S. African court doubles Pistorius sentence to more than 13 years

Oscar_Pistorius(1)-_2._Memoriał_Kamili_Skolimowskiej_-_Warszawa,_2011-09-20

A South African appeals court increased paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius’ sentence for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to 13 years and five months on Friday.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein more than doubled his original sentence of six years after the state argued that it was unduly lenient.

Pistorius, 31, was not in court for the hearing.

Prosecutors argued earlier this month that Oscar Pistorius failed to show genuine remorse after killing his girlfriend.

“One of the essential ingredients of a balanced sentence is that it must reflect the seriousness of the offence,” Andrea Johnson, of the National Prosecution Authority, had told the court.

Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux mounted a strong defence of the judge who handed down the six-year sentence, saying she took into account his claim that he believed he was shooting an intruder.

The Paralympic athlete shot dead Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

He pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014 and has always denied that he killed Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar.

In 2015, Pistorius was found guilty of murder and given less than half of the minimum 15 years in jail for that crime.

Pistorius was originally convicted of culpable homicide — the equivalent of manslaughter — but the appeal court upgraded his conviction.

- ‘Justice has been served’ -

Nazreen Shaik Peremanov, a constitutional law expert at the University of South Africa’s law school, told AFP that Pistorius could now appeal the latest sentence at the country’s highest court — the Constitutional Court.

But National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said he was pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“We always maintained as an institution that this appeal is not about an individual. It has got everything to do with the proper administration of justice,” he said.

“We hope the family will find closure knowing that justice has been served and the proper sentence has been handed out.”

Oscar’s brother Carl Pistorius tweeted that he was “Shattered. Heartbroken. Gutted” following the court’s ruling.

“We have all suffered incomprehensible loss. The death of Reeva was and still is a great loss for our family too,” he wrote.

Previously an ambassador for disabled people worldwide, Pistorius was released from jail in 2015 after serving one year of the initial five-year term for culpable homicide.

He returned behind bars after his conviction for murder.

The year before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to race at the Olympics when he competed at the London 2012 games.

In a television interview, he said he believed an intruder was in the house and “instant fear” drove him to grab his gun and walk on his stumps towards the bathroom.

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Kokorev: MEPs seek independent commission to investigate Spanish judicial abuse

Family and friends of Vladimir Kokorev, a Spanish entrepreneur of Russian-Jewish origins, met with MEPs this week to highlight the plight of Kokorev, who in 2015 was arrested and put in pre-trial detention together with his wife Yulia and son Igor on the orders of a Spanish Judge.

The Kokorev family spent over 2 years in prison on Canary Islands (Spain) without a trial, a formal indictment, nor any evidence of wrongdoing and with the case declared “secret” by the Judge de Vega for 18 months while the family remained in prison.

A letter jointly signed in Strasbourg this week by MEPs Fulvio Martusciello, Barbara Matera, Aldo Pariciello and Heinz Becker expressed “bewilderment “at Spain’s treatment of Kokorev” and called upon Spain’s judicial authorities to end this “horrifying human rights violation”.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg at a round table meeting to discuss the case, Fulvio Martusciello MEP demanded “an immediate independent enquiry in to Spain’s abuse of the judicial system regarding Kokorev”.

In his address to the meeting Martusciello said “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law, pursuant to Article 6 Paragraph 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

“I believe the key word here is ‘charged’ because Article 5 Paragraph 3 of this Convention reads that everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.

“Further to that, Article 5 Paragraph 5 states that everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

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“Let’s ponder on the words “victim of arrest” and “detention”. They are fully applicable to Kokorev whose case demonstrates that an allegedly correct detention can run over years at the stage of preliminary investigation and actually transform into the service of sentence without any court decision.

“As we can see, Spanish law enforcement agencies trample the following fundamentals of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights:

1) A person can be found guilty only after conviction by a competent court

2) Legal proceedings are conducted within a reasonable time

3) A person charged with an offence must be informed of the cause of the accusation to allow him preparing his defence.

“As I know, Mr. Kokorev has not been lodged any charges since being arrested in 2015. Which terms of pre-trial investigation are considered reasonable in the Canary islands? Two years? Five years? Ten years? This is an absurd situation and it gives grounds to question the existence of any real and motivated charges against him. Suppose Kokorev is charged of money laundering. So where is investigation of this crime? If there is none, is it lawful to talk about money laundering?

