• Greece should follow EU line on Russia : EU’s Schulz | Reuters

    Greece should not undermine EU policy on Russia at a time when it is seeking support from its partners over its economic problems, European parliament President Martin Schulz told Greek newspapers on Friday.

    Within hours of taking office last week, Greece’s new government complained it was not consulted before the European Union moved to threaten tighter sanctions on Russia.

    At a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the new Greek foreign minister tried to dispel suggestions that Athens would side with Russia in the Ukraine crisis and signed up to extending the EU sanctions. But European allies remain wary.

    I was surprised by the statements that were made and the fact that the Greek government looked ready to abandon the common EU line on Russia,” Schulz, who met Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday, told Kathimerini newspaper.

    It is difficult on the one hand to expect a revised common approach to one’s country, and on the other to be differentiating from the others, particularly as the first move after taking office,” he said.

    Schulz also expressed concern over the make-up of Greece’s coalition government, saying it would limit its room for maneuver in crucial talks with the euro zone.

    Tsipras formed a coalition with the right-wing, nationalist Independent Greeks party, which is also opposed to the bailout terms Athens agreed with its lenders.

    I find this coalition very strange. A leftist party like Syriza ... with a super-nationalist party at the other end. I think the common denominator is the scepticism against the European union,” Schulz told newspaper Ta Nea.

    On continue dans la légèreté germanique…
    • si tu veux des sous, t’as intérêt à être d’accord avec nous,
    • t’as intérêt à faire gaffe à tes nouveaux copains, ils ont l’air de ne pas trop aimer l’Europe.

  • Germans in shock as new Greek leader starts with a bang | Reuters

    (Reuters) - In his first act as prime minister on Monday, Alexis Tsipras visited the war memorial in Kaisariani where 200 Greek resistance fighters were slaughtered by the Nazis in 1944.

    The move did not go unnoticed in Berlin. Nor did Tsipras’s decision hours later to receive the Russian ambassador before meeting any other foreign official.

    Then came the announcement that radical academic Yanis Varoufakis, who once likened German austerity policies to “fiscal waterboarding”, would be taking over as Greek finance minister. A short while later, Tsipras delivered another blow, criticising an EU statement that warned Moscow of new sanctions.

    The assumption in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s entourage before Sunday’s Greek election was that Tsipras, the charismatic leader of the far-left Syriza party, would eke out a narrow victory, struggle to form a coalition, and if he managed to do so, shift quickly from confrontation to compromise mode.

    Instead, after cruising to victory and clinching a fast-track coalition deal with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, he has signalled in his first days in office that he has no intention of backing down, unsettling officials in Berlin, some of whom admit to shock at the 40-year-old’s fiery start.

    “No doubt about it, we were surprised by the size of the Syriza victory and the speed with which Tsipras clinched a coalition,” said one senior German official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    Another said Tsipras’s choice of coalition partner and finance minister were “not good signs”, while a third admitted to being “stunned” by the Greek leader’s first days in office.

    Officials close to Merkel say they still believe Tsipras will ultimately change course, dropping his more radical election pledges and signing up to the economic reforms that Berlin and its European partners have insisted on as a condition for handing over more aid that Athens desperately needs by next month to service its debt.

    But the past days have sown doubts about this hypothesis.


    Even as Greek stocks plunged and bond yields soared on Wednesday, Tsipras continued to promise “radical” change.

    Over the past 24 hours, his government has put two big privatisations, of Piraeus port and Greece’s biggest utility, on ice, and his ministers have pledged to raise pensions and rehire fired public sector workers.

    In response, German economy minister and deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticised Athens on Wednesday in unusually stark terms for halting the privatisations without consulting, and he issued a warning to Tsipras that the euro zone could survive without Greece.

    “We no longer have to worry like we did back then,” Gabriel said, when asked about contagion if Greece were to exit the single currency bloc.

