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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

10 Surprising Facts About Vladimir Putin’s Extraordinary Past

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 20, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stood — often bare-chested — at the helm of Russian politics since 1999, rotating between the presidency and the prime minister’s office.

But before his fast rise to power, Putin spent most of his life far out of the limelight.

With Putin at the center of several global crises, from Syria to Ukraine, The WorldPost takes a look back at the leader’s surprising past.

1. Vladimir Putin grew up in a communal apartment shared by three families in St. Petersburg (then known as Leningrad), and he says he remembers hunting rats in the stairwell.

putin childhood leningradThe building on St. Petersburg’s Baskov Lane where Putin spent his childhood is shown in this April 2002 photo. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File) Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama: Crimea Separation Would Violate Law

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2014

AP  | by  JULIE PACE and LARA JAKES
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama declared on Thursday that a referendum in 10 days on the future of a Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula would violate international law. The United States also moved to impose visa restrictions and financial sanctions on Russians and Ukrainians for the moves Moscow already has made into Crimea.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said any decisions on the future of Crimea, a pro-Russian area of Ukraine, must include the country’s new government.

“The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the constitution and violate international law,” Obama said. “We are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Crimean parliament votes to join Russia, hold referendum in 10 days on ratifying

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2014

AFP Photo/Vasily Batanov

AFP Photo/Vasily Batanov

The Crimean parliament has voted for the region to join Russia. The decision will only come in force if approved by the Crimeans at a referendum which will be held in 10 days.

Crimean MPs voted on Thursday for the region to “to become part of the Russian Federation as its constituent territory,” says the text of the regional parliament’s statement.

78 MPs said yes to Crimea joining Russia, while 8 abstained from voting. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin Named Most Powerful Person in World by Forbes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 31, 2013

Putin

putin-obama_2252410b

Russian President Vladimir Putin was named the most powerful person on the planet by Forbes magazine Wednesday, knocking US President Barack Obama off the number one spot.

Forbes said that Putin, who ranked third last year, showed his dominance in diplomatic maneuvring during the international crisis over Syria, and the fate of fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who was given asylum in Russia.

“Putin has solidified his control over Russia (“dictator” is no longer an outlandish word to ponder) and the global stage,” Forbes said.

The top spot has been given to Obama every year since Forbes began compiling the ranking in 2009, except in 2010 when Hu Jintao, the former Chinese leader, was deemed the most influential. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 16, 2013

Friday’s meteorite which struck Chelyabinsk carried a mass of around 40 tonnes, possibly making it the largest recorded object to hit the Earth since Tunguska. It was around 15 meters across when it entered the atmosphere, according to one expert.

“It was a very, very, powerful event,” astronomer at the University of Ontario, Margaret Campbell-Brown, told Nature.com.

But despite its size, it wasn’t the meteorite’s landing that caused the damage.

“The sonic boom was just immense, and it was the boom that caused the destruction – not the actual landing of the meteorite. It was the amazing explosion in the atmosphere as it broke the sound barrier that caused the problem,”Professor of Planetary Science at The Open University, Monica Grady, told RT.

The meteorite – which left more than 1,200 people injured – was undetected until it hit the atmosphere.

“I’m not aware of anyone who saw this coming,” Heiner Klinkrad, head of the European Space Operations Centre in Germany, said.

And the question of whether anyone has the ability to do so still remains unclear.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Reaching for the stars or false dawn? Russia says next-gen spacecraft design ready

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 27, 2012

russianspacewebcom-user-zak-image.nRussia’s halting attempts to build a next generation spacecraft have received a boost after a leading constructor announced that it has completed the design of a new prototype. But seasoned space watchers await specifics before popping their corks.

“We have finished the design of the new spaceship. We took into consideration that the new craft has to be able to travel not only to the International Space Station (ISS), but also to the moon,” said Vitaly Lopota, the chief of RSC Energia, the Russian space industry’s primary spacecraft builder.

The proposed spacecraft is commonly known as PPTS (or Prospective Piloted Transport System) and RSC Energia won the tender to build it in 2009. Initially, 2015 was named as the date of the first test flight, but that was then shifted to 2018. Now, Lopota has brought the test date forward again.

“We are currently working on the first full-size model. The first test flights should take place in 2017,” he announced during a press conference in Moscow.

Currently, Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, uses a modernized Soyuz spacecraft, a basic design that flew its first mission in 1967, to deliver cosmonauts to the ISS.

On paper, PPTS sounds like a significant upgrade, although all design information is preliminary and has not been finalized by the designers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ban on US adoptions is ‘adequate reaction’ – Putin

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 21, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers journalists' questions during the annual big conference at the International Trade Center in Krasnaya Presnya, 20 December 2012 (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers journalists’ questions during the annual big conference at the International Trade Center in Krasnaya Presnya, 20 December 2012 (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

In response to the first question at his annual international press conference in Moscow, Vladimir Putin said he was in favor of banning the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

The question dealt with legislation that seeks to prohibit the adoption of Russian orphans by US citizens.

