Putin says will sign anti-adoption bill

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Updated 27 December 2012
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Putin says will sign anti-adoption bill

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday he would sign a controversial bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children, a defiant move against the US that has angered some Russians who argue it victimizes children to make a political point.
The law would block dozens of Russian children expected to be adopted by American families from leaving the country and cut off one of the main international routes for Russian children to leave often dismal orphanages. Russia is the single biggest source of adopted children in the US, with more than 60,000 Russian children being taken in by Americans over the past two decades.
The bill is in retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators and part of an increasingly confrontational stance by the Kremlin against the West.
Putin said US authorities routinely let Americans suspected of violence toward Russian adoptees go unpunished — a clear reference to Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler for whom the bill is named. The child was adopted by Americans and then died in 2008 after his father left him in a car in broiling heat for hours. The father was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Putin indicated that he would endorse the measure.
“I still don’t see any reasons why I should not sign it,” he told a televised meeting. He went on to say that he “intends” to sign it.
UNICEF estimates that there are about 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, while only 18,000 Russians are now waiting to adopt a child.
The US State Department says it regrets the Russian Parliament’s decision to pass the bill, saying it would prevent many children from growing up in families
Critics of the bill have left dozens of stuffed toys and candles outside the parliament’s lower and upper houses to express solidarity with Russian orphans.
Children rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov on Wednesday said that 46 children who were about to be adopted in the United States would remain in Russia in case the bill comes into effect. Yesterday, he petitioned the president to extend the ban to other countries.
“There is huge money and questionable people involved in the semi-legal schemes of exporting children,” he tweeted.


Boko Haram raid kills five in Nigeria: residents

Updated 11 min 52 sec ago
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Boko Haram raid kills five in Nigeria: residents

  • A Boko Haram raid and suicide attack in Tungushe village killed at least five
  • Boko Haram regularly uses suicide bombers, mostly women and young girls, to target areas with civilians

KANO: At least five people were killed and six others injured in a night-time Boko Haram raid and suicide attack on a village in northeastern Nigeria, residents told AFP on Saturday.
A male suicide bomber detonated his explosives among a group of residents sleeping in the open in Tungushe village in Borno state at about 12:15 am (2315 GMT Friday).
The blast was followed by indiscriminate gunfire from Boko Haram militants lurking in the dark, said Mustapha Muhammad, a civilian militia leader in the area.
“Five people have been killed and six others injured in the attack,” Muhammad said by telephone from the village, which lies six kiometers (nearly four miles) north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
Tungushe resident Umara Kyari, who gave a similar casualty toll, said the attackers torched eight thatched houses and three vehicles before stealing about 100 cows.
“Fortunately all the cows returned to the village,” said Kyari. “I think the attackers are not used to herding cows and could not control them.”
Boko Haram regularly uses suicide bombers, mostly women and young girls, to target mosques, schools, bus stations and military locations.
Its nine-year armed violence to establish a hard-line Islamic state in remote northeastern Nigeria has killed more than 20,000 people.
Suicide attacks have increased in Borno state recently, prompting the military commander fighting the militants to offer a five-million-naira ($13,900) reward for information on bomb-making factories in the region.
On June 16, six young girls killed 43 people in suicide attacks in the town of Damboa, 80 kilometers southwest Maiduguri.
On Wednesday, 15 people were injured when two female suicide bombers targeted a market on the edge of a military base in the city.
Nigeria’s army said troops on patrol in the Mafa area, east of Maiduguri, had come across “pockets of fleeing Boko Haram terrorists” on Friday.
“The gallant troops... overpowered the terrorists, killing even of them and recovered weapons,” it said on Twitter on Saturday.
The insurgents are believed to have carried out an attack in Zabarmari village, also in the Mafa area, on Thursday, according to a civilian militia source.