(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘BUND’)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS GROUP ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Sweden on Monday observed a minute of silence for the victims of last week’s truck attack by a man whom police believe is a jihadist sympathizer and who had gone underground after receiving a deportation order.
A solemn ceremony was held outside Stockholm’s City Hall, under grey and rainy skies with flags flying at half-mast, attended by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, King Carl XVI Gustaf and most of the royal family, as well as other representatives of Swedish society.
After the minute of silence, the Swedish army’s music corps played a solemn piece then Stockholm Mayor Karin Wanngard gave an address.
“We will never give in to violence. We will never let terror prevail,” Wanngard said, adding: “Stockholm will remain an open and tolerant city.”
To the families of the victims, Prime Minister Lofven said: “You are not alone, we are thinking of you. All of Sweden stands with you.”
In Friday’s attack, the assailant ploughed a hijacked beer truck down a pedestrian street in the heart of Stockholm before crashing it into the facade of the busy Ahlens department store.
Four people were killed and 15 were wounded.
Outside the department store, a huge crowd also observed the minute of silence, some visibly moved with tears streaming down their cheeks.
The motive for the attack was not known, but the method resembled previous attacks using vehicles in London, Berlin and Nice, all of them claimed by ISIS.
Sweden’s police chief Dan Eliasson said he remained confident that the person in custody is the truck driver.
“I am confident and certain that we have the right perpetrator. Then it is up to the prosecutor to prove this in court,” Eliasson told a news conference.
The main suspect has been identified as a 39-year-old Uzbek who went underground when he received a deportation order after his permanent residency application in 2014 was rejected.
Swedish media have identified the suspect as Rakhmat Akilov, a construction worker and father of four children living with their mother in Afghanistan.
Two sources who had worked with Akilov independently identified him to Reuters from images distributed by police as the manhunt got underway on Friday.
Two police spokespersons declined to confirm his identity as did the suspect’s court-appointed lawyer.
Many Swedes were on Monday back at work for the first time since the attack, while the department store into which the truck slammed had already reopened.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)
ECB will not follow the Fed: ECB’s Constancio
The Fed has increased its benchmark rate in March and is expected to push it up at least twice more this year.
The ECB’s official policy rate stands at zero as the inflation rate in the 19-member currency bloc is still below the central bank’s target.
“We have, in Europe, an independent monetary policy and we don’t follow the Fed or the Fed interest rates,” Constancio said at a hearing in the European Parliament.
Constancio told lawmakers that each central bank should deal with its own domestic situation: “That’s the way it should be.”
(Reporting by Andreas Framke and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)
Norwegian police set off a controlled explosion of a “bomb-like device” found in central Oslo on Saturday, and a suspect is being held in custody, police told reporters.
A Reuters reporter described a loud bang shortly after the arrival of Oslo’s bomb squad.
“The noise from the blast was louder than our explosives themselves would cause,” a police spokesman said, while adding that further investigation would be conducted at the scene.
The device had appeared to be capable of causing only a limited amount of damage, the police said earlier.
Police declined to give information about the suspect.
Oslo’s Groenland area, a multi-ethnic neighborhood that is home to popular bars and restaurants as well as several mosques, is also where the city’s main police station is located, less than a kilometer away from where the device was found.
In neighboring Sweden, a truck on Friday plowed into crowds in Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15 in what police said was an apparent terror attack.
In 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik set off a car bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and destroyed Norway’s government headquarters, before going on a shooting rampage that killed 69 people at nearby Utoeya island.
(Writing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Matthew Lewis)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)
Apartment building collapses in Poland: 6 killed, 4 injured
Published April 08, 2017
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A pre-World War II apartment house collapsed Saturday in southwestern Poland, leaving six people dead and four injured, authorities said.
Scores of firefighters with dogs continued to search the rubble of the building in the town of Swiebodzice, to make sure no one remained trapped.
According to Daniel Mucha, regional spokesman for the firefighters, the two upper floors of the three-floor building might have collapsed due to a gas explosion. A team of construction experts were set to investigate the cause.
The rescue management center said the body of a sixth victim was found late Saturday. Two of the dead were school-age children.
Prime Minister Beata Szydlo arrived late Saturday at the site, 250 miles southwest of Warsaw, to talk with the victims and the rescue workers.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Swiebodzice and in Wroclaw. One survivor, identified only by her first name Stanislawa, told TVN24 that she was “miraculously saved.”
