Russia‘s Rosneft seeks UK-certified lawyers in sanctions fight 19 hours agoView phThe logo of Russia’s top crude producer Rosneft is seen on a price information board of a gasoline station in Moscow July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft has turned to UK-certified lawyers in its fight against Ukraine-related Western sanctions which have hit the company’s output and prospects for its push to tap Arctic riches.The Kremlin-controlled firm has issued a 17.7-million-pound ($28-million) tender seeking the services of UK-certified lawyers on a website which registers Russian state purchases and orders.”Provider undertakes to render legal services with regard to challenging economic sanctions and to protect interests of the client in general in respect to any other legal matters,” the document said.The amount of the work is set at 37,000 hours, making the fee 478 pounds per hour.BP owns a 19.75 percent stake in Rosneft, which due to the sanctions faces limits on its access to capital markets, curbing its ability to fund development work.Last month, ExxonMobil said it had to wind down cooperation with Rosneft in the Arctic after successfully drilling a first exploration well and the discovery of a large oilfield..(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Jason Neely)The Daily BeastLeo Cendrowicz WAR GAMES10.12.14 Shocked by Ukraine Violence, NATO Prepares to Face Down Putin Military exercises over the last month are meant to prove NATO’s resolve. But Putin’s “little green men” and his “ambiguous assault” strategy still have it in a quandary.ORZYSZ, Poland—The serenity of this town in Poland’s gorgeous Masurian lake district was about to be shattered. As F-16s roared from one end of the horizon to the other, they dipped to bomb a grassland strip. The blast was a stupefying white flash followed by a body-shaking howl, and it was the cue for a maelstrom of metallic shrieks. Rockets zipped out from behind the trees; tanks from Poland’s 12th Mechanized Division rumbled into view; and helicopters hovered over the melee. Surveying the drama from a podium a quarter mile away was Polish President Bronisław Komorowski and a phalanx of army chiefs from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This was the climax to Anakonda-14, a military exercise involving some 12,500 troops from Poland and eight other NATO countries, and everyone there looked on attentively. But the big question, of course, was how closely Russia watched from afar.The war game that ended earlier this month was staged at a crucial time: Russia’s infiltration of Ukraine—annexing Crimea and supporting rebels in the east—has alarmed central and eastern Europe. And it gave this Anakonda a sharper bite than those that have gone before. “We all see what has happened in Ukraine,” said Lukas Wasko, a lieutenant from Poland’s 5th Artillery Regiment. “It makes our exercise today feel more real.” Indeed. Exercises like Anakonda are just one obvious example of the way the Ukraine conflict has jolted NATO into action. Originally a solely Polish exercise, the rest of NATO was invited to take part after the Ukraine crisis erupted: 750 soldiers eventually joined Anakonda from the United States, Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Hungary, as well as Lithuania and Estonia. Anakonda takes place over ten days in four main sites across Poland, and Orzysz, in the northeast, is just 35 miles from Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave in the Baltic region. Regional fears over Russia’s threat have not been diminished by the uneasy and often breached September 5 ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russia rebels: with shelling continuing around Donetsk, in the east, it is clear that the conflict is far from settled. “Russia’s actions affect everyone taking part in the exercise,” says NATO’s Danish Brigadier General Torben Dixen Møller, serving as the Deputy Commander for Anakonda. “The lesson we learned is to increase our readiness and responsiveness.”Poland, right on Ukraine’s border, has been particularly bullish, demanding a tough NATO response to Russia. In her inauguration speech as Poland’s new Prime Minister, Ewa Kopacz said on October 1 she would request a U.S. military presence in the country. She also announced that her new government would raise defense spending from 1.6 to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product from 2016. “The events in Ukraine have significantly changed our approach to security,” Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told the Daily Beast. “We have a military conflict raging next to the Polish borders. The history of Poland teaches us that peace in the world is not a given. And Poland’s citizens expect us to do everything to ensure Poland’s security.” The broader NATO response has been to bolster its presence among its eastern members, including Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In June, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans for a $1 billion European Reassurance Initiative to increase U.S. military deployments to Europe. At last month’s NATO summit in Newport, Wales, the alliance’s 28 leaders agreed to upgrade the NATO Response Force (NRF), a 25,000-strong multinational rapid reaction section to adapt to the new model of hybrid warfare seen in Ukraine. And within the NRF, a 4,000-strong high-readiness spearhead force is being designed to move within 48 hours to, say, Poland or the Baltic states.