Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Baby Thinks She's A Train - Asleep At The Wheel. But in fact, she is Anna Karenina! And the real train is The Orange Blossom Special!

My Baby Thinks She's A Train - Asleep At The Wheel

Published on Aug 1, 2012

my baby thinks she's a train - YT Search

My baby thinks she's a train 
She hears voices, little voices/ only she can hear 
She hears voices, such little voices/ sliding in her ear 
My baby thinks she's a train 
She don't know the difference between pleasure and pain 
My baby thinks she's a train 
She walks out the door, & she's drinking/ kisses like the rain 
Well she's a backwoods girl/ she don't talk pretty 
She makes it quite plain/ she puts a dollar down on a heart 
But she cannot pay/ one dollar down & a dollar a day, etc.

But in fact, she is Anna Karenina!


Anna's Last Train   anna karenina train death - YT search



В.ПУТИН: Пригородное железнодорожное сообщение должно быть восстановлено немедленно... Это одна из важнейших составляющих нормального функционирования... железнодорожное сообщение пригородных поездов. 
Всё, давайте дискуссию прекратим. И я прошу это сделать немедленно, повторяю ещё раз.

Translation and Interpretation: "I am ready! Prepare the trains. Immediately! I am going to throw myself under! The end of the discussion. Immediately! I say it again." 



"But we want to save you. For several days Angela and I worked on a text... Very hard..." 



"And I worked very hard on a context! No, no, no! This is my historical mission: I have to sacrifice myself to save my beloved Mother Russia! Don't argue with me. Immediately!" 

"Well, maybe we'll give you just this last chance... Fair Warning... The Last Call!!!


Lee Ann Womack - Last Call

Uploaded on Dec 19, 2009
Music video by Lee Ann Womack performing Last Call. (C) 2008 MCA Nashville, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.



Last Call - Atom Smash

Uploaded on Nov 22, 2010
I do not personally own or take credit for this song. This video is for promotional purposes only.


And the real train is: 




Orange Blossom Special


Uploaded on Jan 1, 2007
Vassar Clements & Del McCoury Band along with some of the best fiddle players together All Star Bluegrass Celevbration II DVD. Recorded on April 2nd 2003 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN
  • Category

  • License

    • Standard YouTube License

  1. Orange Blossom Special - YouTube

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f_QySKfsgI


  2. Released1965
  3. LyricsLook a-yonder comin' / Comin' down that railroad track / Hey, look a-yonder comin' / Comin' down that railroad track… Full lyrics on Google Play
Orange Blossom Special (song) - From Wikipedia

See also: 2014 Ukrainian revolution - From Wikipedia


“For several days Angela Merkel and I have worked on a text … a text that can be acceptable to all,” Hollande told a news conference, according to news agencies. He warned about risks of escalation in Ukraine: “Now we are in a war, and in a war that could be a total war.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Kiev Boryspil International Airport February 5, 2015. (pool picture)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Kiev Boryspil International Airport February 5, 2015.
(pool picture)

France and Germany Enter "Last Call" Ukraine Peace Talks With Russia

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The president of France and Chancellor of Germany are launching crucial peace talks to solve the Ukraine crisis on Thursday in what could become a long-overdue solution or a repeat to a “Munich” like embarrassment.
François Hollande and Angela Merkel will meet Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday, at a time that United States Secretary of State John Kerry is also in Ukraine, and the two western European leaders will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
Hollande said in Paris that they would “make a new proposal to solve the conflict which will be based on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
“For several days Angela Merkel and I have worked on a text … a text that can be acceptable to all,” Hollande told a news conference, according to news agencies.
He warned about risks of escalation in Ukraine: “Now we are in a war, and in a war that could be a total war.”
In east Ukraine, renewed fighting has cost the lives of dozens of soldiers and civilians and killed a five-months old truce. The United States is considering supplying arms to the Ukraine regular army in order to push back the separatist rebels which, according to NATO, are supported by Russia.
Both the Russian economy and western firms are smarting from the fall out of economic sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, which started with the absorption of the Crimea region, and the Russian counter sanctions. In Russia some goods are getting scarce while in Europe firms from European fruit and vegetable exporters, French ski resorts to automobile firms and ship yards are suffering from the sanctions.
In Ukraine, the economy is in shatters and the central bank raise the interest rates and eased its management of the hryvnia currency that is being hit by a “panic mood”
If Merkel, Kerry, Hollande and Putin can find common ground and get both Poroshenko and rebel leader Alexandre Zakhartchenko to lay down their arms and start substantive talks, then that would be a great diplomatic victory indeed.

