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Old 23rd September 2014, 16:33
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Business Insider: The drunkest countries in the world
Sept. 23, 2014, 6:19 p.m. Jennifer Polland Business Insider

Perhaps surprisingly, Russia is not the drunkest country in the world. That title goes to Belarus, whose residents enjoy just over 2 liters of alcohol more a year than Russians.

Wasted Worldwide, a website that compares drinking habits around the world, created a series of maps that reveal which countries drink the most, what types of alcohol are most popular, and which countries have the most alcohol-related deaths. To create these maps, they used data from the 2014 Global Status Report On Alcohol and Health.

They've allowed us to publish some of their maps below.

Belarus drinks the most alcohol in the world, with an average consumption of 17.5 liters. Russia comes in second with an average consumption of 15.1 liters. The United States consumes a a relatively reasonable average of 9.2 liters, which is also less than the UK (11..6 liters) and Ireland (11.9 liters).

Unsurprisingly, countries in the Middle East and northern Africa drink the least: People in Libya and Mauritania drink an average 0.1 liters, Saudi Arabia drinks 0.2 liters, and Egypt drinks 0.4 liters.

Men drink the most alcohol in Belarus, consuming an incredibly high average 27.5 liters. Russian men also like their alcohol, drinking an average of 23.9 liters, as do Romanian men, who drink 22.6 liters. American men drink 13.6 liters on average.

Women generally drink less than men, but in some countries they drink a lot. Women in Belarus still drink the most of any country, consuming an average 9.1 liters of alcohol. Moldova comes in right behind at 8.9 liters. Russian and Czech women drink an average 7.8 liters, Portuguese women drink 7.6 liters, and Australian and Ukrainian women drink 7.2 liters.

Surprisingly, beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Yemen and Bhutan, where it's the only type of alcohol consumed. It's also the most popular drink in Vietnam (97.3%), Namibia (96.7%), Indonesia (84.5%), Myanmar (82.6%), and Mexico (75.7%).

Wine is the most popular beverage of choice in Europe by far. In Italy, 65.6% of the alcohol consumed is wine, in France it's 56.4%, and in Portugal it's 55.5%. It's also a popular drink in Uruguay (59.9%) and Argentina (48%).

Haitians love their hard liquor: 99.6% of the alcohol consumed there is spirits. It's also the most popular form of alcohol in Saudi Arabia (97.9%), North Korea (94.9%), India (93.9%), and Liberia (88.1%).

Hungary has the most alcohol-related disorders, with 19.3% of the population suffering from one. In Russia, 18.2% of the population has an alcohol disorder and in Belarus, the drunkest country, 17.5% of the population has a disorder.

Belarus has the highest number of alcohol-related deaths, with 34.7% of people dying from alcohol each year. Ukraine is right behind with 34.4% of deaths related to alcohol. Lithuania (30.9%) and Russia (30.5%) also have a high number of alcohol-related deaths.

Great maps: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/ma...184543451.html

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Old 24th September 2014, 21:11
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ISIS speak Russian

ISIS, Led by Militants from Former Soviet Republics, Preparing to Attack in Russia’s Muslim Regions, Moscow Experts Say by Paul Goble September 17, 2014

Staunton, September 17 – Many of the leaders of the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria come from Muslim regions of the Russian Federation, and they plan to launch attacks in its regions, coming in via Afghanistan and Central Asia rather than the more direct but more difficult route across Turkey and Iran, according to Moscow experts.

Both the danger of such new jihadist attacks in Russia and this route help to explain, commentator Ruslan Gorevoy says in surveying this expert community, why Moscow has been devoting so much attention to improving security in Central Asia in the hopes of stopping ISIS militants there.

ISIS has two centers of power, Gorevoy says, the main Iraqi one and the shadowy Syrian one. Most reportage has focused on the former and largely ignored the latter. “Why? Because almost all of its leadership without exception are people from the Soviet Union,” who “speak Russian,” and who know “about all our realities.”

