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Ukraine President meets with EU's Ashton
SHOTLIST: KIEV, UKRAINE, DECEMBER 10, 2013 SOURCE: PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION *No resale for non editorial use* -VAR protocol meeting Catherine Ashton and President of Ukraine KIEV, UKRAINE, DECEMBER 10, 2013. SOURCE: AFPTV -VAR Catherine Ashton walking along with opposition leader Arseni Yatsenuk on Independence square (Maidan) /// ------------------------------------------------------ AFP TEXT STORY: Ukraine-unrest-politics-EU-Russia,newseries-WRAP Ukraine leader holds crisis talks, slams 'revolution' calls by Dmytro GORSHKOV, Zoya ZHMINKO KIEV, Dec 10, 2013 (AFP) - President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday held talks with his three predecessors and the EU foreign policy chief to seek a way out of an explosive standoff with protesters, warning that opposition calls for a revolution were a threat to national security. With thousands still defying sub-freezing temperatures to protest Yanukovych's rejection of an EU pact under Russian pressure, the president met EU foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton in Kiev, his office said. "Substantial meeting (with) President Yanukovych, all relevant issues discussed," Ashton's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic added on Twitter, saying the talks lasted three and a half hours but giving no further details. In a sign of Europe's support for the demonstrators, Ashton later personally visited the epicentre of the protests on Independence Square in Kiev, an AFP correspondent said. Yanukovych had earlier convened Ukraine's ex-leaders Leonid Kuchma, Leonid Kravchuk and Viktor Yushchenko for an unprecedented meeting at the presidential administration. The meeting with the veteran presidents appeared to yield no immediate breakthrough, with Yanukovych issuing a warning while also trying to show signs of goodwill to the protestors. "Calls for a revolution pose a threat to national security," Yanukovych said in comments broadcast on national television. "I want that this dark page is turned and is never allowed to happen again." Yanukovych also said a delegation would likely be flying to Brussels to renew negotiations on key political and free trade agreements on Wednesday. He added that Ukraine would seek to decide on the EU deals by March when it is set to hold a summit with the bloc. Yanukovych's decision to scrap key trade and political agreements with the EU under pressure from Russia and police violence against protesters have plunged the ex-Soviet country into its most acute political crisis since the Orange Revolution in 2004. 'Civil society is awaiting a signal' ------------------------------------ Protests have gone into a third week, with both the authorities and the opposition showing few signs of compromise. Police moved protesters away from government buildings Monday after a weeklong blockade but the demonstrators are still occupying Independence Square and the Kiev city hall. Yanukovych incensed the opposition further by meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin for secret talks on Friday. Opposition leaders said they would not negotiate with Yanukovych until he sacked the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, released arrested demonstrators and punished riot police accused of crushing a protest on November 30. Ex-presidents Kuchma and Kravchuk pointedly noted during the meeting that prime ministers had stepped down before, and indicated that Azarov could do the same. "Civil society is now awaiting a signal from the president," said Kuchma, Ukraine's president between 1994 and 2004. Yanukovych made no public comment on the fate of the government. In an apparent bid to placate the demonstrators, Yanukovych said that he had asked the general prosecutor to secure the release of some of the demonstrators arrested after clashes with police. Following Yanukovych's call, the general prosecutor's office said it considered it possible to release some of the demonstrators. Yanukovych implied the security forces bore some responsibility for violent clashes during the protests. "There are guilty on both sides," he said. At least 10 protesters were reported injured in fresh clashes with police in the early hours of Tuesday as security forces removed barricades from around the government headquarters in the capital Kiev. One protester suffered punctured lungs and several had broken arms or legs, a lawmaker from nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, Yuriy Syrotyuk, told AFP. Police said two officers were injured as the authorities sought on Monday evening to reclaim control of the city centre and remove barricades around government buildings. The party of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said Monday armed law enforcement officers had raided its headquarters, taking away documents and computer servers. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands filled Independence Square, and dozens of masked protesters tore down a statue of Lenin. Ukraine's Security Service opened an investigation into an alleged attempt to seize power, in an apparent bid by the state to target key opposition figures. Several hundred were injured a week ago when a major demonstration degenerated into violence, the largest clashes in Ukraine's post-Soviet history.
