Friday, May 6, 2016

Afghans endure 'Jungle' squalor in hope of better life Friday May 6th, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Afghans endure 'Jungle' squalor in hope of better life

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Young Afghans endure camp squalor in hope of reaching UK

Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

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From: VOAvideo
Duration: 00:54

A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
Originally published at -

CША предлагают ЕС "взять паузу" в строительстве "Северного потока-2" - РИА Новости

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РИА Новости

CША предлагают ЕС "взять паузу" в строительстве "Северного потока-2"
РИА Новости
ВАШИНГТОН, 6 мая — РИА Новости, Алексей Богдановский. CША предлагают Евросоюзу "взять паузу" в строительстве газопровода "Северный поток — 2" и оценить его влияние на энергетическую и национальную безопасность, заявил спецпредставитель госдепа США по энергетике ... 
Вашингтон имеет коммерческие причины противодействовать «Северному потоку – 2»Взгляд
Госдеп: США просят ЕС «взять паузу» в строительстве «Северного потока – 2» ИА REGNUM 

США просят ЕС повременить со строительством «Северного потока-2»Росбалт.RU 
 -Деловой Петербург- 

Все похожие статьи: 44 »

Russia and Israel's Middle East Dance - Huffington Post

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Huffington Post

Russia and Israel's Middle East Dance
Huffington Post 
Russia and Israel have a long history of diplomatic and military collaboration in the Middle East, dating back to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when Israel's triumph over its neighbors was largely attributable to Moscow's military support. Following

Russia seeks bigger Middle East role through alliance with IsraelAsia Times 

all 12
What Iran thinks about Russia's role in the Middle EastRussia Direct

all 6 news articles »

Турция предъявит обвинения возможному убийце пилота Су-24 на будущей неделе - РИА Новости

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РИА Новости

Турция предъявит обвинения возможному убийце пилота Су-24 на будущей неделе
РИА Новости
АНКАРА, 5 мая — РИА Новости, Алена Палажченко. Обвинительное заключение по делу Альпарслана Челика, предполагаемого убийцы российского лётчика Олега Пешкова, ожидается в начале следующей недели, сообщил адвокат Челика Мурат Устюндаг. Флаг Турецкой Республики. 
Турецкая прокуратура предъявит обвинение убийце пилота российского Су
Прокуратура Турции не предъявила обвинений убийце российского пилотаРоссийская Газета 
Адвокат: Челику еще не были предъявлены обвинения в убийстве пилота Су-24Газета.Ru
Телеканал РЕН ТВ
 -ТАСС-Московский комсомолец-Федеральное агентство новостей No.1

Все похожие статьи: 41 »

Kosovo Charges Two With Syria Terror Offenses

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Kosovo has charged two ethnic Albanians with terror offenses for allegedly joining an Islamic militant group in Syria.
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Erdogan brings son-in-law into play

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Berat Albayrak is credited with helping to remove prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Russia Slams Upcoming U.S.-Georgian Military Drills

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Russia has criticized upcoming joint military exercises involving the United States and Georgia.

Russia in Review

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May 6, 2016
Russia in Review: a digest of useful news from U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism for April 29 - May 6, 2016

Fatal Shootings Suspect Arrested in Maryland

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A U.S. federal security officer suspected of killing three people has been arrested. Police in the eastern U.S. state of Maryland said Eulalio Tordil, 62, was taken into custody without incident Friday. Tordil is an employee of the Federal Protective Service, a government agency that provides security at federal properties. Investigators believe Tordil’s spree began Thursday when he shot to death his estranged wife, Gladys Tordil, outside their children's school in Beltsville, Maryland. He also allegedly shot and wounded a man who tried to intervene. A day later, one person was initially shot and two others may have been shot coming to that person's aid at a shopping mall in Bethesda, less than 20 kilometers from the center of the U.S. capital. Police said one man died and another is in critical condition. A woman has injuries that are not life-threatening.   About a half hour later, police were called to a food store near the shopping mall where another shooting left one woman fatally wounded. No information was immediately available about whether the shooting victims, apart from Tordil's wife, knew the alleged gunman. Tordil had been placed on administrative duty in March, the FPS said, after superiors learned that his estranged wife had obtained a court order requiring him to stay away from her.

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Russia's Putin, Japan's Abe Discuss Cooperation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, met on Friday and discussed cooperation between their countries, at a time when Moscow is struggling with low oil prices and western sanctions.

