‘Deliberate attack’: Blast injures 12, kills suspected bomber in Germany’s Ansbach — RT News

… and the games continue …

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At least 12 people have been injured after an explosion struck a bar in the southern German city of Ansbach, Bavaria. Authorities believe the act was ‘deliberate’ and the perpetrator died in the blast after setting off an improvised device.

FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES on Bavaria bomb blast

The incident took place in the central part of the city, close to an area in which a music festival took place at the weekend, Suddeutsche Zeitung reported. Police have cordoned off the area around the restaurant and are conducting a crime scene investigation.

“The explosion in downtown Ansbach was not a gas explosion, but was caused by an explosive device,” Ansbach Mayor Carda Seidel confirmed. Seidel also said that it should not be ruled out that there could have been several explosions.

READ LATEST: 27-yo Syrian refugee behind Ansbach blast previously attempted suicide – Bavarian authorities

The attacker was a 27-year-old Syrian who had entered the country about two years ago, but had been refused asylum, Bavarian authorities told a press conference. His application was rejected a year ago but the man was allowed to stay in Germany temporarily, due to ongoing hostilities in Syria.

Police said that they do not yet know whether the attacker had a radical Islamist background. The investigation currently focused on the attacker’s communications.

The man who was killed by the explosion initially survived the blast but later succumbed to his wounds, a police spokesperson cited by weekly German news magazine, Focus. His injuries were consistent with the close detonation of an unknown explosive device, leading authorities to believe that he was the perpetrator.

The police have set up an operations center in City Hall and a crisis team has been formed. A special police task force (SEC) has also been deployed. Volunteer firefighters from Nuremberg, Katzwang and Almoshof were called in to assist authorities.

A spokesman for the Bavarian interior minister said that the explosion in the Eugene Weinstube restaurant was a “deliberate” act rather than an accident.

“At present we assume it is not an accident,“ the spokesman said.

Initial reports indicated that a gas leak may have caused the incident, but the mayor of the city, announced that authorities believe it was triggered by an improvised explosive device.

According to media reports, the explosion occurred in front of a restaurant shortly after 10:00pm local time. A music festival nearby was forced to end and around 2,500 visitors were evacuated.

Police and rescue workers are currently engaged in a large-scale operation. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann is en route to the area, according to his spokesman.

Heavily armed police and rescue personnel are on site, and a helicopter with search light has been circling the city.

According to unconfirmed reports, a man with a backpack had been denied entry to a nearby music festival just before the explosion.

Ansbach is located in the German state of Bavaria, some 40km (25 miles) from Nuremberg and around 150 km (93 miles) northwest of Munich.

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Quelle: ‘Deliberate attack’: Blast injures 12, kills suspected bomber in Germany’s Ansbach — RT News

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Machete-wielding man kills 1, injures 2 in Reutlingen, Germany — RT News

Hoppla … jetzt geht es aber echt Schlag auf Schlag …

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At least one person has been killed and two more injured in an incident in the German town of Reutlingen. A man wielding a machete apparently randomly attacked passersby in the street.

The motives of the man are still unclear.The incident took place near a doner kebab stand at Listplatz square, Germany’s Bild Reports.

The perpetrator has been arrested by police, German media report, citing eye witnesses.

Photos posted on social media show the alleged perpetrator lying on the ground, restrained by police officers.

Police have confirmed that the man was arrested after he had used a machete to kill a woman and injure two more people in Reutlingen.The perpetrator was acting alone, police said, adding that there is no evidence suggesting that he had any accomplices.

READ MORE: Munich gunman planned attack for year, left manifesto – police

The attack comes two days after a gunman killed nine people and injured over 30 in a shopping mall shooting spree in Munich.

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Quelle: Machete-wielding man kills 1, injures 2 in Reutlingen, Germany — RT News

‘Open the border!’ Pro-refugee group tries to breach Greek-Turkish border cordon (VIDEO) — RT News

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Clashes broke out in the Greek town of Kastanies as dozens of pro-refugee protesters rallied against the fence set up at the Turkish border and attempted to breach police lines. Authorities resorted to stun grenades and tear gas to stop the unruly crowd.

According to Greek media, on Saturday over 200 members of the group known as “No Border Camp” held a rally in Kastanies against the closed door policy. Chanting “open the border” and carrying placards reading “Beyond Borders” the demonstrators urged authorities to dismantle the fence set up on the Turkish border to prevent the entry of illegal migrants into Greece.

The protesters were holding a march and wanted to make their way to the fence but were stopped by a police cordon on their way. Footage captured members of the group trying to break through police lines and hitting officers dressed in full riot gear with flags. In their turn, police defended themselves with shields and deployed tear gas and stun grenades.

