Friday, October 17, 2014

Putin's Class Of 2014 Friday October 17th, 2014 at 9:26 AM Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Russian President Vladimir Putin is initiating a generational shift in the Russian elite that has far-reaching consequences.

Putin's Class Of 2014

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is initiating a generational shift in the Russian elite that has far-reaching consequences.

U.S. In 'Stern Conversations' With Azerbaijan: Melia

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A U.S. State Department official says the United States has engaged in "stern conversations" with Azerbaijani officials about crackdowns on rights organizations in the Caucasus country.

Inmate suicide figures expose human toll of prison crisis

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Data obtained by Guardian reveals more than six prison suicides a month
Stories behind statistics show young men and mentally ill at high risk
Officials blame budget cuts for inadequate staff numbers and lack of training
The human toll of the crisis gripping prisons in England and Wales is exposed with new figures obtained by the Guardian revealing that 125 prisoners have killed themselves in 20 months an average of more than six a month.
For the first time the Guardian has identified the individuals behind the statistics that show suicide is at its highest rate in prisons for nine years, and there is no sign that the scale of the tragedy is being checked.
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Cruise Ship Stranded In Passenger Ebola Scare

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A passenger on a US cruise ship in the Caribbean has been quarantined after it was thought he orshe handled ebola specimens.

Russia's Patrushev Reportedly To Visit Iran

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The secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin's Security Council will reportedly visit Iran early next week.

Puerto Rico: Listening in on the Conversation

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A recent poll on Puerto Rico’s political status indicates that statehood is the preferred option among Puerto Ricans living in Central Florida.
But polls are not our only source of information about the thoughts of the people. Social media now provides a public forum for discussion that allows us to track and analyze the ordinary conversations of ordinary people. We can find out what they think, what news stories they’re sharing, and how they feel about a variety of subjects.
Social media is now the top activity on the internet; people spend more time engaging with each other through social media than they do with email, for example. The majority of Americans now use social media, and the 54-64 year-old age range is the fastest growing. While far fewer people post in social media than listen, the population of active social media users is far larger and more diverse than the sample size in a typical poll.
With the vast amount of social media available, it can be difficult to discern how a particular topic is trending. Fortunately, computers can help. Social listening tools grab mentions of a subject at a wide range of social media sites, analyze them for positive or negative tone, and then present the remarks for further exploration.
SocialMention, a popular social listening tool, shows Puerto Rico as a topic with an 11:1 ratio of positive to negative mentions. As we might expect, many of the comments they’re counting focus on enjoyment of a vacation in Puerto Rico, a sports team, or a musician’s tour in Puerto Rico. There is a new mention of Puerto Rico in social media every 14 seconds.
Examining “Puerto Rico status” turned up a 5:1 positive ratio; however, many of the mentions were not about Puerto Rico’s political status, but about weather and other issues using the term. However, there are plenty of people talking about Puerto Rico’s political status online. Here, for example, is a sampling of Twitter content on the subject from Topsy, a Twitter-specific social listening tool:
(Click to see the screenshot larger.)
twit-prstatus
“Puerto Rico statehood” has a 4:1 ratio of positive to negative mentions. Many of the social media mentions reported are news stories people have linked to at Twitter, Reddit, and similar social media sites. Some of the most popular news items and conversations:
  • A video showing that former Governor Luis Fortuno favors dealing with statehood for Puerto Rico as a high priority.
reddit
  • A discussion of the recent pro-statehood demonstrations in San Juan, suggesting that the Immigration and Naturalization Service should have sent agents there to round up undocumented residents. This comment sparked intense discussion not only of the fact that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States but also of Puerto Rico’s status. (Click the screenshot to see the conversation in a larger image.)
  • A number of videos and conversations about the recent discussions on the subject in Congress.
There were also plenty of less popular but still interesting mentions, including a student project:
Twitter shows more than 700 tweets on the subject this month, including this sampling:
prstatustweets
“Puerto Rico independence” shows a 7:1 ratio; however, nearly all the mentions are from a 2012 story about the return to San Juan of an Independence activist. There is a mention only, on average, every 24 days. Twitter shows some activity on the subject:
twitter-prindependence
“Puerto Rico Commonwealth” shows a positive: negative ratio of 0:0; there just isn’t enough conversation on the subject, with a mention only once every 7 months, on average. “Puerto Rico ELA” and “enhanced commonwealth” also turned up very little: one video and 9 tweets in total.
social-mention-pr
We can see that statehood is the most frequently discussed option for Puerto Rico’s political status, and that there are people joining in from a wide range of perspectives. Independence is occasionally mentioned. The “Commonwealth” option, which has been rejected by the U.S. government, is not being discussed.
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White House Says There Are No Plans To Bail Out Puerto Rico

