RT NEWS – 2 April, 2015


China protests, 2 US jet fighters make emergency landing at Taiwan air base

China protested on Thursday after two American jet fighters landed at an air base in Taiwan, for the first time in 30 years, AFP said. Two US F-18 fighter jets made an emergency landing at an air force base in the southern city of Tainan on Wednesday. One of the planes had developed a mechanical failure, according to US authorities. “We require the US to abide by the ‘One-China Policy’ and the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and to prudently deal with the relevant issue,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said in Beijing.


Bahraini rights activist Rajab arrested – family

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been arrested again and could face new charges as he appeals an earlier conviction, AP reported, citing family members. Defense lawyer Jalila al-Sayed confirmed Rajab’s arrest on Thursday. The activist’s wife, Sumaya Rajab, says the arrest was linked to comments Rajab made on Twitter about the treatment of inmates held at Jaw Prison, where unrest broke out last month. Rajab had been free on bail as he appeals a six-month jail sentence for insulting government ministries on Twitter.


Ukraine president signs law to ban films ‘glorifying’ Russian military, law enforcers

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed amendments to laws to ban films, audio or video products ‘glorifying’ Russian armed forces and law enforcement agencies. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), passed a law in February banning films about Russia’s military and law enforcers. The legislation prohibits the screening of such films and series in Ukraine.


Second black box found from Alps plane crash

The second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week has been found after a nine-day search, AFP reported, citing French police. Authorities are hoping to unearth more clues about the disaster. The first voice recorder suggested that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately locked the plane on a collision course with the mountains, according to investigators.


Palestinians, Syrian rebels retake control of Damascus refugee camp from ISIS

Palestinian fighters and Syrian rebels retook control of large parts of a refugee camp in Damascus on Thursday. It had been seized by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), AFP reported. A number of armed factions in the Yarmuk camp in south Damascus “were able to regain control over all of the areas that IS had taken over,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The jihadists overran the camp on Wednesday.


Planes to fly from Yemen to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals

Two Russian planes are preparing to fly to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals on board, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said on Thursday. “Two Russian planes are at Sanaa’s airport now. One of them has been loaded, there are 167 people aboard. In the next few minutes, it will take off through Cairo [to Moscow],” TASS quoted him as saying. The second plane will carry at least 150 people. At least three aircraft of Russia’s Defense Ministry will help evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday. Clashes have intensified in Yemen between Shia rebels and the Arab military coalition.


Turkey detains 4 Russian citizens for trying to cross Syrian border illegally

Turkish police have detained four Russian citizens in the southeastern city of Gaziantep after they attempted to cross the border into Syria illegally, the Anadolu news agency reported. Gaziantep officials said the group was planning to enter the conflict zone in Syria. The suspects will reportedly be deported after questioning.


Heavy fighting between Houthi militants, gunmen in Yemen’s Aden Crater district

Houthi fighters and their allies battled gunmen in Aden’s Crater district on Thursday, Reuters reported. The clashes broke out in the heart of the southern Yemeni port city which is the last major foothold of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Residents saw hundreds of Houthi and allied fighters in Crater, backed by tanks and armored vehicles. It was the first time fighting on the ground had reached so deeply into central Aden, after a week of airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition aimed at stemming the Houthi advances.


Plane flying from Cairo to Sanaa, Yemen, to evacuate Russian citizens

A Russian plane sent to evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen left Cairo Thursday for the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Sputnik reported, citing a source at Sanaa’s airport. Russian nationals are gathering in the airport waiting for the plane’s arrival, according to the source. The plane that was sent to evacuate them was earlier turned away by the Saudi-led Arab coalition. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Riyadh has guaranteed that it will let through to Sanaa two planes to evacuate 150 Russian citizens, TASS said.


Suicide bomber kills 16, wounds 40 in E. Afghanistan

A suicide bomber attacked an anti-corruption demonstration in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 16 people and wounding 40, AP said. The explosion in the eastern city of Khost wounded a local member of parliament, Hamayun Hamayoon, according to a governor’s spokesman. Earlier on Thursday, the police chief of a restive district in the country’s south was killed by a roadside bomb.


10 Egyptian troops killed in Sinai attacks

Two militant ambushes in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula have killed 10 soldiers, according to Egyptian security officials. The attacks also wounded 11 soldiers and several civilians, AP reported. Egypt battles a growing insurgency in the northern Sinai, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.