Since Thursday, hundreds of members of the No Border Camp have been reportedly staging rallies in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece and at the city’s largest Aristotle University, according to Greek media.

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Quelle: ‘Open the border!’ Pro-refugee group tries to breach Greek-Turkish border cordon (VIDEO) — RT News

Ax-wielding Afghan teen attacks German railway passengers — RT News

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Several people have been injured, some critically, after a teenager armed with an ax and a knife attacked train passengers in central Germany. The suspect, who was shot by police, has been identified as a 17-year-old “unaccompanied minor” of Afghan origin.

At least three of the victims suffered “serious” injuries, police spokesman told local news outlet Blaulicht Würzburg.

Another person suffered light injuries, while all 14 passengers who had been in the same car of the regional train were in a state of “shock” following the onslaught.

The perpetrator, who fled the scene after the attack, was “shot” by officers, police confirmed.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann announced that authorities believe that a 17-year-old teen of Afghan origin was behind the attack.

The suspect entered the country as an “unaccompanied minor” and lived with a “foster family” for the last two weeks. Before that he had been housed at the Kolping-Heim refugee center, FOCUS online reported.

The minister also rejected claims of a possible second attacker, and are treating the attack as a “single perpetrator” case.

Some German media reports suggest that the teenager who resided in Ochsenfurt shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he charged at his victims.

A police helicopter was circling the area and a large number of officers were deployed to the scene. Over a dozen paramedics also arrived on site.

Authorities organized an alternative bus route for passengers as the train line between Wurzburg-Heidingsfeld and Ochsenfurt has temporarily been shut down.

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Quelle: Ax-wielding Afghan teen attacks German railway passengers — RT News

Paris police car set ablaze as officers protest brutality against them (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) — RT News

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A police car has been torched in central Paris after an angry crowd surrounded the vehicle, police said. The incident took place as a police demo against “public hatred” was confronted with a counter-rally.

Several protesters surrounded the car and attempted to break its windows.

The anti-police activists were heard shouting: „Police everywhere, justice nowhere,” and „Cops, murderers.“

Police officers escaped from the car when a smoke bomb or Molotov cocktail set it on fire, a journalist at the scene for France’s Le Monde newspaper reported.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene managed to extinguish the fire. At least one police officer was injured during clashes with demonstrators.

The incident happened hours after police staged a rally protesting “brutality” against their ranks during massive anti-labor reform protests, which have been raging in France for two months.

A total of 350 police officers have been injured in clashes at the protests, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Police believe they have been unfairly treated by the public for simply trying to do their job. A major French police union, Alliance, says there is a mounting “anti-cop hatred” becoming evident in France.

While police were protesting „anti-cop“ brutality, their opponents tried to gather for a counter-rally, which was banned by authorities.

Since March, people across France have been protesting the new labor bill. The proposal states that employers need pay only 10 percent of overtime bonus, instead of the current 25 percent. The bill technically maintains the 35-hour working week, but says that in case of “exceptional circumstances” employees can be asked to work up to 60 hours a week.

On Wednesday, French railway and port workers went on strike protesting the law. Train services were halved and ferries to Britain were canceled.

The rallies, held under the hashtags #LoiTravail (Labor Law) and #NuitDebout (Rise Up At Night), have repeatedly turned violent, with officers clashing with demonstrators and police firing tear gas at protesters. Almost every rally has ended with arrests. The most violent rallies occurred in Paris, Rennes and Nantes.

Sporadic anti-labor law protests in France have grown into something more substantial – now people are rallying against capitalism, the French government and intolerance, very similar to the Occupy movement in the US that turned global.

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Source: Paris police car set ablaze as officers protest brutality against them (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) — RT News

Tests find rat and human DNA in US hamburgers — RT America

Yummy!

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Think that burger you’re biting into is all-beef? Even if it’s advertised that way, there’s a small chance that you could ingesting be ingesting substituted ingredients or even contaminants from rats or humans, according to a new study.

A report from the California-based food analytics company Clear Labs sampled 258 hamburger products, including ground beef, frozen patties, fast-food and veggie burgers. Three of the samples had traces of rat DNA, and one was positive for traces of human DNA.

While these results are definitely less than appetizing, it should be noted they amount to a small fraction of the samples being contaminated by a human or rat hair during production.

“The most likely cause is hair, skin, or fingernail that was accidentally mixed in during the manufacturing process,” Clear Labs said, referring to the human DNA finding.

