Egypt Independent: World-Main news en US warns G7 of global economy 'accident' without Greece deal <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The United States warned on Friday of a possible accident for the world economy if Greece and its creditors miss their June deadlines to avert a debt default.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Germany said there was no sign of a breakthrough.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With Athens struggling to make repayments due next month, the debt stand-off between Greece and its European Union partners overshadowed a meeting of policymakers from the Group of Seven rich nations otherwise held to focus on ways to get the global economy growing strongly again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew repeated warnings not to minimize the global stability risk of Greece sliding out of the eurozone, even if most of its debt is no longer held by commercial banks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There is great uncertainty in there at a time when the world needs greater stability and certainty,&quot; Lew told reporters after the G7 meetings.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Greece, which has been stuck in a deep debt crisis for the past five years, is due to pay back 300 million euros (US$329.61 million) to the International Monetary Fund next Friday, although the IMF has said that deadline could be pushed back until later in June.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On June 30, Greece&#39;s bailout expires, meaning it would be unable to call on cash currently available to it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lew said time was precious. &quot;If you look from January until now, too much time has been spent unproductively,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He called for agreement quickly on the broad terms of a deal to avoid the risk of stumbling on difficult details at the last moment: &quot;I think waiting until the day or two before whatever the deadline is, is just a way of courting an accident.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Greek officials earlier this week said they were close to an outline agreement. That claim was quickly quashed by top officials from eurozone countries and the IMF.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble said on Friday there was no indication of a breakthrough. &quot;The positive news from Athens is not fully reflected in the talks,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>France struck a more optimistic note, however, saying officials were not considering the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There is no Grexit scenario,&quot; Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Budgets</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Trying to show that Greece had not dominated their meetings, G7 officials said they had discussed ways to finally put behind them the financial crisis of 2007-09.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Canada and Germany renewed their calls for countries to focus on bringing down their budget deficits as the best way to get their economies growing again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But in a reminder of the long-standing divisions among policymakers over the merits of austerity or public spending, the United States said major economies should consider using fiscal policies to support growth and avoid deflation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The G7 said China was progressing towards having its renmimbi currency included in a basket of currencies used by the IMF. That would be a recognition of Beijing&#39;s clout in the global economy. But Germany said China was unlikely be given the green light this year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The G7 also asked a global bank regulators body, the Financial Stability Fund, to work on a code of conduct for bankers as part of its efforts to make sure the financial services industry does not put the world economy at risk again.</div> Fri, 29 May 2015 16:35:00 +0000 Reuters 2451176 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/05/29/501010/greece_05-29-15.jpg Nine 'ugly' FIFA faces <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Swiss police have arrested nine FIFA officials who will be extradited to the United States, where they face charges of corruption, according to <em>The New York Times</em>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The US Department of Justice said they are charged with irregularities committed over the last 24 years, including extortion, money laundering and misconduct.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Al-Masry Al-Youm</em> is publishing the faces of the officials who have tarnished the FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter, according to the London-based <em>Asharq Al-Awsat</em> newspaper.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="" style="height: 390px; width: 536px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>1. FIFA Vice President Eugenio Figueredo from Uruguay, 83. He was president of the South American Federation between 2013 and 2014 and chairman of the Federation of Uruguay between 1997 and 2006.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>2. Jack Warner from Trinidad and Tobago, 72, minister of national security.He was the president of the CONCACAF between 1990 and 2011, and vice-president of the FIFA until 2011. He was also the CARICOM chairman between 1990 and 2011. He resigned from all his posts on June 11, 2011 to avoid FIFA Ethics Committee procedures against him.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="" style="height: 268px; width: 536px;" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>3. Rafael Esquivel, 68, president of the Federation of Venezuela since 1987.