Tuesday, April 12, 2016

US Woman on Trial for Insulting UAEby webdesk@voanews.com (VOA News) Monday April 11th, 2016 at 8:44 PM

US Woman on Trial for Insulting UAE

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A 25-year-old American woman appeared in court Monday after being held in Abu Dhabi for seven weeks for allegedly insulting the United Arab Emirates while waiting for a taxi outside the airport. The unidentified woman told the court she did not know why she was on trial. She has been in custody since February 23. Government-owned daily The National reported that the women claims she was approached by two men who spoke to her in a manner she did not like. "The men tried to help me....

Brazil Congressional committee recommends impeaching President Rousseff

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - An impeachment committee of Brazil's lower house of Congress voted 38-27 on Monday that there are grounds to impeach President Dilma Rousseff on charges of breaking budget laws to allegedly favor her re-election in 2014.









  

AP Top Stories April 11P 

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:16

Here's the latest for Monday, April 11th: Health Officials: Zika virus scarier than we thought; Rockets fired from inside Syria land in Turkey; Demonstrations on both sides of NC law; and Burglar in DC cooks during break in.
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PBS NewsHour full episode April 11, 2016 

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 53:38

Monday on the NewsHour, GOP candidates ramp up their war over delegates as the nomination race tightens. Also: Amy Walter and Tamara Keith talk politics, corruption runs rampant in Kenya, documenting Syrian war crimes in real time, why poor people in rich neighborhoods live longer, remembering the civil rights legacy of Jackie Robinson and playwright Tracy Letts examines what makes us us.

White House: Blame to share for failed Libya aftermath

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The White House sought Monday to share the blame for the failed aftermath of the 2011 intervention in Libya, arguing the U.S. and its NATO allies asked too few questions about what would follow after dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled.
     

Newly-Formed National Guard Cannot Dispel Putin’s Multiple Insecurities

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The recent release of the “Panama Papers,” which revealed notorious cases of hidden money flows tied to the global elite, continues to cause a political stir across the world. But in Russia, this scandal was eclipsed by President Vladimir Putin’s sudden reshuffling of the law enforcement structures. The main element of this bureaucratic coup was the creation of the National Guard on the basis of the Interior Troops. And while loose ideas on reorganizing this 200,000 strong “power structure” had been floating around the Kremlin corridors since the mid-1990s, there had been no discussion of the dubious rationale for such a shakeup since 2012, so Putin’s decision came as his trademark surprise (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 7). Various special units (OMON and SOBR) from the Ministry of Interior were also incorporated into the planned National Guard, which thus becomes 400,000 strong (Rbc.ru, April 7). This sizeable army will be commanded by Victor Zolotov, who for many years was in charge of Putin’s personal security (Gazeta.ru, April 6). No official explanation was provided for the need to form this new “federal executive body“ (as Putin’s decree defines it), leaving much space for speculation about the motivations for and timing of Putin’s urge to take direct control over the “enforcers” of domestic security (see EDM, April 7).
The main loser in this reshuffle is obviously the interior ministry, which has lost the capacity to wield armed instruments of power—and much of the political influence coming from such muscle (Rbc.ru, April 5). In compensation, it was given control over the Federal Migration Service and the Federal Drug Control Service; but these mergers bring more headaches than benefits (Vedomosti, April 6). Both services are seriously under-resourced and show scant success in performing their tasks. The head of the latter service, Victor Ivanov, a veteran among Russia’s security services personnel (siloviki), was tipped to become a deputy to Interior Minister Victor Kolokoltsev. But according to well-informed rumors, he was bluntly refused (Kommersant, April 7).
The emergence of the National Guard, with its privileged access to the Kremlin, is also a challenge to the Ministry of Defense, which certainly controls greater armed capabilities but has thus been given a clear message that in case of a domestic emergency, its tanks would be subordinated to “Pretorian” commanders. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gained much profile due to the swift deployment of “little green men” to Crimea, in March 2014, as well as the perfectly executed intervention in Syria. Therefore, public opinion awards him the highest degree of trust after Putin (Levada.ru, March 30). Shoigu is an experienced courtier and knows how to demonstrate loyalty, but Putin recognizes him to be his own man with quite a large entourage of devoted followers (particularly in the Ministry of Emergencies) and solid support in the officer corps. The aging commander-in-chief cannot afford another politician to develop an independent power base. So in part, the National Guard is supposed to counter-balance Shoigu’s empowerment and to check his ambitions (Kasparov.ru, April 6).
Even deeper hidden is the message of Putin’s dissatisfaction with the Federal Security Service (FSB), which used to be his most favored “power structure” and the main source of cadre for his administration. Former head of the FSB Nikolai Patrushev is the secretary of the Security Council, which sets the agenda for foreign and domestic policies, and he is not known to be Zolotov’s friend (New Times, April 4). The FSB has many hidden channels for monitoring and controlling the interior ministry, but the National Guard will be outside such supervision (Rbc.ru, April 8). The FSB was the lead agency in the struggle against terrorism, and its director, Alexander Bortnikov, still heads the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, but Zolotov’s Guard has received its own mandate to operate against terrorist networks (Rbc.ru, April 5). Bureaucratic competition is certain to be aggravated by personal animosities; and, indeed, leaks about the Zolotov family’s conspicuous lifestyle started immediately after the announcement of his promotion (Navalny.com, April 8).
One particular twist in the complex intrigue around the newly born National Guard involves the long-simmering conflict between the FSB and Chechnya’s maverick master, Ramzan Kadyrov. The investigation of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, on February 27, 2015, uncovered trail leading to Chechnya. But Kadyrov has resolutely refused to cooperate, relying not only on his personal access to Putin but also on a particular connection with Zolotov (Svoboda.org, April 9). Putin made it clear to the FSB that Kadyrov was “off limits” and now has ruled that all the para-military Kadyrovtsy gangs are to formally come under Zolotov’s control (Novaya Gazeta, April 9). This is hardly going to make them any more disciplined or inclined to take orders from the Kremlin, but it does now make Putin responsible for any future crimes they might commit. And so, as young liberal opposition leader Ilya Yashin argues, Putin is increasingly becoming a hostage in his ties to Kadyrov (Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 25).
In the past several years, the Kadyrovtsy came in handy for Moscow in the war in Donbas and in the intervention in Syria. But their key role in the near future might be to suppress protest activities inside Russia (Novaya Gazeta, April 6). The National Guard has already started training for the forceful dispersal of street rallies (Moscow Echo, April 9). This is rather striking taking into consideration the fact that the legislative and normative acts for Zolotov’s “army” have not even been prepared yet, even if the State Duma is ready to approve any paperwork delivered by the Kremlin (Slon.ru, April 7). The political elites have good reason to expect a rise in discontent caused by economic hardship. And the avalanche of evidence of shameless corruption at the top could turn meek appeals for attention into angry riots (Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 6).
The fear of revolution might appear irrational, but the Kremlin courtiers know how a desperate stance of a small group of liberals could suddenly bring tens of thousands of protesters into Moscow’s streets. And the elites have no confidence in the opinion polls showing sky-high support for the supreme leader. Putin, meanwhile, apparently concerned about whether his order to use armed force against a new wave of protests would be followed, has placed his most trusted deputy in the position of power to execute such a command. This has aggrieved many other lieutenants, whose loyalty is a function of access to power convertible into cash flows. By upsetting this balance of power at the top, Putin likely also upset the balance of his fears; and the specter of a palace coup has grown scarier.
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US officials: The more we learn about Zika, scarier it is

