Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Russia's 'tin pot despot' Putin behind spy's London murder, UK inquiry told <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Russian President Vladimir Putin is a &quot;tin pot despot&quot; who, with Kremlin &quot;cronies,&quot; was behind the 2006 poisoning murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, the lawyer for his widow said on Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kremlin critic Litvinenko died three weeks after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 at London&#39;s plush Millennium hotel.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>British authorities say there is evidence to try Russians Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun with murder, while from his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Putin of ordering his killing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Both Russians deny any involvement and the Russian government has rejected any link to the death, questioning the British motives for making such accusations after Litvinenko&#39;s killing plunged Anglo-Russian relations to a post-Cold War low.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On the closing day of a British public inquiry into the death, Ben Emmerson, the lawyer for Litvinenko&#39;s widow Marina, said scientific evidence which linked Kovtun and Lugovoy to traces of polonium across London proved beyond doubt that they were responsible for the murder.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He said tests of the sink in the bathroom of Kovtun&#39;s room at the Millennium Hotel revealed quantities of polonium which could only be achieved by direct contact with the rare isotope.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The same scientific evidence ultimately proves beyond doubt that the murder was commissioned by the Russian state,&quot; Emmerson said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The lawyer said that on the very day back in March when the inquiry was hearing evidence that he argued clearly showed Kovtun&#39;s involvement, Putin was awarding a medal of honor for services to the Motherland to Lugovoy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It was a &quot;menacing gesture of support&quot;, Emmerson said, designed to intimidate the inquiry.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It was a crass and clumsy gesture from an increasingly isolated tin pot despot, a morally deranged authoritarian who was at that very moment clinging desperately onto political power in the face of international sanctions and a rising chorus of international condemnation,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;After years of negotiation and appeasement, the world has lost its patience now with Mr Putin&#39;s judo politics and his cringing hard-man photo opportunities.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Emmerson said Kovtun, Lugovoy and the Russian state had attempted to manipulate and undermine the independent inquiry, most recently when Kovtun pulled out of giving evidence by videolink this week.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He added: &quot;That approach speaks volumes and proves significant support for the conclusion that Mr Putin and his cronies were not only behind the murder but now stand four-square behind the murderers.&quot;</div> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:48:00 +0000 Reuters 2455081 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/31/501271/litvin.jpg Killer of Cecil the lion should be extradited, Zimbabwe says <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The American dentist who killed Cecil the lion a month ago in Zimbabwe paid for an illegal hunt and should be extradited to the southern African nation to face justice, environment minister Oppah Muchinguri said on Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a news conference, Muchinguri referred to 55-year-old Walter Palmer as a &quot;foreign poacher&quot; and said she understood the Prosecutor General had started the process to have him extradited from the United States.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he can be held accountable for his illegal action,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Palmer has admitted killing the 13-year-old predator, a favourite with foreign tourists and the subject of an Oxford University study, but said he had hired professional guides and believed all the necessary hunting permits were in order.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Muchinguri also said Palmer&#39;s use of a bow and arrow to kill the lion, who is said to have been lured out of Hwange National Park with bait before being shot, was in contravention of Zimbabwean hunting regulations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Palmer, a life-long big game hunter, managed to return to the United States before the authorities were aware of the controversy around Cecil&#39;s death.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher because he had already absconded to his country of origin,&quot; Muchinguri said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The killing has sparked social media outrage against Palmer in the United States. The White House said on Thursday it would review a public petition of more than 100,000 signatures to have him extradited.</div> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:21:00 +0000 Reuters 2455065 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/29/501010/lion_07-29-15.jpg Beijing named as host city for 2022 winter Olympics <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Beijing was awarded the 2022 winter Olympics on Friday, beating Kazakhstan&#39;s Almaty in an International Olympic Committee vote to become the first city to have won both summer and winter editions of the world&#39;s biggest multi-sports event.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Chinese capital confirmed their favourites tag, coming out on top only seven years after hosting the summer Olympics in 2008.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Despite reservations regarding their bid, split between the capital and the mountain venues of Zhangjiakou and Yanqing that will rely almost exclusively on artificial snow, Beijing cruised to victory in the Malaysian capital.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The IOC opted for a safe pair of hands after four of the initial six candidates -- including winter sports powerhouses Stockholm and Oslo -- had pulled out of the campaign due to lack of local support or financial concerns.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Olympic body was also unmoved by calls from human rights groups not to give Beijing the Games again. Critics say there has been no improvement on that front since 2008.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Beijing, however, offered a solid option amid tough economic times, with many of the venues ready.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The lack of a natural winter sports setting did little to deter IOC members.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The IOC has said the new host city contract to be signed by the winning bid would ensure human rights protection and non-discrimination as well as free reporting during the 16 days of the Games.</div> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:17:00 +0000 Reuters 2455064 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/31/501271/olympics.jpg Britain's Cameron calls emergency meeting over Calais migrant crisis <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Prime Minister David Cameron convened a meeting of his government&#39;s emergency response committee to discuss what more it could do to tackle a spike in attempts by migrant to enter Britain illegally via the Channel Tunnel from France.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cameron is under growing pressure to deter the migrants, many of whom have traveled from Africa and the Middle East, after repeated disruption to cross-Channel passenger and freight traffic, which has become front page news.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cameron will chair the meeting of the committee, known as Cobra, later on Friday after calls from some politicians to mobilize the British army to reinforce border controls.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The government has said it is working to erect new security fencing around the French port of Calais, the flashpoint for the crisis.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Re-elected in May, Cameron has promised to cut net annual migration to Britain to the tens of thousands, a pledge he failed to keep during his first 2010-15 term in office when it hit a near record high of over 300,000 people per year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The issue is a sensitive one for Cameron as it plays into Britain&#39;s debate about Europe ahead of an EU membership referendum which he has promised to hold by the end of 2017 after trying to reshape his country&#39;s ties with the bloc.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Migrants have long gathered in Calais to try to board lorries and ferries to Britain. But Eurotunnel, the firm that runs freight and passenger shuttles via the Channel Tunnel, says their numbers have now swelled to around 5,000 people from about 600 and that it is struggling to cope.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It says the migrants have also become better organized, mounting nightly attempts in large groups to storm the facilities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Eurotunnel has sometimes been forced to suspend its services because of such activity, causing disruption at what is one of the busiest times of the year for British holidaymakers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The situation has caught the imagination of Britain&#39;s tabloid newspapers, becoming a political headache for Cameron, who has spent the past week in southeast Asia on a trade mission while the crisis has flared.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He is under pressure to get tough on the migrants from many lawmakers in his ruling Conservative Party who say voters are fed up with what they see as lax border controls.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But he also has to contend with political rivals unhappy with the tone of the debate. The opposition Labor Party has criticized Cameron for referring to the migrants as a &quot;swarm of people.&quot; It said the term was dehumanizing and stirred public hostility against people often fleeing poverty and conflict.</div> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:06:00 +0000 Reuters 2455061 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/22/501010/eurotunnel_07-22-15.jpg