Tag Archives: borders

Kerry in secret final-status talks with Netanyahu and Abbas on borders, security, Jerusalem, Jordan Valley

By Dave Robbins

The ceremonial launch of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations early Tuesday, July 30, over the Muslim iftar meal in the State Department Jefferson room, made a photogenic front for the real brass-tacks bargaining on core issues of the long Middle East dispute, which Secretary of State John Kerry has been handling discreetly with the principals, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu […]

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Source: Endtime Ministries

Report: Ford blamed in drug mule lawsuit

By Damon Lowney

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If a college student is caught smuggling drugs across the border, one might think the kid got what was coming to him. But when a Mexican student at the University of Texas in El Paso was caught by Border Patrol agents with duffel bags filled with marijuana in his trunk, the man used a classic excuse: He claimed they weren’t his.

While a claim like that is almost unbelievable, Ricardo Magallanes, the student, is now suing Ford for handling its vehicles’ key codes negligently enough to allow drug smugglers to break into his Ford Focus and stash the drugs, The Daily Caller reports. The twist here is that four other people who lived in Juarez and worked in El Paso were involved in the same type of scheme – allegedly unwittingly, just like Magallanes – and all the cars were Fords except one model from General Motors. FBI agents also found an employee at a Dallas Ford dealership that had accessed the key codes to all four of the cannabis-stuffed Fords.

While we all may not own Fords, the case still causes us slight paranoia. We’ll definitely be checking our trunks before we cross any more international borders.

Ford blamed in drug mule lawsuit originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Can Algerian Energy Buck Downward Trend With EU Help?

By Christopher Coats, Contributor

Even before North Africa’s recent political earthquake, Algeria’s vital energy sector was on the rocks. Despite substantial hydrocarbon reserves, the country’s production had steadily declined in recent years due to dwindling interest from foreign firms. A mix of industry instability, unfavorable revenue agreements and institutional corruption had made it difficult to justify the risks of operating in the country. Making matters worse, European demand for natural gas was declining with the financial crisis and U.S. purchases were wavering amid the North American shale boom. By the time political movements ousted long-standing leaders in neighboring Libya and Tunisia, putting pressure on the country’s leadership, Algeria was already fighting a dangerous narrative of industry decline. For a country so completely dependent on energy revenue and exports for every level of government spending, this wasn’t just bad news – it was destabilizing. While Algeria largely avoided the kind of violence and instability that forced leadership changes in Tripoli, Tunis and Cairo, their post-Arab Spring experience has not been without challenges. In addition to domestic pressure for labor and political reforms, mostly in the form of targeted protests, the country’s energy industry has faced pressure from outside its own borders. In January, militants from Mali crossed the border and targeted a BP and Statoil gas facility near the Libyan border. Touted as a response to Algeria’s support for European action against a Mali-based separatist movement in the north of the county, the raid and ensuing government response left scores dead, including dozens of foreign workers. Coupled with concerns about the country’s energy industry, including wide-spread corruption allegations at state firm Sonatrach, the raid chipped away at the confidence in Algeria’s already beleaguered energy sector. So, it would seem that recent news of a fresh agreement with the EU that, “establishes a framework for co-operation, which covers… oil and gas, renewable energy, energy efficiency, legal and regulatory reform, progressive energy markets, infrastructure development and technology transfer”, could not come at a better time. For Algeria, the new agreement means a vote of confidence from one of its largest customers, despite declining gas demand that is not expected to return for another two to three years. For Europe, it means a further step towards stabilizing a resource line from North Africa and meeting long-term goals of reducing dependence on less favorable resources, most notably Russia. Further, by casting Algerian reserves as “a priority area” for Europe’s strategic energy interests and security, it helps pave the way for EU infrastructure funding that has become increasingly elusive in recent months. Five years in the making, the new agreement is welcome news for both sides of the Mediterranean. Still, details of the new partnership remain vague and it is unclear whether EU support will mean more enthusiasm from European firms that have expressed concern about operating in Algerian in recent years. Six months on from the gas facility attack, both BP and Statoil have resisted sending foreign workers back to the project site. Earlier calls for policy reforms and …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Analysis: Despite new talks, Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would require big gambles