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The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, The CDC asked for more money for mosquito control and to develop vaccines.

Five military leaders Republicans could draft for a run for president. (Hint: It worked before.) - Washington Post (blog)

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Washington Post (blog)

Five military leaders Republicans could draft for a run for president. (Hint: It worked before.)
Washington Post (blog)
As the Republican Party heads toward what could be a stalemated convention in Cleveland in July, they might recall how the GOP healed itself in 1952 in what was known as the “Winter of Discontent.” The Republicans drafted a military leader, Gen. Dwight D.

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The fall of Edward Lin, the Navy officer accused of espionage and hiring a prostitute

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The lieutenant commander is one of a handful of active-duty servicemembers to face espionage charges in the last few decades.
     

Our Navy Can No Longer Be Trusted 

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Latest espionage scandal reveals a service that is deeply troubled and failing in its basic national security mission
Over the weekend a sensational spy saga appeared in the media, one that the U.S. Navy managed to keep out of the headlines for the last eight months. The Department of the Navy revealed that a career officer has been sitting in a brig in Norfolk, Virginia for months, suspected of espionage on behalf of a foreign power. Although the indictment was heavily redacted, it was obvious that the accused has done serious damage to our national security, not least because the charges—including communicating secret information “relating to the national defense to representatives of a foreign government”—could carry the death penalty.
It did not take long for reporters to uncover that the country the suspect stands accused of spying for is China, and the officer in custody is himself of Chinese origin. Neither of these facts can be considered shocking by those familiar with counterintelligence. Beijing spies aggressively on the United States, especially our navy, which is the major obstacle to China achieving its strategic goals in East Asia, while they mainly stick to their ethnic milieu in espionage. Indeed, Chinese intelligence operations against America that do not involve persons of Chinese origin or extraction are very much the exception.
The accused is Edward Lin, a career Navy officer, a lieutenant commander (equivalent to a major in our other armed services) and a naval flight officer. A graduate of the Naval War College who served as a navy liaison to Congress, his career was clearly going places. Particularly troubling is the fact that Mr. Lin spent much of that career assigned to maritime reconnaissance units, in other words squadrons that fly spy planes. He was assigned to very secret special units that collect signals intelligence from modified P-3 Orion patrol aircraft. In other words, Mr. Lin had to be a goldmine for Beijing, since he could reveal highly classified information regarding what the navy and American intelligence know about China.
Read the rest at the New York Observer

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageUSG  

3:00 PM 4/11/2016 – I HAVE A BRIDGE TO SELL YOU…

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I HAVE A BRIDGE TO SELL YOU: From Brooklyn to the George Washington, a look at the history of New York Citys tunnels and bridges

US Treasury Chief: Continued US Global Economic Leadership Crucial 

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U.S. Treasury chief Jacob Lew called Monday for the United States to maintain its global economic leadership, making sure that emerging economies around the world adhere to the cooperative efforts to resolve crises that have been in place since the end of World War II. "If we want it to work for the American people, we need to embrace new players on the global economic stage and make sure they meet the standards of the system we created, and that we have a strong say in any new standards," he told the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "The worst possible outcome would be to step away from our leadership role and let others fill in behind us," he added. Lew said the United States and China, as the world's two largest economies, "have a unique responsibility to work together to advance shared prosperity, maintain a constructive global economic order, and make progress on critical challenges like climate change." Lew did not mention the current U.S. presidential campaign, in which both the leading Democratic contender, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Republican front-runner, real estate mogul Donald Trump, have attacked overseas trade deals negotiated by President Barack Obama, who leaves office next January. But Lew denounced political gridlock in Washington.  "Political brinksmanship led some to question America's capacity to meet this moment of leadership," he said. "The threat of government shutdowns and default heightened global anxieties. And Washington's inability to reach a consensus on domestic priorities such as rebuilding aging infrastructure and reforming the broken business tax code, priorities with bipartisan support, creates unnecessary risks to America's future economic strength." International cooperation He said, however, that cooperation among nations across the world "was a major reason that the global financial crisis [in 2008] never turned into a second Great Depression." He said the United States and other countries, coordinating efforts through the group of 20 leading economies and the International Monetary Fund, avoided "the downward spiral of protectionism and predatory ... policies that characterized previous eras. The world's major economies, the United States, the eurozone, Japan, and China, launched simultaneous economic stimulus programs and mobilized financial assistance to vulnerable parts of the global system." Lew said international cooperation has proved useful to U.S. interests in recent years, including the IMF response to fiscal stress caused by the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and support for Ukraine, following Russia's takeover of Crimea. "The scale and speed of assistance in both instances would not have been possible if the United States had to act alone or stitch together donor contributions,” Lew said.  "The simple fact is that international financial institutions amplify U.S. influence on the global stage." He said that global compacts forged toward the end of World War II "have produced the greatest gains in living standards in history," quadrupling per capita income since 1950. He said the accords provided "a foundation for mutual economic gains that would not have been achievable by individual countries acting on their own."

