Thursday, April 28, 2016

Moscow Invites Chinese Factories to Move to the Russian Far East Thursday April 28th, 2016 at 7:59 PM

Moscow Invites Chinese Factories to Move to the Russian Far East

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Chemical, metallurgical and cement plants may soon be transferred from their current locations across northern China to the Russian Far East. This was the agreement reached in early April 2016, during Russian Minister for Far East Development Alexander Galushka’s visit to Beijing. The feasibility of the transfer of various Chinese industries and enterprises to Russia’s Far East territory is, in itself, questionable. But Russian officials argue that such a project is both achievable and will strictly adhere to Russia’s environmental standards (RIA Novosti, April 6).
However, such promises appear to gloss over an obvious contradiction. Namely, China’s interest in this project is clearly linked to a desire to relocate the biggest polluters from regions that had suffered from ecologically damaging forced industrialization during the late 20th century. Indeed, these Chinese regions are still struggling with the catastrophic deterioration of the natural environment and constant smog (China Daily, January 18, 2016; Global Times, December 22, 2014).
Concerns about the strict enforcement of environmental standards following the transfer of Chinese factories to the Russian Far East were clearly voiced by Yevgenia Chirikova. A Russian social activist, Chirikova became famous for organizing multiple campaigns in defense of Moscow region’s Khimki Forest, which the authorities planned to cut down to build a new motorway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg. Regarding the issue of the Chinese plants that are to be moved to the Russian Far East, Chirikova noted: “The Russian authorities like to seek out ‘foreign agents.’ But in this case, they are themselves [acting as] agents of another country. If the Chinese were unable to maintain normal environmental conditions in their own country, it is unlikely they will be more careful with our regions” (Aru.tv, April 8).
Meanwhile, the overall scale of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation is growing ever larger. For example, during the 2015 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Moscow and Beijing triumphantly announced the signing of 29 investment agreements worth over $20 billion. Among these were a joint $18.4 billion contract between several Russian and Chinese railway companies to build a high-speed railroad connecting Moscow and Kazan. Additionally, and more controversially,China Daily had previously reported that Russian authorities had begun leasing agricultural land to China in Russia’s Trans-Baikal Region, located on the border with China and Mongolia (see EDM, June 24, 2015). And more recently, it became known that the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) has expressed interest in buying shares in the state-owned Russian oil giant Rosneft (Interfax, April 21).
Representatives of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East (Minvostokrazvitiya) promise that Chinese businesses will receive tax breaks and administrative preferences if they relocate to eastern Russia. The interest of Russian officials is clear—they seek to attract Chinese partners. Apparently, Minvostokrazvitiya was created in 2012 largely for this purpose. China is considered Russia’s most obvious ally ever since the Kremlin’s proclaimed need for the country to “turn to the East” (BBC—Russian service, April 7).
Yet, even though “patriotic” Kremlin politicians regard China as a “geopolitical alternative” amidst Russia’s struggle against the West, China itself is not interested in such a quarrel with the Western world. Indeed, China and the West are too economically linked for Beijing to follow Moscow’s obstinate policies in this regard. Rather, China has only pragmatic interests in mind—particularly, concerning Russia’s vast territory. Practically speaking, what is at play here is a form of economic colonization.
The Far Eastern Federal District occupies 36 percent of Russia’s entire landmass, yet this territory is only populated by around six million people. And it is unlikely that such a small population will be able to sufficiently fill the workforce needed for the heavy Chinese enterprises that are supposed to be transplanted to the Russian Far East. Nor are a significant number of Far Eastern Russians likely to be well versed in properly operating Chinese technologies. Therefore, the bulk of workers to man these displaced plants will probably also have to come from China. Additionally, the goods produced at these factories will almost certainly be shipped back to China. After all, Russian officials discussing this deal specifically spoke of welcoming Chinese “export-oriented” industries. This is a peculiar case of castling: once, Russia was considered a more economically developed country than China and built Russian factories there. But now, the opposite is happening.
The transfer of Chinese plants to the Russian Far East has caused controversy among some members of the State Duma, even those typically united in their anti-Western views. One of the leaders of the ultra-patriotic Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Igor Lebedev, has expressed fears that this project will lead to the annexation of the Russian Far East by China (Amurpress, April 12). And Communist Party parliamentarian Nikolai Kharitonov, who chairs the Duma’s Committee of the North and the Far East, has called the transfer of Chinese plants “far-fetched.” He has promised that members of his faction will vote against it (Rusnovosti, April 6).
But any Duma deputies or Russian politicians genuinely opposed to such projects are politically constrained by the centralized character of their country’s decision-making processes and the practical absence of constitutional federalism in today’s Russia. The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, which signed the agreement on the transfer of the Chinese plants, is notably located in Moscow. At the same time, there was no discussion of this project with the locals. The transfer of Chinese factories to Russian soil could ultimately by stymied by economic factors. But a political decision regarding this grand project can only come from the Kremlin.
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ISIS said to order attacks on targets in Rome, including Israeli embassy

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April 29, 2016, 12:34 AM (IDT)
Italian defense sources said Thursday that one of four suspects arrested by the authorities in different areas of Italy received orders from ISIS to carry out a series of terrorist attacks on targets in Rome, including the Israeli embassy. The sources said it was the first time that a detailed plan by the terrorist organization to attack targets had been discovered in Europe. A married couple are among those arrested.

