Found: 65 records....
pravda.ru
Friday August 17, 2018 @ 03:31:04 PM mt

Aretha Franklin: A colossus a woman a lady a light and a soul




Aretha Franklin: A colossus, a woman, a lady, a light and a soul Just occasionally, Humankind produces a beacon of light shining on each and every one without exception in the four corners of the globe, shining forever... The details of Aretha Franklin's life are well known to all and there is little I can add that readers cannot glean from Wikipedia or the multiple articles which have appeared written by persons far more qualified than myself to opine on Aretha Franklin. However it was the outpouring of emotions on the passing of Aretha Franklin aged just seventy-six, yesterday, that made me feel the very significance of this woman, this lady, this soul and the need to share her message with others.
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pravda.ru
Friday August 17, 2018 @ 12:48:06 PM mt

Will Smith tells of his trip to Russia in a video




Will Smith, an American actor and musician, has published a video on his YouTube channel, in which he told the story of his trip to Moscow during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.The video titled "How I Lost My Voice Before the World Cup" tells the story of Smith's trip to Russia, where he appeared as a musical guest to perform the official song of the tournament - "Live It Up." Will Smith performs the song together with Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi. When traveling around Moscow in a car, Will Smith says that his quest would be to find black people in Russia. When he asked the question to his Russian driver, the latter was puzzled and could only say "I don't know where they actually are, but we have them." The actor also walks around Red Square, where people recognize him instantly and start screaming his name in excitement. The video shows the actor as a very fan-friendly and bubbly person, which is probably one of the reasons why so many people around the world love him. The video also shows Will Smith having fun in a night club, rehearsing for the performance, drinking tea in the dressing room and giving a press conference."It was really special World Cup. Great talents, beautiful people, new friends. This is just pure happiness. Can I ask for more than that? Spasibo!" Will Smith says in the end of the video.
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Friday August 17, 2018 @ 07:54:29 AM mt

Putin in Austria: Europe doesn't like Russia very much but it is fed up with USA too




Why does Vladimir Putin want to go to the wedding party of a woman whom he barely knows? This woman is Karin Kneissl, who serves as the Foreign Minister of Austria. She represents the Austrian Freedom Party, which is part of the government coalition. US special services believe that Austria is dangerous to the West because it favors Russia. Austria drifting closer to Russia On Saturday, August 18, Karin Kneissl is marrying an entrepreneur from the land of Styria, Wolfgang Meilinger. The Russian president was invited to attend the wedding ceremony when he was visiting Vienna in May. It is believed that Putin will congratulate the newlyweds and then go to Berlin, where he is going to have a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. OE24 Channel (Austria) journalist Wolfgang Fellner believes that Kneissl is turning "a small private wedding into an act of big politics." Putin knows, the journalist believes, that Austria can open the door to the talks to end EU sanctions against Russia. "He wants to provoke the Americans and the British by telling them: "Austria loves me,"" the journalist said."This clearly shows that the Foreign Minister, the Austrian Freedom Party (FP) and probably our government are on the side of Russia, rather than on the side of Trump, May and Merkel. This is in the interests of our people as 80 percent of Austrians remain opposed to anti-Russian sanctions," summed up Fellner.It is worthy of note that attending a wedding party of a high-ranking politician is impossible unless the event has first been coordinated with top officials. Therefore, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz (Austrian People's Party) and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strashe (FP) have thus demonstrated the direction of their national policy. Austria wants more Russian influence in Europe Austria has long been a concern for US intelligence agencies. NBC News reporters Alexander Smith and Andy Eckardt wrote in the article under the headline "Austria's tilt toward Russia worries intelligence experts" that the Austrian government is drifting closer to Putin. "With Vienna widely regarded as the spying capital of the world, that has serious implications for Washington and its allies. One factor is at the heart of these concerns: the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FP) - which is openly supportive of Russia," the article reads. In the coalition government, the party is responsible for defense and interior ministries of Austria, as well as for internal and military intelligence services. It does not seem surprising that Austria is one of the few EU countries that refused to expel Russian diplomats after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. In addition, Austria calls for the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions and supported the idea of the referendum to exit the EU.Smith and Eckardt quoted Johannes Hubner, an Austrian lawyer and member of the Austrian-Russian Friendship Society. According to Mr. Hubner, Russia is "definitely not a threat." If Russia were a threat, he would see it, the official said. Moreover, Johannes Hubner believes that Europe needs more Russian influence as counterbalance to the influence of the United States. "The Moscow influence in Europe is zero. It would be good if we had more influence from Russia," he said. The opinion in the above-mentioned article gives a glimpse of what is happening inside European elites now. They do not like Russia very much, but they are fed up with the United States too. German political scientist Alexander Rahr told Pravda.Ru that Putin received a very warm welcome in Austria in May. "Representatives of all parties stressed that they wanted to cut the knot of sanctions and build normal relations with Russia. Putin understands that he can negotiate with the European Union through the countries that reach out to Russia themselves. According to Alexander Rahr, Putin is visiting Austria to attend the wedding of the country's foreign minister to show the Austrian people and elites that Russia is willing to come closer. "In Germany, they claim that they can not tolerate the situation when the Americans dictate to Germany, whom the country can cooperate with. Ukraine's negative reaction to this visit is understandable, because Ukraine wants everyone to be against Russia. The Ukrainians are overfilled with anger, and they do not know what to do next. However, no one in Europe, except for Poland, pays any attention to Ukraine," Alexander Rahr said in an interview with Pravda.Ru.We would like to add here that the friendly relations between Austria and Russia have historical roots. After WWII, the Soviet army left Austria, and the latter had always remained a neutral state that maintained warm relations with the USSR. Austria has never joined NATO. Today, Austrian businesses support the construction of the Nord Stream-2 project. Lyuba Lulko (Stepushova)Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
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Friday August 17, 2018 @ 07:54:23 AM mt

