Oct 122017
 

MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday presented a new bank note that shows images of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014. The note worth 200 rubles ($3.50) shows a naval memorial in the city of Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, and UNESCO-protected Greek and Roman ruins at nearby Chersonesus. The design also includes a map of the peninsula. The images on the bank note were chosen after a national competition last year to pick symbols of Russia. “The Russian people chose these symbols,” the head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, told journalists in Moscow. “This reflects the desire of the people of Russia to see these symbols on notes.” She insisted that the new images “will not harm the position of the ruble in any way.” By putting images of Crimea in the nation’s wallets, Russia is capitalising on the wave of patriotism prompted by the peninsula’s annexation in March 2014. It also comes as a defiant response to Kiev and to the sanctions imposed by European Union and the United States that have hit the ruble hard. Putin takes victory lap to annexed Crimea The green-tinged note has now become legal tender, along with a new 2,000-ruble bill that shows Russia’s new cosmodrome in Vostochny in the far east. They are Russia’s first new bank notes since 2006 and the new denominations of 200 and 2,000 rubles aim to speed up cash transactions. The notes will first go into circulation in Moscow, the far east [Read More…]

Sep 022017
 

MOSCOW: Two crew members were killed Saturday after their Soviet-era biplane ploughed into the ground at an airshow near Moscow, local police said. The vintage An-2 aircraft crashed as it was performing an aerial acrobatics routine in front of a crowd at an airfield near the satellite town of Balashikha on the edge of Moscow. “We confirm the crash and that according to our preliminary information two people onboard were killed,” a spokesman for the Moscow region police told AFP. One dead in cargo plane crash near Mount Everest The spokesperson said the plane came down in a field and no spectators were hurt. Police were at the scene working to establish the causes of the crash. A source in the emergency services told TASS news agency that pilot error was viewed as the most likely cause of the crash. Russian media published video it said was from eyewitnesses showing the Antonov propeller plane bursting into flames after hitting the ground and then thick black smoke pouring into the air. The single-engine plane An-2 went into production shortly after World War II and was typically used for transport or crop dusting. The post Two dead in crash at Moscow airshow appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

May 202017
 

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election Saturday, calling for deeper ties between Moscow and Tehran. In a telegram to Rouhani, Putin “confirmed the readiness to continue active joint work to further develop the Russian-Iranian cooperation partnership,” the Kremlin said in a statement. Putin also expressed confidence that Moscow and Tehran will continue to work in the spirit of “maintaining stability and security in the Middle East and the world as a whole” and that agreements reached during Rouhani’s visit to Russia in March will be successfully implemented. As US and China find common ground on North Korea, is Russia the wild card? The meeting in March between Putin and Rouhani, who have grown closer through their mutual support of Syrian president Bashar al Assad, mostly focused on the countries’ flourishing economic ties in the fields of energy and industry. Iran and Russia have become increasingly allied in Syria, helping Assad’s forces gain ground in recent months, including in the Syrian army’s major offensive last year to retake rebel-held eastern Aleppo. In addition to cooperation on Syria, energy and defence ties have deepened between Iran and Russia in recent years. Russia is to build nine of Iran’s 20 proposed nuclear reactors and has emerged as a long-term arms partner, supplying Tehran with its S-300 air defence missile system. The relationship has blossomed under Rouhani despite the countries having a complicated history over territory, oil and Communist ideology. Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate cleric who spearheaded [Read More…]

May 172017
 
Embattled Trump complains of 'unfair' treatment

An embattled Donald Trump complained Wednesday that no US leader had been treated “more unfairly,” as top Republican lawmakers demanded the facts on the swirling scandals convulsing his presidency.The White House has been thrown into turmoil by a succession of stunning allegations against the president, most damagingly the suggestion he may have obstructed justice by asking his FBI chief to drop a probe into one of his top advisors. “We need the facts,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, told reporters in reaction to the explosive reports of Trump's request to the now-sacked James Comey, coming on the heels of claims he shared US secrets with Russian officials in the Oval Office. “It is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president. But we have an obligation to carry out our oversight regardless of which party is in the White House,” Ryan added. Trump remained uncharacteristically quiet early Wednesday on Twitter, his favored platform for reaching his base. But by midday, during a commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy, he was venting his frustration. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,” he said. “You can't let them get you down.” Trump urged graduating cadets to follow his example and “fight, fight, fight. Never, ever, give up,” assuring them: “Things will work out just fine.”Comey summoned On Capitol Hill however, some Republicans have begun siding with the many Democrats who [Read More…]

May 082017
 

WASHINGTON: The simmering controversy over Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s US election returns to the spotlight on Monday, with a former top Justice Department official set to testify on links between President Donald Trump’s advisers and Moscow. Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, a Barack Obama appointee held over for the start of the new administration, could offer new details about how Trump handled concerns that national security adviser Michael Flynn lied about his ties with Russian officials. She is expected to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that she explicitly warned Trump’s team in January that Flynn could be compromised by his communications with Russia’s US ambassador. Yates will be speaking publicly for the first time on what she knew of Russia’s interference in the November election, a scandal that has dogged the Republican president from the start of his four-year term. Russian MP says Flynn resignation may show White House turning anti-Russian Trump, who fired Yates soon after taking office, shot off a series of pre-emptive strikes ahead of her appearance on Capitol Hill, accusing Obama of enabling Flynn, and assailing Yates for allegedly leaking classified information. “General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration,” Trump tweeted early Monday. “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W H Counsel,” he added. But just hours before the hearing was to open, Trump’s early support for Flynn was challenged by reports that then-president [Read More…]

May 042017
 

ASTANA: U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura hailed on Thursday a plan for creating safe zones in Syria as a step in the right direction toward a real cessation of hostilities. After a new round of Syria peace talks held in the Kazakh capital Astana, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed on Thursday a memorandum on creating safe zones in Syria. But the delegation of the armed Syrian opposition walked out and shouted angrily. Syria rebels return to peace talks “Today in Astana I think we have been able to witness an important promising positive step in the right direction in the process of de-escalation of the conflict,” de Mistura told reporters. Russia’s lead negotiator on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said that Moscow was ready to work more closely with the United States and Saudi Arabia on Syria. “Unfortunately, the Americans are still ignoring our attempts to establish closer military cooperation but we will keep trying,” he said. He also said that Moscow was ready to send its observers to Syria’s free zones. The post UN envoy says Syria safe zones plan a step in right direction appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

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