Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2:31 PM 4/20/2016 - Headlines: New York Celebrates Clinton, Trump Victories | The 'deep and disturbing decline' in global press freedom - WP

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters as she arrives to address attendees at her New York presidential primary night rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., April 19, 2016.

4.20.16 W

NEWS: The World and Global Security Review: 9:33 AM 4/20/2016 - Headlines: April 19, 2016
NEWS: The World and Global Security Review: 9:50 AM 4/20/2016 - Headlines and Articles
NEWS: The World and Global Security Review: » Ukraine Central Bank Gets Tough With Owners of Private Banks 20/04/16 10:38 from Mike Nova's Shared Newslinks

Elections

New York Celebrates Clinton, Trump Victories
Hillary Clinton wins decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in New York primary | US news | The Guardian
Donald Trump secures essential home-state win in New York | US news | The Guardian
Clinton and Trump wins in New York change little on national scale | US news | The Guardian
Can Clinton and Trump ride to big victories in next week’s ‘Acela primary’? - The Washington Post
Oh, thank heaven! We now know how Trump will make America great again. - The Washington Post
Ted Cruz's New York value: Zero delegates - POLITICO

Obama, Saudis, Middle East

A cold-eyed view of allies has left Obama with few overseas friends - The Washington Post
The U.S. props up Syria’s sham cease-fire - The Washington Post
Obama Arrives in Saudi Arabia Amid a New Round of Contention - The New York Times
Obama Shouldn’t Trade Cluster Bombs for Saudi Arabia’s Friendship - The New York Times
Sending the Wrong Signal to Turkey - The New York Times
U.S. defense chief lays ground for Obama meeting with Gulf allies | Reuters
Carter Urges GCC to Focus on Islamic State, Regional Security
The ISIS Files: What Leaked Documents Reveal About Terror Recruits - NBC News

Russia

Russia warns U.S. over Baltic maneuvers, ready to take 'necessary' action | Reuters
NATO, Russia Hold Highest Level Talks For Almost Two Years
Why Russia Harasses U.S. Aircraft | Stratfor
Russia Moves Artillery to Northern Syria, U.S. Officials Say - WSJ
The Latest: Putin and Obama Discuss Syria Situation - ABC News
The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin's Spin, NATO's Reality (Transcript)
Nearly Two Years Into Sanctions, Can Russia Live Without Europe? - Forbes
Russian Oil Output, Exports May Rise After Doha Deal Fails - Bloomberg
Russia Ranked 148 in World Press Freedom Index – Reporters Without Borders | News | The Moscow Times
Russian Deputy Culture Minister’s Assets Frozen After Embezzlement Charges | News | The Moscow Times
Growing Number of Russians Think State Has Failed in Duties to Citizens - Poll | News | The Moscow Times
More Than Half of Russians Want New Soviet State - Poll | News | The Moscow Times
Вручение верительных грамот Президенту России • Президент России
Ex-Soviet Dissident Bukovsky Starts Hunger Strike In Britain

Yukos Ruling

Dutch court overturns $50 billion Yukos award against Russia | Reuters
Dutch Court Quashes $50 Billion Yukos Shareholders' Award - ABC News
Court overturns Russia's $50bn Yukos shareholder payout - BBC News
Moscow wins legal battle over $50bn Yukos shareholders′ compensation | News | DW.COM | 20.04.2016
Russia Wins $50 Billion Ruling in Decade-Old Fight With Yukos - Bloomberg
Yukos Ruling: How We Got Here
Ъ - «Очень удивлены этому решению»

Other news

April 19, 2016
Queen Elizabeth II, No Stranger to Full Agenda, Pencils In a 90th Birthday - The New York Times
Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday: Lunch with Obama and 1,000 bonfires - The Washington Post
Thousands Expected at San Francisco's 4/20 Party - ABC News
Brothers Charged With Killing Missing Washington Couple - ABC News
Facing Impeachment, Dilma Rousseff Fights for Political Survival - The New York Times
In Farewell, Fidel Castro Urges Party to Fulfill His Vision - The New York Times
Sources: San Bernardino phone data has helped probe - CNNPolitics.com
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The 'deep and disturbing decline' in global press freedom - WP

The 'deep and disturbing decline' in global press freedom

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For the first time since rankings began, media freedom in Africa is better than the Americas.





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NATO and Russia Reaffirm Mutual Loathing

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The first Russia-NATO Council meeting since relations were ruptured two years ago by Russia's actions in Ukraine produced only recriminations.

Russia Wins $50 Billion Yukos Battle, But War's Not Over

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A Dutch court on Wednesday overturned an arbitration award of $50 billion to former Yukos shareholders, but the ruling won't end the litigation.

The Putin myth: the Russian leader isn’t nearly as powerful as you think – Vox 

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Buying into the myth of an all-powerful Putin strengthens him and weakens us.

