‘ Senate Vote 93-4 To Extend Terrorism Insurance Program ‘

#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – July 17 – The Senate voted 93-4 Thursday to extend a terrorism insurance program that business groups say provides a critical backstop in the event of a catastrophic attack.

The bill would extend the program, which was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, for seven years.

By Ramsey Cox @ The Hill 

#ANS2014 

#insurance, #new-york, #senate, #sept, #september-11-attacks, #terrorism-insurance, #terrorism-risk-insurance-act, #thursday

‘ GM to Account to US Lawmakers Over Delay of 10 Years For Vehicle Recall With Deadly Ignition Switch Flaw’

#AceWorldNewsUNITED STATES – July 17  – Two more major figures in General Motors Co’s safety debacle will appear on Thursday for the first time before U.S. lawmakers investigating why it took the auto-maker more than 10 years to recall millions of vehicles with a deadly ignition switch flaw reported Reuters.

English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. S...

English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 2007_business_choice_bro_en.pdf (on GM website). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael Millikin, the general counsel of GM, and Rodney O’Neal, the chief executive of Delphi Automotive, the maker of the defective part, are due to testify before a Senate Commerce subcommittee.

Millikin is expected to receive harsh scrutiny because his legal department dealt with numerous private lawsuits related to crashes involving the defective switches, but apparently did not urgently warn other parts of GM.

The Senate panel holding Thursday’s hearing is chaired by Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill. “Claire will be posing some tough questions that have not yet been answered about the role GM’s legal department played in delaying this recall,” said Andy Newbold, spokesman for McCaskill.

In his prepared testimony, Millikin said GM has appointed an outside law firm to review its litigation practices.

#ANS2o14 

#ans2014, #anton-r-valukas, #claire-mccaskill, #delphi-automotive, #general-counsel, #general-motors, #kenneth-feinberg, #reuters, #rodney-oneal, #thursday, #united-states, #wikipedia

‘ Microsoft Cutting Record 18,000 Jobs From Work-Force ‘

#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Silicon Valley) – July 17 – Microsoft will cut a record 18,000 jobs next year, as the company’s new CEO Satya Nadella seeks to boost efficiency, according to a company memo on Thursday.

“The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce. With this in mind, we will begin to reduce the size of our overall workforce by up to 18,000 jobs in the next year,” Satya Nadella said in the memo published by Business Insider.

The number made redundant represents 14 percent of the entire Microsoft workforce.

Nadella assured that the layoff will be conducted “in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible.”

“We will offer severance to all employees impacted by these changes, as well as job transition help in many locations, and everyone can expect to be treated with the respect they deserve for their contributions to this company,” he said.

The company is moving to layoff the first 13,000 workers, and most of the employees will be given notice over the next six months, the document added.

“Of that total, our work toward synergies and strategic alignment on Nokia Devices and Services is expected to account for about 12,500 jobs, comprising both professional and factory workers,” it added.

#ANS2014  

#layoff, #microsoft, #nadella, #nokia, #satya-nadella, #steve-ballmer, #thursday, #workforce

‘ Hamid Karzai Motorcade Attacked by Militants ‘

#AceBreakingNews – AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) – July 17 – According to preliminary reports, four presidential bodyguards were wounded as several militants attacked motorcade of Afghanistan’s current President Hamid Karzai in Eastern Afghan Paktia province on Thursday, the national news agency Khaama Press reported.

“The terrorist attack has failed and the attacked area is now safe. All the terrorists, hidden in the nearby buildings under construction, have been neutralized”, head of airport’s criminal police Gul Aga Hashimi said reported (Tass)

 

#ANS2014  

 

#afghanistan, #hamid-karzai, #kabul, #kabul-international-airport, #khaama-press, #taliban, #thursday, #world

‘ Kabul’s Airport Under Rocket and Gunfire Attack by Taliban ‘

#AceWorldNews – AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) – July 17 – A number of explosions, possibly rocket propelled grenades, and bursts of gunfire were reported near Kabul International Airport at dawn on Thursday, according to eyewitness reports cited by Reuters.

Kabul Airport Building Under Attack

Heavily armed militants who attacked Kabul International Airport with grenades and automatic weapons have been repelled, Afghan officials say (BBC)

The Afghan capital’s airport, which is used both by civilians and the country’s military, serves as a base for NATO-led forces who have clashed with Taliban and Islamic insurgents for well over a decade.

Kabul Police Arrive on the Scene

Rockets are fired into the airport’s vicinity almost on a weekly basis, though the facility has largely escaped damage. It was unclear whether Thursday’s attack represented a more serious, frontal assault attempt.

Officials reported that a number of militants had burst into a building north of the airport, and the transport hub had been closed to all flights.

The four insurgents who took part are dead, the authorities said, with one security official wounded.

The Taliban said they carried out Thursday morning’s attack which lasted for nearly five hours.

Deputy Interior Minister for Security Mohammad Ayub Salangi said the area was “completely cleared”.

“The last insurgent has just blown himself up, because he knew Afghan forces were on the way to capture him,” he said.

#ANS2014 

 

#afghan-national-army, #kabul, #kabul-international-airport, #mohammad-ayub-salangi, #nato, #reuters, #taliban, #thursday

‘ Fire Tears Through Staten Island Town Houses ‘

#AceWorldNews – NEW YORK (Staten Island) – June 05 – Fire tore through three town-houses on Staten Island early Thursday, injuring 34 people, authorities and witnesses said.

About 200 fire-fighters responded to the blaze that erupted at about  (05:00 GMT) and battled the five-alarm fire for several hours until the early morning, AP reported.

A New York Fire Department spokesman said 23 fire-fighters and 11 civilians suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious, but none was considered life-threatening.

He said the flames were so heavy that fire-fighters were unable to say where the fire originated.

That would be part of the investigation into what caused the blaze, he said.

“My life is in there,” said Cindy Piscopo, who lived on the first floor of one of the four-family town-houses.

She said she was awakened by a top-floor neighbour knocking on her door and yelling at her to get out.

