Author Archives: Katy Turner

Archives February 29, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Some September 11 victims' remains ended in landfill

Partial remains from some victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks ended up in a landfill, according to a Pentagon report released on Tuesday that revealed other blunders at the US military’s main mortuary.

The Pentagon report said that several portions of remains found from the attack on the Pentagon and at the Pennsylvania crash site of a hijacked airliner presumably ended up in a landfill after being handed over to a private firm.

It did not say precisely where the remains ended up.

Retired General John Abizaid, briefing Pentagon reporters on the findings of the review of practices at the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, said it was unclear how many September 11 victims’ partial remains were disposed of in this manner.

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Archives February 29, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Russia to modernise iconic Kalashnikov rifle

Moscow announced plans this week to modernise the Kalashnikov, giving a new lease of life to the Soviet-era assault rifle that is the mainstay of the Russian army and weapon of choice for paramilitaries and gangsters around the world.

Part of a 20 trillion-rouble modernisation of Russia’s armed forces that includes the addition of new armaments, submarines and aircraft by 2020, the new-look Kalashnikov will get a detachable sight and light, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told parliament.

“We are planning deep modernisation of the Kalashnikov assault rifle,” said Rogozin, who oversees the defence industry. “This will be a weapon with detachable equipment, such as an optical sight and a lamp.”

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Archives February 29, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Britain protests at Argentine boycott call

An Argentine minister’s call on firms to stop importing UK goods in protest at Britain’s position on the Falkland Islands is counter-productive and Britain has raised the issue with Buenos Aires, a British official said on Wednesday.

Industry Minister Debora Giorgi urged company executives on Tuesday to stop importing British goods, a ministry source said, further straining ties as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war approaches.

“We think that’s counter-productive and also a complete misreading of Britain’s resolve on this issue,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters.

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Archives February 29, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Costa passengers endure tropical climes without power

Passengers faced a third day without power and hot food on a stricken Costa cruise ship in the sweltering Indian Ocean on Wednesday, as helicopters airlifted fresh bread to the liner under tow.

An engine room fire on the Costa Allegra, which is owned by the company whose giant liner smashed into rocks off Italy last month, knocked out the ship’s main power supply on Monday, disabling the engines in waters prowled by pirates.

Costa Cruises said the cruise liner was due to arrive at the Seychelles capital of Victoria around 9am on Thursday.

The Trevignon, a French deep sea tuna trawler dwarfed by the liner, is pulling the Costa Allegra along at a speed of six knots.

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Archives February 28, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Fukushima: Japan leaders feared ‘devil's chain reaction’

Japan’s prime minister ordered workers to remain at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant last March as fears mounted of a “devil’s chain reaction” that would force tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo, a new investigative report shows.

Then-premier Naoto Kan and his staff began referring to a worst case scenario that could threaten Japan’s existence as a nation around three days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to the report by a panel set up by a private think-tank.

That was when fears mounted that thousands of spent fuel rods stored at a damaged reactor would melt and spew radiation after a hydrogen explosion at an adjacent reactor building, according to the panel report.

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Archives February 28, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Turkey welcomes French court's cancelling genocide law

Turkey welcomed on Tuesday a ruling by France’s highest court overturning a law making it illegal to deny the killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire a century ago was genocide.

The court ruling could help defuse a potential diplomatic row between Turkey and France, but Turkish foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the cabinet will decide whether to restart economic, political and military meetings with Paris.

“The verdict is positive. I hope that everyone learns the necessary lessons from this,” Davutoglu told reporters.

Asked whether this would lead to a restart of contacts with France, he said: “This verdict is still new. We will consider the subject of sanctions with the prime minister, president and cabinet.”

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Archives February 28, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Greece cuts minimum wage as austerity drive begins

Greek ministers agreed deep cuts to the minimum wage on Tuesday, slashing living standards for low-paid workers as Athens began implementing measures demanded by international lenders in return for a 130 billion euro rescue package.

Cabinet approved the cuts, which will hit workers already struggling after more than four years of deep recession, as it signed off on a series of steps agreed in principle by parliament last week, a government official said.

The move, which will pass into law without the need for further parliamentary approval, imposes a 22-per cent cut on the standard minimum monthly wage of 751 euros. For those under 25, the cut will be even more brutal, a 32-per cent reduction.

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Archives February 28, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

US murders at heart of Afghan ministry raise questions

The two high-ranking US officers were sitting at the nerve centre of one of the most heavily-guarded buildings in Afghanistan when their killer walked into their shared office and shot them both in the head.

The audacity of the attack stunned both NATO and the Afghan government – the gunman had managed to get his weapon through crowded offices and past door after door secured with electronic locks into the heart of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior.

The killing of Air Force Lieutenant Colonel John D. Loftis, 44, from Kentucky, and another unnamed major, on Saturday also raised awkward questions about the alliance’s future strategy in the battle-scarred country.

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Archives February 24, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Want German lessons in Athens? Join the queue

Ruediger Bolz has 350 students coming through the doors of his German language institute in central Athens each day – 20 per cent up on a year go.

The rush among Greeks to learn German may seem odd after the war of words between the two countries, with Athens fuming at German accusations of financial mismanagement and some Greek media playing on Nazi caricatures of Berlin politicians.

Yet for Bolz, who has run the Goethe-Institut for the last six years, there is no mystery: his Greek pupils are happy to side-step politics and face up to harsh economic realities by acquiring new skills.

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Archives February 24, 2012 posted by Katy Turner

Afghanistan demands NATO put Koran-burners on trial

Afghanistan wants NATO to put on public trial those who burned copies of the Koran at a NATO base, President Hamid Karzai’s office said on Thursday, after a third day of bloody protests over the incident.

It said NATO had agreed to a trial, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

Karzai had earlier accused a US officer of “ignorantly” burning copies of the Koran, in an incident that has deepened anti-Western sentiment in a country NATO is trying to stabilise before foreign combat troops leave by the end of 2014.

Demonstrations have drawn thousands of angry Afghans to the streets, chanting “Death to America!” amid violence that has killed 11 people including two US service personnel.

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