Voices from Russia

Thursday, 1 January 2015

ITAR-TASS Presents… Uncommon Holiday Trees From All Over the World

00 New Year Trees 01. Gorky Park Moscow. 01.01.15                           

New Year tree in the shape of an ice-cream cone, at Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure (TsPKiO Gorkogo) in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF

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00 New Year Trees 02. Tbilisi Georgia. 01.01.15

A statue of St George the all-Victorious decorated like a Christmas tree in the centre of Tbilisi (Tbilisi Capital Region) GEORGIA

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00 New Year Trees 03. Kaunas Lithuania. 01.01.15

Christmas Tree made of plastic cups in Kaunas (Kaunas City Municipality. Kaunas County) LITHUANIA

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00 New Year Trees 04. Paris France. 01.01.15

An inverted Christmas Tree in the Galeries Lafayette in Paris (Département de Paris. Région Île-de-France) FRANCE

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00 New Year Trees 05. Colombo Sri Lanka. 01.01.15

Colourful Christmas illumination in Colombo (Colombo District. Western Province) SRI LANKA

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00 New Year Trees 06. Seoul ROK. 01.01.15

21-metre-high (69-feet-high) Christmas Tree at Seoul City Hall Plaza, Seoul (Special City of Seoul) ROK

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00 New Year Trees 07. Rio de Janeiro Brazil. 01.01.15

World’s highest floating Christmas Tree in Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State. Southeast Region) BRAZIL

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00 New Year Trees 08. Beijing PRC. 01.01.15

Installation of a New Year Tree outside a shopping mall in Beijing (Beijing Municipality) PRC

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00 New Year Trees 09. Beirut Lebanon. 01.01.15

30-metre-high (99-feet-high) Christmas Tree covered with 2,500 gold-coloured metal leaves in Byblos (Jbeil District. Mount Lebanon Governorate) LEBANON, 40 kilometres (26 miles) north of Beirut

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00 New Year Trees 10. Sydney Australia. 01.01.15

Lego Christmas Tree made of colourful interlocking toy bricks created by The Lego Group in Sydney (Sydney District) NSW AUSTRALIA

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00 New Year Trees 11. Moscow Russia. 01.01.15

New Year Tree made of colourful illuminated balls in Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure (TsPKiO Gorkogo) in Moscow RF

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00 New Year Trees 12. Islamabad Pakistan. 01.01.15

Pakistani Christian boy decorates a tree in preparation for the upcoming Christmas holiday in the slums of Islamabad (Islamabad Capital Territory) PAKISTAN

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00 New Year Trees 13. Vilnius Lithuania. 01.01.15

People stroll around a Christmas Tree in the Old City of Vilnius (Vilnius City Municipality. Vilnius County) LITHUANIA

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00 New Year Trees 14. Moscow Russia. 01.01.15

A metal New Year Tree outside of a commercial enterprise in Moscow RF

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00 New Year Trees 15. Kuala lumpur Malaysia. 01.01.15

Christmas tree near Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) MALAYSIA

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Countries around the world start preparations for the Christmas and New Year holidays from late November. The main symbol of the celebration is the decorated tree. Although most people prefer traditional designs, some do extraordinary decorations such as ice-cream cones, Legos, plastic cups, and other uncommon ideas.

26 December 2014

ITAR-TASS

http://itar-tass.com/en/non-political/769339

1 January 2015. RT Presents a Multimedia Presentation. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Videos of New Year Fireworks…

00 new year moscow 2015. 01.01.15

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Sydney offered some of this year’s most incredible fireworks display with over 100,000 pyrotechnic effects. An estimated 1.6 million people turned up to watch more than 10,000 aerial fireworks and 25,000 shooting comets over Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Over a billion people tuned in throughout the globe to watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, as the city takes pride in being one of the first major cities in the world to welcome each New Year.

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In Hong Kong, around 300,000 people crowded the city’s streets to watch fireworks and to see artificial snow effects that lit up the skies over Victoria Harbour in an eight-minute show.

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Despite terrible news of a stampede in Shanghai, hundreds of million across China tuned in to watch a stunning light show in Beijing, where a stunning light show happened at the Badaling Great Wall.

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The landmark skyscraper Taipei 101 was the center of attraction in Taiwan. Celebrations included pop singers and a firework display at midnight.

