(Reuters) - The U.S. Army will not ignore any misconduct by released Taliban detainee Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, but he should be considered innocent until proven guilty, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said. "The questions about this particular soldier's conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity," General Martin Dempsey said in a posting on his Facebook page on Tuesday. "Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty," Dempsey said. On Monday, Republican members of the U.S. Congress said President Barack Obama had set a dangerous precedent with the prisoner swap and might have broken the law.
Inflation in the eurozone slowed last month to financial crisis levels, putting extra pressure on the ECB to act to fight a growing threat of deflation, data showed on Tuesday. Eurozone inflation fell to 0.5 percent in May, the same level as in March and erasing a bump to 0.7 percent in April. Inflation in the 18-nation eurozone has fallen steadily in the past year, reflecting weak demand and strength of the euro, and has raised expectations that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates at a policy meeting on Thursday. Inflation is way below the ECB's target of just under 2.0 percent and shows little sign of picking up any time soon.
Turkey's embattled prime minister lashed out at international media on Tuesday, accusing news outlets of stirring unrest during the one-year anniversary of mass anti-government protests. Recep Tayyip Erdogan singled out CNN International, whose reporter was arrested live on air last Saturday while covering street clashes, accusing the network of spying. "International media organisations who came to Istanbul for provocative and exaggerated broadcasts were left empty-handed," Erdogan told members of his ruling AKP party in an apparent reference to the incident. On Saturday, police violently dispersed demonstrators in Istanbul and Ankara as they marked a year since the start of nationwide protests denouncing Erdogan's authoritarian rule.
WARSAW (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his administration's operation to rescue Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity, saying the United States was committed to freeing its prisoners of war regardless of how they were captured. Obama acknowledged that the Taliban fighters who were freed from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Bergdahl could engage in efforts that were detrimental to U.S. security again. He said he was confident the United States could go after those individuals if that were the case. ...
US President Barack Obama told European allies Tuesday they had a responsibility to boost defence spending in return for US protection amid new instability in Europe. "We have seen a steady decline, that has to change," Obama said, bemoaning cuts in military spending across Europe in an age of economic austerity. Obama said that with a few exceptions, including Poland, European nations had not been pulling their weight in the alliance -- a fact that was exposed by the East-West showdown over Ukraine.
Human Rights Watch has reacted angrily to Rwandan allegations of bias in its reporting on the central African nation, saying it has been "misrepresented" and its staff "disparaged". The statement from the group, released overnight on Monday, came after Rwanda's justice ministry accused the rights organisation of colluding with terrorists and signalled it may no longer be allowed to work in the country. "Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned that the Rwandan Ministry of Justice has grossly misrepresented the work of Human Rights Watch and disparaged its staff," the group said in a statement. "Human Rights Watch has worked on Rwanda for more than 20 years, since before the 1994 genocide, documenting abuses against Rwandans and defending the human rights of all, regardless of their political or other affiliation," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended a prisoner swap deal with the Taliban to free a US soldier held for five years, following attacks from his Republican foes. Obama said that he saw an opportunity for a swift deal amid concerns for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's health and that he had a "sacred" obligation to try to free captured US servicemen and women. "We seized that opportunity," Obama said, adding that there had not been time to fully consult Congress on the swap. Bergdahl -- the only US soldier held by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan -- was freed on Saturday in a dramatic deal brokered by Qatar.
By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason WARSAW (Reuters) - President Barack Obama assured Poland and its eastern European neighbors on Tuesday that the U.S. commitment to their security was sacrosanct at the start of a four-day trip meant to show U.S. resolve after the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The White House unveiled plans for a $1 billion initiative to send more of its military to Europe on a temporary basis but stopped short of promising to beef up its permanent presence as some of Washington's allies are seeking. Speaking in an aircraft hangar at Warsaw airport where he met U.S. airmen taking part in a joint program with the Polish air force, Obama said U.S. commitments to Poland and the region were a cornerstone of the United States' own security. "As friends and allies we stand united together," said Obama, whose two-day stay in Warsaw will include meetings with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko and other central and eastern European leaders.
Chan Koonchung's novel "The Fat Years", set in a China of the near-future where a dark moment of history has been erased from public memory, has never been published on the mainland. The book released in 2009 presents a dystopian vision of 2013 in which China's rise coincides with the economic weakening of the West. But its chances of being published in China were always going to be slim, given its allusions to the Communist Party's censorship machine and the way events such as the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years ago this week have been virtually deleted from official history. "My novels are unpublishable (in China)," said Chan in an interview in Hong Kong.