02 Mar

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

For a change from the same old news stories from the same old news networks, here are links to English-edition online newspapers from other parts of the world. Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers, with an emphasis on the Middle East and Asia. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Some of the available newspapers:

Asia & CIS


China & Hong Kong










Diplomats issue a new border alarm 

Nina Berglund

Two top diplomats in Norway’s foreign ministry have warned that the pressure on Europe’s borders will only increase, and that border blockades in the Balkans will lead to another influx of asylum seekers over Russia’s border to Norway. They also warn of the “perfect political storm” in Europe, in an internal ministry memorandum obtained by newspaper VG that was supposed to be kept confidential.

Norway shares a border with Russia in the far north, and is concerned that relations are getting more difficult because of increasingly authoritarian policies during Russian President Vladimir Putin's second term. PHOTO: Utenriksdepartementet

Norway shares a border with Russia in the far northeast that’s likely, according to Norwegian diplomats, to experience a new influx of people fleeing mostly Syria and Afghanistan, and seeking asylum in Norway and elsewhere in Europe. PHOTO: Utenriksdepartementet

VG made the memorandum public on Tuesday, just as thousands of desperate people fleeing war and terrorism were left stranded at the border between Macedonia and Greece. Macedonia closed its border and even resorted to fending off the asylum seekers with tear gas this week, putting beleaguered Greece under ever more pressure. Greece is unable to care for the thousands of migrants still arriving on its shores every day and now stuck with onward routes blocked. That’s in turn leading to more social unrest in an EU country that’s been under severe economic pressure for years……………



Legislators accuse Justice Department of overreaching and undermining privacy but warn Apple it’s ‘not going to like’ a congressionally mandated solution

FBI director James Comey appeared in front of Congress on Tuesday to be questioned on his organization’s demand that Apple help them to unlock the iPhone of a terror suspect. Speaking to the House judiciary committee, Comey says he is not asking Apple to build a back door, but instead to ‘take the vicious guard dog away and let us pick the lock’. Apple is resisting the demand through the courts, with the case expected to be heard later this month

The Justice Department is on a “fool’s errand” trying to force Apple to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, lawmakers told FBI director James Comey on Tuesday.

Lawmakers of both parties sharply challenged Comey as the House judiciary committee considered the FBI’s court order to unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, who with his wife killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, in December and was killed by law enforcement.

Legislators repeatedly accused the Justice Department of overreaching its authority and undermining both privacy and cybersecurity. Several endorsed Congress passing a law settling the boundaries – something Apple supports – and accused the FBI of trying to circumvent Congress by launching a lawsuit against Apple.

“Can you appreciate my frustration with what appears to be little more than an end-run around this committee?” asked Democratic congressman John Conyers. Representative Zoe Lofgren called FBI demands to weaken Apple’s security a “fool’s errand” that undermined cybersecurity.

Comey, a well-respected figure in Congress, likened impenetrable digital encryption used to protect customer’s privacy such as that of Apple to a “vicious guard dog”……………


Three sheriff’s deputies are alleged to have made inmates fight each under threat of being beaten and tased; top city sheriff calls charges ‘very serious’

The inmates say the deputies were placing bets on the fight, and that they were instructed to avoid punching each other in the face so that any injuries would not show.

The inmates say the deputies were placing bets, and that they were instructed to avoid punching each other in the face so that any injuries would not show. Photograph: Anthony Brown / Alamy/Alamy

Three San Francisco sheriff’s deputies were charged Tuesday for allegedly forcing jail inmates to face off in gladiator-style fights and wagering on the bouts for their own entertainment.

In announcing the charges, San Francisco district attorney George Gascón called the behavior of deputy sheriffs Eugene Jones and Clifford Chiba, and former deputy Scott Neu, “serious crimes that damage the moral authority of law enforcement.

“Subjecting inmates who are in the care and custody of the state to degrading and inhumane treatment,” Gascón said in written statement, “makes a mockery of our justice system and undermines any efforts towards rehabilitation.”

What authorities are calling a non-consensual “fight club” behind bars first came to light when the father of an inmate, who had been forced to fight a year ago, alerted his son’s public defender. Other inmates later came forward…………….


The chief financial adviser for the Vatican and Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic cleric has concluded a third day of evidence before Australia’s royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse

George Pell

Australian Cardinal George Pell arrives the Quirinale hotel in Rome, from where he is giving evidence to Australia’s child sex abuse royal commission via videolink. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

A recap of the day’s evidence

  • Child sexual abuse survivors from Ballarat watching Pell’s evidence in Rome have just held a press conference calling for a meeting with the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis. They say they have grown frustrated with Pell’s evidence. While some would still be willing to meet with Pell, their priority is a meeting with Pope Francis.

