Daily Archives: November 23, 2015

Great-grandson of Russian Emperor Alexander III dies in Australia

Leonid Kulikovsky died on September 27 but his body was kept in the morgue for two months as he lived alone and no one contacted the authorities

Russian Emperor Alexander III with his spouse Empress Maria Feodorovna and children

SYDNEY, November 23. /TASS/. Leonid Kulikovsky, a great grandson of Russian Emperor Alexander III, has died in northern Australia aged 72, a member of the Union of Russian Compatriots on the world’s smallest continent, told TASS on Monday.

“He died of a heart attack on September 27 when walking with his dog in the city of Katherine [Northern Territory],” Semen Andropov said. “As Kulikovsky lived alone, his body was kept in the morgue for two months as no one contacted the authorities. Police later found his relatives in Denmark.”

“His body was taken to Darwin [capital city of the Northern Territory] and the funeral will take place on November 30,” he added.

Kulikovsky was born in Denmark in 1943. His father Guriy was a son of Grand Princess Olga, youngest daughter of Emperor Alexander III. In 1967, Kulikovsky moved to Sydney and then to Katherine seven years ago after retirement.

Life of last Russian royal family in pictures

Nowhere to Hide: New Videos of Russian Cruise Missile Strikes in Syria

Russian Defense Ministry released new videos of cruise missile strikes carried out against Islamic State forces in Syria.

The videos, published on the ministry’s official YouTube channel, show ISIL assets in the Syrian province of Idlib being obliterated by cruise missile strikes.

Kalibr-NK cruise missiles employed by Russian forces make short work of ISIL command posts, as can be seen on these two videos.

Several missiles scored direct hits against an ISIL base also located in Idlib province.

Russia has been launching airstrikes against ISIL by Assad’s request since September 30. Russian aircraft have carried out over 2,000 sorties, destroying about 3,000 ISIL targets and eliminating hundreds of militants. The warships of Russia’s Caspian Flotilla have also launched a series of cruise missile strikes against the ISIL assets in Syria.
On Tuesday Russian Aerospace Forces intensified their campaign in Syria, launching massive airstrikes against ISIL forces.

A US-led international coalition has also been conducting an aerial campaign against the militants, but without the approval of Damascus or the United Nations.

BREAKING: France’s Charles De Gaulle Strikes ISIL Targets in Syria

he French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has conducted first combat operation against the ISIL targets in Syria.

Warplanes from the French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” engaged in their first combat mission, striking Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq on Monday.

he French media reported that the Charles de Gaulle’s mission is expected to last at least four months and that it may be prolonged..

The ship houses 18 Rafale fighter jets, eight Dassault Super-Etendard supersonic deck attack aircraft and two Hawkeye aerial early warning aircraft (AEW). The carrier’s team composes of 1,9 thousand sailors, pilots and mechanics.

France’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle was deployed in the Mediterranean late Saturday after a November 13 series of terrorist acts in Paris saw 130 killed and over 360 injured.

The Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the coordinated mass shootings and suicide bombings near a football stadium, in a concert hall and outside several restaurants in Paris.

Hollande imposed a nationwide state of emergency, since extended by French lawmakers. The presumed organizer of the Paris attacks, born in Belgium and suspected of training in Syria, was confirmed killed in an anti-terror raid in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis last week.

The UN Security Council voted on Saturday to adopt an anti-terrorism resolution drafted by France to “redouble and coordinate” efforts against ISIL.

Le niveau d’alerte maximal prolongé à Bruxelles face à la menace d’attentats

Le Premier ministre belge a annoncé dimanche la prolongation du niveau d’alerte maximal. Des opérations policières se sont déroulées dans la soirée. Le parquet fédéral a annoncé 16 arrestations, en précisant que Salah Abdeslam “n’a pas été trouvé”.

Le niveau d’alerte maximal, le niveau 4 (menace “sérieuse et imminente”), est maintenu dans Bruxelles et la région bruxelloise, où le métro, les écoles et les universités resteront fermés lundi 23 novembre, a annoncé dimanche soir le Premier ministre belge, Charles Michel.

Outre la fermeture des écoles et du métro, il a été décidé de “diminuer les grands événements” a déclaré Charles Michel. Il a également indiqué que la présence policière et militaire allait être renforcée dans la capitale déjà quadrillée par l’armée et transformée en ville-morte tout le week-end.

Dimanche soir, plusieurs opérations policières ont eu lieu, notamment dans le centre de Bruxelles, à proximité de la Grand-Place, ainsi que dans la région de Charleroi. Après leur fin, le parquet fédéral a tenu une conférence de presse au cours de laquelle il a  annoncé que 19 perquisitions avaient eu lieu et qu’elles avaient permis de procéder à 16 interpellations. Les policiers n’ont retrouvé ni armes, ni explosifs. Salah Abdeslam, activement recherché depuis les attaques de Paris, ne faisait pas partie des personnes arrêtées.

