Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The US and Australia have suspended military
cooperation with Thailand, urging leaders of the country’s military coup to swiftly
restore democracy. The Thai military leadership has called for greater patience.
Speaking at an Asian security conference in Singapore on Saturday, Secretary of
Defense Chuck Hagel said the US had suspended military ties with Thailand, and was
reassessing its future assistance to the country’s armed forces.
Hagel condemned Thailand’s “retreat from democracy,” calling for the coup leaders to
“move immediately to restore power to the people of Thailand, through free and fair
“Democracies are our closest friends,” he said, urging the Royal Thai Armed Forces to
end curbs on free speech and civil liberties – which include a ban on gatherings of
five or more people – and to free scores of detainees.
Regional power Australia also suspended military cooperation with Thailand on
Saturday, with three training exercises for Thai soldiers in coming weeks being
“The Australian government continues to have grave concerns about the actions of
the military in Thailand,” said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. “In line with our concerns,
Australia is reducing our engagement with the Thai military and will lower the level of
our interaction with the Thai military leadership,” she said.
Source: Deutsche Welle
This topic pertains to the nostalgic element that appears to be trending with Black
women of my generation and younger, particularly when it comes to hair.
If one is not in tune with pop culture, one may not be aware of the movement by
Black women to return to a natural lifestyle like the women of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
The most poignant afro images of that era that come to mind are those of women like
Kathleen Cleaver, Pam Grier and Thelma of Good Times (real name: Bernadette
Stanislaus). CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—The flood of the Syrian voters in Beirut has surprised
the international community, prompting some analysts to conclude that the Syrian
refugees in Lebanon and Jordan have granted the Syrian government a strategic
power, al-Binaa Lebanese newspaper reported.
Some US analysts believe Syria has established an army of refugees in Lebanon and
Jordan, and that loss of control over certain areas did not deprive the Syrian
government from its strategic role in the region. Furthermore, the Syrian refugees in
Lebanon and Jordan have given Syria more influence over more areas, an
achievement that was previously impossible for Assad.
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman
briefed the Saudis about the necessity to reach a political solution in Syria as soon as
possible, because of the strategic achievements which the Syrian government is
Newscast Media MOSCOW—A treaty to launch the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)
spanning Russia, Kazahkstan and Belarus has been signed by the countries’ presidents
in the Kazahk capital. The bloc will come into being next January.
Three ex-Soviet republics took the first step on Thursday to creating a trading bloc
with a combined population of 170 million after years of tense negotiations. It still
depends on approvals from the republics’ parliaments. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
by Hend El-Behary
Newscast Media CAIRO—The presidential candidate Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has won the
presidential race with 95.3 percent of the vote, according to exit polls by the
Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research, or “Baseera”.
The poll also showed that Sisi received the highest percentage of votes in Sohag
governorate. Many political analysts had already predicting Sisi’s win due to his
massive popularity following his ouster of former president Mohamed Morsy.
The poll also showed the other presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi had received
a meager 4.7 percent of the vote, and saw the highest percentage of votes in
Almost 96.7 percent voted for Sisi in Cairo, while Sabbahi received 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile 0.9 percent of the votes were considered invalid.
Although, the Egyptian women played a pivotal role in casting their votes, the results
of the exit poll showed that only 44 percent compared to 56 percent males. The
Egyptian youth aged from 18 to 30 represented 27 percent of the voters while voters
aged 31 to 50 reached 45 percent and those aged 51 and higher reached 28 percent.
The Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research “Baseera” conducted an exit poll for
the 2014 presidential elections that took place from 26 May to 28 May 2014,
exclusive to the privately owned MBC Masr TV channel.
The exit poll was carried out on a sample of 12,900 voters distributed over 182 polling
stations in all Egyptian governorates, except for frontier governorates.
Newscast Media CARACAS—Venezuelan authorities Wednesday said they uncovered a
plot by opposition leaders, international financiers and officials backed by the U.S.
State Department to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro and take over the
At a press conference, top socialist leader and mayor of the capital Caracas Jorge
Rodriguez denounced the “complex plan” to assassinate Maduro and unleash a spiral
of violence in the country to justify foreign intervention.
Rodriguez said the plot, financed by “a multimillion-dollar fund” that has backed
different anti-government actions since February, was led by Venezuelan banker
Eligio Cedeno, a fugitive from justice in Venezuela.