“I was in the kitchen and suddenly it was dark and full of debris and some broken wooden planks,” she said from her hospital bed in Swiebodzice. “I got on top of those planks and started calling ‘Help! Help!’ Two firefighters came and pulled me out by the arm.”
She said her husband was resting on the bed at the time of the collapse. “I don’t know what has happened to him,” she said, her voice trembling.
With her teenage son, also a survivor, at her side, she said the family had lost everything.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)
A man steered a stolen beer truck into a crowd of people and then rammed it into a department store, killing at least three people in what officials were calling a terrorist attack in the heart of Stockholm on Friday afternoon.
“Sweden has been attacked. All indications are that it was a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.
The suspect in the attack was still at large. But at a news conference later in the evening, the Swedish police released a photo of a man being sought in connection for questioning.
The authorities said they did not know if it had been an isolated assault, or something bigger. The Swedish intelligence agency said “a large number” of people had been wounded.
Mats Löfving, the head of national operative department of the Swedish police, said, “This is now declared a national security event,” adding that officers across the nation were on heightened alert.
The Swedish Parliament was on lockdown, according to news reports. Train service in and out of the city grounded to a halt, and the police, who blocked off the affected area, urged people to stay at home and to avoid the city center.
The police said the first emergency call came in around 2:50 p.m. local time as the attack unfolded in Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s busiest shopping street. Witnesses described a scene of panic and terror.
“I saw hundreds of people running; they ran for their lives” before the truck crashed into the Ahlens department store, a witness identified only as Anna told the newspaper Aftonbladet.
At first, she said, she thought the noise was people moving things around the store, but then the fire alarm went off and staff members told her and other shoppers to get out of the building.
“We were running, we were crying, everyone was in shock,” Ms. Libert said. “We rushed down the street, and I glanced to the right and saw the truck. People were lying on the ground. They were not moving.”
Ms. Libert, who followed others as they were guided by officials to shelter, added, “My sister in law and some friends are close to the scene and at lockdown, can’t leave their office.”
She said that she usually avoided busy areas that could be potential terrorist targets, but that she had decided to take the Friday afternoon off to do some shopping.
“Some people felt that this was just a matter of time,” she said. “Paris, Brussels, London and now Stockholm. I just had a feeling something like this would happen.”
After the assailant plowed into people, the front of the truck ended up inside the department store.
A representative of the Spendrups brewery told Radio Sweden that the vehicle had been taken earlier in the day. A spokesman for the company told SVT, a national public broadcaster, that the truck had been stolen while the driver was loading it from the rear.
The brewery’s driver told the police that a masked man stole the vehicle, and that he was injured trying to stop him, the authorities said.
At the news conference, officials released a photo of a man wearing a hoodie. They did not name him as a suspect, saying only that they wanted to question him in connection with the attack.
The national police chief, Dan Eliasson, said, “We have the truck and the driver who usually drives it, but we do not have contact with the person or persons who drove it.”
Mr. Löfving, also of the police, asked for the public’s help in sharing the photo: “We want to get in touch with this man.”
The authorities also said that they could not confirm the number of dead or injured until they received more information from the hospitals.
The chief medical doctor at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital, Nelson Follin, told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the hospital was treating “a handful” of people.
“The injuries are quite serious, but for now I cannot give further comments on conditions,” Dr. Follin said.
Previous accounts of shots being fired in parts of Stockholm were unfounded, the police said, adding that officers across Sweden were protecting high-risk sites.
The attack reverberated as far away as Norway, where the police said on Twitter that officers in that nation’s largest cities and at the airport in Oslo would be armed until further notice following the attack in Stockholm.
The assault came after several other episodes in Europe in the past year in which a vehicle was used to attack people.
The Islamic State group revived the idea of using cars as weapons after it broke with Al Qaeda in 2014. In the past year, ISIS militants have claimed responsibility for the deaths of more than 100 people in Europe.
In France, a man drove into a crowd on a busy seaside promenade during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.
Another attacker plowed a truck into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin.
And last month, an assailant drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge near Parliament in London.
Other attempts, including an episode in which a man tried to drive over pedestrians in Antwerp, Belgium, claimed no victims, but have contributed to a sense of dread across the Continent.
Although some Swedes have expressed concern that immigration has led to a crime wave in the country — and President Trump seemed to suggest in a speech on Feb. 18 that there had been an attack in Sweden, when in fact nothing had occurred — the country and the region remain largely peaceful and safe.
