Tag Archives: report

Islamic State can make fake Syrian passports: U.S. report

WASHINGTON A U.S. government agency report has warned that Islamic State has the potential to develop fake Syrian passports, a federal official confirmed on Friday.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed the contents of a story by CNN on Friday about the report, but declined to offer a copy of the report.

The report says Islamic State has access to Syrian government passport printing machines and blank passports, raising the possibility the travel documents could be faked, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement supply. (cnn.it/1Rf6lE1)

The CNN supply added that there was also concern that because the militant group had access to biographical and fingerprint information on Syrian citizens, there was also a possibility of identity theft.

ABC News, which initial reported the story on Thursday, stated the report was released to law enforcement by the Homeland Safety Investigations agency last week and raised the possibility that militants could use the documents to travel to the United States. (abcn.ws/1IKPl5I)

“Because far more than 17 months [have] passed given that Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour fell to ISIS, it is attainable that men and women from Syria with passports ‘issued’ in these ISIS-controlled cities or who had passport blanks, may have traveled to the U.S.,” ABC News quoted the report as saying.

State Division spokesman John Kirby, asked at a briefing on Friday about the ABC report, replied: “We have been conscious of reports, not just in the press, that they might have obtained this capability.”

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday: “The intelligence community is concerned that they [Islamic State] have the ability, the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in any setting.”

(Reporting by Eric Walsh Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Former ally of jailed China official in very good health shortly before death: report

BEIJING A 44-year-old former organization ally of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was in very good wellness in jail shortly just before he died of a heart attack, a Chinese on the internet news outlet reported, adding to the mystery more than his death.

Xu Ming, founder of plastics-to-house conglomerate Dalian Shide Group, died on Friday in prison in the central province of Hubei, according to Prism, an on-line news portal run by Tencent, China’s biggest social network.

Just two months before, for the duration of September’s Mid-Autumn Festival, he told household and close friends that he was in excellent well being and fine mental state and exercised from time to time, a buddy told Prism in a report carried on Wednesday.

The government has provided no explanation for Xu’s death. Prism’s report was picked up by other Chinese news portals and has not been removed from the Net, as can occur with sensitive stories.

Requests for comment from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Public Security went unanswered. Reuters has also not been able to attain family members for comment.

Xu’s family members was told that Xu had a heart attack when using the toilet, fell to the ground and died, the buddy told Prism.

It took several hours for the household to be notified, the friend added, according to the report.

The trial of Xu, listed by Forbes as China’s eighth-richest particular person in 2005, had been shrouded in secrecy. It was never ever created public when he was arrested, indicted and convicted. His prison term was unknown.

Xu was scheduled to be released from prison in September 2016, according to Hong Kong-primarily based Phoenix tv.

Xu’s relationship with Bo became a focus a couple of years ago when the politician was probed for corruption.

Bo was ousted as Communist Celebration boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing and from the party’s choice-producing Politburo in 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption and abuse of power.

Throughout Bo’s trial in 2013, the court stated Bo was charged with getting about 21.eight million yuan ($ three.39 million) in bribes from Xu.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Critics of U.S. plutonium cleanup program seize on new report

WASHINGTON Critics of a multibillion-dollar program to convert excess U.S. weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for industrial nuclear reactors under a 2000 treaty with Russia have seized on a newly disclosed report to renew calls for an end to the project.

The fiscal 2016 defense authorization law includes $ 345 million in funding for a plant under construction at the DOE’s Savannah River site in South Carolina, which will take 34 metric tons of plutonium and mix it with uranium to kind safer mix-oxide (MOX) fuel pellets for use in commercial nuclear reactors.

Congress should still proper the funding authorized in the law, but supporters say they do not anticipate any concerns.

Critics argue the MOX project ought to be halted right after years of delays and expense increases, even even though any adjustments could jeopardize one of the couple of agreements with Russia that is nevertheless operating smoothly.

