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VOA 2014-03-20
03-21-2014, 11:24 AM
Post: #1
VOA 2014-03-20

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From Washington, this is VOA News.

UN chief heads to Moscow and Kiev to defuse Crimea crisis. Chinese tensions spill over a Malaysian Airliner. I’m Ray Kouguell, reporting from Washington.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is traveling to Moscow and Kiev in a bid to help diplomatically resolve the crisis in Crimea. He’ll be arriving in Moscow Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Mr.Ban will then go to Ukraine Friday for talks

with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other officials. UN spokesman Farhan Haq says the Secretary General is hoping for a solution. “He believes the focus has to be engaged in direct dialogue between Moscow and Kiev aimed at agreeing on specific measures that will pave the way for a diplomatic resolution and he believes that the path for a diplomatic resolution remains open if the parties choose to embrace it.” Ukraine meanwhile says it’s drawn up plans to evacuate all of its outnumbered military personnel from the Crimean Peninsula. The move effectively surrenders military control over the territory as heavily armed pro-Russian militiamen seized the key Crimean base and announcing they would withdraw. Ukraine’s national security and Defense Counselor Chiefs in Kiev will seek UN support in turning Peninsula into a demilitarized zone. It was earlier Wednesday that pro-Russian militiamen seized Ukrainian naval headquarters in a Crimean port of Sevastopol and one day after Moscow signed a treaty with local authorities making Crimea part of Russia.

Malaysian police forcibly remove grieving and wailing relatives of Chinese passengers from Wednesday’s briefing on the missing Malaysia Airline’s jet. Frustration boiled over as the families screamed demands at Malaysian officials, accusing them of lying, giving conflicting information and acting like gangsters. Some relatives are threatening a hunger strike. Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he understands emotions are high, and authorities are trying their very best to find the plane. He said investigators are trying to narrow the search area which now covers more than 7 million square kilometers from Kazakhstan to the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysia Airline’s flight 370 disappeared March 8th during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Israeli air strikes against Syrian military positions in the Golan Heights killed 1 soldier and wounded 7 in the most serious escalation between the 2 neighbors since Syria’s civil war broke out 3 years ago. Syria’s military confirmed the strikes which came in a response to an attack Tuesday on Israeli forces across the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line in the Golan.

More deadly unrest in Egypt. 7 people were killed Wednesday as security forces raided a militant hideout near Cairo. Edward Yeranian reports from our Middle East Bureau in Cairo. Egypt’s Interior Ministry says 2 officers were killed along with 5 militants when Egyptian police, military and special forces clashed with Islamist militants during a raid on a reported safe house of the Sinai-based group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis just north of Cairo. The militants opened fire on security forces and set off the car bomb sparking a gun battle that lasted several hours, the Ministry said. The group has stepped up attacks on Egyptian security forces since the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year. Edward Yeranian, for VOA News, Cairo. An Egyptian court sentenced more than 2 dozen Islamists, to many in absentia to death over violent attacks in the port city of Suez. One man received a 15-year sentence.

Negotiators from Iran and 6 world powers have adjourned what they called substantive and useful talks on Tehran’s nuclear program, saying they will resume April 7th in Vienna. European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton says discussions have addressed Iran’s Uranium enrichment program, the country’s planned Arak heavy water reactor and western sanctions against Iran.

The world’s biggest automaker, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation is admitting that intentionally misled the public about deadly car safety problems several years ago and has agreed to pay a 1.2 billion dollar fine to the United States to settle a criminal investigation. US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the resolution of a 4-year case in Washington on Wednesday, calling the company’s conduct shameful. Investigation focused on the extent to which Toyota tried to hide the problems about unintended acceleration of some of its Toyota and Lexus models in 2009 and 2010. The malfunction led to deadly crashes as motorists were unable to control their vehicles when they suddenly raced to very high speeds.

I’m Ray Kouguell, VOA News, more on the internet at
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