Dec 14

- Sleepy Hollow in Kazakhstan: Villagers suffer from unknown brain-affecting disease (RT, Dec 14, 2014):

Every tenth villager of Kazakhstan’s Kalachi has unexpectedly fallen asleep in broad daylight – some unable to wake up for several days. Despite numerous attempts to find the cause of the inexplicable disorder, the Sleepy Hollow riddle remains unsolved.

Over 600 residents of Kalachi village in Kazakhstan’s north may have never read Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or watched the popular American TV series or film – but they do refer to their homeland as “Sleepy Hollow,” as everyone here is scared of an indiscriminate illness that has no cure.

People in Kalachi have been suffering from the “sleep epidemic” – as they call it – for the past couple of years. Everyone in the village has a family member or a friend who’s fallen asleep for no apparent reason, with over 100 people having experienced it by now – some more than once – according to locals. Continue reading »

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Nov 08

Putin111

- Putin Signs Secret Pact To Crush NATO (Casey Research, Nov 6, 2014):

Back on September 11 and 12, there was a summit meeting in a city that involved an organization that most Americans have never heard of. Mainstream media coverage was all but nonexistent.

The place was Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a country few Westerners could correctly place on a map.

But you can bet your last ruble that Vladimir Putin knows exactly where Tajikistan is. Because the group that met there is the Russian president’s baby. It’s the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of six member states: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Continue reading »

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Oct 24

- Stinking rich: Kazakhstan to offer tourists luxury caviar baths (RT, Oct 23, 2014):

The plan is to make Kenderli the “best” resort on the Caspian and “a perfect destination for domestic and international tourists, generating wealth for the region and wellbeing for our people.”

Former Soviet states, particularly Russia, as well as Turkey and the Middle East, are all viewed as potential sources of big tourist bucks. Continue reading »

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Oct 03

Russia completes ratification of Eurasian Economic Union, as Putin signs law

- Russia completes ratification of Eurasian Economic Union, as Putin signs law (RT, Oct 3, 2014):

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a historic treaty, committing Russia to an economic union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. The Eurasian Economic Union will come into effect in January 2015.

Putin’s signature in the document puts the final dot in Russia’s ratification of the union which will be in place on January 1, 2015, as the other union states are expected to complete ratification in the next few days.

The economic union is the next step of integration within the Customs Union between the three countries. The agreement had previously been ratified by the Russian State Duma and the Federal Council of Russia. Continue reading »

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May 31

putin-massimov

- Putin develops plan for economic union of former Soviet states (Independent, May 30, 2014):

Vladimir Putin has moThe President met his counterparts from Kazakhstan and Belarus in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to initiate the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. He has long sought to form the bloc in hopes that it would provide an eastern counterweight to economic and political powerhouses such as the EU and the US.

The codes of the union, set for launch on 1 January 2015, will give the citizens of member states equal employment and education opportunities across all three nations. The three presidents also said that the deal would involve collaborative policies on energy, technology, industry, agriculture and transportation. Continue reading »

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May 29

- Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan sign ‘epoch’ Eurasian Economic Union (RT, May 29, 2014):

Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan signed the historic Eurasian Economic Union which will come into effect in January 2015. Cutting down trade barriers and comprising over 170 million people it will be the largest common market in the ex-Soviet sphere.

“The just-signed treaty is of epoch-making, historic importance,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The troika of countries will cooperate in energy, industry, agriculture, and transport.

“In fact, we are shaping the largest common market in the CIS, with huge production, scientific and technological potential and enormous natural resources,” the President added. Continue reading »

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Feb 11

Flashback:

Here is what protects you perfectly from any currency devaluation:

- Belarus Devalues Its Currency By 56% Overnight, Against Every Currency Out There:

Luckily for those who held their “money” in the form of gold and silver, they just got an instantaneous 56% value preservation and a relative boost in their purchasing power with just one central bank announcement.


