Voices from Russia

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

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

16 September 2014. As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky. They’re My New TARGETS! 2014

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. Nope, New targets! 2014

They’re My New TARGETS!

Vitaly Podvitsky

2014

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The USA boasts of its “overwhelming conventional superiority”… that isn’t so… it’s never been so… it won’t be so in future, either. Note how unwelcoming the Eastern Europeans became to American plans for ABM bases after Russia said, “Fine… if you allow such bases, we’ll install Iskander SRBMs in Kaliningrad Oblast”. You see, the Iskanders would hit their targets before any ABM system would lock onto them. Czechia and Poland suddenly lost interest in such bases, reasoning that they didn’t want to become Priority One targets for Russian strategic assets. Fancy that…

“Overwhelming superiority”, indeed…

BMD

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Russian Bears Searching Remote Villages for Food

00 bear in a tree. 28.08.13

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Wildlife authorities in some of Russia’s more remote and wild regions warn residents to stay inside after dark after several encounters with wild animals resulted in attacks on humans, livestock, and guard dogs. Authorities in areas such as Kamchatka and Bashkiria said that they shoot aggressive animals, even from the air. The situation worsened with the arrival of the cold season. Hungry predators search for food as their resources in the forest become increasingly difficult to find, so, the animals search for food in the villages. In Kamchatka this year, authorities recorded a large number of anomalous bears that didn’t go into winter hibernation. So far, the bears killed three people and seriously injured two more.

However, the bears’ main target is livestock and poultry. Local scientists and hunters said that they believed that the bears are unable to hibernate because they’re still hungry. This year, rivers in Kamchatka had few fish, and bears had a hard time finding enough berries in the forests. Many predators didn’t have time to store up fat; now, they roam in search of food, even near settlements. Kamchatka Krai introduced a special decree… the authorities decided to shoot all bears not in “voluntary” winter sleep. They’ve already killed 140 predators. In Bashkiria in mid-October, a bear attacked and killed a mushroom collector.

Whilst bears remain a problem, some authorities consider wolves to be a greater threat. Primarily, their victims are pet dogs in yards. Usually, dogs are on a leash, so, they can’t fight the wolves. In the Komi Republic, wolves bit three pet dogs. In Kaliningrad Oblast, wolves ate 35 sheep and 20 cows. In Tuva, there were 15 attacks by wolves on livestock. In Lugansk Oblast, wolves tore up nine sheep. According to locals, this is the first case where predators attacked domestic animals within inhabited areas. In areas where wolf attacks are random, local authorities don’t issue formal permits for killing predators. They tell frightened residents to follow simple safety precautions. Don’t go out at night, don’t let children out unaccompanied, lock pet dogs inside the house, and call the authorities if you encounter a wild animal. Bears, unlike wolves, rarely go to towns, so, precautions to follow in regards to them are different. Don’t go into the woods alone, and if you walk in the woods, talk loudly, or even sing, so that the animals can hear you. If you see a bear, don’t make any sudden movements; move away slowly and smoothly. If a bear attacks, it’s better to fall on the ground and pretend to be dead. Chances of escaping from a bear or hiding in a tree are negligible.

However, there are regions where these recommendations aren’t enough. If the number of dangerous animals exceeds established standards, one must reduce their number by force. By law, killing wild animals is punishable by fines from 2,000 to 5,000 Roubles (61-153 USD. 64-162 CAD. 67-169 AUD. 44-110 Euros. 37-93 UK Pounds). The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment does issue permits for “prey hunting resources in order to regulate herd numbers”. The police or hunters can do the shooting. Under federal law, you can only kill wolves with a gun… the law strictly forbids using traps and poisons. For these purposes, the government allots separate funds for the regions. For example, in Yakutia, the struggle with wolves will cost 32 million Roubles (976,000 USD. 1.034 million CAD. 1.078 million AUD. 708,000 Euros. 596,000 UK Pounds). Besides guns, local authorities want to use light aircraft to shoot wolves.

However, according to Nikolai Vyshegorodskih, the Head of Protection and Use of Wildlife, Aquatic Biological Resources, and Environmental Safety of Oryol Oblast, regulating wolf populations by violent means is necessary only in exceptional cases. He said, “Wild wolves attacking humans is extremely rare. Sixty percent of the diet of these animals is rats and other small animals. They’re afraid of people”. In his view, wolves play an important role in the food chain, saying, “Let’s take, for instance, Oryol Oblast. Once wolves come here, then, it sharply reduces the number of stray dogs, cats, and rabid foxes. Sometimes, they eat pet dogs. However, from the viewpoint of natural selection, it’s a normal process. Dogs are socially adapted to people and poorly adapted to life in nature, so, a stronger link in the food chain kills them… the wolf, and in the Far East, it’s the tiger”. Vyshegorodskih noted that as soon as a territory becomes free of wolves, rats, foxes, and wild dogs take their place, which assume the role of predator, and attack humans. He said, “In this situation, wolves are rather good”.

7 December 2013

Anastasia Maltseva

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/society/2013/12/07/russian_bears_searching_remote_villages_for_food_32359.html

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Kaliningrad will Install a Lift for Disabled Access

01 disabled access cartoon

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On Friday, a spokesman for the Diocese of Kaliningrad told our Interfax-Religion correspondent that the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Kaliningrad is undergoing renovation to install a lift for mobility-impaired parishioners (especially, wheelchair users). Our source told us, “initially, we didn’t plan for such a lift, but it appears that there’s a vital need to offer access during religious services and special events at the Cathedral”. Together with two ramps, the lift should provide improved access for people for whom the climb up the stairs to the nave of the church is difficult. The lift has a capacity of 600 kilos (1,321 pounds). From the north entrance, the lift will allow people to access the main level of the church. The authorities plan to have the lift operational by mid-October.

23 August 2013

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=52441

Editor’s Note:

A contact told me that the lift needs such a capacity in order to accommodate motorised wheelchairs, “which are heavy-assed suckers” (as my source put it so clearly). We should be doing likewise… it’s not “politically-correct”, it’s the “right thing to do” (shades of Wilford Brimley). The Church is there for EVERYBODY… and that’s that…

BMD

 

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