Why do we call it ‘classical’ music?

Classical music is the thing that orchestras do. It’s what string quartets play and choirs sing. It’s playing all the time on BBC Radio 3, and it’s on that Mindful Classical Mix you’ve just downloaded from BBC Sounds. But as the BBC embarks on a year of programming around Our Classical CenturyTom Service explores one very simple question: what IS classical music?

Here’s the thing: I don’t think there really is such a thing as classical music.

Tom Service

For someone who’s spent most of the last couple of decades writing and talking about classical music, that might seem a trifle idiotic. But even the composers who most define the “classical” (let’s go with Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart) didn’t know they were writing classical music, because the term simply didn’t exist in their lifetimes. It seems bizarre, but it’s true. The values and hierarchies and canons and the whole category of the “classical” only started to appear in English in 1829. Why?

One explanation could be that “classicising” things was part of a great 19th-Century marketing exercise. The term “classical” started to gain traction in European culture just at the moment when the music industry was heating up – as orchestras were being established, concert halls constructed, music instruments manufactured and there was a boom in music publishing.

It makes sense. If you’re going to have an industry, you’d better have something to sell. Composers were marketed as purveyors of the “classical”; it was a way of telling 19th-Century consumers that, by playing and listening to Haydn, Brahms, and Mendelssohn, they could become better people. They, too, could become someone who knew and loved the great truths of the “classical”.

Do you remember the way record stores used to be?

Tom Service recalls a time when the “classical” section was sealed behind frosted glass.

So why the word ‘classical’?

It’s a word that conjures up images of the Ancient world: the culture of balance, perfection and social harmony that the Greeks and Romans supposedly enjoyed. But that image doesn’t conform at all to the reality of those societies, as any historian of the period knows (or anyone who’s watched I, Claudius or Up Pompeii!, for that matter). The yearning to return to a time of order, of social and artistic equilibrium in the “classical”, is simply an aesthete’s version of “the good old days”.

That was true in the 18th Century, when intellectuals and artists hearkened back to an Ancient Greece that existed only in their imaginations – and it’s true of us today, whenever we apply the labels “classical” or “classic” to repertoires and recordings of the past. And it’s not only classical music that’s doing this, by the way: jazz, rock, folk and all the rest are now full of “classics”. The word “classic” has become an expression of value. We use it to indicate our opinion that something will stand the test of time.

So from the very start, “classical music” has been an expression of nostalgia and one-upmanship, rather than anything tangible. I think that all of classical music’s unhelpful associations with economic, social and aesthetic exclusivity stem from this historical quirk.

I’ll say it again: most of the composers we now call “classical” didn’t think that’s what they were. Beethoven, Berlioz, Mahler and Wagner didn’t want their works to be part of a mausoleum of the “classical”, sequestered from the world in the way that the “classical” section of the record shop used to be hidden behind frosted panes of glass. No: their music was made to exist in dialogue with the joys and messes of the real world, which is where it should still be today. And it is. The point of Our Classical Century is that this music really is part of our lives.

In recent years, something has changed.

Unlike so many other genres, “classical” now encompasses a truly vast range of music. Its repertoire includes music written over the last millennium and more. It’s precisely this lack of definition that means that “classical” can take in the music of everyone from the 12th-Century musical mystic Hildegard of Bingen to the 21st-Century composer Anna Meredith, who composed music for the First Night of the Proms in 2018.

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Classical music is here on the soundtracks of our video games and TV shows. It’s sampled across the spectrum of pop music. It’s a style and a genre which can take in gigantic operas and tiny fragments. I’m no closer to a definition.

But while I still think there’s a huge job to do to rid classical of its associations of exclusivity, it’s precisely in this all-encompassing confusion that the term “classical music” will survive – and, despite my entreaties, thrive. Whatever Our Classical Century shows, it’s a revelation of the essential truth that we’re all classical now.

Tom Service explores a multitude of definitions of “classical” music in The Listening Service, with help from the composer Max Richter and writer Charlotte Higgins. Meanwhile, the BBC’s Our Classical Century season gets underway with a host of TV and radio features devoted to an eventful 100 years in music.

Source : BBC

Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn ‘arrested for misconduct’

Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Nissan and one of the world’s most powerful motor industry bosses, is reportedly under arrest in Japan over allegations of financial misconduct.

Japanese media on Monday reported that the Brazilian-born executive had been held after prosecutors in Japan questioned him for various improprieties, including grossly under-reporting his income.

A towering figure in the car industry, Ghosn is credited with turning around several major manufacturers. He currently leads an alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi.

The Tokyo prosecutor’s office had no comment on the reports about Ghosn, who is also yet to comment.

Nissan, Renault boards to meet

Nissan’s board is now set to meet on Thursday, when it is expected to agree to sack Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly, who is also reportedly under arrest, the company’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa said at a press conference on Monday.

In an earlier statement, Nissan said it had been investigating Ghosn and Kelly for months, after receiving a report from a whistleblower. The Japanese car giant has since uncovered misconduct going back several years, the statement said.


How corrupt is your country?

“The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation,” it said.

“Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly’s deep involvement has also been confirmed.”

The company said it had provided information to Japanese prosecutors and would recommend that the board of directors “promptly remove Ghosn from his positions”.

Later on Monday, Renault said its board would be meeting “shortly” to discuss the situation surrounding Ghosn, who serves as the company’s chief executive.

Mitsubishi also released a statement on Monday, saying the company would propose removing Ghosn as chairman.

Renault is one of France’s most iconic companies and a large employer [File: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

France ‘extremely vigilant’ on Renault stability

News of Ghosn’s reported arrest broke on Monday evening when Asahi Shimbun newspaper said he was being questioned by prosecutors and was likely to face arrest.

Japanese media later said Nissan’s headquarters in the city of Yokohama were being raided by Tokyo prosecutors.

Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said the news has already affected the markets.

“There’s no doubt that shockwaves are reverberating around the global motor industry. In fact, here in Paris we saw shares in Renault plunge more than 12 percent to opening trade on Monday,” she said.


Rising petrol costs in France spur protests

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macronsaid that Paris would remain extremely vigilant about the fate of Renault and its alliance with Nissan after Ghosn’s reported arrest.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, at the start of a two-day state visit to Belgium, Macron said: “It is too early to comment on the facts.”

But he went on to add that the French state, as a Renault shareholder, “will be extremely vigilant to the stability of the alliance and the group.”

Macron said his government would give “all its support” to employees of Renault, one of France’s major companies.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France remained strongly committed to promoting the Nissan-Renault alliance and would respect presumption of innocence in Ghosn’s case.

“The key question for us is to ensure the stability of Renault and of the alliance between Renault and Nissan and so I am working on that with all the parties,” he told reporters in Belgium, adding that the French government would meet representatives from Nissan in the coming days.

“There is no concern over the stability or the future of Renault,” Le Maire said.

Major figure

One of the mostly highly-paid corporate bosses in Japan, Ghosn is known from overhauling Renault and Nissan starting in the 19902.

He began his career at French tyre manufacturer Michelin in 1976, before moving on to Renault in 1996 where his cost-slashing measures earned him the nickname “Le Cost Killer”.