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“We promise that every European citizen will be protected by law. Do we deliver our promises given to our voters? Do we always protect people, particularly, from arbitrary actions of law enforcement officers, with some of them believing that half of all people seek to circumvent their government? Our task is not only to assist law enforcement bodies in combatting crime, which is their major task, but also to control operation of these bodies and curb every attempt to violate human rights and fiddle with words.

“I believe that every violation of fundamental human rights must be thoroughly checked and investigated. And meaningful steps must be taken against every public officer who is guilty in these violations.

Everyone has only one single life to live and I wish no one would ever be the victim of a judicial failure or wrongful arrest.”

Fellow MEP Aldo Pariciello said: “I could not believe such outrageous things were possible in a European country of today until I got familiarized with the Kokorev case.

“Failures of justice or investigation do happen sometimes but the things occurring on the Canary Islands cannot be called a failure.

“These are a deliberate breach of basic rights of a European citizen to whom European laws guarantee the fastest possible and unbiased trial and a right to fair justice.

“In Kokorev’s case, I can see neither trial nor any prospects for legal proceedings.

“All I see is a senior ill man who has been tortured for two years without his guilt having been established.

“Furthermore, I cannot see any attempts to submit his guilt to judge or get at the truth of the matter. And I believe the truth is that there is no guilt.

“The investigators and the judge of the Canary islands know this but they apply every effort to dig up something against Kokorev to save face. How else can one explain that they revoked their initial money-laundering charges and began to talk about other crimes?

“Every lawyer knows that if Kokorev was extradited based on the suspicion of money laundering, he must be indicted on exactly this crime. If no charge is brought against him, the case must be terminated.”

EU Reporter

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Shame and anti-Semitism. Kokorev Case is under EP’s control

 

On 28 September, a roundtable event titled Justice and the rule of law in the EU – the case of Vladimir Kokorev was held at the European Parliament in Brussels, under the patronage of Fulvio Martusciello, member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament and Chairman of the Delegation for EU-Israel relations.

The roundtable was attended by experts, journalists, lawyers as well as friends and family members of Vladimir Kokorev, a Spanish citizen of Russian-Jewish origin who have been kept at prison on the Canary Islands for two years now, with his wife and son.

The family were detained in Panama in September 2015 based on the international warrant issued by Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano of Las Palmas Court No 5, on suspicion of having laundered money on behalf of Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea.

The Kokorevs have been in prison for 24 months despite documentary evidence of their innocence submitted by their defense and full transparency of their companies. The case was classified, which prevented their attorneys-at-law from getting access to case materials.

The case was declassified in February 2017, following an official inquiry from members of the European Parliament to Spanish regulatory authorities to clarify the factual background of the case. The attorneys-at-law were astonished to see that the prosecution failed to seize evidence of Kokorevs’ guilt not only for two years of their imprisonment but during the entire “investigation” since 2004.

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Spanish attorneys for Kokorev family believe that the bias in the investigation comes from political motivations, and a recent resolution of judge Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano on extending the pre-trial detention for two more years raises major concerns about her true motives.

Ilya Weisberg, Israeli attorney to Kokorev family, stated the case itself and investigation methods had nothing to do with legal practices, and pointed at a few major violations of the Spanish law.

Everyone was touched by an emotional speech delivered by Inna, Vladimir Kokorev’s niece, who arrived from Israel to take part at the roundtable. She gave us an interview and expressed her opinion on the judge’s resolution to prolong the period of detention for two more years:

“Around two months ago, the judge resolved to continue Kokorevs’ detention for another two years instead of closing the case and releasing them with apologies. Why? What is the reason? Does she want them to die in prison?

My uncle is 66 years old. He suffers from heart diseases. He had a heart attack and a stroke, and underwent surgery two years ago. We know he is barred from professional healthcare at prison, and his wife Yulia has health issues, too. Fortunately, their son Igor is sound but this is because of his young age. Igor, during his imprisonment, has become a father but, thus far, has been unable to see his young daughter who is 18 months old now.

I am not a judicial expert. Suppose, lawyers will tell you the unbiased information about the case. I just hope that you, dear members of parliament, are going to study the materials and give your fair opinion on the current situation on the case.

