Commentary: Why Ukraine’s NATO membership is not in America’s interests


Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin (L) talks with Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 2, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

The United States-Russia relationship is already in bad shape, and U.S. diplomats are hurting it further by sending conflicting messages about Ukraine’s future relationship with NATO.

First, NATO and Kiev signed a letter of intent in February for cooperation between their special operations forces. Two months later American ambassador and current NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said it was time to bring the Ukrainian military “in line with NATO standards.” Barely one week later, though, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO ruled out NATO expansion for the “next several years.”

These muddled messages only cause confusion, provoking Russia while potentially false hope for Ukraine. For that reason, it’s time for Washington to make clear that Ukrainian accession to NATO is not on the table. Here’s why.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-nato-commentary-idUSKCN0XW0V3

 

 

Clinton sets sights on Trump, general election after huge win in South Carolina


Riding high after a landslide victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has set sights on a possible face-off in the Nov. 8 presidential election with Donald Trump, the favorite for the Republican nomination.

“Despite what you hear, we don’t need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great,” she told supporters in her victory speech in South Carolina, declining to mention Trump by name, but taking a jab at his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Clinton said she was not taking anything for granted after crushing Democratic rival Bernie Sanders on Saturday by 48 percentage points, likely setting herself up for a good “Super Tuesday” night on March 1, a key date in the nomination battle.

But if Clinton and Trump win big on Tuesday as opinion polls suggest, the chance of a general election matchup between them increases, adding another twist to a presidential campaign that has defied convention as U.S. voters vent frustration over economic uncertainty, illegal immigration and national security threats.

Some Clinton backers, emboldened by the heightened chance of a Trump nomination, have reaffirmed their support for the former secretary of state, saying that it is she, not Sanders, who is best equipped to take down Trump in a head-to-head showdown in November.

Rosilyne Scott, 58, of Texas, cast her vote early for Clinton ahead of Texas’s upcoming Tuesday nominating contest, calling the prospect of a Trump presidency “frightening.”

“I just think she has more support, and she’s been doing it a lot longer,” she said.

“If you get someone like Donald Trump in, I don’t know. … I think he’s a joke, a bigot, a racist.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-clinton-trump-idUSKCN0W103D

CORRECTED-US STOCKS-Wall St down over 2 pct as tech rout deepens, oil drops


Feb 8 Wall Street was deep in the red on Monday, as technology stocks extended a selloff from Friday and U.S. crude oil slipped below $30 per barrel, sending investors scurrying for cover to safe-haven assets.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2 percent to its lowest since October 2014, weighed down by Microsoft and Facebook, while the Dow Jones industrial average shed more than 300 points.

“Equities are in a ‘go-nowhere-fast’ mode, with a downward bias in the near term,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

“We need oil to stabilize to provide some confidence for investors, partly because to a degree, investors’ stress is high, earnings visibility is low, and market internals continue to weaken,” he said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/usa-stocks-idUSL3N15N304

Justice Department launches review of San Francisco police


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The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it would launch a review of the San Francisco Police following requests from city officials and community members.

Although the American Civil Liberties Union had asked for a federal investigation into the San Francisco Police Department following the death of Mario Woods, 26, at the hands of police, the review will only result in recommendations, not court-enforceable reforms.

“We will examine the San Francisco Police Department’s current operational policies, training practices and accountability systems, and help identify key areas for improvement going forward,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

At the conclusion of the review, the Justice Department will give San Francisco police a list of best practices it can follow to insure fairness in its interactions with citizens.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-sanfrancisco-idUSKCN0VA3OG?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter

U.S. judge orders explanation of Iran prisoner deal


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A federal judge has challenged the U.S. government’s move to drop charges against an Iranian man accused of sanctions violations as part of a U.S. prisoner trade agreed with Iran last month.

Federal prosecutors filed a motion on Jan. 16 to drop the case against Alireza Moazami Goudarzi, an Iranian man accused in 2012 of trying to buy aircraft parts for Iran, including those for military aircraft engines.

The dismissal was part of a wider deal which also saw U.S. officials move to drop international arrest orders and any charges against 13 other Iranians outside America. The administration also offered clemency deals to seven Iranians in the United States, mostly imprisoned for or charged with sanctions violations.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-prisoners-challenge-idUSKCN0VA3NH?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter

 

 

Alphabet passes Apple to become most valuable traded U.S. company


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Alphabet Inc surpassed Apple Inc as the most valuable company in the United States in after-hours trading on Monday, knocking the iPhone maker from the top spot that it has held for the better part of four years.

The change may signal the passing of the technology baton to Alphabet – formerly known as Google – from Apple, which surged past Microsoft Corp in market value in 2010. Microsoft in turn eclipsed International Business Machines Corp two decades ago.

It is not without piquancy for Apple and Alphabet, which worked hand-in-hand to develop mobile computing, but fell out bitterly after Google launched its own Android mobile operating system in 2008. Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt left Apple’s board the following year.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-alphabet-value-idUSKCN0VA3JA?utm_source=twitter

Candidate Trump retweets ‘White Genocide’ account, drawing outrage


Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump retweeted an account called “@WhiteGenocideTM” on Friday, prompting a backlash on social media over the real estate billionaire’s sharing of an apparent neo-Nazi’s depiction of rival candidate Jeb Bush.

Trump, who is campaigning for the first contests on Feb. 1 in Iowa and Feb. 9 in New Hampshire, is known for attacking other candidates competing for the party’s nomination to run for the White House in November’s general election.

Trump retweeted Donald Trumpovitz, who uses the handle “@WhiteGenocideTM,” gives the location of the account as “Jewmerica” and features an image that references George Lincoln Rockwell, a prominent figure in the neo-Nazi movement in the United States.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-tweet-idUSMTZSAPEC1MDCX42B?utm_source=twitter