Update 4-russia, U.s. Deny Date Set For Syria Peace Conference

The subtype was detected in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk in 2006 and now accounts for more than 50% of new HIV infections in the region, Novosibirsks Koltsovo science city said in a statement. The number of HIV-positive people living in the Novosibirsk Region has leaped from about 2,000 in 2007 up to 15,000 in 2012, according to Russias Federal AIDS Center. Natalya Gashnikova, head of the retroviruses department at the Vektor state biotechnology research center at Koltsovo said this might be the worst HIV strain in Russia. RIA reported her saying that the virus spreads much faster than Russias current leading HIV strain. This new strain is not limited Siberia. It has also been found in patient lab tests in Chechnya, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, the institute said. According to the United Nations, Eastern Europe and Central Asia are the only regions in the world where the HIV infection is on the rise. Fifty-two percent of the HIV-positive people that live across that area are in Russia. The World Bank estimates that in 2020, Russia will lose 20,000 people per month to AIDS. The country has experienced the fastest-spreading HIV/AIDS epidemics in any one country in history, but there remains a lack of effective preventative measures to slow it downin both schools and in the larger anti-gay society. In a country of 143 million people, roughly one million are HIV-positive. That means Russia has one of the highest percentages of HIV-infected people in the world outside sub-Saharan Africa, according to reporting by the Pulitzer Center.

Russia risks US wrath on Snowden asylum

“We have discussed potential dates but nothing has been finalized,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing. “No date is final until it is set and announced by the U.N.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has suggested the conference be held sometime in mid-November, will attend a meeting of the “Friends of Syria,” including Western and Gulf Arab countries, in London on Oct. 22 where the peace talks will be discussed, Psaki added. Brahimi spokeswoman Khawla Mattar said she did not expect a date to be announced before early November. “We are still not announcing a date because we don’t think they are finalised or agreed by all parties,” Mattar said. But she said a deputy to Brahimi, Nasser al-Kidwa, would meet with Syrian opposition representatives in Istanbul and other capitals to “discuss with them their readiness for specific dates in November.” ‘DEAD END’ The deal reached last month for Syria to scrap its chemical weapons rekindled efforts to convene the conference, dubbed “Geneva 2,” which Russia and the United States have been trying to organise since May. Jamil has made several visits to Russia during the conflict, which has killed more than 115,000 people since it began in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. He said the conference was needed because “everyone is at a dead end – a military and political dead end. “Geneva is a way out for everyone: the Americans, Russia, the Syrian regime and the opposition. Whoever realises this first will benefit. Whoever does not realise it will find himself overboard, outside the political process.” The prospect of a peace conference raises questions over whether Iran will be invited to the Syria peace talks, something Washington has pushed back at unless Tehran states publicly that it would support a transition government in Syria. That would mean Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should step down. Psaki said Brahimi and Kerry discussed Iran’s participation in a Syria peace conference at their meeting in London on Monday.

Brazil to ask Russia for permission to question Edward Snowden

Snowden on Friday dramatically summoned activists to the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport where he has been marooned without a valid passport for the last three weeks after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong. The United States wants the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor extradited back home to face justice over his leaking of sensational details about US surveillance activities, a demand Moscow has so far rejected. In an indication that already tense US-Russia ties could strain further over the affair, the White House warned Russia not to grant Snowden a propaganda platform as top allies of President Vladimir Putin argued he should be given sanctuary. Snowden, 30, making his first publicised appearance since arriving in Moscow, told the activists he wanted to claim asylum in Russia until he could safely travel to win permanent sanctuary in Latin America. I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage… in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as… my legal travel is permitted, Snowden said. He said that the asylum request was being made Friday evening. The head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS) Konstantin Romodanovsky said early Saturday that Moscow had yet to receive the application which, if it arrived, would be examined according to normal legal procedures. Prominent Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who attended the meeting and promised to help Snowden, told Russian television that the asylum request procedure could take up to three weeks. But hinting that Snowden’s new application may be viewed positively, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament Sergei Naryshkin and the upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko both swiftly said his request should be accepted. Naryshkin, a powerful ally of Putin who used to head the Kremlin administration, said that Snowden was a defender of human rights who risked facing the death penalty if he was sent back to the United States. ‘He is not a phantom’ The almost surreal meeting saw the group of less than a dozen activists arrive at the airport to be surrounded by a huge crowd of journalists.

11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. (AP Photo)The Associated Press In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. (AP Photo)The Associated Press In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden smiles during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. Snowden, who is charged by a U.S.