The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season

2018/05/20

The Royal Wedding and the Silly Season

...and the Silly Season 2018 gets off the starting blocks with a Royal Wedding and soccer madness. As for news, who cares anyway?

OK ladies and gentlemen, forget the outbreak of Ebola in the DR Congo which threatens to become a major international event, forget the constant violations of the peace agreements by Ukrainian fascists, forget the involvement with the West and its minions with terrorist groups in Syria, forget the responsibility borne by the FUKUS Axis in Libya, in which the State with the highest Human Development Index in Africa was trashed, destroyed, bombed to the stone age and left crawling with terrorist filth.

Don't be stupid, who the hell cares anyways? It's time for the Silly Season, pageantry, trumpets a-blaring, town criers a-crying, soccer Cup Finals and hey! Only a few weeks to go to the World Cup, you know, the event where grown, mature men stand bawling obscenities from the sidelines as twenty-two young men kick each other, spit at each other, bite each other before going back to the hotel to find out there has been a massive bust-up among the WAGs (wives and girlfriends).

The Royal Wedding, England at center-stage

There is no doubt that the British in general and the English in particular, put on a tremendous display of pageantry around the Royal Family and a Royal Wedding between a Royal Prince and an American ex-actress has all the makings and trappings of a fairy-tale "wow" story to help close the doors of congresses and parliaments around the world as the Northern Hemisphere gets ready for the Silly Season and stories about monsters in forests.

You know, it's the season when racists who hate people with dark skin spend all summer on the beach trying to get as brown as possible.

The Royal Wedding put England, in the form of Windsor Castle, at the center of world attention yet again while the world stopped for an hour to see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex happily married, the cameras carving out a human side of the event with tears shed and emotions worn on sleeves.

One of the main trump cards the UK has is Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, now well into their nineties, elderly but not stirred, the words gravitas and kudos trailing in their wake and surrounding them with every step they take, unwavering exponents of 24/7 professionalism and masters of upholding an exemplary public image for over half a century. True, if we read back in the history book, we find that even at the time of the first Kingdoms to appear after the Roman era (410 AD), the English were always very careful to ensure that the monarch handed over to a legitimate heir; no tyrant could impose his son upon the throne if he were illegitimate, not once; and so Queen Elizabeth, her children and grandchildren can all trace their geneology back almost two thousand years. And this provides a cultural and patrimonial presence with unequalled weight.

The Firm, the people behind the Royal Family, have managed things very well and have accompanied the changing times without having their Monarch riding around on bicycles or giving the weather report from the flight deck on a Ryan Air booze weekend in Brussels. Like the notion of monarchy or not, the fact is that it does make sense in the UK (a country with a possibility of disintegrating into a plethora of micro-states, which it once was, the county names and boundaries today representing the kingdoms, almost to the millimeter, of one point five thousand years ago - Sussex means "South Saxons") and the approval rating, largely due to the magnificent reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is well over ninety per cent. How many Presidents could claim that after over fifty years?

And let us be honest, it was touching to see two young people from totally different backgrounds happily in love, smiling genuinely, with their entire futures ahead of them. Let us hope the media leaves them the hell alone to get on with their lives, respecting their private space and let us hope that they have a very happy marriage and life together.

The color of the bride's skin

What matters not is what color the bride is. "Mixed race" was repeated time and again in the international media, reminding us of Brazil during the dictatorship when people were branded "white" or "brown" and so on, on their birth certificates, or South Africa during Apartheid. What difference does it make whether she is white, pink, black, blue or green? The Queen herself said she is just very happy that her grandson found the one he loves. Period and amen to that.

So how silly for people to comment on what Meghan can do for black people in Britain. Define black. What they mean is people of Afro-Caribbean origin, or partially so, who have been born without equal birthrights just because they are not nice and pink, like a pig, who have grown up in slums because their parents could not get the studies they needed to get better-paid jobs. So what possible difference can Meghan make if it is not the color of the skin, but the system, which creates these inequalities? And anyway the UK is not the worst example of poor race relations in societies.

As for how Meghan will "change the Royal Family", the answer is that most people do not want it to be changed because it does not need to be changed. It's doing fine as it is. But let us go back to the pageantry thing and ask why, if the UK has this gift at putting on a show and garnering the attention of over half of humankind from time to time, does the country not present itself as a beacon of peace instead of a warmongering, neo-imperialist state, bombing others into submission, cavorting with terrorists and sticking its nose in where it is uninvited?

Why is London not a center for international peace, debate, discussion and dialogue, a facilitator of agreements, goodwill and love and not a provider of arms and a sower of conflicts?

Food for thought...