Francie Israel with the National Nuclear Safety Administration said the U.S. Division of Power (DOE) was continuing function on the project for now, but several analyses had shown that diluting the plutonium and disposing of it at a site in New Mexico would cost significantly less than half of the MOX strategy.

Russia has its own program to eliminate 34 metric tons of plutonium.

A previously undisclosed report completed by privately-held Aerospace Corp for DOE in August concluded that diluting and disposing of the plutonium – or downblending – was the least technically complicated of a number of options and had the lowest price risk since no new facilities had been required.

“This report confirms that … the downblending option is clearly significantly less complex, significantly less risky and cheaper,” stated Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, urging Congress to finish its parochial support for the MOX plan.

Lyman stated DOE would likely seek to end funding for the project as portion of its fiscal 2017 price range proposal. Aerospace concluded in an April report that it could price $ 30 billion to total the MOX facility, almost ten times the estimate of the firm, CBI-Areva MOX Solutions.

CBI-Areva MOX Services, a joint venture of U.S.-based Chicago Bridge & Iron NV and Areva SA, a French state-owned nuclear group, argues that the U.S. project is already 68 percent comprehensive and it will be done in 5 to 9 years. The organization says it will price $ three.3 billion to total the work, on prime of the $ 4.5 billion already spent.

A Nov. 16 overview completed by High Bridge Associates, a project management firm, for CBI said the downblending choice was risky due to the fact cramming also much nuclear material into the New Mexico facility could result in a fission reaction.

It mentioned that adding material to the web site would demand a new environmental influence statement, which could delay operate on the internet site if it sparked calls for the facility’s style life to be extended to 1 million years from ten,000 years, just as has occurred for the Yucca Mountain internet site in Nevada.

The High Bridge report also raised issues that a modify in the U.S. method could prompt Russia to withdraw from the 2000 treaty, as it has done with other people, reversing nuclear non-proliferation efforts at a time of growing tensions with Moscow.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal Editing by Alan Crosby)

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NATO says will not send ground troops to fight IS: report

ZURICH NATO has ruled out sending ground troops to fight against Islamic State militants in Syria, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg told a Swiss newspaper, stressing the need to bolster local forces in the conflict.

“That is not on the agenda of the coalition and the NATO allies,” he told the Tages-Anzeiger paper when asked about dispatching ground forces to accompany air strikes.

“The United States has a limited number of special forces. In the foreground, however, is strengthening local forces. This is not easy, but it’s the only option,” he added

Stoltenberg stressed that the conflict was not a war between the West and the Islamic world, but rather against “extremism and terrorism”.

“Muslims are on the front line in this war. Most victims are Muslims, and most of those who fight against the IS are Muslims. We can not carry on this struggle for them,” he said.

Stoltenberg pointed out that NATO would help Turkey improve its air defenses after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet last month. The alliance will adopt a package of measures for Turkey before Christmas, he added.

He emphasized the need to calm the standoff with Russia after the plane was shot down.

“Now it is important to de-escalate and to develop mechanisms to prevent similar incidents in the future. We see a significant build-up of the Russian military presence from the far north to the Mediterranean. There, too, we need to avoid similar incidents such as in Turkey,” he said.

He called for Russia to “play a more constructive role in the fight against IS. So far, Russia has attacked other groups and focused on supporting the Assad regime.”

U.S. President Barack Obama said last week his decision to send more U.S. special forces to combat Islamic State in Iraq was not an indication that the United States was heading for another invasion like the one in 2003.

Obama has said his strategy to fight the militant group in Iraq and Syria does not include U.S. ground combat troops, but the Pentagon announced it would send a new force of special operations troops.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Qatar rejects rights group report on ‘rampant’ labor abuse

DOHA Qatar’s government has rejected a report by Amnesty International which said abuse of migrant laborers in the Gulf Arab state remains “rampant” 5 years after it won the right to host the Globe Cup.

A statement by Qatar’s Government Communications Workplace sent to journalists late on Tuesday said that the Amnesty report “does not accurately reflect the progress” Qatar has created in reforming its labor method.