AP 

#ANS2014

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` Ukraine turmoil LIVE UPDATES Continues Unabated ‘

#AceWorldNews says the stand-off continues in Ukraine, as the defiant region of Crimea prepares for its upcoming referendum that will decide its status. The coup-imposed government has cut off financial links to Crimea, but has pledged not to attack the peninsula militarily.

Crimea Upheaval Thursday, March 13
18:02 GMT:
Russia has voiced support for the deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, including Crimea, the chairman of the European security group said on Thursday, calling this a possible “big step forward.”

“The Russian Federation supported the idea of a rapid approval and rapid deployment of a special monitoring mission for Ukraine,” Thomas Greminger, Switzerland’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters after a meeting of OSCE envoys in Vienna. (Reuters)

16:21 GMT:
Nearly 10,000 people in the city of Ulyanovsk have attended a rally in support of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population.

Митинг в поддержку #Крым в #Ульяновск pic.twitter.com/TLec6UovPy
— ОЕ (@OEGusarov) March 13, 2014
Activists were holding banners reading pro-Russian slogans. The two below read, “We don’t give up on our people” and “No to fascism.”

16:00 GMT:

A group of UN Security Council member countries have prepared a draft resolution on the situation in Ukraine supporting the territorial integrity of the country, Itar-Tass reports. Allies of the coup-imposed Ukrainian government, including the US, UK, France and Lithuania, have been named as the authors of the draft. French UN envoy Gerard Araud has confirmed the completion of the draft but did not specify when the document will be voted on in the Security Council.

 

Maidan "self-defence" activists walk as anti-war placards are hung in Kiev on March 13, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatolii Stepanov) Maidan “self-defence” activists walk as anti-war placards are hung in Kiev on March 13, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatolii Stepanov)

15:54 GMT:

The United States and the European Union will respond on Monday with a “serious series of steps” against Russia if a referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region goes ahead on Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

Kerry told a congressional hearing he hoped to avoid such steps, which include sanctions, through discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in London on Friday.

If there is no sign of any capacity to be able to move forward and resolve this issue there will be a very serious series of steps in Europe and here with respect to the options that are available to us,” Kerry said in testimony on the State Department’s 2015 budget request. (Reuters)

15:11 GMT:

‘One gang replaced another’: Maidan losing faith in Kiev coup leaders http://t.co/Au3V4E6RGU #Ukraine @Yaro_RT

— RT (@RT_com) March 13, 2014

15:08 GMT:

Ukraine’s 450-member parliament has voted in support of revising the electoral law ahead of presidential elections. A simple majority of 226 MPs out of 309 present for the vote supported the changes, which included a ban on taking pictures or video of voters, as well as a ban on taking “selfies” while casting ballots. Other changes apply to presidential campaigns’ start and finish dates. No other major changes have been made. Following the Ukrainian coup-appointed PM’s visit to Washington DC, the US said it is planning to double its assistance to Ukraine to support electoral law reform, the State Department has said.

14:59 GMT:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterpart US Secretary of State John Kerry have agreed to continue dialogue on Ukraine as the two are meeting in London on March 14, Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following their phone call.

14:55 GMT:

Vladimir Putin has said Russia has now to focus on how to build relations with its partners in the EU, the US as well as in Ukraine, given the situation there. Speaking to the Russian Security Council, he said that despite the fact that Moscow is not the one to blame the conflict on, it still got involved.

“We can’t ignore all the events across Ukraine, and Crimea – and all that has to do with this difficult problem, which occurred, and I want to stress that, not because of Russia, but it got involved in it anyway,” Putin said. “Let’s think together about how to conduct relations with our partners and friends in Ukraine and with our other partners in Europe and the United States.”

12:58 GMT:

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to create a 60,000-strong National Guard as a step to strengthen defense. The move, supported by 262 parliamentarians, basically recreates the Guard Ukraine used to have back from 1991 to 2000. The new National Guard will be created on the basis of internal troops.

Ukrainian soldiers ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near Kiev March 13, 2014. (Reuters / Konstantin Grishin) Ukrainian soldiers ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near Kiev March 13, 2014. (Reuters / Konstantin Grishin)

12:26 GMT:

Of all the EU states, Latvia will suffer most if the EU imposes sanctions against Russia, Latvian Finance Minister Vyacheslav Dombrovsky told journalists on Thursday.

“I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that of all the EU states, it is Latvia that has the biggest share in economic relations with Russia. Should the sanctions [against Russian in connection with the Ukrainian crisis] be imposed… we will feel their consequences the most,” Dombrovsky said, as quoted by Delfi.

According to the minister, 43 percent of Latvian agricultural/food exports go to Russia, and 70 percent of all the transit traffic is connected to Russia. Moreover, Latvia is “fully dependent” on Russian natural gas imports.

#ANS2014

 

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” Airlines Cancel Flights in `US’ including Philadelphia, Washinbgton DC and New York”

AOA's Flagship Denmark Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

AOA’s Flagship Denmark Boeing 377 Stratocruiser (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says “Three Thousand Seven Hundred `US Flights Cancelled’ due to Snow and Ice”

Airlines cancelled more than 3,700 flights in the US for Thursday, as freezing precipitation moved over major airports in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and New York, AP reported. A total of about 775 flights were canceled at Atlanta – the world’s busiest airport – as the remnants of a snow and ice storm move across the area.

On Wednesday, more than two-thirds of all scheduled flights to and from Atlanta were cancelled.

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#Baghdad : `Suicide Bombers Storm’ an `Iraqi Government Building’

#AceNewsServices says `Militants Storm Iraqi Transportation Ministry’ today.

Ace News Desk Militants stormed an Iraqi government building in north east Baghdad on Thursday, police said, adding that several suicide bombers could remain inside. Militants shot dead two guards near the main gate to the Transportation Ministry and entered the building, Reuters said. No casualties among those inside the building were immediately reported. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, in which some people were taken hostage, according to police sources.