Some contamination is expected by food regulatory authorities, since very low traces of contaminants are not harmful to humans, the report added.

“The low incidence of hygienic issues surfaced by our study is a testament to the burger industry as a whole and the stringent protocols for safe food handling. As noted by the FDA, certain low levels of contamination are acceptable,” Clear Labs said.

Overall, the tests screened for issues such as substituted ingredients, misstated nutrition facts, contamination by gluten, toxic fungi and plants, and missing ingredients. The test found that 13.6 percent of tested products were “problematic” in some way because of issues ranging from misstated nutrition facts to missing ingredients.

Vegetarian products, however, fared considerably worse than meat, with 23.6 percent falling into the “problematic” category. Advertised ingredients were actually missing from 15 percent of products tested, such as the case of a black bean veggie burger not containing any black beans.

There was also evidence of similar substitution in meat products, with 16 products – or 16.6 percent of all samples – including beef, chicken and pork when they were not supposed to have such ingredients.

Gaps also existed between reported nutritional content and the actually tested values in some of the products. Nearly half of the products tested had more than was reported on their nutrition facts label, on average amounting to 40 additional calories per serving.

The report called the caloric misrepresentation in fast-food burgers to be “especially egregious,” since more than 80 percent of such samples tested had higher calories than reported, with almost one-third of them exceeding the listed value by more than 100 calories per serving.

“Considering that FDA labeling requirements make it mandatory for most fast food restaurants to publish nutritional information on fast food menus, these discrepancies are potentially worrisome for customers who make decisions about what to order based on calorie counts and other available nutritional information,” Clear Labs said.

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Source: Tests find rat and human DNA in US hamburgers — RT America

Man reportedly shouting ‘Allah is great’ knifes passengers at train station near Munich — RT News

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A young man attacked several passengers with a knife early on Tuesday at Grafing train station near the Bavarian capital, Bayerischer Rundfunk radio has reported. Four people were injured.

Police are checking witness reports that the man shouted „Allahu Akbar“ or ‚God is great‘ during the attack, Bayerischer Rundfunk said. According to police, one person was critically injured while the other three sustained less serious injuries.

The attacker stabbed a newspaper delivery man in the back, a firefighter told the Merkur paper.

Police aren’t excluding an “Islamist agenda” in the attack, a spokesman for the Bavarian police told the Mittelbayerische Zeitung. However, another police official from Munich didn’t confirm to the Local that the assailant had any Islamist or political background.

According to German law enforcers, the alleged perpetrator was arrested on the spot. He has no criminal record. The offender is reportedly a German citizen, the town’s mayor Angelika Obermayr told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

„The idea that people enter the station or deliver newspapers there and then become victims of a maniac is terrible. Hopefully they will recover completely,“ Obermayr said. „I am most grateful to the police, doctors, paramedics and our firefighters who reacted quickly on the scene.“

Access to Grafing station is partially blocked and significant delays are expected.

The station has been closed following the attack. “The station is a crime scene,” and specialists will be working there, a police spokesman told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

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Quelle: Man reportedly shouting ‘Allah is great’ knifes passengers at train station near Munich — RT News

Protests erupt in Athens as parliament adopts new austerity measures — RT News

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Greek MPs have voted in favor of new austerity measures, including pension cuts, tax hikes, and new taxes on internet and TV. Clashes with police broke out as thousands in Athens protested the moves that Greece’s creditors have been demanding.

Late on Sunday night, the Greek Parliament adopted controversial pension reforms set to reduce pension allowances and raise taxes, among other measures, in order to comply with EU bail-out requirements, as anti-austerity protests continued to rock Athens.

Read more

© Alkis Konstantinidis

According to the Greek Reporter news site, 153 out of 300 Greek Parliament deputies voted in favor of the bill. The legislation presupposes comprehensive cuts in funding to Greece’s social security system estimated at €5.4 billion. In addition, citizens will be subject to a range of new taxes, such those on coffee and electronic cigarettes. The VAT on fuel will increase by a staggering 24 percent.

Greek citizens will already be feeling the burden of the newly-adopted fiscal measures this summer, as the five percent tax on broadband internet and ten percent on paid television are scheduled to kick in in July. Starting from January of next year, the consumption tax on coffee and electronic cigarettes will be enforced, along with a tax on tourists staying in hotels from 2 stars and up.

Although the pending measures may be highly unpopular at home, the EU commended the controversial package as a constructive step towards Greece securing its third bail-out.

“We are now at the time of the first review of the program (to aid Greece) and the objectives have been basically achieved,” European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told Funke Mediengruppe on Sunday.

