Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Panama Papers Likely to Spark New Prosecutionsby webdesk@voanews.com (Jim Randle) Wednesday April 13th, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Panama Papers Likely to Spark New Prosecutions

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The Panama Papers are likely to spark new prosecutions of people accused of providing funds to terror groups and boost political pressure to tighten financial rules in the United States.  Experts say efforts to block terrorist financing are growing more effective, but some charities that work in war-torn areas say new rules are also hurting relief efforts. Blocking funds to terror groups is vital because major attacks require money for explosives, weapons, travel and other...

Panama Police Raid Mossack Fonseca Offices

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Federal agents in Panama have raided the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which is linked to a number of offshore accounts associated with world leaders. Panama's attorney general said in a statement that prosecutors and police were searching for any evidence that would establish the possible use of the firm for "illicit activities." Mossack Fonseca has been accused of aiding tax evasion and fraud. The officers converged on company headquarters late Tuesday to...

Syrians begin voting for new parliament in government areas - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Syrians begin voting for new parliament in government areas
Washington Post
DAMASCUS, Syria — Polling stations have opened in government-held parts of Syria for the election of a new 250-member parliament. Shortly after the stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) Wednesday people began turning up. Around 3,500 ...
Parliamentary polls open in regime-controlled parts of SyriaRappler
Syria to Hold Parliamentary Elections on WednesdaySputnik International
Syria's parliamentary elections to be held on WednesdayPress TV
Prensa Latina -Latin American Herald Tribune -Tasnim News Agency (press release)
all 17 news articles »

'So what if Putin is corrupt?': Russia remains unmoved by offshore revelations - The Guardian

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The Guardian

'So what if Putin is corrupt?': Russia remains unmoved by offshore revelations
The Guardian
Vladimir Putin meets businessmen in Moscow. According to a recent poll, nearly half of Russians believe their president would stamp out corruption, if it were possible. Photograph: POOL/Reuters. Shaun Walker in Kimry. Wednesday 13 April 2016 02.00 EDT ...
As Others See It: Banned in BeijingPittsburgh Post-Gazette
Putin Creates Enormous Praetorian Guard, Puts His Bodyguard in ChargeDaily Beast
Putin says space critical for Russia-US Cooperation despite differencesSpace Daily 
New York Times-NEWS.com.au-Newsweek
 -Los Angeles Times

all 98 news articles »

World Health Authorities to Focus on Mental Health

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Mental health and the costs and benefits of treatment are taking center stage at a Washington, D.C. meeting co-hosted by the World Bank and World Health Organization starting Wednesday.  Academic experts, practitioners, development agencies, and ministers of finance are participating in the meeting designed to encourage governments, aid agencies, and civil society to invest in mental health. Organizers say good mental health care can result in real economic benefits. Nations that...

Lebanon shocked over sex trafficking of young Syrian women

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Back in Syria, the young women were told they would get well-paid jobs at restaurants and hotels in Lebanon. But when they arrived, their belongings and mobile phones were taken away, and the women were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution....
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Syrians in Government-controlled Areas Vote for Parliament

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Syrians in government-controlled parts of the country are voting in parliamentary elections Wednesday as peace talks reconvene in Geneva. Western leaders and Syrian opposition groups have criticized the elections as a sham and a threat to the peace talks and a tenuous six-week-old cease-fire. Polling stations opened early Wednesday morning in the government-controlled areas, which make up about a third of the country's territory. Observers expect the ruling Baath party to...

The Future of Bernie Sanders's Grassroots Army - The Atlantic

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The Atlantic

The Future of Bernie Sanders's Grassroots Army
The Atlantic
Bernie Sanders's fight for the White House is far from over. The Vermont senator has notched a series of state wins and vowed to stay in the presidential race despite trailing Hillary Clinton in an all-important battle for the delegates needed to ...
Bernie Sanders gets first endorsement from a fellow senatorWashington Post
Bernie Sanders Gets First US Senator EndorsementABC News
Why I'm Supporting Bernie SandersNew York Times
Wall Street Journal (blog) -AOL News -Slate Magazine (blog) -Politico (blog)
all 53 news articles »

New Clashes Between Migrants, Macedonian Police

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Macedonian police have fired tear gas and stun grenades at a crowd of migrants trying to climb a fence on its border with Greece. Reports said about 30 people were in the group trying to scale a fence Wednesday at the closed Idomeni border crossing in northern Greece. The incident came after similar clashes on Sunday at the same place, when police fired tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon at a group of migrants, leaving scores injured. On Sunday, someone had...

