Fears of escalation after 33 Turkish troops killed in Syria’s Idlib

first_imgTopics : The United States condemned the Syrian action, and NATO said it would hold urgent talks on the crisis on Friday.In a move that could have major repercussions for Turkey’s neighbors to the west, Ankara said it would open the way for refugees to go to Europe.”We will no longer keep the doors closed for refugees who want to go to Europe,” an official told AFP on condition of anonymity.Turkey also called on the international community to establish a no-fly zone over Idlib, where regime forces have since December clawed back chunks of the region, forcing close to one million people to flee their homes and shelters amid bitter cold.The United Nations said Monday that the latest fighting was coming “dangerously close” to encampments of the displaced, risking an imminent “bloodbath”.Turkey, which is already home to around 3.6 million Syrian refugees, fears more people arriving in the country where there is growing popular discontent against their presence.In a series of tweets, Altun accused Assad of “conducting ethnic cleansing” and seeking to drive millions of Syrians out of Idlib. “These people will try to escape to Turkey and Europe. Already hosting close to 4 million refugees, we do not have the capacity and resources to allow entry to another million,” he wrote.Groups of migrants have already moved towards western Turkey seeking to reach Greece, Turkey’s private DHA news agency reported.The international community voiced alarm over the latest violence in Idlib.”Without urgent action, the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, reiterating Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s call for an immediate ceasefire.NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged de-escalation by all parties of “this dangerous situation” and condemned the “indiscriminate air strikes”, in a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.A US State Department spokesperson said Washington stood by its NATO ally and continues to call “for an immediate end to this despicable offensive by the Assad regime, Russia and Iranian-backed forces”.Under a 2018 deal with Russia meant to bring calm to Idlib, Turkey has 12 observation posts in the Idlib region — but several have come under fire from Assad’s forces.In its first response to the Turkish deaths, Russia’s defense ministry said the troops were among “terrorist groups” and that they had not communicated their presence in the area.Thursday’s attack brings to 53 the number of Turkish security personnel killed in Idlib so far this month.Elsewhere, jihadists and Turkish-backed rebels on Thursday re-entered Saraqeb, a key Idlib crossroads town they had lost earlier in February, reversing one of the main gains of the government’s devastating offensive.The counter-offensive could, however, be short-lived as Russian-backed Syrian troops continued to chip away at other parts of the rebel bastion, capturing 20 localities.Seven civilians, including three children, were killed in regime and Russian bombardment of Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding to more than 400 such deaths since December.State news agency SANA acknowledged there were “fierce clashes” between the army and “terrorist groups on the Saraqeb front”.An AFP correspondent accompanied the rebels into Saraqeb, where he found a ghost town of bombed out buildings.The counter-attack temporarily reverses one of the key gains of the government since its offensive against the country’s last rebel enclave in December.The cash-strapped government had been keen to fully secure the M5, a highway that connects Syria’s four main cities and passes through Saraqeb.The Syrian Observatory said the air strikes were carried out by Russia, heavily criticized by the West for the high civilian death toll from its bombing campaign.State media accused the “terrorists” of launching car bombings and other suicide attacks against government forces attempting to retake the town.It said the army had inflicted heavy losses on the attackers, despite the military support it said they had received from Turkey.Some 950,0000 civilians have fled the government offensive, raising fears in Ankara of a new influx of refugees.More than half a million of those displaced since December are children, tens of thousands of whom are sleeping rough in northern Syria’s harsh winter.Erdogan had vowed on Wednesday that Ankara would not take the “smallest step back” in the standoff with Damascus and Moscow over Idlib. Adding to the tensions, Moscow announced that two of its warships were transiting Friday through the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul in plain sight of the cityThe UN has repeatedly warned that the fighting in Idlib could potentially create the most serious humanitarian crisis since the start of the civil war start in 2011.But Russian vetoes, often backed by China, have chronically crippled UN action in Syria.Turkey retaliated to Thursday’s strike  by hitting Damascus regime targets “from the air and ground,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said.center_img Turkey warned on Friday it was opening the gates for refugees to flee to Europe after an air strike blamed on Damascus killed 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria.The international community voiced fears of a rapidly-rising risk of escalation after the attack by Russian-backed Syrian forces in the province of Idlib, where President Bashar al-Assad is waging a bloody campaign to oust rebels from their last holdout.The deadly bombardment has added to weeks of growing tensions between rebel supporter and NATO member Ankara and Damascus ally Moscow.last_img read more

