Articles on this Page
- 04/11/14--12:02: _Prosecutors Say Thi...
- 04/12/14--11:59: _Missing Plane's Co-...
- 04/13/14--12:34: _After Dominating Br...
- 04/14/14--07:06: _No, You Can't Open ...
- 04/14/14--12:30: _Banksy's New Artwor...
- 04/15/14--05:39: _Google Cracks Down ...
- 04/15/14--07:05: _North Korea Branche...
- 04/16/14--05:16: _Major Study Finds T...
- 04/16/14--08:56: _Banksy May Have Bee...
- 04/16/14--09:42: _6 Cool Ways Normal ...
- 04/19/14--03:11: _JIM O'NEILL: The Cr...
- 04/19/14--12:08: _Pilot Of Capsized S...
- 04/21/14--04:48: _Denver Police Arres...
- 04/22/14--07:01: _Never-Before-Seen P...
- 04/23/14--04:43: _Here's The Scientif...
- 04/23/14--04:59: _Botox Maker Is Moun...
- 04/25/14--14:09: _A French Woman With...
- 04/26/14--08:52: _Russia Slammed With...
- 04/27/14--08:08: _The Cracks In Googl...
- 04/27/14--09:05: _Shanty Town Gunfigh...
- 04/14/14--07:06: No, You Can't Open A Plane Door In Midair
- 04/16/14--05:16: Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy
- 04/16/14--08:56: Banksy May Have Been Caught On Camera For The First Time
- 04/16/14--09:42: 6 Cool Ways Normal People Are Already Using Google Glass
- 04/19/14--12:08: Pilot Of Capsized South Korea Ferry Was A 25-Year-Old Rookie
- 04/21/14--04:48: Denver Police Arrest 22 At Massive 4/20 Marijuana Rally
- 04/22/14--07:01: Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Kim Jong-un As A Young Boy
- 04/26/14--08:52: Russia Slammed With Intensified Sanctions From G7
- 04/27/14--08:08: The Cracks In Google Glass Are Getting Deeper
- 04/27/14--09:05: Shanty Town Gunfights Hit Rio Weeks Before World Cup Kick Off
Reeva Steenkamp was standing behind the lavatory door talking and arguing with her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius when he shot her dead, the athlete’s trial heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it was “the only reasonable explanation” for why Pistorius gunned down the model at his Pretoria home in the early hours of St Valentine’s morning last year.
He said the 27-year-old athlete’s claim that he killed Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder who had climbed through his bathroom window and locked themselves in the lavatory was “so far-fetched” as to be “improbable”.
“She wasn’t scared of an intruder,” Nel told Pistorius, revealing the state's theory on motive for the first time.
“She was scared of you. She was standing right in front of the toilet door, talking to you, when you shot her. That’s the only reasonable explanation why you shot her in the head.”
Mr Nel also challenged Pistorius on why he had not asked his girlfriend if she heard the window opening that prompted him to head for the bathroom with his gun.
He pointed to couples among the neighbours who gave evidence saying they heard gunshots and a woman screaming, pointing out they conferred with each other about what they heard.
"She was awake. Did you not ask her: 'Reeva, did you hear that?' That's a reasonable thing to do,” Mr Nel challenged him.
"You were in a situation of danger, why did you not confer? I say a reasonable person would have looked where Reeva was, that she was safe, but you didn't - you just grabbed your gun. On your own version, you did not find out that she was okay or scared."
“My whole being was fixated on this person in the bathroom,” he answered.
Mr Nel asked why Pistorius ran towards the threat if he felt vulnerable, rather than getting his girlfriend and the pair of them hiding out on the balcony or behind the bed.
"You're vulnerable but you go towards the danger,” he said. “Why would you do that?"
"Because if I stayed where I was, Reeva and I would have been in danger,” he replied.
"If you had stayed in that room, Reeva would still be alive,” Mr Nel corrected him.
Pistorius insisted he was justified to seek out his gun. He told the judge “things happen every day” in South Africa – homeowners are tied up, shot at and sprayed with Mace. He explained it was his “instinct” and “my personality” to disregard his disability and seek to protect his girlfriend.
"I find your instinct strange. Instinct would have been to make sure Reeva was safe."
The prosecutor suggested the paralympian had wanted to get his gun.
"What was your intention? You got your gun and you released the safety mechanism. Why? You wanted to shoot,” he said, leaning towards the athlete in the witness box.
"There's a massive difference between being ready for a confrontation and wanting to shoot someone," Pistorius responded.
Gerrie Nel then moved to the “most improbable” part of Pistorius’ account.
“Reeva is three metres away from you in the toilet when you were shouting to her to call the police, and she never uttered a word?” he asked incredulously.
“She would be scared, she would shout out and talk to you. You are in the same room."
Pistorius insisted that he knew his girlfriend and she would have been too frightened to make a noise. "She would have perceived the danger was coming closer,” he said. “She would have stayed quiet."
He added tearfully: "I wish she had screamed out, let me know she was in there."
Throughout the day, Gerrie Nel dogged the athlete with claims he was changing his story, at one stage telling him his lengthy explanations were designed to cover his tracks.
"I'm thinking of something that never happened and I'm trying to keep up,” he suggested.
Pistorius responded angrily, saying he had never changed his version since the statement he gave to his bail hearing last year."The state's case has changed many times, mine has stayed the same,” he said.
But at one stage, the judge agreed with Mr Nel that Pistorius was making “mistakes”.
"Are you making these mistakes because you're too tired?" Judge Thokozile Masipa asked him, saying it was important he was “not at a disadvantage ” in the witness box to ensure his rights were protected.
He insisted he was, but later, blamed tiredness for apparent contradictions on another issue. Nel told him he was struggling because he was “covering up a lie”.
Pistorius burst into tears and told the judge: "This is the night I lost the person I cared about. I don't know why people don't understand that."
Speaking to the Telegraph as court adjourned, the athlete said he planned to spent the weekend sleeping. Asked if he had expected the ferocious cross-examination he has undergone this week, he smiled and replied simply: “It’s hard.”
The case continues on Monday.
Fariq Abdul Hamid, the co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, reportedly switched on his mobile phone above Penang – just before the plane vanished.
The New Straits Times, a Singapore-based newspaper, claimed that Mr Hamid turned off his phone before the plane took off. He then "reattached" the phone mid air, as the plane was passing within reach of the Penang control tower – but did not make any contact.
Mr Hamid last used his phone to send a WhatsApp message at around 11.30pm on March 7 – just before he boarded the aircraft for his six-hour flight to Beijing. Two hours previously he had made his final call, which was to a "regular contact".
An unnamed source told the paper: "The telecomms tower established the call that he was trying to make. On why the call was cut off, it was likely because the aircraft was fast moving away from the tower and had not come under the coverage of the next one."
A second source said that connection to the phone had been "detached" before the plane took off.
"This is usually the result of the phone being switched off," the said.
"At one point, however, when the aeroplane was airborne, between waypoint Igari and the spot near Penang (just before it went missing from radar), the line was 'reattached'.
"A 'reattachment' does not necessarily mean that a call was made. It can also be the result of the phone being switched on again."
Many airlines insist that crews turn their mobile phones off while airborne. But in reality some pilots leave their phones on – either intentionally, to surreptitiously read emails; or by mistake.
