Newscast Media HOUSTON—Former 100 meters world record holder Asafa Powell has
been banned for 18 months for failing a doping test last June. The suspension,
backdated to his failed test, will end on December 20.
The 31-year-old Jamaican sprinter Powell tested positive for oxilofrine – a substance
on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s blacklist sometimes found in food supplements –
on June 21, 2013. His 18-month ban, issued by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission
Thursday, will be retroactive and date back to the failed test.
Powell missed last year’s world championships as a result of his positive test results.
He said in January that his Canadian physical trainer Chris Xuereb provided him with
nine supplements, including Epiphany D1. His legal team showed three laboratory
reports finding that oxilofrine was present in the product.
Xuereb denied the allegations from Powell’s camp, saying the athlete should take
responsibility for the failed tests.
Powell’s former training partner, Sherone Simpson, received an 18-month suspension
from the same panel for taking the same substance on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday,
Jamaican Olympic discus thrower Alison Randall was banned for two years for using
the prohibited diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.
Powell set a new world record in the 100 meters of 9.74 seconds in 2008, a
benchmark since bested by his countryman Usain Bolt.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MOSCOW—A Russian newspaper said that Malaysia Airlines Flight
MH370 is in Kandahar Province, located in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan,
but it offers anonymous, dubious sources.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets paper says “an anonymous source in the intelligence
agencies” in Russia said that the missing plane’s “pilots are not guilty.”
“Flight MH 370 Malaysia Airlines missing on March 8th with 239 passengers was
hijacked. Pilots are not guilty, the plane was hijacked by unknown terrorists. We
know that the name of the terrorist who gave instructions to pilots is ‘Hitch’. The
plane is in Afghanistan not far from Kandahar near the border with Pakistan,” claims
the newspaper–which has a circulation of about 1.1 million. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media JUBA—The United Nations on Wednesday hit back at criticism of its
mission in South Sudan after a leading international aid agency accused it of
“shocking indifference” towards thousands of displaced people living in squalor.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) launched a stinging attack on UN
officials in the country, accusing them of leaving terrified civilians in a section of
camp acknowledged as a “death trap” because of its potential exposure to diseases.
“We are doing our best to decongest the site and encourage people to move
voluntarily to better sites with better sanitation,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric
“It is a huge logistical challenge to take care of these thousands of people.”
MSF said earlier some 21,000 people had been left in a flood-prone part of a UN
Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base “exposed to waterborne diseases and
Nick Birnback, spokesman for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations,
rejected the MSF criticisms of UN officials in South Sudan.
“I strongly disagree with the assertions made by MSF against UNMISS and these
views are not necessarily shared by the rest of the humanitarian community,”
“There has been no change in the level of humanitarian assistance being provided,”
The UN was keenly aware of the risks of epidemics and overcrowding, he added.
“De-congestion of overpopulated sites and cleaning up of areas posing an epidemic
risk are essential and remain the basis of all efforts UNMISS is undertaking,” he said.
Around 1,500 civilians had moved voluntarily from the area of the Tomping base in
Juba posing the greatest of health risks.
MSF earlier argued that the UN was failing to do enough in South Sudan, which has
been in conflict since mid-December when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed
with supporters of his former deputy Riek Machar.
Source: Al Manar
The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Navy personnel continue their support of the
search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Pentagon spokesman said April 7.
The United States has two P-8 Poseidon aircraft searching in the Indian Ocean, Army
Colonel Steve Warren said.
Navy aircraft supporting the search have flown 24 missions, with 220 hours of flight
time covering 336,000 square nautical miles, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news
“Additionally, we have two pieces of highly sophisticated underwater detection
equipment [engaged in the search] — the towed pinger locator and the Bluefin-21
[sidescan sonar],” Warren said.
Both underwater devices are operating from the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean
Shield, the news release said.
The team operating the towed pinger locator detected signals April 6 that are
consistent with sounds that would come from a black box, the release said. The
signals were detected on at least three separate occasions for extended periods of
time and at several different depths. The locator also detected two signals at the
same frequency, but in different locations, which would be consistent with signals
transmitted by both a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder, the release
The team is working to reacquire the signal and plans to use the Bluefin-21 to create
a picture of any potential wreckage.
