Tuesday, March 18, 2014

» Putin Signs Treaty to Annex Crimea 18/03/14 17:42 from WSJ.com: World News Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to annex the breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea but sought to reassure Ukrainians by saying Moscow has no further designs on its southern neighbor's territories.

World News Review

» Putin Signs Treaty to Annex Crimea
18/03/14 17:42 from WSJ.com: World News
Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to annex the breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea but sought to reassure Ukrainians by saying Moscow has no further designs on its southern neighbor's territories.
» In Poland, Biden Promises Allies Protection
18/03/14 17:28 from NYT > International
In meetings with the leaders of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. aims to shore up the NATO alliance.
» What history can tell us about Russia, Crimea and Vladimir Putin
18/03/14 17:25 from WorldViews
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement that formally recognized the "reunification" of breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea with Russia.  "To understand the reason behind such a choice," Putin said in a speech t...
» Insurer Allianz Pays Compensation to Malaysia Airlines
18/03/14 17:18 from WSJ.com: World News
Allianz is Malaysia Airlines' lead insurer for both the aircraft and liability claims from passengers' relatives, an Allianz spokeswoman said.
» Ukraine Wave Already Is Creating Global Ripples
18/03/14 17:18 from WSJ.com: World News
The Ukraine crisis already is changing the world and the American and Russian roles in it, Gerald F. Seib writes.
» Biden Slams Russia Over Annexation
18/03/14 17:13 from WSJ.com: World News
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest steps to annex Crimea, saying its allies are ready to enact more sanctions to punish Russia.
» Spain's Pig Farmers Raise Stink Over Subsidy Cuts
18/03/14 17:11 from WSJ.com: World News
Pig farmers are the latest to be hit by rollbacks of energy subsidies, as governments across Europe attempt to curb budget deficits and respond to voter outrage over rising electricity bills.
» Defying West, Putin Formally Claims Crimea for Russia
18/03/14 17:09 from NYT > International
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he was reversing what he described as a historical mistake, declaring, “Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people.”
» Russia’s Most Wanted Man Reported Dead
18/03/14 17:01 from TIME: Top World Stories
Doku Umarov has been reported dead by a website seen as sympathetic to the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, but Russia hasn't yet confirmed its most wanted man has been taken out
» Anwar Link to Pilot Fuels Political Rivalries
18/03/14 17:01 from WSJ.com: World News
The captain of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and his support for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have become the latest fodder for political rivals who are accusing each other of exploiting a crisis.
» Putin Signs Treaty Making Crimean Peninsula Part of Russia
18/03/14 16:58 from Voice of America
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make Ukraine's Crimea part of Russia, angering the United States and European Union.Mr. Putin Tuesday signed the document with the prime minister of Crimea's regional government , t...
» Ex-Guatemala President Pleads Guilty to Money-Laundering Charge
18/03/14 16:56 from WSJ.com: World News
Alfonso Portillo, a former president of Guatemala, faces up to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court to money-laundering charges.
» Russia's Most Wanted Militant Leader Reported Dead
18/03/14 16:54 from Voice of America
The leader of Islamist rebel forces in Russia's North Caucasus region has been killed, the militants' main mouthpiece reported Tuesday.In an item posted on the Kavkaz Center website (www.kavkazcenter.com), the Caucasus Emirate jihadist u...
» Rolling Stones Postpone Tour After Scott Death
18/03/14 16:49 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
Sir Mick Jagger is finding it hard to understand how his "lover and best friend" could have ended her life in an apparent suicide.
» Putin signs Crimea treaty, will not seize other Ukraine regions
18/03/14 16:43 from Reuters: International
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Defying Ukrainian protests and Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on Tuesday making Crimea part of Russia again but said he did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine.
» EU's Van Rompuy not meeting Putin on Wednesday: spokesman
18/03/14 16:41 from Reuters: International
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A spokesman for European Council President Herman Van Rompuy denied a report by a Russian news agency that Van Rompuy would meet President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, saying he was not travelling to Moscow.
» Libyan rebel leader calls U.S. Navy "pirates" after tanker seized
18/03/14 16:39 from Reuters: International
TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - A Libyan rebel leader accused the United States on Tuesday of behaving like pirates after U.S. naval forces seized an oil-laden tanker that had sailed from a rebel-held port in the east of the chaotic ...
» Thousands protest French govt's social reform proposal
18/03/14 16:38 from Uploads by AFP
Thousands protest French govt's social reform proposal Several thousand protesters took to the streets of Paris to voice their opposition to a government program called the Responsibility Pact, supposedly setting... From: AFP news ag...
» Putin to Crimea: Welcome back
18/03/14 16:31 from CNN.com - World
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs Crimea back into Russian territory. Ukraine calls it "robbery on an international scale." Shots are fired in Crimea and a Ukrainian serviceman dies, ramping up tensions even higher.
» Venezuela president pushes back, using bellicose words and brute force
18/03/14 16:26 from World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post
CARACAS, Venezuela — With fresh swagger and volleys of tear gas, Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro has moved forcefully in recent days to extinguish the month-long protests against his government, sending security forces to clear barric...
» Search for Malaysian Plane Now Covers 7 Million Square Kilometers
18/03/14 16:22 from Voice of America
The search is now 11 days old, but military personnel from 26 countries appear to be no closer to finding the missing Malaysian passenger jet.Malaysian authorities say the search for the Boeing 777 airliner with 239 people aboard has bee...
» Malaysian authorities cede some control in search for missing plane
18/03/14 16:22 from World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian authorities said Tuesday that they were ceding a bit of control to other countries in the massive and sometimes chaotic hunt for an airliner that vanished 10 days ago, and Thailand said its military rad...
» Bank of England Shakes Up Top Team
18/03/14 16:17 from WSJ.com: World News
The U.K. treasury made three appointments to the Bank of England's top team and shuffled seats on its two policy committees as part of an unprecedented overhaul of the 320-year-old central bank to be unveiled later by Gov. Mark Carney.
» Flight 370: Thai radar suggests plane turned around
18/03/14 16:17 from CNN.com - World
New information from the Thai government bolsters the belief that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took a sharp westward turn after communication was lost.
» Kyrgyzstan's ruling bloc collapses over corruption charges
18/03/14 16:06 from Reuters: International
BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's ruling coalition fell apart on Tuesday, depriving Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev of his parliamentary majority, in a row over alleged corruption in the Central Asian nation.