He was parachuted in to Nissan and began a huge corporate overhaul when Renault acquired the then-ailing Japanese manufacturer in 1990.

Credited with saving Nissan from bankruptcy through a series of hardnosed measures, including closing plants and restructuring, Ghosn is a household name in Japan, where he is one of few high-profile foreign executives.

In 2016, he also took charge at Mitsubishi after Nissan threw it a lifeline following a mileage-cheating scandalthat hammered sales.


Mitsubishi admits rigging going back more than 25 years

“He really shook those companies up. He slashed jobs to maintain profit, so he’s really seen as something of an icon in the motoring industry,” said Al Jazeera’s Butler.

“If he is asked to stand down as chairman of Nissan, it will be a huge blow to him and his reputation.”

Ghosn is regarded as the glue which holds the sprawling alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi together and questions have been raised in the past about how his eventual departure might affect the coalition.

However, he has also faced opposition, including over his pay. Bloomberg reported Ghosn took home some $6.5m from Nissan in the most recent fiscal year, in addition to $8.5m from Renault and about $2m from Mitsubishi.

His compensation package from Renault prompted a spat with shareholders and criticism from Macron, when he served as France’s economy minister.


There is still hope for Cambodia’s democracy

It is now just over a year since I was thrown into exile at the stroke of a pen.

On 16 November 2017, the Cambodian Supreme Court disbanded my party – the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the country’s only viable opposition force – and stripped me and 54 fellow MPs of our seats. The court, like virtually all of Cambodia’s judiciary, is deeply politicised and, for all intents and purposes, does the bidding of the government.

A few weeks before the ruling, CNRP President Kem Sokha was detained on ludicrous “treason” charges and was languishing in solitary confinement. The writing was on the wall – I realised I was likely the next target. By the end of October, I had fled my beloved Cambodia and I have not been able to return since.

The court’s ruling was part of a wider effort by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) to ensure victory in the sham general election held on July 29 this year. The CPP used the year before the vote to launch an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, jailing human rights activists, silencing what little remained of independent media, and locking up or exiling almost all leading opposition figures.

Unsurprisingly, the CPP eventually won all 125 National Assembly seats in the vote, having run essentially unopposed. International actors – including the European Union, the United States and the United Nations – dismissed the election as a sham and refused to send observers. Undeterred, Hun Sen gave a victory speech on polling day where he – without a hint of irony – thanked his supporters for “choosing the path of democracy”.


Is democracy dead in Cambodia?

For decades, Hun Sen has been a master manipulator of international opinion. He has ruled Cambodia in a quasi-authoritarian fashion, bending the rules of democracy just enough to maintain deniability. But the recent crackdown and outright banning of the opposition are unprecedented.

As a decades-long supporter of the struggle for democracy and rights, I see this as the most serious crisis we have faced so far. Cambodia’s descent into one-party rule means that what little checks and balances there were on Hun Sen are now gone. It also has dangerous implications for Southeast Asia as a whole, where authoritarianism is on the rise and rulers often copy each other’s worst practices.

I and my colleagues have spent the past year travelling the globe, trying to raise awareness of the situation in Cambodia and drumming up international support for a return to democracy.

CPP officials, meanwhile, have since the vote engaged in a desperate bid to shore up the party’s tarnished reputation. They have travelled the world trying to present themselves as a legitimate government – thankfully, no one is buying the ruse.

On October 5, just days before Hun Sen was due to visit Brussels for an annual EU-Asia summit, the EU announced it was withdrawing the so-called “Everything But Arms” trading preference from Cambodia, citing “grave violations” of human rights. This is a highly unusual move by the EU, and in the past has been reserved for conflict-torn countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar. In response, the Cambodian government called the EU’s announcement an “extreme injustice”.

WATCH: Cambodian opposition leader under house arrest after jailing (1:40)

At home, Hun Sen has – in a blatant public relations move – moved Kem Sokha into house arrest and released a handful of political prisoners and activists since the election. Most have been let off with sinister warnings not to criticise authorities again.

These are piecemeal concessions and fundamental change is needed. The repressive laws used against dissidents are still on the legal books, and the CPP still rules the country with an iron fist.

But all is not lost. Cambodia has a young and growing population that has no memory of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime: Two-thirds of Cambodians today are under 30 years of age. It is this generation that is hungry for the fundamental freedoms Hun Sen’s government is intent on dismantling. The CPP’s authoritarian rule will struggle to meet their demands in the long run.

Despite Hun Sen’s bluster and growing closeness to China, the CPP’s moves since the election also highlight how the regime is still courting international opinion. Now is the time for Cambodia’s international allies to use this leverage. EU countries, the US, Japan and others need to pressure the CPP to change course immediately, before it’s too late. The only way to restore our democracy is to reinstate the CNRP MPs who lost their seats, free Kem Sokha from detention and hold new elections that are genuinely free and fair.

During my year in exile, I have met Cambodian diaspora groups from Australia to Europe and South Korea – and many, many places in between. They all want the same thing – a democratic country where human rights are respected and where people are free to choose their future for themselves. This will not be possible as long as Hun Sen and the CPP remain in power.


source : Aljazeera

Netanyahu warns of danger of early Israel election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that early elections will be a disaster for Israel.

Mr Netanyahu made the remark at a cabinet meeting, as key coalition allies threaten to pull their support.

He is set to meet his finance minister later on Sunday, in a last-ditch attempt to avert early elections.

The political crisis began after Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman quit in opposition to a ceasefire with Gaza militants after three days of fighting.

What has triggered this?

The withdrawal of Mr Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party left the coalition with just a one-seat majority in the Knesset (parliament).

Naftali Bennett (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu (file photo)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionNaftali Bennett (left) and Mr Netanyahu are political rivals

Talks between the PM and another coalition rival, Naftali Bennett, to find a way forward ended without agreement on Friday.

Mr Bennett has threatened to pull his party Habayit Hayehudi out of the government if he is not appointed the new minister of defence.

Mr Bennett’s party is the third largest in the coalition. If he pulls out, Mr Netanyahu will be left with an unworkable minority.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party is vital to the governing coalition’s survival.

Israel country profile

Mr Kahlon has also said he does not think the coalition can continue.

Under the law, elections are not due until November 2019 at the latest.

If elections are called, what will it mean?

The current government has been in power since March 2015. It comprises mostly nationalist and religious parties which take a hard line towards dealing with the Palestinians and reject the notion of trading occupied land for peace.

All Israeli governments are coalitions because of Israel’s system of proportional representation, meaning no single party can govern alone.

Avigdor Lieberman speaks to members of his Yisrael Beitenu party in Jerusalem on 14 November 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionAvigdor Lieberman said the ceasefire with Hamas was akin to surrender

Although Mr Netanyahu does not want to call early elections, recent polls show he is still a favourite to be prime minister among the electorate, and his Likud party has the most support.

However, even if Likud remains the largest party, that does not necessarily mean it will stay in power if other parties can form a coalition without it.

Mr Netanyahu has won four elections. If he remains in office past 31 May 2019, he will surpass Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion as the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

He warned his colleagues on Sunday that “we know what happens when elements in a right-wing government led to the government being toppled, like in 1992 and in 1999, which brought us the disaster of Oslo [accords with the Palestinians] and the disaster of the [Second] Intifada”.