The search is a round-the-clock operation, and is currently focused on an area about
950 nautical miles northwest of Perth, Australia.
Determining the location and position of search assets is “a very collaborative effort
between Americans, the Australians, the Malaysians and others,” Warren said. But, he
added, “the Australians right now do have the lead.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is one of the
“most challenging” ones ever to strike since the disease emerged four decades ago,
says the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We have not had an Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa before,” Keiji
Fukuda, the WHO assistant director general, said on Tuesday, adding, “This
is one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have ever faced.”
According to the WHO’s latest figures, there have been 157 suspected cases in
Guinea, 101 of them fatal.
“It’s absolutely critical to get out as much accurate information as possible to
communities and the countries affected, to reduce the rumors, so that people have
facts to work with,” Fukuda said.
“Ebola is clearly a severe disease. It’s an infection with a high fatality rate. But it’s
also an infection that can be controlled,” he noted.
The WHO did not announce any travel restrictions for Guinea, however, other
countries in the region are bracing for the epidemic, with Senegal closing its border
with the neighboring country.
“We have everything in place to take measures against Ebola. We have a well-oiled
system, which we are perfecting daily,” Senegalese Health Minister Eva Marie Coll
Seck said after visiting the port and airport in the capital Dakar.
Stephane Hugonnet, a WHO medical officer who returned from Guinea last weekend,
said, “There is a risk that other countries might be affected, therefore we absolutely
need to remain vigilant.”
There is currently no known cure for Ebola, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting
The virus spreads through direct contact with blood, feces and sweat. It can also be
spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
Discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, Ebola remains one of the
world’s most virulent diseases that kills between 25 to 90 percent of those who fall
The French Embassy in Liberia has released a travel advisory warning French citizens
against travel to the affected parts of Guinea or areas on the Liberian- Guinean
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—NATO should stop its belligerent rhetoric over the
crisis in Ukraine and return to normal cooperation with Russia, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said in an article published by The Guardian.
Below is part of the text of the article, obtained from The Guardian:
“The profound, pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for
Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became
independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks to construct a
sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its
various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural
roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past,
present and their country’s future place in the world…”
Meanwhile, the US has deployed a warship to the Black Sea as tensions between
the countries Russia, the US and Ukraine continue to rise.
Now that Crimea is not part of Ukraine, Russian President Vladmir Putin is making sure
that criminal elements from the former regime are dealt with harshly. Putin called on
the Federal Security Service (FSB) to prevent radicals or individuals with a criminal
past from working in the Crimean government.
“I ask that you pay special attention to the formation of the FSB’s subdivisions in
Crimea and Sevastopol,” Putin said during a meeting with FSB officials.
“They have the task of not allowing individuals with a criminal past or those with
radical and extremist tendencies, as well as those attempting to disrupt the normal
development of Crimea and Sevastopol, into government agencies,” the Russian
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media BOSTON—Health regulators in Massachusetts have sent a letter to
doctors outlining their reason for banning the dispensing and prescription of the
controversial painkiller Zohydro.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the drugs, but concerns have been raised
about patients overdosing on the drug due to the narcotic it contains.
“Zohydro is a dangerously addictive pharmaceutical painkiller, approved by the FDA
recently over the objection of their scientific advisory council and is not available in
an abuse-deterrent form,” Gov. Patrick said. “Unless it is available in an
abuse-deterrent form, or better, until the secretary of [Health and Human
Services], or the Congress has acted on the requests to overturn the FDA, Zohydro
will not be available in Massachusetts,” Gov. Deval Patrick wrote as he issued the
The Associated Press also reported that Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin announced
an emergency order that would make it harder for doctors to prescribe Zohydro.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The AP news agency has reported that the US tried
to undermine Cuba’s government with a social media website called ZunZuneo. Expert
William LeoGrande says that US credibility in the region has now been damaged.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) clandestinely developed
ZunZuneo, which was similar to Twitter, in order to incite flash mobs at sensitive
political moments in an effort to force democratic change in Havana.
At its height, ZunZuneo had 40,000 users in Cuba, who were unaware of the US
government’s involvement. Realizing that the US role would eventually be discovered,
those involved in the operation sought to find independent financing for ZunZuneo.
