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The Growing Threat of Water Wars

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The Growing Threat of Water Wars

In 2015, United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include an imperative to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Yet, in the last four years, matters have deteriorated significantly.

NEW DELHI – The dangers of environmental pollution receive a lot of attention nowadays, particularly in the developing world, and with good reason. Air quality indices are dismal and worsening in many places, with India, in particular, facing an acute public-health emergency. But as serious as the pollution problem is, it must not be allowed to obscure another incipient environmental catastrophe, and potential source of future conflict: lack of access to clean water.

We may live on a “blue planet,” but less than 3% of all of our water is fresh, and much of it is inaccessible (for example, because it is locked in glaciers). Since 1960, the amount of available fresh water per capita has declined by more than half, leaving over 40% of the world’s population facing water stress. By 2030, demand for fresh water will exceed supply by an estimated 40%.

With nearly two-thirds of fresh water coming from rivers and lakes that cross national borders, intensifying water stress fuels a vicious circle, in which countries compete for supplies, leading to greater stress and more competition. Today, hundreds of international water agreements are coming under pressure.

China, India, and Bangladesh are locked in a dispute over the Brahmaputra, one of Asia’s largest rivers, with China and India actively constructing dams that have raised fears of water diversion. India’s government has used water-flow diversion to punish Pakistan for terrorist attacks. Dam-building on the Nile by Ethiopia has raised the ire of downstream Egypt.

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Morgan Stanley: “Climate Will Be A Key Driver Of Asset Prices In The Months And Years Ahead”

Morgan Stanley: “Climate Will Be A Key Driver Of Asset Prices In The Months And Years Ahead”

“Sunday Start”, authored by Morgan Stanley equity strategist, Jessica Alsford

In three weeks, the world’s leaders will begin to gather in Madrid for the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference. The intensity of the global climate strikes this year suggests that the proceedings will be scrutinized as never before. But the decisions made, or not made, will also have repercussions for global markets.

We’re transitioning towards a lower carbon economy, albeit at a slower pace than needed to stay within a two degrees Celsius climate scenario (2DS). For companies that can build offshore wind installations, develop electric vehicles and manufacture renewable diesels, we see potential for material earnings growth. In Decarbonisation: The Race to Net Zero, we estimated that more than US$50 trillion of capital will need to be deployed into renewables, EVs, hydrogen, biofuels and carbon capture and storage over the next 30 years, putting US$3-10 trillion of EBIT up for grabs.

Decarbonising electricity is the largest opportunity to reduce carbon emissions, with the power sector responsible for a quarter of global emissions. Strong renewables growth should be achievable given the significant improvements we’ve seen in solar and wind economics. But costs continue to constrain many other clean technologies, including battery storage, green hydrogen, CCS and biofuels.

If governments are serious about halting climate change, some form of stimulus will be needed.

Subsidies have already been key in industries like renewables. In the US, federal subsidies have helped to drive the transition to renewable energy, which rose from 14% of total power generation capacity in 2000 to 24% in 2018.

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UN Envoy’s Grim Warning Over Assange’s Life

UN Envoy’s Grim Warning Over Assange’s Life 

A United Nations expert in torture diagnosis has in the past week issued a stark warning that Australian whistleblower Julian Assange is in danger of dying from extreme prison conditions in Britain.

It is testimony to the rank hypocrisy of British and American governments who lecture others around the world about democracy, human rights and international law.

One can only imagine the hysterical outcry among Western governments and media if somehow Assange was being detained in a Russian prison.

The 48-year-old Assange has been held in a maximum-security prison in London since April this year when he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorean embassy. His arrest was itself a staggering breach of international law. Assange had been confined to the embassy for nearly seven years where he sought asylum to avoid being extradited to the US.

He should have been released on September 22 when his sentence for a past bail infringement had been served out. Instead, a British judge has ordered Assange to be detained until the extradition trial to the US gets underway next year. If Assange is extradited to the US he is facing 175 years in prison if convicted for espionage. Few would believe that he will receive a fair trial in Britain or the US. He has been denied due process of consulting with his defense lawyers.

Assange’s “espionage” charge stems from the fact that his whistleblower site Wikileaks published volumes of damning information exposing massive US and NATO war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. His publications of leaked data also exposed Western diplomatic malfeasance in several countries, as well as illegal global spying on citizens by US intelligence agencies in collusion with British counterparts.

