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Jura

General
hot night in Grozny:
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(just click on the vid -- the only English source I found is
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(likely inaccurate) -- soon many other will become available, I'm sure)

EDIT
one more video: [video=youtube;4KsXaWQcHPs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4KsXaWQcHPs[/video]
 
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SampanViking

The Capitalist
Staff member
Super Moderator
VIP Professional
hot night in Grozny:
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(just click on the vid -- the only English source I found is
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(likely inaccurate) -- soon many other will become available, I'm sure)

EDIT
one more video: [video=youtube;4KsXaWQcHPs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4KsXaWQcHPs[/video]
The version of events as relayed by the Saker

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Dear friends,

There is a lot of speculation about what really happened in Grozny in the past hours and some are even suspecting that the US has somehow re-ignited the Wahabi underground for a new insurrection.

This is far from being the case.

What really happened is that one of the major Wahabi terrorist groups which was traveling in three cars was blocked at a checkpoint. The Wahabis opened fire and killed all the cops. However, the alarm was given and special forces were brought in at which point the Wahabis feld into a nearby building. They were surrounded and eventually killed.

This means that at the cost of the lives of 10 dead Chechen police and security officials one of the major Wahabi terrorist organizations as been destroyed.

Furthermore, please keep in mind that modern Chechnia is one of the safest places in Russia. Not only do the Chechen authorities have a very large and sophisticated security apparatus (counter-terrorist/SWAT, counter-intelligence, rapid-reaction, intelligence, etc.) but they have the support of the vast majority of the local population. And should that not be enough, the Federal Authorities have a massive and truly formidable military presence in and around Chechnia. For obvious political reasons the Federals try to keep a low profile and let the Chechens deal with Chechen terrorists, but they are there and they can be instantly activated if needed. The bottom line is that Chechnia is safe and stable.
 

Equation

Lieutenant General
Where do the Chechen rebels get their weapon and support? I thought they've been pretty much put down. If Russia FSB founds out that NATO is involve in this in ANY part there would be more serious problems coming up...and I'm not talking about sanctioning each other to death.
 

Miragedriver

Brigadier
French anger over 'Nazi style’ badges for homeless

Marseille forced to scrap a system of yellow triangles intended to help homeless people after it was accused of employing Nazi-style tactics


(Daily Telegraph, UK) The southern French city of Marseille has been forced to scrap a system of yellow triangles intended to help spot homeless people after it was accused of employing Nazi-style tactics.
The cards, which were handed out to homeless people, detail their health issues and are bright yellow in order to be easily spotted.

But human rights groups and government ministers have criticised the "yellow triangle cards" in France's second city, saying they are "stigmatising", and hark back to the Star of David sewn onto Jewish people's clothes during the Holocaust.
La Ligue des droits de l'Homme, a human rights group, said it was troubled by the resemblance "of this card and the yellow star that the Jews had to wear during the Second World War."

The Socialist government was appalled. Marisol Touraine, the social affairs minister, said: "I'm shocked. Forcing homeless people to carry a yellow triangle indicating the illnesses they might have is outrageous. You don't point the finger at the poorest.

"You don't write their illnesses on their clothes. Medical confidentiality, in particular, is a fundamental right. I want this local initiative to be stopped," she told Le Parisien.

The card and triangle, an initiative of Marseille's town hall and social services, identifies the person with his or her photo, name and date of birth. It also details a person's illnesses or allergies.
The aim, local authorities, said, was to help health workers quickly provide aid to a homeless person who falls ill. More than 100 triangles have been distributed already.

On Wednesday, about 100 activists and homeless people protested against the initiative outside the city's town hall.
Marseille town hall has dismissed criticism, insisting "the card that saves lives". One of Marseille's deputy mayors Xavier Mery said: "I'm appalled by the absurd controversy surrounding this help card distributed by the Samu (social medical emergency services)."

