Turkish Airspace Violation: NATO Not Satisfied With Russia’s Claim

Turkish Airspace Violation: NATO Not Satisfied With Russia’s ClaimNATO has disputed the claim by the Russian government that one of its planes entered into Turkish airspace by mistake.

According to NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, Russia’s reason was not explanatory enough for the violation of Turkish airspace.

The Russian government had explained that the incident was due to bad weather, stating that its plane did not know when it entered into turkey, claiming it was an honest mistake.

Russia has been conducting airstrikes in Syria, claiming to be targeted at the Islamic State militants there.

Rights groups have denied this, noting that the strikes were targeted at the opposition rebel groups in Syria, thereby helping the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.

The US and other western countries are also suspecting that Russia is indeed helping the Syrian government and have called for an end to the airstrikes.

Rosberg Not Backing Down On Formula 1 Title

rosbergNico Rosberg has said that he has not given up hope of beating Lewis Hamilton to the Formula 1 title.

Despite trailing his teammate by 48 points with five races left this season, Rosberg insisted that he is not backing down from the challenge.

Although he admits the gap between the pair is “quite big”, Rosberg believes he can still gain ground on his rival, starting with this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton led Rosberg home in Russia last year to clinch the 2014 ‘Constructors’ title for Mercedes.

Syria Conflict: Russia, France Meet Amid Tension

syria-russia conflictAs western powers continue to express worry over Russia’s role in Syria, the Presidents of France and Russia are set to hold talks in Paris on Friday.

The meeting was initially called to discuss peace efforts in Ukraine, but these are expected to be overshadowed by the crisis in Syria.

The French military, like the United States (US), is targeting Islamic State (IS) fighters with air strikes, but the US says Russia is carrying out random strikes against the Syrian opposition.

Russia however said it is targeting the same groups as the US-led coalition.

Russia said it carried out eight strikes overnight, adding that it had hit 12 Islamic State (IS) positions in 24 hours.

Syria Conflict: Russia Launches Fresh Strikes

syria-russia conflictFor a second consecutive day, Russia has launched a series of air strikes in Syria.

The strikes reportedly targeted sites in the north-west held by the Army of Conquest Rebel Alliance, as well as areas in Homs and Hama provinces.

Russia said it carried out eight strikes overnight, adding that it had hit 12 Islamic State (IS) positions in 24 hours.

But the United States (US) fears Russian strikes have been targeting non-ISIS opponents of Russia’s ally, Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.

Russia however said its strikes have destroyed a command centre and two arms depots belonging to ISIS.

Syria Conflict: Russia Wants ‘Coordination’ Against IS

Russia-Putin-ISRussia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has again reiterated his support for Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, saying the latter is fighting terrorist organisations, and Russia “will be pleased to find common ground for joint action against the terrorists”.

In a television interview in the United States (US), Mr. Putin also called for a regional “coordinating structure” against Islamic State (IS).

The crisis in Syria is expected to top the agenda as world leaders gather at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Putin will also hold rare talks with the US President, Barack Obama, to discuss the issue later on Monday.

Relations between Russia and the West have been strained ever since Moscow’s annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

US Tasks Russia On Military Build-Up In Syria

Syria-conflictThe United States (U.S) Secretary of State, John Kerry, has called his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to work together and clarify the intent of Moscow’s military build-up in Syria.

According to Mr Kerry, continued support for President Bashar al-Assad “risks exacerbating and extending the conflict”.

Also, the U.S accused Russia of boosting its military presence in Syria.

Mr al-Assad’s ally said that it was helping Syria fight Islamic State (IS) militants.

As a result, Moscow has increased its presence in Syria, just as the regime is losing ground to rebel groups.

MH17 Crash: Russia Vetoes UN Resolution For International Tribunal

MH17Russia has used its veto at the United Nations to block a draft resolution to set up an international tribunal into the MH17 air disaster that occurred in July 2014.

On Wednesday, Russia was the only nation at the 15-member UN Security Council to oppose the move, triggering widespread condemnation.

Eleven members voted in favour. China, Venezuela and Angola abstained.

MH17, which was bound from the Netherlands to Malaysia, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Eastern Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists, killing all 298 people on board.

Disputes over who is responsible for the disaster have helped to sour relations between Moscow and the West.

Western nations and Ukraine said there is an evidence it was hit by a Russian-supplied Buk anti-aircraft missile, a claim denied by Russia.

A statement from the office of Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, slammed Russia’s use of its veto power which it holds as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council as “outrageous.”

“By its actions on Thursday, Russia had shown complete disregard for the families’ right to know who was responsible and to see the criminals face justice,” the statement said.

“Russia had an opportunity to join the international community in this effort.

“Its actions reinforce concerns Russia is protecting the perpetrators and continuing to assault the sovereignty of Ukraine.”

Iran Nuclear Deal Reached In Vienna

Iran-Nuclear-Deal-ReachedWorld powers and Iran at talks in Vienna have reached a deal that will limit Iran’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Under the agreement, access for nuclear inspectors monitoring Iran’s programme would reportedly not be automatic.

Negotiation had been on between six world powers including the US, Russia and the UK and Iran for several years.

The EU announced a “final plenary” meeting for the current talks in Vienna at 08:30 GMT, followed by a news conference.

The world powers, P5+1 – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – want Iran to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities to ensure that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

Iran, which wants crippling international sanctions lifted, has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful.

The BBC reports that shortly after reports of the deal emerged, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had signed a “roadmap” with Iran.

The IAEA head, Yukiya Amano, told reporters in Vienna that the roadmap was “for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme”.