We used to count on Spanish justice two years ago. But now we cannot believe that a European court of today can be driven by some reasons other than law. Are they driven by the same reasons as the magistrates of the Canary Islands court who labeled all Russians as gangsters and Romanian women as prostitutes, in their private talks? The record of their conversation made the headlines and created a scandal in Spain but the involved judges escaped any prosecution. Is judge Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano who serves justice in the Canary Islands guided by the same reasons?

If my uncle were an Israeli citizen, Israel would stand up for him; however, Kokorev is a citizen of Spain, which ranks as the most anti-Semitic country in the European Union and where some judges still have the attitudes that were typical for the 15th century.

Spain proposes citizenship for Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were forced to flee from Spain 500 years ago. The applicants who can prove their Sephardic descent receive the Spanish passport. By doing this, Spain seeks to enhance its image of a European democratic country. I wish I knew how many people took advantage of that opportunity to claim Spanish citizenship and I want to give advice to those who are not sure whether to apply: Watch out for the country where you would be deprived of any rights and be made whipping boys at any time.

We are not going to accept the situation that our relatives are in prison for no fault of theirs, and we ask European bodies for help and support. Not only are the rights of a single family trampled underfoot on the Canaries, but the European values are also trampled, especially a human right to due process.”

A day before the roundtable in Brussels, it became known that Yulia, Kokorev’s wife, was reportedly released from the Las Palmas prison and that the amount of bail for Kokorev himself was cut down to €600 000, from €2 million. Their defense attorneys believe that even if the Kokorev family are finally released, they would resemble people placed under house arrest as they would be forbidden to leave the Canaries, and the islands would be a new big prison for them.

In his official statement on the results of the roundtable, Fulvio Martusciello said:

“As a member of European Parliament, I speak for justice and the supremacy of law. As chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Israel, I advocate the Jewish belief and legacy. This is my mission. And for both reasons, I am deeply concerned about the Kokorev Case.

It is not for us to decide if Mr. Kokorev is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. But what should concern us all is the fact that he, his wife and son are being denied justice and due process of law. Two years in detention without specific charges with the prospect of a further two years for no good reason is an affront to all that we Europeans believe in.

Being able to answer charges and defend oneself in court are the basic human rights. I am taking the case under special control and propose that the case be reviewed at a European Parliament session as part of the independent investigation.

We encourage and give our full support to Kokorev family’s defense attorneys in order to bring any relevant actions in this matter against Spain before the European Court of Human Rights, and place The Kokorev Case in the High Courts of Madrid. The treatment of Vladimir Kokorev is shameful, anti-Semitic and an affront to the basic values of the EU.”

 

 

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London tower block fire protesters storm town h

britain-incident-150040

“Shame on you!”, they shouted in a stand-off involving around 30 people, as many police officers, as well as a dozen security guards.

Hundreds of people, including singer and human rights campaigner Lily Allen, were protesting outside, holding up signs saying “Justice for Grenfell”.

One protester held up a “Wanted” poster for an executive who manages the building, accusing him of “corporate manslaughter”.

Residents had long complained about fire safety risks at Grenfell Tower, but said the concerns of the multi-ethnic, largely working-class inhabitants had been brushed off by local authorities.

“We are in the richest borough in the UK and in this very borough we have a building where some of the poorest live and the safety measures are totally inadequate,” said Mustafa Al Mansur, one of the organisers of the demonstration.

“We need to know what commitment the council is taking to ensure this tragedy is not repeated,” he said. “We need to know exactly the number of people who were there during this tragedy.”

There were chaotic scenes as angry protesters shouted through a loudspeaker, with one woman saying: “We are in pain. We have been trodden on by people who say they are there to protect us.”

Another said: “It was a death trap and they knew it.”

The protesters also held up pictures of those still missing and now feared dead, as the crowd shouted: “No justice, no peace!” .

CAN’T RESPECT THE BODIES

“We are not here to trouble people. We just want answers,” said Salwa Buamani, 25, who attended the protest with her three-year-old niece on her shoulders.

“I have friends in the tower and they are not telling us anything,” she told AFP, adding: “We can’t respect the bodies.”

The death toll was revised up Friday from 17 to 30, but police warned they expect it to increase further, with as many as 70 people thought to still be missing.

