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Monitor The Strategic Trends

Global Government Introduction:

 

      The move toward a global government received a big boost this summer by the introduction of a proposal for an International Criminal Court. Over U.S. objections, the United Nations Diplomatic Conference voted 120 to 7 in favor of establishing an international criminal court to try individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.


[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]

**ENEWS ARTICLES**

Summit Storm 2012 September 25, 2012

Rio+20 A Bit Flat June 19, 2012

Vatican Calls For Global Economic Body October 25, 2011

Mexicans Getting Chipped August 23, 2011

The G8 Summit Wind May 31, 2011


**K-HOUSE ARTICLES**

The New Face of Global Security by Mary Gehl

The Tentacles of the IMF by Mary Miller, Executive Analyst Koinonia Institute

Global Government: Democracy and the Final World Leader by Mary Miller, KI Executive Analyst

Creating a New World Order: The U.N. Millennium Forum: Reinvention of Global Government by John Loeffler

Quo Vadis America: Three Threats to Freedom by John Loeffler


**ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS AND LINKS**
Note: These links are provided for your further research and education. Koinonia House does not necessarily agree with the information on these sites or support the specific organizations.

Documents

U.N. Conventional Arms Branch - Department for Disarmament
The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World - U.S. Department of State - September, 1961
Millennium Summit Key Proposals -
The General Agreement On Tariffs And Trade (GATT) - Full Text of the Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -

Related Sites

International Court of Justice -
Coalition for an ICC Home Page on the International Criminal Court -
Web site of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court -
Is there a Coming New World Order? - Many links to important Global Governance information from WorthyNews
Yahoo! United Nations Full Listing -

News Sources

 
NEW! UN Adopts Pact To Regulate Multibillion-Dollar Global Arms Trade - The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved the first U.N. treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar international arms trade. The resolution adopting the landmark treaty was approved by a vote of 154 to 3 with 23 abstentions. The 193-member world body voted after Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked its adoption by consensus at a negotiating conference last Thursday. The three countries voted “no” on the resolution.
Climate Change Conference Pushes On Global Gov't Door - Much of what is called "international law" is actually a set of recommendations by global institutions, but actions taken at Saturday's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doba, Qatar could change the face of how the world as a whole governs its industry, commerce and relations with other nations. "Doha successfully concluded the previous round of climate negotiations, paving the way to a comprehensive, legally binding agreement by 2015," a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday. "The Secretary-General believes that far more needs to be done and he calls on governments, along with businesses, civil society and citizens, to accelerate action on the ground so that the global temperature rise can be limited to 2 degrees Celsius."
U.S. Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty - Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was rejected by the U.S. Senate Tuesday. The CRPD, which would take away American sovereignty and threaten parental rights, needed two-thirds of the Senate in order to pass. Although it gained a majority of votes, it failed on a vote of 61-38. This is a great victory for parental rights, homeschool freedom, and children with special needs. The U.S. Senate rejected a treaty which would have allowed UN bureaucrats to decide what is in the "best interests" of children with disabilities, instead leaving those decisions with parents and caregivers, which is what existing U.S. law already requires.
India Putting Millions Toward Global Biodiversity - The Indian government will earmark $50 million toward reaching the so-called Aichi targets, 20 goals set in Nagoya, Japan, two years ago to curb damage to the world's ecosystems and the extinction of its plants and animals, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday, speaking at a United Nations conference on biodiversity in Hyderabad. A commitment to an international effort on the environment represents a shift for the country, which has refused to accept mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. This consciousness should provoke nations to "greater action even as we cope with the pressures of the current global economic downturn," said Mr. Singh.
Saudi-backed UN Agency To Edit Textbooks - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is currently working with member states to revise its strategy for the publication of textbooks and learning materials. According to UNESCO's website, experts from 21 countries met in Paris last month at a meeting financed by a $29,000 Saudi donation and focused in part on "ways to ensure that content aimed at students systematically reflects cultural and religious diversity, and avoids gender stereotypes." Then, last week, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah cut a $20 million check to UNESCO's emergency fund. Critics warn that the funding will come at a price, and predict the Saudis will want input into what goes into rewritten textbooks. "Saudi textbooks are extremely hateful and full of xenophobic texts," said Ali AlAhmed, author of the upcoming book "Saudi School Books: Objective Education or Extremist Indoctrination?" and director of the Gulf Institute in Washington, D.C.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DVD

PRICE R 299.00

 

 

 

 

Description

With the wealth of information at our fingertips, it is sometimes hard to see the ‘’forest for the trees’’. In this Strategic Briefing, we will give you a current perspective on many of the trends that shape our world and their relevance to Biblical Prophecy. Now, more than ever, we need to stay informed about what is really going on.

What is REALLY going on in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt?
Who is going to deal with the nuclear Iran?
Will Israel go it alone?
What about America’s political future and what is on its' 2013 horizon?

Most Americans are totally unaware that the sacred Bill of Rights has been essentially
eliminated; how, when and by whom?

Europe - The State of Dis-Union and its Islamization.

Join Dr. Chuck Missler and Ron Matsen in the Executive Brie fing Room of
The River Lodge, New Zealand, in an intensive summary of some of the
Strategic Trends that will impact all of us.

© 2012 Koinonia House Inc.

This briefing pack collection contains 4 hours of teaching

DVD:

2 Disks
4 M4A Files
Color, 16:9, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Region 0 encoding

 This DVD will be viewable in other countries WITH the proper DVD player and television set.)

 

 

Thumbnail 4:47

 

http://www.spacewar.com/Superpowers.html

News About Superpowers    

Vietnam leader warns against use of force in territorial rows

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) March 18, 2014 - Vietnam's president on Tuesday warned against the use of force in territorial disputes as his nation and its neighbours lock horns with an increasingly assertive China over competing claims in the South China Sea.

President Truong Tan Sang made the comments in Japan's parliament during a four-day visit.

"Vietnam has always maintained these principles over maritime disputes -- resolution by peaceful means, compliance with international law, and respect for each other's due rights and sovereignty," the Vietnamese leader said.

"Countries concerned should not make the situation complex, but rather exercise self-restraint. They should neither use force nor threaten to use force."

Sang did not make a direct reference to any particular country.

But Vietnam and three other members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei -- have opposed Beijing's attempt to claim almost all of the South China Sea.

Sang said he hoped to strengthen ties with Japan, which is also embroiled in a separate and bitter territorial dispute with China.

Tokyo has called for stronger security ties with ASEAN members to try to ease the growing territorial tensions.

"We deeply believe that relations between the two countries will be strengthened and expanded every day ... which will make a significant contribution to securing peace, stability and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region," Sang said.

At a joint press briefing Tuesday evening, Sang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they discussed regional peace, loans and grant aid to Vietnam as well as the possibility of Japan sending patrol boats to the country.

"The two countries' cooperation in maintaining order in the sea and air is extremely important for regional peace and stability," Abe told reporters.

Japan and China are locked in a bitter row over islands in the East China Sea administered by Japan as the Senkakus, but claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands.

Chinese government ships and planes have been seen off the disputed islands numerous times since Japan nationalised some of the archipelago in September 2012, sometimes within Japan's territorial zone.

The dispute with Tokyo -- which has sparked air and sea confrontations -- has exacerbated animosity over Japan's military incursions across East Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

 

 

US commander emphasises Philippine alliance, amid China row

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) March 18, 2014 - The US Pacific commander Tuesday emphasised the Philippines' importance as a military ally, as Filipino forces were involved in an increasingly tense standoff with Chinese ships in the South China Sea.

"Our 62-year alliance with the Philippines remains key to our efforts to ensure the stability and prosperity of the Western Pacific," Rear Admiral Robert Thomas told reporters in Manila.

He sailed to the Philippine capital on Tuesday aboard his command ship, the USS Blue Ridge, days after the latest of a series of hostile encounters between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.

China said its coastguard on March 9 blocked two Philippine-flagged vessels approaching Second Thomas Shoal, which is guarded by a small group of Filipino marines but is also claimed by China.

The Philippine military evaded the blockade by airdropping supplies to the troops.

The shoal is part of the Spratlys, a chain of islets and reefs that sit near key shipping lanes, are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are also believed to lie atop huge oil and gas reserves.

They are around 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan and about 1,100 kilometres from the nearest major Chinese land mass.

China claims most of the South China Sea, even waters approaching the coasts of its neighbours.

The Philippines grounded an old navy ship at Second Thomas Shoal in 1999, four years after China built structures on a nearby Filipino-claimed reef. Filipino troops have kept a presence on the ship ever since.

On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei warned that China "will never allow any form of occupation" of the Second Thomas Shoal.

He repeated an allegation, denied by Manila, that the Philippine vessels were bringing construction materials there on March 9.

"China watches closely and is highly vigilant on further possible provocations in the South China Sea by the Philippines and it must bear all the consequences arising therefrom," Hong said.

Asked what the US 7th Fleet would do to help the Filipino marines, Thomas said he did not wish to address "hypothetical" scenarios, but then highlighted his country's 1951 mutual defence pact with Manila.

"And so without going into the hypotheticals, what I would offer is that the 7th Fleet is going to support this alliance. Period," he said.

The pact binds each country to come to the other's aid if its armed forces or ships are attacked in the Pacific.

 

 

Submit or leave: Kiev's soldiers under siege in Crimea

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Perevalne, Ukraine (AFP) March 18, 2014 - Russian soldiers dig trenches and set up mortars on a hillside overlooking the Ukrainian military base of Perevalne in Crimea.

Inside, soldiers loyal to Kiev are facing a painful dilemma -- desert and submit to the new authorities or leave the peninsula.

Crimea's separatist parliament this week ordered the "dissolution" of these military units in Crimea as part of a declared nationalisation of Ukrainian state property.

The bases have been under siege since February from pro-Russian civilians and thousands of Russian soldiers without national insignia.

Crimea's parliament speaker Volodymyr Konstantynov has ordered the Ukrainian military to "serve in Crimea and swear allegiance to the republic or continue to serve outside the borders of Crimea in the Ukrainian army".

Thousands of Ukrainian military are based on the peninsula -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday estimated their number at 22,000 -- who have been forced to watch listlessly as Russian forces cement their siege.

Ukrainian authorities on Monday reiterated there was no question of their troops leaving the peninsula but have excluded the possibility of attacking the Russian forces.

Reports of an agreement between Russian and Ukrainian commanders on the partial lifting of the siege until Friday to allow supplies did not appear to be reflected on the ground in Perevalne -- a base 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of Crimea's main city, Simferopol.

Outside the gates, around 15 Russian soldiers in camouflage could be seen near an armoured personnel carrier, lines of barbed wire and cement blocks to prevent access.

The siege has been getting more organised by the day -- with heated tents, toilets and transmission equipment now set up near the base.

- Defend without shooting -

Pro-Russian civilians in front of the gates were more aggressive than ever, insulting and threatening foreign journalists and trying to take a camera from an AFP reporter.

Three Ukrainian soldiers observed the scene.

At the immense base of Sevastopol, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, just two ships are flying the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine -- compared with around 20 Russian flags.

The Ukrainian ships have distanced themselves from the dockside to make an assault more difficult, and three marines with bulletproof vests and helmets could be seen standing guard.

Russian vessels and giant cisterns linked by chains block access to the port.

"We are prisoners of the political situation and of the port," said Pavlo, an officer.

"Until the politicians decide the situation between themselves, we will be hostages here," he said, explaining that he had been ordered to defend the ship without firing a shot.

"We have an agreement with the Russians that everything stays calm until March 21, and after that as well I hope," he said.

"After that we don't know, only Moscow and Kiev know. We're here, we're not getting off the ship. We're military men, we're waiting for our orders," he said.

In Sevastopol and Simferopol, special offices have been set up inside the recruitment centres of the Ukrainian army -- now under Crimean control -- for the soldiers and sailors of Kiev who want to defect.

A day after the referendum, Crimea's prime minister Sergiy Aksyonov said that 500 Ukrainian military in Sevastopol had already joined Crimea's forces -- soon to be the Russian army.

 

 

India says report on '62 war with China to stay classified

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) March 18, 2014 - India's defence ministry said Tuesday a controversial report about the country's defeat by China in a brief, bloody 1962 border war would remain classified due to its "sensitive" nature.

The comments came after excerpts from the Henderson Brooks Report analysing the causes of India's defeat were reportedly uploaded on the Internet by veteran Australian journalist Neville Maxwell.

The report could not be accessed from India, and there was no immediate explanation for why the website was blocked.

But India's NDTV television network website cited passages from the document it said were posted by Maxwell, who reported extensively on the war.

India in the war "acted on a militarily unsound basis of not relying on our own strength but rather on believed lack of reaction from the Chinese", NDTV quoted the report as saying.

Maxwell said on his website he always had access to the report but had been waiting for it to be declassified, the Press Trust of India national news agency said.

Maxwell, now nearly 90, decided to put out a large part of it in the public domain because of India's unwillingness to release it, according to the news agency.

"As I see it now, I have no option but rather than leave the dilemma to my heirs, to put the report on the Internet myself," Maxwell was quoted on his website as saying by news magazine India Today.

In 1962, a Chinese offensive overwhelmed India's unprepared defence forces, media reports at the time said, with the magazine Time describing the Chinese offensive as a "human-sea assault".

The month-long war ended with China calling a unilateral ceasefire and withdrawing from India's northeast while retaining Aksai Chin, a strategic corridor linking Tibet to western China.

India's defence ministry declined to comment on the reported contents of the report.

"Given the extremely sensitive nature of the report, which is of current operational value, it is reiterated the government has classified it as a top secret document," the defence ministry said, according to the Press Trust of India.

"As such, it would not be appropriate to comment on the contents uploaded by Neville Maxwell on the web," the ministry said.

Ahead of general elections due to kick off next month in India, the alleged Chinese war revelations have given the opposition a chance to fire more salvos at the governing Congress party which is struggling in opinion polls.

Many historians blame Congress Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for misreading the border situation and allowing the 1962 defeat to occur.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted by local media as asking, "What is the government trying to hide by making the Indo-China war report classified?"

While there is heavy trade between India and China, relations are still dogged by mutual suspicion -- a legacy of the border war in which India got a bloody nose.

The countries have held a series of talks to resolve their border dispute but the frontier still bristles with tensions.

 

 

Ukraine PM says no plans to join NATO

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Kiev (AFP) March 18, 2014 - Ukraine's new Western-backed prime minister said Tuesday that the ex-Soviet country had no plans to join NATO following last month's fall of a pro-Kremlin regime.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk delivered a special address to the nation designed to ease tensions between Ukrainian nationalists who spearheaded three months of protests against the pro-Moscow authorities and Russian speakers who view the new pro-European government in Kiev with mistrust.

"For the sole purpose of preserving the (social) unity of Ukraine, the issue of (Ukraine's) accession to NATO is not on the agenda," Yatsenyuk said in remarks delivered in Russian and intended specifically for the southeastern parts of his culturally splintered nation of 46 million.

"The country will be defended by a strong and modern Ukrainian army," he said.

Ukraine signed up to a partnership deal with NATO in 1997 after the fall of communism and the end of the Soviet Union but it is not a full member of the military alliance.

Moscow this week unveiled its own plan for settling the Ukrainian crisis that included a provision for its neighbour to assume "a neutral political and military status" whose sovereignty would be guaranteed by Russia as well as the European Union and the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin -- in Moscow speaking to both houses of parliament about the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War -- said he remained firmly against NATO's encroachment on his country's western frontier.

"We are not against cooperating with NATO," Putin said in his own live national television appearance.

"We are against (NATO) making itself at home near our fence, near our home and on our historic lands."

Russia and NATO signed a landmark post-Cold War agreement in 1997 in which the two military rivals agreed that they no longer viewed each other as enemies.

But Moscow has been outraged by the Western military bloc's expansion in the past two decades into countries that were once considered Soviet satellite states.

Ukraine's new premier -- in power since the February 22 ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych -- is still due to sign in Brussels on Friday the political portion of a landmark EU pact whose rejection in November sparked the protests that led to the old government's fall.

'Artificial conflicts'

Yatsenyuk said he had decided to postpone signing the economic portion of the EU Association Agreement because he feared that its tough free-trade terms would negatively affect the factories dotting Ukraine's industrial southeast.

But he also accused Russia of taking aim at Ukrainian regions near its border after pressing ahead with widely condemned plans to absorb the flashpoint Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Putin has reserved the right to use force in Ukraine to "protect" ethnic Russians across the vast country.

"Unfortunately, Crimea is not the only region of indivisible Ukraine where foreign forces are trying to destabilise the situation, foment artificial conflicts, organise disturbances and provoke an armed aggression under the pretext of a so-called defence of Russian speakers," Yatsenyuk said.

Yatsenyuk also conceded there were ethnic Russians "who sincerely attend" pro-Kremlin protests and stressed that "we hear and listen to them, especially since they are knocking at an open door."

