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Posts tagged ‘Paralympic Games’

US, France Warn Russia of ‘New Measures’ Over Ukraine.


President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande warned Saturday of “new measures” against Russia if it fails to work toward defusing the crisis in Ukraine, the French presidency said.

In a phone call on Saturday, Obama and Hollande insisted on the “need for Russia to withdraw forces sent to Crimea since the end of February and to do everything to allow the deployment of international observers,” it said.
Obama’s conversation with Hollande was one of a half dozen telephone conversations he had with world leaders Saturday about Ukraine, the White House says.

He  also spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and held a conference call with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The new warnings come in the wake of Russia’s insistence that any U.S. sanctions will have a boomerang effect on the United States and that Crimea has the right to self-determination as armed men tried to seize another Ukrainian military base on the peninsula.

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In a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against “hasty and reckless steps” that could harm Russian-American relations, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

“Sanctions…would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang,” it added.

It was the second tense, high-level exchange between the former Cold War foes in 24 hours over the pro-Russian takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after an hour-long call with U.S. President Barack Obama that their positions on the former Soviet republic were still far apart. Obama announced the first sanctions against Russia on Thursday.

Putin, who later opened the Paralympic Games in Sochi which have been boycotted by a string of Western dignitaries, said Ukraine’s new, pro-Western authorities had acted illegitimately over the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions.

“Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law,” he said.

Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the Ukrainian border guards’ commander, said 30,000 Russian soldiers were now in Crimea, compared to the 11,000 permanently based with the Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol before the crisis.

On Friday evening armed men drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile defence post in Sevastopol, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. But no shots were fired and Crimea’s pro-Russian premier said later the standoff was over.

Putin denies the forces with no national insignia that are surrounding Ukrainian troops in their bases are under Moscow’s command, although their vehicles have Russian military plates. The West has ridiculed his assertion.

The most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Cold War – resulting from the overthrow last month of President Viktor Yanukovich after protests in Kiev that led to violence – escalated on Thursday when Crimea’s parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted to join Russia.

The region’s government set a referendum for March 16 – in just nine days’ time.

JETS, DESTROYER

Turkey scrambled jets after a Russian surveillance plane flew along its Black Sea coast and a U.S. warship passed through Turkey’s Bosphorus straits on its way to the Black Sea, although the U.S. military said it was a routine deployment.

European Union leaders and Obama said the referendum plan was illegitimate and would violate Ukraine’s constitution.

The head of Russia’s upper house of parliament said after meeting visiting Crimean lawmakers on Friday that Crimea had a right to self-determination, and ruled out any risk of war between “the two brotherly nations”.

Obama ordered visa bans and asset freezes on Thursday against so far unidentified people deemed responsible for threatening European Union leaders Ukraine’s sovereignty. Earlier in the week, a Kremlin aide said Moscow might refuse to pay off any loans to U.S. banks, the top four of which have around $24 billion in exposure to Russia.

Japan endorsed the Western position that the actions of Russia constitute “a threat to international peace and security”, after Obama spoke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

China, often a Russian ally in blocking Western moves in the U.N. Security Council, was more cautious, saying economic sanctions were not the best way to solve the crisis and avoiding comment on the Crimean referendum.

The EU, Russia’s biggest economic partner and energy customer, adopted a three-stage plan to try to force a negotiated solution but stopped short of immediate sanctions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded angrily on Friday, calling the EU decision to freeze talks on visa-free travel and on a broad new pact governing Russia-EU ties “extremely unconstructive”. It pledged to retaliate.

“GUERRILLA WAR?”

Senior Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko, freed from prison after Yanukovich’s overthrow, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin and appealed for immediate EU sanctions against Russia, warning that Crimea might otherwise slide into a guerrilla war.

Brussels and Washington rushed to strengthen the new authorities in economically shattered Ukraine, announcing both political and financial assistance. The regional director of the International Monetary Fund said talks with Kiev on a loan agreement were going well and praised the new government’s openness to economic reform and transparency.

