Friday, August 29, 2014

Finland Upgrades NATO Ties After Condemning Russian Tactics

Finland will sign an agreement with NATO making it easier for the organization to put its troops on the Nordic country’s soil as the government in Helsinki condemns Russia’s treatment of Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinistoe and Prime Minister Alexander Stubb decided to sign the pact on Aug. 22, according to a statement today. Closer ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been under way since last year as part of a collaboration first envisioned in 2002. Finland will be free to decide the extent of its NATO cooperation on a case-by-case basis. Sweden is close to striking a similar accord, Defense Ministry spokesman Henrik Hedberg said today by text message.

Stubb criticized Russia yesterday for actions he said constituted a violation of international justice. “Russia did wrong,” he said in a speech in Helsinki. “We have seen enough of the justice of the strong on this continent.” Niinistoe, speaking at the same event, urged Europe to step up its focus on defense spending as relations with Russia deteriorate....
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-27/finland-upgrades-nato-agreement-after-condemning-russian-tactics.html

-bth: Putin is strengthening NATO as no other world leader can do.

Low Oil Prices Could Crush Russian Economy - FX Empire

... Tensions with Russia and the new cold war along with sanctions and embargoes are likely to have significant effects on the Russian economy, but the low price of oil is likely to have a larger effect. Russia has an oil problem. The country is heavily dependent on oil tax revenue to fill its coffers, and trouble is brewing given today’s low price for Russian crude. According to Reuters, Russia’s budget is based on the assumption of an average oil price of $114 per barrel. It is nowhere near that high right now, however. Sitting below $100 for the first time in over a year, the price of Ural crude has fallen $15 in less than one month. Keep in mind that 50% of Russia’s budget revenue comes from oil. If the price bounces back, there is no story here. If, however, there is a sustained period of low oil prices it would be a major blow to the country’s economy.

http://www.fxempire.com/news/economic-news/low-oil-prices-could-crush-russian-economy/ 

Situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine 28 August 2014




... In the village of Bezimenne, which means “no name” in Ukrainian, some 14 kilometers from Novoazovsk, there were dozens of fighters from the Dnipro 1 and Azov battalions lingering on Aug. 28, just watching Russian troops. Driving their shabby cars they claim they have no means to fight back if the Russians decide to approach. Ukraine’s fighters said that Russian soldiers were attacking their counterparts who didn’t retreat from Novoazovsk quickly enough.
“There are no (regular) Ukrainian army here, they all moved to Mariupol,” said Volodymyr, fighter of Dnipro 1, a man in his 40s who used to be Dnipropetrovsk businessman before the war.
Volodymyr added that some soldiers are still fleeing Novoazovsk in small groups along the fields and forests, and when detected by Russian they are being shelled.
The pro-Ukrainian fighters say hundreds of Russian soldiers and dozens of Russian tanks are now present in Novoazovsk.
Mariupol residents have begun to flee amid fears of an approaching assault, with refugees from war-torn Donetsk, Horlivka and Illovaisk forced to flee again and with civilians allowed to leave the city but not enter.
At the checkpoint on the way to Novoazovsk, the Kyiv Post saw soldiers digging trenches and preparing antitank barriers still decorated with floral ornaments from Ukraine’s recent Independence Day celebrations....  http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/ukraine-regroups-as-russia-attacks-362479.html


http://www.kyivpost.com/media/images/2014/08/29/p190gk0tgt1v4soueebt13pg1q4n4/original.jpg

