WORLD NEWS AS REPORTED

Police: 2 die in light airplane crash in Northern Ireland

WASHINGTON POST - 15 sec ago
Police say two people have died in the crash of a light airplane in Northern Ireland.

US Officials: 16 nations agree to track Venezuela corruption

WASHINGTON POST - 9 min 19 sec ago
Two senior U.S. Treasury officials say finance ministers from several Latin American nations as well as the U.S. and Europe have agreed to work jointly to locate and seize assets arising from corruption by Venezuelan government insiders.

The Latest: US lawmaker sees no real change in Cuba

AP - 12 min 17 sec ago
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 2018-04-19T09:31:00-04:00 2018-04-19T13:31:24-04:00

Diaz-Canel replaces Raul Castro as Cuba's president

AP - 22 min 19 sec ago
HAVANA (AP) — Raul Castro said Thursday that he expected 57-year-old Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez to serve two five-year terms as president and eventually take Castro's place as head of the Communist Party, potentially dominating Cuban politics until 2031. 2018-04-19T08:44:00-04:00 2018-04-19T12:44:46-04:00

Russia ready to strengthen strategic partnership with Cuba, says Putin

TASS [Russian State News] - 23 min 23 sec ago
According to Kremlin’s press service, Putin sent a congratulatory telegram to Diaz-Canel Bermudes

US easing rules on sales of armed drones, other weaponry

AP - 25 min 19 sec ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved Thursday to make it easier for U.S. defense contractors to sell armed drones and other conventional weapons to foreign governments. 2018-04-19T09:11:00-04:00 2018-04-19T13:11:53-04:00

Trump escalates feud with California governor, refuses to pay for National Guard deployment

WASHINGTON POST - 27 min 21 sec ago
The president lashed out on Twitter again hours after Gov. Jerry Brown said he had reached a deal with federal officials to send personnel to the Mexico border.

As Commonwealth Leaders Meet, Questions Over Purpose, Leadership

VOICE OF EUROPE - 33 min 1 sec ago
Leaders from around the world are gathered in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Questions linger over the Commonwealth’s future: what is it for, and what role should the former imperial power Britain play?  In her opening address to the summit, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth - the head of the Commonwealth – made it clear she wants its leadership to stay in the family. “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations.  I will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949 by continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities,” Queen Elizabeth told delegates gathered Thursday at Buckingham Palace. The Commonwealth emerged from the breakdown of the British Empire in the last century and critics say it has failed to shake off its colonial legacy.  Many argue the organization should sever its royal links – including Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, and author of a new book The Empire's New Clothes: The Myth of the Commonwealth. “The problem in recent decades, really since the 1990s, is that as the Commonwealth has lost its relevance, it’s lost any really major unifying issue to make it newsworthy, the only really newsworthy thing about the Commonwealth has been the Royal Family.” Imperial transgressions The Commonwealth has made headlines this week, but not for reasons the British government intended.  Prime Minister Theresa May apologized to the leaders of Caribbean member states, after it emerged migrants who arrived in Britain in the 1950s and 60s from what were then British colonies had been refused residency and threatened with deportation. “I want to dispel any impression that my government is in some sense clamping down on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those in the Caribbean, who brought a life here,” May told the leaders of several Caribbean countries. Speaking at the Commonwealth summit, she also later apologized for the role Britain had played in criminalizing same-sex relations in its former colonies. “I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country.  They were wrong then and they are wrong now.” Campaigners say millions of gay, lesbian, and transgender people live in fear of arrest across the Commonwealth.  Peter Tatchell led a protest outside the Commonwealth headquarters at London’s Marlborough House. “Thirty-six member states still criminalize same-sex relations.  Nine have life imprisonment.  And in parts of two countries – Nigeria and Pakistan – gay people can be put to death.  Quite clearly the rhetoric of the Commonwealth is not matched by the practice of the governments,” Tatchell told VOA. Direction unclear Despite internal tensions, the Commonwealth heads of government meeting has offered tangible progress: billions of dollars pledged to tackle malaria, a crackdown on plastic waste, and a rainforest conservation drive.  It also offers a global platform for countries seeking investment, as South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said earlier this week. “We are trawling, going to trawl the whole world, right from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Americas, both North and South, to try and campaign for investments that will come to South Africa as we are proceeding on our route of building more confidence in our country, in our economy.  And coming here, participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is an added boost for us.” Some British lawmakers want to reinvigorate the Commonwealth after Britain leaves the European Union.  That will be difficult, says Professor Philip Murphy. “The Commonwealth is a rather difficult soft power vehicle for Britain.  It may perform good works, it may channel aid through the Commonwealth.  But it’s a reminder that Britain used to be the imperial ruler, the imperial master.  And there’s still a great deal of resentment about that within the Commonwealth.” Until that image is shaken off, questions over the purpose and future of the Commonwealth are likely to persist.  

U.S. official calls on Myanmar to free journalists

REUTERS - 34 min 26 sec ago
DHAKA (Reuters) - U.S. envoy Sam Brownback called on Thursday for the release of journalists jailed in Myanmar while covering the plight of ethnic Rohingya Muslims forced to flee a military crackdown.

Chinese experts point out to huge drawback of F-22 versus Su-57

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - 34 min 45 sec ago
Chinese experts conducted a comparative analysis of Su-57 and F-22 aircraft and came to curious conclusions. According to satellite images, the Russian military did deploy Su-57 fighter jets at Khmeymim airbase in Syria. Even though the Su-57 is a fifth-generation fighter, there were no special conditions provided for the airplane. Like all other aircraft, Su-57 fighters were parked in the open air, Chinese analysts noted. At the same time, F-22 fighters are very often kept in air conditioned hangars. Chinese specialists wondered whether US fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft need to be kept in air conditioned hangars indeed. Originally, the F-22 was the first type of US stealth aircraft that can be serviced at the forefront. However, 50% of maintenance time for the F-22 has to be spent on the exploitation of radio-absorbing coating. Therefore, the F-22 turns out to be inferior to other traditional fighter aircraft in terms of maintenance works. Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Mattis, Brazilian Counterpart Discuss Defense Relationship

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - 35 min 45 sec ago
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis spoke with Defense Minister Joaquim Silva e Luna of Brazil to discuss the strategic defense relationship between the United States and Brazil.

