Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Italian Conductor Claudio Abbado Dies at 80

00 Claudio Abbado. 22.10.14

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Editor’s Note:

I’ve always been a fan of Claudio Abbado. He took a deep interest in Russian music, and was one of the finest interpreters of the genre. I think that his recordings of the Tchaikovsky Symphonies are close to being definitive. Oh, yes… Signore Abbado was a leftist… an Italian Communist who believed in equal chances for all, regardless of financial standing. We’ll miss him…

Вечная ему память… May his memory be eternal…

BMD

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A close collaborator told AFP that Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, whose stellar career took him from La Scala to the Berlin Philharmonic to the Vienna Staatsoper died on Monday at the age of 80. A tearful Attilia Giuliani, head of the Abbadiani fan club, who first met Abbado in 1988 at the Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli, said, “I found out half an hour ago from his personal doctor. This is such a painful moment. I can’t speak”. Abbado was one of the most outstanding conductors of his time; he headed La Scala for 15 years and was artistic director at the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic orchestras. Abbado, who’d been ill for several years, was far from the stereotype of tyrannical maestros and made hundreds of recordings, spanning from Italy’s lyrical repertoire to classical music of the 20th century. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano appointed Abbado Senator for Life last year and gave over his salary for scholarships for young musicians. Lately, he’d cancelled several recent performances and appearances.

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Born on 26 June 1933 in Milano in a musical family, Abbado began his studies in his hometown and completed his training with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna from 1957 at the start of a long love story with Austria. Abbado was a convinced European and global citizen. The maestro started out at La Scala in 1960, where he won accolades for his performance of Giacomo Manzoni‘s opera Atomtod in 1965 and he served as musical director of the celebrated theatre until 1986. Abbado was a leftist and gave concerts in factories and schools, trying to open up the classical music world. From 1971, he also became a regular at the Vienna Philharmonic and he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra between 1979 and 1988, where critics praised his concerts of his favourite composer Gustav Mahler. He was also musical director of the Vienna Staatsoper between 1986 and 1991, where he received the prestigious title of musical director general of the Austrian capital, “Generalmusikdirektor“. The members of the Berlin Philharmonic elected him their head in October 1989 after the death of Herbert von Karajan; he established an excellent rapport with the orchestra, where he worked until 2002. He used to say, “I’m not their boss, we work together”.

20 January 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_01_20/Italian-conductor-Claudio-Abbado-dies-aged-80-5631/

 

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Top Pope Ally Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga urges Vatican Doctrine Chief Müller to Loosen Up

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. 19.09.13

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On Monday, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, an influential aide to Pope Francisco Bergoglio, criticised Vatican doctrinal watchdog Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller and urged the conservative prelate to be more flexible about reforms being discussed in the Catholic Church. Rodríguez, the head of a “kitchen cabinet” the pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Müller… who opposes any loosening of church rules on divorce… was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms. In a rare public criticism amongst senior church figures, Rodríguez rhetorically addressed Müller in an interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, saying, “The world isn’t like that, my brother. You should be more flexible when you hear other voices, so you don’t just listen and say, ‘Here’s the wall'”. Rodríguez, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, didn’t cite any possible reforms in particular, but said the pope’s critics, such as those upset by his attacks on capitalism, were “people who don’t understand reality”.

Former Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger picked Müller in 2012 to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the successor office to the Inquisition. Benedict ran that office as the powerful and feared guardian of Church orthodoxy for 24 years as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, until his election as pope in 2005. However, its influence waned under Francisco, who soon after his March 2013 election reportedly told visiting Latin American priests and nuns not to worry if the CDF wrote to them criticising what they were doing.

In an article in the Vatican daily last October, Müller firmly rejected growing demands for the Catholic Church to reinstate divorced and remarried Catholics as full members of the Church. At present, the Catholic Church excludes Catholics who divorce and remarry in a civil ceremony from communion because the Catholic Church teaches that Christ declared marriage an indissoluble bond. With divorce on the rise, more Catholics are asking Rome to show mercy for them. German bishops have been in the forefront of reform thinking and one archdiocese even published guidelines on how to readmit them, which prompted Müller’s article. The Vatican is due to consider reforming its rules on divorce at a worldwide synod of bishops next October.

Müller also strongly defended Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who reaped stiff criticism from German Catholics, earning the title “luxury bishop” in the media after it came out that he spent at least 30 million Euros (1.38 billion Roubles. 40.7 million USD. 45 million CAD. 46 million AUD. 24.5 million UK Pounds) on a new residential complex. Tebartz-van Elst’s grand plans were so far from the modest approach favoured by the Argentine-born pontiff that Rome sent an envoy to inspect his diocese and later sent him off to a monastery for a leave of absence pending a final decision. Rodríguez didn’t think Tebartz-van Elst would return as Bishop of Limburg and said that Latin Americans like himself and the pope found it hard to understand spending so much money for opulent features such as a 15,000-Euro (690,000 Roubles. 20,350 USD. 22,500 CAD. 23,000 AUD. 12,250 UK Pounds) free-standing bathtub, dryly observing, “For most people, a shower and a toilet are enough. They’re enough for the pope in his three-room apartment, too”.