 

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#AceNewsDesk : “World News – Headlines – 30 January 2014”

World News Banner

LATIN AMERICA – CARIBBEAN – CUBA – EU – PAKISTAN – EGYPT – SAUDI ARABIA – UK – SYRIA – BANGLADESH – INDIA – AFGHANISTAN – ISRAEL   

EU will agree next month to deepen relations with Cuba09:36

EU to begin talks with Cuba on cooperation accord

The EU will agree the next month to deepen relations with Cuba in the most significant overture to the communist island since the bloc lifted diplomatic sanctions in 2008, Reuters reported, citing its sources. On February 10, foreign ministers from EU countries will give the go-ahead to launch talks with Havana on a special cooperation accord. The pact, aimed at increasing trade, investment and dialogue on human rights, could be agreed by the end of 2015. “Cuba wants capital and the EU wants influence,” said one source involved in the talks.

Cleric who supported the Afghan Taliban has been shot dead in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta,08:51

Gunmen shoot dead influential pro-Taliban cleric in Pakistan

An influential cleric who supported the Afghan Taliban has been shot dead in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, officials said Thursday. “Two unknown gunmen on a motorcycle” shot dead Maulana Abdullah Zakiri as he was on his way to a mosque Wednesday night,” senior police official Abdul Razzaq told AFP. Zakiri had lived in Quetta for a long time and had no known disputes with anyone. However, his family has accused Afghan intelligence services of his murder.

Saudi Arabia is expected to give Egypt up to $4 billion08:26

Egypt to receive up to $4bn more aid from Saudi Arabia – report

Saudi Arabia is expected to give Egypt up to $4 billion in additional aid in the form of central bank deposits and petroleum products, Reuters said. State-run Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported Thursday that the package would be worked out during a visit next week to Riyadh by Egypt’s interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi. Funds from Gulf Arab states have kept Egypt’s economy afloat during the recent political turmoil, which has hit investment and tourism hard.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday that his country will accept the most vulnerable Syrian refugees07:49

UK to accept vulnerable Syrian refugees – Hague

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday that his country will accept the most vulnerable Syrian refugees this year. Hague said in the Philippine capital, Manila, that the details were still being worked out, did not specify a number of the refugees, AP reported. However, he said that Britain would prioritize displaced Syrians who have been exposed to the horrors of the conflict, including victims of sexual violence.

Head of Jamaat-e-Islami party, Motiur Ra07:32

Bangladesh court sentences top Islamist, 13 others to death for arms smuggling

A Bangladesh court on Thursday sentenced 14 people to death over an arms smuggling racket 10 years ago, AFP reported. Those convicted include the leader of the country’s largest Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami party. “The judge sentenced 14 people including Motiur Rahman Nizami, to death on smuggling charges,”prosecutor Kamal Uddin Ahmed said.

10 killed as mob attacks India village in land dispute06:52

10 killed as mob attacks India village in land dispute

A mob armed with shotguns attacked a remote village in northeast India, killing at least 10 people in a land dispute, police said Thursday. The attackers fired indiscriminately Wednesday evening in Chauldhua village in the densely forested area in northern Assam state, AP reported, citing witnesses. The gunmen came from neighboring Arunachal Pradesh state, police said. The dispute dates back to 1987, when Arunachal Pradesh state was created and the village was declared to be in Assam.

Suicide car bomber kills 2 officers in east Afghanistan06:21

Suicide car bomber kills 2 officers in east Afghanistan

A suicide car bomber has attacked a police facility in the country’s east, killing two officers, AP reported. The attacker targeted a police and intelligence compound in the Nangarhar province’s Pachir Wagam district early on Thursday morning, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman in the province. Three members of the security forces were injured in the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement.

scarlett-johansson-steps-down-as-oxfam-ambassador05:08

​Johansson breaks with humanitarian group Oxfam over Israeli settlement boycott

Actress Scarlett Johansson has decided to end her eight-year tenure as ambassador for Oxfam International, a prominent group fighting against poverty and injustice, saying she does not endorse the group’s boycott of Israeli settlements in occupied territories. Oxfam opposes all trade with the settlements, saying their existence is illegal and violates Palestinians’ rights. Johansson recently came under fire for signing on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream, a company maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

​Latin America and Caribbean to become ‘zone of peace’01:27

​Latin America and Caribbean to become ‘zone of peace’

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States bloc has signed a resolution declaring the region a “zone of peace”. The 33 nations thus pledged to resolve regional disputes without the use of force in respect to another. The measure was approved on the final day of a summit of Western Hemisphere nations, minus the United States and Canada.

EU agrees on accord to normalize relations with Cuba00:01

​EU agrees on accord to normalize relations with Cuba – source

EU states have agreed on the “whole package” for a new accord with Cuba aimed at normalizing relations with the communist state and encourage reforms and strengthen the human rights in the country, an EU source told AFP. The text of the agreement will be discussed among EU foreign Ministers next month. The bloc suspended ties with Cuba in 2003 after a crackdown on 75 dissidents, which have all now been released from jail.

 

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#Kiev : Ukrainian President has `Promised a Government Reshuffle’ and `Amendments to the Anti-Protest Laws’ on January 28″

#AceBreakingNews says the Ukrainian president has promised a government reshuffle and amendments to the anti-protest laws that triggered violent clashes in Kiev.

cropped-header-breaking-news.jpg“We will make a decision at this session [on January 28]. I will sign a decree and we will reshuffle the government in order to find the best possible professional government team,” Yanukovich said.

A fragile ceasefire reigns in embattled Kiev, but unrest is spreading across the rest of Ukraine, with hundreds taking to the streets and seizing administration buildings.

During six days of rioting, the opposition and the government have failed to reach agreement. Despite no concrete deal being reached on the second day of negotiations with the government, the opposition still described Thursday’s four-hour meeting as “positive”, and said it would continue talks. Its major demands are focusing on the government’s resignation and early elections.

The public responded to the meeting with new barricades on Independence Square. A group of protesters seized the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food headquarters nearby.

For the first time this week Kiev has seen no clashes. The protesters aren’t provoking police with attacks, but, at the same time, they are not standing idly by either. They are strengthening barricades and building new ones, and moving closer to presidential headquarters.

