Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Turkish court keeps police in custody on spying allegations <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>A Turkish court ordered that eight police officers be kept in custody on Friday pending a possible trial over accusations that they spied on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle, media reports said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The investigation is widely seen as targeting a &quot;parallel structure&quot; within the state, a term coined by Erdogan to describe members of the police, judiciary and other institutions loyal to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan accuses Gulen of being behind a plot to oust him.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many of those detained are among the police officers who carried out a corruption probe centered on Erdogan&#39;s inner circle that became public last December. They say the latest investigation is politically motivated.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>State broadcaster TRT said the Istanbul court remanded eight officers in custody and released six others. Earlier prosecutors had ordered the release of eight other officers. They have yet to rule on the remaining detainees.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Relatives of the officers gathered at the courts of justice in central Istanbul for the ruling, applauding the release of some officers and protesting the formal arrest of the others, which came less than three weeks ahead of a presidential election in which Erdogan is standing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Police on Tuesday detained dozens of police, including high-ranking officers, on a list of 115 whom chief Istanbul prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu ordered to be questioned over what he said was a concocted investigation of an alleged terrorist group.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The operation follows a stream of purges targeting the police, judiciary and state institutions this year which government critics have condemned as a symptom of Erdogan&#39;s tightening grip.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Concern about his autocratic style has been fueled by his intention to boost the powers of the presidency if he is elected, a plan he reiterated late on Monday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The officers were accused of making up an investigation into an alleged terrorist group named &#39;selam-tevhid&#39; as a pretence to tap the phones of Erdogan, ministers and the head of the national intelligence agency.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The &#39;selam-tevhid&#39; case, targeting 251 people, had been dismissed due to a lack of evidence after a three-year investigation during which 2,280 people were wire-tapped.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Erdogan has signaled that the investigation of the &quot;parallel structure&quot; will widen. He accuses Gulen&#39;s Hizmet network of concocting the scandal by illegally tapping thousands of phones and leaking manipulated recordings on social media.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies plotting against the government.</div> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:48:00 +0000 Reuters 2437712 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/07/18/484151/erdogan.jpg Stalled Ukraine parliament says yet to receive PM's resignation <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Ukraine&#39;s parliament said on Friday it had yet to receive a resignation letter from Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk so could not vote on whether to accept it, stalling work at the heart of government.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Yatseniuk, a key interlocutor of the West during much of the turmoil in the country since November, announced he was quitting on Thursday, saying parliament was betraying the people&#39;s demands for change by failing to pass legislation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The move by an ally of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko could hamstring decision-making as Ukraine struggles to fund a war against pro-Russian rebels and deals with the aftermath of a passenger plane crash.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Oleksander Turchinov, speaker of the parliament, said Yatseniuk&#39;s letter of resignation had been sent from government but had yet to be received by parliament.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>An aide to President Petro Poroshenko, Oleksander Danilyuk, said the resignation should not hurt what Kiev calls its &quot;anti-terrorist operation&quot; against rebels in eastern Ukraine.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Artillery fire echoed around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Friday for the third day, as rebels fortified defenses and Ukrainian troops moved to squeeze them further.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Local health officials said 14 people had been killed in the last 24 hours In the Donetsk region.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kiev said it had taken the town of Lysychansk, northwest of the second separatist bastion of Luhansk.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A spokesman for Ukraine&#39;s Security Council said 13 soldiers had been killed in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 325 since the start of fighting against the rebels who say they want independence for the Donbass region.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Personal animostities</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The usually mild-mannered Yatseniuk bellowed at lawmakers before tendering his resignation on Thursday, saying politicians had failed to pass laws to take control over an increasingly precarious energy situation and to increase army funding.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;History will not forgive us,&quot; he said, telling politicians they were at risk of losing the hearts and minds of Ukrainians who had protested for months in the &quot;Maidan&quot; demonstrations in favor of joining Europe and against a pro-Russian president.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He may also have been angered by a move by two other members of the parliamentary coalition to leave the ruling coalition, forcing new elections to a parliament that has kept the same make-up since before the toppling of Viktor Yanukovich.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ukraine&#39;s complex political landscape has become a battlefield since the toppling of Yanukovich, with members of the pro-Western former opposition often unable to overcome personal animosities to present a united front.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Yatseniuk is a member of the Batkivshchyna party led by Tymoshenko, whom Poroshenko easily defeated in a presidential election in May despite her high hopes of finally taking the top position. She had been imprisoned under Yanukovich.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some pro-Russian analysts have suggested that she is keen to undermine her rival Poroshenko, but others note her party&#39;s ratings have fallen since last year and its position as the biggest force in parliament could be weakened in any early election.