Monday, March 31, 2014

Ku Klux Klan on New Recruitment Drive with Leaflet Drop in Towns across America

The leaflets depict the outline of a hooded figure in white robes
with Klan insignia pointing at the reader in the style of traditional
military recruiting posters, complete with phone numbers and websites
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Residents wake up to find fliers declaring “The KKK wants you” as hatred of Obama and immigration fuels rise in white supremacy

The Ku Klux Klan is on a recruitment drive across America with a new leafleting campaign, as membership numbers grow due to opposition to Barack Obama and increased immigration.

Residents of towns in Texas, Louisiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania emerged from their houses over the weekend to find fliers attached to their doors, car windscreens or on the front lawn declaring “The KKK wants you.”

The leaflets depict the outline of a hooded figure in white robes with Klan insignia pointing at the reader in the style of traditional military recruiting posters, complete with phone numbers and websites.

The Klan and its latest campaign are legal under the US’s strong constitutional right to free speech. The white supremacy group, which aims to oust Mr Obama and stem immigration, is also against interracial marriage and homosexuality. In their contemporary guise, Klan leaders promote non-violent defence of whites “in the race war against us”, according to one website. » | Joanna Walters, New York | Monday, March 31, 2014

Right Triumph: Hollande's Socialist Party Suffers Drubbing at Local Vote in France

Francois Hollande is expected to launch a major cabinet reshuffle, as preliminary results show his Socialist party suffering a bitter defeat in local elections. The far right meanwhile has made a breakthrough, claiming its biggest victory in history

Selon Google, la Turquie a pénétré son système d'adresses

TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: Google affirme que la Turquie a pénétré son système d'adresses internet afin de pouvoir rediriger les utilisateurs vers d'autres sites.

Ankara a pénétré le système d'adresses de Google, affirme le géant de l'internet.

Google a reçu «plusieurs informations crédibles et a confirmé par (ses) proches recherches que le service DNS (Domain Name System) a été intercepté par la plupart des fournisseurs turcs d'accès à internet», a écrit ce week-end sur le blog de sécurité de Google l'un de ses ingénieurs, Steven Carstensen. » | afp/Newsnet | lundi 31 mars 2014

Graham: Putin Must 'Pay a Heavy Price' for Annexing Crimea

Mar. 31, 2014 - 7:20 - Senator Lindsey Graham on the US response to Russia's actions in Ukraine

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Friend Asked Me What I Thought Putin Would Do Next. This Was My Response

It is difficult to say, but it would appear to me that he has the rest of the Ukraine in his sights. Then, probably Moldova. And then, who knows? To my mind, the man is so obviously an empire-builder. He loathes Russia's loss of clout in the world; and resents America's pre-eminent position as a superpower. He seems determined to do something about it.

In Obama, he sees weakness, which he certainly doesn't respect. He knows that Obama has no appetite for a fight. He also knows that Americans are war-weary. Further, he knows that America is in tremendous debt; so another war is the last thing America needs. Europe, he will probably perceive as weak, too; in complete disarray, and in the middle of lean economic times. Europe's main weakness is that there is no elected central command. Germany, Europe's potentially strongest nation, has hang-ups because of WWII and Hitler's ignominious legacy: das Vaterland has no appetite for a fight. It, along with the rest of Europe, is dependent on Russia for gas supplies.

The UK is not so dependent on Russia's gas supplies, but it is in the process of winding down its military in the name of austerity, falsely believing that world wars and major conflicts are a thing of the past. Consequently, the path is wide open for whatever Putin chooses to do next, knowing, of course, that apart from a few symbolic sanctions, little or nothing will be done about his military manoeuvres.

The Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – will probably be left alone, for the time being at least, because there are treaties obliging the rest of NATO to come to their aid if attacked. He will therefore concentrate on those countries which are not bound by treaty.

I read yesterday that Putin phoned Obama in order to seek a 'diplomatic solution'. This, if I am not greatly mistaken, is a cynical ploy. He is playing Obama for the fool he truly is. He is flattering him on the one side, knowing that he is exceedingly vain, and laughing about him behind his back on the other. Putin has no desire for a diplomatic solution, since were he to have that desire, he wouldn't have annexed Crimea in the first place.

This is a power game – a big power game at that. Putin is out to secure Obama's legacy as a complete idiot, and ineffectual world leader. He is playing to his vanity. Pay attention to what will happen next. Putin is in this for the long-haul. Victory for him will come at the end. This is just the beginning of a war of nerves, I believe. Remember this: Putin was schooled in the KGB. He was not a community organiser! Putin is Machiavellian; Obama, like a pussy. America needs a change at the top. And soon!

© Mark Alexander

All Rights Reserved

Facial Hair Transplants On the Rise

BBC: Plastic surgeons in Canada are reporting a surprising increase in the number of patients seeking facial hair transplants.

Once transplanted, the hairs are permanent and grow just like facial hair.

Russell Trott reports. (+ BBC video) » | Saturday, March 30, 2014

Discrimination Fear: Sharia Law Guidelines Introduced to UK Muslim Wills

Sharia law maybe creeping into the British legal system. UK lawyers are now given guidelines on how to draw up wills compliant with Islam laws. The move could see women and non-Muslims left without their fair share of inheritance, RT's Polly Boiko looked into the implications of the new rules.

Concern as Brunei Brings In System of Islamic Law with Punishments That Include the Dismemberment of Limbs and Stoning to Death

The Sultan of Brunei says he wants to set up a
'firewall' against globalisation
THE INDEPENDENT: The country’s ruler says sharia was created as guidance from Allah

The Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s wealthiest rulers and a close ally of Britain, will this week oversee his country’s transition to a system of Islamic law with punishments that include flogging, the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death.

The 67-year-old absolute monarch declared last year that he wanted to introduce a full sharia system in his oil-rich nation and warned critics who took to social media sites to complain that they could be prosecuted using the new laws.