The contours of Israeli-Palestinian peace are clear, experts say: If only the sides summon up the will, the inevitable outcome is two states roughly along the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as a shared capital and a finessing of the Palestinian refugee issue. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Readout of the President's Meeting with Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

By The White House

This morning, President Obama met with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) at the White House to discuss a range of important issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. The President thanked CAPAC for their work to expand the middle class within AAPI communities and among all Americans, and said that he looks forward to continuing to work with them.

The President stressed that the Administration continues to urge the House to take action to pass commonsense immigration reform that would secure our borders, crack down on illegal employment, offer a path to earned citizenship for undocumented persons, and modernize our legal immigration system so that it once again addresses our needs and reflects our values as a nation. He thanked CAPAC for their ongoing efforts on this important issue and both sides agreed on the need to pass immigration reform now to help grow the economy, create jobs and reduce the deficit. The President urged CAPAC to continue to reach out to their colleagues in the House to find consensus and complete work on this important issue at the earliest possible opportunity. In the coming weeks, members of the Cabinet and Senior Administration officials will stress the economic need for commonsense immigration reform, including highlighting the economic benefits of reform and the high costs of inaction.

The President also said that he was proud of his efforts to make the Executive Branch and the federal judiciary more diverse. CAPAC thanked the President for more than doubling the number of AAPI federal judges currently serving. The President reiterated his commitment to ensuring that his Administration is composed of highly qualified public servants who reflect the diversity of America. CAPAC also thanked the President for the ongoing work of the White House Initiative on AAPIs to better connect AAPI communities to the federal government.

The President also thanked CAPAC for their strong support in passing the Affordable Care Act and discussed the robust ongoing efforts to successfully implement the law. Starting in 2014 nearly 2 million uninsured AAPIs will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. And, increased funding to community health centers is enabling more AAPIs to receive culturally and linguistically appropriate and accessible care. The President and CAPAC pledged to work together to ensure that all qualified individuals are able to sign up for the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The President was joined at the meeting by Office of Legislative Affairs Director Miguel Rodriguez, Director of Presidential Personnel Jonathan McBride, and Executive Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs Kiran Ahuja.

A photo of the meeting is available here.

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Source: White House Press Office

DEBKAfile: Kerry obtains Israeli, Palestinian consent to negotiate interim accord, without borders issue

By Dave Robbins

After substantially lowering his expectations, US Secretary of State John Kerry was able to save his mission to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with only moments to spare before his sixth round of shuttle diplomacy crashed.  Friday night, July 19, Kerry announced in Amman that “initial talks would resume in Washington very […]

The post DEBKAfile: Kerry obtains Israeli, Palestinian consent to negotiate interim accord, without borders issue appeared first on Endtime Ministries | End Of The Age | Irvin Baxter.

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Understanding Game of Thrones as an American

Since Americans have a hard time understanding that a world exists outside of our borders, here's a handy guide to Game of Thrones, as if it were set in the US.

Report: More EU states may block Daimler cars as refrigerant battle heats up

By Damon Lowney

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The last time we checked in on the battle of refrigerants, France had enacted a registration ban on some Mercedes-Benz vehicles because their air-conditioning systems were loaded with R134a, which was found to be harmful to the environment by EU tests. Now, other EU states are considering banning the substance, according to Automotive News, as they push for a new refrigerant, R1234yf, to be used in new vehicles across the board.

EU testing has shown that the new chemical refrigerant, R1234yf, is safe to use in automobiles and less harmful to the environment than R134a. But after testing it independently, Daimler claimed that R1234yf could be the primary source of a vehicle fire in certain crash scenarios, if the pressurized refrigerant line broke and leaked onto the hot exhaust system. Germany, going against the EU ban, still allows vehicles with R134a to be sold within its borders.