FBI, Justice Department Using Russian Password-Cracking Software - Washington Free Beacon

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Washington Free Beacon

FBI, Justice Department Using Russian Password-Cracking Software
Washington Free Beacon
The Justice Department and FBI are using password-breaking software produced by a Russian technology firm set up by a cryptographer who attended a school linked to the KGB. The U.S. government's contracts and use of the Russian-origin ...

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Trump, Ryan to Meet Next Week

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Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have agreed to meet next week, but the presumptive Republican presidential nominee doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic. Trump said that he had "no idea'' if the talks to bridge the party's divide over his nomination would succeed and that it didn't really matter that much to him.  "The thing that matters most are the millions of people that have come out to vote for me and give me a landslide victory in...

More big-name Republicans abandon Trump; he just shrugs

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Big-name GOP leaders piled on Friday against Donald Trump in an extraordinary show of Republican-vs.-Republican discontent over his winning the party's presidential nomination. Trump just shrugged it off, declaring they didn't really matter when compared to all the voters who turned out to vote for him in this year's primary elections....

Karachaevo-Cherkessia’s Leadership Sidelines a Popular Politician

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A large-scale scandal was unleashed in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, after the republican branch of the United Russia party refused to register a popular politician, Aliy Totorkulov, as a candidate in the party’s primaries. Totorkulov is the chairman of the Russian Congress of Peoples of the Caucasus and the founder of Elbrusoid, a foundation for the development of Karachaevo-Cherkessian youth. According to the politician, the governor of the republic, Rashid Temrezov, did not want him to run in the primaries of the United Russia party’s republican chapter, because he wanted a fully pliant figure in the Russian parliament rather than an independent candidate like Totorkulov (Kommersant, April 26).
United Russia is trying out the mechanism of primary elections as a way to select the strongest possible candidates. However, the party appears to be blocking popular candidates to protect the power of the existing clans. Since United Russia is the country’s ruling party, which receives the vast majority of votes and the support of President Vladimir Putin, nearly every politician who wants to make a career in the government or have an impact on the country’s politics by using the political machinery of the United Russia party for such goals. However, the swelling of the party’s ranks has led to numerous internal rifts; many divergent political forces are competing against each other within United Russia. The effect of the conflict inside United Russia is particularly profound in multiethnic republics like Karachaevo-Cherkessia.
Elections to the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, are scheduled to take place in September 2016. On May 22, United Russia is holding primaries across the country. The primary process is not limited to United Russia party members: civil activists and supporters of the party can also promote themselves as candidates. Totorkulov, who was not formally a member of United Russia, was one such candidate. The party chose to have relatively open primaries because its popularity is diminishing and is searching for “new blood,” including the search for popular public figures who were not members of United Russia but willing to run on its list. Still, the elites in Karachaevo-Cherkessia have been fighting hard to exclude politicians like Totorkulov, who was kept off the party’s list for alleged actions that “discredit United Russia and the political interests of the party” even though he was not a party member. Totorkulov is still planning to take part in the elections, but as an independent candidate or a member of a different party (, April 15).
Sulieta Kusova-Chukho, a well-known journalist in the northwestern Caucasus, noted with irony that it was quite hard to discredit the United Russia party more than the party itself had done. In order to undermine the party’s credibility further, “one would have to sneak into the ranks of the party as a terrorist or a cannibal,” he wrote (Kavkazskaya Politika, April 20).
United Russia’s reputation has, indeed, been significantly tarnished in the past several years. Arguably, the most damage to the party was done by civil activist and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny, who exposed corruption inside United Russia and coined the name “Party of Swindlers and Thieves,” which stuck to United Russia for a while. However, since political power and information are monopolized in Russia, other parties find it hard to compete with the ruling party. Practically the entire government apparatus, at all levels, works in favor of the United Russia party. For example, in Moscow, the local administration puts up special “information boards” at every entrance of the apartment block, each featuring a United Russia candidate. These boards remain untouched because they are officially approved while the flyers of other parties are regularly removed by the janitors (, April 24). When relatively “soft” measures do not help, the government reverts to the overt persecution of the opposition, including Navalny’s Fund for Combatting Corruption (, April 20).
Meanwhile, the experts warn that the continuing economic decline in the country is likely to produce popular protests, and the government has to have some people to communicate with the protesters. The existing political institutions and political figures have become so detached from the actual life that they will be unlikely able to manage the upcoming crisis. The sense of an impending crisis in relations between the state and the population in Russia can be observed in the writings of analysts (Kavkazskaya Politika, April 20), as well as in the Russian government’s preparations for dispersing crowds of people protesting against economic hardship (Ekho Moskvy, April 23).
The disconnect between the government and the population is arguably the worst in the North Caucasus because Moscow handpicked the leaders of the region’s republics and excluded people from the political process for such a long time. This puts the North Caucasus regional authorities in a precarious state. Ironically, President Vladimir Putin recently called on United Russia to promote the inflow of “new blood” into the party to improve the party’s leadership positions (, April 20).
However, as the jockeying within the elite of Karachaevo-Cherkessia indicates, United Russia is highly resistant to change. Indeed, Russia’s ruling party is likely to remain immune to internal political changes because it is essentially the party of the bureaucracy—a reincarnation of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that can be removed from power only through a large-scale political crisis.
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Kabardino-Balkaria’s Governor Says Militants Returning From Syria Represent Real Threat

