Russia (News/Activism)

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  • Vladimir Putin's Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost

    lways fond of colorful animal metaphors, Putin really seems to have outdone himself with a quip about chickens, eggs, and the nature of property ownership in contemporary Russian society. Courtesy of The New York Times, we learn the following: A prominent businessman who knows Mr. Yevtushenkov said that Mr. Putin had eroded the very notion of property rights in Russia, even for those who displayed fealty. He said that Mr. Putin himself had described private ownership of strategic industries with the Russian word to roost. “A chicken can exercise ownership of eggs, and it can get fed while it’s sitting...
  • The Destruction of the Middle East ( Moslems on Jihad )

    12/28/2014 6:25:09 AM PST · by george76 · 11 replies
    Gatestone Institute ^ | December 27, 2014 | Denis MacEoin
    The heritage of centuries has been wiped out in little more than a year. Eventually the need to wipe out all traces of unbelief becomes obsessive. At one time, for instance, Egyptian law demanded that any house found to contain a copy of The Apology of al-Kindi (a book containing a polemical dialogue between a Muslim and a Christian) would be demolished along with 40 houses around it. Ethics were defined by what Allah said was good or evil in Sharia law. The Islamic State's behaviour is solidly rooted in Islamic ideology, law and practice. It is only when this...
  • Russia Debt One Grade Above Junk With Downgrades Coming, How Likely is Default?

    12/28/2014 6:24:46 AM PST · by Kaslin · 32 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | December 28, 2014 | Mike Shedlock
    All three rating agencies are expected to downgrade Russia's debt to junk soon and bailouts to Russian banks are on the rise, but how likely is default? The Financial Times reports ... Russia trebled the size of its bailout of troubled lender Trust Bank to Rbs99bn ($1.9bn) on Friday, laying bare the growing financial fallout from its currency crisis and the slump in the price of oil, its main export. The rapidly rising cost makes the rescue of Trust bank, which foundered as the rouble collapsed early last week, the second-largest seen in Russia. It has now consumed a tenth...
  • Obama's Jihad on Women: Women's Salaries Don't Even Cover Gov Spending

    12/28/2014 5:27:07 AM PST · by Kaslin · 3 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | December 28, 2014 | John Ransom
    DoctorRoy wrote: Lets face it. This has nothing to do with Obama. The average American family needs at least two incomes to get by and has for a long time. - Obama's Selfie, Photoshopped LifeDear Comrade Doctor,Let’s face it: Obama’s comments are an absolute indictment of everything liberals like you stand for. In the name of “fairness” all families get to raise their kids with absentee parents, where early childhood babysitting is disguised as a head start in “education”; where the government cares only that we produce tax revenues so that they can continue to help us, so that we...
  • Is Al Jazeera changing its tune on Syria?

    12/28/2014 12:47:36 AM PST · by BlackVeil · 2 replies
    Al-Akhbar ^ | December 27, 2014 | By: Wissam Kanaan
    It is no secret that Al Jazeera is the media arm of Qatari foreign policy, which has suffered a successive series of setbacks, particularly in Syria. But some time ago, signs that changes had taken place in the editorial line of Al Jazeera began to emerge, as evident in the terminology the Qatari satellite channel started using. For example, Al Jazeera no longer refers to opposition fighters as “rebels.” Moreover, Al Jazeera has been giving airtime for discussions about the mistakes of the Free Syrian Army. Soon enough, coverage of Syria in Al Jazeera news bulletins started decreasing. A few...
  • Nevermind U.S. shale, Saudi Arabia’s oil power play targets Iran’s economy

    12/27/2014 6:40:43 PM PST · by Red Steel · 22 replies
    Financial Post ^ | Updated: Dec 27 7:00 AM ET | Diane Francis
    All politics are local, except for oil politics. The Russians think these low oil prices are an American-Saudi conspiracy. American commentators believe that the Saudis have driven down prices to punish North Dakota’s shale oil revolution and drive its high-cost producers out of the game. In Canada, the paranoia in Calgary is that the Saudis and other Gulf oil producers want to drive the oil sands out of business. But what are the Saudis up to and are they powerful enough to control prices? This week the Saudi minister blamed low prices on oversupply from North America. But that is...
  • Russia Seeks to Raise its Language Profile in NK (North Korea)

