Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pentagon chief: US won't be intimidated by Russia's 'nuclear saber-rattling' - Business Insider Wednesday May 4th, 2016 at 10:19 AM

Pentagon chief: US won't be intimidated by Russia's 'nuclear saber-rattling' - Business Insider

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Business Insider

Pentagon chief: US won't be intimidated by Russia's 'nuclear saber-rattling'
Business Insider
"We do not seek to make Russia an enemy," Carter said at a ceremony to install a new head of the military's U.S. European Command and top NATO commander in Europe. "But make no mistake: We will defend our allies, the rules-based international order, ...
US accuses Russia of nuclear sabre-rattling, amid Nato tensionsBBC News
Defense chief blasts Russia's aggressive actions and 'saber rattling'USA TODAY
US Military Chief Urges Russia To End 'Saber-Rattling,' Move ForwardRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
U.S. News & World Report -CNSNews.com
all 211 news articles »

Exiled Tibetans: Man Detained, Tortured for Singing National Anthem 

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A father of three of was reportedly detained and tortured by security officials for singing the Tibetan national anthem at a public gathering in China's western Sichuan province. Video of the Tibetan man singing the banned anthem at a public gathering in what appeared to be a village in the Tibet Autonomous Region went viral on Wechat in April. A Tibetan monk in India who knows the man told VOA's Tibetan Service that Pema Wangchen, a single parent, was recorded singing the anthem Feb. 13, the fifth day of the Tibetan New Year, in Ogzang Township, Ganze County, Sichuan. After the video surfaced, the man was detained for 15 days before being released in early May. Choe Gyaltsen, an exiled Tibetan who is also from Ganze County, says Wangchen, whose pinky finger is now paralyzed, was possibly suspended by his smallest finger during interrogation, during which he was repeatedly told that his "family members are all criminal." Wangchen's brother, Palden Trelan, a monk from Ganze Monastery, was arrested in 2008 after he and two other monks marched through Ganze shouting "Long live the Dalai Lama," according to a Radio Free Asia report in 2015. Trelan had served seven years in prison by the time he was released May 18, 2015. This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Tibetan Service.

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US, Russia Push to Restore Syria Cease-fire - Voice of America

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Voice of America

US, Russia Push to Restore Syria Cease-fire
Voice of America
A team led by the United States, Russia and the United Nations is working to finalize a plan that could restore the cessation of hostilities in Syria, where fighting between the government and rebels could unhinge a multinational effort to fight the ...
Syria conflict: How does Russia view the endgame?Christian Science Monitor 
Russia and UN discuss new Aleppo truceThe Guardian
Kerry warns Russia to hop to it on SyriaArkansas Online
BBC News-CNN-Bloomberg
all 904 news articles »

Kerry: Countries with No Free Press Have Nothing to Brag About 

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A country without a free and independent press has nothing to brag about and nothing to teach the world, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Kerry spoke at the State Department to recognize World Press Freedom Day. "No government, whatever its pretensions or whatever its accomplishments, can fairly claim respect if its citizens are not allowed to say what they believe or denied the right to learn about events or decisions that affect their lives," Kerry said. He said the struggle between truth and outright lies is at the heart of a lot of the turbulence shaking the globe, including what is happening right now in Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea. "You will see in all of those places ... a fundamental battle to define reality,” he said. “And you will see efforts by some people to invent out of whole cloth or to obscure the truth, the facts — to cover up events that did happen and make up stories about thing that didn't." Reporting the truth is not a crime, but a badge of honor, Kerry said. He vowed that the U.S. will never stop speaking out in public and behind the scenes to defend the rights of the press and its members who have been threatened, abducted or unjustly imprisoned. To that end, the U.S. will spend another $2.5 million this year on a program to provide digital and security training to more than 750 journalists around the globe. On top of that, Kerry announced Tuesday a program to provide reporters in Southeast Asia who are likely to face "intimidation and violence" with the tools and technology to allow them to work safely. Journalists under threat "Journalists around the world, particularly in countries undergoing conflict and political repression, are under threat today like no other time in history," said Tom Malinowski, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. In a VOA interview, he said more than 70 journalists were killed around the world last year while "doing their jobs," and nearly 200 were imprisoned. "It is an epidemic that we would like to see diminished," he said. Malinowski said journalists were often most vulnerable to unlawful detentions and other human rights abuses in countries that are in crises or in conflict. He cited Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Turkey and Libya as examples of places that are especially dangerous for the press. Seven cases are highlighted at HumanRights.gov and on Twitter using the hashtag #FreethePress. China — Memetjan Abdulla: Editor for the Uyghur service of state-run China National Radio. Sentenced to life in prison in 2010 on charges of instigating ethnic riots in the Xinjian Uyghur Autonomous Region by posting on a Uyghur language website. But Radio Free Asia cited a witness at his trial who said Abdulla was jailed for briefing foreign journalists in Beijing about the riots and translating articles. Cuba — Jose Antonio Torres: Journalist for official Communist daily, Granma. Arrested in 2011 after the newspaper published his report on government mismanagement. Received 14-year prison sentence for alleged spying. Ethiopia — Woubishet Taye: Deputy editor-in-chief of Amharac-language Awramba Times. Found guilty on terrorism-related charges. A non-governmental organization said arrest followed a column he wrote critical of the ruling party. Iran — Mohammad Sedigh Kaboudvand: Human rights activist and founder of weekly publication, Payam-e-Mardom, who has been in Evin prison since 2007. Charged with acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, following reports on alleged torture in Iranian prisons and human rights abuses against Iranian Kurds Russia — Sergei Reznik: Journalist, blogger. Imprisoned since 2013 after writing articles critical of municipal and regional authorities and local corruption and abuses. Unidentified men beat him with baseball bats and shot at him a month before conviction. Sudan — Madeeha Abdallah: Editor-in-chief of El Midan newspaper. Arrested by security forces in 2015 for criticizing official policies. If convicted, could face death penalty for charges that include conspiracy, undermining constitutional order, and urging the opposition to use violence and force against government. Uzbekistan — Muhammad Bekjanov: Jailed in 1999. Received additional five-year sentence shortly before scheduled release in 2012 for allegedly violating prison rules.