Over 61 killed in one day of Aleppo bombings, Syrian opposition says

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April 29, 2016, 12:19 AM (IDT)
Syrian opposition sources said Thursday that at least 61 people were killed in Aleppo by Syrian air force bombings over the previous 24 hours. The sources said at least 10 doctors were killed in airstrikes on two hospitals, and that it was possible that some of the bombings in the city were carried out by the Russian air force. Damascus denied the reports and claimed they were part of a propaganda campaign by the rebels aimed at hiding the fact that they are not honoring the cease-fire.  

Norway’s Sub-Snub Impacts Negatively On Nordic Defense Cooperation

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Norway’s decision to partner with NATO states in the design and delivery of new-generation submarines has exposed new cracks in longstanding pan-Nordic defense strengthening ambitions.
       

Mexican general gets 52 years for torturing, killing man

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MEXICO CITY (AP) - A judge has sentenced a general in the Mexican army to 52½ years in prison for ordering the torture of a suspect, then having his body burned, Mexico's federal judiciary council said Thursday.
The sentence was among the longest ever against a senior army officer.
The ...

Iran touts Israel invasion to recruit teenage boys to fight in Syria 

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Iran has begun to ask its teenage boys to volunteer to fight in Syria in a sign the hard-line Islamic regime's military is suffering rising casualties in the five-year war and needs a morale boost, an opposition group says.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released a translated ...
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Page 15

Hillary Clinton's foreign policy views spark anger, unease abroad 

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Donald Trump isn't the only presidential front-runner this election cycle whose foreign policy views are sparking anger and unease in the rest of the world.
Despite — and in some cases because of — her four-year record as secretary of state, Democrat Hillary Clinton is coming in for a share ...

Libya's Unresolved Issues Make Western Nations Wary of Committing Troops

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The arrival in Libya of a new, UN-backed government has given the lawless country a semblance of stability, but a series of unresolved legal and military issues are making Western nations wary of dispatching soldiers and ships to help out the adminis
       

While US Lags on Paid Maternity Leave, Some States Make Progress 

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While the United States is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave for new mothers, both of the current Democratic presidential candidates support a national standard of 12 weeks of paid family leave.  It’s not a new proposal, though. President Barack Obama called for it in his 2015 State of the Union address, but it drew quick opposition from some Republicans in Congress It's not unusual in the United States for a new mother to quit her job after giving birth to a child.  Sam is only 9 months old, and his mother, Lora, dreaded the thought of going back to work. "I got only six weeks with him, and it is just not enough time. We needed someone to take care of him, but the cost of day care in D.C. is high. I would not be bringing home enough money to cover day-care bills," she said. While the U.S. is nowhere close to a federal law that mandates paid maternity leave, some states are addressing the issue. A new law in New York assures new mothers 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. New Jersey covers 67 percent of six weeks of leave. California covers 55 percent of six weeks.  Rhode Island covers four weeks. "If you live in those four states, you would be covered and eligible to have paid leave, but if you live in the rest of the USA, it really just depends on whether or not your employer voluntarily offers those benefits, since we do not have any national programs to provide wage replacement," said Sarah Jane Glynn from the Center for American Progress. US law 'has not caught up' Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders favor a national program that would allow new mothers to take 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. This is an improvement over the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act — which provides job-protected unpaid leave to government employees or those in private sector companies with 50 or more employees. But critics say that law covers only 60 percent of new mothers because only 60 percent of workers even qualify — and many new moms cannot afford to take time off.   "The U.S. has not caught up with the fact that most women today work. Our labor laws ... the majority were set a long time ago when families looked very different. Today the majority of women work, the majority of mothers work, even the majority of moms who have very young children are in the paid labor force," said Glynn. Still, some companies do provide not only paid maternity leave but paid paternity leave as well. New dad Joe is thrilled to have six weeks of paid leave.   "I think it is up to employers to pay or not, but the best employers are doing it now. It is good for the employee, which means it is good for the company," he said.   Opponents of a paid family leave law say it’s bad for business because it’s too costly. "Small businesses cannot afford to have that burden on them. Also, the small businesses cannot afford increases in taxes," said one.   But supporters of the idea say the cost of paid maternity leave is very low relative to the benefit to the family.

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China Tops Annual US Trade Watch List — Again

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The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released the 2016 Special 301 Report on the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. USTR reviewed 73 trading partners for this year's Special 301 Report, and placed 34 of them on the report's so-called Priority Watch List and Watch List. China remains on the top of the list, although the United States said there are some positive developments. "In 2015, China continued to pursue a broad-ranging overhaul of its intellectual property-related laws and regulations, as well as a pilot study of specialized intellectual property courts," the report states. Theft of trade secrets, however, remains a serious and growing problem in China, according to the report. "The United States urges China to consider drafting a stand-alone trade secrets law, which would provide an opportunity to address a broader range of concerns," a USTR spokesperson said. According to the report, China remains the world's largest online piracy market, causing substantial losses for American owners of intellectual property rights in music, movies, books, periodicals, video games, software and in other fields. The world's largest internet market, with about 650 million internet users — an estimated 560 million are mobile users — China's annual internet sales have reached some $500 billion annually. In 2014, China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce cited a study revealing that more than 40 percent of products purchased online in China were "fake products," indicating pirated and counterfeit goods are rampant within its borders. China is also one of the world's largest generic drug producers. According to the 2016 Special 301 Report, 97 percent of generic drugs seized at the U.S. border in 2015 were from China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore. "I think the report shows areas [in which] we found progress, but also areas that continue to seek vigorous improvement," said Stanley Pierre-Louis, general counsel of the Washington-based Entertainment Software Association, a trade group that is known to lobby Congress. Other listed countries India also remains on the 2016 Priority Watch List "for lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IPR framework despite more robust engagement and positive steps forward on IPR protection and enforcement undertaken by the Government of India." The Priority Watch List includes a total of 11 countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela. The standard Watch List includes: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam. Switzerland, historically considered a strong partner on intellectual property rights issues, was added to the regular watch list this year because it has become an increasingly popular host country for copyright-infringing websites, "belying its generally strong record on IP issues," USTR said. USTR issues the annual report pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Mandarin service.

