Mexico judge orders immediate release of Marine

Associated Press
JULIE WATSON, Associated Press1 hr ago
Former U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi  is escorted to a federal court in Tijuana August© Jorge Duenes/Reuters Former U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi is escorted to a federal court in Tijuana August

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Mexican judge has ordered the immediate release of a jailed U.S. Marine veteran who spent eight months behind bars for crossing the border with loaded guns.

Family spokesman Jonathan Franks told The Associated Press on Friday that the judge decided to release retired Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.

Franks said the judge released him without making a determination on the charge against him.

The family issued the following statement: “It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican Jail.”

The 26-year-old Florida man said he got lost on a California freeway ramp that sent him across the border with no way to turn back. His long detention brought calls for his freedom from U.S. politicians, veterans groups and social media campaigns.

In Mexico, possession of weapons restricted for use by the Army is a federal crime, and the country has been tightening up its border checks to stop the flow of US weapons that have been used by drug cartels.

His attorney, Fernando Benitez, says Tahmooressi carries loaded guns with him because his weapons, which were bought legally in the U.S., make him feel safer. He is often distracted, which could have contributed to him becoming lost, Benitez said.

Still, Mexican prosecutors say Tahmooressi broke the law, and they have denied claims by his attorney that he was held for about eight hours without a translator before authorities notified the U.S. Consulate.

But a psychiatrist hired by Mexican prosecutors to examine the Afghanistan veteran agreed with the defense that he should get PTSD treatment in the United States, noting in a Sept. 30 report that Tahmooressi, who now serves in the Marine reserve, feels like he is constantly in danger.

Tahmooressi did not admit wrongdoing, and he still maintains his innocence, his attorney said.

His mother, Jill Tahmooressi, has said her son’s time in a Mexican jail has been worse than his two tours in Afghanistan.

Tahmooressi left Florida for San Diego in January to get help after dropping out of college, unable to concentrate or sleep, his mother said.

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Call to endorse national budget, Minister

31 Oct 2014

Human Rights Minister Mohammed Mehdi al-Bayati called for endorsing the federal budget and avoiding political affairs on this matter.

In a statement by the ministry, he pointed that the budget issue is a legal one that should have no political implications that will affect the development in the country.
He pointed that the ministry faced and witnessing a challenge, the foremost is the vicious onslaught against Iraq.

