Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reports: Iranian Dictator Khamenei Hospitalized in Critical Condition

Iranian Supreme Leader Hospitalized - Inside Israel - CBN News - Christian News 24-7

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 76, was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday, according to several unconfirmed media reports.
Doctors discovered the extent to which the cancer had spread during surgery last September, diagnosing it at stage 4 and saying he had up to 2 years to live.
According to some reports, his condition has not been announced publicly as his successor is sought.
Khamenei, who has served as Iran's supreme leader since 1989, has frequently referred to Israel as a malignant tumor that must be excised, a rabid dog that must be destroyed and other similar remarks.
Earlier this week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a joint session of Congress, "Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated -- he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn't exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed."

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei in Critical Condition / Sputnik International

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Middle East
(updated 15:36 05.03.2015)
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was admitted to hospital in a serious condition in Tehran on Thursday, the Jerusalem Post said, citing unofficial reports.
The newspaper alleged that the 75-year-old's prostate cancer has "spread to the rest of the body."
Khamenei underwent prostate surgery last September. Iranian state media described the operation as routine and successful.
In 2010, The Guardian reported that US authorities had obtained information that Khamenei had been diagnosed with a terminal form of leukemia.
Khamenei is both the head of state and the top religious authority in Iran. The cleric is a key figure in all political processes in the country, including the ongoing talks on the country's controversial nuclear program, which the West suspects to be a cover-up for the development of nuclear weapons.
Following the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, Khamenei served as the president for eight years, from 1981. He succeeded the late Ruhollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader in 1989.

Reports: Iranian Dictator Khamenei Hospitalized in Critical Condition

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The Iranian Ayatollah, 75, was reportedly rushed to a hospital after developing complications from his ongoing bout with prostate cancer. Reports stated that the autocrat underwent emergency surgery overnight and remains in the hospital in critical condition.
Citing intelligence sources, France’s Le Figaro estimated on Saturday that Khamenei only had two years left to live, due to his prostate cancer purportedly reaching stage four and spreading throughout the rest of his body.
Khamenei was admitted to an Iranian hospital last year in September to undergo treatment for his prostate cancer.
Ali Khamenei has ruled Iran as its ultimate authority since 1989. He has been a prominent political figure since the beginning of the Shah’s overthrow and the installation of an Islamic Republic in 1979.
Under Khamenei’s rule, Iran has become the largest promulgator of terrorism worldwide. The Islamic Republic controls Shiite terror group Hezbollah, which has developed de facto sovereignty in southern Lebanon, and maintains close ties with several Latin American governments. Iran also maintains heavy influence over Iraq, Syria, and the Houthi-led coup government in Yemen.
While serving as President of Iran, Khamenei oversaw the 1983 bombing against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, which resulted in the deaths of 241 American servicemen. The next year, Iran would again support a Hezbollah operation against the U.S. embassy annex in Beirut, which resulted in the deaths of two dozen people.
U.S. officials believe that during the most recent Iraq war, Iran had been manufacturing and supplying IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to America’s enemies, killing an untold number of U.S. troops.
In May 2014, the Supreme Leader told a crowd in a military parade that Iran intended to destroy the United States through “battle and jihad.”
Ironically, the news of the dictator’s hospitalization comes on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the Jewish people thwarting a Persian plot to destroy them. The Book of Esther states that Haman, who served as a minister to who is believed to be King Xerxes I, planned to commit genocide against Persia’s Jews, but his plot collapsed after Mordecai and Esther exposed it.
It remains unclear who would rise to become Supreme Leader should Khamenei’s health falter. He has not yet publicly appointed a successor to his dictatorial platform.
Read the whole story
 
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Speculation over successor after Iran's Khamenei reportedly hospitalized in serious condition - Middle East

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  is currently hospitalized in serious condition at a hospital in Tehran, according to unofficial reports.
Khamenei is suffering from prostate cancer that has reportedly spread to the rest of his body.
Earlier this week, the French newspaper Le Figaro quoted Western intelligence officials as saying that the cancer was discovered about ten years ago. "The cancer is in stage four, in other words has spread." Doctors estimate "he has two years left to live."
On September 8, Khamenei underwent surgery and it was then that doctors discovered the fatal situation.
In Iran, however, his condition is not public, and only those close to him know how bad the situation is. One such person is one of his six children, his 45-year-old son Mugtaba Khamenei, who has major political clout in the country.
Sources say however that it is likely that President Hassan Rouhani is aware of the supreme leader's condition.
The West is concerned for Khamenei's health because it could affect a nuclear agreement.

