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More than 100 skiers rescued from cable car in Italian Alps

Around 130 skiers have been rescued after being stranded on a ski lift in the Italian Alps for more than nine hours. High winds hampered intensive efforts to bring the group to safety. A 150-strong team was involved in the rescue operation on Saturday evening to rescue more than 100 skiers from a ski lift, hovering about 30 meters (33 yards) above the ground in the Italian resort of Cervinia. Rescuers had to climb poles to reach the cables between the cable cars and then enter the cabins through a roof hatch. The skiers were then winched to safety on the ground, officials said. The Italian resort is just across the border from Switzerland, on the other side of the Matterhorn mountain. Swiss air company Air Zermatt can operate night flights so the operation continued into the evening. Strong winds of up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour, which delayed the rescue operation, dropped sufficiently to allow the team to complete their mission. At 8.30 p.m. local time (1930 UTC) the Cervinia social media information site reported that "the first skiers have been brought down from the gondola." Adriano Favre, the head of the rescue team, announced the mission had finished just before midnight on Saturday. "Luckily the wind wasn't too cold ... there are no cases of hypothermia, and everything is under control," he added. The skiers were stuck between two points on the lift - between 2,300 meters (7,545 feet) and 2,800 meters altitude.

Around 130 skiers have been rescued after being stranded on a ski lift in the Italian Alps for more than nine hours. High winds hampered intensive efforts to bring the group to safety. A 150-strong team was involved in the rescue operation on Saturday evening to rescue more than 100 skiers from a ski lift, hovering about 30 meters (33 ... Read More »

World’s overlooked crisis: Lake Chad region

Eight million people in Africa's Lake Chad basis face starvation in a largely overlooked crisis, aid agencies have warned in a survey. Rates of child malnutrition are 'terrifying.' The Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 19 aid agencies thrust the spotlight Thursday on extreme food shortages in areas of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon lying within the largely arid basin of the shrinking Lake Chad. The agencies said the crisis was "on an epic scale," with "terrifying rates of child malnutrition," but it had drawn almost "zero media coverage." In total, eight million people were destitute and "teetering on the brink of famine." Causes ranged from radicalism to climatic phenomena that have severly shrunk the lake and its tributary rivers, as well as population increases. The agencies survey also highlighted humanitarian tragedies in South Sudan and in war-torn Yemen, where four fifths of the population struggle to find food and water. Horrific scale The food crisis in Niger and Nigeria was described as "the pits" by the humanitarian director of the Catholic agency Caritas, Suzanna Tkalec, who added that 2.4 million people had been displaced by Boko Haram militants. International Medical Corps' program director, Ognjen Radosavljevic, said border closures had disrupted markets. Agriculture was collapsing and foodstuffs had become unaffordable for local people, Radosavljevic said. The global community must wake up to the "horrors … in this region," he said. UNHCR's Grandi appeals Wrapping up a 10-day visit to the vastLake Chad region on Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said the world must "win the battle of development" if it wanted to avert insecurity that spurred radicalism. "I am appealing to donors to urgently fund the humanitarian response to help people in need today and invest in their futures," Grandi said in Abuja. Last Friday while visiting Cameroon, he had launched a $241-million (232-million- euro) appeal on behalf of 36 partner organizations to assist 460,000 people in Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Around 17 million people live in the affected areas. The number of displaced people has tripled over the last two years, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHCA). The office said in total $1.5 billion was needed to assist 8.2 million people across the Lake Chad Basin in 2017. Civilians 'rescued' The Nigerian military said on Wednesday its forces had rescued 1,880 civilians from a retreat of the Islamist Boko Haram militia in the Sambisa area of northeastern Nigeria. The jihadist group, which became notorious in 2014 for kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls, has been blamed for the deaths of at least 20,000 people since 2009. Major-General Leo Irabor, speaking in the regional city of Maiduguri, said troops had captured 564 "Boko Harram terrorists" and killed several insurgents as troops recaptured more territory. A cache of arms and munitions had been discovered, he added. Bama in ruins Last week, the French news agency AFP documented what was left of Borno state's second biggest town, Bama, a Nigerian trading post en route to Cameroon. Eight-five percent of Bama had destroyed, it said, with houses now burnt out shells and survivors living in a camp on its outskirts. Its main hospital was in ruins. Camp head Ali Mbusube said seven months of Boko Haram rule had turned the once "very peaceful city" into "hell on earth." "During the day, they [would] bring all the men aged over 18 into the prison and killed them," Mbusube said. Last March, the World Bank put the cost of restoring hundreds of devastated schools and clinics at $5.9 billion (5.5 billion euros).

