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 61 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 06:21 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

EU agrees to improve energy efficiency 30% by 2030

EU climate chief says energy-saving deal is not good news for Putin, but others hoping for 40% target are disappointed

Fiona Harvey   
theguardian.com, Wednesday 23 July 2014 14.55 BST    

European Union member states will have to improve their energy efficiency by nearly a third in the next 15 years, under new proposals unveiled on Wednesday by the European commission.

The target – to improve efficiency by 30% by 2030 – had been the subject of dispute, as some industries wanted to avoid setting a firm goal and instead rely on the market and the EU’s carbon price to provide an economic incentive to cut energy waste. But others had been pushing for a tougher target, of 40% energy savings by 2030, and were disappointed.

Günther Oettinger, EU commissioner for energy, said: “Our proposal is the basis to drive the EU towards increased security of supply, innovation and sustainability, all in an affordable way. It is ambitious and at the same time it is realistic. Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy-saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment.”

He said that the goal would result in cost savings for consumers, as infrastructure and appliances from buildings to fridges would all have to be made more efficient to comply with the new rules.

Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s climate chief, was more outspoken, pointing out that the move could cut Europe’s reliance on imports of gas and other fossil fuels from states such as Russia.

Currently, the EU spends more than €400bn (£315bn) a year on imports of fossil fuels, a large proportion of which come from Russia through gas pipelines. The commission has calculated that for every 1% in energy savings, EU gas imports could be expected to fall by 2.6%.

“Today the commission is sending a strong message on energy efficiency: a 30% energy savings target for 2030,” said Hedegaard. “This is of course very good news for the climate. It’s also good news for investors, and it’s very good news for Europe’s energy security and independence. Meaning no such good news for Putin.”

However, it is not clear whether the new target will be translated into individual legally binding targets for each member state. The 2030 renewable energy target, after pressure from the UK government, is an EU-wide target and is not to be broken down into targets for member states, an omission which many green campaigners have said will render it much less effective.

Energy efficiency experts and green campaigners were critical of the new efficiency target, which some said was inadequate to the challenge of tackling climate change and saving on imports.

Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy, said: “The European commission appears to have lost credibility. Its supposedly leading role aiming to build a low carbon economy around an energy efficiency target, shows an obvious lack of ambition in the final proposal. The proposal is clearly not based on a real scientific assessment and a serious cost-benefit analysis, otherwise a target between 35% and 40% would have been proposed.”

She called the move the route of least resistance and regressive, based on narrow politics and a lack of vision. A more stringent target could have produced economic benefits in the form of cost savings and more jobs, she said.

Frederic Thoma, energy policy adviser at Greenpeace, was scathing of the deal, and also invoked the EU’s reliance on Russian gas. “In its dying days, the outgoing commission has tabled another gutless plan on energy that is a gift to the oligarchs of this world. An ambitious efficiency target would drastically cut the need for expensive imports of fossil fuels from Russia and elsewhere and help Europe stand up to bullies like Putin.

"The commission’s own research shows efficiency could also create three-and-a-half million jobs, while helping tackle climate change. It’s a no-brainer that EU leaders cannot ignore. They must put Europe’s energy policy back on track.”

Separately, the commission also said it would not challenge the UK’s move to create a “capacity market” for electricity, which is a key plank of the coalition government’s electricity market reforms.

The news was greeted with dismay by some green campaigners, who argued that the capacity market – which rewards electricity generators for keeping their power stations open, in order to protect the grid against surges in demand – would end up giving excess profits to coal-fired and other fossil fuel power plants. Coal-fired power stations could receive special payments until 2033 under the scheme.

Jenny Banks, energy and climate change specialist at WWF-UK, said: “The capacity market risks pushing up bills and holding up progress towards a decarbonised power sector by throwing money at the UK’s old, dirty coal plants. It’s hard to believe that a country which has just reaffirmed its commitment to tackling climate change by choosing not to amend the fourth carbon budget is about to introduce a policy which could lock in vast payments to its oldest and dirtiest power stations until the 2030s.”

She said the capacity market was “skewed in favour of large existing generators while sidelining valuable sources of flexible capacity such as interconnection, demand reduction and response and electricity storage. Allowing these technologies to compete on a level playing field could push down prices and help integrate renewables into the UK electricity mix.”

 62 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 06:17 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

Conservationists call for Canary Islands whale sanctuary instead of oil scheme

World Wide Fund for Nature launches campaign as Repsol announces that exploratory drilling could start in October

Ashifa Kassam in Madrid
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 July 2014 17.03 BST   

Months before oil exploration is slated to begin in the Canary Islands, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is calling on the Spanish government to abandon the search for oil and instead create a sanctuary for whales and dolphins in the region.

The waters off the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are home to nearly a third of the world's cetacean species. "We're talking about an area that's Europe's richest when it comes to whales and one of the top in the world," said WWF Spain's secretary general, Juan Carlos del Olmo.

The group launched its campaign just as the Spanish oil and gas company Repsol announced that exploratory drilling in the region could start as early as October. If the project moved forward, Del Olmo said, oil extraction would put the whales and dolphins at constant threat of oil spills, contamination and loud noises.

Since the launch on Tuesday, more than 5,000 people have signed a petition backing the campaign.

Del Olmo said the idea had come from the Spanish government. In 2011, concerned about the death of several whales in the region due to noise pollution, the environment minister examined the possibility of creating a protected zone. "What we've done is simply take the government's own proposal and said, listen, here is scientific data showing that this zone is vital for whales and it just happens to be where Repsol has a permit to prospect for oil."

Plans to explore for oil in the region have been vigorously opposed by many across Spain, including environmental groups and locals who worry that it could jeopardise tourism, one of the principal drivers of the regional economy. Last month, Spain's supreme court threw out several challenges against the project, paving the way for the exploration to go forward.

Last week, the Repsol spokesperson Marcos Fraga said the company "respected" the protests, but the strong reaction was premature. The company was simply looking to determine whether the oil reserves existed and the costs associated with accessing them. "From there, we can open a quiet, calm debate regarding the pros and cons, to take a decision as a company, as a society and as a country," Fraga told Teide Radio. "But the discovery of hydrocarbons would be good news for the country," he added.

On Tuesday, Spain's industry and tourism minister, José Manuel Soria, described the exploration as necessary, saying that Spain "cannot afford the luxury" of not knowing whether it has gas or oil reserves in its territory. Spain imports 99% of its hydrocarbons. "Just knowing whether these reserves are available is a strength for the Spanish economy," he told a business forum.

Oil exploration would take place at least 30 miles from the shore, next to where Morocco is prospecting for oil. It would be ridiculous, Soria said, if Morocco found oil or gas while Spain refused even to investigate the idea.

Soria, who is from the island of Gran Canaria, pointed to the 33% unemployment rate on the Canary Islands as a reason to move forward with exploration. "It's not because there's a crisis, but rather because there just isn't any industry there."

Del Olmo dismissed the minister's link between oil exploration and Spain's fragile economy. "Betting on oil is betting on the past," he said. "The future of the Canary Islands isn't in installing oil platforms off its coasts, but rather in cultivating quality tourism, nature conservation and renewable energies."

 63 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 06:14 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

Bulgaria's prime minister Plamen Oresharski resigns

Oresharski's one-year tenure overshadowed by protests against corruption, deadly floods and disputes over gas pipeline project

Reuters in Sofia
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 July 2014 18.57 BST   

Bulgaria's prime minister, Plamen Oresharski, stood down on Wednesday, leaving his successor to sort out the Balkan state's worst banking crisis since the 1990s with the fate of its fourth largest lender undecided.

Oresharski, who has been in power for just over a year, had flagged up his departure after the ruling Socialists' poor showing in May's European parliamentary elections. His resignation paves the way for an interim government to take over in August and a general election in October.

The vote will mark the second snap election in less than two years in the EU's poorest member state. The prolonged instability has hampered efforts to make the economy more efficient and prompted a credit rating downgrade in June.

The Socialist-led coalition increased the minimum wage, worked to cut red tape for businesses and found investors for a €1.5bn (£1.2bn) sovereign bond last month despite the banking crisis.

Oresharski's tenure, however, was overshadowed by months of street protests against corruption, deadly floods that hit the Black Sea city of Varna in June and a standoff between Brussels and Moscow over a Russian-led gas pipeline project.

The Socialists ruled with the ethnic Turkish MRF party in a minority coalition, which relied on the outside support of the nationalist Attack party to cling to power and survive repeated no confidence votes while in office.

Hundreds of people gathered in Sofia as news of the resignation broke, chanting "victory", as two lines of police looked on in front of the parliament building. Wednesday also marked the first anniversary of an eight-hour siege of parliament by protesters demanding the government's resignation.

 64 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 06:08 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

Sudanese woman spared death sentence for apostasy arrives in Italy

Meriam Ibrahim, whose death sentence was overturned after international outcry, arrives with husband and two children

Mark Tran   
theguardian.com, Thursday 24 July 2014 10.43 BST   

Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian Sudanese woman spared a death sentence for apostasy after an international outcry, has arrived in Italy.

Italian television showed the 27-year-old leaving the aircraft at Ciampino airport in Rome accompanied by her husband, two children and Italy's vice minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli.

Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery and to death for apostasy in May, sparking an international campaign to lift the death sentence. More than a million people backed an Amnesty International campaign to get her released, with David Cameron, the British prime minister, and the US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson among world leaders who clamoured for her release.

While on death row, Ibrahim, a graduate of Sudan University's school of medicine, gave birth in shackles in May. It was a difficult birth as her legs were in chains and Ibrahim is worried that the girl may need support to walk.

Ibrahim was told that her death sentence would be deferred for two years to allow her to nurse the baby.

