Thursday, December 5, 2013

US Charges Dozens of Russian Diplomats with Fraud 05/12/13 14:14 from Voice of America

» US Charges Dozens of Russian Diplomats with Fraud
05/12/13 14:14 from Voice of America
U.S. prosecutors are charging 49 current and former Russian diplomats and family members with fraud in an illegal scheme to get health benefits intended for the poor.   Investigators say the diplomats from Russia's U.N. mission lied abou...

» U.S. Charges Dozens of Russian Diplomats and Spouses With Medicaid Fraud
05/12/13 14:01 from NYT > International
A criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan says the Russians, who are protected by diplomatic immunity, illegally obtained $1.5 million in benefits.

» U.S. charges 49 Russian diplomats with healthcare fraud
05/12/13 12:30 from Reuters: International
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors have charged 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their family members with participating in a scheme to get health benefits intended for the poor by lying about their income.

» Kerry, Seeking to Nudge Along Peace Talks, Offers Netanyahu Security Proposal
05/12/13 12:08 from NYT > International
The secretary of state discussed security arrangements that could be put in place in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

» Russia launches criminal inquiry into U.S. child trafficking
05/12/13 11:06 from Reuters: International
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian federal investigators have launched a criminal probe into suspected child trafficking in the United States following a Reuters investigation which found that adopted children, some born in Russia, were being tr...

» Kerry lobbies Netanyahu to give interim nuclear deal with Iran some breathing room
05/12/13 10:41 from World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post
JERUSALEM — The Obama administration set up a choice for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday: allow the United States and other world powers some breathing room to make a good final deal with Iran, or dig in his heels a...

» Kerry: Israeli Security 'Top of Our Agenda' in Iran Nuclear Talks
05/12/13 07:59 from Voice of America
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Israeli security tops the Obama administration's agenda in international efforts to limit Iran's nuclear program. Kerry said Thursday after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in...

"We are trying to build a new kind of relationship between major powers, one that is different, one that is defined by constructive cooperation, healthy competition, and a shared respect for an agreed upon new set of rules of the road in international norms for the 21st century." - Vice President Joseph Biden

"We are trying to build a new kind of relationship between major powers, one that is different, one that is defined by constructive cooperation, healthy competition, and a shared respect for an agreed upon new set of rules of the road in international norms for the 21st century." - Vice President Joseph Biden. 

The U.S. has rejected China's Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, set up last month, which includes territory claimed by U.S. ally Japan.

The issue was expected to dominate Biden's China talks, which continued Thursday during a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Biden later traveled to South Korea, which has also rejected China's ADIZ. Seoul is the last stop on Biden's week-long Asia tour. 

» Biden: China's Air Defense Zone Causing 'Apprehension'
05/12/13 07:43 from Voice of America
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says China's new air defense zone in the East China Sea has created "significant apprehension" in the region.Biden told a group of U.S. business leaders in Beijing Thursday he was "very direct" about the mat...

» Biden meets with journalists concerned about China’s recent crackdown on foreign media
05/12/13 05:32 from World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post
BEIJING — Vice President Biden met privately Thursday with a group of U.S. journalists who are being threatened with expulsion from China in a recent government crackdown on foreign media organizations, officials said. Read full article ...

» Biden Faults China on Foreign Press Crackdown
05/12/13 05:28 from NYT > International
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised the issue as Beijing withholds accreditation for journalists from The New York Times and Bloomberg.

» Biden Says U.S. Doesn't Recognize Expanded China Zone
04/12/13 17:02 from World News
Vice President Joe Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Washington didn't recognize a new Chinese air-defense zone over the East China Sea and was looking to Beijing to reduce tensions in the region.

» Rice: US Faces Tough Choices in Upholding Human Rights Principles, National Security
04/12/13 21:25 from Voice of America
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice says the United States remains firmly committed to defending human rights, although it sometimes faces "painful dilemmas" and "tough choices" in situations across the globe. Addressing a conferen...