 

 

Human Rights Watch chief praises Merkel 'rethink' on Russia

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Berlin (AFP) March 18, 2014 - The head of Human Rights Watch on Tuesday praised a hardening of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance on Russia and urged her to also take a tougher line in upcoming talks with China.

Merkel met the chief of the New York-based rights watchdog, Kenneth Roth, and Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty at her office in Berlin on issues including the Ukraine crisis and a visit to Germany this month by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Roth told AFP that striking the right balance between business interests and policy principles had dominated the discussion.

"We all recall 'Ostpolitik', the thinking that if you just engage with Russia then everything will gradually get better," Roth said after the 45-minute meeting.

"That view is now widely discredited so the chancellor and Foreign Minister (Frank-Walter) Steinmeier are in the process of rejiggering their Russia policy and we're seeing that under way."

Merkel, as the European Union's most influential political leader at the helm of its biggest economy, faced criticism early in the Ukraine debate for doing too little to rein in Russian President Vladimir Putin due to post-war diplomatic tradition and German reliance on Russian energy and imports.

Roth said Merkel now seemed ready to bring pressure to bear against Putin in a language he understood.

"Certainly the rhetoric has been tougher, the beginnings of sanctions are being imposed and there seems to be a much more clear-eyed understanding that Putin is not going to respond to engagement per se (which he sees as) a sign of acquiescence and weakness and that the only thing that works with Putin is toughness," he said.

Roth said he and Shetty had urged Merkel to get at the root of Putin's "adventurism" in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

He said this included deploying international monitors and leaning on the new government in Ukraine to ensure the rights of the Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine are protected -- moves Merkel has backed. Putin has cited rights violations to justify the seizure of Crimea.

But Roth said the bigger issue which had largely been ignored in the West was that Putin's stifling of dissent at home had laid the foundations for the current turmoil.

"The origins of what makes it possible for Putin to do what he's doing in Crimea and what he's threatening to do in the rest of eastern Ukraine are the crackdown on civil society and the suppression of the media in Russia" which offer a "one-dimensional, propagandistic view" of Putin's policies, Roth said.

- 'Call their bluff' -

He said that if the West continues to deploy more of its "arsenal" of biting sanctions, the "economic pain" would force Putin to recalculate.

Similarly, Roth said, Merkel should not be afraid to challenge Xi on human rights during their upcoming talks.

"Despite what Beijing would like you to believe, that they are impervious to international pressure, in fact there is a history up to the present of the Chinese government responding to international pressure," he said.

Roth said that despite potential threats by Beijing to shut off dialogue or curb business ties, Merkel should "call their bluff".

"She was quite up front (that) there are only so many things you can say publicly, that the German business community feels it has the most to lose even though Germany is one of the few nations with the clout to be able to say something," Roth said.

He also said Merkel had an obligation to back the 400 million Chinese people now using social media to make their voices heard.

"If you really want to change things in China, you've got to empower the engine that is most likely to produce change and that's the Chinese people," he said.

Merkel's office declined to comment on the talks with Roth and Shetty as they were not open to the media.

But a source close to her said they had covered "global human rights policy and hot spots covered by the organisations' work."

 

 

Michelle Obama looks to ease mistrust on China trip

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 17, 2014 - Michelle Obama will look to dispel growing mistrust between the United States and China through a weeklong tour of the Asian power focused deliberately on soft issues, officials said Monday.

Accompanied by her two daughters and mother, the US first lady will head Wednesday on a tour to some of China's most celebrated sites including the Great Wall, the ancient terracotta warrior sculptures of Xian and a panda preserve.

White House officials said that Michelle Obama would not take up the myriad disputes between the two nations but would instead speak about educational exchanges and emphasize US goodwill toward the Chinese people.

"I think it is important to break through that mistrust and the first lady's visit is an opportunity to do that," Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told reporters.

The Chinese public's opinion of the United States has significantly worsened from highs when President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Forty percent of Chinese had a favorable opinion of the United States in last year's Pew Research Center survey -- a figure far below that in Western and African nations but still higher than the rate in most of the Islamic world.

The world's two largest economies have been increasingly at odds over issues that include allegations of mass Chinese cyber-espionage and Beijing's increasing assertiveness in territorial disputes with US allies Japan and the Philippines.

Rhodes hoped that Michelle Obama would indirectly highlight one frequent US concern in China -- human rights -- by her very background. Michelle Obama was raised in humble circumstances in Chicago before becoming a successful lawyer, while her husband is the first president from the historically persecuted African American minority.

"I think the first lady's story itself sends a powerful message about the ability of someone from a disadvantaged economic background, from a minority group, to ascend to the positions that she did in private life and now as first lady," Rhodes said.

- Shifting the US-China focus -

While his wife is visiting China, President Obama will take up the gamut of US-China relations in a meeting with counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of next week's nuclear security summit in The Netherlands.

Michelle Obama will meet in Beijing with Xi's wife, the singer Peng Liyuan. The US first lady caused a minor stir in June when she did not go to a California desert resort to mingle with Peng over a weekend intended to build a relationship between the two presidents.

In Beijing, Peng will guide Michelle Obama through Beijing's Forbidden City and welcome her with a dinner and performance, the White House said. The Obamas will also tour the Great Wall, the ancient city of Xian and the southwestern city of Chengdu, near the habitat of pandas, China's emblematic animal.

Michelle Obama will deliver speeches on educational cooperation. China is the largest source of foreign students to US universities and a growing number of US students have studied Mandarin -- including the Obamas' eldest daughter, 15-year-old Malia.

Philip J. Crowley, a former State Department spokesman, said that Michelle Obama's trip can help reframe the US-China relationship away from just the countries' disagreements.

"These differences are real and important. But there are also many areas where the countries' interests overlap and they deserve attention as well," said Crowley, now a professor at George Washington University.

Michelle Obama has enjoyed consistently higher popularity ratings than her husband and has mostly stayed away from controversial topics, instead leading a campaign to encourage Americans to eat better and exercise.

 

 

China re-iterates calls for restraint in Crimea

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 17, 2014 - China said Monday it respected "all countries' independent sovereignty and territorial integrity", in an ambiguous statement after Ukraine's Crimea region voted to join its ally Russia.

The crisis in Ukraine has trapped Beijing in a foreign policy corner of wanting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Moscow yet shuddering at domestic political tumult backed by foreign powers.

Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and applied to join Russia Monday after an overwhelming 96.6 percent of referendum voters cast their support on Sunday for secession.

"China always respects all countries' independent sovereignty and territorial integrity," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing, without specifying whose sovereignty he was referring to.

"The Crimea issue should be politically resolved within the framework of law and order," he added.

Hong urged all sides to exercise restraint and for outside actors to work to de-escalate tensions, echoing statements from another foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, on Sunday.

Crimea's move to join Russia came weeks after protesters in Ukraine carried out their own political overhaul, forcing the president to flee after protracted demonstrations that ultimately turned violent.

The interim Ukrainian government is supported by Western countries but rejected by Russia, while the Crimean referendum was denounced by the West and celebrated by Russia.

China meanwhile has sought to juggle both its ties with Russia and its longtime denouncing of intervention in other countries' domestic affairs, particularly popular uprisings, which it fears could occur at some point in its own territory.

China abstained from a UN vote on Saturday to condemn Crimea's referendum, with its ambassador to the international body saying such a move would "only result in confrontation and further complicate the situation".

Beijing also abstained when the Security Council ruled on a similar international crisis between Russia and Georgia in 2008.

 

 

Ukraine denounces Russian 'provocations,' troop build-up

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) March 17, 2014 - Ukraine's foreign minister denounced Russian "provocations" Monday, warning of a troop build-up on the border and the presence of "political tourists" in its eastern regions.

"We are very much concerned by the number of Russian troops on the (border)," Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said after talks with NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Kiev's interim government was also worried by "the number of Russian political tourists in eastern Ukraine regions and with the number of provocations Russians are trying to organise," Deshchytsya said.

He said the situation looked very similar to that in Georgia in 2008 when Russia sent in troops to secure the independence of two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Ukraine was being careful not to be duped into a military escalation, he said.

"We are instructing our military, and also suggest other people, not to go for provocations," he said, stressing Kiev's efforts to use "diplomatic means to solve and settle this conflict peacefully."

Rasmussen made no separate comment but has said earlier he views Russian intervention in Ukraine, and especially in Crimea, as a threat to European security.

Deshchytsya, speaking just as the pro-Russian assembly in Crimea declared independence and asked formally to join Russia, called for stepped up cooperation with NATO.

This would be done under existing links with the US-led military alliance and cover such things as technical help and stepped up exercises.

Ukraine has not asked for a NATO "military presence," the minister said.

Ukraine signed a partnership accord deal with NATO in 1997 after the fall of communism and the end of the Soviet Union, but is not a full member so does not come under its protective umbrella.

The alliance agreed at a 2008 summit that Kiev could seek full membership, as other former Soviet satellites such as Poland have done.

That move infuriated Moscow and two years later, the now ousted pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych ditched this option.

 

 

Russia flies warplanes to Belarus for joint combat duty

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:47 PMGo to full article
Moscow (XNA) Mar 16, 2014 - Moscow has deployed six SU-27 fighters and three military transport jets to Belarus, in an apparent reaction to growing NATO activity near the Belarusian border, the Russian defense ministry said Thursday.

"The air crews of the Russian jets will be on combat duty with their Belarusian colleagues for purposes of air reconnaissance and ensuring defense of the air space of the Union State," the Itar- Tass news agency quoted a ministry spokesman as saying.

A group of military-technical personnel of the Russian Western Military District were on board to the Bobruisk aerodrome in the Mogilyov region of Belarus, he said, adding that the move was in accordance with an agreement signed by the two countries on joint defense of the external border of the Union State.

Russian side's confirmation came hours after Belarusian defense ministry released a statement on the deployment.

"In the event of further accumulation of troops formations in the states adjoining Belarus, it will take adequate measures of response on its territory," the Belarusian defense ministry said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko suggested Wednesday that Russia deploy up to 15 planes in his country in response to the growing NATO activity near the Belarusian border.

Meanwhile, Lukashenko on Thursday declined that he was asking for military assistance from Russia.

"If NATO or someone is making any movements over there in Poland, we have a plan for such a contingency, and we would have to implement it ... I suggested to Russia: let's implement it," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Also on Thursday, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) secretary general Nikolai Bordyuzha said "the CSTO has not remained indifferent to a group of NATO aviation being stationed near the Belarusian border."

"We have spotted reconnaissance activity near that region. Nonetheless, we think that planning any measures today is premature," he said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

 

 

China's Xi seeks both power and friendship abroad

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 15, 2014 - Xi Jinping has spent much of his first year as China's president greeting a stream of foreign leaders, but his government's dual message of power and peace has garnered a mixed response.

Since taking office a year ago on Friday, Xi has made trips to shore up ties with the United States and Russia, travelled around Asia, Africa and Latin America, and personally welcomed foreign dignitaries to Beijing more than 80 times, all while governing the world's most populous country.

Yet his administration's hard line on numerous territorial disputes with neighbours have frayed ties with Asia's other key economy Japan, and reinforced fears in the region and beyond that China's rise poses a threat -- something it constantly denies.

The two-pronged approach is intentional. As Xi explained in a key speech on diplomacy last October, China's goals overseas are "to strive for favourable external conditions for China's reform, development and stability" and to "uphold national sovereignty".

But he faces a "fundamental contradiction" in the "attempt to both charm and go on the offensive", said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The "divergent behaviour risks undermining China's regional diplomatic strategy if continued", he said in emailed comments.

China's global interests are expanding -- although it struggles to develop an overarching foreign policy -- while others are keen to forge ties with the rising power.

"It's natural that countries near and far, small and large, seek to build strong ties with China," Haenle said.

At the same time, he added, "China is increasingly dependent on external trade to secure energy, resources, and food security, and thus is highly pragmatic when it comes to forging foreign relations for mutual benefit".

- Comprehensive diplomacy -

In his first year as president Xi visited more than a dozen nations, from a BRICS gathering in South Africa to an APEC summit in Indonesia, with multi-country stops in Latin America and Central Asia, while Premier Li Keqiang travelled to South Asia, Europe and elsewhere.

Xi paid extra attention to key countries, taking his first trip as president to Russia and returning twice more within the year.

Moscow is a fellow UN Security Council member with which Beijing often sides on international affairs -- although it has adopted an ambiguous position on the Crimea crisis.

Three months into Xi's term he travelled to California for a two-day summit with President Barack Obama, where he touted a "new type of great-power relationship", signalling China's desire to both strengthen ties with the US but also command greater respect.

Xi also managed to meet foreign leaders visiting Beijing nearly once every four days on average. It seemed no country, from Suriname to Macedonia to Fiji, was too small to warrant a handshake from one of the world's most powerful people.

"That basically covers great powers, regional and developing countries. So it's a very comprehensive, all-fronts sort of diplomacy," said Jingdong Yuan, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at the University of Sydney.

- 'We are less friendly' -

In his speech on diplomacy in October, attended by Li and all the country's top leaders, Xi said China needed to "be more active in blueprinting diplomatic strategy and undertaking diplomatic work".

"We should clearly present our policies to the outside world... and let the sense of common destiny take root with our neighbours," he said.

Yet by flexing its muscle in territorial disputes with neighbours, Xi's administration escalated tensions with Japan and the Philippines and worried other countries.

The dispute with Japan over East China Sea islands stretches back decades, but tensions flared after Tokyo nationalised some of them in September 2012.

Since then Beijing has frequently sent vessels to patrol the region, prompting Tokyo to scramble jets and raising fears of an unintended clash between the world's second and third-largest economies -- which could drag in the US because of its security pact with Japan.

Beijing further antagonised its neighbours last November with a surprise declaration of an "air defence identification zone" over waters including the contested islands.

While other countries also maintain ADIZs, in which aircraft are required to make themselves known to authorities, China's was denounced in Tokyo and Washington as a provocative move.

Beijing blamed Tokyo for escalating the conflict with its purchase of the islands.

Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai, said that even if Beijing felt justified in its actions, it needed to maintain ties with Tokyo and overcome its stereotype as a bully.

He rated Xi's diplomatic performance 85 out of 100, docking 10 points for rocky ties with Japan and other neighbours.

"China has tried to revamp its image but without much success. This is still a big issue that President Xi Jinping and his administration need to work on," he said.

"Others feel we are a big country, a great country, and we are less friendly."

 

 

Former Soviet satellites sign joint military pact

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Visegrad, Hungary (AFP) March 14, 2014 - Four former Soviet satellites in Central Europe signed a military pact Friday to coordinate defence planning and to create a joint combat unit to operate under NATO and EU auspices, in response to the Ukraine crisis.

"The current situation in Europe shows that unfortunately a military conflict, previously considered unthinkable, could happen," Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said at a meeting of the Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Speaking in Visegrad, Hungary, he said the Ukraine crisis showed the importance of "more dynamic cooperation" between the V4 countries within NATO and the European Union.

The "V4-EU" combat unit would only be ready to take part in NATO or EU operations by 2016, however, he said, adding that V4 military cooperation was "unique" within the NATO miliary alliance.

Europe's defence capabilities can be "improved," he told a news conference.

Hungarian Defence Minister Csaba Hende said that the joint body would comprise 3,000 soldiers contributed by the four countries.

"It would operate as a regional unit within NATO or EU operations," he added.

Friday's deal, signed by the defence ministers of all four countries, also included commitments on joint military exercises and defence spending coordination.

The V4 group was set up in 1991 as a forum for its members -- all former communist countries and current EU members -- to discuss common security and energy issues.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said Thursday that the V4 members are particularly "vulnerable" to the Ukrainian situation, would be hurt by EU sanctions against Russia and would expect "solidarity" from other EU member states.

Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary all have borders with Ukraine as well as significant minorities living there, mostly in the western part of the crisis-wracked former Soviet state.

UN resolution on Crimea: Russia vetoes, China abstains
United Nations, United States (AFP) March 15, 2014 - Russia vetoed a Western-backed resolution condemning the Crimea referendum at a UN Security Council emergency vote Saturday, but China abstained, isolating Moscow further on the Ukraine crisis.

The draft resolution, which says Sunday's referendum would have no validity, got 13 votes in the 15-member council. But it was rejected when permanent member Russia exercised its veto.

The resolution declares that the referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should come under Kremlin rule "cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea."

China often backs Russia at the council, especially on Syria-related votes, and Western powers presented its abstention as the best possible outcome from the seventh UN emergency session since the crisis began.

"Russia, isolated, alone and wrong, blocked the resolution's passage," US ambassador Samantha Power told the council.

"This is a sad and remarkable moment."

US national security advisers assembled at the White House to discuss Ukraine. President Barack Obama was not there but was being briefed, a senior US official said.