The bill, part of a package of measures drafted by Russian lawmakers in retaliation to the US Magnitsky Act, was approved this week by the Lower House in the second reading.

Putin answered that the Magnitsky Act should be prioritized as it is a deliberately unfriendly piece of legislation aimed at Russia (The act is named after lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, who died in pre-trial detention in Moscow in the course of a massive tax fraud investigation. In addition to banning individuals who US officials believe were involved in the death from visiting the US, it also freezes their US-held assets).

The United States “replaced one anti-Russian law with another,” and this indicates that our foreign partners are living in the past and intend to maintain relations “rooted in a standoff between two systems,” the Russian leader stated.

Speaking on the proposed adoption ban (named in honor of Dima Yakovlev, a Russian boy who died as a result of being left inside of a car on a hot day by his adoptive American parents), Putin said that to his knowledge the majority of Russians disapprove of foreign adoptions. He added that he fully agreed with Prime Minister Medvedev who said that Russia should develop its own adoption system.

The President told his audience that the amendment is not against adoptions per se, but rather a response to the US judicial system that regularly denies Russian diplomats from monitoring the wellbeing of Russian children adopted by US citizens. Putin called this practice “a humiliation,” saying that no one should have to tolerate such an attitude. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia Arms Sales: Putin Touts Record $14 Billion In Weapons Exports In 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 18, 2012

The Horse Whisperer In this Sept. 2010, photo released on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pats a horse during his trip in Ubsunur Hollow in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), on the border with Mongolia, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

The Horse Whisperer
In this Sept. 2010, photo released on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pats a horse during his trip in Ubsunur Hollow in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), on the border with Mongolia, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) -

Russian arms exports reached a record $14 billion this year, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, extending a run of record-breaking sales in recent years that have included deliveries to Syria despite the civil war raging there.

The world no. 2 arms exporter has cultivated new weapons clients in Southeast Asia and Africa, despite criticism that it is failing to deliver the technological benefits of Western suppliers or the low costs of emerging weapons exporter China.

“Let’s talk about our results – they are positive. We are reaching a record level of weapons exports. Their total volume was above $14 billion,” Putin said in a televised meeting with officials.

He said Russia had signed over $15 billion in new export contracts this year alone. He did not spell out when deliveries on those deals were expected.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Google takes action to support open Internet

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 23, 2012

An upcoming UN-organized conference on global communications aims to hammer out a treaty to safeguard “the free flow of information around the world.” Google is fighting back, saying the treaty threatens the “free and open Internet.”

Representatives from UN member-states will gather in Dubai from December 3 through 14 with the explicit aim of working out a new universal information and communication treaty that would regulate the Internet.

The conference, organized by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) has reignited a fierce debate over who should control the Web.

Google has remained unequivocal in its stance that the closed-door meeting a power grab aimed at ending public control of the Internet and strangling free speech:

“A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice,” Google said on its ‘Take Action’ advocacy website.

Google, which has consistently taken a self-regulatory approach to the Internet, called the Dubai conference the“wrong place” to make decisions on the future of the Internet.

The Internet giant argued that the 42 countries set to decide the future of the Net have already moved to censor it, and that the number of regulations is only growing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin Compares Russian Opposition To ‘Weak Cranes’ After Flying Stunt

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 10, 2012

Putin Weak Cranes

By Gleb Bryanski

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Days after flying with migrating cranes, Russian President Vladimir Putin likened his opponents on Sunday to weak birds that are unable to follow their leader.

Putin put on a baggy white jumpsuit, helmet and goggles on Wednesday for two flights in a light aircraft with young cranes born in captivity. The aim was to help introduce them to the wild and teach them how to follow a leader.

His flight has provoked mockery by his critics, including talk show host Ksenia Sobchak, who likened his adventure to the presidential election in March at which he won nearly two-thirds – but not all – of the votes.

Asked about the comment at a news conference after a weekend summit, Putin said with an ironic smile: “Yes, its true, not all the cranes followed right away. Only the weak cranes did not follow at the first attempt. At the second attempt all of them followed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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APEC Summit 2012: U.S. Looks To Calm Rising Tensions In Asia

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 10, 2012

By MATTHEW LEE

Apec Summit 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel,Pool)

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia — Alarmed by a rise in nationalist sentiment around the Asia-Pacific, the Obama administration is looking for Russia to play a greater role in the region as it seeks to quell growing maritime tensions.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was to meet on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin at meeting of Pacific Rim leaders to gauge Moscow’s intentions as it looks increasingly eastward after decades of European orientation. U.S. officials say they would welcome a more active Russian role in the Asia-Pacific where territorial disputes, including between U.S. allies Japan and South Korea, sparked by nationalist rhetoric have fueled fears of conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia Underground Sect Kept Children In Dark, Unheated Cells For More Than A Decade

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 9, 2012

A woman walks toward the Kremlin at the Red Square in Moscow, on January 12, 2012. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks toward the Kremlin at the Red Square in Moscow, on January 12, 2012. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW — A self-proclaimed prophet had a vision from God: He would build an Islamic caliphate under the earth.

