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  • Oct 19, 2015 BEIRUT/AMMAN Tom Perry & Suleiman Al-Khalidi
    Syrian rebels say receive more weapons for Aleppo battle

    Rebels battling the Syrian army and its allies near Aleppo said on Monday they had received new supplies of U.S.-made anti-tank missiles from states opposed to President Bashar al-Assad since the start of a major government offensive last week.

    The rebels from three Free Syrian Army-affiliated groups contacted by Reuters said new supplies had arrived in response to the attack by the army, which is backed up by Russian air strikes and on the ground by Iranian fighters and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

    The "Free Syrian Army" refers to a loose affiliation of groups fighting Assad that do not operate with a centralized command and control structure and have been widely eclipsed by jihadist groups such as the Nusra Front and Islamic State.

    The delivery of the U.S.-made TOW missiles to rebels in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria appears to be an initial response to the new Russian-Iranian intervention. Foreign states supporting the rebels include Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.

    But officials from one of the Aleppo-based rebel groups said the supplies were inadequate for the scale of the assault, one of several ground offensives underway with Russian air support.

    "A few (TOW missiles) will not do the trick. They need dozens," said one official, declining to be named due to the political sensitivity of the military support program.

    A number of rebel groups vetted by states opposed to Assad have been supplied with weapons via Turkey, part of a program supported by the United States and which has in some cases included military training by the Central Intelligence Agency.

    "We received more supplies of ammunition in greater quantities than before, including mortar bombs, rocket launchers and anti-tank (missiles)," said Issa al-Turkmani, a commander in the FSA-affiliated Sultan Murad group fighting in the Aleppo area. "We have received more new TOWs in the last few days ... We are well-stocked after these deliveries."

    TOW missiles are the most potent weapon in the rebels' arsenal. FSA-affiliated groups have also been using TOWs against government forces to fend off another offensive in Hama province, southwest of Aleppo.

    Rebels there said last week they had plentiful supplies of the missiles.

    Since the start of the Russian air strikes, ground offensives by the Syrian army and its allies have mostly hit areas controlled by insurgent groups other than Islamic State in parts of western Syria that are crucial to Assad's survival.

    "LAST THREE DAYS WERE BAD"

    The Aleppo offensive is targeting areas a few kilometers (miles) to the south of the city near the highway to Damascus. The army and its allies have captured several villages.

    Some 3,000 families have fled to other parts of Aleppo province, said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reports on the war using sources on the ground.

    Abdulrahman said at least 41 rebel fighters had been killed. One Aleppo-based rebel group, the Nour al Din al Zinki Brigades, said its military commander was among the dead.

    "The battles are underway in a big way on a number of fronts. The last three days were bad. Yesterday (the rebel) forces were able to form an operations room and to distribute zones of operation," Hassan al-Haj Ali, head of the rebel Suqour al-Jabal group, told Reuters via the internet.

    Government troops and their allies are also trying to advance to the east of Aleppo towards Kweires military airport to break a siege of the base by Islamic State, which controls some parts of Aleppo province, notably to the north of the city.

    Abdulrahman said rebels had hit at least 11 army vehicles with TOW missiles near Aleppo since Friday.

    One FSA brigade, the Sham Revolutionary Brigades, posted six videos on Saturday showing its fighters targeting army vehicles with wire-guided missiles near Azzan. Videos posted by Sultan Murad showed its men targeting a tank and a bulldozer with TOW missiles near Abtin, captured by the army on Friday.

    "There are TOWs in the southern Aleppo front but not enough," said a second rebel official who declined to be named. "Yesterday the regime's armored vehicles were moving freely. We had a shortfall in TOW and the regime APCs were able to move."

    The Observatory reported fresh Russian air strikes on Monday in the southern Aleppo area. Abdulrahman described the fighting as heavy but added that the government side had not made further strategic gains on Monday.

    The Syrian state news agency said on Monday the rural Aleppo area was one of 49 sites targeted by Russian warplanes, along with rural Damascus, Latakia and Hama. Syrian rebels say receive more weapons for Aleppo battle | Reuters

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    • REUTERS MOSCOW Oct 19, 2015
      French jet in 'dangerous' incident with Russian aircraft: Moscow

      A French military jet came dangerously close to an aircraft carrying the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament as he flew through French airspace, Russia's foreign ministry said on Monday.

      The ministry said it had summoned the French ambassador in Moscow to protest over the incident, which happened earlier on Monday. It complained in a statement of "a dangerous proximity between a French air force jet in its national airspace and an airliner carrying a Russian parliamentary delegation."

      The ministry said the delegation, headed by parliamentary speaker Sergei Naryshkin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been heading to Geneva, in Switzerland, to attend an international meeting of parliamentarians.

      "The ambassador was informed of Russia's deep concern over what happened. It was underlined that such actions by Paris undermine the possibility of using France as a venue for conducting international meetings and talks," the ministry said.

      Earlier this month, Putin traveled to Paris to take part in talks on the conflict in Ukraine along with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

      There has been an uptick in the number of near-miss type incidents involving NATO and Russian military aircraft since the Ukraine conflict caused a surge in tensions.

