Diberdayakan oleh Blogger.

Popular Posts Today

Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial Evidence 'Wrong'

Written By kom nampul on Kamis, 17 April 2014 | 23.50

Oscar Pistorius was "wrong" in his version of events about what happened on the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the prosecution has claimed.

During cross-examination by lawyer Gerrie Nel, forensic expert Roger Dixon appeared to contradict what the athlete told the court about the position of a magazine rack in the bathroom.

In a graphic photograph showing a pool of Ms Steenkamp's blood around the toilet bowl, the witness, whose expertise was heavily criticised by Mr Nel during questioning on Wednesday, pointed out a rectangular-shaped mark.

Oscar Pistorius Is Tried For The Murder Of His Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Mr Nel, who grilled Pistorius for five days, is quizzing a forensic expert

He said this shows the magazine rack was in the position it appeared in in a police photograph, something Pistorius, who claims police officers moved objects in his house, rejects.

Mr Nel told Mr Dixon: "Remember when I asked whether the accused's version was correct? You have now showed us the accused's version was wrong."

The claim was made on the 25th day of Pistorius' trial - the last before a two-week break for the Easter holidays.

Oscar Pistorius trial

As Mr Nel continued his attempt to identify inaccuracies in the defence case, Mr Dixon admitted he did not measure the angles of any specific bullet holes in the bathroom door.

At one point the witness picked up one of Pistorius' prosthetic legs, on which traces of varnish were found.

He revealed he did not check whether the varnish - apparently from the door the 27-year-old kicked down to reach Reeva Steenkamp - could have come from contact with other doors in the house.

Oscar Pistorius murder trial Pistorius covered his ears as the court heard about Ms Steenkamp's injuries

Mr Dixon was previously branded "irresponsible" by Mr Nel, who accused him of addressing the court without having properly read a post-mortem report about Ms Steenkamp's death.

Pistorius, 27, admits shooting his partner but denies a charge of premeditated murder, claiming he mistook her for an intruder.

The athlete lowered his head and clasped his hands around his ears as further details about Ms Steenkamp's injuries were read to the court.

Reeva Steenkamp Ms Steenkamp was shot dead at Pistorius' home on Valentine's Day last year

Mr Dixon said the shock of the first bullet fired through the bathroom door may have caused her to twist and fall.

He told the court a further bullet hit Ms Steenkamp's head as she slumped to the floor, hitting her back on the magazine rack as she did so.

On Wednesday, Mr Dixon said a bullet that struck the model's arm caused such serious damage it was like "an instant amputation".

Put your questions on the Oscar Pistorius trial to Sky's Martin Brunt

The day began with a stark warning from Judge Thokozile Masipa to people watching the case in an adjoining 'overspill' room, who she said clamber over benches and "cheer, boo and do what they like".

"Something disturbing has come to my attention," she said.

As well as premeditated murder, Pistorius, who won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, denies two further counts related to shooting a gun in public on separate occasions prior to the killing.

The trial is scheduled to resume on May 5.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ferry Disaster: Hopes Of Finding Survivors Fade

Rescue teams are battling bad weather conditions as they search for around 290 people who remain missing after a South Korean ferry capsized and sank.

Nine people have already been confirmed dead and the death toll is expected to increase sharply in what could be the country's worst maritime accident in two decades.

The dead include a female teacher, a female member of the crew and three male school students, while the majority of those who remain unaccounted for are from the same school field trip.

South Korean Coast Guard and rescue teams search for missing passengers at the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of Jindo Island. Many of those on board the ferry were school students

So far 179 people have been rescued - among them Kwon Ji-yeon, a six-year-old girl whose parents are still on the missing list.

Strong currents and bad visibility hampered the search as rescue teams hammered on the Sewol's hull, hoping in vain for a response.

The ferry's captain, 69-year-old Lee Joon-seok, faces a criminal investigation, a coastguard official told Reuters, amid unconfirmed reports that he was one of the first to jump to safety 

South Korea. The ferry got into trouble on its journey to Jeju

A man identified by broadcaster YTN and news agency Yonhap as Mr Yoon has appeared on television, his face covered by a grey hoodie.

"I'm really sorry and deeply ashamed," he said, as he was being questioned at the Mokpo coastguard.

Video footage has emerged showing passengers in life jackets as the boat began to sink and of a tannoy message asking people to stay where they are as it would be dangerous to move.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye looks around the site where the Sewol ferry sank and rescue operations are taking place, from a ship in the sea off Jindo South Korean President Park Guen-hye surveys the search area from a ship

Crew member Oh Yong-seok, 58, said the captain waited about 30 minutes before ordering the evacuation because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilise the vessel after it started to list.

