Number of people killed in Turkey and Syria expected to keep rising as anger grows in Turkey over slow response from authorities
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that the death toll from Monday’s quake has reached 8,754. Combined with the 2,470 known deaths in Syria, that brings the total official death toll to 11,224.
The World Health Organization has suggested the final toll could rise as high as 20,000. A similar-sized earthquake in the region in 1999 killed at least 17,000 people.
Reuters reports that, speaking to reporters in the Kahramanmaraş province near the epicentre of the earthquake, with constant ambulance sirens in the background, Erdoğan said there had been problems with roads and airports but that everything would get better by the day.
He also said citizens should only heed communication from authorities and ignore “provocateurs,” as thousands of people complain about the lack of resources and slow response by officials. Turkish police have detained several people over their social media posts about the earthquake.
German officials arrested 22 suspected members and three suspected supporters of a far-right terrorist organization across the country on Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.
KYIV, Ukraine — In a new display of defiance from Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to an eastern city near the front line Tuesday while two more strategic sites inside Russia were reportedly hit by drone attacks.
A fire blamed on a drone attack broke out at an airport in Russia’s southern Kursk region that borders Ukraine, the region’s governor said Tuesday. In a second incident, an industrial plant 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Ukrainian border was also targeted by drones, Russian independent media reported, apparently missing a fuel depot at the site.
The strikes were carried out a day after Moscow blamed Kyiv for unprecedented drone attacks on two air bases deep inside Russia, and carried out another wave of missile strikes on Ukrainian territory.
Marking Ukraine’s armed forces day, Zelenskyy traveled to the eastern Donetsk region and vowed to push Russian forces out of all of Ukraine’s territory.
“Everyone sees your strength and your skill. … I’m grateful to your parents. They raised real heroes,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to Ukrainian forces from the city of the Sloviansk, a key Ukrainian stronghold in the east.
Truss resigned as U.K. prime minister after a month and a half office.
By Elsa Maishman
News of Liz Truss’s resignation has prompted quick reaction from political leaders and media commentators around the world, with many editorials focused on the brevity of Truss’s time in office and the ongoing political chaos in Britain.
Among foreign politicians, France’s President Emmanuel Macron said that on a personal level, he was always “sad to see a colleague go”, but that the most important thing was for Britain to find stability as soon as possible.
At the White House, reporters asked US President Joe Biden whether Ms Truss had made the right decision. He replied that it was her decision to make, adding that he wouldn’t “weigh in on her judgment”.
In an earlier statement, Mr Biden said close relations with the UK would continue, and thanked Ms Truss for her partnership “on a range of issues including holding Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine”.
One of Ukraine’s MPs – Oleksiy Goncharenko – also thanked Ms Truss for her support, saying that “Ukraine will never forget you!”
However, there was little sympathy for Liz Truss from Russia. Its foreign ministry spokeswoman welcomed her departure, saying Britain had “never known such a disgrace of a prime minister.”
Liz Truss is fighting to save her job as Britain’s prime minister after more of her own lawmakers called for her to quit, incensed by a shambolic parliamentary vote and the resignation of her home secretary late on Wednesday.
Truss’s government has “12 hours” to “turn the ship around,” Conservative lawmaker Simon Hoare said on Thursday, after a vote on whether to ban controversial fracking for shale gas descended into chaos.
Lawmakers reported that aides for Truss manhandled MPs into the voting lobby to force them to vote against the ban. The government initially presented the vote as a confidence motion in Truss’s government, but confusion remains about whether it was. A Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday that Conservative lawmakers who didn’t participate in Wednesday evening’s vote will face disciplinary action, PA Media said.
Prosecutors, who are in the early stages of the investigation, said there were no elements to suspect terrorism was behind the incident. Ten other people suffered life-threatening injuries.
BRUSSELS — A car slammed at high speed into Carnival revelers in a small town in southern Belgium early Sunday, killing six people and leaving 10 more with life-threatening injuries, authorities said, adding many others were lightly injured.
“What should have been a great party turned into a tragedy,” said Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.
The prosecutor’s office, which gave the death toll, also said two local people in their thirties were arrested at the scene in Strépy-Bracquegnies, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Brussels. Prosecutors said, in the early stages of their investigation, there were no elements to suspect a terror motive.
In an age-old tradition, Carnival revelers had gathered at dawn, intending to pick up others at their homes along the way, to finally hold their famous festivity again after it was banned for the past two years to counter the spread of COVID-19. Some dressed in colorful garb with bells attached, walking behind the beat of drums. It was supposed to be a day of deliverance.
Instead, said mayor Jacques Gobert, “what happened turned it into a national catastrophe.”
