TPM World News

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish media reports say 15 Russian soldiers are missing after their warship collided with a freighter off Istanbul, in the Black Sea.

Private television station NTV says 45 other soldiers were rescued after the accident Thursday.

NTV says rescue boats and helicopters have been dispatched to the area.

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PARIS (AP) — French police have arrested 10 people in an investigation of suspected suppliers of weapons to one of the attackers who killed 17 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher store in January 2015, the Paris prosecutors’ office said Wednesday.

Separately, police have also arrested four people in an anti-terror probe in the town of Trappes west of Paris, the prosecutors’ office said. It said those arrests were unrelated to the weapons probe, but gave no additional details.

Arrests in the weapons investigation started Monday, with more on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the prosecutors’ office said.

The arrests targeted people suspected of involvement in supplying weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a hostage-taking at the Hypercacher market in eastern Paris and a policewoman in another incident before dying in a shootout with police.

Coulibaly was an associate of brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who killed 12 at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office and also were killed in a shootout.

The arrests come amid heightened security to protect the French presidential election ahead of the second round of voting May 7. A meeting of President Francois Hollande’s national security council reviewed security plans on Wednesday and the French leader asked for continued vigilance, a statement from the presidential palace said.

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STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish authorities say they have released a second person arrested in connection with the April 7 truck attack that killed four people and injured 15 others in Stockholm.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said Wednesday that the man, arrested April 23 and never publicly identified, was no longer considered a suspect. He was released late Tuesday.

Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek man, has pleaded guilty to a terrorist crime for ramming the truck into a crowd on a main pedestrian shopping street in the Swedish capital. Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack and no extremist group has claimed responsibility for it.

Akilov’s Swedish residency application was rejected last year but police said there was nothing to indicate he might plan an attack.

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MADRID (AP) — Police in northeastern Spain arrested nine suspected members of a jihadi group Tuesday in raids that might help resolve recent deadly attacks in Belgium and France.

Police said the arrested were one Spaniard and eight Moroccans living in Catalonia between 30 and 40 years old.

A regional police spokeswoman said at least four of the detained are suspected of being linked to people arrested following the 2016 Brussels airport and subway attacks that killed 32 people and wounded 300 others. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with police regulations.

Regional police spokesman Josep Lluis Trapero told TV3 regional television that four of the detained were clearly members the Islamic State group. He said the arrests could help solve investigations into attacks in France and Belgium.

Trapero said the group was also being investigated for drug trafficking and other crimes.

A police statement said police made 12 raids in five Catalan towns including the regional capital, Barcelona.

It said the arrests followed an eight-month investigation in coordination with Belgian police.

Spanish police have arrested some 200 suspected jihadis since Spain raised its national security alert to one step below the maximum in 2015.

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PARIS (AP) — France’s top officials and presidential candidates attended a national ceremony Tuesday to honor the police officer killed by an Islamic extremist on the Champs-Elysees.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, who are facing off in the May 7 presidential runoff, were present at the ceremony at the Paris police headquarters. Others present were Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Francois Hollande paid tribute to 37-year-old Xavier Jugele, who was killed last week when an assailant opened fire with an assault rifle on a police van parked on the most famous avenue in the French capital. Two other officers were wounded.

The attacker was shot and killed by officers. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hollande said the French people must “support the police. They deserve our esteem, our solidarity, our admiration.”

In a message to the presidential candidates, Hollande also asked France’s future government to “provide the necessary budget resources to recruit the indispensable people to protect our citizens and give them means to act even more efficiently.”

Hollande recalled that France’s police and military forces are deployed on French territory and abroad to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria and in Africa’s Sahel region.

This is “a combat that will last, a combat that will be fought until the threat is definitively over. That combat will be long, demanding, difficult but, I am certain, victorious,” he said.

Jugele was one of the officers who raced to the Bataclan concert hall the night three armed men with suicide bombs stormed a show and slaughtered 90 people on Nov. 13, 2015.

He returned to the concert venue a year later as a spectator when it reopened with a concert by Sting. Jugele told People magazine at the time how happy he was to be here “to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”

Jugele also was a member of a French association of LGBT police officers. He was in a civil union. In a speech during the ceremony, his partner, Etienne Cardiles, said: “Let’s stay dignified, let’s take care of peace and preserve peace.”

Jugele had worked in the Paris area as a police officer since 2011. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Paris police department’s public order and traffic division.

He had received praise from bosses earlier this year for his courage during the evacuation of a building after an accidental blast in the western suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.

Jugele has been promoted to police captain and awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honor posthumously.

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — There’s just one male northern white rhino left in the world, and he’s getting some help from the Tinder dating app.

A Kenyan wildlife conservancy is teaming up with Tinder for a campaign called “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World,” focusing on the rhino named Sudan.

They are raising money for research to save the species from extinction. The 43-year-old Sudan and his last two female companions are unable to breed naturally because of issues that include old age.

The campaign by the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Tinder aims to raise $9 million. The money will be used for ongoing research into methods, including in-vitro fertilization, to assist the rhinos in breeding.

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Summary

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BERLIN (AP) — Violent crimes in Germany with far-right motives rose 14.3 percent last year after a bigger increase in 2015, and the country also saw another increase in hate crimes, authorities said Monday.

The Interior Ministry said that 1,698 violent right-wing crimes were recorded in 2016, up from 1,485 the previous year. In 2015, the figure soared as Germany saw a large influx of migrants.

There was a 3.6 percent increase last year in the broader category of “hate crimes” — offenses of a racist or anti-Semitic nature or targeting people because of their religion, often in online posts. They increased to 10,751 from 10,373 after surging in 2015.

