Revised Philippine Development Plan to focus on poverty, unemployment

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 15:35

The revised Philippine Development Plan (PDP) will focus on poverty alleviation and job creation, areas that the administration of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has not fully addressed despite rapid economic growth in recent years.

A summary of the plan released to the media said the Aquino administration will concentrate on increased infrastructure spending to create more jobs. Other reforms will also be implemented to make the benefits of economic growth filter down to the poorest sector of the population.

Despite economic growth of more than 7 percent in recent years, among the highest rates in Asia, the country's jobless rate continued to rise and more Filipinos became poor, some even experiencing hunger.

"Simply stated, the gains have yet to materialize into actual, tangible improvements in the lives of the majority of the people," the report said.

Under the revised plan, the economy is expected to grow 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year, 7 to 8 percent next year and 7.5 to 8.5 percent in 2016.

"The strategies in the PDP midterm update are directed at improving the responsiveness of poverty to growth (which implies higher incomes), enhancing the provision of basic services (so that quality of life is improved) and increasing resilience to disasters (so that improved quality of life is maintained)," the PDP summary said.

In order to create jobs and fight poverty, the plan calls for an increase in infrastructure spending to 5 percent of gross domestic product by 2016, compared with the 2013 level of less than 3 percent.

Under the plan, the new target is to lower the poverty incidence from 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 to 16.6 percent by 2016.

Foreign investors have long cited the country's poor infrastructure, such as in power, transport, roads, airports and seaports, as the biggest obstacles to development in the countryside where most of the country's poor live.

According to University of Asia and the Pacific economist Cid L. Terosa, infrastructure spending would generate multiplier effects and create jobs needed to reduce poverty incidence. "The reduction of poverty creates more funds for infrastructure spending in the long run," Terosa said.

But Benjamin E. Diokno, University of the Philippines economics professor, pointed out that if the slow implementation of the much- touted public-private partnership initiative was any indication, the implementation of the updated PDP would likely be sluggish.

"So far, for the last three and a half years, the administration has consistently failed to implement what little has been budgeted. It has to demonstrate better capability to complete projects," Diokno, a former budget secretary, told the media.

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country's central bank, said that the Philippines is expected to attract more foreign investors, particularly those who are willing to stay for the long haul, as the local economy continues to grow despite challenges abroad.

Guinigundo said that the growth in foreign direct investments seen in January of the year would likely be sustained in the coming months.

"I don't see any reason why not. Investments came in and, in fact, that was during challenging times when we saw portfolio outflows due to the U.S. Fed's actions," Guinigundo said.

The latest data from the central bank showed that long-term investments in the country rose by 5.3 percent to over 1 billion U. S. dollars in January.

Foreign direct investments come in the form of multinationals lending money or keeping profits with their Philippine subsidiaries, as well as new investments in the country for the purchase of new equipment and construction of facilities.

But portfolio investments continued their exodus from the country with the net outflow reaching 2.143 billion U.S. dollars in the January to March period from 1.086 billion U.S. dollars in the same period last year.

Guinigundo explained that this was the negative effect of the sentiment on the U.S. Fed and some other geopolitical issues in Ukraine and Crimea. "These add volatility in the market," he said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve expects to continue cutting back its economic stimulus, whereas the situation in Ukraine and Russia remains volatile.

The central bank data show that year-to-date, total portfolio inflows declined 37 percent to 4.8 billion dollars at end-March from 7.262 billion dollars in the same period last year. Outflows increased by 13.1 percent to 6.9 billion dollars from 6.1 billion dollars over the same period.

Portfolio funds are also called "hot money" because they easily enter and leave, driven by the slightest change in sentiment towards a country. 

Alito L. Malinao


Categories: News

BC-WEA--Global Weather-Celsius/Fahrenheit

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 15:33
by  Associated Press BC-WEA--Global Weather-Celsius/Fahrenheit Associated Press - 18 April 2014 10:33-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Minimum and maximum temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit, preciptation in centimeters and inches, and weather conditions as recorded for the previous day and forecast for the current and following day in each city as of 1400 GMT:























Buenos Aires;17;62;25;77;cdy;0.0;0.00;11;52;19;66;pc;9;50;19;66;clr



















Hong Kong;22;73;30;86;clr;0.0;0.00;22;73;28;82;pc;22;73;28;82;pc









Kuala Lumpur;24;76;33;92;pc;0.0;0.00;23;75;33;91;rn;23;75;33;91;rn


La Paz;1;34;16;61;rn;1.0;0.04;1;34;14;57;rn;2;36;15;59;rn




Los Angeles;15;59;22;71;pc;0.0;0.00;14;59;20;68;pc;13;57;23;73;pc






Mexico City;13;55;25;77;clr;0.0;0.00;12;54;25;77;rn;13;57;26;79;rn







New Delhi;20;68;31;88;clr;0.0;0.00;18;66;30;86;rn;18;66;33;91;pc

New York;2;36;9;48;clr;0.0;0.00;2;37;12;54;pc;6;43;18;64;pc








Rio de Janeiro;22;71;27;80;pc;0.0;0.00;21;70;28;82;rn;22;72;29;84;pc


San Francisco;12;53;18;64;pc;0.0;0.00;12;54;20;68;pc;9;50;19;66;pc

San Jose;21;69;31;88;pc;0.0;0.00;19;68;29;84;rn;19;68;30;86;rn

San Juan;24;75;31;87;rn;0.0;0.00;22;73;30;86;rn;22;73;30;86;rn

San Salvador;21;69;31;87;clr;0.0;0.00;22;72;33;91;rn;22;72;34;93;pc


Sao Paulo;18;65;25;77;pc;0.0;0.00;17;64;29;84;pc;17;64;29;84;pc










Tel Aviv;16;61;25;77;pc;0.0;0.00;12;55;30;86;pc;21;70;34;93;pc












x - Indicates missing information.

clr - clear

pc - partly cloudy

cdy - cloudy

rn - rain

sn - snow

Source: Weather Underground


News Topics: Weather forecasts, Weather, General news

People, Places and Companies: New York, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Caribbean, South Asia, United States, North America, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Tajikistan pledges security cooperation with China

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:47

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on Friday pledged to enhance security cooperation with China.

     Tajikistan will work with China in the fight against the three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism, he told visiting Chinese State Councilor Guo Shengkun.

     The two countries will also work together to fight cross-border organized crime such as drug-trafficking, and to protect online information, said Rahmon.

     Guo, who is concurrently China's public security minister, said law enforcement and security departments of the two countries have signed a series of cooperative agreements and obtained tangible results in the fight against the three evil forces and international organized crime.

     Cooperation in law enforcement and security is an important part of the China-Tajikistan strategic partnership, said Guo, who is in Tajikistan for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting.

     On bilateral relations, Rahmon said Tajikistan values its traditional friendship with China and considers China a reliable good partner, friend and neighbor.

     Guo said China and Tajikistan have improved political mutual trust, enhanced cooperation in various fields, boosted coordination within the SCO framework and supported each other on issues of major concerns since they established the strategic partnership one year ago.

     China will work with Tajikistan to enhance political mutual trust, further win-win cooperation and advance bilateral strategic partnership to a new stage, Guo said. 

Categories: News


New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:44
by  Associated Press WORLD SPORTS at 1340 GMT Associated Press - 18 April 2014 09:44-04:00



MONACO — Rafael Nadal loses to Spanish compatriot David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, his earliest exit at the Monte Carlo Masters in 11 years. While he beat Nadal just last year, Ferrer hadn't defeated Nadal on clay since 2004. Stanislas Wawrinka advances, and Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are also in action. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT: 300 words, photos. Will be updated.


LONDON — England batsman Jonathan Trott is taking a lengthy break from cricket for the second time in five months because of a stress-related illness. SENT: 320 words, photo.



SHANGHAI — Mercedes sets the fastest practice times again at the Chinese Grand Prix, though rivals Ferrari and Red Bull may have closed the gap somewhat on Formula One's runaway leader. By Justin Bergman. SENT: 550 words, photos.


— SHANGHAI — CAR--F1-Chinese GP-Ferrari. By Justin Bergman. SENT: 520 words, photos.



GRAZ, Austria — Three ex-players in Austria formed a criminal organization during their careers and attempted to manipulate 18 national league games from 2004 to 2013 with bets of up to 300,000 euros ($415,000) per match, state prosecutors say. SENT: 300 words.


MADRID — Atletico Madrid hosts Elche looking to provisionally increase its lead of the Spanish league with five rounds to go. UPCOMING: 400 words by 2030 GMT.


SAINT-ETIENNE, France — Saint-Etienne looks to put pressure on Lille in the race for a Champions League spot with a victory over Rennes. UPCOMING: 150 words by 2100 GMT.


SAO PAULO — Court disputes stemming from last year's controversial finish to the Brazil league threaten to disrupt the new season which starts on Saturday. Two clubs have ongoing lawsuits claiming they deserve to be playing in the league. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 600 words.


— MELBOURNE, Australia — SOC--Australian Roundup. SENT: 125 words.



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Lee Westwood jumps out to a four-shot lead and Pablo Larrazabal jumps into a water hazard to escape hornets during the Malaysian Open second round. By Bernie McGuire. SENT: 415 words, photos.


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, South Carolina — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth, as both put in strong performances in the opening round of the RBC Heritage. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 570 words, photos.