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ukraine&#39;s most popular political group is now the populist Radical Party, led by Oleh Lyashko.</div> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:40:00 +0000 Reuters 2437708 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/03/13/94/anti-putin_mps_in_ukraine.jpg French officials: Bad weather likely cause of fatal Air Algerie crash <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Poor weather was the most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie flight in the West African state of Mali that killed all 116 people on board, French officials said on Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Investigators at the scene of the crash in northern Mali concluded the airliner broke apart when it hit the ground, the officials said, suggesting this meant it was unlikely to have been the victim of an attack.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;French soldiers who are on the ground have started the first investigations. Sadly there are no survivors,&quot; French President Francois Hollande told reporters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A column of 100 soldiers and 30 vehicles from the French force stationed in the region arrived early on Friday morning to secure the crash site near the northern Mali town of Gossi and recover bodies, a Defence Ministry official said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hollande said one of the black box flight recorders had already been recovered and would be analyzed quickly.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The plane&#39;s debris is concentrated in a small area, but it is too early to draw conclusions,&quot; Hollande said of the wreckage of the plane carrying 51 French nationals that crashed near the border with Burkina Faso, from where it had taken off.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The are theories, especially the weather, but I&#39;m not excluding any theory.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Aviation officials lost contact of flight AH5017 at around 0155 GMT on Thursday, less than an hour after taking off for Algeria, following a request by the pilot to change course due to bad weather.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The aircraft was destroyed at the moment it crashed,&quot; Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL radio.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Another plane crash is likely to add to nerves over flying a week after a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed over Ukraine, and a TransAsia Airways plane crashed off Taiwan during a thunderstorm on Wednesday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>International airlines also temporarily canceled flights into Tel Aviv this week, citing security concerns amid the instability in Gaza.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said the strong smell of aircraft fuel at the crash site and the fact that the debris was scattered over a relatively small area also suggested the cause of the crash was linked to weather, a technical problem or a cumulation of such factors.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We exclude - and have done so from the start - any ground strike,&quot; Cuvillier told France 2 television.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was due to visit the crash site later on Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>France deployed troops to Mail last year to halt an al Qaeda-backed insurgency and has about 1,600 soldiers based in Mali predominantly in the northern city of Gao.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Other than the French nationals, Burkina Faso authorities said the passenger list included 27 Burkinabe, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two from Luxembourg, one Cameroonian, one Belgian, one Egyptian, one Ukranian, one Swiss, one Nigerian and one Malian.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Spanish private airline company Swiftair, which owned the plane, said the six crew were Spanish. It confirmed in a statement on Friday that the wreckage of the plane had been found in Mali without survivors, adding it was too early to talk about the causes of the accident.</div> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:56:00 +0000 Reuters 2437706 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/05/15/229/842065-01-02.jpg Contact lost with Air Algerie plane carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Authorities have lost contact with an Air Algerie flight en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, Algeria&#39;s APS state news agency and a Spanish airline company said on Thursday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>APS said authorities lost contact with flight AH 5017 an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso, although other officials gave other timings, adding to confusion about the fate of the flight and where it might be.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Spanish private airline company Swiftair confirmed it had no contact with its MD-83 aircraft operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The company said in a notice posted on its website that the aircraft took off from Burkina Faso at 0117 GMT (2117 ET) and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 GMT but never reached its destination.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>An Algerian aviation official said the last contact Algerian authorities had with a missing Air Algerie aircraft carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algiers was at 0155 GMT when it was flying over Gao, Mali.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Aviation authorities in Burkina say they handed the flight to the control tower in Niamey, Niger, at 1:38 am (0138 GMT). They said last contact with the flight was just after 4:30 a.m. (0330 GMT).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Burkinabe authorities have set up a crisis unit in Ouagadougou airport to provide information to families of people on the flight.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country - which lies on the plane&#39;s likely flight path - was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Issa Saly Maiga, head of Mali&#39;s National Civil Aviation Agency, said that a search was under way for the missing flight.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We do not know if the plane is Malian territory,&quot; he told Reuters. &quot;Aviation authorities are mobilized in all the countries concerned - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria and even Spain.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Whatever is the fate of the flight, the loss of contact is likely to add the to jitters in the airline industry after a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed over Ukraine last week, a TransAsia Airways crashed off Taiwan during a thunderstorm on Wednesday and airlines canceled flights into Tel Aviv due to the conflict in Gaza.</div> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:26:00 +0000 Reuters 2437680 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/01/06/495070/plane.jpg