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In Dubai, spectacular fireworks display welcomed in the New Year from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, as thousands gathered to watch a display that featured portraits of United Arab Emirates emirs.

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In the heart of Russia, thousands of Muscovites gathered at iconic Red Square to start the New Year with a wonderful view of the fireworks over St Basil Cathedral and the Kremlin. Millions also tuned in to watch President V V Putin’s New Year address.

Read more:

“Landmark in Russian history”: President Putin’s New Year address

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Germans got a dose of wisdom from Bundeskanzerlin Angela Merkel, but as in the most of the world, the cheerful celebrations turned into a drinking fest.

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Even Novorossiya paused hostilities to welcome the New Year, for many, it signified a new start. Illuminating shells lit up the sky above Donetsk Airport, instead of the High Explosive shells that became all-too-familiar for the residents there.

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A few hours later, hundreds of thousands of people witnessed the best London has to offer over the River Thames as the fireworks display exploded to the midnight bongs of Big Ben.

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Rio de Janeiro’s main Copacabana beach is the venue for the country’s biggest New Year party, as it’s practically midsummer at the moment, which is why many partygoers come to Brazil to kick-start their 2015.

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From Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, millions of people kicked off their New Year 2015 celebrations under the night skies brightly lit with firework displays. Full of joy and hopes, people wished each other the best of luck in 2015. The party continues… stay tuned…

1 January 2015

RT

http://rt.com/news/219147-new-years-2015-celebrations/

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Sputnik International Presents… Christmas Spirit in Every Corner of the World

00 Christmas Spirit 01. Seoul KOREA. 25.12.14

Volunteers clad in Santa Claus costumes throw their hats in the air as they gather to deliver gifts to the poor in downtown Seoul (Seoul National Capital Area) ROK.

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00 Christmas Spirit 02. Kaliningrad RUSSIA. 25.12.14

Christmas at St Adalbert of Prague Roman Catholic parish in Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad Oblast. Northwestern Federal District) RF.

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00 Christmas Spirit 03. Sydney AUSTRALIA. 25.12.14

British travellers Liam Wadeson (left), Jemma Wild and Ashley Colotta, (right), frolic in the waves as they celebrate Christmas Day at Bondi Beach in Sydney (Sydney Region. New South Wales) AUSTRALIA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 04. Nairobi KENYA. 25.12.14

The choir at Shrine of Mary Help of Christian Church sings during Christmas Mass in Nairobi (Nairobi County. Nairobi Metro Area) KENYA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 05. Beijing CHINA. 25.12.14

A Chinese man prays during Christmas Eve mass of at the South Cathedral official Catholic church in Beijing (Beijing Municipality) PRC.

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00 Christmas Spirit 06. Guiyang CHINA. 25.12.14

Members of a local parachute club wearing Santa Claus costumes fly past residential buildings dropping presents to pedestrians during a promotional event celebrating Christmas in Guiyang (Guizhou Province) PRC.

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00 Christmas Spirit 07. Islamabad PAKISTAN. 25.12.14

A Pakistani Christian family gathers around a fire to warm themselves from the evening cold in an alley of a Christian neighbourhood decorated with festive lights for Christmas in Islamabad (Islamabad Capital Area) PAKISTAN.

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00 Christmas Spirit 08. Chilpancingo MEXICO. 25.12.14

Men look at a Christmas tree, with pictures of the 43 missing trainee teachers, in the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training Raul Isidro Burgos College in Ayotzinapa, on the outskirts of Chilpancingo de los Bravo (Guerrero) MEXICO.

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00 Christmas Spirit 09. Bethlehem PALESTINE. 25.12.14

On Christmas Eve, a Palestinian dressed as Santa Claus holds balloons at Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (Bethlehem Governorate) PALESTINE.

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00 Christmas Spirit 10. Ahmadabad INDIA. 25.12.14

A man exits an illuminated Church on Christmas Eve in Ahmedabad (Ahmedabad District. Gujarat State) INDIA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 11. Moscow RUSSIA. 25.12.14

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi (centre) during Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF.

