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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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.

******

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).

_______________________________

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

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

America to Demolish New Never-Used 34-Million-Dollar Military Base in Afghanistan

canadian forces afghanistan

______________________________

 A government watchdog reported Wednesday that the USA would likely demolish a never-used American military base in southern Afghanistan. It said that the full-equipped military facility cost some 34 million USD (1.12 billion Roubles. 26.4 million Euros. 22.8 UK Pounds). John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said, “Based on these preliminary findings, I’m deeply troubled that the military may have spent taxpayer funds on a construction project that should’ve been stopped. Unfortunately, it’s unused, unoccupied, and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose. One senior US military official told me that this facility was designed for a military division that was never deployed, and, subsequently, a decision was made not to construct the facility, but inexplicably the building construction started and is now complete. In addition, I was told that the US military officials expect that the building will be either demolished or turned over to the Afghan government as our military presence in Afghanistan declines and Camp Leatherneck is reduced in size”.

Both alternatives to resolve this issue are troubling… destroying a never-occupied and never-used facility, or turning over what may be a “white elephant” to the Afghan government that it may not have the capacity to sustain. Sopko’s report said, “According to a senior US military official, as the footprint of Camp Leatherneck decreases, the building could be outside the security perimeter, thereby making it unsafe for the US military to occupy it. This leaves the military with two primary options… demolish the building or give it to the Afghan government”. NATO, coalition, and American forces destroyed hundreds of small and medium-size military camps and bases as they prepare to withdraw.

10 July 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_07_10/Americas-new-34-million-dollar-military-base-to-be-demolished-0099/

Editor’s Note:

This is one of the reasons for the Republicans’ enormous deficits… they give out gigantic sweetheart contracts to their Corporate paymasters, which advance the true defence of the USA not one bit. THIS is what the Republicans defend and refuse to cut from the budget. It doesn’t aid one iota to the defence of the American heartland… it does add BILLIONS to the already-stuffed boodle bags of the Affluent Effluent. None dare call it TREASON…

Oh, yes… they want such wasteful contracts to continue, and they want to cut the taxes of those who rake in the payoffs for these contracts… none dare call it THEFT…

BMD

 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

31 October 2012. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words. Roll on My Demob! Goin’ Home…

______________________________

At the end of their mandatory service, conscripts often make “fancy” uniforms to celebrate their return to civilian life. It’s an old custom, winked at by the military authorities. Russia has the right idea in mandating universal military service… it serves two purposes:

  • It provides a large pool of manpower for the defence of the motherland
  • It deters war, for the army requires mobilisation to be effective

The USA, by having a mercenary army, sets itself up for defeat in case of a prolonged major war (not seen since Vietnam) and it allows politicians to engage in military adventurism, as the fighting doesn’t affect the general populace. Reflect on this… Vladimir Putin served his country as a counterintelligence officer in the old DDR. Willard Romney and Lyin’ Ryan, despite all of their bellicose posturing, are both yellow gutless cowards who refused to serve their country in the forces (Romney had his corporate daddy buy him a phony “clergy” deferment). Just saying…

BMD

 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

USA Remembers the Dead, Forgets About the Living

Our combat veterans… they deserve everything that we can give them… the warmongering contractors and pols deserve NOTHING… I think that I have PLENTY of company in that view. The vets paid in blood… the fat-cats suck our blood… I seem to notice a SLIGHT difference there. Those who suffer the pain and those who garner the gain aren’t the same… isn’t there something WRONG with that one?

______________________________

In the USA, this Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday observed every year since the American Civil War to remember American soldiers who died in the line of duty. Today, however, US servicemen continue to suffer because of incompetence and disorder amongst the authorities. Of late, high-profile incidents demonstrated that the American leadership, whilst ever ready to use the memory of the dead for their own low purposes, tended to forget about the living. Recently, unprofessionalism and incompetence amongst the US Defence Department and other government agencies responsible for US soldiers led to many scandals. One report triggered a particularly wide-ranging outcry; it said that the US Army had been saving money for years on servicemen who suffered from psychiatric disorders. An inquiry revealed that military doctors intentionally refused to diagnose soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in order to avoid paying compensation and pensions. Information leaked to the press said that military medical brass urged doctors to ignore PTSD in order to “save taxpayer money”.

This money-saving policy led to a tragedy. A US Army soldier, Robert Bales, who was suffering from PTSD, killed 17 civilians in southern Afghanistan. The incident exacerbated American relations with Afghanistan, a key NATO ally in the struggle against global terrorism. Bales repeatedly complained of health problems caused by a head injury in Iraq. Nevertheless, the army dispatched him to Afghanistan, and, as it happens, he wasn’t the only victim of the money-saving programme. It turned out that doctors at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Bales’ duty station, had cancelled the psychiatric disorder diagnosis for 40 percent of servicemen originally so designated, contributing to the dispatch of mentally-ill people to conflict zones.

This arbitrariness affects American veterans as well. US veterans’ groups have expressed concern over an alarming percentage of suicides among servicemen who’ve returned from hot spots. In the opinion of war veterans and human rights campaigners, the main reason behind the increasing number of suicides is dereliction of duty on the part of federal employees. In most cases, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a federal institution created to support servicemen who return from conflict zones, is at the centre of disputes. According to veterans’ organisations, the VA has a sluggish bureaucracy; it doesn’t react to phone calls from police and relatives, and ignores its regular duties. Its employees refuse to hospitalise veterans suffering from psychiatric disorders. One of the most outrageous instances of that was the death of William Hamilton, a 26-year-old veteran of the Iraq War, who was suffering from regular hallucinations in the form of visits from a demonic woman and a man he killed during combat operations. Despite Hamilton’s deteriorating condition, VA officials doggedly refused to provide him with treatment. As a result, the man committed suicide by throwing himself under a train.

The US authorities haven’t got the slightest idea as to what all this could lead to. As public discontent continues to increase, the government tries to turn a blind eye on the problem. A recent incident, where war veteran Scott Olsen received a serious head injury during a police raid on an Occupy march in California, is equally unlikely to contribute to the myth that the government is taking good care of the people who risked their lives for the US government’s plans on foreign battlefields. A steady rise in public protests demonstrates that Americans are getting more and more reluctant to play the government’s unsavoury games.

28 May 2012

Vladimir Gladkov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_05_28/76224600/

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.