Thousands of people had earlier gathered in front of the Greek parliament in Athens ahead of the Sunday night vote. At some point, the rally took a violent turn when protesters, supposedly from an anarchist group, started throwing flares, Molotov cocktails, stones, and other objects at the parliament building and police officers. The police responded with tear gas and flashbangs.

The protest was held during a three-day general strike against pension cuts and the introduction of new taxes that shut down media outlets, public transport, and ferry service.

Security measures and police presence in the city have been increased over recent days out of fear of public disorder, especially at the prime minister’s residence and parliament.

The Greek Parliament’s decision came just ahead of an emergency meeting of Eurozone finance ministers, who are set to review the country’s progress in implementing the reforms and discuss the possibility of new debt relief for Greece.

Addressing Greek lawmakers after the Sunday vote, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred to the upcoming meeting as “a very important day.”

“After six whole years, when European institutions have been coming together to discuss the Greek crisis and austerity measures, tomorrow’s Eurogroup agenda will include debt relief for Greece,” he said, as quoted by RT’s Ruptly video news agency.

Tsipras has earlier defended the changes, saying that they won’t affect the poorest in Greece.

“What was for so many years a promise, has officially been put on the agenda,” he added.

Earlier, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in a letter to the finance ministers that was obtained by Financial Times last week, that restricting debt will be one of the conditions for Greece if it is to enter into a new program with the body.

“We believe that specific measures, debt restructuring, and financing must now be discussed simultaneously,” the letter read.

In an interview with RT, Harry Violaris from the WAKEUP Cyprus movement described the agreement between Greece and the EU as “non-viable,” and didn’t exclude the possibility that debt relief for Greece could be introduced at a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on Monday.

READ MORE: EU rejects Greece’s request for emergency summit

There are some disagreements between Paris and Berlin as to whether to provide Greece with debt relief or not. France, supported by Portugal, believes there must be some sort of debt relief for Greece, since the current demands are too harsh and won’t allow the country get back on its feet. Germany, along with Austria and Finland, insists that there is no need for such measures. Meanwhile, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is calling for debt reduction.

“I believe there are chances for consensus, although Germany is in a difficult political position in terms of similar [situations] in Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus. Therefore there’s difficulty in accepting of… reduction of Greek debt,” Violaris said.

The reforms are part of a package deal agreed upon with the EU and IMF last July. It is the third bailout for Greece, which has been burdened with debts since 2010.

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Quelle: Protests erupt in Athens as parliament adopts new austerity measures — RT News

TTIP risks to health & environment, US pressure on EU revealed in secret docs leaked by Greenpeace — RT News

The controversial trade deal between the EU and the US could affect public health, people’s rights, internet privacy and the environment badly, Greenpeace says, citing leaked negotiation texts. The US is pressuring the EU over the deal, the text appears to show.

The 248 pages of classified negotiation papers on The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were released by Greenpeace Netherlands on Monday.

This treaty is threatening to have far-reaching implications for the environment and the lives of more than 800 million citizens in the EU and US,” a Greenpeace statement says.

…..

Source and continue reading: TTIP risks to health & environment, US pressure on EU revealed in secret docs leaked by Greenpeace — RT News

NATO to send 4,000 troops to border with Russia – report — RT News

War games? 😉

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NATO is deploying an additional four battalions of 4,000 troops in Poland and the three Baltic States, according to a report citing US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.

Work confirmed the number of troops to be sent to the border with Russia, The Wall Street Journal reports. He said the reason for the deployment is Russia’s multiple snap military exercises near the Baltics States.

“The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops,” Work said as cited by the Wall Street Journal. “From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior.”

Although there have already been talks about German troops to be deployed to Lithuania, Berlin is still mulling its participation.

“We are currently reviewing how we can continue or strengthen our engagement on the alliance’s eastern periphery,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday, in light of a recent poll from the Bertelsmann Foundation that found only 31 percent of Germans would welcome the idea of German troops defending Poland and the Baltic States.

London has not made its mind either, yet is expected to do so before the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw in July.

Ahead of the deployment, NATO officials are also discussing the possibility of making the battalions multinational, combining troops from different countries under the joint NATO command and control system.

Moscow has been unhappy with the NATO military buildup at Russia’s borders for some time now.

“NATO military infrastructure is inching closer and closer to Russia’s borders. But when Russia takes action to ensure its security, we are told that Russia is engaging in dangerous maneuvers near NATO borders. In fact, NATO borders are getting closer to Russia, not the opposite,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter daily.

Poland and the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have regularly pressed NATO headquarters to beef up the alliance’s presence on their territory.

