(CBS Pittsburgh) – Children’s Hospital Receives Bomb Threat

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police were investigating after a bomb threat was made to Children’s Hospital Friday afternoon.

However, the hospital was never evacuated and officials say the threat was “unsubstantiated.”

“This afternoon, we received an unsubstantiated bomb threat. We immediately contacted Pittsburgh Police and are following our protocols as we work with them to investigate this threat,” said a statement from the hospital.

Multiple police agencies were called to the scene, as well as K-9 units. Though, nothing was found and the hospital has since been given and “all clear.”

Operations have since gone back to normal.

There’s no word on any suspects or how they learned of the threat.

Source: Children’s Hospital Receives Bomb Threat « CBS Pittsburgh


(the new york times) – Russian Buildup in Syria Raises Questions on Role

John Kerry, right, at a joint news conference in London on Saturday with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond. CreditPool photo by Evan Vucci

LONDON — Russia’s military buildup in Syria now includes surface-to-air missiles as well as combat aircraft with air-to-air capability, deployments that raise “serious questions” about Moscow’s role in the region, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.

Russian officials have said that the purpose of the buildup at a base near Latakia, Syria, is to combat the Islamic State.

But the deployment of air defense systems and fighter aircraft — weapons that can be used against a conventionally armed foe but that have little utility against extremist fighters — has spurred concerns that Moscow’s goal is also to establish a military outpost in the Middle East.

It has also added to the Pentagon’s worries about the risk of an inadvertent confrontation between Russia’s military and the American-led coalition that is carrying out airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State.

“Clearly the presence of aircraft with air-to-air combat capacity” as well as “surface-to-air missiles raise serious questions, which is precisely why Secretary Carter talked with the Minister of Defense of Russia Shoigu yesterday,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu.

At the White House’s direction, Mr. Carter began a dialogue Friday with Mr. Shoigu aimed at ensuring that American and Russian aircraft avoid unintended incidents as they operate over Syria.

While Mr. Kerry did not provide details, an American official, who requested anonymity because he was discussing intelligence reports, said that a Russian SA-22 air defense system was already in place at Latakia. The United States had observed elements of the system at the base in the last week, but now the launcher and the missiles it fires are there, too, the official said.

The American official added that the four Su-27 aircraft Russia had flown to the air base were armed with air-to-air missiles.

“What’s the air-to-air threat there for them?” asked the official, who called the development “troubling.”

Other American officials suggested, however, that the deployment might simply reflect the Russian military’s standard defensive precautions as it established an air hub in a foreign country.

The prefabricated building Russia has erected at the base now has the capacity to house 2,000 military advisers and personnel. Ferrying weapons and equipment to the base has involved well over 20 flights by Russian Condor transport planes — almost all of which have flown to Syria by passing over Iran and Iraq.

Syria, and the migrant crisis it has spawned, has been a major focus of Mr. Kerry’s trip to Europe. After a meeting Saturday morning with Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, Mr. Kerry said that it was vital to pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis but that Moscow was not putting enough pressure on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to make him negotiate seriously.

“We need to get to the negotiation,” Mr. Kerry said at a joint news conference with Mr. Hammond. “That’s what we’re looking for, and we hope Russia and Iran, other countries with influence, will help to bring that about, because that’s what’s preventing this crisis from ending.”

Source: Russian Buildup in Syria Raises Questions on Role – The New York Times


Aleppo, Syria, on Thursday after what activists said was an aerial bomb attack by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. CreditReuters

Warhol Bridge shut down after fire | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Madasyn Czebiniak/Post-Gazette

Charred remains of fire beneath Andy Warhol Bridge on the North Shore.

A fire Friday evening has forced the closure of Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Bridge until further notice, according to Amie M. Downs, county director of communications.

The fire occurred under the bridge at a homeless camp. As a result, the span, which crosses the Allegheny River at Seventh Street, will require inspection to determine the type and extent of the damage.

Ms. Downs said late Friday that the bridge will remain closed through at least midday Saturday to allow for a hands on-inspection of its affected areas.