» Chinese Mother, Fined $54,200 for Flouting One-child Policy, Sues Police
05/12/13 05:16 from Voice of America
Chinese warehouse worker Liu Fei was fined 330,000 yuan ($54,200), or 14 times her yearly wage, for having a second child. Her failure to pay means the boy has no access to basic rights like schooling or healthcare.   Liu's desperation p...

» Thailand Selling Rohingya to Human Traffickers: Report
05/12/13 06:48 from Voice of America
A news agency investigation says Thai officials have been secretly allowing Rohingya Muslim refugees to be dumped off to human traffickers, who hold them for ransom under brutal conditions.The report by the Reuters news agency said Thai ...

» Special Report: Thailand secretly supplies Myanmar refugees to trafficking rings
04/12/13 22:08 from Reuters: International
RANONG, Thailand (Reuters) - One afternoon in October, in the watery no-man's land between Thailand and Myanmar, Muhammad Ismail vanished.

» Oldest DNA Leads To Evolution Questions
05/12/13 05:02 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
A 400,000-year-old thigh bone found in Spain surprises scientists with its genetic links, which they cannot yet explain.

» Israel Denies Involvement in Killing of Hezbollah Commander
05/12/13 02:45 from Voice of America
Israel has denied claims by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah that the Jewish state was behind the killing of one of the group's top commanders, which came at a time of rising tensions in Lebanon related to Syria's civil war.    Hezb...

» Report Details Rape, Murder at NKorean Gulags
05/12/13 02:19 from Voice of America
New satellite photos and witness testimony released by a top human rights group are revealing the extent of North Korea's vast and notorious system of prison camps.Amnesty International's report Thursday detailed rape, murder and forced ...

» Amnesty International: Torture, Execution Rampant In Vast North Korea Prisons
04/12/13 23:37 from Voice of America
Human rights group Amnesty International says torture and executions are widespread in political prisons in North Korea that can be the size of large cities. Amnesty used new satellite photos and testimony from former guards and inmates ...

» Protests Close a Route for Afghan Pullout
05/12/13 00:59 from World News
Anti-drone protests in Pakistan have forced the U.S. military to stop using a primary land route in and out of Afghanistan, complicating the withdrawal of American military equipment.

» Gang Members Said to Consider Blackmailing Toronto’s Mayor
04/12/13 22:44 from NYT > International
Interviews and wiretaps, the Toronto police wrote, suggested that Mayor Rob Ford regularly used drugs, possibly including heroin, and that dealers discussed blackmailing him.

» Pentagon Warns of Confidence Problem in Afghanistan 
04/12/13 22:29 from Voice of America
Top U.S. Defense Department officials say the Afghan government's hesitance to approve a bilateral security agreement undermines the resolve of allies and erodes the confidence of Afghan security forces. Most international troops are set...

» ‘Time Is of the Essence,’ NATO Head Says, Urging Afghanistan Deal
04/12/13 16:49 from NYT > International
International officials want the United States and Afghanistan to agree on a security deal, but there seemed little movement to end the deadlock.

» U.S. looks for work-around to Afghan security impasse
04/12/13 16:45 from World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post
BRUSSELS — The Obama administration is looking for ways to work around Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s new demands concerning a key security agreement with the United States, a senior U.S. official close to the negotiations said Wednesda...

» Karzai's recalcitrance nudges US 'zero option' for troops closer to reality - Washington Post
01/12/13 06:45 from Karzai - Google News
Washington Post Karzai's recalcitrance nudges US 'zero option' for troops closer to reality Washington Post The uncertainty over the long-term security deal — which President Hamid Karzai has threatened not to sign by the end...

» Kerry Vows to Help Moldova Hew to the West
04/12/13 22:22 from NYT > International
Secretary of State John Kerry’s pledge was a measure of encouragement for a government that is trying to maintain public support for its outreach to the West. 


» Russian Railways Puts Workers on Short Time
04/12/13 21:55 from World News
Russia's biggest employer, with a 1 million-strong workforce, says the move will affect around a third of its staff; analysts see this as yet another sign that Russia's economy is stagnating.

