News

Iraqi officials say mortar attack kills 8 Shiite worshippers north of Baghdad

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:24
by  Associated Press Mortar attack kills 8 people in Iraq by SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press - 12 December 2014 07:24-05:00

BAGHDAD (AP) — Authorities in Iraq say mortar fire targeting a Shiite mosque has killed eight worshippers in a town north of Baghdad.

Police officials say the attack took place Friday afternoon in the town of Muqdadiyah when several mortar shells landed near the mosque as worshippers were leaving after the end of Friday prayers.

Muqdadiyah is 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad. The mosque was partially damaged.

Police and hospital officials said at least eight people were killed and 21 others were wounded. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni Islamic militants frequently attacks Shiites, whom they consider heretics.

News Topics: General news, War and unrest

People, Places and Companies: Baghdad, Iraq, Middle East

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Categories: News

BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:15
by  Associated Press BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS Associated Press - 12 December 2014 07:15-05:00

ASIA:

HONG KONG-DEMOCRACY PROTEST

HONG KONG — Traffic is back to normal in Hong Kong's financial district after authorities demolished a protest camp at the heart of the city's 2 ½-month pro-democracy movement. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 500 words, photos, video.

CHINA-NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE

BEIJING — Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo tells an overseas friend that he is relatively healthy and wants the world to pay more attention to other Chinese activists, in a rare message smuggled out of prison. By Didi Tang. SENT: 340 words, photos.

— CHINA-LAWYER DETAINED — At least 260 Chinese lawyers sign an open letter of protest after a fellow attorney was detained by police for invoking the constitutional rights of free speech and religion in court. SENT: 320 words.

JAPAN-OUTRAGED OVER UNBROKEN

TOKYO — Angelina Jolie's new movie "Unbroken" has not been released in Japan yet, but it has already struck a nerve in a country still fighting over its wartime past. Some people are calling for a boycott of the movie, which depicts a U.S. Olympic runner who endures torture at a Japanese World War II prisoner-of-war camp. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 680 words, photos.

JAPAN-ELECTION-PHOTO GALLERY

TOKYO — Some deliver their stump speeches standing on plastic milk crates, Japan's version of the proverbial soapbox. Others climb atop platforms on specially-equipped vans. A snap election for the 475-seat lower house of parliament has thrust more than 1,000 candidates out into an early December chill. SENT: 180 words, photos by Eugene Hoshiko.

BANGLADESH-OIL SPILL

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Authorities in Bangladesh urgently assess environmental damage in one of the world's largest mangrove forests after an oil tanker sank, threatening wildlife in the UNESCO World Heritage site. The oil tanker sank Tuesday on a major river flowing through the Sundarbans after being hit by a cargo vessel. SENT: 350 words.

SKOREA-KOREAN AIR-APOLOGIES

SEOUL, South Korea — The Korean Air Lines Co. executive who delayed a flight in an incident dubbed "nut rage" bows deeply in apology before facing questioning by transport officials. Her father, the airline's chairman, also apologized and said he regrets he didn't raise her better. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 550 words, photos.

THAILAND-AIR RAGE

BANGKOK — A Thai airline flight to China returns to Bangkok after a passenger assaulted a flight attendant by tossing hot water at her, the airline says. SENT: 250 words.

INDONESIA-BLASPHEMY

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police accuse the editor-in-chief of a leading English-language newspaper of blasphemy after the paper published a cartoon that allegedly insulted Islam. SENT: 250 words.

UNITED STATES-MYANMAR-MILITARY TIES

WASHINGTON — Human rights advocates and some lawmakers say the United States is sending the wrong signal by opening the door for broader engagement with Myanmar's widely criticized military just weeks after President Barack Obama assured opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi that closer ties weren't going to happen soon. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 740 words, photo.

MYANMAR-BUDDHA IMAGE ARREST

YANGON, Myanmar — A New Zealand bar manager in Myanmar is arrested for allegedly insulting Buddhism after posting an online advertisement showing a psychedelic image of Buddha wearing headphones, police say. The offense carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 210 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-BUTTER BLUES

TOKYO — Worsening shortages of butter in Japan are a symptom of deeply entrenched resistance to a market-opening overhaul. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will struggle to deliver on reform promises even if his party wins a stronger mandate for his "Abenomics" policies in an election Sunday. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 900 words, photos.

CHINA-ECONOMY

BEIJING — Growth in China's factory output declined further in November in a new sign of weakness in the world's second-largest economy. Industrial production rose by 7.2 percent over a year earlier, government data showed. That was down from October's 7.7 percent growth and September's 8 percent rate. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 470 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

CONGRESS SPENDING

WASHINGTON —It's now up to the Senate to pass a huge $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill after the Obama White House and House Republicans joined forces to push it through the House over objections from Democrats that it would roll back bank regulations imposed in the wake of the economic near-meltdown of 2008. SENT: 620 words, photos, video.

CIA TORTURE REPORT

WASHINGTON — CIA chief challenges Senate torture report, admits "abhorrent" tactics used. By Ken Dilanian. SENT: 840 words, photos.

ISRAEL-ANYONE BUT BIBI

JERUSALEM — With elections on the horizon, the greatest obstacle standing between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a return to high office could be Netanyahu himself. A slew of challengers say that after nearly nine years in office, it is time for a new face at the top, and "Bibi fatigue" is shaping up to be a key issue. By Aron Heller. SENT: 890 words, photos.

