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South China Sea: One of the World’s Biggest Fisheries Is on the Verge of Collapse

March 26, 2017

South China Sea’s most important resource – its fish – is disappearing

Major disputes in the South China Sea are putting critical habitat—and the food supply of millions—at risk.

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Dock workers use cranes to off-load frozen tuna from a Chinese-owned cargo vessel at the General Santos Fish Port, in the Philippines. Tuna stocks in the South China Sea have plummeted in recent years because of overfishing. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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By Rachael Bale
National Geographic
PUBLISHED AUGUST 29, 2016

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PUERTO PRINCESA, PHILIPPINES — Years ago Christopher Tubo caught a 660-pound blue marlin in the South China Sea. The fishing was good there, he says. Tuna fishermen would come home from a trip with dozens of the high-value fish as well as a good haul of other species.

“Here there’s none of that,” he says, looking toward the Sulu Sea, the Philippine sea where he’s been fishing for the past four years. His two boats, traditional Filipino outriggers called bancas, float in the shallow water nearby, new coats of white paint drying in the sun.

Tubo is sitting on a wooden bench in front of his home, which perches on stilts above the bay. One of his four kids wraps an arm around his leg. Worn T-shirts and shorts flutter on clotheslines behind them.


A worker carries a line-caught yellowfin tuna at the General Santos Fish Port, which is known as the “tuna capital of the Philippines.” The South China Sea, through which tuna migrate, produces more fish than almost anywhere else, but it has been severely overfished and is nearing collapse. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic
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Glancing over at his wife, Leah, and the other children, he says, “It’s just chance, whether or not we can feed our families now.”

Tubo lives in Puerto Princesa, a city of 255,000 on Palawan, a long finger of an island that faces the Sulu Sea and the Philippine archipelago to the east and the contested South China Sea to the west. He’s one of the nearly 320,000 fishermen in the Philippines who have traditionally made their livelihoods from the South China Sea—and one of a growing number who are now fishing in other waters because of increasing Chinese interference. Beginning around 2012, China adopted a more assertive posture in the sea’s long-running territorial dispute, building military installations on contested islands and increasingly using its coast guard to intimidate fishermen from other countries.

It was after a Chinese coast guard vessel attacked a friend’s fishing boat with water cannons that Christopher Tubo stopped fishing the South China Sea.

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Filipino fishermen aboard the Ninay haul in sardines and scad in national waters near the South China Sea. The territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea have increased competition for dwindling fish stocks of all species.  Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic
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“One minute you’ll see an airplane, the next thing there’s a naval boat,” he says, describing how the Chinese attempt to keep fishermen from other countries out of the disputed area. “If we kept going over there, maybe we won’t be able to go home to our families.”

“As they see it, it’s theirs now, and Filipinos are forbidden,” says Henry Tesorio, an elected councilor for a fishing village in Puerto Princesa.

Vietnamese fishermen could say the same thing. Some 200 Vietnamese from the island of Ly Son, 15 miles (24 kilometers) off the mainland, reported being attacked by Chinese boats in 2015, according to local Vietnamese government officials.


The lights on the Melissa attract fish toward the boat and up to the surface. A storm later forced the boat to return to Quezon, a fishing village on the island of Palawan, in the Philippines. Fishermen from the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and elsewhere all fish the South China Sea.  Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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Tubo’s decision not to fish in the South China Sea speaks to the rising tensions in the region, which are causing fierce competition for natural resources. Encompassing 1.4 million square miles (3.7 million square kilometers), the South China Sea is of critical economic, military, and environmental importance: $5.3 trillion in international trade plies its waters annually; in terms of biodiversity, it is thought of as the marine equivalent of the Amazon rain forest; and its fish provide food and jobs for millions in the 10 countries and territories that surround it.

Of those, seven—China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia—have competing claims to the sea’s waters and resources. So it’s understandable why all eyes have been focused on the political and military wrangling. If war broke out over these claims, it would pit two superpowers, China and the United States—a longtime Philippine ally and guarantor of freedom of navigation in the Pacific Ocean—against each other.

South China Sea map. Credit Center for Strategic and International Studies

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But another less publicized, also potentially disastrous, threat looms in the South China Sea: overfishing. This is one of the world’s most important fisheries, employing more than 3.7 million people and bringing in billions of dollars every year. But after decades of free-for-all fishing, dwindling stocks now threaten both the food security and economic growth of the rapidly developing nations that draw on them.

China argues that it has a right to almost the entire South China Sea because it says it has historically exercised jurisdiction in that area, which China delineates on maps with a U-shaped “nine-dash” line (see map). Every other disputant in the South China Sea, including the Philippines, bases its maritime claims on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international agreement that defines maritime zones.

Opposing Beijing’s expansionist claims, in 2013 the Philippines brought a case against China before an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration—a forum for settling international disputes—in The Hague, Netherlands. China refused to participate. On July 12, the tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines on almost all its claims, declaring that China forfeited the possibility of any historically based rights when it ratified the UN convention in 1996. China has vowed to ignore the ruling.

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Crew members take shelter from a storm aboard the Ninay. Filipino fishermen have reported increasing interference from Chinese coast guard vessels in the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea for itself.  Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic
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Competition for fish has exacerbated the dispute, and the dispute has intensified competition among fishermen, further depleting fish. Some parts of the South China Sea have less than a tenth of the stocks they had five decades ago. And high-value fish such as tuna and grouper are becoming scarcer.

“What we’re looking at is potentially one of the world’s worst fisheries collapses ever,” says John McManus, a marine biologist at the Rosenstiel School at the University of Miami who studies the region’s reefs.

.“We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of species that will collapse, and they’ll collapse relatively quickly, one after another.”