Who are the candidates who could replace him? 

There are many candidates to succeed Khamenei at the top spot in the Islamic Republic. On August 21, the chairman of the Council of Experts Ayatollah Reza Mahdavi-Kani passed away at the age of 83. In the council there are 86 members that are chosen every eight years, and they choose the supreme leader. For now, the temporary head of the Council of Experts is Ayatollah Hashsemi Shahroudi. Shahroudi is considered a moderate but close to Khamenei. He was at the head of the Iranian justice system for ten years, from 1999 to 2009. He is one of the heads of the Shi'ite religion, which allows him to issue fatwas.
On March 15 the Council of Experts will hold a meeting on whether to select Shahroudi as the chairman until the end of his term that would extend a year. In 2016, members of the council will choose a new chairmen from among the candidates, and this will constitute a real test for Ayatollah Shahroudi. If he is chosen again for a second term, this will be a step up in attaining the role of Khamenei's successor.
Other candidates for the position of supreme leader are Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani (54), brother of Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. In addition, Hashemi Rafsanjani (81) would be able to handle the job, and so too the current President Hassan Rouhani (66), although the chances of the latter are slim because he is a moderate, and his religious achievements will not be enough for the job.
However, Khamenei himself was not considered to have sufficient religious expertise when he was elected in 1989, so he relied on the Revolutionary Guards and a constitutional revision in order to become the supreme leader.
For now, the West is closely following Khamenei's health, since some issues depend on it, including the attempt to obtain a nuclear bomb, the Syrian-Iraqi struggle, public hatred toward Israel, hostility toward Saudi Arabia and openness to the West.
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    Hungary Helping Moscow Destabilize Ukraine from the West. Pozhivanov Says 

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    Paul Goble


    Staunton, March 5 – Budapest has announced that it has handed out Hungarian citizenship papers to 94,000 people in Trans-Carpathia in Western Ukraine in expedited fashion (regnum.ru/news/polit/1902010.html), an action that creates yet another challenge for Kyiv and may very well have been coordinated with Moscow.


    The Hungarian official responsible for nationality policy says that this is part of a broader effort to boost the size of the country’s population and points out that two-thirds of the more than 710,000 new Hungarians are from Transylvania in Romania and 17 percent are from the Voevodina in Serbia and only 14 percent are from Transcarpathia.


    All three areas have been targeted by the Gabor Betlen Foundation which the Russian news agency Regnum reports, and all three are being destabilized by its actions as the Russian agency does not.


    In a Ukrainian-language commentary today, however, Mikhail Pozhivanov, a former deputy in the Verhovna Rada and a former Ukrainian deputy economics minister says exactly that, adding that while “Transcarpathia is not the Donbas,” it is a place where Moscow with Budapest’s help hopes to destabilize the situation (nv.ua/opinion/pozhyvanov/vengerskaya-karta-o-separatizme-v-zakarpate--37543.html).


    Hungary has been fishing in these troubled waters for some time, he writes, pointing to Hungarian support for the Transcarpathian Rusins and the fact that one of that group’s leaders, who operated under the cover of a Russian Orthodox priest, was accused of promoting separatism by the Yanukovich regime and subsequently found guilty of that.


    Over the past year, Moscow commentators have suggested that Hungary should take the lead in offering citizenship to ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine and even recognizing some kind of Transcarpathian “republic” there, possibly on the model of the LNR and DNR statelets Moscow has set up in eastern Ukraine.


    Budapest has not been slow to respond to that idea, but its role in the Transcarpathia has expanded dramatically since the election of Victor Orban as prime minister and the visit of Vladimir Putin to the Hungarian capital, during which the Russian president stressed the common ties and interests of Moscow and Budapest in Ukraine, according to Pozhivanov.


