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Ukraine opposition leaders are calling for a general strike after their parliamentary allies failed to topple the government in a vote of no confidence. Protesters are also threatening to tighten their blockade of key buildings amid the deepening crisis over the government’s rejection of closer ties with the European Union. Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen has criticised the crackdown on protesters: “We condemn the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine. We call on all parties to refrain from provocations and violence.”And US Secretary of State John Kerry has also voiced concerns. “We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of the people who want to live in freedom and we urge all sides to conduct themselves peacefully. Violence has no place in a modern European state.”Despite protester calls for him to resign Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych has left the country for China as a gesture of confidence that security can be maintained at home. Our correspondent Maria Korenyuk who is in Kyiv said:“Among the thousands of protesters here few really believe that President Victor Yanukovych will accept their demands for a change of government. Meanwhile the prime minister has already said that he is ready to make some changes but he didn’t say what.”
Delegates from 25 African countries and five Asian nations have drawn up a plan to address the upsurge in elephant poaching and illegal ivory trading .Meeting at a conference in Botswana, the countries are set to sign a memorandum of understanding – setting out a series of urgent measures.“The fact is that this level of illegal off-take is unsustainable. In 2012, it was estimated that a minimum of 20,000 elephants were illegally killed across monitored sites in the continent,” Botswana’s President Ian Khama told delegates.As many as 20 percent of Africa’s elephants could be killed within 10 years if poaching continues at current rates, according to data released at the conference.
Several thousand anti-government protesters rallied in Kyiv’s Independence Square on Tuesday afternoon. They’re upset about the Ukrainian parliament’s earlier rejection of a motion to hold a government confidence vote.Tensions have remained high since President Viktor Yanukovych pulled Ukraine away from an EU trade deal which would have brought greater integration with Europe. In freezing conditions, opposition leaders gave passionate speeches.Arseniy Yatsenyuk, leader of the opposition party Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) said: “Parliament did not vote for the resignation of the disgraceful Ukrainian government, the most disgraceful one in Ukrainian history. Shame on Azarov!” His speech was followed by chants of “together till the end” from the crowd.Vitali Klitschko, leader of the opposition party Udar (Punch) said: “Each of us will fight, and each of us will be the winner. Our entire country will be the winner.”After the speeches, the crowd moved to the presidential palace. That’s where we’ve seen some of the most intense violence and clashes between police and protesters. The crowd is angry with the government but furious about the heavy police reaction to the demonstrations. The protesters initially wanted to change the government’s mind over the EU trade deal. Now they want a change of government.Meanwhile, Yanukovych is out of the country. He left Ukraine on a scheduled state visit to China on Tuesday leaving behind a country in turmoil. So far, he has shown no signs of stepping down.
Just hours after the Ukrainian parliament rejected the no-confidence motion in the Yanukovych government Russia’s Gazprom and the Ukrainian energy giant Naftagaz said they had agreed on a deal that will ease Ukraine’s bills over the winter.Gazprom will accept deferred payment in the spring for gas supplies delivered in October, November and December. It was the carrot after the stick of threatened trade sanctions if Ukraine turned away from Moscow.But it is not much of a carrot, and it will not go far.“It’s a small nation when it comes to the broader euro zone but it is a story that could rattle investor nerves especially if there is some sort of contagion that goes through other eastern European countries,” says ETX market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi.Ukraine has a large debt repayment due soon, and desperately needs cash to pay monthly bills let alone investment capital for the future. Moscow said it would make it worth Kyiv’s while to reject the EU, but the markets are having their say and attacking the hyrvnia. A foreign exchange crisis is on the cards, with only 20.6 billion in the bank, only enough to cover two and a half month’s worth of imports. Set against this backdrop it is easy to understand the current generation of Ukrainians saying they have seen nothing worth having out of these last 20 years, and are dead set against another 20 of stagnation. In fact the risk is of much worse if Ukraine does not sort out its economy. Worse, a Ukrainian collapse could have regional repercussions, with economic malaise spreading into eastern Europe, and even Russia may not be immune to some economic blowback should Ukraine fail.
