Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Obama Says Truce Is 'Test' Of Russia's Intentions In Syria

Obama Says Truce Is 'Test' Of Russia's Intentions In Syria

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U.S. President Barack Obama challenged Russia to back peace rather than war in Syria and said a negotiated truce that is supposed to begin this week will be a "test" of Moscow's intentions.

UN Council Expresses 'Concern' About Turkey's Shelling In Syria 

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The United Nations Security Council is "concerned" about Turkey's shelling of Kurds in Syria, UN diplomats said after a meeting requested by Russia on February 16.

Russia to continue bombing Syria - Deutsche Welle

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Deutsche Welle

Russia to continue bombing Syria
Deutsche Welle
Dramatic violin music in the background, shaky images, men in dirt with microphones: Russiantelevision pulls out all the stops when covering the Syrian war. Every evening, Russiancorrespondents report from all the battle zones. Their job is dangerous ... 

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Syria Allows Humanitarian Aid To Seven Besieged Areas

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The United Nations has said the Syrian government has agreed to allow access for humanitarian aid to seven besieged areas of the country.

US to Russia: 'Put up or shut up' on Syrian ceasefire - CBS News

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CBS News

US to Russia: 'Put up or shut up' on Syrian ceasefire
CBS News
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration, frustrated by Syria's ongoing violence, told Russiaon Tuesday to "put up or shut up" about implementing a ceasefire in the Arab country, even as the U.S. backpedaled from an agreement for the truce to begin by ...
How Russian bombing is changing Syria's war, in 3 mapsVox
Analysis: Russia Presses Air Blitz in Syria to Dictate PeaceABC News
Syrian army on the ISIS frontline: 'Russian intervention a blessing'CNN
Fox News -Daily Mail -National Post
all 1,619 news articles »

A Direct Turkey-Russia Clash Is Growing Risk on Syria Border - Bloomberg

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Bloomberg

A Direct Turkey-Russia Clash Is Growing Risk on Syria Border
Bloomberg
Right now the most dangerous flashpoint is between Russia and NATO member Turkey, which shot down a Russian plane in November. Since then tensions have steadily built as the Assad-Russia alliance -- with help from the Kurds -- threatens to surround ...
Russia rejects war crime claims over bombing of Syria health facilitiesThe Guardian 
Russia denies Syria hospital bombingUSA TODAY

US and Russia both deny bombing Syrian clinicCBS News
BBC News9news.com.au- ABC Online
all 5,506 news articles »
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Munich Security Conference Debates Russia’s War in Ukraine (Part One)

