Monday, November 30, 2015

EU May Introduce Visa-Free Regime With Turkey in Autumn 2016

Flags of Turkey, right, and the European Union are seen in front of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

© AP Photo/ Osman Orsal, File

The European Union will introduce a visa-free regime with Turkey in autumn 2016, in case Ankara meets all outstanding requirements, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday.

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – Earlier, President of the European Council Donald Tusk stated that the European Union and Turkey at a meeting in Brussels on Sunday approved a joint plan to boost negotiations on its membership in the bloc.
"If all conditions are met, I think that visa liberalization could take effect in the autumn of 2016," Juncker told reporters after an EU-Turkey meeting in Brussels.

Opposition again throws tear gas in Kosovo assembly

The Kosovo assembly was unable to hold a meeting on Monday after tear gas was thrown once again by opposition members.
Source: Beta, Tanjug
A previous tear gas incident in the Kosovo assembly, on Nov. 17 (Beta, file)
A previous tear gas incident in the Kosovo assembly, on Nov. 17 (Beta, file)
They oppose the part of the EU-brokered Brussels agreement on the setting up of a Community of Serb Municipalities.
Previously, the police did not allow opposition Self-Determination party MP Fisnik Isamaili to enter the hall. Plain clothes police officers escorted him toward "offices in the parliament building," reported the Beta agency, adding that when reporters asked "where he was going", Ismaili "did not respond."

Self-Determination assembly group leader Glauf Konjufca said that the opposition will not allow any sitting to be held "until signatures have been withdrawn from the agreement on the community of municipalities with a Serb majority, and from that on border demarcation with Montenegro."

Tanjug is reporting that following today's meeting of the leaders of the three opposition parties which oppose the implementation of the Brussels agreement, Self-Determination party leader Visar Imeri said that the opposition would continue the blockade.

He told Koha Ditore daily said that their protests would continue at today's meeting, but did not explain the manner and means that would be used.

"We will continue the blockade. The protest will continue today," Imeri said.

Self-Determination's Albin Kurti was arrested in Pristina over the weekend for firing tear gas in the assembly in the past.

NATO Secretary General discusses key security challenges with Turkish Prime Minister


  • 30 Nov. 2015
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met on Monday (30 November 2015) to discuss a wide range of pressing international issues, including the crisis in Syria and last week’s incident which led to the downing of Russian Air Force aircraft.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with the Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu
All Allies fully support Turkey’s right to defend its territorial integrity and its airspace” the Secretary General said after the meeting. “I welcome Turkey’s efforts to establish contacts with Moscow and through its contacts with Russia, to de-escalate the situation. It is important to stay calm and to calm tensions”, Mr Stoltenberg added.
The Secretary General also highlighted the need to avoid similar situations in the future. “Last week’s incident shows how important it is to strengthen international mechanisms to build stability, transparency and predictability in our relationship with Russia. This is key to reducing the risks of incidents and accidents.” Mr Stoltenberg said.  Looking ahead, he stressed that risk reduction and transparency on military activities will be discussed at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on 1 and 2 December.
The Secretary General urged Russia to play a constructive role in Syria by targeting ISIL, which is our common enemy. Mr Stoltenberg emphasized that NATO strongly supports the renewed international efforts to find a genuine political solution to the conflict in Syria.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Emergence of Independent Kurdistan Just a Matter of Time - Czech President

A Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters guards a post flying the PKK flag. File photo


The emergence of an independent Kurdistan is only a matter of time, President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman said on Sunday, speaking on TV Prima.