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Israel: Palestinian Driver Killed, 3 Israeli Soldiers Wounded in West Bank 

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Israel says its troops shot and killed a Palestinian driver in the occupied West Bank after he rammed his vehicle into one carrying three Israeli soldiers. Palestinian health officials identified the dead man as 36-year-old Ahmed Reyad Shehada, and said the incident took place near his home town of Ramallah. A hospital spokesman told Reuters that one of the Israeli soldiers was in life-threatening condition late Tuesday. Authorities say Palestinian attacks in recent months have killed at least 28 Israelis and two U.S. citizens.  Israel says its forces have killed nearly 200 Palestinians since violence erupted late last year over rumors that Israel was planning to restrict Palestinian access to holy sites in Jerusalem.

Russia's dirty money 'is being laundered through British banks' but UK authorities ignore - Daily Mail

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Daily Mail

Russia's dirty money 'is being laundered through British banks' but UK authorities ignore
Daily Mail
Millions of pounds of 'dirty' Russian money is being laundered through British banks and firms, but authorities are refusing to investigate, MPs were told yesterday. Anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder told a select committee a Russian crime lord ...

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US weighs more troops, hi-tech weapons in Europe to counter Russia - Stars and Stripes

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Stars and Stripes

US weighs more troops, hi-tech weapons in Europe to counter Russia
Stars and Stripes
STUTTGART, Germany — Seeking to stare down any future Russian aggression, the United States is looking to deploy more troops and sophisticated weapons to Europe, the U.S. military's top officer told Foreign Policy. Already, the Pentagon has been ...

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Top Shots

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Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Why Russia resents us - Tribune-Review

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Why Russia resents us
Tribune-Review
On Friday, a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. Also in April, the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia's Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian jets. Vladimir Putin's ...

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Russian Man Dies In Custody Of U.S. Immigration Authorities

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U.S. authorities said on May 3 that a Russian man died over the weekend at a San Diego immigration detention center. The cause of death has not been determined.

Estonia Says Russian Jets 'Incredibly Reckless' In Baltics Airspace

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Russian military planes regularly violate Estonian airspace in what the former Soviet state's defense minister described on May 3 as "incredibly reckless" behavior.

U.S. Military Chief Urges Russia To End 'Saber-Rattling,' Move Forward 

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U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter urged Russia to stop "going backwards" towards the Cold War era with "saber-rattling" and aggressive actions that have put NATO on high alert.

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Zika Outbreaks Expected in Large Portion of Americas

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Some 500 million people in the Americas and the Caribbean are at risk of getting the Zika virus. So far, 37 countries and territories are reporting transmission of the virus. Peru is the latest country to report transmission. The virus is also in Saint-Barthélemy, a French territory in the Caribbean. The virus itself is largely inconsequential, but doctors and medical scientists involved in public health say getting across the message that a mild disease could be devastating to unborn babies is challenging. Zika causes microcephaly, a birth defect where the head and brain are abnormally small, but as of yet, researchers don't know what percentage of pregnant women who get the virus end up delivering babies with microcephaly. One study shows a one percent risk. Another small study puts the risk at 29 percent. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said no one knows the true risk. A much larger study is now being conducted but until the results are in, the best answer is, "We don't know," Fauci said. So far, most cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil, but cases have also been reported in Colombia, Panama, Martinique and the United States. The Zika virus is also associated with a form of paralysis called Guillian-Barre syndrome. Seven countries have reported cases of Guillian-Barre which can be fatal. The only protection against this mosquito-bourne virus is not to get bitten or not to get pregnant, as women in some countries have been advised. The problem is the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the Zika virus is hard to contain. It prefers human blood to that of animals, and it likes to live indoors. It's also a day-time biter. In many parts of the Americas, birth control is not readily available, another complicating factor. The only answer lies in the development of a vaccine. One will be tested on humans by September, but it could still be at least three years before it becomes available. Meantime, helping children born with microcephaly is expensive. Some may need lifelong care. "What we see now is the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, the Zika Incident Manager for the Pan American Health Organization. Aldighieri added that these children, even those without microcephaly but whose mothers had Zika while pregnant, will have to be followed for a period of two to four years in order to understand the extent of the damage. Microcephaly can cause blindness, physical deformities beyond small heads, and can affect the intellect.  Aldighieri and Fauci spoke at a press conference at the Pan American Health Organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Congress has not yet approved $1.9 billion in emergency funding that President Obama requested in February. Fauci said the funding "is absolutely essential." He said he had to move money from programs on malaria, influenza and tuberculosis to provide funds for Zika research. Without the additional funds, "We cannot do the job that needs to be done." he said. Fauci expects the virus to be transmitted in the U.S., but he also said Zika is likely to be contained such as similar viruses like dengue and chikungunya have been contained in the past.

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Obama Prepares to Designate 1st National Monument to Gay Rights 

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President Barack Obama is poised to designate the Stonewall Inn in New York City as the birthplace of America's modern gay liberation movement. Sources close to the Obama administration's plans say the president envisions a national monument where a 1969 uprising signaled what most believe to be the start of the gay rights movement. The Washington Post says federal officials, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and Congressman Jerrold Nadler will host a public forum May 9 to solicit feedback on the proposal. The report says Obama is prepared to designate the site as soon as next month. The 1969 Stonewall protests spanned six days, sparked by a police raid on the tavern, which was frequented by gay men.  The raid sparked a spontaneous riot by bystanders and those detained by police. Observers say the decision to recognize Stonewall and its seminal role in the gay rights movement is widely supported within the Obama administration. Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would allow the transfer of the privately held Stonewall site to the federal government, if it designated as a monument.