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US, Allies Tighten Cooperation to Counter China in South China Sea 

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The U.S. is ratcheting up cooperation with Asian allies to counter China’s “assertive and provocative behavior in the South China Sea” that is challenging the freedom of navigation in the crucial waterway, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers Thursday during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Blinken’s remarks came after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced the Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative Act — legislation they say will strengthen security assistance to partners in Southeast Asia and increase U.S. naval patrols near the contested islands in the South China Sea. Defense officials have yet to publicly confirm the frequency of U.S. Navy patrols in the disputed waters, though some U.S. lawmakers asked the administration to expand the pace of freedom-of-navigation operations in that area to a weekly or monthly basis.   “Sending one a quarter is simply insufficient to send a strong message to China,” Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said Wednesday. He chairs the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia subcommittee and is one of the sponsors of the new maritime security legislation. This proposal brought a sharp response from Beijing. On Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying cited data from a U.S. magazine (The National Interest) that indicated it cost “$6.5 million a day” to operate a U.S. carrier strike group. She denounced the legislation and said Washington was “exaggerating deliberately” against Beijing at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. “With the U.S. national debt exceeding $19 trillion, have those in the U.S. won support from taxpayers when they go to all lengths to push for the so-called freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea?” asked Hua. Although the United States is not a claimant to the sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea, senior officials have been saying it is vital to U.S. interests that various claimants pursue their claims peacefully and in accordance with international laws. Blinken told lawmakers anything that “threatens freedom of navigation” and the peaceful resolution of disputes is “a problem” for the U.S. “China is making it more difficult for us to carry out our own commitments and our own alliances. That is also a problem for us,” Blinken said Wednesday during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

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Russia's mixed messages on LGBT - BBC News

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BBC News

Russia's mixed messages on LGBT
BBC News
Back in her home town in northern Russia, the revelations about her sexual identity have thrown her family into turmoil. Her brother Maxim's first reaction was to beat her up. Her sister Alyona will barely talk to her, while her mother is continually ...

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Page 16

Spooked by Russia, Lithuania spares no money for defense - Reuters

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Reuters

Spooked by Russia, Lithuania spares no money for defense
Reuters
Worried by an increasingly militarist Russia next door, Lithuania is putting the finishing touches to the dummy settlement in the Pabrade training area so it can teach its soldiers how to fight in towns and villages. The first such facility in the ...

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Hearing: Ash Carter on US Strategy Against ISIS 

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On April 28, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. strategy against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh. He outlined the recent acceleration of the airstrike campaign, and emphasized that the United States would continue to focus on training local forces rather than deploy significant numbers of American troops.

Father ordered to pay for upkeep of his 28-year-old son in Italy

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Civil court in Modena rules man cannot his force his son to get a job while at university

April 28, 2016

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A look at the best news photos from around the world.

Dispatches: Russia's Growing Intolerance for Dissent - Human Rights Watch

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Human Rights Watch

Dispatches: Russia's Growing Intolerance for Dissent
Human Rights Watch
Today, at Moscow's eminent House of Cinematography, aggressive individuals among pro-Kremlin protestors attacked the award ceremony of an annual student competition, “Man in History. Russia – XX Century.” The attackers threw eggs and green ...

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Syria's truce is over as airstrikes destroy Aleppo hospital

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With at least 27 patients and staff reported dead, UN says urgent aid is needed amid multiple breaches of ceasefire
Syria’s eight-week truce was dead in all but name on Thursday after airstrikes destroyed an Aleppo hospital backed by Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross, killing patients and doctors.
Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy for Syria, declared the cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by the US and Russia “barely alive”. Jan Egeland, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator, warned of a “catastrophic deterioration” in Aleppo in the past 24 to 48 hours.
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Page 17

FBI Serves Warrants Linked to San Bernardino Shooting

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Federal investigators have served warrants in California in connection with the investigation of the December attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the warrants were served early Thursday in the southern California cities of Corona and Ontario.  She said the actions are linked to the San Bernardino shooting, but declined to share more details. Reuters reported the Corona warrant was served at the home of Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook the man who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a December holiday party. Farook was a county restaurant inspector and the people he shot were his co-workers at the San Bernardino County Health Department.  He and his wife later died in a shootout with police.