Putin’s Propaganda Machine Is Meddling With European Elections – Bloomberg 

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It was the kind of crime that sears the soul, the gang rape of a 13-year-old ethnic Russian girl by a trio of immigrants in Germany.

Nato-Russia Council talks fail to iron out differences | World news | The Guardian 

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Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg says two sides have ‘profound disagreements’ after first meeting in nearly two years
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Top 10 books on Vladimir Putin’s Russia | Books | The Guardian

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Michael Honig wrote fiction to depict the catastrophic rise and rule of Putin in Russia, but found the most inspiration in terrifying nonfiction accounts

Obama Admin Unsure If Iran Spent $3 Billion in New Cash on Terrorism 

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Obama administration officials disclosed Tuesday that Iran has been granted access to about $3 billion in unfrozen assets in the months since the nuclear agreement was implemented, but it remains unclear to the administration if the Islamic Republic has spent any of this money to fund its global terrorism enterprise, according to top officials.
In the four months since Iran and world powers began to implement the comprehensive nuclear agreement, Iran has been able to recover around $3 billion in funds that were unfrozen as part of the deal. Iran is expected to be given access to another $50 billion to 55 billion in the coming months.
However, the Obama administration was not able to say if Iran has spent any of this money to fund terrorism campaigns.
“We don’t know” if Iran has spent this money on terror activities, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “We don’t know. We don’t have a way.”
The administration can only provide estimates of how much money Iran has accessed as part of the deal, Kirby said.
“The $3 billion is an estimate at best—we don’t have perfect knowledge of what has actually been freed up for them, and we don’t have perfect knowledge of how every dollar of that is going to be spent,” he said. “And we stand by what the secretary [of state] said, that it’s entirely possible that they can use some of this funding to support terrorist networks.”
Still, the administration has sent officials to advise foreign governments and banks on ways they can legally give Iran access to the remaining billions of dollars held in a number of accounts.
“We continue to work with and consult with banking and business institutions here at home and overseas to explain to them how this sanctions relief process is supposed to work,” Kirby said. “We actually have officials that are, you know, on the road, actually, making, you know, trying to inform and educate people around the world on how this is supposed to work.”
As part of this effort, the Obama administration recently petitioned state governments to drop any and all sanctions they might still have on Iran. This would ease the ability of American firms to resume business ties with Tehran.
In the coming months, the U.S. and foreign governments will help Iran access another $50 billion to $55 billion in assets.
“We still believe that our estimate is accurate, of about 55, somewhere between 50 and 55 billion is about what they will have available to them through this sanctions relief, through the sanctions relief,” Kirby said, downplaying estimates by some outside experts who have predicted Iran will be granted closer to $150 billion.
“All I can tell you is that after four months, that’s our best estimate, and nobody expected, and nobody should’ve expected, that it was going to be like sort of a day one, it was just all going to happen,” Kirby said, speaking to the ease of granting Iran sanctions relief. “These are their funds. And under the deal, as long as they continue implementing their obligations, and they have, they are entitled to get that money back.”
Read the whole story
 
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Senator Impersonates a Sheep When Voting ‘Nay’ on the Senate Floor 

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A United States Senator brought some entertainment to the Senate chamber on Tuesday by impersonating a sheep when voting against an amendment on the Senate floor.
The animal sound was made while Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) was presiding over the Senate floor with a vote underway on an amendment to a bill.
“Without objection, the question occurs on the amendment,” Ayotte said. “All in favor say ‘ay.’”
Several Senators could be heard voicing their approval with a resounding “ay.”
“Those opposed,” Ayotte then said.
“Naaaayy,” one Senator replied impersonating a sheep, drawing laughs from everyone in the room.
“The ‘ays’ appear to have it,” Ayotte said with a smile. “The amendment as modified is agreed to.”
It is unclear which Senator made the sheep sound.
ClotureClub.com reported the animal personation via Twitter:
This page will be updated as more information is learned.

