As Siberia burns, Russia chokes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

As Siberia burns, Russia chokes

Fighting a wildfire in Siberia. From Euronews’s YouTube video “Лесные пожары не тушат из-за экономии средств

An immense forest fire has hit Siberia, where Buryatia, Yakutia, and the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions are ablaze. According to Greenpeace Russia, over four million hectares are burning, an area larger than the size of Belgium. The vast boreal forests sometimes called the “lungs of the northern hemisphere” are at risk.

For nearly two weeks, photos have spread across the Runet of flaming forests, as well as satellite imagery showing the extent of the blaze, accompanied by the hashtags #сибирьгорит (“Siberia is burning”), #гориттайга (“the Taiga is burning”), #потушитесибирь, (“Extinguish Siberia”) and #мирспасисибирь (“World, Save Siberia!”)

Commentators are angry that local authorities did not start to fight the fire sooner. While forest fires are no rarity in Siberia, climate scientists stated that this year’s fires spread particularly aggressively due to a combination of strong winds and the unusually hot summer. The sluggishness in tackling them could also be explained by the fact that the fires first broke out in remote areas.

According to Alexander Uss, governor of the Krasnoyarsk Region, it is impractical to fight fires in such remote regions. Uss added, during a lecture at a youth forum at a Siberian university on 29 July, that the forests were “self-replenishing,” that forest fires were “a common natural phenomenon,” and that fighting them is “meaningless and can even be harmful to try.”

But there is no fire without smoke. In recent days, that smoke has drifted well beyond Siberian cities such as Novosibirsk and Tomsk, where medical personnel have reported a rise in ambulance calls and patients with high blood pressure due to air pollution. Residents as far west as Tatarstan and as far south as Kazakhstan have also reported breathing difficulties; they are sharing images of thick smog in their regions over Instagram. Others are sharing selfies in which they wear breathing masks bearing the words “Siberia Burns.”

One user shared the experience of her relatives living in a town in the Irkutsk region:

говорила сейчас с сестрой, она живет и работает в Усть-Илимске. дышать там нечем совершенно, все сидят в закрытых квартирах с увлажнителями воздуха и терпят. я не нашла информации по погибшим (а в пожары городские люди часто гибнут не от огня, а от сердца, вспомните пожары в Центральной России 2011 года. но умирающие от сердца на счет пожара и совесть властей не пойдут)

I just spoke with my sister, she lives and works in Ust-Ilimsk. It’s really impossible to breathe there; everyone’s sitting locked up in their apartments with air humidifiers and suffering. I haven’t found any information on victims (and during fires, city dwellers often don’t die from the flames but from heart [complications], remember the fires in Central Russia in 2011.

— Oksana Vasyakina, Facebook, 29 July 2019

Another gave a chillingly clinical account of what awaits residents in such places:

Населённые пункты на запад от горящих лесов поглотил густой дым. Люди дышат токсичными продуктами горения. Наверное, вы знаете, что, когда пожарные входят в горящий дом, на них надеты специальные маски, чтобы они не задохнулись от угарного газа. По этой же причине во время пожара в помещении рекомендуется дышать через мокрую тряпку. Но это делают, когда горят только здания, из которых можно выбраться и начать дышать свежим воздухом, а сейчас пламенем охвачены гигантские лесные массивы, а смог от этих пожаров распространяется на тысячи километров. Людей до сих пор не начали эвакуировать, из-за этого они сильно пострадают. […] Многие последствия могут проявляться не сразу, а через несколько недель. Это бомба замедленного действия.

Populated places to the West of the burning forests are enveloped in a thick fog. People are breathing the toxic emissions from the fire. You probably know that, when firemen enter a burning house, they wear special masks so they don’t suffocate from carbon monoxide. That’s the reason why it’s recommended to breathe though a damp cloth in case of fire. But that’s done when a single building is burning, from which you can escape and start to breathe fresh air. But now the flames cover gigantic forests, and smoke from these fires spreads over thousands of kilometres. People still haven’t begun to be evacuated, so they’re seriously suffering. […] Many of the symptoms don’t manifest immediately, but after several weeks. It’s a slow-acting bomb.

— Александра Кукулина, Facebook, 28 July 2019

The St Petersburg based Buryat journalist Alexandra Gamarzhapova reflected on the crisis in her home region:

Больше 3 млн га леса прямо в эти минуты горит в Сибири. В моей родной Бурятии введен режим ЧС.