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Syrian Cease-fire Fraying; Aleppo in Regime Sights

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Rebel commanders and opposition politicians who have been battling to unseat Syrian Presidential Bashar al-Assad for five years say the cessation of hostilities brokered by the U.S. and Russia in February is on the verge of collapse, and they are readying for a regime offensive on Aleppo. Anti-Assad activists say they have recorded at least 66 breaches of the truce by the Assad regime and Russian forces over the past 48 hours, with nearly 100 people, including 7 children and 5 women, killed in government airstrikes. The cease-fire may be close to the end of its usefulness for all sides, though, and not just the government. Bassma Kodmani, one of the rebel negotiators at the Geneva peace talks set to restart later this week, warned Sunday that the last 10 days had "witnessed a serious deterioration, to the point where the cease-fire is about to collapse". Multiple breaches Both the government and anti-Assad rebels have blamed each other for breaches of the cease-fire. The regime also has been accused by U.N. officials of blocking international aid from going to some strategic rebel-held towns. In the past 48 hours there has been a noticeable surge in fighting on all points of the compass, with all the warring parties in the country involved. IS militants retook on Monday a strategically important town in northern Syria that was lost to rebel forces just last week. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-rebel monitoring group, reported that after fierce clashes, al-Rai, close to the border with Turkey, was overrun. Since the end of March, rebel factions have seized a dozen IS-held villages along the Syrian-Turkish border. According to the Syrian Observatory's director, Rami Abdul Rahman, the lack of air cover from the U.S.-led international coalition was to blame for the rebels’ failure to hold the town. IS was not included in the cessation of hostilities, which took effect on February 27. Rebel factions, along with al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, launched offensives Monday in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, where they seized a hilltop. The coastal province of Latakia is the stronghold of Assad’s minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. In Hama the rebel focus has been on Syrian government positions in the Sahl al-Ghab plains, east of Latakia. Both sides claimed to have made advances, with regime and Russian warplanes mounting ferocious airstrikes. In the southern Aleppo countryside regime warplanes launched more than 40 airstrikes, according to political activists, as rebel and al-Nusra fighters made advances around Zitan and Berneh in an attempt to forestall a government offensive on the city of Aleppo itself. On Sunday, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Haiqi told Russian news networks the regime is preparing a major operation to retake the rebel-controlled parts of the city of Aleppo. Syria’s one-time commercial capital which has been divided into government and rebel zones since 2012. It was the prospect of a regime siege of the Aleppo rebels that added urgency in February to Western efforts to secure a cessation of hostilities. “We, together with our Russian partners, are preparing for an operation to liberate Aleppo and to block all illegal armed groups which have not joined or have broken the cease-fire deal,” Wael al-Halaki was quoted as saying by TASS news agency. Dmitry Sablin, a Russian lawmaker, told RIA news agency “Russian aviation will help the Syrian army's ground offensive operation.” Russian offensive On Monday regime and Russian warplanes mounted several strikes on rebel districts, including al-Salhin, al-Maysar, Ba’edin, Bani Zaid and al-Shaqif. There also were several regime air-raids on Handarat, al-Mallah, and the Castillo road north of Aleppo — key supply routes for the rebels in Aleppo. Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, “in Aleppo there is a real collapse of the truce.” Al-Haiqi was quoted as saying that a successful regime offensive on the rebels in Aleppo would allow government forces to advance to the east toward Islamic State-held territory, and he cited the province of Deir ez-Zor, where on Sunday the U.N.’s World Food Program carried out its first ever successful high-altitude airdrop, to deliver 20 tons of food aid. The upsurge in fighting is adding to the challenges facing the U.N., according to special envoy Staffan de Mistura, who held talks Monday in the Syrian capital. In a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem, de Mistura urged the Assad government to abide by the truce and allow more humanitarian aid access. “We did raise and discuss the importance of protecting and maintaining and supporting the cessation of hostilities, which is, as you know, fragile but is there," de Mistura told reporters in Damascus. Assad's future A total breakdown in the cease-fire would auger badly for the resumption of peace talks on Wednesday. There has been little progress made with negotiations so far, with the major stumbling block being the future of President Assad. The rebels insist he has to go and should play no part in any transition government. With Assad’s battlefield position strengthened, thanks to Russia’s military intervention that started in earnest last year, there are no signs of any weakening of support from the regime’s foreign allies. A top Iranian official told Iran TV this past weekend that Assad should serve out his term and be allowed to run in a presidential election “as any Syrian.” An adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had asked "Iran to help so that Bashar Assad leaves. Ali Akbar Velayati said, "We should ask them: ‘What does this have to do with you? Shouldn't the Syrian people decide?’” Velayati said for Iran, the Western precondition of Assad going is “a red line for us."

