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Ukraine´s elite police ´disbanded`/ Italy´s PM wins confidence vote / Erdogan dismisses taped call as ´fake`/ Hezbollah vows response to air strike / Egypt´s al-Sisi to remain defence minister / Guitarist Paco de Lucia dies / The weather

26.02.2014

Ukraine´s elite police ´disbanded`

Ukraine's acting interior minister Arsen Avakov has announced that he is disbanding the elite Berkut riot police unit, which has been blamed for the deaths of protesters in last week´s street battles in the capital, Kiev. It had been one of the key demands of anti-government protesters. Meanwhile, there are continuing divisions between Russia and western powers over the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are still unknown. Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski is with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies: “The US and the EU, hopefully with Russia´s constructive cooperation, should continue to press the dominant democratic forces in Kiev to adopt a stance not of revenge and retribution but of national unification and political moderation. That is achievable.”

Italy´s PM wins confidence vote

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has won a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament, backing his government's programme of rapid economic and institutional reform. Renzi has promised to cut income tax, invest in jobs and abolish the Senate or upper house as a law-making body.

Erdogan dismisses taped call as ´fake`

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused his political enemies of hacking encrypted state communications to fake a telephone conversation in which he apparently warns his son to hide millions of euros ahead of police raids in a corruption inquiry that has shaken the government. In a dramatic session of parliament after the posting of the audio tape on social media, Erdogan described it as a shameless and treacherous "montage." Hundreds of protesters took to the streets and clashed with police in Istanbul and Ankara to denounce the recording.

Hezbollah vows response to air strike

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah says it will respond to an Israeli air strike on Monday night that hit one of its bases in the Bekaa Valley on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Israel has not confirmed it was behind the strike, which would be the first reported air attack inside Lebanese territory since the start of the Syrian conflict three years ago.

Egypt´s al-Sisi to remain defence minister

Egyptian officials say the country´s military chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will keep his post as defence minister in a new government, quashing speculation that he was about to announce a bid for the presidency.

Guitarist Paco de Lucia dies

Tributes are being paid to the world-renowned Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia, who has died in Mexico at the age of 66. Famous for a series of flamenco albums in the 1970s, he also crossed over into classical and jazz guitar. He had lived both in Mexico and in Spain in recent years.

The weather

Mostly sunny, but some cloud or persistent fog. Top temperatures from 4 to 15.

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