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(post gazette) – CMU, speaks out against racial profiling of Texas student inventor

By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

During a visit to Carnegie Mellon University this afternoon, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke out against officials in a Texas school who alerted police that a student’s homemade clock might be a bomb.

As a result, Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a student at MacArthur High School in Irving, was arrested and handcuffed and taken to a detention center before police later decided not to charge him. Ahmed is Muslim and originally from Sudan.

“I was furious about it,” Mr. Duncan said. “This was racial profiling.”

The secretary said he was sorry that the boy and his family “had to go through this.”

Ahmed had taken the invention to school to show his engineering teacher when another teacher spotted it and suspected it was a bomb.

“We need more boys and girls to be tinkering,” the secretary said while in a room filled with robotics and other technology projects that CMU students work on jointly with students in local school districts.

Ahmed has since been invited to the White House.

Mr. Duncan visited CMU as the last stop of his seven-state, 10-stop tour dubbed “Ready for Success.”

He met with CMU students and took part in a town hall discussion that included Pittsburgh Publiv Schools Superintendent Linda Lane, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and members of the Pittsburgh school board.

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(guardian) – Emmy awards face the future as television becomes more diverse

Nominated shows like Empire, Transparent and How to Get Away With Murder reflect increased appetite for television that reflects racial and gender diversity

The Emmys are notorious for awarding the same shows with trophies year after year. For instance, only two shows, Modern Family and 30 Rock, have won outstanding comedy in the last eight years.

However, there are signs that the Emmys are finally catching up with TV’s new world. Due to a number of rule changes, and viewers’ increasing appetites for shows that reflect the racial and cultural diversity of America, this year’s ceremony, which takes place in Los Angeles on Sunday and will be hosted by Andy Samberg, has the potential to be groundbreaking.

To date, no woman of colour has ever won the outstanding lead actress in a drama award. Yet this year, both How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis and Empire’sTaraji P Henson stand a strong chance of taking home the award over fellow nominees Claire Danes (for Homeland), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Mad Men (Elizabeth Moss) and Robin Wright (House of Cards).

Both shows have been massively successful. In February, Empire – a torrid soap with a largely African American cast set in the music industry – astonishingly became the first show since 1992 to increase its ratings over the course of its first five weeks on air (most shows have a popular first week, then immediately plunge in week two). Empire is also hugely popular on social media, with a much-anticipated second series due to launch on Fox next week.

Henson, who plays Cookie, a soap villainess in the tradition of Dynasty’s Alexis Colby, has “a very good shot” at the prize, says Daniel Montgomery, a senior editor at awards prognostication website GoldDerby.

Davis, meanwhile, will be hoping the Emmy will provide company for the Screen Actors Guild award she won in January for female actor in a drama series. During her speech, she thanked How to Get Away With Murder’s production team “for thinking that a sexualised, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African American woman who looks like me”.

Transparent, Amazon’s show about a transgender woman played by Jeffrey Tambor, may also break new ground. If it wins the Emmy for outstanding comedy, it will be the first show on a streaming service to take one of the two major awards. The same will be true if Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wins – though both face stiff competition from perpetual winner Modern Family, expected to take the prize for the sixth time.

House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black could also provide Netflix with its first major awards triumph if they can best Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Mad Men in the race for outstanding drama.

GoldDerby’s Montgomery describes Tambor, up for lead actor in a comedy, as “the safest frontrunner in any category at the Emmys”. A victory for Transparent would cap been a banner year for transgender visibility on television, which began when Laverne Cox became the first trans actor to win an Emmy, for Orange Is the New Black, and continued with the launch of Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show I am Cait, which charts her exploration of her new female identity.

At last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, which honour technical achievements in television, Transparent won awards for costumes, main title music, and Bradley Whitford’s guest performance. “I love to be in a show that is a voice of understanding, compassion and radical inclusion,” Whitford said in his acceptance speech. “We’re not there yet, but non-judgment day is coming.”

 Amy Schumer, currently the hottest talent in American comedy, is a favourite to win an award. Her show Inside Amy Schumer has been nominated for the inaugural award for variety sketch series, while she has also been recognised in the categories for lead actress in a comedy, writing for a variety sketch series, and directing for a variety sketch series.

