25/04/2014

12 gold bars found in man’s stomach

Posted by MereNews On April - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

An India man’s apparent attempt to evade taxes by swallowing gold did not have a glittering end. Amir Daftari reports.

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Ukraine calls for renewal of anti-terror measures

Posted by MereNews On April - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — Ukraine’s acting President called on law enforcement agencies to renew anti-terror measures across the country, citing the discovery of two tortured bodies near the city of Slaviansk.

One of the victims was Vladimir Rybak, Oleksandr Turchynov said. Rybak, who recently went missing, was a member of the local parliament and belonged to the President’s political party.

“The terrorists who basically have taken the entire Donetsk region hostage have crossed the line with torturing and killing Ukrainian patriots,” Turchynov said.

Such crimes are committed with the support of Russian forces, he charged.

Ukrainian dancers smile, but worry

Media in Ukraine is ‘under siege’

U.S. lawmakers weigh in on Ukraine crisis

But a statement from a pro-Russian leader in Slaviansk rejects the President’s claim, and highlights that there is a war of perceptions, too.

Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the de facto mayor of Slaviansk, placed blame for the deaths on far-right Ukrainian nationalist extremists.

A pro-government party official told CNN that Rybak’s family identified his body at the morgue Tuesday. But the competing claims persist.

Biden to Russia: ‘Stop supporting men hiding behind masks

As the crisis in Ukraine shows no signs of easing, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden promised support for Ukraine and stressed that the United States won’t recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“Ukraine is and must remain one country,” he said in Kiev on Tuesday at a news conference with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

“No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation,” Biden said. “We will never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea.”

Biden called on Russia to “stop supporting men hiding behind masks and unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine.” He warned of additional sanctions if such “provocative behavior” does not end.

Ukrainian and U.S. officials say they think Russian special forces are in the region and are behind efforts to seize government buildings and generally promote unrest — a claim Moscow denies.

As well as voicing solidarity with Kiev, Biden promised financial support, assistance in reducing Ukraine’s dependence on Russian energy sources and nonlethal aid for security forces.

“You will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you,” Biden told Yatsenyuk.

As he spoke, the White House announced a $50 million package of assistance to help Ukraine pursue political and economic reform and strengthen its partnership with the United States.

Biden said he also expects an International Monetary Fund package for Ukraine to be finalized imminently.

The backing is likely to sit well with Ukrainian leaders struggling to keep their country afloat amid dire financial problems, the ongoing showdown with Russia over its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in Ukraine’s pro-Russian east.

Tensions remain high as pro-Russian militants show no sign of preparing to leave occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine despite an international deal agreed to in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.

“As a result of what’s going on in Ukraine,” the United States is deploying Army paratroopers nearby, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday. Four companies of paratroopers based in Italy will be sent to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia over the next few months for military exercises, he said.

Medvedev: Russia can export more to China

But one top Russian official said his country shouldn’t be ruffled by talk of increased Western sanctions.

Addressing Russia’s lower house Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia can shift its economy east, becoming less reliant on the international banking system and selling more oil and gas to China, state media reported.

Medvedev acknowledged that the sanctions, coupled with instability in the global economy and domestic economic issues, are having an impact.

Cossacks carry a coffin into a church in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 22, during a funeral for men killed in a gunfight at a checkpoint two days before. Ukraine has seen a sharp rise in tensions since a new pro-European government took charge of the country in February. Moscow branded the new government illegitimate and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last month, citing threats to Crimea’s Russian-speaking majority. And in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have seized government and police buildings in numerous towns and cities.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, on April 22.

An armed pro-Russian man stands on a street in Sloviansk on Monday, April 21.

Demonstrators attend a pro-Russian rally outside the secret service building in Lugansk, Ukraine, on April 21.

Cars are burned out after an attack at a roadblock in Slaviansk on Sunday, April 20.

A resident inspects burnt-out cars at the roadblock on April 20.

A pro-Russian militant is seen at the roadblock near Slaviansk on April 20.

Armed pro-Russian militants stand guard at the roadblock near Slaviansk on April 20.

A masked man stands guard outside a regional administration building seized by pro-Russian separatists in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 18.

People walk around barricades April 18 set up at the regional administration building seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17. Putin denied that Russian forces are involved in the unrest in eastern Ukraine, though he did admit for the first time that Russians were active in Crimea before the peninsula voted to join the country.

Ukrainian riot police officers stand guard during a pro-Ukrainian demonstration in Donetsk on April 17.

Masked pro-Russian protesters stand guard in front of the city hall in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 17.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reaches out to shake hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the start of a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine. The meeting took place April 17 in Geneva, Switzerland.

A masked gunman stands guard near tanks in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 16.

A Ukrainian helicopter flies over a column of Ukrainian Army combat vehicles on the way to Kramatorsk, a city in eastern Ukraine, on April 16.

A masked pro-Russian gunman guards combat vehicles parked in downtown Slaviansk on April 16.

A man talks with Ukrainian soldiers as they are blocked by people on their way to Kramatorsk.

Ukrainian soldiers sit atop combat vehicles on their way to Kramatorsk.

Ukrainian Gen. Vasily Krutov is surrounded by protesters after addressing the crowd outside an airfield in Kramatorsk on Tuesday, April 15.

Pro-Russian activists guard a barricade April 15 outside the regional police building that they seized in Slaviansk.

Ukrainian troops receive munitions at a field on the outskirts of Izium, Ukraine, on April 15.

Armed pro-Russian activists stand guard on top of a Ukrainian regional administration building in Slaviansk on Monday, April 14.

A pro-Russian activist carries a shield during the mass storming of a police station in Horlivka, Ukraine, on April 14.

Russian supporters attend a rally in front of the security service building occupied by pro-Russian activists in Luhansk, Ukraine, on April 14.

A man places a Russian flag over a police station after storming the building in Horlivka on April 14.

Men besiege the police station in Horlivka.

The Horlivka police station burns on April 14.

A Ukrainian police officer receives medical care after being attacked at the police station in Horlivka on April 14.

Pro-Russian supporters beat a pro-Ukrainian activist during a rally in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 13.

Pro-Russian activists escort a man outside the secret service building in Luhansk on April 13.

Pro-Russian protesters guard a barricade in Slaviansk on April 13 outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists the day before.

Armed pro-Russian activists carrying riot shields occupy a police station in Slaviansk on April 12.

A group of pro-Russian activists warm themselves by a fire Friday, April 11, in front of a Ukrainian Security Service office in Luhansk.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks April 11 during his meeting with regional leaders in Donetsk, Ukraine. Yatsenyuk flew into Donetsk, where pro-Russian separatists occupied the regional administration building and called for a referendum.

Pro-Russian young men look over the fence of a military recruitment office in Donetsk on Thursday, April 10.

Armed pro-Russian protesters occupy the Security Service building in Luhansk on April 10.

Members of the self-proclaimed government the “Donetsk Republic” vote April 10 during a meeting at the seized regional administration building in Donetsk.

Ukrainian lawmakers from different parties scuffle during a Parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 8.

Workers clean up on April 8 after pro-Russian separatists and police clashed overnight in Kharkiv.

Pro-Russian protesters burn tires near a regional administration building in Kharkiv after police cleared the building on Monday, April 7.

A masked man stands on top of a barricade at the regional administration building in Donetsk on April 7.

Protesters wave a Russian flag as they storm the regional administration building in Donetsk on Sunday, April 6. Protesters seized state buildings in several east Ukrainian cities, prompting accusations from Kiev that Moscow is trying to “dismember” the country.

Pro-Russian protesters clash with police as they try to occupy a regional administration building in Donetsk on April 6.

Pro-Russian activists hold a rally in front of a Ukrainian Security Service office in Luhansk on April 6.

A young demonstrator with his mouth covered by a Russian flag attends a pro-Russia rally outside the regional government administration building in Donetsk on Saturday, April 5.

A Ukrainian soldier guards a road not far from Prokhody, a village near the Russian border, on April 5. Ukrainian and Western officials have voiced alarm about Russia’s reported military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border.

Ukrainian cadets at the Higher Naval School embrace a friend who has decided to stay in the school during a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Friday, April 4. Some 120 cadets who refused to take Russian citizenship left the school to return to Ukraine.