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US Ally Japan Pursues Russian Friendship - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

US Ally Japan Pursues Russian Friendship
Wall Street Journal
TOKYO—At a time when the U.S. is pressing tight sanctions on Russia, it might seem quixotic for America's closest ally in the Pacific to seek closer ties with Vladimir Putin. But that is the balancing act Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying ... 
Russia offers free land to all citizens willing to move to the Far EastWashington Post
Miller and Shimizu -- Improving Japan-Russia tiesNikkei Asian Review
Putin just made a major change to Russian law enforcementBusiness Insider
BBC News-The Moscow Times (registration)
all 33 news articles »

Цена парада: как Москва отметит 9 Мая и во сколько это обойдется - РБК

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РБК

Цена парада: как Москва отметит 9 Мая и во сколько это обойдется
РБК
Празднование 71-летия Победы на Красной площади пройдет без прошлогоднего размаха: техники и военнослужащих будет меньше, чем в год юбилея. К концу апреля на парад было разыграно тендеров на 210 млн руб. Военный парад на Красной площади, посвященный 71-й ...
СМИ посчитали, сколько в этом году потратят на парад ПобедыМосковский комсомолец
Празднование Победы на Красной площади обойдется в 210 млн рублейForbes Россия
Праздничные мероприятия на Красной площади будут самыми скромными за последние три годаРадиостанция ЭХО МОСКВЫ
Slon.ru - Редакция деловых новостей -Новости 24 часа - MyNewsOnline24.ru -Новости Самары -NewsEra.ru - ЭРА Новостей
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Заместители министра обороны РФ получили звание Героя России за операцию в Сирии - Вести.Ru

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Вести.Ru

Заместители министра обороны РФ получили звание Героя России за операцию в Сирии
Вести.Ru
За организацию операции в Сирии начальник Генерального штаба Вооруженных сил России генерал армии Валерий Герасимов и заместитель министра обороны РФ Дмитрий Булгаков удостоены звания Героя России. Также звание Героя России было присвоено посмертно бывшему ...
СМИ России: Сирия добавила героевBBC Russian
СМИ узнали о присвоении заместителям Шойгу звания Героя России за СириюLenta.ru
«Ъ»: Путин присвоил звание Героя России двум заместителям Шойгу за СириюГазета.Ru
Интерфакс -Ведомости -Московский комсомолец -ИА REGNUM
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Trump's Shocking Rise Leaves Clinton Favored, Republicans Facing a Choice 

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When Donald Trump entered the Republican presidential race, national polls showed him trailing a large group of seasoned politicians who served multiple terms as state governors or were sitting U.S. senators.  On Tuesday night, he completed a 10-month march through them all and set up a likely general election matchup with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Trump has shocked the entire political establishment, and this is not just the Republican establishment, it’s the commentators, the folks who think they know what’s going on," opined Paul Helmke, a professor at Indiana University Bloomington's School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  "This is really an amazing story.  It’s a scary story to a lot of people, but he’s tapped into something and the Indiana race showed it." Trump's victory in the Indiana primary put him in a position where he can earn enough delegates to clinch the party's nomination before its convention in July.  Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich had been trying to earn every possible delegate in a bid to stop Trump, but their failure led to Cruz dropping out of the race Tuesday night.  Kasich has no chance of earning a majority of delegates and is still competing in hopes of somehow forcing an open convention. "I think what’s happened is that a lot of folks think that government isn't working for them, government isn't effective anymore, they're angry, they want somebody who promises that they can make a difference, and Trump’s somebody who says I can make the deal, I can make this happen, and I think that’s what he’s tapping into," Helmke told VOA.   Clinton vs Sanders Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who faces long odds of catching Clinton in the Democratic race, also won in Indiana as he presses on in his campaign vowing to remain until the end. Helmke said Sanders is in a way the Democratic mirror to Trump, and that his ability to win in Indiana shows that Clinton has not quite wrapped up the nomination.  He also described a distinct difference in how members of each party view their choices. "I think a lot of the Democrats still think that Clinton is somebody they can go to if Sanders drops out eventually or isn't the nominee.  I think part of Cruz’s problem is a lot of people who didn't like Trump didn't like Cruz either." Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the party's presumptive nominee Tuesday night and said the party needs to unite to defeat Clinton.   Matt Dallek, an assistant professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, said the critical question in this election is the extent to which Republicans follow that rallying call to Trump. "The chairman of the RNC coming out and saying he’s the presumptive nominee [is] not insignificant, but that doesn't necessarily persuade Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz and John Kasich and the Lindsey Grahams of the world to endorse him or to certainly appear on the convention stage," Dallek told VOA.  "It’s hard to imagine Ted Cruz endorsing him after all of the things that he said about Trump." Graham has been a particularly outspoken opponent of Trump, who trails Clinton in general election polls. "If we nominate Trump, we will getdestroyed ... and we will deserve it," Graham tweeted Tuesday.  WATCH:  Ted Cruz suspends campaign Dallek said one thing to watch during the rest of the campaign is what happens with Republicans in the House and Senate who are facing competitive races of their own and have to decide whether to stand by Trump or distance themselves from him. In the past few weeks Clinton has included in her campaign speeches appeals to Sanders supporters, telling them there is much more that unites them than divides them going forward.  Dallek said Clinton, while ahead in polls, is a "deeply flawed candidate" who has to continue those overtures. "I think that if Republicans had nominated John Kasich or Rubio she would be the underdog right now and the numbers would be flipped, and that she would probably lose," he said. Dallek added that he does not want to underestimate the challenges facing the Clinton campaign, but that at this point he would much rather be the head of the Democratic Party than the head of the Republican Party. ​The state primaries and caucuses largely involve people who identify themselves as members of the two parties, but more important for the general election is the larger chunk of independent voters who lie in between. "Independents are going to be crucial here," Helmke said.  "There’s a lot of people who are unhappy with government, are very concerned about the future of the country, concerned whether there’s going to be jobs for themselves or for their children or their grandchildren, concerned about America’s role in the world, concerned about terrorism and safety, and those are the voters who could go either way." WATCH: Political correspondent Jim Malone summarizes the primary: Looking forward Dallek said it will be difficult for Trump to run a campaign that moves away from the misogynistic, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim messages that got him to the Republican nomination. "If Trump suddenly becomes a very different candidate and a very different person, has a kind of personality transplant, then you could potentially see him appealing to moderates and independents and some of the Republicans who are deeply opposed to him.  But if he were to do that, then he would dilute and probably destroy in a sense the things that got him here and he would look like just another feckless politician who is trying to change his stripes and his message." The general election campaigns will not officially begin until each party holds its convention in July.  Before then, nine more states will hold their contests and allocate the remaining delegates. 