Meanwhile, the offscreen awards categories are also becoming marginally less male, though women are still woefully under-represented. On Thursday, the Women’s Media Centre analysed the writing, editing, producing and directing categories and found that this year this year 25% of the nominees are female – slightly up from the 22% average over the previous 10 years.

“The bottom line: if more women were hired as writers, directors, editors, producers, and especially as creators and executive producers, the talent pool for nominations would be more reflective of the overall population and audience – more than half of which are women,” Julie Burton, the WMC president said.

It’s not just political and social changes threatening to drag the Emmys into the modern day, but the rules behind the awards themselves. Earlier this year the Academy ofTelevision Arts and Sciences, which runs the show, made some alterations to reflect changing viewing habits and to prevent shows from “category shopping”, or bending the rules to insert their shows into the categories they were most likely to win.

Under this new rubric, all 30-minute shows are considered comedies and all hour-long programmes go into the drama categories. Appeals can still be made – Glee successfully lobbied to compete as a comedy for its final season – but Orange is the New Black failed and will be competing in the drama category for the first time.

“Emmy judging is generally preferential, so in order to have the voters rank the nominations one against the other, apples need to compete against apples,” John Leverence, senior vice-president of awards for the academy, told the Guardian. “If category shopping results in apples mixed in with oranges, there can be no true preferential voting.”

This change is also a response to the proliferation of anthology shows such as True Detective and American Horror Story, which change their storylines and casts each season. Last year the two shows competed in the drama and miniseries categories respectively, even though they are of a similar format.

Under the new rules, they have both been shuttled to a category called “limited series” defined as “programmes of two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 minutes that tell a complete, non-recurring story, and do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons”.

British hopes at the awards are represented by eight nominations apiece for Wolf Halland Downton Abbey, with UK actors up Emmys including Ricky Gervais (outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a movie for the Derek special), David Oyelowo (for HBO’s Nightingale, in which he plays a man descending into insanity) and Alan Cumming (for The Good Wife.)

While some are having their first shots, there are many final chances for Emmy favorites. The Colbert Report, which went off the air at the end of 2014 so that Stephen Colbert could take the reins of CBS’s Late Show, and the iteration of The Daily Show fronted by Jon Stewart, will square off for the last time in the Variety categories.

This year will be Mad Men’s fifth and final chance to win the outstanding drama series trophy – an award it has taken three times. Though Mad Men’s actors have never won for their roles in the show, Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks are all nominated.

Hamm, who plays dissipated adman Don Draper, is frontrunner in the outstanding lead actor category against Bob Odenkirk (for Better Call Saul), Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) and Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan).

Game of Thrones also has a chance to enter the record books on Sunday night. This year, it is the most nominated show – with 24 nods in all – and it swept the board at the Creative Arts Emmys, winning eight trophies. Just two more wins on the main stage will beat the nine trophies won by The West Wing in 2000, currently the record holder.

Will a fantasy show set in a fictional medieval kingdom be the main winner on the year the Emmys finally face the future?



(eonline) – We Talked to Nurses Who Won’t Be Watching The View Ever Again—Read Their Reactions

Miss Colorado, Miss America Pageant 2016, The ViewABC/Ida Mae Astute; ABC/Lou Rocco

