Sunday, May 1, 2016

VIDEO: May Day marked around the world Sunday May 1st, 2016 at 10:03 PM

VIDEO: May Day marked around the world

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May Day marked in different ways around the world.

Hillary Clinton on State of the Union: Full Interview 

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From: CNN
Duration: 09:32

In and exclusive interview with Jake Tapper, Hillary Clinton discussed the remaining contests, unifying the Democratic party, and taking on Donald Trump.

AP Top Stories 1 P 

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 00:56

Here are the top stories for Sunday, May 1st: Lions rescued from South American circuses; May Day marked across globe; Yemen explosion kills at least 3; Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.
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

Are airstrikes successfully weakening ISIS? 

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 03:09

The Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria has drawn an estimated 38,000 recruits from all over the world, including the U.S. But the Pentagon recently said recruits have dropped from 2,000 a month to 500, in part because of U.S.-led airstrikes. Joining Soledad O’Brien to discuss is national security adviser and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Doug Ollivant.

PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode May 1, 2016

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 24:51

On this edition for Sunday, May 1, what to expect from Tuesday’s primary in Indiana in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Later, budget and caseload cuts in Louisiana have created a backlog in the court system -- and public defenders are refusing new cases. Soledad O’Brien anchors from New York.

n Iraq, Doctors Are Targets of War

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Iraqi doctors are being threatened by tribes and militias engaged in the war against Islamic State, causing an exodus of trained medical personnel from the war-torn country. Photo: Matt Bradley/The Wall Street Journal
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Train Derails in DC; Leaks Hazardous Chemical

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:22

Officials warned Washington D.C. area residents to brace for a potentially slow commute Monday after a CSX freight train derailed near a Metro stop, sending 14 cars off the tracks and spilling hazardous material. (May 1)
Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews
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

CIA director: '28 pages' contain inaccurate information - The Hill

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The Hill

CIA director: '28 pages' contain inaccurate information
The Hill
CIA Director John Brennan said Sunday that releasing the 28 classified pages from the 9/11 Commission report would be a mistake because they contain inaccurate, un-vetted information that could be used to tie Saudi Arabia to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror ...
CIA Director Says Unverified Material in Secret 9/11 PagesABC News
CIA Chief on ISIS: Not Just an Organization, 'It's a Phenomenon'NBCNews.com
CIA Chief: 'No Evidence' of Saudi Backing of 9/11 AttacksVoice of America
New York Daily News-Huffington Post-Daily Mail
all 20 
news articles »

J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's first director, dies at 77 in 1972 - New York Daily News

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New York Daily News

J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's first director, dies at 77 in 1972
New York Daily News
(Originally published by the Daily News on May 3, 1972. This story was written by Jerry Greene.) WASHINGTON, May 2 (NEWS Bureau) — FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 77, the nation's towering symbol of law enforcement for nearly half a century, died at his ...

In Brazil, a New Nostalgia for Military Dictatorship - New York Times

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New York Times

In Brazil, a New Nostalgia for Military Dictatorship
New York Times
With these words he sided with the “winners” of a military coup that overthrew a democratically elected government in 1964 and set the stage for 21 years of brutal military dictatorship. Mr. Bolsonaro, a former army parachutist and a possible ...

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Appeals ruling clears way for Bowe Bergdahl case to resume

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An appeals court has cleared the way for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's legal case to resume, rejecting prosecutors' arguments that defense attorneys were given too much leeway on accessing classified documents.
     

Gates Slams Trump’s Foreign Policy: ‘He Doesn’t Listen to People’ 

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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized Donald Trump’s foreign policy Sunday on ABC’s This Week,days after Trumpgave a speech detailing his views on foreign policy in Washington, DC.
When host Martha Raddatz asked Gates what a Trump presidency would mean for American national security, Gates said that Trump “doesn’t understand the difference between a business negotiation and a negotiation with sovereign powers.”
“He doesn’t understand that there’s a give and take in international relations that is different than in the business community. And just one further comment: He talks about walking,” Gates said. “How do you walk away from China, a country that holds a trillion dollars in US treasuries and with which we have a half a trillion dollars in trade every year and at the same time say we’re gonna launch a trade war against them at the same time we’re asking them to pressure North Korea.”
Gates said that Trump’s policies appear unrealistic or do not include details.
“For example, he, on the one hand says we need to be a more reliable ally to our friends and in the next breath he basically says we’re gonna rip up all those burden-sharing agreements that we’ve had over the decades with them and make them go their own way if they don’t pay for everything,” Gates said. “He says some things that it’s hard to disagree with. The allies ought to be doing more. But how do you get them there when you’re dealing with 28 sovereign countries and, you know, nobody argued harder for them to do more than I did.”
Gates said that Trump does not listen, a problem that past presidents the former defense secretary worked with did not have.
“One of the things that worries me, Martha, is that he doesn’t listen to people. He believes that he has all the answers, that he’s the smartest man in the room. … I’ve worked for some very different presidents, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one of the things they all had in common was a willingness to listen to people who had experience and then make their own independent judgments,” Gates said.”Now they’ve gone in different directions, but they never assumed that they had all the answers and that’s one of the things that troubles me.”
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CIA director says unverified material in secret 9/11 pages

