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    President Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday will add a new desgnation to State Department warnings for China, Russia, Iran and other countries to warn of the risk of unlawful detention of Americans. It's part of a new executive order the president signed aimed at helping Americans detained abroad that will support the families of the detainees and impose costs on the culprits - including possible financial sanctions and visa bans. Biden has faced growing pressure from families of hostages and detainees, particularly on the case of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, both of whom are being held in Russia.  It is unclear if the new order will result in more Amercans coming home but the administration pointed to the provisions that will impose costs on the captors. The order also directs the government to be more cooperative with families, including the sharing of relevant information, including intelligence information and on efforts to secure releases. The order will include the new 'D-for wrongful detention indicator' for State Department travel advisories for six new countries: China, Russia, Burma,...
    (CNN)The White House says it is "appalling" Russia won't rule out applying the death penalty on two American citizens who are detained after volunteering to fight in Ukraine."We still are trying to learn more about these two individuals," said John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council."It's appalling that a public official in Russia would even suggest the death penalty for two American citizens that were in Ukraine. And we're going to continue to try and learn what we can about this," he said.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday the Geneva Convention -- the charter that sets out how soldiers and civilians are treated in wartime, including banning execution of prisoners of war -- does not apply to the two detained US citizens.Peskov said the death penalty could not be ruled out, but that it was a decision for a court and not the Kremlin.Read MoreKirby said he wouldn't try and get into Peskov's or Vladimir Putin's heads, but he added whether the prospect of the death penalty was real or hypothetical, it was troubling no...
    "Demonstrators march through downtown calling for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on August 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois." Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) possibly detained as many as 800 U.S. citizens over the past several years, according to a nonpartisan government watchdog earlier this year. Among them has been Brian Bukle, who in a lawsuit made public this week said he was detained by federal immigration officials for more than a month despite repeated cries that he is in fact a U.S. citizen. Not only did ICE ignore Bukle’s pleas—“they want you out, they don’t want you here,” one agent told him—he was jailed at a private immigration detention prison that has already been at the center of litigation over unsafe conditions amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Officials “didn’t care about me or my life,” Bukle said in a statement.  Bukle, who is originally from the British Virgin Islands and has been a U.S. citizen since the age of 9, should have been released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) after completing his time last year. But Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Asian Law Caucus, the American...
    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — American and British citizens have been swept up in Ethiopia’s mass detentions of ethnic Tigrayans under a new state of emergency in the country’s escalating war, The Associated Press has found. Thousands of Tigrayans in the capital, Addis Ababa, and across Africa’s second most populous country have already been detained and fears of more such detentions soared on Thursday as authorities ordered landlords to register tenants’ identities with police. Meanwhile, men armed with sticks were seen on some streets as volunteer groups sought out Tigrayans to report them. Ethiopia’s government says it is detaining people suspected of supporting the forces from the Tigray region who are approaching Addis Ababa following a year-long war with Ethiopian forces that was triggered by a political falling-out. But human rights groups, lawyers, relatives and the government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission say detentions – including of children and the elderly – appear to be on the basis of ethnicity. The daughter of a British national, Meron Kiros, told the AP her 55-year-old father, Kiros Amdemariam Gebreab, had lived in the U.K....
    Foreign countries have arrested and detained a growing number of American nationals that currently remain hostage abroad. The number of foreign governments currently holding Americans hostage largely surpasses citizens being detained by terrorist and militant groups, according to the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. There are at least 43 U.S. nationals held hostage by governments abroad while there are only nineteen known cases of Americans currently being detained by militant and other criminal groups. Experts say China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela are the most prominent nations taking foreign nationals hostage, according to the Washington Post. American journalist Salah al-Haidar and his mother Aziza al-Yousef are currently detained in Saudi Arabia for their connections to women’s rights activism, according to the outlet. The two were released from prison but are barred from leaving the country as the nation faces criticism from President Joe Biden’s administration regarding their human rights records, Reuters reported. Former U.S. Marines Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed are being held in Russian forced labor camps, according to CNN. Whelan was arrested by Russian authorities in 2018...
    Protest outside ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C., last year A new report from a nonpartisan government watchdog says that federal immigration officials may have deported as many as 70 U.S. citizens during the past five fiscal years. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its report that nearly 800 other possible U.S. citizens were either arrested or detained during that time period. And because of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) known aversion to record-keeping, there are likely more we don’t know about. “Further, while ICE policy requires officers to document citizenship investigations in ICE data systems, it does not require officers to update the citizenship field after identifying evidence that an individual may be a U.S. citizen,” the GAO said. “As a result, ICE does not know the extent to which its officers are taking enforcement actions against individuals who could be U.S. citizens.” The GAO said in its findings that it conducted this investigation after U.S. citizens “claimed that they were mistakenly detained or removed by ICE and held by CBP on administrative immigration charges. Such charges are based on civil violations of...
