Poland’s senate approves controversial court reform

Poland’s senate approved a controversial reform of the Supreme Court early Saturday, despite warnings from the European Union, appeals from Washington and massive street protests against the measure.The legislation, which was pushed through by parliame…

July 22, 2017

International talks set for Monday on Ukraine conflict

The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France will hold telephone talks on Monday, officials said, amid a fresh flare up in fighting in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russian-backed rebels.Washington also announced on Friday that it…

July 21, 2017

Qatar emir ready for Gulf crisis dialogue with conditions

Qatar’s ruler said Friday that the Gulf emirate is ready for dialogue to resolve a diplomatic crisis with a Saudi-led bloc so long as his country’s sovereignty is respected.”We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems,” so long as Qatar…

July 21, 2017

Russia moves to ban tools used to surf outlawed websites

Russia’s parliament on Friday voted to outlaw web tools that allow internet users to sidestep official bans of certain websites, the nation’s latest effort to tighten controls of online services.Members of the lower house, the Duma, passed the bill to …

July 21, 2017

Abbas freezes Israel contact over holy site dispute

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel over new security measures at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site, after deadly clashes erupted earlier in the day.Abbas said in a speech that the freeze would stay …

July 21, 2017

Spain threatens to cut Catalonia funds over referendum

Spain’s central government on Friday threatened to cut off funds for Catalonia unless the region’s administration can prove it is not using state money to prepare a referendum on independence.Catalonia’s pro-independence regional government plans to ho…

July 21, 2017

Mexico beats grim record for monthly murder tolls

June was the most murderous month Mexico has seen in at least two decades, official statistics showed, underlining authorities’ powerlessness to check a growing wave of violence.Last month saw 2,234 murders, up from 2,191 in May, according to the execu…

July 21, 2017

Pentagon chief says he thinks IS leader Baghdadi is alive

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Friday that he believes Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, following various claims he was dead.”I think Baghdadi’s alive… and I’ll believe otherwise when we know we’ve killed him,” Mattis told Pen…

July 21, 2017

France jails Britons over migrants flown to UK

A French court on Friday jailed two Britons for over two years for having smuggled migrants to England in a light aircraft in what prosecutors said was a first.

Pilot David Green, 54, and his accomplice Edward Buckley, 46, admitted having made several flights from Marck aerodrome, near the northern port of Calais, charging passengers £10,000 (11,120 euros) each.

Calais is a springboard for migrants attempting to cross the Channel to Britain, normally by stowing away on trucks that board ferries.

The local prosecutor’s office told AFP it was the first time it had handled a case in which illegal migrants were flown out of the country in a private aircraft.

The defendants’ fast-track trial took place just days after their arrest on Monday.

They admitted having made five trips since April, each time carrying between two and four passengers on their light aircraft, normally used for tourism.

The two men, convicted of helping foreigners travel illegally, had their plane confiscated and were also banned from French territory for five years. They were sentenced to 30 months behind bars.

Prosecutor Raphaelle Wach said the pair had been motivated by the money and said it was unacceptable that they had profited from people’s misfortune in this way.

But Buckley’s lawyer Emmanuelle Osmont argued that this was not a case of exploiting people’s misery.

The migrants in this case had chosen to make the crossing by plane and had the money to pay for the journey, she argued.

Green was arrested on Monday at Marck aerodrome as he was about to take off with four Albanian passengers, one of them a three-year-old child.

His accomplice Buckley was arrested near the aerodrome with his wife, who police established was not involved in the operation.

July 21, 2017

Slovenia to sue EU in wine name dispute

Slovenia said Friday it will sue the European Commission for allowing winemakers in neighbouring Croatia to use one of its protected wine designations.Teran, a grape grown in the red soils of Slovenia’s rocky Karst plateau, had protected EU status sinc…

July 21, 2017

France must build more migrant centres: rights body

France should create more reception centres for migrants to ensure decent conditions as arrivals pick up pace in the summer months, the head of an independent rights watchdog said Friday.Former government minister Jacques Toubon, the head of the Defens…

July 21, 2017

Putin tries to woo Russian teens with live TV show

President Vladimir Putin on Friday took part in a live television show, fielding questions from Russian youngsters in an apparent bid to connect with teenagers who have been flocking to opposition rallies.Putin, his shirt collar unbuttoned, faced his y…

July 21, 2017

Turkey to re-arrest four activists in Amnesty case

A Turkish court on Friday issued new arrest warrants for four activists previously detained but then released in a controversial case that has raised tensions with the West.The four were among 10 people detained earlier this month in a raid by police o…

July 21, 2017

Daughter of murdered Nemtsov appeals trial verdict

The daughter of slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has filed an appeal against the verdict in his murder trial, calling for the case to be reexamined, her lawyer said Friday.A court last week handed lengthy jail terms to five Chechens co…

July 21, 2017

Trump legal team gets shake-up as investigation deepens

A key member of Trump?s legal team said he resigned his post Friday, a shake-up as Trump drew fire for apparent efforts to influence a former FBI director’s probe into collusion with Russia.Mark Corallo, who coordinated the Trump legal team’s public re…

July 21, 2017

Peru reconstructs face of pre-Columbian ruler

Peruvian authorities have revealed the reconstructed face of the Lord of Sipan, a pre-Columbian ruler whose remains were discovered in 1987 and hailed as one of the country’s most stunning archaeological finds.A full body representation of the ancient …

July 21, 2017