The European Commission has said Ukraine could receive up to 11 billion euros ($15 billion) in the next couple of years provided it reaches agreement with the IMF, which requires painful economic reforms like ending gas subsidies.

Promises of billions of dollars in Western aid for the Kiev government, and the perception that Russian troops are not likely to go beyond Crimea into other parts of Ukraine, have helped reverse a rout in the local hryvnia currency.

In the past two days it has traded above 9.0 to the dollar for the first time since the Crimea crisis began last week. Local dealers said emergency currency restrictions imposed last week were also supporting the hryvnia.

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said Ukraine had not paid its $440 million gas bill for February, bringing its arrears to $1.89 billion and hinted it could turn off the taps as it did in 2009, when a halt in Russian deliveries to Ukraine reduced supplies to Europe during a cold snap.

In Moscow, a huge crowd gathered near the Kremlin at a government-sanctioned rally and concert billed as being “in support of the Crimean people”. Pop stars took to the stage and demonstrators held signs with slogans such as “Crimea is Russian land”, and “We believe in Putin”.

IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said no one in the civilised world would recognise the result of the “so-called referendum” in Crimea.

He repeated Kiev’s willingness to negotiate with Russia if Moscow pulls its additional troops out of Crimea and said he had requested a telephone call with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

But Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov ridiculed calls for Russia to join an international “contact group” with Ukraine proposed by the West, saying they “make us smile”.

Demonstrators encamped in Kiev’s central Independence Square to defend the revolution that ousted Yanukovich said they did not believe Crimea would be allowed to secede.

Alexander Zaporozhets, 40, from central Ukraine’s Kirovograd region, put his faith in international pressure.

“I don’t think the Russians will be allowed to take Crimea from us: you can’t behave like that to an independent state. We have the support of the whole world. But I think we are losing time. While the Russians are preparing, we are just talking.”

Unarmed military observers from the pan-European Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe were blocked from entering Crimea for a second day in a row on Friday, the OSCE said on Twitter.

The United Nations said it had sent its assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, to Kiev to conduct a preliminary humans rights assessment.

Ukrainian television has been replaced with Russian state channels in Crimea and the streets largely belong to people who support Moscow’s rule, some of whom have harassed journalists and occasional pro-Kiev protesters.

Part of the Crimea’s 2 million population opposes Moscow’s rule, including members of the region’s ethnic Russian majority. The last time Crimeans were asked, in 1991, they voted narrowly for independence along with the rest of Ukraine.

“With all these soldiers here, it is like we are living in a zoo,” Tatyana, 41, an ethnic Russian. “Everyone fully understands this is an occupation.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Limbaugh: Convince Obama That Putin is Tea Party.


Convincing President Obama and his team that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a member of the tea party may be the only way to goad Obama into taking action, radio talker Rush Limbaugh mused on Monday, Breitbart reports.

“If they can somehow find a way to convince Obama that Putin is tea party, then he might toughen up a little,” Limbaugh told millions of listeners. “But I mean how do you sic the IRS on Putin? Obama’s tools for this are limited.”

Limbaugh unleashed a torrent of criticism on the commander in chief, ridiculing the administration’s anemic foreign policy as hapless and weak and reminding that many leaders, himself included, foreshadowed Putin’s true intentions.

Story continues below video.

He pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula just days after the Pentagon’s announcement that it planned to shrink the Army to pre-World War II levels  and mocked Obama’s decision not to send a presidential delegation to the Paralympic Games in Sochi.

“So the gloves are off, folks,” Limbaugh said. “No presidential delegation to the Paralympic Games in Sochi.”

He poked further fun at Obama, reminding listeners that a number of politicians, including Sarah Palin in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, warned the American people about Putin. He went on to ridicule Obama’s recent phone call with the Russian president. A White House photographer captured a frame of Obama, on the phone, sleeves rolled up, a nuance not missed on Limbaugh.