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Russian Opposition Picks Holes In State TV 'Exposé' Of Navalny 

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Opposition activists say a state TV program claiming that Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny is an agent of the West is riddled with errors that strongly suggest the charges it levels are fabricated.

Editorial: Europe’s Urgent Security Challenge

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Long after 9/11, attitudes and structures in Europe still impede counterterrorism cooperation.









Saudi King Visits Turkey in Sign of Improving Relations

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Relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have deepened over their cooperation in the Syrian civil war and their concerns over rising Iranian power. Saudi King Salman arrived in the capital Ankara with an entourage numbering in the hundreds.  It is the first visit to Turkey by Salman since being crowned in January 2015. Relations between the two countries have markedly improved in the past few years.   Visiting scholar of the Carnegie Institute Sinan Ulgen says the two countries' shared objectives over Syria are the main driving force behind deepening relations. "The Kingdom has supported the agenda of regime change in Syria.  Given that Turkey is finding it difficult to get additional support in the region for its objectives in Syria, the relationship with Saudi Arabia has become much more critical," said Ulgen. Both countries are among the strongest backers of the Syrian opposition, and the conflict is expected to top the agenda of talks between the Saudi king and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace. The deepening relations have extended to military cooperation with Turkish forces participating in joint exercises in February. Steps are reportedly expected to be taken in formalize ties with the creation of a high level strategic council. Economic ties are also on the agenda with a large trade delegation accompanying the Saudi king.  Last year bilateral trade was nearly $6 billion. Until recently Erdogan’s strong backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region has been a point of tension between the countries. But international relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University says the improvement in ties has accelerated following last year’s death of Saudi King Abdullah. "Salman decided that the Brotherhood was not as a big enemy as Abdullah made them out to be.  So there was some softening there.  And I think the Turkish side convinced them there are common interests.  And I think Iran just concentrates the minds," said Ozel. Observers say both leaders are concerned with the growing influence of Iran in the region, which is predicted to continue with the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran. Tensions are exacerbated by Tehran’s strong backing of the Syrian regime. But Riyadh’s strong support of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi remains a thorn in relations with Ankara. Erdogan strongly backs the deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and is a staunch critic of Sissi.  Salman comes to Turkey after visiting Cairo, and observers say improving relations between the Egyptian and Turkish leaders is a priority of his meetings with Erdogan.

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April 11, 2016

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

What's Hiding Behind Russia's Calls for Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh

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The presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan – Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Ilham Aliyev, respectively -- are planning to hold security talks in Baku soon. While no further details of the planned meeting have been announced, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week in a meeting in Baku that security cooperation in the Caspian Sea region, which he said has become a "corridor" for the "trafficking" of terrorists, will top the meeting’s agenda. The announcement of the Putin-Rouhani-Aliyev summit followed a rapid escalation of the “frozen conflict” between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which officially is a part of Azerbaijan. Since the end of separatist war in 1994, the region has de facto been under the control of the local Armenian forces and the Armenian military, and low-level armed clashes have occasionally broken out. Moscow and Tehran are facilitating the peace talks between the warring sides as Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of violating the cease-fire, reached last week after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Lavrov spoke by telephone. The United States encouraged Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume peace talks and avoid further escalation. History of conflict The fighting that erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh last weekend is the worst outbreak of violence in the history of the conflict. According to The Associated Press, at least 64 people were killed in the fighting. Since the emergence of the conflict in 1994, Russia has been a key member of the Minsk group, an international body created to provide a “road map” for peace in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Minsk group showed little success, and the group’s format was gradually marginalized, at least in part due to Moscow’s attempt to “sabotage” the efforts, said Paul Goble, an American expert on Russia who served as a U.S. State Department special adviser on Soviet nationality issues and Baltic affairs. “Moscow has been the prime reason why there has been no movement in the Minsk group talks," Goble said. “Moscow was happy to keep this low-grade conflict that could be used to Russia’s benefit.” Despite its public posture of being committed to resolving the conflict, he said, Moscow continues to play a double game, trying to use the recent escalation of violence to its advantage. Goble believes Russia will desert its current client state, Armenia, as soon as developments allow the Kremlin to claim credit for returning to Azerbaijan what Baku calls its “occupied territories.” “There is no doubt in my mind that, for Moscow, Azerbaijan is the prize and Armenia is the tool for achieving that,” he said, adding that Azerbaijan’s geopolitical location and rich oil resources are what interest the Kremlin.   IS allegation On April 4, one day before Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to stop fighting after several days of intense combat, LifeNews, a Russia-based TV station, aired a program alleging that Azeri forces were using Islamic State fighters in the battle in Nagorno-Karabakh. The report claimed that Azerbaijani IS militants in Syria had crossed Turkish territory to reach Azerbaijan and join the fight against the Armenians in the contested territory. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry rejected the allegations, charging on April 5 that the LifeNews report was “sabotage by Kremlin media” aimed at raising questions about Azerbaijan’s “sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability.” The ministry added that any member of a terrorist organization who attempted to enter Azerbaijan for any reason would be prosecuted. Following the LifeNews report, its TV crew in Azerbaijan was expelled from the country. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry accused the station’s employees of having arrived in Azerbaijan without accreditation, reporting false information and staging “provocations.” Secular state While more than 90 percent of Azerbaijan’s population is Muslim, the country’s constitution declares that it is a secular state, and a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that support for basing national laws on the Islamic code of sharia was lower in Azerbaijan than in any other Muslim nation in the region. Another key factor is that the vast majority of the Azeri Muslims are Shi’ites, while the IS and other extremist groups consist of Sunni Muslims. IS considers Shi’ites “not pure Muslims” and violently represses Shi’ites in areas under its controls. According to the Soufan Group, a New York City-based security consulting firm, 216 Azerbaijani citizens joined IS in Iraq and Syria, 49 of whom returned  home. Forty of the latter were reportedly arrested after returning to Azerbaijan. In an online posting a few months ago, an Azerbaijani IS fighter accused Azerbaijan’s government of harshly treating practicing Muslims. ​ “We are much criticized in Azerbaijan,” the figher said. “There is a reason why we came here. The cause is to be found in Azerbaijan itself. We are pressured and not accepted as people. The media speaks against us, calling us Wahhabis. The police shave our beards. Therefore, we decided to go to Syria.” Maxim Shevchenko, a prominent Russian journalist and editor-in-chief of the Caucasus Politics (Kavpolit) news agency, said, “The Azeri government is frequently criticized for harsh treatment of religious activists. There is no tolerance towards Islamist extremism." Station owner denounces Azerbaijan After the LifeNews TV crew was deported from Azerbaijan, the station’s founder and owner Aram Gabrielyanov, a Russian of Armenian extraction, denounced Azerbaijan’s government via Twitter, calling it “a clique of corrupt, stupid politicians, sitting in the pocket of the stupid fascist Erdogan.” Although Gabrielyanov, who is at the helm of a growing media empire in Russia, denies any ties to the Russian government, his loyalty to President Putin is no secret. In numerous interviews, he has referred to Putin as “Papa Natsii” – the father of the nation. In May 2014, Putin recognized Gabrelyanov’s contribution to Russia’s efforts against Ukraine by decorating him with the Order of Honor, which is usually reserved for those who have directly participated in combat. Some experts say Gabrelyanov’s political preferences and apparent participation in the Kremlin’s information wars cast doubt on the objectivity of LifeNews’ reporting. Journalist Shevchenko said the LifeNews report alleging that Azerbaijan is using IS militants in the fight against Armenia is “a hideous lie based on gossip.” Still, he praised the “bravery” of LifeNews’ journalists in the field. He said they “actually provided quality reporting from the both sides of the conflict zone.” Questions news report Like Shevchenko, Goble questions the veracity of the LifeNews report alleging the involvement of Azeri IS militants in the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting. “I think it was invented,” he said, noting that the Azerbaijani government is very careful “in making sure that the country’s military and law enforcement is not infected by radicalization.” “It is clear that there are people in Moscow who are interested in discrediting Azerbaijan and that was part of it,” Goble said. Two days before the sides reached a cease-fire, an IS-style video appeared on the Internet claiming to show the beheading of an Armenian Yezidi soldier by a person wearing an Azeri military uniform. In the video, which was posted on VKontakte, a Russian social network similar to Facebook, the person in the uniform is holding what appears to be a head in his hands. VOA could not verify the veracity of the video. Azerbaijani officials said it was fabricated. LifeNews, however, said the video supports its claims that IS militants are fighting on the Azeri side in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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'Business as Usual' With Russia Unlikely, NATO Leader Says - DefenseNews.com

