LOL: Russia Imposes Sanctions Banning Western Food, Agricultural Products

vladimir putin 350x243 LOL: Russia Imposes Sanctions Banning Western Food, Agricultural Products

LOL: Russia Imposes Sanctions Banning Western Food, Agricultural Products

Moscow’s response to sanctions from the West is to impose bans on Western food and agricultural products. Um, I am guessing that will impact them more than it will the U.S. and other exporters of such products to Russia:

MOSCOW — Russia announced on Thursday that it was banning the import of a wide range of food and agricultural products from Europe and the United States, among others, responding to Western-imposed sanctions and raising the level of confrontation between the West and Moscow over the future of Ukraine.

Dmitri A. Medvedev, the prime minister, announced that Russia would ban all beef, pork, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year.

“We hoped until the very last that our foreign colleagues would realize that sanctions are a dead end and that nobody needs them,” Mr. Medvedev said. “Things have turned out in such a way that we have to implement retaliatory measures.”

Russia was still considering various measures involving aviation, including a ban on flights over Siberia, which would affect routes used by European and American airlines that fly to Asia, he told a cabinet meeting broadcast live on state-run satellite news channels.

Narrowing the air corridors open to Western carriers was another possibility, he said. Mr. Medvedev announced that all Ukrainian air carriers were barred from transiting Russian air space — effectively ending many flights to former Soviet republics from Kiev. In the Soviet era, all Western airlines were barred from flying across Russia, and barring them now would increase both costs and flying times again.

Finally, he said Russia was studying the possibility of introducing restrictions on the import of planes, navy vessels and cars, although the government would first make a realistic assessment of its own production capabilities.

[...]

Economic analysts suggested that the measures would have an immediate but moderate impact on the Russian economy, mostly as the country seeks other suppliers in Latin America and Africa for most of the food imports from Europe.

“Even if Russia says it will try to find additional sources of supply, it will be difficult in the short term,” said Ivan Tchakarov, the chief economist at Citibank for Russia. “Consumers will feel some pinch but I don’t think it will be a massive impact.”

The crisis next door in Ukraine is likely to have much more of an impact than the new food sanctions, but it could affect prices.

“The key question is what the effect on inflation will be,” he said. The bank is estimating that price increases could add one or two points to the inflation rate for 2014, currently running around 6.5 percent.

According to figures compiled by the bank and other agencies, Russia imports about 25 percent of its food, worth some $43 billion annually. Of that, about 75 percent, or $30 billion, comes mainly from Europe and the United States. The other 25 percent is mainly from former Soviet republics.

Wealthy consumers in Moscow and St. Petersburg consume goods like cheese and fruit from the West in far greater amounts than consumers in other parts of Russia. However, the cheaper dairy products and other goods that ordinary Russians buy often came from Ukraine and are now banned as well.

Unless we were exporting only to Russia would the impact be strong. But given the current state, it will be minimal and will likely hurt the Russians. Of course, the wealthy elite won’t be affected by this ban one iota. They will find a way to smuggle in their delicacies and other Western luxuries. Russia’s sanctions won’t cause any economic disruption, if any on the U.S., maybe some parts of Europe. Of course, he may play dirty when it comes to heating needs for the winter. But we’ll have to see who blinks first.

Five French Cops in Hot Water for Wearing Blackface at a “Negro Party”

french cops blackface 350x186 Five French Cops in Hot Water for Wearing Blackface at a Negro Party

Five French Cops in Hot Water for Wearing Blackface at a “Negro Party”

Five French police officers are under investigation after photos surfaced on social media of them at a “negro party,” complete with blackface.

The racist photographs have prompted an internal investigation from France’s national police inspector, the Inspection Générale de la Police Nationale, and the officers from the Paris suburb of Kremlin-Bicetre are due to be grilled soon, French daily Le Figaro reports.

Spanish Village Overwhelmingly Votes to Change Name from “Camp Kill Jews”

Castrillo Matajudios 350x201 Spanish Village Overwhelmingly Votes to Change Name from Camp Kill Jews

Spanish Village Overwhelmingly Votes to Change Name from “Camp Kill Jews”

Voters in Castrillo Matajudios have voted on Sunday to change the name of the village, which means “Camp Kill Jews.” Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez said the village, which has just 56 registered voters, voted 29-19 to change the decades old name.