— KAPOLEI, Hawaii — GLF--LGPA LOTTE Championship. By Kaitlin Sawyer. SENT: 260 words.



OAKLAND, California — The alley-oops in Lob City, the deep 3-pointers by the so-called Splash Brothers, and the overall bitterness between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors should make for one of the most entertaining series in the first round of the NBA playoffs. By Antonio Gonzalez. SENT: 680 words, photos.


— MELBOURNE, Australia — RGU--Melbourne-Western Force. Rebels end Force streak 22-16. SENT: 200 words.

— WELLINGTON, New Zealand — RGU--Hurricanes-Blues. Hurricanes win by record score. SENT: 470 words.

Also sent:

— HANOI, Vietnam — Asian Games-Vietnam Withdraws. Vietnam pulls out of hosting 2019 event. By Tran van Minh.

— OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — TEN--Czech-Italy. Safarova-Errani to start Fed Cup semi.

— BRISBANE, Australia — TEN--Australia-Germany. Stosur-Petkovic to open Fed Cup semi.

— ISLAMABAD — CRI--Pakistan-Coaches. Pakistan looking for new coaches again. By Rizwan Ali.

— ST. LOUIS — HKN--NHL Playoff Roundup. Blues and Avalanche win overtime contests.

— SAN FRANCISCO — BBO--MLB Roundup. Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants.

YOUR QUERIES: Questions and story requests are welcome. Contact your local AP bureau or the AP International Sports Desk in London by telephone at 44-207-427-4105 or email

News Topics: Formula One, Automobile racing, Sports

People, Places and Companies: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Lee Westwood, Pablo Larrazabal, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Tran Van Minh, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan, Australia, Shanghai, Austria, California, Monte Carlo, Southeast Asia, Asia, South Asia, Oceania, China, Greater China, East Asia, Western Europe, Europe, United States, North America, Monaco

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Over 30 killed in clashes at UN camp in South Sudan

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:42

   At least 30 people were killed in Bor, the capital of the oil-rich Jonglei state in South Sudan, during clashes between local young demonstrators and peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Paris-based Sudan Tribune website reported on Friday.

     The clashes erupted on Thursday when armed youths from Bor town opened fire at the UN compound where thousands of internationally displaced people (IDPs) in the country are currently sheltering.

     UNMISS health worker William Oyual said 20 people were killed when armed local youths forced their way into the compound.

     Bior Kuer, who works at Bor civil hospital, said another two people died at the health facility from wounds suffered during the fighting.

     According to Kuer, 14 others were wounded, with three in critical condition.

     UNMISS confirmed the fighting through spokesman Joe Conteras in Juba, but has yet to provide further details.

     The UN base housing an Indian contingent of peacekeepers was overrun by the youths, who opened fire indiscriminately, killing people including women and children.

     It is not yet clear what provoked the attack. The South Sudan army's (SPLA) director of information and public relations Brig. Gen Maluak Ayuen said the incident in Bor occurred after civil society representatives delivered a memo against Machar supporters in the UNMISS compound.

     Meanwhile, Machar's spokesperson James Gatdet Dak condemned the killing of IDPs "in the strongest terms possible."

     "Many survivors confirmed to me that many people were killed and the base was deserted. Some of the survivors had to run to the wild, while others made it to the other official camps of the Korean contingents," he said.

     South Sudan has been witnessing bloody clashes between government troops and forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar since mid-September last year. 

Categories: News

Ukraine offers amnesty to pro-Russia activists

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:40

   Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Friday that his government has proposed amnesty for pro-Russia protesters in the country's east provided that they back off.

     "The amnesty would apply to those protesters, who will turn in their weapons and abandon the seized buildings," Yatsenyuk told the parliament.

     The amnesty bill would be put to vote in the nearest future, Yatsenyuk said, asking for approval of the bill by parliament.

     The amnesty bill is one of the concessions from Ukraine's interim authorities to pro-Russia activists aimed at ending the new wave of unrest in eastern Ukraine.

     Tensions have risen in the mainly Russian-speaking east after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22. The protests turned violent last week, when pro-Moscow demonstrators seized several administrative buildings in nearly 10 cities, demanding a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.  

Categories: News

20-year-old West Ham forward Dylan Tombides dies after 3-year cancer battle

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:40
by  Associated Press Young Australian forward dies after cancer fight Associated Press - 18 April 2014 09:40-04:00

LONDON (AP) — Emerging Australian forward Dylan Tombides, who broke into the West Ham first-team squad while receiving cancer treatment, has died. He was 20.

The English Premier League club says Tombides, who was initially diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, died on Friday having "courageously fought the disease for three years."

Tombides, who joined West Ham at 15, made just one first-team appearance for the east London club — in the League Cup in September 2012 — but he also made the substitute's bench for Premier League games.