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Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territories, and its continuing military operations in Ukraine’s east, receded from center stage at the Munich Security Conference on February 12–14. Instead, the calamities visited upon Europe by wars in Syria and the wider Middle East (uncontrolled mass migrations into Europe, cross-border terrorism, breakdown of the consensus over fundamental values in the European Union, potential denial of free access by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into the Levant)—all this concentrated the attention of NATO’s top annual event this year.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did bring Ukraine back to center stage for only as long as he held the podium. A diminishing sense of urgency, however, can also become a blessing in disguise. It can, at least temporarily, relieve pressure from Western partners on Ukraine to fulfill the political “obligations” to Russia’s proxies under the Minsk armistice. Ukraine had held the front and center stage at the Munich Security Conferences in February 2014 and February 2015. Within days of the former, Russia intervened militarily in Ukraine’s Crimea; and within days of the latter, Russia massively breached the Minsk Two armistice by seizing Ukraine’s Debaltseve. Both moves stunned the Western powers, and incidentally exposed the practical irrelevance of the debates just held.
This year’s conference was held not only in Syria’s but also in Russia’s shadow. The reflexive notion took hold again that the West needs Russia’s cooperation to deal with those predicaments. The Barack Obama administration and the German hosts of the conference seemed to share that conception, although Russia itself exploits or inflicts those Western predicaments. Along with that mental reflex, Russia’s bold military intervention in Syria simply left the collective West no choice but to seek accommodation with Moscow in that theater. As the Munich conference proceeded, Russian forces were bombing local forces in Syria backed by the United States; and, to Turkey’s discomfiture, Russia opened a representative office of Syrian Kurds in Moscow (with Donetsk-Luhansk and Abkhaz representatives attending the ceremony).
All this further complicates Ukraine’s situation vis-à-vis Russia and the international position more generally. Moscow’s Syria operation has to be seen as an indirect envelopment of Ukraine. It is Ukraine that remains the prime target of Russia’s great-power ambitions. By intervening in Syria—a secondary theater for Russia, but of primary importance to the West—the Kremlin is acquiring leverage over Ukraine’s Western partners. If Russia comes to be seen as the West’s necessary helper, the Kremlin could then leverage its “help” in trade-offs at third parties’ expense. All this holds potential implications for Ukraine and other “areas of priority interest” to Russia (see EDM, December 10, 2015).
How to re-engage Russia became a central theme for the West at the Munich conference. The German hosts twice invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to honor the event with his presence (The Moscow Times, January 21; RIA Novosti, January 27)—a throwback to past NATO summits at which former Secretaries-General of the Alliance sought Putin’s participation so eagerly as to undermine their own negotiating leverage. In the run-up to this conference, the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, General Petr Pavel (a Czech officer), requested a direct telephone conversation with General Valery Gerasimov to check hotline-type communication channels between NATO Headquarters and Russia’s Ministry of Defense. The latter, however, publicly dismissed NATO’s request as superfluous, “a chat for the sake of chatting” (Interfax, February 5). And Putin tasked Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to stand in for him at the Munich conference.
In his speech at the conference, Medvedev employed the usual technique of presenting the West with a bill of Russian historical grievances, followed by warnings that a “new cold war” is imminent. This only serves to package Russian demands for concessions at the expense of countries such as Ukraine; or more generally for Western “understanding” of Russia’s conduct. Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevičius responded that no cold war is imminent, but two actual Russian wars are ongoing, in Ukraine and in Syria (Ukrinform, UNIAN, February 13, 15).
According to Medvedev in Munich, “there is a civil war in Ukraine.” To resolve that conflict Ukraine must amend its constitution, enact a “special status” for Donetsk and Luhansk [Russian-controlled areas] by agreement with their leaders, authorize the holding of local elections in Donetsk-Luhansk, again by agreement with them, and recognize the validity of those elections’ outcome. Acknowledging that such unilateral concessions to Russia could destabilize Ukraine’s government and politics, Medvedev nevertheless insisted that it is the “Ukrainian president’s, parliament’s and government’s responsibility to achieve a constitutional majority” to enact those measures. Failing that, it would mean that “Ukraine has neither the will nor the wish to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements” (Interfax, Euronews, February 14).
President Poroshenko, speaking after Medvedev as scheduled, adjusted parts of his prepared speech to respond: “There is no civil war, there is Putin’s aggression in Ukraine,” necessitating that Ukraine spend 5 percent of its annual gross domestic product on defense [this compares with 1 to 2 percent for most NATO member countries]. Poroshenko recalled that the West’s “blind eye to the 2008 war” against Georgia had encouraged Russia to move against Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas. Economic sanctions are “not a punishment on Russia, but an instrument to keep Russia at the negotiating table, because there is no other instrument.” Poroshenko disagreed with the argument that relaxing the sanctions would facilitate a dialogue between the West and Russia. He appealed for the sanctions to be maintained until Russia withdraws its troops and Ukraine regains access to its own border with Russia (Ukrinform, February 13).
Medvedev adhered to the standard Kremlin line on the economic sanctions: “They [the West] introduced the sanctions, it is up to them to start lifting the sanctions”; Russia shall not seek the sanctions’ removal, but would lift its counter-sanctions on the basis of reciprocity. The European Union–Russia trade turnover dropped from €450 billion ($501 billion at the current exchange rate) in 2014 to €217 billion ($242 billion) in 2015, thus “the sanctions hurt both sides,” Medvedev noted, implying that Russia’s pain threshold is higher (Euronews, February 14).
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Putin Orders ‘Snap Inspection’ Exercise in Southern Military District