France and Germany Enter "Last Call" Ukraine Peace Talks With Russia - Forbes

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Telegraph.co.uk


France and Germany Enter "Last Call" Ukraine Peace Talks With Russia
Forbes
François Hollande and Angela Merkel will meet Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday, at a time that United States Secretary of State John Kerry is also in Ukraine, and the two western European leaders will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin ...
Ukraine crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande to fly to Russia - liveTelegraph.co.uk
US Envoy Kerry Urges Russia to Back Peace in UkraineABC News
French, German Leaders to Visit Ukraine, Russia in Bid to Stop FightingWall Street Journal

all 251 news articles »

Kerry: Diplomatic Solution Sought in Ukraine - Voice of America

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Voice of America


Kerry: Diplomatic Solution Sought in Ukraine
Voice of America
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but added "we can not close our eyes" to Russian tanks and fighters crossing the border. Kerry said he and Ukraine President Petro ...
Kerry says peace in Ukraine is up to RussiaCNN
Top NATO General Warns of Russian Reaction to Arming UkraineABC News
US envoy Kerry urges Russia to back peace in UkraineSan Francisco Chronicle
Daily Mail -Huffington Post -Reuters UK
all 1,312 news articles »

India Frees Hundreds Of Child Labourers

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The children were forced to work in factories for nearly 12 hours a day in "inhuman conditions", officials say.

Ukraine's Hryvnia Plunges After Foreign Currency Auctions Scrapped 

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Ukraine's hryvnia currency plunged about 30 percent against the dollar on Thursday, traders said, after the central bank abandoned the foreign currency auctions that had effectively pegged the exchange rate. The central bank scrapped the daily auctions, which had set an unofficial peg for banks to follow, and also raised its main interest rate to 19.5 percent on Thursday as it sought to avert a Ukrainian financial collapse, brought ever closer by fighting in the country's east and...

Two Israeli diplomats recalled after tweets criticising Netanyahu

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Ambassador to Switzerland and official in Delhi face a hearing over posts targeting prime minister’s policies as he prepares for US visit
The Israeli ambassador to Switzerland and a diplomat in India have been called home over comments critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the foreign ministry said
on Thursday.
Among the alleged infractions was a retweet by Ambassador Yigal Caspi, citing criticism of Netanyahu’s accepting a controversial invitation to address the US Congress over Iran’s nuclear policy.
Continue reading...

For Vladimir Putin the future is certain but the past is unpredictable 

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The 70th anniversary of the post-war Yalta conference is a reminder that totalitarian regimes rely upon controlling the historical narrative
Little noticed in the debate on how Europe should deal with Russia, looms a big anniversary: 70 years ago this week Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met in Yalta to decide post-war arrangements following the defeat of the Nazis. It is often said that it was at Yalta that the big three carved up Europe.
In fact that had already happened, to a certain extent, with the advance of Soviet forces. One thing they agreed on was that “free elections” should be held in occupied countries – a promise Stalin never upheld as he moved quickly to impose communist dictatorships everywhere.
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US, Allies Could Split Over Supplying Weapons to Ukraine

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Several European defense ministers spoke out on Thursday against sending weapons to the Ukrainian army, pointing to a potential transatlantic split if Washington decides to supply arms. The United States is considering whether to provide weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists, although no decision has been made, senior administration officials said on Monday. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has also called on NATO states to send weapons to his...

