World News

Clashes in Montreal with battling rallies over anti-Islamophobia motion

Anti-fascists, left, clash with opposing protesters during a demonstration regarding motion M-103 in Montreal, Saturday, March 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes ORG XMIT: GMH103

Anti-fascists, left, clash with opposing protesters during a demonstration regarding motion M-103 in Montreal, Saturday, March 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes ORG XMIT: GMH103

MONTREAL — Tensions flared in cities across Canada on Saturday as supporters and opponents of a Parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia clashed during dueling protests.

In Montreal, there was a heavy police presence outside city hall keeping the two sides apart as a demonstration by critics of the motion was met by an equally large counter-protest.

On one side, some protesters carried signs calling for free speech and waved the flags of right wing groups that have sprung up in Quebec recently, while their opponents hurled insults and the occasional smoke bomb from behind a police line.

At one point, the counter-protesters’ chants of “immigrants welcome” and “everyone hates fascists!” were countered from the other side by a man who called out “suppressing free speech is fascist!”

The two groups, which each appeared to be between 100 and 200 people, later held separate marches through the streets of Montreal.

An Ontario Liberal backbencher, Iqra Khalid, brought forward the motion in Parliament last year, and since then she has received numerous racist and sexually derogatory emails that were laced with expletives.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, who prominently backed the motion, also found herself on the receiving end of similar kinds of messages.

The Opposition tried to pass an amendment last month removing the word “Islamophobia” from the motion, saying it singles out one religious group over others.

Death in custody: a Chinese scandal that will not die

Public resentment of police brutality is growing

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THE Chinese Communist Party has a formula for responding to crises. In the Mao era it buried unpalatable news. That is harder to pull off when smartphones and social media provide a steady flow of revelations about schools built on toxic soil, tainted foodstuffs, poorly stored vaccines and other scandals. Instead the government tries to manage public sentiment. It releases some information, raises questions and very often launches an investigation. Later, a senior official makes a pronouncement on the issue and a few people are fired. But in most cases almost nothing is done to fix the underlying problem. Sophisticated censorship prevents follow-up reports; public anger fades.

One recent scandal, however, has refused to die. Last May a 29-year-old environmental scientist, Lei Yang, died in police custody in Beijing. Officers said he had a heart attack after being arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Chinese people are used to being bullied by the police. Most victims are poor and cannot fight back. Mr Lei, however, was well-educated and worked at a state-linked think-tank.

The government took its familiar steps to quell the outcry. President Xi Jinping said the police should behave better, a comment that People’s Daily, a Communist Party mouthpiece, directly linked to Mr Lei’s case. An autopsy in June corrected the cause of death to choking. The police involved were put under investigation. And censorship was stepped up: online searches for Mr Lei’s name were blocked.

But anger grew again in December when prosecutors dropped charges against the police. They said “inappropriate professional conduct” by the officers had caused his death, but the wrongdoing was “minor” (Mr Lei, after all, had resisted arrest). The family acquiesced, citing exhaustion and “great pressure”. Mr Lei’s remains were cremated on January 6th.

ISIS claims attack in Diyarbakir after Baghdadi’s call to hit Turkey

2 Turkish Police Killed in Suspected PKK Attack in Diyarbakir

2 Turkish Police Killed in Suspected PKK Attack in Diyarbakir

At least nine people were killed and more than 100 were wounded on Saturday in an attack in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey. The Turkish authorities first blamed the Kurdish PKK movement, but the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Two police officers and five citizens, one of whom was a technician, have lost their lives. One terrorist was apprehended dead,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told journalists at a press briefing, blaming the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). This although the PKK did not claim responsibility.

However, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement released by the Jihadi Amaq Agency.

“Fighters from Islamic State blew up a parked car rigged with explosives in front of a Turkish police HQ in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey,” Amaq said.

The attack follows a call by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last Tuesday on his followers to attack Turkey.

“This is far more of a claim of a direct attack on the Turkish state. I am sure ISIS operatives did other large-scale attacks in Turkey before but they weren’t claimed officially,” Aymenn al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum said.

The Advance Toward Mosul: Traps, Smoke Screens and Suicide Bombers

 The start of the Mosul campaign. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

The start of the Mosul campaign. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

By Bryan Denton and Michael R. Gordon

SHEIKH AMIR, Iraq — The Kurdish pesh merga forces started their advance by moonlight, in the early hours of Monday. East of the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, columns of tanks and trucks lumbered their way toward the objective: clearing villages of militants before any broader advance on the city could happen.