Unable to secure a private sector sponsor, they shut the social media site down in
2012 when government financing dried up.
According to The Guardian, White House press secretary denied any involvement of
the White House with the program.
“It was a development-assistance program,” Carney said, adding: “I am not aware of
individuals here in the White House who were involved.” He also said the program was
subject to congressional oversight.
Carney denied suggestions the program was “under the table” or had “roped in”
The president of Venezuela has already pointed to this incident as proof that the
unrest in his country is being fomented by the United States. This operation in Cuba
gives other governments the perfect excuse to blame internal problems on USAID and
the United States government.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Moscow has a right to deny NATO transit to and from
Afghanistan in response to the alliance’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia,
a senior Russian legislator said Friday.
“If our cooperation comes to a halt, we’ll have the right to suspend (NATO’s) transit,
and the alliance will have to find other routes,” Viktor Ozerov, head of the Defense
and Security Committee of the Federation Council, or upper house of parliament, told
Interfax news agency.
As NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdrawal from
Afghanistan in the end of 2014 approaches, the alliance will have to find routes
bypassing the Russian territory, Ozerov said.
Russia will lose nothing from the halt of cooperation, he said, noting that NATO has
always been working for its egoistic purposes.
“No progress was made on the key issue—missile defense. NATO continued to expand
and set up bases ignoring Russia’s position,” Ozerov noted.
Nevertheless, he said he believes NATO will revise its decision “very soon” and return
to dialogue and partnership.
“We are destined to cooperate because we live in the same space. Military activity of
one side may directly influence security of the other side. We can’t help but view
military unions of East European and Baltic states and military activity on their
territories as a threat to our strategic security,” Ozerov said.
This is not the first time that NATO has suspended cooperation with Russia. In 2008,
the bloc suspended cooperation with Moscow after a brief Russia-Georgia armed
conflict. Cooperation was resumed in 2009 at NATO’s initiative.
Russia joined the Partnership for Peace program with NATO in the early 1990s. The
two sides agreed that no excessive military presence was allowed on the territory of
Eastern European countries.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow expected
NATO to explain how the bloc’s recent military build-up in Eastern Europe
corresponded with existing bilateral agreements.
Newscast Media MIAMI—In an elaborate scheme that was hatched to defraud clients
who had trusted him, the once-famous Florida attorney, Anthony Livoti Jr. was
sentenced to 10 years in a federal prison for his misconduct, and was ordered to pay
restitution of $826 million to his victims.
In his khaki jail scrubs, the shackled Livoti made a plea to the court for leniency.
“I had a life that was always filled with joy, now I have a life filled with sadness,” the
attorney told the court. “Judge, I am a life worth saving,” he implored the judge.
Investors were also among his victims, in a scheme that defrauded senior citizens and
patients suffering from terminal illnesses. Investors were told they would reap a
profit once the patients and seniors died, and their policies sold.
Once the attorney received the money, his clients were never disbursed the funds
they were promised.
“I lost my way and I wish I could go back and change it,” Livoti said, apologizing to
the victims for what he called the “terrible wrong” he committed.
Cases where greedy attorneys defraud or over-bill their clients thousands of dollars
are not unusual, and the FBI is among one of the several federal agencies that
aggressively pursues attorneys engaged in client fraud. (pop-up)
“When a lawyer, an officer of the court, defrauds clients, it’s a serious crime—and a
heinous breach of trust,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko. “The FBI
is committed to investigating financial schemes at every level and working with our
partners to hold white-collar crooks accountable,” he added, referring to another
FBI-investigated case where lawyers defrauded eight of their clients. (pop-up)
During Livoti’s sentencing, federal prosecutors said Livoti abused his position as an
attorney and violated the public trust.
Update: Former Pakistan President Musharraf has just cheated life by escaping a
bombing that targeted his convoy, the Los Angels Times reports.
Newscast Media ISLAMABAD—After Pakistani court indicted former military dictator
Pervez Musharraf three days ago for treason relating to his imposition of emergency
rule in 2007, experts say the ruling is likely to further polarize Pakistan.
