Tag Archives: Tuesday

Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi declared Egypt’s president


Former Army Chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi won 96 percent of the votes in the recent presidential election, the Presidential Election Commission said on Tuesday.

The commission said Sisi has more than 23 million votes of the 53 million registered voters. The voter turnout was set at 47 percent, said Anwar el-Assi, chairman of the commission.

The official results of the three-day Egyptian presidential elections last week is expected to be announced by the electoral committee on Tuesday.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is already being celebrated in the country as a clear winner, according to exit polls which saw him take the lead against his sole competitor leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi with 93 percent of the vote.

Egypt’s elections committee rejected Sabbahi’s appeal against voting results that gave Sisi a landslide victory, judicial sources said.

Sabahi’s campaign sent a complaint to the elections committee on Friday objecting to what it said was “the existence of campaigning inside polling stations” by Sisi supporters, among other abuses.

It also appealed to the committee to nullify all votes cast on the third day of polling, which was introduced at the last minute of the second day of the vote on Tuesday in a surprise move to boost low turnout.

On Thursday, Sabahi conceded defeat and he said he will accept the final result of the vote.

The vote came 10 months after the army’s ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July in reaction to protests against his rule. Since then, Sisi has ridden of wave of popularity after having led Mursi’s ouster.


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Hamas or Israel? Netanyahu says Palestinian Authority must choose

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas must choose either peace with Israel or an alliance with Hamas, but he cannot have both, Israel’s PM has said. His comments come after the Palestinian Authority restarted talks on a unity government with Hamas.

During a meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if the Palestinian Authority united with Hamas it would bring an end to the US-sponsored peace talks.

“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “He has to choose: Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far he hasn’t done so.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments and said signing an agreement with Hamas was equivalent to “signing the termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

Furthermore Netanyahu said that the Authority continues to demand “additional conditions,” knowing that Israel cannot accept them. On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the conditions that Israel needs to fulfill for the continuation of peace talks.

He called for the establishment of borders between Israel and Palestine, the release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners and a halt to the construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has been pushing for these conditions since the restart in negotiations with Israel following a three-year hiatus last July.

Abbas also threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority, forcing Israel to take on the burden of governing the region, if bilateral talks fail.

“If the negotiations stop, it’s the Israeli government that will bear the responsibility for the economic situation and the paying of the salaries of (Palestinian) employees, workers and farmers, for health and for education just as it did before the establishment of the Authority,” he told reporters Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority revived talks with Hamas on Tuesday and agreed to form a government of national unity within the “next few weeks,” Palestinian officials told AFP.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority now face an April 29 deadline to resolve their differences and make headway with bilateral talks before Washington withdraws its support.

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Protesters seize 6 armored vehicles in Ukraine’ Donetsk region

Men wearing military fatigues ride on armoured personnel carriers (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on April 16, 2014.

Men wearing military fatigues ride on armoured personnel carriers (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on April 16, 2014.


Ukrainian protesters on Wednesday seized six armored vehicles of the Ukrainian army which had rolled in the town of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, as part of the task force to conduct an anti-terrorist operation, local media reported.

Activists surrounded the vehicles and blocked their movement. Then they disarmed the servicemen and drove the APCs towards the village of Ivanivka.

Raid in Kramatorsk

On Tuesday, Ukrainian security services carried out a raid in the airport of Kramatorsk and won it back from the city’s self-defense forces.

According to human right activists, in the course of the raid, a fighter jet was shot down, and there were casualties and wounded.

At the same time, at 17:00 GMT on Tuesday physicians from Kramatorsk reported that no people injured in the shootout during the airport’s storming were delivered to local hospitals.

Representatives of the Kramatorsk self-defense forces say that Right Sector militants and foreign mercenaries were taking part in the storming of the airport. “The attackers were dressed in the uniform of Right Sector militants, and some of them spoke foreign languages.”

“They sought to avoid contact with local residents, allegedly not to give themselves away. We suppose that these were mercenaries,” one of the Kramatorsk self-defense activists reported.

The Kramatorsk airport is now controlled by Ukrainian servicemen, but the city itself is still under control of self-defense units. “We were indeed knocked off from the airport, but the city is under our control. We won’t let anyone in it,” one of the activists assured, stressing that the city’s self-defense forces are ready to fight against armored equipment.

