Monday, 21 July 2014

Israel shells Gaza hospital killing five, injuring 70

Israel shelled a hospital in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, killing five people and wounding at least 70, medics said.


Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the 70 injured included at least 20 hospital staff, among them doctors.


He said the third floor of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah had been hit, with an interior ministry official saying it was hit by Israeli tank fire.


Palestinian television showed footage of wounded people, including medical staff, being treated after the bombing.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Former United star Ferdinand joins QPR

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand signed for Premier League new-boys QPR on a free transfer Thursday and revealed he had turned down more lucrative offers in order to return to London.


Ferdinand agreed a one-year deal with the Hoops, ending his search for a new club following his release by United when his contract expired last month.


The 35-year-old was keen to move back to London, where he was born, and he has decided to rejoin QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who handed him his professional debut when the pair worked together at West Ham.


Ferdinand revealed the prospect of turning out for a club he admired as a boy also persuaded him to move to Loftus Road, where his brother Anton and cousin Les both played with distinction. "I used to sit in the stands, my dad used to bring me here as a young boy. There are great memories for me here and for my family," Ferdinand told QPR´s website. "Anton had nothing but good things to say about QPR and I watched Les (Ferdinand) here as a boy, with the likes of Ray Wilkins, Clive Wilson, David Bardsley and Alan McDonald."


Ferdinand, who won six Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League during his 12-year spell with United, is Redknapp´s first close-season signing after guiding QPR back into the Premier League via the Championship play-offs. And the former England centre-back admitted he had turned down several more lucrative offers from across the world to sign for QPR. "I spoke to Harry and (owner) Tony Fernandes at length. I think they both looked me in the eye and knew that I still have something to offer -- that I had a genuine desire to come here and play football," Ferdinand added. "I had a lot of offers from all over the world -- some in places with a better climate than here. But the draw for me was to play in the Premier League and back here where it all started. It´s not about money. I had loads of more lucrative offers available to me. I still feel I´ve got something to offer and I´m excited about helping this club cement its place in the Premier League."


Redknapp has no doubts Ferdinand can still be an effective performer at the highest level despite some underwhelming displays for United last season. "Rio´s a fantastic player and a great professional. I´m delighted we´ve been able to bring him here," Redknapp said. "I signed Rio as a 14 year-old. He was class on the field and off the field then, and he´s continued in that manner throughout his career. During his time at Manchester United, he was the best defender in Europe, if not the world. To bring him to QPR - when he´s still got so much to offer in terms of his quality, class, experience and know-how - is a remarkable coup for the club."


Redknapp appears to have found a central defensive partner for Ferdinand after agreeing a fee with Cardiff to sign their England international Steven Caulker. "We´ve agreed a fee for Steven Caulker, who I like very much," he told Sky Sports News. "I had him at Tottenham as a player and he´s done very well. I think Rio will be a big influence on him. I think for Steven it will be the best education he could ever have in his life to play with Rio." 

Ukraine PM says those behind jet downing should face Hague tribunal

Ukraine´s prime minister said Friday that pro-Russian separatist rebels that Kiev believes shot down a Malaysian airliner with 298 people on board should face an international tribunal The Hague.


"Yesterday´s terrible tragedy has altered our lives. The Russians went too far," Interfax-Ukraine quoted Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as saying.


"This is an international crime for which they should face an international tribunal in The Hague.


Jet crash rekindles MH370 families' grief, suspicion

The latest Malaysia Airlines disaster has rekindled the grief of MH370 relatives who say the new crash bears out their furious criticisms of the nation´s flag carrier and government.


Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, went down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday with 298 passengers and crew, mostly Dutch citizens.


The tragedy has reopened the deep emotional wounds caused by the March 8 disappearance of flight MH370, whose fate remains one of the biggest aviation mysteries ever.


Many of them have repeatedly accused the airline and Malaysian government of withholding information and of suspicious conduct in handling the probe into the disaster.


"My heart is breaking for another 295 souls on board, and another 295 families. Now I cannot stop shaking," said Sarah Bajc, partner of MH370 passenger Philip Wood.


US officials said MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, a possible casualty of a violent rebellion by pro-Russian insurgents.


But Bajc said "it was only a matter of time" that a new tragedy would hit struggling Malaysia Airlines.


Bajc is among a group of vocal MH370 relatives who have criticised the government and airline´s handling of the search for the missing plane and investigation into what might have caused it, alleging information was being withheld.


"When symptoms of a disease are ignored, the disease festers," she said in an email.


"Another (Malaysia Airlines) flight has gone down. Another 777... Far too much coincidence for the two situations to not be linked in some way." "How do we know a similar thing didn´t happen to MH370?" she said.


Flight MH370 vanished March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.


The Boeing 777-400 is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive search has turned up no sign of wreckage so far, leaving families frustrated and anguished.

Global anger mounts over downed Malaysia Airlines jet

Global outrage and shock mounted Friday after the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over strife-torn eastern Ukraine with nearly 300 people on board as questions swirled as to who was behind the tragedy.


Local emergency crews picked through horrific carnage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, placing dozens of sticks with white rags in the ground to mark where bodies lay.


The Boeing 777 came down in cornfields in the separatist-held region on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, with the United States claiming it was shot down in a missile attack.


Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces of committing a "terrorist act" as stunned world leaders urged a full investigation into the disaster, which could further fan the flames of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.


The United States demanded an "unimpeded" international inquiry into the tragedy and rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin´s charge that Ukraine´s crackdown on separatist rebels stoked tensions that led to the crash.


"While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fuelled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, material, and training," the White House said in a statement.


News of the crash sent European, US and Asian stock markets tumbling. Shares in Malaysia Airlines, still afflicted by the trauma and global stigma of flight MH370´s disappearance four months ago, plummeted almost 18 percent on Friday morning.


The father of one MH17 stewardess wept as he expressed the vain hope his daughter could be alive.


"We are just hoping she survived even though we know many are dead... We pray that somehow she is safe and comes home," Salleh Samsudin, 54, said of 31-year-old Nur Shazana Salleh on Malaysian television.


One devastated relative told how her sister Ninik Yuriani, 56 -- of Indonesian descent but a Dutch national -- was on her way to Jakarta to celebrate the Muslim festival Eid.


"My family is now gathered at my sister´s house in Jakarta. We´ve decided to keep this from my mother. She´s so old and weak, I don´t think she could take it," Enny Nuraheni, 54, told.

UNSC calls for ‘full, thorough’ probe into Malaysia plane disaster

The UN Security Council on Friday demanded a full, independent and international probe into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine that killed 298 people on board.


"The members of the Security Council called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability," the council said in a unanimous declaration. 

Sudan security releases three student activists

On Friday, the Sudanese security service released three student activists, after 60 days of detention.

Mohamed Salah, Tajelsir Jaafar, and Muamar Musa, were released on Friday, following widespread protests from their families and friends, and one day after the European Union called on the Sudanese authorities to bring the political detainees in Sudan to trial, or release them immediately.

Salah said that they had been subjected to all kinds of physical and psychological torture during their initial days of detention. He pointed out that the authorities had forced them to sign a pledge not to engage again in any political activity against the state.

The three activists embarked on a hunger strike a week ago, in protest against a renewed detention period of three months. They were detained by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum on 12 May, against the backdrop of student demonstrations calling for an investigation into the killing of Darfuri student Ali Abakar Musa during a peaceful protest at the University of Khartoum's main campus on 11 March this year. 

File photo: Mohamed with his mother after his release in 2012 (