According to the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, the permanent presence of large NATO formations at the Russian border is prohibited. Yet some voices in Brussels are saying that since the NATO troops stationed next to Russia are going to rotate, this kind of military buildup cannot be regarded as a permanent presence.

Russia’s Defense Ministry says it’s ready for a tit-for-tat response to any NATO military activity near Russia’s borders. As Russia’s envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko put it, there are no “passive observes” in the Russian armed forces and Moscow would definitely compensate militarily for an “absolutely unjustified military presence.”

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Source: NATO to send 4,000 troops to border with Russia – report — RT News

Turkish parliament, Istanbul streets erupt in clashes as Ankara continues crackdown on Kurds (VIDEO) — RT News

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Ankara’s ongoing military crackdown on Kurds has sparked yet another fierce brawl between the ruling AKP and the pro-Kurdish HDP opposition MPs. In the meantime the streets of Istanbul witnessed violent clashes between police and youths sympathetic to the PKK.

Deputies threw punches, pushed and tried to restrain each other in the assembly on Thursday in a row over military operations targeting Kurdish militants in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.

Initially the session of the Constitutional Committee of the Turkish Parliament convened to discuss the controversial proposal by the ruling Justice and Development Party about the possibility of removing immunity from deputies, which could potentially translate into mass prosecution of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentarians. HDP deputies have been under the eye of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

RT’s petition on Change.org: We urge UNHRC to investigate alleged mass killing of Kurds in Turkey

After the start of the discussions, those opposing the ruling party’s proposal to strip immunity began arguing with the proponents of new motion against such a move. Instead the HDP, which denies direct links with the PKK, called on the government, to stop fighting against the Kurds in the southeast and resume peace efforts.

The debate became heated and lawmakers threw punches at opponents. Three ruling-party and two HDP lawmakers sought medical help after the brawl, Dogan news agency reported.

Anger over the ongoing Kurdish crackdown has spilled over onto the streets in Istanbul’s famous Giza district, where members from the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDGH), a youth group sympathetic with the PKK, clashed with police.

Throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at police, the Security forces responded with water cannon and tear gas.

The parliamentary debate on the controversial constitutional amendment was delayed until next week, following Thursday’s violent culmination – as well as an earlier brawl, which also paralyzed the parliament. On Wednesday an HDP member accused the government of “massacres” against Kurds. In reply the ruling MPs were heard shouting, “terrorist, terrorist!”

Turkish security forces have been conducting a massive crackdown on predominantly Kurdish areas in the country’s southeast since the mid-2015, imposing indefinite curfews in many Kurdish districts and waging battles against PKK fighters, who are considered terrorists by Ankara.

All this time the Turkish government is preventing foreign journalists or inspectors from assessing the situation on the ground. Heavy artillery has been deployed against a predominantly civilian population. The violence has also spilled over into neighboring Syria with sporadic cross-border shellings.

HDP and Pro-Kurdish activists have accused Turkish forces of numerous violations of human rights, including extrajudicial killings of civilians, torture and other crimes. According to the International Crisis Group, 1,262 people, including at least 250 civilians, were killed in Turkey between July and April 2016.

Fearing that the civilian death toll could be much higher, last month RT launched a petition under the hashtag #JusticeForKurds, calling for a UN Human Rights Council-led investigation into claims of the alleged massacres of Kurdish civilians.

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Source: Turkish parliament, Istanbul streets erupt in clashes as Ankara continues crackdown on Kurds (VIDEO) — RT News

China denies US carrier group entry to Hong Kong amid South China Sea tensions — RT News

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The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. © Mike Blake / Reuters

China has denied a US request for an aircraft carrier group led by USS John C. Stennis to make a port visit to Hong Kong, the US State Department said on Friday, confirming earlier media reports.

Pentagon spokesman, Commander Bill Urban, said another US warship, the USS Blue Ridge, was currently in Hong Kong on a stop-over and the US expected that to continue.

Urban added that the request for a Hong Kong visit by the carrier and its strike group, which have been patrolling the South China Sea, was recently denied, despite a “long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong.

The Chinese government, as well as the country’s embassy in Washington did not comment on the move.

The warship requested a port call permit early on Thursday.

The South China Morning Post newspaper, citing the Chinese Foreign Ministry,  that port calls by US warships and military aircraft had to be approved on a “case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances.

Aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, two destroyers, two cruisers and a Japan-based US Seventh Fleet flagship sailed into the contested waters of the South China Sea in early March, to counter the presence of China. The latter has territorial disputes over islands in the South China Sea, rich in deposits of natural resources, with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. To assure its claim over the disputed territory, Beijing has been rapidly setting up defense installations in the area.