Islamic State’s Extreme Violence: Analysts Say to Expect More

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The fight between the extremist group Islamic State, and the Western/Arab coalition battling to defeat it has become a public showdown of horror. And analysts warn, there could be more to come. “As soon as we get to the point where we think they can’t get any worse than they are, they manage to exceed the brutality of even what we have become accustomed to,” said Mia Bloom, a professor of security studies at University of Massachusetts. “It’s not that we are immune to the violence, it’s just that they are pushing the envelope and engaging in more and more violence,” she told VOA. Images of a young Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage by Islamic State militants shocked and horrified people around the world this week. Crowds took to the streets in Jordan demanding that Muath al-Kasaesbeh’s death at the hands of Islamic State extremists be avenged. The next day, Jordan executed two Islamic State militants it had in custody, including female suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi. The result, Bloom and other experts say, will be a further increase in brutality. “My worry is now that they will take an eye-for-an-eye attitude, and will say, ‘Well, Sajida was killed so we are going to kill these two women that we have,' and that would then ratchet up the violence to the next level,” Bloom said. The Islamic State is believed to be holding an American female aid worker and three Red Cross workers, including a woman. A U.S. official, speaking to VOA on condition of anonymity, said the highly produced video of the Jordanian pilot’s killing and videos of other IS violence are being used by the extremist group to rally their core audience. “The videos do embolden a very base set of followers,” the official said, adding that to the minds of Islamic State militants, they show the group’s strength. According to Yonah Alexander, director of the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute, the Islamic State’s use of brutality and propaganda is a two-pronged effort to keep themselves on an international stage where they cannot win militarily. “You are talking about terrorism as a great equalizer, which means you kill one, you don’t need missiles,” Alexander told VOA. “Their aim is to able to be equal to... a superpower like the United States.” Alexander said that he expects much more violence. “I personally believe the worst is yet to come,” he said. “There is going to be more kidnapping. There is going to be hijacking. There is going to be more killing.” According to an analysis published by the Soufan Intelligence Group, the Islamic State “needs a constant fight to stay relevant.” As such, they keep trying through spectacular acts of violence to goad the international community to overreact. But Bloom, who has written on the psychology of terrorism, said the Islamic State’s use of extreme violence could backfire, turning local populations against the group. The brutality has already outraged many Muslim nations, including Jordan. Yet the killing of the Jordanian pilot, who was flying over Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition of countries conducting air strikes against the IS extremists, has clearly shaken some nations. The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday announced it was ending its participation in the military effort. But far from stepping back, King Abdullah of Jordan said Jordan will now be "relentless" in the war against Islamic State. VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

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· · ·

Kerry Due To Meet Poroshenko In Kyiv

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to hold talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on February 5.

Driving the Armenian 'dream' – in pictures

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The signature van from the the Armenian manufacturer ErAZ is nicknamed yeraz – meaning dream – and has faithfully served the country’s citizens since 1965. Attracted by the tender relationship between owner and automobile, photographer Lilia Li-Mi-Yan spent a week capturing yerazenthusiasts in Yerevan for The Calvert Journal
Continue reading...

Suspected Islamic Extremists Arrested In Russia's Bashkortostan

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Security officials in Russia's Bashkortostan region say they have broken up the cell of a banned Islamic group.

Ukraine Live Day 353: Rada Votes To Strip MPs Of Immunity

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Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here. An archive of our liveblogs can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.
Please help The Interpreter to continue providing this valuable information service by making a donation towards our costs.

For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.
For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

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Russia blanks out swearing in hit film Leviathan - BBC News

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BBC News


Russia blanks out swearing in hit film Leviathan
BBC News
The Oscar-nominated Russian film Leviathan is going on general release in Russian cinemas, but with silence blanking out the many swear words. It is a highly controversial film in Russia, portraying a corrupt mayor in the bleak far north bullying a man ...
Oscar-tipped 'Leviathan' released in Russia, defying complaintsThe Citizen
Muted Version of 'Leviathan' Film Will Get Russia Release ThursdayHollywood Reporter

all 15 news articles »

Russian Investigator Pepper-Sprays Commuters After Girl Refuses to Give Up Seat 

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An employee of Russia's Investigative Committee was forcibly detained on Moscow's metro after releasing pepper spray when a young woman refused to give up her seat for an elderly passenger.

NATO Anxious Over Russia's Nuclear Strategy 

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Concern is growing in NATO over Russia's nuclear strategy and indications that Russian military planners may be lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons in any conflict, alliance diplomats say.

Another Sign Moscow Preparing Massive Invasion of Ukraine – and Facing Problems Doing So

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Paul Goble


            Staunton, February 5 – The Russian government has introduced draft legislation that would make it easier for Moscow to sign up professional soldiers and for commanders to force draftees to convert to that status and thus be available for dispatch to Ukraine, yet another indication Moscow is preparing for a massive invasion and facing difficulties finding men for it.


            Under current law, the only place where young men can sign up to become professional soldiers is at their local military commissariat. Indeed, Russian officials over the past year have frequently reassured the Committees of Soldiers Mothers that commanders are not allowed to change the status of draftees, despite numerous reports that such actions have occurred.