“I believe that sooner or later (Kurdistan) will declare its independence,” Zeman said. According to the Czech leader, he met with the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani, who said that in some time he will be ready to announce a referendum.
In addition, the Czech president mentioned the Turkish fight against the Kurds.
“It is in fact the armed Kurds that are the only (ground) force that is at war with ISIL,” Zeman said.
“There is a saying: the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the Czech president said. “Turkish hostility towards the Kurds leads to the fact that Turkey is hesitating in its fight against ISIL.”
“Turkey has to decide whom it will join,” Milos Zeman said, adding that one of the problems when dealing with ISIL is the fact that some of the countries extend “financial and other support.”
The president also noted that, “Turkey wanted to flex its muscles, but made a mistake that will not help anyone. If possible, for 17 seconds the Turkish airspace was violated and it is unlikely that during this time the Russian pilot was warned 10 times to move to Syrian territory,” when commenting on the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by the Turkish Air Force on Tuesday. Ankara claimed that it downed the Russian aircraft because it had allegedly violated Turkish airspace. The Russian General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command have refuted the claims.

Hashim Thaci: Russia is destabilizing the Balkans

Thaçi: Rusia po e destabilizon Ballkanin


29 November 2015

Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, along with several interviews given to the German media, spoke about the most read daily in Germany, "Bild Zeitung".

Thaçi said that the Balkans is over three challenges, which could put into question the stability and security in Southeast Europe.

The first has to do with the Russian influence in the Balkans, the second with the refugee crisis and the third with religious radicalism.

German daily, Thaci warned that Russia, through intervention in the region is investing against countries that aspire to membership in NATO and the European Union.

Speaking about the crisis of migrants stated that the closure of European borders to immigrants can create problems for the Balkan states, which do not have the same capacity as the European Union countries.

"Balkan countries do not have the same capacity as those of the EU to cope with the crisis. So you need a more intensive cooperation between the EU and the Balkan states, "said Thaci.

Neither surface the increase of religious radicalism in the margins of society can create incidents in this region. "Bild" wrote that on Wednesday in Kosovo closed 17 non-governmental organizations, which among other allegedly financed the imams, who have used hate speech. / KosovaPress

Turkey stopped violating Greek airspace after Russian Su-24 downing - Athens source

Turkish F-16 fighter jets fly in formation during a parade in Istanbul © Fatih Saribas
Turkish warplanes abruptly ceased violating Greek airspace after downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber on November 24. Previously, air intrusions made by Turkish fighter jets took place on a daily basis and amounted to thousands a year.
The data comes from a diplomatic source in Athens, cited by RIA Novosti.
The last time Turkish warplanes were spotted in Greek airspace was on November 25, when six jets, two of them carrying weapons, entered the neighbor’s aerial domain.
Intrusions of Turkish jets into Greek national airspace remain a constant headache for Athens. Turkey and Greece, while partners in NATO, have been adversaries for centuries. The two nations have warred with each other before and still have territorial disputes.
In particular 2014 was marked with a sharp increase of Greek airspace violations by the Turkish Air Force, which amounted to 2,244 incidents. From January to October 2015, Greece’s airspace was violated by Turkish warplanes 1,233 times, including 31 flights over Greek territory itself, according to the Greek Air Force’s headquarters. In November, before the downing of the Russian bomber, there were at least 50 registered airspace violations.
Turkish jets habitually intrude into Greek airspace over disputed islands in the Aegean Sea, provoking the Greek Air Force to scramble fighter jets to intercept. Such airborne rendezvous often end with mock dogfights, with pilots performing real lock-ons of their air-to-air missiles onto their NATO partner’s aircraft.
Athens has repeatedly raised the matter at NATO meetings. Greece’s representative to NATO last reported Turkish violations of their national airspace on November 24. The reaction of other NATO member states has been usually to sit on the fence, and Ankara continued to test Athen’s patience.
When Turkey shot down the Russian bomber on Tuesday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikas Kotzias expressed solidarity with Russia in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
“Athens agrees with the Russian president’s assessment on Ankara’s hostile actions, which are contrary to the goals of the anti-ISIS coalition,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, as reported by RIA Novosti.
Greece, according to its Foreign Ministry, “especially comprehends provocative moves by Turkey given regular multiple violations of Greek air space by Ankara lasting for years.”
According to Greece’s General Staff, on November 24, the day a Turkish F-16 fighter jet fired an air-to-air missile at Russia’s bomber, the Turkish Air Force made no violations of Greek airspace for the first time in a long period.
Once the Russian warplane went down in flames, “there was zero activity of Turkish aviation in Greek FIR in the Aegean Sea, and it is understandable why,” RIA Novosti cited a diplomatic source in Athens.
The Turkish Air Force also halted strikes on Syrian territory after Russia deployed S-400 long-range air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia, from where the Russian Air Force strikes Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Albanian flags adorn Hylan Boulevard to mark country's independence day