Ukraine’s embattled leader accused Russia of war crimes and “state terrorism” Tuesday after a fresh blast struck the heart of the country’s second-largest city, fueling fears civilians would face the brunt of an intensifying assault.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to defend Kyiv and sought to rally both his country and the international community against what he called “outright, undisguised terror” from Moscow, in a video message posted on social media.
Global condemnation and crippling sanctions have left the Kremlin isolated in the wake of last week’s invasion, confronting a spiraling economy and dogged defense from Ukrainian forces. U.S. officials said they feared Russian President Vladimir Putin, frustrated by his military’s struggles, may see an escalation of violence as his only option.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States, European Union and United Kingdom on Saturday agreed to put in place crippling sanctions on the Russian financial sector, including a block on its access to the global financial system and, for the first time, restrictions on its central bank in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.
The measures were announced jointly as part of a new round of financial sanctions meant to “hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.” The central bank restrictions target the more than $600 billion in reserves that the Kremlin has at its disposal, meant to limit Russia’s ability to support the ruble amid tightening Western sanctions.
Cumulatively the steps announced by the West since Russia began the invasion would potentially amount to some of the toughest sanctions on any country in modern times, and if fully carried out as planned, would severely damage the Russian economy and markedly constrain its ability to import and export goods.
WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday warned that if Russia invades Ukraine, there would be no Nord Stream 2, but did not specify how he would go about ensuring the controversial pipeline would not be used.
Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Biden said, “If Russia invades… again, then there will be longer Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
When asked how he would do that, he responded, “I promise you we will be able to do it.”
Europe’s most divisive energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed by Russian energy giant Gazprom to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine.
The Biden administration is considering sending as many as 5,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, a U.S. official confirmed to NPR, in what would be a step-up in American military involvement in the region amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. troops could be headed to Romania and Poland, or possibly Bulgaria or Hungary. No final decision has been made but the troops have been told to be ready to move, the official said.
U.S. service members could be drawn from their existing posts elsewhere in NATO countries in Europe. Some of the troops would also likely come from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The New York Times, which first reported the news of planned troop movements, said senior Pentagon officials laid out a number of options for President Biden on Saturday.
Among them, sending 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Eastern European countries and the Baltics, “with the potential to increase that number tenfold if things deteriorate,” according to the Times.
There are no plans to send more Americans into Ukraine itself, according to the paper.
AMSTERDAM, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Riots broke out in cities across the Netherlands on Sunday, the third night in a row that police clashed with mobs of angry youths who set fires and threw rocks to protest COVID-19 restrictions.
Unrest was reported in locations including Leeuwarden and Groningen in the north, the eastern town of Enschede and Tilburg in the south. In Enschede, where an emergency ordinance was issued, police used batons to try to disperse a crowd, according to video on social media. In Leeuwarden, police vans were pelted with rocks and black-clad groups chanted and set off flares.
Responding to the worst disturbances since a full lockdown led to widespread disorder and more than 500 arrests in January, police said five officers had been injured overnight Saturday and at least 64 people detained in three provinces, including dozens who threw fireworks and fences during a soccer match at Feyenoord Rotterdam’s stadium.
The latest unrest began on Friday night in Rotterdam, where police opened fire on a crowd that had swelled to hundreds during a protest that the city’s mayor said had turned into “an orgy of violence”.
Austria imposed a lockdown on people unvaccinated against the coronavirus on Monday as winter approaches and infections rise across Europe, with Germany considering tighter curbs and Britain expanding its booster programme to younger adults.
Five people, including a young child, were killed in a mass shooting in southwest England on Thursday, authorities said.
The shooter, who was also killed, kicked in the door of a home then gunned down a woman and her young daughter before randomly opening fire on other people in the streets of Plymouth, reports and officials said.
Two women and two men were found dead at the scene as well as another man believed to be the gunman, Devon & Cornwall police said in a statement. A woman was transported to a local hospital and later died, police said.
More people were being treated for their injuries in the hospital, a local member of Parliament said.
“We should prepare ourselves for more grim news tomorrow,” MP Luke Pollard said on Twitter. “Please look out for one another.”
Pollard said he was “utterly devastated” that one of those killed was a child under 10 years old.
The protests come after France’s highest court upheld the majority of a new law mandating the health pass and the vaccination of health-care workers.
Thousands of protesters flocked to the streets throughout France on Saturday, August 7, for the fourth weekend in a row to demonstrate against a new pandemic health permit that is required to access most establishments or use public transportation. The current round of demonstrations comes after France’s highest court upheld the majority of a new law mandating the health pass and the vaccination of healthcare professionals against the coronavirus. According to the court, the stipulations were in line with the nation’s founding charter.
As per a notification issued by the French government on July 29, residents were expected to “present a health pass to access leisure and culture venues and events bringing together more than 50 people.” The health cards will be required to enter pubs, restaurants, and shopping centres starting Monday, as well as for the long-distance travel by plane, rail, or bus.