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Ukraine crisis: Russia's Putin holds talks in Milan - BBC News

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BBC News

Ukraine crisis: Russia's Putin holds talks in Milan
BBC News
Russian President Vladimir Putin has met his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko and key EU leaders in Milan to discuss the eastern Ukraine crisis. The leaders of the UK, Germany, France and Italy were expected to press Mr Putin to do more to end ...
Serbia's governmentThe Economist
Russia's Putin, Germany's Merkel Meet in MilanWall Street Journal
No sign of breakthrough as Russia, Ukraine meet in MilanReuters
Aljazeera.com -RT
all 1,037 news articles »

Kremlin: Putin's Talk With EU and Poroshenko 'Full of Misunderstandings' 

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Talks between Russia, Ukraine and European governments on Friday were "full of misunderstandings and disagreements," the Kremlin said, undercutting more upbeat messages.

Brazilian Man Confesses to 39 Murders 

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A 26-year-old Brazilian man who allegedly killed at least 39 people in the span of three years has been taken into custody by local authorities.
Security guard Thiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha confessed to the murders after being arrested in the central city of Goiania, the BBC reports.
“We have been shocked by his coldness,” a police official who witnessed his interrogation told Brazilian television, saying that Gomes da Rocha referred to his victims by numbers one to 39.
He reportedly targeted women, homeless people and homosexuals, going up to his victims on a motorcycle with his face covered. He would then shoot them and leave without taking any of their possessions, although police said he would often demand valuables.
Other than the killings, he is also suspected of carrying out over 90 robberies.
[BBC]

Georgian PM: No Progress Normalizing Relations With Moscow

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Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili says attempts by Tbilisi to normalize politcal relations with Russia have thus far been unsuccessful.

Putin under pressure to commit to fragile peace plan for eastern Ukraine 

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Russian president meets Poroshenko and EU leaders as violence continues to spread across region despite ceasefire
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, will come under intense pressure on Friday from EU leaders to commit fully to the fragile peace plan for eastern Ukraine as he meets his counterpart in Kiev for the first time since the truce was agreed.
In an encounter considered a chance for Moscow to pursue dialogue with Kiev and major EU powers, Putin is due to attend a breakfast meeting in Milan with Petro Poroshenko alongside the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, Italy and top EU officials.
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FBI Director Implies Action Against Apple and Google Over Encryption - TIME

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FBI Director Implies Action Against Apple and Google Over Encryption
TIME
FBI Director James Comey testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" on Capitol Hill in Washington May 21, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters ...

and more »

FBI Director James Comey warns against cellphone encryption - The Denver Post

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FBI Director James Comey warns against cellphone encryption
The Denver Post
WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey on Thursday warned in stark terms against the push by technology companies to encrypt smartphone data and operating systems, arguing that murder cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free and justice ...

and more »

Milan summit offers Putin and Poroshenko time to talk

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MILAN (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko are looking to patch up a faltering ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and resolve a dispute over natural gas supplies when they meet in Milan on Friday.
  

A handy myth-busting guide to UK crime statistics 

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News of another sharp fall in crime levels in the UK will be met by a chorus of cynicism but maybe we should be more trusting
The release of the quarterly crime statistics show another dramatic decline in incidents. Estimated total crime levels plummeted 16% in the year to June 2014. Violence fell by 23%, criminal damage by 20% and theft offences by 12%. The news will be greeted, as is the custom, with a self-satisfied murmur from governing politicians and a chirruping chorus of cynicism from the great British public.
Crime statistics are a complex and opaque strand of quantitative social analysis. The official reports published by the Office for National Statistics are couched in caveats and caution. The nature of, and explanations for, dramatic falls in (apparent) crime rates remain heavily disputed and furiously debated. However, there are a number of claims about crime rates that can be critically appraised and, where appropriate, myth-busted once and for all.
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How Ebola attacks the body 

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Ebola is a highly contagious and often deadly virus. People suffering from the disease are only infectious once they develop symptoms.
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Defying Russia, Georgia to host NATO training center: minister

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TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgia will not allow pressure from Russia to stop it hosting a NATO training center on its territory or deter its plans to deepen ties with the West, the former Soviet republic's defense minister said.
  
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Islamic State training pilots in three captured jets: Syria monitor

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, citing witnesses.
  

