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  • U.S. releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report

  • The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well." The report by the U.N. nuclear agency showed that Iran had - as stipulated under the November 24 agreement - diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation. Tehran has also continued to convert the other half of its stock of uranium gas refined to a 20 percent fissile purity, the IAEA report said.
  • Kosovo PM urges vote on new war crimes court but calls it insult

  • Kosovo's PM Thaci speaks to Reuters during an interview in PristinaBy Fatos Bytyci PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo's premier has summoned parliament to vote on creating an EU-backed special court to try ethnic Albanian ex-guerrillas accused of harvesting organs from murdered Serbs during the Balkan state's 1990s war, but criticized the plan as an insult. The move stems from a 2011 report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty alleging that Kosovo Albanian guerrillas fighting a war of independence from Serbia had smuggled the bodies of Serbs into Albania and removed their organs for sale. "This issue is completely unfair and an insult for the state of Kosovo," Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who was the political chief of the old Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), said on Thursday.



  • Text of joint statement on Ukraine

  • GENEVA (AP) — Here is the joint statement issued by the foreign ministers of the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and European Union after seven hours of talks Thursday in Geneva:
  • Canada sends fighter jets to Eastern Europe

  • Weapons are loaded onto a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet on November 4, 2009 near El Centro, CaliforniaCanada is deploying six CF-18 fighter jets to Eastern Europe as part of NATO's response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine was on the brink of civil war, stoking fears of outright Russian intervention. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- which border Russia and have sizeable ethnic Russian populations -- have all sought reassurances, as have Ukraine's neighbors Poland and Romania. Harper condemned what he called "Russia's illegal occupation of Ukraine and its ongoing aggressive military provocation."



  • Turkey approves controversial spy agency bill

  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks outside his office in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Turkey's parliament looks set to pass a bill that increases the powers and immunities of the country's spy agency. It is the latest in a string of moves critics say is undermining democracy in the country that is a candidate to join the European Union. The bill, expected to be voted on Thursday, gives the National Intelligence Agency greater eavesdropping and operational powers and increases its immunities and abilities to keep tabs on citizens. Journalists publishing classified documents would face prison terms. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's parliament has approved a bill that increases the powers and immunities of the country's spy agency. It's the latest in a string of moves critics say is undermining democracy in the country that is a candidate to join the European Union.



  • Kerry: Steps embraced to ease tensions in Ukraine

  • GENEVA (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says diplomats from Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine have agreed on a series of steps aimed at de-escalating violence in strife-ridden Ukraine.
  • U.S., Russia, Ukraine, EU call for end to Ukraine violence

  • The United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union on Thursday together called for an immediate halt to violence in Ukraine, where Western powers believe Russia is fomenting a pro-Russian separatist movement. Separatists attacked a Ukrainian national guard base overnight and Kiev said three of them were killed, the worst bloodshed yet in a 10-day pro-Russian uprising.
  • Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine as diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union gather for discussions in Geneva Thursday, April 17, 2014. Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. (AP Photo/Jim Bourg, Pool)GENEVA (AP) — Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.



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more» 
  • U.S. releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report

  • The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well." The report by the U.N. nuclear agency showed that Iran had - as stipulated under the November 24 agreement - diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation. Tehran has also continued to convert the other half of its stock of uranium gas refined to a 20 percent fissile purity, the IAEA report said.
  • Obama, Merkel discuss Ukraine crisis in call

  • President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Thursday about the situation in Ukraine, the offices of both leaders said. Obama and Merkel agreed during the call that Russia should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation, a German government spokeswoman said on Thursday. "Both shared their worries given current developments in eastern Ukraine, so they called on Russia to help contribute to a de-escalation," the spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, said in an email. "They said Russia in particular should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation," Wirtz said.
  • Taxi app Uber faces ban in Berlin

  • BERLIN (AP) — Ride-hailing app Uber could face a ban in the German capital after the head of the Berlin Taxi Association convinced a local court that the company's service breaks the law.
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  • Obama, Merkel discuss Ukraine crisis in call

