This is a small selection of excerpts from a four-hour question and answer session between Vladimir Putin and Russian citizens.
On corrupt officials harassing and taunting people instead of doing their jobs:
Maria Sittel: Yes, Rostov-on-Don is on the line. Oleg, Vassilyevich, you can ask your question.
Oleg Trusov: Good afternoon, Mr Putin.
My aunt Nina is 84 and lives in Azov. She is a war veteran and she is disabled.
After your TV appearance my mother went to the Azov administration and asked to put aunt Nina on a housing waiting list. She was turned down. She was told: “You’ve come here because you listen to all these speeches on television.”
We recently got a reply that flats will be made available only to those who joined the waiting list before March 2005.
Is there a chance for my aunt Nina to get a flat? After all, she is an old woman and these visits that get her nowhere are bad for her nerves.
Vladimir Putin: Is your mother a World War II veteran?
Oleg Trusov: No, it’s my aunt, my mother’s elder sister.
Vladimir Putin: And she is a World War II veteran?
Oleg Trusov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: The decision has been made and it is final: All the World War II veterans are to be given flats regardless of whether or not they joined the waiting list before March 1, 2005. We are financing this out of the budget for 2010.
I have just one question or request for the veterans and the administrative bodies: determine as quickly as possible the number of people who are entitled to new housing under that decision. This needs to be done so that our construction companies could get government financing in time to buy or build the required amount of housing in 2010.
As for the reply you got, it is clearly a proforma letter. I think the regional governor should look into this and respond adequately. Such negligence, and it is nothing but negligence, on the part of officials should be punished.
As for your relative, as a veteran of the Great Patriotic War she is entitled to that flat. Incidentally, the number of people who had failed to join the waiting list before March 1, 2005 jumped after I made my announcement on television. There are 10,000 people on the waiting list already. But we will keep our promise in any case regardless of the number of people who have got the right to housing.
Ernest Mackevicius: Maria, let’s take one more call.
Vladimir Putin: And, I’m sorry but I would like to add that in many regions they put people on waiting lists in the relevant agencies, housing units and other departments of the municipal administrations.
Maria Sittel: Mr Putin, let me explain why we picked this particular question: We have a lot of messages which quote the local authorities as saying: “We hear that Putin has promised it to you, so go and ask Putin.” We have got very many such questions that cite the reaction of the local administrations.
Vladimir Putin: Well, if you have such facts, let me know while we are on the air and we will sort out the people who give such answers.
Maria Sittel: Thank you.
On the price of pharmaceuticals:
We have the following text message: “Who is standing behind the Arbidol medication? Instead of 125 roubles, ten pills now cost 275 roubles. 20 Remantadin pills which cost 50 roubles are not being advertised. There is no pressure either. Who is profiting from the healthcare sector? The list of skyrocketing medicine prices is long and not confined to Arbidol. Who controls the prices? Who is profiting from the healthcare sector? Mr Putin, please stop this robbery. You can do it.”
Vladimir Putin: What can I say? Who is behind these developments? Of course, this is done by incompetent businessmen and people who have no idea of social responsibility. They want to pocket as much money as possible from every project.
...I spoke to the Prosecutor-General a while ago. Both he and I believe that it is necessary to step up our efforts to bring those officials who are guilty of violations to account. There are violations today even despite high retail mark-ups. In some cases a number of business people exceed even these high retail mark-ups, sometimes many times over. They are liable to tough administrative penalties. They may be fined doubly the amount of illegally obtained revenues, removed from their position and disqualified for several years. In other words, a ban will be imposed on certain types of activities. It is possible to apply articles of criminal law as well. I hope that a combination of all these measures should stabilise the situation to a certain extent next year.
Maria Sittel: Excellent, all the more so since the prosecutor’s office has already called the actions of some businessmen, as well as local and regional authorities, as asocial. Indeed, we must not tolerate such a difference in prices on a simple facemask – one rouble versus 60 roubles closer to the Ural Mountains, or 30 and 40 roubles, as is the case with us here in the middle of the Volga region. This is an enormous difference, and the result of tremendous corruption in the pharmaceutical market. Mr Putin, there are very many reports on this subject.
Vladimir Putin: It is exactly as you say.
On the behavior of the wealthy:
Oleg Danilov: Good afternoon, Mr Putin. I have a question prompted by the recent car crash in Switzerland after races between very expensive cars, such as Lamborghinis. How can we teach our wealthy and arrogant to behave decently? This is a question of justice. Why is it okay to grow rich by someone else’s suffering and to steal and cheat? Why isn’t it fashionable to bring things into our house and spend money here in Russia, and not the other way round?
Vladimir Putin: Oleg, I have just spoken about this. If someone wants to invest, it would be good to do so in Russia, because investment means more taxes and more jobs.
As for people who have become wealthy recently or during the chaotic period, they cannot be put on one and the same footing. Far from all entrepreneurs acquired their money legally. If fact, for the majority, the reverse is true. But there were certainly those who used loopholes in laws, especially during privatisation in the early and middle 1990s.
But your question is on a somewhat different issue. As you said, it is about “decency”. We have a word – nouveau rich – that describes people who have quickly and suddenly become rich, do not know how to behave, cannot use their money properly and show off their wealth. Yes, regrettably, we have this problem. Judging by your voice you are a young man, but even in Soviet times some tried to show off their wealth. Some people would put golden caps on their teeth, preferably the front teeth, to show their level of their prosperity. Lamborghinis and other expensive bric-a-brac are the same as golden teeth. People who are showing off their wealth against a background of millions of Russians living modestly do not differ in any way from those who had golden teeth.
On the relationship with Medvedev:
Ernest Mackevicius: Mr Prime Minister, we have a few messages that were emailed to our website. I’ll read some of them in turn. One of the most frequently question asked is “How are relations in the Medvedev-Putin tandem?”
Vladimir Putin: They’re good. I have said more than once that we’ve known each other for ages. And we have not simply known each other, but have also worked together. We graduated from the same university, attended lectures by the same professors who not only taught us their subjects but also shaped our outlook on life. These common principles allow us to work together effectively today.
On Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Jewish oligarch in prison:
Ernest Mackevicius: When will Khodorkovsky be released?
Vladimir Putin: I’ve just returned from France, where I was asked the same question. This notorious personage is in prison because of a court decision. It is not important when he will be released, it is important to avoid repeating such crimes in this country.
This is a matter of economic crimes. By the way, the Yukos bankruptcy proceedings were initiated by Western creditors and banks. And all these proceedings were carried out in accordance with Russian law.
I have said this on several occasions, and I will make the point again today: The funds derived from auctioning Yukos assets went to the government budget, but not only to the government budget. When we received the funds – and the majority of assets were received in 2006 – I convinced my colleagues that we must not simply add these funds to the budget and dissolve them there, or channel them into reserve funds – although reserves have turned out very helpful these days – but use them to address the most pressing challenges.
The money that was once stolen from the people must be returned to them. And not to a vague group, but to the actual people who have found themselves in trouble as a result of the difficult, I’d even say tragic, economic developments of the early and mid-1990s. These funds should help the least well-off citizens of the Russian Federation. And so the 240 billion roubles earned from auctioning Yukos assets were used to create the Housing and Utilities Reform Fund.
Ten million people have taken advantage of the fund to repair their houses and flats, and 150,000 people will be relocated from slums into new blocks of flats. The fund will continue to work. Its reserves were also spent on landscaping in Russian towns and villages.
As for the other side, the criminal one, we will also operate within the framework of Russian law.