Putin informed of contact between Russian military and French aircraft carrier — Kremlin

The Charles de Gaulle carries eighteen Rafale fighters and eight Super Etendard fighters, as well as other combat and reconnaissance technologies

TEHRAN, November 23. /TASS/. It has been reported to the Russian president that contact has been established with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

“In a public mode our military (on November 20) reported about that. It was last week, on Friday,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

On November 22, TASS reported that France’s aircraft carrier The Charles de Gaulle, currently in the eastern part of the Mediterranean sea, off Syria, established contact with the Russian military. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, which leads a combined air and naval group near Syria, was prepared to start an operation against the militants of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) starting from November 23.

The Charles de Gaulle carries eighteen Rafale fighters and eight Super Etendard fighters, as well as other combat and reconnaissance technologies. Previously France’s combat aircraft fleet operating in the region numbered 12 Air Force planes (six Mirage-2000 and six Rafale) based in the United Arab Emirate

Paris terror suspect Abdeslam still at large after week-long manhunt

Belgian police are still searching for Salah Abdeslam, one of the participants in the Paris terror attacks on November 13. He was not among 16 people arrested during raids on Sunday and the authorities fear he could be planning another attack.

Several Belgian media publications have cited unconfirmed reports that Abdeslam had been seen in a car near the city of Leige and was heading to the near-by German border. There have also been numerous other sightings of the 26-year-old, who has so far evaded capture despite a massive manhunt across the continent.

Jack Rice, a criminal defense lawyer and former CIA officer, spoke to RT and outlined how it would not be hard for a person to effectively ‘disappear’ within one of Europe’s numerous migrant communities.

“It is not surprising to me that one person can melt into an entire community. We need to take a look at the number of disparate communities around Europe that have in some ways isolated themselves or have been isolated. As a result, to melt into one of those communities as one simple individual is certainly something that can happen,” Rice said.

“We need to come back and try to understand why there are various organizations and peoples who are so disparate and so isolated,” he added.

Handout picture shows Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam seen on a call for witnesses notice released by the French Police Nationale information services on their twitter account November 15, 2015. © Police Nationale

Abdeslam has been on the run for over a week after his elder brother, Brahim, blew himself up at a cafe during the Paris terror attacks. After fleeing the French capital, the car Abdeslam was travelling in was stopped three times by police as it headed to Brussels. However the 26-year-old was allowed to continue his journey on each occasion and has subsequently been able to avoid capture.

One of those stops took place at a checkpoint on the Belgian border just hours after the attacks. Abdeslam was allowed to proceed after showing his ID, as the security services did not realize at the time that he had been involved in the attacks.

The authorities are continuing to search for Abdeslam, and a total of 19 raids were carried out in the Belgian capital Brussels and the industrial city of Charleroi, with a total of 16 people being arrested. Abdeslam was not among those who were detained.

Abdeslam hails from the Molenbeek district of Brussels, which has a large immigrant community. Brussels’s own mayor has described the district as a “breeding ground for radical violence” with a high level of youth unemployment and crime.

In 2010, while a trainee state rail mechanic, Abdeslam was jailed for armed robbery. His accomplice at the time was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a childhood friend who was two years older – and the man suspected of being the “mastermind” behind the Paris terror attacks.

Abdeslam, however, appears never to have done anything to arouse suspicion – at least according to those who lived alongside him.

It emerged last week that Abdeslam was on a countrywide list of about 800 suspected radicals – though the authorities have apparently never interrogated him.

Despite the perceived threat, he was allowed to travel freely throughout the EU. In September he travelled to Austria for what he said was a “holiday,” according to the Austrian Interior Ministry. Investigators are now attempting to determine exactly how he spent his time and who he may have met while there.

It also emerged that Abdeslam was arrested in Spain for drink driving just a few weeks before the Paris terror attacks. He was fined for driving over the limit and his car was impounded, but no further action was taken, despite him appearing on list of suspected Belgian jihadists.

Days after the Paris attacks, the EU said it would be stepping up border controls and document checks across the bloc. France has been critical of Belgium for not doing enough to keep tabs on known radicals, while there has been concern that known criminals and suspects have been able to enter the EU via a country where data is not held, and then travel around the continent easily.

About half of the data regarding suspected radicals comes from just five of the 28 member states, officials have said, without revealing those failing to help: “Some of them are [helping]. Not all of them are [helping],” Europol Director Rob Wainwright told Reuters. “Frankly, they need to do more.”

