Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia has rejected a call by Ukraine to discuss the
worsening political situation in the country’s semi-autonomous Crimea region, saying
the crisis is an internal issue.
In a statement released on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry rejected a call for
consultations on Crimea with new Ukrainian officials.
The statement also added that Moscow has not violated an agreement regarding the
movement of its troops in the region.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the movement of armored vehicles belonging to
Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea is in line with Russian-Ukrainian agreements.
The ministry continued by saying that the movements were needed “to ensure the
security of the places where the Black Sea fleet is stationed on the territory of
This comes as Ukraine’s new Interior Minister Arsen Avakov earlier in the day accused
Russian troops of staging an “invasion” of Crimea’s international airport in Simferopol
and the Belbek airfield near the city of Sevastopol, which is home to Russia’s Black
Ukrainian officials have also accused Moscow of escalating the violence in Crimea.
On Thursday, dozens of gunmen seized the government and parliament buildings in
Crimea and raised Russian flags over them.
However, Moscow denies that its forces have been involved in the events in Crimea.
Unrest erupted in Ukraine in November 2013, when ousted president, Viktor
Yanukovych, refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the EU in favor of
closer ties with Russia.
On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych and named Oleksandr
Turchynov, the legislature’s newly-elected speaker, as interim president.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Viktor Yanukovych says he’s still the legitimate president
of Ukraine, and that the country’s current authorities are “fascist thugs.”
In his first public appearance since he fled Kyiv one week ago Yanukovych spoke at a
news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on February 28.
“The time has come for me to say that I intend to continue the fight for the future of
Ukraine against those who are trying, through terror and fear, to take charge over it,”
Yanukovych told reporters. “And I decided to speak publicly about that.”
Yanukovych denied that he had been removed from power, maintaining that he had
been forced to leave because of direct threats to his safety.
“Nobody has ousted me,” he said. “I was forced to leave Ukraine because of an
immediate threat to my life and the life of my loved ones.”
He added that he would return to Ukraine only after receiving guarantees of his
Yanukovych insisted that Ukraine should remain “united and whole,” including Crimea,
where there is a major Russian influence.
Yanukovych said he would not seek military assistance from anyone to return to the
seat of power in Kyiv.
He also apologized to Ukrainians for not maintaining stability. He denounced Western
powers for failing to implement the February 21 Western-brokered agreement that
Yanukovych signed with the opposition.
Radio Free Europe
by Leonardo Blair
Newscast Media NEW YORK—Black women in New York City aborted more than half of
their pregnancies in 2012, topping the number of abortions recorded by women of
every other racial or ethnic group in the city, according to the New York City
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Statistics provided by the city’s Bureau of Vital Statistics in a report titled, Summary
of Vital Statistics 2012, The City of New York, revealed that not only were black
women leading every other racial or ethnic group of women in abortions, they also had
the highest rate of pregnancies and the most miscarriages as well.
Black women had a chart-leading 115.7 pregnancies for every 1,000 women, but a
total of 31,328 of those pregnancies were aborted in 2012 and an additional 3,446 of
those pregnancies were reported as miscarriages. Only 24,758 black babies were born
alive. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media TEL AVIV—Israeli navy officers said Hezbollah has already deployed
the Russian cruise missile, Yakhont, with a range of 300 kilometers and capable of
striking Israel’s entire Mediterranean coast, World Tribune reported.
“We assume that advanced Yakhont missiles have also reached the hands of
Hezbollah, and we are preparing for that,” Rear Adm. Eli Sharvit, commander of the
naval base in Haifa, said.
The Israeli officers said Hezbollah deployed Yakhont in 2013 about a year after the
Syrian Navy received the P-800. They said repeated Israeli efforts to block the
delivery of the weapon from Syria to Lebanon were partially successful.
“Hezbollah is a highly functional organization, active in its sector,” Sharvit told a
briefing on Feb. 25. “It continues to arm itself with strategic weapons, and has not
stopped trying to get its hands on weapons that will influence [future warfare].”
The officers said the navy was being trained and equipped to foil the Hezbollah or
Syrian missile threat against Israel. They said Hezbollah could use Yakhont to attack
Israel’s new natural gas facilities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. experts in investigations of wildlife trafficking
and enforcement of trafficking laws are about to begin duty in Bangkok and Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania, marking a step forward in implementing the Obama administration’s
recently announced National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Director Dan Ashe told the House Foreign
Affairs Committee February 26 that overseas deployment of enforcement officers
further demonstrates U.S. commitment to help other governments preserve rare
animals. With congressional and State Department support, Ashe said, his service
hopes to have two agents in Asia, two in Africa and one in Latin America by the end
of 2014. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Hezbollah pledged Wednesday to respond to an Israeli
airstrike earlier this week that targeted a base on the Lebanon-Syria border in the
group’s first official confirmation of the attack.
