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The two sides of a new 100-ruble ($2.10) banknote, depicting a memorial to sunken ships in the port of
Sevastopol and the Swallow ’s Nest, a cliff top castle near Yalta.
Russia overnight issued a new
banknote dedicated to Crimea,
the Ukrainian peninsula it
annexed last year, in a move likely
to anger Kiev which says it wants
the territory back.
Russia seized Crimea from
Ukraine in March last year in a
military operation denounced
by the west which imposed
retaliatory sanctions on Moscow
that remain in place.
The new banknote, worth 100
rubles ($2.10), depicts a memorial
to sunken ships in the port of
Sevastopol, where Russia keeps
its Black Sea Fleet, and the
Swallow ’s Nest, a cliff top castle
The yellow-coloured note
also features a watermark of
Empress Catherine the Great,
who extended the borders of
the Russian Empire in the 18th
century to absorb Crimea.
Russia’s central bank said in
a statement it would issue 20
million of the new notes.
It has previously minted a
10-ruble coin to celebrate
Russia’s control of Crimea.
Russia issues Crimea banknote
for refugee crisis
Germany has encouraged illegal
immigration to Europe with its
humanitarian response to the refugee
crisis, the Czech prime minister was
cited as saying by a German newspaper.
About one million refugees and
migrants, many fleeing war and poverty
in the Middle East, Asia and Africa,
entered the European Union this year,
according to the United Nations. The
influx has caused a rift between eastern
and western members, who disagree on
how to respond.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and
Hungary, through which many refugees
have travelled but where very few want
to settle, have led in their opposition
to compulsory quotas for redistributing
asylum seekers across the EU bloc.
“Germany has, for the time being,
given precedence to the humanitarian
aspects of the crisis over security issues,”
Bohuslav Sobotka told the Sueddeutsche
Zeitung in an inter view published in its
“Germany sent a signal that could
be seen and heard in large parts of the
Middle East and north Africa,” he
added. “ That stimulated illegal migration
to Europe. Unfortunately that cannot be
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
defended her refugee policies at a
congress of her conser vative party last
week, saying it had been a “humanitarian
imperative” to open German borders to
refugees camped out in Hungary back in
However, in a nod to critics within her
Christian Democratic Union, who have
pressed her to introduce a formal cap on
the number of migrants Germany will
accept, she also said she would stem the
Merkel is trying to tackle the influx
through negotiations to resolve the
war in Syria and by encouraging
neighbouring Turkey to improve
conditions for refugees there, we well as
convincing European partners to accept
quotas of asylum seekers. — Reuters
Beatles to stream on-line
The Beatles’ back catalogue of music
will launch on a range of streaming
ser vices later today.
The band’s tracks will be available
on nine different streaming ser vices,
including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal
and Google Play Music.
The band — John Lennon, Paul
McCartney, George Harrison and
Ringo Starr — which split in 1970, have
remained hugely popular and influential
after clocking up 17 British No 1 singles
as a group.
Solo material from the Fab Four is
already available on Spotify.
The Beatles have a history of embracing
technology later than most, with the
band’s music not appearing on iTunes
until 2010, some seven years after the
ser vice was first launched. Streaming
ser vices such as Spotify have been on the
rise since 2007.
Deezer, Microsoft Groove, Napster,
Amazon Prime Music and Slacker
Radio have also been confirmed as host
ser vices for the band’s music.
Napster’s chief financial officer Ethan
Rudin said: “ The Beatles are the most
iconic band in music history and their
catalogue is the No 1 request from our
subscribers around the world.
“ Today, we’re able to fulfil that request
just in time for families around the world
to enjoy together over the holidays. ”
The news comes at a time when
streaming ser vices have taken over digital
downloads as the most prominent way to
consume music, although several artists
most notably Adele and American
singer Taylor Swift — have questioned
the value of the platform.
Swift famously withdrew her entire
back catalogue from Spotify in 2014,
saying: “Music is art, and art is important
and rare. Important, rare things are
valuable. Valuable things should be paid
In an inter view with Time magazine
earlier this week, Adele also called
streaming “a bit disposable”.
However, technology giant Apple
entered the streaming market for the
first time earlier this year with the launch
of Apple Music, which already has about
15 million users across its paid and free
Scandinavian-founded Spotify has
more than 40 million users across
its paid-for and advert-supported
subscriptions. — PA
A far-right Austrian group has staged
a mock beheading in Vienna’s busiest
shopping street of two of its members
holding “refugees welcome” signs.
