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Updated: 10 weeks 6 days ago

Venezuela ‘using excessive force, arrests to crush protests’

Tue, 2017-08-08 15:54

Venezuelan security forces have systematically wielded excessive force to suppress protests, killing dozens, and have arbitrarily detained 5,000 people since April, including 1,000 still in custody, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday.

It called on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to rein in security forces and investigate alleged abuses and release people from arbitrary detention.

On Friday, Venezuela inaugurated a new legislative superbody that is expected to rewrite the constitution and give vast powers to Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party, defying protests and worldwide condemnation that it undermines democratic freedoms.

“We are concerned that the situation in Venezuela is escalating and these patterns of human rights violations are showing no signs of abating,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva.

The ousting of Attorney-General Luisa Ortega, an outspoken government critic, was a sign of an “increasing undermining of democratic institutions and of independent institutions”, she said, calling on the government to ensure her safety.

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ordered the arrest of opposition mayor Ramon Muchacho of the Caracas district of Chacao, the site of intense anti-government protests.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement: “These violations have occurred amid the breakdown of the rule of law in Venezuela, with constant attacks by the Government against the National Assembly and the Attorney-General’s Office.

“The responsibility for the human rights violations we are recording lies at the highest levels of Government.”

UN human rights officers were not allowed into Venezuela, but issued preliminary findings based on 135 interviews in Panama and from Geneva in June and July with victims, families, witnesses, doctors and lawyers. They also received information from the Venezuelan ombudsman’s office.

Of 124 deaths investigated, they found at least 46 attributable to security forces and 27 to pro-government armed groups, with the rest unclear.

“Witnesses spoke of security forces firing tear gas and buckshot at anti-Government protestors without warning. Several of the individuals interviewed said tear gas canisters were used at short range, and marbles, buckshot and nuts and bolts were used as ammunition,” Shamdasani said.

Ill-treatment and torture have been reported in detention, including beatings, use of electric shocks, hanging detainees by their wrists and “suffocation with gas”, she said.

“Journalists have reportedly been shot at with tear gas canisters and buck shot and been detained, threatened and had their equipment taken on several occasions,” she added.

The post Venezuela ‘using excessive force, arrests to crush protests’ appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Tillyria bombings marked, Akinci says two sides must have peaceful relations (Updated)

Tue, 2017-08-08 15:35

Following a short delay, 46 small buses carrying some 900 Turkish Cypriots started crossing over the Limnitis checkpoint on Tuesday morning, en route to the Kokkina enclave for the annual celebrations of the Tillyria bombing by the Turkish air force in 1964.

The delay, the Cyprus News Agency reported, related to procedural issues, since the number of buses initially authorized by the Republic of Cyprus to cross over to Kokkina was 30, while the Turkish Cypriot side informed on Monday afternoon that over 70 would be despatched.

In the end, it was agreed that the Turkish Cypriots would be allowed to cross in 46 buses.

A number of Turkish Cypriots will to go to the enclave with cruise ships and military boats on Tuesday.

‘State’ officials from the Turkish-held part of Cyprus also arrived at Kokkina for the celebrations, including Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who was transported there by helicopter.

In remarks at the event, Akinci repeated the claim that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to “walk the last mile for a bicommunal, bizonal, federal solution to the Cyprus problem” at the recent Swiss talks, unlike the Greek Cypriot side.

“With or without a solution, however, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots must have a peaceful relationship,” he added, expressing hope that a deal might be struck eventually.

Addressing the problems at the Limnitis crossing point on Tuesday morning, Akinci said “these things should not happen”.

“Cyprus is big enough for both communities, and they can live peacefully if each respects the other’s rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot opposition parties blasted the government for allowing Turkish Cypriots to pass through the government-controlled territories to attend a celebration of events that cost the lives of Greek Cypriots.

“Turkey’s cowardly bombings of 1964 teach us that a solution [to the Cyprus problem] must explicitly rule out a role and stake for Turkey in Cyprus,” Diko said.

“We are saddened to note that Turkish Cypriots celebrate the cowardly slaughtering of civilians in 1964.”

The government’s permission for “Turkish Cypriots and settlers” to travel to Kokkina for “the provocative celebration of barbaric bombings with banned napalm bombs”, Edek said, is merely confirmation of the “rampant defeatism” of the government.

“Unfortunately, the general way it chooses to stand opposite Turkey and the occupying regime is fearful and yielding,” the party charged.

The president of the community council of Kato Pyrgos, the main village in the Tillyria region, Nicos Cleanthous, described the day as one of infamy for the area and all of Cyprus in general.

