Voices from Russia

Monday, 10 August 2015

European Dairy Industry in Crisis Due to Russian Food Embargo

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European dairy farmers are facing their most serious economic crisis in decades, largely because of the continuing sanctions war between the EU and Russia. In a recent report on the subject, Radio Sweden explained that most expect the current Russian embargo of European agricultural products to lead to a new wave of lowering milk prices in the near future. It noted, “The current crisis is [already] regarded as one of the most serious in the last 40 years”, noting that with global milk prices already falling to a 30 year low, the current price of 2.65 krona (20 Roubles. 2 Renminbi. 20 INR. 0.30 USD. 0.41 AUD. 0.40 CAD. 0.28 Euro. 0.20 UK Pound) is well-below the 3.60 krona (27 Roubles. 2.50 Renminbi. 27 INR. 0.41 USD. 0.56 AUD. 0.54 CAD. 0.38 Euro. 0.27 UK Pound) minimum necessary for Swedish dairy farmers to make ends meet. Meanwhile, subsidies to Scandinavian dairy giant Arla Foods have fallen by 1.09 krona (8 Roubles. 0.75 Renminbi. 8 INR. 0.12 USD. 0.17 AUD. 0.16 CAD. 0.11 Euro. 0.08 UK Pound) over the past year. Färanäs-area dairy farmer Tore Engström told Radio Sweden, “We can’t remember when we last experienced such a deep crisis, and no one knows when it will end”.

The Association of Swedish Farmers thinks that if someone doesn’t deal with the situation in the next six months, many of Sweden’s 4,200 private dairy farmers may simply begin go bankrupt, with 4 out of 5 already suffering serious economic difficulties. Association chairman Jonas Carlsberg told Radio Sweden that according to the data of his colleagues from Denmark, “86 percent of Danish milk producers face a critical situation. I can add that a similar situation exists in Sweden as well”. Radio Sweden noted that much of the hit to producer prices has been the result of the continuing sanctions war between Europe and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. Carlsberg complained, “The idea that farmers must pay for political decisions is fundamentally wrong. We’re waiting for decisive actions by policymakers”.  For its part, the Swedish government promised to look into the matter later this month, with EU agriculture ministers promising to do the same in early September.

Czechs, Germans, and Balts Feeling the Pinch Too

Like their Swedish counterparts, Czech dairy farmers too felt the pinch of the embargo, forced to look for new places to dump the 500 tonnes of butter and 1,500 tonnes of powdered milk that once went to the Russian market. German dairy farmers are also struggling, losing a market for 126,000 tons of cheese, according to Thorsten Sehm, the head of the Federal Union of German Milk Producers. Sehm told RIA Novosti that whilst only 1.26 million tons of Germany’s 29 million tons worth of milk went to Russia prior to the embargo, “In any market, once the supply exceeds demand, it leads to drastic changes”. So far, in Germany, Sehm noted that this led to a drop in prices to rates lower than “the crisis years of 2012 and 2009”. German Farmers’ Union spokesman Michael Lohse Lohse complained about commercial effects of political decisions, noting that for his organisation’s part, “we call on the authorities of our country to find opportunities for deepening [trade relations] with Russia”.

The Baltic States seem to be hit worst of all, with their close economic ties with Russia prior to the embargo and difficulties in finding alternative markets leading to a situation where their entire dairy industry is now on the verge of collapse. In Estonia, the sanctions war resulted in a decline in a 30 percent decline in producer prices, with Estonian milk exports falling by 17 percent in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Latvia’s dairy industry suffered a similar decline, with Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs noting that he’d appeal to the EU for additional funds to save the dairy industry from total paralysis, warning that farmers are on the verge of destroying their livestock and liquidating their farms. Latvian Association of Milk Producers Chairperson Ieva Alpa Eisenberg noted that Latvian farmers “have plunged into despair, because we don’t know when the situation will improve. One doesn’t know whether one can climb a little bit further into debt, and whether one will be able to pay it back”. He noted that the present crisis is the worst the country faced in over 15 years. In Lithuania, dairy farmers join the rest of the agricultural sector, which has faced a 30 percent decline in exports in mid-2015, compared with a year earlier. Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitiene noted that she’d ask EU Commissioner for Agriculture for 32 million Euros (2.25 billion Roubles. 217.6 million Renminbi. 2.24 billion INR. 35 million USD. 47.6 million AUD. 46 million CAD. 22.6 million UK Pounds) to help save the industry. Local experts warn that Lithuania may have to reduce dairy production by 50 percent in the near future.

Global Factors

This spring, the EU lifted national quotas on milk production, with each country now able to increase dairy production at will, resulting in growing production and a glut in the market. This exacerbated the crisis in the loss of exports to Russia. Furthermore, China significantly reduced its purchase of powdered milk from EU sources, which only deepens the crisis. German Farmers’ Union spokesman Lohse explained, “Of the 10 cent drop in milk prices, 2-3 cents are the result of the Russian embargo, with the rest resulting from other factors. These include the decline in exports to China… as well as general overproduction of milk in the EU”. Federal Union of German Milk Producers chairman Sehm complained that local politicians “aren’t undertaking any efforts to create an appropriate regulatory environment for the milk market”, adding that the same problem exists in France, Spain, and Italy, and in other EU countries.

