German FM tells Russia its behavior must change

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on April 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Updated 16 April 2018
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German FM tells Russia its behavior must change

  • Russia has denied any efforts to influence Western elections and any role in cyberattack in Germany
  • Germany says it will use its relationship with Moscow to ensure Russia played a “constructive” role

BERLIN: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday criticized Russia for a series of activities beyond its borders, blaming it for a cyberattack on his own ministry, and said Moscow must change its ways.
Maas listed a series of what he called problematic actions that also included the lack of progress in implementing a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, a poison gas attack in Britain, support for the Syrian government, and efforts to influence Western elections.
“We had an attack on the Foreign Ministry where we have to assume that it stemmed from Russia,” he told the German broadcaster ZDF. “We can’t just wish all that away ... And I think it’s not only reasonable but necessary to point out that we do not view those as constructive contributions.”
German government officials in February disclosed what they called an “isolated” cyberattack on the government computer network that was first discovered in December.
The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency last week said there was “a high likelihood” that Moscow was behind the attack.
Maas, a Social Democrat who has adopted a tougher stance on Russia than his predecessors from the same party, told the other German public broadcaster, ARD, on Sunday that Moscow had been an increasingly “difficult partner” but Berlin was committed to maintaining dialogue, particularly on the crisis in Syria.
“It is time, I think, to point out that we expect constructive contributions from the Russian side, including on the Syrian conflict. And also that they don’t always simply protect (Syrian President Bashar) Assad,” he said.

Tensions running high
Russia has denied any efforts to influence Western elections, and scoffed at suggestions it was behind the cyberattack in Germany. It also denied involvement in a poison gas attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain.
Western air strikes aimed at destroying Syria’s chemical weapons facilities have exacerbated tensions between Moscow and the West, already at a new post-Cold War high after the expulsion of more than 130 Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal.
Syria denied using chemical weapons against its civilian population.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, another Social Democrat, who has served as foreign minister, on Sunday warned against demonizing Russia and said Germany had a particular role to play in maintaining dialogue with Moscow, given its history.
Steinmeier told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper he was concerned about a “galloping alienation between Russia and the West” and urged German politicians to avoid portraying Russia and its people as an enemy.
Maas on Saturday called for a new international effort to end the war in Syria, and said Germany would use its relationship with Moscow to ensure Russia played a “constructive” role.
“Whether we like it or not, the Syrian conflict cannot be resolved without Russia,” he said on Sunday.
Germany, which relies on Russia for about a third of the gas it uses, has long walked a careful line with Moscow — pushing for continued sanctions over Ukraine and eastern Ukraine while also maintaining dialogue and trade relations. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


Three babies stabbed at New York childcare center

A woman is escorted by police out of a daycare center, Mei Xin Care Incorporated located at the owner’s home in the Flushing area of Queens, September 21, 2018 after a female attacker stabbed five people, including three children. (AFP)
Updated 6 min 14 sec ago
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Three babies stabbed at New York childcare center

  • Nine babies and some of their parents had been at the home at the time of the attack

NEW YORK: Three newborn babies and two adults were stabbed during a pre-dawn attack at a suspected illegal childcare center in New York on Friday, allegedly carried out by a female employee, police said.
The injured infants ranged from three days to one-month old, police said. One woman suffered multiple stab wounds to the torso, while a man received a stab wound to the leg.
The motive was not immediately clear.
A 52-year-old female “babysitter/worker” at the in-home center was arrested, police said. The stabbing took place in the borough of Queens shortly before 4:00 am (0800 GMT).
The suspect had a slash wound to her left wrist, police said. Two knives were recovered at the scene and all the injured were taken to hospital in a critical but stable condition, police told reporters.
Police told AFP earlier that the suspect attacked two baby girls and a baby boy, leaving one of the girls in a serious condition. None of the victims’ lives was in danger, police said. The wounded female victim worked at the daycare, while the other was the father of one of the babies. Nine babies and some of their parents had been at the home at the time of the attack, police said. Officers found the suspect in the basement of the center with a self-inflicted cut to her wrist.
A police spokesman earlier told AFP that the childcare center appeared to be an “illegal” facility for members of the city’s Asian community, but officers later clarified that its status was unclear. The in-home center appears to have functioned for several years, as police responded to a noise complaint from neighbors in 2011.