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IORP II to remove EU member states’ ability to cap equity exposure

first_imgUnder Article 20 of the revised Directive, member states will no longer be allowed to prevent IORPs that offer guarantees, such as those offered by defined benefit funds, from investing up to 70% of assets in “shares, negotiable securities treated as shares and corporate bonds admitted to trading on regulatory markets”.Wiedner added: “Obviously, that doesn’t mean that, within that 70%, the supervisor should not check which investments are coming out.”In a move meant to allow pension funds to invest in infrastructure, aided by Commission proposals for a central database on infrastructure loan credit history, national supervisors will also now be unable to restrict exposure to any instruments deemed to have a long-term economic benefit, even if these are unlisted.However, the change to the ability of member states to impose “relative weight” restrictions on pension funds will be more significant, especially in countries such as Germany, where pension funds are significantly underweight equities when compared to their counterparts in the Netherlands and UK, where national regulators have a more positive view of stock investments. The European Commission will no longer allow national regulators to restrict a pension fund’s exposure to assets such as equities, removing a member state’s ability to cap allocation to equity to as little as 10%.The revised IORP Directive, released today, proposed a number of amendments to investment rules, such as removing from member states the ability to restrict investment in assets that could promote growth.Discussing the changes at a press conference attended by internal market commissioner Michel Barnier, Klaus Wiedner, head of the pensions and insurance unit, said national regulators’ ability to limit exposure to as little as 10% of assets had been taken away.“Now what we have is 70% [of assets as] the only restriction possible that the supervisor can impose on pension funds,” he said.last_img read more

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Repsol aiming to cease Rev field production by April 2020

first_imgSpanish oil company Repsol has filed an application to remove the export pipeline and umbilical of the Rev field, with plans to cease production from the field in the first quarter of 2020.The Rev Field, is located in the Norwegian Continental Shelf, however, the export pipeline and umbilical cross over into the UKCS and connect to Chrysaor’s Armada platform.Repsol is now looking to remove 4.8 km of 12-inch gas condensate pipeline from the UK median line to the flange at the Rev Subsea Isolation Valve (SSIV) close to the Chrysaor operated Armada platform; and 4.9 km of the Rev electrical and hydraulic control cable (umbilical) from the UK median line to the point at which it joins the junction box close to Armada.The Rev Field started production in 2009 but production has decreased to the extent that the field now only produces intermittently (at times of appropriate reservoir pressure).Based on the periodic nature of production of the Rev Field, Repsol is planning to cease production of the field, the latest date is 31st March 2020, but could be earlier.Leave it in the groundAs for the decommissioning, the plan is to leave the buried parts of the pipeline in place and remove the exposed sections of the pipeline within the Armada 500-meter zone. Repsol has said this partial removal option is preferred as de-burying the pipeline, buried between 1 m and 2 m, would take up 10 times the activity required to make the pipeline safe and leave it in place.“Additionally, the potential long-term impacts are minimal due to the depth of burial which has been demonstrated to be broadly constant since installation in 2008. The exposed section of the pipeline up to the 12-inch flexible from the SSIV will be fully removed (150 m),” Repsol said.The umbilical is to be fully removed by reverse reeling.“The umbilical has been left to naturally backfill, and although backfill has occurred the depth of burial and the trench profile combined pose a risk in the long term that significant remedial work may be required to ensure the umbilical is safe. Removal by reverse reeling is achievable, safe and economical in the long term,” Repsol said.The 12-inch export pipeline has in place 22 concrete mattresses and the umbilical has in place 48 concrete mattresses. These will all be removed as part of the Rev UKCS Decommissioning Project.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