    President BidenJoe BidenGOP report on COVID-19 origins homes in on lab leak theory READ: The .2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE spoke with Canada's Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Schumer moves ahead with likely-to-fail infrastructure vote US extends travel restrictions with Canada, Mexico MORE by phone on Monday and discussed the detention of two Canadian citizens in China, the White House announced. The two leaders “discussed the two Canadian citizens — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — who are unjustly detained by the People’s Republic of China. The President condemned their arbitrary detention and reiterated his commitment to stand strong with Canada to secure their release,” the White House said in a readout of the call. Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, and Spavor, a businessman, were detained in China in December 2018. Although China denies it, Canada considers the arrests of the two men to be in retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng...
    Saturday about 2 p.m. Night VSAD Officers from the Vilnius Border Guard Books border detainees detained 7 people crossing the border illegally from Belarus in the village of Smilkinicus in the Ignalina district. They had documents from Iraqi citizens. The aliens were assigned to the Pusco Firewall. They sought refuge in Lithuania. Prisoners will be tested COVID-19, And foreigners will be isolated until results are available. The circumstances of the incident are being clarified and an investigation is underway. Earlier, immigrants who last tried to enter Belarus were detained at noon on Wednesday. This time in the Sarasai district near the border with Latvia, border guards caught 5 people without documents. They introduced themselves as Iraqi citizens and sought refuge in Lithuania. A total of 515 illegal immigrants from Belarus attempted to enter Lithuania this year. That number is six times higher than it was throughout 2020. Last year, 81 such foreigners were detained. 2019 46 Illegal immigrants caught in 2018 by border guards; – 104. Among those detained on the border with Belarus this year are the largest number...
    Moscow (CNN)Russia's President Vladimir Putin called for all citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as he gave his annual address to the nation on Wednesday, delivered as rallies began in support of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.Putin said "maximum coverage" of the population by inoculation was now a priority for the country. "It is the only way to stop the deadly pandemic," he said. "I call for all regional governments, health ministry to continue working on it. The opportunity to get vaccinated should be widely available so by autumn we would be able to develop herd immunity."Putin also vowed to fight climate change, saying: "We must respond to climate change and adapt agriculture and industry."He said a carbon recycling industry should be created, while strict control and monitoring should be placed on emissions. "For the next 30 years the amount of emissions should be lower than in [the] European Union," he urged. "It's a difficult task, considering the geography of our country, its size and structure of the economy. But I am absolutely sure it's achievable." Read MoreAs Putin was speaking,...
    At least 138 peaceful protesters have been killed since the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar, the United Nations announced Monday. 38 more people were killed Sunday, mostly in one area of Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence and called for the global community to “come together in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations.” “The recent behavior of [Myanmar] military and security forces is deeply disturbing as it calls to mind the days and weeks leading up to the massive genocidal offensive against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine in 2017” — Yanghee Lee, former UN rapporteur. https://t.co/ud37w22NJ1 pic.twitter.com/PdvNNni2tD — Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) March 15, 2021 U.N. special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener reported there were widespread killings, mistreatment of protesters, and torture of detainees over the weekend. Women and children have reportedly been among those killed, and hundreds more have been wounded. (RELATED: Increasing Protest Deaths Lead To Martial Law In Parts Of Myanmar) Over 2,000 citizens have been detained, and nearly a third...
    DUBAI (Reuters) - Any communication between Tehran and Washington about U.S. citizens detained in Iran has been conducted via the Swiss embassy which handles U.S. interests rather than through any direct contact, an Iranian news website reported on Sunday. The report followed remarks on Sunday by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who said the United States had begun to communicate with Iran over Tehran's detention of U.S. citizens. "Iran's government has not discussed American prisoners with Washington. All messages have been exchanged through the Swiss embassy in Tehran," an unnamed source told the website, which is affiliated to Iran's Supreme National Security Council. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran because Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic ties. (Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Edmund Blair) Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters. Tags: Iran, Russia, United States, Middle East, Europe
    BEIRUT (AP) — Eight Lebanese citizens who had been detained in the United Arab Emirates returned home Tuesday after mediation efforts by a Lebanese official led to their release. Top Lebanese security official Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, who recently traveled to the UAE, said the Gulf country will release 11 Lebanese men. One person arrived back in Lebanon over the weekend and eight arrived Tuesday, while the remaining two are expected later. It was not immediately clear why the men were detained in the UAE but it comes at a time of rising tension in the Middle East between Iran and the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. The UAE has detained dozens of Lebanese in the past over alleged links to the Iran-backed Hezbollah group that is armed and funded by Iran. Ibrahim was not immediately available for comment. The former detainees did not speak to journalists after arriving in Beirut. Fifteen other Lebanese are still being held by the UAE where they are standing trial and they will...
