International News Thu, 18 Apr 2024 23:37:48 +0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Macron: confident of great Olympics opening ceremony on river Seine but has plan B

French President Emmanuel Macron waits for the arrival of Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama (not seen) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 12, 2024. REUTERS/Manon Cruz - 



VOInews, Paris : French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he was confident the Olympics' opening ceremony in July on the river Seine would be a success, but added authorities prepared 'Plan B' options should security assessment closer to the games require it.

"We can do it and we will do it," Macron told RMC Radio and BFM TV of the plan to hold the July 26 opening ceremony with huge crowds around the Seine, where some 160 boats would set off for a 6-kilometre journey.

But France, he added, is not naive.

"If we think there are security risks we'll have plan Bs, and even plan Cs," he said.

One option, he added, would be to restrict the ceremony to the central Paris Trocadero square facing the Eiffel Tower. Another would be to move the event indoors to the Stade de France stadium//CNA-VOI

]]> (nuke) International News Mon, 15 Apr 2024 14:12:35 +0700
UN chief calls for maximum restraint after Iran's attack on Israel

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference inside a UNRWA school, at Al-Wehdat camp for Palestinian refugees, in Amman, Jordan Mar 25, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Alaa Al-Sukhni) - 



VOInews, Jordan : United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday (Apr 14) issued a reminder that acts of reprisal involving the use of force are barred under international law after Iran's attack on Israel, while the US warned the Security Council it would work to hold Tehran accountable at the UN.

Guterres, speaking to a meeting of the UN Security Council, told member states that the UN charter bars the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state as he condemned Iran's attack on Israel and warned against further escalation.

Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles on Saturday in its first ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major escalation.

The attack was in response to a suspected Israeli strike on Iran's embassy compound in Syria on Apr 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran's regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza.

"The Middle East is on the brink. The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate," Guterres told the meeting, which was called after Iran's attack.

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood called on the 15 member body to unequivocally condemn Iran's attack, as he said the Security Council has an obligation to not let Iran's actions go unanswered.

"In the coming days, and in consultation with other member states, the United States will explore additional measures to hold Iran accountable here at the United Nations," he said, without specifying what action the US would take.

"Let me be clear: if Iran or its proxies take actions against the United States or further action against Israel, Iran will be held responsible," he said, adding that the US took note of Guterres' remarks and that Washington's actions have been defensive.

Tehran, which had vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on Apr 1 that killed seven of its officers, said its strike was punishment for "Israeli crimes". Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, requested the council hold the meeting in a letter on Saturday to the council's president.

"The Iranian attack is a serious threat to global peace and security and I expect the Council to use every means to take concrete action against Iran," Erdan wrote in a post on X.

Guterres on Sunday also called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza after more than six months of fighting, the unconditional release of all hostages and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza as it faces famine.

"Regional, and indeed global, peace and security are being undermined by the hour. Neither the region nor the world can afford more war," he said//CNA-VOI

]]> (nuke) International News Mon, 15 Apr 2024 14:05:27 +0700
Greece Reopens Historic Mosque for Eid Prayers



VOInews, Jakarta: Greece on Wednesday (10/4) reopened a historic mosque in northern Thessaloniki for the first time in more than a century, allowing Muslims to perform Eid prayers there.


Around 100 people performed Eid prayers at the "Yeni Mosque" or "New Mosque", which witnessed the last gathering of worshippers in the early 1920s, before the war between Greece and Turkey led to a population exchange between the two countries that reduced the number of Muslims in the city.

"We are lucky that this mosque was opened for us," says 66-year-old Ismail Badreddin.


"I have lived in Thessaloniki for four years and this is the first time I have had the opportunity to pray with my Muslim family" at the mosque, said Ali, 23, a Turkish economics student. Greek police guarded the historic mosque during the prayers.


The Yeni Mosque, built by Italian architect Vitaliano Boselli in 1902, was at the time used by members of the Donmeh community, Jews who pretended to convert to Islam.


In 1922, refugees from the Greco-Turkish war were briefly housed in this two-story building, before it was converted into a museum and city gallery.


Greece is a predominantly Orthodox Christian country, and Muslim places of worship are mostly concentrated in the Thrace region in the northeast of the country near the Greek-Turkish border, where Muslim minorities have been settled for centuries.


In Athens, Muslims have been few in number since the Greco-Turkish war before increasing due to the refugee crisis in 2015.


In November 2020, the city's first new mosque officially opened after more than a decade of construction, which had faced strong opposition from the Orthodox Church as well as nationalist groups. (Daniel)


Source: AFP

]]> (Daniel) International News Thu, 11 Apr 2024 13:18:32 +0700
Artificial Intelligence Monitors Emissions of Environmentally Destructive Methane Gas


VOInews, Jakarta: Paris-based environmental engineering firm Kayrros is using satellite data and artificial intelligence (AI) models to accurately monitor leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuels. The invisible plumes of odourless gas in the air appear on the company's maps as coloured clouds, in satellite imagery.