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CIA Director John Brennan says a 28-page secret chapter from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 contains preliminary information about possible Saudi links to the attackers that hadn't been corroborated or checked out at the time.
     

DEBKAfile: no deal between Israel, Egypt, Hamas on fighting ISIS-Sinai

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May 1, 2016, 11:35 PM (IDT)
The Washington Post on Sunday published an article titled "Israel, Hamas and Egypt form unlikely alliance against Islamic State affiliate." It claimed Jerusalem, Cairo and Gaza are currently cooperating militarily against ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula.
DEBKAfile's military and counterterrorism sources: There is no such cooperation. On the contrary, Hamas is cooperating with ISIS-Sinai and providing it with intelligence, while ISIS-Sinai is coordinating its operations in the northern Sinai with Hamas and transferring its wounded fighters to hospitals in Gaza for treatment. Also, a senior operations officer from the military wing of Hamas, the Izzuddin al-Qassam brigades, is posted next to the headquarters of ISIS-Sinai.   

Car bomb in southern Turkey kills 2 police officers - Post-Bulletin

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Post-Bulletin

Car bomb in southern Turkey kills 2 police officers
Post-Bulletin
Security officers and firefighters work moments after an explosion outside the Police headquarters in Gaziantep, Turkey, Sunday, May 1, 2016. A car bomb struck the entrance of a Turkish police station Sunday in the southern city of Gaziantep, killing a ...

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Генсек НАТО заявил о нежелании гонки вооружений с Россией - РБК

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РБК

Генсек НАТО заявил о нежелании гонки вооружений с Россией
РБК
Генсек НАТО Йенс Столтенберг заявил, что альянс не желает новой холодной войны и гонки вооружений с Россией. При этом он подчеркнул, что НАТО останется ядерным альянсом. Генеральный секретарь НАТО Йенс Столтенберг в интервью немецкому изданию Die Welt заявил, что ...
Столтенберг: НАТО не хочет новой холодной войны с РоссиейВести.Ru
Столтенберг не увидел у России намерений нападать на страны НАТОВзгляд
Страны НАТО не хотят конфронтации или новой холодной войны с Россией.Радиостанция ЭХО МОСКВЫ
Красноярские новости - krasnews.com -NewsEra.ru - ЭРА Новостей -Телеканал РЕН ТВ -Новости 24 часа - MyNewsOnline24.ru
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Russian Politics Under Putin, The Kremlin’s Candidate, and the Chernobyl Anniversary

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In this week’s media highlights, Gleb Pavlovsky in Foreign Affairs reveals the key mechanisms of the Russian political system under Putin’s rule. And in Politico, Michael Crowley writes that the Kremlin has apparently picked its candidate in the current U.S. presidential campaign—Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in the Russian media, analysts discuss the possibility of Russia’s democratic transition and the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

NATO's Breedlove Calls for Sharper Focus on Russia Ahead of Departure - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

NATO's Breedlove Calls for Sharper Focus on Russia Ahead of Departure
Wall Street Journal
MONS, Belgium—The U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russiaand should concentrate its technical capabilities on Moscow's growing military might, NATO's departing supreme allied commander said. The U.S. has begun to build  ...

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Skeptics Waiting for Russia's Collapse Will End Up Waiting Forever - Sputnik International

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Sputnik International

Skeptics Waiting for Russia's Collapse Will End Up Waiting Forever
Sputnik International
In recent years, plenty of Western scholars and analysts have speculated on Russia's 'decline into irrelevance', and even its possible collapse. Harvard Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs research fellow Simon Saradzhyan explains why ...

