Turkey Questions Employees of Saudi Consulate on Khashoggi

Turkish prosecutors investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi questioned Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Friday, widening the hunt for clues in a case straining Riyadh’s alliance with Western powers.

Khashoggi went missing more than two weeks ago after entering the consulate to obtain documents in relation to a forthcoming marriage. Turkish officials believe he was killed in the building on October 2, but Riyadh has denied the allegations.

In an expanding quest for evidence, police searched a forest on Istanbul’s outskirts and a city near the Sea of Marmara for Khashoggi’s remains, two senior Turkish officials told Reuters, after tracking the routes of cars that left the Saudi consulate and the consul’s residence on the day he vanished.

Investigators have recovered samples from searches of both buildings which it will analyze for traces of Khashoggi’s DNA.

State-run Anadolu news agency said the Turkish prosecutor’s office had taken testimonies by 20 consulate employees, and 25 more people including foreign nationals would be questioned as part of the investigation.

The consulate employees questioned as witnesses included accountants, technicians and a driver, Anadolu said. The investigation is being carried out by the prosecutor’s terrorism and organized crime bureau, it added.

Turkey said on Friday it had not shared audio recordings purportedly documenting Khashoggi’s murder inside the consulate, dismissing reports it had passed them to the United States.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak has published what it said were details from the audio, including that his torturers severed Khashoggi’s fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara had not shared information with any country, adding, “We will share the results that emerge transparently with the whole world.”

The disappearance and presumed death of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, has caused an international outcry and strained relations between Saudi Arabia and Western allies.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has painted himself as the face of a vibrant new kingdom, diversifying its economy away from oil and introducing some social changes. But other moves have faced criticism, including involvement in the Yemen war, the arrest of women activists, and a diplomatic row with Canada.

King intervenes

Khashoggi’s disappearance has tarnished his reputation and deepened questions about his leadership, prompting the king to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family told Reuters.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior ministers from France, Britain and the Netherlands have abandoned plans to attend an October 23-25 investor conference in Riyadh, putting the event in question.

On Friday, the CEOs of Deutsche Bank and ABB, plus Airbus’ defense chief and energy historian Daniel Yergin joined a growing list of Western business executives who have pulled out.

But Pakistan’s prime minister and a delegation led by Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev plan to participate, while Britain’s BAE Systems is sending senior representatives.

A pro-government Turkish daily published preliminary evidence last week from investigators who it said had identified a 15-member Saudi intelligence team that arrived in Istanbul on diplomatic passports hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

One name matches a LinkedIn profile for a forensic expert who has worked at the interior ministry for 20 years. Another matches a former diplomat at the Saudi Embassy in London. Others resemble officers in the Saudi Army and Air Force.

A New York Times report, citing witnesses and other records, linked four suspects to Prince Mohammed’s security detail.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah also published time-stamped photos it said showed a man, who appears to travel sometimes with the Saudi crown prince, outside the consulate on the morning Khashoggi disappeared.

“Very serious matter”

U.S. President Donald Trump has appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from the Saudis, citing Riyadh’s role in countering Iranian influence in the region and tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals.

He has said he believes Khashoggi is dead and the U.S. response will likely be “very severe” but he wanted to get to the bottom of what happened. He previously speculated without providing evidence that “rogue killers” could be responsible.

Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, says Washington has asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence, while Pompeo said Riyadh should be given a few more days to complete its own probe.

U.S. intelligence agencies are increasingly convinced of Prince Mohammed’s culpability in the operation against Khashoggi, which they believe resulted in his death, a U.S. government source said.

The foreign ministers of Britain and Germany said on Friday that the allegations regarding Khashoggi would be totally unacceptable if true.

Arab allies have rallied to support Riyadh, with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash denouncing what he called “attempts to undermine Saudi stability.”


