Sunday 27 September 2020
News ID: 82708
Publish Date: 12 September 2020 - 21:38
ISTANBUL (AFP) -- Turkey announced it would conduct a live fire naval exercise off the coast on Cyprus between Saturday and Monday despite the looming threat of EU sanctions. Turkey is at loggerheads with Greece and Cyprus over hydrocarbon resources and naval influence in the eastern Mediterranean, sparking fears of more severe conflict. In a message on NAVTEX, the international maritime navigational telex system, Turkey said on Friday there would be a gunnery exercise off the coast of Sadrazamkoy in northern Cyprus. The announcement comes after southern European leaders warned on Thursday they were ready to back EU sanctions against Turkey if Ankara shunned dialogue. The issue will be discussed again at an EU summit on 24-25 September. Tensions escalated after Turkey sent the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel and a small navy flotilla to waters claimed by Greece on August 10. Greece then responded by shadowing the Turkish ships and staging naval exercises with several EU allies and the United Arab Emirates in its own show of force. The Oruc Reis is supposed to remain in the disputed waters until Saturday.

BUKAVU, DR Congo (AFP) -- About 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following torrential rain, local authorities said Saturday. The accident in the makeshift mine occurred on Friday in the town of Kamituga, in South Kivu province. A local resident who was at the scene, Jean Nondo, told AFP that "according to witnesses, there are more than 50 dead. There is only one survivor.” He said a river close to the mine had flooded after torrential rain. Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundya said blamed "soil subsidence caused by torrential rain” for the accident. The mayor decreed a two-day mourning period and called on local residents to help extract the bodies from the ground. Accidents in DR Congo’s makeshift mines are a common occurrence, and are often deadly. Many such mines are in remote areas, meaning the accidents are under-reported. The miners sell what they find to local traders, who sell it on to large foreign companies.

BOGOTA (AFP) -- An apology from Colombia’s defense minister for police brutality failed to stop a third night of protests Friday, after the death of a man in custody sparked deadly rioting in the capital and other cities. At least 13 people were killed and more than 400 wounded during widespread disturbances on Wednesday and Thursday nights after a video released on social media showed Javier Ordonez being repeatedly tasered by police during a street arrest. He later died in custody. Flanked by police commanders at a news conference, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo on Friday expressed his "pain and indignation” over the death of Ordonez, an engineer and father of two in his 40s who was studying to become a lawyer. But this was not enough to calm smaller crowds of demonstrators, who clashed sporadically with police as they protested once more in the capital Friday as well as in Medellin and other cities. Some 2,000 police and military were called in to reinforce security in the capital.

MOSCOW (AFP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday will hold talks with Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko, who faces the biggest protest of his nearly three-decade rule, the Kremlin said. Lukashenko’s visit will be the first to Soviet-era master Russia by the Belarusian leader since protests broke out over his disputed election win last month. Putin has been keen to unify Russia and Belarus, and Moscow has accompanied its recent offers of military aid with calls for tighter integration. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday however there was no plan for the leaders to hold a news conference or sign any documents. The location of the "working visit” in Russia was yet to be announced, he said. Lukashenko said last week that during his talks with Putin, he planned to "dot all the i’s on issues that are very sensitive and delicate for the two states”. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, has vowed that he will not give up power to the opposition, which claims its candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the rightful winner of the August 9 polls. She has taken shelter in EU member Lithuania after coming under official pressure.

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -- China will release five Indian nationals it detained earlier this month in a region bordering Tibet, state-back tabloid Global Times reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources. The five were Indian intelligence agents dressed as hunters, the paper said, disputing claims that they had been kidnapped. Bilateral relations have been unusually tense since a clash at a disputed border area in June that killed 20 Indian soldiers, with an unknown number of Chinese casualties. On Tuesday, following reports that five Indians from the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China’s Tibet, had gone missing, an Indian minister said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army confirmed they had been found in China. Their disappearance coincided with a border confrontation that week in the western Himalayas, during which both accused the other of firing in the air.

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