For the first time in Pakistan’s history, a military general has been nationally indicted
for treason. The three-member special tribunal’s Monday ruling – which charged
former President Pervez Musharraf on five counts relating to imposition of emergency
rule in 2007 – did not come as a surprise. The supreme court also ordered Musharraf’s
arrest if he did not appear at Monday’s hearing.
In November last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s center-right government
submitted a petition in the Supreme Court seeking trial of the former president and his
subordinate generals for declaring a state of emergency and suspending the
constitution at the end of his eight-year authoritarian rule from 1999 to 2008.
The ex-general’s legal team has also repeatedly requested the court to exempt their
client from court appearances due to security risks. The Taliban and al Qaeda have
openly vowed to kill Musharraf, who in 2001 forged an alliance with the United States
in the “war on terror.”
“I honor this court and prosecution. I strongly believe in law and don’t have ego
problems. I have appeared in court 16 times in a year in Karachi, Islamabad and
Rawalpindi,” the 70-year-old told the court in a 30-minute-long defense of his time in
“I am being called a traitor. I was army chief for nine years and served the military for
45 years, during which I also fought two wars. Is that treason?” said an emotional
If convicted, Musharraf could face the death penalty, but observers doubt the trial
would ever get that far.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The Fort Hood shooting that occurred on Wednesday
is a reminder of what happened at the the same place five years ago, when a soldier
opened fire on his brothers in arms.
Yesterday, once again at the same base in Fort Hood, Texas, a suspected shooter
Spc. Ivan Lopez shot and killed three people, and injured 16 others, then turned the
gun on himself and committed suicide.
President Obama commended the military personnel, first responders, and medical
staff who responded swiftly and heroically to the horrific shooting.
“Obviously we’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now. But my national
security team is in close contact with not just the Defense Department but the FBI.
They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened to
make sure that everybody is secure,” Obama told reporters.
“We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And I don’t
want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now,
I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the
community at Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers. The folks there have
sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom,” he added.
The Department of Defense has the lead on the investigation with support from
federal partners including the FBI, as well as state and local law enforcement
Newscast Media PARIS—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his US
counterpart John Kerry informed him that the USA declines to supply armed groups in
Syria referred to as “opposition” with anti-aircrafts missiles.
At the conclusion of talks held with Kerry in Paris on Sunday Lavrov reportedly said
“We tackled the issue circulated in media outlets on supplying “the opposition” in
Syria with anti-aircrafts missiles during the US President Barrack Obama’s visit to the
Saudi Arabia, and Kerry stressed the US rejection of that.”
Los Angeles Times confirmed leaders of armed groups in south of Syria started to
receive funds and they are waiting for big shipments of weapons, particularly
anti-aircrafts missiles, a sort of weapons the armed groups in the north desire.
Kerry is said to have confirmed to his Russian counterpart that a political solution
to the crisis in Syria is best.
Newscast Media CHEYENNE—Bloggers have been posting videos on the Internet that
show animals leaving Yellowstone National Park, which has cause some to speculate
that these animals have sensed seismic activity and are running for the sake of
On March 31, Yellowstone experience an earthquake of a 4.8 magnitude, which
experts believe is a prelude to something bigger.
The Epoch Times has floated the idea that a possible volcanic eruption is something
that should be considered. Researchers recently discovered that the supervolcano is
far bigger than previously thought, about 2.5 times.
“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be
bigger… but this finding is astounding,” said Bob Smith of the University of Utah.
If a large caldera-forming eruption were to occur at Yellowstone, its effects would be
worldwide, the Epoch Times reports.
Last week, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Los Angeles area. The region has
since experienced hundreds of aftershocks.
Newscast Media BRUSSELS—NATO’s top commander General Philip M. Breedlove said
on Wednesday he feels uneasy that Russia has around 40,000 troops at the Ukraine
border, and if given orders, the Russians could strike Ukraine within a matter of hours.
Despite assuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that Russia was
initiating a withdrawal of its troops, the NATO general is not convinced of the troop
In an interview with the New York Times, General Breedlove said that so far only a
single battalion, a force of 400 to 500 troops, is on the move and that NATO
intelligence could not say whether it was actually being withdrawn.