"Russia totally isolated at UNSC. 13 vote for Resolution. Even China abstains. Russia alone in refusing to affirm sovereignty of #Ukraine," US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted.

It came as Ukraine accused Russian forces of invading a southeastern region of the country that neighbors Crimea.

Thanking the UN for its efforts, Kiev warned the world the situation on the ground had suddenly got worse.

"This is something which changes the situation dramatically," Ukraine's ambassador to the UN, Yuriy Sergeyev, told reporters.

The United States was looking into the reports but would see any new Russian troop movement in south Ukraine as an "outrageous escalation," Power warned.

"For something additional, even more escalatory to have occurred would be flying in the face of everything you have heard here today," she said.

The Security Council session, which lasted more than an hour, degenerated into the usual recriminations between Western powers and Ukraine stacked up in one corner, and Russia in the other.

Russia's veto had been certain after last-ditch talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov broke down in London on Friday.

"It is a secret to no one that the Russian Federation will vote against the resolution," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council before the vote.

He defended Crimea's referendum as necessary to fill the "legal vacuum" that arose "as a result of an unconstitutional coup d'etat in Ukraine."

He later singled out Ukraine for "going beyond" permissible rhetoric, France for failing to mention alleged killings in Russian-speaking Ukraine and the United States for its "PR."

"Madam Power spoke of truth. Was Washington telling its truth about its role in the development of the crisis?" he thundered.

"Why are you negating the right of the people in Crimea to express their will in the referendum tomorrow?"

- 'A sad day' -

France, like Ukraine, harkened back to the days of the Cold War.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters that the impending annexation of Crimea was "totally unacceptable."

"It's a sad day, really, because we have the impression to go back 30 or 40 years," he added.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant demanded Russia work to find a peaceful solution and "take notice of its isolation."

"If Russia fails to respond to Ukraine's outstretched hand, it will lead to further escalation of tension in the region and further consequences for Russia," he said.

The United States had drafted the resolution in very measured terms so that it could be accepted by Beijing.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi justified Beijing's abstention by saying that passing a resolution at this moment would "only result in confrontation and further complicate the situation."

"China has always been fair and objective. We will continue to mediate and promote dialogue so as to play a constructive role in seeking a political solution to the crisis," he said.

Beijing has long defended the need to respect territorial integrity and does not back interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

When the Security Council ruled on a similar international crisis, between Russia and Georgia in 2008, Beijing abstained.

 

 

UN resolution on Crimea: Russia vetoes, China abstains

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
United Nations, United States (AFP) March 15, 2014 - Russia vetoed a Western-backed resolution condemning the Crimea referendum at a UN Security Council emergency vote Saturday, but China abstained, isolating Moscow further on the Ukraine crisis.

The draft resolution, which says Sunday's referendum would have no validity, got 13 votes in the 15-member council. But it was rejected when permanent member Russia exercised its veto.

The resolution declares that the referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should come under Kremlin rule "cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea."

China often backs Russia at the council, especially on Syria-related votes, and Western powers presented its abstention as the best possible outcome from the seventh UN emergency session since the crisis began.

"Russia, isolated, alone and wrong, blocked the resolution's passage," US ambassador Samantha Power told the council.

"This is a sad and remarkable moment."

US national security advisers assembled at the White House to discuss Ukraine. President Barack Obama was not there but was being briefed, a senior US official said.

"Russia totally isolated at UNSC. 13 vote for Resolution. Even China abstains. Russia alone in refusing to affirm sovereignty of #Ukraine," US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted.

It came as Ukraine accused Russian forces of invading a southeastern region of the country that neighbors Crimea.

Thanking the UN for its efforts, Kiev warned the world the situation on the ground had suddenly got worse.

"This is something which changes the situation dramatically," Ukraine's ambassador to the UN, Yuriy Sergeyev, told reporters.

The United States was looking into the reports but would see any new Russian troop movement in south Ukraine as an "outrageous escalation," Power warned.

"For something additional, even more escalatory to have occurred would be flying in the face of everything you have heard here today," she said.

The Security Council session, which lasted more than an hour, degenerated into the usual recriminations between Western powers and Ukraine stacked up in one corner, and Russia in the other.

Russia's veto had been certain after last-ditch talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov broke down in London on Friday.

"It is a secret to no one that the Russian Federation will vote against the resolution," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council before the vote.

He defended Crimea's referendum as necessary to fill the "legal vacuum" that arose "as a result of an unconstitutional coup d'etat in Ukraine."

He later singled out Ukraine for "going beyond" permissible rhetoric, France for failing to mention alleged killings in Russian-speaking Ukraine and the United States for its "PR."

"Madam Power spoke of truth. Was Washington telling its truth about its role in the development of the crisis?" he thundered.

"Why are you negating the right of the people in Crimea to express their will in the referendum tomorrow?"

- 'A sad day' -

France, like Ukraine, harkened back to the days of the Cold War.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters that the impending annexation of Crimea was "totally unacceptable."

"It's a sad day, really, because we have the impression to go back 30 or 40 years," he added.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant demanded Russia work to find a peaceful solution and "take notice of its isolation."

"If Russia fails to respond to Ukraine's outstretched hand, it will lead to further escalation of tension in the region and further consequences for Russia," he said.

The United States had drafted the resolution in very measured terms so that it could be accepted by Beijing.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi justified Beijing's abstention by saying that passing a resolution at this moment would "only result in confrontation and further complicate the situation."

"China has always been fair and objective. We will continue to mediate and promote dialogue so as to play a constructive role in seeking a political solution to the crisis," he said.

Beijing has long defended the need to respect territorial integrity and does not back interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

When the Security Council ruled on a similar international crisis, between Russia and Georgia in 2008, Beijing abstained.

 

 

Philippines says US defence deal close, amid China row

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) March 14, 2014 - The Philippines said Friday a deal to allow a greater US military presence on its territory could be signed next month, in a timely defence boost amid a worsening territorial row with China.

There was optimism the pact could be secured ahead of US President Barack Obama's April visit to Manila after the two sides agreed on a contentious issue that would see US forces build "structures" on their hosts military bases, Filipino officials said.

"Discussions in the sixth round were substantive and productive, and significant progress was made," Philippine Defence Undersecretary Pio Batino told reporters in Manila following the latest round of talks in Washington last week.

Fellow negotiators said: "If the negotiations are successfully concluded and that happens before the arrival of President Obama, then we will be happy of course".

However, the officials declined to set an April deadline, citing the need to ensure the language was in line with Philippine laws and yielded the maximum benefits for the hosts.

Washington has said Obama will visit the Philippines in April as part of a four-nation tour of East Asia.

The Philippine government sees hosting more US forces as an important part of its strategy to counter an increasingly assertive China in an escalating dispute over rival claims to the South China Sea.

With its military capabilities dwarfed by China's the Philippines has been looking for more diplomatic and military support from the United States, its former colonial ruler and longtime ally.

A decades-long dispute over rival claims to parts of the South China Sea has sharply worsened over the past two years, with the Philippines accusing China of bullying and violating international laws.

Among the recent flare-ups, Manila accused the Chinese coastguard of firing a water cannon on January 27 at two Filipino fishing boats near a shoal that is within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines then said Chinese ships blocked Filipino vessels from bringing food to Filipino marines on another shoal within its territory.

Both outcrops lie many hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest Chinese landmass, but China claims most of the sea, even waters approaching the coasts of its neighbours.

American forces were forced to pull out of major military bases in the Philippines in 1992, ending nearly a century of military presence, amid a rental dispute and rising anti-American sentiment.

However since 2002 several hundred Special Forces troops on short term deployments have training Filipino counterparts who are fighting Islamic militants in the south.

 

 

US weighs request for military aid from Ukraine: officials

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 13, 2014 - The United States is "reviewing" a request from Ukraine's leaders for arms and other military assistance, officials said Thursday, denying reports they had rejected Kiev's appeal.

The requests cover a range of both lethal and non-lethal aid, including intelligence support, ammunition and weapons, administration officials said.

"We are reviewing and working through a series of requests that they have made," a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

But no final decision had been made, two officials said.

The US administration had agreed to one of the requests, pledging to provide the Ukrainians with supplies of military rations known as MREs, or "meals ready to eat," the officials said.

The appeal to the Pentagon coincided with a visit to the United States by the country's new premier, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who addressed an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Thursday.

President Barack Obama's administration has denounced Russia's intervention in Ukraine but has virtually ruled out military action while trying to promote a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials have rebuffed Kiev's request, at least for the moment, as the Obama administration is worried about stoking tensions with Moscow or triggering an all-out war between Ukraine and Russia.

The Journal, citing unnamed officials, said Ukraine had made a detailed request for aid that included communications gear, aviation fuel, night vision goggles and other items.

The Pentagon had said previously that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke Friday to his Ukrainian counterpart who asked for technical advice on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Hagel said that he would consider any requests for assistance from Ukraine, according to Pentagon officials.

Since the crisis erupted, the US military has steered clear of direct support to Ukraine.

But it has suspended defense cooperation with Russia and sought to reassure anxious allies in Eastern Europe, deploying F-15 aircraft for air patrols over Baltic states and F-16 fighters to Poland for stepped-up aviation training.

US Navy destroyer to conduct more Black Sea drills: commander
Sofia (AFP) March 15, 2014 - A US Navy guided-missile destroyer will remain in the Black Sea to conduct more exercises with allied ships, its commander said on Saturday, the eve of a breakaway vote in Crimea.

The USS Truxtun this week conducted joint exercises with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces just a few hundred kilometres (miles) away from the disputed Crimea peninsula.

"I cannot comment on our future operations but we will take the opportunity to do some routine exercises with our allies in the region," said Commander Andrew Biehn.

Speaking to reporters aboard the 300-crew ship at the Black Sea port of Varna, Biehn refused to provide details about the drills or the next port of dock of the destroyer, which will leave Varna on Sunday.

The drills were routine and had been "planned a long time before the start of the Crimean crisis." They did not include live firing, he said.

The move comes just days after the Pentagon sought to reassure anxious allies in Central and Eastern Europe over Russia's actions in Ukraine, announcing plans to send more F-15 fighter jets to patrol the skies over Baltic states and stepping up aviation training in Poland.

Pro-Russian forces have taken de facto control of the Crimean peninsula, where a controversial referendum on breaking away from Ukraine to join Russia will be held on Sunday.

The only other US naval ship deployed in the Black Sea is the USS Taylor, a frigate undergoing repairs at the Turkish port of Samsun after having run aground last month.

 

 

Philippines drops food to troops after China 'blockade'

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) March 13, 2014 - The Philippine military said Thursday it had evaded a Chinese sea blockade by using an airplane to drop food to soldiers on a tiny and remote South China Sea shoal claimed by both countries.

The incident was the latest to escalate tensions between the Asian nations over their conflicting claims to parts of the South China Sea, a major sealane and rich fishing ground that is believed to hold vast mineral resources.

"We confirmed there was an airdrop of food to our troops," Defence Department spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said.

He said the airdrop was "via airplane," but did not say when it occurred nor give further details.

The incident took place at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly island group, which is around 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan and which Manila insists is part of its continental shelf.

The shoal is more than 1,000 kilometres from Hainan island, the closest Chinese landmass, but China claims nearly all of the South China Sea based on what it says are historical records.

A tiny unit of Filipino marines live on the BRP Sierra Madre, a decrepit, beached former World-War-II US navy transport ship that was transferred to the Philippine navy and run aground on the shoal in the 1990s.

Troops on the 1,000-metre (3,280-foot) long ship have ever since guarded the shoal.

China has long demanded the Philippines pull out the vessel and the marines.

But the Philippines said this week that Chinese coastguard ships blocked two Philippine-flagged civilian vessels on March 9 as they were carrying supplies and personnel to the shoal.

The Philippines said this was the first time there had been such Chinese resistance.

The Philippines issued a diplomatic protest over the incident, but China in response reiterated its position that the shoal was Chinese territory.

The Philippines and China, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam all claim parts or all of the South China Sea.

The Philippine government has accused China of becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its claims to the sea. Last year it initiated United Nations arbitration to settle the dispute, but China refused to participate.

The Philippines also last month accused Chinese ships of using a water cannon to drive away Filipino fishermen who were approaching Scarborough Shoal, another South China Sea outcrop.

 

 

Surrounded Crimean commander makes desperate appeal for help

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Kiev (AFP) March 13, 2014 - The commander of a surrounded Ukrainian military base in Crimea made a desperate appeal to his superiors Thursday to give him orders or he might have to shoot.

Yuliy Mamchur, commanding officer at Belbek air base in Crimea's capital Sevastopol, made his cry for help in a video address, broadcast on Ukrainian television, as tensions remained high on the Black Sea peninsula, now under de facto control by Russian forces.

"To avoid armed confrontations, I ask you to tell us as quickly as possible what commanding officers need to do if troops or members of their families come under threat," he urged.

"If you do not make a decision, we will act according to the status of the Ukrainian armed forces, even opening fire if need be," he warned.

Mamchur's appeal came as Russian forces have surrounded Crimean military bases for over a week and as the peninsula prepares to vote in a referendum on Sunday on joining Russia.

"We realise that we cannot resist for long against Russian troops that are greater in number, better armed and better trained, but we are prepared to fulfil our duty to the end," Mamchur said, adding that "Russian ultimatums have become increasingly demanding".

The defence ministry said interim Minister Igor Tenyukh had spoken to Mamchur on the phone Thursday, assuring him that "urgent measures" had been taken to back the units stationed in Crimea.

It did not however say what these measures were.

 

 

Walker's World: Putin as carnivore

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Berlin (UPI) Mar 12, 2013 - The unfolding Ukraine crisis has become a classic example of the complex nature of power in the modern age.

Military, economic, diplomatic forms of power intertwine with geography, energy and political will in unexpected ways that point to the the unpredictable shape of international relations in a future marked by high levels of financial interdependence.

In the classic traditional calculations of power, based largely on military and industrial might, Russia should have been deterred from its aggressive and adventurous policy toward Ukraine. The United States remains far more potent in pure military terms but President Vladimir Putin rightly calculated the Obama administration would not risk any use of force.

Crimea was too far away for an easy deployment of U.S. military might, the stakes seemed to low for the risk involved and the precise nature of political events on the ground too murky for decisive American action. The Crimea is a part of the sovereign state of Ukraine, but the balance of demographic and political forces on the ground appeared complex, and the U.S. was not inclined to match the Kremlin's readiness to take political risks.

The European Union economy is roughly eight times greater, in terms of gross domestic product, than Russia's. The German economy alone is more than half as large again as the Russian, but the Europeans had neither the policy consensus nor the political will to use their economic power.

In part, this is because of the interdependence of the Russian and European economies, the importance of Russian oil and gas supplies and the amount of European investment at risk in Russia if the crisis escalates.

An enlarged photograph of some briefing papers carried by a senior British official to a meeting of the national security council in Downing Street revealed the British government thought it should "not support, for now, trade sanctions ... or close London's financial center to Russians."

Germany, the largest single European economy, is highly dependent on Russian energy, getting about half of its daily consumption of 2.8 billion barrels of oil from Russia mainly via the Druzhba pipeline through Belarus. In 2011, Germany imported around 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas from Russia, more than 60 percent of its gas imports and some 4 percent of its total gas consumption. But the new Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea, now bringing nearly 2.1 trillion cubic feet of gas, has sharply increased German dependence.

This means Europe's overall economic power is balanced by Russia's energy power. Just as importantly, the varying levels of dependence on Russian energy supplies makes it more difficult for the 28 EU member states to reach a consensus on policy.

By all the traditions of diplomacy, Russia should have been heavily outgunned. The U.S. and Europe are opposed to an expansion of Russian influence in Ukraine and to what looks like an effective Russia takeover of Crimea. The United Nations is committed to maintaining the territorial integrity of its member states. The United States and Britain signed agreements to guarantee Ukraine's security when Ukraine voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weapons in 1994.

But Putin played a weak hand well. He understood the likely divisions among the Europeans and between Europe and the United States. He also understood the geographic advantage of Russia's proximity to Ukraine and to the power on the ground of Russian naval forces already at their base in Crimea. Putin understands the importance of interdependence, that sanctions on Russia could hurt the British financial industry and German energy supplies.

Putin also understands the power of media in the modern age. Russian TV has overwhelmingly portrayed the demonstrators in Kiev who toppled the government of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych as neo-Nazis and extreme nationalists threatening the lives and property of ethnic Russians. At the same time, Putin has muddied the waters of media perception, arguing the shadowy pro-Russian groups who now claim power in Crimea are the real representatives of the Crimean population.

Last week, this columnist suggested Russia may have won the political battle of this Ukraine crisis, but was likely to lose the much longer war, which is about deterring Putin's attempt to rebuild a subtler version of the old Soviet Union and recovering as much as he can of the USSR's pre-1991 influence and control.