      NATO member states have accused Russian military jets in particular of flying dangerously close to Western military and civilian aircraft on numerous occasions. Moscow has denied breaking any aviation rules. French jet in 'dangerous' incident with Russian aircraft: Moscow | Reuters



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      • The Economist explains - Why America does not take in more Syrian refugees
        Oct 18th 2015, THE ECONOMIST CHICAGO

        MORE THAN 12m Syrians have been forced from their homes by the civil war, according to the United Nations. Of those, more than 7.5m have been displaced within Syria, often to parts of the country that aid organisations cannot reach. More than 4m have fled abroad, mostly to neighbouring countries. Around 1.9m are in Turkey, 1.1m in Lebanon and 650,000 in Jordan. And hundreds of thousands have sought refuge in Europe. Having initially welcomed tens of thousands of newcomers, Germany is growing increasingly reluctant to take in more. By the end of the year it expects to have 1.5m asylum seekers, many of them Syrian. Meanwhile America—26 times larger, with a population four times the size of Germany's—has taken in only 1,500 Syrians since the start of the war.

        Under pressure from Germany and other allies, the White House recently promised to increase America’s total intake of refugees to 85,000 in the next fiscal year (10,000 will be from Syria) and to 100,000 in the one after that. Even this very modest rise has been contested. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill to “rein in” the administration’s plan to admit more Syrian refugees. "I can't support a policy that would allow a jihadist pipeline into the United States," the Texas Republican told Fox News, a conservative television channel.

        This is a stark expression of the reason America does not want to give refuge to more Syrians. In addition to concerns about the cost of resettling destitute newcomers who speak little English, America is deterred by fears of terrorism. Since the attacks on September 11th 2001 all immigrants and newcomers have been viewed through this lens, says Eva Millona at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. And the much more extensive vetting procedures of refugees introduced after those attacks are expensive. After refugees are referred by an American embassy or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, they are screened by Department of State Resettlement Service Centers all over the world. They undergo multiple investigations of their biographies; biometric checks of their fingerprints and photographs; in-depth interviews by highly trained Department of Homeland Security officers; medical screenings as well as investigations by the National Counterterrorism Center and by intelligence agencies. The entire process can take longer than three years.

        If a potential terrorist is determined to enter America to do harm, there are easier and faster ways to get there than by going through the complex refugee resettlement process. Of the almost 750,000 refugees who have been admitted to America since 9/11, only two Iraqis have arrested on terrorist charges; they had not planned an attack in America, but aided al-Qaeda at home. Syrians in America have fared better than other groups of refugees, integrating quickly and finding work. Some have done very well indeed: the father of Steve Jobs, the ground-breaking innovator and founder of Apple, was a refugee from Syria. And the mother of Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian, is of Jewish Syrian descent. The Economist explains: Why America does not take in more Syrian refugees | The Economist

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        • Firtash exports Crimean titanium - Chubarov
          19 October 2015 UKRINFORM

          State-owned Joint-Stock Company "Crimean Titanium", partially owned by Ukrainian tycoon Dmitry Firtash, gets raw materials from Ukraine and exports finished products through Ukrainian ports.

          Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov said this in an interview with Ukrinform correspondent in Paris.

          "There is the Crimean titanium plant (state-owned "Crimean Titan"), which is supplied raw materials, particularly titanic iron ore used for titanium production, from the mainland Ukraine. The company produces finished products, which are subsequently transported to the territory of Ukraine, marked (as produced in Ukraine) and exported through the Ukrainian ports," Chubarov said, speaking about cooperation with the occupier in Crimea.

          According to him, the economic blockade of the Russian-occupied Crimea will take effect only if all Ukrainian business entities join it.

          As a reminder, 50% of shares of the "Crimean Titan" are owned by OSTCHEM Holding AG, combining chemical and mining assets of the Group DF investment holding of Dmitry Firtash. After Crimea had been occupied, the Russian authorities demanded to register the company in the Russian Federation. Firtash exports Crimean titanium – Chubarov — Ukrinform News

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          • Ukraine's international broadcasting may appear in Australia
            17.10.2015 URINFORM

            Australia will assist in providing access to its residents on the mainland for Ukraine’s international broadcasting.

            This was agreed at the meeting of Information Policy Minister of Ukraine Yuri Stets with Ambassador of Australia to Ukraine Doug Trappett, the Ministry’s press service reports.

            "Our task is to support freedom of speech. The best counterpropaganda for us is truth. However, we need the support of foreign countries to convey truth to the world. Therefore, I address you to help us with the contacts and thus provide access to Australian cable networks. In turn, I promise to do everything possible for Australia to hear and see us soon," Stets assured.

            The Ambassador noted the high level of freedom of speech in Ukraine and the width of commentaries.Ukraine’s international broadcasting may appear in Australia — Ukrinform News

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            • Ukraine conflict: The Brits fighting with pro-Russian rebels
              Tom Burridge BBC News, Eastern Ukraine 10/19/2015

              His Manchester accent is unmistakable. His yearning for British food is too, as he declares that he "could murder a steak".

              Eastern Ukraine is not his first conflict. He claimed he was involved in Bosnia, and says he thought about joining the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq.

              Britain has been supplying non-lethal equipment to Ukraine, and British troops have been training Ukrainian forces for several months.

              Earlier this month the British Government announced that another 25 military personnel would be added to the programme to train the Ukrainian army.

              So what has brought this man in his thirties, who claims to have served in the British army, to fight for the pro-Russian militia against Ukraine?