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00 Christmas Spirit 12. Mumbai INDIA. 25.12.14

Indian girls pose for photos near decorative statues of Santa Claus outside a church on Christmas in Mumbai (Mumbai City District. Maharashtra State) INDIA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 13. Laghman Province AFGHANISTAN. 25.12.14

A US Army soldier from the 3 Cavalry Regiment dressed as Santa Claus greets fellow soldiers eating Christmas lunch at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman Province of Afghanistan.

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00 Christmas Spirit 14. St Peter Basilica VATICAN CITY. 25.12.14

Pope Francisco Bergoglio kissed the statue of baby Jesus as he arrived to lead Christmas Midnight Mass at St Peter Basilica in Vatican City. He prayed for peace in the Ukraine and decried the “brutal persecution” of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria in his traditional Christmas address, known as the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world).

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Christmas is one of the main Christian holidays. It’s an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, observed as a religious and cultural tradition among billions of people across the world. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations, and a great number of non-Christian people celebrate it. According to the Gregorian calendar, the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant churches celebrate Christmas on 25 December. Roman Emperor Theodosius II made the decision to celebrate Christmas on 25 December at the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431.

Advent precedes Christmas, which starts four weeks before Christmas. This period is supposed to prepare the faithful the birth of Jesus. The festive customs associated in various countries with Christmas mix pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar, Christmas music and carolling, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, such as Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and garlands.

Christmas is associated with Santa Claus, also known as also known as St Nicholas and Father Christmas, a cultural figure with legendary, folkloric, and historic origins. In many Western cultures, folklore has it that Santa Claus brings presents to the homes of good children the night before Christmas. According to early Roman Christian traditions, three special liturgies are served on Christmas… a midnight Mass, a Mass at dawn, and a Mass during the day. In the Roman Catholic Church, Christmas celebrations last for eight days, from 25 December to 1 January, a period known as the Octave.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) tracks Santa Claus when he leaves his official residence in the North Pole and flies around the world in his sleigh. NORAD has tracked Santa’s journey for more than 50 years. As gift-giving and many other Christmas customs involve heightened economic activity, the holiday became a key sales period for retailers and businesses all around the world. Groups and schools often perform Nativity plays and Christmas pageants during the holiday period. They depict the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The tradition dates from the 10th-century Roman Empire.

25 December 2014

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/photo/20141225/1016225951.html

Saturday, 26 April 2014

¡Viva Putinismo!

00 Putin vs Obama. 11.11.13

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Tell me your Ukraine and I’ll tell you who you are. The Ukrainian crisis is a political Rorschach test, not just for people, but also for states. What it reveals to us isn’t encouraging for the West. It turns out that Vladimir Putin has more admirers around the world than you might expect for someone using a neo-Soviet combination of violence and the big lie to dismember a neighbouring sovereign state. When I say admirers, I don’t just mean the governments of Venezuela and Syria, two of his most vocal supporters. Russia’s strongman garners tacit support, and even some quiet plaudits, from some of the world’s most important emerging powers, starting with China and India.

During a recent visit to China, people kept asking me what was going on in the Ukraine, and I kept asking in return about the Chinese attitude to it. Didn’t a country which so consistently defended the principle of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of existing states (be they former Yugoslavia or Iraq), and which itself has a couple of prospective Crimeas (Tibet, Xinjiang), feel uneasy about Russia simply grabbing a chunk of a neighbouring country? They replied, “Well, that’s a slight concern, but the Ukraine’s a long way away and, frankly speaking, the positives of the crisis outweighed the negatives for China. The USA would have another strategic distraction (after al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, and Iraq) to hinder its “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region and divert its attention from China. Cold-shouldered by the West, Russia would be more dependent on a good relationship with Beijing. As for the Ukraine, which already sells China higher-grade military equipment than Russia has so far been willing to share with its great Asian ally… why, the new Ukrainian authorities already quietly assured the Chinese authorities that Beijing’s failure to condemn Crimea’s annexation wouldn’t affect their future relations. What’s not to like in all that?”

