The United States soccer team captivated the nation with its brief World Cup run. That run ended Saturday with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the round of 16. The second-youngest team at the tournament played only four games but it was enough to thrill diehard supporters in Doha and briefly unite a fractured nation back home. Fans gathered outside the stadium ahead of Saturday's match to bond over the American team before they marched in together as a collective fan club. United States captain Tyler Adams says “the support has been amazing."

Saturday, December 03, 2022
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The Albert Einstein hospital says Brazilian soccer great Pelé is responding well to treatment for a respiratory infection and his health condition has not worsened over the latest 24 hours. The 82-year-old Pelé has been at the hospital since Tuesday.  Get well messages have poured in from around the world for the three-time World Cup winner as he also undergoes cancer treatment. Pelé's daughter posted several pictures on Instagram from Brazil fans in Qatar wishing her father well with flags and banners. Buildings in the Middle Eastern nation also displayed messages in support of the former soccer great.

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Iranian state TV said the country has begun construction on a new nuclear power plant. The new 300-megawatt plant will take eight years to build and cost around $2 billion. The announcement comes amid tensions with the U.S. over sweeping sanctions and nationwide anti-government protests. The plant will be located in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, near its western border with Iraq. Iran currently has one sole nuclear power plant that went online in 2011 with help from Russia. It also has several underground nuclear facilities. In late November, Iran announced it had begun producing enriched uranium at 60% purity at one of its underground facilities.

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A daunting canoe voyage — covering almost 500 kilometers, or about 300 miles across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean — is underway. It’s the Hoki Mai Challenge, which started in Rapa Nui, a territory in the Pacific that is part of Chile and is better known as Easter Island. The event consists of a canoe voyage by nine Rapanuis, two Chileans and one Hawaiian seeking to celebrate the union of the islands of Polynesia. The 12 athletes have been training six days a week since mid-September, preparing for a three-day voyage that will take them from Rapa Nui to Motu Motiro Hiva, another island in the mid-Pacific that belongs to Chile.

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Palestinians have pushed back against Israeli police claims that an Israeli border police officer who shot to death a 22-year-old Palestinian at close range acted in self-defense. The shooting had been caught on video and was widely shared on social media. The mayor of the occupied West Bank town where the shooting took place said Saturday that the officer killed the young man at a time when he posed no threat. The mayor also says Israeli security forces prevented Palestinian medics from trying to save the gravely wounded man as he lay on the sidewalk of a busy thoroughfare. Israeli police say the Palestinian man had carried a knife and had tried to attack Israelis in the area, including another border policeman who was wounded.

A senior Moldovan official says the country has struck a deal to renew severed electricity supplies from its breakaway, Moscow-backed region of Transnistria to lower the risk of more massive blackouts amid an acute winter energy crisis. Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said Saturday that Moldovan state power company Energocom has signed a deal for December with the gas-operated Kuciurgan electricity plant in Transnistria. In November, the plant stopped supplying electricity to other parts of Moldova after Russia reduced natural gas flows to the country. Spinu said the Moldovan gas company, Moldovagaz, will deliver 5.7 million cubic meters of gas to the Transnistria region. Transnistria broke away after a 1992 civil war. It's not recognized by most countries.

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The government of El Salvador has sent 10,000 soldiers and police to seal off a town on the outskirts of the nation's capital to search for gang members. The operation late Friday and Saturday was one of the most massive mobilizations yet in President Nayib Bukele's nine-month-old crackdown. The troops blocked roads going in and out of the township of Soyapango, checking people's documents. Special teams went into the town looking for gang suspects.  More than 58,000 people have been jailed since a state of emergency was declared following a wave of homicides in late March.  Rights groups have criticized the mass roundups.

