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Ukraine appeals to WTO over Russian ban on fruit and vegetable imports
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:08:23 -0400

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine has complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about a decision by Russia to ban imports of fruit and vegetables from the country, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The ban, which came in force on Oct. 22, was the latest trade barrier erected by Russia in a trade and sanctions war linked to international tensions over Ukraine. Russia said it was imposing the ban because there was a suspicion that the goods are from the European Union and were being imported through Ukraine to evade Russian measures against the EU. ...

AP Interview: Russia's Navalny vows to fight Putin
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:41:08 -0400

In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who has been under house arrest for nearly eight months, leaves a district court in Moscow, Russia. Two years ago, Navalny was the charismatic driving force behind massive anti-government protests in Moscow. Now he wears a monitoring bracelet on his ankle and is not allowed to step over the threshold of his own home - under house arrest in the small apartment he shares with his wife and two children. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's most prominent opposition leader is in bare feet, dressed in blue jeans and a checkered shirt, as he opens the door to his apartment in a drab Soviet-era block.

Ukraine pins hopes on a new-look parliament
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:11:14 -0400

People board a tram near an election poster depicting Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, right, in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Ukraine's parliament elections are scheduled for Sunday Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's parliament is something halfway between a wrestling pit and a shady backroom for hatching deals. Optimists believe Sunday's elections will change all that.

Albania, Kosovo officials visit rival Serbia
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:08:20 -0400

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A Kosovo foreign minister traveled to Serbia on Thursday for the first time since Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Enver Hoxhaj described the visit as a historic event and a sign of improving ties.

Kosovo pitches peace treaty, recognition to old master Serbia
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:53:03 -0400

Kosovo's Foreign Minister Hoxhaj speaks during a news conference in TiranaBy Ivana Sekularac BELGRADE (Reuters) - Kosovo urged old master Serbia on Thursday to recognize it as independent during the first visit to Belgrade by a foreign minister of the ex-Serbian province that showed how relations have evolved from open hostility to functional co-existence. Enver Hoxhaj said recognition should come in the form of a peace treaty, speaking on the sidelines of a European Union-sponsored gathering of Western Balkans government ministers that was deliberately short on formality to avoid any diplomatic upsets between Serbia and Kosovo. ...

Exclusive: Charred tanks in Ukraine point to Russian involvement
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:39:01 -0400

A destroyed T-72 tank is seen on a battlefield near separatist-controlled StarobesheveBy Maria Tsvetkova and Aleksandar Vasovic HORBATENKO Ukraine (Reuters) - The burnt-out remains of dozens of tanks and armored vehicles in fields near this small village bear witness to the ferocity of a battle that turned the tide of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Most of the tanks were used by the government forces routed in August near Horbatenko, 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, a defeat so demoralizing that days later Kiev agreed a ceasefire with pro-Russian separatists. ...

Ukrainian PM warns Russia may try to disrupt Sunday's election
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:56:24 -0400

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk gives an interview on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New YorkKIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Thursday warned of possible attempts by Russia to disrupt Sunday's parliamentary election in Ukraine and ordered a full security mobilization to prevent "terrorist acts" being carried out. "It is clear that attempts to destabilize the situation will continue and be provoked by the Russian side. They did not succeed during the presidential election (in May) ... but their plans have remained," he told a meeting of top security chiefs and election monitors. "We need ... ...

EU leaders seek climate deal, but divided over costs
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:24:27 -0400

Smoke billows from the chimneys of Belchatow Power StationBy Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European leaders aim to agree a new decade of energy policy to cut climate-warming gas emissions to 2030 at an EU summit on Thursday, but sharp differences over sharing the cost mean a deal will be difficult. The 28 member states want to set the pace for a global pact to be hammered out in Paris next year with industrial powers from Asia, North America and the rest of the world. That pact would aim to improve on two decades of stuttering cooperation and rein in emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for a disruptive rise in temperatures. ...

Belgium breaks into top 4 of FIFA rankings
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:09:01 -0400

ZURICH (AP) — Belgium has moved into the top four of the FIFA monthly rankings for the first time and former World Cup winner Spain has dropped to 10th following a loss to Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier.

Special Report: Why Ukraine's revolution remains unfinished
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:07:17 -0400

File photo of radical protesters clashing with Interior Ministry and law enforcement members on the Day of Ukrainian Cossacks during a rally near the parliament building in KievBy Richard Woods (Note: Contains language readers may find offensive in paragraph 12 of section headed 'FEB 21: THE DOWNFALL') KIEV (Reuters) - In the afternoon of February 20, after the morning’s dead had been cleared away, Volodymyr Melnychuk arrived outside Kiev’s October palace. Below lay Independence Square, or Maidan, covered in protesters’ camps and scarred with barricades and the detritus of battle. In fierce clashes that morning scores of protesters and government forces had been killed. A bullet hit him as he stood next to his partner of 13 years, Maria Kvyatkovska.