    Marcel Fratzscher, head of the DIW economic institute in Berlin and a former official at the European Central Bank, said Tsipras was playing a “very dangerous game” by coming out with all guns blazing.

    “If people start to believe that he is really serious, you could have massive capital flight and a bank run,” Fratzscher said. “You are quickly at a point where a euro exit becomes more possible.”

    Officials point to a Brussels summit of European Union leaders on Feb. 12-13 as a first key test of Tsipras.


    The other major area of concern for Germany is a new Greek government’s stance on Russia.

    Tsipras’s meeting on Monday with the Russian ambassador, who handed over a personal letter of congratulations from Vladimir Putin, and the new Greek leader’s howls of protest at the EU statement on Ukraine, have raised questions about whether the bloc’s fragile consensus towards Moscow can hold.

    Even before Tsipras took power, officials in Berlin were worried about keeping countries like Italy on board for Russia sanctions, which must be renewed in mid-2015.

    Now the fear is that Tsipras, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and sceptical eastern European countries like Slovakia and Hungary, could band together against an extension, and a ratcheting up of sanctions in response to a new advance by pro-Russian rebels on the strategic Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

    Prying Tsipras away from his European partners on the Ukraine issue would be a coup for Putin. Some officials fear the Russian president could go so far as to offer Greece the financial support it needs to meet its debt obligations as a carrot.

    One senior German official described Tsipras as part of a brash new generation of European leaders, including Italy’s Renzi, who weren’t afraid to stand up to Merkel and challenge the assumptions that have shaped policy in the euro zone and Ukraine crises in recent years.

    “He doesn’t come from the establishment, he’s unvarnished, confident and capable of rallying the public behind his course,” the official said. “It clearly not going to be easy with him.”

    No one can say the signs weren’t there in the run-up to the election.

    Only days before the vote, Tsipras told thousands of people at a campaign rally in Athens: “On Monday, our national humiliation will be over. We will finish with orders from abroad.”

    In the background loudspeakers blared lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin”.

    (Corrects Tsipras quote in penultimate paragraph)

  • Information ou permission ?

    Assad seeks agreement over U.S. air strikes in Syria

    | Reuters

    President Bashar al-Assad has said U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria should be subject to an agreement with Damascus and Syrian troops should be involved on the ground.

    Assad was speaking in an interview with the U.S.-based Foreign Affairs Magazine published on Monday.

    “With any country that is serious about fighting terrorism, we are ready to make cooperation, if they’re serious,” Assad said, when asked if he would be willing to take steps to make cooperation easier with Washington.

    Washington supports opposition forces fighting for the past four years to topple Assad, but its position has become complicated since Islamic State and other hardline groups emerged as the most powerful rebel factions.

    Since Islamic State took over much of Syria and Iraq last summer, the United States has mounted regular air strikes against it. But it has rejected the idea of allying itself with the Syrian government despite them now having a common enemy.

    When asked what he would like to see from the United States, Assad said Washington should pressure Turkey not to allow money and weapons into northern Syria and “to make legal cooperation with Syria and start by asking permission from our government to make such attacks”. “The format we can discuss later, but you start with permission. Is it an agreement ? Is it a treaty? That’s another issue,” he said. Washington informed Damascus before it started strikes in Syria in September.

    The power of the hardline Islamists, including Islamic State and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, makes it more difficult for the United States to find a suitable ally on the ground. It plans to train and equip members of the mainstream Syrian opposition to fight Islamic State as part of its strategy to roll back the group’s gains in Syria.
    A first group of about 100 U.S. troops will head to the Middle East in the next few days to establish training sites for Syrian opposition fighters. Assad said the campaign should be backed up by the Syrian army on the ground.
    “The question you have to ask the Americans is, which troops are you going to depend on ? Definitely, it has to be Syrian troops.”

  • INTERVIEW-Poland plans big cross-border gas pipeline programme | Reuters

    Poland plans to build more gas pipelines to link with its neighbours to offload excess from liquefied natural gas (LNG)imports and connect with other grids to the south.

