Zio-Watch News Round-up

Denmark to Ukraine: Follow Minsk agreement, or we could drop Russia sanctions: Zio-Watch, February 6, 2016


Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup
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From Russia Today

Denmark to Ukraine: Follow Minsk agreement, or we could drop Russia sanctions

Published time: 6 Feb, 2016 02:57

Denmark's Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen © Eric Vidal Denmark’s Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen © Eric Vidal / Reuters

Ukraine must take the steps to peace agreed a year ago in Minsk, or risk losing the support of the European Union, said Denmark’s foreign minister. Earlier this week other western powers criticized Kiev, following the resignation of a key minister.

“If Ukraine doesn’t come through with the reforms linked to the Minsk peace process, it will be very difficult for Europe to continue united in support for sanctions against Russia,” Kristian Jensen told Reuters at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Amsterdam on Friday. “Ukraine has a deadline. They need to push those reforms now, they can’t wait.”

Signed by Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany last February, the Minsk accord lays out 13 steps to secure the end of the armed conflict in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, which broke out in 2014, after people in the regions refused to accept the forceful change of power in Kiev. The conflict has resulted in over 9,000 deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people, according to the UN.

The initial stage prescribed a ceasefire, the pullout of heavy armaments, and the introduction of comprehensive international monitoring. Later, a constitutional reform would grant more autonomy to Donbas, which would conduct local elections.
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From Russia Today

German intel gets over 100 tip-offs on ISIS militants among refugees – report

Published time: 5 Feb, 2016 18:05

© Krishnendu Halder © Krishnendu Halder / Reuters

German security service BfV reportedly received more than 100 tip-offs that ISIS militants had infiltrated the country among refugees, according to a recent report. The news comes as massive nationwide anti-terror raids took place this week.

The head of the German domestic intelligence service (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, told a gathering of politicians that the agency had received more than 100 warnings indicating there were Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants staying in Germany as refugees, newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported Friday, without citing its sources.

However , some cases of “baseless defamation” were among those tip-offs, Maassen added, according to the newspaper.

German security services have remained on high alert since the November terror attacks in Paris which claimed the lives of more than 130 people.

Earlier this week, police and security agents all across Germany were scrambled to search for suspects allegedly planning a terror attack in the country, with Berlin seen as the most likely target. Well-known tourist attractions including Alexanderplatz train station and the Cold War-era Checkpoint Charlie could be among the targets of a possible attack, according to preliminary media reports.
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From Russia Today

Radicalization probe uncovers video of gang rape by migrants in Belgium

Published time: 5 Feb, 2016 13:04

© Fabrizio Bensch Belgian police investigating a tip-off about the possible radicalization of a 14-year-old male student have discovered a video implicating him and six others in the gang rape of an unconscious girl. Five of the suspects are Iraqi immigrants.

The video was shot on a phone camera and reportedly shows the assailants laughing, singing and dancing around their victim, who has passed out after drinking too much alcohol. The men pulled the girl’s pants down then groped and raped her, police told the Belgian media.

Police officials in Ostend, Belgium’s largest coastal city, discovered the evidence of the sex crime as they were investigating a 14-year-old student of the Ostend Technical Institute, who had been seen showing his friends a photo of himself wearing military garb and holding a sub-machine gun. The gang rape video was found on the boy’s phone.

Of the seven people arrested in connection with the gang rape, two are Belgium nationals and five are Iraqi immigrants. The oldest suspect is 25 years old.

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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Palestinian killed as Israel hands out West Bank demolition notices

(JTA) — A Palestinian youth was killed by Israeli troops following the handing out of demolition notices to seven West Bank households that belonged to terrorists.

The fatality, a male teenager, was shot Friday during riots near Hebron, according to the Ma’an news agency.

