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Syria Strikes ISIS, MH370 On Autopilot?, iPutin

Fans gathered Wednesday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA, on the five-year anniversary of the Michael Jackson's death.
Fans gathered Wednesday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA, on the five-year anniversary of the Michael Jackson's death.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki confirmed in an interview with the BBC previous reports that the Syrian military had carried out air strikes against ISIS near the Iraqi border town of Qaim, explaining he had not requested them but “welcomed” the strikes against the jihadist group. This comes after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday warned — without naming them — Iran and Syria “that we don’t need anything to take place that might exacerbate the sectarian divisions.” According to The New York Times, Iran is sending military equipment, including drones, to the Iraqi authorities in a bid to stop ISIS’s march towards Baghdad.

Meanwhile on another front, Kerry stepped up pressure on Moscow to push the separatists in eastern Ukraine to disarm within “the next hours,” Reuters quotes him as saying. Although he insisted that “our preference is not to have to be in a sanctions mode,” he said that the possibility of new economic measures would be discussed at a meeting with EU leaders in Brussels later today. British newspaper Financial Times notes however that U.S. business groups are opposed to new sanctions, as they fear it will “harm American workers and cost jobs.”

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the event that is considered the trigger of World War I, Dominique Moisi of French daily Les Echos lays out some disturbing similarities and differences between events then and now, and the intervening century. “Today, as we are starting to feel — and rightly so — a loss of control over the course of history, we may start to doubt the quality of the world’s leaders; and so those images of Sarajevo start coming to mind.”
Read the full story 1914-2014: Is The World About To Unravel Again?

Fans of Michael Jackson paid tribute to the "King of Pop" on the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada was acquitted this morning by a military court in Jordan due to lack of evidence to convict him over terrorism charges, Al Arabiya reports. The 53 year-old will however remain in custody because of separate charges over his alleged role in a plot to attack Western tourists in Jordan in 2000, for which the court postponed its ruling until September. Qatada, who is said to have inspired young members of al-Qaeda, was first arrested in the UK in 2001 and was deported to Jordan last year, after a years-long judicial battle. Read more from the BBC.

British actor Gary Oldman apologized Wednesday for his Playboy interview last week, after he was accused of anti-Semitism for vigorous remarks on Hollywood and political correctness. He had some choice words also for himself.

The death toll of an explosion at a shopping mall in the Nigerian capital of Abuja yesterday reached 21, with 17 reported wounded, according to the Nigerian Tribune. The blast occurred as people were gathering to watch their national team face Argentina in the World Cup. AFP says that the Nigerian military arrested one suspect and killed another. Boko Haram have claimed responsibility for the attack, while suspected members of the terrorist group are said to have killed 16 soldiers in the attack of a military post in the northeastern state of Borno.

Investigators working on the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 now believe it’s “highly, highly likely” that the aircraft was on autopilot when it ran out of gas and crashed into the South Indian Ocean,The Australian reports. Australian officials also confirmed that the search area was moving south to a 60,000-square-kilometer zone that was previously checked, but this time the search teams will explore the area underwater. The aircraft took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 and disappeared on its way to Beijing, with 239 passengers and crew on board.


A general amnesty announced by Bashar al-Assad this month is setting free or reducing sentences for thousands in Syrian jails. One case involves a man who served 21 years for a “crime” that shows a different side to the cruelty of the Assad regime. Read it here.

Check out the hefty price (both in rubles and dollars) of the new limited edition “Caviar iPhone5S Supremo Putin.”

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

War, Corruption And The Overdue Demise Of Ukrainian Oligarchs

The invasion of Russia has forced Ukraine to confront a domestic enemy: corruption and economic control by an insular and unethical elite.

Photograph of three masked demonstrators holding black smoke lights.

May 21, 2021, Ukraine: Demonstrators hold smoke bombs outside the Appeal Court of Kyiv.

Olena Khudiakova/ZUMA
Guillaume Ptak


KYIV — Since Russia’s invasion, Ukraine's all-powerful oligarchs have lost a significant chunk of their wealth and political influence. However, the fight against the corruption that plagues the country is only just beginning.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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On the morning of September 2, several men wearing balaclavas and bullet-proof waistcoats bearing the initials "SBU" arrived at the door of an opulent mansion in Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth largest city. Facing them, his countenance frowning behind thin-rimmed glasses, was the owner of the house, the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

Officers from the Ukrainian security services had come to hand him a "suspicion notice" as part of an investigation into "fraud" and "money laundering". His home was searched, and shortly afterwards he was remanded in custody, with bail set at 509 million hryvnias, or more than €1.3 million. A photo of the operation published that very morning by the security services was widely shared on social networks and then picked up by various media outlets.

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