The New Rebel Offensive: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 72)

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For three weeks, the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the capital of the so-called Donetsk Peoples Republic, has faced a near-constant barrage of deadly shellfire. Hundreds of civilians have been killed as the Ukrainian army slowly encircled Donetsk and pro-Russia forces fought for control of what is strategically the most important city.

With the Ukrainian army having made sweeping gains since late June, the rebels announced a counter offensive to relieve the siege of Donetsk and other cities under their control. On August 25, rebel forces brought over a number of armored vehicles and tanks from the Russian border on the southern coastline. They quickly made a push towards the coastal city of Mariupol, but were stopped at the town of Novoazovsk after a skirmish with Ukrainian troops and volunteer forces.

VICE News headed to Novoazovsk to investigate claims of Russian involvement, and found terrified civilians trapped in the shelling, along with desperate Ukrainian forces angry at their lack of reinforcement from their leaders in Kiev.

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Check out “Crimea: A Look Inside the New Russian Territory” – http://bit.ly/1mjdFuH

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – August, 29 2014

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Ukraine’s OSCE representative says Russian troops captured border city, Brazil dismantles deforestation gang, India’s prime minister plans to give bank accounts to the poor, and parents say vaccine may have caused girls to get sick in northern Colombia.

UKRAINE
Russian Forces Reportedly in Control of Border City
NATO claims more than 1,000 Russian troops are operating inside Ukrainian territory.

BRAZIL
Police Bust ‘Largest’ Deforestation Gang
The group is said to be responsible for more than $220 million in damages to a particularly remote section of the Amazon rainforest.

INDIA
Modi Hopes to Give Bank Accounts to All
The country’s prime minister kick-started a campaign to help 75 million poor households.

COLOMBIA
Illness May Be Linked to Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Two hundred girls who were recently hospitalized had received the Gardasil vaccine in the past few months, but health experts claim it’s unrelated.

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Fallen Rebel Fighters Treated in Russia: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 70)

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Last week, a VICE News crew traveled to the Rostov Region in Russia, which is on the border of Ukraine, to investigate Moscow’s involvement in the conflict. We visit a hospital where injured rebel fighters were brought by Russian forces to be treated for their injuries, and speak to them about their take on the current crises in Eastern Ukraine. Recently, Russia has engaged in a campaign of sending over humanitarian convoys over to Ukraine by day. But under the darkness of night, it is rumored that Russia has been sending weaponized columns over the border to aid the rebels.

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – August, 19 2014

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Donetsk rebels to open military courts and impose death penalty, Russian court jails activists over 2012 anti-Putin protests, Yemen’s Houthis call for government’s ouster, and Hezbollah lowers minimum age of its fighters in Syria.

UKRAINE
Donetsk Rebels Introduce ‘Criminal Code’
Treason, desertion, and sabotage will be punished by the death penalty.

RUSSIA
Court Jails Four Detained During 2012 Anti-Putin Protest
Three of the four charged will spend between 2.5 and 3.5 years in prison.

YEMEN
Houthi Movement Calls for Government’s Ouster
Commander of the movement’s armed wing is warning of violence if a decision to raise fuel prices isn’t reversed by Friday.

LEBANON
Hezbollah Lowers Age Requirement for Syria Fighters
The group will allow men as young as 16 to fight on the front lines.

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Marijuana Sting: Bees Attack Police Destroying Cannabis Plot

Source: http://rt.com/news/178344-cannabis-bees-police-sting/
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Russian police met their match as they attempted to clear a cannabis plantation. They were sent fleeing from the scene by scores of angry bees. However, officers had the last laugh when they returned wearing protective gear to get rid of the weed.

The bees were located in hives in the middle of a small plot of cannabis, which the owner said had grown wildly, not far from the city of Kostroma, some 350km northwest of Moscow. Officers were stung repeatedly, but none suffered any allergic reactions.

“As part of an operation, the police arrived at the scene to see whether rumors that a large amount of cannabis was growing were true,” said law enforcement officer Valery Vekhov. “When we got to where the cannabis was growing, there were a number of beehives. When we tried to remove the cannabis plants, the bees started to attack us aggressively. We had to leave in order to get protective gear from the owner.”

There were around 500 cannabis plants growing in the vicinity, up to a height of 2 meters, however the owner was adamant he was not doing anything illegal. When asked why he had not destroyed it, the owner said that he did not have enough time as he was busy attending to the bees. The plantation was eventually destroyed and the cannabis was taken away by the police. One policewoman who was part of operation received a nasty sting to her left cheek. Never the less she was still left with a broad smile on her face, as she was helped by local residents.