            Today’s “Novyye izvestiya” reports that the new measure will allow for accelerating the recruitment of professional soldiers not only by giving legal status to the recruiting centers which already exist but also by having them expand recruiting propaganda, something the commissariats don’t engage in (newizv.ru/politics/2015-02-05/214374-rekrutskij-prizyv.html).


            Recruiting centers have existed since September 2012, although they have operated only on the basis of a defense ministry directive rather than any Russian law. The ministry says that they are currently processing 6500 people a month for professional service in the Russian armed forces.


            These centers, even under the new legislation, will not be entirely separate from the commissariats which will still handle medical examinations and be involved in the final selection of those who have applied to become professional soldiers, the Moscow paper says.


            According to Oleg Shvedkov, the head of the All-Russian Union of Military Personnel,  the expansion of these centers will bring Russia into line with American practice, increase propaganda for military service, and thus bring the day closer when all those in the military will be professional soldiers rather than primarily draftees.


Leaders of the Russian Soldiers Mothers Committees, say they do not see this program as being directly linked to events in Ukraine or to the illegal but apparently widespread practice in which commanders force draftees under various pretexts to convert to professional status so that they can be sent to the fighting there.


But there are at least two reasons for thinking it is. On the one hand, Moscow clearly feels the need to step up its agitprop campaign to get more young people to sign up for military service, something it might not have to do were it not actively engaged in military aggression in Ukraine.


And on the other, the creation of more recruitment centers almost certainly will make it easier for commanders to engage in the illegal practice of having draftees agree to become professionals. No longer will there be a single place where such transfers can be legalized – the commissariat of the soldier’s home area – but rather far more places where it could occur.

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· · ·

François Hollande Vows to Defend France’s Republican Ideals

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The French president said that the country would fight Islamic radicalism,
train imams and reinforce
the curriculum in schools to foster a stronger sense of civic identity. 






Merkel and Hollande to travel to Ukraine and Russia for peace talks 

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Leaders of Germany and France launch new diplomatic effort to ease Ukraine crisis with surprise visit to Kiev and Moscow, as Nato bolsters eastern Europe against Russia and EU agrees new sanctions


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Russian Pensioner Who Died in Police Custody Possibly Wrongly Accused 

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An 81-year-old woman who died in police custody while being held on suspicion of stealing butter has been cleared of the alleged crime, prosecutors in St. Petersburg said Thursday.

If Kyiv Accepts Moscow’s Demands, Moscow will Only Make More, Portnikov Says 

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Paul Goble


            Staunton, February 5 – Some in the West and even in Ukraine are urging Kyiv to accept Vladimir Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea and its formation of “peoples republics” in the Donbas in order to resolve the crisis, but such calls are dangerously wrong because if Kyiv agrees to Moscow’s demands, Moscow will only make more, according to Vitaly Portnikov.


            Some of those who advocate such concessions, the Ukrainian commentator continues, argue that since Lenin and Stalin added Crimea and the Donbas to Ukraine in order to hold it within the empire, no one should be particularly upset if Moscow takes these territories back (lb.ua/news/2015/02/04/294432_vihod_ukraini.html).


            But such arguments miss the point for two reasons. On the one hand, Portnikov points out, Ukrainian statehood “from the territorial point of view is an heir not of the Ukrainian Peoples Republic but of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.” And on the other, Putin isn’t interested in Crimea or the Donbas except as a place des armes for further aggression.


            “How can we give up on that?” he asks. “Certainly, in order to end a war, everything is possible. But what will happen to the residents of the occupied territories? Do we believe that they can freely express their views in the presence of the forces of one of the most disgusting regimes of the contemporary world?


            To be legitimate, any voting on a change in borders would have to take place “under conditions of the absence of occupation forces, competitive views, free media and a transition period. If Putin is allowed to do otherwise, then tomorrow Finland would vote to become part of Leningrad oblast. And why not? Vyborg after all is ours.”


            Turning over the residents of Crimea and the Donbas to an occupier without a real referendum is to betray them, Portnikov says.  But there is an additional factor which people need to remember: “Putin does not need these territories, and he doesn’t need Crimea. Putin needs a territory” on which he can put troops and from which he can launch “more aggression.”


            What the Kremlin leader needs, the Ukrainian commentator says, is a place des armes, whose population he does not care about and which he argues Ukraine should pay for. Putin doesn’t have the money to help the population there or elsewhere, but of course, he has plenty of money for his military: “Putin’s calling is to kill not feed.”


