Tag Archives: U.S.

Russia criticizes U.S. policy on Syria ahead of Kerry Moscow go to

MOSCOW Russia stepped up its criticism of U.S. policy on Syria on the eve of a check out to Moscow by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying the United States had not shown it was prepared to cooperate fully in the struggle against Islamic State militants.

Russia would continue to urge Washington to rethink its policy of “dividing terrorists into excellent and bad ones”, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated in a statement on Monday, ahead of Kerry’s visit to Moscow, which is scheduled for Dec. 15.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly Writing by Dmitry Solovyov Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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U.S. ‘shocked’ at Hungarian plans to honor WW2 anti-Semite

SZEKESFEHERVAR, Hungary A U.S. envoy mentioned on Sunday Washington was shocked by plans to erect a statue of Balint Homan, who contributed to murderous anti-Semitism in Hungary in the 1930s and 40s.

“From the U.S. government perspective we feel quite strongly that history and the damage that this man did to Hungarian citizens who occurred to be Jewish can not be ignored, and to put up that statue seems incomprehensible,” Ira Forman, special envoy against anti-Semitism, told Reuters.

Hungary’s Jewish neighborhood has referred to as on the appropriate-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz celebration to block the statue.

The private Balint Homan Foundation in Szekesfehervar, west of Budapest, wants to honor a man who was an eminent historian and minister of religion and education before and throughout Globe War Two.

Homan was a proponent of anti-Jewish laws and a Nazi supporter to the finish of the war. Right after it he was jailed and died in prison in 1951.

The central European nation nevertheless grapples with its previous, like its active part in deporting half a million Jews.

Reuters could not reach the foundation for comment.

Forman has traveled to Hungary to discuss Homan’s wartime function at a conference next week. On Sunday he attended a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the small square in Szekesfehervar exactly where the statue could stand.

“We believe its important to know what this man did to Hungarian citizens in the 1930s and 40s, taking away their citizenship rights and then arguing for them to be deported, which eventually meant going to Auschwitz,” Forman stated.

“Honoring a man like that – we’re shocked by it. It’s not our selection but we’re here to say we are shocked by it and we believe the globe ought to know about who this individual (was) and that men and women are contemplating placing a statue up.”

Forman was joined in lighting the eight Hanukkah candles by leading Israeli and Canadian diplomats in Hungary, as nicely as leaders of the Hungarian Jewish neighborhood.

“Tonight we celebrate the last candle of Hanukkah,” Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor said.

“Let us hope that the light of the candle we will chase away darkness, that the light of these candles will show the way to the people of Szekesfehervar, the leaders of the city, to the proper decision, not to erect this statue.”

Szekesfehervar’s Mayor Andras Cser-Palkovics, a Fidesz member, on Friday appeared to retreat from his earlier assistance for the statue, saying external stress was so high that the foundation behind the project must “reconsider” its plans.

“If the Balint Homan Foundation decides to erect the planned statue anyway – which it is entitled to in a democracy – then the City Council of Szekesfehervar asks them to repay funds it has received from the city and the state,” he added.

Numerous government members have stated they disagree with the statue and regarded it ill-conceived.

Justice Minister Laszlo Trocsanyi, whose predecessor granted 15 million forints ($ 52,000) towards the statue, mentioned the ministry faced a “technical necessity” to execute an earlier decision. He did not elaborate.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

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Merkel dismisses U.S. request for a lot more military aid against Islamic State

BERLIN Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday brushed off what a Germany magazine stated was a request from the United States to provide far more military aid in the fight against Islamic State.

“I think Germany is fulfilling its portion and we do not need to have to speak about new concerns associated to this question at the moment,” Merkel told the ZDF broadcaster when asked about the Der Spiegel magazine report of the U.S. request.

Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had sent a letter asking for a larger military contribution from Germany, a week after parliament approved a program to join the campaign in Syria.

A German Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed a letter had been received from the United States and its content was under consideration, providing no further particulars.

Der Spiegel said the letter did not make distinct demands and was equivalent to requests sent to other U.S. partners.

Germany’s mission contains six Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate to protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, refueling aircraft and up to 1,200 troops.

The deployment is a direct response to a French appeal for solidarity soon after militant attacks in Paris killed 130 people. Germany does not strategy to carry out air strikes in Syria.