Updated 31 Oct 2014 | Soruce: Aswat Al Iraq |

BLOM searches for new markets in Gulf and Iraq

31 Oct 2014

BLOM, one of the largest banks in Lebanon, is eying the Gulf States and Iraq, but it is also cementing its presence in some of the other states in the region, the chairman and general manager of the bank said Tuesday.
Saad Azhari mentioned, “We are expanding our operations in places where we are [already] present.”
“I came back from Jordan, where we opened our 13th branch, and in two months we will open the 14th branch. In Egypt also, we are expanding our branch network.
“We also have good growth activity in the Gulf, including in Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We recently opened a branch in Baghdad and in few weeks [we will open a branch] in Irbil.
“We hope that once the situation has stabilized, we will be able to expand, because this country has a lot of future potential.”
Azhari said that BLOM was keen to expand in the Arab Gulf region, noting that the bank had branches in Dubai and Sharjah and a representative office in Abu Dhabi.
BLOM currently has an investment banking license in Saudi Arabia, but not a commercial license. “When the regulations permit, we hope to expand our presence in the Gulf states,” he said.
“I am looking forward to expanding business in other Arab countries when we feel that there is a possibility to grow.”
Azhari said the situation in Syria had affected directly and indirectly the performance of Lebanon’s banking sector, because many local lenders had a presence in Syria.
“There is no longer considerable increase in net income [in Lebanon],” he said.
“Banks also increased their provisions for non-performing loans in light of the situation in Syria. Lebanese banks have managed to absorb the shock in Syria and have succeeded in maintaining reasonable profits.”
Azhari admitted that the profits in Syria had almost disappeared in 2011, 2012 and 2013 due to the war. However, he emphasized that BLOM compensated this loss in other countries in which the bank had a presence.
“In our case, we had good growth and profits in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” he said. This year, BLOM saw a 50 percent increase in profits in Egypt and 30 percent profit growth in Jordan.
But Azhari made it clear than any possible acquisition deal of a bank in Lebanon should meet certain strict criteria.
“Growth for the purpose of growth is not our strategy,” he said. “If we find something that will improve our return on equity and not affect negatively the quality of our assets, we will consider acquisition.”
Azhari believes that BLOM will maintain the same growth in deposits, assets and profits at the end of the year. BLOM recorded a net profit of $269 million in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 2.7 percent compared to the same period of last year.
Azhari also commented on the government’s fiscal policy.
“The Lebanese government is still our biggest customer and the finance of the government is very important,” he said.
“We have seen since 2011 an increase in debt-to-GDP ratio, although the ratio fell in 2008 and 2009, thanks to the growth achieved in the country during that time.
“It is very important for the government to lower debt-to-GDP and this can be done through structural reforms and improving tax collection. The increase in spending has led to a higher deficit.”
Asked if the Lebanese banks would continue to invest in Lebanese sovereign bonds, he said that banks had liquidity that could be partly used for such purposes.
“We will continue to renew the maturing bonds, but not increase the level of financing of the state,” he said. “This will put pressure on the government not to increase the deficit. Any increase in spending should be matched by an increase in revenues.”
Azhari considered the proposal to tax the sovereign securities of the commercial banks as a form of double taxation, adding that this type of tax was not welcomed by all international institutions.
“For us, increasing the salaries for the civil servants is beneficial, but at the same time we don’t want the government to increase the deficit,” he said.
“We are not against increasing taxes, but we objected to double taxation, which could lead to higher interest rates.”
Azhari said that if the banks were taxed on their interest income and were taxed again on the return on government securities, this effectively was double taxation.
“This will lead to a higher interest rate,” he said. “This means that there will be higher rates on the housing loans of consumers.
“It will be an extra burden and not a solution. This is not a burden on the banks but a burden on the economy.”
Azhari, who attended the IMF and World Bank conference in Washington this month, expressed satisfaction about his talks with the US officials and American banks.
He also mentioned, “The U.S. financial authorities were very happy with the efforts of the Lebanese banks to abide by all international rules and regulations.”
In his speech in Washington on the 12th of this month, Azhari, who is also the vice president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, said ABL was prudent to take the relationship with correspondent banks very seriously, making sure that it was conducted with the highest professional standards.
He added, “We also believe that such comprehensive regard for these rules and regulations preserves the interest of all involved – both Lebanese and foreign correspondent banks – and sets our relationship on a steady, confident and rewarding path.”
Azhari added that the trip to Washington had affirmed the bank’s commitment to clean, safe, transparent and reliable banking.
“U.S. officials even told us they wish some countries have the same level of compliance with regulations and rules as Lebanon,” he said.
Updated 31 Oct 2014 | Soruce: Daily Star | By S.Seal

A former official at the Central: No need to fear much of the fiscal deficit and internal borrowing alternative external debt

Investment projects in the capital Baghdad Imaging (Mahmoud Raouf)
A former official at the Central: No need to fear much of the fiscal deficit and internal borrowing alternative external debt
Author: BS
Editor: BS
31/10/2014 19:08
Number of Views: 368

Long-Presse / Baghdad

A former official at the central bank says that Iraq is in crisis “temporary liquidity”, following the increase in the expenses of military operations and crisis of displaced persons and the drop in oil prices, which are expected to stabilize at Al80dolar. In what was believed that the time had come for the government to launch a campaign “economic change” before lifting the restrictions of the private sector.

It is assumed the former official said that the crisis can be avoided by rearranging spending priorities, and the development of measures “sound” to the collection of duties and taxes diluted manner do not affect on the shoulders of the citizen, and the expansion of domestic borrowing door firing bonds and patient involvement in external debt because they carry a large burden on the country.

The chairman of the government, “Haider al-Abadi,” recently, about his government had discussed the issue of the federal budget for 2014 to three times, and will provide a cash budget to the House of Representatives, representing the amounts disbursed by the government since the beginning of this year, with military spending, “pointing out that” 2015 budget will be based on the current year’s budget, because the current problems will continue in the coming year, where oil wells stopped the province of Kirkuk, as well as lower prices of a barrel of oil dramatically to below $ 90 per barrel. “

Abadi added that “the Council of Ministers decided to follow the policy of austerity in unnecessary expenses, and we will continue with this policy, because we can not confine our military effort, salaries and basic services to citizens.

