4 Chinese Cities You’ll Want to Get Lost In

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Chinese Cities You’ll Want to Get Lost In

When you travel to a large country, you know that there are countless options for places to visit. Just like in the United States, China is a massive place with a number of major cities that make for excellent stops on your itinerary. If you’re thinking of planning a trip that will take you through the land of the Great Wall, be sure to consider stopping into one of these four cities.

Beijing

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

Of course, with any trip to China, Beijing should be on your “must-see” list. In addition to being a bustling home to 20 million residents and the nation’s capital, the city is also rich in history and centrally located to a number of popular attractions. If your goal is to walk the Great Wall, Beijing is close to some of the best-preserved stretches of the structure. Even if you don’t want to leave the city, you should check out the Forbidden City, a former imperial palace that also has the distinction of being the world’s largest palace.

The city is full of countless museums and historical sites, making Beijing a perfect stop to understand the nation’s rich culture and history. But don’t fall under the impression that Beijing can offer a window into only the past. The 798 Art District is full of modern and quirky pieces ranging from sculptures to paintings. And at night you can head to Nanluoguxiang for a taste of Beijing’s nightlife and foodie culture.

Hangzhou

Credit: gaoshanshan / iStock

If the hustle and bustle of bigger Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing leave you feeling a tad overwhelmed, then dial it back with a more laid-back city like Hangzhou. The southern city is part of the original Silk Road and is best known as a blend of “old world meets new world.” Tourists from China and around the world can enjoy the countless shrines, temples, bridges and pagodas dotted throughout the city and around West Lake.

But Hangzhou is also a popular business destination that has encouraged the metropolitan and tech vibe that can be felt in the newer parts of the city. The city is home to the Alibaba headquarters — the e-commerce platform and Amazon rival. And even if you’re not into the tech world, enjoy a bit of whimsy with the Hello Kitty Park, the only theme park outside of Japan that’s dedicated to that anthropomorphic sweet cat.

Xi’an

Credit: MediaProduction / iStock

History buffs should make sure that Xi’an (pronounced “shee-ahn”) is on their priority list. Xi’an is most famously known for the 1974 archeological discovery of the Terracotta Warriors. The UNESCO site showcases more than 8,000 statues of warriors, horses, and weapons—and that number is still growing as excavators continue to unearth more. Expect to spend about half a day visiting the Terracotta Warriors as they’re located about an hour outside of the city.

If you prefer to stay close to town, Xi’an still has plenty to offer. The city wall closely resembles the Great Wall because it was built within the same time period during the Ming Dynasty. And it is one of the best-preserved defense walls that isn’t part of the Great Wall. For a unique experience, rent a bicycle and cycle on the wall to get a different view of the city.

Lhasa

Credit: iPandastudio / iStock

Depending on who you talk to, Lhasa can be a technicality. According to most travel guides, Lhasa is considered a Chinese city. However, it is located in Tibet and is an important place for Tibetan Buddhists. Regardless of the geography, Lhasa is a high-elevation city (11,647 feet above sea level), so you should plan to spend quite a few days here to give your body time to acclimate and avoid altitude sickness.

China claims 55 of UNESCO world heritages with new elected site

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

China claims 55 of UNESCO world heritages with new elected site

Xinhua
China claims 55 of UNESCO world heritages with new elected site

Imaginechina

Liangzhu Relics Park in Yuhang District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.

China’s Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City were on Saturday inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural site, bringing the total number of the Asian country’s sites on the list to 55.

International delegates congratulated China on the world’s recognition of the exceptional site as a concrete testimony of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization and its unique contribution to world civilization.

Meanwhile, they praised China’s notable performance in the conservation of its world heritages and expressed readiness for strengthened international cooperation in the protection and management of the world heritages.

China claims 55 of UNESCO world heritages with new elected site

Xinhua

The Chinese delegation celebrate during the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan on July 6, 2019.