Since 2019, Kayrros has detected nearly 10,000 methane concentration events around the world, from the United States to India to Turkmenistan and Algeria, due to harmful practices not being properly managed in fossil industry-based infrastructure.
The leaks occur due to pressure problems in gas pipelines and the opening of valves to avoid the risk of explosion," explains Kayrros data scientist Alexis Groshneri.


Methane has a shorter lifespan than carbon dioxide but greater warming potential, and is a factor in 30 per cent of global warming since the Industrial Revolution. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 40 per cent of methane emissions from the production of fossil energy sources (coal, oil and gas) can be avoided at little cost. However, these emissions must be properly monitored and measured.


Kayrros uses nine satellites operated by governments or official space agencies such as the European and American Space Agencies, which send their images back to Earth at different frequencies, several times a week or every 15 minutes, with greater or lesser resolution, depending on the model.


"We are working with the different sources available to try to improve the observations," Groshenry says.
The downside for mathematicians in green technology is that there is a huge amount of data to process, which is impossible to observe in a single image. That's where artificial intelligence comes in. (Daniel).


Source: AFP

]]> (Daniel) International News Thu, 11 Apr 2024 12:46:36 +0700
Biden says Netanyahu making 'mistake' on Gaza

United States President, Joe Biden on his presidential campaign. (Photo: Provided)


VOInews, Washington: U.S. President Joe Biden said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Gaza policy was a "mistake" and urged Israel to call for a ceasefire, in an interview aired Tuesday. Biden's comments were some of his strongest criticism yet of Netanyahu amid growing tensions over the civilian death toll from Israel's war on Hamas and dire conditions inside Gaza.

"I think what he's doing is a mistake. I don't agree with his approach," Biden told Univision, an American Spanish-language TV network, when asked about Netanyahu's handling of the war, as reported by AFP.


Biden reiterated that an Israeli drone attack last week that killed seven aid workers from a U.S.-based charity in Gaza - and sparked a tense phone call with Netanyahu - was "outrageous." Therefore, he called for a ceasefire.


"So I what I'm calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country," added Biden.


His remarks on a ceasefire marked a shift from his previous comments, in which he has said the burden lies with Hamas to agree to a truce and hostage release deal. Biden also stepped up pressure on Israel to let more aid into devastated Gaza, saying he had spoken with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt and they were "prepared to move this food in."


"There's no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. It should be done now," he added.


The Biden interview underlined the dramatic shift his Israel policy since Israel's killings of the World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza sparked global outrage. (AFP)

]]> (Rama Shidqi P.) International News Wed, 10 Apr 2024 14:44:41 +0700
Türkiye Defence Industry Exports to 185 Countries



VOInews, Jakarta: The Türkiye Defence Industry has developed rapidly in the last two decades. The country, which is located on two continents, has exported the main defence system equipment (alutsista) to 185 countries. The Indonesian Ambassador to Ankara, Achmad Rizal Purnama, in an interview in the Ranah Diplomasi program on Wednesday (03/04) conveyed the rapid progress of the Türkiye defense industry.


“Türkiye’s defence is currently extraordinary. In the last 20 years they have grown very rapidly. Currently the Türkiye defence industry has exported to 185 countries. The number of products in 2023 will be around 230 products with a value of around USD 5.5 billion and next year there will be contracts for USD 10 billion. That's the size of Turkiye's defence industry. "Finally, 7 Türkiye companies are included in the 100 largest companies in the world in the defence industry," said Ambassador Ahmad Rizal Purnama to Voice of Indonesia.


Türkiye’s defence industry is very labour intensive. Türkiye is building its defence industry by involving local Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

"Here I have met maybe more than 25 Türkiye defence industries. Türkiye has an MSME model. If I may make a classification, for example Tear 1 type of defence is the big companies TAIS, Havelsan, Aselsan, BMC, and Baykar, which make the best drones in the world. There are more Tears 2 and 3, actually MSMEs. What the Türkiye MSME industry builds is airplane steering, and they make Boeing wings. That's what we have to learn. "This happened because they succeeded in building their defense industry," continued Ambassador Ahmad Rizal Purnama.


Ambassador Ahmad Rizal Purnama also emphasized the importance of learning and replicating Türkiye’s success in building a defence industry in accordance with the interests and situation in Indonesia.

"Turkey really opens up extraordinary opportunities for technology transfer, how they build their defence industry. "After that, we replicate it according to our interests and situation and then work together to build our defence industry," concluded Ambassador Ahmad Rizal Purnama. (Daniel)

]]> (Daniel) International News Fri, 05 Apr 2024 09:31:15 +0700
Palestinians Eye UN Membership Vote in April as US Pushes Back

A picture taken from Rafah shows kites flown in the sky above the city as smoke billows during Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 3, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)



VOInews, Jakarta: The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations is pushing for a vote to be recognized as a full member state next month, Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Wednesday, a move opposed by the United States.


"We are seeking admission. That is our natural and legal right," Mansour said, adding that he was pushing for an April 18 vote at the Security Council.


"Everyone is saying 'two-state solution,' then what is the logic of denying us to become a member state?" he added.


Any request to become a UN member state must first pass a vote by the Security Council -- where Israel's ally the United States and four other countries wield vetoes -- and then be endorsed by a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly.


Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas originally launched the statehood application in 2011. It was not considered by the Security Council, but the General Assembly the following year granted a more limited observer status to the "State of Palestine."


The Palestinian Authority submitted a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asking for the Security Council to reconsider on Tuesday.


Source: AFP

]]> (ranov) International News Thu, 04 Apr 2024 09:59:27 +0700
France seeking 'clear message' from China to Russia over Ukraine war

France's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Stephane Sejourne (left) and China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi hold shake hands during a press conference after their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China on Monday (1/4/2024). (Photo: AFP/Ken Ishii)


VOInews, Beijing: France's top diplomat said Monday (1/4/2024) that Paris expects China to send "clear messages" to its close partner Russia over its war in Ukraine, after meetings with his counterpart in Beijing. France and China have sought to strengthen ties in recent years and, during meetings in Paris in February, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told President Emmanuel Macron that Beijing appreciated his country's "independent" stance. But Paris has also sought to press Beijing on its close ties with Moscow, which have only grown closer since the invasion of Ukraine.

While China says it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, it has been criticized for refusing to condemn Moscow for its offensive. Paris has, in contrast, become one of Kyiv's firmest backers, with Macron in February even refusing to rule out putting troops on the ground in Ukraine.


Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said Monday it wanted "China to send very clear messages to Russia" over its war in Ukraine. He said Beijing could play a "key role" in ensuring respect for international law is maintained.


"We are convinced that there will be no lasting peace if it is not negotiated with the Ukrainians... There will be no security for Europeans if there is no peace in accordance with international law," he told a press conference in Beijing, speaking alongside his Chinese counterpart Wang, as reported by AFP. "It is an essential issue for us, which is why France is determined to maintain a close dialogue with China."


Sejourne's visit is the second to China by a French foreign minister in less than six months, following a trip by his predecessor, Catherine Colonna, in November. Macron also visited last April, receiving a rock star welcome at a university in southern China from hundreds of screaming students and fans. But he faced accusations of cozying up to Beijing and sparked controversy by saying Europe shouldn't be a "follower" of the United States in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan.


The top diplomat's visit this week comes as part of events marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China. He will later in the day take part in the launch of the "Versailles and the Forbidden City" exhibition, where around sixty works of art and valuables from the palace will be open to the public until the end of June. (AFP)

]]> (Rama Shidqi P.) International News Mon, 01 Apr 2024 14:10:30 +0700
Five dead, 1,000 homes destroyed in PNG earthquake

Locals on a makeshift bridge in the flooded Angriman Village in Angoram District, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea, Monday (25/3/2024). (Photo: AFP/Papua New Guinea Police)

VOInews, Port Moresby: At least five people were killed and an estimated 1,000 homes destroyed when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked flood-stricken northern Papua New Guinea, Governor of East Sepik, Allan Bird said on Monday (25/3/2024) as disaster crews poured into the region. Governor Bird added that emergency crews were "still assessing the impact" from a tremor that "damaged most parts of the province".

"So far, around 1,000 homes have been lost," said Bird as reported by AFP.


Dozens of villages nestled on the banks of the country's Sepik River were already dealing with major flooding when the quake struck early Sunday morning. Provincial police commander Christopher Tamari told AFP that authorities had recorded five deaths but the number of fatalities "could be more". Photos taken in the aftermath of the quake showed damaged wooden houses collapsing into the surrounding knee-high floodwaters.


Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on top of the seismic "Ring of Fire". It is an arc of intense tectonic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, and across the Pacific basin.


Although they seldom cause widespread damage in the sparsely populated jungle highlands, they can trigger destructive landslides. Many of the island nation's nine million citizens live outside major towns and cities, where the difficult terrain and lack of sealed roads can seriously hamstring search-and-rescue efforts.

]]> (Rama Shidqi P.) International News Mon, 25 Mar 2024 16:01:31 +0700
Japan PM pledges to boost defence, diplomatic capabilities to preserve peace, NHK says

Fumio Kishida Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) delivers a speech during the party convention on Mar 17, 2024, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool via REUTERS) - 



VOInews, Tokyo : Japan will work to strengthen its defence and diplomatic capabilities to maintain peace, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said on Saturday (Mar 23), according to public broadcaster NHK, adding that military buildups around the country have been growing.

Japan is a close ally with the United States and has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supporting Kyiv financially and joining international sanctions on Moscow.

"Military buildup, including nuclear and missile development, has been accelerating in areas surrounding Japan and attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force are growing," Kishida told a graduation ceremony at the National Defence Academy in Yokosuka near Tokyo, according to NHK.

Japan faces "the most complex and challenging" security environment since World War Two, and the government will strengthen its defence and diplomatic capabilities to maintain peace and to prevent security emergencies, he added.

Kishida and US President Joe Biden are to hold a summit on Apr 10 in the United States, aimed at boosting the longstanding bilateral security alliance in the face of growing Chinese influence and as North Korea continues its military tests//CNA-VOI


]]> (nuke) International News Sun, 24 Mar 2024 12:35:13 +0700