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France’s Hollande pardons woman who killed her violent husband

Author: 
Reuters
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482941013069906900

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday pardoned a woman who had been convicted for the murder of her violent husband, in a rare use of that presidential power in France.
Jacqueline Sauvage had been sentenced to 10 years in jail for shooting dead her husband in 2012 after he beat her up for decades.
Her three daughters sought a presidential pardon, in a much-publicized bid supported by an online petition that attracted over 380,000 signatures.
Hollande had initially granted a sentence reduction in January 2016 and gave his full pardon on Wednesday.
“The President of the Republic judged that the place of Madame Sauvage was no longer in prison, but beside her family,” his office said in a statement, adding that she would be freed immediately.
Sauvage is one of only two people to have benefited from a presidential pardon from Hollande. In 2013 he granted a sentence reduction to allow Philippe El Shennawy, then France’s longest-serving prisoner, to be freed on parole after 38 years in jail.
The French presidential pardon, which does not quash actual convictions that are the responsibility of the courts, has been limited to individual cases since 2008, after in the past being used to waive en masse minor sanctions such as driving fines.
One of the most famous cases of presidential pardon under the French Republic was that accorded to Alfred Dreyfus in 1899, after public controversy over the Jewish army officer’s conviction for treason. He was later cleared by an appeal court.

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France’s Hollande pardons woman who killed her violent husband

Author: 
Reuters
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482941013069906900

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday pardoned a woman who had been convicted for the murder of her violent husband, in a rare use of that presidential power in France.
Jacqueline Sauvage had been sentenced to 10 years in jail for shooting dead her husband in 2012 after he beat her up for decades.
Her three daughters sought a presidential pardon, in a much-publicized bid supported by an online petition that attracted over 380,000 signatures.
Hollande had initially granted a sentence reduction in January 2016 and gave his full pardon on Wednesday.
“The President of the Republic judged that the place of Madame Sauvage was no longer in prison, but beside her family,” his office said in a statement, adding that she would be freed immediately.
Sauvage is one of only two people to have benefited from a presidential pardon from Hollande. In 2013 he granted a sentence reduction to allow Philippe El Shennawy, then France’s longest-serving prisoner, to be freed on parole after 38 years in jail.
The French presidential pardon, which does not quash actual convictions that are the responsibility of the courts, has been limited to individual cases since 2008, after in the past being used to waive en masse minor sanctions such as driving fines.
One of the most famous cases of presidential pardon under the French Republic was that accorded to Alfred Dreyfus in 1899, after public controversy over the Jewish army officer’s conviction for treason. He was later cleared by an appeal court.

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Greece vows to improve conditions in overcrowded migrant camps

Author: 
Reuters
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482940727789863000

ATHENS: Greece, a frontline country for migrants fleeing to Europe from war and poverty, vowed on Wednesday to improve living conditions in its overcrowded island camps.
The number making the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece has fallen sharply this year under a European Union deal with Turkey. It stipulates that people arriving after March 20 are to be held on five Aegean islands and sent back if their asylum applications are not accepted.
According to figures from UN refugee agency UNHCR, 173,208 people have reached Greece this year, down from 856,723 in 2015.
Some 60,000 migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, are still scattered across the country, which is struggling to emerge from a debt crisis.
About 15,000 are in overcrowded island camps that have grown violent as the slow processing of asylum requests adds to frustration over living conditions.
“We are planning to have new, small venues on the islands, either by setting up small, two-story houses, in order to empty the tents, or by finding other places … to improve conditions,” Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas told reporters.
“It will need time but we will do it.”
He said authorities would also set up small detention centers and boost policing.
Mouzalas acknowledged that slow processing of asylum requests was an “Achilles heel” but said Athens was hiring more staff to speed it up.

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Greece vows to improve conditions in overcrowded migrant camps

Author: 
Reuters
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482940727789863000

ATHENS: Greece, a frontline country for migrants fleeing to Europe from war and poverty, vowed on Wednesday to improve living conditions in its overcrowded island camps.
The number making the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece has fallen sharply this year under a European Union deal with Turkey. It stipulates that people arriving after March 20 are to be held on five Aegean islands and sent back if their asylum applications are not accepted.
According to figures from UN refugee agency UNHCR, 173,208 people have reached Greece this year, down from 856,723 in 2015.
Some 60,000 migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, are still scattered across the country, which is struggling to emerge from a debt crisis.
About 15,000 are in overcrowded island camps that have grown violent as the slow processing of asylum requests adds to frustration over living conditions.
“We are planning to have new, small venues on the islands, either by setting up small, two-story houses, in order to empty the tents, or by finding other places … to improve conditions,” Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas told reporters.
“It will need time but we will do it.”
He said authorities would also set up small detention centers and boost policing.
Mouzalas acknowledged that slow processing of asylum requests was an “Achilles heel” but said Athens was hiring more staff to speed it up.