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Приговорившая Бута к 25 годам судья назвала этот срок чрезмерным - РБК

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РБК

Приговорившая Бута к 25 годам судья назвала этот срок чрезмерным
РБК
Федеральный судья Шира Шейндлин, приговорившая Виктора Бута к 25 годам тюрьмы, заявила, что считает этот срок чрезмерным. По ее словам, это самое мягкое решение, которое она могла вынести. Приговор, вынесенный россиянину Виктору Буту в 2012 году, является чрезмерным ...
Судья в США назвала свой приговор Буту «неадекватным»Росбалт.RU
Судья, вынесшая приговор Буту, назвала собственный вердикт "неадекватным"Вести.Ru
Приговорившая Бута судья назвала чрезмерным назначенный ему срокВедомости
Lenta.ru -Российская Газета -Газета.Ru -Московский комсомолец
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US weighs more troops, hi-tech weapons in Europe to counter Russia - Stars and Stripes

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Stars and Stripes

US weighs more troops, hi-tech weapons in Europe to counter Russia
Stars and Stripes
STUTTGART, Germany — Seeking to stare down any future Russian aggression, the United States is looking to deploy more troops and sophisticated weapons to Europe, the U.S. military's top officer told Foreign Policy. Already, the Pentagon has been ...

Syrian civil war: Russia, US to work together in Geneva - CNN

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CNN

Syrian civil war: Russia, US to work together in Geneva
CNN
Russia also denied involvement. Days later, rocket attacks targeting government-held areas in Aleppo killed at least 17 people Monday, state media reported. Fatalities included people killed at al-Dhabit hospital, state media and the Syrian Observatory ...
US and Russia Near Agreement to Restore Ceasefire in AleppoForeign Policy (blog)
Kerry warns Russia to hop to it on SyriaArkansas Online
US, Russia Push to Restore Syria Cease-fireVoice of America
The Guardian -Christian Science Monitor -BBC News
all 976 news articles »

Russia, US to work together to monitor Syria in Geneva - WMUR Manchester

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WMUR Manchester

Russia, US to work together to monitor Syria in Geneva
WMUR Manchester
U.S. and Russian military members will work together at a monitoring center in Geneva, Switzerland to keep tabs on the so-called cessation of hostilities in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. "Now we will have a permanent monitoring ...
US, Russia Push to Restore Syria Cease-fireVoice of America
Syria conflict: How does Russia view the endgame?Christian Science Monitor
Russia and UN discuss new Aleppo truceThe Guardian
BBC News -Bloomberg -Wall Street Journal
all 875 news articles »

Саперы ЮВО приступили к разминированию полигонов в Чеченской Республике

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До начала летнего периода обучения саперам предстоит очистить от неразорвавшихся боеприпасов территорию общей площадью более 1,5 тыс. га. К работам привлечено свыше 300 военнослужащих, задействовано около 20 единиц специальной техники.

US Family Mourns 8 Victims as Authorities Probe 'Calculated Massacre' 

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A family and community in Ohio closed one chapter in a brutal mass killing Tuesday with funerals for the last six people from a group of eight relatives found dead last month from gunshot wounds. Still open is the investigation into who killed them. The victims, who ranged in age from 16 to 44 years old, are all members of the Rhoden family who lived near the town of Piketon in southern Ohio.  They were killed in four separate homes, while three young children were left unharmed. "This is an old-fashioned, cold-blooded, calculated massacre of eight human beings," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said last week. The killings happened on April 22, and while authorities say they have received more than 450 tips and sent 100 items to a crime lab for testing, they have not announced any suspects or possible motive.  DeWine said he assumes whoever committed the crime is watching news reports and he does not want to tell them anything about the investigation. Local and state law enforcement agencies are getting "specialized technical support" from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency, the attorney general's office said. "It is believed that the Rhoden family was specifically targeted, and therefore investigators have urged family members to take caution," Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for DeWine, told VOA.  "It is also suggested that the rest of the community remain vigilant." Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader announced a boost in patrols last week that he said will remain in place for a while.  He told reporters that some of the crime scenes were "absolutely shocking." Meanwhile, coroners have released a preliminary autopsy report on the eight victims, saying all but one was shot multiple times, including one who had nine gunshot wounds. What remains unclear is why the family may have been targeted.  DeWine said authorities found marijuana growing operations at three of the four homes, which he described as being part of a commercial operation, not just for personal use. That discovery brought speculation of targeted killings connected to the drug trade.  A July DEA report showed southern Ohio as being an area dominated by the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, with some presence of the Los Zetas cartel. But the attorney general's office has declined to discuss a possible connection between the drugs and the murders. "Beyond confirming that commercial marijuana grows were found at three of the four crime scenes, we have no additional comment," Del Greco said. What authorities are saying is that the investigation is complex and could be lengthy, but that they will do whatever is necessary. "We are going to find who did this," DeWine said. At the site of Tuesday's standing-room only funeral service, Pike County Prosecutor David Dickerson said the Rhodens are a "very loving and tight family" and that he cannot imagine what they are going through. "It's probably the most emotional thing I've ever experienced in my life," Dickerson said about the service.  "It really was.  It was that emotional, and to be expected.  They are beyond devastation, but hopefully soon some healing will begin.  I don't know when, but I hope soon, for their sake."