US once again forced to turn to Russia for help on Syria - Washington Post

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Washington Post

US once again forced to turn to Russia for help on Syria
Washington Post
GENEVA — Scrambling to resuscitate a nearly dead truce in Syria, the Obama administration has again been forced to turn to Russia for help, with little hope for the desired U.S. outcome. At stake are thousands of lives and the fate of a feeble peace ...
Russia says talks to extend Syrian lull in fighting to AleppoReuters
Syria: US presses Russia in bid to halt fightingBBC News
Russia says talks to extend Syrian calmSBSVoice of America -euronews
all 1,860 news articles »

Saudi Russia Fight For China Market Make Oil Price A Sham - Forbes

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Forbes

Saudi Russia Fight For China Market Make Oil Price A Sham
Forbes
Russia seems to have discovered China about a year or two ago. It's building new pipelines. It's signing deals between state owned enterprises. Oil is flowing. The Saudis are getting nervous asRussia eats into its China market. They're shipping even ...

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Путин упростил процедуру получения вида на жительство для беженцев - РБК

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РБК

Путин упростил процедуру получения вида на жительство для беженцев
РБК
Президент Владимир Путин подписал закон, упрощающий процедуру получения вида на жительство в России для беженцев из других стран. Соответствующий документ опубликован на официальном портале правовой информации. Согласно документу, возможность получить вид на ...
Беженцам с Украины упростили порядок получения вида на жительство в РоссииLenta.ru
Путин подписал закон, упрощающий получение ВНЖ для беженцев из УкраиныВести.Ru 
Украинским беженцам упростили получение вида на жительство в РоссииРосбалт.RU
ТАСС
 -ВзглядГазета.Ru-ИА REGNUM 

Все похожие статьи: 84 »

Russia Says Talks Are Underway to Extend Syrian Lull in Fighting to Aleppo 

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Russia said on Sunday that talks were taking place to include Aleppo in a temporary lull in fighting declared by the Syrian army in some western parts of the country.

Trade unions hold rallies to mark May Day; clashes - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Trade unions hold rallies to mark May Day; clashes
Washington Post
Trade unions and other groups are staging rallies around the world to mark International Workers Day. A look at some May Day events: FRANCE. Fearing France's worker protections are under threat, hundreds of angry youths on the sidelines of a May Day ...
Protesters clash with police at May Day rallies world wide.USA TODAY
Protestors hold demonstrations and rallies around the world for May DayLas Vegas Review-Journal
Demonstrators at May Day Rallies Worldwide Demand Workers' RightsTruthdig

all 70 news articles »
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Trump gets outside help for potential GOP convention battle

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Donald Trump has a Plan B if he's faced with a contested convention, and it involves the sort of outside groups that he's called "corrupt."...

CIA panned for Bin Laden death tweets

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The US Central Intelligence Agency is criticised online for live-tweeting the killing of Osama Bin Laden as if it were happening today.

Train derails in Washington, DC; leaks hazardous chemical

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Officials warned Washington D.C. area residents to brace for a potentially slow commute Monday after a CSX freight train derailed near a Metro stop, sending 14 cars off the tracks and spilling hazardous material....

CIA Chief: 'No Evidence' of Saudi Backing of 9/11 Attacks

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U.S. intelligence chief John Brennan says there is "no evidence" indicating that Saudi Arabia gave backing to al-Qaida for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Speculation that the Saudis were involved has some in Congress demanding that 28 pages of a congressional probe into 9/11 be released. Those 28 pages focus on Saudi Arabia and its alleged involvement. Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told NBC television's Meet...

Moqtada al-Sadr Resumes High-Profile Role in Iraqi Political Cauldron 

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Iraqi firebrand Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose followers stormed Baghdad's heavily fortified International Zone Saturday to shut down parliament, has in recent months mounted an increasingly visible campaign to pressure the government to move forward with promised reforms. In March, Sadr first called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to act on promises to address government corruption and cronyism by replacing current ministers with technocrats - experienced leaders without...

VIDEO: Zika 'more dangerous than thought'

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Scientists in Brazil say the Zika virus may be more dangerous than previously thought.
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Puerto Rico set to default on debt

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Puerto Rico's governor says the territory will not make a debt repayment on Monday after a weekend of crunch talks to resolve the financial crisis end without a deal.

Islamic State boosts attacks in response to territorial losses: IHS

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State attacks have increased this year, particularly in Iraq and Syria as the group responds to substantial territorial losses, a U.S.-based analysis firm IHS said on Sunday.
  

Colombia deports man called Peru’s most-wanted drug lord

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Colombian police have announced the capture of a man described as Peru*s most-wanted drug trafficker.