Violent politically motivated crimes targeting homes for asylum-seekers were close to the previous year’s level — 169, compared with 177 in 2015. Including non-violent crimes such as cases involving propaganda, the total number of offenses against asylum centers slipped to 995 from 1,031.

Violent crimes with a far-left motive dropped by a quarter in 2016 to 1,702 — a fall that was apparently due to a lack of major politically sensitive events in Germany last year.

However, politically motivated offenses by foreigners rose by two-thirds last year, largely because of the conflict between Turkey and the outlawed PKK.

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LONDON (AP) — British police say the suspect in a nightclub acid attack that injured many people has been charged with multiple crimes.

Police say Arthur Collins was charged late Sunday with 14 counts of wounding with intent to do severe bodily harm and one count of throwing corrosive fluid on a person with intent to cause harm.

The April 17 attack at the Mangle nightclub left two people partially blinded and others with serious burns. Police say the fluid was thrown after a dispute developed between two groups in the east London club.

Collins is the boyfriend of reality TV performer Ferne McCann, who had urged him to turn himself in to authorities.

He is scheduled to appear in Thames Magistrates Court on Monday. Another suspect has also been charged.

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PARIS (AP) — Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced Sunday to a runoff in France’s presidential election, remaking the country’s political landscape and setting up a showdown over its participation in the European Union.

French politicians on the left and right immediately urged voters to block Le Pen’s path to power in the May 7 runoff, saying her virulently nationalist anti-EU and anti-immigration politics would spell disaster for France.

“Extremism can only bring unhappiness and division to France,” defeated conservative candidate Francois Fillon said. “As such, there is no other choice than to vote against the extreme right.”

The selection of Le Pen and Macron presented voters with the starkest possible choice between two diametrically opposed visions of the EU’s future and France’s place in it. It set up a battle between Macron’s optimistic vision of a tolerant France, a united Europe with open borders against Le Pen’s darker, inward-looking platform that called for closed borders, tougher security, less immigration and dropping the shared euro currency to return to the French franc.

With Le Pen wanting France to leave the EU and Macron wanting even closer cooperation between the bloc’s 28 nations, Sunday’s outcome meant the May 7 runoff will have undertones of a referendum on France’s EU membership.

The absence in the runoff of candidates from either the mainstream left Socialists or the right-wing Republicans party — the two main groups that have governed post-war France — also marked a seismic shift in French politics. Macron, a 39-year-old investment banker, made the runoff on the back of a grassroots campaign without the support of a major political party.

With 50 percent of the vote counted, the Interior Ministry said Sunday night that Le Pen had 24 percent of the vote, Macron had 22 percent, Fillon had 20 percent and far-right Jean-Luc Melenchon had 18 percent.

Melenchon refused to cede defeat. In a defiant speech to supporters, he said he would continue to await the results from France’s cities. The early vote count includes primarily rural constituencies that lean to the right.

Le Pen, in a chest-thumping speech to cheering supporters Sunday night, declared that she embodies “the great alternative” for French voters. She portrayed her duel with Macron as a battle between “patriots” and “wild deregulation” — warning of job losses overseas, mass migration straining resources at home and “the free circulation of terrorists.”

“The time has come to free the French people,” she said at her election day headquarters in the northern French town of Henin-Beaumont, adding that nothing short of “the survival of France” will be at stake in the presidential runoff.

Her supporters burst into a rendition of the French national anthem, chanted “We will win!” and waved French flags and blue flags with “Marine President” inscribed on them.

In Paris, protesters angry at Le Pen’s advance — some from anarchist and anti-fascist groups — scuffled with police. Officers fired tear gas to disperse the rowdy crowd.

Macron supporters at his election day headquarters in Paris went wild as polling agency projections showed the ex-finance minister making the runoff, cheering, singing “La Marseillaise” anthem, waving French tricolor and European flags and shouting “Macron, president!”

Mathilde Jullien, 23, said she is convinced Macron will beat Le Pen and become France’s next president.

“He represents France’s future, a future within Europe,” she said. “He will win because he is able to unite people from the right and the left against the threat of the National Front and he proposes real solutions for France’s economy.”

Fillon said he would vote for Macron on May 7 because Le Pen’s program “would bankrupt France” and throw the EU into chaos. He also cited the history of “violence and intolerance” of Le Pen’s far-right National Front party, founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was trounced in the presidential runoff in 2002.

In a brief televised message after the last polling stations closed, Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged voters to back Macron to beat the National Front’s “funereal project of regression for France and of division of the French.”

Socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon, who was far behind in Sunday’s results, quickly conceded defeat. Declaring “the left is not dead!” he also urged supporters to back Macron.

Voting took place amid heightened security in the first election under France’s state of emergency, which has been in place since gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris in 2015.

Polling agency projections for the overall race showed Macron in the lead with between 23 and 24 percent support, followed by Le Pen with between 21 and 23 percent.

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Elaine Ganley and Alex Turnbull in Henin-Beaumont, Chris den Hond in Le Touquet, Angela Charlton, Raphael Satter, Samuel Petrequin, Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Sylvie Corbet, Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Philippe Sotto in Paris and Brian Rohan in Cairo contributed to this report.

 

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LONDON (AP) — Britain marked Queen Elizabeth II’s 91st birthday on Friday with gun salutes, as the monarch celebrated quietly at home.

A troop of the Royal Horse Artillery rode horse-and-gun carriages past Buckingham Palace before staging a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park at noon (1100GMT.)

Outside the palace, a band of guardsmen in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats played “Happy Birthday” during the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

There was a second salute with 62 guns at the centuries-old Tower of London.

The queen is Britain’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, having become queen on Feb. 6, 1952. She is also the world’s longest-reigning living monarch since the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej last year.

The queen usually spends her birthday privately. She also has an official birthday, marked in June — when the weather is better — with the “Trooping the Color” military parade.

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