Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Belgium: Ukraine violence has no place in modern Europe - Kerry

Belgium: Ukraine violence has no place in modern Europe - Kerry
The Ukrainian government should listen to the demands of protesters calling for greater integration, US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a NATO summit in Brussels Tuesday.
He then continued to say, "The powerful expressions of support for Europe in cities all across the Ukraine have really been quite extraordinary. People of all different backgrounds are giving voice to their very real and very deep aspirations, and we urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of its people that want to live in freedom and in opportunity and prosperity. And we urge all sides to conduct themselves peacefully. Violence has no place in a modern European state. And to work together, we think, that is really the goal that everybody in the Ukraine should be pursuing - work together to get Ukraine back on the road to European integration and to economic health. And we hope that can happen as rapidly as possible."
NATO leaders are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a myriad of issues, including Ukraine and ongoing military involvement in Afghanistan. Meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Georgia Commission will be held on the sidelines of the session.

Syrian FM dismisses UN commissioner charges on Assad implication in war crimes

DAMASCUS:  Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was dismissive of UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s remarks that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is implicated in Syria war crimes.
In statements on Tuesday, Mekdad said: “She has been talking nonsense for a long time and we don’t listen to her.”
Mekdad’s remarks came in The Hague during a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to discuss the effort to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.
He said that Syria needed more money and equipment from the international community.
He said Syria needed lorries and armored vehicles to transport chemicals to prevent “terrorists” attacking the vehicles on their way to the port of Latakia, where they will be loaded onto a US naval vessel for destruction.
The UN’s human rights chief has said an inquiry has produced evidence that war crimes were authorized in Syria at the “highest level”, including by President Assad.
It is the first time the UN’s human rights office has so directly implicated Assad.
Commissioner Navi Pillay said her office held a list of others implicated by the inquiry.
The UN estimates more than 100,000 people have died in the conflict.
The UN’s commission of inquiry into Syria has produced “massive evidence… [of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity,” Pillay said.
“The scale of viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief,” she said.
The evidence indicated responsibility “at the highest level of government, including the head of state”, she added.
The inquiry has also previously reported it has evidence that rebel forces in Syria have been guilty of human rights abuses.
However, the investigators have always said the Syrian government appears to be responsible for the majority, and that the systematic nature of the abuse points to government policy.
Syrian FM dismisses UN commissioner charges on Assad implication in war crimes

Survey: Corruption grows in Mideast hot spots

BERLIN: An international watchdog group says its annual survey shows the most violent nations in the Middle East are perceived to be the region’s most corrupt and are getting worse.
Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks more than four-fifths of countries in the Middle East below 50 on a scale where 0 is a country perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 perceived to be very clean.
Three countries that have undergone Arab Spring transformations dropped notably over the past year, with Yemen’s rating falling five points to 18, Syria dropping nine points to 17, and Libya down six points to 15.
The survey of 177 countries is based on local and international experts’ opinions of public-sector corruption. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia tied for last place with 8 points.
Survey: Corruption grows in Mideast hot spots

Bouteflika orders establishment of new security authority

ALGIERS: Algerian President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika issued a presidential decree to form a new security committee named “Joint Committee of National Security” to include military and civilian sectors and operate under the direct order of the Higher Security Council led by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.
The Algerian “Al-Khabar” newspaper quoting high-level sources said the committee convened its first meeting on Sunday after the president signed the decree of its establishment. Sellal chaired the committee meeting that was attended by Deputy Defense Minister Qaed Saleh and a number of ministers.
Under the presidential decree, Bouteflika tasked the new committee with some powers that have been assigned to the Higher Security Council.
Bouteflika orders establishment of new security authority

Thai government ends confrontation with protesters

BANGKOK: The Thai government said on Tuesday it had ordered police confronting anti-government protesters in the capital, Bangkok, to stand down to avoid violence.
Thai government ends confrontation with protesters
“The protesters said they want to seize government buildings, but the government doesn’t want to see any fighting or confrontation so we’ve ordered the police to back off,” government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi told reporters.

“We want to avoid violence and confrontation.”

6 dead in Nigeria

ABUJA: Unidentified gunmen killed three Nigerian policemen in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, on Tuesday.
6 dead in Nigeria
Security personnel might be killed by thieves in the state, eyewitnesses said.

Meanwhile, a military source said the Nigerian armed forces lifted the bodies of three soldiers, who drowned during a security patrol in Bayelsa state, southern Nigeria.
Weapons and ammunition were lost when their boat sank, the source added.

Thai protest leader says fight not over

BANGKOK: The leader of Thailand’s opposition protesters said Tuesday the fight to topple the elected government was not over, after police abandoned their defense of the besieged prime minister’s offices to ease tensions.
Thai protest leader says fight not over

Suthep Thaugsuban, who has vowed to eject Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said protesters “have to continue our struggle” after hundreds of demonstrators were allowed to briefly occupy the government headquarters.