Trump Win Prompts Protests, Display of Placards, Wearing of Funny Hats

Martin Macias holds a placard against U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump while standing at Paso del Norte international border crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The world faces a starkly different America led by a President Donald Trump.

While the billionaire businessman’s election was welcomed in some countries, others saw it as a big shock as governments will now have to deal with a man who has cozied up to Vladimir Putin, told North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies they would have to pay for their own protection and vowed to make the Mexican government pay for a multibillion-dollar border wall.

Approximately 100 protesters rally outside the City Club of Chicago before the arrival of 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday, June 29, 2015 in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Trump’s win was particularly startling in Mexico, where his remarks calling Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists” were a deep insult to national pride. Financial analysts have predicted a Trump win would threaten billions of dollars in cross-border trade, and government officials say they have drawn up a contingency plan for such a scenario, though without releasing details.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan News]

“It’s DEFCON 2,” Mexican analyst Alejandro Hope said. “Probably something as close to a national emergency as Mexico has faced in many decades.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Mount Sakurajima Erupts! 

The Japanese archipelago sits atop the Pacific ‘Ring of fire’ and has more than 100 volcanoes. The 2014 eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan killed 57 people.

Mount Sakurajima, a volcano that overlooks the city of Kagoshima, erupted Friday with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope.

The Meteorological Agency said Sakurajima, which is about 50 km from Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, erupted at 6:56 p.m.

“I jumped out of my house after I heard the news but I didn’t see anything or hear anything.”

— Yoko Noguchi, 75, who lives in the northwestern part of the Sakurajima island

Local television showed an orange burst out of the side of the volcano, near the summit, accompanied by lightning-like flashes. Dark gray smoke billowed into the sky.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The Meteorological Agency banned entry to the area, expanding an existing no-go zone around the crater to a 2-kilometer radius.

Given the eruption, the weather agency upgraded the volcanic alert from level 2 to level 3, which prohibits people from entering the mountain. The agency warned areas near residential districts on the mountain’s foot could be gravely affected.

“I’m not scared because I’m used to it.”

— Toru Sakamoto, 56, who heard the blast at his home

Kazuhiro Ishihara, professor emeritus at Kyoto University and an volcano expert, was quoted by NHK as saying that the eruption was unlikely to have an immediate serious impact on nearby residential areas because the live video images appeared to show rocks flying only 2 km from the mountain’s top. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Russia Today’ Co-Founder Mikhail Lesin Reportedly Found Dead In D.C. Hotel

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Russian President Vladimir Putin with former Mass Media Minister Mikhail Lesin in Vladivostok, Russia on August 24, 2002. ITAR-TASS / Reuters

WASHINGTON —  reports: A Russian media mogul who helped found the Kremlin-run news channel RT was found dead in his hotel in Washington, D.C., according to reports.

“The Embassy does not have any further comment on the demise of Mr. Lesin out of respect to his privacy. Please refer to the family members or the law enforcement officials.”

— Russian Embassy spokesperson Yury Melnik told BuzzFeed News.

Mikhail Lesin, who was formerly the top media affairs minister for the Russian government, died of a “heart stroke,” a family member reportedly told RIA Novosti.

“Our consular officials had an opportunity to confirm that the Russian national who passed away in DC is indeed Mikhail Lesin. Out of respect to the privacy and sensitivity of the matter we are not at liberty to disclose any other information, and would ask you to refer all further requests to his family and the law enforcement officials.”

— Russian embassy spokesperson, to Sputnik, a Russian state media outlet.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Officer Sean Hickman told BuzzFeed News that there had been a death Thursday on the 1500 block of New Hampshire Avenue, where the Dupont Circle Hotel is located. An ABC News article on Lesin’s death reported that the location had been the “Hotel Dupont,” though a hotel by that exact name doesn’t exist in Washington. Read the rest of this entry »


China Parades Closer Ties in Moscow

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On display: an upgraded military relationship that could complicate U.S. strategy

BEIJINGJeremy Page reports: When a Chinese honor guard joins a military parade in Russia’s capital this weekend, watched by China’s President Xi Jinping, it will mark more than just a symbolic recognition of the two countries’ contributions to the Allied victory in 1945.

