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Manchester police confirm ‘fatalities’ after blast reports

Nineteen people have been killed and dozens injured following an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the "appalling terrorist attack." Nineteen people have been killed in a "serious incident" at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, police have said. More than 50 others were injured. Hundreds of people were seen fleeing Manchester Arena following reports of two large bangs on Monday evening. Video posted on Twitter showed fans streaming out of the venue. The police bomb squad later carried out a controlled explosion in a nearby park following the incident, but said the suspicious package turned out to be abandoned clothing. The BBC has reported that senior counterterrorism officers were assembled and were seen liaising with the Home Office in London. Police have urged people to avoid the area and said the blast was being treated as a terrorist incident. Unconfirmed footage from a car dashboard camera posted on Twitter showed a flash of light following a loud bang at the arena. Train lines out of nearby Victoria Station were blocked following the incident, authorities said. 'Huge state of panic' Concert attendee Majid Khan, 22, told The Guardian newspaper a bomb-like bang went off as people were exiting the 18,000-capacity venue, leading to a mass panic. "Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there," he was quoted as saying. Eyewitness Sasina Akhtar told Manchester Evening News there was an explosion at the back of the arena as Grande performed her final song. "We saw young girls with blood on them, everyone was screaming and people were running. There was lots of smoke." "We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming," concertgoer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters. "It was a huge explosion - you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out." PM suspends election campaign About four hours after the explosion, Prime Minister Theresa May released a statement condemning the "terrorist attack." "We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected." May's Conservative party has said it will suspend campaigning for the upcoming national election on June 8. Earlier, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reacted to the "terrible incident" on Twitter, saying his "thoughts are with all those affected." "This is a shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were simply enjoying a concert," said Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron. "My deepest sympathies are with the victims, and with families who have lost loved ones, as well as those desperately waiting for news." Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham gave his condolences to victims. "My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city." Hospitals expect mass casualties Ambulances streamed to the scene as the regional NHS Trust said they were responding to the incident. The BBC has reported that people were being treated for "shrapnel-like injuries." The Manchester Evening News reported that staff at Wythenshawe Hospital in South Manchester told people without life-threatening injuries to leave the emergency room. "Anybody who is not serious, can you please leave and get treatment elsewhere as there have been reports of an explosion in Manchester, we’re expecting mass casualties," a nurse reportedly said. Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins said six hospitals were treating the victims. "We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident unless we get further information." The NHS reported ambulances had taken 59 patients to hospitals and had treated a number of walking wounded. Grande 'OK' A spokesman for Ariana Grande said the singer was "OK" and that they were investigating what had happened. The US singer has wide appeal among a young audience, after finding success on the children's TV channel Nickelodeon. Early Tuesday morning, Grande spoke of her sorrow on Twitter. Local residents have offered their homes up to people affected by the incident using the hashtag #RoomForManchester. Facebook has activated its safety check feature for people in the area. Manchester police have set up an emergency number for those involved in the blast.

Nineteen people have been killed and dozens injured following an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the “appalling terrorist attack.” Nineteen people have been killed in a “serious incident” at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, police have said. More than 50 others were injured. Hundreds of people were seen fleeing Manchester ... Read More »

Trump in Israel: the peace process, the embassy question and a self-inflicted wound