"If it was suddenly switched on mid flight, then it does suggest that something untoward was occurring," said Alastair Rosenschein, an aviation expert and former British Airways pilot.
"But it's not unusual for a phone to be left on innocently, by mistake, and then come into signal area.
"There has been so much uncorroborated material on this flight that it is very difficult to determine fact from fiction or speculation. This could be yet another red herring."
Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transport minister, said that authorities in his country have received many reports and leads which later turned out to be baseless, and that he could not confirm whether Mr Hamid had tried to make a call .
"Unless we can have verifications, we can't comment on these reports," he said.
But he suggested that the report was improbable.
"If this did happened, we would have known about it earlier."
Mr Rosenschein said that he thinks it most likely that the pilots passed out due to a malfunction with the oxygen, leaving the plane pilotless to crash into the ocean.
He said: "I suspect there was a double pilot incapacitation as a result of an as-yet unexplained technical problem – causing the flight crew to attempt a return to Kuala Lumpur, or a nearby diversion airfield such as Penang or Langkawi.
"The pilots passed out due to hypoxia and the aircraft continued on autopilot, flying the last imputed magnetic heading until it ran out of fuel to the west of Australia."
Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister, said on Friday that crews searching for wreckage of the plane had significantly narrowed down the search area in the hunt for signals. Authorities are confident that the signals are from the missing jet.
Filipino Congressman Manny Pacquiao was clinical earning a unanimous decision in his rematch with Timothy Bradley, avenging his controversial 2012 loss in their first meeting to claim the WBO welterweight crown.
The triumvirate of Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach and promoter Bob Arum concurred that they would fight Floyd Mayweather Jnr "at the drop of a hat".
"We'd love to fight Mayweather but there have been so many excuses. He really doesn't seem to want to fight us, but we want that fight. I think my guy beats him," Roach told the The Daily Telegraph.
Roach, however, admonished himself for not planning the training camp for Bradley's strategy of throwing power shots "and going for the knockout".
"It was not the best I have seen Manny perform, but I'm not annoyed with him, I'm annoyed at myself for not seeing Bradley's plan coming," he admitted.
Arum was irritated in his response to Mayweather's refusal to fight. "We want it," he roared. "But first Floyd has to sign the fri**ing contract. We can't do the fight until he agrees."
Judges Craig Metcalfe and Michael Pernick scored the rematch 116-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Trowbridge favoured the Filipino congressman 118-110. I had it 117-111 for the man known in his native land as 'The National Fist'. That was imprinted on Bradley's head and body in this return rubber. It was conclusive .
Hurt in the fourth round by a hard overhand right, Pacquiao used his vast experience to get through a difficult second quarter of the fight to come back and dominate the contest.
It was the eleventh world title belt to be placed around Pacquiao's waist in a 56-5-2 career spanning 19 years. Remarkably, he is also now 6-1 in rematches.
Pacquiao was delayed from attending the post-fight news conference due to a Y-shaped tear on the corner of his left eye and eyelid. It came from a clash of heads in the twelfth round.
"It was a bad tear and was an unusual shape, it was a clash of heads. He will have to have quite a few stitches and see the plastic surgeon," explained Freddie Roach, the Hall of Fame trainer in the Filipino's corner.
Arum revealed that "32 stitches" had been sewn into the side of the victor's head.
Bradley attended the news conference first, limping, his face bumpy like a cobbled street: "The dude still has it. He never ducks an opponent and he faced one of the best tonight. Manny Pacquiao is a true champion and I have great respect for him. I did my very best. I fought a courageous fight. No excuses, though, I'm good."
Bradley admitted that he had gone for broke, looking for a knockout in the early rounds. "Big shots were the only way I was going to win the fight. If I didn't knock him out I was going to lose rounds. I hear I hurt him with a big shot over the top in the fourth round. But he's really experienced in the ring, I didn't really notice it. I heard my corner shouting he was hurt."
Pacquiao left little doubt about the result of the rematch in the same arena where they met nearly two years ago. Bradley's split-decision victory had astonished most ringside observers, who felt Pacquiao had earned a clear decision. "I knew I had to do more in this fight than I did in the last fight," Pacquiao said afterwards in the ring.
Post-fight, Bradley revealed he had injured his right calf early in the contest. "I tried, I really tried," Bradley said as he was magnanimous in defeat in the ring.
"I wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world. I lost to one of the greatest fighters in boxing. I kept trying to throw something over the top. That's what we worked on in camp. That was the plan, but Pacquiao has great footwork."
"I didn't want to get careless," Pacquiao said. "I picked up more steam in the second half when I made adjustments that Freddie gave me in the corner. Bradley was much better than in the first fight we had. He hurt me on the chin."
Pacquiao landed a series of big left hands in the early rounds, knocking back Bradley with gusto. Bradley responded impressively in the fourth round, wobbling Pacquiao twice with a right hand.
The pace slowed in the fifth, with Bradley showing off his defense and movement while Pacquiao attempted to trap him against the ropes.
Pacquiao appeared to wobble Bradley late in the seventh round with a vicious combination, but failed to finish the fight. From thereonin, the fight was his. He owned it. This was vintage Pacquiao, without the cock-popping knockout at the end. But it was very, very, good.
Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth fight in late 2012, and he took nearly a year off before returning for an unspectacular victory over Brandon Rios late last year. A return with Marquez is the most likely next move, in fight No 5, but what we all now want to see more than ever is a contest with Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
A new Banksy work has appeared on the artist's website, but the lack of details might prompt a treasure hunt among fans.
Mere hours after he was suspected to have painted in Cheltenham, Banksy has announced new official work on his website with nothing but a picture.
The piece, which looks like a black and white stencil work, emerges out of the darkness of a door in a brick wall and depicts two lovers embracing - but looking over each others' shoulders at their phones.
However, no other details have been posted on his website, suggesting that his avid international fanbase may need to take to the streets, and put away their phones, to find it themselves. The cobbled paving, black lampost and yellow road markings could indicate that this work, already being dubbed 'Mobile Lovers' on street art blogs, is in the UK.
The work is the first brand new piece to officially appear on the Bristol artist's website since his New York 'residency' in October. Better Out Than In saw Banksy create a new painting, piece, installation or sculpture at least once a day throughout the month, without prior warning to the public. As a result, his fans were sent on a hunt around the city to try and locate the new work as it emerged, especially as other artists and opportunists damaged or removed the work. Banksy's pieces, nearly always painted on public property, have been known to make hundreds of thousands of pounds when sold at auction.
The appearance of this new piece shortly after a suspected Banksy work near the Government Communications Headquarters has caused people to believe the pieces are connected. Banksy's work traditionally comments on current affairs and social and political themes. Art News reported that Banksy was seen driving up to the damaged phone box in a maintenance van "at the break of dawn" before completing the work under the cover of a tarpaulin. However, unlike this unlocated work, the piece in Cheltenham is yet to be posted on the artist's website.
IN PICTURES: Banksy in New York
Google has cracked down on "copycat" websites that charge unsuspecting users for government services that are normally free.
The websites typically enable users to order official documents such as driving licences or European Health Insurance Cards but add a "service fee" on top of the Government's own charge.