В ОБСЄ засудили залякування журналістів у Росії

Представник ОБСЄ з питань свободи засобів інформації Арлем Дезір засудив погрози співробітникам «Нової газети» і закликав влади країни ретельно розслідувати ці інциденти і гарантувати безпеку журналістів. Його заяву 19 жовтня наводить сайт організації.

«Знаю, що співробітникам правоохоронних органів уже повідомили про ці інциденти, і вони почали вивчати їх (ці повідомлення – ред.). Я закликаю владу розставити пріоритети в розслідуванні цієї справи і знайти всіх, хто стоїть за нападами. Якщо ці проблеми своєчасно не вирішити, загрози можуть перерости в реальне застосування насильства», – заявив Дезір, нагадавши про долю Анни Політковської та Ігоря Домникова, журналістів російського видання, вбитих за професійну діяльність.

Раніше цього тижня невстановлені особи надіслали до редакції видання «Новая газета» похоронний вінок і баранячу голову, до якої були долучені записки «Денис Коротков (співробітник видання, автор розслідувань про «ЧВК Вагнера» – ред.) – зрадник Батьківщини!» і «Головному редактору «Нової газети» з привітом Вам і Короткову». Московська поліція після інциденту проводить перевірку з цього приводу.


Pakistan Blasts India Over Purchase of Air Defense System From Russia

Pakistan has criticized and downplayed rival India’s acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 Triumph air defense system, claiming Islamabad can counter the threat.

New Delhi recently signed a $5.4 billion deal with Moscow to purchase what experts believe is the most modern ballistic missile defense (BMS) system available. India has said it needs the missile system that provides high-altitude protection from incoming missiles to bolster its defenses against China and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, in an official reaction to the pact Friday, warned the purchase of the system will “further destabilize strategic stability” and lead to a “renewed” arms race in South Asia.

The Russian weapon system, according to reports, can simultaneously engage and destroy 36 targets, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ballistic as well as cruise missiles within 400 kilometers at an altitude of 30 kilometers.

“Pakistan remains fully confident of its ability to address threats from any kind of destabilizing weapon system,” the ministry noted, without further explanation.

In January 2017, Islamabad announced the successful flight testing of a surface-to-surface “Ababeel” ballistic missile that it said was capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads to hit targets with “high precision” as far as 2,200 kilometers, “defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.”

U.S. and Western critics maintain that Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world, assertions Islamabad dismisses as “misleading.”

The Trump administration on Wednesday reiterated persistent U.S. concerns about Pakistan’s development of long- and short-range missile launch capabilities and its growing nuclear stockpile.

“Specifically, we’ve expressed concern about the increased security challenges that accompany growing stockpiles, particularly battlefield nuclear weapons, as they pose a greater risk from theft and misuse,” State Department Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Henry Ensher told a seminar at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based research institution.

“These weapons also increase the risk that a conventional conflict between India and Pakistan could escalate to use of nuclear weapons,” Ensher said.

Pakistani officials cite close defense and nuclear cooperation between the United States and India for reinforcing its nuclear deterrence capabilities.

Islamabad says its short-range battlefield nuclear weapons are aimed at deterring New Delhi from taking advantage of its massive military power to inflict a surprise limited conventional war on Pakistan.

Possible sanctions

New Delhi is hoping for a waiver from the United States, which passed a law last year placing automatic sanctions on countries dealing with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors. With an eye on China, New Delhi and Washington have been building a closer partnership. U.S. officials, however, have said there is no guarantee for such a waiver and urged India not to enter into transactions with Russia.

Last month, Washington imposed sanctions on China’s military for its purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia.

Russia’s sale of S-400 missiles to India comes as relations between Moscow and Islamabad have significantly improved in areas that include the defense, political and economic fields.

Pakistan will host another round of annual joint military drills with Russia starting Sunday.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 and military clashes along their disputed Kashmir border have lately become routine, raising concerns another war between the two countries could escalate into nuclear exchanges.