            Because that is so, Portnikov says, Ukrainians cannot give up the southeast or Crimea. One doesn’t concede a place des armes to an enemy. “If we give the impression that we believe” Moscow’s version of events that the people there want to separate from Ukraine, then “tomorrow Russian forces will come to Dneprpetrovsk … and a few days later to Uzhgorod … and from there extend a hand to Budapest and Bratislava.”


            In that event, the Germans will have to take part in a Moscow-orchestrated referendum: “do they want the preservation of the European Union with Hungary and Slovakia or do they agree to the unification of these countries to the Eurasian Economic Union? And why not,” Portnikov says; after all they too are “sovereign states!”


             “Of course, all that sounds phantasmagoric, but Putin’s behavior in recent months is exactly that. And his plan to restore the empire is also phantasmagoric. Therefore,” Portnikov says, “we have no other way out than to oppose this phantasmagoric vision if we do not want to see the destruction of Ukraine, all Ukraine and not only the southeast.”


            “To oppose is not only to attack and defend,” he continues. It is also about “not giving the enemy the right to impose his political rules” on you.  At present, Ukraine cannot retake militarily the southeast and Crimea, “but this does not mean that we must accept their separation.”


            Instead, Portnikov says, “it means that we must evacuate Ukrainians from the occupation zone, struggle on all fronts – military, diplomatic, legal and economic – and promote the collapse of the aggressor state” even if the cost of doing so is high. Thinking otherwise is a dangerous and self-destructive delusion.



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· · · ·

Ukraine crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande to fly to Russia - live - Telegraph.co.uk

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Telegraph.co.uk


Ukraine crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande to fly to Russia - live
Telegraph.co.uk

"This is about the way nation states behave, respect for integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. "This morning we had the chance to discuss necessary and promising steps that the president had been leading. We are not seeking a conflict with Russia - not ...
France and Germany Enter "Last Call" Ukraine Peace Talks With RussiaForbes

Merkel and Hollande Head to Ukraine, Russia in Bid to End CrisisBloomberg
French, German Leaders to Visit Ukraine, Russia in Bid to Stop FightingWall Street JournalIrish IndependentFRANCE 24
all 195 news articles »

A New and Most Dangerous Game in the Russian Federation – Border Changes from Below 

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Paul Goble


            Staunton, February 5 – Moscow has changed the borders of its constituent oblasts, krays and republics many times over the last century, and Vladimir Putin for the last decade has pushed for the amalgamation of smaller non-Russian areas with larger and predominantly ethnic Russian regions.

           

            But there is one thing that Moscow does not want and that is border changes initiated from below not only because that could disrupt the country’s politically-defined transportation and economic system but also undermine the stability of entire regions of the country and consequently of the Russian Federation as a whole.


            Unfortunately for Moscow, there are indications that exactly such changes in borders from below may be in the offing. Earlier this week, Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev announced that he had created an inter-regional working group to review and revise borders with neighboring regions (regnum.ru/news/polit/1890625.html).


            Sverdlovsk officials say that their proposals for small border adjustments are intended to “secure the rights of residents of population points on the border which at present have difficulties” given that the residents live in one federal subject but have land and other property on the territory of another.


 And these officials add that the executive organs of the federal subjects bordering Sverdlovsk oblast, the Administration of the Federal Registration Service, and other interested bodies “have confirmed their agreement to participate in the inter-regional working group.”


That means, the Regnum.ru report says, that there will be representatives not only of Sverdlovsk oblast but also the republics of Bashkortostan and Komi, the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District, Perm kray, and Kurgan, Tyumen, and Chelyabinsk oblasts, and that the group will have 37 members.


The working group is to be headed by Valentin Gripas, the deputy chairman of the Sverdlovsk Oblast government, and the execution of its decisions has been made the responsibility of Denis Pasler, chairman of the oblast government. 


In reporting this development, Regnum.ru says that experts familiar with the situation say that “the need for eliminating a number of petty flaws” in the borders “has existed for a long time.” And they have pointed to villages which are in one federal subject which by rights should be in another, giving as an example a Russian village in the Turkic republic of Bashkortostan.




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· · ·

81-year old woman who survived Leningrad siege dies after being arrested for stealing butter

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Russian police have launched an investigation into the death of an old woman who died after being arrested for stealing butter from a St Petersburg supermarket.