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On February 8, President Vladimir Putin ordered a “snap inspection” military exercise in the Southern Military District (MD) (see EDM, February 11). The pattern of snap inspection exercises in Russia is now well established, introduced in February 2013 by Defense Minister Army-General Sergei Shoigu in an effort to raise combat readiness in the Armed Forces. These exercises are used to assess units and test various aspects of the military. Massive snap exercises are also frequently used to send signals to other actors, as exemplified by their regular use following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in February–March 2014. The latest snap inspection reveals some interests and priorities in assessing the Armed Forces during the current combat training year (RBK, February 11).
Last week’s snap inspection exercise in the Southern MD, the district with the highest levels of combat readiness, officially involved 8,500 personnel, 900 military vehicles, 200 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, and 50 ships. It included elements of the Ground Forces, elite Airborne Forces (Vozdushno Desantnye Voyska—VDV), air and sea components, as well as Military Transport Aviation (Voyenno Transportnoy Aviatsii—VTA). The Central MD played a supporting role and facilitated testing strategic mobility. The Central MD set up more than 60 field posts in the district, and used automated command, control and communications (C3) to exchange data with counterparts in the Southern MD. In addition, the National Defense Management Center (Natsional’nyy Tsentr Upravleniya Oboronoy) played a coordinating role during the exercise (Kremlin.ruKrasnaya Zvezda, February 11).
According to defense ministry sources, the main theme of the February snap inspection in the Southern MD was to rehearse the defense of the Crimean Peninsula from a “massive air attack.” Consequently, the air force and air defense played a significant part. The operational and tactical elements of the exercise in relation to Crimea’s defense involved the Black Sea Fleet and the VDV conducting coastal defense and an amphibious assault. Shoigu stated that 29 sub-exercises were conducted at various levels. A territorial defense headquarters was co-located in Rostov, Sevastopol and Simferopol. The units deployed during the exercise worked on containing crisis situations linked to terrorist attacks, in addition to responses to the seizure of government and military facilities (TASS, February 11).
However, the snap inspection in the Southern MD was staged in the context of an enduring period of tensions in Russia’s relations with the United States as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), stemming from Moscow’s behavior in Ukraine and disagreement over its intervention in Syria. Indeed, given heightened tensions between Ankara and Moscow since the Turkish downing of the Russian Su-24M bomber on November 24, 2015, the snap inspection may have been calibrated to showcase Russia’s capability to respond to escalation, should the Turkish government take such risks. Moreover, the exercise coincided with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warning about conflict escalation risks in Syria during the Munich Security Conference. Medvedev especially targeted his warnings toward other actors contemplating sending ground forces to the conflict in Syria: in this sense, the takeaway from the snap inspection is that Saudi Arabia and Turkey should seriously consider possible Russian responses if they choose to become more deeply involved in military action in Syria (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 12; Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 9).
In the combat-training dimension, the decision to order the snap inspection in the Southern MD was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that the district will host the highlight of the combat training year: Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2016. Many of the themes in the last snap inspection will be repeated during Kavkaz 2016, and this early rehearsal may aid the General Staff to refine the exercise vignettes and set further tasks for commanders to solve (Krasnaya Zvezda, January 12).
The General Staff uses these exercises to test and inspect a number of themes. In addition to overall combat-readiness levels and learning more about the shortcomings of the units involved, the exercise in the Southern MD was aimed to examine the following: service interoperability, command and control with special emphasis on automated systems, the relocation of troops from the Central MD to the Southern MD, and strategic mobility in terms of the movement of troops and hardware, but also with reference to the tempo and throughput capacity of air lines of communication (ALOC) using the VTA. No doubt, the lessons from last September’s Tsentr 2015 were factored into this, which was held at a time when Moscow was rapidly developing and using the new ALOCs to Syria. Kavkaz 2016 is likely to witness several threat-linked responses, ranging from terrorism to inter-state conflict, as well as again returning to the defense of the Crimean Peninsula. Testing some of these in advance of Kavkaz 2016, scheduled for this summer, suggests that the General Staff is attaching great importance to the exercise (InterfaxVesti, February 11; Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 9).
Southern MD units were therefore inspected to test command and control as well as speed of deployment, with close reference to air defense capabilities. “Mobilization” and “territorial defense” were also examined during the inspection exercise, meaning that the evolving reserve manpower system was closely scrutinized. The General Staff was instructed to organize and conduct checks on the command-and-control system in the Southern MD in addition to the VDV, as well as the communication systems used in the Southern and Central MDs. The acting chief of the Navy, Admiral Vladimir Korolev, was instructed to carry out checks on the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla and oversee naval exercises. Ground Forces commanders were tasked with a focus on joint actions and involvement in the relocation of units between the MDs. Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev, the commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS), oversaw the air defense planning during the snap inspection (Mil.ru, February 8).
Given the timing of the snap inspection, its composition, and the prominent role assigned to rebuffing an imaginary and highly improbable “massive air attack” on Crimea, it is certainly possible that Russia’s political-military leadership wants the exercise to convey a warning of escalation risks to foreign powers considering a more direct military role in Syria—and one that crosses Moscow’s strategic aims and interest in the country. If so, that warning includes Turkey, a country covered by NATO’s Article 5. With some Alliance members trying to persuade Ankara to cease its attacks on Kurdish targets in northern Syria, Moscow may judge that, if needed, it can make kinetic contact with Turkish forces in Syria with relative impunity.
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Wanted by the U.S.: The Stolen Millions of Despots and Crooked Elites 

