Over 1 Million People Have Entered Europe By Sea – UNHCR

EU Summit-Migrant crisis-unhcrThe United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says more than one million refugees and migrants have reached Europe by sea since the start of 2015.

More than 80 per cent of the 1,000,573 people arrived in Greece, with majority landing on Lesbos Island.

About 844,000 travelled to Greece from nearby Turkey. Most of others – over 150,000 – crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

The migrant crisis is Europe’s worst since World War Two.

 

Fidel Castro Chides U.S Ahead Of Embassy Reopening

castroAhead of the historic reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, has published an open letter to the nation in which he criticises American foreign and economic policies since World War Two.

The letter was published to mark Mr Castro’s 89th birthday.

He also accused the U.S. of owing Cuba millions of dollars.

The former leader said that the US owes Cuba money because of the trade embargo the U.S. imposed on the communist-run island in 1960.

Cuba says the embargo which it calls a blockade, is hugely damaging to its economy.

The U.S Embassy reopens in Havana on Friday, with the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry attending.

 

 

Fire Engulfs Basilica Of Saint-Donatien in Nantes

fireA huge fire has engulfed the 19th-Century basilica of Saint-Donatien in the city of Nantes in western France.

Reverend Benoit Bertrand said the blaze broke out on Monday after morning Mass, with worshipers evacuated from the building.

Rev Betrand said: “I see flames still escaping”.

The fire spread quickly, ravaging the rooftop of the historic building, as fire-fighters in their numbers were deployed to the scene to try and extinguish the flames.

The blaze reportedly broke out at 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT), but the cause has not yet been established.

The Basilica of Saint Donatien was consecrated in 1889.

The other main church in Nantes, the Cathedral of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul, suffered a similar roof fire in 1972 just 28 years after it was damaged during World War Two.

Russia Stages Massive WW2 Parade Despite Western Boycott

RussiaAs the whole of Europe continues to mark 70 years since the end of World War Two, Russia is staging its biggest military parade to celebrate the anniversary.

Thousands of troops are marching on Red Square in Moscow, and new armour being displayed for the first time.

Many world leaders are boycotting the event because of Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis but more than 20 Heads of States are in Moscow.

Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is attending the event in a sign of closer ties as a column of Chinese troops also took part in the parade.

Dignitaries from India, former Soviet republics and communist-era allies such as Cuba, also attended.

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was also among those watching.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, U.S. President, Barack Obama and the French and British leaders, all skipped the parade, but will attend a wreath-laying ceremony in Moscow on Sunday.

As the event began, President Vladimir Putin said international co-operation had been put at risk in recent years.

Russia denies claims by the West that it is arming rebels in eastern Ukraine.

More than 6,000 people have been killed since fighting began in April 2014 in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Germany Demands More Permanent Members For UN Security Council

The German Foreign Affairs Minister, Guido Westerwelle has made a strong case for the inclusion of African nations and Latin American countries with more Asian countries in the United Nations Security Council.

According to the Minister, the inclusion of more member nations in the Security Council will enhance the capacity and authority of the international organization in addressing and avoiding conflicts of today’s world.

Westerwelle made this known during his remarks to questions from journalists after his keynote address at the 2013 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in the United Nations city of Bonn, Germany.

Mr Westerwelle noted that all the United Nations institutions as they are, still reflect how the world was after the Second World War and these institutions need urgent reforms to reflect the dimension of today’s globalized world with emerging nations.

“The United Nations reflect in their structures, the world, how it was after World War Two but it is not the current reflection and the fact that all Latin America is not represented permanently in the Security Council of the United Nations with one voice, doesn’t have anything to do with the world of today.”

“These are old structures” he stated to a rousing applause from the audience.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the fact that the whole of the African continent not doesn’t have a single voice, doesn’t have a permanent seat in the Security Council of the United Nations is the world of the past and not of today and not even anything of the future” he told over 2,000 journalists at the World Conference centre in Bonn.

He further decried that “the whole of Asian continent has only one voice, the voice of China in the UN Security Council.

This, he noted “doesn’t reflect the power of relation in the world we are living in and it reflects the situation when the United Nations were established and not really future development.”

The Minister called for the reform of all international organisations to be more representative, warning that not doing so will only ‘weaken’ the institutions.

“The international institutions of the world have to be more representative. If they are not representative, we will weaken them.”