The total revenue and expenditure for the seven months the first of its features the year in the last era of Nuri al-Maliki found that Iraq spent all amounts derived from the export of oil, even though he did not pay the Kurdistan dues nor the amounts allocated to Basra petrodollars, nor most of the financial obligations of the provinces which fell to Daash.

In the meantime, says the former deputy of the Central Bank the appearance of Mohammed Saleh told the “term” that “Iraq passed in exceptional circumstances during the last ten months, and increased expenses due to the war on the organization of the Islamic state, and the circumstances that accompanied the fall of a number of provinces, however, the organization, in addition to the the problem of the displaced, “he said, adding that these events have led to” withdraw cash “available to the government.

He said the former official that the current liquidity crisis is “temporary”, but accompanied by the problem of the low price of a barrel of oil to nearly 25% from the previous price, pointing out that Iraq is in front of the problem of high costs and falling oil prices, which constitute 95% of the country’s budget was left in front of the financial management However, a review of the “engineering expenses.”

He says Saleh, said that “there are expenses and regulations and decisions of the financial burdens that can be deferred,” adding, “It is time to rationalize expenses and put him to the rudiments expenses such as the fight against terrorism and the displaced and the salaries of the staff and the necessary needs of the citizens, in line with the difficult conditions experienced by the country.”

The former official at the Central Bank believes that the cash could end with “austerity disbursements” and increase revenue, such as taxes and fees imposed in does not affect the citizen and the cost of economic life, through the organization of sources and outlets of financial achievement and according to the plans studied and “Maps Collection,” which the world followed , such as taking a thousand dinars on every government treatment, “but they are very low sums totaling would be great,” he said, adding that the government can activate the private sector, which is the biggest money savers.

He says Saleh, said that “the state and its institutions that the climate allows through which the private sector can arise spend his money in the field of investment and development and give full opportunity to take the role,” noting that the latter sector living conditions “inherited” from the restriction and pressure affect the freedom of action. It also asserts that “the government program” which pointed to the adoption of appropriate mechanisms for the transition to a market economy can be a guarantor to dissolve a lot of financial dilemmas, pointing to the possibility of borrowing from the market, “internal borrowing” by exporting bonds.

But contrast warns of global “external borrowing” debt, because he holds damage big burden, so you must wait before entering into this field, also calls for the government to start a big reform campaign and “change” in the economic field to lift obtrusive investment laws and legislation again to accelerate engagement the private sector.

Oil prices have tumbled about 25 percent since June, and overshadowed by a significant increase in higher shale oil production quality of the North American on-demand at a time of stagnant economic growth, analysts say oversupply may continue Snoat.fima former official at the central bank is expected to stabilize the price of a barrel of oil to $ 80, while he had predicted, and the former Minister of Oil, “Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum,” The decline in oil prices to $ 70.

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Kurdistan amend the date the tenth of Muharram holiday

Twilight News / Kurdistan Regional Government announced the official working hours to disable the government institutions in the province on Monday instead of Tuesday on the occasion of the tenth of Muharram.

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He said government spokesman Sven Dzia responded in a statement for “Twilight News”, “We have announced that on Saturday, an official holiday for the circles in which it will be an official time, and including the tenth day of Muharram falls on 11/03/2014, so decided to Cabinet considered on Monday 11/03/2014 official holiday instead of on Tuesday, 4/11/2014. We apologize dear in the Kurdistan Region of our fans. “

“As we had announced on Tuesday, 11.4.2014 considered an official holiday in all the departments and institutions of the Government of the region, and as the day Saturday, 25/10/2014 was a public holiday on the occasion of the first day of the month of Muharram, which marks the Islamic New Year.”

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Iraqi court: Maliki accused of attempted murder

Iraqi court: Maliki accused of attempted murder

Karkh court in Baghdad calls for the former prime minister and his personal secretary Kata stapes to consider against them by Judge Munir Haddad complaint.