Moscow refutes reports that Russia, US agreed to share intel on ISIS - RT

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RT

Moscow refutes reports that Russia, US agreed to share intel on ISIS
RT
Russia has refuted media reports that Washington and Moscow have agreed to share intelligence on Islamic State terrorists. The news reports followed Wednesday talks betweenRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
US and Russia Agree to Share More Intelligence on ISISNew York Times 
US, Russia Vow Intel-Sharing on Islamic StateABC News

Hints Emerge That Fight Against IS Moving US, Russia Closer On SyriaRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty 
The Moscow Times
 -Newsweek

all 429 news articles »

US Political Parties Eye Asian American Vote

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Asians are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States, and political scientists say they are starting to have an impact on U.S. politics, VOA's Elizabeth Lee reports.

Moscow Takes Some Finnish Territory and Buys More Near Strategic Sites 

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Staunton, October 16 – Citing the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty between Moscow and Helsinki, Russia took control of a 1.78 hectare undeveloped parcel of land in Finland’s Aaland Islands in 2009 and transferred it to Vladimir Putin’s office, according to Jarmo Ratia, a former Finnish official who said he was talking now because of “changes in the international situation.”
Ratia’s statement was reported October 15 by Finnish television, which added that in 2009, the Russian consul in Marienham approached Finnish officials about this. Finnish officials did not challenge that claim but handed over the parcel — although they did not publicize their action.
That Russian action, apparently entirely legitimate under the 1947 treaty, takes on a more ominous coloration in light of a report carried by Estonia’s Postimees newspaper on Monday. The Tallinn paper said that Russians under various guises had been buying up land next to military and other strategic sites in Finland.
The paper added that in many cases, those Russians involved in the purchase of Finnish land have links to the Russian security services and Vladimir Putin personally.
Given the kind of “hybrid war” the Kremlin leader has unleashed in Ukraine and threatened to begin elsewhere, such purchases could provide the basis for Russian actions in many countries where ostensibly ordinary Russians, the Russian government, or the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate own property.

Число пострадавших при крушении двух поездов в Арканзасе возросло до 44 человек - Коммерсантъ

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Вести.Ru

Число пострадавших при крушении двух поездов в Арканзасе возросло до 44 человек
Коммерсантъ
Число пострадавших в результате столкновения двух поездов на северо-западе американского штата Арканзас 16 октября выросло до 44 человек, передает ИТАР-ТАСС со ссылкой на местные СМИ. Состояние пяти пострадавших медики оценивают как критическое. По их сведениям ...
В США в ходе столкновения двух поездов пострадали 44 человекаАПА
В США
 
число пострадавших при столкновении поездов достигло 44Российская Газета

При столкновении поездов в США пострадали 44 человека33LIVE.RU 
РБК

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Accused White House Intruder Faces New Charges

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The man who allegedly jumped a White House fence and made it inside the executive mansion before he was stopped is facing new charges. A federal grand jury Thursday returned an indictment against Omar Gonzalez on two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees.   He also was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device. Gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds were recovered from Gonzalez's car after his arrest September 19.  Such magazines are illegal under District of Columbia law. Those charges are in addition to counts of unlawfully entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition. Gonzalez allegedly breached the secure grounds of the White House, in an incident that drew criticism of security procedures that led to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife and had a machete and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his car, made it as far as the East Room of the White House before he was tackled.

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US Lawmakers Call for Travel Ban on Ebola-Stricken Countries

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With Americans worried about Ebola, a number of U.S. lawmakers Thursday interrupted their election campaigns to return to Washington, and President Barack Obama met with his top advisers acknowleding people are afraid. Some members of a congressional panel called for a travel ban on the three West African countries ravaged by Ebola, until the deadly outbreak can be brought under control. VOA’s Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hill.

Сын Байдена вылетел из резерва ВМС из-за кокаина - Газета.Ru

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НТВ.ru

Сын Байдена вылетел из резерва ВМС из-за кокаина
Газета.Ru
Сын вице-президента США Джозефа Байдена был уволен из резерва ВМС. Причиной тому стало употребление кокаина, сообщает The Wall Street Journal. 44-летний Хантер Байден, работающий управляющим партнером в инвестиционной компании, был приписан к резерву ...
Сын вице-президента США уволен из резерва ВМС за употребление кокаинаРИА Новости
Сын вице-президента США исключен из резерва ВМС за употребление кокаинаМосковский комсомолец
Сына вице-президента США исключили из ВМС за употребление наркотиковИнтерфакс
Подробности -Русская планета
Все похожие статьи: 21 »

Serbia Honors Putin While Keeping Its Eyes on Ties to the West

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President Vladimir V. Putin’s visit to Belgrade this week has highlighted a balancing act for Serbia, which wants to join the European Union but not the bloc’s sanctions against Russia.