Israel at 70: Satisfaction and grim disquiet share the stage

WASHINGTON POST - 39 min 19 sec ago
Is Israel a success as it turns 70? As Israelis commemorate the milestone this week, satisfaction and a grim disquiet share the stage.

Poland marks 75th anniversary of uprising in Warsaw Ghetto

AP - 39 min 19 sec ago
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion. 2018-04-19T08:56:00-04:00 2018-04-19T12:56:55-04:00

Telegram accessible in Russia despite block on 18 million IP addresses, says CEO

TASS [Russian State News] - 48 min 35 sec ago
On April 13, the court blocked access to the cloud-based instant messaging service in Russia over its failure to provide encryption keys to the Federal Security Service

Mourning Arabs fly Palestinian flags as Israel marks Independence Day

REUTERS - 48 min 52 sec ago
ATLIT, Israel/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Waving Palestinian flags and wearing T-shirts proclaiming Jerusalem to be "the eternal capital of Palestine," thousands of Israel's Arab minority turned out on Thursday for a rally to commemorate a war lost 70 years ago.

Iran’s defense minister visits Iraq to promote security ties

WASHINGTON POST - 49 min 20 sec ago
Iran’s defense minister has visited a joint intelligence center in the Iraqi capital operated by Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia.

Pentagon: No civilian casualties in Syria strikes

AP - 53 min 17 sec ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says there have been no reports of civilian casualties from last week's missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain. 2018-04-19T08:50:00-04:00 2018-04-19T12:50:55-04:00

Boracay: Paradise islanders fear tourist shutdown

BBC - 54 min 29 sec ago
The Philippine islanders are worried the tourist ban will destroy their livelihoods.

Key faction says will boycott rare Palestinian parliament session

REUTERS - 1 hour 4 sec ago
GAZA (Reuters) - A Palestinian Liberation Organisation faction said on Thursday it would not attend a meeting of the most important Palestinian political congress in years, because it wants more factions to be included.

No charges over Prince drug death

BBC - 1 hour 15 sec ago
No criminal charges will be brought over the death of US musician Prince in April 2016 - Minnesota prosecutors

Numerous businessmen on the run seek to return to Russia from UK — ombudsman

TASS [Russian State News] - 1 hour 1 min ago
Early in February, Titov said that President Vladimir Putin had received a list of business people fleeing justice, but sought to leave the UK and return to Russia

After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

AP - 1 hour 7 min ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The drama of U.S. and allied missiles strikes on Syria has obscured a sobering fact: The U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the Islamic State from Syria has stalled. 2018-04-19T08:37:00-04:00 2018-04-19T12:37:03-04:00

Gaza protest camps moved closer to Israel border fence

AP - 1 hour 7 min ago
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza protest organizers moved sit-in tents closer to the Israeli border fence Thursday, a day before a fourth planned mass demonstration, raising fears of more bloodshed. 2018-04-19T08:29:00-04:00 2018-04-19T12:29:34-04:00

Intruders thought stealing a giant gold mace would disrupt Nigeria’s parliament. It didn’t work.

WASHINGTON POST - 1 hour 10 min ago
Though maces are used in symbolic capacities all around the world, in Nigeria it is a particularly potent symbol of governance. The perpetrators still at large.

USA highly concerned about Russia's cold-blooded silence in response to missile attack on Syria

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - 1 hour 10 min ago
The United States is concerned about the current crisis in the relations with Russia and suggests returning to reasonable policies to avoid a nuclear war, military expert Sergei Sudakov believes.A recent report from the US Congressional Research Center said that if the United States conduct an "instantaneous global strike," the missiles would most likely fly over the territories of Russia or China." "Many possible targets lie south of Russia and China, and the United States has historically planned to launch its ballistic missiles over the North Pole."The authors of the report believe that in such a situation, Moscow and Beijing may use nuclear weapons without having time to assess the threat. To prevent "misunderstanding" between Moscow and Washington, it is proposed to notify Russia of the planned launch and maintain constant contacts between the military of the two states.Sergei Sudakov, a member of the Academy of Military Sciences, political scientist and Americanist, told Pravda.Ru, that "the concept of sovereignty provides for certain conditions, when aerial weapons can fly over foreign territories only if the route has been coordinated with the countries that own those territories." "Otherwise, the missiles will be destroyed, and this is what the Russian military nuclear doctrine says," Sergei Sudakov said. If one reads the report "between the lines," "the US wants to resume the system of full-fledged control over airspace," Sergei Sudakov believes. The Americans were very much surprised with Russia's cold-blooded silence in response to their attacks on Syria. They clearly understand that Russia is not going to withdraw its earlier statements, they know that Russia will respond accordingly," Sergei Sudakov said. "The Americans indirectly speak of their intention to return to the system of coordinated launches and flights and warn each other to avoid a catastrophe. This is a policy of fear that leads to a policy of reason. Pre-emption and a constant classic hotline for prevention should always be present for any missile launches - this is the only thing that can save us from the war," the expert told Pravda.Ru. It is worthy of note that Russia had preliminary coordinated the flights of its Caliber missiles over the territories of Iran and Iraq when Russia was striking terrorists in Syria from the south-western area of the Caspian Sea.Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Army, Marine Corps Stress Importance of Ground Forces Modernization

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - 1 hour 11 min ago
Army and Marine Corps officials stressed to lawmakers in Washington the urgency in modernizing ground forces amid an increasingly challenging security environment.
Soldiers from Task Force Stalwart, composed of soldiers from 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pose for a group photo in Afghanistan.