Putin is a hard power man with authoritarian instincts. He knew what he wanted and set out, craftily and with an acute sense of the levers of power in the modern age, to use his political will and determination to achieve his goal.

But in the long run, he has increased the isolation and suspicion of Russia. Putin is now perceived as a ruthless carnivore in a Europe of soft vegetarians. He is a ruthless rogue running an aggressive rogue state which uses its energy power as a diplomatic weapon (and which also deploys a formidable nuclear arsenal). And that will impose a price on him in the future, both internationally and domestically.

How much that price will be is unclear in these swirling new interplays of economic, military, energy, media and political power. But this is likely to be the confused and complex shape of international crises in the future. We have been warned.

 

 

US hits 'provocative' China move on Philippine ships

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:04:12 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) March 12, 2014 - The United States on Wednesday accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippines vessels as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea.

The United States, a treaty-bound ally of Manila, said it was "troubled" by Sunday's incident in which China prevented movement of two ships contracted by the Philippine navy to deliver supplies and troops to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.

"This is a provocative move that raises tensions. Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The Philippines on Tuesday summoned China's charge d'affaires, accusing Beijing of a "clear and urgent threat" to Manila's interests. Beijing countered that the ships "infringed China's territorial sovereignty" and violated a 2002 declaration of conduct in the South China Sea.

The United States rejected China's stance, saying that countries had the right to "regular resupply and rotation of personnel" to locations before the 2002 declaration.

The Second Thomas Shoal, which sits around 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan, is claimed by the Philippines, China and Taiwan. Beijing calls it Ren'ai Reef.

Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam claim other parts of the Spratly islands, which lie near vital sea lanes and rich fishing grounds and are also believe to sit on vast mineral resources.

The United States, while saying it takes no position on the sovereignty of disputed territories, has been increasingly robust in its criticism of China. Last month, the United States challenged the legal basis for China's claims over a vast area across the South China Sea.

The United States has been seeking to prevent China from taking more drastic action in the South China Sea. In November, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone -- requiring planes to report to Beijing -- over a vast area in the East China Sea where it has a separate but intense feud over Japanese-administered islands.

Japan and the Philippines have accused China of making growing incursions to challenge their control over territories. US President Barack Obama will visit both Japan and the Philippines next month.

 

 

Fifteen years on, Ukraine neighbours glad to be in NATO

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) March 11, 2014 - Fifteen years have passed since the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the NATO military alliance, a decision the ex-Soviet satellites now see as fortuitous given today's Ukraine standoff between Russia and the West.

"NATO is the safest alliance Poland ever joined," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Monday, hours before NATO announced it was deploying reconnaissance aircraft in his country and Romania as part of efforts to monitor the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.

NATO's 1990s overture to the East marked the beginning of the alliance's enlargement to former members of the now-defunct Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

After a decade of tough negotiations, the Czech Republic and Ukraine's neighbours Hungary and Poland joined the alliance on March 12, 1999.

This paved the way for a host of other ex-communist Central European states -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia -- to follow suit in 2004, thus erasing the divisions of the Cold War.

"If Poland weren't in NATO, then the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) certainly wouldn't be in it either," former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski said Sunday.

"There was a kind of security vacuum in this part of the world, which could have been filled by others," he said, adding that without NATO membership the Ukrainian conflict would pose "an extremely serious threat" for Poland and the Baltics.

"But today we're under the NATO umbrella and can sleep more soundly."

Sixty-two percent of Poles say they are happy with NATO membership, while only four percent disapprove, according to a February poll from the CBOS institute.

- A new Cold War? -

The Ukraine crisis has raised the spectre of the Cold War, with the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia comparing Russia's actions in Ukraine to Soviet crackdowns at home during that era.

NATO also held rare emergency talks after Poland requested consultations under Article 4 of the alliance treaty, which any member can do when they believe their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.

To reassure its eastern European NATO allies, the United States stepped up a joint training exercise with Poland and strengthened the alliance's air patrols over the Baltic states.

A dozen F-16 fighter jets and 300 US service personnel will descend on Poland by Thursday to take part in the exercise, originally planned to be smaller but increased and pushed forward because of the "tense political situation" in Ukraine, Polish defence ministry spokesman Jacek Sonta told AFP.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin says the breakaway Crimea peninsula has the right to join his country, Ukraine has sought US help to end Moscow's "aggression" in the strategic region, where it has effectively seized control.

Washington, along with London and Moscow, pledged to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity in a 1994 agreement under which the ex-Soviet republic agreed to give up its nuclear weapons.

"NATO today is no longer the same organisation that fought the USSR," said security expert and former Czech military intelligence chief Andor Sandor.

"It's no longer the alliance that we joined 15 years ago, but I continue to think it's in our best interest security-wise.

"Membership allowed our army to learn many things. We've met the Western standard in a lot of ways, and today many soldiers have completed missions, trained, held positions," he told AFP.

Hungary is likewise satisfied with its decision to join, according to defence expert Istvan Balogh from the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, the foreign ministry's think-tank.

"NATO membership has definitely been a net benefit to Hungary. It has anchored us in the transatlantic community," he told AFP.

"The combat experience we got out of Afghanistan, seeing how a 21st-century military environment works, has also contributed to developing the Hungarian military."

 

 

Crimea 'soldiers' swear oath before pro-Moscow PM

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Simferopol, Ukraine (AFP) March 10, 2014 - Crimea's pro-Russian authorities sought to boost their claim to break from Ukraine Monday as volunteer soldiers swore an oath of allegiance in front of prime minister Sergei Aksyonov.

Clutching Kalashnikov rifles to their chests and wearing fur-lined military fatigues, the 36 volunteers took their turns pledging to "defend the people of Crimea".

Before a large crowd of assembled journalists, Aksyonov, wearing a bullet-proof vest under his jacket and protected by two bodyguards, thanked the volunteers for their "devotion in this difficult time".

"You are now part of the bulwark defending the people of Crimea," he said.

He told journalists 186 volunteers had so far joined the new Crimean "self-defence" units after pro-Moscow forces took power in the region and announced their intention to join with Russia, with a referendum planned for Sunday.

"We have no intention of going to war with anyone," Aksyonov said. "We simply want to freely decide our own destiny. That is why we created armed forces. After the referendum they can be integrated into the Russian army."

Aksyonov said the Ukrainian soldiers who remain in Crimea, most of them inside bases surrounded by Russian troops, can join with pro-Russian forces or leave.

"After the referendum they will have to leave... or those who are citizens and who want to could swear allegiance to the autonomous republic of Crimea or the Russian Federation."

 

 

Russia floats own solution to Ukraine crisis

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) March 10, 2014 - Russia vowed on Monday to unveil its own solution to the Ukrainian crisis that would run counter to US efforts and would appear to leave room for Crimea to switch over to Kremlin rule.

The unexpected announcement came as Ukraine's new pro-European leaders raced to rally Western support in the face of the seizure by Kremlin-backed forces of the strategic Black Sea peninsula and plans to hold a Sunday referendum on switching Crimea's allegiance from Kiev to Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to invade Ukraine after a wave of deadly protests toppled a pro-Kremlin regime last month has set off the most explosive crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.

US President Barack Obama and his European allies are urging Russia to call its troops in Crimea back to their barracks and launch immediate negotiations with the new Ukrainian leadership, which Putin claims rose to power thanks to an "unconstitutional coup".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Putin in a televised meeting Monday that proposals he had received from US Secretary of State John Kerry on resolving the standoff "do not suit us very much" and were "framed as if there exists a conflict between Russia and Ukraine."

He said Russia had prepared a series of counter-proposals that would "take into account the interests of all Ukrainians".

Lavrov said Washington was basing its solution on a recognition of Kiev's new leaders while Russia still considered the ousted Viktor Yanukovych as the legitimate president of Ukraine.

But Lavrov gave no indication about when or where Russia's proposals would be made public.

- Putin backs Crimea referendum -

Putin added new urgency to the standoff on Sunday by telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron that he fully backed the actions being taken by the self-declared rulers of Crimea -- in power since an end-of-February seizure of the government by pro-Kremlin gunmen.

The Kremlin said Putin stressed "the steps undertaken by the legitimate authorities of Crimea are based on the norms of international law" -- a comment strongly hinting that Moscow was ready to annex Crimea after handing the peninsula to Ukraine as a "gift" when it was a part of the Soviet empire in 1954.

Merkel -- whose cautious approach to imposing sanctions on Moscow has clashed with the more hawkish positions of eastern European nations and Washington -- bluntly responded that the Crimean referendum was "illegal."

US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt told reporters in Kiev on Monday that Washington "is not prepared to recognise any result of the so-called referendum".

The public vote will ask the predominantly ethnic Russian population to choose between swearing allegiance to Moscow and declaring greater autonomy from Kiev while remaining a part of Ukraine.

Ukraine's interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said that if Crimea's leaders "want more rights and authority, then we are ready to do this."

The country's interim Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh meanwhile said the nation's army -- already on full combat alert -- had launched training exercises aimed at evaluating how the heavily outnumbered force could resist an offensive from its nuclear-armed neighbour.

The diplomatic wrangling continued as Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk prepared to fly to the United States to meet Obama and address the UN Security Council.

His first meeting with the US leader on Wednesday should add credibility to Yatsenyuk's untested government and provide Ukraine with a chance to iron out the details of crucial economic relief for its struggling economy.

The White House said Obama will discuss an economic support package that has already seen Washington pledge a quick infusion of more than $1 billion and the European Union promise to issue 11 billion euros ($15 billion) over two years.

Kiev says it needs about 25 billion euros ($35 billion) through 2015 to keep the country running after Russia froze a $15-billion bailout it promised Yanukovych as his reward for rejecting an EU trade deal in November that initially sparked the protests.

- Split between Russia and China -

The escalating crisis has seen Obama vow to impose travel bans and asset freezes on Russian officials held responsible for endangering the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

US officials have stressed that Putin himself is not on that list but have also warned that Washington could pull out of a G8 summit the Russian leader is hosting in Sochi in June.

The European Union for its part has halted visa talks and threatened to impose tough economic sanctions unless Putin quickly opens talks with Kiev.

The UN Security Council later on Monday will hold another meeting on Ukraine amid a rare but potentially significant split between allies China and Russia.

Beijing on Sunday affirmed its support for the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Ukraine -- a stance that appears to signal that its own concerns about separatist movements in China outweigh the importance of preserving a united front with Russia on foreign affairs.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday warned against "provocative rhetoric and hasty actions" as he appealed for dialogue on Ukraine.

In a separate development, NATO announced it would deploy reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania to monitor the crisis in Ukraine.

Crimea's separatist government said on Monday it had invited the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor the referendum even while keeping the group's military observers from entering the region at gunpoint.

The European security body said it did not recognise the invitation as valid because it had not come from an OSCE members state but only an autonomous region of Ukraine.

 

 

NATO says to deploy recon flights over Poland, Romania

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) March 10, 2014 - NATO said Monday it will deploy AWACS reconnaissance aircraft to overfly Poland and Romania as part of alliance efforts to monitor the crisis in Ukraine.

The flights "will enhance the Alliance's situational awareness," a NATO official said, adding: "All AWACS reconnaissance flights will take place solely over Alliance territory."

"This decision is an appropriate and responsible action in line with NATO's decision to intensify our ongoing assessment of the implications of this crisis for Alliance security," the official said.

The NATO announcement comes as Washington and Moscow traded barbs over rival proposals to ease the crisis, with each challenging the other to show they were really interested in a peaceful outcome.

The AWACS -- Airborne Warning and Control System -- will fly missions from their home base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, where 17 are housed, and from Waddington in Britain.

The AWACS aircraft are one of the most sophisticated command and control vehicles in the NATO armoury, capable of monitoring huge swathes of airspace.

Diplomatic sources said the AWACS were routinely deployed and on that count, there was nothing unusual in their use in this case.

However, it was unusual for their deployment to be announced publicly in this way, they said.

Flying over Poland and Romania, the AWACS planes, with their distinctive rotating radar dome mounted above the fuselage, should be able to see far into Ukraine airspace.

As the Ukraine crisis has deepened with Russian intervention in the Crimea, former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe have become increasingly nervous at President Vladimir Putin's apparent willingness to up the ante.

The situation risks becoming more difficult if Crimea, now controlled by pro-Russian leaders, votes in a March 16 referendum to break all links with Kiev and become part of Russia.

Poland and the Baltic states especially have taken a hard line as events have unfolded and last week, Warsaw called for urgent consultations with its NATO allies on the situation.

In response to Putin's move into Crimea, home to a large Russian-speaking population and the Black Sea fleet, the US is sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland as part of a training exercise.

Last week, Washington also sent six additional F-15 fighter jets to step up NATO air patrols over the Baltic states.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said at the time of last week's deployment that it was a sign that "NATO is responding promptly and fast".

Since January, four US F-15 fighter jets have been assigned for air patrols over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

 

 

China to 'defend every inch' of territory: foreign minister

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 08, 2014 - China's foreign minister on Saturday said his country would vigorously defend its sovereignty, declaring there was "no room for compromise" with Japan over territory or history.

"We will never bully smaller countries yet we will never accept unreasonable demands from smaller countries," Wang Yi told reporters.

"On issues of territory and sovereignty, China's position is firm and clear: We will not take anything that isn't ours, but we will defend every inch of territory that belongs to us."

China is embroiled in disputes with several of its neighbours including the Philippines and Japan, with tensions centred on rival claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Beijing asserts that almost all the South China Sea is its territory but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

The dispute with Tokyo is particularly tense given historical animosities between the two countries over Japan's invasion of China in the 1930s and 40s.

Beijing and Tokyo both claim a small uninhabited archipelago in the East China Sea, administered by Japan as the Senkaku Islands, but which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

Chinese officials and state media have this year demanded that Japan reflect on its historical aggression and atrocities, in much the same manner as postwar Germany has with its Nazi past.

"On the two issues of principle, history and territory, there is no room for compromise," Wang told reporters on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, China's communist-controlled legislature.

"If some people in Japan insist on overturning the verdict on its past aggression I don't believe the international community and all peace loving people in the world will ever tolerate or condone that."

Tensions between the two have risen markedly since 2012 when Tokyo purchased islands in the chain it did not already own from their private Japanese owners. Beijing has taken an increasingly hard line on the issue ever since.

Ships and aircraft from both countries regularly patrol waters around the contested territory and have on occasion come perilously close to armed clashes.

Some, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have mentioned the dispute within the context of World War I, when European powers Germany and Britain went to war.

Wang, a career diplomat who has served at China's embassy in Tokyo and speaks Japanese, discounted such a comparison at the press conference.

"I wish to emphasise that 2014 is not 1914, still less 1894," he said. The latter year marks the start of the First Sino-Japanese War, which ended in victory by Japan in 1895, marking that country's rise as a regional power after more than two centuries of isolation.

"Instead of using Germany before the First World War as an object lesson, why not use Germany after the Second World War as a role model?" Wang added.

The United States, China and Japan are the world's three biggest economies, while Tokyo has a security pact with Washington, which is treaty-bound to come to its defence if it is attacked.

Wang became foreign minister in March last year as China completed a once-a-decade leadership transition that saw Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping become state president.

He reiterated Beijing's calls for dialogue to resolve the issue of the nuclear programme of North Korea, which receives most of its trade and aid from China.

"All along, we have a red line, that is we will never allow war or instability on the Korean peninsula," he said, adding that "mutual mistrust", particularly between Pyongyang and Washington, was preventing a resolution.

Wang also stressed the need for discussions in Ukraine, where forces of China's ally Russia are in effective control of Crimea.

"The priority now is to exercise calm and restraint and to prevent further escalation of the situation," he said. "The parties should carry out dialogue and consultation to put the issue on the track of a political settlement."

Despite tensions with the US over issues including mutual suspicions related to defence and cyber security, Wang gave an overall upbeat assessment of ties.

"The Asia-Pacific should be the testing ground of our commitment to build a new model of relations rather than a competitive arena," he said.