Moscow Worries About U.S. Military 'Scenarios' on Russia's Borders 

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Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the United States on Thursday of working on military "scenarios" near Russia's borders that he said were a source of grave concern.

U.S. Says Baghdad Not Facing 'Imminent Threat' From IS

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The U.S. military says the Iraqi capital of Baghdad is not currently threatened by Islamic State (IS) militants despite the extremist group's seizure of territory in the nearby Anbar Province.

МВД Украины: батальон «Шахтерск» расформирован из-за мародерства - Коммерсантъ

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ЛІГА.net

МВД Украины: батальон «Шахтерск» расформирован из-за мародерства
Коммерсантъ
Министр внутренних дел Украины Арсен Аваков сообщил о расформировании батальона патрульной службы милиции особого назначения «Шахтерск». По словам главы МВД Украины, причиной такого решения стало мародерство. По словам господина Авакова, поступки 50 мародеров ...
Аваков: батальон "Шахтерск" расформирован из-за мародерстваРИА Новости
Аваков: Батальон "Шахтерск" распустили из-за мародерстваМосковский комсомолец
На Украине расформировали батальон «Шахтерск»Lenta.ru
Взгляд -Инвесткафе -ЛІГА.net
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Putin Meets With Merkel, Other Leaders In Milan

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The Kremlin says a late-night meeting between Russian President Vladmir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has failed to resolve "serious" disagreements over the Ukraine crisis.

ДНР: Украинская артиллерия уничтожила роту своих силовиков - Российская Газета

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Российская Газета

ДНР: Украинская артиллерия уничтожила роту своих силовиков
Российская Газета
В районе донецкого аэропорта под огонь своей артиллерии попала рота украинских силовиков. В результате рота погибла почти полностью. Об этом сообщает РИА Новости со ссылкой на штаб ополчения. читайте также. Фото: Shamil Zhumatov/ Reuters ДНР: На Донбассе ...
Ополченцы сообщили о гибели роты украинских силовиков в аэропорту ДонецкаПолит.ру
Украинская артиллерия нанесла удар по своимДни.Ру
В аэропорту Донецка рота силовиков погибла под собственным артобстреломГазета.Ru
РБК -Утро.Ru -Аргументы и факты
Все похожие статьи: 57 »

Встреча "Порошенко-Путин" в Милане: все детали переговоров - Комсомольская Правда в Украине

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Комсомольская Правда в Украине

Встреча "Порошенко-Путин" в Милане: все детали переговоров
Комсомольская Правда в Украине
Впервые они беседовали 26 августа в Минске. Тогда главы государств очертили условия для мирного плана. В этот раз президенты намерены закрепить и несколько расширить Минские договоренности. Прибув на зустріч з Меркель, Олландом, Ренці, Путіним, Ромпеєм та Баррозу.
Порошенко встретился с лидеры ЕС, стороны согласились, что нелегитимные выборы на Донбассе не должны состоятсяУра-Информ
Порошенко обсудил минские договоренности с Баррозу и ван РомпеемПравда.Ру
Встреча в Милане: Псевдовыборы на Донбассе - это конец Минским договоренностямMIGnews.com.ua
Forbes Ukraine -РБК Украина -Life-24.com
Все похожие статьи: 53 »

Kobani key to US strategy against Islamic State

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dusty and remote, the Syrian city of Kobani has become an unlikely spoil in the war against Islamic State militants - and far more of a strategic prize than the United States wants to admit....

Putin Seeks Deal on Ukraine 

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(MILAN) — Russian leader Vladimir Putin is meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and key Western leaders in an attempt to negotiate a full end to hostilities in Ukraine that could ease sanctions against Russia.
Putin met separately overnight with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has insisted that Russia fully respect a Ukraine cease-fire deal signed last month that has reduced hostilities but not stopped all fighting.
The Kremlin, in a readout on the nearly 2½-hour meeting, said the leaders emphasized the need to separate the warring sides in eastern Ukraine and talked about monitoring the cease-fire. They continued to disagree on the roots of the conflict.
The meetings Friday are on the sidelines of an ASEM summit of more than 50 Asian and European leaders in the Italian city of Milan.