They attract users by being advertised above the normal rankings on search engines such as Google and are often designed to appear similar to the equivalent official websites. Users can pay sums such as £100 more than the services would cost via the official channels.
Over the past few days adverts for many copycat websites have disappeared from Google as a result of cooperation between the search giant and the Government. However, some copycat websites were still appearing when The Telegraph checked today.
For example, when “passport” is searched for on Google, several links to the official government website (www.gov.uk) now feature at the top of the list. But for some other services, links to copycat and unofficial websites still appear before government sites.
The Telegraph previously reported that whereas purchasing car tax directly from the DVLA is free beyond the cost of the disc itself, taxdisc-direct.uk.com charge a £40 "service" fee . This site still appears as the top result when a search for “car tax” is carried out on Google. Similarly, for driving theory tests, the sites that still feature highest can charge up to £48.50, where purchasing directly from the DVLA costs just £31.
Google's terms and conditions allow it to remove websites from the part of its search pages devoted to paid adverts if the site charges for a service that is normally free and fails to offer any additional benefits.
It is understood that recent collaboration with the Government enabled Google to establish more accurately which copycat sites were failing to offer genuine additional services.
In a blog post in January Google said: "We've allocated substantial technical, financial, and human resources to stopping bad advertising practices and protecting users on the web. Hundreds of our engineers, policy experts and others have dedicated their careers to this work. We removed more than 350 million bad ads from our systems in 2013."
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North Korea has diversified its business model for earning hard currency, shifting from a reliance on manufacturing drugs and counterfeiting foreign bank notes to smuggling products from endangered species, fake pharmaceuticals and counterfeit cigarettes.
The details of Pyongyang's methods of earning the funds it needs to pay for its nuclear and missile programmes are spelled out in a study released on Tuesday by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.
The 115-page report says Pyongyang has been producing narcotics and smuggling them abroad through the diplomatic bag and printing high-quality forgeries of foreign currency since the mid-1970s, all part of the Kim regime's "fundamental strategic objective" of self-preservation.
There has been a shift in recent years, however, with the emergence of a privatized market economy that the authors describe as "a criminal one that is feeding off the suffering and deprivation of the population".
The smuggling by North Korean diplomats of rhino horn and ivory also appears to be a more recent development, the report says, with a North Korean citizen arrested in 2012 in Mozambique as he attempted to smuggle 130 pieces of ivory, with an estimated value of $36,000, out of the country.
Similar seizures in Kenya, Russia and France totaled more than 1.8 tons of ivory.
There has been a substantial increase in North Korea's output of counterfeit cigarettes since 2002, with a container of fake Marlboro cigarettes impounded in Singapore after arriving from North Korea via the South Korean port of Busan.
Similar seizures took place in South Africa, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines, while in late 2006, 3 million cartons of counterfeit cigarettes - with a street value of £3.5 million -were found by Greek customs authorities aboard North Korean-flagged ships.
North Korean officials were caught in 2004 smuggling 150,000 tablets of the sedative Clonazepam in Egypt, while embassy employees from Bulgaria were detained in Turkey carrying half a million tablets of the synthetic stimulant Captagon, with an estimated value of $7 million.
North Korea has also been accused of manufacturing fake Viagra pills.
The report claims that North Korean officials have also engaged in smuggling gems over international borders, trafficking in DVDs. smuggling used cars and even selling pornography in Finland.
The U.S. government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern universities has concluded.
The report, "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" (PDF), used extensive policy data collected between 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the U.S. political system.
After sifting through nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile), and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the U.S. is dominated by its economic elite.
The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."
Researchers concluded that U.S. government policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organizations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it."
The positions of powerful interest groups are "not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens," but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This is merely a coincidence, the report says, with the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10%.
The theory of "biased pluralism" that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the U.S. system fits holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations."
The study comes after McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial piece of legislation passed in the Supreme Court that abolished campaign-contribution limits, and record low approval ratings for the U.S. Congress.
CCTV has apparently captured the elusive artist Banksy for the first time – as he was installing his latest creation.
Cameras, which, ironically, had been set up to deter graffiti artists, filmed two people unloading kit from the back of a white van in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The video appears to show the cheeky pair dressed as workmen. The footage was captured by Bristol's Broad Plain and Riverside Youth Project, which has recently announced it plans to sell Banksy's 'Mobile Lovers' piece, which appeared on some plywood outside of their building.
A second van operated by a construction company is also seen in the video completely unaware that they are working next the most elusive artist in history.
The Bristol-based artist has never before revealed his identity to the public.
Here is the video footage via SWNS:
Google Glass, Google's hotly-anticipated internet-connected eyewear, goes on sale today in the US to the general public for the first time for one day only.
Up until now the company has limited sale of the $1,500 eyewear to developers, specially-selected aficionados and select businesses.
The device consists of a small clear strip that functions like a high-definition computer screen, hooked onto frames and positioned just within a wearer’s field of vision.
Users can connect to the internet, map their location and record videos, and is already being put to use across various sectors.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre
Boston hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre has used Google Glass to check patient records via QR codes displayed on their room doors and keep doctors' hands free when checking details online.
Doctor Steven Horng has credited the device with helping to save a patient's life who was suffering a brain hemmorrhage. Dr Horng was able to instantly check the man's medical history, who was allergic to a specific kind of blood pressure drug regularly issued to prevent bleeding, without having to leave him to leaf through papers.
Other hospitals have also used Google Glass to live-stream operations to medical students, train surgeons to restore cleft palettes and to help surgeons monitor patients' vital signs without taking their eyes away from the operating table.
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing staff members are currently using Google Glass in a pilot scheme at Heathrow Airport to help identify and check in passengers.
A specially built app by SITA and Virgin's passenger system identifies passengers on approach and pushes the information to the Glass wearer, who can also use it to quickly update customers with flight and weather information, alongside foreign language translation.
In the future, the technology could also tell airline staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences.
New York Police
The New York City Police Department is testing Google Glass to see if wearable computers could be useful in law enforcement.
Glass has a built-in camera that can record video and could potentially be useful in gathering evidence. It is also capable of running apps such as NameTag, which can photograph a person and identify them by scouring social networks for a match.
If the device was widely adopted by police it could be set up with an app that allowed officers to search databases of known offenders and outstanding warrants in a similar way.
The Jewish community
New York app development company RustyBrick created JewGlass, a Google Glass app for a Jewish audience last summer.
JewGlass reminds users of Shabbat start and end times, gives walking or driving directions to nearby synagogues and brings up prayers on screen if no prayer book is to hand.
The app is also able to scan menus and religious texts for Hebrew, which is then either translated on the small Glass screen or read aloud for the user to repeat.
Spanish bank CaixaBank created an app designed to facilitate following stock markets via smartwatches, and locating branches and converting currencies through Google Glass' augmented reality earlier this year.
Google Glass users can search for the nearest branch of the Spanish bank, and be supplied with their distance from it, the direction in which to travel and a contact telephone number.
Currency conversions are activated when the user activates the app and focuses the glasses on a product's price tag. The equivalent amount will appear superimposed on the screen using augmented reality. The service allows users to choose any input and output currencies in the world.
Sci-fi author William Gibson
William Gibson is known to many for coining the word "cyberspace" in his 1984 novel Neuromancer, but he is also a cultishly popular critic of the impact of new technology on human society.