What led to the crisis?

Last Sunday, an undercover Israeli unit was intercepted in Gaza, which is run by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

An ensuing firefight, in which Israeli tanks and aircraft opened fire, left seven Palestinian militants and one of the Israeli commandos dead.

Hamas unleashed some 460 rockets and mortars at Israel over the next 48 hours – the heaviest barrage since the two sides fought a war in 2014. Israel responded with 160 air strikes, targeting militant sites in Gaza.

The violence killed seven more people in Gaza and one in Israel.

On Tuesday, Hamas and Israel agreed to cease fire after Egyptian mediation.

Mr Lieberman and Mr Bennett both opposed Israel’s decision, seeing it as a surrender. Mr Lieberman said it made his position untenable, while Mr Bennett demanded to become defence minister “so that Israel will go back to winning”.


Source : BBC

‘Indiana Jones of art’ finds stolen Cyprus mosaic

The man nicknamed “the Indiana Jones of the art world” has done it again – this time tracking down a precious sixth-Century mosaic stolen from Cyprus.

Finding the 1,600-year-old piece in a flat in Monaco had felt very special, Dutchman Arthur Brand said.

He handed the work over to the Cypriot embassy in The Hague on Friday.

Mr Brand has achieved fame recovering stolen artwork since 2015 when he found Hitler’s Horses – two Nazi statues that stood outside Hitler’s office.

Where was the Cypriot mosaic?

The Byzantine depiction of Saint Mark was stolen in the 1970s from Panayia Kanakaria church, about 105km (65 miles) north-east of the Cypriot capital, Nicosia.

Mr Brand spent nearly two years chasing the work across Europe, finally tracking it down in the possession of a British family.

They had “bought the mosaic in good faith more than four decades ago”, the investigator told AFP news agency.

“They were horrified when they found out that it was in fact a priceless art treasure, looted from the Kanakaria church after the Turkish invasion,” Mr Brand said.

“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” the investigator said.

The newest instalment of the Indiana Jones franchise, which stars Harrison Ford in the title role, is scheduled for release in 2020.

Recovering stolen masterpieces

The 2002 Van Gogh museum raid was one of a series of thefts that shocked the art world.

The Edward Munch masterpieces ' The Scream' and 'Madonna' are shown to the press, 26 September 2006 in Oslo,Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMunch’s 1893 work The Scream was found two years after it was torn from a museum wall in Oslo in 2004

In 2004, two Edvard Munch masterpieces, The Scream and Madonna, were seized by armed men who raided the Munch museum in Oslo. Several men were jailed and the paintings later recovered after painstaking detective work in 2006.

Another version of The Scream was stolen from the National Art Museum in Oslo in 1994 and that too was later recovered in a sting operation by UK detectives.

In 2012, seven artworks were stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum, including paintings by Picasso, Monet and Matisse. Two thieves were later jailed, telling a Bucharest court that security at the museum had been lax. Some of the paintings were destroyed in an oven.

Earlier this year, four paintings out of a haul of 24 stolen from a Dutch gallery in 2005 were recovered in Ukraine


Source : BBC

Apec summit ends without statement over US-China division

An Asian economic summit has ended without a formal leaders’ statement for the first time because of US-China divisions over trade.

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said “the two big giants in the room” had been unable to agree.

He said a chairman’s statement for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit would be released later.

The US and China are engaged in trade war and revealed competing visions for the region at the summit.

In his closing comments, Mr O’Neill said Apec would try to ensure “free and open trade” in the region by 2020.

During the summit, the US said it would join Australia in developing a naval base in Papua New Guinea (PNG), in an apparent move to curb China’s growing influence.

US Vice-President Mike Pence said the base would help “protect sovereignty and maritime rights in the Pacific islands”.

On Saturday Chinese President Xi Jinping took a swipe at the US’s America First policy by saying that countries that embraced protectionism were “doomed to failure”.

Xi at apecImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMr Xi (C) criticised the US’s America First policy

Source : BBC English

The girl who witnessed Kristallnacht

Eighty years ago the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews suddenly turned violent in a night of mayhem. This and the next day are known as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass – and there are still some who remember it vividly.

“Our father took me and my little sister in his arms that night, and said, ‘this is the beginning of a very difficult time, and we’ll try to live through it’.”

Ruth Winkelmann is now 90, but looks far younger than her years. Her eyes are a bright hazel as she looks up at the sky above the roof terrace of her old Jewish primary school in the heart of eastern Berlin.

“When I stand here and look up at the clouds, I think that my father is watching over me, and it’s a good feeling,” she says.

Then, Ruth points across the rooftops, towards the domes of Berlin’s New Synagogue, now restored and gleaming in the sunlight, remembering the smoke she saw billowing out when the Nazis set fire to it exactly 80 years ago.

She was just 10 years old on 10 November 1938. The day began normally, but as her father drove her to school, they witnessed troubling scenes.

“On our way in, we saw broken shop windows and shards of glass lying in the streets. And then we saw a shop where someone had painted the word ‘Jew’, and smeared on a star of David.”

Smashed up Jewish shops in Berlin after KristallnachtImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

They drove on, and saw a Jewish man in a black coat.

Some Nazi stormtroopers had grabbed him, and were daubing a star of David on to the back of his coat. And then they beat him, too.

“I thought, ‘My dad is with me and nothing bad can happen to me’, but it was a very disturbing sight, and I was shaking.”

Ruth had every reason to be afraid.

When she got to school, the head teacher took the girls straight into assembly.

Ruth (right) with her younger sister, EddiImage copyrightRUTH WINKELMANN
Image captionRuth (right) with her younger sister, Eddi

“That’s where we heard what had been going on in Berlin during the night – that Jewish shops had been smashed up and people brutally killed. Shop windows had been broken everywhere, and the words ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish pig’ written in many places.

“We were all very frightened. And on that day, for the first time since I’d started attending that school in 1934, there were prayers. It was a Jewish school, but not an Orthodox, religious one.”

The little girls tried to peer out of the school windows at what was happening on the street below.

“You couldn’t actually see the stormtroopers from where we watched, just their flags – and they were shouting and making a terrible racket. They’d barricaded the entrance, and daubed stuff all over the school too – stars of David and ‘Jew’ and ‘Jews out’ and things like that.”

A burning synagogue on Fasanenstrasse, BerlinImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionA burning synagogue on Fasanenstrasse, Berlin

The Nazi government had steadily been passing legislation discriminating against Jews, including children like Ruth, who was born to a Jewish father, Hermann Jacks, and a mother, Elly, a Protestant who’d converted to Judaism in order to marry him.

In 1935 the Nuremberg laws had become the legal basis for the expulsion of Jews from public life in Germany. The Nazis codified exactly who was Jewish and to what degree: definitions that for many came to mean the difference between life and death.

On Kristallnacht, the creeping persecution burst into overt and bloody violence.

Find out more

Watch Caroline Wyatt’s report for the News at Ten on Friday 9 November

That day, Ruth and the other girls had to escape via the school loft, walking two by two through the attics until they found their way down some stairs and into a back courtyard behind the main street.