Dozens of Albanian and American flags are being hung from utility poles along Hylan Boulevard today in celebration of Albanian Independence day. (Staten Island Advance/Vincent Barone)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- If you noticed dozens of red flags adorned with a black two-headed eagle hanging alongside American flags on Hylan Boulevard Saturday and wondered their significance, you are not alone. The flags are being flown from utility poles along the major Island thoroughfare in celebration of Albanian Independence Day, held annually on Nov. 28.
Albanians living on Staten Island gathered Friday night at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Tompkinsville to celebrate the holiday, which commemorates Albania's revolt from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.
"When we celebrate, there is usually a lot of singing and dancing to Albanian songs," said Dr. Tahir Kukaj, the vice president of the cultural center. "At the center on Friday, because it's a mosque, we hosted lectures on the history of that day, Nov. 28, 1912. We also talked about and celebrated leaders from all religions – priests, imams."
Dr. Kukaj is thankful that the city lets Albanian Americans hang the Albanian flag on Hylan each year. He said that Hylan Boulevard is chosen for the flag placement because there is a sizeable number of Albanians that live along the boulevard.
"We have a large Albanian community on Staten Island...and we're happy to be part of this great city where we can practice our full rights side by side," he said. "The holiday is right after Thanksgiving and we cherish and celebrate both glorious holidays."

Pyrros Dimas relives his Olympic career | Weightlifting Week


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Former CIA Operative: Get Ready for WWIII

Expect Putin to respond to provocations by Turkey

Bob Baer, a former CIA operative, believes the situation in the Middle East is out of control and shaping up to look like the beginning of World War III.
“This mosaic in the Middle East of conflict is getting out of control,” Baer told CNN.  “It’s not just Russia and Turkey, it’s Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is expanding rather than contracting, and nobody has a strategic plan.”
Baer said Vladimir Putin is likely to react to the Turkish shoot down of a Russian warplane.
On Thursday Putin said the United States knew the flight path of the aircraft and may have fed this information to Turkey.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced expansive economic sanctions against Turkey and  Russia’s military shut down all communication channels with the Turkish military, including a “hot line” to help avoid air incidents.
Turkey remains intransigent on the shoot down and has vowed to respond if Russia targets its planes violating Syrian airspace.
On Thursday Moscow deployed its advanced S-400 air defense system in Syria. The weapon will be used to protect the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Latakia. The Russian defense ministry posted a video of the deployment on its Facebook page.
Baer said we should expect Putin to respond to provocations by Turkey. “I wouldn’t put it past him. He’s not going to back down,” he said.
“That’s the way he framed this conflict,” Baer said. “The chances of this escalating from here without deconfliction of any sort are pretty good.”

Turkish president says wishes plane downing had not happened

 Associated Press

Associated Press
Associated Press
By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press