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NASA: Beautiful blood moon, when lunar eclipse comes Tuesday

Blood-Moon-jpg(CNN) — Prophecy loves signs from the heavens, and they will deliver Tuesday with a moonlight spectacle.

What will happen could sound sort of like this:

The moon will turn to blood as it aligns with Earth and sun
Then do so thrice more ere a year and a half is done,
‘Tis not the herald of the apocalypses
Just the first of four total lunar eclipses.

In other words, get ready for an unusually beautiful moon to grace the night skies next week. There will be a total lunar eclipse Tuesday that will turn the moon a burnt reddish orange, NASA says.

It’s called a blood moon, and this one is just the first in a series of four consecutive total eclipses.

Within a year and a half, North America will be able to see a blood moon a total of four times. The moon takes on this color during the eclipse as it passes through the Earth’s shadow, which is the color of a desert sunset.

The four blood moons will occur in roughly six-month intervals on the following dates: April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

With that frequency, one might be misled into thinking that they are commonplace.

There are about two lunar eclipses per year, NASA says. Some of them — penumbral eclipses — are so subtle, they are vaguely visible and go greatly unnoticed.

Other eclipses just cast a partial shadow on the moon but lend it none of that brilliant sunset hue.

Lunar eclipses — penumbral, partial or umbral — occur in random order, NASA says. Getting four umbral eclipses in a row is like drawing a rare lunar poker hand of four of a kind.

Just like the poker players, astronomers have a name for that lucky draw. It’s called a tetrad, NASA says.

“The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA,” longtime NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak said in a prepared statement.

In the 21st century, there will be many tetrads, but look back a few centuries, and you’ll find the opposite phenomenon, Espenak said.

Before the dawn of the 20th century, there was a 300-year period when there were none, he said. Zero.

That would mean that neither Sir Isaac Newton, Mozart, Queen Anne, George Washington, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln nor their contemporaries ever had a chance to see one.

So, we’re in luck. To take advantage of it, you’ll have to stay up late from Monday night into Tuesday.

People in North and South America will be able to see the entire eclipse, while sky watchers in the western Pacific can catch only the last half. The moon will be setting in most of Europe and Africa during the eclipse, so residents there probably won’t see much.

For gazing geeks, NASA has set up a live web chat to answer questions about the eclipse starting at 1 a.m. Eastern Time.

The heavenly curtain rises on Tuesday’s lunar review around 2 a.m. ET, when the moon starts to slide into Earth’s shadow.

It should turn into a blood moon — a coppery red — about an hour later and stay that way for over an hour, NASA says.

Tuesday’s blood moon comes right on time for the Jewish festival of Passover, which commemorates the ancient Israelites‘ exodus from slavery in Egypt. According to the Bible, God cast 10 plagues upon the Egyptians, the final plague being the death of the firstborn. The Israelites painted lamb’s blood on their doorways so that this plague would pass over their homes.

On Tuesday, April 15, there will be a total lunar eclipse that will turn the moon a coppery red, NASA says. It's called a blood moon, and it's one of four total eclipses that will take place in North America within the next year and a half. Pictured here is a blood moon seen over Gaza City in March 2007.

On Tuesday, April 15, there will be a total lunar eclipse that will turn the moon a coppery red, NASA says. It’s called a blood moon, and it’s one of four total eclipses that will take place in North America within the next year and a half. Pictured here is a blood moon seen over Gaza City in March 2007.

A total lunar eclipse is seen in Karachi, Pakistan, on December 10, 2011. It was the last full lunar eclipse.

The same lunar eclipse from December 2011 is seen here over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The December 2011 eclipse is seen near Moab, Utah. The moon takes on a reddish color as it passes through the Earth’s shadow, which is the color of a desert sunset.

The December 2011 eclipse, as seen from Kathmandu, Nepal. There are usually about two lunar eclipses per year, NASA says. But some of them are so subtle, they are vaguely visible and go greatly unnoticed. To get four blood moons in such a short period of time is very rare.

The moon is seen from Manila, Philippines, during the total lunar eclipse in December 2011.