Investigators detain 4 more in Moscow plane crash
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:15:27 -0400

In this image made from video provided by Russian State Television Rossiya, investigators works at the wreckage of a private jet which collided with a snowplow at Vnukovo airport in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. The head of French oil giant Total SA and three French crew members were killed at Vnukovo airport when a corporate jet, the French-made Dassault Falcon 50, collided with a snowplow, Russian investigators said Tuesday. (AP Photo) TV OUTMOSCOW (AP) — Russian investigators announced Thursday that they have detained four more employees of Moscow's Vnukovo Airport following a plane crash that killed the chief executive of French oil company Total and three crew members.

Russian prosecutors detain more suspects in Total CEO plane crash
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:35:07 -0400

Christophe de Margerie, CEO of the French oil and gas company Total SA, speaks during an interview with Reuters in ParisMOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian prosecutors detained four Moscow airport workers and denied bail to the driver of a snow plough which hit a private jet killing the CEO of French oil company Total earlier this week, officials said on Thursday. Russia's investigative committee has moved quickly to detain those it says might be responsible for the crash, which killed Christophe de Margerie in a tragedy which has done little to improve Russia's reputation for poor air safety. ...

Russian Vnukovo airport CEO, deputy resign after plane crash
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:24:56 -0400

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The chief executive of Russia's Vnukovo airport and his deputy have resigned after a fatal plane crash which killed the head of France energy company Total, the airport said on Thursday. The airport said in a statement that Vnukovo had accepted the resignations of CEO Andrei Dyakov and his deputy Sergei Solntsev. Russian prosecutors have detained five Moscow airport workers over a plane crash which killed Christophe de Margerie earlier this week. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

China, Iran defense officials pledge closer ties
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:15:52 -0400

BEIJING (AP) — China's defense minister met Thursday with Iran's navy commander in the latest sign of warming ties between their two militaries following their first joint naval drills in the Persian Gulf last month.

Exporters fail on pledge to curb bribery: watchdog
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:12:37 -0400

By Michael Nienaber BERLIN (Reuters) - Big exporting nations are breaking their pledge to fight corruption in global trade, with more than half of the countries that have signed an anti-bribery convention failing to implement it, a report by Transparency International (TI) showed on Thursday. The Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog named Japan, the Netherlands, Greece, Russia and Brazil as among the worst offenders. ...

At U.N., China asked to back rights case against North Korea
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 03:52:41 -0400

By Mirjam Donath UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The chief U.N. investigator into human rights cases in North Korea said on Wednesday he has appealed to China to support calls to refer Pyongyang's actions to The Hague on suspicion of crimes against humanity. Western diplomats say China, North Korea's principal protector on the U.N. Security Council, will likely use its veto power there to knock down any attempt to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court. But Michael Kirby, a former Australian judge who led the independent U.N. ...

Heads roll in Russia over Total crash
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:01:36 -0400

Vladimir Martynenko, the driver of a snowplough involved in the crash that killed the head of French oil giant Total, sits in the defendant's cage during his hearing at a Moscow court on October 23, 2014Heads rolled in Russia Thursday over the plane crash that killed the CEO of French oil giant Total, with top airport managers resigning and four more staff detained. The driver of the snowplough that collided with Total boss Christophe de Margerie's plane as it was taking off from a Moscow airport late Monday was also ordered to be held behind bars for two months. The new staff detained include a trainee air traffic controller who reportedly directed the doomed plane, her supervisor, the heads of the air traffic controllers at Vnukovo airport and runway cleaners. Vnukovo airport also said its general director and his deputy had resigned "due to the tragic event" after the management was accused of "criminal negligence" by investigators.

President's party leads in final polls before Ukraine vote
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:07:02 -0400

A kid waves a flag of pro-Ukrainian Azov battalion as he stands atop an armored personnel carrier which belonged to pro-Russian militants and is now on display in Kiev, on October 21, 2014Kiev (AFP) - Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko's party on Wednesday led the final polls before Sunday's parliamentary vote held as the country faced an unresolved Russian gas dispute and raging hostilities in the east.

Sweden pulls back ships as 'foreign sub' hunt draws blank
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:57:39 -0400

HMS Visby and two minesweepers moored at the jetty at Berga marine base outside Stockholm on October 22, 2014Stockholm (AFP) - Sweden said Wednesday it was pulling back part of its navy which has been searching for a suspected Russian submarine off the coast of Stockholm for nearly a week with no vessel found.

