Monday, April 11, 2016

2:26 PM 4/11/2016 - Senate Dem presses FBI on ransomware attacks at hospitals | TheHill FBI warns of cyber threat to electric grid | Fox News Zika spread, impact 'scarier than we thought': U.S. health officials | Reuters

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1:19 PM 4/11/2016 - France Seizes $700M of Money Owed to Russian Companies Over Yukos Lawsuit | Business | The Moscow Times Suicide Attack Hits Police Station in Southern Russia - ABC News The Daily Vertical: Is Putin Turning Inward?

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France Seizes $700M of Money Owed to Russian Companies Over Yukos Lawsuit by The Moscow Times

France Seizes $700M of Money Owed to Russian Companies Over Yukos Lawsuit 

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France seized $700 million in payments to Russian space companies Roscosmos and Russian Satellite Communications in connection with the case of former shareholders of defunct oil company Yukos.

Top Shots

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

Investors starting to show interest in Russia again: Credit Suisse - Reuters

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Reuters

Investors starting to show interest in Russia again: Credit Suisse
Reuters
MOSCOW Investors are starting to look at Russia again after cutting off exposure amid geopolitical tensions two years ago, the head of Credit Suisse's $60 million Russian Equity Fund said. There are no big inflows yet but a rebound in Russian stock ...

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Глава МИД Швейцарии заявил, что у властей нет претензий к сыну Чайки - Газета.Ru

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РИА Новости

Глава МИД Швейцарии заявил, что у властей нет претензий к сыну Чайки
Газета.Ru
После проведения предварительного расследования власти Швейцарии пришли к выводу, что причин подозревать сына генерального прокурора России Артема Чайку в нелегальных сделках нет, передает ТАСС. Об этом заявил глава МИД Швейцарии Дидье Буркхальтер. «Что касается ...
МИД Швейцарии: Причин подозревать Артема Чайку в нелегальных сделках нетВзгляд
МИД Швейцарии: причин подозревать сына Чайки в нелегальных сделках нетРИА Новости
Кабмин намерен повысить финансовую дисциплинуВести Экономика
Forbes Россия -ТАСС -Известия -Деловой Петербург
Все похожие статьи: 63 »

Eastern Religions Now Seen Threatening Orthodox Russia Even More than Protestants Do

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 11 – The explosive growth of Protestant congregations in post-Soviet Russia has worried many Russian Orthodox and Russian nationalist observers, but now some of them say that the rise of Protestantism there has slowed eclipsed by the growth of the activities of Eastern religions.

            In a commentary today on the Kavkazoved.info portal, Vladislav Gulyevich who writes frequently on religious issues says that the Krishna movement has become especially active not only in the European part of Russia but also in the Caucasus and Siberia” (kavkazoved.info/news/2016/04/11/krishnaizm-protiv-pravoslavija-i-ego-tradiciy.html).

            Because the leaders of this movement say that they “are not against Christ” and offer not an alternative religion but “a science about God,” they have attracted many Russian followers. But they have explicitly attacked Russian Orthodoxy and the other traditional Russian religions (Islam and Buddhism) as being out of date.

            In fact, Gulyevich says, the Krishna movement’s ideas are unacceptable for those who are part of the Russian cultural tradition.  According to him, “a Krishna tradition does not exist in Russia,” although there are cases where parents have passed on Krishna ideas to their children and thus separated them from the Russian nation.

            The Krishna tradition in no way connected present-day Russians with their ancestors and the history of their country,” Gulyevich says. And thus, it is objectively working against the spiritual unity of Russia and must be opposed to the extent that it is an organized movement and not simply the choice of particular individuals.

            Participants in the Krishna movement have attracted some support, he continues, because they insist that they are peace-loving and have “never attacked anyone … ‘in contrast to your Orthodox Russia.’”  But in fact, “Indian battalions participated in the intervention in Soviet Russia in 1919 as part of the British expeditionary corps and in the Anglo-Afghan wars.”

Norway's Lutheran Church Votes in Favor of Same-sex Marriage

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Norway's Lutheran Church voted on Monday in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, becoming the latest of a small but growing number of churches worldwide to do so. Last year the French Protestant Church allowed gay marriage blessings, while the U.S. Presbyterian Church approved a change in the wording of its constitution to include same-sex marriage. In a vote at the annual conference of the Norwegian Lutheran Church on Monday 88 delegates out of 115 in total backed same-sex marriage. "Finally we can celebrate love independently of whom one falls in love with," said Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the Open Public Church, a religious movement within the church that had campaigned to change the rules. Under the new rules, priests who do not want to marry a same-sex couple will still have the right to object. The vote by Norway's Lutheran Church reflects increasingly liberal attitudes in wider Norwegian society to issues such as homosexuality. Norway became the second country in the world after Denmark to allow same-sex registered partnerships in 1993. The Nordic country of 5.2 million people has allowed civil same-sex marriage since 2009. Some 74 percent of Norwegians were members of the Lutheran Church last year, according to the national statistics agency, but that number has been declining.