Soviet military veterans take part in a flower-laying ceremony at the Soviet-era World War II memorial in Sevastopol on Thursday, April 3.

Ukrainian soldiers conduct a training session on the Desna military shooting range northeast of Kiev on Wednesday, April 2.

Russian soldiers prepare for diving training in front of a Tarantul-III class missile boat Tuesday, April 1, in Sevastopol.

People pass by barricades near the Dnipro Hotel in Kiev on April 1.

People walk past a train loaded with Russian tanks Monday, March 31, in the Gvardeyskoe railway station near Simferopol, Crimea.

A Russian solder sits in a tank at the Ostryakovo railway station, not far from Simferopol on March 31.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks about the economic development of Crimea during a meeting March 31 in Simferopol.

Members of the Ukrainian National Guard take part in military exercises on a shooting range near Kiev on March 31.

A woman cries Sunday, March 30, during a gathering to honor those who were killed during protests in Kiev’s Independence Square.

A woman and child walk past a line of police officers during a rally in Kharkiv on March 30.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in a training exercise at a military base in Donetsk on Saturday, March 29.

Demonstrators protest Friday, March 28, in Kiev, displaying police vehicles they seized during earlier clashes with authorities.

Members of the Right Sector group block the Ukrainian parliament building in Kiev on Thursday, March 27. Activists called for Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to step down after the recent killing of radical nationalist leader Oleksandr Muzychko, who died during a police operation to detain him. Muzychko and the Right Sector are credited with playing a lead role in the protests that toppled Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalne, Crimea, on Wednesday, March 26. After Russian troops seized most of Ukraine’s bases in Crimea, interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the withdrawal of armed forces from the Black Sea peninsula, citing Russian threats to the lives of military staff and their families.

Ukrainian marines wave as they leave a base in Feodosia, Crimea, on Tuesday, March 25.

Russian sailors stand on the deck of the corvette ship Suzdalets in the bay of Sevastopol on March 25.

Pro-Russian militia members remove a resident as Russian troops assault the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, on Saturday, March 22. After its annexation of Crimea, Russian forces have consolidated their control of the region.

Soldiers in unmarked uniforms sit atop an armored personnel carrier at the gate of the Belbek air base on March 22.

A Russian sailor holds the Russian Navy’s St. Andrew’s flag while standing on the bow of the surrendered Ukrainian submarine Zaporozhye on March 22 in Sevastopol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs the final decree completing the annexation of Crimea on Friday, March 21, as Upper House Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, left, and State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin watch.

A Ukrainian serviceman leaves a Ukrainian military unit that Russian soldiers took control of in Perevalne on March 21.

Ukrainian border guards run during training at a military camp in Alekseyevka, Ukraine, on March 21.

Russian soldiers patrol the area surrounding a Ukrainian military unit in Perevalne on Thursday, March 20.

Pro-Russian protesters remove the gate to the Ukrainian navy headquarters as Russian troops stand guard in Sevastopol on Wednesday, March 19.

Pro-Russian forces walk inside the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol on March 19.

A member of pro-Russian forces takes down a Ukrainian flag at the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol on March 19.

Alexander Vitko, chief of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, leaves the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol after pro-Russian forces took it over on March 19.

A Russian flag waves as workers install a new sign on a parliament building in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital, on March 19.

Russian military personnel surround a Ukrainian military base in Perevalne on March 19.

Nameplates on the front of the Crimean parliament building get removed Tuesday, March 18, in Simferopol.

From left, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov; Vladimir Konstantinov, speaker of the Crimean parliament; Russian President Vladimir Putin; and Alexei Chaly, the new de facto mayor of Sevastopol, join hands in Moscow on March 18 after signing a treaty to make Crimea part of Russia.

Demonstrators hold a Crimean flag at Lenin Square in Simferopol on March 18.

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near Strilkove, Ukraine, close to Crimea on Monday, March 17.

Former boxer and Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko addresses reporters in Kiev on March 17.

Ukrainian troops stand guard in front of the Ukrainian Parliament building in Kiev on March 17.

A Ukrainian man applies for the National Guard at a mobile recruitment center in Kiev on March 17.

Civilians walk past riot police in Simferopol on March 17.

A Ukrainian soldier stands on top of an armored vehicle at a military camp near the village of Michurino, Ukraine, on March 17.

Policemen stand guard outside the regional state administration building in Donetsk during a rally by pro-Russia activists March 17.

Armed soldiers stand guard outside a Ukrainian military base in Perevalne on March 17.

A man holds a Crimean flag as he stands in front of the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on March 17.

Crimeans holding Russian flags celebrate in front of the parliament building in Simferopol on Sunday, March 16.

A Ukrainian police officer tries to shield himself from a road block thrown by pro-Russia supporters in Kharkiv on March 16.

Pro-Russia demonstrators storm the prosecutor general’s office during a rally in Donetsk on March 16.

A woman leaves a voting booth in Sevastopol on March 16. See the crisis in Ukraine before Crimea voted

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Photos: Crisis in Ukraine

Fatal shooting raises tension in Ukraine

Ukrainians pray for peace

Vice President Biden in Kiev

“Our decision has provoked a rough reaction. Crimea became a reason for a political pressure, which is carried out on the account of so-called sanctions,” Medvedev said, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

He said the circumstances should be a foundation for economic reforms.

“We have all of the needed tools to allow us stable development even in these rough conditions,” Medvedev said.

Turchynov: Ukrainians want unity

Turchynov, meanwhile, had strong words for Moscow, saying that “Ukrainians are ready to protect their country from military aggression of the Russian Federation.”

A majority of Ukrainian citizens “are for a united, democratic Ukraine with greater powers given to the regions,” he said, referring to constitutional reforms promised in a bid to calm fears in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and Western powers have urged Moscow to use its influence to persuade protesters in the east to lay down their arms, leave the buildings they’re occupying and accept amnesty in line with last week’s deal.

But Turchynov said Tuesday that “unfortunately, the Russian Federation and its terrorist special forces present in Ukraine are demonstratively not going to implement the Geneva agreement.”

He cited the seizure of a police station Monday in the eastern city of Kramatorsk by militants who also took the police chief hostage, “thereby negating the agreements reached in Geneva.”

Moscow has said that it holds no sway over pro-Russian protesters and militants. But Kiev and the United States dispute this.

Meanwhile, a statement from the prosecutor general’s office in Kiev criticized law enforcement agencies in a number of cities in eastern Ukraine for not resisting pro-Russian protesters as they seized administrative buildings — even in cases where they outnumbered the militants.

The statement says self-defense groups in these places were established in reaction to the failings of the security forces. “These defense groups have the right to bear arms and promise to guarantee public order in their respective regions,” it said.

Phone calls from Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called his Russian counterpart on Tuesday to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine, the State Department said.

Kerry “expressed deep concern” to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and said sanctions against Russia would increase in “the absence of measurable progress” in implementing the Geneva deal, according to the State Department.

Asking Russia to call for those occupying buildings to disarm and stand down, Kerry said there was “mounting evidence that separatists continue to increase the number of buildings under occupation and take journalists and other civilians captive.”

Turchynov’s government has talked tough but done little to curb pro-Russian activities in the east, possibly afraid that a crackdown could send Russian forces across the border. At the same time, the occupation of buildings continues in about a dozen towns and cities across eastern Ukraine.

In three towns, pro-Russian protesters and militants have made it clear to CNN they have no intention of moving until the “illegal” government in Kiev also moves out of official buildings.

Moscow also says the government in Kiev, installed after ousted President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia in February, is illegitimate and backed by far-right extremists.

Yanukovych’s ouster followed months of street protests prompted by his decision last November to drop a planned EU trade agreement in favor of closer ties with Moscow.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s autonomous Crimea region last month, following a controversial referendum in which most voters were in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

READ: Amanpour Blog: Russia can’t be ‘firefighter and arsonist’ in Ukraine

READ: Opinion: Why Geneva accord on Ukraine is tactical victory for Russia

READ: Opinion: Can ‘odd couple’ Kerry and Lavrov take the edge off Ukraine crisis talks?

CNN’s Gul Tuysuz reported from Kiev and Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London. CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Elise Labott, Joseph Netto, Arwa Damon, Joe Sterling, Michael Pearson, Ed Payne, Anna Maja Rappard, Catherine E. Shoichet and Becky Brittain, and journalist Victoria Butenko contributed to this report.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/hRShsYQMOPM/index.html

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea has stepped up activity at its main nuclear test site, possibly preparing to carry out a fourth underground blast, South Korea said Tuesday.