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Teams of government lawyers, the F.B.I. and Homeland Security are trying to recover assets the United States says were stolen by foreign officials.

Turkey Urges Syria Ground Operation as UN Prepares Aid Convoys 

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Turkey called Tuesday for a ground operation with its international allies to end the war in Syria, as the United Nations announced aid convoys are being sent to besieged towns. "So far, I understand that the government of Syria has approved access to seven besieged areas," said Vanessa Huguenin, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In Damascus, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura announced that aid convoys would be sent Wednesday to test...

Islamic State 'hit by cash crisis in its capital Raqqa' 

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Air strikes and low oil price have led to emergency mesaures, according to dissidents, who say inflation is soaring and fighters are no longer given Snickers bars and energy drinks











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Canada's missing women 'in thousands'

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The Canadian government confirms the number of missing or murdered indigenous women in the country may be as high as 4,000, above previous estimates.
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Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Survives No-Confidence Vote 

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Mr. Yatsenyuk faced wavering allies in the party of President Petro O. Poroshenko, who had called on him to resign.

SC Governor Nikki Haley: Anyone but Trump - CBS News

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CBS News

SC Governor Nikki Haley: Anyone but Trump
CBS News
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she may not endorse anyone ahead of Saturday's first-in-the-South GOP primary, but if she does, it certainly won't be Donald Trump. Haley said Tuesday she's still trying to make up her mind.

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Jeb Bush tweets photo of engraved gun - Sacramento Bee

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Sacramento Bee

Jeb Bush tweets photo of engraved gun
Sacramento Bee
Ahead of the Feb. 20 GOP primary in South Carolina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted a photo to his twitter account of a gun engraved with his name. America. pic.twitter.com/TeduJkwQF3. — Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 16, 2016. Bush, who ...
Gun with Jeb! Bush engraved on it is already polling better than he is in South CarolinaWashington Post (blog)
GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweets picture of a gun with his name on it, captioning it 'America'New York Daily News
Twitter Won't Stop Making Fun of Jeb Bush's 'America' Gun PostTIME
Fortune -Slate Magazine (blog) -KITV Honolulu
all 34 news articles »

Barack Obama: 'Donald Trump will not be president'

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US president urges American people to make a 'sensible' choice when they pick his successor, saying the job is harder than 'hosting a talk show or a reality show'











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VIDEO: Why Americans love their guns

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BBC News meets three US gun enthusiasts and tries to get beneath the surface of America's obsession with arms.

Jeb Bush ignites Twitter storm by posting picture of his engraved handgun 

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Republican candiate tweeted photo of firearm inscribed with his name and accompanied with the word "America."











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Scalia death phone inquest unusual but not unprecedented

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MARFA, Texas (AP) -- A county judge's determination via telephone that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died of natural causes and required no autopsy was unusual, Texas officials said, but sometimes happens in rural areas of Texas where a county can be bigger than some U.S. states....

Pentagon: Syria Accord Tests Russia's Will to De-escalate War

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The Pentagon on Tuesday called the cessation-of-hostilities agreement in Syria a “test” for Russia, as potential effects and implementation of the agreement remain uncertain. “The test is really — it’s up to the Russians at this point,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters. Cook asserted that the U.S. military’s fight remained against Islamic State militants in Syria and would not be affected by the cessation agreement reached last week in Munich. He added, however,...

