Saturday, 16 April 2016

Headlines - 04/15/2016

The main stories from today from RT


Germany grants Turkish request to allow for possible prosecution of comedian who joked about Erdogan

A german satirist and television presenter Jan Boehmermann. © Morris Mac Matzen
A german satirist and television presenter Jan Boehmermann. © Morris Mac Matzen / Reuters

The German government has granted a Turkish request to allow the possible prosecution of a TV comedian who wrote a crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Ankara has demanded to have comedian Jan Boehmermann prosecuted for insulting a foreign head of state. 

Under a section of Germany's criminal code, the government has to authorize prosecutors to pursue a case against the comedian.

The code, known as Paragraph 103, concerns insults against organs or representatives of foreign states. However, it is so rarely used that many German politicians and lawyers were previously unaware of its existence.

"Turkey has demanded prosecution of Jan Boehmermann. [The] German government, in accordance with established practice, studied the note; this process involved the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of the Federal Chancellor. As a result, the federal government in regard to this incident, satisfies the request,"Merkel told reporters at the Chancellery in Berlin.

The chancellor went on to stress that it "means neither a prejudgment of the person affected nor a decision about the limits of freedom of art, the press and opinion."

Merkel said that the government intends to repeal the law, effective in 2018. 
"There were different opinions between the coalition partners - the conservatives and the SPD (Social Democrats)," Merkel dded....[ ]

Dangerous & disproportionate’: Sputnik shutdown in Turkey slammed by OSCE, rights activists

© Konstantin Chalabov
© Konstantin Chalabov / Sputnik

The blocking of Russian news website Sputnik is yet another move by Ankara that raises further concerns about the freedom of expression in Turkey, which already has a bad human rights reputation, international activists say.

"This blocking is only the latest in a series of issues that I have voiced over the years with regard to freedom of expression on the internet in Turkey," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, said in a statement.

The Russian state news agency's website was abruptly shut down by Turkey on Thursday, with authorities citing "administrative measures"based on Turkey's 5651 internet-regulating law. The final decision on blocking the site will be made by a Turkish court ....[ ]

US could have shot down Russian jet flying near destroyer, Kerry says

An U.S. Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft flying over the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea in this picture taken April 12, 2016 and released April 13, 2016. © US Navy
An U.S. Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft flying over the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea in this picture taken April 12, 2016 and released April 13, 2016. © US Navy / Reuters

A Russian military jet that flew near a US destroyer could have been shot down under US rules of engagement, Secretary of State John Kerry said, calling the jet's proximity “reckless” and “provocative.”

The Russian Su-24 jet flew 30 feet (nine meters) above the USS Donald Cook during a training exercise on Tuesday, according to the US military's European Command, which referred to the incident as a “simulated attack profile.

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed Washington's anger at the incident on Friday, telling CNN Español that the US “
condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down.”

People need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas...we are communicating to the Russians how dangerous this is and our hope is that this will never be repeated,” he added.

White House spokesman John Earnest confirmed on Thursday that Washington has already raised its concerns with Russian officials.

I can tell you that that communication has occurred, and we’ll seek to resolve our differences through well-established military channels,” he told reporters at a press briefing.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that Kerry would specifically be raising the incident with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Moscow calls on West to force Turkey allow intl observers at its ‘porous’ border with Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. © Mikhail Voskresenskiy
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. © Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Sputnik

The ‘porous’ Turkey-Syria border facilitates the actions of terrorists and flow of smuggled goods, Russia’s foreign minister said, adding that the only way to stop the process is to invite international observers.

It’s clear that international observers could be deployed there only at Turkey’s request and we give special attention to the matter, in the UN as well, hoping that our Western partners will manage to compel Ankara to do so,” Sergey Lavrov said on Friday at a press conference after a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishido, in Tokyo.

There is no other possible way to tackle the situation on the “porous”Turkey-Syria border with Islamic State militants’ smuggling routes still running intact, Russia’s foreign minister dded.

Gunmen and weapons get into Syria from Turkey while various illegal goods are being smuggled from Syria, even though their flow “has decreased thanks to our [Russian] Air Forces, but it still exists,”Lavrov said.

Since Turkey is shrugging off the problem as it is, we propose, so far not in any official format but as a draft resolution or some other decision, that Turkey invites independent international observers to its territory to watch what is actually going on at this border,” Lavrov said.

Russia is constantly raising the matter of the Turkey-Syria border with partners who are interested in quelling the Syrian crisis, particularly with the American officials, since Turkey is a member of the US-led anti-terrorist coalition, Lavrov said. US diplomats, concerned with the border problem as well, say they are taking measures trying to find a solution, he dded.

Turkey that has been repeatedly implicated as a consumer of cheap oil produced by Islamic State in Syria. In March an RT documentary crew obtained documents left by IS militants that suggested a link between Turkey and IS oil production. An IS militant in an interview with RT said that there had been no guards at the Turkey-Syria border to stop them and they moved freely from one country to another.

Earlier in December, Russia’s defense ministry released satellite images showing oil trucks going from Islamic State installations in Syria to Turkey.

However, the Turkish government has denied all of the allegations regarding Ankara’s involvement in terrorist financial activity.

Islamic State has benefited from the trade in looted Syrian antiquities and artifacts as well, another RT journalist investigation has suggested. Despite a UN Security Council ban on buying illegally obtained antiquities from Syria and Iraq, there have been reports on some of the items worth thousands of dollars turning up later in antique markets in Europe and the US and then ending up in private collections

Arrests in Washington: Black Lives
Matter activists detained at Democracy
Spring protest

'Access denied': Turkey blocks Russian Sputnik news website after ‘legal consideration’

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