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Migrants, police in fresh clashes at Turkey-Greece border

first_imgTopics :  ‘Coordinated attacks’Earlier Friday, Greek officials accused Turkey of providing cutters to migrants to break through fencing. “There are coordinated attacks this morning,” a Greek official told AFP. “Apart from intimidation, these attacks are taking place from the Turkish police to help migrants cross the fence border line.”Meanwhile, two Greek men were convicted of threatening aid workers on the island of Lesbos, where there has been a violent backlash against those helping the swelling number of arrivals.”I will continue to defend my country. Most of the (aid groups) operate like spies. These gangsters should leave the island,” said 73-year-old Konstantinos Alvanopoulos after being given a three-month suspended sentence.Erdogan’s office said the Syrian ceasefire would not alter its policy on refugees leaving for Europe. “The Russia-Turkey agreement does not… change the fact of the European Union’s non-compliance with its promises as part of the 2016 refugee deal,” presidential sources told state news agency Anadolu. Russia, which backs Syrian government forces with air power, agreed to impose a ceasefire in Idlib from midnight and the skies were free of warplanes for the first day in months on Friday, although previous peace agreements have proved temporary. The EU welcomed the ceasefire. “For sure I am pleased for the ceasefire, the ceasefire is good news. At least it’s goodwill — let’s see how it works,” Borrell said in Zagreb.”But there’s still an extraordinary humanitarian challenge that I think we all face in terms of the sheer numbers of refugees,” added Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. “Right now, let’s be honest, the agreement is dead,” Mitsotakis told CNN, referring to the EU-Turkey accord.”And it’s dead because Turkey has decided to completely violate the agreement, because of what happened in Syria,” he added.Turkey agreed in 2016 to stop letting migrants leave in exchange for six billion euros — but Ankara says other parts of the EU deal including improved visa and trade rules were never fulfilled. Mitsotakis said Turkey was doing “the exact opposite” of its obligation to hold back asylum-seekers. Greek police fired tear gas in clashes with migrants at the Turkish border on Friday, as Athens said a 2016 EU-Ankara deal limiting migration to Europe was “dead”.Thousands of people have gathered at the border since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that his country would no longer stop refugees from trying to leave.Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Ankara of “assisting” an ongoing surge of desperate people gathering at the border. ‘Open the gates’ Friday’s brief clashes occurred as migrants tried to break through the fence, according to AFP journalists at the scene, but they quickly ended the volley of rocks and instead sat peacefully chanting “freedom” and “open the gates”.Greek forces say they have prevented nearly 39,000 people from crossing the border. Turkey claims the real number is more than three times higher.Many migrants say they are being pushed to attempt illegal entry to Greece. “They [the Turkish military] told us that if you don’t go to the border… you will be forced to come back to Turkey and people don’t want to come back because they don’t have any good opportunities, there isn’t anything,” Ali, an Iranian, told AFP.The EU’s diplomatic chief made a direct appeal to the migrants not to go to the Greek border.”The border is not open,” EU High Representative Josep Borrell said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Zagreb. Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire in Syria on Thursday, but Ankara is still threatened by a potential new influx of refugees from the last rebel stronghold of Idlib and has sought to pressure Europe into providing greater assistance.  Turkey already hosts some four million refugees, and recent advances by the Syrian army, backed by Russian army, have pushed close to a million more towards its border. Later Friday, the Greek government released footage which it said showed Turkish riot police firing a tear gas barrage at Greek border guards.It came after the release of separate footage from Turkish state TV TRT which it said showed asylum-seekers stripped and beaten by Greek forces.A Greek police source disputed the claim, telling AFP: “We are not letting them through the border, so how can we be doing that to them?”Ankara has officially accused Athens of using undue violence against asylum-seekers, killing several and injuring many. Greek officials have repeatedly dismissed this as untrue.last_img read more