As day broke, the vehicles piled off the roads to avoid any improvised bombs and began moving across the dusty Nineveh plain toward the villages. The tank fire began, booming across the distance. Soon the crawl became a run.

Thick funnels of black smoke began rising from the towns — a past tactic used by the Islamic State militants, setting oil barrels aflame to try to screen them from American airstrikes. The strikes came anyway, sending shock waves through the haze.

The campaign to retake Mosul was officially underway. In the weeks ahead, officials are planning an array of efforts by Iraqi security forces, allied militias, Kurdish forces and air support from the United States as the assault reaches to the city — the most critical population center captured by the militants in their blitz across Iraq in 2014, and now their last major stronghold in the country.

But in the opening hours on Monday, the Kurdish advance on outlying villages east of Mosul was the main action. In response, the Islamic State unleashed at least five suicide vehicle bombs — the militant force’s take on precision-guided weapons.

 Smoke from a suicide bomber’s destroyed vehicle. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Smoke from a suicide bomber’s destroyed vehicle. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Near the village of Badana, one vehicle packed with explosives streaked toward the Kurdish positions. A blast and a billowing plume of white smoke proclaimed its fate: Either a ground-fired missile or airstrike had abruptly halted the suicide run, short of its target.

Sceptred bile: The Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte

The new president may undo the economic gains of recent years

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UNDER Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines since late June, things have a habit of spiralling out of control. First came his campaign against the drug trade, which has led to the killing of almost 3,000 suspected dealers by police and unknown assailants, without even a nod at due process. In less than three months, he has presided over three-quarters as many extrajudicial killings as there were lynchings of black people in America between 1877 and 1950.

When Barack Obama expressed concern about the killings, Mr Duterte called him a “son of a whore”. America’s president tried to shrug off the insult. But Mr Duterte took the row to a new level this week, calling for American special forces to leave the southern island of Mindanao, where they have been training Filipino troops fighting several long insurgencies. “For as long as we stay with America,” he said, brandishing a picture of an atrocity committed by American soldiers more than a century ago, “we will never have peace”.

On September 13th he told his defence secretary to buy weapons from Russia and China rather than America, hitherto the Philippines’ closest ally, and the source of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid each year. He also said the navy would no longer patrol the South China Sea alongside American vessels. This reversal is all the more surprising given America’s huge popularity in the Philippines.

In other words, Mr Duterte is not just crass and brutal; he is alarmingly volatile. He has little experience of national politics, let alone international affairs, having been mayor of Davao, a city of 1.5m or so, since 1988 (apart from a brief stint as vice-mayor to his daughter and three years as a congressman). Since becoming president, he has threatened to withdraw from the United Nations and to declare martial law. He idolises Ferdinand Marcos, a former dictator who did impose martial law. He says he wants to give Marcos a hero’s burial in Manila. All this, naturally, frightens both local and foreign investors and threatens to undermine the Philippines’ newly acquired status as South-East Asia’s economic star.

France Slams Israel’s Razing of West Bank Structure It Funded

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(JTA) — France condemned Israel’s demolition of buildings constructed with French funding in a Palestinian village in the West Bank.

The demolition of agricultural installations in Nebi Samuel last week was the third time this year that buildings funded by French humanitarian aid were demolished or confiscated by Israeli authorities, Reuters quoted a French foreign ministry spokesman as saying Thursday.

Among them, in February, was a school.

“We urge Israeli authorities to stop these operations, that are in contravention of international law,” the spokesman said.

Britain Votes to Leave the European Union

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A referendum results party on Thursday at the Lexington pub in north London. Andrew Testa for The New York Times

LONDON — Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West.

With all but a handful of the country’s cities and towns reporting Friday morning, the Leave campaign held a 52 percent to 48 percent lead. The BBC called the race for the Leave campaign shortly before 4:45 a.m., with 13.1 million votes having been counted in favor of leaving and 12.2 million in favor of remaining.

The value of the British pound plummeted as financial markets absorbed the news.

Despite opinion polls ahead of the referendum on Thursday that showed either side in a position to win, the outcome nonetheless stunned much of Britain, Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance, highlighting the power of anti-elite, populist and nationalist sentiment at a time of economic and cultural dislocation.

Britain will become the first country to leave the 28-member bloc, which has been increasingly weighed down by its failures to deal fully with a succession of crises, from the financial collapse of 2008 to a resurgent Russia and the massive influx of migrants last year.