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Ukraine Looks Toward New Government Following PM's Resignation 

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Ukraine is looking to create a new coalition government, following Sunday's resignation of embattled Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Yatsenyuk announced his resignation saying he hoped it would give Ukraine a chance to adopt new electoral, constitutional and judicial reforms, as well as join the European Union and NATO. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko expressed confidence a new coalition would be formed and a new prime minister will be selected on Tuesday. "I expect it will be [Volodymyr] Groysman and I do not want to hide this," said Poroshenko. Groysman is the current parliament speaker. Yatsenyuk's Cabinet survived a no confidence vote in February, but two parties left the governing coalition for failure to oust him. He has been criticized for Ukraine's worsening economy and the slow pace of reforms. Early elections could be called if Ukraine lawmakers fail to unite behind a new prime minister, but President Petro Poroshenko has sought to avoid new voting for fear of further destabilizing the country. Kyiv's forces have been battling pro-Russian separatists for control of two regions in eastern Ukraine for the past two years. To date, the conflict has killed more than 9,000 people. At the same time, Moscow continues to control Ukraine's Crimean peninsula which it annexed in March of 2014. Some material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.

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France Seizes $700M of Money Owed to Russian Companies Over Yukos Lawsuit | Business

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France seized $700 million in payments to Russian space companies Roscosmos and Russian Satellite Communications in connection with the case of former shareholders of defunct oil company Yukos, The American Lawyer magazine reported Monday.
In total, France has seized Russian assets worth $1 billion following the Kremlin's refusal to pay damages to former Yukos shareholders.
In July 2014, The Hague international arbitration court ruled that Russia must pay $50 billion for expropriating the assets of Yukos.
The seized assets include $400 million owed by French-based satellite provider Eutelsat to the Russian Satellite Communications company and $300 million owned by French space launch provider Arianespace to Russia's Roscosmos space agency, the magazine reported, citing the Shearman & Sterling legal firm which represents the Yukos shareholders.
A representative of GML — which owns the Hulley Enterprises and Yukos Universal companies that won the lawsuit against Russia — confirmed to the RBC newspaper that the seized assets are related to Roscosmos and Satellite Communications.
However, he didn't confirm the figures cited by The American Lawyer.
According to GML's representative, Russia has appealed the seizure of money owed to Roscosmos and Satellite Communications in French courts. Rulings are expected this month.

Nazarbaev, Rohani Hold Talks In Tehran

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Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani have discussed building stronger trade and business ties between their countries at talks in the Iranian capital.

The Daily Vertical: Is Putin Turning Inward? - YouTube

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Published on Apr 11, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday.
Originally published at - http://www.rferl.org/media/video/dail...

8:32 AM 4/11/2016 - Headlines: Suicide Attack Hits Police Station in Southern Russia - ABC News

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Suicide Bombers Thwarted Outside Police Station in Southern Russia 

