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  • RADIO FREE EUROPE Tony Wesolowsky September 03, 2016
    Donetsk Separatists Fly Flag At Czech Center That Prague Vows To Close

    OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- The flag of Russia-backed separatists from Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region fluttered from an ornate, two-story building in this otherwise gritty city on the Czech Republic's eastern fringes on September 1, as the separatists opened what they call their first official office on EU soil.

    Amid protests and vows by authorities to shut down the center, a Czech far-right activist said the office is aimed at rebuilding ties between Ostrava and Donetsk, both crumbling industrial centers that were once sister cities.

    "We want to aid and coordinate communication between the people of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Czech Republic," said Nela Liskova, a member of the xenophobic National Militia movement, referring to the separatist group in eastern Ukraine.

    Liskova addressed a cramped conference room packed with a few dozen reporters and a handful of supporters -- including a few allegedly from Donetsk. A self-described "honorary consul," she said she is disgusted with her government's support for what she calls the "junta" in Kyiv -- standard Kremlin shorthand for the pro-Western government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    Putting down stakes in the EU would be a feat for the separatists, who have fought Kyiv's forces in a bloody war that has killed more than 9,500 people since April 2014 following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula the previous month.

    Until now they have been recognized as an independent state only by South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia that itself is recognized only by Moscow and a handful of other countries.

    But any kind of recognition by the EU is wishful thinking at best. Brussels has sanctioned several separatists in eastern Ukraine, including Oleksandr Zakharchenko, the self-styled leader in Donetsk, as well as officials in Moscow over Russian backing for the separatists.

    In the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman has departed from the common EU line on Ukraine and criticized sanctions against Moscow. But he has not offered the separatists in eastern Ukraine any public support.

    Meanwhile, Prague has repeatedly said that the separatists lack any legitimacy to open a diplomatic post in the country, while the Czech Foreign Ministry vowed on September 1 that their self-declared representative office would be shut down.

    The Czech Embassy in Kyiv said in an August 29 statement that "the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic cannot have an accredited representative office in the Czech Republic because the Czech Republic does not recognize its existence."

    According to official documents, the organization behind the center was officially registered on June 16, 2016.

    The opening of its office was met with a small public protest outside Ostrava's Mercure Hotel, where the press conference for the event was being held. Some 15 demonstrators held up placards reading "Stop Russian Aggression," and "Kremlin Theater."

    "I'm upset that they are opening up an office for a group that the Czech Republic, including the Foreign Ministry, does not recognize as legitimate, and is a terrorist state," said Radovan Blaha, who traveled from Prague to attend the protest.

    Mikhail Topolov, a Czech-based Ukrainian activist, said that "the pro-Russian terrorists should not have any representation in the Czech Republic."

    'Historical Moment'
    Organizers had promised that an "official" from the Donetsk separatist-controlled territory would appear at the opening of the Ostrava office. Liskova explained, however, that the individual was forced to cancel at the last moment "due to the current political situation."

    Natalya Nikonorova, who styles herself as the separatists' foreign minister, did issue a statement handed out at the press conference in which she hailed the opening of the center as a "historical moment."

    While invitations for the press conference were sent to members of the Czech parliament, not one Czech politician appeared to be present at the event.

    Whether anyone from Donetsk had actually traveled to Ostrava was unclear as well.

    One of three people Liskova claimed had arrived from the eastern Ukrainian city whispered as she entered the conference room that she was from Volgograd, in southern Russia.

    And while numerous journalists were in attendance, gaining entrance was no small task. Local security -- made up mostly of beefy, bald-headed men -- scrutinized people's IDs and inquired about nationality before letting them pass. They then had to go through a metal detector on their way in.

    A few of the security personnel were monitoring reporters closely, with one filming the journalists who were filming the protesters outside.

    One reporter from the Czech weekly Tyden was first denied entry but later allowed in after he protested that the event had been publicized as a press conference open to the public.

    "I guess I'm on the separatists' blacklist," the reporter, Ivan Motyl, quipped.

    Liskova refused to answer questions about financing for the hotel event and the center itself, leaving some to question whether money may be coming from Russia.