“This Israeli aggression will not stand without a response from the resistance,”
Hezbollah said in a statement, according to the Daily Star.
“The resistance will choose the right time and place as well as the appropriate
response method,” the group warned.
The statement said there were no casualties in Monday night’s air raid, adding that
the attack had inflicted “some” damage to a Hezbollah base near the Bekaa Valley
border town of Janta.
The statement denied reports that a Hezbollah-bound weapons shipments from Syria
had been the target.
“Reports by some media outlets that artillery or missile bases have been targeted or
that [Hezbollah] fighters [were killed] are baseless,” the group said.
A report published Wednesday in the Israeli daily Haaretz said Israeli defense officials
are preparing for Hezbollah to target senior Israeli figures in retaliation for Monday’s
attack. The report, citing Israeli sources, said Hezbollah was not expected to react
immediately and that Israeli military leaders were preparing accordingly.
Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman asked Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to
file a complaint with the UN Security Council over Israel’s latest attack.
Source: Tehran Times
Newscast Media PARIS—France’s highest court has ruled against the extradition of
three Rwandans wanted in Kigali for their alleged role in anti-Tutsi genocide in 1994.
The Cour de Cassation declared that the men could not be judged for a crime that
was legally defined after the massacres took place.
The court on Wednesday overturned a November appeals court ruling that Claude
Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana could be extradited and upheld a September
decision by a court in Douai, northern France, that Laurent Serubuga could not.
Genocide was made a punishable crime in Rwanda after laws were passed in 1996 and
Muhayimana, who obtained French citizenship in 2010, is accused of taking part in
the mass murder of Tutsis in the western town of Kibuye, while Musabyimana is
accused of genocide in the north-western province of Gisenyi.
Serubuga, who a deputy chief of staff of the Rwandan army at the time, was
detained in France last July because of an arrest warrant issued by a Rwandan court.
The Douai court rejected the extradition call on the grounds that the warrant was
issued 10 years after the alleged crimes.
France has been reluctant to extradite Rwandans and its relations with Kigali have
been tense since President Paul Kagame came to power 20 years ago.
But relations have improved recently and the current trial on genocide charges of
former army captain Pascal Simbikangwa is the first of its kind in France. Muhayimana
could be tried under the same laws and an investigation into his possible involvement
in crimes against humanity was opened last June.
The leader of the Rwandan genocide survivors’ association Ibuka, Jean-Pierre
Dusingizemungu, slammed Wednesday’s decision, saying Rwanda had a “proven”
system in place to try genocide suspects.
“France is not really making any effort,” he said. “Our view is that France is hesitating
because it is involved. Perhaps it wants to protect its old friends.”
Source: Radio France Internationale
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia is taking additional steps to ensure security at its
naval facilities on the Crimean Peninsula amid the growing political unrest in Ukraine,
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.
“We are carefully monitoring the situation in Ukraine and around the Black Sea Fleet,”
Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.
“We are taking measures to ensure security of the fleet’s facilities, infrastructure and
arsenals,” he said without specifying such measures.
A Russian military source said earlier on Wednesday that security check points at
several Black Sea Fleet facilities had been strengthened with armored vehicles.
Shoigu’s statement follows reports of scuffles that broke out Wednesday in the
southern Ukrainian city of Simferopol as large crowds of opponents of the newly
installed national authorities faced off against representatives of the Crimean Tatar
community outside the local parliament.
Until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 transferred Crimea to what was then the
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the territory was officially a part of Russia.
The Black Sea Fleet maintains its main base in the port of Sevastopol and several
auxiliary naval installations around the peninsula.
During the tenure of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which began in early 2010
and ended with his ouster on Saturday, the country renewed Russia’s lease on the
naval facilities in Crimea until 2042.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia expressed deep concern over news circulated in
media about Saudi Arabia’s intention to buy anti-aircraft missiles for “the Syrian armed
“Reports published on mass media, based on Gulfnews.com website, on the intention
of Saudi Arabia to buy Pakistani-made anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tanks to supply
them to the armed Syrian opposition, positioned in Jordan, stir big concerns,” Russian
Foreign Ministry said In a statement.