 Image result for Recep Tayyip Erdogan

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced regret over Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane, saying his country was "truly saddened" by the incident and wished it hadn't occurred.
It was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday's incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey's airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.
"We are truly saddened by this incident," Erdogan said. "We wish it hadn't happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn't occur again."
Addressing supporters in the western city of Balikesir, Erdogan said neither country should allow the incident to escalate and take a destructive form that would lead to "saddening consequences."
He renewed a call for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris next week, saying it would be an opportunity to overcome tensions.
Erdogan's friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey's action and criticized Russia for its operations in Syria.
"If we allow our sovereign rights to be violated ... then the territory would no longer be our territory," Erdogan said.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said he hoped a meeting between Erdogan and Putin would take place in Paris.
"In such situations it is important to keep the channels of communication open," he said.
Putin has denounced the Turkish action as a "treacherous stab in the back," and has insisted that the plane was downed over Syrian territory in violation of international law. He has also refused to take telephone calls from Erdogan. Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday that the Kremlin had received Erdogan's request for a meeting, but wouldn't say whether such a meeting is possible.
Asked why Putin hasn't picked up the phone to respond to Erdogan's two phone calls, he said that "we have seen that the Turkish side hasn't been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident."
After the incident, Russia deployed long-range S-400 air defense missile systems to a Russian air base in Syria just 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the border with Turkey to help protect Russian warplanes, and the Russian military warned it would shoot down any aerial target that would pose a potential threat to its planes.
Russia has since also restricted tourist travel to Turkey, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border, confiscated large quantities of Turkish food imports and started preparing a raft of broader economic sanctions.
On Saturday Turkey issued a travel warning urging its nationals to delay non-urgent and unnecessary travel to Russia, saying Turkish travelers were facing "problems" in the country. It said Turks should delay travel plans until "the situation becomes clear."

Russia Imposes Economic Restrictions Against Turkey After Downing of Su-24

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony to receive credentials from ambassadors of 15 countries in the Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace

© Sputnik/ Michael Klimentyev

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Saturday to boost national security and introduce economic measures against Turkey, the Kremlin press service said.

"Russian President V.V. Putin has signed a Decree ‘On Measures to Guarantee National Security in the Russian Federation and Protect Russian Citizens Against Criminal and Other Illegal Actions, and on Special Economic Measures Against the Turkish Republic," the statement said.
Russian travel agencies will have to stop selling tours to Turkey after January 1, 2016, according to Kremlin.
Charter air transportation between Russia and Turkey will also be banned.
Moreover, Russia will restrict import of certain Turkish goods, the statement said.

Patriarch Irinej urges former Kosovo residents to return


Published: at 8:19 am 
PEC – Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Tuesday urged all former residents of Kosovo-Metohija to return to their homes in the province.
“We know that they live in difficult circumstances – the Lord will give them the strength to endure – I call on all former residents of Kosovo-Metohija to return to their homes, their temples and cemeteries to protect and preserve what they had received from their ancestors,” Patriarch Irinej said.
After a liturgy marking the day of the ktetor of the Visoki Decani monastery, the patriarch said that “any message is weak compared to the message of this sacred site and (its ktetor) the Holy King Stefan Decanski.”

Sex offender deported back to Albania after sexually assaulting a woman on Tube

The Albanian national made the victim feel "intimated, scared and extremely uncomfortable" according to police

A 21-year-old man will be deported back to Albania and placed on the sex offenders register for seven years after he pleaded guilty to a sexual assault.
Besnik Ferizolli, an Albanian national, appeared before Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday, November 18.
Ferizolli was arrested by British Transport Police after he sexually assaulted a woman at Northwood London Underground station on Wednesday, October 7.
According to British Transport Police , Ferizolli approached a 19-year-old woman asking her to sit down near him. He then proceeded to kiss her and put his arm around her before boarding the train with the woman. He sat next to her and kissed her again on her cheek.
He also demanded that the woman give him her number.
Throughout the journey Ferizolli continued to harass the woman and intimidated her until he left the train at Harrow-on-the-Hill London Underground station.
Investigating officer DC Matt Nolan said: “Ferizolli made this woman feel intimated, scared and extremely uncomfortable. She was simply going about her daily commute home.
“Nobody should be made to feel this way and everyone has the right to travel without fear on the transport network.
“I am pleased that the woman had the courage to come forward and report this man and the crime that he committed so that he could be caught and convicted. We are determined to give people the confidence to come forward and report unwanted sexual behaviors."
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Deputy Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: “'We care about our customers and the journeys they make; working closely with our policing partners we are determined to rid the transport network of this type of behaviour.
“Unwanted sexual behaviour is a crime and we are pleased this predatory sexual offender has been caught and convicted.
“We encourage anyone who has experienced unwanted sexual behaviour to always report it to the police by texting 61016 or calling 101. Your report will always be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.”