MONICA SERRANO, NG STAFF
SOURCES: COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS; U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION;
OCEANASIA 2015, REPORTED AND ESTIMATED UNREPORTED CATCHES; RANDALL AND LIM, 2000; CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

Fishermen on the Front Lines

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As coastal waters are depleted, fishermen have been forced to venture farther offshore and into disputed waters to make a living. China has seized this as an opportunity to bolster its claims by aggressively supporting its fishermen. Beijing has consolidated the coast guard, militarized fishing fleets, and begun offering subsidies for bigger and better boats, water, and fuel. There’s even a special subsidy specifically for fishermen to fish in the contested Spratly Islands, more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) to the south.

“The only reason that smaller [Chinese] fishermen go out to the Spratlys is because they’re paid to do so,” says Gregory Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Center for Strategic Studies. This extra pressure has sped up the depletion of fish stocks, he says.

The Chinese have also been building artificial islands atop reefs in the Spratlys to support military installations there. “Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” says Zachary Abuza, an expert on Southeast Asian politics and maritime security at the National War College, in Washington, D.C. “China is trying to enforce its sovereignty through the construction of these islands and by denying other countries access to natural resources.”

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A couple sits outside a home built over the water in Quezon, where most people have family members who work as fishermen. Overfishing has put the livelihoods of many Filipinos at risk.
Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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Eugenio Bito-onon, Jr.—until recently the mayor of the Kalayaan municipality, which includes islands in the Spratlys—is an outspoken advocate for the Philippines’ claims. Bito-onon and I met in the island’s cramped satellite office in Puerto Princesa, where he had a gigantic map of the South China Sea marked up with his own handwritten labels and colored dots showing which countries claim which features.

He pulls up Google Earth on his laptop and finds Thitu, an island in the Spratlys known locally as Pag-asa, where about 200 Filipinos, including a small number of troops, live part-time, their presence demonstrating the Philippines’ claim to the island. Rice, clothing, soap, and other necessities must be brought in by boat or airlift, and two government-owned generators are the only source of electricity. Bito-onon points out just how close Chinese-claimed Subi Reef is to Thitu. So close, he says, that on a clear day residents can see it on the horizon.

Even closer, though, are Chinese fishing boats, which he says have fished the reefs empty. “For the past three years, [the Chinese] never leave,” Bito-onon says from behind his laptop, now displaying satellite imagery of reefs around Thitu. “Chinese fishing boats come and go, replacing each other,” he says, but there are never not boats within sight of the island.

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A Filipino fisherman wades from boat to shore with part of the crew’s catch. Fishermen who go to the South China Sea report that their catches have gotten smaller in recent years. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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The Navotas Fish Port in Manila is the largest in the Philippines. The markets at the port trade in seafood from freshwater farms, national waters, and international waters, including the South China Sea. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic
Gilbert Elefane, the Filipino captain of a tuna boat based in the municipality of Quezon, on Palawan, says he now sees up to a hundred boats, many Chinese, on a single two-week fishing trip in the South China Sea. Just a few years ago, he says he’d have seen no more than 30.

Beijing has provided military training and sophisticated GPS and communications technology to its fishermen so they can call in the coast guard if they have a run-in with a foreign law enforcement vessel or alert the coast guard of the presence of fishermen from other countries.

In the face of China’s island building, Vietnam has done some small-scale land reclamation of its own in an attempt to bolster its capacity in the Spratlys. Its efforts, however, have been less destructive than China’s.

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A dock worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos in the Philippines. The cargo vessel spends up to two months at sea with a fleet of a dozen tuna boats working to fill its freezer. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

As long as the conflict in the South China Sea continues, it will be nearly impossible to regulate fishing.

When one country tries to protect its fishing grounds, tensions flare. In March, for instance, Indonesian maritime law enforcement officials arrested eight Chinese on charges of illegal fishing. The fishermen were less than three miles (five kilometers) from Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. The Natunas themselves are not in dispute, but the waters north of them, which are particularly rich in gas, have become a new flashpoint. Under international law they’re Indonesian, but they partially overlap with China’s nine-dash line claims, so China says it has a right to fish there.

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A pregnant woman wades in the dirty water near the Navotas Fish Port. The Philippines’ economy relies heavily on fishing and the seafood trade, as do most of the countries around the South China Sea. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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When Indonesia’s vessel began towing the Chinese boat back to port, an armed Chinese coast guard ship appeared and began ramming the Chinese boat to break it free. The Indonesians were forced to let the boat go and retreat.

“It’s unclear whose laws you’re enforcing when you have seven overlapping sets of fisheries laws,” Poling says. “States have a vested interest in purposely violating fishing laws of other states.”

That’s because abiding by another country’s fishing law is tantamount to accepting that that country has jurisdiction over that region, which no country has been willing to do.

In 2012, a Philippine navy warship attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, about 138 miles (220 kilometers) from the Philippine coast, on suspicion of illegal fishing and poaching rare corals, giant clams, and sharks. A Chinese coast guard ship interfered to prevent the arrests, forcing a standoff. After 10 weeks both sides agreed to withdraw, but once the Philippines left, China remained, effectively seizing control of the shoal.

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A fisherman at the General Santos Fish Port carries a yellowfin tuna caught in the South China Sea. Fishermen say the fish they catch now are smaller than before.  Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

 

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Workers at the Navotas Fish Port unload and sort fish from commercial boats that have returned from the South China Sea, where overfishing has exacerbated the land and sea disputes in the region.
Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

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As Filipino fishermen have seen their catches—and the fish themselves—getting smaller, they’ve increasingly been resorting to dangerous, illegal fishing methods. Blast fishing, which Filipinos call “bong bong” fishing, involves setting off homemade bombs underwater to kill dozens of fish at one time. Cyanide fishing, which involves squirting fish in the face with poison to stun them, is used to catch live reef fish to supply high-end live seafood restaurants in Hong Kong and other large Asian cities. Both practices kill coral and other fish, collateral damage that’s pushing the sea ever closer to an overfishing crisis.