The town’s original name was Castrillo Motajudios, which means “Jews’ Hill Camp,” but the “Kill the Jews” part was added from 1627. That was more than a 100 years after a 1492 Spanish royal edict ordering Jews to become Catholics or flee the country. Those who chose to remain would face the Spanish inquisition.

The Spanish government apologized to Jews earlier this year by offering citizenship to descendants who were forced to flee decades ago.

Most of the voters who wanted a name change, want it revivied to the old name, “Jews’ Hill Camp,” as the village pushes to become a tourist attraction. The final decision on a name will occur in June at a town hall meeting.

 Spanish Village Overwhelmingly Votes to Change Name from Camp Kill Jews

#Soccer Fans in Italy Throw Bananas, Knife-Like Object at Black AC Milan Players

racism at italian soccer match 350x160 #Soccer Fans in Italy Throw Bananas, Knife Like Object at Black AC Milan Players

#Soccer Fans in Italy Throw Bananas, Knife-Like Object at Black AC Milan Players

SHAMEFUL: More racism at a soccer game in Italy as fans throw bananas and a knife-like object at black AC Milan players. The incidents of racism continue to taint professional soccer in Europe.

Midfielders Kevin Constant and Nigel de Jong were targeted with bananas as Atalanta beat AC Milan 2-1 at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia in Bergamo. This latest incident comes two weeks after a similar incident involving Barcelona star Dani Alves occurred in Spain.

Throwing a banana is despicable, but throwing a potentially deadly weapon on the field takes it to a whole other level.

 #Soccer Fans in Italy Throw Bananas, Knife Like Object at Black AC Milan Players

Russia Gets Hit with Additional US Sanctions Over Ukraine Crisis

russia 350x245 Russia Gets Hit with Additional US Sanctions Over Ukraine Crisis

Russia Gets Hit with Additional US Sanctions Over Ukraine Crisis

President Obama kept his word and imposed additional sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The Treasury Dept. has released a statement:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated seven Russian government officials, including two key members of the Russian leadership’s inner circle, and 17 entities pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13661.  E.O. 13661 authorizes sanctions on, among others, officials of the Russian Government and any individual or entity that is owned or controlled by, that has acted for or on behalf of, or that has provided material or other support to, a senior Russian government official.
“In the April 17 Geneva Joint Statement, Russia agreed to take concrete steps to deescalate the situation in Ukraine, but has thus far utterly refused to do so,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.  “From the very outset of Russia’s illegitimate and unlawful actions in Ukraine, we have been clear: The United States, acting on its own and alongside our international partners, will impose increasing costs on Russia if it persists in its efforts to destabilize Ukraine and will hold Russia accountable for its provocative actions.”
Russian Government Officials
The following individuals are being designated because they are officials of the Russian government.
Oleg Belavantsev was appointed Russia’s Presidential Envoy to Crimea on March 21, 2014, by President Putin.
Sergei Chemezov was appointed by a presidential decree on November 26, 2007 as the Director General of the State Corporation for Promoting Development, Manufacturing and Export of Russian Technologies High-Tech Industrial Products, also known as Rostec.  Rostec is a Russian state-owned holding company and has not been sanctioned.  Chemezov is a trusted ally of President Putin, whom he has known since the 1980s when they lived in the same apartment complex in East Germany. Sergei Chemezov was one of the Russian Government’s nominees for the Board of Directors of Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company.  He was selected for the Rosneft Board on June 20, 2013.
Dmitry Kozak is a Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, a position that he has held since October 2008, and to which he was reappointed by presidential decree in May 2012.  Kozak has served in a number of capacities in the Russian Federation since 1999, including as Chief of the Government Staff and Minister of Regional Development.
 
Evgeniy Murov is the Director of Russia’s Federal Protective Service and an Army General.  Murov has worked in Russian state security services since 1971 and became Head and Director of the Federal Protective Service in May 2000.
 
