Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
On connaît désormais la position d’1,7 milliard d’étoiles de notre galaxie, un record. Mardi 24 avril, l’Agence spatiale européenne a annoncé que le satellite européen Gaia avait permis de les cartographier en trois dimensions. Pour 1,3 milliard d’entre elles, le satellite a également permis de déterminer leur distance de la Terre.
« Avec Gaia, on peut vraiment reconstituer toute l’histoire de la Voie lactée. C’est comme faire de l’archéo-astronomie (…) pour reconstruire vraiment l’histoire de notre Univers », a déclaré Günther Hasinger, directeur de la science à l’ESA.
Lancé à la fin de 2013, le satellite Gaia, qui scrute les sources lumineuses de notre galaxie, est positionné à 1,5 million de kilomètres de la Terre. Il exécute 500 millions de mesures par jour. Les données sont transmises au sol et traitées par un consortium réunissant 450 scientifiques de 20 pays. Tout le monde peut désormais y avoir accès grâce à un catalogue sur Internet.
The alleged abuse of one-time businessman Ali al-Marri has been documented in a report compiled by the UK advocacy group Cage. Al-Marri, who had arrived in the US on September 10, 2001, was arrested in December that year. He was declared an “enemy combatant” and held for six years at Charleston Naval Brig in South Carolina.
In their investigation, FBI officers found materials on US waterways and toxic chemicals as well as lists of hundreds of American credit card numbers. In 2009, he was jailed for 15 years after pleading guilty in a civil court to working with Al-Qaeda. Now, three years after his release, al-Marri is denying all the charges made against him, saying that he took a plea deal after “suffering sustained abuse” at the hands of US officials.
“Ali al-Marri might have taken a plea deal and admitted to being an unknowing part of the 9/11 plot, he now emphatically denies every allegation that he was involved in terrorism, and claims he did so due to the coercion of being in solitary confinement and suffering sustained abuse,” the Cage report reads.
Speaking to the Guardian three years after his release, the one-time businessman claimed his wife had been reading about rivers and lakes as well as planning to set up a business importing chemicals into the US at the time of his arrest. The report outlines instances of intimidation, isolation, freezing cell conditions, sleep deprivation and threats of physical and sexual assault by the FBI as well as other staff at the naval base.
Al-Marri claims he was subjected to a technique known as ‘dry boarding’ in which a sock is stuffed down the subject’s throat and a duck tape placed over the mouth. The report specifically names individuals al-Marri says carried out the attacks against him. He has returned to Qatar since his release from custody in 2015.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Speaking at the Home Affairs Select Committee in relation to the recent Windrush scandal, Rudd claimed that the Home Office did not set targets for the removal of illegal migrants. She told MPs: “We don’t have targets for removals … If you ask me, ‘are there numbers of people we expect to be removed?’, that’s not how we operate.”
So that cleared everything up, right? Wrong. It was later revealed that the Home Office, as recently as three years ago, did have targets for the removal of illegal migrants. A report published by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration showed that for 2014/15 the Home Office set a target of 7,200 Voluntary Departures for illegal immigrants.
MPs such as Labour’s David Lammy, who has championed the cause in Parliament, fear this target would include the Windrush generation, citizens that are in the UK lawfully.
Responding in Parliament to an urgent question on this apparent falsifying of facts, Rudd admitted that “local” targets for the removal of immigrants was Home Office procedure but denied it extended to national targeting.
She told Parliament: “The immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management,” adding that she was not made aware of such targets.
Hang on. Why has Rudd failed to get a grip of such crucial Home Office policies that affect the lives of so many, and what’s the difference between local and national targets? The Guardian’s Amelia Gentleman, who uncovered the story of the retired Canadian widow who has lived in the UK for 44 years before being threatened with deportation, asks the same question on Twitter.
#windrush rudd says no national targets but acknowledges that there were local targets for performance measurement
who knows what the distinction is between that and actual targets??
— amelia gentleman (@ameliagentleman) April 26, 2018
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, often the subject of ridicule and calls for her resignation because of supposed gaffes, appeared to turn the tables in Parliament as she asked Rudd: “Isn’t it time that the home secretary considered her honor and resigned?”
British journalists have been lining up on social media to question Rudd’s position, while others appeared to mock her.
A Home Secretary admitting she knew nothing about targets for the removal of illegal immigrants, having previously told MPs the targets didn’t even exist, has to be a resignation issue.
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) April 26, 2018
Rightful British citizens got deported, lost their jobs, their homes, suffered immense misery.
Amber Rudd says the Home Office didn’t use international deportation targets. That’s been shown to be false.
How can she not resign?
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) April 26, 2018
Loathe as I never am to offer a football analogy, Amber Rudd rapidly turning into the Joe Hart of politics. A safe pair of hands no more.
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) April 26, 2018
Even if Rudd did resign, she’d deny it the next day.