Soccer and the silly season

And with that serious deposition, let us now dive into the cesspool of soccer, into which I shall be forced to dive during the FIFA tournament in Russia. We have the manager of Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, the one who called himself "The Special One" (after his successes at FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea again) but who now says Chelsea did not deserve to win the match because they "parked the bus". Who was it that introduced nine-man defensive walls at Chelsea in the first place?

More ridiculous still, the situation lived by Sporting Clube de Portugal (which UEFA insists on calling "Sporting Lisbon") where the players and coach were beaten up savagely by a group of discontented fans and whose President feels unable to watch his team play at the Cup Final against Desportivo das Aves because there are no conditions for him to appear. Like, WTF?

PS Aves won the game 2-1 and will be in next year's Europa League.

Yes, folks, the Silly Season has started.

By Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://ift.tt/2IVgKH2

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Pravda.Ru 

Twitter: @TimothyBHinchey

timothy.hinchey@gmail.com

*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.

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12 signs of imminent war between the West and Russia

2018/05/18

In May, many people in Russia and other countries honor the memory of those who were killed in World War Two. Since the end of the bloodiest war in the history of mankind, a lot has been made to enhance security systems and prevent armed conflicts in the world. However, those systems were not perfect, but the balance was working. Today, however, it is collapsing rapidly.

Presently, there are several international agreements that prevent worst-case scenarios, although it seems that they have been completely forgotten. Nevertheless, no one would have thought that May 2018 would be the time, when the world was standing on the brink of World War Three. This is terrible, of course, but this is the time that we're living in. I would say that this is the most intense time since the end of the Cold War.

Here are the signs of the impending war

On 2 May, NATO launched its military drills in Estonia and Latvia. The drills were the largest that NATO has held since 1991: as many as 3,000 troops from 16 countries took part in the event that closed on May 14. Estonia and Latvia share a border with the Russian Federation. In May and June, five military exercises will be held in Latvia. This activity is quite intense, and it gives Moscow every reason to believe that NATO is preparing for war right at Russia's doorstep.

In June, the Baltic States will hold BALTOPS and Saber Strike 2018 drills. A US Armored Brigade will be deployed in Europe for the purpose - no less than 4,000 soldiers, nearly 90 Abrams tanks, Bradley combat vehicles, 18 self-propelled Paladin howitzers and other vehicles.

This summer, Poland will host the largest event in the history of NATO - Anaconda 2018. This is going to be the largest exercise that the alliance is going to hold since the end of the Cold War:100,000 troops, 5,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and helicopters and 45 warships are said to take part. Such an army so near will, of course, make Russia wary. This year, the alliance will hold 80 joint exercises in Europe, mainly to train its preparations for war with Russia.

Meanwhile, the conflict in the Donbass is getting hotter. Tensions escalate continuously, and the United States adds more fuel to the fire by deliberately supplying Javelin anti-tank systems for the  Ukrainian army. This is the first incident, when the transfer of deadly weapons took place.

On May 1, the US State Department released a statement saying that the US military was moving to a new stage of operations in Syria. The US-led coalition includes the Syrian Democratic Forces and their mysterious "local partners." Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon ere also mentioned.

The Islamic State* was not a big problem for Beirut, but now Lebanon is likely to become a battlefield that will be used by many countries, especially Israel and Iran.

Officially, the mission is to destroy the remnants of the Islamic State*, but one should take this reason with a grain of salt. The terrorist group has been practically destroyed, and one does not require a major international coalition to counter the problem that has been practically solved by someone else.

The situation in Syria is explosive, and the conflict may spark again after the recent missile attack on Syria.

The above-mentioned military preparations take place at the time when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accuses Tehran of alleged fraud in the nuclear deal. The United States immediately stated that the evidence was "convincing." The Israeli parliament voted to give the prime minister the powers to declare war and launch a major military operation without the prior approval of his security cabinet.

Donald Trump decided to pull out from the nuclear deal with Iran. The USA is to announce new sanctions that it is going to impose on Iran - the country that cooperates closely with Russia and Syria.

All events taking place in Europe and Syria directly affect the security of Russia. A small spark is enough today to start an unstoppable flame of war. Such sparks have already appeared here and there. The so-called "Skripal case" is one of them.

If you think you can add up to our list of signs of imminent war, you are welcome to speak your mind in the comments section below. Unlike in WWII, when the USSR was not the first country that Hitler attacked, today's Russia shares common border with NATO countries and those who dream of becoming its member.

Pyotr Yermilin
Pravda.Ru

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru


Nuclear war between Russia and USA about to start

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Why Putin should say nothing when USA and Germany fight over Russian natural gas

2018/05/18

Why should Russia "keep quiet" during arguments between the European Union and the United States? Hungarian political scientist Gabor Stier believes that Europe is ready to lift sanctions from Russia. In addition, the scientist believes, European leaders put pressure on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to force him to implement the Minsk Accords, albeit covertly, not to make it look like a gift for Russian President Putin.