Мы привыкли, что людям в общем-то друг на друга плевать (чиновников, которые отказывается тушить пожары, терпим мы с вами), но звери-то и леса тут причем?

Сотни тысяч животных гибнут сейчас, потому что человек говорит, что тушить пожары дорого.

Я присоединяюсь ко флешмобу #сибирьгорит и верю, что если нас, неравнодушных, будет миллионы, власти начнут борьбу с огнем.

P.S. За виртуальные флешмобы пока не сажают, так что присоединяйтесь.

More than three million hectares are burning in Siberia this very minute. A state of emergency has been introduced in my native region of Buryatia.

We’re used to people not giving a damn about each other (to those officials who refuse to put out the fires: we suffer with you), but why do the animals and the forests have to suffer?

Hundreds of thousands of animals are dying right now, because one man said that it is too expensive to put out the fires?

I’m joining the flashmob #Siberiaisburning and believe that if there are millions of us who are not indifferent [to this], the authorities will start fighting the fire.

P.S. They don’t jail people yet for virtual flashmobs, so come and join.

— Alexandra Garmazhapova, Facebook, 30 July 2019

Those are just a few reasons why Alexander Uss is probably the least popular man in Russia right now. They’re also why 780,000 people, as of 31 July, signed an online petition demanding that the government introduce emergency status across Siberia.

Nevertheless, Uss’s statements did have a legal basis. As the Russian daily Vedomosti noted, many of the remote areas where the fires broke out are “control zones,” a term introduced in 2015. Due to their distance from settlements and key infrastructure, local authorities are not obliged to fight forest fires in these areas, which saves them money and resources. But Grigory Kukshin of Greenpeace Russia told Sibir.Realii that many of the control zones are far from uninhabited, and that nearly 90 per cent of Russia’s forest fires last summer occurred in such areas. The State Duma, Russia’s legislature, is now considering a review of “control zones.”

So the authorities are beginning to respond to public demand; on 29 July, Rosleskhoz, Russia’s state forestry agency, reported that military units and planes had started to put out the blaze. But it seems to be too little, too late. As was the case during recent floods in Siberia’s Irkutsk region, Russian commentators are already linking the government’s response to broader questions of accountability and state-society relations. This was not helped by president Vladimir Putin’s earlier offer of support to Greece to combat forest fires on 24 July.

Importantly, many of the regions affected already suffer from ecological problems, meaning that existing eco-movements (such as Krasnoyarsk’s “Clear Sky” movement against air pollution) have played an important role in mobilising locals to make their voices heard.

So the idea that fighting forest fires is “economically unprofitable” resonates with people who suspect this is just how the government sees their prior problems. In fact, the phrase has become a meme in its own right, in a similar spirit to Dmitry Medvedev’s words “there’s no money but you hang in there,” which the Russian prime minister said to pensioners in Crimea in 2016.

They tell us that it’s not profitable to extinguish the Krasnoyarsk taiga. And what about paying the multi-million salaries of [Igor] Sechin, [-] Miller, [-] Kostin; is that profitable? Or, perhaps, the construction of a new residence for [Russian Orthodox Patriarch] Kirill for nearly three billion rubles; is that profitable? Have all of you over there in Moscow completely lost your minds? Have you forgotten who saved your asses from the clutches of the fascists in December 1941? We, the Siberian people, demand a full-scale operation to extinguish [the fires] in our forests, using all the forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and Ministry of Defence.

— Nikolai Salnikov, Ekho MoskvyJuly 27, 2019

Similarly, libertarian activist Mikhail Svetov, who runs a popular YouTube channel, linked discontent over the forest fires to other causes of public concern:

It’s not profitable to extinguish the taiga. But it is profitable to spend 216 billion on supporting the national guard. It is profitable to poison children with landfills and send toxic waste to Shiyes. As we go out to defend Russia and our future, they fight for the right to ravage our country.