Body of UN Official Identified in Iraq

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The United Nations has confirmed that its representative in Iraq's Diyala province, missing since last April, was slain. Amer al-Kaissy's body was discovered in November. It was only this week that it could be positively identified. Officials believe al-Kaissy was kidnapped and executed by militias who are fighting against Islamic State, but are also suspected of kidnappings, murders and other crimes. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he called a "shocking...

The CI Professional: An Interview with Dr. John Schindler

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SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with former NSA counterintelligence officer John Schindler to discuss his experiences in the Balkans, and his views on the current intelligence war against Russia. Houghton and Schindler also dive into Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, and the unending battle against violent extremism.
You can listen in right here ….

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageTerrorismUSG  

The States of Forced Labor (Paid Post by AWARE From The New York Times)

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With thousands of migrant workers subjected to abuse and exploitation, development in the Middle East comes at a high human cost.
FOR UNSKILLED LABORERS from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and other populous developing economies, jobs are scarce and wages are very low, some less than $100 per month. It is little surprise, then, that a job in the Middle East advertised as paying upward of $500 per month can seem irresistible.
Yet for the hundreds of thousands of laborers who jump at this opportunity and migrate to the oil-rich Gulf region, this vision often proves to be a mirage. 
First, securing a position often means paying a local recruiter a $2,000 fee, usually obtained through a loan with an extortionate interest rate. Upon arrival, workers may have to sign a contract — often in Arabic, a language most of them cannot read — the terms of which may state that the job pays only $200 a month, far less than promised, with housing costs deducted from that. This leaves approximately $100 a month — barely enough to cover the loan interest on their recruiting fee.
The exploitation, however, often extends beyond mere money. In many cases, the company they signed up to work for confiscates their passports, making it impossible for them to leave without the permission of their employer. Unable to access labor protections, many are forced to live in cramped, unsanitary conditions with no time off. 
The result is a form of modern-day slavery that exists together with human trafficking, debt bondage, child labor and forced marriage.
And some pay the ultimate price. Between 2010 and 2013, for example, the International Trade Union Confederation estimates that about 1,200 migrant workers died in the state of Qatar; some of these casualties were related to the massive drive to build stadiums for the 2022 World Cup. Additionally, in 2015 seven workers were killed, six were injured and 15 were trapped under the concrete of a building site at a university in Qassim, northwest of Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh.
Flawed as these labor practices are, they have become the lifeblood of many industries in the Gulf’s wealthiest nations. Today, migrant workers make up more than 70 percent of the work force in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. A large proportion of the workers, meanwhile, are almost entirely from South Asia: Nearly all migrant laborers from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, for example, take jobs in a GCC country. 
Those who do are all too often left stranded, broke and trapped as forced laborers in the deserts of the Gulf, building the gleaming skyscrapers, huge stadiums and world-class airport facilities that are redefining the architecture and economy of these oil-rich nations. 
With local labor shortages and high-profile construction projects underway — such as Qatar’s World Cup stadiums; new airports in Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi; and branches of art museums such as the Louvre and the Guggenheim — migrant workers are needed more than ever across the region. 
“You have significant demand for workers from Bangladesh, Nepal and India,” says Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund, a philanthropic initiative focused on the fight against modern slavery. “And there’s a whole bunch of structural factors that facilitate exploitation.” 
For example, in a 2015 investigative report, it emerged that roughly one-third (about 10,000 people) of the migrant workers employed in the construction of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus were unable to access the protections of the university’s labor guidelines on fair wages, working hours and living conditions. 
According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, in Kuwait, despite 2010 legislation setting maximum working hours, the law excludes migrant domestic workers. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch found that in Qatar these laborers are not allowed to form unions or engage in strikes.
Back in their home countries, migrants are driven into the hands of unscrupulous recruiters by everything from joblessness and poverty to corruption and political conflict. 
“At its core, it’s about global inequality,” says David Segall, a policy associate at the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “Because of that supply and demand, workers have a strong incentive not to ruffle any feathers by asserting their rights,” adds Segall, who focuses on the recruitment and migration of construction workers from South Asia to the Persian Gulf.  
Male laborers are not alone in their suffering. Human Rights Watch estimates that there are 236,500 domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates, of whom 146,100 are female, accounting for 12.8 percent of the total employment in the country.  
In a 2014 study conducted by the organization, a few of them talked about enduring physical and sexual abuse, being confined to their employers’ homes and working long hours without time off, with insufficient food and no medical treatment. 
Meanwhile, under the Middle Eastern kafala, or work-sponsorship system used to monitor migrant workers, unskilled laborers must have an in-country sponsor, usually their employer, who is responsible for their visa and legal status. This makes it hard for them to change employers or return home to their families if they find conditions too harsh.
As in other parts of the world, the chain of responsibility for migrant workers in the Middle East is long and complex. “Each stakeholder tends to pass the buck on to others,” says Segall.
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Migrant Crisis Deepens Europe's East-West Divide 

