Topics : ‘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.
Three-time World Cup winners Germany will use a purpose-built training base in Brazil during next summer’s finals.The under-construction venue, which will be developed by a Munich property firm, will cover 15,000 square metres and will have 60 bedrooms, a training pitch as well as a fitness centre.AnalysisStephen EvansBBC News, Berlin”Campo Bahia, as the German football authorities are calling it, has all the comforts of a seaside holiday village.”It is still under construction amid the palms on the sand-dunes of north eastern Brazil but the basic structures are there: a circle of white buildings for accommodation around a pool, a press centre plus a training pitch for the national side. It is well located for an airport to give short flights to Germany’s initial fixtures.”According to the German association, the work is being organised by a German entrepreneur who said the facilities would be “optimal” for the team. There’s been a lot of controversy about whether facilities will be adequate for the World Cup. In November, a crane collapsed at one stadium still being built. “The Germans are leaving nothing to chance. They’ve been to Brazil, decided what they need and are now building it themselves.”The German Football Association (DFB) said it is not funding the project.A football youth academy and an orphanage will also be built on the site, 30km north of Porto Seguro.The DFB said the Campo Bahia base is within two hours’ flight of the three cities – Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife – where Germany will play their Group G games at the tournament.Joachim Low’s team face Portugal on 16 June, Ghana on 21 June and the United States on 26 June. “Bearing in mind the size of the country and the considerable distances between each tournament venue, it was important for us to minimise the strain of travelling to and from matches as much as possible,” said Germany national team manager Oliver Bierhoff.”Acclimatisation and recovery will also play a major role at this World Cup, and our camp offers ideal conditions in these respects.”Due to the early kick-off times and the heat and high humidity expected in Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife, we looked for a base where the players could adapt effectively to the kind of things they can expect to encounter during each match.”
The Ghana Football Association(GFA has confirmed it will officially unveil newly appointed Black Stars coach Avram Grant on Thursday.Grant who was confirmed as new Ghana coach last week will arrive in Accra on Tuesday night to begin his new role ahead of the AFCON next year in Equatorial Guinea.The former Chelsea and West Ham manager will hold meetings with Sports minister, Hon. Mahama Ayariga, the Black Stars technical team and the management committee on Wednesday.He will then be officially presented at a press conference to be held at the GFA secretariat on Thursday.
Facebook8Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest WashingtonBig Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington today announced the selection of Jeff Engle as the new CEO.Jeff Engle is the new CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters“We’re very excited to have Jeff on board,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters Board President Mark Boyer. “It was a tough selection process. We had a lot of highly qualified applicants, but ultimately felt that Jeff’s professional experience and personal investment in the community made him the best candidate.”Engle has an extensive background in management and business development. He is also very familiar with the mission and values of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington as he has served as a Big Brother since 2012.“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve with a very talented and passionate group of individuals that live the mission every day,” says Engle. “I have experienced firsthand the positive affect mentoring has on at-risk youth and the vital role that Big Brothers Big Sisters plays in the community. I look forward to continuing the great work of the organization, expanding services within our five-county service area, recruiting more community members to volunteer as mentors, and ensuring the agency is fiscally sound.”Engle and his wife Cheryl Selby reside in Olympia. They are active in the community supporting numerous local organizations. In addition, Jeff enjoys tennis, hiking, golf, travel and being a grandfather in his spare time.Engle has begun the transition process and will assume full responsibility on September 1.About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest WashingtonOur mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.We serve children and youth ages 5-18 years old in the region of Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Pacific, and Grays Harbor counties. We are one of the only evidence-based, volunteer supported organizations that does not charge a fee to the children or families that we serve.To learn more, please visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington website and like us on Facebook.