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Tayyip Erdogan threatens to chuck out 10 Western envoys

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday threatened to expel the US, Germany, and eight other Western ambassadors after they issued a rare joint statement in support of a jailed civil society leader.

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Tayyip Erdogan
Tayyip Erdogan

Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala, 64, has been in jail without a conviction since 2017, becoming a symbol of what critics see as Erdogan's growing intolerance of dissent.

The 10 ambassadors issued a highly unusual joint statement on Monday -- distributed widely on their Turkish social media accounts -- saying Kavala's continued detention "cast a shadow" over Turkey.

"I told our foreign minister that we cannot have the luxury of hosting them in our country," Erdogan told reporters in comments published by Turkish media.

Kavala has faced a string of alternating charges linked to 2013 anti-government protests and a failed military coup in 2016. 

In their statement, the US, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden called for a "just and speedy resolution to (Kavala)'s the case". 

The 10 envoys were summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry on Tuesday. 

Erdogan sounded incandescent with rage in a conversation with Turkish reporters on board his return flight from a tour of Africa.

"Is it within your boundary to teach such a lesson to Turkey? Who are you?" he demanded in comments carried by the private NTV broadcaster. 

The Turkish lira extended its fall into record-low territory against the dollar within moments of Erdogan's comments on fears of a new wave of Turkish tensions with the West.

Shehroz Azhar

Mr. Azhar has been working as web journalist since 2018. He holds a BS in Mass Communication from the National University of Modern Languages. Mr. Azhar has previously worked with renowned channels and is now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer.

World

124 snakes found with dead body in US home

Pythons, rattlesnakes, cobras and black mambas were among the snakes found inside the home

Published by Faisal Waqas

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124 snakes found with dead body in US home

In a horrible discovery, the dead body of a man – surrounded by at least 124 snakes – was found inside a house in Maryland, United States. 

The Independent reported that the incident took place in Charles Countyof Maryland. The snakes, some of which were identified to be venomous, were kept inside cages when police reached the man’s home at around 6pm on Wednesday, the Charles County sheriff’s office said.

Police said that the man had kept the snakes, some of which were venomous, inside a cage in his house. 

One of the deceased man's neighbours, after not seeing him for a day, had gone to check in on him. 

The neighbour told the police that he peeped into the house through a window after no one answered the door and saw the man, 49, lying on the floor unconscious. 

He then decided to call 911 for help. When emergency services arrived and examined the man, he was found to be dead.

Police added that the cause of death is yet to be determined, adding that "no obvious signs of foul play have been found so far."

“Inside the house, more than 100 venomous and non-venomous snakes of different varieties were discovered in tanks situated on racks,” the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said, per the report.

The man had kept different types of snakes in his house, including pythons, rattlesnakes, cobras and black mambas, police said, adding that animal control officials were examining the snakes.

The chief animal control officer of the county told police that they had "not encountered an incident like this in more than 30 years of experience."

“Charles County Animal Control is coordinating rescue efforts relating to the reptiles with assistance from reptile experts from North Carolina and Virginia,” the police said.

It should be noted that Maryland's law prohibits people from keeping snakes as pets.

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EU re-establishing ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul

Embassy is being opened after five months

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EU re-establishing ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul

The European Union on Thursday announced it had begun re-establishing a “minimal presence” in Kabul to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

“Our minimal presence in Kabul must not in any way be seen as recognition” of the Taliban government there,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement. 

“This has also been clearly communicated to the de facto authorities,” he added.

Afghanistan is in the grip of a humanitarian disaster, worsened by the Taliban takeover in August that prompted Western countries to freeze international aid and access to billions of dollars worth of assets held abroad.

The country was almost entirely dependent on foreign aid under the previous US-backed government, but jobs have dried up and most civil servants haven’t been paid for months.

No country has yet recognised the Taliban, with most watching to see how the hardline Islamists -– notorious for human rights abuses during their first stint in power -– restrict freedoms.

Shortly before Stano made his comments, an Afghan foreign ministry spokesman said on Twitter that the EU was reopening “an embassy” with “a permanent presence in Kabul” for the first time in five months. 

Stano said in the statement “the EU has started to re-establish a minimal presence of international EU Delegation staff to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and monitor the humanitarian situation”.

The international community is waiting to see how the Taliban Islamic fundamentalists intend to govern Afghanistan, after having largely trampled on human rights during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001. 

While the Taliban claim to have modernised, women are still largely excluded from public employment and secondary schools for girls remain largely closed.

Several countries, including China. Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Iran have kept their embassies in Kabul open since the Taliban victory last year, but have not formally recognised their government.

Western diplomats began to evacuate their personnel in the first half of 2021, when American troops began operations to withdraw permanently from Afghanistan. 

The withdrawal culminated at the end of August with the chaotic evacuation of 120,000 people following the Taliban’s lightning conquest of the country.

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Entertainment

Next two 'Mission: Impossible' movies starring Tom Cruise delayed until 2023, 2024

The new dates for the films are July 14, 2023, for the seventh installment, and June 28, 2024, for the eighth movie in the series

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Next two 'Mission: Impossible' movies starring Tom Cruise delayed until 2023, 2024

The seventh and eighth movies in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise starring Tom Cruise have been delayed until 2023 and 2024 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, producers Paramount Pictures and Skydance said in a statement on Friday.

"Mission: Impossible 7" had been scheduled to debut in movie theaters in September 2022, followed by "Mission: Impossible 8" in July 2023.

The new dates for the films are July 14, 2023, for the seventh installment, and June 28, 2024, for the eighth movie in the series.

"After thoughtful consideration, Paramount Pictures and Skydance have decided to postpone the release dates for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 in response to delays due to the ongoing pandemic," the companies said in a statement.

Theater chains, including AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Holdings Inc, are still trying to recover from extended closures during the pandemic.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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