Global leaders respond to Putin's signing of treaty

Global leaders respond to Putin's signing of treaty

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Published on Mar 18, 2014
The speed of President Vladsamir Putin's actions took the international community by surprise The international community has reacted to the signing of the treaty by threatening Russia with economic and political isolation. Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood reports.

Putin’s Brave New Russia 

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Trouble, even when expected, can come at unexpected times. For many months, Russians have expected that authorities would begin to block Internet sites that publish opinions from opposition leaders, activists and supporters.

Demonstrations Continue Over Ukraine 

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Two protesters in front of Kazan Cathedral on Mar. 15 address what they see as an information war being raged over Ukraine.The police allowed a protest against Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on Mar. 15 despite City Hall’s refusal to authorize the gathering. Held near the Kazan Cathedral on the eve of the Crimean referendum on joining Russia, the protest drew between 500 and 600 people.

Putin’s Olympics End In Shadow of Crimea 

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Triumphant in the midst of global condemnation, President Vladimir Putin clinked his champagne flute with sports leaders, toasting the success of his pet project in Sochi.

Putin Signs Treaty Making Crimean Peninsula Part of Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make Ukraine's Crimea part of Russia, angering the United States and European Union.Mr. Putin Tuesday signed the document with the prime minister of Crimea's regional government , the speaker of its parliament, and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol , where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. Earlier, Mr. Putin told the Russian parliament that Crimea has always been an "inalienable" part of Russia. He said...