After enjoying a decade of oil-fueled growth, Russia is now facing a so-called cyclical slowdown amid low investment and withering domestic demand as growth in both consumer lending and households income decelerates.
The Ministry of Economic Development cut its 2013 economic growth forecast this week to 1.4%, the slowest pace since Vladimir Putin became president in May 2000.
The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index study showed earlier Wednesday that Russia's services sector employment declined for the fourth time in five months in November, while manufacturing sector jobless rate rose for the 12th time in the past 13 months.
The economy ministry believes unemployment in 2014 may exceed its forecast of 5.9%, picking up from levels of around 5% earlier this year. VTB Capital sees the jobless rate reaching 6.3% by the end of the year, provided that there is no further slowing of economic growth.
Economists note that the rate would be even higher, but the Russian workforce is declining as the population ages, which holds down the unemployment rate.
Railways head Vladimir Yakunin announced the cuts in a meeting with some of the vast company's nearly 1 million employees, which was also broadcast on the company's in-house television network.
Mr. Yakunin said that the railway operator had to trim to economic headwinds by either cutting jobs or by introducing a shorter working week.
He said the company agreed with the labor union to opt for short-time working and 27% of employees, who aren't directly involved in transportation or security services, are now working less than a full week.
Adding to the pressure is the government's plan to freeze rail freight rates for one year in 2014. The move is part of a broader plan affecting state monopolies from transport to energy, aimed at controlling inflation and forcing the huge companies to be more efficient.
Mr. Yakunin said earlier this year that job cuts at Russian Railways could reach 60,000 people if the government holds rates.
The economy ministry said Russian companies on average saw a double-digit drop in profitability in the first nine months of 2013 because of weaker economic growth. This has prompted many firms to optimize expenditure by cutting costs where possible.

» Rights Adviser: Putin Could Free Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot in Amnesty
04/12/13 14:39 from Voice of America
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could free a former oil tycoon and members of the Pussy Riot band, all portrayed as political prisoners by domestic and foreign critics, under an amnesty expected by the end of the year, according to a Kreml...

» Student Pleads Not Guilty To Teacher's Murder
04/12/13 19:53 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
A surveillance video shows Philip Chism, 14, following Colleen Ritzer to the bathroom on the day she was killed.

» Accused LA Airport Gunman Denied Bail
04/12/13 16:59 from Voice of America
A federal judge has denied bail to the man charged with killing a U.S. Transportation Security Administration officer in a shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport last month.Suspect Paul Ciancia was not asked to enter a plea ...

» 'It brings me little joy' to kill, suspect in British soldier slaying says
04/12/13 15:57 from - World
One of the men accused of the brutal daylight killing of British soldier Lee Rigby told police he took little joy in slaying.

» Cyber war tech exports to be regulated like arms
04/12/13 17:31 from - World
Diplomats close to completing revised Wassenaar Arrangement so that it includes controls on surveillance and hacking software and on cryptography

» Pope’s Views on Free Market Seen as Sharp Rebuke in US
04/12/13 16:53 from Voice of America
Pope Francis' criticism of what he calls “unfettered capitalism” has struck a nerve in the United States, long seen as a global proponent of the free market. In a 224-page apostolic exhortation, titled Evangelii Gaudium, or Joy of the Go...

» Inequality undermining society – Obama
04/12/13 15:33 from - World
Barack Obama said the focus of his second term would be income inequality which he said had become the ‘defining issue of our time’

» “Terrorist threat against the United States remains very real”, said FBI ... - GroundReport
01/12/13 09:03 from james b. comey - Google News
“Terrorist threat against the United States remains very real”, said FBI ... GroundReport On November 14, 2013 the new FBI Director James B . Comey addressed the Senate Committee on Homeland Security where he briefly went over some of th...
» 'Threat to homeland is real': FBI concerned over American fighters in Syria - RT (blog)
01/12/13 08:59 from fbi - Google News 'Threat to homeland is real': FBI concerned over American fighters in Syria RT (blog) The current FBI Director, James Comey, said in November that he was worried about Syria becoming a repeat of Afghanistan in the...