Yes, yes, we all know, Western, Uniate, Ukranian speaking, eastern, Orthodox, Russian. Fatally divided country etc.
However, Crimea is the one part that is really Russian dominated (a result of the expulsion of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin) and it’s also the one part that has never, historically, been a part of the Ukraine. Only became so in 1954.
So switch Crimea over to Russia. What the hell….the end result being that Ukraine becomes a majority Ukrainian/Uniate/state…….umm, I think. It would actually reduce Russia’s argument about being the Big Brother of the remaining state.
Or perhaps I shouldn’t be doing this realpolitik sorta stuff?
The extravagance and outrageous bad taste of the man who fled from the presidency of Ukraine was laid bare when dumbfounded ordinary Ukrainians inspected the residence of the missing president
An old joke is that if you ask a Russian “How much is enough?” you’ll get the reply “More than everyone else”.
And while they’ll do large and big, they tend not to do maintenance:
Bricks paving a recently built path leading to the shore have come loose, making it easy to trip.
Wooden steps in some places have simply been allowed to rot away.
I was never really able to work out, when living there, whether this was all about Soviet stuff, where new could be measured and thus was prioritised over maintenance, which was very difficult to put into the plan, or was something innate in Russianness. Still not sure but tend quite a bit to the latter now.
And ain’t this standard OP:
Shortly afterwards the government sold off the property in a murky privatisation deal, and Mr Yanukovych has remained there ever since.
Mr Yanukovych’s lavish spending on home improvements since – including building a new road with state funds to link it with the government district of central Kiev
When WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum signed a deal with Facebook on Wednesday he became an overnight billionaire, but when he first moved to the U.S. he needed food stamps to survive.
Koum, who is estimated to now be worth about $6.8 billion, was 16 when he moved to the U.S. from Ukraine with his mother.
He had been raised in a rural community, in a house with no hot water or electricity, and when Koum moved to the U.S. his mother packed their suitcases with school supplies to save money.
But Koum’s fortunes soon changed and on Wednesday he returned to the Mountain View welfare office, where he used to queue to get food stamps, to sign his historic deal with Facebook.
The offices for WhatsApp, which 37-year-old Koum created with Brian Acton in 2009, are also only a few blocks from the welfare office.
The pair stood outside the welfare building today as they signed the $19 billion deal with Facebook, only this time Koum was able to drive there in his Porsche.
Is there any recent story that so encapsulates the American Dream?
More than five centuries after Spain’s Jews were forced to flee, convert to Catholicism or face execution without trial, their descendants are being invited to return and take up dual citizenship.
Spain’s government has approved a draft bill that will allow descendants of those Sephardic Jews who were expelled in 1492, under the crusading Catholic rule of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, to seek dual citizenship.
An estimated 300,000 Jews resided in Spain before the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, when the “Reyes Catolicos” reconquered Spain from its Arab rulers and ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country.
So where’s the racism?
Spanish Muslim groups have long been campaigning for the Spanish state to grant nationality rights for the descendants of Muslims who were expelled or forced to convert during the same period as the Sephardic Jews but no legislation has yet been proposed to award them the same rights.
“It seems unfair that one thing is being offered to the Jews but will not be considered for the Muslims who suffered the same fate,” said a spokesman from the Junta Islamica de Espana.
Maybe religionism is the right word here, not racism. But it does appear odd…..
I see that, among other things, she was Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. 1989 to 1992.
Erm, all the way through the whole Velvet Revolution thing. And she was appointed to that as a “political” ambassador, not a diplomatic service one. The Americans do this: ambassadors are often chosen from those who support the party of the President, handed out as baubles in fact to campaign sponsors. It tends to be the less important posts, true.
The thing is, I wonder how well she did? Anyone know?
The Italian state auditor, Corte dei Conti, notified Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch that the rating agencies may have violated Italian law by downgrading the country during the 2011 Eurozone debt crisis. An Italian prosecutor representing the audit body may demand damages of up to $316 billion, Corte dei Conti said. According to the auditor’s letter to S&P, one of the reasons the string of downgrades could be deemed illegal is that “S&P never in its ratings pointed out Italy’s history, art or landscape which, as universally recognized, are the basis of its economic strength.”
You do realise that we’re in an economic union with these fools, don’t you?
The Portuguese Algarve came out as the cheapest destination in Europe, with a basket of items costing £35.37.
The survey showed that although the pound was slightly weaker against the euro compared to last year (-1.9pc), prices have fallen 18pc in the Algarve.
The economy is simply dead.
