Turkish riot police escort a soldier, center, who allegedly took part in a military coup in Istanbul
Turkish authorities on Sunday began rounding up dozens of generals as well as senior judges and prosecutors accused of supporting a failed military coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The government has already said that almost 3,000 soldiers had been detained on suspicion of involvement in the putsch, which began on Friday night but faltered in the early hours of Saturday.
NTV television said that 34 generals of various grades had been detained so far. They include senior figures like Erdal Ozturk, commander of the third army and the commander of the Malatya-based second army, Adem Huduti.
The authorities have been carrying out raids at military bases across Turkey in search of those suspected of supporting the coup, which has claimed at least 265 lives.
In an operation early Sunday, at the garrison in the western town of Denizli, its commander Ozhan Ozbakir was detained along with 51 other soldiers, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.
The crackdown is however not restricted to the military, and Anadolu said that prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for a total of 2,745 judges and prosecutors across Turkey.
As many as 6,000 people have been arrested in total, as the Turkish government begins to assign blame for the failed coup. The entire investigation is being led by Ankara prosecutors.
The US State Department denied any link to the events, after the Turkish government, a US ally, blamed the coup on an exiled Turkish dissident who has been given sanctuary in the American state of Pennsylvania.
Those arrested are suspected of belonging to the group led by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of masterminding the coup. Gulen denies the charges.
“The cleansing [operation] is continuing,” said Bekir Bozdag, the Turkish justice minister, in a television interview, cited by The Guardian. “Some 6,000 detentions have taken place. The number could surpass 6,000.”
“Public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations,” the State Department said.
Turkey accuses Gulen of leading a group called the "Fethullahci Terror Organisation (FETO)" that has created a parallel state. Gulen's supporters say their group, which they call Hizmet (Service), is entirely peaceful.
US President Barack Obama had warned Turkey there is a "vital need" for all parties to "act within the rule of law" in the aftermath of the coup.
John Chilcot: ‘Iraq war inquiry will not shy away from criticisms’
Sir John Chilcot has insisted he was not afraid to criticise those who were in charge at the time of the Iraq war in his long-delayed report into the buildup, handling and aftermath of the 2003 conflict.
In an interview with broadcasters on the eve of publication, the head of the public inquiry moved to preempt accusations of a whitewash by saying there were occasions where he and his fellow panellists had judged that decisions or behaviour would justify a rebuke.
Chilcot said: “I made very clear right at the start of the inquiry that if we came across decisions or behaviour which deserved criticism then we wouldn’t shy away from making it. And, indeed, there have been more than a few instances where we are bound to do that.”
His report runs to 12 volumes totalling 2.6 million words, and examines the UK’s role in the run-up to the invasion and its aftermath. The Iraq Body Count, which maintains a database of deaths in Iraq, puts the death toll of combatants and civilians from the invasion to the present day at 251,000.
The Chilcot report’s main focus is on what commitmentsTony Blair gave to George Bush and whether the former prime minister misled the British public over the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be non-existent. Others in line for criticism include the overseas spy agency MI6 for providing inaccurate intelligence and allowing the facts to be souped up for political purposes – and military commanders for failing to
Chilcot defended himself against of the length of time the inquiry had taken – seven years – saying its scale was unprecedented. It included an analysis of 150,000 government documents and getting agreement from the government on how much of that could be published.
The former civil servant promised that the report would answer some of the questions raised by families of the dead British soldiers. “The conversations we’ve had with the families were invaluable in shaping some of the report,” Chilcot said.
Some of the families will be at the launch of the report at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, at Westminster. Others will join anti-war protesters outside who are calling for Blair to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes at the international criminal court in The Hague.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Karen Thornton, whose son Lee was killed in Iraq in 2006, said she was convinced that Blair had exaggerated intelligence about Iraq’s capabilities.
“If it is proved that he lied then obviously he should be held accountable for it,” she said, adding that meant a trial for war crimes. “He shouldn’t be allowed to just get away with it,” she said. But she did not express confidence that Chilcot’s report would provide the accountability that she was hoping for. “Nobody’s going to be held to account and that’s so wrong,” she said. “We just want the truth.”
Chilcot insisted that any criticism would be supported by careful examination of the evidence. “We are not a court – not a judge or jury at work – but we’ve tried to apply the highest possible standards of rigorous analysis to the evidence where we make a criticism.”
