UK police take action as pro-Palestine singer faces threats

UK police take action as pro-Palestine singer faces threats
Charlotte Church sings, during a pro-Palestinian protest, in London, Britain, March 9, 2024. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 March 2024
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UK police take action as pro-Palestine singer faces threats

UK police take action as pro-Palestine singer faces threats
  • Welsh artist Charlotte Church has appeared at events calling for Gaza ceasefire
  • ‘My safety and the safety of my family has been threatened by some pretty scary people’

LONDON: A prominent Welsh singer who has appeared at pro-Palestine events in the UK has been visited by police after her family faced online threats, The Independent reported on Tuesday.

Charlotte Church has taken part in major campaigns calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, including a Sing for Palestine fundraising event late last month.

The 38-year-old has denied accusations of antisemitism for leading a rendition of a song based on the slogan “From the River to the Sea,” saying in a statement: “I hold the Jewish people in my life very dearly, and have always kept great reverence for Judaism and Jewish culture, since travelling around Israel and Palestine as a teenager.”

After appearing at a protest in London last Saturday, Church said her family had been threatened “by some pretty scary people.” The online hate had led to police involvement to safeguard the singer and her family.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British-based NGO, has led the antisemitism allegations against Church, and has called on the Charity Commission to investigate her activities.

She said the campaign has resulted in her receiving “imaginative and violent hate,” and being labeled a “traitor.”

In a statement on her website, Church said: “The threats to my safety have resulted in the police coming round to check in on us. My safety and the safety of my family has been threatened by some pretty scary people, emboldened by the rhetoric of frontline politicians, as well as cravenly irresponsible coverage by liberal legacy media outlets.”

She added that her rendition of “From the River to the Sea” aimed to raise money for a new ambulance for Al-Awda hospital in Gaza.

Church denied that the slogan “is in any way a call for the ethnic cleansing or genocide of Israelis.”

She said: “A call for one group’s liberation does not imply another’s destruction, and those suggesting that it does, when it is in fact that first group who are currently being murdered in their thousands, are leveraging a grotesque irony.

“I will not have my rhetoric around resistance and solidarity redefined by those who most violently oppose my democratic engagement.”


Kyiv hampered by limits on using Western arms in Russia: NATO chief

Kyiv hampered by limits on using Western arms in Russia: NATO chief
Updated 4 sec ago
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Kyiv hampered by limits on using Western arms in Russia: NATO chief

Kyiv hampered by limits on using Western arms in Russia: NATO chief
SOFIA: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that Western powers should reconsider restrictions on Ukraine using weaponry they supply to strike inside Russia as it is hampering Kyiv’s ability to defend itself.
“The time has come to consider whether it will be right to lift some of the restrictions which have been imposed because we see now that especially in the Kharkiv region the front line and the border line is more or less the same,” Stoltenberg told NATO lawmakers meeting in Bulgaria.
“If (Ukraine) cannot attack military targets on Russian territory then it ties one hand of the Ukrainians on their back and makes it very hard for them to conduct defense.”
Ukraine has been pressing its Western backers — especially the United States — to allow it to use the longer-range weaponry they supply to hit targets in Russia.
Washington, and other allies, have been reluctant to permit Kyiv to strike over the border out of fear that it could drag them closer to direct conflict with Moscow.
Stoltenberg said “some allies have lifted restrictions enabling the Ukrainians to better defend themselves,” without giving details.
“It is clear that Ukraine has the right to defend themselves,” the secretry general of the Western alliance said.
“Self-defense includes the right to also attack legitimate military targets inside Russia.”

Protests shut streets in Armenia’s capital, roads in other parts to demand the prime minister resign

Protests shut streets in Armenia’s capital, roads in other parts to demand the prime minister resign
Updated 6 min 40 sec ago
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Protests shut streets in Armenia’s capital, roads in other parts to demand the prime minister resign

Protests shut streets in Armenia’s capital, roads in other parts to demand the prime minister resign
  • Protests have roiled the country for weeks, sparked by the government’s return of four border villages to Azerbaijan
  • Police on Monday said 196 people have been detained in Yerevan