In a meeting in Brussels with the EU’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles on Wednesday, representatives from the 28 member states discussed the issue and agreed that all vehicles sold within the EU must conform to the law. They stated vehicles that have already been sold with R134a must be withdrawn, just as France did by not allowing the registration of Mercedes-Benz A-class, B-class and SL cars built after June.

More talks between France and Germany will be organized to find a solution to the problem. But in the meantime, according to Automotive News, Daimler said that the vehicle ban in France alone could detract two percent from its global sales. Read the official EU press releases from the meeting in Brussels after the jump.

Continue reading More EU states may block Daimler cars as refrigerant battle heats up

More EU states may block Daimler cars as refrigerant battle heats up originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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CSOFT Goes For A Soft Touch In Scaling Outside China

By Rebecca Fannin, Contributor

One of the more interesting aspects of my role covering innovation trends in emerging markets is the opportunity to see companies close-up as they scale. Such was my recent experience attending a summit held by CSOFT International in Beijing and Sanya, the Hawaii of China. CSOFT was celebrating its 10th anniversary with a two-day program of experts speaking about globalization trends in the so-called localization business in which it operates. One clear takeaway? I am sure that CSOFT would never have become a profitable player in this market without the visionary leadership of its very determined president and CEO, Shunee Yee (pictured with me). Sounding a bit like Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Shunee says “the sky’s the limit” on her startup’s potential, which she envisions becoming a $1 billion business.  The company’s nifty-looking headquarters at Beijing’s sleek, new World Finance Centre is a symbol of her ambitions. The summit I attended was designed to bring together employees and celebrate ten years — and many more. It did not disappoint with lots of good cheer and information exchange plus such treats as a dinner overlooking the Forbidden City and a luau on the beach to wrap things up. CSOFT, which she founded in 2003, has revenues topping $30 million and an average annual growth rate of 30 percent over the past ten years. Having reached that tier without raising any outside finance and entirely through organic growth, Shunee is now pushing CSOFT to expand its presence and profile overseas. After plans to open an office in Shenzhen this September, the next move is likely to be branches in Silicon Valley and Berlin, building out its remote operations in many markets. The outsourcing company’s business is naturally international, and three-quarters of its clients are based in the U.S., including Pfizer, Intel and Dell.  What CSOFT does essentially is translate or localize training manuals, how-to guides and promotion materials in various languages for companies doing business across borders.  It may not sound all that exciting but it’s essential. Along with her husband, Carl Yao, who is an executive VP in charge of the company’s technology, they are working together to keep CSOFT up to date technologically too. Carl showed me a mobile app he’s been working on that brings in elements of both Twitter and Wikipedia so that users can instantly translate terms and share them with the community. CSOFT got on the fast track when the multilingual localization firm that Shunee was working for in the early 1990s was acquired by outsourcing company Lionbridge. She was sent to open an outpost office in Beijing. When that rep office did not get off the ground, she promptly folded the team she had assembled into what became CSOFT in Beijing. Articulate, poised and personable, Shunee’s background follows the typical returnee path of the first generation of China’s tech entrepreneurs. Growing up in an intellectual household as the daughter of a dean at Nanjing University, she was under a lot of pressure to achieve. After graduation from Nanjing Normal University, she taught for eight months, then decided to quit to go to the U.S. There, she earned a Master’s degree from the Rhode Island College. It was in the U.S. that she also met her husband, who was working on his PhD in computer science, and later joined her in Beijing.  Now they and an employee group of …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Israel meets ambassadors over EU settlements ban

Israel met the ambassadors of Britain and France, and Germany’s deputy envoy over plans by the EU to ban its 28 members from having any dealings with Jewish settlements, an official said on Friday.

The Jewish state warned the envoys of a serious crisis between it and the European Union over the move, the high-ranking foreign ministry official told AFP.

“The British and French ambassadors and German number two were invited yesterday to the ministry… for discussions on the EU guidelines,” he said.

“We asked the ambassadors to tell their capitals that no Israeli government would accept these conditions, and they could provoke a serious crisis with Israel,” he warned.