Russia’s Network-Centric Warfare Experiment in Syria

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Since Russia’s military operation in Syria commenced in September 2015, a number of features indicated a degree of experimentation with advanced weapons and hardware. These have promoted speculation that Moscow is trying to develop such systems as part of its alleged hybrid warfare capability or, at a rudimentary level, that it is rehearsing operations against a more technically advanced adversary. Some aspects of these experimental components in Russian military operations are emerging as Russia’s military specialists reflect on the relative success of the intervention in Syria. Uniting themes in such observations are the conceptual approaches of applying well-known Russian military theory such as reflexive control or testing the advances in adopting network-centric warfare capability. According to Igor Korotchenko, the editor of Natsional’naya Oborona, Russia’s military strength in its Syria operation is rooted in more than new aircraft, cruise missiles, helicopters and other platforms: it actually lies in its advances in communications, data transmission and electronic warfare (EW) (Moskovskiy Komsomolets, April 7; see: EDM, October 13, 2015).
Within two-weeks of Russia’s Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS) starting their operations in Syria, Moscow-based military-diplomatic sources were explaining to media that the use of Su-34 jets to strike targets was an important feature, and one that highlighted the network-centric dimension of some air operations. These platforms were network-enabled and, according to such sources, were testing the developing capability to operate in a single information network. The Su-34 had been fitted with the TKS-2M communications and information management system, which allows data targeting coordination with automated output on electronic maps without depending on ground command posts. Su-34s were exchanging information in real time, which permitted rapid retargeting or changes in tasks, depending upon the tactical situation. The system is also designed to enhance the action and stealth capability of the Su-34. Since the armed rebels or Islamic State combatants had no EW capacity, this lends credence to possible testing for future operations against a rather different adversary. Additional Russian reporting also noted the use of stand-off weapons systems to introduce a clear non-contact feature to the operations in Syria, despite its use being militarily unnecessary (Topwar.ru, October 9, 2015; TASS, October 8, 2015).
The network-centric aspects of Russia’s military experiments in Syria were tied to more than individual deployment of key platforms, or advanced EW. Korotchenko provides additional clues to confirm the network-centric key to Moscow’s testing of advanced technologies in Syria. He notes the use of a military internet, which established high-speed secure data transfer between units. At the strategic level, the same system was locked into the National Defense Management Center (Natsional’nyy Tsentr Upravleniya Oboronoy—NTsUO), in Moscow, to connect with the Hmeymim airbase. This linkage of the NTsUO and the Russian air group at Hmeymim airbase maintained continuous, real-time, secure command and control (C2) in a networked environment (MK.ru, April 7). The enhancement of combat effectiveness through automated C2 systems was equally visible in the reported deployment of Andromeda-D and other automated C2; there was speculation that the Andromeda-D was used in an experimental deployment of a combat robot system. Andromeda-D is the automated C2 system used by the elite Airborne Forces (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 20).
Anatoliy Sokolov, a candidate (PhD) in military science, argues that Russia’s military operations in Syria will enter new books on strategy and tactics. Judging the overall Russian intervention in Syria as a success, Sokolov assessed its political and military features. Sokolov summarized Moscow’s military achievements in Syria as follows: For the first time in the 21st century, Russia has used its Armed Forces openly and efficiently to demonstrate advances in military capability, proving the United States’ earliest forecasting for the operation palpably wrong. Russia’s military is capable of acting quickly and unexpectedly in a rapidly changing military and political situation. Logistical support during the operations denotes progress in improving combat service support for such operations. It marks the use of a mobile group of forces operating in a single information space. The military has gained invaluable experience in this “new type” of warfare. Moscow has explored various support platforms for this new form of warfare, including air and space systems. And finally, Russia has played a proactive role in “peacemaking” and “post-conflict settlement,” having been involved in dialogue with warring parties and in delivering humanitarian aid (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, April 12).
Sokolov characterized the Russian operation in Syria as an answer to the chaos of “color revolutions,” and he argued that Russia’s actions have helped to expose US and Turkey’s wider interests in the Middle East. But returning to the specifics of the military operations, he suggested that Moscow has made progress toward integrating a single information space to combine systems management software with robotic systems and precision-guided weaponry. His description of this single information space network-enabled approach to warfare has profound implications for Russian military operations at strategic and tactical levels. Sokolov concludes that answering the many questions flowing from these observations is now the primary task facing Russian military science (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, April 12).
Vasiliy Mikryukov, a doctor of pedagogical sciences and a member of the Academy of Military Science, argues that the operation in Syria is equally a classic example of Russia exploiting reflexive control theory (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, April 12). Mikryukov noted that the VKS operation caught the US and its allies by surprise, and it proved President Barack Obama’s contention that Russia would find itself in a “quagmire” as entirely misjudged.
Mikryukov referred to reflexive control as a method of influencing an opponent to think or behave in a certain manner for the benefit of achieving strategic gains. He turned to the development of reflexive control in the 1960s, highlighting the work of Russian theorists: Colonel Sergei Leonenko, Major-General M. Ionov, Captain 1st rank F. Chausova, Colonel S. Komov, Major-General N. Turco, Major-General Alexander Vladimirov and others. Mikryukov believes that Russia’s use of reflexive control is apparent in the lack of foresight on the part of the US and its allies regarding the surprise use of military power to support the regime in Damascus. It is also apparent in Washington adopting the stance that Russia’s operations in Syria would yield no success and result in a possible second Afghanistan. Mikryukov implies that the Kremlin wanted Washington to see the situation in this way, whereas the outcome was rather different (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, April 12). Thus, experiments conducted during the Syria operations are helping the General Staff to refine the introduction of network-centric capability while providing a testing ground for numerous hard- and soft-power tools.
Read the whole story
 
· · · ·

Biden discusses 'frustration' with Israeli government

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On Friday, Obama invited college student activists from J Street to meet with him in the Oval Office. And Monday night, the administration sent two heavy hitters, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, to J Street's annual gala.
     