The Sham called Democracy




The Sham called Democracy In systems of governance around the world, the people flock to the polls to vote. For what, exactly? Do our representatives fulfil our wishes? Right or wrong, good or bad, the political system which has taken hold around the world is the one termed "democracy", in which citizens vote for representatives of political parties which express their program in a manifesto, or electoral program. In some countries, the use of the referendum is more widely used, where the citizens vote directly for or against a proposed law; in others, which adopt some forms of proportional representation, citizens vote for a party, which then chooses the representatives for each electoral circle or Constituency, there being no direct accountability between the representative and the voter. In other systems, Government can be formed by a political party or coalition with fewer votes than the "loser".
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pravda.ru
Friday August 17, 2018 @ 07:54:14 AM mt

Default more likely to hit American rather than Russian economy




Russia experienced default on August 17, 1998. Today, 20 years after those events, the economic situation in Russia does not seem stable to many. As the ruble declines in value against the dollar and the euro, many believe that another default is likely to occur. However, experts say that such pessimistic forecasts are at least premature. During the late 1990s, the Russian economy had no mechanisms to protect itself from external negative factors. The crisis that started in Asia struck Russia easily. Economically, Russia was lying in ruins. The Soviet industrial complex was destroyed, and Russia's trade balance depended on oil almost entirely - more than 90 percent. During those years, Russia was running the program of short-term state liabilities known as the "GKO pyramid." It was built on the principle of a financial pyramid. Needless to say that all pyramids collapse sooner or later. In the GKO pyramid, however, the founder was the state. When the GKO system collapsed, it struck a powerful blow on the national economy. Currently, the economic situation in Russia differs a lot from that during the 1990s. First all, the share of materials and energy sectors is about 50 percent. The rest falls on the agrarian complex, chemical and military industries, machine building and a number of other strategic manufacturing industries.Secondly, despite, or even owing to such a factor of permanent external pressure as sanctions, the Russian economic system constantly develops new protective mechanisms. To crown it all, there is nothing in today's Russia that would be reminiscent to the GKO system. There are sanctions, external pressure and fluctuations in the Russian national currency. Economists, however, still give optimistic forecasts.For example, Yevgeny Yasin, who served as the minister for economy in 1993-97, believes that the war of sanctions with the USA would not cause a major economic crisis, although it would hinder development and create certain difficulties. Oleg Safonov, manager of BKS Ultima, is much more positive in his forecasts. In particular, he believes that the Russian economy does not look vulnerable today. "Despite the economic sanctions, Russia can keep calm in the foreseeable future. Russia has accumulated certain resources and restructured external debts. Plus, oil prices remain quite high. New sanctions will affect the economy, of course, but not too much," he said. US experts share a different opinion on the subject, though. Vladimir Rozhankovsky, an investment analyst with Global FX, believes that Western media outlets actively work to create a negative image of Russia in every way possible. "The scenario of 1998 is not going to repeat in Russia. Back in 1998, Asia failed to cope with enormous amounts of money. These days, however, it is developing countries that send their money to the USA. There are more chances for the US economy to collapse," the expert said. Economist Vladislav Zhukovsky does not share general optimism. "Default in Russia is inevitable. It will take place if oil prices decline. Russia receives 68 percent of its income from exporting oil and natural gas," he believes. Sergei Dubinin, the former head of the Bank of Russia, does not agree with the economist. "The structure of the Russian economy today has nothing in common with that of the late 1990s. Today, the Russian Federation does not have a burden of a public debt, especially short-term, domestic debt. The entire Russian public debt, including the external one, is balanced by currencies. In addition, the floating exchange rate gives no promises to pay the debt at a fixed rate. The banking system is relatively stable, so default is not threatened Russia in any way." Photo credits: Fotodom.ru
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Thursday August 16, 2018 @ 11:05:12 AM mt