 

 

Blocked by sunken Russian ships, Ukraine's navy stays defiant

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Myrny, Ukraine March 09, 2014 - Russia has deliberately sunk three of its own ships to block Ukrainian navy vessels into a lake off the Black Sea, officers say, highlighting Moscow's determination to wear down the morale of Kiev's forces in Crimea. The Ochakov -- a Soviet-era warship decommissioned in 2011 and set to be sold for scrap -- was towed to the entrance to Lake Donuzlav on Crimea's western coast from the Russian base at Sevastopol on Thursday and blown up. It capsized and, along with two smaller Russian vessels, is now blocking the narrow gap between two spits of land, its hull beaten by rough Black Sea waves. Ukraine's navy has limited resources and suffered a major blow last week when its chief Denis Berezovsky switched allegiance to the pro-Russian Crimean authorities and a new chief was appointed. But officers at a base near where the Russians sank the ship have no doubt what the Russians were trying to do and insist they will not be shaken by the tactics. "It is blocked so we cannot get out," said Captain Viktor Shmyganovsky, second-in-command at the base in Novoozerne, one of the four biggest in Crimea. "If it wasn't blocked, we could have taken our ships to Odessa and it would stop them being seized by Russian forces. We would be more powerful in alliance with ships in Odessa." Ukraine's navy headquarters is in Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea Fleet was founded under Imperial Russia 230 years ago, but is currently barricaded by pro-Russian militants. Odessa, further round the coast into Ukraine and the country's largest port, offers a safer option amid the current military situation in Crimea, a semi-autonomous region of Ukraine where pro-Russian forces have seized control. - 'Loyal to Ukraine' - The Novoozerne base -- built by the Soviets in 1976 and dotted with decorative Cold War missiles and communications equipment -- flies the Ukrainian flag prominently and is protected by a handful of troops armed with Kalashnikovs. While Ukrainian officers would not disclose exactly how many men are based there, it is thought to be in the dozens. After the ships were blown up, the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet, Admiral Alexander Vitko, came to the base trying to get them to switch sides, said Shmyganovsky. "He wanted us to swear for the Russian people. Members of the navy gave an honourable answer to the admiral -- Ukraine's soldiers will remain faithful to Ukraine's people," the small, neatly-dressed officer added. "A few military helicopters and planes were sent here (after the ships were sunk) and they were trying to break down our morale." Officers at the base declined to confirm how many Ukrainian ships were currently in Lake Donuzlav, while hinting at submarine capability. But Ukraine's navy is around a tenth of the size of Russia's and suffers from "inadequate finances", according to London-based military affairs think-tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Ukraine only has one, Soviet-built submarine which it is currently trying to restore to "service condition after over a decade of inactivity," it adds. Despite the odds stacking up against them, the Ukrainian navy is determined to stand its ground to the end in this storied naval territory, said Shmyganovsky. "From history, we know that those who cannot use political means resort to weapons instead. An admiral once said Sevastopol never gives up and we can say the same about other Ukrainian navy units," he added. "As you know, no Ukrainian navy units have put down their weapons except Admiral Berezovksy. None of the others swore for the Crimean or Russian people. We're staying loyal to the Ukrainian people."
 

Philippines has 'right' to defend its territory like China: PM spokesman

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) March 09, 2014 - The Philippines also has the right to defend every inch of its territory, President Benigno Aquino's spokesman said on Sunday, after China made a similar warning.

Spokesman Herminio Coloma's remarks came after China's foreign minister Wang Yi said on Saturday said his country would vigorously defend its sovereignty against "unreasonable demands from smaller countries".

Although he was referring to Japan, which has its own territorial dispute with China, his remarks could also cover China's other territorial dispute with the Philippines and other countries over parts of the South China Sea.

"It is the right of every country to defend its national territory. That is also the principle we are following," Coloma told reporters, commenting on the Chinese minister's remarks.

Coloma added that the Philippines was basing its position on the principles of international law like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

The Philippines and China, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam are all claimants to parts of the South China Sea, a major sea lane and rich fishing ground which is believed to sit on vast mineral deposits.

The Philippines has also expressed growing concern at the increased aggressiveness of the Chinese in pressing their claim to almost all of the waters, even up to the coasts of its neighbours.

The Philippine government has sought UN arbitration under UNCLOS to settle the dispute but China has rejected the move.

Last month the Philippines lodged a protest after the Chinese coastguard allegedly attacked Filipino fishermen off a disputed South China Sea shoal with water cannon on January 27. Beijing rejected the protest.

Philippines 'won't rush defence accord' for Obama visit
Manila (AFP) March 08, 2014 - The Philippines said Saturday it would not rush to complete a defence accord with the United States just so it can be sealed by the time President Barack Obama visits next month.

President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Herminio Coloma said there was no timetable to complete the agreement which would allow more US troops and equipment access to the Philippines.

The agreement, which the two close allies have been discussing for several years, is seen as part of a Philippine effort to counter China's aggressive moves to back its claims to most of the South China Sea.

Asked by reporters if the accord would be completed before Obama's visit, Coloma said, "the government's priority is not with a timetable or with rushing something".

"In our view, it is not deadlines but the quality and content of the agreement that is more worthy of attention," he added.

Coloma also hailed the just-concluded Philippine-US bilateral strategic dialogue in Washington where both sides expressed concern for "recent developments" in the South China Sea as well as the need to respect international law and freedom of navigation in those waters.

"The outcome of the dialogue affirms the principles underpinning the strategic partnership between the two countries," he said.

Many observers believed the agreement would be completed ahead of Obama's visit to the Philippines as part of an Asian tour in April.

The Philippines has been hoping for increased US assistance for its poorly-equipped military amid growing territorial tensions with China.

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea, a major shipping lane that is also a rich fishing ground and is believed to sit on vast mineral resources.

The Philippines along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam all have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea.

 

 

China muddling through on Ukraine - and world affairs: analysts

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 07, 2014 - As world leaders scramble to shape events in Ukraine, China has stood by unable even to articulate its stance, exposing its muddled approach to foreign affairs despite its fast-growing global interests and stature, analysts say.

Beijing can partly blame the lag on its rapid ascent into the top tier of international heavyweights. But it faces huge pressure to catch up fast, both from other governments and its own increasingly far-flung nationals and companies.

"Welcome to the real world," said Kenneth Lieberthal, a China expert and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"China by now has global interests but is not a global strategist or global player...(it) is not the one that initiates and tries to drive the outcome," he said.

Although China aspires to greater global standing, it pursues narrow goals overseas as long as its core concerns are not involved, letting its ally and fellow UN Security Council member Russia take the lead on crises such as the conflict in Syria while it zeroes in on business deals in Africa and elsewhere.

Its foreign ministry tends towards non-specific bromides, urging "calm" here, "restraint" there and a "political solution" elsewhere.

"But they have interests now that force them to get beyond those broad statements," said Lieberthal. "They have to make commitments, they have provide security, they have to do contingency planning."

- Ukraine 'very inconvenient' for Beijing -

On Ukraine, where Moscow has deployed troops in Crimea while the West backs an opposition that is now in government, Beijing has found itself struggling to take a stand, stymied by competing interests.

For years it has sought to solidify ties with Russia, successor to the Soviet Union, which was once a brother Communist state until a bitter split, followed by rapprochement.

President Xi Jinping made it his first destination after taking office last year and again last month, attending the Sochi Winter Olympics while Western leaders stayed away.

But Beijing also vehemently urges "non-interference" in other countries' domestic affairs, in part to facilitate trade with unsavoury regimes -- but especially to discourage foreign support for popular uprisings.

It regularly brandishes the concept to ward off criticism from Western powers of its policies in its Tibet and Xinjiang regions, where ethnic minorities complain of repression, feeding political dissent.

"China has long maintained a principle of non-interference in internal affairs and respects Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," the foreign ministry said on its website this week.

"There are reasons that the Ukrainian situation is what it is today," it added, in what Niu Jun, a professor of international affairs at Peking University, interpreted as a reference to Russia's long-standing links with Crimea.

The events in Ukraine were "very inconvenient" for Beijing, he said. "That's why they came out with a statement nobody can understand."

When pressed to clarify whether Beijing supported Moscow's actions or considered them a form of interference, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang refused to elaborate.

On its website, the ministry said China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told US National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Thursday that a resolution must "take full care of the legitimate rights of the Ukrainian people" -- without specifying what they were.

- 'An ordinary country and a superpower' -

Yet Beijing's global ambitions are undeniable. Xi's slogan since taking office -- the "Chinese Dream" -- evokes the widely held idea that, as a centuries-old civilisation that once led the world in achievements, the Middle Kingdom is poised to reclaim the centre stage it deserves.

Its presence is expanding from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America, even in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq, to acquire the energy and resources needed to feed the world's largest population and second-biggest economy.

That brings added pressure to protect China's supply lanes, companies and workers popping up worldwide.

Two-way trade with Ukraine, not a major partner, reached $11 billion last year, according to customs figures.

Beijing is starting to recognise the benefits of getting involved, said Jia Qingguo, a professor of international studies at Peking University, citing a debate over whether it might have prevented the bloody 2011 Western-backed uprising in oil supplier Libya by seeking to persuade late dictator Moamer Kadhafi to compromise.

But it needed to build up its foreign policy know-how, he added, and was still figuring out its approach to the world as it adjusts from being a poor to a powerful nation.

"China does not have a broader strategy. Its foreign policy behaviour is often ambiguous and sometimes incoherent," he said.

"China is both a developing country and a developed country, a weak country and a strong country, a poor country and a rich country, an ordinary country and a superpower.

"As a result its interests are also in contradiction."

 

 

Merkel tells Putin that Crimea referendum is 'illegal'

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Berlin (AFP) March 09, 2014 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that she considered the referendum being held in Crimea this month on joining Russia was "illegal".

"The chancellor asserted the German position forcefully that the so-called March 16 referendum on Crimea is illegal. It is against the Ukrainian constitution and international law," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said, recounting a phone call between the two leaders.

In a strongly-worded message, Merkel also said that she "deplored the lack of progress that has been made in forming an international contact group to help find a political path and a solution to resolve the conflict in Ukraine".

Seibert added that the German Chancellor had stressed the urgent need to find a result in this area.

Merkel also discussed the Ukraine situation during a telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to Seibert, Xi said he was favourable to finding a political solution "through dialogue".

"He emphasised that an end to the crisis should be based on international law," he said.

A statement released by Moscow after Merkel's conversation with Putin -- and a subsequent conversation the Russian leader had with the British Prime Minister David Cameron -- asserted the Kremlin's position that the pro-Russian forces in Crimea were "legitimate".

Putin wished in particular to stress that "the lawful leadership in Crimea is taking actions based on international law and with the aim of guaranteeing the legitimate interests of the population of the peninsula," Moscow said.

A referendum will be held in Crimea on March 16 to see if the southern Ukrainian region wants to immediately become part of the Russian Federation.

Ukraine's Tymoshenko in Berlin hospital
Berlin (AFP) March 08, 2014 - Ukraine's former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has arrived in Berlin for medical treatment, a hospital official said Saturday.

The face of the pro-Western Orange Revolution in 2004, who suffers from herniated discs, started medical examinations on Saturday morning, said Karl-Max Einhaupl, director of the Charite University Hospital, Berlin.

No decision on whether she will need an operation has yet been taken, Einhaupl added.

"Tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday, we will continue our diagnosis to see what can be done," he said during a televised press conference.

He stressed that it was impossible to predict how long Tymoshenko will remain in care, stressing that the hernias caused her "severe pain".

"We have confidence that she will be able to walk freely again," he said.

Tymoshenko, 53, was freed from prison on February 23, having served three years of a seven year sentence for abuse of power, charges she always denied.

Immediately after her release, she appeared in a wheelchair in Kiev's Independence Square to address protestors in Ukraine's capital.

Tymoshenko's relationship with the Berlin hospital goes back several years.

A team of its doctors were given permission to examine her in April 2012 while she was imprisoned, although their recommendation to treat her in Germany was never accepted by Kiev.

Tymoshenko also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weekend on the sidelines of the European People's Party congress in Dublin.

 

 

Gunfire keeps monitors from Crimea as Russia ups threats

 
‎11 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:26:17 PMGo to full article
Simferopol, Ukraine (AFP) March 08, 2014 - Pro-Kremlin militia fired warning shots as unarmed foreign observers tried to enter Crimea on Saturday while Russia stepped up its standoff with the West over Ukraine by threatening to keep Washington from checking on its nuclear arms.

The dangerous escalation in the Black Sea peninsula that Russia effectively seized last week saw 40 gunmen in balaclavas and military fatigues fire shots above a convoy with 54 civilian and military observers from 29 countries of the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

It was the third successive day that the OSCE buses attempted to enter the tension-wracked peninsula to check on the frozen conflict that has pitted overpowered Ukrainian troops against Russian forces and Kremlin-backed militias.

Ukraine's border guards service added to the tinderbox atmosphere by reporting that one of its light patrol planes came under fire from "extremists" in the same area but was unscathed.

The monitoring mission is an instrumental part of a three-pronged diplomatic push by US President Barack Obama that also includes a call on Russia to pull back its Crimean troops to their barracks and for Ukraine to hold early presidential polls in May.

The culturally splintered ex-Soviet nation of 46 million has been in upheaval since three months of deadly unrest brought new, pro-European leaders to power in Kiev in February and sent ousted president Viktor Yanukovych into hiding in Russia.

The Kremlin accuses the new rulers of fomenting an atmosphere of intimidation against the Russian speakers who make up the majority of Ukraine's southeast. That prompted President Vladimir Putin to threaten to use force -- a shock decision that has sparked the worst East-West security crisis since the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Russia says it has stepped up protection of its Crimean naval base and is working together with "local self-defence units", but refuses to acknowledge deploying extra troops.

But Ukrainian Border Guards General Mykola Kovil said there were now 30,000 Russian soldiers in Crimea -- 5,000 more than the contingent allowed under an agreement with Kiev linked to Russia's Black Sea Fleet base.

The border guards' service on Saturday also accused Russia of seizing a ferry terminal and a navy yard in the east and southwest of Crimea in order to send convoys of 67 military transport trucks filled with soldiers toward the region's inland capital Simferopol.

- Russia raises nuclear threat -

Russia's decision to flex its military muscle has prompted Washington to announce plans to introduce visa bans and asset freezes on Moscow officials while also halting various forms of military cooperation.

The European Union has further threatened to toughen economic sanctions against Russia should it fail to immediately open talks with Ukraine.

The office of French President Francois Hollande said he and Obama agreed by telephone on Saturday that "new measures will be taken which would noticeably affect relations between the international community and Russia" should Moscow fail to quickly defuse the escalating security threat on Europe's eastern edge.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry that any punitive measures would strike back like a "boomerang".

Those warnings became more concrete on Saturday when a Russian defence official said Moscow may halt foreign inspections of its vast nuclear arsenal in response to "threats" from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The arms inspections are carried out in line with the historic 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) -- a highlight of Obama's diplomacy -- and the Vienna Document of 2011 on confidence-building measures between OSCE member states.

The state-run energy giant Gazprom had begun to pile the pressure on Friday by warning Ukraine it may cut off gas shipments due to accumulating debts.

The halt would almost certainly affect Gazprom's Western European clients and further damage the Kremlin's reputation.

Russia's largest company is often accused of being wielded by the Kremlin as an economic weapon against uncooperative neighbours that are considering breaking ties with Moscow and, consequently, hindering Putin's dream of building post-Soviet alliances to rival the NATO and EU blocs.

- Media and cyber warfare -

The military standoff and diplomatic wrangling have translated into an information war. Western and Ukrainian journalists have been threatened by Crimean gunmen and the peninsula has replaced broadcasts from several television channels based in Kiev with Russian ones.

OSCE media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic called on Crimea's pro-Kremlin authorities to do the "utmost to ensure safety of journalists".

Britain's BAE Systems defence and security company meanwhile reported that Ukraine has been stricken by a powerful computer virus whose likes had not been seen since the Stuxnet malware programme wreaked havoc on Iran's uranium enrichment system in 2010.

The British defence group said a code in the virus suggested it was created in the same timezone as Moscow.

- Pro-Russian protests -

The Crimean parliament's decision to secede from Ukraine and stage a March 16 referendum on joining Russia has been also been picked up in industrial eastern regions such as Yanukovych's home base of Donetsk.

"We want to join Russia because we know their standard of living is well above what we have here," said retiree Larisa Kukovina as she and a thousand other mostly elderly protesters faced off against 500 officers who had encircled the Donetsk administration building.

The seat of the region's power has alternately flown Russian and Ukrainian flags after being repeatedly raided in the past week by protesters from both sides.

 

 

China's defence splurge good for world peace: media

 
‎10 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎07:26:39 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) March 06, 2014 - The latest double-digit increase to China's defence budget serves world peace and is no threat to anyone, state media argued Thursday after the 12.2 percent spending hike raised alarms in Japan.

"China has no intention of overturning the current international security pattern," the Global Times, which is close to the ruling Communist Party, said in an editorial. "China will never seek to grab hegemony."

The government-run China Daily said in its editorial: "World peace needs a militarily stronger China," adding that narratives which put China in a "bully's role" were "completely against the truth".

Beijing is embroiled in a series of territorial disputes with Japan and other Asian states, and has pursued its claims more assertively in recent years.

On Wednesday, the opening day of the Communist-controlled National People's Congress (NPC) legislative meeting, Beijing announced a rise in the People's Liberation Army budget for 2014 to 808.23 billion yuan ($132 billion).

Beijing's growing military expenditures and capabilities have raised worries in Asia and the US, and Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Wednesday that its lack of transparency on spending "has become a matter of concern for the international community, including Japan".

