TPM World News

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says that comparing Nazi war crimes to present-day situations “leads to nothing good” — a reaction to his U.S. counterpart’s remarks about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s invoking of the Holocaust to illustrate the severity of chemical weapons use drew rebukes from Jewish groups and critics.

Spicer apologized on Tuesday for making an “inappropriate and insensitive” comparison.

He had said that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” Critics noted the remark ignored Hitler’s use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday that Spicer’s comment “only shows what is in any case the German government’s position — any comparison of current situations with Nazi crimes leads to nothing good.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read More →

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Local police say a player for German soccer team Borussia Dortmund was injured following explosions near the team bus ahead of the Champions League quarterfinal match against Monaco.

North Rhine-Westphalia police spokesman Gunnar Wortmann told The Associated Press Tuesday that there were “three explosions near the team bus as they left the hotel to go to the stadium” and that “there was one player injured inside and damage to a window.”

Dortmund said the player, reported in German media to be Spain’s Marc Bartra, was “in safety” and that “there is no danger in and around the stadium.”

In a statement, police say there was an explosion after 7 p.m. local time (1700 GMT).

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read More →

BERLIN (AP) — Organizers say former U.S. President Barack Obama will take part in a discussion event with Chancellor Angela Merkel at a German Protestant conference in Berlin next month as Germany marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

News agency dpa reported Tuesday that the May 25 event will take place in front of Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate, where Obama delivered a speech as president in 2013.

The discussion on “shaping democracy — taking responsibility at home and in the world” is part of the German Protestant Kirchentag conference, held every two years.

Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, is expected to visit Germany for the first time as president when Merkel hosts the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg in July.

Martin Luther’s revolt against Catholic Church practices started in Germany in 1517.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read More →

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Islamic State group has lost more than three-fourths of the territory it seized when it swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014, the Iraqi military said Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, a military spokesman, said the extremist group currently controls less than 30,000 square kilometers (12,000 sq. miles) in Iraq, or 6.8 percent of the country’s territory, down from more than 40 percent at its height.

The extremist group has also lost ground in Syria, and is currently fighting U.S.-backed forces near Raqqa, the de facto capital of its self-styled Islamic caliphate.

Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes have gradually pushed the militants out of a string of towns and cities over the past two years, and are currently battling the extremists in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Iraq declared eastern Mosul “fully liberated” in January, and Rasool said Iraqi forces have retaken more than half of the more densely populated western side.

“Our troops are very cautious in their advance,” Rasool told reporters in Baghdad. “The biggest challenge they face is the civilians.”

Col. John Dorrian, a U.S. spokesman for the coalition, said the fight for western Mosul has been “difficult.”

“The enemy’s tactics are not only hiding among the civilian population but also actively pulling civilians into harm’s way, surrounding their snipers with civilians, loading buildings that they are firing from with civilians and publicly executing civilians who are trying escape the danger,” he said.

Victory against IS has come at a staggering cost, with some towns and neighborhoods reduced to rubble by airstrikes and shelling. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced, and many have been unable to return even after the fighting because of demolished infrastructure and the lingering threat of attacks.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read More →

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has opened a new laundromat for the homeless to wash and dry their clothing.

The laundromat, near the Vatican, has six washing machines and dryers.

On Tuesday, Ciro Guardaccione was among the first to use the new machines. He carefully placed his clothing in the washing machine and watched it spin around.

“This is a fantastic thing, I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything,” he said.

The laundromat will remain open four days a week and services are free.

Throughout his papacy Pope Francis has made an effort to reach out to the homeless in Rome. In 2015 the Vatican opened a free barber shop and showers under the Vatican Colonnade and set up a dormitory for homeless men near St. Peter’s Basilica.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read More →

MADRID (AP) — An alleged Russian hacker has been detained in Spain at the request of American authorities, an arrest that set cybersecurity circles abuzz after a Russian broadcaster raised the possibility it was linked to the U.S. presidential election.

Read More →

TANTA, Egypt (AP) — Bombs tore through two Egyptian churches in different cities as worshippers were marking Palm Sunday, killing at least 37 people and wounding around 100 in an assault claimed by the Islamic State group.

Read More →

LiveWire