— Mikhail Svetov (@msvetov) July 27, 2019

True to form, some Runet users turned tragedy to farce with their acerbic wit:

It’s unpatriotic to say “forest fires.”
As everybody knows:
It’s not an explosion, but a ball of cotton
Not an aviation catastrophe, but a hard landing
Not miserable poverty, but negative income growth
That’s why these are not forest fires, but a smoke screen against NATO spy satellites

— Проф. Преображенский (@prof_preobr), July 30, 2019

Russia says terror attack foiled at WWII memorial march attended by Netanyahu

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Russia says terror attack foiled at WWII memorial march attended by Netanyahu

Moscow official says Siberian terror groups stockpiled weapons to use at massive Victory Day event; police arrest 20 in connection to plot

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin seen during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, on May 9, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin seen during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, on May 9, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

MOSCOW — Russian intelligence foiled a terror attack on this week’s massive Victory Day memorial march in Moscow, a top Russian diplomat said on Friday.

About 1 million people marched through central Moscow on Wednesday in the annual Immortal Regiment rally, carrying pictures of family members killed in World War II. President Vladimir Putin and visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the march on May 9, the day when Russia marks the end of the war.

Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said in an interview with the Tass news agency on Friday that several terror groups in western Siberia had stockpiled weapons for the attack. Twenty people have been detained and 17 homes were searched as part of the investigation, he said.

The announcement came as Russia is gearing up to host the World Cup next month.

Russia’s top intelligence agency last month reported the arrests of men suspected to have links to the Islamic State group in Siberia and the Moscow region. The FSB agency said four members of the suspected IS “sleeper cell” were detained in the Moscow region after they traveled from Novy Urengoi, an oil town in western Siberia. The FSB said they plotted attacks in Moscow and were receiving orders from IS members in Syria via a messaging app.

Oil and gas-rich western Siberia has for decades attracted workers from all over Russia, including the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus.

Russia has been providing air cover for Syrian President Bashar Assad since 2015, while thousands of its own citizens went off to Syria to join IS in fighting against Assad’s government.

READ MORE:

Neanderthals And Denisovan’s Were Mixing With Homo Sapiens

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Neanderthals, Denisovans and our ancestors were mixing and mingling a long time ago — and some of our genetics can be traced back to these archaic humans.

In Asians, as much as 3% of an individual’s DNA may be Neanderthal. For Europeans, it’s as much as 2%. A new study has found that our ancestors interbred with two distinct Denisovan populations, increasing the probability of the presence in modern populations of DNA inherited from this ancient and mysterious people.
The study, using a new genome-analysis method to compare whole genomes of humans with Denisovans, was published in the journal Cell on Thursday.
“It is amazing that we can look into human history via current-day human genetic data, and determine some of the events that happened in the past,” study author Sharon Browning wrote in an email. Browning is a research professor with the University of Washington’s Department of Biostatistics.
“In particular, in this study we found two distinct episodes of Denisovan admixture, which adds to what was previously known about the contribution of Neanderthals and Denisovans to our genomes today.”

Denisovans pose questions

Denisovans pose particular questions for scientists because researchers have only a few bones that even point to their existence: a finger bone, toe bone and a couple of teeth. Fossilized DNA sequenced from those bones, recovered in Siberia, has allowed us to learn more about them. But we still don’t know what these extinct hominins looked like.
Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA was sequenced completely for the first time in 2010, which led to the initial discovery that they were interbreeding with our ancestors. Studies found that the population of Oceania and Papua New Guinea received the most DNA from Denisovans, around 5%.
Fifty thousand years ago, as modern humans moved out of Africa, they encountered Neanderthals and Denisovans, and the “admixing” happened. But pinning down exactly where it happened has proved difficult.
It was especially puzzling given that the fossils were found in Siberia, but Denisovans are most strongly connected to Oceania.
Denisovan ancestry was also present in Asia, although researchers believed that this occurred through migration from Oceania.
Comparing the Denisovan genome to that of 5,600 Europeans, Asians, Americans and Oceanians painted a different picture.
The data showed that Denisovans were even more closely related to modern East Asians, specifically Han Chinese, Chinese Dai and Japanese, than those from Papua New Guinea. And this second set of Denisovan ancestry was different from Oceanians and Papuans.
“It makes it clear that there were distinct populations of Denisovans, rather than a single population,” Browning said. “The fact that these populations had diverged somewhat from each other suggests that the two populations were not mixing very often with each other, perhaps due to geographical separation.”
A possible explanation is that our Oceanian ancestors encountered a southern group of Denisovans, while East Asians met a northern group.
“(This) led people to suspect that Denisovans did not just live in Siberia, but also lived elsewhere in Asia, somewhere south along the likely routes that the ancestors of Oceanians may have taken to get to Oceania,” Browning said. “This study makes this hypothesis look very likely.”
This could also mean that there were more than two distinct episodes of Denisovans mixing with modern humans, which Browning believes future analysis could reveal.
“A major novel finding is that some populations (East Asians) have evidence of multiple introgression related to Denisovans while a few others (South Asians, Papuans) have evidence of a single Denisovan introgression,” Sriram Sankararaman said in an email. “The Denisovan ancestry in South Asians is quite diverged from the sequence Denisovan while the additional component in East Asians is quite close. This suggests a complex interaction pattern of the Denisovans and modern human populations in mainland Asia.”
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Sankararaman, who was not involved in the study, has worked on Denisovan research and is an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the department of computer science and the department of human genetics.
Going forward, Browning and her colleagues plan to study other populations to look for signatures of admixture with archaic humans besides Neanderthals and Denisovans.
“I’d love to delve further into Neanderthal ancestry, and understand why East Asians have a higher rate of Neanderthal ancestry — around 3% — compared to Europeans — around 2%,” Browning said.
“It has been hypothesized that the extra Neanderthal ancestry in East Asians is due to an additional admixture event, but we didn’t find a clear sign of that in our study. That doesn’t rule out this possibility — we might need to dig a little deeper to find it.”

