The UK had helped in a huge rescue operation to save hundreds of high school children boarding a sinking South Korean passenger as half the ship began to sink into the sea on Wednesday. More than two people were killed and a more than a dozen passengers were wounded during the ordeal.

Different coastline securities have sent out dozens of boats, helicopters and divers to save the 470-people passenger boat. The 325 students were part of a school trip. The ferry was sailing to the southern island of Jeju when it began to transmit a distress call after the ship began leaning to one side.

At least 95% of the ship had been submerged during the aftermath of the disaster.

No details about the reasons why the ferry sunk or the conditions of other passengers had been relayed to the media. A student said that he jumped into the ocean with other students wearing a life jacket as they headed towards rescue boats. They tripped and bumped into each other during the ordeal.

According to the student, they felt the need to hurry as the water was cold and that they needed to survive.

Source

Russian President Vladimir Putin had placed the first steps to integrating Crimea with Russia as signs a decree on Monday regarding Crimea as sovereign and not part of Ukraine. The decree had effected immediately and Moscow now considers Crimea as independent of Ukraine’s constitution.


Crimea’s leaders have also seceded from Ukraine with a vote considered illegal by Ukraine, the EU and the United States. The Crimean Parliament had also asked Russia to consider it as the Republic of Crimea as its new subject.

Ukraine’s leaders said that they will not accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov said that his government will focus on resolving the crisis in a diplomatic matter. He also said, “we offer peace, and Russia offers war”.

UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague had also expressed his disappointment in Russia and he still insisted Crimea is still a part of Ukraine.

Russia said that it is “proud to be sanctioned” by the western world. According to Putin’s aid Vladislav Surkov, he considers the decision of the Washington administration as a recognition of his service to Russia. The US had now singled out 11 individuals banned for travel and with frozen assets in the country.

The EU had also announced sanctions for 21 Russian individuals. EU International Policy Chief Catherine Ashton announced sanctions against 21 people who “undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

Source:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/bidens-europe-trip-signal-putin-n55176

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/17/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26618132

The UK government is alarmed at the rate insurance premiums for car accidents are increasing. An average UK driver needs to pay at least 50% to 65% more for their premiums because of fraudulent car accident injuries winning compensation from insurers. Insurers are left powerless because of high legal fees to challenge suspicious claims.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is planning to establish an independent medical board that would oversee whiplash injury claims to ensure genuine injuries have compensation while the board will make it difficult for fraudsters to make an insurance claim. The UK High Court also intends to lower the legal fees to enable insurance companies to challenge suspicious insurance claims.

According to insurance companies, payouts have increased from 2011 onwards with car accidents dropping at great lengths at the second to third quarter of the same year. With road safety on the increase, it could only mean that most of the whiplash accidents happening during the time are fraudulent with insurance companies powerless to act.

While the UK Courts plan to make use of the Small Claims Court to pay out for small whiplash injuries, some critics said that the Small Claims Court’s payouts are too small for whiplash injuries.

Whiplash is an injury suffered in the neck because of an abrupt stoppage during a collision. It induces nausea and disorientation. In severe cases, it could paralyze victims. Most no win no fee claims companies handle whiplash compensation claims as well.

According to political analysts, Russia’s best move in the Ukraine Protests is to remain silent. However, its favour must rest in the decentralization of Ukraine’s political environment. However, many political analysts agree that Russia had downplayed its role to a modest observer during the events of the protests.

Despite the signing of an agreement that helped calm the protests in Kiev that had claimed dozens of lives and destroyed millions worth of properties, political analysts said that it will still not be the end of the political unrest in the country. Russia’s envoy to Kiev did not co-sign the agreement.

Political analysts also see that Russia has less to do with the protests rather than being the root cause of it all. Many perceive that Former Ukraine President Yanukovych, who had resigned, had been a “puppet” of Russia. Analysts said that Yanukovych had made judgments “based on his own decisions” rather than Russia influencing his decisions, specifically due to the bond deals that surpassed the amounts the EU could provide Ukraine.

They also said that the protests in the EU may be triggered by Ukrainian business and finance leaders who are afraid to be overtaken by Russian businessmen.

They said that Yanukovych realized the deal will not provide financial backing from the EU for the Ukraine enough to raise its profits and that the Russian deal will indeed help offset the drop in trade with Russia and other countries.

Russia and Ukraine initially agreed to have Russia buy $15 Billion in Ukrainian Government Bonds.

Source

The United Nations warns that Central Africa is spiralling into a humanitarian disaster as people are fleeing the conflict between Christian and Muslim Militias in the country. Measles and other diseases spread quickly towards people due to overcrowded camps with poor sanitation.

Around 10,000 people are currently seeking refuge in camps as rival militias clash in-country. The Country’s President, Michel Djotodia had flown to a regional summit to Chad. While he had been called to resign, an official spokesman said that he had flown away but he is not resigning.

However, experts speculate that the president may step down at any time because of his failure to stop the violence between the rival militias. They also said that the regional summit in Chad may also force him to resign as the leaders of Chard have also run out of patience with the president.

President Djotodia seized power in March 2013 after his group the Muslim Selenka rebels had overtaken the seat. He has forced away President Francois Bozize, who had come from the Christian majority to exile.

Unicef, the UN Children fund, said it was racing to vaccinate 210,000 children who had sought refuge from the violence in Bangui.

