Greece protests to Turkey over boat incident, Ankara denies fault

Greek authorities said a Turkish coast guard vessel rammed the Greek coast guard vessel the Gavdos 090, above, near a couple of uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea over which the two NATO allies nearly went to war in 1996. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Greece protests to Turkey over boat incident, Ankara denies fault

ATHENS/ANKARA: Greece complained to Turkey on Tuesday that a Turkish vessel had collided with a Greek coast guard boat off disputed islets in the Aegean Sea, but Turkey denied the Turkish ship was at fault.
The Greek coast guard said in a statement that the incident took place off Imia, known as Kardak in Turkish, at about midnight on Monday.
A Turkish patrol vessel “made some risky maneuvers” striking the left side of the Greek coast guard vessel patrolling the area, and damaging it. There were no injuries, the coast guard said.
Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, have been at odds over a host of issues from ethnically split Cyprus to sovereignty over airspace and overflights.
They came to the brink of war in 1996 in a sovereignty dispute over the islets, but tensions have eased since.
“Dangerous incidents, such as this one, which put human lives in danger, are the result of the escalating and provocative behavior shown increasingly by Turkey in recent days,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Turkey must end the violations of international law and acts that do not contribute in the development of the two countries’ relations.”
Turkey’s ambassador to Athens was also called at the foreign ministry, it said in the statement.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry denied the Turkish vessel was at fault. It said the Greek statement misled Greece’s own public and that it distorted the truth “as always.”
It said Ankara had in fact contacted Athens regarding the “dangerous maneuvers” by the Greek coast guard, and informed them that Turkey “would not tolerate continuing hostile behavior by the Greek armed forces.”
Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise since a Greek court blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers Ankara accuses of involvement in a failed coup against President Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.


German city of Hamburg ato restrict older diesel vehicles

A car passes a traffic sign showing a ban on diesel cars at the Max-Brauer Allee in downtown Hamburg, Germany, on May 23, 2018. (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Updated 32 min 22 sec ago
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German city of Hamburg ato restrict older diesel vehicles

  • Diesel bans will affect two streets, non-Euro-6 models
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has long sought to avoid bans, as has the VDA auto industry lobby representing carmakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.

BERLIN: Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg, will ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from two major streets from next week, a move that could spur others to follow suit and raise pressure on carmakers to consider costly vehicle refits.
Hamburg, home to around 1.8 million people, said on Wednesday the ban would start on May 31 and affect diesel models that do not meet the latest Euro-6 emissions standards.
This follows a ruling in February by Germany’s top administrative court that the cities of Stuttgart and Duesseldorf should consider bans for older diesels.
The detailed publication of that ruling last Friday showed local authorities were entitled to implement targeted bans with immediate effect to bring air pollution levels into line with European Union rules, although curbs affecting wider city areas should only be phased in over time.
Bans on diesel vehicles from city centers are also planned in Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens by 2025, while the mayor of Copenhagen wants to bar new diesel cars from entering the city center as soon as next year.
Since the German ruling was disclosed, the environment minister of Germany’s northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, has said banning older diesel vehicles could also be an option for the regional capital Kiel, a city of about 250,000 people.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has long sought to avoid bans, as has the VDA auto industry lobby representing carmakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.
Environment Minister Svenja Schulze — a member of the Social Democrats, junior partners in Merkel’s coalition government — urged carmakers to roll out retrofits for diesel cars to lower emissions. “Driving bans like those in Hamburg show how serious the situation is,” she told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. “It’s up to the car industry now.”
Levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emitted by diesel engines and known to cause respiratory disease should fall significantly as more efficient Euro-6 models are sold and emissions-cleaning software updates take effect, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer was quoted as saying on Wednesday by the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
The bans in Hamburg affect a section of about 1.6 km (one mile) on Stresemannstrasse, where the restrictions will apply only to commercial vehicles weighing 3.5 tons or more, and a section of about 580 meters on Max-Brauer-Allee, covering all diesel vehicles.
Both thoroughfares are in Altona, a busy district in the west of the city.
Drivers aiming for a destination on the two affected streets, including residents, trash collectors, suppliers and taxis, will be exempt from the restrictions as they are designed to filter out through traffic, a spokesman for Hamburg’s environment and energy department said.
Of the 330,000 diesel cars on Hamburg’s roads, only about 116,000 have the Euro-6 technology that was introduced in 2014, according to local government data.
Police will make random checks and fine drivers of older diesel cars 25 euros ($30) and truck owners up to 75 euros for violating the new rules, he said.