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Iraq Urges UN To Kick “Unauthorized” US Forces From Country

Iraq Urges UN To Kick “Unauthorized” US Forces From Country 

The Iraqi government’s efforts to expel what it increasingly considers an ‘unauthorized’ American occupation have just escalated dramatically, as Baghdad is now urging the United Nations to expel US troops from sovereign Iraqi territory

As we noted previously, Baghdad officials rejected a Pentagon plan to relocate some 1,000 US troops now exiting Syria to US bases in western Iraq, saying the additional troops had “no approval to stay”

On Wednesday Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced he’s taking “all international legal measures” over the entry of U.S. troops from neighboring Syria, again underscoring the Pentagon had no authorization for such a move, and that the troops are “not allowed” to remain in the country, but only “transition” on their way to other US bases in Kuwait and Qatar.

US exiting Syria, via Getty/Al Jazeera

We have (already) issued an official statement saying that and are taking all international legal measures. We ask the international community and the United Nations to perform their roles in this matter,” Abdul Mahdi’ said.

He said that any American forces coming from Syria have four weeks to leave Iraq, as reported by the AP.

The firm ‘red line’ assertion came immediately after the prime minister met with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who arrived earlier in the day on an unannounced visit, apparently to negotiate a compromise. Without Iraq’s cooperation, the White House’s Syria exit strategy and its logistics are in question. 

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a likely attempt to placate growing Iraqi anger, said, “The aim isn’t to stay in Iraq interminably. The aim is to pull our soldiers out and eventually get them back home.”

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Central Banks Are Out Of Ammo – UN Head Demands Immediate Fiscal Stimulus To Save World From Crisis

Central Banks Are Out Of Ammo – UN Head Demands Immediate Fiscal Stimulus To Save World From Crisis

More and more global leaders sound the alarm that the world economy is headed for a difficult period in 2020. 

Unlike several years ago, leaders across the world are now calling for immediate deployment of fiscal stimulus, but not monetary stimulus, a sign that central banks are out of ammunition to combat the next economic crisis. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the global economic outlook is facing severe headwinds, and the international community must quickly act to “do everything possible” to prevent the world from “fracturing,” mostly due to the US and China trade war.

Guterres spoke on Saturday at the World Bank Group and IMF Annual Meetings in Washington, DC. 

He said that “during tense and testing times,” he “fears the possibility of a Great Fracture – with the two largest economies splitting the globe in two – each with its own dominant currency, trade and financial rules, its own internet and artificial intelligence capacities and its own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies.” 

He told international bankers that “it is not too late to avoid” this fracturing of the world, but “we must do everything possible to avert this…and maintain a universal economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank and IMF.” 

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Economists: Greta Thunberg’s Ideal World Would Result In A “Human Tragedy Of Disastrous Proportions”

Economists: Greta Thunberg’s Ideal World Would Result In A “Human Tragedy Of Disastrous Proportions”

Whether you were inspired by Greta Thunberg’s tearful UN speech…

…. or merely thought it was the year’s greatest meme, in which an indoctrinated, emotionally frail child is being preyed upon by adults with a far bigger and more lucrative agenda, you probably do not realize how much your everyday life could change if the world were to follow the advice of climate activists to attain Thunberg’s ecological utopia.

To provide some perspective on that question, several economists spoke to RT to share their thoughts out how the proposed changes could affect the global economy and the daily lives of people around the world.

Fossil fuels

The first thing that comes to mind to stop reported global warming is to impose a carbon tax and divest from the fossil fuel industry, as this sector is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. However, “a carbon tax and/or forced divestiture from fossil fuels would ultimately make the kind of cheap, varied and efficient transportation that people around the world are accustomed to extremely expensive and more limited,” warns Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Apart from public transport, cars could also become less accessible to most individuals. So if you drive to work without a second thought, the carbon tax could suddenly double or triple the cost of your daily trip, leaving tens of millions of people cut off from their livelihoods, according to the analyst.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions can have much more serious economic implications, Dr Pierre Noël, Senior Fellow in Economic and Energy Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), told RT.

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More talk and little action

More talk and little action 

The grim reality is that Greta Thunberg’s passionate speech lambasting global leaders at the UN climate summit in New York on September 23 is unlikely to make much of a difference in the way the largest global polluters do business. The top emitters aren’t bothered: the US didn’t show up; China yawned; Brazil was shown the door, and India agreed that more should be done but made no promises. Disgraced UK prime minister Boris Johnson promised more money.  How many times have we heard that one before?  Seventy developing countries committed to stronger action—but there is little they can do to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases on a global scale. The Pacific small island states are close to panic: they know that their days are numbered. 