However, facing with the rising controversy, Samu chief, René Giancarli, said last night: "We are going to change the look of this card. Our aim was only to come to the aid of the destitute as efficiently as possible. I really didn't see this row coming."




I will now get back to bottling my Malbec
 

pla101prc

Senior Member
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this is craziness, this is murder caught on tape, and they are not even gonna take the cop to court. i am usually pretty pro-police/government but as a human being i am disgusted and outraged. i wonder what was going through those grand-jury ppl's thick skulls when they made the decision. HOW CAN ANYONE TOLERATE THIS? IF THIS WAS NORTH KOREA THE COP WOULD HAVE BEEN PU ON TRIAL!
 

Dolcevita

Senior Member
Well thought out story/ Good read

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Real Reason Russia Cancelled South Stream
The Russians called the EU's bluff by pulling out of the project instead of accepting the EU's conditions and are cutting deals with China and Turkey instead.
by Alexander Mercouris

The reaction to the cancellation of the Sound Stream project has been a wonder to behold and needs to be explained very carefully.

In order to understand what has happened it is first necessary to go back to the way Russian-European relations were developing in the 1990s.

Briefly, at that period, the assumption was that Russia would become the great supplier of energy and raw materials to Europe. This was the period of Europe's great “rush for gas” as the Europeans looked forward to unlimited and unending Russian supplies of gas. It was the increase in the role of Russian gas in the European energy mix which made it possible for Europe to run down its coal industry and cut its carbon emissions and bully and lecture everyone else to do the same.

However the Europeans did not envisage that Russia would just supply them with energy. Rather they always supposed this energy would be extracted for them in Russia by Western energy companies. This after all is the pattern in most of the developing world. The EU calls this “energy security” - a euphemism for the extraction of energy in other countries by its own companies under its own control.

It never happened that way. Though the Russian oil industry was privatised it mostly remained in Russian hands. After Putin came to power in 2000 the trend towards privatisation in the oil industry was reversed. One of the major reasons for western anger at the arrest of Khodorkovsky and the closure of Yukos and the transfer of its assets to the state oil company Rosneft was precisely because it reversed this trend of privatisation in the oil industry.

In the gas industry the process of privatisation never really got started. Gas export continued to be controlled by Gazprom, maintaining its position as a state owned monopoly gas exporter. Since Putin came to power Gazprom’s position as a state owned Russian monopoly has been made fully secure.

Much of the anger that exists in the west towards Putin can be explained by European and western resentment at his refusal and that of the Russian government to the break up of Russia's energy monopolies and to the “opening up” (as it is euphemistically called) of the Russian energy industry to the advantage of western companies. Many of the allegations of corruption that are routinely made against Putin personally are intended to insinuate that he opposes the “opening up” of the Russian energy industry and the break up and privatisation of Gazprom and Rosneft because he has a personal stake in them (in the case of Gazprom, that he is actually its owner). If one examines in detail the specific allegations of corruption made against Putin (as I have done) this quickly becomes obvious.

This agenda of forcing Russia to privatise and break up its energy monopolies has never gone away. This is why Gazprom, despite the vital and reliable service it provides to its European customers, comes in for so much criticism. When Europeans complain about Europe's energy dependence upon Russia, they express their resentment at having to buy gas from a single Russian state owned company (Gazprom) as opposed to their own western companies operating in Russia.

This resentment exists simultaneously with a belief, very entrenched in Europe, that Russia is somehow dependent upon Europe as a customer for its gas and as a supplier of finance and technology.

This combination of resentment and overconfidence is what lies behind the repeated European attempts to legislate in Europe on energy questions in a way that is intended to force Russia to “open up” its the energy industry there.

The first attempt was the so-called Energy Charter, which Russia signed but ultimately refused to ratify. The latest attempt is the EU's so-called Third Energy Package.

This is presented as a development of EU anti-competition and anti-monopoly laws. In reality, as everyone knows, it is targeted at Gazprom, which is a monopoly, though obviously not a European one.

