MOSCOW, February 2 (Sputnik) — Two improvised explosive devices went off in Turkey’s capital Ankara, apparently targeting the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish news website Today’s Zaman reported.The explosives, hidden in plastic bottles, went off in the courtyard of a building, one 15 minutes and another half an hour before President Erdogan was due to pass by, according to the news site. A third explosive was recovered by a bomb disposal team before it could go off.
According to the publication, the explosives did not have a strong impact, and an investigation has been launched to discover if the explosives were linked to terrorist organizations and whether they targeted the country’s president.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz was appointed monarch after the passing of his brother, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz early Friday. (File photo: AP)
Saudi Arabia’s newly inaugurated King Salman bin Abdulaziz has issued a series of landmark orders that ushered in fresh new faces into state institutions and awarded financial support for many Saudis.
And the king ordered a total of $30 billion (112 billion Saudi Riyals) spending in the oil rich kingdom.
The king ordered a lavish payout to all state employees on Thursday and reshuffled some top government jobs while keeping in place the oil, foreign, finance, defense and interior ministers.
The top oil exporter will pay two months bonus salary to all state employees and pension to retired government workers, he said in a series of decrees read aloud on state television a week after Salman succeeded his brother Abdullah as king.
Prince Khaled al-Faisal is appointed as governor of Makkah and advisor to the King. (Al Arabiya)
There was also good news for students, people with special needs and those on social welfare who will also receive two months income.
Meanwhile the king announced an amnesty for some inmates held in Saudi jails.
Majid al-Qasabi has been appointed as minister of social affairs. Formerly the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Mansour bin Mutaib has been promoted to the position of Minister Of State.
Saleh Al Sheikh is now the Minister of Islamic Affairs and Al Arabiya General Manager Adel Altoraifi has been appointed Information Minister.
Adel Altoraifi, General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. (Al Arabiya)
He removed two of the late king’s sons from big jobs, making Faisal bin Bandar Riyadh governor instead of Turki bin Abdullah and reinstating Khaled al-Faisal as Mecca governor less than two years after he was replaced by Mishaal bin Abdullah.
The two jobs are usually held by senior princes and have sometimes been stepping stones to higher positions.
Bandar bin Sultan has also been removed from his post on the national security council.
Abdul Lateef bin Abdul Malik Al Sheikh has been made Minister of Municipal Affairs. King Salman has King Salman relieves Intelligence Chief Prince Khaled bin Bandar from his post and appointed him as his advisor.
Azzam al-Dakhil has been appointed as minister of education
The education policy committee and the council of civil service have been closed, while King Salman has formed two councils of economic affairs and security policy. The education and higher education ministries have been merged. Azzam Al Dakhil has been appointed as minister of education.
Abdul Rahman Abdullah Alsanad has been appointed head of the religious police known as the the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
Khaled al-Muhaisan will head up the anti-corruption committee, while Mohammed Alajaji has been appointed head of the experts committee at the Council of Ministers.
Info-graphic: King Salman’s Government Reshuffle (designed Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya News)
Prince Abdelaziz bin Salman is now deputy oil minister, Fahd Samari has been appointed to the position of adviser at the Royal Court.
The new chairman of the Capital Market Authority will be Mohammed Abdullah Jadaan.
BUENOS AIRES — Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor whose mysterious death has gripped Argentina, had drafted a request for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, the lead investigator into his death said Tuesday.
The 26-page document, which was found in the garbage at Mr. Nisman’s apartment, also sought the arrest of Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister. Both Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have repeatedly denied Mr. Nisman’s accusation that they tried to reach a secret deal with Iran to lift international arrest warrants for Iranian officials wanted in connection with the bombing.
The new revelation that Mr. Nisman had drafted documents seeking the arrest of the president and the foreign minister illustrates the heightened tensions between the prosecutor and the government before he was found dead on Jan. 18 at his apartment with a gunshot wound to his head. He had been scheduled the next day to provide details before Congress about his accusations against Mrs. Kirchner.
“It would have provoked a crisis without precedents in Argentina,” said Sergio Berensztein, a political analyst, about the impact of the arrest requests if they had been issued. He noted that previous legal cases had shaken Argentina’s political establishment, but he emphasized that this case involved a request to arrest a sitting president.
“It would have been a scandal on a level previously unseen,” Mr. Berensztein said.
Mrs. Kirchner, who is on a visit to China, issued a stream of updates on Twitter about strengthening ties between Buenos Aires and Beijing but did not comment immediately on the confirmation that Mr. Nisman had considered seeking her arrest. She and the foreign minister have previously pointed to statements by Interpol’s former director that the Argentine government did not lobby it to lift the Iranian arrest warrants.
“It is totally baseless, the accusation of Mr. Nisman,” Mr. Timerman said in an interview here before the reports emerged that the prosecutor had considered seeking his arrest and that of Mrs. Kirchner. “Why didn’t he call Interpol to see if it was true? He didn’t.”
