Obama tells Pentagon to plan for Afghan pullout

Image

President Barack Obama has ordered the Pentagon to plan for a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year should the Afghan government refuse to sign a security agreement with the U.S, the White House said Tuesday.

However, in a call with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama also said the U.S. could still keep a limited troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 if the agreement is ultimately signed. He acknowledged that Karzai was unlikely to sign the bilateral security agreement himself, leaving the fate of the continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to the winner of the country’s April elections.

~ JULIE PACE, AP

Samsung quietly reveals a Galaxy S5 variant with an eight-core processor

Image

Once a year, Samsung takes some of its best material and slaps it together into a premium flagship model called the Galaxy S. While 2014’s version — the S5 — came a bit earlier in the year than some earlier iterations, we’re no less excited to see it become the star of the show at Mobile World Congress. The new device will ship in April (on stage, Samsung specifically mentioned that it launches on April 11th in 150 markets), although exact pricing and availability are still unknown. It features a refreshed design language, yet anyone who has used a GS phone recently will immediately recognize it as a Samsung flagship.

source – Engadget

Ukraine’s fugitive president wanted for mass murder

Image

Ukraine’s new authorities issued an arrest warrant on Monday for mass murder against ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, who is on the run after being toppled by bloody street protests in which police snipers killed opposition demonstrators.

Russia, Yanukovich’s main backer, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities, declaring that Russian citizens’ lives were under threat there, and contacted NATO to express concern.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton arrived in Kiev to discuss measures to shore up the ailing economy, which the finance ministry said needs urgent financial assistance to avoid default.

 

Source – REUTERS

Trying Out Nokia’s Three Surprising New Android Smartphones

Trying Out Nokia's Three Surprising New Android Smartphones

For longtime cell phone maker Nokia, Monday represents a day many thought would never come. After years of devotion to Windows Phone, Nokia has just unveiled a trio of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system: the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL.

The move, which was announced by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop at a Mobile World Congress event here in Barcelona, Spain, has been rumored for some time, but still comes as something of a surprise. Nokia pledged its allegiance to Microsoft’s Windows Phone in 2011; it was later acquired by Microsoft, for $7.2 billion, in late 2013. These new smartphones running Google’s Android mean that Nokia now builds smartphones that run software created by its owner’s arch-rival.

Of course, Nokia isn’t abandoning Windows Phone, Microsoft’s struggling smartphone operating system, which powers Nokia’s Lumia smartphone line. Those Lumia devices, notable for their bright colors and emphasis on photography, aren’t going anyway.
more info – http://yhoo.it/1dp69tU

Italy’s new PM Renzi faces first parliamentary test

Italy's new PM Renzi faces first parliamentary test

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi faces his first test before a fractious national parliament on Monday when he goes to the Senate to put flesh on ambitious reform plans and seeks to win a confidence vote in his newly installed government.

Backed by his own centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the small centre-right NCD party, centrists and other miscellaneous groups, he should win the vote in the 320-seat upper house.

But there will be close attention to the size of his majority after some leftwingers in his own party initially threatened to vote against the government. If he fell much below the 173 secured by his predecessor Enrico Letta in December, his authority could be weakened from the start.

In sweeping move, Pope creates office to oversee Vatican finances

In sweeping move, Pope creates office to oversee Vatican finances

Pope Francis has taken his boldest step yet to overhaul the Vatican’s scandal-plagued finances, creating a new department with broad powers to oversee all of its economic and administrative affairs, the Vatican said on Monday.

The Secretariat for the Economy will answer directly to the pope and will be headed by Australian Cardinal George Pell, currently the archbishop of Sydney.

The pope will also name an auditor with oversight powers, according to a papal document known as a Motu Proprio, Latin for “by his own initiative”, formalizing the changes.
source – Reuters