Will LSD ever be accepted as mainstream treatment?

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Would people ever accept LSD as medicine?

China Exports Rebound, Lifting Markets

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Chinese exporters saw surprisingly good performance in March as the improved flow of goods out of the country gave a boost to local authorities and a lift to world stock markets. Exports rose to 11.5 percent in March, after plunging 20.4 percent in February. This is the first time in nine months that Chinese exports have risen. Stock markets in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Europe rose following the announcement of Chinese trade data in Beijing. But economists were hesitant to...

Chinese Court Rules Against Gay Marriage

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A Chinese court has ruled against a gay couple seeking to get married – the first case of its kind in China. Sun Wenlin, 27, sued a civil affairs bureau for refusing to grant him and his partner a marriage license. The case was dismissed Wednesday within a matter of hours.  But Sun and his partner, Hu Mingliang, said they were surprised the court accepted their case at all, giving them the floor to argue about gay rights for the first time in a Chinese court. The couple's...

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Inside a Panamanian prison: Portrait of a flawed legal system

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PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - As Panama reels from outrage at legal loopholes that help the world's wealthy hide their cash, inmates at the capital's La Joya prison are paying a heavy price for flaws elsewhere in the Central American nation's justice system.
  

Russian Warplanes Buzz U.S. Navy Destroyer, Polish Helicopter

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Russian military warplanes flew close to a U.S. Navy destroyer and Polish military helicopter multiple times over two days this week, according to U.S. officials.

Bernie Sanders' Brooklyn: A Look at His Old Stomping Ground - ABC News

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Bernie Sanders' Brooklyn: A Look at His Old Stomping Ground
ABC News
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made his Brooklyn, New York, upbringing a regular feature of his stump speech. But the Brooklyn that Sanders knew as a resident there in the 1940s and 1950s is quite different from the one where he has been campaigning ...

and more »

Lenin body preservation cost revealed

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Russia sets aside millions of roubles to maintain the Bolshevik leader's body.

How two Red Sea islands shed light on secret relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia 

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Shared concerns include Iran's influence and Egypt's stability.















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Verizon Workers Go on Strike Amid Contract Dispute

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Tens of thousands of Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast have walked off the job after working without a contract since August. The strike Wednesday morning involves about 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C.   The unions say they're striking because Verizon wants to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract...

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Report: US Paid Hackers to Crack into Terrorist's iPhone

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A U.S. newspaper is reporting that federal investigators paid professional hackers to help them crack into the Apple iPhone used by one of the terrorists who killed 14 people last December in San Bernardino, California. The Washington Post said Wednesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation paid a one-time flat fee to the hackers who provided the U.S. law enforcement agency with information about a previously unknown software flaw in the cellphone. The newspaper said that...

Ex-Argentine president in court in central bank fraud probe

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Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is going before a federal judge to answer questions in a state fraud probe.















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With migrant mission to Greece, pope cements Orthodox ties

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When Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, visit migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos this weekend, they’ll be doing more than sending a political message about the need to welcome refugees.















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Spain: Police arrest suspect tied to Jan. 2015 Paris attacks

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MADRID (AP) -- Spanish police have arrested a Frenchman who they believe supplied weapons to Paris attacker Amedy Coulibaly for use in the January 2015 attacks in the French capital, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday....