This is the background to the conflict over South Stream. The EU authorities have insisted that South Stream must comply with the Third Energy Package even though the Third Energy Package came into existence only after the outline agreements for South Stream had been already reached.

Compliance with the Third Energy Package would have meant that though Gazprom supplied the gas it could not own or control the pipeline through which gas was supplied.

Were Gazprom to agree to this, it would acknowledge the EU’s authority over its operations. It would in that case undoubtedly face down the line more demands for more changes to its operating methods. Ultimately this would lead to demands for changes in the structure of the energy industry in Russia itself.

What has just happened is that the Russians have said no. Rather than proceed with the project by submitting to European demands, which is what the Europeans expected, the Russians have to everyone’s astonishment instead pulled out of the whole project.

This decision was completely unexpected. As I write this, the air is of full of angry complaints from south-eastern Europe that they were not consulted or informed of this decision in advance. Several politicians in south-eastern Europe (Bulgaria especially) are desperately clinging to the idea that the Russian announcement is a bluff (it isn’t) and that the project can still be saved. Since the Europeans cling to the belief that the Russians have no alternative to them as a customer, they were unable to anticipate and cannot now explain this decision.

Here it is important to explain why South Stream is important to the countries of south-eastern Europe and to the European economy as a whole.

All the south eastern European economies are in bad shape. For these countries South Stream was a vital investment and infrastructure project, securing their energy future. Moreover the transit fees that it promised would have been a major foreign currency earner.

For the EU, the essential point is that it depends on Russian gas. There has been a vast amount of talk in Europe about seeking alternative supplies. Progress in that direction had been to put it mildly small. Quite simply alternative supplies do not exist in anything like the quantity needed to replace the gas Europe gets from Russia.

There has been some brave talk of supplies of US liquefied natural gas replacing gas supplied by pipeline from Russia. Not only is such US gas inherently more expensive than Russian pipeline gas, hitting European consumers hard and hurting European competitiveness. It is unlikely to be available in anything like the necessary quantity. Quite apart from the probable dampening effects of the recent oil price fall on the US shale industry, on past record the US as a voracious consumer of energy will consume most or all of the energy from shales it produces. It is unlikely to be in a position to export much to Europe. The facilities to do this anyway do not exist, and are unlikely to exist for some time if ever.

Other possible sources of gas are problematic to say the least. Production of North Sea gas is falling. Imports of gas from north Africa and the Persian Gulf are unlikely to be available in anything like the necessary quantity. Gas from Iran is not available for political reasons. Whilst that might eventually change, the probability is when it does that the Iranians (like the Russians) will decide to direct their energy flow eastwards, towards India and China, rather than to Europe.

For obvious reasons of geography Russia is the logical and most economic source of Europe’s gas. All alternatives come with economic and political costs that make them in the end unattractive.

The EU's difficulties in finding alternative sources of gas were cruelly exposed by the debacle of the so-called Nabucco pipeline project to bring Europe gas from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Though talked about for years in the end it never got off the ground because it never made economic sense.

Meanwhile, whilst Europe talks about diversifying its supplies, it is Russia which is actually cutting the deals.

Russia has sealed a key deal with Iran to swap Iranian oil for Russian industrial goods. Russia has also agreed to invest heavily in the Iranian nuclear industry. If and when sanctions on Iran are lifted the Europeans will find the Russians already there. Russia has just agreed a massive deal to supply gas to Turkey (about which more below). Overshadowing these deals are the two huge deals Russia has made this year to supply gas to China.

Russia's energy resources are enormous but they are not infinite. The second deal done with China and the deal just done with Turkey redirect to these two countries gas that had previously been earmarked for Europe. The gas volumes involved in the Turkish deal almost exactly match those previously intended for South Stream. The Turkish deal replaces South Stream.