The orders of demolition — a controversial measure whose application against terrorists’ families is under frequent judicial review in Israel — were handed out Thursday to the family of Ihab Maswada from Hebron, who murdered Genadi Kaufman in a stabbing attack near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in December.
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 6:19PM

Al-Qaeda militants have taken control of a police headquarters in southern Yemen, amid the chaos that has gripped the country following the onset of Saudi Arabia’s deadly aggression.

The militants on Saturday overran the headquarters in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan Province, after forces loyal to fugitive former president of Yemen, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, reportedly escaped the area.

The terrorists have been in control of other government buildings in Zinjibar for weeks while retaining a large presence in the nearby town of Jaar. They have also taken control of the town of Azzan in Shabwa Province and seized the towns of Shoqra and Ahwar, which enable them to completely control the coast road between their stronghold city of Mukalla in the southeast and Zinjibar.

Zinjibar is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Yemen’s major city of Aden, which houses elements of Yemen’s former government after the capital, Sana’a, was taken by the Houthi Ansarullah movement’s fighters in September 2014.

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since March 26, 2015. The campaign has been meant to bring Hadi, a Riyadh ally, back to power.
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 5:46PM

Syrian forces have liberated a key village in the northern province of Latakia, dealing another blow to militants operating along the Turkish border.

Syrian media said on Saturday that the military and allied volunteer fighters seized control over Aliyah in the mountainous region of the northern countryside of Latakia.

Reports said the recapture came after fierce clashes between Syrian forces and militants operating in Aliyah. The village is said to have been used as a major conduit for terror groups enabling them to transfer weapons and militants from Turkey intro Syria.

Over the past few weeks, the Syrian forces have gained more ground against militants north of Latakia, a province where the government enjoys more support. Russian fighter jets have also contributed to the gains.

Syria has blamed Turkey for the bulk of the chaos in its northern provinces, including in Latakia and Aleppo, saying Ankara overtly trains and funds militants who enter those areas.
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From Russia Today

Iraqi refugee raped 10yo boy in Austria, says it was ‘sexual emergency’

Published time: 6 Feb, 2016 17:22

© Ruptly Austrian police have confirmed that an Iraqi refugee was arrested over the rape of a 10 year-old boy at a swimming pool in Vienna in December. He told police he did it due to a “sexual emergency,” local media reported citing the interrogation record.

“A complaint was filed over the rape of a 10-year-old boy in the Theresienbad swimming pool. We determined the suspect is a 20-year old man, who lives in Vienna. He was arrested and later sent to the Josephstadt prison,” Chief Inspector Roman Hahslinger told the Ruptly video new agency on Saturday.

Hahslinger added: “The suspect is an Iraqi citizen, who lives in Vienna and has refugee status.”The attack took place in a swimming pool cubicle on December 2. The man, whose name has not been disclosed, dragged a boy into the changing room and assaulted him. After the boy told a lifeguard what had happened, the police were immediately called. They managed to apprehend the attacker in the pool, who, to their amazement, instead of fleeing the crime scene, was having fun by jumping from a three-meter board, Die Heute reported.

The boy, who suffered severe internal injuries, was admitted to a children’s hospital.

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From Russia Today

‘Aggressors to return home in coffins’: Syrian FM warns against foreign ground op

Published time: 6 Feb, 2016 15:12

© Faisal Nasser Any ground operation in Syria, carried out without consent from Damascus, will be viewed as an ‘act of aggression,’ Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has warned.

“Any ground intervention on Syrian territory without government authorization would amount to aggression that must be resisted,” Muallem said, as cited by Reuters.

“Let no one think they can attack Syria or violate its sovereignty because I assure you any aggressor will return to their country in a wooden coffin,” the minister said during a press conference in Damascus.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia expressed eagerness to deploy its troops on the ground in Syria if the US-led coalition decided such an operation is necessary.

Saudi soldiers © Fahad Shadeed / Reuters
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From Russia Today

Russia can’t ‘unilaterally’ impose Syria ceasefire while opposition rejects peace talks – Churkin

Published time: 6 Feb, 2016 04:33

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin © russiaun.ru Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin © russiaun.ru

Russia cannot “unilaterally” stop airstrikes and bring about a ceasefire in Syria while the US-led coalition keeps bombing and terrorists continue their rampage, the Russian UN envoy said, noting the gravity of peace talks but stressing the legitimacy of Moscow’s campaign.