“Our teachers told us to go straight home because the stormtroopers were still able to see us from where they were standing. We were terribly scared.”

When she finally got home, Ruth realised that it was not just the children who were afraid, but her parents and grandparents too.

They had also seen the smoke coming from the New Synagogue after Nazi stormtroopers broke in, desecrating the Torah scrolls and setting fire to whatever they could find.

It was one of several hundred Jewish places of worship attacked in Germany that night, as well as Jewish homes, schools, hospitals and more than 7,500 businesses. Close to 100 Jews were killed, and some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps.

Ruth only realised this was happening when she returned to school and discovered that several of the fathers had gone missing – arrested or deported: first the Polish Jews, and then the German Jews.

Ruth and her mother, EllyImage copyrightRUTH WINKELMANN
Image captionRuth and her mother, Elly

As I sit with Ruth over a cup of tea at her cosy house near the woods in northern Berlin, she shows me black and white photos of her family and the home she grew up in, on a similarly tree-lined street a little further north.

Thanks to the Nuremberg laws, her father’s parents were forced to sell their scrap-metal business, which left her father without a job. Then they were forced to sell their home. And later, her grandparents and Ruth’s other Jewish relatives were deported. Fifteen of them died; only one survived. Her paternal grandparents starved to death in the concentration camp at Terezin, also known as Theresienstadt, in what is now the Czech Republic.

The sudden violence of Kristallnacht is seared into Ruth’s memory.

“In retrospect, I became a grown-up on that day,” she tells me. “The pogrom night took away my childhood.”

She shows me a water-stained copy of her Nazi-era ID card, stamped with J for Jew.

Ruth's family - her mother and younger sister (left), her father, Ruth and an auntImage copyrightRUTH WINKELMANN
Image captionRuth’s family – her mother and younger sister (left), her father, Ruth and an aunt

The complex Nazi race laws had declared children such as Ruth and her younger sister Eddi “first degree mixed-race”, because while their father Hermann was Jewish, their mother had been born Protestant. For the Nazis she still counted as “Aryan”, despite her conversion, because of her German blood.

But because the two girls were registered as members of the Jewish community, they were deemed to be Jewish, Geltungsjuden. Later they were made to wear a yellow star on their coats and had to add the name “Sara” to their real names.

Document with the name "Sara" added to Ruth's nameImage copyrightRUTH WINKELMANN
Image captionThe name “Sara” was added to Ruth’s name

In an attempt to save the children, Ruth’s parents agreed to divorce. However, this left Ruth’s beloved father even more vulnerable. He was deported to Auschwitz in 1943.

Ruth received four postcards from her father, sent from the death camp. She still has them. Now barely legible, they make clear that her father’s final act of love to his children was to protect them from the horrors of the camp.

She reads me one of them: “My dear ones, I am well. How are you? Your parcel with bread and cake and tobacco has arrived. Thank you so much, that was very nice. Otherwise, nothing new. Best wishes to your Mum on her birthday too. Love and kisses from your Dad.”

One of the postcards Ruth's father sent from AuschwitzImage copyrightRUTH WINKELMANN
Image captionOne of the postcards Ruth’s father sent from Auschwitz

Ruth’s father was a captive at Monowitz, a sub-camp of Auschwitz where prisoners were forced to work for the chemical industry. He was working on some scaffolding, when someone pushed him off.

Ruth found out that her father was taken away unconscious, in a van equipped with deadly gas, camouflaged as an ambulance.

“Everyone thought he would never have woken up again, but he must have done,” she says. “Because I learnt from the Auschwitz archives much later that he wasn’t killed until January 1944.”

In Berlin, food for Ruth, her mother and her sister became increasingly scarce. At 14, Ruth was called up to do forced labour. All three received a summons from the Gestapo, and only narrowly escaped deportation.

Ruth’s mother, Elly, decided it was time to go into hiding. She selected a wooden shed on an allotment in southern Berlin, which belonged to a member of the Nazi party called Leo Lindenberg, who had taken a shine to her.

“We didn’t feel safe there in the shed, but it was better than any alternative, because we could live there as non-Jews,” remembers Ruth.

“I never wore the yellow star on my coat there, otherwise Leo Lindenberg would have been in huge trouble. We told the neighbours that our flat in Berlin had been destroyed by the bombing. That was common enough, so nobody asked too many questions.”

Ruth on holiday as a young childImage copyrightRUTH WINKELMANN
Image captionRuth on holiday as a young child

Life in the shed was harsh – there was no water, electricity or heating.

“When the temperature outside fell to minus 10, it was minus 10 inside too. And in the last four months we lived on nothing but red turnips and oatmeal,” Ruth remembers.

They had to grind the oatmeal from whole grains, putting them through a coffee grinder three times and then sifting it. It took half an hour to produce three spoonfuls.

Just before the end of the war, Ruth’s sister Eddi died of diphtheria. But Ruth and her mother survived.

Later, Elly married Leo Lindenberg, who asked his step-daughter to convert to Christianity, and Ruth complied. But she still wears the star of David around her neck.

“I converted out of gratitude because Leo risked his life for us,” Ruth explains.

“But my faith always remained mixed. I cannot say that I’m Jewish, and nor can I say that I’m Protestant. If you think about it, Judaism is the faith that Christianity sprang from, the root of it. I think that if I follow the 10 commandments, I’m not such a bad person. My father definitely wouldn’t have condemned it, and his opinion was always the most important to me. My mother would have nothing against it either. More than anything else, she wanted me to live well and be happy.”

Ruth says that even in the darkest times, she always kept her faith in God.

Ruth at home, wearing the star of David
Image captionRuth at home, wearing the star of David

“That doesn’t mean I go to church a lot,” she says, “but when I’m out in nature, I have everything I wish for and I thank him for the beautiful time I’m still having today. Not many people live to 90, and in reasonably good health too. I’m very grateful to my God.”

However, she no longer wears her star of David in public, having seen a passenger on the underground rip a crescent moon necklace from the neck of a Turkish girl. She puts it on for family occasions, though, and when she is giving a talk – as she frequently does, despite her age.

For Ruth, connecting with the young and telling her story to new generations remains vital.

“The most important thing for me is that they take on board how difficult it is to live in a democracy. Everyone has a different opinion, and picking out the best requires care and attention,” she says. “But democracy is the only way to live. Living under a dictatorship is impossible.”

Ruth takes me to the house where she grew up. Set into the pavement outside is a small polished brass square, the size of a cobblestone. It’s called a Stolperstein – a stumbling stone – and it bears the name of her father and the date he was killed in Auschwitz. She bends down to show me.


“To me this is a way of honouring my father. Because of course we don’t have a headstone for him, there’s no grave. And whenever I come past here, I pause for a moment – it’s like a short visit to him. Whenever I come here, I feel as though my father is still standing there in the courtyard and polishing our bicycles, or all the family’s shoes. That’s what he liked to do on a Sunday morning.”

Ruth has lived her life so remarkably free from bitterness. But is she alarmed by the rise of the far right in Europe, I ask?

“Of course I worry about that,” she admits.