  • President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Thursday about the situation in Ukraine, the offices of both leaders said. Obama and Merkel agreed during the call that Russia should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation, a German government spokeswoman said on Thursday. "Both shared their worries given current developments in eastern Ukraine, so they called on Russia to help contribute to a de-escalation," the spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, said in an email. "They said Russia in particular should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation," Wirtz said.
  • NY trial of British radical hears opening arguments

  • Imam Abu Hamza al-Masri addresses followers during Friday prayer in near Finsbury Park mosque in north London, on March 26, 2004To US government prosecutors, British hate preacher Abu Hamza was a global exporter of terrorism. A Manhattan federal court heard Thursday opening arguments in the trial of the 56-year-old Abu Hamza, accused of 11 kidnapping and terror charges that predate the 9/11 attacks. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, has pleaded not guilty but faces the rest of his life in a maximum security US prison if convicted. Prosecutor Edward Kim told the 12-member jury that Abu Hamza had "recruited" and "indoctrinated" men whom he dispatched from a mosque in north London to all around the world to wage war.



  • Putin, Erdogan discuss Ukraine crisis, Crimean Tatars and energy

  • MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday discussed the turmoil in Ukraine and the situation in Crimea including issues involving the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Tatar minority, the Kremlin said. In a telephone call initiated by the Turkish side, Putin and Erdogan also discussed bilateral ties between the two Black Sea nations, including in the energy sector. Crimean Tatars largely opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last month. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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more» 
  • U.S. releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report

  • The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well." The report by the U.N. nuclear agency showed that Iran had - as stipulated under the November 24 agreement - diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation. Tehran has also continued to convert the other half of its stock of uranium gas refined to a 20 percent fissile purity, the IAEA report said.
  • Britain's Robson out of Wimbledon and French Open

  • Britain's Laura Robson plays a shot against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins during their women's singles match on day one of the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 13, 2014Britain's Laura Robson on Thursday revealed she will miss Wimbledon and the French Open after opting to have surgery on her troublesome wrist injury. Robson has been plagued by the left wrist problem throughout 2014 and has completed just one match this year, losing 6-3, 6-0 to Kirsten Flipkens in the first round of the Australian Open. She had retired hurt with a recurrence of the long-standing injury in her opening match against Yanina Wickmayer at a warm-up event in Hobart. The world number 64 used her Facebook page to announce she will have the operation, forcing her to miss her home Grand Slam at Wimbledon as well as the French Open, which precedes the grasscourt major in June.



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  • Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

  • FILE- In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014, file photo, passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila. One expert says recent outbreaks of MERS in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that led to more than 20 infections, many among health-care workers, “have put us into uncharted territory.” (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting its spread.



  • Pope washes feet of elderly, disabled in rite

  • Pope Francis holds the holy gospel book as he celebrates the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, April 17, 2014. During the mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments throughout the year. The Chrism Mass marks the start of the Easter celebrations. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has washed the feet of 12 elderly and disabled people — women and non-Catholics among them — in a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to serve like a "slave."



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  • Hungary remembers Holocaust amid boycotts, protests

  • A person searches her siblings on the wall of Holocaust victims at the Holocaust Musem in Budapest on April 16, 2014Pécs (Hungary) (AFP) - Hungary bean 70th anniversary commemorations of the Holocaust on Wednesday amid boycotts and protests by Jewish groups which accuse the government of whitewashing the country's role in the mass deportations of Jews in 1944. Marking the day when Hungarian Jews were first placed in ghettoes in 1944, ceremonies were held around the country as part of "Holocaust 2014", a programme of events organised by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government. In Budapest, President Janos Ader and Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics lit candles at a monument by the Danube commemorating the thousands of Jews shot into the water in 1944-1945 by the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross militia. A ceremony was also to be held at Budapest's Holocaust Museum, with trees planted and candles lit to remember the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust.