“So all the continents, all success stories has to reflect in all international organization, only then will this international organization have sufficient authority in the world to avoid and overcome conflict.”

The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action.

There are 15 members of the Security Council. This includes five veto-wielding permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—based on the great powers that were the victors of World War II.

There are also 10 non-permanent members, with five elected each year to serve two-year terms. This basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the UN Charter.

Nigeria is currently in the forefront of demanding reforms of the UN Security Council as it seeks to take the African slot for a permanent seat with contemporaries such as South Africa and Egypt.

Classical Relationship

Mr Westerwelle also revealed that the German government under Angela Merkel has agreed to further intensify its relationship with African nations, describing the partnership as a ‘classical relationship’ which must “be intensified.”

He described as it as “linking up with the new powers of the world in a strategic way.”

By Ayo Okulaja

U.S. Finds Long-lost Diary Of Top Nazi Leader, Hitler Aide

The government has recovered 400 pages from the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War Two.

A preliminary U.S. government assessment reviewed by Reuters asserts the diary could offer new insight into meetings Rosenberg had with Hitler and other top Nazi leaders, including Heinrich Himmler and Herman Goering. It also includes details about the German occupation of the Soviet Union, including plans for mass killings of Jews and other Eastern Europeans.

“The documentation is of considerable importance for the study of the Nazi era, including the history of the Holocaust,” according to the assessment, prepared by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. “A cursory content analysis indicates that the material sheds new light on a number of important issues relating to the Third Reich’s policy. The diary will be an important source of information to historians that compliments, and in part contradicts, already known documentation.”

How the writings of Rosenberg, a Nazi Reich minister who was convicted at Nuremberg and hanged in 1946, might contradict what historians believe to be true is unclear. Further details about the diary’s contents could not be learned, and a U.S. government official stressed that the museum’s analysis remains preliminary.

But the diary does include details about tensions within the German high-command – in particular, the crisis caused by the flight of Rudolf Hess to Britain in 1941, and the looting of art throughout Europe, according to the preliminary analysis.

The recovery is expected to be announced this week at a news conference in Delaware held jointly by officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Justice and Holocaust museum.

The diary offers a loose collection of Rosenberg’s recollections from spring 1936 to winter 1944, according to the museum’s analysis. Most entries are written in Rosenberg’s looping cursive, some on paper torn from a ledger book and others on the back of official Nazi stationary, the analysis said.

Rosenberg was an early and powerful Nazi ideologue, particularly on racial issues. He directed the Nazi party’s foreign affairs department and edited the Nazi newspaper. Several of his memos to Hitler were cited as evidence during the post-war Nuremberg trials.

Rosenberg also directed the systematic Nazi looting of Jewish art, cultural and religious property throughout Europe. The Nazi unit created to seize such artifacts was called Task Force Reichsleiter Rosenberg.

He was convicted of crimes against humanity and was one of a dozen senior Nazi officials executed in October 1946. His diary, once held by Nuremberg prosecutors as evidence, vanished after the trial.

A Nuremberg prosecutor, Robert Kempner, was long suspected by U.S. officials of smuggling the diary back to the United States.

Born in Germany, Kempner had fled to America in the 1930s to escape the Nazis, only to return for post-war trials. He is credited with helping reveal the existence of the Wannsee Protocol, the 1942 conference during which Nazi officials met to coordinate the genocide against the Jews, which they termed “The Final Solution.”

Kempner cited a few Rosenberg diary excerpts in his memoir, and in 1956 a German historian published entries from 1939 and 1940. But the bulk of the diary never surfaced.

When Kempner died in 1993 at age 93, legal disputes about his papers raged for nearly a decade between his children, his former secretary, a local debris removal contractor and the Holocaust museum. The children agreed to give their father’s papers to the Holocaust museum, but when officials arrived to retrieve them from his home in 1999, they discovered that many thousands of pages were missing.

After the 1999 incident, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into the missing documents. No charges were filed in the case.

But the Holocaust museum has gone on to recover more than 150,000 documents, including a trove held by Kempner’s former secretary, who by then had moved into the New York state home of an academic named Herbert Richardson.

The Rosenberg diary, however, remained missing.

Early this year, the Holocaust museum and an agent from Homeland Security Investigation tried to locate the missing diary pages. They tracked the diary to Richardson, who was living near Buffalo.

Richardson declined to comment. A government official said more details will be announced at the news conference.