Estonia: Russian military plane violated air space
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:33:46 -0400

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Estonia on Wednesday summoned Russia's ambassador over an airspace violation by a Russian military aircraft.

Nadal into quarterfinals; Federer into 2nd round
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:24:20 -0400

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns a ball to France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert during their round of sixteen match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Keystone,Georgios Kefalas)BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — After Rafael Nadal reached the Swiss Open quarterfinals in 57 minutes with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, top-seeded Roger Federer crushed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-2, 6-1 in just 46 minutes to reach the second round on Wednesday.

Chill in Russia-Ukraine gas talks threatens Europe's winter supplies
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:14:08 -0400

Ukraine and Russia are still deadlocked in a long-running dispute over natural gas supplies, raising concerns across Europe that Russian gas supplies could be insufficient to heat homes this winter. 

EU nations threaten to block green energy rules at summit talks
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:08:55 -0400

Smoke billows from the chimneys of Belchatow Power StationBy Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders face a long day on Thursday as they seek to agree on a new decade of climate and energy policy at a summit in Brussels, with nations from Poland to Portugal threatening to block a deal. If the European Union can manage an accord, including a more ambitious greenhouse gas cut, it will be the first major economic bloc to set an emissions target for 2030 and would set the tone ahead of United Nations talks next year in Paris on a global pact to manage climate change. ...

Russia blocks monitoring of more Ukraine border checkpoints: U.S.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:08:55 -0400

VIENNA (Reuters) - Russia has refused to increase international monitoring of the border with Ukraine, the United States said on Wednesday, after European security watchdog OSCE extended its observers' existing mandate at two checkpoints by a month. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of sending weapons and soldiers to help pro-Russian separatists in the country's east, a charge Moscow denies. More than 3,700 people have been killed in fighting since April in eastern Ukraine. Senior U.S. ...

EU's Juncker wins green light for 'last chance' team
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:03:59 -0400

The EU's incoming chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker pictured during a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France on October 22, 2014Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - The EU's incoming chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker vowed Wednesday to seize the "last chance" for the bloc as his team of commissioners won parliamentary approval to start work on a stalling economy and foreign policy challenges.

Kerry says no deal made with North Korea in release of American
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:58:35 -0400

Jeffrey Fowle, who was detained for more than seven months in North Korea, is greeted by his family after arriving at Wright Patterson Air Force BaseBERLIN/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday there had been no deal with North Korea in the release of one of three detained Americans but that Washington was willing to resume talks if the reclusive country took steps towards denuclearization. Jeffrey Fowle, 56, was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a sailor's club in the North Korean city of Chongjin. He was freed on Tuesday and flown home on a U.S. government plane. ...

Ukraine leader's bloc holds election lead, Tymoshenko threatened: poll
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:53:05 -0400

By Richard Balmforth KIEV (Reuters) - President Petro Poroshenko's bloc holds a big lead ahead of Ukraine's election on Sunday while a rising populist party looks set to take second place, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday. A surge in support for the Radical Party of populist Oleh Lyashko, the champion of government troops and scourge of super-wealthy oligarchs, threatens former prime minister Julia Tymoshenko's chances of winning a seat in the new parliament, according to the survey by the Democratic Initiative Foundation. ...

Poroshenko party short of majority in Ukraine vote: poll
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:10:26 -0400

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko arrives for a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and European leaders on Ukraine's crisis in Milan, Italy on October 17, 2014Kiev (AFP) - The last major poll published Wednesday ahead of Ukraine's parliamentary election showed President Petro Poroshenko's party seizing up to a third of seats but reliant on help from nationalist parties to form a ruling coalition.

EU to call on Russia to help stabilize Ukraine: statement
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:01:01 -0400

Shramko walks past his neighbor's house, which was damaged by shelling in the village of Spartak, on the outskirts of Donetsk, eastern UkraineBRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders will urge Russia at a summit this week to do more to stabilize Ukraine, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters, but diplomats expect no change in sanctions on Moscow in the near future. The leaders' call comes days before Ukraine holds parliamentary elections on Oct. 26 in a vote that is to bring pro-Western and strongly nationalist lawmakers to office, something Moscow is unlikely to welcome. ...

Snowplow driver says he didn't see Total CEO's jet
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:35:24 -0400

In this image made from video provided by Russian State Television Rossiya, an investigator works at the wreckage of a private jet which collided with a snowplow at Vnukovo airport in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. The head of French oil giant Total SA and three French crew members were killed at Vnukovo airport when a corporate jet, the French-made Dassault Falcon 50, collided with a snowplow, Russian investigators said Tuesday. (AP Photo) TV OUTMOSCOW (AP) — The driver of the snowplow that apparently caused the plane carrying the Total CEO to crash at a Moscow airport says he neither saw nor heard the private jet as it sped toward him down the runway in the dark.