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Sen. Graham: Russia can expect hard-hitting sanctions

Author: 
Associated Press
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482939668689749600

RIGA, Latvia: Sen. Lindsey Graham says “bi-partisan sanctions … will hit Russia hard, particularly (President Vladimir) Putin as an individual.”
Graham says the US Congress “will investigate the Russian involvement in our elections,” but he didn’t elaborate on possible sanctions.
The Kremlin has been accused of interference in the campaign that propelled Donald Trump to power.
Graham said Wednesday that “Russia is trying to break the back of democracies all around the world,” adding that Latvia is “constantly bombarded” with “Russian aggression and interference.”
Graham told a news conference that “it is now time for Russia to understand — enough is enough.”
Graham is touring Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this week with fellow Republican John McCain and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. McCain called Russia’s behavior “unacceptable.”

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Sen. Graham: Russia can expect hard-hitting sanctions

Author: 
Associated Press
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482939668689749600

RIGA, Latvia: Sen. Lindsey Graham says “bi-partisan sanctions … will hit Russia hard, particularly (President Vladimir) Putin as an individual.”
Graham says the US Congress “will investigate the Russian involvement in our elections,” but he didn’t elaborate on possible sanctions.
The Kremlin has been accused of interference in the campaign that propelled Donald Trump to power.
Graham said Wednesday that “Russia is trying to break the back of democracies all around the world,” adding that Latvia is “constantly bombarded” with “Russian aggression and interference.”
Graham told a news conference that “it is now time for Russia to understand — enough is enough.”
Graham is touring Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this week with fellow Republican John McCain and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. McCain called Russia’s behavior “unacceptable.”

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Berlin attacker took bus from Netherlands to France: probe sources

Author: 
Agence France Presse
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482934735989337300

PARIS: Suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri traveled by bus from the Netherlands to France before heading to Italy where police shot him dead, sources close to the investigation said Wednesday.
Two days after the December 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin left 12 dead, the 24-year-old Tunisian boarded an overnight bus at the Dutch city of Nijmegen, near the German border, that took him to Lyon in central France, one of the sources said, confirming a French media report.
Amri got off the bus at the Lyon-Part-Dieu rail station, the source said.
Surveillance cameras filmed Amri at the station last Thursday.
From there, he took a train to the French Alpine town of Chambery before heading to Milan, in northern Italy.
Italian police shot Amri dead in the early hours of Friday after he fired at officers who had stopped him for a routine identity check.
A train ticket from Lyon to Milan via Turin was found on his body.
Investigators are still trying to determine how Amri was able to leave Berlin and traverse most of Germany to reach the Netherlands.
Wim de Bruin, spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution service told AFP: “I can confirm that the Dutch police are investigating whether he traveled through The Netherlands after the attack in Berlin.”
De Bruin declined however to give further details.
The Berlin rampage was claimed by the Daesh group, which released a video on Friday in which Amri is shown pledging allegiance to Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
German authorities are probing whether Amri had help before or after the attack and on Wednesday police detained a 40-year-old Tunisian on suspicion of having ties with him.
In Tunisia, authorities Friday arrested Amri’s nephew and two other suspects, aged between 18 and 27, who they said were members of a “terrorist cell” connected to Amri.
But the interior ministry made no direct link between the trio and the Berlin assault.
Meanwhile Dutch lawmakers including anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders demanded an explanation over reports that Amri may have traveled through the Netherlands.
An attempt however by Wilders to convene the lower house of parliament for an urgent debate on the matter was turned down after he failed to get the approval of a majority of lawmakers.

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Berlin attacker took bus from Netherlands to France: probe sources

Author: 
Agence France Presse
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482934735989337300

PARIS: Suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri traveled by bus from the Netherlands to France before heading to Italy where police shot him dead, sources close to the investigation said Wednesday.
Two days after the December 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin left 12 dead, the 24-year-old Tunisian boarded an overnight bus at the Dutch city of Nijmegen, near the German border, that took him to Lyon in central France, one of the sources said, confirming a French media report.
Amri got off the bus at the Lyon-Part-Dieu rail station, the source said.
Surveillance cameras filmed Amri at the station last Thursday.
From there, he took a train to the French Alpine town of Chambery before heading to Milan, in northern Italy.
Italian police shot Amri dead in the early hours of Friday after he fired at officers who had stopped him for a routine identity check.
A train ticket from Lyon to Milan via Turin was found on his body.
Investigators are still trying to determine how Amri was able to leave Berlin and traverse most of Germany to reach the Netherlands.
Wim de Bruin, spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution service told AFP: “I can confirm that the Dutch police are investigating whether he traveled through The Netherlands after the attack in Berlin.”
De Bruin declined however to give further details.
The Berlin rampage was claimed by the Daesh group, which released a video on Friday in which Amri is shown pledging allegiance to Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
German authorities are probing whether Amri had help before or after the attack and on Wednesday police detained a 40-year-old Tunisian on suspicion of having ties with him.
In Tunisia, authorities Friday arrested Amri’s nephew and two other suspects, aged between 18 and 27, who they said were members of a “terrorist cell” connected to Amri.
But the interior ministry made no direct link between the trio and the Berlin assault.
Meanwhile Dutch lawmakers including anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders demanded an explanation over reports that Amri may have traveled through the Netherlands.
An attempt however by Wilders to convene the lower house of parliament for an urgent debate on the matter was turned down after he failed to get the approval of a majority of lawmakers.