    The projects we are working on have a wider, European context,” Jan Chadam, the head of Poland’s gas grid, said. “The investment in assets on our side is significant, but it is in the interest of all to offer services to a bigger number of market participants, not only in Poland.

    Ou, comment présenter une future tête de pont états-unienne comme une grande avancée de l’intégration européenne…

  • How Poland Kept Putin Away From the Auschwitz Memorial | News | The Moscow Times

    Poland has displayed a knack for canny diplomatic dealings, at once ensuring that Putin was officially welcome at the event, while also creating an atmosphere he would be tempted to avoid.

    In the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine’s restive east in July, the Polish government decided against issuing formal invitations, as an official invitation to Putin would have proven unpopular among voters, Reuters reported. The fallout from such a move could have proven particularly painful at the moment, with Poland slated to hold presidential and parliamentary elections later this year.
    Last year, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum — which is co-organizing the 70th anniversary event with the International Auschwitz Council — announced that the upcoming anniversary would be devoid of politics, concentrating instead on the memories of survivors.

    Rather than sending out formal invitations, the organizers asked the embassies of European Union countries and countries that donate funds to the site who they planned to send to the event. The notice specifically mentioned that the relevant states could be represented by anyone the given country deemed appropriate.
    Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov acknowledged during his annual news conference Wednesday that the anniversary event’s organizers had, in fact, sent a notification to the Russian Embassy in Warsaw.

    The letter said: ’You can come if you want. If you do want to, tell us who is going to show up.’ You don’t even have to respond to this type of invitation,” Lavrov said with apparent disregard.

    • La Pologne a trouvé une astuce pour éviter d’expliquer l’absence de la Russie :

      Auschwitz libéré par les Ukrainiens : cesser de se moquer de l’histoire (Moscou) | histoireetsociete

      Le ministre polonais des Affaires étrangères Grzegorz Schetyna a déclaré mercredi sur Polskie Radio que le camp de concentration nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau fut libéré par des Ukrainiens lors d’une opération effectuée par le Premier front ukrainien. D’après le ministre, « en ce jour lointain de janvier, des soldats ukrainiens ont ouvert les portes du camp et libéré les prisonniers ».

      Selon Moscou, « il est difficile de soupçonner d’ignorance un fonctionnaire du niveau de Grzegorz Schetyna », car « tout le monde sait que le camp Auschwitz-Birkenau a été libéré par l’Armée Rouge ». Le communiqué souligne notamment que « tous les peuples ayant combattu au sein de cette armée ont fait preuve d’héroïsme ».

      « Il est aussi à noter qu’avant novembre 1943, le Premier front ukrainien s’appelait Front de Voronej et encore plus tôt, Front de Briansk », a conclu le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères.

    • Europe’s current crisis intruding on Auschwitz memorial - Jewish World News - Israel News | Haaretz

      The organizers of the events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp fear the world’s attention will not be focused entirely on the victims and survivors.
      Poland, the host government, has taken a harsh stance against Russia in the year since its invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Moscow criticized Warsaw for not inviting President Vladimir Putin to the memorial. It was a blow to the national pride of the Russians who jealously guard the memories of the Red Army liberating the camp. Poland said no official invitations were sent; the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum simply notified governments of the event.

      Matters escalated last week when Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna told an interviewer the camp was liberated by the Red Army’s First Ukrainian Front and Ukrainians. Two days later, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Valeriy Chaliy, said “Ukrainians made up the majority of those who freed Auschwitz.

      These statements enraged the Kremlin, and not only because of the historical sleight of hand (the Ukrainian Front included soldiers from several nationalities within the Soviet Union). “Any attempt to play a card of any sort of nationalistic sentiment in this situation is totally sacrilegious and cynical”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov retorted.