The lunar eclipse in December 2011 is almost complete before it dips behind the Indian Peaks Wilderness area near Nederland, Colorado.

The moon, as seen from Manila during the December 2011 eclipse. The four upcoming blood moons will occur in roughly six-month intervals on the following dates: April 15; October 8; April 4, 2015; and September 28, 2015.

READ: Signs of underground ocean found on Saturn moon



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‘Heartbleed’ encryption bug jeopardizes global Internet security

OpenSSL, a technology used to provide added encryption of an estimated 66% of all servers on the public Internet, has seen a significant glitch, which puts nearly all the web protection at risk. Never used online banking service? This is surely not the right moment to set about it.

Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, made public on Tuesday that it had been hit by the so-called “Heartbleed Bug” and recommended that clients change not just the password for its site but for all others as well. Among those unaffected happened to be Apple, Google, Microsoft, and major e-banking services.

“The scope of this is immense,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence for Venafi, a Salt Lake City cybersecurity company. “And the consequences are still scary. I’ve talked about this like a ‘Mad Max‘ moment. It’s a bit of anarchy right now. Because we don’t know right now who has the keys and certificates on the Internet right now.”

Though the word OpenSSL seems to be the jargon that the general public is unaware of, everyone would perhaps recognize the green padlock icon in the address bar of their browser, followed by “https” – this is exactly the thing that ensures additional security in whatever sensitive operations that we perform online.

The technical vulnerability was first spotted by Neel Mehta, a security researcher at Google, and a team of security engineers at Codenomicon, a security website that has since created a website with information about Heartbleed.

“Heartbleed is like finding a faulty car part used in nearly every make and model, but you can’t recall the Internet and all the data you put out on it,” comments Jonathan Sander, vice president of research and technology for Stealthbits Technologies, a cybersecurity firm. What happened to be just a programming mistake travelled fast to all other computers as the OpenSSL was updated on them, open up plenty of opportunities for those tech-savvy to hack for any personal data using just simple tools available online.

To tackle the problem, an updated version of OpenSSL has been issued, and sites can use that to fix the bug. In addition to updating OpenSSL, sites will need to refresh many pieces of their security protocols notably keys and certificates.

Whatever the updates and technical solutions, users are still strongly advised to stand on guard of their own web security and think twice before carrying out any operation online, just to allow time to make sure the service is unaffected.
Do not login to Yahoo! The OpenSSL bug #heartbleed allows extraction of usernames and plain passwords!

Change Your Passwords: A Massive Bug Has Put Your Details at Risk

A massive bug affecting much of the web’s encryption technology is uncovered, with sites from Yahoo to Tumblr affected

A newly discovered bug in software supposed to provide extra protection for thousands of the world’s most popular websites has exposed highly sensitive information such as credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords, security researchers said.

The discovery of the bug, known as Heartbleed, has caused several websites to advise their users to change their passwords.

“This might be a good day to call in sick and take some time to change your passwords everywhere — especially your high-security services like email, file storage, and banking, which may have been compromised by this bug,” Tumblr wrote in a note to its many users.

“The little lock icon (HTTPS) we all trusted to keep our passwords, personal emails, and credit cards safe, was actually making all that private information accessible to anyone who knew about the exploit.”

Yahoo, the owner of Tumblr, confirms that its users’ passwords have been compromised.

The bug was discovered late last week in the OpenSSL technology that runs encryption for two-thirds of the Internet. The researchers who discovered it said that most Internet users “are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly.”

It was found simultaneously by a Google security researcher and a small security firm named Codenomicon and disclosed Monday night.

Experts are now scrambling to asses the extent of the security breach, because the bug remained undiscovered for two years. Hackers may have exploited it without leaving footprints.

“We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace,” Codenomicon wrote on their newly created website about the bug.

According to several security experts, it is one of the most serious security flaws uncovered in many years.

“Heartbleed is like finding a faulty car part used in nearly every make and model, but you can’t recall the Internet and all the data you put out on it,” Jonathan Sander, vice president of research and technology for Stealthbits Technologies, a cybersecurity firm, told the Los Angeles Times.

