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France has 'information' but no proof
2014.04.21 03:59:59

France has "information" but no firm proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is still using chemical weapons, President Francois Hollande said Sunday.

"We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof," Hollande told journalists after he was asked about reports that Assad was currently using chemical weapons -

AFP



Tags: Syria | France

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Pro-Russia separatists in Slovyansk
2014.04.21 03:10:23

The leader of pro-Russia separatists in Slovyansk has called on Putin to send weapons and food if he is unable to send troops.

The separatist leader also says he has evidence that the attack earlier today was carried out by Ukraine's Right Sector group.



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Police officer and a conscript were killed
2014.04.21 03:09:23

A police officer and a conscript were killed after armed attackers opened fire on their patrol car, Egypt's interior ministry announced on Sunday, the latest deadly assault against the country's security forces. [AFP]



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French hostages
2014.04.21 03:08:41

French hostages have landed on the military base of Evreux (Elysee). They will travel to Villacoublay by helicopter where an official ceremony will held. President Holland will give a speech.



Tags: Syria | France

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Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
2014.04.21 03:01:35

Ukraine and Russia traded blame Sunday for a shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine that left three people dead and others hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

The identity of the attackers remained unclear. Russia blamed militant Ukrainian nationalists and the Ukrainian government said the attack near the city of Slovyansk was staged by provocateurs from outside the country.

Ukraine and many in the West fear that such clashes could provide a pretext for Russia to seize more Ukrainian territory.

[AP]



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Egypt's censorship board
2014.04.21 03:00:46

The head of Egypt's censorship board says he has resigned after the country's prime minister overruled his decision to allow a film starring a sultry Lebanese singer be shown.

Ahmed Awad, undersecretary to the culture minister and head of the censorship authority, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he had submitted his resignation Thursday morning in response to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab's decision to stop the film from being shown.

Awad says: ``I did this out of respect for myself.'' [AP]



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Assad regime using chemical weapons
2014.04.21 02:59:18

France has 'information' Assad regime using chemical weapons in Syria: Hollande - AFP



Tags: Syria | France

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Separatists declare curfew in Slavyansk
2014.04.21 02:44:08

Pro-Moscow rebels in the east Ukraine town of Slavyansk declared a curfew there Sunday, after a gun battle with unidentified attackers killed two militants.

The self-styled separatist leader of the town, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, told reporters that "the curfew comes into effect today -- from midnight (2100 GMT) to 6:00am (0300 GMT)," during which time it would be forbidden to be in the streets.

[AFP]



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Youssef off air
2014.04.21 02:43:08

Egypt's TV satirist Bassem Youssef off air until after presidential race to avoid influencing voters. [AP]



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Chlorine gas in an attack
2014.04.21 02:41:57

Activists in Syria have claimed that government forces used chlorine gas in an attack on a village near the city of Hama.

Amateur footage uploaded by activists on Friday showed dozens of villagers from Kafr Zeta struggling to breathe as a result of a toxic substance.

Other footage online showed an unexploded canister suspected to contain chlorine gas. MWC cannot independently verify the images.

Rebels and the government blamed each other for what is supposed to be third alleged gas attack in the country in the past week.

Chlorine gas - used extensively in the First World War - attacks mucus membranes and can kill in high concentrations.

Read the details:



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Pro-Russian insurrection
2014.04.21 02:28:10

Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Sunday he would travel to the restive east of his country to inspect troops that have been deployed there in response to a pro-Russian insurrection.

"I have gone to the east to see the National Guard troops and the special forces battalions," he announced on his official Facebook page.

He did not say whether his trip was linked to a deadly gun battle that erupted in the rebel-held town of Slavyansk that killed up to four people.

[AFP]



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Slaviansk
2014.04.21 02:04:58

A Reuters TV witness said on Sunday he had seen two bodies, one with gunshot wounds to the head and face, at a checkpoint outside the city of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine where separatists said earlier they had come under armed attack.

One of the dead was dressed in combat fatigues and the other in civilian clothes. Police were at the scene carrying out an investigation, he said.

[Reuters]



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Gunmen attacked a checkpoint
2014.04.21 01:58:26

Russian state television reported on Sunday that five people were killed when gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.