On May 18, Vladimir Putin had a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, where the leaders discussed Trump's ultimatum to Europe. Representatives of the Trump administration, at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel a month ago, "asked" her to pull out from  the Nord Stream-2 project and promised not to raise import duties on European steel and aluminum products.

The European Commission proposed abolishing those duties and increasing supplies of American LNG in return. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday, May 17, that the European Commission would take "decisive steps" to protect the interests of the European Union.

Pravda.Ru requested an expert opinion on the subject from Hungarian political scientist Gabor Stier.

"Why does Trump talk ultimatums?"

"It is not actually Trump who talks that way. In US foreign policy, it is the State Department, the Pentagon and influential circles that decide what to do, and Trump only serves them to carry out their orders. At the same time, he does not mind ultimatums much, because in domestic politics he promised to strengthen the American economy. Therefore, it remains in the interests of his electorate to increase pressure on Germany, to raise duties on European imports and sell US liquefied gas to Europe.

"Unfortunately, there are big disagreements about the Nord Stream 2 project within the European Union. On the one hand, Europe is interested in steady supplies of cheap Russian gas that counts for  30-40 percent of Europe's gas consumption. On the other hand, there are EU countries that are interested in Nord Stream 2. This pipeline is advantageous mainly to Germany and the Netherlands as direct consumers. The project will make them feel more secure, because Ukraine is an unreliable transit partner.

Yet, ten countries of the European Union - central and southern ones - signed a letter to the European Commission, in which they objected to the domination of the Nord Stream 2 project. The implementation of this project would close the pipe from Ukraine, and the fuel for those countries will become more expensive as they would become dependent on Germany. The objecting countries want to receive natural gas through the Ukrainian pipe, whereas the Nord Stream could supply the fuel to the north of Europe."

"Can Europe buy liquified natural gas from the USA?"

"Central Europe is 70-80 percent dependent on the Russian gas. If Germany can afford buying US gas, then the economy of weaker and smaller EU states will not be able to take it up. Wealthy EU states do not want to purchase LNG from the USA, but weaker states simply cannot afford it."

"The head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the EC would take "decisive steps" to protect the interests of the European Union. What kind of steps do you think they can be?"

"It depends primarily on Germany and France that defend economic European interests in the transatlantic competition. The European Union is opposed to USA's decision on Iran because major EU companies have major projects in Iran. Europe does not want to impose more sanctions on Iran, since it is not beneficial for Europe to support American sanctions. These are semi-political and semi-economic steps. The policy of Europe is changing in light of new economic interests. Slowly but surely, Europe comes to realise that it has its own interests that should be defended. The EU does not have too much will to start a major fight with the United States. Yet, if German businesses insist on lifting sanctions from Russia, Merkel and Macron may listen."

"What is Russia's role in such complicated relations between Atlantic partners?"

"For Russia, it would be best to sit and watch. If Russia intervenes, the USA will say: "Here, we warned you that Russia is trying to divide Europe." America always raises the issue of the Russian threat when it comes to the need to put more pressure on Europe."

Pravda.Ru

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru


Ukraine wants no gas from anyone

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Kremlin wants foreign invaders out of Syria

2018/05/18

The countries, whose armed forces are illegally staying in Syria must leave the region, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on May 18.

Russia deployed its troops in Syria in accordance with the request from the legitimate government of the country. The forces of all other countries are staying on the territory of a sovereign state without any legal rights and grounds. In doing so, they violate international law, Peskov said.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the United States, France and their allies should stay in Syria to build the new Syria after the destruction of the Islamic State terrorist organization (banned in Russia).

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Putin's powers likely to be extended for three consecutive terms

2018/05/18

Representatives of the Chechen parliament submitted amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation with a suggestion to extend the powers of the Russian president for three consecutive terms.

Submitting the proposal to the State Duma, Chechen MPs said that such amendments would be required on account of the complex international situation. According to them, the amendments will not harm Russia's democratic foundations of the state - they will give the people an opportunity to choose their future for themselves.

The Russian Constitution provides for only two consecutive presidential terms. Vladimir Putin took office as President of Russia in 2000. His second term ended in 2008, and Putin nominated his old-time associate Dmitry Medvedev, who at the end of his term proposed his predecessor to run for president again.

Putin took over again in March 2012. In March 2018, he took part in the presidential election for the fourth time to gain a record 76.6% of the electors' support.

In 2008, amendments to the Constitution came into force to extend the presidential term from four to six years.

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