Chinese foreign minister berates Canadian reporter for asking about human rights

‘Please don’t ask questions in such an irresponsible manner,’ Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said

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China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi scolds a Canadian journalist during a press conference with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

China’s visiting foreign minister publicly berated a Canadian journalist on Wednesday for asking a question about his country’s human rights record.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it was “irresponsible” of a journalist from the web outlet iPolitics to ask about human rights and the jailing of a Canadian, Kevin Garratt, who is charged with espionage.

Wang appeared visibly angry as he delivered the scolding in the lobby of Global Affairs headquarters at a joint news conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.

In Its First Week, Syria Truce Brings Sharp Drop in Violence

 Credit Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Credit Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

BEIRUT — A shaky cease-fire in Syria brokered by Moscow and Washington has survived its first week, outlasting skeptics’ expectations and providing some hope that a diplomatic solution to the five-year-old war might be possible.

With daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes, it would be easy to dismiss the “cessation of hostilities” as a charade. But the partial truce, which came into effect last Saturday, has dramatically reduced overall violence across the devastated country — a remarkable accomplishment in a war that has killed a quarter million people, displaced half the population and decimated towns and villages. And because the cease-fire excludes areas held by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate, the Nusra Front, some of the continuing violence is not technically a breach.

Much now depends on whether peace talks actually resume next week and make progress — and on the determination of the Russians and Americans to prevent a full-scale resumption of fighting.

The first few hours of the cease-fire saw a dramatic drop in military operations, with residents reporting an eerie quiet not experienced in years. Russia grounded its warplanes and skies were clear of the feared government helicopters that drop barrel bombs on opposition-held areas. But complaints of violations have mounted in the past few days, including reports of Russian and Syrian government strikes that have hit rebel targets well away from areas controlled by IS or Nusra Front. The Russian government reported on Thursday that there were 66 cease-fire violations by opposition forces since the truce went into effect Feb. 27 — either shelling of residential areas or of government positions. The Syrian opposition, in turn, reported more than 170 breaches, all of them in rebel-held areas. The reasons are rarely clear; some cases appear to be local initiatives, or specific battlefield dynamics that could not be centrally controlled.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that closely monitors the conflict using activists on the ground, says the overall violence has decreased by 90 percent. It documented the death of 118 people in areas included in the cease-fire agreement in its first five days — a sharp drop from the daily toll before the truce. On Friday, it reported 12 people had been killed in Syria on Thursday — the lowest daily toll in 13 months. The group’s director, Rami Abdurrahman, says the violations are like “small waves that rock the boat but are not strong enough to capsize it.”

L.A. County supervisors vote to welcome Syrian refugees

L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, left, talks to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Tuesday. Both supervisors voted to welcome Syrian refugees. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, left, talks to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Tuesday. Both supervisors voted to welcome Syrian refugees. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Amid heightened national debate over the resettlement of people fleeing the war in Syria, a divided Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to voice their willingness to welcome Syrian refugees.

The supervisors also voted to send a letter to President Obama and the county’s congressional delegation “expressing the board’s support of federal efforts to help Syrians fleeing violence and oppression and to increase the overall number of refugees that the U.S. will resettle over the course of the next two years.”

The question of how many refugees from Syria the United States will take in and where they will live has become politically charged in recent weeks. More than 30 state governors, mostly Republicans, have voiced concerns that extremists could infiltrate the United States and vowed to stop the refugees from settling in their states.

Burma votes in first democratic election in years

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote during Burma's election. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote during Burma’s election. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

RANGOON, Burma — Millions of residents voted Sunday in Burma’s first democratic election in years, a historic event that could mark a new era for the country and pave the way to power for the longtime opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

By nightfall, hundreds of supporters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party had gathered on the street in front of the party headquarters, waving red balloons, dancing, chanting and watching local election results on big-screen TVs. They cheered every time a yellow ballot was unfurled with a stamp next to a golden peacock, the symbol for the NLD. Some preliminary results might be known Monday, but the final official results could take days.

“We have been suffering for 25 years. Today, we change the old system and bring in a new one,” Theingi, a homemaker and mother of two, said at the rally. She uses only one name.

Anonymous denies link to list of alleged KKK members — and promises to release its own

Image from an 'Anonymous' video [YouTube]

Image from an ‘Anonymous’ video [YouTube]

Updated| Online hacking group Anonymous has denied responsibility for the recent publication of a list that claims some U.S. politicians belong to the Ku Klux Klan.

Last week, Anonymous said it would soon release the identities of about 1,000 members of the white supremacist organization. Anonymous is expected to release the details on Thursday, the day of the global protest movement known as the Million Mask March, in which demonstrators around the world will march in a protest against corrupt governments and corporations.

