The US government says it is going to sell an Iranian skyscraper in New York City in favor of anti-Tehran plaintiffs.
According to a court document filed on Thursday, the US government agreed to distribute the proceeds from the sale of the Iranian-owned skyscraper to the plaintiffs.
This is the latest step in a long-running case that alleges the building, owned by Iran’s Alavi Foundation, has been used for activities that violate the US law.
The Alavi Foundation is an Iranian non-profit organization that promotes Islamic culture and Persian language.
In March last year, a court ruled that the skyscraper is subject to the US government forfeiture, but it did not specify whether the government or the private plaintiffs had priority over the properties.
The 36-story, 382,500 square-foot (35,535 square-meter) building is located on the Fifth Avenue in New York.
Colombia’s Nobel-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez died on April 17, 2014 in Mexico City at the age of 87. Garcia Marquez, the author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” passed away at his home with his wife and two sons by his side.
A woman smells cherry trees in full blossom at Kungstrad garden in Central Stockholm on April 17, 2014.
Honda shows off their new Asimo Robot to the media during the second press preview day at the 2014 New York International Auto Show on April 17, 2014.
US President Barack Obama says Moscow does not want a war with Washington since it knows that the US military is “significantly superior” to Russia’s.
The Russians are “not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians,” Obama said during an interview with CBS News on Wednesday.
He was responding to a question about a Russian fighter jet buzzing a US Navy ship in the Black Sea on Saturday.
“We don’t need a war,” Obama said. “What we do need is a recognition that countries like Ukraine can have relationships with a whole range of their neighbors and it is not up to anybody, whether it is Russia or the United States or anybody else, to make decisions for them.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the US leader accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the unrest in Ukraine.
“What they’ve also done is supported, at minimum, non-state militias in southern and eastern Ukraine and we’ve seen some of the activity that’s been taking place there,” Obama said.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian acting President Olexander Turchynov announced the start of an “anti-terrorist operation” against the protesters after they seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across the country’s eastern provinces.
The aim of the operation is to “protect Ukrainian citizens, to stop the terror, to stop the crime, to stop the attempts to tear our country apart,” Turchynov said.
The White House has backed the Ukrainian government’s military operation against anti-Kiev protesters in the east of the country, urging it to continue to do so in a measured and responsible way.
On Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney stated that Kiev had responded with “admirable restraint” to destabilizing actions in the country by armed men.
Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, the US and the European Union are scheduled to meet in Geneva on Thursday over the Ukraine crisis.
Some US administration officials have said that Washington does not expect a breakthrough in Geneva.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it is expected that more sanctions would be imposed against Russia if there was no progress at the meeting.
Coast guard members searching for passengers near a South Korean ferry that capsized on its way to Jeju island from Incheon on April 16, 2014.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned that Russia faces “serious long-term consequences” over its alleged involvement in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
In his annual Mansion House speech in the City of London on Tuesday, Hague blamed Moscow for pushing Ukraine “to the brink”.
He also claimed the Russian government is making a “grave miscalculation” over the Ukrainian crisis, warning that the coming days could determine the pattern of Moscow’s relations with the West for the future.
“We are at a crucial moment in this crisis. Russia must choose whether it is open to diplomacy and de-escalation, and if it decides otherwise, we must be ready for a different state of relations with Russia in the next 10 years than in the last 20,” he added.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier on the day, Britain’s top diplomat blamed Russia for “instigating unrest” in the eastern parts of Ukraine.
The remarks came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said reports regarding Russia’s “alleged interference” in the former Soviet country are “based on inaccurate information.”
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov announced “an anti-terror operation” in the east of Ukraine amid escalating pro-Russian protests in the region.
According to reports, pro-Moscow activists continue to occupy government, police and other administrative buildings in nearly 10 cities close to the Russian border. Protesters have been demanding local referendums on either independence or integration into Russia.
Pro-Russia sentiment gained momentum in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine after the Crimean territory declared independence from the former Soviet state and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation. Crimea held a referendum on March 16, in which almost 97 percent of the participants voted for rejoining Russia, with a turnout of more than 83 percent.
Demonstrators protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and demand better public transport services, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on April 15, 2014. Brazil has witnessed months of protests against the estimated $11 billion price-tag for the tournament, with demonstrators saying the money would have better spent on improving poor public services.
The pro-Israeli government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making diplomatic and military preparations for military intervention in Syria, leaked documents show.
Canada’s National Defense has drawn up at least five scenarios for the country’s military mission in Syria, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.
In one scenario, Canada recognizes “a legitimate armed opposition group” fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
To justify a war on Syria, the National Defense alludes to “the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Syria, its impact on neighboring countries and … the importance of Middle East stability.”
Daniel Blouin, spokesman for the National Defense, has described such plans as “routine to significant international events.”
Separate documents reveal that Canada has been training alternatives to Assad’s government.
On Monday, the Syrian government said it holds the United States, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia accountable for previous and potential chemical attacks in the Arab country.
In letters addressed to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN Security Council Joy Ogwu, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates stated that the countries involved in the conspiracy against Syria have sought excuses to justify their continued aggression.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
Tensions in Ukraine are running high as special operations have begun in an airfield in the east with fighter jets and helicopters flying over the city of Kramatorsk. Ukrainian troops are clamping down on pro-Russia protesters. A Firefight broke up after Ukrainian forces entered an airfield both via land and air by helicopters. There have been reports of casualties in the airfield which is located between Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. Between 4 to 11 anti-government protesters are reported dead in the operation. Ukraine acting president Turchinov says Kramatorsk airfield has been retaken. This comes as a large number of Ukrainian forces have also entered the neighboring city of Slavyansk.
Is Ukraine headed towards a civil war?
What reaction do you expect from Russia that has described the operation as “criminal”?
Will the growing tensions pit Russia against NATO?
Is a political solution possible at this juncture?