China’s participation also reflects an upgrade of its military ties with Russia, including joint naval exercises and a revival of arms purchases, that could complicate U.S.-led efforts to counter both nations’ expanding military activities, analysts and diplomats say.

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“They’ve basically come to a consensus that despite their differences over some national interests, they really face the same common enemy.”

The 102 Chinese troops who will join the Victory Day parade in Moscow on Saturday were seen during a rehearsal this week marching through streets near Red Square singing the Russian wartime ballad “Katyusha”, according to video footage posted online.

The only other foreign countries with troops in the parade are India, Mongolia, Serbia and six former Soviet states.

Three Chinese navy ships also made a rare foray into the Black Sea on their way to join commemorations in Russia’s southern port of Novorossiysk on Saturday.

chinese-soldiers-wsj

“I think they’re both sending a message that their relationship is stronger than outsiders generally expect and if others put pressure on either in their own arenas, the two will stand together.”

— Gilbert Rozman,an expert on China-Russia relations at Princeton University

The Chinese ships—two missile destroyers and a supply vessel — will then take part in joint exercises with the Russian navy in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, according to Chinese and Russian authorities.Xi-tall-Jinping-HT

Both sides say the drills aren’t directed at other countries, but the timing, after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and the location, on NATO’s southern flank, have compounded Western concerns about an emerging Moscow-Beijing axis.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

“The main significance is that the two countries’ navies are learning how to jointly project power into the other regions of the world,” said Vasily Kashin, an expert on China’s military at Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

The Chinese ships’ visit to Novorossiysk could be seen as a response to NATO ships holding exercises in the Black Sea in March, he said, the message being: “Russia has allies too.”

On Wednesday, Russia’s government unveiled a draft cybersecurity deal with China under which both countries agree not to conduct cyberattacks against each other and to counteract technology that might disrupt their internal politics.

The rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing has been driven in large part by Western sanctions which have forced Russia to seek new markets for its oil and gas and new sources of investment.

Mr. Xi also appears to share a personal affinity with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is seen by many in China as a strong, patriotic leader.

The relationship, though well short of a formal alliance, is now developing a more substantial military dimension as Russia ramps up air and naval patrols around Europe and China seeks to challenge U.S. military dominance in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


5 Found Guilty of Moscow Journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s 2006 Killing

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Anna Politkovskaya (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court has convicted five men of involvement in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, three of whom were acquitted in a previous trial.A-memorial-to-Russian-jou-002

[Also see: Film tribute to Politkovskaya]

Tuesday’s jury verdict found that Rustam Makhmudov was the gunman who shot Politkovskaya in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in 2006 and that four others — his two brothers, their uncle and a former policeman — were accomplices.

Both brothers and the policeman had been acquitted in a 2009 trial, but the Supreme Court ordered a new trial. A judge is expected to sentence the five men Wednesday; all could face up to life in prison. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Lawmakers Back Harsh Regulation of Bloggers

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Russian lawmakers on Tuesday passed draconian legislation that cracks down on the content of popular blogs, forcing top bloggers to adhere to laws similar to those for mass media.

“The government would have unlimited opportunity for censorship of the Internet.”

— Kommersant Business Daily

Opponents of the law say it is so vaguely worded that it could be used to target any of the social networking sites and blogs that make up Russia’s most vibrant forum for opposition political debate.

Dr. Bill van Bise, electrical engineer, conducting a demonstration of Soviet scientific data and schematics for beaming a magnetic field into the brain to cause visual hallucinations. Source: CNN Source: Supplied

Dr. Bill van Bise, electrical engineer, conducting a demonstration of Soviet scientific data and schematics for beaming a magnetic field into the brain to cause visual hallucinations. Source: CNN 

“We are scared by the number of unarticulated points in the law and the lack of clear and transparent rules of the game,” warned the general director of Russia’s top social network VKontakte, Boris Dobrodeyev, quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

“That means you can’t bad-mouth a political opponent or write something bad about the police.”