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In Kabardino-Balkaria, as in other republics of the North Caucasus, public debate intensifies from time to time regarding republican residents going off to fight in the Syrian civil war on the side of the rebels. But at the same time, the republic is still dealing with the remaining members of Yarmuk, Kabardino-Balkaria’s home grown Islamist opposition group. According to the head of the republican branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Oleg Usov, the security services killed one leader and three active members of the armed underground movement in the republic since January 2016. From the beginning of this year, the police have been cracking down on sympathizers and secret supporters of the armed underground movement. Overall, 29 people have been detained (Vestnik Kavkaza, April 19).
But the authorities are more concerned about the flow of young people from Kabardino-Balkaria to Syria, to fight against President Bashar Assad’s forces, than they are about the rebels at home. Official reports say that the authorities prevented two people from leaving Kabardino-Balkaria for Syria. The authorities claim that the flow of recruits from the republic to the Middle East has dried up in 2016, and the FSB has not found a single person who wanted to go to Syria this year. The primary flow of radicals to Syria took place in 2014–2015, when about 140 people from the republic went to the Middle East, according to the officials (, April 20). The figure includes only those identified by the government as militants and put on the wanted list. The republican branch of the FSB reported that since the start of this year, it has detained two people who returned from Syria and killed another suspect (RIA Novosti, April 19). It appears that the flow of the militants has changed direction, with militants now returning to the North Caucasus from Syria and causing concern on the part of the authorities in Moscow.
The governor of Kabardino-Balkaria, Yuri Kokov, says that the threat of militants returning from Syria is real. “The increased activities of the international extremist and terrorist groups to recruit Russian citizens for participation in armed conflicts demand coordinated actions for the timely discovery and blocking the outward routes of Kabardino-Balkarian residents who are preparing to participate in terrorist and extremist activities,” Kokov said (Interfax, April 20).
While terrorism-related crimes have declined, “the level of the terrorist threat in the republic remains high,” Kokov said. The Kabardino-Balkarian governor signed a decree establishing a commission for the adaptation of ex-militants to civilian life. The head of the Council for the Economic and Public Safety of Kabardino-Balkaria, Alik Yemkuzhev, was named head of the newly established commission (, April 22).
The government can set up commissions for the adaptation of militants, as it has done in the past, but few militants have been willing to surrender. For example, since the start of 2016, the commission for the adaptation of militants received two appeals from two female residents of the republic who were accused of helping members of the illegal armed groups. After a careful examination of material from the criminal investigation and talking to the applicants, the commission asked the court to pass a sentence on the applicants that would not involve detaining them. The court listened to the commission for adaptation in both instances. However, those were cases of women who had not been involved in the actual activities of the militants, but rather had committed minor offenses, such as failing to report militants to the authorities, providing food to the militants, speaking favorably about the militants, and so on. In any case, it was unlikely that those women would have received anything more than probation, rather than incarceration, as long as they complied with the authorities’ demands. However, the intervention of the commission for adaptation allows its members to claim that they are useful. The commission for adaptation is part of the government’s repressive apparatus and cannot be a mediator between the militants and the courts. Hence, the commission for adaptation is a stillborn child of the government.
Moscow’s plan for countering the armed resistance in Kabardino-Balkaria also has a role for the republic’s Spiritual Board of Muslims. The official clerics, however, receive little respect from the local Muslims because they are perceived as puppets of the authorities. The opinions, actions, and calls of the official clerics are aimed at impressing the government, which pays their salaries. For example, the Spiritual Board of Kabardino-Balkaria decided to deliver a sermon to all of the republic’s mosques. The subject of the officially approved sermon was the harmful nature of the outflow of young people to Syria. On April 19, the mufti of Kabardino-Balkaria, Khazrataliy Dzasezhev, held a session of the Council of Ulema (Muslim scholars) during which all the participants unanimously adopted an appeal to the residents of the republic. The appeal was then broadcast in lieu of Friday prayers on April 22 (Interfax, April 22).
In the opinion of the official Muslim clerics of Kabardino-Balkaria, some Russian citizens, “including some Muslim youth, are attracted to the Islamic State.” The appeal also states that “practically all Muslims reject the interpretation of religion that is accepted among members of the Islamic State.” The clerics called on the residents of the republic to be “more attentive to the religious information” they receive and noted that “the recruiters act according to the well-known methods of totalitarian sects that are seeking followers” (Kavkazsky Uzel, April 22).
Thus, the Kabardino-Balkarian authorities will report that from April 19 to April 22, they held mass events to prevent young people in the republic from joining the local armed underground movement and the Islamic State. This report, however, is unlikely to stem the spread of jihadism among the young generation of Muslims in the republic.
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Islamic State Continues to Gain Influence in Southern Russia

