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Gunmen attacked a checkpoint
2014.04.21 01:58:26

Russian state television reported on Sunday that five people were killed when gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.

The state-run Rossiya 24 news station, citing its correspondent in Slaviansk, said three of the dead were with the pro-Russian separatists who control Slaviansk, and the other two were from the group that attacked their checkpoint.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Europe's OSCE security body
2014.04.21 01:57:06

A senior mediator from Europe's OSCE security body is due to start negotiating the surrender of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, although hopes for a rapid end to the crisis are limited.

Gunmen occupying public buildings in Donetsk and other Russian-speaking border towns refuse to recognize an accord in Geneva on Thursday by which Russia, Ukraine and Kiev's U.S. and EU allies agreed that the OSCE should oversee the disarmament of militants and the evacuation of occupied facilities and streets.

The coming days may determine whether unrest following the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Moscow president can be contained.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Senior leader of Muslim Brotherhood sentenced
2014.04.20 02:24:12

An Egyptian court sentenced a senior leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to a year in jail for insulting a prosecutor, judicial sources said.

Mohamed Beltagi and Morsi were both in court Saturday accused of inciting the killing of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo in December 2012.

Their trial is part of a relentless crackdown targeting Morsi and the Brotherhood since the military ousted him in a military coup in July 2013.

The sources said Beltagi, who is currently in custody along with scores of  other Brotherhood leaders, was condemned for "insulting" a prosecutor during  Saturday's hearing, but without elaborating.

It is the first time a senior member of the Brotherhood has been given a jail sentence since Morsi's ouster.

Beltagi's lawyer Mohammed Abu Leila told AFP news agency that such sentences cannot be appealed.

Both Morsi and Beltagi are also on trial in two other cases on jailbreak and espionage charges.

If found guilty, the defendants could face the death penalty.

[AFP]



Tags: Egypt | Muslim Brotherhood

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US ground forces to be sent to Poland
2014.04.20 02:22:38

Poland's defense minister has said US ground forces will be sent to Poland to expand NATO's presence there as events continue to unfold in neighboring Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

Tomasz Siemoniak told the Post Friday that military planners were already working on the details and that Poland would play a lead role "under US patronage."

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Poland

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Egyptian militant group Ajnad Misr
2014.04.20 02:21:38

The Egyptian militant group Ajnad Misr has claimed responsibility for a blast that killed one police officer in Cairo.

The bomb exploded in Cairo's Lebanon Square on Friday night, killing the officer and wounding another.

Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, said in a statement on an Islamist website that its militants had monitored a police checkpoint in the square before detonating the bomb.

The group formally announced itself in January saying it would target "criminal elements" in the military-backed government.

It has claimed at least six attacks since then, including explosions outside Cairo University which killed a police brigadier-general and one other person earlier this month.

[Reuters]



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Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia
2014.04.20 02:20:56

Russia was under US pressure on Saturday to convince pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine to cease occupying eastern  towns, after Washington warned the situation in the former Soviet republic was in a "pivotal period".

The failure to implement the agreement hammered out in Geneva on Thursday by the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU threatened to deepen the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov overnight that "full and immediate compliance" was needed of the pact, which calls for the disarmament of "illegal armed groups" and the end to the occupation of seized buildings.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri
2014.04.20 02:20:05

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has given his blessing to attacks of Egyptian jihadis on the police and army, but said they should avoid harming civilians.

In an audio interview with al-Qaida media arm as-Sahab posted early Saturday on a militant website, al-Zawahri advised jihadis that any armed confrontation should be popularly supported and that victory cannot be achieved without this support.

Al-Zawahri said the jihadis should choose their targets very carefully and explain the aims of each operation to the people.

He also harshly criticized Egypt's ultraconservative Islamist al-Nour Party, accusing it of deceit and deception by supporting the military backed interim government and secular constitution, which he considers void. [AP]



Tags: Egypt

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Ukraine offers Easter truce
2014.04.20 02:19:11

The Ukrainian government has said it will not attack pro-Russian separatists over the Easter weekend even as hundreds of them continued to occupy several buildings in the eastern part of the country.

The Kremlin denies having control over gunmen who want their eastern regions to follow Crimea in being annexed by Russia.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry promised "the suspension of the active phase of the anti-terrorist operation" among a list of government initiatives to defuse the crisis issued late on Friday.



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Leftist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi
2014.04.20 02:18:11

Today; Leftist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi has officially submitted about 33000 signatories “ statements of support” to run for president.

Sabahi is one of several public figures who have recently announced their bids. He is a former presidential contender, came third in the 2012 presidential elections.

Sunday; April 20th  is the final day for any candidate hoping to run for president to submit 25000 signatures backing his presidential run from at least 15 of the country’s governorates out of Egypt's 27 provinces. [Reuters]



Tags: Egypt

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Cairo Criminal Court will resume Sunday
2014.04.20 01:29:59

On Sunday; Cairo Criminal Court will resume an eyewitness hearing session in the trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and 14 other defendants including several top Muslim Brotherhood leaders over charges of inciting the killing of protesters outside Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.