A total of more than 100 people were detained following mass riots in the city, Kiev authorities stated on Thursday. Hundreds more have sustained injuries. Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said about 256 police officers have been wounded, with 100 of them hospitalized.

In some cities, mostly in western Ukraine, protesters have attempted or seized local administration buildings, demanding governors’ resignations.

 

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#Kiev : “Ukrainian Opposition says `Government In No Mood to Talk as `Terms Still Not Acceptable’ Continues”

#AceNewsServices says `Ukrainian Opposition’ rejects govt proposal, talks to continue

Published time: January 23, 2014 22:05
Edited time: January 24, 2014 08:51
 
January 24, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)January 24, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)
After consulting protesters on Independence Square, leaders of the opposition rejected the government’s terms that evolved from the Thursday negotiations. They promised to continue talks and keep violence in check.

Leader of the nationalist  Svoboda opposition party, Oleg Tyagnibok, explained the terms proposed by the government during more than four-hour negotiations and asked the protesters whether they were ready to accept.

During the negotiations, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich proposed to stop the use of force, release all those detained during mass riots on Grushevskogo Street, and work out reduced penalties for those who were already arrested in exchange for the rioters leaving the area in central Kiev.

After a public vote at the square, the majority of the protesters refused to accept the government’s conditions, according to the Svoboda party website. Opposition leaders agreed with decision of the demonstrators, urging them to maintain discipline and order.

“Solely a peaceful protest. Keeping our defense and not a step back. I am asking everyone – keep the discipline, order and responsibility,” Batkivshchyna opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the crowd. Yatsenyuk also proposed to expand the Independence Square protest area by a few blocks, to Olginskaya Street.

The opposition is set to continue talks with the government tomorrow. A ceasefire is in place until Friday morning.

After consultations with the opposition leaders, protesters began building new barricades by the “Khreschatyk” metro exit on Independence Square. Yatsenyuk and Tyagnibok are taking part in the process.

Earlier, Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko told demonstrators in central Kiev that Yanukovich and head of the Interior Affairs Ministry Vitaly Zaharchenko are ending all use of force and preparing to announce the release of all those detained on Grushevskogo Street.

People are chanting REVOLUTION as opposition leaders speak

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 23, 2014

The statement was followed by Zaharchenko saying that police will not take any action against the rioters on Grushevskogo Street if they leave the area.

He also added that there will be no forceful action against protesters on Independence Square. “We have always advocated a peaceful settlement of the situation. Ukrainian people can solve complex conflicts and have shown that before. I hope reason will preside over the emotions on both sides and the standoff will finally be over,” Zaharchenko said.

When speaking to protesters Klitschko said: “The whole process is prolonging, this is only the first round of negotiations. We won’t stop until president steps down.”

January 24, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)January 24, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

Rioters chanted “Liars!” at opposition leaders as they were being told the results of the talks at Independence Square in Kiev and booed the message.

Protesters began lining up behind barricades and burning tires as soon as the talks were over.

Yatsenyuk said the likelihood of the bloodshed ending is very high, local media reported.

January 24, 2014.(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 24, 2014.(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

Following the negotiations, justice minister Elena Lukash stated that the opposition has refused for the second time to criticize the rioters’ violent behavior in central Kiev.

She added that opposition leaders have also remained quiet on violent attacks against local administration buildings in several other western cities that took place on Thursday, Unian news agency reported.

“It is not important what you lived for, it is important what you die for,” famous Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov, who is currently in Kiev, quoted rioters as saying.

On Thursday, Kiev authorities said that 71 people were detained following mass riots on the Grushevskogo Street.

Clashes spill beyond Kiev

Anti-government unrest in Ukraine spilled beyond the capital of Kiev on Thursday as the government held talks with opposition leaders.

Rioters began violently attacking local administration buildings in other regions of the country, mostly in the west, attempting to force local governments out of office.

Around 2,000 protesters took over the local administration building in the western city of Lvov, telling the region’s governor that they are taking power into their own hands.

Video of protesters storming Lvov governor’s office:

Governor Oleg Salo was forced to sign a resignation letter which stated: “I ask to be freed of my duties.”He later retracted his statement, saying it is invalid since signed under pressure.

He’s a letter of resignation from Lviv governor that he was forced 2 sign in office occupied by#Euromaidan@ZaxidNetpic.twitter.com/mEg3pzkMry

— Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi) January 23, 2014

Rioters also stormed governors’ offices in other western cities, including Zhytomer and Rovno. Another administration office was violently taken over by rioters in the western town of Ternopol.

Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry has opened a criminal investigation into the attack in Ternopol.

Video of protesters stormingZhytomer’sadministration building:

Police were only able to fight off rioters in the town of Cherkassy, located southeast of Kiev. A group of several hundred anti-government demonstrators tried to break a police cordon outside the administration building, managing to break the glass on the front door.

Video of protesters storming Cherkassy’s administration building:

Other Videos: Download video (7.08 MB)

 

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#AceNewsDesk – “World News – 24 January 2014 – Headlines”

Ace News Group

ROME – AFGHANISTAN –  CHINA – BEIJING – UN – ETHIOPIA – SOUTH SUDAN – MUSLIMS – CAIRO – KOREA – US 

AP – REUTERS – AFP – RT – NPR – 

Home-made bomb explodes near French church in Rome

A small home-made bomb exploded in a street in central Rome early on Thursday, Reuters said. The bomb caused slight damage to a building belonging to a French religious establishment and three parked cars. The explosion occurred ahead of a visit to Pope Francis by President Francois  Hollande.

Gunman kills 5 Afghan cricket players

A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at a group of local cricket players, killing five of them during a game in eastern Laghman province, AP reported. The attacker fled the scene in Alinghar district, a provincial spokesman, Sarhadii Zhouak, said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack that took place on Thursday. Also, police in southern Helmand province found the body of slain journalist Noor Ahmad Noori late on Thursday night.