In 'Papa,' Hemingway Returns to Cuba via Silver Screen

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Ernest Hemingway left Cuba shortly after Fidel Castro's revolution, as relations with the United States began to fall into a deep freeze. Over five decades later, the author of “The Old Man and the Sea” returns to the island thanks to the magic of the silver screen.   “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba” opens Friday in U.S. theaters as the first full-length Hollywood feature filmed on the island since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, having wrapped even before Havana and Washington's historic announcement that they would restore diplomatic ties.   “Hemingway left as the doors were closing, and left his beloved home of many, many years to come back to the states and die 18 months later,” said Adrian Sparks, a veteran stage actor with a striking resemblance to the Nobel Prize-winning author he portrays in the movie, in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “Now Hemingway has come back to help open the doors again.” “Papa,” as Hemingway was affectionately known, lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1960. He took his own life in Idaho in 1961, after having won the literary Nobel for classics such as “The Sun Also Rises,” “A Farewell to Arms” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” He also won a Pulitzer for “The Old Man and the Sea,” which he penned in Cuba.   Directed by Bob Yari, “Papa” is a U.S.-Cuban-Canadian production based on an autobiographical script by Denne Bart Petitclerc, who died in 2006. The Petitclerc character in the movie is a young journalist called Ed Myers, played by Giovanni Ribisi, who befriends Hemingway in the late 1950s after sending the novelist a letter.   Through a series of visits to Havana, Myers bears witness to his hero's greatness, his mutual love for Cuba and its people, and the afflictions that torment him.   “There's been numerous films about Hemingway. This is the first one that deals with this time period of his life,” Sparks said. “It's a very delicate time. It's a powerful journey that the story makes and tries to understand who this man is.”   Joely Richardson, Minka Kelly and James Remar also star.   The film depicts a number of real-life Havana locations associated with Hemingway such as the El Floridita bar, where he was known to down prodigious quantities of lemony daiquiris, and the Ambos Mundos hotel, where he lived for a time. The 1950s cars that prowled Cuban streets then and still do today provide a period backdrop.   Filming took place over nine days in 2013 and again in April-May of 2014, Yari said. It was in December 2014 that Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced that the United States and Cuba would negotiate a historic thaw in relations.   Due to decades of bad geopolitical blood and the U.S. economic embargo, now 54 years old, previous Hollywood productions set in Cuba like “The Godfather: Part II” or 1990's “Havana” were shot in stand-in locations, such as the Dominican Republic.   “Papa” is the first feature with a Hollywood cast and director to be shot on the island, although there have been other productions such as Wim Wenders' 1999 documentary “Buena Vista Social Club.” On the heels of “Papa” and the resumption of diplomatic ties, a number of U.S. productions such as “House of Lies” and the “Fast and Furious” franchise have already filmed there or sought permission to do so.   “I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have been able to accomplish what we set out to do, which is kind of bridge a barrier between the two people of Cuba and the U.S.,” said Yari, who produced the Oscar-winning “Crash.” “The arts, I think, are the biggest bridge to kind of overcome governmental issues.”   “The Cuban people and the American people really aren't enemies, and they shouldn't be enemies. Hopefully this film will help kind of heal that bridge, that gap that has been created between these two people,” he added.   The director said the biggest hurdle was getting Washington's blessing to shoot in Cuba. “Papa” qualified as a docudrama since it's based on real events, and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer helped secure permission.   The $3 million production also had to do without backing from a bond company, a necessity for independent projects, since no company had any experience with Cuba, Yari added.   Cuban authorities gave the crew rare access to shoot inside Finca Vigia, Hemingway's former home 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Havana, now a museum where visitors are only allowed to gaze through the windows. The government also lent one of his old typewriters as a prop and approved the island's official film institute to help with sets, wardrobe and local actors.   “One of my takeaways was really understanding well not only that Hemingway was loved in Cuba, but how much Hemingway loved Cuba,” said Sparks, who has also interpreted “Papa” in a play by John de Groot.

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Labour Party Suspends Former London Mayor Over Hitler Remarks 

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The suspension of Ken Livingstone came a day after Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disciplined another party member over anti-Israel posts on social media.

Poland and Russia Spar Over Alleged Sub Collision - The Maritime Executive

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The Maritime Executive

Poland and Russia Spar Over Alleged Sub Collision
The Maritime Executive
Polish and Russian sources are engaged in a dispute over whether two submarines were involved in a collision in the Baltic Sea. Russia's REN TV reports that earlier this week, theRussian submarine Krasnodar collided with the Polish submarine Orzel.

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Donald Trump's foreign policy speech earns praise in Russia - CNN

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CNN

Donald Trump's foreign policy speech earns praise in Russia
CNN
Trump's speech was more than well-received in Russia. In Moscow's Red Square, passersby speaking to CNN praised the New York tycoon. And Russian politicians from President Vladimir Putin on down have been quoted saying favorable things about the ...
Trump Vows To Seek Better Relations With Russia If ElectedRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Trump Vows To Improve Relations With Russia, China If Elected U.S. PresidentHuffington Post

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Явлинский: Россия и демократия 

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From: SvobodaRadio
Duration: 54:56

Как поведет себя в условиях фактического развала Демкоалиции партия "Яблоко", активно приглашающая в свои предвыборные списки демократических кандидатов? Каковы перспективы демократического развития России? Сможет ли РФ в обозримой перспективе выйти из международной изоляции?
Об этом и многом другом спросим у со-основателя партии "Яблоко", выдвинутого партией кандидатом в президенты России на выборах 2018 года Григория Явлинского.
Ведущий - Леонид Велехов.
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Page 18

Bowing to China, Moscow for First Time Ever to Build Railroad with International Gage Tracks

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 24 – Since tsarist times, Russian governments have laid railroad tracks 1520 millimeters apart and not the 1485 mm that is the standard gage almost everywhere else, a difference Russian officials see enhancing their national security in the case of invasion but one that adds to the costs moving cargo across Russian borders.