    12/28/2014 2:50:46 AM PST · by Up Yours Marxists · 9 replies
    Korea Times ^ | December 28, 2014 19:36 GMT | Kim Hyo-jin
    Russia appears striving to boost the demand for its language in North Korea, amid signs that the Cold War allies try to build up strong bilateral relations. Russia's Maritime Province of Siberia donated as many as 1,400 Russian books to North Korea, the Russian news agency Interfax said Wednesday. The books vary on the subjects from Russian history, literature, culture, to language. It reported that the state government delegated the donation project to "Russkiy Mir," an orthodox cultural foundation established by Russia's president Vladimir Putin in 2007 as a vehicle for exercising soft power abroad. The foundation delivered the books...
  • EXCLUSIVE: Falklands defence review after military deal between Russia and Argentina

    12/27/2014 8:26:19 PM PST · by sukhoi-30mki · 30 replies
    Sunday Express, UK ^ | December 28, 2014 | MARCO GIANNANGELI
    DEFENCES on the Falklands are being reviewed after it emerged Russia plans to offer Argentina long-range bombers. The aircraft, which Moscow will swap for beef and wheat, would be able to mount air patrols over Port Stanley. Ministry of Defence officials fear Buenos Aires would take delivery of the planes well before the deployment in 2020 of the Navy’s 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and its F-35B fighters, leaving a “real window of vulnerability”. Defence cuts have left the Falklands with just four RAF Typhoon fighters, Rapier surface-to-air missiles and fewer than 1,200 troops, supported by a naval warship...
  • Scaled-Up Banking Rescue to Push Russian Budget Into Deficit

    12/27/2014 5:34:30 PM PST · by E. Pluribus Unum · 4 replies
    New York Slimes ^ | December 26, 2014 | David M. Herszenhorn
    MOSCOW — Russia’s central bank said on Friday that its bailout of Trust Bank – the first major lender to fail as a result of the sharp decline in the ruble – would cost about $2.5 billion, far more than previously anticipated, and the country’s finance minister said emergency measures to rescue the banking system would push the federal budget into deficit.
  • Russia Is In Crisis And Putin Is Fighting To Survive It

    12/27/2014 5:01:50 PM PST · by E. Pluribus Unum · 24 replies
    Business Insider ^ | Dec. 27, 2014 | The Economist
    The risk of a financial crisis in Russia has risen because of a precipitous fall in the rouble in mid-December. Recession, falling living standards and rising economic uncertainty look set to be key sources of political instability over the near term.
  • Russia's crisis has no end in sight as $50 oil looms, says OECD

    12/27/2014 4:16:00 PM PST · by E. Pluribus Unum · 12 replies
    The Telegraph ^ | 12/27/14 | Szu Ping Chan
    There is no end in sight for Russia’s economic crisis, as crippling sanctions and tumbling oil prices leave the country staring into an abyss, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned. Catherine Mann, the OECD’s chief economist, said Russia was moving closer to shutting itself off from the rest of the world, while the West’s sanctions against Moscow over its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine had left no end in sight for the country’s woes.
  • 'If UN Recognizes Palestine, Israel Must Annex in Judea-Samaria'

    12/27/2014 3:49:20 PM PST · by Eleutheria5 · 20 replies
    Arutz Sheva ^ | 27/12/14 | Ari Yashar
    Likud Central Committee chairman Danny Danon, who is challenging Binyamin Netanyahu for leadership of the party, on Saturday night called on Israel to respond to an expected UN recognition of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the "state of Palestine" by declaring sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. "We must clarify in the clearest terms to the world that every unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state will bring Israeli sovereignty," declared Danon in a meeting with Likud activists in Judea's Gush Etzion region. Prime among the attendants at the meeting were Kiryat Arba Regional Council head Malakhi Levinger and Deputy Gush Etzion...
  • Watch: Hamas Shows Off Army 'Ready to Conquer Jerusalem'

    12/27/2014 3:35:12 PM PST · by Eleutheria5 · 23 replies
    Arutz Sheva ^ | 27/12/14 | Dalit Halevi & Ari Yashar
    he propaganda unit of Hamas's "military wing", the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, kicked into overdrive recently with a new film, which attempted to portray the terrorist organization's Gazan fighting force as a modern Islamic army, exhibiting advanced weaponry training for a wide range of scenarios - and with its sights on Jerusalem. Video In the video a large unit of terrorists are shown with all the equipment of a modern army, from combat vests to advanced assault rifles. Several are seen bearing a flag reading "the army of Al-Quds (Jerusalem)." The Hamas "army" is seen conducting an array of operations modeled...
  • New theory emerges in Sony hacking suggesting Russian hackers