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One attacker was killed at a checkpoint near the city of Stavropol, and the second blew himself up, the Interior Ministry said.
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The Early Edition: April 11, 2016 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
IRAQ and SYRIA
Syria peace talks. Few have hopes of any meaningful progress as the UN-brokered Syria peace negotiations, held in Geneva, get set to resume on Wednesday. The future of President Bashar al-Assad has been described as “the mother of all issues” by UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura. Ian Black provides the details at the Guardian.
The Assad regime is pushing for a political solution to the conflict, which includes retaining the president in power. The plan, which is in defiance of the Russian-backed agenda for the country, will begin with Syrian parliamentary elections on Wednesday after which the Syrian delegation will travel to Geneva. Sam Dagher reports. [Wall Street Journal]
Assad regime forces, backed by Moscow, are planning an offensive to retake Aleppo from opposition rebels, the Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said yesterday. The use of Russian firepower in the operation may tarnish the future of peace negotiations with the opposition. [Wall Street Journal’s Thomas Grove and Raja Abdulrahim]
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not requested more American ground troops ahead of the offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, said Secretary of State John Kerry during an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Friday. [The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel]
Islamic State has retaken the Syrian town of al-Rai, a stronghold on the Turkish border, today. The town had been captured by Syrian rebels backed by US and Turkish air power just a few days ago. [Washington Post’s Erin Cunningham; Reuters]
A bomb attack killed four people and injured 18 others yesterday at a youth soccer game in a town just outside Baghdad, Iraq. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Wall Street Journal’s Ben Kesling]
ISIS released most of the 300 cement workers it abducted near Damascus, following questioning to determine who were Muslims. Four members of the minority Druze sect were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and an ISIS-linked news agency. [AP’s Bassem Mroue]
EUROPEAN TERROR THREAT
Brussels attack suspect captured. Belgian authorities captured Mohamed Abrini on Friday, the man who the federal prosecutor has confirmed was the “man in the hat” caught on CCTV alongside two suicide bombers at Brussels Airport. Abrini has confessed to his presence at the crime scene and is also alleged to have played a major role in the Paris attacks. [Washington Post’s James McAuley]
Abrini and his accomplices were plotting further attacks in France, but when they realized the speed of the investigation they “urgently took the decision” to attack Brussels, the federal prosecutor said yesterday. [France 24Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman]
The revelation that the attackers planned to hit Paris again has sparked fears that ISIS networks could strike anywhere at any time. Alissa J. Rubin and Eric Schmitt provide the details. [New York Times]
“Mr Zerkani has perverted an entire generation of youngsters, particularly in the Molenbeek neighborhood.” Andrew Higgins and Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura discuss the “diligent” work of Khalid Zerkani, a Brussels man last year imprisoned for encouraging young Muslims to turn to radical Islam. [Wall Street Journal]
AFGHANISTAN
A bomb attack on a bus in Kabul, Afghanistan has killed at least one person this morning. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. [AP]
Afghan army troops are reportedly defecting to the Taliban as Helmand province moves “closer than ever” to being overtaken by the Islamist insurgents. The Taliban has taken full control of at least five districts in the province, while the Afghans have failed to make any recent gains, according to a local police official. [CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh]
Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.. Kerry urged cooperation between the two leaders. [Washington Post’s Carol Morello]
Relatives of the 17 people who died in US drone strikes in southeastern Afghanistan last week are calling for an investigation, alleging that the airstrikes were aimed at civilians, not soldiers. [Al Jazeera]
CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY and TECHNOLOGY
A US Navy officer has been accused of providing classified information to China and faces charges of espionage, attempted espionage and prostitution, according to US officials. The officer is assigned to the Patrol and Reconnaissance Group headquarters, which oversees maritime patrol aircraft. [Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe]
Critics have reacted angrily to a draft bill that would specifically require companies to decrypt customers’ communications, drafted by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee and circulated late last Thursday. [The Intercept’s Jenna McLaughlin]
NORTH KOREA
North Korea announced that it has built an engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US, a threat that was made over a week ago but was only recently verified by analysts. [Washington Post’s Anna Fifield]
A senior North Korean military official defected to the South last year, it was announced today. No further details were provided, except that the officer had worked for North Korea’s main spy agency. [Wall Street Journal’s Alastair Gail]
ISRAEL and PALESTINE
President Obama is the only president since 1967 to have never allowed the passage of a UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel. Despite protection of Israel playing a central role in US policy “for the last at least 10 presidents,” Obama is the only one to have rigidly adhered to this, points out Lara Friedman, debunking the accusations of “unprecedented betrayal” being levied at the president now he is considering laying down an outline two-state Israel-Palestine agreement in a Security Council resolution. [New York Times]
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin is a “calm voice of reason” in the decades-old Israel-Palestine conflict. Ruth Eglash discusses why this is valuable, despite Rivlin’s relative lack of political power. [Washington Post]
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking US administration official to visit Hiroshima today, attending a ceremony memorializing the US atomic bombing of 6 August 1945. [New York Times’ Jonathan Soble]  Kerry also met with foreign ministers from the G-7 industrialized countries, which called for increased efforts to achieve global nuclear disarmament. [AP’s Mari Yamaguchi]
A UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect in Yemen yesterday, ahead of peace talks between Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces and Houthi militia due to take place in Kuwait on April 18. [Al JazeeraCNN’s Hakim al-Masmari and Bijan Hosseini]  Both sides have expressed their commitment to the ceasefire. [BBC]   However, fighting has reportedly continued in the city of Taiz today, and there have been occasional exchanges of gunfire in other parts of the country. [AP]
“Shared Responsibility Committees.” An FBI plan to recruit social service workers, teachers, mental health professionals, religious leaders, and other community leaders across the US to help to identify “radicalized” individuals is being heavily criticized by civil rights activists. [The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain and Jenna McLaughlin]
Russia has started delivering S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran under a contract that has been opposed by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. [BBC]
Documents known as the “28 pages” which may prove Saudi Arabian support for the 9/11 hijackers might be declassified, having been cut from a report on the attacks 13 years ago by the Bush administration. [The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift; The Hill’s Jessie Hellmann]
CIA director John Brennan would “not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again,” he said in an interview with NBC News, even if ordered to do so by a future president. [Politico’s Kristen East]
A suicide attack was prevented at a police station in southern Russia today, one bomber being killed and the other blowing himself up, according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry. [New York Times’ Neil MacFarquhar]
Al-Shabaab is “resurgent” in Somalia, President Hassan Sheik Mohamud said in an interview last week, acknowledging that his government is not capable of providing the necessary security to regions of the country that have been liberated in the five years since a UN-backed force began pushing the al-Qaeda-linked rebels from their strongholds. [Washington Post’s Kevin Sieff]
A gun-battle between Philippine government forces and militant group Abu Sayyaf in Manila yesterday has left at least 18 soldiers and a number of militants dead, according to military officials. [New York Times’ Floyd Whaley]
“There’s a carelessness, in terms of managing emails, that she has owned, and she recognizes.”President Obama responded to questions on former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to store classified emails on Fox News Sunday, much to the disapproval of theWall Street Journal editorial board, which says that the president – as a lawyer aware that “intent is often crucial to determining criminal liability” – has provided Clinton with a defense in the middle of an ongoing FBI investigation.
Obama also reiterated that his failure to prepare for the aftermath of the fall of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi was the “worst mistake of his presidency during the interview. He said he still considered, however, that ousting the leader was the “right thing to do.” [BBC]
The “race to run the United Nations” will be different this time, with the mostly Eastern-European candidates vying for the job in public. The New York Times editorial board discusses the candidates, the internal problems, and international challenges the next UN Secretary-General will have to address.
Read on Just Security »
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Today in History for April 11th 

