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NATO to deploy more forces in eastern Europe

NATO said Wednesday it will deploy additional air, sea and land forces in eastern Europe in response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine and take further action if needed. "Today we have agreed a package of military measures," NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after a meeting of ambassadors of all 28 members of the transatlantic alliance. "We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the …

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NATO to deploy more forces in eastern Europe

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NATO to bolster security of eastern allies worried over Ukraine

By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO said on Wednesday it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's annexation of Crimea but shied away from new permanent bases in the east as Poland wanted. "You will see deployments at sea, in the air, on land to take place immediately, that means within days," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh …

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NATO to bolster security of eastern allies worried over Ukraine

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Meet The Sisters Saving Spanish Horses From Slaughter

hide captionVirginia Solera Garcia helps runs the CYD Santa Maria shelter with her sister, Concordia Mrquez, adopting horses that might otherwise end up in the food supply.

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Meet The Sisters Saving Spanish Horses From Slaughter

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Vacant Miami Beach Site Marked for Condos

MIAMICondo developers arent letting up on Miami Beach opportunities. The former Golden Sands development site in Miami Beach has traded hands. In a joint venture partnership, SMG/Shamrock and W Capital Group of Miami Beach acquired the vacant lot at 6901 Collins Avenue from a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers.

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Vacant Miami Beach Site Marked for Condos

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Springtime for Putin – Analyst Blog

16 April 2014 Investors may yet get another crack at the energy complex. Alternatively, for risk-averse investors, the U.S.

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Springtime for Putin – Analyst Blog

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Globalizing World Requires Transatlantic Partnership and Leadership

Home EU Globalizing World Requires Transatlantic Partnership and Leadership Follow Us On

Speaker: Dr. Wolfgang Schuble, Minister of Finance, Federal Republic of Germany Presider: Robert M. Kimmitt, Chairman, American Council on Germany April 14, 2014

KIMMITT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bob Kimmitt, and on behalf of the Council on Foreign Relations, I would like to welcome you to this conversation with Dr. Wolfgang Schauble, the finance minister of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Herr Bundesminister, willkommen in Washington. Mr. Minister, welcome back to Washington and to the Council on Foreign Relations. Today’s exceptionally large turnout is a real compliment to you.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has given a lifetime of service to his country, half — half to West Germany and half to united Germany. He was a central member of the historic group that — under the leadership of Helmut Kohl and supported strongly by the United States — moved Germany from division to unity in fewer than 11 months in 1989 and ’90.

After service over decades in the Bundestag, the federal chancellery, and the interior ministry, he became federal minister of finance in October 2009, just as the financial crisis was moving from the United States to Europe. In these last five years, Wolfgang Schauble has become the most consequential finance minister in Europe and a leading figure in the G-7 and the G-20. Throughout, he’s been a superb representative of Germany, a strong supporter of a more unified and effective European Union, and a committed transatlanticist.

It’s my pleasure and honor to introduce Wolfgang Schauble, the minister of finance of the Federal Republic of Germany. Mr. Minister, the floor is yours.

(APPLAUSE)

SCHAUBLE: Thank you, Ambassador Kimmitt.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great honor and pleasure for me to be here again. And I will not waste my time, but I will start immediately in saying, above and beyond all of the irritations, that the three letters in Germany, NSA stand for, this fact remains true: Like no two other actors on the global stage, the United States and Europe — what we call the Western world — share common values, common strengths, and common interests when it comes to shaping the global order of the 21st century.

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Globalizing World Requires Transatlantic Partnership and Leadership

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Ukraine Powerless To Act As East Slips Under Russian Control

World Ukraine A man, who introduced himself as a lieutenant colonel of the Russian army, speaks to policemen as he introduces his appointed new head of the regional police, after the regional police building storm was stormed and its chief detained, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Gorlovka, near Donetsk, on April 14, 2014. Alexey KravtsovAFP/Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, a line of defecting officers from the Ukrainian police lined up outside their ransacked headquarters in the town of Gorlovka, in eastern Ukraine, to receive orders from their puckish new commander. Their station had been seized hours earlier by a mob of pro-Russian demonstrators, and instead of resisting many of its officers capitulated or, as they put it, went over to the side of the people. Greeting them outside the building with a military salute, the apparent leader of the siege, a man in fatigues who identified himself as Alexander Shulzhenko, stated his rank as lieutenant colonel. Of what? one of the Ukrainian policemen asked him. Of the Russian army, Shulzhenko said.

That brief exchange, which was captured on video and posted to YouTube within hours, was among the clearest pieces of evidence that Russian troops have already begun their takeover of the region of Donetsk, much as they did last month in Ukraines Crimean peninsula. But instead of sending tanks across the border, Russia seems to have chosen a more subtle form of invasion coordinating the mobs of local men who have been seizing government buildings in a handful of cities and towns and declaring independence from Kiev.