Nurses everywhere are incredibly pissed off at the hosts of The View…and for good reason.In case you missed it, on Tuesday the talk show’s hosts—Michelle Collins, Joy Behar, Raven-Symoné and Paula Farisdiscussed the talent portion of the Miss America competition, during which Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson performed a monologue about her profession as a nurse while wearing her scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck.The ladies of The View found the whole performance quite “hilarious,” as Collins described it, that she “basically just read her emails out loud.” Meanwhile, Behar made the mistake of questioning, “Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope around her neck?”
The commentary resulted in outrage, sparking the hashtag #NursesUnite and an entire Facebook page dedicated to “Show Me Your Stethoscope” on which nurses across the nation are sharing their touching stories about the way they’ve impacted so many lives.Despite both Collins and Behar releasing statements of apology, the controversy only continues to grow, even causing Johnson & Johnson as well as Eggland’s Best topull their advertisements from The View. On Friday morning, the hosts again attempted to smooth things over by inviting a group of nurses on the ABC show to discuss the importance of their profession.But it seems it was all too little too late.
We spoke with several nurses to get their opinion on The View, and to no surprise, they aren’t accepting the hosts’ apologies. Here’s what they had to say:Sarah, Baltimore, Md.
“To hear the hosts of The View speak so ignorantly about a nurse just reminds me again how little people truly know about nurses. We are strong. So strong. We deal with sickness, pain, and death on a daily basis. Some of us hold the hands of mothers who are bringing life into this world, while others are holding the hands of those who are taking their last breaths. We work long, tiring hours that are mostly spent on our feet. We forgo lunch and bathroom breaks to make sure that our patients receive the best care. We work holidays and weekends. We spend more time with our co-workers than our own families. This is the life of a nurse—my life. The life of so many wonderful, caring, amazing people. “She adds, “So, to the hosts of The View who think that nurses walk around in costumes with doctors’ stethoscopes around their necks: think again. At the same time you were sitting in your comfortable chairs, laughing at and judging us, we were too busy to watch your show because we were at work saving lives. When’s the last time any of you can say you’ve done that?!”Kelsey Tiffany, Los Angeles.
“I feel the comments made by The View were wrong and judgmental. It was clear they spoke nationally about a subject they know hardly anything about. As a current nursing student, I have realized how important nurses are—not just in the aspect of caring for the sick, but also being the eyes and ears for the doctors. We don’t just wear stethoscopes to look ‘cool’—we wear them for a number of medical reasons. The way the women on The View spoke about us made it sounds like we’re unnecessary in the medical field. It was incredibly upsetting But when one of them shows up at the hospital and needs our care, we’ll be there—because that’s our job: to treat every patient with the same amount of true compassion and heartfelt concern.”
VIDEO: Watch the clip that caused all the backlash

Lee Ann Lung, NurseLee Ann Lung

Lee Ann Lung, San Antonio
“I give [Miss Colorado] props. Nursing is a talent. For her to bring national attention to it was very admirable. The View‘s response highlights the danger of some talk shows where some say things that are not very well thought out. It did a disservice to a large portion of the public… I will not watch The View again, they have lost me as a viewer.”Jill Mullins, Indianapolis
“I just think those ladies are ignorant. But I feel like the majority of people have no clue what nurses do all day or how much of their life we hold in our hands… I’m not discrediting the work everyone in a hospital does. We are all important and all need one another to function but I think sometimes, more often than not, the nurses have the majority of the patient’s time and problems in their hands.”Those ladies just don’t know. I think their job is ‘not a profession,’ as the one lady said, but it’s probably because I don’t really know or understand what their job entails. I’d like them to spend a day with us. Everyone’s job is relevant. Everyone.”

Alexandra Oetjen, Nurse, The ViewAlexandra Oetjen Instagram

Alexandra, Mississippi
“I love my job and I could not tell you how happy it makes me to help bring people back to life, help them cope with an illness or even to be a hand to hold when there is nobody there… but nothing about it is easy. I am the one who had to deal with getting yelled at, spit at, called names, etc. I am not unimportant.”For women who make more money in one hour sitting and blabbing about nonsense than I make in a month, I am absolutely horrified at the lack of respect they have for the working class. I work my butt off in a very busy trauma center and I feel like them saying I dress up in a costume (which is usually covered in blood, feces, vomit and god knows what by the end of the night) is just so disrespectful.  I will not watch that show. It is not worth my time…I will continue to do my job that I love because I love it! And I hope that when one of them gets sick and needs somebody, that they really are the side of nursing that they were so very ignorant of.”Obstetrics Nurse
“I think Miss Colorado did a really great job standing up for our profession and it’s exciting to see such camaraderie amongst all the nurses. I think the ladies of The View should do a 12 hour night shift.”
PHOTOS: Ranking The View hosts