Al-Qaeda militants storm prison in SE Yemen, free 300 inmates

Al-Qaeda militants stormed a prison in southeastern Yemen’s Hadramawt province on Thursday. They freed more than 300 prisoners, AFP reported, citing a security official. Khalid Batarfi, a senior Al-Qaeda figure who had been held for more than four years, was among the escapees.


​Israeli approve Palestinian neighborhood construction in E. Jerusalem

The East Jerusalem municipality has approved a plan to construct 2,200 units of housing, a commercial center and a school for Palestinians, Xinhua reports. The new neighborhood, called Arab al-Sawahra, under the plan would see the development of about 370 acres of land. The move hailed by Arab residents would mark the largest construction project for Palestinian families in East Jerusalem since the 1967 Mideast War.


9 UK nationals detained in Turkey trying to cross to Syria

Nine British nationals have been arrested by Turkey’s authorities after they tried to illegally cross the border into Syria, the army announced. The arrests took place in the Hatay region of southern Turkey. No more information has been offered. The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports and are on standby to offer consular assistance.

RT NEWS – 24 MARCH, 2015

24 March, 2015


Russian FM visits Cuba, calls to end blockade

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Cuba has called to end the illegal trade and financial embargo imposed on Cuba. Lavrov also said the two countries are planning to cooperate closely in energetics, transport and civil infrastructure, biotechnologies, healthcare, and civil aviation. According to Lavrov, Russian companies are interested in investing in the Caribbean country’s development. Cuba is the first stop of the Russian foreign minister’s tour of Latin America. The official is to visit Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala later this week.


Tunisia museum reopening delayed, security boosted

Tunisia’s national museum has delayed its reopening on Tuesday, officials said, as security was boosted around the site of last week’s jihadist massacre that killed 21 people, AFP said. “The Interior Ministry says that for security reasons we cannot receive a large number of visitors,” the museum’s representative, Hanene Srarfi, said. Several events had been planned for Tuesday to protest against the attack.


US & allies launch 14 airstrikes against ISIS

The US and its allies staged 14 airstrikes on Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) targets in Syria and Iraq, Reuters reported. The strikes were conducted between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, the Combined Joint Task Force said. Five Islamic State fighting positions, four tactical units, a checkpoint and a vehicle were hit near the Syrian city of Kobani, the statement claimed. In Iraq, eight strikes near Bayji, Fallujah, Mosul, Sinjar and Tal Afar hit tactical units, vehicles, storage facilities and other targets.


‘Normandy 4’ meeting on Ukraine due in Paris on Wednesday – Kiev

Authorities in Kiev have confirmed that a meeting of political directors in the Normandy format will be held in Paris on Wednesday. Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will discuss the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements. Ukraine will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko, RIA Novosti reported.


Canada expands anti-ISIS mission into Syria

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expanding the country’s military mission against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants into Syria, Bloomberg said. Harper is reportedly seeking approval from lawmakers for a one-year extension of the current mission and authorization to expand attacks into Syria. The mission has been focused so far on airstrikes in Iraq. Harper’s Conservative Party has a legislative majority.


UEFA elects Platini for 3rd term as president

UEFA on Tuesday elected Michel Platini unopposed for a third straight term as president of European football’s governing body. The French football legend promised to run the world’s most powerful continental federation with more “democracy,” AFP reported. He also offered more cooperation with the heads of other confederations.


Tunisia again closes airspace to western Libya

Tunisia has again closed its airspace for flights from western Libya, Reuters reported. The move comes days after it allowed Libyan planes from Tripoli back for the first time in around six months. “We’ve suspended temporarily again Libya flights for security reasons,” a Transport Ministry official said on Tuesday, without elaborating. Militants killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack on the national museum in Tunis last week.


Houthis take Yemen town 100km north of Aden – reports

Houthi fighters and allied army units captured the town of Kirsh, about 100km north of Yemen’s second city of Aden, on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The capture followed heavy fighting with forces loyal to President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, local officials and residents said. The area lies about a 40-minute drive to the north of a major airbase, al-Anad, which remains in the hands of Hadi, who is based in Aden.