By the time the evacuation order was made, it was impossible for crew to reach passengers because the ship was tilted at such an acute angle.

"We couldn't even move one step. The slope was too big," said Oh, who escaped with about a dozen others, including the captain.

Passenger Koo Bon-hee, 36, told reporters many people were trapped inside by windows that were too hard to break.

Family members of missing passengers who were on South Korean ferry "Sewol" which sank at the sea off Jindo, wait for news of their family from a rescue team, at a gym in Jindo. Distraught relatives wait for news in a gym on Jindo Island

Distraught family members are gathered on the quay of Jindo Island, huddled in blankets against the cold as they wait for any news.

"If I could teach myself to dive, I would jump in the water and try to find my daughter," Park Yung-suk told the Reuters news agency.

Some relatives have turned their anger on the government and coast guard, shouting at officials: "The weather's nice, why aren't you starting the rescue?"

The ship set sail from the port of Incheon on Tuesday carrying 475 passengers, nearly 340 of them teenagers and teachers from the Danwon school near the capital Seoul.

South Korean Coast Guard and rescue teams search for missing passengers at the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of Jindo Island. Coast Guard and rescue teams searching for missing passengers

Its destination, along a well-travelled route, was Jeju island around 60 miles (100km) south of the Korean peninsula.

It is not clear why the 6,586 tonne vessel, which was built in Japan 20 years ago, sank in apparently calm waters.

However, some survivors spoke of hearing a loud noise before disaster struck.

State broadcaster YTN quoted investigation officials as saying the ship was off its usual course after being hit by strong winds, which caused containers stacked on deck to shift.

The registered owner of the ship, Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd, has offered an apology but declined to comment further.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Iran Murder Victim's Mother Stops Hanging

A convicted killer due to be hanged for murder has been spared after the victim's mother had a last-minute change of heart.

execution stopped Balal was to be hanged for murder Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

The 18-year-old victim's parents were expected to kick away the chair supporting the condemned man, named as Balal, at the public execution and send him to his death. 

But once he was blindfolded and the noose put around his neck, she instead slapped his face and said she forgave him.

execution stopped Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

As she climbed up to the gallows, Samereh Alinejad asked the large crowd that had gathered to watch the execution whether they knew "how difficult it is to live in an empty house".

The father of the victim, Abdolghani Hozzeinzad, then removed the noose from around the man's neck as the convict's own mother ran up to embrace the woman who had saved her son.

execution stopped The victim's mother slaps the killer Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

The two women stood and sobbed in each other's arms.

Mrs Alinejad told Shargh newspaper: "I am a believer. I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place.

execution stopped The victim's parents remove the noose. Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

"After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer.

"The murderer was crying, asking for forgiveness. I slapped him in the face. That slap helped to calm me down."

execution stopped Balal stabbed the victim in a brawl. Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

Mr Hozzeinzad explained more about the dream.

"Three days ago my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate," he said.

execution stopped The killer's mother embraces Mrs Alinejad. Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

"This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution."

 The The The victim died seven years ago after being stabbed in a street fight by Balal in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran.

execution stopped The victim's mother speaking after the pardon. Pic: Arash Khamooshi /Isna

After he was spared, Balal said the "slap was the space between revenge and forgiveness".

"I've asked my friends not to carry knives ... I wish someone had slapped me in the face when I wanted to carry one," he said in a TV interview.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Tube Workers To Strike For Five Days

Tube workers in London are to take five days of strike action in the coming weeks over ticket office closures.

Members of the RMT union will walk out from 9pm on Monday, April 28 for two days and again from 9pm on Monday, May 5 for three days.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said in a statement that assurances given to the union had been "ripped up and thrown back in our faces".

He added on Sky News: "We've spent the last eight weeks in talks and got nowhere at all. London Underground's favourite word at the moment seems to be 'no'.

"They want to close every single booking office and they want to get rid of almost 1,000 front-line operation jobs.

"We also found out during discussions they want to covert 800 jobs into manager jobs. We're going from bad to worse.

"We think the booking offices are a vital service - if you're young, disabled or old, you get a lot of service from them. Tourists also find them very useful."

Crowds at Clapham Junction The scene at Clapham Junction during February strikes

The first two days of action will take place before a May Day event in London in memory of former RMT leader Bob Crow, and Labour politician Tony Benn, who died within days of each other last month.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the strikes would be "pointless".