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Bangladesh arrests five suspected Islamists “plotting New Year attack“

Author: 
Reuters
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482923068828734200

DHAKA: Police in Bangladesh have arrested five suspected Islamist militants believed to be plotting to attack New Year celebrations, a counter-terrorism police chief said on Wednesday. 
The five were believed to be members of a faction of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) group, which was blamed for an attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July in which 22 people were killed, most of them foreigners.
“They planned to attack on New Year’s Eve,” Monirul Islam, head of the counter-terrorism police unit, told a news conference.
Islam declined to elaborate when asked about the militants’ target and how they planned to attack but said police had also seized 60 kg (132 lb) of explosives, when the five were detained in overnight raids in the capital.
The five were paraded before the media but did not speak to reporters.
Authorities have already banned all outdoor gatherings in Dhaka from dusk on Dec. 31 to dawn on Jan. 1 on security grounds.
Militant attacks have increased in mostly Muslim Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people, over the past few years with several prominent liberal writers and members of religious minorities killed.
The JMB has pledged allegiance to Daesh, which police believe was involved in organizing the attack on the cafe in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter on July 1.
Daesh claimed responsibility for what was the worst militant attack in Bangladesh.
Police have killed more than 40 suspected militants in raids since the cafe attack, including the man police said was the mastermind, Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.

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On Pearl Harbor visit, Abe pledges Japan will never wage war again

Author: 
Reuters
Wed, 2016-12-28
ID: 
1482920058888636700

PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a symbolic visit to Pearl Harbor with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, commemorating the victims of Japan’s World War Two attack and promising that his country would never wage war again.
The visit, just weeks before Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office, was meant to highlight the strength of the US-Japan alliance amid concerns that Trump could forge a more complicated relationship with Tokyo.
“I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place,” Abe said.
“We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow we, the people of Japan, have taken.”
Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, pounding the US fleet moored there in the hope of destroying US power in the Pacific.
Abe did not apologize for the attack, a step that would have irked his conservative supporters, many of whom say US economic sanctions forced Japan to open hostilities.
“This visit to Pearl Harbor was to console the souls of the war dead, not to apologize,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo, adding the trip had showed that the allies would contribute to world peace and prosperity.
Obama, who earlier this year became the first incumbent US president to visit Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945, called Abe’s visit a “historic gesture” that was “a reminder that even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and a lasting peace.”
Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, although three others including his grandfather had made quiet stops in Pearl Harbor in the 1950s.
The two leaders stood solemnly in front of a wall inscribed with the names of those who died in the 1941 attack and took part in a brief wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a moment of silence.
“In Remembrance, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan” was written on one wreath and “In Remembrance, Barack Obama, President of the United States” on the other.
They then threw flower petals into the water.
After their remarks, both leaders greeted and Abe embraced US veterans who survived the Pearl Harbor attack.
In China, which has repeatedly urged Japan to show greater repentance for World War Two and Japan’s invasion of China, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said real reflection was needed, not show.
“Reconciliation between inflictor and victim must and can only be established on the basis of sincere and deep reflection by the inflictor,” Hua told a daily news briefing.

DISPLAY OF ALLIANCE STRENGTH
Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China’s expanding military capability.
During a meeting ahead of the Pearl Harbor visit, Abe and Obama agreed to closely monitor moves by China’s aircraft carrier, recently spotted on a routine drill in the Western Pacific for the first time, and to strengthen the US-Japan alliance, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.
The leaders’ get-together was also meant to reinforce the US-Japan partnership ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump, whose opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and campaign threat to force allied countries to pay more to host US forces raised concerns among allies such as Japan.
Obama has sought to provide a smooth transition for Trump, but he made his opposition to the Republican’s policies, including his proposal to ban Muslims temporarily from entering the United States, clear during the 2016 campaign.
“It is here that we remember that even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward,” Obama said at Pearl Harbor. “We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.”
Abe met with Trump in New York in November and called him a “trustworthy leader.”
Obama called for a world without nuclear arms during his visit to Hiroshima. Trump last week called for the United States to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capability and reportedly welcomed an international arms race.
Some Abe critics noted the Japanese leader’s visit, and the reconciliation with the United States that it symbolized, underscored the stark contrast in its relationship with China and South Korea, where the bitter wartime legacy still plagues ties with Tokyo.
Abe’s cabinet minister for reconstruction of disaster-hit regions, Masahiro Imamura, paid his respects later in the day (Wednesday, Tokyo time) at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, seen in China and South Korea as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, Kyodo news agency said. Abe angered Beijing and Seoul and upset Washington with his own visit to the shrine three years ago this month.
“A symbolic gesture of contrition to your closest ally is easy,” said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University’s Japan campus in Tokyo.
“If he (Abe) really is sincere about reconciliation diplomacy and overcoming lingering enmities he needs to visit similar symbolic sights (in China and Korea) … and make similar remarks of remorse that are more specific about Japan’s responsibility.”

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