- Another Fed “Taper” Casualty: Kazakhstan Devalues Currency To Weakest On Record (ZeroHedge, Feb 11, 2014):

With only $24.5 billion left in FX reserves after valiantly defending major capital outflows since the Fed’s Taper announcement, the Kazakhstan central bank has devalued the currency (Tenge) by 19% – its largest adjustment since 2009. At 185 KZT to the USD, this is the weakest the currency has ever been as the central bank cites weakness in the Russian Ruble and “speculation” against its currency as drivers of the outflows (which will be “exhausted” by this devaluation according to the bank). The new level will improve the country’s competitiveness (they are potassium heavy) but one wonders whether, unless Yellen folds whether it will help the outflows at all. The Kazakhstan stock index is up 12% on the news…

Kazakhstan Devalues Currency To Weakest On Record

Via Bloomberg,

The tenge, introduced in 1993 after the breakup of the Soviet Union two years earlier, weakened the most against the dollar last month since July. Kazakhstan devalued its currency by 21 percent in February 2009, as the biggest energy producer in central Asia spent billions of dollars to support the economy and bail out its biggest lenders following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Continue reading »

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Jul 02

Footage of the dramatic crash:

YouTube


YouTube

- Russian Unmanned Rocket Explodes Moments After Launch (ZeroHedge, July 2, 2013):

If Russia was hoping to punctuate its foreign policy victory over the US in hosting Edward Snowden and being on the list of his asylum applicants with the overnight launch of a unmanned Proton-M rocket, carrying some $200 million worth of navigation satellites, those hopes literally went up in flames when 17 seconds into the take off, an emergency switch-off of the engines led to a spectacular explosion, and sent the rocket plummeting to earth. End result: a massive blow up caught on live TV, hundreds of millions in equipment lost and 172 metric tons of highly toxic heptyl propellant raining on the ground for miles around the crash.

From Reuters:

A Russian rocket carrying three navigation satellites worth around $200 million crashed shortly after lift-off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan on Tuesday after its engines suddenly switched off. The accident led to a large spill of heptyl, a highly toxic rocket propellant, but there were no reports of casualties or of any immediate threat to nearby settlements.

State-run Rossiya-24 television showed footage of the Proton-M booster rocket veering off course seconds after lift-off. It fell apart in flames in the air and crashed in a ball of fire near the launch pad.

Continue reading »

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May 27

- Russia, Greece, Turkey, Other Central Banks Buy Gold; China’s PBOC Buying? (ZeroHedge, May 27, 2013)

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Apr 24

- Boston Marathon Attacks, Chechnya and Oil – the Hidden U.S. Connection (OilPrice.com, April 22,  2013):

As Boston and U.S. security agencies congratulate themselves over the apparent neutralization of a pair of Chechens that bombed the Boston Marathon, troubling questions are beginning to arise.

First and foremost is, why a pair of Chechens, born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, apparently committed the attack?

For possible answers, one must looks beyond the present and delve into Russia’s and the USSR’s past policies towards Chechnya, and since 1991, U.S. policy in the Caucasus, which since the 1991 implosion of the USSR had a single focus – the exploitation of the Caspian’s massive energy reserves.

It is a history that makes for deeply uncomfortable reading, but one that may eventually provide some answers to seemingly intractable questions.

Continue reading »

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Dec 21

- Russia negotiates union with ex-Soviet states (The Nation Dec 20, 2012):

MOSCOW  – Russia sought Wednesday to expand its influence over former territories during integration talks that Washington has cast as a bid to “re-Sovietise” the region.

President Vladimir Putin met separately with the leaders of Belarus and Armenia before engaging the head of resource-rich Kazakhstan about ways to more closely bind the neighbours’ economies.

He also attended a collective security meeting that resolved to create a Moscow-led air defence unit that would focus its activities on the regions surrounding war-torn Afghanistan.

Western attempts “to force other nations to accept their own standards can lead to the most serious circumstances,” Putin said in a trademark swipe at the United States.

This is especially underscored by the “dramatic situation in North Africa and the Middle East,” Putin said.