Cultural treasure of China

The decision to add the Chinese cultural site, located in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage List was approved by the World Heritage Committee at its ongoing 43rd session in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

“It is considered to be a supreme achievement of prehistoric rice-cultivating civilization of China and East Asia over 5,000 years ago and an outstanding example of early urban civilization,” said a report by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the committee’s official advisory body.

Sitting on a plain crossed by river networks in the Yangtze River Basin, the nominated property of Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City includes the archaeological remains of Liangzhu City (3300 BC-2300 BC), which was once the center of power and belief of an early regional state in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River during the Late Neolithic China period.

The property testifies to the existence of a regional state with a unified belief system and supported by a rice-cultivating agriculture in late Neolithic China. It also represents an early urban civilization with complex functions and structures.

“Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City is a major archaeological discovery of China in the 20th century and an important cultural site that witnessed the 5,000-year civilization of the country,” said Liu Yuzhu, head of China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration, at the committee session.

“We are proud that after 25 years of preparation, our efforts have finally led to the successful inscription of this exceptionally important property, which is the most concrete testimony of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization,” said Shen Yang, ambassador and permanent delegate of China to UNESCO, following the announcement of the decision.

“We are keenly aware that the inscription also entails an enormous responsibility for conserving this heritage of humanity,” he added.

Zhou Jiangyong, Hangzhou’s municipal committee secretary of the Communist Party of China, said the Chinese city will spare no effort to “protect and make proper use of the enormous cultural heritage before passing it on to the future generations.”

The Chinese side also pledged continued efforts and strengthened international cooperation in the protection and management of world heritages in China.

China claims 55 of UNESCO world heritages with new elected site

Xinhua

Combo photo shows artifacts excavated from the Liangzhu relic site in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Permanent heritage for world

Attendants at the convention congratulated China on the inscription, commenting on the site’s cultural and historic value as well as its contribution to world civilization.

“We see it as an important heritage site taking into account its historical value and also its contribution to the civilization of mankind, in particular for China, as well as the rest of the world. We are really seeing a great heritage coming to enrich the list of human civilization,” said Edmond Moukala, chief of the Africa Unit of the World Heritage Center.

Moukala highlighted Liangzhu’s universal value, especially in boosting tourism and providing a rich variety of research resources for scholars around the world who are interested in the Liangzhu culture.

He noted that China has been doing an excellent job in protecting its world heritages, which sets a “good example for the rest of the world.”

“We think that Liangzhu will also be an inspiring case study that will help us not only to learn about how to preserve heritages, but also learn how heritages can really provide expertise to our African people. We look forward to collaborating with China and to learning from you,” Moukala said.

Similarly, Anar Karimov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador and permanent delegate to UNESCO, also praised the efforts of the Chinese government and the “overall Chinese perception and vision” to protect heritages for the younger generations.

“We commend the efforts of China and Chinese experts in protecting their heritages. Also, we see the dedication and commitment of local Chinese authorities and Chinese communities to protect and conserve the heritage of Liangzhu and (other heritages) all over the country,” Karimov said.

He also expressed the hope that China would share its experience in protecting world heritages with Azerbaijan.

“We, Azerbaijan, as a young country with relatively less experts and capacity in this field, think that there is much to be learned from our Chinese friends. This is another area where Azerbaijan is willing to work and cooperate with our Chinese partners,” he said.

On Friday, China’s Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf (Phase I) was also inscribed on the World Heritage List as a natural site.

The natural site is located in the Yellow Sea ecoregion, containing the world’s largest continuous mudflat seashore.

It is the central node of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which is the most threatened migratory flyway worldwide and boasts the largest number of endangered and critically endangered species.

The area has a high biodiversity, with about 280 species of fishes and more than 500 species of invertebrates, providing a variety of food resources for millions of migratory birds.

At present, China has 55 world heritage sites, including 37 cultural sites, 14 natural sites and four cultural and natural heritages.

China claims 55 of UNESCO world heritages with new elected site

Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on June 23, 2019 shows a view of Liangzhu relic site in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province.