Japan's liberal Asahi Shimbun newspaper noted Thursday that Beijing's defence spending was "triple" that of Tokyo.

"China's military expansion is not stopping," it said in an editorial. "What is the purpose of this accelerating military expansion? It's no surprise that the international community has strong concerns."

The conservative mass circulation Yomiuri warned that "the rapid military buildup under Xi Jinping will amplify the 'China threat' theory".

- 'Unfounded' concerns -

The Chinese defence spending figure is still far short of the $633 billion approved for 2014 by the United States, by far the global leader.

But analysts believe China's actual defence spending is significantly higher than publicised.

"China will not stop increasing its military spending," the Global Times said. "It is believed the best scale for it in the long run is keeping it at half or two-thirds of that of the US."

It added that China's military spending should exceed Japan's "to a large extent".

"We should have an absolute advantage over Japan in terms of naval and air forces and strategic striking capabilities, as Japan has shielding from its military alliance with the US," the paper said.

"China's annual military spending has exceeded Russia, but has China acquired greater military strength than Russia? Obviously no."

This year's official rise is the largest since 2011. The China Daily said Beijing was "only making up for what it has neglected to do in the past".

"The current increase is both imperative and legitimate, because China now has broader interests to defend," it wrote. "At the same time, more security threats are sprouting up in its immediate neighbourhood."

China's official Xinhua news agency dismissed international concerns in a bylined commentary Thursday, arguing that "it is Washington and Tokyo, instead of Beijing, that should explain to the world their military postures and intentions".

Overseas worries were "unfounded and misplaced", it said, adding that accusing China of complicating the security situation "amounts to a gross perversion of truth".

 

 

Vietnam leader warns against use of force in territorial rows
Tokyo (AFP) March 18, 2014
Vietnam's president on Tuesday warned against the use of force in territorial disputes as his nation and its neighbours lock horns with an increasingly assertive China over competing claims in the South China Sea. President Truong Tan Sang made the comments in Japan's parliament during a four-day visit. "Vietnam has always maintained these principles over maritime disputes - resolution by peaceful means, compliance with international law, and respect for each other's due rights and sovereignty ... read more
 
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US commander emphasises Philippine alliance, amid China row
 
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Submit or leave: Kiev's soldiers under siege in Crimea
 
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India says report on '62 war with China to stay classified
 
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UAVs Reach New Heights With Warsaw Polytechnic and LockMart Partnership

US gains additional protection against ballistic missiles

Boeing Phantom Swift Selected for DARPA X-Plane Competition

Orbit Logic Delivers Collection Planning Software to New Customer

'StratoBus' drone-satellite hybrid to provide new level of surveillance

Lockheed Martin's DAGR Missile Scores a Perfect 16 of 16 in Flight Tests for US Army

Northrop Grumman Delivers Global Hawk Early and On Cost

 
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Ukraine PM says no plans to join NATO
Ukraine's new Western-backed prime minister said Tuesday that the ex-Soviet country had no plans to join NATO following last month's fall of a pro-Kremlin regime. ... more
 
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Human Rights Watch chief praises Merkel 'rethink' on Russia
The head of Human Rights Watch on Tuesday praised a hardening of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance on Russia and urged her to also take a tougher line in upcoming talks with China. ... more
 
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Michelle Obama looks to ease mistrust on China trip
Michelle Obama will look to dispel growing mistrust between the United States and China through a weeklong tour of the Asian power focused deliberately on soft issues, officials said Monday. ... more
 
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Russia flies warplanes to Belarus for joint combat duty
Moscow has deployed six SU-27 fighters and three military transport jets to Belarus, in an apparent reaction to growing NATO activity near the Belarusian border, the Russian defense ministry said Th ... more
 
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China re-iterates calls for restraint in Crimea
China said Monday it respected "all countries' independent sovereignty and territorial integrity", in an ambiguous statement after Ukraine's Crimea region voted to join its ally Russia. ... more
 
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Ukraine denounces Russian 'provocations,' troop build-up
Ukraine's foreign minister denounced Russian "provocations" Monday, warning of a troop build-up on the border and the presence of "political tourists" in its eastern regions. ... more
 
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China's Xi seeks both power and friendship abroad
Xi Jinping has spent much of his first year as China's president greeting a stream of foreign leaders, but his government's dual message of power and peace has garnered a mixed response. ... more
 
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Former Soviet satellites sign joint military pact
Four former Soviet satellites in Central Europe signed a military pact Friday to coordinate defence planning and to create a joint combat unit to operate under NATO and EU auspices, in response to the Ukraine crisis. ... more
Scientists discover potential way to make graphene superconducting

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy

ICLEI Launches "Climate Pathways" to Help Cities Fight Carbon Pollution

BTM Reduces Coolant Usage and Waste Removal Costs with QualiChem Fluids

Renewables Dominate New US Electrical Generating Capacity in February

Algae may be a potential source of biofuels and biochemicals even in cool climate

Japan Energy Storage Subsidies To Spark Market Growth

 
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Kerry to decide 'soon' on resuming Egypt aid
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he hoped to decide soon on whether to restore the full $1.5 billion in American aid to Egypt. ... more
 
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US hits 'provocative' China move on Philippine ships
The United States on Wednesday accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippines vessels as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea. ... more
 
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Philippines lodges protest over ships 'blocked' by China
The Philippines said Tuesday it had lodged a formal protest after two Filipino vessels were prevented from bringing supplies to marines by the Chinese coastguard on a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. ... more
 
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NATO says to deploy recon flights over Poland, Romania
NATO said Monday it will deploy AWACS reconnaissance aircraft to overfly Poland and Romania as part of alliance efforts to monitor the crisis in Ukraine. ... more
 
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China to 'defend every inch' of territory: foreign minister
China's foreign minister on Saturday said his country would vigorously defend its sovereignty, declaring there was "no room for compromise" with Japan over territory or history. ... more
 
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Blocked by sunken Russian ships, Ukraine's navy stays defiant
Russia has deliberately sunk three of its own ships to block Ukrainian navy vessels into a lake off the Black Sea, officers say, highlighting Moscow's determination to wear down the morale of Kiev's forces in Crimea. ... more
 
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Fifteen years on, Ukraine neighbours glad to be in NATO
Fifteen years have passed since the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the NATO military alliance, a decision the ex-Soviet satellites now see as fortuitous given today's Ukraine standoff between Russia and the West. ... more
 
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Crimea 'soldiers' swear oath before pro-Moscow PM
Crimea's pro-Russian authorities sought to boost their claim to break from Ukraine Monday as volunteer soldiers swore an oath of allegiance in front of prime minister Sergei Aksyonov. ... more
 

Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines   

Ukraine says top commander held after base stormed

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:45:22 PMGo to full article
Colonel Yuly Mamchur, right, holds flowers as other Ukrainian airmen line up to greet their comrades who arrived to celebrate their wedding at the Belbek airbase outside Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Two young Lieutenants, medic Galina Volosyanchik and communication officer Ivan Benera got married today and arrived to their unit for a short celebration as Russian troops continue to occupy part of the airbase and demand surrender of Ukrainian airmen. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian air force commander is being held after his base in Crimea was stormed by pro-Russian forces, and the acting president called for his release Sunday.
 
 

Put the scalpel down and turn up the volume. Now.

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:41:59 PMGo to full article
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, and girlfriend Linda Holliday watch Florida play Pittsburgh during the second half of a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)Welcome back to BracketRacket, the one-stop shopping place for all your offbeat NCAA tournament needs. In today's edition, we make the rounds at a Memphis hospital, look in on 'The Most Prevaricating Man in the World," check Bill Belichick's basketball pulse and find out if Jim Calhoun has had a change of heart. Without further ado:
 
 

Malaysia: France has images of possible jet debris

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:33:48 PMGo to full article
Flight officer Rayan Gharazeddine on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. A satellite image released by China on Saturday offers the latest sign that wreckage from a Malaysia Airlines plane lost for more than two weeks could be in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean where planes and ships have been searching for three days. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, Pool)PERTH, Australia (AP) — France on Sunday provided Malaysia with satellite images of objects that could be from a passenger jet that has been missing for more than two weeks, the latest word of such images that officials are hoping will help solve one of the world's great aviation mysteries.
 
 

Scotland's Vikings go own way in independence vote

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:23:36 PMGo to full article
In this photo taken March 14, 2014, a man dressed as a Viking is silhouetted against a burning mock Viking ship as they take part in the annual Up Helly Aa, Viking fire festival in Gulberwick, Shetland Islands north of mainland Scotland. The fearsome-looking participants in the festival live in Scotland's remote Shetland Islands, a wind-whipped northern archipelago where many claim descent from Scandinavian raiders. They are cool to the idea of Scotland leaving Britain to form an independent nation, and determined that their rugged islands will retain their autonomy whatever the outcome of September’s referendum. (AP Photo/Jill Lawless)GULBERWICK, Scotland (AP) — In the late winter dusk, hundreds of Vikings are marching down to the beach, bearing flaming torches. Their studded leather breastplates glint in the firelight as they roar and sing.
 
 

World leaders gather for Hague nuclear summit

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎12:50:28 PMGo to full article
Dutch military police vehicles guard a section of Schiphol airport where China's President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday March 22, 2014. Xi is on a two-day state visit ahead of the March 24 and 25 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)AMSTERDAM (AP) — Nuclear terrorism is officially the main topic for world leaders at a two-day summit in the Netherlands starting Monday. In practice, the Ukraine crisis will likely overshadow those talks.
 
 

US first lady hosts education roundtable in China

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:06 AMGo to full article
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with her daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, right, as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)BEIJING (AP) — U.S. first lady Michelle Obama told Chinese professors, students and parents on Sunday that she wouldn't have risen to where she was if her parents hadn't pushed for her to get a good education.
 
 

Ocean hunt for missing jet focuses on pallet

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:58:59 AMGo to full article
Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia, Sunday, March 23, 2014. More planes were joining the search Sunday of a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)Planes and a ship scrambled to determine whether a pallet and other floating debris were from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
 

Washington slide kills 3; searchers seek survivors

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:25:14 AMGo to full article
A wide aerial view shows the extensive damage of the landslide after taking out a chunk of earth from the side of the hill facing the Stillaguamish River, and down into the State Route 530, on the left, between the cities of Arlington and Darrington, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Search and rescue operations are underway for survivors. (AP Photo/ The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam )SEATTLE (AP) — After hearing voices pleading for help, rescuers were "combing through the debris" in an overnight search for survivors from a massive mudslide in Washington state that killed at least three people and forced evacuations because of fears of severe flooding.
 
 

N. California town reels after train strikes teens

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:21:24 AMGo to full article
MARYSVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California town was reeling Saturday after learning that a teenage boy was killed and a teenage girl was seriously injured after they were hit by a freight train while walking to a Sadie Hawkins Day dance.
 

Wash. mudslide kills 3; searchers seek survivors

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎07:53:25 AMGo to full article
A wide aerial view shows the extensive damage of the landslide after taking out a chunk of earth from the side of the hill facing the Stillaguamish River, and down into the State Route 530, on the left, between the cities of Arlington and Darrington, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Search and rescue operations are underway for survivors. (AP Photo/ The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam )SEATTLE (AP) — Rescue crews searched into the night for survivors from a massive mudslide in Washington state that killed at least three people, after hearing voices from the debris field pleading for help.
 
 

Search for survivors continues in Wash. mudslide

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎07:28:23 AMGo to full article
A wide aerial view shows the extensive damage of the landslide after taking out a chunk of earth from the side of the hill facing the Stillaguamish River, and down into the State Route 530, on the left, between the cities of Arlington and Darrington, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Search and rescue operations are underway for survivors. (AP Photo/ The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam )SEATTLE (AP) — Rescue crews searched into the night for survivors from a massive mudslide in Washington state that killed at least three people, after hearing voices from the debris field pleading for help.
 
 

Gay marriages in Michigan halted by appeals court

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:54:57 AMGo to full article
Jenny Stanczyk, rear at left, and Cheryl Pine, rear at right, wait in line to apply for a marriage license at the Oakland County Clerks office with Maria, front left, and Nina Stanczyk in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014. A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage Friday the latest in a series of decisions overturning similar laws across the U.S. Some counties plan to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday, less than 24 hours after a judge overturned Michigan's ban on gay marriage. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)MASON, Mich. (AP) — MASON, Mich. (AP) — An appeals court reinstituted Michigan's constitutional ban on gay marriage, but not before several hundred same-sex couples rushed to the state's county clerk's offices to get hitched.
 
 

More planes join ocean hunt for missing jetliner

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:50:31 AMGo to full article
Ground crew members wave to a Japanese Maritime Defense Force P3C patrol plane as it leaves the Royal Malaysian Air Force base heading for Australia to join a search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, in Subang, Malaysia, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Search planes headed back out to a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — More planes joined the search Sunday of a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone.
 
 

Galveston Bay oil spill threatens bird migration

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:35:17 AMGo to full article
A barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel, March 22, 2014. The bulk carrier Summer Wind, reported a collision between the Summer Wind and the barge, containing 924,000 gallons of fuel oil. The barge collided with a ship in Galveston Bay on Saturday, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, PO3 Manda Emery)McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Crews armed with infrared cameras planned to work through the night after a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of especially thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching.
 
 

Debris sighting boosts search for Flight MH370

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:33:21 AMGo to full article
Australian Flight Lieutenant Jason Nichols (L), on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, looks towards the HMAS Success as they search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane, flight MH370, in the southern Indian Ocean, on March 22, 2014Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says there is increasing hope in finding the jet.
 
 

Rhode Island speaker to step down after FBI raids

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:23:51 AMGo to full article
Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox speaks to a reporter as he emerges from his home in Providence, R.I., on Saturday, March 22, 2014 a day after Fox's home and Statehouse office were raided by federal and state authorities. Fox told reporters outside his home Saturday he would make a statement “when it’s appropriate.” Authorities raided Fox’s Capitol office and home Friday as part of an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, FBI, IRS and state police. Officials haven’t said who or what they are investigating. Fox wouldn’t comment when asked if he plans to resign. He also wouldn’t say if a lawyer is representing him. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox is resigning from his leadership post and will not run for re-election, he said Saturday, a day after federal and state authorities raided his Statehouse office and home as part of a criminal investigation that they would not detail.
 
 

Sheriff: 3 killed in big Washington state mudslide

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:20:05 AMGo to full article
This photo provided by the Washington State Patrol shows the aftermath of a mudslide that moved a house with people inside in Snohomish County on Saturday March 22, 2014. The Washington Department of Transportation says mud, trees and building materials are blocking both directions of State Route 530 near the town of Oso. Search and rescue operations are underway by Snohomish County crews and the Washington State Patrol. Spokesman Bart Treece of the Washington State Department of Transportation says he doesn't know how long the two-lane rural road will be closed. He says drivers are advised to find another way to get between Darrington and Arlington. (AP Photo/Washington State Patrol)SEATTLE (AP) — A massive landslide of mud, trees and rocks in rural Washington killed three people on Saturday, critically injured an infant and several others, and destroyed six houses, authorities said.
 
 

Crews try to contain oil spill in Galveston Bay

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:12:11 AMGo to full article
Environmental personnel drive onto the Texas City Dike with oil containment booms for oil remediation following a barge collision in the ship channel, causing an oil spill Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Houston. The barge carried 924,000 gallons of fuel oil. (AP Photo/ Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer)McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A barge carrying nearly a million gallons of especially thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay on Saturday, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching.
 
 

Appeals court halts gay marriages in Michigan

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:54:58 AMGo to full article
Nasir Khawaja, left, and Mark Sarver stand outside in line to apply for a marriage license at the Oakland County Clerks office in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014. A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage Friday the latest in a series of decisions overturning similar laws across the U.S. Some counties plan to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday, less than 24 hours after a judge overturned Michigan's ban on gay marriage. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)MASON, Mich. (AP) — Same-sex couples rushed to Michigan county clerk's offices Saturday to get hitched a day after a judge overturned the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage, and several hundred managed to do so before an appeals court reinstituted the ban, at least temporarily.
 
 

China satellite detects object in jet search area

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:44:31 AMGo to full article
This image provided by China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense shows a floating object seen at sea next to the descriptor which was added by the source. The image was captured around noon, on March 18, 2014 (Tuesday) by a Chinese satellite in S44’57 E90’13 in south Indian Ocean. It shows what is suspected to be a floating object 22 meters long and 13 meters wide. It is about 120 km south (slightly to the west) of the suspected objects released by Australia. (AP Photo/ China State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search planes headed back out to a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone.
 
 

Relatives of jet's passengers struggle to cope

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:31:50 AMGo to full article
BEIJING (AP) — Like other relatives of passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Wang Zheng's frustration and anger over a lack of any certain information about the fate of his loved ones continues to grow two weeks after the plane went missing.
 