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Dock workers at the Navotas Fish Port sort through mussels. If the South China Sea fishery were to collapse, it would threaten the food supply of millions. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic
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China’s island building and giant clam poaching have caused most of them documented reef destruction in the South China Sea, an area totaling 62 square miles (163 square kilometers). Island building grinds up corals for use as foundation material, smothers reefs that become the base of islands, and creates sediment plumes that suffocate nearby reefs. Dredging to deepen ports also causes serious damage. And poaching of giant clams entails grinding up corals to loosen the shells from the reef.

“It’s quite possible we’re seeing a serious decline in about half of the reefs,” John McManus, the marine biologist, says. “That’s what I expect will happen, if it hasn’t happened already. It’s just total destruction.”

When a reef is destroyed, the ecosystem unravels. Reef fish lose their habitat, and pelagic fish such as tuna lose an important source of food. Furthermore, reefs in the South China Sea are connected. Fish larvae from one reef ride the current across the sea to repopulate another reef. If a reef disappears, so does that source of larvae, increasing the chance that local extirpations of fish species will be permanent.

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Dock workers and fishermen buy food from a street vendor at the Navotas Fish Port, in Manila. Some 320,000 Filipinos fish the South China Sea, and many more work on the docks, as fish packers, and as seafood traders, among other jobs.  Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic

McManus says that many of the damaged reefs will be able to recover in a decade or two—if the island building and destructive giant clam poaching stop. He champions the idea of a “peace park,” a kind of marine protected area where all countries would put a freeze on their claims and halt all activities, like island building, that bolster those claims.

Experts also say cooperative regional management could go a long way toward making the South China Sea fishery sustainable. It would require dramatic cutbacks in the number of fishing boats and restrictions on fishing methods such as the use of huge fishing vessels that use powerful lights at night to attract tuna. All this would in turn mean helping fishermen find other ways to earn a living.

Under a sustainable management plan, tuna and mackerel could recover 17-fold by 2045, Rashid Sumaila and William Cheung at the University of British Columbia predicted in a 2015 report. Reef fish would recover up to 15 percent, and the catch and value of reef fish would also increase. Sharks and groupers, which are also high-value fish, would make a comeback too.

But Poling, of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, questions whether such a plan will happen in time. “What that requires is setting aside the disputes,” he says. “It’s possible—it’s just not likely. In order to have a successful joint management system, the first step is to agree on what area you’re talking about.” With China clinging to its nine-dash line while other countries base their claims on international law, agreement just won’t be possible, he says.

As it now stands, the South China Sea’s most important resource—its fish—is disappearing, and countries are either passively standing by or actively encouraging their fishermen to take more.

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Children fish at dusk in the fishing community of Quezon in the Philippines. Fishermen here ply their trade in national waters and the South China Sea. Credit Adam Dean, National Geographic
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Aurora Almendral contributed to this report.

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Coming Tuesday: China’s giant clam poaching is decimating reefs in the South China Sea.

Follow Rachael Bale on Twitter.

This story was produced by National Geographic’s Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on wildlife crime and is made possible by grants from the BAND Foundation and the Woodtiger Fund. Read more stories from the SIU on Wildlife Watch. Send tips, feedback, and story ideas to ngwildlife@ngs.org.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/wildlife-south-china-sea-overfishing-threatens-collapse/

Related:

We at Peace and Freedom have catalogued much of the history of recent events and issues around the South China Sea for the past five years. Use these keywords to see more:

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Related:

 — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles

National Geographic:

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A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea a reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jay Directo )

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A Vietnamese fisherman repairs his vessel after it was rammed by a Chinese patrol ship that it protecting the waters around a disputed oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)

A Vietnamese fisherman repairs his vessel after it was rammed by a Chinese patrol ship that it protecting the waters around a disputed oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)

Chủ tàu Trần Văn Quang và chiếc mỏ neo bị tàu lạ đâm lút vào mũi tàu. Ảnh: Đức Nguyễn.

Vietnamese fishing boat Captain Tran Van Quang

Chủ tàu Trần Văn Quang và chiếc mỏ neo bị tàu lạ đâm lút vào mũi tàu. Ảnh: Đức Nguyễn.

 

Outrage: Vietnamese and Filipino protesters outside the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city to protest the recent moves by China to construct an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea

Outrage: Vietnamese and Filipino protesters outside the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city, the Philippines, to protest the recent moves by China to construct an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea

 

 (This    article has links to several  others related to environmental issues in the South China Sea).

A green sea turtle is seen off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

A green sea turtle.(Reuters)

 (Includes Obama creates largest ocean reserve, takes heat for new federal decrees)

 (Has links to many related conservation and environmental articles)

 (Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports)

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Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals display placards and chant anti-China slogans as they march outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila’s Makati financial district on May 16, 2014. Several hundred Filipino and Vietnamese protesters united in a march in the Philippine capital on Friday, May 16, 2014, demanding that China stop oil drilling in disputed South China Sea waters. — PHOTO: REUTERS

 

 (August 25, 2016)

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China’s Tian Jing Hao – Cutter suction dredger — Used to destroy South China Sea coral reefs to provide dredge material for new man made- islands — an environmental disaster

 (Contains links to several related articles)

August 17, 2015
ANOTHER set of a dredge floater assembly with Chinese markings found in the Zambales sea is pulled to the shore of the capital town of Iba on Sunday. The first set of dredge floaters was found by local fishermen off Cabangan, Zambales province, in July. ALLAN MACATUNO/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

ANOTHER set of a dredge floater assembly with Chinese markings found in the Zambales sea is pulled to the shore of the capital town of Iba on Sunday. The first set of dredge floaters was found by local fishermen off Cabangan, Zambales province, in July. ALLAN MACATUNO/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

 

 

An elderly Vietnamese protester holds a placard during an anti-China protest in front of the Chinese consulate in the financial district of Manila on May 16, 2014. Several hundred Filipino and Vietnamese protesters united in a march in the Philippine capital on May 16, demanding that China stop oil drilling in disputed South China Sea waters. Many Vietnamese remain uneasy with China in the South china sea till this day.  AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

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The End of an era?  Fishermen work to unload a net full of anchovies during a fishing expedition in the Pacific Ocean. Photo AP

 

 

Five months, eight prominent Russians dead

March 26, 2017

Updated 1:20 AM ET, Sat March 25, 2017

Washington (CNN)The brazen daytime slaying of a Russian politician outside a Ukrainian hotel this week brings to eight the number of high-profile Russians who have died over the past five months since the US presidential election on November 8.