Continue reading »

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Sep 14

- Marc Faber: “Fed Will Destroy The World” (ZeroHedge, Sep 14, 2012):

“Everything will collapse” is the consequence Gloom, Boom, & Doom’s Marc Faber sees from the Fed’s latest ‘stimulus’ (and the fallacy and misconception of how money-printing can help employment). In a wondrously clarifying interview on Bloomberg TV this morning, Faber explained why he was ‘happy’, since “the asset values of his holdings will go up” but as a responsible citizen he is worried becausethe monetary policies of the US will destroy the world. It truly is class warfare under a veil of ‘its good for you’ as he notes: “the fallacy of monetary policy in the U.S. is to believe this money will go to the man on the street. It won’t. It goes to the Mayfair economy of the well-to-do people and boosts asset prices of Warhols.” Congratulations, Mr. Bernanke.

Must-watch (or read the transcript) – it is truly remarkable.

Faber on more Federal Reserve stimulus:

“It is difficult to tell what will happen. I happen to believe that eventually we will have a systemic crisis and everything will collapse. But the question is really between here and then. Will everything collapse with Dow Jones 20,000 or 50,000 or 10 million? Mr. Bernanke is a money printer and, believe me, if Mr. Romney wins the election the next Fed chairman will also be a money printer. And so it will go on. The Europeans will print money. The Chinese will print money. Everybody will print money and the purchasing power of paper money will go down. And I don’t like bonds. I don’t particularly like equities, but I think equities are a better space to be in than bonds.” Continue reading »

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Sep 23

- 10 Most Radioactive Places on Earth (brainz):

While the 2011 earthquake and worries surrounding Fukushima have brought the threat of radioactivity back into the public consciousness, many people still don’t realize that radioactive contamination is a worldwide danger. Radionuclides are in the top six toxic threats as listed in the 2010 report by The Blacksmith Institute, an NGO dedicated to tackling pollution. You might be surprised by the locations of some of the world’s most radioactive places — and thus the number of people living in fear of the effects radiation could have on them and their children.

10. Hanford, USA

The Hanford Site, in Washington, was an integral part of the US atomic bomb project, manufacturing plutonium for the first nuclear bomb and “Fat Man,” used at Nagasaki. As the Cold War waged on, it ramped up production, supplying plutonium for most of America’s 60,000 nuclear weapons. Although decommissioned, it still holds two thirds of the volume of the country’s high-level radioactive waste — about 53 million gallons of liquid waste, 25 million cubic feet of solid waste and 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater underneath the area, making it the most contaminated site in the US. The environmental devastation of this area makes it clear that the threat of radioactivity is not simply something that will arrive in a missile attack, but could be lurking in the heart of your own country. Continue reading »

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Aug 26

- Kazakh Central Bank Gets ‘Priority Right’ to Buy Gold (Bloomberg, Aug 24, 2011):

Kazakhstan’s central bank plans to lock up domestic supplies of refined gold by using a “priority right” it received from the government to buy bullion designated for exports amid record prices for the metal.

The National Bank of Kazakhstan plans to use the buying privilege “in full” after changes go into effect Jan. 1, the Almaty-based lender said in an e-mailed statement today.

Continue reading »

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Feb 15

The world’s biggest farm has put up the for-sale sign, after being hit by a collapse in grain prices during the world financial crisis, and then by the droughts and the fires that raged across its territories last summer.

Ivolga, a farming conglomerate which controls 1.5m hectares of land across Russia and Kazakhstan, is presently negotiating with Royal Bank of Scotland, which leads its creditors, to restructure a $300m loan it arranged in 2007.

The company’s immense holding, an area a third the size of Wales, easily outstrips that of El Tejar, the Argentine conglomerate which is the largest farm in the Western hemisphere, with 1.1m hectares under cultivation. Analysts estimate that a sale could value the farm at £500m-£1bn.

Ivolga last year asked a team of investment banks from Europe and Russia to try and find a buyer for a stake in the company, after deciding it needed a strategic partner to fund further development. Vasily Rozinov, the company’s owner, is thought to be keen not to lose ultimate control of the company.

Continue reading »

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Feb 06

MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – The collective rapid-reaction force to be created by a post-Soviet regional security bloc will be just as good as comparable NATO forces, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) agreed on Wednesday at a summit in Moscow to set up the new force, to be based in Russia.

Medvedev said the force, to be comprised of a “sufficient” number of units, would be “well trained and well equipped.”