According to the Kurdistan-24 news agency, “up to 80 percent of ISIS groups in Syria are former residents of the North Caucasus and the republics of the Middle Volga.” The remaining 20 percent, it says, “are former citizens of the Soviet republics of Central Asia. These people speak Russian more often than Arabic among themselves.”

The Central Asian countries have not been able to establish tight control over their borders, even when Moscow has provided, as it has in the case of Tajikistan military units. As a result, terrorists can cross them easily and with impunity, and that is the first stage in a campaign against Russia itself, Gorevoy suggests.

He points with alarm to the recent “loss” in Kazakhstan of a 50 kilogram container of Cesium 137, something officials have tried to minimize but in fact likely is the work of terrorists, including those with links to ISIS. As a result, the commentator says, ISIS is approaching Russia’s borders and with nuclear bomb-making materials.

A major reason for the large number of Central Asians and North Caucasians in ISIS, he continues, is that the group pays well. Kyrgyz members are paid on the order of US $5,000, more than twice what labor migrants from that Central Asian country could earn in Moscow or other Russian cities.

When they return home, he continues, at least some of these people are prepared to continue the fight for ISIS as recent arrests and seizures of arms in Kyrgyzstan demonstrate.

Russian officials have put on a brave face about this, with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov saying that he can take care of any ISIS operatives who may appear. But experts are less sure about that, at least over the longer term.

Denis Maltsev, a senior researcher at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, says that ISIS does not threaten Russia directly at present but that it does threaten to destabilize Russia’s neighbors. He concludes: and that in turn means, that the terrorist threat inside Russia will grow. “It is only a question of time.” ISIS, Led by Militants from Former Soviet Republics, Preparing to Attack in Russia’s Muslim Regions, Moscow Experts Say | The Interpreter


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Old 25th September 2014, 23:24
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Liberating joy of Kyiv's sex shops
Sept. 25, 2014, 11:13 p.m. | Nataliya Trach

Many people find it “psychologically difficult” to enter a sex shop and ask for help. At least so believes Alyona Ushakova, saleswoman at Intim, a tiny sex shop near Petrivka market in Kyiv.

Ushakova, a blue-eyed blonde in her 20s, is devoted to her unusual job and says she personally tests all the new toys that arrive to be able to give quality advice to customers.

However, not many ask for it. Ukrainians are relatively conservative about bedroom issues, studies show. In 2013, only 44 percent of Ukrainians featured in a poll of Kyiv Sociology Institute said that sex was important for them. A similar poll in 2009 showed that people were very reluctant to even answer questions about sex.

But it looks like the shyness is merely a cover-up for a rather booming sex life. The business listings website , -, , , | Link.ua lists 68 Kyiv sex shops, including online stores.

According to Ushakova, some of her customers are so shy they spend hours in the sex shop before actually purchasing an item. Such clients need help from the shop attendant – who, Ushakova assures, must know psychology and sexology. Ushakova underwent a two-month training course before she started to work in a shop. She was taught psychology, sales techniques and sex toy use.

Yet, funny things happen all the time. Andriy Korinny, a salesman in Nasoloda (Pleasure) sex shop located in the center, recalls how last summer a middle-aged man came in, collected several anal vibrators from the stands and casually asked where the fitting room was. He had to be told there is no fitting room and why vibrators are not allowed to be tested before purchase.

Kyiv-based sexologist Oleksiy Korniyenko approves of sex shops. According to him, the main reasons that drive people to sex shops are fatigue from routine, erectile dysfunction and the absence of a sex partner.

“Every couple should visit a sex shop at least once to buy an accessory to diversify sexual life and bring some novelty into a relationship,” Korniyenko says.

Yevheniya Yevdochenko, 25, is a regular sex shop customer. The woman says she started to use sex shop items to relieve sexual tension “since I have not had sex for a long time.”

Yevdochenko notes that items at Ukrainian sex shops are sold at inflated prices. The woman recalls that a $10 item she once ordered from an online sex store in Australia cost Hr 800 in a sex shop in Kyiv.

