Ukraine truce hangs in balance after 'difficult' talks

Dec 26, 2014

Ukraine truce hangs in balance after 'difficult' talks

by Dmitry Zaks

The latest push for peace in Ukraine appeared moribund on Thursday after initial talks failed to agree when the warring sides should meet again to try ending their eight-month conflict. Negotiations mediated by European and Russian envoys in the Belarussian capital Minsk broke up ...

Putin scraps New Year's holidays for ministers

Dec 26, 2014

Putin scraps New Year's holidays for ministers

Russian President Vladimir Putin has scrapped New Year’s holidays for government ministers because of the unfolding economic crisis. Putin told a televised government session on Thursday that Cabinet ministers “cannot afford” to go on holiday. Russian company employees throughout the country are entitled to ...

Dec 25, 2014

Crimea hit by outages amid Ukraine power crisis

Crimea on Wednesday suffered massive blackouts after Ukraine unexpectedly stopped supplies, sparking traffic jams, hospital closures and panic across the peninsula. Train stations, businesses and the airport had to close down, traffic lights went dark causing huge snarls in the main city of Simferopol, ...

Ukraine takes historic step toward NATO

Dec 24, 2014

Ukraine takes historic step toward NATO

Ukraine on Tuesday took a historic step toward NATO in a parliamentary vote that stoked Russia’s anger ahead of talks this week on ending the former Soviet state’s separatist war. Lawmakers in the government-controlled chamber overwhelmingly adopted a bill dropping Ukraine’s nonaligned status, a ...

Dec 23, 2014

Crisis-hit Russia's main allies moving closer to Ukraine

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev followed his Belarusian counterpart to Ukraine on Monday as Moscow’s old allies reassessed their reliance on Russia in the heat of its financial malaise. Both visits were ostensibly made to kickstart stalled peace talks between Kiev and the two Russian-speaking ...

Dec 23, 2014

Iraq says Jordan to begin training Iraqi troops soon

Jordan will begin training the first group of army troops from neighboring Iraq in the next few weeks as part of the international effort to fight the Islamic State group, according to Iraq’s defense minister. Speaking after meeting Jordanian King Abdullah on Monday, Khaled ...

Dec 23, 2014

Russia in grips of 'full-fledged economic crisis,' ex-minister says

Russia’s government has pushed the country into an economic crisis by not tackling its financial problems fast enough, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday, as evidence mounted of trouble spreading through the economy. The central bank bailed out its first victim of ...

Destructive tsunami also brought peace to war-torn Aceh

Dec 21, 2014

Destructive tsunami also brought peace to war-torn Aceh

When a tsunami engulfed Indonesia’s Aceh province a decade ago, it not only killed tens of thousands of people but also wiped the slate clean in the conflict-racked, poverty-stricken province and paved the way for peace. The province on the northern tip of Sumatra ...

Impoverished North falls back on cyberwarfare

Dec 21, 2014

Impoverished North falls back on cyberwarfare

As one of the world’s most impoverished powers, North Korea would struggle to match America’s military or economic might, but appears to have settled on a relatively cheap method of tormenting its foe. According to the U.S. government, Kim Jong Un’s autocratic pariah state ...

Dec 21, 2014

Kurds advance against IS group in Syria, Iraq

Kurdish fighters advanced on the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq and Syria on Saturday, pushing into the contested, refugee-packed Sinjar mountains and gaining ground in the embattled Syrian border town of Kobani after heavy clashes, Kurdish officials and an activist group said. In ...