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UN Council Meeting May 4 To Try To Reimpose Aleppo Cease-Fire

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The United Nations Security Council will meet on May 4 to discuss the collapse of a cease-fire deal in the northern city of Aleppo, which has become a major battlefield in recent weeks between government forces and opposition fighters -- despite a UN effort to halt the fighting long enough restart indirect peace talks.

Who is Still Running for US President?

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REPUBLICANS Two Republican candidates remain in the race, and 520 delegates are still up for grabs before the convention that begins July 18 in Cleveland, Ohio. A republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination. Donald Trump: -    New York businessman Donald Trump has won 1,047 delegates. -    Next speaking engagement is in Charleston West Virginia, according to his campaign website -    During his victory speech tonight, he said “Ted Cruz – I don’t know if he likes me or he doesn’t like me but he is one hell of a competitor” John Kasich: -    Ohio governor John Kasich has won 171 delegates. It is mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination before July but he remains in the race in hopes of achieving a contested convention this summer. -    Kasich gave a speech Tuesday evening, presenting himself as a moderate alternative to Trump. “I’m going to talk about the choice America faces in this election. And it’s frankly a choice between two paths. Two very different paths.” Upcoming Primaries for republicans: May 10: Nebraska (36 delegates), West Virginia (34 delegates) May 17: Oregon (27 delegates) May 24: Washington (44 delegates) June 7: California (172 delegates), Montana (27 delegates), New Jersey (51 delegates), New Mexico (24 delegates), and South Dakota (29 delegates)   DEMOCRATS Two Democratic candidates remain in the race, and 1,163 delegates are still up for grabs before the convention that begins July 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A democratic candidate needs 2,383 to win the nomination. Hillary Clinton: -    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has won 2,202 delegates. -    Clinton has already begun focusing on the general elections. Her only tweet after the release of the Indiana primary results was “Donald Trump is the presumptive @GOP nominee. Chip in now if you agree we can’t let him become president” -    Clinton will be spending the next two days primarily fundraising in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Bernie Sanders: -    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has won 1,400 delegates. -    During his victory speech in Indiana, he said “I understand that secretary Clinton thinks this campaign is over. I’ve got some bad news for her. Tonight we won a great victory in Indiana…more and more delegates to the democratic convention take a hard look at which candidate is generating the kind of enthusiasm, excitement, and voter turnout that we need to make sure that somebody like a Donald Trump does not become president. I think you’ll see more and more delegates concluding that that candidate is Bernie Sanders.” -    Sanders will hold rallies in Charleston and Morgantown in West Virginia on Thursday. Upcoming Primaries for democrats: May 10th: West Virginia (29 delegates) May 17th: Oregon (61 delegates), Kentucky (55 delegates) June 7:  North Dakota (18 delegates), California (475 delegates), Montana (21 delegates), New Jersey (126 delegates), New Mexico (34 delegates), and South Dakota (20 delegates) June 14: Washington D.C. (20 delegates)

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Путин подписал закон о лишении депутатов Госдумы мандата за 30 дней прогулов - ТАСС

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Газета Труд

Trump Closes In On Nomination For U.S. President

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Businessman Donald Trump swept to victory in the state of Indiana's primary election, putting him in a commanding position to secure the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency. After the vote on May 3, his nearest rival, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, suspended his campaign, giving Trump a clear path to the nomination. (AP/Reuters Video)

Reports: Brazil's Rousseff Faces Additional Investigation

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Brazilian media are reporting that the country's top prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation into alleged obstruction of justice by embattled President Dilma Rousseff. Officials have not confirmed the reports, which surfaced late Tuesday. Brazil's Globo News reported Rousseff is suspected of trying to obstruct an investigation into state-owned Petrobras oil company. Brazilian newspapers quoted chief prosecutor Rodrigo Janot as saying he has requested authority to investigate Rousseff and also her predecessor and ally, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The investigation is reported to be centered on wiretapped phone calls between the two. Rousseff is already under investigation for a separate issue and could face an impeachment trial as early as next week. She is accused of covering up budget shortfalls in 2014 to improve her chance of reelection. Rousseff denies the accusations. She has also said launching an impeachment process will harm the nation's political stability. The lower house of parliament has already voted to start the impeachment process, and the Senate is expected to vote on the matter within days. A simple majority of the Senate could suspend her and start a trial that could last up to six months.  If found guilty, Rousseff will be the first Brazilian leader to be impeached in more than 20 years. Rousseff's possible impeachment has dominated Brazilian media while the country strives to revive its economy from its worst recession in decades, fight the Zika virus epidemic, and prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games set to be held in Rio in less than four months.