The communities around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant are still waiting for their lives to return to some kind of normality – 1,000 days after the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl. By the end of October, only 28.5 percent of houses, 33.2 percent of roads and 12.3 percent of forests had been cleaned, according to the Fukushima Department of Environment. The Japanese government has extended the time-frame the clean-up of the exclusion zone around the plant, initially due to be completed by next March, until 2017. Officials have cited several difficulties as reasons for pushing back the timetable, including finding space to store contaminated waste. Endo Kouzou, Supervisor for Decontamination Operations at the Fukushima Department of Environment said: “It is very hard to earn support from locals in terms of where to put the contaminated materials. This is the biggest problem. Another thing is that, despite various decontamination operations, radiation cannot be eliminated once for all.” Tens of thousands of people have been unable to return to their homes. Many residents, in temporary accommodation for more than three years, are frustrated at the slow place of the clean-up. One displaced woman said: “I feel down because we can’t get back the life we had. We are a very happy family, being forced to live separately. Nothing can be done to return things to how they were.” “I have children. I hope they can remove the pollution faster, so I can get my life back,” complained another man. The full process of recovery at Fukushima, including decommissioning the ruined reactors, is expected to take decades.
Suddenly after days of tear gas and rubber bullets hundreds of cleaners in Bangkok have come out in force to clear up the debris strewn streets.The day before, the prime minister ordered police to stop battling the ant-government protesters, but this lull is for another reason:“The time has come to clean up before paying respects to the king on his birthday …... we will take a break from protesting for two or three days,” explained one Bangkok resident.The government hopes its sharp reversal in strategy will defuse the conflict that has killed five people and wounded hundreds more, but as one protester said, “this is just a step towards victory for us but it is not complete.”While Thailand’s military claims the threat of a coup has passed, the opposition says it will continue the campaign to try to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to keep her brother Thaksin from returning to power.
A federal judge has ruled that the city of Detroit should be protected from its creditors making it the first time in US history that a major city has been declared bust.Detroit had filed for bankruptcy protection more than four months ago but a coalition including retired city employees sued to block it.Dave Bing who is Mayor of Detroit was one of a team who wanted to avoid bankruptcy:“I believe that since I came to office, with the crisis that we had, this was inevitable. I don’t think anybody necessarily wanted to go in this direction, but now that we are here, it’s more important that we work together as opposed to continuing to fight each other.”“While we are very pleased, we remain very concerned about the need to adjust the city’s debt, to improve its level of services for its citizens and to also prepare for the city to exit this receivership in a fashion that restores democracy,” said State appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.Detroit, once a major car-making city has been in decline for years. Public employees had feared the judges ruling as their pensions are likely to be threatened.
The UK government is to sell its 40 percent stake in Eurostar as part of a plan to privatise 24bn euros of financial and corporate assets by 2020.In the past, coalition ministers have maintained that the Eurostar stake would be retained. The company, which is majority-owned by the French state rail firm, SNCF, more than doubled profits to 62mn euros last year.Last month Eurostar revealed it had seen an increase in revenues and passenger numbers compared with last summer.
At least four people have been killed and more than a dozen injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up in central Damascus on Tuesday afternoon, according to Syrian state television. The TV station described the bomber as “wearing an explosive belt” which he exploded in the Jebbeh district of the Jisr al-Abyad neighbourhood “causing deaths and injuries.” Britain-based watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the target appeared to be a government building in the capital.