During his campaign Donald Trump made bold promises related to Israel that he must face on his first official visit to the country. But he also has to deal with an unexpected issue of his own making. For someone who thinks of himself as an adroit dealmaker, the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, provides some of the most difficult ties to unknot in global affairs. That's why it was not surprising that Donald Trump, author of the Art of the Deal and in his own estimation a skilled negotiator, jumped on the chance to insert himself into the minefield that is Middle Eastern politics. So ahead of Trump's first presidential visit to Israel here's a look at two promises he made regarding Israel and the Middle East that he will now have to confront as well as a third unplanned topic, he will also have to deal with. Trump's reported disclosure of secret intelligence The reported divulging of classified information originating from Israel by President Trump in the White House during a high-profile visit by the Russian Foreign Minister and Moscow's US ambassador is unlikely to be on the official itinerary when Trump meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet it would be unusual if this incident, which is extremely sensitive for both sides, would not somehow be broached during the presidential visit. "I believe that the last affair regarding intelligence materials that were disclosed to third parties is going to affect the relationship a little bit because this is beyond the regular relationship of the two relationship communities and infringes the tradition in that field”, said Gilead Sher, who served as chief of staff for former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. That is why due to the sensitive nature of the issue it will "probably be discussed and cleared not in front of the cameras and not as part of the official visit, but behind closed doors between the leaders and I believe that it will be resolved eventually in a way that would be satisfactory to both parties," said Sher. The US embassy question Trump, during his campaign, repeatedly promised to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital. Palestinians who also claim the city as a future capital of a Palestinian state oppose this, as do Jordan and other Arab states. Since 1995, all American presidents have chosen to walk the same fine line on the issue after Congress passed a directive calling on the US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy there. They have signed waivers delaying the relocation every six months for national security reasons. And it looks like Trump will now join his predecessors and do the same. "Most people think that the campaign promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has at a minimum been put on the back burner for now," said Michele Dunne, director of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "So that is unlikely to happen. But he could still say or do things that somehow recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital." The Israeli-Palestinian peace process While Trump is expected to backtrack on his campaign vow to relocate the US embassy, he is not expected to shelve what was arguably his most audacious promise: to reach a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. To the contrary, Trump earlier this month - during a White House meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas - appeared to double down on his pledge when he said in reference to a peace deal: "We will get done." "Trump wants to announce or preside over the recommencement of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians," said Josh Saidoff, fellow at the Center for Middle East Development at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) via email. Since his remarks during the Abbas visit and especially since it was announced that Trump would visit Israel during his first international trip as president less than four months after taking office - his predecessors Obama and Bush both visited Israel during their second term - there has been speculation about whether the president would use his Israel trip to officially re-launch the stalled US initiative to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. "From an Israeli perspective, if I see a process with a hands-on American presidential involvement starting at the end of this visit, I would say this would mark a success for all parties concerned," said Gilead Sher, who served as chief Israeli negotiator at the Camp David summit and the Taba peace talks with the Palestinians. But Sher qualified that he would only regard a new US peace effort as serious if it went beyond a mere one-time meeting. Asked whether he believes Trump is aware of the challenges of brokering a peace deal and capable to overcome them, Sher said he sincerely hopes so. "I think that President Trump is well positioned to facilitate a US-led effort towards that aim once the two state for two people solution is articulated in a way that is binding and continuous." Carnegie's Middle East expert Michele Dunne is more skeptical: "There is no indication at this point that there is any kind of well-formed strategy or approach to the Middle East peace process. They are still in exploration mode."

During his campaign Donald Trump made bold promises related to Israel that he must face on his first official visit to the country. But he also has to deal with an unexpected issue of his own making. For someone who thinks of himself as an adroit dealmaker, the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, provides some of the ... Read More »

Sweden beats Canada on penalties to win ice hockey world championships

Sweden has won the ice hockey world championships for the 10th time with a 2-1 victory over 2016 champions Canada. Sunday's final in the German city of Cologne was settled by a penalty shootout. At the end of regulation, Sweden and Canada were tied 1-1. Ryan O'Reilly had equalized for Canada at the end of three periods, after Victor Hedman had put Sweden ahead. There was no score in overtime and it was Sweden who held their nerve in the penalty shootout. Both Nicklas Backstorm and Oliver Ekman Larsson nailed their penalties for Sweden, to the delight of their travelling fans in Cologne, with Backstorm hitting the winning shot. Canada's quartet of O'Reilly, Nate Mackinnon, Brayden Point and Mitch Marner all failed with their penalty attempts, handing Sweden their first world title since 2013. Russia places third Earlier, Russia survived a late fightback by Finland as Nikita Kucherov sealed their 5-3 win to claim bronze. Russia raced into a 4-0 lead in the bronze-medal match with Nikita Gusev scoring twice, and Vladimir Tkachyov and Bogdan Kiselevich scoring one apiece.

Sweden has won the ice hockey world championships for the 10th time with a 2-1 victory over 2016 champions Canada. Sunday’s final in the German city of Cologne was settled by a penalty shootout. At the end of regulation, Sweden and Canada were tied 1-1. Ryan O’Reilly had equalized for Canada at the end of three periods, after Victor Hedman ... Read More »