The decision to introduce sharia and reintroduce the death penalty has been condemned by NGOs and legal rights campaigners, who say the new rules will breach international laws. It has also triggered alarm among some of Brunei’s non-Muslim communities, who will also be subject to some of the rulings. » | Andrew Buncombe | Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vladimir Putin ‘Wants to Regain Finland’ for Russia, Adviser Says

THE INDEPENDENT: Finland has increased border surveillance in recent weeks as Mr Putin moves to ‘protect what belongs to him and his predecessors’

After annexing Crimea and with troops massed on the border of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will not stop trying to expand Russia until he has “conquered” Belarus, the Baltic states and Finland, one of his closest former advisers has said.

According to Andrej Illarionov, the President’s chief economic adviser from 2000 to 2005, Mr Putin seeks to create “historical justice” with a return to the days of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Speaking to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Mr Illarionov warned that Russia will argue that the granting of independence to Finland in 1917 was an act of “treason against national interests”.

“Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors,” Mr Illarionov said.

“Parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states where Putin claims to have ownership. He added: “The West’s leaders seem, from what they say, entirely to have forgotten that there are some leaders in the world who want to conquer other countries.” » Adam Withnall | Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Listening Post: Turkey vs Twitter

A look at how Ankara's crackdown on social media is creating a firestorm ahead of a critical presidential election.

Chefredakteurin in Saudi-Arabien: "Frauen müssen immer um Erlaubnis fragen"

"Saudi Gazette"-Chefredakteurin Somayya Jabarti:
"Erlebe alles als Zumutung"
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Somayya Jabarti ist die erste Chefredakteurin einer Tageszeitung in Saudi-Arabien. Für Menschen im Westen ist kaum vorstellbar, wie kompliziert manches für sie ist: das Land verlassen, reisen. Jeden Tag, erzählt sie, koche sie vor Wut.

Die Journalistin Somayya Jabarti, 44, leitet seit Februar als Chefredakteurin die englischsprachige saudi-arabische Zeitung "Saudi Gazette". Ihre Ernennung ist etwas Besonderes für Saudi-Arabien, denn Frauen haben in dem Land nicht annähernd die gleichen Rechte wie Männer.

Mit SPIEGEL ONLINE sprach Jabarti über die Situation der Frauen in dem Golfstaat. Nach Deutschland kam sie auf Einladung von Novatec Consulting, einer deutschen Firma, die derzeit den Verlag der "Saudi Gazette" berät. » | Ein Interview von Raniah Salloum | Samstag, 28. März 2014

Head to Head: Should the West End Its Wars?

Mehdi Hasan goes head to head with General Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the British army.

All Roads Lead...Out of Rome? Sardinia Plans Secession Referendum

The Italian region of Sardinia is pushing for a referendum. But it's not just about secession - a group of activists is in fact asking Rome to sell the island to Switzerland. A co-founder of the movement, Andrea Caruso, explained why locals are fed up with the central government.

Earthquake Strikes Near Los Angeles

THE GUARDIAN: Magnitude 5.1 quake 20 miles from Los Angeles was only 1.2 miles deep but only minor damage has been reported

A magnitude-5.1 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area and surrounding counties on Friday evening, authorities said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at about 9:09 p.m. and was centred near Brea in Orange County about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

It was felt as far south as San Diego and as far north as Ventura County, according to citizen responses collected online by the USGS.

"Tonight's earthquake is the second in two weeks, and reminds us to be prepared," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a written statement released about an hour after the shaking stopped. » | Associated Press | Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gay Marriage: The Changing Face of Britain

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Brian Sewell: 'Why I’m no convert to gay marriage’: As the first same-sex weddings take place, a leading art critic argues that campaigners for equality have picked the wrong battle » | Brian Sewell | Friday, March 28, 2014

Gasoline Ally: Saudi Oil Keeps US Loyal

Billions of dollars' worth of trade are behind the close bond between Washington and Riyad. The U.S. has of course been supporting Saudi Arabia with military supplies, while a large share of America's oil imports come from the Gulf Kingdom. Here's RT's Anastasia Churkina with more on ties between the nations.

Violation Kingdom: US, Saudi Ties Tighten Amidst Human Rights Outcry

The US President is on his way to Saudi Arabia to meet King Abdullah. The countries enjoy a close relationship, and the talks are unlikely to touch on human rights violations in the Arab nation. One such case is that of a former Saudi diplomat - seeking asylum in the US, after coming out as gay. RT has been closely following his story, and Gayane Chichakyan now brings us the latest. It's easy to understand why returning home is not an option for the former diplomat. Being gay in Saudi Arabia leads to capital punishment. You can also find yourself on the wrong side of the law in the kingdom by posting on Twitter. Earlier this month, two Saudis received lengthy prison sentences for their activity on the microblogging site. Saudi Arabia enforces rigid rules of conduct for women - who are banned from travelling alone, driving, or talking to male non-relatives and are often subjected to domestic violence. Daoud Khairallah, international law professor at Georgetown University, believes the dire rights situation in Saudi Arabia is there to stay...

David Cameron Welcomes First Gay Marriages

Cameron: gay marriage will make society stronger
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Prime Minister says change to the law on same-sex marriage is in keeping with Britain's proudest traditions - but poll suggests it will cost Tories votes

Gay marriage will make British society stronger, David Cameron has insisted as an historic change to the meaning of matrimony comes into effect.

Mr Cameron said the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales - after a debate which bitterly divided his own party and pitted church against state - was a tribute to “the sort of country we are”.

Writing in PinkNews, the gay and lesbian website, he said the redefinition of marriage was in keeping with Britain’s “proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth”.

But opponents of the change said it had “ripped up” the centuries-old understanding of marriage and divided the country.