“But I’m hopeful that mankind learnt something from the Nazi era. I do worry about the rise of those parties, but I don’t think we will ever see a systematic mass extermination like the Holocaust again. ”

I meet Ruth again by the New Synagogue, just behind the school where she witnessed the events of Kristallnacht.

By the entrance, beside the armed guards who are now permanently present, is a black plaque with golden lettering.

It reminds passers-by that the synagogue was set alight by the Nazis during the night of 9 November 1938, and largely destroyed in a bomb attack by the Allies in 1943 before being restored.

In capital letters beneath, it urges: “Never forget.”

Presentational grey line

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Fanny and Raphael Bodin

When Alexander Bodin Saphir’s Jewish grandfather was measuring a high-ranking Nazi for a suit in Copenhagen 75 years ago he got an important tip-off – the Jews were about to be rounded up and deported. It has often been described as a “miracle” that most of Denmark’s Jews escaped the Holocaust. Now it seems that the country’s Nazi rulers deliberately sabotaged their own operation.


source : BBC English

The three reasons markets have fallen

Markets are a bit like bookmakers, they reflect the odds of certain outcomes, and three things have just become more likely than they were yesterday. Leaving the EU without a deal, a change of Prime Minister and a general election. All three scare investors.

Here’s why:

Leaving the EU without a deal is widely considered bad for the UK economy – at least in the short to medium term – and that is bad for the pound. That hits people’s incomes by pushing the price of imported goods and things priced in dollars (like petrol) higher.

Cash-strapped consumers may find it harder to pay their loans, credit cards and mortgages, hence the big fall we have seen this morning in the shares of banks and housebuilders. Persimmon is down over 10% and Lloyds by more than 6%.

The odds of a general election have just gone up and that means the possibility of a Corbyn government must have increased as well. Markets don’t like the prospect of that, because of Labour’s intention to raise taxes on companies and nationalise large sections of the economy.

As for the day-to-day running of businesses, not a lot has changed this morning, as most companies had little faith that Theresa May’s Brexit deal would get through Parliament. That lack of faith seems entirely vindicated by this morning’s resignations, which have seen former ministers join the ranks of Labour, the DUP and 40 or so pro-Brexit Conservatives in intending to vote against it.

One minister described the five-hour cabinet meeting to me last night as one of the most surreal experiences of his career. The picture of a briefly triumphant PM standing outside Number 10 last night did indeed feel like a dream this morning.


source : BBC English

How the Saudi narrative of Khashoggi’s killing changed

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2. He was not seen since.

Below is a summary of how Saudi Arabia’s narrative surrounding the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death changed over the weeks as international pressure mounted.

October 2

Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to pick up a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry while his fiance, Hatice Cengiz, waited outside.

After waiting for three hours, his fiance asked the consulate’s staff for his whereabouts. They told her Khashoggi had already left the building via the backdoor.

October 5

In an interview with Bloomberg, MBS says that Khashoggi left after “a few minutes or one hour”.

“My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time.”

October 6

Saudi Arabia’s consul in Istanbul reopened to prove that Khashoggi was not at its premises and said that “talk of his kidnapping was baseless”, according to Reuters.

“I would like to confirm that … Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him,” consul-general Mohammad al-Otaibi told Reuters.

October 8

In an unsolicited Whatsapp message to Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, MBS’ younger brother Prince Khaled bin Salman denied allegations that Saudi Arabia had any role in the death of Khashoggi.

“I assure you that the reports that suggest that Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the consulate in Istanbul or that the kingdom’s authorities have detained him or killed him are absolutely false and baseless,” he wrote.

“Do you have footage of him leaving the consulate?” Swan replied. The reporter didn’t receive an answer.

October 10

Turkish media published images of an alleged 15-member Saudi “assassination squad” and video of suspicious movements at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following Khashoggi’s disappearance.


Will Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance affect US-Saudi relations?

Saudi Arabia remained silent as the images played across television networks in Turkey and the world, and did not offer definitive proof about Khashoggi’s fate.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya criticised the media coverage, writing in an article: “The mystery over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been riddled with misreported news, dubious sources and orchestrated media campaigns.”

October 11

The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, described the allegations as “malicious leaks and grim rumours” and said the kingdom is “gravely concerned” about Khashoggi.

Saudi officials maintained he left the consulate shortly after entering, though failed to provide evidence to back that up, such as video footage.

Al Arabiya wrote that the 15-member Saudi team were “tourists falsely accused of killing Khashoggi”.

October 12

A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrives in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, according to two Turkish sources cited by the country’s Anadolu news agency.

October 13

Saudi Minister of Interior Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz denied allegations regarding the disappearance and alleged murder of Khashoggi.

He said that allegations about orders to murder Khashoggi were “lies” targeting the government, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

October 15

US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had spoken with King Salman, who “denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened” to Jamal Khashoggi.

The New York Times reported that the Saudi royal court will soon put out a narrative that an official within the kingdom’s intelligence services – who happens to be a friend of Prince Mohammed – carried out Khashoggi’s killing.

According to that narrative, the crown prince approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but the intelligence official was incompetent and eagerly sought to prove himself. He then tried to cover up the botched handling of the situation.

According to two sources, CNN also reported that Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that will acknowledge that the killing of Khashoggi was the result of an “interrogation that went wrong”.

Trump suggested “rogue killers” could be responsible for Khashoggi’s mysterious disappearance, an explanation offering US ally Saudi Arabia a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.

The Saudis continued to deny they killed the writer.

After a personal 20-minute phone call with Saudi King Salman, Trump quoted the king as saying neither he nor his son, MBS, had any information about what had happened to Khashoggi.

October 16

Trump spoke with MBS, stating that the crown prince “totally denied” any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.

In a tweet, Trump said MBS told him the Saudis would rapidly expand an investigation into the matter. Answers will be coming “shortly”, the president said.

October 17

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saudi Arabia has made a “serious commitment” to hold senior leaders and officials accountable in the case of the missing journalist, if any wrongdoing is discovered.

Pompeo’s statement said the Saudis acknowledged something had happened to the missing journalist, but were not specific.

October 18

A report in The New York Times on Thursday indicated the Saudi rulers were considering blaming Major General Ahmed al-Asiri for the killing of Khashoggi, noting it would provide a plausible explanation for the killing and help to deflect blame from the Saudi crown prince.

October 19

Asiri is sacked as Saudi Arabia‘s deputy intelligence chief .

He had served as an adviser to MBS, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and was considered to be one of MBS’ closest aides.

October 20

After weeks of mounting international pressure, Saudi Arabia finally admits that Khashoggi was killed in their consulate in Istanbul after a fight broke out with the people he met there, but made no mention of where his body is.

“The investigations are still under way and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested,” state media said.

October 21

A Saudi official has told the Reuters news agency that the team of 15 Saudis who were sent to confront Khashoggi on October 2 killing him in a chokehold after “overstepping” their orders.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the team tried to intimidate Khashoggi but when the 59-year-old raised his voice, the team panicked.

WATCH: Saudi Arabia admits Jamal Khashoggi killed in Istanbul consulate (3:17)

They then tried to restrain him and placed him in a chokehold and covered his mouth.

Asked if the team had smothered Khashoggi, the official said: “If you put someone of Jamal’s age in this position, he would probably die.”