“What we can say now is that we do see a battalion size unit moving, but what we
can’t confirm is that it is leaving the battlefield,” General Breedlove, of the United
States Air Force, said. “Whether that movement is toward a less belligerent
configuration or returning to barracks, we do not see that.”
Based on the combat readiness of the Russians, Gen. Breedlove said, “We believe
that it can move within 12 hours. Essentially the force is ready to go. We believe it
could accomplish its objective between three to five days.”
Furthermore the general asserted, “I think they have all the opportunities and they
can make whatever decision they want. This is a very large, very well-equipped force
to be called an exercise.”
Meanwhile, Russia continues to squeeze Ukraine in the energy sector, and has raised
the price of natural gas from $264 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas to $385.
Since Crimea became part of Russia, they have begun the transition into the Russian
system including the use of Russian currency, and acquisition of Russian travel
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari has warned the
Security Council of an impending chemical attack that a rebel group is planning to
launch in Damascus.
“The competent Syrian authorities intercepted a wireless communication The
competent Syrian authorities intercepted a wireless communication The competent
Syrian authorities intercepted a wireless communication The competent Syrian
authorities intercepted a wireless,” Jafaari said in his letter.
The ambassador also said that the rebels were planning to attack Jawbar quarter and
blame the chemical attack on the Syria’s Bashar Assad.
Click here to read or download the letter to the UN from Syria.
Last summer, a chemical attack was carried out in northern Syria that Russian
intelligence asserted was from the Syrian rebels. Shortly thereafter, the West
threatened to retaliate, but aborted the plan after Russia intervened.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—April has been declared National Child Abuse
Prevention Month by President Barack Obama.
In his proclamation, Obama said we all have a role to play in preventing child abuse
and neglect and in helping young victims recover. From parents and guardians to
educators and community leaders, each can help carve out safe places for young
people to build their confidence and pursue their dreams.
“I also encourage Americans to be aware of warning signs of child abuse and neglect,
including sudden changes in behavior or school performance, untreated physical or
medical issues, lack of adult supervision, and constant alertness, as though preparing
for something bad to happen,” Obama said.
*Click here to read of download entire proclamation by Obama.
Just this very day, a verdict in Delaware was rendered in a child rape case where the
perpetrator walked, while the victim who was raped at the age of three, suffers.
Press conference after DuPont verdict
Newscast Media DOVER—Criminal justice officials are still reeling from a ruling issued
by a Delaware judge, whose decision brings into question whether there are two tiers
of the justice system in America.
What is most revealing about the verdict, is its confirmation that the privileged have
a different justice system from the poor. Robert Richards IV, the great-grandson of family
patriarch Irenee DuPont, was convicted of raping his 3-year-old daughter, but was given
probation because the judge believes the wealthy DuPont cannot handle the tough prison life.
Richards, who is unemployed and supported by a family trust fund, owns a
5,800-square-foot mansion in Greenville he bought for $1.8 million in 2005.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
File photo: Governor Rick Perry in Houston at a meet-and-greet event—Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media HOUSTON—The law that restricts abortions in Texas that was
passed and signed last year by Texas Governor Rick Perry has been upheld by the 5th
Circuit Court of Appeals, in its most recent ruling. The ruling from the three-panel
Conservative judges prompted an excited Gov. Perry to say it was “victory for life.”
When the law was passed, Planned Parenthood, the organization that advocates
abortion, sued at the district level, arguing the provisions pertaining to the regulation
of surgical abortions and abortion–inducing drugs, were unconstitutional. The district
court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, however on appeal, the 5th Circuit
asserted that the ruling of the lower court was erroneous. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Obama and King Abdullah
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—US President Barack Obama is in Saudi Arabia visiting
King Abdullah bin Adulazziz, and it is interesting that he has steered away from the
topic of homosexuals being put to death publicly if caught in Saudi Arabia.
As the absolute monarch, the king’s word is the law and is final, therefore it cannot
While Obama shakes his fist and makes threatening gestures to countries with lesser
laws that deal with homosexuals, the leader of the free world takes a stance of
submission when dealing with the House of Saud, and will dare not mention that
controversial subject while he is within or without the kingdom. FULL STORY>>