Police are now trying to learn whether the bees were specifically put within the hemp plot in order to guard it, in the event that someone would try and destroy it.

It is illegal to grow cannabis in Russia and if it is found that the owner willingly grew the plant, he could face up to eight years in jail.

Crimea: A Look Inside the New Russian Territory

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Days after Ukraine’s president was toppled from power during the Euromaidan revolution, Russian soldiers and local proxies took control of the strategically important Crimean peninsula and surrounded Ukrainian troops in their bases. Unhappy with the change in government in Kiev and using the unfounded fear of the Russian language being restricted, Russia made a bid for control in the region.

Following an illegal and fraudulent referendum on whether Crimea would become a part of Russia or not, Russia then formally annexed the peninsula — a move which was widely condemned by the international community. Russia had, in one quick and mostly bloodless takeover, reminded the world of its power, and made the West in its poor handling of the situation appear weak.

VICE News headed to Crimea to see how the change in rulers has gone down with the local population. Some residents welcomed Russia and the prospect of a greater economic future, while others feared losing their freedom to speak out, and did not like the idea of becoming pawns in Russia’s military muscle flexing.

Click here to watch “Crimea: March of the Tatars” – http://bit.ly/1sdpgkA

Click here to watch “Ukraine: The Last Days of the Revolution” – http://bit.ly/1AOZZ4f

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Crimea: March of the Tatars

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In one of history’s most severe and efficient incidents of mass exile, the Tatars in Crimea were removed from their homeland by Stalin in 1944. Within just three days, 200,000 Tatars were forcibly deported. After spending 50 years in exile, the Tatars returned to their homeland in Crimea at the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have since felt generally protected under Ukrainian rule.

Following a fraudulent and illegal referendum earlier this year on whether to become part of Russia, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation — a move that brought back painful memories of persecution and oppression for the local Tatar community.

VICE News spent time with Tatars around the time of the commemoration of their exile, and found a community already under pressure from new Russian authorities. It’s unclear what their future will hold under Russian rule again, and many fear that history could repeat itself.

Read more on VICE News: Crimean Tatars Are Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands – http://bit.ly/1pqWDhQ

Watch “Tatar Nation: The Other Crimea” – http://bit.ly/1u0NnT5

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – July, 25 2014

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Russian opposition activists jailed for inciting mass riots, suicide bomb attacks target a cleric and a former president in northern Nigeria, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar can’t get health care, and cargo ships are killing endangered blues whales off America’s west coast.

RUSSIA
Opposition Figures Charged With Inciting Riots
The men received four-and-a-half year sentences on charges of masterminding rallies that turned violent during Vladimir Putin’s last inauguration.

NIGERIA
Suicide Bomb Attacks Kill Dozens in the North
Officials say the blasts targeted a Muslim cleric and a former president.

MYANMAR
Muslims in Northern Rakhine State Have Minimal Health Care Access
Aid groups that assisted the minority communities were driven out a few months ago.

U.S.A.
Blue Whales and Cargo Ships on Collision Course
Study shows the endangered marine mammals hang out along some of America’s busiest shipping routes.

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The War That Never Ended: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 53)

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Not long after a so-called ceasefire ended in eastern Ukraine Monday night, the Ukrainian military sent a column of artillery into Sloviansk and officially began its offensive. The Russian and Ukrainian governments, along with representatives from the OSCE, called for a new effort to establish another ceasefire, setting a deadline of Saturday for the resumption of talks. For now, however, the war continues.

VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky traveled around the outskirts of the city and visited several checkpoints where soldiers were preparing for what’s to come.

Who’s Who in the Donetsk People’s Republic: https://news.vice.com/article/whos-who-in-the-donetsk-peoples-republic

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – June, 20 2014

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Nearly a hundred thousand people flee Pakistan’s North Waziristan as military steps up anti-Taliban offensive, Ukrainian government publicizes efforts to root out Russian spies, hundreds of Albanian police raid pot operation, and SpaceX tests new feature on reusable rocket.

PAKISTAN
Mass Civilian Exodus Amid Anti-Taliban Offensive
Tens of thousands flee North Waziristan as ground troops enter new phase of operation.

UKRAINE
Men Arrested on Spying Charges,
Illegal Pipeline Dismantled
The government wants to demonstrate that there are Russian infiltrators across the country.

ALBANIA
Police Clash With Drug Traffickers During Raid
The nearly lawless village of Lazarat produces nearly 900 tons of marijuana a year.

U.S.A.
SpaceX Tests New Phase of Reusable Rocket
Fins could steer the rockets back to a specific location for landing.

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