Today, the 103th Anniversary of the Indipendence of Albania

Përvjetori i Pavarsisë së Shqipërisë!

Turkey's president warns Russia not to 'play with fire'

Al Jazeera

Turkey's president warns Russia not to 'play with fire': Erdogan condemns reports that Turkish businessmen were detained in Russia as animosity between Cold War rivals grows.© Provided by Al Jazeera Erdogan condemns reports that Turkish businessmen were detained in Russia as animosity between Cold War rivals grows. 
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Russia not to "play with fire" after reports emerged that Turkish businessmen had been detained in Russia.
Moscow said it would suspend visa-free travel with Turkey, and its tourism agency head announced on Friday it will ask more than 9,000 Russians currently in Turkey to return home by the end of December.
Relations between the former Cold War antagonists are at their lowest in recent memory after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border on Tuesday. The pilot was machine-gunned dead by rebels on the ground in Syria as he parachuted down.
Russia has threatened economic retaliation - a response Erdogan has dismissed as emotional and indecorous.
"It is playing with fire to go as far as mistreating our citizens who have gone to Russia," Erdogan told supporters during a speech in Bayburt, in northeast Turkey, on Friday.
"We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia... We don't want these relations to suffer harm in any way."

RELATED: Russia raids Turkish firms, sends imports back

Erdogan said he wants to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a climate summit in Paris that starts on Monday. Putin has so far refused to talk with Erdogan because Ankara has not yet apologised for the downing of the jet, a Putin aide said.
Erdogan has said Turkey deserves the apology because its air space was violated.
The nearly five-year-old Syrian civil war has been complicated by Russian air strikes in defence of President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey and regional powers have accused Russia of targetting moderate armed groups fighting Assad.
The frayed relations could also impact two major planned projects - a TurkStream gas pipeline and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant - between the two countries.
Turkey and Russia have also sparred over ISIL, with each side accusing the other of being soft on "terrorism".