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Karachaevo-Cherkessia, a mountainous republic in the northwestern Caucasus, has long been out of the news when it comes to attacks by the armed Islamist underground movement against government forces. Russia’s security services effectively destroyed the Karachay jamaat in 2005–2007 (, 2007). The Karachay jamaat has since been unable to resume operations, even though the Karachay jamaat was the first in the post-Soviet space at the start of the 1990s. The remaining forces of the jamaat joined the Kabardino-Balkarian jamaat at the time of the Caucasus Emirate, and the unified organization was called the Velayat of Kabarda, Balkaria, and Karachay (, May 11, 2009).
News of possible insurgent activities in Karachaevo-Cherkessia unexpectedly started to emerge at the end of 2015. A group of young people announced through social networks that they had taken an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The statement was spread via the WhatsApp application, which is intensely monitored by the Russian security services for the purposes of locating all suspicious individuals. According to Russian National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) spokesman Andrei Przhezdomsky, at the end of December, the authorities launched a criminal investigation into the militants of Karachaevo-Cherkessia who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. He said the investigation was being conducted in accordance with Article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code, covering terrorist activities. The authorities are investigating ten individuals in connection to the case. Thus, while experts and analysts consider Karachaevo-Cherkessia free of militants, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Ministry of Interior have quietly worked to neutralize a group that declared itself part of the international jihad. Przhezdomsky said that “those people gathered together in some place, video-recorded their fealty to ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—since renamed the Islamic State, IS] and sent it via WhatsApp to Syria. In their message, they said they were prepared to fight a ‘holy war.’ ” The NAK spokesman said that the Karachaevo-Cherkessian Islamists managed to establish contact with one of the leaders of the Islamic State and received instructions about preparing terrorist attacks on the territory of the Russian Federation (, January 29). Government forces killed three militants and detained six more during a special operation (, December 24, 2015).
Is it possible that the emergence of the group is an isolated case in the republic? That is unlikely, because an ethnic Karachay, Abu Jihad (Islam Atabiev), serves as the “right-hand” to the most notorious leader of the Islamic State from the Caucasus region, Umar al-Shishani (Tarkhan Batirashvili). Abu Jihad, 33, comes from the village of Ust-Jeguta, in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, and has been on the United Nations Security Council’s list of the most wanted members of the IS in Syria since October 2, 2015. The fact that someone of Karachay origin has such a high rank within the IS would sooner or later have prompted some Karachays to try to contact him. In recent months, there have been regular reports of various individuals in Karachaevo-Cherkessia being detained or arrested for expressing sympathies for the Islamic State or attempting to join the group. In 2015, the authorities launched a criminal investigation against two locals in Karachaevo-Cherkessia for making public calls in the media to carry out terrorist attacks. The authorities also accused 31-year-old Mussa Shardan and 25-year-old Rustam Suyunchev of calling to violate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation. In November 2015, Shardan and Suyunchev, using the pseudonym Amr Amri, published a video titled “The IS Threatens Putin.” The authorities said that the two men called for terrorist and extremist activities, and justified terrorism (, April 15).
In March 2016, the North Caucasian District Military Court sentenced a resident of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Temirzhan Eslimesov, to two and a half years in prison for involvement in a terrorist organization. The court determined that Eslimesov flew from Mineralnye Vody airport in Stavropol region to Turkey with the intention of traveling on to Syria, for training by the militants there in the use of weapons, military tactics, sabotage and terrorist methods. Eslimesov then planned to engage in armed actions against the Syrian Arab Republic within the Caucasus Emirate international terrorist organization. However, for reasons beyond his control, the aspiring militant’s plans failed, as he was arrested by the Turkish authorities and handed over to the Russian security services (Regnum, April 19).
The desire to participate in the jihad in Syria has also spread to women in Karachaevo-Cherkessia. Several nurses from the republic flew from Stavropol, Krasnodar and Makhachkala to become members of the Islamic State. According to a North Caucasian website, these four females work at a hospital in Syria, where they helped wounded IS militants. The Russian Investigative Committee’s branch in Karachaevo-Cherkessia launched a criminal investigation against the four nurses who allegedly help the IS—23-year-old Dana M., 27-year-old Alina Ch. and two sisters, 25-year-old Madina B. and 26-year-old Marina B. The authorities said they determined that the four suspects repeatedly flew from Stavropol, Makhachkala, and Krasnodar to Istanbul and back in 2014 and 2015. In Turkey, locals helped them to cross the border into Syria and reach Al-Raqqa. The authorities assert that the four suspected females share an extremist religious ideology and voluntarily joined the Islamic State’s affiliate organization, the Abu Hanif jamaat (, April 4).
The publicly exposed ties of the Karachaevo-Cherkessian radicals to the Islamic State are only part of the actual magnitude of such ties. The real situation is probably much worse because Karachaevo-Cherkessian officials try to hide such incidents in order to avoid scaring off tourists from the republic, give that tourism is one of Karachaevo-Cherkessia’s major sources of revenue. The situation in Karachaevo-Cherkessia indicates that southern Russia is becoming increasingly radical, as the ideology of the Islamic State spreads.
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Concern mounts over potential Turkish civil war following PM's resignation