The Perth-born forward played for Australia Under-22s at the Asian championship this year.

Tombides wrote on Twitter last month that he spent his 20th birthday in hospital.

News Topics: Sports, Obituaries, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, Soccer, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Dylan Tombides, United Kingdom, Australia, Western Europe, Europe, Oceania

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Cruzeiro begins defense of title in Brazilian league marred by court disputes

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:37
by  Associated Press Court disputes mar start of Brazilian league by TALES AZZONI, Associated Press - 18 April 2014 09:37-04:00

SAO PAULO (AP) — Court disputes stemming from last year's controversial finish to the Brazil league threaten to disrupt the new season which starts on Saturday.

Two clubs have ongoing lawsuits claiming they deserve to be playing in the league.

Portuguesa is trying to reverse a sports tribunal decision that stripped the club of four points because it used a suspended player, causing its relegation and allowing defending champion Fluminense to avoid demotion. Icasa is seeking a place in the topflight because one of the four teams promoted from the second division last year, Figueirense, used a player who allegedly was incorrectly registered.

The championship is expected to start on schedule, but the civil court disputes could prompt an interruption at any time.

Only nine of the 38 rounds will be played before the World Cup break in June.

Here are five more things to know about the Brazilian league:


TITLE CONTENDERS: Cruzeiro dominated last year and cruised to its third league title. With nearly all of its players back, it will try to become the first team to win consecutive championships since Sao Paulo won three straight from 2006-08. Gremio finished 11 points behind Cruzeiro and is back with an experienced squad hoping to win its first trophy since 1996. Atletico Mineiro, runner-up in 2012, should be strong coming off the Copa Libertadores title a year ago, while Internacional, playing at a Beira-Rio stadium renovated for the World Cup, is also expected to be contending in December. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro teams are outside contenders this time, with Santos' youngsters and Muricy Ramalho's Sao Paulo the best chances to surprise. Fluminense won two of the last four titles but has been struggling, as is Corinthians, the 2011 champion.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Former Brazil star Ronaldinho remains an attraction, and for the third year in a row the 34-year-old playmaker will try to lead Atletico Mineiro to its first league title since 1971. Teammate Jo is one of the few league players who will be playing in the World Cup, along with Fred, the Fluminense striker who is a starter for Brazil. Cruzeiro youngster Everton Ribeiro can become a hot transfer target if he repeats his performances from last year, and veteran teammate Julio Baptista, the former Real Madrid and Roma forward, is another to keep an eye on. Eight-time champion Palmeiras, coming off relegation, is counting on the leadership of 35-year-old veteran Brazil defender Lucio.

INTERNATIONAL FLAIR: There will be plenty of talented foreigners, with Gremio leading the way with Hernan Barcos of Argentina, Cristian Riveros of Paraguay, Eduardo Vargas of Chile and Maxi Rodriguez of Uruguay. International has Andres D'Alessandro of Argentina, while Palmeiras has Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia and Fluminense has Argentine midfielder Dario Conca. Corinthians counts on Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, Botafogo has Uruguayan striker Nicolas Lodeiro, and Sao Paulo is relying on Dorlan Pabon of Colombia and Alvaro Pereira of Uruguay.

LAST DANCE: This year's league may be the last for a few top players. Sao Paulo's Rogerio Ceni, the world's most prolific scoring goalkeeper with more than 100 goals from penalties and free kicks, has already said he will retire at the end of year. Former Brazil midfielder Alex will also retire. The 36-year-old playmaker, who thrived with Fenerbahce in Turkey, will try to lead Coritiba to its first title since 1985. Others who could be leaving include 40-year-old Internacional goalkeeper Dida, who was Brazil's starter in the 2006 World Cup and had a successful career with AC Milan. Gremio midfielder Ze Roberto, 39, could also be playing his last season.


Follow Tales Azzoni at

News Topics: International soccer, Soccer, Sports, FIFA World Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, Athlete retirement, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Julio Baptista, Cristian Riveros, Maxi Rodriguez, Jorge Valdivia, Jose Paolo Guerrero, Nicolas Lodeiro, Dorlan Pabon, Alvaro Pereira, Ze Roberto, Sao Paulo, Uruguay, Brazil, South America, Latin America and Caribbean

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

US tourist pays fine, avoids jail after killing pedestrian in Bahamas

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:35
by  Associated Press US man pays fine in Bahamas pedestrian killing Associated Press - 18 April 2014 09:35-04:00

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Authorities in the Bahamas have released a New York state man from jail after he pleaded guilty to killing a pedestrian and paid a $5,000 fine.

Jack Christopher Botero was charged with dangerous driving and killing 32-year-old Bobby Branville Thompson on Tuesday on Eleuthera island.