Ukraine dreams of what it can do to Crimea after winning war with Russia




Ukrainian bloggers draw a parallel between the events in East Timor and the Crimea. Any comparison has a right to exist, but a detailed analysis of the situation does not give a promising forecast to Ukraine. In 1975, Indonesia annexed Timor - a few days after the latter had declared independence. In 27 years, the military had exterminated about a third of the population of the annexed territory. In 1999, as soon as General Suharto resigned, the UN initiated a referendum in East Timor, and 78.5 percent of the population voted for independence. As a result, the UN peacekeeping contingent entered the territory, and the new state of Timor-Leste finally gained independence in May 2002.According to Ukrainian experts, Ukraine has been more or less successfully striving to recognise the Crimean operation illegal. The West condemns Russia's actions in the Crimea, which allegedly gives Ukraine a reason to work on lawsuits against Russia to seek compensation for the damage. Also read: If USA wants Crimea returned to Ukraine, Russia wants Alaska backNevertheless, not all countries support sanctions against Russia. For example, China ignores them all, while many companies take technical measures to avoid them. Time works against Ukraine, because sooner or later the topic of Ukraine's claims for the Crimea can be moved into the category of hopeless political and legal long-term issues.In turn, Russia has been taking active measures lately to establish its presence in the Crimea. The geographical position of the peninsula makes it a very good territory to build a large army base there. If the two breakaway Donbass republics return under Kiev's governance, the situation in Ukraine will continue to aggravate, specialists believe. In this case, the experts say, Ukraine will have to take efforts against the people who had cooperated with "invaders" to deprive them of civil rights. Russia would immediately obtain an opportunity to go on a counterattack on legal and information fronts, accusing Ukraine of genocide and attempts to orchestrate a humanitarian catastrophe. Therefore, Ukraine will have to be friends with Russia against its own will, as it had happened to Timor-Leste and Indonesia.Ukraine needs to prepare a safety cushion for itself in the form of special laws that would prevent the development of such a crisis. The Ukrainian authorities do not conceal their intention to toughen responsibility for state treason and collaborationism. In fact, Ukraine does not exclude criminal responsibility for publicly denying "the fact of the Russian aggression." The Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) elaborates regulations, in accordance with which many residents of the territories that Kiev has not controlled since 2014 could be accused of "cooperating with the enemy."Ukrainian MPs have prepared a substantial base for the definition of "high treason." Earlier, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the new law would be introduced to protect Ukraine's media space. Ukrainian political scientist Datsyuk stated that residents of the Crimea should be subjected to deportation, coercive Ukrainization, and anti-Russian brainwashing.
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Thursday August 16, 2018 @ 11:05:05 AM mt

Russia to build major naval base on the coast of Caspian Sea




Russia will build a modern naval base in the town of Kaspiisk (a town of the Russian Federation on the territory of the Republic of Dagestan), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.The defence minister said that Russian specialists already started the work to expand the bay in the town for Russian warships and create necessary infrastructure on land. The first stage of construction works is to be finished by the end of this year.Viktor Zavarzin, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, said that the construction of a powerful naval base in Kaspiisk would be of great importance for the protection of the interests of the Russian Federation. The official noted, though, that the implementation of the project would require a huge amount of work to be done. For the time being, the Russian flotilla is based in Astrakhan, which is not the best option. If Russia builds a naval base in Kaspiisk, then warships of the Russian Navy would be able to enter the open water area of the Caspian Sea.The Caspian Sea is the largest closed water reservoir on the planet. One may say this is the largest lake in the world. The Caspian Sea washes the shores of five coastal states: Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
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Thursday August 16, 2018 @ 11:04:59 AM mt