The report comes just days before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to arrive in South Korea as part of a visit to several Asian countries.

“We confirm that we have spotted several activities related to the nuclear test in Punggye-ri in North Korea,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement. It declined to specify what the activities were, saying the information was classified.

The ministry said it had increased its military preparedness since Monday morning and was monitoring around the clock for signs of activity at the Punggye-ri site in a northeastern region of North Korea.

North Korea nuclear test ‘quite likely’

N. Korea may be readying for nuke test

North Korea said last month that it wouldn’t rule “a new form of a nuclear test” to strengthen its nuclear deterrent. Experts have speculated that that could refer to the testing of a uranium bomb.

3 previous tests

The reclusive regime in Pyongyang is known to have conducted three previous tests, all of them believed to be based on plutonium. The most recent one took place February 2013.

The past tests prompted international condemnation and the imposition of sanctions aimed at hampering the North’s weapons program.

Since the last underground detonation, South Korean officials have repeatedly said that they believe North Korea is ready to carry out another test at any time, pending a political decision to go ahead with it.

“A lot of activity is currently being seen, so our forces are keeping in mind the possibility that North Korea may suddenly conduct a nuclear test in a short period of time, or as in previous cases, deceive us with what appears to be a nuclear test,” Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said Tuesday, according to the local news agency Yonhap.

Obama visit ‘dangerous’

The reports of activity come ahead of Obama’s South Korean visit, which begins Friday.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry on Monday described Obama’s trip as “a reactionary and dangerous one as it is aimed to escalate confrontation and bring dark clouds of a nuclear arms race to hang over this unstable region.”

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un’s regime carried out a series of missile and rocket launches in March, prompting condemnation from the U.N. Security Council.

An artillery exercise on March 31 near the border with South Korea resulted in a brief exchange of fire between the two sides after North Korean ordnance landed in South Korean waters.

North Korea’s series of provocative acts were seen as a response to joint U.S.-South Korean military drills in the region. The exercises take place each spring and regularly draw angry reactions from Pyongyang.

Are suspected North Korean drones a threat to South Korea?

CNN’s Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong, and journalist Stella Kim reported from Seoul.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/NsgayR70e2s/index.html

(CNN) — The United States offered extensive assistance beyond drone strikes during a massive anti-terror operation in Yemen, including flying Yemeni commandos to a site where they killed scores of suspected al Qaeda members, a U.S. official said.

U.S. Special Operations troops wore night-vision gear and flew Yemeni forces to a remote, mountainous spot insouthern Yemen, according to a senior U.S. official. The Yemeni helicopters that the U.S. personnel flew were Russian-made, which helped to minimize the U.S. footprint during the operation.

Once there, Yemeni commandos engaged suspected members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the U.S. official said, who added that no Americans took part in actual combat on the ground. This same official identified the American personnel involved as special operations members, who are among the most elite and clandestine in the U.S. military.

The official said the United States aided Yemen’s government in other ways as well during the multiday operation, which resulted in the deaths of at least 65 suspected terrorists.

Report: Al Qaeda bomb maker may be dead

Official: At least 65 militants killed

CIA drones are suspected to have targeted al Qaeda fighters, weapons locations and a training camp. The latter is near where about 100 suspected members of the terrorist group met recently, according to video that’s appeared on jihadist websites and produced worries that the group could be plotting new attacks.

In the middle of that video, the man known as al Qaeda’s crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi is the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which is considered the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate.

In a speech to the group, al-Wuhayshi makes it clear that he’s going after the United States, saying: “We must eliminate the cross. … The bearer of the cross is America!”

On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby declined to detail the U.S. government’s involvement in this and other aspects of the latest anti-terror operation, though he did highlight its partnership with Yemen.

“We continue to work with the Yemeni government and the Yemeni armed forces to help them improve their counterterrorism capabilities inside the country,” said Kirby. “That work continues, and it will continue.”

DNA tests are being conducted to determine if one of the most well-known members of that group — bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri — is among the dead, according to Yemeni officials.

A high-level Yemeni government official told CNN that al-Asiri is among those suspected to have been killed in a firefight Sunday between militants and Yemeni forces. DNA test results are not due for several days, the official said.

These comments are the first public acknowledgment that al-Asiri could be among the dead.

Even as that possibility is being examined, U.S. officials said they have no confirmation that al-Asiri is among those killed in an operation that didn’t directly target him.

Yemen strikes may target top al Qaeda leaders

Opinion: Obama’s high-stakes drone war in Yemen

CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed to this report.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/TE9PpWXx27o/index.html

Video ‘shows Syrian chemical attack’

Posted by MereNews On April - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

White House officials say they believe chemical weapons were used again by the Syrian regime. CNN’s Elise Labott reports.

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MH370 relatives in agonizing limbo

Posted by MereNews On April - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Beijing, China (CNN) — “Mr. Ambassador, as time goes on we know that the odds of my son and the other relatives on the plane having survived becomes smaller and smaller,” said a grey-haired man named Wen.

As he addressed the Malaysian diplomat seated at a table just a few feet away in the packed Beijing hotel conference room, Wen began sobbing uncontrollably into a microphone. It had been more than 45 days since his son disappeared aboard missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

“To know that somebody is alive, you need to see them. To know that somebody is dead, you need to see the body. That’s all I ask of you,” Wen concluded, weeping. Members of the audience sobbed quietly in their seats.

Visibly uncomfortable, the representative from Malaysia’s embassy in Beijing, could do little more than repeat his government’s talking points. “There’s a team coming to answer your questions. Let them come. Let them come,” he pleaded.

Wife of MH370 crew member: ‘It hurts’

Partner: ‘We need to go back to beginning’

Partner: ‘We need to go back to beginning’

An autonomous underwater vehicle is brought back aboard the Australian ship Ocean Shield after a search mission for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean on Saturday, April 19. Searchers are combing thousands of square miles of the ocean for signs of Flight 370, which disappeared March 8.

A Royal Malaysian Air Force plane takes off from an airbase near Perth, Australia, to help in the search on Thursday, April 17.

Operators aboard the Australian ship Ocean Shield move Bluefin-21, the U.S. Navy’s autonomous underwater vehicle, into position to search for the jet on Monday, April 14.

A member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force looks out of a window while searching for debris off the coast of western Australia on Sunday, April 13.

British Royal Navy sailors aboard the vessel HMS Echo take part in the search for the jet on April 13.

Crew members aboard the Echo watch a smaller boat that’s part of the British search effort on April 13.

The Echo moves through the waters of the southern Indian Ocean.

A map provided Saturday, April 12, details efforts to find the missing jet.

Chinese navy personnel head out on a boat to the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success on Wednesday, April 9.

A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, on a mission to drop sonar buoys to assist in the search, flies past the Australian vessel Ocean Shield on April 9.

A relative of a missing passenger cries at a vigil in Beijing on Tuesday, April 8.

A member of the Royal Australian Air Force walks toward a plane that just arrived in Perth on April 8.

Australian Defense Force divers scan the water for debris Monday, April 7, in the southern Indian Ocean.

A towed pinger locator is readied to be deployed April 7 off the deck of the Australian vessel Ocean Shield.

Capt. Mark Matthews of the U.S. Navy talks to reporters in Perth about the search on April 7.

A member of the search operation points to a map outlining search areas during a news conference April 7 in Perth.

A U.S. Navy airplane takes off from Perth to assist in the search on April 7.

A member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force looks at a flare in the Indian Ocean during search operations on Friday, April 4.

Members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force monitor data April 4 on board an aircraft during search operations.

A relative of a Flight 370 passenger watches television in a Beijing hotel as he awaits new information about the missing plane on Thursday, April 3.

Another relative of a Flight 370 passenger waits for updates in Beijing on Wednesday, April 2. Many families have criticized the Malaysian government’s handling of information in the plane’s disappearance.

A member of the Japanese coast guard points to a flight position data screen while searching for debris from the missing jet on Tuesday, April 1.

Kojiro Tanaka, head of the Japanese coast guard search mission, explains the efforts en route to the search zone April 1.

