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Saturday 31 May 2014

Full Obama Statement on Prisoner Release

President Barack Obama broke the news Saturday that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's was released by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan. Here is the president's statement, as released by the White House:

Statement by the President on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl:
"Today the American people are pleased that we will be able to welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years.

Friday 30 May 2014

Obama's spokesman Jay Carney unexpectedly resigns

United States President Barack Obama announced Friday afternoon that he’s accepted the resignation of White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Josh Earnest, the White House special assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary, will assume Carney’s role, Obama said during a surprise appearance from the commander-in-chief during a scheduled briefing Friday afternoon.

Thursday 29 May 2014

Ρωσία, Λευκορωσία, Καζακστάν υπέγραψαν τη δημιουργία της Ευρασιατικής Οικονομικής Ένωσης

Ιστορική συνθήκη για τη δημιουργία της Ευρασιατικής Οικονομικής Ένωσης (EAU) υπέγραψαν σήμερα οι πρόεδροι της Ρωσίας, της Λευκορωσίας και του Καζακστάν στην Αστάνα. 
Ο Βλαντίμιρ Πούτιν, ο Λευκορώσος πρόεδρος Αλεξάντρ Λουκασένκο και ο πρόεδρος του Καζακστάν Νουρσουλτάν Ναζαρμπάγιεφ υπέγραψαν την ιδρυτική διακήρυξη κατά τη συνεδρίαση του Ανώτερου Οικονομικού Ευρασιατικού Συμβουλίου στην πρωτεύουσα του Καζακστάν.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Obama makes defiant defense of US restraint. Terrorism remains biggest threat to US

US President Barack Obama mounted a defiant defense of his global leadership Wednesday, rebuking critics who see him as weak but warning that not every global threat justifies a US military response.

In a major speech at the West Point military academy, Obama denied US power had ebbed under his watch, after he withdrew troops from Iraq and is doing the same in Afghanistan.

He also pledged to ramp up support for Syrian rebels, vowed to stand up to Russia over Ukraine and promised to make drone strikes against terror suspects more transparent.

Monday 26 May 2014

Eurosceptic parties cause 'earthquake' at EU polls

BRUSELS: France's far-right National Front and Britain's UKIP led a eurosceptic "earthquake" in EU parliamentary polls, sending shockwaves across Europe and beyond.

The EU Parliament's own projections on Monday morning showed the extent of the anti-EU breakthrough, with eurosceptic parties set to win around 140 seats in the 751-seat assembly.

The most emphatic results from the four days of polling across the 28-nation bloc, which ended on Sunday, came on both sides of the British Channel.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Japan, Russia could reach compromise over territorial row (Vladimir Putin)

Russia seeks to resolve the South Kurile Islands issue, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said.

Answering a Japanese journalist’s question on the South Kurile problem, Putin said, “Both Russia and Japan sincerely wish the problem be solved.”

At the same time, he said this problem should not encroach upon the interests of each other.

An acceptable compromise should be reached so that no party felt lost, Putin said.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Russia, China block Security Council referral of Syria to International Criminal Court

UN, 22 May 2014 – Despite repeated appeals by senior United Nations officials for accountability for crimes being committed in Syria, the Security Council was unable today to adopt a resolution that would have referred the situation in the war-torn nation to the International Criminal Court (ICC), due to vetoes by permanent members Russia and China.

The resolution, which was backed by the other 13 members of the Council, would have given the Court the mandate to investigate the horrific crimes committed during the course of the conflict in Syria, which since March 2011 has witnessed the deaths of over 100,000 civilians, the displacement of millions and widespread violations of human rights.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

US Deploys 80 Military Personnel to Help Find Nigerian Girls

The United States has deployed about 80 military personnel to Chad as part of its effort to help find and return more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, President Barack Obama said in a letter to Congress on Wednesday.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Some 1,0,000 people in Ukraine now affected by displacement (UN agency says)

 UN, 20 May 2014 – The United Nations refugee agency estimated today that 10,000 people, most ethnic Tatars, but also Ukrainians, Russians and mixed families, have fled Crimea and restive eastern Ukraine to other parts of the country, out of fear of insecurity or persecution.

“Displacement in Ukraine started before the March referendum in Crimea and has been rising gradually since. Registration numbers are being compiled on the basis of data we are receiving from local authorities,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said at a press briefing in Geneva.

Monday 19 May 2014

US indicts China officials over cyber spying. -China refuted the accusation, saying they were "made up".

Five Chinese individuals charged for allegedly hacking into US companies to gain trade secrets....

The United States has indicted five Chinese military officials with cyber espionage charges for allegedly hacking into US companies to gain trade secrets, the Justice Department has said, publicly accusing China of cyber spying for the first time.
The department said on Monday that the hackers targeted US companies in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries to steal information useful to competitors in China. The charges are the first-of-its-kind against state actors by the US.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Security fears mount over Ukraine vote

Electoral commission calls for more security, saying 2 million people in east may be unable to vote because of violence....

Ukraine's electoral body has voiced fears that it may be impossible to hold next weekend's presidential poll in the east, where a pro-Moscow insurgency is threatening to plunge the country into a civil war.
The Central Election Commission said on Saturday it could not prepare for the vote in the region because of threats and "illegal actions" by separatists who have overrun more than a dozen towns and cities since early April, the news agency, AFP, reported.
It called for the authorities in Kiev to take urgent action to ensure security, saying that violence could prevent almost two million people from voting on May 25, when some 36 million overall will be called to the polls.
The warning came as Ukraine's embattled government held a second round of "national unity" dialogue under a Western-backed plan to try to defuse the crisis, but failed to report any progress.
Russia said Kiev must first halt its month-long offensive against the rebels, questioning the legitimacy of an election held under "the thunder of guns".