“We faced these issues of combatants without insignia in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said the American major. “When you see that, the hairs go up on the back of your neck.”The message from top NATO officials has been stern. When former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg took office as NATO Secretary General on October 1, he made it clear that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine challenged Euro-Atlantic security. “NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia. But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our alliance, and the security in Europe and North America rest,” he said.It was no accident that Stoltenberg’s first overseas trip since assuming his duties, on October 6, was to Poland. “We need to keep NATO strong, we need to help keep our neighborhood stable,” he said after visiting Poland’s Lask Air Force Base.Military exercises are an important part of the response. In September, some 2,000 NATO troops from nations including the U.S., Canada, Britain and Italy took part in several exercises in eastern Europe, including one in Ukraine itself, as part of a beefed-up military presence. This is partly about reassurance and deterrence. But there is a practical aspect too. As combat operations in Afghanistan wind down, so too does the main driver of NATO defense cooperation. American, British, French, German, Italian, Polish, Turkish and other troops showed how well they could work together in Afghanistan, and officials say military exercises are needed to continue these valuable interactions and exchanges. Philip Breedlove, NATO commander-in-chief, says this represents a shift, „from engagement to preparedness.”Then there is the challenge of “ambiguous assault,” the undeclared guerilla activities that Russia appears to have pioneered in Ukraine. For many, this is a new kind of warfare, applying subversion, agitation, political demonstrations and cyber-attacks—all lashed together with a virulent propaganda campaign. The “little green men,” the soldiers with Russian equipment and evident Russian training but no Russian insignia who have lead the agitation in Ukraine epitomize this approach to warfare. Much of the talk in Anakonda was about how to deal with such a challenge. Major Eric Taylor from the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, part of the U.S. contribution to the exercise, described it as one of the most frightening aspects of military service. “We faced these issues of combatants without insignia in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “When you see that, the hairs go up on the back of your neck because you know something is not right. You need eyes at the back of your head.”NATO has yet to make clear how it would respond to such tactics. Would Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty be invoked, whereby an attack on one is taken as an attack on all? Pauline Massart, Director of Security & Defence Agenda, a Brussels-based think tank, says NATO is still struggling to adapt to Russian tactics. “The new methods are evolving at warp speed and I don’t think NATO is ready,” she says. “However, there is at least a sense that security is back on the agenda with a vengeance.”There are other questions about whether all NATO members are committed to the mission. Washington regularly complains that Europeans fail to pay their fair share of the collective defense bill: 24 out of 28 NATO members spend less than the alliance’s defense guideline of 2% of GDP. Many members also have aging equipment, including Poland. Indeed, one of the loudest, if not the most effective, weapons showcased by the Polish in Orzysz is the Neva W-125, a surface-to-air anti-missile system originally developed by the Soviets in the 1960s. One of the biggest worries within NATO concerns Germany, where contract mishaps have delayed prestige projects like the Eurofighter jet, the Puma tank and A400 Airbus transporter planes. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has pledged that Germany will play a much greater military role on the international stage, but on October 6 she admitted the country was, „going to have some work to do,” to rectify equipment problems.Still, Ukraine has given NATO a new sense of purpose, according to Erik Brattberg, Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. “That said, underneath the surface differences in threat perception and how to deal with Russia persist,” he says. “Going forward, NATO must invest more in building local capacity in the Baltic states and other vulnerable allies in areas such as intelligence and information sharing, cyber security and energy security.”In Orzysz, visiting German General Hans-Lothar Domröse admitted that Ukraine is testing NATO. “The invasion of Crimea was a wake-up call,” he said. “We had been too optimistic, convinced that such violations could no longer happen. Suddenly we noticed that Russia has an ugly face.” But Domröse, who is also the Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command in Brunssum, Netherlands, insists that the alliance has always risen to its challenges. “It has been a reminder of our core defense role at NATO. We have to adapt and we will adapt.”
