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By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five former Bernard Madoff aides have asked a federal judge to throw out their convictions, three weeks after a jury found them guilty of fraud and conspiracy for helping Madoff conceal his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Former back-office director Daniel Bonventre, computer programmers George Perez and Jerome O'Hara and portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain that the government's evidence could not support the verdict and that prosecutors had delivered inappropriate and inflammatory closing arguments.
Tiraspol (Moldova) (AFP) - Moldova's pro-Russian breakaway region of Transdniestr on Wednesday called on Russia and the international community to recognise its independence, as fears grew that it could become a new flashpoint in East-West tensions. The leader of Transdniestr, in an interview with AFP, called on the EU to recognise the Russian-speaking statelet as independent, saying it was vital to ensuring stability in the region following rising tensions in Ukraine. Yevgeny Shevchuk said: "The European Union must recognise Transdniestr which does not present and will not present any risk for it. The call came shortly after Transdniestr's parliament passed a resolution asking for international recognition of its status as an "independent state".