China issues warnings to foreign military planes over defence zone

Beijing has begun issuing warnings to foreign military planes entering its self-declared air defense zone over the East China Sea, AP reported. Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said that multiple types of Chinese planes recently conducted a long-range patrol inside the sweeping zone that was declared in November. The Chinese planes flew alongside a number of foreign military aircraft and issued warnings to them. The spokesman did not identify the planes or say when the patrol was conducted. The US, Japan and other countries earlier denounced the zone’s declaration as provocative.

UN urges Myanmar to probe killings of Rohingya Muslims

 The UN has called on Myanmar to investigate reports that dozens of people were killed in attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state. It said “credible information” was received of a series of attacks in a remote area of Rakhine earlier this month. The western state of Rakhine remains tense after outbreaks of inter-communal violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities since 2012.

South Sudan ceasefire signed in Ethiopia

South Sudan’s government and rebels have signed a ceasefire agreement, considered to be the first step to reconciliation between the two sides, following violence that erupted in mid-December and is thought to be a result of strained relations between President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar, whom Kiir sacked in July 2013. The conflict had since taken on an ethnic dimension. The deal was reached on Thursday in Ethiopia and was greeted by mediators and regional leaders alike. It is expected to come into effect 24 hours after being signed.

Blast reported in Cairo

 A large blast was heard in Cairo on Friday, eyewitnesses report. Smoke was seen rising over the city center. State TV said the blast happened near police headquarters, indicating that it may have been an attack.

N. Korea practiced attack on Seoul’s Incheon airport – report

The North Korean military secretly carried out a practice exercise simulating an attack on a South Korea’s largest airport, using specially designed jets that are meant to enter Southern airspace. A South Korean government source told JoongAng Ilbo that the nighttime exercises came on January 19, one day before North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong-un attended a military drill without expanding on any details. The North Koreans are suspected of practicing entering South Korea by parachute, staging a terrorist attack at the Incheon International Airport, and then occupying planes sitting on the runway. The South Korean official added that such an event is “extremely rare.”

Virginia attorney general will oppose state’s gay marriage ban

 Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Thursday that he will no longer defend the state’s gay marriage ban, saying he will join a lawsuit that seeks to have the prohibition declared unconstitutional. Herring, a Democrat, said he has voted against marriage equality in the past but told NPR that his views have changed because he saw that he “hurt a lot of people and it was very painful for a lot of people” when he previously voted in favor of the ban. Herring admitted that the ban was put in place by Virginia voters but said that as attorney general, he “cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians  `rights’ 

 

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#Kiev – ” Peace at Barricades Still Holding Tinderbox Time”

#AceNewsDesk says its Thursday, January 23 2014 in #Kiev fires are being doused and you could cut the air with a knife, as smoke drifts over the police and the protesters alike!

Published time: January 20, 2014 19:33
Edited time: January 23, 2014 16:54

Anti-government protesters gather for a rally in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)Anti-government protesters gather for a rally in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)
19:47 GMT:

 

PHOTO: #Ukraine clergymen stand in front of police blockade saying prayers & holding crosses http://t.co/333fneLosa pic.twitter.com/jiZ5U93hGw

— RT (@RT_com) January 23, 2014

19:19 GMT:

A group of several hundred anti-government demonstrators in the central Ukrainian town of Cherkassy broke a police cordon outside the local administration building, and broke the glass on the front door.

One official offered his resignation, but later withdrew, saying he was forced to sign his notice under pressure.

Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of regional governor Sergey Tulub.

18:23 GMT:

The White House has reiterated its threat to impose sanctions on Ukraine.

During a media briefing White House spokesman Jay Carney chided the Ukrainian authorities for failing to respond to “legitimate” grievances of the opposition, and for imposing draconian anti-protest legislation last week.

The US embassy in Kiev has already stripped several officials implicated in the violence in Kiev of US visas.

18:08 GMT:

The ceasefire called for the duration of the negotiations between officials and opposition leaders expired at 1800 GMT, though the politicians are still talking behind closed doors. So far there has been no violence; Klitschko implored his supporters to refrain from aggressive moves before the end of the talks.

18:05 GMT:

President Viktor Yanukovich is meeting with three main opposition leaders, including Viktor Klitschko, in a government building in Kiev. The highly-anticipated negotiations were postponed throughout the day.

January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko) January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)
17:07 GMT:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nickolay Azarov says his embattled government will step down, but only if the parliament votes for such an outcome.

“The question of the government’s resignation is the prerogative of the parliament. If such an initiative gathers enough votes, we will do so. I have said before that this is a legal possibility,” Azarov told journalists at the Davos Economic Forum.

The resignation of the cabinet has been one of the main demands of the opposition, but the pro-government coalition holds a narrow majority in the Rada, the country’s legislative assembly.

Azarov also insisted that he has no plans to introduce a state of emergency in the wake of the violent protests in Kiev, but warned that it was the government’s “constitutional right and obligation to restore order in the country”.

“People should not think that the government lacks available resources to put an end to this,” he said.

16:58 GMT:

Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, has demanded the immediate release of all the journalists detained during riots in Kiev.

“Journalists perform their professional duties and by force of circumstances find themselves in all sorts of situations. I’m asking everybody to acknowledge that fact and if possible assist the journalists in their work,” Yanukovich said, as cited by the ITAR-TASS news agency.

Russian journalist, Andrey Kiselev, who was detained earlier on Tuesday together with a group of protesters, has already been released by the police.

Lenta.ru website said its employee was injured during the arrest, and no charges were brought against him.

15:41 GMT:

The extraordinary session of the upper house of the Ukrainian parliament is set to be held on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. local time, a statement on the official website of the Ukrainian parliament reads.

15:23 GMT:

Several hundred residents in the Western Ukrainian city of Rovno have taken over a regional administration building and demanded to meet with the authorities, Interfax News agency cites local media as reporting.

According to the information, the activists smashed out windows and broke down the doors before entering the hall for the regional administration while singing the Ukrainian national anthem.

Apart from those who entered the building, thousands of other residents have descended on the building, according to local media reports.

Published time: January 20, 2014 19:33
Edited time: January 23, 2014 16:54
January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko) January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

15:22 GMT:

Smoke rises from behind a makeshift barricade as the opposition continues to hold their ground amidst a temporary ceasefire which has brought relative calm to the Ukrainian capital, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reports live from the scene.