    TipRanks J.P. Morgan: 2 Stocks to Buy (And 1 to Avoid) Marko Kolanovic, the well-known quant strategist with JPMorgan, sees a positive feedback loop forming that will drive the markets higher next year. Kolanovic believes that a decline in volatility and favorable monetary policies will combine to make stocks the go-to investment for 2021, fueling further market gains. Officially, JPM is forecasting a 25% gain in the S&P 500 over the next 12 months.With investors gravitating toward stocks, volatility low, and cash cheap, Kolanovic is predicting that institutional investors will also step up. In his recent note, the strategist says that $550 billion in combined hedge fund activity is likely for the stock markets in the mid-term. Taken together with the other factors, Kolanovic writes that “these inflows would overpower equity supply to drive equity markets higher.”Getting to the nitty-gritty details, Kolanovic points out three key segments that investors should watch in the markets: financial stocks, energy stocks, and value stocks. He sees the first two benefitting from falling unemployment as the economy ramps back up, while the third will...
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No agreement should ever be struck with Iran without its freeing all unjustly detained U.S. citizens, a senior U.S. official said on Monday as Washington blacklisted two Iranian officials that it accused of involvement in the abduction and probably death while in captivity of former U.S. FBI agent Robert Levinson. A second U.S. official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States believed senior Iranian officials had sanctioned the abduction of Levinson, who went missing on Iran's Kish Island in the Gulf in March 2007. This official said he hoped the naming of the two Iranian officials, who were separately identified by the U.S. Treasury Department, would lead to further information about Levinson's fate. (Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters. Tags: Iran, Croatia, International Atomic Energy Agency, United States, Middle East, international trade, Europe, AfghanistanGalleriesNewsCartoons on President Donald TrumpPhotosPhotos: Daily Life, DisruptedPhotosArmenia-Azerbaijan Conflict EscalatesNewsThe Week in Cartoons: Dec. 7-11RecommendedHealth NewsFirst Americans Get Virus VaccineHealth NewsGermany to Receive 11M Doses of Pfizer VaccineBest CountriesOp-Ed: U.S....
    Four US citizens claim they are being held as 'hostages' in the British Virgin Islands after they accidentally sailed illegally into the territory's waters last month. John Hines, his partner Lynn Hines, and their friends Nicholas Cancro and Jeanne McKinnon were detained on November 19 by customs and immigration officers, according to a statement from the British Virgin Islands' Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.  US citizens are currently banned from entry due to coronavirus restrictions and the statement claimed that the four detainees had been placed into a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a local hotel, financed by the government. Yet, the Americans claim they have now been held 'without cause' for 12 days and are being housed together in one bug-infested room where even the sink has fallen off the wall.  John Hines, partner Lynn Hines, and friends Nicholas Cancro and Jeanne McKinnon were detained on November 19 by customs and immigration officers in the British Virgin Islands The group claim they were traveling from St. Thomas to St. John Island when they accidentally crossed 1.5miles...
    Four Americans claim they are being held like “hostages” in a British Virgin Islands hotel room after they accidentally sailed into the territory’s waters — breaking rules that prohibit U.S. visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report. Lynn Hines, of Manning, S.C., said she, her husband and two friends only realized their mistake after their sailboat had already traveled a mile and a half into the forbidden seas on Nov. 19 on their way to St. John, news station WJLA reported. The boat turned around to head back, but it was too late and they were met by Customs agents. UK BARS, CINEMAS MAY REQUIRE PROOF OF COVID-19 VACCINATION TO VISIT “This is where they took our passports and all the boat’s documentation and then stated that you are being charged with trying to enter the country illegally, not coming to a port of entry and they carry two $10,000 fines,” Hines told the outlet. Since then, they’ve been detained in a single hotel room, which they say is overrun with bugs and has a broken sink, news station WSOC reported....