Tense reunion between Putin and Europeans 

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Here is reported on President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming meeting with Europeans leaders in Milan. Sources in Paris and Brussels have provided assurances that there are no plans to initiate reconciliation with Putin. The French Presidency stated that “the conditions of crisis resolution in Ukraine are not present.” Sources close to the French President add that the idea is “to use this opportunity to do something useful.” A diplomatic source in Brussels adds that “what could happen in Milan should not be analysed as an official resumption of contact with Putin, quite the opposite, some European leaders did not really want him to be there.”
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Russian PM warns Abbott: serious politicians should ‘choose their words’ 

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that politicians need to “choose their words” carefully following his promise to “shirtfront” President Vladimir Putin. Medvedev said: “If he likes to use sports terms, let him go ahead. Putin is quite adept at sports and they could have forceful debates. That said, serious politicians should choose their words.” The comments come as Abbott’s words continued to run on news sites and social media. On Monday, he threatened to “shirtfront” Putin over the downing of the MH17 plane when the two men attend the G20 summit in Brisbane next month. Abbott has since recast his language, saying he intended to have a “very robust” conversation with Putin.

Ebola epidemic may not end without developing vaccine, scientist warns - The Guardian

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The Guardian

Ebola epidemic may not end without developing vaccine, scientist warns
The Guardian
There are warnings the outbreak of Ebola in west Africa, including Liberia (seen here), may not be contained with developing an effective vaccine. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images. Sarah Boseley, health editor. Thursday 16 October 2014 14.54 ...
Montco biopharmaceutical firm asked to join battle against EbolaPhiladelphia Business Journal (blog)
Ebola vaccine trials raise ethical issuesScience Careers Blog (subscription)

all 65 news articles »

Kobani Clashes Continue After US-Led Airstrikes

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US military officials say hundreds of Islamic State fighters have been killed in recent airstrikes on their positions in and near the embattled city of Kobani, in northern Syria. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from just across the border in Turkey.

Kobani Clashes Continue After US-Led Airstrikes 

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US military officials say hundreds of Islamic State fighters have been killed in recent airstrikes on their positions in and near the embattled city of Kobani, in northern Syria. VOA's Scott...
From: VOAvideo
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Asia Bibi sentenced to death for blasphemy loses her appeal

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Mother-of-five Asia Bibi (pictured), 46, has spent the last four years languishing in a prison cell after being condemned to hang following a conviction for blasphemy.

A Deadly Legacy in Iraq

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Another chapter has been added to the dismal legacy of America’s involvement in Iraq. An investigation by C.J. Chivers, published in The Times on Wednesday, found that American and American-trained Iraqi troops discovered thousands of abandoned and highly dangerous chemical weapons left over from the rule of Saddam Hussein. These weapons, found from 2004 to 2011, wounded troops from both armies. There are now fears that some could fall into the hands of fighters for the Islamic State, which now controls much of the territory where the weapons were found.
These weapons are not the chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction that the George W. Bush administration claimed as the excuse for embarking on the Iraq war and that, it turned out, did not exist. Instead, they are aged remnants left over from an earlier chemical weapons program in the late-1970s and 1980s that was shut down in 1991. Mr. Hussein used the weapons against Iran in a war from 1980-88.
The investigation exposes shocking failings by the Pentagon, among them a callous disregard for the safety and care of American and Iraqi troops and a disturbing pattern of secrecy that can only erode public confidence in government.
Based on extensive interviews and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the report said that about 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs were found. On six occasions, soldiers suffered wounds; at least 20 American troops and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to nerve or mustard agents.
When the United States sends troops into battle, it has an obligation to ensure that they are aware of potential threats and prepared to defend themselves. Not only did American intelligence not find the ready-to-fire weapons that were the false basis of the invasion, it and the Pentagon failed to prepare troops for the older munitions — often in hidden stockpiles of conventional weapons or in roadside bombs — they did come across over eight years.
It was not as if there were no warnings. In 2004, when a multinational Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had not, in fact, had an active chemical weapons program for a decade, the group noted that American troops had turned up some old ordnance and predicted that more would be found. There was, moreover, this important fact: The weapons were designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and assembled in production lines built in Iraq by Western firms. So there should have been a way for the American government to warn its troops of what might be out there.
Over the years, even as troops kept stumbling over these weapons, the discoveries were not shared publicly, and even in the military and Congress there were very few people who knew about them. Troops who came into contact with chemical weapons were told to keep the information secret. The result was to expose everyone else — soldiers and doctors — to further risk.
Unconscionably, some troops did not receive proper medical care or official recognition of their injuries in the form of medals.
There are still many unknowns, like who was responsible for the cover-up and why senior officials and commanders allowed it to continue. Astonishingly, the Pentagon said on Wednesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had not ordered a review of the health cases of individual soldiers detailed by The Times.
The urgent task now is for the Obama administration to keep a close watch on the ISIS-held areas where chemical weapons were found and be prepared to take preventive action. American officials have downplayed the possibility that ISIS but could use any existing chemical stocks but two arms control experts, Joseph Cirincione and Paul Walker, suggest in an article for Defense One, a national security Internet site, that ISIS may have already used chemical weapons to kill three Kurds in Kobani, Syria.
One big concern is the facility known as Al Muthanna State Establishment, the former center of Iraq’s chemical warfare program, near Samarra, where there are two bunkers still filled with chemicals and related equipment. The contents should have been disposed of by now under the a treaty called the Convention on Chemical Weapons. But the Pentagon apparently lost interest in the chemical weapons problem, left it to the Iraqis and the Iraqis have failed to do so. This poses an unacceptable risk to civilians and the armies trying to fight a new enemy in Iraq.
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Europe Evaluates Ebola Measures as New Cases Are Suspected 