14:44 GMT:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told EU Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso by phone that an extraordinary session of the upper house of the Ukrainian parliament would be held to find a peaceful settlement to violent political conflict currently gripping the country.

“Viktor Yanukovych informed Jose Manuel Barroso about a conversation he held with the Chairman of the upper house of the Ukrainian parliament Vladimir Rybak. According to the President, in the coming days an extraordinary session of parliament will be held in Ukraine, which will address all the issues raised in the course of negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict,” – the press service of the Ukrainian state said in a statement, Interfax news agency reports.

January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

The Ukrainian president reassured the EU Commissioner there was no divergence of opinion in the government regarding the need for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict.

14:33 GMT:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has called a special session of parliament next week to discuss the current unrest that has spiraled out of control in recent days, leaving at least two people dead and the capital Kiev a veritable warzone.

Yanukovich made no indication that he was preparing to make concessions to the opposition, which has demanded snap elections and a repeal of a recently passed anti-protest law which threatened hefty prison sentences for those blocking government buildings or wearing masks during demonstrations.

Opposition leaders have demanded that the president should make concessions by Thursday evening or face renewed street battles.

January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

14:25 GMT:

Recent deaths of protesters in Kiev might have been staged, Sergey Burlakov, press-secretary of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said in an interview to the 112 Ukrainian channel.

“We officially confirm that 2 deaths [an Armenian national from Dnepropetrovsk, Sergey Nigoyan, and Belarus citizen, Mikhail Zhiznevsky] have been recorded. The information came from the participants in the clashes on Grushevskogo Street. One man [Zhiznevsky, who was injured but still alive] was transported first to the Labor Union House, then to another building. In the end he died,” he says.

That’s why we urge people to come forward in order to find out the real reason [of the men’s death], adds Burlakov.

At this point, the investigation has found out that in both [death] cases firearms were used. However, it wasn’t a service gun according to preliminary investigation. The officers don’t use them [service guns] during their duties, he maintains.

Special forces have only the “resources for using rubber bullets,” stun grenades and gas grenades, which is allowed according to the law, he adds.

Burlakov also denied any presence of snipers, saying that photos that have appeared [in the media] might have been concocted in Photoshop.

14:08 GMT:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nickolay Azarov said snap presidential elections in Ukraine would currently be untenable, he told journalists in the Swiss city of Davos on Thursday, Itar Tass news agency reports.

“In accordance with the constitution, in a year, more or less, scheduled elections are set to take place,”he said. “How do you think under these conditions we could hold elections, when the center of Kiev is practically a war zone. What kind of election [could you hold] amidst this disorder.”

Azarov said the situation in the country would have to be normalized and everyday life needed to return to normal before they could start talk about anything else.

The Ukrainian PM added that those fighting against the government are militants, and not the opposition.

13:12 GMT:

Around 2,000 citizens of Lvov have gathered outside the area administration office, the building has been blocked off to anyone coming from the outside apart from the disgruntled crowd, some of which is inside, demanding an audience with the regional head, Oleg Salo, RIA Novosti reports.

It is not clear when Salo will meet with the picketers, but it is known that he is in Lvov at this point.

Thursday, January 23

13:06 GMT:

European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is to travel to Kiev next week, says official EC representative Olivier Bailly, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, will also go in the Ukrainian capital on Friday, confirmed Bailly, adding that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich told Barroso they [Ashton and Fuele] “would be welcome in Kiev to help this process that he is committed to and ready to have a political dialogue in his country.”

13:05 GMT:

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in a phone call warned Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich about “possible EU actions” against Kiev “if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates further,” says the official EC representative, Olivier Bailly.

According to Bailly, Barroso called on [the Ukrainian government] to engage in genuine dialogue with the opposition.

“The use of force is obviously, for the Commission, not the answer to the political situation. Mr. Barroso also urged President Yanukovich to have a top-level dialogue with the opposition immediately,” said Bailly.

Yanukovich told Barroso during the call “that it was not foreseen to install a state of emergency in Ukraine,” Bailly added.

12:55 GMT:

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has postponed his planned visit to Ukraine in May 2014 “over violations of human rights and political instability in the country,” the press secretary of the presidential institution announced, reports the Sofia globe.

“The president is deeply concerned by the escalation of tensions in Ukraine which has resulted in the deaths of civilians and expressed his sincerest condolences to the families of those who have died,”Plevneliev’s office said.

“The Republic of Bulgaria has always supported the European development of Ukraine and despite the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to postpone signing the Association Agreement being disappointing for both our country and the EU, the door of the European Union is still open for a democratic Ukraine which observes human rights,” stressed the statement.

12:53 GMT:

My russian colleague from @lentaruofficial Andrey Kisilev was detained and beaten up by police in Kiev http://t.co/9dtNX0Mh5d

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 23, 2014

12:04 GMT:

Eighteen people have been arrested for attacks on Berkut troop buses, reports the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. During the attack, one of the Berkut officers broke his leg.

According to the ministry, the men were armed with baseball-bats. They [the attackers] could face up to six years in prison.

11:02 GMT:

The Armenian community has promised $100,000 for the head of the person who killed Sergey Nigoyan. Leaflets with a photo of the Armenian national from Dnepropetrovsk, who was allegedly killed by a sniper during the clashes on Wednesday, have been spotted in the Ukrainian capital.

10:51 GMT:

A ‘quiet period’ has been negotiated between police and opposition activists until 8pm local time (18:00 GMT), says opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko. He said he will arrive in Grushevskogo Street by the end of the ceasefire to report to the protesters on the meeting he and other opposition leaders are to have with President Viktor Yanukovich.

Eyewitnesses report that the radical activists indeed stopped pelting police cordon with stones and firecrackers, which they did for hours. Footage from the scene shows white steam clouds rising from where barricades of tires were previously burning.

January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

Klitschko said police will not use stun grenades during the truce.

The meeting with the president will focus on the opposition’s demands to cancel a package of laws, which they see as dictatorial and draconian, Klitschko said. He added he will be demanding resignation of the cabinet of ministers and conduction early presidential election.