"It's a great shame that cool heads appear not to have prevailed among the RMT leadership," he said.

"Three of the four unions involved in these negotiations are doing the sensible thing - talking, listening and discussing Tube modernisation with London Underground, around a negotiating table. We've had 40 meetings since the last strike was called off - only the RMT has walked away.

"In choosing the nuclear option by threatening yet more pointless strike action the RMT isn't even supported by a majority of its own union members.

"Rather than threatening more disruption to the lives of hard-working Londoners, they should call off the strikes and, like the three other unions, get back round the table and talk to London Underground."

Boris Johnson Boris Johnson on the tube during February strikes

London Underground responded to the announcement by reiterating there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of any ticket office closures.

They say the RMT has failed to put forward "any credible alternative".

"Over the past eight weeks, we have met with our trade union colleagues on over 40 occasions, listening to their concerns and making significant changes as a result," said chief operating officer Phil Hufton.

"I've committed to looking at ways to ensure that no one will lose pay and no supervisor will have to apply for their own job.

"There will be no compulsory redundancies and all requests for voluntary redundancy will be honoured.

"However, the RMT leadership has rejected these changes and has not put forward any credible alternative proposals."

A service information board states "No Piccadilly Line" tube trains during strikes at Green Park underground station in London London Underground has urged the RMT to continue with talks

Mr Hufton urged the RMT to join talks alongside the Aslef, TSSA and Unite unions next week to discuss how to meet the needs of "customers in 21st century London".

He added: "All a strike will achieve is to lose those who take part pay for each day of action."

Workers from the TSSA rail union - including Transport for London managers and supervisors - have also voted to go on strike in the next four weeks in a separate row over pay.

The majority of Londoners reacting to the news on Twitter were frustrated.

"The rest of us have to endure cuts: why not you?" wrote @FluffyRona. "Meanwhile, those people who've paid for a service during the #tubestrike will not get what they've paid for: how is that helpful?"

Another tweeter, @pretentiouscarp, posted: "Another tube strike announced, this time a FIVE day strike. Fun times. Hmmm."


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ferry Disaster: Desperate Texts During Sinking

Teenagers on the stricken South Korean ferry sent heartbreaking messages to their families as it capsized and sank.

Mobile phone footage and messages from passengers suggest they were advised to stay where they were as they vessel listed severely to one side.

But the advice may have effectively sealed the fates of many of those on board, making escape impossible as the ferry sank into the icy depths.

One 18-year-old student messaged his mother on the KakaoTalk messaging app at 9.27am (00.27am GMT)  - shortly after the ferry sent its first distress call.

He wrote: "Mum, I'm sending this because I might not be able to say it later. I love you."

Seven minutes later his mother - unaware of the trouble the vessel was in - replied: "Why? ... I thought you don't check your KakaoTalk messages.

"Me too son... I love you."

There are reports that the young man involved may be one of the lucky 179 survivors rescued before the ship capsized and went under the water.

Vessels involved in salvage operations are seen near the upturned South Korean Sewol ferry in the sea off Jindo The search has been hampered by high winds and choppy sea conditions

Another student sent a series of messages to friends in a theatre club just after 9am.

He wrote: "Hey really seriously.

"Love you all for real.

"Looks like we really are gonna die.

"No really the ship's tilting.

"You guys really.

"If I've wronged any of you. Forgive me."

A female passenger, also 18, messaged her father at around 10am (1am GMT) as the ship started to sink.

She wrote: "Dad don't worry too much. I am wearing a life vest and am with other girls."

South Korea Ferry Survivors Search Continues Relatives of passengers have been desperately hoping for good news

A few minutes later, as the situation deteriorated, she added: "I can't. It's too tilted. Can't move ... it's more dangerous if I move."

Her distraught father wrote back, urging her to try to get out, but it was already too late.

"Dad, I can't. The ship is too tilted. The hallway is crowded with so many people," she responded in a final message.

At 9.23am a 16-year-old called Kim Woong-Ki texted his older brother saying: "Brother, I'm riding a ship to Jeju Island and the ship hit something and it can't move."

After he was asked how bad the damage was, he said: "I don't know about that, since I'm inside. I don't have good coverage and just now the Coast Guards arrived."

The teenager's brother replied: "The rescue will arrive soon. Don't panic. Be calm and strong. You just need to move quickly as instructed. When you have coverage contact me again."