Under the Sudanese penal code, Muslims are forbidden from changing faith, and Muslim women are not permitted to marry Christian men.

During her trial in Khartoum, she told the court that she had been brought up as a Christian, and refused to renounce her faith. She and Daniel Wani – an American citizen – married in 2011. The court ruled that the union was invalid and that Ibrahim was guilty of adultery.

Her convictions, sentences and detention in Omdurman women's prison while heavily pregnant and with her toddler son incarcerated alongside her caused international outrage. After an appeal court overturned the death sentence, Ibrahim, Wani, and their two children tried to leave last month, but were turned back. The Sudanese government accused her of trying to leave the country with false papers, preventing her departure for the US.

Her lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, said he had not been told of her departure on Thursday.

"I don't know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Meriam and which prevents her from travelling from Sudan has not been cancelled," Mostafa told Reuters.

Ibrahim and her family had been staying at the US embassy in Khartoum.

 65 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 06:04 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
European Rights Court Condemns Poland for Hosting Secret CIA Prisons

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 12:12

Europe's top human rights court condemned Poland on Thursday for hosting secret CIA prisons on its territory, saying Warsaw knowingly abetted unlawful imprisonment and torture of Guantanamo-bound detainees.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of a Palestinian and a Saudi national who were held in a U.S. detention centre for several months in Poland in 2002-2003 before being transferred to the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Polish government "enabled the U.S. authorities to subject the applicant to torture and ill-treatment on its territory", the ECHR said in its rulings over the cases of Palestinian Abu Zubaydah, 43, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 49, of Saudia Arabia.

The men's lawyers had argued before the Strasbourg court that during their detention, they were repeatedly tortured by waterboarding.

The ECHR also found Warsaw guilty of allowing the men to be sent to places where they faced torture, further detention and "flagrant denial of justice".

The government was ordered to pay 100,000 euros (135,000 dollars) in damages to each plaintiff.

A decade later, both men remain at Guantanamo, and have as yet not had a hearing before a U.S. judge.

Poland has three months to appeal the decision to the Strasbourg court.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry told Agence France Presse the government had "no comment for the moment", and that it would prepare a reaction for later on Thursday.

Poland's president at the time, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was quoted by Polish news agency PAP as saying, "I respect the verdicts of independent tribunals, but I will not comment on them."

An investigation into the detainees' treatment was opened in Poland in 2008 but is still not concluded -- a situation that has been condemned by the UN's anti-torture body.

Poland is one of a number of European countries accused of having assisted the United States in its extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan to Guantanamo, in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Macedonia was condemned by the ECHR in December 2012 over the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin who was arrested in Macedonia at the end of 2003 and transferred to a CIA prison in Afghanistan, where he was held in secret for five months.

 66 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 06:03 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Norway On Alert over Feared 'Terrorist' Attack

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 12:06

Norway has taken exceptional security measures after being informed of a possible imminent "terrorist attack" by militants who have fought in Syria, the country's intelligence chief said Thursday.

The move comes as concerns are mounting in Europe about the growing national security threat posed by jihadists returning from war-torn Syria.

The domestic intelligence service (PST) "recently received information that a group of extremists from Syria may be planning a terrorist attack in Norway," said PST chief Benedicte Bjoernland, adding it could be a question of days.

The threat is "non-specific" but "credible", said Bjoernland. Neither the eventual target, nor the timing of the attack, nor the identity of the militants, nor their location are known, she added.

In a separate statement, Norwegian police said that the information received pointed to a possible attack "in Europe", with "Norway being specifically mentioned".

The authorities said they were increasing the presence of armed police in stations and airports, recalling civil servants from their holidays and increasing border controls.

"There is a specific threat against Norway and several measures have been implemented to face this threat," Justice Minister Anders Anundsen said, urging the population to be vigilant without stigmatizing any group.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg is postponing her summer holiday due to the latest developments.

In its annual evaluation presented earlier this year, the PST said the threat level against Norway had increased because of the conflict in Syria. 

The intelligence services said between 40 and 50 individuals with links to Norway had fought or were fighting in Syria.

The Nordic country has one of the highest rates per capital of nationals who have traveled to fight in the Syrian conflict.

The potential threat to security was underscored in May with the attack of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, where four people died.

The presumed perpetrator is French-Algerian Mehdi Nemmouche, who spent more than a year in Syria, where he is thought to have joined some of the most radical and violent jihadist groups.

According to Cato Hemmingby, researcher at Norwegian Police University College, the extremely rare initiative of the country's government to make a threat public could be an attempt to dissuade the alleged terrorists from staging an attack, by making them understand its execution would be more complicated.

It is also likely aimed at raising awareness among the population, Hemmingby said.

In a report from last December, the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) said the number of foreign fighters in Syria had almost doubled their last estimate from April 2013 to up to 11,000 individuals from 74 countries.

"Among Western Europeans, the number has more than tripled from (up to) 600 in April to 1,900 now," ICSR said.

Only two weeks ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met his Norwegian counterpart Anundsen in Oslo and called for cooperation with Europe to stem the "grave threat" of extremists travelling to Syria.

 67 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 05:58 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
MH17: Ukraine separatist commander 'admits' rebels had Buk missile system

Alexander Khodakovsky reportedly told news agency rebels may have received Buk from Russia, then changes story

Shaun Walker in Donetsk
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 July 2014 23.28 BST   

A top rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has reportedly said that the armed separatist movement had control of a Buk missile system, which Kiev and western countries say was used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines plane last week.

Alexander Khodakovsky, who leads the Vostok battalion – one of the main rebel formations – said the rebels may have received the Buk from Russia, in the first such admission by a senior separatist.

"That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence," Khodakovsky told Reuters.

Russian news agencies later said people close to Khodakovsky denied he made the admissions. Khodakovsky himself told Life News, a Russian news agency with links to Moscow's security services, that he was misquoted and had merely discussed "possible versions" with Reuters. Khodakovsky said the rebels "do not have and have never had" a Buk.

As two further Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down, apparently by missiles fired from within Russia, Khodakovsky appeared to imply that MH17 was indeed downed by a missile from the Buk, assuming the interview with Reuters is confirmed. He blamed Ukrainian authorities, however, for allowing civilian jets to fly over its airspace when the rebels had such capabilities.

"The question is this: Ukraine received timely evidence the volunteers have this technology, through the fault of Russia," he said. "It not only did nothing to protect security, but provoked the use of this type of weapon against a plane that was flying with peaceful civilians."

Other leaders have repeatedly denied the rebels had a Buk, despite photographic and video evidence of one in the area of the crash last Thursday. There are rivalries and hatred between many of the rebel formations and Khodakovsky is believed to be out of favour with Igor Strelkov, the main commander of the Donetsk rebels.

However, his apparent admission about the Buk chimes with evidence on the ground. This week the Guardian also spoke to witnesses who said they saw a missile-launching system that looked like a Buk drive through Torez, near the crash site, last Thursday, a few hours before the plane was downed.

Khodakovsky said he did not know where the missile system had come from but it may have come from Russia. He added the separatists had seized several Buk systems from Ukrainian bases, but none of them were operational.

"I'm not going to say Russia gave these things or didn't give them," he said, according to Reuters. "Russia could have offered this Buk under some entirely local initiative. I want a Buk, and if someone offered me one, I wouldn't turn it down. But I wouldn't use it against something that did not threaten me. I would use it only in circumstances when there was an air attack on my positions, to protect people's lives."

The apparent admission came as the first bodies arrived in the Netherlands, after a long journey from Torez by train to Kharkiv, and then by plane to the Netherlands. Separatists said they loaded 282 bodies on to the train, but Dutch experts suggested the number actually handed over could be much lower. Monitors at the crash site say there are still human remains lying on the ground.

So far, only monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have visited the site, but in purely reporting function rather than any investigative role.

They were accompanied once by a three-man Dutch forensic team who monitored the transfer of bodies to the train but did not investigate the causes of the crash, and for the past two days by a small Malaysian delegation. There is still no security cordon around the site. The Dutch have taken the leading role in the international investigation, with the Dutch safety board taking charge of the team. On Wednesday, they said unfettered access to the crash site was crucial.

Spokesman Tjibbe Joustra told the Associated Press that around 25 investigators have arrived in Kiev and are analysing information from the crash site, including photographs, satellite images and radar information. However, they have not yet visited the site.

"We haven't yet got guarantees about security for our way of working," said Joustra. "If we go we have to be able to move freely. We hope to be able to get to the site soon."

It is unclear what they are waiting for. The rebels have said they are happy for any investigators to arrive and work at the site, and while the area is unquestionably dangerous given the ongoing military action in the vicinity, it is unlikely to become safer any time soon.

OSCE spokesperson Michael Bociurkiw said his team would do the best they can. "There has been a lot of talk about why there have been so few experts … We again feel that the work that remains to be done should be done by those far better qualified than us, yet in their absence we will continue to do the basic monitoring that we can."

The Dutch safety board also said that early examination of the black boxes from MH17, which have been sent to Britain for decoding, showed no evidence they had been tampered with. The black boxes were handed to a Malaysian delegation earlier this week in Donetsk by the region's self-declared prime minister, Alexander Borodai, who used the occasion to accuse Ukrainian forces of downing the plane.

Also on Wednesday, Ukraine's security council said two of its Su-25 military jets had been shot down, and added that the planes could have been brought down by missiles fired from inside Russia's borders.

"Two of our jets were hit at an altitude of 5,200 metres. According to preliminary information, the missiles were launched from the territory of the Russian Federation," the council said in a statement.

The planes were flying far lower than the altitude above 10,000 metres where MH17 was when it was shot down, but still out of usual range for the Manpad shoulder-launched missiles the rebels are known to possess.

Footage purporting to be from the crash scene of one of the planes showed a group of rebels arriving to find the burning wreckage.