The draft of the arrest requests was not included in the 289-page criminal complaint against Mrs. Kirchner, the foreign minister and prominent supporters of the president that Mr. Nisman filed before his death. Mr. Nisman accused them of derailing his decade-long investigation into the 1994 bombing of the Argentina Israelite Mutual Association, commonly called AMIA, which left 85 people dead.
In his criminal complaint, Mr. Nisman accused Mrs. Kirchner and a group of her supporters of covering up a secret outreach effort to the Iranians, describing it as an attempt to derail his investigation, and he asked for their assets to be frozen.
Normally, a prosecutor in Argentina seeks an arrest out of concern that the people charged with crimes will try to corrupt the investigation or flee the country, according to Susana Ciruzzi, a professor of criminal law at the University of Buenos Aires who knew Mr. Nisman.
But in this case, some legal experts suspect that Mr. Nisman decided against requesting the arrest of Mrs. Kirchner because such a move would have been viewed as a political attack on the president in a case that had already polarized the nation.
Moreover, Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have immunity as members of the executive branch. They could have been arrested only if a judge handling the case were to authorize a political trial similar to an impeachment process and ask Congress to lift their immunity, Ms. Ciruzzi said.
Two judges have refused to take the case put forward by Mr. Nisman, raising the possibility that his criminal complaint could languish in Argentina’s legal system if another judge is not found to continue it. A federal chamber is expected to decide who should take the case.
Mrs. Kirchner and senior officials have disputed Mr. Nisman’s findings, contending that agents from Argentina’s premier intelligence services were involved in preparing his complaint. In the uproar around the prosecutor’s death, Mrs. Kirchner announced a plan last week to overhaul the intelligence agency, after a purge of its leadership in December.
As the investigation into Mr. Nisman’s death continues, theories are swirling in Argentina about whether it was a suicide or a killing. Mrs. Kirchner has suggested that his death was part of a plot to tarnish her government.
Viviana Fein, the prosecutor investigating Mr. Nisman’s death, said Tuesday morning that Mr. Nisman had prepared the draft of the request for the president’s arrest. Confusion about the document emerged when Ms. Fein at first denied its existence, after the newspaper Clarín published an article on Sunday about the draft.
Mrs. Kirchner’s cabinet chief, Jorge Capitanich, tore up the article before reporters on Monday. But then Ms. Fein corrected her earlier statement and confirmed the existence of the draft, which Clarín said had been prepared in June 2014, more than six months before Mr. Nisman went public with his accusations against the president.
“The words I should have used are, ‘It’s evident that there was a draft,’ ” Ms. Fein said in comments broadcast on Argentine radio.
“I do not receive pressure from the government or anyone,” she said. “I am independent.”
At the same time, Ms. Fein said Tuesday that she would take a vacation from Feb. 18 to March 5.
“It’s only 10 working days, and it’s not going to alter the course of the investigation,” Ricardo Sáenz, Ms Fein’s immediate superior, told local radio. Two prosecutors will replace Ms. Fein during her vacation, he said.
Legal experts emphasized that the draft found in Mr. Nisman’s apartment was not valid in an Argentine court of law, and needed more than just the prosecutor’s wishes to move forward in the legal system.
“It is not signed; it is a draft,” said María del Carmen Besteiro, head of the Buenos Aires Association of Lawyers. “Nisman was a prosecutor. The one who has to make the accusation and who has to decide it is a judge.”
Underscoring the tensions surrounding the death of Mr. Nisman, who was buried at a Jewish cemetery last week, anti-Semitic posters began appearing in central Buenos Aires this week.
“The good Jew is the dead Jew,” the posters read. “The good Jew is Nisman.”
Julio Schlosser, the president of the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations, said, “These posters represent a current of anti-Semitism seeking to insult the prosecutor Nisman, who worked and dedicated his life to the AMIA case.” He added, “It is also a provocation to the Jewish community.”
The harsh austerity measures imposed on Greece by its EU creditors led to the major spike in suicides in the country during the peak of its crisis in 2011 and 2012, a survey by the UK’s leading medical magazine said.
“The introduction of austerity measures [in Greece] in June 2011 marked the start of a significant, sharp, and sustained increase in suicides, to reach a peak in 2012,” the report by BMJ Open said.
The scientists, who analyzed data gathered by the Hellenic Statistical Authority from over the past 30 years, said that a total of 11,505 Greeks took their own lives – 9,079 men and 2,426 women – from 1983 to 2012.
The number of total suicides rose by over 35 per cent in June 2011 when the austerity measures were introduced, leading to violent protests and strikes, the research said. The number of people taking their lives was rising until the end of the year and continued into 2012, it added.
On average, an extra 11.2 suicides occurred every month in Greece, which is described in the paper as a country which historically had “one of the lowest suicide rates in the world.”
“The maximum number of monthly reported suicides that occurred over the 30-year study period was 64 in July 2012, followed by 62 in May 2012,” the report said.
