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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Alexei Pushkov
U.S. diplomatic missions lowered the American flag to half staff Tuesday to honor the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, as foreign officials and diplomats sent condolences to the White House and the families of the 12 victims killed in the rampage.
NSA information leaker Edward Snowden has accepted an asylum offer from Venezuela, the Associated Press reports.
Venezuelan officials said Tuesday that they have received a formal request for asylum National Security Agency leaker Edward J. Snowden, who has been trapped in legal limbo in the transit lounge of Moscow international airport since last month.
The first meeting between John F. Kerry as the new secretary of state and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov could be dominated this week by the emotional issue of Americans adopting Russian children, after an explosive exchange between Russian lawmakers and the U.S. ambassador in Moscow.
Dozens of Americans have been placed on a "Guantanamo list" barring them from entering Russia, in the latest phase of Moscow's retaliation against a U.S. law that imposes sanctions against Russians suspected of human rights abuses.
President Bashar Assad's forces pounded rebel-held areas in central Syria on Friday, killing at least 22 people, activists said. More than 60 nations meeting in Tunisia asked the United Nations to start planning for a civilian peacekeeping mission that would deploy after the Syrian regime halts its crackdown.
"By refusing to come to the state Duma to discuss the deaths of our children, the U.S. ambassador has shown that he is not ready for a serious dialogue on this problem," said Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee.
Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian parliament's foreign relations committee, said the list had been expanded to 60 people from the 11 U.S. officials involved in running the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba, as well as others holding terrorism suspects.