Aleksei Pushkov has been a Deputy of the State Duma since December 4, 2011.  He is also the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs.
Igor Sechin is the President and Chairman of the Management Board for Rosneft, Russia’s leading petroleum company, and one of the world’s largest publicly-traded oil companies.  Rosneft is a state-owned company and has not been sanctioned.  Sechin was formerly the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation from 2008 until 2012.  Additionally, from 2004 until 2008, Sechin was the Deputy Chief of Staff for President Putin.  Sechin has shown utter loyalty to Vladimir Putin – a key component to his current standing.
Vyacheslav Volodin is the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to move into Crimea is believed to have been based on consultations with his closest advisors, including Volodin.
 
Entities
The following entities are being designated because they are owned or controlled by persons (either individuals or entities) whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13661.
InvestCapitalBank and SMP Bank are controlled by Arkady and Boris Rotenberg who were designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661 for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation.
Stroygazmontazh (SGM Group) is a gas pipeline construction company owned or controlled by Arkady Rotenberg.  Rotenberg created SGM Group in 2008 after acquiring multiple Gazprom contractors.
The Volga Group is being designated for being owned or controlled by Gennaddy Timchenko. Timchenko was designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661 for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation. Timchenko is the sole shareholder of the Volga Group, an investment strategy group that holds interest in a variety of assets on behalf of Timchenko.
Transoil is a Russia-based rail freight operator that specializes in the transportation of oil and oil products.  Transoil is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
Aquanika (Russkoye Vremya LLC) is a Russia-based mineral water and soft drink company. Aquanika is being designated because it is owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko. Aquanika produces drinks under several trade names including Aquanika.
Sakhatrans LLC is a transportation company engaged in the construction of the bulk terminal for coal and iron ore exports in Muchka Bay near Vanino in Russia’s far east.  Sakhatrans LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
Avia Group LLC is involved in ground infrastructure for the Business Aviation Center at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow offering aircraft maintenance services, including aircraft storage and organization support services for flight operations.  Avia Group LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
Avia Group Nord LLC provides management services for corporate aviation at Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Avia Group Nord LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
Stroytransgaz Holding is a holding company for construction assets.  Stroytransgaz Holding is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
Stroytransgaz Group is a Russian construction group, comprising a number of business entities that specialize in different aspects of the construction industry.  Stroytransgaz Group is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
Stroytransgaz OJSC is an electricity construction company.  Stroytransgaz OJSC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Stroytransgaz Group, the Volga Group, and Timchenko.
Stroytransgaz-M LLC is an industrial construction company focused on oil, gas, petrochemical, and other civil engineering projects.  Stroytransgaz-M LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Stroytransgaz Group, the Volga Group, and Timchenko.
Stroytransgaz LLC is an infrastructure construction company.  Stroytransgaz LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Stroytransgaz Group, the Volga Group, and Timchenko.
The Limited Liability Company Investment Company Abros is owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya.  Bank Rossiya was designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661 for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation.  Bank Rossiya was also designated for being owned or controlled by Yuri Kovalchuk, who was designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661.
CJSC Zest is being designated for being owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya.
JSB Sobinbank is being designated for being owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya.
 Russia Gets Hit with Additional US Sanctions Over Ukraine Crisis

Norway’s Public University System Also Open to International Students for Free

norway 350x232 Norways Public University System Also Open to International Students for Free

Norway’s Public University System Also Open International Students for Free (Credit: Wikimedia)

Looking for a free education at a public university? Can you say Norway? The state-subsidized public university system is open to all Norwegians and is also free for non-Norwegians as well.

The fact is, out-of-state tuition at a public university in the U.S. per year is quite steep, over $21,000, not including room and board. So, it seems that Norway would be a better decision from an economic standpoint.

Well, there are some catches. Students must pay a fee in order to take exams and get an official card, which costs about $180. Prospective students must also prove they can afford to live there, approximately $16,000. That’s whether is through savings, work, grants or scholarships they may have received. Some international students may be able to get financial aid from the Norwegian government.

 Norways Public University System Also Open to International Students for Free

Russia Concerned About Ethnic Russians in Estonia, Another Invasion Coming?

estonia 300x233 Russia Concerned About Ethnic Russians in Estonia, Another Invasion Coming?

