Click here to show or hide the menubar.

Thick & Creamy

A picture named NA-537-Art-SM.jpg

Direct [link] to the mp3 file

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

RSS Podcast Feed

Get the No Agenda News App for your iPhone and iPad

Torrents of each episode via BitLove

New! BitTorrent Sync the No Agenda Show

NA-537-Art-BIG

Art By: MartinJJ

See All The Art in the Generator

Thick & Creamy

Executive Producers: Black Knight of Silicon Valley, Baron Thomas of Bahrain, Sir Funk, Grand Duke Pelsmaekers, Sir Patrick Wilson, Sir William Ashbee

537 Club Member: Black Knight of Silicon Valley

Become a member of the 538 Club, support the show here

Knighthoods: Josh McDonald -> Sir Funk, William Ashbee -> Sir William

Titles: Thomas Pullyard -> Baron Thomas of Bahrain

Art By: MartinJJ

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 537.nashownotes.com

New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

RSS Podcast Feed

Get the No Agenda News App for your iPhone and iPad

Torrents of each episode via BitLove

New! BitTorrent Sync the No Agenda Show

Search

Inside Track Book

Not Shown on TV Anymore

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 02:23

Last night upon landing at Austin's Bergstrom airport from Atlanta (we flew from Amsterdam to Atlanta first), as we taxied from the runway, the captain came on the intercom and asked all passengers to wait a few moments before disembarking to allow for the honor guard accompanying a "fallen soldier" to disembark first.

Immediately I understood why I had seen flashing lights on the apron as we approached to land, two fire trucks created a water arch for the aircraft to pass through on its way to the gate, and on the tarmac was a full honor guard, hearse, military personnel and the soldier's family.

Though most passengers waited as requested and then disembarked, I could not leave my seat. I felt that not watching the entire proceeding would somehow be wrong, dishonorable.

As the cargo door opened, I saw at least one female member of the family collapse in agony.

I know that this is an occurrence that happens almost daily still at airports across the country, yet it is never televised, as the flag draped coffins during the Vietnam war most definitely were.

I tried googling for more information, but even several searches result in nothing informational

Maybe if we put these scenes back on primetime TV, citizens would pay more attention to what is really going on with these illegal wars and the propagandistic way in which they are reported on by the compromised media.

No wonder newspapers are selling for pennies on the dollar.

People are figuring out how full of shit they really are.

F-Russia

Putin finally resigned from the active state security services with the rank of Lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:41

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸ÌÐ¼Ð¸Ñ Ð'Ð>>ади́миÑович Пу́тин; IPA: [vÉɐËdʲimʲɪr vÉɐËdʲimʲɪrÉvʲɪtÍÉ• Ëputʲɪn] (listen); born 7 October 1952) is a Russianpolitician who has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012. Putin previously served as President from 2000 to 2008, and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. Putin was also previously the Chairman of the United Russia political party.

For sixteen years Putin was an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, before he retired to enter politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin's administration where he rose quickly, becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999 when Yeltsin resigned unexpectedly. Putin won the subsequent 2000 presidential election and was re-elected in 2004. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term in 2008. Dmitry Medvedev won the 2008 presidential election and appointed Putin as Prime Minister, beginning a period of so-called "tandemocracy".[1] In September 2011, following a change in the law, Putin announced that he would seek a third, non-consecutive term as President in the 2012 presidential election, an announcement which led to large-scale protests in many Russian cities. He won the election in March 2012 and is serving an increased, six-year term.[2][3]

Many of Putin's actions are regarded by the domestic opposition and foreign observers as undemocratic.[4] The 2011 Democracy Index stated that Russia has been in "a long process of regression culminated in a move from a hybrid to an authoritarian regime" under Putin,[5] and American diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks allege that Russia has become a "virtual mafia state."[6][7] Some critics describe him as a dictator,[8][9][10] allegations which Putin adamantly denies.

Putin has been widely credited[by whom?] with ending the crisis of the 1990s.[11][12] During Putin's first premiership and presidency (1999''2008), real incomes increased by a factor of 2.5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly.[13] Putin's first presidency was marked by high economic growth: the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal).[13][14][15][16][17] These achievements have been ascribed by analysts to good macroeconomic management, important fiscal reforms, increasing capital inflows, access to low-cost external financing and a five-fold increase in the price of oil and gas which constitute the majority of Russian exports.[18][unreliable source?][19][20][21]

As Russia's president, Putin passed into law a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes.[20][22] As Prime Minister, Putin oversaw large scale military and police reform. His energy policy has affirmed Russia's position as an energy superpower.[23] Putin supported high-tech industries such as the nuclear and defence industries. A rise in foreign investment[24] contributed to a boom in such sectors as the automotive industry.

Ancestry, early life and educationPutin was born on 7 October 1952, in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (modern day Saint Petersburg, Russia),[25] to parents Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin (1911''1999) and Maria Ivanovna Putina (n(C)e Shelomova; 1911''1998). His mother was a factory worker, and his father was a conscript in the Soviet Navy, where he served in the submarine fleet in the early 1930s, and later served in the NKVD during World War II.[26][27][28][29] Two elder brothers were born in the mid-1930s; one died within a few months of birth, while the second succumbed to diphtheria during the siege of Leningrad in World War II.

Vladimir Putin's paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin (1879''1965), was employed at Vladimir Lenin's dacha at Gorki as a cook, and after Lenin's death in 1924, he continued to work for Lenin's wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. He would later cook for Joseph Stalin when the Soviet leader visited one of his dachas in the Moscow region. Spiridon later was employed at a dacha belonging to the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, at which the young Putin would visit him.[30]

The ancestry of Vladimir Putin has been described as a mystery with no records surviving of any ancestors of any people with the surname "Putin" beyond his grandfather Spiridon Ivanovich.

His autobiography, Ot Pervogo Litsa (English: In the First Person),[26] which is based on Putin's interviews, speaks of humble beginnings, including early years in a communal apartment in Leningrad. On 1 September 1960, he started at School No. 193 at Baskov Lane, just across from his house. By fifth grade he was one of a few in a class of more than 45 pupils who was not yet a member of the Pioneers, largely because of his rowdy behavior. In sixth grade he started taking sport seriously in the form of sambo and then judo. In his youth, Putin was eager to emulate the intelligence officer characters played on the Soviet screen by actors such as Vyacheslav Tikhonov and Georgiy Zhzhonov.[31]

Putin graduated from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975, writing his final thesis on international law.[32] His PhD thesis was titled "The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations" and it argued that Russian economic success would depend on creating national energy champions.[33] While at university he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and remained a member until the party was dissolved in December 1991.[34] Also at the University he met Anatoly Sobchak who later played an important role in Putin's career. Anatoly Sobchak was at the time an Assistant Professor and lectured Putin's class on Business Law (khozyaystvennoye pravo).[35]

KGB careerPutin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation, and underwent a year's training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta[disambiguation needed], Leningrad. He then went on to work briefly in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where among his duties was the monitoring of foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.[36][37]

From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany.[38] Following the collapse of the East German government, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov.[37] In his new position, Putin maintained surveillance on the student body and kept an eye out for recruits. It was during his stint at the university that Putin grew reacquainted with his former professor Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad.[39]

Putin finally resigned from the active state security services with the rank of Lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991 (with some attempts to resign made earlier),[39] on the second day of the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.[40] Putin later explained his decision: "As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on", though he also noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with "the organs".[41]

Early political careerSaint Petersburg administrationIn May 1990, Putin was appointed Mayor Sobchak's advisor on international affairs. On 28 June 1991, he was appointed head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office, with responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments. The Committee also registered business ventures in Saint Petersburg. Less than one year later, Putin was investigated by a commission of the city legislative council. Commission deputies Marina Salye and Yury Gladkov concluded that Putin understated prices and permitted the export of metals valued at $93 million, in exchange for foreign food aid that never arrived.[42][43] Despite the commission's recommendation that Putin be fired, Putin remained head of the Committee for External Relations until 1996.[44][45]

From 1994 to 1997, Putin was appointed to other positions in Saint Petersburg. In March 1994, he became first deputy head of the city administration. From 1995 through June 1997, he led the Saint Petersburg branch of the pro-government Our Home Is Russia political party.[46] From 1995 through June 1997 he was also the head of the Advisory Board of the JSC Newspaper Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti.[46]

Moscow careerIn 1996, Anatoly Sobchak lost the Saint Petersburg mayoral election to Vladimir Yakovlev. Putin was called to Moscow and in June 1996 became a Deputy Chief of the Presidential Property Management Department headed by Pavel Borodin. He occupied this position until March 1997. During his tenure Putin was responsible for the foreign property of the state and organized transfer of the former assets of the Soviet Union and Communist Party to the Russian Federation.[35]

On 26 March 1997, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin deputy chief of Presidential Staff, which he remained until May 1998, and chief of the Main Control Directorate of the Presidential Property Management Department (until June 1998). His predecessor on this position was Alexei Kudrin and the successor was Nikolai Patrushev, both future prominent politicians and Putin's associates.[35]

On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute, guided by rector Vladimir Litvinenko, Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics, titled "The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations".[47] When Putin later became president, the dissertation became a target of plagiarism accusations by fellows at the Brookings Institution; though the allegedly plagiarised study was referenced to[48][49] the authors of the allegation felt sure it constituted plagiarism, though they were unsure as to whether it was "intentional";[48][50] the dissertation committee denied the accusations.[49] In his dissertation,[citation needed] and in a later article published in 1999, Putin advocated the idea of so-called National champions, a concept that would later become central to his political thinking.

On 25 May 1998, Putin was appointed First Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff for regions, replacing Viktoriya Mitina; and, on 15 July, the Head of the Commission for the preparation of agreements on the delimitation of power of regions and the federal center attached to the President, replacing Sergey Shakhray. After Putin's appointment, the commission completed no such agreements, although during Shakhray's term as the Head of the Commission there were 46 agreements signed.[51] Later, after becoming President Putin canceled all those agreements.[35]

On 25 July 1998, Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin head of the FSB (one of the successor agencies to the KGB), the position Putin occupied until August 1999. He became a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation on 1 October 1998 and its Secretary on 29 March 1999.

First Premiership (1999)On 9 August 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, which enabled him later on that day, as the previous government led by Sergei Stepashin had been sacked, to be appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin.[52] Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later, that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency.[53] On 16 August, the State Duma approved his appointment as Prime Minister with 233 votes in favour (vs. 84 against, 17 abstained),[54] while a simple majority of 226 was required, making him Russia's fifth PM in fewer than eighteen months. On his appointment, few expected Putin, virtually unknown to the general public, to last any longer than his predecessors. He was initially regarded as a Yeltsin loyalist; like other prime ministers of Boris Yeltsin, Putin did not choose ministers himself, his cabinet being determined by the presidential administration.[55]

Yeltsin's main opponents and would-be successors, Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov and former Chairman of the Russian Government Yevgeniy Primakov, were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and they fought hard to prevent Putin's emergence as a potential successor. Putin's law-and-order image and his unrelenting approach to the renewed crisis in the North Caucasus, which started when the Islamic International Brigade based in Chechnya invaded a neighboring region starting the War in Dagestan, soon combined to raise Putin's popularity and allowed him to overtake all rivals.

While not formally associated with any party, Putin pledged his support to the newly formed Unity Party,[56] which won the second largest percentage of the popular vote (23.3%) in the December 1999 Duma elections, and in turn he was supported by it.

Acting PresidencyOn 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the constitution, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation. On assuming this role, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya.[citation needed]

The first Presidential Decree that Putin signed, on 31 December 1999, was titled "On guarantees for former president of the Russian Federation and members of his family".[57][58] This ensured that "corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives" would not be pursued, although this claim is not strictly verifiable.[clarification needed][59] Later, on 12 February 2001, Putin signed a federal law on guarantees for former presidents and their families, which replaced the similar decree.

While his opponents had been preparing for an election in June 2000, Yeltsin's resignation resulted in the Presidential elections being held within three months, on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round with 53% of the vote.[60]

First Presidential term (2000''2004)Vladimir Putin was inaugurated president on 7 May 2000. He appointed Minister of FinanceMikhail Kasyanov as his Prime minister. Having announced his intention to consolidate power in the country into a strict vertical, in May 2000 he issued a decree dividing 89 federal subjects of Russia between 7 federal districts overseen by representatives of his in order to facilitate federal administration.

During his first term in office, he moved to curb the political ambitions of some of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs such as former Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky, who had "helped Mr. Putin enter the family, and funded the party that formed Mr. Putin's parliamentary base", according to BBC profile.[61][62] At the same time, according to Vladimir Solovyev, it was Alexey Kudrin who was instrumental in Putin's assignment to the Presidential Administration of Russia to work with Pavel Borodin,[63] and according to Solovyev, Berezovsky was proposing Igor Ivanov rather than Putin as a new president.[64][65]

Between 2000 and 2004, and ending following the Yukos-affair, Putin apparently won a power-struggle with the oligarchs, reaching a 'grand-bargain' with them. This bargain allowed the oligarchs to maintain most of their powers, in exchange for their explicit support - and alignment with - his government.[66][67]

A new group of business magnates, such as Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, Yuriy Kovalchuk, Sergey Chemezov, with close personal ties to Putin, also emerged.

Russia's legal reform continued productively during Putin's first term. In particular, Putin succeeded in the codification of land law and tax law, where progress had been slow during Yeltsin's administration, because of Communist and oligarch opposition, respectively. Other legal reforms included new codes on labour, administrative, criminal, commercial and civil procedural law, as well as a major statute on the Bar.[22]

The first major challenge to Putin's popularity came in August 2000, when he was criticised for his alleged mishandling of the Kursk submarine disaster.[68]

In December 2000, Putin sanctioned the law to change the National Anthem of Russia. At the time the Anthem had music by Glinka and no words. The change was to restore (with a minor modification) the music of the post-1944 Soviet anthem by Alexandrov, while the new text was composed by Sergey Mikhalkov, who previously had authored the lyrics of the two versions of the Soviet anthem.[69][70]

Many in the Russian press and in the international media warned that the death of some 130 hostages in the special forces' rescue operation during the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis would severely damage President Putin's popularity. However, shortly after the siege had ended, the Russian president was enjoying record public approval ratings '' 83% of Russians declared themselves satisfied with Putin and his handling of the siege.[71]

A few months before the elections, Putin fired Kasyanov's cabinet and appointed Mikhail Fradkov to his place. Sergey Ivanov became the first civilian in Russia to take Defense Minister position.

In 2003, a referendum was held in Chechnya adopting a new constitution which declares the Republic as a part of Russia. Chechnya has been gradually stabilized with the establishment of the parliamentary elections and a regional government.[72][73] Throughout the war Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although sporadic violence continued to occur throughout the North Caucasus.[74]

Second Presidential term (2004''2008)On 14 March 2004, Putin was elected to the presidency for a second term, receiving 71% of the vote.[60]

The Beslan school hostage crisis took place in September 2004, in which hundreds died. Among the administrative measures taken after that terrorist act, Putin launched an initiative to replace the direct election of the Governors and Presidents of the Federal subjects of Russia with a system whereby they would be nominated by the President and approved or disapproved by regional legislatures.[75][76] In 2005 Putin created the Public Chamber of Russia.

In 2005, the National Priority Projects were launched to improve Russia's health care, education, housing and agriculture. The most high-profile change within the national priority project frameworks was probably the 2006 across-the-board increase in wages in healthcare and education, as well as the decision to modernise equipment in both sectors in 2006 and 2007.[77] In his May 2006 annual speech, Putin announced increasing maternity benefits and state support of prenatal care for women. By 2012 the demographic programmes of the government led to a 45% increase in second child births by women, and a 60% increase in third, fourth etc. births.[78]

The continued criminal prosecution of Russia's then richest man, President of YUKOS company Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for fraud and tax evasion was seen by the international press as a retaliation for Khodorkovsky's donations to both liberal and communist opponents of the Kremlin. The government said that Khodorkovsky was corrupting a large segment of the Duma to prevent tax code changes such as taxes on windfall profits and closing offshore tax evasion vehicles. Khodorkovsky was arrested, Yukos was bunkrupted and the company's assets were auctioned at below-market value, with the largest share acquired by the state company Rosneft.[79] The fate of Yukos was seen in the West as a sign of a broader shift of Russia towards a system of state capitalism.[80][81]

A study by Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT) in 2008 found that state intervention had made a positive impact on the corporate governance of many companies in Russia: the governance was better in companies with state control or with a stake held by the government.[82]

Putin was criticized in the West and also by Russian liberals for what many observers considered a wide-scale crackdown on media freedom in Russia. On 7 October 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who exposed corruption in the Russian army and its conduct in Chechnya, was shot in the lobby of her apartment building. The death of Politkovskaya triggered an outcry in Western media, with accusations that, at best, Putin has failed to protect the country's new independent media.[83][84] When asked about the Politkovskaya murder in his interview with the German TV channel ARD, Putin said that her murder brings much more harm to the Russian authorities than her writing.[85] By 2012 the performers of the murder were arrested and named Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakayev as a possible clients.[86]

In 2007, "Dissenters' Marches" were organized by the opposition group The Other Russia,[87] led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov and national-Bolshevist leader Eduard Limonov. Following prior warnings, demonstrations in several Russian cities were met by police action, which included interfering with the travel of the protesters and the arrests of as many as 150 people who attempted to break through police lines.[88] The Dissenters' Marches have received little support among the Russian general public, according to polls.[89]

On 12 September 2007, Putin dissolved the government upon the request of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Fradkov commented that it was to give the President a "free hand" in the run-up to the parliamentary election. Viktor Zubkov was appointed the new prime minister.[90]

In December 2007, United Russia won 64.24% of the popular vote in their run for State Duma according to election preliminary results.[91] United Russia's victory in December 2007 elections was seen by many as an indication of strong popular support of the then Russian leadership and its policies.[92][93]

On 8 February 2008, Putin delivered a speech before the expanded session of the State Council headlined "On the Strategy of Russia's Development until 2020".[94] In his last days in office Putin was reported to have taken a series of steps to re-align the regional bureaucracy to make the governors report to the prime minister rather than the president.[95][96] The presidential site explained that "the changes... bear a refining nature and do not affect the essential positions of the system. The key role in estimating the effectiveness of activity of regional authority still belongs to President of the Russian Federation."

Second Premiership (2008''2012)Putin was barred from a third term by the Constitution. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was elected his successor. On 8 May 2008, only a day after handing the presidency to Medvedev, Putin was appointed Prime Minister of Russia, maintaining his political dominance.[97]

The 2008-2009 world crisis hit the Russian economy especially hard, interrupting the flow of cheap Western credit and investments. This coincided with tension in relationships with the EU and the U.S. following the 2008 South Ossetia war, in which Russia defeated the U.S. and NATO ally Georgia.

However, the large financial reserves, accumulated in the Stabilization Fund of Russia in the previous period of high oil prices, alongside the strong management helped the country to cope with the crisis and resume economic growth since mid-2009. The Russian government's anti-crisis measures have been praised by the World Bank, which said in its Russia Economic Report from November 2008: "prudent fiscal management and substantial financial reserves have protected Russia from deeper consequences of this external shock. The government's policy response so far'--swift, comprehensive, and coordinated'--has helped limit the impact."[98] Putin himself named the overcoming of consequences of the world economic crisis one of the two main achievements of his 2nd Premiership[78] (the other named achievement being the stabilisation of the size of Russia's population between 2008-2011 following the long period of demographic collapse started in the 1990s).[78]

At the United Russia Congress in Moscow on 24 September 2011, Medvedev officially proposed that Putin stand for the Presidency in 2012; an offer which Putin accepted. Given United Russia's near-total dominance of Russian politics, many observers believed that Putin was all but assured of a third term. The move was expected to see Medvedev stand on the United Russia ticket in the parliamentary elections in December, with a goal of becoming Prime Minister at the end of his presidential term.[99]

After the parliamentary elections on 4 December 2011, tens of thousands Russians engaged in protests against alleged electoral fraud, the largest protests in Putin's time; protesters criticized Putin and United Russia and demanded annulment of the election results.[100] However, those protests, organized by the leaders of the Russian "non-systemic opposition", sparked the fear of a colour revolution in society, and a number of "anti-Orange" counter-protests (the name alludes to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine) and rallies of Putin supporters were carried out, surpassing in scale the opposition protests.[101][102][103]

Third Presidential term (2012''present)On 4 March 2012, Putin won the 2012 Russian presidential elections in the first round, with 63.6% of the vote.[60] While extraordinary measures were taken to make the elections transparent, including the usage of webcams on the vast majority of polling stations, the vote was criticized by Russian opposition and some international bodies for perceived irregularities.[citation needed]. Several heads of states around the world congratulated Putin on winning elections. Chinese Premier Hu Jintao congratulated Vladimir Putin on taking office as Russian president, and wished the Russian people greater achievements in developing their country under Putin's leadership.[104] The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh said "Your success in these elections is an affirmation by the Russian people of your vision of a strong, prosperous and democratic Russia," and added that he "deeply appreciated the personal commitment and attention that you have brought to nurturing the India-Russia strategic partnership over the last 12 years".[105] The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari called the election results a "resounding victory".[106]Venezuela President Hugo Chavez personally congratulated Putin on his victory, calling Putin "a driving force behind strategic ties of cooperation between Venezuela and Russia."[107]

Anti-Putin protests took place during and directly after the presidential campaign. The most notorious protest was the 21 February Pussy Riot performance, and subsequent trial.[108] As well, an estimated 8,000-20,000 protesters gathered in Moscow on 6 May.[109][110] On 6 May, eighty people were injured in confrontations with police,[111] 450 were arrested, with another 120 arrests taking place the following day.[112]

Putin was inaugurated in the Kremlin on 7 May 2012. On his first day as President, Putin issued 14 Presidential decrees, including a lengthy one stating wide-ranging goals for the Russian economy. Other decrees concerned education, housing, skilled-labor training, relations with the European Union, the defense industry, inter-ethnic relations, and other policy areas dealt with in Putin's programme articles issued during the Presidential campaign.[113][114]

In 2012 and 2013, Putin and the United Russia backed stricter legislation against the rights of the LGBT community in Russia, first in Saint Petersburg, Archangelsk and Novosibirsk, but a law against "homosexual propaganda" (which prohibits such symbols as the rainbow flag as well as published works containing homosexual content) was adopted by State Duma in June 2013.[115][116][117][118][119]

In June 2013 Putin attended a televised rally of the All-Russia People's Front where he was elected head of the movement,[120] which was set up in 2011.[121] According to journalist Steve Rosenberg, the movement is intended to "reconnect the Kremlin to the Russian people" and one day, if necessary, replace the increasingly unpopular United Russia party that currently backs Putin.[122]

PoliciesDomestic policiesPutin's domestic policies, especially early in his first presidency, were aimed at creating a strict "vertical of power". On 13 May 2000, he issued a decree dividing the 89 federal subjects of Russia between 7 federal districts overseen by representatives named by himself in order to facilitate federal administration. Putin also pursued a policy of enlargement of federal subjects: their number was reduced from 89 in 2000 to the present 83 after the autonomous okrugs of Russia were merged with their parent subjects.

According to Stephen White, Russia under the presidency of Putin made it clear that it had no intention of establishing a "second edition" of the American or British political system, but rather a system that was closer to Russia's own traditions and circumstances.[123] Putin's administration has often been described as a "sovereign democracy".[124] First proposed by Vladislav Surkov in February 2006, the term quickly gained currency within Russia and arguably unified various political elites around it. According to its proponents, the government's actions and policies ought above all to enjoy popular support within Russia itself and not be determined from outside the country.[125][126]

In July 2000, according to a law proposed by him and approved by the Federal Assembly of Russia, Putin gained the right to dismiss heads of the federal subjects. In 2004, the direct election of governors by popular vote was ended. This was seen by Putin as a necessary move to stop separatist tendencies and get rid of those governors who were connected with organised crime.[127] The measure proved to be temporary: in 2012, as proposed by Putin's successor Dmitry Medvedev, the direct election of governors was re-introduced.[128] Along with the return of elected governors, Medvedev's reforms also simplified the registration of political parties and reduced the number of signatures required by non-parliamentary parties and independent candidates to participate in elections,[128] thus reverting or further loosening the restrictions imposed by previous Putin-endorsed legislation. Notably, the tough electoral legislation has been among the government actions effected under Putin's presidency that have been criticised by many independent Russian media outlets and Western commentators as anti-democratic.[129][130]

During his first term in office, Putin moved to curb the political ambitions of some of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs, resulting in the exile or imprisonment of such people as Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky; other oligarchs soon joined Putin's camp.[citation needed]

Putin presided over an intensified fight with organised crime and terrorism that resulted in two times lower murder rates by 2011,[131] as well as significant reduction in the numbers of terrorist acts by the late 2000s (decade).[132]

Putin succeeded in codifying land law and tax law and promulgated new codes on labour, administrative, criminal, commercial and civil procedural law.[22] Under Medvedev's presidency, Putin's government implemented some key reforms in the area of state security, the Russian police reform and the Russian military reform.

Economic policyUnder the Putin administration the economy made real gains of an average 7% per year (2000: 10%, 2001: 5.1%, 2002: 4.7%, 2003: 7.3%, 2004: 7.2%, 2005: 6.4%, 2006: 8.2%, 2007: 8.5%),[133] making it the 7th largest economy in the world in purchasing power. Russia's nominalGross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 6 fold, climbing from 22nd to 10th largest in the world. In 2007, Russia's GDP exceeded that of Russian SFSR in 1990, meaning it has overcome the devastating consequences of the 1998 financial crisis and preceding recession in the 1990s.[16]

During Putin's eight years in office, industry grew by 76%, investments increased by 125%,[16] and agricultural production and construction increased as well. Real incomes more than doubled and the average monthly salary increased sevenfold from $80 to $640.[14][17] From 2000 to 2006 the volume of consumer credit increased 45 times[134][135] and the middle class grew from 8 million to 55 million. The number of people living below the poverty line decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2008.[16][136]

In 2001, Putin, who has advocated liberal economic policies, introduced a flat tax rate of 13%;[137][138] the corporate rate of tax was also reduced from 35 percent to 24 percent;[137] Small businesses also get better treatment. The old system with high tax rates has been replaced by a new system where companies can choose either a 6-percent tax on gross revenue or a 15-percent tax on profits.[137] The overall tax burden is lower in Russia than in most European countries.[139]

A central concept in Putin's economic thinking was the creation of so-called National champions, vertically integrated companies in strategic sectors that are expected not only to seek profit, but also to "advance the interests of the nation". Examples of such companies include Gazprom, Rosneft and United Aircraft Corporation.[140]

Before the Putin era, in 1998, over 60% of industrial turnover in Russia was based on barter and various monetary surrogates. The use of such alternatives to money has now fallen out of favour, boosting economic productivity significantly. Besides raising wages and consumption, Putin's government has received broad praise also for eliminating this problem.[141]

Some oil revenue went to the stabilization fund established in 2004. The fund accumulated oil revenue, allowing Russia to repay all of the Soviet Union's debts by 2005. In early 2008, it was split into the Reserve Fund (designed to protect Russia from possible global financial shocks) and the National Welfare Fund, whose revenues will be used for a pension reform.[16]

Inflation remained a problem however, as between 1999''2007 it was kept at the forecast ceiling only twice, and in 2007 the inflation exceeded that of 2006, continuing an upward trend at the beginning of 2008.[16] The Russian economy is still commodity-driven despite its growth. Payments from the fuel and energy sector in the form of customs duties and taxes accounted for nearly half of the federal budget's revenues. The large majority of Russia's exports are made up of raw materials and fertilizers,[16] although exports as a whole accounted for only 8.7% of the GDP in 2007, compared to 20% in 2000.[142]

In December 2011, after 15 years of negotiations, Russia finally joined the World Trade Organisation. The accession to WTO was expected to be ratified by Russian Parliament in the spring of 2012.

Industrial developmentTo boost the market share of locally produced vehicles and support the Russia's automotive industry, the government under Putin implemented several protectionist measures and launched programs to attract foreign producers into the country. In late 2005, the government enacted legislation to create special economic zones (SEZ) with the aim of encouraging investments by foreign automotive companies. The benefits of operating in the special economic zones include tax allowances, abolishment of asset and land taxes and protection against changes in the tax regime. Some regions also provide extensive support for large investors (over $100 million.) These include Saint Petersburg/Leningrad Oblast, Kaluga Oblast and Kaliningrad Oblast.[143] Under Putin as President and Premier, most of the world's largest automotive companies opened plants in Russia, including Ford Motor Company, Toyota, General Motors, Nissan, Hyundai Motor, Suzuki, Magna International, Scania and MAN SE.

In 2005, Putin initiated an industry consolidation programme to bring the main aircraft producing companies under a single umbrella organization, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The aim was optimize production lines and minimise losses. The programme was divided in three parts: reorganization and crisis management (2007''2010), evolution of existing projects (2010''2015) and further progress within the newly created structure (2015''2025).[144]

The UAC, one of the so-called national champions and comparable to EADS in Europe, enjoyed considerable financial support from the Russian government, and injected money to the companies it had acquired to improve their financial standing. The deliveries of civilian aircraft increased to 6 in 2005, and in 2009 the industry delivered 15 civilian aircraft, worth 12.5 billion roubles, mostly to domestic customers.[145] Since then Russia has successfully tested the fifth generation jet fighter, Sukhoi PAK FA, and started the commercial production of the regional airlinerSukhoi Superjet 100, as well as started developing a number of other major projects.

In a similar fashion, Putin created the United Shipbuilding Corporation in 2007, which led to the recovery[citation needed] of shipbuilding in Russia. Since 2006, much efforts were put into consolidation and development of the Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation, which led to the renewed construction of nuclear power plants in Russia as well as a vast activity of Rosatom abroad, buying huge shares in world's leading uranium production companies and building nuclear power plants in many countries, including Iran, China, Vietnam and Belarus.[citation needed] In 2007, the Russian Nanotechnology Corporation was established, aimed to boost the science and technology and high-tech industry in Russia.[146]

Energy policyIn the 2000s (decade) Russia's oil and gas wealth was transformed into the country's well-being and international influence, and Russia was frequently been described in the media as an energy superpower.[23] Putin oversaw that the growing taxation of oil and gas exports filled in the Russian budget, while oil and gas prices, production, and exports all significantly grew.

Putin sought to Russia's large share on the European energy market by building the submerged gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine and the New Europe (the countries which were often seen as non-reliable transit partners by Russia, especially following Russia-Ukraine gas disputes of the late 2000s (decade)). The pipeline projects backed by Putin include the Blue Stream from Russia to Turkey (build on the Black Sea bed), Nord Stream from Russia to Germany (the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, built through the Baltic Sea) and the planned South Stream from Russia to the Balkans and Italy (via the Black Sea). Russia also undermined the rival pipeline project Nabucco by buying the Turkmen gas and redirecting it into Russian pipelines.

On the other hand Russia diversified its export markets by building the Trans-Siberian oil pipeline to the markets of China, Japan and Korea, as well as the Sakhalin''Khabarovsk''Vladivostok gas pipeline in the Russian Far East. Russia has built LNG plant on Sakhalin and is building another one in Primorye, aiming to increase the overseas gas exports. Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Finland Russia has built a major Ust-Luga port connected to the Baltic Pipeline System-II, which allowed to export oil without transit through the ports of the Baltic states. The share of processed oil slowly grows with major oil refineries being built in Tatarstan and other regions of Russia.

Putin also presided over resuming the construction of major hydropower plants, such as the Bureya Dam and the Boguchany Dam, as well as the restoration of the nuclear industry of Russia, with some 1 trillion rubles ($42.7 billion) allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015.[147] A large number of nuclear power stations and units are currently being constructed by the state corporation Rosatom in Russia and abroad.

Arctic policyPutin has sought to increase Russian military and economic presence in the Arctic. In August 2007, a Russian expedition named Arktika 2007, led by Artur Chilingarov, planted a Russian flag on the seabed below the North Pole to underline Russia's 2001 claim submission.[148][148] In June 2008 General Vladimir Shamanov announced that Russia would increase the operational radius of its Northern Fleet submarines.[149] and in July 2011, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced plans for two brigades to be stationed in the Arctic.[150]

A construction program of floating nuclear power plants will provide power to Russian Arctic coastal cities and gas rigs. A 21,500-ton barge with twin 35-megawatt reactors, the Akademik Lomonosov, will go into operation in 2012.[151][152] The Prirazlomnoye field, an offshore oilfield in the Pechora Sea that will include up to 40 wells, is currently under construction and drilling is expected to start in early 2012. It will have the world's first ice-resistant oil platform and will also be the first offshore Arctic platform.[153][154]

In August 2011 Rosneft, a Russian government-operated oil company, signed a deal with ExxonMobil to receive oil assets in exchange for the joint development of Russian Arctic resources by both companies.[155] The agreement includes a $3.2 billion hydrocarbon exploration of the Kara and Black seas,[156] as well as joint development of ice-resistant drilling platforms and other Arctic technologies.[157] "The scale of the investment is very large. It's scary to utter such huge figures" said Putin on signing the deal.[155]

Environmental policyIn 2004, President Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gases.[158] However Russia did not face mandatory cuts, because the Kyoto Protocol limits emissions to a percentage increase or decrease from 1990 levels and Russia's greenhouse-gas emissions fell well below the 1990 baseline due to a drop in economic output after the breakup of the Soviet Union.[159]

Putin personally supervises and/or promotes a number of protection programmes for rare and endangered animals in Russia:

Religious and national policyOrthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism, defined by law as Russia's traditional religions and a part of Russia's "historical heritage"[164] enjoyed limited state support in the Putin era. The vast construction and restoration of churches, started in 1990s, continued under Putin, and the state allowed the teaching of religion in schools (parents are provided with a choice for their children to learn the basics of one of the traditional religions or secular ethics). His approach to religious policy has been characterised as one of support for religious freedoms, but also the attempt to unify different religions under the authority of the state.[165] In 2012, Putin was honored in Bethlehem and a street was named after him.[166]

Putin regularly attends the most important services of the Russian Orthodox Church on the main Orthodox Christian holidays. He established a good relationship with Patriarchs of the Russian Church, the late Alexy II of Moscow and the current Kirill of Moscow. As President, he took an active personal part in promoting the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, signed 17 May 2007 that restored relations between the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia after the 80-year schism.[167]

Putin and United Russia enjoy high electoral support in the national republics of Russia, in particular in the Muslim-majority republics of Povolzhye and the North Caucasus.

Under Putin, the HasidicFJCR became increasingly influential within the Jewish community, partly due to the influence of Federation-supporting businessmen mediated through their alliances with Putin, notably Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich.[168][168][169] According to the JTA, Putin is popular amongst the Russian Jewish community, who see him as a force for stability. Russia's chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said Putin "paid great attention to the needs of our community and related to us with a deep respect."[170]

Sports developmentOn 4 July 2007 Putin addressed the delegates at the 119th International Olympic Committee Session in Guatemala City on behalf of the successful bid of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Paralympics,[171] the first Winter Olympic Games in Russia. In 2008, the city of Kazan won the bid for the 2013 Summer Universiade, and on 2 December 2010 Russia won the right to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup, also for the first time in Russia.

Other major tournaments which the country has been chosen to host include the 2013 World Championships in Athletics in Moscow and the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Kazan (both events never held in Russia so far), the Russian Grand Prix (a new race of the Formula One since 2014, to be held in Sochi) and the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Military developmentThe resumption of long-distance flights of Russia's strategic bombers was followed by the announcement by Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov during his meeting with Putin on 5 December 2007, that 11 ships, including the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, would take part in the first major navy sortie into the Mediterranean since Soviet times.[172] The sortie was to be backed up by 47 aircraft, including strategic bombers.[173]

While from the early 2000s (decade) Russia started pumping more money into its military and defence industry, it was only in 2008 that the full-scale Russian military reform began, aimed to modernize Russian Armed Forces and made them significantly more effective. The reform was largely carried by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov during Medvedev's Presidency, under supervision of both Putin, as the Head of Government, and Medvedev, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.

Key elements of the reform included reducing the armed forces to a strength of one million; reducing the number of officers; centralising officer training from 65 military schools into 10 'systemic' military training centres; creating a professional NCO corps; reducing the size of the central command; introducing more civilian logistics and auxiliary staff; elimination of cadre-strength formations; reorganising the reserves; reorganising the army into a brigade system; reorganising air forces into an air base system instead of regiments.[174]

The number of Russia's military districts was reduced to just 4. The term of draft service was reduced from two years to one, which put an end to the old harassment traditions in the army, since all conscripts became very close by draft age. The gradual transition to the majority professional army by the late 2010s was announced, and a large programme of supplying the Armed Forces with new military equipment and ships was started. The Russian Space Forces were replaced on 1 December 2011 with the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.