Eight million people in Africa’s Lake Chad basis face starvation in a largely overlooked crisis, aid agencies have warned in a survey. Rates of child malnutrition are ‘terrifying.’ The Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 19 aid agencies thrust the spotlight Thursday on extreme food shortages in areas of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon lying within the largely arid basin of ... Read More »

Brisk business for smugglers in Greece

After a period of quiet following the closure of the Balkan route, people smugglers have returned to northern Greece and profits continue to roll in. Pavlos Zafiropoulos reports from Thessaloniki. In a small kebab shop across the broad avenue that runs in front of the Thessaloniki train station, clusters of migrants drink tea and huddle around electrical outlets charging their phones. Over the past two years the shop, a family-run business operated by Evangelia Karanikolas and her husband, developed into a key stopping point for many migrants and refugees looking to travel the so-called Balkan route to northern Europe. Karanikolas offered free use of the electricity and bathrooms to people sleeping rough in the nearby square and abandoned buildings. She also provided free food when she could, and even a warm place to sleep for some families when the weather was cold. For this reason she has become known to many migrants as 'Mammi'. Today, even following the sealing of the border with Macedonia, little appears to have changed. The numbers of migrants and refugees may be well below the great tide of people who traveled the route in 2015 and early 2016. Yet migrants are still coming - and going. "In any way, they are trying to find some way out," Karanikolas told DW. When asked, a number of the migrants in the shop confirm that they are seeking passage out of Greece. Moving in and out of the shop over the course of the day one can also see other, distinctly better dressed individuals. One such person, Sharif,* told DW that he was a "tourist" in town for a few days. Speaking in an accent with heavy East London tones he claimed that he was visiting the shop merely to be with other Afghans. A few hours later however he could be seen in a nearby dark, abandoned building conversing heavily with an Afghan family who had set up tents for the night. Other migrants told DW that the family had recently attempted to head north but had been picked up by the police in Macedonia and returned to Greece. Now they were considering their options. For a tourist, Sharif behaved very much like a smuggler. Leaky borders The unprecedented movement of people that saw approximately 1 million mainly Syrian and Iraqi refugees reaching northern Europe in 2015-2016 may have been stemmed following efforts to seal Greece's northern borders coupled with the EU-Turkey agreement. Yet today migrants and refugees continue to head north through a number of illicit channels, passing under the radar of immigration officials and filling the coffers of criminal people smuggling networks to the tune of tens of millions of euros. "I would say it is on the rise," one high-ranking police official involved in efforts to combat people smuggling networks in Thessaloniki told DW with regards to the smugglers' activity. "Following the closure of the Balkan route there was a period of relative calm, shall we say, while people waited to see what would happen, what the policies were going to be. Now in recent weeks we have seen a rise in arrests... There are active organizations and there are people who wish to be smuggled, it's the law of supply and demand." The precise numbers of people successfully being smuggled out of Greece are impossible to know for certain. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal citing European immigration officials stated that the whereabouts of as many as 13,000 migrants and refugees who had been registered in Greece is currently unknown. The same article, citing unnamed Greek and European officials, claimed that about 500 per week were being smuggled over the northern border. Yet experts say this figure is necessarily little more than an estimate. Nebulous networks According to police to be smuggled from Thessaloniki to Belgrade usually costs at least between 800 and 1,300 euros ($852-$1,384) per head. Another 1,500 euros is required to reach Germany. Often this money is not paid by the migrants directly but by their families through networks spread across multiple countries. Such prices reflect both the demand for smugglers as well as the difficulty in crossing the border. When movement across the border was largely unimpeded, prices collapsed. Now that the Balkan route is more difficult for migrants, it is more lucrative for the smugglers. "The smugglers certainly celebrated," the police official said of the closure of the Balkan route. "We heard from people involved in this that they were pleased because they would be better able to work." Yet the police describe people smuggling operations as loose criminal networks that are different from the closed pyramid structures associated with the Italian or Russian mafias. While this makes the groups easier to infiltrate, it also means that when significant arrests are made other players can quickly adapt to fill the void. "We have observed that the networks, when they receive a major blow, they go quiet for a period of time. But we can't say they stop. They reorganize themselves, they start recruiting other players, and this has to do with the law of supply and demand. This phenomenon will not stop as long as there are people who want to migrate, who want to leave their countries, due to wars, due to poverty," the police official said. Terror threat The latter is a sentiment that is echoed by Angeliki Dimitriadi, a migration expert and Research Fellow with the think tank ELIAMEP in Athens. She argues that past experience dating back to the 1990s indicates that even supposedly successful efforts to seal Europe's external borders such as in the case of Spain usually only deflect the problem elsewhere. "The fact of the matter is there is going to be a way in, there is no way to create Fortress Europe that prevents entry 100 percent. It's not going to happen," she told DW. One way of addressing the rules of supply and demand would be to create legal routes, thereby removing the incentive for refugees to use illegal smuggling alternatives, according to Dimitriadi. The criminal activity may also be making Europe less safe. This is because the same underground networks funded largely by the movement of asylum seekers can also be exploited by criminal and terror groups. "That these networks are used to send some fighters, that has been proven recently with the events in Paris," the police official told DW. "To put it very plainly it is always safer if we know who's coming," Dimitriadi says. "In order to know who's coming, it always better if we can 'choose' also who that person will be. Why not make it legal? We can choose that. We can know who is coming. It will be safer for us and beneficial for them. It is a win win." However, with Europe showing little appetite for the creation of new legal migration routes, the cat and mouse game between police and smugglers on Greece's borders looks set to continue, with increasingly desperate migrants caught in the middle. *Name has been changed.