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Three possible new cases in Spain and one in France were under investigation, but the authorities did not release details.

US, Turkey at Odds Over Strategy Against Islamic State

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Turkey is part of the U.S.-led international coalition that is confronting the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq, but Ankara has refused to participate militarily. A major reason for Turkey's reluctance is that its regional priorities differ from those of the U.S.  Analysts say Washington's priority is Iraq, while Turkey's main goal is the downfall of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Nowhere is Turkey’s hesitancy to join the coalition more glaring than in the Syrian-Kurdish city of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters have been battling an Islamic State onslaught. Kurds in Turkey have pleaded with Ankara to intervene militarily to prevent the militants from capturing the city on the Syrian-Turkish border, staging protests that turned violent. Analysts say Turkey has not tried to stop the Islamic State because of alleged ties between Kobani's Syrian-Kurdish defenders and Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Henri Barkey of the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center is convinced that Turkey would rather see Kobani fall. During a panel discussion, he said the emergence of an independent Kurdish region in northern Syria could push the PKK to ask for a similar power-sharing deal. “So for the Turks, strategically, especially at a time when they are in negotiations with the PKK over some kind of solution to the Turkish-Kurdish problem, the emergence of another autonomous region in northern Syria is too much to bear strategically," Barkey said.  “It’s not that they support ISIS. But in some ways for them another 200,000 refugees is an acceptable price to pay in the midterm against a strategic success for the [Kurds] in northern Syria.“ Barkey and fellow panelist Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Ankara and a former undersecretary of defense, agreed it is in Turkey’s best interest to work with the United States on combating the Islamic State. “Obviously, both the United States and Turkey need each other," said Edelman. "That, I think, goes without saying.” U.S.-Turkish Disconnect The disconnect in U.S.-Turkish priorities has contributed to miscommunication between the two countries. Recently, they differed publicly on whether a deal had been reached for the U.S. to use the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey for offensive operations against Islamic State fighters.  U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on NBC last Sunday that Turkey had agreed to let the U.S. use the base, but Ankara said not so fast. According to Barkey, Turkey will not benefit in the long term by maintaining its isolation. "The price may be going up for Turkey and not for us in the sense that -- especially after the national security adviser says we have a deal, the Turks say we don’t have a deal -- that’s not how you make friends in Washington and certainly the White House," he said.  "The Turks will find that being on the outside is very uncomfortable.” Retired U.S. General John Allen, the Obama administration's envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State, is helping coordinate what the partners will contribute to the mission. Difficult partner Edelman said Allen will find Turkey to be one of Washington's most difficult coalition partners. "I think Turkey has been a problematic, difficult NATO ally now for a number of years and on a number of fronts," Edelman said. "I don't think any of that is new and then given the context that [Barkey] and I have been talking about is not altogether surprising." Allen also will realize the Turks will want commitments from Washington, according to Edelman. “Turkey does have some concerns that it doesn’t feel are being addressed by the United States," Edelman said. "So it stands to reason they would want to get certain kinds of commitments about what the U.S. is or isn’t willing to do before it determines what it for its part might be willing to do. And allowing, for instance, the United States to use Incirlik to fly strike missions against ISIS could present some problems for Turkey in the sense that it could open them up to retaliation.” Among the commitments, Turkey wants the U.S. to declare a no-fly zone in northern Syria, near the Turkish border, to create a safe haven for moderate rebels fighting the Syrian government.