    Budapest recognized the Russian Anschluss of Crimea, and it has been an active opponent of EU sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine. But the most dangerous thing it has done may be its stirring up of the Hungarian minority in the western part of Ukraine, something that forces Kyiv to divide its attention, the Ukrainian commentator says.


    To argue that Hungary will succeed in creating a serious territorial challenge to Ukraine “would be an exaggeration,” Pozhivanov says.But to ignore the problem would also be a mistake, especially given Hungary’s actions and the all too obvious ways in which Budapest is coordinating them with Moscow.

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    Where will Putin Strike Next?

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    Paul Goble


    Staunton, March 5 – The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, to suggest that old rules and old expectations no longer apply and thereby increase uncertainty and fear. That explains why someone like Kseniya Sochak has suggested that she is next on Putin’s list now that the Kremlin has killed Boris Nemtsov and why an increasing number of countries around Russia are nervous.


    From the point of terrorists be they states as in this case or sub-state actors, that is one of terrorism’s great strengths because it can often achieve its ends of destabilization, confusion and appeasement even if those engaging in it carry out only a few actions and then sit back and watch while others react.


    And it is also why such terrorists benefit by denying or not taking responsibility for their actions and why they don’t want to be clear about what they plan to do next because those things in and of themselves increase uncertainty and lead some of their potential victims to talk in ways that alienate rather than attract the support they need in order to counter the threat.


    At present, among those who feel most threatened by Putin’s potential actions are the Baltic countries and two of Moscow’s supposed allies, Kazakhstan and Belarus. That the latter are on this list is instructive: if Putin moved only against those who were clearly his enemies, he would be less terrifying; attacking those aren’t -- or aren’t yet -- makes him more so.


    Like her Estonian colleague Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Lithuanian President Dalia Gribauskaite leaves no doubt that Putin is looking at the Baltic countries, has already begun an information war against them, and forced them into a position where each must be able to fight on its own against Russian forces before NATO forces can arrive.


    Speaking yesterday on the occasion of the re-introduction of compulsory military service in Lithuania, Gribauskaite said that “the threat is very real” and that threat emanates not from somewhere abstract but from Russia (ru.delfi.lt/news/politics/prezident-litvy-ugroza-realna.d?id=67341746).


    Indeed, she suggested bluntly, Russia is “already attacking us. Will this grow into a conventional confrontation? No one knows. But already now be must defend ourselves from aggressive behavior like the increasing activity of Russian military units in Kaliningrad, and flights in the Baltic airspace, as well as propaganda and cyberattacks.


    All this means that Lithuania and her Baltic neighbors are today “on the front line” in a new conflict.


    The Lithuanian leader noted that Vilnius is very familiar with NATO procedures and that the alliance would need “little less than 72 hours” to come to the aide of its member countries in the Baltic states. Because the three are small, “we must be in a position to defend ourselves for 72 hours or perhaps longer.” And the Balts must do so in addition because it would be wrong to ask others to defend them if they were not defending themselves.


    A second possible target of Putin’s attack is Kazakhstan, and Meduza.io’s Ilya Azar has provided important background on the prospects for a second Crimea among the ethnic Russians in the northern portion of that Central Asian country (meduza.io/news/2014/10/20/ust-kamenogorskaya-narodnaya-respublika).


    Following Moscow’s Anschluss of Crimea, Kazakhstan’s officials from President Nursultan Nazarbayev on down were alarmed by the possibility that Moscow might try the same thing in Kazakhstan not only because of the precedent of the failed Ust-Kamenogorsk Peoples Republic of 1999 but also because Putin dismissed the idea that Kazakhstan had been a state before 1917.


    Astana tightened laws about separatism, and both ethnic Kazakhs and ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan began to talk about whether this was a real possibility or whether one or the other side was overreacting. The positions taken by each have exacerbated the feelings of the other, with Russian statements feeding into Kazakh ones and vice versa.