British American Tobacco sales slump
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:31:38 -0400

British American Tobacco -- the maker of Dunhill cigarettes -- said that sales sank in the first nine months of the year and blamed adverse currency moves and Western Europe's slow recoveryLondon (AFP) - British American Tobacco said Wednesday that sales sank in the first nine months of the year and blamed adverse currency moves and Western Europe's slow recovery.

At Berlin Wall, Kerry warns against Cold War redux
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:13:45 -0400

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, visits Checkpoint Charlie with U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Surrounded by relics of the Cold War, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his German counterpart warned Wednesday against a return to the bitter divide between east and west over the current crisis in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Brian Snyder, Pool)BERLIN (AP) — Surrounded by relics of the Cold War, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his German counterpart warned Wednesday against a return to the bitter divide between east and west over the current crisis in Ukraine.

Sweden scales back submarine hunt
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:23:14 -0400

The Swedish minesweeper HMS Kullen, left, and a guard boat in Namdo Bay, Sweden,Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 on their fifth day of searching for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. The navy has demanded a 1000-meter (yard) no-go radius around naval vessels taking part in the current operation. (AP Photo/TT News Agency, Fredrik Sandberg) SWEDEN OUTSTOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden's military has withdrawn some of the ships taking part in a submarine hunt in the Stockholm archipelago.

Factbox: Who's who on the new EU executive
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:16:46 -0400

(Reuters) - The European Parliament votes on Wednesday in Strasbourg on whether to confirm in office the new European Commission, the EU executive to be led by Jean-Claude Juncker. Each of the 28 member states nominates a commissioner. All have passed individual confirmation hearings in the legislature. The line-up proposed by Juncker is as follows: PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER Luxembourg, center-right, 59. Prime minister for 19 years. Confirmed in office by parliament after nomination by national leaders in July over strong British objections. ...

Russia says Ukraine should find money to pay for gas within a week
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 07:14:42 -0400

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatseniuk jumps off an armored personnel carrier during a visit to the International Center of Peacekeeping and Security in YavorivBy Katya Golubkova MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukraine should be able to find ways of paying for Russian gas supplies within a week, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday, suggesting a standoff would end once Moscow received financial guarantees from Kiev. The latest round of gas talks between Moscow and Kiev ended late on Tuesday in Brussels with no agreement in a dispute that prompted Russia to cut off gas supplies to its neighbor in mid-June, potentially hurting flows west to the European Union. But while Novak said he was optimistic for new talks on Oct. ...

Russian investigators probe Total CEO crash black boxes
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:32:17 -0400

The entrance to Moscow's Vnukovo airport pictured on October 21, 2014, where the private plane of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie crashed after hitting a snowplough on the runwayMoscow (AFP) - Russian investigators said on Wednesday they were analysing the black boxes from the jet that crashed in Moscow this week, killing the chief executive of France's Total oil company.

Portugal could block EU climate deal over connection target
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:35:29 -0400

By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Portugal warned on Wednesday it could block an EU plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions if other states at a summit this week reject a binding target for building cross-border power cables and pipelines. "We will not support a deal that does not include a binding target because we need to create a stable, predictable regulatory framework in order to attract private investment," Bruno Macaes, Portugal's secretary of state for Europe, told Reuters. ...

Russia has no major racism problem, says minister
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:49:39 -0400

Manchester City players and CSKA players play in front of empty stands during the Champions League Group E soccer match between CSKA Moscow and Manchester City at Arena Khimki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday Oct. 21, 2014. CSKA have to play 3 matches behind closed doors after as punishment for the bad behaviour of their fans last season. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has no particular problem with racism in football as it prepares to host the 2018 World Cup— despite a series of recent incidents, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Wednesday.

Pyongyang races to complete new airport
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:40:40 -0400

This photograph taken on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, North Korean soldier-builders work on the new tarmac of Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea. The new airport, which is now in its final stages, is the latest of North Korea's "speed campaigns," mass mobilizations of labor shock brigades aimed at finishing top-priority projects in record time. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Pyongyang isn't exactly an international travel hub. But attracting more tourists is one of North Korea's top agenda items, so thousands of soldier-builders are working feverishly these days to give the capital a fancy new airport.

Sevilla set to continue Europa League defense
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:17:42 -0400

LONDON (AP) — Defending champion Sevilla will seek to strengthen its position as the Group G leader when the Europa League returns for the third round of matches Thursday.