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DefenseNews.com

'Business as Usual' With Russia Unlikely, NATO Leader Says
DefenseNews.com
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned there is little chance of a return to “business as usual” with a newly emboldened Russia. He was speaking ahead of the NATO-RussiaCouncil which will meet next week with the alliance keen to resume ...
Planning next steps for Canada-Russia relationsOpenCanada
NATO-Russia: A step towards rapprochement?Deutsche Welle
Russia-NATO Relations 2016: First Meeting Since Ukraine Crisis Will Not Be 'Business As Usual'International Business Times
CityMetric
all 9 news articles »

What's Hiding Behind Russia's Calls for Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh - Voice of America

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Voice of America

What's Hiding Behind Russia's Calls for Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
Voice of America
The presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan – Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Ilham Aliyev, respectively -- are planning to hold security talks in Baku soon. While no further details of the planned meeting have been announced, Russian Foreign ...

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US Officials Sound Warning on Zika: 'Scarier Than We Thought'

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U.S. health officials say that the more researchers learn about Zika, the more concerned they are about the neurological effects and long-term complications from the virus. "Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we thought," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said. Schuchat joined National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci at Monday's White House press briefing, outlining new findings that show Zika is linked to a broader set of pregnancy complications that go beyond the much-reported microcephaly. "[Studies show] It has a very strong propensity to destroy tissue, which could explain why besides interfering with the development of a fetus, it might directly attack brain tissue even when the fetus is later on in the period of gestation," Fauci said. Officials noted concern about the spread of the disease with "hundreds of thousands" of potential cases in Puerto Rico, while calling on Congress to approve a $1.9 billion emergency funding request to fight Zika. "If we don't get the money that the president has asked for, we are not going to be able to take it to the point where we actually accomplish what we need to do," Fauci said. "We really don't have what we need." The NIAID director said health officials are doing what they can by transferring funds from other areas. Redirecting funds Last week, the White House announced it would redirect $589 million in funds, the majority from existing Ebola resources, to fight the spread of the Zika virus. Officials are also urging Congress to replenish the redirected funds from the Ebola response. "We also feel a sense of urgency about Ebola and the global health security agenda. Ebola is still circulating in Liberia and Guinea, and many of the vulnerable countries in Africa are having outbreaks right now," Schuchat said. “We have to be, as a country, ready to support response to more than one outbreak at a time." White House officials have warned that without the funding, the U.S. risks the ability to properly respond to the Zika virus, including delays in mosquito control and surveillance, diagnostic testing and vaccine development. U.S. numbers There are at least 672 confirmed cases of Zika in the United States, including 64 pregnant women. One Zika-related case of microcephaly has been confirmed in the state of Hawaii. Officials say local transmission is currently centered in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. But they believe there will likely be local transmission in the continental United States in the coming months. "I don't expect there to be large outbreaks in the continental U.S.,” Schuchat told White House reporters Monday. “I can't give a number to how many cases, but I can say that we can't assume that we are not going to have a big problem." About 40 million people travel yearly between the continental U.S. and Zika-affected countries. The administration says that as of last week, 33 countries and territories in the Americas reported active Zika transmission. The administration's efforts are focused on Puerto Rico, with 31 personnel from the Centers for Disease Control on the ground and a dengue field office converted to handle the Zika response — including mosquito control and surveillance and the education of pregnant women. Some 5,000 kits have been distributed to pregnant women in areas where the virus is already spreading, Schuchat says. The kits include insect repellant, information on self-protection, condoms and vouchers for screening materials to keep mosquitoes outside the home.

