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Archive for September 26th, 2006

From Moscow Times:

If you follow the news, you know now that Garry Kasparov, the chess king who has devoted his life to deposing President Vladimir Putin, has an office on Ulitsa Makarenko in central Moscow. There is no sign on the door announcing his grandly named United Civil Front, nor is his office marked in any way. When you enter, you encounter a couple of his bodyguards (altogether he has eight or so). These guys follow the opposition activist everywhere and watch over everything that concerns him, including food preparation. And if you follow the news, you know this is not paranoia.

Monday night, Kasparov’s right-hand person, the political consultant Marina Litvinovich, left the United Civil Front office just after 9. About an hour later, she opened her eyes to discover that she was lying on a cellar awning and someone was trying to ascertain if she was all right. She was not: She had apparently been knocked unconscious by a blow or several blows to the head. She had been badly beaten, was bruised all over, and was missing two of her front teeth. Nothing had been taken from her: not her notebook computer or cell phone or money.

(…) Litvinovich has a bruise on her leg that, the doctors told her, was probably caused by a blow with a rubber baton. The police suggested it may have been a car bumper. Litvinovich pointed out that her clothes were so clean that she was wearing the same trousers and coat the following day. She clearly was not hit by a Moscow car. Moreover, this is one of several signs that she was attacked by professionals: She must have been held while she was beaten, then laid carefully on the awning on which she found herself.

(…) In other words, the attack was a message. The pristine execution and the fact that Litvinovich’s valuables were not touched serve to underscore this. So what’s the content of this message? Another young political consultant, an up-and-coming member of the Kremlin’s Public Chamber, Alexei Chadayev, put the message forward in his blog: “Women should not be in this line of work. … Marina is on the warpath, and no one ever said this war would be conducted according to rules.”

Apparently, this was not the first time this woman had been badly beaten, although in that case the assailants also stole some important documents she was carrying. Scraps of Moscow has a very good round-up about the related facts. [NOTE: After reading it, I saw that this happened back in March. I will see what has been the development of this story. Oohh, myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ūüėČ ]

Related to this assault: US Media Watchdog criticizes Russia. (via La Russophobe)

Vladimir Rakhmankov, the editor of the online publication “Kursiv,” went on trial on September 21 for running an article with the headline “Putin as Russia’s phallic symbol.”

In the article, the journalist made fun at Putin’s state-of-the-nation address in May, in which the president called on citizens to boost the country’s birth rate.

And:

If convicted under Article 319 of Russia‚Äôs criminal code, ‚ÄúInsulting a Public Official,‚ÄĚ Rakhmankov could face up to 12 months of corrective labor. Local prosecutors brought the case without the involvement of Putin or presidential representatives, according to local press reports.

We can consider that the article was of little taste, but in any case, I would not consider this as a insult, much more when he can be charged with up to 12 months of corrective labor. But much more, because this man was not trying to make Putin any personal damage. He was just criticizing his policies.

Recent news from Russia, include the killing of the Vice-President of Russian Zentrobank (similar to Central Bank or Federal Reserve).

Mr. Kozlov left the stadium through one of the service exits, where there is no camera surveillance and there are many trees and bushes bordering the parking lot. Kozlov’s driver was shot almost simultaneously with him; Kozlov was shot twice, in the neck and head, and died on his way to a hospital. The bushes around the parking lot provided easy concealment for his killer/s to flee in many directions without being noticed. Even though the entire Moscow police force was alerted within minutes of the murder, no suspects have been caught or reported.

And the reason is:

Andrei Kozlov was responsible for supervising credit organizations and banks for the entire country; Kozlov was the key official who had the power to revoke a license from any bank involved in fraud, money laundering or other illegal business activities. And so he did ‚Äď over 900 unlawful banking operations were closed down on his watch. Professional colleagues and personal friends all remember Mr. Kozlov as a very honest man, who took pride in his work. Kozlov epitomized the model new government official in Putin‚Äôs Russia, who works openly according to the laws, fights corruption and refuses to take bribes. Now the whole country knows that Kozlov‚Äôs integrity cost him his life.

Andrei Kozlov had supported introducing legislation in Parliament to ban convicted criminals for life from the banking profession. However, many say that in Russia one can get killed for something he has done, rather than for saying and proposing an action. With so many criminal enterprises foiled by Kozlov’s work, there is no shortage of suspects. While stabilizing Russia’s banking system, meeting all the international FATF banking requirements, and making Russia one of the most attractive countries for foreign investment, Kozlov made a lot of enemies.

And, secondly, accusations of being beside the Giorgadze Coup Attempt had been raised. The coup intended to change the Georgian Government (via Free Thoughts):

Nearly 30 people were arrested in Georgia on suspicion of plotting a coup against the government, officials said. They say those detained are supporters of Igor Giorgadze ‚ÄĒ the fugitive former head of the state security service. Lawyers for those arrested deny the coup accusations, saying the arrests amount to political persecution.

