Monthly Archives: JULY 2016

Donald Trump is officially the Republican Presidential Nominee
20.07.16 - TEAM PT
Donald Trump is officially the Republican Presidential Nominee

The billionaire businessman Donald Trump was officially named the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee early on Wednesday.

Trump is scheduled to address the convention via remote from New York on Wednesday evening, but tweeted shortly after the vote.

"Such a great honor to be the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. I will work hard and never let you down! AMERICA FIRST!"

Trump ousted 16 mainly establishment rivals as his populist campaign caught fire among the Republican base, and managed to avoid a contested convention after hammering his final rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the last primary races.

The real estate mogul is expected to formally accept the nomination in a speech to the convention on Thursday, before facing off against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election.

Trump was put over the top by his home state of New York. Four of his children joined the state's delegation on the convention floor for the historic moment and appeared overwhelmed with emotion.

"Congratulations, Dad, we love you," declared Donald Trump Jr.

"It's unbelievable. It's surreal. I'm so proud of my father," his eldest daughter and businesswoman Ivanka Trump, often described as his secret weapon, told CNN on the convention floor.

"He's the ultimate outsider and he did it. We are so proud of him."

The nomination of Donald Trump ended what had been a poor day for the Trump campaign. His team spent much of Tuesday fending off accusations that Melania Trump, the nominee’s wife, had plagiarised part of her Monday night speech to the convention from an address that Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic convention in 2008.

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North Korea fires three ballistic missiles in show of force
19.07.16 - TEAM PT
North Korea fires three ballistic missiles in show of force

North Korea early on Tuesday fired three ballistic missiles which flew between 500 and 600 kms (300 and 360 miles) into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said, the latest in a series of provocative moves by the isolated country.

The U.S. military said it detected launches of what it believed were two Scud missiles and one Rodong, a home-grown missile based on Soviet-era Scud technology.

According to reports by NDTV, North Korea has fired both types numerous times in recent years, an indication that unlike recent launches that were seen as efforts by the North to improve its missile capability, Tuesday's were meant as a show of force.

The launches came days after South Korea and the United States announced a final decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in the South to counter threats from the North, which had prompted Pyongyang to threaten a "physical response."

"Our assessment is that it was done as a show of force," a South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official said at a briefing.

According to reports in Times of India, the missiles were launched from an area in the North's western region called Hwangju between 5:45 a.m. South Korea time (2045 GMT Monday) and 6:40 a.m., the South's military said, an indication that the North was confident they would not crash on its own territory.

North Korea has test-fired a series of ballistic missiles in recent months, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including intermediate-range missiles in June and a submarine-launched missile this month.

"In addition to the basic goal of enhancing missile units' readiness to fight, it might be a way of reminding their southern neighbors that the site chosen for a THAAD battery in South Korea is within reach," Joshua Pollack, editor of the U.S.-based Nonproliferation Review, said of Tuesday's launches.

South Korea announced last week the THAAD system would be deployed in the southeastern county of Seongju.

In addition to the decision to base a THAAD system in South Korea, the United States recently angered North Korea by blacklisting its leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses.

"The threat to our national security is growing very quickly in a short period of time," South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn told parliament on Tuesday.

Following the latest nuclear test and a February space rocket launch that was widely viewed as a missile test in disguise, the U.N. Security Council imposed tough new resolutions that further isolate North Korea.

While China supported tougher sanctions against its neighbor and ally North Korea, it has sharply criticized the decision to base a THAAD battery in South Korea, saying the move will destabilize the security balance in the region.

Japan denounced the launches.

"The latest launch is a breach of the UN Security Council resolution and is extremely hazardous to shipping and aircraft and we have strongly protested," the Japanese government said in a statement.

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Magnitude 5 earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo, no major damage
16.07.16 - TEAM PT
Magnitude 5 earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo, no major damage

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 struck eastern Japan on Sunday (July 17), Japan’s Meteorological Agency and the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, rattling buildings in Tokyo.
The USGS put the epicenter north-west of Tokyo, at a depth of about 44 km. There were no immediate reports of damage.
The tremor was also felt in the Ibaraki area, a coastal prefecture north-east of the capital, at about 1:24pm (12:24pm Singapore time), the Japan Times reported.
The jolt could be felt in central Tokyo, but there were no immediate reports of damage or issuing of a tsunami warning.