    A Czech member of the European Parliament has said the whole affair has made the Czech Republic the laughingstock of Europe and called for Liskova to be arrested on terrorism charges.

    In an August 30 statement, Jaromir Stetina urged Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek to do his duty and arrest Liskova and shut down the center, saying it was "making a mockery of Czech diplomacy."

    Liskova fired backed at the press conference, accusing Stetina of supporting the "terrorist" Azov Battalion, a former volunteer militia in eastern Ukraine whose ranks included far-right nationalists and which is now part of the country's National Guard.

    Liskova has been photographed wearing military fatigues and packing firearms. The National Militia movement to which she belongs has ridden a wave of anti-Islamic feeling in the Central European nation to attract support. Donetsk Separatists Fly Flag At Czech Center That Prague Vows To Close

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    • UT UKRAINE TODAY Sep. 1, 2016
      How many children are going to school in occupied regions of Donbas? (video)

      September 1 in Ukraine is a traditional time for students to start a new term

      The majority of children in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions went to school on September 1.

      Around 100,000 students in the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" and over 83,000 students in the so-called "Luhansk People's Republic" went to schools, TV Channel "24" reported.

      Luhansk civil-military administration informed that this year more than 50,000 children in 299 schools will sit at their desks. It goes saying about the territory of the Luhansk region, controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. The number for the Donetsk region, part of which is under the control of the Ukrainian government, is unknown.

      However, the severest situation is in the near-front zone, where there is a constant threat of shelling. 15,000 children get an education in that area.

      The city of Krasnohorivka in Donetsk region, which is under the control of Ukraine and is located near the frontline, has opened two schools. Two other are heavily destroyed because of the ongoing war and will remain closed. 1,500 students will be taught in two city schools. Back to school in occupied Donbas: How many children are going to school in occupied regions of Donbas? (video)

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      • UT UKRAINE TODAY Sep. 2, 2016
        Odesa marks 222nd anniversary (video)

        City is to struggle for hosting Eurovision Song Contest-2017

        Odesa celebrates the City Day. The dock city is 222 years old. This year Odesa draws additional attention since it is one of the three candidates to host the Eurovision Song contest in 2017.

        At 10 am the national Ukrainian flag was risen at Dumska square, the whole city is also decorated with numerous flags. In view of the city holidays, the schools have been granted a day off, so that the pupils could fully enjoy the entertaining activities.

        The local star alley gained some new stars today. Symbolic objects are devoted to the famous residents of Odesa. The authorities stress they are striving to show that Odesa is able to host big events and welcome the guests from abroad.

        Odesa city day: Odesa marks 222nd anniversary (video)

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        • UT UKRAINE TODAY Sep. 2, 2016
          Ukraine ranks as the cheapest country to live in - Expat Insider

          74% of respondents think that their disposable income is more than what they need to make a living in Ukraine

          For the third year in a row, Expat Insider — one of the largest expat surveys worldwide — offers an in-depth analysis of everyday expat life in more than 60 countries across the globe.

          More than 14,000 respondents representing 174 nationalities and 191 countries or territories took part and had their say on moving, living and working abroad.

          With its relatively cheap cost of living, Ukraine is listed among the top countries that are beneficial to the budget of foreigners living abroad.

          Read also Ukraine ranks among top 20 friendliest countries in the world - Expat Insider

          Ukraine ranks first in Expat Insider's Cost of Living Index and claims the second place in the Personal Finance Index.

          The research authors write: "Ukraine ranks first in the Cost of Living Index, with an impressive 45% of expats saying that the cost of living is extremely affordable, more than three times the worldwide average of 14%, making it the highest percentage for this factor across all countries. Overall, 85% quote general satisfaction with their expenses, while only 6% have something negative to say as compared to 32% globally".

          According to the study, three-quarters of the respondents consider the cost of living as a potential advantage before moving to Ukraine.

          As regards personal finances, Ukraine comes second following Taiwan.

          The research authors write: "Only 13% of expats in Ukraine are unhappy with their financial situation, compared to 17% worldwide. However, 76% are generally satisfied with their finances, with 24% even being completely satisfied with money matters (global average: 64% and 15%, respectively). Almost three-quarters of the respondents (74%) think that their disposable income is more than what they need to make a living in Ukraine, as opposed to 48% worldwide; three in ten even state that their disposable income is rather more than enough — three times the global average of 10%. Also, just 12% think it's not sufficient, noticeably lower than the 23% of participants worldwide who feel the same."

