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Posts made in March, 2015

Diplomats to continue Iran nuclear talks into Wednesday

By on Mar 31, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are expected to push into Wednesday, U.S. officials said, as diplomats blew past a self-imposed deadline for an agreement and struggled to reach consensus on the difficult issues of sanctions, enrichment research and future constraints. The Obama administration had set March 31 as a deadline for a broad political agreement. But the decision to keep talking suggests negotiators believe an agreement of some form is still possible. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said the State Department’s acting spokesperson, Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”‎ Earlier, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington that negotiators had determined “they’re going to continue these conversations tomorrow” if necessary and will talk “as long as the conversations continue to be productive.” Earnest also said that President Obama was being closely briefed on the talks and would likely speak directly Tuesday with U.S. negotiators, who are led by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. In a strong indication that an agreement might be imminent, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flew back to Lausanne to take part in the last stretch of talks on Tuesday. He had left the negotiations on Monday, saying he would return only when there was a “realistic” chance of a deal. The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear future have stretched on for more than a decade. In the current talks, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have been seeking restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that would extend for a 15-year period, in exchange for a phased easing of the international sanctions that have hamstrung its economy. Blocking Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons has been a top priority of the White House since Obama assumed office in 2009 and, before that, under President George W. Bush. Kerry, who spent Monday in meetings that dragged on until close to midnight, began the day Tuesday at 6 a.m. with a working breakfast with the U.S. negotiating team. At 7:30 a.m., the Iranians started meeting with diplomats from all six nations conducting the negotiations. [Poll: Clear majority supports nuclear deal with Iran] Even...

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Reports: Video found in wreckage shows Germanwings flight’s final seconds

By on Mar 31, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

Dusseldorf, Germany (CNN)[Breaking news update, posted at 4:11 p.m. ET] Lt. Col. Jean-Marc Menichini, a French Gendarmerie spokesman in charge of communications on rescue efforts around the Germanwings crash site, told CNN that the Paris Match and Bild reports of a video recorded in the final seconds before the crash were “completely wrong” and “unwarranted.” He explained that cell phones have been collected on the site but that they “hadn’t been exploited yet.” [Previous story, posted at 2:09 p.m. ET] (CNN) — Video found in the wreckage on a French mountainside shows the nightmarish final seconds of Germanwings Flight 9525, reports said Tuesday. Taken on a cell phone, the video “was so chaotic that it was hard to identify people, but the sounds of the screaming passengers made it perfectly clear that they were aware of what was about to happen to them,” according to the French magazine Paris Match, which obtained the video along with the German newspaper Bild. “One can hear cries of ‘My God’ in several languages. Metallic banging can also be heard more than three times, perhaps of the pilot trying to open the cockpit door with a heavy object. Towards the end, after a heavy shake, stronger than the others, the screaming intensifies. Then nothing,” Paris Match reports. The two publications described the video but did not post the video itself. Lufthansa, meanwhile, announced that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz told his Lufthansa flight training school in 2009 that he had a “previous episode of severe depression.” What was mental state of Germanwings co-pilot? The airline is sharing that information and documents — including training and medical records — with public prosecutors. Authorities have said Lubitz purposely crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people aboard. His girlfriend knew he had psychological issues but “did not know the extent of the problems,” a European government official briefed on the investigation into last week’s crash told CNN on Tuesday. The girlfriend told investigators the couple were working through the issues together and “were optimistic” they could solve the problems; she was just as surprised as everyone else by what he did to the plane, the source says. The girlfriend also told...

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George Jonas: How terrorism made tragic Germanwings crash possible