Putin orders troops back from Ukraine border ahead of talks By Anna Smolchenko with Simon Valmary in Donetsk12 hours ago Moscow (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered thousands of troops to withdraw from the border with Ukraine ahead of diplomatic talks on bringing peace to the Western-backed, former Soviet republic.Related Stories
The announcement by the Kremlin late Saturday appeared to be a positive signal prior to Putin’s meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European leaders in Milan on Friday.Accused by Ukraine and the West of stoking a bloody insurgency in eastern Ukraine, Russia is facing its most serious international isolation since the end of the Cold War. Several rounds of Western sanctions have shaken the economy, intensified capital flight and weakened the ruble.”The head of state has tasked the defence minister with beginning to bring troops back to their permanent bases,” the Kremlin said.The order meant that 17,600 servicemen, who the Kremlin said had been participating in drills in the southern Rostov region on the border with Ukraine, would withdraw.Defence minister Sergei Shoigu received the order after reporting that „summertime training on military ranges of the Southern military district is over,” the Kremlin said.The late Saturday meeting between Putin and Shoigu took place after the president chaired a meeting of his national security council at his Black Sea residence in Sochi, said the Kremlin, without providing further details.Kiev reported that attacks by insurgents in the east of the country had subsided.The rebels and the Ukrainian military in the eastern Donetsk region said for their part that they had agreed to a „no-shooting period,” and the army announced „progress” in negotiations and preparations to create a buffer zone, as required under a ceasefire agreement.Police officers wearing uniforms of the now-disbanded Ukrainian Berkut special forces stand guard at …- Negotiating a compromise -Russia denies meddling in Ukraine and says it has never deployed troops in the bloody conflict. But Moscow-based political analyst Alexei Makarkin suggested Putin’s order to pull back troops from near the border was aimed at persuading the West to ease punitive measures.”I think this is part of the compromises that Russia and Ukraine have reached,” he said on Echo of Moscow radio.Putin will meet Ukraine’s Poroshenko for talks on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan on Friday.The talks — which will also address the two countries’ long-running gas dispute — will also include the prime ministers of Italy and Britain as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”I don’t expect that these will be easy negotiations,” Poroshenko said on Saturday.Putin and Poroshenko last met in August in Belarus, after which Kiev announced a truce with the pro-Moscow separatists which has been repeatedly broken.In addition, US Secretary of State John Kerry will hold talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Tuesday, with Ukraine expected to be high on the agenda.Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech in front of a new tank at the Malyshev fa …The six-month conflict in Ukraine has killed more than 3,300 people and sparked deep mistrust between Russia and its neighbours to the west.Although tens of thousands of Russian troops have been stationed near the Ukrainian border, Moscow has always denied getting involved in the fighting on the side of local separatists.However, human rights activists and relatives of Russian soldiers say military commanders have used ranges in the Rostov region to deploy troops to Ukraine.Activists investigating numerous reports of regular Russian troops in Ukraine say that secret funerals for soldiers killed fighting there have taken place in recent weeks.Russia’s unacknowledged casualties may run into hundreds, according to some estimates.- End of ‘New Russia’? -Some opponents of Putin say the troop drawback means that the Kremlin is dropping its support for separatists.”The project Novorossiya (New Russia) is over,” former deputy prime minister turned opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said, referring to the loaded Tsarist-era name for what is now southern and eastern Ukraine.Putin has used the term to refer to separatists battling to mould Ukraine’s eastern regions into an independent statelet.Nemtsov said the results of the Kremlin’s six-month campaign were „disastrous”.Putin „wanted respect from the Ukrainian people,” Nemtsov wrote on Facebook. Instead „he has got an enemy for many years to come”.Instead of winning international recognition, the Russian president „has become an outcast,” he added.Ukrainian analyst Taras Berezovets said the troop pullback meant Putin „had lost”.”Novorossiya has been left to its own devices,” he said on Facebook.The United States and European Union have already slapped several rounds of punitive measures on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and its alleged backing of the pro-Russian separatists.Washington has warned that if Moscow does not withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine new sanctions could follow.In a sign that world leaders are keen to engage Putin in a further dialogue, Australia confirmed on Sunday that Putin would attend the G20 leaders’ summit in November.