    12/27/2014 3:45:25 PM PST · by E. Pluribus Unum · 29 replies
    New York Daily News ^ | December 26, 2014 | Nicole Hensley
    Linguists identified foreign phrasing in about 2,000 words from hacker emails and posts that may have been penned by a Russian native speaker. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Linguists identified foreign phrasing in about 2,000 words from hacker emails and posts that may have been penned by a Russian native speaker. What if it wasn’t North Korea after all? In the controversy over the Sony hacking, government officials have accused the sequestered communist country of hacking Sony, but security analysts argue Russian hackers may be the culprit. Writing samples from hackers claiming responsibility for leaking finance reports and emails by Sony employees suggest...
  • Ukraine crisis: Separatist rebels free more soldiers

    12/27/2014 12:52:03 PM PST · by E. Pluribus Unum
    BBC News ^ | 12/27/14
    Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have freed four Ukrainian prisoners a day after the two sides exchanged hundreds of captives. The release was announced by a Ukrainian defence ministry adviser, Vasyliy Budik, who said three were soldiers and the fourth a civilian.
  • How He and His Cronies Stole Russia (Putin)

    12/27/2014 1:47:27 PM PST · by Bubba Ho-Tep · 42 replies
    For twenty years now, the Western politicians, journalists, businessmen, and academics who observe and describe the post-Soviet evolution of Russia have almost all followed the same narrative. We begin with the assumption that the Soviet Union ended in 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev handed over power to Boris Yeltsin and Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the Soviet republics became independent states. We continue with an account of the early 1990s, an era of “reform,” when some Russian leaders tried to create a democratic political system and a liberal capitalist economy. We follow the trials and tribulations of the reformers, analyze...
  • Russia's Economic Crisis: Can Putin Be Saved By His Own Propaganda?

    12/27/2014 12:49:47 PM PST · by E. Pluribus Unum · 14 replies
    NBC News ^ | 12/27/14 | Jim Maceda
    Runs on the bank. Hyperinflation. A plummeting ruble. It sounds like today's Russia, but these were also the symptoms of its last economic meltdown, in 1998. That would eventually force Russian President Boris Yeltsin out of power, and put an awkwardly shy and relatively unknown KGB official named Vladimir Putin in his place. No one believed Putin would survive more than a few months in the Kremlin. But 'Putinism' - a mix of authoritarian rule and economic prosperity based almost entirely on vast oil and natural gas reserves - has kept its namesake in power for the past 15 years....
  • Nuland: ‘Toxic Cocktail’ Hitting Russia as State Dept. Preparing More Support for Ukraine

    12/27/2014 7:19:20 AM PST · by opentalk · 21 replies
    PJ Media ^ | December 23, 2014 | NICHOLAS BALLASY
    Victoria Nuland, U.S. secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said the U.S. has been internally preparing more financial support to Ukraine.“Senior IMF leadership was in Ukraine this week issuing a public validation of the reform program going forward but also confirming that the program agreed last year is going to need a significant adjustment – that there is a fiscal hole to the tune of $10-15 billion,” Nuland said at the American Enterprise Institute during a discussion examining the Ukrainian revolution one year later.“We expect that the IMF and the World Bank will have to increase their support...
  • Putin Is Mentally Unhinged

    12/27/2014 6:12:17 AM PST · by Kaslin · 95 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | December 27, 2014 | Mark Nuckols
    In his annual year end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is in fact mentally unhinged. For three hours, by turns he demonstrated signs of schizophrenic paranoia, pathological dishonesty, deep seated passive-aggressive tendencies, woeful ignorance of world affairs and economics, and delusional confidence in Russia’s future prospects. Putin evokes the national self-image of the Russian bear. Putin’s bear is a natural hunter contentedly chasing pigs and boars, but otherwise minding his own business in his own sovereign forest. But somebody wants this bear to have a makeover, and to give up...
  • Mistrust of Banks Take Over in Russia