Many of those in the crowd were calling for the remains of their loved ones to be returned, highlighting how survivors had described walking over bodies on the stairwell as they fled.

“They (the authorities) are clearly aware roughly of the number of bodies,” said local resident Karen Brown, 36, whose friend’s 12-year-old daughter Jessica was among those missing.

“The fact that they are not telling people is very frustrating. We are not stupid we are aware people are dead. Just tell them!”

A man shouted: “Where are our children now? In the building! No one takes care of their bodies. Shame on you!”

The crowds moved back towards the blackened tower, gaining numbers until several thousands were marching through the affluent streets around Notting Hill and Kensington High Street.

It developed an almost festive atmosphere, with locals providing free food and revellers in pubs and residents on balconies standing up and applauding as the protesters walked by.

But there was still anger, largely directed at Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who was earlier heckled and booed after visiting survivors in a church nearby.

“Theresa May it’s time to go” they shouted, while others held up banners saying “Tories out”. afp

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Spanish media denounces xenophobia and unjustified use of pre-trial detention

The Spanish Courts have so far ignored the request to identify the Judge of the High Court (Audiencia Provincial) of Las Palmas (Spain) who made xenophobic and offensive remarks in the courtroom during a deliberation with three other judges.

The tape of the conversation taking place between judges Salvador Alba, Emilio Moya and Carlos Vielba was uncovered by Spanish newspaper Canarias 7. The audio log, containing racial slurs against citizens of Russia, Italy and Romania among others, and misogynic expressions is publicly available, and was aired on Spanish national TV stations.

Despite the media outcry, the Spanish Ministry of Justice has so far taken no steps to remove or otherwise sanction the involved judges. Furthermore, it has even ignored the request, lodged by the Consulate of Russian Federation in Las Palmas, to identify the judge who made the offensive remarks.

During an interview on aired Spanish National Television (TVE), Mr. Jose Antonio Penichet, the attorney of the Consulate, raised the question of whether the xenophobic attitude of Las Palmas judiciary is to blame for a flagrantly unjust treatment of the family of Spanish entrepreneur of Russian-Jewish origins, also known as “The Kokorev Case”. Vladimir Kokorev, as well as his wife and son, remain in pre-trial detention in Las Palmas (Spain) on unclear charges and without access to the case file for already over 18 months, with no expectation of a trial or even a formal accusation.

The pre-trial detention is ostensibly motivated by the judge Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano by “high flight risk”, which decisions have been confirmed by the High Court of Las Palmas.

Mr. Penichet argued that Vladimir Kokorev and his family members, with no prior convictions or criminal records, had voluntarily consented the extradition to Las Palmas from Panama, where they remained on bail for several months without any attempts to escape. Furthermore, Vladimir Kokorev (66) had suffered serious medical problems in the past years: a heart attack, minor stroke and prostate cancer. Those medical issues, are further exacerbated by over a year and a half in prison.

“I am confident that if Vladimir had a Spanish family name, he would have not suffer the same treatment,” said Mr. Penichet.

EU reporter 

 

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Death fee in Iraq bombing claimed by IS rises to 73

Associated Press

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The genocide fee from a automobile bombing south of Baghdad claimed by a Islamic State organisation rose to 73 on Friday, including about 40 Iranian pilgrims, as Iraqi army fought residence to residence to chase a nonconformist organisation from a northern city of Mosul in a five-week-old debate slowed down by unbending IS insurgency and fears of vast municipal casualties.

Iraqi infantry and sanatorium officials pronounced 65 other people were bleeding in a Thursday night conflict during a gas hire on a vital highway nearby a city of Hilla, about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of a Iraqi capital.

It was a deadliest IS conflict in Iraq given July, when a automobile explosve killed about 300 in a blurb district in Baghdad.

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

IS claimed a conflict in a brief matter on a Aamaq media arm, observant it was a self-murder lorry bomb. Earlier, Iraqi officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not certified to speak to a media, had put a genocide fee during 56.

In Mosul, where an Iraqi supervision debate to retake a city began final month, fighting continued in a eastern zone on Friday, with Iraqi special army seizing another neighborhood, Masaref, and advancing in a densely populated Zohour district, according to Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil. The descent to constraint Zohour began progressing this week, though infantry are confronting energetic IS resistance, he added.