A member of the 15-man-team then dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate, the official added.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Riyadh us still not aware of where the remains of Khashoggi are, calling the killing a “rogue operation” and a “huge mistake”.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Fox News, Adel al-Jubeir said Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul almost three weeks ago was “a terrible tragedy” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had nothing to do with.

Al-Jubeir said Khashoggi was approached by “Saudi security team” when he entered the consulate on October 2. He added that the team’s account of what happened after that differed from that of Turkish officials, which prompted the Saudis to investigate.

October 24

MBS calls the Khashoggi’s killing a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”, in his first public remarks since Riyadh’s admission that the journalist was murdered.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, he said that “some people are trying to seize this painful moment to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey”.

He continued: “I want to send them a message: You will not be able to do that as long as we have a king called Salman bin Abdulaziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman and a Turkish president named Erdogan.

“The rift will never be created. We will prove to the entire world that the both countries are cooperating to punish all perpetrators and justice will be above everything.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh [File:Reuters]

October 25

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor says the assassination of the journalist in Istanbul was “premeditated”, reversing previous statements that the murder was unintended.

“Information from the Turkish authorities indicates that the act of the suspects in the Khashoggi case was premeditated,” the public prosecutor said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

“The public prosecution continues its investigation with suspects … to complete the court of justice.”

October 27

Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister, criticises the global outcry surrounding Khashoggi’s killing as “hysterical”, while rejecting Turkey’s demand to extradite the 18 suspects.

WATCH: Turkey: Khashoggi investigation with Saudi is getting ‘difficult’ [2:50]

“We have made clear that we are going to have a full and transparent investigation, the results of which will be released. We have made it very clear that those responsible will be held responsible,” al-Jubeir said.

“Unfortunately, there has been this hysteria in the media about Saudi Arabia’s guilt before the investigation is completed,” he said.

November 2

MBS is quoted in US media reports describing Khashoggi as a “dangerous Islamist”.

The comments were reportedly made during a phone call with President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser John Bolton, which allegedly took place before Saudi Arabia publicly acknowledged that Khashoggi had been killed in its consulate in Istanbul.

Citing people familiar with the call, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the crown prince said Khashoggi belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood – outlawed by Riyadh and its Arab allies – and urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the US-Saudi alliance.

November 15

Saudi Arabia’s deputy public prosecutor Shaalan al-Shaalan says the kingdom is seeking the death penalty for five out of the 11 people charged in the murder of Khashoggi.

Al-Shalaan said Khashoggi was murdered after “negotiations” for his return to Saudi Arabia failed, and that the killing was ordered by the head of a negotiating team sent to repatriate the journalist after he decided it was unfeasible to remove him from the consulate.

The order to repatriate Khashoggi had come from former deputy intelligence chief General Ahmed al-Asiri, al-Shalaan said. Asiri was sacked last month following an initial investigation.

Khashoggi died from a lethal injection and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, al-Shalaan said.

Some details provided on Thursday again contradicted previous versions, none of which mentioned a drug-induced death and one of which called the killing premeditated based on information provided by Turkish authorities.

Al-Shalaan’s account of the killing, the latest of Riyadh’s shifting explanations, was met with skepticism in Turkey while US Senator Chris Coons dismissed as “utterly incredible” the idea that a rogue team carried out the killing.

Will Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance affect US-Saudi relations?


Will Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance affect US-Saudi relations?


Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Khashoggi – a Saudi writer, US resident and Washington Post columnist – entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry.

After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that the murder was premeditated. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.

Here are the latest developments:

Wednesday, November 14

Turkey calls for international probe 

An international investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is essential, Turkey‘s foreign minister has said, and reiterated Turkish decisiveness to solve the murder.

“We will do whatever it takes to bring the murder to light. We have shown the evidence to all those who wanted to see,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told the country’s parliament on Wednesday.

Turkey had earlier said it would cooperate in an international investigation, and had called for a UN probe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government has shared recordings related to the October 2 killing with a few nations, including the United States.

Lindsey Graham: Bin Salman ‘unstable and unreliable’

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham upped his rhetoric against Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday, saying the Saudi crown prince is “unstable and unreliable”, Bloomberg reported.

Graham, who has been a vocal critic of bin Salman since the murder of Saudi writer, Jamal Khashoggi, said he doesn’t see the “situation getting fixed as long as he’s [bin Salman] is around”.

“I am of the opinion that the current leadership, the MBS leadership, has been a disaster for the relationship and the region, and I will find it very difficult to do business as usual with somebody who’s been this unstable,” he said as quoted by Bloomberg.

Graham said there is still no plan in place, but he and other senators are discussing sanctions against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s death.

US politicians to push for crackdown on Saudi Arabia

The US Senate may vote within weeks on legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.

He said it was also possible that measures to prevent arms sales to Riyadh would make it to the Senate floor.

CIA chief ‘seen all proof’ related to Khashoggi murder

“Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi Arabia the disdain they have for what has happened with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone,” said Corker.

Corker said his staff had asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and CIA Director Gina Haspel come to the Capitol as soon as late November for a classified briefing to address concerns about Yemen and Khashoggi’s death.

It has been reported the CIA director has listened to the audio recording of Khashoggi’s killing.

US official: Recording doesn’t link Saudi prince to Khashoggi murder

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says people who have listened to an audio recording of the killing of a Saudi journalist do not think it implicates Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

John Bolton told reporters at a summit in Singapore that he has not personally listened to the tape. But he says those who have do not think it links Khashoggi’s death to the crown prince.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he shared the audio recordings with Saudi Arabia and other nations, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Canada. 

Tuesday, November 13

‘Saudi crown prince tried to persuade Israel to start war in Gaza’: report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman tried to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to start a war in Gaza to take the focus off the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Middle East Eye reported on Tuesday.

According to sources that spoke to the website, a war in Gaza was one of the measures the kingdom considered to have international attention shift away from Khashoggi case.

The sources added that other options included bribing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by buying military equipment from Turkey.

Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings shocked Saudi intelligence

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recordings related to the killing of  Jamal Khashoggi , which Ankara  has shared with Western allies, are “appalling”, and shocked a Saudi intelligence officer who listened to them, according to local Turkish media.

“We played the recordings regarding this murder to everyone who wanted them from us. Our intelligence organisation did not hide anything. We played them to all who wanted them including the Saudis, the USA, France, Canada, Germany, Britain,” he said.


Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings shocked Saudi intelligence

“The recordings are really appalling. Indeed when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings he was so shocked he said: ‘This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes heroin would do this’,” Erdogan added.

The Turkish president siad that he murder of Khashoggi must have been ordered at the highest level of the Saudi government, but added that he did not think King Salman was responsible for the order.

“It must be revealed who gave them the order to murder,” Erdogan said, referring to a comment by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who previously said that the matter “will be clarified”.

INSIDE STORYWho is ‘the boss’ in phone call after Khashoggi’s murder? (25:00)

Monday, November 12

‘Tell your boss deed is done,’ Saudi officer says after Khashoggi killing: NYT

A member of a Saudi assassination squad phoned a superior shortly after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and told him “tell your boss” their mission had been accomplished, The New York Times reported.