In spite of Putin's call for major investments in strategic nuclear weapons, these will fall well below the New START limits due to the retirement of aging systems.[175]

Foreign policyRelations with NATO and the WestPutin's Russia relationships with NATO and the U.S. have passed several stages. When Putin first became President, the relations were cautious. After the 9/11 attacks when Putin quickly supported U.S. in the War on Terror, the opportunity for partnership appeared.[176] However, the U.S. responded by further expansion of NATO to Russia's borders and by unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.[176] Since 2003, when Russia did not support the Iraq War and when Putin became ever more distant from the West in his internal and external policies, the relations continued to deteriorate. According to Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, the narrative of the mainstream U.S. media, following that of the White House, became profoundly anti-Putin, full of accusations that Putin had caused problems which actually stem from the 1990s, and assertions that Putin was personally responsible for any murders of his Russian political opponents, such as the journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the supposed KGB defector in London, Aleksandr Litvinenko.[176] In an interview with Michael St¼rmer, Putin was quoted saying that there were three questions which most concerned Russia and Eastern Europe; namely the status of Kosovo, the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty and American plans to build missile defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and suggested that all three were some way linked.[177] In Putin's view, concessions on one of these questions on the Western side might be met with concessions from Russia on another.[177]

In February 2007, at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin openly criticized what he called the United States' monopolistic dominance in global relations, and "almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations". He said the result of it is that "no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race."[178] In this speech, which became known as Munich Speech, Putin called for a "fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all".[178] His remarks however were met with criticism by some delegates[179] such as former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who called his speech, "disappointing and not helpful."[180] Previously, in a January 2007 interview Putin said Russia is in favor of a democratic multipolar world and of strengthening the systems of international law.[181] The months following Putin's Munich speech[178] were marked by tension and a surge in rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic. Both Russian and American officials, however, denied the idea of a new Cold War.[182]

Putin publicly opposed plans for the U.S. missile shield in Europe, and presented President George W. Bush with a counterproposal on 7 June 2007 of modernising and sharing the use of the Soviet-era Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan rather than building a new system in the Czech Republic[177] Putin proposed it would not be necessary to place interceptor missiles in Poland then, but interceptors could be placed in NATO member Turkey or Iraq. Putin suggested also equal involvement of interested European countries in the project.[183] The proposal was declined. Russia suspended its participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe on 11 December 2007.[184]

Vladimir Putin strongly opposes the secession of Kosovo from Serbia. He called any support for this act "immoral" and "illegal".[185] He described Kosovo's declaration of independence a "terrible precedent" that will come back to hit the West "in the face".[186] He stated that the Kosovo precedent will de facto destroy the whole system of international relations, developed over centuries.[187]

Putin's relations with former American President George W. Bush, former GermanChancellorGerhard Schr¶der, former French PresidentJacques Chirac, and Italian Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi are reported to be personally friendly. Putin's "cooler" and "more business-like" relationship with Germany's new Chancellor, Angela Merkel is often attributed to Merkel's upbringing in the former DDR, where Putin was stationed when he was a KGB agent.[188]

Relations with the U.K.By mid-2000s (decade), the relations between Russia and the United Kingdom deteriorated when the United Kingdom granted political asylum to Putin's former patron, oligarchBoris Berezovsky in 2003.[189] Berezovsky, located in London, often called for the overthrow of Putin[189] and allegedly directed anti-Putin activities in Russia. The United Kingdom also granted asylum to the Chechen rebel leader Akhmed Zakayev and other people who fled from Russia.

In 2006 it became known that Britain spied on Russia using a fake rock, which was located on a street and contained electronic equipment that allowed British diplomats to receive and transmit information.[190] The Russian security service FSB linked the rock with allegations that British were making secret payments to pro-democracy and human rights groups, and the same year President Putin introduced a law which restricted non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from getting funding from foreign governments. This resulted in many NGOs closing.[190] In 2006, the Russian liberal opposition met the media reports on "spy rock" with contempt, alleging that it was made-up by FSB,[191] but in 2012 Jonathan Powell, ex-chief of staff of the U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, confessed that the story with the rock was true.[190]

The end of 2006 brought very strained relations in the wake of the death by polonium poisoning[192][193] of Alexander Litvinenko in London. Litvinenko's friends Andrei Nekrasov and Alex Goldfarb claimed that Litvinenko had made a statement, in which Putin was accused of directing the assassination.[194][195][196] Critics have doubted that Litvinenko is the true author of the released statement.[197][198][199] When asked about the Litvinenko accusations, Putin said that a statement released after death of its author "naturally deserves no comment", and stated his belief it was being used for political purposes.[200] In 2012, when Litvinenko's widow admitted that her husband had worked for British intelligence services, Litvinenko's father said that the Russian secret services had a right to kill traitors,[192] and regretted "his participation in the smear campaign against Russia in general and [current] Prime Minister Putin in particular".[192]

In 2007, the crisis in relations involved expelling four Russian envoys over Russia's refusal to extradite a former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi to face charges on the alleged murder of Litvinenko,[189] since the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian nationals to third countries. Mirroring the British actions, Russia expelled UK diplomats and announced that it would suspend issuing visas to UK officials and froze cooperation on counterterrorism in response to Britain suspending contacts with their Federal Security Service.[189] Lugovoi subsequently became an MP in the Russian Duma, giving him immunity from prosecution within Russia. On 10 December 2007, the British Ambassador in Moscow, Tony Brenton, reacted by saying: "It is a pity that a man wanted for murder gains political recognition. It does Russia no good at all to have Lugovoy there in the parliament. It continues the suspicion."[201] The same day, Russia ordered the British Council to halt work at its regional offices in the country.[202]

Relations with IndiaDuring his first and second term in office, bilateral trade turnover between India and Russia was modest and stood at US$ 3 billion, of which Indian exports to Russia were valued at US$ 908 million. The major Indian exports to Russia are pharmaceuticals; tea, coffee and spices; apparel and clothing; edible preparations; and engineering goods. Main Indian imports from Russia are iron and steel; fertilisers; non-ferrous metals; paper products; coal, coke & briquettes; cereals; and rubber. Indo-Russian trade is expected to reach US$10 billion by 2010. Putin wrote in an article in the Hindu, "The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step".[203][204]Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also agreed with his counterpart by stated in speech given during President Putin's 2012 visit to India, "President Putin is a valued friend of India and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership".[205] Both countries closely collaborate on matters of shared national interest these include at the UN, BRICS, G20 and SCO where India has observer status and has been asked by Russia to become a full member.[206] Russia also strongly supports India receiving a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. In addition, Russia has vocally backed India joining the NSG[207] and APEC.[208] Moreover, it has also expressed interest in joining SAARC with observer status in which India is a founding member.[209][210]

Russia currently is one of only two countries in the world (the other being Japan) that has a mechanism for annual ministerial-level defence reviews with India.[211] The Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC), which is one of the largest and comprehensive governmental mechanisms that India has had with any country internationally. Almost every department from the Government of India attends it.[211]

Relations with China and SCOPutin's Russia maintains strong and positive relations with other BRIC countries. The country has sought to strengthen ties especially with the People's Republic of China by signing the Treaty of Friendship as well as building the Trans-Siberian oil pipeline geared toward growing Chinese energy needs.[212] The mutual-security cooperation of the two countries and their central Asian neighbours is facilitated by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The announcement made during the SCO summit that Russia resumes on a permanent basis the long-distance patrol flights of its strategic bombers (suspended in 1992)[213][214] in the light of joint Russian-Chinese military exercises, first-ever in history held on Russian territory,[215] made some experts believe that Putin is inclined to set up an anti-NATO bloc or the Asian version of OPEC.[216] When presented with the suggestion that "Western observers are already likening the SCO to a military organisation that would stand in opposition to NATO", Putin answered that "this kind of comparison is inappropriate in both form and substance".[213]

Relations with IranOn 16 October 2007 Putin visited Iran to participate in the Second Caspian Summit in Tehran,[217][218] where he met with Iranian PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad.[219] Other participants were leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.[220] This is the first visit of a Soviet or Russian leader to Iran since Joseph Stalin's participation in the Tehran Conference in 1943.[221] At a press conference after the summit Putin said that "all our (Caspian) states have the right to develop their peaceful nuclear programmes without any restrictions".[222]

Subsequently, under Medvedev's presidency, Iran-Russia relations were uneven: Russia did not fulfill the contract of selling to Iran the S-300, one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently existing. However, Russian specialists completed the construction of Iran and the Middle East's first civilian nuclear power facility, the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, and Russia has continuously opposed the imposition of economic sanctions on Iran by the U.S. and the EU, as well as warning against a military attack on Iran. Putin was quoted as describing Iran as a "partner",[177] though he expressed concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme.[177]

Relations with Australasia, Latin America and othersPutin and his successor Medvedev have enjoyed warm relations with Hugo Chvez of Venezuela. Much of this has been through the sale of military equipment; since 2005, Venezuela has purchased more than $4 billion worth of arms from Russia.[223] In September 2008, Russia sent Tupolev Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela to carry out training flights.[224] In November 2008, both countries held a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean.[225] Earlier in 2000, Putin had re-established stronger ties with Fidel Castro's Cuba.

In September 2007, Putin visited Indonesia and in doing so became the first Russian leader to visit the country in more than 50 years.[226] In the same month, Putin also attended the APEC meeting held in Sydney, Australia where he met with Australian Prime MinisterJohn Howard and signed a uranium trade deal. This was the first visit by a Russian president to Australia.

LibyaIn April 2008, Putin visited Libya where he met the leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country welcomed the idea of creating an OPEC-like group of gas-exporting countries, Putin became first Russian President who visited Libya, he remarked the visit as "We are satisfied about the way in which we resolved this problem. I am absolutely convinced that the solution we have found will help the Russian and Libyan economies."[227] Putin condemned the foreign military intervention of Libya, he called UN resolution as "defective and flawed," and added "It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades.",[228] During the whole event, Putin condemned other steps taken by NATO.[229] Upon the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Putin called it as "planned murder" by US, he asked "They showed to the whole world how he (Gaddafi) was killed," and "There was blood all over. Is that what they call a democracy?"[230][231]

SyriaDmitri Trenin reports in the New York Times that from 2000 to 2010 Russia sold around $1.5 billion worth of arms to Syria, making Damascus Moscow's seventh-largest client.[232] During the 2011-3 Syrian civil war, Russia threatened to veto any sanctions against the Syrian government,[233] and continued to supply arms to the regime.

Putin opposed any foreign intervention. On 1 June 1, 2012, in Paris, he rejected the statement of French PresidentFrancois Hollande who called on Bashar Al-Assad to step down. Putin echoed the argument of the Assad regime that anti-regime ''militants'' were responsible for much of the bloodshed, rather than the shelling by Syrian forces and the civilian killings attributed by survivors and Western governments toregime supporters. He asked "But how many of peaceful people (sic) were killed by so-called militants? Did you count? There are also hundreds of victims." He also talked about previous NATO interventions and their results, and asked "What is happening in Libya, in Iraq? Did they become safer? Where are they heading? Nobody has an answer."[234]

Relations with post-Soviet statesA series of the so-called color revolutions in the post-Soviet states, namely the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005, led to frictions in the relations of those countries with Russia. In December 2004, Putin criticised the Rose and Orange Revolution, according to him: "If you have permanent revolutions you risk plunging the post-Soviet space into endless conflict".[235] During the protests following the 2011 Russian elections (in December 2011) Putin named the Orange Revolution an infamous foreknowledge for Russia.[236]

Apart from a clash of nationalist rhetorics[clarification needed] with the common historical legacies of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire[citation needed], a number of economic disputes erupted between Russia and some neighbours, such as the Russian import ban of Georgian wine. And in some cases, such as the Russia''Ukraine gas disputes, the economic conflicts affected other European countries, for example when a January 2009 gas dispute with Ukraine led state-controlled Russian company Gazprom to halt its deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine,[237] which left a number of European states, to which Ukraine transits Russian gas, to have serious shortages of natural gas in January 2009.[237] In an interview with the German historian Michael St¼rmer about the Russian shut-down of gas to Ukraine in early 2005, Putin linked the shut-down to the Orange revolution, saying: "This has a price [the Orange revolution]. In spite of so much frustration we have stablizied the situation. In old days we concluded agreements with Ukraine year after year, and then included transit fees. The West Europeans had no idea that their energy security was a cliffhanger. By now we have a five-year agreement for transit to the E.U. This is an important step in the direction of European energy security".[177]

The disputes typically arose because of inabilities of Ukraine to pay higher prices for natural gas and pay debts in time. In 2009, the Russia''Ukraine dispute was resolved by a long-term agreement on price formula, agreed by Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister of UkraineYulia Tymoshenko[237][238] (later, when the rising global oil prices prompted the rising gas prizes[239] the agreement turned very unfavourable for Ukraine; in October 2011 Tymoshenko was found guilty of abuse of office when brokering the 2009 deal and was sentenced to seven years in prison).[240]

The plans of Georgia and Ukraine to become members of NATO have caused some tensions between Russia and those states. In 2010, Ukraine did abandon these plans.[241] Putin allegedly declared at a NATO-Russia summit in 2008 that if Ukraine joined NATO Russia could contend to annex the Ukrainian East and Crimea.[242] In public Putin has stated that Russia has no intention of annexing any country.[235]

In August 2008, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili attempted to restore control over the breakaway South Ossetia, claiming this action was in response to Ossetian border attacks on Georgians and to alleged buildups of Russian non-peacekeeping forces. Russian peacekeepers stationed there came under attack during the invasion and fought alongside the South Ossetians as Georgian troops pushed into the province and seized most of the capital of Tskhinvali. However, the Georgian military was soon defeated in the resulting 2008 South Ossetia War after regular Russian forces entered South Ossetia and then Georgia proper, and also opened a second front in the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia together with Abkhazian forces.[243][244] During this conflict, according to high level French diplomat Jean-David Levitte, Putin intended to depose the Georgian PresidentMikheil Saakashvili and declared: "I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls".[245]

Putin blamed the 2008 war and the bad relations between Russia and Georgia as "the result of the policy that the Georgian authorities conducted back then and still attempt to conduct now"; he stated that Georgia is a "brotherly nation that hopefully will finally understand that Russia is not an enemy, but is a friend and the relations will be restored"[246] (one month before Georgian President Saakashvili had stated "Putin has a problem with Georgian people, but not with Georgian government").[247] Putin stated in 2009 Georgia could have kept Abkhazia and South Ossetia "within its territory" if it had treated the residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia "with respect" (he claims they did "the opposite").[248]

The President of Ukraine elected during the Orange Revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, was succeeded in 2010 by Viktor Yanukovych, that led to improved relations with Russia.[249] Russia was able to expand the lease for the base for its Black Sea Fleet base in the Ukrainian city Sevastopol in exchange for lower gas prices for Ukraine (the 2010 Ukrainian''Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty).[250] The President of Kyrgyzstansince 2009, Almazbek Atambayev, wants to guide Kyrgyzstan towards the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and has stated his country has a "common future" with its neighbours and Russia.[251]

Eurasian policyMain article: Eurasian UnionDespite existing or past tensions between Russia and most of the post-Soviet states, Putin has followed the policy of Eurasian integration. The Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia has already brought partial economic unity between the three states, and the proposed Eurasian Union is said to be a continuation of this customs union. A number of other regional organizations also provide the basis for further integration: the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the Eurasian Economic Community of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the Commonwealth of Independent States comprising most of the post-Soviet countries.

On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015.[252] The agreement included the roadmap for the future integration and established the Eurasian Commission (modelled on the European Commission) and the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012.[252][253]

ProgrammesLong-term strategiesThe 2007 election campaign of the United Russia party went under the slogan "Putin's Plan: Russia's Victory". When asked on the "Putin's Plan", Vladimir Putin said that his last five Addresses to the Federal Assembly contained some key parts "devoted to the state's medium-term development", and "if all these key ideas were put together to build a coherent system, it can become the country's development plan in the medium-term."[254]

Later the "Putin's Plan" was transformed into the Strategy 2020, which set the key goals and target figures for Russia's development until 2020. The "Strategy 2020" was first presented by Putin on the Extended Meeting of the State Council on 8 February 2008.[255] It is the second long-term development strategy adopted by the Russian Federation, following the Strategy 2010, which had been made the basis for Russian government programmes in June 2000 and was largely fulfilled by 2010.[256]

Programme articlesPutin has published articles in the Russian press on a number of occasions, in particularly before and during his 2012 presidential campaign. Soon after the announcement that he would run for another Presidency on 24 September 2011, in his article called "New Integration Project for Eurasia '' A Future That Is Being Born Today"[257] (Ð'овый интеÐ"Ñационный ÐÑоект дÐ>>я ЕвÑазии '' будущее, котоÑое Ñождается сеÐ"одня[258]), published by Izvestiya on 3 October, he brought to attention the idea of the Eurasian Union, composed of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and possibly other post-Soviet states[259][260] (the concept was first proposed by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, during a 1994 speech at a Moscow university).[261] This publication was soon followed by the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signing an agreement on 18 November 2011 which established the Eurasian Commission (modeled on the European Commission) from 1 January 2012 and set a target of establishing the Eurasian Union (modeled on the European Union) by 2015.[253]

In the course of the 2012 presidential campaign, in order to present his election program, Putin published 7 articles in different Russian editions. In those articles, he presented his vision of the problems which Russia successfully solved in the last decade and the goals yet to be achieved. The topics of the articles were as follows: the general overview, the ethnicity issue, economic tasks, democracy and government efficiency, social policy, military, foreign policy.[262]

Speeches and catch phrasesAddresses to the Federal AssemblyDuring his terms in office Putin has made eight annual addresses to the Federal Assembly of Russia,[263] speaking on the situation in Russia and on guidelines of the internal and foreign policy of the State (as prescribed in Article 84 of the Constitution[264]).

Speeches abroadOne of the most important and widely publicized speeches of Putin made abroad was made on 10 February 2007 on the Munich Conference on Security Policy, and hence became known as the Munich speech. It was dubbed by the press to be "the turning point of the Russian foreign policy", and western observers called it the most tough speech from a leader of Russia since the time of the Cold War.[265] The speech was also seen as been made by Putin to openly assert the new (old) role of Russia in the international politics, the role close to that of the Soviet Union and the return to which role is seen as one of the achievements of Putin's Presidency.[265]

In the Munich speech Putin called to uphold the principle "security for everyone is security for all", criticized the policies of the United States and NATO, condemned the unipolar model of international relations as flawed and lacking moral basis, condemned the hypocrisy of countries trying to teach democracy to Russia, condemned the domination of hard power and enforcement by the U.S. of the Western norms and laws to other countries bypassing the international law and substituting the United Nations by NATO or the EU.[265] Putin also called to stop the militarization of space and questioned the plans to deploy American missile defense in Europe as threatening strategic nuclear balance and spurring new arms race (that's when the countries dubbed as rogue states by the West are in fact lacking any rocket weapons capable to threaten Europe or the U.S. and being unable to develop such weapons any time soon).[265] His speech was criticized by some attendant delegates at the conference, including former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who called it "disappointing and not helpful."[180]

On 4 July 2007 Putin made a full fluent English speech while addressing delegates at the 119th International Olympic Committee Session in Guatemala City on behalf of the successful bid of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Olympic Games in Russia.[171]

Outdoor speechesNotable Putin's outdoor speeches include his addresses during the Victory DayMoscow Military Parades one every 9 May in the years between 2000 and 2007. Under Putin's presidency and premiership, the old Soviet tradition of 9 May Parades, which had been in decline in 1990s, was gradually restored in full grandeur. Since the 2008 Moscow Victory Day Parade the armoured fighting vehicles resumed regular taking part in the Red Square parades. Putin often used the Victory Day occasion to discuss Russia's military development and Russia's security and foreign affairs. For example, he said on 9 May 2007 that "threats are not becoming fewer but are only transforming and changing their appearance. These new threats, just as under the Third Reich, show the same contempt for human life and the same aspiration to establish an exclusive dictate over the world."[267]

During his 2012 presidential campaign Putin made a single outdoor public speech at the 100,000-strong rally of his supporters in the Luzhniki Stadium on 23 February, Russia's Defender of the Fatherland Day.[103] In the speech he called not to betray the Motherland, but to love her, to unite around Russia and to work together for the good, to overcome the existing problems.[268] He said that the foreign interference into Russian affairs should not be allowed, that Russia has its own free will. He compared the political situation at the moment (when fears were spread in the Russian society that 2011''2012 Russian protests could instigate a color revolution directed from abroad) with the First Fatherland War of 1812, reminding that its 200th anniversary and the anniversary of the Battle of Borodino would be celebrated in 2012.Putin cited Lermontov's poem Borodino and ended the speech with Vyacheslav Molotov's famous Great Patriotic War slogan "The Victory Shall Be Ours!" ("Победа будет за нами!").[103][268]

On the post-election celebration rally, while making an acceptance speech, Putin was for the first time ever seen with tears in his eyes (later he explained that "it was windy"). He said to a 110,000-strong audience: "I told you we would win and we won!"[102][269]

PutinismsAlluding to Rudyard Kipling's python Kaa, Putin addresses the Russian non-systemic opposition, who, according to him, work for foreign interests: Come to me, Bandar-logs![270]Putin has produced a large number of popular aphorisms and catch-phrases, known as putinisms.[271] Many of them were first made during his annual Q&A conferences, where Putin answered questions from journalists and other people in the studio, as well as from Russians throughout the country, who either phoned in or spoke from studios and outdoor sites across Russia. Putin is known for his often tough and sharp language.[271] The examples of most popular putinisms include:[272]

Ð'очить в соÑтиÑе '' To bump off in a toilet. One of the earliest "putinisms", made in September 1999, when he promised to destroy terrorists wherever they were found, including in toilets.[272] In 2010, Putin also promised to pluck out the remaining terrorists from the bottom of a sewer (выковыÑять со дна канаÐ>>изации).[273]Она утонуÐ>>а '' She sank. Putin's short answer to a question from Larry King in September 2000 asking what happened to the Russian submarine K-141 Kursk.[272] Many criticized Putin for the cynicism perceived in this answer. This curt reply also spawned a new kind of joke based on giving one short, self-evident answer (including a verb in past tense) to a "What has happened with..?" question.[citation needed]ПахаÐ>>, как Ñаб на Ð"аÐ>>еÑах '' literally, Ploughed like a slave on a galley (the Russian verb Ðахать also has the general meaning of "to do hard work"). This is how Putin described his work as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008 during a Q&A conference in February 2008.[271] Not only did the phrase itself became popular, but a wrong reading of it'--как Ñаб ("like a slave") in Russian sounds almost identical to как кÑаб ("like a crab")'--led to the appearance of a popular Internet nickname for Putin, "Crabbe" (Russian: КÑабе), while Dmitry Medvedev was (for some reason) similarly nicknamed Shmele (Russian: ШмеÐ>>е, a non-existent vocative form of ÑмеÐ>>ÑŒ, meaning "bumblebee").[274]От меÑтвоÐ"о осÐ>>а уÑи '' Ears of a dead ass. According to Putin, that was what Latvia would receive instead of the western Pytalovsky District of Russia claimed by Latvia in a territorial dispute stemming from the Soviet border redrawing.[271] On 27 March 2007 Russia and Latvia signed the treaty on state border, in which Latvia renounced its territorial claims.[275]ШакаÐ>>ить у иностÑанных ÐосоÐ>>ьств '' Jackaling at foreign embassies. Putin's view of the Russian "non-systemic opposition": characterising them as having minimal support among the population, he says that they turn to asking for money and support from foreign governments.[276]Как минимум Ð"осудаÑственный деятеÐ>>ÑŒ доÐ>>жен иметь Ð"оÐ>>ову. '' At the very least, a state leader should have a head. Putin's response to Hillary Clinton's claim that Putin has no soul. He also recommended that international relations be built without emotion and instead on the basis of the fundamental interests of the states involved.[272]Ручку веÑните '' Return my pen. A phrase said by Putin to the industrial oligarch Oleg Deripaska, after Deripaska was forced by Putin to sign, using Putin's pen, an agreement aimed at resolving a socio-economic crisis in the monograd of Pikalyovo on 4 June 2009, which had escalated after the different owners of the aluminum oxide plant and connected enterprises in the town did not pay their workers' salaries and were unable to negotiate the terms on which the local industrial complex would work. Putin came to the scene personally to conduct the negotiations.[277]Shearing a pig- On 25 June 2013, Vladimir Putin revealed the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden is indeed in a Moscow airport, ending a global guessing game over the US fugitive's whereabouts. Putin lashed out at US accusations that the Russia was harbouring a fugitive, saying "I'd rather not deal with such questions, because anyway it's like shearing a pig '' lots of screams but little wool". [278]Public imageRatings and pollsAccording to public opinion surveys conducted by NGO Levada Center, Putin's approval rating was 81% in June 2007, and the highest of any leader in the world.[279] His popularity rose from 31% in August 1999 to 80% in November 1999, never dropping below 65% during his first Presidency.[280] In January 2013, his approval rating fell to 62%, the lowest point since 2000 and a ten-point drop over two years.[281] Observers see Putin's high approval ratings as a consequence of the significant improvements in living standards and Russia's reassertion of itself on the world scene that occurred during his tenure as President.[282][283][dead link] One analysis attributed Putin's popularity, in part, to state-owned or state-controlled television.[284]

A joint poll by World Public Opinion in the US and Levada Center [285] in Russia around June''July 2006 stated that "neither the Russian nor the American publics are convinced Russia is headed in an anti-democratic direction" and "Russians generally support Putin's concentration of political power and strongly support the re-nationalization of Russia's oil and gas industry." Russians generally support the political course of Putin and his team.[286] A 2005 survey showed that three times as many Russians felt the country was "more democratic" under Putin than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years, and the same proportion thought human rights were better under Putin than Yeltsin.[284]

AssessmentsPutin was Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2007.[287] In April 2008, Putin was put on the Time100 most influential people in the world list.[288]

On 4 December 2007, at Harvard University, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev credited Putin with having "pulled Russia out of chaos" and said he was "assured a place in history", despite Gorbachev's claim that the news media have been suppressed and that election rules run counter to the democratic ideals he has promoted".[289] In December 2011, amid the protests following the 2011 Russian elections Gorbachev criticized Putin for a decision to seek the third term in the presidential elections and advised Putin to leave politics. Putin's press spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on Gorbachev's expressions as following: "A former leader, who was basically responsible for the dissolution of his country, gives advice to the person, who could prevented Russia from a similar destiny".[290]

Criticism of Putin has been spread especially over the Runet.[291] It is said that the Russian youth organisations finance a full "network" of pro-government bloggers.[292]

In the U.S. embassy cables, published by WikiLeaks in late 2010, Putin was called "alpha dog" and compared with Batman (while Dmitry Medvedev was compared with Batman's crime-fighting partner Robin). American diplomats said Putin's Russia had become "a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a "virtual mafia state."[293][294] Putin called it "slanderous".[295]

By western commentators and the Russian opposition, Putin has been described as a dictator.[8][296] Putin biographer Masha Gessen has stated that "Putin is a dictator," comparing him to Alexander Lukashenko.[9][297] Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband has described Putin as a "ruthless dictator" whose "days are numbered."[10] U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Putin "a real threat to the stability and peace of the world."[298]

In the fall of 2011, the anti-Putin opposition movement in Russia became more visible, with street protests against allegedly falsified parliamentary elections (in favor of Putin's party, United Russia) cropping up across major Russian cities. Following Putin's re-election in March 2012, the movement struggled to redefine its new course of action.[299]

BrandsPutin's name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding.[300] Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTin brand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putinacaviar and a collection of T-shirts with his image.[301]

Adventures and imagePutin often supports an outdoor, sporting, tough guy image in the media, demonstrating his physical capabilities and taking part in unusual or dangerous acts, such as extreme sports and interaction with wild animals.[302] For example, in 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a bare-chested Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: "Be Like Putin."[303] Such photo ops are part of a public relations approach that, according to Wired, "deliberately cultivates the macho, take-charge superhero image".[300] Other notable examples of Putin's macho adventures include:[304]

Flying military jets. Putin flew a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter over Chechnya in 2000 and a Tu-160 supersonic heavy bomber on 16 August 2005 at MAKS Airshow.[304]Martial arts. Putin demonstrated his martial art skills on a tatami at the Kodokan Institute in Tokyo on 5 September 2000 and has subsequently made further demonstrations.[304]Adventures in the wild. On his trip to Tuva in August 2007, Putin was riding horses, rafting, fishing and swimming in a cold Siberian river (doing all that mostly bare-chested).[303] In August 2009 Putin repeated the experience.[305]Descending in a deepwater submersible. On 1 August 2009 Putin descended 1395 m to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake, on a MIR submersible accompanied by deepwater explorer Anatoly Sagalevich (who had been among the team which had reached the bottom at the North Pole in the Arktika 2007 expedition). From the bottom of Baikal Putin spoke to journalists via hydrophone.[306]Tranquilizing tigers. In 2008 Putin visited the Ussuri national park, where he sedated an Amur tiger with a tranquiliser gun and then helped measure its teeth and fit it with a tracker.[303] Claims were made later that the tiger was actually from the Khabarovsk Zoo and that it died soon after the stunt, but the suspected tiger named by the Khabarovsk Zoo workers[307] was found in late 2009 in Zelenogorsk,[308] while the claims of a stunt were denied by the scientists who organized the "safari".[309]Tranquilizing polar bears. In April 2010 Putin traveled to Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, where he tranquilized a polar bear and attached a satellite tag to him.[310]Riding a motorbike. In July 2010 Putin appeared at a Bikers festival in Sevastopol riding a Harley-Davidson tricycle; the high council of Russian bikers movements unanimously voted him into a Hells Angel rank with the nickname of Abaddon.[304][311] Putin's associations with motorcycle gangs led to him being accidentally placed on a blacklist of banned people in Finland.[312]Firefighting from the air. In August 2010, Russian TV broadcasted video of Putin co-piloting a firefighting plane Beriev Be-200 to dump water on a raging fire during the 2010 Russian wildfires.[300][304]Shooting darts at whales. In late August 2010 Putin shot darts from a crossbow at a gray whale off Kamchatka Peninsula coast as part of an eco-tracking effort, while balancing on a rubber boat in the sea.[304][313]Driving a race car. Putin tested a Formula 1 car on 7 November 2010 in Saint Petersburg, reaching a maximum speed of 240 km per hour.[304][314]Scuba diving. Putin took part in scuba diving at the archaeological site of the ancient Greek colony of Phanagoria in the Taman Bay on 11 August 2011.[315] During the dive he "discovered" two amphorae and emerged from the sea exclaiming to television cameras "Treasure!" In October 2011, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told media: "Putin did not find the amphorae on the sea bed that had been lying there for thousands of years [...] They were found during an [archaeological] expedition several weeks or days beforehand. Of course they were then left there [for him to find] or placed there. It is a completely normal thing to do."[316]Leading endangered cranes. Putin attempted to help endangered Siberian cranes begin their migration routes by leading them through the air in a motorized hang glider. Initially, the birds did not follow him. Putin blamed this outcome on strong winds.[317]Singing and paintingOn 11 December 2010, at a concert organized for a children's charity in Saint Petersburg, Putin sang Blueberry Hill accompanying himself on the piano. The concert was attended by various Hollywood and European stars such as Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, Alain Delon, and Gerard Depardieu.[318][319] At the same event Putin played "РчеÐ"о начинается Родина?" (From What the Motherland Begins?, a patriotic song from Putin's favourite spy movie "Ð(C)ит и меч", The Shield and the Sword).[319] Putin also played or sang that song on a number of other occasions,[320] such as a meeting with the Russian spies deported from the U.S., including Anna Chapman.[321] Another melody which Putin is known to play on the piano is the Anthem of Saint Petersburg, his native city.[322]

Putin's painting "Ð£Ð·Ð¾Ñ Ð½Ð° заиндевевÑем окне" (A Pattern on a Hoarfrost-Encrusted Window), which he had painted during the Christmas Fair on 26 December 2008, became the top lot at the charity auction in Saint Petersburg and sold for 37 million rubles.[323] The picture was made for a series of other paintings by famous Russians. The painters were required to illustrate one of the letters of the Russian alphabet with a subject connected to Nikolay Gogol's novel Christmas Eve (the 200th anniversary from Gogol's birth was celebrated in 2008). Putin's picture depicted a hoarfrost pattern (Russian: УзоÑ, illustrating the Cyrillic letter У) on a window with curtains sewn with traditional Ukrainian ornaments.[323] The creation of the painting coincided with the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas dispute, which left a number of European states without Russian gas and amid January frosts.[237]

In popular cultureA Russian movie called A Kiss not for Press was premiered in 2008 on DVD. The movie is said to be based on biography of Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila.[324]Dobby, a house elf from Harry Potter film series, has been found to look like Putin,[325] and so was also Daniel Craig in his role of James Bond (he was the first blond actor to play James Bond).[326]

There are a large number of songs about Putin.[327] Some of the more popular include:

ÐакоÐ"о, как Путин '' "[I Want] A Man Like Putin" by Singing Together[328]Ð'оÑоскоР(Путин, не ссы!) '' "Horoscope (Putin, Don't Piss!)" by Uma2rman[329]Ð'Ð'П '' "VVP" by a Tajik singer Tolibjon Kurbankhanov (ÐоÐ>>ибджон КуÑбанханов)[330][331]Our Madhouse is Voting for Putin by Working Faculty.Putin also is a subject of Russian jokes and chastushki, such as the popular "[Before Putin] There Was No Orgasm" featured in the comedy film The Day of Elections.[332] There is a meta-joke, that since the coming of Putin to power, all the classic jokes about a smart yet rude boy called Ð'овочка (Vovochka, diminutive from Vladimir) have suddenly become political jokes.

Putin features in the colouring book for children Vova and Dima (presented on his 59th birthday),[333] where he and Dmitry Medvedev are drawn as good-behaving little boys, and in the Superputin online comics series, where Putin and Medvedev are portrayed first as superheroes,[300] and then as a troll and an orc in the World of Warcraft.[334]

Vladimir Putin was portrayed by internet personality Nice Peter in his Youtube series Epic Rap Battles of History, in Season 2's finale episode, "Rasputin vs. Stalin" (aired on April 22, 2013).[335]

Personal lifeFamilyOn 28 July 1983 Putin married Kaliningrad-born Lyudmila Shkrebneva, at that time an undergraduate student of the Spanish branch of the Philology Department of the Leningrad State University and a former Aeroflotflight attendant. They lived together in Germany from 1985 to 1990. During this time, according to BND archives, a German spy befriended Putina, who said that Putin beat her and had love affairs.[336] When the couple left Germany in 1990 it was rumoured that Putin left behind an illegitimate child.[336] Putina is now rarely seen with Putin[337][338] and there have been rumours, according to the Daily Mail and other newspapers, that the couple have separated.[337][338][339] Putin has been linked by newspapers with other women, including gymnast Alina Kabayeva[337][338] and ex-spy Anna Chapman.[339][340] These rumours have been denied.[341][342] Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, announced on June 6, 2013 that their marriage is over, ending years of speculation about their relationship. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no official divorce had been drawn up yet, and he did not know when it would be, but he attached little importance to the formality.[343]

Putin and his wife have two daughters, Mariya Putina (born 28 April 1985 in Leningrad, Soviet Union) and Yekaterina Putina (born 31 August 1986 in Dresden, East Germany). The daughters grew up in East Germany[344] and attended the German School in Moscow until his appointment as Prime Minister. After that they studied international economics at the Finance Academy in Moscow, although it was not officially reported due to security reasons.[citation needed] According to the Daily Mail, their photographs have never been published by the Russian media, and no family portrait has ever been issued.[339] According to an article in the newspaper De Pers Mariya is married to the Dutchman Jorrit Faassen.[345][346] Today they live in Voorschoten, Netherlands.[347]

Personal wealth and residencesFigures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin's wealth at approximately 3.7 million rubles ($150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, 260 shares of Bank Saint Petersburg (with a December 2007 market price $5.36 per share[348]) and two 1960s-era Volga M21 cars that he inherited from his father and does not register for on-road use. In 2012 Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($113,000). This has led opponents, such as politician Boris Nemtsov, to question how Putin can afford certain possessions, such as his 11 luxury watches worth an estimated $700,000.[349]

Putin's purported 2006 income totalled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000).[351] According to the data Putin did not make it into the 100 wealthiest Duma candidates of his own United Russia party.[352]

Unconfirmed claims by some Russian opposition politicians and journalists allege that Putin secretly possesses a large fortune (as much as $40 billion) via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies.[353][354] Asked at a press conference on 14 February 2008 whether he was the richest person in Europe, as some newspapers claimed; and if so, to state the source of his wealth, Putin said "This is plain chatter, not worthy discussion, plain bosh. They have picked this in their noses and have smeared this across their pieces of paper. This is how I view this."[355]

As President and then Prime-Minister, apart from the Moscow Kremlin and the White House, Putin has used numerous official residences throughout the country. In August 2012 Nemtsov listed 20 villas and palaces, 9 of which were built during Putin's 12 years in power. This compares to the President of the United States' 2 official residences.[356] Some of the residences include: Gorki-9 near Moscow, Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Dolgiye Borody in Novgorod Oblast, Novo-Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast and Riviera in Sochi (the latter two were left for Putin when he was Prime-Minister in 2008-2012, others were used by Dmitry Medvedev at that period).[357] Furthermore, a massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged USD 1 billion[350] and dubbed "Putin's Palace" is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. The mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, is said to have been built for Putin's private use. In 2012 Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin's, told the BBC's Newsnight programme, that he had been ordered by deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, to oversee the building of it.[358]

LanguagesApart from Russian, Putin speaks fluent German. His family used to speak German at home as well.[359] After becoming President he was reported to be taking English lessons and could be seen conversing directly with Bush and native speakers of English in informal situations, but he continues to use interpreters for formal talks. Putin spoke English in public for the first time during the state dinner in Buckingham Palace in 2003 saying but a few phrases while delivering his condolences to Queen Elizabeth II on the death of her mother.[360] He made a full fluent English speech while addressing delegates at the 119th International Olympic Committee Session in Guatemala City on behalf of the successful bid of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.[171]

ReligionPutin's father was "a model communist, genuinely believing in its ideals while trying to put them into practice in his own life". With this dedication he became secretary of the Party cell in his workshop and then after taking night classes joined the factory's Party bureau.[361] Though his father was a "militant atheist",[362] Putin's mother "was a devoted Orthodox believer". Though she kept no icons at home, she attended church regularly, despite the government's persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church at that time. She ensured that Putin was secretly christened as a baby and she regularly took him to services. His father knew of this but turned a blind eye.[361]

According to Putin's own statements, his religious awakening followed the serious car crash of his wife in 1993, and was deepened by a life-threatening fire that burned down their dacha in August 1996.[362] Right before an official visit to Israel his mother gave him his baptismal cross telling him to get it blessed "I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since."[361] When asked whether he believes in God during his interview with Time, he responded saying: "...There are things I believe, which should not in my position, at least, be shared with the public at large for everybody's consumption because that would look like self-advertising or a political striptease."[363]

Martial artsOne of Putin's favorite sports is the martial art of judo. Putin began training in sambo (a martial art that originated in the Soviet Union) at the age of 14, before switching to judo, which he continues to practice today.[364] Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championships of Leningrad in both sambo and judo. He is the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same Saint Petersburg dojo he practiced at when young. Putin co-authored a book on his favorite sport, published in Russian as Judo with Vladimir Putin and in English under the title Judo: History, Theory, Practice (2004).[365]

Though he is not the first world leader to practice judo, Putin is the first leader to move forward into the advanced levels. Currently, Putin holds a 6th dan (red/white belt)[366] and is best known for his Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw). Putin earned Master of Sports (Soviet and Russian sport title) in judo in 1975 and in sambo in 1973. At a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute, the judo headquarters, where he showed different judo techniques to the students and Japanese officials.