The strategy has left the central government with no good options. It can either stand by as pro-Russian gunmen seize more and more ground in the region of Donetsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine, or it can try to evict them by force, giving Russia an excuse to launch a full-scale invasion on the pretext of protecting the locals. Either way, the loss of Donetsk to de facto Russian control already looks to be imminent.

So far, Kiev seems to be approaching this dilemma with caution. The parliament has stopped short of declaring a state of emergency, as that would force Ukraine to delay the presidential elections scheduled for May 25. And on Monday morning, the governments deadline for launching a counter-terrorism operation against the pro-Russian forces ticked by without any assault. According to local media reports, the presence of Ukrainian forces in and around Donetsk has been minimal, and local police and security officials have been defecting en masse to the pro-Russian side.

All of that signals that Ukraine sees little hope of beating back the separatists by force, at least not without serious help from NATO powers. At the border, Russia has gathered a force of at least 40,000 troops poised to attack Ukraine, according to NATO estimates, and U.S. Air Force General Philipp Breedlove, the alliances commander in Europe, has said it would take the Russian forces between three and five days to rout the Ukrainian army if given the order to invade.

Those odds urged Kiev to appeal on Monday for immediate help from the West. Yulia Tymoshenko, the presidential candidate whose close allies hold both the interim presidency and premiership of Ukraine, declared that the epoch of appeasing the aggressor is over. In a written plea distributed to the press, she said, I ask the leaders of the world to provide direct military assistance to the Ukrainian people.

But so far, Western assistance has been limited to the delivery of 300,000 army rations from the U.S., known as meals ready to eat, while President Obama has said clearly that the U.S. will not go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Nor will any other NATO power, and without foreign help, Ukraine has become desperate enough to consider more radical means of defense. In her appeal on Monday, Tymoshenko said that, the time has come to organize a nationwide resistance to the Russian aggressor using all available means, including a total mobilization.

In effect, that would mean arming volunteers with little or no military training and sending them to fight a hastily arranged guerilla campaign in the east. Indeed, the day before Tymoshenko suggested this idea, Ukraines acting interior minister Arsen Avakov had already set a similar plan into motion. On his Facebook page, he called for all patriots of Ukraine to join paramilitary forces under his command, pledging that his ministry was prepared to provide guns and uniforms to as many as 12,000 of these volunteers around the country. The creation of these special units will be carried out as quickly as possible, without any foot-dragging or formalities.

Implicit in this strategy was an acknowledgement of just how little faith Ukraines leaders have in their own armed forces, both military and police. In light of this weekends runaway defections in the east, that hardly seems surprising. Police forces across the region of Donetsk have tended to either abandon their posts or go over to the pro-Russian forces without a shot being fired. That is what happened on Monday in Gorlovka, one of at least six cities and towns in eastern Ukraine where police buildings have been overrun.

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Ukraine Powerless To Act As East Slips Under Russian Control

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Occupy Bilderberg: The Fight for Transparency | The …

A new branch of Occupy emerged this summer, outside a luxury hotel conference centre not far from Washington DC. Occupy London was there

The black limos glide past the placards, the fingers pointing, the furious bullhorns, past the lines of security, and into the calm and leafy interior of the Westfield Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia. A limo slows at the gates and Henry Kissinger is spotted inside, the protestors start booing and cries of war criminal rise from the crowd. Another car approaches, flanked by security, and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands bows her head to avoid the cameras. Peter Brabeck-Lemanthe, CEO of Nestl smirks and Bill Gates hides his face with his slender fingers.

CEO after CEO, Chairman after Chairman. From the CEO of Airbus to the Chairman of the Washington Post to the Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke. All here for the annual three-day Bilderberg conference at the beginning of June. Around 130 powerful participants, cherry-picked from the highest levels of banking, diplomacy, government and commerce have cleared their schedules to attend. Ministers of Finance from Finland, Ireland, Poland. All the top people from Royal Dutch Shell, and the Chief Executive of BP. The summit is hosted in Europe for two to three years and then goes to North America usually in an election year. Rumour has it that the UKs been tipped to host the conference in 2013.

Most of the 800-strong crowd outside were Americans, but protesters had flown in from Germany and the UK. There were occupiers from Occupy Portland, Occupy Denver and Occupy London people wore Occupy Bilderberg T-shirts that proclaimed: More like the 0.01%. Many of the signs railed against the distasteful union of business and politics that was going on behind the security cordon.

The mood in the crowd was cheerful and good-humoured, except when a limo arrived and the catcalls began. The US protesters were incensed that their elected representatives were present, which meant they were violating the Logan Act which forbids US government officials to meet foreign representatives to discuss policy without the express permission of congress.