After a period of quiet following the closure of the Balkan route, people smugglers have returned to northern Greece and profits continue to roll in. Pavlos Zafiropoulos reports from Thessaloniki. In a small kebab shop across the broad avenue that runs in front of the Thessaloniki train station, clusters of migrants drink tea and huddle around electrical outlets charging their ... Read More »

US judge declares mistrial in black motorist Walter Scott’s shooting by police officer

The jury in the trial of former patrolman Michael Slager has failed to come to a unanimous decision over the shooting of black motorist Walter Scott in South Carolina last year. A civil rights abuse trial is to be held. Former police patrolman Michael Slager was charged with murder in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott in April last year. On Monday, afer 22 hours of deliberation over four days, a panel of one black and 11 white jurors in Charleston, South Carolina said they were unable to reach a unanimous decision. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, read a note from the jury before declaring a mistrial: "We as a jury regret to inform the court that despite the best efforts of all parties we are unable to come to a unanimous decision." Cellphone video taken by a bystander showed Scott being shot in the back five times. After the video went public Slager was fired by the police department and charged with murder. Scott had been pulled over in North Charleston for having a broken taillight on his 1990 Mercedes. He then fled the car, running into a vacant lot. Judge Newman had told the jury after the five-week trial that they could consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. The panel had appeared close to a verdict on Friday with just one member reported to be holding out against conviction. Justice will be served Scott's mother and brother said that justice would eventually prevail: "I'm not sad because I know justice will be served," Judy Scott said. The family's call for calm after the killing was widely credited with preventing violence that broke out elsewhere when black men were killed by police. Last year, the city of North Charleston reached a $6.5 million (6 million euro) civil settlement with Scott's family. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson praised Scott's family for their patience and understanding. "They have not received the credit they deserve in their calm leadership for the community," Wilson said in a statement. "The Scotts have been a sterling example of dignity and grace in extraordinary circumstances." Wilson said that she would retry the case against 35-year-old Slager. Slager will be tried in a federal court next year on charges of depriving Scott of his civil rights.

The jury in the trial of former patrolman Michael Slager has failed to come to a unanimous decision over the shooting of black motorist Walter Scott in South Carolina last year. A civil rights abuse trial is to be held. Former police patrolman Michael Slager was charged with murder in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott in April last ... Read More »

South Korea grills top executives over links to disgraced president

A senior executive at Samsung has denied receiving favors for donations to scandal-linked foundations. More than 50 corporate groups donated to foundations belonging to the president's longtime confidant. South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the heads of the country's top conglomerates, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor and six other companies, about their involvement in a political scandal rocking the presidency. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong said that while President Park Geun-hye had asked him to support cultural and sports-related developments during a one-on-one meeting, there had been no request for financial aid. "There are many things that I feel embarrassed about and I regret as we have disappointed the public with many disgraceful things," Lee said. "There are often requests from various parts of society, including for culture and sports. We have never contributed seeking quid pro quo. His case was the same," he added. Looming impeachment Park's presidency has been disgraced by a influence-peddling scandal involving her longtime confidant Choi Soon-sil, who prosecutors charged in November with influencing state affairs and directing funds to two non-profit foundations she used for personal gain At least 53 corporate groups donated to the foundations, with Samsung being the largest donor, providing 20.4 billion won ($17.46 million, 16.24 million euros) to the two foundations. The hearing marked a rare moment for the country's most powerful business leaders, who rarely participate in such public events. Meanwhile, Park is expected to face an impeachment vote on Friday after several weeks of mass protests in the capital. If she steps down, she will be the first South Korea president to do so since the country's democratic reforms in the 1980s. Since the scandal erupted in October, Park has witnessed her approval ratings slide to an all-time low of four percent.