Putin also holds a 6th dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikankarate. He was presented the black belt in December 2009 by Japanese champion Kyokushin Karate-Do master Hatsuo Royama.[367]

In 2013, Putin re-introduced the GTO physical fitness program to Russia[368] with the support of Steven Seagal.[369][370]

Other sportsPutin often is seen on outdoor activities with Dmitry Medvedev, promoting sports and healthy way of life among Russians: they were seen alpine skiing in Krasnaya Polyana,[371] playing badminton, cycling and fishing.[372] Putin also started to learn ice skating and playing ice hockey after he promised to do so on a meeting with the Russia men's national junior ice hockey team who had won the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.[373] Putin also enjoys watching football and supports FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, the main team of his native city.

PetsPutin owns a female black Labrador Retriever named Koni, given as a gift in 2000 by General of the Army and Russia's Minister of Emergency SituationsSergey Shoigu. Koni is often seen at Putin's side and has been known to accompany him into staff meetings and greet world leaders. In 2003 on the day of the Russian legislative election, Koni gave birth to eight pups, which were later given as presents to Russian citizens, politicians and foreign ambassadors.[375] Koni gained additional fame in 2004 when Detskaya Literatura, the largest Russian publisher of children's books, published a book entitled Connie's Stories.[376] In 2008 Koni became the first recipient of a GLONASS-enabled pet collar, highlighting the progress of the Russian global navigation satellite system.[377]

In 2010 Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov gave Putin a Karakachan dog who was then named Buffy according to a suggestion by a five-year old boy from Moscow, Dima Sokolov.[378]

RecognitionIn September 2006, France's president Jacques Chirac awarded Vladimir Putin the Grand-Croix (Grand Cross) of the L(C)gion d'honneur, the highest French decoration, to celebrate his contribution to the friendship between the two countries. This decoration is usually awarded to the heads of state considered very close to France.[379]In 2007, Putin was named Time magazine'sPerson of the Year.On 12 February 2007 SaudiKing Abdullah awarded Putin the King Abdul Aziz Award, Saudi Arabia's top civilian decoration.[380]On 10 September 2007 UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan awarded Putin the Order of Zayed, the UAE's top civil decoration.[381]In December 2007 Putin was named Person of the Year by Expert magazine, an influential and respected Russian business weekly.[382]On 5 October 2008 the central street of Grozny, the capital of Russia's Republic of Chechnya, was renamed from the Victory Avenue to the Vladimir Putin Avenue, as ordered by the Chechen PresidentRamzan Kadyrov.[383]In February 2011 Kyrgyzstan parliament named a peak in Tian Shan mountains Vladimir Putin Peak.[384]On 15 November 2011 the China International Peace Research Center awarded the Confucius Peace Prize to Putin, citing as reason Putin's opposition to NATO's Libya bombing in 2011 while also paying tribute to his decision to go to war in Chechnya in 1999.[385] According to the committee, Putin's "Iron hand and toughness revealed in this war impressed the Russians a lot, and he was regarded to be capable of bringing safety and stability to Russia".[386]In 2011, the University of Belgrade awarded Putin an honorary doctorate.[387]References and notes^Hale, Henry E.; Timothy J. Colton (8 September 2009). "Russians and the Putin-Medvedev "Tandemocracy": A Survey-Based Portrait of the 2007-08 Election Season". The National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (Seattle, WA: University of Washington). Retrieved 15 March 2012. ^"Putin Hails Vote Victory, Opponents Cry Foul". En.rian.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Elections in Russia: World Awaits for Putin to Reclaim the Kremlin". The World Reporter. March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03. ^Treisman, D. "Is Russia's Experiment with Democracy Over?". UCLA International Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2007. ^Democracy Index 2011, http://www.sida.se/Global/About%20Sida/S¥%20arbetar%20vi/EIU_Democracy_Index_Dec2011.pdf^Harding, Luke (1 December 2010). "WikiLeaks cables condemn Russia as 'mafia state'". The Guardian (London). ^Stephen Holmes, Fragments of a Defunct State, London Review of Books^ abAndrew Osborn (25 September 2011). "Fears Vladimir Putin will turn Russia into outright dictatorship". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 September 2011. ^ abStephen Romei (18 May 2012). "Putin the elected dictator is doomed, biographer claims". The Australian. Retrieved 18 May 2012. ^ ab"David Miliband: Vladimir Putin Is A 'Ruthless Dictator'". Huffington Post. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012. ^McFaul, Michael; Stoner-Weiss, Kathryn (2010). "Elections and Voters". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave McMillan. p. 72. ISBN 9780230224490. ^Krone-Schmalz, Gabriele (2008). "Der Pr¤sident". Was passiert in Russland? (in German) (4 ed.). M¼nchen: F.A. Herbig. ISBN 978-3-7766-2525-7. ^ abGuriev, Sergei; Tsyvinski, Aleh (2010). "Challenges Facing the Russian Economy after the Crisis". In Anders …slund, Sergei Guriev, Andrew C. Kuchins. Russia After the Global Economic Crisis. Peterson Institute for International Economics; Centre for Strategic and International Studies; New Economic School. pp. 12''13. ISBN 9780881324976. ^ ab"Russians weigh Putin's prot(C)g(C)". Moscow. Associated Press. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-29. ^of Russia from 1992 to 2007International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 12 May 2008^ abcdefg"Russia's economy under Vladimir Putin: achievements and failures". En.rian.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^ abPutin's Economy '' Eight Years On. Russia Profile, 15 August 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2008^"Oil & Natural Gas Sector in Russia: Fueling Growth". Thomas White Intl. January 2011. ^"Russian Economic Report". World Bank. November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11. ^ ab"The Putin Paradox". Americanprogress.org. 24 June 2004. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^Rutland, Peter (2005). "Putin's Economic Record". In White, Gitelman, Sakwa. Developments in Russian Politics6. Duke University Press. ISBN 0822335220. ^ abcSharlet, Robert (2005). "In Search of the Rule of Law". In White, Gitelman, Sakwa. Developments in Russian Politics6. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3522-0. ^ abRussia, China in Deal On Refinery, Not Gas by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen. The Wall Street Journal, 22 September 2010^ПОÐÐУПЛЕÐ'ÐЕ ÐÐ'ОÐÐРАÐ'Ð'ÐÐ¥ ÐÐ'Ð'ЕÐÐÐÐ...ÐРПО ÐÐПАÐ'Rosstat^Biography at the Russia's Prime Minister web site[dead link], in Russian^ abFirst Person. trans. Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. PublicAffairs. 2000. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-58648-018-9. ^First Person An Astonishingly Frank Self-Portrait by Russia's President Vladimir Putin The New York Times, 2000^Putin's Obscure Path From KGB to Kremlin Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2000^Portrait of the Young Vladimir Putin Newsweek and the Daily Beast, February 20, 2012^(Sakwa 2008, p. 2)^"Prime Minister". Russia.rin.ru. Retrieved 2011-09-24. ^theme: Russian: ПÑинциРнаибоÐ>>ее бÐ>>аÐ"оÐÑиятствуемой нации>>Ð'Ñ‹Ðускники за 1975 Ð"од.[dead link]Saint Petersburg State University's website. ("The principle of most favored nation").^Mehdi, Ahmed (6 May 2012). "Putin's Gazprom Problem". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 11 May 2012. ^Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½. От ПеÑвоÐ"о Лица. Chapter 6^ abcdPribylovsky, Vladimir (2010). "Valdimir Putin". Ð'Ð>>асть-2010 (60 биоÐ"ÑаÑий) (in Russian). Moscow: Panorama. pp. 132''139. ISBN 978-5-94420-038-9. ^(Sakwa 2008, pp. 8''9)^ abHoffman, David (30 January 2000). "Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB". The Washington Post. ^"Putin set to visit Dresden, the place of his work as a KGB spy, to tend relations with Germany". International Herald Tribune. 9 October 2006. ^ abSakwa, Richard (2007). Putin : Russia's Choice (2nd ed. ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 9780415407656. Retrieved 11 June 2012. ^R. Sakwa Putin: Russia's Choice, pp. 10-11^R. Sakwa Putin: Russia's Choice, p. 11^Kovalev, Vladimir (23 July 2004). "Uproar At Honor For Putin". The Saint Petersburg Times. ^Hoffman, David (30 January 2000). "Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB". The Washington Post. ^Putin's Name Surfaces in German Probe by Catherine Belton^Walsh, Nick Paton (29 February 2004). "The Man Who Wasn't There". The Observer.^ ab"Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½: от ассистента Ðобчака до и.о. ÐÑемьеÑа" (in Russian). GAZETA.RU. ^"ПУÐÐÐ' '-- КАÐ'Ð--ÐÐ--АРÐ'АУК" (in Russian). zavtra.ru. 24 May 2000. ^ ab"It All Boils Down to Plagiarism". Cdi.org. 31 March 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^ abMaxim Shishkin, Dmitry Butrin; Mikhail Shevchuk. "The President as Candidate". Kommersant. Retrieved 30 March 2010. ^Brookings Senior Fellow Clifford Gaddy: "The dissertation itself has something like 180 pages of text....About 16 pages of text come straight out of King and Cleland, with no footnotes, no quotation marks, and never in the text are the names King and Cleland ever mentioned. Moreover, this material that comes directly from King and Cleland is from the very first sentence of chapter two, the chapter on strategic planning, taken straight from the book. So there's no original introduction by Mr. Putin that then gets into this. So clearly the reader assumes these are the thoughts, the ideas of the author of the dissertation. Speaking as a professor, you can't do this; this is not the way you do it. This is plagiarism. If you want to include this much of a work, which is probably too much under any circumstances, you must put quotation marks around it, you must acknowledge that these authors did all this thinking. These are elementary steps that you must take. But it wasn't done. So I think this would classify as plagiarism at any university around the world that's adhering to international standards, commonly accepted standards. It's definitely plagiarism. The next question of course is: was it intentional plagiarism, or what was it all about? And that's always the question with plagiarism. In this case, I don't think it was really intentional in the sense that if you had wanted to hide where the text came from you wouldn't even list this work in the bibliography."^The Half-Decay Products (in Russian) by Oleg Odnokolenko. Itogi, #47(545), 2 January 2007.^"Text of Yeltsin's speech in English". BBC News. 9 August 1999. Retrieved 2007-05-31. ^Yeltsin redraws political map BBC, 10 August 1999^"Yeltsin's man wins approval". BBC News. 1999-08-16. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Richard Sakwa Putin: Russia's choice, 2008. p. 20.^Political groups and parties: Unity[dead link] Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt^УКАЗ от 31 декабÑя 1999 Ð". '– 1763 О Ð'АРАÐ'ÐÐЯХ ПРЕЗÐÐ--ЕÐ'ÐУ РОÐÐÐÐÐКОРФЕÐ--ЕРАÐ...ÐÐ, ПРЕКРАÐÐÐ'ШЕÐ'У ÐÐПОЛÐ'ЕÐ'ÐЕ ÐÐ'ОÐÐ¥ ПОЛÐ'ОÐ'ОЧÐÐ, РЧЛЕÐ'АÐ' ЕÐ'О ÐЕÐ'ЬÐ.Rossiyskaya Gazeta^АÐ>>ÐµÐºÑÐ°Ð½Ð´Ñ ÐšÐ¾Ð>>есниченко. "РазвÑащение>> ÐеÑвоÐ"о Ð>>ица. Ð'осдума не ÑеÑиÐ>>ась Ðокуситься на неÐÑикосновенность экс-ÐÑезидента". Newizv.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Person of the Year 2007: A Tsar Is Born by Adi Ignatius, (page 4). Retrieved 19 November 2009, Time^ abcHistory of Presidential Elections in Russia: InfographicsRIAN^Profile: Boris BerezovskyBBC. Retrieved 1 May 2008^What a carve-up!The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2008^Solovyev V. R. Putin. Guide For Those Who Cares / V. Solovyev. '' Moscow, "Eksmo", 2008. '' 416 pp. ISBN 978-5-699-23807-1. (Solovyev 2008). Page 36. (In Russian: Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐоÐ>>овьев. "Путин. ПутеводитеÐ>>ÑŒ дÐ>>я неÑавнодуÑных." 2008.)^Solovyev 2008, p. 39^Fisher Investments on Emerging Markets By Austin B. Fraser, (John Wiley & Sons, 2009), page 92^Putin: Russia's Choice, By Richard Sakwa, (Routledge, 2008) page 143-150^Playing Russian Roulette: Putin in search of good governance, by Andre Mommen, in Good Governance in the Era of Global Neoliberalism: Conflict and Depolitisation in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa, By Jolle Demmers, Alex E. Fernndez Jilberto, Barbara Hogenboom (Routledge, 2004)^Spectre of Kursk haunts Putin, BBC News, 12 August 2001^"Duma approves old Soviet anthem". Edition.cnn.com. 2000-12-08. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^National anthem of Russian Federation, StateSymbol.Ru^Moscow siege leaves dark memories, BBC News, 16 December 2002^Can Grozny be groovy?[dead link] by The Independent, 13 March 2007.^"Human Rights Watch Reports, on human rights abuses in Chechnya". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Russia FactbookCentral Intelligence Agency^Lynch, Dov (2005). "The enemy is at the gate": Russia after Beslan. International Affairs 81 (1), 141''161.^Putin tightens grip on security, BBC News, 13 September 2004.^"The challenges of the Medvedev era". BOFIT Online (Bank of Finland). 24 June 2008. ISSN 1456-811X. Retrieved 2011-09-24. ^ abcПутин очеÑтиÐ>> "доÑожную каÑту" Ñ‚ÑетьеÐ"о сÑокаBBC^How to Steal LegallyThe Moscow Times, 15 February 2008 (issue 3843, page 8).^Putin's Gamble. Where Russia is headed by Nikolas Gvosdev, www.nationalreview.com, 5 November 2003.^Putin's Kremlin Asserting More Control of Economy. Yukos Case Reflects Shift on Owning Assets, Notably in Energy by Peter Baker, The Washington Post, 9 July 2004.^Andrei Yakovlev State-business relations and improvement of corporate governance in Russia Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition, 29 December 2008^"Putin's Russia failed to protect this brave woman - Joan Smith". Comment.independent.co.uk. 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Anna Politkovskaya, Prominent Russian Journalist, Putin Critic and Human Rights Activist, Murdered in Moscow, Democracy Now^Answers on questions asked during interview to ARD TV channel (Germany), Dresden, 10 October 2006^"The accused of murder of Anna Politkovskaya name possible clients" (in (Russian)). Itar-tass.com. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Lee, Steven (10 March 2007). "Kasparov, Building Opposition to Putin". The New York Times (Russia). Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^"Garry Kasparov jailed over rally". BBC News. 24 November 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2010. ^VCIOM: Dissenters' Marches Do Not Interest Russians, Regnum.ru, 3 July 2007^"Putin Dissolves Government, Nominates Viktor Zubkov as New Prime Minister". Fox News Channel. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2010. ^Election Preliminary Results for United Russia, 4 December 2007, Rbc.ru^Russians Voted In Favour of Putin, 4 December 2007, Izvestia^Assenters' March, 3 December 2007, Izvestia^Ð'ыстуÐÐ>>ение на ÑасÑиÑенном заседании Ð'осудаÑственноÐ"о совета О стÑатеÐ"ии Ñазвития России до 2020 Ð"ода>>. RF President's official web site, 8 February 2008.^Будущий ÐÑÐµÐ¼ÑŒÐµÑ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½ намеÑен Ð>>ично контÑоÐ>>иÑовать Ð"убеÑнатоÑовNEWSru.com 30 April 2008.^Ð'убеÑнатоÑов начаÐ>>ьник. Будущий ÐÑÐµÐ¼ÑŒÐµÑ Ð½Ð°Ð¼ÐµÑен Ð>>ично контÑоÐ>>иÑовать ÑеÐ"ионаÐ>>ьных ÑуководитеÐ>>ей (The chief of governors. The future premier intends to personally check regional leaders.)Nezavisimaya gazeta 30 April 2008.^Putin Is Approved as Prime Minister^"Russian Economic Reports". Web.worldbank.org. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^"Russia's Putin set to return as president in 2012". BBC News. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. ^Russian election protests '' follow live updates, The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2011^Как митинÐ" на ПокÐ>>онной собÑаÐ>> окоÐ>>о 140 000 чеÐ>>овек politonline.ru (Russian)^ ab'We Won in Fair and Open Fight' '' PutinRIAN^ abcPutin Supporters Fill Moscow StadiumRIAN^"Hu congratulates Putin on presidential term |Politics". chinadaily.com.cn. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulates Putin on election victory". NDTV.com. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Zardari congratulates Putin". Nation.com.pk. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Chavez welcomes Putin's victory in Russia | The New Age Online". Thenewage.co.za. 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Elder, Miriam (17 August 2012). "Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison colony over anti-Putin protest". The Guardian. ^ПÑовокация вместо маÑÑа vz.ru^"Russian police battle anti-Putin protesters". Reuters. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. ^ÐК ÐеÑесчитаÐ>> ÐостÑадавÑих ÐоÐ>>ицейских во вÑемя "Ð'аÑÑа миÐ>>Ð>>ионов"Lenta.ru^Parfitt, Tom (7 May 2012). "Vladimir Putin inauguration shows how popularity has crumbled". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 7 May 2012. ^""Putin Inaugurated; States Intention for Russia to Be "Center of Gravity for the Whole of Eurasia", May 8, 2012". Larouchepac.com. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^""Putin decrees EU closeness policy", Voice of Russia, May, 7, 2012". English.ruvr.ru. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Ð'осдума ÐÑиняÐ>>а закон о нетÑадиционных отноÑениях>>". BBC Russia. 2013-06-11. Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2013-06-11. ^"Ð'Ð-- ÐÑиняÐ>>а закон об усиÐ>>ении наказания за ÐÑоÐаÐ"анду Ð"омосексуаÐ>>изма сÑеди ÐодÑостков". РБК. 2013-06-11. Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2013-06-11. ^"Discrimination in Russia: Arrests for Violation of St. Petersburg Anti-Gay Law",Spiegel Online, April, 06, 2012^"Russian parliament backs ban on "gay propaganda",Reuters, January 25, 2013^"Russia moves to enact laws against 'homosexual propaganda'",Fox news, January 21, 2013^Putin becomes Popular Front for Russia leader, Interfax-Ukraine (13 June 2013)^"Echo of Soviet era in Putin's bid for votes". The Australian. 2011-06-17. ^"Putin inaugurates new movement amid fresh protests". BBC. Retrieved 2013-06-12. ^White, Stephen (2010). "Classifying Russia's Politics". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0. ^R. Sakwa, Putin: Russia's Choice, 2008, p. 42-43^Sovereignty is a Political Synonym of CompetitivenessVladislav Surkov, public appearance, 7 February 2006^Our Russian Model of Democracy is Titled Sovereign Democracy>>Vladislav Surkov, briefing, 28 June 2006.^"''ПÑезидентское ÑиÐ>>ьтÑование'' Ð"убеÑнатоÑов оцениÐ>>и ÐоÐ>>итики". Radiovesti.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^ ab"State Duma Approves Liberal Political Reforms". RIA Novosti. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Kramer, Andrew E. (22 April 2007). "50% Good News Is the Bad News in Russian Radio". The New York Times (Russia). Retrieved 2011-09-24. ^Masha Lipman, Anders Aslund (2 December 2004). "Russian Media Criticism of Vladimir Putin: Evidence and Significance". Carnegieendowment.org. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^"Ð'есмотÑя на двукÑатное снижение чисÐ>>а убийств, на Ñоне евÑоÐейских ÐоказатеÐ>>ей оно остается кÑайне высоким". Demoscope.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Ð'Ð'Ð-- ÑаÐоÑтует: коÐ>>ичество теÑактов снизиÐ>>ось в 15 Ñаз". Finmarket.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Imf.org. 14 September 2006. Retrieved 2011-12-09. ^"РОЗÐ'ÐЧÐ'ÐРПОÐ--ХОÐ--. Российские банки боÑются за частников". Vtbmagazine.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. [dead link]^"ЕжеÐ"одно объем ÐотÑебитеÐ>>ьскоÐ"о кÑедитования в России удваивается". Bank.samaratoday.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^"Основные ÐоциаÐ>>ьно-Экономические ÐндикатоÑÑ‹ УÑовня Жизни Ð'асеÐ>>ения". Gks.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. [dead link]^ abcDaniel Mitchell Russia's Flat-Tax Miracle. The Heritage Foundation. 24 March 2003.^"Putin Advocates Strong Russia, Liberal Economy; President Surprisingly Candid In First State of Nation Address". Encyclopedia.com. 9 July 2000. Retrieved 2010-03-02. [dead link]^"A Comparative Study of Taxation in Russia and Other CIS, East European and OECD Countries". Papers.ssrn.com. 9 April 2004. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^Goldman, Marshall I. (2008). "Chapter 5". Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-534073-0. ^Iikka. Korhonen et al.The challenges of the Medvedev era. Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition, 24 June 2008.^Rosstat Confirms Record GDP GrowthKommersant. Retrieved 5 May 2008.^Krkoska, Alan; Spencer (2008). "Automotive Industry in Russia: Impact of foreign investments in car assembly plants on suppliers' entry". European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. ^Zvereva, Polina (11 October 2009). "State-sponsored consolidation". Russia & CIS Observer3 (26). ^"Annual Report 2009". United Aircraft Corporation. 2010. ^Future VisionThe Wall Street Journal^Russia builds nuclear power stations all over the world at amur.kp.ru^ abWilliam J. Broad (19 February 2008). "Russia's Claim Under Polar Ice Irks American". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-27. ^Adrian Blomfield (11 June 2008). "Russia plans Arctic military build-up". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2011-07-27. ^Mia Bennett (4 July 2011). "Russia, Like Other Arctic States, Solidifies Northern Military Presence". Foreign Policy Association. Retrieved 2011-07-27. ^Richard Galpin (22 September 2010). "The struggle for Arctic riches". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-08-28. ^Peter Fairley (2 July 2010). "Russia Launches Floating Nuclear Power Plant". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved 2011-08-28. ^"Gazprom starts towing of Prirazlomnoye platform to field". iStockAnalyst. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-28. [dead link]^"Prirazlmonaya sea platform to be delivered to offshore oil field". ITAR-TASS. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-28. ^ abAndrew Kramer (30 August 2011). "Exxon Reaches Arctic Oil Deal With Russians". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-05. ^Melodie Warner (30 August 2011). "Exxon Mobil, Rosneft To Jointly Develop Hydrocarbon Resources Globally". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-05. [dead link]^Roger Howard (4 September 2011). "How Arctic oil could break new ground". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-05. ^The New York Times. 6 November 2004. Retrieved 20 April 2008.^Tony Johnson. "G8's Gradual Move toward Post-Kyoto Climate Change Policy". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^THE AMUR TIGER PROGRAMME[dead link] premier.gov.ru^THE WHITE WHALE PROGRAMME[dead link] premier.gov.ru^THE POLAR BEAR PROGRAMME[dead link] premier.gov.ru^THE SNOW LEOPARD PROGRAMME[dead link] premier.gov.ru^Bell, I (2002). Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. ISBN 978-1-85743-137-7. Retrieved 27 December 2007. ^A religion for the nation or a nation for the religion: Putin's third way for Russia, Beth Admiraal, in Russian Nationalism and the National Reassertion of Russia, edited by Marl¨ne Laruelle, (Routledge, 2009)^"Bethlehem street named after Putin". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012-06-27. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"he President of Russia attended the ceremonial signing of the Act on Canonical Communion that was held in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour" (Press release). Embassy of Russia in Ottawa. 17 May 2007. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02. Archived by WebCite at www.webcitation.org/5bGjBVfm6^ abNo love lost, Yossi Mehlman, Haaretz, 11 December 2005^Phyllis Berman Lea Goldman, (September 15, 2003). "Cracked De Beers". Forbes^Krichevksy, Lev (10 October 2011). ""In Putin's return, Russian Jews see stability". Jewish Telegraphic Agency". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^ abcwmf . media.kremlin.ru (2007)^Beginning of Meeting with Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, 5 December 2007, Kremlin.ru^Guy Faulconbridge Russian navy to start sorties in Mediterranean. Reuters. 5 December 2007.^"Military reform to change army structure. What about its substance?". RIA Novosti. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Kristensen, Hans M. "New START Data Released: Nuclear Flatlining."FAS, 3 October 2012.^ abcAmerica's Failed (Bi-Partisan) Russia Policy by Stephen F. Cohen, Huffington Post^ abcdefStuermer, Michael (2008). Putin and the Rise of Russia. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 55, 57 & 192. ISBN 9780297855101. Retrieved 11 June 2012. ^ abc43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy. Putin's speech in English, 10 February 2007.^"Russia: Washington Reacts To Putin's Munich Speech". RFERL. ^ abWatson, Rob (10 February 2007). "Putin's speech: Back to cold war? Putin's speech: Back to cold war?". BBC. ^"Interview for Indian Television Channel Doordarshan and Press Trust of India News Agency, 18 January 2007". Kremlin.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Munich Conference on Security Policy, As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, 11 February 2007^"Press Conference following the end of the G8 Summit". Kremlin.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Russia walks away from CFE arms treaty". AFP. 12 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007. ^"Putin: supports for Kosovo unilateral independence "immoral, illegal"". Xinhua News Agency. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. ^"Putin: Kosovo case terrible precedent". Press TV. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. ^"EU's Solana rejects Putin's criticism over Kosovo's independence". IRNA. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. ^Simpson, Emma (2006-01-16). "Merkel cools Berlin Moscow ties". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^ abcdGonzalo Vina and Sebastian Alison (20 July 2007). "Brown Defends Russian Expulsions, Decries Killings". Bloomberg News. ^ abcUK spied on Russians with fake rockBBC^БÑитания ÐÑизнаÐ>>а наÐ>>ичие ÑÐионскоÐ"о камня, существование котоÑоÐ"о считаÐ>>и Ñантазией сÐецсÐ>>ужб 1tv.ru^ abc"Litvinenko's father apologises for accusing Russia", BBC News, 12 February 2012^The version of poisoning by polonium, widely publicized by the British media, was later questioned because of numerous disparities and because in fact no official certification had been issued as to the cause or manner of death.Litvinenko: MI5, MI6 death files ordered releasedRussia Today^In full: Litvinenko statement, BBC News, 24 November 2006^An interview with Andrei Nekrasov by Yury Veksler, Radio Liberty, 28 November 2006.^Jordan, Mary (10 June 2007). "Poisoned Russian Had Sought Entry to U.S., Book Says". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-13. (Archived at WebCite).^Soviet Moonwalker is Guilty for Litvinenko Death? Strange Litvinenko Last Will, Izvestia, 27 November 2006.^Is Putin being set up?, Townhall.com, 27 November 2006.^Dunkerley, William (25 May 2007). "The Essence of the Alexander Litvinenko Story". Russia Profile. Retrieved 2008-11-13. (Archived at WebCite).^"Ex-spy's death should not be used for provocation '-- Putin". Novosti. 24 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-26. ^"British Ambassador Warns Lugovoi". Reuters. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12. [dead link]^"Russia suspends British Council regional offices". Reuters. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007. ^Vladimir Putin (2012-12-24). "For Russia, deepening friendship with India is a top foreign policy priority by President Vladimir Putin". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"India, Russia sign new defence deals: BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Rajeev Sharma, specially for RIR (2012-12-24). "13th Indo-Russian Summit reaffirms time-tested ties: Russia & India Report". Indrus.in. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^India has right to join SCO, not Pakistan: Russian envoy '' News[dead link]^"Russia supports India's membership in NSG". Business Standard. 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^India and APEC: Centre of Mutual Gravitation: International Affairs[dead link]^"Russia keen to join SAARC as observer: Oneindia News". News.oneindia.in. 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"SAARC The Changing Dimensions: UNU-CRIS Working Papers United Nations University - Comparative Regional Integration Studies" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^ abRajeev Sharma, specially for RIR (2012-11-28). "Top Indian diplomat explains Russia's importance to India: Russia & India Report". Indrus.in. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Page, Jeremy (26 September 2010). "Russian Oil Route Will Open to China". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 September 2010. ^ abPress Statement following the Peace Mission 2007 Counterterrorism Exercises and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, 17 August 2007, Chelyabinsk Region.^Russia restores Soviet-era strategic bomber patrols, 17 August 2007, RIA Novosti, Russia.^SCO Scares NATO, 8 August 2007, KM.ru^Russia Over Three Oceans, 20 August 2007, "Chas", Latvia.^Putin: Iran Has Right to Develop Peaceful Nuclear Programme, 16 October 2007, Rbc.ru^"Putin's warning to the U.S.". Reuters. 16 October 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. ^Putin Positive on Second Caspian Summit Results, Meets With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 16 October 2007, Kremlin.ru^Visit to Iran. Second Caspian Summit, 15''16 October 2007, Kremlin.ru^Vladimir Putin defies assassination threats to make historic visit to Tehran, 16 October 2007, The Times.^Answer to a Question at the Joint Press Conference Following the Second Caspian Summit, 16 October 2007, Tehran, Kremlin.ru^Russia forges nuclear links with Venezeula france24.com^Russian bombers land in VenezuelaBBC^[1][dead link]^"Russia Courts Indonesia". Web.archive.org. 12 October 2007. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-24. ^"Putin's visit 'historic and strategic'". gulfnews. 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Parks, Cara (21 March 2011). "Putin: Military Intervention In Libya Resembles 'Crusades'". Huffington Post. ^"Putin states the West has no legal right to execute Gaddafi '-- RT". Rt.com. 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Vladimir Putin Blames US Drones For Gaddafi Death, Slams John McCain". Mediaite. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Citizen, Ottawa (2011-12-16). "Putin claims U.S. planned murder of Gadhafi". Canada.com. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Trenin, Dmitri (9 February 2012). "Why Russia Supports Assad". The New York Times. ^Fred Weir (2012-01-19). "Why Russia is willing to sell arms to Syria". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Viscusi, Gregory (2012-06-01). "Hollande Clashes With Putin Over Ouster of Syria's Assad". Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^ abPolish head rejects Putin attack, BBC News (24 December 2004)^Putin calls 'color revolutions' an instrument of destabilization, Kyiv Post (15 December 2011)^ abcdQ&A: Russia-Ukraine gas row, BBC News (20 January 2009).^Russia opens gas taps to Europe, BBC News (20 January 2009)^Natural gas, Europe price chart, Mongabay^Ukraine ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko jailed over gas deal, BBC News (11 October 2011)^Ukraine's parliament votes to abandon Nato ambitions, BBC News (3 June 2010)^"After Russian Invasion of Georgia, Putin's Words Stir Fears about Ukraine", Kyiv Post (30 November 2010)^"Russia and Eurasia". Heritage.org. Archived from the original on 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-10. ^"Day-by-day: Georgia-Russia crisis". BBC News. 21 August 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-10. ^Sparks, Ian (14 November 2008). "Putin planned to topple the president of Georgia and 'hang him by the b****', says Nicolas Sarkozy's chief adviser". Daily Mail (London). ^Putin warns US against rearming Georgia, RT (22 February 2012)^Georgia's Saakashvili Slams Putin for Nationalist Comment, RIA Novosti (21 January 2012)^Putin on Georgia's territorial integrity, RT via YouTube (8 Augustus 2009)^World Report 2011: Ukraine, Human Rights Watch^Russia, Ukraine agree on naval-base-for-gas deal, CNN (21 April 2010)^Kyrgyzstan profile, BBC News^ ab"Russia sees union with Belarus and Kazakhstan by 2015". BBC News. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. ^ ab"ЕвÑазийские комиссаÑÑ‹ ÐоÐ>>учат статус ÑедеÑаÐ>>ьных министÑов" (in Russian). Tut.By. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. ^Meeting with Members of the Valdai International Discussion Club, September 2007, Kremlin.Ru^Ð'ыстуÐÐ>>ение на ÑасÑиÑенном заседании Ð'осудаÑственноÐ"о совета О стÑатеÐ"ии Ñазвития России до 2020 Ð"ода>>Kremlin.ru^ÐÐ'Ро конÑеÑенции ÐÑ‚ÑатеÐ"ия-2010: итоÐ"и ÑеаÐ>>изации и новые вызовы>> 1 июня 2010 Ð"ода csr.ru^New Integration Project for Eurasia '' A Future That Is Being Born Today(English)^Ð'овый интеÐ"Ñационный ÐÑоект дÐ>>я ЕвÑазии '' будущее, котоÑое Ñождается сеÐ"одня(Russian)^Bryanski, Gleb (3 October 2011). "Russia's Putin says wants to build "Eurasian Union"". Yahoo! News. Reuters. Retrieved 4 October 2011. [dead link]^"Ð'овый интеÐ"Ñационный ÐÑоект дÐ>>я ЕвÑазии '' будущее, котоÑое Ñождается сеÐ"одня". Izvestia (in Russian). 3 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. ^Kilner, James (6 October 2011). "Kazakhstan welcomes Putin's Eurasian Union concept". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 8 October 2011. ^Paul Bummer. "7 статей и джек-Ðот: Путин завеÑÑиÐ>> сеÑию ÐубÐ>>икаций". Neprussia.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Addresses to the Federal Assembly". Kremlin.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. [dead link]^"Article 84 of the Russian Constitution". Constitution.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^ abcd"ÐÐ'Ð: мюнхенская Ñечь Путина '' ÐовоÑотная точка во внеÑней ÐоÐ>>итике РФ". Nr2.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Ð'едведев ÐоздÑавиÐ>> Ð>>юбимую Ð"ÑуÐÐу Путина с 20-Ð>>етием newsru.ua^Speech at the Military Parade Celebrating the 62nd Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, Red Square, Moscow, 9 May 2007.^ abПутин: Ð'Ð>>авное, чтобы мы быÐ>>и вместе vz.ru^"'We won!' Teary-eyed Putin proclaims victory". Setyoufreenews.com. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Come to me, blogger-logi!". Themoscownews.com. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^ abcdПутинизмы - "ÐÑодуманный Ð>>ичный эÐатаж"?BBC(Russian)^ abcd20 высказываний Путина, ставÑих аÑоÑизмамиRIAN^ПÑемьеÑ-Ð¼Ð¸Ð½Ð¸ÑÑ‚Ñ Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½: ÐÑ… нужно выковыÑять со дна канаÐ>>изацииIzvestia^"Почему Путин - кÑаб, Ленин - Ð"Ñиб, Ð'едведев - ÑмеÐ>>ÑŒ?". Newsland.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Россия и Латвия ÐодÐисаÐ>>и доÐ"Ð¾Ð²Ð¾Ñ Ð¾ Ñубежах". Utro.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Путин: оÐÐозиция "ÑакаÐ>>ит" у заÑубежных Ñондов и ÐÑавитеÐ>>ьств". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"БÐ>>оÐ"озÑение: Ð'оÐ>>Ñебная Ñучка Путина". Dw3d.de. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Putin: NSA whistleblower Snowden is in Moscow airport | World news. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2013-08-02.^Madslien, Jorn (4 July 2007). "Russia's economic might: spooky or soothing?". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^"Putin's performance in office '-- Trends". Russiavotes.org. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^Arkhipov, Ilya (2013-01-24). "Putin Approval Rating Falls to Lowest Since 2000: Poll". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Quarter of Russians Think Living Standards Improved During Putin's Rule" (in (Russian)). Oprosy.info. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^No wonder they like Putin by Norman Stone, 4 December 2007, The Times.^ abRussia through the looking-glassopenDemocracy. "...while only about half of Russian households have a telephone line at home, well over 90% have access to the First Channel and Rossiya. And for a vast majority of Russians, they are virtually the only source of information about political events. Given that typically well over half of their news broadcasts consist of sympathetic coverage of Vladimir Putin and members of the United Russia party, and oppositional figures are always presented in a negative or ironic light (if at all), it is unsurprising that the president is enjoying considerable popularity.". Retrieved 16 April 2008.^"Levada-Center -Description". Levada.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. [dead link]^Russians Support Putin's Re-Nationalization of Oil, Control of Media, But See Democratic Future '' World Public Opinion.org^Adi Ignatius. Person of the Year 2007, Time.^Albright, Madeleine. "Vladimir Putin", Time. Retrieved 1 May 2008.^Struck, Doug. "Gorbachev Applauds Putin's Achievements", The Washington Post, 5 December 2007.^"ПÑесс-секÑетаÑÑŒ Путина ответиÐ>> Ð'оÑбачеву" [Putin's press spokesman answered Gorbachev]. Korrespondent (in Russian). 25 December 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2012. ^"Das Internet pr¤gt Russlands Wahlkampf" [The internet characterises Russia's campaign] (in German). RP online. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2012. ^Smirnova, Julia (8 February 2012). "Wie die Putin-Jugend das Internet manipulierte" (in German). Retrieved 6 March 2012. ^David Leigh; Luke Harding (2011). WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. PublicAffairs. p. 223. ISBN 978-1-61039-062-0. ^Marcel Van Herpen (25 January 2013). Putinism: The Slow Rise of a Radical Right Regime in Russia. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-137-28280-4. ^Parfitt, Tom. "WikiLeaks row: Putin labels US embassy cables 'slanderous'", The Guardian, 1 December 2010.^William J. Dobson (10 June 2012). "What, Me a Dictator?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 June 2012. ^Masha Gessen (21 May 2012). "The Dictator". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2012. ^"Mitt Romney: Vladimir Putin 'a threat to global peace'". The Daily Telegraph. 23 December 2011.^"Russia's Anti-Putin Opposition: One Year On". [RIA Novosti]. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013. ^ abcdRawnsley, Adam (26 May 2011). "Pow! Zam! Nyet! 'Superputin' Battles Terrorists, Protesters in Online Comic". Wired. Retrieved 27 May 2011. ^Как исÐоÐ>>ьзуется бÑенд "Путин": зажиÐ"аÐ>>ки, икÑа, ÑутбоÐ>>ки, консеÑвиÑованный ÐеÑецGazeta 30 November 2007.^Bass, Sadie (2009-08-05). "Putin Bolsters Tough Guy Image With Shirtless Photos, Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^ abc"Putin gone wild: Russia abuzz over pics of shirtless leader.". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Associated Press. 22 August 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^ abcdefg7 Reasons Vladimir Putin Is the World's Craziest Badass cracked.com^Ð'.Ð'.Путин взяÐ>> в ÐонедеÐ>>ьник однодневный отÐуск и ÐÑовеÐ>> еÐ"о в Ðыве[dead link] premier.gov.ru^Ð'.Ð'.Путин, находящийся с Ñабочей Ðоездкой в ÐибиÑском ÑедеÑаÐ>>ьном окÑуÐ"е, совеÑÑиÐ>> сÐуск на Ð"Ð>>убоководном аÐÐаÑате Ð'иÑ>> на дно озеÑа БайкаÐ>>[dead link] premier.gov.ru^"ХабаÑовские охотоведы ÐодтвеÑдиÐ>>и: Путину тиÐ"Ñицу ÐодÐ>>ожиÐ>>и из зооÐаÑка". Hab.mk.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^""ÐиÐ"Ñица Путина" жива". MK.ru. Retrieved 16 March 2012. ^ОÑÐ"анизатоÑÑ‹ саÑаÑи дÐ>>я Путина объясниÐ>>ись Ðо Ðоводу "Ðодставы с тиÐ"Ñом": "Кому-то что-то ÐоказаÐ>>ось" newsru.com^Putin attaches satellite tag to tranquilized polar bear in Russia's Arctic Fox News Channel^Polgueva, Ekaterina (27 July 2010). "АнÐ"еÐ>> Ада Абаддон". Sovetskaya Rossiya. ^"Finland accidentally bans Putin". 3 News NZ. April 11, 2013. ^Using crossbow, Putin fires darts at whale MSNBC^"ПÑемьеÑ-Ð"онка: Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½ ÐÑотестиÑоваÐ>> боÐ>>ид "ФоÑмуÐ>>Ñ‹-1"". Rg.ru. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Путин ÐоÐ"ÑузиÐ>>ся с акваÐ>>анÐ"ом на дно ÐаманскоÐ"о заÐ>>ива tetis.ru^Vladimir Putin diving discovery was staged, spokesman admits, The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 March 2012^Vladimir Putin leads endangered cranes on migration route in hang glider The Guardian^"Putin Sings Blueberry Hill for Charity". Nonprofitquarterly.org. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^ ab"Ð'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐŸÑƒÑ‚Ð¸Ð½ сыÐ"ÑаÐ>> на ÑояÐ>>е "РчеÐ"о начинается Ñодина"". Dp.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"АктеÑÑ‹, занятые в сÐектакÐ>>ях стоÐ>>ичноÐ"о ÐеатÑа наций, сеÐ"одня ÐиÐ>>и чай с Ð'Ð>>адимиÑом Путиным и ÐÑосиÐ>>и у неÐ"о денеÐ". 1624". Ntv.ru. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^WSJ: Путин Ðоет вместе с деÐоÑтиÑованными аÐ"ентамиVedomosti^"Putin played the Anthem of Saint Petersburg on the piano". Mk.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^ abКаÑтина Путина стаÐ>>а самым доÑоÐ"им Ð>>отом на аукционе в ПетеÑбуÑÐ"еRIAN^ФиÐ>>ьм о Ð>>юбви чеÐ>>овека, ÐохожеÐ"о на ПутинаBBC^Putin, Dobby And the Axis Of WeirdnessThe New York Times^Daniel Craig: Quantum of SolaceThe Daily Telegraph^@openspace_ru (14 March 2008). "Песни ÐÑо Путина". Openspace.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"ÐакоÐ"о, как Путин". YouTube. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Ð'оÑоскоР(Путин, не ссы!)". YouTube. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Ð'Ð'П[dead link]^WATCH: No One In Russia Can Work Out If This Pro-Putin Dance-Pop Song Is Sincere '-- Or Satire businessinsider.com^"ЧастуÑки (Ð'е быÐ>>о оÑÐ"азма)". Sergeysv.net. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^Ð'ова и Ð--имаLenta.ru^"Superputin official site". Superputin.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^[www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT2z0nrsQ8o] Epic Rap Battles of History Stalin vs. Rasputin.^ abDay, Matthew (2 November 2011). "Vladimir Putin 'a wife beater and philanderer', documents allege". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 19 May 2012. ^ abcOsborn, Andrew (18 October 2010). "Vladimir Putin and wife spark divorce rumours with photo shoot". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 19 May 2012. ^ abcElder, Miriam (27 February 2012). "Will Vladimir Putin's voting chances be hurt by 'cloistered wife' rumours?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 May 2012. ^ abc"Mystery of Russia's missing First Lady: Is Putin's 'affair' with spy Anna Chapman the reason Lyudmila is never seen in public... or is she just locked away in a monastery?". Daily Mail (London). 23 April 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. ^Quetteville, Harry de (17 April 2008). "Vladimir Putin 'to wed Olympic gymnast half his age'". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2008-04-17. ^"Putin denies tabloid report that plans to marry former champion gymnast". International Herald Tribune. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. ^Shaun Walker, in The Independent, quoting Moskovski Korrespondent (18 April 2008). "A president, the gymnast and marriage rumors that won't go away". London. Retrieved 2008-04-18. ^"After Night at Ballet, Russia's First Couple Announces Divorce". En.ria.ru. 2002-05-24. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Yablokova, Oksana (9 August 2002). "Putin's Girls Having La Dolce Vita Break". The St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 13 February 2009. ^"'Onze' Jorrit versiert de blonde dochter van Poetin". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Russia's mysterious Dutch businessman". Rnw.nl. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Dochter Poetin woont in Voorschoten - Binnenland | Het laatste nieuws uit Nederland leest u op Telegraaf.nl [binnenland]". Telegraaf.nl. 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Quote.Rbc.Ru :: Аюмй ЯюмйÑ-ОеÑеÐасÐц '-- Юйжхх, ЯÑÐсйÑсÐÑŽ, Ð'нбняÑÑ…, ÐхмюмяÑ". Quote.ru. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^"Vladimir Putin: the Russian president's 'life of four yachts and 58 aircraft'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 August 2012. ^ abForeign, Our (3 March 2011). "'Putin palace' sells for $350 million". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 5 May 2012. ^Ð...ÐК заÑеÐ"истÑиÑоваÐ>> сÐисок "ЕР"Rossiyskaya Gazeta N 4504 27 October 2007^Ð...ÐК ÑаскÑÑ‹Ð>> доходы ПутинаVzglyad 26 October 2007^Gennadi Timchenko: Russia's most low-profile billionaireSobesednik '– 10, 7 March 2007^Harding, Luke (21 December 2007). "Putin, the Kremlin power struggle and the $40bn fortune". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-08-18. ^"Что касается ÑазÐ>>ичных сÐ>>ухов Ðо Ðоводу денежноÐ"о состояния, я смотÑеÐ>> некотоÑые бумажки на этот счёт: ÐÑосто боÐ>>товня, котоÑую нечеÐ"о обсуждать, ÐÑосто чуÑÑŒ. Ð'се выковыÑяÐ>>и из носа и ÑазмазаÐ>>и Ðо своим бумажкам. Ð'от так я к этому и отноÑусь." The President's annual press conference for the Russian and foreign media, 14 February 2008, Kremlin.ru^"Vladimir Putin 'galley slave' lifestyle: palaces, planes and a $75,000 toilet". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 August 2012. ^"Ðайна за семью забоÑами". Kommersant.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^"Putin's palace? A mystery Black Sea mansion fit for a tsar". BBC. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. ^Wagner, Hans (30 June 2006). "Das Konfliktpotential mit den USA w¤chst (German)". Retrieved 2007-03-29. ^Wardell, Jane (25 June 2003). "Putin treated royally on historic London visit". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 2010-03-02. ^ abc(Sakwa 2008, p. 3)^ abTimothy J. Colton, Michael MacFaul (2003). Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: the Russian elections of 1999 and 2000. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution. ^Putin Q&A: Full TranscriptTime Magazine. Retrieved 22 March 2008^Vladimir Putin: the NPR interview US radio station National Public Radio New York (15 November 2001)^Putin, Vladimir V.; Vasilii Shestakov, Alexey Levitsky, Aleksei Levitskii (July 2004). Judo: History, Theory, Practice. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-445-6. ^Black-Belt President Putin: A Man of Gentle Arts by Yasuhiro Yamashita^Moskovsky Komsomolets: ''Putin becomes sixth-level black belt''[dead link] by Oleg Fochkin. premier.gov, re-publication of a Moskovsky Komsomolets article.^"Putin urges revival of Soviet-era fitness tests - New York News | NYC Breaking News". Myfoxny.com. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Reuters in Moscow. "Vladimir Putin teams up with Steven Seagal to promote healthy lifestyle | World news | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-19. ^"Steven Seagal, Vladimir Putin sell revival of Russia fitness program | National Post". News.nationalpost.com. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-07-19. ^Ð'едведев и Путин ÐокатаÐ>>ись на Ð"оÑных Ð>>ыжах в Ðочи rosbalt.ru^"Ð--.Ð'едведев ÐÑизваÐ>> Ñоссиян активнее иÐ"Ñать в бадминтон" (in (Russian)). Top.rbc.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Путин ÐÑовеÐ>> Ñ‚ÑениÑовку Ðо хоккею с Фетисовым". Lifenews.ru. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-07. ^"Putin's lab bitch prominent negotiator". RIA Novosti. 9 April 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-22. ^"Любимая собака Путина заÐ"овоÑиÐ>>а Ðо-анÐ"Ð>>ийски с детьми" (in Russian). NEWSru. 19 July 2005. Retrieved 2009-12-02. ^"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on expanding the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)". Prime Minister of Russia. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-24. [dead link]^ПÑедседатеÐ>>ÑŒ ПÑавитеÐ>>ьства России Ð'.Ð'.Путин выбÑаÐ>> имя дÐ>>я своей новой собаки. Ð ÐомоÐ" ему в этом ÐятиÐ>>етний Ð--има ÐокоÐ>>ов из Ð'осквы[dead link] premier.gov.ru^(French)Video Chirac d(C)core Poutine^Atul Aneja Putin goes calling on the Saudis. The Hindu. 20 February 2007^Putin Receives Top UAE's Decoration, Order of Zayed, Rbc.ru, 10 September 2007^"Ð'Ð>>обаÐ>>ьный иÐ"Ñок. ''Expert'' magazine. '– 48 (589) 24 December 2007". Expert.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-22. ^Ð' Ð'Ñозном ÐоявиÐ>>ся ÐÑосÐект имени ПутинаLenta.ru^ПаÑÐ>>амент КиÑÐ"изии ÐÑисвоиÐ>> Ð"оÑной веÑÑине имя Путина. Lenta.ru. 17 February 2011^"Vladimir Putin in China Confucius Peace Prize fiasco". BBC. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-15. ^Wong, Edward (15 November 2011). "In China, Confucius Prize Awarded to Putin". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2011. ^"B92 News: Belgrade University to award Putin honorary doctorate". Retrieved 2012-06-11. BibliographyAcademic worksBurrett, Tina. Television and Presidential Power in Putin's Russia (Routledge; 2010) 300 pagesKanet Roger E., ed. Russian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan; 2011) 295 pages; essays by expertsSakwa, Richard (2008), Putin: Russia's choice (2nd ed.), Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, ISBN 0-203-93193-9 Sakwa, Richard (2008), Russian politics and society (4th ed.), Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Madison Avenue, New York City: Routledge, ISBN 0-203-93125-4 Journalist worksExternal links Offices and distinctions

