Iranian politician sentenced to 3 months over criticising Revolutionary Guards

An Iranian court sentenced the cultural advisor of the reformist National Trust Party (NTP) to three months in jail after he had criticised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), AlKhaleej Online reported yesterday. Citing Iranian website Kalema, Alkhaleej Online reported that Shia cleric and politician Mohamed Nuri said in a recent speech that the Revolutionary Guards intervene in areas outside its jurisdiction. According to Turkish state-owned Anadolu, Kalema is a website known to be close to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011 for calling for reform in Iran. The NTP was established in 2005 by Mahdi Karroubi, who lost Iran’s 2009 presidential poll to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Anadolu said. He has also been under […]

Turkey’s ‘No’ campaigners gain German approval to hold rallies while ‘Yes’ camp snubbed

Germany has approved Deniz Baykal, former chairman of the main opposition Peoples’ Republican Party (CHP), to hold a referendum speech for the “No” campaign in a German town, only two days after cancelling rallies set to be attended by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci of the “Yes” camp. The German authorities in the southern German town of Gaggenau controversially withdrew permission on Thursday for an event organised months in advance, where Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag would have met with the Turkish community. Bozdag was expected to address the crowd about the upcoming referendum on 16 April for the proposed constitutional amendments in Turkey. A senior politician among the opposition, Deniz Baykal, is also scheduled to […]

Trump accuses Obama of ‘tapping’ his phone during campaign

Author: 
Agence France Presse
Sat, 2017-03-04
ID: 
1488634176352372100

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Saturday accused his predecessor Barack Obama of “tapping” his phone during last year’s White House campaign, without providing evidence of the explosive charge.
“I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” he wrote in another tweet.
Trump leveled the charges in a flurry of tweets shortly after dawn, amid an avalanche of recent revelations about communications between Russian officials and some of his senior aides, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump repeatedly has denied having any personal ties to the Kremlin, and his aides have denied or played down contacts with Russian officials.
But the accusations have continued amid almost daily leaks to the press that have revealed new details about links between Moscow and senior Trump officials.
One such revelation earlier this week in the Washington Post about a meeting between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prompted the Republican former US senator to recuse himself from any investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible Russia ties.
Sessions had told a Senate committee under oath that he “did not have communications with the Russians,” but reporters found that he had actually met the Russian ambassador twice in the months before taking up his post as attorney general, America’s top law enforcement officer.
Trump has expressed his displeasure over the charges — and the barrage of leaks that led to them — lashing out in tweets Friday directed at the top Democrats in the Republican-led Congress — Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi.
The businessman-turned-politician, who has accused his political foes of conducting “a total witch hunt” on Saturday directed his Twitter tirade at his Democratic predecessor.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump wrote a day after departing Washington for a weekend getaway at his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort for the fourth time in five weeks.
Since US intelligence took the unprecedented step of publicly accusing Russia of trying to swing the November election in Trump’s favor, questions have swirled about whether some in Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow.
But it has now emerged that a slew of associates aside from Sessions and already fired national security adviser Michael Flynn met Kislyak before Trump took office.
The meetings have raised red flags for Democrats, who have called for Sessions to resign and be investigated for perjury.

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“This Is Watergate”: Trump Accuses Obama Of Wiretapping The Trump Tower

President Trump on Saturday morning alleged that his predecessor Barack Obama had “wired tapped” the Trump Tower before Election Day, tweeting the accusation without however providing evidence so far.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” he wrote.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he added in subsequent tweets. “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

Trump compared Obama’s alleged activity to Nixon’s bugging of the Watergate hotel. “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

It was not immediately clear what evidence or report Trump was referencing. On Friday night, Breitbart News reported on conservative radio host Mark Levin’s claim that Obama executed a “silent coup” of Trump via “police state” tactics.

Since Trump has a tendency to tweet about things he has just seen on TV or read in the press, and since there has been no definitive report on that topic, Trump may be referencing an internal report. And since the allegations in his tweets are material, and will surely provoke a response by Barack Obama (at least his twitter account), this may escalate significantly.

Also on Saturday, prior to the wiretapping tweet, Trump had also linked Obama to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings last year with Russia’s U.S. ambassador.

“The first meeting Jeff Sessions had with the Russian Amb was set up by the Obama Administration under education program for 100 Ambs,” he tweeted.

The first meeting Jeff Sessions had with the Russian Amb was set up by the Obama Administration under education program for 100 Ambs……

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Trump on Saturday also blasted Obama for meeting with Kislyak 22 times while president, as the Daily Caller reported first on Friday, tweeting: “Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.”

Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

The Trump administration has sought to push back on accusations of being cozy with Moscow, by pointing out instances of Democrats meeting with Kislyak. Critics have responded that the issue isn’t that Sessions met with the ambassador, but that he falsely told Congress he hadn’t while under oath. So far, according to some media outlets, Trump has failed to “fend off” the Russia questions, which continue to reemerge virtually every night in some new front page story on the WaPo, NYT, in a recurring pattern as described in the following blog post.

The post “This Is Watergate”: Trump Accuses Obama Of Wiretapping The Trump Tower appeared first on crude-oil.news.