South Korea: Is Hanjin ‘To Big To Let Fail’ Or Is Failure Exactly What Shipping Industry Needs

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Hanjin Group vows US$90m to help resolve shipping cargo woes

HANJIN Group said yesterday it will inject US$90 million, including US$36 million from its chairman Cho Yang-ho’s personal assets, to help resolve disruptions to container cargo transport caused by Hanjin Shipping Co’s financial troubles.

The move follows South Korean government demands that the parent firm do more to help as Hanjin’s vessels remain stranded outside ports after the company filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

Hanjin Shipping is seeking protection from creditors in dozens of countries, hoping to minimize seizures of its assets. With its assets frozen, its ships are being refused permission to offload or take on containers at ports worldwide, out of concern tugboat pilots or stevedores may not be paid. Out of 141 vessels the company operates, 68 were not operating normally, were stranded or seized, as of Sunday.

The world’s seventh largest ocean shipper, Hanjin Shipping is part of the Seoul-based Hanjin Group, a huge, family dominated conglomerate, or chaebol, that also includes Korean Air.

The Hanjin Group said in a statement yesterday that it will provide its stakes in overseas terminals, such as the one Hanjin operates in Long Beach, California, as collateral to borrow 60 billion won (US$54 million).

That still falls short of the fees that Hanjin Shipping must pay for services it needs to offload cargoes already on its vessels. According to local media reports, that amounts to 600 billion won.

It was unclear if banks or the government might provide more financing to resolve the immediate crisis.

In the meantime, South Korean regulators said they are directing Hanjin Shipping vessels to unload cargoes in a few key ports, including in Singapore and Hamburg, Germany.

With the country’s largest ocean shipper idled and the shipbuilding industry also in crisis, a government task force is directing moves to salvage the container shipping sector, which like ocean shipping worldwide has been battered by weak demand and overcapacity.

“The government is making all-out efforts to minimize damage and loss of consignees,” Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said late Monday. “Korean government-led response teams will be formed in the selected offshore ports to swiftly receive stay orders or guaranteed protection,” Yoo said in Hangzhou where he was attending a Group of 20 summit.

Officials appear set on a consolidation, without committing huge sums of taxpayer cash, of Hanjin and its smaller rival, Hyundai Merchant Marine, which already is being restructured.

Hanjin Shipping was handling nearly 8 percent of the trans-Pacific trade volume for the US market, and with its container ships marooned offshore, major retailers have been scrambling to devise contingency plans to get their merchandise into stores.

The shipping company has posted net losses every year since 2011. Last week, creditors led by the Korea Development Bank rejected a plan by Hanjin Group to spend another 500 billion won to rescue the shipping firm, way short of Hanjin Shipping’s more than 6 trillion won in debts.

Hanjin’s shares rose 20 percent yesterday on hopes for government help for the firm.

China Catching Up With Nations Most Wanted Criminals

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

33 most wanted returned to China

CHINA has brought a third of its list of 100 most-wanted corruption suspects back to the country from overseas, its top anti-graft body said yesterday.

The list of suspects subject to an Interpol “red notice” — the closest thing to an international arrest warrant — was issued in 2014. Since then, 33 of them had been caught, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement.

Over the past two years, since setting up a team to chase graft suspects across the globe, the commission has returned to China 1,915 suspects from more than 70 countries, along with 7.47 billion yuan (US$1.12 billion), it said. It gave no other details.

China has been seeking more international cooperation to hunt down suspects who had fled overseas since the government began a drive against deep-rooted graft almost four years ago.

It has turned to persuasion to get suspects back from countries such as Canada and the United States, where many corrupt officials are believed to have gone.

G20 leaders who attended the recent summit in Hangzhou agreed on a document on cooperation with regard to suspects who had fled abroad.

An important principle in the document was appropriate measures against “safe havens.”

