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Pro-Moscow separatists stay put despite Ukraine PM's overtures DONETSK: Pro-Russian separatists retained control of key government buildings in eastern Ukraine Saturday despite a vow by the country's premier to cede more power to the regions, amid rising tensions between Russia and the West.Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's promise came during a visit Friday to the coal mining region of Donetsk as militants armed with Kalashnikovs barricaded themselves inside the local government building and demanded a referendum on joining Russia.That and a similar occupation of the state security office of the eastern city of Lugansk presents Ukraine's untested leaders with their biggest challenge since their February ouster of a Kremlin-backed president and decision to strike an alliance with the West.Meanwhile the United States slapped sanctions on seven architects of Crimea's de facto split from Ukraine last month.The new Treasury sanctions escalated the tit-for-tat row between Russia and the West over Ukraine after Moscow threatened to cut off gas supplies to ...

Italy reports 900 migrants rescued at sea ROME: Italy has rescued 896 migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat overnight, the navy said on Friday, after the government warned of an "emergency" caused by a surge in new arrivals.Three navy warships and two coast guard patrol boats took on the migrants in the Mediterranean and they were then transferred to other vessels and taken to ports in Sicily, the navy said in a statement.In Geneva, the UN refugee agency UNHCR estimated 6,000 people ...
Putin wants chaos, not invasion, in eastern Ukraine MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin is seeking to maintain influence in Ukraine by fomenting instability in its Russian-speaking eastern regions but will stop short of sending troops there in a Crimea-style swoop, analysts said.Ever since the Kremlin took control of Ukraine's Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea last month and has massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine's border, Europe has been on tenterhooks expecting Putin to occupy eastern Ukraine.But the intractable Russian strongman has been playing ...
Russian lawmakers stripped of voting rights at Council of Europe STRASBOURG: Russian lawmakers at the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly were stripped of their voting rights until the end of 2014 on Thursday over Moscow's annexation of Crimea.The assembly at the Council, a body that promotes cooperation on human rights and democracy between all European countries -- including many states that are not in the European Union -- gathers lawmakers from the parliaments of 47 member states, including 18 Russians and 12 Ukrainians.Copyright AFP (Agence ...
Greek unemployment dips to 26.7pc in January ATHENS: Greece's unemployment rate dipped to 26.7 percent in January from a downwardly revised 27.2 percent in the previous month, the country's statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday. The reading, more than twice the euro zone's average of 11.9 percent in February and still hovering near record highs, reflects the impact of Greece's six-year, austerity-fuelled recession. The seasonally adjusted reading is the lowest unemployment figure since February 2013. Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...
Turkey police arrest dozens in raid on factory strike ISTANBUL: Turkish police on Thursday broke up a protest by employees of a US packaging firm who had occupied their factory in Istanbul for two months to press labour demands, local media reported.Police stormed the plant in Istanbul's Hadimkoy district, on the European side of the bi-continental city, in a dawn operation during which 91 people were detained, the Hurriyet newspaper said.A small group of holdout protesters took to the roof of the factory in ...
Russia says NATO is using Ukraine crisis to boost appeal MOSCOW: Russia's Foreign Ministry accused NATO on Thursday of using the crisis in Ukraine to boost its appeal to members and justify its existence by rallying them against an imaginary threat. "The constant accusations against us by the Secretary General (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) convince us that the alliance is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to rally its ranks in the face of an imaginary external threat to NATO members and to strengthen demand ...


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