One of them said the pilot had parachuted out before the plane crashed and the men set off to search for him.

***************

Ukraine jets downed near MH17 site by ‘missile from Russia’

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 13:34 EDT

Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down Wednesday in the rebel-held area where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed were hit by missiles fired from Russian soil, Ukraine’s military said.

“According to preliminary information, the rockets were launched from Russian territory,” Kiev’s National Security and Defence Council said in a statement.

The planes came down close to the village of Dmytrivka, some 45 kilometres (25 miles) south-east of the MH17 crash site towards the Russian border, as they were providing air support for government infantry, the statement said.

The security council added that the Su-25 jets were flying at an altitude of 5,200 metres.

Pro-Russian rebels have insisted on several occasions that they were not equipped with weapons capable of hitting targets above an altitude of 2,500 metres.

However, a spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic told AFP its fighters had shot down the two aircraft.

An AFP crew trying to reach the scene were turned back by rebels who fired shots near their car some 10 kilometres from Dmytrivka.

The press office for Kiev’s military campaign against the insurgents had earlier blamed “pro-Russian bandits” fighting in Ukraine for downing the jets.

The pilots from both jets managed to parachute out, it said, giving no further details about their condition.

The downing of the government jets comes just six days after the insurgents were accused of shooting down the Malaysian passenger plane using a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people on board.

Pro-Russian rebels battling government troops in the east had previously taken out a string of Ukrainian military aircraft during their 15-week insurgency.

Kiev alleged last week that an airforce transport plane was shot down from across the Russian frontier while another Su-25 jet was gunned down by a Russian plane.

The rebels have denied that they attacked flight MH17 as it flew at some 10,000 metres, accusing the Ukrainian military of being responsible for hitting the jet.

The latest incident came after a ceasefire was declared by both sides in the immediate vicinity of the Boeing 777 crash site, where Malaysian experts and international monitors were examining the airliner’s wreckage on Wednesday.

Earlier, the first 40 bodies recovered from MH17 were flown out of the government-held city of Kharkiv bound for Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

****************

Ukraine Fighting Rages as EU Mulls Russia Sanctions

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 12:38

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and rebels raged Thursday near the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17, as experts in Britain begin analyzing crucial data from the downed airliner's black boxes.

A Dutch team leading the probe into the downing of MH17 was stuck in Kiev, unable to join a handful of international investigators at the site, after two warplanes were shot down Wednesday just 45 kilometers from the impact scene in insurgent-held territory.

As the EU prepares to hit Russia with further sanctions over allegations it is arming the separatists accused of downing MH17, dozens more bodies are to be flown to the Netherlands, a day after the first 40 corpses arrived in the grieving nation.

Experts say many remains are still lying in the vast crash site where recovery work has grounded to a halt a week after the disaster, with Dutch authorities saying they can only be sure that 200 corpses have been recovered from the 298 people killed on board.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that there was still a need for a rigorous search of the debris zone.

"On the site it is still clear that nothing is happening without the approval of the armed rebels who brought the plane down in the first place," he said.

"There has still not been anything like a thorough professional search of the area where the plane went down, and there can't be while the site is controlled by armed men with vested interest in the outcome of the investigation."

Rebels and government forces have declared a ceasefire in the immediate vicinity of the site, but just beyond, fierce fighting was ongoing.

Ukrainian military said that rockets were being fired "from the Russian side," hitting locations close to Lugansk airport and in several areas in the Donetsk region.

Mortar shells also rained down on Avdiyika in Donetsk region, the army said, without giving details of casualties.

An AFP crew seeking to access one of these combat hotspots Wednesday was turned back by rebels, who fired at their car.

Kiev said the missiles that downed two fighter jets were fired from Russian territory, and that while the pilots ejected safely, there was no information about their whereabouts.

As government troops push on with their offensive to wrest control of east Ukraine's industrial heartland from the pro-Moscow separatists, the Red Cross warned both sides to abide by the Geneva Conventions, declaring that it considered the country to be in a state of civil war.

In Brussels, the EU was looking at punishing Russia, which it accuses of fanning the rebellion in Ukraine's east by arming the separatists.

The bloc said Tuesday it will decide on a list of Russian individuals and entities which it would sanction for providing "material or financial support" to those responsible for the March annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory and destabilizing the east of the country, where MH17 came down.

The rat faced Pig Putin is staring down fresh European sanctions just a week after the last round was unveiled over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, which has seen East-West tensions spike to their highest point in years.

U.S. intelligence officials have said they believe the rebels mistakenly shot down the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with a surface-to-air missile provided by Russia.

British experts succeeded in downloading the data from the black boxes -- handed over by the rebels following intense international pressure -- and are set to start examining the vital contents.

Kiev said the Netherlands and other countries that lost citizens are proposing to send police to secure the crash site, amid reports by international monitors at the scene that debris has been moved increased fears that evidence was being tampered with.

The arrival of the first bodies from the crash in the Netherlands -- which lost 193 citizens -- on Wednesday brought the grief-stricken nation to a standstill, with a solemn ceremony held at the Eindhoven airport before 1,000 bereaved relatives and members of the Dutch royal family.

Dozens more bodies are due to be flown Thursday to the Netherlands, where they would undergo an identification process that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned could take months.

Dutch police have been visiting the bereaved to retrieve DNA samples from items such as hairbrushes, and obtain details of tattoos and fingerprints, as well as consulting medical and dental records to help with the identification.

**************

Russia Calls on U.S. to Show Proof of Missile Claims

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 10:42

A senior Russian official called Thursday on the United States to prove its claims that the Malaysian passenger airliner shot down last week was hit by a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine.

"They've said U.S. intelligence has technical data and satellite photos which show that the missile was launched from rebel-held territory. The question is where is this data", Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in an interview with Russia-24 television.

U.S. officials have in recent days said that satellite and other "technical" intelligence confirmed the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with 298 people on board was hit last Thursday by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by the pro-Russian rebels.

A senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tuesday in Washington that: "It's a solid case that it's a SA-11 that was fired from eastern Ukraine under conditions the Russians helped create."

Washington has accused Russia of supplying pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine with weapons, a charge Moscow denies.

Russian military officials on Monday said their flight records showed a Ukrainian fighter jet was close to the Malaysian passenger airliner just before the Boeing 777 crashed on July 17 and that Kiev was operating radar stations used for missile systems.

Pro-Russian separatists have shot down a number of Ukrainian military aircraft in recent weeks.

**************

Netherlands mourns as bodies of MH17 plane crash victims are flown home

Dutch royals and premier Mark Rutte join relatives at Eindhoven airport to receive 40 coffins arriving from Ukraine disaster site

Philip Oltermann in Eindhoven and Amsterdam
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 July 2014 20.53 BST   

Coffin carried, MH17 victim at Eindhoven, Netherlands
A coffin of a person who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is moved at Eindhoven airbase, Holland.

As the first coffin was lowered from the planes on the runway, silence fell over Eindhoven military airport. The only sound came from a row of flags whipping in the wind at half mast.

Almost a week after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot from the skies above Ukraine, 40 bodies arrived on Wednesday in the Netherlands, the country that bore the heaviest toll in the crash.

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, joined about 1,000 relatives and friends of the victims, who gathered at the airport for a ceremony receiving the two military transport planes.

A lone trumpeter played the Last Post as troops in dress uniform saluted then carried the wooden caskets to a row of hearses. They drove from the airport under military police escort to an army barracks in the central city of Hilversum where forensic experts were waiting to begin the painstaking task of identifying the remains.

Crowds gathered on bridges along the 65-mile route to throw flowers on to the convoy of 40 hearses.

The Dutch government had declared a day of national mourning – the first since the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962 – and at 4.07pm a minute's silence was requested across the country.

Two-hundred and ninety-eight passengers and crew were killed when the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpar was shot down last Thursdaya week today. The Dutch victims numbered 193. In a nation of just 16 million, few have been unaffected by the disaster.

"Holland is a small country. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who died in the crash," said Peter, who was waiting at Schipol airport. "It has completely changed how we look at the conflict in the Ukraine. Everybody talks about it: neighbours, colleagues, relatives."

Some have inevitably described the biggest aviation disaster in Dutch history as "Holland's 9/11" – a misleading term, not least because the Dutch passengers on flight MH17 are not thought to have been targeted deliberately.

And yet, relations between the Netherlands, home to the majority of the victims, and Russia, accused by some of aiding those who carried out the attack, have in recent days become increasingly fraught.

At Schiphol airport, where on the day after the crash there was still a sense of business carrying on as usual, the mood was now different.

The impromptu shrine outside terminal three, little more than a pile of flowers on Friday, had grown into a sea of bouquets, teddy bears and candles. A letter to one of the victims described him as a "kind, gentle and funny person". The card read: "Even in death he's still a better bloke than all of us."

A woman named Miranda said she had come to the airport specially to lay down flowers. She used to live in Asia, she said, and had a lot of friends who regularly flew with Malaysia Airlines. Something in her attitude, and that of friends, towards Russa, had altered over the last week, she said. "At first we were numb but now there are a lot of angry feelings coming up."

In a widely shared article, the writer Bas Heijne criticised his government's "overtly cautious, strangely muted" response to the disaster. The Dutch, Heijne argued, had always defined themselves somewhere on a scale of pragmatism and moralising, "the Dutch merchant and the Protestant preacher".

In recent years the merchant had gained the upper hand; wagging the finger at countries like Russia, many politicians and businessmen warned, only damaged the economy. So the government had done little to defend itself when the evil Pig Putin accused the Netherlands of "promoting paedophilia" or when Dutch Greenpeace activists were arrested for getting too close to a Russian oil platform. "For too long," Heijne wrote, "the Dutch government has coddled the dictator in Moscow."