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'We'll cut off your head': open season for LGBT attacks in Kyrgyzstan 

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Closer ties with Russia and strict new laws mean gay people live in fear as violence goes unpunished. Coda Story reports
From behind two heavy metal doors, Nika, a gay man who recently set up a small LGBT support group in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, gingerly opens the door. “This is how we live now,” he says.
Two years ago, the Kyrgyz parliament followed the lead of its powerful neighbour Russia and introduced a series of amendments outlawing the promotion of same-sex relationships. Popularly known as the “anti-gay propaganda law” it has unleashed a campaign of violence and intimidation against the LGBT community, with a near 300% increase in reported attacks since the legislation was announced.
Since winning power in 2011, President Atambayev has cemented his shift away from the west towards Russia
The liberal sector in society is coming under increasing stress
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Lower-Level State Employees Nucleus of Coming Social Revolt in Russia, Kagarlitsky Says 

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 4 – The reasons Russians are protesting haven’t changed but the composition of those taking part in protests has, Boris Kagarlitsky says; and the groups that are likely to form the nucleus of a new social explosion are not the young and the pensioners as in the past but men in their 30s and lower and mid-level state employees.

            In a wide-ranging interview with Kazan’s “Business Gazeta,” the Moscow sociologist says that his projection reflects certain underlying trends in Russian life whose implications have sometimes passed unnoticed, including in the first instance the degradation of the institutions of the social state (m.business-gazeta.ru/article/309544).

            As long as the economy was growing and incomes were rising, no one paid much attention to these government support mechanisms because most people did not have to use them; but now that the economic situation is getting worse, Kagarlitsky says, “we have suddenly discovered that these mechanisms do not work.”

            Not surprisingly, he continues, that has changed the composi, tion of those doing the protests even if it has not changed what they are protesting about. “Earlier the protesters consisted of pensioners or young people or those in very specific situations with a particular problem.”

            Some of that kind of protest, which Kagarlitsky calls the protest of despair, continues; but it has been joined by a larger group of people, more male, aged 30 to 40, with families who had jobs but have lost them and who are now ready to protest. That is, he continues, the groups that earlier were viewed as the most stable and the least likely to strike.

            This has the paradoxical consequence that initially, this new composition of the protests “lowers the degree of protest and the level of its radicalism” because unlike young people who have not yet been integrated into the economy and the pensioners who believe they can count on something, these are people who have something to lose, know it, but are driven to act.

            Look at what has happened in the Donbas, Kagarlitsky says.  There the main participants in the pro-Moscow movement “are not the young. They are adult males … [who] went their consciously and understood what they were going for.” They also understood the risks and were ready to take them because of a sense that they had no other way out.

            Many people now talk about “the terrible Russian rising,” he says; but “these people do not want risings.” However, if they are driven into a position when they feel that is the only option, “this will be very serious” -- and not any playing at revolution as some of the marginal in Russia today do.

            This group of people is broader than what is meant by the working class, Kagarlitsky says. It includes all who live from paycheck to paycheck.  “But there is another category of citizens” that make it up and that are all too often “underrated.”  These are “the middle and lower ranks of the Russian bureaucracy,” a group that is seldom studied.

            Because Russia remains “extremely bureaucratized, there is an enormous mass of petty and mid-level bureaucrats who now make decisions or are people we do not consider bureaucrats but they work for the state such as the head or dean of a faculty in a higher educational institution or a deputy chief doctor in a hospital.”

            “However paradoxical it may seem,” Kagarlitsky says, “our crisis and the neo-liberal reforms have hit this mass of people harder than the population as a whole” because they are subject to pressure “from all sides.” Their incomes are falling, they are losing their positions, but they are still required to act, often against their own interests.

            At a certain point, he says, they will revolt; but “this will not be a rising of those at the bottom. This will be a rising of the lower and mid-level links of the state apparatus which already now with all its force is sabotaging the neo-liberal policies [of the central government] at the local level.”

            The central government understands this because it has created the problem by giving the regions ever less money while demanding that they be ever more responsible.  This leaves regional officials “between the hammer and the anvil” with “a dissatisfied population below and conflict with those in power above them.” 

            Such feelings will only be exacerbated by “the senseless parliamentary elections this fall,” Kagarlitsky says.  And the Kremlin knows this: these people are and will remain loyal to Putin but only as a specific individual “but not to the system” and they are thus available for mobilization against the system but not the president.

            “This is an unprecedented situation,” one in which such lower level officials have a remarkable degree of freedom. “For the authorities and for our liberals, the marker is the attitude toward Putin. But for society, this is far from the main criteria.” Russians agree on that but not on other things.

            “For liberals and hurrah patriots, the key questions are how we relate to Putin, Crimea, the Donbas or the Americans; but for society, these aren’t questions of interest because on them there is already a consensus. No one in Russia wants to give Crimea back to Ukraine … and therefore it is completely uninteresting for society if that is discussed.”

            In many respects, Kagarlitsky continues, “Putin is our Queen Victoria,” “not an absolute monarch” but more than a mere “decorative figure,” someone whose opinions have to be respected and followed but whose opinions aren’t expressed on all things or followed on many of them.

            That can be seen in voting in primaries and in single-member districts where the powers that be have not always won or even controlled the situation. “In the future, this will be even more true,” the Moscow sociologist says.  In a sense, this “recalled the times of perestroika” when the regime felt compelled to try to reform itself.

            But as de Tocqueville warned and as Russia has experienced, the worst time for a bad government is not when it is at its worst but when it tries to correct its mistakes. Then, it can lose control with others coming it to demand change. It is possible that Putin may remain popular at least for a time, but his current system may be destroyed by pressure from above and below.

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Putin Signs Law Dismissing Deputies for Absenteeism

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law allowing State Duma deputies to be stripped of their positions for prolonged absenteeism, the Slon.ru news website reported Wednesday.