A UN  report, appropriately called The heat is on, released just before the climate summit, projected that with the current set of emission reduction plans (the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs negotiated under the 2015 Paris Agreement), emissions of carbon will in fact rise by over 10 percent between now and 2030. Confirming the upward trend, the International Energy Agency reported that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions grew 1.7 % from 2017 to 2018, the highest rate of growth since 2013. This is insane. It’s no longer business-as-usual.  It’s more business than ever before.

Greta Thunberg didn’t mince words : In a stinging speech, the Swedish teenager told governments that “You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.” 

Greta Thunberg’s words spread

At the end of the Summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tried to put a brave face on things saying, “I was deeply moved by many examples of inspiring leadership by countries that have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis.”  

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

Turkey: Alarming Crackdown on Journalists, Desperate Appeal to UN

  • The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was held on September 13. Sadly, no one at the meeting addressed the persecution of journalists in Turkey — not José Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group, nor Béla Szombati, who represented the European Union, nor any other participant.
  • Amnesty International recently tagged Turkey the “world’s largest prison for journalists.”
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council, if it wishes to change its image from that of a laughing stock, should put at the top of its agenda calling Ankara to task. Meanwhile, however, Erdoğan’s violations of freedom of speech need to be exposed daily and loudly condemned — not only by members of the UN and the media, but by any and all allies of Turkey — and freedom of expression — in the West.

International human-rights and press-freedom organizations recently appealed to the United Nations to take action against the ongoing abuse of journalists by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on September 3, eighteen organizations — led by the group ARTICLE 19, which promotes freedom of expression — called on “all Member and Observer States committed to media freedom, democracy and the rule of law” to “speak out and address the Turkish government’s repressive campaign against freedom of expression” in the forum of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention during the UNHRC’s 42nd regular session.

The letter reads, in part:

“The right to hold and express dissenting opinions and to access information has been systematically undermined by the Turkish government in an intensive crackdown on journalists and independent media, academics, civil society, oppositional voices and the judiciary. Since 2016, the human rights situation in Turkey has steeply declined, facilitated by the misuse of sweeping emergency powers and the concentration of executive power.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia’s Sound Proposal for Gulf Peace

Russia’s Sound Proposal for Gulf Peace 

There is an eminently reasonable and feasible way to avoid conflict in the Persian Gulf, and to secure peace. The principles of multilateralism and international law must be adhered to. It seems almost astounding that one has to appeal for such obvious basic norms.

Fortunately, Russia has presented a roadmap for implementing a security concept in the vital waterway based on the above principles.

Russia’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, outlined a possible international coalition to provide security for commercial shipping through the strategically important Persian Gulf. The narrow outlet accounts for up to 30 per cent of all globally shipped oil on a daily basis. Virtually every nation has a stake in the safe passage of tankers. Any disruption would have huge negative consequences for the world economy, impacting all nations.

The Russian proposal, which has been submitted to the UN Security Council, is currently being considered by various parties. Crucially, the security concept put forward by Moscow relies on the participation of the Gulf nations, including Iran. Rather than being led by an outside power, the Russian proposal envisages a region-led effort.

This multilateral arrangement for cooperation between nations is solidly within the principles of the UN Charter and international law. Potentially, it can build trust and positive relations, and thereby reduce the climate of tensions and uncertainty which have intensified over recent months, primarily between the United States and Iran.

Washington has blamed Iran for several sabotage incidents on commercial shipping since June. The Americans have not provided any proof for their claims. Iran, for its part, denies any malfeasance and instead has pointed to “malign conspiracy”aimed at stoking tensions, or worse, precipitate an all-out military confrontation between the US and Iran. Significantly, too, the problem of alleged sabotage and danger to shipping followed the increased deployment of US forces in the region during May, ostensibly to counter anticipated “Iranian aggression”.

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Trump’s Blockade Begins: Venezuela Says Food Shipment Blocked In Panama Canal

Trump’s Blockade Begins: Venezuela Says Food Shipment Blocked In Panama Canal

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has denounced what state media is describing as a ship seizure by the US in the Panama Canal Wednesday.

The ship is reportedly packed with 25 thousands tons of Soya and was entering the narrow vital central America waterway, when its progress was halted in an event which Maduro government officials have condemned as a “serious aggression” that impedes the country’s “right to food”. 