Seven of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

In December 2012, clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents had broken out outside Ittihadiya Palace when Morsi issued a controversial constitutional declaration immunizing his decisions against challenge.

While a total of 11 people – including eight Morsi supporters – were killed in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters, the trial only addresses the death of one reporter and two anti-Morsi protesters.



Tags: Egypt | Muslim Brotherhood | Mohamed Morsi

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Clashes between Muslims and Coptics
2014.04.20 01:28:48

Clashes erupted during the early hours of Saturday between Muslim and Coptic residents in Khosous residents, as fire arms were used in an outbreak of violence near Mary Girgis Church in Qalyubia governorate (North Egypt in The Nile Delta region), state-run television reported.

The clashes resulted in several injuries and at least one death. Ambulances arrived to the site of the incident to transport the injured to Matariya Hospital, Youm7 reported.



Tags: Egypt

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Troops in the central city
2014.04.20 01:27:41

Push by President Bashar al-Assad's troops in the central city comes as bomb explodes outside a mosque, killing 14.

Click here to read more on this story.



Tags: Syria

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Egyptian police officer killed
2014.04.20 01:25:17

An Egyptian police officer was killed on Friday evening when a bomb targeting a traffic police kiosk in Cairo exploded, security officials said, the latest of such attacks.

A policeman and a civilian were also wounded when assailants threw the bomb from a nearby bridge onto the kiosk, located on a main square of the Egyptian capital, the officials said. [AFP]



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Syrian army advance
2014.04.20 01:24:27

Syrian army forces advanced on Friday around rebel-held areas of the Old City of Homs. Around 1,200 rebel fighters and nearly 200 civilians are believed to be inside the rebel-held parts of the Old City, under army siege for nearly two years.

The army, which began a broad offensive there on Tuesday, "is progressing daily by capturing buildings and tightening the noose around the terrorist groups", a security source said. [AFP]



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Do you agree that the rights of the Russian speakers are violated in Ukraine?
2014.04.20 01:16:10

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KMIS) published the results of a public opinion poll on the views and political] expectations among the residents of Southeastern Ukraine. The study was done in the region on April 8-16.

Do you agree that the rights of the Russian speakers are violated in Ukraine?

Yes - 23.1% of residents of the Southeast (Donetsk region - 39.9%, Luhansk - 29.5%, Kharkiv - 24.8%, Odessa - 24.8%)

No - 71.5% overall (Donetsk region  57.2%, Luhansk - 60.8%, Kharkiv - 71.8%, Odessa - 72.1%, Dnipropetrovsk - 79.7%, Zaporizhzhya - 82.2%, Mykolayiv - 87.6%, Kherson - 86.1%)



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Ukraine's pro-Russian protest hub Donetsk
2014.04.20 01:14:37

A majority of inhabitants in Ukraine's pro-Russian protest hub Donetsk do not want to join Russia but consider the government in Kiev to be illegitimate, according to a poll published on Saturday.

52.2 percent of people questioned in the region, the focal point of separatist unrest that has seen pro-Moscow militants seize a string of towns, said they were against joining Russia while 27.5 percent favored rule from Ukraine's former Soviet master Moscow.

Among the 3,200 respondents across Ukraine's entire Russian-speaking southeast, the number of those opposed to Moscow taking control rose to 69.7 percent, according to the poll from Kiev's Institute for International Sociology published in the Russian-language Weekly Mirror newspaper. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Russia and the West
2014.04.20 01:13:29

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said nothing should impede the normalization of relations between Russia and the West, after ties hit a post-Cold War low due to the standoff over Ukraine.

"It does not depend on us. Or does not only depend on us. It depends on our partners. I think that there is nothing that should stand in the way of a normalization (of relations) and normal cooperation," Putin said in comments released by Russian news agencies from a state television interview to be broadcast later Saturday.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Russian-language television channel
2014.04.20 01:08:09

Europe's Baltic states are in talks to set up their own Russian-language television channel in a bid to counter the deluge of propaganda aimed at their ethnic Russian populations by Moscow-backed media.

Numerous Russian-language media outlets already exist in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but most emanate from Russia and toe its line on politics and history - sensitive issues in a region that endured half a century of Soviet occupation.

This month, Latvia and Lithuania each suspended the television channel Russia RTR for "inciting ethnic hatred". Vilnius had already taken two other stations off the air. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Pro-Russian demonstrators
2014.04.20 01:07:11

Hundreds of pro-Russian demonstrators gathered in Lenin Square in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, on Friday to voice their support for fighters refusing to disarm and vacate local government buildings, despite international pressure.

They also demanded a referendum they hope would pave the way for secession from Ukraine.

Pro-Russian insurgents have occupied government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities and have vowed to remain until the country's interim government resigns.

But in clear defiance of Thursday's agreement between Ukraine and Russia, armed men patrolled Slovyansk in tanks and armored vehicles seized from Ukraine's military forces.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Dmitry Peskov
2014.04.19 02:55:23

"Our Western colleagues are trying to push responsibility (for implementing the deal) towards our side. But it must be underlined: it is a collective responsibility."

Dmitry Peskov



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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