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/jose_maria_marin_05-29-15.jpg" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>4. Jose Maria Marin, 83, president of the Brazilian Federation since 2012. He was the chairman of the 2014 World Cup organizing committee, and governor of Sao Paulo between 1982 and 1983.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="" style="height: 279px; width: 536px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>5. Nicolas Leoz, 83, the former president of the Federation of Paraguay. He was the president of the South American Federation between 1986 and 2013. he retired for health reasons in April 2013.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img src="" style="height: 407px; width: 536px;" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>6. Eduardo Li, president of the Federation of Costa Rica.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/jeffrey_webb.jpg" style="width: 536px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>7. Jeffrey Webb (left),&nbsp;FIFA Vice President 50, head of the Cayman Islands Football Association and chairman of the North and Central America and the Caribbean Union CONCACAF since 2012.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>(picture unavailable)</div><div>8. Julio Rocha, president of the Federation of Nicaragua between 1990 and 2014.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>(picture unavailable)</div><div>9. Costas Takas, former Secretary General of the Federation of the Cayman Islands.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 29 May 2015 15:24:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2451105 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/24/16030/download.jpg Special Report: Russian fighters, caught in Ukraine, cast adrift by Moscow <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>From his hospital bed in the Ukrainian capital, Russian fighter Alexander Alexandrov feels abandoned by his country, its leaders and even the local Russian consul.</p><p>Alexandrov, 28, says he&#39;s a Russian soldier who was captured in east Ukraine after being sent there on active duty with Russian special forces to help separatists fighting Kiev. He said he was serving on a three-year contract. &quot;I never tore it up, I wrote no resignation request,&quot; he said. &quot;I was carrying out my orders.&quot;</p><p>Yet Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the face of widespread evidence to the contrary, has repeatedly said there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine &ndash; only volunteers who have gone to help the separatists of their own accord.</p><p>So Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, another Russian who was captured with him, find themselves pawns in the deepest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.</p><p>They believe they should be treated as captured servicemen. But Moscow will not admit they are any such thing, or that it has sent any soldiers into Ukraine to help wrest swathes of east away from Kiev&#39;s control. To do so would undermine Moscow&#39;s claims that the separatist uprising there is a spontaneous reaction by Russian-speaking communities against Kiev.</p><p>The Kremlin has described the two men as Russian citizens, and Russia&#39;s defence ministry has said they are former soldiers who left the military before they were captured.</p><p>Disowned at home, the two men stand accused by Ukrainian authorities of being terrorists.</p><p>In an interview from his bed, Alexandrov, wearing a hospital-issue green T-shirt and with several days stubble on his face, told Reuters he felt alone and trapped between these vast forces. He said the Russian consul in Kiev had visited him and Yerofeyev, but had been a let-down. The two captives had hoped Moscow would get them home in a prisoner exchange, but they said the consul had been non-committal.</p><p>&quot;I asked him a few questions. There was no answer to them. He said that when he has the answers, he will come again and let us know what they are,&rdquo; said Alexandrov, whose leg was shattered in a gun battle.</p><p>The Russian embassy in Kiev had no comment on Friday. In an earlier statement it had described Alexandrov and Yerofeyev as &ldquo;Russian citizens detained in the Luhansk region&rdquo; and said they were receiving proper medical treatment. &ldquo;Embassy officials plan to visit the compatriots regularly,&rdquo; the statement said.</p><p>Ukrainian armed servicemen and officials in civilian clothes were present during the interviews Alexandrov and Yerofeyev gave to Reuters. Both Russian men made it clear they were active service members of the Russian military on the day they were captured. Alexandrov said he knew his military identification number off by heart: E131660.</p><p>He also said he fears for his relatives back in Russia. A few days ago, his wife, Yekaterina, appeared on Russian state television. Looking nervous, and talking in stilted phrases, she said her husband had quit the Russian military in December last year. That account was helpful to Putin&#39;s claims that only volunteer Russians have gone to Ukraine.</p><p>&quot;They said I was no longer a serviceman,&quot; Alexandrov said. &quot;It&#39;s a bit hurtful, especially when they do it through your family, through your wife. That crosses a line.&quot;</p><p>Alexandrov, who was captured on May 16, said he had been unable to get hold of his wife by telephone for nearly two weeks. She has not replied to his messages posted on social media accounts. A photograph of him with his wife stood on the table next to his bedside.</p><p>He said Yekaterina always used to pick up his calls, even before they were married, when sometimes he would call in the middle of the night. He asked to borrow a Reuters correspondent&#39;s mobile telephone so he could try calling her. Yerofeyev, also in a green T-shirt, his right arm in a bandage binding it to his torso, came into the room and watched.