Lessons in the "russia" Category

FIFA – What next?

FIFA – What next? It’s an interesting thought that many people must have mulled over. The farce of seven of FIFA’s top officials being arrested on a US warrant by Swiss police on Wednesday at a hotel in Zurich, two days ahead of their leadership conference, was big news.

Yet, two days later Sepp Blatter defied everyone by being elected for a fifth term as FIFA president, despite widespread calls for him to resign. His victory came following the sudden withdrawal of Prince Ali-bin Al-Hussein from the second round of voting.

Malaysian Airways Flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine

Today, let’s talk about the terrible Malaysian Airways disaster that happened on the 17th July 2014. The Malaysian Airways Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine near the Russian border as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft exploded into flames at 33,000ft as it was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air-missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels. Dutch authorities said 298 people were on board the flight; including 173 Dutch, 9 Britons, and 27 Australians. Up to 100 passengers on board were headed for an international AIDS conference in Melbourne.

Category: Malaysian Airways / MH17 / Ukraine

Edward Snowden on German TV

Recently the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden was interviewed by German TV channel ARD. In it he said the NSA is involved in industrial espionage. He added that the NSA takes intelligence regardless of its value to national security.

Snowden cited German engineering firm Siemens as one target. Snowden also revealed he no longer had possession of any documents or information on NSA activities. He has though turned everything over to select journalists.

Category: Technology / Edward Snowden / NSA

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Today, let’s talk about the Winter Olympic games that are being held in Sochi in February 2014. It will be the first time the Russian Federation will have hosted a winter games. Sochi, population 400,000 is situated in Krasnodar, which is in the third largest region in Russia.

Snow is already covering the mountains. There’s lots of it down by the ski jump. February is the best time for snow in the resort. Metrologists have warned that rather than a lack of snow, avalanches and poor visibility are potential problems for the games that begin on the 7th February and end on the 23rd February.

Category: Sport / Olympic Games / Sochi 2014

Meteor hits earth in Russia

Recently a giant meteor streaked across the skies above Russia, breaking up as it entered the earth’s atmosphere over western Siberia.

According to NASA, the US space agency, the 55 foot wide rock was said to have had a mass of 10,000 tonnes. It lit up the sky above the Urals region on Friday morning. The resulting explosion created a sonic boom that blew out windows and set off car alarms in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

Category: Meteor / Russia / Siberia

Russia burns: Moscow under smog: Grain export ban

The heat wave that has gripped Russia this summer continues. As a result devastating fires continue to burn continuously right across Central Russia. The fires have caused havoc. There has been no rain for months. In parts, the land resembled the results of implementing a ‘scorched earth policy’. Thousands of people have lost their homes in 14 regions of Russia over the past few days. Up to 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the blazes.

Category: Russia / Moscow / Devastating Fires

Russia begins to cut off gas to Belarus

Russia has begun to cut off gas supplies to its neighbour Belarus. On Monday it cut gas supplies by 15% amid claims Belarus owes ₤135m (US$200m) in unpaid bills. On Tuesday it cut the gas supply by another 15%. This follows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order on Monday to Russian gas monopoly Gazprom to cut supplies from Monday.

Russia has said the cuts will rise day by day to 85% if Belarus does not start paying off its debts, accrued when it failed to pay increased prices. This has raised fears in European countries in that deliveries to Europe might again be disrupted. Relations between Russia and Belarus have soured since they failed to agree on unified customs rules and Belarus gave refuge to ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Russia supplies a quarter of Europe’s gas needs. It uses Belarus, which borders European Union member Poland, as one of the key transit routes for oil and gas to the continent. Previous pricing disputes with Minsk led to oil supply cuts, with Poland, Lithuania and Germany being affected most. A similar standoff with Kiev halted Russian gas supplies across Ukraine for two weeks in January 2009. This left many Europeans without heating and fuel during a harsh winter.

Category: Energy / Belarus, Russia / Gas