Citing three people familiar with a recording of Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence, the newspaper said while he was not mentioned by name, US officials believe “your boss” was a reference to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

US intelligence officials view the recording as some of the strongest evidence yet linking bin Salman to the murder, it said.

Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis sent to Istanbul to target Khashoggi, made the phone call and spoke in Arabic, sources told the Times. Mutreb is a security officer who frequently travels with the crown prince.

Turkish intelligence officers told US officials they believe the call was made to one of bin Salman’s close aides.

Trudeau: Canada has heard Turkish recordings on Khashoggi’s killing

Canadian intelligence has listened to Turkish recordings of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi said Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, although Trudeau added that he himself had not listened to them.

“Canada’s intelligence agencies have been working very closely on this issue with Turkish intelligence and Canada has been fully briefed on what Turkey had to share and I had a conversation with Erdogan a couple of weeks ago and here in Paris we had brief exchanges and I thanked him for his strength in responding to the Khashoggi situation,” said Trudeau.

“We continue to be engaged with our allies on the investigation into accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and we are in discussions with our like-minded allies as to the next steps with regard Saudi Arabia,” added Trudeau at a news conference in Paris on Monday.

Khashoggi’s friends, fiancee demand justice at Istanbul memorial

About 200 people gathered in Istanbul to honour the memory of Khashoggi, demanding justice for his killing.

Supporters met on Sunday to talk and watch videos of eulogies for the Washington Post contributor, who was killed on October 2 inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate, where he went to handle paperwork for his upcoming marriage. His fiancee was among the participants in the memorial.

Turan Kislakci, head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association (TAM), to which Khashoggi belonged, called for justice to be done “so that these barbaric tyrants can never do the same thing again”.

Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkol Karman, who won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her participation in the Arab Spring uprisings, said the killing was reminiscent of crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Saudi crown prince meets British special envoy: SPA

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has discussed bilateral relations with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s special envoy, Simon McDonald, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

McDonald’s talks in Riyadh come as British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Monday to press for an end to the war in Yemen and to urge Saudi leaders to cooperate with an investigation into the murder of Khashoggi.

UK calls for end to Yemen war, Khashoggi justice

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visits Saudi Arabia to press Saudi leaders to cooperate with an investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.

The visit comes at a time when Riyadh is facing global criticism and potential sanctions over the killing.

Hunt, the first British minister to visit Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi’s murder, will call on the Saudi authorities to do more to deliver justice and accountability for his family.

“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago. It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear,” he said.

Sunday, November 11

‘I’m suffocating’: Khashoggi’s last words, says Turkish reporter

The head of investigations at the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper has told Al Jazeera that Jamal Khashoggi’s last words were “I’m suffocating … Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic”, according to an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi suffocated to death while a plastic bag covered his head, Nazif Karaman told Al Jazeera.

Karaman said the murder lasted for about seven minutes, according to the recordings.

Saudi officials ‘discussed killing enemies’ a year before Khashoggi murder: report

report by The New York Times has said that Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with businessmen in 2017 to discuss manoeuvres to sabotage Iran’s economy and broached the possibility of killing Iranian enemies of the kingdom.

During the meeting, Saudi officials asked the businessmen if they “conducted kinetics” – a term used to refer to assassinations – to kill Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the specialised Quds force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paper reported

“Their discussions, more than a year before the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, indicate that top Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent,” wrote The Times.

INSIDE STORYWill Saudi Arabia ever reveal who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? (25:21)

Saturday, November 10

Trump and Macron say Saudi must give details on Khashoggi killing – report

US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, agreed on Saturday that Saudi Arabia needs to shed full light on the events surroundingKhashoggi’s murder, Reuters news agency reported, citing a French presidency source.

The two leaders also said the issue should not be allowed to cause further destabilisation in the Middle East and that it could create an opportunity to find a political resolution to the war in Yemen, the official said.

Trump and Macron are in Paris to commemorate the end of World War I.

Erdogan: Turkey shared Khashoggi tapes with Saudi Arabia, US and others

Turkey has given recordings on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

Turkish sources have said previously that authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the murder.

Speaking before his departure to France to attend commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Erdogan said Saudi Arabia knows the killer of Jamal Khashoggi is among a group of 15 people who arrived in Turkey one day ahead of the October 2 killing.

“We gave the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, Germans, French and British, all of them. They have listened to all the conversations in them. They know,” Erdogan  said.

Turkish police ‘end search’ for Jamal Khashoggi’s body

Turkish police are ending the search for the Khashoggi’s body, but the criminal investigation into the Saudi journalist’s murder will continue, sources told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera has learned on Friday that traces of acid were found at the Saudi consul-general’s residence in Istanbul, where the body was believed to be disposed of with the use of chemicals.

The residence is walking distance from the Saudi consulate, where Khashoggi was allegedly killed by a team of Saudi officers and officials.

Istanbul’s chief prosecutor said on October 31 that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate and that his body was dismembered, in the first official comments on the case.

Friday, November 9

Norway suspends arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia

Norway announced on Friday that it was suspending new licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia following recent developments in the Gulf kingdom and the situation in Yemen.

“We have decided that in the present situation, we will not give new licenses for the export of defence material or multipurpose goods for military use to Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.

While Khashoggi’s murder was not mentioned, the statement said the decision had been taken following “a broad assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the unclear situation in Yemen”.

The announcement came a week after Norway’s foreign minister summoned the Saudi ambassador to Oslo to protest Khashoggi’s assassination.

Germany said last month that it would halt its arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the killing of Khashoggi was explained.

Khashoggi’s fiancee shocked by reports his body was dissolved

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, has expressed “shock and sadness” over reports suggesting that his body may have been dissolved with chemicals.

Cengiz said on Twitter late Thursday that Khashoggi’s killers had deprived his loved ones of conducting funeral prayers and burying him in the holy city of Medina as he had wished.

In a message to The Associated Press on Friday, Cengiz said she had not received any information from officials to confirm the reports.

View image on Twitter

Hatice Cengiz / خديجة@mercan_resifi

I’m unable to express my sorrow to learn about dissolving your body Jamal! They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you in Madinah as wished.
Are these killers and those behind it human beings?
Oh my God!


10:38 PM – Nov 8, 2018

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Thursday, November 8

Bin Salman: Khashoggi’s killers would be punished

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a group of American evangelical leaders earlier this month that those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing would be punished.

He also stressed that the crisis must not shift focus away from Iran’s threat to the region and the world, according to the delegation’s organiser.

In an article posted on Axios, a news website, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news quotes Joel Rosenberg as saying bin Salman accused his “enemies” of exploiting Khashoggi’s murder, which he called a “heinous act”.

Axios: MBS met US evangelicals, said Khashoggi’s killers would be punished

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a group of American evangelical leaders on November 1 that those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing would be punished but stressed that the crisis must not shift focus away from Iran’s threat to the region and the world, according to the delegation’s organiser.

In an article posted on Axios, a news website, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news quotes Joel



Will the body of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi ever be found?

Rosenberg as saying bin Salman accused his “enemies” of exploiting Khashoggi’s murder, which he called a “heinous act”.