The U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security has advised all businesses using the vulnerable versions of the software to review their servers.

Change Your Passwords: A Massive Bug Has Put Your Details at Risk | TIME.com.

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Powerful earthquake strikes off the coast of Chile


(CNN) — An 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile on Tuesday, generating a tsunami, authorities said.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake, which hit at at 6:46 p.m. local time, was centered some 60 miles northwest of Iquique at a depth of 12.5 miles.

It had previously put the magnitude at 8.0 and the depth at 6.2 miles.

Chile’s National Emergency Office tweeted Tuesday night that it was asking everyone to evacuate the South American nation’s coast.

CNN Chile broadcast video of people in Antofagasta, a port city, walking through the streets as traffic piled up in some places. They appeared to be calm.

A tsunami warning was in effect for Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

A tsunami watch was issued for Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts,” the center said in its evaluation.

Tsunami waves of more than 6 feet generated by the earthquake had already washed ashore on the coast of Pisagua, Chile, according to Victor Sardino with the center.

The center said nearly 7-foot waves were reported in Iquique, Chile.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, although an 8.2-magnitude earthquake is capable of causing tremendous damage.

Chile is on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basic that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

About 500 people were killed when a 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile on February 27, 2010. That quake triggered a tsunami that toppled buildings, particularly in the Maule region along the coast.

According to researchers, the earthquake was violent enough to move the Chilean city of Concepcion at least 10 feet to the west and Santiago about 11 inches to the west-southwest.

The tsunami threat to Hawaii still was being evaluated Tuesday. The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center was working to determine the level of danger for Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Canada’s British Columbia.

via Powerful earthquake strikes off the coast of Chile – CNN.com.

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Ukraine fires defense minister who lost Crimea to Russia

Ukrainian lawmakers on Tuesday dismissed acting defense minister Igor Tenyukh over his handling of the Crimea crisis following Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

KIEV, UKRAINE — Ukraine fired its defense minister Tuesday, a major test of a new government trying to recover from defeat at Russia’s hands in Crimea while attempting to project enough self-confidence to win the people’s trust.

Mistakes have been and will be made, Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said in an interview Tuesday, but the new government is not afraid to fix them.

“Now is the time to speak the truth to society,” he said. “This is the only way to make this government stronger.”

Extraordinary strength is required, he said, because Russian President Vladi­mir Putin wants nothing more than to take all of Ukraine. “His goal is to delegitimize the government,” Parubiy said.

The defense minister, Igor Tenyukh, who was accused of being indecisive and slow to give orders to Ukrainian military units in Crimea, submitted his resignation to parliament Tuesday. He was replaced by Gen. Mykhaylo Koval, who previously served with the border guards in Crimea and was briefly kidnapped there this month.

Many public figures avoided criticizing the military Tuesday, despite the humiliating loss of Crimea and the widely held perception that Ukrainian troops in that region were left uncertain about whether they should stay at their besieged bases or leave for the mainland.

“The army was left to the mercy of fate,” said Vitali Klitschko, the head of the Udar party, edging toward criticism when he said the government needed to become more effective.

“We are at war, and we need someone decisive, who can act quickly in extreme situations,” said Yuriy Derevyanko, an independent member of parliament. “We felt there had to be a change, but it’s better not to criticize in times like this. Everyone has to be united.”

The parliament was elected in fall 2012, in a vote considered flawed, favoring then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

“We don’t feel we have the nation’s support,” Derevyanko said. “And we have little time.”

Until Feb. 27, Parubiy was a revolutionary — a member of parliament and the Batkivshchyna party who joined the demonstrations against Yanukovych on the Maidan, as Kiev’s Independence Square is known. Parubiy organized the groups defending the square. He took office the same day that Russian-backed gunmen captured the parliament building in the Crimean capital, Simferopol. A hastily arranged referendum in the region March 16, supported by Russian propaganda and troops, resulted in Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

“When we came here,” Parubiy said, “the army was completely destroyed. We didn’t even have fuel to move troops. And our security situation remains very serious, although week by week we are able to control it more.”