The guidelines, published in the EU’s Official Journal Friday morning, forbid EU member states from funding or dealing with entities in territories occupied by the Jewish state in 1967.

Germany and France confirmed the Thursday meetings but the British embassy did not immediately comment.

Christophe Bigot, France’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, said the Israeli foreign ministry’s director, Rafi Barak, had called the meetings.

“The Israelis informed us of their concerns” over the EU plan, he said. “I reminded them that the new guidelines were a continuation of European policy on settlements.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also said in a Friday statement that the guidelines simply “reiterates the long-held position that bilateral agreements with Israel do not cover the territory that came under Israel’s administration in June 1967.”

The preamble to the guidelines says that “the EU does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over… the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem… and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic law”.

The guidelines apply to “grants, prizes and financial instruments,” it adds.

“Only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible as final recipients” of this kind of funding.

Of particular concern to officials was a scientific cooperation deal with the EU, “Horizon 2020”, which would generate investments worth hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) in Israeli technology companies, Haaretz newspaper quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.

More than 80 percent of Israelis are opposed to the new EU guidelines, according to a survey published Friday by pro-government newspaper Israel Hayom.

Settlement building in the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War is considered illegal under international law.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

EU privacy watchdog criticizes 'Big Brother' database

A plan to set up a massive database of every non-European Union citizen entering and leaving the bloc is disproportionate, Europe’s data privacy watchdog said Friday.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx described the so-called “Smart Borders” initiative as intrusive and uneconomic, and said its aims could probably be achieved more efficiently by using already-existing databases.

In February the European Commission proposed setting up a Registered Traveler Programme (RTP) aimed at frequent business travelers or those with relatives in the E.U.; and an Entry/Exit System (EES). The RTP would make use of automated border control systems such as automated gates for pre-screened visitors, while the EES would digitally record the time and place of entry and exit of third-country nationals and issue an alert to national authorities when there is no exit record by the expiry time. The current practice when checking a third-country national wanting to cross the E.U.’s external borders is based mainly on the stamps in the travel document.

But, Hustinx said Friday, “There is no clear evidence that the Commission proposals will fulfil the aims that it has set out.” Even the Commission’s own assessments fail to prove that it will be sufficiently efficient to justify the expense and intrusions into privacy, he added.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Bennett: Talks Based on ’49 Lines? We’re Out – Middle East – News – Israel National News

By Dave Robbins

Bayit Yehudi Chairman and Minister of Economics, Naftali Bennett, made clear Thursday that his party will not be a partner in a government that holds diplomatic negotiations based on the idea of returning to Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Read More: Bennett: Talks Based on ’49 Lines? We’re Out – Middle East – News – Israel National News.

The post Bennett: Talks Based on ’49 Lines? We’re Out – Middle East – News – Israel National News appeared first on Endtime Ministries | End Of The Age | Irvin Baxter.

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Palestinian leaders defer decision on restarting peace talks | JPost | Israel News

By Dave Robbins

PLO officials against latest Kerry offer, saying Israel must first recognize 1967 borders as base for talks; State Dept. spokeswoman denies Al-Hayat report, saying no plans to announce renewed Mideast peace talks on Friday. Read More: Palestinian leaders defer decision on restarting peace talks | JPost | Israel News.

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Israel 'readying peace gestures' to Palestinians

The Israeli military is preparing to lift some restrictions on Palestinian movement in advance of possible renewed peace talks, army radio said on Thursday.

“It appears that in the next few days the future of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be determined,” its reporter for the Palestinian territories reported.

“In the light of security assessments, two roads in the territories are expected shortly to be opened to Palestinian traffic; one north of Ramallah and one close to Beit Haggai,” he added, referring to a settlement near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The radio quoted the military spokesman’s office as saying that the plans were a gesture for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and not linked to peace efforts.

The office did not immediately reply to an AFP request for comment.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to meet senior members of his Palestine Liberation Organisation in the West Bank city of Ramallah later on Thursday to brief them on his meetings in Jordan with US Secretary of State John Kerry, a Palestinian official said.