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Ukraine Crisis Shadows EU-Asia Summit in Milan

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Amid ongoing tensions over the crisis in Ukraine, European leaders are holding their first formal meeting since June with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a two-day EU-Asian summit in Milan. Putin is also expected to hold talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko. In opening remarks at the bi-annual meeting between European and Asian leaders, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy outlined threats facing both regions.   "After the financial crisis, Europe is still fighting to regain economic growth and create jobs. The situation in Ukraine is affecting the security of our continent. War and instability in northern Africa and the Middle East have led to the spread of terrorism and organized crime from the Sahel down to Nigeria,” said Van Rompuy. The summit provides the first opportunity in months for European and Russian leaders to meet amid the ongoing standoff over the Ukraine crisis. The EU and the United States have imposed a series of sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting the insurgency in Ukraine. Moscow denies aiding the rebels and has retaliated with sanctions of its own. Upon her arrival in Milan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia must ensure the cease-fire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine is implemented. "It is obviously above all Russia's task to make clear that the Minsk plan is adhered to,” said Merkel referring to an agreement reached between Kyiv, Moscow and pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine last month in Belarus’ capital. “Unfortunately, there are still a lot of shortcomings but it will be important to look for a dialogue here,” added the German chancellor. Speaking earlier Thursday before Germany's parliament, Merkel said Moscow must pull back its troops from Ukraine's border and Ukraine must be allowed to carry out elections throughout its territory. Ukrainians head to the polls October 26 to elect a new parliament. Merkel was scheduled to meet with Putin in Milan late Thursday. The Russian president is expected to hold more talks Friday with several top European leaders and Ukraine's Poroshenko. At issue: ways to establish a permanent cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and to settle a gas dispute between Moscow and Kyiv that may cause energy shortages in Ukraine this winter and possible supply cuts to Europe. The gathering in Milan is the 10th such meeting. Attended by leaders of more than 50 countries, it will also focus on global economic issues.

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Россия отказывается выводить своих миротворцев из Приднестровья - Украинское национальное информагентство

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РИА Новости

Россия отказывается выводить своих миротворцев из Приднестровья
Украинское национальное информагентство
Российская Федерация считает, что трансформация миротворческой миссии в Зоне безопасности на Днестре не приведет к окончательному урегулированию Приднестровского конфликта, категорически выступая против вывода своих миротворцев из региона. Об этом говорится в ...
МИД Приднестровья: реформа миссии миротворцев помешает урегулированиюРИА Новости
МИД Приднестровья: выдворение российского эксперта — попытка шантажа и давления!Комсомольская Правда в Молдове
МИД РФ: Уход России из Приднестровья не приблизит урегулирование конфликтаИА REGNUM
Новости Приднестровья -Московский комсомолец -Официальное информационное агентство ПМР "Новости Приднестровья"
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Two US Journalists Briefly Detained in Russia

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Two American journalists were briefly detained in Russia Thursday for teaching an investigative journalism workshop. Joe Bergantino, the executive director and co-founder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and Randy Covington, a University of South Carolina professor were detained for several hours by immigration authorities as they began a two-day workshop with 14 Russian journalists in St. Petersburg. They were taken to a Russian court and found guilty of “violating the visa regime'' because their activities in the country "did not correspond to the stated purpose of their visit.''   They received a verbal warning and were told they were free to leave the country as scheduled on Saturday.  The district court could not be immediately reached late Thursday. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting stated in a press release that the two journalists were on a visa type recommended by the U.S. State Department for that particular visit. Russian authorities have used visa issues in the past to prevent certain individuals from entering the country.

Порошенко наделил Донбасс особым статусом - РБК

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Зеркало недели

Порошенко наделил Донбасс особым статусом
РБК
Президент Украины Петр Порошенко подписал закон об особом статусе Луганской и Донецкой областей, сообщила пресс-служба главы государства. Особый порядок на указанных территориях вводится временно, на три года, со дня вступления в силу, отмечается в документе.
Порошенко подписал закон об особом статусе ДонбассаВести.Ru
Порошенко подписал закон о самоуправлении в Донецкой и Луганской областейИнтерфакс
Порошенко подписал закон об особом статусе отдельных районов Донецкой и Луганской областейКоммерсантъ
Полит.ру
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Putin: a man with a past 

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Here is published an opinion editorial by Edward Lucas, International Section Editor at The Economist, in which he writes: “My biggest journalistic regret is that I did not dig deeper into President Vladimir Putin’s past”, saying that journalists should have tried to find out more background information about Putin when he first became President. He mentions the work of Karen Dawisha, an American academic, who, he writes, “has succeeded where I and others failed, in drawing a detailed – and dismaying – portrait Mr Putin’s rise to power and riches” in her book “Putin’s Kleptocracy”. Lucas adds that the book shows that Western governments long ago knew that Russia was ruled by a thuggish kleptocracy, but were unwilling to act on that knowledge.

Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

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Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists...
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Low Oil Prices Raise the Risk of Recession in Russia

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This post originally appeared on OilPrice.com.
Falling oil prices are inflicting deeper economic pain on Russia’s economy, which is already reeling from EU and U.S. sanctions.
Russia is currently considering its budget for 2015-2017, and based on the numbers, the Kremlin is planning for leaner times. With oil revenue accounting for around half of the country’s budget, any dip in prices has a ripple effect.
And in recent years, Russia’s economy has become more dependent on oil to meet its budget commitments. Excluding oil revenue, Russia has run a budget deficit that hit 10.3 percent in 2013, the highest level in three years.
In other words, the government needs oil revenues to plug budget holes, and that need is growing.
Russia occupies a strong economic position when oil prices are high, but for every $1 decline in the price per barrel of oil, Russia loses $2.1 billion in revenue on an annualized basis. Slumping oil prices in recent months could see revenues to the state decline by $30 to $40 billion.
The Russian economy may only expand 0.4 percent this year, and just 1 percent in 2015. But even that meager growth rate is not a certainty. Russia is increasingly facing the possibility of recession, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Oil prices dipped to around $92 per barrel in early October. While that won’t plunge Russia into an immediate economic crisis, the government needs oil prices to stay around $105 in order to balance the budget. Thus, if oil prices don’t rebound soon, problems will only grow worse for the Kremlin.
The upcoming budget plans for the possibility of persistent inflation, a weakening ruble, and the potential need for the state to dip into cash reserves in order to finance its budget. What is worse, even this negative outlook is based on highly optimistic assumptions – it assumes oil prices of around $100 per barrel.
“It is quite optimistic given where oil prices are at now and given how much the Russian budget depends on oil revenues,” Liza Ermolenko, an analyst at Capital Economics, told The Moscow Times. “For the next year, it’s more likely that the oil prices will be lower than what they are penciling in.”
Running a deficit will be tricky because western sanctions have restricted access to financial markets. Major Russian companies targeted by the U.S. and Europe are unable to take out long-term loans. As a result, they are turning to the Russian state for funds. That has worked so far, but a Bloomberg report outlines an emerging fight within the Russian elite over a dwindling pile of money.
The mid-September arrest of Vladimir Evtushenkov, the head of oil company OAO Bashneft, was a sign that the situation is starting to deteriorate. He is the richest Russian arrested since Mikhail Khodorkovsky was thrown in jail in 2005 and whose oil company, Yukos, was taken over by the state. Evtushenkov, an ally of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, is thought to have been arrested because of a growing rift in Russia’s elite that is at least partially due to the troubled economy.
“This is creating a dire financial situation, particularly for state companies friendly to Putin, which are now vying for shrinking state resources,” Yevgeny Yasin, a former Russian economy minister, told Bloomberg. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies are hunting for more assets as the economy worsens, according to the same article.
Oil prices could remain low for a while. Reuters reports that the Russian central bank is beginning to plan for a disaster scenario in which oil prices drop to $60 per barrel. Such a scenario would precipitate a dramatic weakening of the ruble, forcing the central bank into action.
But there is no easy way out. The Russian economy is far too dependent on the global price of oil, a volatile benchmark largely out of the Kremlin’s control.
More Top reads From Oilprice.com:
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Vladimir Putin warns West as he threatens to cut gas supplies - Daily Mail

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Daily Mail

Vladimir Putin warns West as he threatens to cut gas supplies
Daily Mail
Vladimir Putin today issued a Cold War-style tirade to Western leaders warning them not to 'blackmail' major nuclear power Russia. Ahead of a key summit showdown with European leaders including David Cameron, he also threatened to shut of gas ...

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Yale student exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms - The Star-Ledger

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New York Daily News

Yale student exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms
The Star-Ledger
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University student who recently traveled to Liberia is being evaluated for Ebola-like symptoms, according to a report from Connecticut's NBC affiliate. Thomas Balcezak, chief medical officer for Yale-New Haven Hospital, said at ...
Public Health Chief Grilled On Ebola ErrorsSky News

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Russia's Defense Minister Bristles at US Comment - ABC News

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RT

Russia's Defense Minister Bristles at US Comment
ABC News
Concerns about Russia's military might surfaced in March when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, and were reinforced this summer when Ukraine and NATO said Russiantroops were helping pro-Russian separatists fight government ...
Warmongering Washington hunting for Ebola, Russia and Islamic StateRT
US studies scenarios of carrying out operations near Russian border — defense ...ITAR-TASS

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