    • Auschwitz : 70 ans après, un libérateur de l’Armée rouge se souvient de l’horreur -

      Mercredi, le ministère polonais des Affaires étrangères Grzegorz Schetyna a lancé une nouvelle polémique, en affirmant qu’Auschwitz a été libéré par des Ukrainiens. Une affirmation qui, dans son agréable salon des faubourgs de Moscou, fait bondir le vétéran.

      « Un de mes camarades le plus proche était Géorgien. Il y avait des Kazakhs, des Arméniens et bien sûr des Ukrainiens, mais nous étions avant tout une armée internationale. Nous étions tous unis, nous appartenions au peuple soviétique », réagit l’ancien soldat qui, après la guerre, travailla comme ingénieur à la conception de la bombe atomique soviétique.

      « Je ne veux pas lui répondre. A vrai dire, j’ai honte pour lui », répète encore Ivan [Martynouchkine] qui, malgré tout, participera cette année encore aux commémorations de la libération d’Auschwitz, le 27 janvier.

    • La Pologne ne fait pas son travail de mémoire. Mais les archives balkaniques ont été ouvertes et deux livres sont sortis depuis. Je suis en train de travailler sur cet article.

      Mais ce n’est pas pour rien que les SS avaient construit leurs camps d’extermination en Pologne....

  • Exclusive - Syria begins destruction of chemical weapons facilities: sources | Reuters

    Syria has started the long-delayed destruction of a dozen underground bunkers and hangars that were used for the production and storage of chemical weapons, diplomatic sources told Reuters on Monday.

    Damascus last year handed over 1,300 metric tonnes of toxic agents after joining the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), but it is months behind schedule in destroying the facilities used to make and store its deadly stockpile.

    Work at a first tunnel began on Dec. 24, but was delayed by winter storms. The site will be sealed off with cement walls by the end of January, said one source in The Hague, where the global chemical weapons watchdog is based.

  • Suède FM : Israël a irrité ses alliés en réagissant de façon excessive à la reconnaissance de la Palestine
    Simon Johnson, Johan Sennero, Dan Williams Jan – Ha’aretz / traduction JPP

    « C’est inacceptable comment ils ont parlé de nous et de tous les autres, » a dit Margot Wallstrom dans un entretien avec le quotidien Dagens Nyheter, ajoutant que la rhétorique israélienne a « franchi toutes les limites ».

    Reuters – La ministre des Affaires étrangères de la Suède a déclaré vendredi qu’Israël avait irrité ses alliés proches en réagissant de façon excessive à la reconnaissance par Stockholm de l’État de Palestine, disant que la rhétorique sur la question avait « franchi toutes les limites ».

    « C’est inacceptable comment ils ont parlé de nous et de tous les autres » a dit Margot Wallstrom dans un entretien avec le quotidien Dagens Nyheter. « Ils ont irrité non seulement nous-mêmes, mais aussi les Américains et tous ceux qui ont à faire avec eux actuellement. »

    Les relations entre Israël et la Suède ont piqué du nez depuis que le Premier ministre social-démocrate, Stefan Lofven, a profité de son discours inaugural au parlement l’an dernier pour annoncer que son pays reconnaîtrait un État palestinien.

    Israël a déclaré que l’initiative était irréfléchie, qu’elle ne contribuerait pas à la paix et il a rappelé son ambassadeur à Jérusalem pour en discuter.

    Pour les États-Unis, la reconnaissance était prématurée.

    Dans l’entretien, Wallstrom a dit que la Suède soutenait Israël, la Palestine et la paix, mais qu’elle est fortement critique de la politique d’Israël. « Israël a été extrêmement agressif, » a-t-elle dit.