He was given the chance to try on an audience member's Glass headset during a speech in New York last year, and said he was "faintly annoyed at just how interesting I found the experience.
"Expect Google Glass to be reworked into less obvious, more trad spectacles, sunglasses etc, for covert use. Should be relatively easy," he concluded. Whether the headset will be making an appearance in later novels remains to be seen.
The crisis surrounding Ukraine shows that global governance is in a mess, but events there are merely a symptom of something larger.
My visit to Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank set me wondering whether western democracies are much guiltier than we are prepared to admit.
These meetings took place against the surreal background of the US Congress having failed to pass a bill allowing the IMF to reform in the way that was agreed back in 2010 – a strange decision, as the planned changes to the fund were led by the then-US Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner.
Those proposals were to increase the IMF’s lending capability as well as to boost the voting share and seats of the major so-called “emerging economic powers” at the expense of others, including Europe.
Without the additional firepower, it makes it more difficult for the fund to intervene in economic crises, including the one engulfing Ukraine.
It is more than ironic that many of the Congressional figures who are calling for aggressive actions towards Russia over the Ukraine crisis are the same ones blocking the reforms of the IMF.
Without foreign financial assistance and economic support, Ukraine’s downward spiral could accelerate, yet there seems to be little recognition of this link.
The stalled 2010 agreement is based around the status quo of the world that existed at the end of 2008 . In those five intervening years, the world economic balance has continued to shift.
China has seen its nominal GDP double since 2008, so any agreements based on the relative size and balance of trade prevailing then are already very much out of date.
It is bigger than the combined GDP of France, Germany and Italy, three European countries which also have an intransigent stance about more substantial global reform.
Even though Brazil and Russia have especially disappointed in the past couple of years, both are within the top 10 economies by size. Collectively, the Bric countries are now nearly as large as the US and already quite a bit larger than the eurozone.
While the other Bric countries probably don’t have much sympathy with Russia on the specifics of the Ukraine issue, they might have broader sympathy with the notion that emerging economies are not allowed a relevant voice in global affairs.
Such thoughts might serve to undermine the legitimacy of global organisations such as the IMF and World Bank, the G20 itself as it morphs into clubs within a club, and encourage the growth of their own club.
My impression, for example, is that there is renewed energy surrounding previous plans to form a Brics Development Bank, and later this year the funding and location for such a body seems set to be announced.
It is not impossible that providing capital for such a new bank might take precedence over additional funding for the IMF if the US Congress continues to stall on the reforms.
Europe is more than a mere bystander in these issues. Obviously as it relates to Ukraine, this crisis is on Europe’s immediate borders and some of the EU’s most eastern members – notably Poland and the other Baltic states – have particularly acute concerns about the crisis.
It continues to be quite tricky for European countries to pursue aggressive sanctions against Russia when many of their leading companies want to do more business there.
I recently attended a well-known economic and financial conference in Italy where delegates were asked about their plans to invest in a variety of economies. Russia came a close second to China in a list of about six emerging economies.
Just before that event, I read of a visit by the chief executive of German industrial giant Siemens to President Vladimir Putin, soon after the annexation of Crimea.
It is things like this that mean I cannot imagine either Germany or Italy leading a push to be really tough with Russia.
European companies need to export beyond their borders to grow their revenues and recover from the economic malaise of recent years.
Being tough and making sacrifices when your own economic challenges suggest the exact opposite requires a grander vision.
Does the EU really have a true vision for the Ukraine?
Does it really have a true vision for the shape of the world in which the EU is going to be positioned? It seems eager to export to China and Russia, but doesn’t really want to engage with them on an equal footing.
In March, I published a paper co-authored with Alessio Terzi for the Brussels-based Bruegel think-tank that discussed the rapidly changing nature of world trade, and the contrasting absence of global economic governance.
In it, we argued that it would be in Europe’s long-term interests to give up its national seats of representation within global organisations and to volunteer either EU or EMU combined seats.
By doing so, it would allow the space for the emerging powers, as well as making it more difficult for the US to not be more adaptable to change.
Indeed, it might even lead to questions as to why the IMF and World Bank would need to be located in the US unless they supported more reform themselves.
The integration of the largest emerging economies into the world economy has been one of the most important positive developments of the past 20 years.
It has allowed hundreds of millions of people in developing nations to escape poverty, as well as permitting western multinationals to develop markets that were unimaginable beforehand.
This continued integration is a very positive thing for the world economy, despite some ongoing adjustment costs for some that struggle to adapt and change.
However, it will not be able to continue unless we can also advance our organisations that are supposed to provide optimal global economic governance.
As I was leaving after my trip to Washington, I was led to believe that Congress might end up passing the IMF bill after November, seven long months away. I was told this to be encouraged, but I would hope for more.
Jim O’Neill is former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and chairman of education charity Shine (www.shinetrust.org.uk)
They are the most treacherous waters in Korea but the person at the helm of the Sewol was not its experienced captain but a 25-year-old third mate who was navigating them for the first time.
"I briefly went to my bedroom," admitted 69-year-old captain Lee Joon-seok for the first time. "I was on my way back when the accident happened."
Capt Lee's decision to step away from the bridge was the first of a chain of calamitous errors that seem set to cost more than 300 lives, almost all of teenage students.
No one has been found alive from the ship since just after it sank on Wednesday morning and after more than 100 hours submerged in icy water, the window for anything other than a miracle has firmly closed.
The third mate, Park Hyun-kul, was a novice who had only been at sea for roughly a year, first working on ships sailing to China and joining the Chonghaejin ferry company five months ago.
A senior prosecutor working on the case, Yang Jung-jin, told reporters she had never navigated the cluster of islands on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula before, but that she had taken the wheel because the ship's delayed departure had thrown the duty roster out of kilter.
While the ferry was travelling at a normal speed of 18 knots, roughly 20mph, Ms Park's sharp left turn in the early hours of Wednesday morning has now been confirmed by the Korean coastguard as the cause of the disaster.
Investigators have raised the possibility that as the ship swerved, the 180 cars and 1,100 tons of shipping containers in its hold fell to one side, causing the Sewol to tilt irretrievably.
"If there turns out to be a hole below the waterline, then it may have been a collision, if the hull is intact, it was probably a ship loading issue," saidChris Ware, a professor at the Greenwich Maritime Institute.
"A speed of 18 knots is not excessive. The ship should be able to turn sharply in case it needs to avoid something, as long as the cargo is properly secured. The crew need to make sure the cargo is stored to keep the centre of buoyancy where it is supposed to be," he added.
Ms Park was silent as she was led to jail in handcuffs, together with Capt Lee and 55-year-old coxswain Cho Joon-ki. But Capt Lee paused before reporters, his eyes lowered to the ground under a black hooded jacket, and made a trembling apology.
"I understand there are some things that are my fault. I am sorry I caused the trouble. I apologise to all Koreans and especially I bow my head in apology to the family of the victims," he said.
He insisted that he had eventually given an order to evacuate the ship, but had initially instructed passengers to remain where they were because rescue ships had not yet reached the Sewol.
"The boat was in an area of very strong current, the temperature of the ocean water was cold and I thought if people left the ferry without proper judgment, if they not were wearing a life jacket, and even if they were, they would drift away and face many other difficulties," he explained.