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US limits training in Ukraine to avoid provoking Russia in the region - USA TODAY

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USA TODAY

US limits training in Ukraine to avoid provoking Russia in the region
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The White House has boosted aid for Ukrainian forces battling Russian-backed separatists but limits training to mainly defensive tactics, triggering criticism the policy is too cautious to blunt President Vladimir Putin's aggressive moves ...

The Daily Vertical: Is Putin Turning Inward? 

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The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
A transcript of today’s Daily Vertical can be found here.

Comedian’s Takedown of Turkish President Tests Free Speech in Germany 

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Turkey has asked Germany to prosecute a comedian in accordance with a little-known German law on insulting foreign leaders, placing Chancellor Angela Merkel in a bind.









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Hundreds of Protesters Arrested at US Capitol

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Police have arrested more than 400 protesters who were demonstrating by the U.S. Capitol in Washington against the role of money in politics, saying the protesters engaged in "unlawful demonstration activity." Video of the protest Monday showed a police officer saying "If you don't want to be arrested, move on back to 1st street." U.S. Capitol Police said the demonstrators are being processed using mass arrest procedures. Some of the protestors were led away from the east front of the Capitol in plastic handcuffs. The protest was organized by a coalition of groups calling itself "Democracy Spring" which said on its website that the demonstration was held "to demand Congress take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice." The demonstrators chanted slogans like "money out of politics." Some of them had marched from Philadelphia to Washington over the past week.

Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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TheWall Street Journalreportsthat“the Syrian regime, emboldened by battlefield victories, is pushing a political solution to end the war that keeps President Bashar al-Assad in power, in defiance of the agenda supported by Russia, his vital ally.”The move comes despite what, a Kremlin advisorsuggested, was Russia’s attempt “to wield its leverage over Mr. Assad and get him to take the peace negotiations more seriously by announcing last month it was pulling out some of its troops from Syria.”
Alongside the Syrian parliamentary elections scheduled for Wednesday, Assad’s representatives will likely push for a resolution to the conflict on the president’s terms at the peace talks in Geneva expected to begin on the same day. With the Assad regime opposing the notion of a transitional government,the regime’s political solution “is a nonstarter for the mainstay opposition and contravenes the road map to end the war outlined in a United Nations Security Council resolution passed in December with Russia’s support.”
Meanwhile, Russia and Syria arepreparingjoint efforts to retake Aleppo from rebel forces as the cessation of hostilities looks increasingly tenuous.Reuters writes that February ceasefire agreement “brokered by Russia and the United States came under new strain as government and rebel forces fought near Aleppo.”
Days after the Islamic State abducted 300 cement workers near Damascus, the militant groupreleasedmost of the workers but killed four among them who were reportedly members of the minority Druze sect and continue to hold 20 pro-government gunmen.The Associated Press reports that “the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency said most of the 300 were released after questioning to determine their religion and whether they support the government.”
After intense fighting,Islamic State militantsretookthe border town of al Rai from Turkish-backed rebels who had captured it on Thursday.The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that “the fact that the rebels could not hold on to al-Rai shows that it is impossible to maintain an advance against IS without adequate air cover.” Elsewhere in Syria, according to theBBC, 21 Syrian Christians were killed by the Islamic State in the town of al Qaryatain which was retaken by Syrian and allied forces last week.
Iraqi security forcespushedthe Islamic State out of Hit, a western city in the Anbar province.As part of a wider effort to uproot jihadist militants from their strongholds in the western part of the province, government forces have been fighting to liberate the town since it was captured by the Islamic State in October 2014. Meanwhile, in his first visit to the country in two years,Secretary of State John Kerry made anunannounced stopin Baghdad on Friday during which he promised continued U.S. support in the fight against the Islamic State and expressed support for the country’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.According to the New York Times, Secretary Kerry “made a point of praising Mr. Abadi, saying the prime minister had showed ‘critical leadership’ despite grave difficulties” and “called for sectarian and political unity behind the government, saying it was critical to rolling back the Islamic State.”
Over in Yemen, the cessation of hostilities which began at midnight local time on Monday morning has beenmarredby fightingin the besieged southwest city of Taiz as well as sporadic gunfire elsewhere in the country. According toReuters, “the [Yemeni] government accused Houthis of using heavy artillery within moments of the start of the truce, while the Houthis said coalition warplanes staged three strikes on the city.” ReutersaddsthatUnited Nations special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed “welcomed the start of a tentative truce in the country's year-old conflict on Monday and said peace talks due to start later this month would require difficult compromises for all sides.”He expressed hope that the cessation of hostilities would allow those affected by the conflict to receive humanitarian access and an opportunity to build confidence on both sides of theconflictahead of peace talks set to begin in Kuwait next week.
A suicide bomb left at least 12 Afghan army recruits dead in the country's Nangarhar Province. A bus carrying recruits was travelling to Kabul from Jalalabad. TheNew York Timeswritesthat "While no group has taken responsibility for Monday’s attack, the targeting of the recruitment centers has long been a Taliban strategy."
During another unannounced visit,John Kerryexpressedconfidence in Afghanistan's unity government, saying that “there is no end to this agreement at the end of two years or in six months from now.”The power-sharing government has faced continued challenges since the heavily contested elections between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. According to theTimes, “President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who serves as the government’s chief executive, have failed to put aside their hard feelings, even as the Taliban have seized more territory and a bleak economic outlook has prompted an exodus” of young migrants en route to Europe.Kerryurgedleaders of the unity government to put aside “factional divisions,” arguing that “democracy requires credible institutions” and, more specifically, “people from different political, ethnic and geographic factions to be able to come together and work toward a common good.”In his first visit to the country since 2014, Kerry also suggested that the country’s government needed to demonstrate its ability ahead of conferences which will determine future levels of international support to Afghanistan, and the Associated Press writes that “NATO and international donor summits could define long-term security and aid commitments critical to the Afghan government's survival.”
Over the weekend,Belgium revealed that the terrorists behind the March 22 attacks in Brussels had initially planned to attack France instead.Citing the Belgian federal prosecutor, theWashington Posttells usthat members of the Islamic State-affiliated terrorist cell behind the Paris attacks “were apparently ‘surprised by the speed of the progress in the ongoing investigation’ and decided to attack locally instead.”TheTimesreports that therevelationhas “only heightened the concern among police and intelligence agencies that shadowy Islamic State networks could unleash new attacks at any time, not only in France and Belgium but in other European capitals.”Despite battlefield victories against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, U.S. and European officials are increasingly concerned about threats posed by the group across Europe. TheTimeswrites that “the scale of the Islamic State’s operations in Europe are still not known, but they appear to be larger and more layered than investigators at first realized” and suggests that “if the Paris and Brussels attacks are any model, the plotters will rely on local criminal networks in addition to committed extremists.” TheTimesalsosheds lighton Khalid Zerkani, a so-called mentor to aspiring jihadis in Brussels. According to the Belgian Federal Prosecutor, “Mr. Zerkani has perverted an entire generation of youngsters, particularly in the Molenbeek neighborhood.”
Reutersreportsthat“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has quietly established a constitutional court that analysts say concentrates more power in his hands and may allow him to sideline the Islamist group Hamas in the event of a succession struggle.”The nine-member court was established last week and will have supremacy over all lower courts. Critics worry that the court could deepen political divisions across Palestine, suggesting that the court “is packed with jurists from Abbas's Fatah party,” while Fatah maintains that the court is independent of the president. Reuters adds that “Abbas's decision comes at a time of worsening splits between Fatah and Hamas and as questions are raised about what will happen when the president steps down or if he were to die in office without a successor.”
Iran says that Russia hasdeliveredthe first part of the S-300 surface-to-air defense system.After the initial Russian sale was blocked in 2010 over international pressure related to Iran’s nuclear program, Russia decided to go ahead with the deal in April 2015 when the interim agreement that paved the way for July's full nuclear deal was signed.
Five people werekilledwhen a bomb exploded outside of a restaurant in Mogadishu in an attackclaimedby al Shabab.Earlier in the day, Hassan Hanafi Haji, an al Shabab media liaison, was executed in the Somali capital for his role in the killing of five journalists.
According to theWall Street Journal,the Department of Justicecontinuesto seek a court order to force Apple “to help unlock an iPhone seized as part of a New York drug investigation,” in what is yet “another sign the fight between Washington and Silicon Valley over encryption is far from over.”Apple’s lawyers are less than impressed over the demand and have “fired back that they intend to press the federal prosecutors to explain exactly why they can’t get into the iPhone on their own and want the names of any companies that are helping with the effort,” pointing to the FBI’s recent success in unlocking the iPhone connected to the San Bernardino investigation.
A Navy Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, is facing "charges of espionage, attempted espionage and prostitution,"according to thePost. Lin, a Taiwanese-born, naturalized U.S. citizen, has beenaccusedof passing classified information to China or Taiwan. ThePostwrites that“a heavily redacted charge sheet released by the Navy states that the officer faces two specifications of espionage and three specifications of attempted espionage” and has been accused of “communicating secret information ‘with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation,’”in addition to “hiring a prostitute for sex, committing adultery by having sex with a woman who was not his wife, not disclosing foreign travel to the U.S. government as required, and lying about it after the fact.” ABC Newsaddsthat “Lin was arrested eight months ago but his case did not become public until a pre-trial hearing this past Friday that will determine whether he will face a court martial.”
Speaking in an interview with NBC News,CIA Director John Brennansaidthat the CIA would not utilize waterboarding even under presidential orders.Brennanclaimedthat “I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” rebuking suggestions made by GOP frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz that they would be in favor of using the interrogation method. On the campaign trail, Trump has suggested that he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” while Cruz has promised to “use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.” Trumpfired back, calling Brennan's vow against waterboarding "ridiculous."
In an interview with Fox News,President Obama suggested that “failing to prepare for the aftermath of the ousting of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi was the worst mistake of his presidency,”according to theBBC. When asked about his worst mistake in office, the President said that it was “probably failing to plan for the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya.”
TheHilltells usthatthe White House is considering declassifying documents, known as the "28 pages," which could reveal "a Saudi support network for the hijackers involved in the 9/11 terror attacks."The documents show the network of individuals who supported the 9/11 hijackers during their time in the United States, according to former Senator Bob Graham who spoke on a60 Minutes segmentabout the “28 pages.”
TheHillreportsthatSen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has filed an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill “that would prohibit using U.S. airspace to fly a Guantanamo Bay detainee from the Cuban facility into the United States.”Gardner cites “grave concerns” on the part of his constituents over the possibility of transferring detainees to U.S. soil.
Parting Shot:In a fascinating long-read,Ben Taubtakes usinto how war-crimes investigators from the Commission for International Justice and Accountability obtained top-secret documents linking the Assad regime to “to mass torture and killings.”As the Assad regime continues to resist calls for a transitional government in peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, Taub writes that the work of CIJA has “culminated in a four-hundred-page legal brief that links the systematic torture and murder of tens of thousands of Syrians to a written policy approved by President Bashar al-Assad.”
ICYMI: Yesterday, onLawfare
Joshua Rovner and Caitlin Talmadgearguedthat defeating the Islamic State in Mosul will not solve the U.S. problem in Iraq.
Benpostedthis week'sLawfare Podcast, which features Eric Schwartz in a discussion on refugee policy and the Syrian civil war.
AlexwroteThe Week That Was.
Daniel Seversontook a lookat French President François Hollande's decision to drop a constitutional amendment.
Benshareda video of Jack's interview of Adam Segal from theHoover Book Soiree.
Julian Kuaskedif a "face-saving compromise" is possible between the United States and China in the South China Sea.
Benpostedthe “What's App with That?” Edition of theRational Security Podcast.
Susansharedthe draft of the highly anticipated Feinstein-Burr encryption bill.
Benprovidedus with the video and transcript of State Department legal advisor Brian Egan's ASIL speech. Rita Siemion and Heather Brandongaveus their thoughts on Egan's speech.
Also related to Egan's speech, Jackrespondedto Daniel Bethlehem's critique of his position on Obama’s embrace of the Bush preemption principle.
Chris Mirasolawrotethe latest edition ofWater Wars, noting the continued tension between Vietnam and China over territorial waters.
Robert Chesney and Steve SlicksharedUT-Austin's “Intelligence in American Society” conference which featured Lisa Monaco. Benprovidedthe text of her remarks at the conference.
Elena Chachkoconsideredthe power of dissent in Israel, following the recent decisions concerning the government’s use of home demolitions for counterterrorism purpose.
Emailthe Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitterandFacebookfor additional commentary on these issues.Sign upto receiveLawfarein your inbox. Visit ourEvents Calendarto learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on ourJob Board.
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CDC: Zika Virus Scarier Than We Thought - YouTube