Tens of thousands of people have been gathering outside the parliament in Kyiv demanding that the government resign.Opposition parties have called for a vote of no confidence in the administration of President Victor Yanukovych, after he pulled the country away from closer ties with the EU. There has also been anger at the subsequent clampdown on protests that followed Yanukovych’s decision.“The government has no trust and never had it over the past three years under Yanukovych’s rule. We have to get rid of this government and get rid of Yanukovych,” said Yuri Yarinovsky, a member of the Svoboda (Freedom) Party.Opposition leaders say they believe they can win the no confidence vote.Speaking on Tuesday morning, UDAR party leader Vitali Klitschko addressed the President in a speech, warning that he mustn’t become a dictator.But Yanukovich and the ruling Party of Regions have shown no signs of stepping down.
A Russian judge on Tuesday found dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko guilty of an acid attack that nearly blinded the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet. After a month-long trial, the judge said Dmitrichenko and two co-defendants had intentionally caused grievous bodily harm to the victim, Sergei Filin. State prosecutors have asked for a nine-year prison sentence for Dmitrichenko, 29. Judge Yelena Maximova is expected to issue a sentence later on Tuesday. The attack on the night of Jan. 17, which badly damaged Filin’s eyesight, revealed bitter rivalries behind the scenes of the Bolshoi Theatre and damaged the reputation of one of Russia’s most prominent cultural institutions.Dmitrichenko has acknowledged he wanted Filin roughed up and had given co-defendant Yuri Zarutsky the go-ahead to hit him, but said he had not wanted acid to be used. He pleaded not guilty.Reading out the verdict as the defendants sat in a courtroom cage, the judge said Dmitrichenko had told co-defendant Yuri Zarutsky on the night of the attack that Filin was on his way home from the theatre. Zarutsky, who has admitted guilt, has said that throwing acid in Filin’s face was his own idea and he had not told Dmitrichenko of his plan. A third defendant, Andrei Lipatov, was accused of driving Zarutsky to and from the scene of the crime. REUTERS
The Thai government has ordered police to remove barricades outside police and government headquarters and to allow protesters inside.A spokesperson said the government wanted to avoid any further confrontation and violence.The move followed clashes over the weekend and on Monday where anti-government protesters tried to storm the prime minister’s office.The Thai prime minister has rejected protesters’ demands that she step down. Yingluck Shinawatra said it would be unconstitutional but that she was open to negotiations.The demonstrators accuse Ms Yingluck’s government of being controlled by her brother, ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra and want to replace it with a n unelected ‘people’s council.’
Lebanon’s army is to take charge of security in the country’s second largest city of Tripoli.The mission is to last for six months following deadly sectarian clashes linked to the war in Syria.Violence has recently flared in the city between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.Lebanon is still struggling after its own civil war and many fear violence overspilling from neighbouring Syria could reignite it.
The international community has turned its focus on the crisis in Ukraine. Speaking at a UN event in Lima, the organisation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke of his concern. “I appeal to all parties to act with restraint, avoid any further violence and to uphold the democratic principles of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”In Washington reports of journalists and members of the media being assaulted were described as ‘disturbing’ by White House press secretary Jay Carney:“Violence and intimidation should have no place in today’s Ukraine. We continue to support the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to achieve a prosperous European democracy. European integration is the surest course to economic growth and to strengthening Ukraine’s democracy.”EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has not given up on the trade pact at the centre of the dispute and says discussions will continue. Meanwhile Ukraine’s president is to visit China as planned despite the turmoil back home.
Thai protest leader Suthep Thaugsubanhas vowed to escalate his campaign to topple the country’s government.Attempts by his followers on Monday to storm Bangkok’s police headquarters were thwarted but Suthep said the assault would resume on Tuesday.He remains defiant despite the issue of a warrant for his arrest on charges of insurrection.“I will probably be imprisoned,” he told a rally of anti-government protesters. “ But I, Suthep Thaugsuban, will never run away like their boss [Thaksin] who ran away overseas from a prison sentence.”Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called for talks with the opposition but stressed she will not hand over power to an unelected council as demanded by Suthep.The political crisis is Thailand’s worst since the bloody unrest in 2010. Government critics claim Yingluck is a puppet of her brother Thaksin who was ousted in a coup..Both sides are becoming increasingly polarised as the unrest which is concentrated near government buildings, intensifies.