Several police officers watched the
event, saying they were protecting the
right of assembly.
A video posted on-line this week,
which said it was by the anti-immigrant
Identitaeren group, shows two masked
men dressed in military fatigues
pretending to behead a man and a
At least four police officers and dozens
of shoppers look on as jihadist chants in
English fill the street and other masked
men hold a flag sporting Islamic-style
Austria’s anti-Islam Freedom Party is
ahead of the two ruling centrist parties,
according to recent opinion polls, with
just over 30% support after a boost
from worries over immigration in the
staunchly Catholic country.
“These people who shout ‘refugees
welcome’ are to blame for the danger
we’re exposed to in Europe now,” one
man, addressing the crowd in the video,
“They speak of diversity, but what
we see is foreign infiltration and
Islamisation. We are the power that
defends Austrian values and traditions.
We will continue until our homeland
is secure. Fortress Europe, shut the
A spokesman for Vienna’s police
said the event had been registered as a
display of a “warlike action” and officers
had stopped protesters trying to disrupt
it. Representatives of the government
agency for the protection of the
constitution were also present, he said
“ Fundamentally there is freedom of
assembly in Austria,” he said, noting that
was no legal basis to stop an assembly
that consists of acting. The police had
received several complaints about the
event, he said.
The Interior Ministry and the Justice
Ministry gave no immediate comment.
Mock beheading in Austria
Dead woman not found for year
An elderly woman lay dead in her
flat for well over a year before being
discovered by authorities in the German
city of Kassel.
The woman is believed to have died in
her bed in the summer of 2014 and was
found at the end of last month, police
Her death is not being treated as
Final identification may be completed
only in the New Year, but police
investigators are working on the
assumption that the body is that of the
87-year-old tenant of the flat in the
town of Lohfelden.
The flat was opened on account of
water damage in the neighbouring flat.
The police spokesman said there must
have been a smell from the body for
some weeks, but no one had noticed it.
The woman’s pension was reported to
have been paid into her bank account
regularly, and the rent for the flat
deducted by standing order. — D PA
Dead whale closes popular beach
A South African beach popular with
Christmas holidaymakers has been
closed until the carcase of a beached
whale is removed amid concerns its
blood may attract sharks, the city of
Cape Town said overnight.
Local media described it as a humpback
whale measuring over 14m in length and
said two sharks had been seen in the area.
“The immediate area around the whale
carcase has been cordoned off and this
area is closed to members of the public.
The blood and debris from the carcase
can attract sharks to the area,” the city
said in a statement. The affected area was
the Strand Beach, a stretch of sand east
of Cape Town. — Reuters
It is a guidebook with nothing
about the eternal city’s ancient
monuments or famed restaurants
and it cannot be found in any
bookstore. Its target audience is
those who cannot buy even a used
paperback — the homeless.
The 250-page pocket book, called
Rome — Where to Eat, Sleep and
Have a Wash, has been dubbed the
“ Michelin guide for the destitute”.
The new edition was presented on
Tuesday to draw attention to the
homeless during the Christmas
The Sant ’ Egidio Community, a
Catholic charity that distributes
the guide, estimates that there are
about 8000 homeless people in
Rome. Many are foreigners but a
growing number are Italians.
About 2500 sleep outdoors and
thousands of others in precarious
shelters such as abandoned buildings.
Marco Impagliazzo, head of the
worldwide group of non-clerics, said
a growing number were Italian men
in their mid-30s who were separated
or divorced and had none of the
family safety nets that traditionally
protected Italians in the past.
Italy’s economy is emerging only
slowly from a three-year recession
and unemployment remains close
to record highs, with virtually no
jobs growth this year among those
under the age of 35.
The guide includes addresses of
medical ser vices, 40 local soup
kitchens, 40 indoor eateries, 45
places to sleep and 17 places to
wash, get a shave or a haircut.
The number of places to wash has
increased in recent years in Rome
after the homeless themselves told
charity workers that was what was
lacking most. Pope Francis ordered
showers for the homeless to be
opened just off St Peter’s Square
The guide, now in its 26th edition,
includes a pull-out waterproof map
with simple drawings — such as a
sandwich for food points — and
public transport routes to get to them.
Sant ’ Egidio, which has been
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
for its conflict resolution work and
Aids programmes in Africa, plans to
distribute 13,000 copies directly to
the homeless and to volunteers who
help them. — Reuters
Guide book for Rome’s homeless
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