</p><p>Alexandrov dictated the number to the correspondent, and checked it was correct. With the phone in speaker mode, the call connected, and the ringing tone could be heard. But no one picked up.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m really worried about my wife,&quot; he said. &quot;Right now all this has fallen on her small, fragile shoulders.&quot;</p><p>Reuters was unable to contact his wife independently for comment.</p><p><strong>CRIMINAL CHARGES</strong></p><p>Ukrainian prosecutors say the two men will be charged with acts of terrorism, alleging they killed Ukrainians in combat. The soldiers have denied that, saying they did not fire their weapons.</p><p>If they had the status of soldiers fighting a war, international law would give them some protection from those charges; but they do not have that status since Moscow has said they were not acting on its orders.</p><p>&quot;I can understand, of course, why they have turned their back on me as a serviceman, but I&#39;m still a citizen of my country,&rdquo; said Yerofeyev, 30. &ldquo;At least don&#39;t turn your back on me as a citizen.&rdquo;</p><p>Asked about the two servicemen on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had nothing to add to previous comments, when he had said they were ordinary Russian citizens who were being held prisoner.</p><p>&quot;Everything that concerns servicemen, you should address your questions to the defence ministry,&quot; said Peskov.</p><p>An official answering the telephone in the defence ministry press service on Thursday evening said no one was available to comment. There was no immediate response to written questions sent to the ministry. Previously, a defence ministry spokesman had told Russian state media that Alexandrov and Yerofeyev had served in the military in the past, but were no longer serving when they were captured.</p><p><strong>MURKY WAR</strong></p><p>The accounts given by the two Russians of how they came to be in Ukraine paint a different picture, shedding light on the realities of a shadowy war that has killed thousands of people.</p><p>They said they serve in a unit of the main intelligence directorate of the Russian general staff, based in the city of Togliatti on the Volga River. The directorate, known by its Russian initials G.R.U., is one of the military&#39;s elite forces, usually used for highly sensitive operations.</p><p>According to Alexandrov, their unit of 200 men was sent into Ukraine on March 26. Before crossing the border, he said, they were instructed to surrender their dog tags and military identification. They were also told to swap their uniforms for mismatched camouflage fatigues to blend in with the separatist irregulars.</p><p>Once inside Ukraine&#39;s separatist-held Luhansk region, his unit provided reconnaissance support to the separatists, he said. Separatist irregulars did most of the fighting, he said, and on occasion came close to shooting the Russian forces by mistake.</p><p>&quot;I think that probably they need to drink less. Half of them are ex-convicts.&quot;</p><p>He said the May 16 firefight in which he and Yerofeyev were injured was the first time they had been involved in combat during their mission in Ukraine. Alexandrov described how he was hit in the leg, and tried to crawl to safety. When Ukrainian soldiers approached him, he thought they would kill him, but instead they picked him up, carried him to a vehicle and took him to hospital.</p><p><strong>A DILEMMA</strong></p><p>In past cases when Russian citizens have been captured or killed in Ukraine, officials in Moscow have said they were on leave from the military and fighting as volunteers - or in one case that a group of soldiers had got lost and entered Ukrainian territory by accident.</p><p>The case of Alexandrov and Yerofeyev is not so easy to brush aside. On Thursday Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said bluntly: &quot;These are special forces soldiers who killed Ukrainians, who were sent here. They are part of the regular Russian Federation military.&quot;</p><p>One Ukrainian soldier was killed in the firefight in which the two Russians were captured, Ukrainian soldiers who witnessed the incident told Reuters. However, a Ukrainian army colonel, whose unit was involved, said that none of his men had seen Alexandrov or Yerofeyev shooting anyone.</p><p>The case against the two men is being handled by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). It had no immediate comment on the case.</p><p>The SBU previously posted a statement on its website saying the two Russians were suspected of involvement in terrorist activity, but did not mention any specific evidence that either of them had been directly involved in killing Ukrainians.</p><p>Now, both Alexandrov and Yerofeyev are torn. They say they yearn to get home to their families &ndash; but they worry about how they can live in a country which, in their view, has disowned them, even though they were prepared to give their lives for it.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s scary. There, no one is going to be saying thank you to me, I don&#39;t suppose,&quot; said Yerofeyev when asked about going back to Russia. &quot;I think that my biggest adventures will start when I get home.&quot; &nbsp;</p> Fri, 29 May 2015 12:58:00 +0000 Reuters 2451159 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/03/04/484151/russian_troops_coming.jpg Myanmar says won't take blame at Asia migrant crisis talks <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Myanmar insisted it was not to blame for Southeast Asia&#39;s latest influx of &quot;boat people&quot; at a regional crisis meeting on Friday, as the United States said thousands of vulnerable migrants adrift at sea needed urgent rescue.