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O’Neill quietly confident

first_imgNorthern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is not getting carried away by the prospect of making history in Greece, but is quietly confident his side can achieve their Euro 2016 ambition. In order to do that on Tuesday he must plot a course past a Greek side who remain favourites to reach the finals in Paris despite collecting just one point thus far. O’Neill was keen to downplay the wider relevance of any such achievement, instead narrowing his focus to the business at hand: continuing the feelgood factor and achieving a top-three finish. “There’s a million stats out there but they’re not a concern to us at all,” he said. “It’s about the 90 minutes, taking something from the game, all of the other stuff is totally irrelevant to me. “Our aim hasn’t changed just because we’ve had a good start and Greece have had a poor start, our objective is to try and finish in those top three positions. “We’ve never said we think we can win the group or anything like that, but the belief is in this squad that they are more than capable of competing. “I believe in the team. I think there is a sense that some people can get carried away and we are looked at as all conquering, but you have to be sensible also and recognise that Greece are the number one seed in the group. “When we looked at the fixtures when they came out and our best chances of getting points this wouldn’t have been a game we would have looked at. Press Association O’Neill has led the team to successive victories over Hungary and the Faroe Islands, leaving them in the unexpected position of topping Group F. It is the first time since 1968 that Northern Ireland have won their first two qualifiers but none of O’Neill’s predecessors have ever gone one better than that. But the start has given us the belief that we can come here and add to our points tally.” Despite O’Neill’s typically measured approach, he was not above making a light-hearted pitch for recognition at the redeveloped Windsor Park should he stretch the 100 per cent record to a third game. “I would expect some sort of plaque or statue if I’m honest,” he joked. The former Shamrock Rovers boss is considering changes to his starting XI, despite Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Faroes being one step up from a walk in the park. West Brom’s Gareth McAuley is hoping to win his 50th cap in Athens but has been struggling for fitness having collided with the post against the islanders, while Blackburn midfielder Corry Evans is in line for a recall in place of the more attack-minded Niall McGinn. But one man who can guarantee his place in the side is goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who will make a swift return to his former home stadium having left Olympiacos in the summer. Asked if the 37-year-old, who made a superb penalty save at the weekend, had been able to provide the inside track on his former team-mates in the Greece squad, O’Neill said: “Anyone who knows Roy will know that he talks a lot about himself more than anyone else. “He says he is the greatest goalkeeper ever to play for Olympiacos! “But he’s talked a lot to us about the Greek mentality more than individual players. “He is a very popular figure here, I believe, and he has been excellent for us since returning to the national team.” Carroll has warned his side to expect an intense welcome from the stands but that holds no fear for his manager. “I actually prefer it that way,” he said. “We’ve seen this group of players in front of 60,000 people in Uruguay, so I don’t have any worries. “When you come away from home you expect it and I think they’ll rise to it, not be intimidated by it.” last_img read more

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Deschamps lives in present as France reach final

first_imgSt Petersburg, July 11: France coach Didier Deschamps went down his memory lane, marked by happy and sad moments, after his team’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the FIFA World Cup semi-final.Samuel Umtiti’s 51st-minute header gave France the win on Tuesday night and Deschamps said he had already seen scenes of celebration which reminded him of his success as a player when France last won the World Cup in 1998.“It brings back excellent memories, but that was in the final, this is the semifinal. We have a privilege to get to the final,” he remarked, before saying he was “here to write a new page in history.”“What we did 20 years ago will always remain, but you have to live in the present, you can’t look in the rear-view mirror, you have to move forward,” explained Deschamps.The win means France have another shot at a title, two years after losing the final of the 2016 European Championships 0-1 to Portugal on home soil.“Two years ago, it was really painful, but in sport you have the chance to share success with the French people. The Euros were at home, but here we can still feel the support of the French people,” said Deschamps, who praised the commitment of his players. “We have spent 49 days together: who could believe we are now in the final of the World Cup. Now we have 4 days to prepare. We are going to celebrate with our families and then we will do everything to ensure there is no repeat of two years ago,” he said.Deschamps said Belgium were difficult rivals and had “made us suffer, but it is good we were pragmatic and realistic.”“We faced a really good Belgium team, but we hurt them and we could have hurt them more if we had been more precise, but we were prepared for anything and we showed once again everything that is positive,” commented Deschamps.The French coach had special praise for Paul Pogba. “He has grown in the team, he’s an expressive player and his performance only increases his importance to the side.” IANSlast_img read more