Beside this realpolitik, some told me that there’s also an emotional part. Chinese leaders such as Xi Jinping, who grew up under Chairman Mao, still instinctively warmed to the idea of another non-western leader standing up to the capitalist and imperialist West. One well-informed observer said, “Xi likes Putin’s Russia”. Chinese media commentary became more cautious since Putin moved on from Crimea to stirring the pot in eastern Ukraine. The nationalist Global Times, which last month spoke of “Crimea’s return to Russia”, now warns, “The Ukraine’s eastern region is different from the Crimea. The region’s secession from the Ukraine strikes a direct blow to territorial integrity guaranteed by international law” (but then, Putin isn’t aiming at outright secession… just a Finlandised Greater Bosnia, a neutral country with a “federalism” so far-reaching that the eastern regions would become Bosnia-style entities, within a Russian sphere of influence). However, this growing concern didn’t apparently cool the warmth of the welcome given to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Beijing on Tuesday. President Xi said that relations between China and Russia “are at their best” and played “an irreplaceable role in maintaining world peace and stability”. The Chinese Foreign Ministry pronounced China-Russia to be the “major-country relationship that boasts the richest contents, the highest level, and the greatest strategic significance”. Cry your eyes out, USA. Beijing looks forward to welcoming President Putin for a major summit next month.

It isn’t just China. A friend of mine has just returned from India. He noted that, with the likely electoral success of Narendra Modi and the growth of India’s own “crony capitalism”, liberal Indian friends fear that the world’s largest democracy might be getting its own version of Putinismo. In any case, so far, India effectively sides with Russia and not the West over the Ukraine. Last month, President Putin thanked India for its “restrained and objective” stance on Crimea. India’s postcolonial obsession with sovereignty, and resentment of any hint of Western liberal imperialism, plays out… rather illogically… in support for a country that’s just dramatically violated its neighbour’s sovereignty. An Indian satirical magazine even suggested that India hired Putin as “the chief strategic consultant to bring a once-for-all end to the Kashmir issue”. Oh, and by the way, India gets a lot of its arms from Russia. It isn’t just India. Russia’s two other partners in the so-called BRICS group, Brazil and South Africa, both abstained on the UN General Assembly resolution criticising the Crimea referendum. They also joined Russia in expressing “concern” at the Australian Foreign Minister’s suggestion that Putin might be barred from attending a G-20 summit in November. The Russian ambassador to South Africa expressed appreciation for its “balanced” attitude.

What the West faces here is the uncoiling of two giant springs. One, which has been extensively commented upon, is the coiled spring of Mother Russia’s resentment at the way her empire shrank over the last 25 years… all the way back from the heart of Germany to the heart of Kievan Rus. The other is the coiled spring of resentment at centuries of Western colonial domination. This takes very different forms in different BRICS countries and members of the G-20. They certainly don’t all have China’s monolithic relentless narrative of national humiliation since Britain’s Opium Wars. However, one way or another, they do share a strong and prickly concern for their own sovereignty, a resistance to North Americans and Europeans telling them what’s good for them, and a certain instinctive glee, or Schadenfreude, at seeing Uncle Sam (not to mention little John Bull) being poked in the eye by that pugnacious Russian. ¡Viva Putinismo!

Obviously, this isn’t the immediate issue on the ground in the Ukraine, but it’s another big vista opened up by the East European crisis. In this broader geopolitical sense, take note… as we go deeper into the 21st century, there will be more Ukraines.

Editor:

Note this:

Putin isn’t aiming at outright secession… just a Finlandised Greater Bosnia, a neutral country with a “federalism” so far-reaching that the eastern regions would become Bosnia-style entities, within a Russian sphere of influence.

I think that this is what VVP wants… but the American intervention may lead to the Ukraine breaking apart because the Kiev junta won’t compromise due to American “support”. The junta doesn’t realise that the USA isn’t going to commit serious military forces or aid, and that it isn’t going to go to war over the East Bank. It’ll refuse to recognise the 11 May referendums… that’ll lead to the eastern regions seceding. In short, the USA will bring about the very situation that it claims that it wants to avoid. Of course, that leads to the question, is it a matter of incompetence or it is a matter of not wishing to put more assets into an unthrifty entity? I think that it’s a combination of the two… that means confusion and bloodshed in the near term. Mark this down well… Nuland, Zbig, Biden, Kerry, and all the neocons will sleep very well. It doesn’t affect their pay packet and status quo, so, it doesn’t matter…

BMD

21 April 2014

Timothy Garton Ash

Professor of European Studies at Oxford University

Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

B92

http://www.b92.net/eng/insight/opinions.php?nav_id=90054

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