US-led coalition begins surveillance flights over ISIS-held Tikrit

The US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has begun surveillance flights over the extremist-held city of Tikrit, AP reported. Intelligence is being sent to Iraqi forces fighting to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown, a senior official said Tuesday. The flights, which began Saturday, mark the first time the coalition has been involved in the offensive. Up to now it largely has been supported by Iranian advisers including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force.


Yemen Shiite militia kills 5 protesters in Taez

Shiite Houthi militiamen opened fire on Tuesday at demonstrators in the strategic Yemeni city of Taez, killing five protesters and wounding 80 others, AFP reported, citing a local official and medics. The gunmen attacked the demonstrators as they gathered for a third consecutive day to protest the militia’s arrival in Taez. Houthis have sent thousands of troops south from the capital Sanaa, which they control.


Iraq’s request to US-led coalition for Tikrit airstrikes ‘imminent’ – report

Iraq’s request to the US-led coalition for airstrikes in the campaign to retake Tikrit from ISIS insurgents is “imminent,” Reuters quoted a senior Western diplomat as saying Tuesday. The coalition has so far not taken part in the campaign. If it accepts the request, the move would see by far the biggest collaboration between Iraqi forces, Iranian-backed paramilitaries and the US and its allies.


30 people killed in central Yemen as Shiite rebels advance south

At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between pro- and anti-government forces in central Yemen, AFP reported, citing tribal sources. Meanwhile, Shiite rebels backed by forces loyal to the ousted president are advancing into southern Yemen, AP reported. The rebels and soldiers from an army battalion loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken over the governor’s office in the southern regional capital of al-Dhalea, according to eyewitnesses. Rebel forces reportedly clashed with militias loyal to current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has taken refuge in the southern city of Aden.


US drone kills 9 Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan

A US drone strike killed at least nine Pakistani militants in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province early Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing intelligence officials. The strike, part of a drone campaign against Pakistani militants in Afghanistan, was near the site of fierce fighting on the Pakistani side of the border in recent days. Fighter jets have been pounding positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region. The military says it has killed scores of militants, and at least seven soldiers have also been killed.


Gunmen attack vehicles on highway in E. Afghanistan, kill at least 13

Gunmen in eastern Afghanistan attacked passing vehicles on a highway during a midnight assault Tuesday, killing at least 13 people, AP reported. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Wardak province’s Sayad Abad district, where Taliban fighters hold a great deal of territory. The gunmen opened fire on three separate vehicles in the attack, including a bus traveling from Kabul. Several recent attacks have also targeted buses in the country.


​5 injured in shooting near university in Tennessee

Five people have been injured in a shooting near the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Two of the injured were taken to hospital via medical helicopter. Local Clarksville police are still searching for the gunman, while the incident took place at around 9pm local time. It is not known if the shooting was connected at all to the university, though Austin Peay State did issue a statement, saying, “Although there does not appear to be a danger to the university community, please take precautions to ensure your safety,” according to Reuters.


13 dead in Afghanistan after militants attack passenger bus – report

At least 13 people were killed and two others injured after gunmen shot at a passenger bus in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province, Xinhua News Agency cited an official source as saying. Police are investigating the incident.


Over half of Vanuatu’s population affected by Cyclone Pam – UN

More than 165,000 people living on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu have been touched by Cyclone Pam, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. The body also confirmed that the death toll has risen to 16. “Around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu’s population, have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam on 22 islands,” the UN office said. OCHA warned that “food stocks and water reserves are being exhausted and will not last more than a couple of weeks across the affected islands.” It added that somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of homes have been damaged by the storm and “around 65,000 people are in need of temporary emergency shelter.” Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu on March 13, with the damage categorized as catastrophic. Houses, roads and bridges were destroyed as the wind speeds reached 300 kph (186 mph).

White House: President Obama will sign Russia sanctions bill, likely by week’s end


U.S. president Barack Obama

RT –  December 16, 2014

New Russian sanctions bill to be signed by end of week – White House

A new bill imposing further sanctions on Russia is to be signed by US President Barack Obama by the end of the week, a White House spokesman told a news briefing Tuesday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama is expected to sign new legislation this week despite preliminary concerns about its content. “I would anticipate that it would get done before the end of the week,” he said.

However, he said that the bill has provided a degree of flexibility required by the president.

The new sanctions come amid concerns over the stability of the Russian ruble, which nosedived Tuesday following a decline in oil prices and previous rounds of sanctions imposed by both the US and the EU.