Among the recent deaths were five Russian diplomats. Some of the deaths appeared natural and governments have ruled out foul play.
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In some cases, though, questions remain. That’s either because the facts have changed over time, details are hard to come by, or the deaths are still under investigation.
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Self-proclaimed online sleuths and conspiracy theorists have filled the information void with speculation that the deaths were somehow related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. No evidence has surfaced to make such a connection.
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Here’s a rundown of the eight deaths—and one near fatality:
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In this photo taken on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, Denis Voronenkov visits a movie theater in Kiev, Ukraine.

Denis Voronenkov, 45, was gunned down Thursday outside a hotel in Kiev. Voronenkov and his wife both spoke out against Putin after they left Russia for Ukraine in October.
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Voronenkov also helped Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian influence, testifying in a treason trial against ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was perceived as a puppet politician for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Ukraine’s president called the shooting a “Russian state terrorist act.” Russian authorities denied the accusation.
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Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin, at the United Nations September 25, 2016 in New York.

Vitaly Churkin, 64, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, died on February 20 of an apparent heart attack. He was “in his office fulfilling his duties” when he died, according to a statement from the Russian mission at the UN.
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Russian ambassador to India dies after brief illness
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Alexander Kadakin, 67, the Russian ambassador to India, died on January 26.
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A spokeswoman for the Russian embassy in New Delhi said that Kadakin died after a short illness and that there was nothing “special or extraordinary” about the circumstances that led to his death.
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Kadakin had worked in India since 2009. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “a great friend of India” who worked hard to strengthen relations between the two countries.
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Russian diplomat found dead in Athens

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Andrey Malanin, a senior diplomat at the Russian embassy in Greece, was found dead in early January.
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Malanin, 54, was the head of the Russian embassy’s consular section in Athens. Police sources told CNN that worried colleagues called authorities after Malanin didn’t show up to work for a few days. Police entered his apartment on January 9th and found him dead on his bedroom floor.
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Initial reports from Greek police suggested Malanin died suddenly from natural causes. Two Greek police officials said foul play was not suspected. An investigation remains underway.
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Former intelligence official found dead in his car

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Oleg Erovinkin, who had close ties to Russian intelligence, was found dead on December 26 sitting in his car on the streets of Moscow. Russian news outlets reported that he was 61 years old. Russian government agencies have not released an official cause of death.
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He was a former general in the Russian law enforcement and intelligence agency known as the FSB. He also served as chief-of-staff to Igor Sechin, the president of state-owned oil giant Rosneft. Sechin enjoys a close relationship with Putin that dates back to the 1990s.
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Because of Erovinkin’s background, conspiracy theorists and Russia watchers have speculated that he might have been a source of information in the 35-page dossier that detailed alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia. No evidence has emerged to firmly substantiate those claims.
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Graphic content / This picture taken on December 19, 2016 shows Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, lying on the floor after being shot by a gunman during an attack during a public event in Ankara.

Diplomat fatally shot in back

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Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, 62, was assassinated in Ankara on December 20. He was shot at point-blank range by a gunman while speaking at an art exhibition. The shooter, who was a Turkish police officer, shouted “do not forget Syria” during the assassination.
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Russian diplomat shot to death in Moscow

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The same day as Karlov’s killing, Petr Polshikov, 56, a senior Russian diplomat, was shot to death in his Moscow home, according to Moscow newspaper Moskovskij Komsomolets. The paper said Polshikov’s wife found him in their bedroom with a pillow over his head. Underneath the pillow, police found Polshikov with a head wound.
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A spokesman from the Russian Foreign Ministry said Polshikov’s death was likely an accident and had nothing to do with his official government duties, according to Russian news outlet REN-TV.
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Russian official in NYC dies on Election Day

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On the morning of the U.S. election, November 8, about an hour after the first polls opened in New York City, police received a 911 call about an unconscious man inside the Russian consulate. When they arrived, they found Sergei Krivov, 63, unresponsive. Emergency responders declared him dead at the scene.
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Krivov, who was born in Russia, had served in the consulate as duty commander involved with security affairs, according to Russian news reports.
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Russian consular officials first said Krivov fell from the roof. Then, they said he died of a heart attack.
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The initial police report filed on the day of the incident said Krivov was found “with an unknown trauma to the head,” according to a New York Police Department spokesman.
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However, after conducting an autopsy and finishing its investigation, the New York City Medical Examiner ruled that Krivov died from bleeding in the chest area, likely due to a tumor. Police sources said foul play wasn’t suspected and that Krivov had been in poor health.
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Russian lawyer for whistleblower is nearly killed

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Earlier this week, a private Russian lawyer on an anti-corruption crusade reportedly fell from the fourth floor of his Moscow apartment.
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Nikolai Gorokhov, 53, was near death with “severe head injuries” and remains in a hospital’s intensive care unit, according to his friend, investor Bill Browder.
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Gorokhov represented Sergei Magnitsky, a fellow Russian lawyer who exposed Russia’s largest ever tax fraud — and was later jailed and beaten to death in a Moscow detention center. Gorokhov continued his client’s fight.
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http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/europe/dead-russians/index.html

Iran to sanction 15 US companies for Israel ties

March 26, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Soldiers from Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran will impose sanctions on 15 US companies for their support for Israel and its “terrorist actions”, state news agency IRNA said Sunday.