The most notable exception came in 2010, when an assailant killed himself and wounded two others after detonating two bombs in central Stockholm, on a side street not far from where the attack on Friday took place.
The attack in 2010 was said to be the first suicide bombing in Scandinavia, and it caused consternation in Sweden. It was linked to an Iraqi-born Swede who had attended college in Britain.
On Friday, the police said they were well-trained for these types of episodes. “Last week we rehearsed a similar scenario,” said Anders Thornberg, chief of national intelligence.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)
China and Finland look to the future
CHINA and Finland yesterday agreed to establish and promote a “future-oriented new-type cooperative partnership,” with both sides pledging to enhance political mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation.
During talks between visiting President Xi Jinping and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, the two heads of state stressed that to build a more forward-looking and strategic bilateral relationship that keeps pace with the times was in the fundamental interests of both countries.
“China and Finland are good friends and partners who respect each other, treat each other as equals and enjoy mutually beneficial cooperation,” Xi said. “The peoples of our two countries have always cherished a friendly sentiment toward each other.”
Noting that the development needs of China and Finland fit well with each other, Xi called on both sides to increase high-level exchanges, build up strategic mutual trust, explore potentials for cooperation and give support to each other in development.
Niinisto warmly welcomed the Chinese president for his visit on the occasion of the centenary of Finland’s independence.
Finland highly values China’s achievements in development and its important role in international affairs, he said.
The Finnish side hopes to carry out more high-level contacts and exchanges in all areas with China, and deepen cooperation in economy and trade, investment, innovation, environmental protection, tourism, winter sports and Arctic affairs, as well as within the framework of China’s Belt and Road initiative linking Asia with Europe and Africa, Niinisto said.
Finland also wants to strengthen communication and coordination with China on major international issues and push for an even closer cooperation between the European Union and China, he said.
In a written speech delivered on his arrival, Xi first extended congratulations to the Finnish government and people on the centenary of Finland’s independence.
“Since China and Finland established diplomatic ties 67 years ago, our relationship has maintained a steady and sound development no matter how the international landscape changes,” Xi said.
“Our relationship has become a model of friendly co-existence and mutually-beneficial cooperation between countries that are different in population and size, history and culture, social system and development level,” he said.
Xi said he looks forward to having in-depth exchanges of views with Finnish leaders on the China-Finland relationship and other issues of mutual concern, thus charting the course for the future development of the bilateral relations.
“I believe that with concerted efforts of both sides, my visit will achieve a complete success,” he added.
Finland was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China, and the first Western nation to sign an intergovernmental trade agreement with China.
Currently, Finland is China’s third largest trading partner in the Nordic region, while China has been Finland’s biggest trading partner in Asia for 14 years.
The two sides have cooperated in areas such as high technology, clean energy, innovation and Arctic research, and further cooperation on winter sports is expected as China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Xi’s visit to Finland is his first trip to a European Union member state this year, and also his first to the Nordic region as president.
After Finland, Xi will travel to Florida today for a meeting with US President Donald Trump.
It will be the first meeting between Xi and Trump, heads of state of the two biggest economies in the world.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF YAHOO NEWS AND REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)
ANKARA (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called on Turkish voters in Europe to defy the “grandchildren of Nazism” and back a referendum this month on changing the constitution, comments likely to cause further ire in Europe.
Erdogan has repeatedly lashed out at European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, in campaigning for the referendum, accusing them of “Nazi-like” tactics for banning his ministers from speaking to rallies of Turkish voters abroad.
Both the Germans and Dutch have been incensed by the comparisons to Nazism and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the references must stop.
“With this determination, we will never allow three or four European fascists … from harming this country’s honor and pride,” Erdogan told a packed crowd of flag-waving supporters in the Black Sea city of Rize, where his family comes from.
“I call on my brothers and sisters voting in Europe…give the appropriate answer to those imposing this fascist oppression and the grandchildren of Nazism.”
Erdogan is counting on the support of expatriates in Europe, including the 1.4 million Turks eligible to vote in Germany, to pass constitutional changes that would give him sweeping presidential powers.
But ties with Europe have deteriorated in the run-up to the campaign. Erdogan last month said Turkey would reevaluate its relationship with the bloc, and may even hold a second referendum on whether to continue accession talks.
On Monday, he said he could take the issue of whether Turkey should restore the death penalty to referendum if necessary.
“The European Union will not like this. But I don’t care what Hans, George or Helga say, I care what Hasan, Ahmet, Mehmet, Ayse and Fatma say. I care what God says… If necessary, we will take this issue to another referendum as well,” he told the rally.