          Last year, Ecuador, Luxemburg and Mexico were the top three countries in these indices.

          http://image.tsn.ua/media/images4/or...54547572005256

          News from Ukraine: Ukraine ranks as the cheapest country to live in - Expat Insider

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          • REUTERS Barani Krishnan NY Sep 2, 2016 6:13pm EDT
            Oil up 3 percent as U.S. jobs data hits dollar; tumbles on week

            Oil settled up nearly 3 percent on Friday after a weak U.S. jobs report hurt the dollar and boosted commodities, but crude prices still ended the week sharply lower on concerns about oversupply.

            U.S. employment growth eased more than expected in August after two straight months of robust gains, the report showed.

            That initially led to doubts that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates at its Sept. 20-21 meeting. The dollar, however, rose later in the day on bets that a September rate hike remained on the cards. [FRX/]

            Crude prices were also supported by a steadying U.S. oil rig count.

            After being unchanged last week, the oil rig count provided by industry firm Baker Hughes rose by just one this week as crude prices held below the key $50-a-barrel mark that analysts and drillers said made drilling more viable. [RIG/U]

            "Notwithstanding today's dollar-driven rally, September is usually a weak time for oil with demand coming off the peak summer period. So if the rig count stays steady, we could finish the year at about $50," said Jay Hatfield of New York-based InfraCap MLP EFT, which invests in U.S. energy projects.

            Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled up $1.38, or 3 percent, at $46.83 a barrel. For the week, Brent was down 6 percent, its biggest drop in five weeks.

            U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 rose $1.28, also 3 percent, to settle at $44.44. WTI fell nearly 7 percent on the week, its largest decline in eight weeks.

            "It's quite likely oil will hold at mid-$40 levels," said Carl Larry Director, director of business development for oil & gas at Frost & Sullivan. "More telling of how oil performs will be the rig count in coming weeks and OPEC gestures to support prices."

            In early trading on Friday, oil rose after Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a Bloomberg interview that he supported attempts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to implement an output freeze with other oil producers.

            OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia and other big Middle East crude exporters, will meet non-member producers led by Russia at informal talks in Algeria from Sept. 26 to 28 to discuss an output freeze.

            If OPEC fails to strike a deal in Algeria, the cartel is expected to try other measures to support oil prices during its policy meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30.

            Many analysts remain skeptical that it would be successful.

            "The oil price will remain volatile over the coming weeks," said Hans van Cleef, senior oil economist at ABN Amro.
            Oil up 3 percent as U.S. jobs data hits dollar; tumbles on week | Reuters

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            • Russia's Rostec is willing to use pension funds to implement new anti-terror law
              UAWIRE ORG September 3, 2016 1:36:10 PM

              State Corporation Rostec proposed to implement the Yarovaya package, related to the digital storage of Russian data, at the expense of the Russian Pension Fund. Russian telecommunication operators would see a return on their invested funds in five years.

              The Minister of Industry and Trade suggested to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to his order, that he entrust the implementation of the law regarding the storage of Russian telephone conversations and emails to the National Center of Informatization – one of the subsidiaries of the Rostec state corporation. This was reported on Friday, September 2 by the Vedomosti newspaper, with reference to the letter from the acting general director of Rostec, Vladimir Artyakov, to the Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov. In order to finance a single provider of data storage, the corporation offered to attract investment “using market instruments.” The letter says that the service provider’s customers will be “large companies,” so its creation could become a “safe and profitable investment of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation.”

              According to the Rostec plans, telecommunication companies do not need to invest in their own storage systems. They will only pay the provider for the maintenance of a single database. According to the letter, in five years the payments will amount to RUB 95-105 billion. Every major telecommunication operator would have to pay RUB 3-4 billion each year.