              'Western aggression'
              The first reason appears to be his lack of prospects back home. He has not had a job since last December.

              He claims zero-hour contracts, which allow firms to hire staff without any guarantee of work, forced him "to vote with his feet".

              But ideology also led him to travel more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) to live off army rations, in a tent in a wood, by a stream, with a group of rebel soldiers, just north of the city of Debaltseve in rebel-held territory.

              "I see this as more western imperial aggression towards Russia, to people who aren't playing the western game", he said.

              He did not want us to show his face or use his name.

              He says that after watching reports in the media about far right groups in Ukraine, he was inspired to join the rebels.
              'I'm not a terrorist'

              In reality, far-right groups in Ukraine enjoy minimal public backing.

              In elections in 2014 political parties on the far right got less than 5% of the vote.

              It is true that two volunteer groups in the Ukrainian military, the Right Sector and the Azov Battalion, have far right ultra-nationalists in their ranks.

              However, their prominence in Ukraine has been overplayed in the pro-Kremlin media, to create a myth that the rebels are on some kind of crusade against Kiev-inspired fascism.

              The fact that two British men have come to fight with the rebels, believing they too are fighting fascism, shows that Russia's version of events is having an international impact.

              A second man, from Scotland, who didn't want to be interviewed, admitted that he had been inspired to join the conflict in Ukraine by reports he had seen in the "non-mainstream" media.

              The man from Manchester denied he was "meddling" in the conflict, and said he didn't see how he could be breaking British law.

              "I'm not a terrorist", he said. "Not like these jihadists that go out to Syria."

              However, Ukraine says the men fighting for the pro-Russian militia are Russian-backed "terrorists".

              And the British government said "people who travel abroad to participate in conflicts may be committing criminal or terrorism offences and could face prosecution when they return to the UK".

              Wearing a balaclava over his face during our interview, the British man said he would be prepared to kill someone if his life was threatened.

              And he said that if he died in eastern Ukraine, it would have been worth it because he is "doing something he is proud of".

              He believes he is protecting people living in rebel territory from the rest of Ukraine.

              And despite believing that the conflict in Ukraine was caused by "imperial aggression towards Russia", he does not think that Russia has been involved in any way.

              But does his family know he's here?

              His dad does: "He kind of agrees. He's another socialist," he said.

              But he admits that in the three months he has spent in eastern Ukraine, he "has not fired shot in anger".

              After 18 months of fighting, there is finally a real ceasefire.

              And there are reports than some foreign fighters in Ukraine are now thinking of leaving and travelling to Russia's latest foreign policy venture: Syria. Ukraine conflict: The Brits fighting with pro-Russian rebels - BBC News

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              • Russia's military is muscling into the Arctic, where melting ice is freeing up resources
                NBC Paul Ames Oct 18, 2015

                TAVANGER, Norway — The Arctic ice floes are a world away from Syria's fiery deserts or the plains of eastern Ukraine. Yet the High North risks becoming another theater of tension between Russia and the West as global warming frees up resource riches.

                "The unlocking of the region’s enormous economic potential could ... have significant geopolitical implications," warns a report presented to lawmakers and senior Western security officials last week. It highlighted dangers of "competition and perhaps even confrontation" in the region.

                "The Arctic is a harsh environment; it should not become harsher due to increased military and resource competition," said the report prepared for NATO's Parliamentary Assembly.

                Russia has been cranking up its military presence in the Arctic as relations with the West worsen over Ukraine. Now with Russia striking targets inside Syria — many of them held by US-friendly rebels — those tensions are even higher.

                Moscow aims to open 10 new airbases in the Arctic region by the end of this year in addition to four that are already operational. Last December, Russia set up a new Arctic strategic command and began revamping Cold War-era naval, army and air defense installations across its vast northern region.

                A motorized infantry brigade was stationed close to the border with Finland; another brigade will be based just eight miles from Norway's northeast frontier. The NATO PA report says Russia is increasing its special forces presence in the region by more than 30 percent and stepping up Arctic warfare training.

                A land grab for polar territory is underway among Russia and the other Arctic seaboard nations — Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States.

                In March, Russia mobilized its powerful Northern Fleet for exercises that deployed 45,000 troops, 41 ships and 110 aircraft. The war games dwarfed maneuvers by 5,000 Norwegian troops on the other side of the border.

                "New challenges and threats to military security require the armed forces to further boost their military capabilities," said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. "Special attention must be paid to newly created strategic formations in the north."

                Russia says its build-up is defensive — needed to protect vast oil, gas and mineral resources along the country's 15,000-mile Arctic Sea coast.

                Northern neighbors are not so sure.

                "We see that the Russian armed forces are undergoing a significant modernization ... we are seeing much greater capability for strategic mobility," Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Monday.

                "We do not consider Russia to be a direct threat to Norway or Norwegian interests, but the strategic changes in the security environment in our part of the world force us to think differently," she told a security conference in Stavanger, the capital of Norway's $38 billion-a-year oil and gas industry.

                More from GlobalPost: This is what the Russians are saying about Moscow’s airstrikes in Syria

                Many experts warn rivalry in the polar region is increasing as climate change makes it easier to reach the huge natural resources under the ice cap, and to free up sea lanes through the Arctic Ocean.

                The Arctic holds an estimated 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas reserves. It also contains rare earth metals and other valuable minerals. With the icecap and permafrost melting at accelerated rates, they are becoming more readily available.