            Now in a concession to Beijing, Moscow has agreed to build an international standard gage rail route between the Chinese border and a Russian port, a move that is unprecedented and will be of concern both to those who fear expanded Chinese influence in the Far East and to those who may now conclude that Russia will make similar adjustments elsewhere.

            Russian officials have played down the implications of this move, noting that it involves only 100 kilometers of track between the Chinese border and a Russian port, but as Anastasiya Bashkatova, the deputy economics editor of “Nezavisimaya gazeta” notes, “Beijing is not inclined to underrate the importance of this precedent (ng.ru/economics/2016-04-25/1_knr.html).

            But even if Russian officials try to play down the significance of this concession, she continues, others will not. The Russian gage tracks have always been viewed in that country as “a question of state security’” and “however close Russia’s economic ties have been with Europe, the European gage never appeared” on Russian territory.”

                Vladimir Savchuk, a senior researcher on railroad transport at the Moscow Institute of Problems of Natural Monopoly, said this special agreement with China was appropriate especially since Moscow will be able to add a third rail so that Russian-gage trains can use it as well.

            Such a three-rail system, he pointed out, exists in Belarus near the Polish border and in Russian near the Chinese border at Grodekovo. 

            But Chinese officials are delighted with what they call “Moscow’s initiative” because it “’means the appearance of big chances for Chinese entrepreneurs who want to enter the Russian markets.’” And as Bashkatova points out, “no one is giving any guarantees that in the future China will not begin lobbying for the extension of its railroad network inside Russia.”



           


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«Мы любим наших девочек» 

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From: golosamerikius
Duration: 02:28

После того, как была обнаружена связь между вирусом Зика и микроцефалией, из редкого заболевания эта редкая патология превратилась в серьезную угрозу. Гвен Хартли из Канзаса, у которой две девочки страдают микроцефалией, ведет блог, чтобы поддержать другие семьи, оказавшиеся в подобной ситуации

4500 ISIS Militants Now in Central Asia, Russia’s GRU Says

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 28 – General Sergey Afanasyev, deputy chief of the GRU, the Russian military’s intelligence service, says that approximately 4500 people in Central Asia have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State and that they constitute a problem for the countries of the region and ultimately for Russia as well.

            In reporting his remarks, “Moskovsky komsomolets” asked Azhdzar Kurtov, the editor of the “Problems of National Strategy” journal issued by the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI) for his reaction (mk.ru/politics/2016/04/27/v-centralnoy-azii-naschitali-4-500-boevikov-igil.html).

            Kurtov expressed a certain skepticism about the number Afanasyev reported.  “It is in general strange,” the RISI editor said, “to think about where this number came from because now GRU officers can collect information only in Syria and Iraq but not in Central Asia.” Moreover, it is necessary to make distinctions between loyalists and activists.

            That there are ISIS loyalists and activists in Central Asia is beyond question, he continued. “More than that, according to certain parameters, the situation in Central Asia is very similar to the one which preceded the appearance of ISIS in the Middle East” – poverty, brittle authoritarianism, and explosive demographic trends.

            At the same time, Kurtov argued, there is no chance at present that ISIS could expand into Central Asia as it has in Syria.  That would require the further destabilization of the states involved and the influx of more radicals from Afghanistan, many of whom are Islamists but not followers of ISIS.

            In his view, even though the borders between Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, on the one hand, and Afghanistan, on the other, are relatively poorly defended, the armies of at least the last two of these states are strong enough to counter any visible threat, especially given that it is likely to remain divided and fragmentary.

            Kurtov concludes by noting that for the time being, the ISIS radicals and the Taliban are fighting one another even more than they are working to extend Islamic influence.  “Certain Russian diplomats have even proposed cooperating with the Taliban in the struggle with the Islamic State because it is the lesser of two evils.”

  
             

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U.S. Bill Backs More Defense Spending For Europe, Ukraine

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A key U.S. congressional committee has backed a substantial increase in defense spending to reassure European allies jittery about Russian military maneuvers.

В США задержаны две россиянки - РИА Новости

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РИА Новости

В США задержаны две россиянки
РИА Новости
ВАШИНГТОН, 28 апр — РИА Новости, Алексей Богдановский. Трое родственников террориста из Сан-Бернардино Сайеда Ризвана Фарука — старший брат, жена брата и сестра жены брата (обе женщины — гражданки РФ) задержаны в четверг, обвинения касаются нарушения ...
В рамках дела о теракте в Калифорнии задержаны две россиянкиРБК
Две россиянки задержаны по делу о теракте в американском Сан-БернардиноРосбалт.RU
ФБР арестовало брата "стрелка из Сан-Бернардино" и двух россиянокТАСС
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Демкоалиция: распался наш союз? 

