Ukrainian regulation on Donbass hit by Duma as move around new civil war

Russian lawmakers have composed an address to major international groups in which they denounce a fresh Ukrainian law on the reintegration of Donbass. The law is seen as potentially leading to war and repression in the region.

The draft address, that the Russian MPs want to forward to the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and also to the US Congress and several European parliaments, states that the alleged motive, containment of Russia, cannot justify steps leading to the restart of a civil war in south-eastern Ukraine and to new political repression in the country.

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A destroyed convent near Donetsk airport © Valery Melnikov

The lawmakers also stated that the new Ukrainian law is directed against Russia and Russian speakers, that it is “filled with hatred” and that its sponsors must have been motivated by the desire “to clear land with several million residents of all people.”

The document has not a single mention of the Minsk accords and rules out any talks between Ukrainian authorities and representatives of the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass” the statement reads.

Russian MPs also noted that aggravating the situation in the south-eastern Ukraine was connected with Ukrainian authorities’ refusal to investigate the murder of people during the Maidan riots, the subsequent coup d’etat and other crimes, like the mass killing of protesters in Odessa in May 2014.

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In the same address the State Duma calls for the Ukrainian authorities to show responsibility and abandon the plans to impose new political repression upon its own citizens.

On Thursday the head of the Lower House Committee for CIS Affairs, Leonid Kalashnikov, told TASS that the State Duma will most likely vote on the address on March 21. He explained the delay by the fact that Russian lawmakers did not want to pass the address before the Ukrainian law is officially published and starting on Friday the State Duma will be in purdah until after the presidential election of March 18.

Earlier this week Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed into law the so-called Donbass Reintegration Law which describes the territories of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as “temporarily occupied” and sanctions the use of military force inside the country by presidential order without parliamentary approval. The law does not mention the Minsk accords.

On Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the new Ukrainian law allowed for a military solution to the Donbass crisis, adding that it was obvious from this document that the Kiev authorities were not planning to implement the Minsk accords.

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RT Russian Politics News

Storm waves can move boulders heavier than the Statue of Liberty

Rogue waves can move rocks weighing hundreds of tonnes

Rogue waves can move rocks weighing hundreds of tonnes

rock on coast

Noel Moore/Alamy Stock Photo

MONSTROUS oceanic waves are able to transport boulders weighing hundreds of tonnes. The finding helps explain how huge rocks end up atop high cliffs. It also implies that storm waves, and other rogue waves, can be more powerful and hazardous than previously thought.

Until recently, the heaviest rock known to have been transported by waves was about 200 tonnes. Now RÓnadh Cox of Williams College in Massachusetts and her colleagues have found a new record holder: a 620-tonne boulder, equivalent to roughly three Statues of Liberty.

Cox found the boulder on the west coast of Ireland. The region was struck by a huge cluster of storms during the winter of 2013-2014. When she and her team examined photographs taken before and after the storms, they found the massive boulder had been

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New Scientist – Earth

Parents Voluntarily Move To Mexico After Deportation Order, Leaving Three Children Behind

Christmas is a time for holiday cheer and spending time with loved ones, but thanks to ICE, the Campos Family will have none of that this year.

Oscar and Umberta Campos were two law-abiding and hard-working citizens. Oscar is the owner of a one-man landscaping business and Umberta worked at a local garden center.

The Star-Ledger

They fled from violence in Mexico’s murderous Tamaulipas and the state of Guerrero in 1989, respectively. Umberta’s father was a policeman and got murdered in front of her.

She got kidnapped and sexually assaulted for three days, but managed to escape. She came to the United States seeking asylum while fearing for her life.

The couple eventually lived their American dream. They sacrificed many things and saved money, worked hard, started a business, bought a home, and paid income and property taxes. They raised and educated their three U.S.-born children properly.

Erwin Campos is the youngest and doesn’t speak Spanish. He is currently a sophomore at Cumberland Country Technology Education Center, studying engineering.

The Star-Ledger

The middle child is Janet, who is 22 and has a criminal justice associates degree from Cumberland County College. She can speak a little Spanish but isn’t fluent.