“We really feel that the accusation that Qatar has failed to boost the human rights of its guest workers is simply untrue. Considerable reforms have been made and a lot more are in the pipeline.”

Qatar, one particular of the wealthiest nations in the world which is preparing to host the FIFA Globe Cup in 2022, has been extensively criticized for its treatment of migrant workers, specifically in the building business.

Amnesty’s report on Tuesday stated that below Qatar’s “kafala”, or perform-sponsorship method, foreign workers are still needed to seek their employer’s consent to change jobs or leave the nation, putting them at the mercy of their employers.

The Qatari government statement denied workers had been being exploited and stated that Qatar had produced reforms including a wage protection program requiring firms to spend salaried workers by electronic bank transfer and a law generating it illegal for companies to withhold workers’ passports.

It stated the reforms had been a operate in progress and marked “the starting of the finish” of the so-called “kafala” laws in Qatar.

The Amnesty report described Qatar’s alterations as “tinkering about the edges”.

With nearly $ 200 billion worth of infrastructure projects planned, hundreds of thousands of workers have been recruited from countries such as India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

About 260 migrant workers from India have died in Qatar in 2015, according to figures from the Indian embassy in Doha noticed by Reuters. The figures have been for all Indian migrant deaths and did not specify whether they had been all operating on Globe Cup projects.

FIFA stated in a statement on Tuesday that it believed that the World Cup could be a “catalyst” for improved functioning situations in Qatar.

(Reporting by Tom Finn Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Andrew Heavens)

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Agen Sabung Ayam – Damning report exposes Europe’s escalating housing crisis

Agen Sabung Ayam

London was located to have the worst house cost to income ratio of eight European capitals. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Europe is experiencing a “silent emergency” for housing, with the quantity of young adults living with their parents now at an all-time high, according to a study.

Research carried out by Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit NGO committed to promoting cost-effective housing about the globe, discovered that the 2008 housing crisis triggered by the international monetary crash is by no means over in Europe.

Specialists warn that continuing troubles, such as exploding charges and the numbers of young adults forced to reside at residence, are probably to have a significant economic and social influence across the region.

According to the report, released on Thursday:

  • Much more than 10% of Europeans shoulder housing costs – including rent and heating – in excess of half their household’s income. In central and eastern Europe, households devote between 30 and 50% of their earnings solely on winter heating, and increasing household expenses are contributing to poverty levels and raising the likelihood of people losing their houses.
  • The numbers of young adults aged in between 18 and 34 who are living with their parents is now at an all-time high. The scenario is worst in Slovenia, where 74% still live at house, in Italy it is 66% and in Portugal it’s 55%.
  • Construction of new properties has plummeted by among 70 and 90% in current years, and the amount of social housing does not even cover ten% of people’s requirements.

The study’s authors also tension the rise of a ‘housing poverty’ reality, which has been designed by the growing gap among poverty and affluence in economically vibrant urban centres, and that forces skilled and extremely educated pros to move outside of cities since they they have been priced out of them.

Housing price overburden price

It says European policymakers urgently want to find approaches to create and supply housing for everyone. It recommends revolutionary funding and lending choices, much better use of contemporary creating technologies that would help decrease power costs and make buildings far more resilient, as effectively as new housing policies that would assist encourage social integration.

“Europe wants to look at far better approaches of creating and offering housing that aids people, regardless of class or income, to have a decent location to reside,” according to Greg Foster, the Europe, Middle East and Africa manager of Habitat for Humanity.

“And the trends and threats to Europe’s middle- and low-revenue neighbourhoods require to be analysed and solutions created, to guarantee the region’s cities remain liveable for everyone”.

The NGO is calling on European policymakers to prioritise the provision of reasonably priced, sustainable and liveable housing for all.

The report’s publication is timed to coincide with the European Housing Forum, which is meeting for the third time in the Berlin this week. It will bring collectively housing specialists from around the planet who will go over regardless of whether at a time of growing economic pressures, which has made housing in certain, really costly for many, Europeans can still afford to live in Europe.