Botero's lawyer said his client was not drunk or under the effects of any substance and that he and his family were going to dinner that night.

Botero would have faced one year in prison if he had not paid the fine. He was released on Thursday.

News Topics: General news

People, Places and Companies: Bahamas, Caribbean, Latin America and Caribbean

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Christie's to auction portrait of Malala by British artist Yeo; expected to bring $60,000

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:33
by  Associated Press Christie's to auction portrait of Malala by Yeo Associated Press - 18 April 2014 09:33-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — A portrait of a Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for championing education for girls will be auctioned next month.

The oil painting by Jonathan Yeo shows Malala Yousafzai doing her homework.

It's being donated by the artist to benefit the Malala Fund, which campaigns for girls' education.

Christie's New York is offering the portrait on May 14. It's expected to bring $60,000 to $80,000.

It was painted months after the then-15-year-old Malala was shot as she traveled to school in 2012.

President Barack Obama called Malala the "bravest girl in the world."

She now lives in England.

Yeo is a portrait painter. His works are in the Royal Collection and the National Portrait Gallery in London, among others.

News Topics: Arts and entertainment, General news, Painting, Visual arts

People, Places and Companies: Malala Yousafzai, Barack Obama

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Ukraine crisis not over, tensions high in the East

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 14:31
by  Dan Alexe

According to an Ukrainian poll, the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko would not have the slightest chance of winning the future presidential elections on May 25.

According to the Razumkov Centre, a non-governmental think tank, if elections were held today, Petro Poroshenko, the billionaire owner of chocolate manufacture Roshen, and front-runner in Ukraine's presidential election, would get 28% of the votes, while Yulia Tymoshenko would obtain only 13%.

If the poll is restricted to those voters who already have made up their mind and who declare that they would certainly go to vote, then Poroshenko would obtain 42%, compared with 19% for Tymoshenko.

The boxer turned opposition leader Vitali Klitschko on March 29 dropped out of Ukraine's snap presidential polls scheduled on May 25 to help the candidacy of a charismatic tycoon Petro Poroshenko who made a fortune selling chocolates and backs closer Western ties. Instead, Klitschko plans to run for mayor of Kiev in elections that will be held alongside the presidential elections.

Meanwhile, pro-Russia radicals occupying official buildings in eastern Ukraine announced that they would not recognise  the result of the future presidential elections. They also said they will only leave the occupied buildings if the pro-Western government in Kiev resigns. Denis Pushilin, the self-declared leader of the radicals in Donetsk, said that he did not consider his men bound by a compromise agreement between Russia and Ukraine to disarm.

Aimed at defusing the crisis in Ukraine, the agreement was reached on Thursday, 17 April, in Geneva. Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the European Union called on all illegal armed groups across Ukraine to disband, to stop occupying public buildings, and to refrain from violence. But U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed cautious optimism. An Obama said if Russia fails to live up to its end of the bargain the United States and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions.

On the ground, Ukraine's State Border Guard Service announced that Ukraine was stepping up its border controls with Russia, restricting entry for Russian men of "fighting age." Russia's national airline Aeroflot said Ukrainian authorities have banned entry to all male Russian passengers between the ages of 16 to 60.

Ukraine's government has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the killings of more than 100 people during pro-European demonstrations on Kiev's Independence Square in recent months.

The Hague-based court said on April 18 it had received a declaration from Ukraine stating that Kiev accepts the ICC's jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed between November 21, 2013, and February 22, 2014. 

Ukraine signed the international treaty setting up the ICC in 2000 but has not yet ratified it.

Accepting the ICC's jurisdiction does not automatically mean an investigation will be launched. Prosecutors will now have to decide whether there is enough evidence to do so. 

The ICC investigates the most serious international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

About 100 people were killed, most of them by sniper fire, on Kiev's Independence Square between February 20-22.

Cf. also:

Ukraine crisis: deal reached in Geneva

NATO’s rhetorical bluff and the the new "Great Game”

Putin's China card



Categories: News

57-nation OSCE to play key Ukraine monitoring role in human rights, elections, media freedom

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:55
by  Associated Press 57-nation group plays key Ukraine monitoring role by GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:55-04:00

VIENNA (AP) — A team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is going to try to help de-escalate Russian-Ukrainian tensions after the two nations agreed to work on reducing frictions sparked by Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

But the Special Monitoring Mission of the 57-nation OSCE to Ukraine and other OSCE teams on the ground have no enforcing powers, limiting them to advisory and monitoring roles. The organization — which includes Russia, the United States, Canada, all European and some central Asian countries — also works mostly by consensus, which allowed Russia last month to block its team from going to Ukraine for a week.

