February 24, 2019

France, Germany 'concerned' about Trump decisions: French FM

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. (File | REUTERS)

PARIS:  France and Germany are “concerned” over a number of decisions by US President Donald Trump, particularly his move to restrict refugee arrivals, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Saturday.

“Welcoming refugees who are fleeing war is part of our duty,” he said following a meeting with his new German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel.

“We must… ensure that this happens in a fair, just way and with solidarity.”

Trump on Friday signed a sweeping executive order to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.

“This decision can only cause us concern. But there are a lot of other issues that are causing us concern”, Ayrault, with Gabriel at his side, said when asked by journalists about the restrictions.

He and Gabriel discussed “at length what we are going to do.”

The pair plan to contact the nominated secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, once he is confirmed, “to discuss the issue point by point and have a clear relationship.”

“Clarity, coherence and if necessary firmness are needed to defend our beliefs, our values, our vision of the world, our interests, French, German and European.”

Gabriel on is on his first foreign trip since being appointed on Friday to replace Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

A spokesman for the European Commission, the EU executive said it had “no comment to make” on Trump’s move.

But he recalled “comments made several times by” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, “that Europe is and remains open to all those who flee armed conflicts and terror, whatever their religion.”

Taxi driver held for molesting Australian student in Mumbai

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For representational purpose | PTI

MUMBAI: A 30-year-old taxi driver was arrested for allegedly molesting an Australian student in Colaba area of South Mumbai, police said today.
The 20-year-old student lodged a complaint against the driver on January  26, they said.
The victim came to city on a student visa of six weeks for an academic course with an NGO and was staying in a ladies hostel in Colaba area, police said.
On January 20, when she took a taxi, she was allegedly touched inappropriately by the driver Jia Ul Ansari (30) under the pretext of fastening seat belt, police said, adding, same act was repeated by the driver on January 23 as well.
Ansari who is a resident of Worli drives taxi in Colaba area and has been nabbed from there, police said.
The victim who was scared since the taxi driver kept on following her movements shared this incident with her friends and colleagues in hostel and later lodged a complaint with Colaba police on January 26, the official said.
A case of molestation under section 354 of the IPC has been registered against Ansari, Manojkumar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-1) said.
He was produced in the court and has been sent to police custody for one day, the officer added. 

Turkish NATO soldiers seek asylum in Germany: Report

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Pro-government supporters protest against the attempted coup. (File | AP)

GERMANY:  Several dozen Turkish soldiers assigned to NATO have sought asylum in Germany, a media report said Saturday, quoting officers who said they fear jail and possibly torture back home.

Around 43,000 people are under arrest in Turkey on charges or links to last year’s failed military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

“About 40 Turkish troops, mostly of high rank and stationed in NATO bases, applied for asylum in Germany,” Der Spiegel magazine and the ARD television station said in a joint report.

One officer, who insisted he had no connection to the coup attempt or sympathy for those behind it, was quoted as saying: “If I return to Turkey I risk imprisonment, or perhaps torture.”

The report quoted Germany’s interior ministry and Office for Migrants and Refugees as saying the soldiers would be treated no differently as other people who apply for asylum.

Turkey has been vital to European Union (EU) plans to stop the mass flow of migrants from the Middle East and Africa into the bloc, especially to Germany.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin deteriorated in the aftermath of the attempt to topple Erdogan but German Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to visit Turkey on February 2.

The German government has expressed alarm about the crackdown on alleged plotters linked to the coup while Turkey has criticised Berlin for failure to extradite alleged terror suspects.

Turkey blames the coup effort on US based preacher Fethullah Gulen. He denies the charges.

Around three million Turkish people live in Germany.

Army rescues five soldiers trapped under snow in Kashmir's Macchil

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SRINAGAR: Army’s Avalanche Rescue Teams (ARTs) on Saturday rescued an army patrol comprising five soldiers, which was trapped in snow after the track leading to their post caved-in in Machil sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

“An army patrol near an army camp in Machil sector got trapped in snow this morning after snow track caved in,” defence spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Express.

He said the army patrol comprised five men and all of them were trapped in the snow.

Colonel Kalia said army’s Avalanche Rescue Teams (ARTs) immediately launched the rescue operation to rescue the trapped soldiers.

He said the specially equipped ARTs continued the rescue work despite inclement weather and fresh snowfall.

“After intense efforts, the rescue teams successfully managed to rescue all the five trapped soldiers,” defence spokesman said.

The rescued soldiers, he said, have been hospitalised. “The soldiers are undergoing treatment”.

Sources said the army men were on routine patrol in the area when the snow track caved-in.

It was the 4th incident in last four days that army men have been a victim of snow avalanches and snow slides after record snowfall in the Valley.

Earlier, 14 soldiers were killed and seven others rescued when an army post and patrol party were hit by massive snow avalanches in Gurez, close to Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday.

An army major was also killed and seven others rescued when snow avalanche hit some barracks in the army camp in Sonamarg in central Kashmirs’ Ganderbal district on Wednesday.

Five civilians including four members of a family were also killed in two separate avalanches in Gurez and Uri in last four days.

Kashmir has witnessed record snowfall this winter. The plains including Srinagar and upper reaches including Keran, Karnah, Machil, Gurez, Tangdhar, Uri, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Yousumarg, and Pahalgam received fresh snowfall today.

Due to heavy snowfall, Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road link connecting Kashmir with rest of the country remained closed for the fifth consecutive day today while only eight flights could take off from Srinagar airport today.

The air traffic resumed at Srinagar airport yesterday after remaining suspended for three days due to snowfall.

Due to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the prices of essential commodities have shot up in Valley.

The Valley, which is totally dependent on the highway for supplies, is also facing a shortage of cooking gas due to the continued closure of the Srinagar-Jammu road.

Trump's executive order prompts Google to recall staff

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WASHINGTON: Google has recalled its travelling staff members back to the US after an executive order from President Donald Trump restricting entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries, the media reported.

Syrian refugees are banned from entry until further notice. Visas for nationals of six countries, including Iran and Iraq, will not be issued for the next three months.

Google said it is concerned about the order and any measures which could block great talent from the US, reported the BBC on Saturday.

Trump’s order means that thousands of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya may not be allowed to board flights bound for the US – even if they hold “green card” (permanent residents’ permit).

Trump said the measure would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”. But rights groups said there is no link between Syrian refugees in the US and terrorism, according to the report.

According to the BBC, there were already reports of travellers from the countries targeted being turned away as they tried to board flights to the US.

Some Republicans welcomed Trump’s announcement, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, who said it was “time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process”.

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