The conference is anticipated to concentrate on the impact the refugee crisis will also have on Europe’s housing challenges. In Germany alone residences will have to be discovered for one particular million refugees in the next few months, at a time when social housing building – even with no the newcomers – is at a dismally inadequate level almost everywhere. The refugees’ integration into the housing market place will be one particular of the most crucial challenges of coming years, the authors insist.

Housing in Croydon

Habitat for Humanity desires policymakers to prioritise affordable, sustainable and liveable housing for all. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The authors say households are suffering from a housing expense overburden all through Europe, with expenses such as rent, heating and upkeep eating up to 40% of disposable household earnings in low-revenue groups – that is those whose revenue is under 60% of the typical national earnings – and showing no signs of letting up. The impact is felt each in cities and rural regions and increases the poorer a family members is.

While access to inexpensive housing is becoming increasingly challenging across the continent – it is noticed to be worst in Paris, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, London and Brussels. Comparing the getting energy in eight European capitals, the study shows that London fares worst when it comes to price tag to earnings ratios.

Across the EU, 17% of folks are living in overcrowded situations. The highest price is in Romania, where it is 52%. The authors said the high quantity of young adults living at residence had led to considerably of the overcrowding.

At the exact same time, there are plenty of slow economic regions in Europe that have enormous vacancy prices – largely driven by the financial meltdown, such as Portugal, Greece, Spain and several parts of eastern Europe.

The report also highlights the issue of spatial segregation. In components of Europe, ethnic enclaves and ghettos have formed to home the Roma and Sinti communities – mainly southern and eastern Europe – and migrant communities. They say that of any group, Roma and Sinti face by far the worst all round housing conditions in Europe.

Significantly of the blame for Europe’s housing problems can be place down to the truth that housing across Europe, such as the former communist nations, has increasingly been noticed as consumer goods.

Houses in Aveiro, Portugal

Houses in Aveiro, Portugal. The nation has the third highest proportion of 18-34-year-olds still living with their parents in Europe. Photograph: Alamy

“Housing becomes significantly less reasonably priced as marketplace demand becomes heavily influenced by investment motives, which is illustrated by the evolution of property costs compared with GDP development in most European nations,” according to report authors József Hegedüs and Vera Horvath.

They highlight the unsafe extremes in the UK housing market that have had a hugely distorting effect on housing affordability, concluding: “Individual households have suffered significantly as a result of this imbalance,” not least since “their capacity to adapt to intense market changes is limited”.

The influence of housing privatisation across Europe – like the selling off of a lot social housing – has generated a huge quantity of what the report recognises as “poor owners” – men and women who own their properties, but can not afford to appear right after their properties. The report warns that the deteriorating state of much privatised housing “will turn into a heavy public liability” for considerably of Europe in the coming years.

Although acknowledging that private ownership had its good elements, such as keeping housing costs low and steady and giving people a sense of empowerment, Wolfgang Amman, one particular of the report’s authors, said it had been a mistake to feel that responsibility for housing provision for the poor could be renounced. “Leaving unwilling owners in collapsing structures is no political selection … housing for these in need to have will always be a public service obligation,” he mentioned.

Drawing on lessons learnt from the Balkan crisis of the early 90s, the report also stresses the critical role housing plays in enabling folks to keep in regions that have been ravaged by war and hence in helping prevent mass migration.

It recommends providing priority to rebuilding housing in war-torn regions “as an powerful way to avoid individuals from migrating”. It stated housing is “a shock absorber in occasions of peace, but even more so in instances of post-conflict”.


Rent, heating and maintenance accounts for up to 40% of disposable household finance for low-revenue groups. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

In suggestions that will resonate in several parts of Europe, the report said that the huge decreases in building was also obtaining a enormous impact on Europe’s housing pressures.

In searching for ways to enhance housing affordability, the