There was another spike in April 2012, after a retired pharmacist, Dimitris Christoulas, shot himself outside the Greek Parliament. The intense media coverage of an act undertaken by a desperate man, who blamed governmental austerity policies for the decision to take own life, might have provoked the so-called ‘suicide contagion’, the survey said.
The study revealed that men, who remain Greece’s top earners, were more heavily affected by austerity than women; suicide rates among males began rising in 2008 when the recession began. It increased by over 13 per cent in 2010 and rose by an extra 18.5 per cent (5.2 suicides) every month, starting from June 2011.
“The sense of hopelessness,” which led to an overall spike in suicides was likely provoked by “high unemployment, household debt, comprehensive welfare and benefit cuts, and increasing homelessness prompted by the unrelenting and sizable economic downturn in Greece” that “piled on the stress,” according to the report.
On the contrary, the study said that there was a decrease in suicides among men during “prosperity-related events.” The number of men taking their own lives in Greece dropped 27 per cent in 2002 when the country adopted the euro.
“The consideration of future austerity measures should give greater weight to the unintended mental health consequences that may follow and the public messaging of these policies and related events,” the BNJ Open’s research team concluded.
In late January, Greece elected Europe’s first anti-austerity government as the radical leftist Syriza party won the country’s legislative election, claiming 149 seats in the 300 seat parliament. The party, led by Alexis Tsipras, rose to popularity after it promised to renegotiate Greek debt and put an end to strict economic measures in the country.
Three key moves the new Greek government should definitely do
A special message to Yanis Varoufakis
by system failure
Despite the positive announcements in the right direction by the new Greek government, which we should wait to see in practice, there are some key moves that should be done, related to the economy autonomy and debt relief.
1st: Nationalize central bank
The first important thing is to nationalize the central bank. The Bank of Greece (BoG) appears to be a private institution that determines the economic policy of the country. BoG “is a partially state owned S.A. share company with special privileges, with special restrictions and duties. It cannot operate as a commercial bank and the percentage of shares that can be under Greek state ownership cannot exceed 35%.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Greece) According to koutipandoras.gr, currently the percentage of shares under Greek state is only 6% and no one knows the major private stockholders, while stocks have been put in the Athens stock market. (http://www.koutipandoras.gr/article/9242/i-idiotiki-trapeza-tis-elladas-kai-ta-paradoxa-tis)
How is it possible the central bank to serve nation’s interests when it belongs to private bankers? Very simple: It’s not. There is currently some difficulty to nationalize the bank due to the complicated status of the ownership regime, but there could be many alternatives to be exploited by the Greek government right now.
2nd: Audit of Public Debt
Write off is not possible without an audit of public debt which must be done by an international committee. In case that SYRIZA and its partner Independent Greeks party haven’t already start such an action in the background, they should start it immediately.
This is essential to examine the conditions under which the Greek state was loaded with such a huge debt. It is important to know who speculated from the Greek debt case inside and outside Greece, not only for the Greek people but also for the European people. The part of the debt which would be proved illegal should be written off.
Of course current German and European leadership and eurocrats, as well as domestic Greek oligarchy will fight fiercely such a perspective because most of them serve those interests that speculated with the Greek debt.
3rd: Prepare for Grexit and return to national currency
The government should be prepared for such a condition in case that the European and especially the Germans insist on the cruel line of the catastrophic austerity because eventually, the return to national currency may save Greece from this vicious cycle of death.
The government should take all the necessary actions including technical details. It’s possible that the government already has such a secret agenda as a last defence line: “… the ECB will blackmail the government by threatening that will not purchase government bonds, therefore cut liquidity, in case that Greece choose a different path towards the reconstruction of the social state and labor rights, bringing minimum wage at pre-crisis levels, etc. However, the system shows signs of panic, which means that the European officials don’t know exactly how SYRIZA will react. In case that SYRIZA has a secret agenda, and be pressed by the lenders beyond red lines, it could nationalize the central bank and return to the national currency, blowing up eurozone.” (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/12/various-scenarios-for-national.html)
It is worth to remember that according to a 2011 article in Guardian “Rumours abound in Dublin that the Irish central bank is back printing punts just in case the eurozone does break up. And while that may be true, I don’t know, but one would hope that there was some contingency plan in place just in the case the whole euro projected exploded. Then again, given the track record of European policymakers in dealing with the crisis so far, it wouldn’t come as too great a shock if there was no plan B in existence.” (http://www.theguardian.com/business/ireland-business-blog-with-lisa-ocarroll/2011/sep/26/eurozone-crisis-ireland-euro-punt)
This would be the worst scenario for the Frankfurt-Brussels axis, as the banksters and the lobbyists will probably see their dream of the new Feudalism breaking to pieces. The experiment in Greece will be terminated for good.
“They can now stand against the Zionist regime, [ISIS] and other takfiri groups and cripple them.”
Hajizadeh noted that his country has also exported its drone technology to other countries.
In November, Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, revealed that Hezbollah had acquired advanced Fateh Iranian missiles with “pinpoint accuracy” that provide a “real deterrence” to Israel.