The mayor also accused former rightwing deputy Maria Corina Machado of being
behind the schemes, saying several emails tie her directly to actions aimed at
fomenting violent regime change in Venezuela.
In one email, Machado mentions Kevin Whitaker, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia,
and says the U.S. has confirmed its support of the political opposition and signaled
what new steps should be taken.
“We have a bigger checkbook than the government,” another of Machado’s purported
“What we present today is part of a criminal investigation being carried out by the
administration of justice, because the Venezuelan opposition aims to destroy the
peace and constitutional order of our nation,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez asked the U.S. government to clarify whether it knew of Whitaker’s
contacts or if the official acted on his own. He also said the government will be
presenting its evidence of a planned military coup in coming days.
Venezuela has been rocked by violent protests since February promoted by hardline
opposition leaders demanding that Maduro step down. The clashes have left 42 dead,
835 injured and led to 2,500 people being detained, according to the Attorney
Also Wednesday, Venezuelan deputies rejected a U.S. congressional initiative to
apply sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of violating the human rights of
Venezuelan National Assembly Deputy Saul Ortega, of the ruling socialist party, said
the proposed sanctions were “inofficious,” as U.S. laws “lack jurisprudence” in the
South American nation.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Russia has pledged Syria financial aid worth 240 million
euro (around 327 million dollars) this year to help run social programs, Russia’s
Kommersant newspaper cited a high-ranking official in Moscow.
“Syrian authorities are to receive 240 million euros worth of help this year, it is a
confirmed figure,” the source said. He added, the decision to throw Damascus a
lifeline came on Syria’s request.
According to the Kommersant, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an
order in late April for the state-run Development Bank to transfer an installment of
over 46 million euros (over 62.7 million dollars) to the Syrian government’s account.
“De facto, it is a debt-for-financial-aid transaction, which won’t require budget
allocations since we are talking about Syria’s debt payments to Russia that we
couldn’t receive due to the Syrian war. Now these funds, which are still in the Syrian
budget, will be spent on Syrian social projects,” the paper quoted its source as
The civil war in Syria broke out in 2011, following the unrest that swept the Arab
world three years ago, known as the Arab Spring. The war has since claimed up to
130,000 lives and laid waste to Syria’s social sector.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media HOUSTON—After a vicious battle with veteran politicians to
demonstrate that it is still relevant, the Tea Party secured major victories in the
Texas runoff elections, displacing well-funded politicians who were considered
moderate, with Tea Party “die hard” candidates who did not have household names,
but were considered conservative.
In the race for lieutenant governor, the three-term incumbent David Dewhurst who
has been in the position since 2003, and injected $5 million of his own money into the
race, was easily defeated by underfunded talkradio host Dan Patrick who will now be
facing Democrat Leticia Van De Putte in November.
Patrick garnered 65 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 35 percent, and said he had
put behind him the nasty things that both candidates said about each other during
“So it’s all forgiven in my view. It’s in the rearview mirror. Let’s move on,” Patrick said.
Dewhurst gave a concession speech and blamed the heavy rain for holding back the
voters. “When I woke up this morning … I saw blanket rain clouds. I said, ‘Oh boy,
here we go again.’”
In another hotly-contested race for Texas Attorney General, Tea Party candidate Ken
Paxton defeated Dan Branch by 63.6 percent or 465,395 votes, to 36.4 percent or
265,963 votes. A loss of almost 200,000 votes is a margin Dan Branch could not
overcome. Paxton will be facing Democrat Sam Houston in the November general.
These big wins by Tea Party candidates who were supported by Ted Cruz make
Senator Cruz virtually the most powerful politician in Texas.
Other Texas Republican nominees include:
Agriculture Commissioner nominee Sid Miller
Railroad Commissioner nominee Ryan Sitton
U. S. Representative District 4 nominee John Ratcliffe
U. S. Representative District 23 nominee Will Hurd
U. S. Representative District 36 nominee Brian Babin
State Board of Education, District 11 nominee Patricia “Pat” Hardy
State Senator, District 2 nominee Bob Hall
State Senator, District 10 nominee Konnie Burton
State Representative District 10 nominee John Wray
State Representative District 16 nominee Will Metcalf
State Representative District 53 nominee Andrew Murr
State Representative District 58 nominee DeWayne Burns
State Representative District 66 nominee Matt Shaheen
State Representative District 102 nominee Linda Koop
State Representative District 108 nominee Morgan Meyer
State Representative District 129 nominee Dennis Paul
and State Representative District 132 nominee Mike Schofield
Newscast Media KHARTOUM—A Sudanese woman sitting on death row has given birth.