Miss Colorado, Miss America Pageant 2016ABC/Ida Mae Astute

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nurse at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital:
“The comment about the doctor’s stethoscope was so ignorant in the fact that multiple disciplines of the medical field use them. Personally, we use a stethoscope assessing our patients more than anyone.”I still believe there is a level of respect that most people don’t have for nursing. Until you’ve spent 12 hours caring for a child and it breaks your heart every time you walk into the room because the father can barely look at you without crying… You really just can’t understand fully some of what we go through until you experience it.”Brianne Marshall, Phoenix, Ariz.
“All I have to say to the women of The View is: your ignorance is showing. Joy Behar admitted that she didn’t even know what kind of clip she was looking at. I think this says more about the level of professionalism on their show than it does about nurses. If making uneducated and unfiltered comments about things on nationally broadcast television is your thing, that’s fine, but don’t be surprised when people inevitably take offense to something you say and stop supporting your show.”Also, as far as the ‘apology’ they put out, no thanks, you can keep it. It was less of an apology and more of a ‘hey girlfriend, I was totes kidding…some people are so touchy!'”
Anonymous, Long Island, N.Y.
“Everyone at work is floored over the comments.  People all sharing their personal stories and opinions on Facebook along with a picture—with their stethoscope… It’s bringing all nurses together. I love seeing nurses, PCAs and even doctors that I work with recognizing what we do and putting out really heartfelt responses to everything going on. So in a way their comments are bringing recognition to an often under-appreciated job.”One nurse, however, says she’s indifferent to the whole thing.Anonymous, Long Island, N.Y.
“I heard she used nursing as her talent in Miss America or something and they said that wasn’t a real talent and nurses all over are furious. I heard about it but I’m indifferent to the whole thing. I don’t care.”—Reporting by Baker Machad
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(bloomberg) – Coca-Cola Says IRS Is Demanding $3.3 Billion in Taxes Following Audit

Coca-Cola Co. received notice from the Internal Revenue Service that it owes about $3.3 billion in extra taxes, plus interest, becoming the latest global company to clash with the agency over profits booked in foreign countries.

The IRS’s move follows an audit of the tax years 2007 through 2009, Coca-Cola said in a regulatory filing posted Friday. The IRS hasn’t demanded any penalties, and the beverage giant said it believes the assessment is without merit. The agency told Coca-Cola that the matter has been brought to the IRS’s top lawyer with the recommendation that it be litigated, according to the filing.

Coca-Cola is one of several large American corporations to get embroiled with the IRS over profits recorded in foreign countries, which critics say can unfairly shield money from U.S. taxes. The IRS also is fighting with Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. on their intracompany transactions. Coca-Cola’s dispute centers on licensing of properties to foreign-based businesses, which manufacture, distribute and sell products.

“We plan to pursue all administrative and judicial remedies necessary to resolve this matter,” Coca-Cola said in a separate statement on Friday. “The company has followed the same methodology for determining our U.S. taxable income from certain foreign company operations for nearly 30 years.”

Under U.S. law, companies owe the IRS up to 35 percent on profits they earn around the world. They get credits for taxes paid to foreign governments, and they don’t have to pay the U.S. until they repatriate the money.

Overseas Revenue

That system gives companies an incentive to book income in low-tax countries and leave profits there. In 2014, Coca-Cola reported earning 57 percent of its net revenue outside the U.S., according to its most recent annual report. For tax purposes, however, the company reported earning 83 percent of its pretax income outside the U.S.

Coca-Cola cut its 2014 effective tax rate by 11.5 percentage points because so much of the company’s earnings were outside the U.S., and it gets tax incentives from Brazil, Costa Rica, Singapore and Swaziland.

As of the end of 2014, Coca-Cola had a total of $33.3 billion in profit held outside the U.S. on which it hasn’t paid U.S. taxes. As of earlier this year, that was more than all but 16 other companies.

Coca-Cola said it has followed the same process for determining its U.S. taxable income on “certain foreign company operations” for three decades and that the IRS had agreed to the methodology for tax returns from 1987 to 1995, and then again during five successive audits through 2006.

Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, has requested a meeting with the IRS’s chief counsel and expects to file a petition in the U.S. Tax Court to challenge the notice. The company hasn’t taken a writedown over the matter and believes it has adequate tax reserves.