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Chemical leaks from US derailed train

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A freight train derails in Washington DC spilling hazardous liquid, emergency officials say.

Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter

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With "Holy Fire,'' fireworks and solemn Masses, Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, commemorating the day followers believe that Jesus was resurrected more than 2,000 years ago.    Roman Catholics and Protestants marked Easter in March, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrated Easter this week, using the older Julian calendar.   Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry...

Egypt labor activist says police blocking workers assembly

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An independent Egyptian trade union leader says hundreds of workers from several provinces who came to hold a meeting in Cairo for International Workers’ Day have been prevented from assembling by police.
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Iraqi leaders struggle to break crisis, hundreds protest in Green Zone

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other political leaders promised on Sunday to deliver on radical reforms and stem a deepening crisis as protesters held an unprecedented sit-in inside Baghdad's heavily fortified government district.
  

Bombings Kill 31 as Iraq Grapples With Political Crisis

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(BAGHDAD)—Two car bombs in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah on Sunday killed 31 people and wounded dozens, the latest in a series of large attacks claimed by the militant group ISIS, as the country grapples with a worsening political crisis.
The attacks came the day after thousands of anti-government protesters poured into Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone and stormed parliament, the culmination of months of protests by followers of an influential Shiite cleric demanding wide-ranging political reforms.
A police officer said two parked cars filled with explosives were detonated within minutes of each other around midday in Samawah, the first near government offices and the second at an open-air bus station less than a kilometer (mile) away.
At least 52 people were wounded in both explosions, and the police official said the death toll was expected to rise. A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
IS claimed the bombings in an online statement, saying they were carried out by suicide attackers targeting police. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the competing claims.
The Shiite-dominated city is located some 370 kilometers (230 miles) south of the capital, Baghdad. The extremists have repeatedly targeted Iraq’s Shiite majority — which they view as apostates — as well as the Shiite-dominated security forces.
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered authorities to arrest and prosecute protesters who attacked security forces, lawmakers and damaged state property after breaking into the Green Zone.
Followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tore down blast walls and poured into the Green Zone and parliament building on Saturday.
Videos on social media showed a group of young men surrounding and slapping two Iraqi lawmakers as they attempted to flee the crowd, while other protesters mobbed lawmakers’ motorcades. Jubilant protesters were also seen jumping and dancing on the parliament’s meeting hall tables and chairs and waving Iraqi flags. No one was seriously wounded. The protesters eventually left the parliament Saturday night and rallied at a nearby square.
Al-Sadr and his supporters want to reform the political system put in place following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, in which entrenched political blocs representing the country’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds rely on patronage, resulting in widespread corruption and poor public services. The major blocs have until now stymied al-Abadi’s reform efforts.
On Sunday, protesters vowed to continue their sit-in inside the Green Zone until their demands are met.
“We are fed up, we are living a humiliated life,” Rasool Hassan, a 37-year old father of three told The Associated Press from inside the Green Zone. “We’ll leave here only when the corrupt government is replaced with another of independent technocrats that serves the people not the political parties,” Hassan added.
“We need new faces, not the old ones,” said Shatha Jumaa, a 58-year old surgeon. Jumaa, who identified herself as a secularist, said she wanted the current government dissolved and replaced by a small interim administration whose job would be to amend the constitution and to prepare for an early national election.
Also on Sunday, the United Nations said at least 741 Iraqis were killed in April due to ongoing violence, a sharp decline from the previous month. In its monthly report, the U.N. mission to Iraq put the number of civilians killed at 410, while the rest were members of the security forces. A total of 1,374 Iraqis were wounded that month, it added.
In March, at least 1,119 people were killed and 1,561 wounded.
The capital, Baghdad, remains the worst-hit area, with 232 civilians killed and 642 wounded in April, followed by the northern province of Ninevah, which is almost entirely controlled by ISIS, with 72 killed and 30 wounded.
“It pains us to see the continuing bloodletting and loss of life, particularly among civilians who are paying a high price as a result of bombings and the armed clashes,” U.N. envoy Jan Kubis said.
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Frenchman flies more than a mile on a hoverboard

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A Frenchman has flown more than 2 kilometers (over a mile) on a hoverboard in an apparent new world record.