The 27-year-old was sentenced to be hanged for converting from Islam to
Christianity, Deutsche Welle reports.
Little over a week after receiving the death sentence, Sudanese inmate Meriam
Ibrahim Ishag gave birth to a girl. The death row inmate, jailed for refusing to deny
her Christian faith and convert to Islam, was eight months pregnant.
According to Deutsche Welle, the woman’s husband, Daniel Wani, saw them on
Tuesday. In addition to his weekly permitted visits to the prison, located in
Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, Wani has not yet received special permission for
an additional visit. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Iran
to release Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine detained for about three years.
Kerry said the American-Iranian, who was arrested in August 2011 as a Central
Intelligence Agency spy, was “unjustly” detained while visiting his family in Iran.
“We respectfully request that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran release
Mr. Hekmati so that he may be reunited with his family in the United States,” Kerry
said in a statement released on the occasion of the Memorial Day.
“Mr. Hekmati has spent almost three years in an Iranian prison on false espionage
charges,” he added. “We remain especially concerned about reports of Mr. Hekmati’s
health in prison.”
Hekmati was condemned to death in January 2012 but the sentence was overturned
two months later by Iran’s Supreme Court after his appeal. The country’s
Revolutionary Court then charged him with “cooperating with hostile governments”
and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Newscast Media KIEV—Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in
Ukraine in a phone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Tuesday,
calling for an end to violence in the crisis-hit country, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
During the phone conversation, Putin expressed condolences to the Italian prime
minister for the death of an Italian journalist in Ukraine, and called for an immediate
halt of violence in southeastern Ukraine.
“The leaders of the two countries have exchanged opinions on the situation in Ukraine
over the results of the presidential election that was held May 25,” the Kremlin said in
The statement said that Putin had stressed the necessity to stop the punitive
operation in southeastern Ukraine and to establish peaceful dialogue between Kiev
and the regions.
Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrei Mironov were killed by
mortar fire on the eve of Sunday’s presidential elections near the eastern city of
Slaviansk. According to media reports, a group of foreign reporters came under mortar
fire in the village of Andreyevka, in the city outskirts. French photographer William
Roguelon was injured in the same incident.
Billionaire businessmen Petro Poroshenko has been declared the provisional victor in
the election with over 95 percent of ballots counted. He will take over the post from
President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country during a series of violent protests
which led to his unconstitutional overthrow on February 22.
Voting took place in a total of 189 constituencies of Ukraine amid a large-scale
military operation launched by the new Kiev authorities to crack down on protesters
refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the government. Twenty-one candidates ran
in the race.
Moscow has said it is ready for dialogue with Poroshenko.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media HOUSTON—Several feuds have been building up in Texas political ads
leading up to Tuesday’s lieutenant governor runoff election. Both Senator Dan Patrick
and the incumbent David Dewhurst have released ads attacking each other, including
mental health records of Senator Patrick that were leaked to the public, by an
Medical records extracted from a criminal and civil case, reveal psychiatric hospital
stays in 1982 and 1986 in which Senator Patrick needed sitters around the clock for
being severely depressed. The information, according to Jerry Patterson who too was
running for lieutenant governor, was not leaked but has been in the public domain for
the past 25 years. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and
Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, focusing on
trade and investment opportunities on the continent.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the forum while speaking to group
of business leaders in Lagos, Nigeria, May 21.
Pritzker and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will host the forum, and
President Obama will be the keynote speaker, according to a May 21 Commerce
Department news release. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media BEIJING—Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to severely punish
terrorists and spare no efforts in maintaining stability in response to Thursday
morning’s fatal explosions in Urumqi.
According to Xinhua news agency, two vehicles without license plates drove through
roadside fences and plowed into people at an open air market at Gongyuanbei Street
near Renmin Park at 7:50 a.m. and set off explosive devices, killing at least 31
people. More than 90 others were injured.