— GREECE-ISRAELI EMBASSY-ATTACK — Terrorists fire dozens of shots at Israeli embassy in Athens, nobody hurt in pre-dawn attack. SENT: 200 words, photos.

PERU-CLIMATE TALKS

LIMA, Peru — U.N. global warming talks head into their last scheduled day Friday with rich and poor countries arguing over what kind of climate action plans they should present in the run-up to a key summit in Paris next year. By Karl Ritter. SENT: 610 words, photos.

EUROPE-NIGHT TRAINS

BERLIN — Commuters jostle on and off their gleaming German high-speed trains at Berlin's main railway station on a cold December morning, but one platform stays stubbornly empty. Finally, a grimy engine draws in, pulling carriages that look like they saw their best days in the 1980s. German railway company Deutsche Bahn is ending the sleeper service between Paris and Berlin this week, citing unsustainable losses. By Frank Jordans. SENT: 680 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— OBIT-DU CILLE — Washington Post photojournalist du Cille, 3-time Pulitzer winner, dies in Liberia at age 58. SENT: 400 words, photo.

— BRITAIN-PSYCHEDELIC QUEEN — "Magic mushroom" found growing wild in Queen Elizabeth II's garden at Buckingham Palace. SENT: 110 words.

— EBOLA-WEST AFRICA — Mali: last Ebola case cured, released; 26 people still being monitored for symptoms. SENT: 280 words.

— SONY HACK-EMAILS — Studio head, Oscar-winning producer apologize for insensitive Jolie, Obama remarks. SENT: 700 words, photos.

___

YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org.

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

News Topics: General news, Embassies, Tanker accidents, Violations of environmental law, Arrests, Protests and demonstrations, Passenger airlines, Torture and interrogation tactics, Government and politics, Rail transportation industry, Crime, Freedom of speech, Oil and gas transportation, Legislature, International relations, Maritime accidents, Transportation accidents, Accidents, Accidents and disasters, Transportation, Environmental concerns, Environment, Environment and nature, Law and order, Political and civil unrest, Airlines, Transportation and shipping, Industrial products and services, Industries, Business, Prisoner rights, Human rights and civil liberties, Social issues, Social affairs, Treatment of prisoners, Human welfare, Oil and gas industry, Energy industry

People, Places and Companies: Angelina Jolie, Barack Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Shinzo Abe, Benjamin Netanyahu, Queen Elizabeth II, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Tokyo, China, United States, Bangladesh, Indonesia, East Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, Israel, Southeast Asia, Greater China, Asia, North America, South Asia, Middle East

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

Categories: News

French mayor sentenced to prison for ignoring flood risks before deadly coastal storm

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:07
by  Associated Press French mayor convicted over deadly sea wall breach Associated Press - 12 December 2014 07:07-05:00

PARIS (AP) — A French court has sentenced a former mayor and his deputy to prison for ignoring flood risks and encouraging development in their Atlantic Coast town before aging sea walls collapsed in a 2010 storm that killed dozens.

The storm, called Xynthia, smashed through thousands of homes, destroyed oyster farms, flooded ports and unleashed heavy criticism of weak sea walls along the coast.

The court found that town officials in La Faute-sur-Mer "intentionally hid" information about flood risks so as not to scare away lucrative development on the town's picturesque, poorly protected shoreline.

Former Mayor Rene Marratier told reporters after the verdict Friday in western France that his four-year prison sentence was "unjust."

Environmental groups argue that climate change makes it even more urgent for France to shore up sea defenses.

News Topics: General news, Weather, Floods, Municipal governments, Storms, Political scandals, Coastlines and beaches, Water environment, Accidents and disasters, Local governments, Government and politics, Political issues, Environment and nature, Environment

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

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

Categories: News

France wants to legalize terminal sedation

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:03
by  KG/Associated Press

France's president wants to allow doctors to keep terminally ill patients sedated until death comes, amid a national debate about whether to legalize euthanasia.

Francois Hollande stopped short of recommending lethal injections, avoiding the terms euthanasia and assisted suicide, highly sensitive issues in this majority-Catholic country.

Instead, he called Friday for a law that would give people "the right to deep, continuous sedation until death" — at patients' request, and only when their condition is life-threatening in the short term. Doctors are divided about this kind of terminal sedation.

Debate over end-of-life legislation resurfaced this year over the case of comatose Frenchman Vincent Lambert. His wife wants doctors to stop life support but his parents disagree. The case is pending at the European Court of Human Rights.

Categories: News

Defending World Cup biathlon champ Kaisa Makarainen wins 7.5K women's sprint in Austria

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:01
by  Associated Press World Cup champ Makarainen wins 7.5K biathlon Associated Press - 12 December 2014 07:01-05:00

HOCHFILZEN, Austria (AP) — Finnish biathlete Kaisa Makarainen won a women's World Cup 7.5-kilometer sprint on Friday for her second victory of the season.

The defending overall champion won the pursuit in Ostersund, Sweden, last weekend, and has been on the podium in all four races this season.

Makarainen missed one target before finishing in 20 minutes, 55.6 seconds to beat Karin Oberhofer of Italy, who shot cleanly, by 10.4 seconds. Oberhofer led after the final shooting but couldn't match Makarainen's pace on the track.

Tiril Eckhoff of Norway, who won the season-opening sprint a week ago, also missed once and came 29.9 seconds behind in third.