A woman prepares for an event in honor of those aboard Flight 370 on Sunday, March 30, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

An underwater search-surveying vehicle sits on the wharf in Perth, ready to be fitted to a ship to aid in the search for the jet.

A girl in Kuala Lumpur writes a note during a ceremony for the missing passengers on March 30.

A teary-eyed woman listens from the back as other relatives of Flight 370 passengers speak to reporters March 30 in Subang Jaya, Malaysia. Dozens of anguished Chinese relatives demanded that Malaysia provide answers to the fate of those on board.

An object floating in the southern Indian Ocean is seen from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for the missing jet on Saturday, March 29. Ships participating in the search retrieved new debris Saturday, but no objects linked to the missing plane, according to Australian authorities.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force member launches a GPS marker buoy over the southern Indian Ocean on March 29.

The sole representative for the families of Flight 370 passengers leaves a conference at a Beijing hotel on Friday, March 28, after other relatives left en masse to protest the Malaysian government’s response to their questions.

A member of the Royal Australian Air Force is silhouetted against the southern Indian Ocean during the search for the missing jet on Thursday, March 27.

Flight Lt. Jayson Nichols looks at a map aboard a Royal Australian Air Force aircraft during a search on March 27.

People in Kuala Lumpur light candles during a ceremony held for the missing flight’s passengers on March 27.

Crew members of the Chinese icebreaking ship Xuelong scan the Indian Ocean during a search for the missing jet on Wednesday, March 26.

People work at a console at the British satellite company Inmarsat on Tuesday, March 25, in London.

The mother of a passenger who was on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 cries at her home in Medan, Indonesia, on March 25.

Australian Defense Minister David Johnston speaks to the media March 25 about the search for the missing jet.

A family member of a missing passenger reacts after hearing the latest news March 25 in Kuala Lumpur.

Angry relatives of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 react in Beijing on Monday, March 24, after hearing that the plane went down over the southern Indian Ocean, according to analysis of satellite data.

Grieving relatives of missing passengers leave a hotel in Beijing on March 24.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, delivers a statement about the flight March 24 in Kuala Lumpur. Razak’s announcement came after the airline sent a text message to relatives saying it “deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH 370 has been lost and that none of those onboard survived.”

Relatives of the missing passengers hold a candlelight vigil in Beijing on March 24.

A member of the Royal Australian Air Force looks out an aircraft during a search for the missing jet March 24.

A woman reads messages for missing passengers at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on March 24.

Flight Lt. Josh Williams of the Royal Australian Air Force operates the controls of an AP-3C Orion on Sunday, March 23, after searching the southern Indian Ocean.

Ground crew members wave to a Japanese Maritime Defense Force patrol plane as it leaves the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang, Malaysia, on Sunday, March 23. The plane was heading to Australia to join a search-and-rescue operation.

A passenger views a weather map in the departures terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday, March 22.

A Chinese satellite captured this image, released on March 22, of a floating object in the Indian Ocean, according to China’s State Administration of Science. It is a possible lead in the search for the missing plane. Surveillance planes are looking for two objects spotted by satellite imagery in remote, treacherous waters more than 1,400 miles from the west coast of Australia.

A member of the Royal Australian Air Force looks down at the Norwegian merchant ship Hoegh St. Petersburg, which took part in search operations Friday, March 21.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s Neville Dawson, left, goes over the search area with Brittany Sharpe aboard an AP-3C Orion some 2,500 kilometers (about 1,500 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, over the Indian Ocean on March 21.

Satellite imagery provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on Thursday, March 20, shows debris in the southern Indian Ocean that could be from Flight 370. The announcement by Australian officials that they had spotted something raised hopes of a breakthrough in the frustrating search.

A closer look at the satellite shot of possible debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Another satellite shot provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority shows possible debris from the flight.

A closer look at the satellite shot of possible debris.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s John Young speaks to the media in Canberra, Australia, on March 20 about satellite imagery.

A distraught relative of a missing passenger breaks down while talking to reporters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Wednesday, March 19.

A relative of missing passengers waits for a news briefing by officials in Beijing on Tuesday, March 18.

A relative of a missing passenger tells reporters in Beijing about a hunger strike to protest authorities’ handling of information about the missing jet.

A member of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency joins in a search for the missing plane in the Andaman
Sea area around the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra on Monday, March 17.

Relatives of missing passengers watch a news program about the missing plane as they await information at a hotel ballroom in Beijing on March 17.

Malaysian Transportation Minister Hishamuddin Hussein, center, shows maps of the search area at a hotel next to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 17.

U.S. Navy crew members assist in search-and-rescue operations Sunday, March 16, in the Indian Ocean.

Indonesian personnel watch over high seas during a search operation in the Andaman Sea on Saturday, March 15.

A foam plane, which has personalized messages for the missing flight’s passengers, is seen at a viewing gallery March 15 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

A member of the Malaysian navy makes a call as his ship approaches a Chinese coast guard ship in the South China Sea on March 15.

A Indonesian ship heads to the Andaman Sea during a search operation near the tip of Sumatra, Indonesia, on March 15.

Elementary school students pray for the missing passengers during class in Medan, Indonesia, on March 15.

Col. Vu Duc Long of the Vietnam air force fields reporters’ questions at an air base in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, after a search operation on Friday, March 14.

Members of the Chinese navy continue search operations on Thursday, March 13. The search area for Flight 370 has grown wider. After starting in the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam, the plane’s last confirmed location, efforts are expanding west into the Indian Ocean.

A Vietnamese military official looks out an aircraft window during search operations March 13.

Malaysian air force members look for debris on March 13 near Kuala Lumpur.

A relative of a missing passenger watches TV at a Beijing hotel as she waits for the latest news March 13.

A member of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency scans the horizon in the Strait of Malacca on Wednesday, March 12.

Relatives of missing passengers wait for the latest news at a hotel in Beijing on March 12.

Journalists raise their hands to ask questions during a news conference in Sepang on March 12.

Indonesian air force officers in Medan, Indonesia, examine a map of the Strait of Malacca on March 12.

A member of the Vietnamese air force checks a map while searching for the missing plane on Tuesday, March 11.

Iranians Pouri Nourmohammadi, second left, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, far right, were identified by Interpol as the two men who used stolen passports to board the flight. But there’s no evidence to suggest either was connected to any terrorist organizations, according to Malaysian investigators. Malaysian police believe Nourmohammadi was trying to emigrate to Germany using the stolen Austrian passport.

An Indonesian navy crew member scans an area of the South China Sea bordering Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on Monday, March 10.

Vietnam air force Col. Le Huu Hanh is reflected on the navigation control panel of a plane that is part of the search operation over the South China Sea on March 10.

Relatives of the missing flight’s passengers wait in a Beijing hotel room on March 10.

A U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopter lands aboard the USS Pinckney to change crews before returning to search for the missing plane Sunday, March 9, in the Gulf of Thailand.

Members of the Fo Guang Shan rescue team offer a special prayer March 9 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

A handout picture provided by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency shows personnel checking a radar screen during search-and-rescue operations March 9.

Italian tourist Luigi Maraldi, who reported his passport stolen in August, shows his current passport during a news conference at a police station in Phuket island, Thailand, on March 9. Two passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight were reportedly traveling on stolen passports belonging to Maraldi and an Austrian citizen whose papers were stolen two years ago.

Hugh Dunleavy, commercial director of Malaysia Airlines, speaks to journalists March 9 at a Beijing hotel where relatives and friends of the missing flight’s passengers are staying.

Vietnamese air force crew stand in front of a plane at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City on March 9 before heading out to the area between Vietnam and Malaysia where the airliner vanished.

Buddhist monks at Kuala Lumpur International Airport offer a special prayer for the missing passengers on March 9.

The Chinese navy warship Jinggangshan prepares to leave Zhanjiang Port early on March 9 to assist in search-and-rescue operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. The Jinggangshan, an amphibious landing ship, is loaded with lifesaving equipment, underwater detection devices and supplies of oil, water and food.

Members of a Chinese emergency response team board a rescue vessel at the port of Sanya in China’s Hainan province on March 9. The vessel is carrying 12 divers and will rendezvous with another rescue vessel on its way to the area where contact was lost with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The rescue vessel sets out from Sanya in the South China Sea.

A family member of missing passengers is mobbed by journalists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday, March 8.