"The rescue boats had not arrived yet, nor were there any civilian fishing ships or other boats around at that time."
The three crew members face five charges including negligence and violation of South Korea's Seafarer's law, which required him to take every action possible to protect his passengers and ship.
"There is a special rescue procedure for ocean-bound ships and the captain did not take the right steps to follow it," said Dae Sik-Hwang, the grizzled head of Korea's Maritime Rescue Association.
"All the students wore their life jackets, but nobody thought the ship would tip over so quickly and they were shocked. Probably the captain did not think the ship would capsize so quickly and did not look for the evacuation manual for that situation," he added.
By the time the order to abandon the Sewol was finally given, the ship was listing at such a steep angle that its passengers were fatally trapped.
"The initial 15 minutes is when you get people to evacuation stations because that is the critical period of the operation so they can get into dinghies or life boats," said Prof Ware, noting that the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry had capsized just 20 minutes after leaving Zeebrugge harbour in 1987.
"The captain said he didn't give the order because the rescue boats had not arrived, but it is safer for passengers in a small contained life raft then in a ship leaning at 20 degrees when you cannot get them off or they have to jump," he added.
Prof Ware said the Sewol, which had recently passed a Korean safety inspection, was on the shipping register and probably complied with international safety laws.
But prosecutors have raided the offices of the ship's operator, the Chonghaejin Marine Company and a shipyard to investigate claims that the company added more cabins to the back of the ferry to boost its capacity to over 900 passengers but possibly making it top-heavy.
Chonghaejin has also been involved in several other incidents. Just three weeks before the Sewol sank, another of the company's ships hit a fishing boat in thick fog, without any injuries to passengers.
In February last year, a 6,322-ton passenger ship belonging to Chonghaejin arrived at the western port city of Incheon six hours behind schedule because of engine failure. The same boat had also ground to a halt outside Incheon in April 2011 and required emergency repairs at sea before returning to port.
In April 2011, the same boat stopped shortly after leaving Incheon due to engine trouble. After making some repairs at sea, the boat returned to the port some five hours later.
At the site of the submerged ferry, search teams suffered another frustrating day of slow progress with conditions worsening as the day wore on and only a handful of bodies retrieved.
One of South Korea's most famous diving specialist, Lee Jong-in, the head of a company that salvaged the Cheonan warship in 2010, heavily criticised the government for continuing to botch the rescue operation.
"The navy seals, navy divers, special forces just are not trained for this. They are trained for counter terrorism and war, not for penetrating a wreck and searching for survivors," he said.
"It should not be a political game, but from the beginning they took the wrong path and thought they could handle it. Now if they allow professional divers in and these divers come up with much better results then it will be a very difficult situation for them. I think their whole unit should step back and allow professionals to take over."
Half-a-mile long and just under three miles wide, the Maenggol waterway is a shortcut through the cluster of islands at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. But it also boasts a turbulent swirl of fast-moving currents.
On the shore of Jindo island, a statue commemorates Yi Sun-sin, a 16th century Korean admiral who repelled 133 Japanese ships with a fleet of just 13 by manipulating the rapid currents of the local waters.
A five-year girl has emerged as a symbol of the horrors of the government-led operation after not receiving proper medical post-trauma care in the vast Jindo gymnasium after being rescued from the ship, despite having lost all her immediate family.
President Park Geun-hye was seemingly unaware that Kwon Jee-yeon had lost her mother, father and brother when she visited the stadium and touched the girl on the cheek. It later emerged the girl was in such severe shock she could not eat but had not been taken into care.
The South Korean media reported that her six-year-old brother had put a life jacket on her and left her on deck before going to find his father. "I saw her all by her self, wet and crying hard so I held her and jumped onto a rescue boat," said Park Hojin, a 16-year-old student at Danwon high school. "I held her until the boat arrived at the harbour and handed her to a rescue team," he added.
The girl was moving with her brother, her 51-year-old Korean father and her 29-year-old Vietnamese mother to Jeju island where the family planned to live on a farm.
An estimated 80,000 people packed into Denver's main square on Easter Sunday for what was billed as the "biggest marijuana rally in history".
The annual event celebrating "world weed day" was the first since Colorado began selling the drug for recreational use in licensed shops on Jan 1.
In America's first cannabis-legal state it is still not permitted to smoke the drug in public spaces outdoors.
But many the crowd ignored signs to that effect and a thick fog of cannabis fumes rose over Civic Center Park next to the Colorado state capitol. Armed security was present but largely ignored infringements.
Police said a total of 130 people were arrested or issued on-the-spot fines. Of those, 92 were for public consumption of cannabis and 22 people "went to jail".
Tourists had flooded into Colorado for the event and 20 of those either arrested or fined were from outside Colorado. The fines were $150.
Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said officers had avoided wading into the crowd but "those ticketed were blatantly in violation of state law and city ordinances" regarding outdoor smoking.
Paramedics treated 14 people and half a dozen were taken to the emergency room of Denver Health Medical Center after passing out.
At 4.20pm large sections of the crowd lit up simultaneously as police stood by. The number 420 has become symbolic for pro-cannabis campaigners, the significance appearing to have originated with a group of California teenagers who would meet at 4.20pm to smoke cannabis.
Not everyone at the rally was taking the drug. Dennis Miller, 55, a contractor, and his wife Teresa, 49, were there with their 19-year-old daughter and abstained.
Mr Miller said: "Our daughter wanted to come so we're just hanging out. The way I see it young people are going to do it anyhow so if you make it legal at least it's regulated."
Mrs Miller said: "There's so many age groups and walks of life together in one place here. I think people are getting more open to it."
Gabor Szekely, 24 an engineering student at the University of Colorado, brought his mother Eva Ovari, 52, who was visiting from Belgium.
He said: "I think the other American states will follow, it's just question of time. It's absolutely the right way to go."
But his mother said: "I've never seen anything like this. I've never tried marijuana before and I'm not going to try it today. I don't think it will happen in Belgium. It's a different mentality."
The crowd included many people in wheelchairs like Marnee Moralez, 50, who suffers from severe arthritis.
Lighting up a joint, she said: "The arthritis is really bad, it's in my bones. But marijuana takes the pain away, sometimes I can even stand up.
And it makes you happy. What's wrong with that?" She was being looked after by her son Shawn, 25, a US Air Force veteran who fractured his back on the flight line.
He said: "It helps me with the pain and also anxiety. It's wonderful. There's a whole bunch of us veterans across the country and I think if we featured more in the debate there would be more respect for legalization."
Herb Cross, 53, a truck driver from Redding, California, said other states should follow Colorado in allowing the use of cannabidiol, a cannabis compound, to treat children suffering from seizures.
He said: "My daughter suffered from epilepsy and she passed about 10 years ago. I think it might have helped a lot. It may have saved her if it had been available.
"I really hope California will legalize. It just costs so much to enforce the law and lock up people for having a bit of marijuana on them. There are so many prisoners in jail that are costing us a lot of money."
In Canada there were pro-legalisation rallies across the country. More than 2,000 people gathered on the lawn on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and there were also rallies in Vancouver and Toronto.
Rare new photographs of Kim Jong-un as a young boy have emerged during a concert for the North Korean air force.