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Illegal poachers held in Jamaican waters…again

first_imgFor the second time in just over a week, the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard has collared illegal poachers in Jamaican waters.Last Wednesday April 5, a team of JDF Coast Guard soldiers on board one of the newly acquired Offshore Patrol Vessels, HMJS Cornwall, were conducting routine patrols in a vicinity South of the Pedro Cays. The team spotted a suspicious vessel in the area and signaled them to halt, before carrying out a boarding and search. The vessel was later found with 59 Dominican Republic nationals on board and more than 7,675 pounds of fish in storage.All 59 men were detained and the vessel seized and towed to the JDF Coast Guard Base at Cagway in Port Royal.Within hours of intercepting that first vessel, the JDF Coast Guard team was alerted to a second fishing vessel in the vicinity experiencing mechanical difficulties.Upon boarding it to carry out repairs and an inspection, 23 Jamaicans and more than 5,480 pounds of fish were discovered. None of the men has a license to fish. They were also detained their boat seized.This week’s operations brings to 114, the number of illegal fishermen caught in Jamaican waters in just over a week.On Sunday, March 26, 32 fishermen from the Dominican Republic were caught by the same HMJS Cornwall crew, about 120 miles south of Jamaica and close to the Pedro Cays. The estimated value of all three seizures is approximately $16.5m, at a weight of over 33,000 pounds.According to Major Basil Jarrett, Civil Military Cooperation Officer for the JDF, these arrests are nothing new.“The JDF Coast Guard is the country’s only Maritime Law Enforcement agency in these offshore waters and so it is our duty to routinely patrol the extensive range of our maritime domain. These patrols have the capability to detect and the authority to arrest foreign nationals in our waters and so we have standard operating procedures for handling these cases. This typically involves us working closely with the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs a well as the maritime police and the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).”last_img read more

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Atletico Madrid’s match against Liverpool at Anfield ’caused 41 more COVID-19 deaths’ – Report

first_img41 coronavirus deaths were recorded in the United Kingdom as a result of the UEFA Champions League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid.Data from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), according to an analysis by Edge Health, shows that 41 more deaths were recorded about a month after the encounter.The game was the last major match in England before the pandemic forced the country into lockdown. The UK had about 100,000 cases at the time but now has over 260,000 cases and 36,793 deaths.The Daily Mail reports that 52,000 people watched the match inside Anfield on March 11 with about 3,000 Atletico supporters in the crowd.While about 640,000 confirmed cases of the disease had been reported in Spain at the time businesses and public spaces in the country had been closed as a result.Madrid’s Mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almedia said in April that allowing Atletico’s fans to travel to England for the match and allowing the game to continue was a “mistake.”“It didn’t make any sense that 3,000 Atletico fans could travel to Anfield at that time. It was a mistake. Looking back with hindsight, of course, but I think even at that time there should have been more caution,” he said.Atletico won the match 3-2 and progressed 4-2 on aggregate.Suggestions have also been made that the match between Valencia and Atalanta was a major factor in the sharp spike in Italy and Spain’s coronavirus cases.Spain currently has about 236,000 confirmed cases and 28,773 deaths.last_img read more

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Donaldson’s P.R.O.M.I.S.E. camp develops youth on and off court

first_imgby Malik VincentOne of the ways that Jakim Donaldson, a former basketball standout at Edinboro University, gives back to his North Side community is his annual summer basketball camp.The 6-foot-8 former Division II All-American currently competes overseas in Spain’s top professional league. The Oliver grad and his father, Jay, organized the camp that had more than 70 kids, this year. STAR POWER—Former UConn star Ashley Battle (right) drives on two campers. Battle was one of the instructors at the Jakim Donaldson P.R.O.M.I.S.E. Basketball Camp held July 25-27 at Perry High School. (Courier Photos/William McBride) “Just to see the twinkle in the kids’ eyes when you say ‘free camp’ motivates us,” Jay said.The annual camp is in its second year and was held July 25-27 at Perry High School.“I think it’s so instrumental to have these types of things for the development of young players,” Jakim said. “They didn’t have very many free camps when I was coming up, so for them to have a chance to take advantage of one makes it a worthwhile cause.”With both offensive and defensive drills as well as ball handling technique training, the camp focused on what to do on the court, but Donaldson said that’s not its sole teaching.“We had several people come in and mentor the participants,” Jay added. “We want them to understand the importance of how to conduct themselves off the court. It’s equally important.Several entities, throughout the North Side and beyond, served as the camp’s sponsors. Some included: the Northside Leadership Conference, Mark Anthony Salon in Oakland, Quik-it Chicken on Brighton Road, and City of Pittsburgh District 6 City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle.“We’re in our second year and it’s great to see how some the kids have grown mentally, in their game, and physically,” Jakim added.His father pointed out the Pittsburgh Pirates as a major sponsor. His other son, Jehru—18 at the time—was murdered on his way to one of their games.The team has donated 150 to 200 tickets to their P.R.O.M.I.S.E. (Protecting and Restoring the Order of Mankind with the Initiative of Serving Elders) organization, which is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit.“We at P.R.O.M.I.S.E. are very appreciative to the Pirates’ generosity, not only with this camp, but with everything that this organization does,” he said.In addition to the camp, they also hold an annual ‘Gathering of Loved Ones’ event that is held in Northside’s West Park that provides food and games, in an effort to stop the violence.“The community’s role in this is essential for our growth,” Jay said. “We need its continued support in order for us to keep this going.”(Malik Vincent can be reached at mvincent@newpittsburghcourier.com or on Twitter @malikvincent.)last_img read more