New polling seen by The Telegraph also shows that the issue could cost the Conservatives significant votes in the local and European elections in May. » | John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor | Friday, March 28, 2014

PINK NEWS: Nick Clegg congratulates same-sex couples marrying this weekend »

Friday, March 28, 2014

'We Are Cut Off, Isolated and Alone': Imprisoned Saudi Princesses Blame Their Father King Abdullah As Their Mother Calls On Obama To Help Free Them

Speaking out: Sahar is the eldest daughter and has somehow
remained able to convey to the world the depraved state of
human rights, especially against women, in Saudi Arabia
MAIL ONLINE: Alanoud AlFayez, 57, appealed to Obama on Thursday as he prepares to visit Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah / AlFayez was once married to the king but fled to London after he divorced her in 2003 / The women and their mother say they're being starved and physically and psychologically abused

Two Saudi Princesses who claim to have been imprisoned by their father for 13 years have told how they are 'cut off, isolated and alone' after their mother called on President Obama to help set them free.

Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, whose mother is divorced from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, say they are effectively being held under house arrest in the royal compound in Jeddah.

They claim they are not allowed to travel or even leave their home and that the internet is their only window onto the world.

In an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, the princesses told how security has been tightened since they went public with their story two weeks ago and they are no longer even allowed to make trips with armed guards for food, as they had been previously.

Speaking to Channel 4 via Skype, they blamed the King for their situation and even claimed to be running out of food.

Princess Sahar says: 'This is a risk we're taking, we're happy to do it, we understand full well the repercussions, but we don't know what's going to happen.'

The Princesses say their sisters Maha and Hala are also being held in the Royal compound in separate villas. » | Joshua Gardner and Daniel Miller | Friday, March 28, 2014

CHANNEL 4 NEWS: Exclusive: 'locked-up' Saudi princesses' message for Obama: "He should be ashamed to meet a leader that has four grown women locked up" - the message from two Saudi princesses to President Obama as he meets with their father, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. » | Fatima Manji, Reporter | Friday, March 28, 2014

CHANNEL 4 NEWS: 'They are hanging to life' - Saudi king's ex-wife speaks out » | Fatima Manji, Reporter | Monday, March 10, 2014

CHANNEL 4 NEWS: New footage emerges of 'trapped' Saudi princesses » | Fatima Manji, Reporter | Monday, March 24, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Russian President Vladimir Putin Phones US President Barack Obama to Discuss 'a Diplomatic Path'

THE INDEPENDENT: Obama urges Putin to 'de-escalate the situation'

The United States is expressing fresh alarm about a build-up of Russian troops along the border with eastern Ukraine amid uncertainty as to the actual numbers involved and their purpose.

While Moscow has said the soldiers are merely involved in military manoeuvres, fears are growing in Washington that preparations may be under way for fresh incursions into parts of eastern Ukraine in the wake of the annexation earlier this month of Crimea. US officials believe that the positions of the troops are being deliberately concealed and that supply lines for a possible invasion have already been established.

The concern comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin called US President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a US diplomatic proposal for Ukraine, to which Mr OBama [sic] suggested that Russia put a "concrete response in writing," a White House spokesperson said in a statement. » | David Usborne | US Editor | Friday, March 28, 2014

Same-sex Couples Can Legally Marry from Midnight

BBC: Same-sex couples will be allowed to legally marry in England and Wales for the first time from midnight.

Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, said "Britain will be a different place", but some religious groups say some remain "deeply uncomfortable" about it.

Scotland passed a similar law allowing gay marriage in February. Northern Ireland has no plans to allow same-sex marriage.

Mr Clegg congratulated his party for being part of the reform, saying: "If our change to the law means a single young man or young woman who wants to come out, but who is scared of what the world will say, now feels safer, stronger, taller - well, for me, getting into coalition government will have been worth it just for that."

Labour leader Ed Miliband congratulated gay couples planning to tie the knot.

"This is an incredibly happy time for so many gay couples and lesbian couples who will be getting married, but it's an incredibly proud time for our country as well, recognising equal marriage in law," he said. (BBC video and BBC audio) » | Friday, March 28, 2014

Is America's Relationship with Saudi Arabia Broken beyond Repair?

Barack Obama in Rome before flying to Riyadh: US relations
with Saudi Arabia soured when revolution broke out in Syria.
THE GUARDIAN: Barack Obama will use visit to Riyadh to reassure a kingdom unhappy at US appeasement of Iran and ambivalence over Syria

Barack Obama arrives in Riyadh seeking rapprochement with an aggrieved Arab ally whose interests are increasingly at odds with its key western backer.

The president's flying visit – no more than an evening in the Saudi king's palace – is his first since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, which drove an initial wedge between both capitals.

Ever since, relations have tangibly soured, with US outreach to Iran and ambivalence on Syria particularly irking Saudi leaders, who believe their arch-foe, Tehran, has been empowered at their expense.

So bothered has Riyadh become by what it sees as naive appeasement of Iran that it now seems ready to project itself regionally without US cover.

"The US has underwritten the regional security order for the past 70 years and it sees now as a good time to disengage," one senior figure told the Guardian recently. "We will have to do it all ourselves." » | Martin Chulov | Friday, March 28, 2014

Gay Marriage: Bishop of Salisbury Gives Backing to Same-sex Weddings

Bishop of Salisbury, Nick Holtam, issued a statement
supporting gay marriage.
THE GUARDIAN: Bishop Nick Holtam says gay marriage 'embodies virtues that the Church of England wants to see maximised in society'

The Church of England's divisions over gay marriage have been reopened by the Bishop of Salisbury, who has issued a statement praising the couples who will get married and assuring them of his prayers and good wishes.

Nick Holtam's supportive remarks on the eve of the legalisation of gay marriage expresses the views of a significant body of dissent within the Church of England, unhappy with the formal position that prevents Anglican clergy from marrying partners of the same sex.

Gay marriage, the bishop said, "embodies a commitment to be faithful, loving, and lifelong. These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society." » | Andrew Brown | Friday, March 28, 2014

Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy in Pakistan

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in eastern city of Lahore

A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to his lawyer, following an incident last year that prompted a Muslim mob to torch hundreds of homes.

It is the latest in a string of convictions prompting calls from religious minorities for the law to be reformed.

Naeem Shakir said his client, Sawan Masih, was convicted during a hearing held in jail for fear of violent protests.