Pictures showing the 31-year-old North Korean leader as a chubby toddler, saluting while in uniform, were shown on KCTV, the country's state broadcaster.
Other photographs showed him first as a young boy, then as a rotund teenager, at the controls of an aeroplane.
Until now, only a handful of pictures of Kim as a young boy have been seen, one showing him with his mother, Ko Yong-hui, and one a seeming passport picture, in which he has a bowl haircut.
Only one photograph is known to exist from his days as a student, which shows him on what appears to be a school trip with fellow pupils at the International School of Berne, in Switzerland.
Kim kept his identity secret from students and teachers. Using name of Pak Un, Swiss authorities were told that Kim was the son of an employee at North Korea’s embassy when he enrolled in August 1998.
Friends have said he was “obsessed” with basketball and showed “absolutely no interest” in politics.
The new pictures were projected onto a screen behind an orchestra playing a televised concert for the air force.
As the photographs emerged, South Korea warned that the North could be planning a fourth nuclear test to ramp up tensions ahead of President Obama's upcoming visit to Seoul.
"Our military is currently detecting a lot of activity in and around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site," said Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the Defence ministry. He added that North Korea is now able to conduct a nuclear test "at any moment".
For decades male rock stars have been known for an unrivaled ability to draw hordes of admiring female fans. Now researchers may have uncovered a scientific reason for their attractiveness to the opposite sex.
A study suggests that woman in their most fertile phases are more attracted to men who can produce the best music.
Researchers from the University of Sussex said the findings indicated that women believed men with strong musical abilities carried better genes than those lacking in such skills.
The study involved nearly 1,500 women with an average age of 28, who were not breastfeeding, pregnant or using hormonal contraception.
A group of women were asked whether they would prefer the composer of one simple melody, or a second more complex piece.
In each case they were asked whether they would prefer the composer as a short-term sexual partner, or a longer-term partner in a committed relationship.
The results showed that women only preferred composers of more complex music as short-term sexual partners when the risk of conception was at its highest, according to the study.
The same trend did not emerge when women were asked about visual artists, according to Benjamin Charlton, the paper's author.
The study, published in The Proceedings Of The Royal Society B, could account for the early origins of music and why creative individuals are considered so desirable for short-term sexual relationships.
The researchers believe it provides the first scientific support for Charles Darwin’s theory that the prime function of music is to aid sexual courtship.
Dr Charlton said: "The ability to create complex music could be indicative of advanced cognitive abilities.
"Consequently, women may acquire genetic benefits for offspring by selecting musicians able to create more complex music as sexual partners."
A new front has opened in the battle between activist investors and board directors, after Allergan after Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals made a $46bn joint bid for Allergan, a rival drugs maker.
Allergan moved late on Tuesday night to fend off the unsolicited approach by adopting a shareholder rights plan that give existing investors increased voting powers should anyone build a stake that exceeds 10pc.
Such a move is known as 'poison pill' defence since it makes the stock less attractive to would-be acquirers.
Mr Ackman amassed a sizeable stake in Allergan over the last few weeks, building it from below 5pc to 9.7pc in the last two weeks alone, putting the board of the Botox-maker on stand-by for some sort of interference.
Typically, activist investors use their leverage to agitate for change, for example demanding a management clear-out, a new strategy and a number of board seats for their own nominees. The practice was relatively unknown before the downturn, but over the last few years it has become of the things the directors of public companies fear most.
However, Mr Ackman has now taken a different tactic, likely to mark a new chapter in the battles between board rooms and activist investors.
He used his influence as a shareholder to team up with Valeant, a Canadian company which has already made several approaches for Allergan and been rejected.
The hedge fund manager, who heads Pershing Square Capital Management, hopes to be able to strong-arm Allergan into doing a deal, now that it has his weight behind it.
If the deal goes through, Valeant and Allergan would form a new pharmaceuticals behemoth, specializing in skin and eye care medicines. The businesses were worth $42bn a piece before the offer was made public.
Allergan shot up in value by as much as a fifth on Tuesday, meaning that Mr Ackman has already made a considerable return on his investment. Shares in the company closed at $116.63 when Mr Ackman’s stake crossed the 5pc threshold on April 10th. Yesterday afternoon in New York, they were trading at $163.82.
However, there is a long way to go before he closes the deal. Analysts expect Allergan to resist the approach, leaving Mr Ackman and Valeant to appeal directly to shareholders to try and force a deal through.
Aida Alic claims she was prevented from flying because her name, which appears on her passport as Alic Aida, sounds like al-Qaeda
A young French woman prevented from boarding a flight for New York this week says she has been blacklisted by the United States because her name, if pronounced wrongly, sounds like al-Qaeda.
Aida Alic, 33, arrived at Geneva airport on Wednesday with her husband and two children to set out on a US holiday but was told by Swiss airline that they had received notice from US border authorities that she was barred from entering the country.
The airline gave no further explanation and the family had to turn around and head back to their home near Chambery in the French Alps, 2,700 euros out of pocket for the lost airline tickets.
Ms Alic said that she later searched official US travel sites to find out why she was stopped and came to the conclusion that it was because of her name, which on her passport is written with her surname first, resulting in Alic Aida.
“Alic Aida, al-Qaeda. When friends make the play on words to wind me up, I am used to it, but not this,” Ms Alic, who was born in Bosnia but now has French nationality, told Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper.
“Especially since my name is actually pronounced 'Alitch’. It is of Yugoslav origin. And now here I am labelled as a risk.” The US embassy in Paris said it did not comment on individual cases of people on the US no-fly list.
Ms Alic, who had painted her finger nails in the colours of the US flag ahead of her planned trip, says she plans to persist in her enquiries with US authorities to find out why she has been banned.
The G7 group of nations agreed on Saturday to impose sanctions on Russia over its meddling in Ukraine, adding to international pressure on Moscow.
The move effectively adds the voices of Canada and Japan to Friday's announcement by America, Germany, France, Italy and the UK that further sanctions were imminent.
The G7 group, which represents seven of the world's major economies, said it hoped the measures would have a "significant impact" in persuading the Kremlin to stop stirring separatist violence in eastern Ukraine.
Kiev says pro-Russian rebels in the eastern town of Slavyansk are holding 13 observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) under orders from a Russian citizen.
Another OSCE team has been sent to try to negotiate their release.
One of the international observers needs urgent medical care, according to Ukraine's state security service.
"Today the official representatives of the OSCE are being held in inhuman conditions in the basement of the terrorists' headquarters," the service said in a statement on Saturday.
"Among those detained is a person who needs immediate medical help."
The Ukrainian security services said they were ready to provide medical assistance, but the separatists had rejected their offer.
"The terrorists plan to use the hostages as a human shield," the statement said.
It said the detention of the observers was planned and coordinated by a Russian citizen, who Kiev says is a Russian special service operative.
The pro-Russian separatists have accused the observers of being "Nato spies" and have vowed to continue detaining them.
"Yesterday, we arrested some Nato spies ... they will be exchanged for our own prisoners. I don't see any other way they will be freed," Denis Pushilin, the head of the insurgents' self-declared Donetsk Republic, told reporters.
The town's separatist mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, confirmed his group had captured “military personnel from Denmark, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria I think and from somewhere else, I can't immediately recall”.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the 13 OSCE observers included members of the German armed forces, a German translator and a Danish national.