В Індії понад 50 людей загинули на релігійному святі, їх переїхав поїзд

На півночі Індії 19 жовтня поїзд врізався у глядачів, які прийшли на релігійне свято. Загинули, за попередніми даними, понад 50 людей, число поранених уточнюється. Інцидент стався під час свята Віджая-дашамі в передмісті Амрітсара.

Глядачі стояли на залізничних коліях, спостерігаючи за спаленням гігантських фігур і феєрверками. Вони могли не почути поїзд, що наближається.

В індійському урядовому звіті 2012 року йшлося, що майже 15 тисяч людей гинуть на залізницях країни щороку. У 2016 році 146 людей загинули, коли поїзд зійшов із рейок на сході країни.


Бабине літо, прощавай: з півночі в Україну йде холод

Українські та західні синоптики прогнозують, що похолодання, яке розпочнеться із суботи, 20 жовтня, посилиться на початку наступного робочого тижня.

«Завтра ще у більшості областей – штиль або слабкий вітер, похолодання на 3–6 градусів», – вказує синоптик Наталка Діденко.

Як вказує сайт Норвезького метеорологічного інституту, зниження температури принесе північний вітер, який переважатиме впродовж вихідних та в перший день нового тижня.

«Тепліше ще побуде на Півдні, у багатьох центральних областях та на Сході, там +15 +20 градусів. Проте й звідти поступово тепле повітря витіснятиметься новою свіжою холодною повітряною масою. У неділю невеликі дощі пройдуть на Заході України, місцями на Півночі та в Луганській та Донецькій областях», – попереджає Діденко.

Як інформує американський сайт wunderground.com, у Києві хмарність розвіється після вихідних, а от дощі ймовірні в середу та четвер наступного тижня, 24 і 25 жовтня. Нічні температури вже з понеділка наближатимуться до нуля.


British Ex-Spy Chief: Brexit Leaves UK Vulnerable to Attack

Brexit could leave Britain more vulnerable to attacks like the nerve-agent poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Salisbury, a former head of the U.K.’s overseas intelligence service said Friday.

“I don’t believe Russia would have used a nerve agent on the streets of an American or German city” because the consequences would be too great, John Sawers, who led MI6 between 2009 and 2014, said.

Sawers was speaking at an event in Salisbury, southwest England, where ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in March with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok.

Britain alleges the attack was ordered at a senior level of the Russian government. While Moscow denies the allegation, Sawers said Britain’s “very weakness — as a result of Brexit, as a result of fraying trans-Atlantic ties — was an attraction for Russia.”

Sawers, who has previously criticized Britain’s 2016 decision to leave the European Union, said Brexit left the U.K. isolated from its European allies at a time when the United States was becoming more insular under President Donald Trump.

“At a time when America is stepping back from its enlightened leadership in the world … Britain is marching boldly out of our big protective regional grouping to face the cold winds of the modern world on our own,” he said.

“I find it hard to believe that this is in our long-term interests,” Sawers said.

Arguing that Brexit would harm U.K. security cooperation with the EU, Sawyers gave his support to campaigners calling for a new referendum to be held once Prime Minister Theresa May has struck a divorce agreement with the 28-nation bloc.

“With a clear deal on the table, the British people would have the choice between the historic decision to leave with the terms of departure known, or to decide that, actually, on reflection, we would rather stay in the EU,” Sawers said.



Financial Watchdog: Regulate Cryptocurrencies Now, Or Else

A global financial body says governments worldwide must establish rules for virtual currencies like bitcoin to stop criminals from using them to launder money or finance terrorism.

The Financial Action Task Force said Friday that from next year it will start assessing whether countries are doing enough to fight criminal use of virtual currencies.

Countries that don’t could risk being effectively put on a “gray list” by the FATF, which can scare away investors.

Marshall Billingslea, an assistant U.S. Treasury secretary who holds the FATF’s rotating leadership, said, “We’ve made clear today that every jurisdiction must establish” virtual currency rules. “It’s no longer optional.”