Britain’s Johnson to visit Russia for talks

Author: 
AFP
Sat, 2017-03-04
ID: 
1488630249201892000

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is to travel to Russia in the coming weeks for high-level political talks, his office said Saturday.
It will be the first time a British minister has been to Moscow for an official visit in more than five years and could signal a potential thaw in Anglo-Russian relations after years of antagonism.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman stressed that the visit was not a return to “business as usual,” saying Britain’s approach to Russia was “engage, but beware.”
Relations with Russia soured after Britain sought to prosecute suspects in the killing of Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko, murdered by radiation poisoning in London in 2006.
Britain has also been one a fervent supporter of Western sanctions against Moscow over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
Johnson was invited by his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and more detailed timings will be announced later.
“Our policy toward Russia is to ‘engage but beware’ and the visit is entirely consistent with this approach,” the spokeswoman said.
“Discussions will focus on the UK-Russia relationship and current international issues including Syria and Ukraine, where we continue to have significant differences.
“This is not a return to business as usual and the foreign secretary will continue to be robust on those issues where we differ.”
The spokeswoman said a visit had been in the pipeline since British Prime Minister Theresa May met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China in September 2016.
Johnson and Lavrov held their first telephone talks in August the same year.
Johnson has described Putin as a “ruthless and manipulative tyrant,” and compared his looks to the Harry Potter character Dobby the House Elf. Yet he has called for greater cooperation with the Russian leader in the battle against the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria.
Johnson has recently hinted at a shift in Syria policy, saying President Bashar Assad could be allowed to run for re-election and mentioning a possible “arrangement” with regime ally Russia.
Britain has been one of the harshest critics of Russia’s Syria policy and the Assad regime, saying the president’s departure is a precondition for any resolution to the conflict.

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PLO: Israeli doctors torture Palestinian prisoners

A Palestinian committee on Saturday accused Israeli doctors of torturing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. In a statement, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s committee on detainees claimed Israeli doctors working with prison and security services and in military camps tortured detainees and subjected them to psychological pressure. “The doctors systematically neglected the detainees’ health and did not abide by the ethics of the medical profession and international and humanitarian conventions,” it said. The panel claimed Israeli doctors had filed reports suggesting the prisoners’ ability to endure torture. “They also refrained from intervening to provide treatment for prisoners…and did not oppose bargain for treatment in exchange for confession,” it said. There was no comment from Israeli authorities on the committee’s claims. […]

Moroccan minister: Only 10% of entrepreneurs are female

Moroccan women only make up a “very modest” ten per cent of entrepreneurs in the country, a minister for women said today. Bassima Hakkaoui, minister of solidarity, women, family and social development, said: “The ministry wants to empower women in an area where they have seen modest influence, female entrepreneurs in Morocco are self-reliant and don’t enjoy what women in other fields benefit from.” She explained that “the field of entrepreneurship is a desert where men grow without women, until we reached a level we cannot be proud of.” “We have a security fund to support women’s entrepreneurship, which has provided 236 women with loans amounted to 81 million dirhams ($8 million).”

India child protection officers held in trafficking probe

Author: 
Agence France Presse
Sat, 2017-03-04
ID: 
1488626036321595900

KOLKATA, India: Two child protection officers have been arrested for alleged links with a trafficking gang that ran illegal adoption centers in eastern India selling children to foreign couples, police said Saturday.
Investigators said children aged between six months and 14 years were sold in illegal adoptions to couples from Europe, America and Asia for between $12,000 and $23,000 and taken out of the country.
While India has an estimated 30 million orphans, legal adoption is rare because of strict rules governing the practice and there is a thriving illicit market.
Police arrested two Darjeeling child protection officials, Mrinal Ghosh and Debasish Chanda, on Friday “for their links with the adoption scandal,” Nishat Parvej of the state’s Criminal Investigation Department told AFP.
He said three more government officials had “absconded,” as the widening inquiry into the adoption racket embroils political and administrative figures.
So far six people have been nabbed over the scandal, including Juhi Choudhury, a senior member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in West Bengal.
The head of the adoption center at the heart of the scandal, Chandana Chakraborty, told investigators that Choudhury had been involved in child trafficking for several years.
Police arrested Chakraborty, a retired school principal, and her deputy Sonali Mondal last month after a tip-off from the federal adoption agency.
The pair ran the Bimala Sishu Griha center where children were sold abroad through forged documents to couples for as much as 1.5 million rupees ($23,000).
Investigators said the scam had lasted for several years before they started monitoring the charity in June when federal authorities found discrepancies in their records and relocated all the children from the center.
Chakraborty allegedly ran health camps to identify poor and unmarried pregnant women and persuaded them to give up their babies for adoption after paying them.
Experts say lengthy bureaucratic delays and complex rules in the adoption process push desperate couples toward the illegal adoption market.
Only 3,678 children were legally adopted by couples in India between April 2015 and March 2016, according to official data.
The latest scandal comes roughly four months after police arrested 18 people in the same state over a racket that saw gangs steal newborn babies from nursing homes with the intention of selling them.

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