US Hopes for Success in Talks with Europeans on 'Fixing' Iran Nuclear Deal

VOICE OF EUROPE - 1 hour 16 min ago
The United States hopes to reach agreement with Britain, France and Germany to address President Donald Trump's concerns about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington's disarmament ambassador said on Thursday. The crux of the accord between Iran and six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — was that Tehran would curb its nuclear program in return for relief from international sanctions that hobbled its economy. U.N. nuclear inspectors have since repeatedly verified Iranian compliance with the deal and sanctions were rescinded. On Jan. 12, however, Trump sent an ultimatum to Britain, France and Germany, saying they must agree to "fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" or he would refuse to extend the critical U.S. sanctions relief that it entails. U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues new "waivers" to suspend them on May 12, although it is unclear how fast they would go into effect. Iran has ruled out renegotiating the deal. U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said Washington had been having "intense" discussions with its three major European allies ahead of the May 12 deadline. He said Washington wanted to address the Iranian ballistic missile program, 10-year "sunset" clauses for limits on its nuclear activity and Tehran's "destabilizing behavior in the Middle East", as well as to toughen inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Iran. “These issues have to be dealt with. We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached that the president can feel comfortable with,” Wood told a news conference in Geneva. "We want the IAEA to get access to all the sites they need to. The Iranians obfuscate and deny, say they'll offer access and then deny it. It's important for the IAEA to go anywhere it needs to, including military sites," Wood said. European officials said after their latest round of talks on April 12 they were making headway toward an agreement, though remain unclear whether a deal could be struck on the sunset clauses and if Trump would embrace their efforts. Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and that its ballistic missiles are solely for defense and having nothing to do with its nuclear activity. It has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties do, but will "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out. While Trump has often lambasted the deal struck under his predecessor Barack Obama, the other big power signatories have said the accord is crucial to reducing the risk of wider war in the Middle East and urged Washington to stick by it. Speaking ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron's trip to Washington next week, an aide to the leader said there had been progress in talks with the United States, but Paris was being prudent as the "moment of truth" approached. "We know that President Trump hasn't made his decision yet so we are continuing to exchange and defend our arguments," the aide said. "But we must be very cautious and we shouldn't expect a breakthrough on this issue during the visit to Trump."          

Iran arrests official after youths dance at shopping centre concert

BBC - 1 hour 18 min ago
The head of Mashhad's Islamic guidance department had authorised a concert at a shopping centre.

Police start security operation a month ahead of UK royal wedding

REUTERS - 1 hour 20 min ago
LONDON (Reuters) - Police in Windsor, where Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle next month, said on Thursday they had begun one of the biggest security operations in their history to ensure the event passes off safely.

Diplomat: Al-Nusra seeks to create autonomous authority in southern Syria with US support

TASS [Russian State News] - 1 hour 23 min ago
Russia’s representatives to the monitoring center set up in Amman have been informing Jordan and the United States of militant attacks on Syrian government units in these areas

Russia Demands Compensation for US Tariffs on Aluminum, Steel

VOICE OF EUROPE - 1 hour 37 min ago
Russia demanded compensation from the U.S. for its worldwide tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel Thursday, becoming the third influential member of the World Trade Organization to do so. China, the European Union and India have also objected, arguing the tariffs are a "safeguard" measure to protect U.S. domestic products from imports, which require compensation for major exporting countries. The Trump administration has rejected that argument and says the tariffs are for national security reasons and are therefore allowed under international law. The U.S. has agreed to negotiate with China and has informed the EU and India it is willing to discuss any other issue, while maintaining their compensation claims are unwarranted. It is unclear what Moscow's demand means in practice because it did not challenge the tariffs through a WTO appeals mechanism through which the organization's 164 members can negotiate solutions to trade disputes. China is the only country that has pursued that course and India has asked to be present at negotiations with the U.S. on the issue. U.S. allies Australia, Canada, the EU, Mexico and South Korea have received temporary exemptions from the tariffs, pending negotiations with the U.S.  

A sure sign that spring is here: The Netherlands tulip farms are striped with color

WASHINGTON POST - 1 hour 39 min ago
The tulip region of the Netherlands takes on the appearance of a patchwork quilt in the spring.

25th Infantry Division Soldiers Aid Relief Efforts on Hawaii Island Kauai

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - 1 hour 39 min ago
Army aviators and other soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division assisted emergency response efforts here for the island’s residents and tourists in the aftermath of recent heavy rainstorms and mudslide-producing flooding.
A 25th Infantry Division soldier aids in efforts to transport emergency vehicles, food, water, bedding, hygiene products and other supplies to residents and visitors of the Hawaii island of Kauai.

Diaz-Canel replaces Raul Castro as Cuba's president

AP - 1 hour 48 min ago
HAVANA (AP) — Raul Castro said Thursday that he expected 57-year-old Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez to serve two five-year terms as president and eventually take Castro's place as head of the Communist Party, potentially dominating Cuban politics until 2031. 2018-04-19T07:55:00-04:00 2018-04-19T11:55:12-04:00

Salisbury attack: Scientist Vladimir Uglev 'helped create Novichok'

BBC - 1 hour 48 min ago
Scientist Vladimir Uglev has no doubt the agent that poisoned the Skripals was made in southern Russia.

Rare glimpse of Assad family ties to Russia in kids' stay at seaside camp

REUTERS - 1 hour 57 min ago
SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (Reuters) - News that Russia hosted the teenage children of Bashar al-Assad at a lavishly-rebuilt Black Sea summer camp in Crimea last year has given a rare glimpse into the personal lives of the Syrian president's family and his close relationship to Moscow.

Indian police arrest 18 Rohingya Muslims

WASHINGTON POST - 1 hour 59 min ago
Indian police say they have arrested 18 Rohingya Muslims in a remote northeastern region as they prepared to board a train for New Delhi after entering illegally from Bangladesh.