Russia’s envoy to the OSCE said Russia would take all possible steps to free the detained observers.
"We think that these people need to be freed as soon as possible," Andrei Kelin said. "Russia as a member of the OSCE will undertake all possible steps in this matter."
The United States could unveil its new punitive measures as early as Monday, officials said.
"We believe that these sanctions will have a significant impact," said Ben Rhodes, America's deputy national security adviser for strategic communication. "There was quick agreement about the need to move forward with a sequence of steps."
Mr Rhodes said that the sanctions would target "cronies" of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and Russian firms with influence in specific sectors of the economy such as energy and banking.
"When you start to get at the cronies, the individuals who control a large part of the Russian economy, you are imposing a larger economic impact than sanctioning an individual," he said.
However, it remains to be seen just how biting they will be. Europe's appetite for applying sanctions has been limited by fears that the Kremlin could take revenge measures, such as hiking European gas prices.
Speaking on Friday, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that any extra European measures would likely fall within the scope of "second stage" sanctions, which are much less punitive than the "third stage" sanctions that would target key sectors of the Russian economy.
In effect, many of the new measures could simply mean adding further names of Russian officials to an existing list who face visa and asset bans.
Senior European Union diplomats will reportedly meet in Brussels on Monday to consider a fresh round of sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
Ambassadors from the 28 member states "will meet on Monday 28 April with a view to the adoption of an additional list of 'stage 2' sanctions," such as asset freezes and travel bans, said an EU official speaking on condition of anonymity.
A list adding 15 people to the 55 Russians and Ukrainians already blacklisted by the EU was approved in principle on the eve of the Geneva talks on April 17, an EU diplomat said.
But the EU refrained from putting the sanctions into effect immediately, in order to give the peace accord a better chance of success.
The latest sanctions were announced shortly before the Pentagon said it had evidence that Russian aircraft had breached Ukraine's airspace several times in the previous 24 hours.
Moscow denied that its aircraft had violated Ukrainian airspace.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Ukrainian prime minister, told reporters in Rome that Russian aircraft had crossed the border seven times on Friday night.
Mr Yatsenyuk said: "Russian military aircraft today at night crossed and violated Ukrainian airspace seven times. The only reason is to provoke Ukraine ... and to accuse Ukraine of waging war against Russia."
The Ukrainian prime minister is cutting short his trip to Rome and will miss the canonisation of John Paul II and John XXIII on Sunday.
Earlier, he met Pope Francis, who told Mr Yatsenyuk that he will "do everything possible" for peace in the country.
Mr Yatsenyuk spent 18 minutes behind closed doors with the Pope, who had urged the international community to "prevent violence" in Ukraine in his Easter Sunday message.
At an exchange of gifts, Mr Yatsenyuk presented Pope Francis with a photograph of Maidan square in Kiev on New Year's night.
The Pope in return gave Mr Yatsenyuk a pen, saying "I hope this pen will sign the peace", to which Mr Yatsenyuk replied "I hope so."
Mr Yatsenyuk said on Friday that Russia wanted to start World War Three by occupying Ukraine "militarily and politically", creating a conflict that would spread to the rest of Europe.
"Attempts at military conflict in Ukraine will lead to a military conflict in Europe," Yatsenyuk said. "The world has not yet forgotten World War Two, but Russia already wants to start World War Three."
Russia has begun new military drills on its border with Ukraine, where it is estimated to have massed tens of thousands of troops.
A Western diplomat has warned: "We no longer exclude a Russian military intervention in Ukraine in the coming days."
The diplomatic source also noted that Vitaly Churkin, Russia's envoy to the United Nations, had been recalled urgently to Moscow for consultations.
Ukraine's acting defence minister Myhailo Koval said the Ukrainian military will fight back if Russia sends in troops under the guise of a peacekeeping operation.
"The United Nations has given no such (peacekeeping) mandate to the Russians," Mr Koval said. "Everybody is already fed up with Russia's games with peacekeeping.
"If they come, they'll get what's coming to them: we will conduct combat operations."
The G7 announcement follows a round of high-level telephone conference calls on Friday led by Mr Obama, who is touring Asia.
The new sanctions are intended to punish Russia for failing to comply with an international agreement to help defuse Ukraine crisis, a statement from the G7 leaders released by the White House said.
"Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine's presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia's actions," the statement said.
The G7 statement pointedly praised the "restraint" with which the new pro-Western government in Kiev had acted in dealing with the pro-Russian gunmen who have seized official buildings in the east.
By contrast, Western diplomats have said that Moscow has made no effort to use its influence over the gunmen to persuade them to act in a peaceful manner, despite having pledged to do when it signed last week's Geneva peace accord.
The G7 leaders have told Russia that "the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis" on the basis of the Geneva accord.
But they also warned that "we continue to prepare to move to broader, coordinated sanctions, including sectoral measures, should circumstances warrant."
Sectoral sanctions refer to broader punitive action targeting specific parts of the Russian economy, such as the defence or energy industries. They are not expected to be among the measures announced on Monday. But Mr Rhodes said they would be imposed were Russian troops currently massed on the border of Ukraine to start mounting an invasion.
The US has singled Germany and Italy as being reluctant to impose new round of sanctions on Russia. Germany is particularly vulnerable to Russian retaliation as it imports around 50 per cent of its gas supplies from Russia.
Britain likewise has limited enthusiasm for further measures because of the extent of Russian investment in the City of London.
A senior US official said that the G7 measures by each country need not be identical. "Each country will determine which targeted sanctions they will impose," the official said.
That was interpreted a tacit recognition of the unwillingness of some European nations to take too hard a line with Moscow, a stance that has privately frustrated Washington.
The slow rollout and clever marketing of Google Glass presaged what was going to be a seminal tech product. But the cracks in the glass are getting deeper.
A couple of years before the Millennium I became the owner of a mobile phone, in spite of the Luddite in me who thought this was the beginning of the end of my privacy.
I was living in Brighton at the time and in those days there was a huge digital divide between that city and London. The fact that I caught the train at Victoria station told its own story. While Victoria station can feel like a trade show venue at times, it was as if it was an entry into a different world when getting off the 7.47 am from the seaside.
Most of my mates in London had mobiles, those in Brighton didn’t. So while I became part of the crowd in London with my compact Nokia, people in Brighton thought I was a bit of an idiot.
Naturally, when confronted with attitudes, one strikes one, so I showed off my mobile as if I was the first one in the tribe to have made fire. To them I was Loadsamoney from The Harry Enfield Show, to me they were Boolean dinosaurs.
Anyway, one time, to much merriment from these people, I walked into a lamppost on the way back from the pub while talking on my mobile, an experience that a BBC journalist endured this week when using his wearable Google Glass. He tweeted that this had happened two minutes after a cyclist had shouted ‘it’ll never catch on’ at him.
So, an easy jump to link these two new technology experiences over the past 16 years or so. However, there is a big difference. All of the people in Brighton who ridiculed me for buying a mobile phone had one themselves within the year - not something that is likely to happen with Google Glass.
There were always doubts about this technology, I described it as the new Segway for this newspaper almost a year ago, but recent events appear to have confirmed that Google Glass is more likely, in the same way as Segways, to end up at trade shows, not the High Street.