Xi ordered the police to step up patrols and security control over possible terrorist
targets and prevent ripple effects. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media BERLIN—In the international media, Africa is more present than ever.
This week, the German government laid out its new Africa policy. Yet not much has
really changed, writes Claus Stäcker.
German Chancellor Merkel called it the “continent of opportunities”. The gap between
Africa and Europe is growing smaller, noted the foreign ministry. Even the media who
usually only report on African ferry disasters, abductions and mass killings, are
suddenly interested in African development and military presence.
Africa has rarely been so visible to the German public. Yet, recent events in Nigeria,
the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Mali, have once again highlighted the
risks and old stereotypes, and not the opportunities. Government spokesperson
Steffen Seibert commented:
“The hotspots of the continent, the catastrophes and the crises are often the focus
of the media reports. The strong economic growth in many African countries is hardly
reported. The African policy guidelines of the federal government take all of these
topics into account.”
The areas of focus are not new: more self-reliance, good governance and
accountability, democratization and education. Yet they are taking Germany’s policies
one step further. Previous governments also placed their hopes in sustainable
economic development, which would serve the wider public. New approaches might
be taken, by engaging Africans in a stronger dialogue and cooperating with them as
In the past, Africans were often sidelined on the global playing-field. High-ranking
posts in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the United Nations
were often decided without consulting African countries. Their voices were also left
unheard in the creation of the G20 and when negotiating the terms of the European
Union’s Economic Partnership Agreement.
The German-African Business Association, which represents over 600 firms, viewed
the new guidelines as a step in the right direction. The investors were glad to hear
that the German government had acknowledged the positive changes in Africa. They
especially welcomed the introduction of the so called Hermes Cover, which protects
German companies if their trade partners fail to pay their debts.
France has also been pushing for a German alliance to curb the conflict in areas like
the Central Africa Republic, which is on the verge of turning into a genocide. The
majority of the German public are against foreign military interventions. The costly
operation in Afghanistan was enough to make them wary of any further engagements.
A survey, carried out by the Körber Foundation, showed that six out of ten Germans
were against further military operations. Germany’s Minister for Development Gert
Müller did his best to calms his colleagues in the government:
“Africa is not only a partner in trade but also in politics. That’s what we do in the UN.
In terms of security, we want to encourage the African Union to solve their conflicts
Müller however ruled out the possibility of sending fighting troops to any African
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media BEIJING—The price of gas under a new contract between Russian
energy giant Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation exceeds analysts’
estimates of $350 per thousand cubic meters, a source acquainted with the terms of
the contract told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“The gas price under the contract is over $350,” the source said, refusing to name
the exact figure citing commercial confidentiality.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller earlier declined to reveal the contract price for gas for the
same reason. He did, however, say that the value of the entire contract was $400
billion, which if calculated against the expected flow amounts, comes to around $350
per thousand cubic meters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin later specified that the price was tied to the market
price of oil and oil products and had satisfied both parties.
Gazprom and CNPC earlier in the day signed a 30-year contract on the sale of Russian
gas to China at a volume of 38 billion cubic meters per year with delivery along the
eastern route. It was signed on the second day of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s
official visit to Shanghai.
The document was under discussion for several years with the gas price that the
parties finally agreed on at the last minute being the main stumbling block.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has deployed approximately
80 U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Chad as part of the U.S. efforts to
locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have
been kidnapped in Nigeria.
Under the War Powers Resolution, Obama notified Congress that the personnel will
support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for
missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area. The force will remain in Chad
until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.
The letter from the President to the Speaker of the House can be read here.
Early this month, several hundred girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko
Haram. Iran has also offered to help secure the release of the girls being held captive.
by Melissa Barnhart
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—Twenty abortion clinics in Texas have closed after
an abortionist who practiced out of a Dallas facility, the most recent closure, was
unable to obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals.
The Northpark Medical Group abortion clinic that is affiliated with two other clinics
owned by Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen, who has allegedly killed babies born
alive during routine late-term abortions, has closed its doors.
According to Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life Coalition, when she and
other pro-life advocates first started petitioning lawmakers to craft a bill requiring
abortionists to have admitting privileges at area hospitals, they had no idea that so
many would be considered a liability, and thus unable to obtain privileges.