Masih, a cleaner, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the eastern city of Lahore. Within hours, about 3000 protesters had set light to Christian homes and churches in an area known as Joseph Colony.

His supporters have always claimed the incident was fabricated as part of a plot to seize land. » | Rob Crilly, Pakistan correspondent | Friday, March 28, 2014

Inside Story: Is Religion a Source of Unity or Division?

Religious leaders promote a message of co-operation between followers of different faiths.

Worlds Apart: 'Turkey Losing Its Democracy, Turning Authoritarian': Zaman Editor

Turkey has long been revered as a beacon of democracy in the Muslim world, but the corruption scandal rocking the nation has led to a clampdown by its government. And with the grip tightening on the judiciary, Internet and even Twitter, Turkey's civil society is being put to the test. Will the country live up to its democratic reputation or will it take an authoritarian turn? Oksana is joined by a senior editor at Today's Zaman, Sevgi Akarcesme, to examine these issues.

WIKI: Gülen movement »

First Same-sex Marriages to Be Held in UK. Rainbow Flag to Fly over Cabinet Office and Scotland Office

MP told he has "excommunicated" himself by voting for same sex weddings »

Who Is the Real Nigel Farage? Documentary Spends Six Months with the Ukip Leader

DAILY EXPRESS: HE makes no secret of the fact that he enjoys a few pints and more often than not is to be seen in public puffing away on a cigarette.

Nigel Farage's detractors have also tried to portray him as a clown, who is in charge of a party full of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists".

One thing is for sure, love or loathe his ideology, the Ukip leader is not to be confused with the countless bland politicians who wander the corridors of Westminster.

Remarkably, in an age dominated by political correctness his maverick approach is paying dividends.

This week he was widely considered to have got the better of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a live TV and radio debate on Europe.

With Ukip also expected to do well in forthcoming euro elections and party membership growing fast, a new TV documentary examines the remarkable rise of Farage on the eve of his 50th birthday.

Programme maker Martin Durkin spent six months shadowing the Ukip leader, following him to Strasbourg, where his speeches are winning a cult following, and exploring his middle-class roots in Kent. » | Adrian Lee | Friday, March 28, 2014

Nigel Farage: Who Are You? Monday, Channel 4, 7.30pm.

'Noah' Faces Storm of Criticism over Religious Merits

Mar. 27, 2014 - 7:58 - Panel debates the new film

Britischer Rechtspopulist zu Gast: AfD-nahe Junge Alternative läutet Europawahlkampf ein

Rechtspopulist Farage bei der AfD: Euro-Gegner aller Länder, vereinigt euch »

Finanzielle Abhängigkeit vom Westen: Teurer Krim-Coup - Mit der Annexion hat sich Putin selbst geschadet

FOCUS ONLINE: Unter den Augen des entsetzten Westens hat sich Wladimir Putin die Krim gesichert. Zu Hause wird er dafür gefeiert. Doch tatsächlich könnte er Russland einen Bärendienst erwiesen haben. Denn wenn Putin das Vertrauen ausländischer Investoren verliert, sind seine Zukunftsperspektiven düster. (+ Video) » | Von Focus-Online-Experte Ralf-Dieter Brunowsky | Donnerstag, 27. März 2014

Arabie : le roi désigne son demi-frère Moqren prochain prince héritier

LE POINT: Moqren, 2e vice-président du conseil des ministres, sera proclamé souverain "en cas de vacance simultanée aux postes de prince héritier et de roi".

Le roi Abdallah d'Arabie saoudite a désigné jeudi son demi-frère, Moqren Ben Abdel Aziz, prochain prince héritier, lui ouvrant la voie à l'accession au trône à la tête du royaume. Selon un décret du cabinet royal, diffusé en soirée par la télévision d'État El-Ikhbariya, le prince Moqren, actuel 2e vice-président du conseil des ministres, est nommé le prochain héritier du trône. Il sera proclamé souverain "en cas de vacance simultanée aux postes de prince héritier et de roi", selon la décision prise par le Conseil d'allégeance "à plus des trois quarts" de ses 34 membres, des princes de la famille royale. Cette décision est irrévocable, souligne le décret royal. (+ vidéo) » | Source AFP | jeudi 27 mars 2014

Russische Wirtschaft: Auch ohne Krim schon in der Krise

SPIEGEL ONLINE – WIRTSCHAFT: Das Kapital flüchtet, der Rubel bricht ein und es droht eine Rezession: Russlands Wirtschaft driftet allmählich Richtung Abgrund. Doch die Probleme sind nur zu einem kleinen Teil Folge der Krim-Krise. Viel schwerer wiegt, dass der Kreml seinen Modernisierungskurs aufgegeben hat.

mmerhin, für Siemens scheint die russische Welt noch in Ordnung zu sein. Konzern-Chef Joe Kaeser ist nach Moskau gereist, er hat Wladimir Putin getroffen. Der Präsident empfing ihn in Nowo-Ogarjowo, seiner Residenz vor den Toren von Moskau. Kaeser sprach von der "169-jährigen Tradition", die das Unternehmen mit Russland verbinde.

Allein 2,5 Milliarden Euro lässt sich der russische Staat 700 Siemens-Lokomotiven kosten, Siemens-Schnellzüge verkehren zwischen Moskau und Sankt Petersburg, Siemens-Regionalbahnen in der Olympiastadt Sotschi am Schwarzen Meer. » | Von Benjamin Bidder, Moskau | Freitag, 28. März 2014

Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush in 2016 Bad for America?

Mar. 24, 2014 - 4:12 - Analysis of presidential buzz

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Landesverteidigung Deutschlands: Brauchen wir doch die Wehrpflicht?

ZEIT ONLINE: Landesverteidigung war gestern? Von wegen. Alte Bedrohungen könnten zurückkehren.

Deutschland lebt, von Freunden umzingelt, friedlich in der Mitte Europas.