A Vietnamese air force plane found traces of oil that authorities had suspected to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the Vietnamese government online newspaper reported March 8. However, a sample from the slick showed it was bunker oil, typically used to power large cargo ships, Malaysia’s state news agency, Bernama, reported on March 10.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, arrives to meet family members of missing passengers at the reception center at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8.

Malaysia Airlines official Joshua Law Kok Hwa, center, speaks to reporters in Beijing on March 8.

A relative of two missing passengers reacts at their home in Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

Wang Yue, director of marketing of Malaysia Airlines in China, reads a company statement during a news conference at the Metro Park Lido Hotel in Beijing on March 8.

Chinese police at the Beijing airport stand beside the arrival board showing delayed Flight 370 in red on March 8.

A woman asks a staff member at the Beijing airport for more information on the missing flight.

A Malaysian man who says he has relatives on board the missing plane talks to journalists at the Beijing airport on March 8.

Passengers walk past a Malaysia Airlines sign on March 8 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Juahari Yahya, front, speaks during a news conference on March 8 at a hotel in Sepang. “We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts” with the jet, he said.

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Photos: The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

But the words from deputy chief of mission Bala Chandran Tharman only angered the relatives. They erupted into fist-waving chants: “Live up to commitments! No more delays! No more lies!”

Each day seems to bring another disappointment to the hundreds of Chinese relatives waiting for news about missing loved ones. 153 Chinese nationals flew aboard the ill-fated flight. For more than a month, Malaysian Airlines has housed hundreds of their relatives in a number of Beijing hotels.

From their improvised headquarters in Beijing’s Lido Hotel, the families have set up committees, published press releases, printed T-shirts and hats with the slogan “Pray for MH370,” while also coordinating information with the next of kin of passengers from other countries.

This agonizing limbo has been punctuated by highly emotional and contentious daily briefings held with Malaysian officials in a windowless conference room in the Lido Hotel.

Last week, relatives stormed out of the hall en masse after technical glitches left a panel of Malaysian technical experts mute on a giant screen. The long-awaited video conference with Kuala Lumpur was a complete failure.

“You’re all bloody liars, and you’re lying to us again now!” one representative yelled, as relatives marched out of the room.

A committee representing passengers’ families in Beijing has continued pressing its case, demanding answers to highly technical questions that were translated and submitted in writing to the Malaysian government. To better understand the final moments before Flight MH370 was believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean, they wanted the audio recording of the crew’s last radio communications with air traffic controllers, an explanation of how many emergency locator transmitters [ELT's] the plane was carrying and whether or not the ELT’s activated as intended at the moment the aircraft hit the ocean.

“You need to do it yourself,” explained a young Chinese physicist on the families’ technical committee, who had helped draw up the questions. The man asked not to be identified, because he was keeping his father’s disappearance a secret for fear of upsetting his elderly grandmother.

For several days after the failed video conference, Malaysian diplomats did not appear at daily briefings. Instead a representative of Malaysian airlines addressed increasingly hostile family members. Last Friday, he pledged that a high-level team of technical experts would come to Beijing the following Monday to brief the family members.

But that Monday, Malaysia informed family members there had been a last-minute change of plan.

“The authorities in Malaysia would like to move forward in the endeavor to address the missing flight MH370,” said Tharman, the Malaysian deputy chief of mission.

Search for MH370 presses on

New details on MH370 flight path

Is there a better way to find MH370?

“While keeping in mind that the family have many questions regarding technical issues, the authorities over the weekend put the view that these important questions should be taken up a little later at an appropriate time and place.”

The message was not well received. For nearly three hours, Chinese relatives took turns yelling, begging and cursing at the Malaysian.

“Are you hiding things from us? Are there things you are not willing to tell us?” said Jack Song, a spokesman for the families whose wife was a passenger.

In these highly emotional confrontations, it is clear that many of the Chinese next of kin believe their missing loved ones are still alive.

“We have not given up hope. We dare to hope. We dare to believe,” said Mr. Wen during his tearful speech on Monday.

However, hope has become a dangerous emotion, according to a psychologist who has helped treat some of the next of kin. “That’s a dangerous thing when you artificially manifest hope which in the end cannot be sustained. You are setting them up for a fall,” said Paul Yin, a counselling psychologist who also treated victims of Asiana Airlines flight 214, which crashed in California in 2013 killing at least three people.

But Yin said Malaysian authorities bore some responsibility for the crisis. “So many of the moves that they have taken are just so wrong,” Yin said.

Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information on the search for the plane.

Meanwhile, in the eyes of many passengers’ relatives, contradictory statements from Kuala Lumpur have shaken the credibility of Malaysian officials charged with leading the investigation. Lack of information has led many to suspect a cover-up, an accusation Malaysian authorities have repeatedly denied.

While repeatedly challenging the Malaysian government, the passengers’ families face clear limits that appear to have been set by the Chinese authorities.

On Friday, the family committee announced plans to hold a prayer ceremony for missing spouses in a park near the Lido Hotel. Instead, the service was held in the same conference room. Dozens of men and women sat cross-legged on the floor, weeping in front of a banner that said: “Honey, it’s not home without you.”

After the ceremony, the spouses — many dressed in “Pray for MH370″ T-shirts and baseball hats, marched out of the hotel to the park. They were closely followed by uniformed and plain-clothed Chinese police. After a short speech in front of the park gates, they drifted back to their hotel.

“It’s just like big cage,” said Steven Wang, when asked about the hotel. The 26 year old has become one of the main international spokespeople for the committee of family members.

“It is full of bad emotion … we feel sad and angry and exhausted,” Wang added.

READ: Flight 370 passengers’ families frustrated but keep the faith

READ: More than 45 days into the search, here come the lawyers

READ: Underwater drones find nothing after scouring half of search area


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/odIfaGWPOms/index.html

Surgeons find gold bars in stomach

Posted by MereNews On April - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


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A New Delhi hospital admitted a 63-year-old man on April 8 after he complained of intestinal pain and nausea. The patient, whose name was not released, was hiding 12 gold bars in his belly. He apparently smuggled them into India to evade import duty, police and doctors said.

Each bar weighed 33 grams, said C.S. Ramachandran, who conducted the surgery at a hospital in New Delhi on April 9.

“We couldn’t (either) make out they were gold bars,” the doctor said. “But yes, X-Rays showed there was intestinal blockage, which required surgery.”

The bars have since been sent to customs, which is conducting a probe, said Alok Kumar, a deputy commissioner of police.

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New Delhi, India (CNN) — When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a patient complaining of abdominal pain, they had no idea they’d extract a fortune.

The patient, whose name was not released, was hiding 12 gold bars in his belly. He apparently smuggled them into India to evade import duty, police and doctors said Tuesday.

Each bar weighed 33 grams, said C.S. Ramachandran, who conducted the surgery at a hospital in New Delhi on April 9.

The 63-year-old patient, an Indian citizen, visited the hospital a day before with severe stomach pain and nausea.

“He told us he had accidentally swallowed the cap of a plastic bottle,” Ramachandran said.

12 gold bars found in man’s stomach

2013: Gold bars found in airplane bathroom

2013: India gold imports decline

Investigations could not confirm his claim.

“We couldn’t (either) make out they were gold bars,” the doctor said. “But yes, X-Rays showed there was intestinal blockage, which required surgery.”

On the day of surgery, stunned doctors pulled out the yellow metal from his stomach.

“It was unexpected,” Ramachandran said.

The hospital handed over the precious extraction to local police.

The bars have since been sent to customs, which is conducting a probe, said Alok Kumar, a deputy commissioner of police.

He didn’t disclose the name of the patient. Nor did he reveal which country he smuggled the gold from.

The patient was discharged after the surgery, and is doing fine.

India is the world’s second-largest gold market after China, according to the World Gold Council.

Indian investment in gold bars recorded an increase of 16% in 2013, the WGC says.

A tax of 10% is levied on gold imports in India.

READ: 2013: CNN Money: $1.2M gold haul found on plane in India

READ: 2013: India spent $56 billion for their gold?


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/2v6jPAr9xl8/index.html

Biden warns Russia during trip

Posted by MereNews On April - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — As the crisis in Ukraine shows no signs of easing, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden promised support for Ukraine and stressed that the United States won’t recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“Ukraine is and must remain one country,” he said in Kiev on Tuesday at a news conference with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

“No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation,” Biden said. “We will never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea.”