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:37

Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Highlights of this day in history: President Harry Truman relieves Gen. Douglas Mcarthur of his command in Asia; Napoleon Bonaparte banished to Island of Elba; American soldiers liberate first Nazi concentration camp; Idi Amin deposed as Uganda's President; Apollo 13 blasts off. (April 11)
Highlights of the day in history - a retrospective view on political events, historic battles, and life changing decisions. More: http://smarturl.it/TodayInHistory
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
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John Kerry makes historic visit to Hiroshima 

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From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 00:59

G7 ministers visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, including John Kerry, who has become the first U.S. Secretary of State to do so. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
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.

John Kerry Makes Historic Visit to Hiroshima

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a landmark visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, becoming the most senior American official ever to visit the site. Mr. Kerry, however, didn't offer an apology for the atomic bombing. Photo: Getty Images

AP Top Stories April 11 A 

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:00

Here's the latest for Monday, April 11th: Sec. of State Kerry in Hiroshima; Brennan says no waterboarding; 2 University students killed in Louisiana shooting; UConn victory parade.
Stay up to date with daily round ups: http://smarturl.it/APTopStories
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content - we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

High Stakes in Thursday's New York Debate

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As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders prepare for their much-anticipated debate on Thursday night, WSJ's Jerry Seib explains why a win in the Empire State is so important for both candidates. Photo: AP
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Сотни мигрантов пострадали при столкновениях с македонской полицией 

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From: euronewsru
Duration: 01:11

По меньшей мере 260 человек пострадали в результате столкновений на греко-македонской границе у деревни Идомени. По данным властей бывшей югославской Республики Македония, в воскресенье утром группа мигрантов-обитателей палаточного лагеря, попыталась прорваться через заграждения на границе. Македонская полиция применила слезоточивый газ. Греческие власти обвинили соседей в чрезмерном применении силы.
"Все это вызывает серьезную обеспокоенность: многие доставлены с травмами (переломами), другие…
ЧИТАТЬ ДАЛЕЕ: http://ru.euronews.com/2016/04/11/greece-protests-over-fyrom-police-s-excessive-violence
euronews: самый популярный новостной канал в Европе.
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Ukrainian Prime Minister Announces Resignation

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Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation Sunday following a drawn-out battle against parliamentary allies of President Petro Poroshenko, who have been trying to oust the prime minister.

Poland's Kaczynski blames Tusk's government for president's jet crash

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Responsibility for the 2010 plane crash that killed Poland's president Lech Kaczynski along with 95 other people lay with the then government of Donald Tusk, the late president's twin brother and leader of the current ruling party said on Sunday at an event to commemorate the disaster.









  

Police Station in Southern Russia Attacked by Suicide Bombers, Reports Say 

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A police station in southern Russia has come under attack in what is suspected to be a suicide bombing, reports said Monday.
Three attackers reportedly detonated explosive devices outside the station in the Stavropol region, killing themselves in the process, according to the state-run RIA news agency.
Interfax news agency reported that no police officers or locals were hurt in the blasts, citing a regional branch of Russia’s Interior Ministry, but these reports are yet to be confirmed.
This is a developing story.
[ RT, Interfax]

Daily Mail Publisher In Talks To Buy Yahoo

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Yahoo was once one of the most powerful websites around, but has been overtaken by the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Egypt hands Saudi Arabia two islands in gratitude. Egyptians are outraged. 