A look at the organization's presence in Ukraine:



The 100-strong team includes personnel from Russia and the United States and can be expanded to up to 500 people. It was established March 21, with an open-ended mandate to observe and report on the situation in Ukraine.

After a crisis meeting in Geneva on Thursday, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union authorized it to "play a leading role" in assisting Ukraine's authorities to quell "violence, intimidation or provocative actions." But Russian endorsement of the team does not recognize any role for it in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia annexed last month.



Several OSEC teams of unarmed civilian and military were repeatedly blocked from visiting Crimea between March 5 and March 20, as the peninsula veered into Russia's orbit. The teams were sent at request of Ukraine outside the OSCE consensus rule and did not require Russian approval. They were prevented from entry into Crimea by pro-Russian units — including some who fired warning shots — but were able to report that such units apparently included regular Russian military troops.



The OSCE deployed its first election monitors to Ukraine in March, after Ukraine asked them to observe its May 25 presidential election. The team, which could reach up to 900 members by election day, reports on any irregularities in the vote.



An OSCE rights mission met with officials and Russian and Ukrainian minority communities throughout Ukraine including Crimea between March 18 and April 1 and will soon release a report on its findings. The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Astrid Thors, visited Ukraine, including Crimea, several times in March and April.



OSCE media freedom chief Dunja Mijatovic visited Crimea as well as Kiev in early March and Kiev in April. The OSCE describes her role as providing "early warnings on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom." She has issued several critical statements about the safety of journalists since the crisis broke.



At the request of Ukraine, a 15-member team of experts has been deployed in areas of Ukraine outside of Crimea to "support confidence building between different parts of Ukrainian society."

News Topics: General news

People, Places and Companies: Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, Europe, United States, Eastern Europe, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Ashton concerned over developments in West Bank

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:54

The  spokesperson  of  Catherine  Ashton,  High  Representative  of  the  Union  for  Foreign  Affairs  and  Security  Policy  and  Vice  President  of  the  Commission,
issued  the  following  statement  today:

"The   High   Representative   has   followed   with   concern   the   recent   events   in   the   West   Bank,  including  in  East  Jerusalem,  which  are  not  conducive  to  the  climate  of  trust  and  cooperation  needed  for  the  current  peace  negotiations  to  succeed.

The  High  Representative  condemns  the  recent  killing  of  an  Israeli  man  in  the  West  Bank  and  calls  for  an  immediate  end  to  all  acts  of  violence.

The  High  Representative  also  sees  with  great  concern  the  recent  announcement  that  nearly  one  square  kilometre  near  the  Gush  Etzion  settlement  has  been  declared  as  "state  land"  by  the  Israeli  Defence  Ministry,  that  the  latter  has  authorized  a  new  settlement  in  Hebron,  that  demolitions   of   Palestinian   property   are   continuing   in   Area   C   and   East   Jerusalem   with  resulting  displacement  of  vulnerable  populations.  She  also  deplores  in  particular  the  recent  confiscation   of   EU   Humanitarian   Assistance   provided   to   vulnerable   civilians   in   the   Jabal   Al  Baba   Community   in   the   E1   area.   The   EU   calls   on   the   Israeli   authorities   to reverse   these  decisions.

The   High   Representative   calls   on   the   parties   to   show   utmost   restraint   and   responsibility   in  order  not  to  jeopardize  the  current  negotiation  process,  and  to  refrain  from  any  steps  which  could  undermine  trust  and  threaten  these  negotiations.

The  High  Representative  fully  supports  the  tireless  efforts  of  U.S.  Secretary  of  State  Kerry  in  pursuing   peace   and   trusts   that   both   Prime   Minister   Netanyahu and   President   Abbas   are  committed  to  finding  ways  to  continue  negotiations."

Categories: News

British officials looking into killing of 18-year-old in Syria

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:53
by  Associated Press UK looking into death of teenager in Syria Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:53-04:00

LONDON (AP) — British officials say they are looking into the death of a British teenager in Syria.

British media identified the teen as 18-year-old Abdullah Deghayes, who was due to go to university but had run away from his home in January. The teenager is the nephew of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Deghayes, who was held at the detention camp as an enemy combatant between 2002 and 2007.

Police say Friday that they received reports earlier this week that an 18-year-old from Brighton had been killed in Syria in recent weeks under unclear circumstances. Britain's Foreign Office said they are urgently looking into the death.

British counter-terrorism authorities have expressed concern about the hundreds of Britons who have traveled to Syria to take part in jihad, or holy war.

News Topics: General news

People, Places and Companies: United Kingdom, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Bold animated series 'The Boondocks' returns for its final 'offensive' season on Adult Swim

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:43
by  Associated Press 'The Boondocks' back for final 'offensive' season by FRAZIER MOORE, Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:43-04:00

NEW YORK (AP) — The brash animated series "The Boondocks" returns Monday to Adult Swim for its fourth and final season without Aaron McGruder, the man who spawned it, but with its brashness intact.