These deals show that Russia had made a strategic decision this year to redirect its energy flow away from Europe. Though it will take time for the full effect to become clear, the consequences of for Europe are grim. Europe is looking at a serious energy shortfall, which it will only be able to make up by buying energy at a much higher price.

These Russian deals with China and Turkey have been criticised and even ridiculed for providing Russia with a lower price for its gas than that paid by Europe.

The actual difference in price is not as great as some allege. Such criticism anyway overlooks the fact that price is only one part in a business relationship.

By redirecting gas to China, Russia cements economic links with the country that it now considers its key strategic ally and which has (or which soon will have) the world’s biggest and fastest growing economy. By redirecting gas to Turkey, Russia consolidates a burgeoning relationship with Turkey of which it is now the biggest trading partner.

Turkey is a key potential ally for Russia, consolidating Russia's position in the Caucasus and the Black Sea. It is also a country of 76 million people with a $1.5 trillion rapidly growing economy, which over the last two decades has become increasingly alienated and distanced from the EU and the West.

By contrast, by redirecting gas away from Europe, Russia leaves behind a market for its gas which is economically stagnant and which (as the events of this year have shown) is irremediably hostile. No one should be surprised that Russia has given up on a relationship from which it gets from its erstwhile partner an endless stream of threats and abuse, combined with moralising lectures, political meddling and now sanctions. No relationship, business or otherwise, can work that way and the one between Russia and Europe is no exception.

I have said nothing about Ukraine since in my opinion this has little bearing on this issue.

South Stream was first conceived because of Ukraine's continuous abuse of its position as a transit state - something which is likely to continue. It is important to say that this fact was acknowledged in Europe as much as in Russia. It was because Ukraine perennially abuses its position as a transit state that the South Stream project had the grudging formal endorsement of the EU. Basically, the EU needs to circumvent the Ukraine to secure its energy supplies every bit as much as Russia wanted a route around Ukraine to avoid it.

Ukraine’s friends in Washington and Brussels have never been happy about this, and have constantly lobbied against South Stream. The point is however that it was Russia which pulled the plug on South Stream when it had the option of going ahead with it by accepting the Europeans’ conditions. In other words the Russians consider the problems posed by the Ukraine as a transit state to be a lesser evil than the conditions the EU was attaching to South Stream .

South Stream would anyway take years to build and its cancellation therefore has no bearing on the current Ukrainian crisis.

The reason the Russians decided they could cancel it is because they have decided Russia’s future is in selling its energy to China and Turkey and other states in Asia (more gas deals are pending with Korea and Japan and possibly also with Pakistan and India) than to Europe. Given that this is so, for Russia South Stream has lost its point. That is why in their characteristically direct way, rather than accept the Europeans’ conditions, the Russians pulled the plug on it.

In doing so the Russians have called the Europeans’ bluff. So far from Russia being dependent on Europe as its energy customer, it is Europe which has antagonised, probably irreparably, its key economic partner and energy supplier.

Before finishing I would however first say something about those who have come out worst of all from this affair. These are the corrupt and incompetent gaggle of politicians who pretend to be the government of Bulgaria. Had these people had a modicum of dignity and self respect they would have told the EU Commission when it brought up the Third Energy Package to take a running jump. If Bulgaria had made clear its intention to press ahead with the South Stream project, there is no doubt it would have been built. There would of course have been an almighty row within the EU as Bulgaria openly flouted the Third Energy Package, but Bulgaria would have been acting in its national interests and would have had within the EU no shortage of friends. In the end it would have won through.

Instead, under pressure from individuals like Senator John McCain, the Bulgarian leadership behaved like the provincial politicians they are, and tried to run at the same time with both the EU hare and the Russian hounds. The result of this imbecile policy is to offend Russia, Bulgaria's historic ally, whilst ensuring that the Russian gas which might have flown to Bulgaria and transformed the country, will instead flow to Turkey, Bulgaria's historic enemy.