Three-time Olympic champion Darya Domracheva of Belarus had two penalties and finished eighth.

A men's 10K sprint was scheduled for late Friday.

News Topics: Sports, Women's biathlon, Women's Nordic skiing, Biathlon, Nordic skiing, Women's sports, Skiing, Women's skiing

People, Places and Companies: Kaisa Makarainen, Darya Domracheva, Austria, Western Europe, Europe

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

Categories: News

Peter Jackson leaves Middle Earth with 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies'

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:58
by  Associated Press Jackson leaves Middle Earth with 'The Hobbit' by JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:58-05:00

LONDON (AP) — After a long and eventful journey, "The Hobbit" trilogy has reached its bloody climax.

Not a minute too soon for director Peter Jackson, who has been longing to unleash mayhem on Middle Earth.

"It's the first time we've got to kill dwarves," said the director, his enthusiasm for death and destruction at odds with his laid-back manner and luxurious surroundings in a London hotel suite.

"It's hard to get any emotional power in a film unless you are able to actually kill some of your main characters," he said. "We've been hampered with that in the first two 'Hobbit' movies. But at least we have a good dwarf death toll in the third one."

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" wraps up the trilogy spun from J.R.R. Tolkien's slim book about home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins, coaxed away from his burrow to help a band of dwarves retake their mountain home from a destructive dragon.

The third film sees the dragon dispatched before a cataclysmic clash involving armies of dwarves, elves, humans, eagles and dastardly orcs.

It's a CGI extravaganza, with all the visual overkill that 3-D and 48-frames-per-second filming can provide. But Jackson says this film was the most emotionally satisfying of the three. (It's also the shortest, at a relatively brisk 144 minutes). For one thing, while the first two movies charted a journey, this one largely stays put, at the Lonely Mountain of Erebor.

"It was a joy not to have to do any big helicopter shots of people walking across New Zealand landscapes," Jackson said — although the country's tourist authorities may disagree. Tolkien tourism has become a big draw for the small nation.

"The thing that I like about this one, probably more than anything — even more than killing dwarves — is that it's got this feeling of a thriller about it," Jackson said. "I enjoyed being able to be sharper and crank the tension up and up and up and up until the battle breaks out."

His enthusiasm is shared by Martin Freeman, who plays reluctant hero Bilbo. The film brings a peril-strewn emotional climax to the hobbit's complicated friendship with dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage)

"I always like dark tones anyway," said Freeman, who recently took a break from playing dependable Dr. Watson in "Sherlock" to star as morally compromised insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in the TV series "Fargo."

"I like playing light and I like playing comedy, but my natural inclination is very often not toward that. ... I like stretching out. I kind of feel very fulfilled when acting not happy."

"Battle of the Five Armies" completes a Tolkien saga that includes Jackson's three "Lord of the Rings" films. The director says the darkening mood of the "Hobbit" films was a deliberate attempt to segue into the more grown-up world of "The Lord of the Rings," set decades later.

"Ultimately these movies will be judged in decades to come as a six-film series that will start with the first 'Hobbit' film and finish with (final 'Rings' movie) 'The Return of the King,'" Jackson said.

"If we'd made 'The Hobbit' first we'd probably have made it much more like a young children's story, which is how the book's written."

Jackson has spent a decade and a half in Middle Earth, and says "it certainly feels like it's time to move on to other things." He has one more bit of "Hobbit" business to complete, an extended cut of the new movie with about half an hour of extra material.

A lot has changed since he embarked on his journey. The digital technology the films rely on has become ever more sophisticated.

"When we did the first 'Lord of the Rings' movie we couldn't do CGI water and fire," Jackson said. He can now — "The Battle of the Five Armies" opens with a spectacular dragon attack on Lake-town.

And the image of the fantasy genre has been transformed. Jackson could not have imagined when he started that a show like "Game of Thrones" would receive serious cultural kudos.

"I always used to get very annoyed, because if you were a filmmaker making a fantasy film, it was like a license to be a little bit silly, a little bit lightweight and comical," Jackson said. "It was almost like you couldn't treat is with any degree of seriousness."

If his films have done anything, Jackson said, "I hope it's let people know that you don't have to treat fantasy that way. You can give it the respect that it deserves."

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" opens Friday in Britain and Dec. 17 in the United States.

___

Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

News Topics: Arts and entertainment, General news, Movies, Entertainment, Science fiction and fantasy movies

People, Places and Companies: Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, 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

The report on CIA's use of torture: "continued silence of EU member states”

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:58
by  Dan Alexe

US Senate revelations of the CIA's use of torture and other cruel or degrading treatment of detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the alleged complicity of some EU member states, will be debated with the Council and Commission on Wednesday next week, on the eve of the winter EU summit. 

Some MEP’s also want a debate on the issue. "The continued silence of EU member states is a disgrace," said Sophie in 't Veld of the liberal ALDE group. From the Greens, Eva Joly also said that “this is a new proof that should push the US to accept its responsibility”.

Until now, the Commission's reaction has been muffled, the only reaction being that the US Senate report exposing the brutal, yet ineffective, CIA torture of al-Qaida suspects was a "positive step" in recognising the program's failings.

"The report raises important questions about the violation of human rights by the US authorities," Catherine Ray, spokeswoman for newly installed EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini, said on Wednesday.