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Egypt handed over the islands of Sanafir and Tiran to Saudi Arabia in gratitude for the kingdom's economic assistance.









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Ukraine 'very volatile' after PM resignation, says Council of Europe

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ukraine has become "very volatile" since Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk resigned, the head of the Council of Europe said on Monday, calling for the swift formation of a new government and speedier progress on reforms.
  

Former CIA director David Petraeus' book 'Collateral Damage' could be set for film - Daily Mail

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Daily Mail

Former CIA director David Petraeus' book 'Collateral Damage' could be set for film
Daily Mail
With healthy doses of sex, scandal, and classified information, the story of former CIA-director David Petraeus' extramarital affair and eventual resignation may soon be hitting the silver screen. Less than two weeks after Jill Kelley's book Collateral ...
Petraeus' job-ending sex scandal may hit movie screensPage Six

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Saudis will not discuss Red Sea islands with Israel, respects intl accords

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April 11, 2016, 9:02 AM (IDT)
Commenting on Egypt’s handover to Saudi Arabia of the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Sunday his government would not hold negotiations with Israel on those islands.  The Kingdom’s commitment included accepting the presence of international forces on the islands under the peace treaty of Egypt and Israel, he said.
President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi’s decree ceding ownership to Saudi Arabia in the course of King Salman’s visit,  as part of an agreement on the two nations’ maritime borders, has stirred protest in Egypt.
The two islands, long in dispute, lie in the Tiran Strait at the southern tip of the Aqaba Gulf.
In 1967, Egyptian ruler Gemal Abdel Nasser’s use of the islands to blockade Israeli shipping was one of the casus belli for the Six-Day War, after which Israel occupied them until the full implementation of the peace accords with Egypt in 1982. Tiran and Sanafir then reverted to Egypt, although the Saudis always claimed sovereignty. The Multinational Force Observers established an observation post in Tiran to ensure the freedom of Israeli shipping through the straits of Tiran. The MFO still maintains a presence on the island

FBI marks 30 years since bloody South Florida shootout - Washington Times

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FBI marks 30 years since bloody South Florida shootout
Washington Times
MIRAMAR, Fla. (AP) - The FBI is marking the 30th anniversary of a bloody South Florida shootout that left two agents dead and led to changes in the weapons they carry. FBI Director James Comey is scheduled Monday to speak at a ceremony at the FBI's ...

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Marine Corps Braces for Information Warfare Revolution