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Published on Apr 11, 2016
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Puerto Rico could see "hundreds of thousands of cases of Zika virus." Officials also said the rest of the country needs to be prepared for possible outbreaks. (April 11)

U.N. lifts secrecy in race for next chief, but backroom deal may still prevail

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - In a departure from 70 years of secrecy, candidates for United Nations secretary-general will this week make campaign-style pitches to the General Assembly as it hopes to influence the private Security Council poll that picks the winner.
  

Trump slams 'corrupt' GOP nomination process

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 06:46

Strategy Room: Jessica Tarlov and Brian Morgenstern discuss Trump's war on the nominating process amid chatter about other 'options' like Paul Ryan and Gen. James Mattis

Twin bombings raise fears of new Taliban offensive

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From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 00:48

A suicide bomber kills at least 12 army recruits on a bus in eastern Afghanistan, hours after a similar attack killed two people in the capital Kabul. Mana Rabiee reports.
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More updates and breaking news: http://smarturl.it/BreakingNews
Reuters tells the world's stories like no one else. As the largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters provides coverage around the globe and across topics including business, financial, national, and international news. For over 160 years, Reuters has maintained its reputation for speed, accuracy, and impact while providing exclusives, incisive commentary and forward-looking analysis.
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Что говорят на Западе об отставке Яценюка

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From: deutschewellerussian
Duration: 01:56

Многие европейские политики уверены: формирование нового правительства - это для Украины шанс доказать свою способность к реформам. Главное, чтобы борьба за кресло премьера не привела к новым политическим распрям.
Другие видео DW на сайте http://dw.com/russian или на канале DW (на русском) в YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/deutschewellerussian

ЕС готовится к переходу на безвизовый режим с Украиной

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From: deutschewellerussian
Duration: 01:38

Несмотря на исход референдума в Нидерландах, ЕС не собирается отказываться от планов по переходу на безвизовый режим с Украиной. Однако право на работу в ЕС украинцам автоматически предоставлено не будет.
Другие видео DW на сайте http://dw.com/russian или на канале DW (на русском) в YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/deutschewellerussian

Бои за Алеппо угрожают мирным переговорам по Сирии

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From: deutschewellerussian
Duration: 02:05

Войска Асада готовятся взять Алеппо при поддержке России. Однако в этом городе находится умеренная оппозиция, и планы Дамаска могут сорвать переговоры по Сирии в Женеве.
Другие видео DW на сайте http://dw.com/russian или на канале DW (на русском) в YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/deutschewellerussian

Elephants have water fight with locals in Thailand 

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From: itnnews
Duration: 01:06

A group of colourfully painted elephants started a water fight with locals and tourists in Thailand as part of this year's Songkran water festival. Report by Sarah Duffy.

Boston Globe mocks Trump with fake headlines

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 03:33

Slams GOP presidential frontrunner with parody front page; more evidence of media bias

U.S. health officials: Zika 'scarier than we thought'

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From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 01:26

U.S. health officials say the spread and impact of the Zika virus is wider than initially anticipated, but plan to have the first vaccine candidate for the virus in September. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe
More updates and breaking news: http://smarturl.it/BreakingNews
Reuters tells the world's stories like no one else. As the largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters provides coverage around the globe and across topics including business, financial, national, and international news. For over 160 years, Reuters has maintained its reputation for speed, accuracy, and impact while providing exclusives, incisive commentary and forward-looking analysis.
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Hamlet comes to Afghanistan 

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