    (CNN)Two American citizens have reached a settlement in a lawsuit they filed against US Customs and Border Protection after an agent asked them for IDs because he heard them speaking Spanish. Ana Suda and Martha "Mimi" Hernandez, who live in the small town of Havre, Montana, say they were detained by a border patrol agent while waiting to pay for groceries at a local convenience store in May 2018. Border agent demands ID from woman in Montana after hearing her speak SpanishThe agent, Paul O'Neill, approached them, commented on their accent, and asked where they were born, according to the ACLU. When they responded -- Suda is from Texas and Hernandez is from California -- he asked to see identification and questioned them for 40 minutes, they say. O'Neal eventually returned their licenses and told them they could go, the court document says.The lawsuit, filed in 2019, claims O'Neal violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches, and the women's rights to equal protection.Read MoreThe settlement involves a monetary sum, the ACLU said."We stood up to the government because speaking...
    (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed on Saturday the issue of two Canadian citizens who have been detained in China, Trudeau's office said in a read out statement of the phone call between the two leaders. Trudeau thanked Trump for the United States' support in "seeking the immediate release of the two Canadian citizens arbitrarily detained by China," the statement read https://bit.ly/3nFPSwj, without giving more details. The White House had no immediate comment on further details about the call. China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, in late 2018 and later charged them with espionage, after Canada had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, on a U.S. warrant. The relations between Canada and China have since been tense. The United States' own tensions with China have also increased recently over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the ongoing trade war between the two countries, China's imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong and the subsequent end to Hong Kong's special...
    BEIJING (Reuters) - Britain has issued new a travel advisory for China, warning that its nationals may be at risk of arbitrary detention, after several foreigners were held on various charges including cases involving state secrets and national security. "China's authorities have under certain circumstances detained foreigners citing 'endangering national security'," the British Foreign Office said in its latest advice posted on its website. "There is also a risk of arbitrary detention, including of British Nationals," it said. British advice previously contained no reference to the risk of arbitrary detention. A spokesman for the British embassy in Beijing said the advice had been updated to "clearly and factually reflect recent incidents". "But the level of our advice has not changed," the spokesman said. The British warning comes after several foreigners were detained in China on national security charges, including Canadians, Australians, Japanese and at least one American. Some of them remain in detention. In one of the latest high-profile cases, Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen and anchor on Chinese state television, was detained in August for "carrying out criminal activities...
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Belarus promised Russian diplomats to set up a meeting with the detained Russian citizens, who Minsk said were a group of Russian mercenaries, by the end of the day on Friday, Tass news agency quoted Russian ambassador to Belarus as saying. Russia has demanded an explanation from Belarus over what it called Minsk's wrongful arrest of more than 30 Russian citizens, which is worsening already strained relations between the two neighbouring countries. On Thursday, Minsk arrested the alleged Russian mercenaries and said they were suspected of plotting "acts of terrorism" before a presidential election. [nL5N2F13FJ] (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Friday it hoped that more than 30 Russian private security contractors detained in neighbouring Belarus and accused of plotting acts of terrorism would soon be released. Russia a day earlier demanded an explanation over what it called Minsk's wrongful arrest of the group, an incident that risks worsening already strained relations between Belarus and traditional ally Moscow. Belarus this week detained the group of Russian men near the capital Minsk, saying it had received information that over 200 fighters had entered the country to destabilise it before an Aug. 9 presidential election. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the men were travelling to another country via Belarus and had nothing to do with Belarusian politics. "The baseless arrest of Russian citizens, 33 citizens, is not quite in line with our relationship as allies," Peskov told reporters on a conference call. "This is why we hope that our Belarusian allies will clarify this incident in the nearest future and that our citizens will be released." (Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew...
    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Two people who pointed handguns at a suspected shoplifter in Washington state and threatened to shoot her have received some cautionary advice from police: Be reasonable. A video posted on Facebook shows a woman being held at gunpoint in her car in Spokane by people who believed she stole from a store on Friday. The Spokesman-Review reported that 36-year-old Annamarie L. Kirkpatrick was cited for shoplifting, a gross misdemeanor. Video taken by bystanders shows a man and a woman drew their handguns and pointed them at the woman as she sat in her car. Neither the man nor the woman with a gun have been charged with a crime, according to police. Under Washington law, any person who aims a firearm at a person, whether loaded or not, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Police spokesman Terry Preuninger said citizens are accountable for the level of force they use. When police officers use force, it is related to the severity of the incident, Preuninger said. “We just want to remind people you’ve got to be reasonable...
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