He called the agreement a “significant step forward”, saying it would allow the agency to “make an assessment of issues relating to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme by the end of 2015”.

On Monday, Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, tweeted that if there was a deal with world powers, it would be a “victory of diplomacy and mutual respect over outdated paradigm of exclusion and coercion. And this will be good beginning.”

There has been stiff resistance to a deal from conservatives both in Iran and the US.
Israel’s government has also warned against an agreement.

Following reports of a deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying that Iran would receive a “sure path to nuclear weapons” and “a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars”.

Bosnia Marks 20th Anniversary Of Srebrenica Massacre

SrebrenicaThousands have gathered at a graveyard in Bosnia-Herzegovina to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

Bosnia commemorates Saturday, July 11, the 20th anniversary of the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica.

Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic , whose country backed the Bosnian Serbs – was chased away from the ceremony by a crowd throwing stones.

On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a UN resolution calling the events ‘genocide’ – a term that angers Serbia.

The Bosnian War saw Bosnian Serb forces, backed by Serbia, fighting the Muslim-led Bosnian government.

Thousands of Muslim men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces after they captured Srebrenica in July 1995 near the end of Bosnia’s inter-ethnic war, in the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II.

Some 50,000 people, as well as dignitaries from across Bosnia and abroad, were expected to be present at the ceremony marking two decades since the massacre and a day of mourning will be observed throughout the Balkan country.

International officials due to attend include: European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini and Bill Clinton, the US President at the time, whose administration brokered the Dayton peace deal that ended Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war only a few months after the Srebrenica slaughter.

Clinton also attended the massacre’s 10th anniversary.

Serbia, which backed Bosnian Serbs during and after the war that claimed some 100,000 lives, will be represented by its Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, a former ultranationalist-turned-pro-European.

Serbian and Bosnian Serb politicians have long denied the scale of the killing in Srebrenica. Although, two international tribunals have described the bloodshed as genocide.

John Kerry Meets Russian President On Ukraine Crisis

RussianU.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, met Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday, to probe Russia’s willingness to curb its involvement in Ukraine crisis and its backing of Syria’s President.

This was the highest-level U.S. visit to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began in the autumn of 2013.

The west accused Russia of arming rebels in eastern Ukraine and sending its troops there, a claim Moscow denied.

Kerry also met Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, for over four hours before he sat with President Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

While they were expected to discuss issues including the Iran nuclear talks, Yemen and Libya, the tour seemed planned to maintain contact, given that U.S.-Russian relations are at their lowest ebb since the Cold War.

“It’s important for us to keep these lines of communication open. It’s important to try to talk to the senior decision maker.

“We have a lot of business that we could do together if there is interest,” said a senior U.S. State Department official.

President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the visit a “positive step”, noting that the Russian President was prepared for “extensive” discussions at the meeting.

“Through dialogue, it is possible to find ways for a normalisation, closer coordination in dealing with international problems,” Peskov told reporters before the talks began. “Russia was never the initiator of this cooling of relations,” he added.

More than 6,000 people have been killed since fighting began in April 2014 between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The conflict was subsequent to Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Peninsula in Southern Ukraine.

Nigerian Troops Clear Terrorist Camps In Alagarno

Nigerian troops raids Boko Haram terrorists in AlagarnoNigerian troops fighting terrorists in the north-east region of the nation have successfully cleared all terrorists’ camps in Alagarno, Borno State.

The raid of the Boko Haram terrorists’ camps was completed on Tuesday morning, the military spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Counter-terrorism efforts were re-enforced after the Nigerian government secured arms from South Africa and Russia weeks before the nation’s election was postponed by six weeks.

A Multi-National Joint Task Force has been set up, comprising Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon to boost the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group, which has been trying, for over five years, to set up an Islamic State in the region.

Last month, Adamawa and Yobe States were cleared of terrorists, after the electoral commission postponed the elections by six weeks, citing military advice.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, told reporters on February 7 that the postponement was in line with the advice by the military, which he said requested for more time to clear the Boko Haram terrorists from communities they were occupying in the north-east region to enable residents of the area participate in the elections.

The Presidential and National Assembly elections were held on March 28 while the governorship and House of Assembly elections will hold on April 11.


ICRC Set To Make Emergency Aid Flights To Yemen

yemenThe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is set to make emergency aid flights into Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

The ICRC has been given permission to land planes carrying staff and medical supplies in Yemen, which it said was facing a humanitarian emergency.

Fighting had intensified in the southern port of Aden, as government troops battle the Houthis.

About 500 people had been killed over the past two weeks in Yemen.

However, the ICRC is sending a cargo plane carrying vital medical supplies, and a small passenger plane of aid workers.

Eight Houthi fighters were killed in an air strike before dawn in the suburbs of the northern city of Saadah, home of the Shi’ite Muslim movement which spread from its mountain stronghold to take over the capital Sanaa six months ago.

Local officials said strikes also hit air defense and coastal military units near the Red Sea port of Hodaida, and targets on the outskirts of Aden. They also hit a bridge on the road south to Aden, apparently trying to block the Houthis from sending reinforcements to their fighters in the city.

Meanwhile, the cargo plane is still awaiting approval to send a surgical team by boat to Aden.

The ICRC has, however, called for a 24-hour ceasefire in Aden, while Russia has also urged the UN Security Council to support a “humanitarian pause” in the air strikes.

Pakistan’s parliament is debating whether to join the Saudi-led coalition after a Pakistani aircraft rescued 170 people from Sanaa on Sunday.