20 January 2014

Tom Heneghan

Reuters

http://news.yahoo.com/top-pope-ally-urges-vatican-doctrine-chief-loosen-205104072–sector.html

Editor’s Note:

George Weigel is having conniptions, isn’t he? Boo-hoo! He and all the other righties are shown up to be “cafeteria Catholics” (they’re going to pick n’ choose what they’re going to believe… what a scream! They truly don’t like it when we turn their own wacko verbiage against them… watch ‘em squirm!). Francisco is turning out to be a real Albino Luciani (Pope John Paul I). Only this time, he didn’t die after a VERY short reign. As for me, I believe that Luciani died a very natural death, as his health wasn’t the best. I don’t favour conspiracy theories… sometimes, shit just happens, and there’s no cabal behind it (although the Curia IS a snake-pit full of ambitious and unscrupulous SOBs, to be sure… just as our First Families are, to be frank). Conspiracy theorists bore me… they should get lives… that’d take up their time, wouldn’t it?

BMD

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Gosduma Condemns Western Interference in the Ukraine… More Violence in Kiev

00 Kiev. riots 01. 22.01.14

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Editor’s Note:

The West’s attempted coup is a failure. If anything, it’s ruined any possibility of the Ukraine joining the EU in future. The West gambled… and it failed. It repeated the Orangie playbook, forgetting that Yanukovich was the victim of that. It escalated it, only leading to a rebuff from Ukrainian government security forces. Viktor Fyodorovich isn’t going to give in to Western interference, not with Russian aid forthcoming. The American grand grasp at world hegemony has failed… but it’ll take some time for that to register. Kiev WAS “a bridge too far”…

BMD

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On Wednesday, as rioters battled police in Kiev, Gosduma deputies passed a resolution slamming foreign politicians for interfering in the Ukraine’s deepening political crisis. Increasingly, violence in Kiev escalates, with rioters intensifying anti-government activity in response to the Rada passing legislation curbing the present protests. A Gosduma resolution proposed by Speaker Sergei Naryshkin urging foreign politicians to not interfere in Ukrainian internal affairs passed, with 388 out of 450 deputies supporting it. It read, “The Gosduma urges Western political circles to stop meddling in the internal affairs of the sovereign Ukraine in violation of international law and to stop contributing to the further escalation of conflict”. The deputies called on the Ukrainian opposition to refrain from violence, halt the standoff, and seek constructive dialogue with the authorities. For their part, Ukrainian opposition elements accuse the authorities of escalating violence by spurning genuine high-level dialogue and by its use of rough tactics in attempting to stem the riots. The resolution came in the wake of remarks by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describing the situation in the Ukraine as “spinning out of control”, demanding that the West stop “artificially undermining” the government. Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, the American Embassy responded to the sharp escalation in unrest this week by announcing that it’d revoke the visas of several Ukrainian officials it said were responsible for the violence. The embassy statement didn’t name the officials affected.

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On Wednesday, the Ukrainian government deployed an APC and more police in their latest push to clear the centre of Kiev of anti-government rioters. In the morning, unrest in Kiev took a turn for the worse with news that at least three people died in clashes with police as the violence that erupted this week showed little immediate sign of diminishing. In recent days, the situation in the Ukraine is increasingly ugly, with rioters intensifying anti-government agitation in response to legislation curbing the present protests. Rioters in helmets, many of them wielding sticks and shields, some of them throwing Molotov cocktails, engaged in pitched battles with police for much of the day on Grushevsky Street, which flanks the Cabinet of Ministers building and Rada building. Police fired what appeared to be rubber bullets and stun grenades at the crowd. By mid-afternoon, police managed to break through makeshift barricades and chased rioters down the street. At least one APC was onsite to clear away debris, although eyewitnesses in Kiev wrote on Twitter that they’d seen other APCs in the city. Acrid smoke shrouded the entire area between the opposing lines after rioters set piles of auto tyres alight.