(Philosophy/Poem) Donald Trumps Version Of Freedom Of Speech?

Donald Trumps Version Of Free Speech?  

 

 

This poem is just jive talk so don’t take it seriously folks

 

Freedom of speech, of course you all have it

That is, as long as you always totally agree with me

If you dare not agree with every word that I speak

My toy dog Jeffro will lock you in one of his prisons for profit

So don’t dare open your mouth and disagree with your King

 

 

You say I am a leftist dictator, yet I know I know always right

Christian people you say you love the Republican right

Just learn to keep your mouths shut and do what I say

Then we can starve the poor and take their health coverage away

This is still the land of the free as long as I hold all the keys

 

 

Is America still really the home of the profitable wars

I say it is, as long as you keep all the profits flowing to me

George and Dickies friends made billions from illegal unholy wars

I’ll stay here on My Throne being worshiped by Congressional whores

 

Freedom or speech, I can say what so ever that I please

I grant it to you little people but don’t you dare displease me

Just be sure to be on your knees as you’re kissing feet and my ring

Disagree, then my brother XI or Vladdy’s Mongolia or Siberia you’ll see

John McCain Says U.S. Global Leadership Was Better Under Obama Than Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

John McCain Says U.S. Global Leadership Was Better Under Obama Than Trump

11:20 AM ET

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said in a new interview that America’s standing in the world was better under former President Barack Obama than it is now under President Donald Trump.

McCain, Obama’s 2008 opponent who remained a vocal critic during his presidency, asked by The Guardian whether U.S. standing in the world was better under Obama. “As far as American leadership is concerned, yes,” McCain said.

He was also critical of Trump’s Twitter attacks against London Mayor Sadiq Khan following the recent terrorist attack in the city.

Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!

McCain said Trump sent the message to the United Kingdom that, “America does not want to lead.”

 

“They are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica,” McCain said.

Boris Godunov: Russian Czar From 1598-1605; Lived From 1551-1605

(THIS ARTICLE CAME FROM GOOGLE PLUS)

Boris Godunov – Russian Czar
Boris Godunov - Russian Czar
Boris Godunov – Russian Czar

Boris Godunov was born in about 1551 and was one of the transitional figures in a nation’s history who keeps the machinery of state running in times of crisis. Godunov first came into prominence as one of the apparatchiks of Ivan IV (the Terrible), who helped that czar organize his social and administrative system.

This must have also clandestinely involved operating the oprichnina, the secret state police that Ivan used to keep his realm in a state of terror. The oprichniki, as they were called, used to ride through Russia with wolves’ heads tethered to their saddles to frighten the population into submission.