United States down China for first world title 3 hours agoMilan (AFP) – Player of the tournament Kimberly Hill scored the point that sealed a historic first women’s world volleyball title for the United States on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over China.Related Stories
The US women easily took the first two sets, but allowed two-time champions China back into the final which they won 27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 26-24.Hill scored 20 points in the game and was then named most valuable player and best spiker of the tournamentShe smashed the winning point that sparked wild celebrations among the US women.”We came here to make history and we made it. It was a tough battle,” said US coach Karch Kiraly, who won Olympic golds himself in men’s volleyball and beach volleyball.”After we got a 2-0 lead we knew China would never give up. It was a battle to the end and they have some great young players, as do we.Kimberly Hill of the USA (C) attempts to block a spiked ball by China’s Chunlei Zeng (R) during …”I hope that we will be playing against each other in the future. It is just good for the sport to have teams with such history performing at a high level.”The United States’ women, who before Sunday had never won an Olympic, World Cup or world championship title, should become world number one when new rankings come out this week.Runners up in the world championship in 1967 and 2002 and beaten by Brazil at the last two Olympic finals, Sunday’s victory is a vital springboard to aim for US success at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in two years.The United States scored an upset win over Brazil in Saturday’s semi-finals.China’s coach Ping Lang won the gold medal with Chinese team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and then coached the US team to silver at the 2008 Beijing Games.She said she was looking for a year of „good training” with her young team ahead of the Rio Olympics.Brazil claimed the third-place play-off thanks to a 3-2 (25-15, 25-13, 22-25, 22-25, 15-7) win over hosts Italy.
As nuclear waste piles up, South Korea faces storage crisis By Meeyoung Cho5 hours agoThe Kori No. 1 reactor (R) and No. 2 reactor of state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) are …By Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) – Among the usual commercials for beer, noodles and cars on South Korean TV, one item stands in marked contrast.A short film by a government advisory body carries a stark message: the nation faces a crisis over storing its spent nuclear fuel after running reactors for decades.The world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power has around 70 percent, or nearly 9,000 tonnes, of its used fuel stacked in temporary storage pools originally intended to hold it for five or six years, with some sites due to fill by the end of 2016.It plans to cram those sites with more fuel than they were originally intended to hold while it looks for a permanent solution, suggesting little has been learned from the Fukushima disaster in neighboring Japan.In the Fukushima crisis in 2011, the storage of large amounts of spent nuclear fuel in elevated pools posed a threat of massive radioactive release on top of meltdowns at three reactors. Spent fuel rods heated up after a quake knocked out water-cooling pumps, underlining the dangers of holding troves of radioactive material in relatively exposed cooling ponds.”We cannot keep stacking waste while dragging our feet,” said Park Ji-young, director of the science and technology unit at respected think tank the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.”If we fail to reach a conclusion (on how to manage spent fuel), it would be time to debate if we should stop nuclear power generation.”With South Koreans still spooked by Fukushima and a scandal at home over fake safety certificates for nuclear equipment, the commission has its work cut out to come up with more than a temporary fix to the storage crunch in a report due by year-end. [ID:nL4N0QK3LC]BUYING TIME The 23 nuclear reactors in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy add a total of 750 tonnes of spent fuel every year to the 13,300 tonnes that filled 71 percent of its wet and dry storage capacity as of last year, according to reactor operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd, owned by state-run Korea Electric Power Corp.That means storage could fill by 2021, with some pools in danger of reaching capacity by the end of 2016.Seoul hopes to win time by stacking spent fuel