The sound of involuntary glow and a whack of trebuchet shells and artillery shook a city’s eastern sector, easterly of a Tigris River, a whole day on Friday. An Associated Press organisation in a area pronounced civilians journey a fighting continued to upsurge out of a middle tools of a city toward a lines of a Iraqi military. Off a behind of a truck, soldiers offering them rice, potatoes and tomato sauce. In a Bakr neighborhood, civilians lined a streets. Old and immature organisation looked on silently, while children smiled and waved to a troops.

Lt. Col. Ali Hussein of a special army in a Bakr area pronounced his organisation were approached by 3 IS drones on Friday, of that they shot down two. He showed a AP organisation a disadvantage of one. The drones were not armed, usually carrying reconnoitering cameras, he added.

“It was a vast push, in dual weeks they’d usually sent 3 others opposite us,” he pronounced of a drones.

Hussein spoke with several of a civilians journey their homes, offering them H2O and listened internal grievances from elders. He also distributed medicine and food.

Thursday’s conflict south of Baghdad appears to have targeted a train carrying Iranian pilgrims streamer home after a vital Shiite eremite tact in a holy city of Karbala.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi was quoted by a semi-official Tasnim news organisation on Thursday night as observant that 80 people were killed, including 40 Iranians. Conflicting genocide tolls are common in a issue of vast attacks.

The conflict came a day after some dozen small-scale bombings in and around Baghdad killed 31 people and bleeding some-more than a 100 — a quite bloody day even by a standards of a Iraqi capital, that has for some-more than a decade endured near-daily assault blamed on IS or a forerunner, al-Qaida in Iraq, and that mostly targeted members of Iraq’s Shiite majority.

The gas hire bombing underlined a stability ability of IS to theatre high-profile apprehension attacks even as a vast Iraqi infantry operation is underway in Mosul, a final vital civic building in Iraq hold by IS. The descent is aided by proffer militiamen and a U.S.-led coalition, that has mostly been pulsation IS targets in Mosul with airstrikes.

Moreover, Thursday’s IS bombing took place in Iraq’s Shiite background south of Baghdad, a segment that has mostly been spared a near-daily assault that has for years engulfed a collateral and Sunni regions.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Karbala, where he expensively praised a country’s confidence army for safeguarding a pilgrims opposite attacks by IS.

Extremist Sunni militants, including a Islamic State group, perspective Shiites as heretics and customarily aim Iranian pilgrims who revisit Iraq by a hundreds of thousands to compensate loyalty to vital Shiite shrines in Baghdad, and also a Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, south of Baghdad, and Samarra, to a north of a capital.

Shiite Iran is a vital devotee of a governments in Iraq and adjacent Syria in their quarrel opposite IS, providing infantry advisers and weapons.

“Let a sinister Rafidha (Shiites) know that what awaits them in a nearby future, God willing, will be some-more unpleasant and sour and that a abandon of a battles in Nineveh will strech them in Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf,” IS pronounced in a statement. Nineveh is a northern Iraqi range where Mosul is a capital.

The Shiite tact in Karbala, called a al-Arbaeen, customarily attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, including many Iranians who transport overland into Iraq for a occasion. Several members of Iranian polite invulnerability staff who had been in Karbala to offer assistance to Iranian pilgrims rushed to a gas hire following a bombing, assisting their Iraqi counterparts collect victims’ bodies and helping a wounded. Iranian polite invulnerability crew typically accompany pilgrims on such trips to Iraq.

___

Faraj reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writers Maamoun Youssef in Cairo and Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad contributed to this report.

Iranian polite invulnerability crew hunt for survivors in a rubble, during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) s...

Iranian polite invulnerability crew hunt for survivors in a rubble, during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

A municipal searches for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Ira...

A municipal searches for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

A municipal searches for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Ira...

A municipal searches for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, ...

Civilians hunt for survivors in a rubble during a theatre of a automobile explosve conflict nearby a city of Hilla about 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. A automobile explosve tore by a gas hire on Thursday, murdering and wounding scores of people, including 20 Iranians Shiite pilgrims, in an conflict claimed by a Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Muhammed Mahmod, 22, waits during a margin sanatorium to be eliminated to a sanatorium after being harmed by a trebuchet during fighting between Iraqi army and Islamic...