"This report is a positive step in confronting publicly and critically the Central Intelligence Agency's detention and interrogation program."

Ray she said she could not address allegations that several EU member states were implicated in the CIA's global anti-terror network, including in the secret renditions of suspects to the US security forces for interrogation.

Asked about the role allegedly played by countries such as Poland and Romania, among others, Ray said the US report made no mention of third countries and so she could not comment.

In Romania, the reaction to the allegation that a secret CIA prison to operate inside the country is verging on the indifference, but in Poland it received official confirmation. After years of denials, two former Polish leaders acknowledged Wednesday the existence of such a secret prison, but insisted they never authorised the harsh treatment or torture of its inmates.

"The U.S. side asked the Polish side to find a quiet site where it could conduct activity that would allow to effectively obtain information from persons who had declared a readiness to cooperate with the U.S. side," Kwasniewski said. "We gave our consent to that." He said Poland demanded that people who would be held in the country should be treated humanely as prisoners of war, according to their rights.

Kwasniewski was in power from 1995 to 2005, but like Miller and other left-wing government leaders of the time, he denied the site's existence until recently.

In an effort to justify the sudden acknowledgment, Kwasniewski said later in a TV interview that he had been previously bound to keep state secrets.

Kwasniewski also said the prison, which he referred to as a "site," was part of "deepened" intelligence cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks, and he insisted he had no knowledge of what took place inside it. He said he only learned that detainees had been tortured there from leaks to the press starting in 2006.

Kwasniewski and Miller both criticized the publication of the U.S. report, saying it hurt the interests of the United States, and of its allies at a dangerous time for international security. They said it also could undermine confidence in America.

"If a key U.S. agency was deceiving its own president ... the allies will be asking: How can we trust our U.S. partners?" Kwasniewski said. "With this publication the Americans lose their potential as an ally."

He said the report exposed America's weakness, especially in the eyes of Russia.

US President Barack Obama banned harsh interrogation tactics upon taking office, calling the treatment "torture." But he has shown little interest in holding accountable anyone involved, a sore point among human rights groups and his supporters on the left.

Lawyers representing former CIA detainees have introduced cases in Europe and Canada, though to little success thus far. Undeclared prisons existed in Poland, Romania and Lithuania, among countries.

Twenty-six Americans, mostly CIA agents, were convicted in absentia in Italy of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003, limiting their ability to travel for fear of extradition. The former CIA base chief in Italy was briefly detained in Panama last year before being returned to the U.S.

Categories: News

Commission adopts first equivalence decision for the purposes of credit risk

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:39
by  KG/EUROPA

Today, the Commission adopted its first 'equivalence' decision for the purposes of credit risk weighting under the Capital Requirements Regulation. It establishes a list of third countries whose supervisory and regulatory arrangements the EU considers equivalent.

"With this Decision, we are clarifying the capital provisions that EU banks need to hold against over 90% of their non-EU lending. This means EU credit institutions won't need to apply disproportionate capital requirements against these exposures. This decision makes it easier for European banks who operate globally and strengthens the single banking market". said Commissioner Jonathan Hill.

The Implementing Decision determines that certain third countries and territories apply regulatory and supervisory arrangements that are equivalent to those applied in the Union, with respect to credit institutions, investment firms, and exchanges.

For those third countries which are recognised as equivalent, EU banks can apply preferential risk weights to relevant exposures to entities located in those countries. These include: financial institutions, central and local governments, and public sector entities.

Today's decision is the first step in an ongoing programme which will regularly review the equivalence of other third countries. This exercise will be carried out over the coming years with the assistance of the European Banking Authority.

Background

The 'Capital Requirements Regulation foresees that certain categories of exposures to entities located in third countries -including central governments- can benefit from a more favourable treatment in terms of capital requirements. This preferential treatment is only available where the European Commission adopts an Implementing Decision determining that a third country's prudential supervisory and regulatory requirements are at least equivalent to those applied in the Union. In the absence of the timely adoption of such a Decision, relevant exposures in those countries would have been subject to disproportionately high capital requirements with respect to the degree of risk involved.

In the past, some Member States have granted such recognition to individual third countries on a unilateral basis. The adoption of this Implementing Decision allows the EU to move towards a uniform treatment of third country exposures by establishing a common list of third countries with EU-wide recognition. This is a necessary step in the context of a single banking market. The Commission will periodically review the list in order to add any other country that proves to be eligible for a positive equivalence assessment.

The Implementing Act will enter into force on 1 January 2015. Once the new rules become applicable, any existing preferential treatment based on national assessments will cease to exist.

Today, the Commission adopted its first 'equivalence' decision for the purposes of credit risk weighting under the Capital Requirements Regulation. It establishes a list of third countries whose supervisory and regulatory arrangements the EU considers equivalent.

"With this Decision, we are clarifying the capital provisions that EU banks need to hold against over 90% of their non-EU lending. This means EU credit institutions won't need to apply disproportionate capital requirements against these exposures. This decision makes it easier for European banks who operate globally and strengthens the single banking market". said Commissioner Jonathan Hill.

The Implementing Decision determines that certain third countries and territories apply regulatory and supervisory arrangements that are equivalent to those applied in the Union, with respect to credit institutions, investment firms, and exchanges.

For those third countries which are recognised as equivalent, EU banks can apply preferential risk weights to relevant exposures to entities located in those countries. These include: financial institutions, central and local governments, and public sector entities.