Giorgadze fled Georgia after being accused of trying to assassinate then President Eduard Shevardnadze in 1995 ‚ÄĒ a charge he denies. ‚ÄúThey will be charged under Article 315 of the Georgian criminal code ‚ÄĒ plotting against the state and overthrowing the government,‚ÄĚ Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili told reporters.

Among those detained are officials of two opposition parties ‚ÄĒ the pro-Russian Justice Party and the Conservative Monarchists.

It is not a very good landscape really. In fact, it is a very bad one.

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AOL Openride

Aol has launched a new program -now in BETA- called AOL Openride. It represents a new concept of websurfing, as it has 4 panels which can be resized at your will. This four panels are:

  1. Mail Panel: if you have an account with AIM or AOL you can enter directly to it, just clicking on a button in the right part of the program called “Sign in”. AIM accounts are free and have 2GB of capacity and a very good spam detection system. The program also tells you if you have new mail. You can also see any account which has POP3 access.
  2. Explorer panel: tabbed browsing, search-panel, etc. The only problem: it is based on Internet Explorer, although with the new BETA7, it goes really smooth. But you know, if you do not like IE, then probably you won’t like this.
  3. AIM Messenger: if you have an AIM account, then it will be really useful. You won’t have to open a new program for the Messenger.
  4. Media Panel: you can hear Music on the AOL Internet Radio -free-, search your files in your computer, etc. A very interesting panel.

The publicity of the program says:

The new AOL OpenRide‚ĄĘ Beta software helps you do what you want online in fewer clicks and fewer hassles. No more jumping from one window to the next – everything you need is right there the moment you need it.

OpenRide is more than just a browser. The dynamic four-pane design will help save you time with these great new features:

  1. Time-saving features like tabbed browsing, thumbnail previews, and sneak peeks of emails and attachments.
  2. A new all-in-one Media Center that lets you enjoy video, music and pictures faster and with less hassles.
  3. Access your pop3 emails from the OpenRide Mail pane. Each of your email accounts are kept in separate folders, and you don’t have to sign in to each account to switch back and forth to manage them all.
  4. The panes in OpenRide automatically resize to your current activity. However, you can also resize them with the Dynasizer‚ĄĘ tool so you’re always in control of your online experience.

Download the beta software and start enjoying OpenRide today. As with any beta product, please review the Frequently Asked Questions and Known Issues before installing. If you encounter any issues, correspond with the Beta Staff and fellow testers in the product message boards, and be sure to file a Bug Report for any non-Known Issues that you encounter with the software.

 Ehh, yes, it is only for Windows ūüėČ .

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Sarkozy in Senegal

French Interior Minister, Mr. Sarkozy, is in Senegal. Le Monde – after reminding the “drames of Ceuta et Melilla“, that is, the dramas of Ceuta and Melilla – makes clear what is the new “treaty” between France and the African country about illegal immigrants:

  1. Senegal accepts, respecting human dignity, the return of its nationals who are residing there in an irregular situation.
  2. France only obliges to help in the creation of profitable activities in Senegal, promising a sum near 2,5 million of Euros to “microprojects“.

Le Monde insists in the fact that Senegal rejected the return of the illegal immigrants who arrived at Canary Islands, because of “bad treatments“. But it forgets to add that Spain paid Senegal 8 million euros, more that three times the sum promised by French Government.

The most interesting part of the article is this one:

Ni l’Europe ni la France ne peuvent recevoir tous ceux qui r√™vent d’un eldorado, a d√©clar√© M. Sarkozy. Une ouverture g√©n√©rale des fronti√®res entra√ģnerait en peu de temps une d√©stabilisation des soci√©t√©s europ√©ennes et l’arriv√©e au pouvoir de partis x√©nophobes. Cela, personne ne le souhaite.” La visite de M. Sarkozy √† Dakar intervient au lendemain de la r√©union √† Tampere (Finlande) des ministres europ√©ens charg√©s de l’immigration, o√Ļ il avait refus√© de se rendre, mettant en cause le laxisme de la politique espagnole de r√©gularisation.

Translation:

Nor Europe nor France can receive all the people who are dreaming about El Dorado“, declared Mr. Sarkozy. “A general openning of all frontiers will cause in little time a desestabilization of European societies and the rise to power of xenophobes parties. That is what anyone wants“. The visit of Mr Sarkozy to Dakar was the day after the meeting at Tampere (Finland) of the European ministers in charge of immigration, which he did not attend, because of the soft -laxa- Spanish policy of regularization.

And the plan of Socialist Government was to reintroduce Spain in Europe, helped by France and Germany… My goodness.

Now that French Government has had to pay, Chirac has united himself to Spain (Mr. Zapatero), Portugal (Socrates), Greece (Caramanlis), Prodi (Italy), Cyprus (Papadopoulos), Malta (Gonzi), and Slovenia (Jans), to write a letter to Finnish Presidence. In it, they assure immigration problem should be reveiwed in a European level, “especially in terms of financial help and resources“. We will see the results.

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