On the nearby Maidan, the focal point for almost two months of peaceful rallies, opposition figures delivered fiery speeches calling for more people to come to Kiev to join the protest. As the standoff on the street looked to be worsening, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s office said that a meeting was to take place between top government officials and opposition leaders to find a way out of the political crisis. The AP cited a doctor amongst the rioters as saying that at least three people died during clashes with police. According to media reports, one 22-year-old activist died after plummeting from the 13-metre-high colonnade of a Kiev stadium. Reports from the AP and anti-government agitators said that another two protesters were shot dead. The Prokuratura confirmed at least two deaths. The MVDU said that it was opening a homicide investigation into the deaths. On Wednesday, a court approved the arrest of the first 10 of some 50 riot suspects held by police. As a further sign of its resolution, the government decided to lift its ban on police using water cannons in subzero conditions. The temperature in Kiev on Wednesday stood at around -9 degrees (16 degrees Fahrenheit).

The escalation in violence drew voluble international commentary. European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso expressed shock over Wednesday’s deaths and urged the authorities to take steps to cool down the crisis, saying, “We deplore in strongest possible terms the use of force and violence, and call on all sides to immediately refrain from it, and start taking steps that would help de-escalate the situation”.

22 January 2014

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20140122/186803450/Russian-Lawmakers-Condemn-Wests-Role-in-Ukraine.html

http://en.ria.ru/world/20140122/186797588/Ukrainian-Opposition-Claims-First-Deaths-Among-Protesters.html

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US Senators Call For “Magnitsky List” Expansion

00 same ol' shit. 29.05.12

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On Friday, a group of senior US Senators asked the Obama administration to expand a blacklist of alleged Russian human rights abusers, inflaming tensions between Washington and Moscow. US Senators Robert Menendez (DNJ), Bob Corker (RTN), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and John McCain (R-AZ) said in a statement that they’re disappointed that no one suffered sanctions since April under the Magnitsky Act, an American law punishing alleged Russian human rights violations. According to a published statement, the senators requested US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, “We look forward to your response to our request and hope you’ll also clarify when we can expect additional names to be added to the Magnitsky list”.

President Obama signed the Magnitsky Act in December 2012; it introduced visa and financial sanctions on those Washington deemed complicit in the 2009 death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail, as well as other purported abuses {using no evidence whatsoever but hearsay from hostile parties: editor}. In April, Washington released the names of 18 officials targeted by the Magnitsky Act sanctions and said that a handful of other Russians were on a classified sanctions list in the interests of US national security. The law requires the President to give an annual report to Congress explaining why it added or removed names from the blacklist. The report is also required to include details of the administration’s efforts to encourage other countries to enact similar legislation.

The four senators, all members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said in their request Friday that the inaugural report submitted by the administration on 20 December dissatisfied them, saying, “Disappointingly and contrary to repeated assurances and expectations, this report indicates that no persons have been added to the Magnitsky list since April 2013 and doesn’t provide adequate details on the administration’s efforts to encourage other governments to impose similar targeted sanctions”. On Wednesday, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing that the administration is examining possible additions to the list, saying, “We’re continuing to look at names that could be added to the list, and we’ll continue that process in the weeks ahead”. The Magnitsky Act incensed Russia, which responded in part by banning US citizens from adopting Russian children. In response, Moscow issued its own blacklist of 18 American officials it linked to the infamous Guantánamo Bay detention camp, or to alleged rights violations against Russians abroad.

18 January 2014

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20140118/186648078/US-Senators-Call-For-Magnitsky-List-Expansion.html

Editor’s Note:

McCain acted as a lobbyist for the Georgian government (as did his foreign policy wonk Scheunemann) and is a general supporter of American warmongering throughout the world… that explains that one. Menendez is of Cuban background, described as “close with Republicans on several foreign policy issues”, a warmonger, and supporter of the PATRIOT Act… sounds much like McCain, doesn’t he? Corker is anti-union, anti-arms control, against financial regulation, a gun nutter, and another warmonger… hmm… they all seem the same despite seeming political differences, aren’t they (they’re all cut from the same piece of mouldy neoliberal cloth).

Cardin’s more difficult to pigeonhole. He’s left of centre on almost all issues. However, he’s a vociferous member of the Israel Lobby, and they tend to Russophobia. Why he’d join forces with the Terrible Trio above is beyond me. Can’t he see that he’s joining himself with an evil ideology? Sadly, facts and logic won’t move him (and those like him). He believes the fairy tales about Cossacks constantly abusing Jews… one can’t fight that, only oppose it (it’s one of those bigoted emotional illogical hatreds). In fact, I’d say that one of the reasons that Russia gets “bad press” is that many American Jews are Russophobic. That doesn’t mean that one “retaliates”… it means that one’s aware of it and takes reasonable precautions to protect oneself against any possible fallout. Do be aware that the more feral Russophobes don’t “fight fair”… do cover your back if you interact with them, either online or in person. I’d say to leave them be… the risks far outnumber the positives. Pass the truth to those who’ll listen… trust me; that DOES do good.

BMD

 

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