              The adoption of the package of Russian “anti-terrorist” laws, initiated by the State Duma deputy Irina Yarovaya and Federation Council member Viktor Ozerov, required the creation of a separate system for storing large amounts of information. According to the document, from July 1, 2018, operators will have to keep information about phone calls and user messages for three years. In addition, operators will have to store up to six months of user content and up to one year of user information.
              UAWire - Russia's Rostec is willing to use pension funds to implement new anti-terror law

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              • Mothers of Beslan school siege victims detained after staging protest
                MEDUZA Novaya Gazeta 12:25, 1 september 2016

                During a memorial service to commemorate the twelve-year anniversary of the Beslan school siege, several women whose relatives had been among the hostages decided to stage a protest. The service took place at school number 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia.

                According to Novaya Gazeta, five women took off their sweaters and jackets to reveal t-shirts bearing accusations against Russian president Vladimir Putin.

                The women requested that a thorough and objective investigation be conducted into the hostage crisis.

                All of them were detained.

                Journalists Elena Kostyuchenko and Diana Khachatryan, who work for Novaya Gazeta and online publication Takie dela, were present at the service and were later detained by police. Khachatryan, who was filming the protest, was accused of having a false passport, while Kostyuchenko was accused of "improperly storing documents."

                On September 1, 2004, 1,128 people – among them students, their parents, and teachers – were taken hostage by over 30 terrorists at Breslan's school number 1. The school was stormed only on September 3; the hostages were released and the terrorists were killed.

                Three hundred thirty-five people, 186 of them children, were killed in the attack. More than 780 people were injured.
                https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/09/01...taging-protest
                ==================================================
                Beslan school siege
                From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beslan_school_siege

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                • Omsk resident to be compensated for car accident with tank
                  MEDUZA Interfax 12:28, 1 september 2016

                  A municipal court has ruled that a resident of the Siberian city of Omsk involved in a car accident with a T-80 tank in September 2014 will be paid 700,000 rubles (approximately $10,720) in damages for moral injury. According to the news agency Interfax, the damages will be paid by the Omsk Plant for Transport Engineering.

                  The Omsk regional prosecutor's office clarified that a criminal case could not be initiated against the defendant, as no crime had been committed under article 264 of the criminal code specifically on the question of traffic violations which caused serious harm to human health.

                  On September 22, 2014, on one of Omsk's intersections, the resident's car collided with a road train carrying a T-80 tank, a third generation battle tank originally designed in the Soviet Union. The driver of the automobile received serious injuries. Local authorities later reported that the driver of the road train had not made way for the driver of the lighter vehicle, despite the fact that the latter had right of way.
                  https://meduza.io/en/news/2016/09/01...dent-with-tank

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                  • RADIO FREE EUROPE September 04, 2016
                    Lithuania Sends Ammunition To Ukraine To Fight Russia-Backed Separatists

                    Lithuania has supplied Ukrainian troops fighting Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country with 150 tons of ammunition.

                    Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said on September 3 that it was Lithuania’s duty to help a “devoted friend who was attacked by Russia.”

                    This will mark the second time Vilnius has sent military aid to Ukraine since it began fighting the separatists after Moscow illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

                    "We responded to the Ukrainian request and hope it will make their life easier," Olekas told AFP on September 3.

                    Russia’s interference in Ukraine has increased concerns in Lithuania, which was under Moscow’s thumb until the disintegration of the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago. Now Lithuania is a member of the European Union and NATO.

                    "Lithuania has consistently helped Ukraine in its fight for territorial integrity and the defense of its values, and we would like to keep helping as much as we can," Olekas told Reuters.

                    About 150 tons of ammunition were handed over to Ukraine, mostly 5.45 caliber cartridges for Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles which the Lithuanian army no longer uses, a spokesman for country's Joint Chiefs of Staff told Reuters.

                    Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius recently called for EU sanctions on Russia over its backing of separatists in Ukraine to remain in place until situation on the ground improves, dismissing calls from the EU's rotating president Slovakia for them to be lifted.

                    Last year, Lithuania rejected Moocow’s protests that its previous supply of lethal weaponry to Ukraine violated international arms trade commitments.

                    Lithuania has invited wounded Ukrainian soldiers for treatment in its hospitals and sent military instructors to the country.

