US Senate panel leaders: no evidence to Trump claim of Obama wiretap

This file photo taken on January 10, 2017 shows US Senators Mark Warner (L) and Richard Burr talking before a Senate Armed Services Committe hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities in Washington, DC.(AFP / Tasos Katopodis)
Updated 16 March 2017

US Senate panel leaders: no evidence to Trump claim of Obama wiretap

WASHINGTON: The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Thursday they saw no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, said in a statement.
Trump, a Republican, made the accusation in a series of early morning posts on Twitter on March 4, six weeks after he took over the presidency from Democrat Barack Obama and amid rising scrutiny of his campaign’s ties to Russia.
The top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, on Thursday added his voice to those rejecting Trump’s contention.
“The point is, the intelligence committees in their continuing, widening, ongoing investigation of all things Russia, got to the bottom — at least so far — with respect to our intelligence community that — that no such wiretap existed,” Ryan told reporters.
Trump accused Obama of wiretapping him during the late stages of the campaign, but provided no evidence. Obama said through a spokesman that it was “simply false.”
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!,” Trump wrote.
At least four congressional committees added the startling accusation in their investigations of possible Russian meddling in the election campaign and Russian ties to Trump and his associates.
On Wednesday, House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, and top Democrat Adam Schiff told reporters they had seen no evidence that Trump Tower was tapped and said they would ask Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey about the issue during a public hearing on Monday.
Ryan told reporters he received the same intelligence briefing as Nunes and Schiff.
Trump appeared to back away from his accusation of wiretapping in a Fox News interview on Wednesday night.
“But wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks,” Trump said.

Spain rescues over 500 migrants in Mediterranean

Updated 27 May 2018

Spain rescues over 500 migrants in Mediterranean

  • Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has rescued 500 migrants attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea this weekend
  • Spanish boats rescued almost 300 migrants from nine boats and a further 250 migrants were rescued from eight boats a day later

BARCELONA: Spanish authorities rescued over 500 migrants this weekend from more than a dozen boats making the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

Following plane and helicopter searches, Spanish boats rescued almost 300 migrants from nine boats on Saturday, authorities said.

As of Sunday afternoon, a further 250 migrants were rescued from eight boats, three of which were in poor condition and later sank, they added.

The migrants were from various countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa.

The number of people crossing into Spain by sea from North Africa, either via the Strait of Gibraltar or the Sea of Alboran, has increased significantly in recent years while arrivals to Italy and Greece via Libya have dropped.

Around 19,000 people made the sea crossing in 2017, representing a 182 percent increase on the previous year.

Europe’s border agency Frontex said in January that it expected a further increase in irregular immigration to Spain this year, with flows boosted by the use of fast boats.

An Italian coast guard official said on Sunday more than 1,800 migrants attempting to cross from Libya to Italy were rescued over the past three days, following an improvement in the weather.