The season premiere is a spoof of "Breaking Bad." The first of 10 weekly episodes, it airs at 10:30 p.m. EDT.

Adapted by McGruder in 2005 from his comic strip of the same name, "The Boondocks" quickly distinguished itself for its pull-no-punches exploration of the black experience in the U.S., where living, making a living and just growing up can pose special challenges for African-Americans.

With its beautiful anime style but tough subjects and rough language, the series ruffled feathers while winning acclaim, including an NAACP Image Award.

It also won the prestigious Peabody Award in 2007 for an episode that found Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. awakening from a decades-long "coma" into a modern world that both disturbed and disappointed him for its lack of social progress.

The series "throws edgy, irreverent comment at some of the thorniest issues of our time," the Peabody committee said in its citation. "Race relations, racial identity, juvenile delinquency — there are no sacred topics here."

"The Boondocks" centers on cranky, self-involved Robert "Granddad" Freeman, the legal (but highly irresponsible) guardian of two grandsons who has moved them from Chicago's inner city to what he fancies to be the trouble-free "boondocks" of a comfortable suburb. In those sedate surroundings, Granddad hopes he can shirk his child-raising burdens in favor of full-time sloth and partying.

Needless to say, his grandkids disrupt those plans. Riley is a rambunctious 8-year-old product of rap culture. His 10-year-old brother, Huey, is a budding revolutionary, a dead-serious left-wing radical who serves as the series' conscience. (Regina King of "Southland" and "Ray" voices the brothers, while John Witherspoon of "Friday After Next" is Granddad.)

"It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons," McGruder explained on Facebook last month, speaking of the series' first three seasons, when "I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy."

McGruder has since departed after "a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined," according to Adult Swim.

But he's preparing something new for the network as he puts "a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me," he said — surely with tongue in cheek — in his Facebook statement. His new project: a live-action scripted comedy called "Black Jesus," with Jesus living in modern-day Compton, Calif., as he attempts to spread love and kindness through this troubled neighborhood. It is scheduled to premiere later this year.

Meanwhile, even in McGruder's absence, "The Boondocks" isn't playing it safe or just for laughs.

In the debut episode, Granddad learns he's broke.

"I'd say you have six months before you and your grandkids are homeless and starving," his financial planner informs him, then, pondering what funds Granddad might generate, inquires, "How many kidneys do you have?"

Huey's chemistry project (which in fact is an effort to make an explosive material for building bombs) turns out to be the goldmine Granddad has dreamed of: This pink goop turns out to be the world's best hair-wave cream. It doesn't just straighten existing hair, it's mega-Rogaine, growing beautifully lustrous straight hair overnight.

There's just one hitch, as Huey is quick to warn Granddad: With a single spark, the stuff explodes on your head.

Will this stop Granddad from cashing in on his miracle product — or getting tangled up in the dangerous black market of the hair-care industry?

It's a clever parable with a lot to say about human vanity (the risk of death pales beside the promise of great hair), and about the readiness of consumer products to exploit that vanity.

And it's told as an homage to the crystal-meth underworld explored by "Breaking Bad," including some shot-for-shot sequences borrowed from that AMC drama's famous pilot episode, here with Granddad (not Walter White) as a would-be drug lord in his tighty-whities, cooking contraband wave cream (not "blue sky" meth) in the desert in his motor home.

As ever on "The Boondocks," the sparks will fly.


EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at and at



News Topics: Arts and entertainment, Television programs, Entertainment, Animated television, Animation and comics

People, Places and Companies: Martin Luther King Jr., Regina King

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Arrest warrants sought for captain, two sailors of sunken S.Korean ferry

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:37

   Arrest warrants were sought Friday for a captain and two sailors of the sunken South Korean ferry, which capsized and sank in waters off the country's southwestern coast Wednesday.

     South Korean prosecutors filed for arrest warrants for the 69- year-old captain surnamed Lee, the third mate and the helmsman of the submerged vessel, which carried 475 passengers, mostly high school students, local media reported.

     The captain, who was one of the first to abandon the ship, has already been arrested on charges of abandonment resulting in death, professional negligence and violation of rescue act. The two crew members were charged with violation of similar laws.

     The additional punishment law on specific crimes was applied to the crew members as they escaped from the ship without making efforts to evacuate passengers first.

     Earlier in the day, prosecutors said the third mate took the helm of the submerged ship at the last minutes before the ship sank into the waters.

     The prosecutors told a press briefing that the third mate conned the ship at the last time when it was sinking and testimonies on where the captain was when the ship was sinking have been conflicting.