                    On September 2, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said a cease-fire was holding in eastern Ukraine, where fighting between government forces and separatists has killed more than 9,500 people since April 2014. Lithuania Sends Ammunition To Ukraine To Fight Russia-Backed Separatists

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                    • RADIO FREE EUROPE September 04, 2016
                      Hahn Confident On Ukraine, Georgia Visa Liberalization In 2016

                      BRATISLAVA -- EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said on September 3 that there will be a decision in both the European Parliament and among EU member states to grant visa liberalization to Ukraine and Georgia later this year.

                      Speaking to RFE/RL at a meeting among EU foreign ministers in Bratislava on September 2 and September 3, Hahn noted that “among member states there was a clear indication and by many of the member states a clear expectation that both countries should get it.”

                      Both the European Parliament and the council must give green light to visa liberalization and EU sources that RFE/RL has spoken to believe that this will happen with both countries in October or November and that citizens will be able to travel to the EU's Schengen zone without visas later this winter.

                      Earlier in the summer, Germany blocked a decision to grant Georgia visa liberalization, with reports claiming that Berlin feared a spike of crimes committed by Georgians in Germany.

                      Hahn however believes that the creation later this autumn of a beefed up EU mechanism suspending visas in case of problems “should remove all concerns.”

                      On visa liberalization for Kosovo, the commissioner was less confident stating that the “timing was unclear” and was dependent on finding solutions to a border dispute with Montenegro and building up a track record in fighting organized crime. Hahn Confident On Ukraine, Georgia Visa Liberalization In 2016

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                      • Tracking Islamic State - Iran's Great Game
                        RADIO FREE EUROPE David Patrikarakos Sept 04, 2016

                        Like rivers, wars surge and recede; like oceans they move in tides. Early this month, the tide of Syria's civil war appeared to turn sharply in favor of the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad when they managed to break the regime's siege of the strategically vital city of Aleppo.

                        It was a serious setback for Assad's forces, a loose coalition consisting of Hizballah, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iraqi Shi'ite militias, potentially more than 2,500 Russian private military contractors,
                        Russian soldiers, the remnants of the Syrian Army, and Kurdish splinter groups. Since then, the Russian air-powered fightback has begun.

                        Much of the recent media attention on Syria has fallen on Russia's entry last year into the war to help prop up Assad. Its air strikes have been devastating -- especially to Syria's beleaguered civilians.

                        Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to secure Russia's naval facility at Tartus, which will enable him to continue to project power in the Middle East. It also provides yet one more imperial adventure to distract his people from the contracting economy and increasingly lower standards of living they are now facing. And of course, he gets to thumb his nose at U.S. President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly stated that Assad must go.

                        Iran Spends 'Billions' On Assad
                        The fear of a revanchist Russia, threatening European stability with its interference in Ukraine and now threatening Middle East stability with its meddling in Syria, has transfixed observers. Turkey's recent foray into the conflict, on August 24, when its tanks and soldiers, backed by U.S. coalition air strikes, crossed the border to attack positions held by the militant group Islamic State (IS) near Jarablus, has only broadened -- and complicated -- the spectacle.

                        But largely lost in all of this has been the role of Iran, which has supported Assad since almost the moment that his brutal crackdown on demonstrators turned mass protest into a civil war. The Syrian military, especially its air force, was always more of an arena for politicking than an effective fighting force. Without Iran -- and specifically the IRGC, led by the supremely gifted military strategist Qassem Soleimani -- there would be no Assad for Russia to prop up.

                        Just days ago the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, presented a dossier to MailOnline, which claimed that, as well as running Iranian operations in Syria from a secret HQ in Damascus known as "the Glasshouse," there are, in fact, 60,000 fighters under Iranian command in Syria -- far more than the 16,000 previously thought. It also asserted that Iran has spent "billions" -- possibly as much as $100 billion -- on supporting Assad since 2011.

                        Regional Outsider
                        Given its hostility to the Islamic republic, the NCRI has most likely inflated these figures, which, the MailOnline article concedes, have not been independently verified but have been deemed "credible" by "intelligence experts." Matthew McInnis and Paul Bucala, analysts from AEI's Critical Threats team, told RFE/RL that those numbers are high. They estimate that at any given point in time, between 13,000 and 15,000 Iranian proxies -- including fighters from Hizballah and Shi'ite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan -- are overseen by approximately 3,000 Iranian military officers and other personnel in Syria. "These numbers are not static and fluctuate based on rotational cycles and changing military requirements," McInnis noted. AEI estimates that beyond this there are at least 100,000 fighters who make up the Syrian National Defense Force (NDF), which the IRGC and their paramilitary Basij force have helped to establish to prop up the Assad government.