                A land grab for polar territory is underway among Russia and the other Arctic seaboard nations — Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States, who are all members of the NATO alliance. In August, Moscow renewed claims to almost half a million square miles stretching up to the North Pole.

                Norwegian officials hope the race for Arctic resources will be peaceful. They note that most of the mineral riches are in areas already allocated, and point to a tradition of nations resolving territorial issues peacefully there — even during the Cold War.

                However, Norway's faith in Arctic cooperation has been shaken by President Vladimir Putin's unpredictable foreign policy.

                They haven’t been reassured by stunts like using a submarine to plant a Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole in 2007; strategic bomber incursions close to Norwegian air space; or the unannounced landing on Norway's Svalbard Islands by Putin aide Dmitry Rogozin, in April, in violation of a European travel ban imposed over his role in destabilizing Ukraine.

                "The Arctic is a Russian Mecca," Rogozin, a deputy prime minister, tweeted in response to Norwegian complaints.

                A few years back, Russian Arctic rhetoric was characterized by terms such as peaceful development, low tension and low military activity,” says Lt. Gen Kjell Grandhagen, director of the Norwegian Intelligence Service. "Now, Russian leaders ... are increasingly referring to the need for ramping up military activity in the High North."

                Grandhagen told GlobalPost that Russian actions are becoming increasingly difficult to forecast as the Kremlin pursues an outsized foreign policy agenda to cover for its economic weakness and dilute potential for internal unrest.

                "They want to be a major global power but with a limited ability to do it, that makes them more unpredictable," Grandhagen said. "It puts an enormous pressure on the Russian leadership to deliver something to the Russian public."

                Norway is stepping up military spending in response.

                The government last week asked parliament for a 9.8 percent increase in the defense budget next year. It wants to spend over a quarter of the budget on new equipment like high-tech F-35 stealth fighter planes and powerful anti-ship missiles.

                A 25 percent increase in intelligence spending is also planned.

                Some NATO allies oppose further militarization of the High North, fearing an Arctic arms race. The Norwegians argue that Western allies must prepare for the worst.

                "This area will be highly relevant in any potential crisis or conflict involving Russia," Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide told lawmakers from the 28 NATO nations gathered in Stavanger.

                "Given the strategic importance of Russian capabilities in the High North, we could potentially face a resurrected threat to the sea lines of communication across the Atlantic," she warned. "We need to bolster capacities."

                That concern isn't limited to Europe.

                US President Barack Obama has faced calls to beef up Arctic defenses, particularly from Alaska.

                On a visit to the state last month, Obama backed calls for the US Coast Guard to acquire more icebreakers — powerful ships able to cut though Arctic ice to clear the way for other vessels.

                Currently the United States has just two such ships compared to a Russian fleet that already stands at 41, with 11 more on the way.

                "The highways of the Arctic are paved by icebreakers," Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan told reporters during Obama's visit. "Right now, the Russians have superhighways and we have dirt roads with potholes."

                "We are entering a new era of Arctic security," said Kristine Offerdal, an expert at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies. "The worst case scenario is becoming increasingly worse."
                Russia's military is muscling into the Arctic, where melting ice is freeing up resources | GlobalPost




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                • 18:38 19.10.2015 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                  Court starts bankruptcy procedure of Chervonohrad enriching factory - Demchyshyn

                  A court has started the bankruptcy procedure of Chervonohrad enriching factory (Lviv region), the only factory of its kind in western Ukraine, under the suit of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Volodymyr Demchyshyn said at a press conference in Kyiv.

                  He said that a shortage of 30,000 tonnes of coal owned by state enterprise Lvivvuhillia, and 10,000 tonnes of coal owned by state enterprise Volynvuhillia was recorded at the plant, and the company owed UAH 25 million to its staff, however state customers have fully paid the plant.

                  "There is a fundamental problem with the owners, who have being underfunding the factory for a long time, there is also a problem with its technical condition," the minister said.

                  Demchyshyn emphasized that the work of Chervonohrad enriching factory is a prerequisite for the normal shipping of products by Lvivvuhillia and Volynvuhillia, therefore the problem must be resolved as soon as possible.

                  The minister said he supports the early completion of the plant's bankruptcy procedure or its return to state ownership.

                  At present, the state owns 38% of shares in Chervonohrad enriching factory. Court starts bankruptcy procedure of Chervonohrad enriching factory - Demchyshyn

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                  • NATO Launches Largest Military Exercise in Decade
                    VOICE OF AMERICA Reuters October 19, 2015 11:42 AM

                    TRAPANI, ITALY—

                    NATO and its allies opened their largest military exercise in more than a decade on Monday, choosing the central Mediterranean to showcase strengths that face threats from Russia's growing military presence from the Baltics to Syria.

                    As planes flew over a gala ceremony for NATO's military and political leaders at an air base in southern Italy, Russia's resurgence was the central topic of concern, pushing NATO to embark on its biggest modernization since the Cold War.

                    "This sends a very clear message to any potential aggressor," NATO's top commander General Philip Breedlove said of the Trident Juncture exercises and the testing of a new rapid-reaction force.

                    "Any attempt to violate the sovereignty of one NATO nation will result in the decisive military engagement of all NATO nations," Breedlove said, before donning flight gear to oversee a fly-over of dozens of fighter jets and camouflaged helicopters.