The Daily Vertical: Spain Pulls Off Putin's Mask 

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From: rferlonline
Duration: 01:57

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday.
Originally published at - http://www.rferl.org/media/video/daily-vertical-spain-investigation-putin-mask/27715330.html

Spain Pulls Off Putin's Mask (Transcript)

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How much more proof do we need about the nature of Vladimir Putin's regime?
What conclusions can you reach when a decade-long Spanish investigation links some of the Kremlin leader's closest associates to notorious organized crime gangs?
What can one think when senior Russian officials have been indicted for complicity in assassinations, weapons trafficking, extortion, fraud, forgery, bribery, drug smuggling, and money laundering?
What does it say about a state when its former prime minister, its former defense minister, its current deputy prime minister, and the current chair of its legislature's finance committee are tied to the mob? *
I mean, really, is it still possible to give this crew the benefit of the doubt?
Is it possible to even pretend that this regime is anywhere near respectable?
The world owes Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda a debt of gratitude for having the courage to take on Russia's infamous Tambov and Malyshev gangs -- and for following the trail all the way to the Kremlin.
And the world owes Spanish judge Jose de la Mata a debt of gratitude for following through with international arrest warrants.
WATCH Today's Daily Vertical
Putin's Kremlin long ago weaponized Russia's mafias and used them as tools of statecraft.
And thanks to Grinda and de la Mata, their ability to continue doing so has been diminished, even if none of these officials are ever brought to justice.
Sunshine, as they say, is the best form of disinfectant.
Keep telling me what you think in the comments section, on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.
*This sentence was amended to correctly reflect how Russian officials were implicated in the Spanish investigation.

Russia to Only Allow Savchenko Deal if Prison Sentence Upheld 

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Russia will only provide extradition documents for Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko if her prison sentence is upheld, the Slon.ru news website reported Wednesday.

Russia's SamSat-218 Nanosatellite Fails To Establish Radio Contact - International Business Times

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International Business Times

Russia's SamSat-218 Nanosatellite Fails To Establish Radio Contact
International Business Times
SamSat-218 Nanosatellite A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the launch pad at the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk in far eastern Amur Oblast region, April 28, 2016.
[ May 3, 2016 ] Russian authorities retrieve Soyuz booster wreckage in Siberia Mission ReportsSpaceflight Now

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В России создадут три новые дивизии для противодействия НАТО - РИА Новости

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РИА Новости

В России создадут три новые дивизии для противодействия НАТО
РИА Новости
МОСКВА, 4 мая — РИА Новости. Три новые дивизии будут созданы для противодействия наращиванию сил НАТО у российских границ, заявил министр обороны России генерал армии Сергей Шойгу на селекторном совещании. До конца года две дивизии будут сформированы в ...
Для противодействия НАТО Россия создает новые дивизии на западе и юге страныРосбалт.RU
Новые дивизии российских ВС появятся в Ельне, Воронеже и Ростове-на-ДонуИнтерфакс
Шойгу рассказал о сюрпризах, которые Россия готовит НАТОПравда.Ру
Взгляд -Известия -Вести.Ru -Газета.Ru
Все похожие статьи: 95 »

Chechen Whistle-Blower Disappears After Demanding Legal Action Against Kadyrov 

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Bloggers and human rights activists are expressing concern for the safety of Ramzan Djamaldinov, who has disappeared after lodging a formal complaint requesting that legal action be taken against Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Contact Lost With Satellite Launched From Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome 

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Russia has lost contact with one of three satellites launched from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome last week, state-run news agency TASS reported Wednesday.