Anonymous denies it has any connection to the list of names, which was published Saturday on the website Pastebin. Most of the politicians included on the list—four Republican senators, four Democratic mayors and a Republican mayor—have denied the claims.

Canada election: Liberals sweep to power

 Justin Trudeau is congratulated by his mother Margaret after the Liberal victory

Justin Trudeau is congratulated by his mother Margaret after the Liberal victory

The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, are leading in 185 electoral districts.

The son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is now poised to form a majority government, Canada’s CBC and CTV networks predict.

Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper – whose party is leading in 103 districts – accepted defeat.

Speaking after the polls closed, he said he had already congratulated Mr Trudeau, saying the Conservatives would accept the results “without hesitation”.

Turkey Mourns Nearly 100 Dead In Ankara Blasts

Wounded people on the ground as survivors offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey.

Wounded people on the ground as survivors offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey.

Turkey begins three days of mourning on October 11 after at least 95 people were killed in twin blasts at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara.

The Turkish government said 245 people were also injured in what it called a “terrorist act,” with 48 of them in serious condition.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that suicide bombers carried out the October 10 attack, which came three weeks before a rerun of June’s inconclusive general elections.

The explosions, which struck 50 meters apart, occurred near the city’s central train station as people were gathering for a planned “peace march” to push for a settlement of the conflict between the government and Kurdish militants in the southeastern part of the country.

Some Context For America’s Pledge To Take In 10,000 Syrian Refugees

Hungarian police officers help a Syrian child at the railway station in Roszke, Hungary, on Monday. Thomas Campean / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Hungarian police officers help a Syrian child at the railway station in Roszke, Hungary, on Monday. Thomas Campean / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The United States has promised to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, about 7 times as many as America has welcomed since the start of the conflict.1 But the new quota still isn’t impressive compared with the number of refugees the U.S. has accepted from other countries and the scale of the Syrian crisis.

Had the U.S. made the same commitment in the past, Syria would have been in the top three nations sending refugees to the U.S. in only two out of the five most recent years for which we have data. In the 2013 fiscal year (the most recent on record), the U.S. accepted more refugees from Iraq (19,487) and Myanmar (16,299) than it plans to accept from Syria. The country’s new commitment to Syria would have placed it ahead of Bhutan (9,134) — again, in terms of 2013 numbers — but just barely.

Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75

 The Georgia legislator and civil rights leader Julian Bond at a memorial on the Kent State campus in 1971. Mr. Bond died on Saturday.


The Georgia legislator and civil rights leader Julian Bond at a memorial on the Kent State campus in 1971. Mr. Bond died on Saturday.

Julian Bond, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights, notably as chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., died on Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He was 75.

The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Mr. Bond’s death on Sunday. His wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz, said the cause was complications of vascular disease.

Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities.

He gradually moved from the militancy of the student group to the leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, Mr. Bond was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.

 Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Associated Press.

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Associated Press.

He also served for 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.

Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face — he was often called dashing, handsome and urbane — became familiar to millions of television viewers in the 1960s and 1970s. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s.

Moving beyond demonstrations, Mr. Bond became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.

Bernie Sanders in Statistical Tie With Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire Poll

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders is making significant inroads against Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire, with a new poll showing him in a statistical tie with Mrs. Clinton in the state.

A new survey released by Franklin Pierce University and The Boston Herald found that 44 percent of Democrats in the state are backing Mr. Sanders compared with 37 percent for Mrs. Clinton, a difference that is within the poll’s margin of error.

The last Democratic poll from the group in March showed Mr. Sanders with support of 8 percent of likely voters, demonstrating a significant erosion in the former secretary of state’s lead.

Ireland Votes to Approve Gay Marriage, Putting Country in Vanguard

English: ‘MarriagEquality’ supporting same-sex marriage in Ireland at a demonstration in Dublin. By Kaihsu Tai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

‘MarriagEquality’ supporting same-sex marriage in Ireland at a demonstration in Dublin. By Kaihsu Tai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

By Danny Hakim and Douglas Dalby

DUBLIN — Ireland became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory Saturday for the gay rights movement and placing the country at the vanguard of social change.

With the final ballots counted, the vote was 62 percent in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 38 percent opposed.

The turnout was large — more than 60 percent of the 3.2 million eligible voters cast ballots, and only one district out of 43 voted the measure down. Cheers broke out among the crowd of supporters who had gathered in the courtyard of Dublin Castle when Returning Officer Riona Ni Fhlanghaile announced around 7 p.m. that the ballot had passed, 1,201,607 votes to 734,300.