                    But looming over the exercises involving some 36,000 troops, ships and aircraft over five weeks is the issue of how far Russia's growing military presence from the Baltics to Syria can limit NATO's ability to move around by sea and air.

                    From the Baltics, where Russia has a naval base in Kaliningrad, through the Black Sea and annexed Crimea, to Moscow's intervention in Syria, Russia has stationed anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles able to cover huge areas.

                    'Concerned' about Russia

                    "We are very concerned about the Russian military build-up," NATO's Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told reporters. "The increasing concentration of forces in Kaliningrad, the Black Sea and now in the eastern Mediterranean does pose some additional challenges," he said.

                    NATO officials insist the alliance is ready and able to defend any of its 28 allies from any threat, while its combined strength is far greater than Russia's military capacity.

                    Still, privately NATO officials and diplomats worry the alliance needs to be more agile to combat multiple threats beyond its borders, a fact underscored by Libya's collapse, the rise of Islamic State militants and Syria's civil war.

                    They see the emergence of a Russian strategy to set up defensive zones of influence, so-called anti-access area denial, with surface-to-air missile batteries and anti-ship missiles that can prevent forces from entering or moving across air, land and sea.

                    That could prevent NATO countries including the United States setting up a no-fly zone to protect Syrian refugees from bombings in northern Syria, for instance.

                    "We have to take into account that Russia is going to have a much more substantial presence ... with the ability to impede our freedom of maneuver and our freedom of navigation," said a senior official who declined to be identified.

                    'Armed fortress'

                    The Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, had become "an armed fortress, the official said.

                    After more than a decade of NATO-led combat operations in Afghanistan, the U.S.-led military alliance is shifting to defend its territory. Control of its outer regions is seen as critical.

                    One powerful new tool that the exercises will test is a 5,000-strong "spearhead" force comprising air, maritime and special operations components as part of a 40,000-strong rapid reaction force.

                    Libya's collapse, the rise of Islamic State militants, Syria's civil war and the European Union's failure to stabilize its southern neighborhood are now NATO's problems too and NATO member Turkey shares borders with Syria and Iraq.

                    While planned two years ago, the exercises are timely because they are not about reacting to an attack on a NATO ally, although NATO remains focused on collective defense.

                    In the fictitious training scenario, a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizes a NATO mission to help protect a threatened state and to safeguard the seas. NATO Launches Largest Military Exercise in Decade

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                    • #CrimeaIsUkraine, Oxford University Press and Larousse twitter/message storm. Clickable tweets here
                      EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2015/10/19

                      The French publisher Larousse and UK publisher Oxford University Press have published materials that picture Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. While Oxford University Press have, following public inquiries, published a statement where they promise to edit their textbook before any additional copies are sold, they have not stated about a decision to recall all unsold copies of the textbook. Meanwhile, Larousse has not made any public statements/responses to the inquiry of the Ukrainian embassy to France. The paper edition of their 2016 Atlas fails to show Crimea as part of Ukraine; the digital map of Ukraine on their site where Crimea is shown as part of Ukraine is dated by 2013 and is likely to be simply an old version.

                      We salute Oxford University Press’s promise to correct the situation. However, it is unacceptable that textbooks that have the text with the mistake will be continue to be sold. They must be recalled!

                      We demand that:
                      -the publishers issue a loud public statement saying that the publication of this information was a fatal mistake and that their sources of information have failed;
                      -the publishers withdraw all unsold copies of the Atlas and Textbook with erroneous information and fix the mistakes;
                      -the publishers immediately post the fixed Chapter on Crimea on all their pages for downloading by teachers/students/readers that already purchased the Textbook/Atlas;
                      -the publishers apologize before Ukrainians, and especially Crimean Tatars, for publishing material that contradicts the UN resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which was adopted by 100 countries, including their own, in the UN Resolution 68/262.

                      Join us in a twitter/message storm. #CrimeaIsUkraine, Larousse and Oxford University Press! Simply click to tweet to these publishers and journalists that will be interested in covering this situation using the clickable tweets below. Write to Oxford University Press and Larousse on FB and email using the contacts provided in this article. More info in the FB event.