BAGHDAD toss

Judicial sources said, that the second Karkh court in Iraq, issued a request to bring the Vice President of the Republic, and the Iraqi former Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and his personal secretary, Kata stapes nicknamed “Abu Mujahid,” to look into the complaint filed against them on charges of attempted murder.

And picked Iraqi legal sources, news undergo Maliki to influence the judiciary after the lifting of the Special Criminal Court judge, who tried the late Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, Munir Haddad, a lawsuit against Maliki and stapes, on charges of death threats and impeding the work of the judiciary.

This is the first case brought against al-Maliki, after assuming the post of Vice President of the Republic, it is believed that it will not be the last with the torrent accusations accumulated and issues that are not disproven by prescription given to the legality and the sensitivity of character against the Iraqi official, especially since most of them regard to corruption and abuse of power, as well as operations systematic murder and torture against opponents of the owners.

And Former President of the Special Criminal Court case against al-Maliki, on Monday, and chose to achieve Karkh court to make a complaint, also chose to bring a case against al-Maliki in his personal capacity, as well as the office manager, Kata Ngyeman stapes, and Maj. Gen. Jawad, commander of the brigade to protect the public, former commander of the armed forces, which Haddad prevent from entering the court and threatened to kill him.

Haddad scored in the text of the lawsuit, that “the stapes prevented me from entering the court for the exercise of my business, but I refused threat stapes and Maliki and went to my work, accompanied by a detachment my own protection, and when we got to the gate of the court, stopped the officer rank of Major continued to brigade to protect the Commander in Chief of the forces Bureau armed, and asked me not to enter otherwise would be on fire on the detachment of protection, according to me that he has received orders from the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, which is headed by al-Maliki’s office. “

He asked Judge Haddad of an investigative judge Karkh court, recording his testimony, also called for the issuance of a warrant of arrest and investigation in the right of each of Nuri al-Maliki and Kata stapes and General Javad leading up arms in their faces, as well as the referral of the case to the competent court after the investigative procedures completed.

Iraqi human rights activists say, that the owners of hundreds of cases, individuals, organizations and groups, preparing to prosecute al-Maliki, for crimes and violations of operations and administrative corruption, and they are waiting for the opportunity to provide Athbatadthm Dlaúlhm and condemning the former prime minister.

The period-Maliki presidency of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, the most difficult stage and most complex in Iraq for decades.

Observers say, that al-Maliki in his new position, vice president, does not have the legal immunity that qualify him to get out of the grip of the Iraqi justice, with the expected torrent accusations against him and is popularly and officially prosecuted.

And intends to Iraqi forces, raising the request to the United Nations, to criminalize the practice of al-Maliki in his two terms, which tainted many of the abuses, as well as providing dedicated to the abuses of human rights and freedoms related to international organizations to the list.

Iraqi army regain the center of Baiji «Daash»

Publication Date: Saturday, November 1st, 2014

BAGHDAD (Union, Agencies)

Regained the Iraqi army, supported by troops «popular crowd», the center of Baiji, north-west of Tikrit, according to security sources said yesterday. Iraqi forces and groups loyal stormed her Baiji from the western and southern sides, and fought fierce battles with militants organize Daash.fa time detection Sheikh Naim Gaood a clan elders Albu Nimr, yesterday, for the establishment of the organization «Daash» the execution of 50 people from his own tribe and trapping 200 others including women and children, north of Ramadi.

A security source said early, that «the army forces and fighters of the factions of the popular crowd, backed by air cover, fought fierce battles against the elements of the organization Daash in Baiji, north of Tikrit, and were able to inflict heavy losses organization.»

The source added that «the army entered the city and the purity of the elements of the organization, and raising the Iraqi flag over the number of mosques in the neighborhoods of the judiciary».The source confirmed the presence of a large military build-up by the military forces and emergency regiments and the crowd and the popular elements of the Awakening, and expanded to launch a major offensive to retake areas seized by the organization «Daash» in the district of Al-Anbar, west of Hit. The source said, that «the crowds were stationed in hand Baghdadi controlled army regiments and emergency». The «plan of attack has been put by those present in the Ain al-Assad base in Baghdadi American advisers, which saw visiting Iraqi Minister of Defense for the field developments, and how to edit these areas of dominance Daash».

Announced Salahuddin province, police re-opening of the Directorate of Baiji Police Directorate.

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