The British Museum has pledged not to dismantle its collection following a report that the institution’s chairman has held secret talks with Greece’s prime minister over the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles. The report by the Greek newspaper Ta Nea is the latest twist in the long-running dispute over ownership of the ancient sculptures, which have been a centerpiece of the British Museum’s collection since 1816. Ta Nea reported Saturday that negotiations between museum Chairman George Osborne and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have been taking place since November 2021 and are at an advanced stage.

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Memphis Depay and Daley Blind scored in the first half and Denzel Dumfries added a late goal as the Netherlands eliminated the United States from the World Cup with a 3-1 victory that advanced the Dutch to the quarterfinals. Second-half substitute Haji Wright cut the U.S. deficit to 2-1 in the 76th minute when Christian Pulisic’s cross hit his trailing foot and popped over goalkeeper Andries Noppert and into the net. Dumfries assisted on the first two goals and scored on a volley in the 81st. The Oranje extended their unbeaten streak to 19 games and face Argentina or Australia next.

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Russian authorities have rejected a price cap on the country’s oil set by Ukraine’s Western supporters and are threatening to stop supplying the nations that endorsed it. Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, the United States and the 27-nation European Union agreed Friday to cap what they would pay for Russian oil at $60-per-barrel. The limit is set to take effect Monday, along with an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday that Russia needs to analyze the situation before deciding on a specific response but that it would not accept the price ceiling. Russia’s permanent representative in Vienna warned, "From this year, Europe will live without Russian oil.”

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The United States has condemned the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan’s capital in which a senior Pakistani diplomat escaped unhurt but one of his Pakistani guards was wounded. The condemnation came Saturday, a day after hots were fired at the embassy from a nearby building. Pakistan called it an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani. The attack came at a time of rising tensions between the South Asian neighbors over Islamabad’s claims that anti-Pakistan government forces are organizing terrorist attacks from safe havens in Afghanistan.  Officials said Pakistan repatriated the wounded guard by helicopter and he was being treated at a hospital.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish authorities have arrested and jailed in Istanbul a convicted member of an outlawed militant group who was extradited from Sweden. The extradition comes as Turkey continues to hold up Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, with Turkish officials saying more steps were needed to fulfill a joint memorandum signed in June that prevented Ankara's veto. Anadolu news agency identified the man as Mahmut Tat, who was convicted of membership in an armed terror organization in 2015 and sentenced to more than six years in prison. Sweden confirmed the deportation but didn't name the man deported.

The reigning World Cup champions breezed through the group stage to clinch a spot in the round of 16 with a game to spare and now France looks to continue its tournament in a Sunday knockout game against Poland. France is the first defending World Cup champion to reach the round of 16 since Brazil in 2006. France is 5-0 in the first knockout round since the stage was introduced to the World Cup in 1986 and well-rested after using nine substitutes in its final game of group play. England faces Senegal in the second game and is trying to reach the quarterfinals in consecutive World Cup tournaments for the first time since 2002 and 2006.

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A strong earthquake has shaken parts of Indonesia’s main island of Java, causing panic but only minor damage just two weeks after an equally powerful quake killed hundreds. The head of the national rescue agency says the quake on Saturday injured one resident in West Java’s Garut district, and at least four houses and a school were damaged. No other casualties have been reported. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake on Nov. 21 killed at least 331 people and injured nearly 600 in West Java’s Cianjur city. The U.S. Geological Survey says the latest quake measured 5.7 magnitude. High-rises in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for more than 10 seconds and some ordered evacuations, sending streams of people into the streets.

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Chinese authorities have announced a further easing of COVID-19 curbs with major cities such as Shenzhen and Beijing no longer requiring negative tests to take public transport. The slight relaxation of testing requirements comes even as daily virus infections reach near-record highs and follows weekend protests across the country by residents frustrated by the rigid enforcement of anti-virus restrictions. Along with the relaxation in the capital Beijing, the southern city of Shenzhen said Saturday that commuters no longer need to show a negative COVID-19 test result to use public transport or when entering pharmacies, parks and tourist attractions.