Kerry to Geneva in Bid to Bolster Syria Cease-Fire

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due late Sunday in Geneva as part of a U.S. bid to reaffirm a U.S.-Russian mediated cease-fire as violence escalates in Syria, especially in its largest city, Aleppo. “The secretary made clear that ending the violence in Aleppo and returning ultimately to a durable, nationwide cessation is a top priority," State Department spokesman John Kirby said before the top U.S. diplomat departed Washington. Meanwhile, Russian General Sergei Kuralenko...

NATO's Breedlove Calls for Sharper Focus on Russia

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The U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia and should focus its technical capabilities on Moscow’s growing military might, NATO’s departing supreme allied commander said.

Baltimore Officer Sitting In Patrol Car Shoots Man With Gun - CBS Local

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CBS Local

Baltimore Officer Sitting In Patrol Car Shoots Man With Gun
CBS Local
BALTIMORE (WJZ)–City police are investigating after an officer opened fire on a suspect armed with a gun on Sunday morning. It happened around 9:30 a.m. in the area of Reisterstown Road and Park Heights Ave. Police say an officer in his 20's was ...
Baltimore officer ambushed in alleged suicide-by-cop attemptFox News
Baltimore police officer shoots man pointing gun, police sayBaltimore Sun 
Police: Officer in patrol car shoots man pointing weaponWashington Times

LEX18 Lexington KY News -WBAL Baltimore-Power Line (blog)
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Clashes erupt at French May Day march

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French police clash with demonstrators in Paris during a May Day parade organised by trade unions to protest against a controversial labour bill.

The Latest: Iraqis announce disbanding of Green Zone protest

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The Latest on Iraq’s political crisis (all times local):





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Poland blocks entry to 7 bikers with pro-Kremlin group

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Polish border police say they have prevented seven members of a pro-Kremlin motorcycle club from entering Poland.

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: In Brazil, a New Nostalgia for Military Dictatorship 

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Why are some Brazilians pining for the days when a repressive junta ruled the country?

German official denies report on foreign policy shift on Israel

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A German government official denied on Sunday a magazine report which said Berlin might end its unconditional support for Israel due to Chancellor Angela Merkel's increasing frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies.
  

May 1, 2016

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

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Brazil President Facing Impeachment Has Alienated Many Allies

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President Dilma Rousseff with Health Minister Agenor Alvares last week. Political analysts say her downfall has been linked to a go-it-alone work style that has driven away scores of political supporters.