    12/27/2014 6:06:20 AM PST · by Kaslin · 4 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | December 27, 2014 | Mike Shedlock
    In Russia, the overnight lending rates between banks has soared to 19%, a sign of widespread and warranted mistrust between banks, as one bank has failed. To stabilize the situation, Putin is considering bank deposit insurance up to an amount equivalent rate of about $26,000. Meanwhile, and although Russia is still burning through currency reserves, the value of the Ruble has been rising. CNN Money reports Russia Empties the Vault to Prop Up Ruble. So far this year the central bank has burned through more than $110 billion in foreign currency supplies. That's more than a quarter of what it...
  • Russia: NATO expansion is biggest threat we face - warns Ukraine it would be "dangerous" to do so

    12/27/2014 2:05:01 AM PST · by Cincinatus' Wife · 34 replies
    The Hill ^ | December 26, 2014 | Jesse Byrnes
    Russia has adopted a new military doctrine, keeping North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion first among its list of primary external threats. The revised doctrine [PDF in Russian - 29 pages with 58 sections], signed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, is comparable to a 2010 version, which also listed NATO expansion as a primary threat. Additions to the doctrine include a highlighting of the threat from "global strategic antiballistic missile systems" and a Russian goal to protect its interests in the Arctic region, according to Russian state-funded news organization RT. The doctrine’s adoption comes days after Ukraine took a...
  • Why Ukraine has no place in the EU

    06/18/2008 12:02:47 PM PDT · by forkinsocket · 12 replies · 61+ views
    Sign and Sight ^ | 11/06/2008 | Richard Wagner
    Ukraine likes to conjure up the magic word "Galicia" to create an identity of European belonging. Richard Wagner picks apart this myth-cum-trademark in an EU bid he believes is misplaced. Ukraine is firmly anchored in the Eurasian region that traditionally answers to Moscow. The cultural-historical fusion with Russia reaches deep into the past to the Kievan Rus, the original formula of the East Slavic concept of state, as does the Byzantine-Orthodox hold on mentality and society. The majority of the population speaks Russian and geographically and geo-politically speaking, the country has a number of non-European coordinates that are indispensable to...
  • Can Russia's Vladimir Putin help deliver a Palestinian state?

    12/26/2014 2:05:57 PM PST · by Jan_Sobieski · 14 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | Shamir | Shlomo
    Russia has finally found a lever with which to gain revenge on the United States and the West for its support for Ukraine. As payback for the painful sanctions imposed on its economy, Moscow is now brandishing a new diplomatic sword. The man who handed the Kremlin this sword on a silver platter, thereby enabling it to divert the world’s attention away from what is taking place in Ukraine, is none other than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
  • Former Fla. gov. Crist on reopening Cuba ties

    12/24/2014 7:02:04 AM PST · by shove_it · 19 replies
    SeeBSnews ^ | 17 Dec 2014
    Florida has long been the home of a large Cuban-American community. The issue of American-Cuban relations is a major issue in the state. Charlie Crist, Florida's former governor, joined CBSN on Wednesday to discuss how President Obama's move to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba will impact the state. According to Crist, the economic impact will be significant because the easing of restrictions on the island will spur redevelopment. Former Florida gov. Charlie Crist GETTY IMAGES "You talk about housing changes, schooling, infrastructure, the natural launching pad for much of that redevelopment is the state of Florida," Crist said. Cuba is...
  • Russian S-300's in Abkhazia Block Possible Israeli Air Route to Iran

    08/13/2010 2:48:54 PM PDT · by dselig · 15 replies
    Debkafiles ^ | August 13, 2010 AEST
    Military sources told debkafile Thursday, Aug. 12, that a threat from Georgia was not the reason why Russian posted advanced S-300 interceptor batteries Russia in Abkhazia and air defense weapons in South Ossetia on the northern shore of the Black Sea -as Moscow officially maintained, but rather possible moves by the US and/or Israel against Iran and its nuclear facilities. Georgia's armed forces do not run to the sophisticated warplanes, missiles or drones that would warrant establishing the high-powered S-300 interceptors for defending the breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ordinary air defense batteries would do for deterrence. Therefore, US military...
  • Who started the 1967 War?(my question)