Today's decision is the first step in an ongoing programme which will regularly review the equivalence of other third countries. This exercise will be carried out over the coming years with the assistance of the European Banking Authority.

Categories: News

Washington Post photojournalist du Cille, 3-time Pulitzer winner, dies in Liberia at age 58

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:34
by  Associated Press Pulitzer-winning photojournalist dies in Liberia Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:34-05:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — Photojournalist Michel du Cille, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner who recently captured compelling images of Ebola patients and their caretakers, died in Liberia while on assignment for The Washington Post. He was 58.

Executive Editor Martin Baron sent a statement to the newspaper staff informing them of du Cille's death. Baron called du Cille "a beloved colleague and one of the world's most accomplished photographers."

The Post (http://wapo.st/1vX29xD ) reported du Cille collapsed Thursday while returning on foot from a Liberian village where he'd been working on an assignment. He was taken over dirt roads to a hospital two hours away and was declared dead of an apparent heart attack.

Du Cille won two Pulitzer Prizes as a photographer with the Miami Herald in the 1980s and shared a third in 2008 as a reporter with the Post — an investigative public service series on the treatment of veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who were returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. He also spent several years as The Post's director of photography and an assistant managing editor.

Among his assignments was coverage of civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s. He returned to West Africa this year to cover the Ebola outbreak, sometimes wearing heavy rubber gloves as he took the pictures of the patients.

In October, Syracuse University pulled an invitation for du Cille to attend a fall workshop for its communications school after a student raised concerns that he'd recently been in West Africa covering the Ebola crisis. Du Cille insisted he had been symptom-free for the three weeks since his return and said he was "embarrassed and completely weirded out" by the university's decision.

"The most disappointing thing is that the students at Syracuse have missed that moment to learn about the Ebola crisis, using someone who has been on the ground and seen it up close," he said. "But they chose to pander to hysteria."

Born in 1956 in Kingston, Jamaica, du Cille moved with his family to the state of Georgia in the 1970s, where he began his career as a photographer at the Gainesville Times. He graduated from Indiana University in 1981 and received a master's degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, Post photographer Nikki Kahn, and two children from a previous marriage.

News Topics: General news, Newspapers, Journalism awards, Ebola virus, Obituaries, Journalists, Journalism, News media, Media, Hemorrhagic fever, Infectious diseases, Diseases and conditions, Health

People, Places and Companies: West Africa, Liberia, Africa

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

Categories: News

French court ruling expected on Uber ban in latest challenge to ride hailing service

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:23
by  Associated Press French court to rule on Uber ban in new challenge by GREG KELLER, Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:23-05:00

PARIS (AP) — A French court is expected to decide Friday whether to ban the ride-hailing company Uber's service after a complaint from rival taxi and car services.

Uber's French contretemps is the latest in a string of challenges it and other ride-hailing companies such as Lyft face around the world, as taxi drivers argue the newer car services have an unfair advantage because they don't have to follow the same regulations and can afford cheaper prices.

Here are some other recent challenges Uber has faced:

SPAIN

A judge ordered Uber's temporary suspension in Spain, saying it represents unfair competition. The Madrid commercial court judge said this week in a preliminary ruling that Uber drivers lacked proper permits to transport passengers in Spain. The suspension was sought by Madrid's Taxi Association, which is planning legal action against Uber.

INDIA

New Delhi police say there's a possibility of criminal charges against the company if police find evidence it misrepresented the safety of its service. A top government official has called for Uber to be banned nationwide after one of its drivers was accused of rape in New Delhi, which has already banned the service.

NETHERLANDS

A Dutch court has ruled in a preliminary judgment that Uber must stop working with drivers who charge fares but do not possess a taxi license. The Commercial Appeals Court in The Hague sided with the Ministry of Transportation in saying that Uber's UberPop service violates current taxi laws, which are under review. The court rejected a proposal by Uber to allow UberPop to operate until the actual case is decided — a process likely to take more than a year.

ILLINOIS

Uber is cooperating with Chicago police in an investigation into a customer's report that she was sexually assaulted during a ride last month. The woman told police an Uber driver picked her up at a bar, asked her to get in the front seat and attacked her during the ride. The driver was working on the company's low-cost UberX platform, in which customers use their smartphones to hail rides from individuals who drive their own vehicles.

The state House and Senate this month approved legislation creating statewide regulations for drivers working with ride-sharing services. It includes modified insurance requirements, background checks and a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol.

CALIFORNIA

California prosecutors have sued Uber over the company's background checks on drivers and other allegations, saying it engages in false advertising about its background checks. Competitor Lyft has agreed to drop similar claims that its background checks are the "best available." It also agreed to pay $500,000 and change some practices to settle its own lawsuit.

OREGON

Portland city officials sued Uber this week, asking a judge to order it to cease operations only days after the service was launched. The city's Transportation Bureau issued two civil penalties against Uber, one for operating without a company permit and another for operating without a vehicle permit.

NEVADA

A judge granted the state's request last month for an order blocking the ride-sharing serve from operating unregulated in Nevada, saying Uber's refusal to comply with state licensing requirements could put the public's safety at risk. Nevada's attorney general filed a lawsuit in October arguing that Uber infringes on the franchise rights of taxi companies and cab drivers serving fare-paying passengers under state oversight.

