European arms sold in Middle East total over $1bn: A new report issued by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network has revealed arms valued in excess of $1 billion have been sold to countries and groups engaged in conflict in both Syria and Yemen.
According to the report, top arms suppliers, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia have brokered arms agreements with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, In turn, the four countries have funneled the weapons to armed groups in Syria and Yemen.
The report also concluded some of the weapons originating in Eastern and Central European countries eventually fell into the hands of ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.
Ankara broadens crackdown: Following the detainment of thousands, Turkey has broadened its crackdown to include journalists, media organizations and more members of the military.
On Wednesday, Ankara ordered a further 1,600 dismissed from the military and shutdown 23 radio stations, 16 television networks and over 80 print media organizations. Additionally, 47 journalists associated with an opposition newspaper were also detained.
Critics of the crackdown suspect Erdogan’s aim is to silence opposition groups and media outlets known to criticize his rule over Turkey.
Jailed by China, U.S. citizen denied visitors: The State Department confirmed Wednesday an American citizen arrested over one year ago in China is forbidden from receiving visitors.
James Wang, founder of a magazine known to be critical of Beijing’s rulers, was sentenced to five years in prison.
The State Department state it will continue to press for visitation rights.
Mugabe dismisses calls to step down: After losing the support of a veterans group whose members criticized Zimbabwe’s president as corrupt, Robert Mugabe rejected calls for him to step aside and end his 36-year rule.
Mugabe also told a an audience at a Harare rally opponents of his rule are conspiring with intelligence agents representing the governments of the United States, Great Britain and France to force him to give up power.
The Zimbabwean government described calls for Mugabe’s ouster as treasonous.
Catalonia prepares for independence from Spain: Acting on recommendations from a commission tasked to research efforts to secede from Spain, the Catalonian parliament announced it would proceed with its bid for independence with or without Madrid’s acquiescence.
Non-binding referendums held in the Spanish region have revealed strong support for independence from Spain.
Under the 1978 Spanish Constitution, Spain returned much of self-governing power to Catalonia, referring to its unique political model as a Statute of Autonomy, where the state administers much control over social, economic and political matters and often does not require the consent of Madrid.
[RT News] [Reuters]