Its most famous advocate, noted tech blogger Robert Scoble publicly disowned the device this week after previously posting a picture of himself in a shower wearing the device and promising that he would never take it off unless he was asked to by strangers.
That statement was always a little weird and more to do with some people’s obsession with tech bloggers as if they were Don McCullin taking pictures in Vietnam or Lester Bangs writing about music.
Scoble apparently became a little freaked out at the Coachella Music Festival and announced that ‘Google does have a problem here. I haven’t worn mine at all this weekend’.
Bloggers aside, the rollout of Google Glass from the ‘Explorers’ to the general public now seems clumsy, when it once seemed cool. After announcing last year that the product would be available in early 2014, the company has resorted to marketing tricks to keep interest high… and away from the fact that this is an unfinished and experimental product.
Its vaunted campaign for April 15th when, for one day only, the general public could buy the $1,500 product stumbled a little when it extended that window for another 24 hours last Thursday (24th April). But that was more to handle unmatched demand, as Google claimed: “This link was created to accommodate potential Explorers who were still in the pipeline from last week’s sale. We’re shutting it down shortly. As always, we will continue to experiment with ways to expand the Explorer program in the weeks and months ahead.”
Perhaps that phrase ‘we’re shutting it down shortly’ may linger in the memory, a lot longer than ‘potential Explorers’.
These so-called Explorers may have loved their status for a while, as much as I flaunted my Nokia in 1990s Brighton, but it was never as big a deal as some made out, especially a certain Robert Scoble. Live by the Glass, die by the Glass.
Ricardo Ferreira Mirapalheta can’t remember whether the bullet mark left on the window of a community centre was fired by a police officer or a gangster.
Nor does it matter. Since it happened, the scar of gunfire has spread like a fracture across the corrugated window, a constant reminder of the violence that has plagued Maré, one of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest favelas.
“There were children in here. Everyone just threw themselves on the ground,” he recalled.
Close to the international airport and home to 130,000 people, Maré is the welcome mat for visitors arriving in Rio de Janeiro, and the biggest target for authorities in the run-up to the World Cup in June.
After a recent escalation in violence, the authorities brought in the armed forces to try to control the rival drug gangs that dominate the area. Some 2,700 troops from the army and the navy have taken over from the state’s military police to try to secure the territory.
But in the three weeks since the army entered, tensions in Maré remain high — a sign that gangs here will not give in as easily as elsewhere.
So far, at least two people have died including a 67-year-old woman who was killed by a stray bullet, while troops reported an average of two attacks a day from criminals.
“There are two drug gangs and one militia. So it won’t be in two days, it won’t be in a year, that we bring peace quickly,” said Luiz Pezão, the new governor of Rio, after meeting with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
Characterised by its chaotically-built red-brick shanty homes and illicit energy connections, Maré has been a strategic stronghold for Rio’s drug gangs for years, given its location near the airport and one of the main thoroughfares through the city.
In Timbau, where Mr Mirapalheta, 51, runs a music-based social project, the prevalent gang is the Terceiro Comando Puro, or the Pure Third Command.
But neighbouring communities are controlled by the biggest drug faction, the Comando Vermelho, or Red Command, and intense conflict between them has produced what locals describe as a war.
“The children I work with have all experienced violence: shootings, stray bullets, killings. It’s a culture they are used to,” said Mr Mirapalheta, a musician who has lived in Maré for 20 years.
The authorities believe that criminals in Maré have been coordinating attacks in other favelas on the police who have been stationed there as part of the ongoing pacification programme. Since the start of the year, at least 16 officers have been killed.
With the World Cup less than 50 days away, and tens of thousands of fans due to pass Maré on their way to Ipanema and Copacabana, Rio’s surge in violence has unsettled the authorities and risked undermining the pioneering peacekeeping programme.
In the past week, conflict also erupted in a supposedly “pacified” favela near Copacabana, on the doorstep of Rio’s tourist district, after residents accused police of killing a popular television dancer and actor.
Clashes spilt over onto the main road through the neighbourhood, forcing hotels to lock their doors while police partially closed roads, a tunnel and a nearby metro station.
“The pacification model, which only a few years ago enjoyed broad support from all sectors of society, has reached a stalemate,” said Verena Brähler, PhD research student at University College London and an expert on violence in Rio.
“The relative advances in security have not brought along improvements in learning and employment opportunities for the many young men and women in the favelas.
José Mariano Beltrame, Rio’s state security secretary, denied the football tournament was the only motivation for the operation said. “We will not do it because of the World Cup because the World Cup goes and Maré remains.”
But for those who live in Maré, there is a Brazilian saying that sums up their situation: many say that pacification is “para inglês ver” or “for the English to see” — and is simply cosmetic. Residents in other favelas where police have entered have said the same, with some declaring they preferred gang rule because it was, at least, consistent.
Critics of the pacification programme said that police operations in the heart of the city have only driven criminals to its suburbs and outskirts, which, invariably, has lead to more crime — at the start of the month, Scottish oil worker Peter Campsie was killed in an attempted carjacking in Niteroi, a city across the bay from Rio de Janeiro.
One community leader in Maré, who asked not to be identified, said: “The truth is there is no pacification. The police enter inside the favela and there’s still drug trafficking, nothing changes. It’s all for the tourists and the gringos, and it’s just because of the World Cup. It’s not going to change anything.”
Security remains among the foremost concerns ahead of the Fifa event, which starts on June 12. Brazil continues to have a high level of crime with a murder rate of 50,000 a year, according to the UN, making it more violent than Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Nicaragua, and accounting for almost a third of homicides in Latin America and the Caribbean.
And in Rio de Janeiro, where the England team and many of its fans will be based, crime has spiked in recent months despite a concerted effort to improve security, with street robberies increasing last year from 4,700 to almost 6,700.
The figures were a disappointing blow to the government’s pacification efforts. Since 2008, the police and state forces in Rio have been entering favelas in the south zone of the city to install pacifying police units inside communities that had been subjected to drug gang law.
The initiative had appeared to be successful. Before the programme began, the homicide rate was as high as 37.8 per 100,000 in 2007, which was reduced by half to 18.9 per 100,000 in 2012.
But in recent months, the programme has been challenged with attacks on police headquarters in some of the biggest, most problematic favelas including Complexo do Alemão and Complexo da Penha in the north of the city. Gunfights also returned to the Rocinha favela, the biggest in the city, over Christmas, closing a tunnel for hours as police tried to regain control.
Nevertheless, Ralf Mutschke, Fifa’s director of security, has said he is “confident” in Brazilian security forces — despite widespread public discontent in the country leading to violent clashes during last year’s football Confederations Cup in six Brazilian cities.
Around 150,000 police and troops will be deployed throughout the 12 host cities during the World Cup in a security operation costing £475 million. Another 20,000 private security staff will also be working inside the stadiums.
Brazil is under pressure to deliver a trouble-free event after the 2010 World Cup passed without major incident in South Africa, another country with high rates of violence. There were similar clean-up operations of homeless people in Cape Town in the run-up to that event. But back in Maré, cynicism endures as residents continue to live with the constant threat of conflict. While for Mr Mirapalheta, the countdown to the World Cup was not long enough to make real improvements.
“I’ve seen a lot of police operations. The number of deaths in Brazil is greater than in a war.”