Wednesday 23rd of September 2020 Sahafi.jo | Ammanxchange.com
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    03-Sep-2020

Turkey Says Russia Will Hold Live-fire Naval Exercises in Mediterranean

 

Asharq Al-Awsat

 

Turkey said that Russia will hold live-fire naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, amid escalating tensions between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over rights to search for energy resources in the region.
 
 
The navigational notice issued late on Wednesday said the Russian exercises will take place Sept. 8-22 and Sept. 17-25 in areas of the Mediterranean where Turkish seismic research vessels are operating.
 
 
There was no immediate comment from Russia on the exercises, which Turkey announced after the United States said it was partially lifting a 33-year-old arms embargo against ethnically divided Cyprus.
 
 
It's unclear why NATO-member Turkey would announce such drills on Moscow's behalf, but the two countries have in recent years significantly strengthened their military, political and economic ties, The Associated Press reported.
 
 
They are coordinating closely on their military presence in Syria, while Turkey has purchased Russia's advanced S-400 missiles and has broken ground on a Russian-built nuclear power plant on its southern coast.
 
 
Turkey has reacted angrily to the US move that it said went against the “spirit of alliance” between Washington and Ankara. It also warned that it would harm efforts to reunify Cyprus, which is split between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.
 
 
Turkish officials have also vowed to take steps to guarantee the security of a self-declared Turkish state in the island's northern third.
 
 
 
Turkey’s announcement comes at a time of increased friction between Turkey on the one side and Greece and Cyprus on the other over offshore energy exploration rights. Warships from Greece and Turkey have been shadowing each other in recent weeks as Turkish survey vessels and drill ships continue to prospect for hydrocarbons in waters where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic rights.
 
 
The US embargo, imposed in 1987, was designed to prevent an arms race that would hinder UN-facilitated reunification efforts for Cyprus. It was directed against the southern, Greek Cypriot part of the island, where Cyprus’ internationally recognized government is seated.
 
 
Cyprus split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkey is the only nation to recognize a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and it maintains more than 35,000 troops in the north of Cyprus.
 
 
Washington said it was lifting the arms embargo against Cyprus for one year — with the option of renewal — to let it procure non-lethal equipment.
 
 
US Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber said the embargo lifting had no connection to “valued partner and ally” Turkey, but aimed to strengthen regional security and to “counter malign actors in the region.”
 
 
Garber said Washington waived a requirement that Cyprus cease to offer refueling and other port services to Russian warships, but that it would continue to “encourage” Cypriot government authorities to deny those services.
 
 
“We believe that Russia is playing a very destabilizing role in the region, especially in Syria,” Garber said.
 
 
Russia maintains a sizable naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean and regularly conducts naval maneuvers. But the announcement of the latest live-fire drill may be a less-than-subtle message that Moscow remains a major regional player whose influence won't be diminished by Washington's embargo move.
 
 
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Facebook Bans Indian Ruling Party Politician for Policy Violation
Thursday, 3 September, 2020 - 09:45
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Asharq Al-Awsat
Facebook Inc. has banned a member of India’s ruling party for violating its policies covering violence and hate, as Mark Zuckerberg’s company finds itself caught in a debate over how it handles political content in its biggest market.
 
 
The company said on Thursday it had banned politician Raja Singh from Facebook and Instagram under its “dangerous individuals and organizations” policy.
 
 
When contacted for comment, Singh, who is from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, sent Reuters a video message saying his followers and other party workers had opened up pages using his name and that he plans to contact Facebook so that he can open an account.
 
 
“I want to use social media following all norms,” he said.
 
 
The world’s largest social network is facing a public-relations and political crisis in India after the Wall Street Journal reported that one of its employees, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the company’s hate-speech rules to profiles in Singh’s name which had called Muslims traitors.
 
 
Some Facebook employees have raised questions about whether adequate procedures and content regulation practices were being followed by the India team, sources familiar with discussions told Reuters last month.
 
 
On Thursday Facebook said it will also remove Pages, Groups and accounts set up to represent Singh and Facebook events when it comes to know the individual is participating, but will continue to allow wider discussion of him, including praise & support.
 
 
“The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove his account,” the company said in a statement
 
 
The Wall Street Journal reported the move earlier, saying at least five Facebook profiles dedicated to Singh, which once had more than 300,000 followers, showed a message saying “This Content Isn’t Available Right Now”.
 
 
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Africa-CDC Calls on World Countries to Join Global COVID-19 Vaccine Effort
Thursday, 3 September, 2020 - 09:15
World Health Organization Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned against what he describes as "vaccine nationalism." Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images
Asharq Al-Awsat
All countries should join hands in a global effort to procure and distribute potential vaccines against the coronavirus across the globe, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.
 
 
"No country will be safe if any other country in the world still has cases of COVID," John Nkengasong, the head of the Addis Ababa-based continental body, told an online news conference.
 
 
""We are in this together."
 
 
Nkengasong was reacting to reports of a decision by the US to shun the global initiative due to the involvement of the World Health Organization (WHO), Reuters reported.
 
 
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