. “Is it wrong for anyone to have an opinion about politics?”

Co-pilot Fariq was religious and serious about his career, family and friends said, countering news reports suggesting he was a cockpit Romeo who was reckless on the job.

EXPERTS DOUBT MILITANT GROUPS INVOLVED

No details have emerged of any passengers or crew with militant links that could explain a motive for sabotaging the flight.

Southeast Asia’s homegrown Islamist militant groups, such as Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which carried out the Bali bombings in 2002, have been quiet in recent years after security forces either arrested or shot dead numerous members.

Experts said they doubted the remaining militants had the skills or capabilities to carry out a complex hijacking.

“JI has not been involved with violence in the region since 2007,” said Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.

“The other groups that are active in Indonesia, in trying to make terrorist plots, are all not very competent. I would be extremely surprised if any group from Indonesia, the Philippines or Malaysia itself would be directly involved.”

Malaysia said the latest analysis of satellite data showed the last signal from the missing plane at 8:11 a.m. local time, almost seven hours after it turned back over the Gulf of Thailand and re-crossed the Malay peninsula.

The data did not show whether the plane was still flying or pinpoint its location at that time, presenting searchers with a daunting task. Seven hours’ more flying time would likely have taken it to the limit of its fuel load.

India had been searching in two areas, one around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a second further west in the Bay of Bengal, both in the direction the plane was heading when it dropped off Malaysia’s military radar. Both searches have been “paused” awaiting further instructions from Malaysia, defense officials said on Sunday.

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Ukraine: Crimea poll opens with landslide vote expected for union with Russia | World news

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A crucial referendum on either becoming an integral part of Russia or staying within Ukraine on conditions of wide autonomy has kicked off in the Republic of Crimea despite international condemnation and pressure from Kiev.

The polling stations of 27 regional Crimea election commissions are going to be open all day long, starting from 8am till 8pm (0600 GMT- 1800 GMT). Up to 1.5 million – this is the number of ballots printed for the referendum – Crimea citizens are expected come to cast their votes in favor of independence or against it.

Some 10,000 members of the Crimean military recently formed from self-defense squads, and over 5,000 police officers are ensuring the referendum goes smoothly.

Crimean authorities have reported about 135 registered international observers have arrived from 23 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland. Members of the EU and national European parliaments, international law experts and human rights activists together with 1,240 local observers are monitoring the voting at ballot stations. Mass media in the peninsula is represented by 623 accredited journalists from 169 international media outlets.

Election commission officials take part in the preparations for a referendum at the polling station in the Crimean town of Simferopol

Election commission officials take part in the preparations for a referendum at the polling station in the Crimean town of Simferopol

After a power grab took place in capital Kiev on February 22, Ukraine’s legitimate President Viktor Yanukovich had to flee from his residence fearing for his life. The parliament of the Crimea autonomy, where about 60 percent of the residents are ethnic Russians, did not acknowledge the coup-imposed government in Kiev as legitimate and took the decision to dissociate from Ukraine.

On March 11 the parliament of the Crimea autonomy adopted a declaration of independence from Ukraine, opening way for the referendum on March 16.

The referendum in Crimea was preceded with numerous provocations on the peninsula and threats coming from the capital Kiev and western politicians.

Since the moment Crimea set date for independence referendum, official Kiev has been claiming that all actions of the Crimea authorities are illegitimate, disregarding the international practice of referendums.

On Saturday Ukraine’s parliament made the last desperate gesture to prevent the referendum, voting to dismiss the Crimean Supreme Council. Though self-defense guards have done their best to prevent provocations in the peninsula, they took place anyway.

On the eve of the vote, Crimean self-defense forces prevented an attempt to damage a gas pipeline at the Arabat Spit. The people trying to damage the pipeline introduced themselves as officers of the Border Guard, the Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

In the Crimean capital of Simferopol an undisclosed number of people under the guise of policemen were detained for purposefully damaging civilians’ passports or taking away their documents to make it impossible for the citizens to vote in the absence of ID.

The same fraud has been also reported in the small town of Saky in western Crimea.

Nationalists from western Ukraine and Kiev, such as members of ultra-nationalist Right Sector group, made multiple attempts to sneak into the autonomous region to stage protests against Crimean independence.

Sometimes people shouting Nazi slogans joined peaceful demonstrations in Crimea’s cities, calling upon people not to vote in the referendum.

Despite that, mass pro-Russian protests have been held for the past weeks in the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea. The demonstrators were protesting against the new government, storming local government offices and replacing Ukrainian flags with the Russian tricolor. People in Simferopol, Odessa, Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk, Melitopol, Yevpatoria, Kerch and Mariupol – all took to the streets shouting slogans in support of the Crimean referendum.

According to a GfK poll of 600 residents taken Thursday and Friday ahead of the referendum, 70 percent said they will vote to become part of Russia, while 11 percent said they will vote to restore Crimea’s status as part of Ukraine.

 

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