NATO chief in talks with Germany, Turkey over Incirlik dispute

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg has said he is focused on finding a solution between Germany and Turkey on the issue of visiting rights to the strategic Incirlik air base. Berlin has threatened to withdraw German troops. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told German daily newspaper Bild that he was in contact with military allies Germany and Turkey in an effort to find a solution on the issue of visiting rights to a strategic Turkish air base where German soldiers are stationed. For the second time in the past year, Turkey has denied German lawmakers access to the Incirlik air base, where roughly 250 German troops are deployed to assist a US-led coalition against the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. Berlin has threatened to relocate its soldiers if Turkey does not provide access to the parliamentarians, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying authorities are assessing alternatives to host the Bundeswehr deployment. Troop withdrawal? Authorities have considered Jordan, Cyprus and Kuwait as suitable alternatives to deploy the German troops. Jordan and Kuwait are NATO partners and form part of the anti-IS coalition. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week that she spoke with Jordanian authorities, adding that they appear willing to host the deployment. However, Stoltenberg declined to comment on the possibility of the withdrawal, telling Bild there is no use in answering hypothetical questions. Turkey denied access to the base in response to Germany's decision to grant asylum to Turkish military personnel. Ankara has accused the Turkish soldiers, which reportedly included two generals, of supporting the failed coup that attempted to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. German lawmakers have threatened to actively pursue the withdrawal if Merkel is unable to persuade Turkey during a NATO summit slated for later this week.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg has said he is focused on finding a solution between Germany and Turkey on the issue of visiting rights to the strategic Incirlik air base. Berlin has threatened to withdraw German troops. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told German daily newspaper Bild that he was in contact with military allies Germany and Turkey in an ... Read More »

For Marco Sturm, Germany are very much a work in progress

Germany made it to the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship for a second straight year, which would usually be regarded as a success. However, for coach and GM Marco Sturm, much work remains to be done. In the hours leading up to Germany's showdown with Canada, Marco Sturm insisted that the national team could not be satisfied with just having made it to the quarterfinals for the second year in succession since he took over as head coach and general manager in the summer of 2015. "In the past we were always happy when we made it to the quarterfinals. We have to stop this. We need to be hungry for more," Sturm told reporters. "We are not at the end of our journey," he added. Unfortunately for Sturm and his men, though, Canada spelled the end of Germany's journey at this world championship, cohosted by Cologne and Paris. However, it's clear that Sturm and his coaching staff had been looking beyond this tournament the whole time. Despite having led Germany out of the wilderness that followed the 2010 world championship, the last held on home ice, Sturm knows that a lot of work remains to be done, not just on the national team, but on German ice hockey in general. In the short term, he is happy with what his team has achieved. "At the end of the day, it was a good world championship for us. We got better from game to game, which is precisely what we aimed to do," he told reporters Thursday night. "The last two games were our best and, as an underdog, we reached the quarterfinals again. So I see this home world championship as very, very positive." Improvement needed at all levels Taking a broader view though, Sturm criticized at least indirectly the current level of play in Germany's top league, the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, from which the national team draws the bulk of its talent, saying too often that players were still making wrong decisions on the ice. "Unfortunately, it happens all too often that a player takes a different route than is called for in a given situation. In part, this has to do with our league," he said. "You can see the difference with teams like Canada and Russia. Their players play in the best leagues in the world and they have to do this on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this is not the case with us. This is the main difference." Previously, Sturm has spoken about the fact that Germany still has a lot to do to improve its youth hockey program, and this he also touched on, on Thursday night. "We just have to keep working at it, especially at the youth level, at the clubs, but also in the DEL. We all just have to do a better job," he said, without getting into specifics. Contract runs out in less than a year So from his point of view, Germany, on different levels, are very much a work in progress, and there is no doubt that most of the players and indeed the German hockey association (DEB) hope that Sturm will be the guy to direct that focus for some time to come. How long he will be there, though, is not clear. His contract runs through the 2018 Winter Olympics next February and DEB President Franz Reindl has said that the association certainly wants to renew it, but as for Sturm, he is non-committal. "I am open to it. I really enjoy working with the lads, the 38-year-old former NHL star said. But he also said he hadn't really thought about it yet. "That's still too far off in the future," he said.

Germany made it to the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship for a second straight year, which would usually be regarded as a success. However, for coach and GM Marco Sturm, much work remains to be done. In the hours leading up to Germany’s showdown with Canada, Marco Sturm insisted that the national team could not be satisfied with ... Read More »

