Saturday, March 17, 2018

Russian plane loses almost nine tonnes of gold amid incident in Yakutsk

March 17, 2018 (UNIAN) A Russian An-12 transport plane, which was loaded with nine tonnes of gold, lost most of its freight on March 15 in an aviation incident, which was close to a plane crash. The gold is being collected on the runway and in the nearby areas of the Yakutsk airfield in east Siberia, Russia, the Telegram Channel Mash said. Immediately after the plane took off, its left back door fell off. Several parts of the aircraft fuselage have already been found on the ground. The search for the gold is still under way across the entire surrounding area in the vicinity of the Yakutsk airfield. Some 172 gold bars have already been found. Each of them weighs 20 kg. The press service of Yakutsk Airport said in an official statement on the incident that the plane belongs to Nimbus Airlines. According to the statement, the plane successfully landed at Magan Airport in the village of Magan, a few kilometers at the west of Yakutsk. An investigation into the incident is under way.

Friday, March 16, 2018

World Cup 2018: Ministers & Royal Family will not go to Russia

March 16, 2018 (ChronicleLive) UK government ministers and members of the Royal Family will not attend the World Cup in Russia after a Russian-made nerve agent was used on an ex-spy. Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, are in a critical condition after the incident in Salisbury on 4 March. Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that the relationship between the two countries "cannot be the same". Buckingham Palace said "no plans had been made" for any of the Royal Family to travel for the World Cup in Russia. Prince William is the president of the Football Association (FA).
When asked whether senior FA officials should also not go to the World Cup - which runs from 14 June to 15 July - Mrs May said: "I'm sure they will want to be considering their position. "Attendance at sporting events is a matter for the sporting authorities - it's a matter for them." In a statement, the FA said it will "continue to work closely with the UK government and relevant authorities".
"Our priority for all England matches is to ensure the safety and security of the fans, players and staff. As is standard practice, we will take all travel guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office," it added. On Wednesday, the Foreign Office updated its advice for those visiting Russia. It said UK nationals in the country should be "aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment" due to "heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia". It said the British Embassy in Moscow was "not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time" but recommended UK nationals "remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publically on political developments".
Mrs May, speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, said the government would "look at security and protection of any UK football fans travelling to the World Cup". She also announced the UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats and revoke an invitation to the Russian foreign minister to visit the country. Russia denies being involved in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal.

Tensions between the UK and Russia are running high over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia Skripal, 33, were found on March 4 slumped on a bench near a shopping centre in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and taken to hospital. A police officer who fell ill after attending the incident - Det Sgt Nick Bailey - was also taken to hospital. According to Prime Minister Theresa May , the nerve agent which poisoned them was one of a group of poisons called Novichok, which were developed by Russia. Mr Skripal is a former Russian spy and double agent. He served in the Soviet military, part of an elite airborne troop known as the Desantniki, and was among the first to enter Afghanistan during the invasion of 1979. Mrs May believes it was “highly likely” the Russian state was responsible for the attacks. And following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mrs May again laid into Russia and expelled 23 diplomats in the largest mass expulsion of diplomats since the Cold War. She announced the suspension of high-level contacts with Russia, including a boycott of this summer’s World Cup by Government ministers and members of the royal family.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sweden and Canada allocate $2 million for restoration of Donbas

March 15, 2018 (UAWIRE) The governments of Canada and Sweden have allocated $2 million for the restoration the Donbas, as reported on the website of the Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine.
"As part of the target fund of many partners, the first $2 million was allocated for the restoration and development of peace in Donbas. The funds were provided by the governments of Canada and Sweden and will be administered by the World Bank in accordance with the priorities defined by the state target program 'Restoration and Development of Peace in the Eastern Regions of Ukraine" the report says.
It is noted that the Target Fund manages the funds of the international donor community, which are directed to support the restoration and development of peace in the Donbas. Grant funds will be used to finance priority projects implemented in pursuance of the state target program ‘Restoration and Development of Peace in the Eastern Regions of Ukraine’, as well as "The Strategy for the Integration of Internally Displaced Persons and the Introduction of Long-Term Decisions on Internal Displacement for the Period until 2020 ".

Last year, Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons launched a portal on projects to restore the Donbas. Local governments are able to contribute to the portal data on their needs, which will allow donors to understand where to send assistance, and later provide the opportunity to report on the use of funds.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Marshrutka – Ukrainian urban transportation mean unknown in the West

If to start with the definition, the Marshrutka is a privately owned mini-bus which follows an urban set route that may or may not be same as a state bus route. They are seen quite frequently running in the streets of Poltava as they cover downtown and all suburbs of the city.
As a rule they are very old fashioned  and uncomfortable for the foreign tourists due to the dirty and worn out seats and the lack of space between them. If you want to get off, just ask driver in a loud and clear way “Ostanovite pozhaluista!” (stop please).
To show you how the ordinary Marshrutka looks from inside I have shooted a few photos by hidden camera because driver would not give me permission to take such a pics showing his pretty rotten mini-bus.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sweden plans to build more bunkers amid fears of Russian aggression

March 12, 2018 (NBC News) Burrowed beneath a small park in Stockholm is a forgotten relic of the past that may help in the future. The only clue to its existence is a green metal door, 8 feet high by 5 feet wide, hewn into the rock next to a busy, snow-dusted sidewalk. Heaving it open reveals an airlock that leads to a fully operational nuclear bunker. Facilities like this are a vital part of Sweden's history - and recent threats from Russia mean they could become important again in the years to come.
"They are meant to be used if the government decides to announce full alert," says Ove Brunnström, the cheerful spokesman for Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency who recently gave NBC News a rare tour of the subterranean site. "That would be [triggered] if we are close to war or we are under attack." Few countries do bunkers like Sweden, which never joined NATO and could be considered one of the world's most peaceful nations over the past 200 years. It honeycombed itself with civil defense shelters during the Cold War and today around 65,000 remain on standby, dotted around its sparsely populated territory.

A woman walks by an emergency exit to a public bomb and fallout shelter in the Torsgatan area of central Stockholm. Foto Mikael Sjoeberg / for NBC News

In the early 2000s, Sweden slashed defense spending and halted bunker construction. Many were all but forgotten, doubling as parking lots and bicycle storage spaces during a period when global conflict seemed a distant prospect. That thinking changed in 2014 when Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, allegedly sent troops into eastern Ukraine, and began violating airspace over the Nordic and Baltic regions.
"Ukraine was a wake-up call for the Swedes, and it really renewed the national discussion surrounding defense," says Erik Brattberg, a fellow at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank. This perceived threat has prompted Sweden to order a reboot of its once-proud policy of "total defense" — which calls on the military and civilians to act together to ward off attackers. Bunkers are an integral part of this hunker-down strategy. In December, the country's Defense Commission recommended modernizing existing shelters while planning the construction of the first new ones in more than 15 years. "It's expensive to build shelters, the Cold War was over and we had quite a calm situation in Europe," says Brunnström, explaining his country's change of heart. "But what happened in Ukraine in 2014, I think, shocked the Western world."
Read the full article and see the video at