                      Tell @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr #CrimeaIsUkraine, join the twitter storm http://t.co/sAM1FuQOGG #CrimeaIsUkraine, Oxford University Press and Larousse twitter/message storm. Clickable tweets here -Euromaidan Press |
                      ! @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr #CrimeaIsUkraine, צ : http://t.co/sAM1FuQOGG #CrimeaIsUkraine, Oxford University Press and Larousse twitter/message storm. Clickable tweets here -Euromaidan Press |
                      Textbooks should teach students that it is bad to take what is not yours #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford
                      Crimea is not Russian and has never been #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr http://t.co/e3P0IxSVtA
                      .@UniOfOxford @OUPacademic @Larousse_fr show Crimea as part of Russia. #CrimeaIsUkraine! Larousse & Oxford Press place Crimea in Russia, sparking outrage; activists call for action -Euromaidan Press |
                      Crimea is not exclave & cannot be compared to Kaliningrad #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr http://t.co/wxFwjGjLlE
                      Oxford, don’t lie to your children! #CrimeaIsUkraine. Recall all unsold textbooks until mistake is fixed @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford
                      In 2014 Crimea was brutally annexed with #Russia’s boots on ground, but #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @LAROUSSE_FR
                      So-called referendum in #Crimea held under barrels of Russian guns #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @LAROUSSE_FR
                      100 countries including UK & France condemn annexation of #Crimea #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @LAROUSSE_FR
                      Map with Crimea Russian is false #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford http://t.co/e3P0IxSVtA Twitter storm
                      Crimea has never been recognised as part of #Russia #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @LAROUSSE_FR http://t.co/bVtHTrMtax
                      Mistakes should be regretted and learned, never carried into future. Recall all unsold editions. #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford
                      Learn from failure not from success. @OUPAcademic, do have courage to admit mistakes #CrimeaIsUkraine #StopRussianPropaganda @UniofOxford
                      Mistakes are always forgivable if one has courage to admit them #CrimeaIsUkraine @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford http://t.co/8whiv9IsTa
                      .@OUPAcademic @UniofOxford you must recall all unsold textbooks, UN resolution clearly states: #CrimeaIsUkraine http://t.co/8whiv9IsTa
                      .@OUPAcademic @UniofOxford we salute your decision to fix the mistake. Now recall ALL textbooks from sales until they show #CrimeaIsUkraine
                      #CrimeaIsUkraine, “referendum illegal”! Do @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr disagree with UN General Assembly Resolution 28/262?
                      #Russia is carrying out 2nd genocide against Crimean Tatars @OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr #CrimeaIsUkraine Crushing dissent. Timeline of repressions against Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea -Euromaidan Press |
                      .@OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr you insulted millions of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars that are victims of #RussiaInvadedUkraine
                      .@OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr you must make public statement that #CrimeaIsUkraine. Or do you disagree with UN?
                      .@OUPAcademic @UniofOxford @Larousse_fr you must correct your mistake immediately and recall all unsold editions. #CrimeaIsUkraine
                      Faut-il vraiment continuer à faire confiance à @LAROUSSE_FR après la publication de la carte de l’Ukraine sans la Crimée? #CrimeaIsUkraine
                      La Crimée n’a pas été “rattachée”, mais ANNEXEE par la Russie, contrairement à ce que publie @LAROUSSE_FR dans son Atlas socio-économique.
                      . @LAROUSSE_FR La Crimée c’est l’Ukraine, voir résolution 68/262 de l’ONU. #CrimeaIsUkraine United Nations Official Document http://t.co/wZjHoZbHgO
                      100 pays, y compris la France, condamnent l’annexion de la Crimée. #CrimeaIsUkraine @LAROUSSE_FR http://t.co/RZ6FXvOXm1
                      .@LAROUSSE_FR Nous exigeons que la carte de l’Ukraine soit corrigée! #CrimeaIsUkraine http://t.co/82mIvh1JAx
                      .@LAROUSSE_FR refuse toute polémique, mais fait très bien de la politique. La Crimée a été ANNEXEE! #CrimeaIsUkraine http://t.co/82mIvh1JAx
                      Les atlas doivent être une référence, non pas un relais de propagande russe. @LAROUSSE_FR #CrimeaIsUkraine http://t.co/wZjHoZbHgO
                      Les erreurs sont toujours pardonnables si on a le courage de les admettre. #CrimeaIsUkraine @LAROUSSE_FR http://t.co/82mIvh1JAx
                      .@LAROUSSE_FR vous cautionnez l’annexion de la #Crimée? Larousse=LaRUSSE? #CrimeaIsUkraine http://t.co/82mIvh1JAx
                      HONTE A @LAROUSSE_FR l STOP a l’abrutissement des Français – la Crimée c’est l’Ukraine ! http://t.co/82mIvh1JAx
                      .@LAROUSSE_FR met Crimée en Russie or Mémo Budapest 94 signé engage respect intégrité de l’Ukraine ! http://t.co/82mIvh1JAx
                      #CrimeaIsUkraine, Oxford University Press and Larousse twitter/message storm. Clickable tweets here -Euromaidan Press |

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                      • The Power Vertical Brian Whitmore October 19, 2015
                        The Daily Vertical: Russia's Other War
                        The Daily Vertical: Russia's Other War
                        ======================

                        The Power Vertical Brian Whitmore October 19, 2015
                        Briefing: Energy Games

                        Russia's energy minister goes to Tehran. Russian officials meet with OPEC in Vienna. And Moscow and Saudi Arabia battle for market share in Europe.

                        Russia's economy rests on two pillars -- oil and gas. And both will be in the spotlight this week.

                        On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, I take a look at Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak's visit to Tehran and Russia's meeting with OPEC in Vienna. Both meetings take place as Russia is battling with Saudi Arabia for oil markets in Europe and Asia.

                        Enjoy...
                        Briefing: Energy Games

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                        • REUTERS Oct 19, 2015 MONTREAL/CALGARY Randall Palmer & Rod Nickel
                          Liberals win Canadian election, ousting Harper: TV

                          Canada's Liberal party, led by Justin Trudeau, won a stunning election victory on Monday and toppled the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, according to unanimous projections by Canada's major television networks.

                          The projected win ends the Conservatives' nine-year run in power and reflected a political shift away from Harper's brand of fiscal and cultural conservatism. The Conservatives were projected to become the official opposition in Parliament, with the left-leaning New Democratic Party in third.

                          Liberal supporters at the party's campaign headquarters broke into cheers and whistles when television projected that Trudeau would be the next prime minister.