Moscow had prepared an operation code-named Russian Spring, he said, mobilizing agents in southeastern Ukraine to stir up disorder, take over government buildings and then appeal to Russia for help, much as it did in Crimea. Russia has moved 100,000 well-equipped and trained troops to the Ukrainian border, he said.

“We have to be ready for anything,” Parubiy said.

Kiev has in recent days deployed more troops and police, tightening up the border and arresting provocateurs, he said. In the eastern cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv, he sad, disorderly crowds have diminished and security has improved.

Another strain on the government emerged Tuesday, at the Interior Ministry, where officials issued a warning to groups that took up arms during the anti-Yanukovych demonstrations to turn them in, or else.

“The time for disarmament is over,” First Deputy Interior Minister Volodymyr Yevdokymov said, directing his comments to Right Sector, a right-wing group, among others. He promised “tough and resolute” measures against those who keep illegal weapons.

Earlier Tuesday, a Right Sector leader died in a confrontation with police in Rivne, in western Ukraine. The circumstances remained unclear, but the man, Oleksandr Muzychko, known as Sashko Biliy, had been involved in several violent incidents recently, attacking a local prosecutor at a public meeting while clutching an automatic weapon.

Russia had declared him wanted March 7, accusing him of torturing and killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya nearly 20 years ago.

Yevdokymov said Muzychko died from a shot from his own pistol as police scuffled with him, trying to arrest him on suspicion of criminal activity. The head of Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, demanded the dismissal of the interior minister and the head of the Sokil special police unit involved. He called Muzychko a “brother in arms” who had been murdered.

Back on the Maidan, some protestors remain, determined to keep a watchful eye on the new government. Volodymyr Parasyuk, a 26-year-old who became a hero of the Maidan when he roused the crowd to reject a deal with Yanukovych, said the government was operating as if it was trying to burn a pile of wet debris — sparks were not flying. The defense minister needed to go, Parasyuk said.

“It was a mistake to choose him,” he said. “And there’s no room for mistakes.”

Parubiy, who was injured three times on the Maidan, said governing is turning out to be much harder than revolution.

“I thought the Maidan was tough,” he said. “This is bigger. Much, much bigger. We’re on the barricades.”

via Ukraine fires defense minister who lost Crimea to Russia – The Washington Post.

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Former Libyan PM in Malta for brief stop; Zeidan leaves country despite ban

Libya‘s ousted PM Ali Zidan

Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zaidan was in Malta for some time is the past few hours, on his way to another European country following a vote of confidence he lost in the Libyan congress.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that Zaidan was in Malta on a refuelling stop and the two met briefly.

Dr Muscat did not say where the Libyan PM was headed and the meeting between the two was more of a sign of personal friendship.

The PM said that Malta is following closely what is happening in Libya.

The Associated Press reported that Libya’s ousted prime minister has left the country despite a ban on travel, hours after parliament removed him from office in a no-confidence vote.

Officials in Tripoli on Wednesday could not confirm the departure of Ali Zeidan, Libya’s first democratically chosen leader who had struggled for 15 months to stem the country’s spiraling descent into chaos.

But Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told state-owned television that Zidan had made a brief stop-over on the Mediterranean island late on Tuesday, before travelling on.

The Western-backed Zeidan was ousted in a parliament vote on Tuesday as Libya faces a series of crises, including an escalation over oil ports seized by an eastern militia.

Soon after parliament voted, Libya’s general prosecutor banned Zeidan from travel pending an investigation into corruption allegations.

via Former Libyan PM in Malta for brief stop; Zeidan leaves country despite ban – The Malta Independent.

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OSCE military observer mission en route to Crimea

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is sending a delegation which includes representatives from the US and 14 other nations to observe the situation in Crimea amid tensions in Ukraine, according to a US official.

Daniel Baer, the chief US delegate to the OSCE, told the Associated Press that each country is sending two individuals, bringing the total number of observers to 30. Baer added that the military observer mission is set to leave within 24 hours and hinted that other countries main still join.

The OSCE comprises of Russia, the US, all European countries, and some central Asian nations. It is based on consensus, meaning that the majority of the monitoring missions need full approval by all nations – including OSCE member Russia. According to Baer, Ukraine used the provision to ask other countries to send unarmed military monitors.

