Erdogan says Germany ‘nazi’
President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday accused Germany of “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi times in a growing row over the cancelation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him among 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany. German politicians reacted with shock and anger. German Minister for Justice Heiko Maas told broadcaster ARD that Erdogan’s comments were “absurd, disgraceful and outlandish” and designed to provoke a reaction from Berlin. However, he cautioned against banning Erdogan from visiting Germany or breaking off diplomatic ties, saying that such moves would push Ankara “straight into the arms of [Russian President Vladmir] Putin, which no one wants.”
Syrian pilot shot down
A Syrian air force pilot who bailed out as his warplane crashed on Saturday told a rescue team his MiG-23 had been shot down, Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday. The 56-year-old pilot was identified as Mehmet Sufhan, and medical staff said he was not in critical condition despite some spinal fractures. He is being treated at a hospital in the Hatay region, a hospital spokeswoman said. In an initial statement to authorities, Sufhan said his aircraft was shot down on its way to strike rural areas near Idlib in northern Syria, Anadolu reported.
Castro slams Trump
President Raul Castro on Sunday harshly criticized US President Donald Trump’s immigration, trade and other policies, as Trump reviews a fragile detente with Havana begun by former US president Barack Obama. In his first critical remarks directed at Trump since he took office, Castro termed his trade policies “egotistical” and his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border “irrational.” Castro’s speech was broadcast on Sunday evening. “The new agenda of the US government threatens to unleash an extreme and egotistical trade policy that will impact the competitiveness of our foreign trade; violate environmental agreements ... hunt down and deport migrants,” Castro said. “You can’t contain poverty, catastrophes and migrants with walls, but with cooperation, understanding and peace.”
Public thwart terror attacks
Security forces have thwarted 13 terrorist attacks in less than four years, mostly thanks to information provided by the public, the country’s most senior anti-terrorism official said yesterday. London’s Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said security and intelligence agencies are dealing with more than 500 investigations at any one time. Al-Qaeda and off-shoots of both groups remained a threat, he said, but “extreme right-wing groups” have become a focus of police efforts in recent months. “The majority [of our work] is actually people in this country who are radicalized,” Rowley said.
Mobility scooter pulled over
A 92-year-old man was stopped by police on Sunday for driving his mobility scooter on a busy motorway. The man was stopped on the M74 near Motherwell, southwest of Glasgow. The six-lane road is the main highway between Glasgow and England. “Police attended and the 92-year-old man was taken home by officers,” police said. Traffic on motorways typically flows at the 110kph limit and cannot be used by mobility scooters. Mobility scooters typically have a maximum speed of 12kph.
Helicopter crash kills nine
All nine people aboard a helicopter that crashed on Sunday during a mountain rescue drill in Nagano Prefecture were killed, police said yesterday. Six bodies were found in the morning inside the wreckage, a Nagano police spokesman said. Three others, including the pilot, were confirmed dead on Sunday after a police helicopter located the crash site on a snowy mountainside. Bad weather halted rescue operations until yesterday. The nine people were rescuers and local officials involved in a mountain rescue exercise, NHK and other media said.
Presidential powers reduced
Parliament yesterday approved a package of amendments to the constitution to reduce presidential powers in favor of lawmakers and the Cabinet, a move that could help lead to an eventual political transition. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 76, had endorsed the proposed changes, and they will become law once he has signed the amendments. The devolution of some presidential powers could make it easier for the political elite to manage a succession by splitting key roles between different players rather than allowing one successor to concentrate power in their hands. Nazarbayev previously said that the proposed reforms would allow parliament to form a Cabinet, which would have more powers to manage the economy.
Fifth night of airstrikes
The country was hit by a fifth consecutive night of suspected US airstrikes targeting al-Qaeda members, a security source said yesterday. The source said the early dawn raid hit the town of al-Nasl in Abyan Province, which has been the target of air strikes as well as an al-Qaeda attack on the army in recent days. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The Pentagon has confirmed at least 30 strikes against the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula since Thursday in coordination with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.
Palestinian gunman shot
A Palestinian gunman yesterday fired at Israeli soldiers and military police during a raid in the occupied West Bank and the Israeli forces shot and killed the attacker in response, the army and police said in a statement. The exchange of fire took place in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian, which Israeli forces entered during a raid to seize a suspected militant. “During an arrest mission of a suspected Palestinian gunman in Ramallah, a suspect opened fire at security forces,” the army said. “The forces fired towards the perpetrator. In the exchange, the gunman was killed.” Two firearms were found at the scene, the army added. Palestinian health ministry officials confirmed the death and named the man killed as Basel al-Araj, 31. They said his body had been retained by Israeli authorities.
Female flight crew hailed
Air India yesterday said it set a new record with the first round-the-world flight staffed entirely by women. It said its Boeing 777 travelled from New Delhi to San Francisco and back again with an all-female crew last week, the first time such a flight has circumnavigated the globe. The airline said it had applied to Guinness World Records to validate the claim. Airline spokesman G P Rao said even the air traffic controllers at the New Delhi end of the flight, which returned on Friday, were women.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”