Unfortunately, no one recalls that one of the Yukos security chiefs is in jail too. Do you think he acted on his initiative and at his own risk? He had no actual interest. He was not the company’s main shareholder. It’s obvious that he acted in the interests and under the directives of his bosses. How he acted is a separate matter. At least five murders have been proven.
They wanted to include a tea shop building into their office in Moscow. The owner of this small business enterprise, a woman, was requested to give them her business. She refused to do that, and they hired a hitman who shot her just near her apartment, before her husband’s eyes.
The Mayor of Nefteyugansk demanded that Yukos pay taxes, and what happened to him? He was killed.
The people, a married couple, who were hired by Yukos’ security service to organise contract killings, tried to blackmail the company to get a share in the business, and they were also killed.
All of these crimes are proven, we should not forget about that.
But, of course, the life of Russian prisoners should be governed by the current Russian legislation. And the Government will act in accordance with this legislation.
On George Bush:
Ernest Mackevicius: What is your relationship with George W. Bush?
Vladimir Putin: We haven’t met since we both left office. But I have to say that we have developed a very warm personal relationship. As I have said before, it helped us to solve some very difficult problems.
George is a very decent man and a good friend. I will be happy to continue working with him if such opportunity arises.
On Russia's future:
Mr Putin, could you tell us please what kind of a country are we supposed to build? What will be Russia’s future?
Vladimir Putin: You know, when we talk about this country, about Russia, we start with its economy, efficiency and competitiveness, and all that is very important. But our ultimate goal is people. Russia is its people, and we must make them happy, improve their lives, as well as Russia’s healthcare services, security, defence potential and infrastructure. We have a great deal of work ahead of us.
You successfully graduated from university and are doing your postgraduate studies now.. Each person has her or his own goals. I hope that we can achieve all the goals we set.
On following through with promises:
Andrei Baranov: Mr Putin, this is not a question. There is one of your Kuzbass friends in the audience, miner Yevgeny Denk, to whom you gave a lift in your service car. He asked for an opportunity to speak.
Go ahead, ask your question please, Evgeny Alexandrovich.
Yevgeny Denk: Good afternoon, Mr Putin
I would like to thank you for visiting Novokuznetsk to deal with the issue of unfit housing, and want to let you know that those 9 barracks in Verkhny district have been torn down, even the basement has been demolished. Three hundred individuals have been rehoused and have settled into their new apartments. On behalf of everyone here, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for your assistance.
I have swapped apartments with my mother-in-law. Her four-bedroom apartment was slightly larger than mine. I have a son and a daughter, and now they each have a room of their own. They also asked me to send you their greetings. I don’t really have a question, I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of all residents and also personally, from me.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Yevgeny Alexandrovich.
I am very glad that I now have some more friends in Kuzbas. I am glad that we were able to help you resolve your housing problems. Hopefully, together with the regional authorities and the Governor, we will be able to continue these programmes, as there is still a lot of unfit housing that needs to be demolished and many people who need to be rehoused.
The housing and communal services fund, as I have already mentioned, will continue throughout next year, and for the years to come until the problem is resolved.
I hope your mother in law doesn’t feel that she lost out in your apartment swap.
Ernest Mackevicius: Thank you, Mr Putin. Thank you, Novokuznetsk. Let us continue to work. We have already been on air for three hours.
On people and animals:
“Recently, we have often seen you on TV and photographs, there has been a lot of coverage of you with tigers, leopards, and whales. It seems like you feel more comfortable with those animals, than with your ministers. Is this indeed the case or does it just seem like that? “
By the way, you were recently elected chair of the Russian Geographic Society’s council of trustees. What does that title mean to you? I am asking, because people are also interested in that aspect of your work.
Vladimir Putin: I believe it was Frederick II, the Prussian king, who said “The more I get to know people, the more I like dogs.”
On Russian history:
“Do you consider Stalin’s role on the whole to be positive or negative?” I have left that question in because I am aware how sensitive it is. There is much debate in society, and I see ”an ambush” here: If I say “positive” some people will get angry, and if I say “negative” other people will be angry. But because the subject of Stalin and Stalinism is still mooted, I left that question in deliberately.
I don’t think it would be right to give a blanket assessment. Obviously, between 1924 and 1953, when Stalin led the country, it changed dramatically: It turned from an agrarian country into an industrialized one. True, there were no peasants left and we all remember well the problems, especially in the final period, with agriculture, the food queues, etc. All that happened in the rural areas had no positive impact. But industrialisation was accomplished.
We won the Great Patriotic War. Whoever and whatever might say, victory had been won. Even if we go back to the question of casualties, you know, nobody can today throw stones at those who organised and led us to victory because if we had lost that war, the consequences to our country would have been far more catastrophic. They are hard to imagine.
All the undeniable positive things, however, had been accomplished at an unacceptable price. Repressions did take place. It is a fact. Millions of our fellow citizens suffered from them. Such a method of running the state, of achieving results is unacceptable. It is impossible. Undoubtedly, during that period we were confronted not only with a personality cult, but with massive crimes against our own people. That is a fact too. We must not forget about it either.
Any historical event should be analysed in its entirety. That is what I would like to say.
“What in your opinion impedes Russia’s development most of all?” One can philosophise on that score endlessly. I would permit myself just two remarks.
In the sphere of mentality, of course, it is the socialised consciousness, the expectation that the state should solve all the problems. That of course restricts individual initiative.
We were just speaking about the Soviet period. You know, at the first stage there was a lot of what was positive, the revolutionary elan. You remember the revolutionary song that went like this: “No one will bestow salvation on us, neither God, nor Tsar nor Hero, we will achieve it… (there were some more words there) with our own hands.” That slogan unfortunately was lost. In the Soviet times people were bereft of initiative. This attitude is still embedded in our mentality, I think everyone expects decisions to come from the government. That is important and necessary, but we should also seek to give every person an opportunity to fulfil his or her potential as an individual.
In the economy the main problem is the structure of the economy that had taken shape, the planned economy. Such economic system is like an Egyptian pyramid: It is powerful but clumsy and very inert when it comes to change. It is sometimes easier to build a new enterprise in a new place, in a green field and it will be competitive, effective and modern, than to overhaul what we have inherited from the past. That said, we should do the latter as well.
“Can you recall the happiest day of your life? Dasha, 16.”
Dear Dasha, I think the fact that we are alive is happiness bestowed on us by our Lord. We tend to forget that life is finite. But if we remember it, then we will know that every day we have lived is a happy day.
“Do your subordinates tell you jokes about you?”
No, they don’t. Some of my subordinates are also my friends, and they do sometimes try it, but those who are just subordinates do not.
On the situation in the North Caucasus:
“What do you think about the situation in the North Caucasus? Events in Ingushetia and Dagestan may spark a new war in the Caucasus.”
No, there is no risk that they will spark a new war in the Caucasus. The situation is complicated, and has several causes. Illegal armed units and groups of extremists still operate there, sometimes even with a feeling of impunity. This is a fact and we know about it. We will continue to fight them, until they are completely destroyed.
At the same time, we must pay more attention to social and economic issues. We need to: create new jobs that pay well, resolve social problems and counter corruption and the clan system. Sadly, corruption is not less of a problem in the Caucasus than elsewhere in the country, and in some cases it is an even greater problem than it is, on average, elsewhere. Unfortunately, the problem is rooted in tradition, and history is in part to blame. But this should not prevent us from resolving the problem.
So, I think that we will achieve positive results if we work towards it.
“Why is there continuing enmity between Ukraine and Russia? Why does Ukraine hate us?”
That’s not true. You cannot say that Ukraine hates us. I, for one, love Ukraine, and I’m sure that millions of Russian citizens feel similarly.