Other commentators accused Dutch leaders of letting commercial interests get in the way of diplomatic consequences. Last year Russia exported goods and services worth $70bn to the Netherlands. If one country could seriously hurt Putin with trade sanctions, said one analyst in the German newspaper Die Welt, it was the Netherlands.

Frustration with the delayed return of the air crash victims' bodies, and reports in the Dutch media that the crash site had been looted, have affected the country's mood. Where at first there had been calm and composure, there were now also flashes of anger.

Hans de Borst, whose 17-year-old daughter, Elsemiek, died in the crash, wrote an open letter to the stinking PIg Putin and pro-Russia separatists, which he put on Facebook: "Aforementioned misters, I hope you're proud to have shot her, amongst other, young life and future. And that you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning."

Politicians have adjusted their rhetoric accordingly. "All of the Netherlands feels their anger," said Rutte on Sunday, after meeting relatives. "All of the Netherlands feels their deep grief. All of the Netherlands is standing with the next of kin."

Frans Timmermans, the foreign minister, previously hesitant about calling for sanctions, adopted a notably firmer stance at a meeting of ministers in Brussels on Monday: "There is no Dutch blockade of further sanctions. The Netherlands wants the European Union [to make] a united, and also strong, clear, statement against the unrest in eastern Ukraine."

As if to symbolically underline Holland's newfound resolve, the row of flags at Eindhoven airport included a Ukrainian, but no Russian, flag, even though there were no Ukrainian nationals among the victims.

At Schiphol, the Hoogewoud family had stopped off to leave flowers after seeing off their youngest daughter, who was flying to Thailand.

Marloek, the older daughter, said a Spanish friend had sent her a Facebook message after the crash expressing hope that the Dutch government would press charges against the pro-Russian separatists. "But that's not people's first reaction here."

Her father, Ferdinand Hoogewoud, said: "How can we expect politicians in Russia or the Ukraine to take responsibility after two days, when it took the Netherlands two decades to own up to its role in Srebrenica?" Only a day before the MH17 crash a Dutch court had ruled that the government was liable for the deaths of about 300 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia.

"The crisis in the Ukraine used to feel very far away," observed Hoogewoud. "Now it's our problem too. We can't push it away."

*************

British Experts Examine Second MH17 Black Box

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 13:42

British investigators have started examining the second black box from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine, the transport ministry said Thursday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in Farnborough, southwest of London, is looking at the flight data recorder, which records information from instruments on the plane.

On Wednesday AAIB experts downloaded "valid data" from the first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, which should give them hours of the pilots' conversations.

"They have started examining the Flight Data Recorder," a Department for Transport spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

"The analysis of any data will be done by an international team led by the Dutch."

The boxes -- which are actually orange in color -- were delivered to Farnborough by the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), which is leading an international investigation into the crash in which 298 people died, 193 of them Dutch.

Pro-Russian rebels controlling the crash site handed the boxes over to Malaysian officials on Tuesday, following an international outcry over the treatment of the wreckage and the bodies of the victims.

The OVV said on Wednesday that the data from the cockpit voice recorder data "was successfully downloaded and contained valid data from the flight. The downloaded data have to be further analyzed and investigated".

If the second black box also contains "relevant information" then the data from both boxes will be combined, it said.

The OVV is coordinating investigation teams from eight different countries, including Russia.

Western governments say the evidence points to the Boeing 777 plane having been shot down with a missile by pro-Russian separatists.

**************

MH17 crash site: Australian foreign minister pushes for access

Julie Bishop says negotiations are under way amid reports Australian police and troops may be deployed to area

Gabrielle Chan and agencies
theguardian.com, Thursday 24 July 2014 03.29 BST   

The crash site of MH17 remains under the control of Russian-backed separatists and negotiations for access for international investigators are under way, the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has said.

The Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, and Bishop will be meeting Ukrainian leaders to build on government discussions with a range of leaders over how best to secure the site.

The Australian prime minister’s office refused to confirm reports on Thursday that a federal police taskforce protected by Australian troops could be deployed in days, saying discussions were ongoing.

Bishop and the Australian governor general, Peter Cosgrove, attended a memorial ceremony at Eindhoven air force base to mark the arrival of the first plane carrying the remains of the victims of the air disaster.

Cosgrove said it was important that victims’ remains were received by “their respective nations”.

"There is a long road ahead but now we can care for those taken from us in this unthinkable tragedy, and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Cosgrove said.

"Today I say to Australian mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mates – many of your loved ones are now in friendly arms.”

The Dutch and Australian foreign ministers will meet Ukraine’s leaders in Kiev to discuss the implementation of the UN security council resolution.

Australia’s special envoy, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, will brief the foreign ministers and they will meet the Australian government inter-agency team. There are now 200 Australian officials from various agencies in the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Bishop also met the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, in the Netherlands to discuss progress on the international investigation.

Meanwhile, hundreds gathered at a multi-faith service in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, to pay their respects to those killed in the disaster.

The service brought together religious leaders from across the city to lead prayers for the victims and their families.

The head of the Anglican church in Australia said those left behind deserved to know why their loved ones died.

"From what we know, someone gave orders to destroy MH17. It cannot be true that no one knows what happened," the Anglican primate, Archbishop Philip Freier, told the congregation on Thursday.

Freier said the families faced a frustrating wait to find out if the people who shot the plane down would face justice.

"What might not always be satisfied in this world, will certainly find its true measure in the judgment of God," he said.

Freier said the bodies should be returned so families could grieve and say goodbye properly.

The Victorian premier, Denis Napthine, read a poem by the Dutch-American Henry van Dyke, as candles were lit to commemorate those who died.

Sheikh Moustapha Sarakibi said a Muslim prayer, Hojun Futen gave a Buddhist blessing, and Cantor Bruce Levin sang a Jewish lament.

Malaysia’s consul general, Mohamad Rameez Bin Yahaya, and the Dutch honorary consul, Hans Nieuwland, lit candles as a tribute to the many who died from their countries.

*****************

MH17: Dutch mayor wants Shit Stain Pig Putin's daughter Maria deported

Pieter Broertjes called for 29-year-old to be expelled from the Netherlands in wake of plane disaster but later apologised

Philip Oltermann in Amsterdam, and Shaun Walker in Donetsk
The Guardian,
Wednesday 23 July 2014 13.46 BST   

Dutch frustration with Russia in the wake of the MH17 crash is taking on an increasingly personal note, as some called for the shit stain Pig Putin's daughter to be deported from the Netherlands.

Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of the city of Hilversum, used a radio interview on Wednesday morning to call for 29-year-old Maria Putin, who is said to live in Voorschoten with her Dutch boyfriend, to be thrown out of the country.

More than half of the 298 people killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine last week were Dutch.

Broertjes later apologised for his remarks via Twitter, saying they were "not wise", but adding that "they stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many will recognise".

A plane carrying the first 50 victims of the crash is expected to arrive this afternoon at Eindhoven airport, from where they will be transported to army barracks in Hilversum. The Dutch government has declared Wednesday a day of national mourning and will mark the bodies' arrival with a minute's silence across the country.

Ukrainians living in Holland have also called for a peaceful protest outside the Pig's daughter's flat, according to De Telegraaf newspaper. It published a photograph of the apartment complex where Maria is said to live alongside the article on Monday.

Very little is known about the Russian president's two daughters, Maria and Yekaterina, who are completely sheltered from media attention and have never been officially photographed as adults.

But there have been persistent rumours linking Maria with Dutch citizen Jorrit Faassen. Dutch media claimed that Pig Putin visited the couple last year, something his spokesman denied.

Faassen has held senior roles in the Russian firms Gazprom and Stroytransgaz, a pipeline manufacturer, and hit the headlines when he was reportedly assaulted by the bodyguards of Russian banker Matvei Urin in a road-rage incident in Moscow in 2010. Urin was later arrested and jailed for fraud.

*****************

How harsher sanctions could help Rad Faced Pig Putin turn Russia back into the Soviet Union

By The Conversation
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 13:16 EDT

By Richard Connolly, University of Birmingham

The downing of flight MH17 has caused attention to shift once again to the prospect of even harsher penalties being imposed upon Russia by Western countries. Up to this point, sanctions have been limited to individuals within or close to Russia’s ruling elite, as well as a few associated companies. While these sanctions may weaken support within Russia’s elite for the current course of foreign policy, the effect on economic activity in Russia has been relatively muted.

The most recent discussions among European leaders led to an expansion of the existing list of Russians subject to asset freezes and visa bans. But a decision on whether to apply so-called “third tier” sanctions – that is, sanctions applied to whole sectors of the Russian economy, or export bans on technology that might be used in Russia’s defence or energy sectors – was once again postponed, although this may change if Western countries lose patience with what they consider to be Russian intransigence in Ukraine.

With these discussions ongoing, it is useful to consider what might happen if Europe and the US were to impose an enhanced package of economic sanctions.

Aiming high

A useful starting point is to consider the objectives of Western policy makers in applying sanctions in the first place. The “surgical” nature of sanctions imposed so far suggests that Western governments do not intend to seriously harm Russia’s economy or its people.

Instead, the array of measures so far chosen – focused as they are on individuals and entities with close ties to Pig Putin, his inner circle, and those with direct ties to the conflict in Ukraine – has likely been selected to inflict pain on key members of Russia’s ruling elite, in the hope that this will force them to pressure Putin to change his foreign policy.