While Ukraine’s prime minister said the mass protests had got “out of control” and the situation “resembled a coup”, the president appealed for calm in an interview with journalists from four TV channels.Viktor Yanukovych appeared to acknowledge the right to demonstrate and to free speech.“As for the people who came out to the rallies, any show of public will is always confirmed by everybody’s freedom and right to speak their mind. It is important that these rallies have a peaceful character. It doesn’t matter if it is the representatives of the government, law enforcement agencies or the participants of the rallies – all must respect the law,” he said.“I am convinced that a bad peace is better than a good war,” Viktor Yanukovych added.The president also accused protesters of “hiding behind children” in occupying official buildings.He called on government and opposition to unite in investigating events connected to mass rallies and identify what he called “provocateurs”. The president’s younger son Viktor Yanukovych Jr, an MP with the ruling Party of Regions, has blamed protesters for violence towards the police.Meanwhile it was reported that the two heads of the MP’s press service had resigned from their posts, citing the forceful dispersal of demonstrators as the main reason.In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said “the violence by government authorities against peaceful demonstrators in Kiev on Saturday morning was unacceptable”. He described reports of journalists and media being assaulted and targeted by security forces as “disturbing”.
Heavy discounting took a toll on US high street stores during the Thanskgiving weekend as shoppers spent nearly 3 percent less than they did a year earlier.It points to a difficult Christmas for many shops but there’s a bright spot according to the National Retail Foundation which recorded a significant rise in online sales.Figures from the four-day period which includes Black Friday – stateside the biggest shopping day of the year – are expected to show US total spending to reach 42 billion euros.The trend is expected to be repeated this side of the water. In London, many people prowl the high street for coveted goods before snapping them up online “I spend a lot of time looking around. I look at different sites I check a lot of different websites.” – said Kimberley, a shopper in London.“See something you want on the high street go touchy feelie, which is what I love, then go an buy it online.” – said another shopper, Lee.Retailers are also being aggressive online as they look to benefit from Cyber Monday – the biggest sales day of the year for e-commerce.With sales starting as early as Sunday some commentators are referring to this as “Cyber Week” as more and more shoppers scan various stores in search of bigger bargains.1.14..ends
Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Kyiv’s Independence Square on Monday and hundreds more occupied government buildings.The protests are against President Viktor Yanukovych’s policy U-turn on Europe.Yanukovych called on Monday for only peaceful rallies and appealed to both protesters and police to observe the law. “Any bad peace is better than a good war”, he said.Hundreds more broke into Kyiv’s city hall and were occupying the building on Monday evening. The protesters also blocked the entrances to the Cabinet of Ministers building.Nationalist leader Oleh Tyahniboh told crowds “Today literally 40 minutes ago, our boys took the Kiev Council.”Yanukovych plans to leave Ukraine on Tuesday on a scheduled four-day state visit to China. In Kyiv, euronews correspondent Maria Korenyuk has the latest.“Roads to almost all governmental institutions in Kiev are blocked with human chains. The movement of traffic along the few main roads of the centre is blocked. Today the protests have been peaceful. Coordinators call on people not to respond to provocations and not to let peaceful protest to turn to violent clashes.”