  • Serbia eyes renewed coalition of center-right and Socialists

  • Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of Serbian Progressive Party Vucic toasts with champagne at the party headquarters in BelgradeBy Ivana Sekularac BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's center-right Progressive Party, which won the March election by a landslide, said on Tuesday it had offered a place in a coalition government to the Socialists of outgoing Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, despite deep differences over austerity. The two parties have been in government together since mid-2012, but the Progressives forced a snap election last month saying they needed a stronger mandate to overhaul the bloated public sector and stabilize Serbia's shaky finances. The Socialist Party (SPS) has opposed radical belt-tightening, fearing a backlash from its support base among public sector workers and pensioners. Nevertheless, Progressive Party (SNS) leader and Serbia's next prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, said he had offered a place in a new coalition cabinet to the Socialists and a party of ethnic Hungarians.



  • Hungary's Orban retains two-thirds legislative majority

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives his first international press conference after the parliamentary election, in the Delegation Hall of the parliament building in Budapest on April 7, 2014Budapest (AFP) - Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban retained his controlling two-thirds majority in parliament following last week's election, a final ballot count revealed early Sunday, giving him free legislative rein for the next four years.



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  • Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

  • FILE- In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014, file photo, passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila. One expert says recent outbreaks of MERS in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that led to more than 20 infections, many among health-care workers, “have put us into uncharted territory.” (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting its spread.



  • Pope washes feet of elderly, disabled in rite

  • Pope Francis holds the holy gospel book as he celebrates the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, April 17, 2014. During the mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments throughout the year. The Chrism Mass marks the start of the Easter celebrations. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has washed the feet of 12 elderly and disabled people — women and non-Catholics among them — in a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to serve like a "slave."



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  • Canada sends fighter jets to Eastern Europe

  • Weapons are loaded onto a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet on November 4, 2009 near El Centro, CaliforniaCanada is deploying six CF-18 fighter jets to Eastern Europe as part of NATO's response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine was on the brink of civil war, stoking fears of outright Russian intervention. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- which border Russia and have sizeable ethnic Russian populations -- have all sought reassurances, as have Ukraine's neighbors Poland and Romania. Harper condemned what he called "Russia's illegal occupation of Ukraine and its ongoing aggressive military provocation."



  • U.S. to send additional non-lethal support to Ukraine: Pentagon

  • The United States will send additional non-lethal military support to Ukraine, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday, in the latest U.S. move to reassure allies following Russia's annexation of Crimea and a buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border. "Earlier this morning I called Ukraine's acting defense minister to tell him that President Obama has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and other supplies," Hagel said, speaking at a Pentagon news conference after talks with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak. The new support follows NATO's announcement on Wednesday that it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe "within days." NATO has made clear it will not intervene militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.
more» 
 
more» 
  • U.S. releases $450 million of frozen Iranian funds after IAEA report

  • The United States has taken steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran is living up to its part of a landmark nuclear pact with world powers, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well." The report by the U.N. nuclear agency showed that Iran had - as stipulated under the November 24 agreement - diluted half of its higher-grade enriched uranium reserve to a fissile content less prone to bomb proliferation. Tehran has also continued to convert the other half of its stock of uranium gas refined to a 20 percent fissile purity, the IAEA report said.
  • Obama, Merkel discuss Ukraine crisis in call

  • President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Thursday about the situation in Ukraine, the offices of both leaders said. Obama and Merkel agreed during the call that Russia should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation, a German government spokeswoman said on Thursday. "Both shared their worries given current developments in eastern Ukraine, so they called on Russia to help contribute to a de-escalation," the spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, said in an email. "They said Russia in particular should use its influence on armed groups in eastern Ukraine to calm the situation," Wirtz said.
  • Putin, Erdogan discuss Ukraine crisis, Crimean Tatars and energy

  • MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday discussed the turmoil in Ukraine and the situation in Crimea including issues involving the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Tatar minority, the Kremlin said. In a telephone call initiated by the Turkish side, Putin and Erdogan also discussed bilateral ties between the two Black Sea nations, including in the energy sector. Crimean Tatars largely opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last month. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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