A senior executive at Samsung has denied receiving favors for donations to scandal-linked foundations. More than 50 corporate groups donated to foundations belonging to the president’s longtime confidant. South Korean lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the heads of the country’s top conglomerates, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor and six other companies, about their involvement in a political scandal rocking the presidency. Samsung ... Read More »

Tensions run high over Brexit court hearing

Can the British government launch Brexit without seeking parliamentarPrime Minister Theresa May argues that the referendum result, along with existing ministerial powers, means that MPs do not need to vote before Article 50 is triggered and the formal process of exiting the European Union begins. However, in early November, the High Court ruled that the government could not do this without the approval of parliament. The government is appealing the ruling, and the case will now be heard in the Supreme Court. "Normally, in order for there to be a strong likelihood of a different outcome you would expect new evidence to be presented, some material change in the testimony to the court. That is not going to be the case here. They're simply going to be asked whether the evidence that was the basis of the previous judgment was misread by the High Court," Matthew Cole, lecturer in history at Birmingham University, told DW. In Britain's currently highly politicized climate, the court battle has been portrayed as a ruling on whether Brexit can go ahead. This is despite the fact that both the Conservative and Labour parties have indicated that they would vote in favor of triggering Article 50. The government fears that if a full act of parliament is required, the House of Lords could cause long delays by tabling amendments.y approval? That is the question that Britain's highest court will decide in a hearing that starts on Monday. Samira Shackle reports from London. Constitutional crisis The issue at stake is in fact a finely tuned constitutional question about the powers of government. "The most important thing to bear in mind in this case isn't about whether Brexit should happen; it's about whether the government has the right to use their powers to undermine an act of parliament, and it's hard to see why the judgment would change," Oliver Patel, research associate at University College London's European Institute, told DW. Britain's constitution is uncodified and based on laws and statutes. The legislation that enacted the referendum stated that the result would be only advisory, not legally binding, so the leave vote does not automatically overturn the 1972 legislation that took Britain into what is now the EU. In the UK, governments need the approval of parliament to overturn or undermine legislation. "Our constitutional authorities regard parliamentary sovereignty as the supreme authority in British law-making," says Cole. "We joined the EU by a parliamentary statute, and therefore only a subsequent statute, or at least only by a resolution of parliament, could you undo that decision. Referendums have no binding legal status. Parliament can choose to ignore them or delay their implementation if it wants. And the High Court in a sense was merely confirming that." The government's lawyers are likely to argue that triggering Article 50 doesn't mean leaving the EU, and that parliament would still be allowed a later role. "The question is: does the government have the right to use prerogative powers to undermine previous legislation?" says Patel. "In the interests of constraining potential authoritarian governments in the future, the judges would probably want to say no." Testing the judiciary The High Court ruling in November caused huge controversy, with an unprecedented level of criticism in sections of the media. The Daily Mail, an influential right-wing tabloid, published a front page declaring the three judges "Enemies of the People," while the right-wing broadsheet The Daily Telegraph ran a similar headline: "The judges versus the people." Across the board, the tabloids portrayed the ruling as an attempt to block Brexit. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage had threatened to hold a 100,000 strong march on the Supreme Court during the hearing, but it has now been called off. Protests by both pro-Brexit and pro-remain groups are still expected to take place outside the court. "The ability of judges to act independently of outside pressure is going to be tested," says Cole. "The British judiciary has a strong tradition of being able to resist that sort of pressure, but this is an unusual level of attention on an individual judgment." The British judiciary is broadly seen as apolitical and independent, and it enjoys a level of respect and popularity. The high tensions over the Brexit vote threaten to undermine this. "The judiciary is a real pillar of UK democracy, and it would be alarming if the public respect and trust started to change," says Patel. "All eyes are on the government to see how they respond. If they lose, the best thing to do with respect to protecting the independence and credibility of the judiciary, would be to say, 'We respect their decision and the judges upheld the law.' Ideally they'd condemn media attacks." The case will be heard by 11 judges - the maximum number - and will take place over four days. The verdict is expected in the new year.