The commission’s Liu Jianchao, director of its international cooperation bureau, said the principles agreed in the document would “help overcome political and legal barriers to treaties on extradition and criminal judicial assistance.”

They will help establish a cooperation system involving law enforcers, prosecutors and diplomats, Liu said.

At an APEC meeting in Beijing in 2014, a declaration on fighting corruption described how extradition, judicial assistance and more flexible legal measures could be used to recover stolen money.

“Compared with that declaration, these principles will have more extensive influence,” said Cai Wei, the bureau’s deputy head.

Many G20 countries are popular destinations for corrupt Chinese officials and the measures should reduce the scope for criminals to hide out there and in the world at large, Cai added.

The document states that members will investigate, prosecute, and refuse entry to individuals sought by law enforcers in other G20 countries while helping one another recover stolen money.

There will be improvements to both public and private sector transparency.

G20 leaders also agreed to set up a research center in China to look at the issue of returning corrupt officials and their assets.

A communique said the center would “be operated in line with international norms.”

Cai said the center would help China’s global efforts to fight corruption. It would be based at Beijing Normal University and experts from other G20 countries would be invited to join and look at issues such as legal mechanisms for extradition.

China’s First Lady Peng, G-20 First Ladies Bring Attention To HIV/AIDS Prevention

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Peace and harmony with Peng

PENG Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, invited the wives of leaders attending the G20 summit to visit the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou yesterday. She invited her guests to write the Chinese character “he,” meaning peace or harmony.

Peng also invited the wives to an anti-AIDS advocacy tour at Zhejiang University in the tourist city.

Peng, a World Health Organization goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, said such activities had been carried out in many Chinese universities to good effect and that the foreign guests’ attendance would have a positive influence.

Peng called on countries to work together in improving the level of HIV/AIDS prevention and the search for a cure.

China’s Actions At G20 Summit Designed To Humiliate President Obama, U.S.

(This article is courtesy of the Washington Post)

Obama’s China visit gets off to rocky start, reflecting current relations

September 3 at 2:29 PM
The problems began as soon as President Obama landed in China.There were no stairs waiting for him to disembark from his usual door at the top of Air Force One.

On the tarmac, as Obama’s staff scrambled to get lower-level stairs in place for him to disembark, White House press photographers traveling with him tried to get in their usual position to mark his arrival in a foreign country, only to find a member of the Chinese welcoming delegation screaming at them.

He told the White House press corps they needed to leave.

A White House official tried to intervene, saying this is our president and our plane and the media isn’t moving.

Obama presses climate issues at G-20 summit in China

President Obama praised the Paris agreement on climate change while meeting with world leaders at the G20 summit in China, but said the plan by itself “won’t solve the climate crisis.” (Reuters)

The man yelled in response, “This is our country!”

The man then entered into a testy exchange with Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, and her deputy, Ben Rhodes, while trying to block them from moving toward the front of the plane.

On what is probably his last visit to China for a G20 summit here, there were flare-ups and simmering tensions throughout— a fitting reflection of how the relationship between these two world powers has become frayed and fraught with frustration. Over the past seven years, that turbulence with China has colored and come to define Obama’s foreign policy at-large in Asia.

On Saturday, several White House protocol officers and other staff arriving at a diplomatic compound ahead of Obama’s meetings were stopped from entering and had heated arguments with Chinese officials in order to get in.

“The president is arriving here in an hour,” one White House staffer was overheard saying in exasperation.

A fist fight nearly broke out between a Chinese official trying to help the U.S. diplomats and a Chinese security official trying to keep them out. “Calm down please. Calm down,” another White House official pleaded.

Twenty minutes before the arrival of Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two sides were still arguing in the room where the two leaders would soon be touting their cooperation. The Chinese insisted there was not enough space for the 12 American journalists traveling with Obama. U.S. officials insisted there was, pointing to a spacious area sectioned off for the media and citing arrangements negotiated long in advance.