“The IRS now seeks to depart from this longstanding practice in order to increase substantially the amount of tax,” Coca-Cola said. “We are among hundreds of other companies currently facing these types of adjustments involving payments between related companies, and we will vigorously defend our position. We are confident we will prevail on the merits of this case.”

Source: Coca-Cola Says IRS Is Demanding $3.3 Billion in Taxes Following Audit – Bloomberg Business

(ny times) – 17,000 Migrants Stranded in Croatia by Border Crackdown

LONDON — As key nations tighten their borders, thousands of migrants and asylum seekers hoping to enter Western Europe are now bottled up in the Balkans, placing precarious new burdens on a region of lingering sectarian divisions that is exceptionally ill prepared to handle the crisis that has been shunted to it.

More than 17,000 migrants have entered Croatia since Wednesday, and were essentially trapped there, having been blocked fromHungary, sent packing from Serbia and unable to move on to Slovenia. The migrants have become a sloshing tide of humanity, left to flow wherever the region’s conflicting and constantly changing border controls channel them.

Along the roads of eastern Croatia on Friday, the migrants’ detritus — abandoned blankets, torn clothing, empty cans of tuna — littered the highways. On the side of a road outside the border town of Tovarnik, Croatia, three young Iraqi men said they had been stranded for two excruciating days.

“It was crowded, there was no food, no transport and nowhere to go,” said one of them, Ibrahim Yusuf, 25, a construction worker from Baghdad. He said he was considering returning to Iraq and asked a reporter for directions back to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.


A boy pushed against a police officer’s shield as Syrian refugees and migrants marched through Edirne, Turkey, on Friday, in the direction of Greece.CreditBulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Even while the surge of migrants was merely transiting the region, starting several weeks ago, it overwhelmed tiny Macedonia, which declared a state of emergency. Now, however, it has become clearer that the migrants face fast-rising barriers to passing through the Balkans en route preferred destinations like Germany or Sweden.

The shifting of the crisis to the Balkans has added a whole new dynamic to the crisis, threatening to reopen old wounds and distrust. The masses of migrants and refugees are struggling through the clutch of countries that once formed Yugoslavia, until the wars of the 1990s bloodily broke the former Communist state apart.

As hundreds of refugees continued to stream into Croatia on Friday, the government announced that it would close its borders with Serbia. Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said his country was overwhelmed, and Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic had a message for the migrants: “Don’t come here anymore. This is not the road to Europe.”

The remarks were revealing of the tensions the migrants are now sowing among nations with weak economies, uncertain futures in Europe, creaking welfare states and deep wounds from the past. Those factors are hobbling the region’s ability to respond to a crisis that even richer nations in Europe have struggled to address.

On the surface, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, whose bloody disintegration shocked the world, would seem naturally sympathetic to the plight of refugees, and indeed the outpouring of sympathy and aid in recent days has been notable.

The exodus resulting from war and suffering in the former Yugoslavia presented Europe with what was then its biggest refugee crisis since World War II. By 1992, some 2.3 million people had fled, making the sight of refugees fleeing a daily and visceral occurrence.

But after gaining independence, countries in the region have struggled to bounce back — the average gross monthly wage in Serbia is 518 euros, about $585, while unemployment hovers at about 18 percent, according to the government statistics office.

Such realities have left the people of the Balkans the “have-nots” of Europe, and now reluctant to accommodate the thousands of refugees who have even less than them.

“We have much empathy in the region for migrants but countries across the region are poor, their institutions are not yet developed, and most states can barely deal with the daily problems of government, nevermind a migration crisis,” said Sead Numanovic, a former editor in chief of Avaz, a leading Bosnian newspaper. “These countries just don’t have the capacity.”


A pile of discarded rafts, tubes and life vests on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday. The surge of migrants that has at times overwhelmed Greek islands is now also placing burdens on Balkan countries like Croatia and Slovenia. CreditYannis Behrakis/Reuters

The situation in many Balkan nations is so difficult that many of those seeking asylum in Germany come from Serbia, Albania and Kosovo. This has pushed Germany to have these countries declared “safe” by the European Union so that Germany can immediately reject any of their citizens applying for asylum.