Biden called on Russia to “stop supporting men hiding behind masks and unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine.” He warned of additional sanctions if such “provocative behavior” does not end.

Ukrainian dancers smile, but worry

Media in Ukraine is ‘under siege’

U.S. lawmakers weigh in on Ukraine crisis

Cossacks carry a coffin into a church in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 22, during a funeral for men killed in a gunfight at a checkpoint two days before. Ukraine has seen a sharp rise in tensions since a new pro-European government took charge of the country in February. Moscow branded the new government illegitimate and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last month, citing threats to Crimea’s Russian-speaking majority. And in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have seized government and police buildings in numerous towns and cities.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, on April 22.

An armed pro-Russian man stands on a street in Sloviansk on Monday, April 21.

Demonstrators attend a pro-Russian rally outside the secret service building in Lugansk, Ukraine, on April 21.

Cars are burned out after an attack at a roadblock in Slaviansk on Sunday, April 20.

A resident inspects burnt-out cars at the roadblock on April 20.

A pro-Russian militant is seen at the roadblock near Slaviansk on April 20.

Armed pro-Russian militants stand guard at the roadblock near Slaviansk on April 20.

A masked man stands guard outside a regional administration building seized by pro-Russian separatists in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 18.

People walk around barricades April 18 set up at the regional administration building seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17. Putin denied that Russian forces are involved in the unrest in eastern Ukraine, though he did admit for the first time that Russians were active in Crimea before the peninsula voted to join the country.

Ukrainian riot police officers stand guard during a pro-Ukrainian demonstration in Donetsk on April 17.

Masked pro-Russian protesters stand guard in front of the city hall in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 17.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reaches out to shake hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the start of a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine. The meeting took place April 17 in Geneva, Switzerland.

A masked gunman stands guard near tanks in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 16.

A Ukrainian helicopter flies over a column of Ukrainian Army combat vehicles on the way to Kramatorsk, a city in eastern Ukraine, on April 16.

A masked pro-Russian gunman guards combat vehicles parked in downtown Slaviansk on April 16.

A man talks with Ukrainian soldiers as they are blocked by people on their way to Kramatorsk.

Ukrainian soldiers sit atop combat vehicles on their way to Kramatorsk.

Ukrainian Gen. Vasily Krutov is surrounded by protesters after addressing the crowd outside an airfield in Kramatorsk on Tuesday, April 15.

Pro-Russian activists guard a barricade April 15 outside the regional police building that they seized in Slaviansk.

Ukrainian troops receive munitions at a field on the outskirts of Izium, Ukraine, on April 15.

Armed pro-Russian activists stand guard on top of a Ukrainian regional administration building in Slaviansk on Monday, April 14.

A pro-Russian activist carries a shield during the mass storming of a police station in Horlivka, Ukraine, on April 14.

Russian supporters attend a rally in front of the security service building occupied by pro-Russian activists in Luhansk, Ukraine, on April 14.

A man places a Russian flag over a police station after storming the building in Horlivka on April 14.

Men besiege the police station in Horlivka.

The Horlivka police station burns on April 14.

A Ukrainian police officer receives medical care after being attacked at the police station in Horlivka on April 14.

Pro-Russian supporters beat a pro-Ukrainian activist during a rally in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 13.

Pro-Russian activists escort a man outside the secret service building in Luhansk on April 13.

Pro-Russian protesters guard a barricade in Slaviansk on April 13 outside a regional police building seized by armed separatists the day before.

Armed pro-Russian activists carrying riot shields occupy a police station in Slaviansk on April 12.

A group of pro-Russian activists warm themselves by a fire Friday, April 11, in front of a Ukrainian Security Service office in Luhansk.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks April 11 during his meeting with regional leaders in Donetsk, Ukraine. Yatsenyuk flew into Donetsk, where pro-Russian separatists occupied the regional administration building and called for a referendum.

Pro-Russian young men look over the fence of a military recruitment office in Donetsk on Thursday, April 10.

Armed pro-Russian protesters occupy the Security Service building in Luhansk on April 10.

Members of the self-proclaimed government the “Donetsk Republic” vote April 10 during a meeting at the seized regional administration building in Donetsk.

Ukrainian lawmakers from different parties scuffle during a Parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 8.

Workers clean up on April 8 after pro-Russian separatists and police clashed overnight in Kharkiv.

Pro-Russian protesters burn tires near a regional administration building in Kharkiv after police cleared the building on Monday, April 7.

A masked man stands on top of a barricade at the regional administration building in Donetsk on April 7.

Protesters wave a Russian flag as they storm the regional administration building in Donetsk on Sunday, April 6. Protesters seized state buildings in several east Ukrainian cities, prompting accusations from Kiev that Moscow is trying to “dismember” the country.

Pro-Russian protesters clash with police as they try to occupy a regional administration building in Donetsk on April 6.

Pro-Russian activists hold a rally in front of a Ukrainian Security Service office in Luhansk on April 6.

A young demonstrator with his mouth covered by a Russian flag attends a pro-Russia rally outside the regional government administration building in Donetsk on Saturday, April 5.

A Ukrainian soldier guards a road not far from Prokhody, a village near the Russian border, on April 5. Ukrainian and Western officials have voiced alarm about Russia’s reported military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border.

Ukrainian cadets at the Higher Naval School embrace a friend who has decided to stay in the school during a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Friday, April 4. Some 120 cadets who refused to take Russian citizenship left the school to return to Ukraine.

Soviet military veterans take part in a flower-laying ceremony at the Soviet-era World War II memorial in Sevastopol on Thursday, April 3.

Ukrainian soldiers conduct a training session on the Desna military shooting range northeast of Kiev on Wednesday, April 2.

Russian soldiers prepare for diving training in front of a Tarantul-III class missile boat Tuesday, April 1, in Sevastopol.

People pass by barricades near the Dnipro Hotel in Kiev on April 1.

People walk past a train loaded with Russian tanks Monday, March 31, in the Gvardeyskoe railway station near Simferopol, Crimea.

A Russian solder sits in a tank at the Ostryakovo railway station, not far from Simferopol on March 31.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks about the economic development of Crimea during a meeting March 31 in Simferopol.

Members of the Ukrainian National Guard take part in military exercises on a shooting range near Kiev on March 31.

A woman cries Sunday, March 30, during a gathering to honor those who were killed during protests in Kiev’s Independence Square.

A woman and child walk past a line of police officers during a rally in Kharkiv on March 30.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in a training exercise at a military base in Donetsk on Saturday, March 29.

Demonstrators protest Friday, March 28, in Kiev, displaying police vehicles they seized during earlier clashes with authorities.

Members of the Right Sector group block the Ukrainian parliament building in Kiev on Thursday, March 27. Activists called for Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to step down after the recent killing of radical nationalist leader Oleksandr Muzychko, who died during a police operation to detain him. Muzychko and the Right Sector are credited with playing a lead role in the protests that toppled Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalne, Crimea, on Wednesday, March 26. After Russian troops seized most of Ukraine’s bases in Crimea, interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the withdrawal of armed forces from the Black Sea peninsula, citing Russian threats to the lives of military staff and their families.

Ukrainian marines wave as they leave a base in Feodosia, Crimea, on Tuesday, March 25.

Russian sailors stand on the deck of the corvette ship Suzdalets in the bay of Sevastopol on March 25.

Pro-Russian militia members remove a resident as Russian troops assault the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, on Saturday, March 22. After its annexation of Crimea, Russian forces have consolidated their control of the region.

Soldiers in unmarked uniforms sit atop an armored personnel carrier at the gate of the Belbek air base on March 22.

A Russian sailor holds the Russian Navy’s St. Andrew’s flag while standing on the bow of the surrendered Ukrainian submarine Zaporozhye on March 22 in Sevastopol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs the final decree completing the annexation of Crimea on Friday, March 21, as Upper House Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, left, and State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin watch.

A Ukrainian serviceman leaves a Ukrainian military unit that Russian soldiers took control of in Perevalne on March 21.

Ukrainian border guards run during training at a military camp in Alekseyevka, Ukraine, on March 21.

Russian soldiers patrol the area surrounding a Ukrainian military unit in Perevalne on Thursday, March 20.