Vladimir Putin

7 October 1952

Friendly visit': Russian warships dock in Cuba

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Dprogram.net

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:28

August 4th, 2013

(RussiaToday) '' A surface combatant squadron of the Russian Navy arrived in Cuba on Saturday for the first time in four years. The Cuban government announced the fleet was there for a ''friendly visit.''

The unit consists of the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, missile cruiser 'Moscow', the large anti-submarine ship 'Vice Admiral Kulakov' of the Northern Fleet and a number of supply and service ships. The squadron visited the port of Havana to replenish supplies.

The ships were greeted by an artillery salute, a naval band and a few hundred onlookers as they arrived in the Bay of Havana.

Russian diplomats and the foreign military attach(C) accredited in Havana paid a visit to the 'Moscow' missile cruiser. Tourists will also be able to visit the cruiser on Monday, Cuba's government announced.

Source: Russia Today

Tags: dock in cuba, friendly visit, russian warshipsThis entry was posted on Sunday, August 4th, 2013 at 6:06 am and is filed under Dictatorship, Education/Mind Control, Fascism, NWO, Russia, War/Draft, World War III. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

BBC News - NSA spy leaks: US, Russia to hold talks despite Snowden

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 12:46

6 August 2013Last updated at20:59 ETThe US will go ahead with high-level talks with Russia on Friday despite Moscow's decision to grant asylum to ex-US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, US officials say.

Some members of Mr Snowden's family are applying for visas to visit him in Russia, his lawyer says.

Mr Snowden was granted asylum by Russia despite repeated requests from the US that he be returned to America.

He leaked details about a secret data-gathering programme.

'Cold War mentality'The US state department said Secretary of State John Kerry and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel would hold talks on pressing bilateral and global issues with their Russian counterparts in Washington, including Syria and Iran's nuclear programme.

The two sides were also to discuss Mr Snowden, it added.

President Barack Obama has meanwhile said he is "disappointed" that Russia granted asylum to Mr Snowden.

Speaking during an interview for Tuesday's broadcast of The Tonight Show on NBC, Mr Obama accused Moscow of occasionally adopting a "Cold War mentality".

Mr Obama said: "What I say to President [Vladimir] Putin is, that's the past and... we've got to think about the future. And there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to cooperate more effectively than we do."

Mr Snowden's whereabouts in Russia are not publicly known after he slipped away from Moscow's international airport last week, says the BBC's Jane O'Brien in Washington.

But his lawyer says he has now registered an address within Russian territory and his father, Lon, is waiting for a visa to visit him.

He said Mr Snowden wanted his father's advice on what to do with his new life.

"We do not have a set date yet, but we have been working closely with Anatoly Kucherena, Ed Snowden's attorney, on setting a definitive date which will be some time in August," Mattie Fein, a representative for Lon Snowden, told the Reuters news agency.

Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to the former intelligence analyst has strained relations between Moscow and the US.

Mr Snowden leaked details of the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance programme which gathers data about emails and phone calls made by American citizens.

Russian 'Gay' Law translated by Mr. Prayer

ITM guys.

Here's my 2 cents on the subject:

Basically you got it right with couple of corrections.

First, here's translation of "offense" part:

Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors, expressed in the dissemination of information aimed at developing in minors of non-traditional sexual directives, attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations, a distorted picture of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations, or the imposition of information on non-traditional sexual relationships, causing interest in such relationships if these actions do not have a criminal offense

And different punishments for different categories. For individuals:

punishable by an administrative fine on citizens in the amount of four thousand to five thousand rubles. For officials - from forty thousand to fifty thousand rubles. For legal entities - from eight hundred thousand to one million rubles or administrative suspension of activity for up to ninety days.

Stronger fines for mass media.

For foreigners:

punishable by a fine of four thousand to five thousand rubles from the administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation or administrative arrest for up to fifteen days with administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation.

And again stronger fines if mass media was involved.

I should also add that 88% of population are supporting this law.

First "victims" of it were 4 activists from Dutch NGO LGBT-Groningen. They were speaking at some "Youth's human rights camp" in Murmansk. For now they got $100 fine and 3 year ban on entry to Russia from Migration Service for lying on immigration form (Acquaintance with the culture of the country). And they got court hearing in future.

Also it was announced that "foreigners" part will not be applied to participants and media of Sochi Olympics.

Why Russia Turned Against The Gays.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 23:32

Three months before Russia's parliament unanimously passed a federal law banning the propaganda of ''non-traditional relationships'' '-- that is, same-sex ones '-- the bill's sponsor went on the country's most respected interview show to explain her reasoning.

''Analyzing all the circumstances, and the particularity of territorial Russia and her survival'...I came to the conclusion that if today we want to resolve the demographic crisis, we need to, excuse me, tighten the belt on certain moral values and information, so that giving birth and raising children become fully valued,'' lawmaker Yelena Mizulina told Vladimir Posner, Russia's Charlie Rose.

Mizulina heads the Duma's committee for family, women, and children and has become the stern face of Russia's campaign against gays. But she would never call it that. Russia's new laws '-- banning same-sex foreign couples from adopting Russian children in addition to banning LGBT advocacy '-- are part of the country's very search for survival, according to her.

On the one hand, there's its physical survival '-- Russia's birthrate plummeted in the wake of the Soviet collapse and encouraging baby-making (through government grants as well as rhetoric) has been one of Vladimir Putin's hallmarks. And then there's its moral survival; if Russia is to survive as Russia it needs to reject the corrupting influences of the West.

The first form of reasoning is populist bluster. But the second goes some way toward explaining why Russia has stepped up its campaign against LGBT rights just as the European Union and the United States march in precisely the opposite direction. The violent images, restrictive legislation, and public humiliation that LGBT people in Russia now face isn't the product of a traditionalist backlash as much as it is a vital part of the new politics of Putin's Russia, a nation in search of someone to define itself against.

Homosexuality wasn't really a topic of conversation in Russia for much of the last two decades. Laws banning gay sex were lifted in 1993, two years after the Soviet collapse. Slowly but surely, gay clubs began to appear in Moscow and St Petersburg, at first underground, eventually out in the open. Russian society remained widely homophobic, and there were many who saw gays and lesbians as an inevitable and evil Western import, but there were other things to worry about '-- recovering from the collapse of a political-economic system, clawing out of poverty, dealing with the explosion of violence that engulfed a country suddenly flowing with cash and corruption.

And then came Vladimir Putin.

Putin spent the first two terms of his presidency, from 2000 to 2008, ruling with no ideology. It was an explicit decision, his former campaign and political advisor Gleb Pavlovsky once told me, that took into account the fact that so many had grown tired of the empty shell that Communist doctrine had become by the end of Soviet times. Instead there would be Putin and just Putin. Putin and his bare chest. Putin-loving animals. Putin single-handedly building kindergartens and hospitals. Putin Putin Putin.

What that strategy didn't take into account was that sometime, some day, someone would get sick of Putin. That finally happened late last year, when Putin announced he would return to the presidency following a four-year break as prime minister. A movement that largely comprised middle-class liberals took to the streets in the tens of thousands. It was a show of criticism that Putin thought would never come.

Part of his reaction has been reflexive and obvious to everyone '-- to launch a crackdown, arrest opposition leaders, arrest average protesters, adopt laws limiting future ability to protest. The second is more oblique: Putin has launched a campaign to shore up support in the Russian ''heartland,'' that mythical place far from the bustling streets of Moscow where headscarved peasants embrace core Russian concepts that don't actually exist anymore.

In the absence of any ideology '-- any core belief to tie together the Russian state and nation '-- the easiest way to fill the vacuum has been by turning to the Russian Orthodox Church, a deeply corrupt, reactionary, and Kremlin-loving institution that has enjoyed a spike in support following the (atheist) Soviet Union's collapse. Thus the arrest of Pussy Riot, the anti-Putin punk band whose members were sentenced to two years in prison for ''hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.'' Thus the law passed by the Duma just hours after the anti-gay law was passed, making ''insulting religious believers'' an offense punishable by up to three years in jail.

The second easiest thing has been to demonize the ''Other,'' creating an internal enemy for everyone to fear. Jews are out '-- Putin, who values loyalty above all, has had an affinity for Jews since childhood, when he was reportedly saved from being beaten up by street kids by a Jewish neighbor. Migrants are out '-- Russia needs millions of them in order to carry out the mass infrastructure projects that the country needs to keep its economy afloat; and the nationalist card is simply too dangerous to play with anyway. Who's left? Gays.

Demonizing gays allows Putin to tell the ''heartland'': I will protect you and your ''traditional'' families; you are the real Russia. It also grows suspicion of the liberal opposition, presented as fundamentally ''un-Russian'' as they stand up increasingly for gay rights amid Putin's growing crackdown. And finally, it allows Russia to do what it does best these days: present itself as Not The West.

It is no accident that Russia is stripping away gay rights as (popular and legal) support for gay marriage in the U.S. and Europe grows. The West is decadent, permissive, and doomed to orgiastic decline. As Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, recently put it: gay marriage is a ''dangerous apocalyptic system'' that leads a nation ''on a path of self-destruction.''

And then there is Russia '-- not really standing for anything, but standing against a whole lot: gays, liberals, the West. It's the strategy that Putin has chosen for his own survival.

''I think the most ridiculous questions come up during the decay of an empire,'' said Anton Krasovsky, a prominent Russian journalist recently fired for being gay, when asked why the ''gay question'' had suddenly emerged in Russia. ''It's like when Judeo-Christians were fed to the lions in third-century Rome '-- it's just the sunset of the empire.''

Gay Olympians competing at Sochi Winter Games face risk of prosecution under Russia's crackdown - Europe - World - The Independent

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 04:53

Gay competitors in next year's Winter Olympics risk arrest by Russian police if they engage in ''propaganda'' of their homosexuality, Russia's Sports Minister has confirmed.

In a direct contradiction of assurances from Olympic officials that competitors and spectators attending the Sochi Olympics next February would be exempt from the controversial new law, Vitaly Mutko said competitors who flaunted their sexuality would be punished in accordance with the legislation.

''No one is forbidding a sportsperson with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if they go onto the street and start propagandising it, then of course they will be held accountable,'' Mr Mutko told Russian agency R-Sport during a visit to Barcelona.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee told a Russian agency that it had ''received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games''.

Mr Mutko's comments are an unequivocal rejection of these claims. ''Whether they are sportspeople or not, if they go to another country, they should respect its laws,'' said the Sports Minister.

President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial law banning so-called ''gay propaganda'' into force in June, after both houses of the Russian parliament had voted overwhelmingly for it.

The language of the law is vague, but ''propaganda'' of homosexuality includes statements that gay relationships are ''socially equal'' to straight relationships.

The key distinction is that the propaganda has to be publicised in the vicinity of minors, but gay rights activists have pointed out that this makes counselling for gay teenagers illegal along with any attempt to tell children that there is nothing wrong with homosexual relations.

So far, police have taken people holding rainbow flags or placards bearing slogans calling for equal rights for gay people in public places as evidence of ''propaganda''. Individuals can be fined for breaching the law, while foreigners can be detained and deported from the country.

A Dutch television crew filming a documentary about gay rights was detained under the law in the northern city of Murmansk last month, though in the end they were not charged.

The crew were detained while conducting a seminar with local LGBT group Center Maximum. Members of Center Maximum were also arrested.

New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, one of the only known openly gay competitors going to Sochi, told The Independent that he planned to attend the Olympics and wear a rainbow Gay Pride pin while competing. He said that he would do this even if there was a threat of arrest for doing so. ''Whatever country you are from and whomever you choose to love, you should be able to compete at the Olympics,'' he said.

As Russia's anti-gay laws have come under increasing attention in recent days, there have been calls from some gay rights groups in the US to boycott the Sochi Olympics, but the majority of Russian gay activists say this would be counterproductive.

Mr Skjellerup also said he felt a boycott was the worst idea possible, as it would only hurt competitors. Instead, he said, the Olympics should be used to ''help bring about change in Russia''.

Russian gay activists have called on spectators and competitors at the games to wear rainbow pins and hold rainbow flags in protest against the laws. Given Mr Mutko's words, this could lead to mass arrests, if the Russian authorities are really determined to implement the law.

Syria

U.S. Embassy in Syria Closes as Violence Flares - NYTimes.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:30

BEIRUT, Lebanon '-- The United States closed its embassy in Syria on Monday and withdrew its staff in the face of escalating mayhem for which American officials blamed the Syrian government's unbridled repression of an 11-month-old uprising.

The move was another dramatic moment in a week full of them, as the confrontation in Syria turned even more violent and more unpredictable. Diplomatic efforts have largely collapsed, save for a Russian delegation visiting Damascus on Tuesday, and both the Syrian government and its opposition have signaled that each believes that the grinding conflict will be resolved only through force of arms.

For weeks, Western embassies have reduced their staffs, and on Monday Britain also recalled its ambassador for consultations. Echoing a cascade of diplomatic invective, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, described the mounting violence as yet more evidence that President Bashar al-Assad must surrender power.

''This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime,'' he told the House of Commons. ''There is no way it can recover its credibility internationally.''

A member of the Free Syrian Army stood guard over a demonstration by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's government in Idlib on Monday.

Associated Press

Though the government has pressed forward with a crackdown in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, and in a rugged northern region around the town of Idlib, the city of Homs has witnessed the most pronounced violence. Opposition groups said government forces again shelled the city, despite international condemnations of a similar attack on Friday and Saturday that they said killed more than 200 people.

Another grim toll was reported Monday in the city, Syria's third largest. The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group that seeks to document the violence, said government forces killed 47 people in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, especially Baba Amr and Khalidya. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number at 43. There was no way to independently confirm either number.

''The situation is so miserable,'' said a 40-year-old man who gave his name as Ahmed. ''Gunfire is falling like rain, and all the stores are closed. We keep hearing unbelievably loud explosions that shake the windows every half-hour.''

Explosions could be heard over the phone when speaking with residents in Homs. Videos smuggled out showed a chaotic scene at a clinic, as people rushed past doctors and staff members, shouting ''Oh God!'' In one video, said to document the scene, blood smeared the sidewalk. Another showed bloodied corpses.

The Khalidya neighborhood in Homs is one of the hardest-hit areas in Syria.

Reuters

The government has flatly denied the tolls quoted by opposition groups. On Saturday, it said Homs was quiet. State-run news media placed blame for the violence Monday on ''armed terrorist groups'' firing mortars within Homs. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said that it was seeking ''to restore security and stability to Homs,'' and that six members of the security forces and ''scores of terrorists'' had been killed.

Clearly laying the blame on Syria's president, the State Department said in a statement that the United States had ''suspended operations of our embassy in Damascus,'' and that Ambassador Robert S. Ford and all American personnel had left the country. It said the closing reflected ''serious concerns that our embassy is not protected from armed attack.''

''The deteriorating security situation that led to the suspension of our diplomatic operations makes clear once more the dangerous path Assad has chosen and the regime's inability to fully control Syria,'' said a spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland. American officials said the embassy staff had relocated temporarily to neighboring Jordan.

The announcement said Ambassador Ford would ''continue his work and engagement with the Syrian people as head of our Syria team in Washington.''

Syrians living in Turkey protested against the Assad regime outside the Syrian consulate in Istanbul on Monday.

Associated Press

It stopped short of a formal break in diplomatic relations with Syria, but was considered a strong signal that Obama administration officials believe there is nothing left to talk about with Mr. Assad. Though more isolated than at any time in the four decades since Mr. Assad's family took power, the government was emboldened by the vetoes of Russia and China on Saturday of a United Nations Security Council resolution backed by Western and Arab states supporting a plan to end the bloodshed. The vetoes appeared to end, for the moment, any concerted diplomatic efforts.

Instead, countries traded barbs. Mr. Hague called the vetoes ''a betrayal of the Syrian people.'' Russia's foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, was scornful of the criticism, saying it was ''perhaps on the verge of hysterical.'' In China, a commentary in the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily argued that the chaos that followed the toppling of governments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya proved that forced leadership changes only made matters worse. ''Simply backing one side and beating down the other, seemingly helpful, will in fact only sow seeds of future disasters,'' said the article, signed Zhong Sheng, an often-used pseudonym that can be read to mean ''China's voice.''

Throughout the uprising, Homs, near the Lebanese border in western Syria, has served as a barometer of the shifting dynamics. Demonstrations erupted there in the beginning last March, forging a vibrant culture of protest that has taken hold across the country. It has also seen mounting sectarian strife '-- pitting a Sunni Muslim majority against minority Alawites, a heterodox sect that provides much of the leadership of Mr. Assad's government. Lawlessness has mounted, as have vendettas in a city strewn with trash and suffering shortages of food and electricity.

Defectors and their armed allies control some neighborhoods, and the army has resorted to shelling that residents call indiscriminate. Many residents have lamented the violence and hardship, though the opposition to Mr. Assad seems to have broad support among the city's Sunnis.

The American embassy building in Damascus in January, 2011.

Bassem Tellawi / Associated Press

''We are not hiding in shelters, we are home,'' said a resident of the neighborhood of Inshaat who gave his name as Omar. ''My friends share lots of these feelings, I guess. They stay in rooms far from the street, and they sleep in living rooms and kitchens.''

He predicted more bloodshed.

''What is going to happen is more killing and more brutality, this I am sure of. He will not leave unless we kick him out by force,'' he said of Mr. Assad. ''Protests are necessary but not enough. I see no other choice. Negotiation, sharing, politics are useless with such a regime. He came to power by force and won't leave it in any other way.''

While peaceful protests continue, the sense of a gathering armed confrontation is growing, even in citadels of the regime's support, like Damascus and Aleppo, the country's second-largest city. As with the capital's suburbs, fighting has mounted in Aleppo, near the Turkish border.

Video | TimesCast | U.S. Closes Syrian Embassy February 6, 2012 '-- Responding to escalating violence, the United States shutters its Syrian embassy.

''All the young guys are getting armed, even university students,'' said Ammar, a 21-year-old university student there, reached by phone. ''I told them don't, but they said, 'There is no free army to protect us, so we need to protect ourselves on our own.' ''

Government forces have kept up a campaign to retake Damascus' suburbs and the northern region around Idlib. The state-run news agency said gunmen had killed three officers and captured others at a checkpoint in Jabal al-Zawiyah, near Idlib, a rugged region also near the Turkish border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that insurgents had killed 3 officers and 19 soldiers.

Reporting was contributed by Steven Lee Myers from Washington, Hwaida Saad and an employee of The New York Times from Beirut, John F. Burns from London, Michael Schwirtz from Moscow, Michael Wines from Beijing, and Rick Gladstone from New York.

Syria's Assad bans foreign currency transactions - FRANCE 24

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:11

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on June 17, 2013, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking during an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in Damascus.

AFP - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree Sunday banning the use of foreign currency in commercial transactions, state news agency SANA said.

"It is prohibited to make payments, reimbursements, commercial transactions and any other commercial operation in foreign currency or in precious stones," SANA quoted the decree as saying.

"The Syrian lira is the only currency" allowed in business and commerce, it added.

Those breaking the law risk jail sentences from between six months to 10 years of hard labour, depending on the sum involved, and will be fined.

The US dollar is the preferred foreign currency in Syria where the lira has lost three quarters of its value against the greenback since the outbreak of the anti-regime uprising more than two years ago.

At the start of the conflict in March 2011 one dollar fetched 50 liras. while a dollar today is worth more than 200 liras.

Dollars have been used in the sale of land, namely in the upscale Damascus suburbs, and by importers who trade in goods such as rice, sugar, textile and electronic equipment.

Obama Marks End of Ramadan By Giving $195 Million To Syrian Refugees, Brings Total To Over $1 Billion'...

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:40

Also claims, ''Eid is part of a great tapestry of America's many traditions.''

Via The Hill:

President Obama on Wednesday announced the U.S. would give an additional $195 million in humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians as a gesture to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month.

''Many of us have had the opportunity to break fast with our Muslim friends and colleagues '-- a tradition that reminds us to be grateful for our blessings and to show compassion to the less fortunate among us, including millions of Syrians who spent Ramadan displaced from their homes, their families, and their loved ones,'' the president said in a statement.

''To help the many Syrians in need this Eid al-Fitr, the United States is providing an additional $195 million in food aid and other humanitarian aid, bringing our humanitarian contribution to the Syrian people to over $1 billion since the crisis began,'' he continued. ''For millions of Americans, Eid is part of a great tapestry of America's many traditions, and I wish all Muslims a blessed and joyful celebration. Eid Mubarak.''

Nuclear Strike on Syria | Veterans Today

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 04:15

Note '' This item was posted on the Channel 4 (UK) website at this location http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog/nuclear-strikes-syria-genie-bottle/20846 on August 05, 2013, and has since been removed. A copy can still be found atGoogle Cache '' and has been recovered and archived below.

The fight against Assad's brutal regime has taken an unexpected turn late Thursday afternoon when a large weapons cache belonging to the so-called national protection force in Homs city, an arm of Assad's Shabeeha, was destroyed.

The explosion was reminiscent of the attack on Qasyoon mountain, a stronghold for the Syrian army and a location said to house missiles targeting Israel.

It was first reported that the missile fueling station had blown up which seemed like a reasonable proposition especially since an ammunition depot was targeted.