The oldest son, Oscar, 24, who has the same degree from the same college as his sister and is currently studying criminal behavior at Wilmington University in Delaware, is not fluent in Spanish, either. He also works full-time as security at Memorial Hospital of Salem County.

Umberta Campos got targeted by ICE because she followed the rules. After her work papers expired in 2010, she attempted to get a legal extension and therefore made herself and her husband easy targets in the governments’ radar.

Not even political or divine intervention made a difference. Senator Cory Booker and Camden Archdiocese Bishop Dennis Sullivan lobbied on behalf of the family to no avail.

“Senator Booker’s office worked for months with the Campos family and federal officials on this case,” said a spokesman for Booker in an interview. “We are extremely disappointed that ICE has denied the request for a stay of removal and saddened to see another family needlessly torn apart.”

The couple had to pay their own airfare when they voluntarily returned to Mexico, forced to leave their children to fend for themselves Their two oldest are paying the mortgage and utilities of their home, plus their schooling.

The Campos children feel betrayed by the only country they know as home. “They came here for the American dream, just like everyone else,” Erwin said. “And, basically, just got thrown out,” finished Janet.

This article was inspired by NEW JERSEY REAL-TIME NEWS // An ICE-y Christmas gift as immigrant family is separated.

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Culture –

Jerusalem row: Clashes erupt over Trump move

Violence has flared between Israeli forces and Palestinians protesting at Donald Trump’s contentious recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Clashes erupted in the occupied West Bank and over the Israeli-Gaza border, where one Palestinian was killed.

Overall more than 200 were hurt, Palestinian medical sources said.

Tensions are high in the wake of Mr Trump’s announcement. His policy shift was hailed by Israel but condemned across the Arab and Islamic world.

Western allies of the US have also disavowed the move, which reversed decades of US neutrality on the status of Jerusalem.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US became the first country to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948.

Where has there been violence?

In the West Bank, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in the cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, as well as smaller locations.

Television pictures from Bethlehem showed water cannon or so-called skunk water being used against stone-throwing protesters.

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Clouds of tear gas and thick, black smoke from burning tyres filled the air. There were also reports of rubber bullets being fired by troops.

Similar scenes were reported in other places where there were confrontations.

Israel had deployed extra battalions to the West Bank in anticipation of violence after Palestinian leaders called for protests after Friday prayers.

In East Jerusalem there were scuffles as police pushed back hundreds of demonstrators outside the Old City. The ancient walled area, containing contentious holy sites, is historically a flashpoint for violence.

At least 217 Palestinians were wounded in the confrontations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics said. A 30-year-old Palestinian was killed and dozens of others injured in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire after protesters threw stones at army posts on the border.

Elsewhere, demonstrations against Mr Trump’s announcement have spread.

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Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters held noisy demonstrations in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Tunisia and Iran.

Further afield, protesters rallied in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indian-administered Kashmir and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

How has the international community reacted?

There has been widespread denunciation of Mr Trump’s move, especially in the Muslim world.

America’s closest Arab allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, have expressed their opposition, while Egypt, Bolivia, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, the UK and Uruguay have called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday to discuss the step.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Mr Trump’s announcement was “deplorable” and a senior Palestinian official said US Vice President Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” during a planned visit to the region later this month.

Israel’s arch-foe Iran accused Donald Trump of trying to provoke a war, while the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon called on the Muslim and Arab world to support a new intifada.

Israel itself has hailed the announcement as historic. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “courageous and just decision”, while some 250 Israeli rabbis, including the chief rabbi of the Sephardi Jewish community, signed a letter thanking Mr Trump.

Why does Trump’s announcement matter?

Jerusalem is of huge importance to both Israel and the Palestinians. It contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Israel occupied the eastern sector – previously occupied by Jordan – in 1967, and annexed it in 1980, but the move has never been recognised internationally.

Some 330,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, along with about 200,000 Israeli Jews in a dozen settlements there. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel does not regard them as settlements but legitimate neighbourhoods.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

The last round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014 and while the US is formulating fresh proposals, Palestinian officials have said Mr Trump’s announcement has disqualified the US from brokering future negotiations.

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BBC News – World

Jerusalem: Trump move protests leave 16 Palestinians wounded

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At least 16 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes in the occupied West Bank, during protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Reports suggest the injuries are mostly from tear gas and rubber bullets, but at least one was hurt by live fire.