The digging began about a decade ago and 70 followers soon moved into an eight-level subterranean honeycomb of cramped cells with no light, heat or ventilation.

Children were born. They, too, lived in the cold underground cells for many years – until authorities raided the compound last week and freed the 27 sons and daughters of the sect.

Ages 1 to 17, the children rarely saw the light of day and had never left the property, attended school or been seen by a doctor, officials said Wednesday. Their parents – sect members who call themselves “muammin,” from the Arabic for “believers” – were charged with child abuse.

The sect’s 83-year-old founder, Faizrakhman Satarov, who declared himself a prophet in contradiction to the principles of Islam, was charged with negligence, said Irina Petrova, deputy prosecutor in the provincial capital of Kazan.

The children were discovered when police searched the sect grounds as part of an investigation into the recent killing of a top Tatarstan Muslim cleric, an attack local officials blame on radical Islamist groups that have mushroomed in the oil-rich, Volga River province of Tatarstan.

Satarov ordered his followers to live in cells they dug under a three-story brick house topped by a small minaret with a tin crescent moon. Only a few sect members were allowed to leave the premises to work as traders at a local market, Russian media reported.

The children were examined at hospitals and will temporarily live in an orphanage, pediatrician Tatyana Moroz said. “They looked nourished but dirty, so we had to wash them,” she said in televised remarks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pussy Riot Trial: Russian Prosecutor Seeks Jail Time For Protesters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

Reuters

Pussy Riot

By Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW, Aug 7 (Reuters) – A state prosecutor on Tuesday demanded a three-year jail term for three women from the punk band Pussy Riot, saying they had abused God when they stormed the altar of a Moscow cathedral and sang a “protest prayer” against the Russian Orthodox Church’s close links to Vladimir Putin.

The case, in which the three are charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, has outraged many Russian Orthodox believers.

But it has also caused an international outcry and focused attention on a crackdown on dissent since Putin returned to the presidency for a six-year term on May 7.

“The actions of the accomplices clearly show religious hatred and enmity,” federal prosecutor Alexei Nikiforov said in closing arguments, watched by the women’s lawyers, friends and family in the tiny courtroom.

“There was real mockery and humiliation directed at the people in the church,” he said.

The defendants looked pale and tired as they sat silently in a glass and metal courtroom cage, two of them scribbling notes. Their lawyer said the demand for a prison sentence was disproportionate and shameful. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shock discovery: 248 human embryos found trashed in Russian forest (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 24, 2012

Up to 250 human embryos found trashed in Russian forest (Still from NTV coverage video)

Up to 250 human embryos found trashed in Russian forest (Still from NTV coverage video)

A fishing trip in Russia’s Urals ended with cries of horror as a man found canisters filled with human embryos, some already shaped to baby bodies.

Lids on the bright blue containers apparently unlocked as the canisters hit the ground, and many embryos spilled out. The little bodies, no longer than 15 centimeters, shrank, turning into mummies.

A friend of mine called at night and said he went finishing and wanted to get some wood for his fire. He found some abandoned water canisters and wanted to take them for his house. And when he came up, he saw… little baby bodies,” a local told Russia’s Channel 4.

Arriving Monday morning, police found 248 embryos aged 12-16 weeks in and around the four canisters. Labels attached to tiny hands and legs listed family names of assumed mothers and some digit codes, which may refer to the pregnancy period, date of abortion or the hospital where the body originated from.

The 50-liter canisters filled with formalin seem to have been thrown out of a vehicle not far from a road leading to Nevyansk, a town on the slopes of the Ural Mountains.

Nevyansk authorities immediately said the canisters could not have originated in their town.

Our area is too small; we can’t have so many stillborns, miscarriages or artificial abortions,” they said.

Later it was revealed that the horrifying content was “biological waste” from at least three hospitals in Ekaterinburg, the region’s major city.

It appears a waste disposal company has failed to carry out its duties properly,” remark local authorities as the investigation continues. The Ministry of Health has been requested to determine which companies provide embryo disposal services to Ekaterinburg hospitals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia, China veto western-backed Syria resolution at UN Security Council

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 20, 2012

Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that threatened Syria with more sanctions.

­It was the third time in nine months that Russia and China used their powers as permanent members of the 15-nation council to block resolutions on Syria. There were 11 votes in favor of the resolution. Russia and China voted against it, while South Africa and Pakistan abstained from voting. Read the rest of this entry »

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