“The chances are small, but they exist,” he said.

The previous round of negotiations on Wednesday failed to produce any tangible results. Opposition threatened “to go on the offensive” after it, while the government recommended them “to be more modest in ultimatums.”

10:30 GMT:

Protesters remain camped out on Grushevskogo Street, which abuts the Cabinet office and parliament where a strong police perimeter has been set up in anticipation of further violence. The smoldering remains of burnt articles continue to pump white smoke into the air, a sharp contrast to the black pillars of smoke which filled the sky from burning piles of tires strewn throughout the city street’s on Wednesday. Protesters, many clad in masks, remain firmly entrenched in their makeshift camp not far from a 13-meter-high colonnade of a Kiev stadium. Many armed with broken pieces of masonry, Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons are standing idly by, though tensions from Wednesday’s chaotic riot continue to blanket the city.

January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

10:19 GMT:

The majority of the population in Ukraine does not support extremists calls for an armed uprising, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has claimed.

We clearly say: Any unconstitutional actions in the capital should be discontinued. Calls for an armed uprising are absolutely unconstitutional and lead to bloodshed. They [calls] come from a very narrow circle of extremists and are not supported by an absolute majority of the population of Ukraine,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday in Davos, during a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland.

The Prime Minister noted that the Ukrainian government is making every effort to resolve the situation peacefully, but pointed out that there are some “basic requirements” opposition members should meet to reach a compromise.

08:40 GMT:

Radical protesters launch a fresh, if not particularly intensive attack on the police lines. Footage from central Kiev shows a dozen activists shooting firecrackers and throwing stones from amid a loose crowd of about a hundred of people.

08:01 GMT:

The recent situation in Kiev won’t change the plans about delivering the Gifts of the Magi (the Three Wise Men) in Kiev, says Archpriest Viktor Ivaschuk from Kiev Eparchy.

“The Gifts of the Magi will be delivered from Minsk [Belarus] to Kiev on Friday, January 24,” he adds.

Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

 The hope that one of the biggest Christian relics will help to settle recent conflict in Kiev was expressed by Archpriest Georgy Kovalenko from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy.

The Gifts of the Magi have already gathered tens of thousands believers in Russia and Belarus.

07:32 GMT:

Eleven more radical activists suspected of involvement in mass riots have been arrested by Kiev courts, the Kiev Prosecutor’s Office reported. Five others have been put under house arrest. A total 26 people have been arrested in connection with the riots so far.

07:13 GMT:

A director of Lenta.doc, a media off-shoot of the Moscow-based news website Lenta.ru, has been detained in Kiev. Andrey Kiselyov was spotlighting recent protests on Thursday morning, when Ukrainian riot police took him into custody, Lenta.doc founder Aleksandr Rastorguev reported. Rastorguev says his colleague was beaten by the police.

At least three journalists have been detained and 35 injured in Kiev clashes on Sunday and Monday, according to Reporters Without Borders, freedom of press advocacy organization.

Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

06:40 GMT:

Building No. 4 on Grushevskogo Street again caught fire from the burning tires just a few hours after fire brigades contained and stopped a blaze on the building. Firefighters are trying to extinguish the renewed blaze as thick smoke spews from the building’s windows.

Meanwhile radical protesters nearby stopped throwing Molotov cocktails at police and ceased drumming on burnt vehicles and empty barrels.

05:30 GMT:

The leader of the opposition Udar (Strike) party Vitaly Klitschko should be “more modest in his ultimatums,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Nikolay Azarov said in an interview to BBC channel.

“We know the level of support for opposition leaders. We have a democratically elected president and many people support him. We can see it by mass [pro-government] demonstrations in Kiev and other [Ukrainian] regions,” he explained.

He added that his government is ready for a dialogue with the opposition and that both the opposition and the government are obliged to stop the bloodshed.

Kiev on January 22, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Kiev on January 22, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

04:23 GMT:

Russia is outraged with the foreign interference into Ukraine’s internal affairs, said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for President Putin. Moscow, on the contrary, is keeping its distance from the developing crisis.

“We cannot comprehend why foreign ambassadors in Kiev dictate what the Ukrainian authorities should do, where they should pull out troops from, where they should pull out police from,” he told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

Peskov said that Moscow is closely observing the events in Ukraine and remains convinced that the Ukrainian government knows what it is doing.

“We don’t feel the justification to interfere with the internal affairs of our brother nation Ukraine. It is unacceptable. Russia didn’t do it and will not do it,” he stressed.

03:59 GMT:

Police attempted to dismantle some of the barricades set up by rioters on Grushevskogo Street, but had to retreat after a radical wing of the opposition began throwing rocks at authorities, according to Espreso.tv.

Pro-European protesters throw tyres into a fire during street violence in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)Pro-European protesters throw tyres into a fire during street violence in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

03:59 GMT:

Ukrainian ruling Party of Regions MP Eugene Balitskiy said the opposition has no control over what is happening on Independence Square. He noted that the opposition is refusing to take responsibility for those who reportedly died during the riots, Interfax reported.

Balitskiy also said he believes that “the opposition followed the footsteps of bloody scenarios of Syria and other Arab countries.”

00:50 GMT:

Fire brigades contained and stopped a blaze which started when fire spread from tires to the building No. 4 on Grushevskogo Street. Rioters are burning tires in central Kiev as part of their confrontation with police. The burning tires are difficult to doze out in the chaotic situation.

 

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#AceNewsDesk : ” World News – `Good Morning’ – 23 January 2014″

Ace News Group

IRAN  – US  – EU – UAE – HRW – SYRIA – AL QAEDA – TURKEY – ISRAEL – PALESTINE – KOREA – LIBYA – EGYPT – AFRICA

DAVOS – GENEVA – VERIZON – ROUHANI – ALBERTA – TAR-SANDS      

Iran negotiating normalization of relations with US, Europe – Rouhani

Iran is negotiating with the US and is seeking actions from Washington to back up its words, President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he also said relations with Europe will be normalized as an interim nuclear accord is implemented, Reuters reported. Rouhani announced that one of the priorities of his government is “constructive engagement with the world.”