Pro-Russian protesters remove the gate to the Ukrainian navy headquarters as Russian troops stand guard in Sevastopol on Wednesday, March 19.

Pro-Russian forces walk inside the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol on March 19.

A member of pro-Russian forces takes down a Ukrainian flag at the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol on March 19.

Alexander Vitko, chief of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, leaves the Ukrainian navy headquarters in Sevastopol after pro-Russian forces took it over on March 19.

A Russian flag waves as workers install a new sign on a parliament building in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital, on March 19.

Russian military personnel surround a Ukrainian military base in Perevalne on March 19.

Nameplates on the front of the Crimean parliament building get removed Tuesday, March 18, in Simferopol.

From left, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov; Vladimir Konstantinov, speaker of the Crimean parliament; Russian President Vladimir Putin; and Alexei Chaly, the new de facto mayor of Sevastopol, join hands in Moscow on March 18 after signing a treaty to make Crimea part of Russia.

Demonstrators hold a Crimean flag at Lenin Square in Simferopol on March 18.

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near Strilkove, Ukraine, close to Crimea on Monday, March 17.

Former boxer and Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko addresses reporters in Kiev on March 17.

Ukrainian troops stand guard in front of the Ukrainian Parliament building in Kiev on March 17.

A Ukrainian man applies for the National Guard at a mobile recruitment center in Kiev on March 17.

Civilians walk past riot police in Simferopol on March 17.

A Ukrainian soldier stands on top of an armored vehicle at a military camp near the village of Michurino, Ukraine, on March 17.

Policemen stand guard outside the regional state administration building in Donetsk during a rally by pro-Russia activists March 17.

Armed soldiers stand guard outside a Ukrainian military base in Perevalne on March 17.

A man holds a Crimean flag as he stands in front of the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on March 17.

Crimeans holding Russian flags celebrate in front of the parliament building in Simferopol on Sunday, March 16.

A Ukrainian police officer tries to shield himself from a road block thrown by pro-Russia supporters in Kharkiv on March 16.

Pro-Russia demonstrators storm the prosecutor general’s office during a rally in Donetsk on March 16.

A woman leaves a voting booth in Sevastopol on March 16. See the crisis in Ukraine before Crimea voted

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Photos: Crisis in Ukraine

Ukrainian and U.S. officials say they think Russian special forces are in the region and are behind efforts to seize government buildings and generally promote unrest — a claim Moscow denies.

As well as voicing solidarity with Kiev, Biden promised financial support, assistance in reducing Ukraine’s dependence on Russian energy sources and nonlethal aid for security forces.

“You will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you,” Biden told Yatsenyuk.

As he spoke, the White House announced a $50 million package of assistance to help Ukraine pursue political and economic reform and strengthen its partnership with the United States.

Biden said he also expects an International Monetary Fund package for Ukraine to be finalized imminently.

The backing is likely to sit well with Ukrainian leaders struggling to keep their country afloat amid dire financial problems, the ongoing showdown with Russia over its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in Ukraine’s pro-Russian east.

Tensions remain high as pro-Russian militants show no sign of leaving occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine despite an international deal agreed to in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.

‘Humiliating threats’

Biden also met with acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and lawmakers in parliament, again stressing his nation’s desire to stand with the people of Ukraine.

The country faces very daunting problems and “some might say humiliating threats,” he said in an apparent reference to Russian interference, but success is within its grasp.

“We want to be your partner and friend, we want to assist,” Biden said. “We are not suggesting we have all the answers. We are suggesting we stand with you in every endeavor you undertake.”

Biden also issued a warning to the leaders in Ukraine, urging them to “fight the cancer of corruption that’s endemic” in the country and reform the judicial system.

It won’t be easy, he said, but sometimes “a crisis spawns the commitment, and the desire, the willingness to make some of these bold decisions.”

About $11.4 million of the new $50 million aid package is destined to support Ukraine’s planned May 25 presidential vote, which Biden suggested could be “the most important election in Ukrainian history.”

Fatal shooting raises tension in Ukraine

Ukrainians pray for peace

Vice President Biden in Kiev

And as a step toward reducing Ukraine’s reliance on Russian gas, U.S. experts are in Kiev “to help Ukraine secure reverse flows of natural gas from its European neighbors,” the White House said.

The promise of further economic help comes on top of a $1 billion loan guarantee already signed by the United States.

The White House also announced Tuesday another $8 million in nonlethal military assistance for Ukraine’s military and border service. It is already providing nearly $10 million in nonlethal aid.

Turchynov: Ukrainians want unity

Turchynov, meanwhile, had strong words for Moscow, saying that “Ukrainians are ready to protect their country from military aggression of the Russian Federation.”

A majority of Ukrainian citizens “are for a united, democratic Ukraine with greater powers given to the regions,” he said, referring to constitutional reforms promised in a bid to calm fears in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and Western powers have urged Moscow to use its influence to persuade protesters in the east to lay down their arms, leave the buildings they’re occupying and accept amnesty in line with last week’s deal.

But Turchynov said Tuesday that “unfortunately, the Russian Federation and its terrorist special forces present in Ukraine are demonstratively not going to implement the Geneva agreement.”

He cited the seizure of a police station Monday in the eastern city of Kramatorsk by militants who also took the police chief hostage, “thereby negating the agreements reached in Geneva.”

Moscow has said that it holds no sway over pro-Russian protesters and militants. But Kiev and the United States dispute this.

In a phone call Monday with his Russian counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Russia to take “concrete steps” to help implement the Geneva deal and de-escalate the situation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov countered by saying that Ukrainian officials were not implementing the April 17 agreement.

“On the contrary, not a single step has been taken by those who have seized power in Kiev to eliminate the reasons of this deep crisis inside Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile, a statement from the prosecutor general’s office in Kiev criticized law enforcement agencies in a number of cities in eastern Ukraine for not resisting pro-Russian protesters as they seized administrative buildings — even in cases where they outnumbered the militants.

The statement says self-defense groups in these places were established in reaction to the failings of the security forces. “These defense groups have the right to bear arms and promise to guarantee public order in their respective regions,” it said.

Ukraine: Photos show undercover Russian forces

Ukrainian officials said Monday that a dossier of photos obtained by CNN show Russian “sabotage-reconnaissance groups” acting in Ukrainian towns.

The officials said the images prove organized Russian activity in the region.

CNN cannot independently confirm the photographs, some of which were first published in The New York Times.

The dossier shows what Ukrainian officials say are images of well-equipped gunmen in eastern Ukraine, who look similar to photographs of Russian forces taken in Crimea, Russia and during Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia.

Last week, Ukrainian security officials told CNN they had arrested a Russian military officer and a woman who Ukrainian officials said is a Russian intelligence agent.

Moscow has disavowed involvement in the takeover of government buildings in eastern Ukraine or other acts by often masked pro-Russian gunmen.

But the photos, accepted as genuine by the Obama administration, appeared to lend credence to allegations by Ukrainian officials that Russian forces have been dispatched in eastern Ukraine to provoke a military confrontation.

If genuine, the photos also back up Western leaders who have alleged Russia’s involvement.

Men in green’

The question of whether Russia is involved in the unrest roiling eastern Ukraine is crucial as European observers try to enforce the agreement reached last week in Geneva by organizing the withdrawal of forces from government buildings and other facilities.

CNN has heard Russian accents among the “men in green,” as they are known, well-armed and uniformed groups that have appeared in towns like Slaviansk and Kramatorsk. One told CNN he had come up from Crimea. But CNN has not seen any evidence that these men are operating under orders from the Kremlin.

Lavrov scoffed at the accusations Monday, saying that Kiev and its patrons, the United States and the European Union, are trying to blame his country for everything.

But the United States, which along with the European Union has imposed sanctions on certain Russian politicians and businessmen, has warned of further “costs” if Moscow does not play ball.

Addressing Russia’s lower house Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev acknowledged that the sanctions, coupled with instability in the global economy and domestic economic issues, are having an impact, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

“Our decision has provoked a rough reaction. Crimea became a reason for a political pressure, which is carried out on the account of so-called sanctions,” Medvedev is quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the stalemate in Ukraine continues.

The government of Turchynov, the acting President, has talked tough but done little to curb pro-Russian activities in the east, possibly afraid that a crackdown could send Russian forces across the border. At the same time, the occupation of buildings continues in about a dozen towns and cities across eastern Ukraine.