This strategy is based on certain assumptions about the nature of Russia’s political system. By focusing sanctions on the elite, Western policy makers are showing that they think it is those at the top, and not the wider electorate, who determine the direction of foreign policy in Russia. Any future escalation of sanctions to encompass Russia’s strategic sectors – defence, energy and finance – might be viewed as a logical step in ramping up pressure on the elite.
Strengthening the regime

But what if “third tier” sanctions have the opposite effect, and instead of weakening elite support for Putin they cause a strengthening of the current regime? This could happen because sanctions have specific distributional effects in oligarchic regimes like Russia, and can serve to bolster the state and enrich politically important individuals and organisations. This could happen if the leadership in Russia decides to use sanctions as an opportunity to transfer economic resources to key political allies.

To illustrate this point, consider how Russia might respond to an embargo on Western defence or dual-use technology to Russia. While existing supply chains would be interrupted, it would offer the leadership the chance to shift more resources to develop domestic industries instead.

This wouldn’t be great from an economic point of view, as it is unlikely that Russia would be able to produce goods as well or as efficiently as Western firms any time soon. But from a political perspective, the diversion of extra resources to the domestic defence industry would create a constituency that would benefit from sanctions. In the context of Russia’s ongoing rearmament programme, this outcome could increase defence industry support for the current leadership.

While this may sound counter intuitive, it is precisely what happened in South Africa after the imposition of the UN arms embargo in 1977. The sanctions were supposed to help end apartheid, but they had the unintended effect of strengthening the country’s manufacturing sector. In particular, the creation of the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR) in response to the embargo proved to be a boon for the ruling regime. Domestic high-technology capabilities were enhanced, and ARMSCOR became a major player in the global arms market. Most importantly, it enabled the regime to secure support from a key constituency that was a direct beneficiary of sanctions.
Going solo?

Major sanctions could lead to something similar happening in Russia’s vital energy sector. It is widely acknowledged that Russia will require access to foreign technology and know-how in the future if is to exploit the geologically harder to reach oil and gas deposits in the Arctic and the Far East. But if sanctions denied this, Russia might opt to expand direct state ownership of the industry, and form partnerships with state-owned companies from friendlier countries (China, for instance) to develop indigenous solutions to existing geological challenges.

Again, this solution would not be as economically efficient as current arrangements to access technology and know-how through joint ventures with the likes of BP and Exxon-Mobil. But those charged with managing an energy industry dominated even more by the state than it is now would arguably become even more powerful, not less.

Taken together, the hypothetical scenarios briefly outlined here would represent a reversal from the path of reintegration with the global economy that Russia has undergone over the course of the last twenty years. Instead, a self-sufficient, quasi-autarkic relationship with the global economy could emerge. Although Russia would remain far more open that it was during the Soviet era, it would be a deeply worrying step backwards for those hoping the country would become an open and active part of the global economy.

From South Africa to Iraq or Zimbabwe, sanctions do not always work as intended. Unless carefully tailored to the situation in Moscow, a policy designed to alter Russian behaviour in Ukraine may instead end up achieving an entirely unintended and undesirable outcome: the strengthening of the current regime, and a reassessment of Russia’s role in the global economy.

 68 
 on: Jul 24, 2014, 05:57 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

MH17: Ukraine separatist commander 'admits' rebels had Buk missile system

Alexander Khodakovsky reportedly told news agency rebels may have received Buk from Russia, then changes story

Shaun Walker in Donetsk
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 July 2014 23.28 BST   

A top rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has reportedly said that the armed separatist movement had control of a Buk missile system, which Kiev and western countries say was used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines plane last week.

Alexander Khodakovsky, who leads the Vostok battalion – one of the main rebel formations – said the rebels may have received the Buk from Russia, in the first such admission by a senior separatist.

"That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence," Khodakovsky told Reuters.

Russian news agencies later said people close to Khodakovsky denied he made the admissions. Khodakovsky himself told Life News, a Russian news agency with links to Moscow's security services, that he was misquoted and had merely discussed "possible versions" with Reuters. Khodakovsky said the rebels "do not have and have never had" a Buk.

As two further Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down, apparently by missiles fired from within Russia, Khodakovsky appeared to imply that MH17 was indeed downed by a missile from the Buk, assuming the interview with Reuters is confirmed. He blamed Ukrainian authorities, however, for allowing civilian jets to fly over its airspace when the rebels had such capabilities.

"The question is this: Ukraine received timely evidence the volunteers have this technology, through the fault of Russia," he said. "It not only did nothing to protect security, but provoked the use of this type of weapon against a plane that was flying with peaceful civilians."

Other leaders have repeatedly denied the rebels had a Buk, despite photographic and video evidence of one in the area of the crash last Thursday. There are rivalries and hatred between many of the rebel formations and Khodakovsky is believed to be out of favour with Igor Strelkov, the main commander of the Donetsk rebels.

However, his apparent admission about the Buk chimes with evidence on the ground. This week the Guardian also spoke to witnesses who said they saw a missile-launching system that looked like a Buk drive through Torez, near the crash site, last Thursday, a few hours before the plane was downed.

Khodakovsky said he did not know where the missile system had come from but it may have come from Russia. He added the separatists had seized several Buk systems from Ukrainian bases, but none of them were operational.

"I'm not going to say Russia gave these things or didn't give them," he said, according to Reuters. "Russia could have offered this Buk under some entirely local initiative. I want a Buk, and if someone offered me one, I wouldn't turn it down. But I wouldn't use it against something that did not threaten me. I would use it only in circumstances when there was an air attack on my positions, to protect people's lives."

The apparent admission came as the first bodies arrived in the Netherlands, after a long journey from Torez by train to Kharkiv, and then by plane to the Netherlands. Separatists said they loaded 282 bodies on to the train, but Dutch experts suggested the number actually handed over could be much lower. Monitors at the crash site say there are still human remains lying on the ground.

So far, only monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have visited the site, but in purely reporting function rather than any investigative role.

They were accompanied once by a three-man Dutch forensic team who monitored the transfer of bodies to the train but did not investigate the causes of the crash, and for the past two days by a small Malaysian delegation. There is still no security cordon around the site. The Dutch have taken the leading role in the international investigation, with the Dutch safety board taking charge of the team. On Wednesday, they said unfettered access to the crash site was crucial.

Spokesman Tjibbe Joustra told the Associated Press that around 25 investigators have arrived in Kiev and are analysing information from the crash site, including photographs, satellite images and radar information. However, they have not yet visited the site.

"We haven't yet got guarantees about security for our way of working," said Joustra. "If we go we have to be able to move freely. We hope to be able to get to the site soon."

It is unclear what they are waiting for. The rebels have said they are happy for any investigators to arrive and work at the site, and while the area is unquestionably dangerous given the ongoing military action in the vicinity, it is unlikely to become safer any time soon.

OSCE spokesperson Michael Bociurkiw said his team would do the best they can. "There has been a lot of talk about why there have been so few experts … We again feel that the work that remains to be done should be done by those far better qualified than us, yet in their absence we will continue to do the basic monitoring that we can."

The Dutch safety board also said that early examination of the black boxes from MH17, which have been sent to Britain for decoding, showed no evidence they had been tampered with. The black boxes were handed to a Malaysian delegation earlier this week in Donetsk by the region's self-declared prime minister, Alexander Borodai, who used the occasion to accuse Ukrainian forces of downing the plane.

Also on Wednesday, Ukraine's security council said two of its Su-25 military jets had been shot down, and added that the planes could have been brought down by missiles fired from inside Russia's borders.

"Two of our jets were hit at an altitude of 5,200 metres. According to preliminary information, the missiles were launched from the territory of the Russian Federation," the council said in a statement.

The planes were flying far lower than the altitude above 10,000 metres where MH17 was when it was shot down, but still out of usual range for the Manpad shoulder-launched missiles the rebels are known to possess.

Footage purporting to be from the crash scene of one of the planes showed a group of rebels arriving to find the burning wreckage.

One of them said the pilot had parachuted out before the plane crashed and the men set off to search for him.

***************

Ukraine jets downed near MH17 site by ‘missile from Russia’

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 13:34 EDT

Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down Wednesday in the rebel-held area where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed were hit by missiles fired from Russian soil, Ukraine’s military said.

“According to preliminary information, the rockets were launched from Russian territory,” Kiev’s National Security and Defence Council said in a statement.

The planes came down close to the village of Dmytrivka, some 45 kilometres (25 miles) south-east of the MH17 crash site towards the Russian border, as they were providing air support for government infantry, the statement said.

The security council added that the Su-25 jets were flying at an altitude of 5,200 metres.

Pro-Russian rebels have insisted on several occasions that they were not equipped with weapons capable of hitting targets above an altitude of 2,500 metres.

However, a spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic told AFP its fighters had shot down the two aircraft.

An AFP crew trying to reach the scene were turned back by rebels who fired shots near their car some 10 kilometres from Dmytrivka.

The press office for Kiev’s military campaign against the insurgents had earlier blamed “pro-Russian bandits” fighting in Ukraine for downing the jets.

The pilots from both jets managed to parachute out, it said, giving no further details about their condition.

The downing of the government jets comes just six days after the insurgents were accused of shooting down the Malaysian passenger plane using a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people on board.

Pro-Russian rebels battling government troops in the east had previously taken out a string of Ukrainian military aircraft during their 15-week insurgency.

Kiev alleged last week that an airforce transport plane was shot down from across the Russian frontier while another Su-25 jet was gunned down by a Russian plane.

The rebels have denied that they attacked flight MH17 as it flew at some 10,000 metres, accusing the Ukrainian military of being responsible for hitting the jet.

The latest incident came after a ceasefire was declared by both sides in the immediate vicinity of the Boeing 777 crash site, where Malaysian experts and international monitors were examining the airliner’s wreckage on Wednesday.

Earlier, the first 40 bodies recovered from MH17 were flown out of the government-held city of Kharkiv bound for Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

****************

Ukraine Fighting Rages as EU Mulls Russia Sanctions

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 12:38

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and rebels raged Thursday near the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17, as experts in Britain begin analyzing crucial data from the downed airliner's black boxes.