Why Secrecy Could Kill President Obama’s Big Trade Deal With Europe 

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One afternoon in early February, Katja Kipping, a left-wing member of the German parliament, finally got a chance to see the free-trade deal that the U.S. and European Union hope to finish by the end of this year. There were just a few preconditions. She would only get two hours to skim through the complex legal document, which is hundreds of pages long. She would have to surrender her jacket, purse, phone and other electronics before entering the sealed-off reading room at the German Economy Ministry. A guard would watch over Kipping the entire time. And she would not be allowed to tell anyone what she would find inside the agreement.
“I hope it’s not a crime to speak about this,” she told me recently about the experience. “They didn’t tell me about any clear penalty, but they say it’s forbidden to speak or to write about anything you have read there.” This made our interview feel, at times, like a game of 20 questions, as Kipping would only tell me what she had not seen in the document.
Still, it was about as close as a member of the public can get to one of President Barack Obama’s most ambitious pieces of unfinished business, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. Initiated in 2013, this treaty promises to cut the red tape that limits trade between the U.S. and E.U., potentially boosting their economies by a total of more than $200 billion, according to official E.U. projections. When Obama recently paid a visit to Germany to promote the agreement, he urged European leaders to hurry up with the deal, so that he might have a chance of signing it before he leaves office.
“I know the politics are hard,” Obama told an audience of German business leaders and politicians at the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade fair. “But we have to keep making our case, stating the facts and dispelling any misperceptions.”
For Chancellor Angela Merkel and other supporters of TTIP, it has been difficult to dispel the misperceptions around the deal when the contents remain top secret. “I think it’s crazy,” says Sigmar Gabriel, the economy minister in Merkel’s government and the deputy chancellor in her ruling coalition. “It’s not only the Americans. It’s also the Europeans,” he told me on the sidelines of the Hannover Messe during Obama’s visit. “We ask if it’s possible to publish what we have agreed, and they say, ‘No!’”
This has created a bizarre dilemma. In trying to strengthen political and economic ties across the Atlantic, the centerpiece of Obama’s trade agenda seems to be doing the opposite. It has sown widespread anger over what many Europeans see as an American plot to undermine their democracies and national environmental standards. A broad spectrum of German society—from right-wing Eurosceptics and nationalists to left-wing environmentalists and consumer protection groups—have all found common cause in opposing the deal.
In the last few years, their improbable alliance has gathered millions of signatures against TTIP and staged enormous rallies across the country, including one protest that greeted Obama on the eve of his arrival in Hannover. On social media and in the press, the movement against TTIP has also fostered an entire ecosystem of conspiracy theories, which claim that the agreement would allow the U.S. to flood Europe with genetically modified crops, which is largely banned in Europe, as well as chlorine-tainted chicken and other contaminants.
Partly thanks to this sort of speculation, TTIP has become one of the most toxic issues in German politics, and one that Gabriel has come to personify as his country’s chief negotiator of the deal. All the secrecy has made this a punishing job. “The members of parliament are all angry about it,” he says. And so is a growing segment of the German public. According to a recent nationwide poll, only 17% of Germans consider the free-trade deal a good thing, compared to 55% in 2014, when the negotiations were just getting started.
On April 25, when Gabriel met with U.S. negotiators for another round of talks, his frustration bubbled over. “We are adult citizens. We are adult democracies,” he told his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, when they appeared at a panel discussion in Hannover. “It must be possible to allow somebody to look” at what’s already been agreed, Gabriel said, because the secrecy around the talks “creates a lot of conspiracy; this creates mistrust.”
Pritzker did not seem moved. “You can’t negotiate something as complex as a trade agreement in the press, where it’s a referendum on every issue,” she said, echoing an argument that E.U. negotiators have also made in the past. “There is always going to be some element of compromise,” Pritzker said. “So you can’t do it out in the open.” At the same time, she added: “What’s important is that we begin to debunk these myths that are out there.”
Gabriel has been trying to do that. In the spring of 2014, he set up an advisory board of trade union leaders, environmental activists and cultural figures to help shape the German position on TTIP and discuss the negotiations. There was just one problem. None of its members were given access to any part of the deal. “They are being used as a fig leaf,” says Walter Haefeker, the head of the European beekeepers association and a vocal critic of TTIP, who says his petition to join the board was rejected.
As the public debate over the deal began to shift from confusion to hostility, Gabriel pushed for some level of parliamentary oversight in the negotiations, at least in granting the competent lawmakers the right to read a draft of the agreement and calm down their constituents. “This was a heavy debate,” he told me. In the end, it took two years of haggling before the U.S. and E.U. negotiators allowed him to create the TTIP reading room, which was opened to German lawmakers in February, behind two layers of security on the second floor of Gabriel’s ministerial headquarters in Berlin. Even in allowing that sliver of transparency, the negotiators felt the need to draft a separate document to govern the room’s existence, right down to the question of whether pens and paper could be allowed inside. That document is, of course, also confidential.
As for the room itself, the only “nice gesture” it offers to German lawmakers, says Kipping, is a table in the corner with coffee and biscuits. The rest of the experience struck her as rather infuriating. “I was curious to see it, but I was also angry,” she says, “because I was not allowed to bring some of our experts and assistants with me.” That meant her only means of penetrating the document’s dense legal jargon was a German-English dictionary.
The experience did little to dispel any of the myths and conspiracies that Kipping had heard about TTIP. Though she only had two hours to process the text, she says she found nothing to substantiate the claims of Merkel and Obama that the deal would benefit small businesses. She also found nothing to contradict the claims of TTIP’s opponents that it would allow large corporations to circumvent European laws and regulations. “If you read between the lines,” she says, “it’s clear that a company with a very successful lawyer can use some of the phrases in order to get whatever they want.”
She admits, however, that her knowledge of international law was not strong enough to decipher the fine points of the deal. That would require independent experts to analyze it in detail, and they will not be allowed to do that until the negotiators agree on a final draft. “The agreement, when negotiated, will become public,” said Pritzker, the lead U.S. negotiator, during the panel discussion on Monday. Before the deal goes to the legislatures in the U.S. and Europe for ratification, she said, “there will obviously be plenty of time for everybody to look at it and understand it.”
Asked whether that might happen this year, Gabriel answered: keine Ahnung – “No idea.” But even if the negotiators manage to finish the job before Obama leaves office in January, the wall of secrecy surrounding TTIP will have left many European lawmakers in no mood to ratify the deal. “I feel like my mouth is closed,” says Kipping. “I feel they want to make me silent.” And that doesn’t seem like an effective way to rally anyone’s support.
Read the whole story
 
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