The FATF described how the Islamic State group and al-Qaida have used virtual currencies.

Financial regulators worldwide have struggled to deal with the rise of electronic alternatives to traditional money.


В Болгарії висунули звинувачення підозрюваному у вбивстві журналістки Маринової

Болгарська прокуратура висунула звинувачення підозрюваному у вбивстві телевізійної журналістки Вікторії Маринової та вимагає для нього запобіжного заходу у вигляді тримання під вартою.

Слухання відбулося в місті Русе на півночі Болгарії. Поруч із будівлею суду 21-річний підозрюваний Северин Красиміров сказав журналістам, що напав на Маринову, однак переконує: дуже погано пам’ятає, що саме сталося.

«Я не пам’ятаю, що сталося. Я не можу згадати всього. Так, я винен, мені дуже шкода. Не можу повірити, що зробив це», – цитують Красимірова місцеві та західні медіа.

В разі, якщо його визнають винним, Красимірову загрожує довічне ув’язнення за вбивство і 10-12 років в’язниці за зґвалтування.

Попри припущення, що вбивство Маринової пов’язане з її журналістською роботою, поліція Болгарії заявила, що вбивство не пов’язане з професійною діяльністю Маринової.

21-річний Северин Красиміров був затриманий у Німеччині за підозрою у вбивстві Вікторії Маринової. За даними слідства, він приїхав до Німеччини з болгарського міста Русе, де знайшли тіло журналістки.

Про вбивство директора і ведучої каналу TVN 30-річної Вікторії Маринової стало відомо 7 жовтня. Її тіло разом з речами і автомобілем було виявлено на півночі Болгарії в рідному місті Руссе. Останньою темою, над якою вона працювала, був скандал навколо розкрадання коштів фондів Європейського союзу.

Це вже третє за рік вбивство журналіста-розслідувача в ЄС. У жовтні минулого року на Мальті була убита журналістка Дафне Каруана Ґаліція. У лютому цього року в Словаччині вбили журналіста Яна Куціака з нареченою.


«Керченського стрільця» Рослякова поховають після експертиз

Підозрюваного в масовому вбивства в Керченській політехнічному коледжі Владислава Рослякова поховають після проведення всіх експертиз, заявив 19 жовтня голова російської адміністрації Керчі Сергій Бороздін.

За його словами, місце поховання обиратимуть родичі Рослякова.

«Інформації про те, що його поховають на окремому секторі, немає, це неправдива інформація. Його поховають після проведення всіх експертиз, зараз ще проводяться заходи», – цитує Бороздіна російська інформагенція «РИА Новости».

Вибух і стрілянина сталися вдень в середу, 17 жовтня, в Керченському політехнічному коледжі. За версією російського слідства, вибух та стрілянину в коледжі влаштував студент 4-го курсу, 18-річний Владислав Росляков, який «наклав на себе руки». Російська влада міста повідомила, що в результаті трагедії загинула 21 людина.

19 жовтня 17 загиблих поховали в Керчі і Ленінському районі Криму. На церемонію прощання з жертвами масового вбивства в політехнічному коледжі в Керчі прийшли тисячі людей.

Прокуратура Автономної Республіки Крим кваліфікує як терористичний акт вибух у політехнічному коледжі в Керчі.


Women-to-Women Business Fund Comes to Britain

A women-to-women investment fund is coming to Britain next month to boost financing for female-owned businesses, its founder said Thursday, as efforts grow to close the gender investing gap.

SheEO has lent more than $2 million to 32 female social entrepreneurs in the United States, Canada and New Zealand to grow their businesses since 2015 in an attempt to address a global gender investment gap.

“Most of the people writing checks and investing are men,” founder Vicki Saunders told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “SheEO wants to fund female innovators with great ideas to create stronger communities and a better world.”

Support for female entrepreneurs

It is the latest venture to support female entrepreneurs around the world, who often face more obstacles than men, including a lack of access to finance, business networks, international markets and role models.