The memories, he said, go back 53 years, with older people remembering the crimes committed by Turkey in the Tillyria region, with the bombings of the Turkish Air Force in August 1964 at the expense of the civilian population of the region.

Following inter-communal violence which erupted in December 1963, Turkish Cypriots established a bridgehead at Kokkina in 1964, providing them with arms, volunteers and materials from Turkey.

Seeing this incursion of foreign weapons and troops as a major threat, the Cypriot government launched an attack on the bridgehead. Turkey retaliated by dispatching its fighter jets to bomb Greek positions.

For three days in August, Turkish warplanes bombed the Tylliria area, hitting residential areas and a hospital. Over 50 people were killed, including 19 civilians.

The threat of a Turkish military escalation and a resolution of the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire ended the standoff on August 10, 1964.

Last year a total 1,015 Turkish Cypriots visited the area on the day of the anniversary.





The post Tillyria bombings marked, Akinci says two sides must have peaceful relations (Updated) appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Standard Life: Gars crash

Tue, 2017-08-08 15:18
Merging with Aberdeen will reduce dependence on a key fund range

Policeman who filmed nude sunbathers from helicopter jailed

Tue, 2017-08-08 15:09

A former police officer who filmed naked sunbathers and a couple having sex from a helicopter in northern England was sentenced to 12 months in prison on Tuesday.

Adrian Pogmore, 50, used a South Yorkshire police helicopter camera to shoot footage of a mother and her daughters sunbathing naked in their garden, naturists at a campsite and a couple he knew who were having sex on their patio.

“You quite literally considered yourself above the law,” Judge Peter Kelson told Pogmore according to the BBC.

“So strong were your sexual urges that you were willing to take, and did take, substantial risks of being detected by your colleagues in the helicopter at the time,” Kelson said as he sentenced him at Sheffield Crown Court.

Pogmore had pleaded guilty to four counts of misconduct in a public office at an earlier hearing and had already been fired from the police for discreditable conduct after an internal investigation.

“This kind of behaviour by an officer is completely unacceptable, and the outcome for Mr Pogmore is consistent with the decision we took in 2015 to dismiss him from the service,” said Mark Roberts, Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police.

Two other police officers and two pilots who were in the helicopter when some of the footage was captured were cleared of misconduct last week.

Pogmore was the only one present on each of the occasions that filming took place, a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said following the acquittals.

Internal investigations by South Yorkshire Police into the conduct of the two other officers and pilots are ongoing

The post Policeman who filmed nude sunbathers from helicopter jailed appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Venezuela court orders Maduro opponent arrest

Tue, 2017-08-08 15:03
Venezuela's Supreme Court has ordered that one of the leaders of the protests against President Nicolas Maduro be arrested and imprisoned.

NGO says boat drifting after Italy and Malta refuse access

Tue, 2017-08-08 14:52

A Spanish aid group operating in the Mediterranean said on Tuesday one of its boats had been barred by Italy and Malta from disembarking migrants rescued two days ago.

Humanitarian groups have played a growing role in rescuing migrants who pay criminal gangs for passage from Libya, prompting accusations in Italy that they are facilitating people smuggling and encouraging migration. The groups deny this.

It was not clear why the Golfo Azzurro, run by Barcelona-based Proactiva Open Arms, was not allowed to dock in Lampedusa. It is now in international waters.

The Italian coastguard could not be reached for comment.

“Golfo Azzurro rescued three people 100 miles from the Libyan coast in an (Italian) coastguard operation 48 hours ago and we are still without authorisation to disembark,” Proactiva said on Twitter.

The Italian interior ministry has proposed a code of conduct which Proactiva signed in Rome on Tuesday, although some groups refused to endorse it.

European states have squabbled over how to deal with the flow of more than 600,000 migrants to Italy since 2014. Italy says the European Union has not given enough help and migration looks set to be an issue in national elections due next year.

Malta said it could not allow the migrants on board the Golfo Azzuro to disembark because they should be taken to Lampedusa, the nearest port to where the rescue took place.

“Malta’s decision is in line with international law,” Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne told reporters.


Most Mediterranean boat migrants are sub-Saharan Africans and Bangladeshis who are rescued from rubber dinghies 12 miles north of Libya, but Proactiva said the three rescued on Sunday were Libyan.

Golfo Azzurro mission chief Albert Mayordomo said in a video they were instructed by Italy’s coastguard to look for the boat, which they found after 17 hours.

Proactiva said a second boat it operates received a threatening radio call from the Libyan coastguard on Monday morning while patrolling international waters some 13 miles from the Libyan coast between Tripoli and Zuwara.