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May 6, 2016, 7:31 PM (IDT)
American and European sources expressed deep concern on Friday regarding the upcoming resignation of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The sources described him as a "moderate voice" in the administration of President Tayyip Erdogan. They said the US and European countries had turned to the prime minister many times in an effort to moderate Erdogan's policies on major issues such as the war in Syria, the flow of Syrian refugees to Europe, the war on ISIS, and the Turkish policy towards the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
Davutoglu's decision to step down later this month means that the Americans and the Europeans are losing the senior Turkish official who has been willing to mediate between them and Erdogan.
The sources emphasized that one of the main reasons for Davutoglu's decision to resign was his more moderate stance regarding the Kurds. They said that if Erdogan continues his hard-line policy toward the Turkish Kurds, who are concentrated in the southern part of the country, the situation could deteriorate into a civil war.     

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Alberta wildfire keeps growing as evacuee convoy rolls to safety

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Wildfires ravaging the center of Canada's oil production region in northern Alberta extended their reach overnight, covering 390 square miles as police began shepherding a convoy of 1,500 vehicles to safety through the now-devastated town of Fort McMurray.

Russian, Syrian officials deny their planes hit refugee camp

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Russian and Syrian officials denied Friday that their aircraft struck a camp for people displaced by fighting in an airstrike that killed 28 the previous evening. The denials came as activists said a coalition of rebels and militants, including Syria's al-Qaida branch, seized a strategic village from pro-government forces near the contested city of Aleppo.

Thousands of migrants still taking Balkan route to EU

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Thousands of migrants continue to travel through Hungary on their way toward western Europe, despite border closures and the European Union's deal with Turkey to stop sea crossings to Greece.

You Don't See This Often: Simultaneous FBI, DHS, and DoD Cyber Espionage Alerts - Motherboard

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You Don't See This Often: Simultaneous FBI, DHS, and DoD Cyber Espionage Alerts
“The FBI has obtained information regarding multiple malicious cyber actor groups that have compromised sensitive business information from US commercial and government networks through cyber espionage,” reads a May 2 FBI alert from the agency's ...

and more »

Search intensifies for killer in first documented case of 'cement shoes,' long the stuff of gangster lore

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In what crime-writers and historians believe to be the first documented instance of the "cement shoes" body-disposal tactic, a man's body washed up ashore on a Brooklyn beach earlier this week.

High Ranking Democrat Suspended Without Pay for New York City Voter Purge 

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Officials at Brooklyn’s board of elections suspended its top Democrat on Thursday, citing a “mysterious purge” of 126,000 Democratic voters from the city’s rolls.
Brooklyn deputy chief clerk Betty Ann Canizio-Aqiil was suspended without pay amid the city’s ongoing investigation into the removed voters, the New York Post reported.
Canizio-Aquiil, whose salary comes in at $120,000 per year, was the second official suspended as part of the probe.
The board suspended Brooklyn Chief Clerk Diane Haslett-Rudiano last month following New York’s April 19 primary election. The city is withholding the Republican’s $125,000 salary.
Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded that local officials explain why hundreds of thousands of Democrats were removed from the voting rolls during the past year.
De Blasio, a Democrat, told local radio station WNYC that was “concerned” about the large drop-off.
“This number surprises me,” de Blasio said last month. “I admit that Brooklyn has had a lot of transient population–that’s obvious. Lot of people moving in, lot of people moving out. That might account for some of it. But I’m confused since so many people have moved in, that the number would move that much in the negative direction.”
More than 100,000 Brooklyn residents were forced to vote by affidavit ballot because their names were missing from the voter roles, according to the New York Post.