A Dutch team leading the probe into the downing of MH17 was stuck in Kiev, unable to join a handful of international investigators at the site, after two warplanes were shot down Wednesday just 45 kilometers from the impact scene in insurgent-held territory.

As the EU prepares to hit Russia with further sanctions over allegations it is arming the separatists accused of downing MH17, dozens more bodies are to be flown to the Netherlands, a day after the first 40 corpses arrived in the grieving nation.

Experts say many remains are still lying in the vast crash site where recovery work has grounded to a halt a week after the disaster, with Dutch authorities saying they can only be sure that 200 corpses have been recovered from the 298 people killed on board.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that there was still a need for a rigorous search of the debris zone.

"On the site it is still clear that nothing is happening without the approval of the armed rebels who brought the plane down in the first place," he said.

"There has still not been anything like a thorough professional search of the area where the plane went down, and there can't be while the site is controlled by armed men with vested interest in the outcome of the investigation."

Rebels and government forces have declared a ceasefire in the immediate vicinity of the site, but just beyond, fierce fighting was ongoing.

Ukrainian military said that rockets were being fired "from the Russian side," hitting locations close to Lugansk airport and in several areas in the Donetsk region.

Mortar shells also rained down on Avdiyika in Donetsk region, the army said, without giving details of casualties.

An AFP crew seeking to access one of these combat hotspots Wednesday was turned back by rebels, who fired at their car.

Kiev said the missiles that downed two fighter jets were fired from Russian territory, and that while the pilots ejected safely, there was no information about their whereabouts.

As government troops push on with their offensive to wrest control of east Ukraine's industrial heartland from the pro-Moscow separatists, the Red Cross warned both sides to abide by the Geneva Conventions, declaring that it considered the country to be in a state of civil war.

In Brussels, the EU was looking at punishing Russia, which it accuses of fanning the rebellion in Ukraine's east by arming the separatists.

The bloc said Tuesday it will decide on a list of Russian individuals and entities which it would sanction for providing "material or financial support" to those responsible for the March annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory and destabilizing the east of the country, where MH17 came down.

The rat faced Pig Putin is staring down fresh European sanctions just a week after the last round was unveiled over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, which has seen East-West tensions spike to their highest point in years.

U.S. intelligence officials have said they believe the rebels mistakenly shot down the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with a surface-to-air missile provided by Russia.

British experts succeeded in downloading the data from the black boxes -- handed over by the rebels following intense international pressure -- and are set to start examining the vital contents.

Kiev said the Netherlands and other countries that lost citizens are proposing to send police to secure the crash site, amid reports by international monitors at the scene that debris has been moved increased fears that evidence was being tampered with.

The arrival of the first bodies from the crash in the Netherlands -- which lost 193 citizens -- on Wednesday brought the grief-stricken nation to a standstill, with a solemn ceremony held at the Eindhoven airport before 1,000 bereaved relatives and members of the Dutch royal family.

Dozens more bodies are due to be flown Thursday to the Netherlands, where they would undergo an identification process that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned could take months.

Dutch police have been visiting the bereaved to retrieve DNA samples from items such as hairbrushes, and obtain details of tattoos and fingerprints, as well as consulting medical and dental records to help with the identification.

**************

Russia Calls on U.S. to Show Proof of Missile Claims

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 10:42

A senior Russian official called Thursday on the United States to prove its claims that the Malaysian passenger airliner shot down last week was hit by a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine.

"They've said U.S. intelligence has technical data and satellite photos which show that the missile was launched from rebel-held territory. The question is where is this data", Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in an interview with Russia-24 television.

U.S. officials have in recent days said that satellite and other "technical" intelligence confirmed the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with 298 people on board was hit last Thursday by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by the pro-Russian rebels.

A senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tuesday in Washington that: "It's a solid case that it's a SA-11 that was fired from eastern Ukraine under conditions the Russians helped create."

Washington has accused Russia of supplying pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine with weapons, a charge Moscow denies.

Russian military officials on Monday said their flight records showed a Ukrainian fighter jet was close to the Malaysian passenger airliner just before the Boeing 777 crashed on July 17 and that Kiev was operating radar stations used for missile systems.

Pro-Russian separatists have shot down a number of Ukrainian military aircraft in recent weeks.

**************

Netherlands mourns as bodies of MH17 plane crash victims are flown home

Dutch royals and premier Mark Rutte join relatives at Eindhoven airport to receive 40 coffins arriving from Ukraine disaster site

Philip Oltermann in Eindhoven and Amsterdam
The Guardian, Wednesday 23 July 2014 20.53 BST   

Coffin carried, MH17 victim at Eindhoven, Netherlands
A coffin of a person who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is moved at Eindhoven airbase, Holland.

As the first coffin was lowered from the planes on the runway, silence fell over Eindhoven military airport. The only sound came from a row of flags whipping in the wind at half mast.

Almost a week after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot from the skies above Ukraine, 40 bodies arrived on Wednesday in the Netherlands, the country that bore the heaviest toll in the crash.

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, joined about 1,000 relatives and friends of the victims, who gathered at the airport for a ceremony receiving the two military transport planes.

A lone trumpeter played the Last Post as troops in dress uniform saluted then carried the wooden caskets to a row of hearses. They drove from the airport under military police escort to an army barracks in the central city of Hilversum where forensic experts were waiting to begin the painstaking task of identifying the remains.

Crowds gathered on bridges along the 65-mile route to throw flowers on to the convoy of 40 hearses.

The Dutch government had declared a day of national mourning – the first since the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962 – and at 4.07pm a minute's silence was requested across the country.

Two-hundred and ninety-eight passengers and crew were killed when the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpar was shot down last Thursdaya week today. The Dutch victims numbered 193. In a nation of just 16 million, few have been unaffected by the disaster.

"Holland is a small country. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who died in the crash," said Peter, who was waiting at Schipol airport. "It has completely changed how we look at the conflict in the Ukraine. Everybody talks about it: neighbours, colleagues, relatives."

Some have inevitably described the biggest aviation disaster in Dutch history as "Holland's 9/11" – a misleading term, not least because the Dutch passengers on flight MH17 are not thought to have been targeted deliberately.

And yet, relations between the Netherlands, home to the majority of the victims, and Russia, accused by some of aiding those who carried out the attack, have in recent days become increasingly fraught.

At Schiphol airport, where on the day after the crash there was still a sense of business carrying on as usual, the mood was now different.

The impromptu shrine outside terminal three, little more than a pile of flowers on Friday, had grown into a sea of bouquets, teddy bears and candles. A letter to one of the victims described him as a "kind, gentle and funny person". The card read: "Even in death he's still a better bloke than all of us."

A woman named Miranda said she had come to the airport specially to lay down flowers. She used to live in Asia, she said, and had a lot of friends who regularly flew with Malaysia Airlines. Something in her attitude, and that of friends, towards Russa, had altered over the last week, she said. "At first we were numb but now there are a lot of angry feelings coming up."

In a widely shared article, the writer Bas Heijne criticised his government's "overtly cautious, strangely muted" response to the disaster. The Dutch, Heijne argued, had always defined themselves somewhere on a scale of pragmatism and moralising, "the Dutch merchant and the Protestant preacher".

In recent years the merchant had gained the upper hand; wagging the finger at countries like Russia, many politicians and businessmen warned, only damaged the economy. So the government had done little to defend itself when the evil Pig Putin accused the Netherlands of "promoting paedophilia" or when Dutch Greenpeace activists were arrested for getting too close to a Russian oil platform. "For too long," Heijne wrote, "the Dutch government has coddled the dictator in Moscow."

Other commentators accused Dutch leaders of letting commercial interests get in the way of diplomatic consequences. Last year Russia exported goods and services worth $70bn to the Netherlands. If one country could seriously hurt Putin with trade sanctions, said one analyst in the German newspaper Die Welt, it was the Netherlands.

Frustration with the delayed return of the air crash victims' bodies, and reports in the Dutch media that the crash site had been looted, have affected the country's mood. Where at first there had been calm and composure, there were now also flashes of anger.

Hans de Borst, whose 17-year-old daughter, Elsemiek, died in the crash, wrote an open letter to the stinking PIg Putin and pro-Russia separatists, which he put on Facebook: "Aforementioned misters, I hope you're proud to have shot her, amongst other, young life and future. And that you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning."

Politicians have adjusted their rhetoric accordingly. "All of the Netherlands feels their anger," said Rutte on Sunday, after meeting relatives. "All of the Netherlands feels their deep grief. All of the Netherlands is standing with the next of kin."

Frans Timmermans, the foreign minister, previously hesitant about calling for sanctions, adopted a notably firmer stance at a meeting of ministers in Brussels on Monday: "There is no Dutch blockade of further sanctions. The Netherlands wants the European Union [to make] a united, and also strong, clear, statement against the unrest in eastern Ukraine."

As if to symbolically underline Holland's newfound resolve, the row of flags at Eindhoven airport included a Ukrainian, but no Russian, flag, even though there were no Ukrainian nationals among the victims.

At Schiphol, the Hoogewoud family had stopped off to leave flowers after seeing off their youngest daughter, who was flying to Thailand.

Marloek, the older daughter, said a Spanish friend had sent her a Facebook message after the crash expressing hope that the Dutch government would press charges against the pro-Russian separatists. "But that's not people's first reaction here."

Her father, Ferdinand Hoogewoud, said: "How can we expect politicians in Russia or the Ukraine to take responsibility after two days, when it took the Netherlands two decades to own up to its role in Srebrenica?" Only a day before the MH17 crash a Dutch court had ruled that the government was liable for the deaths of about 300 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia.

