Ukraine Military Routed As Russia Talks Tough
Ukraine Military Routed As Russia Talks Tough
AirAsia Plane Carrying 162 Lost; 3rd Malaysia Airline Shock
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The Ukrainian solders were an easy target as they launched a desperate run to safety. Pounded by a gauntlet of rocket shells, blown up in their vehicles, they died by the dozens. In fields around the eastern Ukrainian village of Novokaterynivka, more than thirty army vehicles lay charred and pulverized into twisted piles of metal Tuesday — the result of a devastating weekend ambush by separatist forces. The rout marked a major intensification in the separatists' offensive in eastern Ukraine — one that the government in Kiev, NATO and the United States say has been sustained by Russia's direct military support. Moscow's aggressive stance toward Ukraine has come in both words and deeds of late, fueled by attacks like those in Novokaterynivka as well as a leaked report that EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Vladimir Putin told him that Russia could take over Kiev "in two weeks" if it wished. The separatists, after having a month of setbacks in which government troops regained territory, have been inordinately successful in the last 10 days just as columns of Russian tanks and armored vehicles have been seen crossing the border.
An astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia turned worse Sunday when an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people disappeared over stormy Indonesian waters, with no word on its fate despite several hours of searching by air and sea. AirAsia Flight 8501 vanished in airspace possibly thick with dense storm clouds, strong winds and lightning on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. Searchers had to fight against heavy rain. The Malaysia-based carrier's loss comes on top of the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July over Ukraine. At the Surabaya airport, shocked family members pored over the plane's manifest, crying and embracing when they learned the news. Nearly all the passengers and crew are Indonesians, who are frequent visitors to Singapore, particularly on holidays.
Ground zero for the grassroots effort here to persuade Elizabeth Warren to run for president is headquartered in a small office park where a yard sign taped to a door is the only marker of the activity inside. One recent weekday afternoon, about 20 volunteers in Des Moines, Iowa gathered to strategize about how to convince their friends and neighbors -- and most importantly the Massachusetts senator -- that she needs to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Nick Jonas is pulling double duty ... hosting The Kids Choice Awards and, maybe more importantly, delivering booze to thirsty ladies. TMZ spoke with Angela Mayhew who says that Jonas came to her West Hollywood apartment with a bottle of pinot grigio for her and her friends. But he didn't stop there ... she tells TMZ Jonas joined in on the fun, having a glass himself and playing two songs. Don't worry, Nick's not pulling a Zayn Malik ... he merely teamed up with Saucey -- an app that delivers alcohol straight to homes -- for a one night promotion.
Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi demanded on Saturday that Houthi rebels in his country surrender. At an Arab League meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Hadi called on rebels to give up territory they took in recent offensives, and demanded that their leaders turn themselves over to government forces. The president added that Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels will continue until they cease fighting. According to Al Jazeera, Hadi stated Operation Decisive Storm will not cease until safety and security are grasped for the Yemeni people. The president fled to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, as rebels approached the southern city of Aden, after Houthis took over Yemen's capital of Sanaa. Saudi Arabia began blasting Houthi positions from the sky on Wednesday in an attempt to stop the advance.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stirred up controversy this week when he signed a "religious freedom" bill into law. The law has businesses and civil rights groups up in arms and threatening -- or in some cases pledging -- to boycott the state. It's not so much that religious freedom has suddenly become controversial, but rather critics of the bill assert the law could be used by individuals and businesses to discriminate on the basis of religion -- particularly against the LGBT community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. That's a claim Pence has thoroughly rejected: "This bill is not about discrimination. And if I thought it was about discrimination I would have vetoed it." But civil liberties and gay rights groups assert that the law could be used by businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation and justify that discrimination based on their religious belief.
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