Can the British government launch Brexit without seeking parliamentarPrime Minister Theresa May argues that the referendum result, along with existing ministerial powers, means that MPs do not need to vote before Article 50 is triggered and the formal process of exiting the European Union begins. However, in early November, the High Court ruled that the government could not do this ... Read More »

Malaysia slams Myanmar over Rohingya ‘genocide’

Malaysia has accused Myanmar of committing "genocide" against Rohingya Muslims. The bloody crackdown is quickly gaining a regional dimension. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday called on the world to prevent an unfolding "genocide" carried out by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, as a vicious crackdown triggers an exodus of the persecuted ethnic minority. "Please do something. The UN do something. The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place," Najib told a crowd of several thousand supporters and Rohingya refugees at a rally in Kuala Lumpur. Razak took direct aim at Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and her new government for not doing enough as reports pour in that Myanmar's army is raping, murdering and torturing Rohingya in the western Rakhine state. "What's the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel Prize?" asked the leader of the Muslim majority nation. "We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough ... We must and we will defend Muslims and Islam," he said, calling on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and ASEAN, the 10-country Southeast Asia organization, to act. Stateless and persecuted Several thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh or been internally displaced since Myanmar's army cracked down on the group following an early October border incident in which unknown militants killed nine border guards. Myanmar's army blamed the attack on Islamist Rohingya militants and has rebuffed concerns over the subsequent crackdown as propaganda. Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya make up most of the population in the region of Rakhine. They are denied citizenship and suffer from institutionalized discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar despite many of them having lived in the country for generations. There have been repeated reports Myanmar's military has gang raped women, murdered civilians and set ablaze Rohingya villages, pushing thousands of desperate people into neighboring Bangladesh. International observers, journalists and aid agencies face severe restrictions of movement while trying to verify the claims in the area. A top UN humanitarian official in Bangladesh last month accused Myanmar's army of "ethnic cleansing." Tensions rising in Southeast Asia The Rohingya issue has been a major test for Suu Kyi's new administration following decades of military rule. Her unwillingness or inability to do anything about the unfolding atrocities has garnered international criticism that she has done too little to address the plight of the Rohingya communities. But there is also recognition her administration is somewhat limited given the army still holds ministries responsible for security. Systemic discrimination and previous bouts of inter-communal violence between Myanmar's Buddhists and Rohingya sent waves of refugees to neighboring countries. There are more than 50,000 Rohingya in Malaysia, where critics point out that they face discrimination and live on the margins of society. Some observers say Razak is using the Rohingya issue to distract away from a financial corruption scandal. Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya has gained a regional dimension as Indonesia and Bangladesh also call on the international community to take action. Several protests have been held in Indonesia, and last weekend authorities there arrested two militants allegedly planning an attack on Myanmar's embassy in Jakarta. Over the past several years the treatment against Rohingya has become a major issue across the Islamic world Earlier this week the United States' top diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, warned that continued violence against the Rohingya threatened to incite jihadist extremism in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh. He also urged Malaysia and Indonesia to avoid stoking religious passion over the issue by organizing protests.

Malaysia has accused Myanmar of committing “genocide” against Rohingya Muslims. The bloody crackdown is quickly gaining a regional dimension. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday called on the world to prevent an unfolding “genocide” carried out by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, as a vicious crackdown triggers an exodus of the persecuted ethnic minority. “Please do something. The UN do ... Read More »

Thailand’s parliament begins process to appoint new king

Thailand's cabinet has acknowledged the appointment of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to succeed his late father as the new king. He has been formally invited by the president of the parliament to ascend to the throne. "The prime minister's secretary will notify the National Legislative Assembly (NLA)," deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon told reporters on Tuesday after hosting a brief meeting Thailand's cabinet. "I expect the NLA president could be granted a royal audience either tomorrow or the day after." According to procedure, the prince will have to now accept to the president's invitation to finally be proclaimed king. Vajiralongkorn is expected to fly back to Bangkok from Germany, where he spends most of his time, for an audience with the president later this week. Once he accepts the invitation, the prince will be formally known as King Rama X - the 10th king of the 234-year-old Chakri Dynasty. He can only be crowned, however, following his father's cremation, which is scheduled to take place next year. Vajiralongkorn's appointment put to rest any uncertainties concerning over the Thai monarchy's succession. Tough lese majeste laws - which criminalize anything deemed to be an insult to the monarchy - have made the public reluctant to speculate over matters concerning the royal family. However, Vajiralongkorn has spent most of his adult life abroad and does not generally command the same devotion his father did. Concerns were also raised after prince had reportedly asked Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to delay the succession to grieve with the public. However, Vajiralongkorn's proclamation is now expected to go ahead as soon as this week. A nation mourns Vajiralongkorn's endorsement comes several weeks after former king Bhumibol Adulyadej died, plunging the country into a period of intense mourning. His death marked the end of a seven-decade long reign, making him the longest serving head of state in the world. As the kingdom saw decades of violent of conflict and military rule, Bhumibol's reign often served to stabilize the highly divided region. Thailand's government announced last week that will begin building a funeral pyre for the late king next year, with some 8,000 people expected to be involved in the cremation ceremony.