Russia’s Most Wanted Man Reported Dead 

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A Chechen jihadist website appeared to confirm months of rumors on Tuesday that Doku Umarov, the feared Islamist warlord who threatened the Sochi Olympics last year, was dead.
Years of similar reports of the death of Russia’s most wanted man have been met with skepticism. But this report is being treated as more reliable because it comes from his sympathizers at the Kavkaz Center, which the Wall Street Journal called “the de facto mouthpiece for Islamist rebels fighting in Russia.”
The report did not elaborate on how, or when, Umarov died but it corresponded with the release of a YouTube video posted by a man calling himself Ali Abu Muhammed, who claimed to be his replacement. In the report, Umarov was labeled a “martyr” who had “given 20 years of his life to the Jihad.”
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov also announced the same report on his well known Instagram feed. If Umarov’s death is confirmed by Russian security services, this would be a major success for Russian President Vladimir Putin as he continues to stamp out the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.
The former Chechen rebel had aimed to establish a caliphate, and united several militant groups in Dagestan, Chechnya and other Caucasus provinces under his leadership. Caucasus Emirate has claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks over the last few years, including a bombing at a Moscow airport in 2010 and one on a city subway the following year.
He called on his followers last July to use “maximum force” to disrupt the Winter Olympics that were held in Sochi last month. No attacks took place during the Games, but Umarov’s group was widely believed to be behind two December blasts in the transportation hub of Volgograd, largely seen as a gateway to Sochi, which killed more than 30 people.
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Former U.S. Ambassador to USSR: Let Russia Take Crimea

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Once American and Western leaders have vented their anger at President Vladimir Putin for bringing the Crimea back into Russia, they should find a way to tone down the poisonous public rhetoric and concentrate on private negotiations to put the rest of Ukraine together again. The fact is, like it or not, Ukraine is almost certainly better off without Crimea than with it. Nothing weakens a nation more than holding territory whose residents prefer to belong to another country.
Though they may be difficult for all relevant parties to accept, the premises of a solution to the Ukrainian mess are clear: 1) The new constitution should provide for a federal structure of government giving at least as many rights to its provinces as American states have; 2) The Russian language must be given equal status with Ukrainian; and 3) There must be guarantees that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO, or any other military alliance that excludes Russia.
Is there any historical precedent that might suggest that a solution of this sort is feasible? Yes, absolutely. Just take a close look at Finland. After losing territory to the Soviet aggressor in 1939 and failing to regain it in the “continuation war” it fought during World War II, the Finns accepted the unjust territorial losses they had suffered, but proceeded to build one of the most successful, prosperous, and self-reliant societies on the planet today. How did they do it? First, they united the majority Finnish-speaking and minority Swedish-speaking citizens by granting equal language and cultural rights. Second, they were careful to do nothing to irritate the Soviet Union next door, even though one of its “republics” had significant numbers of Finnish-speaking Karelians. Third, they were careful not to join NATO though they eventually became a full member of the European Union without Russian objection.
It is an irony that the issue that produced the demonstrations on the Maidan in Kyiv that eventually morphed into a revolution —the association agreement with the European Union — would not have solved Ukraine’s deep problems. Nor would the Russian aid ousted Ukrainian president Yanukovich accepted have helped Ukraine solve its internal problems of economic and political division and economic failure rooted in its Soviet communist heritage. If either of these options had been followed, Ukraine would have become an economic and political liability to its ostensible benefactor.
The status of Crimea has been a distracting and complicating factor in Ukraine’s efforts to form a sense of nationhood out of disparate elements. Historically, Crimea has been Russian since the late 18th century and some of the most noted battles in Russian history occurred there, battles enshrined in the Russian sense of nationhood. Lev Tolstoy fought in the defense of Sevastopol during the Crimean War and wrote about it. (That was the war that inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson to write “The Charge of the Light Brigade” — “Ours not to reason why; Ours but to do and die.” This would seem to be an appropriate motto for many of today’s screaming polemicists.)
As for Russia, one should be aware that President Putin’s actions have been widely popular in Russia. His standing in polls has improved noticeably. As in other countries, the image of standing up to malign foreigners pays political dividends. And in Russia, public pressure from the American president is particularly unwelcome, given the history of what Russians perceive as systematic American neglect of Russian national interests since the end of the Cold War.
The possession of Crimea will impose substantial costs on Russia. Aside from those generated by sanctions, there will be greater ones caused by paying pensions, improving infrastructure, and paying for services from Ukraine, where Crimea gets water, power, natural gas, and many other necessities. Some Russian economists have estimated that the costs of needed infrastructure improvement will exceed the scores of billion dollars spent around Sochi to prepare for the winter Olympics. Russians may soon tire both of these expenses and of other tensions flowing from the Crimean grab. Russian Crimeans, expecting an immediate improvement in their living standards, are sure to be disappointed when it doesn’t occur. Thus, in a year or so, many may consider Crimea a liability rather than asset for Russia.
The crucial problem now, however, is not Crimea and its status, however emotional both Russians and Ukrainians may feel. It is what will happen to Ukraine. Those who wish Ukraine and its citizens well must understand that only Ukrainians can solve their problems. Outsiders can hinder or help but cannot unify a fractured state. As yet, Ukrainians have not found a leader able to unify its people, but that doesn’t mean there never will be one. If there is, he or she will pay close attention of how the Finns pulled it off.
The international community can best help by keeping in touch with all the relevant parties to encourage a solution that can provide Ukrainians with an inclusive government able to conduct needed but difficult reforms, including strengthening the rule of law and establishing an independent and competent judiciary. Only then will Ukraine be able to initiate and carry out the economic reforms necessary for competitiveness in the rapidly changing world economy.
And the United States? The American government should follow the physicians’ admonition: “Above all, do no harm.” Public polemics are not helpful and should be kept at a minimum. Sanctions promised should be applied. But American diplomats should not try to lead the Western effort to deal with Russia but rather should keep in close touch with the various negotiations in progress and give diplomatic support to those that seem most promising. For the best advice, all should look to the Finns.
Jack F. Matlock Jr., ambassador to the U.S.S.R. from 1987 to 1991, is the author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended.
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Crimea conflict: Ukraine authorises use of weapons in self-defence 

