Archive for Europe
The fake twitter account of the Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov was suspended at the request of the Russian Mission, according to the representative. “We pointed out the account is fake and took measures. The account was closed,” the representative said. @SafronkovRu was set up on Twitter alleging to belong to the Deputy Ambassador, but was denounced by the Russian mission as a fake. Twitter said in a report that it suspended more than 630,000 user accounts from August 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. The tech giant also has a longstanding policy of prohibiting the promotion of terrorism and violent extremism.
North Korea has detained another US citizen, bringing to 3 the number of Americans held in the country amid increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang Sunday confirmed the detainment of the US citizen but did not elaborate on the matter. However, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing unnamed sources, reported on the same day that a Korean-American man was arrested Friday at Pyongyang’s international airport. According to the agency, the man in his fifties identified only by his surname Kim was trying to leave the country when North Korean police arrested him. Kim has been involved in aid and relief programs to North Korea and formerly worked as professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China which has a sister university in Pyongyang. North Korea has at least two other Americans in its prisons. Last year in January, Otto Warmbier, who was 21 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.
Newsline: North Korean Embassy in Russia Says the Country is Ready for ‘All-Out War’ if US Starts it
North Korea is ready for an all-out war if the United States starts it, the country’s Embassy in Russia said. “If they [the US] commit a reckless provocation, the Korean Revolutionary Forces will deal a devastating blow and respond with an all-out war to an all-out war, respond to a nuclear war with a nuclear strike,” an attache of the North Korean Embassy Moscow said. North Korea reportedly carried out the most recent missile test early on Sunday. However, the launch was unsuccessful, according to South Korean defense officials. The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the alleged missile launch had not been announced officially, though it’s Pyongyang’s “sovereign right” to conduct such tests. Earlier, North Korea warned it is ready to launch a “preemptive strike” in case of any US’ “provocation.” Pyongyang said it may target US military bases in Japan, South Korea and the US itself if feels threatened.
The United Nations has ruled that Assange is being “illegally detained” by British and Swedish authorities. But the Trump administration took action against Assange this week, that go far beyond anything done by the Obama administration. As reported by Australian news outlet SBS, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made the arrest of Assange “a top priority.” In response to a question about Assange, Sessions said that every effort will be made to ensure that Assange ends up in jail. Jeff Sessions comments come in the wake of WikiLeaks publication of material from a leak of CIA intelligence files. Given the damage that the WikiLeaks revelations can do to the reputation of the U.S. establishment and to the CIA, it is no surprise to see that CIA director Mike Pompeo has lashed out at WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. According to CBS News, Pompeo has called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo, have made it clear that Assange is one of their top priorities. They have also made it clear that it will not be safe for Assange to leave London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. Given that the UN have already declared that Assange is illegally detained, it could be argued that Sessions and the CIA have imposed a sentence of life imprisonment within the Ecuadorian Embassy.
A former Canberra embassy worker has spoken of her “betrayal” by her former employers, the Spanish government, which is accused of refusing to hand over years worth of superannuation payments. Another former worker for the Spanish government in Australia says she has been left disabled by cancer but without vital disability cover because of the consulate’s failure to pay her super. The two women are now taking legal action against their former employer, looking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid super, interest and penalties. But the Spanish government has defended itself, claiming its two former employees were covered by their home country’s social welfare system during the periods in question and their current claim was an attempt to “double-dip”. Canberra grandmother Esperanza Poveda had two stints as a secretary at the embassy of Spain in Canberra between 1986 and 1998, and from 2004 until 2014. In 2012, she secured an order from the ATO for the embassy to pay her unpaid super for the second period she worked there, but she says her former bosses refused to pay her for her first stint. Ms Poveda is claiming damages of $68,000, which includes $32,000 in unpaid superannuation for 1992-1998 and penalty interest. Melbourne woman Miren Itziar Urbieta worked at Spain’s consulate in the Victorian capital for 18 years until 2011 and says she was not any paid any superannuation at all. According to her lawyers, the consulate’s failure to pay her superannuation, left her ineligible for total and permanent disability cover through her VicSuper fund and she is battling tonsil cancer which has left her permanently disabled since 2015. Ms Urbieta is seeking damages of $131,000 including $54,000 in unpaid superannuation, $62,000 in penalty interest, and $15,000 for the TPD benefit that she would have been entitled to if super payments had been made into her VicSuper account. But a spokesman for the Spanish embassy indicated it would be defending the claims, saying the women were covered by the Spanish social security system during the period in question and were therefore not entitled to payments under the Australian system.
Facebook has unblocked the official account of the Russian embassy in Slovakia, the embassy’s spokesperson Nikolai Levshunov told TASS. “The page is available again,” he said. “Unlike the fake account, this page contains truthful information.” According to Levshunov, Facebook unblocked the embassy’s account after sorting the situation out. After the official account of the Russian embassy was blocked, the fake Slovak-language account was renamed to “The Soviet embassy in Czechoslovakia.” “They post bare faced lies about events in Russia and Slovakia,” Levshunov said.
A Danish diplomat took matters into her own hands when a burglar broke into her Manhattan apartment. The New York Police Department says Marie Wandel, 58, went to investigate a noise late Saturday and found the intruder in her home in the Morningside Heights section of Harlem. She snatched her camera and jewelry worth $1,000 back from the would-be thief before he scampered away empty-handed.