The decision, which is largely symbolic because the firms do not do business with Iran, comes two days after the US announced new sanctions on a number of foreign firms accused of collaborating with Iran’s weapons programme.

Iran’s sanctions target US firms that provide arms and equipment to Israel “for use against the Palestinians”, IRNA said.

“All transactions with these firms are forbidden, their assets will be seized and their officials will not be able to obtain a visa,” it added.

The firms include United Technologies, ITT Corporation, Magnum Research INC, Military Armament Corporation and Bushmaster Firearms International.

The list also included Re/Max Real Estate, which Tehran accuses of “buying and selling homes in settlements located in the occupied territories”.

Tensions have mounted between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

On Friday, Washington announced sanctions against foreign firms and individuals over allegedly collaborating with the weapons programmes of Iran and North Korea.

Trump has repeatedly criticised a July 2015 deal between Iran and world powers that saw the Islamic republic curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Washington last month imposed new sanctions on individuals and companies supporting Iran’s ballistic missile programme and on its elite Revolutionary Guards.

US lawmakers are now seeking to further increase pressure, proposing a new law that would see Iran’s Revolutionary Guards listed as a terrorist organisation.

Dozens arrested at unauthorised anti-corruption rally in Russia

March 26, 2017

Russian police arrest protesters at nationwide anti-corruption rallies


The Washington Post
March 26 at 8:28 AM
A wave of unsanctioned rallies swept across Russia on Sunday to protest corruption in the government of President Vladi­mir Putin, prompting arrests as hundreds of riot officers moved in to break up crowds.

The protests are driven by opposition leader Alexei Navalny and fueled by the popular response to his recent allegations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed vineyards, luxury yachts and lavish mansions worth more than $1 billion.

Navalny, the chief architect of the rallies, was detained in Moscow shortly after they began at 2 p.m. local time. Thousands came out on Moscow’s central Tverskaya street for the unsanctioned protests and were met by a heavy police presence, which began detaining demonstrators en masse around 30 minutes after the rallies began. According to media reports, protesters had blocked traffic on Tverskaya street.

Also in Moscow, a warning over a loudspeaker urged people to “think of the consequences” and disperse now.

The demonstrations appear to amount to the largest coordinated protests in Russia since the street rallies that broke out in 2011 and 2012 after a parliamentary election that opposition leaders decried as fraudulent. State-run television was silent about Sunday’s protests as of midday, but pictures posted on social media sites like Twitter suggested that sizable rallies were underway across the country.

Dozens of arrests were reported in the far east city of Vladivostok, and more were likely as demonstrations began in Russia’s largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Authorities preemptively banned a rally that Navalny called for central Moscow. Putin’s spokesman has said that even urging people to take part is illegal.

On Friday, senior Russian police official Alexander Gorovoi warned that authorities will “bear no responsibility for any possible negative consequences” for people who do show up. That could mean that if something is started by pro-government activists who routinely interfere with Navalny’s campaign stops, officers might stand aside and let it happen.

Official Moscow has dismissed Navalny, who has said he will run for president in 2018, as a widely reviled nuisance whose allegations are an attention-grabbing stunt. One of the slogans for Sunday’s rallies is “No one showed up,” a reference to the dismissal by authorities of Navalny’s popular support. Another popular logo for the rallies is a duck, a reference to a detail in Navalny’s report that ducks have their own house at one of the lavish estates allegedly owned by Medvedev.

Navalny, who emerged as an anti-corruption whistleblower and took a leading role in the street protests that accompanied Putin’s 2012 return to the presidency, has been the target of fraud and embezzlement probes he calls politically motivated. In 2013, he was convicted of siphoning money off a lumber sale, a verdict that the European Court of Human Rights declared “prejudicial,” saying that Navalny and his co-defendant were denied the right to a fair trial.

In November, Russia’s Supreme Court declared a retrial, and Navalny was convicted of embezzlement and handed a five-year suspended sentence in February, which by Russian law would prevent him from running for president.

Andrew Roth in Moscow contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russian-police-arrest-protesters-at-nationwide-anti-corruption-rallies/2017/03/26/11208e46-10a1-11e7-aa57-2ca1b05c41b8_story.html?utm_term=.7a2009581696

WhatsApp accused of giving terrorists ‘a secret place to hide’ as it refuses to hand over London attacker’s messages — Whatsapp has end-to-end encryption

March 26, 2017

The Telegraph

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Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has accused the messaging service WhatsApp of giving terrorists “a place to hide” as she revealed the US firm has failed to hand over the content of the last message sent by Westminster attacker Adrian Ajao.

Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd CREDIT: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Scotland Yard and the security services cannot access encrypted messages sent on Whatsapp, meaning they have no idea what Ajao said – or to whom – in his final communication three minutes before he began Wednesday’s slaughter.

Ms Rudd said: “This terrorist sent a Whatsapp message and it can’t be accessed.”

In a scathing attack on Whatsapp, as well as Google and social media platforms which have failed to take down extremist material, she said: “They should be on our side.”

Adrian Ajao
Adrian Ajao killed four people before he was shot CREDIT: METROPOLITAN POLICE

Referring to Whatsapp’s system of end-to-end encryption, she said: “It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide.

“We need to make sure that organisations like Whatsapp – and there are plenty of others like that – don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.