The screen shows a man already immobile on the ground. A euronews cameraman is filming. A policeman screams at him to stop.Roman Kupriyanov keeps filming. The audio track records the sounds of boots to his head, ribs and hands – and Kupriyanov’s groans and grunts. He said they knew what they were doing, and that a man trying to intervene, shouting ‘he’s media!’ was beaten even more severely. Kurpriyanov was wearing his credentials clearly.[View the story “#euromaidan protests in Ukraine” on Storify]The Kyiv Post English-language daily counted 40 attacks against journalists and photographers. Kyiv Post journalist Olga Rudenko told euronews the video is an example of the riot squad’s deliberate actions to destroy recording equipment, including mobile phones.Danish freelancer Johannes Wamberg Anderson said he was hit 30 times by police with clubs, in spite of holding up his journalist’s ID card.Kyiv Post’s Rudenko said: “I don’t think we can say this was a spontaneous initiative taken by ordinary riot police. I think it’s safe to assume that they were given a specific order to do that. I would like to believe that it’s not a plan to intimidate journalists, but the facts suggest otherwise, suggest orders from the authorities. We have not had any official statements from top commanders or people in charge at the Interior Ministry condemning these acts. Because there is a lack of strong condemnation of such acts from the government, we suggest it is a deliberate attempt to intimidate the media.”Fidel Pavlenko, head of the euronews Ukrainian service, spoke with Kyiv correspondent Maria Korenyuk. Fidel Pavlenko, euronews: “Maria, do the opposition and protest leaders have concrete plans of action for the immediate future, while the demos and meetings continue in central Kyiv?”Maria Korenyuk, euronews: “The opposition leaders have been talking to the media here. Vitali Klychko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok presented their immediate action plans for Tuesday. In parliament, the opposition leaders have already filed a draft resolution of no confidence in the government. They hope a no confidence vote will be the first item on the parliament agenda tomorrow morning. According to Ukrainian law, the government may be sacked by order of the president or by parliament. The opposition leaders do not expect President Viktor Yanukovych to fire his cabinet, so they are hoping for the MPs’ vote of no confidence. Someone asked them about their plans if the motion doesn’t get enough votes, and they declined to elaborate; they said their demands – after the resignation of the government – include calling snap parliamentary and presidential elections.”Pavlenko: “Were the opposition leaders taken by surprise by the scale of the protests – from tens to hundreds of thousands of people within a week?”Korenyuk: “It is really difficult to say whether the opposition expected people to turn out in such huge numbers. A week ago on Sunday the opposition called on the supporters of European integration to come and make their feelings known. Even so, the opposition was taken by surprise to see around 100,000 people turn up. But after a brutal crack-down on the peaceful protesters by riot police on Friday night, huge numbers of people joined the protests, with estimates of between 500,000 to a million people in the streets of Kyiv. At that point, the opposition was not ready, and the leaders didn’t know how to control and lead such huge protests. The proof is that the opposition leaders were not at any of the hot-spots where clashes took place between protesters and the police. But in all their statements they still insist that they are well in control of the crowds and of the situation as a whole.” Pavlenko: “Only a week ago the mass rallies in Kyiv and other cities were dominated by pro-European slogans. Is European integration still high on the protesters’ agenda, or are we hearing different demands now?”Korenyuk: “We can safely say that the issues of the Association Agreement with the EU now take second place. The initial hopes for closer ties with Europe have been displaced by different slogans. The main demands now are to bring to justice those responsible for the crack-down against the peaceful protests in Independence Square on Friday night, and to get the government to resign. The proof that those demands bring people out into the streets can be seen around the government institutions in Kyiv – which the protesters are picketing. They promise they won’t be backing off any time in the near future.”Are you in Ukraine? Send us your thoughts, pictures and videos to witness[at]euronews.comRead what YOU have been telling us about the Ukrainian protests here
The new owners of Swedish car maker Saab have restarted production two years after the firm went out of business.National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) is making the 9-3 saloon at the Trollhattan factory in Sweden.The 9-3 sedan will be powered by a turbocharged gasoline engine and built in “small and humble numbers” for China, with the city of Qingdao owning 22 percent of NEVS.A revamped electric Saab is expected to released next year in China.It comes almost two years after Saab, which had made cars since 1947, filed for bankruptcy. Saabwas previously owned by General Motors Co, which sold it to Dutch sports car group Spyker in 2010.