Beijing has repeatedly warned against US interference in the region. Despite this the US Navy is actively opposing the Chinese initiative, deploying additional warships to the disputed zone and conducting maneuvers near artificial Chinese islands and flying over them, citing the “freedom of navigation” principle as an excuse.

Earlier this month China accused the US of “sabotaging regional peace” after the Pentagon chief announced a military buildup in the Philippines. Speaking in the Philippines on April 14, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the US will keep nearly 300 troops in the Philippines through the end of the month, despite completing the joint military drills. He added that US troops will have combat aircraft and helicopters at their disposal. ” In response the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that military exchanges by relevant countries should not target third parties and  much less support a few countries in challenging China’s sovereignty and security.

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Quelle: China denies US carrier group entry to Hong Kong amid South China Sea tensions — RT News

Communists ask Putin to deploy missiles to Cuba in reply to Pentagon’s Turkey expansion — RT Russian politics

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Foreground, from right: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Cuban Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Corps Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias visit the tank division of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba. © Vadim Savitskii / Sputnik
Two senior lawmakers representing the Communist Party propose to deploy missile systems to Cuba and resume the work of the Lourdes spy base in reply to US plans that could threaten Russia and its allies.

According to Parlamentskaya Gazeta daily, Valery Rashkin and Sergey Obukhov addressed President Vladimir Putin with a letter in which they write that they had learned of the Pentagon’s plans to place HIMARS multiple-launch missile systems in Turkey.

READ MORE: US to deploy high-mobility rocket system to Turkey-Syria border – Ankara

The lawmakers then noted that due to their relatively long range (up to 500km) these systems can pose a threat to member-countries of the Russia-led military bloc Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in particular Armenia.

To protect Russia’s interests and secure the safety of its allies, the Communist lawmakers proposed resuming the work of the Lourdes electronic intelligence base in Cuba and also deploying Russian missile complexes on the island. They emphasized that these steps could be taken under the existing friendship and cooperation treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba.

Rashkin and Obukhov also forwarded copies of their letter to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

READ MORE: ‘Slap sanctions on nations that supply weapons to Ukraine’ – Communists to PM

The recipients of the message have not immediately issued any comments but deputy head of the upper house Committee for International Relations, Vladimir Djabarov, told Life news portal that in his view the proposal is a just a populist step on the Communists’ part.

First, the situation on Cuba is different now – they have restored the diplomatic relations with the United States. Second – placing missiles there would have no effect on our security. Therefore this is just a populist proposal which hardly matches the interests of our country’s security,” the senator said.

Russia had a major electronic intelligence base, the SIGINT facility, in Lourdes, Cuba, since 1967. The base was the largest of all Soviet intelligence centers abroad with 3,000 personnel. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the base was downscaled, but continued operation. In 2001, the Lourdes intelligence center stopped its operations mainly because of high costs.

Rumors about possible reopening of the base have been repeatedly circulated since its closure, but Russian diplomats and officials rejected them as attempts to spoil the relations between the states. President Vladimir Putin personally denied any plans to reopen the base during his visit to Cuba, adding that Russia can “meet its defense needs without this component.”

READ MORE: No plans to reopen Russian military bases on Cuba – Foreign Ministry

The Soviet Union put 40 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on Cuba in 1962 in reply to the United States’ deployment of their medium-range Jupiter missiles in Turkey. Tensions quickly escalated into the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis and many experts agree that the two nations were very close to a full scale nuclear war. The ensuing talks ended in mutual removal of the weapons from both Turkey and Cuba.

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Source: Communists ask Putin to deploy missiles to Cuba in reply to Pentagon’s Turkey expansion — RT Russian politics

German cities introduce ground traffic lights for distracted phone users — RT Viral

„Smartphone zombies“ … that’s the right expression … no words left …

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Authorities in the German cities of Cologne and Augsburg have installed traffic lights on the ground in the hope that they will get the attention of distracted phone users and stop them from walking out in front of traffic.

At various tram stops around both cities, rows of red LED lights have been installed by the curb and when a tram or bus is approaching, they flash.

It’s hoped the introduction of the lights will prevent so-called “smombies” (smartphone zombies) from being injured in road traffic incidents, which is what happened on two occasions in Augsburg recently.

Two pedestrians were hit by quiet electric cars when they had been looking at their phones in separate incidents, according to The Local. Both received minor injuries in the crashes.

In a more tragic incident in Munich in March, a 15-year-old girl was killed when she walked in front of an oncoming car while looking down at her phone.