UK mulls plan to ban plastic straws and cut waste

WASHINGTON POST - 1 hour 59 min ago
The British government wants to take action to ban plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds — and is urging other Commonwealth nations to follow suit.

Germany's Merkel Appears Open to Compromise on EU Reforms

VOICE OF EUROPE - 2 hours 4 min ago
German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled her willingness to find compromises with France when it comes to reforming the European Union, as she hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for talks Thursday in Berlin. Macron has outlined ambitious plans for greater economic integration across the 28-nation bloc, but his proposals have met resistance in some member countries, including among conservatives in Merkel's party.   Merkel, who was recently confirmed for a fourth term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy, said at the very least she is willing to talk.   "There are of course always different starting points when it comes to the opinions of Germany and France," she told reporters at a joint news conference with Macron. "We need open debates — and in the end we need the ability to compromise."   While Germany and France agree on the need to better protect the EU's external borders and forge a common asylum policy, it's unclear how much backing Macron can expect from Germany for his plans to reform the bloc's financial structure.   In their deal to form a new German government, Merkel's conservative party and its center-left partners agreed that Germany — like France — is prepared to pay more into the EU budget.   But Berlin has been skeptical in its response so far to the possibility of a shared budget and Merkel is lukewarm about Macron's idea of a eurozone finance minister.   The French president made clear he won't drop his demand for greater financial solidarity, particularly among the 19 countries that share the euro as a currency, which includes both Germany and France.   "No currency union can survive if there aren't instruments for convergence," Macron said, citing the need for a banking union — something Germany has resisted for fear of being held liable for future bailouts abroad.   Merkel said Germany would be willing to agree in the long term to a pan-European deposit insurance scheme, but insisted that solidarity shouldn't undermine economic competitiveness among the bloc's economies.   Macron's flying visit to Berlin started at the unfinished Humboldt Forum, a museum that's being built on the site where the German Kaiser's palace stood until it was largely destroyed in World War II. The forum is named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, two 19th-century German intellectuals who spent many years in Paris.   Both leaders noted the intentional symbolism of their visit to the building site at a time when Europe is being reshaped.   Closed doors talks between Merkel and Macron later Thursday were likely to touch on Europe's stance on the crisis in Syria and the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran.   Both leaders fly to Washington next week for separate meetings with President Donald Trump at which those issues will play a central role.   France and Germany were part of the six-nation group that negotiated the 2015 deal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and both countries are keen to prevent it from falling apart when Trump's May 12 deadline for major changes to the pact expires.   On Syria, Berlin's decision not to join the U.S., Britain and France in attacking suspected chemical weapons sites last week highlighted Germany's hesitancy when it comes to military action abroad. Berlin has stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to the war that's seen more than 700,000 Syrians seek refuge in Germany at considerable political cost to Merkel, who insists that giving them shelter has been the right thing to do.        

UN health agency: Dengue vaccine shouldn't be used widely

AP - 2 hours 15 min ago
LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. 2018-04-19T07:03:00-04:00 2018-04-19T11:03:29-04:00

Serebrennikov’s Nureyev leading in nominations for ballet's ‘Oscars’

TASS [Russian State News] - 2 hours 15 min ago
Both the creators of the ballet and its performers have been nominated for the Benois de la Danse competition

Wolves to lambs: Finding God behind bars in El Salvador

REUTERS - 2 hours 20 min ago
SAN FRANCISCO GOTERA, El Salvador (Reuters) - Pastor Manuel Rivera's voice echoes through the crowded courtyard in the notorious San Francisco Gotera prison in El Salvador, as hardened criminals weep and bow their heads in prayer.

Egypt FM warn Ethiopia over Nile River dam

WASHINGTON POST - 2 hours 29 min ago
Egypt’s foreign minister has delivered a warning to Ethiopia over a dam it is building on a Nile River tributary.

Raul Castro says new Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel could become Communist Party head once Castro leaves the post

WASHINGTON POST - 2 hours 29 min ago
Raul Castro says new Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel could become Communist Party head once Castro leaves the post.

The Latest: Castro says Diaz-Canel may also gain party post

AP - 2 hours 29 min ago
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 2018-04-19T07:12:00-04:00 2018-04-19T11:12:06-04:00

Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

AP - 2 hours 29 min ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said that although he's looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it's "not going to be fruitful." 2018-04-19T07:12:00-04:00 2018-04-19T11:12:20-04:00

Russia urges Volker to be more responsible in mediation on Ukrainian crisis

TASS [Russian State News] - 2 hours 30 min ago
The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman explained that instead of performing his immediate functions Volker "appears in talk shows and at conferences"

Marines Use 3-D Printer to Make Replacement Part for F-35 Fighter

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - 2 hours 33 min ago
Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Combat Logistics Battalion 31 are using 3-D printing to make aircraft parts, saving time and money and avoiding logistics hurdles.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Rodriguez, a maintenance officer with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, holds a 3-D printed plastic bumper for an F-35B Lightning II landing gear door aboard the USS Wasp while underway in the Pacific Ocean, April 19, 2018. Marines with CLB-31 are now capable of ‘additive manufacturing,’ also known as 3-D printing, which is the technique of replicating digital 3-D models as tangible objects.  The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit partners with the Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11 to form the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, a cohesive blue-green team capable of accomplishing a variety of missions across the Indo-Pacific.

Cuba's new president vows to defend Castro revolutionary legacy

REUTERS - 2 hours 39 min ago
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba's new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, began his term on Thursday with a promise to defend the socialist revolution led by the Castro brothers since 1959, giving a strident speech that also emphasized the need to modernize the island's economy.

Rebels in Syria’s south brace for onslaught, fear wider war

WASHINGTON POST - 2 hours 40 min ago
Rebels in southern Syria who were once backed by the United States fear a new offensive by President Bashar Assad’s forces, one that risks igniting a wider conflict.

Turkey’s weak opposition scrambles to challenge Erdogan

WASHINGTON POST - 2 hours 40 min ago
Turkey’s weak opposition is scrambling to mount a meaningful challenge against strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with just nine weeks to prepare for snap elections.