Die Bundeswehr wird nicht mehr für die klassische Landesverteidigung gebraucht, sondern dafür, Konflikte außerhalb des Nato-Gebiets zu befrieden.

Und: Der Wandel von einer verteidigungsstarken Abschreckungs- zur global agierenden Einsatzarmee erzwingt das Ende der Wehrpflicht.

Auf diesen drei Glaubenssätzen (und der Tatsache, dass der frühere Minister zu Guttenberg einen Sparbeitrag zum Haushalt bringen musste) basiert der aktuelle Großumbau der deutschen Streitkräfte. Das Problem ist nur: Diese drei Grundsätze erweisen sich möglicherweise gerade als falsch.

Russland hat sich die Krim einverleibt, die Ukraine sucht Zuflucht in der EU. Grenzen werden verschoben, Einflusszonen neu abgesteckt. 25 Jahre nach dem Fall der Mauer geht ein Riss durch Europa, einer, der als überwunden galt, doch jetzt erneut die Weltpolitik bestimmt: hier die Russen, da der Westen. Die einen schwächer geworden und unberechenbarer, der andere größer und selbstgefälliger. Und der bisher mächtigste Teil, die USA, proben gerade den Absprung in den pazifischen Raum. Weiter lesen und einen Beitrag abgeben » | Von Peter Dausend | Donnerstag, 27. März 2014

Yulia Tymoshenko to Run for President – and Take On 'Enemy Number One ' Vladimir Putin

Yulia Tymoshenko
THE INDEPENDENT: IMF pledges $18bn rescue package as interim PM warns of hard-hitting reforms

Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is set to run for president in the upcoming May elections.

Speaking at a press conference, Ms Tymoshenko said she would run as a "candidate for Ukrainian unity" and fight against corruption.

Ditching her princess hairstyle, she claimed none of the other candidates understand "the depth of the lawlessness gripping Ukraine" and insisted Russian president Vladimir Putin remains the "number one enemy".

Often regarded as a divisive figure, she promised to find a "common language" between her pro-European supporters and Russian-speakers, many of whom continue to back former President Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted by the Ukrainian parliament after more than three months of protests in February. » | Maria Tadeo | Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Marseilles Motif – France (2012)

French election battle enters tense final phase

A Look Back to 2012: How Marine La Pen Helped France Lurch To The Right

Europe's Economic Crisis Is Getting Worse Not Better, Says Caritas Report

The Caritas report says that as a result of economic measures[,]
Greece's political scene has become increasingly toxic.
THE GUARDIAN: Survey shows increase in the number of new poor in seven countries and challenges the official European Union discourse

Far from being over Europe's economic crisis is getting worse with disturbing levels of poverty and deprivation being noted among children and youth, says a report compiled by the Catholic charity Caritas.

The survey, conducted over the course of the past year, not only challenges the official discourse – that Europe is on the mend – but documents a dramatic poor in the seven EU countries worst hit by the policies of austerity.

"We in Brussels keep hearing that the economic crisis is over," Thorfinnur Omarsson, a spokesman for Caritas Europa said in Athens where the network of Catholic relief organisations released the report. "These findings not only doubt that the crisis is over but show it is the poor who are paying for a crisis they did not cause." » | Helena Smith in Athens | Thursday, March 27, 2014

Turkey Moves to Block YouTube Access after 'Audio Leak'

BBC: Turkey has moved to block access to YouTube, a day after a court ordered the suspension of a ban on Twitter, which PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed.

The telecoms authority (TIB) said it had taken an "administrative measure" against the site but another report suggests that talks are under way.

Some users found access blocked while others could still use the site.

Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.

It relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria, which was apparently attended by Turkey's intelligence chief, its foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces. » | Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ukraine: UN Condemns Crimea Vote as IMF and US Back Loans

Russian forces seized Crimea's remaining military bases after
Ukrainian servicemen withdrew this week
BBC: The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution describing the Moscow-backed referendum that led to Russia's annexation of Crimea as illegal.

It comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to a loan deal with Ukraine worth $14-18bn.

The US Congress also passed legislation on Thursday backing a $1bn loan guarantee for Ukraine.

Tensions are high between Russia and the West after pro-Russian troops annexed Ukraine's southern peninsula.

The West has widely condemned the move, with US President Barack Obama warning on Wednesday of "deeper" EU and US sanctions against Russia if it carried out further incursions in Ukraine. » | Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is 'Empire' Vladimir Putin's Endgame?

Mar. 27, 2014 - 4:58 - Signs Russia preparing to further invade Ukraine

Krim-Krise: Alarm bei westlichen Militärs

DIE PRESSE: Nach dem Fall des Eisernen Vorhangs haben die meisten Nato-Staaten ihre Militärbudgets immer weiter gekürzt. Die Krim-Krise ist für viele ein Beweis, dass die Abrüstungspolitik ein Fehler war, besagt eine Analyse.

Das russische Vorgehen in der Ukraine sei ein Weckruf für viele europäische Staaten, berichtete der deutsche Nachrichtensender N24 jüngst in einer brillanten Analyse, die die "Presse" im folgenden großteils darstellt. » | | Donnerstag, 27. März 2014

Des avocats britanniques enjoints de respecter la charia

LE FIGARO: Une note de la Law Society sur le respect des règles musulmanes sur l'héritage par la justice britannique fait polémique. Le modèle de société multiculturelle est critiqué.

Émoi chez les robes noires. Les règles de la charia font pour la première fois leur apparition dans le droit britannique. La Law Society, l'équivalent du barreau, a créé une vive controverse en envoyant, mi-mars, aux avocats des recommandations afin de rédiger des testaments «charia compatibles». » | Par Florentin Collomp | jeudi 27 mars 2014

Related »

Julie Gayet gagne son procès contre Closer

LE FIGARO: Le magazine people qui avait publié en janvier une série de photos révélant sa liaison avec François Hollande, propulsant l'actrice à la une de la presse mondiale, est condamné à payer 15.000 euros de dommages et intérêts.