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McLeod Shines, Sends No. 8 Sam Houston State to Thursday’s Action

first_imgMcLeod set the tone early for the kind of night she had in store for her side. The junior from Austin, Texas, struck out her first three batters faced swinging. She did not allow a hit until the fourth inning with two outs when the Ladyjacks’ right fielder Autumn Holloway popped one over to shallow right-field. She tallied 11 strikeouts and gave up just three hits for the game.The Bearkats took advantage of an SFA error in the bottom of the third inning when SFA catcher Taylor Fraccastoro threw it at third base searching for teammate Amber Landry to pick off Sam Houston’s third baseman Katie Andrie. The ball went past and Andrie came home easily for the 1-0 lead. The Ladyjacks’ leftfielder Madison Selman hit a ground rule double to centerfield with one out in the fifth, but McLeod caught back-to-back batters swinging to hold the lead for the Bearkats. Sam Houston capitalized on its opportunities in the bottom frame, highlighted by second baseman Brooke Malia’s two-run shot to centerfield to score her and shortstop Tiffany Thompson. The Bearkats had picked up a run right before when Thompson singled to right field to bring Andrie home for her second run of the day. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Taylar Fuselier entered the game to pinch hit for left fielder Samantha Belongia, and she drove in two insurance runs on a triple to right-field.center_img Tournament Central | Box Score | Highlights | ReplayLAKE CHARLES, La. – A lights out night for Sam Houston State’s right-handed pitcher Lindsey McLeod advanced the Bearkats at the 2018 Southland Conference Softball Tournament at Joe Miller Field in Lake Charles, La.In the first Southland Softball Tournament with eight teams in 30 years, the No. 8 seed defeated No. 2 Stephen F. Austin 6-0 to eliminate the Ladyjacks and schedule a 1:30 p.m. CT contest Thursday with No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana. The winner will move on to face the loser of tomorrow morning’s 11 a.m. game.last_img read more

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Aldin Ayo signs six-year deal with UST

first_imgLATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Defending champ Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals EXCLUSIVE: Former La Salle coach Aldin Ayo confirms he will coach the Growling Tigers for the next six years. Ayo said IPEA officials will make official announcement on Jan. 11. pic.twitter.com/cKLVqhMk3q— The Varsitarian (@varsitarianust) January 4, 2018 OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The official announcement is expected to be made next week, the report also said.The 40-year-old mentor will now be in charge of his third school in four years as he seeks to recapture UST’s lost glory while also eyeing to sustain his triumphant streak which saw him win titles in Letran in the NCAA and La Salle in UAAP.Ayo garnered a 30-5 record in his two-year stay with the Green Archers, including the UAAP Season 79 championship back in 2016.READ: Boy Sablan out as UST coach ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award READ: Ayo bids La Salle goodbye, hints at differences in handling teamAyo is reportedly signing a six-year contract with UST, giving him ample time to turn around a basketball program which is in dire need of a reboot.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAldin Ayo has formalized his transfer to University of Santo Tomas and reportedly signed a long term deal.The Varsitarian, the school’s official publication, broke the news early Friday, finally ending speculations on the mentor’s next destination after he left La Salle.ADVERTISEMENT The biggest challenge, however, is turning the fortunes around of UST, which finished on a humiliating 1-13 run under Boy Sablan last UAAP Season 80.Ayo will have Marvin Lee, Jordan Sta. Ana, and Cameroonian big man Steve Akomo, as well as returnees Renzo Subido and Mario Bonleon in the new chapter of his career. View commentslast_img read more

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