The Morning Vertical, May 4, 2016 

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ON MY MIND
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Three months ago, something we always suspected was confirmed when an official British investigation concluded that former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi and his accomplice, Dmitry Kovtun, most probably killed former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko, likely with Vladimir Putin’s approval. One month ago, something else we always suspected was confirmed when the Panama Papers revealed that Putin’s close associates were siphoning billions of dollars out of Russia through shady shell companies. And now, another long-held suspicion was given an official imprimatur when Spanish Judge Jose de la Mata issued arrest warrants for top Russian officials and close Putin cronies in a decade-old investigation into organized crime.
No matter how much hedging, nuance, rationalization, and whataboutism you throw into the mix, it is getting increasingly difficult to ignore the obvious: The Putin regime is basically a crime syndicate masquerading as a state.
IN THE NEWS
A Spanish judge has issued international arrest warrants for top Russian officials for alleged ties to organized crime.
Sweden’s prime minister says he is not interested in Moscow’s opinion on his country joining NATO.
Oleg Yezhov, the former deputy governor of Primorsky Krai, has been detained on corruption charges.
Interfax is reporting that Aleksei Navalny and the liberal Yabloko party are in negotiations about cooperating in the September 2017 State Duma elections.
Estonia’s defense minister is accusing Russian jets of behaving “incredibly recklessly” in Baltic airspace.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has called on Russia to stop “saber-rattling.”
Three Russian naval ships have arrived in Brunei to participate in exercises in the Pacific. The ADMM-Plus exercises run from May 2-12 and include 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
LATEST FROM THE POWER VERTICAL BLOG
My latest Power Vertical blog post, Putinfellas, looks at Vladimir Putin’s long-standing links to organized crime groups and how a Spanish investigation has exposed these ties.
“Putin’s Kremlin has used organized crime to carry out the tasks it wants to keep its fingerprints off, be it arms smuggling, assassinations, raising funds for black ops, or stirring up trouble in the former Soviet space…
“But now, thanks to Spanish Judge Jose de la Mata, the mask is coming off Putin’s mafia statecraft in a big way.”
WHAT I’M READING
Victory Day On A Budget
According to a report in RBK, Russia will spend four times less on this year’s Victory Day celebrations than last year’s lavish 70th anniversary festivities.
Cyber Attacks And Article 5
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says a cyberattack on an alliance member could potentially trigger its Article 5 collective defense clause.
“Stoltenberg told a key alliance planning summit on Wednesday morning that ‘cyber is now a central part of virtually all crises and conflicts. NATO has made clear that cyberattacks can potentially trigger an Article 5 response.”
Sweden, Finland, And NATO
Veteran Kremlin-watcher and foreign affairs analyst Edward Lucas explainswhy NATO needs Sweden and Finland.
“I have been urging both countries to join NATO for years,” Lucas writes. “My argument was, ‘Do it now while you don’t need to, because the circumstances that will make it necessary will also make it harder.”
Lucas was reacting to a recent report commissioned by Finland’s Foreign Ministry on the effects of joining the alliance.
New Bellingcat Report On MH17
Bellingcat has issued a report that provides new details about the identity of the Buk missile that shot down Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014.
Victims Of Success
The U.S. Air Force has become a victim of its own success, retired U.S. General David W. Barno and Nora Bensahel of the School of International Service at American University write in the War On The Rocks blog.
“The stunning success of the Air Force in dominating its domain since the 1991 Gulf War has created two looming problems for the service leadership: The Air Force no longer has any substantive experience in how to fight and win in a highly contested environment, and its current airmen have never experienced serious losses of people and machines in air combat…
“Yet today, the threat to American air dominance is growing. Growing antiaccess and area denial (A2/AD) tactics and capabilities by potential adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran are of increasing concern for U.S. military leaders.”
Russia’s Trade Unions
Ever wonder where Russia’s trade unions get their money? Check out RBK’s new investigation to find out.
Russia And The Hajj
On the latest Sean’s Russia Blog podcast, Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies looks at the underexplored topic of how Russia manages the hajj. Sean’s guest is Eileen Kane, a professor at Connecticut College and author of the book Russian Hajj: Empire And The Pilgrimage To Mecca.
Homophobia Inc.
Meduza has an important and deeply disturbing story about “how a gang of thugs in St. Petersburg has made an industry of baiting and extorting homosexuals.”
Ukraine’s Energy Reforms
Writing on The Atlantic Council’s website, Basil A. Kalymon of the University of Western Ontario looks at Ukraine’s recent successes in reforming its gas market.
The Next UN Secretary-General
Foreign Policy asks: Will the next UN secretary-general be from Eastern Europe?
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Kremlin Requests Details From U.S. On Death Of Russian In Custody

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The Russian Consulate General in San Francisco said on May 4 that it has filed a query with the U.S. authorities for details about the death of a Russian citizen who was in the custody of U.S. immigration officials in California.

Mine Blast In Eastern Ukraine Kills One, Traps Nine

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A blast at a mine in a separatist-controlled part of eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region has killed at least one miner.
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Indiana primary results: track the votes, county by county | US news | The Guardian 

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Track live votes for Democratic and Republican nominees for president in the 2016 election as they come in from the Indiana primary

More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

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The ultimate beneficiary of Iraq’s unfolding political crisis and weakened government will likely be Iran, say analysts, who warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor.FILE – Sh’iite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.And the Sadrists plan to hold more anti-corruption protests in the Iraqi capital Friday as they push for the scrapping of a now-hated quota system that guarantees the country’s political factions a share of government jobs and patronage. They present the next immediate challenge for embattled Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose own determined reform efforts have stalled.In the Kurdistan capital of Irbil, to which dozens of Iraqi lawmakers fled over the weekend after Sadr’s followers breached the fortified government citadel, the Green Zone, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter vouched for Abadi, saying he remains in a strong position.
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More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

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Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor
The ultimate beneficiary of Iraq’s unfolding political crisis and weakened government will likely be Iran, say analysts, who warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor.
FILE - Sh'iite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
FILE – Sh’iite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
And the Sadrists plan to hold more anti-corruption protests in the Iraqi capital Friday as they push for the scrapping of a now-hated quota system that guarantees the country’s political factions a share of government jobs and patronage. They present the next immediate challenge for embattled Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose own determined reform efforts have stalled.
In the Kurdistan capital of Irbil, to which dozens of Iraqi lawmakers fled over the weekend after Sadr’s followers breached the fortified government citadel, the Green Zone, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter vouched for Abadi, saying he remains in a strong position.
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Report: Iran Paying With Blood to Prop Up Syrian Regime

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Keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power has come with a deadly price tag for Iran, which has lost more troops in the war-torn country in the past six months than in the previous two years.More than 280 Iranian troops have been killed in Syria since September of last year, according to an analysis by the Levantine Group of casualties reported by Iranian media.The willingness to sustain such a heavy rate of losses is evidence of Tehran’s commitment to the Assad regime, but also seems to show that Iran is counting on its forces to stand in for what the Levantine Group describes as a “decomposing” regime army.”Iranian operatives are not mere military advisers spread out along regime lines,” said geopolitical and security analyst Michael Horowitz.”Iranian troops are in fact concentrated around Aleppo, where they fought all of Assad’s battles,” he said. “They serve as the tip of the spear, rather than advisers.”
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In South Pole Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun « Science World 

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After weeks of darkness at the South Pole, a full moon seems nearly as bright as the sun. Details you couldn't see before, like vehicle tracks, become visible again. (Photo by Kyle Obrock)
Everything is illuminated. The moon has risen. It is full or near full, and sits 30 degrees above the polar plateau — circling the horizon each day as our sun once did. SOUTH POLE JOURNALRefael Klein blogs about his year working and living at the South Pole. Read his earlier posts here. A softly bright glow washes over […]

Russia to boost troops levels along borders to counter NATO | Fox News 

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Russia says it will form new military divisions to be stationed along the country’s borders with Europe to counter a planned NATO buildup.