    Ethnic Russians have noted that prior to 1900, what is northern Kazakhstan now was populated almost exclusively by Russian Cossacks, that it and indeed the rest of the republic were initially part of the RSFSR with a capital at Orenburg, and that Moscow had developed the whole region. Moreover, as late as 1989, Russians formed the majority of the population there.


    Ethnic Kazakhs insist that Kazakhs lived in eastern Kazakhstan well before the Russians appeared, and they dismissed complaints about the status of the Russian language and the level of local autonomy as unwarranted given that Russian still dominates many sectors and the question of the unitary nature of the state is for Kazakhstan and not Russia to decide.


    Indeed, many Kazakhs say it would be better to have more of the schools teach Kazakh, while some Russians connected with the “Russian world” idea complain that the schools in northern Kazakhstan may be in the Russian language but that “they are not Russian” because they don’t teach the same subjects with the same stress as schools in Russia do.


    Ethnic Russians are leaving the region, and more are likely to given Russian expectations that “sooner or later Kazakhstan will go over to a state language,” as a result of which Russians will feel themselves “uncomfortable” and prefer to move, in the words of one, “rather than begin studying Kazakh.”


    The events in Ukraine deepened this divide, with Kazakhs displaying “a palpable fear of Russia” and ethnic Russians a clear expectation that Moscow will come and include them within the Russian Federation, Azar says. Despite that relations between the two have remained relatively stable, and most doubt there is a possibility of a Crimea-type action in Kazakhstan.


    But no one can dismiss it entirely given that, in the words of one Russian journalist there, “90 percent of ethnic Russians in Eastern Kazakhstan would be glad if ‘polite people’ should arrive.” That reality has changed how ethnic Kazakhs view them and of course both things are changing how ethnic Russians there view themselves.


    According to one local political scientist, an ethnic Russian who doesn’t believe a Crimean scenario is likely, that changes everything: “If Putin believes that Russians in Kazakhstan are being persecuted, then he will not be against the creation of conditions for real actions” against Astana.


    For the time being, however, he insists, Putin doesn’t need a “separatist” situation in Asia because that could provoke “Russian separatism in the Urals and in Siberia,” something the Kremlin leader wants to avoid at all costs.


    And a third case which in many ways is the most interesting because it is the most complicated and unexpected concerns Belarus whose leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka has simultaneously been Moscow’s closest ally and among the most outspoken critics of Putin’s policies in Ukraine.


    While almost everyone shares the view of former RISI analyst Aleksandr Sytin that Lukashenka has no interest in openly fighting with Russia, it is now very much unclear whether he is loyal enough given Vladimir Putin’s ever-tighter definition of what that consists of. And that is all the more clear now that Mensk is reorganizing its army to counter a hybrid war.


    Indeed, as NR2 analyst Kseniya Kirillova notes, Moscow has been sending Lukashenka clear warning signs about that, and she advises in a commentary today that Mensk “should focus” on these signals and try to increase the autonomy of the Belarusian military “while there is still time” (nr2.com.ua/blogs/Ksenija_Kirillova/S-kem-gotovitsya-voevat-Lukashenko-91507.html).


    Other post-Soviet states, most notably Georgia, are also concerned, but the last few days have brought warning signs that other countries may be at risk as well and not just from the nuclear blackmail that Putin has sought to use against Europe and the West more generally over the past weeks.


    In Finland, a new book has been published documenting Russian penetration of Finland, a country that was never part of the USSR but was part of tsarist Russia, and calling on the government them to engage in lustration to limit the possibility that this penetration could presage a Moscow move against that Scandinavian country (http://lustraatio.fi/lustration/).


    And even more disturbingly, one analyst has proposed what he calls a series of “gloomy scenarios” in which Moscow might seek to project power far beyond the borders of the Russian Federation or even the former USSR and demand bases and control in much of northern Europe (linkis.com/wordpress.com/v6Ooq).


