02 Mar

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Boris Nemtsov: tens of thousands march in memory of murdered politician

Mood of quiet dismay as crowds mourn Vladimir Putin’s adversary who was gunned down near the Kremlin on Friday

They came with placards and plaintive cries of “shame” – a vast column of mourners snaking through central Moscow to commemorate the latest Russian opposition figure to meet a wretched fate.

But as tens of thousands trudged through the bone-chilling Moscow drizzle to pay their last respects to Boris Nemtsov, the adversary of Vladimir Putin, gunned down a stone’s throw from the Kremlin on Friday night, the mood was more one of quiet dismay rather than explosive anger.

It was the biggest Moscow demonstration since the protests of 2011 – 12, which shook Putin’s leadership to the core. Police estimates of about 20,000 participants were well short of the mark. Those who turned up said more with their quiet placards than with any bold actions. ………………….



John Kerry (right) shakes hand with Sergei Lavrov prior to the Geneva talks.

John Kerry (right) shakes hand with Sergei Lavrov prior to the Geneva talks. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AFP/Getty Images

Kerry and Lavrov meet in Geneva for Ukraine talks

US secretary of state expected to warn Russia that US and EU are already working on fresh sanctions if ceasefire deal fails to hold firm

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, and Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, were expected to meet in Geneva to shore up a shaky two-week old ceasefire in Ukraine.

Monday’s talks in a Geneva hotel came less than a week after Kerry accused Moscow of lying about its involvement in the conflict, which has claimed 6,000 lives.

Ukrainian security officials said on Sunday no Ukrainian soldiers had been killed over the past 24 hours. Both sides have also begun to pull back heavy weaponry from the frontline, with rebels claiming they would complete the pullout by the end of the weekend.

Monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OECD) have reported weapons movements on both sides but said it was too early to confirm a full pullback………………..



LAPD officers shoot dead homeless man after street altercation

A video taken by a passerby appears to show police officers wrestling the man to the ground before shots are heard

Police officers shot and killed a homeless man in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday in a dramatic confrontation caught on video.

Five officers grappled on a pavement with a man known as Africa before shooting him five times in front of horrified onlookers.

The victim, whose full name has not been made public, was pronounced dead shortly after the encounter, which unfolded just before midday in skid row, a neighbourhood of homeless people and shelters close to the financial district.

Sergeant Barry Montgomery, an LAPD spokesman, told LA television station KTLA the incident would be fully investigated. “It’s going to be a long investigation and we will, you know, get to the bottom of it.” The department did not immediately respond to a Guardian request for elaboration.

People at the scene and on social media expressed shock that a scuffle on a busy street in broad daylight ended with lethal force, putting police violence under renewed scrutiny in the wake of protests over fatal encounters in Ferguson, New York and other cities……………………


Homan Square protesters demand Chicago police ‘black site’ be shut down – video

The police warehouse ‘black site’ at the epicentre of public outcry over allegations of abuse and withheld rights is the site of a major demonstration Saturday. Military veterans, local organisers and supporters of the hactivist collective Anonymous confront officers and Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, over concerns that, as one protester puts it, ‘the Chicago police are starting to view the public as enemy combatants’


Other News

o   North Korea fires ballistic missiles as United States carries out military drills

China increases its aid contribution to Pacific Island nations

Nigerian mob kills girl accused of being suicide bomber




Barack Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu with President Barack Obama at a meeting in the White House in October 2014. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

Netanyahu will not be judged kindly for thwarting a nuclear deal with Iran

By Christopher de Bellaigue

It seems remarkable that the Israeli prime minister wants to torpedo diplomatic efforts that could heal Tehran’s relations with the west and his own country

Binyamin Netanyahu will address the joint houses of the US Congress tomorrow, but he will be boycotted by many Democrats – including the vice-president, Joe Biden.

Controversy over the visit, less than three weeks before Israeli elections, has centred on his incursions into US politics and their implications for one of the most successful bilateral relationships of modern times.

Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, has called Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation to address the Republican-dominated Congress on the administration’s continuing negotiations with Iran “destructive to the fabric” of US-Israeli relations. Her comment elicited furious reactions from hard-line Jewish groups. At the same time, many other American Jews–and many Israelis–have been squirming at Netanyahu’s abandonment of the universally accepted principle of keeping out of the internal politics of an ally.

The burden of Netanyahu’s message will be that the deal now in sight of the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany (the so-called P5+1), on the one hand, and Iran on the other is – as he has already put it – “dangerous for Israel, the region and the world”.

Whatever one thinks of Netanyahu, and whether or not his Washington gambit will win him votes, this is the crux of the matter: no Iran deal will work if it does not dispel for the foreseeable future the possibility of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic. No deal can work if it gives Israel genuine cause to feel vulnerable.

Everything we know about the negotiations over the past 14 months suggests the deal being hammered out looks like being a good one for Israel. A comparison with the situation as recently as two years ago suggests that the current interim agreement signed by Iran and the powers in November 2013 – which Netanyahu denounced as a “historic mistake” – has been a good one too……………….



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