“That was done to make it look like Obama was really working hard — I mean, really taking it seriously,” he said. “His sleeves were rolled up while on the phone with Putin! Putin probably had his shirt off practicing tai chi while he was talking to Obama.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Melissa Clyne

Pistorius Weeps in Court as Murder Trial Set for March 2014.


PRETORIA, South Africa — South African Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his model girlfriend, prayed and wiped away tears in a court hearing on Monday which set a March 3, 2014 start date for his trial.

Double-amputee Pistorius, 26 and known as “Blade Runner” for the prostheses he wears in competition, bowed his head and held hands in prayer with his brother Carl and sister Aimee before the brief hearing in a Pretoria court.

Detailed charges were presented outlining the prosecution case of premeditated murder against Pistorius, who has admitted shooting Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day.

Pistorius claims he was acting in self-defense against what he thought was an intruder. His arrest and upcoming trial has riveted South Africa and made headlines around the world.

“Some of the state witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming,” the prosecution’s charges summary reads.

Steenkamp was hit in the head, arm and hip and died at the residence on February 14.

Monday’s court hearing was held on the day that the victim, a fashion model and aspiring TV star, would have turned 30.

Pistorius was one of the most celebrated athletes of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London, making the Olympic 400 meter semifinal and winning Paralympic gold over the same distance.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius May Face More Charges.


JOHANNESBURG — South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius may face two new charges related to firing a gun in public when he appears in court next week, local media reported Friday.

According to eNCA television news, one of the charges is linked to an event in January where Pistorius — who is already accused of murdering his girlfriend — accidentally fired a gun in an upmarket Johannesburg restaurant.

In another case, Pistorius allegedly discharged his gun out of the sunroof of a friend’s car on their way back from a holiday.

The National Prosecuting Authority declined to confirm the additional charges, saying “everything would be revealed in court” at the pre-trial hearing on Monday.

The 26-year-old double amputee is expected to be served with an indictment for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

He claims he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door in the dead of night after he mistook her for an intruder.

The state is arguing that the murder was premeditated. A date for the trial is expected to be set on Monday.

Pistorius has kept a low profile since his release on bail of one million rand ($101,000, 76,000 euros), a week after the killing.

The star who runs on two fiberglass prosthetic legs has also abandoned his professional running career.

Pistorius shot to fame when he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes at the London Olympics in 2012.

© AFP 2013

Source: NEWSmax.com

May Flowers: Victory Bouquet.


But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

Recommended Reading
1 John 5:3-5 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%205:3-5&version=NKJV )

Floral students at several British colleges were given a daunting assignment in the summer of 2012: help put together 4,800 victory bouquets to be presented to the medal recipients in the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Designed by a British floral icon, the late Jane Packer, each bouquet contained four groups of English roses (yellow, orange, green, pink), 10 sprigs each of rosemary, apple mint, and wheat, and 60 sprigs of lavender — all English-grown.

Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast  ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/television.aspx?tid=email_watchedevo )

To win an Olympic medal is perhaps one of history’s most coveted kinds of victory — whether gold, silver, or bronze. But the apostles made more than one reference to victory crowns in their day, especially athletic crowns, that will ultimately fade away — contrasting them with the “imperishable … crown of glory that does not fade away…” (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Peter 5:4). The victory over death won by Jesus Christ is the victory in which we share as His followers.

Few of us will breathe the rarified air atop an Olympic victory stand. But all it takes is faith in Jesus to participate in eternity’s greatest victory celebration.

Let’s keep our chins up and our knees down — we’re on the victory side!
Alan Redpath

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Esther 1-10

By David Jeremiah.

ICE chief of staff resigns amid misconduct claims.


 

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Obama administration political appointee and longtime aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano resigned Saturday amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior lodged by at least three Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.

Suzanne Barr, chief of staff to ICE Director John Morton, said in her resignation letter that the allegations against her are “unfounded.” But she said she was stepping down anyway to end distractions within the agency. ICE, a division of the Homeland Security Department, confirmed Barr had resigned. The Associated Press obtained a copy of Barr’s letter.