In an audio recording sent to Reuters, a man’s voice can be heard saying: “There is information that you are dealing with smugglers. Do not come back close to our waters. Next time you will be targeted.”

The spokeswoman said the Libyan coastguard had fired shots into the air in the direction of the NGO boat.

A Libyan coastguard spokesman said one of its patrol vessels had fired two shots into the air after finding the Spanish boat exactly 12 miles from the Libyan coast, an area he said was for Libya to patrol.

“We demanded they leave immediately and head north but they did not obey the instructions,” coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.

It seemed they were waiting for an illegal migrant boat, he said.

“Our patrol vessel had to warn them and we fired twice in the air …(the NGO boat) vanished and left for the north with empty hands.”

The European Union is providing training and funding for the coastguard in Libya, which became the most common departure point for people trying to reach Europe by sea in the turmoil following the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

The post NGO says boat drifting after Italy and Malta refuse access appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Hotel says it’s not to blame for athletes’ stomach bug

Tue, 2017-08-08 14:31

The London hotel at the centre of an outbreak of sickness that has struck down scores of competitors at the World Athletics Championships said on Tuesday it was not the source of the illness.

Several Botswana, German, Canadian, Irish and Puerto Rican athletes staying at the Tower Hotel, near Tower Bridge, have been taken ill over the last few days, with some put into effective quarantine and others forced to miss their events. Thirty German competitors arriving on Tuesday will be moved to other accommodation.

Competition organisers said on Monday that the illnesses were a result of gastroenteritis, but public health officials said on Tuesday that laboratory tests have confirmed two cases of norovirus among approximately 30 illness victims.

Norovirus, sometimes called ‘the winter vomiting bug,’ is easily spread, partly because the virus can survive for several days outside the body, Britain’s National Health Service says. It advises sufferers to avoid contact with others for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have passed.

Tower Hotel, used annually as the base for the London Marathon, said in a statement: “We have worked collaboratively with the EHO (Environmental Health Officer) and the IAAF to investigate the origins of the illness and can confirm that the hotel was not the source.

“We have followed strict hygiene protocol, ensuring that those affected are not in contact with other guests and all public areas have been thoroughly sanitised.”

London 2017 organisers said on Monday night that a number of teams had reported cases of gastroenteritis.

“Those affected have been supported by both team and LOC medical staff, in addition we have been working with Public Health England to ensure the situation is managed and contained,” the organising committee said in a statement.

One of the highest-profile victims was Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who was withdrawn from the 200-metre heats on Monday after vomiting in the call room where athletes make their final preparations.

Makwala is now hoping to be cleared to race in Tuesday’s 400m final, where he had been among the main threats to world record holder Wayde van Niekerk.

“According to IAAF medics I am apparently suffering from food poisoning which has affected several other athletes in the athletes’ hotel,” Makwala wrote on his Facebook page late on “Lets hope they will allow me to run my final tomorrow.”

Irish athletes were staying at the Tower and their 400m hurdler Thomas Barr was another to suffer, missing his semi-final on Monday.

“I wasn’t feeling great yesterday evening and later in the night I was hit with a bout of gastroenteritis,” he said. “My whole year has been focused on the World Championships and to not be able to go out and compete for Ireland today is beyond disappointing.”

At least seven Canadians were affected, including Eric Gillis, who was forced to drop out of Sunday’s marathon after around 20 miles.

“I was one of the athletes in quarantine,” Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown said. “I was in my room the entire day in the dark. I was like a vampire. I was holding my stomach the entire night.”

Brown recovered well enough to race in Monday’s 200m heats and ran an impressive 20.08 seconds, only to be disqualified for a lane violation.

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was also physically sick before the 100 metres final on Sunday, though the Jamaican said that was not unusual for her and hadn’t had any effect on her below-par performance. She finished fifth.

The post Hotel says it’s not to blame for athletes’ stomach bug appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Football fan given three-year match ban

Tue, 2017-08-08 14:09

A 37-year-old man has been banned from attending football matches for three years by the Larnaca district court on Tuesday.

The football fan broke his leg when he tried to enter the football field during the Ael – Austria Wien match in Larnaca on August 2.

About 37 minutes into the Europa league match at Larnaca’s Antonis Papadopoulos stadium the resident of Limassol tried to get past the divider separating the pitch from the stands but fell and broke his leg before he could reach the field.

The man, who was arrested after he was treated in hospital, has to pay a fine of €800 in addition to the ban.


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Janus Henderson narrows investor outflows in maiden results

Tue, 2017-08-08 13:59
Cost savings from merger of two active managers ahead of schedule