    « Ils ont continué avec leur politique de colonisation, ils ont continué les démolitions, ils ont continué avec leur politique d’occupation qui entraîne des humiliations pour les Palestiniens, ce qui rend le processus (de paix) difficile. »(...)

    traduction de l’article du Ha’aretz :


  • Bahraini police clash with protesters demanding release of opposition leader

    A Bahraini child takes part in a protest against the arrest of Sheikh #Ali_Salman (on the posters), head of the opposition #Al-Wefaq movement on January 9, 2015 in the village of Karzakan, South of Manama. Photo: AFP / Mohammed al-Shaikh

    Dozens of Bahraini protesters clashed with security forces who fired birdshot and tear gas to disperse them during an anti-government rally on Friday over the detention of a main opposition leader, a Reuters witness said. The discontent has worsened since the arrest on December 28 of Sheikh Ali Salman, a cleric who heads the al-Wefaq opposition party. Salman was arrested after he led a peaceful rally near the capital Manama to protest November’s general elections – which the opposition boycotted – and call for the dismissal of (...)


  • Gorbachev warns of major war in Europe over Ukraine | Reuters

    (Reuters) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that tensions between Russia and European powers over the Ukraine crisis could result in a major conflict or even nuclear war, in an interview to appear in a German news magazine on Saturday.

    “A war of this kind would unavoidably lead to a nuclear war,” the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner told Der Spiegel news magazine, according to excerpts released on Friday.

    “We won’t survive the coming years if someone loses their nerve in this overheated situation,” added Gorbachev, 83. “This is not something I’m saying thoughtlessly. I am extremely concerned.”

  • Syriza-Podemos, deux partis frères pour faire bouger l’Europe en 2015 ?

    Alexis Tsipras et Pablo Iglesias le 15 novembre 2014 à Madrid. (c) Juan Medina / Reuters.

    Les deux formations anti-austérité, l’une grecque, l’autre espagnole, ont les moyens de bousculer la donne politique en Europe en 2015. Audit de la dette, euro, nationalisations, fiscalité… Les points communs sont nombreux dans leur programme. Mais il subsiste quelques différences de fond dans leur mode d’organisation. Décryptage croisé.

    Les deux formations anti-austérité, l’une grecque, l’autre espagnole, ont les moyens de bousculer la donne politique en Europe en 2015. Audit de la dette, euro, nationalisations, fiscalité… Les points communs sont nombreux dans leur programme. Mais il subsiste quelques différences de fond dans leur mode d’organisation écrit LUDOVIC LAMANT ET AMÉLIE (...)

  • Palestinian statehood resolution fails at U.N council, U.S. votes against - Reuters

    The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday rejected a Palestinian resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state by late 2017.

    The resolution called for negotiations to be based on territorial lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. It also called for a peace deal within 12 months.

    Even if the draft had received the minimum nine votes in favor, it would have been defeated by Washington’s vote against it. The United States is one of the five veto-wielding permanent members.

    There were eight votes in favor, including France, Russia and China, two against and five abstentions, among them Britain. Australia joined the United States in voting against the measure.

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power defended Washington’s position against the draft in a speech to the 15-nation council by saying it was not a vote against peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

    “The United States every day searches for new ways to take constructive steps to support the parties in making progress toward achieving a negotiated settlement,” she said. “The Security Council resolution put before us today is not one of those constructive steps.”

    She said the text was “deeply imbalanced” and contained “unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.” To make matters worse, Power said, it “was put to a vote without a discussion or due consideration among council members.”

    She did not spare Israel either. “Today’s vote should not be interpreted as a victory for an unsustainable status quo,” Power said, adding that Washington would oppose actions by either side that undermined peace efforts, whether “in the form of settlement activity or imbalanced draft resolutions.”

    Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar, the sole Arab representative on the council, expressed regret that the resolution was voted down, while noting that she thought council members should have had more time to discuss the proposal.

    The defeat of the resolution was not surprising. Washington, council diplomats said, had made clear it did not want such a resolution put to a vote before Israel’s election in March.

    The Palestinians, the diplomats said, insisted on putting the resolution to a vote despite the fact that it was clear Washington would not let it pass. Their sudden announcement last weekend that Ramallah wanted a vote before the new year surprised Western delegations on the council.


    In order to pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the council’s five permanent members.

