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Showing posts from May 30, 2014

Magnitude 6.4 earthquake shakes Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria

An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck off the coast of northern class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Greece on Saturday, sending panicked residents into the streets in Greece, class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Turkey and Bulgaria, officials said. _0"> In class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Turkey , about about 270 people were hospitalized, most with minor injuries, as a tremor shook buildings, the government disaster and emergency department (AFAD) said. The quake also rattled Turkey's most populous city, Istanbul, as well as the Aegean coastal city of Izmir and the popular tourism province of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. One person was in critical condition after jumping from a balcony in the western Turkish town of Canakkale, AFAD said.   true       Hurriyet Daily News reported 30 people injured jumping out of apartments in the town and patients in one hospital were evacuated after cracks emerged in the building. The U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. may act to keep Chinese hackers out of Def Con hacker event

Washington is considering using visa restrictions to prevent Chinese nationals from attending popular summer hacking conferences in Las Vegas as part of a broader effort to curb Chinese cyber espionage, a senior administration official said Saturday. The official said that Washington could use such visa restrictions and other measures to keep Chinese from attending the August Def Con and Black Hat events to maintain pressure on class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China after the United States this week charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into U.S. companies to steal trade secrets. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China has denied the charges, saying they were "made up."   true       Organizers of the two conferences said they knew nothing about any efforts under consideration by Washington, but that they believed limiting participation from China was a bad idea. Jeff Moss, founder of both Def Con and Black Hat, could not be reached, althou

Ukraine defends vote despite unrest, Putin pledges 'respect'

Vladimir Putin promised that class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Russia would work with the new Ukrainian administration formed after a presidential election on Sunday that the Kiev government said on Saturday would anchor the ex-Soviet state to the West. In the eastern region where at least 20 people were killed in recent days, there was less violence, though in fighting near Slaviansk between pro-Moscow rebels and Ukrainian paratroopers, unconfirmed local media reports spoke of up to four deaths. The separatists reject an election run by a fascist "junta" in Kiev and national electoral officials said few ballot papers had yet been issued in two eastern regions with over 12 percent of the electorate, implying most there will be denied a vote.   true       Denouncing an "atmosphere of terror" directed against local electoral officials in the east, Europe's OSCE democracy agency pulled out most of the dozens of international monitors it had posted to D

EU set for election 'Super Sunday,' with far-right vote in spotlight

European elections reach their culmination on "Super Sunday" when the remaining 20 of the EU's 28 countries go to the polls, with the vote expected to confirm the dominance of pro-European centrists despite a rise in support for the far-right and left. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Germany , class="mandelbrot_refrag"> France , class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Spain and Poland are among the major EU member states voting on Sunday, representing the bulk of the 388 million Europeans eligible to cast ballots and elect the 751 deputies to sit in the European Parliament from 2014-2019. After years of economic crisis, rising unemployment and poor growth, many Europeans have come to question the wisdom of ever-closer EU integration and are expected to vote for Eurosceptic parties on the right or left promising radical changes.   true       Opinion polls suggest at least a quarter of seats in the parliament will go to anti-EU or protest group

Opposition to Thai coup simmers, ex-PM in 'safe place'

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a "safe place" on Saturday after being held by the army following a coup, an aide said, as opposition to the takeover grew among her supporters and pro-democracy activists. The army moved on Thursday after failing to forge a compromise in a power struggle between Yingluck's populist government and the royalist establishment, which brought months of sometimes violent unrest to Bangkok's streets. Consolidating its grip, the military dissolved the Senate on Saturday, the only legislative assembly still functioning in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Thailand . It also sacked three senior security officials who were seen as close to the ousted government.   true       The military detained Yingluck on Friday when she and about 150 other people, most of them political associates, were summoned to an army facility in Bangkok. More people were summoned over the weekend, including some outspoken academics and

Gunman kills six in drive-by shooting in California college town

A gunman killed six people and wounded seven others in a drive-by shooting in a Southern California college town, spraying bullets from his car until it crashed and he was found dead inside, authorities said on Saturday. Authorities were investigating a possible link between the Friday night shooting in the town of Isla Vista near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara and a threatening video posted online. In the YouTube video, which Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown said appears to have been made by the suspected gunman, a young man bitterly complains of loneliness and rejection by women and says he plans to kill people.   true       Witnesses to the violence reported seeing someone driving a black BMW through the streets and shooting at people in Isla Vista, a beachside community where many college students live. "It's obviously the work of a madman," Brown told a news conference. "There's going to be a lot more information that will

Authorities checked on suspected California gunman's welfare last month: sheriff

Authorities last month checked on the welfare of the suspected gunman in the Isla Vista, California, shootings, making the visit at his family's request, and found him polite and courteous, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters on Saturday. _0"> The gunman drove through Isla Vista in a black BMW on Friday night, shooting at people in the beachside community where many college students live. Seven people died in the rampage, including the suspect who was found dead inside of a crashed vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said. (Reporting by Bill Trott , Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker )   true      

A bitter pill as China crackdowns squeeze pharma margins

A crackdown on corruption and pricing in China's fast-growing pharmaceutical market has squeezed profits and margins, raising a red flag to global Big Pharma that the days of easy growth in the country may be over. A Reuters' analysis of more than 60 listed Chinese healthcare firms shows average profit margins declined to around 10 percent last year from 15 percent in 2012. Average net profits fell 2.1 percent, down from close to 20 percent growth in previous years. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China has been a magnet for the big global pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare firms as growth slows in Europe and the United States. It is the largest emerging drugs market and is set to be the global number two overall within three years, according to consultancy IMS Health.   true       While global drugmakers withhold their class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China profit figures, the analysis suggests profit growth is harder to come by - a concern a