Watch | Corbyn concerned about higher security to monitor Whatsapp

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“It used to be that people would steam open envelopes or listen in on phones when they wanted to find out what people were doing – legally, through warrantry – but in this situation we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted Whatsapp.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, she said of companies like Apple, Google and Whatsapp: “We do want them to recognise that they have a responsibility to engage with government, to engage with law enforcement agencies when there is a terrorist situation.

“We would do it all through the carefully thought-through legally covered arrangements but they cannot get away with saying ‘we are a different situation’. They are not.”

She added: “We have to have a situation where we can have our security services get into the terrorists’ communications. That’s absolutely the case.

“Where there are ongoing investigations with terrorists – these people have families, have children as well, they should be on our side and I’m going to try and win that argument.

“That’s why I’ve called them in this Thursday, I’m seeing a group of them, to work with them to try and set up an industry board to make sure that we really stop this happening. I’m calling time on terrorists using social media as their platform.”

Whatsapp was blocked three times last year in Brazil for failing to hand over information relating to criminal investigations. Judges ordered telecoms providers to block the service.

Whatsapp has said in the past that it cannot itself access messages because the encryption prevents that.

Ms Rudd said: “You can have a system whereby they can build it so we can have access to it when it is absolutely necessary. We can’t have a situation where terrorists can talk to each other.”

Google and a “fairly long list” of other firms have been called to a summit at the Home Office on Thursday to create an “industry board” on terrorism.

The Home Secretary said she wanted to make sure that “everybody takes responsibility for this”.

She said it was “completely unacceptable” for Google and other internet firms to fail to take down terrorism handbooks published online.

“What these companies have to realise is that they are now publishing companies, they are not technology companies, they are platforms and we need to make sure that that stops. We will not resile from taking action if we need to.”

Asked if Google, Apple and other firms were now too big for the Government to take on, Ms Rudd said: “I would say think again. We want to do this, but we also want other countries to do this.

“I know it sounds like we’re stepping away from legislation, but we’re not. What I’m saying is the best people who understand the technology to stop it going up in the first place are them. They could have an industry-wide board set up to take care of this. I want to make sure that they do.”

Ms Rudd admitted the “sad truth” is that not every attack can be stopped, as lone attackers using low-tech methods such as cars and knives cannot always be detected in advance.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said he was “furious” about the failure of internet companies to block extremist material. He told The Sunday Times: “I think it’s disgusting. They need to stop just making money out of prurient violent material.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said the security services had “huge, huge powers of investigation already – there is a question of always balancing the right to know, the need to know, with the right to privacy.”

Asked if the balance was right at the moment, he said: “I think it probably is.”

U.S. Retail Stores: Macy’s, Sears and JCPenney struggle — “People aren’t spending.”

March 26, 2017

The Guardian

Boarded-up shops are a common sight in cities across the country as Macy’s, Sears and JCPenney struggle and Credit Suisse downgrades the retail sector

Macy’s recently announced it would close 63 stores.
Macy’s recently announced it would close 63 stores. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Canal Street was never a high-end retail experience. But, like many streets in New York City and in cities across the US, it is becoming increasingly desolate.

Boarded-up stores line the thoroughfare that bisects much of lower Manhattan. Many stores that are still open for business also display signs that read “for lease” or “for rent.

“It’s not Trump,” said one downcast store-owner recently. “It’s not the economy. Something else is happening. People aren’t spending.”

This week, Credit Suisse downgraded the retail sector, saying the outlook had become bleaker than it had anticipated in large part because of events in Washington and through discussion of “whether we think the risks of the border adjustment provision in the House corporate tax reform proposal are fully reflected in apparel and retailing stocks”. Other analysts have shown similar pessimism.

Earlier in the month, Richard Hayne, chief executive officer of Urban Outfitters, equated the woes facing retail in 2017 to the housing market of 2008. Hayne traced the problems to over-expansion in the 1990s and early 2000s, noting that the US now had six times the retail space per capita of either Europe or Japan.

“The US market is oversaturated with retail space and far too much of that space is occupied by stores selling apparel,” he said, anticipating that retail retrenchment would continue “for the foreseeable future and may even accelerate”.

Urban Outfitters, a Columbus, Ohio-based company that operates roughly 200 locations for stores under its own name and Anthropologie, said that despite sales declines in the single figures, it still planned to open 15 new stores in North America this year. That figure is a drop on previous years but looks rosy next to mass store closings recorded by rivals.

In the past several months, Macy’s has announced it will close 63 stores; Sears, 150; The Limited, 250; BCBG Max Azria, 120; Guess, 60; American Apparel, 104; Abercrombie & Fitch, 60; JCPenney, up to 140.

While retail executives are keen to state they do not plan to abandon bricks-and-mortar retail entirely, many now tend to see it on equal terms with online operations. Main street, hollowed out by web-based competition, is increasingly viewed as a tool to be used by consumersshowrooming” – browsing – before buying online for less.

Read the rest: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/26/us-retail-stores-market-macys-sears

Related:

  (November 2012)

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November 15. 2012 – Sears Holdings reported a net loss of almost $500 million versus $410 million last year, showing the retailer continues to struggle to turn business around.

Le Pen plan to jettison euro spooks French business

March 26, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Daphné BENOIT | France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen blames the euro for driving up prices, hurting exports and adding to France’s already colossal trade deficit

PARIS (AFP) – The euro — and her fervent wish to withdraw from it — is a central theme of every stump speech by French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, topping her list of 144 election pledges.

Le Pen calls the single European currency a “a knife that you stick in a country’s ribs to force it to do what its people don’t want to do”.

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The leader of the National Front (FN) blames the euro for driving up prices, hurting exports and adding to France’s already colossal trade deficit.

She has pledged that, if elected, she will throw off the shackles of the common currency and restore France’s monetary sovereignty by resurrecting the franc.

With all opinion polls showing her getting past the first round of the election on April 23, making the once-unthinkable prospect of a far-right presidency no longer completely implausible, economists and business leaders are worried.