France had contributed 1,600 soldiers to try to quell the violence, but fighting still continues in the area.
Half of Bangui’s population were driven away from their homes. A total of 513,000 people. More than 1,000 people had been killed since the start of the conflict in December 2013.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has urged the UNSC to add 5,500 more troops and police to the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, where 7,000 troops are already deployed. Ban said that the troops must be transferred from UN missions in Congo, Ivory Coast, Abyei, Darfur and Liberia with three attack helicopters, a C-130 military transport plane and three utility copters.

The council is expected to vote on Tuesday. Ban Ki-Moon is also urgenty asking for votes on Tuesday to investigate on any human rights violations existing during the conflict.

Meanwhile, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Rebel Leader Riek Machar had set their own conditions for peace talks to end the conflict that had killed hundreds of people. According to US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, people in South Sudan are getting killed because of ethnic reasons while the leaders delay or refuse to accommodate diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

To date, the UN Bases in South Sudan are keeping 45,000 Sudanese civilians safe from the conflict.

President Kiir said that they will not release detained opposition leaders who are accused of staging a coup d’etat to overthrow their leader.

Kiir said that he will not provide any conditions for the peace talks with Machar. The rebel leader had requested the release of the opposition leaders in exchange for peace talks. The opposition leaders Pagan Amum and Rebecca de Mabior, are currently opposition leaders detained by the South Sudanese government.

Source

The violent outcome of police suppression on the tens of thousands pro-EU protests had urged the Ukraine political opposition and tens of thousands of demonstrators to call on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to step down from office. The large crowds assembled in Independence Square and they were calling for a revolution.

The demonstration’s colours of blue and yellow spread through the crowd carrying EU flags across the square.
The demonstrations, which began last week, is a sign of defiance against Ukrainian President Yanukovych’s decision not to sign a trade accord with the European Union that would have ensured its membership in the European Union. According to the EU, Russia’s influence over Ukraine had it sign a customs union with Moscow instead.

During the galvanisation by the police, 30 people were arrested and dozens were hurt from the galvanisation. However, President Yanukovych condemned the use of force by the police during the suppression of the protests.

In television, police were shown to have beaten one young woman in the legs and have also kicked a young man on the ground during the clash. According to EU officials, it was an obvious excessive use of force on behalf of the police force.

Yanukovych’s reason for not signing the European accord was because they said the standards were very high and reverting to Russia for economic aid, which was the leader of the Soviet Union when it existed, was a better choice.

Source

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is scheduled to go on trial on Monday for charges of inciting murder during the December protests at the presidential palace in Cairo. His trial is the latest in the Egyptian Government’s attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood political group.

Mohammed Morsi is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were a political group banned from political participation by the then-Mubarak regime. They rose to power as Morsi was freely elected by Egypt as president. Due to Morsi’s controversial decrees in forming the first Egyptian constitution, the top general of Egypt had ousted the president in what Morsi supporters see as a coup.

Morsi is said by reports to have been moved from the secret location of his detention four-months ago to the court. It will be the ousted presidents first public appearance after he was thrown from his position on July 3. Morsi was said to have been held at a secret military location and was flown in to a police academy court for his trial

Morsi’s charges could earn him the death penalty if he is convicted by Egyptian courts.

Currently, Egypt is greatly polarised between supporters and the secularists on the other side.

Source: The Hindu

Chief Ombudsman Natalie Ceeney said she was greatly disappointed with banks and financial companies as the Financial Ombudsman received 266,238 PPI complaints in the first two quarters of 2013. She said that it marked a 26% rise from the previous total in 2012.

The FOS estimated that 80% of the PPI complaints banks deliberately rejected were upheld in favour of customers. Customers are given the right to file another complaint through the Financial Ombudsman if they are not satisfied with their banks’ decision.

Ceeney said that banks are still “dragging their feet” in addressing consumer complaints. The UK banking industry had set aside a total of £16 billion in total for PPI refunds. Ceeney said that if banks and financial companies will not improve their services, the total refund bill could increase.

Payment protection insurance policies are meant to protect consumers from high interest rates when they get sick or have an accident by repaying their financing. But because not everyone is eligible for the insurance, anybody sold one by their banks can make a claim. You can click here to find the total amount of your refund.

The Financial Conduct Authority verified the numbers of the Financial Ombudsman and slated 12 financial companies for their lacklustre methods in handling PPI complaints.

If you get mis sold PPI, don’t hesitate to work with PPICalculatorCompany.org.uk or other claims management companies to ensure you get your complete refunds.

The Westgate Shopping Complex hostage taking by the al-Shabaab is probably one of the deadliest Islamist militant attack in Kenya within 15 years. Most of the hostages were safe and all the injured are now accounted for, but Kenya counts its losses, including one that could harm their tourism efforts.

Tourism is the biggest wage-earner for the country because of its tropical sights, resorts and international-class malls. Many tourists and travellers are better drawn by Kenya’s wildlife reserves, which includes safari activities and animal sightseeing. Tourism is 10% of Kenya’s economy, and with its tarnished reputation due to the militant attack, travel advisories and tourist discretions could be greatly affected.

According to experts, the images of the shopping mall shooting makes it one horrifying place to be at that time, and its possibility of happening again in the future is so strong, it affects tourist judgment. Economists said that the length of time and the way the situation was handled directly affects traveller perceptions.

The violence had included many citizens from France, Canada, South Africa, China and Ghana  all international countries looking for unique African souvenirs and trendy coffee shops.

Since the violence, the Kenyan tourism industry faces a $160 million decline for 2013, which reduces 5% growth from the overall $41 billion Kenyan economy. Shares from Kenyan hotel chains also dropped during and right after the resolution of the incident