    One hopes and prays that there is nothing behind such suggestions, but the very nature of the kind of state terrorism Vladimir Putin is engaged in means that they cannot be dismissed out of hand and that there is a compelling need for new measures to track and then counter his actions lest they lead to one or more disasters in the future.
    Read the whole story
     
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    РБК -ИА REGNUM -Корреспондент.net
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    A year after Russia took Crimea, stronger Ukraine military braces for long fight - McClatchy Washington Bureau

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    McClatchy Washington Bureau

    A year after Russia took Crimea, stronger Ukraine military braces for long fight
    McClatchy Washington Bureau
    27, 2014 – Russian troops begin to take up positions in Crimea. March 16, 2014 – A referendum is held in Crimea on proposed annexation to Russia. Pro-Russia forces declare that 97 percent voted in favor. March 18, 2014 – Russian President Vladimir ...
    A year after Russia seized Crimea, Ukraine braces for a long fightMiamiHerald.com

    all 8 news articles »

    Boris Nemtsov was told 'I will bash in your head with a hammer', says lawyer 

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    Death threats that stranger sent to opposition politician via social media account were allegedly ignored








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    Putin’s ‘Greatest Task’ Is To Become a New Stalin 

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    Staunton, March 5 – On the 62 anniversary of his death today, Stalin continues to cast an ever darker shadow over Russia, sparking debates about how he should best be remembered.
    But beyond these symbols, the influence of Stalin on the thinking of Vladimir Putin and his regime is increasingly obvious and strong, as Moscow political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky pointed out on the eve of this anniversary on Ekho Moskvy’s Osoboye mneniye program hosted by Olga Zhuravlyeva.
    According to Belkovsky, “Putin’s most important task is to become in international politics a new Stalin, not in the domestic sense but in the international. That is, to move toward a second Yalta, to return to the world of Yalta and Potsdam, and to agree with the US and the EU, and in the case of the EU in the first instance with Germany, about the division of the world” with clearly “fixed zones of influence.”
    Ukraine, he continues, “is only a place des armes and instrument for the solution of these tasks” and those Putin is using there are “only pawns on a chessboard,” who can be sacrificed in the name of the endgame. This is something a few of these people may already be beginning to recognize and even to fear.
    But despite his suggestion that Putin is following in the footsteps of Stalin internationally rather than at home, Belkovsky also discussed some of the ways in which the Kremlin leader is copying the late dictator at home, including “the routinization” of the persecution of his enemies by use of ostensibly judicial institutions and the spread of violence throughout the country.
    As a result of Putin’s actions, human life in Russia “isn’t worth anything,” and a decision to kill him is taken in terms of his “liquidation cost.” That means, Belkovsky says, that “the question to kill this or that individual or not to kill him is made” by comparing the costs of killing him against the damage the potential victim is thought to have inflicted on the regime.
    The Moscow analyst says it would now cost about 5,000 US dollars to have him killed and that means that any damage he might cause above this sum would be make a strong case for the Putin regime to have him eliminated.
    Killing someone else, like Boris Nemtsov, of course, would have cost much more, but the principle is the same.
    Morality, truth and the values of civilization mean nothing to those making this kind of calculation. It is all about the personal comfort of the leader. Putin could have gone to Nemtsov’s funeral — that would have played well in many places — but he didn’t because to do so would have been “very uncomfortable psychologically” for the Kremlin leader.
    Asked whether he believes that Putin enjoys the backing of 86 percent of Russians, Belkovsky said he “believes only in the Lord God.” As far as the 86 percent figure is concerned, he said it reflects what people know they are expected to answer on the basis of what they see on Russian television.
    Boris Yeltsin didn’t get that kind of support because he did not have “total propaganda,” as Putin does.
    Yeltsin despite all his shortcomings was a democrat. Those who rely on total propaganda like Putin operate under its laws: there must be only one enemy and only one point of view.
    The Soviet Union began to fall apart when programs like “Vzglyad” appeared under Mikhail Gorbachev, when it became obvious that there were various points of view on many issues and when it also became clear that the United States was not Russia’s enemy. Putin remembers this and has drawn conclusions accordingly.
    That is driving the Kremlin leader rather than fear of opposition or a Maidan in Russia. Unlike Yanukovich, Putin would have no difficulty ordering the use of force against the population, and in fact, under current conditions, he has no reason to believe that he must use mass force. Surgical strikes against its leaders and mass propaganda are sufficient.
    But there is one positive thing to derive from the anniversary of Stalin’s death: even Putin will not live forever, and he has an obvious successor, Dmitry Medvedev, whose “only source of legitimacy” would involve “the rejection of Putinism and in the first instance the rejection of the world war” toward which Putin is moving.
    That would be true of any other successor, just as it was true of Khrushchev after Stalin, Belkovsky suggests, “and we know from the example of Alexander I and Paul I that heirs often conduct a policy directly opposed to their predecessors.
    “All of us are mortal,” Belkovsky points out, “including Putin” and if something suddenly happens … we know from the examples of Alexander I and Paul I that heirs frequently conduct a policy directly opposed to their predecessors,” just as more recently Nikita Khrushchev did after he succeeded Stalin.
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    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