    06/12/2002 8:30:35 AM PDT · by madison46 · 42 replies · 861+ views
    Question | 06/12/02 | Me
    I read within the last few months an article stating why Isreal went to war in 1967...and that since that time Egypt has admitted that they were planning to strike. Does anyone have that source or know of such a recent(last 3-4months) article? I'm battling a guy at work about this. He says Isreal started the 1967 war, I say it was the Arabs. Thanks, madions46
  • Syria to help Russia retrieve influence in Middle East

    01/25/2005 12:55:09 PM PST · by Cornpone · 8 replies · 369+ views
    Pravda-World ^ | 24 Jan 2005 | Pravda
    European states, not to mention China, will not come into conflict with the USA over Syria - Iraq is enoughSyrian President Bashar al-Asad is starting his official visit to Russia today. It is definitely an extraordinary event in the world of politics. Syria is one of the main candidates for "democratization" according to the incumbent US administration. The USA and Israel will undoubtedly be watching the process of negotiations in Moscow. It is noteworthy that the visit of the Syrian president to Russia was preceded with an international scandal that the Israeli government caused. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed to...
  • Japan inflation slows as oil price falls, keeps BOJ under pressure

    12/25/2014 4:30:12 PM PST · by Red in Blue PA · 2 replies
    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese annual core consumer inflation slowed for a fourth straight month in November due largely to sliding oil prices, highlighting the challenges the central bank faces in achieving its 2 percent inflation target. Factory output unexpectedly fell and household spending remained weak, separate data showed, suggesting that any rebound in the economy from recession will be mild and fragile.
  • Why Russia should sell weapons to Iran and Syria

    08/08/2007 2:27:37 PM PDT · by familyop · 18 replies · 812+ views
    RIA Novosti (Russian state-owned outlet) ^ | 08AUG07 | Marianna Belenkaya, Russian Government
    MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Marianna Belenkaya) - In the United States, the debate on pulling out of Iraq has given way to a dispute about the wisdom of supplying the Saudis with the latest American weapons. A similar situation is taking place in France, where passions are running high around the planned delivery of weapons and a nuclear power plant to Libya. In both cases, the commercial and political benefits are being weighed against the threat of nuclear proliferation and concern about terrorists getting their hands on nuclear arms. With whom is it OK to trade in such commodities,...
  • Saudi Oil Minister Says Russia Doesn't 'Deserve Market Share'

    12/22/2014 7:58:21 PM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 41 replies
    BI ^ | Dec. 22, 2014 | Jim Edwards
    Saudi Oil Minister Says Russia Doesn't 'Deserve Market Share' Jim Edwards Dec. 22, 2014, 12:10 PM Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi really got the world's attention in an interview he gave to the energy journal Middle East Economic Survey (MEES). We told you earlier that Naimi said the Saudis don't care how low the price of oil goes: "Whether it goes down to $20, $40, $50, $60, it is irrelevant." What's interesting though is Naimi's rationale for not caring. Basically, he told MEES, the Saudis can afford not to care about the low price of oil. /snip Everyone is asking...
  • Obama's Cuba 'lovefest': A real move to check Russia?

    12/18/2014 9:31:17 AM PST · by Jan_Sobieski · 22 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | AARON KLEIN
    Some Republican and Democratic leaders, along with many of my colleagues in conservative talk radio were quick to criticize President Obama’s move on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties with Havana; they claimed it rewarded dictatorship and damaged America’s global posture and bargaining position. Missing in much of the national conversation is how this White House maneuver checks Russia’s growing influence in Cuba, where Moscow, in Cold War fashion, has been flexing its military and economic muscles just 90 miles from the US coast in an overt challenge to our national security. A clear-minded analysis of Obama's move may impart future...
  • How Turkey Went Bad

    12/24/2014 11:36:17 AM PST · by Jan_Sobieski · 16 replies
    Middle East Forum ^ | 12/13/2014 | Daniel Pipes
    Only twelve years ago, the Republic of Turkey was correctly seen as a stalwart NATO ally, the model of a pro-Western Muslim state, and a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. A strong military bond with the Pentagon undergirded broader economic and cultural ties with Americans. For those of us who work on the Middle East, time in Istanbul, Ankara, and other Turkish cities was a refreshing oasis from the turmoil of the region. And then, starting with the still-astonishing election of 2002, the country dramatically changed course. Slowly at first and then with increasing velocity since mid-2011, the...
  • No Joke: Poland is our best friend in Europe

