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US imposes most wide-ranging sanctions on Russia

The United States has imposed its most wide-ranging sanctions yet on Russia's economy over Moscow's "provocative" behavior in Ukraine.

The sanctions included Gazprombank and the Rosneft Oil Co, and other major banks and energy and defense companies.

Washington has steadily escalated its financial sanctions on Russia over what it views as Moscow's interference in its neighbour Ukraine.

President Obama is due to make a statement on sanctions the US might put on Russia over Ukraine.
President Obama is due to make a statement on sanctions the US might put on Russia over Ukraine. Credit: PA

A senior US administration official told reporters on a conference call that the sanctions were designed to avoid spillover risk for the global economy.

President Barrack Obama is due to shortly make a statement on the Russian sanctions, the White House said.

John Kerry in Vienna for talks on Tehran nuclear deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry.
US Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Vienna for talks with foreign ministers about Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran and the six powers- Britain, the US, France, Germany, Russia and China- aim to reach a long-term deal to end the decade-old nuclear standoff by July 20.

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Two live parrots found smuggled inside Elmo doll

The parrots (left) were hidden inside an Elmo doll (right). Credit: CBP

Two live parrots were found hidden inside an Elmo doll by US customs officials in Arizona.

The American Customs and Border Protection team seized the birds earlier this month after an X-ray revealed the Sesame Street toy was not all it seemed.

Birds entering the United States are regulated because they could carry diseases.

The parrots were transferred to a government quarantine and the couple attempting to smuggle the creatures from Mexico were fined $300 (£175).

EU-US deal threat to 'hard-fought-for UK standards'

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. Credit: PA

A proposed deal that could threaten increased privatisation of schools and the NHS will blow apart the power of democratic decision-making, the leader of the Green Party has said, as protests are expected to erupt over the EU-US trade deal.

Natalie Bennett said: "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a huge threat to hard-fought-for standards for the quality and safety of our food, the sources of our energy, workers' rights, and our privacy".

Read: Hundreds set to protest over 'secret' EU-US trade deal

Female Yahoo executive 'sued for sexual harassment'

Yahoo female executive Maria Zhang is being sued for sexual harassment by a female employee.
Yahoo female executive Maria Zhang is being sued for sexual harassment by a female employee. Credit: PA

A woman is suing her high-flying female Yahoo executive boss for alleged sexual harassment.

Software engineer Nan Shi claims Maria Zhang, a senior director of engineering at Yahoo Mobile, said she would have a 'bright future' at Yahoo if she had sex with her.

Miss Zhang denies the allegations.

A Yahoo representative said: "There is absolutely no basis or truth to the allegations against Maria Zhang. Maria is an exemplary Yahoo executive and we intend to fight vigorously to clear her name."

Protests due over 'secret' EU-US trade deal

Protests will be held across the country today against a 'secret' trade deal between the EU and the US that could threaten jobs and public services.

Hundreds of people are expected to march in London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Manchester, Cardiff, Nottingham and other areas.

Those opposed to it say the proposed deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), threatens increased privatisation of schools and the NHS, would cut food and environmental rules, and cost jobs.

Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement, said: "The deal would hand multinational companies unprecedented powers over life in this country."

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