Judge Rejects Challenge to Searches of Emails Gathered Without Warrant 

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The ruling is notable because some lawmakers want to require agencies to get a warrant before searching emails for an American’s name or email address.
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Meet the Frontrunner: Donald Trump 

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Fresh off winning the New York primary in resounding fashion, here’s a quick highlight reel of Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump.

Trump, Clinton win big in NY, push closer to nomination

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Front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton swept to resounding victories in Tuesday's New York primary, with Trump bouncing back from a difficult stretch in his Republican campaign and Clinton pushing tantalizingly close to locking up the Democratic nomination.
     

FBI, NYPD Arrest More Than 30 Alleged Gang Members in Public Housing Raids - NBC New York

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NBC New York

FBI, NYPD Arrest More Than 30 Alleged Gang Members in Public Housing Raids
NBC New York
More than 30 members of rival drug gangs in East Harlem were arrested overnight in raids conducted by the FBI and city police at three public housing complexes, authorities said Tuesday. The raids followed the filings of federal indictments accusing ...
NYPD, FBI bust gang-related drug ring during raid of East Harlem housing projects, arrest 32 including Broad Day ...New York Daily News
FBI, NYPD round up rival Manhattan drug gangsNewsday

all 11 news articles »

Obama goes to Saudi Arabia to rebuild relationship strained by Iran, Islamic State and 9/11

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President Barack Obama begins a delicate mission Wednesday both to reinforce his strategic aims in the Middle East and to ease tension with an aggrieved longtime ally, Saudi Arabia.
     

NATO-Russia Council meeting for first time since 2014

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The NATO-Russia Council convened Wednesday for the first time in nearly two years, with the U.S.-led alliance planning to object to what it deems provocative and dangerous actions by Moscow's military.
     

Britain announces national training for war on terror

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April 20, 2016, 3:23 PM (IDT)
More than one million British citizens who work in crowded urban areas will be trained by police how to respond to a terrorist attack. The yearly plan to be announced by the British police will help citizens how to identify and provide warning of an attack, and if needed, act as first responders.
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President Obama Faces Contentious Visit to Saudi Arabia

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Barack Obama in Saudi Arabia: Tension will be on full display on Wednesday when the president travels to ‘the kingdom’. What should we expect?

Carter pushes Gulf states to give more aid to Iraq

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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met Wednesday with the defense ministers of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries to discuss what additional support the Arab nations could provide in the war against the Islamic State group.
     

New ISIS ‘Kill List’ Names American Muslim Leaders

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Three American Muslim leaders were named in the latest so-called ISIS kill list in an effort to inject fear into the men and their families.

The uneasy alliance between Obama and Republicans over the Sept. 11, Saudi Arabia bill 

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Many Republicans are finding themselves on the same side as President Obama in the Sept. 11 victims versus Saudi Arabia debate.

Obama arrives in Saudi Arabia amid rift between Riyadh, Washington

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April 20, 2016, 5:06 PM (IDT)
US President Barack Obama arrived Wednesday in Riyadh for a series of meetings with Saudi leaders aimed at reducing the tensions between the two countries and increasing cooperation in the war against terror.
On Thursday, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Obama will participate in a summit with the leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states.
The summit's agenda will include three main topics: increased participation by Gulf states in the global war against Islamic terror, especially ISIS; a US attempt to present the nuclear deal with Iran as an established fact, and encourage talks and reconciliation between Gulf states and Iran; and a process to use the cease-fires in Syria and Yemen to put Saudi Arabia in a stronger political position, with the blessing of Washington and Moscow, to pave the way for a reconciliation with Iran.
In a meeting with Kerry, the GCC foreign ministers are expected to challenge the feasability of talks with Iran considering the hard line of Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Tehran's continued arming of the Houthi rebels despite its commitment to stop doing so. 

Open-Source Project Secretly Funded by CIA - Linux Journal

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Open-Source Project Secretly Funded by CIA
Linux Journal
Just like any large organization, the CIA usually prefers to use an off-the-shelf solution when it's available. But what does it do when the solution it needs isn't ready to ship? What if the team developing the project is struggling to secure the ...

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7 Predictions For How The Internet Will Change Over The Next 15 Years 

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Earth won't be the only planet with Internet access; a machine may start doing your job; privacy will become a commodity. What else?

Former CIA Agent Reveals What It's Really Like to Be a Spy - Popular Mechanics

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Popular Mechanics

Former CIA Agent Reveals What It's Really Like to Be a Spy
Popular Mechanics
The complex life of a CIA officer is unveiled in this fascinating AMA on Reddit, which reveals an existence that is both terrifying and amusing, but never boring. Names, places, and timelines are redacted, but that doesn't lessen the impact of his ...