                        What is not in doubt is that Iran has -- at a time when sanctions (since lifted following the deal struck last year to curb Iran's nuclear program) have bitten deep into its economy -- invested precious resources into a quagmire that it cannot afford. Its economy is in disarray, and even with the return of frozen assets and the possibility of increased global trade it is struggling with a host of serious domestic problems -- some of which, particularly the youth of its population and the state's inability to provide adequate employment for them, may yet prove existential.

                        The question is why? And the answer is integral to understanding Syria's civil war.

                        Iran is, like Israel, a regional outsider: a Shi'ite, Persian state in a predominantly Sunni Arab Middle East -- something it discovered to its cost when almost all the Arab states lined up behind Iraq during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Syria was an exception. The two countries are long-standing allies.

                        But it is more than that; Russia is not the only revanchist nation in great power politics today. Iran, increasingly guided more by the concerns of the IRGC than the clerics of the holy city of Qom, now seeks to dominate the Middle East. And for that Syria is vital. As Jonathan Spyer, the director of the Rubin Center at the IDC Herzliya, observes: "Iran wants to build a contiguous line of Iran-aligned states between the Iraq-Iran border and the sea. Syria forms an essential component in that. Syria is also essential for the maintenance of supply lines from Iran to its main proxy organization, the Lebanese Hizballah.  It is Hizballah which gives Iran its physical connection to the struggle against Israel, a struggle to which Iran is committed both for pragmatic and ideological reasons."

                        'Assadistan'
                        With its traditional adversary, Iraq, now to all intents and purposes a failed state under huge Iranian influence, and "the great Satan" -- the United States, as it is known by some of Iran's hard-line conservatives -- seemingly determined to pivot away from Saudi Arabia toward Tehran, the geopolitical map has re-formed almost perfectly in its favor.

                        But maintaining this status quo is largely dependent on keeping Assad in power. As long as the supply routes to Hizballah remain open it can continue to harass and pressure Israel, Iran's only regional rival of any real power. More than this, if Assad falls he will almost certainly be replaced with a Sunni regime utterly hostile to Iran, both for sectarian reasons (since Sunnis make up more than 70 percent of the country's prewar population and because its likely constituents will have spent years being killed by Iran and its proxies.

                        With Russian air power now in the fight this scenario is unlikely unless, as Spyer further observes, there is an opposing "commitment of Western air power to aggressively advance the rebels' cause." This is something he rightly assesses "almost certainly will not happen."

                        At the same time, Assad remains too weak to reconquer most of the regions in Syria he has lost.The most likely scenario is a truncated "Assadistan" that allows Iran to keep both its supply lines to Hizballah and the contiguity of allied states. And Russia naturally gets to keep its air base.

                        The losers are, once again, the Syrian people. Realpolitik in the Middle East is a dirty and nasty business, and Iran is its master practitioner. Iran's Great Game

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                        • UT UKRAINE TODAY Sept 4, 2016
                          Kyiv's building of influential Ukrainian private broadcaster set on fire (videos, photos)

                          People are reported to be inside the Inter TV channel building

                          The building of Inter TV channel, one of the most influential national Ukrainian private broadcasters, was set on fire in central Kyiv, on Sunday, September 4, Ukrainian media report.

                          On September 4, Ukrainian activists staged a rally in front of the Inter building. They chanted Inter Is Kremlin's Agent, set up tents and set fire to tires.

                          When the rally was over, someone threw a smoke bomb in the premises, which started the fire.

                          According to preliminary reports, the fire broke out in the middle of the building.

                          Six people were detained. According to journalists, one of the detainees was dressed in a traditional costume and had a tattoo with the image of Cossack.

                          According to eyewitnesses, the fire fighting vehicle, ambulances and police arrived on the scene.

                          Some of the channel staff are reported to be in the building.