Ivan IV died in 1584 at the height of his power, having carried on a long correspondence with none other than Queen Elizabeth I of England. In the year after his death, the Cossack Yermak died in Siberia, but not before starting the massive Russian drang nach osten (drive to the east) that would take the Russians to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

There they established the city of Vladivostok. When Ivan died, his son Theodore succeeded him to the throne as Theodore I. Theodore charged Boris with leading the Russian counterattack again Kuchum, the Siberian khan who had killed Yermak. Under Boris’s firm military hand, the Russians built two fortified trading posts at Tobolsk and Tyumen to guard their new frontier in Siberia.

Theodore’s younger brother, Dimitri, died in 1591, and Theodore followed him in 1598. Whatever scruples the Russians may have had in the deaths of Ivan’s two sons, they were willing to sacrifice everything on the altar of expediency.

Caught between a hostile Poland and Ottoman Turkey, they needed a strong man in the Kremlin to guide the affairs of the state, and Boris seemed the most likely candidate. Any doubts about Boris’s suitability to rule had been washed away in the year of Dimitri’s death. In that year, a vast horde of 150,000 Tartars swept out of the Crimean Khanate.

Khan Ghazi Gerei II was determined to destroy Russia before it could attack the Crimea. On July 4, 1591, outside Moscow Boris met the Tartars with a fraction of the Russian army. The muskets and artillery held by Boris and his commander, Prince Theodore Mstislavsky, wreaked terrible slaughter as thousands of Tartars were killed or wounded. The next day, Godunov and Mstislavsky launched a furious pursuit of the panicstricken Tartars, marking the beginning of the decline of the Crimean Khanate.

To the Russian people, Boris was obviously the man to lead them, and he was raised to be czar by the Russian Great Assembly in February 1598. Constantly insecure on his throne, Boris feared one family among the boyars—the Romanovs. Ivan IV’s first wife, Anastasia, had been a member of the Romanov family and had been the wife of Theodore I.

With the death of Theodore I, the Riurik dynasty became extinct, and the Romanovs had an excellent claim on the throne. In June 1601, Boris moved against the Romanovs, taking their lands and banishing them from Moscow. He continued efforts to modernize the medieval Grand Duchy of Muscovy into the Russian empire. The Russian Orthodox Church was formally organized, and Boris continued a policy of peace in the west.

In 1604, Boris faced a new danger. A challenger to the throne, known as the False Dimitri, appeared, supported by the Poles, who were determined to weaken the growing Russian state. Dmitri claimed to be the son of Ivan come back to claim his father’s throne. People rallied to him.

The Cossacks, always looking for an opportunity for a good fight and loot, joined his cause. In spring 1604, Boris’s brother and minister of the interior, Simeon, led a force against the Cossacks. However, he was defeated by them and sent back with the message that the Cossacks would soon enough arrive with the real czar—Dimitri.

In November 1604, Dimitri committed a grave tactical mistake. Rather than pressing on to take Moscow, he committed his army to the prolonged siege of the city of Novgorod Seversk. The commander of Novgorod Seversk, Peter Basamov, managed to defeat all attempts to take the town. On January 20, 1605, battle erupted.

None could make headway against the closely mustered musketeers and artillery of Boris’s army. However, in a major tactical blunder, the leaders of Boris’s relief army squandered their victory. Rather than pursue the enemy into the steppes, they instead decided on punishing the cities that had sworn allegiance to the false czar.

Suddenly in April 1605, Czar Boris died; many suspected he had been poisoned. In May 1605, Peter Basamov, the defender of Novgorod Seversk, swore allegiance to Dimitri. With Peter’s support, Dimitri entered Moscow in triumph. Both Dimitri and Basamov would be killed. Foreign invasion and internal dissent continued to tear apart the Russian state.

22 Die, 3 Rescued In MI-8 Helicopter Crash Landing In Russia’s Siberia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

22 die, 3 rescued in MI-8 helicopter crash landing in Russia’s Siberia

TWENTY-TWO people died and three others were rescued after an MI-8 helicopter crash-landed in Russian Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula due to poor weather conditions.

The two black boxes of the ill-fated helicopter have been found by rescue teams in Russia’s northwestern Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region in Siberia.

The injured have been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

“Both black boxes have been found – a flight data recorder and a voice recorder. After investigative procedures, they will be sent for decryption,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quoted a source from Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsia) as saying.

The source also said there were 22 passengers and three crew members aboard when the helicopter made the crash landing. One of the three injured survivors called the emergency department with a mobile phone.

Local emergency department has dispatched the first search and rescue team of 140 people to the site of the accident.