What does Ukraine mean? What does Russia mean? Those words primarily refer to people. A country is made up of its people. A country consists of people rather than merely territories or natural riches. There is so much that has linked us with Ukraine in the past, there is so much today that links us, and so much that will continue to link our two countries in the future.
However, certain individuals who have made their way into the Ukrainian leadership are exploiting our current problems, our past and present difficulties. I would like to emphasise that they are doing this out of their selfish political interests. But they will not succeed in destroying these centuries-long ties between Ukraine and Russia.
On the United States:
"Will Russia help the United States after its collapse?”
If this happens, there will be a lot to pay because the United States is the world’s biggest power, economic power, and we have extensive links with it. It is one of our most important partners, and the global economy is very closely intertwined with the US economy. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to wish problems on any country. We would all be better off living in a prosperous world, rather than in a world of disasters.
On being able to communicate with the Russian people:
“What do these annual question-and-answer sessions with Russian citizens mean to you?”
I have already mentioned this. While preparing for this event, my colleagues and I study a host of incoming requests, demands, and information. Incidentally, this shows that for a lot of people in this country life is still difficult. There is a great deal we need to do in order to reduce the number of problems people face.
Here’s a different question: “Are you leaving out the stupid questions?”
That was a text message. We have gathered here to discuss serious problems. Therefore, I would like to ask the person who sent that question in, what category he thinks it falls into?
This message is similar: “Mr Putin, would you like to live as long as you desire? If you want to enter eternity as a citizen of Planet Earth, please call me on my mobile phone. Sergei Dolgov.”
Mr Dolgov, I’m happy to be a citizen of the Russian Federation. This is quite enough. Thank you very much for your suggestion.
Ernest Mackevicius: This was the final answer to the final question.
You have been watching the programme “A Conversation with Vladimir Putin Continued” by the Russia channel. We have been on air for more than four hours. I hope, that in the future, we’ll meet again in this studio, or somewhere similar, and that will be able to continue our conversation.
Allow me to thank everyone who has watched and listened to our programme, those who have sent in their questions and those who have gathered here today.
Thank you, Mr Putin.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
On answering people's questions for four hours:
Question: Mr Putin, how do you relax after such marathons? Do you have any special relaxation techniques?
Vladimir Putin: I do not get that stressed, so I don’t need to do anything special to relax. This is part of my work, and it is a very useful part. Of course, it requires greater concentration, and you need to put extra time into the preparation. But in fact the preparation does not take that long, because my colleagues and I work hard throughout the year, dealing with all the problems mentioned today.
This time, as you may have noticed, we changed the session’s format. Reporters travelled to places that I have visited this year for one reason or another. In that sense, today’s session was more focused on current issues of production in industry, we tried to look at the developments in different sectors of industry, and at those companies I visited this year, to see how my instructions aimed at stabilising them are being implemented. From that perspective, I found today’s event particularly useful and interesting.
Question: This is your tenth Question & Answer session on TV. I understand that when you actually visit the place, you have enough time to go into the problems in some depth. But this four-hour session requires immediate response from you. Isn’t that too much pressure?
Vladimir Putin: Certainly not. Let me repeat that I consider this kind of work extremely useful, especially in this new format. I was able to return to the companies I visited. I did not just study their problems on my visits, we sat down together and tried to find and draft solutions, to set goals for the federal and regional government bodies, and company shareholders. Then we tried to implement our plans together; and we keep trying now.
It is very important that I am aware of what is going on, and how people feel, in real time, not only from records.
Take, for example, the issue of overdue wages raised by representatives from the Amursk Shipyard. The reports told me that the problem was already resolved, but it turned out that that was not the case in reality.
I know that the arrears will be cleared in a few days’ time. But there is a problem here. When money is transferred to the company’s account, the bank performs a direct debit, because the company has huge debts. It becomes technically impossible to ensure that the money reaches the employees. But when records tell me the wages have been paid, but in reality people have received nothing, it’s a different case. True, in this case it is not that they are withholding wages from their employees on principle, funds have been allocated especially for this purpose. But everything should be done on time. Otherwise it affects people’s morale and their confidence that positive changes are occurring.
On foreign policy:
Question: There were very few questions about foreign policy today. How close do you think Iran is to making a nuclear bomb? Should Russia also impose sanctions?
Vladimir Putin: We do not have any information proving that Iran is working on nuclear weapons.
Question: I saw a question about doomsday on the screen. What is your idea of doomsday?
Vladimir Putin: I believe that all ideas involving any kind of apocalyptic expectations are dangerous. One should not wait for doomsday, but rather concentrate on a light in the end of the tunnel. I mean the end of the recession, the global financial crisis.
On the Russian mentality:
Question: During your presentation, you mentioned “inherent traits” in the Russian mentality which prevent us from improving our lives. Don’t you think that this Q & A practice, which is very popular in Russia, encourages paternalism: making people believe in someone who has all the answers, rather than making efforts and acting to solve their own problems?
Vladimir Putin: I do not think so. Today we talked about the problems within limits of the Government’s jurisdiction. I think that people have a right to know what exactly their government plans to do to resolve the country’s problems with development, and how it will be done. This is what we tried to establish today.
Question: Are any cabinet reshuffles possible?
Vladimir Putin: What for?
Question: Please consider this: on the one hand, Russia and China are intensively developing energy cooperation; on the other hand, both countries plan to increase their share of high-tech products. How is it possible to maintain a balance between the two developmental directions, in terms of the distribution of administrative and financial resources? Do you think the planned commissioning of the China Turkmenistan gas pipeline will affect the plans to build a Russia-China pipeline? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Both Russia and China emphasise the need to see development in their high-tech sectors. Energy projects do not affecting these policies, in fact, they support them. Russian-Chinese cooperation is much broader than oil and gas.
Russian companies are currently building the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in China. We have recently agreed with Chinese partners, that Russian engineers will be directly involved in building more nuclear power generation units. This energy sector also forms part of the high-technology sphere.
We are also interested in expanding our high-tech equipment’s export to China. We also welcome cooperation in other areas, and we also welcome China’s initiatives. Our cooperation is a two-way road.
The commissioning of the Turkmenistan-China pipeline is not going to affect our plans to expand our own pipeline network, which could possibly also reach to China. I am referring to China’s growing consumption of primary energy resources.
We maintain regular, close contact with our Chinese colleagues on this issue. We know how fast the demand is growing there, and they too are closely monitoring the situation. The gas link to Turkmenistan will not undermine our plans.
Question: Mr Putin, people who called today quoted officials who dismissed their requests saying things like “If Putin promised, go to him.” What are you planning to do about it?
Vladimir Putin: This isn’t a question of what I said or what I promised. We are talking about decisions taken by the Russian Government. They have to be implemented. Any official, who either does not want to or cannot implement them, will have to find another job. But I can assure you that they would rather pull themselves together and act as they should.
cue the lightning bolts
the only question that matters: is it true?
Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16
This is a small selection of excerpts from a four-hour question and answer session between Vladimir Putin and Russian citizens.