Lakers’ nightmarish season culminates with 122-99 loss to Sacramento

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Lakers just felt a brutal knockout punch, punctuating the end to a nightmarish 2014-15 season that will not become forgiving in the history books.The Lakers officially became the worst team in the franchise’s otherwise rich 67-year history, a 122-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday at Staples Center concluding a year that seemed as uncomfortable as the lineup they produced in their season finale. The Lakers (21-61) finished with a .256 winning percentage, falling below the 1957-58 Minneapolis team that won only 26.4 percent of its games, with barely recognizable names. Vander Blue, who posted 15 points on only 6-of-23 shooting, joined the team only two days ago after playing with the Lakers’ Development League affiliate. But he started at point guard. Jabari Brown, whose career-high 32 points came on a 9-of-19 clip, signed with the Lakers last month after also starring with the D-Fenders. But he started at shooting guard. It seemed fitting Brown and Blue started with the purple and gold amid sprained left ankles to rookie Jordan Clarkson and swingman Wesley Johnson. It concluded a season in which the Lakers’ players missed an NBA record 339 games due to injuries. That partly explains why Scott downplayed coaching the worst team of Lakers history after once winning three NBA championships as a player during the Showtime Era. “It obviously doesn’t sit with me well,” Scott said. “I don’t like the sound of it. But it makes for a very remarkable story when we turn this around as well.”How do the Lakers turn it around?The first part might start with staying healthy. The Lakers’ 2014-15 season started with veteran guard Steve Nash having a season-ending back injury during training camp. It continued with rookie Julius Randle breaking his right leg in the season opener and Kobe Bryant tearing a rotator cuff in his right shoulder after 35 games. center_img Plenty of players sat on the team bench dressed as if they belonged in a board meeting, including Randle (right leg), Wayne Ellington (right shoulder), Nick Young (left knee), Jeremy Lin (left knee) and Ronnie Price (right elbow). Nash has since announced his retirement. Xavier Henry (left Achilles tendon) and Dwight Buycks (fractured right hand) are no longer under contract. Bryant was presumably in the trainer’s room receiving treatment. “I’m smiling and shaking my head and just going, ‘Wow,’ Scott said. “You can’t do anything but laugh about it.”The Lakers do not consider Clarkson’s injury serious and Scott suggested he could have appeared in a playoff game. But the Lakers erred cautiously because of Clarkson’s limitations with his lateral movement. That left the Lakers with an eight-man rotation featuring three frontcourt players off the bench (Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Robert Sacre). The Lakers also lacked any players with past point guard experience. But Scott offered a clear solution on how Blue and Brown would handle that position.“Whoever gets the ball,” Scott said. “Whoever gets it on the rebound or on the outlet, they’re going to be point guard.”To minimize foul trouble, Scott urged Blue and Brown to play cautiously while the Lakers played mostly zone defense. That helped the Lakers avoid duplicating an awkward win last season in Cleveland. Sacre stayed on the floor after collecting six fouls because the Lakers had too many injured players. “As a young guy, we want the minutes. Even though we get tired like the older guys, we relish these opportunities,” Brown said. “Not all rookies are getting to play 30 to 40 minutes.”Yet , that wasn’t enough, leading Scott to question his team’s effort yet again.“My biggest thing after the game going in there with our coaches that you’re only as good as your last game,” Scott said. “That’s what we used to tell ourselves as players. If those guys had that same thought, it wasn’t very good. IT doesn’t leave a very good impression, which is what I’m saying.”So how does the Lakers handle things moving forward?“I don’t know want to tell you,” Scott said. “I really don’t. I’m at the point right now where I will go home and decompress, get my thoughts together and get ready for tomorrow. I don’t want to put a damper on an already not very good night.”Scott said that feeling may not fade away until draft workouts in June, leading to what might mark a long offseason before the rebuilding actually begins. “We’re not proud of that,” Brown said. “It’s tough. But I feel like guys played hard. We weren’t laying down,” Brown said. “We got young pieces, good old vets and Kobe will be back. Byron is a great coach. He knows what hes doing.”But that wasn’t enough for the Lakers to avoid appearing in the record books for all the wrong reasons.“If we had everybody healthy, we’d be a much better basketball team,” Scott said. “Hopefully we got them all out the way this year and we’ll be healthy next year.”last_img read more