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NATO member and Russia’s neighbor Estonia is boosting its defense capabilities by acquiring an advanced U.S. rocket artillery system. Estonian defense officials said Saturday that the deal with the U.S. worth more than $200 million is the Baltic country’s largest arms procurement project ever. The deal for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, includes training, ammunition and rockets with a range pf 70-300 kilometers (43-186 miles), according to the Estonian Center for Defense Investment. Estonia’s Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania either have or are currently in the process of acquiring their own HIMARS. Washington has provided Ukraine with the rocket launchers during Russia’s invasion of the country.

Officials say that U.S.-owned Hess Corporation, a consortium partner in Guyana’s offshore oil sector, has agreed to buy $750 million worth of carbon credits from the South American nation in the next decade as it works to ensure Guyana’s almost intact Amazonian rainforests remain standing. Guyanese government officials and executives from New York-based Hess signed the agreement late Friday under the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD). This is the second major such deal the country has won and negotiated in the past decade. Back in 2009, Norway had signed off on a deal to provide $250 million in funding.

British authorities have arrested a wealthy Russian businessman on suspicion of money laundering amid efforts to disrupt potential criminal activity by oligarchs and others linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The National Crime Agency said Saturday that more than 50 officers raided the suspect’s multi-million-pound home in London. A number of digital devices and a “significant” amount of cash were seized in Thursday's raid. The man was not named. The arrest comes as Britain works with the United States, European Union and other countries to choke off the flow of money to Putin’s regime following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.K. has imposed sanctions on more than 1,300 individuals and entities, including 120 wealthy business leaders known as oligarchs.

U.S. troops have resumed joint patrols with Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria days after they were stopped amid Turkish threats of a new ground incursion into the war-torn country. U.S. officials had said the patrols that resumed Saturday are not to counter Islamic State group militants. They say the patrols will be limited to areas around a sprawling camp housing mostly women and children linked to IS as well as prisons where the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are holding thousands of extremists. Turkey has launched a barrage of airstrikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq in retaliation for a deadly bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on Kurdish groups.

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Of the seven stadiums Qatar built for the World Cup, one will disappear after the tournament. That’s what the games’ organizers have said about Stadium 974 in Doha, a 40,000-seat port-side arena partially built from recycled shipping containers and steel. Qatar says the stadium will be fully dismantled after the World Cup and could be shipped to countries that need the infrastructure. Outside experts have praised the design, mostly for the emissions saved from avoiding new construction. But they say more needs to be known about what happens after the event.

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What started as an unplanned vigil last weekend in Shanghai by fewer than a dozen people grew hours later into a rowdy crowd of hundreds. The protesters expressed anger over China's harsh COVID-19 policies that they believed played a role in a deadly fire on Nov. 24 in a city in the far west. Then, a woman defiantly shouted for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to resign, emboldening others. Before dawn, police moved in to break up the gathering. The Nov. 26 protest in Shanghai wasn’t the first or the largest. But it was notable for the bold calls for the leadership change — the most open defiance of the ruling Communist Party in decades.

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Thousands of demonstrators representing organized labor marched in South Korea’s capital on Saturday to denounce government attempts to force thousands of striking truckers back to work after they walked out in a dispute over the price of freight. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major clashes from the protests near the National Assembly in Seoul. The marchers, mostly members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, accused President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative government of labor oppression and ignoring what they described as the truckers’ harsh work conditions and financial struggles, worsened further by rising fuel costs.

Friday, December 02, 2022
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Ukraine has won victories on the battlefield against Russia but faces a looming challenge on the economic front. The government has been relying on the central bank to print money to cover its huge deficits caused by the war. Tax revenue has fallen, and defense spending has soared for next year's budget. Kyiv is looking for ways to pay for its war effort at least through next year. By then, hopes are that a price cap on Russian oil sales will put Moscow on the economic defensive. Until then, Ukraine is turning to its allies for more money to avoid worsening inflation that hurts ordinary people.