  • Pell says the senior figures around him deceived him about the extent of abuse within the Catholic church. But counsel assisting, Gail Furness, didn’t accept Pell’s evidence that he was unaware of the abuse inflicted on children by Father Ridsdale and Searson.

  • Furness also did not accept Pell’s evidence that senior figures who worked alongside him who knew of the abuse deliberately didn’t tell him about it.

  • For the second time in two days, Furness told Pell his evidence was “implausible” adding it was “designed to deflect blame”.

  • Furness and the commission chair, Justice Peter McClellan, have finished their questioning. Lawyers representing have begun their questioning of Pell and this will continue tomorrow…………..


Exclusive: European commission says that while external borders need strengthening, collapse of free movement zone could damage business and deter tourists

Refugees stand in queue to receive food distributed by a non-governmental organization, at a refugee camp in the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni.

Refugees stand in queue to receive food distributed at a refugee camp in the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

European Union countries are being urged to lift internal border controls before the end of the year, to save the “crowning achievement” of the passport-free travel zone from total collapse, according to a draft report by the European commission.

Walls, fences and border checks have returned across Europe as the EU struggles to cope with the biggest inflow of refugees since the end of the second world war. Since September 2015, eight countries in the 26-nation passport-free Schengen zone have re-instated border checks.

These controls “place into question the proper functioning of the Schengen area of free movement”, according to the draft report seen by the Guardian, which will be published on Friday. “It is now time for member states to pull together in the common interest to safeguard one of the union’s crowning achievements.”…………….


US politics

Election 2016


election results

Trump and Clinton win seven states and start to look toward general election even as Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders each claim victory in multiple states

Super Tuesday lived up to its name with big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, modest gains for Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, outright disappointments for the rest of the GOP field and a special appearance by Chris Christie. Watch the Guardian’s wrap of the night’s events

  • This report is based on 11 out of 12 states reporting. Alaska was still to be called.

A pitched battle for the White House between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton moved closer to becoming reality as both leapt further ahead in the battleground states of a marathon Super Tuesday.

On the most important night of the presidential race so far, Clinton ground down the challenge from Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. She beat him in seven of the 11 states contested by the Democrats, including the delegate-rich prizes of Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Sanders, who won in his home state of Vermont, finished the night strongly, with victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma. He has made clear he has a big war chest and insists he will fight all the way to the July Democratic convention.

In the Republican race, Trump won seven of the 11 states, taking a commanding lead in the bitterly fought race for the Republican nomination.

Maverick Texas senator Ted Cruz won his home state as well as Oklahoma and Alaska, while the establishment’s last, fading hope, Florida senator Marco Rubio, was left substantially adrift, although he did belatedly record his first win of 2016 in Minnesota…………….

Supreme court nomination unresolved after meeting with Obama – video


There are more and more refugees at Europe’s gates, but teargas and barbed wire are not the answer

Macedonian riot police patrol at the border with Greece at Gevgelija

Macedonian riot police patrol at the border with Greece at Gevgelija. Photograph: Marko Djurica/Reuters

Europe is approaching the point where the only way to control desperate migrants could soon be the regular use of physical force. Scenes of violence this week on the Greek-Macedonian border, where refugees breached a border fence with a homemade battering ram, and in Calais, where police fired teargas at people protesting against the demolition of their shelters, suggest we are close to a line that we absolutely must not cross.

Europe is already guilty of causing the deaths of many migrants by giving them, in effect, no alternative except to risk their lives at sea or on the tracks leading into the Channel tunnel. That is bad enough, and a stain on the record, but to actually battle with migrants in this way is worse. Who can doubt that, if it continues, there will be deaths and injuries? Another kind of violence, in the shape of attacks on those who have reached a supposedly safe haven and are in hostels and centres in Germany and elsewhere, compounds the offence.

Nothing has changed about Europe’s migration crisis, including the continued failure to find an answer to it, except that it is getting worse. The United Nations high commissioner for refugees reported on Tuesday that about 130,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean in the first two months of this year, more than the total in the first half of 2015. Winter and high seas have not stopped them, and when the weather gets better there are almost certainly going to be even more on the move.

The numbers involved are huge and the resistance in Europe to taking so many is serious and becoming more entrenched. The answer, on paper, is to share the burden fairly between European countries, on the one hand, and between Europe and the region from which most refugees come, on the other. The first difficulty is that the more generous countries, which also happen to be those that are the preferred migrant destinations, soon felt overwhelmed. They began to impose some controls…………….



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