Thailand’s cabinet has acknowledged the appointment of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to succeed his late father as the new king. He has been formally invited by the president of the parliament to ascend to the throne. “The prime minister’s secretary will notify the National Legislative Assembly (NLA),” deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon told reporters on Tuesday after hosting a brief ... Read More »

Australia hopes to extradite top IS recruiter from Turkey

Australia wants to extradite a suspect from Turkey believed to be a top recruiter for the so-called "Islamic State." The suspect was initially believed dead but was arrested in Turkey several weeks ago. Australia is awaiting a response from Turkey to its extradition request for a citizen believed to be a top recruiter for the so-called "Islamic State" (IS). Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Monday the suspect is believed to be Neil Prakash (photo above), who has been linked to several planned attacks in Australia and appeared in IS videos and magazines. Prakash, who is also known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, has been described as "the most dangerous Australian" and was captured by Turkish forces several weeks ago as he attempted to enter Syria from Turkey. Prakash was thought to have died in a United States airstrike in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on April 29, but was merely injured. Link to terror plots "[Prakash] is obviously subject at the moment to the Turkish justice system and Turkish legal processes. The most important thing of course is that people involved in allegations of this nature face justice," said Keenan. The Australian government said they worked with Turkish authorities to arrest Prakash and would collaborate further to extradite him. "Australia will collaborate closely with Turkish authorities… Australia and Turkey have a longstanding history of cooperation to combat terrorism," a government statement said. Prakash has been linked to a failed plot to behead a police officer in Melbourne in April 2015 and to an 18-year-old who was killed after stabbing two police officers in Melbourne in 2014. Prakash faces a potential life sentence in Australia if he is convicted of terrorism charges.

Australia wants to extradite a suspect from Turkey believed to be a top recruiter for the so-called “Islamic State.” The suspect was initially believed dead but was arrested in Turkey several weeks ago. Australia is awaiting a response from Turkey to its extradition request for a citizen believed to be a top recruiter for the so-called “Islamic State” (IS). Australian ... Read More »

Strong earthquake hits northeastern Japan, tsunami warning issued

A magnitude 7.4 quake has struck off the Japanese coast near Fukushima, triggering a tsunami warning. The region suffered a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011 causing a meltdown at a nearby nuclear plant. A major earthquake hit northeastern Japan early on Tuesday, causing authorities to issue a tsunami warning and thousands of residents to be evacuated from their homes. The 7.4 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Fukushima, home to a nuclear power plant that suffered a dangerous meltdown after a massive offshore tremor caused a tsunami in 2011. The earthquake was also felt in Tokyo, some 285 kilometers (177 miles) away. Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned coastal residents that the waves could be 3 meters (10 feet) high and urged them to flee to higher ground. Once the waves reached shore, however, they appeared to be about 1 meter tall. Tsunami warnings were also issued for the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki, Aomori, and Chiba. The warnings were lifted after a few hours. The quake that caused the Fukushima meltdown, one of the worst atomic disasters in history, was magnitude 9.1 and sent a 40.5 meter (133 feet) wave over the town. Some 18,000 people were killed and more than 220,000 displaced by the catastrophe. Japanese authorities have issued a statement saying there were no abnormalities at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as the waves made landfall. Speaking from Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to do his utmost to respond to the earthquake. Initial reports indicated that there had been no deaths, and only minor injuries. After the 2011 incident, all nuclear plants near Japan's coasts were shut down as a precaution. Only two are currently operating, both in the southwest of the country.

A magnitude 7.4 quake has struck off the Japanese coast near Fukushima, triggering a tsunami warning. The region suffered a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011 causing a meltdown at a nearby nuclear plant. A major earthquake hit northeastern Japan early on Tuesday, causing authorities to issue a tsunami warning and thousands of residents to be evacuated from their homes. ... Read More »

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