UAE blocking rights news conference – HRW

Human Rights Watch has announced that the United Arab Emirates prevented it from holding a news conference Thursday to release a report criticizing rights violations in the country. “Blocking Human Rights Watch from holding a news conference in the UAE sadly underscores the increasing threat to freedom of expression in the country,” AFP quoted Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s chief for the Middle East and North Africa, as saying. The watchdog had booked a room a month ago at a Dubai hotel for the news conference, but staff said early in the morning that the reservation had been canceled. It said HRW had failed to obtain a special government permit to hold the conference.

Al-Qaeda leader calls on rebel factions in Syria to unite

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahri called on militant rebel factions in Syria to stop fighting each other, Reuters reported. They should set up a judicial committee to sort out their differences, he said in an audio recording released on Islamist websites. A small faction, the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been caught up in clashes with other Islamist insurgents in recent weeks. The fighting was often triggered by disputes over authority and territory.

At least 21 dead in Turkey bus crash

At least 21 people were killed on Thursday during a bus accident in central Turkey, AFP reported, citing a local governor. The bus tipped over after sliding on an icy road in a town in Kayseri province, Orhan Duzgun said on television. “The number of the dead has risen to 21,” Duzgun said. Some of the passengers died when they jumped out of the vehicle’s windows.

Abbas ready to meet with Israeli PM, address Knesset – reports

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is prepared to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at any time, the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University said. It also quoted Abbas as saying he does not rule out addressing the Knesset. The Palestinian goals include strengthening the vision of two states, where Israel would exist alongside a Palestinian state created on pre-1967 lines, he said. Abbas dismissed the possibility of signing any agreement that pertains only to the West Bank and stressed that any agreement reached with Israel would be brought to a referendum.

Kidnapped S. Korean trade official freed in Libya – govt

 A South Korean trade agency employee abducted on Monday by four unknown assailants in Libya has been freed by security forces, said the Libyan government. Han Seok-woo, head of the Libya unit of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), was kidnapped as he was returning home after his work at the trade office in Tripoli. “The trade attaché … is now in the South Korean Embassy in good health,” reports Libya’s Foreign Ministry, adding that “some of the kidnappers were arrested.”

Five killed in Egypt in militant raid on checkpoint

Five people were killed and two others injured in an armed attack on a security checkpoint in the southern Egyptian town of Beni Suef, state television reported on Thursday. The checkpoint was raided by two masked gunmen on motorcycles, the Interior Ministry said. It’s the latest episode in a spree of attacks on security troops and army, which started after the military coup in July 2013, which deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The violence took at least 250 lives of soldiers and police officers.

EU suggests backing away from clean fuel standard

 The European Union signaled in an energy and climate policy statement released Wednesday that it is backing away from a clean fuel standard aimed at reducing harmful emissions, InsideClimate News reported. The EU’s Fuel Quality Directive, established in 2009, was created in an effort to cut 6 percent of emissions from Europe’s transport sector by 2020. Yet in a wide-ranging statement Wednesday, the EU recommended not extending or strengthening the policy after 2020. Such a policy change is a win for high-carbon fuels like tar sands, environmental groups said. Canada, with its own large reserves of Alberta tar sands set for easier export to new markets thanks to pipelines like Keystone XL, has lobbied aggressively to weaken the directive since its adoption. The policy suggestion will face further review in March.

​Verizon releases ‘transparency report,’ received 320,000 data requests in US

Verizon released its promised “transparency report” on Wednesday, saying it received 320,000 data requests last year in the United States alone. The report said the US government sent the company 164,184 subpoenas, 62,857 court orders, 36,696 warrants, around 50,000 “emergency requests” from law enforcement, 1,496 wiretap orders, and between 1,000 and 2,000 “national security letters” – in which information is demanded independent of court authority. “We do not release customer information unless authorized by law, such as a valid law enforcement demand or an appropriate request in an emergency involving the danger of death or serious physical injury,” the company said. Verizon did not say how often it refuses to provide information after it is subpoenaed, or how many of its users were targeted. The company is the first major US telecom to divulge such inquiries, following the lead of Google, Apple, and Microsoft in issuing a report. AT&T also said last month that it would offer its own report.

​S. Africa platinum workers to strike for higher wages

Tens of thousands of members of South Africa’s largest platinum-sector union plan to strike Thursday at the country’s top three platinum producers. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is demanding a “living wage” of around US$12,500 – over double their current pay. AMCU organizers say that 70,000 of its members will strike indefinitely. The three targeted companies – Anglo American, Impala, and Lonmin Platinum – said they have received notice of the strike from AMCU. A separate strike in the gold sector was also planned for Thursday, but was postponed after a court ruling. The platinum strike would be the largest in the sector since the 2012 Marikana massacre, when 34 protesting miners were shot and killed by police for engaging in an illegal demonstration. The planned walkout by the platinum workers is legal.

 

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#NSA “Trying to Develop a Computer that Could Ultimately Break Most Encryption Programs”

National Security Agency Seal

National Security Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

#AceSecurityNews says according to (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency is trying to develop a computer that could ultimately break most encryption programs, whether they are used to protect other nations’ spying programs or consumers’ bank accounts, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The report, which the newspaper said was based on documents leaked by former #NSA contractor #Edward- Snowden, comes amid continuing controversy over the spy agency’s program to collect the phone records Internet communications of private citizens.

In its report on Thursday, The Washington Post said that the #NSA is trying to develop a so-called “quantum computer” that could be used to break encryption codes used to cloak sensitive information.

Such a computer, which would be able to perform several calculations at once instead of in a single stream, could take years to develop, the newspaper said. In addition to being able to break through the cloaks meant to protect private data, such a computer would have implications for such fields as medicine, the newspaper reported.

The research is part of a $79.7 million research program called “Penetrating Hard Targets,” the newspaper said. Other, non-governmental researchers are also trying to develop quantum computers, and it is not clear whether the #NSA program lags the private efforts or is ahead of them.

More soon ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

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