"The crisis in the Ukraine used to feel very far away," observed Hoogewoud. "Now it's our problem too. We can't push it away."

*************

British Experts Examine Second MH17 Black Box

by Naharnet Newsdesk
24 July 2014, 13:42

British investigators have started examining the second black box from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine, the transport ministry said Thursday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in Farnborough, southwest of London, is looking at the flight data recorder, which records information from instruments on the plane.

On Wednesday AAIB experts downloaded "valid data" from the first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, which should give them hours of the pilots' conversations.

"They have started examining the Flight Data Recorder," a Department for Transport spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

"The analysis of any data will be done by an international team led by the Dutch."

The boxes -- which are actually orange in color -- were delivered to Farnborough by the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), which is leading an international investigation into the crash in which 298 people died, 193 of them Dutch.

Pro-Russian rebels controlling the crash site handed the boxes over to Malaysian officials on Tuesday, following an international outcry over the treatment of the wreckage and the bodies of the victims.

The OVV said on Wednesday that the data from the cockpit voice recorder data "was successfully downloaded and contained valid data from the flight. The downloaded data have to be further analyzed and investigated".

If the second black box also contains "relevant information" then the data from both boxes will be combined, it said.

The OVV is coordinating investigation teams from eight different countries, including Russia.

Western governments say the evidence points to the Boeing 777 plane having been shot down with a missile by pro-Russian separatists.

**************

MH17 crash site: Australian foreign minister pushes for access

Julie Bishop says negotiations are under way amid reports Australian police and troops may be deployed to area

Gabrielle Chan and agencies
theguardian.com, Thursday 24 July 2014 03.29 BST   

The crash site of MH17 remains under the control of Russian-backed separatists and negotiations for access for international investigators are under way, the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has said.

The Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, and Bishop will be meeting Ukrainian leaders to build on government discussions with a range of leaders over how best to secure the site.

The Australian prime minister’s office refused to confirm reports on Thursday that a federal police taskforce protected by Australian troops could be deployed in days, saying discussions were ongoing.

Bishop and the Australian governor general, Peter Cosgrove, attended a memorial ceremony at Eindhoven air force base to mark the arrival of the first plane carrying the remains of the victims of the air disaster.

Cosgrove said it was important that victims’ remains were received by “their respective nations”.

"There is a long road ahead but now we can care for those taken from us in this unthinkable tragedy, and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Cosgrove said.

"Today I say to Australian mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mates – many of your loved ones are now in friendly arms.”

The Dutch and Australian foreign ministers will meet Ukraine’s leaders in Kiev to discuss the implementation of the UN security council resolution.

Australia’s special envoy, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, will brief the foreign ministers and they will meet the Australian government inter-agency team. There are now 200 Australian officials from various agencies in the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Bishop also met the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, in the Netherlands to discuss progress on the international investigation.

Meanwhile, hundreds gathered at a multi-faith service in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, to pay their respects to those killed in the disaster.

The service brought together religious leaders from across the city to lead prayers for the victims and their families.

The head of the Anglican church in Australia said those left behind deserved to know why their loved ones died.

"From what we know, someone gave orders to destroy MH17. It cannot be true that no one knows what happened," the Anglican primate, Archbishop Philip Freier, told the congregation on Thursday.

Freier said the families faced a frustrating wait to find out if the people who shot the plane down would face justice.

"What might not always be satisfied in this world, will certainly find its true measure in the judgment of God," he said.

Freier said the bodies should be returned so families could grieve and say goodbye properly.

The Victorian premier, Denis Napthine, read a poem by the Dutch-American Henry van Dyke, as candles were lit to commemorate those who died.

Sheikh Moustapha Sarakibi said a Muslim prayer, Hojun Futen gave a Buddhist blessing, and Cantor Bruce Levin sang a Jewish lament.

Malaysia’s consul general, Mohamad Rameez Bin Yahaya, and the Dutch honorary consul, Hans Nieuwland, lit candles as a tribute to the many who died from their countries.

*****************

MH17: Dutch mayor wants Shit Stain Pig Putin's daughter Maria deported

Pieter Broertjes called for 29-year-old to be expelled from the Netherlands in wake of plane disaster but later apologised

Philip Oltermann in Amsterdam, and Shaun Walker in Donetsk
The Guardian,
Wednesday 23 July 2014 13.46 BST   

Dutch frustration with Russia in the wake of the MH17 crash is taking on an increasingly personal note, as some called for the shit stain Pig Putin's daughter to be deported from the Netherlands.

Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of the city of Hilversum, used a radio interview on Wednesday morning to call for 29-year-old Maria Putin, who is said to live in Voorschoten with her Dutch boyfriend, to be thrown out of the country.

More than half of the 298 people killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine last week were Dutch.

Broertjes later apologised for his remarks via Twitter, saying they were "not wise", but adding that "they stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many will recognise".

A plane carrying the first 50 victims of the crash is expected to arrive this afternoon at Eindhoven airport, from where they will be transported to army barracks in Hilversum. The Dutch government has declared Wednesday a day of national mourning and will mark the bodies' arrival with a minute's silence across the country.

Ukrainians living in Holland have also called for a peaceful protest outside the Pig's daughter's flat, according to De Telegraaf newspaper. It published a photograph of the apartment complex where Maria is said to live alongside the article on Monday.

Very little is known about the Russian president's two daughters, Maria and Yekaterina, who are completely sheltered from media attention and have never been officially photographed as adults.

But there have been persistent rumours linking Maria with Dutch citizen Jorrit Faassen. Dutch media claimed that Pig Putin visited the couple last year, something his spokesman denied.

Faassen has held senior roles in the Russian firms Gazprom and Stroytransgaz, a pipeline manufacturer, and hit the headlines when he was reportedly assaulted by the bodyguards of Russian banker Matvei Urin in a road-rage incident in Moscow in 2010. Urin was later arrested and jailed for fraud.

*****************

How harsher sanctions could help Rad Faced Pig Putin turn Russia back into the Soviet Union

By The Conversation
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 13:16 EDT

By Richard Connolly, University of Birmingham

The downing of flight MH17 has caused attention to shift once again to the prospect of even harsher penalties being imposed upon Russia by Western countries. Up to this point, sanctions have been limited to individuals within or close to Russia’s ruling elite, as well as a few associated companies. While these sanctions may weaken support within Russia’s elite for the current course of foreign policy, the effect on economic activity in Russia has been relatively muted.

The most recent discussions among European leaders led to an expansion of the existing list of Russians subject to asset freezes and visa bans. But a decision on whether to apply so-called “third tier” sanctions – that is, sanctions applied to whole sectors of the Russian economy, or export bans on technology that might be used in Russia’s defence or energy sectors – was once again postponed, although this may change if Western countries lose patience with what they consider to be Russian intransigence in Ukraine.

With these discussions ongoing, it is useful to consider what might happen if Europe and the US were to impose an enhanced package of economic sanctions.

Aiming high

A useful starting point is to consider the objectives of Western policy makers in applying sanctions in the first place. The “surgical” nature of sanctions imposed so far suggests that Western governments do not intend to seriously harm Russia’s economy or its people.

Instead, the array of measures so far chosen – focused as they are on individuals and entities with close ties to Pig Putin, his inner circle, and those with direct ties to the conflict in Ukraine – has likely been selected to inflict pain on key members of Russia’s ruling elite, in the hope that this will force them to pressure Putin to change his foreign policy.

This strategy is based on certain assumptions about the nature of Russia’s political system. By focusing sanctions on the elite, Western policy makers are showing that they think it is those at the top, and not the wider electorate, who determine the direction of foreign policy in Russia. Any future escalation of sanctions to encompass Russia’s strategic sectors – defence, energy and finance – might be viewed as a logical step in ramping up pressure on the elite.
Strengthening the regime

But what if “third tier” sanctions have the opposite effect, and instead of weakening elite support for Putin they cause a strengthening of the current regime? This could happen because sanctions have specific distributional effects in oligarchic regimes like Russia, and can serve to bolster the state and enrich politically important individuals and organisations. This could happen if the leadership in Russia decides to use sanctions as an opportunity to transfer economic resources to key political allies.

To illustrate this point, consider how Russia might respond to an embargo on Western defence or dual-use technology to Russia. While existing supply chains would be interrupted, it would offer the leadership the chance to shift more resources to develop domestic industries instead.

This wouldn’t be great from an economic point of view, as it is unlikely that Russia would be able to produce goods as well or as efficiently as Western firms any time soon. But from a political perspective, the diversion of extra resources to the domestic defence industry would create a constituency that would benefit from sanctions. In the context of Russia’s ongoing rearmament programme, this outcome could increase defence industry support for the current leadership.

While this may sound counter intuitive, it is precisely what happened in South Africa after the imposition of the UN arms embargo in 1977. The sanctions were supposed to help end apartheid, but they had the unintended effect of strengthening the country’s manufacturing sector. In particular, the creation of the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR) in response to the embargo proved to be a boon for the ruling regime. Domestic high-technology capabilities were enhanced, and ARMSCOR became a major player in the global arms market. Most importantly, it enabled the regime to secure support from a key constituency that was a direct beneficiary of sanctions.
Going solo?

Major sanctions could lead to something similar happening in Russia’s vital energy sector. It is widely acknowledged that Russia will require access to foreign technology and know-how in the future if is to exploit the geologically harder to reach oil and gas deposits in the Arctic and the Far East. But if sanctions denied this, Russia might opt to expand direct state ownership of the industry, and form partnerships with state-owned companies from friendlier countries (China, for instance) to develop indigenous solutions to existing geological challenges.

Again, this solution would not be as economically efficient as current arrangements to access technology and know-how through joint ventures with the likes of BP and Exxon-Mobil. But those charged with managing an energy industry dominated even more by the state than it is now would arguably become even more powerful, not less.