Muhammed Mahmod, 22, waits during a margin sanatorium to be eliminated to a sanatorium after being harmed by a trebuchet during fighting between Iraqi army and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

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France’s Fillon, buoyed by debate, heads for finish line

France s Fillon, buoyed by debate, heads for finish line

Paris (AFP) – Conservative French presidential frontrunner Francois Fillon hold a final convene in Paris Friday as he seeks to bind a assignment for a rightwing Republicans in a primary this weekend.

Fillon, whose swell has taken commentators and pollsters by surprise, gave an positive opening in a televised discuss on Thursday opposite his centrist rival, long-time favourite Alain Juppe.

Fifty-seven percent of viewers judged Fillon to have been a many convincing, according to an eccentric check for a BFMTV radio channel of 908 people who followed a scarcely two-hour exchange.

A sum of 8.5 million people tuned in to hear a dual ex-prime ministers highlight their differences on open zone cuts, family between France and Russia, and their views on multiculturalism.

On Friday Fillon hold a convene in Paris where he hoped to pull adult to 10,000 people, while Juppe was campaigning in a eastern city of Nancy.

Both group are positioning themselves opposite a approaching rivals in subsequent year’s election, particularly a resurgent far-right personality Marine Le Pen, as good as a Socialist celebration claimant and independents.

“I consider we am best placed with my programme to kick Marine Le Pen,” Juppe pronounced on Friday, referring to a jingoist and anti-immigration trainer of a National Front.

- Clear differences -

Thursday’s discuss expel into sheer service a differences between a candidates, with Fillon mostly portraying 71-year-old Juppe as lacking a stomach to shake adult a French economy and Juppe accusing his opposition of being unrealistic.

“It is loyal that my plan is some-more radical and maybe some-more difficult,” pronounced Fillon, whose mercantile ideas have been compared to those of late British primary apportion Margaret Thatcher.

The 62-year-old righteous Catholic wants to condense an eye-popping 500,000 open zone jobs over 5 years and throw a 35-hour operative week in a bid to kick-start a indolent French economy.

He is also some-more socially conservative, believes France is “on a verge of revolt”, and takes a harder line on Islam in France. Juppe has stressed how many on a far-right are in foster of his rival’s proposals.

“No, France is not a multicultural country. France has a history, a denunciation and a enlightenment that have naturally been enriched from outside,” Fillon pronounced on Thursday during a debate.

Seeking uninformed movement after a formidable week, Juppe seemed to onslaught to browbeat his competition though strike home with a taunt during Fillon’s alliance to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This contingency be a initial presidential choosing in that a Russian boss chooses his candidate,” Juppe said, referring to regard by Putin for Fillon on Wednesday.

Fillon believes a European Union and a United States “provoked” Russia by expanding in eastern Europe and he has criticised sanctions imposed on Moscow after Putin’s advance of Ukraine in 2014.

He again targeted what he called a “absurd” process of Socialist President Francois Hollande, who has confronted Putin over Russia’s cast of Ukraine and purported fight crimes by Russian army in Syria.

- Battle with far-right -

Le Pen is now foresee to come initial or second in a initial turn of a choosing on Apr 23 with around 30 percent of a vote, though afterwards destroy in a run-off on May 7.

But following a call of populism that led British electorate to select to leave a European Union and swept Donald Trump to feat in a United States, no one is essay off a National Front leader’s chances.

Fillon discharged suggestions his regressive proceed done it tough for electorate to heed between him and Le Pen.

“I have always fought a National Front,” he said, adding: “We have to forestall Madame Le Pen from reaching a second round.” If she did, it would be a pointer of an “ailing democracy”.

Le Pen says she wants to embankment a euro and organize a referendum on France’s EU membership — a pierce that would put a destiny of European formation during stake.

There was bad news for Hollande’s prospects of seeking re-election when an opinion check Friday showed some-more than twice as many people would cite Prime Minister Manuel Valls to be a Socialist presidential claimant over him.

Valls, a warlike Spanish-born premier, got a support of 65 percent of respondents to a Harris Interactive check compared to only 23 percent for Hollande.

Hollande has pronounced he will confirm before a finish of a year either to mount again.


