Mês: abril 2016

Vostochny Cosmodrome First Launch

A firsthand account Alexander Milkus (Komsomolskay Pravda) Thu, Apr 28, 2016 Originally appeared at Komsomolskay Pravda. Translated by Julia Rakhmetova and Rhod Mackenzie This report of the first launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome was written by the editor of the science section of one of the most popular newspapers in Russia … Before this first and probably most important launch over last two decades in Russian space history, I had visited the Vostochny Cosmodrome several times. I slipped on dirty puddles around steel pins that should have been concreted. I saw a cardboard door with a scribbled note from before the visit of a Moscow commission: “Give our salaries back!” Finally, paved roads appeared, a “space” style administrative building, houses for engineers in the town with a new name – Tsiolkovsky. Then a proud mobile service tower that looked like a gigantic nesting box. Finally, workers dirty with mud and paint gave way to people wearing bright vests with insignias of famous space enterprises… Walking around the huge Assembly and Testing Facility where they can assemble and simultaneously prepare for launch four Soyuz rockets, I thought it was sad that the story of such a spaceport started with a series of scandals and jailing of swindlers. I also thought it was good that they didn’t persist in launching the rocket only when everything had been checked for the third time (or...

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Michel Temer

Real Story In Brazil Shown By Next President And Finance Chief   Glenn Greenwald Tue., Apr. 26, 2016     IT’S NOT EASY for outsiders to sort through all the competing claims about Brazil’s political crisis and the ongoing effort to oust its president, Dilma Rousseff, who won re-election a mere 18 months ago with 54 million votes. But the most important means for understanding the truly anti-democratic nature of what’s taking place is to look at the person whom Brazilian oligarchs and their media organs are trying to install as president: the corruption-tainted, deeply unpopular, oligarch-serving Vice President Michel Temer (above). Doing so shines a bright light on what’s really going on, and why the world should be deeply disturbed. The New York Times’s Brazil bureau chief, Simon Romero, interviewed Temer this week, and this is how his excellent article begins: RIO DE JANEIRO — One recent poll found that only 2 percent of Brazilians would vote for him. He is under scrutiny over testimony linking him to a colossal graft scandal. And a high court justice ruled that Congress should consider impeachment proceedings against him. Michel Temer, Brazil’s vice president, is preparing to take the helm of Brazil next month if the Senate decides to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial. How can anyone rational believe that anti-corruption anger is driving the elite effort to remove Dilma when they...

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Crisis in Brazil

Perry Anderson 21/04/2016 The BRIC countries are in trouble. For a season the dynamos of international growth while the West was mired in the worst financial crisis and recession since the Depression, they are now the leading source of anxiety in the headquarters of the IMF and the World Bank. China, above all, because of its weight in the global economy: slowing output and a himalaya of debt. Russia: under siege, oil prices falling and sanctions biting. India: holding up best, but unsettling statistical revisions. South Africa: in free fall. Political tensions are rising in each: Xi and Putin battening down unrest with force, Modi thrashed at the polls, Zuma disgraced within his own party. Nowhere, however, have economic and political crises fused so explosively as in Brazil, whose streets have in the past year seen more protesters than the rest of the world combined. Picked by Lula to succeed him, Dilma Rousseff, the former guerrilla who had become his chief of staff, won the presidency in 2010 with a majority nearly as sweeping as his own. Four years later, she was re-elected, this time with a much smaller margin of victory, a 3 per cent lead over her opponent, Aécio Neves, the governor of Minas Gerais, in a result marked by greater regional polarisation than ever before, the industrialised south and south-east swinging heavily against her, and the north-east delivering an...

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Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin?

The latest hot topic in the Russian media. Russian politicians are talking about it. Historical precedent and behavior of Western media suggests that they are The Saker Fri, Apr 22, 2016 A major topic in the Russian media is mystification with how Putin is portrayed in the Western media. Wildly popular at home, and seen as a decent, modest, an admirable person, and Russians don’t understand how there can be such a disconnect with Western impressions. Recently, leading Russian commentators and politicians have been suggesting that this can only be explained by a deliberate campaign to defame Putin, by governments or other groups. Yesterday, at a briefing to foreign journalists, Sergey Ivanov, Putin’s chief of staff, arguably the 2nd most powerful man in Russia, spoke of an “information war” consisting of “personal attacks” on Putin. The day before another member of Putin’s inner circle, Vyasheslav Volodin, made similar remarks, telling foreign journalists “an attack on Putin is an attack on Russia.” The logic, they argue, is that by defaming the leader of a country, you weaken his power domestically by undermining popular support for him, and internationally, by rallying popular opinion to support policies against that country.  The ultimate goal, they argue, is to weaken the country itself. They also talk about regime change. They argue that if one looks at the facts, that there is evidence of ongoing character assassination which...

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The Brazilian Economy

Brazilian waxing and waning Apr 18th 2016, BY THE DATA TEAM IN THE past few years Brazil’s economy has disappointed, and then some. It grew by 2.2% a year, on average, during President Dilma Rousseff’s first term in office in 2011-14, a slower rate of growth than in most of its neighbours, let alone in places like China or India. Last year GDP shrivelled by 3.8%, and is expected to shrink again in 2016. Household consumption has registered the first drop, year-on-year, since Ms Rousseff’s left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) came to power in 2003. At the same time, public spending has surged. In 2014, as Ms Rousseff sought re-election, the budget deficit doubled to 6.75% of GDP; it has since swelled by another four percentage points. And now Ms Rousseff is facing her greatest challenge yet: on April 17th the lower house of Congress voted to start impeachment proceedings against her over accusations of accounting trickery to hide the true size of the budget deficit. This year is likely to be the third in a row when the government fails to set aside any money to pay back creditors: the target for the primary surplus, which excludes interest owed on debt, has been cut from an unambitious 0.5% to basically nought, and the government is trying to leave itself room to post another primary deficit. Brazil’s gross government debt of...

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