27 Apr

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Clinton Foundation admits ‘mistakes’ on how it listed foreign donations

  • Acting CEO: ‘We made mistakes, as many organisations of our size do’
  • Clinton Cash author Schweizer calls for urgent investigation of donations

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton The Clinton Foundation issued a statement on Sunday, in which it admitted it ‘made mistakes’ over the listing of donations from foreign governments on its tax forms. Photograph: Johnny Louis/WireImage

The Clinton Foundation issued a statement on Sunday in which it admitted it “made mistakes” over the listing of donations from foreign governments on its tax forms. At the same time, the author of a forthcoming book, which alleges that donors to the family’s interests may have received government favours , called for an urgent investigation.

Barely into her run for the White House in 2016, Hillary Clinton is already engulfed in controversy over donations, political influence and transparency.

On Sunday morning, Maura Pally, acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation – which is run by the former secretary of state, her husband the former president Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea – published the statement on its website. Pally explained that the foundation will probably have to re-file tax forms for “some” years, following a voluntary external review.

While total revenue for the charitable foundation had been properly reported, the statement said, grants received from foreign governments had not been separated from other donations.

“Our error was that government grants were mistakenly combined with other donations,” Pally wrote. She continued: “So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they do not happen in the future.”

She also pointed out that the grants always had been properly listed and broken out and “available for anyone to see” on the foundation’s audited financial statements, which were posted on its website.

Pally added that the foundation was committed to being operated responsibly and effectively.

The statement came as author Peter Schweizer was appearing on the Sunday political talk shows and calling for investigations into donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. His book, Clinton Cash, will be published on 5 May.

Schweizer appeared on Fox News Sunday and ABC’s This Week and in both cases called attention to what he said was a “troubling pattern” of behaviour in which donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign interests coincided with controversial US government decisions favouring those interests, including decisions made at the State Department when Clinton was secretary of state.

He compared the situation to insider trading or corruption, in which there may not be direct proof of a criminal quid pro quo taking place, but where there is a pattern of behaviour that warrants attention.

“It’s a very extensive pattern,” he told Fox.

Asked on ABC if there was a “smoking gun” that would show corrupt links, he said: “The smoking gun is the pattern.”………………………


Mourners pay respects to Freddie Gray after night of violence in Baltimore

  • People queue to file past the 25-year-old’s coffin on Sunday
  • Follows arrest of 34 people in protests on Saturday night

A mourner wipes her face after paying her respects for Freddie Gray at a funeral home in Baltimore on Sunday. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Mourners filed for hours past the coffin of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on Sunday as they paid respects following a night of violent protests.

All afternoon, a steady stream of people entered the funeral home for a wake for the 25-year-old black man who died a week after an encounter with police left him with grave spinal injuries.

Mourners also gathered outside the funeral home, Vaughn Green East. Some held up signs that read, “We remember Freddie” and “Our Hearts Are With The Gray Family”.

Melissa McDonald, 36, who said she was Gray’s cousin, wore a shirt with “Freddie Forever” printed on the back. She described her cousin as a non-violent person.

“He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” she said……………….


Other News & Analysis

·         Cruz and Paul battle same-sex marriage and abortion at Iowa faith gathering

·         Lesson from Blue Bell recall: producers should ‘assume food is not safe’

·         Inside the US ‘border industrial complex': spy tech meets immigration crackdown

          LAPD’s reforms since Rodney King beating offer hope amid police violence

·         Beyond gay marriage: Idaho LGBT advocates battle legal discrimination



The week in wildlife – in pictures

City macaws, ring-tailed lemurs, and coyotes in New York are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world





Shell lobbied to undermine EU renewables targets, documents reveal

Weak renewable energy goals for 2030 originated with Shell pitch for gas as a key technology for Europe to cut its carbon emissions in an affordable way

A visitor leaves the U.K. headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in London, U.K., on May 23, 2013.

A key part of EU’s emissions cuts agreement – to not have binding clean energy targets for member states – was proposed by Shell. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Shell successfully lobbied to undermine European renewable energy targets ahead of a key agreement on emissions cuts reached in October last year, newly released documents reveal.

At the time of the deal European commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, said: “This package is very good news for our fight against climate change.” Adding: “No player in the world is as ambitious as the EU.”

But it now appears that a key part of the agreement – which was championed by the UK government – was proposed by a Shell lobbyist as early as October 2011.

At the 2014 meeting heads of government agreed a 40% overall target for the bloc’s emissions cuts, but in the run up to the deal there had been disagreement between member states about how best to achieve that. The UK and others had resisted binding targets for individual member states on energy efficiency and renewable energy and these did not make it into the final agreement. Proponents of renewable energy say this was a key missed opportunity to give a strong signal to investors that the EU was serious about clean energy.