Paris Gunman’s Alleged Arms Supplier Arrested in Spain

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A man suspected of selling a gun to the perpetrator of a deadly January 2015 attack on a Paris kosher market has been arrested, the Spanish Interior Ministry announced Wednesday. The ministry statement said 27-year-old Antoine Denive, originally from the northern French town of Sainte Catherine, was arrested on a European warrant Tuesday in the small Spanish coastal town of Rincon de la Victoria. Denive is suspected of selling a firearm to Amedy Coulibaly, who opened fire on a kosher...

Massive Sunspot Rotates to Face Earth

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A giant sunspot has turned toward Earth, prompting a 75 percent chance of a geomagnetic storm that could be felt on some parts of our planet. While solar activity has been relatively quiet recently, Active Region 2529, as the spot or solar flare is called, could cause minor issues on Earth north of 60 degrees latitude. The sunspot is several times the size of Earth. Scientists at the U.S. government's NOAA, say a solar storm could reach Earth Wednesday or Thursday, and could cause...

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Russia warplanes 'buzz' US Navy ship

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Russian jets make a "simulated attack" on a US missile destroyer in the Baltic sea, coming within 30ft (9m) of it, a US official says.

US Senator: Russia Policy Needs to Be Tougher

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In what could be a preview of the kind of foreign policy debates that will feature in the U.S. presidential race later this year, a senior Republican member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has strongly criticized the Obama administration’s policy toward Russia. In an interview with VOA’s Georgian service, Senator James Risch from the western U.S. state of Idaho said the economic sanctions the United States imposed on Russia for its annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of...

VIDEO: Bulgaria migrants capture condemned

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There has been an outcry after footage emerged of vigilante groups in Bulgaria rounding up migrants, forcing them to the ground and tying them up.

Saudi cabinet curbs powers of religious police

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has barred its religious police from pursuing suspects or making arrests, curbing the powers of an institution whose aggressive enforcement of the Islamic kingdom's strict morality rules has drawn criticism from more liberal Saudis.









  

VIDEO: Man who took son to live with IS

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German author, politician and former judge, Jurgen Todenhofer, has written a book after spending 10 days living with extremists from so-called Islamic State.

‘The Beast’ Takes on IS in Iraqi City of Hit

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Pentagon officials are crediting the Iraqi crew of an Abrams M1A1 tank with playing a major role in helping push Islamic State fighters out of the city of Hit, where the tank and its crew have achieved an almost "folk hero” status among the locals. During a Tuesday press briefing, Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren told the tale of the tank crew, which he said "has been handing it to the enemy regularly now for several days." The tank crew operates in the small town about...

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Russian Jets Fly Near US Destroyer in Baltic Sea

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Several Russian military aircraft flew a series of simulated attack passes near a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea over the course of two days this week, a U.S. defense official said. The first of the two incidents, which the U.S. official called “more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in a long time,” took place April 11. Two Russian attack aircraft flew around 20 passes near the USS Donald Cook, coming within 1,000 meters at 30 meters in altitude – close enough to create a wake in the...

April 13, 2016

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

Mexican President's Approval Rating Drops to Record Low

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President Enrique Pena Nieto's approval rating has fallen to a record low, according to a poll published in one of Mexico's leading newspapers on Wednesday, pummeled for his failure to combat corruption scandals. The president's approval in the poll for daily newspaper Reforma fell to 30 percent, compared to 39 percent in December, while 66 percent of respondents say they disapprove of Pena Nieto's job performance. Both figures mark a historic low for any Mexican...

Spanish judge denies bail for former top banker Mario Conde

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MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish judge remanded former top banker Mario Conde in custody on Wednesday after he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering 13 million euros ($14.66 million) as he oversaw the collapse of one of Spain's biggest banks.
  

US Scientists Rush to Stop Devastating Bat Killer

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The U.S. government estimates that bat populations in the northeastern U.S. have dropped by as much as 80 percent since White Nose Syndrome, or WNS, was brought here 10 years ago. If not stopped, the fungus — which kills bats by the millions — will cause an ecological disaster. Erika Celeste reports from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on the Organization for Bat Conservation's efforts to save the flying mammals.