Panama Canal. Image source: Shutterstock

Though in the initial hours of Wednesday’s allegation major international media outlets had yet to confirm the claim, Rodriguez tweeted a statement, saying, “Venezuela denounces before the world that a boat that holds 25 thousand tons of Soya, for food production in our country, has been seized in the Panama Canal, due to the criminal blockade imposed by Donald Trump.”

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by DonaldTrump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food,” the vice president added.

Venezuela exige a la ONU detener esta grave agresión del gobierno de @realDonaldTrump contra nuestra Patria que constituye una violacion masiva de los derechos humanos de toda la población venezolana al pretender impedir su derecho a la alimentación.

State media subsequently explained that the undisclosed owner of the vessel was informed by the insurance company that it must cease moving the cargo through the canal.

The serious allegation comes after on Monday President Trump signed an executive order imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela after a week ago the White House began signaling the US would seek to “quarantine” and fully “blockade” the Maduro regime if the socialist leader doesn’t immediately hand over power of his own accord. 

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Pakistan’s Army “Prepared” To Support Kashmir As PM Khan Warns “More Suicide Attacks” Coming

Pakistan’s Army “Prepared” To Support Kashmir As PM Khan Warns “More Suicide Attacks” Coming

After yesterday’s unprecedented revocation of an over 50-year old constitutional article which gave Indian-administered Kashmir special autonomous status, Pakistan’s army has shot back in provocative statements saying it will “go to any extent” to support Kashmiris amid an Indian military crackdown. “Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” said General Qamar Javed Bajwa after meeting with top commanders over the crisis. 

“We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfill our obligations in this regard,” he added, without specifying what form this might take. At the same time Pakistan’s foreign minister informed the United Nations it is prepared to act in response to the “critical situation”. 

Indian soldiers recently patroling the Jammu-Srinigar National Highway, via the AFP.

The now voided Article 370 is legally and historically what assured a high degree autonomy for the Indian administered Muslim-majority state, enshrined in the constitution, which inhabitants there see as justifying remaining part of India. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata leadership in New Delhi, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, revoked the Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) status quo ability and rights to maintain their own local governance on Monday.

We noted this could put India and Pakistan on a direct collision course for war, following reports of weekend shelling in the contested region by Indian forces — indeed CNN has reported Indian-controlled Kashmir is on “lockdown” with phone lines and internet cut, as tens of thousands of Indian troops have been freshly deployed, and with key prominent local politicians under house arrest. 

Videos out of Jammu posted to social media showed uniformed Indian soldiers filing through the streets in densely populated towns immediately following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. 

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The United Nations Agendas: A Totalitarian Map

The United Nations Agendas: A Totalitarian Map

If you connected all the dots to the various United Nations (U.N.) Agendas, would you create a map of mass regionalization and an eventual Totalitarian State?

Let us count the ways…

Agenda 21: Global Regional Plans Implemented Locally

According to the author of Behind the Green Mask, Rosa Koire says that “U.N. Agenda 21 is an agenda for the 21st century. It  is an inventory and control plan; inventory of all land, water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all food, all energy, all information, and all human beings in the world.” It’s about moving populations into concentrated city centers and clearing them out of rural areas under “Smart Growth.” Under the guise of “Sustainability,” Agenda 21 is the hijacking of the environmental movement.

Agenda 21 is top-down hierarchy, moving away from current government structure based on elected positions in Federal-State-County-City, to a global-regional-neighborhood structure without elections. Currently hundreds of millions of federal dollars are going to cities to create regional plans to give over control of land, and land use, to corporations. For instance, the federal government gave the Telecom Industry new powers to sidestep over the public right-of-way for the roll out of 5G technology by removing regulatory barriers that might prevent infrastructure.

In an order last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), If Verizon wants to build a 5G network in a city, the local government is limited in how much it can charge in application fees, and is pushed to approve permits quickly.These rules also mean cities are limited in how they can respond to residents who are upset about equipment going up near them. Many local leaders have spoken out against the FCC’s rules, dozens of whom have banded together to file a lawsuit to overturn it, which has advanced to the Tenth Circuit.