Broadcaster NHK reported that the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power station, which has been shut since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, was checked for damage after the quake but none was found.

 "Shinkansen” bullet train services were temporarily suspended in the region, officials and local media said.
Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year, but rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even powerful tremors frequently do little damage.
A massive undersea quake that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barreling into Japan’s northeast coast, killing more than 15,000 people and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

(courtesy: The Straits Times)

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Over 200 Killed In Turkey’s failed Coup Attempt; Erdogan returns
16.07.16 - TEAM PT
Over 200 Killed In Turkey’s failed Coup Attempt; Erdogan returns

Turkey's government defeated a coup attempt by a renegade faction of the military, restoring control on Saturday to the major cities after a night of chaos and clashes that killed nearly 200 and has plunged the already troubled country into uncertainty.

More than 100 coup plotters are now dead, acting military chief Gen. Umit Dundar said on live TV, while another 90 people - including 47 civilians - were killed as ordinary Turks poured into the streets to confront tanks amid pitched battles in the main cities. At least 1,154 were wounded, officials said.

By morning, government forces had closed in on the army headquarters in Ankara, the final stronghold of coup plotters, said a senior Turkish official who added that 1,563 members of the military have been arrested so far.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to accuse the coup plotters of trying to kill him, and promised to purge the armed forces which in the past have staged a number of successful coups. "They will pay a heavy price for this,” he said. "This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army.”

Turkish authorities have already detained around 1,500 members of the armed forces, officials said. Chief of staff Hulusi Akar, who had been reported held hostage by the rebels, has been rescued, a senior official said.

A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would have marked one of the biggest shifts in the Middle East in years, transforming a major US ally while war rages on its border.

However, a failed coup attempt could still destabilise a NATO member that lies between the European Union and the chaos of Syria, with Islamic State bombers targeting Turkish cities and the government also at war with Kurdish separatists.

Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the southwest coast when the coup was launched, flew into Istanbul before dawn on Saturday and was shown on TV outside Ataturk Airport.

Addressing a crowd of thousands of flag-waving supporters at the airport later, Erdogan said the government remained at the helm, although disturbances continued in Ankara.

Erdogan said the plotters had tried to attack him in the resort town of Marmaris. "They bombed places I had departed right after I was gone,” he said. "They probably thought we were still there.”

‘No more coups for Turkey’

Turkey’s acting chief of staff Umit Dundar on Saturday said the country has "closed the chapter of coups for good, never to be opened again”.

Giving details to media representatives on how the bid to overthrow a democratically-elected government was thwarted, Dundar said: "Swift measures by our police and prosecutors and standing by democracy and rule of law prevented the coup attempt.”

Turkey’s senior military command was against the idea of overthrowing an elected government from the "very start”, Dundar said.

He added that the coup was attempted "largely by troops from air force, gendarmerie and some armoured elements”.

Close to 200 unarmed soldiers at the Turkish military headquarters surrendered to state authorities, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

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At least 80 dead in France truck attack
14.07.16 - News Media
At least 80 dead in France truck attack

NICE: At least 80 people were killed, including children, when a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in Nice for Bastille Day, says France's interior minister.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 80 people have died in the truck attack on the seaside avenue of Nice, and 18 people are in critical condition.

Numerous others have been wounded, he said after traveling to the scene.

"The identification of the criminal is in progress," he said, refusing to confirm reports that an ID card was found after police shot the truck driver dead.

"We are in a war with terrorists who want to strike us at any price and in a very violent way," the minister said.

President Francois Hollande says he will call a defence council meeting Friday that brings together defence, interior and other key ministers, before heading to Nice.

Besides ensuring continuation of the state of emergency and the Sentinel operation that puts 10,000 soldiers on patrol, he said he was calling up reserve to help police, particularly at French borders.

Guns and other weapons were found in the truck. "There were guns in this vehicle and larger weapons, but I can't say more than that because that is the prosecutor's job," said Christian Estrosi, president of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region where Nice is located.