By on Mar 30, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

The authorities are unanimous. They say on Tuesday the co-pilot of a Lufthansa subsidiary called Germanwings deliberately flew his passenger jet into a mountain in the French Alps. There were no survivors. Flight 9525, an Airbus A320, was virtually pulverized and all 150 souls on board perished. I suggest they were the victims of terrorism. This isn’t to disagree with the conclusion of the investigators. They’ve ample reasons for saying the co-pilot did it. The evidence implicating Andreas Lubitz, 27, a German national, is clearly visible on the radar tapes of air traffic control (ATC) and audible on the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recovered from the wreckage. The radar tapes show Flight 9525 climbing uneventfully after departure from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to its assigned cruising altitude at 38,000 feet, flying level for a few minutes, making a slight course correction, then beginning a steep but controlled descent of more than eight minutes until it impacts the side of a mountain in southern France. The CVR records the last radio exchange with ATC, an acknowledgement of clearance to a waypoint called IRMAR, with the words coming from the flight deck: “Direct IRMAR, merci.” Then we hear the captain, Patrick Sonderheimer, a 6,000-hour veteran of Lufthansa, going for a washroom break, using the standard remark “You have control” as he relinquishes command to his colleague and closes the cockpit door behind himself. It is about a minute later that Flight 9525’s precipitous, unscheduled, unauthorized, but not uncontrolled, descent begins. Puzzled, ATC tries to contact the aircraft. No answer. The captain returns, punches in the required code to open the cockpit door, but it has been bolted from inside. The captain knocks. No answer. The captain tries the intercom. No answer. The captain bangs. No answer. ATC is calling on the radio. No answer. The French scramble a Mirage fighter jet for a closer look. The captain tries to break down the door. No answer, except some passengers are beginning to scream. The weather is clear, and in the unlimited visibility the rocky slopes are coming up fast. Some medical condition could render a pilot unconscious, but locking the cockpit door from inside so as to disable the electric code that permits...

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1 dead after driver tries to ram gate at NSA headquarters

By on Mar 30, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

Two men dressed as women tried to ram the gate of the National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade with an SUV Monday morning, resulting in a shooting that left one person dead, according to an official and sources familiar with the investigation. After the gate was rammed around 9:30 local time, a guard reportedly got into an argument with the men and gunfire erupted. It is believed that the guard shot one or both of the men, who were taken to local hospitals to be treated, sources told Fox News. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT A senior U.S. official told Fox News that one of the two people in the car is dead. A separate source says the other person has been taken to a hospital and is undergoing shock trauma, while an officer has been injured in the arm. Chad Jones, a spokesman at Fort Meade, told The Associated Press that emergency responders are on the scene. At least one person on a stretcher being wheeled to an ambulance appeared to be in uniform, WUSA-TV reports. There are two vehicles with damage outside the gate. FBI spokeswoman Amy J. Thoreson said the shooting scene is contained and the incident is not believed to be linked to terrorism. The agency is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted, she said. The National Security Agency is handling the investigation with assistance from the FBI, who are doing interviews with witnesses. “The President has been briefed on this morning’s incident at the National Security Agency and will be updated as appropriate,” said White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz. Fort Meade, located in Maryland, is home to around 11,000 military personnel and 29,000 civilian employees, according to its website. Click for more from MyFoxDC.com. Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this...

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Iran, powers explore compromises aimed at breaking nuclear impasse, officials …

By on Mar 29, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

LAUSANNE – Iran and the six major world powers were exploring possible compromises aimed at breaking an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday, though officials cautioned that they still had no agreement and were unable to move on several sticking points.   Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter   In a significant development in talks aimed at securing a preliminary nuclear deal, several officials said Tehran had indicated a willingness to accept fewer than 6,000 nuclear centrifuges and sending most of its enriched uranium stockpiles for storage in Russia.   Related articles: Netanyahu: Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis must be stopped Yemen is just part of Iran’s Mideast master plan US accusations of Israeli espionage – why now?     Western powers, on the other hand, were considering the idea of allowing Iran to conduct limited, closely monitored enrichment-related work for medical purposes at an underground facility called Fordow, the officials added on condition of anonymity.   Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back over the emerging agreement, calling it worse than he had feared and insisting that the “Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis” must be stopped.    Negotiations in Lausanne (Photo: Reuters)   “After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincers movement in the south as well in order to take over and conquer the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous for humanity and needs to be stopped,” Netanyahu said, drawing a line between Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the actions of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen.   Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled plans to fly to Boston for a ceremony in honor of his late friend Edward Kennedy in order to stay in Switzerland, where nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers are ongoing.   Officials close to the talks also confirmed the French and German foreign ministers, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had cancelled a planned joint trip to Kazakhstan.     “We’re hopeful, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Fabius told reporters on Sunday....

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