The state-run Rossiya 24 news station, citing its correspondent in Slaviansk, said three of the dead were with the pro-Russian separatists who control Slaviansk, and the other two were from the group that attacked their checkpoint.

[Reuters]



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Europe's OSCE security body
2014.04.21 01:57:06

A senior mediator from Europe's OSCE security body is due to start negotiating the surrender of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, although hopes for a rapid end to the crisis are limited.

Gunmen occupying public buildings in Donetsk and other Russian-speaking border towns refuse to recognize an accord in Geneva on Thursday by which Russia, Ukraine and Kiev's U.S. and EU allies agreed that the OSCE should oversee the disarmament of militants and the evacuation of occupied facilities and streets.

The coming days may determine whether unrest following the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Moscow president can be contained.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Senior leader of Muslim Brotherhood sentenced
2014.04.20 02:24:12

An Egyptian court sentenced a senior leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to a year in jail for insulting a prosecutor, judicial sources said.

Mohamed Beltagi and Morsi were both in court Saturday accused of inciting the killing of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo in December 2012.

Their trial is part of a relentless crackdown targeting Morsi and the Brotherhood since the military ousted him in a military coup in July 2013.

The sources said Beltagi, who is currently in custody along with scores of  other Brotherhood leaders, was condemned for "insulting" a prosecutor during  Saturday's hearing, but without elaborating.

It is the first time a senior member of the Brotherhood has been given a jail sentence since Morsi's ouster.

Beltagi's lawyer Mohammed Abu Leila told AFP news agency that such sentences cannot be appealed.

Both Morsi and Beltagi are also on trial in two other cases on jailbreak and espionage charges.

If found guilty, the defendants could face the death penalty.

[AFP]



Tags: Egypt | Muslim Brotherhood

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US ground forces to be sent to Poland
2014.04.20 02:22:38

Poland's defense minister has said US ground forces will be sent to Poland to expand NATO's presence there as events continue to unfold in neighboring Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

Tomasz Siemoniak told the Post Friday that military planners were already working on the details and that Poland would play a lead role "under US patronage."

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Poland

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Egyptian militant group Ajnad Misr
2014.04.20 02:21:38

The Egyptian militant group Ajnad Misr has claimed responsibility for a blast that killed one police officer in Cairo.

The bomb exploded in Cairo's Lebanon Square on Friday night, killing the officer and wounding another.

Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, said in a statement on an Islamist website that its militants had monitored a police checkpoint in the square before detonating the bomb.

The group formally announced itself in January saying it would target "criminal elements" in the military-backed government.

It has claimed at least six attacks since then, including explosions outside Cairo University which killed a police brigadier-general and one other person earlier this month.

[Reuters]



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Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia
2014.04.20 02:20:56

Russia was under US pressure on Saturday to convince pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine to cease occupying eastern  towns, after Washington warned the situation in the former Soviet republic was in a "pivotal period".

The failure to implement the agreement hammered out in Geneva on Thursday by the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU threatened to deepen the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov overnight that "full and immediate compliance" was needed of the pact, which calls for the disarmament of "illegal armed groups" and the end to the occupation of seized buildings.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri
2014.04.20 02:20:05

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has given his blessing to attacks of Egyptian jihadis on the police and army, but said they should avoid harming civilians.

In an audio interview with al-Qaida media arm as-Sahab posted early Saturday on a militant website, al-Zawahri advised jihadis that any armed confrontation should be popularly supported and that victory cannot be achieved without this support.

Al-Zawahri said the jihadis should choose their targets very carefully and explain the aims of each operation to the people.

He also harshly criticized Egypt's ultraconservative Islamist al-Nour Party, accusing it of deceit and deception by supporting the military backed interim government and secular constitution, which he considers void. [AP]



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Ukraine offers Easter truce
2014.04.20 02:19:11

The Ukrainian government has said it will not attack pro-Russian separatists over the Easter weekend even as hundreds of them continued to occupy several buildings in the eastern part of the country.

The Kremlin denies having control over gunmen who want their eastern regions to follow Crimea in being annexed by Russia.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry promised "the suspension of the active phase of the anti-terrorist operation" among a list of government initiatives to defuse the crisis issued late on Friday.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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