Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Syria Jarablus: Turkish tanks roll into northern Syria

A dozen Turkish tanks have rolled across the Syrian border after heavy shelling of an area held by so-called Islamic State.
Military sources told Turkish media 70 targets in the Jarablus area had been destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes, and 12 by air strikes.
Turkish special forces entered Syria earlier as part of the offensive.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was aimed against both IS and Kurdish fighters.
Turkey shelled Syrian Kurdish forces in the region this week, determined not to let them fill the vacuum if IS leaves, the BBC's Mark Lowen reports from Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.
The concern in Ankara is that the Kurds could create an autonomous area close to the border which might foster Kurdish separatism within Turkey itself, our correspondent says.
In another development, counter-terror police in Turkey's main city, Istanbul, launched dawn raids targeting IS suspects across the city, Turley's Dogan news agency reports.
US Vice-President Joe Biden arrived in Turkey on Wednesday in the highest-ranking visit by a Western official since the failed coup on 15 July.
Map showing control of northern Syria

Tank assault

According to a photographer for the AFP news agency, the tanks were followed by several smaller military vehicles believed to be carrying Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.
Shelling began at about 04:00 local time (01:00 GMT), with 224 rounds were fired at 63 targets in the space of one hour and 45 minutes.
Air strikes by Turkish and US planes began just after 06:00, Turkish media report.
A Turkish tank moves towards the Syrian border at Karkamis, 24 AugustImage copyrightAFP
Image captionSyrian tanks could be seen manoeuvring
A coach said to be carrying Syrian rebels stands in Karkamis, near Turkey's Syrian border, 24 AugustImage copyrightEPA
Image captionA coach said to be carrying Syrian rebels was spotted by reporters in Karkamis
The Turkish town of Karkamis - just across the border from Jarablus - was evacuated as a precaution following earlier IS mortar attacks.
Turkey has vowed to "completely cleanse" IS from its border region.
"The Turkish Armed Forces and the International Coalition Air Forces have launched a military operation aimed at clearing the district of Jarablus of the province of Aleppo from the terrorist organisation Daesh [IS]," said a statement from the Turkish prime minister's office.
Turkey blames IS for a bomb attack on a wedding that killed at least 54 people in Gaziantep on Saturday.
Turkey's air strikes are its first inside Syria since the downing of a Russian jet in November. Moscow and Ankara only mended ties in June after punitive Russian sanctions.
This is also Turkey's first known ground incursion into Syria since a brief operation to relocate the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a revered Ottoman figure, in February of last year.

'A buffer against the Kurds'

An unnamed senior US official in Washington told BBC News before the start of the Turkish operation that it was "partly to create a buffer against the possibility of the Kurds moving forward".
"We are working with them on that potential operation: our advisers are communicating with them on the Jarablus plan.
"We'll give close air support if there's an operation."
A Turkish military warning sign, with the closed Karkamis border gate in the backgroundImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionKarakamis - which borders Jarablus - has been evacuated
Fighters from the Syrian Kurd YPG militia led the battle to drive IS out of the strategic crossroads town of Manbij earlier this month.
Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Turkish-Kurdish rebel group fighting for autonomy since the 1980s, but the YPG is backed by the US as one of the most effective forces battling IS.
On Tuesday the YPG took control of most of the north-eastern Syrian city of Hassakeh.
A truce was reportedly brokered by Russia after recent clashes between the Kurds and Syrian government forces there.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The unassuming garage where £2m worth of supercars are parked..

It is a line-up of supercars that wouldn’t look out of place in front of a Premier League footballer’s mansion. 
An impressive lineup of cars outside the facility in Milton Keynes. Image- ©APC

But this range of stylish motors worth more than £2million are not showcased for all to see. They are being kept in a nondescript storage facility in Milton Keynes and are symptomatic of the straitened times we live in. This is because they have been pawned for cash.  