The president of Panama said on Thursday he would go to Spain and Italy to pressure companies to honour contracts to expand his country’s canal after a building consortium behind the project threatened to suspend work because of a row over costs.
The consortium – Spain’s Sacyr, Italy’s Salini Impregilo, Belgium’s Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana – said on Wednesday that $1.6bn in cost overruns on the $3.2bn plan to build a third set of locks for the canal should be met by Panama.
Underbid, claim contract changes, yes, we’ve seen this story before.
Martinelli, who took power in 2009, said he expected Italy and Spain to uphold commitments to back the project which the countries’ leaders made to him during his first year in office.
“So I’m going to go to Spain and Italy to demand this from them, because a company should not be able to put such a high amount of overrun costs on a project that belongs to humanity,” he told reporters in Panama City.
Ah, no, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works actually.
And, umm, if this canal belongs to humanity, it will be humanity getting the fees from ships traversing it, will it? Or is the Panamanian Government going to keep them?
Which is a pretty good run for a socio-political system.
One of the people I hit it off with was Hoover fellow Jim Mattis, recently a Marine Corps general. He told me about being caught in a bar at the the tender age of 19. He was ready to fess up and go along with the cop but then the cop jabbed Mattis hard in the back with his club. Mattis reacted and decked the cop. He went to jail for 21 days. The next morning in class, I told my students, all of whom are officers in the U.S. military, the Australian military, or the U.S. Coast Guard, the story. One of the students said, “If he did that today, there would be a good chance he’d be shot.” I looked around the room and noticed a number of the students nodding sadly.
Well done to all 10,000 of you. A very good show there.
An eight-year-girl whose dying was wish to hear carolers serenading her with Christmas tunes passed away in the early hours of Boxing Day morning after attracting warmth and well-wishers from all across America.
On the Saturday before Christmas, some 10,000 people had spontaneously gathered beneath the window of Delaney Brown in the tiny of town West Reading, Pennsylvania to sing Christmas favourites, such Good King Wenceslas and Come All Ye Faithful.
I am a hopeless cynic but just occasionally something happens to make me think that it’s worth having humans around.
That is, just to note it, two and a half times the entire population of that small town of West Reading. Lashings of ginger beer all round I think and that isn’t something that is easy to deserve.
Kim Jong-un’s nephew placed under police guard at French university
Added security follows purging of high profile figures in North Korea
The danger’s all in Korea, isn’t it?
The once-powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been executed for treason after being branded “despicable human scum”, according to the state news agency.
“Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him,” the agency said.
The leader, who presumably actually believes this stuff, is a near teenager with access to a handful of atomic bombs.
Mr Dahdaleh, an acquaintance of Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson, had admitted making payments to Alba managers. But he had pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges on the grounds the payments were “custom and practice” in Bahraini culture and had been approved by a royal family member.
And it’s one I’ve used myself (although not in a criminal trial, but in talking Inland Revenue through some accounts and not in Bahrain either) because there are parts of the world that do operate in that manner.
You have to wave the wedge around to get anywhere.
Many world leaders have said they wouldn’t miss Nelson Mandela’s funeral for anything, but Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok isn’t among them.
Rusnok’s conversation with Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek in parliament on Friday was broadcast by the Czech public television news channel and quickly went viral.
When Picek reminded him that President Milos Zeman might be unable to fly because of a knee injury, Rusnok reacted with a vulgar term and then, addressing his companion by the Czech equivalent of ‘dude’, said: ‘I’m dreading that I will have to go.’
According to the local translator that vulgar term was “fuck”.
And it’s not so much a knee injury as booze.
“Today, December 8, data on individual politicians perpetrating illegal acts aimed at seizing power was entered in the universal register of pre-trial investigations,” said a statement from the State Security Service, Ukraine’s main successor agency to the KGBs.
That just sounds so terribly Russian to me. A threat from a bureaucrat.
Venezuela’s Congress grants Nicolas Maduro power to rule by decree
Decree powers will strengthen the embattled leader’s hand as he goes after businesses the government accuses of sabotaging Latin America’s biggest oil economy
In an economy completely fucked over by erratic and arbitrary government they’re giving more power to an erratic and arbitrary former bus driver.
That’ll work just great.
a severely distorted economy with embarrassing product shortages and inflation surging to nearly 55 percent.
One is intended to limit businesses’ profit margins to 15 per cent to 30 per cent as part of a state “economic offensive” against price-gouging.
What’s the betting there won’t be an inflation adjustment to those allowable margins?
At which point, of course, all private enterprise shuts down. Well done that man.