West Africa: ‘The World Is On the Side of Those WHO Are Involved in This Fight’ Against Ebola – UN Envoy

[UN News]The top United Nations officials leading the fight against Ebola have made an appeal for people who possess skills that are "quite rare" to join the global effort, such as those who can provide patient care, undertake contact tracing and analyze how the outbreak is evolving in remote areas of the virus-affected countries, saying that "deploying more people to the districts is our highest priority."

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Poll: Most Americans think things are going pretty well in the US

A new CNN/ORC poll finds consistent improvement in the mood of the nation over the past few months, despite a series of national security crises and continued gridlock in Washington.

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Austria arrests for recruiting Syria fighters

Thirteen suspects arrested in raids on homes, prayer rooms and mosques for trying to recruit fighters.

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Ousted Prime Minister of Greece Says His Party Needs a New Leader

George A. Papandreou, the former prime minister, called for an emergency congress of the Socialist party Pasok in a bid to wrest control from his successor.

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Posted in Greece, Legislatures and Parliaments, Papandreou, George A, Pasok (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), Venizelos, Evangelos, World news | Comments Off

Ridley Scott: from Alien to Exodus, a Cecil B DeMille for the digital age

Director has produced at least one influential film a decade since 1977 and biblical epic will open a new chapter of his career

He has never won an Oscar, but is routinely described as one of the greatest film directors working today – and his credits attest to his monumental contribution to cinema over five decades. Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator and Prometheus are just the highlights of Ridley Scott’s directorial career, which stretches back 37 years to The Duellists, released in 1977, and which is about to enter a new chapter with the biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Remarkably, Scott has managed to stay relevant, producing at least one major, influential film a decade, and responding to periodic downturns with commercial hits that have kept his hat permanently in the ring. Now 76, Scott can be bracketed in the same league as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg as a veteran director in as complete control of his powers as he ever was.

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Dozens killed in series of bombs at Nigeria mosque

Bombs explode as Friday prayers begin at Grand Mosque where emir has spoken out against Boko Haram Continue reading...

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Malaysia excluded from MH17 probe – for ‘not pointing fingers at Russia’?

nvestigators watch as a piece of wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is transported at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 20, 2014. (Reuters/Antonio Bronic)

Malaysia has been left out of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which has been tasked with learning more about the details of the tragedy which took place over Ukraine in July. This is despite the Dutch prime minister stating the importance of Malaysia's cooperation during a visit to the country this month. The JIT includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, and Australia.

Experts from the Southeast Asian country are not taking part in the criminal probe into the reason behind the Boeing 777 crash, which killed all 298 people on board. Those victims represented 10 nations, and Malaysia had the second highest number of casualties at 43. Most of the passengers – 193 in total – were from the Netherlands.

Earlier in November, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar demanded the "active participation of Malaysian experts in the work of the joint investigative group," while debris for further investigation was collected from the site without the country's involvement.

READ MORE: MH17 crash debris finally retrieved for analysis, more human remains recovered

After the completion of the debris collection was announced, Malaysia said the action by the JIT countries was “unilateral,” an informed source in the Malaysian capital told TASS news agency.

According to Malaysian media, the country's transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that Malaysia had expressed its stance "very clear" that it must be part of the criminal investigation, and informed Dutch authorities of its intention. Malaysian ambassador to Ukraine Chuah Teong Ban reportedly expressed concerns that his country would not be allowed to inspect the debris unless it became part of the criminal investigation team.

The police chief said he would head to Amsterdam on December 3 to discuss Malaysia’s participation in the process with JIT members, joined by attorney general Abdul Gani Patail.

'Political play in the situation'

"When the crash happened, we did not blame any parties, neither Russia nor Ukraine, as we would like to take a look at the concrete evidence," head associate professor in research and aviation at Kuala Lumpur University, Dr. Mohamed Harridon, told RT. He added that unlike "western counterparts," Malaysia has taken a “neutral role," and not "pointed fingers at Russia," which could be the reason for the country's exclusion from the investigation.

READ MORE: Shocking amateur footage shows MH17 crash aftermath (VIDEO)

Saying that Malaysia's participation would "push for a more balanced power into the investigation," Harridon – whose views on the matter were also published in one of Malaysia's oldest newspapers, the New Strait Times – pointed out that the country being part of the investigation was only right and "legal."

