Friday, December 6, 2013

Global illegal drugs trafficking 06/12/13 08:23 from Uploads by AFP

» London's Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lights up
06/12/13 15:07 from Uploads by AFP
London's Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lights up The lights of London's Trafalgar Square Christmas tree were switched on Thursday, with a ceremony involving music and carols. Duration: 0:44. From: AFP news agency Views: 0 0 rat...

» Global illegal drugs trafficking
06/12/13 08:23 from Uploads by AFP
Global illegal drugs trafficking Uruguay's Senate is due to vote on a controversial bill allowing for the legalisation of marijuana. According to the United Nation's 2013 World Drug Report, cannabis was still the most commonly......

» Kerry Moves to Ease Tensions With Israel
06/12/13 20:53 from World News
Kerry tried to ease tensions with Netanyahu over the recent deal on Iran's nuclear program, asserting that the agreement is contributing to Israeli security.

» Israel shifts tactics over Iran talks
06/12/13 07:40 from - World
Israeli government is now looking to use its influence with Washington to shape the administration’s negotiating position on a final agreement

» Sinosphere Blog: Homosexuality ‘Against Spiritual Civilization,’ Hunan Government Says
06/12/13 04:54 from NYT > International
Hoping to set up an organization to promote understanding of gays, Xiang Yuhan was told by the local government homosexuality was “against spiritual civilization,” in a rare expression of usually silent opposition to homosexuality in China.

» Surfer's Mystery Cuts Found To Be Shark Bite
06/12/13 04:02 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
An Australian surfer says he felt something hit his hand - but was totally unaware of the gravity of the moment.

» British Marine Sentenced to Life for Murder in Afghanistan
06/12/13 18:27 from Voice of America
A British military court has given a life prison sentence to a marine convicted of killing a man in Afghanistan in 2011.Sergeant Alexander Blackman was found guilty at a court martial last month of murdering an Afghan man while deployed ...

» 6 Detained in Mexico Theft of Radioactive Material
06/12/13 18:08 from NYT > International
Six people being tested for possible radiation exposure in a hospital in central Mexico are suspects in the theft of highly radioactive cobalt-60, a government official said Friday.

» Mexico Hospital Admits 6 with Radiation Exposure
06/12/13 17:29 from Voice of America
A Mexican official and state-run media say a hospital in central Mexico has admitted six people with radiation exposure.   Friday's news comes hours after authorities said they had recovered all of a stolen shipment of highly radioactive...

» WorldViews: This alarming map shows dozens of nuclear materials thefts and losses every year
06/12/13 11:30 from World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post
This week's incident in Mexico, in which highly lethal cobalt-60 was stolen in a truck theft and not recovered for two days, may have been unusually disquieting, but it was not unusual. Nuclear material is stolen or lost two to four doze...

» U.N., U.S. call for investigations into Thai trafficking of Rohingya
06/12/13 18:06 from Reuters: International
BANGKOK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United Nations and the United States called Friday for investigations into the findings of a Reuters report that Thai immigration officials moved Myanmar refugees into human trafficking rings.

» US VP Biden issues warning to N. Korea on visit to South
06/12/13 14:41 from Uploads by AFP
US VP Biden issues warning to N. Korea on visit to South US Vice President Joe Biden says there should be no doubt about US commitment to its strategic shift to Asia as he wound up a regional tour dominated by security concerns. Duration...

» No Stranger to Asia, Biden Deploys Political Experience
06/12/13 10:56 from NYT > International
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. honed his political instincts over the decades, and they came in handy on a trip to Asia this week.

» Biden Says China Must Loosen Its Grip on Foreign Journalists
06/12/13 10:43 from World News
Vice President Joe Biden criticized China's treatment of foreign journalists and pushed its leaders to loosen control over society.

» Train Engineer 'Out Of Service' After Crash
06/12/13 14:39 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
The man experienced a momentary loss of awareness, his lawyer said, before the train went off the tracks.

Train Engineer 'Out Of Service' After Crash

The man experienced a momentary loss of awareness, his lawyer said, before the train went off the tracks.

Derailed train in the Bronx
The train went off the tracks near a river in the Bronx

The engineer driving the speeding commuter train that derailed in New York City last weekend, killing four people, has been suspended without pay, a railroad spokesman has said.
William Rockefeller is "out of service, and not being paid", the spokesman for Metro-North Railroad said.
According to his lawyer and union representative, Mr Rockefeller experienced a momentary loss of awareness as he zoomed down the tracks. They called the episode a "nod", a "daze" or highway hypnosis.
Their accounts raised questions about just how widespread the problem is in the transportation industry and what can be done to combat it.
At the time of the crash, the train was going 82mph (132kph) into a sharp turn where the speed limit drops to 30mph (48kph). That's when the engineer says he snapped out of it and hit the brakes, but it was too late.
The train hurtled off the tracks, leaving a chain of twisted cars just inches from a river in the Bronx. Four people died and more than 60 were injured.
While the term highway hypnosis has been around for decades, there's no technical definition of it and scant specific medical study of it, although multiple studies have found that long driving times on straight roads can cause people to lose focus.
Some experts equate highway hypnosis with a sort of autopilot state - performing a task, usually competently, without awareness of it. Sleep experts say the daze could really be a doze, especially if a driver has undiagnosed sleep problems.
Nearly every bus or train driver has experienced the feeling of being momentarily unaware while driving long hours, said Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which has yet to determine the cause of the crash, concluded talking with the engineer on Tuesday. Investigators continued interviewing the train's other crew members.
Investigators have said Mr Rockefeller had enough time off for a full night's rest before the crash, but they were looking at his activities in the previous days.