The Bulgarians are not the only ones to have acted in this craven fashion. All the EU countries, even those with historic ties to Russia, have supported the EU's various sanctions packages against Russia notwithstanding the doubts they have expressed about the policy. Last year Greece, another country with strong ties to Russia, pulled out of a deal to sell its natural gas company to Gazprom because the EU disapproved of it, even though it was Gazprom that offered the best price.

This points to a larger moral. Whenever the Russians act in the way they have just done, the Europeans respond with bafflement and anger, of which there is plenty around at the moment. The EU politicians who make the decisions that provoke these Russian actions seem to have this strange assumption that whilst it is fine for the EU to sanction Russia as much as it wishes, Russia will never do the same to the EU. When Russia does, there is astonishment, accompanied always by a flood of mendacious commentary about how Russia is behaving “aggressively” or “contrary to its interests” or has “suffered a defeat”. None of this is true as the rage and recriminations currently sweeping through the EU’s corridors (of which I am well informed) bear witness.

In July the EU sought to cripple Russia’s oil industry by sanctioning the export of oil drilling technology to Russia. That attempt will certainly fail as Russia and the countries it trades with (including China and South Korea) are certainly capable of producing this technology themselves.

By contrast through the deals it has made this year with China, Turkey and Iran, Russia has dealt a devastating blow to the energy future of the EU. A few years down the line Europeans will start to discover that moralising and bluff comes with a price. Regardless, by cancelling South Stream, Russia has imposed upon Europe the most effective of the sanctions we have seen this year.
 

solarz

Brigadier
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this is craziness, this is murder caught on tape, and they are not even gonna take the cop to court. i am usually pretty pro-police/government but as a human being i am disgusted and outraged. i wonder what was going through those grand-jury ppl's thick skulls when they made the decision. HOW CAN ANYONE TOLERATE THIS? IF THIS WAS NORTH KOREA THE COP WOULD HAVE BEEN PU ON TRIAL!
From what I've read, the jury was presented guidelines on when the police is "justified" in using force. This tells me that the problem is not with the jury, but with the way police violence has been institutionalized and legalized.

If we take a look at all the cases where police killed or assaulted people, we see that the justice system is vastly biased toward the police. This is true in both the US and in Canada. The Sammy Yatim case is a good example. The cop who shot the boy is already back on the job.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
US & CANADA
11 December 2014 Last updated at 21:55 ET
US House passes $1.1tn budget bill to avert shutdown
The US House of Representatives has passed a $1.1tn budget hours before government was due to shut down at midnight on Thursday.
The Republican measure passed by 219 votes to 206 after President Barack Obama had urged Democrats to support the measure.
It will fund most of the government until September 2015, but some areas will only receive emergency funding.
Republicans won control of both House and Senate in elections last month.
The bill funds the government at the same levels that were negotiated last December.
It also adds emergency funding requested by President Barack Obama, including funds to fight Ebola in West Africa and money for US air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
As presented earlier in the week, the 1,600 page bill also includes a number of provisions intended to gain votes from both parties, including:
increasing the amount an individual person can contribute to a national political party from $32,400 to $324,000
blocks the District of Columbia from using its own funds to set up regulatory systems for marijuana legalisation
measures that would significantly weaken new regulations about risky financial instruments called swaps
blocking certain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations
cuts in the budgets of the EPA and the US tax agency
increases in the budget for Wall Street regulation agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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219 was when they stopped counting as it was enough of a Majority +1 to be unbreakable. still a bit of a squeeker. this is a continuing resolution and a Omnibus barring only one budget the DHS who's budget is on a leash due to the Obama Administrations recent political end run around Congress on the Immigration issue.
 
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Brumby

Major
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Suspected terrorist attack in Sydney CBD approximately 2 hours ago. 13 hostages held up by probably 2 gunmen. CBD in lockdown. Immediate buildings evacuated. Overhead airspace cleared off all flights.
 

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