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Ukrainian military orders troops to protect themselves after soldier was killed in military base nearSimferopol
Ukraine has ordered its troops in Crimea to use their weapons to protect themselves after a soldier was killed when pro-Russian forces stormed a military base near Simferopol – the first military casualty since the peninsula was occupied by Russian forces three weeks ago.
"The conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage," said Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at an emergency government meeting on Tuesday night. "Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian military servicemen, and that is a war crime." Moscow has not yet responded.
A Ukrainian military spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, said that one soldier had died and another was injured after they were shot when the base was attacked by "unknown forces, fully equipped and their faces covered". It was unclear whether the assailants were Russian troops or pro-Moscow militiamen, who have been active in their support for Crimea's occupation.
Hundreds of Ukrainian troops and administrative staff remained trapped inside military and naval compounds across Crimea. Until now they had been ordered to avoid using their weapons.
Earlier this week the Russian defence ministry reportedly told Ukrainian soldiers they had until Friday to leave the region or face military action. Meanwhile, a deal was reportedly reached between Russian and Ukrainian commanders to allow supplies and people to enter and exit the bases more freely.
But on the ground, tensions appear to have risen in the last few days.
At the entrance to Bakhchysarai military base, the Ukrainian army's insignia had been removed and replaced with a pair of large Russian flags. Just inside the gates, three men in military fatigues – two of them wearing Russian army uniform with no markings – raised their weapons as journalists approached, and threatened to open fire.
Speaking by telephone from inside, Aleksandr Krotov, a captain in Ukraine's naval fleet, said the base was now mostly in the hands of Crimean irregulars and Russian troops, but he and fourteen other officers had been holed up in their offices for 19 days.
"If we leave we cannot go back inside," he said. "This is very clear." Krotov said he and his colleagues, who are guarding Ukrainian military vehicles inside the compound, had been subject to psychological intimidation and threats of physical harm by the forces occupying the base.
"We are only able to go the toilet under armed guard, and we have been threatened with being beaten and killed," Krotov added.
Outside, a small group of Ukrainian soldiers loitered nearby, listening to music in their cars and smoking cigarettes. One of them, who said his name was Yura, said they had been barred from entering since 1 March.
"We are here to support our guys inside," he said. "But if we try to approach the base [the pro-Russian forces] say they will shoot us. Kiev can only offer moral support in this situation, we don't know what will happen next".
Most local soldiers in their unit defected to the new Crimean army last week, which will soon be part of the Russian army. "They threatened to beat us to death if we did not surrender," said Yura.
Outside the base, Nina, the mother of one of the soldiers delivered food to the gate. "We are all very worried about everyone inside, and what could happen," she said.
Evgeniy Cherednichenko, head of armoured service at the logistical command centre in Sevastopol, told a similar story. Speaking by telephone, he said that Russian troops had blocked 50 army officers and 10 administrative personnel from leaving the base since Tuesday morning. "If we try to leave they threaten us with guns, they tell us not to approach the gate," he said.
Cherednichenko, who is from Sevastopol, said that those trapped inside were awaiting commands from Kiev about how to evacuate the base. "We are very anxious of what could happen in these next few days," he said.
Earlier, as news came in that Vladimir Putin had signed a draft bill to annex Crimea, cheers broke out among the armed men blockading another base near Simferopol.
"You are here for a historic moment, we have returned home," said Vladimir Ishmahov, a retired Ukrainian army colonel.
Pro-Moscow militiamen clapped and shook hands with Russian soldiers, while inside the besieged Ukrainian troops, who appeared unable to leave, could only look on as their captors celebrated.