more densely in those concrete-covered pools next to reactor buildings, and by moving waste to pools at 11 new power plants that are set to be built by 2024.The Shin Kori No. 3 reactor of state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) is seen in Ulsan, …But experts warn that leaving spent fuel in water could be fraught with danger, even in a country that is not anywhere near as seismically active as Japan. They note that the buildings that house pools are typically not as strong as those that hold reactors, which have steel vessels inside concrete domes.”Spent fuel in a concrete building next to reactor buildings is vulnerable to missile or other attacks from the outside,” said one expert, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.He said that stacking fuel more densely would compound any risk as it would reduce air circulation.”Air circulation helps lower chances of spent fuel meltdown if water drains or water-cooling pumps are broken when hit by natural disaster or terror attack.”OUT OF FAVOR A permanent solution remains elusive, with experts dismissing as unrealistic hopes that Seoul will be able to revise a 40-year-old nuclear agreement with Washington so it can reprocess spent fuel.U.S. and South Korean government officials declined to comment on the issue.Reprocessing is a costly and technologically challenging solution that has fallen out of favor in Britain, France and elsewhere.It is also diplomatically thorny given concerns about nuclear proliferation, especially on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea is trying to develop nuclear weapons.A medium-term, safer solution could be to store spent fuel in metal and concrete-covered dry casks, which could hold it for up to 100 years. Building casks for the country’s existing spent fuel would cost up to $2.6 billion, according to Reuters calculations based on industry figures.But persuading people to live next to such facilities would be a huge task in an Indiana-sized country with a population of 50 million, with many already bitter about the presence of reactors.”As a resident, we are concerned as we live near such dangerous materials,” said a woman who runs a sushi restaurant 10 km (6 miles) from the country’s oldest nuclear reactor near the southeast coast. She did not give her name.”It is hard to know the situation at the reactor as we usually learn of any developments via media reports.”Underlining the difficulty authorities face winning over the public is the case of a new site to store low- and medium-level radioactive waste such as contaminated clothing and tools. The facility, in the southeastern city of Gyeongju, is yet to open after years of delay as opponents questioned its safety.In Samcheok, another southeastern city, 85 percent of nearly 29,000 participants in a non-binding ballot last Thursday voted against plans to launch a new reactor, emphasizing anti-nuclear sentiment in the country.LONGER-TERM SOLUTION So-called pyroprocessing could offer some relief further down the line, with the United States and South Korea working together to develop the technology to produce nuclear energy without separating plutonium, meaning any waste would be burnt away in special reactors.But that remains a distant prospect. The two nations plan to finish a technological feasibility study by 2020, with commercialization in 2040, said officials at South Korea’s science ministry.”With more nuclear power plants down the road, the government should have plans for spent fuel management by now,” said Lee Heon-seok, a representative of activist group Energy Justice Actions.”We have no place and technology to dispose of spent nuclear fuel, while residents are asking that it be taken out.”A spokesman for Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power said it had not been given policy guidelines for spent fuel management in a country that gets a third of its power from nuclear.The energy ministry declined to comment.In the ad running three times a day on TV, Public Engagement Commission Chairman Hong Doo-seung strikes a calm and engaging tone as he urges public consensus on working towards a solution to the storage crunch.”We can no longer delay. We should prepare measures for spent nuclear fuel,” he warns.(Additional reporting by Chris Lee and Yena Park in Seoul, Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Tony Munroe and Joseph Radford)