In the spring, the German government began a campaign to discourage the tens of thousands Kosovars from coming. Nearly 34,000 Kosovars applied for asylum between January and August.

The response in the Balkans has also been complicated by the fact that several countries such as Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Bosnia, buffeted by economic hardship, corruption and weak institutions, have not yet been accepted into the European Union.


Migrants rested in a train in Beli Manastir, Croatia, on Friday.CreditDarko Bandic/Associated Press

In Bosnia, which is bracing for as many as 10,000 migrants, the country is so hobbled by strong residual nationalism among its disparate ethnic groups that it can barely govern itself.

“The Balkans is an area that has not recovered fully from the wars in the 1990s and the countries of the region remain in limbo in terms of European integration,” said Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia and a former United Nations assistant secretary general for political affairs.

Countries are also loath to be lectured about showing solidarity with refugees by the European Union, where Hungary, a member, has built a 109-mile razor wire fence to keep migrants out.

President Tomislav Nikolic of Serbia on Friday railed at members of the bloc for their hypocrisy, selfishness and lack of leadership in the face of the migration crisis. He said it was “absurd” that Serbia respected European standards more than those who are members and who are now “almost out of control — without receiving any criticism, advice, or order from Brussels.”

In a region long plagued by bloody conflicts over land, it is hard enough to police borders where regional rivalries still remain.Slovenia, the first former Yugoslav nation to join the European Union in 2004, and Croatia, which joined in 2013, cannot agree where Croatia ends and Slovenia begins — a dispute that dates to Yugoslavia’s collapse.

Slovenia is part of the Schengen accord that allows freedom of movement among member states; Croatia is not. Macedonia and Greece have battled over who has claims to the name Macedonia.


Asylum seekers boarded a train Friday heading to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, at Tovarnik, a town near the border with Serbia. CreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

(Reuters) – U.S. Treasury official says China trying to keep yuan from falling more 

(Reuters) – A senior U.S. Treasury official said on Friday that China has been intervening to keep its yuan currency from falling more than it otherwise would and that the sooner Beijing lets the market work, the better for China.

The official, who spoke to a group of reporters but asked not to be named, urged Beijing to allow the currency to rise and fall freely.

The comments preceded a state visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 25, in which Xi and President Barack Obama will discuss economic ties between the two countries as well as their increasingly testy relationship over security matters.

Washington has long urged Beijing to let the yuan appreciate, arguing that China was using a weak currency to make its goods cheaper in America.

But China these days is facing doubts in financial markets over the strength of its economy. The Treasury official said China’s decision to loosen restrictions on currency trading last month, which prompted a sharp fall in the yuan’s value, appeared to be perceived in markets as having the intention to prop up China’s economy, sowing further doubts among investors.

The official said China should not feel like it needs to step in and stop declines in financial markets every time investors send it signals about the economy.

He said China’s commitment to letting market forces play a bigger role in the value of the yuanwill earn more credibility when it allows market forces to push its value up. (Reporting byJason Lange; Editing by James Dalgleish, Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)

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(abc news) – CDC Predicts Flu Vaccine Will Be More Effective Than Last Year

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

After an intense flu season last year, health officials said they are hopeful that this year’s flu vaccine will be far more effective at curbing outbreaks.

This year’s vaccine will target the same strain of the virus, the H3N2 strain, that mutated last year, leaving the vaccine less effective, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases announced Thursday.

“It was a disappointing year from the point of view of what the vaccine can do,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University and the medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

The CDC reported that the rate of flu-related hospitalizations during the last flu season among those over the age of 65 was the highest since records began about 10 years ago. Additionally there were 145 pediatric flu deaths, according to the CDC.

Last year’s flu vaccine against the mutated strain was just 13 percent effective compared to the goal of around 50 to 60 percent effective in other years, CDC director Tom Freiden said at a news conference Thursday.

Health officials are far more optimistic that the vaccine will be more effective this year against multiple strains of the virus that recently affected people in the Southern Hemisphere, Schaffner said.

“A new strain shows up, it continues to be a dominant strain for a few years. We have watched in our summer what has happened in the Southern Hemisphere in their winter,” Schaffner explained. “Their dominant strain has been the same, the H3N2 strain.”