Not long ago, the vote would have been unthinkable. Ireland decriminalized homosexuality only in 1993, the church dominates the education system, and abortion remains illegal except when a mother’s life is at risk. But the influence of the church has waned amid scandals in recent years, while attitudes, particularly among the young, have shifted.

“Today Ireland made history,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny said at a news conference, adding that “in the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement.”

“This decision makes every citizen equal and I believe it will strengthen the institution of marriage,” Mr. Kenny said.

U.S. special forces kill Islamic State leader in raid in eastern Syria

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Iraqi Sunni volunteers from Anbar province, who joined Iraq’s Popular Mobilization force to fight Islamic State, training at a base in Amriyat Falloujah. (Ahmad Rubaye / AFP/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Saturday that commandos from U.S. special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State militant leader and captured his wife during a night raid Friday in eastern Syria in a town called al-Amr.

The leader, known as Abu Sayyaf, was involved in the Islamic State’s military operations and helped direct the group’s’ illicit oil, gas and financial operations, Carter said in a statement.

The Pentagon said no U.S. personnel were killed or injured during the operation.

The military’s intent was to capture Sayyaf, but he was killed when he “engaged” U.S. forces, Carter said. The commandos captured Umm Sayyaf, his wife, who the Pentagon suspects is also a member of the Sunni militant group and “may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night.”

Bernadette Meehan, White House spokeswoman, said President Obama authorized the operation as soon as sufficient intelligence was gathered and he had received the “unanimous recommendation” of his national security team.

“This operation was conducted with the full consent of Iraqi authorities and, like our existing airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, consistent with domestic and international law,” she said in a statement.

Picasso stepdaughter accuses Paris dealer of stealing artist’s works

Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay accuses top Paris art dealer Olivier Thomas of stealing works he was paid to transport

 Les femmes d’Alger (Getty)

Les femmes d’Alger (Getty)

By Rory Mulholland in Paris

French prosecutors are investigating a top Paris art dealer after Pablo Picasso’s stepdaughter filed charges against him for allegedly stealing artworks that he was meant to be transporting and storing on her behalf.

News of the arrest came hours after a Picasso masterpiece, Les femmes d’Alger, sold for a world record auction price of $179 million (£116 million) in New York.

The suspect, Olivier Thomas, is a business partner of a Swiss art dealer who was recently charged with defrauding the Russian oligarch Dimitry Rybolovlev, the owner of Monaco football club, in one of the biggest cases of alleged fraud to hit the global art market.

Catherine Hutin-Blay, the only daughter of Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline, filed the legal complaint against Mr Thomas in March this year, the Paris prosecutor’s office told The Telegraph.

She believes that some of the works the art dealer was hired to transport have gone missing. Prosecutors would not say which works were involved nor give their estimated value.

Six officers charged in death of Freddie Gray

People celebrate after Baltimore authorities said there would be criminal charges against police in death of Freddie Gray. Win McNamee, Getty Images

People celebrate after Baltimore authorities said there would be criminal charges against police in death of Freddie Gray. Win McNamee, Getty Images

The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray – who died last month after being injured in police custody – have been charged criminally, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday.

Turkish Parliament Expands Police Powers and Cracks Down on Demonstrations

By Nevit Dilmen (Image:Turkishflag.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nevit Dilmen (Image:Turkishflag.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Parliament passed one of its most contested pieces of legislation on Friday, a bill that broadens police powers and increases penalties for people participating in unauthorized demonstrations.

Approval came after a monthlong debate in which cups and glasses were flung across the assembly floor and lawmakers on opposing sides brawled with their fists over the bill. Supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party, which holds the majority of seats, the bill is expected to be signed into law by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under the bill, the police will be permitted to use firearms against demonstrators who are armed with firebombs or other “injurious or similar weapons.” They will also be able to detain people for up to 48 hours to uphold public order. Protesters wearing masks or partly covering their faces will face up to five years in prison if they are deemed to be spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The bill will also allow the police to pursue some investigations without authorization from prosecutors and judges, raising fears of the arbitrary use of power without judicial oversight.

Opponents say that the bill breaches the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches and that it could create the basis for turning Turkey into a police state. The government has described the bill as a reform that increases the security of its citizens while keeping within the European Union’s standards for freedoms and security regulations.