     The rescued captain and crew members had been questioned by prosecutors to figure out why the ship sank. The captain came back to the steering room after the ship began tilting.

     The 6,825-ton "Sewol" passenger ferry capsized and sank off Jindo Island, near the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula, on Wednesday morning.

     The ferry disaster was believed to have been caused by a sudden turn in direction. The ship made an abrupt turn at about 8:48 a.m. local time Wednesday. The second turn was suddenly made four minutes later.

     The Coast Guard received a distress signal from the ship at 8: 55 a.m., and the ferry remained afloat for some two and a half hours with its body tilting.

     The abrupt turn was estimated to have moved some 180 cars and trucks and over 1,100 tons of cargo on the deck of the ship to one side, driving the ship to lean to the port side gradually.

     While the captain and several crew members left the ferry, many passengers were left behind and failed to evacuate timely.

     The ferry's regular captain who had been on leave was replaced by the arrested captain, who the ship's operator Chonghaejin Marine said is a veteran with eight years of experience on the Incheon-Jeju Island route.

     Prosecutors searched the operator's headquarters, seizing documents and records.

Categories: News

Officials in Egypt say they stopped an attempt to smuggle Jewish artifacts out of the country

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:25
by  Associated Press Egypt stops attempt to smuggle Jewish artifacts Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:25-04:00

CAIRO (AP) — Authorities in Egypt say they have seized a cache of Jewish religious artifacts that smugglers wanted to ship to Belgium at one of the country's main ports.

Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said in a statement Friday that officials found the artifacts while searching cargo Thursday at the coastal city of Damietta.

Among the artifacts are a cylindrical wooden box plated in silver, which would have held Torah scrolls. Officials also found a silver knife dating to roughly 1890 with inscriptions, and bells commonly hung in synagogues.

A committee will study and date the cache, which the statement says "embodies a period of religious tolerance in Egypt's history."

Egypt has experienced a security vacuum since its 2011 uprising. Thousands of artifacts have been stolen.

News Topics: General news, Smuggling, Crime

People, Places and Companies: Egypt, Middle East, North Africa, Africa

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Turkish president rules out job swap with Prime Minister Erdogan in August

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:21
by  Associated Press Turkish president rules out job swap with Erdogan Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:21-04:00

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Abdullah Gul has signaled that he doesn't want to swap jobs with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan when the presidential term ends later this year.

Gul said Friday he opposes a model similar to that of Russia where the president and prime minister have traded places and one has ruled in the other's shadow.

Gul suggested he would not oppose Erdogan if he chose to run for president in the election in August.

Erdogan has not made a decision about whether he will seek to become president — a position that is largely ceremonial but does include the power to appoint the prime minister. He has said he wants a presidency with more executive powers.

News Topics: General news, Government and politics

People, Places and Companies: Abdullah Gul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Middle East, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

Melbourne Victory beat Sydney FC 2-1, could be Del Piero's final A-League game

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:16
by  Associated Press A-League elimination final: Victory top Sydney 2-1 Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:16-04:00

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler's goal two minutes into injury time gave the Melbourne Victory a 2-1 win over Sydney FC in an A-League elimination final on Friday.

Archie Thompson opened the scoring for Melbourne in the 19th minute, and Seb Ryall equalized in the 34th.

The match could be the final A-League appearance for former Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero, who has not signed a new contract for Sydney FC for next season after two years in the league.

Del Piero received his 10th yellow card of the season in the match.

The Victory will play either first-place Brisbane or second-place Western Sydney in the semifinals, depending on the result of Saturday's match between Central Coast and Adelaide.

Brisbane and Western Sydney had first-round playoff byes.

News Topics: Sports, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, Men's sports, Soccer

People, Places and Companies: Melbourne, Sydney, Australia, Oceania

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

French president's top aide resigns over accusations of past conflict of interest

New Europe News - Fri, 18/04/2014 - 13:16
by  Associated Press French President Hollande's top aide resigns Associated Press - 18 April 2014 08:16-04:00

PARIS (AP) — The French president's top adviser has resigned following allegations of a past conflict of interest, striking a new blow to the already unpopular Francois Hollande.

Aquilino Morelle —Hollande's political adviser and head of his communication staff— announced his resignation Friday, an official in president's office said.

Morelle has denied allegations by the news website Mediapart of a conflict of interest. The report said he worked for the government pharmaceutical regulator in 2007 while also lobbying for the drug industry. The report also criticized Morelle's supposed lavish lifestyle at a time when the government is making cuts in public spending.

Hollande's approval rating has recently hit a new low of 18 percent despite a cabinet reshuffle three weeks ago.

News Topics: General news, Government and politics, Political resignations

People, Places and Companies: Francois Hollande, France, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News