Jet search area: Distant, dangerous, dazzling

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:25:10 AMGo to full article
Sgt. Matthew Falanga on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Frustration grew Saturday over the lack of progress tracking down two objects spotted by satellite that might be Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with a Malaysian official expressing worry that the search area will have to be widened if no trace of the plane is found. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, Pool)WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The scientists and support staff stationed on Amsterdam Island find professional value in being about as far away from the hubbub of humanity as it's possible to get. But this week, some of them wandered down to the southern Indian Ocean shoreline to look for the floating objects that could help explain the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
 

Drudge Report author accused of lying about Obamacare penalty

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:04:58 AMGo to full article
Did Matt Drudge actually make a tax penalty payment after not getting insured? (The Wire)Matt Drudge announced to the world that he'd made his first penalty payment after refusing to get health insurance. Not so fast, say his critics.
 
 

Displaced again, Sandy victims escape motel fire

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎12:30:18 AMGo to full article
Investigators look through the rubble of a motel in Point Pleasant Beach N.J. on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Autopsies were being conducted Saturday on the four people who died in a fire at a Jersey shore motel that housed some victims who lost their homes when Superstorm Sandy hit. Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, said the medical examiner's office is trying to identify the victims and determine how they died in the blaze at the Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in Point Pleasant Beach early Friday morning. An intense investigation into the cause of the blaze began Friday afternoon after the last of the four bodies was removed. Eight people were injured in the fire. The probe into the cause is expected to take several days. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) — Having endured one disaster already, victims of Superstorm Sandy found a temporary refuge in a motel two blocks from the beach in this popular summer resort town.
 
 

Video shows gunmen in deadly Afghan hotel attack

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎12:15:31 AMGo to full article
In this frame grab provided from a video by Ariana Television News, four attackers entering the first gate of the Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, March 20, 2014. A closed-circuit security video shows security guards searching four attackers twice before allowing them to enter an Afghan hotel where the young men proceeded to the restaurant and killed nine diners, including four foreigners and two children. The footage was broadcast Saturday, March 22, 2014 by a local Afghan TV station and shared with The Associated Press. The question of how the gunmen penetrated the Serena hotel's tight security is one of the biggest mysteries surrounding Thursday's attack. Authorities say the weaponry was hidden in their shoes. (AP Photo/Arian Television News )KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Security guards searched four attackers — twice — before allowing them to enter an Afghan hotel where the young men proceeded to the restaurant and killed nine diners, including four foreigners and an AFP journalist, his wife and two children, according to chilling closed-circuit video broadcast Saturday by a local TV station.
 
 

Ukraine air force couple weds at besieged base

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:59:49 PMGo to full article
Ukrainian airmen smile as Lieutenants Galina Volosyanchik, left, and Ivan Benera, right, prepare to kiss each other as they celebrate their wedding at the Belbek airbase outside Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Two young Lieutenants got married today and arrived to their unit for a short celebration as Russian troops continue to occupy part of the airbase and demand surrender of Ukrainian airmen. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)BELBEK AIR BASE, Crimea (AP) — As pro-Russian forces surrounded a Ukrainian-held air force base in Crimea, two lieutenants stood side-by-side and tied the knot.
 
 

Gay couples marry in Michigan after ban lifted

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:59:06 PMGo to full article
Jenny Stanczyk, rear at left, and Cheryl Pine, rear at right, wait in line to apply for a marriage license at the Oakland County Clerks office with Maria, front left, and Nina Stanczyk in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014. A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage Friday the latest in a series of decisions overturning similar laws across the U.S. Some counties plan to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday, less than 24 hours after a judge overturned Michigan's ban on gay marriage. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals court has suspended gay marriages in Michigan, putting on hold a decision by a lower court judge who had struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban.

 

 

 

World Water Day: UN highlights water, energy links for sustainable development

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
To mark World Water Day, the United Nations is highlighting the key role that water and energy play in economic development and the eradication of poverty worldwide, and calling for strong measures to ensure their efficient and equitable use.
 

Diplomatic solution only way to resolve Russia-Ukraine crisis, Ban stresses in Kyiv

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday reiterated his message that only a diplomatic solution, based on the ideals of the United Nations Charter, would solve the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine.
 

UN envoy gravely concerned at reported plans for new Israeli settlements

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Saturday voiced grave concern at the Israeli Government's reported plans to advance over 2,300 settlement units, many of them deep inside the West Bank.
 

Senior UN official hails outcome of forum devoted to empowering women and girls

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The head of the United Nations office focusing on the world's women has welcomed the outcome of a two-week meeting in New York that she says represents a “milestone” towards a transformative global development agenda that puts the empowerment of women and girls at its centre.
 

Central African Republic: sexual violence is constant threat, UN envoy warns

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:42:19 PMGo to full article
Despite some improvement in the security situation of the Central African Republic (CAR) - especially in the capital, Bangui - conditions remain grave for civilians and sexual violence continues to be used by all parties during attacks, particularly against women and children, a United Nations envoy discovered during a recent trip to the country.
 

Industrialized nations see sharp rise in asylum claims, driven by Syria crisis - UN report

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:53:10 PMGo to full article
A new report issued today by the United Nations refugee agency found a sharp rise in asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries over the course of last year, driven primarily by the crisis in Syria.
 

UN expert calls for assessing legal status of prolonged Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:54:18 PMGo to full article
An independent United Nations human rights expert today called for an assessment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the legal status of Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian Territory.
 

Annual UN population prize awarded to Italian priest, US non-governmental group

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:48:04 PMGo to full article
An Italian Catholic priest, who is also a medical doctor, and a non-profit organization in the United States specializing in maternal health are this year’s winners of a United Nations award that recognizes outstanding achievement in the fields of population and health.
 

Competition for resources sparks friction between refugees, locals in South Sudan - UN

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎08:37:17 PMGo to full article
Amid tit-for-tat attacks between locals and refugees sparked by food shortages in an area of South Sudan's volatile Upper Nile state, the United Nations refugee agency said today that it is gravely concerned about new tensions rising in the region.
 

On International Day, UN calls for boosting resources for world�s forests

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎08:19:50 PMGo to full article
United Nations officials today called on countries to scale up efforts and resources devoted to forests, which provide countless economic and social benefits, as well as being essential to combating climate change.
 

UN spotlights civilian suffering in Syria by screening �viral� image in New York, Tokyo

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎07:48:30 PMGo to full article
The United Nations has drawn on the bustling energy of two of the world’s most fabled crossroads - New York City’s Times Square and Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing - to spotlight the ongoing struggle of besieged civilians trapped amid Syria’s civil war, launching a "flashmob" and simultaneously showing on the junctions’ mega-billboards the now-iconic photograph of thousands of people in a Damascus refugee camp waiting in line for food supplies.
 

With tensions high, Ban urges �real� dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow to resolve crisis

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:25:20 PMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged "real dialogue" between Kyiv and Moscow to peacefully resolve the current crisis, during a visit to the Ukrainian capital following discussions with Russian officials yesterday.
 

Security Council expects Syria to meet June deadline for chemical weapons removal, official says

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Despite a delay in eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons material, the United Nations Security Council expects that there will be no delay beyond the end-of-June deadline for the total removal of all such materials, the head of the group charged with the effort said after briefing the 15-member body today.
 

Top UN officials in South Sudan travel to strife-ridden north to meet displaced civilians

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The top two United Nations officials in South Sudan are today meeting with families displaced by the ongoing violence between pro- and anti-Government forces, as aid agencies aim to reach civilians with urgently needed supplies.
 

Central African Republic: amid ongoing violence, UN rights expert calls for more aid

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
A United Nations human rights expert today called for urgent protection and increased assistance to the growing number of persons displaced by violence in the Central African Republic.
 

Senior UN officials urge �Group of 77� nations to work collectively on anti-poverty goals

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the General Assembly President John Ashe, today urged the bloc of developing countries known as the "Group of 77 and China" to work collectively towards reaching the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline.
 

With a nod to multiculturalism, UN hosts �Project Runway� finale

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The United Nations is in fashion this winter. Fashionistas descended on the world body’s iconic New York Headquarters recently for the filming of the season finale of "Project Runway All Stars," - which airs tomorrow on Lifetime - where three finalists showcase original clothing lines inspired by their family heritages.
 

Puntland�s presidential poll heralds way to federal future for war-torn Somalia - UN official

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The top United Nations official in Somalia today hailed the election of a new president of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland as the harbinger of a peaceful, federal solution for the entire Horn of Africa country, which has been wracked by civil war, factional fighting and Islamist extremism for over two decades.
 

UN urged to recognize benefits derived from mountain regions as essential for sustainable development

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
As United Nations-led talks on outlining the future global development agenda continue to progress, UN agency officials joined representatives of mountain countries and organizations today at Headquarters to encourage mountain-specific policies in sustainable development strategies, with a particular focus on plans for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
 

Iraq: UN seeks urgent safe passage for emergency aid to war-convulsed Anbar province

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Warning that the critical humanitarian situation in Iraq’s Anbar province is likely to worsen as fighting rages between Government forces and militias, the United Nations is working with national and regional authorities and its humanitarian partners to ensure safe passage for emergency aid to stranded and displaced families.
 

Attacks on UN staff increased in 2013, world body's staff union confirms

 
‎08 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Working for the United Nations became more dangerous last year, the world body’s staff union warned today, noting that at least 58 personnel were targeted by terrorists and insurgents.
 

First chemical arms materials leave Syria, joint OPCW-UN mission confirms

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The process of removing Syria’s most critical chemical weapons material outside of the country for destruction began today, the head of the Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations confirmed.
 

UN, partners seek $1 billion to save Syria�s children from becoming �lost generation�

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners today appealed for $1 billion to save millions of Syrian children from becoming a "lost generation," doomed by the civil war in their country to a life of despair, diminished opportunities and broken futures.
 

Refugee exodus from strife-torn South Sudan picks up momentum, UN reports

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
As the fighting in parts of South Sudan grinds on between Government forces and rebels despite ceasefire talks, more and more civilians are fleeing to neighbouring countries, with some 2,500 people a day now seeking refuge in Uganda, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) reported today.
 

DR Congo: UN Envoy calls for end to hostilities, focus on political process at start of visit

 
‎02 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The United Nations Special Envoy for Africa's Great Lake's region is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to start a regional tour with envoys from the African Union, European Union and the United States to bolster diplomatic efforts for peace.
 

Deploring murder of Indian reporter, UN agency chief calls for investigation

 
‎02 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today deplored the killing of reporter Rakesh Sharma in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, and fallced for a full investigation into his assassination.
 

Syria: samples collected at site of alleged chemical weapons use to be sent to labs tomorrow

 
‎01 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Samples collected by the United Nations chemical weapons inspection team in Syria will begin to be transferred to laboratories tomorrow, according to a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
 

Ban deplores attack on Iranian exile camp north of Baghdad

 
‎01 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned an attack on an Iranian exile camp near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, and urged the Government to launch an investigation into what happened.
 

Syrian conflict preventing Palestinian refugees from going back to school - UN agency

 
‎01 ‎September ‎2013, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Over half of the schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Syria are closed, affecting some 45,000 children, it was announced today.
 

Sri Lanka heading in &#39authoritarian direction&#39, says UN human rights chief

 
‎31 ‎August ‎2013, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Although the fighting is over, the suffering is not, the United Nations human rights chief today said wrapping up a week-long visit to Sri Lanka where she warned that the country is sowing the seeds of future discord by limiting personal freedoms and human rights.

 

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News & Features

 

United Nations Web TV - Other Features

UNRWA iconic image goes to Times Square

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:32:25 AMGo to full article
"The iconic image of a huge crowd waiting for UNRWA food parcels in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, Damascus has gone up on the "Jumbotron" billboard in New York's Times Square". (UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness) [Arabic subtitles]
 

Journées internationales 21- 24 mars

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:10:58 PMGo to full article
Entre le 21 et 24 mars de chaque année, l'ONU, dirigée par les 193 membres de l'Assemblée générale, met en lumière une série de "Journées" visant à rallier une action mondiale sur une multitude de questions essentielles, allant de la fin de la
 

UN Observances 21 – 24 March

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:05:23 PMGo to full article
Between 21 and 24 March each year, the United Nations, led by its 193-member General Assembly, spotlights a series of “Days” to rally worldwide action on a host of vital issues, ranging from ending racial discrimination to tackling tuberculosis and
 

Pharrell Williams Happy - Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan - International Day of Happiness!

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:18:09 PMGo to full article
Pharrell Williams' Happy in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
 

UNRWA iconic image goes to Times Square

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:17:30 PMGo to full article
"The iconic image of a huge crowd waiting for UNRWA food parcels in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, Damascus has gone up on the "Jumbotron" billboard in New York's Times Square". (UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness)
 

DESA News: Commission for Social Development -- Moving the social agenda forward

 
‎20 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:36:41 PMGo to full article
After ten days of work, the Commission for Social Development completed its 52nd session on the priority theme: "Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all."
 

Celebrating forests for sustainable development

 
‎20 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:33:16 PMGo to full article
Forests are essential for the survival of people. They are also at the heart of sustainable development.
 

Liberia Gets Happy for International Day of Happiness!

 
‎20 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:41:05 PMGo to full article
Everybody around the world has the right to pursue happiness. That's why Liberia joined the dance revolution for March 20 - International Day of Happiness - alongside Pharrell Williams and the United Nations Foundation.
 

联合国儿童基金会亲善大使大卫.贝克汉姆(David Beckham)加入失去的一代行动

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:46:38 PMGo to full article
关于"失去的一代" (#Nolostgeneration) "失去的一代" 是为保护及援助受冲突影响的 #叙利亚儿童 而制定的全面方案,该方案包括调配资源、为叙利亚及周边地区争取和平未来的工作,以及­为叙利亚儿童提供必要的心理辅导­和技能培训的项目。 "失去的一代" 动员社会各界为叙利亚儿童发声,呼吁停止暴力,保证人道救援,维护国际­人道法,及确­保对儿童身心安全、受教育权以及创建和平未来的资源支持。 立即加入我们的呼吁:http://bit.ly/nolostgenerationZH
 

Join David Beckham Champion the #childrenofsyria

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:46:35 PMGo to full article
As the Syrian Arab Republic marks a third year of conflict, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham is speaking up for the country's children. We must act now to prevent their losing another year to bloodshed and suffering.
 

The Water Forest by Rosa Rogers, United Kingdom - Honorable Mention

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:55:17 PMGo to full article
'The Water Forest' is based in Senegal and was awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Forests Short Film Festival.
 

Our Little World by Apip Rea, Indonesia - Honorable Mention

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:51:33 PMGo to full article
'Our Little World' was awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Forests Short Film Festival.
 

The Mother Forest by Maria Luz Fang-asan, The Phillippines - Honorable Mention

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:50:11 PMGo to full article
'The Mother Forest' was awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Forests Short Film Festival.
 

Adaptation by Sofia Carrillo, Mexico - Honorable Mention

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:47:52 PMGo to full article
'Adaptation' was awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Forests Short Film Festival.
 

Mbuti-Chidlren of the Forest by Molly Feltner, United States of America - Honorable Mention

 
‎17 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:45:50 PMGo to full article
'Mbuti- Children of the Forest' is based in Rwanda and was awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Forests Short Film Festival.
 

Heritage in Danger in Syria (UNESCO)

 
‎12 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎06:11:08 PMGo to full article
Видео-послание Генерального директора ЮНЕСКО Ирины Боковой на тему культурного наследия Сирии Сегодня Сирия переживает не только безмерные человеческие страдания, но и настоящую культурную трагедию.
 

Women of the UN Making a Difference

 
‎07 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:24:17 PMGo to full article
Women of the UN share a passionate commitment to make a difference in the world. The UN needs more professional women among our ranks.
 

Liliam Thuram - Message de paix pour la République centrafricaine

 
‎07 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:52:26 PMGo to full article
Message de paix pour la République centrafricaine enregistré par Liliam Thuram, ancien footballeur international français.Avec l'équipe de France Thuram a remporté la coupe du Monde 1998 et le Championnat d'Europe 2000.
 

Día Internacional de la Mujer - 7 Billion Others (UNRIC)

 
‎06 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:11:04 AMGo to full article
“Supongo que la principal diferencia entre hombres y mujeres son las expetativas de la sociedad” – Video retratos desde Madagascar, Irlanda y Nepal para celebrar en Dia Internaional de la Mujer 2014.
 

Dia Internacional da Mulher - 7 Billion Others (UNRIC)

 
‎06 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:08:24 AMGo to full article
“Acho que a principal diferença entre os homens e as mulheres são as expectativas sociais "- vídeo de Madagáscar, Irlanda e Nepal para comemorar o Dia Internacional da Mulher 2014.
 