Russia Concerned About Ethnic Russians in Estonia, Another Invasion Coming?

Russian president Vladimir Putin seems to be on a roll as concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia is making the news. Um, is another invasion coming?

In Putin’s defense, Moscow had cited its concern over the treatment of ethnic Russians living in Estonia, before the invasion and annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine.

Reuters quoted a Russian diplomat who expressed concerns about the rights of Russian speakers to freely speak that language in Estonia. That was the justification Russia used to invade the Ukraine. 

The diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, “Language should not be used to segregate and isolate groups” and  added that they were “concerned by steps taken in this regard in Estonia as well as in Ukraine.”

This comes as Germany and the United Kingdom agree that the European Union should impose ‘further consequences’ on Russia over Ukraine – @Reuters.

Report: Vladimir Putin to Retaliate Over EU, US Sanctions by Banning U.S. Senators

vladimir putin 300x208 Report:  Vladimir Putin to Retaliate Over EU, US Sanctions by Banning U.S. Senators

Report: Vladimir Putin to Retaliate Over EU, US Sanctions by Banning U.S. Senators

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is preparing to ban certain U.S. senators from visiting his country as sanctions have been imposed by the U.S. and the European Union. Not to be sarcastic, but I certainly think we can all get by without our lawmakers going to Russia.

Putin is expected to release his retaliation list as early as Tuesday and while the final list is still being crafted, it will include top Obama administration officials and high profile U.S. senators, in an effort to roughly mirror the U.S. sanctions against Russian officials and lawmakers, according to diplomatic sources. At the top of the list in Congress is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who recently co-authored a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Durbin’s inclusion on Putin’s list would mirror Obama’s naming of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are not expected to be on the Russian sanctions list. Source: Daily Beast

Sen. John McCain says he would be honored to be one of the senators banned from Russia, which he characterized as a gas station. McCain said, “You think I’m not going to be on it?”“I would be honored to be on that list.”

The following are banned by the U.S.:

Kremlin aides

Vladislav Surkov – An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia’s most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal” for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He’s also credited the architect of Russia’s political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.

Sergei Glazyev – An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.

Top government official

Dmitry Rogozin – An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he’s known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.

 Russian lawmakers

Elena Mizulina – A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin’s morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year’s homosexual “propaganda” law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.

Leonid Slutsky – A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.

Andrei Klishas – A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society. 

Valentina Matviyenko – The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.

Crimean officials

Sergey Aksyonov – Once an obscure pro-Russian politician in Crimea, he has now been declared the prime minister.

Vladimir Konstantinov – The newly declared speaker of Crimea’s parliament.

Ukrainian officials

Viktor Medvedchuk – A pro-Russian politician, he is being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support” to impeached President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine’s opposition has accused him of orchestrating or aiding a crackdown on protesters and opposition.

Viktor Yanukovich – The ousted president of Ukraine. He was elected in 2010 but was chased from office by protests last month. Source: ABC News

 Report:  Vladimir Putin to Retaliate Over EU, US Sanctions by Banning U.S. Senators

Crimea Crisis: EU Agrees to Impose Sanctions Against 21 Officials from Russia, Ukraine

crimea ukraine4 300x233 Crimea Crisis: EU Agrees to Impose Sanctions Against 21 Officials from Russia, Ukraine

Crimea Crisis: EU Agrees to Impose Sanctions Against 21 Officials from Russia, Ukraine

#Crimea Crisis:  European Union foreign ministers agree to impose sanctions, such as travel bans and asset freezes, against 21 officials from Ukraine and Russia, Lithuanian FM says – @Reuters. This comes as Crimea creates central bank and awaits Russia’s payoff.

Ukraine Crisis: Britain Slams Crimea Secession Vote as a Mockery of Democracy

 Ukraine Crisis:  Britain Slams Crimea Secession Vote as a Mockery of DemocracyBritain condemns Crimea vote as a ‘mockery’ (via AFP)

CRIMEA SECESSION:  Britain on Sunday slammed a vote in Crimea on breaking away from Ukraine as a “mockery” of democracy and refused to recognise the referendum’s outcome. Speaking in Brussels ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday, Foreign Secretary…

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