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From: VOAvideo
Duration: 02:42

The Visegrad Group, a largely forgotten mini-bloc in Europe, is growing increasingly frustrated by what its members see as the European Union's chaotic and ineffective response to the growing migrant crisis. Luis Ramirez looks at what that means for refugees and the EU as a whole.
Originally published at - http://www.voanews.com/media/video/migrant-crisis-deepens-europes-east-west-divide/3193648.html
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Argentina judge charges ex-Cabinet chief with fraud

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A judge in Argentina has charged former Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez with committing fraud against the state.









The Rise and Fall of Boutros Boutros-Ghali at the U.N.

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The Egyptian diplomat Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose five years at the helm of the United Nations was marked by war in Europe and genocide and famine in Africa, died on Tuesday at the age of 93.
Boutros-Ghali, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the Camp David accord between Egypt and Israel, became the sixth secretary general of the U.N. in 1991. His election was historic as the first African and first Arab to hold the post. “He won under the African banner, but he is not black. He is an Arab who is a Coptic Christian with a Jewish wife. He represents the Third World with the stamp of Paris-honed sophistication; he is the son of a wealthy family, the grandson of a Prime Minister”wrote TIME in Dec. 1991, soon after his election.
Concerns over his age — he was then 69 — his perceived arrogance, and his closeness to France led the U.S. to have misgivings about Boutros-Ghali from the start, according to the Guardian. To assuage those concerns, Boutros-Ghali promised not to seek re-election after his first term — a pledge that he would later fail to honor.
The international community hoped Boutros-Ghali would fix a U.N. which TIME said in 1992 had become “overstaffed, underfunded and mismanaged” as well as “hobbled by petty politics.” His entry to the organization came at a moment when the world looked to the U.N. to take a leadership role in fostering global security:
Thanks to the end of the cold war, the world is reaching out more than ever to U.N. mediators, technocrats and blue-helmeted soldiers. No longer are the U.S. and the Soviet Union competing for influence among the 166 members of the General Assembly or threatening each other with vetoes in the Security Council.
Little more than a year into his post Boutros-Ghali was facing a barrage of complaints over the body’s apparent inability to “deal aggressively with the problems of a world reinventing itself after the cold war,” as TIME wrote in Jan. 1993:
Rightly or wrongly, the Secretary-General has, in effect, become the lightning rod for dissatisfaction with the U.N. and, more generally, for widespread frustration at the way in which nationalist ambitions and ethnic hostilities are threatening to convert the desired new world order into the very opposite. Never mind that the U.N., for all its good intentions, lacks the military force, political leverage, perhaps even the moral suasion to fulfill its expanded mandate.
According to the New York Times, 60,000 peacekeepers were already posted in a dozen trouble spots, including El Salvador, Angola and Mozambique in the early 90s. Writing in TIME in Aug. 1994,Boutros-Ghali vented his frustrations over the world’s inaction in Rwanda, giving light to just how overstretched the U.N. had become:
The member states are fatigued. When I was elected in 1991, we thought the U.N. would be able to solve all the world’s problems with a few thousand troops. Suddenly we discovered that rather than one or two operations, we had 17; rather than a few thousand, we needed 70,000 soldiers; rather than spending $600 million for the peacekeeping, we needed $4 billion.
His inability to reform the debt-ridden U.N. irritated the U.S. which was then, and remains today, the largest source of funding for the body and its peacekeeping efforts. He also courted controversy by condemning Western members of the Security Council for obsessing over Yugoslavia while ignoring the humanitarian crisis in Somalia. In Jan. 1993 TIME wrote:
Last July [1991] at the U.N. he accused Europe and the U.S. of being more concerned with ”the rich man’s war” in Bosnia than with the fate of the starving in Somalia. He picked a fight with both Lord Carrington, then the European Community’s chief negotiator in the Balkan crisis, and Sir David Hannay, Britain’s U.N. ambassador, over the same issue, commenting that it was ”maybe because I am a wog” that he had been criticized in the British press.
The Clinton administration chafed at Boutros-Ghali’s leadership through the early 1990s as the disastrous Battle of Mogadishu and the violent disintegration of the former Yugoslavia put U.S. foreign policy in the spotlight. In 1996, TIME acknowledged that “Washington never gaveBoutrosGhali much of a chance”:
The Administration made him the scapegoat for its own costly policy failures in Somalia and Yugoslavia and regularly denounced him when he took independent positions. Congress demonized him for every foreign travail. In 1993 BoutrosGhali told [then Ambassador to the U.N. Madeline] Albright he could not run the U.N. efficiently when Washington was not fully onboard. The U.S., he said, was his “problem.” She cut him short: “What you don’t understand, Boutros, is that you are my problem.”
Eventually the U.S. got its way, vetoing his second term in office in Nov. 1996 despite his support from 14 other member states in the Security Council. After the U.S. cast its veto, the Associated Press reports that France and Egypt separately issued statements expressing support for the Egyptian diplomat, noting that Washington had acted without the support of any other country.
At the end of his five-years, Boutros-Ghali proved yet again to be a man of firsts at the U.N. He was the first general secretary not to win a second term.
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Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Flags Ability To Deter Israel From Third Lebanon War