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Former CIA Deputy Director: Trump Would Be a "Hard Brief" - Mother Jones

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Mother Jones

Former CIA Deputy Director: Trump Would Be a "Hard Brief"
Mother Jones
The veteran CIA official who once provided intelligence briefings to presidential candidates—including Gov. George W. Bush in 2000 and Sen. John Kerry in 2004—says briefing Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, could be rather difficult.
Donald Trump to be briefed by CIA on some of America's most sensitive intelligence mattersThe Independent 
About those intelligence briefings for Donald Trump...MSNBC

President Obama 'Confident' CIA Can Safely Brief Donald TrumpMediaite
Death and TaxesThe Independent | New York Times 
all 31
all 28 news articles »

U.S. military in Yemen supporting UAE, Saudi Arabia in fight against al Qaeda 

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A small U.S. military team has been on the ground in Yemen for several weeks, carrying out intelligence and support operations for the Arab coalition fighting al Qaeda's terror cell in the country.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said the team has been working closely with military commanders from the ...

More Marines sent to US Embassy in Baghdad as precaution

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Another 25 Marines were dispatched to the American Embassy inside Baghdad’s Green Zone on Friday as a precaution following recent protests in the city, a U.S. official said.

De Blasio Fundraising Probe Expands to Focus on Contract for Rat-Proof Trash Bags - New York Magazine

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New York Magazine

De Blasio Fundraising Probe Expands to Focus on Contract for Rat-Proof Trash Bags
New York Magazine
And as part of that probe, NBC New York reports that the FBI showed up unannounced last week at Parks Department headquarters, where they sought answers about a contract given to a company that makes rat-proof trash bags, and whose owner gave ...

Is this Italian mogul a code breaker or an arms dealer?

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The Blackwater of surveillance, the Hacking Team is among the world's few dozen private contractors feeding a clandestine, multibillion-dollar industry that arms the world's intelligence agencies with spyware.

Hillary Clinton to be interviewed in FBI email investigation - CBS News

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CBS News

Hillary Clinton to be interviewed in FBI email investigation
CBS News
A source has confirmed to CBS News that Hillary Clinton will be interviewed by the FBI within the coming weeks, in connection with the investigation into her private email server. One of her top aides, Huma Abedin was interviewed by the FBI at its ... 
CNN Reports FBI Has Found 'No Criminal Wrongdoing' in Hillary Clinton Email 'Investigation'Mediaite

Clinton to be interrogated by FBI over email scandal, possibly before California primaryRT
Reports: FBI So Far Finds No Malicious Intent In Clinton Email ProbeTPM 
Town Hall-The Hill (blog)
 -New York Post
all 333
all 308 news articles »
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Page 6

Sen. Bob Corker says he'll advise Donald Trump on foreign policy

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Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has offered to help Donald Trump develop a foreign policy platform, making him one of the few senators to publicly embrace Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

White House Blames Allegations of Iran Deal Deceit in Ben Rhodes Profile on ‘Sour Grapes’ 

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White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked Friday if the Obama administration had “hand-picked Beltway insiders” to sell the message in the Iran nuclear deal to the American people, as alleged in a recent profile, but Earnest dismissed the notion and said the claims were unfounded.
“I recognize that there might be some people who are disappointed they did not succeed in killing the Iran deal and maybe these unfounded claims are the result of sour grapes,” Earnest said.
Earnest said that the administration engaged in an aggressive campaign to educate the American people about the details of the landmark nuclear deal which not only strengthened the relationship with Iran but strengthened the national security of the United States.
“We made a strong case that killing the deal would actually make another war in the Middle East more likely,” Earnest said.
Earnest added that President Obama is proud of the success in completing the agreement and the positive impact that it has had on national security in the short term and the long-term posture.
The journalist asked Earnest about the New York Times characterization of Ben Rhodes and the use of the word “misleading” when it came to the Iran deal.
Earnest said that the Times piece was long and that he probably missed it. The word appears twice in the piece, however.