But the two explosions in Homs and Qasyoon share the same property: They are both above ground air bursts according to Greg Thielmann, an expert on arms control policy whom I spoke with on Saturday at great length. I was first alerted to the connection by slow twitter chatter right after the bombing in Homs.Needless to say I was shocked at what he told me next: ''The fact of the matter is, what we are seeing in both these cases is a tactical nuclear strike, probably by cruise missiles launched from aircrafts near the borders of Syria or right off the coast in the Mediterranean.''

But sure, Greg, wouldn't this mean a nuclear holocaust? Not so he says. ''Tactical nuclear weapons lower the threshold on use of a nuclear bomb as their modern incarnation can be tuned in yield in order to target military sites using stand off weapons without escalating by destroy surrounding civilian infrastructure.''

He went on: ''Keep in mind a nuclear bomb sounds like a huge device, but it can have a yield as small as the equivalent conventional payload carried by a formation of 5 F-15s. Sites in Syria are inaccessible to these jets due to the Russian support available in the field of air defense. So these strikes are an option for the west to implement its policy.''

The likely assailant in both cases is Israel he claims: ''Israel is the only nation that can deploy these sorts of weapons with impunity without fear of a counter-attack. Syria has shown no appetite to get into a shooting fight even over the deployment of such weapons''.

This all presented a remarkably delicious possibility of removing the tyrant Assad using all tools available. ''The army can be gradually destroyed with these sort of strikes, or destroyed all in one go in a devastating nuclear attack. Should Assad attempt to counter-attack, the cities can be destroyed by larger nuclear bombs with ease, since the insurgents have done the job of deteriorating Assad's command on the ground'', an anonymous military strategist added.

What about the coast, I asked him? ''The coast does present a problem for suppression of air defense missions by NATO due to Russian missiles stationed there, but as I speak hordes of Muslims are throwing themselves on coastal cities in the hopes of destroying these weapons to allow Israel and NATO to intervene.''.

This made no sense to me since the coastal cities are amongst the most supportive of Assad. ''It's not an issue, the insurgents are now armed with chemical weapons manufactured in Georgia exactly for this scenario. Assad's pulse was tested in Khan Assal a week ago when an entire brigade was killed with chemical weapons and there was no response. We don't see a likely response to further use of this tool.''

I concluded with him that it is awfully ironic that an inhuman weapon such as nuclear weapons and chemical weapons could be used to promote human rights and freedom in the world. But the Syrian people, or at least who will remain of them after these attacks, deserve to enjoy the same freedoms enjoyed today by Iraqis.

''Don't be so sure'', another anonymous strategist disagreed, ''We are now playing with nuclear fire and the use of all these weapons of mass destruction will definitely attract a counterattack with massive force. We are now on a slippery slope, there is no such thing as a limited nuclear strike, the retaliation will be delayed, but it is coming and god save us all when the nuclear fire spreads to our backyards.''

Spooky stuff. All I know is, I'll be spending time in my summer home in the woods for the next few weeks.

Related Posts:Short URL: http://www.veteranstoday.com/?p=263164

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT or any other VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors or partners. Legal NoticePosted by Veterans Today on Aug 7 2013, With 0 Reads, Filed under Editor, Of Interest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

To post, we ask that you login using Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail in the box below.Don't have a social network account? Register and Login direct with VT and post.Before you post, read our Comment Policy - Feedback

Rebels reportedly target Assad's convoy, Syrian president said to be unhurt

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: BlackListedNews.com

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 11:50

Source: Reuters

AMMAN '' Syrian rebels said on Thursday they targeted President Bashar Assad's motorcade heading to a Damascus mosque to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, but state television showed him unharmed and the government denied he had been attacked.

The Tahrir al-Sham rebel brigade, a unit of the Free Syrian Army, said it fired several artillery shells towards Assad's convoy in the heart of the capital and that at least some hit their target.

If confirmed, the attack would be one of the most direct against Assad in two years of conflict which have pitched mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against the Alawite president.

Rebels have targeted Assad's residences in Damascus and a bombing in the capital last year killed four of his inner circle, but there have been no reports of Assad himself coming under fire.

Full article here

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Cyber War$

Anonymous Web-host shut down, owner arrested; Tor users compromised by Javascript exploit - Boing Boing

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 21:15

FreedomWeb, an Irish company known for providing hosting for Tor "hidden services" -- services reached over the Tor anonymized/encrypted network -- has shut down after its owner, Eric Eoin Marques, was arrested over allegations that he had facilitated the spread of child pornography. Users of Tor hidden services report that their copies of "Tor Browser" (a modified, locked-down version of Firefox that uses Tor by default) were infected with malicious Javascript that de-anonymized them, and speculate that this may have originated with with FBI. Tor Browser formerly came with Javascript disabled by default, but it was switched back on again recently to make the browser more generally useful. Some are predicting an imminent Bitcoin crash precipitated by the shutdown.

The execution of malicious JavaScript inside the Tor Browser Bundle, perhaps the most commonly used Tor client, comes as a surprise to many users. Previously, the browser disabled JavaScript execution by default for security purposes, however this change was recently reverted by developers in order to make the product more useful for average internet users. As a result, however, the applications has become vastly more vulnerable to attacks such as this...

...We expect there will be a deeper technical analysis of the malware in the coming days as security researchers examine it in greater detail. Since the attack was designed at Firefox for Windows, which the Tor Browser Bundle is based upon, it seems likely that this is not a random occurance, and that the malware is designed specifically designed to compromise the identities of anonymous internet users. Although this would be a victory for the FBI against child pornographers who use the Tor network, it could also mean a serious security breach for international activists and internet users living in repressive states who use the services to practice online free speech.

Anonymous Web Host 'Freedom Hosting' Owner Arrested, TorMail Compromised

Utah officials seek to exempt NSA center from tax - SFGate

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 04:40

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) '-- Utah officials are moving to exempt the National Security Agency from a new state law that could tax the energy used by the agency's new data center in Bluffdale.

Rick Mayfield, director of the Utah Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA), said his staff recently learned that when former Gov. Jon Huntsman tried to lure the data center to Utah, he pledged the state would not raise electric rates on the facility for at least six years.

Mayfield told The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/19DeRa9 ) that MIDA had not planned to impose the tax on the data center in the coming year, but that apparently didn't soothe the NSA.

Attorneys for his agency and the NSA are discussing revisions to the law that would be considered by the Legislature next year. The law was enacted in March.

"We think what's going to happen is there will be proposed legislation that will exempt the (data center) from this tax," Mayfield told the Tribune. "What we didn't understand was the prior administration made a promise that for six years there wouldn't be an increase" in electricity rates.

MIDA attorney Paul Morris said he informed the NSA of the bill before it received a hearing in the Legislature, but the country's top electronic spy agency did not take notice until after Gov. Gary Herbert signed it.

An NSA spokeswoman declined to comment. Huntsman did not respond to requests for comment.

Harvey Davis, NSA director of installations and logistics, wrote in an April email to Herbert that the bill ran counter to what the federal agency expected.

"The long and short of it is: Long-term stability in the utility rates was a major factor in Utah being selected as our site for our $1.5 billion construction at Camp Williams," Davis wrote.

The data center, expected to be in operation by October, has gained attention since former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began leaking classified documents related to NSA information gathering. The center is expected to store some of the telephone, Internet and email data gathered by the agency.

The center is estimated to have an annual power bill of $18 million, and the tax can go as high as 6 percent.

___

Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

Baustin Lone Wolf

BBC News - Tamerlan Tsarnaev 'had right-wing extremist literature'

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 05:29

5 August 2013Last updated at00:21 ETBy Hilary AnderssonBBC News, WashingtonPlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

What was behind Boston bombing? Hilary Andersson reports

One of the brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings was in possession of right-wing American literature in the run-up to the attack, BBC Panorama has learnt.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev subscribed to publications espousing white supremacy and government conspiracy theories.

He also had reading material on mass killings.

Until now the Tsarnaev brothers were widely perceived as just self-styled radical jihadists.

Panorama has spent months speaking exclusively with friends of the bombers to try to understand the roots of their radicalisation.

'Government conspiracies'

The programme discovered that Tamerlan Tsarnaev possessed articles which argued that both 9/11 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing were government conspiracies.

Another in his possession was about "the rape of our gun rights".

Reading material he had about white supremacy commented that "Hitler had a point".

Tamerlan Tsarnaev also had literature which explored what motivated mass killings and noted how the perpetrators murdered and maimed calmly.

There was also material about US drones killing civilians, and about the plight of those still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

'A Muslim of convenience'

The Tsarnaev brothers, ethnic Chechens, spent their early years moving around a troubled region of Russia torn by a violent Islamic insurgency.

But for the last decade they lived in Cambridge, near Boston.

The brothers' friends told us Tamerlan turned against the country and became passionate about Islam after becoming frustrated when his boxing career faltered because he did not have American citizenship.

Their friends wouldn't all speak openly because they were afraid of being wrongly viewed as associated with terrorism.

'Mike' spent a lot of time in the brothers' flat.

"He (Tamerlan) just didn't like America. He felt like America was just basically attacking all Middle Eastern countries'...you know trying to take their oil."

Continue reading the main storyHe (Tamerlan) just didn't like America. He felt like America was just basically attacking all Middle Eastern countries.''

End Quote'Mike'Former friendA spokesperson for Tamerlan's mosque in Cambridge, Nicole Mossalam, said Tamerlan only prayed there occasionally. She portrayed him as an angry young man who latched onto Islam.

"As far connecting with the Islamic community here, to actually praying, being involved, doing acts of charity'....all of those were pretty much lacking.

"I would say he was just a Muslim of convenience," she said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan's younger brother who has been charged with the bombings, scrawled a note shortly before his capture stating "We Muslims are one body. You hurt one you hurt us all."

The brothers had been reading militant Islamic websites before the bombings.

Friends say the younger brother smoked copious amounts of pot and rarely prayed.

'Tito' told us Dzhokhar's older brother dominated him and didn't approve of his "party lifestyle".

"He (Dzhokhar) was intimidated, that would probably be the best word. He took him very seriously. He was an authority."

Radicalised by family?

The FBI has been investigating the brothers, and possible connections Tamerlan might have had in the troubled Russian republic of Dagestan which he visited last year.

The House Intelligence Committee in Washington is being briefed on his connections.

The committee chairman, Mike Rogers said he believes the brothers' mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, was involved in his radicalisation.

"He had family members encouraging, we know that for sure," he said.

Zubeidat denies the allegations.

Tamerlan was killed in April following a gun fight with police which ended when his younger brother ran him over while trying to escape.

Dzhokhar, recently brought to court, denied all charges.

If convicted he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty.

You can watch Panorama - The Brothers who Bombed Boston on Monday 5 August at 20:30 BST on BBC One and then on the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Boston Bombing Suspect Was Steeped in Conspiracies

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 06:58

BOSTON'--Extremist U.S. newspapers and other publications found in the apartment of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev reveal a broad interest in far-flung conspiracy theories, well beyond the Islamist radicalism authorities allege motivated the attack.

Mr. Tsarnaev discovered some of the radical publications by chance. He had worked caring for a 67-year-old man who passed on the newspapers and his fringe beliefs long before Mr. Tsarnaev and his brother allegedly set off explosives that killed three people and injured hundreds more.

Associated PressBoston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was 26 when he died on April 19 in a firefight with police.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was 26 years old when he died on April 19 in a firefight with police. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges. The brothers are also suspected of killing a police officer.

The previously unreported connection between Mr. Tsarnaev and the elderly man adds a new complexity to a case that authorities have described as homegrown terrorism. Although investigators say the immigrant brothers built their bombs with the help of an al Qaeda online magazine, the lives of the two men had become largely Americanized.

Mr. Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, had tried to make ends meet for her family by working as a home health aide after the family arrived in the U.S. in 2003. One of her clients in 2010 was Donald Larking of Newton, Mass., who was disabled after he was shot in the face nearly 40 years ago in the robbery of a convenience store where he worked.

Mr. Larking miraculously survived, but people close to the family said his faculties didn't. He was intrigued with far-flung conspiracies, they said. He subscribed to newspapers and journals that doubted the Holocaust and described the attacks of Sept. 11, Oklahoma City and the Newtown school as plots by unseen elites, and the U.S. and Israeli governments.

Dominick Reuter for The Wall Street JournalHis apartment building.

Mr. Larking couldn't be interviewed, said his lawyer, Jason Rosenberg. The shooting damaged the executive function area of Mr. Larking's brain, he said, making it difficult for his client to make decisions and impairing "his awareness of the realities of the world."

Ms. Tsarnaev began asking Tamerlan Tsarnaev or his brother to care for Mr. Larking when she wasn't available to work. Mr. Larking's wife, Rosemary, a quadriplegic, also needed help at home. Mr. Tsarnaev seemed to have found a kindred spirit in Mr. Larking. They became friends and had animated talks about politics, people close to the Larking family said.

Mr. Larking also gave him his readings, they said. A Wall Street Journal reporter recently visited Mr. Tsarnaev's apartment in Cambridge, Mass. and read a stack of newspapers, mostly borrowed from Mr. Larking, that allege nefarious conspiracies.

The papers included The First Freedom, an Alabama-based newspaper that espouses "equal rights for whites" and whose websites features a Confederate flag. Another was The Sovereign, a New York-based publication that alleges the U.S. is under the sway of Israeli lobbyists, and that Israel and the Department of Homeland Security were "deeply involved" in the Boston bombings. Neither paper returned requests for comment.

Mr. Tsarnaev got his own subscription to American Free Press, a paper that the Southern Law Poverty Center said promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. A spokeswoman for the paper denied it had such an agenda, saying the paper publishes "news that the established media won't." She confirmed that someone bought Mr. Tsarnaev a "get acquainted" 16-week subscription in December. It expired in April, at about the time of the Boston Marathon attack.

Government investigators say Islamist radicalism was Mr. Tsarnaev's motive in planting explosives near the finish line of the race. He frequented jihadi websites, authorities said, and he and his brother built their pressure-cooker bombs with the help of al Qaeda's online magazine Inspire, which published an article titled "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

"They were jihadi autodidacts and no one person shaped all their thinking," said Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "Their readings are going to be a lot more eclectic than someone sitting with like-minded terrorists at a camp somewhere."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation declined to comment for this article.

Terror experts said extremist U.S. literature and Islamist readings may reach vastly different audiences but the themes are largely the same. Both suggest wide-ranging plots by the U.S. and Israeli governments; that time is running out before an intended apocalypse, and heroes must act before it is too late.

Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former profiler for the FBI, said she doubted that Mr. Tsarnaev's extremist American readings would have formed his opinions but they could have reaffirmed them.

"You have to go a little deeper to understand what he was focusing on, underlining," Ms. O'Toole said. "What are they writing in the margin? What are they reading over and over again?"

Getty ImagesHis parents, Anzor and Zubeidat Tsarnaev, and aunt, left to right.

Mr. Tsarnaev also had a marked-up copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a long-discredited tract penned in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. It describes an alleged plan by Jewish leaders to take over the world. Mr. Tsarnaev scrawled 22 words he translated from English to Russian on a back page, beginning with "gentile" and ending with "Mason."

Joanna Herlihy, who rented the apartment to Mr. Tsarnaev and lived two floors below, said he recommended she read it. Ms. Herlihy said she told her tenant to read the notorious origins of the text on Wikipedia, and "now I regret that I didn't have a follow-up conversation with him." The literary forgery is believed by historians to have been concocted by a czarist secret police officer.

Mr. Tsarnaev had an interest in a range of unseen forces. In a three-ring binder from his apartment, he printed out articles on hypnosis, and how to influence others with the power of suggestion.

Mr. Tsarnaev underlined chunks of a speed-seduction course by Ross Jeffries, "How To Create an Instantaneous Sexual Attraction in Any Woman You Meet," including monologues to create an "incredible" connection.

His former brother-in-law, Elmzira Khozhugov, said Mr. Tsarnaev in 2008 was seeking out a copy of the Protocols. That year he took a sharp turn toward Islam, dropping his boxing career and telling friends and family that it was un-Islamic to punch anyone in the face, family and friends said.

Mr. Khozhugov recalled how that year Mr. Tsarnaev visited him at college in Washington state and they spent a week together. They watched the movie "Zeitgeist," which called the Sept. 11 attacks a plot of power-hungry elites against the U.S.

Mr. Tsarnaev was interested in the so-called techno-utopian Zeitgeist movement, whose adherents believe in the coming collapse of money-based society and the advantages of an economy managed by computers incapable of corruption.

"He was fascinated with it, he was beginning to think that all sorts of things were connected by a conspiracy of some kind," Mr. Khozhugov said. "If you had a conversation with him, you'd get a feeling that he was still searching, and I'd get the idea that he was going in the wrong direction."

Mr. Tsarnaev's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, said his nephew's personal setbacks may have also played a role in his turn to religion and conspiracies. Mr. Tsarnaev had few prospects academically or professionally. Before the bombing, he was a stay-at-home father.

The Larkings' lawyer, Mr. Rosenberg, said the Tsarnaev family grew close to the couple. The father, Anzor, often came to work with his wife and told the Larkings, " 'If you ever have trouble with anybody, let me know and I'll kill him. We Muslims don't fool around,' " Mr. Rosenberg said.

Reached by phone in the Russian province of Dagestan, the elder Mr. Tsarnaev denied he ever use the word "kill" but said he reassured Rosemary Larking that he would defend the couple "if anyone gave them any problems."

Anzor Tsarnaev said his son and Mr. Larking became close because the younger man was raised to respect elderly people.

"That's the way he was taught, to take care of old people, the weak ones, for everyone," said Mr. Tsarnaev, who insisted his sons were innocent and framed by a "criminal group."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev also began taking Mr. Larking to the mosque in Cambridge, where worshipers noticed Mr. Tsarnaev gingerly escorting the older man. Mr. Larking told worshipers at the mosque that Mr. Tsarnaev was his "close friend," said Nicole Mossalam, a spokeswoman for the mosque.

Mr. Rosenberg said Mr. Larking made frequent visits to the mosque as a way to "get away from the house." He said he was able to say things to Mr. Tsarnaev without being told they were "wrong or untrue."

After the marathon bombing, Mr. Rosenberg said, Mr. Larking recognized the two brothers in photos circulated by the FBI. Mr. Larking immediately had a health aide call authorities and identify them.

Mr. Larking has since "sunken into depression and anger," Mr. Rosenberg said. Mr. Larking continues to attend the Cambridge mosque and believes Mr. Tsarnaev was the victim of a conspiracy, Mr. Rosenberg said.

Mr. Larking is "in complete denial about what happened," said Ms. Mossalam, the mosque spokeswoman.

"He is a vulnerable member of our community and we want to make sure that everyone knows he is a very sweet and innocent man," she said. "I don't think that he ever thought that his views would ever cause anyone harm."

'--Devlin Barrettcontributed to this article.Write to Alan Cullison at alan.cullison@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared August 5, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Bombing Suspect Steeped in Conspiracies.

Father of Slain Chechen Plans to Sue FBI for Son's Wrongful Death | TIME.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 04:19

Abdulbaki Todashev, whose 27-year-old son Ibragim was killed in May during an FBI interrogation, landed in the U.S. on Aug. 5 to seek answers from U.S. authorities to questions surrounding his son's death

Maxim Shemetov / REUTERSAbdulbaki Todashev, the father of Ibragim Todashev, attends a news conference in Moscow on May 30, 2013

A grudge against the FBI is never an easy thing to act upon, especially for a man as foreign to the U.S. legal system as Abdulbaki Todashev, a municipal official from the Russian region of Chechnya. But on Monday, August 5, Todashev arrived in Tampa, in Florida, with a black briefcase of photographs '-- the evidence he plans to use in suing the FBI for the wrongful death of his son. The case would be a long shot, in part because Todashev speaks little English, cannot afford a lawyer and only has a U.S. tourist visa glued into his Russian passport. What he does have is the help of two U.S. rights organizations '-- including the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU '-- and the determination of a grieving father from a region where blood feuds run deep.

Todashev's eldest son, Ibragim, was killed during an FBI interrogation in his home in Orlando on May 22, two days before he was due to fly home to his native Chechnya. The FBI, along with several officers from the Orlando and Boston police forces, had arrived at his one-bedroom apartment that evening to interrogate him in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing. One of the bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was also an ethnic Chechen, had been a friend of the younger Todashev when they both lived in Massachusetts. The FBI was trying to learn more about their relationship, so the officers questioned him for several hours that night at a table in his living room. But soon after midnight, under circumstances that remain unexplained, Ibragim was fatally shot.

The photographs in his father's briefcase seem to raise more questions about the death than they answer. On a recent afternoon in Moscow, Todashev laid them out across the table of a diner, starting with the family photos he had taken of his son with his 11 siblings in Chechnya. In one of the frames, Ibragim stands with several of his younger brothers at a boxing club in Grozny, the regional capital, where he began his training to become a mixed-martial-arts fighter. In another, he grapples during a professional cage fight in Florida, surrounded by rows of American fight fans. Then his father shows the photos of his body, rent with wounds, that his friends in Florida had taken while preparing him for burial. One closeup of the top of his head appears to show two bullet holes about half an inch apart from each other. ''He was shot seven times,'' his father says. ''In the heart and in the head. What is that if not murder?''

The FBI, which has opened an internal investigation into the killing, has done little to explain how it went down. In a statement on the day of Ibragim's death, the FBI's Boston division said he had ''initiated a violent confrontation'' with the officers who had been questioning him. A week later, the FBI said in another statement that the death would be investigated by the Shooting Incident Review Group, which includes officials from the FBI and the Department of Justice. While that probe is ongoing, the bureau said, it cannot comment on the details of the case. On July 16, a Florida medical examiner said the FBI had blocked the release of Ibragim's autopsy report pending the agency's investigation.

U.S. media reports have meanwhile painted a confused and sometimes contradictory narrative. The most detailed account came from John Miller, a former deputy director of the FBI who now works as a correspondent for CBS News. On May 31, he said that right before Ibragim was killed, he had been writing out a confession to a triple homicide allegedly committed with Tsarnaev in Waltham, Mass., in 2011. Citing unnamed sources, Miller said that Ibragim then overturned the table, knocking the FBI agent back and charging at him with ''a metal broom handle or some object like that.'' Other mediareports, also citing unnamed officials, have said Ibragim was wielding a knife or was unarmed.

The photos that his father showed TIME in Moscow seem to corroborate at least part of Miller's account. In June, the elder Todashev received a U.S. tourist visa and traveled to Florida to make inquiries about his son's death. There he met with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., and with their help, he hired a private detective to question his son's neighbors and access his apartment.

In the living room where the interrogation took place, the elder Todashev took several photographs, one of which shows a table lying on its side. ''Apparently he knocked it over,'' Todashev says, referring to his son. ''You can see the things that were on the table are scattered on the floor.'' A large pool of blood can be seen on the other side of the room, in the doorway leading to the kitchen. Citing a police document he says he saw in Florida listing the items seized from his son's apartment, Todashev also said the FBI had confiscated ''some kind of stick,'' possibly a broom handle or the leg of a chair, along with a computer and other possessions.

But he denies that his son could have posed any serious threat to the officers interrogating him. ''He had just had surgery on his knee and was still walking with crutches,'' Todashev says, pointing to a photograph of his son's dead body '-- over the right knee there is a long, neat row of stitches. He also denies that his son could have been involved in the triple homicide in Waltham or in the Boston Marathon bombings. Had Ibragim felt at risk of prosecution, his father reasons, he would have fled to Chechnya. Instead, he underwent numerous interrogations in Florida, and on the advice of the FBI, he canceled a trip he had planned to Chechnya in May. ''I told him to come home,'' his father says. ''But he said he'd better stay, because the FBI asked him to.''

Ibragim, who was 27 when he died, had first come to the U.S. in 2008 to study English as part of a student-exchange program. Earlier this year, he received a green card, making him a legal permanent resident of the U.S., where he had married an Armenian American, Reni Manukyan. Although the couple was estranged, Manukyan has also been campaigning for justice in Ibragim's death. The family has received some moral support from authorities in Russia, but little else. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, has claimed that Ibragim had been killed ''for no reason,'' possibly as a ''reprisal'' by U.S. special services. But Ibragim's father, a senior official in the city government of Grozny, told TIME that he had not discussed his son's case with Kadyrov and was not receiving any assistance from the Russian state.

For now, Todashev says his best hope for clarity in his son's death lies with the ACLU, which called for an independent investigation into the case on July 22. ''The FBI has offered completely incompatible explanations, they have failed to explain how these inconsistent stories found their way into newspaper accounts of the shootings, and have not offered any clarifying comment about what really happened, '' said Howard Simon, the Florida executive director of the ACLU.

That statement also cited a June 18 report from the New York Times, which found that between 1993 and 2011, FBI agents shot about 70 ''subjects'' to death and wounded about 80 others; in every one of those cases, the agency's internal investigations found its agents' actions to be ''justified.'' That report has raised ''public skepticism in the FBI's ability to investigate itself,'' said the ACLU, which sent requests to the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement asking them to investigate Ibragim's death independently.

Both of those requests have been denied, leaving a wrongful death suit against the FBI as the Todashev family's only legal recourse. ''They really don't leave any other option than for the Todashevs and his survivors to go ahead with their civil claim,'' says Yvette Acosta MacMillan, a staff attorney for the ACLU in Florida. ''They would be able to obtain the records and the information through discovery in a lawsuit because right now, none of the information, none of the documents are being released.''

Two days before departing for Florida, where Todashev was due to meet with CAIR and the ACLU, he told TIME that he planned to file a wrongful death suit, not to seek financial compensation, but to force the FBI to reveal the facts of his son's death and, if they are damning, to accept responsibility. ''At least once they must be made to admit they were wrong,'' he says. ''What, is the FBI infallible?''

Obama Nation

Protecting the American Dream | The White House

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 13:19

The housing market is healing, and President Obama has a plan to build on the progress we've already made so that owning a home is a symbol of responsibility and a source of security for generations to come. Share this page to help share his plan with others.

President Obama's policies have harmed Chattanooga enough | timesfreepress.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 04:19

President Obama,

Welcome to Chattanooga, one of hundreds of cities throughout this great nation struggling to succeed in spite of your foolish policies that limit job creation, stifle economic growth and suffocate the entrepreneurial spirit.

Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests. You see, we understand you are in town to share your umpteenth different job creation plan during your time in office. If it works as well as your other job creation programs, then thanks, but no thanks. We'd prefer you keep it to yourself.

That's because your jobs creation plans so far have included a ridiculous government spending spree and punitive tax increase on job creators that were passed, as well as a minimum wage increase that, thankfully, was not. Economists '-- and regular folks with a basic understanding of math '-- understand that these are three of the most damaging policies imaginable when a country is mired in unemployment and starving for job growth.

Even though 64 percent of Chattanooga respondents said they would rather you hadn't chosen to visit our fair city, according to a survey on the Times Free Press website, it's probably good that you're here. It will give you an opportunity to see the failure of your most comprehensive jobs plan to date, the disastrous stimulus scheme, up close and personal.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 helped fund the Gig to Nowhere project, a $552 million socialist-style experiment in government-owned Internet, cable and phone services orchestrated by EPB '-- Chattanooga's government-owned electric monopoly.

' ' '

The Gig to Nowhere is a Smart Grid, a high tech local electricity infrastructure intended to improve energy efficiency and reduce power outages. After lobbying for, and receiving, $111.6 million in stimulus money from your administration, EPB decided to build a souped-up version of the Smart Grid with fiber optics rather than more cost-effective wireless technology. This decision was supposed to allow EPB to provide the fastest Internet service in the Western Hemisphere, a gigabit-per-second Internet speed that would send tech companies and web entrepreneurs stampeding to Chattanooga in droves.

In reality, though, the gig, like most of the projects funded by your stimulus plan, has been an absolute bust.

While the Smart Grid will cost taxpayers and local electric customers well over a half-billion dollars when all is said and done, there has been little improvement in the quality of EPB's electric service. Worse, despite being heavily subsidized, EPB's government-owned Internet, cable and telephone outfit that competes head-to-head against private companies like AT&T and Comcast is barely staying afloat, often relying on loans from electric service reserve funds to afford its business expenses.

Further, there has been no credible evidence to suggest that EPB can even provide a gig of service consistently and reliably. Any companies hoping to utilize the Gig to Nowhere are quoted monthly billing costs that make the service unfeasible. As a result, Chattanooga has remained a relative ghost town for technological innovation. Almost no economic development whatsoever has resulted from the gig.

' ' '

What the gig has brought, however, is that shocking price tag. Because of your unwillingness to balance the budget, Mr. President, the $111.6 million federal handout to subsidize the Gig to Nowhere will actually cost federal taxpayers $158.2 million, due to interest. Once EPB received the stimulus infusion to fund the pork project, the electric monopoly took out a $219.8 bond that will balloon to $391.3 million by the time Chattanoogans are done paying it off.

The bond's first payment comes due this fall and there remain significant questions about how EPB can manage to pay the debt without hiking electric rates on EPB customers.

Building a Smart Grid to get into a telecom sector already well-served by private companies was a bad idea from the start. But getting government involved in places it doesn't belong is a hallmark of your administration. As a result, you and your policymakers were happy to fund the Gig to Nowhere.

You claimed that the Smart Grid would create jobs for Chattanooga. But in reality, all it did was push America deeper in debt and lure a local government agency into making a terrible financial decision that will weigh on Chattanoogans like a millstone for decades to come.

So excuse us, Mr. President, for our lack of enthusiasm for your new jobs program. Here in Chattanooga we're still reeling from your old one.

'-- The Free Press

San Francisco: Nearly 38,000 people left without electricity in 31 separate outages

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WTF RLY REPORT

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:37

Thousands of San Francisco residents were briefly left in the dark after the power went out in a series of outages across The City early Wednesday.

A PG&E representative confirmed a ''large outage'' in San Francisco to SFBay around 12:45 a.m. but made no further details available. A message left for a spokesperson was not returned.

@SF311 '' The City's official Twitter account for citizen complaints '-- tweeted nearly 38,000 people were left without electricity in 31 separate outages that hit around midnight.

Read more

Fal$e Flag$

US Official: Terrorist Plot Involve 'Surgically Implanted Devices'

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 05:16

A Senior U.S. Official has told ABC News that intercepted Al Qaeda communications indicate planned attack 'Big,' 'Strategically Significant'.

New York (MorichesDaily) '' Today almost two dozen U.S. embassies and consulates across North Africa and the Middle East are closed following a significant threat from an al-Qaeda affiliate, a senior U.S. official told ABC News Sunday.The new information is providing details about the communications intercepted from the terrorists, telling ABC News that al-Qaeda operatives could be heard talking about an upcoming attack.

The official described the terrorists as saying the planned attack is ''going to be big'' and ''strategically significant.''

''The part that is alarming is the confidence they showed while communicating and the air of certainty,'' the official said, adding that the group '-- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula '-- appeared to have a media plan for after the attack.

The White House said top administration officials gathered late Saturday over a terror threat that provoked the State Department to close more than 20 diplomatic posts and issue a worldwide travel alert.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice chaired a meeting with 12 administration officials including the secretaries of State, Defense and Homeland Security and the directors of the FBI, CIA and NSA, according to a White House statement.

Authorities do not know the exact target of the planned attack, the official told ABC.

''We do not know whether they mean an embassy, an airbase, an aircraft, trains,'' the official said.

The official said there is concern about devices that could be implanted inside the body of a terrorist.

''We are concerned about surgically implanted devices,'' said. ''These are guys who have developed the techniques to defeat our detection methods.''

Although underwear bombings and bombs disguised as printer toner cartridges have been traced back to the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen (AQAP), officials have not yet specified the origins of this latest threat.

The proposed operation involves the insertion of a plastic, explosive PETN packet, detonated by an injection of TATP''a tactic that allegedly cannot be traced by current technology.

However, experts state that it would be extremely challenging for operatives to implant a bomb big enough to cause catastrophic damage.

The official also said authorities were stunned that the group broke ''operational security'' '-- meaning they talked likely knowing it would be picked up by intercepts.

The State Department took the unprecedented action of closing Embassies across the Middle East and North Africa '' including those in Egypt, Iraq and Kuwait '' because of ''a specific threat against a U.S. embassy or consulate.''

The next day, the State Department issued a global travel warning to all U.S. citizens around the world.

We have seen a similar plot in September 2007, when extremist Abdullah Hassan Tali al Asiri built a bomb which his brother implanted into his body in attempt to assassinate Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef.

Experts believe the explosive was detonated electronically and that the operatives' body suppressed the force of the blast and as a result the suicide bomber was the only one to be killed. There is a considerable debate whether or not the device was truly embedded in his body cavity or carried in his clothes externally.

Planned attack 'Big,' 'Strategically Significant'The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee calls it the ''most serious threat I've seen in a number of years.''

Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia is describing ''the chatter'' detected by U.S. intelligence agencies that led the Obama administration to order the weekend closure of 21 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Muslim world, and issue a global travel warning to Americans.

Chambliss tells NBC's ''Meet the Press'' that ''there's an awful lot of chatter out there'' and he says it's ''very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11.''

He says it's critical that ''we do the right kind of planning.''

Security tight at Mideast missions as US assesses Qaeda threatIn Sanaa, special forces with armoured personnel carriers were stationed outside the US embassy and the missions of Britain, France and Germany, an AFP correspondent reported.

Police and army checkpoints were set up on all the Yemeni capital's main throughfares.

Residents said they heard the sound of a drone flying over, which could only be American as Washington is the sole power to operate the unmanned aircraft in the region.

In Jordan, authorities beefed up security around the closed US mission.

Source: ABC News

Tags: Al Qaeda, long island, New York, News, Surgically Implanted Device, terrorist, Yemen

This entry was posted on August 4, 2013 at 9:54 am and is filed under Featured, News, Sidebar, World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Analysts: Terror warning may be linked to choice of al Qaeda chief deputy '' CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:00

By Paul CruickshankCNN Terrorism Analyst

There may be a link between what sources tell CNN is evidence of final-stage planning for an attack against U.S and Western interests by al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and the reported recent appointment of the affiliate's leader as the new general manager of the global al Qaeda network.

Seth Jones, a senior analyst at the Rand Corporation, told CNN's Barbara Starr on Friday that intelligence indicated that Nasir al Wuhayshi, the Yemeni leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), had recently been appointed into the role by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.

The appointment would effectively thrust Wuhayshi, a Yemeni national, into the No. 2 position in the global al Qaeda terrorist network, a position previously held by the Libyan Abu Yahya al Libi before his death in a drone strike in Pakistan in June 2012.

It would also provide a broader foundation to al Qaeda's top leadership at a time when the center of gravity of the group has shifted from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region to the Arab world. And it would potentially allow the group to retap fund-raising opportunities for the group in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries where Wuhayshi is more popular than Zawahiri, al Qaeda's less charismatic and sometimes divisive Egyptian leader.

Wuhayshi's appointment would almost certainly have required back-and-forth communication between the AQAP and al Qaeda Central. Given al Qaeda's past track record, that would most likely have involved couriers traveling back and forth between Yemen and Pakistan, where Zawahiri is presumed to be hiding.

This would have given Wuhayshi plenty of opportunity to inform Zawahiri of any plan in the works to hit American targets in the region. This possible foreknowledge in turn may explain Zawahiri's impassioned plea in a message posted on jihadist websites earlier this week for followers to hit American targets in the Middle East and beyond.

A high-profile attack orchestrated by Wuhayshi would cement the Yemeni's new position in the al Qaeda hierarchy.

"What I'm told by sources is - take all this together: you have got the naming of the chief from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, you have got the video [from Zawahiri], plus you have got the intelligence, all of this comes together in the last couple of weeks that leads them to take this extraordinary step of closing 21 embassies," CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend said on CNN's "AC360" on Friday.

A U.S. global travel alert remained in place Saturday amid fears that al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in coming weeks.

The threat prompted the United States to announce that nearly two dozen embassies and consulates will be closed on Sunday, including in Yemen, which was a focus of concern.

The Next bin Laden?

Nasir al Wuhaysi who is known by his fighters as "Abu Basir," has a long pedigree in the global jihadist movement despite only being 36 years old. He is seen within jihadist circles as somebody with the credibility and charisma to one day fill Osama bin Laden's shoes as al Qaeda's paramount leader.

Wuhayshi was bin Laden's private secretary during the time al Qaeda was based in Taliban-run Afghanistan and, according to former al Qaeda insiders, he rarely left his side. After the U.S. military offensive to topple the Taliban, Wuhayshi fled to Iran, where he was arrested and eventually extradited to Yemen in 2003.

He was subsequently imprisoned in a high security jail in Sana'a with several other al Qaeda operatives who had been arrested in a crackdown on the group in Yemen after 9/11. But in February 2006, Wuhayshi and several other al Qaeda operatives escaped from the prison by digging a tunnel. Over the next several years Wuhayshi and the other escapees rebuilt al Qaeda's operations in the country and began launching attacks on Yemeni security services and foreign tourists.