At 90, Jimmy Carter is back campaigning in Georgia By CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY7 hours ago ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — It’s been more than four decades since Jimmy Carter campaigned across Georgia and asked voters to make him governor.His winning race set the stage for his election as president in 1976.Carter’s just turned 90, but he was out campaigning on Sunday for his grandson Jason, a Democratic state senator and lawyer who’s challenging the Republican governor, Nathan Deal, on Nov. 4, in a close race.The former president and his grandson spoke during a church service open to the public in south Georgia, a key area for Jason Carter as he looks to woo former Democrats back to a party that many left more than a decade ago. The visit to Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Albany was part of a campaign push ahead of early voting, which begins Monday.Jimmy Carter spoke of the struggle for blacks to obtain the right to vote and praised his grandson, a state senator and lawyer from Atlanta, for fighting against the state’s voter ID law. The former president said Republicans are for limiting, not expanding, voter access.”He’s led the charge,” the former president said of his grandson’s work in the courtroom to challenge the state law. „Everyone here and everyone you can contact should join with . Jason when the time comes this year to make Martin Luther King’s dream come true.”Former President Jimmy Carter speaks in support of his grandson, Georgia Democratic candidate for go …Polls suggest a tight race between Carter and Deal, and Democrats see both the governor’s race and a fierce battle for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat as critical to laying the foundation for Georgia to become a presidential swing state in 2016.Up until this point, the elder Carter had largely stayed behind the scenes, headlining private fundraisers and offering counsel to his grandson’s campaign. But in the final weeks, he is taking on a more prominent role.Among those in the crowd was Hildry Branch, a retired educator from Albany, who brought her family to hear the former president and who appreciated his support for his grandson. A lifelong Democrat, Branch said she planned to vote for the younger Carter.”I like what he’s said about education,” she said. „All children need to be educated. That’s one thing no one can take from you.”During his remarks, Jason Carter talked about how his grandfather had inspired him, and what prompted him to run for governor.FILE – IN this Oct. 7, 2014, photo, Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia Republican candidate for governor, rig …”He was born in a little country town in south Georgia,” he said of his grandfather. „He didn’t have a lot in his life. But if one child in rural Georgia can grow up to do the things he has done, then we owe it to every child to educate them and give them opportunity.”The battle for voters outside of Atlanta, particularly in south and middle Georgia, will be key in both the races for governor and Senate. Georgia hasn’t backed a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1992, and Republicans have made steady gains across the state in the years since.But the state’s demographics have been changing, with a growing minority population and an increase in people moving into Georgia from other states.Meanwhile, Democrats have launched a targeted effort this year to register some of the estimated 800,000 black, Latinos and Asians already living in the state who have yet to engage in the political process.Republicans have been eager to link Jason Carter to the elder Carter’s policies, portraying him as a liberal Atlanta Democrat who can’t be trusted not to raise taxes.Georgia Democratic candidate for governor Jason Carter speaks Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 at Mt. Zion Bapt …Jason Carter has criticized Deal for not doing enough to fund education and help the state’s middle class. Deal, a former congressman, has argued his policies have helped state revenues and jobs increase despite tough economic times while protecting education from budget cuts.Deal said last week that he expected the former president would take a more public role in the campaign, adding he didn’t think it would persuade voters.”I respect President Carter, and if I were a grandfather I’d probably want to support my grandson too,” Deal said. „But we are not a state nor a nation in which titles such as governor are inherited by virtue of your legacy.”_Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody in Marietta, Georgia, contributed to this report. Follow Christina Almeida Cassidy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Christina.
