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BBC 2014-03-21
03-22-2014, 11:31 AM
Post: #1
BBC 2014-03-21

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BBC News with John Jason.

President Obama has announced further sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea. The sanctions target several individuals closely associated with President Putin, along with a Rossiya bank which is controlled by the Russian president's allies. Mr. Obama said Russian threats to southern and eastern Ukraine posed a serious risk of escalating the crisis, and that he was contemplating penalties against key sectors of the Russian economy. But he said that was not his preferred course of action. “Diplomacy between the Untied States and Russia continues. We've emphasized that Russia still has a different path available. One that de-escalates the situation, and one that involves Russia pursuing a diplomatic solution with the government in Kiev, with the support of the international community.” Russia has announced that it's imposing its own sanctions against several senior US members of Congress and White House officials. Reports from Ukraine say pro-Russian armed men have seized at least one Ukrainian warship anchored in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said at least 15 men were involved in the assault during which they set off grenades on board a ship named as the Ternopil. Other reports say the armed men have taken control of two other Ukrainian warships moored in the port.

For the first time, in three years of fighting in Syria, United Nations aid convoy has been allowed to cross the border from Turkey. The first of 80 trucks set off for the town of Qamishli in northeastern Syria. From Beirut here's Paul Wood. “This is certainly a victory for the UN. But this one convoy was only made possible after long and torturous negotiations. The convoy carrying food, medicines, blankets and mattresses was made possible only by a UN Security Council resolution passed three weeks ago, demanding access for aid. It is far from clear then, if the passage of this one convoy means relief will flow to the 40% of the Syrian population, the UN says, is in desperate need of assistance.”

The Afghan security forces have restored control at a luxury hotel in the capital Kabul after killing four armed men who attacked it. The Taliban say they carried out the attack. Our world affairs correspondent David Loyn reports from Kabul. “Shots rolled across Kabul soon after night fallen what is New Year's Eve across this region. The gunfire, a massive response by counter-terrorism forces to what turned out to be four teenagers with pistols hidden in their socks. The four youths had gotten through security at a major hotel, claiming to be dinners at a special buffet put on for the New Year. They were quickly shot dead when they emerged to carry out their attack after three hours hiding in a toilet. They succeeded only in injuring two people.”

World News from the BBC

A Norwegian merchant ship is searching part of the southern Indian Ocean through the night for possible debris from a missing Malaysian airliner. The latest operation began after Australia released satellite images of two objects in the sea that could possibly be wreckage. From Perth in western Australia, here's Phil Mercer. “After many false leads, Australian authorities say that debris spotted southwest of Perth is the most tangible breakthrough so far in efforts to solve the mystery of flight MH370. Bad weather has hampered rescue aircraft from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Britain is sending a Royal Navy coastal survey ship HMS Echo to join the search. While a Norwegian freighter is already scouring the seas for what could be vital clues in the hunt for the missing jet.”

President Jose Mujica of Uruguay said his country would take five prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. Transfers out of Guantanamo to third countries have increased in recent months as President Obama tried to fulfill a promise to close the camp.

Police in the US state of Texas are questioning five people on suspicion of running a human smuggling operation following the discovery of more than 100 people locked inside a house. The building outside the city of Huston was raided on Wednesday. The authorities say they found suspected illegal immigrants as young as five held in squalid conditions. They say suspected smugglers have locked them inside pending payment and stripped of their clothes and shoes to hinder their escape.

The former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has rejected media allegations that he received confidential information from a senior prosecutor about criminal cases against him. Mr. Sarkozy was giving his first public reaction to reports that prosecutors had tapped his phone calls while investigating allegations that he received illegal donations from Libya for his presidential election campaign, something he denies.

BBC News.
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