Why Greece’s defiance is dissipating into capitulation

Embattled Greek Prime Minister grovelled to his parliament on why the

Less than a week ago, Greece stood defiant. Thousands of people flooded the square outside Parliament, draping themselves in blue-and-white flags to celebrate the country’s sweeping rejection of the tough austerity measures demanded by its European creditors, which Greece’s fiery young leader had likened to “blackmail.” But by Friday, the euphoria had faded as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s vows to stand up to ­Europe caved to the harsh realization that the birthplace of democracy stood just 48 hours away from financial ruin — and Greeks were poised to swallow what amounted to the same dose of austerity they had refused in a vote Sunday. “Each one of us shall be … Continue reading

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Paris night drone mystery deepens

Some of the latest sightings were again around the Invalides military museum

Drones have appeared over landmarks in central Paris for the second night running and police are no closer to knowing who is operating them. There were five sightings between 23:00 on Tuesday and 02:00 (01:00 GMT) on Wednesday, French media report. Up to three drones were seen near the Invalides military museum, Place de la Concorde and two of the old city gates. Flying drones over Paris at night is illegal and daytime flights require authorisation from the city. Five drones were seen the previous night in similar areas, including the Eiffel Tower and above the US embassy, close to Place de la Concorde. However, some of the latest drone … Continue reading

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Police kill Danish gunman involved in weekend attacks on Jews

A man observes a moment of silence at a memorial for the victims of the deadly attacks in front of the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen, February 15, 2015.    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Police shot dead a 22-year-old Danish-born gunman on Sunday after he killed two people at a Copenhagen synagogue and an event promoting free speech in actions possibly inspired by an attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, authorities said. Spy chief Jens Madsen said the gunman was known to intelligence services prior to the shooting and had probably acted alone. Police said he had a record of violence, gang-related activities and weapons possession.  Two civilians – a synagogue guard and a film-maker – were killed and five police were wounded in the two separate attacks in the Danish capital on Saturday and Sunday. Witnesses said the gunman had fired … Continue reading

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French terrorist given secret burial East of the capital Paris

(L-R): Said Kouachi, Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly who together gunned down 22 people in Paris before being mowed down by French police.

Officials in the French city of Reims say one of the terrorists responsible for attacks last week that killed 17 people has been given a secret burial in the eastern French city over their objections and despite concerns that the grave could become a shrine for extremists. Said Kouachi, the elder of the two brothers who together gunned down 12 people Jan. 7 in their attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, was buried at the demand of the French government, officials in Reims said in a statement Saturday. “Given the risk of disturbance of the peace and in order to quickly turn the page of this tragic episode, it … Continue reading

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Obama to seek new authorization for fight against Islamic State

President Obama: "The idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight rather than previous fights."

By Karen DeYoung President Obama said Wednesday that he will ask Congress for new authority to combat the Islamic State, replacing the administration’s reliance on laws passed more than a decade ago to justify its current military operations against the militants in Syria and Iraq. “The idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight rather than previous fights,” the president said at a White House news conference. “We now have a different type of enemy; the strategy is different,” Obama said. “It makes sense for us to make sure that the authorization. . . reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over … Continue reading

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2nd Frenchman identified among IS killers who beheaded Kassig

Frenchman Mickael Dos Santos identified as one of the IS killers in Syria.

French authorities have identified a second French militant who appears on a beheading video released by Islamic State (IS) at the weekend, a state prosecutor said on Wednesday. Officials said on Monday that one of the men shown herding prisoners to their execution was Maxime Hauchard, a Frenchman Muslim convert who left for Syria in 2013. In a statement, the state prosecutor said that a second Frenchman, Mickael Dos Santos – a 22-year-old man from a town east of Paris who converted to Islam and left for Syria in August 2013 – had been identified. “In addition to Maxime Hauchard, precise and consistent clues have been collected during an investigation … Continue reading

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British troops to return to Iraq as Peshmerga get training

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon who has approved more troops for Iraq and training the Peshmerga.

Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced that the UK plans to offer Iraqi forces more training. During a visit to Iraq yesterday, 5 November, the Defence Secretary announced that the UK is planning to offer advisory personnel to Iraqi headquarters as well as providing additional training to Peshmerga fighters. In his first trip to the country as Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Fallon held talks in Baghdad with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi and National Security Adviser Fallah al Fayyad before flying north to Erbil. There he met with the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani and Kurdish Prime … Continue reading

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French far-right party wins first ever seats in Upper House

"These results are beyond what we hoped for," said Marine le Pen, leader of France

France’s far-right National Front (NF) has won its first ever seats in France’s upper house of parliament on Sunday, as President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party lost its Senate majority. The left still controls the lower house, which is the dominant legislative body in France, but Sunday’s ballot underlined the unpopularity of the president and the continued rise of the anti-immigration, anti-euro National Front. The party, led by Marine Le Pen, took two seats in the august Senate, following on from its surprise victory in European parliamentary elections in May and its strong showing in municipal elections in March. “These results are beyond what we hoped for,” said Le Pen. “Each … Continue reading

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins Turkish presidential election

Outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who has won his country

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won his country’s first direct presidential election. With almost all the votes counted, Mr Erdogan had won about 52 per cent, against 38 per cent for main rival Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The huge margin of victory means there is no need for a run-off.  Mr Erdogan, who has vowed to bolster the power of the president, promised supporters a “social reconciliation period”, saying: “Let’s leave the old discussions in the old Turkey.” He added in the speech in Ankara: “Today, not only those who love us, but also those who don’t have won. Today Turkey has won.” The veteran leader, who has spent three … Continue reading

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France to offer asylum to persecuted Libyan Christians

Aid is distributed to Iraqi Christians who fled to Hamdaniya, east of Mosul.

The French government says it is ready to offer asylum to Iraqi Christians forced to flee by Islamist militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.  Many fled Mosul after the Islamic State (IS) group which seized much of northern Iraq told them to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death. Iraq is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities.  Two French top ministers said, “We are ready, if they so desire, to help facilitate asylum on our territory.” It was a joint message from Laurent Fabius and Bernard Cazeneuve, respectively foreign minister and interior minister in the Socialist government. A senior Christian cleric in … Continue reading

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