The government said the driver of the truck was shot dead after barreling down the palm-lined Promenade des Anglais, sending hundreds fleeing in terror and leaving the area strewn with bodies.

"An individual drove a truck into the crowd. He was killed by police,” said interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

Authorities said they found identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen in the truck.

A photograph showed the front of the truck riddled with bullet holes and badly damaged, with burst tyres.

While the incident has not been claimed by any group, prosecutors said the probe would be handled by anti-terrorist investigators.

Earlier a lawmaker for the Alpes-Maritime region, Eric Ciotti, said at least 75 people had been killed and another 15 were in a "critical” condition. Scores of people were injured in the "attack”.

Hours after the attack, dozens of bodies lay on the ground covered in white sheets.

The bloodshed comes eight months after the militant Islamic State (IS) attacks on Paris nightspots left 130 people dead.

France has repeatedly been singled out as a prime target of the group, and has been under a state of emergency ever since, boosting security across the country.

The apparent assault came just hours after France announced that a state of emergency declared after last November's attacks would come to an end later this month.

The incident comes after a day of revelry as France celebrated its national day, Bastille Day, which began with military pomp and ceremony as its armed forces, tanks and fighter jets swooped down the Champs-Elysees avenue.

The holiday typically ends with spectacular fireworks over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as well as cities around the country.

However celebrations were quickly overshadowed.

Images on television showed the Promenade Des Anglais sealed off, crawling with police and ambulances and authorities from the local Alpes-Maritimes prefecture urged residents to stay indoors.

"The driver of a van appears to have killed dozens. Stay in your homes for now. More info to follow,” said Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi.

A large section of the city, extremely popular with sun-seeking tourists, was cordoned off.

French President Francois Hollande rushed back from the southern city of Avignon for crisis talks, his office said. The office further said that he would preside over a meeting of the country's defence and security chiefs on Friday.

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve meanwhile headed straight to Nice.

US President Barack Obama condemned "what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack”, although no group had claimed responsibility for the incident.

The incident comes as France was breathing a sigh of relief after successfully hosting the month-long Euro 2016 football championship, which passed off without incident.

No hostage-taking after France truck 'attack'
The French government denied there was a hostage-taking incident after a truck ploughed into a crowd.

"There is no hostage-taking,” interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told AFP, denying dozens of rumours following the incident.

"Investigations are currently under way to establish if the individual acted alone or if he had accomplices who might have fled,” Brandet said.

Anti-terrorism investigators have taken over the probe, prosecutors said.

Screams, flying debris
An AFP reporter had to shield his face from the flying debris as he watched a truck plough at full-speed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

"It was absolute chaos,” said the AFP correspondent, who was among the crowd gathered to watch the fireworks for France's national day on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais.

"We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around,” he said.

"I had to protect my face from flying debris.”

The correspondent described the moment that the large white truck plunged into crowds of people who had come to the bustling Mediterranean beachfront to celebrate.

Terrified people screamed and scattered as it veered down the promenade, where adults and children were walking towards the famous Negresco Hotel.

"For a big truck like that to get actually onto the promenade and then to go in a fairly straight line along there, looked to me like a very deliberate act,” the reporter said.

"It was about 100 metres from me and I had a few seconds to get out of the way.” Other witnesses described hearing gunfire, although this was not immediately confirmed by the authorities.

Police could be seen surrounding the truck in the early hours of Friday, its windscreen riddled with bullet holes, under the lights of the Negresco Hotel.

Australian Emily Watkins said she was less than 50 metres away from the incident and saw the truck on the promenade but did not realise what was happening.

"There was a lot of confusion. I don't actually remember seeing the truck moving,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"There was a lot of screams coming from ahead of us where the truck was, and people just running towards us and without really knowing what was going on we turned and ran as well."

As we were running away we could hear what I thought at the time were more flares or fireworks.

"People were tripping over and trying to get into hotel lobbies and restaurants or car parks or anywhere they could to get away from the street.”

Earlier in the evening, as the crowds enjoyed the fireworks, lightning had flashed in the skies above the Riviera resort. (Courtesy : Dawn)

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