Germany has over the past two years shown a developing readiness to commit troops to foreign missions.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen mentioned final week Germany may well require larger armed forces to cope with the a lot more assertive function.

More than three,000 personnel are currently deployed overseas and the Syria mission will raise that by up to 1,200. Von der Leyen also wants to send 650 troops to Mali to help the French campaign against Islamist militants there.

Germany last year began arming Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamic State.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold Writing by Joseph Nasr Editing by Alison Williams)

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Function-On the internet vacation package tsunami swamping U.S. apartment buildings

WASHINGTON Dec 13 As the holiday shopping season peaks, U.S. apartment complexes are being flooded with packages, from HD televisions to children’s scooters, inundating lobbies and forcing building managers to take measures to extremes.

With on-line purchasing anticipated to reach a record this year, overwhelmed house managers are beginning to place a cap on the size of the boxes they will accept, installing storage lockers or banning deliveries outright.

On the internet purchases have spiked throughout this vacation season, with Americans purchasing $ three.07 billion of goods on “Cyber Monday,” the first workday right after the Thanksgiving holiday, a 16 percent boost year on year, according to the Adobe Digital Index Report.

The Boston Residence, a 1950s-era apartment creating in Washington that saw package deliveries grow from a couple of dozen to hundreds a week in a handful of years, has restricted the size of boxes, said Liz Cullison, the building’s basic manager.

“The packages got larger and larger and bigger,” Cullison said. “That all overflowed out into the lobby. Now the lobby is overrun with packages.”

Apartment buildings and complexes, home to about a single in eight Americans, are being buffeted by the surge in online U.S. retail sales, which rose on an adjusted basis to $ 87.5 billion in the third quarter, up 15 % from a year earlier, according to the Commerce Division.

Apartment managers “are hunting at the future, and they are only seeing a lot more packages,” said Rick Haughey, vice president of market technologies initiatives at the National Multifamily Housing Council, an sector group.

“You’ve got old systems in place that do not truly reflect the structural changes that we’ve observed in retail,” he stated.

Vacation VOLUME

The quantity of U.S. packages shipped is soaring in tandem with on the web sales. United Parcel Service Inc, FedEx Corp and the U.S. Postal Service all estimate an improve in the low double digits this year, in part since of 1 extra day in the vacation season amongst Thanksgiving and Christmas.

UPS is forecasting 630 million deliveries during the vacation season, up 43 percent from 2010. Deliveries for all carriers are expected to peak about Dec. 21, 4 days ahead of Christmas.

Boston Residence, exactly where employees were currently coping with deliveries of beds, furniture and other bulky products, reached its breaking point when a tenant who was moving across the country had his possessions delivered by UPS, with 40 of the carrier’s biggest boxes piling up in the lobby, Cullison mentioned.

The creating has limited the size of packages it will accept to 70 pounds (32 kg) and 120 inches (three.05 meters) in length and girth combined. It also has set up an overflow storage space in its basement, Cullison said.

A 2014 survey of two,768 apartment managers by the National Multifamily Housing Council discovered that the typical building or complex receives up to one hundred packages a week and they take up to five hours a week of staff time to handle.

Jose Vega, the assistant director of the 424-unit Elan City Lights, a Greystar Actual Estate Partners LLC complicated in Dallas, mentioned packages were a substantial burden on employees, particularly in the course of holidays.

“It is really time-consuming just simply because (of) the quantity,” he stated. “The age that we live in, you know, folks choose to shop on-line and have some thing come to their front door.”

Fed up with packages flooding its offices, Camden Property Trust, the 13th-greatest U.S. apartment owner, decided this year to refuse deliveries at its front desks. Carriers now must provide to the customer’s door.

“We believe this is a greater client service knowledge and the proper decision lengthy term,” Julie Keel, a Camden advertising director, stated in an email. (Reporting by Ian Simpson Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

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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Bridgestone raises offer you for U.S. auto parts retailer Pep Boys

Bridgestone’s new provide gives about $ 28 million in extra money to Pep Boys shareholders, the company mentioned.

The new offer you comes after Pep Boys said on Wednesday that it planned to terminate its deal with Bridgestone as its board deemed Carl Icahn’s supply as a “superior proposal.”

Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises LP had supplied to buy Pep Boys for $ 15.50 per share. (Reporting by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bengaluru Editing by Sandra Maler)

UPDATE 1-Bridgestone raises offer for U.S. auto components retailer Pep Boys

5108.T) on Friday raised its provide for U.S. auto parts retailer Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack (PBY.N) by 50 cents a share to $ 15.50 per share.

The new offer by Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone, raises the deal value by $ 28 million to $ 863 million for Pep Boys, the firms said.

The new offer comes following Pep Boys said on Wednesday that it planned to terminate its deal with Bridgestone as its board regarded as Carl Icahn’s supply as a “superior proposal.”

Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises LP (IEP.O) had provided to acquire Pep Boys for $ 15.50 per share.

Bridgestone was given 3 days on Dec. 8 by Pep Boys to make a new offer.

Pep Boys stated on Friday that its board no longer deems Icahn’s supply as superior, and advised that Pep Boys shareholders accept Bridgestone’s provide.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC was the economic adviser to Bridgestone, while Rothschild advised Pep Boys.

Jones Day is Bridgestone’s legal adviser, whilst Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is Pep Boys’ legal adviser.

(Reporting by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bengaluru Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker)

U.S. urges citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon due to safety concerns

WASHINGTON The U.S. State Division on Friday urged U.S. citizens to keep away from all travel to Lebanon “due to the fact of ongoing security and security concerns.”

It also advised U.S. citizens living and functioning in Lebanon that they need to “understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the nation and need to meticulously contemplate those risks.”

“Sudden outbreaks of violence can take place at any time in Lebanon, and armed clashes have occurred in significant cities,” the State Department mentioned in a statement, adding that the Lebanese government could not assure the safety of U.S. citizens there.

It cited cross-border conflicts with Syria and Israel, anti-Western violence, suicide bombers and kidnapping, among other risks.  

(Reporting by Eric Walsh Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Spanish police arrest alleged Islamist militant wanted by U.S.

MADRID Police in Spain’s northeastern area of Catalonia have arrested an alleged Islamist militant wanted by the United States, Ali Charef Damache, a Catalan official mentioned on Friday.

Damache, who has dual Algerian and Irish nationality, was wanted by the United States and Interpol for alleged crimes of conspiracy to offer assistance for terrorists, Jordi Jane, an official in charge of security in Catalonia’s regional government, said in a statement.

Patty Hartman, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Division in Philadelphia, exactly where the charges against Damache are lodged, confirms the arrest by Spanish authorities.

“We will be looking for extradition,” Hartman stated.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft and John Shiffman editing by Paul Day)

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3 Islamic State leaders killed in recent strikes: U.S. military

WASHINGTON The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria has killed the group’s finance minister and two other senior leaders in air strikes in current weeks, a U.S. military spokesman said on Thursday.

Army Colonel Steve Warren told a Pentagon briefing coalition strikes had killed Abu Salah, Islamic State’s economic minister, in late November.

“He was 1 of the most senior and seasoned members of ISIL’s monetary network and he was a legacy Al Qaeda member,” Warren said.

Warren stated Salah was the third member of the finance network who had been killed in as numerous months.

“Killing him and his predecessors exhausts the understanding and talent required to coordinate funding inside the organization,” Warren added.

According to a Brooking Institute report, Abu Salah’s true name is Muafaq Mustafa Mohammed al- Karmoush.

Warren stated a senior leader responsible for coordinating the group’s extortion activities and an additional leader who acted as an executive officer had also been killed.

The Islamic State, which the United States calls the wealthiest militant group of its sort in history, has a quantity of income streams.

It has built up what amounts to a “sturdy and resilient financial portfolio,” funded by oil sales, extortion, and sales of antiquities, mentioned Thomas Sanderson, an professional on terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lately, U.S. defense officials estimated that Islamic State was earning about $ 47 million per month from oil sales prior to October.

That very same month, the Pentagon began an operation recognized as “Tidal Wave II” targeting Islamic State’s oil income.

Warren stated it was too early to inform what the impact of the strikes had been and that it was similar to a boxing match.

“You function the body in (the) early rounds and perhaps you will not get a knockout from those early round body shots, but several rounds later you are going to see your… opponents knees start to get weak … and now he’s beginning to get set up for the knockout,” Warren mentioned.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and David Alexander Editing by Tom Brown)

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