“We knew that there were some really bad actors out there as we did our research,
but among all of the doctors that we and others had identified, we found that two
thirds of them did have privileges,” Wright told The Christian Post.
She continued, “So we had no idea what kind of impact it would have on abortion
clinics. We couldn’t tell how many – among the two thirds that had privileges – were
just occasional abortion doctors but had other medical practices. And I think that
we’ve all been thoroughly shocked by how many can’t get hospital privileges.”
Douglas Karpen, who is allegedly running a Texas “house of horrors” at his Aaron
Women’s Clinic in Houston where he’s been accused of cutting the necks of babies
born alive like abortionist Kermit Gosnell did, has the Northpark Medical Group clinic
listed as being one of the abortion facilities he owns.
Abortionists who have been identified as working most recently at that clinic include
Robert Prince, Arthur John Brock, who is now retired, and Robert E. Hanson, who has
recent accounts of disciplinary actions taken against him, which, according to Wright,
could be the reason why he’s unable to obtain admitting privileges at any of the
hospitals located within 30 miles of the abortion clinic that he’s applied to, as required
by state regulations that went into effect last fall.
Wright believes Northpark Medical Group was likely down to one abortionist, possibly
Prince, who’s 85, before it closed, but noted that many abortion doctors move from
clinic to clinic on a frequent basis, and some own or co-own several clinics, all under
Requiring abortionists to obtain hospital admitting privileges became a top legislative
priority for Wright and her organization after first hearing the stories of two women
who claimed to have been sexually assaulted at a North Texas abortion clinic by the
same abortionist. One of these women, she said, continues to be pro-choice, but
wanted to share her personal abortion experience with the pro-life group.
“This was our top legislative priority last session,” Wright added. “We had been
interested in this legislation for about 10 years and had been talking to other groups
but it didn’t take off until a woman, who is still very committed to pro-choice abortion
rights, came to us and told us about a bad experience she had.”
Pro-life advocates believed that HB2, which was passed by the Texas legislature and
signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Perry last July, would weed out the more
unscrupulous abortionists in the state who have been accused of sexually assaulting
women in their clinics, are not protecting women’s health by misinforming them about
problems that occurred during their procedures, or who refuse to meet health and
safety standards that are now required by the state.
Newscast NEW YORK—Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza averted a
trial by pleading guilty to violating federal campaign finance law. D’Souza was
accused of using straw donors to contribute $20,000 to the campaign of Wendy Long
who was running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Long lost the race in 2012,
but the undertakings of her campaign remained under scrutiny.
According to Reuters, D’Souza 53, who has earned a reputation for being an Obama
critic told the judge in court, “I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be
made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids, I deeply
regret my conduct.”
Under the law, and individual may contribute a maximum if $5,000, while a couple
The trial was to start the same day of D’Souza’s plea, of he had opted not to plead
guilty. D’Souza will be facing a maximum of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine,
but his attorney told reporters that he will ask the judge to waive the jail time since
his client is a “fundamentally honorable man” who had committed an “isolated instance
Newscast BEIJING—China on Monday decided to suspend activities of the China-U.S.
Cyber Working Group as the U.S. announced indictments against five Chinese military
officers on allegation of cyber theft.
“Given the lack of sincerity on the part of the U.S. to solve issues related to cyber
security through dialogue and cooperation, China has decided to suspend activities of
the China-U.S. Cyber Working Group,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang
regarding the U.S. Justice Department’s announcement on Monday.
The US side announced on Monday indictments against five Chinese military officers
on allegations of cyber theft. China lodged a protest with the US side right after the
announcement, urging the US side to immediately correct its mistakes and withdraw
the “indictment”, he said.
The position of the Chinese government on cyber security is consistent and
clear-cut. China is steadfast in upholding cyber security. The Chinese government,
the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have “never engaged or participated”
in cyber theft of trade secrets. The U.S. accusation against Chinese personnel is
“purely ungrounded and with ulterior purpose,” Qin said.
China has, on many occasions, made serious representations with the U.S. side, Qin
said, “We once again strongly urge the U.S. side to make a clear explanation of what
it has done and immediately stop such kind of activities.”
Qin warned that China would react further to the U.S. “indictment” as the situation