US Military Operating on the Ground in Yemen, Pentagon Confirms -

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US Military Operating on the Ground in Yemen, Pentagon Confirms
For the first time, the Pentagon on Friday acknowledged publicly that the U.S. military is operating on the ground in Yemen. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said that a small number of American military personnel are in Yemen "providing ...
US military team deploys to Yemen to help rout al-Qaeda militantsUSA TODAY 
US military admits troops are operating inside Yemen to combat al-QaidaThe Guardian

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Rival assaults on Islamic State stronghold deepen Libya's chaos

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From east and west, the forces of Libya's rival powers are each moving on the city of Sirte, vowing to free it from the hold of the Islamic State group. The danger is they could very well fight each other as well.

Inside the Ring: Forbes: Send Carriers to Taiwan 

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A senior House Republican this week called on the Obama administration to shift its policy toward Taiwan in the aftermath of China’s refusal to allow the aircraft carrier USS Stennis to make a port call in Hong Kong.
Rep. J. Randy Forbes, the Virginia Republican who chairs the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power, said his major concern was that China’s denial of the carrier visit disrupted planned meetings between sailors and their families.
“It’s a huge disruption to the men and women on those ships,” Mr. Forbes told Inside the Ring.
Read the entire article at the Washington Times.

Hailing hydrogen bomb test and satellite launch, Kim Jong Un predicts 'final victory'

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Opening North Korea’s first ruling Workers’ Party Congress in 36 years, leader Kim Jong Un on Friday hailed the country’s recent hydrogen bomb test and satellite launch as “unprecedented” achievements that will lead the isolated and impoverished nation of 24 million to “final victory.”
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Head of House Benghazi probe fires back at Pentagon critique

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the House Benghazi panel is firing back at the Defense Department for criticizing the Republican-led investigation into the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina says a senior department official intentionally mischaracterized the panel's inquiry. Gowdy also calls the ...

Report: Clinton to be Interviewed in FBI Probe 

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The FBI will interview Hillary Clinton within the next few weeks in the latest leg of its probe into her use of an unsecured email system while she served as secretary of state, CBS News reported Friday.
The Democratic front-runner’s presidential campaign has remained adamant that the review “will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place.”
The FBI last month interviewed Clinton’s closest ally Huma Abedin in its Washington, D.C. office.
While the investigation is ongoing, investigators said they haven’t discovered evidence that shows Clinton “willfully” violated federal law.
The FBI and the Justice Department have spent more than a year probing Clinton’s private email server in an attempt to determine whether she mishandled classified information during her time serving as secretary of state.
Clinton has denied wrong doing throughout her campaign and has argued that none of the emails sent or received on her private server were marked classified at the time.
Government officials found that more than 2,000 emails on Clinton’s server contain classified information, though none was marked classified on her personal email. Twenty-two messages have been deemed “top secret,” the highest classification level, and were withheld from public release

Police: Federal officer in custody after 3 fatal shootings

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A federal security officer suspected in three fatal shootings outside a high school, a mall and a supermarket in the Washington, D.C., area was arrested Friday, police said.

Alleged Harassment of Jersey City Police Officer by Anti-Government Colleagues May Have Gone on For Years - Gawker

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Alleged Harassment of Jersey City Police Officer by Anti-Government Colleagues May Have Gone on For Years
But in January, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Francis B. Schultz dismissed those charges—which implicated Public Safety Director James Shea, former police chief Tom Comey, and former police chief Robert Cowan—on the grounds that the alleged ...

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Kudrin’s Return to the Russian Government