    The European and African camps were split in the vote. France and Luxembourg voted in favor of the resolution while Britain and Lithuania abstained. Among the Africans, Chad voted yes while Rwanda and Nigeria abstained.

    The Palestinians, frustrated by the lack of progress in peace talks, have sought to internationalize the issue by seeking U.N. membership and recognition of statehood via membership in international organizations.

    Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour thanked delegations that voted for the resolution, noting that lawmakers in a number of European countries have called for recognition of Palestine. He said it was time to end the “abhorrent Israeli occupation and impunity that has brought our people so much suffering.”

    “It is thus most regrettable that the Security Council remains paralyzed,” he said.

    Mansour added that the Palestinian leadership “must now consider its next steps.” The Palestinians have threatened to join the International Criminal Court, which they could then use as a forum to push for war crimes proceedings against Israel.

    In a brief statement, Israeli delegate Israel Nitzan said the Palestinians have found every possible opportunity to avoid direct negotiations and brought the council “a preposterous unilateral proposal.”

    “I have news for the Palestinians - you cannot agitate and provoke your way to a state,” he said.

    French Ambassador Francois Delattre said Paris would continue its efforts to get a resolution through the council that would help move peace efforts forward.

    “France regrets that it isn’t possible to reach a consensus today,” he said, noting that he voted for the resolution despite having reservations about its contents. “Our efforts must not stop here. It is our responsibility to try again.”

    An earlier Palestinian draft called for Jerusalem to be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state. The draft that was voted on reverted to a harder line, saying only that East Jerusalem would be Palestine’s capital and calling for an end to Israeli settlement building.

    The Israeli government had said that a Security Council vote, following the collapse in April of U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood, would only deepen the conflict.

    Israel, which pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, has said its eastern border would be indefensible if it withdrew completely from the West Bank.

  • Grèce : le FMI suspend son aide à la Grèce jusqu’à la formation d’un futur gouvernement - RFI

    Le Fonds monétaire international a annoncé que le versement de la prochaine tranche d’aide à la Grèce était suspendue à la formation d’un nouveau gouvernement, après les élections législatives anticipées, fin janvier.

  • En civil, les policiers noirs new-yorkais craignent la #police

    24 sur 25 : les résultats sont sans appel. Une enquête réalisée par Reuters révèle que, sur 25 policiers noirs de #New_York en activité ou à la retraite interrogés, 24 déclarent avoir déjà été victimes de #discriminations raciales de la part d’un policier, alors qu’eux-mêmes étaient en civil. « Tous sauf un ont déclaré avoir été victimes, lorsqu’ils étaient hors service et en civil, de contrôles au faciès, c’est-à-dire la pratique consistant pour un policier à se baser sur l’appartenance ethnique d’une personne pour la soupçonner d’avoir commis un acte répréhensible », écrit l’agence de presse.

    Plus précisément, « être arrêté en voiture sans raison, se faire plaquer la tête sur le capot du véhicule, être jeté dans un fourgon de police et subir une fouille lorsqu’on est en train de faire des courses ». 5 sur 25 disent même avoir déjà eu un pistolet braqué sur eux par la police.

    De plus, signale également Reuters, parmi ces 24 policiers, un tiers seulement se sont plaints auprès d’un de leurs supérieurs. Et un seul n’a pas vu sa plainte rejetée ou n’a pas subi de brimades administratives par la suite. Il n’y a d’ailleurs « pas vraiment de procédure pour signaler des abus », déplore dans l’article l’actuel chef de l’exécutif du district de Brooklyn Eric Adams, qui affirme avoir été stigmatisé et brimé au cours de ses vingt-deux ans de carrière pour avoir dénoncé les contrôles au faciès et les #violences policières.


  • As U.S. troops return to Iraq, more private contractors follow | Reuters

    ... the preparations to increase the number of contractors - who can be responsible for everything from security to vehicle repair and food service - underscores Obama’s growing commitment in Iraq. When U.S. troops and diplomats venture into war zones, contractors tend to follow, doing jobs once handled by the military itself.