The bill was proposed by the ruling party after thousands of Kurds took to the streets last October to protest Turkey’s lack of support for Kurdish fighters battling militants of the Islamic State, the extremist group, in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani. At least 40 people died in the demonstrations.

International human rights organizations have criticized the bill for its vague terminology that could lead to preventive detentions to crack down on dissent.

West Bank Mosque Torched by ‘Price Tag’ Extremists on Baruch Goldstein Terror Date

Arson Marks Anniversary of Massacre of 29 Palestinians

Israeli soldier walks past a mosque that was attacked by suspected Jewish extremists on the occupied West Bank. Read more: http://forward.com/articles/215446/west-bank-mosque-torched-by-price-tag-extremists-o/#ixzz3SnpxP5S8

Israeli soldier walks past a mosque that was attacked by suspected Jewish extremists on the occupied West Bank.

A mosque in the West Bank near Bethlehem was set on fire and nationalist slogans were painted on its walls.

The attack in the Jaba village occurred early Wednesday morning. A window of the mosque was broken and something burning was thrown inside. Worshippers who arrived at the mosque at 4:30 a.m. saw the flames and put out the fire, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The mosques interior walls and furniture were damaged in the attack.

Phrases spray painted on the mosque’s outside walls included “we want the redemption of Zion” and “revenge.”

L.A. County supervisors vote to welcome Syrian refugees

L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, left, talks to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Tuesday. Both supervisors voted to welcome Syrian refugees. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, left, talks to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis on Tuesday. Both supervisors voted to welcome Syrian refugees. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Amid heightened national debate over the resettlement of people fleeing the war in Syria, a divided Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to voice their willingness to welcome Syrian refugees.

The supervisors also voted to send a letter to President Obama and the county’s congressional delegation “expressing the board’s support of federal efforts to help Syrians fleeing violence and oppression and to increase the overall number of refugees that the U.S. will resettle over the course of the next two years.”

The question of how many refugees from Syria the United States will take in and where they will live has become politically charged in recent weeks. More than 30 state governors, mostly Republicans, have voiced concerns that extremists could infiltrate the United States and vowed to stop the refugees from settling in their states.

Burma votes in first democratic election in years

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote during Burma's election. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote during Burma’s election. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

RANGOON, Burma — Millions of residents voted Sunday in Burma’s first democratic election in years, a historic event that could mark a new era for the country and pave the way to power for the longtime opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

By nightfall, hundreds of supporters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party had gathered on the street in front of the party headquarters, waving red balloons, dancing, chanting and watching local election results on big-screen TVs. They cheered every time a yellow ballot was unfurled with a stamp next to a golden peacock, the symbol for the NLD. Some preliminary results might be known Monday, but the final official results could take days.

“We have been suffering for 25 years. Today, we change the old system and bring in a new one,” Theingi, a homemaker and mother of two, said at the rally. She uses only one name.

Anonymous denies link to list of alleged KKK members — and promises to release its own

Image from an 'Anonymous' video [YouTube]

Image from an ‘Anonymous’ video [YouTube]

Updated| Online hacking group Anonymous has denied responsibility for the recent publication of a list that claims some U.S. politicians belong to the Ku Klux Klan.

Last week, Anonymous said it would soon release the identities of about 1,000 members of the white supremacist organization. Anonymous is expected to release the details on Thursday, the day of the global protest movement known as the Million Mask March, in which demonstrators around the world will march in a protest against corrupt governments and corporations.

Anonymous denies it has any connection to the list of names, which was published Saturday on the website Pastebin. Most of the politicians included on the list—four Republican senators, four Democratic mayors and a Republican mayor—have denied the claims.

Canada election: Liberals sweep to power

 Justin Trudeau is congratulated by his mother Margaret after the Liberal victory

Justin Trudeau is congratulated by his mother Margaret after the Liberal victory

The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, are leading in 185 electoral districts.

The son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is now poised to form a majority government, Canada’s CBC and CTV networks predict.

Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper – whose party is leading in 103 districts – accepted defeat.

Speaking after the polls closed, he said he had already congratulated Mr Trudeau, saying the Conservatives would accept the results “without hesitation”.

Turkey Mourns Nearly 100 Dead In Ankara Blasts

Wounded people on the ground as survivors offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey.

Wounded people on the ground as survivors offer help after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey.

Turkey begins three days of mourning on October 11 after at least 95 people were killed in twin blasts at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara.

The Turkish government said 245 people were also injured in what it called a “terrorist act,” with 48 of them in serious condition.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were “strong signs” that suicide bombers carried out the October 10 attack, which came three weeks before a rerun of June’s inconclusive general elections.

