cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16


people with money

1. Moscow business news

Andy Potts

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told members of the House of Lords that he is "deeply concerned" about the Nov. 16 death in prison of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and has called for a "full and transparent" investigation, raising the prospect of a new row between London and Moscow over the rule of law.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the British government was closely following the ongoing Russian fraud case involving Hermitage Capital Management, who Magnitsky was representing. He died after allegedly failing to receive medical treatment while in pre-trial detention.

Hermitage CEO Bill Browder said: "Gordon Brown has shown ... that people around the globe are deeply concerned about ... the deterioration of the rule of law in Russia."

New Yukos target

In another possible row with Britain, Russian prosecutors have indicated they are seeking the extradition of former Yukos treasurer Andrei Leonovich in connection with the ongoing trial of jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Kommersant reported in an article titled: "We ask and ask. But Britain doesn't give them up."

Leonovich fled to the UK in 2004 after Khodorkovsky's arrest.

Britain's refusal to extradite several Russian businessmen wanted by Russian prosecutors, including former Kremlin kingmaker Boris Berezovsky, has led to strained relations with London.

Lebedev renews Indy bid

Russian newspaper magnate Alexander Lebedev has restarted his bid to buy troubled British titles The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian reports.

Lebedev, who already owns liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta and the London Evening Standard, has been linked with a bid for the two British broadsheet titles all year.

But reports in Britain suggest that talks are gaining momentum after a financial restructuring at the newspapers aimed at eradicating losses of £13 million a year and making them profitable by the end of next year.

read more @ moscow news

2. Sackass explodes his reputation

Georgia, a former Soviet republic, was supposed to celebrate the 43rd birthday of its President Mikhail Saakashvili on December 21. As it was expected, there was no birthday party, but a huge international scandal instead.

As we reported earlier, the government of Kutaisi, Georgia’s second biggest city, was anticipating a grand event – Mr. Saakashvili was supposed to visit the city on his birthday. The city government prepared a special gift for the president – the explosion of the War Memorial, which was erected in memory of the Georgians who fell in the Great Patriotic War. A new building of the parliament is to be built instead of the memorial.

The event failed to look like a celebration. The Georgian opposition was going to organize a protest action the day when Saakashvili was supposed to arrive in the city. Opposition members said that they would be ready to encircle the memorial to defend the memory of war heroes. The government of Kutaisi eventually decided to explode the monument on December 19.

The authorities did not put up any enclosure, not did they take other safety measures in an attempt to destroy the monument as soon as possible. Many people were standing near the moment when the explosion finally took place. A woman and her daughter were killed, some other people were wounded.

Saakashvili, who personally authorized the explosion of the war memorial, interrupted his trip to Denmark. The Georgian Security Council, which gathered for an emergent session, quickly found a scapegoat: the governor of the region was dismissed from his position.

The director of the company, which organized the explosion of the monument, was arrested too. In general, the unfortunate and infamous explosion ended with the arrest of ten officials.

Opposition activists gathered for a meeting in Kutaisi and harshly condemned President Saakashvili.

“It is Mikhail Saakashvili who is guilty for the deaths of innocent people. It is his maniac fear of history and deeds of true heroes that became the reason of the act of vandalism,” Koba Davitashvili, the leader of Georgia’s People’s Party said.

Salome Zurabishvili, the leader of Georgia’s Way said: “I am ashamed for the residents of Kutaisi who did not save the monument. I am ashamed for the residents of Tbilisi, who kept silence about it. I am ashamed for Georgian TV channels that advertise New Year events at the time when our own administration is waging war against us. I do not want a president like that!” she said.

“There will be no parliament built here. Saakashvili won’t build the building of glass and concrete on the blood of his citizens, and his cowardly servants won’t be sitting there,” another opposition leader of Georgia, Zurab Nogaideli said.

source: pravda

3. construction of new European Central Bank premises to start in spring 2010

Monday 21 December 2009
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has announced the positive outcome of the Europe-wide public tendering procedure for the new premises for the European Central Bank, to be built in Frankfurt, Germany. Construction of the main construction works for its new premises will start in spring 2010.

COOP HIMMELB(L)AU won the competition for the new premises of the European Central Bank in 2005. The project is located in Frankfurt's Ostend and will be built at the site of the Grossmarkthalle (wholesale market). At a height of around 185 meters,
the double tower – with its polygonal shape and east-west orientation – has a striking profile that is visible from all important reference points in Frankfurt's city center, as well as from the river Main.

The imposing form of the Grossmarkthalle unites with the vertical profile of the towers to form a significant ensemble that considers both the local urban design environment and the general urban spatial context, thus creating a tension between Frankfurt's banking district and the Ostend area. The opening of the European Central Bank is scheduled for 2014.

read more @

4. Russian richest man sets up oligarch bank

MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Russia's richest man Mikhail Prokhorov will pool funds with three other oligarchs that will chase distressed banks and firms, creating an unusual joint war chest for some of Russia's most aggressive portfolio investors.

Prokhorov's MFK bank said on Dec.22 it would get three new shareholders. The combined wealth of the four tycoons was estimated at around $19 billion by the Russian edition of U.S. Forbes magazine and some of this money is real cash.

The shareholders will include investor Suleiman Kerimov, a co-owner of gold miner Polyus Gold, Alexander Abramov, a co-owner of steel maker Evraz Group, and Viktor Vekselberg, a shareholder in aluminium giant UC RUSAL and BP's Russian oil venture TNK-BP.

read more @ kyiv post

5. Kleindeinst to build at Dubai islands despite Nakheel bankruptcy

A German property developer announced on Monday plans to build luxury villas and hotels on six artificial islands off the Dubai coast despite the Gulf emirate’s recent financial woes....The project, dubbed “Heart of Europe,” is expected to cost a total of $850 million and be completed in 2015, Kleindienst said, adding that it will include villas, hotels and restaurants.

Asked about the risk he was taking - particularly should state-owned construction giant Nakheel go bankrupt - Kleindienst said: "We remain confident in the investment potential of The World. Dubai is a first class travel destination. We do not see a risk at all."

read more @ the local

6. Chaarat: exploring and developing Kyrgyz gold

Nestling in the north west corner of Kyrgyzstan, on the highly prospective Tien Shan gold belt, is the 604 sq km Sandalash emerging gold province being explored and developed by Chaarat Gold (AIM:CGH) which has held the licence since 2002.

The current focus at Sandalash is three distinct clusters of gold occurrences in a Prospect Area 6km wide over 28 km of strike along the Sandalash river. Originally explored for gold and antimony by the North Kyrgyz Geological Expedition (NKGE), it had been the subject of both surface and underground work, including soil and rock sampling, geophysics, trenching, drilling and the excavation of several adits. NKGE identified a series of north-east trending gold anomalies which were later further explored in the late 90s by Apex Silver and Newmont, so that in 2002 when Chaarat acquired the licence, an impressive database came with it. New eyes on old data revealed that the Prospect Area had, in fact, greater potential than had at first been realised, and the "new eyes" decided to focus on the centre of the strike at the Chaarat project, leaving the outer projects - Kashkasu and Minteke - for exploration at a later date.

read more @ mineweb

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