Obama Admin Awards $270K to Controversial Islamic Charity

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The Obama administration has awarded $270,000 to an Islamic charity that has been outlawed by some governments for its support of the terror group Hamas and other jihadist organizations, according to grant documents.
The Department of Health and Human Services has provided a $270,000 grant to Islamic Relief Worldwide, a charity that has repeatedly been linked to terrorism financing and support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to recent grant information.
The grant was awarded as part of a larger project to provide health services in Nairobi, Kenya, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the grant.
Some terrorism experts have expressed concern that the administration is providing funds to Islamic Relief given its past ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, ties that have led some governments to outlaw the charity.
The United Arab Emirates and Israel both banned the charity in 2014 after investigations revealed that Islamic Relief had ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other entities engaged in terror financing, according to reports.
An investigation by the Israeli government led to accusations that the charity was providing material support to Hamas and its operatives.
The charity “provides support and assistance to Hamas’s infrastructure,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs determined in 2006. “The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives.”
The charity further “appears to be a hub for donations from charities accused of links to al Qaeda and other terror groups,” according to an investigation conducted by the Gatestone Institute.
The charity’s “accounts show that it has partnered with a number of organizations linked to terrorism and that some of charity’s trustees are personally affiliated with extreme Islamist groups that have connections to terror,” according to the investigation, authored by terrorism analyst Samuel Westrop.
An audit of the organization’s accounts showed that it had donated thousands of dollars to a charity established by a terrorist affiliated with al Qaeda, according to Westrop.
Israeli authorities arrested the charity’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali, in 2006 due to his alleged work on Hamas’s behalf.
“Incriminating files were found on Ali’s computer, including documents that attested to the organization’s ties with illegal Hamas funds abroad (in the UK and in Saudi Arabia) and in Nablus,” Israel’s foreign affairs ministry said at the time. “Also found were photographs of swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols, of senior Nazi German officials, of Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as many photographs of Hamas military activities.”
The charity attempted to mend its image in 2014 by performing an internal audit. However, experts criticized the effort as unreliable.
“The information provided by [Islamic Relief] on its internal investigation is insufficient to assess the veracity of its claims,” the watchdog organization NGO Monitor wrote in a 2015 analysis. “NGO Monitor recommends that a fully independent, transparent, and comprehensive audit of IRW’s international activities and funding mechanisms be undertaken immediately.”
Patrick Poole, a reporter and counter-terrorism analyst for Unconstrained Analytics, noted that USAID, a taxpayer funded organization, also has donated funds to Islamic Relief.
“Time and again we see federal agencies and departments using taxpayer money to support the enemies of the United States and our allies,” Poole said. “USAID is a persistent culprit in this regard. In 2005 it took an act of Congress, led by the late Rep. Tom Lantos [D., Calif.], to stop USAID from funding Hamas institutions in Gaza. Now we see them doing the same thing, but only using a middleman.”
The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment on the grant.
Read the whole story
 
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Vladimir Lenin: Positives top 50 percent for first time in Russian poll 

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Just in time for his 146th birthday this weekend, a majority of Russians in a new poll now say that Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin played a largely positive role in the country's history.
The Levada Center, an independent Moscow polling firm, found that 53 percent of the Russians ...

Death toll in Kabul blast climbs to 64

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The death toll from Tuesday’s attack on an Afghan intelligence agency office in Kabul rose to 64 Wednesday afternoon, with 347 others injured, government officials said.
     

Russia's Putin and Germany's Merkel discuss Ukraine crisis

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the Ukraine crisis by phone on Wednesday, the Kremlin said in a statement.
  
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Brazil's Rousseff seeks international stage against impeachment in N.Y. trip

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Beleaguered Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has changed her plans and will attend a U.N. event on Friday in New York to make her case against an impeachment process that could remove her from office within weeks, her office said on Thursday.
  

Russian editor who printed revelations on Putin circle to take leave

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The editor-in-chief of Russia's RBC media group, whose outlets published revelations about the commercial interests of people in the circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is to take a study leave in the United States, the holding said in a statement.
  

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Iran Must Pay $2 Billion To Terror Victims

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Iran must pay nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to victims and families of those killed in Tehran-sponsored terrorist attacks.

NATO, Russia Hold Highest Level Talks For Almost Two Years

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NATO ambassadors resumed talks with their Russian counterpart in Brussels on April 20, ending a nearly two-year hiatus that followed the forcible Russian annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Iran, Islamic State on Agenda as Obama Visits Saudi Arabia

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U.S. President Barack Obama arrived Wednesday in Saudi Arabia where he is expected to discuss with King Salman a range of issues, including Saudi rival Iran, the conflict in Yemen and efforts to defeat the Islamic State group. The United States and Saudi Arabia are longtime allies, but there have been recent tensions.   Obama has criticized the Saudis for not doing enough to battle Islamic State, and the U.S. joined with a group of world powers to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran that unlocked billions of dollars in funds through lifted sanctions. Wednesday's talks will be followed on Thursday by a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

