(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
Merkel: Europe ‘can no longer rely on allies’ after Trump and Brexit
Europe can no longer “completely depend” on the US and UK following the election of President Trump and Brexit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says.
Mrs Merkel said she wanted friendly relations with both countries as well as Russia but Europe now had to “fight for its own destiny”.
It follows the G7’s failure to commit to the 2015 Paris climate deal, talks Mrs Merkel said were “very difficult”.
President Trump has said he will make a decision in the coming week.
“The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,” Mrs Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany.
The BBC’s Damien McGuinness, in Berlin, says the comments are a sign of growing assertiveness within the EU.
The relationship between Berlin and new French President Emmanuel Macron had to be a priority, Mrs Merkel said.
Earlier the German leader had described the “six against one” discussion about the Paris Accord during the G7 summit in Sicily as “very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory”.
Mr Trump said he would abandon the Paris deal – the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement requiring countries to cut carbon emission – during his election campaign and has also expressed doubts about climate change.
Speaking in Brussels last week, Mr Trump also told Nato members to spend more money on defence and did not re-state his administration’s commitment to Nato’s mutual security guarantees.
BBC Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the mere fact that this is even in question shows just how uneasy the relationship is between Mr Trump and the organisation of which his country is the leading member.
While in Belgium Mr Trump also reportedly described German trade practices as “bad, very bad”, complaining that Europe’s largest economy sells too many cars to the US.
The US president has described his visit to Europe as a “great success for America” with “big results”.
Passionate Merkel – BBC’s Damien McGuinness in Berlin:
It might have been thanks to the beer, pretzels and Bavarian brass-band enlivening the crowd.
But Mrs Merkel’s words were uncharacteristically passionate and unusually forthright. By all means keep friendly relations with Trump’s America and Brexit Britain, was the message – but we can’t rely on them.
Rapturous applause greeted her fiery calls for Europeans to fight for their own destiny.
No wonder she’s sounding confident. France has a new president who shares her pro free-trade, Europhile values, so there is a positive feeling in Europe that the EU’s Franco-German motor is back in business.
With four months to go before elections, Angela Merkel’s position also looks stronger than ever domestically. Initial enthusiasm for her center-left rival Martin Schulz has fizzled out. And Sunday’s beer-tent event underscored her strength by marking an end to a potential split with her Bavarian sister conservative party.
She might not have welcomed Brexit or Trump. But it seems that Mrs Merkel has decided that standing up for the EU will only strengthen her chances of winning another term in September.
Polls in Germany say Mrs Merkel is on course to be re-elected for a fourth term as German chancellor at elections in September.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
About 50,000 people in Hannover have been evacuated from their homes while experts defuse three British bombs dating from World War Two.
The operation is the second largest of its kind carried out in Germany, and has affected around a tenth of the city’s population.
The buildings evacuated included seven care homes, a clinic and a Continental tyre plant.
Officials hope those affected will be able to return home by the evening.
The evacuation deadline was 09:00 (07:00 GMT) and residents were advised to take necessary items like medication with them, as well as turning off gas and electrical appliances.
Local news outlet Hannoversche Allgemeine reported [in German] on Sunday afternoon that two unexploded bombs had been defused, and a third – which was severely damaged – might have to be made safe using a specialised cutting machine.
Two other suspected bombs had turned out to be harmless scrap metal, it said.
No firm deadline has been given for when the restricted zone will return to normal. Road blocks have been set up to prevent cars from re-entering the area.
Emergency shelters have been established at three schools, and tens of thousands of soup portions prepared.
Bomb disposal experts had initially checked as many as 13 suspicious objects, but only five were found to merit further attention – two on a building site at the city’s Wedelstaße, and three others nearby.
The city has set up a programme of museum tours, children’s films and sporting events to help evacuees spend the day as pleasantly as possible.
Allied planes bombed Hannover heavily during World War Two, killing thousands and destroying much of the city.
On 9 October 1943, an especially deadly night, 1,245 people were killed and 250,000 left homeless by 261,000 bombs.
The largest bomb-related evacuation since the war happened on Christmas Day last year, in Augsburg.
Some 54,000 people had to be moved after a 1.8 tonne bomb was unearthed during building work.
Other WW2 bombs recently discovered in Germany
- May 2015: 20,000 people in Cologne forced to leave their homes after a one-tonne bomb was discovered
- January 2012: A construction worker was killed when his digger hit an unexploded bomb in Euskirchen.
- December 2011: 45,000 people were evacuated from Koblenz after two bombs were found in the riverbed of the Rhine. It took three hours to make them both safe.