Israel has deployed hundreds of extra troops in the West Bank.

Mr Trump’s announcement – met with worldwide dismay – reversed decades of US policy on the sensitive issue.

Palestinians in the both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have gone on strike and taken to the streets in protest.

Many of Washington’s closest allies have said they disagree with the move, and both the UN Security Council and the Arab League will meet in the coming days to decide their response.

There are fears the announcement could lead to a renewed outbreak of violence. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has already called for a new intifada, or uprising.

What did Trump say?

The US president said on Wednesday that he had “determined it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.

“I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.

He said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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Despite warnings of regional unrest over any such move, the decision fulfils a campaign promise and appeals to Mr Trump’s right-wing base.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality”, he added. “It is also the right thing to do.”

Mr Trump said the US would support a two-state solution – shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel – “if agreed to by both sides”.

The president also refrained from using Israel’s description of Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided capital”. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

What has been the reaction?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was profoundly grateful to Mr Trump, who had “bound himself forever with the history of the capital”.

He also said Israel was “in touch with other countries to follow suit. I have no doubt other embassies will move to Jerusalem – the time has come”. He did not name any of these countries, although the Philippines and the Czech Republic have been mentioned in Israeli media.

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The mood has been very different on the Palestinian side.

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas which runs the Gaza Strip, has called for a “day of rage” on Friday and said it should “be the first day of the intifada against the occupier”.

“We have given instructions to all Hamas members and to all its wings to be fully ready for any new instructions or orders that may be given to confront this strategic danger,” he said in a speech in Gaza.

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Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ rival Fatah movement is seeking to protest through diplomatic means, by filing a complaint to the UN Security Council and pushing for a strong stance by the Arab League.

“We are going to declare the United States disqualified as co-sponsor of any peace process or political process,” spokesman Dr Nasser Al-Kidwa said. “In our mind, it has lost its ability to do or perform any efforts in this regard.”

There has also been widespread condemnation across the Arab and wider Muslim world, with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning Mr Trump that he was “throwing the region into a ring of fire”.

The leaders of the UK, France and Europe have all said they disagree with the US announcement. French President Emmanuel Macron said it contravened international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

Why is the announcement significant?

Jerusalem is of huge importance to both Israel and the Palestinians. It contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but before now it has not been internationally recognised as part of Israel.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

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BBC News – World

Dan McKenzie: The man who made Earth move

Dan McKenzie

“The impact was immediate and profound. Geology was completely transformed”

The Royal Society/Anne Purkiss

IT WAS 1967, and a profound shift in our understanding of the planet was taking place. In San Francisco, hippies gathered to celebrate counterculture and jolt our social consciousness. Meanwhile, in the far south of California, a young geologist was working on an idea that would cause as profound a revolution in Earth science as the discovery of DNA in biology. Dan McKenzie spent the Summer of Love figuring out the theory of plate tectonics.

For decades, suspicion had been growing that Earth’s surface wasn’t static, that the continents could and did move. In the early 1900s, Alfred Wegener proposed that continents drifted like giant icebergs floating on the ocean. It certainly looked as if they did, since the outlines of Africa and South America, and their rock types and fossils, matched up in ways that suggested the two continents had once

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New Scientist – Earth

China again blocks UN move to declare Masood Azhar as global terrorist

Beijing: China on Thursday blocked another bid by the US, France and the UK to list Pakistan-based JeM chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

It rejected the move saying that there was no consensus.

“China has rejected the move as there is no consensus,” sources in the Chinese Foreign Ministry told PTI here.

The comment came as the China’s technical hold on a proposal by the US, France and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist was set to lapse today.

The official’s comment indicates that China will veto the application in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council to allow it to lapse.

When China earlier blocked move to designate Azhar as global terrorist:

A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.

China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN after having blocked the move in February this year at the United Nations.

This is the second year in succession that China has blocked the resolution. Last year, China had done the same to stall India’s application before the same Committee.

China in the past had asked India to discuss the issue directly with Pakistan in order to reach an understanding on Azhar’s listing.

Last year in March, China was the only member in the 15- nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban. 

(With Agency inputs)

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Zee News :World