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United Nations Web TV - Newest
 
‎23 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:53:55 PM
 

UNRWA iconic image goes to Times Square

 
‎22 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:32:25 AMGo to full article
"The iconic image of a huge crowd waiting for UNRWA food parcels in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, Damascus has gone up on the "Jumbotron" billboard in New York's Times Square". (UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness) [Arabic subtitles]
 

Journées internationales 21- 24 mars

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:10:58 PMGo to full article
Entre le 21 et 24 mars de chaque année, l'ONU, dirigée par les 193 membres de l'Assemblée générale, met en lumière une série de "Journées" visant à rallier une action mondiale sur une multitude de questions essentielles, allant de la fin de la
 

UN Observances 21 – 24 March

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:05:23 PMGo to full article
Between 21 and 24 March each year, the United Nations, led by its 193-member General Assembly, spotlights a series of “Days” to rally worldwide action on a host of vital issues, ranging from ending racial discrimination to tackling tuberculosis and
 

The Third Annual Change the World Model UN Conference (Opening Ceremony)

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:59:12 PMGo to full article
- Part I: Greetings from Institutions (ITA) - Part II: the Model UN Organised by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN.
 

The Third Annual Change the World Model UN Conference (Opening Ceremony)

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:59:11 PMGo to full article
- Part I: Greetings from Institutions (ITA) - Part II: the Model UN Organised by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN.
 

Special event on the occasion of the International Day of Forests

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:53:37 PMGo to full article
Theme: “Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development”.
 

Special event on the occasion of the International Day of Forests

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:53:35 PMGo to full article
Theme: “Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development”.
 

16th meeting, Commission on the Status of Women - Fifty-eighth session

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:50:31 PMGo to full article
Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” [item 3]
 

16th meeting, Commission on the Status of Women - Fifty-eighth session

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:50:29 PMGo to full article
Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” [item 3]
 

This Week at the UN - Friday, 21 March 2014

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:17:31 PMGo to full article
Video highlights from the UN News Centre - this week's round-up includes UN action on Ukraine, South Sudan, and the commemoration of World Water Day and International Day of Happiness.
 

Item:6 General Debate - 43rd Meeting 25th Regular Session of Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:42:15 PMGo to full article
General Debate Item 6: Universal periodic review A/HRC/25/36
 

Item:6 General Debate - 43rd Meeting 25th Regular Session of Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:42:12 PMGo to full article
General Debate Item 6: Universal periodic review A/HRC/25/36
 

General Assembly - 76th plenary meeting

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:27:52 PMGo to full article
Organization of work, adoption of the agenda and allocation of items; Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: commemorative meeting
 

General Assembly - 76th plenary meeting

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:27:19 PMGo to full article
Organization of work, adoption of the agenda and allocation of items; Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: commemorative meeting
 

Indonesia: Spirit of Volunteerism

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:18:04 PMGo to full article
It’s been said that where words leave off, music takes over. And that’s what’s happening in Indonesia, where a top Italian violinist has volunteered to work with deprived children and help them heal their emotions through music.
 

Jan Eliasson, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - General Assembly, 76th plenary meeting

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:17:18 PMGo to full article
Remarks by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, on Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: commemorative meeting on the occasion of the International Day at the 76th General Assembly.
 

Daily Press Briefing: Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, South Sudan, Investigation team in South Sudan, CAR, Population, Press conference

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎07:45:17 PMGo to full article
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Stephane Dujarrric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General briefed the press via phone call from the Ukraine.
 

Daily Press Briefing: Ukraine, Trip announcement (The Hague and Greenland), Syria, CAR, Security Council, South Sudan, Greece/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:29:47 PMGo to full article
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Stephane Dujarrric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General briefed the press via phone call from the Russian Federation.
 

Daily Press Briefing: Ukraine, Trip announcement (The Hague and Greenland), Syria, CAR, Security Council, South Sudan, Greece/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎05:19:20 PMGo to full article
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Stephane Dujarrric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General briefed the press via phone call from the Russian Federation.
 

Leveraging Media and Technology to Measure Happiness and Well-Being

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎04:41:46 PMGo to full article
Observance of the International Day of Hapiness 2014
 

Item:5 General Debate (Cont'd) - 43rd Meeting 25th Regular Session of Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:43:53 PMGo to full article
General Debate Under Item:5 Continued
 

Item:5 General Debate (Cont'd) - 43rd Meeting 25th Regular Session of Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:43:53 PMGo to full article
General Debate Under Item:5 Continued
 

Geneva Press Briefing: HRC, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, IOM, UNHCR

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:18:42 PMGo to full article
Biweekly Geneva Press Briefing Chaired by Corinne Momal-Vanian, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva.
 

Malta, UPR Report Consideration - 42nd Meeting, 25th Regular Session Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:34:52 PMGo to full article
Reports on the UPR of MaltaA/HRC/25/17, A/HRC/25/17/Add.1
 

Malta, UPR Report Consideration - 42nd Meeting, 25th Regular Session Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:34:52 PMGo to full article
Reports on the UPR of MaltaA/HRC/25/17, A/HRC/25/17/Add.1
 

Pharrell Williams Happy - Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan - International Day of Happiness!

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:18:09 PMGo to full article
Pharrell Williams' Happy in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
 

UNRWA iconic image goes to Times Square.

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎02:17:30 PMGo to full article
"The iconic image of a huge crowd waiting for UNRWA food parcels in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, Damascus has gone up on the "Jumbotron" billboard in New York's Times Square". (UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness)
 

Congo, UPR Report Consideration - 42nd Meeting, 25th Regular Session Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:59:04 PMGo to full article
Reports on the UPR of CongoA/HRC/25/16, A/HRC/25/16/Add.1
 

Congo, UPR Report Consideration - 42nd Meeting, 25th Regular Session Human Rights Council

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:59:04 PMGo to full article
Reports on the UPR of CongoA/HRC/25/16, A/HRC/25/16/Add.1
 

Croatia v. Serbia (ICJ)

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎01:09:53 PMGo to full article
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) holds hearings in the case Croatia v Serbia from 3 March to 1 April 2014.La CIJ tient des audiences en l’affaire Croatie c Serbie du 3 mars au 1er avril 2014.
 

Geneva Press Briefing: WHO, UNHCR, WFP, IOM, IPCC

 
‎24 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎02:01:50 PMGo to full article
Biweekly Geneva Press Briefing Chaired by Alessandra Velucci, Chief, Press & External Relations
 

SC President, Mahmoud Daifallah Mahmoud Hmoud (Jordan) on South Sudan - Security Council Media Stakeout (23 January 2014)

 
‎24 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎01:08:35 AMGo to full article
Informal comments to the media by Mr. Mahmoud Daifallah Mahmoud Hmoud, Senior Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Jordan to the UN and President of the Security Council for the month of January 2014, on the situation in South Sudan.
 

The 70th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust - DPI/NGO Briefing

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎11:55:41 PMGo to full article
In this briefing, the participants will learn how the German Security Police worked with Hungarian authorities to systematically deport Jews from Hungary in May of 1944.
 

Olivier Nduhungirehe (Rwanda) on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Security Council Media Stakeout (23 January 2014)

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎11:46:29 PMGo to full article
Informal comments to the media by Mr. Olivier Nduhungirehe, Deputy Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo, DRC) [English and French]
 

Daily Press Briefing: Secretary-General in Davos, Syria, Yarmouk, Security Council Darfur and Mali, South Sudan, Myanmar, Pakistan, DPI Holocaust Exhibit

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:43:29 PMGo to full article
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Acting Deputy Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
 

Sudan and South Sudan - Security Council, 7100th meeting

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:50:47 PMGo to full article
Report of the Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (S/2014/26).
 

Sudan and South Sudan - Security Council, 7100th meeting

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:50:45 PMGo to full article
Report of the Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (S/2014/26).
 

Mali - Security Council, 7099th meeting

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:16:58 PMGo to full article
The situation in Mali.
 

Mali - Security Council, 7099th meeting

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:16:56 PMGo to full article
The situation in Mali.
 

Syrian women raise their voices

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎02:42:22 AMGo to full article
Nearly 50 Syrian women came together from within and outside Syria at a conference, facilitated by UN Women, from 11 to 13 January 2014 in Geneva, to appeal for peace, to call for a voice in the ongoing political negotiations on their country --
 

Adama Dieng, Zainab Bangura, Leila Zerrougui, Kyung-wha Kang on Central African Republic, Security Council Media Stakeout (22 January 2014)

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎01:53:20 AMGo to full article
Informal comments to the media on the situation in Central African Republic (CAR) by Mr. Adama Dieng, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide;
 

H.R.H. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), on Central African Republic - Security Council Media Stakeout (22 January 2014)

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎01:44:33 AMGo to full article
Informal comments to the media by H.R.H. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN and President of the Security Council for the month of January 2014 on the situation in Central African Republic (CAR).
 

Central African Republic - Security Council, 7098th meeting

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎01:44:31 AMGo to full article
The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).
 

Central African Republic - Security Council, 7098th meeting

 
‎23 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎01:44:29 AMGo to full article
The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).
 

Bashar Ja'afari - Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:37:19 PMGo to full article
Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria H.E. Bashar Ja'afari the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations.
 

Bashar Ja'afari - Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:37:19 PMGo to full article
Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria H.E. Bashar Ja'afari the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations.
 

Bashar Ja'afari - Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:37:18 PMGo to full article
Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria H.E. Bashar Ja'afari the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations.
 

2nd Meeting Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎09:08:49 PMGo to full article
Afternoon meeting of Geneva Conference on Syria
 

2nd Meeting Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎09:08:48 PMGo to full article
Afternoon meeting of Geneva Conference on Syria
 

2nd Meeting Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎09:08:48 PMGo to full article
Afternoon meeting of Geneva Conference on Syria
 

SC President, Mahmoud Daifallah Mahmoud Hmoud (Jordan) on Cyprus - Security Council Media Stakeout (22 January 2014)

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎09:02:55 PMGo to full article
Informal comments to the media by Mr. Mahmoud Daifallah Mahmoud Hmoud, Senior Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Jordan to the UN and President of the Security Council for the month of January 2014, on the situation in Cyprus.
 

John Kerry (USA) - Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:53:03 PMGo to full article
Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria by H.E. Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America
 

John Kerry (USA) - Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:35:37 PMGo to full article
Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria by H.E. Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America
 

John Kerry (USA) - Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:35:37 PMGo to full article
Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria by H.E. Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America
 

Ban Ki-Moon and Lakhdar Brahimi - Joint Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:31:27 PMGo to full article
Joint Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General and Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative for Syria.
 

Ban Ki-Moon and Lakhdar Brahimi - Joint Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:28:09 PMGo to full article
Joint Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General and Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative for Syria.
 

Ban Ki-Moon and Lakhdar Brahimi - Joint Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎08:28:09 PMGo to full article
Joint Press Conference at Geneva Conference on Syria by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General and Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative for Syria.
 

1st Meeting, Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:44:10 PMGo to full article
Morning Meeting - Geneva Conference on Syria
 

1st Meeting, Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:43:44 PMGo to full article
Morning Meeting - Geneva Conference on Syria
 

1st Meeting, Geneva Conference on Syria

 
‎22 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎07:33:54 PMGo to full article
Morning Meeting - Geneva Conference on Syria

 

 

 
 

 

 

Prophets To The Gentiles: Jonah, Nahum, Obadiah - DVD 
 
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The History of the House of Rothschild

by Andrew Hitchcock

 

 

  • Hitchcock also wrote a history for the bankers:

 

 

  • One of our listeners added images and photos and turned this Rothschild document

into a PowerPoint presentation. It is very large; 67 megabytes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rothschilds have been in control of the world for a very long time, their tentacles reaching into many aspects of our daily lives, as is documented in the following timeline.  However, before you jump to the timeline, please read this invaluable introduction which will tell you who the Rothschilds are as oppose to who they claim to be.

The Rothschilds claim that they are Jewish, when in fact they are Khazars.  They are from a country called Khazaria, which occupied the land locked between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea which is now predominantly occupied by Georgia.  The reason the Rothschilds claim to be Jewish is that the Khazars under the instruction of the King, converted to the Jewish faith in 740 A.D., but of course that did not include converting their Asiatic Mongolian genes to the genes of the Jewish people.

You will find that approximately 90% of people in the world today who call themselves Jews are actually Khazars, or as they like to be known, Ashkenazi Jews.  These people knowingly lie to the world with their claims that the land of Israel is theirs by birthright, when in actual fact their real homeland is over 800 miles away in Georgia.

So, next time you hear an Israeli Prime Minister bleating about the so-called persecution of the Jews, consider this, every Prime Minister of Israel has been an Ashkenazi Jew.  Therefore when all these Prime Ministers have curried favour with the West for their re-establishment of a Jewish homeland, they have knowingly and deliberately lied to you, as they were never from that region, and they well know it, because it is they who call themselves Ashkenazi Jews.

The Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 9, states the following which would appear to be about these Ashkenazi Jews:

"I know thy works, and tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
The most wealthy bloodline in the world bar none and the leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in the world today is the Rothschild family.  As you will see in the timeline, the Rothschilds have obtained this position through lies, manipulation and murder.  Their bloodline also extends into the Royal Families of Europe, and the following family names:  Astor; Bundy; Collins; duPont; Freeman; Kennedy; Morgan; Oppenheimer; Rockefeller; Sassoon; Schiff; Taft; and Van Duyn.

However, these are not the only bloodlines to worry about.  You are probably aware of the centuries old pratice undertaken by many Ashkenazi Jews whereby they would change their name, in order for them to appear part of the dominant race of the country in which they lived, so as they could obtain influential positions in that country, which they would then exploit to serve their real masters elsewhere.  There is plenty of evidence to prove the Rothschilds continue that deceptive tradition.

Furthermore the Rothschilds are known to sire many children secretly that they can put into positions of power when required.  This started with the very first man who took the name Rothschild, who had a secret sixth son.  Finally, remember the world is a diverse place, I could if I wanted change my name to Rothschild, or any of the names listed above, and that would not make me part of this family anymore than converting to Judaism in 740 A.D. will make these Ashkenazis Jewish.

Please, therefore, do not automatically assume someone you see with the name Rothschild or any of the names listed above are part of the Rothschild criminal network.  Furthermore and most importantly, the majority of Ashkenazi Jews are innocent and not part of this network.  Check the facts out for yourself first, this article is designed to inform people who the enemy is, not single out people of a particular race or people with a particular surname, who may have nothing to do with this Rothschild criminal network.
 

1743: Mayer Amschel Bauer, an Ashkenazi Jew, is born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of Moses Amschel Bauer, a money lender and the proprietor of a counting house.

 

Moses Amschel Bauer places a red sign above the entrance door to his counting house. This sign is a red hexagram (which geometrically and numerically translates into the number 666) which under Rothschild instruction will end up on the Israeli flag some two centuries later.

 

1753: Gutle Schnaper, an Ashkenazi Jew (future wife of Mayer Amschel Bauer), born to respected merchant, Wolf Salomon Schnaper.

1760: During this decade Mayer Amschel Bauer works for a bank owned by the Oppenheimers' in Hanover, Germany.  He is highly successful and becomes a junior partner. Whilst working at the bank he becomes acquainted with General von Estorff.

Following his father's death, Bauer returns to Frankfurt to take over his father's business. Bauer recognises the significance of the red hexagram and changes his name from Bauer to Rothschild, after the red hexagram or sign signifying 666 hanging over the entrance door ("Rot," is German for, "Red," "Schild," is German for, "Sign").

 

Now Mayer Amschel Rothschild, he discovers that General von Estorff is now attached to the court of Prince William IX of Hesse-Hanau, one of the richest royal houses in Europe, which gained its' wealth by the hiring out of Hessian soldiers to foreign countries for vast profits (a practice that continues today in the form of exporting, "peacekeeping," troops throughout the world).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The European Union (flag pictured) is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

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South Sudan must sustain efforts to protect human rights, says UN official

Conflict in Darfur
Date 2003–2009 /2010

 

Location Darfur, Sudan
Belligerents
Sudan JEM factions
Bandera Darfur.svg SLM (Minnawi faction)
Sudan LJM
Allegedly supported by:
 Chad
 Eritrea
Sudan Janjaweed
Sudan Sudanese Armed Forces
Sudan Sudanese Police
Foreign Mercenaries
African Union
 
United Nations
Commanders and leaders
Sudan Khalil Ibrahim
Sudan Ahmed Diraige
Bandera Darfur.svg Minni Minnawi
Sudan Abdul Wahid al Nur
Sudan Omar al-Bashir
Sudan Musa Hilal
Sudan Hamid Dawai
Sudan Ali Kushayb
Sudan Ahmed Haroun
Rodolphe Adada
United Nations
Martin Luther Agwai
Strength
NRF/JEM: Unknown N/A 9,065
Casualties and losses
unknown
  • 178,258-461,520 excess deaths
  • 2,850,000 Displaced (UN estimate)
  • 450,000 Displaced (Sudanese estimate)
unknown 51 peacekeepers killed

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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