For all the skirmishes, in the days leading up to the trip, White House officials gave a much rosier depiction of the US-China relationship, talking up mutual cooperation such as a deal to improve climate change.

But in so many other areas, the world’s two largest economic powers have failed to bridge increasing hostilities and in­trac­table maritime disputes, cyber security, trade and human rights. The yelling and screaming on Saturday in many ways illustrated just how differently both sides view their roles—and how little has changed since Obama’s troubled first visit in 2009.

High hopes turn to pivot

Obama began with high hopes of improving U.S.-China relations. In 2009, he tried reaching out to Chinese leaders with offers of increased engagement. He decided not to meet with the Dali Lama to avoid angering Beijing, to the disappointment of human rights advocates. Obama became the first U.S. president to visit China during his first year in office. But his administration was taken aback by how completely the Chinese controlled all aspects that visit.

“He wasn’t allowed to say much at all,” said Orville Schell, a longtime China scholar who was in China during the visit. “The Chinese kept him from meeting certain people, from taking questions or even radio broadcasts. He didn’t know quite how to respond. He didn’t want to be impolite. It took the U.S. a while to understand that this was the direction China and the relationship was headed.”

Some have blamed Obama for adopting such an overly optimistic and open stance during those early years. For all his outreach, current and former top U.S. diplomats say, Obama got little in return, except the feeling of being burned by Beijing.

But that could be equally attributed to the simple fact that China itself was undergoing a seismic shift during those early years of Obama’s presidency.

When the global recession plunged the world into financial crisis in the late 2000’s, China escaped unscathed. Its leaders looked around and realized for the first time just how much power China had achieved in becoming the world’s second largest economy. And shortly after, they began eagerly throwing that weight around.

No longer were they willing to make concessions or bide their time, from big things, such as territorial claims, down to the nitty-gritty of negotiations over who sits where and says what in diplomatic exchanges.

Obama’s response to this newfound Chinese assertiveness was largely a response to reality. “In a textbook, it would be great to have a strategic vision for how you see things being eight years now,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, Obama’s top Asia adviser during those early years. “But in this case, I think the word ‘reaction’ is right. You had a China that was changing in capacity and leadership.”

If the carrot of engagement didn’t work, the Obama administration decided, they would try the stick. And they gave this tougher policy a name: the “Pivot to Asia.”

The pivot policy boiled down to the idea of turning the attention of the United States away from perpetual problem areas in the short-term such as the Middle East to Asia — an area that will have clear long-term strategic importance in coming years.

Those overseeing the pivot strategy, senior U.S. officials said at the time, had studied other examples in history, where one power was rising while others were declining: Germany’s rise in Europe after World War I; Athens and Sparta; the rise of the United States, itself, in the past century.

Out of those studies, they developed a belief that China would respond best to a position of strength. To find that leverage, the United States planned to forge stronger ties with its traditional allies in Asia and pick up new allies among neighbors alienated by China’s new aggression — including Vietnam, Burma and India.

Using that multilateral approach, the thinking went, the United States could offset China’s rising military power and assertiveness.

Doubts in Asia and among allies

The main problem with the Asia pivot was one of perception and substance.

European and Middle East leaders expressed concern with the idea of U.S. attention and priorities suddenly shifting from their regions to another. Chinese leaders saw the pivot as a U.S. conspiracy to interfere with China’s goals and to slow its rise.

Meanwhile, the very Asian allies the pivot was meant to reassure had their doubts, as well. Many wondered how much of the U.S. pivot was empty rhetoric and how much of it would be backed by economic and military substance.

In recent months, those doubts have resurfaced because the Trans-Pacific partnership — a trade deal Obama cobbled together as a way to reach out to Asian allies — may die for lack of support among Congress and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, in the years since the pivot strategy began, the U.S.-China relationship has soured to its current acrimonious state.

Both countries today are trying to avoid open hostility but are increasingly wary, hedging and frustrated with each other. Other countries in the region continue to fear China’s rise but at the same time are not fully convinced that the United States will be a sufficient counterweight.