US says Turkey OKs use of bases against militants By LOLITA C. BALDOR and BRADLEY KLAPPER6 hours agoAREQUIPA, Peru (AP) — Turkey will let U.S. and coalition forces use its bases, including a key installation within 100 miles of the Syrian border, for operations against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, American defense officials said Sunday.Related Stories
But progress in negotiations with Turkey — including Ankara’s agreement to train several thousand Syrian moderate rebels — may not be enough to stop the massacre of civilians in Syria’s border town of Kobani, where intense fighting continues.The Obama administration had been pressing Ankara to play a larger role against the extremists, who have taken control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq, including territory on Turkey’s border, and sent refugees fleeing into Turkey.U.S. officials confirmed Saturday that Ankara had agreed to train Syrian moderate forces on Turkish soil. A Turkish government official said Sunday that Turkey put the number at 4,000 opposition fighters and said they would be screened by Turkish intelligence.Also Sunday, officials confirmed that Turkey agreed to let U.S. and coalition fighter aircraft launch operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria from Turkish bases, including Incirlik Air Base in the south. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has been traveling in South America, has said the U.S. wanted access to the Turkish bases.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private talks between the Americans and Turks.As fighting continued in the Kurdish town of Kobani, Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the tenuous situation. Speaking in Cairo, Kerry said the defense of Kobani does not define the international counterterrorism strategy.Islamic State militants have taken parts of Kobani, Kerry indicated, but not all of it. The United Nations has warned of mass casualties if the border town falls.”There will be ups and there will be downs over the next days as there are in any kind of conflict,” Kerry said at the conclusion of an international aid conference for the Gaza Strip.Elaborating on a theme the Obama administration has zeroed in on in recent days, Kerry said the U.S. has been realistic about how quickly it will prevail against the Islamic State militants. Officials have spoken of years of counterterrorism efforts ahead.Thick smoke, debris and fire rise following an airstrike by the US-led coalition in Kobani, Syria as …U.S. and coalition aircraft have been bombarding the territory in and around Kobani for days, launching airstrikes on dozens of locations and taking out militants, weapons and other targets.The enclave has been the scene of heavy fighting since late last month, with heavily armed Islamic State fighters determined to deal a symbolic blow to the coalition air campaign.U.S. Central Command said warplanes from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes on four locations in Syria on Saturday and Sunday, including three in Kobani that destroyed an Islamic State fighting position and staging area.Beyond the training and bases, there are other issues the U.S. hopes Turkey will agree to. U.S. officials have not said what all of those would be because discussions are continuing.Earlier Sunday, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, made clear the U.S. has not asked „the Turks to send ground forces of their own into Syria.”American officials are „continuing to talk to the Turks about other ways that they can play an important role. They are already essential to trying to prevent the flow of foreign fighters” and prevent extremists from exporting oil through Turkey. „So Turkey has many ways it can contribute,” Rice told NBC’s „Meet the Press.”Hagel spoke by telephone Sunday with Turkey’s defense minister, Ismet Yilmaz, and thanked him for his country’s willingness to assist in the fight.Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Hagel „noted Turkey’s expertise in this area and the responsible manner in which Turkey is handling the other challenges this struggle has placed upon the country, in terms of refugees and border security.”Turkey and other American allies are pressing the U.S. to create a no-fly zone inside Syrian territory, and seeking creation of a secure buffer on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey. A „safe zone” would require Americans and their partners to protect ground territory and patrol the sky.Hagel has said American leaders are open to discussing a safe zone, but creating one isn’t „actively being considered.”Alongside Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Kerry said at a news conference in Cairo that Kobani is „one community and it is a tragedy what is happening there.”The primary focus of the fight against the Islamic State group has been in Iraq, where the U.S. is working to help shore up Iraqi Security Forces, who were overrun in many places by the militants. In Syria, the U.S. is starting by going after the extremists’ infrastructure and sources of revenue.In the meantime, Kerry said, the Islamic State group „has the opportunity to take advantage of that particular buildup, as they are doing. But I’d rather have our hand than theirs.”Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has estimated it would require hundreds of U.S. aircraft and cost as much as $1 billion a month to maintain an area in Syria safe from attacks by the Islamic State group and Syria’s air force, with no assurance of a change in battlefield momentum toward ending the Syrian civil war.”Do I anticipate that there could be circumstances in the future where that would be part of the campaign? Yeah,” Dempsey told ABC’s „This Week.”_Klapper contributed to this report from Cairo.
