Massive gold coin worth millions stolen from German museum
BERLIN (AP) — Berlin police say thieves broke into the German capital's Bode Museum and made off with a massive 100-kilogram (221-pound) gold coin worth millions.
Spokesman Stefen Petersen said thieves apparently entered through a window about 3:30 a.m. Monday, broke into a cabinet where the "Big Maple Leaf" coin was kept, and escaped with it before police arrived. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:31:56 UT
The Latest: Russian opposition leader Navalny gets jail term
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Russia on Sunday in what were largely unauthorized demonstrations against government corruption.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the organizer of a wave of nationwide protests that rattled authorities, has been fined 20,000 rubles ($340) by a Moscow court.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin respects the right to protest but dismissed Sunday's demonstrations as unlawful.
The German government has criticized the arrest of hundreds of opposition protesters in Moscow and other Russian cities.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert has urged Russia to respect human rights, which he described as being "of great importance for Russian democracy."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said the arrests were a "setback" compared to positive developments seen in Belarus over recent months.
The EU's foreign policy arm said in a statement early Monday that police operations "prevented the exercise of basic freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly — which are fundamental rights enshrined in the Russian constitution." ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:25:42 UT
The Latest: Jordan says Arabs must unite to address crises
Safadi painted a grim picture, saying the "Arab political system has failed to solve the crises and halt the collapse as the trust of Arab citizens in the joint Arab institutions has eroded."
Sudan's official news agency says President Omar al-Bashir will attend Wednesday's Arab Summit in Jordan, despite a long-standing warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide.
The international group Human Rights Watch urged Jordan to deny entry to al-Bashir or arrest him, citing its obligations as an ICC member. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:53:37 UT
UK faces government decision on deadlocked Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's latest unity government collapsed in January amid deepening disputes between the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:50:53 UT
Strikes to hit French Guiana as tensions paralyze territory
PARIS (AP) — French Guiana faced a nationwide strike Monday over crime and economic difficulties, amid protests that have paralyzed the French territory in South America, halted flights and a rocket launch and prompted a U.S. travel warning.
The French government has already sent an emergency mission to try to quell tensions in the territory of a quarter-million people before Monday's general strike by some 27 unions, expected to hit public services across Guiana.
Candidates for France's two-round presidential election starting next month have urged aid or intervention in Guiana, as the concerns of overseas voters suddenly entered the spotlight in the race after having been largely ignored.
The "ambitious pact" includes aid to the agriculture sector, the construction of a penitentiary, a new court to meet demands and security needs in the restive territory. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:49:50 UT
Parody politician is new star in Serbia's presidential race
Campaigning as a sleazy, loud character who makes wild promises and whose triumph is foretold by fortune tellers, Maksimovic has won over many in crisis-stricken Serbia, which has been plagued by political corruption and is eager for new faces and ideas.
Opinion polls have predicted that Maksimovic could win around 11 percent of the vote Sunday, trailing the powerful populist Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic but surpassing several other established candidates.
Riding on a white horse surrounded by mock bodyguards, Beli and his "Hit it Hard" citizens' group swiftly became a sensation, gathering 20 percent of the vote, which translated into 12 seats in the local assembly.
Videos featuring Beli doing push-ups, sucking a raw egg or treading through a forest like a prophet have been a hit on social media, in sharp contrast to dull, predictable promotional material put out by other presidential candidates.
On Saturday, Maksimovic launched his "Beli caravan" road campaign in a historic Serbian village by climbing a huge white-marble statue of a 19th century Serbian hero, raising his arms high and shouting through a loudspeaker: "I am here to save you people!" ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:44:06 UT
Russian protest leader hit with comparatively light fine
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who organized a wave of nationwide protests against government corruption that rattled authorities, was fined 20,000 rubles ($340) by a Moscow court on Monday.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, has lashed out at protest organizers, blaming them for putting lives at risk by inviting people to unsanctioned demonstrations.
The Kremlin has dismissed the opposition as Westernized urban elite disconnected from the issues faced by the poor in Russia's far-flung regions, but Sunday's protests included demonstrations in the areas which typically produce a high vote for President Vladimir Putin, from Siberia's Chita to Dagestan's Makhachkala.
Russian police say that about 500 people were arrested, while human rights groups say 1,000 were taken into custody.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman chided protest organizers, saying they incited illegal acts.
The 40-year old Navalny, arguably Russia's most popular opposition leader, has been twice convicted on fraud and embezzlement charges that he has dismissed as politically motivated. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:31:47 UT
The Latest: Family honors American killed in London attack
British police say that two people remain in custody following last week's attack in London as messaging services face criticism for encrypted networks that allow attackers to communicate in secret.
