It’s Russia, not America, that has most to fear in Syria
FAA may lift ban on some electronic devices during takeoff and landing (CBS News) NEW YORK – A CBS News/New York Times poll out Tuesday evening shows overwhelming support for the proposed deal between the U.S. and Russia to have Syria give up its chemical weapons. In return, the U.S. agreed to hold off on a military strike to punish the Syrians for a nerve gas attack last month. About 82 percent of Americans favor such a deal, while 15 percent opposes. When asked if Syria will turn over all of its chemical weapons, just 33 percent said it is likely and 66 percent said it is unlikely. Meanwhile, the top U.S. and Russian diplomats met Tuesday at the U.N. in hopes of working out the details. There has been very little progress since that deal was made 10 days ago. The U.N. meeting ran nearly two hours and there was a lot to discuss. Secretary Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov came into Tuesday afternoon’s meeting with sharp differences over the terms of the deal and how to enforce it. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met at the U.N.
He is the leader of a particularly brutal al-Qaeda offshoot, Jaish al-Muhajireen wa Ansar, operating in Syria and he’s a Chechen, as are a number of his men. This group is responsible for some of the nastier things, such as beheadings, and the capture of two Aleppo bishops, that you may have seen coming out of Syria, and it’s done so much to harm the cause of the rebels that a number of them claim that in part or whole the group is run by the Russian intelligence services specifically for that purpose. That’s probably nonsense, but from the Russian point of view, all the worse if it is. We have been told in Britain to worry about hardened jihadists returning from Syria (or Somalia) to strike back home. Yet we are no longer such a target as we were, having pulled out of Iraq, and being about to pull out of Afghanistan. Yet jihadists are being regularly told to focus on the insurgencies in those parts of the Russian Caucasus home to Muslim populations, such as Chechnya, Ingushetya and Daghestan. Remember Beslan? And this is before Russia is sucked militarily into the conflict. A good opportunity for that will come if, as its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov has promised, it provides troops to defend the chemical weapons inspectors tasked with dealing with the chemical weapons programme under the UN-sponsored deal. Ah yes, chemical weapons. Back to that deal: Russian prestige in its announcement depended on the outside world listening to two very strong messages without noticing that they were contradictory. One, repeated by Vladimir Putin in his article for The New York Times , was that President Assad was innocent of using chemical weapons and that it was the opposition’s doing. The second was that Russia had scored a hit in persuading Mr Assad to give up his chemical weapons.
Russia considers raising divorce fees to avoid bad marriages
He said the activists posed a danger to operations on the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. The oil platform, the first offshore rig in the Arctic, was deployed to the vast Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea in 2011, but its launch has been delayed by technological challenges. Gazprom has said it was to start pumping oil this year, but no precise date has been set. Greenpeace insisted that under international law Russia had no right to board its ship and has no grounds to charge its activists with piracy. “Peaceful activism is crucial when governments around the world have failed to respond to dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and elsewhere,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated or silenced by these absurd accusations and demand the immediate release of our activists,” he added. One Greenpeace activist told The Associated Press that Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the Greenpeace vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in Kulonga Bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Murmansk. Greenpeace, which had limited contact with those on board, said they were all fine and that some made calls to friends and family. Diplomats were allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise for two hours to meet with activists from their countries. Late Tuesday, the activists were driven to the Investigative Committee’s headquarters in Murmansk for several hours of questioning, and after 2 a.m. local time Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday) Associated Press reporters saw them bused to a detention facility.
The motives (for the suggestion) are understandable: switch on your brain when youre getting married, otherwise theres going to be material penalties, the prime minister said. Medvedev, who served as Russias president between 2008 and 2012, was commenting on a proposal submitted by senators that would increase the state fees for divorce to almost 30,000 rubles (700 euros, $940), a huge rise from the current charge of 400 rubles (nine euros, $12.50). Costly divorce cases are relatively rare in Russia, which has one of the worlds most lenient divorce procedures, with couples able to annul their marriages out of court in a single procedure at a wedding office. In cases where the divorce is contested, relatively little justification is required. Karina Krasnova, a lawyer from the company Russian Divorce, told AFP: In Russia the situation is very favourable for divorce. Its much cheaper because you can do it independently, because youd dont need lawyers. Some, including Medvedev, have suggested that this easy-going regime, a legacy of the Soviet Union, promotes a cavalier attitude towards matrimony, leading to high rates of divorce. According to a global UN survey, Russia has the 15th highest female divorce rate and the 28th highest for men. The Soviet Union was one of the first countries in the world to allow no-fault divorce requiring no justification for splitting, as the Communist state sought to destroy what it considered the bourgeois construct of the family. In the 1930s, 40% of Soviet marriages ended in divorce. Stalin later reversed this policy, but divorce remained relatively straightforward. The discussion on reducing family break-ups coincides with a campaign by the Russian government to encourage more conservative family values in keeping with those traditionally promoted by the Russian Orthodox Church. Mondays proposal echoed a suggestion made earlier this year by controversial deputy Yelena Mizulina, an author of the gay propaganda law that made it legal to ban events that could be seen as promoting homosexuality to minors. [Image: “Young Man And Woman Angry And Conflicting” via Shutterstock ]