- June 2010: Three members of a bomb disposal squad were killed in Goettingen during an operation to defuse a bomb found on a building site.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:
Or use the form below
If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.Terms and conditions
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
China fears North Korea-US conflict ‘at any moment’
China has warned that “conflict could break out at any moment” as tension over North Korea increases.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said if war occurred there could be no winner.
Mr Wang’s comments come as the US voices increasing concern at North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and deploys a Navy carrier group off the Korean peninsula.
China, North Korea’s only backer, fears conflict could cause the regime to collapse and problems on its border.
Mr Wang said: “One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment.
“I think that all relevant parties should be highly vigilant with regards to this situation.”
“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage.”
Adding to Chinese unease, President Donald Trump said on Thursday that “the problem of North Korea” would be “taken care of”.
“If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
The North Korean military responded on Friday by saying it would “mercilessly foil” any US provocation.
“Our toughest counteraction against the U.S. and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” read a statement from the army, reported in English by North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA.
- North Koreans set to celebrate leader amid tensions
- Trump’s steep learning curve
- Read more about North Korea’s missile programme
The US president has recently demonstrated his willingness to resort to military methods. He ordered a cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack, and the US military just used a huge bomb against so-called Islamic State in Afghanistan.
Washington is concerned North Korea might develop the ability to launch a nuclear weapon at the US.
Mr Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping have been in contact by phone since their summit last week in Florida, and Reuters quotes US officials as saying tougher economic sanctions against North Korea are also being considered.
China is concerned any conflict could lead to a huge refugee problem on its border with North Korea. It also fears the collapse of the North Korean regime, which would remove a buffer between China and a country with US military bases, and has thus long been wary of pushing Pyongyang too hard.
But, in a sign of growing frustration with its neighbour, it recently blocked coal imports from the North. And Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reports that the government will suspend direct Air China flights between Beijing and Pyongyang from Monday 17 April.
There is also intense speculation that North Korea could carry out a sixth nuclear bomb test or another missile launch – possibly a long-range missile – on Saturday.
Saturday marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of its first leader, Kim Il-sung.
In an interview with the Associated Press, North Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol accused the Trump administration of “becoming more vicious and more aggressive” in its policy towards the North.
An institute linked to the North Korean foreign ministry also warned that “thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment”.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
Russian arrested in Spain ‘over mass hacking’
Spanish police have arrested a Russian programmer following US allegations of large-scale hacking.
Pyotr Levashov was held in Barcelona on Friday and is remanded in custody.
Spanish police said Mr Levashov controlled a botnet called Kelihos, hacking information and installing malicious software in hundreds of thousands of computers.
The arrest was part of a “complex inquiry carried out in collaboration with the FBI”, police said.
Mr Levashov is subject to a US international arrest warrant and a Spanish court will hear whether he can be extradited.
Much of his alleged activity involved ransomware – blocking a computer’s access to certain information and demanding a ransom for its release.
Mr Levashov’s wife Maria told Russian broadcaster RT that the arrest had been made in connection with allegations that Russians had hacked the US presidential election.
She said Spanish police had told her the arrest was in connection with “a virus which appears to have been created by my husband and is linked to [Donald] Trump’s victory”.
However, Agence France-Presse news agency quoted a source close to the matter in Washington as saying that Mr Levashov’s detention was “not tied to anything involving allegations of Russian interference with the US election”.
A US intelligence report released in January alleged that Vladimir Putin had tried to help Mr Trump to victory, allegations strongly denied the Russian president.
Mr Trump later commented that the outcome of the election had not been affected.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
United Airlines: Passenger forcibly removed from flight
Videos showing a man being violently removed from a United Airlines flight have provoked an outcry on social media.
The footage taken inside the airliner shows a man being violently pulled out of his seat and dragged down the aisle as passengers prepared to take off from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday evening.
The airline in question – United – has tweeted an apology for what happened and says it is investigating.
One 50-second clip of the incident on Twitter was re-tweeted 16,000 times since it was posted that day.
Jayse D Anspach, who posted the footage, tweeted: “#United overbooked and wanted four of us to volunteer to give up our seats for personnel that needed to be at work the next day.”
“No one volunteered, so United decided to choose for us. They chose an Asian doctor and his wife.”
“The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day, so he refused to volunteer,” Mr Anspach added.
“Ten minutes later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, “I need to go home.”
One of the three security officers involved has been “placed on leave”, the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were “obviously not condoned by the Department”.
The department also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure”.
Another passenger Audra D. Bridges, posted a video of the incident on Facebook that has been viewed over 400,000 times.
She wrote: “Please share this video. We are on this flight. United airlines overbooked the flight.”
“They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat.
“This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning,” she added.
“He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted.”