Although Le Pen, 48, currently looks set to lose the May 7 runoff, probably to independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, no one is being complacent.

“No one knows what will happen,” said Jean-Lou Blachier of France’s Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, referring to Britain’s surprise vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s shock election in the United States last year.

Le Pen argues that bringing back the franc would help retool France’s ailing industrial sector.

She believes a devalued national currency would make exports cheaper, boosting job creation.

Emboldened by Britain’s taboo-breaking Brexit vote, Le Pen also promises to hold a “Frexit” referendum, saying the EU “shuts us in, constrains us, bullies us”.

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– ‘Whole eurozone could disappear’ –

Most experts however say that scrapping the euro would be disastrous, and not just for France.

Ratings agencies have warned that the eurozone’s second-biggest economy could be headed for a default if the country converts its towering 2.2 trillion-euro debt into francs.

“If France leaves the single currency, the whole eurozone could disappear,” said Mathieu Plane of a French economic think tank, the OFCE, warning of an “unprecedented crisis”.

Benoit Coeure, who sits on the board of the European Central Bank, warned that France’s borrowing costs would rise and that prices would rise, rather than fall.

“Inflation, which would be out of the hands of the ECB, would eat into savings, fixed incomes and pensions,” he said.

“Leaving the euro would be choosing impoverishment.”

– ‘Project Fear’ –

Le Pen has dismissed the criticism as scaremongering.

“That’s called Project Fear. It was used before Brexit,” she told her conservative rival Francois Fillon during a TV debate this month when he warned her programme would trigger “economic and social chaos”.

Le Pen has said she can organise an orderly exit from the eurozone and suggested bringing back the European Currency Unit (ECU), a pre-euro basket of currencies, that businesses could use alongside the franc.

But polls show voters are still unconvinced.

Paris University economics professor Dominique Meurs said that despite the resistance, he expected Le Pen to stick to her guns.

“Leaving the euro and the EU is completely consistent with the FN’s obsession with the national identity (and) its total rejection of multilateral decisions,” she said.

Such a move would be a “dramatic break” with European convention, Meurs said.

“What she is proposing is not some small change, it’s really a big deal because she could potentially be elected.”

It is not just in France that big business is worried about Le Pen’s election pledges.

Giant Swiss bank Credit Suisse said this month a Le Pen victory in May was the biggest risk to European stability.

by Daphné BENOIT

Pakistan has to walk away from terror, India says — Pakistan’s President Calls for End to Terrorism and Criticizes Intervention by U.S.

March 26, 2017

By  — Times of India

NEW DELHI: A day after Pakistan‘s envoy expressed Islamabad‘s desire to have good relations with India, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay on Friday said that the neighbouring country has to walk away from the terror”.

“Pakistan has to walk away from terror,” Baglay said while addressing MEA’s weekly media briefing.

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He also said the terrorism emerging from Pakistan is affecting not merely India but other neighbours.

“… and this remains core concern,” the MEA spokesperson said.

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Pak has to walk away from terror, terrorism emanating from Pak and affecting not merely India but other neighbours,remains core concern: MEA

On Thursday, Pakistan’s ambassdor to India, Abdul Basit, said that the Pakistan has always tried to maintain good relations with its neighbours and they want good relations with India too.

“We hope that we will be able to solve our differences and issues especially the Kashmir issue,” the Pakistan envoy had said.
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Pakistan’s President Calls for End to Terrorism and Criticizes Intervention by U.S.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Asif Ali Zardari addressed a joint session of Parliament on Saturday, his first speech there since his election two weeks ago, and offered a program of peace and reform while vowing to root out terrorism and extremism.

Mr. Zardari, who is seen as pro-American but is confronted by public hostility to American policy toward militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, said his government was determined to meet the challenge posed by terrorist and extremist elements in those areas.

His government would offer peace to anyone willing to renounce violence, and would invest in development and political reform of the border areas, but would use force as a last resort to those who challenged the authority of the government.

He declared that his government should be firm in its resolve not to allow terrorists to use Pakistani soil to carry out terrorist activities against any foreign country, and said he wanted to improve relations with two of Pakistan’s neighbors, Afghanistan and India.

But he also warned that Pakistan would not abide further American military incursions into the border areas. “We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism,” he said in a comment that was broadly greeted by legislators, who loudly thumped on their desks to show their support.

His warning followed a strong statement last week by Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, warning that the country would defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity at all costs against any incursion.

Mr. Zardari placed a framed photo of his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated by a suicide bomber in December and whose Pakistan Peoples Party he now leads, on the lectern before he began his speech.

Asif Ali Zardari outlined his goals in his first speech to Parliament on Saturday.CreditAssociated Press of Pakistan, via E.P.A.

“We are here, this Parliament is here, because of the historic choices she made,” he said. “It is indeed her day. I wish she was addressing the Parliament today and not me.”

Mr. Zardari pointed out that he was addressing Parliament within two weeks of his election, and would do so annually as required under the Constitution, unlike General Musharraf, who addressed Parliament only once in the eight years of his rule.

Mr. Zardari recommended a return to the 1973 Constitution, and offered to give up some of his presidential powers, calling on Parliament to form an all-parties committee to review amendments made under General Musharraf that gave the president powers to dismiss Parliament and to appoint the senior military chiefs, among others.

Read the rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/world/asia/21pstan.html?action=click&contentCollection=Asia%20Pacific&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

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Pervez Musharraf

U.S. Air Strike Kills Terrorist Qari Yasin, Masterminded the Bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in 2008 and other Infamous Terror Attacks

March 26, 2017

America says the death of the militant chief shows that those responsible for deadly outrages “will not escape justice”.

“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice.”

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U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis

12:08, UK, Sunday 26 March 2017
SKY News

An al Qaeda leader behind a series of terror attacks including one on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team has been killed, the Pentagon has said.