    01/24/2003 9:50:55 PM PST · by Pokey78 · 88 replies · 5,171+ views
    The Weekly Standard ^ | 02/03/03 | Matthew Kaminski
    BrusselsWHEN EUROPE THREW a big party in Copenhagen in December, Poland nearly spoiled the fun. Unhappy with the membership terms offered by the European Union, the Poles held out for a few extra billion euros, knowing full well the "historic" enlargement jamboree couldn't take place without the biggest of the Central European candidates. The E.U. caved and put up extra cash, securing the claim to have "reunified Europe" and "buried Yalta." Polish prime minister Leszek Miller, a veteran of one of his country's last Communist governments, thanked native son Pope John Paul II for getting Poland into "Europe." The theatrics...
  • Oil spills into Black Sea near Russian port after pipeline leak

    12/24/2014 8:57:03 AM PST · by thackney · 6 replies
    Reuters ^ | Dec 24, 2014 | MAXIM NAZAROV AND GLEB GORODYANKIN
    A leak on a major Russian oil pipeline caused a spill in the Black Sea near the port of Tuapse on Wednesday where officials said stormy weather was hampering efforts to assess and respond to the mishap. "Some quantity of oil has spilled into the sea," Sergei Proskurin, first deputy captain of the port of Tuapse, told Reuters. He said the size of the spill was unclear and that emergencies services were working to deploy temporary floating barriers to contain the spill but were being delayed by the stormy conditions. Tuapse is a busy industrial and oil port but is...
  • Obama Warmly Legitimizes Cuban Dictatorship

    12/24/2014 4:28:54 AM PST · by george76 · 14 replies
    Cato ^ | December 24, 2014 | Nat Hentoff
    I have long been reporting on Castro-ruled Cuba and, indeed, was there not long after Fidel Castro had taken over the country. What became clear, as the number of Castro’s political prisoners increased, was that his revolutionary Cuba was a dictatorship, like the regime he had ousted. After I wrote that, a member of his administration rebuked me for my rank ignorance. I responded by saying that he knew that if I were a Cuban in Cuba, I would be in prison. Later, at the United Nations, I was one of a number of reporters interviewing Che Guevara, the young,...
  • Sliding oil prices leave socialist Venezuela on brink of financial collapse

    12/24/2014 5:01:35 AM PST · by thackney · 23 replies
    Washington Times ^ | December 23, 2014 | Guy Taylor
    The ongoing plunge in global oil prices is pushing Venezuela toward economic collapse just as President Nicolas Maduro — the hand-picked successor to the late socialist Hugo Chavez — faces mounting international criticism for jailing opposition figures after months of street protests. Where Chavez once drew praise from the world’s leftist elite for using the high price of crude oil during the 2000s to underwrite a socialist revolution, a growing number of analysts in Washington say Mr. Maduro is clinging to power in a country on the edge of becoming a failed state. Venezuela still boasts some of the world’s...
  • Russia’s central bank to help companies meet debts

    12/24/2014 5:35:30 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 1 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Dec 24, 2014 8:01 AM EST | Vladimir Isachenkov and Nataliya Vasilyeva
    Russia’s central bank on Wednesday launched another initiative to shore up the ruble, offering hard currency loans to help companies and banks service their debts. Stabilizing the ruble, which is one of the world’s worst-performing currencies this year following the slide in oil prices and the sanctions imposed on Russia for its involvement in Ukraine, is a priority for Russia’s monetary authorities. Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, admitted again that it faced a run last week when the ruble was in freefall and individuals fretted over the value of their deposits. Its chairman, Alexander Torbakhov, conceded to Russian news agencies that...
  • A "Crude" Approach to Evaluating the US Oil Export Ban

    12/24/2014 5:24:19 AM PST · by thackney · 8 replies
    Forbes ^ | 12/23/2014 | Michael Maher
    With the U.S. experiencing a period of rapidly increasing production of light tight oil (LTO) and Gulf Coast refining configurations geared toward processing medium and heavy crude, a growing chorus is calling for the end of the ban on US crude exports. The concern is, due to the medium/heavy orientation of the US refining sector, LTO will continue to be sold at a discount to foreign light oil prices (Brent). This discount will grow as increased LTO production is faced with growing refining bottlenecks and, eventually, will restrict LTO production in the U.S. Moreover, the issue becomes even more relevant...
  • Why there are so many kooky conspiracy theories about oil