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South Korean prosecutors arrested the country’s former national security director over suspicions he engaged in a cover-up to hide details and distort the circumstances surrounding North Korea’s killing of a South Korean fisheries official near the rivals’ sea boundary in 2020. Suh Hoon’s arrest came as President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative government investigates his liberal predecessor’s handling of that killing and another border incident the year before that prompted criticism that Seoul was desperately trying to appease the North to improve relations. Former President Moon Jae-in has reacted angrily to the investigation, accusing Yoon’s government of raising groundless allegations and politicizing security matters.

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The U.N.'s high commissioner for human rights says Myanmar’s military-installed government has sentenced more critics to death, bringing the total to 139, and is using capital punishment as a tool to crush opposition. High Commissioner Volker Türk says at least seven university students were sentenced to death behind closed doors on Wednesday and there are reports that as many as four more youth activists were sentenced on Thursday. The military seized power in February last year, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The army’s action was met with widespread peaceful protests that were quashed with lethal force. The government hanged four political activists in July, in the country’s first executions in at least three decades.

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Israel’s paramilitary border police says an officer killed an alleged Palestinian assailant in the occupied West Bank after they wrestled over a weapon. Dramatic amateur video captured the moments Friday when the officer fired the fatal shots. The video was widely shared on social media. It was a rare documentation of one of the increasingly common violent confrontations involving Israeli security forces and Palestinians, including attackers. Escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions have made 2022 the deadliest year since 2006.  Earlier Friday, dozens of Israeli peace activists toured the West Bank city of Hebron in a show of solidarity with Palestinians. Ultra-nationalist hecklers chanted “shame, shame."

Mexican authorities say two migrants have been found shot to death in a car in southern Mexico. Officials believe the intended victim was the migrant smuggler who was also riding in the car but escaped. A law enforcement official in the southern state of Chiapas say the two migrants were found dead Friday. Migrant traffickers in Mexico often have to pay protection money to drug cartels for smuggling people through their territory. There have also been attacks on smugglers by rogue police officers and rival smugglers.

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The camel batted her eyelashes and flashed a toothy smile for the television cameras at the Mzayen World Cup. The camel pageant was being held in the Qatari desert about 15 miles (25 kilometers) away from Doha and soccer’s World Cup. The pageant is a cross between the Westminster Dog Show and the Miss America Pageant. The winner was Nazaa’a is a majestic light-haired creature that overcame several preliminary rounds and hundreds of other camels to win the pageant at Qatar Camel Mzayen Club on Friday.

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The U.S., Europe and the Group of 7 democracies have agreed to put a price cap on Russian oil exports to other countries. The cap proposed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen aims to reduce Russia’s oil earnings that support its military and the invasion of Ukraine. But there are questions about how effective the cap will be. The Monday start date coincides with the European Union’s embargo on most Russian oil shipments. There’s uncertainty about how all this will affect oil markets, which are swinging between fears of lost Russian supply and weakening demand from the lagging global economy. Russia could retaliate by halting shipments, and Europe may struggle to replace imports of Russian diesel fuel.

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Cuba enacted a new penal code this week that activists and human rights organizations worry could further limit free expression and snuff out protests at a time of deepening discontent on the island. Among some of the changes are increases in the minimum penalties and prison sentences on things like “public disorder,” “resistance” and “insulting national symbols.” The Cuban government has described the new code as “modern” and “inclusive,” pointing to stiffening penalties on gender-based violence and racial discrimination. But human rights watchdog groups, many of which are not permitted on the island, are raising alarms about the new code. They say the code is “plagued with overly broad” language that could be used by Cuban authorities to more easily punish dissent.