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Turkish boss threatens to free borders to migrants

Turkey’s boss has indicted a European Union of duplicity and betrayal, and threatened to mislay controls from his country’s borders, potentially permitting hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers and other migrants into Europe.

In his initial debate given Thursday’s capitulation in a European Parliament of a non-binding fortitude job on a EU to solidify Turkey’s membership talks, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) told a EU: “We are a ones who feed 3 to 3.5 million refugees in this country. You have tricked your promises.”

He added: “If we go any serve those limit gates will be opened.”

He done specific anxiety to Turkey’s categorical limit channel with EU member Bulgaria.

The European Parliament opinion was in response to a Ankara government’s clumsy crackdown following a unsuccessful manoeuvre in July. Opposition parties, rights groups and Turkey’s western allies have voiced augmenting condemnation of actions Ankara defends as partial of a fight on terror.

After some-more than a million migrants done their approach into Europe, mostly by Turkey, final year, Ankara and a EU in Mar reached an agreement for Turkey to branch a upsurge of migrants travelling by sea to Greece in lapse for certain incentives, including fast-track membership talks, billions of euros in assist for Syrian refugees in Turkey, and visa-free transport for Turkish citizens.

But a response to a manoeuvre has done European nations reduction penetrating to negotiate with Turkey, while visa liberalisation has strike a jump over Turkey’s hostility to change a anti-terror laws.

During his speech, Mr Erdogan pronounced a income betrothed had nonetheless to be delivered.

“We have been given $550m by a United Nations. The European Union promised, though a income it has sent so distant is around $700m. But what have we spent? Up to now we have spent $15bn.”

Since a thwarted coup, blamed on a network of supporters of US-based Muslim minister Fethullah Gulen, Turkey has intent in an rare crackdown, jailing tens of thousands and dismissing or suspending 120,000 people suspected of links to a cleric.

It has close down some-more than 170 media outlets, incarcerated over 140 reporters and sacked inaugurated Kurdish mayors and transposed them with government-appointed trustees.

- AP

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French prosecutor says 4 friends plotted approaching attack

Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Four long-time friends in their 30s, vital in a same French city and communicating by a sealed phone line, were formulation a apprehension conflict in France as early as subsequent week on orders from an Islamic State organisation member in Iraq or Syria, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins pronounced Friday.

The “commando” of 4 arrested on Sunday in a eastern city of Strasbourg plotted to lift out an conflict on Dec. 1, though investigators have not nonetheless dynamic “the specific selected aim among all those deliberate by a group,” Molins said.

The prosecutor didn’t name any targets, though confidence was tightened this week during a Paris domicile of France’s rapist investigations police, reportedly among a locations studied. French President Francois Hollande pronounced a “large-scale attack” was thwarted.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a ...

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a apprehension conflict in France as early as subsequent week and were receiving their orders from an Islamic State organisation member formed in Iraq or Syria, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins pronounced Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The night they were arrested, dual of a Strasbourg organisation had only downloaded a Periscope application, that allows people to tide live on Internet with a dungeon phone. The app activity suggests they were scheming an “imminent” attack, Molins said.

The 4 Strasbourg suspects also were in possession of guns and ammunition, he said. Among a weapons seized during home searches were dual handguns, dual involuntary rifles, several cartridge clips and dozens of cartridges of opposite calibers.

Investigators also found instructions for a income transfer, GPS coordinates and minute explanations for receiving some-more weapons on one suspect’s USB stick.

A fifth think was arrested in a southern city of Marseille during a same time as a Strasbourg suspects. Molins told reporters that think was not in approach hold with a other four, though was “given superintendence remotely” from a same IS member.

All 5 organisation had a “clear will to find and to brand targets to dedicate an act in a really brief term,” Molins said.

In addition, a 5 “had common instructions to obtain weapons, instructions given by a chairman from a Iraqi-Syrian section by encrypted applications renouned among terrorists,” he said.

Investigators also recovered a cover that contained 12 pages of essay that referred to an armed jihad, genocide in martyrdom and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a Islamic State organisation leader, a prosecutor said.

After being hold in control given Sunday, a 5 were changed Friday to a Paris building where they were to seem before counter-terrorism questioning judges. The Paris prosecutor asked magistrates to palm a 5 rough charges of holding partial in a “terrorist rapist association” and to jail them.