— Mr Ethical (@nw_nicholas) April 26, 2018
The once hotly-tipped candidate to become the next Tory leader now seems to be running around like a chaotic hotel manager not dissimilar to Basil Fawlty, trying to plug holes, self-inflicted from the incompetent running of her Home Office department.
So why hasn’t Rudd stepped down or been sacked? The answer may lie in the power dynamics at the top of government being so delicately poised, that if one big hitter like Rudd was to go, it could signal the collapse of Prime Minister Theresa May’s house of cards, and with it the real prospect of a general election or a leadership challenge.
The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush highlights the key relationship between Rudd and May, the latter of whom was home secretary before becoming PM. He suggests Rudd’s hands are tied on the Windrush scandal as she cannot do “the unpicking of the hostile environment policy which represents the major legislative accomplishment of Theresa May’s time at the Home Office and the only legislative accomplishment of May’s time at Downing Street.”
According to Reuters, the PM’s spokesman, responding after today’s urgent question, has said that May has full confidence in the home secretary.
Stephen Lawrence’s father – ‘3 requests to meet her [Rudd] and…no reply’
The father of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was brutally murdered by a gang of white racists 25 years ago in what became a watershed moment for race relations in the UK, has said that Rudd has refused to meet him face to face three times, reports Metro.co.uk.
Dr Neville Lawrence has requested meetings with Rudd in the relation to revelations that he was spied on by undercover policemen, in the wake of his son’s death.
He told Metro.co.uk: “I have never met the woman. I have made three requests to meet her and have not even got a reply from her. I don’t know what more I can do.”
Some may suggest that blanking such a courageous father is hardly the required conduct of a home secretary who is interested in improving race relations between the British state and the black community.
Rudd ridiculed by Police Federation for answer on foodbanks
While addressing the Police Federation conference in 2017, where she maintained that the 1 percent public sector pay cap was justified, she responded to a claim that police officers were having to resort to foodbanks because of low pay by saying: “the average police officer’s earnings is about £40,000 a year so I am surprised to hear that,” reported Politics Home.
She allegedly drew groans from the audience with this response, probably because the figure of £40,000 (US$55,000) she gave is wide of the mark, that some may claim demonstrates a complete lack of understanding in an issue that comes under her jurisdiction.
To put that into context, the website payscale says that a police officer earns an average salary of £30,901 per year. If her counterpart, Diane Abbott, had made such a claim, it would not be unreasonable to suggest the MSM would have had a meltdown, rather than the limited coverage that followed Rudd’s gaffe.
In ‘normal times’, Rudd’s litany of misdemeanors would have led to her removal. However, who can even remember when these normal times were? A UK PM walking the tightrope of Brexit negotiations, propped up by 10 DUP MPs acting as sticking plasters on her unstable premiership, appears to be a godsend right now for the UK home secretary.
@OmarBaggili, RT Journalist
If you like this story, share it with a friend!
The two men, aged 48 and 52, were taken into custody on Wednesday night, as they kept passing in front of the villa in the northern beach resort of Le Touquet, which belongs to Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, Europe 1 reports. Gendarmes were dispatched at the residence and spotted the suspicious drivers, who passed the house three times throughout the night.
The anti-crime brigade arrested the duo after they reportedly sped up in attempt to knock down crossing pedestrians. Already known to the police, the men were drunk and unable to speak.
The detained are suspected of endangering the lives of others, AFP reported, quoting a police source. “They may have been there because there is the [Macron] house but we do not know more,” the source said.
The French leader with his wife was in the US on a three-day state visit.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed on Thursday to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a “military foothold” in Syria. Speaking with Elaph, a news website run by a Saudi businessman, Lieberman also threatened firm retaliation if Israel was attacked by Iran. “If they attack Tel Aviv, we’ll strike Tehran,” he said. The comments came as Lieberman visited Washington to meet US National Security Advisor John Bolton and other officials to discuss what his office called Iran’s “expansion” in the Middle East, AFP reported. Lieberman said of neighboring Syria: “We don’t intervene in the war, don’t fight there, but Iran is trying to establish bases there and attack us from there with advanced arms it brings to them.” On April 9, seven Iranian personnel were among 14 people killed in a strike on the T-4 airbase in Syria, with Iran and Russia blaming Israel for the attack.
This Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet face to face, marking the first such summit in over a decade. The previous intra-Korean event of this level happened in 2007, when Kim’s father, Kim Il-sung, met South Korea’s then leader, Roh Moo-hyun. A year later, the South had a new conservative government, ending a decade of détente with the North and heralding a new era of confrontation.
Coming to power against the backdrop of the impeachment of his conservative predecessor, the disgraced Park Geun-hye, Moon promised voters he would renew attempts at reengaging Pyongyang. North Korea in the past 10 years has made strides in nuclear and rocket technologies, creating what many observers believe to be a credible threat to the South’s patron, the United States. With Donald Trump sending hostile signals from the White House, last year the region seemed to be at risk of a real large-scale war. However, the tension has since eased somewhat, as Kim and Moon took a number of symbolic steps to signal willingness to negotiate.