Why Russia continues investing in US public debt




Spokespeople for the US Treasury said that Russia has not changed its share in the US public debt since June. Russia owns a $15 billion portfolio of the US public debt. Russia's investment has dropped to a minimum level since 2007. The largest numbers were reported in 2010, when the Russian government invested $176 billion dollars in the state debt of the United States of America.Russia is not on the list of 31 countries that hold most of US bonds. However, Russia stopped decreasing its share in the first month of the summer. For comparison, Russia disposed of US securities worth $80 billion during the period from March to May.From March 2017 to March 2018, Russia's investments in US Treasuries did not fall below $100 billion. The record high was reported in October 2010, when Russia owned US government securities worth $176.3 billion and was ranked the sixth in the world on this indicator. In the event the US Congress prohibits US citizens from conducting transactions with Russia's national debt, Russia may reduce its investment in the US public debt to zero. However, not to put the horse before the cart, one needs to know what US Congress decides on the new sanctions first. Turkey followed Russia's example and abjured investment in the US public debt after Trump raised tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium. From May to June, Ankara's share in the US national debt dropped by 42 percent to $28.8 billion. Thus, Turkey also ceased to be one of the main holders of US bonds.China reduced its share too - by $4.4 billion to $1.18 trillion. The share of Japan dropped to $1.03 trillion, which is considered to be the minimum indicator for Japan in the last six years.Nevertheless, the US Treasury noted that the investment of foreign countries in US Treasury securities remained at the same level - $ 6.21 trillion - in comparison with the level registered in May. A number of countries have significantly increased their shares - the UK, Luxembourg, Singapore, the Cayman Islands, South Korea, Belgium and Italy.
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Thursday August 16, 2018 @ 11:04:46 AM mt