Iran says shot down Israeli Drone was from Azerbaijan - PressTV


Excerpt from Iranian news source. ...In 2012, two Azerbaijani officers, defecting to Iran, reported of Israeli operations there including a drone base to be used against Iran. Azerbaijan issued a formal apology but as reported by Republican Guard air defense command, the recent provocation did, as first reported by Hanke, originate from Azerbaijan. ...There is a long history of convergence between Israel, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Despite public differences between Israel and Turkey such as the mild Turkish diplomatic “feint” after the Mavi Marmara attack in 2009, military cooperation between Tel Aviv and Ankara continued unabated.... It was during these exercises in 2010 that Israel’s clandestine forward deployment of attack aircraft to Azerbaijan was discovered. Azerbaijan had claimed that Russian-backed “Armenian rebels” had seized two fighter bases near the Iranian border. In actuality, these were turned over to Israel in partial exchange for Israel’s agreement to train and equip Azerbaijan’s military forces. In a statement on Sunday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had successfully intercepted and shot down an Israeli spy drone by a surface-to-air missile, known as Hermes 450. The aircraft was on its way toward the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran’s central province of Isfahan, reported the Fars news agency....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Russian journalists attacked while investigating soldier burials - LA Times


Several Russian journalists say they were attacked while investigating the suspected secret burials of soldiers believed to have been killed in Ukraine. Reporters from different news outlets this week said they saw graves believed to be those of paratroopers in a village graveyard near the town of Pskov in western Russia, where the soldiers were based. Vladimir Romensky, a reporter for Dozhd, an independent television station, and Ilya Vasyunin of Russkaya Planeta, a Russian news website, said they were accosted by two men in the village and told they “would never be found” unless they immediately returned to Moscow. The reporters went to the local graveyard anyway, and assailants threw stones at their car and slashed the tires. Romensky said two other journalists told him they had been forced into a van while attempting to visit the graveyard earlier in the day and taken to a forest where their abductors threatened to kill them.... -bth: worth reading in full.

Russian Army in Ukraine: Video evidence released of Russian soldiers cap...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Iranian Ayatollah: 3G internet is immoral and inhumane - Jerusalem Post


An Iranian Grand Ayatollah has said high speed internet is unethical and contrary to humanitarian principles, Iranian media sources reported on Tuesday. Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a prominent Shia scholar, made the remarks in response to a question put to him by cyber activists, via his website. Although Iran has the highest total number of internet users in the Middle East, its average data speed is about a tenth of the global average. However, Shirazi said 3G — third generation mobile communications technology — and broadband internet were morally wrong, and that there needed to be standards to prevent users from dangers such as “immoral and inhumane” videos and photos, rumors, and espionage.... bth: what's evil is a dial-up modem and slow internet connectivity.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Press Conference - Formation of a state - 24 Aug 2014

hit CC on lower right for English translation

World's first entirely-printed plastic bump key

Most Russian Students Want to Find Jobs Abroad - Moscow Times


... The survey revealed that 77 percent of Russian students found the prospect of overseas employment more appealing than working at home. Those most hopeful for overseas jobs were students completing their degrees in marketing and the humanities, the survey showed, while those studying medical and pedagogical degrees were more inclined to stay in Russia. Half of the survey's respondents attributed their desire to find employment overseas to a higher standard of living there, and 36 percent were prepared to relocate for the long term. Forty-six percent of respondents cited Europe as their ideal destination, while 10 percent said they were aiming to move to the U.S....

Sunday, August 24, 2014

[India's] Army's ammunition won't last 20 days of war - Times of India


NEW DELHI: Even as mortars and guns once again boom along the border with Pakistan, alarm bells continue to clang over the crippling shortage of ammunition reserves in the 1.18-million strong Indian Army. In a grim reality check in March, TOI had reported that India did not have enough ammunition to undertake a full-blown war with "intense fighting" for even 20 days. Six months down the line, the situation on the ground has not changed much. Officials, however, contend the Modi government is "fully cognizant" of the "shocking state of affairs". Though "urgent steps" are being taken, it will take time to build up the war wastage reserves (WWR) due to the "long-winded" arms procurement procedures as well as the sluggish performance of the 39 factories under the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), they say. The WWR, incidentally, should be sufficient for 30 days of "intense" and 30 days of "normal" fighting. With three days of "normal" equal to one of "intense", the WWR should consequently be adequate for 40 days of "intense" fighting. "But there are deficiencies across the board. The critical ones are for tank and air defence ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles, specialized machine-gun magazines, grenades, mine fuses and the like. Some types of ammunition will not last even a week in a full-fledged war," said a source....