European Parliament: Poland's Policies Threaten Democracy

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The European Parliament on Wednesday condemned Polish government policies, saying they paralyze a top court and threaten Poland's democracy and the rule of law. The vote was part of European Union pressure on Poland's conservative government to find a solution to a political conflict surrounding the country's Constitutional Tribunal and recent changes to the legislation that regulates appointments of its judges. The European Parliament urged the government to unblock the court...

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Puerto Rico police seize $13M worth of cocaine, arrest 4 men

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Authorities in Puerto Rico say they have seized $13 million worth of cocaine and arrested four men after a chase off the island’s southeast coast.









Russian jets make 'simulated attack' passes near U.S. destroyer: U.S. 

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From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 01:19

The White House says it is concerned about reports, backed up by video, that Russian planes flew dangerously close to a U.S. guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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US Sees Global Human Rights Declining 

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 02:27

The Obama administration is blaming a global crisis in governance and atrocities committed by non-state actors for a decline in human rights standards around the world. (April 13)
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2 officers killed in Germany car crash had combat experience

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The two soldiers killed in a car crash last week near Landstuhl were young Army officers who had served in combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
     

Names of intelligence officials, agents, appear in Panama Papers 

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The massive data leak of documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has revealed the names of intelligence officials and agents form several countries, who employed front companies to conceal their financial activities.

LEADERSHIP: American Troops Based In East Europe

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COUNTER-TERRORISM: Hiding In Plain Sight

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Russian aircraft shot down despite ‘President-S’ system

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Russian aircraft shot down despite ‘President-S’ system
DEBKAfile  Exclusive Report  April 13, 2016, 9:05 AM (IDT)

Russia’s Mi-28H attack helicopter )
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on April 12 “the crash of a Russian Mi-28H attack helicopter near the city of Homs“ the previous night. The two pilots were killed in the crash, and their bodies were recovered by Russian special forces who transferred them to Hmeimim airbase in northern Syria. The ministry asserted that “the helicopter was not shot down” but debkafile’s intelligence and aviation sources doubt that claim.
The helicopter that crashed in Homs was the fourth Russian-made military aircraft to be shot down during the last 30 days by advanced shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles possessed by the Nusra Front, ISIS and other groups of fighters.
The speculation that terrorist organizations in Syria, and apparently in Iraq, possess such missiles capable of overcoming the defenses of Russian aircraft became reality when the Mi-28H helicopter was shot down on April 11. The aircraft is equipped with the most advanced defensive system of its kind, the President-S, which is resistant to active and passive jamming.
The system also known as the L370-5 includes a warning system installed on four external points of every aircraft, radar and command and control system that can identify incoming shoulder-fired missiles and cause them to deviate from their paths.
The defense system protects the helicopter from previous generations of such missiles, such as the Strela-2 and Strela-3. But it remains vulnerable to more advanced missiles and that is the reason why the rebels and terror groups have been able to shoot down four Russian-made aircraft in Syria.
On March 12, a MIG-21 of the Syrian air force was shot down with two shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles that locked onto the heat signature of the plane. Fighters from the Jaysh al-Nasr rebel group operating in the village of Kafr Nabudah, in the area of the city of Hama, downed the plane and then killed the pilots after they ejected and reached the ground.
Another Syrian air force plane, a Sukhoi 22, was shot down on April 5 near Aleppo using a single MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense systems) missile, apparently an advanced one, fired by fighters from Al Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front. One of the pilots was killed on the ground, while the other, Khaled Saeed, was taken prisoner.
In yet another recent downing of a Russian-made military aircraft, ISIS announced on April 11 that it had shot down a Sukhoi 22 that had taken off from al-Dumayr Airport in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. The fighters used an SA-7 Strela missile with an infrared heat-seeking warhead, considered relatively out of date.
Western intelligence services have no idea how many shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles are in the arsenals of Syrian rebel groups and terrorist organizations. There is no doubt that those weapons pose a major and immediate threat to commercial aviation in Israel and throughout the Middle East.
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CIA are behind the Panama Papers leak claims Swiss banking whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld - Daily Mail