Le tribunal de grande instance de Nanterre a condamné aujourd'hui le magazine hebdomadaire Closer à payer 15.000 euros de dommages et intérêts à l'actrice Julie Gayet. Elle réclamait 50.000 euros de dommages et intérêts et 4000 euros pour les faits de procédure. Le journal devra en outre publier sa condamnation en couverture. » | Par JulieVoisin | jeudi 27 mars 2014

Sanktionsstreit mit Visa und Co.: Russland plant die Putin-Card

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Visa und Mastercard beteiligen sich an Sanktionen gegen Russland - das könnte Folgen haben. Präsident Putin droht den Konzernen und kündigt ein eigenes Bezahlsystem an.

Moskau - Als Reaktion auf westliche Sanktionen will der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin den Kreditkartenfirmen Visa und Mastercard mit einem eigenen Bezahlsystem Konkurrenz machen. Bei einem Fernsehauftritt berief sich Putin auf ähnliche Systeme in Japan und China. Diese Systeme funktionierten, "und sie funktionieren sehr gut". Daher werde auch Russland ein solches Zahlungssystem nun einführen. Zugleich warnte er die Kreditkartenfirmen indirekt vor der Beteiligung an Sanktionen gegen sein Land. » | dab/Reuters/AP/AFP | Donnerstag, 27. März 2014

Ukraine: Putin schickt 30.000 Soldaten an die Grenze

DIE WELT: Russland treibt den Truppenaufbau an der Grenze zur Ukraine voran. Wegen der Krim-Krise wollen die USA jetzt die Nato-Präsenz in Osteuropa stärken. Obama forderte die Europäer auf, mehr zu tun.

Die USA wollen vor dem Hintergrund der Krim-Krise die Nato-Präsenz in Osteuropa stärken. Dies solle durch intensivere Rotation von Militäreinheiten erreicht werden, sagte der stellvertretende US-Sicherheitsberater Ben Rhodes. » | dpa/Reuters/jm | Donnerstag, 27. März 2014

Prince of Wales Jokes about His German Roots as He Is Given a Pretzel

The Prince of Wales was given a family-sized pretzel by
baker Petra Braun
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Prince Charles also spoke about "unsustainable" rise in house prices on visit to east London

The Prince of Wales joked about his German roots today when he was given a giant pretzel by a member of the public yesterday.

Petra Braun, a baker from Stuttgart, handed him the family-sized bread snack, telling him: “Since you’re almost German, you might like this.”

The Prince, whose great great great grandfather Prince Albert was from Coburg in Germany, laughed and said: “That was a very long time ago.”

Mrs Braun, 47, who opened the Hansel and Pretzel bakery in Ham, west London, 10 years ago, said: “I didn’t know he was going to be in the area until my customers told me about 10 minutes before he arrived. I went out to see him and thought I’d better take him a gift. As Germans we are aware that we have a connection to the Royal family.” » | Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Listening Post: The Cold War Narrative

As Russia redraws the map in Ukraine, the media narrative is once again split between the powers of the East and West.

Brussels Blows €10 Million on Obama Day-trip despite EU Austerity Anger

Barack Obama has arrived in Brussels...and for a hefty price tag. EU taxpayers are spending 10 million euros on security alone; money, that as RT's Egor Piskunov reports, many member states can't afford.

Russian View: Say What? Obama Claims 'Iraq Invasion Not as Bad as Crimea'

Barack Obama has declared the Kiev uprising a moral victory, Crimea's vote a sham and Russia a brute aggressor, that must be confronted. To prove his points the President used examples... including US achievements in Iraq. RT's Gayane Chichakyan takes a look at the narrative being put forward by the White House.

Greta: My Tip for Obama on Saudi Trip: Don't Bow

Mar. 26, 2014 - 1:08 - 'Off the Record', 3/26/14: President should be proud of American customs. No double-kissing on the cheek, either. (That's French.)

Is Obama Tough Enough on Russia?

Mar. 26, 2014 - 6:33 - George Will discusses the president's stance on Putin

Ukraine: Barack Obama Says Europe Must Defend Its Hard-won Freedoms Again

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: This is no time for "casual indifference" to the annexation of Crimea, US president tells European leaders

President Barack Obama has called on European countries to meet a "moment of testing" by stepping up their commitment to Nato against the threat to democracy and international law posed by Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

In a passionate speech delivered in Brussels, the American president warned that indifference to Vladimir Putin's attempt to redraw Ukraine's borders by force risked undermining the sacrifices of those who had died in two world wars.

"Russia's leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident: that in the 21st century the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future," he warned. » | Bruno Waterfield, Brussels and Peter Foster in Washington | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Drunk in Tehran: The Islamic State’s Secret Party Scene

THE INDEPENDENT: Alcohol is banned in Iran, but that doesn’t stop the wealthy partaking

“Have a shot of tequila first, cheer up!” Shahriyar tells guests gathered at his luxury apartment in Tehran.

His girlfriend, Shima, said they party every weekend. “Shahriyar has one rule: bring your booze! We drink until morning,” she said on a FaceTime call, as lights flashed to rap music in the background.

Despite the ban on alcohol and frequent police raids, drinking in Iran is widespread, especially among the wealthy. Because the Shia-dominated Muslim state has no nightclubs, it all takes place at home, behind closed doors.

Some of the alcohol is smuggled in, but many resourceful Iranians make their own. » | Parisa Hafezi | Reuters | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If the West Wants to Hurt Putin, Could Saudi Arabia Do Its Dirty Work?

THE GUARDIAN – ECONOMICS BLOG: Europe depends on Russian oil and gas exports, so an embargo may not be practical. But there is another way to apply pressure

Russia is vulnerable to sanctions. Economic weakness caused the collapse of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago and – the self-enrichment of the oligarchs apart – not much has changed since. Energy exports to the rest of the world pay for imports of machines and consumer goods. The population is ageing and there has been little industrial diversification. » | Posted by Larry Elliott | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage Set for EU Debate

Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage
BBC: Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage are set to debate the UK's place in the European Union live on radio.