The upcoming summit is likely to proceed along the same symbolic lines. There will likely be exchanges of gifts alluding to Korea’s rich common history and personal tastes. Kim’s father brought with him a stockpile of rare mushrooms as a gift – then reportedly worth up to $2.6 million – and was given a collection of South Korean movies in return. There will probably be declarations of friendship and mutual hope for the eventual reunification of the two Koreas. The delegations may bring members of families torn apart by the Korean War, whose ability to keep in contact has always been held hostage by the perils of politics. Seoul and Pyongyang may sign a document declaring an intention for a formal peace treaty sometime in the future – a gesture that would not require either side to change its claim to be the sole lawful government of the entire Korean Peninsula.
There may also be small practical steps – small because there is very little that Moon can offer that Kim would want without crossing certain lines. Renewal of tourist tours could work. Restarting business at the Kaesong Industrial Region, a project where the South’s technology and the North’s labor used to work to benefit both sides and build trust, is probably too much. After all, the US insists that Pyongyang should receive no economic relief before surrendering at least part of its nuclear arsenal. But the two parties may agree to withdraw some troops from the demilitarized zone as part of a de-escalation effort.
The fact is, however, that Moon is not the person Kim should be talking to about the core issues of the standoff. He cannot give safety guarantees that would convince the North Koreans that they don’t need nuclear weapons anymore. He cannot have a resolution lifting the sanctions passed through the UN Security Council. Those things will presumably be negotiated with Trump sometime in May or June.
At the same time, the importance of symbolic gestures should not be underestimated. North Korea’s problem has long been its image. Pyongyang has done some fairly bizarre things in the past, such as kidnapping Japanese citizens presumably for training spies or a prominent film director from the South to give a boost to its movie industry. Its human rights record – abysmal in itself – and isolationism spawned a host of activists who would tell horror stories to tabloids, which were never challenged even if their stories sounded ridiculous to the impartial observer. Incidents like the nerve agent assassination of Kim Jong-un’s elder brother, Kim Jong-nam, don’t exactly instill confidence either. Many hawks on North Korea say Pyongyang cannot be negotiated with.
Much of the North Korean Olympic charm offensive, which helped pave the way for the upcoming summit, was aimed at disproving such attitudes. Whatever backchannel agreements Kim and Moon had about not spoiling the games, the North Korean leader seems to have delivered on them. For his part, the South’s president managed to address some of Pyongyang’s concerns, agreeing with the US some changes to the recent joint military exercise that made them less aggressive towards the North.
When viewed as preparation work for a Kim-Trump meeting, the summit will help quell the voices calling for renewed hostilities, and make it somewhat harder to justify a no-compromise position for both sides. If everything goes smoothly, Moon would rightfully score extra points for his policies – something which would be handy for the June elections for local offices and for the seven recently vacated seats in the national parliament. The other players don’t have much at stake in this week’s meeting. Japan may complain about the summit dessert menu hurting the nationalist feelings in Tokyo, but it is Moon’s show to run.
If you like this story, share it with a friend!
In a public opinion poll conducted by the state-run agency VTSIOM in mid-April, 88 percent of Russians told researchers that they were interested in the current situation in Syria, with 39 percent saying they did their best to receive regular news updates on the situation.
When researchers asked Russians about their attitude to their Air Force’s counter-terrorist operation in the Syrian Republic, 39 percent said that they supported it – up from 34 percent in mid-February. A total of 17 percent said that would prefer more active policies, which also represents an increase from 14 percent a month ago. The proportion of those who think that Russia should withdraw from Syria has fallen from 11 to 9 percent over the same period.
66 percent of respondents said that, in their opinion, Russia should continue to support President Bashar Assad – even in the case of a direct attack of the United States. Some 22 percent think that Russian forces in Syria should simply be more cautious in their actions.
Meanwhile, the proportion of those who think that the situation in Syria is deteriorating surged from 17 percent in February to 43 percent in mid-April.
The largest proportion of the Russian respondents – 33 percent – think that their country’s input in Syria would lead to changes for the better. A further 30 percent consider that the consequences of the operation will be negative.
A separate poll conducted by VTSIOM last October showed that 73 percent of Russians believed that their country should continue helping Syria after the armed conflict there is over. An even larger share of respondents – 75 percent – said they would like to see Russia continue sending humanitarian aid to Syria.
Moscow expects inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to present an impartial report on the situation in the Syrian city of Douma, where chemical weapons were allegedly used on April 7, in the near future, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. A group of OPCW experts, which arrived in Douma on April 21 visited the site of the alleged chemical attack twice, she told reporters. “For its part, Russia is providing maximum assistance, primarily, in ensuring security,” the spokeswoman said. She added that Moscow expects “an impartial investigation into the circumstances of the incident and an early report from the OPCW inspectors,” TASS said.
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.