YEREVAN: Protesters demanding the resignation of Armenia’s prime minister on Monday blocked main streets in the capital city and other parts of the country, sporadically clashing with police.
Police said 196 people have been detained in Yerevan. Protests have roiled the country for weeks, sparked by the government’s return of four border villages to Azerbaijan.
The demonstrations are spearheaded by Bagrat Galstanyan, a high-ranking cleric in the Armenian Apostolic Church and archbishop of the Tavush diocese in Armenia’s northeast, where the returned villages are located.
Although the villages were the protests’ rallying point, they have expanded to express a wide array of complaints against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government.
Top figures in Gastanyan’s Tavush for the Homeland movement told a huge rally in Yerevan on Sunday that they support Galstanyan becoming the next prime minister.
The decision to turn over the villages in Tavush followed a lightning military campaign in September, in which Azerbaijan’s military forced ethnic Armenian separatists in the Karabakh region to capitulate.
After Azerbaijan took full control of Karabakh, about 120,000 people fled the region, almost all from its ethnic Armenian population.
Ethnic Armenian fighters backed by the Armenian military had taken control of Karabakh in 1994 after a six-year war. Azerbaijan regained some of the territory after fighting in 2020 ended an armistice brought on by a Russian peacekeeping force, which began withdrawing this year.
Pashinyan has said Armenia needs to quickly define the border with Azerbaijan to avoid a new round of hostilities.


Russia invites Taliban to top economic forum in June, TASS reports

Russia invites Taliban to top economic forum in June, TASS reports
Updated 27 May 2024
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Russia invites Taliban to top economic forum in June, TASS reports

Russia invites Taliban to top economic forum in June, TASS reports

MOSCOW: Russia has invited the Taliban to take part in the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June, the TASS state news agency reported on Monday, citing the foreign ministry.
TASS reported on Monday that Russian ministries advised Putin that Moscow could remove the Taliban from its listed of banned organizations.


Philippines protests China’s annual fishing ban

Philippines protests China’s annual fishing ban
Updated 27 May 2024
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Philippines protests China’s annual fishing ban

Philippines protests China’s annual fishing ban
  • China imposes an annual fishing ban on South China Sea waters and the Philippines routinely opposes it
  • China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce

MANILA: The Philippines has protested China’s imposition of a unilateral four-month long fishing ban in the South China Sea, its foreign ministry said on Monday.
The annual imposition of a fishing ban raises tensions in the South China Sea, the foreign ministry said, calling on Beijing to “cease and desist” from “illegal actions” that violate the Philippines’ sovereignty and sovereign rights.
China imposes an annual fishing ban on South China Sea waters and the Philippines routinely opposes it. This year’s ban is expected to last until September.
The Philippines’ foreign affairs department (DFA) has protested the ban through a diplomatic note, saying the fishing moratorium covers waters within its maritime zones.
“The Philippines stressed that the unilateral imposition of the fishing moratorium raises tensions in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the DFA said in a statement.
China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro last week said China’s rules about how its Coast Guard can operate in the South China were a
“provocation.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. Its territorial claims overlap with waters claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
In 2016, an international arbitral tribunal said China’s claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected.


Indonesia’s Mountain Ibu erupts as agency warns local aviation authorities

Indonesia’s Mountain Ibu erupts as agency warns local aviation authorities
Updated 27 May 2024
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Indonesia’s Mountain Ibu erupts as agency warns local aviation authorities

Indonesia’s Mountain Ibu erupts as agency warns local aviation authorities
  • This follows a series of eruptions this month after authorities noticed an uptick of volcanic activity since April

JAKARTA: A volcano on the remote Indonesian island of Halmahera erupted on Monday spewing a grey ash cloud six km (four miles) into the sky, the country’s volcanology agency said, adding it had issued a warning for aviation authorities managing local flights.
This follows a series of eruptions this month after authorities noticed an uptick of volcanic activity since April, leading to evacuations of people from seven nearby villages.
“The ash column is seen to be thick and grey and moving westward,” the agency said, adding the eruption occurred at 3 a.m. local time (7 p.m. GMT) and recommending that a seven-km (4.35-mile) radius be cleared.
Footage shared by the agency on Monday showed the volcano spewing ash that grew thicker and eventually obscured it.
The agency also issued a “red” color code warning to local aviation authorities on Monday, the highest of its kind due to ash exceeding six km in height, its website stated.
It previously raised the alert level of the volcano to the highest on its scale on May 16.
Ibu’s activities follow a series of eruptions of different volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has 127 active volcanoes.
Flash floods and cold lava flow from Mount Marapi, one of the most active in West Sumatra province, covered several nearby districts following torrential rain on May 11, killing at least 62 people with 10 people still missing.
In recent weeks North Sulawesi’s Ruang volcano has erupted, spewing incandescent lava. The eruption prompted authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people on a nearby island.