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From: SvobodaRadio
Duration: 54:01

Что происходит с Демкоалицией: раскол, переформатирование, борьба амбиций лидеров, успешное агрессивное вмешательство внешних сил? Чем завершится борьба демократов за внимание избирателей, против власти и друг с другом?
Каковы шансы оппозиции на парламентских выборах 2016?
Есть ли у оппозиционных сил различной идеологической и политической ориентации общий стратегический план для России? – ответы ищут политики Сергей Давидис, Владимир Милов, Константин Янкаускас, доктор политических наук Юлий Нисневич.
Ведущий – Владимир Кара-Мурза-старший.
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As Syrian Cease-fire Falters, Anti-IS Campaign Questioned on Capitol Hill 

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A senior Republican lawmaker on Thursday challenged the Obama administration's upbeat assessments of progress against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. While not disputing recent battlefield improvements, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain accused the administration of a myopic focus on calibrating anti-IS tactics that misses the larger threat profile America faces. "I worry we are staring at our challenges in the broader Middle East through soda straws," the Arizona Republican said at a committee hearing. "Despite the real tactical gains we have made, we must ask ourselves: Is this working? Are we winning? Are we getting ahead of the threats and problems we face, or are they getting ahead of us?" the senator added. Testifying before the panel, Defense Secretary Ash Carter detailed multiple facets of a ramped-up campaign against Islamic State, from cyber warfare to additional special operations forces deployed to Syria. But he cast doubt on the wisdom and feasibility of forging a large coalition ground force to battle the militants, as McCain urged. Carter said that "a significant foreign ground force" would be "hypothetically international, although almost certainly preponderantly American." "And it would be ceding our competitive advantage of special forces, mobility and firepower, instead fighting on the enemy's terms of ground combat amidst a local population that has previously responded violently to such an approach," the secretary added. Progress affirmed Earlier this week, U.S. intelligence sources told VOA that IS “is at its weakest point since its rapid expansion in 2014" and that it “is no longer able to replenish its ranks at the rate its fighters are dying on the ground." Testifying alongside Carter, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, affirmed progress has been made. "We've reduced ISIL's territorial control, undermined its brand and aura of invincibility, and destroyed much of its war-fighting capability," Dunford said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "The enemy's resources and freedom of movement have also been significantly reduced, and the pressure we are applying is degrading the enemy's morale." In light of a faltering cease-fire in Syria, several senators asked about possible actions to limit the Syrian government's ability to conduct airstrikes. Dunford affirmed that the United States has the ability to decimate Syria's air force. But he declined to say whether he would recommend such an action, noting that neither Congress nor President Barack Obama has authorized direct military strikes against the Syrian regime. Carter said that America's military campaign remains focused on Islamic State and that the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule will be achieved politically.

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МИД Приднестровья: Молдова теряет нейтралитет - Известия

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Известия

МИД Приднестровья: Молдова теряет нейтралитет
Известия
В Приднестровье обеспокоены политикой сближения Румынии и Молдавии. Как сообщили «Известиям» в пресс-службе МИД Приднестровской Молдавской Республики, недавние совместные молдавско-румынские акции представляют реальную угрозу стабильности во всем регионе.
ПВО Приднестровья привели в полную боевую готовностьРИА Новости
В Приднестровье заявили, что вывод миротворцев РФ приведет к войнеТАСС
Президент ПМР Шевчук «впустил и легализовал» Молдавию в ПриднестровьеИА REGNUM
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Aleppo Attack Puts Spotlight on US, Russia

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The State Department says it does not believe there has been a deterioration in U.S.-Russia relations over the crisis in Syria, in spite of the Russian-backed Syrian government’s continued bombing of civilian and rebel targets. State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that there are “constant daily communications” between the U.S. and Russia inside the Syria cease-fire task force, which the countries co-chair. He added that in terms of efforts to foster a political resolution to Syria’s crisis, “U.S.-Russian leadership is still required inside of the ISSG [International Syria Support Group],” the17-nation body backing U.N.-facilitated talks and a cessation of hostilities that is showing signs of fray. In spite of the cease-fire, at least 20 people were killed in an overnight airstrike on an Aleppo hospital, including a pediatrician and children. Overall, fighting between the government and rebels in the northern city has left more than 50 people dead over the past day. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the hospital attack but said the U.S. is still trying to gather the facts surrounding the incident. “It appears to have been a deliberate strike on a known medical facility and follows the Assad regime’s appalling record of striking such facilities and first responders,” said Kerry. The State Department and White House urged Russia to use its influence with the Assad government to try to stop such attacks. “The message that we are sending to the Russians is a direct one,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “They need to abide by the cessation of hostilities that they signed on to, and that they need to use their influence with the Assad regime to do the same.” Kirby said it appears that Russia is not exerting its influence on Syria as “energetically” as it could. However, he added that it is also possible that the Assad regime is just not heeding Moscow’s advice. “It is hard to know to which. This is either not enough influence being applied or not enough attention being given to the influence being applied,” said Kirby. He said the problem could be a combination of both. The cease-fire breaches have impacted the U.N.-mediated proximity talks between the Syrian government and opposition. U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said the cease-fire is “barely alive” and could fall apart at any time. He commented after wrapping up a third round of talks in Geneva on Wednesday. De Mistura said he planned to hold a fourth round next month, but called for the cease-fire to be “revitalized” before he sets a date. At the State Department, Kirby said the U.S. is going to continue to talk to Russia about how to keep the cessation of hostilities alive and make it more sustainable. “We are looking at ways in which we can do that,” he said.