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More than 3,000 migrants have landed in Indonesia and Malaysia since Thailand launched a crackdown on human trafficking gangs this month. About 2,600 are believed to be still adrift in boats, relief agencies have said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While some of the migrants are Bangladeshis escaping poverty at home, many are members of Myanmar&#39;s 1.1 million Rohingya Muslim minority who live in apartheid-like conditions in the country&#39;s Rakhine state.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;You cannot single out my country,&quot; Htein Lin, director general at Myanmar&#39;s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and head of the country&#39;s delegation to Friday&#39;s meeting in Bangkok, said in his opening remarks. &quot;In the influx of migration, Myanmar is not the only country.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The region was suffering from a human trafficking problem, he said, and Myanmar would cooperate with regional and international efforts to find &quot;practical mechanisms&quot; to deal with it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Myanmar does not consider the Rohingya citizens, rendering them effectively stateless, while denying it discriminates against them or that they are fleeing persecution. It does not call them Rohingya but refers to them as Bengalis, indicating they are from Bangladesh.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Bangkok gathering brings together 17 countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and elsewhere in Asia, along with the United States, Switzerland and international bodies such as the UNHCR, the UN&#39;s refugee agency.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Host Thailand said the meeting&#39;s three objectives were: to provide humanitarian assistance; to combat the long-term problems of people smuggling; and to address the root causes of the problem.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;More than ever, we need a concerted effort by all countries concerned,&quot; Thai Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn said in an opening address. &quot;It needs both Thai and international cooperation to solve the problem comprehensively.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Delicate issue</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One delegate said Myanmar was pushing for other participants not to use the term &quot;Rohingya&quot; and that most were respecting Myanmar&#39;s request, although he added that the country&#39;s mere presence in the Thai capital represented progress.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It&#39;s a very delicate issue for Myanmar and it requires cooperation and dialogue for all of us to be able to find a solution,&quot; said the delegate, who declined to be identified.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But Volker Turk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at the UNHCR, said the deadly pattern of migration across the Bay of Bengal could only be ended if Myanmar addressed the root causes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;This will require full assumption of responsibility from Myanmar to all its people,&quot; he said. &quot;Granting of citizenship is the ultimate goal.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some participants have cautioned that the meeting was unlikely to produce a binding agreement or plan of action, given many attendees, including those from Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia, were not ministerial-level.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Officially called the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean, the gathering takes place against the grim backdrop of Malaysia&#39;s discovery of nearly 140 graves at 28 suspected people smuggling camps strung along its northern border. Thai authorities earlier found 36 bodies in abandoned camps on their side of the border, which led to the crackdown.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Malaysia said it was exploring the possibility of holding a summit meeting within the next few weeks for the leaders of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;This is with a view to finding a workable solution to the crisis at hand,&quot; Ibrahim Abdullah, deputy secretary general at Malaysia&#39;s foreign affairs ministry, told the meeting.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>People-smuggling camps</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The crisis erupted at the beginning of the month, when the Thai crackdown made it too risky for traffickers to land migrants, prompting them to abandon thousands at sea.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Regional governments have struggled to respond, although images of desperate people crammed aboard overloaded boats with little food or water prompted Indonesia and Malaysia to soften their initial reluctance to allow the migrants to come ashore.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Malaysia, which says it has already taken 120,000 illegal immigrants from Myanmar, and Indonesia said last week they would give temporary shelter to those migrants already at sea, but that the international community must shoulder the burden of resettling them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thailand has refused to allow the boats to land, saying it is already sheltering 100,000 migrants from Myanmar, but has deployed a naval task force to offer medical aid at sea.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thailand said on Friday it had given the United States permission to fly surveillance flights over Thai airspace to identify boats carrying migrants.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We have to save lives urgently,&quot; US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told reporters on her way into the meeting. US air missions were already operating from bases in Malaysia, she said.</div> Fri, 29 May 2015 12:23:00 +0000 Reuters 2451144 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/05/29/501010/myanmar_05-28-15.jpg