» Cyprus 'Island of love' lures foreigners to tie the knot
06/12/13 14:22 from Uploads by AFP
Cyprus 'Island of love' lures foreigners to tie the knot Cyprus, birthplace of Aphrodite, the mythical goddess of love, is a magnate for a wide range of couples from Isarel all the way to the UK and Russia to tie t... From: AFP n...

» Afghanistan won't bow to U.S. 'pressure' over security pact: official
06/12/13 13:57 from Reuters: International
KABUL (Reuters) - A senior aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the United States on Friday of trying to pressure elements of his government to accept a security deal that would shape the post-2014 U.S. military presence in the ...

» Russia Investigates Fake Pilot Licenses
06/12/13 13:33 from World News
Pilots working for small regional airlines in Russia may be flying with licenses fraudulently obtained from flight schools they never attended, according to investigators.

» Putin's former defense chief threatened with more severe charges
06/12/13 12:51 from Reuters: International
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A former Russian defense minister was charged with negligence on Friday and threatened with tougher charges in a case seen as a test of President Vladimir Putin's stated determination to fight corruption but also a sig...

» Kerry Discusses U.S. Proposals to Bridge Israeli-Palestinian Differences
06/12/13 11:22 from World News
Secretary of State Kerry is discussing with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a series of U.S. proposals to offset threats to Israeli security after pulling back from the West Bank under an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

» US Jobless Rate Lowest Since 2008
06/12/13 10:53 from Voice of America
The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to 7 percent, its lowest point in five years.The government said Friday that employers added another 203,000 workers to their payrolls in November - more than some economists predicted, and a si...

» Diplomats Accused of Medicaid Fraud
06/12/13 10:37 from World News
Federal prosecutors have accused current and former Russian diplomats and their spouses of participating in a scheme that garnered nearly $1.5 million in fraudulent Medicaid benefits.


U.S. Accuses Russian Diplomats of Medicaid Fraud

Move May Pressure Relations With Moscow

Dec. 5, 2013 12:24 p.m. ET

Some alleged beneficiaries of Medicaid in New York might come as a surprise: Russian diplomats and their families.
In a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday that is likely to further pressure already sour relations between Moscow and Washington, the Manhattan U.S. attorney accused 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their spouses of participating in an alleged scheme that garnered nearly $1.5 million dollars in fraudulent Medicaid benefits.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said 49 Russian diplomats got Medicaid to pay for childbirths while spending lavishly on luxury goods. Associated Press
Prosecutors alleged the diplomats routinely underreported their incomes in order to qualify for Medicaid, the joint federal-state health-insurance program for the poor and disabled. Between 2004 and 2013, 92% of the childbirths to Russian diplomats in New York, or 58 of 63 births, were paid for by Medicaid, according to the complaint.
"The investigation has revealed the systematic fraudulent submission of falsified applications for Medicaid benefits associated with the medical costs for pregnancy, birth, and young children by Russian diplomats and the spouses of the diplomats," a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent wrote in an affidavit contained in the complaint.
To qualify for Medicaid benefits for births, noncitizens have to show proof of their immigration status and income.
During the time they were allegedly receiving the benefits, the defendants frequently bought luxury goods and took expensive vacations, according to prosecutors.
The diplomats and their spouses allegedly made purchases at Tiffany TIF 0.00% & Co., Bloomingdale's and Jimmy Choo, according to the complaint. They also allegedly spent money on lavish vacations and a chartered helicopter.
Prosecutors alleged the pattern of spending was "generally inconsistent with the grossly underreported incomes" the defendants claimed on their Medicaid applications.
It is unclear whether the complaint would result in actual prosecutions or if it was largely symbolic. All of the diplomats are currently or previously employed at the Russian Mission to the United Nations, the Russian Federation Consulate General in New York, or the New York office of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation, according to prosecutors.
Requests for comment on Thursday to the Russian Consulate and U.N. Mission weren't immediately returned. A spokeswoman for the trade representation office declined to comment.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said his government was "bewildered" that the U.S. hadn't taken up the issue through diplomatic channels first, the Interfax news agency reported. "It's incomprehensible that the appropriate agencies chose to make these accusations public without discussing them through diplomatic channels," he said.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Thursday that none of the Russian nationals had been arrested because their status as diplomats confers immunity from prosecution in the U.S. Additionally, of the 49 charged, all but 11 are outside the U.S.
Mr. Bharara said that his office had been in close contact with the State Department about the probe. The U.S. and Russia don't have an extradition treaty.
According to Mr. Bharara, the State Department can ask a foreign country to waive diplomatic immunity for charges that would ordinarily result in prosecution. The State Department can then require the diplomats to leave the U.S. if the waiver isn't granted.
The State Department informed its Russian counterparts about the charges, a spokeswoman said. She declined to comment on whether or not it would ask Russia to waive immunity but added, "We don't think this should affect our bilateral relationship with Russia."
According to the complaint, the FBI has been investigating the diplomats for a year and a half. The complaint indicated that prosecutors had used a handful of cooperators involved in the alleged conspiracy to build their case.
Write to Christopher M. Matthews at

» Russian diplomats charged in alleged Medicaid fraud scheme
06/12/13 09:02 from - World
Dozens of current and former Russian diplomats and their spouses were charged with participating 
in a nine-year fraud scheme that allegedly bilked the U.S. government of more than $1.5 million in 
Medicaid benefits, according to a federal...