    12/24/2014 4:50:47 AM PST · by thackney · 25 replies
    Washington Post ^ | December 23, 2014 | Chris Mooney
    The sudden, dramatic drop in oil prices has changed the world almost overnight. Russia's facing an economic crisis, and U.S. consumers are saving a fortune at the pump. The reasons for the sudden swing are not particularly glamorous: They involve factors like supply and demand, oil companies having invested heavily in exploration several years ago to produce a glut of oil that has now hit the market -- and then, perhaps, the "lack of cohesion" among the diverse members of OPEC. But now, right on cue, out come the conspiracy theorists — including Vladimir Putin — to tell us what's...
  • Iran Prods Russia To Send In S-300 Surface-To-Air Missile Despite US Sanctions

    12/24/2014 12:42:28 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 3 replies
    International Business Times ^ | 22 Dec 14 | Athena Yenko
    Iran demands for Russia to deliver its S-300 missile system as part of 2007 contract entered to by both countries despite sanctions imposed by the Western countries and the UN Security Council. Russia had illegally breached their contract following pressure from Israel and the United States, Iran's Defence Minister Hossein Dehqan said. Dehqan said the contract with Russia was signed before the sanctions were imposed, hence Iran will continue to insist for Russia to supply them with S-300 missile system. He said Russia had cancelled the contract under the guise of the sanctions imposed against both Iran and Russia but...
  • Has North Korea found a friend in President Putin?

    12/24/2014 12:19:34 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 1 replies
    The Guardian ^ | 23 Dec 14 | Natalie Nougayrède
    Has the age of cyber warfare dawned? Barack Obama refrained from calling the hacking of Sony an act of war by North Korea. He prefers to describe it as “cyber vandalism”, and has warned of a “proportionate” response. As experts ponder what form such retaliation might take – and we still don’t know what caused North Korea’s internet outage this week – there were interesting tweets from Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of one of the smallest states in the world, Estonia. “Destructive cyber-attacks, as we have seen in the Sony case, threaten all our liberties worldwide if intimidation is allowed...
  • Ukraine parliament votes to take step toward NATO, angering Russia

    12/23/2014 2:14:03 PM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 11 replies
    WP ^ | December 23 , 2014 | Michael Birnbaum
    Ukraine parliament votes to take step toward NATO, angering Russia By Michael Birnbaum December 23 MOSCOW — In a sign of Ukraine’s hardening attitude toward Russia, Ukrainian lawmakers on Tuesday voted to remove a legal barrier to joining the NATO defense alliance. The move provoked an angry response from Russia, even though NATO shows few signs of accepting Ukraine as a member anytime soon. But this year’s bloody conflict in Ukraine’s east has altered the country’s feelings about the Western alliance. A plurality of Ukrainians now favor joining NATO, a stark change from recent years when just a small fraction...
  • Ukraine takes historic step toward NATO

    12/23/2014 8:39:40 AM PST · by KOZ. · 51 replies
    AFP via Yahoo ^ | 12/23/2014 | Dmitry Zaks
    Kiev (AFP) - Ukraine took a historic step toward NATO on Tuesday in a parliamentary vote that stoked Russia's anger ahead of talks on ending the ex-Soviet state's separatist war. Lawmakers in the government-controlled chamber overwhelmingly adopted a bill dropping Ukraine's non-aligned status -- a classification given to states such as Switzerland that refuse to join military alliances and thus play no part in wars. President Petro Poroshenko had vowed to put Ukraine under Western military protection after winning an election called in the wake of the February ouster in Kiev of a Moscow-backed president. "Ukraine's fight for its independence,...
  • Russia test-launches new space eco-rocket Angara right into geostationary orbit

    12/23/2014 9:45:32 AM PST · by Patriot777 · 17 replies
    Russia’s space agency has launched a heavy version of the newly developed ecologically clean rocket family Angara. The booster is to take its mock payload right to the geostationary orbit – over 35,000 kilometers from the Equator. “A 08:57 Moscow time, the heavy-class rocket Angara-A5 was launched by a Space Forces crew of the Arkhangelsk Region from the universal launch site of the state test facility of the Russian Defense Ministry [the Plesetsk Cosmodrome],” the ministry said in a statement. The success was reported by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to President Vladimir Putin, who was monitoring the launch form Moscow...
  • Ruble continues to gain as exporters are ordered to sell foreign currency

