Syrian funds investigated
A man has been detained in Oslo on suspicion of raising money for Syria that could have gone to a terrorist group, the domestic intelligence service said on Saturday. Martin Bernsen, a spokesman for the police security service, said the man was detained on Friday and released, though he remains a suspect and faces a preliminary charge of financially supporting a terror organization. Preliminary charges are a step short of formal charges and a conviction on that charge carries a maximum prison sentence of six years. Police did not identify the suspect, but broadcaster TV2 said he was Farid Bendriss of the Al Furqan Relief group. The organization said on Facebook that police seized 300,000 kroner (US$50,730) on Friday. Bernsen declined to comment. Al Furqan said the money was to be sent to Syrian refugees next week.
Merkel warns on extremism
Chancellor Angela Merkel says anti-Semitism and racism remain a threat to democracy in Europe almost 70 years after the end of World War II. Merkel cited the ongoing trial of five alleged neo-Nazis over the killing of 10 people between 2000 and 2007, and that Jewish schools and synagogues still require police protection, as evidence of the problem domestically. She said Europe needs to be vigilant against far-right extremists who seek to spread a distorted account of history. Merkel’s comments came on Saturday in a weekly online address three days before a planned visit to the remains of the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. Almost 6 million European Jews were murdered in the Holocaust orchestrated by the Nazi party.
British embassy to reopen
The British embassy in Sana’a was to reopen yesterday after being closed for 12 days because of security concerns. “British Embassy #Yemen open as normal from Sunday 18 August. Apologies for the brief hiatus,” British Ambassador Jane Marriott tweeted. The UK Foreign Office said on Aug. 6 it had withdrawn all staff from the embassy due to a high threat of kidnapping. Washington also evacuated diplomatic personnel from Yemen on Aug. 6 because of a terrorism threat. France and Norway closed their embassies in Sana’a as well. The move followed the unprecedented closure of US diplomatic missions across the Middle East and North Africa early this month.
Tourist killed in Venice
A German tourist was killed and his three-year-old daughter seriously injured when a gondola carrying them on Venice’s Grand Canal collided with a ferry on Saturday. The man appeared to have been crushed between the two boats near the historic city’s famous Rialto Bridge, a spokesman for Venice’s fire brigade said. The girl suffered a head injury and was taken to a hospital in Padua for treatment, he added.
Boat crash kills four
Media reports say that a boat being piloted by a captain suspected of being drunk crashed into a barge, killing four people and injuring 49. The Interfax news agency, citing regional police and emergency services, said the crash occurred on Saturday on the Irtysh River, 10km from the Siberian city of Omsk. The boat, an express ferry to a popular monastery, was carrying 60 passengers. Police told Interfax the captain appeared to be “under the influence of alcohol” when detained.