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Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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At least 38 civilians were killed and dozens more were injured in a eruption of violence throughout Aleppo. According to Agence-France Presse, “an upsurge in fighting in Aleppo, Syria’s pre-war commercial hub, has killed at least 186 people since Friday.” Among the dead are at least 14 patients and staff members of a Doctors Without Borders hospital, after airstrikes hit the medical compound in Aleppo earlier today. A report by the Associated Press indicates that at least 27 people died in the hospital. It is not yet clear who carried out the strike, though observers have claimed the strikes were executed by Syrian or Russian forces. 
Meanwhile, as the cessation of hostilities fails, the U.N. envoy for Syria is calling upon the United States and Russia to “revitalize” the collapsing cease fire. In what would seem a cause for pessimism, the New York Times tells us that Staffan de Mistura closed two weeks of Syrian peace talks earlier today without setting a date for the next round in Geneva. Reuters reports that Mistura was deeply concerned about the violence in Aleppo in recent days. Earlier today during a news conference, Mistura stated, “hence, my appeal for a U.S.-Russian urgent initiative at the highest level, because the legacy of both President Obama and President Putin is linked to the success of what has been a unique initiative which started very well. It needs to end very well.”
Russia is requesting that the United Nations blacklist two major Syrian rebel groups, but one of the groups is actually playing a key role in the talks aimed at ending the conflict. The two groups Russia is proposing be blacklisted are Jaish al Islam and Ahrar al Sham. Al Jazeera reports that Mohammed Alloush, a leading figure in Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam), is the chief negotiator for the High Negotiations Committee, the war-torn country’s main opposition group, at U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva.” According to Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, the two groups are “closely linked to terrorist organizations, primarily ISIL and al Qaeda.”
According to the Daily BeastU.S. special operations forces have killed 40 Islamic State operatives connected to terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere throughout the world. Defense officials have indicated that U.S. special forces “have killed 40 ‘external operations leaders, planners, and facilitators’ blamed for instigating, plotting, or funding ISIS’s attacks from Brussels and Paris to Egypt and Africa.” Additionally, the Beast writes that “as proof of the campaign’s overall success, Pentagon officials this week said the overall size of ISIS" has been reduced "to between 19,000 to 25,000 fighters," from a high estimate of 33,000 a year ago. They also estimate that "the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has dropped from up to 2,000 a month last year to just 200.”
Meanwhile, the Lebanese army killed an Islamic State leader at the Syrian border. Reuters reportsthat “Fayez al Shaalaan, known as Abu Fawz, was killed when the army attacked an Islamic State position on the edge of the town of Arsal in north Lebanon.” Fawz was the militant group’s leader in the Arsal area, according to a report from a security source.
Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Iraq today. The New York Times tells us that, in his first trip to Iraq in nearly five years, Vice President Biden is “hoping to help a weak prime minister and bolster the military campaign against the Islamic State.” During his visit, Vice President Biden “planned to urge the Iraqis to put the good of their nation above sectarian, regional, or personal interests as the country confronts a constellation of threats: military, from the extremists of the Islamic State; economically, from low oil prices; and politically, from the stalemate between Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and Parliament over Mr. Abadi’s efforts to reconstitute his cabinet.”
Meanwhile, over in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reshuffled things a bit as well, replacing the chief of Germany’s foreign intelligence service. The New York Times shares that “the move caught many by surprise as Europe faces growing pressure from Islamist terrorism and as the chancellor looks ahead to a general election next year.” According to Merkel’s chief of staff, the decision to fire spy chief Gerhard Schindler “was a response to the challenges the intelligence agency faced, including new security threats and reforms being considered by a parliamentary oversight committee.” The Times has more.
A female suicide bomber detonated explosives yesterday near the Grand Mosque in Turkey’s main manufacturing city of Bursa. The blast injured at least ten people and occurred in one of the city’s busy bazaars. The Wall Street Journal writes that “the attack was the fifth bombing targeting a major metropolitan area in Turkey this year, and it came less than 24 hours after the U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a public warning that there were serious concerns about terrorist attacks at popular tourist sites around Turkey.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Reuters reports thatTurkish police have detained 15 people believed to be connected to the suicide blast.
In Yemen, a suicide car bomb exploded outside of Aden’s security chief’s house. The attack wounded at least two people, but General Shallal Shayae escaped unharmed. According to Reuters, “guards fired at the attacker and the car he was driving exploded.” Al Jazeera has more on the attack here.
North Korea fired, or at least attempted to fire, another missile earlier today. Reuters shares that the Hermit Kingdom test-fired “what appeared to be two intermediate range ballistic missiles” but both failed according to South Korean officials. A defense expert in South Korea indicated that the failed test launches appeared to have been hurried. CNN has more on the failed attempts here.
Iran is preparing for a major ballistic missile test set for February 2017, which would appear to be timed to coincide with the upcoming U.S. presidential inauguration ceremony. Fox News has more on the timetable issued by Iran.
The FBI arrested three people, including the older brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, today in connection with last fall's San Bernardino terrorist attack. The Los Angeles Timesreports that “Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook; his wife, Tatiana Farook; and her sister Mariya Chernykh were all arrested Thursday morning and charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court that centers around a fraudulent marriage between Chernykh and Enrique Marquex, who has been charged with aiding the deadly Dec. 2 attack at the Inland Regional Center.”
