The EU has come in for criticism after the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini both gave their backing to Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate and leader of the movement En Marche!, during a news conference following the first round of the election.

EU Bosses Breach Diplomatic Protocol in Supporting Macron for French President

© Sputnik/ Alexey Vitvitsky
EUROPE

16:33 25.04.2017(updated 16:36 25.04.2017) Get short URL
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The EU has come in for criticism after the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini both gave their backing to Emmanuel Macron, in the middle of the French elections campaign, in a breach of diplomatic protocol.

It is diplomatically unusual for EU officials to voice an opinion about the candidates for any political role in a member state — especially as the race for the French presidency is not over, with a second round of voting slated for May 6.

The final run-off is between the leader of the Front National party, Marine Le Pen and the centrist Emmanuel Macron who only formed his En Marche party in 2016, having resigned from President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party.

Mogherini tweeted her support for Macron in the second round.

​Tweet: “See the flags of #France and the #EU fly to welcome the result of @emmanuelmacron, the hope and the future of our generation.”

One Twitter user, IT Consultant, Diego Prinawrote: “I think that, in your institutional position, it would be better not to comment on the results of any election in the EU.”

Juncker’s spokesman Margaritis Schinas tweeted that the Commission president gave his backing to Macron, who is pro-EU.

​Tweet: “@JunckerEU congratulated @EmmanuelMacron for his result at the first round and wished him good luck for the rest. #Presidentials2017”

The breach of diplomatic protocol was discussed at a press conference, April 25, when Schinas defended his tweet.

“Really the choice was between defending what Europe represents and another option which aims to destroy Europe. So it’s a simple choice and our president therefore thought it would be worthwhile congratulating the candidate who defended the pro-European option,” he said.

“There were not many choices. The choice was rather simple, straightforward. Those who defended what Europe stands for, and those who simply want to destroy Europe.”

The latest opinion poll for BFM TV shows Macron leading by 64 percent to Le Pen’s 36 percent.


Mosul residents flee their homes as Iraqi forces battle the Islamic State group in a street to street fight in west Mosul, Monday, April 24, 2017

Real Life in Iraq’s Mosul: No Food Left and Children Starving to Death

© AP Photo/ Bram Janssen
MIDDLE EAST

17:07 25.04.2017Get short URL
Military Operation to Retake Mosul From Daesh (198)
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Sputnik Arabic was able to talk to a young female resident of the Iraqi city of Mosul, who was able to flee it and who revealed what’s really happening in this urban settlement: since the start of the offensive to liberate it from Daesh last October prices on food have jumped so high that many locals can now afford to eat only “every other day.”

For example, she said, her friends, who still remain in the city, say that one liter of oil for a heater which is also used as a cooking stove, now costs 10,000 Iraqi dinars, which is a little over $8.5. One kilogram of potatoes or onions is worth 25,000 ($22), one kilo of sugar 10,000 ($8.5).

The prices, she said, have forced many locals to give up their favorite drink, black tea. Many people in Mosul can now afford to eat not more than once a day, while many can only afford to eat “every other day.”

Since the start of the operation to liberate the city from Daesh, on October 17, 2016, the militants have been using children and their parents as human shields. Due to the lack of food, she said, children are suffering the most, with many dying from starvation.

Residents receive food at a distribution point in Mosul, Iraq, April 10, 2017
© REUTERS/ ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES
Residents receive food at a distribution point in Mosul, Iraq, April 10, 2017

“When I was in the al-Jadaa refugee camp, I met a woman whose 11-month-old baby died because of dwindling milk when she was breastfeeding him, and there was no powdered baby milk to substitute it with,” the lady told Sputnik.

When she lost her milk she attempted to leave Mosul and reach the Iraqi government army.

She was stopped by a militant who asked where she was going. When she answered that she has lost milk and there was no powdered baby milk, he turned her back into the city with the words: “Get back where you came from. You are no better than me, and I have lost two children.”

She was forced to get back home and lost her baby, who died in her arms from hunger.In the mosques of the Tamuz district of western Mosul, every other day prayers are heard for a child who has died of hunger, the lady said.

She also told another story: when the hunger became unbearable, one of the residents took his family and went to one of the militants’ abandoned headquarters. They thought that the government army would start bombing it and they would face a swift death, without any suffering. However, she said, God decided otherwise and the district was liberated the next day.