While things like condoms and lubricants are rather inexpensive, artificial vaginas and vibrators are among the most expensive items in Ukrainian sex shops.

“The average price for vibrators is Hr 1,500, and artificial vaginas can cost up to Hr 12,000,” says Korinny adding that the business is profitable and their daily revenue goes up to Hr 4,000. Summer is usually slow, and the season begins in autumn.

Both Ushakova and Korinny say that the majority of customers are men.

“In recent years men have started buying more sex shop items in order to bring pleasure to their female partners,” says Ushakova.

But it’s about health as much as about pleasure. Korinny advises all men in their 40s or older to purchase a prostate massager (around Hr 300) which prevents prostatitis, while Ushakova says women of every age can benefit from using vagina eggs – a basic item found at any sex shop, their price beginning at Hr 50. However, sexologist Korniyenko warns that one shouldn’t let sex shops replace visits to a doctor.
Liberating joy of Kyiv's sex shops

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Old 28th September 2014, 19:06
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Rescue Ukrainian academia in Donbas
Yegor Stadny26 September 2014 Issue No:336

The ceasefire agreement signed in Minsk by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and separatists on 5 September hasn’t brought peace to the universities in occupied territories. The academic year, which normally begins on the first day of September, was postponed for 108 institutions, which is more than 73% of all higher education institutions in the region.

Previously the separatists proclaimed that they had taken control of all educational institutions and had cancelled the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Also they denied university autonomy and have started to assign their own rectors, replacing those who were elected by faculty and students according to Ukrainian law.

Escape of institutions

Some universities have found a way out by moving to their campuses outside the occupied territory. Mainly this helps to protect some crucial parts of administrative facilities that are vital for the study process.

Some institutions are ready to leave their buildings and the government has found new locations for them. This is the case for the biggest higher education institution in the occupied territory – Donetsk National University – which plans to move to Vinnitsa in Central Ukraine.

Academics have been trying to deal with the situation by using online classes and other technologies where they can. The ministry has secured salaries and scholarships, but still there are some problems with transfers within the state treasury system.

Somehow, these universities appear to be repeating the experience of Ukrainian academics who escaped from the Bolsheviks in 1920 and managed to replicate their institutions in exile in Warsaw and Prague.

Student and staff mobility challenges

According to the ministry, more than 8,000 students from the occupied zone want to move to other Ukrainian universities. The government has created a legal basis for such emergencies.

After this was done, universities started to host internally displaced students. But many of them still have some difficulties with accommodation. It is supposed that all ECTS credits that students will get while studying in their new universities will count after they return.

This is a real crash test of the Ukrainian higher education system, where rates of internal student mobility have never been so high.

Nevertheless, students are young people and it’s not so hard for them to change their place of living or study.

A much bigger problem appears around faculty mobility.

After the separatists proclaimed authority over universities, newly appointed rectors and their deputies have reportedly been threatening faculty, especially those who publicly oppose and criticise their self-proclaimed power.

Unfortunately, the separatists have already imprisoned some of them.

Old problems strike back

According to Ukrainian law, the salaries and positions of academics on the staff list are deeply connected to the number of students – and particularly with the faculty-to-students ratio.

Due to such direct dependence on the number of students, each professor is aware of the consequences of awarding low marks and expelling students and that this will reduce the number of faculty positions. That is why Ukrainian professors are put in a quite ridiculous situation – even if someone fails, they cannot mark them as such.

The same consequences will apply to student outflow – some professors or lecturers could lose their jobs. So technically, by rescuing themselves students put their faculty at risk.

It is high time that the government changed the formula for calculating faculty salaries and added new components in order to reduce the role of the faculty-to-students ratio.

There could be some quality parameters – H-index, foreign students and foreign faculty ratio, the number of faculty who graduated from another university, the number of those who upgraded their position over last 10 years etc.

But even if a professor decides to move to another city, he or she simply won’t get any information about vacancies in higher education institutions.