News Topics: General news, Automotive services, Taxi and car service, Lawsuits, Legal proceedings, Transportation and shipping, Court decisions, Automotive industry regulation, New products and services, State legislature, Crime, Consumer services, Consumer products and services, Industries, Business, Law and order, Industrial products and services, Industry regulation, Government business and finance, Government and politics, Government regulations, Products and services, Corporate news, Legislature, State governments

People, Places and Companies: France, Netherlands, Madrid, New Delhi, Spain, California, Western Europe, Europe, India, South Asia, Asia, United States, North America

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

Categories: News

Ecclestone says Bahrain's right to veto Qatar GP are stalling talks about new F1 race in Gulf

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:22
by  Associated Press Ecclestone: Qatar GP talks thwarted by Bahrain Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:22-05:00

LONDON (AP) — Bernie Ecclestone says discussions about a potential Qatar Grand Prix are being stalled by Bahrain's right to block the Formula One race.

Qatar has a facility in Losail that hosts MotoGP and World Superbikes, while Doha held the annual FIA gala last week.

Discussing the original deal with the Bahrainis, Ecclestone recalled them asking for a "guarantee I wouldn't stage another race in the Gulf, and I said, 'Yes.'"

So Bahrain, which first hosted a race in 2004, had to approve Abu Dhabi having a place on the calendar since 2009.

On the potential Qatar GP, Ecclestone says "now this other race has been proposed, so I put the people together and said, 'Can you sort this out between you?' They haven't managed to do it."

News Topics: Sports, Formula One, Automobile racing, Motorcycle Grand Prix, Motorcycle road racing, Motorcycle racing

People, Places and Companies: Bernie Ecclestone, Middle East, United Kingdom, Qatar, Bahrain, Western Europe, Europe

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

Categories: News

EC adopts Rural Development Programmes for Denmark, Poland and Austria

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:13
by  KG/EUROPA

The European Commission announced today the adoption of three Rural Development Programmes. Commission adopted the Development Programmes of Denmark, Poland and Austria:

2014-2020 Rural Development Programme for Denmark

The Danish Rural Development Programme (RDP) has been formally adopted by the European Commission today 12 December 2014, outlining Denmark's priorities for using the 860 million EURO of public money that is available from 2014-2020 (629 million EUR from the EU budget plus 230m EUR of national funding). With "Green conversion and Green jobs" as its main objective, the programme focus 75% of the support on better management of natural resources and encouraging climate friendly farming practices, also with the objective of doubling the organic area. In addition to 3 000 investment projects to improve environmental performance of farms, the RDP aims to support restructuring of roughly 8% of Danish farms in the pig and cattle sectors. Other schemes aim to boost innovation, provide training opportunities and create more than 1300 jobs in rural areas.

2014-2020 Rural Development Programme for Poland

The Polish Rural Development Programme (RDP) has been formally adopted by the European Commission today, 12 December 2014, outlining Poland's priorities for using the €13.5 billion of public money that is available for the period 2014-2020 (€8.6 billion from the EU budget plus €4.9 billion of national funding).With one third of the funding aimed at "enhancing farm viability and competitiveness”, the RDP is expected to provide investment support to roughly 200 000 farms, and targets the creation of more than 22 000 jobs and more than 1 800 producer groups. In addition, 30% of the support is reserved for environmental and climate friendly practices, with the objective of covering 19% of Poland’s agricultural area.

2014-2020 Rural Development Programme for Austria

The Austrian Rural Development Programme (RDP) was formally adopted by the European Commission on December 12, 2014, outlining Austria's priorities for using the 7.7 billion EUR of public money that is available for the 7 year period 2014-2020 (3.94 billion EUR from the EU budget and 3.76 billion EUR of national co-funding, plus 111 million EUR of additional national funding top-ups). With 71% of the support allocated to better management of natural resources and encouraging climate friendly farming practices, one of the objectives of the RDP is that close to 80% of the agricultural area is under contract for agri-environment schemes, organic farming or as Areas of Natural Constraint, and that roughly 600 000 training places will be created to boost innovation and more sustainable agricultural practices. Further measures include investment in farm structures (20 000 farm holdings) and rural infrastructure.

 

Categories: News

Following report that 2015 demand will be lower than previously thought, oil prices fall again

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:12
by  Associated Press Oil prices fall further after IEA cuts forecast Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:12-05:00

LONDON (AP) — Oil prices have fallen further after the International Energy Agency lowered its forecast for global oil demand next year.

In its monthly oil report, the agency said global oil demand in 2015 will grow by 900,000 barrels a day, 230,000 less than previously forecast.

Following its report Friday, the benchmark New York oil price slipped further below $60 a barrel. In late morning trading in London, it was 72 cents lower at $59.23. Brent, the international standard, was 74 cents lower at $62.94.

The IEA said several years of record high prices have "induced the root cause" of the rout in oil prices in recent months — the surge in non-OPEC supply to its highest growth ever and a contraction in demand growth to five-year lows.

News Topics: Business, General news, Oil and gas industry, Energy industry, Industries

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

Mali: last Ebola case has been cured, released; 26 people still being monitored for symptoms

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:05
by  Associated Press Mali: last known Ebola case cured, released Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:05-05:00

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The Malian Health Ministry says the last Ebola patient being treated in the country has survived the disease and been released.

The ministry said in a statement posted on its website Friday that the patient was discharged a day earlier after several Ebola tests came back negative.