Who loses and wins most from Caspian Sea division




Iranian President Hasan Rouhani gave his Caspian competitors fifty percent of what Teheran used to have during its partnership with the USSR. Many in Iran found this move strange. Why did the Iranian president give up and ensured Azerbaijan with control over disputed deposits in the Caspian Sea? Russia lost its right to veto the construction of pipelines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea. Does Turkmenistan benefit from all this? What did Kazakhstan lose in the deal?On August 12, the leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. They agreed that the water area would be divided according to the median principle, which Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia had previously used to delimit the border between themselves. Territorial waters and the state border will be designated by the 15-mile zone, plus ten miles - this is a fishing zone with exclusive rights. The rest will be referred to as the neutral/common water area.The main requirement for any type of construction works is compliance with environmental standards. It is prohibited to deploy military facilities of the countries that do not appear as signatories to the treaty. The parties agreed to divide the water area by concluding bilateral agreements. The countries can lay pipelines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea, and this shall require coordination only with the party, through the territory of which the pipeline will pass. Neighboring states shall only be notified of the route. The main advantage for everyone is a long-term benefit that arises from the connection to global transit projects "North-South" and "One Belt - One Road." The treaty marked the conclusion of a genuine Asian integration agreement, taking into account the fact that it involves China and India, as well as Central Asian countries adjacent to the region.However, it is curious to find out what each party gains and loses from the treaty. RussiaRussia will be able to preserve its fleet in the Caspian Sea, although the Caspian region was proclaimed a zone of peace. It is worth recalling here that Russia launched its Caliber missiles on terrorists in Syria from the Caspian Sea. Russia has also received a guarantee that excludes the presence of the fleet of non-Caspian nations in the region. A protocol was signed on the procedure for assessing the impact of investment projects on the environment. It means that Russia has an opportunity to delay the construction of trans-Caspian pipelines if they do not meet her interests. This is what certain European countries do today regarding Nord Stream-2.Russia will have an opportunity to add its natural gas to the gas that goes from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to Europe and thus avoid insinuations about Europe's dependence on Russian natural resources.Russia will be able to develop the ports of the Caspian Sea, creating more jobs in the region. Russia is to build a deep-water port in the town of Kaspiisk. The port will be able to receive heavy vessels with a payload up to 25 thousand tons.Yet, Russia has lost the right to veto the construction of trans-Caspian gas transportation systems. AzerbaijanAzerbaijan has removed the problem of the legitimacy of development of its deposits in the south of the Caspian Sea. When carrying out the border - the median-Azerbaijan divides in its favor the gas fields of Araz-Alov-Shar and Serdar-Kapaz that the country previously disputed with Iran and Turkmenistan.Azerbaijan has received an opportunity to fully use its pipelines, in particular, the Southern Gas Corridor system to Europe, if a gas pipeline to Azerbaijan is built along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to connect it to TANAP. This gas pipeline provides for the supply of natural gas from Azerbaijan via Georgia and Turkey to the Greek border, where it links into the Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) to Southern Europe. This project has been approved by the EU, and Azerbaijan is thus exempt from the regulation of the Third Energy Package.Azerbaijan will have to part with Western financial resources for its projects because of cooperation with Iran and Russia.IranIran has preserved military presence in the Caspian region. This is important given that the country has resumed the development of ballistic missiles after Washington's single-handed withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Teheran.Iran has obtained an opportunity to connect its fields to trans-Caspian pipelines with a possibility to mix its gas into the joint gas distribution system.Teheran will be able to redirect a part of transit cargoes from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea as sanctioned companies have left the Gulf. Certain politicians in Iran believe that Iran is the main loser in the new treaty. MP Mahmud Sadeqi, for example, wondered whether Iran's 50 percent share in the Caspian Sea dropped to only eleven percent. The answer to this question is yes, and Iran will have to revise its legislation on the state border in the Caspian Sea (now it's 25 miles now). However, Rouhani knows that Iran is in dire need of political partners to break through extraterritorial sanctions of the United States. The convention states that the partners stand against unilateral actions taken by certain countries. This regulation comes in response to Trump's ultimatum which says that anyone who runs business with Iran will not run business with the United States. Hasan Rouhani and Nursultan Nazarbayev (president of Kazakhstan) held a separate meeting devoted to the activation of economic cooperation. The parties discussed their mutual desire to use national currencies for trade instead of the US dollar.TurkmenistanTurkmenistan has technically received an entry to European markets through the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. Russia had previously vetoed such an opportunity for Turkmenistan. This is vital for Turkmenistan, because it has abjured cooperation with Gazprom. Turkmenistan's currency earnings have sharply decreased, the country has faced difficulties in imports of foodstuffs, and the regime neared the threat of popular protests. Turkmenistan is ranked fourth after Iran, Russia and Qatar in terms of natural gas reserves.Turkmenistan will able to use the new port in Turkmenbashi to the full capacity, which is 25-26 million tons of cargo, 300,000 passengers and 75,000 trawlers a year. This will give an opportunity to export Uzbek cotton to China.KazakhstanKazakhstan will be able to diversify its export oil markets that are currently limited to only Russia and China. Azerbaijan will become a key transit hub for Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan's section of the Caspian Sea contains largest oil fields, such as Tengiz. The Tengiz deposit produced 570,000 barrels of oil a day last year. Another deposit - the Kashagan - has an estimated oil reserve of 13 billion barrels. Kazakhstan will be able to make the maximum of the port of Aktau, which Astana promised to give to the United States in the past. As a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, Kazakhstan will receive a duty-free exit to the seas via the Russian transport system.Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have agreed to Russia's and Iran's military presence in the water area of the Caspian Sea. This is definitely a disadvantage, because Russia and Iran are known for their strong opposition to the expansion of the West. They are also considered rivals and even enemies of the West. Therefore, Russia's and Iran's neighbors may get into hot water in case of a military conflict. Lyuba Lulko (Stepushova)Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
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Thursday August 16, 2018 @ 03:39:27 AM mt

Ukraine and PMC Blackwater to poison Donbass with radioactive waste




The Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing a terrorist act in the Donbass. To commit the act, Ukraine will use radioactive waste, members of the anonymous hacker group CyberBerkut said. According to CyberBerkut, the Ukrainian military intend to dump radioactive waste into the Seversky Donets - Donbass canal. The canal serves as the water supply facility for the water conduit in Southern Donbass. The hackers also say that Ukraine will blame the leadership of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk for the attack.CyberBerkut hackers also said that US instructors already train members of the subversive group that will conduct such a complicated attack. The curator of the special operation is believed to be Erik Prince - the owner of PMC Blackwater that became infamous for secret missions and executions of civilians in Iraq.Anonymous hacker organisation CyberBerkut was founded in 2014, soon after the special unit of Berkut riot police was abolished. The motto of the group is "We will not forget. We will not forgive." " The hacker group gained worldwide recognition after it launched a series of attacks on the websites of state bodies and public organisations of Ukraine and Western countries.
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