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    Germany’s spymasters did not have to look far to find the embarrassing leak that had sprung within the walls of their brand new intelligence headquarters; evidence of it literally dripped from the ceilings and poured down the soggy walls of the huge Berlin complex.

    Reuters: За день до смерти Немцов оставил записку о деталях своего доклада по Донбассу - Росбалт.RU

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    Последние новости в мире

    Reuters: За день до смерти Немцов оставил записку о деталях своего доклада по Донбассу
    Росбалт.RU
    МОСКВА, 5 марта. Незадолго до смерти политик Борис Немцов написал записку, в которой изложены детали его готовившегося доклада. Эту записку агентству Reuters показала соратница Немцова по РПР-Парнас Ольга Шорина. По ее словам, Немцов завершал работу над докладом о ...
    Reuters раскрыло детали доклада Немцова по УкраинеРБК
    Помощница Немцова обнародовала записку политика об убитых российских десантникахBFM.Ru
    В партии Немцова раскрыли подробности его доклада по УкраинеNEWSru.com
    Ведомости -Газета.Ru -Радиостанция ЭХО МОСКВЫ
    Все похожие статьи: 30 »

    Киев рекомендует украинцам «оценивать риски» возможного задержания при поездках в Россию - Коммерсантъ

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    Gazeta.ua

    Киев рекомендует украинцам «оценивать риски» возможного задержания при поездках в Россию
    Коммерсантъ
    МИД Украины рекомендует своим гражданам, собирающимся совершить поездку в Россию, «оценивать риски» возможного задержания, сообщает украинское внешнеполитическое ведомство в четверг. МИД Украины отмечает, что «в последнее время в России стали нормой случаи ...
    МИД не рекомендует украинцам ездить в РоссиюУНИАН
    В МИД Украины призвали своих граждан задуматься о необходимости поездок в РоссиюКомсомольская правда
    Киев рекомендует украинцам "оценивать риски" при поездках в РоссиюРИА Новости
    Интерфакс -НТВ.ru -Украинское национальное информагентство
    Все похожие статьи: 48 »

    Who Will ‘Swallow Up’ the Jewish Autonomous Oblast – Khabarovsk Region or China? 