Kerry said Wednesday that his intense diplomacy in six visits to the Middle East was bearing fruit, narrowing gaps between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinians have said that they will not renew peace talks, stalled for almost three years, until Israel agrees to accept as a baseline the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, when it occupied the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

They say Israel needs to freeze all settlement construction in the occupied lands, including in east Jerusalem, which it annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel rejects such “preconditions”.

Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom told the radio that easing some restrictions on Palestinians’ daily lives did not constitute bowing to preconditions.

“I think that in the framework of opening negotiations, if we carry out what is known as confidence-building measures which do not endanger security, such things have always been possible as part of a larger context,” he said.

“If it is the judgement of security officials that such a thing does not damage security, then of course we have the possibility to do that.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

HTC adds HTC One Mini, with 4.3-inch screen, 1.7 GHz dual-core processor

HTC has finally unveiled its much-rumored “HTC One mini” handset, and will bring the compact version of its flagship smartphone to select markets as soon as August.

The new handset boasts a similar design as the HTC One, but has slightly lower hardware specs. The mini has a smaller 4.3-inch display, with a screen resolution of 720p instead of 1080p. The phone’s processor is also slower, and packs a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor, instead of the quad-core 1.7 GHz chip found in the HTC One.

Pictures of the mini also showed it having larger borders on its edges. It uses the same “UltraPixel” camera and HTC Sense user interface as the HTC One. Color options are silver or black.

HTC declined to provide further details on the device and its pricing, but it will be available globally in September.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Expert: Chicago school closings will endanger kids

Chicago children displaced by public school closings may be forced to step into the line of fire between warring street gangs as they walk to their new schools each day, a gang expert told a U.S. judge who will rule on a request that he stop planned closings in the nation’s third largest school district.

Taking the stand for lawyers opposed to Chicago Public Schools’ recent decision to shutter about 50 public elementary schools, John Hagedorn also testified that rival gangs already are posting warnings on Facebook for the incoming children from other neighborhoods to stay off their turf.

“It’s already aggravating gang conflicts,” he said about the pending closings. And if the closings ahead, added the University of Illinois at Chicago professor, “It is likely a child will be shot and killed.”

Gangs often are blamed for Chicago’s high murder rate, which topped 500 in 2012 — the first time since 2008 it hit that mark. The murder rate has declined in 2013, with about 200 murders as of early July.

But recurring Chicago violence has made national news this year, especially after the shooting death of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton about a mile from President Barack Obama’s Chicago home.

Gang violence is more chaotic than ever as their hierarchies crumbled over the past decade, breaking down top-down control of 20 or 30 years ago, splintering gangs and leading to infighting within gangs, Hagedorn testified Wednesday.

“The old times where one gang controlled one neighborhood are gone,” he said. “Those changes are what make it especially dangerous to children.”

Closing so many schools at once was a bid to rescue an academically and financially failing system. Officials say the schools were underused and that closing them will save millions, improving schools overall.

But displaced students, Hagedorn said, will have difficulty grasping boundaries in an increasingly confusing patchwork of gang territories and will struggle to pick up on cues indicating gang violence might be imminent.

“When children have to cross gang borders, you are putting them in a situation where they are in the line of fire,” he testified. “It creates a severe risk for children (going into) unfamiliar neighborhoods.”

In response to such concerns, the district has …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Obama uses EU to confront Israel with tough interlinked choices: borders or nuclear-armed Iran

By Dave Robbins

It doesn’t take a political genius to see how US Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival in Amman Tuesday, July 16, for his sixth bid to bring Israelis and the Palestinians to the table, ties in with the new EU anti-Israel funding guidelines published on the same day. Read More: Obama uses EU to confront […]

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Source: Endtime Ministries

Israel will not tolerate external edicts on our borders

By Dave Robbins

After a hasty and urgent meeting at his bureau on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement blasting the European Union over its decision to condition future agreements with Israel on the latter’s recognition of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as occupied territories. Read More: Netanyahu responds to EU: Israel […]

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Source: Endtime Ministries