"People aren’t even bothering to go to banks anymore as they don’t believe they will be lent any money," said Paul Aitken, chief executive of, who added that the rise in high value cars being pawned was in part down to the financial constraints being felt even among the wealthy. As well as cars the company also holds fine art, jewellery and antiques. 
Image- ©APC.

"These sort of times give way for alternative means of lending. A lot of our customers are small business owners or self employed, 60% of the time they do this to get some liquidity for an opportunity. The other 40% of the time it is people who are more at the distressed side of things, paying for school fees or a tax bill. 

"Often the people who have these types of high performance cars will have another, so use one as security for a loan," he added. "We have seen a big increase in our car lending in the last year. Over the last three years we have lent around £6m against these sort of vehicles and it is only something that it is rising as things become more stretched."

Among the current supply of cars in storage are some of the pricier models on the market, as well as those you wouldn’t find in any old showroom. If the Maserati wasn’t impressive enough, Borro also hold a Porsche Cayenne, a Ferrari F430, an Audi R8 and a Ferrari 360.

The firm is also storing a Bentley Continental GTC and a Rolls-Royce Ghost, the former would set you back just under £137,000 bought new.

Image- ©APC.

But it is not only in order to free up cash that customers pawn their luxury motors. 

"There are a variety of reasons why these cars have gone into storage; some people have two vehicles, a winter car and a summer car," Mr Aitken told Yahoo! Cars. "Others have parking restrictions or excessive parking costs.

"We have one customer who has a 30-year-old car which we have held for three years in storage which is appreciating in value. He wants to keep hold of it because it is now a classic car and it is actually cheaper to service the loan than pay for parking near his house in Mayfair.

"In the past week alone we have had two individuals who are borrowing £100,000 against diamond jewellery. When you see that these figures are coming up and that loans of £5,000 to £20,000 are also rising you see that we are becoming an increasingly mainstream lender."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rodney King found dead in swimming pool

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police in 1991 sparked the L.A. riots, was found dead at his California home on Sunday. He was 47.
Police said King's fiancée discovered him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their Rialto, Calif., home, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles.
Police responded to a call at 5:25 a.m., pulled King out of the pool and attempted CPR, but could not revive him.
King's representative Suzanne Wickmanconfirmed to his death to KABC-TV. According to TMZ, King's fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, told friends King spent the bulk of Saturday drinking and "smoked marijuana at some point," before she went to went to bed at 2:00 a.m.
The cause of death is unknown, but police are investigating it as a drowning. Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda told CNN there were no preliminary signs of foul play.
King was beaten by four white LAPD officers following a DUI stop on March 3, 1991. Footage captured by an amateur videographer showed the officers hitting King 56 times with wooden batons.
"I just got lucky that night to have the cameras on me," King said in April, marking the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots. "When I saw the tape, I was so happy that it was on tape and then looking at it, it was like I was in another body. I felt like I had died in that one, and was just watching it."
The four officers--Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon--were acquitted of criminal charges, sparking the riots that left 55 people dead. (Koon and Powell were later found guilty of federal civil rights charges and sentenced to 30 months in prison.)
"It felt like Armageddon," King said of the acquittal. "It felt like the end of the world. I was hurt. I was past upset.
"I was raised not to be violent, and not to be rioting and carrying on like a wild man," he added, "but at the same time, there was a side of me saying, 'What else can you do?' I didn't agree with it, but I understood."
During the five-day riots--marked by widespread looting, arson and racially-charged beatings throughout South Central L.A.--King made his famous public plea for peace: "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?"
"Through all that he had gone through with his beating and personal demons, he was never one to not call for reconciliation and for his people to overcome and forgive," the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement on Sunday.
King had long struggled with alcohol abuse, much of it detailed in his 2012 memoir, "The Riot Within." According to KABC, he was arrested or detained by police at least a dozen times on charges ranging from DUI to domestic violence.
In 2011--the 20th anniversary of his beating--King was arrested in California on suspicion of DUI.
According to TMZ, King was scheduled to compete in a celebrity boxing match against Jose Canseco in August.
Source: Yahoo news

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