A Dutch Court Just Let Russia Off a $50 Billion Payout to Yukos Shareholders - Fortune

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Fortune

A Dutch Court Just Let Russia Off a $50 Billion Payout to Yukos Shareholders
Fortune
In a victory for Moscow, a Dutch court on Wednesday overturned an order that Russia pay $50 billion to shareholders in defunct oil company Yukos, saying that the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration had no jurisdiction. Former Yukos shareholders ...
Court overturns Russia's $50bn Yukos shareholder payoutBBC News
Russia wins legal victory over Yukos damagesFinancial Times
Russia Wins $50 Billion Ruling in Decade-Old Fight With YukosBloomberg
RT-Sputnik International
all 66 
news articles »
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NATO, Russian Officials Meet For First Time in Two Years

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The NATO-Russia Council has convened for the first time since 2014, with recent tensions between Russia and the United States high on the agenda. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Wednesday's meeting is especially important because of last week's incidents, when the United States accused Russian warplanes of flying within a few meters of a U.S. Navy war ship in the Baltic Sea. Stoltenberg said, "We think dialogue is more important when times are difficult and tensions are high." Ambassadors from the 28 NATO countries are attending the meeting, along with a Russian delegation. Russia's bombing campaign in Syria and the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula are also expected to be on the agenda. The last NATO-Russia Council meeting was in 2014. Russian officials have blamed NATO members for the "lack of trust" that resulted in the lapse between meetings. Relations between Russia and NATO members froze after Russia annexed part of eastern Ukraine and an armed conflict began between Ukrainian loyalists and pro-Russia separatists.

Dutch Court Overturns $50 Billion Ruling in Yukos Case - New York Times

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BBC News

Dutch Court Overturns $50 Billion Ruling in Yukos Case
New York Times
LONDON — In a major victory for the Russian government, a Dutch court on Wednesday overturned an award of more than $50 billion by former shareholders of the defunct oil company Yukos against Moscow in 2014. The court, in The Hague, said that the ...
Court overturns Russia's $50bn Yukos shareholder payoutBBC News
Russia wins legal victory over Yukos damagesFinancial Times
Russia Wins $50 Billion Ruling in Decade-Old Fight With YukosBloomberg
RT-Irish Times-Sputnik International
all 71 news articles »

Russia ignores Obama's plea for Syria ceasefire, shifts forces to Aleppo - Fox News

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Fox News

Russia ignores Obama's plea for Syria ceasefire, shifts forces to Aleppo
Fox News
Despite President Obama's call Monday urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to maintain a fragile cease-fire in Syria, Russia has shifted the bulk of its fire power to areas outside Aleppo where a new offensive to recapture Syria's largest city is ...

and more »

Gay clubbing and stoic activism in Russia’s homophobic heartland 

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Coda Story report from the industrial city of Samara where the one remaining LGBT rights organisation provides invaluable support – discreetly
It is late in Samara, an industrial hub in central Russia and the city’s only gay nightclub is proving difficult to find. In a dark car park there are none of the telltale signs: no queue, no music, no crowds of smokers.
Andrei, the host for the night, approaches the solid metal door of the office-like building and rings the buzzer as a security camera eyes him from above.
That law set us back – now we are like the slaves of An­cient Rome
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Top 10 books on Vladimir Putin's Russia 

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I used fiction to depict the catastrophe that the president has inflicted on Russia, but these terrifying stories about him include much nonfiction
The Russia of President Vladimir Putin is both wearyingly familiar and appallingly unique. A corrupt pseudo-democracy run for personal enrichment by its leader and his cronies? Hardly enough to raise an eyebrow in our sadly flawed world. But one that also happens to be a nuclear-armed leviathan, which gave personal and economic freedom a whirl, but has been yanked back into authoritarianism – not so common.
In my novel, The Senility of Vladimir P, I have tried to convey some sense of the catastrophe that Putin has inflicted on Russia. Set in an isolated dacha outside Moscow, where the now senile ex-president wiles away his days in imaginary conversations, while the staff busily milks him for every last kopeck, it is a tragicomedy from which not even one honest man can emerge uncorrupted.
Continue reading...

Nato-Russia Council talks fail to iron out differences

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Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg says two sides have ‘profound disagreements’ after first meeting in nearly two years
Nato and Russian officials held the first meeting for nearly two years of a joint council on Wednesday but failed to make any apparent progress in resolving increasingly dangerous military tensions.
The meeting of the Nato-Russia Council (NRC) overran by more than an hour but ended without any agreement on the most urgent issue: reducing the risk of close military encounters between the two sides.
Continue reading...
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Trump, Clinton Edge Closer to US Presidential Nominations

