News Alerts

Ukraine to push on with army offensive, row grows over Russian fighters reports

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s government vowed on Friday to press ahead with a military offensive against separatists, despite a deadly attack on an army helicopter, amid increasing reports that volunteer fighters from Russia were involved in rebellions in the east.

President-elect Petro Poroshenko, who scored an overwhelming first-round victory in a poll on May 25, swore to punish those responsible for the shooting down on Thursday of the helicopter near Slaviansk, which killed 14 servicemen including a general.

Acting Defence Minister Mykhilo Koval, repeating charges that Russia was carrying out “special operations” in the east of Ukraine, said on Friday that Ukrainian forces would continue with military operations in border areas “until these regions begin to live normally, until there is peace”.

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Shelly Sterling: Trust agrees to sell Clippers to Steve Ballmer

The sale of the Clippers continued on its bizarre journey late Thursday night when representatives of co-owner Shelly Sterling sent out a media release that the Sterling family trust has agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Shelly Sterling asserted that she is acting as the sole trustee, with no mention of Donald Sterling, who bought the team three decades ago.

Donald Sterling’s lawyers have asserted that he needs a final sign-off before the team can be sold. However, according to two media reports,  Shelly Sterling has said her husband was not capable of making the decision to sell the team. The Times has not verified that report.

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China Bans Windows 8 on Government PCs

Microsoft is facing another hurdle in its bid to encourage adoption of Windows 8: China has reportedly banned Redmond’s latest OS on government computers.

As reported by the official Xinhua news agency, all desktops, laptops, and tablets used by central state agencies must run on an OS other than Windows 8, according to China’s Central Government Procurement Center.

“All computer products are not allowed to install [the] Windows 8 operating system,” says a translated post on the center’s website.

The center did not specify why it was banning Windows 8, but Xinhua said the country wants to avoid losing support for an operating system like it did recently with Windows XP. Last month, Redmond stopped providing support for the aging operating system, despite the fact that many public and private users were still using it.

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Thailand’s tourist attractions open despite martial law decree

Soldiers have been positioned on street corners after months of anti-government protests but Thailand’s army chief has denied the intervention is a military coup and the caretaker government remains in office.

Troops have also been positioned at television stations and some parts of the media are being censored, with 10 satellite and online TV channels prohibited from broadcasting, including one owned by the son of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Social media users have been warned against posting comments which incite conflict and violence.

But Bangkok residents report that it has been a relatively quiet day otherwise. Some locals were even spotted taking “selfie” pictures with soldiers.

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Aaron Hernandez charged in 2012 double homicide

(CNN) – Ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012 killings of two men in Boston, authorities said Thursday.

Hernandez, 24, could be arraigned as early as next week. He already has been arrested, has been charged and is being jailed in a separate case: the 2013 slaying of a semipro football player.

A grand jury had been looking into whether Hernandez played a role in the 2012 slayings, in which Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado were killed while they were in a car near a Boston nightclub.

In addition to the two counts of first-degree murder in Abreu and Furtado’s deaths, Hernandez has also been charged with three counts of armed assault with intent to murder and one count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a Thursday news conference.

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California wildfires set relentless pace months before typical season

San Diego residents are bracing for a second day of wildfires, with temperatures expected to hit a high of 106 degrees, after at least nine fires closed schools and roads forced more than 21,000 people from their homes on Wednesday.

Thousands remain perched in front of their television sets, watching local broadcast team coverage of wildfires and hoping the wind won’t bring the fire and smoke toward their own communities.

For many Californians, the wildfire season has settled into expectation and habit. But this year, the highly flammable combination of record heat, the seasonal Santa Ana winds, and lack of rain are exacerbating the problem and producing severe fire conditions several months ahead of the usual fire season.

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What Donald Sterling gets wrong about Magic Johnson, HIV and history

When CNN first released excerpts of disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s sit-down with anchor Anderson Cooper, one of the odder moments in the highlight reel was Sterling’s criticisms of Magic Johnson as a role model. The full interview revealed the reason: Sterling thinks Johnson is an embarrassment because of his sexual history and the fact that he is HIV positive.

That is an ugly, retrograde sentiment that shames people who contracted the virus because of their sexual history. And Sterling also profoundly misunderstands the ways in which Johnson’s HIV diagnosis actually led him to make enormous contributions. Johnson has not just been a role model to the “children of Los Angeles” Sterling said should be his focus, but also an ambassador who changed America’s understanding of his disease.

When Johnson revealed his HIV status in 1991, many Americans still thought that the disease was limited to gay men, and in particular to white gay men, even as the virus jumped populations. Johnson alluded to that in his remarkable news conference announcing his diagnosis and his retirement from the Lakers.

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Google Must Honor Requests to Delete Some Links, E.U. Court Says

BRUSSELS — The highest court in the European Union decided on Tuesday that Google must grant users of its search engine a right to delete links about themselves in some cases, including links to legal records.

The decision by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is a blow for Google, which has sought to avoid the obligation to remove links when requested by European users of its service.

By ruling that an Internet company like Google must comply with European privacy laws when operating in the European Union — a consumer market of about 550 million people — the court is indicating that such companies must operate in a fundamentally different way than they do in the United States.

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Tom Wheeler scrambles to salvage net neutrality plan

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is on the clock and scrambling to salvage his controversial net neutrality plan as the commission counts down to a crucial vote on Thursday.

According to FCC officials, he circulated his latest revisions Monday — trying to pick up the two votes he needs to pass the notice of proposed rule-making to ensure an open Internet.

In the most significant change, Wheeler will seek public comment on whether the FCC should reclassify broadband as a communications utility, giving the agency authority to regulate Internet rates and services as it does with telephone companies, according to commission officials. Net neutrality advocates favor that option as more robust, but it’s opposed by telecoms that fear it will give the government too much power over their business.

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Clay Aiken’s Democratic challenger dies at his home after ‘accidental fall’

 

The entrepreneur who was locked in a too-close-to-call Democratic primary with former “American Idol” singer Clay Aiken died Monday, his family said.

Keith Crisco, 71, died “after an accidental fall” at his home in Asheboro, about 65 miles west of Raleigh, according to a statement from his family.

“He was a remarkable man with a tremendous dedication to his family and to public service,” the statement said.

Aiken was leading Crisco by fewer than 400 votes after the contest last Tuesday. Unless Crisco can come from behind during a final tally of the votes this week, Aiken will be the nominee, spokesman Josh Lawson said. If Crisco does win, local Democrats would select the nominee, Lawson said.

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