In three towns, pro-Russian protesters and militants have made it clear to CNN they have no intention of moving until the “illegal” government in Kiev also moves out of official buildings.

Moscow also says the government in Kiev, installed after ousted President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia in February, is illegitimate and backed by far-right extremists.

Yanukovych’s ouster followed months of street protests prompted by his decision last November to drop a planned EU trade agreement in favor of closer ties with Moscow.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s autonomous Crimea region last month, following a controversial referendum in which most voters were in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

READ: Amanpour Blog: Russia can’t be ‘firefighter and arsonist’ in Ukraine

READ: Opinion: Why Geneva accord on Ukraine is tactical victory for Russia

READ: Opinion: Can ‘odd couple’ Kerry and Lavrov take the edge off Ukraine crisis talks?

CNN’s Gul Tuysuz reported from Kiev and Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London. CNN’s Arwa Damon, Joe Sterling, Michael Pearson, Ed Payne and Becky Brittain, and journalist Victoria Butenko contributed to this report.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/hRShsYQMOPM/index.html

South: North Korea may be preparing nuclear test

Posted by MereNews On April - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea has stepped up activity at its main nuclear test site, possibly preparing to carry out a fourth underground blast, South Korea said Tuesday.

The report comes just days before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to arrive in South Korea as part of a visit to several Asian countries.

“We confirm that we have spotted several activities related to the nuclear test in Punggye-ri in North Korea,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement. It declined to specify what the activities were, saying the information was classified.

The ministry said it had increased its military preparedness since Monday morning and was monitoring around the clock for signs of activity at the Punggye-ri site in a northeastern region of North Korea.

N. Korea may be readying for nuke test

North Korea said last month that it wouldn’t rule “a new form of a nuclear test” to strengthen its nuclear deterrent. Experts have speculated that that could refer to the testing of a uranium bomb.

3 previous tests

The reclusive regime in Pyongyang is known to have conducted three previous tests, all of them believed to be based on plutonium. The most recent one took place February 2013.

The past tests prompted international condemnation and the imposition of sanctions aimed at hampering the North’s weapons program.

Since the last underground detonation, South Korean officials have repeatedly said that they believe North Korea is ready to carry out another test at any time, pending a political decision to go ahead with it.

“A lot of activity is currently being seen, so our forces are keeping in mind the possibility that North Korea may suddenly conduct a nuclear test in a short period of time, or as in previous cases, deceive us with what appears to be a nuclear test,” Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said Tuesday, according to the local news agency Yonhap.

Obama visit ‘dangerous’

The reports of activity come ahead of Obama’s South Korean visit, which begins Friday.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry on Monday described Obama’s trip as “a reactionary and dangerous one as it is aimed to escalate confrontation and bring dark clouds of a nuclear arms race to hang over this unstable region.”

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un’s regime carried out a series of missile and rocket launches in March, prompting condemnation from the U.N. Security Council.

An artillery exercise on March 31 near the border with South Korea resulted in a brief exchange of fire between the two sides after North Korean ordnance landed in South Korean waters.

North Korea’s series of provocative acts were seen as a response to joint U.S.-South Korean military drills in the region. The exercises take place each spring and regularly draw angry reactions from Pyongyang.

Are suspected North Korean drones a threat to South Korea?

CNN’s Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong, and journalist Stella Kim reported from Seoul.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/NsgayR70e2s/index.html

Why Naïvete is key to innovation

Posted by MereNews On April - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(CNN) — Turns out you can do a lot of really smart things, as long as you’re clueless.

At Not Impossible Labs, we’ve already created a device to let a paralyzed painter create his art, using just the movement of his eyes. We made it to the Sudan and printed a new arm on a 3D printer for a teenaged boy whose arms were blown off in the war — and he fed himself for the first time in two years. And pretty soon, we’ll have a device that will allow patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease to type on a computer — just by thinking.

We didn’t have any fancy labs for any of this, or gigantic budgets. We didn’t go through insurance companies or medical labs. We made all of these devices for maybe a couple hundred bucks apiece — some for much less. (the Brainwriter, as we’re calling it, includes a homemade EEG device based on a prototype that a couple of our team members fashioned out of some electrodes, two nine-volt batteries, and an old sock, in their kitchen, at 2 in the morning. I wasn’t there, but I’m told there was some whiskey involved as well).

In each case, the experts told us that what we were doing just couldn’t be done.

Fortunately, we didn’t listen, or didn’t hear them, or ignored them, or were oblivious, or all of the above. We went ahead and tried anyway. And what do you know. It worked.

This all started when I met a graffiti artist named Tempt, who was paralyzed with ALS. I was a film producer, with no experience whatsoever in the field of technological medical devices. But when I learned how he was communicating with his family — they’d run their fingers over a piece of paper with the alphabet printed on it, he’d blink when they’d get to the letter he wanted, and, painstakingly, he’d spell out a sentence — I was moved, and angry, and a whole lot of other things. And I blurted out to his father, “We will find a way to get Tempt to paint again.”

See, I was just clueless enough not to know that that was impossible.

Funny how that works.

So we got a bunch of crazy hackers together, and Tempt’s plight gave way to the Eyewriter: a device that tracked his eye movements, translated that to a cursor, and allowed him to create drawings. It was a beautiful thing to see. And a beautiful beginning.

At one point, a group of programmers and coders told us, “If you had any clue how hard it is to do what you did, you never would have tried it in the first place.”

I’m so glad we were clueless.

What happened with Tempt gave way to the Not Impossible Labs, a foundation and company with a simple idea. We’ll create these devices with whatever we can — coat hangers, duct tape, chewing gum. Essential to the process is what’s called “open source” — we give everything away, for free. We post the design on the Web and hope other people will pick it up and improve it. That’s just what happened with the Eyewriter: A Samsung engineering team in South Korea saw the device and made a better one. Now Samsung, working with a government agency, is providing hundreds of those to ALS patients. And they’ve “open-sourced” their design as well — so now anyone can make one, for around 50 bucks.

We starting thinking about what we were doing as the Revolution Against the Absurd. Anyone who has tried to get a medical device for a loved one, and had to negotiate the maze that’s created by the provider, the hospital, the lawyers, the insurance companies, knows just how absurd it can be. It’s absurd that in this day and age, an ALS patient would have to communicate with his parents by watching them run their fingers over a piece of paper. It’s like seeing someone rubbing two sticks together, and thinking, hey, someone should invent a match for these people.

So that’s what we’re doing. We’re down in the basement, inventing matches.

Everyone told me I was crazy to go to the Sudan — one of the most dangerous, war-torn areas of the globe — in search of Daniel, a boy I’d read about whose arms had been blown off by a bomb. Three months later, we’d not only tracked Daniel down and fashioned a new hand for him, but we left the 3D printer and materials behind, and trained a group of locals to make the hands — which they’re cranking out now, for others maimed in the war.

Not Impossible just kept growing — because of passionate, brilliant people who were always willing and able to do good, but just needed a place to point their energy. A guy up in Canada named Javed Gangjee saw a TED talk I gave about the Eyewriter, decided he wanted in, and started devoting all his spare time to taking it one step further. The Eyewriter relies on the patient’s ability to blink, as a way to “click” the cursor the way you’d click a mouse. But what about patients who can’t control their ocular muscles anymore? he asked. Don’t they deserve to communicate, too? So he started devoting all his spare time to hooking our Eyewriter device up to an EEG — a homemade device to register brain activity as a way of clicking a mouse.

“Working in the scientific field, you kind of run into ‘yes’ people and ‘no’ people,” said David Putrino, another member of the Brainwriter team (and the one who came up with the electrodes-and-sock model.) “There are the scientific people who are the skeptics, who just say there’s just no way this can be done. And there are people like me and Javed who say, ‘this is totally impossible, but we’re just gonna try and do it.’”

David possesses a quality — as do the other members of the team, Dan Goodwin and Sam Bergen — that, I think, is essential to success.

We call it beautiful naïvete.

Because if you’re just naïve enough to believe you can do what everybody tells you that you can’t, amazing things can happen.

It’s just possible, in fact, that you’ll discover what each of us has discovered:

That nothing, in fact, is impossible.


Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/ouhQJkW6HUY/index.html

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