In September 2008, Wuhayshi orchestrated a sophisticated multi-phase attack on the U.S. embassy in Sana'a involving gunmen with rocket propelled grenades and suicide bombers in cars packed with explosive. Although the attackers failed to breach the embassy perimeter, six Yemeni guards and four civilians were killed in the attack.

The following summer, Wuhayshi authorized an attempt to kill Saudi Arabia's then head of counter-terrorism, Mohammed bin Nayef. The plan was engineered by AQAP's ingenious chief bomb-maker Ibrahim al Asiri, who planted a bomb inside the rectum of his own brother. The operative gained an audience with the Saudi prince by pretending to defect and duly set off the bomb. But Nayef survived the attack.

Although nearly all AQAP's attacks have been directed against targets in Yemen, Wuhayshi made clear he supported bin Laden's campaign of attacks against the United States.

In late 2009, he green-lighted a plan by al Asiri and the American terrorist cleric Anwar al Awlaki to destroy a U.S. bound plane. On Christmas Day 2009, the Nigerian militant they recruited into the plot - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - came close to blowing up an airliner coming into Detroit with an explosive device hidden in his underwear.

Bin Laden, determined to once again strike the United States, signaled his approval in correspondence sent to Wuhayshi. In August 2010, the Saudi sent a message from Abbottabad praising Wuhayshi for his "qualified and capable" leadership of the group and urging him to remain in his position.

Two more thwarted plots against U.S bound aviation followed: an attempt to blow cargo planes coming into the United States with bombs hidden inside printer cartridges in October 2010 and a plot involving an even more sophisticated underwear device built by al Asiri, which was thwarted by a British-Saudi double agent in April 2012.

In September 2012, three Yemeni AQAP operatives took part in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi several sources told CNN. It is not clear whether they were dispatched by Wuhayshi to take part in the attack or happened to be in the city and joined in.

Despite green-lighting plots against the United States homeland, Wuhayshi never made them the group's priority. He only seconded a small number of operatives - perhaps a dozen - to AQAP's external operations outfit run by al Asiri and Awlaki.

Wuhayshi wants Islamic rule in Yemen

Wuhayshi's overriding focus, according to a former group insider, has been toppling the government in Sana'a and creating an Islamic state in Yemen.

In 2011, Wuhayshi's group took advantage of political turmoil in Sana'a to capture large areas of Yemen's southern tribal areas. He enlisted the support of some tribal factions by renaming the group "Ansar al Shariah" and casting its mission as one of restoring Islamic rule to the country.

Letters discovered in the Abbottabad compound revealed bin Laden had initially argued against the push to capture territory in Yemen fearing, rightly as it turned out, the group would not be strong enough to hold onto it, but Wuhayshi proceeded anyway. Bin Laden's opposition eventually softened.

Wuhayshi himself set up his headquarters in the town of Jaar in Yemen's southern tribal areas. For 16 months, al Qaeda effectively governed the area, taking on responsibility for electricity, water and other utilities, but also inflicting brutal medieval justice on those it judged to have broken Islamic law.

Wuhayshi was the commander at the heart of it all and his rule over territory in the heart of the Arab world further enhanced his reputation in jihadist circles worldwide.

According to former group insiders - in much the same way as bin Laden - he was extremely popular with rank and file al Qaeda fighters. He projected the same softly-spoken humble air as his mentor.

In spring 2012, the Yemeni military launched a major offensive which eventually drove al Qaeda out of several towns of the tribal areas of Yemen. But most of the group's leadership, including Wuhayshi, fled into the countryside and regrouped. In recent months, the group has been responsible for a rising number of bombings against Yemeni security services.

Is a revenge factor at work?

This week's terror threat warning may signal Wuhayshi has decided to attach greater priority to hitting U.S. and Western interests, which would be a worrying scenario for U.S. counter-terrorism officials because of the group's still significant capabilities, access to resources and expertise. Al Qaeda affiliates throughout the Middle East also have a new recruiting tool because of rising anger among the group's supporters because of what they perceive to be a U.S.-backed military coup in Egypt.Wuhayshi's appointment as al Qaeda's de facto No. 2 will increase the pressure on him to show results in targeting U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Letters discovered from Abbottabad indicated that his boss Zawahiri disagreed with bin Laden over the relative priority that should be given to attacking the U.S. homeland.

According to the Washington Post, the correspondence indicated the Egyptian believed launching attacks against the U.S. interests in the Middle East was a more effective way of removing U.S. support for secular regimes in the region.

Wuhayshi likely also has several other motivations for ordering a strike now on U.S. interests.

In recent months U.S. drone strikes have killed several senior AQAP, including Said al Shehri, Wuhayshi's deputy last winter, and the group has signaled it wants revenge.

A successful high-profile attack may also re-energize the group after the setbacks of losing control of territory in Yemen's tribal areas last year.

F-16s involved in air-to-air mishap > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 05:12

By Tech. Sgt. Craig Clapper, 113th Wing Public Affairs / Published August 02, 2013

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- Two F-16C Fighting Falcons, assigned to the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard were involved in a mid-air collision at approximately 11 p.m., Aug. 1, while on a routine training mission off the coast of Chincoteague, Va.One pilot ejected safely from his aircraft, and was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The other pilot was able to return to base in his aircraft. Both pilots were transported to a medical facility here on base. One pilot was released and the other was released to an offsite medical facility for minor injuries.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

comments powered by

Ministry of Truth

Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon - The Washington Post

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 05:35

By Paul Farhi, Published: MONDAY, AUGUST 05, 8:12 PM ET Aa The Washington Post Co. agreed Monday to sell its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family's stewardship of one of America's leading news organizations after four generations.

Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world's richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications to The Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses.

Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Post Co. will get a new, still undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without the newspaper.

The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for The Post, Washington's leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation's politics and policy. Few people were aware that a sale was in the works for the paper, an institution that has covered presidents and local communities and gained worldwide attention for its stories about the Watergate scandal and, in June, disclosures about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham and Post publisher Katharine Weymouth, his niece, broke the news of the sale to a packed meeting of employees at the company's headquarters in downtown Washington on Monday. The mood was hushed; several veteran employees cried as Graham and Weymouth took turns reading statements and answering questions. ''Everyone who was in that room knows how much Don and Katharine love the paper and how hard this must have been for them,'' said David Ignatius, a veteran Post columnist who was visibly moved after the meeting.

But for much of the past decade, The Post has been unable to escape the financial turmoil that has engulfed newspapers and other ''legacy'' media organizations. The rise of the Internet and the epochal change from print to digital technology have created a massive wave of competition for traditional news companies, scattering readers and advertisers across a radically altered news and information landscape and triggering mergers, bankruptcies and consolidation among the owners of print and broadcasting properties.

''Every member of my family started out with the same emotion '-- shock '-- in even thinking about'' selling The Post, Graham said in an interview Monday. ''But when the idea of a trans­action with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings.''

He added: ''The Post could have survived under the company's ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future. But we wanted to do more than survive. I'm not saying this guarantees success, but it gives us a much greater chance of success.''

Bezos, 49, will take the company private, meaning he will not have to report quarterly earnings to shareholders or be subjected to investors' demands for ever-rising profits, as the publicly traded Washington Post Co. is obligated to do now. As such, he will be able to experiment with the paper without the pressure of showing an immediate return on any investment. Indeed, Bezos's history of patient investment and long-term strategic thinking made him an attractive buyer, Weymouth said.

The Washington Post Co.'s newspaper division, of which the Post newspaper is the most prominent part, has suffered a 44 percent decline in operating revenue over the past six years. Although The Post is one of the most popular news sources online, print circulation has dwindled, falling an additional 7 percent daily and on Sundays during the first half of this year.

Ultimately, the paper's financial challenges prompted the company's board to consider a sale, a step once regarded as unthinkable by insiders and the Graham family.

Seeking a buyer

With extraordinary secrecy, Graham hired the investment firm Allen & Co. to shop the paper, company executives said. Graham said he thinks the firm first made contact with Bezos in March or April. But the communications broke off for two months. They did not resume until mid-July, according to Graham, when Bezos contacted him; the two men met twice during a conference.

''At the end of it he said he thought he wanted to go ahead,'' Graham said, ''but he '-- obviously, he and his team -- needed time to really look over the business and understand it more thoroughly. And then he did, and we quickly reached a deal.''

Allen's representatives spoke with a half-dozen potential suitors before The Post Co.'s board settled on Bezos, a legendary tech innovator who has never operated a newspaper.

Bezos, in an interview, called The Post ''an important institution'' and expressed optimism about its future. ''I don't want to imply that I have a worked-out plan,'' he said. ''This will be uncharted terrain, and it will require experimentation.''

''There would be change with or without new ownership,'' he said. ''But the key thing I hope people will take away from this is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.''

Despite the end of the Graham family's control of the newspaper after 80 years, Graham and Bezos said management and operations of the newspaper will continue without disruption after the sale.

Weymouth '-- who represents the fourth generation of her family involved in the newspaper '-- will remain as publisher and chief executive of the Bezos-owned Post; Martin Baron will remain executive editor. No layoffs among the paper's 2,000 employees are contemplated as a result of the transaction, Bezos and Graham said.

Bezos said he will maintain his home in Seattle and will delegate the paper's daily operations to its existing management. ''I have a fantastic day job that I love,'' he said.

In a note to Post employees on Monday, Weymouth wrote: ''This is a day that my family and I never expected to come. The Washington Post Company is selling the newspaper that it has owned and nurtured for eight decades. ''

The new owner of The Post may be as much of a surprise as the decision to sell the paper in the first place.

Throughout his storied business career, Bezos, who has a net worth of $25.2 billion, has been an empire builder, although he has never shown any evident interest in the newspaper business. He has, however, maintained a long friendship with Graham, and they have informally advised each other over the years. Graham, for example, advised Bezos about how to feature newspapers on the Kindle, Amazon's popular e-reader.

A computer-science and ­electrical-engineering student at Princeton University, Bezos used his tech savvy to rise rapidly at a New York hedge-fund company, becoming its youngest senior vice president.

He founded Amazon at 30 with a $300,000 loan from his parents, working out of the garage in his rented home in Bellevue, Wash. He called his creation Amazon in part to convey the breadth of its offerings; early promotions called the site ''Earth's Biggest Bookstore.''

Since Amazon's founding, Bezos has devoted himself to building it into a retail behemoth that sells everything from diapers to garden equipment to data storage at low prices with a click of a mouse. It rang up $61 billion in sales last year.

In the process, Amazon has wreaked havoc on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Many retailers have expressed dismay and resentment at Amazon's ability to sell the same products at a lower price, in part because of its efficiency but also because it was not collecting sales tax in most states.

For long periods, however, Bezos frustrated investors and analysts who wanted Amazon to turn profits more quickly or more regularly. Because of heavy investments in warehouses and new businesses, Amazon did not deliver a profit until the company's ninth year of operation, and seven years after it started selling shares to the public.

At times, Bezos has been openly disdainful of Wall Street's demands for bigger quarterly profits. He told Fortune magazine last year, ''The three big ideas at Amazon are long-term thinking, customer obsession, and willingness to invent.''

Under Bezos, the company's drive into new businesses has been relentless. To supplement its line of Kindle readers and tablets, for example, Bezos pushed Amazon into book publishing itself, upsetting rivals such as Barnes & Noble and book agents alike. (Bezos is an avid newspaper reader; in addition to The Post, he said, he reads the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.)

But Amazon's breakneck growth has also come with a few stumbles. Among other investments, Bezos bought a majority stake in Pets.com in 1999 and paid $60 million for a portion of Kozmo.com, a delivery service. Both companies went out of business. An attempt to compete with eBay in online auctions was not successful.

As a result, an investment in Amazon comes with the likelihood of erratic earnings '-- and sometimes no earnings at all. The company lost $39 million last year.

Ultimately, however, Amazon has rewarded patient believers. Its sales have increased almost tenfold since 2004, and its stock price has quadrupled in the past five years. ''We believe in the long term,'' Bezos told Fortune, ''but the long term also has to come.''

Friends and competitors have described Bezos as cerebral, demanding, curious and given to asking challenging questions. He shows little tolerance for those who are poorly prepared but can be charming and quick to laugh. ''If Jeff is unhappy, wait five minutes,'' his wife has said of him.

Bezos's personal ventures have also given little hint of any major interest in the news business. He started a private company called Blue Origin in 2000 to develop a space vehicle and has acquired land in west Texas as a rocket launch site, both part of a lifelong passion for space travel. He is also reportedly spending $42 million to develop a clock inside a mountain in Texas that is designed to last 10,000 years '-- a symbol of Bezos's business philosophy of thinking long-term.

In naming Bezos its ''Businessperson of the Year'' in 2012, Fortune called him ''the ultimate disrupter .'‰.'‰. [who] has upended the book industry and displaced electronic merchants'' while pushing into new businesses, such as TV and feature-film production.

His drive and business creativity have earned him favorable comparisons to Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and a confidant of Don Graham and his mother, Katharine Graham, who served as Post Co. publisher, chairman and chief executive. This year, the Harvard Business Review ranked Bezos as the second-best-performing chief executive in the world during the past decade, following only Jobs, who died in 2011.

In his announcement to employees Monday, Donald Graham quoted billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, a longtime adviser to The Post Co., as calling Bezos ''the ablest CEO in America.''

Bezos's reputation and smarts made him attractive as a buyer of The Post, Weymouth said in an interview. ''He's everything we were looking for '-- a business leader with a track record of entrepreneurship who believes in our values and cares about journalism, and someone who was willing to pay a fair price to our shareholders,'' she said.

Weymouth said the decision to sell The Post sprang from annual budget discussions she had with Graham late last year. ''We talked about whether [The Washington Post Co.] was the right place to house The Post,'' she said. ''If journalism is the mission, given the pressures to cut costs and make profits, maybe [a publicly traded company] is not the best place for The Post.''

Any buyer, she said, ''had to share our values and commitment to journalism or we wouldn't sell it.''

The sale to Bezos involves The Post and its Web site (washingtonpost.com), along with the Express newspaper, the Gazette Newspapers and Southern Maryland Newspapers in suburban Washington, the Fairfax County Times, the Spanish-language newspaper El Tiempo Latino, and the Robinson Terminal production plant in Springfield. Bezos will also purchase the Comprint printing operation in Gaithersburg, which produces several military publications.

The deal does not include the company's headquarters on 15th Street NW (the building has been for sale since February) or Foreign Policy magazine, the Web sites Slate and the Root, the WaPo Labs digital development operation, or Post-owned land along the Potomac River in Alexandria.

The Post under the Grahams

The Post, founded in 1877, has been controlled since 1933 by the heirs of Eugene Meyer, a Wall Street financier and former Federal Reserve official. Meyer bought the paper for $825,000 at a bankruptcy auction during the depth of the Depression.

After years of financial struggle, Meyer and his successor as publisher of The Post, son-in-law Philip L. Graham, steered the paper into a leading position among Washington's morning newspapers. They began expanding the company, notably by acquiring TV stations and Newsweek magazine in 1963. (The company sold the magazine for a nominal fee to billionaire Sidney Harman in 2010 after years of losses.) In later years, the company added cable TV systems and the Kaplan educational division, currently the company's largest by revenue.

Upon Graham's death in 1963, his widow (and Meyer's daughter), Katharine Graham, took over management of the company. Despite her inexperience as a corporate executive, Mrs. Graham ably led the company through a colorful and expansive period.

The newspaper rose to national stature under Benjamin C. Bradlee, whom Katharine Graham had hired from Newsweek in 1965 as a deputy managing editor and promoted to executive editor in 1968. Bradlee oversaw the opening of reporting bureaus across the nation and around the world, started the Style section and ignited the paper's long run of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting.

The Post's and New York Times' publication in 1971 of stories based on the Pentagon Papers '-- a secret government study of U.S. military and political involvement in Vietnam '-- led to a landmark legal case in which the Supreme Court prohibited the government from exercising ''prior restraint,'' or pre-publication censorship, against the newspapers.

The arrest of five men accused of breaking into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office complex in 1972 triggered the newspaper's unearthing of a series of illegal activities orchestrated by President Richard M. Nixon and his closest advisers. The revelations eventually led to Nixon's resignation. The events were memorialized by the movie ''All the President's Men,'' which turned The Post '-- as well as Bradlee and reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein '-- into household names.

Seven years after Nixon's resignation, however, the paper suffered one of its darkest hours. It was forced to give back a Pulitzer Prize awarded to reporter Janet Cooke in 1981 after she admitted that her story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in Washington named Jimmy was a fabrication.

Katharine Graham, who died in 2001, was succeeded as Post publisher by her son, Donald, in 1979. He also succeeded her as chief executive of The Washington Post Co. in 1991.

During the 1990s and into the new century, under Bradlee's successor, Leonard Downie Jr., the paper enjoyed arguably its most successful run in terms of profits, circulation and journalism. With little direct competition in Washington, the newspaper division's revenue and profit soared. The Post won 25 Pulitzers under Downie, including six in 2008, the year he retired and was succeeded by Marcus Brauchli as editor.

The Grahams are among the last of a dwindling number of multigenerational family owners of metropolitan newspapers. Most major newspapers were once owned by local families with decades-long ties to their town or city, but that ownership profile has faded with succeeding generations and has largely disappeared in the Internet era.

Many of the heirs to great newspaper fortunes have sold their holdings to corporations or wealthy investors with little connection to the regions that the newspapers helped shape or, in some instances lately, to local businesspeople whose wealth was more recently acquired.

Over the past 20 years, the list of family-owned companies that have sold their newspaper holdings include the Chandlers (owners of the Los Angeles Times, among others), the Cowles family (Minneapolis Star Tribune), the Copleys (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the Bancrofts (Wall Street Journal).

The New York Times, controlled by the Sulzberger family, is among the last major dailies still operated by descendants of an early proprietor. It acquired the Boston Globe from members of the Taylor family in 1993 for $1.1 billion; it announced last week that it was selling the paper for a mere $70 million to Boston businessman John W. Henry, who owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

After the sale to Bezos, the Graham family will continue to control the renamed Washington Post Co. through its closely held stock, known as Class A shares. The A shares cannot be sold on the open market but outvote a second class of public stock, called Class B shares. The New York Times Co. has a similar stock structure, ensuring the Sulzbergers' control.

Bezos, who ranks 11th on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest individuals in the United States, has given little indication of his ideological leanings over the years. He has not been a heavy contributor to political campaigns, although he and his wife have regularly donated to the campaign of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). In years past, they had given modest contributions to a handful of Republican and Democratic senators.

Bezos's political profile rose suddenly and sharply when he and his wife, MacKenzie, agreed last year to donate $2.5 million to help pass a referendum measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, catapulting them to the top ranks of financial backers of gay rights in the country. The donation doubled the money available to the initiative, which was approved in November and made Washington among the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Perhaps the single biggest item on Amazon's legislative agenda is a bill that would empower all states to collect sales tax from online retailers.

Amazon is required to collect sales taxes only in states where it maintains a physical presence, such as a warehouse. But Amazon now is supporting the bill, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the House. State sales taxes no longer pose a real threat to Amazon; with an emphasis on same-day shipping, the company is building distribution warehouses across the country and would have to pay the tax anyway. Last month, the company announced it would hire 5,000 employees at these warehouses, an ambitious growth strategy that is hurting profits in the short run.

Bezos's most notable charitable donations have been twin $10 million contributions to two Seattle-based institutions, the Museum of History and Industry and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The gift to the museum was for the creation of a center for innovation that would be situated a few blocks from a new Amazon headquarters campus.

Baron, the former editor of the Boston Globe who joined The Post as its editor in January, said he was surprised to learn last week that the newspaper was being sold.

But he added: ''I'm encouraged that the paper will be in the hands of a successful businessperson who understands the world of technology as well as anyone. He's expressed his commitment to the organization and to its continued independence. .'‰.'‰. I came here because I wanted to join a great news organization, and it will continue to be one.''

MORE

My Account

Sign InSubscribe(C) Copyright 1996-2013 The Washington Post

View desktop site

Why Targeted Ads Miss | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

GVS

From Jeff Pelton: iOS7 Amber Alert only shows vehicle screenshot

Shut Up Slave!

Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 04:30

Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate AmericansTop News

Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

Mon, Aug 05 15:25 PM EDT

By John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

Today, much of the SOD's work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked "Law Enforcement Sensitive," a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

"Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function," a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD's involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD."

A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to "recreate" an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. "You'd be told only, 'Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

"PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION"

After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as "parallel construction."

The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. "Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day," one official said. "It's decades old, a bedrock concept."

A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

"It's just like laundering money - you work it backwards to make it clean," said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using "parallel construction" may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

A QUESTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY

"That's outrageous," said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. "It strikes me as indefensible."

Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin "would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional."

Lustberg and others said the government's use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant's identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

"You can't game the system," said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. "You can't create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don't draw the line here, where do you draw it?"

Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

"It's a balancing act, and they've doing it this way for years," Spelke said. "Do I think it's a good way to do it? No, because now that I'm a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge."

CONCEALING A TIP

One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

"I was pissed," the prosecutor said. "Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you're trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court." The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

The SOD's role providing information to agents isn't itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD's role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don't accidentally try to arrest each other.

SOD'S BIG SUCCESSES

The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

Since its inception, the SOD's mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit's annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.

Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as DICE.

The DICE database contains about 1 billion records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, DICE linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the U.S. southwest border to a major drug case on the East Coast.

"We use it to connect the dots," the official said.

"AN AMAZING TOOL"

Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller's citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former U.S. military intelligence analyst.

"They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American," the senior law enforcement official said.

Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don't worry that SOD's involvement will be exposed in court. That's because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren't always helpful - one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

"It was an amazing tool," said one recently retired federal agent. "Our big fear was that it wouldn't stay secret."

DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review.

(Edited by Blake Morrison)

Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate AmericansTop News

Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

Mon, Aug 05 15:25 PM EDT

By John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

Today, much of the SOD's work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked "Law Enforcement Sensitive," a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

"Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function," a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD's involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD."

A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to "recreate" an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. "You'd be told only, 'Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

"PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION"

After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as "parallel construction."

The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. "Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day," one official said. "It's decades old, a bedrock concept."

A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

"It's just like laundering money - you work it backwards to make it clean," said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using "parallel construction" may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

A QUESTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY

"That's outrageous," said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. "It strikes me as indefensible."

Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin "would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional."

Lustberg and others said the government's use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant's identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

"You can't game the system," said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. "You can't create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don't draw the line here, where do you draw it?"

Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

"It's a balancing act, and they've doing it this way for years," Spelke said. "Do I think it's a good way to do it? No, because now that I'm a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge."

CONCEALING A TIP

One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

"I was pissed," the prosecutor said. "Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you're trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court." The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

The SOD's role providing information to agents isn't itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD's role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don't accidentally try to arrest each other.

SOD'S BIG SUCCESSES

The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

Since its inception, the SOD's mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit's annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.

Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as DICE.

The DICE database contains about 1 billion records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, DICE linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the U.S. southwest border to a major drug case on the East Coast.

"We use it to connect the dots," the official said.

"AN AMAZING TOOL"

Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller's citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former U.S. military intelligence analyst.

"They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American," the senior law enforcement official said.

Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don't worry that SOD's involvement will be exposed in court. That's because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren't always helpful - one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

"It was an amazing tool," said one recently retired federal agent. "Our big fear was that it wouldn't stay secret."

DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review.

(Edited by Blake Morrison)

T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 21:49

WASHINGTON '-- As hundreds of commuters emerged from Amtrak and commuter trains at Union Station on a recent morning, an armed squad of men and women dressed in bulletproof vests made their way through the crowds.

The squad was not with the Washington police department or Amtrak's police force, but was one of the Transportation Security Administration's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squads '-- VIPR teams for short '-- assigned to perform random security sweeps to prevent terrorist attacks at transportation hubs across the United States.

''The T.S.A., huh,'' said Donald Neubauer of Greenville, Ohio, as he walked past the squad. ''I thought they were just at the airports.''

With little fanfare, the agency best known for airport screenings has vastly expanded its reach to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals. Not everyone is happy.

T.S.A. and local law enforcement officials say the teams are a critical component of the nation's counterterrorism efforts, but some members of Congress, auditors at the Department of Homeland Security and civil liberties groups are sounding alarms. The teams are also raising hackles among passengers who call them unnecessary and intrusive.

''Our mandate is to provide security and counterterrorism operations for all high-risk transportation targets, not just airports and aviation,'' said John S. Pistole, the administrator of the agency. ''The VIPR teams are a big part of that.''

Some in Congress, however, say the T.S.A. has not demonstrated that the teams are effective. Auditors at the Department of Homeland Security are asking questions about whether the teams are properly trained and deployed based on actual security threats.

Civil liberties groups say that the VIPR teams have little to do with the agency's original mission to provide security screenings at airports and that in some cases their actions amount to warrantless searches in violation of constitutional protections.

''The problem with T.S.A. stopping and searching people in public places outside the airport is that there are no real legal standards, or probable cause,'' said Khaliah Barnes, administrative law counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. ''It's something that is easily abused because the reason that they are conducting the stops is shrouded in secrecy.''

T.S.A. officials respond that the random searches are ''special needs'' or ''administrative searches'' that are exempt from probable cause because they further the government's need to prevent terrorist attacks.

Created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the T.S.A. has grown to an agency of 56,000 people at 450 American airports. The VIPR teams were started in 2005, in part as a reaction to the Madrid train bombing in 2004 that killed 191 people.

The program now has a $100 million annual budget and is growing rapidly, increasing to several hundred people and 37 teams last year, up from 10 teams in 2008. T.S.A. records show that the teams ran more than 8,800 unannounced checkpoints and search operations with local law enforcement outside of airports last year, including those at the Indianapolis 500 and the Democratic and Republican national political conventions.

The teams, which are typically composed of federal air marshals, explosives experts and baggage inspectors, move through crowds with bomb-sniffing dogs, randomly stop passengers and ask security questions. There is usually a specially trained undercover plainclothes member who monitors crowds for suspicious behavior, said Kimberly F. Thompson, a T.S.A. spokeswoman. Some team members are former members of the military and police forces.

T.S.A. officials would not say if the VIPR teams had ever foiled a terrorist plot or thwarted any major threat to public safety, saying the information is classified. But they argue that the random searches and presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent that bolsters the public confidence.

Security experts give the agency high marks for creating the VIPR teams. ''They introduce an unexpected element into situations where a terrorist might be planning an attack,'' said Rafi Ron, the former chief of security for Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel, who is now a transportation security consultant.

Local law enforcement officials also welcome the teams.

''We've found a lot of value in having these high-value security details,'' said John Siqveland, a spokesman for Metro Transit, which operates buses and trains Minneapolis-St. Paul. He said that local transit police have worked with VIPR teams on security patrols on the Metro rail line, which serves the Minnesota Vikings stadium, the Mall of America and the airport.

Kimberly Woods, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, said the railroad has had good experiences with VIPR team members who work with the Amtrak police on random bag inspections during high-travel times. ''They supplement our security measures,'' she said.

But elsewhere, experiences with the teams have not been as positive.

In 2011, the VIPR teams were criticized for screening and patting down people after they got off an Amtrak train in Savannah, Ga. As a result, the Amtrak police chief briefly banned the teams from the railroad's property, saying the searches were illegal.

In April 2012, during a joint operation with the Houston police and the local transit police, people boarding and leaving city buses complained that T.S.A. officers were stopping them and searching their bags. (Local law enforcement denied that the bags were searched.)

The operation resulted in several arrests by the local transit police, mostly for passengers with warrants for prostitution and minor drug possession. Afterward, dozens of angry residents packed a public meeting with Houston transit officials to object to what they saw as an unnecessary intrusion by the T.S.A.

''It was an incredible waste of taxpayers' money,'' said Robert Fickman, a local defense lawyer who attended the meeting. ''Did we need to have T.S.A. in here for a couple of minor busts?''

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, which has oversight of the T.S.A., said he generally supports the VIPR teams but remains concerned about the warrantless searches and the use of behavior detection officers to profile individuals in crowds.

''This is a gray area,'' he said. ''I haven't seen any good science that says that is what a terrorist looks like. Profiling can easily be abused.''

Mr. Thompson said he also had questions about the effectiveness of the program because of issues like those raised in Houston and Savannah.

''It's hard to quantify the usefulness of these teams based on what we have seen so far,'' he said.

An August 2012 report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security raised similar questions.

Some T.S.A. officials told auditors that they had concerns that deploying VIPR teams to train stations or other events was not always based on credible intelligence.

The auditors also said that VIPR teams might not have ''the skills and information to perform successfully in the mass transit environment.''

Mr. Pistole said the agency is now retraining VIPR teams based on recommendations in the report and is working to increase the public's knowledge about them.

Curry's Law

News letter in GMail bogativeness

SOPA died in 2012, but Obama administration wants to revive part of it - The Washington Post

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 13:04

By Andrea Peterson, Published: AUGUST 05, 9:05 AM ET Aa The Wikipedia homepage before the SOPA/PIPA blackout in 2012 (KAREN BLEIER '' AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

You probably remember the online outrage over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) copyright enforcement proposal. Last week, the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force released a report on digital copyright policy that endorsed one piece of the controversial proposal: making the streaming of copyrighted works a felony.

As it stands now, streaming a copyrighted work over the Internet is considered a violation of the public performance right. The violation is only punishable as a misdemeanor, rather than the felony charges that accompany the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material.

SOPA attempted to change that in Section 201, aptly titled ''Streaming of copyrighted works in violation of criminal law.'' Some have suggested that the SOPA version and an earlier stand-alone piece of legislation from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would have criminalized covers of songs shared on Youtube.

One campaign against this particular type of copyright crackdown highlighted how such a law could have made Justin Bieber into a criminal. Bieber himself spoke out against Klobuchar's bill, saying the senator should be ''locked up--put away in cuffs'' while noting he personally thinks it is ''awesome'' when he sees fans uploading their own covers of his songs.

The Commerce Department report recommends ''[a]dopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution,'' adding that ''[s]ince the most recent updates to the criminal copyright provisions, streaming (both audio and video) has become a significant if not dominant means for consumers to enjoy content online.''

It's certainly true that as networks have built the capacity to stream large amounts of data, streaming has become a major way for people to consume entertainment online '-- and not all of that consumption is officially sanctioned. But as the quality of legal streaming options has grown, so has the market for it. Netflix boasts ''nearly 38 million members'' in 40 countries and the music streaming service Spotify claims over 24 million active users in more than 28 countries.

MORE

My Account

Sign InSubscribe(C) Copyright 1996-2013 The Washington Post

View desktop site

Obama administration streaming proposal: felony if unauthorized | BGR

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 13:03

11:40 AMAlthough pressure from activists and major tech companies helped kill off the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year, it looks as though the Obama administration wants to bring a key part of it back from the grave. The Washington Post reports that the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force last week released a report that recommended classifying illegal content streaming as a felony.

Specifically, the report proposes ''adopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution'... since the most recent updates to the criminal copyright provisions, streaming (both audio and video) has become a significant if not dominant means for consumers to enjoy content online.''

The task force's recommendation comes months after United States Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante said that Congress should make illegal content streaming a felony, so this is an idea that is seemingly gaining traction with people in high places in Washington.

SnowJob

Germany ends spy treaty with US, UK, in response to Snowden leaks

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: intelNews.org

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 05:32

August 5, 2013by Joseph Fitsanakis

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |The German government has announced the termination of a Cold-War era surveillance cooperation treaty with the United States and the United Kingdom in response to revelations made by American defector Edward Snowden. Snowden, a former computer expert for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA), has been given political asylum in Russia. Earlier this summer, he told German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that the United States spies on the communications of Germany and other European Union countries with the same intensity it spies on China or Iraq. In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Snowden also revealed the existence of Project TEMPORA, operated by Britain's foremost signals intelligence agency, the General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Snowden told the paper that GCHQ collected and stored massive quantities of foreign telephone call data and email messages, many of them from Germany, and shared them with its US counterpart, the NSA. On Friday, Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle, issued a statement saying that the government in Berlin had decided to scrap a longstanding surveillance cooperation agreement with Western countries in response to Snowden's revelations. The agreement was signed in 1968 between the governments of West Germany, the US, UK, and France. It gave Western countries with military bases on West German soil the right to conduct surveillance operations in Germany in support of their military presence there. In the statement, Foreign Minister Westerwelle argued that the cancellation of the surveillance agreement was ''a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy''. But the Associated Press news agency quoted an unnamed German government source as saying that the surveillance pact had not been invoked in over 20 years, and that its annulment was a ''largely symbolic'' move by Berlin. The source added that the cancellation of the agreement would have ''no impact'' on current intelligence-sharing arrangements between Germany, the US and the UK. The Associated Press also quoted a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson as saying that the canceled agreement had been ''a loose end from a previous era'' and had remained practically dormant since the end of the Cold War. The report also cited Dr. Henninng Riecke, head of the German Council on Foreign Relations' Transatlantic Relations Program. He argued that Germany had to ''do something to demonstrate at home that it was taking the issue seriously'', while at the same time letting ''the Americans know [its response was] not going to hurt them''.

Broader Sifting of Data Abroad Is Seen by N.S.A. - NYTimes.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 12:04

WASHINGTON '-- The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.

The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.

While it has long been known that the agency conducts extensive computer searches of data it vacuums up overseas, that it is systematically searching '-- without warrants '-- through the contents of Americans' communications that cross the border reveals more about the scale of its secret operations.

It also adds another element to the unfolding debate, provoked by the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, about whether the agency has infringed on Americans' privacy as it scoops up e-mails and phone data in its quest to ferret out foreign intelligence.

Government officials say the cross-border surveillance was authorized by a 2008 law, the FISA Amendments Act, in which Congress approved eavesdropping on domestic soil without warrants as long as the ''target'' was a noncitizen abroad. Voice communications are not included in that surveillance, the senior official said.

Asked to comment, Judith A. Emmel, an N.S.A. spokeswoman, did not directly address surveillance of cross-border communications. But she said the agency's activities were lawful and intended to gather intelligence not about Americans but about ''foreign powers and their agents, foreign organizations, foreign persons or international terrorists.''

''In carrying out its signals intelligence mission, N.S.A. collects only what it is explicitly authorized to collect,'' she said. ''Moreover, the agency's activities are deployed only in response to requirements for information to protect the country and its interests.''

Hints of the surveillance appeared in a set of rules, leaked by Mr. Snowden, for how the N.S.A. may carry out the 2008 FISA law. One paragraph mentions that the agency ''seeks to acquire communications about the target that are not to or from the target.'' The pages were posted online by the newspaper The Guardian on June 20, but the telltale paragraph, the only rule marked ''Top Secret'' amid 18 pages of restrictions, went largely overlooked amid other disclosures.

To conduct the surveillance, the N.S.A. is temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border. The senior intelligence official, who, like other former and current government officials, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said the N.S.A. makes a ''clone of selected communication links'' to gather the communications, but declined to specify details, like the volume of the data that passes through them.

Computer scientists said that it would be difficult to systematically search the contents of the communications without first gathering nearly all cross-border text-based data; fiber-optic networks work by breaking messages into tiny packets that flow at the speed of light over different pathways to their shared destination, so they would need to be captured and reassembled.

The official said that a computer searches the data for the identifying keywords or other ''selectors'' and stores those that match so that human analysts could later examine them. The remaining communications, the official said, are deleted; the entire process takes ''a small number of seconds,'' and the system has no ability to perform ''retrospective searching.''

The official said the keyword and other terms were ''very precise'' to minimize the number of innocent American communications that were flagged by the program. At the same time, the official acknowledged that there had been times when changes by telecommunications providers or in the technology had led to inadvertent overcollection. The N.S.A. monitors for these problems, fixes them and reports such incidents to its overseers in the government, the official said.

The disclosure sheds additional light on statements intelligence officials have made recently, reassuring the public that they do not ''target'' Americans for surveillance without warrants.

At a House Intelligence Committee oversight hearing in June, for example, a lawmaker pressed the deputy director of the N.S.A., John Inglis, to say whether the agency listened to the phone calls or read the e-mails and text messages of American citizens. Mr. Inglis replied, ''We do not target the content of U.S. person communications without a specific warrant anywhere on the earth.''

Timothy Edgar, a former intelligence official in the Bush and Obama administrations, said that the rule concerning collection ''about'' a person targeted for surveillance rather than directed at that person had provoked significant internal discussion.

''There is an ambiguity in the law about what it means to 'target' someone,'' Mr. Edgar, now a visiting professor at Brown, said. ''You can never intentionally target someone inside the United States. Those are the words we were looking at. We were most concerned about making sure the procedures only target communications that have one party outside the United States.''

The rule they ended up writing, which was secretly approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, says that the N.S.A. must ensure that one of the participants in any conversation that is acquired when it is searching for conversations about a targeted foreigner must be outside the United States, so that the surveillance is technically directed at the foreign end.