Qari Yasin, a senior militant figure from Balochistan, Pakistan, died during US airstrikes in Afghanistan.

He had ties with the Pakistani Taliban terror group and masterminded the bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens, including two American service members in 2008.

A vast crater lay at the security barrier to the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, after a huge truck bomb exploded there on September 19, 2008. Credit Mian Khursheed/Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A huge truck bomb exploded at the entrance to the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday evening, killing at least 40 people and wounding at least 250, the police said.

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A 2009 bus attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killed six Pakistani policemen and two civilians and wounded six members of the Sri Lankan cricket team.

US defence secretary Jim Mattis confirmed Yasin died in Paktika Province on 19 March and said in a statement: “The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice.”

The death of Yasin in eastern Afghanistan will fuel Pakistan’s claims its militant enemies have established sanctuaries there.

The neighbouring countries have accused each other of harbouring the other’s foes.

Relations deteriorated earlier this year after a series of attacks in Pakistan killed 125 people led Islamabad to close its border with Afghanistan for more than a month.

The two countries have exchanged lists of insurgents hiding out on the other’s soil.

Afghanistan has given Pakistan the locations of 23 bases where its Taliban militants are hiding, which it is demanding are closed.

http://news.sky.com/story/al-qaeda-terror-mastermind-qari-yasin-killed-in-us-airstrike-in-afghanistan-10814572

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Drone Strike Kills Planner of 2008 Islamabad Hotel Bombing, U.S. Says

WASHINGTON — A Pakistani militant who planned a devastating truck bomb attack on a hotel in Islamabad in 2008 — which left two members of the American military and dozens of others dead — was killed in recent days by an American drone strike in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Saturday night.

The militant, Qari Yasin, had ties to the Pakistani Taliban, who are closely aligned with Al Qaeda, and had been linked to other terrorist plots, including one against Sri Lanka’s national cricket team.

The American strike that killed him took place on March 19 in Paktika Province, an area where many of Pakistani Taliban operatives have operated after slipping across the border in advance of the Pakistani Army’s offensive in North Waziristan in 2014.

The strike illustrates how the American battle against Qaeda operatives and their terrorist allies has continued even as the United States increases its fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The September 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was one of the most notorious terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s history.

More than 50 people were killed when a six-wheel dump truck carrying explosives blew up at the entrance of the hotel, which was a prominent meeting place for foreigners and leading Pakistanis. Among the dead were Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez of the United States Air Force and Matthew J. O’Bryant, a cryptologic technician and a third class petty officer in the Navy. More than 260 people were wounded.

Investigators said later that more than 1,300 pounds of explosives had been used in the attack, which created a crater that was 60 feet wide and 25 feet deep.

The attack took place a few hundred yards from the prime minister’s house, where the government’s leaders were dining at the time.

Mr. Yasin was also linked to a 2009 attack in which gunmen using rifles, grenades and rockets assaulted a bus that was transporting the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Six Pakistani police officers and two civilians were killed, and half a dozen members of the cricket team were wounded, including a British coach. Since then, Pakistan has been forced to play most of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

News agencies reported this past week that an American drone strike had killed Mr. Yasin, attributing the information to Pakistani security officials and Islamist militants. But the Pentagon did not confirm the attack until Saturday night.

“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.

The Pakistani Taliban, formally known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, are part of a loose and increasingly divided umbrella organization that once represented roughly 30 groups of militants. The organization was officially founded in 2007 by a prominent jihadist commander, Baitullah Mehsud, and for years it and allied groups like Al Qaeda have been based in the Pashtun tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan, particularly in North and South Waziristan.

The movement shares a close relationship with the Haqqani network, the most hard-core affiliate of the Afghan Taliban, which have been behind repeated suicide attacks in and around Kabul and eastern Afghanistan. The groups also cooperate and provide haven for Qaeda operatives, including Al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.

Read the rest: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/26/us/qari-yasin-killed-2008-islamabad-hotel-bombing.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

German police predicted Berlin terror attack nine months prior

March 26, 2017

Months before Anis Amri rammed a truck into a crowded market, police warned he was planning an attack. Authorities ignored their calls for his deportation, saying such a move was legally impossible.

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German state police predicted nine months ahead of time Anis Amri’s truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people, Sunday paper “Bild am Sonntag” reported.

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State police (LKA) in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) warned its state interior ministry of solid evidence that Amri was planning a suicide attack, the tabloid reported.

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In a confidential letter investigators cited, among other evidence, Amri’s chat history in the Telegram mobile app, in which he used euphemisms to indicate his plan to commit such an act.

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Despite the warning NRW’s Ministry of the Interior decided that deportation was not legally enforceable. Since the attack state Interior Minister Ralf Jäger repeated that position.

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Jäger was due to appear on Wednesday before a state parliament investigation committee.

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Security alert for Anis Amri (picture-alliance/dpa/Bundeskriminalamt)

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Calls for resignation

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Opposition figures called for Jäger’s dismissal, given the revelations. “This memorandum is clear proof that Interior Minister Jäger failed in his responsibilities, Liberal Democrat Joachim Stamp told the paper.

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“These new revelations are dramatic,” said Armin Laschet, the state leader of the Christian Democratic Union party. “Interior Minister Jäger is a security risk for people all over Germany.”

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Germany’s Interior Minister Ralf Jäger

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Nine months after the March report, Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring scores more.

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The Tunisian was facing deportation, but his use of more than a dozen identities and a hold-up on his paperwork allowed him to stay for 18 months.

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On Wednesday the state parliament will interview several high-level state politicians on the failure to deport Amri and how he slipped passed authorities’ radars.

‘We can’t guarantee 100 percent security’
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http://www.dw.com/en/german-police-predicted-berlin-terror-attack-nine-months-prior/a-38123750