In August 2014, Russia introduced an embargo on several categories of food products from the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Norway, in response to the anti-Russian sanctions introduced earlier by these countries over the Ukrainian Civil War. This June, the Russian government decided to extend the embargo until August 2016, responding to the EU’s extension of sanctions.

10 August 2015

Sputnik International



Oscillating Neutrino Discovery Could Shed Light on Origins of Universe

Filed under: science — 01varvara @ 00.00
Tags: , , ,

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The NOvA neutrino detector produced its first evidence of oscillating neutrinos; the neutrino is the most abundant massive particle in the universe, but one of the least understood. Researchers working on the NOvA experiment announced that its particle detector observed oscillating neutrinos fired underground from 500 miles [805 kilometres] away, a finding hailed as a huge leap in understanding the poorly understood particles, which are able to pass through great distances in matter without being affected by it. Neutrinos are part of the lepton family of particles and come in three “flavours”, what is especially interesting about them is that they can change flavour (oscillate) while in flight, so whilst a neutrino might begin its journey as a muon neutrino, it can magically morph into a tau neutrino by the time it hits a detector.

NOvA co-spokesman Peter Shanahan (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, near Chicago IL USA) said, “People are ecstatic to see our first observation of neutrino oscillations”. The massive particle detector, 50 feet [15 meters] tall, 50 feet [15.25 metres] wide and 200 feet [61 metres] long, is located in Ash River MN USA, 500 miles away from the neutrino beam generated by the accelerator at Fermilab. The neutrino beam passes through an underground detector that measures its neutrino composition before leaving the site. The laboratory’s accelerator sends, once per second, trillions of neutrinos to the detector at Minnesota, where only a few will register. Shanahan said, “For all the people who worked over the course of a decade on the designing, building, commissioning, and operating this experiment, it’s beyond gratifying”.

A neutrino makes its presence known at the NOvA detector by colliding with an atom, after which it releases a trail of particles and light. The trail is different depending on whether it is an electron, muon, or tau neutrino; the type of neutrino relates to its corresponding charged particle. The neutrino beam originating at Fermilab is composed almost entirely of muon neutrinos, and the researchers are able to detect oscillating neutrinos by measuring how many muon neutrinos disappear over their journey and reappear as electron neutrinos. The scientists found that instead of 201 muon neutrinos arriving at the NOvA far detector, they detected only 33, proof that the oscillation of neutrinos took place.

The NOvA collaboration comprises 210 scientists and engineers from 39 institutions in the USA, Brazil, Czechia, Greece, India, Russia, and the UK, and aims to gain greater understanding of the neutrino particle, one of the fundamental particles that make up the universe, but one of the least understood. Scientists believe neutrinos could hold clues as to why matter overwhelmingly survived after the Big Bang instead of just energy in the form of light. Physicist Thomas Coan, a principal investigator on NOvA, explained, “If we want to understand the universe on a large scale, we have to understand how neutrinos behave. Experimental observations from NOvA will be an important input into the overarching theory”.

Last month, the accelerator at Fermilab set a world record for most powerful high-energy particle beam ever generated for a neutrino experiment, when it generated a sustained 521-kilowatt beam, beating the 400-plus-kilowatt beam sent to neutrino experiments from particle accelerators at CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider. The next aim for the accelerator is to deliver 700 kilowatt beam power, and then upgrade to power in excess of 1,000 kilowatts, or 1 megawatt.

10 August 2015

Sputnik International


DNR Minoborony Reported Situation Gravely Deteriorated… Three Times as Many Violations as Yesterday

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Today, the DNR Minoborony reported, “Over the past 24 hours, the situation in the DNR deteriorated dramatically; the number of ceasefire violations over the past day tripled. The enemy fired 146 artillery shells, 140 tank shells, and 217 8.2-cm/12-cm mortar shells. Besides this, they fired 160 rounds from Grad MLRSs in Telmanovo Raion. The enemy also fired at Donetsk (Petrovsky Raion, Donetsk Airport), Gorlovka, Zaitsevo, Golmovsky, Yasinovataya, Kalinovka, Bayrak, Krasny Partisan, Sakhanka, Panteleimonovka, Telmanovo, and Petrovskoe. Currently, we know that the shelling killed three civilians and wounded another one. We had one soldier wounded”.

10 August 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency



160 Grad rounds meant that the junta terrorists used four fully loaded Grad units… each has 40 12.2-cm rockets. A Grad launcher can discharge its full-load in 20 seconds… it takes ten minutes to reload the launcher (each launcher carries one set of reload rockets). To me, this says that the terrorist pigs used a battery of Grad launchers (four units), fired them off, and skedaddled. Grads are usable by barely trained troops, so, they’re well-suited to use by untrained fanatical Galician Uniate nationalist hillbillies… who aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer… they obviously pointed them in the general direction of the nearest settlement, fired them off with no care about what they hit (which is a war crime, kids), and drove off after discharging one load of rockets. It’s also a subtle hint that the junta forces are shaky… it’s clear that they didn’t stick around for a reload, as the patriot forces could trace the site using mortar-locating radar and by the copious smoke from the rocket launch.


10 August 2015. Translated Russian Demot… They Say that History has a Tendency to Oscillate

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