                          BACKGROUND: Inter TV channel informational policy repeatedly caused negative reaction of society. Since 2014 Inter was criticised for broadcasting Russian serials. On December 11, 2014 "Boycott Russian Films" activists were picketing Inter main office in Kyiv. During the action named "Do not kill our protectors by Russian propaganda!" young people placed photos of Ukrainian soldiers, killed during the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, on the main entrance. Activists claimed that Inter takes second place among TV channels concerning the amount of Russian origin content. Protesters announced that Russian films and serials on Inter glorify Russian armed forces, which is unacceptable during the war (Source - Wikipedia).

                          view all photos and videos
                          News from Ukraine: Kyiv's building of influential Ukrainian private broadcaster set on fire (videos, photos)

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                          • EU ability to host new waves of refugees close to limits – Tusk European Council President Donald Tusk has said that Europe has nearly reached its limit in its ability to host new waves of refugees.
                            UNIAN 04 Sept 2016

                            "The practical capabilities of Europe to host new waves of refugees, not to mention irregular economic migrants, are close to the limits," Tusk said at a joint press conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, prior to the start of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China.

                            According to Tusk, the migration and refugee crisis is a global challenge that requires global solutions based upon order, responsibility and solidarity.

                            At the same time, Tusk said that in light of the unprecedented 65 million displaced people throughout the world, the G20 community needs to scale up its share of responsibility.

                            "Only global efforts supporting refugees and their host communities will be able to bear fruit. That is why we want to encourage our partners to increase humanitarian and developmental aid, as well as the resettlement of refugees," he said. "We need to address the root causes that force millions of people to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere," Tusk added.

                            EU ability to host new waves of refugees close to limits – Tusk

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                            • Shenderovich: Putin will continue to torment Ukraine, he has resources Ukraine will have no peace while Vladimir Putin stays in power, Viktor Shenderovich, a Russian writer, said in an interview with UNIAN.
                              UNIAN 04 Sept 2016

                              "Putin is a loser in peace time, who lost all that is possible, both in the economy and in foreign policy. In peace time, he is a "lame duck," with little legitimacy as a leader, who seized power, brought down the currency, brought the economy into stagnation, provoked leakage of Russian capital and brains... The only political chance for Putin is: "Russia surrounded by enemies." Therefore, the enemies are constantly reproduced, he cannot live without them," Shenderovich said, adding that Putin needs to feed the population with this fear, "to distract and maintain tension: It's a war, my comrades – no talking about the economy now!"

                              According to the journalist, it is difficult to say what can come into Putin's mind and what will be the size of his new provocations. But it is clear that he will not stop, and intends to maintain the tension in Ukraine. "There is also a PR moment here. Russia is not able to make itself a prosperous country, the economic situation of Russians is getting worse, and in this situation, Putin needs a good diversion. Torn, impoverished and dependent Ukraine is an ideal diversion," Shenderovich said.

                              Shenderovich: Putin will continue to torment Ukraine, he has resources

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                              • Ukraine's envoy to CE responds to Putin's statement: Crimea is Ukraine Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba has commented on Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement on Crimea, saying that the peninsula belongs to Ukraine and no more debates are appropriate.
                                UNIAN 03 Sept 2016

                                "The issue of Crimea is closed indeed. Crimea is Ukraine. The issue of the form of the Russian leaders' responsibility for the annexation [of Crimea] is open," he tweeted on Saturday.

                                As UNIAN reported earlier, Putin announced on Saturday, September 3, that Russia is not going to return the annexed Crimea. "The people of Crimea made up their mind and voted. The issue is historically closed. There is no return to the previous system," Putin said.

                                UNIAN memo. In March 2014, Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea after it deployed its troops. An unlawful referendum was held on the future of the peninsula.

                                The self-proclaimed Crimean authorities alleged that 96.77% had supported the idea of Crimea becoming part of Russia.

                                A so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin on March 18, 2014.

                                Western countries do not recognize the annexation, having introduced sanctions against Russia. Further, Ukraine's parliament officially announced February 20, 2014, as the beginning of the temporary occupation of Crimea.

                                Ukraine's envoy to CE responds to Putin's statement: Crimea is Ukraine

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