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US Federal Prosecutors: Millions stolen from Medicare wound up in Cuban banking system

Miami, June 18.─ In an unprecedented case, federal prosecutors have charged a Miami man with engaging in a massive money-laundering operation that moved millions stolen from the federal Medicare program into Cuban banks.

Prosecutors say Oscar Sanchez, 46, was a key leader in a group that funneled $31 million in Medicare dollars into banks in Havana — the first such case that directly traces money fleeced from the beleaguered program into the Cuban banking system.

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Egypt Muslim Brotherhood claims victory in presidential vote

Celebrating electoral victory in Egypt
Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate
Dr Mohammed Mursi celebrate in Cairo

Cairo, June 18 (AFP).─ Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory in historic presidential polls here on Monday, hours after the ruling military council issued a constitutional document claiming sweeping power, including legislative control.

"Doctor Mohammed Mursi is the first Egyptian president of the republic elected by the people," read a tweet from the official Twitter account of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political arm.

The party made the announcement after votes from nearly all Egypt's 13,000 polling stations had been counted.

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Campaign for the survival of the whales

Small Greenpeace boat tries to stop Japanese whaling in the South Atlantic
Small Greenpeace boat tries to stop whaling in the South Atlantic

Phil Kline is heading a Greenpeace delegation to Panama as an official observer of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings just starting this Monday until July 6. He will personally deliver a message to the US delegation signed by all US citizens sposoring this petition. Citizens from other countries should approach their own delegations to this meeting.

Whales play an important role in the life of the oceans. As such, they serve as flagships for the health and well being of the whole marine ecosystem that in turn is supporting human life on Earth. 

Whales are quite simply one of the many gardeners of the oceans.

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The serious challenge of Nuclear Waste

Researchers are devising new ways to deal with the byproducts of nuclear power. But it is not just a technological problemA hole to bury nuclear waste

June 3.─ The accident at the Fukushima nuclear power-station in Japan last year, the worst since the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986, has led many countries to reconsider their commitment to nuclear power. It has also drawn new attention to the enduring problem of dealing with nuclear waste. Around 270,000 tonnes of high-level waste, mostly spent fuel, are in temporary storage around the world. Another 10,000 tonnes of waste are added each year, according to the World Nuclear Association, an industry body.

Should it be buried in undersea fissures, stored underground or manipulated to make it less harmful? The abandonment in 2009 of a plan for a huge storage site shielded by 300 metres of volcanic rock in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, gave the matter new urgency in America even before Fukushima. The presidentially mandated Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, which delivered its final report in January 2012, emphasised the "urgent" need for a fresh waste-disposal strategy. Meanwhile, new rules adopted by the European Union last year require member countries to draw up long-term plans for dealing with their nuclear waste by 2015.

Dealing with nuclear waste does not just mean preventing it from doing harm today, whether as the result of accident, malicious intent or natural disaster. It also means ensuring that waste does not poison future generations—people who discover nuclear waste in the far future may not realise what it is—and doing so in a way that is acceptable to today's taxpayers. Read more ...

OAS Assembly Adopts Social Charter of the Americas

OAS approves Social Charter of the AmericasCochabamba, June 4.─ The ministers of foreign affairs of the Hemisphere adopted the Social Charter of the Americas today, by acclamation, at the second plenary session of the forty-second regular session of the Organization of American States (OAS), being held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The Bolivian Foreign Minister and President of the Assembly, David Choquehuanca, applauded the adoption of the Social Charter of the Americas in his country. He said, "my people and my Government are especially pleased that the Social Charter of the Americas is being adopted here, in Tiquipaya, in Cochabamba." He said the document would serve to strengthen "existing OAS instruments on democracy, integral development, and fighting poverty."

The Social Charter is based on the recognition that "the peoples of the Americas legitimately aspire to social justice and their governments have a responsibility to promote it. Development with equity strengthens and consolidates democracy, since the two are interdependent and mutually reinforcing."

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