Video of woman’s violent arrest sparks outrage in Iran

WASHINGTON POST - 2 hours 40 min ago
Iran has ordered an investigation after a video surfaced showing police pushing and pulling a young woman who was resisting arrest for not adhering to the Islamic dress code.

New president of Cuba’s Council of State vows to remain loyal to Castro’s legacy

TASS [Russian State News] - 2 hours 43 min ago
Cuba’s foreign policy will not change, said Miguel Diaz-Canel vows

Russian diplomat says Britain deserves title of world’s worst genocider

TASS [Russian State News] - 2 hours 45 min ago
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman recalled that British colonists exterminated up to 90%-95% of the aborigines in the process of colonizing Australia

Turkey withdraws its gold from USA

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - 2 hours 48 min ago
The administration of the Central Bank of Turkey has withdrawn the national gold reserve from the US Federal Reserve System.According to Trend news agency, the Central Bank of Turkey had 220 tons of gold at the US Federal Reserve.At the same time, two other Turkish banks - Ziraat and Vakifbank - also started withdrawing their  gold reserves from the United States. Their "gold assets" are evaluated at 95 tons.As of March 2018, the gold reserves of the Central Bank of Turkey amounted to $25.3 billion.Analysts believe that Turkey has made such a move against the background of worsening relations between Ankara and Washington. Earlier, Want China Times wrote with reference to Duowei News that China's enormous gold reserves give the People's Republic of China an opportunity to cause the US national currency to collapse. The publications also noted that Russia had doubled her gold and currency reserves since 2005.Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Ukraine moves to split church from Russia as elections approach

REUTERS - 2 hours 50 min ago
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's Orthodox church could become independent of Moscow under the terms of a presidential initiative lawmakers approved on Thursday, a move that President Petro Poroshenko said would make it harder for Russia to meddle in Ukrainian affairs.

Diaz-Canel replaces Raul Castro as Cuba's president

AP - 2 hours 55 min ago
HAVANA (AP) — Fifty-seven-year-old Communist Party official Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez replaced Raul Castro as the president of Cuba on Thursday, pledging to preserve the island's communist system while gradually reforming the economy and making the government more responsive to the people. 2018-04-19T06:43:00-04:00 2018-04-19T10:43:28-04:00

Seoul: N. Korean leader removes major nuclear sticking point

AP - 2 hours 55 min ago
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that his rival, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, isn't asking for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons. If true, this would seem to remove a major sticking point to a potential nuclear disarmament deal. 2018-04-19T06:45:00-04:00 2018-04-19T10:45:27-04:00

Lawyers appeal verdict in Nemtsov murder case with ECHR

TASS [Russian State News] - 3 hours 18 sec ago
Defense filed an appeal on behalf of all five convicts in the case

Ivory Coast ambassador Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue to UN dies

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 1 min ago
Veteran diplomat Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue, the Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the United Nations and a member of the U.N. Security Council, has died suddenly.

UN health agency: Dengue vaccine shouldn’t be used widely

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 1 min ago
The World Health Organization says he first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in “a much safer way,” meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease.

Mexican priest stabbed to death in church

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 1 min ago
A Roman Catholic priest has been stabbed to death in his church on the outskirts of Mexico City.

Suspect in anti-Semitic attack in Berlin turns himself in

REUTERS - 3 hours 2 min ago
BERLIN (Reuters) - German police said on Thursday that a suspected perpetrator of an anti-Semitic attack had turned himself in after investigators managed to identify him with the help of witness accounts.

Swaziland king renames country 'the Kingdom of eSwatini'

BBC - 3 hours 5 min ago
King Mswati III declares a name change at events celebrating independence and his 50th birthday.

Unexploded Western missiles in Russia's hands: Russian air defenses to get even better

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - 3 hours 7 min ago
Russian military men received two unexploded cruise missiles from Syria. The missiles were found after the attack that the Western coalition conducted on Damascus on April 14. The Syrian military noted that the two missiles were in a good condition, and they were handed over to the Russian military on April 17. The United States, Britain and France launched more than a hundred missiles on Syria on April 14 in response to the alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta even though there was no evidence to prove the fact of the attack. Political scientist Yevgeny Satanovsky believes that Russia should put as much pressure on the US as possible and suspend dialogue with the United States on the official level. This will make the Americans panic and they will finally start looking for ways to bring the relations back to normal. "There are many of those who witnessed the provocations in Ghouta, there are many fragments of the missiles that were shot down above Syria, but Trump says that none of his missiles ere intercepted. Russia should press the Americans as much as she can - we should punch them in the fact, and it would be the right thing to do." "We should use shock therapy to sober up the Americans. In this case, the Americans will speak about the need to resume dialogue. There is no other option," Satanovsky said. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian air defense forces intercepted 71 of 103 missilesMember of the expert council of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation, Viktor Murakhovsky, said that the unexploded missiles that Russian now has at its disposal will give Russian specialists an opportunity to improve domestic air defenses and electronic warfare. Some of the missiles used in the attack on Syria were not new, but some others were used for the first time. Russian specialists are particularly interested in USA's Tomahawk Block IV and JASSM-ER, as well as in new missiles used by France and the UK. PolitonlineRead article in Russian 

Seoul: N. Korean leader removes major nuclear sticking point

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 10 min ago
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korea hasn’t asked for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons. If true, this would remove a major sticking point to a nuclear disarmament deal.

Nephew of former Yemeni president leads clashes against Houthi forces

REUTERS - 3 hours 13 min ago
DUBAI (Reuters) - Forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh battled their former Houthi allies on Thursday over control of a key outpost, marking the first such battle between the two sides since the veteran leader was killed last year.

Putin’s purported pen sells for pretty penny, says newspaper

TASS [Russian State News] - 3 hours 18 min ago
The name of the buyer, who participated in the auction via telephone, was not made public

Kremlin says nationalizing sanction-hit Rusal is an option

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 20 min ago
The Kremlin says a temporary nationalization of aluminum producer Rusal is being discussed after the company was hit by United States sanctions.