Bolivia’s Morales declares re-election victory, says it a triumph for socialism By Enrique Andres Pretel1 hour agoBolivia’s President Evo Morales (R) and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera wave to supporters from …By Enrique Andres Pretel LA PAZ (Reuters) – Bolivian President Evo Morales declared a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, hailing it as a triumph for socialist reforms that have cut poverty and vastly expanded the state’s role in the booming economy.Official results had not yet been released but an exit poll and a quick count showed Morales, a former coca grower, trouncing his opponents with about 60 percent of the vote and easily winning a third term in power.Morales, who became Bolivia’s first indigenous leader in 2006, will now be able to extend his „indigenous socialism”, under which he has nationalized key industries such as oil and gas to finance welfare programs and build new roads and schools.”This was a debate on two models: nationalization or privatization. Nationalization won with more than 60 percent (support),” Morales told thousands of cheering supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace.A prominent member of the bloc of socialist and anti-U.S. leaders in Latin America, Morales dedicated his victory to Cuba’s former communist leader Fidel Castro.Bolivia’s President Evo Morales (R) talks with coca growers in Villa 14 de Septiembre, in the Ch …”This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists,” Morales said.His folksy appeal and prudent spending of funds from a natural gas bonanza to finance welfare programs, roads and schools have earned the 54-year-old wide support in a country long dogged by political instability.Fireworks exploded over the palace – dubbed the „Burned Palace” in reference to Bolivia’s history of coups – as Morales loyalists chanted „Evo, Evo”.A Mori exit poll released by Unitel television showed Morales winning 61 percent of the vote. His closest rival, businessman Samuel Doria Medina, had 24 percent.A quick count released by local TV channel ATB showed Morales with 60.5 percent of the vote.Bolivian President Evo Morales holds his ballot before voting in Villa 14 de Septiembre in the Chapa …The exit poll and quick count also showed Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism reinforcing its grip on both the lower and upper houses in Congress, meaning he will be able to easily push through further reforms should he chose.Official results were expected later on Sunday night.CHARISMA „I voted for Morales,” said Flavia Nunez, a 50-year-old office clerk, in central La Paz. „These other right-wing candidates would take us back in time. I don’t want that.”Bolivian presidential candidate Samuel Doria Medina of the Democratic Unity (UD) party prepares to v …Morales’ rivals struggled to match his charisma or offer the Andean country’s 6 million voters a more compelling vision for the economy, often focusing instead on corruption and the illegal drugs trade.Morales campaign billboards ran the slogan „With Evo we’re doing well”.Voters agreed, giving him another five-year term that means he will remain in office until January 2020.He has delivered economic growth averaging above 5 percent a year, also winning plaudits from Wall Street for running fiscal surpluses.Under Morales, the number of Bolivians living in extreme poverty has fallen to one in five from more than a third of the population of 10 million in 2006.A member of electoral court cuts registrations in a vote point in Villa 14 de Septiembre, in the Ch …Even so, Bolivia remains one of the poorest countries in the Americas.Morales’ critics accuse him of using his power to control the courts and of violating the constitution which limits a president to two consecutive terms.Morales has said he will not run again at the next election in late 2019.His comfortable victory on Sunday extinguished the hopes held by some voters for change.”This government has had two terms and I don’t like it when a small clique lingers on in power,” economist Miguel Angel Perez, 53, who voted for Quiroga, said before the results were announced.(Additional reporting by David Mercado, Monica Machicao and Daniel Ramos; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Eric Walsh and Kieran Murray)
A look at the winners of Nobel Prize in medicine By The Associated PressOctober 7, 2013 9:55 AM WHO WON?Americans James E. Rothman, 62, professor of biomedical sciences at Yale University; Randy W. Schekman, 64, professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Berkeley; and German-born Thomas C. Sudhof, 57, professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University.FOR WHAT? For their discoveries of how hormones, enzymes and other key materials are transported within cells, a process known as „vesicle traffic.”SIGNIFICANCE The discovery solves the mystery of how animal cells organize their internal transportation system to direct molecules to the correct place.FILE – This 2005 file photo provided by Yale University shows biologist James Rothman on the school’ …This helps explain how certain illnesses, including diabetes, tetanus and many immune diseases, work.WHAT THEY SAID:James E. Rothman: „This is not an overnight thing. Most of it has been accomplished and developed over many years, if not decades.”Randy W. Schekman: „As far as my lab goes, I was excited about what we were doing yesterday and will be excited about the work we are doing tomorrow.”Thomas C. Sudhof: „At least in the United States, which is now my home, there is a lot of soul-searching about the sense of science. And I hope and believe that I can do a little bit to help clarify the positions.”