Now documents released to the Guardian under freedom of information laws show that as far back as October 2011, Shell had begun lobbying the Barroso, who was succeeded by Jean-Claude Juncker last November, to scrap the bloc’s existing formula for linking carbon-cutting goals with binding renewable energy laws.

27 Apr

United States Wars, News and Casualties


White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths

Afghan girl

War  News

 Iraqi News

Security forces enters al-Taqsim area after expelled ISIS from it

Apr 26, 2015

( Baghdad – On Sunday, Baghdad Operations Command announced, that the Iraqi security forces have managed to enter the area of Nazim al-Taqsim, asserting that the area has been fully liberated from the ISIS…

Army wounds ISIS commander of al-Jazirah district, says Samarra Operations

Apr 26, 2015

( Samarra – On Sunday, Samarra Operations Command announced, that the ISIS commander (Wali) of al-Jazirah district has been wounded in an artillery strike by the army forces. Samarra Operations said in a statement obtained…

Security forces repel ISIS attack on al-Baghdadi district, Anbar

Apr 26, 2015

( Al-Anbar – On Sunday, member of al-Baghdadi Provincial Council in al-Anbar province, Najim Abdullah, announced, that the Iraqi security forces managed to repel an attack by the ISIS group militants on the residential areas of the district…


Volunteer forces kill, wound 45 ISIS fighters, repel attack on southern Kirkuk

Apr 26, 2015

( Kirkuk – On Sunday, a security source within al-Hashed al-Sha’bi al-Turkmani militia in Kirkuk province revealed, that the militia repelled an ISIS attack on southern Kirkuk and managed to kill and wound around 45…

ISIS burns oil depots in Baiji, smoke covers Salahuddin’s sky

Apr 26, 2015

  ( Salahuddin – A security source in Salahuddin announced on Sunday, that ISIS has burned some oil depots in Baiji north of Tikrit, emphasizing that black smoke has covered the sky in the province,

4 killed, 24 injured in Kilani explosions in central Baghdad

Apr 26, 2015

  ( Baghdad – A source within the Iraqi police announced, that the outcome of Kilani explosion in central Baghdad is four civilians dead and 24 injured. The source said in an interview for, “A car bomb exploded…

Joint Special Operations Command denies execution of 140 Iraqi soldiers by ISIS in Thar…

Apr 26, 2015

  ( Baghdad – Joint Special Operations Command denied on Saturday, the execution of 140 Iraqi soldiers by ISIS in Thar Thar area north of Ramadi. Spokesman for the command, Brigadier Saad Maan said in an interview for…

ISIS claims responsibility for Trebil bombings

Apr 26, 2015

  ( On Saturday, the ISIS group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings that targeted Trebil border between Iraq and Jordan, pointing out that the attack was carried out by suicide bombers from Belgium, France…while pointed to…


Coalition Deaths

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26 Apr

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Spies, artificial insemination and the pope: how Cuba came in from the cold

The restoration of US relations with the Castro regime is seen by many as a triumph for Barack Obama. The story of how it happened is extraordinary

Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands in Panama City. Photograph: ReutersBehind the faded doors of what once ranked among the grandest diplomatic buildings in Washington, a team of craftsmen have flown in from Havana to quietly restore the old Cuban embassy to its former glory.Empty for two decades after the revolution and occupied since then by a “Cuban interests” section that is officially part of the Swiss embassy, the mission has been frozen in a cold war time warp as rigid and unforgiving as its government’s relationship with the US.Ceiling fans, dark wood panels and the even darker coffee served to guests suggest hints of Havana. Yet the 110-year-old mansion on 16th Street flies no flag and its half-dozen Cuban diplomats are not even allowed US bank accounts, receiving only cash from home and rumoured surveillance from the Americans.But Cuba is coming in from the cold. After this month’s historic meeting with President Raúl Castro in Panama, Barack Obama’s decision to remove the communist government from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism has dismantled the final barrier to normalising relations, clearing the way to finish a secret deal that was first announced to incredulous international onlookers in December.To the shock, too, of some of those who work there, a rapid thaw in diplomatic relations could soon see the Washington embassy’s formal reopening – and by the look of the refurbished Ernest Hemingway bar, dusted-down chandeliers and polished new ballroom floor, it will be quite a party.Yet as the dust settles from these tumultuous few months and both countries look forward to an opening up of trade and tourism that could transform both Cuba and the reputation of the US in Latin America, several mysteries remain.Why now, after so many years of false starts? How did negotiations that appeared deadlocked over US demands for the unconditional release of Cuba’s prisoner Alan Gross get resolved? Who persuaded two countries that once brought the world to the brink of nuclear war to trust each other again?………………untitled

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26 Apr

Sunday Enjoyment – Trans-Pacific Speculation


The Strip


Trans-Pacific Speculation


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