OSCE officials were already in Ukraine on Tuesday and making their way to Crimea, Baer said. The officials specialize in minority rights and freedom of the media.

The delegation has a week-long mandate that can be extended if Ukraine requests it. One of its main focuses is to concentrate on the potential of a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Baer also added that the the military observer mission is a “broad-based monitoring effort” that will try to prevent a possible “military incursion” and encourage dialogue. The observers will keep an eye out for “areas where there has been tension or uncertainty has arisen over lack of clarity over military movements.”

RT news producer Lida Vasilevskaya reported on Tuesday evening that the OSCE delegation had arrived in Simferopol, Ukraine, but said they were not giving any comments to the media.

Tensions in Crimea became heated after the Ukrainian parliament voted to repeal a law which gave regional status to the Russian language. Authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance and Crimean authorities denounced the coup-imposed government in Kiev, declaring that all Ukrainian law enforcement and military deployed in the peninsula must take orders from them. The majority of troops in Crimea switched sides in favor of local authorities.

More than half of the Crimean population are ethnically Russian and use only the Russian language for their communication. The residents have announced they will hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin clarified the country’s stance on Ukraine in an interview on Tuesday. He stated that Russia will not go to war with the people of Ukraine, but will use its troops to protect citizens if radicals with clout in Kiev try to use violence against Ukrainian civilians – particularly ethnic Russians.

Putin, who was given a mandate by the Russian Senate to send troops in order to protect the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine, said there is no need for such action yet.

Putin cited the actions of radical activists in Ukraine – including the chaining of a governor to a stage as public humiliation and the killing of a technician during an opposition siege of the Party of Regions headquarters – as justification for Russia to be concerned for the lives and well-being of people in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Incidents like those are why Russia reserves the option of troop deployment.

“If we see this lawlessness starting in eastern regions, if the people ask us for help – in addition to a plea from a legitimate president, which we already have – then we reserve the right to use all the means we possess to protect those citizens. And we consider it quite legitimate,” Putin said.

Russia’s representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, also said on Tuesday that the deal surrounding the Black Sea Fleet allows Russia to station a contingent of up to 25,000 troops in Ukraine.

According to the initial agreement, the Russian Black Sea Fleet was to stay in Crimea until 2017, but the deal was later prolonged for another 25 years.

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Thousands across Turkey take to streets against graft, call on gov’t to resign

Protesters march during a demonstration against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in İstanbul on Tuesday. Riot police came out in force, firing water cannon and teargas to quell the protests.

Thousands of outraged people took to the streets on Tuesday evening with calls on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Cabinet to resign in response to a recently leaked voice recording allegedly of the prime minister instructing his son to dispose of vast amounts of cash amid an ongoing and deepening corruption scandal that has implicated Erdoğan’s close associates and family.The country was shaken on Monday evening by the voice recording of what is claimed to be Erdoğan briefing his son about recent police raids and asking him to “zero” at least $1 billion in cash stashed at five hou

ses. The conversation allegedly took place on Dec. 17, 2013, the day on which police raided a number of venues as part of a corruption investigation that has implicated the sons of three ministers, businessmen, several high-level bureaucrats and the chief of a state-run bank.

The İstanbul branch of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) staged a protest against the corruption scandal in Taksim Square on Wednesday. A crowd of protesters from the CHP gathered on İstiklal Street and chanted slogans against the government, saying, “We will ‘zero’ [erase] corruption” and “There are thieves [around us].” They attempted to march into Taksim Square itself, but the police did not allow it, as they have prohibited the act of protesting there since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013. The group stopped at the end of İstiklal Street and staged their protest there, distributing fake banknotes symbolizing the money mentioned in the most recent voice recording leak.

The first speech at the protest was delivered by CHP İstanbul provincial chairman Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, followed by a speech by Mustafa Sarıgül, the CHP’s candidate for İstanbul mayor in the local elections on March 30. Sarıgül reportedly condemned a number of media outlets — excluding Halk TV — for failing to broadcast the party’s protests. During his speech, Sarıgül said that in no democratic country are people banned from staging demonstrations, promising that he will open Taksim Square to the public if elected.