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Since 2011, when then-President Dmitry Medvedev fired his and (much more importantly) then–Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, Russian liberals have dreamed of his return to the government. Indeed, liberal groups in Russia believe that Kudrin, seen as an outspoken pro-market reformer, could effectively counter the siloviki (security services personnel) inside Putin’s inner cir­cle. After the Russian economy started to contract, back in 2014, and as the tensi­ons between the country and the rest of the world increased, the idea became even more insistent and was continuously debated domestically (Vedomosti, December 29, 2015).
At the close of April 2016, Kudrin finally returned to the halls of power. First of all, he was promoted chairman of the Council of Trustees of the Center for Strategic Research, an expert institution famous for drafting Putin’s presidential agenda in 2000. And almost immediately thereafter, he was named the deputy chief of the Economic Council under the President of Russia (, April 30). This news resonated positively with the ma­jority of Russian liberal economists, who have argued that this was the right move on the part of the Kremlin (, April 27). Yet, some have also pointed out that Kud­rin’s new powers only enable him to submit some reformist proposals to the government—not implement them. Therefore, these observers insist, Kudrin’s new positions close to the Kremlin will not necessarily change Russia’s economic policies (, April 29). That may, indeed be true. But arguably, the likely failure to put in place future economic reforms will stem not so much from Kudrin’s administrative inability to influence Putin, but rather because he has never actually attempted to play the role of a liberal reformer when he last served in government.
As is commonly known, Kudrin has, for years, been among Putin’s closest allies. He be­came a deputy mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1990s, while Putin served as the first deputy chairman of the municipal government. And later he accompanied the future head of state to Moscow, after Anatoly Sobchak, St. Peterburg’s mayor since 1991, was defeated in free and democratic elections, in 1996. Putin and Kudrin were supposedly not only friends, but also business partners—they were both accused of financial impropriety involving the construction company “Twentieth Trust,” which officials suspected of siphoning money from the St. Petersburg city budget (, March 23, 2000). Immediately after Putin was elected president, Kudrin took the office of finance minister and was appoin­ted to the position of first deputy pri­me minister.
Once in the government, Minister Kudrin worked on centralizing state finances. In 2000, federal budget receipts accounted for 51.5 percent of all the taxes and other incomes collected in the country, while 48.5 percent went to the regional and local budgets; but in 2012, that proportion rose to 69.5 versus 30.5 percent, respectively. Moreover, he succeeded in introducing a tax on the extraction of natu­ral resources, which was predominantly aimed at squeezing “excessive” profits from the oil and gas industry. This policy, in particular, was a core factor in turning Russia into a “petro-state”—the share of this tax in federal budget receipts rose by 11.2 times between 2000 and 2012. In addition, Kudrin initiated a special customs duty on exports of oil and gas. Consequently, the Russian budget now depends on custom duties to the same degree that the United States’ federal budget was dependent on them back in 1876 (, July 23, 2014August 6, 2015).
In 2004, Kudrin established the so-called Stabilization Fund for accumulating money from oil and gas export receipts, in anticipation of “difficult times.” This Fund, accounting for $156.8 billion in early 2008, was successfully used to counter the budget crisis of 2009, and is now being spent on covering the federal budget deficits. Having been split into the Reserve Fund and the National Wealth Fund in 2008, this pool of money has also been used to finance dozens of ineffective, state-owned banks and enterprises since 2014 (, March 5, 2015). Taken together, these financial policies hardly resemble liberal economic theory. Rather, they highlight Kudrin’s role, while in government, as Pu­tin’s exceptionally loyal and effective ally.
In recent years, Kudrin has positioned himself as the leader of the liberals, launching several public initiatives and persuading several Russian oligarchs to fund them. But his economic and political proposals look far from truly “liberal” when looked at more closely.
First, his idea to raise the retirement age for both Russian men and women (Interfax, April 26) suggests a particularly limited approach to economic reforms. Russia faces a distinct lack of labor resources. And active modernization of the economy arguably calls for raising Russia’s labor productivity in order to decrease the need for larger numbers of new workers to support the growing cohort of retirees. Notably, Russia’s over­all labor productivity has, for years, stood at one third of the level in the US (Kommersant, August 31, 2015). But instead, Kudrin’s focus on raising the retirement age is a clear message that there will be no real structural reforms applied to the Russian economy.
Second, Kudrin became famous last year for proposing that the next presidential elections be conducted in 2016 instead of 2018, as they are currently scheduled (Interfax, June 18, 2015). Such a change would also accomplish little besides securing Putin’s reelection before the economic situation in the country deteriorates to a degree that might challenge his standing as a credible contender.
In conclusion, Alexei Kudrin’s appointment likely does not signal any serious economic or political changes coming to Russia. Instead, the move apparently reflects the government’s realization of the need to respond with smarter strategies to keep the current system intact. And if so, Kudrin will probably be able to help perpetuate the existing regime for years to come. After all, he not only facilitated Vladimir Putin’s rise to the top of the power structure in Russia, but Kudrin also aided in securing his position there for so long. Once aga­in, there may be no real good news for Russia’s liberals coming from the latest personnel changes in Putin’s inner circle.
Read the whole story
· · ·

The FBI's Tool For Tracking Highway Serial Killers - Vocativ

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The FBI's Tool For Tracking Highway Serial Killers
An Oklahoma salesman was driving on Interstate 40 when he needed a bathroom break. He exited the highway and continued on to an isolated stretch of road before he stopped his car, got out and walked over to a ditch on the side of the road. That's when ...
ViCAP Part 2: The Highway Serial Killings InitiativeFederal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)

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