The Ministry added that this bargain would change the balance of power in favor of
“the fighters” during “the Spring’s attack on Damascus by the armed militias from the
southern front”, according to its description, adding that if these weapons find their
way into the extremists’ hands, who are existing in Syria in Large numbers, they can
be used outside this Middle East country.
It pointed out that the news of using Jordanian lands to pass the weapons to “armed
militias” and train terrorists in camps before opening the southern front against the
Syrian regular army, also stir concerns.
The statement referred to an article published on the Middle East newspaper saying
that the coalition’s representative in Washington Najeb Ghadban had said ” the
fighters were trained by CIA experts in camps on the Jordanian territories.”
It concluded by affirming that the crisis in Syria wouldn’t be solved through force,
calling on those who support the armed opposition to reconsider their stance and give
the Syrians a chance to stop violence in the country through Geneva conference.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The White House says President Barack Obama has
ordered the Pentagon to prepare plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by
the end of this year.
A White House statement said Obama ordered the move because Afghanistan’s
President Hamid Karzai has indicated he is unlikely to sign a Bilateral Security
Agreement that would allow the United States to keep troops in Afghanistan after
The statement added that should the Afghan government sign the accord, the United
States remained ready to keep a “limited” force in Afghanistan after 2014 to focus on
training Afghan forces and conducting antiterrorism missions.
The statement said Obama had spoken with Karzai on February 25 by telephone.
Karzai, who is due to leave office after Afghanistan’s April elections, has sought
several concessions from Washington over the security pact.
In other news, Afghan officials say at least eight people are dead and dozens of
others are injured following a suicide bomb attack in the southern province of
Oruzgan. Officials said the explosion took place on February 25 in the provincial
capital, Tirin Kot.
Reports say civilians were among the victims. It wasn’t immediately clear who was
responsible for the blast.
Elsewhere, officials said three people were killed and three others injured in a bomb
blast in the Marjah district of the southern province of Helmand. It was not
immediately apparent who was behind the attack.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media TOKYO—Once the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, Tokyo-based Mt.
Gox has appeared to have essentially vanished into thin air, with its website content
not accessible. Reports about a debilitating theft are running wild.
The disappearance of the Mt. Gox website content on Tuesday marked another
setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the Bitcoin virtual currency. The URL of the
exchange was returning a blank page, following Sunday’s resignation of CEO Mark
Karpeles from the Board of the Bitcoin Foundation.
A report spread online and believed to be an internal Mt. Gox document said more
than 740,000 bitcoins were missing from the exchange. It said the theft went
unnoticed for several years and turned on disguised withdrawals.
A theft of that magnitude would equate to losses of $350 million (255 million euros) at
current Bitcoin prices, the report suggested.
Tokyo investors in the frontier electronic currency said the problem was with Mt. Gox,
not with the revolutionary Bitcoin currency itself. Six leading Bitcoin exchanges,
including Coinbase, Kraken and Bitstamp distanced themselves from Mt. Gox.
“This tragic violation of the trust of users was the result of one company’s actions
and does not reflect the resilience or value of Bitcoin and the digital currency
industry,” they said in a joint statement.
“As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out,
and that’s what we’re seeing today,” they added.
Mark Karpeles told Reuters news agency the bitcoin exchange was “at a turning
On Tuesday afternoon, the website said laconically: “In the event of recent news
reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a
decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the
site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react
accordingly.” No further content was accessible.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that
“substantial doubts” existed over the legitimacy of the new acting government in
Medvedev attacked the swift recognition of the new authorities in Kiev by a number
of Western governments, describing the regime as the unconstitutional outcome of an
“Strictly speaking, there is nobody to speak with over there. The legitimacy of a
whole range of organs of power working there raises substantial doubts,” Medvedev
“Some of our foreign partners think otherwise. I don’t know what constitution they
have read, but it is something of an aberration of consciousness when you describe
as legitimate something that is the result of an armed uprising.”
President Vladimir Putin has yet to make any public pronouncements on the change of
government in Ukraine.
Medvedev said that Russia would adhere to all existing agreements with Ukraine,
including those on energy.
“We do not co-operate with a specific set of people, or specific personalities, these
are interstate relations. We are neighbors, we are nearby states and we cannot get
away from one another,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Ukraine’s new authorities aim to
employ “dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods” to suppress opposition in disloyal
“[The new leaders] aim to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to
suppress disloyal citizens in various regions of Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry
said in a statement.