  • WHO: Syrian government allows medical aid into #Aleppo, other areas

    The Syrian government has approved the delivery of medicine and surgical supplies to three areas of the country aid workers were previously unable to reach regularly, including opposition-held Aleppo, the #World_Health_Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO’s #syria representative, told Reuters the areas freed for access are Aleppo, the besieged Damascus district of Mouadamiya, and Eastern Ghouta, outside the capital. read more

  • #UE -L’#obésité peut parfois être un #handicap dans le #travail | Reuters

    BRUXELLES, 18 décembre (Reuters) - L’obésité peut dans certains cas constituer un handicap et les personnes qui en souffrent peuvent bénéficier de la législation européenne contre les #discriminations dans le travail, a déclaré jeudi la Cour de #Justice de l’#Union_européenne .

  • The rules of engagement: How militarized police units enforce the law around the world
    In 1993 the Justice Department installed the 1033 program as a way to help law enforcement agencies counter drug activities during the United States’ “war on drugs.” In 1997, the boundaries of law enforcement expanded after Congress passed the National #Defense Authorization Act, granting police and other agencies the right to obtain weaponry for specific law enforcement purposes that would help in making arrests. Many U.S. police departments have since acquired surplus U.S. military hardware: #armored_vehicles, military-grade weaponry. According to Reuters, since 1996 the Defense Department has transferred $4.3 billion in military equipment to local and state police through the 1033 program. And after 9/11, the Department of Homeland #Security allowed local law enforcement to inherit a surplus of military weaponry from wars abroad through federal funds to counter terrorism.
    The recent clashes between heavily armed law enforcement and protesters in the wake of a police officer killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have reignited the discussion surrounding the militarization of American police forces. The rules of engagement for police or paramilitary forces abroad allows the use of lethal force using military-grade gear with relatively few restrictions. But with that is a code of conduct, a set of rules, that sharply regulates the wide latitude of law enforcement, and puts into a place a system of accountability.
    Human rights monitors say police in Belgium are legally entitled to use proportionate force, after a warning, where there is no other means to achieve a legitimate objective. #Police may use #firearms in self-defense, to confront armed perpetrators, or in #defense of persons or key facilities, but never for crowd control. In Afghanistan, “the police can use weapons or explosives against a group of people only if they it has … disturbed security by means of arms, and if the use of other means of force … has proved ineffective.” And Afghan police are required to give no fewer than six warnings – three verbal and three warning shots – before using force in this situation. In India, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) are called on for violent disorder that the police are unable to contain. They require an on-the-spot magistrate’s consent and must issue a warning before each escalation of the use of force, from verbal warning to water cannon and tear gas, then to rubber bullets or baton rounds, and then to firearms. Britain’s law states that “lethal or potentially lethal force should only be used when absolutely necessary in self-defense, or in the defense of others against the threat of death or serious injury.” In Italy, police and the paramilitary Carabinieri follow the same guidelines, which say that the use of weapons is allowed only in the line of duty, when it is an “unavoidable necessity to overcome resistance, stop #violence or prevent a [serious] #crime,” and that the response must be proportionate to the situation.

    The series below takes a closer look at law enforcement around the world and their respective tactics.

  • #Yemen rescue failed as captors alerted to approaching U.S. commandos: officials

    Une #étrange histoire de plus,

    In that raid, U.S. commandos and Yemeni troops swooped before dawn into a cave in the eastern province of Hadramout and freed eight people.

    Seven of the eight turned out to be #al_Qaeda members who had been held captive by the militants on suspicion of being government spies, two senior Yemeni officials told Reuters. The eighth was a Yemeni computer specialist, they said.

    Al-Ahmadi, Chief of Yemen National Security Bureau, said after the seven were freed they told Yemen authorities they were members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the militant network’s arm in the country, and that they had been accused by their own organization of spying for the government.