The meeting, which lasted some two hours, was scheduled before the Khashoggi crisis erupted.

Traces of acid, chemicals found in Saudi consul’s home

A source in the Turkish attorney general’s office told Al Jazeera that the investigative team found traces of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals inside a well at the Saudi consul general’s home in Istanbul.

The source said the killers dissolved the journalist’s dismembered body in acid in one of the rooms at Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi’s residence.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Istanbul, said the residence was searched by Turkish investigators two weeks after the killing.

“It would appear, according to the source that during that two week period, acid was used to dispose of the dismembered body of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Wednesday, November 7

Israeli spyware technology may have been used to track down, kill Khashoggi: Snowden

Software made by Israeli-based cybersecurity firm NSO Group Technologies may have been used to track down Khashoggi, fugitive US whistle-blower Edward Snowden told an Israeli audience via video conference.

Snowden said the phone of one of Khashoggi’s friends, Omar Abdulaziz – who lives in exile in Canada – had been infected with NSO’s Pegasus spyware. The whistle-blower, who now lives in Russia, said the software allowed Saudis to collect information about Khashoggi through Abdulaziz.


Saudis tampered with CCTV cameras after Khashoggi murder: report

“The Saudis, of course, knew that Khashoggi was going to go to the consulate, as he got an appointment. But how did they know his intention and plans?”

“[NSO Group] is the worst of the worst in selling these burglary tools, that are being actively used to violate the human rights of dissidents, opposition figures, activists, to some pretty bad players,” Snowden said, “but they are not alone.”

Donald Trump: ‘Much stronger opinion next week’

US President Donald Trump has said he will have a “much stronger opinion” on the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “over the next week”.

Trump said he is working with the US Congress, Turkey and Saudi Arabia on solving the October 2 killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

“I am forming a very strong opinion,” the US president said during a press conference at the White House.

Saudi king issues pardons, unveils projects on domestic tour

Saudi Arabia’s king has begun a domestic tour with a first stop in the conservative heartland of Qassim province, where he pardoned prisoners serving time on finance charges and announced 16bn riyals – about $4.27bn – in new projects.

This is King Salman’s first such tour since he ascended to the throne in 2015 and comes as the kingdom faces international pressure following the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last month.


The Khashoggi murder mystery: Erdogan as Lieutenant Columbo

by Hamid Dabashi

The state-run news agency reported on Wednesday that the government would pay debts of up to 1m riyals, or $267,000, on behalf of each of the pardoned prisoners.

Tuesday, November 6

CIA chief has seen all evidence in relation to Khashoggi murder – source

A Turkish security source has told Al Jazeera that CIA Director Gina Haspel has seen all the evidence related to Khashoggi’s killing.

The evidence proves the operation was carried out on orders from the highest level of leadership in Saudi Arabia, the source added.

Haspel was in Turkey last week to review evidence before briefing US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC.

Turkish sources also said that Saudi Arabia would pay “blood money” or compensation to Khashoggi’s family and his fiancee.

Saudis tampered with CCTV cameras after Khashoggi murder: report

Turkish media have reported that staff at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul tried to dismantle security cameras to help cover up the murder of Khashoggi.

The pro-government Sabah newspaper reported that the Saudis tried to rip out the camera inside the consulate on October 2, the day Khashoggi was murdered.

They also tried to tamper with cameras at the police security booth outside the building.

According to the report, at 1am on October 6, a consulate member staff went into the police security post outside the Saudi consulate to access the video system.

Sabah reported that the staff member put a digital lock code into the system, which did not dismantle any cameras but rather was intended to prevent access to any videos showing movement at the entrance, including Khashoggi’s arrival at the consulate.


Saudi ‘cover-up team’ sent to dispose of Khashoggi body: report

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reporting from Istanbul said that their attempt was, in any case, irrelevant because the police had already deciphered the coding and accessed the system, retrieving a copy of the video well ahead of the attempt of tampering.

“All of this demonstrates, according to Turkish officials, in terms of the … whole set of procedures, that there was an effort by the Saudi Arabian consulate to once again tamper with evidence,” Simmons said.

“This follows a pattern of leaks which demonstrate beyond any doubt, according to the Turks, that the Saudis weren’t out to investigate a murder, they were out to cover it up.”

Monday, November 5

Khashoggi’s sons appeal for return of his body

The sons of the slain Saudi journalist issued an appeal for the return of their father’s body and said they wanted to return to Saudi Arabia to bury him.

In an interview with CNN, Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi said without their father’s body, their family is unable to grieve and deal with the emotional burden of their father’s death.

“It’s not a normal situation, it’s not a normal death at all. All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi [cemetery] in Medina [Saudi Arabia] with the rest of his family,” Salah Khashoggi said.

“I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon.”

Salah Khashoggi on October 24 met the crown prince and King Salman in Riyadh to receive condolences along with other Khashoggi family members. Salah departed for Washington a day later, and his CNN interview was his first public comment since then.


Khashoggi sons ask Saudi Arabia to return father’s body

He said King Salman assured him those involved in Khashoggi’s murder would be brought to justice.

“We just need to make sure that he rests in peace,” Salah Khashoggi said of his father. “Until now, I still can’t believe that he’s dead. It’s not sinking in with me emotionally,” he said, adding there had been a lot of “misinformation” about the circumstances of the death.

Salah said accusations that his father was a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhoodorganisation were not true.

Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, “As a moderate man who has common values with everyone … a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential.”

“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy, that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.”

Saudi human rights record in UN spotlight

Countries gathered at the UN in Geneva to review Saudi Arabia’s rights record as it faces a torrent of international condemnation over Khashoggi’s murder.

Monday’s so-called Universal Periodic Review – which all 193 UN member states must undergo every four years – is likely to also focus on Saudi Arabia’s role in Yemen’s brutal civil war. Washington, which has long backed the Saudi-led coalition, called last week for an end to air attacks in the country.

The Saudi delegation in Geneva will be headed by Bandar Al Aiban, who serves as the head of the country’s Human Rights Commission.

The delegation will present a report over the country’s efforts to live up to its international human rights obligations and will respond to questions and comments from countries around the world on its record.

Activists are urging countries not to hold back.

“UN member states must end their deafening silence on Saudi Arabia and do their duty of scrutinising the cruelty in the kingdom in order to prevent further outrageous human rights violations in the country and in Yemen,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns, said in a statement.

“The Saudi government’s long-standing repression of critics, exemplified by the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, has until recently been wilfully ignored by UN member states.”

A number of countries have already submitted lists of detailed questions for the review, including direct questions from Britain, Austria and Switzerland on the Khashoggi case.

Sweden, meanwhile, is planning to ask: “What measures will be taken to improve the respect for the freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?”

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US lawmakers to push for crackdown on Saudi Arabia

The US Senate may vote within weeks on legislation to punish Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.

He said it was also possible that measures to prevent arms sales to Riyadh would make it to the Senate floor.

“Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi Arabia the disdain they have for what has happened, with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone,” said Corker.

Corker said his staff had asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and CIA Director Gina Haspel come to the Capitol as soon as late November for a classified briefing to address concerns about Yemen and Khashoggi’s death.


How much is Turkey prepared to reveal on Khashoggi’s murder?