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UN Launches All-out War on Free Speech

UN Launches All-out War on Free Speech

  • In other words, forget everything about the free exchange of ideas: the UN feels that its ‘values’ are being threatened and those who criticize those values must therefore be shut down.
  • Naturally, the UN assures everyone that, “Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law”.
  • Except the UN most definitely seeks to prohibit freedom of speech, especially the kind that challenges the UN’s agendas. This was evident with regard to the UN Global Compact on Migration, in which it was explicitly stated that public funding to “media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants” should be stopped.
  • In contrast to the UN Global Migration compact, the UN’s action plan against hate speech does contain a definition of what the UN considers to be “hate” and it happens to be the broadest and vaguest of definitions possible: “Any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor”. With a definition as broad as this, all speech could be labelled “hate”.
  • The new action plan plays straight into the OIC’s decades-long attempts to ban criticism of Islam as ‘hate speech’. In the wake of the launch of Guterres’ action plan, Pakistan has already presented a six-point plan “to address the new manifestations of racism and faith-based hatred, especially Islamophobia” at the United Nations headquarters. The presentation was organized by Pakistan along with Turkey, the Holy See and the UN.

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Cholera Rips Through War-Torn Yemen: Nears 500,000 Cases In 2019

Cholera Rips Through War-Torn Yemen: Nears 500,000 Cases In 2019

As the UAE announced this week it would withdraw its forces from Yemen as a longtime lead country in the Saudi coalition which has fought Houthi rebels since 2015, the United Nations issued a damning report on what it previously dubbed the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” and what many analysts have described as the “forgotten war,” due to the little coverage it receives in the mainstream media. 

War-ravaged Yemen has seen more than than 460,000 suspected cholera cases so far this year, which is significantly higher that the total number for all of 2018, at 380,000 — the UN stated early this week.

This as the over four-year long war is has reached casualty numbers on par with the opening half of the Syrian war, expected to reach an estimated 233,000 deaths by the end of 2019, according to a previous UN report issued in May

Image via Anadolu Agency

In addition to famine, malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases, the new UN statements noted lack of access to clean drinking water for vast segments of the population, which has facilitated the rapid spread of diseases uncommon in much of the rest of the world, specifically cholera. 

The AP cited UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq as noting that the “increased number of cases has led to 705 apparent cholera deaths since January, dramatically higher than the 75 deaths in the same period last year.”

The UN also estimated that some 10 million Yemenis currently rely on food aid to survive – a figure that’s 50% higher compared to pre-war assessments. The UN also confirmed “pockets of famine-like conditions in dozens of places across Yemen.”

Despite the UAE pulling out, the situation is expected to deteriorate further, given the Saudi coalition – which has long included key US military support – sees itself in a zero-sum proxy war against Iran inside Yemen. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Libya Under Turkish Invasion”: Haftar Releases Hostages But Vows War On Turkish Planes, Vessels

“Libya Under Turkish Invasion”: Haftar Releases Hostages But Vows War On Turkish Planes, Vessels

We’ve noted before that Libya’s new civil war has increasingly come out in the open as in reality an international proxy war, with even the White House in the past months “switching” support from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli to the renegade General Khalifa Haftar, whose LNA forces have for months laid siege to the capital in an attempt to wrest the country from GNA authority.

And to nobody’s surprise, advanced American-made anti-tank missiles believed supplied by the UAE have recently been found among Haftar’s weapons stockpiles. All of this makes Gen. Haftar’s latest “declaration of war” on Turkey more interesting. Over the weekend the LNA threatened to shoot down Turkish airplanes found in Libyan air space and to destroy Turkish ships off the Libyan coast, in response to Turkish military support to GNA forces in Tripoli, which resulted in a significant setback for pro-Haftar militants.

Front line fighting near Tripoli, via the BBC

Haftar’s rebel force had claimed Libya is “under Turkish invasion” and that it would act against any Turkish threat, including Turkish flagged vessels found in Libyan territorial waters. 

Over the weekend Turkey threatened to attack Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya directly as a “legitimate target” if the LNA failed to release six Turkish citizens under its detention. Haftar had previously declared intent to detain all Turkish nationals in Libya, but walked back the threat while additionally releasing the six Turkish hostages on Monday. 

Ankara’s threat of attack appeared to have worked, according to Al Jazeera: “The spokesman of Haftar’s forces, Colonel Ahmed Masmari, earlier said they were detaining all Turkish nationals in Libya. But last night [Sunday], he retreated saying he does not have any knowledge of the detention of the Turkish nationals.” The Turkish Foreign Ministry has confirmed the Turkish nationals’ release on Monday. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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