An icon on the brother's phone shows that his last message was not read and Kim was listed among almost 290 unaccounted for.

Some parents managed a last, traumatic phone call with their children as they tried to escape.

"He told me the ship was tilted over and he couldn't see anything," one mother recalled of a panicked conversation with her student son.

"He said 'I haven't put on the life jacket yet', and then the phone went dead," the mother told the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Nigel Farage: 'Expenses Claims Are Erroneous'

Written By kom nampul on Selasa, 15 April 2014 | 23.50

Nigel Farage has hit back over EU expenses claims saying as an MEP he can spend his taxpayer-funded allowances as he likes.

The UKIP leader is facing an investigation over how he uses £15,500 of yearly allowances he receives from the European Union, according to The Times newspaper.

The money was used to run his constituency office in Lyminster, West Sussex, according to UKIP records, however, he pays no rent as the property was gifted to him by party supporters.

Speaking to Sky News he said The Times' claims were "erroneous", adding that under EU rules he did not have to account for how he used the £60,000 of allowances he had received since 2009.

He said like all MEPs he was given a general allowance of £3,580 a month to spend "as I see fit" and he did not have to provide receipts.

Mr Farage accused the newspaper of "conflating" his EU allowances with the row over expenses claimed by MPs at Westminster, which he said was an entirely different matter.

He said: "I haven't bought a house or vintage wine."

Romanee-Conti wine Farage: 'I haven't bought vintage wine'

Mr Farage told Dermot Murnaghan: "They are not expenses. We don't actually claim for anything. I have not claimed for an office. I have not claimed this figure of £15,000.

"The Times, who are the pro-establishment newspaper have deliberately tried to conflate the expenses row at Westminster, where people have been using taxpayers' money to buy houses and make large capital gains with the way the system works in the EU.

"I'm not defending the system, I want it to end but I get given, as does every other British MEP, £3,850, every month to spend in the UK and in my constituency as I see fit."

Mr Farage said there was a list of "expenses" and he could spend the money on newspapers, on books, hotel rooms and restaurants.

He added: "We do not have to provide any receipts, any explanation for how that money is spent so what The Times has written is wholly erroneous."

The Times quoted former office manager David Samuel-Camps as saying it only cost £3,000 a year to run Mr Farage's office, rather than the £1,000 the UKIP leader claims.

However, Mr Farage pointed out Mr Samuel-Camps had written to the newspaper complaining that he had been misquoted and stating it cost £8,400 a year to run the office - closer to Mr Farage's figure.

When asked what the allowance had been spent on, Mr Farage claimed the annual electricity bill was £3,000 - the average bill for a family home is only £1,000 - and said this was because of the machines.

He also said the money was spent on burglar alarms, insurance and dealing with his increasingly heavy postbag.

In a robust response to the newspaper story on the UKIP website the party claimed the story was politically motivated because of its success in polls over the weekend.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Oscar Pistorius Shot Reeva Dead 'On Purpose'

Oscar Pistorius sobbed as he read a Valentine's Card from Reeva Steenkamp - after claims he shot her despite her "blood-curdling" screams.

Ending five days of cross examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel put it to Pistorius that he armed himself "with the sole purpose of shooting and killing" his girlfriend.

9:30pm promo

The accusation came before the Paralympian read out a Valentine's Card from Ms Steenkamp, due to be opened on the day of the killing.

Pistorius sobbed: "Roses are red, violets are blue. I think today is a good day to tell you that ... I love you."

The envelope was addressed to 'Ozzie' with "some hearts and a squiggle", while the card was signed 'Reeves' with a smiley face and three kisses.

Mr Nel again reduced Pistorius to tears as he asked him who was to blame for the bullets that "ripped through her body".

Put your questions on the Oscar Pistorius trial to Sky's Martin Brunt

"Who should we blame for the fact that you shot her?," Mr Nel asked.

Pistorius replied: "I don't know my lady, I was scared. I believe there was a threat on my life."

Mr Nel continued: "Once again, we shouldn't blame you? Who should we blame?"

"I'm not sure," Pistorius replied.

The Valentine's Day card The Valentine's Day card sent to Oscar Pistorius from Reeva

Mr Nel asked: "Should we blame Reeva? She never told you that she was going to the toilet - we should blame Reeva?"

Pistorius replied: "No, my lady."

Mr Nel pressed on: "Should we blame the government? You must be blaming someone?"

"I don't know. My lady, I believed that someone was coming to attack me," Pistorius replied.