President Emmanuel Macron has pushed for the pass, which requires confirmation of vaccination, a negative coronavirus test result within the last 48 hours, or proof of recovery from the virus for at least 15 days (but not more than six months).
Macron thinks that the new laws will encourage inhabitants to get vaccinated and prevent the spread of the fast-spreading Delta strain of the coronavirus as France approaches the “fourth wave” of the pandemic. According to polls, the majority of French citizens approve the health passes.
THRAKOMAKEDONES, Greece — Wildfires rampaged through some of Greece’s last remaining forests for yet another day Saturday, encroaching on more inhabited areas after burning scores of homes, businesses and farms during the country’s worst heat wave in three decades.
One of the massive fires advanced up the slopes of Mount Parnitha, a national park north of Athens and one of the last substantial forests near the Greek capital. The blaze sent choking smoke across the capital region, where authorities set up a hotline for residents with breathing problems. Throughout the day, fire crews struggled to contain constant flare-ups.
Thousands of residents and vacationers in areas where fires broke out days ago have fled by land and by sea as firefighters and volunteers battled through the night.
In apocalyptic scenes overnight and into Saturday morning, ferries evacuated 1,153 people from a seaside village and beaches on Evia, an island of rugged, forested mountains popular with holidaymakers and campers, after approaching flames cut off other means of escape. People clutched babies and helped elderly people traverse a pebble beach to the small ferries. Behind them, towering flames and smoke blanketed the forested hills.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish authorities on Thursday began investigating the cause of a string of forest fires in Turkey’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean regions, including two near the coastal resort town of Manavgat that killed three people and sent over 50 others to the hospital as homes burned down.
A wildfire that broke out Wednesday in Manavgat, in Antalya province, and was fanned by strong winds and scorching temperatures, was largely contained, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said. But another fire that started overnight and swept through the district of Akseki, 50 kilometers (30 miles) north, kept firefighters engaged.
Three people were killed in those fires, and authorities evacuated nearly 20 neighborhoods or villages.
The Antalya region is a popular vacation destination for tourists from Russia and other parts of Europe.
Fires also broke out Thursday in 16 other locations, including in the Icmeler region, close to the resort of Marmaris, 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Antalya, that briefly threatened holiday homes and hotels. A hotel in the Aegean beach resort of Guvercinlik, near the town of Bodrum, was also evacuated, Pakdemirli said.
MADRID (AP) — John McAfee, the creator of McAfee antivirus software, was found dead in his jail cell near Barcelona in an apparent suicide Wednesday, hours after a Spanish court approved his extradition to the United States to face tax charges punishable by decades in prison, authorities said.
The eccentric cryptocurrency promoter and tax opponent whose history of legal troubles spanned from Tennessee to Central America to the Caribbean was discovered at the Brians 2 penitentiary in northeastern Spain. Security personnel tried to revive him, but the jail’s medical team finally certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.
“A judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the causes of death,” it said, adding that “everything points to death by suicide.”
The statement didn’t identify McAfee by name but said the dead man was a 75-year-old U.S. citizen awaiting extradition to his country. A Catalan government official familiar with the case who was not authorized to be named in media reports confirmed to The Associated Press that it was McAfee.
Spain’s National Court on Monday ruled in favor of extraditing McAfee, 75, who had argued in a hearing earlier this month that the charges against him by prosecutors in Tennessee were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if returned to the U.S.
The court’s ruling was made public on Wednesday and was open for appeal, with any final extradition order also needing to get approval from the Spanish Cabinet.
McAfee was arrested last October at Barcelona’s international airport and had been in jail since then awaiting the outcome of extradition proceedings. The arrest followed charges the same month in Tennessee for evading taxes after failing to report income from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consulting work, made speaking engagements and sold the rights to his life story for a documentary. The criminal charges carried a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
Remember Clark Griswold, that happy-go-lucky Everyman who takes the trip of a lifetime, offends his hosts, and confirms every prejudice about Americans? Welcome to “Joe Biden’s European Vacation.”
The president is reviving the National Lampoon series on his trip to England for the G-7 summit. Too bad it’s his own nation he’s lampooning.
Like the Griswolds’ summer vacations, these trips are planned to the last detail, only for everything to go wrong. On Wednesday night, as President and Dr. Griswold bedded down on Air Force One, the British papers broke the story that Yael Lempert, the new American ambassador to the UK, had issued Boris Johnson’s government with a demarche.
A demarche isn’t one of the fancy foods the Griswolds eat in France. It’s diplo-speak for putting your enemies on notice. Or, as in this case, insulting your closest ally and making a delicate situation worse.