                          Top Trudeau advisor Gerald Butts tweeted "Amazing work #TeamTrudeau. Breathtaking really".

                          At the Conservative election headquarters in Calgary, where Harper is due to speak later, supporters sat quietly, staring at giant TV screens reporting results.

                          Trudeau, 43, the photogenic son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, vaulted from third place to lead the polls in the last days of the campaign, overcoming Conservative attacks that he is too inexperienced to govern.

                          While the final vote count was not yet complete, the early results suggested the center-left Liberals could even win a majority of Parliament's 338 seats.

                          The win marks a swing toward a more multilateral approach in global politics by the Canadian government, which has distanced itself from the United Nations in recent years.

                          Trudeau has said he will repair Canada’s cool relations with the Obama administration, withdraw Canada from the combat mission against Islamic State militants in favor of humanitarian aid, and tackle climate change.

                          The former teacher took charge of the party just two years ago and guided it out of the political wilderness with a pledge of economic stimulus and stirring appeals for a return to social liberalism.

                          Born to a sitting prime minister who came to power in 1968 on a wave of popular support dubbed "Trudeaumania," Trudeau will become the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history and brings an appeal more common in movie stars than statesmen.

                          Criticized for being more style than substance, Trudeau has used attacks on his good looks and privileged upbringing to win over voters, who recalled his father's rock-star presence and an era when Canada had some sizzle on the world stage.

                          Pierre Trudeau, who died in 2000, was in power for 15 years - with a brief interruption - and remains one of the few Canadian leaders to be known abroad.

                          The Trudeau victory weakened the Canadian dollar. Financial market players had praised the Conservative government for its steady hand in economic management, which had spared Canada the worst of the global financial malaise.

                          Trudeau has pledged to run small budget deficits and spend on infrastructure to stimulate economic growth, which has been anemic for years. He has also promised to raise taxes on high-income Canadians and reduce them for the middle class.

                          Political pundits have already began to speculate on the makeup of a Trudeau government while pondering what caused the downfall of Harper, 56, who has been criticized for his aloof personality but won credit for economic management in a decade of global fiscal uncertainty. Liberals win Canadian election, ousting Harper: TV projects | Reuters

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                          • Oxford Press stopped distributing textbook with misplaced Crimea, Larousse silent
                            EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2015/10/20

                            Following an inquiry from the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK and a public campaign, Oxford University Press has stopped distributing the geography textbook for students aged 11 to 14 which pictured Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

                            A representative of the publishing house commented to Euromaidan Press that they had “stopped distributing the title with immediate effect,” are reviewing the section in question, and are considering how best to manage the process of getting the updated version to our customers. The official statement released by Oxford University Press notes that they will be adding “further detail” to explain the “complex situation in the Crimea.”

                            On October 19, activists held a #CrimeaIsUkraine twitter and message storm where they addressed Oxford University Press and Larousse, a French publisher that similarly had published an Atlas picturing Crimea as being not part of Ukraine, and demanded the publishers issue public statements stating that this publication was a mistake, withdraw all unsold copies of the Atlas and Textbook with erroneous information, publish a corrected version of the chapter for downloading by those that have already purchased it, and issue an apology before Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars.

                            Larousse, meanwhile, has not responded either to the inquiry of Ukrainian ambassador to France, or to the media inquiries of Euromaidan Press. However, Isabelle Dumont, the French ambassador to Ukraine, has tweeted “France does not recognize the annexation of Crimea. I am glad that Larousse corrected their map of Ukraine.”

                            It is unclear what map Ms. Dumont is referring to. The paper edition of the Atlas with Crimea belonging to Russia is still being sold in the bookshops of Paris. The digital map of Ukraine on Larousse’s site has been edited for the last time on 2013-04-08 15:22:11 GMT according to the image metadata analysis of Fotoforensics, a digital photo forensics site, and has likely not been updated from that time.

                            Following an inquiry from the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK and a public campaign, Oxford University Press has stopped distributing the geography textbook for students aged 11 to 14 which pictured Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

                            A representative of the publishing house commented to Euromaidan Press that they had “stopped distributing the title with immediate effect,” are reviewing the section in question, and are considering how best to manage the process of getting the updated version to our customers. The official statement released by Oxford University Press notes that they will be adding “further detail” to explain the “complex situation in the Crimea.”

                            On October 19, activists held a #CrimeaIsUkraine twitter and message storm where they addressed Oxford University Press and Larousse, a French publisher that similarly had published an Atlas picturing Crimea as being not part of Ukraine, and demanded the publishers issue public statements stating that this publication was a mistake, withdraw all unsold copies of the Atlas and Textbook with erroneous information, publish a corrected version of the chapter for downloading by those that have already purchased it, and issue an apology before Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars.

                            Larousse, meanwhile, has not responded either to the inquiry of Ukrainian ambassador to France, or to the media inquiries of Euromaidan Press. However, Isabelle Dumont, the French ambassador to Ukraine, has tweeted “France does not recognize the annexation of Crimea. I am glad that Larousse corrected their map of Ukraine.”

                            It is unclear what map Ms. Dumont is referring to. The paper edition of the Atlas with Crimea belonging to Russia is still being sold in the bookshops of Paris. The digital map of Ukraine on Larousse’s site has been edited for the last time on 2013-04-08 15:22:11 GMT according to the image metadata analysis of Fotoforensics, a digital photo forensics site, and has likely not been updated from that time.