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The Marine Corps could undergo an overhaul at all levels over the next decade to prepare for future conflicts in which information warfare will play a critical role, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The documents outline two courses of action—one dubbed “evolutionary” and the other “revolutionary”—for the Marine Corps’ “Force 2025” strategy, both versions of which involve boosting what the authors call “information warfare capabilities” in the Corps’ ground, aviation, logistics, and command elements.
A roughly 300-person operational planning team developed the plans in response to a order from Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine commandant, in January.
“Maintaining the status quo is unacceptable. Failure to change the shape and form of the service will condemn it to irrelevance,” the brief reads 
Senior Marine leaders are to be briefed on the proposed courses of action. Neller is expected to attend the brief, which will take place on Tuesday, April 12.
Maj. Anton Semelroth, the director of the Marine Corps public affairs office, confirmed that the service’s Force 2025 strategy will be discussed at a meeting this week during which senior leaders will give input on a number of possible courses of action. He emphasized that all options are “pre-decisional” and will undergo continued examination and updates before being presented to Neller for a decision later this year.
Both proposed courses of action involve adding to the number of personnel tasked with conducting “information warfare” by reducing the numbers of Marines tasked with other jobs. The “evolutionary” and “revolutionary” plans both add thousands of Marines to information warfare roles.
In the “evolutionary” course of action, infantry battalions stand to lose many heavy weapons and anti-tank assets, and light armored reconnaissance and tank battalions would see their assets reorganized.
In the “revolutionary” plan, the three Marine expeditionary forces would each gain a substantial information warfare group and an “engagement battalion.”
The documents candidly admit that the service struggles to understand how to plan for “information warfare,” and even how to define the term, noting that the definition included in the brief “needs refinement.” They also cite a “lack of institutional understanding of information warfare” as a prime challenge.
“We approach IW [information warfare] as executing the warfighting functions in and through the information environment,” one brief reads. “IW is not a ‘thing,’ it is a ‘thing of things.’”
Information warfare capabilities would be integrated across the service in the “revolutionary” course of action. The plan would create individual information warfare battalions and squadrons in the Corps’ ground, logistics, and aviation elements with the goal of enabling faster, better decisions “at lower levels on a distributed population-filled battlespace.”
The briefs do not provide specific details on what tasks the Marines in these “information warfare organizations” would perform. Thomas Donnelly, a defense and national security expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Free Beacon that establishing particular units within the Marine Corps to focus on information warfare would run into the problem that “information warfare” is such a vast and nebulous category.
“It does not make a lot of sense to me,” Donnelly said. One aspect of information warfare involves the “safety of the civilian or military internet,” the power grid, and electronic communications, Donnelly explained. A second aspect is electronic warfare, or “confrontation through the electromagnetic spectrum.”
Information warfare can also involve the use of propaganda to advance state interests, such as Russia’s use of Kremlin-run media outlets to rewrite the history of its intervention in Ukraine.
The “evolutionary” course of action similarly centers on boosting information warfare capabilities throughout the Corps’ organization. In this scenario, information warfare capabilities would be added down to the platoon level of the Marine’s ground combat units.
Both courses of action also propose changes aside from the addition of information warfare capabilities, including those that would give Marines increased autonomy in the use of weapons and technology.
The service would enhance the capabilities of small ground units by giving infantrymen at lower levels access to precision fires to quicken the “kill-chain” and “maximize lethality and survivability.” Neller tasked Marine leaders with devolving precision fires capability to lower echelons, according to the brief.
Additionally, the “revolutionary” path would involve rethinking the organization of Marine reconnaissance units. Under the plan, these reconnaissance units would be filled by Marines qualified as special operations forces through their training with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command.
This would be a major shift away from today’s practice. Currently, special operations or “MARSOC” Marines and reconnaissance Marines are two distinct groups of personnel, with different training establishments and missions. Marines who enter the special operations community typically conduct operations under the armed forces’ Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, and do not remain under the Marine Corps’ operational control.
The reorganization would be modeled after the Air Force Special Operations Command Pararescuemen, according to the documents.
Both plans focus on boosting unmanned aircraft systems capabilities, the “revolutionary” course of action placing “drone operators in the Tm [team] level,” or with groups of about four Marines. Under the “evolutionary” plan, individual platoons, typically made up of around 40 Marines, would feature an unmanned aircraft systems operator.
In January, Neller ordered the service to develop a “clear-eyed vision” of what it will look like in future decades to prepare to fight the next major conflict while maintaining global commitments.
“As we have remained engaged in the current fight and operationally committed, our enemies and potential adversaries have not stood idle,” the Marine commandant wrote in the order. “During these years, they have developed new capabilities which now equal or exceed our own. Threats to our nation’s interests have evolved, and instability around the globe has steadily increased.”
Neller specifically called for the service to modernize and take advantage of new technologies.
“[The future fight] will encompass not just the domains of land, air and sea, but also space and the cyber domain,” Neller wrote. “It will include information operations and operations across the electromagnetic spectrum. It will involve rapidly changing and evolving technologies and concepts, which will force us to be more agile, flexible and adaptable.”
Semelroth, the Marine Corps spokesman, confirmed that “structural change” is under consideration by the 240-year-old institution.
“Growing information operations, cyber, and electronic warfare capability at the Marine Force and Marine Expeditionary Force levels is one of the specific areas of interest that is under consideration,” Semelroth said. “As we work through the Force 2025 construct, we are examining the various operational, organizational, and structural changes necessary to support a more robust information warfare capability.”
Donnelly, the defense expert, noted that the Marine Corps has historically been “pretty good at modernization” because the service has retained its identity while incorporating new aircraft, weapons, and technology.
“They just decided to be more of what they were instead of reacting to external events,” Donnelly said. “They haven’t changed to adapt to the world, they’ve just become slightly better … but, functionally, the same Marine Corps.”
The United States has faced increasing threats in the cyber realm particularly from Russia and China, both of which have launched successful data attacks on U.S. government systems.
Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. European Command, said in 2014 that Russia waswaging “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare” in its intervention in Ukraine.
“What we see in Russia now, in this hybrid approach to war, is to use all the tools they have … to stir up problems they can then begin to exploit through their military tool,” Breedlove said during a NATO summit in Wales.
The same year, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a new strategy for “information warfare” amidst a global “military revolution,” according to state news reports. Xi encouraged China to “strive to establish a new military doctrine, institutions, equipment systems, strategies and tactics, and management modes.”
Donnelly named Russia, China, and Iran when asked about emerging threats to American interests and cited worries about a “system collapse” confronting the American-led global order.
“I think the threats to the American international order has risen to a very dangerous level,” Donnelly said. “If the system fails in one place, then as a whole it will fail as a system.”
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FBI questioning businessmen about how Mayor de Blasio raises money - WABC-TV