1. American Jews eye Obama's 'anti-Israel' appointees The statement followed news of a UN agency completing a nuclear test detection station in Turkmenistan, just a few kilometers from the Iranian border. The PS44 installation is the 337th facility of the International Monitoring System. It was set up by the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), a network of stations across the globe that monitors the atmosphere to detect nuclear blasts by countries secretly testing nuclear weapons. PS44 is expected to be operational by 2010, once it has been tested. ...While the Turkmenistan site is part of a larger network, the opening of a station near Iran may signify that "the Iranian issue is finally gaining ground in the international community," according to the Israeli official...."Luckily, Iran itself is decimating the efforts of even its most vociferous defenders to help it avoid international criticism," the Israeli official said. more @ jpost http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1259831457142
Every appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community.
if you need to read more, it's at haaretz
2. 'be vigilant against Israeli ploys' -- Kuwait
UNITED NATIONS: Kuwait has called on the international community to keep vigilant against Israeli ploys and to exert more earnest pressure on Israel to meet relevant UN resolutions. The call was made by Kuwait's acting charge d'affaires at the UN, Khalaf Bu Dhuhair, during the 64th UN General Assembly meeting on the latest Middle East developments.
He rapped a recent Israeli initiative to freeze the construction of more Jewish settlements in the West Bank only for 10 months as a "clear-cut maneuver" to blackmail the Quartet and international community.
read more @ kuwait times
3. atomic test detection site set up on Iran's border
AHA! so a UN agency doing something NEAR Iran PROVES that IRAN has been LYING to EVERYBODY. oh btw we love you Ahmad!!!!! - ed.
Israeli officials believe the international community is "starting to come to the understanding that Iran has been lying to everybody" about its nuclear intentions, a senior Israeli diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
4. Canada stabs Russia in the back
The relations between Russia and NATO have been put to the test. One of the members of the North Atlantic Alliance – Canada – blocked the approval of all documents which were supposed to be discussed at the meeting of foreign ministers of Russia and NATO members on December 4.
The statement followed news of a UN agency completing a nuclear test detection station in Turkmenistan, just a few kilometers from the Iranian border.
The PS44 installation is the 337th facility of the International Monitoring System. It was set up by the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), a network of stations across the globe that monitors the atmosphere to detect nuclear blasts by countries secretly testing nuclear weapons.
PS44 is expected to be operational by 2010, once it has been tested.
...While the Turkmenistan site is part of a larger network, the opening of a station near Iran may signify that "the Iranian issue is finally gaining ground in the international community," according to the Israeli official...."Luckily, Iran itself is decimating the efforts of even its most vociferous defenders to help it avoid international criticism," the Israeli official said.
more @ jpost
The talks, which are to take place this Friday in Brussels, are supposed to become the first meeting of the Russia-NATO Council on the level of foreign ministers after the completion of the war in South Ossetia. Last year, the alliance suspended the work of the council over its disagreement with Russia’s actions during the war.
On December 4, the ministers are expected to gather in Brussels to discuss the development of cooperation between Russia and NATO.
No one said that the meeting can be canceled. However, it can become a formal gathering over Canada’s stance.
“Canadian officials blocked the approval of all documents at the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council. It means that there is a faction being created inside NATO, and this faction stands against the reset of relations with Russia,” Russia’s Ambassador at NATO, Dmitry Rogozin said December 1.
...“Since all questions at NATO are solved through a consensus, any delegation has a right to block a situation, and this is what we have today,” the official added.
Dmitry Rogozin also said that Britain and the Baltic States supported Canada’s anti-Russian stance.
...It is worthy of note that Canada has never supported Russia in any of its initiatives during the recent years. Quite on the contrary, when Stephen Harper took the office of the Prime Minister of Canada, he proclaimed the struggle for Arctic natural resources as a top priority of his politics. Mr. Harper regularly visits northern territories where he personally observes military drills and considers an opportunity to set up a powerful naval base in the area. The financial crisis did not let it all happen.
5. Syria defends Iran nuclear plans
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defended Iran's controversial nuclear program on Thursday, during a visit to Damascus by Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, and promised that cooperation between the two countries would continue.
...Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang also said on Thursday that Beijing hoped "to see the early settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation."
Tehran confirmed on Wednesday its intention to produce strongly enriched uranium, in defiance of last week's IAEA resolution. Syria has been a close ally of Iran for the past three decades, having sided with it against Iraq in the two neighbors' 1980-88 war.(AFP)
read more @ naharnet
6. quick we need more sympathy the supply is perilously low! -- Spielberg to make docudrama at Jerusalem hospital
Famed film producer Steven Spielberg plans to produce a docudrama series set at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Emmy Award-winning producer Phil Rosenthal, the creator and producer of the hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond", will direct.
Dreamworks Studios, in which Spielberg is a partner, will produce the docudrama to be set and filmed in the hospital. Sources inform ''Globes'' that Israeli producer Zafrir Kochanovsky's TTV Productions Ltd. will apparently co-produce the show. Spielberg, one of the world's most successful movie directors and producers, has intended for a long time to work with the Israeli movie and television industry. He has already made two films with Israeli inputs: [ALREADY??? TWO??? - ed.] Schindler's List in 1993, about German businessman Oskar Schindler who saved Jewish families during the Holocaust, and Munich in 2005, about the PLO massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games, and the subsequent killing of the terrorists by the Mossad. In both films, Spielberg used many Israeli actors.
Spielberg is also a sponsor of the Holocaust Survivor Project, which documents survivors' histories.
The Shaare Zedek docudrama will go a step further, as it will be the first coproduction between Dreamworks and an Israeli producer. The project is not a philanthropic endeavor, irrespective of Spielberg's close ties to Israel; Spielberg will apparently try to sell it in as many countries as possible, including the US.
Hospital television dramas attract large audiences, with shows such as "General Hospital", "ER", and "Chicago Hope" among the many dramas set in hospitals over the decades. The Shaare Zedek will, however, be a docudrama, another very popular genre, and, more importantly, it will provide an opportunity to show authentic, original drama. The religious hospital serves secular and haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jews communities, as well as Arabs from Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Jewish settlers.
The docudrama may be considered an international coproduction. Collaborations with foreign producers have been increasing in Israel, so in which case, prominent European television funds and networks may also participate, such as Britain's BBC, France's ARTE, and Germany's ZDF.
Phil Rosenthal told "Globes", "Spielberg asked me to consider doing television in Israel. I proposed making a docudrama about Shaare Zedek hospital, to which my family and I have made donations for decades. He loved the idea of a crowded hospital whose patients are secular Jews, haredim, Arabs, and some of whose doctors are Americans. We'll get the show on the road very soon."
7. does moving to the US make an Israeli more Israeli?
Every Israeli couple with children who move to the United States finds itself confronted with the quandary of how to maintain their offspring's Jewish identity in America.
again, if you need to read more, it's at haaretz
1. Putin, Tymoshenko agree on gas and deride Yushchenko, Saakashvili
by Pavel Korduban
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko met in Yalta on November 19 and reached a number of agreements, confirming once again that their relationship is of a special character. Putin reiterated that Naftohaz Ukrainy, the debt-ridden state-controlled oil and gas behemoth, will not be fined for its failure to buy as much gas as stipulated by the January 2009 contracts between Naftohaz and Gazprom. The two rejected Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s calls for an urgent revision of the contracts and derided Yushchenko and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who were meeting in Kyiv simultaneously.
...Putin derided Saakashvili and Yushchenko who were meeting in Kyiv, suggesting that the two were discussing their “common defeats.” Earlier, Yushchenko defended his decision to supply arms to Georgia prior to the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, and meeting Saakashvili he reiterated his support for Georgia’s territorial integrity (Interfax-Ukraine, November 17; Channel 5, November 19). This must have angered Putin. He joked in his usual degrading style, warning Yushchenko apparently in a reference to a well-known BBC video showing Saakashvili chewing his tie in August 2008, that Saakashvili might chew Yushchenko’s tie. Tymoshenko played up to him, giggling (Channel 5, November 19).
read more @ jamestown foundation
2. btw he really did eat his tie
At the press conference following Putin’s talks with Ukraine’s PM Yulia Tymoshenko, Russian PM when asked by Russian journalist whether he is informed about Saakashvili’s visit to Ukraine said, “You deem I keep track of [Saakashvili’s] visits?” “I know what [Tymoshenko] and I were doing. The first deputy RF PM, and deputy ministers of industry, energy and transport were present in our delegation. We talked about cooperation in space, engineering industry, energy, and transport,” stated Putin.