It is not clear how anti-war activists will respond to Chilcot’s statement that “we are not a court”. It reflects the fact that he had no lawyers on his panel and activists are likely to declare the report a whitewash if it fails to declare the war illegal.
Kate Hudson, spokeswoman for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: “It comes down to a principle: where individuals, no matter how lofty, are found to be responsible for crimes, they should face the full force of the law. No one is exempt from justice.”
Jeremy Corbyn, who will respond to the report in parliament on Wednesday, is understood to have concluded that international laws are neither strong nor clear enough to make any war crimes prosecution a reality. The Labour leader said last year Blair could face trial if the report found he was guilty of launching an illegal war.
Corbyn is expected to fulfil a promise he made during his leadership campaign to apologise on behalf of Labour for the war. He will speak in the House of Commons after David Cameron, who is scheduled to make a statement shortly after 12.30pm.
Alex Salmond, the former Scottish National party leader, has called for the impeachment of Blair and argues that the findings of the report, even if fails to declare the war illegal, could open the way for legal action.
The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, said: “Bush and Blair’s choices have created a failed state which continues to be the source of extremism and instability across the Middle East.”
He added: “Blair knowingly lied to the public to justify this war, and his actions have damaged public trust, damaged the UK’s standing in the world and crippled the ability of the UK to make humanitarian interventions. It is time he accepted responsibility and acknowledged his catastrophic mistake.”
Geoffrey Robertson, QC, a former United Nations appeal judge and author of Crimes Against Humanity, said the prosecution of the former prime minister as a war criminal was “a legal impossibility”.
In an article for the Guardian, Robertson writes: “Both Jeremy Corbyn and Alex Salmond have already hinted that their response to Chilcot will be a wish to put Blair in the dock. This hypothetical, however engaging for television, is a legal impossibility.

 We need to concentrate on how the law should be changed to ensure that future leaders who wage wars of aggression can be brought to account.”
Blair is planning to hold a press conference to deliver a robust response to the findings. He will insist the Shia-Sunni split in Iraq, one of the driving forces of the continuing violence, preceded the invasion and was not the result of the disruption created by the war.
He will claim that Iran and al-Qaida had a role in creating the insecurity inside Iraq after the invasion. At same time, he will acknowledge he is now more cautious about the consequences of unleashing dangerous forces when a strongman such as Saddam Hussein is removed.
He will again apologise for the mistaken intelligence about Saddam’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, but will point to evidence that the Iraqi leader sought to mislead the United Nations weapons inspectors and his own military in order to strengthen his political position inside Iraq.
Blair insists he gave no secret irrevocable pledges to Bush that the UK would go to war and any commitments of solidarity were subject to political support. His attempts to secure a second UN resolution that set tests Saddam needed to meet so as to avoid invasion is presented by Blair as proof there was no pre-ordained invasion.
Blair has previously accepted that the post-war planning was inadequate, but the report is likely to blame Whitehall inadequacy and the lack of expertise in the Foreign Office as well as turf wars in Washington.
The report was delivered to the prime minister at 11am on Tuesday. No one else has received a report, but Downing Street may have sent copies to other senior ministers. Corbyn will not receive a copy until 8am on Wednesday, the same time as the families.
Chilcot is scheduled to make a statement at 11am, lasting 15-20 minutes and the report will go online as soon as he finishes.
Military commanders are expected to face sharp criticism. The head of the army at the time, Sir Mike Jackson, his successor, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, and the then head of military operations and now chief of defence staff, Gen Sir Michael Houghton, are all likely to be criticised for not making adequate preparations for the war and its aftermath.
Admiral Lord Boyce, chief of defence staff at the time, may also face criticism, though he expressed misgivings about the invasion and its consequences.
An internal Ministry of Defence report attacks the ministry for being too “complacent” in the run-up to the invasion.
Al-Khalifa regime to withdraw the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qasim
European religious figures in a statement on Thursday deplored the al-Khalifa regime for revoking senior Bahraini Shiite cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim of citizenship, urging the international community to prevent the Bahraini regime's continued clampdown on popular demands.
"The Islamic European Union of Shiite Scholars and Theologians condemns this obscene move," the statement said.
It called the al-Khalifa regime's decision to strip Sheikh Qassim of citizenship as a flagrant violation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and said as the UN human rights office has announced, "the Bahraini government's decision is certainly unjustified based on the international laws".