—  blogger Andrei Malgin, on the Echo of Moscow radio station’s website

The head of the Kremlin human rights council advisory body, Mikhail Fedotov advised against passing the legislation, which he called stricter than existing laws covering Internet media and so broad it would even apply to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who writes a blog.

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Under the new law, bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day will be required to submit personal details to a special register.  Read the rest of this entry »


COLD WAR: Russian State TV Anchor Boasts Putin’s Dominance, Warns That Russia Can ‘Turn U.S. to Radioactive Ash’

A picture taken on October 10, 2011, shows Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov posing for a photo after receiving a medal of Friendship during an awarding ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow (AFP Photo/Mikhail Klimentyev)

October 10, 2011, Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov  (AFP Photo/Mikhail Klimentyev)

“Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.”

— Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov

Moscow (AFP) – Stuart Williams reports:  A leading anchor on Russian state television on Sunday described Russia as the only country capable of turning the United States into “radioactive ash”, in an incendiary comment at the height of tensions over the Crimea referendum.

“Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly news show on state-controlled Rossiya 1 television.

“Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama…Why is Obama phoning Putin all the time and talking to him for hours on end?”

Kiselyov made the comment to support his argument that the United States and President Barack Obama were living in fear of Russia led by President Vladimir Putin amid the Ukraine crisis.

Read the rest of this entry »


Literature + Alcohol = Murder: Russian Man Stabbed to Death in Poetry-Over-Prose Dispute

knife  Poetry can kill after all

MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) – A former teacher was detained in Russia’s Urals after being accused of stabbing an acquaintance to death in a dispute about literary genres, investigators said Wednesday.

The 67-year-old victim insisted that “the only real literature is prose,” the Sverdlovsk Region’s branch of the Investigative Committee said.

The victim’s assertion outraged the 53-year-old suspect, who favored poetry, and the dispute ended with the ex-teacher stabbing his friend to death, investigators said.

Both of the men were purportedly drunk at the time.

The incident took place last week, but the suspect fled the scene and was not tracked down until days later. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Volgograd Trolley Bus Blast

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RIA Novosti

At least 15 people have been killed in a trolley bus blast in Volgograd, emergency services report, only a day after a suicide bombing ripped through the city’s railway station, killing 17.

Monday, December 30

05:47 GMT:

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05:43 GMT: The death toll from the blast has risen to 15 people, with a further 23 receiving injuries, the Volgograd Region‘s vice-governor Vasiliy Galushin told Interfax.

“The emergency services have reacted very swiftly. All those injured have been taken to hospitals, as their identities are being determined,” he said.

05:41 GMT:

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05:37 GMT: According to witness reports to ITAR-TASS, there were many students on the bus.
“There was a loud ‘pop’, then a flash, everything was enveloped in smoke,” one female witness said, describing the sudden realization.

05:34 GMT: The Investigative Committee now puts the number of injured at 15.

05:30 GMT: In describing the character of the blast, ITAR-TASS law enforcement sources have said that it appears to be a suicide attack, “judging from the body fragments characteristic of such a bombing.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Zombie-Fighting Putin and an 8-Bit Richard Nixon: Political Cameos in Video Games

Alexey Druzhinin /AFP/Getty Images

Alexey Druzhinin /AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin will fight zombies in a new game called “Don’t Mess With Putin”

 reports: Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown he’s a tough guy in real life by hunting whales, riding a Harley Davidson with a biker gang, and horseback riding shirtless. Now, he’s going to fight zombies in a new game called “You Don’t Mess With Putin,” designed by programmer Michele Rocco Smeets and available on Android and iOS around Oct. 31.

The premise, according to RIA Novosti: zombies attack Putin’s press conference on the “Westernization of Russia’s video game industry,” killing everyone in attendance. In order to get revenge, the world leader goes after the zombies with apen of all things, spoofing the time he forced a billionaire to sign an agreement to reboot a struggling factory and then asked for the pen back. Putin’s sidekick, in two-player mode, is a video game expert named Mike, an “alcoholic and aggressive American tough-guy”…

…Putin is far from the first politician to make an appearance in a virtual game. Here are some of our other favs

TIME.com