Thousands of Facebook comments have been posted about what happened.
One person wrote: “This is infuriating”
Another posted: “OMG So sad to see someone being treated like this. I wont fly United ever again.”
But another felt the video raised some unanswered questions.
“There has to be more to this story,” he said.
“Usually when a flight is overbooked they offer free flight vouchers to those willing to change flights or go on standby and a couple of people will jump at those as their travel plans may be flexible.”
“I feel like this specific incident HAS to be deeper than what we are seeing in this video,” he added.
In a statement United airlines told the BBC: “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked.”
“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the airline added.
The chief executive of United, Oscar Munoz, has since made a statement on Twitter: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers.”
“Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.
“We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve the situation,” he added.
By Rozina Sini, BBC’s UGC and Social News team
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 THE BBC AND REUTERS NEWS AGENCIES AND GETTY IMAGES)
Rescuers are digging through mud and debris in the hunt for those missing after devastating mudslides in Colombia left more than 200 dead.
About 1,100 soldiers and police are involved in the relief effort.
Heavy rain flooded the city of Mocoa in the country’s south-west with mud and rocks burying whole neighbourhoods and forcing residents to flee their homes.
An army statement said there were at least 400 injured and 200 still missing in the capital of Putumayo province.
The exact death toll is hard to confirm with the rescue operation is still under way.
Some local media estimate up to 300 people have been killed, while the Colombian Red Cross has a total hovering above 200.
The Red Cross said it was working to help family members contact each other.
Video footage from the city showed residents crying over a list of missing children, along with their ages, pinned to a family welfare centre.
“We have lost a baby, who has gone missing,” one resident told reporters. “A little baby, we can’t find him anywhere.”
President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency in the region and flew in to oversee the rescue effort.
“We will do everything possible to help,” he said. “It breaks my heart.”
A senior UN official in Colombia, Martin Santiago, blamed climate change, saying it had caused “tremendous results in terms of intensity, frequency and magnitude of these natural effects” in the region.
Others said deforestation has also played a role. “When the basins are deforested, they break down. It is as if we remove the protection for avoiding landslides,” said Adriana Soto, a Colombian conservationist and former environment minister.
The Colombian Air Force is bringing supplies to the area as the search operation continues.
With no running water in Mocoa, one resident told El Tiempo newspaper that they had been collecting rainwater. Power lines are also out across the area.
Photos posted to social media by the air force showed some patients being evacuated by air.
“Our heroes will remain in the tragedy zone until the emergency is over,” the army’s statement said.
Colombia’s director of the National Disaster Risk Management Unit told the AFP news agency that a third of the region’s expected monthly rain fell during one night.
Although rainfall is abundant in the area, this downpour was unusually heavy and caused rivers to burst their banks.
The overflow then picked up mud and debris, creating a cascade.
Video footage of the aftermath showed currents so strong that abandoned lorries were propelled through the flooded streets.
Local resident Mario Usale, 42, told Reuters he was searching for his father-in-law.
“My mother-in-law was also missing, but we found her alive 2km (1.25 miles) away. She has head injuries, but she was conscious,” he said.
Landslides have struck the region several times in recent months.
In November, nine people died in the town of El Tambo, about 140km (90 miles) from Mocoa, during a landslide that followed heavy rain.
Less than a month before that, another landslide killed several people near Medellin, almost 500km (300 miles) to the north.
And in neighbouring Peru, more than 90 people have died since the start of the year because of unusually heavy rainfall, which also caused landslides and flash floods.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
(Are the people of Russia and the people of the U.S. really enemies of each other, no I do not believe so personally. It is the ego’s and the distrust of Nation’s Leaders toward each other, both the Civilian and the Military/Intelligence Leaderships. This is something the Media doesn’t need to be trying to become the ‘news maker’. The world is better off if the U.S. along with all of Europe, Israel and Russia are honestly friendly with each other.)–this opinion by trs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would like to meet US President Donald Trump at an Arctic nations summit in Finland in May.
He again rejected allegations that Russia had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.
And he said sanctions against Russia were also hurting the US and Europe.
Mr Trump had voiced hopes for improved relations with Moscow, but he has been dogged by claims of links between his election campaign and Russia.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and both houses of the US Congress are investigating alleged Russian interference in the election.
Mr Putin, speaking at an Arctic forum in Arkhangelsk in northern Russia, said he would be “glad” to meet Mr Trump at a summit of the Arctic Council in Helsinki in May.
“Both side should prepare such events,” he said. “If not, then such a meeting could take place within the framework of the usual meetings, at the G20.”
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, whose country is due to take the rotating leadership of the Arctic Council, said he would be honoured to host such a meeting.