The statement called on all the world Muslims and the international and human rights organizations, specially the EU parliament, to endeavor to restore the citizenship rights of Sheikh Qassim and prevent the Manama regime's continued unwise moves.
Meantime, Bahrain's political parties and religious figures called on people to continue their sit-in in front of Sheikh Qassim's house in protest at the Manama regime’s revocation of his citizenship.
The Bahraini political and religious figures, including February 14 Revolution Coalition and Haq Movement leaders as well as Majid Abdullah, a politician, and Ali al-Aswad, a former Bahraini MP, demanded the country's people to gather in front of Sheikh Qassim's house in the village of Diraz near the capital Manama.
Bahrain's Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Monday the country's top Shiite cleric was stripped of his citizenship.
"Issa Ahmed Qassim has been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship," Bahrain state news agency cited the ministry’s statement, referring to the country's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric in Bahrain.
Bahraini people began protests outside the house of cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim in Diraz on Monday in reaction to the Bahraini regime decision to strip the prominent religious scholar of the country’s citizenship.
Also on Tuesday, large numbers of people continued their gathering outside Sheikh Qassim's house in protest at the Manama regime’s move over revoking of his citizenship.
Following the initial protests in the village of Diraz, Bahraini security forces banned any manner of gathering in the village and sealed off the area around the cleric’s house, however thousands of protesters performed prayer outside the house of the senior cleric.
The latest move by the Bahrain regime against the country’s main opposition figures came as the Al-Kahlifeh regime is exerting mounting pressure on the opposition.
Opposition members feel the government is willing to accelerate its crackdown on dissent because it believes it will only face minimal censure through statements of concern in the US and Europe. Both the US and UK have large naval bases in Bahrain.
Last week, the government suspended the main Shia opposition party, al-Wefaq, accusing it of having links to foreign terrorists and inciting hatred. Sheikh Ali Salman, al-Wefaq’s secretary-general, was arrested in 2014 on charges of inciting violence. His sentence was doubled to nine years on appeal last month.
The cabinet decided to revoke the citizenship of Sheikh Isa, an indigenous Bahraini who applied for nationality to get a passport in the 1960s, after a presentation by the interior ministry. The lack of judicial oversight raised concerns among rights groups.
Stripping the nationality of dissidents has become a popular tool for Persian Gulf Arab littoral states battling domestic dissent, such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where nationality is perceived by many as a privilege not a right.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says more than 250 Bahrainis have been stripped of their nationality for alleged disloyalty.
 Obama:Muhammad Ali shook up the world And the world is better for it
Muhammad Ali, one of the most influential sports figures in the 20th century, has passed away at the age of 74 in Phoenix, Arizona, a family spokesman has confirmed to the media.
Boxing legend Ali won the heavyweight title three times and was known for his unorthodox fighting style, merging power and agility. Off the ring, he was famous throughout the globe for his charismatic personality, as well as social and political activism.
"After a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening," family spokesman Bob Gunnell told NBC News Saturday.
Ali died from septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, Gunnell said during a press conference later in the day.
The family will gather for a private ceremony on Thursday.
On Friday, there will be a large funeral procession that will take Ali's body through the streets of Louisville, passing by the Muhammad Ali Center before winding through his childhood neighborhood on the way to Cave Hill Ceremony where he will be interred, according to Gunnell.
There will be an interfaith memorial service for Ali at the Yum! Center. Eulogies for the fighter will be led by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, journalist Bryant Gumbel and actor Billy Crystal. Other speakers may be added to the list, Gunnell said.
In 1967, three years after he won his first title, Ali refused to be drafted in the Vietnam War even though he registered for military service, presenting himself as a conscientious objector. Ali was stripped of his title, had his boxing license suspended, and a court found him guilty of draft evasion. His conviction was eventually reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the tide turned and public opinion shifted on the war, Ali became a spokesman for the anti-war sentiment, giving speeches at universities across the United States, even as he became increasingly active in the civil rights movement.
Hailing the fighter as "The Greatest. Period." -- a reference to Ali's now famous claim – U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized Ali’s role as a social justice champion.
"He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t," Obama said in a statement, referencing the American and South African rights leaders.
"His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today," Obama added. "Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it."
 searching in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean
The crash of an EgyptAir jet has strengthened the case for ejectable “black boxes” that are launched out of an aircraft in an accident, making them easier to find, the most senior engineer at Airbus has said.