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A security organization born in the Cold War to maintain peace in Europe has ended a high-level meeting without a final resolution. The outcome on Friday underlined the existential crisis the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is facing amid Russia's war against Ukraine. The Vienna-based OSCE is made up of 57 members, including the United States, Canada, Russia and Ukraine. One member launching a war against another has created hurdles for the group, which makes decisions by consensus. Running through the meeting of foreign ministers and other representatives was the question of how the OSCE can continue to function without agreement from Russia and its ally Belarus, which say they've been unfairly isolated.

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The Amazon region has lost 10% of its vegetation in nearly four decades, according to a new report. That's an area roughly the size of Texas, From 1985 to 2021, the deforested area surged from 490,000 square kilometers (190,000 square miles) to 1,250,000 square kilometers (482,000 square miles), unprecedented destruction in the region. The vegetation loss was detailed in a report released Friday by the Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information, or Raisg, a consortium of civil society organizations from the region’s countries.

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Prosecutors in Mexico say police found 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of fentanyl pills packed into coconuts. The coconuts were found in a truck travelling on a highway in the northern border state of Sonora. Prosecutors said the truck was detected Thursday on a road that runs along the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez. According to photos of the bust, the coconut husks had been neatly split in half, and re-assembled with plastic bags of fentanyl pills inside. The road eventually leads to the border town of Sonoyta, across the border from Lukeville, Arizona.

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The United States plays the Netherlands on Saturday for a spot in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The last time the Americans advanced that far in the tournament was 2002 and the team has relished its ability to prove to the audience back home that it can actually compete in soccer on the biggest stage. The Dutch squad is battling the flu before the match and took a day off from training. United States player Christian Pulisic has been cleared to play against the Netherlands. Argentina and Lionel Messi also play Saturday against Australia.

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A German auction house says the recent sale of a watercolor by Wassily Kandinsky has been put on hold in response to the Polish government’s claim that the painting was stolen from an exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw in 1984. The Grisebach auction house, which sold the 1928 painting “Untitled” for almost $404,000 this week, said Friday its experts determined that the picture had been in the possession of the seller for decades and was previously sold at a public auction by Sotheby’s in London in the early 1980s. The auction house said it had contacted the seller and buyer to press for a judicial review that would provide a “binding clarification” of the painting’s status.

Russian news agencies say former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who fled prosecution after revealing highly classified surveillance programs, has received a Russian passport and taken the citizenship oath. Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena was quoted as saying Snowden got the passport and took the oath on Thursday, about three months after Russian President Vladimir Putin granted him citizenship. Friday's reports did not specify whether Snowden has renounced his U.S. citizenship. The United States revoked his passport in 2013, leading to Snowden being stranded in a Moscow airport for weeks after arriving from Hong Kong, aiming to reach Ecuador. Russia eventually granted him permanent residency. He married American Lindsay Mills in 2017 and the couple has two children.

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An overnight arson attack has destroyed a car used by a senior official at the Italian embassy in Athens. Italy's prime minister and Greek authorities condemned the incident Friday. No one was hurt in the fire outside the official’s home in a northern suburb of the Greek capital. The embassy official is the sister of a prominent Italian lawmaker. Italian Prime Minister Premier Giorgia Meloni offered solidarity and expressed “profound concern for the attack against her, probably of an anarchist origin.” No group has claimed responsibility for the attack that followed protests by Greek anarchist groups in support of a jailed Italian anarchist militant who is on hunger strike.

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A Ukrainian official says Ukrainian embassies and consulates in six European countries have received packages containing animals’ eyes in recent days. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the “bloody parcels” were received by the Ukrainian embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy, as well as by consulates in Naples, Italy; Krakow, Poland and the Czech city of Brno. The parcels arrived after a package containing an explosive device sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid ignited upon opening on Wednesday and injured an employee. It was one of multiple explosive parcels found in Spain this week. Spain´s Interior Ministry said police evacuated the Madrid embassy on Friday after another suspect package was detected.