Furthermore, CHP deputies attended Parliament’s General Assembly meeting on Wednesday with banners that read “Gazi mecliste Hırsızlara yer yok” (There is no place for thieves in Parliament) in protest of the voice recording.

Nearly 4 million people listened to the voice recording on YouTube over the course of one day. Thousands of people staged demonstrations to protest the government corruption scandal in 11 cities across Turkey on Tuesday evening.

Led by various civil society organizations and leftist parties, people gathered in İstanbul’s Kadıköy district to express their dismay and deepening anger over the corruption allegations sweeping across the country. Nearly 500 people gathered at 7 p.m. in central Kadıköy and started marching towards Bahariye Street, shouting “Her yer rüşvet, her yer yolsuzluk” (Bribery is everywhere, corruption is everywhere).

A group that was calling on the government to resign headed toward the Kadıköy district branch office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). However, riot police intervened, using pressurized water, teargas and rubber bullets. The protesters responded to the police intervention by throwing firecrackers, stones and bottles. The protesters then built barricades on a number of side streets and set the barricades on fire. Police detained nine protesters during the incidents.

İstanbul’s Bakırköy district was also filled with anti-corruption demonstrators on Tuesday evening. Gathering in Özgürlük Square at 7 p.m., a group of protesters marched down İncirli Street and shouted slogans such as “Hırsız var!” (There is a thief [around us]!). The group then read a press release in front of the AK Party’s Bakırköy district branch office. After the press release, the group dispersed without incident.

Nearly 500 demonstrators shouted slogans at Gündoğdu Square in the western city of İzmir on Tuesday evening, and police tried to disperse the group with pressurized water and teargas. The police have implemented strict security measures across the city.

A group of protesters held a large-scale demonstration in Ankara on Tuesday evening. Gathering at Kuğulu Park, the group shouted anti-government slogans and tried to close Kennedy Street to traffic, but police intervened with pressurized water to disperse the crowd. The protesters escaped by dispersing into the side streets.

Short-lived tensions erupted in the province of Eskişehir on Tuesday evening when a number of pro-AK Party supporters reacted to a group of protesters shouting anti-government slogans. A shop owner, S.Ö., reacted to the protesters while they were shouting slogans and was beaten up by the group. According to media reports, S.Ö.’s head is seriously injured and he is currently being treated in a hospital. The police, who are investigating the incident, are examining security camera footage from nearby shops to identify those responsible for the assault.

Over 200 protesters shouted slogans in Sakarya province on Tuesday evening calling on the government to resign. The police did not intervene in this protest, and the group dispersed without incident.

Groups of protesters in Aydın, Antalya, Bursa, Muğla, Çanakkale, Kocaeli and Trabzon held demonstrations in which they also called on the government to resign.

In reaction to the recording, a Twitter campaign called “Hırsız Var” was launched on Tuesday evening. The campaign calls on people to write “Hırsız Var” on banknotes. Some Twitter users taking part in the campaign shared photos of their banknotes on their pages.

The public has been riveted by sordid details of the alleged corruption as more and more information is leaked via social media and the Internet, the primary sources of information for the public given the government’s tightening grip on the press.

With recent legislation concerning the Internet, the government has cemented its firm control over websites after much wrangling between political parties in Parliament, as President Abdullah Gül signed a law last week granting the executive branch almost immediate authority to block websites without a court order.

Combined with anger over government crackdowns on the press and dissenting voices, the Internet law and a controversial national intelligence bill have given more ammunition to critics of the government, who accuse the AK Party of turning Turkey into an authoritarian state and who are wary of the direction the country has taken under Erdoğan’s administration.

There is also ongoing tension at Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), where a group of students clashed with police ahead of the opening of a highway in Ankara on Tuesday. Police fired teargas and water cannons to disperse several hundred people gathered in front of ODTÜ’s main gate. Erdoğan and several ministers attended the opening of “1071 Malazgirt Boulevard” on Tuesday. Students on campus chanted slogans saying, “Resign, government” and “Tayyip Erdoğan is a thief”; they even set up a roadblock. Police intervention dispersed the crowd but the students reportedly gathered again in front of the rector’s office to continue their protest.

Thousands across Turkey take to streets against graft, call on gov’t to resign – Today’s Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news.

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