    Thet were detained by AQAP “not as hostages but as suspects,” a senior Yemini security official said.

    Reuters could not independently confirm his description of those being detained. American officials declined to address the question. Officials at the White House and Pentagon did not respond to requests by Reuters for comment.

    The seven — five Yemenis, a Saudi and an Ethiopian - are now being held by Yemen’s government, the officials said. It is unclear if the United States was aware that al Qaeda members suspected of being government informants were among the people rescued in that raid .

  • Syrian insurgents attack government-held town near Israel | Reuters

    La #coopération #al-Qaïda/#Israël/Jordanie/#Etats-Unis se poursuit à Quneitra dans le sud syrien (via

    (Reuters) - Fighters from Al Qaeda’s #Nusra Front and other insurgents attacked and briefly entered Baath City in southern Syria on Thursday, the army’s last major bastion in a province flanking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    The battle is part of a campaign launched by the insurgents this week to take control of the entire Quneitra province. Only Baath City and neighbouring Khan Arnaba town remain under President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.


    Hundreds of Nusra fighters who fled from the eastern Deir al-Zor province after being driven out by Islamic State earlier this year have regrouped in southern Syria, boosting the rebel presence there, activists say.

    “It gave the fighters in the area the upper hand,” said Abu Yahya al-Anari, a fighter from Ahrar al-Sham.


    Insurgent gains since earlier this year have been mainly achieved by Nusra Front together with other Islamist brigades and rebels fighting under the umbrella of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army. Unlike rebel in-fighting further north, they have coordinated well so far.

    Most of heavy weaponry and fighters in Quneitra province are drawn from hardline Islamist brigades such as Ahrar al-Sham and al Muthana alongside Nusra, activists and analysts say.

  • AT&T to pay California $52 million in hazardous #waste disposal settlement | Reuters

    AT&T Inc (T.N) will pay $52 million in civil penalties and environmental compliance as part of a settlement with California over illegal dumping of hazardous waste but won’t be required to clean up the resulting contamination, state officials said on Thursday.

    State officials said it marked the first enforcement action in California against a telecommunications company for mishandling of electronic waste. (...)
    Investigators cited AT&T for illegally disposing of hazardous wastes and other materials at more than 235 of its warehouses and dispatch centers across the state over a nine-year period.


  • Les EAU placent les Frères musulmans, l’EI, l’UOIF (France), Al Nosra, les Houthis dans la liste des organisations terroristes - Reuters

    The United Arab Emirates designated the Muslim Brotherhood and dozens of other Islamist groups as terrorist organizations on Saturday, ratcheting up the pressure on the group by lumping it together with extremists such as the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria.

    The federation’s Cabinet adopted the designations against the 83 groups, the official state news agency WAM said. They include Al-Islah, an Emirati group suspected of ties to the Brotherhood whose members have faced prosecution in the seven-state federation, which includes the cosmopolitan business hub of Dubai and the capital of Abu Dhabi.

    The move follows a decision by Saudi Arabia in March to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist group along with al-Qaida and others. The Emirates voiced support for the decision at the time, and accuses Islamist groups of trying to topple its Western-backed ruling system.

    Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have taken a firm stance against the Brotherhood since its ascendance in Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring, and the oil-rich Gulf neighbors are strong supporters of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. He was elected earlier this year after leading the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    Egypt labeled the 86-year-old Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December.

    The Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the kingdom of Bahrain earlier this year recalled their ambassadors from fellow Gulf state Qatar to protest what they say as its failure to stop meddling in other nation’s affairs and for backing groups that threaten the regional stability. Analysts widely saw that as a swipe at Qatar’s perceived support for the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

    The Emirates list includes the Islamic State group it is helping to bomb as part of U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Among the other groups targeted are the Pakistani Taliban and the Yemeni Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

    Also on the list are a number of Western Islamic organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the United States’ largest Muslim civil liberties group.