“We realized that the normal traffic light isn’t in the line of sight of many pedestrians these days,” explained Tobias Harms, a Augsburg city official. “So we decided to have an additional set of lights – the more we have, the more people are likely to notice them.”

The lights have been installed on a trial basis and one local said they thought they “make it more obvious that you need to stop,” but not everyone is convinced, however.

“I find it scary that smartphone users are so addicted that they need to install lights in the ground so that they notice the tram coming,” another resident said.

One Augsburg teenager even admitted that he “didn’t even notice” the new lights. “Maybe it’d be useful at night, but yeah, I didn’t realize it was there until just now,” the teen said.

They’re not the first cities to introduce such measures to keep pedestrians safer.

Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah tackled the “texting while walking” debacle by introducing three separate lanes around the school’s new Student Life and Wellness Center.

The left lane is for walking, the middle for running and right for texting.

READ MORE: Move, texter, get out the way: Texting lanes debut in Utah

In 2014, the Chinese city of Chongqing introduced separate lanes for smartphone users to prevent them from banging into non-phone using pedestrians.

Similar measures have also been trialed elsewhere around the world, including in Belgium, the UK and in Washington DC.

 

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Quelle: German cities introduce ground traffic lights for distracted phone users — RT Viral

64% of French say refugees are ‘a major source of crime’ – poll — RT News

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At least 64 percent of French people believe that asylum seekers arriving in increasing numbers from North Africa and the Middle East are a “major source of crime,” a recent poll shows.

The survey was conducted by international polling and market research company Ifop for the Russian Sputnik news agency. A total of 1,499 people took part in the poll between February 3 and 5, 2016.

Only 28 percent said that migrants and refugees are not “a major source of crime” in France, while 8 percent refused to answer.

The problem of tolerance in French society became more urgent after the onset of the refugee crisis in 2015 – the biggest since World War II. According to data from Eurostat, France received 70,600 applications for asylum in 2015.

Anti-migrant sentiments were revealed back in September 2015 when the refugee crisis began to worsen. At that time, an opinion poll by French BFMTV showed that 56 percent of respondents were opposed to France adopting a policy of welcoming refugees.

The Paris terror attacks in November 2015 by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants also fueled the overall public disapproval of the increasing numbers of asylum seekers. A total of 130 people were killed in the violence in the French capital.

In February an Ipsos poll published in the French weekly Le Journal Du Dimanche (JDD) provoked strong reaction when it revealed that more than 50 percent of respondents said they would not like it if their daughter-in law or son-in-law were Muslim.

READ MORE: French, Germans & Italians overwhelmingly in favor of abandoning border-free Europe – poll

The region most opposed to refugees is Calais, the location of the infamous ‚Jungle‘ migrant camp. Most Jungle residents, whose overall numbers likely exceed 4,000, are from the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan.

Calais residents have repeatedly staged protests against the refugee camp, and even traveled to Paris to rally in front of the residence of French President Francois Hollande. The Facebook group Les Calaisiens en Colère (Angry people of Calais) has repeatedly released photos and videos allegedly showing migrants smashing local cars and setting properties on fire.

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Quelle: 64% of French say refugees are ‘a major source of crime’ – poll — RT News

US undermining German economy to strengthen its own position – economist — RT News

The US is deliberately harming the German economy to boost its own exports, according to a leading German economist. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Rudolf Hickel also said the US had “shamelessly” exploited the Volkswagen scandal to boost its own car industry.

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Continue reading and source: US undermining German economy to strengthen its own position – economist — RT News

Post-quake chaos in Ecuador in 10 heart-wrenching photos (GRAPHIC) — RT News

Harrowing images from Ecuador reveal the devastation caused by the worst earthquake in the South American nation in 37 years.

WARNING: YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE PICTURES DISTURBING

Two hundred and thirty eight people were killed and around 1,500 injured in a disaster, which hit Ecuador’s Pacific coast, 170 kilometers northwest of the country’s capital, Quito, on Saturday.

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Continue reading and source: Post-quake chaos in Ecuador in 10 heart-wrenching photos (GRAPHIC) — RT News

‘Like Italian mafia’: German gangs recruit new members from asylum seekers, police chief to RT — RT News

Next round of the game about to begin 😉

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German gangs are recruiting new members from asylum seekers, the head of the German police union told RT, adding there are cases when a few days after a refugee camp is set up, “black limousines” apparently containing gang recruiters were spotted.

“In Berlin we have big groups of criminal family clans, among them are groups with Arabic and Asian backgrounds as well as Russians. We have the entire spectrum here,” Bodo Pfalzgraf, head of the German police union in Berlin, said.