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    Staunton, March 5 – Two weeks ago, Vladimir Putin named Aleksandr Levintal to head the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (JAO) in the Russian Far East, an action that Konstantin Kalachev says has reopened talk about the future of a region rich in natural resources but which “in fact is cut off from the rest of Russia” and has “long ago lost its specific national character.”
    On Slon.ru, the Russian analyst suggests that one can only understand what may happen next in Birobidzhan if one examines how it came into existence and what any change might mean for Moscow’s international reputation and control given the current economic crisis and international tensions.
    As early as 1921, the Soviet leadership began discussing where they might create a Jewish region to promote agricultural settlement of Jews from other parts of the country.
    Initially, most of those involved in these discussions favored northern Crimea, the Azov steppes or the Altay.
    But by the end of the 1920s, Kalachev notes, “the intra-party struggle had ended with the complete triumph of Stalin, and his opponents, a large part of whom were Jews, lost influence.”
    As a result, Moscow ruled out Crimea which was deemed important for other reasons, and Stalin began to consider setting up something for the Jews in the Far East.
    In 1928, the Soviet government ordered that arrangements be made for Jewish “toilers” to be sent to the Far East so that they could work “the free lands in the Amur region.”
    Few Jews were there already, and few were attracted by this. In that year, there were only 34,000 people in what became the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and almost none were Jewish.
    Over the next five years, 22,000 people moved into the area, but Jews did not form a majority of them.
    Nonetheless, in 1934, Moscow decreed the establishment of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast directly subordinate to the central government, and four years later, the Oblast was included within the newly-formed Khabarovsk region.
    Administratively, that is how things remained until 1991, Kalachev continues. At that time, the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet decided to separate the Jewish Autonomous Oblast from Khabarovsk region and make it an independent subject of the Russian Federation. And so it continues to this day.
    But despite its name and Moscow’s decision to appoint Jews to head it, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast is not Jewish. According to the 2010 census, only about one percent of the residents of the Oblast are Jews, and their numbers are in decline both as a result of departures and assimilation. Chinese is “more useful” than Yiddish or Hebrew,” Kalachev says.
    In January, Yevgeny Primakov described the Jewish Autonomous Oblast as “a political anachronism” because of the fact that its “titular” nation formed such a small part of the population and suggested it should be liquidated by amalgamating it with the larger and more populous Khabarovsk region.
    But others objected.
    Aleksand Kynyev, a Russian analyst, said that there was no need to do anything because “the JAO isn’t bothering anyone” and because “the symbolism of liquidating the ‘Jewish’ autonomy would be received negatively and would not improve the current image of the country.”
    Others agreed, but the question of whether it is “an anachronism” remains open.
    “As ‘a Jewish reservation,’ it is an anachronism,” Kalachev says. But changing its status would require a referendum and real effort by the local governor and a new propaganda campaign to explain this to Jews elsewhere. Neither Moscow nor he appear ready to do that.
    As to the Jewish Autonomous Oblast’s role in promoting the image of Russia, he continues, all anyone has to do now is to send someone with a camera to the region and he will return with pictures of a depressed region to which almost no one wants to go and where everyone who is there wants to leave. That would do more harm than disbanding the Oblast.
    But however that may be, Kalachev argues, the autonomy is likely to continue to exist but for an entirely different reason: China.
    More than 60 Chinese firms “with 100 percent Chinese capital” are there, Chinese farmers are working about a quarter of the land, and more than a quarter of all living space has been built with Chinese money.
    The Oblast’s leaders as well as Moscow want to continue to develop those links, expanding them in the areas of iron ore mining and linking the two places with new rail bridges.
    And both appear to have concluded that it will be easier for a Moscow-appointed official to do that if he is responsible only for the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
    But while that may make sense administratively, Kalachev says, there is likely to be further “Chinese ‘colonization’” of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Any economic expansion will require them, and “the Chinese and not the Jews will define the economic future and ethnic face of this Oblast.”
    Indeed, Kalachev’s piece concludes, in the not terribly distant future, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast “could become the most Chinese part of all the territory of Russia.”
    Read the whole story
     
    · · · ·

    Report: Human Rights Deteriorating in Annexed Crimea

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    Human rights conditions have deteriorated in Crimea since its annexation by Russia last year, with Crimean authorities accused of discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave, according to a new report. When Russian President Vladimir Putin officially signed Crimea's annexation to the Russian Federation in March 2014, much of the world questioned what made such a brazen move possible, and in such a...

    Eye for an eye: Iran blinds man who carried out acid attack

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    Other acid attackers have been sentenced to be blinded in Iran but this is the first time it has been carried out, amid condemnation from human rights groups
    In a literal application of the sharia law of an eye for an eye, an Iranian man convicted of blinding another man in an acid attack has himself been blinded in one eye, marking the first time Iran has carried out such retributive punishment. 
    The convicted acid attacker, who has not been identified, was rendered unconscious in Rajaishahr prison in the city of Karaj on Tuesday as medics gouged out his left eye, according to the state-owned Hamshahri newspaper. 
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    Top US Lawman Calls for Police, Court Reform in Ferguson - Voice of America