The UK had two elected representatives at this years conference our Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and Nick Boules MP, of the hawkish Henry Jackson Society. Ken Clarke was snapped sneaking out of the conference after most of the protesters had gone home. Clarke is a longtime member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee, alongside Peter Sutherland (Chairman of Goldman Sachs International), Marcus Agius (Chairman of Barclays) and Daniel Vasella (the Chairman of pharmaceutical giant Novartis). The steering committee meets in absolute secret several times a year. What long-term goals does Clarke hold in common with these bankers and CEOs? It is time to subject these kind of extracurricular roles to closer scrutiny.

A statement of support for Occupy Bilderberg had been prepared by members of the Economics Working Group and endorsed by the Occupy London GA. The statement condemned the profound denial of a participatory, direct democracy that Bilderberg represents. And warned against the ever-increasing influence of unaccountable international bankers over our economic and democratic system. It was read out on the grass slopes outside the Westfields Marriott through a loudhailer, and livestreamed back around the world. A small blow for transparency was struck. When enough of these blows land, the security fences will fall. Until then, in the closing words of the statement of support: stay strong!

By Hannah Borno

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Occupy Bilderberg: The Fight for Transparency | The …

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NATO to focus on reassuring allies worried about Ukraine

NATOs next move in response to the crisis in Ukraine is likely to be more of the same: more NATO fighters patrolling over the Baltics, more rotations of warships into the Black Sea and more surveillance of Russian movements around Ukraine.

Since Russia annexed Ukraines Crimea Peninsula last month, NATO has sought to reassure jittery members concerned about Moscows suspected expansionist aims by boosting its presence in those countries that border Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, officials said.

Essentially, what we are looking at is a package of land, air and maritime measures that would build assurance for our easternmost allies, Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATOs supreme allied commander and head of U.S. European Command, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. Im tasked to deliver this by next week. I fully intend to deliver it early.

U.S. soldiers from the Texas-based 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division the unit already designated as the U.S. contribution to the NATO Reaction Force could be deployed to the region to train with allies in the east. However, any such move would be on a rotational basis rather than any permanent repositioning of an additional Army brigade in Europe, military officials said.

Rotating them over to participate in an exercise is one of the many options on the table to reassure allies, said Col. Martin Downie, spokesman for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Other NATO options now under review include the deployment of aircraft to guard NATO airspace that borders Russia as well as planes capable of striking against ground forces. A more prominent naval presence in the Baltic and Black seas could also be an option for the alliance, military officials said.

As the crisis in Ukraine presses on, the U.S. and its allies in Europe are being forced to reconsider the security landscape in Europe during what many experts have described as perhaps the Continents most significant crisis in a generation.

In the short term, NATOs focus will be on ways to reassure allies and deter any chance of Russian aggression on alliance territory a move regarded by experts as highly unlikely. Whats less clear is whether Moscow will, at some point, intervene in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has amassed thousands of troops along the border, rattling both Kiev and NATO.

Adm. James Stavridis, who served four years as NATOs SACEUR before retiring last year, says Breedloves recommendations will likely focus on three core areas: posturing NATO for contingency operations, reassuring allies and military cooperation with Ukraine.

Some specific steps could include activation of command-and-control centers within the NATO command structure, surveillance of Russian forces and events in Ukraine, and placing the NATO Response Force on alert, Stavridis told Stars and Stripes. Other likely actions in the region include moving aircraft, ships and troops into nations in the eastern part of the alliance, especially the Baltics and Poland, as well as conducting military exercises.

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Israel bars Olympian from leaving Gaza

Israel has barred 30 runners, including an Olympic athlete, from leaving the Gaza Strip to participate in a marathon later this week.

In the case of the Olympic runner, Nader Masri, the travel ban was upheld on Tuesday by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Masri, 34, participated in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Separately, 36 young musicians requested to leave Gaza for a week-long music competition in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, but were also denied permission, organisers say. An Israeli defence official said a final decision has not been made. The competition begins on Wednesday.

The cases underscored Israel’s restrictions on Gaza, which human rights activists argue amount to collective punishment and are often arbitrary.

They say the travel ban is part of an Israeli attempt to sever ties between Gaza and the West Bank, territories that lie on opposite ends of Israel and are sought by the Palestinians for a future state, along with east Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Olympic Committee says it has asked Israel for permits for the 30 runners to leave Gaza so they can attend the second annual international marathon in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday.

Itidal al-Mugrabi, a senior official in the committee, said all requests were denied last month.

She said the Bethlehem event, which will also include shorter races, was expected to draw some 700 runners from Europe in addition to local athletes.

After being denied a permit, Masri approached the Israeli rights group Gisha, which appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court.

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