    12/23/2014 9:06:17 AM PST · by 11th_VA · 10 replies
    MarketWatch ^ | 23 Dec 2014 | By Andrey Ostroukh
    <p>MOSCOW — The ruble extended its rebound, hitting the highest levels in two weeks Tuesday, as Russian authorities ordered major state companies to sell foreign currency to stabilize the market.</p> <p>The order, which applies to big exporters including Gazprom OGZPY, -0.41% and Rosneft RU:ROSN is part of a package of stabilization measures that the government and central bank have imposed to pull the ruble USDRUB, -1.12% back from the record lows set during last week’s currency crisis. So far, the authorities have kept promises not to impose administrative controls on capital flows or ruble convertibility, sticking instead to less-formal steps.</p>
  • Scenes From Putin's Economic Meltdown

    12/23/2014 7:48:12 AM PST · by C19fan · 8 replies
    Politico ^ | December 21, 2014 | Alec Luhn
    Get the hot deals while they last! Whatever’s on your holiday shopping list—buy now, it may never be this cheap again! In a single day this past week, the ruble exchange rate dropped from 59 to 80 to the dollar, further eroding confidence in the Russian economy and ensuring a deep recession next year—but also briefly turning Moscow into the shopping capital of the world. Although this past week’s currency crisis marked the worst fall for the ruble since Russia defaulted on its debt in 1998, no one was waiting in bread lines or starting a run on the bank....
  • Russia's Rich Gets Richer—in Dollars—as Ruble Plunges

    12/23/2014 2:27:19 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 7 replies
    Newsweak ^ | 22 Jan 14 | Lynnley Browning
    It would seem to be a stressful holiday season for Russia’s ultra-wealthy elite, the gilded class of post-Communist billionaires with a taste for costly things and close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The secretive group, known popularly as the oligarchs, for their control over Russia’s oil, metals, banking, gas, fertilizer, electricity, railways, aviation, defense and telecommunications industries, now has two ugly holiday presents: broad sanctions as punishment for Putin’s Crimean land grab last March, and a burgeoning currency crisis as plummeting prices for oil, the main force behind the Russian economy, send the ruble into a tailspin. In another...
  • Belarus Refuses to Trade With Russia in Roubles

    12/23/2014 2:22:07 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 7 replies
    Newsweak ^ | 19 Dec 14 | Damien Sharkov
    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has ordered his cabinet ministers to stop trading using the Russian rouble. Instead, the country - who is one of Russia’s closest allies - will trade only in dollars or euros, after Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Thursday his country may be on the verge of a two year recession. “Lately I keep hearing that the Russian rouble is falling and that is 40% of our export market and we stand to carry losses. So what can we do, when this is what our partner and that is what the situation is in Russia and...
  • Iran’s IRGC 'Massacring' Iraqi Sunnis It 'Saves' from ISIS

    12/22/2014 12:19:34 PM PST · by Dave346 · 10 replies
    Arutz Sheva ^ | 12/21/2014, 6:50 PM | Mark Langfan
    Iraq’s Grand Mufti accuses IRGC, Iraqi government, Shiite militias of genocide and rape of Sunnis they 'liberated' from ISIS In an explosive TV interview aired last week, Iraq’s Grand Mufti Rafi Al-Rifa’i, the highest Sunni authority in the country, accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iraqi government, and Iraqi Shiite militias of mass genocidal killings and rape of Sunni men and women from Iraqi towns and villages “liberated” from ISIS (Islamic State). Mufti Al-Rifa’i posed the unanswerable question, “Why should we fight ISIS? So the Iranian IRGC can take over? The same Iranian IRGC that is running operations...
  • Russia to bail out Trust Bank with up to $530 million

    12/22/2014 11:32:55 AM PST · by Lorianne · 12 replies
    Reuters ^ | 22 December 2014
    Russian mid-sized lender Trust Bank is to receive up to 30 billion rubles ($530 million) from the central bank to stop it going bankrupt in the first bailout of its kind during the current rouble crisis. The central bank also said its Deposit Insurance Agency, responsible for managing crisis-hit lenders, would take over interim supervision of Trust Bank as of Monday. The measures "will make it possible for Trust to continue smooth payments operations. All the bank's clients, including depositors, can use its services as usual", the central bank said in a statement. Trust, which hired actor Bruce Willis as...