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The European Union has reached a deal for a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil. It's a key step as Western sanctions aim to reorder the global oil market to prevent price spikes and starve President Vladimir Putin of funding for his war in Ukraine. They needed to set the discounted price that other nations will pay by Monday, when an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea and a ban on insurance for those supplies take effect. The price cap is led by the Group of Seven wealthy democracies and still needs their approval. It aims to prevent a sudden loss of Russian oil to the world that could lead to a new surge in energy prices.

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The State Department says it has added four top commanders from a key anti-Pakistan militant group and its al-Qaida branch to its list of "global terrorists.” Thursday’s move comes days after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, known as TTP, ended a monthslong ceasefire with the Islamic nation and resumed attacks around the country. Pakistan took additional measures, and security was tight outside worship and public places Friday amid fears of more attacks from TTP. Pakistani Taliban have stepped up attacks after ending a monthslong ceasefire with Pakistan recently. The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allied with Afghanistan’s Taliban, who have ruled their country since the U.S. and NATO troops withdrew last year.

An Austrian court has convicted three Afghan men for the rape and death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found dumped next to a tree in Vienna last year in a case that shocked the Alpine nation. The Austria Press Agency reported Friday that the main defendant, a 24-year-old man, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Two other Afghans aged 20 and 19, were found guilty of murder by omission for failing to help the girl after she overdosed on drugs. The younger man was sentenced to 20 years, while the older man received a 19-year sentence. The court concluded that the men had given the girl drugs with the intention of raping her.

The most controversial goal of the World Cup so far was scored by Japan and it eliminated Germany. The Japanese came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 on Thursday and advance to the round of 16 on a goal that many felt went out of play before the ball went into the net. The victory also meant that four-time champion Germany was knocked out of the competition in Qatar. FIFA has confirmed that an overhead camera positioned along the goal line verified the ball stayed in play.

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Pakistan’s prime minister says an “assassination attempt” has targeted his country’s envoy in Afghanistan, amid tensions between the neighboring countries. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Friday that attackers failed to harm the Pakistani diplomat, but shot and wounded his security guard. The shooting comes a day after Pakistan demanded Afghanistan’s Taliban government prevent terrorist attacks coming from their soil. Pakistani Taliban, who are allied with their namesake’s across the border, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing earlier in the week in southwestern Pakistan that sent a wave of shock and anger across the nation. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Pakistan's representative in Kabul.

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Turkey’s foreign minister says the United States and Russia have failed to meet promises to clear Syria’s border with Turkey of Kurdish militants, forcing Ankara to intervene. Mevlut Cavusoglu also said Friday that Turkey was seeking reconciliation with Syria’s government to facilitate the return of refugees, cooperate in fighting extremists and end the conflict in Syria. Cavusoglu’s comments came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed last month to launch a new land invasion of northern Syria to target militant Kurdish groups, following a Nov. 13 explosion in Istanbul that killed six people. The Turkish military has launched a barrage of airstrikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq in retaliation.

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The U.S. and Ukrainian chapters of the international writers’ organization PEN have claimed that Russian troops in Ukraine are deliberately attacking the country’s museums, libraries and other cultural institutions. They said in a report issued on Friday that “culture is not collateral damage in the war against Ukraine; it’s a target, a central pillar of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justification for the war.” PEN cited Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture as saying that 529 “cultural heritage and cultural institutions” have been destroyed or damaged since the war started on Feb. 24. PEN Ukraine said it has documented 31 civilian writers, artists and other cultural workers killed in Russian attacks this year

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A key electrical power plant in a Moscow-backed breakaway region of Moldova will not resume energy supplies to the rest of the country after officials failed to reach any agreements on Friday amid an acute energy crisis, authorities said. The meetings held Friday between Moldovan officials and de-facto authorities from Transnistria took place in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, and focussed on a range of bilateral issues raising hopes of easing a severe energy crisis for Moldova, Europe’s poorest country.  But the talks did not yield any solutions including resuming electricity supplies, Vitaly Ignatyev, the unrecognized government’s foreign minister, told reporters.