Attacker Khalid Masood is believed to have used the messaging service WhatsApp before running down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and storming a gate outside Parliament armed with two knives.
Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd wants technology companies to do more to make it possible for security services to have access to such messages.
The European Union's presidency says people's privacy must be protected following British calls for police access to encrypted messages in case of attacks. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:26:48 UT
US-backed fighters to pause military action near Syria dam
BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-backed forces in northern Syria said Monday they will pause military operations near a major dam held by the Islamic State group in order to allow engineers to fix any problems after conflicting reports about its stability.
Some activist groups opposed to IS have said residents are seeking higher ground, fearing that the collapse of the dam could cause severe flooding, while others said people were remaining in place.
SDF fighters on Sunday captured a strategically important air base from IS in Raqqa province, marking their first major victory since the United States airlifted hundreds of forces, as well as American advisers and artillery, behind enemy lines last week.
Elsewhere in Syria, another group of Syrian rebels began leaving the last opposition-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs with their families under a Russia-brokered deal with the Syrian government, state TV and the province's governor said.
Opposition fighters agreed to leave al-Waer after years of siege and bombardment at the hands of pro-government forces. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:18:19 UT
Italian police investigate body found in floating suitcase
ROME (AP) — Italian police are investigating the discovery of a woman's body stuffed in a suitcase that was found floating at a marina in the Adriatic port of Rimini.
Authorities carted the suitcase away in a coroners' van for an autopsy after it was discovered Sunday by a boat owner tending to his vessel. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:09:37 UT
Activists: Hong Kong to arrest democracy protest leaders
HONG KONG (AP) — A day after Hong Kong picked a new pro-Beijing leader, police are planning to arrest student leaders and other prominent figures involved with the huge 2014 "Umbrella Movement" pro-democracy protests, activists said Monday.
Police have informed nine people that they will be charged with committing a public nuisance, according to the Demosisto political party, which sent a list of those being targeted to the media.
Beijing loyalist Carrie Lam promised to mend political divisions after she was named Hong Kong's next leader on Sunday, but the impending arrests have fueled fears of a wider crackdown on pro-democracy supporters amid rising concerns about mainland China's tightening grip on the semiautonomous city. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:55:40 UT
Turks in Germany sharply divided over Turkey's referendum
For weeks, advocates and opponents of the referendum have campaigned determinedly across Germany, handing out flyers in front of mosques and trying to persuade fellow Turks in emotional debates at tea rooms or kebab restaurants.
Thousands have also attended campaign rallies with politicians flown in from Turkey — whose cancellation in some cities prompted Erdogan's remarks about "Nazi methods."
Ayfer Inci-Pekoz stood in the pouring rain for hours, clad in a neon-yellow vest with the Turkish slogan "Berlin hayir diyor (Berlin says no)," handing out flyers in front of a Turkish grocery market in the city's bustling Neukoelln neighborhood.
Inci-Pekoz, a Turkish-born real estate agent who now has German citizenship herself and can't vote, shrugged and turned to two veiled young mothers with strollers.
A yes' vote in the referendum would grant the president the power to appoint government ministers and senior officials, appoint half of the members in the country's highest judicial body, declare states of emergency and issue decrees.
"People here almost feel guilty if they want to vote 'Yes,'" said Akkaya, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes with friends on both sides of the referendum debate in a cafe in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, where many Turkish immigrants live. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:20:16 UT
Turkish pop star, journalists on trial over failed coup
ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish pop singer and 28 other people, mostly journalists, are being tried on terrorism charges for alleged links to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt.
Tas wrote a newspaper column and posted satirical tweets about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has arrested 41,000 people in a massive crackdown after the insurrection on July 15. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:13:04 UT
Syrian refugee in Germany won't pursue case against Facebook
BERLIN (AP) — A Syrian refugee in Germany won't pursue further legal action against Facebook after a court rejected his call for an injunction forcing the company to seek and delete posts falsely linking him to crimes committed by migrants.
The office of lawyer Chan-jo Jun, who represented Anas Modamani, quoted Modamani on Monday as saying he wants to concentrate on German language exams. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:45:27 UT
Merkel challenger seeks to move past deflating state vote
BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel's challenger in Germany's September election vowed Monday that his party won't be put off its stride by a deflating result in a state vote, and warned his conservative rivals against celebrating too early.
A much tighter race had been expected after the Social Democrats were boosted in polls by nominating Schulz, a former European Parliament president but a newcomer to national politics, in January.
Laschet faces an uphill task to oust a center-left government in May in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is Germany's most populous state and Schulz's home region. ...
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:03:01 UT