• Disappearing books: How Russia is shuttering its Ukrainian library | Reuters



    By Andrew Osborn | MOSCOW

    First, armed police seized some of its books. Next, its director was put on trial accused of stirring up ethnic hatred. And now, quietly, its shelves have been emptied and its volumes packed up, ready to be merged into another library’s collection.

    A year and a half after Russia’s only state-run Ukrainian language library, Moscow’s Library of Ukrainian Literature, was dragged into a political dispute between the two countries, Reuters has learnt that authorities are quietly winding it down.

    Officially, what is happening to the library — its 52,000 books are being transferred to Russia’s main foreign language library — is “a change of address” not a closure.

    #moscou #russie #ukraine #bibliothèque #littérature #censure #déni

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  • Western Union admits to aiding wire fraud, to pay $586 million | Reuters

    Western Union, which has over half a million locations in more than 200 countries, admitted “to aiding and abetting wire fraud” by allowing scammers to process transactions, even when the company realized its agents were helping scammers avoid detection, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission said in statements.

    With the help of Western Union agents, Chinese immigrants used the service to send hundreds of millions of dollars to pay human smugglers, wiring the money in smaller increments to avoid federal reporting requirements, U.S. authorities said.

    #banques #passeurs #remittances #migrations

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  • Indian Kashmir protests flare, three killed as army opens fire | Reuters

    Indian soldiers fired on a stone-throwing crowd defying a curfew in the Kashmir region, killing three people, police said on Tuesday, as unrest sparked by the death of a separatist militant flared.

    Authorities have imposed a curfew in Muslim-majority Kashmir for 11 days, blocked mobile phones and briefly ordered curbs on newspapers to stop people from gathering and to control the worst outbreak of violence there in six years.

    Late on Monday, protesters blocked a road and threw stones at an army convoy.

    “Some miscreants then tried to snatch weapons from the army and tried to set vehicles on fire,” a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

    The army opened fire after the protesters refused to heed warnings and two women were killed, the spokesman said.

    A third person died in hospital on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 42 since protests erupted on July 9 over the killing of Burhan Wani, 22, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, the previous day.

    About 3,500 people have been hurt, many with eye injuries caused by pellets Indian forces have been firing from a non-lethal weapon. The injuries have fueled anger.

    Kashmir is India’s only Muslim-majority state and has been contentious since India and Muslim Pakistan were carved out of British-ruled India and declared independent in 1947.

    Both sides rule the Himalayan region in part but claim it in full and India has long accused Pakistan of arming separatists battling Indian forces in its part of Kashmir. Pakistan denies that.

    The young militant Wani represented a new generation of fighters in a region where alienation runs deep even though attacks have fallen dramatically since the revolt broke out in 1989.

    India’s interior minister, Rajnath Singh, said he had ordered security forces to exercise restraint. He told parliament he would visit Kashmir soon and hold talks with people “whose pain is being felt by every Indian”.

    The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which has advocated a tough stand on Kashmir, shares power with a regional party in Kashmir and has been criticized for failing to address grievances.

    The publisher of Kashmir’s largest-circulation newspaper said authorities had asked him to resume publication after police seized newspapers over the weekend and shut down cable television, saying it was necessary to stop people from fomenting trouble.

    But Abdul Rashid Mukhdoomi, printer and publisher of Greater Kashmir, said he was meeting other publishers to decide whether to resume publication under the curfew.

    Militants claiming to be “brothers close” to Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent had called on social media for people in Kashmir to attack Indian forces, U.S. intelligence group SITE said on Monday.

    (Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Robert Birsel)

    #Inde #Cachemire

  • Exclusive: Iran renews oil contracts with China, taps new buyers | Reuters

    Iran is taking steps to ramp up oil exports ahead of an end to U.S.-led sanctions, extending crude contracts with its top two Chinese buyers into 2016 and starting talks with other potential buyers there, sources involved in the talks said.

    Previously OPEC’s No.2 exporter, Iran is keen to recoup oil market share lost during U.S. and European Union sanctions over its nuclear program and is aiming to boost oil output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) - equal to about 50 percent of current exports - in early 2016.

    Sinopec Corp (0386.HK), Asia’s largest refiner, and Chinese state trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp will together lift around 505,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran in 2016, the same as this year when they took roughly half of the Islamic Republic’s total exports, the sources said.

    China bought 536,500 bpd of Iranian crude oil in the 10 months to end-October, down 1.9 percent on a year ago as a third regular client, independent Dragon Aromatics, halted purchases for safety checks after a fire in April.[O/CHINA1]

    Anticipating an end to sanctions at the start of 2016, Tehran last week offered about 50 oil and gas projects to be developed by foreign investors, and over the weekend unveiled much-awaited revisions to its contract aimed at luring back investors.

    Any increase in Iranian exports will be politically sensitive as it threatens oil revenues of other major exporters such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, but the tone of recent comments from Washington and Europe points to a lightening in trade restrictions early in 2016.


    Iranian oil officials have met in the last two months with traders at PetroChina (0857.HK), the country’s second-largest state refiner, and state-run CNOOC, which runs a petrochemical complex with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), three sources involved in the talks said.

    China’s state-owned energy companies have been reticent to boost contractual volumes or sign up new term deals under the sanctions because of fears about the international repercussions.

    But they are becoming less fearful of the political fallout as the prospect of the ban being lifted draws near.

    “[The] companies are waiting for firmer news on the lifting of sanctions before making any commitments,” said one trading executive.

    #Chine #Iran #Pétrole

  • China, Southeast Asia to set up hotline for South China Sea issues | Reuters

    China and Southeast Asian nations have agreed to set up a foreign ministers’ hotline to tackle emergencies in the disputed South China Sea, a senior official of the ASEAN grouping told Reuters on Friday.

    China claims most of the potentially energy-rich sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and rejects the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

    With the region having become Asia’s biggest potential military flashpoint, the United States has urged claimants to settle differences through talks, saying its Pacific Fleet aims to protect sea lanes critical to U.S. trade.

    But China rejects U.S. involvement in the dispute, and its more assertive approach recently, including land reclamation and construction on disputed reefs, has stirred tension.

    The hotline will be announced at next week’s meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said the senior ASEAN official, who has knowledge of the discussions.

    “The hotline is likely to be announced in a joint statement at the end of the meetings,” said the official, who declined to be identified because the talks were private.

    #Chine #Asean #Mer_de_Chine