Russia, Turkey agree ceasefire deal for Syria’s Idlib

first_imgTurkey, which has the second largest army in the transatlantic NATO alliance, has funneled troops and equipment into the region in recent weeks to resist the Syrian government advance and prevent a wave of refugees over its southern border.Russia also raced to reinforce its troops in Syria by sea and air before the Putin-Erdogan talks.More deathsThe Kremlin said the two leaders had spoken for three hours on their own before being joined by their officials.The two leaders also agreed to establish a secure corridor near the M4 highway, which runs east to west through Idlib, and hold joint patrols along the road from March 15.In a joint statement read out by the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers, the two sides said the corridor would stretch 6 km to the north and 6 km to the south of the M4 – effectively advancing Russia’s presence further north into Idlib.They said their defense ministers would agree on the parameters of the corridor within seven days.The fighting, which has raised the prospect of a direct clash between Russia and Turkey, has killed 60 Turkish troops in the region since last month, including the death of a Turkish soldier reported by a regional governor on Thursday.Putin expressed his regret to Erdogan about the recent killing of 34 Turkish troops in an air strike, saying the Syrian military had not known of their location.Ahead of the talks, at least 16 civilians were killed when Russian air strikes hit a gathering of displaced people near the town of Maarat Misrin in Idlib, according to civil defense workers helping clear the rubble and search for survivors.Russia denies targeting civilians.Two witnesses also reported seeing more Turkish military reinforcements deploying into Idlib, and Russia’s RIA news agency said rebels had resumed shelling the strategic town of Saraqeb in Idlib where Russian military police are based.The Turkish defense ministry said it had destroyed four tanks, five rocket launchers and a dozen military vehicles in artillery and air strikes in the last 24 hours.Turkey hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and says it cannot handle more. Seeking to extract more funding and support from Europe over Idlib, Ankara said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal in which it stopped migrants crossing into the European Union in return for billions of euros in aid. Erdogan told reporters the truce would come into effect at midnight on Thursday. “We will work together to supply aid for the Syrians in need,” he said, adding that Turkey retained the right “to respond to all (Syrian) regime attacks in the field.”Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing some rebel groups. They have in recent years reached several ceasefire deals in Idlib, which have collapsed.Russian air strikes have propelled an offensive by Assad’s forces in Idlib that sparked what the United Nations says may be the worst humanitarian crisis yet in a war that has driven millions from their homes and killed hundreds of thousands.The Russian military has, however, repeatedly played down any talk of a refugee crisis and accused Turkey of violating international law by pouring enough troops into Idlib to make up a mechanized division. Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire deal on Thursday in Syria’s Idlib region, their two leaders said after lengthy talks in Moscow to contain a conflict which has displaced nearly a million people in three months.Russian President Vladimir Putin, standing next to his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, said he hoped their agreement would lead to a halt of military action in Syria’s last rebel stronghold in the far northwest of the country.”I express hope that these agreements will serve as a good basis for a cessation of military activity in the Idlib de-escalation zone [and] stop the suffering of the peaceful population and the growing humanitarian crisis,” Putin said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Dearth of cross-border funds a ‘heritage nightmare’, says IORP rapporteur

first_imgHe advocated revisions in IORP II to encourage the take-up of cross-border operations and asked why European multi-national corporations, unlike their US counterparts, performed so poorly.During a later panel, a senior official from the European Commission was questioned over the current stipulation that cross-border funds should be fully funded at all times.Jung-Duk Lichtenberger of the Directorate General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) explained that, if there could be no harmonisation of solvency rules, absence of the full funding rules would result in a “race to the bottom”, likely due to a drive to re-locate to jurisdictions with more relaxed regulation.Lichtenberger questioned whether a minimum harmonisation of the 28 EU member states’ pension regulation was “too much of an administrative burden”. Hayes said the matter of solvency inevitably required not only his attention but the attention of questioners from the floor.He echoed a comment from a recent parliamentary hearing, noting: “Remember, we are dealing with other people’s money – money they are putting aside.”Answering a question later on, Hayes added: “We have to take the responsibility for getting more people to take up pensions, and I don’t see EIOPA’s [the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority’s] involvement as some kind of negative issue.”Separately, he said EIOPA was “an important player, but, at the end of the day, it is the European Parliament and the Council [of the EU] that decides on legislation”.At another stage, he described the Directive as a “minimum act”.“We do not need to strangle member states on the matter of [excessive legislation].”More generally, he said that, “broadly speaking, we are working on a consensus position in the European Parliament”.Hayes also touched on the matter of professional qualifications, a contentious issue in the UK and other member states that allow lay trustees to oversee schemes, and said he was aware of the concerns.He said he expected to have completed his own report to ECON by the end of July, to be followed, by late November or early December, by a final report from the committee. The dearth of cross-border pension funds must be addressed by the revised IORP Directive, according to the MEP in charge of the legislation. Brian Hayes, rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee (ECON), returned repeatedly to the issue of cross-border during a speech at the PensionsEurope conference in Brussels.The Irish MEP reasoned that the growing number of cross-border workers would warrant the growth of cross-border provision, but also that funds raised to back effective cross-border schemes could benefit the economy as a whole.Hayes said the current cross-border framework was “a heritage nightmare” and “a case of a regulatory framework that is bizarre”, arguing it was a “key issue” that needed to be resolved.last_img read more