Gerrie Nel ends his cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius Mr Nel ends five days of cross examination

Mr Nel then asked: "Who should we blame for the black talon rounds that ripped through her body?"

After a few seconds to compose himself, Pistorius said the ammunition was of the type required by his gun.

As he concluded cross examination Mr Nel referred to Reeva's "blood curdling screams", heard by neighbours.

He went on: "I'm putting to you that there were only two people in the house.

Oscar Pistorius arrives ahead of his trial at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court today

"You killed Reeva. I'm putting it to you that your version is not only untruthful but is so improbable that it cannot reasonably be true.

"She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her."

Pistorius said: "That's not true my lady." 

Mr Nel ended: "That's what you did. Afterwards, indeed, you were overcome by what you had done - only because it was your intention to kill her."

Reeva Steenkamp on set of reality TV show Tropika Island of Treasure (Pic: Stimulii) Pistorius sobbed as he looked at a photograph of injured Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius said: "The opposite, my lady,"

Earlier, the athlete sobbed as he was asked to look at a photograph of Ms Steenkamp slumped on the toilet bowl.

He was asked why he didn't scream when he saw Ms Steenkamp, 27, injured in the toilet, as opposed to the moments before.

Pistorius replied: "The state of panic was not knowing - when I saw her there, it was sadness. I was broken.

"I was talking to her, I was saying 'baby please hold on'."

Mr Nel then accused Pistorius of calling security by mistake and telling them things "were ok" because he didn't want them in the apartment. 

Pistorius, 27, admits shooting his girlfriend - but says he believed that she was an intruder.

He denies premeditated murder and illegally possessing ammunition. He also denies two further counts related to shooting a gun in public on separate occasions prior to the killing.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Hairdresser's Kim Jong-Un Poster Angers N Korea

Two men claiming to be North Korean officials have confronted a London hairdresser who filled his salon window with a poster of Kim Jong-Un, alongside the words: "Bad Hair Day?"

Police told Sky News they had also received a complaint from the North Korean embassy about the advertisement displayed at M&M Hair Academy in South Ealing, west London.

The salon is not being investigated over the poster, which showed the smiling dictator and his distinctive hairstyle and offered a month-long discount on gents' cuts.

However, the eye-catching display has now been removed because of "overwhelming" interest from passers-by and because it "covered up the window", blocking out light.

Hairdresser Karim Nabbach told Sky News his father Mo, who runs the salon, was confronted by the men, neither of whom showed official identification or sported hairstyles identical to the North Korean leader's.

"They didn't introduce themselves and demanded to speak to the manager," he said.

"They told him, 'We want your name'."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang The North Korean leader sporting his distinctive hairstyle

Mr Nabbach said staff at the salon did not realise the North Korean embassy - which is run from an unassuming property in nearby Gunnersby Drive - is just 10 minutes' walk from their shop.

He said his father went to Ealing police station in case the visit led to any repercussions, but "nothing happened".

"It's been pretty hectic since we put up the poster," he said.

"It's become something of a tourist attraction - people have been coming down to the salon to take pictures.

"It was never meant to cause controversy ... it was just something to entertain our customers."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said officers had "spoken to all parties involved" but added: "No offence has been disclosed."

Mr Kim's hairdo made the news last month after it was claimed all male university students in North Korea would be required to have identical haircuts.

It is thought they were previously able to choose from an official list of styles approved by Pyongyang.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ukraine Pro-Russia Protesters Want Self-Rule

Brimming with self-importance and decked out in skateboard armour they bustled up glaring through the gaps in their balaclava hats.

"You need security," they snapped.

It was difficult to guess whether this was an instruction or an offer.

But the pro-Russian militants of Makiivka, an industrial city in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk, were on a charm offensive.

Politely and with puffed up chests they hastened us past ordinary civilians trying to get through the ordinary bureaucracy of the city hall, into the presence of Sergei Novakovski.

He didn't wear a mask but wore a splendid moustache instead.

"You can't film here. Not here," he commanded as we blundered into what appeared to be a semi-military operations room, crowded with thickset men in black and wrapped in cigarette smoke.

Ukraine unrest Protesters in other parts of east Ukraine have dug in and built barricades

He pointed to a smaller chamber: "This is our medical clinic.

"People are going about their everyday business, we are just providing security against the gangsters in Kiev - they are Nazis, racists," he insisted.