                            The Crimean “referendum,” held on 16 March 2014 after unmarked soldiers that Russian president Vladimir Putin later acknowledged as Russian soldiers, took over government buildings in Crimea, was declared invalid by the UN Resolution 68/262, where 100 countries, including France and UK, supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The UK is also a signatory of the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances to Ukraine, while France is a signatory of a separate document that provides weaker guarantees to Ukraine.
                            Oxford Press stopped distributing textbook with misplaced Crimea, Larousse silent -Euromaidan Press |

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                            • Punished for Courage? Crimean Political Prisoner Gennady Afanasyev found
                              20.10.15 HUMAN RIGHTS IN UKRAINE Halya Coynash

                              Alexander Popkov, lawyer representing Crimean political prisoner Gennady Afanasyev reports that his client has been placed in a punishment cell in Maximum Security Prison Colony No. 25 in Syktyvkar [Republic of Komi].

                              The punishment was imposed after a razor was found. Afanasyev insists that it was planted and believes that the prison administration is planning to place him on harsher conditions within the colony.

                              No. 25 is described as a maximum security prison colony for prisoners serving a first sentence. The Komi Republic is West of the Urals and very far from Afanasyev’s native Crimea, his family and friends, as well as from his lawyer.

                              There was no information for over a month as to Afanasyev’s whereabouts. Then Olha Afanasyeva had been told that her son was in the Republic of Komi, and was awaiting a further move. Since he had been moved from Rostov after his courageous appearance at the trial of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko and detailed account of the torture he had faced, the secrecy only exacerbated concern that Afanasyev would face reprisals.

                              Afanasyev, Sentsov and Kolchenko were all involved in peaceful protest against Russian annexation and in measures to help Ukrainian soldiers who were effectively held prisoner in their barracks after Russian soldiers seized control of the peninsula.

                              They and Oleksy Chirniy were all arrested in May 2014, and held incommunicado for weeks before being taken to Russia. On May 30 last year the FSB [Russian Security Service] accused all four men of involvement in a ‘Right Sector terrorist plot’, and pro-Kremlin television showed ‘confessions’ from Chirniy and Afanasyev.

                              It was clear from the first day of the trial of Sentsov and Kolchenko that the prosecution has absolutely nothing against the men, especially Sentsov who was charged with masterminding ‘the plot’. The Memorial Human Rights Centre issued a statement in which it condemned the trial and recognized Sentsov and Kolchenko political prisoners.

                              The case entirely hinged on the two ‘confessions’. Then on July 31, Afanasyev appeared in court and instead of refusing to testify, as the FSB had insisted he do, while standing by previously given testimony, stated that everything he had said before was a lie, and given under torture.

                              He later described the earlier torture and the pressure he had been put under before appearing in the courtroom. See: Tortured for testimony against Sentsov-Kolchenko in Russia’s ‘Crimean terrorist plot’ trial

                              One FSB officer ‘visited’ him since and hit him very hard, and he was known to be facing immense pressure to claim that his retraction was given under pressure. The threats received included menacing words about bad things happening to his mother.

                              In a statement on Aug 19, the authoritative Memorial Human Rights Centre recognized Afanasyev as a political prisoner and specifically warned that he was in danger following his retraction of testimony.

                              Please write to Gennady Afanasyev at the address below. If you are unsure what to write, the following would be quite sufficient:

                              , , .

                              (we wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released).

                              If you write in English, please avoid complicated structures, and particularly contentious / political remarks since the letter will be vetted by the prison administration.

                              ANY words of support will be appreciated, and will give a crucial message to the prison administration and FSB that Gennady Afanasyev is not forgotten and that their behaviour is under scrutiny.

                              Address

                              №25

                              167028, ., .

                              , (1990 .)

                              Please try to alert the media to this case and also ask your government to express its concern for Afanasyev’s safety and to demand that he, Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko are released.
                              Punished for Courage? Crimean Political Prisoner Gennady Afanasyev found :: khpg.org

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                              • Death toll in Ukraine excursion boat capsizing rises to 14
                                Associated Press Oct. 18, 2015

                                ODESSA, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian excursion boat that capsized in the Black Sea, killing 14 people, was carrying twice as many passengers as allowed and was knocked over by a big wave, officials and survivors said Sunday.

                                "It was a big storm, we were on our way back to port and it just overturned in one moment," said Dmytro Martynov, who was among 37 people onboard the Ivolga when it capsized Saturday afternoon near the major port city of Odessa.

                                Mikhail Saakashvili, Odessa's governor and former president of Georgia, said the boat was hit by a wave in a channel.

                                "The waves there are quite strong, the weather had changed for the worse and the Ivolga overturned," he said. "The crew used a safety raft. Most of the passengers survived on this raft, but unfortunately 12 people died and two disappeared."

                                Olga Shevchuk of the state emergency services said the vessel was approved for only 12 passengers and three crew members, while it was carrying a total of 37.

                                "The accident was caused by overloading," she told The Associated Press.

                                The captain of the boat has been detained.

                                A photo of the boat published by the Ukrainian news agency Unian showed it as a small motor vessel with awning-shaded viewing areas both fore and aft.Death toll in Ukraine excursion boat capsizing rises to 14 - Business Insider

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