Americans' communications singled out for further analysis are handled in accordance with ''minimization'' rules to protect privacy approved by the surveillance court. If private information is not relevant to understanding foreign intelligence, it is deleted; if it is relevant, the agency can retain it and disseminate it to other agencies, the rules show.

While the paragraph hinting at the surveillance has attracted little attention, the American Civil Liberties Union did take note of the ''about the target'' language in a June 21 post analyzing the larger set of rules, arguing that the language could be interpreted as allowing ''bulk'' collection of international communications, including of those of Americans.

Jameel Jaffer, a senior lawyer at the A.C.L.U., said Wednesday that such ''dragnet surveillance will be poisonous to the freedoms of inquiry and association'' because people who know that their communications will be searched will change their behavior.

''They'll hesitate before visiting controversial Web sites, discussing controversial topics or investigating politically sensitive questions,'' Mr. Jaffer said. ''Individually, these hesitations might appear to be inconsequential, but the accumulation of them over time will change citizens' relationship to one another and to the government.''

The senior intelligence official argued, however, that it would be inaccurate to portray the N.S.A. as engaging in ''bulk collection'' of the contents of communications. '' 'Bulk collection' is when we collect and retain for some period of time that lets us do retrospective analysis,'' the official said. ''In this case, we do not do that, so we do not consider this 'bulk collection.' ''

Stewart Baker, a former general counsel for the N.S.A., said that such surveillance could be valuable in identifying previously unknown terrorists or spies inside the United States who unwittingly reveal themselves to the agency by discussing a foreign-intelligence ''indicator.'' He cited a situation in which officials learn that Al Qaeda was planning to use a particular phone number on the day of an attack.

''If someone is sending that number out, chances are they are on the inside of the plot, and I want to find the people who are on the inside of the plot,'' he said.

The senior intelligence official said that the ''about the target'' surveillance had been valuable, but said it was difficult to point to any particular terrorist plot that would have been carried out if the surveillance had not taken place. He said it was one tool among many used to assemble a ''mosaic'' of information in such investigations. He also pointed out that the surveillance was used for other types of foreign-intelligence collection, not just terrorism, the official said.

There has been no public disclosure of any ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court explaining its legal analysis of the 2008 FISA law and the Fourth Amendment as allowing ''about the target'' searches of Americans' cross-border communications. But in 2009, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel signed off on a similar process for searching federal employees' communications without a warrant to make sure none contain malicious computer code.

That opinion, by Steven G. Bradbury, who led the office in the Bush administration, may echo the still-secret legal analysis. He wrote that because that system, called EINSTEIN 2.0, scanned communications traffic ''only for particular malicious computer code'' and there was no authorization to acquire the content for unrelated purposes, it ''imposes, at worst, a minimal burden upon legitimate privacy rights.''

Soon, your phone may be able to help feds monitor nuclear weapons | Ars Technica

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 20:35

Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller (of the State Department's AVC Bureau) wants your help keeping countries honest.

The world of the US versus the Soviets is long gone, but there are still old nuclear warheads and radioactive materials stored in locations around the globe. The US State Department wants to make sure that weapons of mass destruction don't fall into the hands of terrorists. And they want to use the public to generate data to help make sure this never happens.

In March, Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller'--who heads the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance (AVC) and is the American senior arms control negotiator'--appeared for the first time at South by Southwest to give a talk. In state diplomatic fashion, she came to build a bridge between the verification and tech communities. The talk was called "Mobilizing Ingenuity to Strengthen Global Security."

''I'm looking for what the possibilities are, where things are going, what's out there,'' she said. She asked the audience for help developing the future of arms control, regarding apps for inspectors and ways to utilize the crowd.

To Gottemoeller, this request wasn't that much of a leap. Public surveillance and reporting has already taken hold in other areas, such as the environment, citizen science, natural disasters, and human rights issues (i.e. the local monitoring of the BP oil spill). These areas wrestle with similar problems collecting data from dispersed networks and using it for predictions or reports. She explained that it was the right time to collaborate on these challenges because there is a younger generation ''bursting at the seams to try new ideas'' and create. ''There's been a feedback effect on us who have been working in the policy arena for decades,'' she said.

Having people participate in the tracking of warheads and other aspects of treaties may seem counterintuitive, especially to our ''top-down'' perceptions of a government policy created during the Cold War. However, public involvement in this area can be extremely powerful and save treaty experts a lot of headaches in a world that moves at the speed of the Internet.

Weapons treaties between countries, whether dealing with chemical warfare, nuclear missiles, tanks, or radioactive material, have been traditionally difficult to negotiate. They typically take years to ratify. With advances in technology, the process has sped up considerably, leading to increased transparency. At this point, the US has made agreements with other governments (for example, Russia) under which they can fly over each other's territories to survey and report on weapons (called The Treaty on Open Skies). Non-proliferation treaties between countries are usually reviewed every few years, and issues involving the treaty are discussed. During this process, the governments involved use it as a confidence-building event and an opportunity to tackle how the landscape and technologies have changed. However, technology usually changes faster than treaties do, and agreements are always trying to catch up. So with the citizens of each country reporting on compliance, the countries can work out quicker agreements.

During her presentation, Gottemoeller mentioned a few ways that public verification could be employed, such as using mobile phones for nuclear explosion detection.

The treaties don't only regulate how governments handle weapons or engage with each other, they also put limits on the number of different weapons, deployed or idle. With the New START Treaty signed under President Obama, the focus has shifted to limiting the number of nuclear warheads in an attempt to get on ''the road to zero'' (aka a nuclear-free world). Doing so is a much larger task than tracking deployable missiles, and they are much easier to hide. Having people track wherever a warhead goes can help international monitoring regimes determine where a weapon might end up when it's not where it's supposed to be.Today there is a gap in the technology that governments use to verify weapons. Nuclear missiles fitted with warheads that sit on runways could easily be seen with 1950s-style satellites. Outside of that, there are radiation detectors at ports around the world that scan cargo, but many reported cases have been false alarms. Mundane cargo items (such as bananas) can also give off radiation and still be completely harmless.

...and some solutions on the tableDuring her presentation, Gottemoeller mentioned a few ways that public verification could be employed, such as using mobile phones for nuclear explosion detection. Accelerometers (the sensors that flip the screen's orientation when it's tilted) pick up vibrations and can be used to track earthquake tremors. Another example was illustrated by one of the audience members at the event. He helped develop the Gamma Pix App, a smartphone app that looks for gamma ray artifacts, and is currently working on sensor aggregation for Improvised Explosive Device detection in Afghanistan.

Gottemoeller's push for interest in public treaty verification began last year when she travelled to universities in the US and the former Soviet Union. During the trip, she hoped to open up discussion about open source technologies used in treaty compliance. She said that she started to pursue the idea when she learned that treaty inspectors couldn't use Google Earth during inspections. Instead, they had to use a set of official procedures'--inspectors even had to learn how to cross-country ski to circumnavigate the Russian facilities to see if there were any secret entrances from where people could shuttle a warhead in and out. Other inspirations for Gottemoeller included watching the data mining of social networks during the Arab Spring and the radiation detectors near Fukushima. ''The neighborhood gaze is a powerful tool,'' Gottemoeller remarked during her speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

There are many benefits for social verification. Many of the tasks that inspectors do during arms inspections are tedious. They also can't be in all places at all times. And today, the data available to the average citizen is astronomical compared to what it used to be. To make inspectors' jobs easier, they can have crowdsourced data at their fingertips, allowing them to focus on what they think is important. This type of verification aims to keep governments honest and build confidence internationally and among their own people, because if your own citizens can report when you are breaking a treaty, it can make governments think twice before overstepping treaty lines. The transparency works both ways. It helps citizens become more involved in government treaties and informed on the facts about the process.

The debate and methods of inspection and verification have not changed much since the Cold War, but the idea of societal verification was born much earlier than one may think. Josef Rotblat, a scientist working in Britain after WWII and one of the key figures to foster scientific collaboration between the West and the Soviets, was the first to formulate the need for societal verification. In the late 1950s in America, Seymour Melman, a professor at Columbia, wrote about this idea as well, but as America got deeper into the Cold War, these ideas disappeared from discussion.

There are different methods to treaty-gathering intelligence, but the most important terms involved are ''National Technical Means'' and ''Public Technical Means.'' These are umbrella terms for the sensory systems or procedures employed by the state or by the public to verify weapons treaties. Much of the public verification data will deal with GeoInt (intelligence based on geographic location), such as images or video with the accompanying GPS coordinates. However, the public can transmit and make use of other sensory data as well, such as radiation detection. In this light, the government would like to use the public for verification in two ways. The first would be to create new points of information, whether from apps on their mobile phones or surfing the Internet on their laptops. The second is helping to find patterns in the existing data.

Public verification can also take advantage of the ''Internet of Things,'' or the link between everyday objects or spaces and the flow of information on the Internet. Most people think of the Internet of Things as QR codes or sprinklers that are programmable through the cloud. But the term can also be applied to verification as well. Connecting objects through the Internet and making them interactive enhances the quality and speed of the data. Sensors in and around a weapons facility could be linked to the cloud, and inspectors could check for things that are out of place. Areas that aren't filled with classified data could be crowdsourced to some of the country's citizens to do routine checks.

Technologies used in verification tend to have multiple uses as well, including citizen science and disaster relief efforts. Seismic stations searching for earthquakes can test for nuclear explosions. Radio-nuclei sensors, aerial cameras, satellite images, and radiation detectors are not confined to one task and are usually run by both government and non-government personnel. This partnership increases the amount and quality of the data. Gottemoeller stressed in her speech at SXSW that both first citizen scientists in the US, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were also diplomats.

Android smartphone and tablet users can now donate their unused computing power for scientific research.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 10:22

Android smartphone and tablet users can now donate their unused computing power for scientific research.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

A new app for Android lets you donate your smartphone and tablet's unused computing power for scientific research, all while you sleep. It only works when your device is connected to Wi-Fi, is near full-charge and plugged in, so it won't eat up your data plan or drain the battery.

When combined with the surplus power of thousands of other "donated" phones, the network of devices make up a quasi-supercomputer available for use by scientists.

One of the projects that makes use of the smartphone network is called FightAIDS@Home. Scientists working on FightAids@Home are searching for new drugs to treat the HIV virus. It is run by the Olson Laboratory and The Scripps Research Institute and is powered by IBM's(IBM, Fortune 500) World Community Grid.

The World Community Grid has sponsored more than a dozen scientific research projects over the past decade. But until now, it could only take advantage of idle desktop computers and laptops.

Related story: China builds world's fastest supercomputer

Since the Android app, known as the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing or BOINC, went live on July 22, its has been downloaded 30,000 times from the Google(GOOG, Fortune 500) Play app store.

For scientists, the crowd-sourced supercomputer cuts down the cost of doing research and the time it takes to get results. Renting time on a supercomputer can be expensive for nonprofit research institutes, running upwards of $1,000 per hour -- and that does not typically give the scientist access to the entire system.

"When we first sat down with researchers, they proposed projects that were far too modest because that's what has been available to them," said Ari Fishkind, an IBM spokesman. "Now they can access a great deal more power."

One project working to identify drugs to treat a tropical disease called schistosomiasis is expected to cut down its research time from about 30 years to one year or less by taking advantage of the smartphone network, in addition to the donated PCs on the World Community Grid. Fishkind expects more projects to be make use of the Android app down the road.

First Published: August 7, 2013: 5:55 AM ET

Drone Nation

Drone strikes kill militants in Yemen, Americans urged to leave - CNN.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 02:35

By Elise Labott and Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN

updated 6:44 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

Military drones

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

NEW: UK withdraws staff from British embassy in Yemen, follows U.S. leadSources: Members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are planning an attackThe United States has heightened its security stance across the Mideast and AfricaAl Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri tells operatives in Yemen to "do something"(CNN) -- A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four al Qaeda militants in Yemen as the United States maintained a heightened security alert in the country and urged all Americans to leave immediately.

Security sources told CNN about the strikes but didn't offer additional details. A Yemeni official said four drone strikes have been carried out in the past 10 days.

None of those killed on Tuesday were among the 25 names on the country's most-wanted list, security officials said.

It is unclear whether the strikes were related to the added security alert in the country after U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to "do something." The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group's Yemeni affiliate. U.S. intelligence believes al-Wuhayshi has recently been appointed the overall terror organization's No. 2 leader.

Also Tuesday, the State Department urged Americans in Yemen to leave immediately, citing terrorist activities and civil unrest. All non-emergency U.S. government personnel were also told to leave.

Two U.S. military transport aircraft landed in Yemen on Tuesday to evacuate American citizens.

"In response to a request from the U.S. State Department, early this morning the U.S. Air Force transported personnel out of Sana'a, Yemen, as part of a reduction in emergency personnel," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.

Little also said, "The U.S. Department of Defense continues to have personnel on the ground in Yemen to support the U.S. State Department and monitor the security situation."

The UK Foreign Office also announced it had temporarily withdrawn all staff from the British embassy and would keep the facility shut until employees are able to return.

Washington takes precautions

Acting on the intelligence information, the United States heightened its security stance, issuing a worldwide travel alert and closing a number of embassies and consulates over large areas of the Middle East and Africa this week.

List of U.S. embassies and consulates closed this week

The State Department said the substantial security steps reflect an "abundance of caution" over intelligence information that indicated final planning by al Qaeda in Yemen for possible terrorist attacks on Western targets to coincide with the end of Ramadan this week.

Three sources told CNN that the United States has information that members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack. Recent jailbreaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya all have the fingerprints of al Qaeda operations.

Prison breaks are among reasons for heightened security

On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that U.S. anti-terrorism efforts had decimated al Qaeda's global leadership and greatly diminished its core in Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying the threat had "shifted to some of these affiliates, in particular AQAP."

Separately, American special forces units overseas have been on alert for the past several days awaiting a mission to attack potential al Qaeda targets if those behind the most recent terror threats against U.S. interests can be identified, a senior Obama administration official told CNN.

The official declined to identify the units or their locations because of the sensitive nature of the information. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel put the units on alert last week, the official said.

CNN's Barbara Starr and Hakim Almasmari contributed to this report

Bank$ters

Consulates and the Vatican in chaos as HSBC tells them to find another bank | Mail Online

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 04:52

By Joanne Hart, Financial Mail On Sunday

PUBLISHED: 16:42 EST, 3 August 2013 | UPDATED: 02:55 EST, 4 August 2013

1,217shares

45

Viewcomments

Diplomats in London have been thrown into chaos after Britain's biggest bank, HSBC, sacked them as customers and gave them 60 days to move their accounts.

Their situation has been made far worse because other banks have been closing ranks and refusing to take their business.

More than 40 embassies, consulates and High Commissions have been affected. Even the Vatican has been given its marching orders.

Havoc: HSBC's decision to sack embassies as customers has caused chaos also because other banks refused to take their business

The Pope's representative office in Britain, the Apostolic Nunciature, has banked with HSBC for many years but was told to find another bank.

One diplomatic source said he believed HSBC feared being exposed to embassies after it was fined $2billion (£1.32billion) by US authorities last year.

It was blamed for alleged money-laundering activities said to have been conducted through its Latin American operations by drug cartels. HSBC admitted at the time that it had failed to effectively counter money laundering.

Bernard Silver, head of the Consular Corps, which represents consuls in the UK, said: 'HSBC's decision has created havoc. Embassies and consulates desperately need a bank, not just to take in money for visas and passports, but to pay staff wages, rent bills, even the congestion charge.'

Embassies also have to pay for ambassadorial accommodation and sometimes even school fees for diplomats' children. None of these bills can be settled without a valid British bank account.

John Belavu, minister at the Papua New Guinea High Commission, said: 'We've been banking with HSBC for 22 years and for them to throw us off in this way was a bombshell.'

Lawrence Landau, honorary consul of Benin, said: 'We have been trying everyone, but all the UK banks are clamming up.'

Other embassies are equally fraught. One said: 'HSBC did not give us any real explanation. They have only given us until the middle of August to find another bank. We can't find one and we are going crazy.'

Marching orders: The Vatican's representative office in Britain has been told by HSBC to find another bank.

Banking sources said diplomatic missions are considered to be 'politically exposed', which means they are at risk of money laundering activities.

HSBC, however, claims its decision is part of an assessment of all business customers to see if they satisfy five criteria '' 'international connectivity, economic development, profitability, cost efficiency and liquidity'.

One diplomat said: 'We don't even know what these criteria mean.'

HSBC would not explain the requirements to The Mail on Sunday and merely said: 'HSBC has been applying a rolling programme of ''five filter'' assessments to all its businesses since May 2011, and our services for embassies are no exception.'

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office said it was in contact with HSBC and had provided a number of diplomatic missions with letters of introduction 'to help in opening a new bank account'.

The debacle comes as HSBC prepares to unveil its half-year profits tomorrow. The group is expected to report that it made $14.6billion (£9.6billion) in profits for the first six months of the year. It made $12.7billion in the same period last year.

Share or comment on this article

Political Elite$

Cory Booker's video start-up put CNN president Jeff Zucker's 14-year-old son on the company's advisory board and gave him stock options | Mail Online

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 00:45

Cory Booker helped found a video aggregation start up site called WaywireFinancial disclosure forms show that he appointed Jeff Zucker's 15-year-old son Andrew on the company's advisory boardAndrew has since quit after his role was publicizedGoogle's Eric Schmidt and Booker pal Oprah Winfrey are both investorsBooker is now running for the empty New Jersey Senate spotBy Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 12:36 EST, 7 August 2013 | UPDATED: 17:03 EST, 7 August 2013

94shares

12

Viewcomments

The 15-year-old son of CNN president Jeff Zucker has resigned from his position on the advisory board of Cory Booker's start-up after it was revealed that the teenager had a leadership role in the company and receiving stock options for his work.

Hours after the news broke that Zucker's teenage son Andrew was listed as a member of the video aggregation start-up, a CNN spokesman said that he resigned from the company.

The spokesperson also made a concerted effort to distance Booker, the current Newark mayor who is running for the open New Jersey Senate seat, from the decision to bring the younger Zucker on board.

Her idea: Sarah Ross is said to be the one who approached Jeff Zucker's son Andrew (seen with his father at left in 2009) to be a member of the advisory board of Cory Booker's start-up Waywire

Public face: Cory Booker, the current mayor of Newark, New Jersey who is now running for Senate, is the founder of a video aggregation start up and he stands to make $1million to $5million out of the company

They said instead that it was Sarah Ross, a tech executive with close ties to Silicon Valley, who approached Andrew and asked him to provide some analysis for the Booker's start-up Waywire because the teenager is apparently known for his insight into popular trends among teens.

Teenage tech whiz: Andrew Zucker, seen in 2009, resigned from his post on the company's board hours after the news broke

CNN Money reported on Wednesday that Andrew's name was suggested to Ms Ross by another Waywire board member after they heard that the teen had been helping his dad when it came to tech branding issues for the cable news giant.

Ms Ross then had a conversation with both Jeff and Andrew Zucker and they agreed to have the now-15-year-old sign on to Waywire's advisory board and receive a 'de minimus' amount of stock options in return.

An unidentified source told CNN Money that Booker himself was 'not involved at all' with the decision, and Ms Ross herself admitted at an early stage that the politician would not be a part of the day-to-day operations of the start up.

The New York Times reports that even in the nascent phase, it was clear among the founders that Booker would be a more public role.

When the launched the company, Ms Ross reportedly said to Booker: 'You know what? You should do it, found the company. Obviously you don't have to be involved '-- you've got a full-time job. But found the company.'

The financial disclosure indicates that his ownership stake could earn him anywhere between $1million and $5million, but the company does not appear anywhere near ready to turn over such a profit.

Unlike many of the other boldface names connected to Waywire, like Oprah Winfrey and Google's Eric Schmidt, it does not seem as if the elder Zucker actually has any financial stake in the company.

Very little has previously been revealed about the start up, which was officially created in May 2012.

Promoting the brand: If Booker wins, he will have to resign from the board of Waywire and stop promoting it from his well-followed Twitter feed

Famous funders: Google's Eric Schmidt (left) was the first one to invest money in Waywire, and Booker's close friend Oprah Winfrey (right) followed shortly after

Now The New York Timeswas able to shed some light on the company's structure because Booker had to submit a financial report showing his ownership of the company due to the stipulations for Senate candidates.

Booker reportedly came up with the idea for the company, whose mission is to effectively become a different iteration of YouTube where the work of up-and-coming students is highlighted, while meeting with Ms Ross and Nathan Richardson.

Ms Ross is best known for her work behind the social media scenes, and is credited by The Times as being the one that helped Ashton Kutcher achieve his record-breaking number of followers.

'I see high school kids who are doing incredible videos, but their voices are not breaking into the national conversation,' Booker said of his inspiration for Waywire.

Connected: Sarah Ross, seen here talking with Booker and trailed by Mark Zuckerberg, is well known in Silicon Valley

Booker's involvement in the project has not been a secret, as he used his name and public image as a way to gain more than a million dollars from early investors.

He said it was easy to raise the $1.75million worth of seed money for the venture 'because of the power of the idea'. He said nothing of his rising power on the national political stage.

Schmidt was the first investor in the company, and Booker's close friend Oprah followed suit.

For Booker's part, he may not be able to be involved in the company much longer. If he wins the Senate race in November, he will be forced to withdraw from Waywire's board.

The Times reports that they already had to go through a round of layoffs, but two staffers taht are still around are Andrew Zucker and an unidentified son of one of a Booker supporter who is now employed by Booker's Senate campaign.

Share or comment on this article

Report: Emails show Ron Paul campaign negotiated to buy Iowa senator's endorsement.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 11:52

Chuck Todd: U.S. influence in the world waning under ObamaBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/08/13 07:45 AM

MSNBC's Chuck Todd explained Thursday morning on ''Morning Joe'' that the influence of the United States around the world was ''waning'' during the Obama presidency. ''This has been a rough six months for this...

Read More...Justin Amash: Yes, Mr. President, we do have a domestic spying programBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/08/13 07:20 AM

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., explained on Fox News Wednesday night that President Obama was wrong when he told Jay Leno Tuesday that the United States didn't have a ''domestic spying program.'' ''I would say that it...

Read More...Rick Santorum shouldn't be seen as a serious 2016 contenderBy PHILIP KLEIN | 08/08/13 06:20 AM

Rick Santorum hasn't been taken seriously as a contender for the 2016 Republican nomination. On Wednesday, my colleague Byron York posted a recent interview he conducted with the 2012 GOP runner up, and questioned this...

Read More...Darrell Issa is winning the InternetsBy ASHE SCHOW | 08/08/13 06:04 AM

The California Republican has figured out how to use social media probably better than anyone else in Congress. Here's a look at how he does it, cat photos and all.

Read More...Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the right thing to doBy MICHAEL BARONE | 08/07/13 07:20 PM

I couldn't disagree more strongly with my Examiner colleague Timothy Carney when he argues that we should not have dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My reading of the history of World War II has...

Read More...Report: Emails show Ron Paul campaign negotiated to buy Iowa senator's endorsementBy JOEL GEHRKE | 08/07/13 04:10 PM

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul's campaign negotiated to purchase the endorsement of an Iowa state senator who had previously endorsed Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., according to emails obtained by...

Read More...Obama comforts young people: I used to live in my mother-in-law's houseBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/07/13 02:00 PM

President Obama reminded Americans Wednesday afternoon that he didn't come from a ''fancy background'' and actually had to live in his mother-in-law's house while he was saving for a down payment for a home....

Read More...Zillow.com backs Obama, Obama promotes Zillow.comBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/07/13 01:30 PM

President Obama was interviewed by Zillow.com CEO Spencer Rascoff on Wednesday about the housing market, using the online real estate website to help promote his economic agenda.

Read More...MSNBC hosts fight about whether MSNBC is a liberal 'mouthpiece'By JOEL GEHRKE | 08/07/13 01:30 PM

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski thinks that Democrats don't have a media network analogous to Fox News, which she regards as ''a mouthpiece for the Republican Party.''

Read More...In defense of populist rhetoricBy TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | 08/07/13 12:50 PM

Populism rhetoric can be used in destructive and evil ways, but it can also be used well.

Read More...It was wrong to bomb Hiroshima and NagasakiBy TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | 08/07/13 11:45 AM

The tens of thousands of Japanese non-combatants we killed 68 years ago this week with two nuclear bombs were not ''collateral damage'' of military strikes. They were the intended targets.

Read More...Taxes rising faster under Obama than under any other presidentBy CONN CARROLL | 08/07/13 11:20 AM

President Obama bragged during his Tuesday speech in Phoenix, Arizona, that ''Our deficits are coming down at the fastest rate in 60 years.''

Read More...Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post is a good thingBy TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | 08/07/13 10:50 AM

Whenever a journalism enterprise succeeds, I cheer '-- even when it's a competitor of the Examiner, or when I dislike the ideology involved. Whenever a journalism enterprise fails, I'm saddened.

Read More...Why isn't Rick Santorum the GOP 2016 frontrunner?By BYRON YORK | 08/07/13 10:40 AM

This week Rick Santorum returns to Iowa for the first time since last year's presidential campaign. For Santorum, whose victory in the 2012 caucuses started an improbable run at the Republican nomination, the visit will...

Read More...Buy a shotgun: 14 celebrity PSA's promoting Joe Biden's shotgun campaignBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/07/13 09:36 AM

Earlier this year, Vice President Joe Biden heavily promoted the idea of Americans buying shotguns to defend themselves, their homes, and their families. But America already has a rich tradition of shotgun ownership and...

Read More...President Obama defends his love of broccoliBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/07/13 09:00 AM

Comedian Jay Leno questioned President Obama about his professed love of broccoli Tuesday night, jokingly accusing the president of lying to children. ''Can you put your right hand on a Bible and say,...

Read More...Obamacare and the shift to part-time workBy PHILIP KLEIN | 08/07/13 08:25 AM

Ever since President Obama's health care program was signed into law, there have been anecdotal reports of business executives pledging to shift more workers to part-time to get around the law's mandate that larger...

Read More...Morning Examiner: The path to a Republican Senate majority just got easierBy CONN CARROLL | 08/07/13 08:25 AM

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., announced he is officially challenging Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Tuesday, vastly improving Republican chances to win control of the United States Senate in 2014.

Read More...September doesn't need to be last stand of Obamacare opponentsBy PHILIP KLEIN | 08/07/13 07:20 AM

With Congress in recess during August, the political world is focused on Oct. 1 '' the date that President Obama's health care law starts signing up participants and that the government will shut down without a budget...

Read More...Jay Leno thanks Obama for helping his shop workers get health careBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/07/13 07:10 AM

Comedian Jay Leno may be a multimillionaire, but he thanked President Obama during an appearance on his show Tuesday night for helping him get health care for his shop employees. ''The guys who worked at my shop for me...

Read More...VIDEO: On Leno, Obama explains 'bromance' with John McCainBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/07/13 06:50 AM

Comedian Jay Leno asked President Obama Tuesday night about the new ''bromance'' that he was having with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. ''I remember you two had that lover's quarrel for a while and oh, now you're best...

Read More...Colleagues rally to support Larry SummersBy MICHAEL BARONE | 08/06/13 05:40 PM

Two former colleagues have come to Summers's defense, Harvard Law professor (and former director of the Obama White House regulatory office, OIRA) Cass Sunstein and New York investment banker and Obama auto bailout...

Read More...'War on coal': 207 coal plants will close in the next decadeBy ASHE SCHOW | 08/06/13 04:20 PM

Whether due to environmental regulations or cheap natural gas (which the Environmental Protection Agency is also eying suspiciously via potential fracking regulations), these coal plants will close their doors, resulting...

Read More...FLOTUS does victory dance: Kids are losing weight because of Let's MoveBy JOEL GEHRKE | 08/06/13 04:00 PM

First Lady Michelle Obama hailed a new government report that shows a slight decline in obesity among low-income preschoolers, which she regards as a vindication of her efforts to fight childhood obesity.

Read More...Jay Carney praises Washington Post's 'storied history'By CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 03:20 PM

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney received news of The Washington Post sale warmly Tuesday during a press briefing on Air Force One. ''I was surprised, as a lot of people were, by the news,'' Carney said, when...

Read More...Megabanks are a creature of government, not of unbridled capitalismBy TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | 08/06/13 02:40 PM

How could a free-marketeer want to break up the big banks? In part, because the megabanks are not the creatures of capitalism, but of government.

Read More...Defense Department slashes furlough days againBy JOEL GEHRKE | 08/06/13 02:25 PM

Defense Department officials cut the number of furlough days yet again, dropping the number of total furlough days for 800,000 civilian employee to about one quarter of the 22 days the Pentagon projected.

Read More...Marco Rubio: Maybe Obama had a phone in the golf cart to deal with terror threatsBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 01:15 PM

The Florida Republican explained on the Mark Levin show Wednesday night that he was concerned about President Obama's tepid reaction to terror threats in the Middle East.

Read More...Poll: GOP challenger begins Arkansas Senate race with slight edgeBy JOEL GEHRKE | 08/06/13 01:05 PM

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. '-- who is expected to announce his Senate candidacy at a barbecue in Arkansas today '-- leads Sen. Mark Pryor 43-41 with 16 percent of voters undecided, according to survey from Harper...

Read More...Hipster Rick Perry was creating jobs before it was coolBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 12:41 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry showed up at the RedState convention in Louisiana last Friday wearing brand new "hipster glasses." Thanks for having me. I'm hipster Rick Perry.

Read More...Gallup: Confidence in economy takes a dive in JulyBy ASHE SCHOW | 08/06/13 12:00 PM

Americans' economic confidence fell in July, diving to its lowest point since April, according to the latest Gallup poll.

Read More...Higher education is a government-created cartelBy CONN CARROLL | 08/06/13 11:35 AM

On Monday, after reporting on the closure of an online community college partnership, I tweeted the story to Slate's Matt Yglesias, hoping he might recognize higher education accreditation as one of those areas where an...

Read More...DeMint: I don't think Lindsey Graham would call himself a Jim DeMint conservativeBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 10:00 AM

Former-Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., '' now the president of the Heritage Foundation '' indicated on MSNBC Tuesday morning that his former senate colleague Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is not a ''Jim DeMint conservative.''...

Read More...Washington Examiner reporter Mark Flatten exposes fake wounded vets ripping off program to help heroesBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 09:35 AM

On Fox News, the Washington Examiner's Mark Flatten reports on the alarming trend of fake wounded veterans ripping off a government program to help military heroes. Read the first of his five-part investigative series...

Read More...Morning Examiner: Amnesty activists push discharge petition for nonexistent billBy CONN CARROLL | 08/06/13 09:15 AM

Amnesty activists frustrated by a lack of progress in the House are pushing Democrats to sign a discharge petition that would force Republicans to vote on the Senate immigration bill. Problem is, Senate Majority Leader...

Read More...VIDEO: Obama 'pivots more than a ballerina doing pirouettes,' says Ted CruzBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 08:00 AM

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joked about President Obama's reaction to the economy during a Q&A session at the RedState Conference in Louisiana on Friday.

Read More...Dan Rather reacts to Washington Post sale: 'Holy online news, Batman!'By CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/06/13 06:55 AM

Former CBS newscaster Dan Rather admitted he was shocked by the news of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchasing the Washington Post. ''Make no mistake, when I heard this news this afternoon, my reaction was 'holy online...

Read More...Monday memeBy ASHE SCHOW | 08/05/13 04:15 PM

Read More...Regulator shuts down award-winning school, strands studentsBy CONN CARROLL | 08/05/13 04:00 PM

Tiffin University, a small, private non-profit university in northwest Ohio, announced last week that it has been ordered to stop its Ivy Bridge College associate degree program by the university's regional accreditor,...

Read More...Ted Cruz: 'Y'all know Buzzfeed?'By CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/05/13 03:30 PM

During a Q&A session at a RedState convention on Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, explained that more and more Americans were understanding that Obamacare was bad for America.

Read More...Another underwhelming Hillary Clinton poll showingBy MICHAEL BARONE | 08/05/13 02:25 PM

Monmouth University in New Jersey has a new poll out pairing Hillary Clinton against four Republicans '' Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz.

Read More...Patrick Leahy: Gun control is dead and Michael Bloomberg killed itBy JOEL GEHRKE | 08/05/13 01:00 PM

The New York City Mayor damaged the recent push for gun control through his aggressive advocacy of the legislation, according to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Read More...RNC says NBC, CNN won't get 2016 debates if they air Hillary Clinton programsBy BRIAN HUGHES | 08/05/13 12:30 PM

The Republican National Committee on Monday told NBC and CNN they would not partner with the networks for 2016 presidential debates unless the television channels dropped plans to air programs focused on the life of...

Read More...VIDEO '' Chris Christie reveals the lowest point in his lifeBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/05/13 12:10 PM

Gov. Chris Christie revealed the lowest point in his life during a Las Vegas conference, recalling a moment with his mother after she learned she had three large brain tumors. ''I kind of thought my mother was...

Read More...Pat Leahy: NSA 'carried away with what is technologically possible'By JOEL GEHRKE | 08/05/13 12:00 PM

Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said that National Security Agency officials have ''gotten too carried away with what is technologically possible'' with respect to security, adding that he fears the agency...

Read More...Gallup: Just 26 percent of the world works full-time for an employerBy ASHE SCHOW | 08/05/13 11:25 AM

Only 26 percent of working-age adults 15 and over around the world were employed full time by an employer in 2012, according to Gallup's latest Payroll to Population metric.

Read More...10 House Republican talking points against the Senate immigration billBy CONN CARROLL | 08/05/13 10:15 AM

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., gave House Republicans an ''Immigration Resource Kit'' Friday, including these 10 talking points against S. 744, the citizenship for illegal immigrants bill passed by the Senate this June.

Read More...Graphic: The US is worse off than DetroitBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/05/13 09:50 AM

Heritage releases the graphic above showing how the United States government is actually worse off than the now bankrupt city of Detroit.

Read More...Christine Todd Whitman writes op-ed advancing her client's interest --- NYT runs itBy TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | 08/05/13 09:40 AM

An op-ed in the New York Times in favor of federal regulation of greenhouse gasses is nothing special. The Times's editors presumably thought these authors would have extra credibility with a certain audience segment...

Read More...Morning Examiner: Immigration talking points signal House to move on legalization soonBy CONN CARROLL | 08/05/13 08:40 AM

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., gave House Republicans an ''Immigration Resource Kit'' Friday, and the document hints that Republicans will take up legislation providing legal status to some...

Read More...

Trains Good?

Cartel accusations against Siemens in Brazil | Germany | DW.DE | 18.07.2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:21

German engineering giant Siemens self-reported to avoid criminal proceedings for its alleged involvement in a railway price-fixing cartel in Sao Paulo and Brasilia.

The Brazilian daily "Folha de Sao Paulo" reported in its Sunday edition (14.07.2013) on allegations that Munich-based Siemens illegally rigged prices and was possibly involved in a cartel in bids for the construction, fitting and maintenance of metro trains in Sao Paulo und the capital city of Brasilia. Siemens voluntarilyself-reported to Brazilian authorities.

Bombardier of Canada (a French Alstom conglomerate), Spain's CAF and Japan's Mitsui corporate group are also reported to have been involved in the cartel. Illegal price-rigging among the global engineering firms is said to have raised bids to 10 to 20 percent higher than quotes typically found on the market.

Folha reported that subcontractors fronted the deception. Early in July, Brazil's antitrust regulator - the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) - searched offices in Sao Paulo, Diadema, Hortolandia and Brasilia, confiscating evidence at 13 firms allegedly involved. Assessment of the secured documents is expected to take up to three months.

Uncertainty remains

According to the newspaper, the cartel is said to have made an appearance in at least six contract placements. It added, however, that the total extent of the deals, the time period and possible damage amount are still not clear. The bidding in which Siemens participated involved several hundred million euros, the paper said.

In the late 1990s, the German engineering firm was awarded the contract for the construction of Sao Paulo's metro line number 5, amounting to 600 million reais (about 204 million euros, or $268 million). There is said to have been an arrangement with Alstom in this case.

Irregularities are also mentioned concerning a contract in 2000 for shipment of 10 suburban trains, built by Siemens and Mitsui. Siemens reportedly also did not play by the rules when it won the bid in 2007 for maintenance of the subway in the capital Brasilia, to the tune of 96 million reais annually (about 33 million euros): Germany's Siemens and French competitor Alstom agreed to share the contract.

Protection from criminal proceedings

The Folha reported that Siemens and Brazilian law enforcement authorities agreed to leniency in light of the firm's self-reporting. In return for cooperating with the probe, Siemens and its leading managers were promised protection from criminal proceedings, should the suspicion of involvement in a cartel be confirmed. It is not clear when Siemens alerted authorities - that information will be kept from public light as part of the deal.

First indications of irregularities arose as early as June 2008, when a Brazilian member of parliament and a former Siemens employee disclosed detailed information on how the German industrial giant fixed prices with other global enterprises - even inolving bribes. The ensuing probe, however, did not produce concrete evidence. New suspicious facts emerged in the fall of 2010, but Siemens conducted an internal probe that came out empty-handed.