The deputy prime minister challenged the UKIP leader to a debate in the run-up to May's European elections.

Mr Clegg, who says his Liberal Democrats are the "party of in", argues that even threatening to leave the EU risks millions of British jobs.

Mr Farage says leaving the EU will give the UK control of its borders, but it will continue to trade with Europe.

Following negotiations between the two party leaders and broadcasters, two one-hour debates have been arranged. The first is being hosted by the LBC radio station from 19:00 GMT. On 2 April, round two will be televised live at the same time on BBC Two. » | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

North Korea: Men Required to Get Kim Jong-un Haircuts

BBC: Men in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.

The state-sanctioned guidelines were introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, media reports say. They are now being rolled out across the country - although some people have reservations about getting the look.

"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source tells Radio Free Asia. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes." Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. "Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut'," the Korea Times reports. » | By News from Elsewhere | Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Russian Standoff in 'Eleventh Hour'

Putin's Comparison to Kosovo 'Bizarre'

Helmut Schmidt hat Verständnis für Putins Krim-Politik

DIE ZEIT: Der frühere Bundeskanzler Helmut Schmidt kann verstehen, warum Russland die Krim annektiert hat. Kritik äußert Schmidt am Westen, aber Lob für Kanzlerin Merkel.

Der frühere Bundeskanzler Helmut Schmidt kann das Vorgehen des russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin auf der Krim gut nachvollziehen. Es sei "durchaus verständlich", sagte Schmidt der Wochenzeitung DIE ZEIT, deren Herausgeber er ist. Dagegen kritisierte er das Verhalten des Westens im Krim-Konflikt mit scharfen Worten. Die von der Europäischen Union und den USA beschlossenen Sanktionen gegen Russland seien "dummes Zeug". Weiter gehende wirtschaftliche Sanktionen würden ihr Ziel verfehlen. Auch sie hätten vor allem symbolische Bedeutung, "aber sie treffen den Westen genauso wie die Russen", sagte Schmidt. » | Quelle: Zeit Online, kp | Mittwoch, 26. März 2014

Mitt Romney: Russia 'Playing Politically' against America

Mar. 25, 2014 - 10:39 - Former presidential candidate on how Obama is containing the crisis

Putin Wins

Mar. 25, 2014 - 8:33 - Talking Points 3/25

Rove: 'Chickens Coming Home to Roost' on Obama

Mar. 25, 2014 - 10:36 - Former Bush senior advisor: President and US world stature paying for his 'hands off' foreign policy, US giving up Internet control seen as weak, Putin 'played Obama for a sucker'

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How Is Obama Handling Foreign Policy Challenges with Russia?

Mar. 24, 2014 - 2:25 - Brit Hume has analysis

Obama: 'Russia Is a Regional Power'

Mar. 25, 2014 - 1:27 - President rejects idea that Putin's Russia is a top geopolitical enemy

Barack Obama's First Visit to Brussels to Cost Belgium More Than €10m

Belgium mobilising 350 police and military motorbikes to
secure the president's routes to EU and Nato summits.
THE GUARDIAN: Obama will arrive with 900-strong entourage, including 45 vehicles and three planes, and attend EU and Nato summits

As Belgium's capital and host to the EU and Nato, Brussels is used to deploying heavy security when big names pop by. But US President Barack Obama's visit on Tuesday will strain the city like never before with €10m ($10.4m, £8.4m) of Belgian money being spent to cover his 24 hours in the country.

The president will arrive on Tuesday night with a 900-strong entourage, including 45 vehicles and three cargo planes. Advance security teams orchestrating every last detail have combed Brussels already, checking the sewers and the major hospitals, while American military helicopters were last week given the green light for overflights. The city hosts at least four EU summits a year, with each of these gatherings costing €500,000 in extra police, military and transport expenses. "But this time round, you can multiply that figure by 20," said Brussels mayor, Yvan Mayeur. » | Leo Cendrowicz in Brussels | Monday, March 24, 2014

Barack Obama: Russia Is a Regional Power Showing Weakness over Ukraine

The US president, Barack Obama, in The Hague at the nuclear summit.
THE GUARDIAN: President rejects claims Russia is a principal foe, saying actions in Ukraine an expression of vulnerability rather than strength

President Barack Obama has described Russia as no more than a "regional power" whose actions in Ukraine are an expression of weakness rather than strength, as he restated the threat from the G7 western allies and Japan that they would inflict much broader sanctions if Vladimir Putin went beyond annexation of Crimea and moved troops into eastern Ukraine.

Speaking at the end of a summit on nuclear security in The Hague, Obama rejected the suggestion made by Mitt Romney – his Republican challenger in the last president election – that Russia was the United States' principal geopolitical foe. The president said he was considerably more concerned about the threat of a terrorist nuclear bomb attack on New York.

He said that the US was committed to the defence of its Nato allies but that for non-member states along Russia's borders, Washington and the rest of the international community would use non-military pressure to counter Russian encroachment. Read on and comment » | Julian Borger in The Hague | Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mitt Romney Calls Barack Obama “Naïve” on Russia »

Obama warns Putin that the US is the most powerful nation in the world. Russia is a regional power and would struggle to compete with the US’s global influence. Other countries look to America for a lead in global crises »

Climate Change Will Make UK Weather Too Wet and Too Dry, Says Met Office

THE GUARDIAN: UK will see wetter, milder winters and hotter, drier summers due to global warming, scientists predict

The UK's weather will become both too wet and too dry – and also too cold and too hot – as climate change increases the frequency of extreme events, the Met Office has warned in a new report.

Its scientists concluded that on average the UK will see wetter, milder winters and hotter, drier summers in the long term due to global warming. But the natural year-to-year variability of weather will also mean occasional very cold winters, like that of 2010-11, and very wet summers, like that of 2012. » | Damian Carrington | Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Douglas Murray – Asserting the Superiority of Western Values

Douglas Murray arguing in 2007 that 'We should not be reluctant to assert the superiority of Western values'.