Thursday 15 May 2014

Su-24 crews hold bombing exercise in Kaliningrad region

Bombing and providing air cover for a ground grouping of troops were practiced by pilots from the Baltic Fleet (BF) bombing aviation crews, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"As part of routine drills the crews of Sukhoi Su-24 frontline bombers of the Fleet's aviation group carried out precision bombing strikes and destroyed the manpower and military hardware of an adversary at an aviation site in the Kaliningrad region," the BF said in a press release obtained by Interfax-AVN on Thursday.

The crews carried out precision bombing against full-size targets simulating engineering structures, manpower and hardware of an adversary.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Lavrov Says Hysterical US Policy Makes Russia Consider Appropriate Response

Russia will be obliged to take retaliatory measures if the West continues its sanctions policy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

“If the West continues these absolutely non-professional hysterical policies, we would have to think what we can do in return,” Lavrov said during an English-language interview with Bloomberg.

The minister, however, emphasized that Russia was not looking for confrontations and would not like to parrot Western countries’ behavior.

“We are not looking for confrontation and we don’t want to mimic the hectic gestures made by Washington, Brussels, some other capitals, reluctantly most of them, by the way,” Lavrov stressed.

Monday 12 May 2014

Commissioner Malmström deplores loss of life in boat tragedy between Libya and Lampedusa

European Commission, Statement, Brussels, 12 May 2014/Anna Cecilia Malmström (European Commissioner for Home Affairs):
"I am deeply shocked by the new tragedy that took place in international waters between Libya and Lampedusa, resulting in at least a dozen deaths. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Let me thank the Italian authorities for their huge efforts in putting in place the Mare Nostrum operation, also supported by the European Commission, which has saved and continues to save tens of thousands of lives. 

Saturday 10 May 2014

Ukraine president warns of 'step into abyss'

As two of the most tense regions in eastern Ukraine prepare to vote on declaring sovereignty, the country's acting president has warned them against self-destruction.
Ukrainian acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, in comments posted on the presidential website on Saturday, said the pro-Russian supporters of independence for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions "don't understand that this would be a complete destruction of the economy, social programs and general life for the majority of the population".
"This is a step into the abyss for the regions," Turchynov said.

Friday 9 May 2014

ASEAN Summit in Burma Set to Discuss S. China Sea Disputes

NAYPYITAW, BURMA — Escalating tensions in the South China Sea are expected to be among the main points of discussion Saturday at the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Burma, which is hosting the summit for the first time, has tightened security in the capital of Naypyitaw as it prepares to welcome regional leaders beginning Saturday.

Presidential spokesman Ye Htut said Burma wants the summit to focus on reducing tensions through existing agreements.

"We have already had ASEAN's statement called 'Declaration on South China Sea.' We will try to discuss this issue peacefully and avoid using force," he said. "[Burma], as a member of the ASEAN, will continue to follow this rule."

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Syrian opposition asks for anti-aircraft arms from US. -- Washington has consistently resisted previous requests

The head of the Syrian National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces called for the U.S. to supply anti-aircraft weapons to rebels who have been dealt serious blows by Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s air force.

“We do have a problem with the air forces, the air raids and the barrel bombs,” said Ahmad Jarba, the president of the Syrian National Coalition while speaking at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington Wednesday. “This is making our life a nightmare, so we want weapons that will be able to neutralize the air force.”

Monday 5 May 2014

US-Vizefinanzminister Cohen plant diese Woche „Sanktions“-Tour durch Europa

US-Vizefinanzminister David Cohen, Unter-Staatssekretär für Terrorismus und Finanzaufklärung, reist in dieser Woche nach Deutschland, Frankreich und Großbritannien. Ziel der Besuche sei die Erörterung weiterer Sanktionen gegen Russland, teilte das US-Finanzministerium am Montag in Washington mit.

„Wir werden mehrere uns zur Verfügung stehende Instrumente detailliert planen. Es geht unter anderem um erweiterte Maßnahmen gegen Unternehmen in verschiedenen Branchen der russischen Wirtschaft, die ergriffen werden, sollte Russland sein gesetzwidriges und destabilisierendes Verhalten fortsetzen“, hieß es in der Mitteilung.

Saturday 3 May 2014

EU calls for independent probe of Odessa deaths

The European Union called on Saturday for an independent investigation into the deaths of at least 42 people in southern Ukraine after a riot ended with dozens of pro-Russian protesters killed in a burning building.
The street battle between supporters and opponents of Russia in the Black Sea port of Odessa that ended in the deadly blaze in a besieged trade union building was by far the worst incident in Ukraine since a February uprising that ended with a pro-Russian president fleeing the country.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Job rich recovery and undeclared work, the focus of the Employment Ministers Meeting in Athens

Ministers for Employment and Social Policy of the European Union had the opportunity to exchange views and best practices on Europe 2020 Strategy core issues, issues that concern each European citizen. The contribution of these issues to the goal of economic recovery with more jobs and quality jobs and stronger social cohesion is crucial.
On 30 April, at the morning plenary session, the President of the Council, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Welfare of Greece, Ioannis Vroutsis, highlighted that Europe has entered a path to recovery. However, the goal is to lay strong foundations for enhancing the recovery, with special attention to those mostly hit by the crisis.

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