EU Approves New Sanctions List Over Ukraine Crisis, Diplomats Say 

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European Union governments have agreed on a list of new entities and Russian and pro-Moscow Ukrainian individuals who will suffer sanctions in the bloc, diplomats said Thursday.
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Kerry, Zarif To Hold Nuclear Talks On February 7

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The top U.S. and Iranian diplomats will reportedly hold talks in Munich, Germany, on February 7 as part of efforts to secure a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

U.S and Europe Make New Bid to Stop War in Ukraine

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KIEV, Ukraine — In a new push for peace in eastern Ukraine, the leaders of France and Germany announced Thursday they were heading to Kiev and Moscow with a proposal to end the fighting. The surprise move appeared aimed at heading off U.S. considerations of giving Ukraine lethal military aid, something many European nations oppose.
The flurry of high-level diplomacy aimed to end the resurgent fighting in eastern Ukraine that is threatening European security.
Calling it a “very critical moment in our history,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warmly welcomed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.
In a joint news conference after their talks, Kerry urged Russia to show its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Kerry called on Russia to cease its military support for the separatists and help bring them to the negotiation table.
“Our choice is diplomacy,” he said, making no mention of the possibility of the U.S. providing Ukraine lethal military aid.
In Brussels, NATO foreign ministers prepared to boost the military alliance’s forces Thursday in response to the fighting in Ukraine and Russia’s increased military forcefulness.
Fighting between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces surged in January. The United Nations has sharply criticized both sides for their indiscriminate shelling and urged a temporary truce to halt the fighting that has killed over 5,300 people since April.
At least three people were killed in overnight shelling in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, local officials said Thursday, amid fierce fighting in several areas of eastern Ukraine.
France and Germany, meanwhile, hope this time they can come up with a peace deal that both Ukraine and Russia can agree to.
French President Francois Hollande said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would travel to Kiev on Thursday and then to Moscow the following day with a proposal “based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
In a sign of the importance of the initiative, this will be Merkel’s first trip to Moscow since Ukraine’s conflict broke out a year ago.
“It will not be said that France and Germany together have not tried everything, undertaken everything, to preserve the peace,” Hollande said.
A senior French government official said the two leaders decided Wednesday night on the trip and did not consult American officials about the plan. The official was not authorized to be named, according to French policy.
“Given the escalation of violence in the past days, the chancellor and President Hollande are intensifying their months-long efforts for a peaceful settlement of the conflict,” Merkel spokesman Steffen Siebert said
In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Putin, Merkel and Hollande will discuss “what the three nations can do to help put a quick end to a civil war in southeastern Ukraine, which has exacerbated in recent days with mounting casualties.”
Russia has vehemently denied that it is helping the rebels in Ukraine, while acknowledging that some Russians are fighting with the rebels. Western military experts say the sheer quantity of heavy weapons in rebel hands belies the claim that Moscow is not involved.
Kerry came to Ukraine to show support for its embattled government as the Obama administration weighs sending arms to Kiev to help it fight Russian-backed separatists. The U.S. envoy brought $16.4 million in new U.S. humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but the government is anxious to reiterate its plea for lethal aid.
President Barack Obama has opposed the idea of sending weapons to Ukraine but sources in his administration say this position could change in the light of recent fighting.
Germany and other European nations remain fiercely opposed to sending arms to Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reiterated that stance Thursday, saying it would not improve the situation if “we now bring more weapons to the region.”
“By throwing more weapons on the bonfire, I don’t believe, unfortunately, that we will solve the problems in Ukraine,” Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said in Copenhagen. “My advice is to continue the massive economic pressure on Russia to force them back to the negotiation table.”
EU foreign ministers will be talking Monday about increasing sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the group’s defense ministers on Thursday are expected to approve boosting the size of the alliance’s Response Force from 13,000 to 30,000, in reaction to Russian actions in Ukraine.
Russia has expressed concerned about NATO’s buildup in eastern Europe while defending a heavy military presence at its border with Ukraine.
Hollande appeared to be offering a nod to Putin on one of his key demands: that Ukraine stay out of NATO.
“France is not favorable to Ukraine’s entry into NATO, let us be clear,” Hollande said Thursday. “For the Russians who are worried … we have to settle this problem among Europeans. We are on the same continent.”