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Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, edging closer to winning their parties' U.S. presidential nominations after decisive wins in New York's nominating contests, are now looking to new elections in five states next week to extend their lead over their remaining challengers. The next key date in the months-long U.S. presidential campaign is April 26, with Republican and Democratic primaries in four northeastern states -- Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island -- where pre-election surveys show Trump and Clinton with significant leads. The small state of Delaware also votes next week, but polling has not been conducted there. Neither Trump nor Clinton has clinched their parties' presidential nominations yet, but both could before Republicans and Democrats hold national nominating conventions in July. WATCH: Excerpt from candidates' victory speeches 'Mathematically eliminated' After winning almost all of New York's Republican convention delegates in Tuesday's primary, Trump declared that his chief rival, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, "is just about mathematically eliminated" from winning the nomination before the national convention in mid-July. Cruz, a conservative firebrand in the halls of Congress in Washington, did not win any convention delegates in the New York voting, but is trying to keep Trump from winning a majority of the convention delegates on the first ballot in hopes of winning the nomination on the second or succeeding ballots. Delegate tally As it stands now, Trump has 845 convention delegates of the 1,237 majority figure he needs to claim the nomination, with Cruz at 559 and Ohio Governor John Kasich at 147. But most of Trump's pledged delegates are only required to vote for him on the first ballot, giving Cruz and Kasich hope that convention delegates could switch their allegiance to them on subsequent ballots. Trump, a one-time television reality show host who has never held elective office, needs to claim about 53 percent of the remaining delegates yet to be chosen in the 15 states where elections are scheduled through early June to clinch the nomination ahead of the quadrennial national convention, while Cruz would have to win 92 percent of the unclaimed delegates. Clinton's path to the Democratic nomination in late July is looking close to a certainty, which would make her the first major party female presidential nominee in U.S. history. She would become the first female U.S. president if she wins the November national election to succeed President Barack Obama when he leaves office next January. 'Home stretch' After winning in New York, Clinton told supporters, "The race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight." Clinton, the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013 and the wife of former President Bill Clinton, needs 2,383 Democratic convention delegates to win the party's nomination. After her New York victory, she has 1,930 delegates, far ahead of her sole challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, with 1,189. She made a plea to Sanders's voters to join forces with her, telling them, "I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us." Clinton needs only to win about 28 percent of the 1,646 convention delegates yet to be chosen to become the Democrats' standard bearer in the November election. Convincing victories Trump and Clinton won convincing victories in their home state. Trump has developed numerous projects in New York and lives there in a luxury high-rise building, while Clinton has made New York her adoptive home and was twice elected to the Senate from the state. Trump got about 60 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, with Kasich at 25 percent and Cruz at 15 percent. Clinton beat Sanders, 58 percent to 42 percent.

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US Officials Say Russia Preparing For Aleppo Offensive As Syria ‘Ceasefire’ Collapses 

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The previous post in our Putin in Syria column can be found here.

Post-Crash Era for Russia Means Tying Budget to $40-$50 Oil - Bloomberg

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Bloomberg

Post-Crash Era for Russia Means Tying Budget to $40-$50 Oil
Bloomberg
“With this rule, the Russian government is trying to break the vicious dependence of the economy on oil via the ruble,” said Oleg Popov, a money manager who oversees $300 million of assets at April Capital in Moscow. “What's changing is that the ...

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US, European Leaders to Hold Summit in Germany

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U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with leaders from the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Italy next week for an informal meeting expected to cover topics including Syria, Libya and migration. Obama will attend Monday's talks with French leader Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain's David Cameron and Italy's Matteo Renzi in the German city of Hanover.   No set agenda British and French officials say the there is no set agenda, but discussions may include the migrant crisis, the Islamic State, instability in North Africa, and the situations in Syria and Ukraine. A White House statement adds that "they will also discuss additional steps NATO Allies must take to address challenges on Europe’s eastern and southern periphery, as well as mutual efforts to advance negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership." The meeting follows Obama and Merkel's visit to the city's industrial technology fair.  Obama arrives in Germany on the final leg of a three country trip that also takes him to Saudi Arabia and Britain.

Panama Papers: More Trouble For The West Than Russia - Forbes

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Forbes

Panama Papers: More Trouble For The West Than Russia
Forbes
While the leaks revealed that Putin's close associates moved up to $2 billion through offshore companies, allegations of wealth and corruption come as no surprise to anyone following Russia. In fact, the evidence against the Russian government and ...
The Putin myth: the Russian leader isn't nearly as powerful as you thinkVox
Putin's Propaganda Machine Is Meddling With European ElectionsBloomberg
Commentary: When will Russia break?Reuters
Newsweek -Foreign Affairs (subscription)
all 192 news articles »

11:57 AM 4/20/2016 - Headlines: New York Celebrates Clinton, Trump Victories 

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4.20.16 W


NEWS: The World and Global Security Review: 9:33 AM 4/20/2016 - Headlines: April 19, 2016
NEWS: The World and Global Security Review: 9:50 AM 4/20/2016 - Headlines and Articles
NEWS: The World and Global Security Review: » Ukraine Central Bank Gets Tough With Owners of Private Banks 20/04/16 10:38 from Mike Nova's Shared Newslinks