Ronaldo’s Bicycle Kick Goal Voted UEFA Goal of the Season

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo’s stunning overhead kick for Real Madrid against his current club Juventus has been announced as UEFA Goal of the Season.Ronaldo lit up the Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Juventus with his remarkable bicycle kick to put Madrid 2-0 up and in a commanding position to progress to the semi-finals.And his effort – which was even applauded by the Juventus faithful inside the stadium back in April – topped the poll with nearly 200,000 of the overall 346,915 votes. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner succeeds his now Juventus team-mate Mario Mandzukic, who won the award last year following his bicycle kick in the Champions League final in 2017 in Cardiff against Madrid.Ronaldo’s special goal beat Gareth Bale’s bicycle kick against Liverpool in Kiev and in fact, the Welshman’s effort wasn’t even one of the 11 nominations for the award.Ronaldo’s jaw-dropping strike is widely considered to be his very best and he has even admitted as much, before claiming the reaction from Juventus fans after his goal played a major factor in him deciding to move to Turin.After hearing the news that he won the UEFA award yesterday, Ronaldo took to Instagram to thank his fans for voting for him and gave a special shout-out to the Juventus supporters inside the stadium that night.The Portugal international wrote: ‘Thanks to everyone who voted for me.‘Will never forget that moment, specially the reaction of the fans in the stadium. #UEFA Goal of the Season #SpecialMoment’.Dimitri Payet’s goal in Marseille’s 5-2 UEFA Europa League defeat of RB Leipzig came second, while Eva Navarro’s effort for Spain in their Women’s Under 17 Euro final victory against Germany finished third.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

PGA Tour player Robert Garrigus back from suspension, still advocating for marijuana

first_imgHe said he was using prescribed marijuana at the time to treat knee and back pain and had monitored his TCH levels throughout the fall and winter.Now he’s back on Tour — and, he says, no longer using medical marijuana. But he has approached PGA Tour officials with the hopes of getting marijuana removed from the list of banned substances given that it has been legalized in multiple states in recent years.”If you have some sort of pain and CBD or THC may help that, and you feel like it can help you and be prescribed by a doctor, then what are we doing?” Garrigus said. “If you are doing marijuana, then we should be testing for alcohol, too. If you can buy it in a store, then why are we testing for it? That’s my opinion.”The PGA Tour declined to comment to Golf Channel on its story. Garrigus owns a marijuana farm in Washington state, where marijuana is legal, and according to Golf Channel he will meet with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan at next week’s John Deere Classic. Garrigus didn’t appeal his suspension in March and maintains that his failed drug test was not the result of an attempt to use marijuana as a performance-enhancer.”I wasn’t trying to degrade the PGA Tour in any way, my fellow professionals in any way. I don’t cheat the game,” said Garrigus, who has won once on Tour (2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic). “I understand (Human Growth Hormone), anything you are trying to do to cheat the game you should be suspended for 100 percent. Everything else should be a discussion.” Robert Garrigus, back on the PGA Tour this week at the 3M Open after a three-month suspension for marijuana use, is talking with Tour officials about its banned substances list, he told Golf Channel.Garrigus, 41, was suspended in March after a drug test showed elevated levels of THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.last_img read more