Friday, November 27, 2015

New CIA Documentary Puts Spymasters Under the Klieg Lights


Former President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former CIA Director George Tenet on December 14, 2004.
George Tenet, the former CIA director, has been understandably reluctant about giving interviews since he resigned from the spy agency 11 years ago. After all, he was the nation’s top intelligence officer during three of the nation’s most troubling espionage failures: the 1999 bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia; the September 11, 2001, attacks; and George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq, which the CIA enabled with its false finding that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
So naturally, when he sat down for his first on-the-record interview in more than eight years, Tenet tore into the failure of others to act on his warnings, from 1999 through the late summer of 2001, that Al-Qaeda was determined to strike targets in the United States. He could “barely contain himself when talking about the unheeded warnings he says he gave the White House,” says Chris Whipple, executive producer and writer of The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs, a surprisingly riveting documentary premiering November 28 on Showtime.
Likewise, Tenet’s former deputy Cofer Black is still livid about those White House meetings more than 14 years ago. “You know what pisses me off? When people call this an intelligence failure,” he says on the show, nearly jumping out of his seat. “I mean, how is it that you could warn senior people so many times and nothing actually happened?” It was like “The Twilight Zone,” he says.
Tenet and company are full of excuses, however, when it comes to the CIA’s own failures to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Years after the debacle, two FBI agents who had been stationed in the CIA’s Osama bin Laden tracking unit came forward to say that the CIA knew two of the future hijackers were in the United States but—for reasons that remain unclear—forbade them from alerting their headquarters, which is responsible for preventing domestic attacks. Under questioning by Whipple, Tenet blames “policies” that “were out of date.” Former Bush White House counterterrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke has suggested that the CIA didn’t want the FBI barging into an operation to try to recruit one or both of the Al-Qaeda operatives as double agents.
This is old ground, of course, as is Tenet’s rationalization for going along with Bush’s case for invading Iraq because, as he put it to Whipple, further resistance was futile. “The decision to go to war, the orders to send troops, had already been decided,” he says.
But Whipple’s questioning of Tenet makes for compelling television, not so much for what’s on the screen as what we know happened after the original sin of invading Iraq on false premises: the rise of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). As Robert Gates, another former CIA director as well as a defense secretary, puts it, “an intelligence failure such as that that took place in 2003 changes history.”
Does Tenet reserve any blame for himself for 9/11 and the Iraq invasion? “Well, look,” he tells Whipple, “there—I still look at the ceiling at night about a lot of things. And I’ll keep them to myself forever. But we’re all human beings."
Yes, he feels the pain. As well he should—and for so much more that put the CIA in the crosshairs of the public, Congress and the courts for the past decade or more. Much of it is all too familiar. Spymasters—the title seems ironic, in retrospect—get the obligatory rehashing of CIA renditions, secret prisons and harsh interrogations. The deaths of two prisoners in the CIA’s hands is “regrettable,” Tenet says. “Shit happens,” says Jose Rodriguez, the head of CIA clandestine operations under Tenet’s successor, Porter Goss. “And we were at war. The fog of war.”
One thing that Rodriguez, who spent virtually his entire career in Latin America before 9/11, says on the show rings absolutely true. “At the beginning of 2002 when we started to take prisoners, we just did not know what we were doing. We are not jailers and just didn’t have those skills. And abuses were made.” He adds that “we have ’fessed up to those.”
Not really. He and most other top CIA officials continue to defend waterboarding and other harsh measures, saying they were carefully monitored and effective. As for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s dismissal of the CIA’s proffered examples of 20 cases where harsh measures worked, “it’s dead wrong on every count,” Tenet says. “Period, end of paragraph.”
Rodriguez also heaps contempt on those who think drone strikes are somehow morally superior to the kidnapping and “torture” of “some folks,” as President Barack Obama put it. “This administration prefers killing prisoners rather than holding them captive,” Rodriguez says, “and the reason is, I think, it’s hard to capture [them]...and many would consider it dirty business.” John Brennan, the current CIA director, says that when he was working under Tenet he expressed his “discomfort” that the harsh interrogations “would come back to haunt the CIA.” Tenet says he has no memory of that.
You can’t get to the bottom of everything in a single program. But Whipple and his team, which includes veteran CBS News producer Susan Zirinsky, deserve credit for getting Tenet and the other living former CIA directors on camera. With previous hearings and other investigations a hazy memory, it’s about as close as we’re ever going to get to a televised “truth and reconciliation commission” on the spy agency’s key role in the most profound intelligence disaster since Vietnam. While many have been blamed over the past decade, few officials have publicly apologized, much less been held responsible for their roles in creating today’s unending, bloody chaos. All seem to enjoy robust Washington social lives, book and consulting deals, and lucrative appointments to the boards of government contractors.
The show’s two hours move quickly. Too bad it isn’t a miniseries. There’s so much left out: the CIA’s failure to grasp the Arab Spring or predict Russian interventions in Crimea and Syria, not to mention its botched kidnappings of a suspected Al-Qaeda operative in Italy and a Lebanese-German citizen in Macedonia. The messy episode in which Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of “spying” on her staffers also gets a pass. Meanwhile, another intelligence scandal has erupted, this one inside the U.S. Central Command’s intelligence wing, where analysts say their reports have been skewed to provide a rosy view of U.S. progress against ISIS.
Sounds familiar. There must be a big intelligence success in there somewhere, but, as they say, those must remain classified.
The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs, a joint Showtime and CBS News production, premieres November 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime across all platforms. Executive producers are Jules and Gédéon Naudet, Chris Whipple, Susan Zirinsky and David Hume Kennerly.