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Drive-By Truckers - Drive-By Truckers
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS English Oceans (ATO Records) Release date: March 4, 2014 Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Brad Morgan, Jay Gonzalez, Matt Patton English Oceans, the 12th release by Athens, Georgia’s Drive-By Truckers, is an elegantly balanced and deeply engaged new effort that finds the group refreshed and firing on all cylinders. All but one of the collection’s 13 new songs, written by singer-guitarists and co-founding members Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, were recorded during 13 days of sessions in August 2013 with longtime producer David Barbe. Six of the songs were the result of a burst of writing activity by Cooley. “I had time to write,” Cooley says. “After we came off the road last time, we decided we were going to let it rest for a while. So I had time to really focus. I kind of had to re-learn how to write, because I didn’t write as many songs as I’d wanted on the last couple of records. I was happy with these songs, and thrilled to go in and record so many that I felt real strongly about.” Hood notes, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a record where Cooley was as deeply involved in every aspect of the making of it as he was this time. With Cooley’s writing, there’s almost no precedent for it in our catalog. He came in with this stunning bunch of songs, full of this beautiful imagery.” Writing independently, Cooley and Hood penned songs that dovetailed brilliantly with each other. Hood says, “Every song on this record connects with another song. I noticed Cooley’s got a line in ‘Primer Coat’ about ‘apron strings,’ and I have the exact same image in one of my songs, ‘Hanging On.’ It goes on and on and on like that on this record, and that’s a pretty good sign for things, particularly given how different our temperaments are and our styles of writing are.” Cooley and Hood’s brace of character-based songs depict a neatly interlocking gallery of relationships, often in dissolution and discord. The last song written and recorded for the album, Hood’s rave-up “Pauline Hawkins,” was based on a new novel by Willy Vlautin and penned after another of his compositions was scrapped. Hood says, “There was such a balance between Cooley’s songs and my songs that taking a song off the record would upset the balance a little bit. I liked the back-and-forth flow, like our shows tend to do. I got an advance copy of Willy’s latest book, The Free. I’ve been a fan of his writing for a while. I read it in about three days. I finished it on Saturday, I wrote the song on Sunday, and then we cut it on Thursday and mastered the record on the following Monday. It sure makes it a better record.” DBT’s ever-keen political edge can be seen in two songs on the release. Cooley’s “Made Up English Oceans” derives from his interest in the career of Lee Atwater, the Republican operative who was active in the Reagan and Bush campaigns of the ‘80s. “He was the guy that Karl Rove and all of the modern dirty tricksters looked to – he was one of the granddaddies of it all. That song is from his point of view, fictionally of course. It’s him making his pitch, telling what he understands about young, Southern men.” Hood says “The Part of Him” was inspired by the procession of scandals that plague the political world year after year. “It’s about political assholery -- there’s someone new playing that role every few months,” he says. “As soon as we get rid of one of them, someone comes up and starts playing that part again.” Reflecting the renewed high level of collaboration between the band’s two principals, English Oceans marks an unprecedented event: the recording of a Hood song, “Til He’s Dead or Rises,” with Cooley assuming the lead vocal. Cooley says, “I remember Patterson was getting frustrated trying to sing it. He was doing fine, but it seemed like there was something he wanted to do that wasn’t coming. I was in the control room thinking, ‘I could probably sing this’ -- though it wasn’t like I was saying, ‘Oh, I can sing this a lot better than that.’ I was thinking, ‘This sounds like something I could sing.’ Right after that, he walks into the control room and says, ‘You want to trying singing this? It sounds more like you than me.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I was just thinking that.’” “Grand Canyon,” the final song on the album, is an emotionally overwhelming elegy for Craig Lieske, a longtime member of DBT’s touring family. The former manager of Athens’ 40 Watt Club and a key player in the city’s experimental music scene, Lieske died suddenly of a heart attack in January 2013 following the first night of the band’s three-night homecoming stand in Athens. English Oceans is dedicated to him. “I probably wrote it in 15 minutes,” Hood says. “It wasn’t any kind of a conscious thing. It’s the most important song of mine on the record. I wrote new songs to go with it. It recalibrated something. It became a totally different record for me than the record I thought we were going to make.” The album was recorded with a compact, retooled lineup. Jay Gonzalez, who joined the band in 2008 as keyboardist, stepped into an expanded role by adding guitar to his duties, while bassist Matt Patton was drafted from the Tuscaloosa group The Dexateens. The unit was road-tested during dates in 2013. Cooley says, “This lineup is so direct. It can go from this chainsaw rock ‘n’ roll to very delicate, pretty-sounding stuff.” We wrote a lot of those kinds of songs, and this lineup got all of that well. Hood agrees: “We recorded with a stripped-down lineup that gave things a more primal and immediate feel. It’s a more turn-on-a-dime kind of thing, which suits these songs, and us as a band. It’s a very tasteful group, and when it needs to be it can be a very big, powerful, over-the-top band, too, and it can go from one to the other seamlessly.” Looking at the accomplishments of English Oceans from the perspective of DBT’s nearly three-decade history, both Cooley and Hood decline to hedge their bets on the quality of their latest work. “You’re always hesitant to say, ‘Oh, this is the best record we’ve ever made,’” Cooley says, “because you always want to. And sometimes you say it, and sometimes you’re right, and sometimes you think, ‘Well, maybe I jumped the gun on that a little bit, I got excited.’ But I think this just might be the best record we’ve ever made.” Hood concurs enthusiastically: “It’s my favorite thing that we’ve ever done. I’m proud of our catalog – we always try to make as good a record as we can make. Sometimes things just work. This time, we made kind of a magical record. I’ve always felt that Decoration Day was our best record, and this is the first one that I think is a better record than that was. Every piece of the puzzle fit.” Publicity: Traci Thomas / Thirty Tigers / 615.664.1167 / traci@thirtytig
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