Elsewhere in Ukraine's east, his comrades, who have taken over at least a dozen police and other government buildings in towns and cities across this industrial heartland, were reported to be digging in and building barricades.

They were reacting to the Kiev government warning that it had launched a "counter-terrorism" operation to chuck them out.

But here there were just a few tyres and wooden pallets tossed to each side of the building.

Curious onlookers came to watch the teenagers in masks and their older leadership, who had adopted a more conciliatory message than the hard line Russian separatists who provided much of the energy on the street, which led to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"We are not separatists. We are Ukrainian. We want regional autonomy within the state of Ukraine," Mr Novakovski insisted.

"We don't want anything to do with the government in Kiev. They came to power illegally and are just being paid by the Europeans. We have nothing in common with them."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned he reserves the "right" to send troops into Ukraine if the Russian speaking population is threatened.

He has been accused by the US, UK and UN, of deliberately destabilising the region as a prelude to invasion or to foment greater pro-Russian federalism.

The eastern oblasts (provinces) have become fractious.

A sudden bout of blood-letting during an attempt to clear government buildings of pro-Russian militia, some of them heavily armed, could spark Russian intervention.

But Mr Novakovski and his followers in Makiivka know they must tread more carefully.

Donetsk maybe a hotbed of pro-Russian dissent.

It may have a population that is more than 50% Russian speaking - but less than 40% are ethnically actually Russian.

The Ukrainian has been replaced with the Russian colours above City Hall - but it flaps defiantly on many other buildings.

Any attempt to repeat a Crimean-style takeover operation would be met with resistance from a large minority or even a majority of local people.

Perhaps that's why Mr Novakovski shrugged.

"What's a flag anyway," he said.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More

Shots Fired As Troops Land At Ukraine Airport

Ukraine Pro-Russia Protesters Want Self-Rule

Updated: 5:08pm UK, Tuesday 15 April 2014

By Sam Kiley, Foreign Affairs Editor in Makiivka

Brimming with self-importance and decked out in skateboard armour they bustled up glaring through the gaps in their balaclava hats.

"You need security," they snapped.

It was difficult to guess whether this was an instruction or an offer.

But the pro-Russian militants of Makiivka, an industrial city in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk, were on a charm offensive.

Politely and with puffed up chests they hastened us past ordinary civilians trying to get through the ordinary bureaucracy of the city hall, into the presence of Sergei Novakovski.

He didn't wear a mask but wore a splendid moustache instead.

"You can't film here. Not here," he commanded as we blundered into what appeared to be a semi-military operations room, crowded with thickset men in black and wrapped in cigarette smoke.

He pointed to a smaller chamber: "This is our medical clinic.

"People are going about their everyday business, we are just providing security against the gangsters in Kiev - they are Nazis, racists," he insisted.

Elsewhere in Ukraine's east, his comrades, who have taken over at least a dozen police and other government buildings in towns and cities across this industrial heartland, were reported to be digging in and building barricades.

They were reacting to the Kiev government warning that it had launched a "counter-terrorism" operation to chuck them out.

But here there were just a few tyres and wooden pallets tossed to each side of the building.

Curious onlookers came to watch the teenagers in masks and their older leadership, who had adopted a more conciliatory message than the hard line Russian separatists who provided much of the energy on the street, which led to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"We are not separatists. We are Ukrainian. We want regional autonomy within the state of Ukraine," Mr Novakovski insisted.

"We don't want anything to do with the government in Kiev. They came to power illegally and are just being paid by the Europeans. We have nothing in common with them."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned he reserves the "right" to send troops into Ukraine if the Russian speaking population is threatened.

He has been accused by the US, UK and UN, of deliberately destabilising the region as a prelude to invasion or to foment greater pro-Russian federalism.

The eastern oblasts (provinces) have become fractious.

A sudden bout of blood-letting during an attempt to clear government buildings of pro-Russian militia, some of them heavily armed, could spark Russian intervention.

But Mr Novakovski and his followers in Makiivka know they must tread more carefully.

Donetsk maybe a hotbed of pro-Russian dissent.

It may have a population that is more than 50% Russian speaking - but less than 40% are ethnically actually Russian.

The Ukrainian has been replaced with the Russian colours above City Hall - but it flaps defiantly on many other buildings.

Any attempt to repeat a Crimean-style takeover operation would be met with resistance from a large minority or even a majority of local people.

Perhaps that's why Mr Novakovski shrugged.

"What's a flag anyway," he said.


23.50 | 0 komentar | Read More
Techie Blogger