Massive payoffs

Earlier, the company was embroiled in one of the largest corruption scandals in German economic history. In November 2006, what has become known as the "Siemens affair" shed light on an extensive bribery scheme.

The resulting fallout forced CEOs to step down, and in October 2007, a Munich court fined the firm 201 million euros ($263 million). Even the US Securities and Exchange Commission investigated Siemens, since it is traded on Wall Street. An extrajudicial settlement cost the Munich company 800 million dollars.

Earlier that year, in January 2007, the EU levied a 750 million euro fine against 11 multinational firms for illegal price-fixing and involvement in cartels; Siemens was forced to pay the lion's share of 400 million euros.

The company consequently introduced an anti-corruption system, while new management headed by Peter L¶scher pledged to forgo lucrative deals rather than resorting to illegal practices again in the future.

The case in Brazil shows that it is not always easy to act on promises. When news of the self-report broke, Siemens issued a statement saying the firm had been aware of the probe. The statement mentioned efforts made since 2007 toward developing an effective compliance system while adhering to "the commitment of all employees to comply with antitrust guidelines," adding that the firm would cooperate "fully with the authorities."

Tender for high-speed route

Siemens' voluntary disclosure surfaced just weeks before a contract for a 511-kilometer (318-mile) high-speed line between the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - the first of its kind in Latin America - will come up for bidding in August. The companies accused in the cartel are among the most promising candidates to win the bid for the mega-project that would link the country's two most significant cities.

The Brazilian government expects costs of 35 billion reais (12 billion euros or $16 billion). Apart from the five multinational conglomerates allegedly entangled in the illegal price-fixing scandal, only five other companies worldwide are even capable of producing such high-speed trains.

Of those five, only South Korea's Rotem company has shown an interest in the contract. Against that background, the government in Brasilia as well as Siemens may prefer a quiet settlement.

Burma

Statement by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes on the Expiration of the Ban on Imports from Burma

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 02:42

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

August 07, 2013

Today, in light of the July 28 expiration of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act's (BFDA) ban on imports from Burma, the President issued an Executive Order that repeals the provisions of Executive Order 13310 that implemented the broad BFDA import ban on products of Burma.

President Obama fully supported the expiration of the broader ban on imports from Burma and is taking this step to advance our policy of promoting responsible economic engagement and encouraging reform that directly benefits the Burmese people. The removal of the broad ban on imports of articles other than jadeite and rubies, and articles of jewelry containing them, represents the next step in the Administration's continued efforts to promote responsible trade and investment in support of Burma's reform process. However, due to continuing concerns, including with respect to labor and human rights in specific sectors, this Executive Order reinstates the prohibitions and restrictions on the importation into the United States of jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from Burma, and on articles of jewelry containing them, that was originally imposed by the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, which amended the BFDA. The Administration is maintaining restrictions on specific activities and actors that contribute to human rights abuses or undermine Burma's democratic reform process.

Today's announcement continues to broaden American engagement in Burma, including increased opportunities for trade and investment, development assistance to strengthen the capacity of the government and people to promote growth and opportunity, and principled support for political reform and national reconciliation. Americans will continue to stand with the government and people of Burma as they continue their democratic transition, and work to realize the full promise of their extraordinary country.

Going Postal

Busted

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Zero Hedge

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:15

- The Post Office has to come up with $5.6Bn by September 30 to pay for its share of health and retirement benefits. There's not a chance in hell that this will happen. The PO has just 4 days of operating cash flow left in the till and has no borrowing authority left.

The relevant statement from the PO:

This low level of available cash means that we will be unable to make the $5.6 billion legally mandated prefunding of retiree health benefits due by September 30, 2013.

Add to the $5.6Bn the $11.1 Bn that the PO has already defaulted on in 2011/12 and you get an important institution that is totally bankrupt. The PO has a plan to ''fix'' the problem '' it wants to set up its own health insurance system:

A vital component of the Plan is the requirement that we sponsor our own health care program, independent of the federal health insurance programs.

And I thought Obamacare was going to fix all these problems'....

- The President has been touring the country trying to sell his plan for infrastructure investment. O's plan is to lower corporate tax rates and use a one time gain from companies repatriating cash back home to fund the needed investment. This may sound good to some folks as it's clear that the country needs new ports, bridges etc., but there is zero chance that O's plan will be adopted by Congress.

Rather than creating some new infrastructure bank, the President should focus his efforts on fixing what is in place today for infrastructure. Consider the status of the Highway and Surface Transportation Trust Funds. From the CBO:

The current trajectory of the Highway Trust Fund is unsustainable. Starting in fiscal year 2015 (October 2014), the trust fund will have insufficient resources to meet all of its obligations, resulting in steadily accumulating shortfalls.

This is nothing new. The Highway Trust Fund has been broke since 2008. It has avoided a default by Congress providing a total of $51Bn of transfers from the General Fund of the Treasury. The Highway Trust Fund is living on borrowed time. There are only 14 months before the situation goes critical. There is next to no chance for a fix before the bi-elections.

- The Disability Trust Fund is running out of money. This is a big deal. 11 million people get monthly checks. Those on DI face a 25% cut in benefits as of October 2014. There is no plan at all to deal with this problem. To keep DI alive D.C. will have to rob the coffers of the much larger Social Security Trust Fund. More band aids from DC.

- The Federal Budget is due on 10/1. As of today this deadline will be met with another continuing resolution to keep the government going. The US will go into its fifth year without a budget.

- Sometime in mid-October the debt ceiling will have been breached. I don't expect that this will result in a showdown or a crisis. Washington will gloss this over. A new debt ceiling will be established to keep the music going.

None of the issues I've highlighted have to be a crisis. All of them could be ''fixed'' if only the Administration and Congress get down to the job that they were elected for. But that will not happen. I do wonder where all of this bad leadership will end. I have to assume that the rating agencies are looking at America's inability to deal with its problems and will respond at some point. S&P downgraded the USA in 2011 on the basis that America had lost its ability to govern and confront problems:

the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges

Nothing has changed since 2011. If S&P had any guts it would lower the US another notch. While the economy has stabilized somewhat thanks to cheap money from the Fed, the real issue of America's inability to confront problems and creating kick-the-can solutions remains the same.

On Infrastructure

I went looking for some evidence that D.C. was actually doing something to promote infrastructure investment. I'm pleased to tell you that I did find one good example. A much-needed expansion of electricity capacity has gotten the financial backing from D.C. The commitment to finance a portion of the project will go a long way to insure that this project is completed, and many jobs will be created as a result. Fred Hochberg (newly appointed by Obama) had this to say about the project and the willingness of Washington to provide the necessary loot:

The US would lend as much as allowed under the rules

The tag for the infrastructure investment will come to $10Bn. Hochberg has said he would put up half of the money. This is the kind of ''can do'' attitude that is required to get the much-needed investment completed. Hurray for Fred! Finally, a guy in D.C. that is getting something done. Right?

Well, actually, that's not the case at all. Good old Fred is the boss at the EXIM bank. The $5bn commitment he's made has nothing to do with infrastructure in America. The $5bn of taxpayer money is going to the Czech Republic. The money will be used to expand the Temelin nuclear power plant.

WTF?

Average:Your rating: None

EUROLand

Berlusconi-kamp waarschuwt voor 'burgeroorlog' in Itali

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: VK: Home

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:16

Bewerkt door: redactie '' 04/08/13, 14:17 '' bron: ANP

(C) epa. De Italiaanse ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.

De centrumrechtse partij Volk van de Vrijheid (PDL) heeft voor zondagavond opgeroepen tot een betoging in Rome tegen de veroordeling van haar leider Silvio Berlusconi. De ex-premier van Itali was donderdag door de Hoge Raad definitief veroordeeld tot 4 jaar cel wegens belastingfraude.

De PDL oefende sindsdien druk uit op president Giorgio Napolitano om Berlusconi gratie te verlenen. De hoogbejaarde oud-communist wil daar echter niet van weten. PDL-co¶rdinator Sandro Bondi waarschuwde daarop zaterdag voor een 'burgeroorlog' in Itali. Het staatshoofd stelde daarop in een verklaring dat dit soort uitlatingen 'onverantwoord' zijn.

Premier Enrico Letta schoot Napolitano te hulp: centrumrechts moet het staatshoofd niet op een 'ongepaste en afperserige manier' betrekken bij de justitile problemen van Berlusconi. Volgens Italiaanse media proberen Letta en Napolitano echter de spanningen niet al te hoog op te laten lopen. Beiden hechten in het belang van de politieke stabiliteit van het land aan de voortzetting van de brede coalitie, waarin PDL en Letta's centrumlinkse PD de belangrijkste partijen zijn. Die werd na de verkiezingen in februari met veel moeite geformeerd.

Itali gaat gebukt onder een zware economische crisis. Napolitano zit daarom niet te wachten op een situatie waarin hij vervroegde verkiezingen moet uitschrijven.

BBC News - Zero-hours contracts 'more widespread than thought'

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 05:50

4 August 2013Last updated at23:06 ETMore than a million UK workers are on zero-hours contracts with no guarantees of shifts or work patterns - four times official estimates, research suggests.

A survey of 1,000 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development indicated 3-4% of the whole workforce were on such contracts.

Some 14% of affected staff could not earn a basic standard of living.

A review of the contracts by Business Secretary Vince Cable is already under way, amid union calls to ban them.

Under zero-hours contracts employees agree to be available for work as and when it is required.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics last week suggested 250,000 workers were on zero-hours contracts.

The news emerged as it was reported that part-time staff at retailer Sports Direct and a number of London councils were among those employed on such terms.

Fluctuating wagesAccording to the CIPD's research, firms in the voluntary and public sectors were more likely to use zero-hours contracts than those in the private sector.

The industries where employers were most likely to report having at least one person on a zero-hours contracts were hotels, catering and leisure, education and healthcare.

The CPID said one in five employers in the UK had at least one person on a zero-hours contract. This means workers can be officially counted as employed, but have no guaranteed paid work and can be sent home from their workplace without warning and without having earned anything.

Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteZero-hours contracts, used appropriately, can provide flexibility for employers and employees''

End QuotePeter CheeseCPID chief executiveWhile zero-hours contracts may suit some due to the flexibility they provide, critics point out that the system can lead to fluctuating wages and a risk that managers may use their contract as both reward and punishment.

Among those employers who use the contracts, the average number of workers who are on them is around 16%, according to CIPD.

Based on these figures, CIPD calculated that between 3% and 4% of all workers are on zero-hour contracts - which would equate to a million people in the UK labour force.

The workers who took part in the poll averaged just under 20 hours a week and were most likely to be aged between 18 and 24 or over 55.

Separate research among 148 zero-hours contract workers showed that 14% reported their employer often or very often failed to provide them with sufficient hours to have a basic standard of living.

Some 38% described themselves as employed full-time, working 30 hours or more a week.

Flexibility for employersCIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said that the calls for zero-hours contracts to be banned "should be questioned".

"There does need to be a closer look at what is meant by a zero-hours contract, the different forms that they take, and clearer guidance on what good and bad practice in their use looks like," he said.

"Zero-hours contracts, used appropriately, can provide flexibility for employers and employees and can play a positive role in creating more flexible working opportunities.

"However, for some this may be a significant disadvantage where they need more certainty in their working hours and earnings... Zero-hours contracts cannot be used simply to avoid an employer's responsibilities to its employees."

Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteFor a contract that is now more widely used, we know relatively little about its effect''

End QuoteVince CableBusiness SecretaryThe University and College Union said such contracts used among teaching staff denied them financial security or stability and students continuity.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said: "The vast majority of workers are only on these contracts because they have no choice. They may give flexibility to a few, but the balance of power favours the employers and makes it hard for workers to complain...

"The growing number of zero-hours contracts also calls into question government unemployment figures."

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "For some these can be the right sort of employment contract, giving workers a choice of working patterns.

"However for a contract that is now more widely used, we know relatively little about its effect... There has been anecdotal evidence of abuse by certain employers - including in the public sector.

"Whilst it's important our workforce remains flexible, it is equally important that it is treated fairly. This is why I have asked my officials to undertake some work over the summer to better understand how this type of contract is working in practice today."

But shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said zero-hours contracts should be the exception to the rule and called for a formal consultation.

He added: "Whilst some employees welcome the flexibility of such contracts, for many zero hours contracts leave them insecure, unsure of when work will come, and undermining family life.

"The 'review' the business secretary has established into zero-hours contracts is clearly inadequate given the seriousness of this issue and the mounting evidence of the abuse of zero hours contracts."

Vaccine$

HPV vaccine seen differently by Japan and the U.S. - Tokyo Times

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 17:31

The Japanese government withdrew its recommendation that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can be used by girls, due to possible adverse effects such as long-term pain and numbness.

On the contrary, health officials in the Unites States recommended last week that teenage girls should be HPV vaccinated more after a study showed that the vaccine is ''highly'' effective.

The vaccination in Japan is not suspended, but the use of the vaccine is not promoted by local governments, as instructed by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

''The decision does not mean that the vaccine itself is problematic from the viewpoint of safety,'' said Mariko Momoi, who is a vice president of the International University of Health and Welfare in ÅŒtawara, Tochigi, Japan. ''By implementing investigations, we want to offer information that can make the people feel more at ease.''

Merck, manufacturer and seller of one of the vaccines, Gardasil, commented the public decision:

''While direct causal relationship between the vaccines and serious symptoms observed after inoculation has not been established at this time, we fully understand the anxiety felt by many people in Japan. In response to this decision, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders, including (the health ministry), to monitor and verify safety data toward resumption of active promotion for HPV vaccination as soon as possible,'' according to a company spokesperson.

Both Gardasil, which is a quadrivalent vaccine, and Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline), which is bivalent, are legal to use in Japan.

Girls will still be able to be vaccinated for free, but from now on they will be informed by healthcare providers that the health ministry does not recommend it.

Foots

Human Foot Found at Corson's Inlet State Park - Police & Fire - Ocean City, NJ Patch

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:23

State Police seek help in identifying the skeletal remains found at the state park near Ocean City.

A fisherman at Corson's Inlet State Park made a grisly discovery on Tuesday afternoon.The man found a high-topped sneaker washed up on the beach at about 1 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 5). And inside the shoe: what appear to be human bones '-- with some of the toes colored by nail polish.

State Police investigators want the public's help in identifying the human remains.

The Southern Regional Medical Examiner's Office determined that the remains are a right foot, inside a black Adidas ADI Rise 2 high top sneaker, size 5 ½, according to a news release from the New Jersey State Police. Some of the toes have the nail polish, but the gender and age are unknown.

The remains will be sent to the state anthropologist for examination and DNA testing, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit at (609) 561-1800, ext: 3355.

Become a blogger today!Get started now

Agenda 21

Study predicts an ice-free Arctic by the 2050s

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 11:53

Study predicts an ice-free Arctic by the 2050sJavascript is currently disabled in your web browser. For full site functionality, it is necessary to enable Javascript. In order to enable it, please see these instructions.46 minutes agoAccelerated climate warming could bring an ice-free September to the Arctic by 2054, a University at Albany study predicts.

(Phys.org) '--Accelerated climate warming propelled by greenhouse gas emissions could bring an ice-free September to the Arctic by 2054, a University at Albany scientist predicts.

In the study "Reducing spread in climate model projections of a September ice-free Arctic," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UAlbany Professor Jiping Liu of the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES) used climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 to predict that the Arctic will reach an effective ice-free state'--defined as less than 1 million square kilometers'--between 2054 and 2058.

"An ice-free Arctic would have a significant impact on the ocean's ecosystems, biogeochemical feedback, and extreme weather and climate in the mid- and high-latitudes," he added. "It will also affect Arctic maritime and commercial activities, including shipping, transport, and energy exploration."

Minimum sea ice cover occurs during the month of September, which is summer in the Arctic. Within the past few decades, the Arctic polar icecap has declined in range and thinned dramatically. Satellite data shows September Arctic sea ice has decreased some 40 percent since the late 1970s.

The measurement of diminished sea ice capacity in 2007 and 2012 has triggered numerous predictions of an ice-free Arctic. Previous model simulations predicted ice-free summer scenarios in wider spreads, ranging from the year 2015 to the end of the 21st century. Liu's team analyzed recent simulations from 30 climate models and reduced the spread using two different methods:

Selecting models that best represent observed sea ice extent for 1979-2011, andConstraining model biases and estimation based on strong relationship between simulated present and future sea ice extent with observed starting sea ice extent for 2007-2011."The two different methods suggest that sea ice could decline to some 1.7 million square kilometers by 2060 in a moderate greenhouse gas emissions scenario, while a high-emission scenario could push the annual minimum below 1 million square kilometers in the 2050s," Liu said.

Explore further:Researchers project ice-free Arctic by 2058

More information:www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/10/1219716110.full.pdf+html

More from Physics Forums - Earth

Related Stories

Researchers project ice-free Arctic by 2058 Jul 16, 2013

(Phys.org) '--A combined team of researchers from the U.S. and China has projected, using a climate simulation tool, that the Arctic will become September ice-free sometime during the years 2054 to 2058. ...

Study explores atmospheric impact of declining Arctic sea ice May 28, 2013

There is growing recognition that reductions in Arctic sea ice levels will influence patterns of atmospheric circulation both within and beyond the Arctic. New research in the International Journal of Climatology explores the im ...

Arctic nearly free of summer sea ice during first half of 21st century Apr 15, 2013

For scientists studying summer sea ice in the Arctic, it's not a question of "if" there will be nearly ice-free summers, but "when." And two scientists say that "when" is sooner than many thought'--before ...

Declining sea ice to lead to cloudier Arctic: study Mar 31, 2012

Arctic sea ice has been declining over the past several decades as global climate has warmed. In fact, sea ice has declined more quickly than many models predicted, indicating that climate models may not be correctly representing ...

New study uses CMIP5 historical simulations to find out more about Arctic sea ice decline and ice export Jan 14, 2013

The Arctic sea ice is shrinking, both in extent and thickness. In addition to the manmade contribution to the sea ice loss, there are also natural factors contributing to this loss. In a new study from the ...

Arctic sea ice reaches lowest extent ever recorded (Update 2) Aug 27, 2012

(Phys.org)'--The blanket of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted to its lowest extent ever recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979, according to the University of Colorado Boulder's National ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees 10-mile-high thunderstorms in Hurricane Henriette 14 hours ago

NASA's TRMM satellite peered into the clouds of Hurricane Henriette as is continues moving through the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and found powerful thunderstorms that topped 10 miles high.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Storm Mangkhut making Vietnam landfall 14 hours ago

Tropical Storm Mangkhut had some strong thunderstorms around its center as it began making landfall in northern Vietnam on Aug. 7. Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed very cold cloud top temperatures ...

Heat intensifies Siberian wildfires 14 hours ago

The summer of 2012 was the most severe wildfire season Russia had faced in a decade. 2013 might be headed in the same direction after an unusual heat wave brought a surge of fire activity in northern Siberia ...

Carbon under pressure exhibits interesting traits 14 hours ago

High pressures and temperatures cause materials to exhibit unusual properties, some of which can be special. Understanding such new properties is important for developing new materials for desired industrial ...

Infrared NASA image revealed fading Gil's warming cloud tops 14 hours ago

As cloud tops fall, their temperature rises, and infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite saw that happening as Tropical Storm Gil weakened.

NASA images: Oregon burning 14 hours ago

On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires. Persistently dry weather since the beginning of 2013 had primed forests to burn, ...

User comments : 0More news storiesThree-decade decline in reflectivity of Arctic sea iceThe reflectivity of Arctic sea ice, or albedo, regulates the solar radiation balance. A diminishing albedo affects the melt rate of Arctic sea ice.

Africa's ups and downsThe East African Rift is an area where two tectonic plates are moving apart, making it a region of high geological activity, home to a number of volcanoes.

Climate change is impacting California, report saysCoastal waters off California are getting more acidic. Fall-run chinook salmon populations to the Sacramento River are on the decline. Conifer forests on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada have moved to higher elevations ...

Coastal research community suggests ways to deal with severe storms, coastal erosion and climate change(Phys.org) '--Global sea level is rising at an accelerated rate in response to climate change, and to ensure a sustainable future, society must learn to anticipate and adapt to the dynamics of a rapidly evolving coastal system, ...

Ice ages only thanks to feedbackIce ages and warm periods have alternated fairly regularly in the Earth's history: the Earth's climate cools roughly every 100,000 years, with vast areas of North America, Europe and Asia being buried under ...

Preventing the spread of repressionScientists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have identified a novel and unexpected regulatory activity of RNA at the edge of inactive chromosomal regions. In their publication in Nature Structural an ...

Researcher uses DNA to demonstrate just how closely everyone on Earth is related to everyone elseNew research by Peter Ralph of USC Dornsife has confirmed that everyone on Earth is related to everyone else on the planet. So the Trojan Family is not just a metaphor. Turns out, we're also linked by genetics ...

Researchers synthesize asymmetrical glycansA team of investigators from the University of Georgia recently demonstrated the first method for synthesizing asymmetrical N-glycans. According to the study, published in the journal Science on July 25, th ...

Discovery points to a way to reverse suffering of diabetic nerve painFor people with diabetes who suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a gentle touch can be agony. A warm shower can be torture. New research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, however, has shed light on the causes ...

Facebook photos damage relationships, study findsSharing photographs on Facebook could damage relationships with friends, family and colleagues, a new study has found.

(C) Phys.org' 2003-2013

Study predicts an ice-free Arctic by the 2050sJavascript is currently disabled in your web browser. For full site functionality, it is necessary to enable Javascript. In order to enable it, please see these instructions.46 minutes agoAccelerated climate warming could bring an ice-free September to the Arctic by 2054, a University at Albany study predicts.

(Phys.org) '--Accelerated climate warming propelled by greenhouse gas emissions could bring an ice-free September to the Arctic by 2054, a University at Albany scientist predicts.

In the study "Reducing spread in climate model projections of a September ice-free Arctic," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UAlbany Professor Jiping Liu of the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES) used climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 to predict that the Arctic will reach an effective ice-free state'--defined as less than 1 million square kilometers'--between 2054 and 2058.

"An ice-free Arctic would have a significant impact on the ocean's ecosystems, biogeochemical feedback, and extreme weather and climate in the mid- and high-latitudes," he added. "It will also affect Arctic maritime and commercial activities, including shipping, transport, and energy exploration."

Minimum sea ice cover occurs during the month of September, which is summer in the Arctic. Within the past few decades, the Arctic polar icecap has declined in range and thinned dramatically. Satellite data shows September Arctic sea ice has decreased some 40 percent since the late 1970s.

The measurement of diminished sea ice capacity in 2007 and 2012 has triggered numerous predictions of an ice-free Arctic. Previous model simulations predicted ice-free summer scenarios in wider spreads, ranging from the year 2015 to the end of the 21st century. Liu's team analyzed recent simulations from 30 climate models and reduced the spread using two different methods:

Selecting models that best represent observed sea ice extent for 1979-2011, andConstraining model biases and estimation based on strong relationship between simulated present and future sea ice extent with observed starting sea ice extent for 2007-2011."The two different methods suggest that sea ice could decline to some 1.7 million square kilometers by 2060 in a moderate greenhouse gas emissions scenario, while a high-emission scenario could push the annual minimum below 1 million square kilometers in the 2050s," Liu said.

Explore further:Researchers project ice-free Arctic by 2058

More information:www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/10/1219716110.full.pdf+html

More from Physics Forums - Earth

Related Stories

Researchers project ice-free Arctic by 2058 Jul 16, 2013

(Phys.org) '--A combined team of researchers from the U.S. and China has projected, using a climate simulation tool, that the Arctic will become September ice-free sometime during the years 2054 to 2058. ...

Study explores atmospheric impact of declining Arctic sea ice May 28, 2013

There is growing recognition that reductions in Arctic sea ice levels will influence patterns of atmospheric circulation both within and beyond the Arctic. New research in the International Journal of Climatology explores the im ...

Arctic nearly free of summer sea ice during first half of 21st century Apr 15, 2013

For scientists studying summer sea ice in the Arctic, it's not a question of "if" there will be nearly ice-free summers, but "when." And two scientists say that "when" is sooner than many thought'--before ...

Declining sea ice to lead to cloudier Arctic: study Mar 31, 2012

Arctic sea ice has been declining over the past several decades as global climate has warmed. In fact, sea ice has declined more quickly than many models predicted, indicating that climate models may not be correctly representing ...

New study uses CMIP5 historical simulations to find out more about Arctic sea ice decline and ice export Jan 14, 2013

The Arctic sea ice is shrinking, both in extent and thickness. In addition to the manmade contribution to the sea ice loss, there are also natural factors contributing to this loss. In a new study from the ...

Arctic sea ice reaches lowest extent ever recorded (Update 2) Aug 27, 2012

(Phys.org)'--The blanket of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted to its lowest extent ever recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979, according to the University of Colorado Boulder's National ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees 10-mile-high thunderstorms in Hurricane Henriette 14 hours ago

NASA's TRMM satellite peered into the clouds of Hurricane Henriette as is continues moving through the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and found powerful thunderstorms that topped 10 miles high.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Storm Mangkhut making Vietnam landfall 14 hours ago

Tropical Storm Mangkhut had some strong thunderstorms around its center as it began making landfall in northern Vietnam on Aug. 7. Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed very cold cloud top temperatures ...

Heat intensifies Siberian wildfires 14 hours ago

The summer of 2012 was the most severe wildfire season Russia had faced in a decade. 2013 might be headed in the same direction after an unusual heat wave brought a surge of fire activity in northern Siberia ...

Carbon under pressure exhibits interesting traits 14 hours ago

High pressures and temperatures cause materials to exhibit unusual properties, some of which can be special. Understanding such new properties is important for developing new materials for desired industrial ...

Infrared NASA image revealed fading Gil's warming cloud tops 14 hours ago

As cloud tops fall, their temperature rises, and infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite saw that happening as Tropical Storm Gil weakened.

NASA images: Oregon burning 14 hours ago

On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires. Persistently dry weather since the beginning of 2013 had primed forests to burn, ...

User comments : 0More news storiesThree-decade decline in reflectivity of Arctic sea iceThe reflectivity of Arctic sea ice, or albedo, regulates the solar radiation balance. A diminishing albedo affects the melt rate of Arctic sea ice.

Africa's ups and downsThe East African Rift is an area where two tectonic plates are moving apart, making it a region of high geological activity, home to a number of volcanoes.

Climate change is impacting California, report saysCoastal waters off California are getting more acidic. Fall-run chinook salmon populations to the Sacramento River are on the decline. Conifer forests on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada have moved to higher elevations ...

Coastal research community suggests ways to deal with severe storms, coastal erosion and climate change(Phys.org) '--Global sea level is rising at an accelerated rate in response to climate change, and to ensure a sustainable future, society must learn to anticipate and adapt to the dynamics of a rapidly evolving coastal system, ...

Ice ages only thanks to feedbackIce ages and warm periods have alternated fairly regularly in the Earth's history: the Earth's climate cools roughly every 100,000 years, with vast areas of North America, Europe and Asia being buried under ...

Preventing the spread of repressionScientists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have identified a novel and unexpected regulatory activity of RNA at the edge of inactive chromosomal regions. In their publication in Nature Structural an ...

Researcher uses DNA to demonstrate just how closely everyone on Earth is related to everyone elseNew research by Peter Ralph of USC Dornsife has confirmed that everyone on Earth is related to everyone else on the planet. So the Trojan Family is not just a metaphor. Turns out, we're also linked by genetics ...

Researchers synthesize asymmetrical glycansA team of investigators from the University of Georgia recently demonstrated the first method for synthesizing asymmetrical N-glycans. According to the study, published in the journal Science on July 25, th ...

Discovery points to a way to reverse suffering of diabetic nerve painFor people with diabetes who suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a gentle touch can be agony. A warm shower can be torture. New research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, however, has shed light on the causes ...

Facebook photos damage relationships, study findsSharing photographs on Facebook could damage relationships with friends, family and colleagues, a new study has found.

(C) Phys.org' 2003-2013

NA Tech

Why do e-mails sent to OS X 10.6.x Snow Leopard Server arrive only after a delay? - Tools, Support and Consultancy for OS X Server - Taking care of OS X Server

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 04:45

Snow Leopard Server implements an anti-spam technique called Greylisting. While this is quite effective, it has the side effect of causing delays during mail delivery.

If you wish to turn it off, you can disable anti-spam measures in Server Admin. To specifically only stop Greylisting do the following:

Edit

/etc/postfix/main.cfand change:smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated permit_mynetworks reje ct_unauth_destination check_policy_service unix:private/policy permitto

smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated permit_mynetworks reje ct_unauth_destination permitWhen done, issue:

sudo postfix reload

Greylisting.org - a great weapon against spammers

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 04:45

Greylisting.Org >ADVERTISEMENTSWhat if my email was rejected and greylisting was mentioned as the cause?This can happen for various reasons:

The MTA (mail transfer agent) / email ISP that you use to send email is not RFC 821 compliant. Contact your ISP.The MTA is in some way misconfigured to not automatically retry email messages that gets rejected with the "try later"-message. Maybe it's timing is off and it retries immediately (which it shouldn't). Contact your ISP.The recipient email server has got greylisting misconfigured, ie. an implementation that just doesn't let mails through even on later retries. Or maybe their error message is actually wrong: greylisting was NOT the reason your mail bounced - but something else.Can you remove me from your blacklist/greylist?greylisting.org is JUST an information website. We are not responsible for maintaining any specific blacklists/greylists or for maintaining any whitelists.

You need to contact the actual operator of the mail server that rejecter your email and find out it was rejected (maybe they offer a whitelisting feature).

What's with all these "lists"? What's the difference?

What is greylisting?Greylisting is a new weapon to use against spam in this great war being waged upon it. With this new shielding method, by which you may block out huge amounts of spam, you are sure to please your email clients!

In name, as well as operation, greylisting is related to whitelisting and blacklisting. What happen is that each time a given mailbox receives an email from an unknown contact (ip), that mail is rejected with a "try again later"-message (This happens at the SMTP layer and is transparent to the end user). This, in the short run, means that all mail gets delayed at least until the sender tries again - but this is where spam loses out! Most spam is not sent out using RFC compliant MTAs; the spamming software will not try again later.

But.. spammers adapt!?Yes they do. But that does not really make greylisting useless. This delay in new sender contacts also gives you a lot of extra power. This may be an hour, but in this hour there is a large chance that the mass mailer/spammer has been identified by the more conventional anti-spam software. Thus, when he retries it, is likely that we will know him for what he really is!

This siteLearn more about greylisting in our articles section. Check up on other peoples implementations for inspiration/source of your own implementation. When doing greylisting one also needs to consider doing some whitelisting. You may also wish to check our links page for more resources.

Latest updates09/08/10 Added many new implementations, tweaked a lot of other pages as well and updated the design11/15/09 Added more implementations, articles and more!05/08/09 Corrected some links, typos and added a bit around the site.05/18/08 Added some new implementations.12/27/07 Some implementations updated and added, articles section re-organised a bit and a new major user added.08/24/07 Minor design change, new implementations and updated the problem MTAs section.05/26/07 Added a section for problem servers/MTA (mail transfer agents) as well as many more implementations.[all updates]

VIDEOS

VIDEO-Homeland security exercise taking place in Austin | KXAN.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 12:41

Updated: Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013, 10:28 PM CDTPublished : Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013, 9:32 PM CDT

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Multiple law enforcement agencies will be taking part in homeland security exercises in Austin over the next few weeks.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said several local and federal agencies will test response plans to possible terroristic threats and other critical incidents.

Authorities say you shouldn't be alarmed if you see a big increase in law enforcement officials on Austin's streets.

The exercise is meant to ensure various law enforcement agencies are prepared to protect citizens from any type of security threat or incident.

''Local, state and federal law enforcement entities work every day to combat crime and terrorism within Texas and beyond," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "This proactive security exercise will further enhance our ability to protect our communities.''

Agencies taking part in the exercise include the Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff's Office, the University of Texas Police Department and the FBI.

VIDEO-Inglis on domestic spying on Earth

Glenn Greenwald "FISA Report That Calls NSA Spying Unconstitutional & Illegal Kept From Congress

VIDEO-Psaki: 'We Have Determined That We Do Not Need to Make a Determination' on Egypt | Washington Free Beacon

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 13:29

BY:Washington Free Beacon StaffAugust 6, 2013 3:11 pm

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Matt Lee of the Associated Press Tuesday that the U.S. had ''determined that we do not need to make a determination'' over whether or not the ousting of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt was a coup.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) called it a coup Tuesday, but the Obama administration has deliberately avoided using the word:

LEE: In response to the first question about Senator McCain's comments, you gave '-- you said, our position has not changed, as you just did with Morsi. On McCain's comments, though, our position has not changed '-- then you said the U.S. government has stated what our position is. Could you remind us all of what your position actually is? Because as I recall, your position was that you don't have a position, and that's not quite '-- is that correct?

PSAKI: Matt, I think you know our position, which is that ''

LEE: I '-- tell me.

PSAKI: There was a determination made that we need to '-- not need to make a designation.

LEE: So then '-- so your position is that you do not have a position, correct?

PSAKI: Our position is that we do not need to make a designation. Mmm hmm '-- oh, go ahead, Nicolas (sp).

Q: Yeah, does Deputy Secretary Burns plan to meet with President Morsi? We talked about it yesterday, but ''

PSAKI: I don't have any other plans for that on his schedule.

LEE: Can I just go back to your answer to my question?

PSAKI: Yes.

LEE: You do understand that you don't have a position on this, don't you?

PSAKI: We have not made a determination ''

LEE: But don't '-- you go and say, our position has not changed, but you don't have a position. You don't have a position that could '-- a position means taking a side or taking a stance or making a determination. And since you didn't do that, you do not, by definition, have a position.

PSAKI: We have ''

LEE: Correct?

PSAKI: I would disagree with you, Matt.

LEE: You have a position on whether what happened in Egypt was a coup?

PSAKI: We have determined that we do not need to make a determination.

LEE: Isn't that the same as not having a position?

PSAKI: I will '-- I will let you parse yourself.

LEE: OK.

Lee has oftenfoundhimselfbefuddled at Psaki's answers since she took over spokesperson duties at the State Department.

The Age Of Big Data - BBC Documentary - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 02:32

CNN: IS RUSSIA NAZI GERMANY? "HITLER STARTED WITH THE GAYS!"

VIDEO-President Obama Answers Your Housing Questions with Zillow | The White House

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 08 Aug 2013 02:44

August 07, 2013 | Public Domain

President Obama answers housing questions from Americans around the country in an interview with Zillow CEO Spencer Raskoff. Questions were submitted via social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Download mp4 (1065MB) | mp3 (68MB)

VIDEO- Elise Jordan on Piers Morgan on Piers Morgan Tonight 8-6-13 - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:08

VIDEO- Psaki on if Egypt was a Coup: Our Position is We Don't Have a Position - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 19:56

VIDEO- State of the DoD Public Affairs - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:07

VIDEO-Harrisburg's first round of crime cameras installed - abc27 WHTM

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:49

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -Harrisburg police say the city's first crime cameras were being installed Monday into Tuesday.

Captain Colin Cleary told abc27 the four units are located along N. Second Street's 'Restaurant Row' from Market to South streets.

Each camera can capture high resolution color images for a one-block radius, allowing officers at police headquarters to tilt, pan and zoom.

"Perhaps the idea that if you are caught on camera and your friends and neighbors get to see you in a drunken brawl outside, that may have more of a deterrence effect for some people in the downtown area," Cleary said.

Police said six additional cameras will be installed later this year at high-crime locations in Uptown and South Allison Hill.

The project was funded by gaming money secured by Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico.

VIDEO-Drone training missions to take place over Onondaga, Oswego, and Madison counties - NewsChannel 9 WSYR

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:54

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) '' The Federal Aviation Administration has given the go-ahead for the Air National Guard Base to fly MQ-9 Reaper drones south of Fort Drum in the Syracuse area.The Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing held a press conference Monday morning to discuss the move.

The drones will be flown in training missions over Onondaga, Oswego, and Madison counties.

They will not be armed, nor will they be used for surveillance.

They will continue to launch from Fort Drum.

Three years ago, the 174th shifted from F-16 jets to unmanned-aircraft operations.

The drones operated from Syracuse are used in Afghanistan.

The 174th also maintains an air-to-ground gunnery range at Fort Drum.

VIDEO- HSBC closes accounts for Vatican and diplomats - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:58

VIDEO-Obama on Leno

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 12:29

Does he care? Terror threat mounts as Obama laughs it up with Jay LenoAugust 7, 2013Watch the latest video at <a href="http://video.foxnews.com" mce_href="http://video.foxnews.com">video.foxnews.com</a>

Chuck Todd rips NBC entertainment division [VIDEO] | The Daily Caller

XML