“We have agreed on a number of crucial issues both for Russia and Ukraine,” he underlined. “I have no idea what our counterparts were doing, however, I deem the two presidents will always have topics for discussion, and a place to go.”
Then Putin said, “the two fighters must have been sharing reminiscences of the passed days, struggles and what they have wasted.” “[PM Tymoshenko] invited me at the dinner and we will talk about Chekhov there. What else could I advice? The two presidents [Saakashvili and Yushchenko] should dine without ties. Nowadays ties carry a price, one instant or the other…and…- you get me — Yushchenko’s guest may eat up event the tie,” Putin pointed out.
According to Ukrainskaya Pravda, Tymoshenko laughing added, “Vladimir Vladimirovich, by all means I can host the dinner without a tie.”
Soon after the August war broke out between Georgia and Russia, a BBC footage showed Saakashvili eating up his tie.source: armenian news
3. Putin denies backing Tymoshenko's presidential bid
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday he was not backing Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's presidential bid.
He said they had "a good working relationship," but "I do not support Yulia Tymoshenko in the election" slated for January.
Putin, who met with Tymoshenko on November 19 in the Ukrainian city of Yalta, said after the meeting that the Ukrainian prime minister was not an easy partner, though it was comfortable to work with her.
"As you know, we have special relations on the party level with the Party of Regions," the Russian premier said during his annual televised question-and-answer session.
A total of 18 candidates have been registered to run in Ukrainian presidential elections. Tymoshenko, along with Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Party of Regions, are seen as leading contenders.
4. slow investigation after fast pedestrian crash
A former Kyiv mayor runs down a pedestrian at a crosswalk; investigation will likely last until until March.
It had been a normal Wednesday evening for Svitlana Tetyusheva when her common-law husband, Oleksandr Karpinskiy, called to say: “I’ll be home soon.” But he didn’t arrive, and when Tetyusheva finally got through to his phone at 2 a.m., an unknown voice told her he’d been run over.
Karpinskiy had been hit by a car driven by Oleksandr Omelchenko, a Verkhovna Rada deputy and former mayor of Kyiv. The 48-year-old victim died at the scene.
...It’s not the first time that Stolychne Shosse has seen a traffic accident involving a top politician. The road leads to the elite residential area of Koncha Zaspa. Not far from the spot where Karpinskiy was killed, a pedestrian was run over by Leonid Chernovetsky in November 2003, who was then a parliamentary deputy and now is mayor of Kyiv.
...The widow is not hopeful about the criminal investigation. “Maybe in [the United Kingdom and the United States] the law is the same for everyone, but not in Ukraine,” Tetyusheva told the Kyiv Post. “We have different laws for the rich and powerful.’’
Omelchenko has made no public comment since the accident. His aides told the Kyiv Post that they had no comment. His office said the 73-year-old had been hospitalized since the incident. An aide to Omelchenko gave Tetyusheva Hr 5,000, she said, but the deputy had not spoken with her personally. Karpinskiy’s father and son from his first marriage received Hr 20,000 from Omelchenko to pay for the funeral.
...She said that Karpinskiy’s other relatives had taken the money and come to an agreement with Omelchenko not to stir up a fuss. Karpinskiy’s father, Mykola, refused to comment when contacted by telephone. He told Gazeta po-Kievski on Dec. 1 that he did not want to see Omelchenko in jail as he was behaving kindly toward the family, paying for the funeral and promising to support the family.
But Tetyusheva said she was going to pursue a civil suit against Omelchenko. “I have nothing to lose now. I’m not frightened of speaking out. I have lost my dear husband,” she said by telephone from Kirovhrad Oblast, where her husband has been buried.
read more @ kyiv post
5. Polish observers to arrive in Ukraine to monitor xenophobia during campaign, because, evidently, even when people fuck with your country non-stop for decades, it's rude to notice.
Polish observers will arrive in Ukraine to monitor signs of xenophobia during the presidential election campaign in the country.
"Our non-governmental organization founded in Poland, along with our offices in Moscow and Berlin, is planning to send a mission of observers for the election [in Ukraine]. We are particularly interested in monitoring signs of xenophobia during the presidential election campaign," Vice President of the European Center of Geopolitical Analysis Martin Domagala said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Friday.
Asked about the number of mission representatives, he said that the list currently includes around 20 observers, but they have yet to be registered.
"We're currently searching for observers… These will be former and current politicians, members of the Polish parliament, members, perhaps, of the European Parliament, as well as journalists, and experts," Domagala said.
He said that the mission is planning to hold two mutually connected projects – the direct monitoring of the election process and monitoring for signs of xenophobia.
The election of the Ukrainian president is scheduled for January 17, 2010.
source: kyiv post
1. Sweden's swine flu response wins EU praise -- because Hey, if the most beautiful people in the world are willing to take the shot, what's your problem?
Two European-wide health bodies have praised Sweden’s response to the swine flu pandemic, particularly the country's mass vaccination programme. Nearly half of all Europeans to have been vaccinated are Swedes.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) praised Sweden’s campaign to combat the spread of the flu. “ECDC considers that Sweden is among the best in Europe when it comes to vaccinations,” a spokesperson told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
Monika Benstetter, information officer at the European-wide public health body, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), praised the Swedish Government’s openness about the influenza, and commended the Government for keeping the public informed about the side effects of the vaccine in a timely manner. “The vaccine was made quickly available and many have been willing to vaccinate themselves, which is different from many other European countries,” she told the paper.
Over 40 percent of Swedes – nearly four million people – have been vaccinated against swine flu, according to the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet), and Sweden’s municipal councils and health authorities. This compares with the total number of EU residents vaccinated, around 10 million.
source: the local
2. health officials warn that H1N1 may recombine with deadly H5N1 bird flu -- Hey! This is the the "experts'" "greatest fear," which they have been working on making happen in tewtally secure laboratories since 2004, "in the name of preparedness," and now hey it must be time for the fears to be realized! Hoo! Finally.
The reappearance of bird flu has opened up the threat of the virus combining with the swine flu virus to become more lethal and capable of human transmission, a Vietnam health official warned at a meeting of the National Steering Board of Human Flu Prevention on December 2.
Health officials recommend washing hands with soap as an effective measure to protect against the A/H1N1 virus
Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, chief of the Preventive Health and Environment Department, said the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu could combine with the H5N1 virus and become more deadly than the former and more capable of human-to-human transmission than the latter, especially in winter
He told delegates that two more people have died of swine flu, both from the Mekong delta province of An Giang -- a 33-year-old man from who died on November 20, and a 17-year-old girl who died on November 29.
On November 28 bird flu claimed its fifth victim, a 23-year-old man in the northern province of Dien Bien. Many others have been hospitalized around the country with suspected bird flu.
Officials from the Vietnam Drug Administration said at the meeting that three drug suppliers, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Sanoffi Aventis, and Pasteur have registered to sell swine-flu vaccines.
So far the country has reported 10,944 swine-flu cases with 46 deaths and five deaths from bird flu.
3. Rudy Giuliani to be security consultant to Rio Olympics -- HEY! He did such a greeeaaaat job on 9/11 I mean this guy is a bona fide HERO you know what I'm saying? He is so tough...HOO hold on a sec I have to fan my face with both hands.... hoo boy!
The Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro will hire former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a security adviser for the 2016 Olympic Games in this city, Governor Sergio Cabral has said.
'I'm going to hire him to strengthen our public security work ... He's going to help us in day-to-day security and, especially, with an eye toward the (2010) World Military Games [????] and the Olympic Games,' Cabral said after lunch Thursday with the former US politician.
Giuliani Thursday met different officials in Rio de Janeiro, where he defended the 'zero tolerance' policy that he implemented in the 1990s to combat crime in New York. In his meeting with Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, Giuliani spoke about the possibility of implementing zero tolerance here in the state capital, where shootouts between police and drug dealers are common. Giuliani recalled that in New York he confronted a similar situation and it took six to seven years before results began to be noted. The former New York mayor praised the policy of invading poverty-stricken 'favelas', or shantytowns, dominated by drug trafficking gangs with police 'pacification' brigades, operations which have produced violent armed clashes.
'You are doing a fabulous job,' he said during a speech to police officers.
1. firearms found enough to supply a battalion
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 4) High-powered firearms, enough for one battalion, and which have the markings of “Department of National Defense and PNP [Philippine National Police] Camp Crame” were unearthed from the diggings near the compound of a powerful clan that has been linked to the election-related killings in Maguindanao in November, PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa said Friday.
“Our estimate is that the weapons found are enough to arm one battalion,” Verzosa told a press conference, following reports from the military in Shariff Aguak, the capital of Maguindanao, that more sophisticated firearms were uncovered Thursday night in the area of Barrio 3, some 300 meters away from the compound of the Ampatuans....Also on Friday, illegal firearms—a 60-millimeter mortar, considered a “light weapon” —from one of the houses of the Ampatuans in Shariff Aguak, the capital of the province.
Verzosa said “light weapons” should only be assigned and given to proper security forces and not in the hands of private persons or government officials.
“Light weapons are illegal. Light weapons ito ‘yong [these are] recoilless rifle, Barrett gun, mortar…It’s possible that it is sourced from other countries,” Verzosa told reporters....Muslim rebels fighting for an independent homeland have been waging a rebellion on Maguindanao and other parts of Mindanao island since the late 1970s.
The conflict has claimed more than 150,000 lives since the late 1970s, according to military estimates.
Arroyo's government has used Muslim clans such as the Ampatuans to rule these areas, and allowed them to build up their own armies as part of a containment strategy against the insurgents.
However critics of the strategy have said this has created warlords who act outside the law, with the massacre just the most dramatic example.
2. the ruthless political entrepreneurs of Muslim Mindanao
By Francisco “Pancho” Lara Jr.
Research Associate at the Crisis States Research Center, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics.
The Maguindanao massacre predicts the eruption of wider violence and conflict as the nation heads towards the 2010 elections. Yet to dismiss this incident as “election-related” is to miss the fundamental political and economic implications of this evil deed. The massacre is rooted in the shift in politico-economic sources of violence and conflict in Muslim Mindanao. It signifies the emergence of new-type warlords whose powers depend upon their control of a vast illegal and shadow economy and an ever-growing slice of internal revenue allotments (IRA). Both factors induce a violent addiction to political office.
also see comments
natural resources not addressed
1. new consortium seeks to counter threats to cybersecurity
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A new consortium bringing together university academics and industry professionals is setting new targets for advanced research to combat threats to cybersecurity.
Although the project is focused on the United States, its activities and findings are seen critical to widening the quest for more effective solutions to counter the threats posed in cyberspace by organized crime, drugs and terror gangs.
...The new initiative comes from defense and security manufacturer Northrop Grumman Corp., which invited three leading U.S. cybersecurity research institutions, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., to join a Cybersecurity Research Consortium.
read more @ upiasia
2. hundreds of Igla and Stinger missiles available globally for illegal purchase
According to the latest UN estimations, the world population owns nearly 500 million units of small and light arms purchased illegally. Western countries, developing countries and Russia are alarmed with this statistics. There are many human tragedies hidden behind clandestine weapons. Often, such weapons are sold at the places of recent war actions or near them. In this respect, Russia is still reaping the fruits of the last year’s war in the Caucasus.
...Illegal mass-produced weapons come to Russia mainly from the West. Former socialistic countries suffer from illegal imports as well. For example, in Poland, according to statistics, 3.5 people out of a thousand are entitled to carry weapons. This is the lowest number in the EU . For comparison, in Czech Republic this number is almost ten times higher, and in Germany – six times higher.
...Yet, Poland has more crimes committed with the use of firearms than its neighbors. Specialists believe it has something to do with a strong criminal market being fed by the Baltic countries and a “green” border with Ukraine that allows weapons transportation.
...Chicago, the criminal capital of the USA, is not lagging behind either. Last year, for example, a half of 13.658 thousand of weapons confiscated last year were semi-automatic and latest automatic weapons officially called “offensive weapons.” This week, the FBI stated that the black market became the main supply source for gangsters. In California alone, FBI agents confiscated almost 30 thousand weapons, including automatic ones.
read more @ pravda
3. Saudi Arabia spends $40.5 billion on arms in 2009
Saudi Arabia buys more arms than any other county in the Middle East. In 2009, the nation spent $40.5 billion on that. Israel comes second with a much smaller amount though - $13 billion. [PAID FOR BY THE US TAXPAYER - ED.]
Interestingly enough, other countries of the region did not take any measures to reduce the number of their arms purchasing deals either, not even against the background of the economic crisis. Quite on the contrary, the number of arms contracts has been growing steadily. In 2006, the countries of the Middle East spent $77 billion on the purpose, and the number grew to $102 billion in 2009.
It may look strange that such a country like Saudi Arabia that enjoys the protection of US army bases is interested in acquiring more and more arms.
Anatoly Tsyganok, an expert with the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Saudi Arabia intends to diversify its arms. To put it in a nutshell, the nation wants to refuse from the predominance of the United States on its arms market. This trend can be observed in many other countries of the world.
“India currently refuses from the monopoly of Russian arms and turns to the USA instead, whereas Saudi Arabia, on the contrary, intends to cooperate with Russia closer. Probably, they are doing it to be able to compete with the army of Israel,” the expert said.
Ilya Dubinsky, an Israeli political blogger, believes that Saudi Arabia spends so much on arms not to lose its cash. Saudi Arabia has never waged any wars against Israel, not even during the worst time in Israeli-Arab relations.
“Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a headache for Saudi kings before 2003. Saddam was hanged, Iraq collapsed, but now it is Iran that shows aggression against the countries of the Persian Gulf. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest threat to Saudi Arabia’s security, which makes the nation increase its arms deals with other countries.
4. 2 die, 8 injured as violence erupts again over Chinese mine in Peru
LIMA (Reuters) -
Two people were killed and eight were injured in a shootout on Wednesday as Peruvian police tried to arrest a suspect for attacking a mining project owned by Chinese company Zijin, police said on Thursday.
Authorities said they arrested two suspects for the assault in November that killed three workers at the Rio Blanco copper development, but were fired upon as they tried to arrest a third suspect.
Zijin's $1.4 billion Rio Blanco project has locked local communities and companies in a bitter environmental dispute marred by violence.
It has also put pressure on President Alan Garcia, whose approval rating is just 26%, to find a balance between luring foreign investment to oil and mining projects and protecting the environment.
...The government of Peru, a leading global minerals exporter, said it would investigate and that violence must stop.
...HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
In June, three dozen people died near the town of Bagua, in Peru's northern jungle, as police broke up roadblocks set by indigenous groups opposed to oil exploration on their ancestral lands.
Despite frequent conflicts over natural resources, Chinese miners Chinalco and Minmetals [CHMIN.UL] have also been investing in Peru.
Together, Chinese companies hungry for resources have pledged to invest at least $6 billion Peru's mining sector.
1. Russia, Vatican establish diplomatic relations
Russia and the Vatican have established full diplomatic relations ending longstanding tensions, the Kremlin announced Thursday after President Dmitry Medvedev met Pope Benedict XVI.
...Since 1990, the two sides have maintained representation below the rank of ambassador.
Relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church have been tense for centuries, and were again strained in recent years by Orthodox accusations of Catholic proselytizing in post-Soviet Russia. The Russian Church has recently moved to soften its stance.
"Moscow's movements are strictly linked to the level of relations between the Vatican and the Orthodox Church", Vatican watcher Marco Tosatti told AFP.(AFP)
2. Lufthansa, Brussels, Swiss arrange easy flying to Africa
Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have merged forces to provide a seamless travel, otherwise known as a ‘free-from-disturbance’, product towards Africa. With 200 flights per week, the trio will, henceforth, have a joint total of 31 destinations to 25 countries.
...Brussels Airlines, flies to 15 Sub-Saharan destinations (14 countries) and code shares with Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) and Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca), whilst Lufthansa and Swiss fly to 17 destination in 14 countries and 16 destinations in 7 countries, respectively.
This new strategy recognises Paris, France as a key point towards Africa. “France is one of the most interesting markets in the world. It is a strategic investment for us,” continues the Lufthansa official. The three companies transport a combined total of “200 000 passengers per year”, that is, 10 per cent of a grand total of 2 million passengers transported towards Africa from all over the world.
The France-Africa service route “is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10 per cent,” says Dr. Karsten Benz.read more @ afrik.com
3. Guinean junta leader shot in army mutiny
Guinea military leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara has been shot in an act of mutiny that has left the West African nation and international community alert....
Meanwhile, Senegal, whose President Abdoulaye Wade urged the international community to recognise the military junta in December last year, has sent a medical plane to Conakry to transfer the wounded Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara to Dakar for treatment.
The Guinean information minister named the presidents’ shooter as aide-de-camp Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite. He warned that those behind the attack would face punishment. According to official reports, Lt Diakite has been arrested.
...Capt Camara, who took power in a coup last year, ordered the army to open fire on crowds who protested his decision to run in the presidential elections planned for January 2010. His soldiers, according to Human rights Watch, took part in gang rapes and murders during the assault of the opposition crowds.read more @ afrik.com
4. tight security in Guinea capital after failed assassination attempt
Guinea's military ruler was today being flown to Morocco for medical treatment after he was shot and wounded in a failed assassination attempt by a top aide, according to a report.
Moussa Dadis Camara, the leader of a junta that seized power in the unstable but strategically important west African nation 11 months ago, was shot last night. While a spokesman for the regime said his injuries, which were not specified, were only light, it emerged later that a team of doctors from neighbouring Senegal had been providing treatment....The assassination attempt appears motivated by splits in the Guinea regime following the massacre of more than 150 pro-democracy demonstrators on 28 September. Toumba is accused of leading a detachment of presidential guards which opened fire on protesters demonstrating against Camara's decision to stay in power and delay elections he had promised after assuming power. Dozens of female protesters were raped, some of whom were abducted in military trucks and abused over several days in private villas. The EU and African Union imposed sanctions on Guinea in response, including a travel ban on top members of the junta.
A UN mission is visiting Conakry this week to investigate the killings. The junta leadership could face charges at the international criminal court. An unnamed diplomat said it was believed Toumba tried to kill the junta leader because Camara wants to blame his former aide for the massacre and thus escape responsibility himself.
"There is no doubt this is linked to the investigation [into the killings]," the diplomat told Reuters. "This was the only way out for [Camara]."
The former French colony is the world's largest exporter of bauxite, the ore used in aluminium production. However, decades of corruption and economic mismanagement under Conté have seen little of this wealth reach the 10 million-strong population, which exists on an average annual wage of about £270.
5. Malaysian artifact is UN treasure
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA said on Wednesday that a stone artefact which dates Islam's arrival over a century earlier than previously thought has been put on a UN list of the world's most valuable documents.
The 'Memory of the World' list includes 193 items including the diaries of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, the Gutenberg Bible and the archives of the Dutch East India Company.
Information and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said the 'Inscribed Stone of Terengganu' was discovered over 100 years ago but fell into obscurity and its true significance was only recently discovered.
'This will cause a lot of interest and maybe even a revision of local history on the advent of Islam in this part of the world,' he told reporters. 'In 1292 or 1242 Islam had penetrated to the tip of Sumatra (Indonesia) but the inscriptions on the Terengganu stone date it to 1303, which is close to its arrival in Indonesia and will create much discussion among historians.'
1. man shot dead in Manchester during laptop robbery
A man has died in Manchester after being shot on the street while being robbed of a laptop and £10,000 he was carrying in cash. Khurram Ashraf, a 30-year-old man originally from Pakistan, was shot in the stomach outside the money exchange company where he worked shortly before 6.20pm last night....A 20-year-old man from the Longsight area has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in police custody. ..."This appears to be a tragic, isolated incident and I would appeal to anyone who has information that will help us solve this crime to come forward."read more @ guardian
2. police buildings in Berlin and Hamburg attacked
Masked perpetrators attacked police and customs offices overnight in Berlin and Hamburg, setting fire to patrol cars and lobbing Molotov cocktails, authorities reported on Friday morning....In Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel neighbourhood about 10 unknown attackers used stones to break windows at a police precinct before damaging breaking windows on a police cruiser and burning two others. Two cars belonging to the customs office also went up in flames in the city’s Hammerbrook district. Meanwhile in Berlin’s Treptow district someone threw two paint bombs and a Molotov cocktail at a federal police office. Authorities are not sure how the suspects got onto the heavily fortified grounds. The motive for the attacks is unknown and investigations are ongoing, police said. Dozens of officers in both cities searched for suspects overnight but made no arrests. Officers in both cities frequently face clashes with anarchists.
read more @ the local
3. Swiss trial to open in Brazilian attack claim
The Zurich district court said Thursday that Paula Oliveira is accused of deception of justice. Prosecutors have said they are seeking only a fine and not prison time if she is convicted.Police said Oliveira claimed she was attacked in February outside a Zurich train station by three skinheads, and that the purported assailants cut the initials of Switzerland's main right-wing party into her stomach and legs, causing her to miscarry twins.Pictures of her scarred body appeared in newspapers and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned the "remarkable violence against a Brazilian woman abroad."A Swiss court says a Brazilian woman charged with faking an attack by skinheads will have to appear in court Dec. 16.
source: taiwan news
1. ISLAMISTS claim responsibility for Russian train bombing.
MOSCOW, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Islamist militants from the North Caucasus on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian train that killed 27 people last week, according to a Chechen Islamic website.
The attack was prepared and carried out on the orders of "Emir of the Caucasus Emirate Doku Umarov," said the website (KavkazCenter.com), citing a letter it received from Islamist militants.
Umarov is Russia's most wanted guerrilla leader who leads an insurgency in the North Caucasus with the aim of establishing Islamic Sharia rule in the region.
Friday's bombing against the Nevsky Express train running between Moscow and St. Petersburg was the worst terror attack in Russia outside the North Caucasus in five yearssource: chinaview
2. new laser weapons can safely destroy IEDs from a distance
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A new laser weapon mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle has gone through successful tests to enable the armed forces to destroy improvised explosive devices from a safe distance.