Time to Grab Guns and Kill Damn Russians: Tymoshenko Tape Leak

Russia Sidelined from G8: Does It Matter?

Mar. 25, 2014 - 4:33 - Moscow shrugs off summit snub after Crimea takeover

'Post-Cold War West Poked Russian Bear with Stick until It Finally Swiped Back'

Crimea's secession has steered up a storm in the West, with flaming speeches being heard from politicians. However, there's little real action being taken - Why? What frightens the power players? We ask these questions to David Speedie from the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs.

Head to Head: Has Political Islam Failed?

Islamic intellectual Tariq Ramadan discusses Islamism and the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Putin führt Wehrertüchtigung in Russland wieder ein

DIE WELT: Jahrzehntelang machten Dutzende Millionen beim Programm "Bereit zu Arbeit und Verteidigung" mit. Das war noch zu Zeiten der Sowjetunion. Russlands Präsident Putin will diesen Geist wiederbeleben.

Kreml-Chef Wladimir Putin hat die aus Sowjetzeiten stammende Wehrertüchtigung wieder eingeführt. Zur freiwilligen Teilnahme aufgerufen sind alle Einwohner ab sechs Jahren. Dank des Systems seien Generationen gesunder Menschen herangewachsen, sagte Putin. Als "Tribut an die Traditionen unserer nationalen Geschichte" werde auch wieder der alte Name "Gotow k trudu i oboronje" (GTO, Bereit zu Arbeit und Verteidigung) genutzt.

In den 30er-Jahren stand in der Sowjetunion patriotische Erziehung von jungen Proletariern auf dem Programm. Sie mussten stark sein und ihr sozialistisches Vaterland verteidigen können. An den Olympischen Spielen nahm die Sowjetunion damals nicht teil, Sport galt als Zeitvertreib für Kapitalisten. Eine eigene Sportbewegung musste her, ohne das westliche Wort "Sport" zu benutzen. Stattdessen war die Rede von der "physischen Kultur". "Physische Kultur im Sommer muss den Arbeitermassen neue Kräfte gebe, neue Energie in die ermüdeten Muskeln gießen, Fertigkeiten geben, die ein Arbeiter und ein Soldat braucht", schrieb die sowjetische Zeitung "Komsomolskaja Prawda" 1930. » | Von Julia Smimova | Dienstag, 25. März 2014

Un islamiste suisse tue trois personnes en Turquie

TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: Un Suisse originaire du Kosovo a abattu trois personnes, dont un gendarme à un barrage, avant d'être capturé par les forces de l'ordre turques.

Un citoyen suisse originaire du Kosovo a été arrêté en Turquie après le meurtre de trois personnes, dont un gendarme, dans la province anatolienne de Niğde la semaine passée, a annoncé la police . » | Par Pascal Schmuck, Zurich | mardi 25 mars 2014

Rumsfeld's Take: Karzai Snubs West, Backs Putin's Power Grab

Mar. 24, 2014 - 4:22 - Former defense secretary on Afghan President Karzai, joining Syria and Venezuela in backing Russia's annexation of Crimea

War Threats Escalating in Ukraine?

Mar. 24, 2014 - 2:24 - Ukraine officials fear Russia could soon launch a new attack

Monday, March 24, 2014

Unbranded Cigarettes Could Mean People Smoke More, Experts Warn

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Unbranded cigarette packs could mean people smoke more, experts warn

Putting cigarettes in plain packs could lead to a rise in sales, experts have said, as smokers will no longer care about buying expensive brands.

The warning came as industry data from Australia - the only country to introduce plain packaging - suggests that the amount of tobacco delivered to retailers has risen in the year since changes were made. » | Laura Donnelly, Health Editor | Monday, March 24, 2014

Inside Story: Turkey Turns Off Twitter

Is the move by Turkey's regulator to block the social media site an isolated move or the start of greater restrictions?

Far-Right Makes Electoral Come-back across France

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Marine Le Pen's Front National is now the third major force in French politics after large gains in the first round of municipal elections

France on Sunday woke up to a “new political age” that appears to have sounded the death knell of two-party politics in the country when the far-Right party Front National (FN) made surprising gains in municipal elections.

Surpassing even the most upbeat forecasts by Marine Le Pen, the FN leader, the anti-EU and anti-immigration party gained at least 10 per cent of the vote in 229 towns across France, qualifying them to run in the second round of elections on March 30. » | Henry Samuel, Paris | Monday, March 24, 2014

Mitt Romney Calls Barack Obama 'Naive' on Russia and Vladimir Putin

THE GUARDIAN: • Losing 2012 candidate slams president for 'faulty judgment'
• Senator Durbin accuses Republican of 'political amnesia'

Mitt Romney said on Sunday that President Barack Obama is naive when it comes to Russia, has shown "faulty judgment" about Moscow's intentions and could have done more to try to deter its annexation of Crimea.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee said Obama had not had the foresight to anticipate Russia's moves and should have been working earlier with allies to make clear the penalties that Russia would face if it moved into Ukraine. Romney did acknowledge that such steps might not have been enough though to hold back Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

"Had we communicated those things, there's always the potential that we could have kept them from invading a country and annexing it into their own," Romney said in an appearance on Face the Nation, on CBS. » | Associated Press in Washington | Sunday, March 23, 2014

Putin urged to make Transdniestria his next conquest »

Russia Ready to Annex Moldova Region, Nato Commander Claims

THE GUARDIAN: Philip Breedlove says large force on eastern border of Ukraine could easily move into Trans-Dniester if the decision was made

Nato's most senior military commander said on Sunday that Russia had amassed a large military force on Ukraine's eastern border, and warned that Moldova's separatist Trans-Dniester region could be the Kremlin's next target.

General Philip Breedlove, Nato's supreme allied commander, described the Russian force that began exercises 10 days ago as very, very sizeable and very, very ready.

"There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that. That is very worrisome," Breedlove said. » | Luke Harding in Donetsk | Sunday, March 23, 2014