Taken together, the hypothetical scenarios briefly outlined here would represent a reversal from the path of reintegration with the global economy that Russia has undergone over the course of the last twenty years. Instead, a self-sufficient, quasi-autarkic relationship with the global economy could emerge. Although Russia would remain far more open that it was during the Soviet era, it would be a deeply worrying step backwards for those hoping the country would become an open and active part of the global economy.

From South Africa to Iraq or Zimbabwe, sanctions do not always work as intended. Unless carefully tailored to the situation in Moscow, a policy designed to alter Russian behaviour in Ukraine may instead end up achieving an entirely unintended and undesirable outcome: the strengthening of the current regime, and a reassessment of Russia’s role in the global economy.

 69 
 on: Jul 23, 2014, 10:51 AM 
Started by ari moshe - Last post by rita

Hi Ari and group,
Thank you for the opportunity and i am sorry to have taken so long to complete this work.


SN /Pluto First house in Leo, ruler Sun in Gemini in the 11th house:

Because the SN is in Leo ( SUN), this signature shows that this could be a re-live life situation, and as it is in Leo it would be the individuals need to reject to any voice that tells it what to be,  who it is  and how to act. By rebelling, it has left behind all the past in this and other life times, and has wanted to do it its own way.  Because it is in Leo, it could have to do with children,  by creatively actualizing itself through re doing the same in this life time in a different way, that is by allowing its children´s ideas, values and  personalities to be expressed at its fullest and not want to be the main focus or the captain of the ship at all times.
Let us suppose this is a re-live situation and this individual has come into this life with the need to creatively actualize itself through having children. These children would be raised in a very open and free manner totally different from the individuals upbringing, in a way defying the family traditions and by the choices the individual makes bringing trauma to the family.
Being in Gemini it would show us that for this individual to get its idea across is important. It wants to validate its ideas by communicating its views of life to others and the exchange of ideas with the others is how the individual gets to know what it really resonates to.

This individual periodically will free it self of any shackle that it feels it is impeding its continual self discovery by being show totally detached to any societal values, by feeling totally alienated to most people and seek small groups so as to feel it belongs some where or simply isolating itself from society for periods of time, until it feels compelled for evolution to continue, to venture again into a new adventure in search of it self.
The individual may be attracted to some way of life and will become part of it also not to feel the deep inner feeling of being so different it has.
The Sun in Gemini in the 11th house, indicates that this individual will come into this life totally detached its ideas about itself,  one way or another. It will have confrontations with many people who do not share its points of views or the way it lives its life in order to reinforce the individuals desire to do it own way away from any consensus values. It will also realize that the news it brings are only news and are very subjective to the individuals interests in life, and may not interest others.
Gemini Sun 11th house this individual may have a very practical outgoing nature, bonding easily with like minded groups until different points of views
It will always be getting information that it happily shares with who ever is willing to hear, seeking some form of approval for its ideas, decisions or where it stands in relation to the world. This individual could have always felt very alienated towards its siblings and family,  school may also have been lonely, because it felt so different from those around.
Friends/ siblings /immediate family could feel threatened by the individuals ideas, desires as these desires where perceived by others as crazy/ too forward/ not done….
The need for approval / acceptance or simply being acknowledged, by those the individual cares about gives the Leo SN the security it unconsciously gravitates to for  its security, although deep, deep in its unconscious it knows, it never really feels understood or accepted.

The intent with the North node in Aquarius in the 7th house in relation to Pluto/ South node first house in Leo, and the Sun in the 11 house in Gemini, would imply that the individual has been answering its own questions  surrounding what is life about and where the individual stands in relation to others. The individual would continue what it was already doing which was, to learn through the relationships it forms in its life to listen to the other and to objectify itself and take into consideration the needs of the others. It would also by understanding and listening to the others know when to give and when not to give.
It would also learn objectivity as far as freedom and relationships, realizing that it could have both things, by having a balanced approach to the two things.

namaste
rita

 70 
 on: Jul 23, 2014, 06:02 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Pig Putin’s Crime, Europe’s Cowardice

By BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY
JULY 22, 2014
NYT Editorial

TANGIER, Morocco — IN eastern Ukraine, Pig V. Putin has been playing with fire.

He has mobilized the worst elements to be found in the region.

He has taken thugs, thieves, rapists, ex-cons and vandals and turned them into a paramilitary force.

He has permitted ad hoc commanders of separatist groups to kill or chase off intellectuals, journalists and other moral authorities in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk.

He has watched as a vodka-soaked rabble army destroys or takes over public buildings, hospitals, schools and municipal offices of the country it is pretending to liberate.

He has allowed a veritable gang war to take hold — without caring that he is losing control of the forces that he has unleashed, with rival bands pitted against one another and carving out fiefs amid the growing anarchy.

Most troubling of all: To this underworld without structure or discipline, to these undisciplined louts who know only the law of the jungle, to this new brand of fighting force that has only the dimmest idea of war and no idea, God knows, of the laws of war — to this motley collection Pig utin, the Russian president, gave a terrifying arsenal with which the amateur soldiers were unfamiliar and with which they have been playing, like kids with fireworks.

We know that Russia supplied vast quantities of heavy weaponry to the separatists and trained them to use the SA-11 surface-to-air missile system — the kind believed to have been used to bring down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

One can envision the victorious gang celebrating with its trophy, playing with it as if it were a toy — one that can reach altitudes of over 70,000 feet.

One can similarly imagine Russian military officers — not so secretly assigned by the Kremlin to watch over the missiles and their use by amateur artillery crews targeting Ukrainian military aircraft — being overtaken by events and seized with panic.

One can even imagine their consternation when Igor Strelkov, the self-proclaimed defense minister of the Republic of Donetsk, claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian military plane — which turned out to be Flight 17.

We know what happened.

Whatever the outcome of the eventual investigation — an investigation made well nigh impossible by these dogs of war who follow no creed and no law, who, as they horrified the world by leaving the bodies of their victims abandoned in fields or heaped in poorly refrigerated train cars, as they reveled in their 15 minutes of fame by deploring before the news cameras of the world that the 298 lost souls had had the bad taste to “land” on people’s houses or in reservoirs used for drinking water, were also purloining the plane’s black boxes, organizing the export to Russia of possibly compromising debris, and casually stripping the bodies of objects of value — whatever the outcome of the investigation into all of this, an undeniable result was carnage, a war crime, an attack on Ukraine, the Netherlands and Malaysia all at once.

For all of these reasons, it was hard not to side with Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko — who, it is worth noting, has shown in the terrible days since the crash the qualities of composure, dignity and authority that he exhibited during his campaign for office — when he asked the international community to classify as terrorist organizations the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk.

It is also hard not to agree with Mr. Poroshenko when, several hours after the tragedy, speaking unemotionally and with no trace of hate, he reminded France’s president, François Hollande, that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had been blacklisted by the world for his suspected involvement in a similar attack on a commercial airliner, Pan Am Flight 103, over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988.

Faced with this new Lockerbie, will we in the West do no more than beg Pig Putin to provide “free and complete” access to the crash site and offer “full cooperation” in the recovery of remains?

Have we not a moral obligation to draw logical conclusions about a crime for which, because of his incendiary and irresponsible policies, deeply unworthy of the president of a great power, Pig Putin is, in the end, wholly responsible?

Under the circumstances — with Pig Putin having not yet agreed to back off in Ukraine, much less in Crimea — how can France morally justify its plan to deliver to Russia two Mistral-class warships, now being fitted out in the western port of St.-Nazaire? Do we want them to become the crown jewels of a Russian fleet off Sebastopol and, perhaps, Odessa?

To see the European Union acting so pusillanimously is very discouraging. France wants to hold on to its arms contracts for the jobs they are supposed to save in its naval shipyards. Germany, a hub of operations for the Russian energy giant Gazprom, is petrified of losing its own strategic position. Britain, for its part, despite recent statements by Prime Minister David Cameron, may still not be ready to forgo the colossal flows of Russian oligarchs’ ill-gotten cash upon which the City, London’s financial district, has come to rely.

In European parlance, this is called the spirit of Munich — appeasement. And it is a disgrace.

***************

Russia Starts Reinforcing Naval Fleet in Crimea

by Naharnet Newsdesk
23 July 2014, 11:17

Russia announced Wednesday that it had begun expanding and modernizing its Black Sea fleet based in Crimea with new ships and submarines, just months after annexing the peninsula from Ukraine.

"Today we have started forming a powerful Black Sea fleet with an absolutely different level of air service, coastal missile and artillery troops and marines," said Alexander Vitko, the Black Sea fleet commander, in a message to servicemen.

"We are preparing bases and crews to serve on new ships and submarines."

Vitko said the modernization of the fleet "lays the foundation for the future of the fleet, both in the short term and looking far ahead."

Russia's Black Sea fleet had a base at the historic port city of Sevastopol in Crimea under an agreement with Ukraine before Russia annexed the peninsula in March.

President Pig "I am not a shit stain" Putin said at a meeting with the national security council Tuesday that Russia will bolster its defences to counter the creeping influence of NATO close to its borders.

"It is necessary to implement all of the country's defense measures fully and promptly, including of course in Crimea and Sevastopol, where we have to de facto create military infrastructure from scratch," he said.

Shit stain Pig Putin attended a naval parade there on May 9 Victory Day this year, when thousands crowded the harbour to watch war ships carry out manoeuvrs.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in May that Russia's only warm-water fleet would get new ships and submarines this year.

Russia earlier this month announced plans to develop Sevastopol up to 2030, including building a power station to reduce its dependence on electricity from Ukraine.

It has also announced an ambitious project to build a bridge connecting Crimea to southern Russia.

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