Mali has recorded eight cases of Ebola, all of them linked to people who crossed from neighboring Guinea. The ministry said that the country now has no confirmed or suspected cases, but authorities are still monitoring 26 people who had contact with the sick. A person infected with Ebola can take up to 21 days to show symptoms.

Ebola, which was first identified in Guinea in this outbreak, has sickened more than 18,100 people, killing about 6,500 of them.

News Topics: General news, Ebola virus, Hemorrhagic fever, Infectious diseases, Diseases and conditions, Health

People, Places and Companies: West Africa, Mali, Africa, Guinea

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

Categories: News

AP Interview: Spain's 'Xnet' cyber corruption fighters expose massive graft, want to go global

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:00
by  Associated Press Spain's 'Xnet' corruption fighters expose graft by JORGE SAINZ, Associated Press - 12 December 2014 06:00-05:00

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — From the street, where passers-by can see only a falling-down sign saying "canned food," the building looks like an abandoned grocery store in one of Barcelona's seediest downtown neighborhoods.

But hidden away inside is a group of cyber activists who, equipped with the Internet and a hope of bringing change, are bent on stamping out Spanish corruption that many feel has spiraled out of control.

And the secretive members of Xnet want others outside Spain to follow their lead.

Xnet invites leakers to pass on documents that provide evidence of possible corruption, inspired by the WikiLeaks site. But Xnet has gone further, working not just through activism but also in Spanish politics and in the courts.

More than 200 volunteers are involved. The online drop box for citizens' complaints they set up just three months ago has already paid off, exposing some of Spain's biggest corruption scandals.

"Xnet is a peaceful guerrilla movement," said Simona Levi, its spokeswoman and one of its founders. "We're the next step forward after WikiLeaks."

Xnet's biggest coup came in October, when it made public documents helping prove that senior officials at Spain's bailed-out Bankia bank used undeclared credit cards from the bank to spend some 15 million euros ($18.6 million) on luxury goods, vacations across Spain and abroad, and even regular supermarket purchases.

The public outcry over the Bankia revelations, which are now under official investigation, forced Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to apologize for the country's mounting corruption scandals in an unprecedented speech in Parliament. It also ruined the reputation of Rodrigo Rato, Bankia's former chairman, ex-chief of the International Monetary Fund and former Spanish economy minister.

At a time when numerous official investigations are underway into corruption cases affecting Spain's main political parties, businesses and members of the monarchy, many government workers outraged over the excesses amid years of painful austerity measures have turned to Xnet as a safe way of divulging irregularities they encounter in official documents.

"Citizens have a clear need to feel that their voice is being heard," said Eva Moya, an expert in cyber security and intelligence for Spanish company S21SEC.

Xnet's Barcelona base is deserted during the day while its volunteers work their day jobs, but comes alive at night when members devote their free time for the cause. They meet in a sparse, high-ceilinged, white-walled room furnished with fold-out tables where they open their laptops and down coffee while working mostly in silence.

The electronic mailbox they run on two Internet networks receives about 60 allegations of wrongdoing each week. It is set up to ensure anonymity in the simplest and safest way possible: the informer accesses the Tor network to conceal his or her IP address. The Xnet staff say they don't fear police surveillance, but encrypted communications systems are used for all work-related online exchanges.

Only those activists registered as journalists can read the emails in the drop box because Spanish law protects their professional right to withhold the informer's identity in court.

The journalist activists filter the messages and usually discount 90 percent of the material sent in — gossip, complaints not backed up by evidence, personal information sent by separated couples or jilted lovers. Reports are drawn up on the remaining 10 percent considered worthy of follow-up, which are sent to a second mailbox that other Xnet members can access without seeing the original sender's identity.

"All this stuff about hackers getting into a company's systems and stealing information is a Hollywood myth. It's not how it works in reality," explained Sergio Salgado, an Xnet activist. "We know systems are watched now, after the (Edward) Snowden case. We have to take precautions, but what we do is public."

Most of the information Xnet activists gather is fed to Spanish media as a kind of tip service so journalists can probe deeper. The original informer can choose whether to give their name or stay anonymous.

In a move that sets Xnet apart from WikiLeaks, a quirk of Spanish law allows citizens or groups to file criminal complaints for consideration by judges — and Xnet uses it to the fullest extent possible. The group's legal arm sued Rato over the Bankia case thanks to crowdfunding that collected 20,000 euros ($24,800) in a single day. The government started its investigation only after Xnet acted.

"We act through the media but also through the courts," Levi said. "It's crucial for us that the Xnet tools are used to achieve concrete, focused and swift victories and that people can see it's worth their while exposing corruption."

Levi, a 48-year-old born in Italy, was a theater director but has always been interested in activism and the fight for new forms of democracy. She followed the birth of WikiLeaks closely and met its chief, Julian Assange, at the Computer Chaos Congress in Berlin, the largest forum for such ideas. She launched Xnet in 2008 with a plan to protect cultural freedom.

The project changed radically on May 15, 2011, referred to colloquially as 15-M when the economic crisis gripping Spain gave birth to the "Indignados" movement. Tens of thousands of people, most of them young, took to the streets to demand more official transparency and changes to the way institutions work. In assemblies held in public squares, people who surfed the same web pages and shared the same concerns signed up for the Xnet project.