Trump denies urging former FBI chief to drop Flynn inquiry

US President Donald Trump has denied reports that he asked ex-FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security advisor's links with Russia. Trump has also complained of facing a "witch hunt." When asked during a press conference whether he had ever urged Comey to end the probe into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump swiftly interrupted the reporter, saying, "No, no." On Tuesday, US media reported that the former FBI chief had written a memo describing how Trump urged him to drop the probe into ties between Flynn and Russia. Trump allegedly told him during a White House meeting that "I hope you can let this go," referring to the investigation. Trump fired Comey as head of the FBI last week, saying the dismissal was driven by a loss of faith in the bureau chief on behalf of both himself and the public. The president said he thought the ousting would be greeted with bipartisan support. But the move has fuelled speculation that the president sought to deliberately stall the investigation Comey was leading. 'Witch hunt' Trump also used Thursday's joint press conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to decry the FBI's investigation into alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia, describing it as a "witch hunt" and denouncing it for "dividing the country." The president repeated his denial of involvement with Russia during Thursday's press conference, saying, "There's been no collusion between certainly myself - and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself - and the Russians. Zero." Trump had earlier released a statement saying he looked forward to the matter being concluded "quickly," following Wednesday's appointment of ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the federal investigation into Russia's alleged election meddling. US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly briefed senators on Mueller's appointment on Thursday, but refused to give a public statement. However, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters after the briefing that "everything he (Rosenstein) said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation." Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal also told reporters that Mueller was conducting a criminal investigation, including into whether there was any obstruction of justice on behalf of Trump's campaign team. Read more: What you need to know about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign Trump to name new FBI chief Trump also announced Thursday that he was "very close" to naming Comey's successor as FBI director, with ex-Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman expected to fill the post. Lieberman ran as Al Gore's vice presidential nominee in 2000, before he left the Democratic Party and was re-elected to the Senate as an independent. The president gave few details on the announcement, commenting only that "the people in the FBI will be very, very thrilled" with his choice for the agency's new head. Trump's nominee must first be confirmed by the Senate before he or she can fill the post.

US President Donald Trump has denied reports that he asked ex-FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security advisor’s links with Russia. Trump has also complained of facing a “witch hunt.” When asked during a press conference whether he had ever urged Comey to end the probe into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump ... Read More »

Chinese, Japanese, US jets intercept over disputed territory

A pair of incidents involving fighter jets from China, Japan and the US over the South and East China seas has escalated an already tense situation. Several nations have claims of sovereignty over parts of the region. Japan dispatched four planes, including two F-15 fighters and an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) plane to waters surrounding the islets, Japan's Defense Ministry said on Friday. "This is escalating the situation and is absolutely unacceptable," Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said. "We regard this as a serious infringement of Japan's sovereignty." Yoshihide Suga, Japan's senior government spokesman, said Japan had lodged a "strong protest," accusing China of "unilaterally escalating" tensions. China's claims to sovereignty over the parts of the sea - and its estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas - have antagonized competing claims from Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The incident takes to 13 the number of intrusions this year by Chinese coastguard ships in the contested waters, Japan's coast guard said. Coast guard ships from the two nations routinely patrol the area. Beijing reiterates claims The Chinese embassy responded to the protest by reiterating China's stance on the islands. China routinely rejects Japanese criticism of such patrols. In a statement on its website, China's State Oceanic Administration confirmed that four coast guard vessels had been patrolling by the islands but made no mention of a drone. Beijing has reclaimed over 3,000 acres in the Spratly Islands since early 2014 and has turned sandbars into military bases equipped with airfields and weapons bases. According to a report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), China has built a hangar and a radar on a man-made island in the Spratly Islands. US-China also in dispute Two Chinese fighter jets conducted what the US called an "unprofessional" intercept of an American radiation sensing surveillance plane over the East China Sea, the US Air Force said on Friday. The incident occurred Wednesday when a pair of Chinese SU-30 jets approached a WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft conducting a routine mission in international airspace in accordance with international law, Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman Lt. Col. Lori Hodge said in a statement. "We would rather discuss it privately with China," Hodge said in an email to The Associated Press. "This will allow us to continue building confidence with our Chinese counterparts on expected maneuvering to avoid mishaps." China declared an air defense identification zone over a large section of the East China Sea in 2013, a move the US called illegitimate and has refused to recognize. Manila and Beijing to talk Meanwhile, Manila and Beijing are holding direct talks on the South China Sea for the first time later on Friday. By agreeing to bilateral negotiations, the Philippines weakens the position of other countries involved in the dispute. It also potentially impedes efforts for a multilateral solution and exposes China's ability to control the agenda in the South China Sea and US unwillingness to antagonize Beijing over the dispute.

