Ukraine accuses Russia of "undisguised aggression" as rebels advance
By Pavel Polityuk and Polina Devitt KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Monday of "direct and undisguised aggression" which he said had radically changed the battlefield balance as Kiev's forces suffered a further reverse in their war with pro-Moscow separatists. In the latest in a string of setbacks in the past week, Ukraine's military said it had pulled back from defending a vital airport in the east of the country, near the city of Luhansk, where troops had been battling a Russian tank battalion. Poroshenko said in a speech there would be high-level personnel changes in the Ukrainian armed forces, whose troops fled a new rebel advance in the south which Kiev and its Western allies say has been backed up by Russian armored columns. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called on Sunday for immediate negotiations on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, blamed Kiev's leadership for refusing to enter into direct political talks with the separatists.
By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO leaders will respond to the Ukraine crisis by agreeing this week to create a "spearhead" rapid reaction force, potentially including several thousand troops, that could be sent to a hotspot in as little as two days, officials said on Monday. The 28-nation alliance already has a rapid reaction force but U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders meeting for a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday are expected to create a new force that would be able to respond more quickly to a crisis. The speed with which Russian forces infiltrated Ukraine's Crimea region in March has focused minds at NATO on speeding up its ability to respond if a similar crisis ever occurred on NATO territory.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations agreed on Monday to send investigators to Iraq to examine crimes being committed by Islamic State militants on "an unimaginable scale", with a view to holding perpetrators to account. "We are facing a terrorist monster," Iraq's human rights minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, told the U.N. Human Rights Council which adopted a resolution tabled by Iraq and France at an emergency sitting of the 47-member state forum in Geneva. The Council aims to send 11 investigators, with a total budget of $1.18 million, to report back by March 2015.
President Barack Obama formally notified the U.S. Congress on Monday that he had authorized air strikes and humanitarian airdrops over the weekend in the Iraqi Shi?ite town of Amerli where Islamic State militants had trapped the civilian population. Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli and entered the northern town after the U.S. Obama said in a letter to congressional leaders he was notifying Congress of his decision under the long-standing War Powers Resolution, which gives presidents authorization for temporary military action.
MIAMI (AP) ? Pop singer Justin Bieber will plead guilty to lesser charges over his arrest in South Florida in what police initially described as an illegal street race, two people involved in the case told The Associated Press.
By Sumanta Dey and Wayne Cole BANGALORE/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Factory activity in Europe and Asia cooled in August after a strong July, as new orders dwindled in the face of escalating tensions in Ukraine and a patchy recovery in China, purchasing managers indexes showed. Despite euro zone manufacturers barely raising their prices, growth in the region slowed slightly more than initially thought, and activity in China's vast factory sector slackened on weak foreign and domestic demand, stoking speculation that further policy stimulus would be needed. "A concerted slowdown in the China, euro zone and UK manufacturing PMIs as the second quarter gets under way raises alarm bells about global demand conditions," said Lena Komileva, chief economist at G+ Economics in London.
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - European markets advanced despite the conflict in Ukraine, focusing on whether the European Central Bank will announce plans for economic stimulus when it meets this week. Ukraine reported its forces were under fire from Russian tanks again on Monday, as new signs emerged that the turmoil was damaging the European economy.
Fund managers said the rising cost of housing - which accounts for as much as a third or more of various measures of inflation and is outpacing other consumer cost increases - has revived price pressure in the economy. "TIPS have had a good tail wind this year.
By Jason Hovet PRAGUE (Reuters) - Polish manufacturing activity shrank for a second straight month in August and Czech expansion slowed more than expected, adding to signs weaker euro zone economies and crisis in Ukraine are cooling growth in the EU's east. Economies in central Europe have rebounded strongly from a sharp slowdown or even contraction in the past year but are starting to slow, and analysts expect that to continue for the rest of the year even while a longer-term recovery stays on track. Hungary's seasonally-adjusted PMI, calculated using a different methodology, dropped to 51 from 56.6. Central Europe's economies, which share trade links with Russia, are only just beginning to feel the impact of tit-for-tat sanctions between the European Union and Russia over pro-Moscow separatists fighting in Ukraine.
Belying their reputation as the dumb cousins of early modern humans, Neanderthals created cave art, an activity regarded as a major cognitive step in the evolution of humankind, scientists reported on Monday in a paper describing the first discovery of artwork by this extinct species.
White House orders U.S. labs to take inventory of infectious agents
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The White House has ordered federally funded labs working with infectious agents to conduct an immediate inventory of the pathogens in their labs and review their safety and security protocols, according to a memo released on Thursday. The order follows a trio of high-profile mishaps at federal labs in recent months, including the mishandling of anthrax and bird flu by researchers at the U.S.
Vaccine Safety: Getting the Message to Parents in Doubt
Measles, mumps and whooping cough have been around a long time -- along with the vaccines to prevent them. With a steady flow of misinformation online on vaccine safety, it's no wonder some parents hesitate. In response, doctors are going beyond office visits to spread the word on immunizations. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician and executive director of digital health at Seattle Children's Hospital, has empathy for parents who don't want to expose their "beautiful, perfect and healthy" baby to a medical intervention.