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WABC-TV

FBI questioning businessmen about how Mayor de Blasio raises money
WABC-TV
Mayor Bill de Blasio can expect more tough questions Monday about the fundraising corruption investigation being carried out by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney. The federal investigation is looking into two of the mayor's top donors and their tactics in ...
FBI and US Attorney Preet Bharara's NYPD corruption probe turns focus to de Blasio fund-raisers Jeremy Reichberg ...New York Daily News
The FBI Is Investigating De Blasio's Fundraising, TooGothamist
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio joins Hillary on list of Dems being investigated by FBIBizPac Review

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Conspiracy theories abound six years after Polish plane crash in Russia - Deutsche Welle

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Deutsche Welle

Conspiracy theories abound six years after Polish plane crash in Russia
Deutsche Welle
Conspiracy theories abound six years after Polish plane crash in Russia. Poland's right-wing government has launched a new investigation into the crash. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, brother of the late president, says the plane broke up in mid-air and that then ...

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Syria Defies Russia in Bid to Keep Assad - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

Syria Defies Russia in Bid to Keep Assad
Wall Street Journal
BEIRUT—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 plan will begin to unfold ... 
Russian experts: US can't do without Russia in SyriaRussia Beyond the Headlines

Russia, US close to deal on SyriaTimes LIVE

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Renault Tries to Fix Russian Misadventure - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

Renault Tries to Fix Russian Misadventure
Wall Street Journal
Such are the challenges Western investors face in Russia, where the state-led capitalism of Mr. Putin's regime often blurs the lines between business and politics, a combination that has confounded a litany of companies that once saw the country as a ...

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Russia's Most Important Bank Needs a Bailout - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

Russia's Most Important Bank Needs a Bailout
Wall Street Journal
MOSCOW—When the Russian government needed to build up infrastructure in the southern city of Sochi ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, it turned to Russia's most important lender: Vnesheconombank, the country's state-owned development bank. 

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Russia muscles into centre of peace drive on ground in Syria - Daily Mail

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Daily Mail

Russia muscles into centre of peace drive on ground in Syria
Daily Mail
The ceremony -- performed on Saturday in front of the cameras of journalists on a Russian army press tour -- appeared to see the village of Al-Nasriya, some 70 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Damascus, become the latest location in Syria to have a ...

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Russia's Bullish Bet On Oil Freeze - Forbes

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Forbes

Russia's Bullish Bet On Oil Freeze
Forbes 
Qatar's Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Saleh al-Sada (C),Saudi Arabia's minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Ali al-Naimi (L), and Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak (2nd-R) attend a press conference on February 16, 2016 in the Qatari 
 ...


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Will Putin’s New National Guard Rein In Kadyrov?

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 10 – Most commentaries about Vladimir Putin’s decision to create a special national guard have suggested that this move reflects the Kremlin leader’s fears that he may face popular unrest that could be exploited to challenge his power.   But one Moscow analyst suggests that Putin took this step to rein Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov.

            That is because the new arrangements will eliminate Kadyrov’s ability to control the force structures on his territory and to use them against his enemies with relative impunity; and while a move against Kadyrov and one designed to protect Putin are not mutually exclusive, the former may have even more immediate consequences than the latter.

            The “Kadyrov explanation” is offered by longtime Russian interior ministry official Pegr Zaikin in an interview with Elena Milashina published in Saturday’s “Novaya gazeta” puvb(novayagazeta.ru/politics/72605.html).

            As the journalist points out, under the terms of Putin’s decree, “all the force structures of the Russian interior ministry … will now be shifted to the National Guard.”  Although they will be subordinate to the interior ministry and its regional units until 2018, these forces can be deployed “exclusively” on the basis of an agreement of the director of the Federal Service of the Forces of the National Guard, thus centralizing control of internal troops.

            Moreover, the ranks and status of the personnel in these units will be determined not by their separate commands but by Moscow alone, something that “will mean that the former staffers [of these various forces] will become military personnel and finally be shifted from the jurisdiction of the ‘regional’ vertical of the Russian interior ministry.

            As Milashina points out, this “reform will have colossal political consequences for one of the regions of the Russian Federation – the Chechen Republic.  It will remove from the zone of influence of the leadership of the republic the most militarily capable force units and make them immediately subordinate to the director of the National Guard and the president of Russia.”

            That in turn will open the way to “the cleansing of the Chechen special forces” of former militants and the elimination of “the ethnic principle of the formation of force structures” in Chechnya, something not found elsewhere and unacceptable to the good order of the Russian state.