Most of the residents, she said, are eating wheat which they collect themselves. Even onions have become delicacy. There are extremely poor districts, such as al Rifai, where people are eating mostly dried bread, and Tamuz, where people are eating grass, which is also coming to an end, she concluded.

Sputnik


Trump “Sold” Turkey US Approval to Attack Iraq

Kurdish bombing may be based on Trump business deal

A Turkish F-16 prepares to taxi while another one takes off at 3rd Main Jet Air Base

 

Editor’s note:  It was a small story in a Dallas paper a month ago, from the Dallas Morning News on March 25, 2017:

The Trump family won’t be putting up any money to build the hotels. Instead, their company, the Trump Organization, plans to get local real estate developers and their investors to foot the bill, as do most major hotel chains.

One of the first going up could be in Dallas. A development company there originally planned to raise money from unnamed investors in Kazakhstan, Turkey and Qatar, but recently told the Dallas Morning News that it now will tap only the company’s U.S. partners.

What is key to this is how Trump is raising cash, direct payoffs to his personal wealth laundered through the Trump and Alterra hotel companies, cash payoffs from foreign governments paying for US attacks, arms deals and for US diplomatic support for ethnic cleansing and support of terrorism.

We are seeing the Kosher Nostra in action.  From Sputnik News:

It is likely that Ankara’s attacks against the positions of the Syrian Kurdish militia and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq were carried out with tacit approval of the US-led coalition, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) told Sputnik, calling upon the coalition to make an assessment of the situation.

Ankara could not have struck the positions of Kurdish militias in northern Syria and Iraq without receiving approval from the US-led coalition in the first place, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Sputnik Turkey.

On April 25, Turkish warplanes conducted airstrikes against suspected positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Sinjar (Shingal) in northern Iraq and the PYD-affiliated Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, near the town of Derik in the Qerecox mountains.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey, and the YPG is seen by Ankara as being affiliated with the outlawed PKK.

“Iraqi Sinjar and Syria’s Qerecox have become a layer for the PKK and its affiliates, which are carrying out terrorist attacks and are attacking our troops [and] civilians. Aiming to wipe out these havens that are threatening the unity of our nation and the unity and security of the country, we carried out an aerial operation in Sinjar in the north of Iraq and in northeast Syria at 00:00 GMT on April 25. Terrorist targets were hit,” the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

Speaking to Sputnik, Salih Muslim underscored that as a result of the Turkish airstrike against Karacok and its environs in northern Syria, at least four villages were subjected to the attacks. Civilians fell victim to the Turkish onslaught both in northern Syria and Iraq’s Sinjar region.

Muslim pointed out that the Kurds expected an airstrike from Turkey.

“Almost every day [ahead of the attack] the Turkish military had been shelling villages in the region using tanks and howitzers,” Muslim told Sputnik, “But we did not expect a strike of this magnitude: 26 Turkish Air Force fighters took part in the air attack.”

The co-chairman of the PYD stressed that the planes of the Turkish Armed Forces could not have carried out the operation without the consent and approval of the coalition forces led by the United States.

“Without the approval of the [US-led] coalition, Turkey could not have carried out such an operation, its aircraft would not have entered the airspace over the region,” Muslim said, “The coalition should make a statement about the attack of the Turkish fighters and clarify whether they knew in advance about the impending strike. They should comment on this move and make an assessment of the situation.”

Muslim also stressed that “the Turkish Armed Forces’ strike will affect the operation to liberate Raqqa,” the de-facto capital of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria.

In November 2016, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces launched an operation codenamed the Wrath of Euphrates (also referred to as Euphrates Rage), to expel Daesh from its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

On April 14, the US-backed SDF announced the start of the fourth phase of the operation aimed at clearing rural areas of Raqqa from terrorists, who seized the city back in January 2014.

Commenting on the issue, Rudaw, an Erbil-based Kurdish media group, reported that five factions in the Kurdistan Parliament strongly condemned the bombing of Mount Shingal by Turkish warplanes on Tuesday and called upon the international community to stop Ankara.

“The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Change Movement (Gorran), Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU, Ykegirtu) Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement, unanimously issued a statement saying ‘once again, Turkish warplanes violated the sovereignty of the land of the Kurdistan Region and bombed the bases of Peshmerga and [PKK affiliated] fighters as well as people’s public places and other areas’,” the media outlet wrote.

Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds have mounted since July 2015 after a ceasefire between the Turkish leadership and the PKK collapsed.

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