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Posted on April 16th 2014

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Inflation falls to 1.6%, the lowest since October 2009

Inflation fell to its lowest level in more than four years last month, easing the burden on households after years of squeezed incomes.

A let-up in petrol price rises helped inflation fall to 1.6% in March from 1.7% in February on the consumer price index (CPI) measure, according to official data. The rate, widely forecast by economists, was the lowest since October 2009 and well below the Bank of England's government-set target for CPI at 2%.

Ukraine crisis: Government troops recapture eastern airport

Ukrainian armed forces on Tuesday launched a "special operation" against militiamen in the country's Russian speaking east, authorities said, recapturing a military airfield from pro-Moscow separatists.

Gunfire could be heard from the airfield at the town of Kramatorsk after a fighter jet swooped low over the area. Ukrainian troops were seen disembarking from helicopters.

China physical gold demand to rise 25% by 2017: World Gold Council

The World Gold Council expects Chinese demand for gold bars and coins to climb 25% by 2017 from last year’s record level, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The report came out on a day when prices for gold futures on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange were suffering from a hefty decline. Gold for June delivery GCM4 +0.29% was last down $23.80, or 1.8%, at $1,303.70 an ounce Tuesday afternoon, pulling back after closing at a three-week high a day earlier.

Those who don’t lay arms, will be destroyed - Ukrainian military op commander

A Ukrainian general leading the operation against protesters in the east of the country has warned that activists who refuse to lay down their arms will be “destroyed.”

“They must be warned that if they do not lay down their arms, they will be destroyed,” General Vasily Krutov, first deputy head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) told reporters, as cited by AFP.

Empire State Manufacturing Index Falls To 1.3 In April

The Empire State manufacturing survey shows that business conditions in New York slipped in April, the New York Federal Reserve said Tuesday.

The general business conditions index in the manufacturing gauge fell to an April reading of 1.3 from 5.6 in March. It was at 4.5 the month before.

The March reading was below expectations compiled by various news organizations that were around 7.5 to 8.2. Readings above zero in such diffusion indexes are seen as a sign of expansion, while those below indicate contraction.

U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants

U.S. military assets in the Black Sea are on high alert amid reports Ukraine troops traded gunfire Tuesday with pro-Russian militants.

A journalist with Associated Press reported intense gunfire at an airport in eastern Ukraine after the government sent in army troops to retake control from militiamen loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine Moves Against Separatists as Medvedev Evokes Specter of Civil War

Ukraine unleashed an offensive to dislodge militants from cities in theeastern Donetsk region as authorities in the capital Kiev said Russian special forces were identified among the anti-government groups.

From four to 11 militants were killed and two wounded when Ukrainian troops stormed an airfield in Kramatorsk, taking it under control, Russian state television reported. Ukrainian units backed by armored personnel carriers blocked all approaches to the town of Slovyansk, the Russian state news service RIA Novosti said, citing a pro-Russian activist. Elements of Russia’s 45th Airborne Regiment were spotted in both towns, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema said on Channel 5

Baghdad buttresses defenses ready for wholesale Al Qaeda assault on city

The Iraqi army began buttressing its defense lines on April 12 to save parts of the capital city of Baghdad from the approaching danger of falling to al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Iraqi intelligence reports that terrorist forces have broken through into the city’s western outskirts and preparing to head out to other parts of the city of more than seven million and the Green Zone government headquarters.

In addition to the lethal bombings and shootings which have reduced the country to misery, DEBKAfile’s counter-terrorism sources describe a more insidious ISIS tactic of conquest: Armed al Qaeda fighters in brown military fatigues are going around Baghdad city quarters distributing candy to children. Notes attached to the packets invite their parents to attend “repentance” rites, which are really oaths of adherence to al Qaeda.

Blowback: Protesters In Kiev Demand Resignation Of Ukraine President

While the CIA-staged government coups in Libya and Egypt at least managed to last nearly a year before the inevitable "Thermidorian reaction" resulted in a blowback response that saw the overthrow of the interim US-handpicked rulers, Ukraine may not last nearly that long. According to reports by both Russian Interfax and Ukraine's Unian press services, for the first time since the coup that overthrew Ukraine's president Yanukovich in late February, hours ago a group of protesters assembled in front of the parliament building and on Independence Square in central Kiev, with demands for the resignation of both the interior minister Avakov as well as the acting president Turchinov.

Kiev launches military operation in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine’s coup-appointed acting President Aleksandr Turchinov has announced a crackdown on anti-government protesters in the north of the Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine.

“The anti-terrorist operation started overnight Monday,” said Turchinov. “The aim of these actions is to protect the citizens of Ukraine.”

Ukraine launches 'anti-terrorist operation' in the east

Ukraine has begun what it calls an "anti-terrorist operation" to root out pro-Russian "separatists" in the east of the country, The Telegraph can confirm.

Up to 12 armoured personnel carriers flying Ukrainian flags were guarding the road at a check point around a mile south of the city of Izyum.

It is thought to be the first evidence of a Ukrainian military operation to re-assert authority in the east of the country.

Pro-Russian militias fill the vacuum as Kiev's control in eastern Ukraine slips

On the steps of Slavyansk's occupied town hall a group of armed men in fatigues posed happily for photos. They were equipped with Kalashnikovs – military-issue AK-74s – commando knives, flak jackets and walkie-talkies. Round the back, close to the main square with its Lenin statue, was a green military truck. It bore no insignia

Who exactly were they? "We're Cossacks," one of the group explained. "It doesn't matter where we are from." He declined to give his name. Instead, he offered a quick history lesson, stretching back a thousand years, to when Slavic tribes banded together to form Kievan Rus – the dynasty that eventually flourished into modern-day Ukraine and its big neighbour Russia.