The Boeing Co., which is developing the weapon, said Tuesday Boeing and the U.S. Army successfully completed a test in which the mounted laser system destroyed 50 IEDs similar to the makeshift bombs used by adversaries in war zones.
3. ISS crews lands safely in Kazakhstan
BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Three astronauts landed safely on the Kazakhstan steppes Tuesday after spending six months on the International Space Station.
The Russian Soyuz TMA-15 capsule landed as planned at 10:17 a.m. Moscow time (07:17 GMT) about 85 km north of the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan.
The capsule carrying Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and European Space Agency's astronaut Frank De Winne of Belgium, touched down without a hitch, said Russian Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin.
read more @ chinaview
4. Jerusalem Viewpoints for September-October 2009: http://tinyurl.com/yfw6d8h
Kazakhstan: Israel's Partner in Eurasia
- Israel and post-communist, resource-rich states have similar geopolitical priorities in opposing terrorism and radical Islam.
- By developing closer ties with Kazakhstan - and with Eurasian countries in general - Israel can expand its ties to the secular Muslim Turkic states and its role in the new "great game" of Eurasia: economic development fueled by exports of the region's massive natural resources.
- Israel and the countries of Eurasia are economically complimentary: Central Asian countries are rich in natural resources, and can benefit from Israeli solar, irrigation/agricultural, medical and other know-how. Israel can offer high-tech, military, and advanced agricultural technology, cutting-edge medical sciences, and educational opportunities. As always in international relations, common interests define strong ties.
- On occasion, President Nursultan Nazarbayev used his good services to appeal to Iran on behalf of missing Israeli servicemen or call on Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons, as Kazakhstan did in 1994. Unfortunately, these appeals usually fall on deaf ears.
- With oil prices rising, Kazakhstan may have left the nadir of economic decline behind, although banking and construction sectors were hurt particularly hard.
The June 2009 visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres to Kazakhstan once again focused Israel's attention on energy-rich, secular Muslim states of the Caspian and Central Asia: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This was not Peres' first visit to the steppe country in the heart of Eurasia: he visited Kazakhstan several times before as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. This was a good long-term investment: Kazakhstan is as large as the entirety of Western Europe, but with a population only 1.5 times larger than the population of the city of Moscow. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth.
note Kazakhstan, Northern Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan
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1. Henry Makow - half of US debt is owed to Fed
Chelsea Clinton's engagement today to Jewish banker Marc Mezvinsky, who works for Goldman Sachs, is another reminder that America is ruled by the Illuminati clan, joined by marriage, money and love of Lucifer. (Al Gore's daughter married the grandson of Jewish banker, Jacob Schiff.)
The source of Illuminati power is the Fed which has pilfered the US government's credit card and used it to buy politicians and everything else worth owning, creating trillions in tax payer debt.
That money Ben Bernanke is throwing from the helicopter cost the Fed owners pennies but they expect the US taxpayer to refund face value. To be specific, the US National Debt is expected to reach $13 Trillion this year. That's about $44,000 for every man, woman and child in the US.
Almost six Trillion will be owed to the private Illuminati families who own the banks that own the Fed. For fiscal 2009, US taxpayers will cough up $380 Billion in interest, half of that to the Fed. By 2019, the cost of servicing the debt is expected to reach more than $700 Billion annually.
As you all know, billions were paid to these banks during the "credit crunch" so that they may now reward their lackeys with humongous bonuses. But as Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein said, they "are doing God's work." Unfortunately, their God is Lucifer.
read more @ savethemales
2. Dead Man Musing -- Climate-gate a red herring to distract from the sale of technology to China?
A "Red Herring" is something that is designed to distract you from the real issues. "Look over Here, not Over There!" is an age old political trick as old as time. A "red herring" in a bucket of fish usually means something worse is in the barrel. Something "rotten in Denmark" as it were.
read more @ dead man musings
3. EU celebrates entry into force of Lisbon Treaty
LISBON, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) leaders gathered here on Tuesday evening to celebrate the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, ending an eight-year horse-trading and setbacks in the course of the bloc's institutional construction.
Leaders of the three major EU institutions -- the Council, the Commission and the Parliament -- attended a two-hour ceremony at a specially built temporary venue next to the River Tagus, near where the treaty was signed on Dec. 13, 2007.
"Today EU citizens are heading into a new era," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country is still holding the out-going rotating EU presidency until the end of this month.
"Today is the first day for a more efficient, more modern and more democratic EU, for all citizens," he spoke to several hundred guests.
4. bad Ukraine, bad bad bad Ukraine...your people shall forever be punished by disease and pestilence and corruption forever and ever because YOU MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING VERY VERY BAD
A. EU losing patience with Ukraine
BRUSSELS) - EU officials head for Kiev Friday for a summit with Ukraine where they will make clear their concern at the glacial pace of reforms in a country beset with rising debt and recurrent political crises.
A year is a long time in diplomacy and the atmosphere has totally changed since Europe proposed, in September 2008, a wide-ranging association agreement with Kiev which was to have been concluded this year.
That idea stopped short of promising eventual EU membership, but showed Europe's willingness to boost ties with a country spooked by Russia's brief war in Georgia that summer.
However when European and Ukrainian officials meet on Friday, to Kiev's great disappointment, there will be no such accord to sign.
Europe is in no hurry to help out any particular candidate ahead of Ukraine's presidential election on January 17, says Vadim Karassiov, director of Kiev's institute for global strategies.
"Some countries are disappointed with Ukraine, with the lack of recent progress, they want to see a new start after the election, a renewed burst of reform energy," echoes Andrew Wilson, analyst at London's European Council on Foreign Relations.
B. oligarchs stall Ukraine progress - top EU official
KIEV, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Ukraine's business oligarchs are stifling the economy by choking competition and are holding up improved trade and economic ties with the European Union, the EU Commission's top official in Kiev said on Monday.
Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira told a news briefing that the global economic crisis had hurt Ukraine so badly because it had barely reformed in the two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"Corruption, red tape, administrative obstacles of every kind. These are only things that serve the interests of those who today control the economy because they do not want competition, they are allergic to competition," he said."The vast majority of Ukrainians cannot have employment, cannot have decent salaries, do not have a decent social system, because the country today is in many aspects like 20 years ago."
...Much of the industry lies in the east of the country and under the control of a handful of business magnates.
read more @ reuters
C. Germany criticized for Nazi trial double standards
In putting Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk on trial, Germany has laid itself open to accusations of double standards over pursuing perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Demjanjuk's lawyer Ulrich Busch argues that the case is a farce because German SS members at the Sobibor death camp, where he is accused of being a guard, were acquitted in earlier trials.
"How can it be that those who gave the orders can have been found innocent?" Demjanjuk's lawyer asked a packed Munich courtroom on Monday on the first day of what is likely to be the last major Holocaust trial.
Demjanjuk, 89, was born in Ukraine and was one of 5.5 million Red Army soldiers taken prisoner by the Germans in 1942 as they swept eastwards before the tide turned and the Soviets began rolling back towards Berlin.
...But Stefan Schünemann, a lawyer representing some of the 30 or so survivors from Sobibor and other camps who are acting as co-plaintiffs or witnesses in Demjanjuk's trial, said this no reason to let him off.
"If the German justice system made mistakes in the past, it is right that we should try and rectify them," Schünemann said.
What is happening is a change of approach by Germany through attempts to bring to justice some of the many non-Germans who helped them murder six million Jews in the Holocaust, experts say.
read more @ the local
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