News Column

EFE News Briefs for Tuesday, Aug. 26

August 26, 2014

Putin calls for start of Ukraine peace process as soon as possible

Moscow (EFE).- Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the launching of a peace process "as soon as possible" in eastern Ukraine, the scene in recent months of heavy combat between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

"For its part, Russia will do everything possible to (push) this peace process. This process must begin as soon as possible," Putin said to the Russian press after the summit in Minsk with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

After meeting for the first time without mediators with the Ukrainian president, Putin emphasized that Moscow will not impose conditions for a cease-fire in Ukraine.

Putin said that he had agreed with Poroshenko to quickly resume meetings of the Contact Group consisting of Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, in Minsk to find a way to resolve the conflict.

Meanwhile, both countries also have decided to cooperate in providing humanitarian aid to the city of Lugansk, which is controlled by the rebels but has been besieged for weeks by Ukrainian government forces.


Israel, Hamas agree on long-term truce

Gaza/Jerusalem (EFE).- Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas reached an agreement to end the war in Gaza that has gone on for 50 days, a pact that according to Egyptian and Palestinian sources includes the gradual lifting of the Israeli economic blockade and military seige that have kept the Strip in a stranglehold since 2007.

From the moment the cease-fire went into effect, thousands of people poured into the streets of Gaza to celebrate what they called a victory for the Palestinian people.

But all was not euphoria and joy on a Gaza Strip that for 50 days was blasted by endless devastating airstrikes in which more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians and a quarter of them chidren, while more than 11,000 people were wounded.

The accord was announced by Hamas at around 5:00 p.m. and was confirmed two hours later by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and by the Egyptian government, which had successfully mediated the pact.


Disturbances break out at 2 other Brazilian prisons

Rio de Janeiro (EFE).- One prisoner died and another 30 were injured in rebellions at two separate jails in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, a few hours after rioters at a penitentiary in Parana state ended the uprising that left five inmates dead and 25 injured, authorities said.

The worst incident in Minas Gerais took place Monday night at the municipal jail of Campestre, where a group of inmates, in protest against a judge's decision to close the facility and transfer them to other prisons, set fire to their mattresses and started a blaze that soon went out of control.

Eight of the inmates had to be taken to hospitals with serious burns while another died.


Obama warns of long, hard fight against Islamic State

Washington (EFE).- Defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant will require a long and arduous struggle, President Barack Obama said, while reiterating that he will not commit U.S. ground forces to the conflict.

"Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won't be easy and it won't be quick," he said in a speech to the American Legion National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"But tyrants and murderers before them should recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people who stand together, the security and dignity and freedom that is the birthright of every human being," the president said.

The president also had a message for the ISIL members who murdered U.S. journalist James Foley: "America does not forget, our reach is long, we are patient, justice will be done."


Marco Rubio warns Obama against unilateral action on deportation

Washington (EFE).- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned President Barack Obama that use of his executive authority to curb deportations would "close to the door" to immigration reform.

The lawmaker sent a message to the president addressing the potential measures that Obama could take, given the inability of Congress to prepare a bill on comprehensive immigration reform, a task that has been blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

"It is my sincere belief that if we can bring illegal immigration under control and modernize our legal immigration system, then the American people and a majority of their representatives in Congress would be willing to reasonably and responsibly address the issue of millions of people currently in this nation illegally," Rubio wrote.


Rosetta space probe identifies 5 possible landing sites on comet

Paris (EFE).- After traveling through the Solar System for 10 years, the Rosetta space probe at the beginning of August reached its destination, Comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and now the best place for its Philae module to land in November must be selected from among the five possible locations already identified.

The landing "site must balance the technical needs of the orbiter and lander during all phases of the separation, descent, and landing," the European Space Agency, or ESA, said in a communique.

The spacecraft will launch Philae, a module weighing some 100 kilos (220 lbs.) that will land on the surface of the comet when it is still 450 million kilometers (280 million miles) from the Sun, before activity on the comet "reaches levels that might jeopardise the safe and accurate deployment of Philae to the comet's surface."

The place must also be ideally suited for "operations on the surface with the scientific requirements of the 10 instruments on board Philae," ESA experts said.



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Source: EFE Ingles

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