Albania could face disqualification from Euro 2016 over match-fixing allegations


Denmark could be back in Euro 2016 if match-fixing claims by Armenia FA are found to be true.

Albanian fans celebrate beating Armenia.
Albanian fans celebrate beating Armenia.
Image: AP/Press Association Images
ALBANIA’S PLACE IN Euro 2016 could be in doubt, after the head of the Armenian FA suggested a “betrayal” took place in his country’s match against the Balkan state in October.
A 3-0 victory for Albania in Yerevan, looked to have sealed their first appearance at a major tournament, but match-fixing allegations have put a question mark over their participation in Euro 2016.
“Our national team players simply do not want to play. As for the match against Albania, there was a betrayal during it. If even the best coach had headed our team during the match against Albania, the result would have been the same,” said Ruben Hayrapetian, who is in charge of the Armenian Football Federation (FFA), reports World Soccer.
Denmark will keep a close eye on any possible UEFA investigation, after they finished two points behind the Albanians in qualifying, and lost to Scandinavian rivals Sweden in the play-offs.
The Danes famously won the European Championships in 1992, despite failing to qualify, after Yugoslavia were expelled due to the on-going conflict in the country.

Kosovo: Islamic State graffiti sprayed on Serb homes

Islamic State (IS, ISIS) graffiti have been sprayed on Serb homes in ethnically mixed neighborhoods in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, the police have confirmed.
Source: Beta
Regional Kosovo police chief Zeljko Bojic told Beta on Friday that the graffiti spelling "ISIS" were found "in his area of responsibility," and that about ten of them have been discovered over the past week.
"The police investigated the scene and took photographs of these inscriptions and locations. Investigative work is under way," Bojic said, adding that security situation in northern Kosovo was "under control."

"Security measures have been undertaken, there are more mobile and pedestrian patrols. A special unit has been included in the ethnically mixed settlements of Bosnjacka Mahala, Tri Solitera and Mikronaselje. They are controlling traffic, vehicles, and passers-by," he said.

Kremlin says Turkey's Erdogan requests meeting with Putin in Paris



Turkish President Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey
View photo
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential …
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had requested a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Paris on Nov. 30.
"A proposal from the Turkish side about a meeting at the level of heads of state has been delivered to the president," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call on Friday. "That's all I can say."
Putin and Erdogan will attend the global climate summit that begins in Paris on Nov. 30.
Peskov also said that Erdogan had telephoned Putin seven or eight hours after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday. Erdogan told the France 24 television channel on Thursday that he had called Putin after the jet downed but that the Russian leader had not yet called him back.
"This request was also delivered to the president," Peskov said.

Breaking News: Russia Suspends Visa-Free Regime With Turkey - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Jean-Claude Gakosso

© Sputnik/ Kirill Kallinikov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow will suspend the visa-free regime with Turkey starting January 1, 2016.

Lavrov said during a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem that Russia would suspend the visa-free regime with Turkey.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Russia Cuts All Military Ties With Turkey

Russian Defense Ministry building at Frunzenskaya Embankment in Moscow

© Sputnik/ Natalia Seliverstova
Military & Intelligence

All military contacts with Turkey have been cut following the downing of Russia's Su-24 military jet, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

"Today, in accordance with a previously made decision, all cooperation channels have been cut between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces," ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters.
"This concerns all ties, not just the so-called hotline that was launched in order to avoid possible air incidents during the destruction of terrorist infrastructure in Syria," he added.
The decision has been made after Turkish fighter jets on Tuesday had shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber, which had been taking part in Russia's anti-terror campaign in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a "stab in the back, carried out against us by accomplices of terrorists."