Elections


New York Celebrates Clinton, Trump Victories
Hillary Clinton wins decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in New York primary | US news | The Guardian
Donald Trump secures essential home-state win in New York | US news | The Guardian
Clinton and Trump wins in New York change little on national scale | US news | The Guardian
Can Clinton and Trump ride to big victories in next week’s ‘Acela primary’? - The Washington Post
Oh, thank heaven! We now know how Trump will make America great again. - The Washington Post
Ted Cruz's New York value: Zero delegates - POLITICO

Obama, Saudis, Middle East


A cold-eyed view of allies has left Obama with few overseas friends - The Washington Post
The U.S. props up Syria’s sham cease-fire - The Washington Post
Obama Arrives in Saudi Arabia Amid a New Round of Contention - The New York Times
Obama Shouldn’t Trade Cluster Bombs for Saudi Arabia’s Friendship - The New York Times
Sending the Wrong Signal to Turkey - The New York Times
U.S. defense chief lays ground for Obama meeting with Gulf allies | Reuters
Carter Urges GCC to Focus on Islamic State, Regional Security
The ISIS Files: What Leaked Documents Reveal About Terror Recruits - NBC News

Russia


Russia warns U.S. over Baltic maneuvers, ready to take 'necessary' action | Reuters
NATO, Russia Hold Highest Level Talks For Almost Two Years
Why Russia Harasses U.S. Aircraft | Stratfor
Russia Moves Artillery to Northern Syria, U.S. Officials Say - WSJ
The Latest: Putin and Obama Discuss Syria Situation - ABC News
The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin's Spin, NATO's Reality (Transcript)
Nearly Two Years Into Sanctions, Can Russia Live Without Europe? - Forbes
Russian Oil Output, Exports May Rise After Doha Deal Fails - Bloomberg
Russia Ranked 148 in World Press Freedom Index – Reporters Without Borders | News | The Moscow Times
Russian Deputy Culture Minister’s Assets Frozen After Embezzlement Charges | News | The Moscow Times
Growing Number of Russians Think State Has Failed in Duties to Citizens - Poll | News | The Moscow Times
More Than Half of Russians Want New Soviet State - Poll | News | The Moscow Times
Вручение верительных грамот Президенту России • Президент России
Ex-Soviet Dissident Bukovsky Starts Hunger Strike In Britain

Yukos Ruling


Dutch court overturns $50 billion Yukos award against Russia | Reuters
Dutch Court Quashes $50 Billion Yukos Shareholders' Award - ABC News
Court overturns Russia's $50bn Yukos shareholder payout - BBC News
Moscow wins legal battle over $50bn Yukos shareholders′ compensation | News | DW.COM | 20.04.2016
Russia Wins $50 Billion Ruling in Decade-Old Fight With Yukos - Bloomberg
Yukos Ruling: How We Got Here
Ъ - «Очень удивлены этому решению»

Other news


April 19, 2016
Queen Elizabeth II, No Stranger to Full Agenda, Pencils In a 90th Birthday - The New York Times
Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday: Lunch with Obama and 1,000 bonfires - The Washington Post
Thousands Expected at San Francisco's 4/20 Party - ABC News
Brothers Charged With Killing Missing Washington Couple - ABC News
Facing Impeachment, Dilma Rousseff Fights for Political Survival - The New York Times
In Farewell, Fidel Castro Urges Party to Fulfill His Vision - The New York Times
Sources: San Bernardino phone data has helped probe - CNNPolitics.com
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Ukraine Central Bank Gets Tough With Owners of Private Banks

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Ukraine will closely track assets belonging to owners of banks to stop offering of sweetheart loans to shareholders – practice that helped bankrupt 40 percent of banking sector

The U.S. props up Syria’s sham cease-fire – The Washington Post 

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As long as Mr. Obama counts on Mr. Putin to cooperate, violence will continue.

Russia warns U.S. over Baltic maneuvers, ready to take ‘necessary’ action | Reuters 

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Russia’s envoy to NATO accused the United States of trying to put pressure on Moscow by sailing a U.S. guided-missile destroyer near Kaliningrad last week, warning that Russia will react if necessary.

China Wants Ships to Use Faster Arctic Route Opened by Global Warming 

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Journey from Shanghai to Hamburg via Arctic route is 2,800 nautical miles shorter than going by Egypt’s Suez canal

Queen Elizabeth II, No Stranger to Full Agenda, Pencils In a 90th Birthday – The New York Times 

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Befitting a workhorse who carried out 341 engagements last year, Elizabeth kicked off celebrations on Wednesday in a dutiful display.

The ISIS Files: What Leaked Documents Reveal About Terror Recruits – NBC News 

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Files on more than 4,000 fighters provide a deeper understanding of who signed up for ISIS.
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