Power largely restored across Puerto Rico after blackout

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 20 min ago
Puerto Rico’s power company said Thursday that it has restored electricity to more than 80 percent of customers affected by an island-wide blackout that was caused by an excavator hitting a transmission line, but tens of thousands of families still remain without normal service seven months after hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Intruders thought stealing a giant gold mace would disrupt Nigeria’s parliament. It didn’t work.

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 21 min ago
Intruders stormed parliament and ran off with a ceremonial mace. Later, it was found under an overpass.

Attacker in Berlin Skullcap Case Turns Himself In to Police

VOICE OF EUROPE - 3 hours 21 min ago
A 19-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker has turned himself in to police after his violent attack on a man wearing a Jewish skullcap in Berlin caused outrage across Germany.   Police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel said the young Syrian showed up with his lawyer at a police precinct Thursday. The 21-year-old victim, an Arab Israeli, caught Tuesday's assault on video. It quickly went viral and reopened a debate about growing anti-Semitism in the country. Even Chancellor Merkel condemned the assault sharply.   The video shows the attacker whipping the Israeli with a belt while shouting “Yehudi!” or Jew, in Arabic.   The victim, Adam Armoush, said he's not Jewish but wore the skullcap as an experiment because he didn't believe a friend who told him it's too dangerous to wear one in public in Germany. Video of attack posted to YouTube (not independently verified):  

The Latest: Cuba's new president vows socialist continuity

AP - 3 hours 23 min ago
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 2018-04-19T06:17:00-04:00 2018-04-19T10:17:25-04:00

Seoul: N. Korean leader removes major nuclear sticking point

AP - 3 hours 23 min ago
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korea hasn't asked for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons. If true, this would remove a major sticking point to a nuclear disarmament deal. 2018-04-19T06:21:00-04:00 2018-04-19T10:21:44-04:00

Poland marks 75th anniversary of uprising in Warsaw Ghetto

AP - 3 hours 23 min ago
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion. 2018-04-19T06:17:00-04:00 2018-04-19T10:17:32-04:00

North Korea seeks 'complete denuclearization', says Moon, as U.S. vows continued pressure

REUTERS - 3 hours 23 min ago
SEOUL/GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea has expressed its commitment to "complete denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday, as the United States vowed to maintain "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

Face of Defense: Army Helicopter Mechanic Earns Officer Scholarship

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - 3 hours 29 min ago
In 2010, the most destructive earthquake in Haiti’s history struck the Caribbean island, killing more than 100,000 people and leaving about 1.5 million others homeless. Army Spc. Carl Denis and his family were among the people suffering in the aftermath. Eight years later, he has an opportunity to be commissioned as an Army officer.
Soldier holding a large ratchet works on a helicopter.

Russia’s Samara set to welcome guests from over 30 countries at FIFA World Cup

TASS [Russian State News] - 3 hours 32 min ago
The stadium in the city of Samara, which was founded in 1586 and has a current population of 1.13 million, boasts a 45,000-seat capacity

The great Russian oil game in Iraqi Kurdistan

REUTERS - 3 hours 36 min ago
LONDON (Reuters) - Last October, at the height of a political crisis in Iraq's Kurdistan region, a letter arrived at the Iraqi oil ministry in Baghdad from Igor Sechin, head of Kremlin oil major Rosneft .

Duterte's drugs war lieutenants get key posts in Philippine police reshuffle

REUTERS - 3 hours 39 min ago
MANILA (Reuters) - Police at the helm of the Philippine war on drugs were given top posts in the national force on Thursday, indicating no let-up in a brutal crackdown that has caused international alarm, and defined Rodrigo Duterte's 21-month presidency.

Poland Marks 75th Anniversary of Uprising in Warsaw Ghetto

VOICE OF EUROPE - 3 hours 42 min ago
Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion. Polish President Andrzej Duda and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the hundreds of young Jews who took to arms in Warsaw in 1943 against the overwhelming might of the Nazi German army fought for their dignity but also to liberate Poland from the occupying Germans.   The revolt ended in death for most of the fighters, yet left behind an enduring symbol of resistance. "We bow our heads low to their heroism, their bravery, their determination and courage," Duda told the hundreds of officials, Holocaust survivors and Warsaw residents who gathered Thursday at the city's Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes.   "Most of them died... as they fought for dignity, freedom and also for Poland, because they were Polish citizens," Duda said.   Lauder said Jews, Poles and all people should stand together to make sure that future generations do not go through a horror like the Holocaust and the Warsaw ghetto's struggle 75 years ago.   People stopped in the street and officials stood at attention as sirens wailed and church bells tolled at noon to mourn for the Jews who died in the uprising, as well as the millions of other Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The daffodils tradition comes from Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the uprising, who on every anniversary used to lay the spring flowers at the monument to the fighters. He died in 2009.   At a separate ceremony at Warsaw's Town Hall, three Holocaust survivors — Helena Birenbaum, Krystyna Budnicka and Marian Turski — were given honorary citizenship of the city.   In addition to the official observances, hundreds of other people attended an emotional, "independent" commemoration by Poles furious at a conservative government that seems to tolerate anti-Semitic views despite its official denunciations of anti-Semitism.   Open Republic, an association that fights anti-Semitism and xenophobia, organized the ceremony in contrast to what it called the "hollow nationalist pomp" of the government, recalling how the prime minister earlier this year paid tribute to a Polish wartime insurgency unit that had collaborated with the Nazis.   Their observances began with Yiddish singing and daffodils placed at the monument to a Jewish envoy in London, Szmul Zygielbojm, who committed suicide after the revolt was crushed to protest the world's indifference to the Holocaust.   Signs of rising nationalism in Poland have strengthened the resolve of those seeking reconciliation. This year a record 2,000 volunteers were handing out the paper daffodils, which have become a moving symbol of Christian Poles expressing their sorrow at the loss of a Jewish community that was Europe's largest before the Holocaust.   "I feel this is my responsibility and do it with all my heart," said Barbara Sekulska, 76, who joined the mostly younger volunteers.   The Warsaw Ghetto uprising broke out April 19, 1943, when about 750 young Jewish fighters armed with just pistols and fuel bottles attacked a much larger and heavily armed German force that was putting an end to the ghetto's existence. In their last testaments they said they knew they were doomed but wanted to die in struggle, at a time and place of their own choosing. They held out nearly a month, longer than some German-invaded countries did.   The Germans razed the Warsaw Ghetto and killed most of the fighters, except for a few dozen who managed to escape through sewage canals to the "Aryan" side of the city, Edelman among them.   Major celebrations were also held in Israel to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of that nation in 1948.    