“Calls are being made to introduce an almost complete ban on the Russian language,
abolish parties and organizations, close disloyal media and drop
restrictions on the propaganda of neo-Nazi ideology,” the ministry said.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined on
Monday his priorities for a 2015 defense budget cut, including plans to reduce the
size of the U.S. army to its pre-World War II levels.
“We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will
define our future: new technologies, new centers of power and a world that is
growing more volatile, more unpredictable and in some instances more threatening to
the United States,” Hagel said at a Pentagon press conference.
The Pentagon chief unveiled his budget-cut proposals as the Obama administration is
preparing to pull out most U.S. troops from Afghanistan following an almost 13-year
“As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully
reflect the transition DOD (the Department of Defense) is making after 13 years of
war, the longest conflict in our nation’s history,” said Hagel.
Among the proposals, Hagel announced his plans to further reduce the size of U.S.
Army to between 440,000 to 450,000 active- duty soldiers. This would mark the U.S.
Army’s smallest force since World War II. The active-duty troop level has already
been slated to go down to 490,000 by 2015 from a peak of 570,000 after Sept. 11
Hagel’s proposals also include to retire the U.S. Air Force’s entire A-10 fleet and to
seek another round of base realignment and closure.
Hagel said the recommendations favor “a smaller and more capable force, putting a
premium on rapidly deployable, self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more
technologically advanced adversaries.”
“They’re also well-suited to the strategy’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, to
sustaining security commitments in the Middle East and Europe, and our engagement
in other regions,” he added.
Newscast Media ENTEBBE—Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has proved to
Africans that he is indeed as good as his word by fulfilling his promise to sign the
anti-gay bill on Monday February 24. The bill is now law.
With almost 99 percent support from his countrymen, all exhibiting a unified front as
they stood in support of their president, Museveni signed the bill at State House
Entebbe today at about 1:50 PM East African Standard Time, saying it was imperative
to do so because the West is promoting homosexuality in Africa.
“Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something
about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the Bill,”
Museveni said. He also said that the topic of homosexuality was provoked by
“arrogant Western groups” who recruit school children into the behavior.
Museveni also expressed how he was baffled that a man could be attracted to
another man, yet the female body is very beautiful, and there is no shortage of
“Even now I have not fully understood that you can fail to get attracted to these
beautiful women and get attracted to a man, you get attracted to a man? That is a
very serious matter,” Museveni said.
Immediately after signing the bill, witnesses on the ground said, “We were blessed
with heavy rain in Kampala,” while another one from the East said, “True, even in Jinja
we have been blessed with rain this afternoon, that is a sign of victory.”
The nation has a robust agricultural sector, and rain is viewed in Africa as a blessing
from God to the local farmers.
Museveni also said that the threats of cutting aid will not have an impact on his
country, and that he will not act like Esau of the bible who sold his birthright blessing
in exchange for food.
As such, Museveni has earned himself the esteem of being called a bonafide
Pan-Africanist and joins the ranks of other Pan-Africans like Sankara, Lumumba,
Nkurumah, Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Sekou Toure, Kenya’s Kimathi and a long list of
those who fought against outside forces attempting to usurp the sovereignty of African nations.
This act alone, should enable Museveni achieve a clean sweep in the 2016 elections.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syrian government forces have captured two
southwestern areas on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the latest of
the Syrian army’s victories against foreign-backed militants.
A Syrian military official said the army regained control of Rasm al-Hour and Rasm
al-Sad areas, south of the town of Quneitra.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, which supports the
foreign-backed opposition, confirmed that the government forces were on the
offensive in the region.
It said that the Syrian air force was also taking part in the operation.
“The Syrian army has been reinforcing its positions in Quneitra as part of
efforts to clear the area of foreign-backed militants.”
On Tuesday, Syrian troops regained full control of the village of Sheikh Najjar and the
strategic Ghali Hill near the northwestern city of Aleppo.
A large number of militants, including some foreign nationals, were killed in the
offensive, and a large quantity of weapons, including many heavy machineguns,
rocket launchers and explosive devices were seized.
This came shortly after Syrian army units launched a counter-offensive against
foreign-backed militants operating in the central Hama Province, taking full control of
the Alawite village of Maan.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media KAMPALA—Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and US President
Barack Obama are sparring over the anti-homosexuality bill that was passed in
Uganda last December.