“We cannot stop this unilaterally: what about the terrorist and opposition groups, are they going to stop too? What about this American-led coalition – are they going to stop too?” Churkin told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on Syria.

However, he stressed the importance of the Syria peace talks, while also expressing regret over the halted Geneva meeting.

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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Bernie Sanders, Larry David to appear together on ‘SNL’

NEW YORK (JTA) — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will appear with comedian Larry David on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, according to several media outlets.

Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Sanders, told CNN: “We’ll be live in New York.”

David, who has portrayed the Vermont senator multiple times on “Saturday Night Live” this season, is scheduled to host the show this week. In addition to his popular Sanders’ impressions, David — who like Sanders is Jewish and originally from Brooklyn — is best known for TV shows “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which he starred in, and “Seinfeld,” which he co-created, co-produced and wrote.
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 8:49PM

Anisa Ahmed Makhlouf, the mother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has passed away at the age of 86.

Makhlouf, the wife of late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, died after years of illness at a hospital in the capital Damascus on Saturday.

She was born in the western Syrian city of Latakia and married the former president in 1957.

The country’s presidential office issued a statement confirming her death and thanking people for their condolences.

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From PressTV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 6:44PM

The European Union on Saturday censured the Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, calling on the Tel Aviv regime to stop demolition of Palestinian homes, some of which were funded by the EU.

“In the past weeks there have been a number of developments in Area C of the West Bank, which risk undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and driving the parties yet further apart,” the EU diplomatic service said in a statement.

It referred to the Israeli regime’s decision on January 25 to declare 154 hectares (380 acres) of land near Jericho in the West Bank as its own land, with reported plans to build about 150 new units for settlers.

This was followed by the demolition of several Palestinian homes in the south of al-Khalil (Hebron) on Wednesday.

“This is particularly concerning both because of the extent of the demolitions and also the number of vulnerable individuals affected, including children who need support,” the EU said, adding that “demolitions included EU-funded structures.”

“We call on the Israeli authorities to reverse the decisions taken and to halt further demolitions,” it said. The photo taken on February 1, 2016, shows a partial view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, located on the southern outskirts of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP)

Foreign ministers from the 28 EU states have confirmed “the EU’s firm opposition to Israel’s settlement policy” and criticized the actions including demolitions.
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 11:39AM

Newly-released footage shows personal bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan violently attacking three female protesters during his speech in Ecuador before wrestling them away.

The incident happened on Thursday as the Ecuadorian female dissidents forced their way into the venue of Erdogan’s speech at the National Higher Studies Institute in capital Quito, Turkish paper Today’s Zaman reported.

Angered by the Turkish leader’s policies against Kurdish minority as well as Ankara’s support for Takfiri militants in Syria, the activists shouted “Murderer out.”

The guards, who were reportedly those of Erdogan, also tried to prevent media from taking pictures of the violence.

An Ecuadorian lawmaker, who intervened to protect the women, was also injured during the scuffle, according to the report.

Diego Vintimilla has posted photos on his Twitter account, showing him with bloody nose and hands and a bruise on the arm.
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From PressTV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 9:33AM

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he feels embarrassed by the lack of progress in the so-called peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“I feel guilty, ashamed of the lack of progress,” he said in London on Friday.

Violence is at a new high amid deadly confrontations between Israeli forces and the Palestinians almost on a daily basis. More than 170 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli troops since the beginning of last October.

Ban said, “Basically it’s up to the leadership of Israel and the Palestinians to put an end to the conflict.”

The UN chief drew the ire of Israeli leaders late last month for saying Palestinian knife attacks on Israeli troops are “human nature to react to occupation.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the angry attack, accusing Ban of “stoking terrorism” through those comments.
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