Depending on which vaccine a person gets, the shot will protect against three or four strains of the virus. Experts pick the strains after consulting a number of factors including flu strains in other parts of the world and past outbreaks of the disease.

“At the moment, we have reasonable confidence that we are going to have a good match between the circulating virus of what’s out there and what’s in the vaccine,” Schaffner said.

Every year, 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications, according to the CDC.

“Vaccination is the single most important step people can take to protect themselves frominfluenza,” Frieden said. “Flu can be serious and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient than ever, so get yourself and your family protected.”

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(nbc news) – ‘Baby Doe’: Girl Found Dead in Boston Identified, Mother Arrested

Authorities have identified a little girl known as “Baby Doe” whose body was found in a trash bag on a Boston beach three months ago, and the child’s mother and her boyfriend will be charged in her death, officials said Friday.

The girl’s name was Bella Bond, officials said. She was just 2 1/2 years old, the prosecutor said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said the mother’s boyfriend, Michael Patrick McCarthy will be charged with Bella’s murder. The child’s mother, Rachelle Bond, has been arrested for allegedly being an accessory after the fact. “This child, whose very name means beauty, was murdered,” he said.

Rachelle Bond Suffolk County DA

“We allege that McCarthy caused Bella’s death, that he did so intentionally, that he and Bond took specific steps to keep Bella’s death a secret and to avoid prosecution,” Conley told reporters at a news conference Friday.

He said that more details about how Bella was killed would become available Monday when Bond and McCarthy are set to be arraigned.

“Why would anyone want to kill a two and a half year old child? What could she have done,” Conley said.

The break in the case came when a tip was phoned into the Boston Police Homicide Unit. A senior New England law enforcement official told NBC News the Massachusetts State Police were then notified.

Bond, 40, is under arrest. Conley authorized the arrest of McCarthy, 35, who is at a hospital for reasons not related to the case.

“At just shy of three years old, Bella Bond was a true innocent,” Conley said. “And the tragedy of her death is compounded by the fact that her short life ended not by illness or accident, but we believe by an act of violence in the very place where she should have felt safest, in her home.”

Michael McCarthy Suffolk County DA

Both Bond and McCarthy are known to police and have criminal records, a senior official said.

Gov. Charlie Baker said child-services workers had had contact with the girl twice, in 2012 and 2013, and that both cases were closed.

Police learned the girl’s identity after searching a Boston home on Thursday night, NBC affiliate WHDHreported. Bella’s father has been identified, but authorities weren’t yet releasing his name, Conley said.

The discovery of “Baby Doe” led to a mystery that drew wide attention. A social media campaign sought to figure out what had happened to the girl. Billboards across the city displayed a computer-generated image of her and asked: “Did You Know Me?”

The girl’s body was found in a bag on Deer Island in Boston Harbor on June 25. The girl was dressed in white pants with black polka dots, and a zebra-print blanket was left in the bag.

Investigators analyzed pollen found clinging to her pants to determine that she probably lived in the area.

Related: Pollen Analysis Reveals Girl Found Dead on Deer Island Was Likely a Local

“The amount and the types of pollen that were on those items suggest that she was from the Boston area,” Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, told NBC News last month. “That’s somewhat reassuring, because that’s been a theory from the start.”

Because Baby Doe’s body was only in the early stages of decomposition, detectives thought she had been killed not long before she was found.

Massachusetts State Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office are working with MassDOT to expand outreach to the public through digital billboards seeking assistance identifying the unknown toddler whose body was found on Deer Island last month. Massachusetts State Police

The pollen analysis buoyed suspicions that Baby Doe was placed on Deer Island, rather than the idea that she washed up there after drifting from a faraway coastline. The girl had pierced ears and appeared to be well-nourished.

“Eighty-five days after we found her body on the shoreline, we’re at least able to speak for baby Bella” said Massachusetts State Police Colonel Richard McKeon. “Now we will give her justice.”

Source: ‘Baby Doe’: Girl Found Dead in Boston Identified, Mother Arrested – NBC News



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