Molins was vocalization a day after anti-terrorism authorities took a surprising step of holding a organisation in control but assign over a normal limit period, relying on a new anti-terrorism measure.

The 4 arrested in Strasbourg were dual French citizens, both age 37; a 36-year-old Franco-Tunisian; and a 35-year-old Franco-Moroccan. Two of them had several rapist philosophy in France, Molins said. The male arrested in Marseille was a 26-year-old Moroccan.

Two of a Strasbourg suspects trafficked to a Turkish-Syrian limit around Cyprus in Mar 2015, afterwards prosecutor said. The Marseille think left Morocco in 2013 and done mixed trips opposite Europe with feign ID documents. In 2015, a Turkish authorities prevented him from entering Turkey, he said.

France stays underneath a state of puncture imposed after Islamic State attacks in Paris in Nov 2015 that killed 130 people.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a ...

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a apprehension conflict in France as early as subsequent week and were receiving their orders from an Islamic State organisation member formed in Iraq or Syria, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins pronounced Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a ...

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a apprehension conflict in France as early as subsequent week and were receiving their orders from an Islamic State organisation member formed in Iraq or Syria, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins pronounced Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a ...

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins gives a press conference, in Paris, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Five organisation arrested this week in dual French cities were formulation a apprehension conflict in France as early as subsequent week and were receiving their orders from an Islamic State organisation member formed in Iraq or Syria, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins pronounced Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

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Suspect in deadly stabbing during French companion home arrested

Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Police on Friday arrested a think in a deadly blade conflict on a lady during a retirement home for Catholic missionaries in southern France after a immeasurable manhunt, authorities said.

The 47-year-old think — with no apparent links to Islamist extremism — was arrested about 100 meters (yards) from his home in a city not distant from a stage of a conflict on Thursday night, a gendarmerie press central said.

The central pronounced reports that a think was a former member of a French troops had not nonetheless been confirmed, adding that investigators had unclosed information that contradicted a past troops link. The think was not identified by name in gripping with French custom.

Firefighters and ambulances are seen in a encampment of Montferrier-sur-Lez, southern France, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. The French gendarmerie says a masked gunm...

Firefighters and ambulances are seen in a encampment of Montferrier-sur-Lez, southern France, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. The French gendarmerie says a masked gunman has detonate into a retirement home for monks in southern France and killed an aged lady with a knife. The press use for a inhabitant troops troops couldn’t immediately contend either a occurrence is related to a apprehension act or not. (AP Photo)

A masked antagonist tied adult dual women during a retirement home for former missionaries in Africa. One of a women managed to call police, who found a victim, a 54-year-old employee, firm and tied adult outward a building with 3 gash wounds, prosecutor Christophe Barret told a news discussion before a arrest.

Barret pronounced a think was believed to be someone “in a environment of this retirement home.”

The retirement chateau is located in Montferrer-sur-Lez, only north of Montpellier. The think was arrested in Saint-Mathieu-de-Treviers, a few kilometers serve north.

France has been in a state of puncture given a Paris attacks one year ago that killed 130, and reacted fast to a attack. Some 130 troops officers searched a area for a masked assailant on foot, in vehicles and by helicopter. Officials worked fast to bar a couple between Islamist extremists and a retirement home attack.

“There is no component joining a contribution with Islamist terrorism,” Barret, a prosecutor, said. What gathering a masked antagonist to conflict and kill remained a mystery.

A automobile found nearby a retirement chateau helped brand a suspect, a prosecutor said, adding that an atmosphere gun and other elements were found inside a vehicle.

A gendarmerie central tighten to a review who had asked to sojourn unknown while a manhunt was underway pronounced troops decorations were among a items.

The residence, called “Green Oaks,” is operated by a African Missions Society, and takes in late priests, nuns and others who have worked on missions in Africa.

French Gendarmes control cars nearby a encampment of Montferrier-sur-Lez, southern France, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. The French gendarmerie says a masked gunman ha...

French Gendarmes control cars nearby a encampment of Montferrier-sur-Lez, southern France, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. The French gendarmerie says a masked gunman has detonate into a retirement home for monks in southern France and killed an aged lady with a knife. The press use for a inhabitant troops troops couldn’t immediately contend either a occurrence is related to a apprehension act or not. (AP Photo)

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