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


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


00 New Year Trees 03. Kaunas Lithuania. 01.01.15

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


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


00 New Year Trees 05. Colombo Sri Lanka. 01.01.15

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


00 New Year Trees 14. Moscow Russia. 01.01.15

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


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


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



Thursday, 28 November 2013

No Flat Earth Theories, Thanks



Editor’s Foreword:

This punchy editorial encapsulates my editorial philosophy. It illustrates how I view criticism from certain quarters. Of course, reasoned well-founded criticism is quite good; I don’t mind that (it does keep me out of the bog and on the straight n’ narrow)… but the hyperclericalist cheering section (and the konvertsy peanut gallery) can kiss my arse. I like the “attitude” conveyed here… God willing, I hope that I can do likewise…



I think, by now, everyone knows that this newspaper has its share of detractors. Editorials and opinion pages in this publication are under constant attack, particularly in certain quarters. Most of our sworn enemies are of the nattering nabob set of so-called Liberal Oppositionists. There’s hardly a need to elaborate. If one can recognise ducks by their bills… one can size up these folks by their biliousness. One might also add that, often, this sub-set is anyway not difficult to recognise as they fall into a distinct type; it’s hackneyed, perhaps, but it’s worth saying… even though we might repeat ourselves… that if they walk like ducks and quack like ducks, they’re ducks. This caravan moves on despite the curs or other wildlife that we might agitate on the wayside, but it’s also worth considering what separates us ideologically from our detractors. This can be edifying, because it’d show up the qualitative difference between what we seek to do, and what they do.

We, here in these pages, whatever others may accuse us of, don’t offer an echo chamber for the pundits of international media or the purveyors of conventional wisdom. Our credo is that we question things. In the process, we come up with what one might call alternative journalism, almost. In that way, some here at the Daily News were proud when a reader described us recently as being “niche”. Despite our being very mainstream, this means that we aren’t “lamestream”, as progressives in some developed countries refer to their own media. Whatever we do, one thing’s very clear, and it’s that we don’t follow the [prevailing] orthodoxy at all.

This holds true in our approach to local as well as international news. For instance, look at the way many newspapers treated the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Most carried articles that either romanticised the so-called Kennedy era in the USA, or treated the issue in a rather airy-fairy scholarly fashion differentiating the Kennedy era positives from the contemporary negatives in US politics. However, in the Daily News, we gave you new “mind-blowing” facts about who might’ve killed Kennedy. Currently, the article is running as a serial in our pages. It goes to the root of many issues other than the simple “who killed Kennedy?” It goes into such matters asking how they affected global politics then and now. In the same way, we’ve sought to challenge those who give us bald statistics, who want us desperately to arrive at certain pre-agreed conclusions about this country, for instance. Take the canard about the 25 Sri Lankan journalists dead since 2005. We deconstructed that and showed that only a very few of these were real journalists, most were LTTE cadres killed in battle.

It isn’t simply a matter of contradicting the facts, however. That’s the easy part. In these pages, we try to keep questioning the unquestioned and probe what so many take for granted. Sometimes, as a result, we might come up with a startling new vision, albeit almost accidentally, besides sometimes presenting startling facts, even though we say this ourselves! For example, we took on the silly notion that one couldn’t call a spade a spade when journalists write about world leaders such as David Cameron. We observed that the Premier’s conduct was buffoonish when he was here in Sri Lanka; then, we proceeded to substantiate minutely the extent of his hypocrisy. Now, we know that there are enough English language writers who’re willing to fairly fall over each other after the fact, saying that Cameron behaved ridiculously and was either rude or bordering on the rude in the general way he treated our leadership, and, by extension, our people.

The result of that was that we might’ve forced some people to remove their blinkers about the “benign coloniser” that could do no wrong, that they considered a force for good! All that our detractors seem to be able to do is to make loud sucking sounds and other snappy noises in response. We may not be faultless, and if anybody points to any mistakes we make, we’d be the first to admit them. However, in contrast to our detractors, who form a chorus line for the tired and effete opinion makers and sundry pundits of the world, we daresay that we don’t accept flat earth theories here in these spaces… and are the happier for it!

28 November 2013

Daily News (Sri Lanka)


Editor’s Afterword:

Note this:

Whatever we do, one thing’s very clear, and it’s that we don’t follow the [prevailing] orthodoxy at all.

That’s what I do here, especially, as far as Church news is concerned. I challenge the “orthodoxy” (with a small “o”) of the OCA/ROCOR First Family narrative, and I’d argue that it isn’t very Orthodox (with a large “O”) at all. Indeed, I only insist they stick to “whole truth and nothing but the truth”… and they don’t. I won’t mince my words… expediency and opportunism reigns amongst us in the American Russian Orthodox diaspora. We need to clear this away… it’s the only way for us to survive, let alone move forward. The conclusion to the above editorial illustrates my own editorial philosophy to a tee:

We may not be faultless, and if anybody points to any mistakes we make, we’d be the first to admit them. However, in contrast to our detractors, who form a chorus line for the tired and effete opinion makers and sundry pundits of the world, we daresay that we don’t accept flat earth theories here in these spaces… and are the happier for it!

We must clear away the First Family lies or we won’t survive here… and that’s that.



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