A pair of incidents involving fighter jets from China, Japan and the US over the South and East China seas has escalated an already tense situation. Several nations have claims of sovereignty over parts of the region. Japan dispatched four planes, including two F-15 fighters and an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) plane to waters surrounding the islets, Japan’s ... Read More »

Humanitarian situation worsens in DRC

The Kasai crisis has led to the largest population of internally displaced people in the whole of Africa as aid workers struggle to respond amid increasing violence and political instability. A dramatic increase in violence between security forces and the Kamwina Nsapu militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to the internal displacement of a record 3.7 million people. Clashes initially began in August 2016 in the Kasai-Central province but have since spread to four other provinces. The conflict was initially sparked after the militia attacked local police and called for an insurrection of the central government. Over the past month thousands of people in affected regions have begun fleeing to neighboring Angola, stretching resources in villages along the border. On 25 April the United Nations (UN) launched a fresh $64.5 million USD (59.3 million euros) emergency response appeal in order to provide life-saving assistance to 731,000 people over the next six months. Humanitarian crisis Prior to the current Kasai crisis, the DRC already faced acute humanitarian problems, with more than 4 million people suffering from hunger and 3.5 million children under five facing malnutrition. Rein Paulsen is the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the DRC and will be visiting a number of key European capital cities this week in order to draw attention to the conflict. He told DW from Berlin that a rapid response by the UN and other aid organizations is key in order to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation. "We are talking about funding life-saving interventions. This is to respond to the needs of people that have had to flee at short notice, are sleeping under the open stars, are exposed to violence, and a series of other urgent needs," he said. "Even with the initial funding, clearly the needs outstrip what we have, which is why we've launched the flash appeal and we've increased the overall amount required," Paulsen added Prior to the current emergency appeal, the UN launched a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 which was intended to reach approximately 6.7 million people in all parts of the country which were identified as vulnerable. However less than 20% of the original budget has been spent so far. "It really is a very very concerning situation and we need to mobilize resources in order to respond to these very urgent humanitarian needs. It requires our best staff and our best capabilities and it requires the kind of flexible and responsive strategy that we've put in place." Aid organizations struggle to respond However aid workers are finding it increasingly difficult to address the deteriorating situation in DRC. Many face the risk of attacks and are unable to access areas in most need of humanitarian assistance. Since the beginning of 2017, almost 3,000 incidents involving violence or direct threats against aid and development workers have been reported. On 28 March the bodies of two UN security experts alongside their interpreter were found in the Kasai Central province. They were in the region to assess a sanctions regime imposed on DRC by the UN Security Council when they disappeared on March 12. Paulsen said the UN places a high priority on the safety of its workers in the region. "We continue to place the highest possible premium on operating as securely as possible, because at the end of the day if we're not able to continue our operations, it is the Congolese who have been displaced who are going to suffer if programs are shut down." The huge geographic area of the conflict and the lack of front lines also complicates the response strategy. "We know that the situation is fluid, we have a series of activities that we can implement quickly in areas where access is easier, where the situation is a little bit more calm, places where people have come precisely to flee from the violence," Paulsen said. "[We also] allow rapid interventions in locations where access is more of a challenge." Political instability remains rife The Kasai crisis continues to unfold in the wake of a wave of violence across the DRC following President Joseph Kabila's failure to step down the end of his constitutional mandate in December 2016. A new expanded government was revealed on Tuesday, as part of a power-sharing deal with the opposition in an attempt to ease tensions over the president's intent to remain in power. Opposition leader Bruno Tshibala was named Prime Minister following the resignation of Samy Badibanga Although the new government has again reiterated an election will take place by 2018, the reality of this occurring is unlikely, as political analyst Benoît Kamili told DW. "The Congolese people needed this government, but from what we have seen and heard. I have to say that there's no difference between Tshibala and Badibanga," he said. "I don't think that Tshibala will organize the elections." Kablia has held office since 2001 and was widely accused of serious electoral fraud in 2011, which has plunged the DRC into a long-term political crisis.

The Kasai crisis has led to the largest population of internally displaced people in the whole of Africa as aid workers struggle to respond amid increasing violence and political instability. A dramatic increase in violence between security forces and the Kamwina Nsapu militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to the internal displacement of a record 3.7 ... Read More »