Trouble in the family: UK's migrant embarrassment undermines Commonwealth reunion

REUTERS - 3 hours 43 min ago
LONDON (Reuters) - As it prepares to leave the European Union, Britain's attempts to revitalize links with former colonies at a lavish summit in London have been overshadowed by outrage over Prime Minister Theresa May's treatment of Commonwealth migrants.

The Geo-political board game: Predicting the next move

PRAVDA.RU [ Russian ] - 3 hours 45 min ago
The Geo-political board game: Predicting the next move Back to the two blocs, the question today is which one represents humankind and which one walks in tandem with our hearts and minds... If we can take a board game as an analogy of the current geo-political setting, what will we see? We will find two players sitting on opposite sides of the board, "partners" only insofar as they are both playing the game. In front of them, there is a large board with squares and plastic counters but no dice, only two sets of situation cards in front of each player, one entitled ATTACK and the other, DEFENSE. Covering the squares is a map showing geo-political regions: Americas, divided into North, Central and South; Arctic, Antarctic, Europe and Scandinavia; Middle East; Africa, divided into North, Central and South; Oceania, Asia, divided into Central, South-East and Far East and at the top, one word: Russia. One player sits to the left of the Americas, facing eastwards, the other sits to the right of Asia, Far East, facing westwards.

Cuba's Raúl Castro hands over power to Miguel Díaz-Canel

BBC - 3 hours 49 min ago
For the first time in almost six decades, Cuba has a leader who is not a Castro.

Egypt exhibiting previously unseen Ptolemaic artifacts

WASHINGTON POST - 3 hours 51 min ago
Egypt is exhibiting artifacts from the Ptolemaic period for the first time in The Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Cuba swears in Miguel Diaz-Canel to replace Castro as president

REUTERS - 3 hours 57 min ago
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban Communist Party stalwart Miguel Diaz-Canel replaced Raul Castro as president on Thursday, a new chapter for the island after nearly sixty years of rule by the Castro brothers but a change that is aimed at preserving Cuban socialism.

EU foreign policy chief praises Montenegro’s role in Balkans

WASHINGTON POST - 4 hours 16 sec ago
The European Union foreign policy chief has praised Montenegro’s role in the volatile Balkans region, where Russia is also vying for influence.

Attacker in Berlin skullcap case turns himself in to police

WASHINGTON POST - 4 hours 16 sec ago
A 19-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker has turned himself in to police after his violent attack on a man wearing a Jewish skullcap in Berlin caused outrage across Germany.

Diaz-Canel replaces Raul Castro as Cuba's president

AP - 4 hours 5 min ago
HAVANA (AP) — HAVANA (AP) — A 57-year-old bureaucrat replaced Raul Castro as the president of Cuba on Thursday, launching a new political era as a government led by a single family for six decades tries to ensure the long-term survival of one of the world's last communist states. 2018-04-19T05:31:00-04:00 2018-04-19T09:31:23-04:00

Poland marks 75th anniversary of uprising in Warsaw Ghetto

AP - 4 hours 5 min ago
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion. 2018-04-19T04:57:00-04:00 2018-04-19T08:57:41-04:00

The Latest: Raul Castro had left Cuba’s presidency

WASHINGTON POST - 4 hours 9 min ago
The Latest on Raul Castro’s handover of Cuba’s presidency (all times local):

Raul Castro has left Cuba’s presidency, turning government over to Miguel Diaz-Canel

WASHINGTON POST - 4 hours 9 min ago
Raul Castro has left Cuba’s presidency, turning government over to Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Israel celebrates its 70th birthday with parties and BBQ’s

WASHINGTON POST - 4 hours 9 min ago
Israel is celebrating 70 years since the modern Jewish state was established.

Moscow recommends London to hold off from destroying evidence on Skripal case

TASS [Russian State News] - 4 hours 10 min ago
The Russian side is still ready for constructive cooperation with the UK to clarify this very complicated case, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said