The explosions, which struck 50 meters apart, occurred near the city’s central train station as people were gathering for a planned “peace march” to push for a settlement of the conflict between the government and Kurdish militants in the southeastern part of the country.

Some Context For America’s Pledge To Take In 10,000 Syrian Refugees

Hungarian police officers help a Syrian child at the railway station in Roszke, Hungary, on Monday. Thomas Campean / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Hungarian police officers help a Syrian child at the railway station in Roszke, Hungary, on Monday. Thomas Campean / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The United States has promised to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, about 7 times as many as America has welcomed since the start of the conflict.1 But the new quota still isn’t impressive compared with the number of refugees the U.S. has accepted from other countries and the scale of the Syrian crisis.

Had the U.S. made the same commitment in the past, Syria would have been in the top three nations sending refugees to the U.S. in only two out of the five most recent years for which we have data. In the 2013 fiscal year (the most recent on record), the U.S. accepted more refugees from Iraq (19,487) and Myanmar (16,299) than it plans to accept from Syria. The country’s new commitment to Syria would have placed it ahead of Bhutan (9,134) — again, in terms of 2013 numbers — but just barely.

Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75

 The Georgia legislator and civil rights leader Julian Bond at a memorial on the Kent State campus in 1971. Mr. Bond died on Saturday.


The Georgia legislator and civil rights leader Julian Bond at a memorial on the Kent State campus in 1971. Mr. Bond died on Saturday.

Julian Bond, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights, notably as chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., died on Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He was 75.

The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Mr. Bond’s death on Sunday. His wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz, said the cause was complications of vascular disease.

Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities.

He gradually moved from the militancy of the student group to the leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, Mr. Bond was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.

 Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Associated Press.

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Associated Press.

He also served for 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.

Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face — he was often called dashing, handsome and urbane — became familiar to millions of television viewers in the 1960s and 1970s. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s.

Moving beyond demonstrations, Mr. Bond became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.

Bernie Sanders in Statistical Tie With Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire Poll

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders is making significant inroads against Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire, with a new poll showing him in a statistical tie with Mrs. Clinton in the state.

A new survey released by Franklin Pierce University and The Boston Herald found that 44 percent of Democrats in the state are backing Mr. Sanders compared with 37 percent for Mrs. Clinton, a difference that is within the poll’s margin of error.

The last Democratic poll from the group in March showed Mr. Sanders with support of 8 percent of likely voters, demonstrating a significant erosion in the former secretary of state’s lead.

Ireland Votes to Approve Gay Marriage, Putting Country in Vanguard

English: ‘MarriagEquality’ supporting same-sex marriage in Ireland at a demonstration in Dublin. By Kaihsu Tai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

‘MarriagEquality’ supporting same-sex marriage in Ireland at a demonstration in Dublin. By Kaihsu Tai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

By Danny Hakim and Douglas Dalby

DUBLIN — Ireland became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory Saturday for the gay rights movement and placing the country at the vanguard of social change.

With the final ballots counted, the vote was 62 percent in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 38 percent opposed.

The turnout was large — more than 60 percent of the 3.2 million eligible voters cast ballots, and only one district out of 43 voted the measure down. Cheers broke out among the crowd of supporters who had gathered in the courtyard of Dublin Castle when Returning Officer Riona Ni Fhlanghaile announced around 7 p.m. that the ballot had passed, 1,201,607 votes to 734,300.

Not long ago, the vote would have been unthinkable. Ireland decriminalized homosexuality only in 1993, the church dominates the education system, and abortion remains illegal except when a mother’s life is at risk. But the influence of the church has waned amid scandals in recent years, while attitudes, particularly among the young, have shifted.

“Today Ireland made history,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny said at a news conference, adding that “in the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement.”

“This decision makes every citizen equal and I believe it will strengthen the institution of marriage,” Mr. Kenny said.

U.S. special forces kill Islamic State leader in raid in eastern Syria

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Iraqi Sunni volunteers from Anbar province, who joined Iraq’s Popular Mobilization force to fight Islamic State, training at a base in Amriyat Falloujah. (Ahmad Rubaye / AFP/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Saturday that commandos from U.S. special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State militant leader and captured his wife during a night raid Friday in eastern Syria in a town called al-Amr.

The leader, known as Abu Sayyaf, was involved in the Islamic State’s military operations and helped direct the group’s’ illicit oil, gas and financial operations, Carter said in a statement.

The Pentagon said no U.S. personnel were killed or injured during the operation.