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump delivered his first major foreign policy address in Washington yesterday. In a move that was aimed at making him appear “more presidential,” with teleprompter and all, Mr. Trump alarmed American allies who fear that his “America First” agenda means the United States will retreat from the world if Trump is elected president. Read more from Reuters.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed an email privacy bill designed to close off “a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to ensure that law enforcement gets a warrant before forcing technology companies to hand over customers’ emails or other electronic communications, no matter how old they are.” The Hill tells us that “though the outdated provision is no longer used by most agencies, the law technically allows law enforcement to use a subpoena - rather than a warrant - to get emails if they are more than 180 days old. When the law was enacted, there were large technical limits to storing data online.” The technology industry and advocates have pushed for the Email Privacy Act for years.
Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. They say that the status quo of unbreakable encryption is unacceptable. Check that outhere.
The FBI has decided that it will not tell Apple about how it hacked and unlocked the San Bernardino iPhone. The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI’s decision brings an abrupt end to the “internal government debate about how much to tell Apple about a newly discovered security vulnerability in one iPhone model.” Furthermore, the Journal tells us that “the FBI decision not to initiate a broad governmental discussion called the Vulnerabilities Equities Process—in which a number of agencies explore whether to disclose software vulnerabilities to the affected companiesmeans Apple will likely be kept in the dark” on how the Bureau was able to gain access to the phone.
A new study finds that Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the NSA’s spying may have had a significant effect on Wikipedia’s search traffic. The Washington Post shares that the repercussions of the Snowden revelations “happened so swiftly and were so high-profile that they triggered a measurable shift in the way people use the Internet.” According to the study, in the months following the disclosures, web users conducted significantly fewer searches for terms that may be deemed suspicious such as Taliban and car bomb. The Post has more on the new findings here.
Yesterday, the House Armed Services Committee passed a measure that would require women to register with the Selective Service, making them eligible to be drafted in the military. According to theMilitary Times, Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced the proposal “as a way to force congressional conversation about the role of women in the military,” following Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s decision to open all military jobs to women earlier this year.
Speaking of the Secretary, Carter is not too happy about the overseas contingency operations (OCO) wartime fund cuts. The cuts, proposed by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), would take $18 billion from the OCO wartime fund and invest it into buying more weapons systems. Yesterday, Secretary Carter appeared before the Senate and “flashed a bit of anger when discussing the plan, particularly the April end date for OCO, saying it amounts to ‘gambling’ with troops’ funding at a time of war and calling it ‘deeply troubling’ and ‘flawed.’” Defense News has more.
The Guardian reports that the United States is set to release a report detailing an internal investigation into last year’s deadly airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. The strike left 42 civilians dead at the Kunduz hospital. The Guardian writes that the “report provides an official assessment of the failings that led to a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacking a Kunduz hospital run by Medecins Sanc Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, several of whose patients burned to death in their beds.” Doctors Without Borders has alleged that the strike represented a “deliberate act tantamount to a war crime.”
Remember that British Airways jet that supposedly hit a drone while descending into London’s Heathrow Airport? It appears that the British government has determined that whatever the plane hit,it wasn’t a droneAccording to the AP, the U.K.’s junior Transport Minister Robert Goodwill speculated that it might have just been a plastic bag. 
Parting Shot: Ever wonder what it is really like to fight for the Islamic State? VICE News has obtained footage taken from the GoPro-style headcam of an Islamic State fighter, capturing a battle between the terror group and the Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq. Check out the relatively brief clash here. The Washington Post says that “it is remarkable how disorganized the small team is, given that the assault was probably planned.” Indeed. 
ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Matt Tait provided an approach to James Comey’s technical challenge regarding the “going dark” debate.
Benjamin Wittes flagged some action coming from Guantanamo.
Nicholas Weaver commented on his own encrypted living will.
Julian Ku argued that the United States does not have a legal obligation to defend the Scarborough Shoal for the Philippines until it decides who owns it.
Jack Goldsmith and Amira Mikhail analyzed whether the Iran Deal requires the United States government to seek preemption of some state sanctions.
Paul Rosenzweig alerted us to the Email Privacy Act's unanimous passage in the House of Representatives.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
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2:58 PM 4/28/2016 - Headlines Review: FBI arrests brother of San Bernardino terrorist and 2 others after searches

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Fifth Moscow Conference on International Security, MCIS - April 27-28, 2016 

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11:47 AM 4/28/2016 - Headlines Review: The Latest: Biden, Iraqi prime minister meet in Baghdad - The Washington Post | Syria Hospital Hit in Airstrike Blamed on Russia - WSJ | Donald Trump, Laying Out Foreign Policy, Promises Coherence - The New York Times | $500,000 Brings US Residency - Or 'Front Row Seat' to Fraud | 

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The Latest: Biden, Iraqi prime minister meet in Baghdad – The Washington Post 

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The Latest on Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Iraq (all times local):

$500,000 Brings US Residency – Or ‘Front Row Seat’ to Fraud

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Out of 140,000 employment visas US allocates each year, about 10,000 of them are allowed to be EB-5 investor visas giving applicant 2-year conditional residency status

Isis hackers are unorganised, unsophisticated and a complete shambles 

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A new report from security firm Flashpoint highlights how Daesh-affiliated hackers operate online.

FBI arrests brother of San Bernardino terrorist and 2 others after searches - U.S.