            Zaikin points out that these changes will limit Kadyrov’s powers over these forces and thus lead him to “refrain” from any moves against people outside of his own republic.  And they will mean that Moscow rather than Kadyrov will have the dominant voice in the use of force even within Chechnya.

            He notes that Kadyrov will no longer have the ability to protect his people from charges of crimes and that he will not be able to maintain the Chechenization of the force structures there. That will bring Chechnya back into the Russian legal field and restrict what Kadyrov will be able to do.

            Given Kadyrov’s past behavior, many Russians will be pleased if this is what the national guard reform means.  But two things remain to be seen. On the one hand, it is far from clear whether Putin and Moscow will succeed in making all these changes.  And on the other, it is uncertain how Kadyrov will respond if he begins to lose his autonomy.

            Moreover, it is entirely possible that the Kremlin has put out this explanation to distract attention from the authoritarian implications behind the new security arrangements and that Putin whose relationship with Kadyrov is far closer than with many of the heads of the force structures may not follow through in the ways Milashina and Zaikin suggest.

            At the very least, there is likely to be an intense struggle not just on the streets of Moscow and major Russian cities but in Chechnya and the North Caucasus more generally.

           
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In Advance of Elections, Putin Preparing to Move Against Oligarchs, Martynov Says 

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 10 – Having already torn up the social contract between the regime and the population, Putin is now about to destroy the contract between the Kremlin and big business that has existed since 2001, according to Kirill Martynov, the political editor of Moscow’s “Novaya gazeta.”

            As a result, the commentator suggests, “loyalty alone is already insufficient: the most important businessmen will now be expected to share with the country as a whole the hardships of the crisis,” a shift that has the potential to solve three of Putin’s most important political problems (novayagazeta.ru/columns/72606.html).

            First, such moves have the potential to “save the budget” by providing the government with a new source of funds. Second, Martynov continues, it gives the Kremlin an ideological boost with the population unhappy with the gross displays of wealth. And third, it blocks the KPRF from offering “an alternative political agenda under conditions of economic instability.”

            The political advantages of such a strategy, the commentator suggests, are obvious. Russia will not only be “a world capital of sport, a protector of ‘the Russian world,’ and the defender of the planet against global terrorism.”  It will become “the world capital of social justice.”

            Putin played with this idea earlier before he was elected to a third term, Martynov says. But now, the Kremlin leader seems even more committed to it, especially since a revision of privatization has the potential to address the country’s budgetary difficulties and to win political points.

            Of course, Martynov says, there is going to be a major fight over the details; but Putin clearly has decided to make a change – and the old rules governing the relationships between big business and the Kremlin are changing, something most ordinary Russians will celebrate even if many Russian businessmen do not.

Suicide bomb attack at Russian police station

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Police on high alert after attack in Stavropol region in southern Russia
Three men, including at least one suicide bomber, have attacked a rural police station in southern Russia, the interior ministry has said, adding police in the affected area had been put on high alert.
The incident took place in a village in the Stavropol region, close to the volatile Muslim-majority North Caucasus area, where Islamic extremists intent upon carving out a breakaway caliphate have targeted police officers in a series of car bombings and shootings.
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The Briefing: Ukraine After Yatsenyuk - April 11, 2016 

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Groysman Puts Forth His Vision For Government With Negotiations Under Way On New Cabinet 

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Ukraine Day 784: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
    READ OUR SPECIAL REPORT:


The Briefing: Ukraine After Yatsenyuk 

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A prime minister resigns in Ukraine. The Panama Papers continue to reverberate in Russia. And the Crimean Tatars hold a congress — in LIthuania.
On this week’s Power Vertical briefing, I look at these three stories with Senior RFE/RL editor Steve Gutterman and Pavel Butorin, managing editor of RFE/RL’s Russian-language television program Current Time.
Enjoy…
NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of The Power Vertical blog, and appears every Monday.
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Page 8

Volodymyr Hroysman: Ukraine's Likely Next Prime Minister Is Loyal Poroshenko Ally

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The man identified by Ukraine's outgoing prime minister as his successor, Volodymyr Hroysman, is a 38-year-old loyalist of President Petro Poroshenko who was thrust onto the national scene after the Euromaidan unrest that toppled a government.

9:21 PM 4/10/2016 - Headlines

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Trump blasts fake Boston Globe front page - Politico

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Montreal Gazette

Trump blasts fake Boston Globe front page
Politico
Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed the Boston Globe as a “stupid” and “worthless” newspaper on the same day that the organization published a fake front page with stories depicting would-be news events during a Trump administration. “Did you see the ...
Boston Globe Warns America: If Trump Elected, Trade Deals and Immigration Laws Will Be EnforcedBreitbart News

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