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By Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News 3:25 p.m. EST February 16, 2016
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, gives a speech in Beirut on Nov. 14, 2013. On Feb. 16, 2016, he cited reports in the Israeli media about the vulnerabilities of an ammonia storage tank in Haifa Bay containing more than 15,000 tons of ammonia gas.(Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images)
TEL AVIV — Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah assured supporters Tuesday that it is deterring a third war in Lebanon with its enhanced capabilities, including the ability to extract damage akin to a “nuclear bomb” with one successful salvo strike on an ammonia storage facility in Israel’s northern city of Haifa.
In a televised speech commemorating Martyr Leaders Day in Beirut, Nasrallah cited reports in the Israeli media about the vulnerabilities of an ammonia storage tank in Haifa Bay containing more than 15,000 tons of ammonia gas.
“The inhabitants of Haifa are afraid of an attack … that will lead to the death of tens of thousands of inhabitants out of a population of some 800,000. What does this mean? It means that a few missiles on this ammonia site could have the result of a nuclear bomb,” Nasrallah said, according to a simultaneous English translation carried on Iran’s Press TV.
“The resistance in Lebanon, which is supported by the people, have new capabilities, offensive and defensive. We are capable of inflicting defeat on Israel in any war."
Invoking the name of Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkott, the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, who as director of operations during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war championed the so-called Dahiya doctrine of high-intensity, asymmetric urban battle, Nasrallah said Hezbollah is capable of offsetting Israeli military superiority.
“Eisenkott speaks about the Dahiya equation,” Nasrallah said of the Shiite stronghold in south Beirut. “He speaks about the need to completely bring south Beirut to rubble.
“So if you — Eisenkott — how many missiles will you need [to achieve this]? How many days?” Nasrallah said. “Our missiles can target any area in occupied Palestine. We must retain them because it will prevent a third Lebanon war. We must be ready for this war in order to prevent.”
The Hezbollah leader assured supporters that “there is no need to fear an Israeli war” because “Israel decided that it would only wage war if a quick victory is guaranteed."
“The one thing that prevents Israel from launching a war — after the experience of the second Lebanon war ... is its knowledge that a clear, decisive and quick victory is not assured,” he said. "We will not retreat, surrender or weaken. We will continue with our qualitative and quantitative and materiel capabilities. The psychological war against us will have no use.”
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman, said the military has no comment on Nasrallah’s Feb. 16 address.
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