He added that the structure of such clans “is based on family connections.”

“You can compare this to the Italian Mafia. It is very hard to break in or establish connections with them. And witnesses are threatened into silence. Those criminal groups spread fear wherever they live and no one is bold enough to come forward, call police or report criminal activity.”

German authorities should ensure newly arrived asylum seekers don’t end up in these gangs, he said.

“There were cases when new refugee camps were opening, and within a few days we could see big black limousines parked outside. That’s where criminals recruit the next generation of criminals.”

According to Pfalzgraf, underage people “without families” face the biggest risk of becoming involved in crime. “For example girls could end up in brothels,” he added.

“But the bigger danger is that we’re not sure who is in the country. We have no reliable information where people are and who they are. In Berlin alone there are probably around 20,000 people we know nothing about.”

Earlier in April, the German Die Welt newspaper reported that criminal gangs in Germany are taking advantage of the refugee influx by recruiting asylum seekers.

According to investigators, the gangs have “exploited the situation,” seeing it as an opportunity to recruit “young and physically strong” men who can do “dirty work” including burglaries, drug trafficking and physical attacks.

Also in April, a report compiled by the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper stated that more than 5,800 refugee children were recorded as missing in Germany in 2015. It added that as many as 555 of them were under the age of 14.

Around 1.1 million refugees arrived in Germany in 2015. Merkel’s government has come under fire for the chancellor’s “welcoming policy” towards them.

A February poll by ARD Deutschlandtrend said more than four in five Germans believe Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government isn’t controlling the refugee crisis, and welcome tougher measures to deal with it.

READ MORE: 130,000 refugees vanished after being registered in Germany – media report

Europe continues to face the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Most asylum seekers are from Syria, where 250,000 people have been killed and more than 12 million displaced since a civil war began there in 2011, according to UN figures.

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Quelle: ‘Like Italian mafia’: German gangs recruit new members from asylum seekers, police chief to RT — RT News

EU approves anti-terror plan to collect airline data of passengers travelling in, out of bloc — RT News

The next step to total surveillance and police state … welcome to the new world 😉

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The European Parliament has overwhelmingly adopted a plan to force airlines to share passenger information with EU states, with calls for stricter anti-terrorism legislation reinforced by recent Islamist attacks in Brussels and Paris.

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Source and continue reading: EU approves anti-terror plan to collect airline data of passengers travelling in, out of bloc — RT News

Macedonian police teargas refugees protesting at Greek border (PHOTOS) — RT News

… and the violence continues, no end in sight …

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Macedonian police have fired tear gas at refugees protesting on the Greek side of the barbed wire fence dividing the two countries. The asylum seekers have been stranded near Idomeni, Greece, since Macedonia shut its borders in February.

Around 50 refugees gathered at the fence in protest on Wednesday, prompting scuffles between demonstrators and police, who responded with tear gas, Reuters reported.

At least one person has been injured, according to reports on social media.

It comes just two days after a group of refugees hijacked a train carriage at Idomeni station in Greece. They attempted to use it to break through a police barricade. Several hundred asylum seekers pushed the wagon towards the border with their bare hands, having filled the carriage with rocks intended to be used as weapons against the police.

On Sunday, hundreds of refugees were wounded in clashes with Macedonian police, after officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a group trying to storm the border.

A deputy field coordinator with Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said around 300 people were treated for injuries following the Sunday clashes, and that more than 30 were wounded by rubber bullets – including three children. Thirty others had open wounds and 200 had respiratory problems from tear gas exposure.

Read more

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Police in Skopje said three officers were also hurt in the clashes.

Protests and violence have become commonplace at the Greek border, where more than 50,000 refugees have been stranded since Macedonia and other Balkan countries shut their borders in February.

An estimated 11,500 people are currently at a refugee camp in Idomeni, stranded in squalid conditions as they await their fate. The camp has been described as a “modern Dachau” by Greek Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis.

It comes as Europe continues to face the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with over a million migrants arriving last year. Most of the refugees come from Syria, where a civil war has killed 250,000 people and displaced more than 12 million since 2011, according to UN figures.

The European Union struck a deal with Turkey in March, under which illegal migrants reaching Greece from Turkey are returned. In response, the EU agreed to take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.

However, European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are set to debate the deal on Wednesday. This follows strong criticism from human rights groups that have questioned whether Turkey is a safe place for migrants to be returned to. Skepticism increased after Amnesty International revealed Turkey has returned thousands of Syrian refugees to the war-torn country since mid-January.

Source: Macedonian police teargas refugees protesting at Greek border (PHOTOS) — RT News