The military’s intent was to capture Sayyaf, but he was killed when he “engaged” U.S. forces, Carter said. The commandos captured Umm Sayyaf, his wife, who the Pentagon suspects is also a member of the Sunni militant group and “may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night.”

Bernadette Meehan, White House spokeswoman, said President Obama authorized the operation as soon as sufficient intelligence was gathered and he had received the “unanimous recommendation” of his national security team.

“This operation was conducted with the full consent of Iraqi authorities and, like our existing airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, consistent with domestic and international law,” she said in a statement.

Picasso stepdaughter accuses Paris dealer of stealing artist’s works

Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay accuses top Paris art dealer Olivier Thomas of stealing works he was paid to transport

 Les femmes d’Alger (Getty)

Les femmes d’Alger (Getty)

By Rory Mulholland in Paris

French prosecutors are investigating a top Paris art dealer after Pablo Picasso’s stepdaughter filed charges against him for allegedly stealing artworks that he was meant to be transporting and storing on her behalf.

News of the arrest came hours after a Picasso masterpiece, Les femmes d’Alger, sold for a world record auction price of $179 million (£116 million) in New York.

The suspect, Olivier Thomas, is a business partner of a Swiss art dealer who was recently charged with defrauding the Russian oligarch Dimitry Rybolovlev, the owner of Monaco football club, in one of the biggest cases of alleged fraud to hit the global art market.

Catherine Hutin-Blay, the only daughter of Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline, filed the legal complaint against Mr Thomas in March this year, the Paris prosecutor’s office told The Telegraph.

She believes that some of the works the art dealer was hired to transport have gone missing. Prosecutors would not say which works were involved nor give their estimated value.

Six officers charged in death of Freddie Gray

People celebrate after Baltimore authorities said there would be criminal charges against police in death of Freddie Gray. Win McNamee, Getty Images

People celebrate after Baltimore authorities said there would be criminal charges against police in death of Freddie Gray. Win McNamee, Getty Images

The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray – who died last month after being injured in police custody – have been charged criminally, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday.

Turkish Parliament Expands Police Powers and Cracks Down on Demonstrations

By Nevit Dilmen (Image:Turkishflag.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nevit Dilmen (Image:Turkishflag.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Parliament passed one of its most contested pieces of legislation on Friday, a bill that broadens police powers and increases penalties for people participating in unauthorized demonstrations.

Approval came after a monthlong debate in which cups and glasses were flung across the assembly floor and lawmakers on opposing sides brawled with their fists over the bill. Supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party, which holds the majority of seats, the bill is expected to be signed into law by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under the bill, the police will be permitted to use firearms against demonstrators who are armed with firebombs or other “injurious or similar weapons.” They will also be able to detain people for up to 48 hours to uphold public order. Protesters wearing masks or partly covering their faces will face up to five years in prison if they are deemed to be spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

The bill will also allow the police to pursue some investigations without authorization from prosecutors and judges, raising fears of the arbitrary use of power without judicial oversight.

Opponents say that the bill breaches the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches and that it could create the basis for turning Turkey into a police state. The government has described the bill as a reform that increases the security of its citizens while keeping within the European Union’s standards for freedoms and security regulations.

The bill was proposed by the ruling party after thousands of Kurds took to the streets last October to protest Turkey’s lack of support for Kurdish fighters battling militants of the Islamic State, the extremist group, in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani. At least 40 people died in the demonstrations.

International human rights organizations have criticized the bill for its vague terminology that could lead to preventive detentions to crack down on dissent.

West Bank Mosque Torched by ‘Price Tag’ Extremists on Baruch Goldstein Terror Date

Arson Marks Anniversary of Massacre of 29 Palestinians

Israeli soldier walks past a mosque that was attacked by suspected Jewish extremists on the occupied West Bank. Read more: http://forward.com/articles/215446/west-bank-mosque-torched-by-price-tag-extremists-o/#ixzz3SnpxP5S8

Israeli soldier walks past a mosque that was attacked by suspected Jewish extremists on the occupied West Bank.

A mosque in the West Bank near Bethlehem was set on fire and nationalist slogans were painted on its walls.

The attack in the Jaba village occurred early Wednesday morning. A window of the mosque was broken and something burning was thrown inside. Worshippers who arrived at the mosque at 4:30 a.m. saw the flames and put out the fire, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The mosques interior walls and furniture were damaged in the attack.

Phrases spray painted on the mosque’s outside walls included “we want the redemption of Zion” and “revenge.”

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