Under Financial Squeeze, Fire-ravaged Russian Mall Cut Costs

VOICE OF EUROPE - 4 hours 12 min ago
The company behind a Russian shopping mall where a fire recently killed 64 people, most of them children, had sought to slash costs amid financial losses according to interviews with former employees, their relatives, and owners of retail space in the mall. Investigators also say the company appears to have cut corners on construction that may have contributed to the loss of life. The mall's management company, Kemerovskiy Konditerskiy Kombinat, or KKK, replaced long-serving workers with less experienced ones and reduced staff, according to interviews with two people who had worked for the company. In one instance, it cut the number of security guards at the four-story shopping center to three from seven, according to the security company and people who had worked for KKK. KKK's parent company, Konditerus Kom, in a statement said it is working with investigators and wouldn’t comment while the probe was ongoing. Konditerus Kom confirmed the mall is partly owned by KKK but wouldn't provide the size of the stake. It said shareholders of Konditerus Kom, including Denis Shtengelov, were not involved in the operational management of the mall. The company didn’t identify the other owners. Shtengelov is director and co-owner of Russian snack food company KDV Group, which Konditerus Kom is also the parent of. Shtengelov, who is based in Australia, didn't respond to requests for comment. KDV referred questions to Konditerus Kom. KKK couldn't be reached by phone for comment and a message sent to a publicly-listed email address bounced back. In a March 26 interview with Russian newspaper Vedomosti, Shtengelov said he had been the main investor in the shopping complex and after some of it was sold to parties he didn't disclose he continued to own just under half via Konditerus Kom. "Illegal development' When fire broke out on Sunday, March 25, during the first weekend of a school holiday, the mall's alarm system failed to activate leaving people without warning and engulfing visitors in floods of thick, black smoke. Emergency exit doors remained closed and dozens died trapped inside a cinema. Russian investigators, whose probe is ongoing, say the most likely cause of the fire was an electrical short circuit. Investigators have said the Winter Cherry mall was an "illegal development" because it opened without a construction permit, and that "resulted in the death of visitors." The chief national fire safety inspector at the Ministry of Emergency Situations said the ministry had rejected the building's permit request in 2013 because it wasn't in line with safety norms. Investigators point to problems in the building's construction, including high-voltage cables laid through the middle of the hall, which they say violates regulations. They also cite witnesses saying cables hung down over a children's ball pit, exactly where they believe a short circuit sparked the fire. KKK's general director Yulia Bogdanova, who faces charges of violating fire safety demands that resulted in the death of multiple people, denied she was guilty in court. "I did everything to make sure the mall's visitors were safe and comfortable," she said. Bogdanova didn't respond to attempts to contact her prior to her arrest. Contacted by Reuters for this story, a lawyer for Bogdanova had no further comment. Five others, including Bogdanova's technical director, three contractors and the manager of the mall's entertainment department, have denied charges of manslaughter and violating safety regulations. A government official responsible for monitoring construction has denied an abuse-of-office charge. A fireman has also been charged with negligence. The fireman's lawyer said her client was "absolutely not guilty" and said they had appealed the decision to charge him. Heavy losses Developed on the site of a former factory, Kemerovo's Winter Cherry mall opened its doors in 2013. A newly-built wing, which doubled the size of the property, was where the fire started. The conversion required significant investment, according to retail space owners and a relative of a manager at the mall. The long-term debt of Winter Cherry's management company, KKK, grew to 405 million rubles ($6.50 million) in 2013, from zero in 2012, according to company records. Around the time the shopping center was developed, Russia had experienced a boom in the development of lower-end malls. These were often conversions of existing buildings, which meant they were typically cheaper to develop than constructing a new site. When Russia's financial crisis hit, caused by a drop in oil prices and aggravated by Western sanctions imposed in 2014, many malls struggled amid dented demand and sharp rises in interest rates that made corporate loans more expensive. KKK began losing money. It reported a net loss of 59 million rubles in 2014, compared to a net profit of 122 million rubles in 2012, according to public records. By 2016, the most recent public filing available, the company was still in the red. The company appointed Bogdanova as general director in 2016. An accountant who previously was the director at a meat processing plant, Bogdanova sought to cut costs, according to two former employees who reported to her and several owners of retail space in the mall. Among roles that Bogdanova outsourced were cleaning and security, according to one of the employees who was a senior manager responsible for logistics. A representative for the security company, Tsentr Zashity, confirmed that KKK had reduced the number of guards on duty to three when it hired his firm, when previously there had been seven. He said that KKK had wanted to cut costs and that three guards was not sufficient for a building of that size, saying it should have been at least twice that number. He added that his company's guards had received all the relevant training. One shop owner said the mall was in some instances poorly maintained. He said after KKK recently installed a bar in a cinema above his shop beer leaked into his shop. "It ran down like a stream. We didn't know what to do," the shop owner said. The shop owner said he did complain and that he had recently had discussions with Bogdanova about moving the pipes. A representative for the cinema, which is run by a unit of KKK, couldn’t be reached for comment. Bogdanova also sought ways to boost traffic to the mall, such as adding a children's entertainment area, and pushed staff to improve the business, according to a close relative of Nadezhda Suddenok, who managed the entertainment area where the fire started and who is among those charged. Suddenok "said it was because the business owed money, a very large amount of money, to the mall's owner... because back in the day, he had completed the reconstruction of the building. And now they owed him money," the relative said. In court, Suddenok denied wrongdoing. "I expect that the court will prove my innocence," she said. The court has rejected an appeal by Suddenok against her arrest. Her lawyer declined to comment. In court, the lawyer said that Suddenok held regular training sessions with her staff on fire safety and a full fire alarm test was conducted in February of this year. Easing inspections Another result of Russia's financial crisis was an easing of the business inspection regime by authorities. In 2016, a law came into effect that was designed to relieve the burden on struggling businesses by providing small- and medium-sized enterprises with a three-year moratorium on a variety of inspections. The last scheduled fire inspection by government authorities of the Winter Cherry mall had been due to take place in the summer of 2016, according to investigators and public inspection records. But when inspectors visited the Winter Cherry mall in mid-2016 they didn't conduct the planned inspection because they were shown documentation that classified the shopping center as a small enterprise, thereby qualifying it for a break from inspections, according to the national fire inspections chief as well as the deputy head of Kemerovo region's emergency service. The officials made the comments in interviews with TASS news agency and RenTV, respectively. The emergency services didn’t respond to a request for comment. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was not able to comment on whether the legislation had any impact on the safety of the Winter Cherry mall, as the investigation was ongoing.          

How an engine blast sparked an on-board safety conversation

BBC - 4 hours 14 min ago
Airline staff take to social media to complain about passengers ignoring their advice.

The Latest: Raul Castro had left Cuba's presidency

AP - 4 hours 18 min ago
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 2018-04-19T05:26:00-04:00 2018-04-19T09:26:38-04:00

Pages

MAGAZINE ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe to THE POLITICAL AVENUE ™ aggregator - WORLD NEWS AS REPORTED

MAGAZINE ADVERTISEMENT