Turkey abandoned capital punishment more than a decade ago as part of its bid to join the European Union, but Erdogan has repeatedly told crowds calling for it following the July 15 failed coup that he would approve its restoration if parliament passed it.
Restoring capital punishment would all but end Turkey’s bid to join the EU, officials from the bloc have said.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk)
I used and extreme for the purpose of getting your attention, if you are reading this, it must have worked. No, I do not condone any violence except in the necessary need of self-defence. But I am not most people, I’m just a broken down, old used to be Truck Driver. I can only comment on that which I know, or think that I know. For several decades I drove our Nation’s Interstates, Highways and back roads of the U.S. and Canada. You see people from all over Our Country as well as some visitors from other Countries. You see and you hear people in their own comfort zones. If you listen, you might get a pretty good idea on what people are thinking from all over our Country. Age, time, are they not supposed to give those of gray hair, wisdom, knowledge?
I got the idea for this article this evening from reading several news articles from around the World, some of those would be the BBC, CNN and Reuters. These articles were speaking of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion at the same time. Folks, is it possible for any country to have both at the same time? Somewhere there will become a boundary, a line that the human race must decide for itself that they will not allow to be crossed, in the name of Religion, or anything else. If a new Religion moved into your town, your State, your Country and they believed in eating small animals alive while they were being roasted on the fire, would that bother you? Would you join all of the local Animal Rights Groups? People would be outraged but would it continue to be allowed because it is being done in the name of a Religion?
O, wait, there is a compromise offer, the Religious Group agrees to quit eating all critters while they are still alive, if they will be allowed to have an open season on all Politicians, would you accept their offer? Are all things truly only able to be seen through the eyes of a true ‘Believer’? If in a Doctrine of a Religion, it’s very base fundamentals, teach, in fact they order, their followers to commit mass murder and to take the plunder. If you were a conscious observer would you not consider this ‘Group’ with its Charter, to be a ‘Terrorist Organization’? O, but wait, if this Organization says that they are protected, because they call it a Religion, when is it okay to arrest them if they are breaking lots of your other longstanding laws in the name of their religion? There are a lot of ‘Religions’ that are really nothing but Cults, some have only 20-30 members some have 5,000 members, some have a billion. Folks, countries like Germany and the Netherlands are fighting for their Nation’s Cultural Soul. When you load your house down with Rattlesnakes don’t act all shocked when you get yourself bit.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)
Germany has no plans to introduce an ‘Islam law’ codifying the rights and obligations of Muslims, a government spokesman said on Monday, dismissing an idea floated by allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of federal elections in September.
Merkel, who will seek a fourth term in what is expected to be a close-fought ballot, has come under fire for opening Germany’s doors to refugees, more than one million of whom – mostly Muslims – have entered the country over the past two years.
Seeking to boost support for the chancellor’s conservatives, senior Merkel ally Julia Kloeckner stoked the integration debate at the weekend by calling for stricter rules for Islamic preachers and a ban on foreign funding of mosques.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert dismissed the idea, which Kloeckner – who is deputy leader of the chancellor’s Christian Democrats (CDU) – and other senior party members want to enshrine in an Islam law.
“Such a law is now not an issue for government business,” Seibert told a news conference, stressing the high regard Merkel’s ruling coalition has for religious freedom in Germany.
While stopping short of calling for an Islam law, Merkel said in her weekly podcast on Saturday that refugees in Germany must respect tolerance, openness and freedom of religion.
The message backed up a less compromising tone on integrating migrants that Merkel set at a CDU party conference in December, when she called for a ban on full-face Muslim veils “wherever legally possible”.
By talking tougher on integration, Merkel is also seeking to reclaim support her party lost last year over her refugee policy to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which punished the CDU in regional elections in 2016.
The AfD has lost voter support this year, hurt by infighting that has sent its ratings down to around 8 percent from a high of 15.5 percent at the end of 2016.
In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte used a similar tactic to win re-election this year, seizing back the initiative from anti-Islam populist rivals by matching some of their tough rhetoric on immigration.
He told the country’s half-million ethnic Turks that they should integrate and accept Dutch views on freedom of speech or “get lost” after some had been filmed behaving aggressively toward a reporter during a demonstration.
“Our norms and values are all or nothing: you can’t pick and choose,” he said in response to the footage in an interview last September.
(Additional reporting by Thomas Escritt in Amsterdam; editing by John Stonestreet)