Investigators are searching in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean for flight recorders from an EgyptAir Airbus A320, which crashed on 19 May, killing 66 people.
The jet’s flight recorders or “black boxes” are designed to emit acoustic signals for 30 days after a crash, giving search teams less than five weeks to pinpoint the sound in waters up to 3,000 metres deep. Rules that would extend the duration and range of acoustic pingers do not take effect until 2018.
“If we have a deployable recorder it will be much easier to find,” said Charles Champion, the Airbus executive vice-president for engineering.
“We have been working on that and this only reinforces our overall approach.”
Ejectable or “deployable” recorders would separate from the tail during a crash and float in the water while emitting a distress signal.
Recommended by investigators after an Air France A330 jet crashed in 2009, the idea was again discussed after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 in March 2014.
The United Nations’ aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, has called for key data to be recoverable in a “timely manner” from aeroplanes delivered after 2021
It will be left to airlines and manufacturers to decide how to meet the goal – whether through deployable recorders or other technology such as new homing methods or data streaming.
Deployable recorders have long beenused in the military. But some in the industry have expressed doubts about their safe use on civil airliners, saying they could be ejected accidentally and introduce new risks.
Airbus has said in the past it was talking to regulators about adding deployable devices to its two largest models of jets.
Boeing has been more sceptical, citing instances where they have failed on warplanes.
A series of accidents over water including the EgyptAir disaster and wider safety issues are likely to be discussed at a meeting of global airlines in Dublin this week.
With Reuters
 The pilot gave no distress call before the flight vanished from the radarAn EgyptAir aircraft traveling from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to Cairo “crashed” over the Mediterranean sea with 66 people on board on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande has confirmed.
"We must ensure that we know everything on the causes of what happened. No hypothesis is ruled out or favoured," he said in a televised address.
EgyptAir Flight MS804 went missing at 2:45 am local time with 56 passengers and 10 cabin crew on board, at an altitude of 37,000 feet, the airline said. The Airbus A320 disappeared 10 miles (16 kilometers) after entering Egyptian airspace, some 280 kilometers north of the Egyptian coast. Egyptian military aircraft are searching for the aircraft and Greece has joined the search and rescue operation, dispatching two aircraft.
Egyptian civil aviation spokesman Ihab Raslan had earlier said that the plane had likely crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, while EgyptAir said the cause of the disappearance remained unclear as the search efforts continued. “The cause of the airplane’s disappearance is not yet known,” the airline said.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told a news conference that the plane fell 22,000 feet and made two sharp swerves before it disappeared from aviation radars.
"The plane carried out a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right, falling from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and the signal was lost at around 10,000 feet," Panos Kammenos told a news conference.
"It appears the plane is lost. There are no clear results (from the search) so far," he said.
Both the Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that no theory could be ruled out in the investigation into the plane’s disappearance. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the crash.
Ismail said that there was no “distress call” from the plane but a “signal.” EgyptAir confirmed that a “distress signal” had been received from the flight before its disappearance but it is unclear if this was sent to aviation authorities or the Egyptian military. The Egyptian military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said in a Facebook statement that the army did not receive a distress call.
The head of Greece’s civil aviation department, Kostas Litzerakis, said that the plane disappeared from radars two minutes after leaving Greek airspace, and reported “no problems.”
The passengers on the flight included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Belgian, one Canadian, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese and one Algerian, EgyptAir confirmed. It was also carrying 10 cabin crew.
An EgyptAir pilot, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, says he has to “sadly agree” with Egyptian aviation officials that the flight has crashed but he hopes “they find them alive in the water.”
“No, according to what I know,” he says when asked if an aircraft can disappear from the radar but still be safe. “But I wish I’m wrong. There is not enough fuel to make it fly that long.”
He adds that the “Airbus is a good plane” when asked about its safety record but said it was unlikely that an extremist act was the cause of its disappearance.
The flight was on its fifth flight of the day and EgyptAir said that the captain of the flight had 6,275 hours of flying experience, with 2,101 on the A320 model.
French President Francois Hollande called his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and both “agreed to cooperate closely” to find out what happened to the aircraft. Valls said that French authorities were “ready” to join the search operation to find the missing aircraft.
The disappearance of the flight comes just weeks after a passenger hijacked an EgyptAir flight, and the same model of aircraft, as it flew to Cairo, forcing it to divert to Cyprus.



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