The G20 summit of world powers is set to convene in the northern German city of Hamburg in early July.
Mr Putin criticised “endless and groundless” allegations that Russia interfered in the US election, and what he termed the use of the “Russian card” in US politics.
“Do we want to completely cut relations?” he asked. “Do we want to bring the situation to what it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s?
“I very much hope that sometime – the sooner the better – the situation will return to normal. I very much hope that we’ll… improve Russian-American relations, for the good of our people’s, and for the whole world.”
Mr Putin said he would support President Trump in fighting terrorism, and co-operate with the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.
He added that he was ready to work with the new US presidential administration on fighting Islamic State in Syria.
Earlier this year, Slovenia offered to host a meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Trump. Mr Putin offered thanks, but said it would depend on Washington.
Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Crimea and its role in the Ukraine crisis.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
33 minutes ago
- From the section US & Canada
FBI director James Comey has confirmed for the first time that the FBI is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
However, Mr Comey said his agency had seen no evidence to back up President Trump’s claim that his phones had been tapped by the Obama administration.
He was giving evidence to the congressional intelligence committee.
The Trump administration said nothing had changed and there was “no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion”.
Russia has always denied attempting to influence the US presidential election.
- Latest updates from hearing: Comey confirms FBI probe ongoing
- Russia: The scandal Trump can’t shake
- Russian media no longer dazzled by Trump
- US senator makes FBI wiretap warning
The FBI investigation would examine possible links between individuals in the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was co-ordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mr Comey said.
The FBI would also assess whether crimes were committed, he said.
Mr Comey said the investigation was “very complex” and he could not give a timetable for its completion.
“We will follow the facts wherever they lead,” he said.
National Security Agency (NSA) chief Admiral Mike Rogers also appeared before the committee.
He said the NSA stood by an intelligence community report published in January, which said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a campaign to harm the campaign of Mr Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.
‘No wiretap on Trump Tower’
Mr Comey said he had no information on unsubstantiated claims tweeted by Mr Trump earlier this month that former president Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower.
This was despite looking carefully for such evidence, he said. The Department of Justice also had no information, he said.
Analysis – BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher
What FBI Director James Comey didn’t say during intelligence hearings today on possible Russian meddling in the 2016 US election was as important as what he did say.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who had ties to pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians? No comment. Long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone, who reportedly had communications with individuals who hacked the Democratic National Committee emails? No comment. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after leaked evidence surfaced that he had communicated with a Russian ambassador about US sanctions? No comment.
“I don’t want to answer any questions about a US person,” Mr Comey said.
All of this is evidence that the investigation isn’t just ongoing, it’s substantive and far-reaching.
While Democrats will likely be encouraged by this, it was telling that Republicans pursued the White House line that the topic of greatest concern was the intelligence leaks that put this story in the headlines.
If Mr Trump can consolidate his party’s support, it will go a long way towards insulating the president against any fallout from this investigation.
Meanwhile, Admiral Rogers strongly denied that the NSA had asked Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency to spy on Mr Trump – a claim that had been repeated by Mr Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer.
The allegation “clearly frustrates a key ally of ours”, he added.
GCHQ has described the claim as “utterly ridiculous”.
Mr Trump’s recent joke about how Mr Obama had wiretapped both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and him “complicates things” with an ally, Admiral Rogers added.
However, Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said it was still possible that other surveillance activities had been used against Mr Trump and his associates.
What are the allegations?
In January, US intelligence agencies said Kremlin-backed hackers had broken into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing messages in order to help Mr Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
“That was a fairly easy judgement for the community,” Mr Comey said. “Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flipside of that coin was he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much.”
However, late last summer the Russians concluded that Mr Trump had no chance of winning, based on polls at the time, and so focused on undermining Mrs Clinton, Mr Comey said.
Both intelligence chiefs said that Russia had made its intervention in last year’s election campaign unusually obvious, perhaps to further its aim of undermining US democracy.
Mr Comey said Russia had succeeded in this goal, by sowing chaos, division and discord.
Mr Trump has since faced allegations that his campaign team had links to Russian officials.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said he saw no evidence of any collusion, up until the time he left his post in January.
Which campaign members have been accused of deception?
Two senior officials in the Trump administration have been caught up in the allegations – former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.
Mr Flynn was fired last month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador before he was appointed national security adviser.
He allegedly discussed US sanctions with ambassador Sergei Kislyak. It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Mr Sessions was accused by Democrats of lying under oath during his confirmation hearing in January.
He said he had “no communications with the Russians”, but it later emerged that he had met Mr Kislyak during the campaign.
Mr Sessions denied any wrongdoing, but removed himself from an FBI inquiry into Russia’s alleged interference in the election.