Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beyond oil and reserves, Russia running on empty

MOSCOW (Reuters) - For all the sanctions Western leaders can throw at Russia, the biggest threat to President Vladimir Putin's ability to back separatists in east Ukraine is something beyond his or their control: the price of oil.

    With Russia's $2 trillion economy heavily dependent on crude exports, oil prices are always closely monitored by the Kremlin, but the government is particularly wary now as tensions with the West mount and sanctions ratchet up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tùy bút: Chỉ còn là kỷ niệm _T/g Điệp Mỹ Linh

Tưởng nhớ hai em – Nguyễn Phiêu Linh, Hồ Quang Trung – và kính tặng tất cả Cựu SVSQ/TB/TĐ khóa 6/68 và khóa 4/68

Dù ngày xưa bạn cùng lớp đã “xầm xì” rằng “hắn” hoạt động cho Việt Cộng, tôi cũng không tin; vì – với trí óc non nớt của một nữ sinh trung học cùng với bản tính ngay thẳng, lương thiện – tôi nghĩ, nếu “hắn” thích Việt Cộng thì “hắn” ở lại ngoài Bắc chứ “hắn” theo gia đình di cư vào Nam để làm gì!

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

Bank of Moscow

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. and European sanctions against Russia's energy and finance sectors are strong enough to cause deep, long-lasting damage within months unless Moscow persuades the West to repeal them by withdrawing support for Ukrainian insurgents.

Thai junta sets plan for fast rail links to China

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's military government approved a massive budget to upgrade the country's railways including high-speed rail that would eventually link with China as part of an eight-year plan to improve infrastructure, officials said Wednesday.

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided the effort as a stunt aimed at tossing political red meat to conservative voters.

Israel's 'Iron Dome' contractors reportedly hacked by China

Three of the defense contractors who built Israel's "Iron Dome," a shield that protects Israel from missiles, have been hacked by China, according to cybersecurity firm Cyber Engineering Services, Inc. (CyberESI).

Krebs on Security reports that "huge quantities" of documents about the Iron Dome's technology were stolen, and more than 700 files in all were compromised. The attacks are reported to have occurred between October 2011 and August 2012, but they had not been publicized prior to this week.

3 Putin allies among 8 hit with new EU sanctions

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle for the first time Wednesday for the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine, subjecting three of his long-time associates to EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Europe's Nightmare Coming True: America vs. Russia...Again

By Dmitri Trenin

Russia is learning to live in a new harsh environment of U.S.-led economic sanctions and political confrontation with the United States. More than five months after the change of regime in Kiev, which ushered in a new era in Moscow's foreign policy and its international relations, a rough outline of Russia's new security strategy is emerging. It is designed for a long haul and will probably impact the global scene.

Putin may have passed point of no-return over Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin risks becoming an international pariah over the Ukraine crisis but the Russian president is battening down the hatches for the gathering economic and political storm.

The United States and the European Union saw the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as a chance for Putin to distance himself from pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine and seal the border across which they say arms are reaching the rebels.

The Wake-Up Call: Europe Toughens Stance against Putin

A column of hearses leaves an airbase in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, carrying the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash.

A column of hearses leaves an airbase in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, carrying the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash.

It took the shooting down of a Boeing jet carrying almost 300 people before the EU agreed on the first true economic sanctions against Russia. The Americans want further action, but it is impossible to know if punitive measures can sway Vladimir Putin.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cờ Vàng bay trên đỉnh núi Phú Sĩ 3,776m _T/g Lê Văn Minh HQ21



Sino-Russian Entente Would Move the World a Step Closer to 1914

This piece also appears in the South China Morning Post

Artyom Lukin says the U.S. policy of containment is pushing China and Russia ever closer to forming a powerful anti-Western alliance, greatly raising the possibility of a Third World War

VLADIVOSTOCK -- Whereas the first two world wars broke out and were fought mainly in Europe, the Third World War, if it is not avoided, will most probably erupt in the Asia-Pacific region.

Quite a few scholars and political leaders have found striking similarities between what took place in Europe before the First World War and what we are now witnessing in Asia. The current security situation in the Asia-Pacific -- with competing sovereignty claims, the rise of nationalism among both major and lesser countries, and great power rivalry -- increasingly resembles Europe a century ago.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Từ Giã Thơ Ngây - Như Mai

Từ giã thơ ngây em đi lấy chồng
Người ấy hay tin có buồn lắm không

Colorado River Groundwater Disappearing at 'Shocking' Rate

Colorado River Groundwater Disappearing at 'Shocking' Rate
A ring of light-colored rock shows how much the water level has dropped at Nevada's Lake Mead.

As the Southwest's drought has worsened in the last decade, making surface water scarce, millions of people are drawing more heavily on underground water supplies. The water is coming out faster than it's being replenished, a new study finds.

Between December 2004 and November 2013, more than 75 percent of the water lost in the Colorado River Basin was from groundwater, according to the study. The region has been in a drought since 2000, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ukraine Moves to Ban Communism :-)

As tensions between Ukraine and Russia hit peaks during the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 investigation, a court in Kiev has decided to ban Communism. The court held a hearing today in order to request that the government ban the Communist Party of Ukraine.

The Justice Ministry is arguing for the ban by saying the party supports the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern region. On July 8, a motion was filed accusing the Communist Party of aiding the rebels with money, weapons, and political motives. The Communist Party also backed the much contested "independence" referendum in eastern Ukraine.