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Official: Soldier killed in Crimea 

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A Ukrainian officer was killed in Crimea after shooting erupted at a military base. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
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Ukrainian killed in first bloodshed in Crimea

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Published on Mar 18, 2014
Ukraine said one of its soldiers was killed in Crimea Tuesday in the first case of bloodshed since Russian troops and pro-Kremlin militia seized the rebel peninsula almost three weeks ago. Duration:00:36

Times Minute 3/18/14 | The Costs of Annexation | The New York Times - YouTube

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Published on Mar 18, 2014
As President Putin announces the annexation of Crimea, a look at the geopolitical costs and how China is closely watching the situation.

In the video:
Putin Signs Treaty to Annex Crimea: http://nyti.ms/1fEvPCP
Tourism Dollars Dry Up, Alongside Crimea's Bank Funds: http://nyti.ms/1gDmPm6
In Poland, Biden Promises Allies Protection: http://nyti.ms/1kFXuIO

US Reassures Allies As Tensions Mount on Russian Borders

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden held talks in Poland on Tuesday aimed at reassuring eastern European allies that they have the support of the United States. His visit took place as Moscow signed a treaty to make the Ukrainian region of Crimea part of the Russian Federation. The tensions and military build-up are unnerving the region.   Standing alongside Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Biden condemned Moscow’s move to make Crimea part of Russia. “Russia has offered a variety of...

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Times Minute 3/18/14 | The Costs of Annexation | The New York Times 

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As President Putin announces the annexation of Crimea, a look at the geopolitical costs and how China is closely watching the situation. Subscribe on YouTube...
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If History Is a Guide, Crimea’s Enthusiasm Might Not Last

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Giorgi Karapetovi, right, at home with Gela Gelashvili, a neighbor. Mr. Karapetovi lost some of his farm land after Russia reinforced the administrative border of South Ossetia with a fence.

Chechen warlord who threatened Sochi reported dead - STLtoday.com

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Daily Mail

Chechen warlord who threatened Sochi reported dead
MOSCOW (AP) — An Islamic militant group in Russia's North Caucasus is reporting the death of its leader, who had threatened to attack Sochi Olympics and was one of Russia's most wanted men. The death of Chechen warlord Doku Umarov has been ...
'Russian bin Laden' Doku Umarov killed, report saysWashington Times
Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov 'dead'BBC News

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