Technically, universities should publish information about vacancies as soon as they appear. In fact, most publish such information somewhere in a small local newspaper in order to avoid competition for the vacancy. Therefore, more often the competition is only between local professors.

The simplest way to improve this situation is to create an online base for such vacancies, which everyone could check.

Hard times are a good opportunity to reform the system because public demand is much higher and the risk of losing everything is much greater if you are not prepared for radical change.

Rescuing Donbas academia should bring healing to the whole system. Rescue Ukrainian academia in Donbas - University World News

* Yegor Stadny is a higher education policy analyst at the Centre for Society Research, a think-tank in Kyiv. He received an MA in history at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and an MA in East European Studies at Warsaw University. He is currently doing his PhD at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

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Old 1st October 2014, 02:25
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What toppled Lenin statues tell us about Ukraine’s crisis
By Rick Noack September 30 at 5:30 AM

In an incident reflecting growing Ukrainian anger toward the Kremlin, anti-Russian protesters pulled down a massive Vladimir Lenin statue in Ukraine's second-largest city late Sunday. To many Ukrainians, Lenin is a symbol of the Soviet Union and Russia's aggressive support for the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Despite the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union which resulted in the split between Russia and Ukraine, hundreds of monuments to the founder of modern Russia survived the transition. Over the last months, however, many have been toppled: This map – based on accounts of activists -- shows the massive demolition of Ukrainian Lenin monuments in 2014 alone.

"To many Ukrainians, Lenin represents not only the communist regime, but also radical separation from Europe and Western civilization more broadly," Steven Fish, a Russian studies professor at University of California Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times last December after a statue had been toppled in Kiev.

Other scholars view the toppling in a more modern light. Sasha Senderovich, assistant professor of Russian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder who wrote a New York Times op-ed on this issue last December, considers Sunday's event not to be connected to Lenin specifically. "At this point, after Putin's assault on Ukraine's territorial integrity, the statue has become more symbolic of Russia's continued attempt to exercise imperial dominance over Ukraine rather than solely the historical legacy of the Soviet Union," he told The Post on Monday.

Kharkiv is considered one of the most vulnerable cities in the east if the pro-Russian rebellion were to spread. Previous attempts to pull down the statue failed because pro-Russian activists intervened, according to The Post's Michael Birnbaum.

These pictures show that Sunday's incident was clearly organized and must have been noticed. First, protesters cut the Lenin statue's legs.

In fact, the recent toppling of the Lenin statue is just the latest in a series of attacks on hundreds of others that have been toppled in Ukraine over the last months as tensions with Russia have grown. Here is an alternative chronology of Ukraine's crisis, told through toppled Lenin statues.

A measurement of anger

Tearing down the iconic Lenin monuments rapidly gained momentum when it became clear that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had lost power over his country.

On Feb. 20, Kiev witnessed its worst day of violence in 70 years, with snipers targeting and killing protesters. On Feb. 22, Yanukovych disappeared, protesters stormed presidential buildings and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was freed from jail. Data gathered by Ukrainian activists and visualized by The Washington Post show that more than 90 Lenin statues were toppled that day alone.

The activists uploaded pictures, dates and locations of the toppled statues on a platform called Leninopad and the individual contributions could not be independently verified.
to read in its entirety:What toppled Lenin statues tell us about Ukraine’s crisis - The Washington Post

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Old 1st October 2014, 15:54
Siefert Siefert is offline
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Well, I suppose tearing down Lenin statues must be good fun for young people.
Possibly it also says something about the hate that has been stirred up against Russians...a pity I think. In the long run you are all going to have to learn to get along with each other.
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Old 1st October 2014, 16:09
dobko dobko is offline
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Originally Posted by Siefert View Post
Well, I suppose tearing down Lenin statues must be good fun for young people.
Possibly it also says something about the hate that has been stirred up against Russians...a pity I think. In the long run you are all going to have to learn to get along with each other.
A pity? This garbage should have been torn down many years ago. Tell me, do you believe Lenin represents Russia in a good light?

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