After a meeting with his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, and reports
from scientists confirming there is no gene responsible for homosexuality, Museveni
promised to sign the bill to fight the forces that are trying to impose homosexuality
Barack Obama thereafter released a statement indicating his support for
homosexuality in Uganda, saying homosexuals “should have the opportunity to reach
their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love.”
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Categories: News Tags:
Newscast Media CARACAS—Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused U.S.
President Barack Obama of promoting ongoing protests in the country, and of backing
members of the opposition alleged to be behind violence.
In a communique, the Latin American leader demanded that the U.S. explain its
motives in “financing, promoting and defending members of the opposition that
promote violence against our country.”
Maduro went on to denounce declarations made by Obama regarding the situation in
Venezuela, saying that they presented a “gross interference in internal affairs.”
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media BEIJING—China on Friday urged the United States to immediately
cancel the planned meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama to
avoid damaging China-U.S. ties.
“We urge the United States to take China’s concerns seriously and not facilitate or
offer occasion for the Dalai Lama to conduct anti-China secessionist moves,” Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press release.
Her comments came in response to the scheduled informal Obama-Dalai Lama meeting
on Friday in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less
significance than the Oval Office.
“China is greatly concerned about the meeting, and has lodged solemn
representations to the U.S. side,” Hua said.
The Tibetan issue is a domestic affair for China, she said, arguing that no foreign
country bears the right to interfere.
The Dalai Lama is a political figure in exile who is undertaking anti-China separatist
activities in the name of religion, said the spokeswoman.
“The arranged meeting between the U.S. leader and the Dalai Lama is an unjustified
interference with China’s domestic affairs and a serious violation of the principles of
international relations, and will cause great damage to China-U.S. relations,” she said.
Addressing a routine press briefing, Hua said the Chinese people are best qualified to
speak on the human rights situation in Tibet.
She said that Tibet has scored brilliant achievements in its economic and social
development since its peaceful liberation. The former serfs and slaves have since
become masters of their own country and society.
“These are facts that won’t be denied by anyone without political bias,” she added.
China firmly opposes any foreign leader meeting with the Dalai Lama, she said, adding
that any country that insists on damaging China’s interests will eventually harm its
China has long opposed foreign dignitaries meeting with the Dalai Lama,who fled to
India and created the self-declared “Tibetan government in exile” in 1959 after a
failed armed rebellion.
Obama has met with the Dalai Lama twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011.
Newscast Media LONDON—An international group of researchers, led by the University
of Sheffield, is aiming to build a system that will automatically verify online rumors as
they spread around the globe, since rumors often have far-reaching consequences.
The lie detector will be the first of its kind to automatically analyze, in real time,
whether a piece of information is true or false. This will allow journalists,
governments, emergency services, health agencies and the private sector to respond
more effectively to claims on social media.
The EU-funded project aims to classify online rumors into four types:
speculation – such as whether interest rates might rise; controversy – as over the
MMR vaccine; misinformation, where something untrue is spread unwittingly; and
disinformation, where it’s done with malicious intent. CONTINUE TO STORY>>
Newscast Media TEL AVIV—African asylum seekers in Israel, are being re-routed to
Uganda for political asylum, according to Israeli news outlet Haaretz. According to
Haaretz, a senior government official said that over the past month, dozens of asylum
seekers have agreed to leave Israel for Uganda, and some have already left.
In June of 2013, the state of Israel told the High Court of Justice that it had reached
an arrangement with a third country that would agree to accept asylum seekers from
Africa, but would not reveal the name of the country. Senior officials confirmed that
the country was Uganda; however, the state would not discuss the agreement and
the Ugandan government denied the existence of such an agreement.
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), chairwoman of the Knesset Foreign Workers Committee,
said: “How can it be that six months ago the interior minister announced with great
fanfare, ‘Look, we have an agreement with a third country and now we can move
thousands there,’ and now suddenly we hear testimony about the voluntary move of
asylum seekers to Uganda without an agreement.”
Rozin, who said the secrecy made it look like an agreement that the government did
not want to show the public, asked Sa’ar for clarifications, but he has not yet
Research by the Population and Immigration Authority reveals, as of September 2013
there were 53,646 asylum seekers from Africa in Israel, among them 35,987 Eritreans,
13,249 Sudanese and 4,400 people from other countries.
According to the cabinet decision, all asylum seekers from Africa who leave the
country by the end of the month via the “voluntary departure” procedure will receive
a $3,500 grant for deporting themselves out of good faith.
Haaretz reports that Many of those leaving by this procedure are apparently
detainees at the Saharonim detention center or have been required to stay at Holot.