Lopez is an interior designer by day and social media activist by night. He asked to work shorter hours at his job so he could dedicate more time to Xnet.

"We have all made big personal sacrifices," Lopez said. "Over the past three years I've moved five times and broken up a relationship twice."

Xnet's political aims are assembled in a manifesto called "Democracy, period." It calls for more institutional transparency, "Wikilegislation" — which would grant the general public the power to take part in drawing up laws — and the so-called "permanent vote" that would ensure referendums are held on lawmakers' positions and important laws. To push their aims, the activists created Partido X, a political party that collected just over 100,000 votes in May's elections to the European Parliament.

Xnet plans to join PILA, an international project due to be launched in the coming weeks. Two of the driving forces behind the project are Herve Falciani, who allegedly stole information between 2006 and 2007 relating to 24,000 customers of the Swiss division of HSBC and distributed it, and Stephanie Gibaud, who revealed suspected money-laundering and tax fraud at UBS in France.

The goal is to bring together activists and organizations like Xnet from a variety of countries and create an international database of anonymous leaks that would help expose corruption worldwide.

"We want to gather all these common experiences, together with people of proven credibility, so we can process information more quickly on a global level," Salgado said.

News Topics: General news, Government and politics, Political activism, Political scandals, Political issues

People, Places and Companies: Mariano Rajoy, Julian Assange, Spain, Barcelona, Western Europe, Europe

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

Categories: News

Pakistan wins toss, elects to bat against New Zealand in 2nd ODI

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:58
by  Associated Press Pakistan wins toss, elects to bat against NZ Associated Press - 12 December 2014 05:58-05:00

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat against New Zealand in the second one-day international on Friday.

Pakistan made one change from the team which won the first ODI on Monday by three wickets, and leads the five-match series 1-0.

Fast bowler Umar Gul, who made a comeback after more than eight months off due toa knee injury, was replaced by left-arm fast bowler Sohail Tanvir.

Corey Anderson returned in the New Zealand XI in place of James Neesham in one of three changes. Fast bowlers Matt Henry and Mitchell McClenaghan replaced offspinner Nathan McCullum and seamer Kyle Mills.

Misbah said batting second under lights could be difficult at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, where Pakistan has won all of its previous 10 ODIs against New Zealand. But the match is also on the same pitch where New Zealand won the third test two weeks ago.

___

Lineups:

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Anton Devcich, Dean Brownlie, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Daniel Vettori, Adam Milne, Matt Henry, Mitchell McClenaghan.

News Topics: Sports, Cricket

People, Places and Companies: Tom Latham, New Zealand, Oceania, Pakistan, South Asia, Asia

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

Categories: News

BC-SOC--Australian Results

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:45
by  Associated Press BC-SOC--Australian Results Associated Press - 12 December 2014 05:45-05:00 BC-SOC--Australian Results Australian Football Results

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AP) — Results from Australian football:

Australia A-League

Friday's Matches

Adelaide 0, Brisbane 1

Perth vs. Newcastle

Wellington vs. Central Coast

Saturday's Match

Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC

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

People, Places and Companies: Australia, Oceania

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

Categories: News

South Africans hold separate memorial services for compatriots slain in Yemen and Afghanistan

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:30
by  Associated Press South Africans mourn slain compatriots Associated Press - 12 December 2014 05:30-05:00

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Mourners in South Africa have held separate services for two South African civilians who were killed in conflicts in Yemen and Afghanistan.

A memorial ceremony was held Friday for Pierre Korkie, a teacher who was killed in Yemen on Dec. 6 during a U.S. raid on al-Qaida militants who were holding Korkie and American hostage Luke Somers. American officials say militants killed both men.

Separately, a church service was held for Werner Groenewald and his children, Jean-Pierre and Rode. They were killed Nov. 29 in Afghanistan when Taliban militants stormed the office of a foreign aid group, where the family also lived. Groenewald's wife, Hannelie, who was not at the office when the attack occurred, has returned to South Africa.

News Topics: General news, Funerals and memorial services

People, Places and Companies: Pierre Korkie, Luke Somers, South Africa, Africa, Afghanistan, Yemen, Southern Africa, Central Asia, Asia, Middle East

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

Categories: News

260 Chinese lawyers protest detention of attorney who invoked constitutional rights in court

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:28
by  Associated Press Chinese lawyer detained for invoking constitution Associated Press - 12 December 2014 05:28-05:00

BEIJING (AP) — At least 260 Chinese lawyers have protested after a fellow attorney was detained by police for invoking the constitutional rights of free speech and religion in court.

The lawyers signed an open letter condemning the police action in the northeastern province of Jilin.

Zhang Lei, who drafted the letter, said Friday that lawyer Zhang Keke was detained for six hours over his speech in court defending a member of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong. The two Zhangs are not related.

A local police officer involved in the case, Jin Zhenyu, declined to be interviewed by phone.

Zhang Lei said police violated legal protections for lawyers in court, and called on the government to honor its pledge to implement the rule of law.

News Topics: General news, Freedom of speech, Human rights and civil liberties, Social issues, Social affairs

People, Places and Companies: China, Greater China, East Asia, Asia

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

Categories: News

Employment up by 0.2% in the euro area

New Europe News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:28
by  KG/EUROPA

The number of persons employed increased by 0.2% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.3% in the EU28 in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2014, employment increased by 0.3% in both zones. These figures are seasonally adjusted.

Categories: News