The U.S.-China relationship may be the biggest problem Obama’s successor will face in Asia. How he or she deals with it — the exact proportion of carrots and sticks chosen and the Chinese response — will probably define the region in the decade to come.

If this visit by Obama is any indication, the situation is not likely to get better anytime soon.

On Saturday, even as the two presidents finished their talk and prepared for a final nighttime stroll toward Obama’s motorcade. Chinese officials suddenly cut the number of U.S. journalists who could cover them from six to three, and finally to one.

“That is our arrangement,” a Chinese official flatly told a White House staffer, looking away.

“But your arrangement keeps changing,” the White House staffer responded.

In the end, after lengthy and infuriating negotiations, they settled on having just two journalists witness the leaders’ walk.

Neither side was happy with the result.

IMF Urges The G20 Nations Leaders Meeting In China To Grow Some Balls

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Strong action plea to G20 leaders

THE International Monetary Fund is calling on G20 leaders to take much stronger action to boost demand, revive flagging trade, make long-delayed structural reforms to economies and share growth more broadly.

In a briefing note to heads of state of the G20 group of leading economies ahead of their summit in Hangzhou on Sunday and Monday, the IMF said yesterday that they had fallen far behind in their 2014 goals to boost collective growth by 2 percentage points within five years.

It said its research showed the growth of goods and services trade volumes had slowed in most countries since 2012 to half the pace in the two decades to 2007.

“While three-fourths of this drop can be traced to weaker economic activity, notably weak investment, the waning pace of trade liberalization and a recent uptick in protectionist measures have added to the downward momentum,” the IMF said. “Such reductions in global trade can feed back to lower GDP growth.”

It urged the leaders to “make the positive case for globalization” and portray trade as “a tool to improve lives.” It said they should adopt policies to foster innovation and new industries and improve labor mobility.

“It is easy to blame trade for all the ills afflicting a country, but curbing free trade would be stalling an engine that has brought unprecedented welfare gains around the world over many decades,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.

“However, to make trade work for all, policy-makers should help those who are adversely affected through re-training, skill building, and assisting occupational and geographic mobility.” The IMF is nonetheless likely to downgrade its economic growth forecasts further, she said.

The IMF also repeated its view that monetary policy be kept accommodating to fight low inflation and said countries with the fiscal space should pursue needed public investments in infrastructure and support growth by avoiding direct tax increases on consumers. Some should also use public funds to help rebuild financial sector balance sheets.

G20 Summit In Hangzhou China September 4th And 5th

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Police step up security before G20

POLICE in Shanghai have stepped up security at the city’s border with neighboring Zhejiang Province in preparation for the G20 Summit, which is being held in Hangzhou on September 4 and 5.

The number of police officers checking vehicles traveling in the direction of Zhejiang at the city’s 29 highway checkpoints has been significantly increased.

Zhou Zhenzhen, a spokesperson from Songjiang District, said officers will check as many vehicles as possible 24/7 until the end of the summit.

At the Fengjing checkpoint on G60 Hukun Highway in Songjiang, six to seven policemen are on duty on each lane, according to STV news.

Officers search trunks and examine the personal belongings of drivers of private cars, and passengers on tourist buses are asked to submit to bodyscans and luggage checks.

Police dogs stand by to help sniff out suspicious items on trucks.

“We’ll check each and every vehicle in the direction of Zhejiang if traffic is not significantly slowed down by the job, and we’ll check any suspicious vehicles,” Liu Shuwen, an official from Songjiang Police, was quoted as saying in the news story.

Li Hui, a spokesperson for Shanghai Traffic Police, said traffic congestion is inevitable.

Meanwhile, people traveling by ferry from Shanghai ports to Zhejiang are also subject to stricter security measures such as compulsory identity checks, according to STV news.

The average boarding time has increased to 20 minutes from five minutes due to the measures, which are in line with stepped-up security at Shanghai’s airports and railway stations.

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