Three out of 10 U.S. businesses are owned by women but they only receive $1 in investment for every $23 that goes to male-led businesses, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee found in 2014.

A Goldman Sachs-World Bank Group partnership to provide capital to women entrepreneurs in emerging markets reached $1 billion in investments in May.

How it works

SheEO brings together 500 women each year who contribute $1,100 each, which they pool and lend, interest-free, to five women-led businesses of their choice.

The loans are paid back over five years and then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund that SheEO hopes will grow to $1 billion, with 1 million investors supporting 10,000 women-led ventures.

More than 300 women in Britain wrote to SheEO asking it to launch there, Saunders said ahead of a visit to London where she hopes that 500 female investors will come on board.

Workplace gender equality is in the spotlight in Britain, where just 6 percent of the biggest publicly listed companies are headed by women and pay disparities were revealed at major institutions last year.

Twenty One Toys founder Ilana Ben-Ari, one of the first to get SheEO funding in 2015, said it changed her business, enabling her to push ahead with production and hire staff to help with a stressful workload. Her revenue has now doubled.

“It was easy to get my foot in the door and have a meeting but it was near impossible to have a serious conversation about my business,” she said, describing her efforts to get financing from venture capitalists. “Halfway through that meeting you find out — this isn’t a meeting, this is a date.”


US Halts Polish Pork Imports Over African Swine Fever

The United States suspended imports of pork from Poland Thursday because of an outbreak of the highly contagious hog disease African swine fever in that country.

African swine fever has spread rapidly in Eastern Europe and China, the world’s largest pork producer, where new cases are appearing and the disease is traveling far distances.

The United States is free of the disease and eager to keep it that way because infections in U.S. herds would likely kill hogs and limit pork exports.

Humans are not susceptible to African swine fever, according to the USDA.

The agency said it was reviewing Poland’s export protocols after finding one facility there shipped pork to the United States without following requirements designed to prevent the spread of serious livestock diseases. A second Polish facility is also being reviewed, according to a USDA notice.

The USDA is also working with Customs and Border Protection staff to enhance screening of passenger bags coming from Poland, the notice said. The checks aim to ensure restricted products are not brought into the country.


Data Project Aims to Stop Human Trafficking Before It Occurs

Computer giant IBM Corp., financial services company Western Union

Co. and European police launched a project Thursday to share financial data that  they said may one day be able to predict human trafficking before it occurs.

The shared data hub will collect information on money moving around the world and compare it with known ways that traffickers move their illicit gains, highlighting red flags signaling potential trafficking, organizers said.

“We will build and aggregate that material, using IBM tools, into an understanding of hot spots and routes and trends,” said Neil Giles, a director at global anti-slavery group Stop the Traffik, which is participating in the project.

Data collection, digital tools and modern technology are the latest weapons in the fight against human trafficking, estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global business, according to the International Labor Organization.

The U.N. has set a goal of 2030 for ending forced labor and modern slavery worldwide, with more than 40 million people estimated to be enslaved around the world.

Certain patterns and suspicious activity might trigger a block of a transaction or an investigation into possible forced labor or sex slavery, organizers said.

The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning to compare data and to spot specific trafficking terms, said Sophia Tu, director of IBM Corporate Citizenship.

With a large volume of high-quality data, the hub one day may predict trafficking before it happens, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“You can’t do it today because we’re in the process of building out that amount of data and those capabilities, but it’s in the road map for what we want to do,” she said.

While law enforcement is teaming up with banks and data specialists to chase trafficking, experts have cautioned that it can be a cat-and-mouse game in which traffickers quickly move on to new tactics to elude capture.

Also, less than 1 percent of the estimated $1.5 trillion-plus laundered by criminals worldwide each year through the financial system is frozen or confiscated, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe’s law enforcement agency; telecommunications giant Liberty Global; and British banks Barclays and Lloyds, organizers said.