The Belgian capital is experiencing its third day of lockdown on Monday, with the metro, schools and many shops closed across the city. The authorities fear Abdeslam could try to create a Paris-style attack in Brussels.

“What we fear is an attack similar to the one in Paris, with several individuals who could possibly launch several attacks at the same time in multiple locations,” Prime Minister Charles Michel told a news conference early on Sunday evening.

Syrian army making advances since Russian airstrikes began – Assad

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a journalist from the Chinese Phoenix Television Channel in Damascus, in this handout picture provided by SANA on November 22, 2015

Russian airstrikes have shifted the tide in Syria and, thanks to them, the army is now gaining at the terrorists’ positions, Syrian President Bashar Assad said. He added that the militants are supported from abroad, primarily by “Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

Assad also pointed out that over the past year terrorists managed to capture more Syrian territories and gained more recruits from all over the world despite US-led coalition’s airstrikes. While in contrast to that, only a month of the Russian air operation forced many terrorists to retreat and flee Syria for Turkey, Europe, Yemen and elsewhere.

“You cannot fight terrorism through air raids. You need troops on the ground. The Americans only fight through their airplanes,” the president said.

“What about the Russians? They are depending on the Syrian troops on the ground. They are cooperating with us. So, the difference, the main difference, is that the Americans don’t cooperate with any ground troops, while the Russians are doing this,” he added.

President Assad also said that there is no tangible opposition group in Syria – there are just militants and terrorists.

“It [opposition] is a political term, not a military term. Whenever you hold a machinegun, you are a militant, you are a terrorist, whatever you want, but you cannot call “opposition” people who hold machineguns or any kind of armaments,” he said.

At the same time, Assad confirmed that the Russian and the Syrian government have been cooperating with some of the militant groups, which is a part of the nation-wide reconciliation process.

President Assad pointed out, however, that it is impossible to make concrete political steps before defeating the extremists.

“What we are doing in parallel besides fighting terrorism, we need to make the dialogue, but the concrete steps should follow at least a major defeat of the terrorists and the government takes control of a major area that has been captured by the terrorists,” he said.

The Syrian president believes that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is strongly dependent on foreign support.

In the interview with the Chinese TV, Assad has alleged that the main IS supporters are Turkey, Saudi Arabia – with its strong “Wahhabi institution” – and Qatar. He described the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan as being “Muslim Brotherhood in his heart.”

Turkish support is especially important for IS because the illegal oil trade – one of the chief sources of revenue for the group – comes through this country.

Assad also blamed western countries for “overlooking of what is going on”.

“Without this logistical space, or let’s say backyard to ISIS, ISIS cannot survive, because it doesn’t have incubation in Syria, it doesn’t have the incubator in Syria,” the president said.

From Assad’s point of view, without foreign support it would take less than a year to defeat IS. Two more years are needed to accomplish the peace process.

The war in Syria erupted in 2011 after mass protests which were a part of the so-called Arab Spring. Islamic State took the advantage of the destabilization in Syria and Iraq and gained control over large territories in these countries. On September, 30, Russia launched airstrikes against IS on the Syrian request – a year after the US-led coalition started to bomb this terrorist group.


Police say 16 injured after shooting at New Orleans park

A dispute between two groups of people in a New Orleans park Sunday escalated into a shooting that injured at least 16 people, police said late Sunday.

The shooting took place at around 6 p.m. local time after approximately 500 people had gathered at Bunny Friend Playground in the city’s 9th Ward to film a music video, the New Orleans Police Department said in a statement. Ambulances took 10 victims to area hospitals, and police later learned that another six victims had been taken to the hospital in private vehicles.

Photos of the scene showed emergency workers wheeling some of the wounded to ambulances on gurneys while other people who appeared to be in pain lay on the ground. No deaths were immediately reported and police had few details on the extent of the victims’ injuries.

Police spokesman Tyler Gamble told the Associated Press that the video was being made without a permit to use the park. He added that police were on their way to break up the crowd when the shooting took place.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison told reporters that officers were a block away from the park when they heard the gunshots and were flagged down by passersby.

Joseph Jordan was inside a house across the street from the park with his friend, who gave her first name as Raven, when they heard gunshots. Later someone called Raven and told her that her niece had been shot. The two rushed to the hospital to check on the 14-year-old, who had been shot three times in the leg.

Speaking of the hospital, Jordan said: “It’s still crowded back there.”

Other witnesses told The Times-Picayune newspaper that the gathering was part of an after-party that followed a neighborhood parade. One said the shooting “sounded like New Year’s Eve all over again.”

The paper reported that multiple witnesses saw a man with a silver machine gun fleeing the scene, but noted that the shooting continued as the man ran away.