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    Voice of America

    Top US Lawman Calls for Police, Court Reform in Ferguson
    Voice of America
    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for "immediate, wholesale and constructive action" in police and municipal court practices in Ferguson, Missouri, a Midwestern city gripped by tension and intermittent violence since the August shooting death of an ...
    Ferguson police report: Most shocking partsCNN
    On Ferguson, A Stark Choice: Real Reform or Petty PoliticsHuffington Post
    Can Ferguson do what it takes to reform its police?Vox
    NBCNews.com -Bloomberg -Minneapolis Star Tribune
    all 3,274 news articles »

    Michael Brown's family to file wrongful death lawsuit

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    Lawyers for the family of 18-year-old killed in Ferguson said they would file a civil case, a day after DoJ said it would not bring charges against Darren Wilson
    Lawyers for the family of Michael Brown, the teenager killed last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, said on Thursday they would file a wrongful death civil case on behalf of the family.
    “We are officially in the process of formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed shortly on behalf of the family,” said Anthony Gray, an attorney for the family.
    Continue reading...

    Plane Skids Off Runway At New York Airport

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    A passenger plane has skidded off the runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York where the ground is covered in snow.

    Plane skids off runway at LaGuardia, crashes through fence

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    NEW YORK (AP) -- Authorities say a Delta plane from Atlanta has skidded off a runway while landing at LaGuardia Airport and has crashed through a fence....

    Plane skids off snowy runway at New York's LaGuardia airport

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    Delta plane appears to have made crash landing on day where travel woes caused by a winter storm are plaguing the US from the south-east to New England
    A plane skidded off the runway at LaGuardia airport in New York on Thursday, the latest example of travel woes plaguing the US from Texas to Connecticut as a major storm stretches across the country.
    Laguardia Airport: 131 passengers/crew on plane. 24 non-life-threatening injuries, 3 of whom transported at this time pic.twitter.com/UlvDtcuHUF
    We just crash landed at LGA. I'm terrified. Please...
    We have all been evacuated. Everyone is safe. Thank you for your prayers. God is good.
    Continue reading...

    Is Another Miscarriage Of Justice Imminent In Karachayevo-Cherkessia?

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    In many respects, Karachayevo-Cherkessia is the poster child among the republics of the North Caucasus. But one trend that mars this picture is the apparent lack of professionalism and objectivity of the republic's courts.

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    Page 8

    Brown Family to Sue City of Ferguson, Officer

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    The family of the unarmed black teenager slain last summer by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, plans to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit, their lawyers said Thursday. Daryl Parks, lead attorney for the family of Michael Brown, said the suit naming the City of Ferguson and officer Darren Wilson would be filed “soon.” The announcement comes the day after the U.S. Justice Department announced it would not bring civil rights charges against Wilson. But the department also...

    EU extends Yanukovich asset freeze, drops sanctions on some allies

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    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union said on Thursday it had extended a freeze on the assets of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and 17 others suspected of stealing from the Ukrainian state.
      

    Woman who killed son by feeding him methadone jailed for six years 

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    Heroin addict Kelly Emery has been found guilty of the manslaughter of two-year-old Fenton Hogan
    A heroin addict has been jailed for six years for killing her two-year-old son by feeding him methadone.
    Kelly Emery, 34, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Fenton Hogan but cleared of giving him the heroin substitute on two other occasions before his death in July 2013.
    Continue reading...

    Boston bombing trial to move into first full day of testimony

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    Boston Marathon bombing survivors, family and friends arrive to federal court Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Boston, during the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev is charged with conspiring with his brother to place two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line that killed three and injured 260 people in April 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    Passengers evacuate after airplane skids off LaGuardia runway in New York – video 

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    Passengers are evacuated from a Delta airlines plane after the aircraft skidded off the runway at LaGuardia airport in New York on Thursday. With the latest major storm stretching across the country, airports have reported deteriorating conditions causing cancelations and delays. More than 4,000 flights around the US have been canceled, as far south as Dallas, Texas, extending to LaGuardia in New York and Reagan National in Washington Continue reading...

    Turkish military training jet crashes, two pilots killed 

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    A Turkish warplane has crashed near the central Anatolian city of Konya, killing the two pilots. Report by Claire Lomas.
    From: ODN
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