“Russia is ready to contribute a division and a brigade,” he said. “This gives you an idea of the scale.”

The Russian president also said the CSTO was open for cooperation with the United States in the fight against terrorism in Central Asia.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a security grouping comprising the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Continue reading »

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Oct 12

A string of countries face the risk of “going bust” as financial panic sweeps Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, raising the spectre of a strategic crisis in some of the world’s most dangerous spots.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is bleeding foreign reserves at an alarming rate leading to fears that it could default on its loans.

There are mounting fears that Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Argentina could all now slide into a downward spiral towards bankruptcy, while western banks exposed to property bubble across Eastern Europe have seen their share price crushed.

The markets are pricing an 80pc risk that Ukraine will default, based on five-year credit default swaps (CDS) – an insurance policy on a country being able to pay its debts.

The country’s banking system has begun to break down after years of torrid credit growth; its steel mills are shutting as demand collapses; and the political crisis is going from bad to worse.

Continue reading »

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Aug 28

MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Belarusian ambassador to Moscow said Thursday that Belarus would in the next day or two recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We are allies and this says it all,” Vasily Dolgolev said of Minsk’s relations with Moscow. He added that the relevant announcement would be made by President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday or Friday.

Russia recognized the two separatist Georgian republics’ sovereignty Tuesday, but despite President Dmitry Medvedev’s call for other countries to follow suit, none has.

Continue reading »

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May 14
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned in March that Iran had detected a new highly pathogenic strain of wheat stem rust called Ug99.

The fungal disease could spread to other wheat producing states in the Near East and western Asia that provide one-quarter of the world’s wheat.

The FAO warned stated east of Iran — Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan to be on high alert.

Scientists and international organizations focused on controlling wheat stem rust have said 90 percent of world wheat lines are susceptible to Ug99. The situation is particularly critical in light of the existing worldwide wheat shortage.

The fungus causes dark orange pustules on stems and leaves of infected plants. The pustules can completely girdle stems, damaging their conducting tissue and preventing grain fill. Yield losses may reach 70 percent, while some fields are totally destroyed. If stem rust arrives early in the growing cycle, losses are higher. Spores released by the fungal pustules are spread by the wind and may travel great distances in storms.

Word of the new wheat disease comes amid global shortages of rice and wheat resulting from typhoon-related flooding in Java, Bangladesh, and India and from agricultural pests and diseases in Vietnam. Last year Australia suffered its second consecutive year of severe drought and a near complete crop failure, heavy rains reduced production in Europe, Argentina suffered heavy frost, and Canada and the U.S. both produced low yields.

Food riots have broken out in Egypt, Haiti and several African states, including Mauritania, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal in recent months.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Source: World Tribune

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Mar 31

 Global Research reports:

A dangerous new fungus with the ability to destroy entire wheat fields has been detected in Iran, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today.

The wheat stem rust, whose spores are carried by wind across continents, was previously found in East Africa and Yemen and has moved to Iran, which said that laboratory tests have confirmed its presence in some localities in Broujerd and Hamedan in the country’s west.

Up to 80 per cent of all Asian and African wheat varieties are susceptible to the fungus, and major wheat-producing nations to Iran’s east – such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – should be on high alert, FAO warned.

“The fungus is spreading rapidly and could seriously lower wheat production in countries at direct risk,” said Shivaji Pandey, Director of FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division.

He urged the control of the rust’s spread to lower the risk to countries already impacted by high food prices.

Iran has said that it will bolster its research capacity to tackle the new fungus and develop wheat varieties that are rust-resistant.

Called Ug99, the disease first surfaced in Uganda and subsequently spread to Kenya and Ethiopia, with both countries experiencing serious crop yield losses due to a serious rust epidemic last year. Also in 2007, FAO confirmed that a more virulent strain was found in Yemen.

Sure, maybe it was carried by the wind — and maybe the fungus was introduced by man. Not so much a conspiracy theory when history is taken into account. For instance, back in 1977, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the CIA dispatched “anti-Castro terrorists” to introduce “African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971…. Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic.” It was so scary that the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization labeled the outbreak the “most alarming event” of 1971. Continue reading »

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