Barr is accused of sexually inappropriate behavior toward employees. The complaints are related to a sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by a senior ICE agent in May.

In her letter to Morton, Barr said she has been the subject of “unfounded allegations designed to destroy my reputation” and is resigning “with great regret.”

“Of greater concern however, is the threat these allegations represent to the reputation of this agency and the men and women who proudly serve their country by advancing ICE’s mission,” Barr wrote. “As such, I feel it is incumbent upon me to take every step necessary to prevent further harm to the agency and to prevent this from further distracting from our critical work.”

Barr went on leave last month after the New York Post reported on the lawsuit filed by James T. Hayes Jr., ICE’s special agent in charge in New York. Additional employees came forward with their allegations around the same time.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., said in a statement Saturday that Barr’s resignation “raises the most serious questions about management practices and personnel policies at the Department of Homeland Security.” He said his committee will continue to review the case and personnel practices at DHS.

In one complaint, Barr is accused of telling a male subordinate he was “sexy” and asking a personal question about his anatomy during an office party. In a separate complaint, she is accused of offering to perform a sex act with a male subordinate during a business trip in Bogota, Colombia. She’s also accused of calling a male subordinate from her hotel room and offering to perform a sex act. The names of two of Barr’s accusers were censored in affidavits reviewed by AP.

Homeland Security’s office of professional responsibility and inspector general have been investigating the allegations.

Prior to the lawsuit, there were no complaints about Barr, according to a homeland security official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

In the lawsuit, Hayes described a “frat house” atmosphere at ICE designed to humiliate male employees under Barr’s leadership. Hayes, who was transferred to New York from ICE headquarters in Washington, is asking for more than $4 million that, among other things, would cover compensation he believes he is owed for relocation expenses and financial losses associated with his transfer.

Hayes’ lawyer, Morris Fischer of Silver Spring, Md., has declined to comment.

The Justice Department is seeking to dismiss Hayes’ lawsuit on the basis that he did not state a claim for retaliation.

Barr, a 1995 graduate of the University of Arizona, was among Napolitano’s first appointments after she became secretary in 2009. Barr started working for Napolitano in 2004, while Napolitano was governor of Arizona. Prior to that, Barr worked for Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL and EILEEN SULLIVAN | Associated Press

God’s Church Includes Everybody.


When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors. … invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. —Luke 14:12-14

I would think that a great sign of God‘s approval and anointing on any church is to see it filled with people with all kinds of handicaps, whether deaf, blind, or in wheelchairs. The reason is because such people obviously feel welcome. The word gets out that this church wants—and needs—the disabled. They know they will be treated with dignity and respect. People everywhere want to spend time with them; they will come and talk to them!

Do you do that at your church? Or do you hurry to be with the people you already know? God wants His church to include everybody. It’s not just pain, difficulty, or the inconvenience; the real problem is the way disabled people are marginalized and cast aside.

There is more than one kind of handicap, and there are obviously various degrees of being disabled. There are generally two kinds of disabled people: those who are born disabled and those whose handicap affects them later in life.

Others become disabled through illness. This can happen to any of us. It can happen through an accident, or it may be the gradual loss of our hearing or sight. The loss of the use of limbs can be anyone’s experience.

But there is another kind of handicap, mental impairment, those born with mental limitations. It may be a low IQ or those born with Down’s syndrome. There are those who have a learning disability, such as dyslexia. Some lose the ability to think clearly. It may come from an accident, from an operation, or from senility—perhaps Alzheimer’s disease.

Such people often love the Lord Jesus Christ with deepest devotion, but they wonder what’s wrong with them. And yet God allows this because He has a purpose in it all. He loves us so much, and what is often seen as a negative in this life will be seen in the opposite way when we get to heaven.

Excerpted from The Thorn in the Flesh (Charisma House, 2004).

By R. T. KENDALL.

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