Walesa: Germany must assume a leading role in Europe

Germany needs to put its complexes aside and assume a leadership role in Europe, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Polish President Lech Walesa said in an interview with DW. DW: Where is Europe headed at the moment? Lech Walesa: That's a good question, and one that we need to find an answer for. We need to take a hard look at Europe's foundations, its economic system, its democratic model. We have to come to terms with populism, demagoguery, and abuse of political office. We have to take the mood on the street seriously, because people are unhappy, they have lost trust in established parties. Look at France: None of the established parties had a candidate in the run-off vote. Their new president is an independent, without the backing of a party. That teaches us that the structures we have don't fit with the reality. We're entering a new epoch, and we need a debate about new structures. On June 4, 2014, former US President Barack Obama gave a historic speech in Warsaw's Royal Square before many European heads of state, and he thanked you for your contribution to the fall of communism and the liberation of Eastern Europe. How do you feel when you see that same location serving as the backdrop to a march by right-wing radical nationalists, as was the case a few days ago? We don't have any solutions. And in the absence of solutions, demons will awaken. Some will go too far to the right in their search, others - like in the United States - will make an astonishing choice. And this is why we have to drive the debate forward in the search for better solutions. We have to improve our democracy, because if we don't, there will be a revolt. Which direction do you see Poland headed at the moment? Poland is moving too far to the right, and there is also too much mixing of religion with politics. People are trying things, because a lot of what we have built up in Poland since the fall of communism is incomplete. What's happening now is a response to undesirable developments, and it is challenging us to find good solutions. But it's the same situation you see across all of Europe. The discontent is everywhere, so now we need heal what ails us. The government in Poland is pursuing the wrong kind of therapy. You have to solve problems, but not in a way that breaks with democratic principles. What can be done, then, to stop the rise of populism? We have to be clear about what we don't like. We need to create the appropriate programs and structures, and use our power at the ballot box to force politicians to implement them. The right-wing scene in Poland likes to employ anti-German sentiment and paint horrific scenarios about German dominance. Do you think Germany is a threat? I feel I have the right to address this point, because I lost my father in the war. Today, Germany is the most honorable country in Europe. But the Germans have complexes. They need to put these complexes aside and assume a leading role in Europe, because as the largest power, they bear responsibility for Europe's development. We can see that there are forces out there that want to destroy Europe. It's up to Germany to be prepared for this, and to be ready to establish a new, better Europe! Interview conducted by Bartosz Dudek.

Germany needs to put its complexes aside and assume a leadership role in Europe, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Polish President Lech Walesa said in an interview with DW. DW: Where is Europe headed at the moment? Lech Walesa: That’s a good question, and one that we need to find an answer for. We need to take a hard ... Read More »

Turkish foreign minister warns US arming of Syrian Kurds poses threat

Turkey's top diplomat has decried the US order to arm a Syrian Kurdish militia, saying each weapon they hold is a direct threat to Turkey. President Erdogan will travel to Washington next week to take up the issue. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Wednesday that arming the People's Protection Units (YPG) Syrian Kurdish militia was no different to arming the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group fighting in Turkey. Cavusoglu's remarks came as the US signed off on an order to arm YPG fighters in the fight to recapture the Syrian city of Raqqa, the last remaining stronghold of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) jihadist group. Turkey, however, classifies the YPG as a terrorist group. "Both the PKK and the YPG are terrorist organizations and they are no different, apart from their names," Cavusoglu told reporters during a visit to Montenegro. "Every weapon seized by them is a threat to Turkey." - More than 200 people from Germany fighting with Kurds against 'IS' - Turkey spars with US military over Syrian Kurds Turkey's top diplomat added that the US was well aware of Ankara's stance and that the issue would be discussed when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets his US counterpart Donald Trump during a visit to Washington next week. Read more: Turkey carries out airstrikes on 'Kurdish rebel positions' in Iraq, Syria Earlier on Wednesday, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli was quoted by Turkish media of saying that the US' order was "unacceptable" and that he hoped Washington would reverse its decision. US: Kurdish assistance necessary in fight against IS However, in announcing the order, the US appeared to double down on its position that Kurds provide crucial help in wiping out IS and liberating Raqqa. "We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner, Turkey," Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement on Tuesday. "We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the US is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally." The Pentagon stressed that assisting the YPG was "necessary to ensure a clear victory" against IS in Raqqa. The US and western powers have been backing a Syrian alliance of militias, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), fighting IS. Among its groups is the Kurdish YPG. YPG welcomes arms The YPG militia hailed the US' decision to provide it with arms, calling the decision "historic" and a "sign of confidence" in the group. The move, coupled with the US' commitment to its umbrella coalition with the SDF, would expand its operations against IS, the YPG said in a statement. The decision was a refutation of "distortions" likening the YPG to a terrorist group, it added.

Turkey’s top diplomat has decried the US order to arm a Syrian Kurdish militia, saying each weapon they hold is a direct threat to Turkey. President Erdogan will travel to Washington next week to take up the issue. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Wednesday that arming the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Syrian Kurdish militia was no different to ... Read More »

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