Two Israelis killed in Saturday Brussels shooting

Belgian police on Sunday were hunting a gunman who shot dead two Israelis and a French woman at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, in an attack French President Francois Hollande said was without doubt motivated by anti-Semitism. Security around all Jewish institutions in Belgium was raised to the highest level following Saturday's shooting, while French authorities stepped up security after two Jews were attacked near a Paris synagogue. Belgian officials released a 30-second video clip from the museum's security cameras showing a man wearing a dark cap and a blue jacket enter the building, take a Kalashnikov rifle out of a bag, and shoot into a room, before walking out.   true       "From the images we have seen, we can deduce that the perpetrator probably acted alone and was well prepared," said Ine Van Wymersch, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor's office. "It's still too early to confirm whether it's a terrorist or an anti-Semitic attack;

China, Japan exchange barbs over action by warplanes in East China Sea

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China on Sunday accused each other's air forces of dangerous behavior over the East China Sea, with Japan saying Chinese aircraft had come within a few dozen meters of its warplanes. _0"> Japan's defense minister accused Beijing of going "over the top" in its approach to disputed territory. China's defense ministry said Japanese planes had carried out "dangerous" actions during its joint maritime exercises with class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Russia . Tensions have been running high between class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China and its neighbors over Beijing's assertive stance on claiming land and sea territory.   true       Japan's defense ministry said Chinese SU-27 fighters came as close as 50 meters (170 feet) to a Japanese OP-3C surveillance plane near disputed islets on Saturday and within 30 meters of a YS-11EB elec

At dinner with Putin, menu of Crimean flounder and Russian grievances

You can't say Vladimir Putin lacks a pointed sense of humor. The entrĂ©e at the Russian president's dinner for news agency editors on Saturday night was "Crimean flounder." No kidding. As dinner was ending in the ornate Konstantinovsky Palace, Putin was asked whether he speaks regularly with U.S. president class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama . "We have some contacts," he shrugged. "But now I have to go speak with Mr. (Francois) Hollande and Mrs. (Angela) Merkel," the French president and the German chancellor, respectively.   true       With that he gave a champagne toast, and left. But before that he spoke at length on many topics during a three-hour interview before and during a seven-course dinner that included "soft smoked sturgeon salad" and "white asparagus soup with black caviar" as well as the recently Russified flounder. The topics ranged from the over-arching ( class="mandelbrot_refrag"

Armed Ukraine rebels rally outside home of richest man

Scores of armed pro-Russian separatists gathered for several hours outside the gated home of Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, in the eastern city of Donetsk on Sunday as Ukrainians voted for a new president. _0"> class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Coal and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> steel billionaire Akhmetov, whose factories and mines employ about 300,000 people, denounced the rebels last week, accusing them of "genocide", and urged people to vote on Sunday despite intimidation and threats from the separatists. The rebels have prevented voting in parts of Russian-speaking eastern class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine where they have declared "people's republics" outside Kiev's control. No polling stations opened in Donetsk, a city of a million people.   true       The 47-year-old Akhmetov, who also owns Ukraine's most successful soccer club Shakhtar Donetsk, was in the capital Kiev when about 200-

Thai protesters test military's resolve

Thailand's military tightened its grip on power on Sunday as it moved to quell growing protests, saying anyone violating its orders would be tried in military court. It also took its first steps to revitalize a battered class="mandelbrot_refrag"> economy , saying nearly a million farmers owned money under the previous government's failed rice-subsidy scheme would be paid within a month. The military overthrew the government on Thursday after months of debilitating and at times violent confrontation between the populist government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the royalist establishment.   true       Critics say the coup will not end the conflict between the rival power networks: the Bangkok-based elite dominated by the military and the bureaucracy, and an upstart clique led by Yingluck's brother and former telecommunication mogul Thaksin Shinawatra. The Shinawatras draw much of their influence from the provinces. The military detained numerou

Three shot dead at South Carolina oceanfront hotel

Three people were killed and a fourth wounded in a shooting at a oceanfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. Southeast, police said on Sunday. Officers responded to a call of shots fired at the Bermuda Sands resort on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk around 11 p.m. EDT on Saturday, according to the Myrtle Beach Police Department. Two men and one woman were pronounced dead at the scene and the fourth was transported to a local hospital in unknown condition, he said.   true       The shooting came on a weekend when Myrtle Beach was packed with visitors for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, and for an annual sports rally called the Atlantic Beach Bikefest. "We certainly don't like to see any type of incident where somebody dies during this event, or any event that Myrtle Beach has," Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes told WISTV. "To have three people (killed)

Pope Francis prays at Bethlehem wall, calls for Middle East peace

Pope Francis completes a tour of the Holy Land on Monday, paying homage to Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust and looking to affirm Christian rights at a disputed place of worship in Jerusalem. After visits to Jordan and the Palestinian Territories - including praying at the wall dividing Bethlehem from Jerusalem, Francis spends the third and final day of his trip in the latter with a slate of political and religious encounters and visits to some of the most sensitive holy sites in the world. Francis has used his trip so far to plea for an end to the generations-old Middle East conflict, inviting the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to join him in the Vatican early next month and pray for peace.   true       Both Shimon Peres, who plays no decision-making role in Israeli diplomacy, and Mahmoud Abbas accepted the offer. It follows the collapse of U.S.-backed peace talks last month, and there was little hope that the highly unusual encounter could break decades of mutual mistrust a