"If you have evidence, it should be investigated by all parties – also by neutral parties – [and] investigated thoroughly, instead of putting the blame initially on one party," he told RT, adding that there is "a political play in that situation."

"We are trying to lobby ourselves to be [included] in the investigation, we have laid out several statements, we have passengers dead in the crash, the plane belongs to Malaysia Airlines, and according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), we should be part of the team," Harridon said, referring to the ICAO Chicago Convention, which states that the operator of a crashed flight must not be left out of an investigation.

"The exclusion from the investigation appears to be an indication that the investigation’s objectivity has been compromised and that the conclusions it draws will likely be politically motivated," New York-based geopolitical analyst Ulson Gunnar wrote in New Eastern Outlook magazine.

Gunnar added that Kiev is "a possible suspect in the investigation," as it had "confirmed to possess weapons capable of reaching the altitude MH17 was flying at when it was allegedly hit" – so Ukraine's "inclusion in JIT represents a monumental conflict of interest."

'Our participation will help prevent attempts to conceal the real story'

Saying that Malaysia must take a leading role in the investigation, the advisor for the country's Suaram human rights organization, Kua Kia Soong, raised the issue of an alleged non-disclosure agreement drawn up by the four participating countries, The Star newspaper reported.

"Something simple like the fact that these four countries can keep the findings of the MH17 crash to themselves is unacceptable," Kua said. He added that the consensus of the four countries which is allegedly needed ahead of revealing findings to the public is also inappropriate.

READ MORE: Dutch government refuses to reveal ‘secret deal’ into MH17 crash probe

"One can understand why Ukraine is in the team since that is where the plane was shot from the sky. We can understand the Netherlands’ membership of the JIT since the flight originated from Amsterdam. But why is Belgium in the JIT?," Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), said, according to The Malaysian Insider.

The scholar said that if Belgium was on the list because of Brussels being the administrative capital of the European Union – which "may have some aviation responsibilities over commercial flights in the continent" – it still makes no sense, because "then it is the EU, not Belgium, which should have a place in the team."

He also said that if Australia is in the JIT because a number of its citizens were killed in the tragedy, Malaysia should not have been sidelined in the criminal investigations. He added that the US should be participating too, "since Boeing, an American multinational, manufactured the 777 passenger jet."

"Our participation in the investigation will at least help to check any attempt to conceal or camouflage the real story," Muzaffar said, as quoted by The Malaysian Insider.

READ MORE: $30mn bounty set to identify who shot down MH17 in Ukraine

Professor Mohamed Harridon doubts the whole truth will ever be revealed. "This is a long process, probably [will] take years, and there still [will] be speculations. Perhaps we [will] only know 60 percent of the truth," he told RT.

The Dutch Security Council announced on Friday that the task of collecting the Boeing 777 wreckage had been completed at the site, and fragments still left in Ukraine are of no interest to investigators. However, local agencies will be charged for removing any remaining fragments from the crash site, TASS reported.

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ENO star revealed to be US street dancer

Rave reviews for unknown performer Banks-Artiste who steals the show in the opera The Gospel According to the Other Mary

When the reviews for one of the year’s most keenly awaited new operas came in last weekend there was one recurring question: who was the dancer stealing the show as the Angel Gabriel?

Today it can be revealed that he is Banks-Artiste, 25, a street dancer from Brooklyn who until this month had never left the US, let alone appeared on a major opera stage.

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Soldier jailed for making nailbomb avoids terror charge

Ryan McGee told police he made the bomb when he was bored and because he did not like mass immigration

A soldier who wrote of murdering immigrants and who praised Adolf Hitler has been jailed for two years after building a viable nailbomb packed with 181 pieces of shrapnel to maximise the carnage it would cause.

Ryan McGee, 20, described by his defence team as “a bit of a loner”, wrote in a journal: “I vow to drag every last immigrant into the fires of hell with me.”

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Fight fundamentalism by tackling poverty, urges Pope Francis

Pontiff calls for greater tolerance on visit to Turkey’s President Erdoğan, who has been criticised for authoritarian policies Continue reading...

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