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  • Business Insider: Oil just crashed to a 5-year low
    Dec. 8, 2014, 9:08 p.m. | Business — by Business Insider

    Crude oil is crashing again.

    On Monday morning, the price of both Brent and WTI crude was at a five-year low, extending losses that started accelerating about two weeks ago after OPEC did not move to curb production.

    Many in the market expected OPEC to cut production in order to combat the recent price decline that many have blamed on a glut of global supply.

    On Monday, Brent crude was down more than 4% to as low as $66.12 a barrel, its lowest level since 2009.

    And while the decline in oil prices has left many companies in the energy space facing an uncertain future, US consumers appear in-line to be a main beneficiary of the decline in oil prices, as the national average of a gallon of gas as of early Monday morning was $2.67, according to AAA, down from $3.27 a year ago.

    Many have talked about the benefits US consumers will enjoy due to the decline in gas prices, with this decline amounting to a huge tax break for consumers.

    In a note to clients on Monday, however, Brean Capital's Peter Tchir wrote, "There are too many oil plays — both direct and indirect — that will struggle with low oil. That will leak into the economy and the stock market.

    "We are firmly in the camp that this steep, rapid decline in oil is harmful to the economy as we risk losing a driver of good 'trickle down' jobs and serious CapEx."

    In a report Friday, Morgan Stanley adjusted its forecasts for oil prices, saying oversupply would most likely peak next year with OPEC deciding not to cut output.

    "Without OPEC intervention, markets risk becoming unbalanced, with peak oversupply likely in the second quarter of 2015," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Longson told Reuters.

    In a meeting on Nov. 27, the oil producers' cartel announced it would not cut its output anytime soon, a move that aims to squeeze US domestic shale production, according to many analysts.

    Morgan Stanley now expects prices to drop as low as $43 a barrel in 2015, meaning crude could lose a further $20 in the coming months.Oil Drops To Five-Year Low - Business Insider

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    • Ukrainian pride
      Dec 9th, 2014 | By Marko Pinteric | Category: History, In Depth, Opinion, Ukraine

      Another day a picture of a beautiful bridge in village of Plebanivka, Ternopil’s'ka oblast, Ukraine was shared on the Internet. This event would not be worth mentioning if the picture weren’t commented by Moscow resident Irina: “And what are Ukrainians proud of? There are five viaducts with rails in this area – two in Ternopil oblast in Krovinka and Plebanivka villages, one in PreCarpathians and two in Lviv oblast. All viaducts were built in times of Austro Hungarian Empire. Ancient Ukes just digged the ravines so they had something to overcome” Hardly a comment one would expect from an intellectual and cosmopolitan person that collaborate at “Open Russian Film Festival KINOTAVR”!

      Well, who knows… it is likely the engineer that designed the Plebanivka bridge was of Czech or Jewish by nationality, but it is equally likely that in meantime another Ukrainian-born engineer was designing buildings in present-day Slovakia or Poland. Fluidity of people was impressive within Austrian-Hungary. Likewise, doctoral advisor of great Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko was Croat Vatroslav Jagić and Jagić’s doctoral advisor was Slovene Franc Miklošič. All nationalities were contributing to common welfare of the Austrian-Hungary empire and all achievements can be considered their common heritage. Ukrainians are entitled to be proud of beautiful Austria-Hungary Plebanivka bridge just as Slovenes are entitled to be proud of beautiful Austra-Hungary Solkan bridge at the opposite side of the ex-empire. And vice-versa.

      Of course, Austria-Hungary was far from the perfect country. It was indeed dominated by Austrians and Hungarians, but still provided certain liberties to more deprived nations. The primary education was carried in languages of each nationality, and moreover each nationality had its own military units, so that soldiers could get commands in their native language. Interestingly, the most unpopular ban of Croatia-Slavonia was Hungarian Károly Khuen-Héderváry, because he made Hungarian co-official with Croatian. Yes, you got it right – Croatian was official language in 19th century within Austria-Hungary province of Croatia-Slavonia (from 1883 also in province of Dalmatia). Compare that to Ems ukaz.

      One of the reasons I was so appalled by the twisted logic of the comment is that I have never ever heard Austrians saying that Austria-Hungarian heritage in Croatia and Slovenia do not belong to Slovenes and Croats. (Incidentally, I also know that part of my Croatian ancestors made fortune by building small bridges in Dalmatian hinterland during Austria-Hungary empire.) Another member of Maidan Monitoring explained that logic best: Russian idea is that nation can be proud by an achievement only if the nation had their own state at the appropriate time. So Jews have nothing to be proud about during last 2000 years, despite they created books and thoughts and ideas, because they were stateless. On the other hand, Russians created the State, which was persecuting thoughts and ideas, burning books, and killing everyone around them, Jews including, but they have a lot to be proud of. Sounds familiar?

      To me it is deja vu. This is exactly the logic our neighbours Serbs used as an excuse that allow them to rule absolutely “stateless” Slovenes and Croats after the first world war – despite the fact that Slovenes and Croats were economically and culturally superior. In fact they succeed in annexing Slovenian and Croatian lands only because of the fact that most of Slovenes and Croats were sympathetic about idea of living in the same country with their “brothers” Serbs. Later Slovenes and Croats regretted their choice, as it turned out that Germanic Austrians treated them better and with more respect than Slavic Serbs.

      So what exactly makes west Ukrainians so hostile toward Russians? The experience of relatively benign rule of Austria-Hungary before first world war is imprinted in their collective memory. Russians are incapable to comprehend of that simple fact. Their inability of self-reflection forces them to find the source of their problems in others, Ukrainians, Germans, Americans, never in themselves.

      Despite being independent for 24 years, only since Maidan Ukrainians are finally starting to realise that they can take care of their fate themselves and live without supervision from the “big brother”. And that is what really bothers Russians about truly independent and prosperous Ukraine – it puts centuries long Russian propaganda of the opposite to a plain lie. Ukrainians finally found the pride that was stolen from them centuries ago – and I hope this pride will get imprinted into their collective memory forever.

      Ukrainian pride - Maidan


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      • 10:26 09.12.2014 INTERFAX UKRAINE
        Twenty-two suspects in Maidan shooting probe on wanted list, 13 others to be declared wanted – Ukraine prosecutor

        Twenty-two suspects in the criminal inquiry into mass killings in central Kyiv last winter are on a wanted list and 13 others will be declared wanted, said Ukraine's prosecutor general, Vitaliy Yarema.

        "We have tracked down the coordinators, who are looking for the suspects. There are 22 suspects on the wanted list and 13 are expected to be declared wanted after investigative actions have been carried through," Yarema said at a press conference in Kyiv on Monday.

        Yarema also said that positive results would be achieved soon after the search is over, and that "all those guilty will be prosecuted."

        The Prosecutor General's Office, the National Security Service and the Interior Ministry have set up a joint group of 83 investigators, he said.

        Reports said earlier that the Prosecutor General's Office was investigating the mass shooting of people in Kyiv on February 18-20. Several suspects have been detained.

        According to Yarema, 74 peaceful protesters, 12 policemen, 180 others citizens and more than 180 law enforcement personnel sustained gunshot wounds.

        Deputy Prosecutor General and chief of the Main Investigative Department Oleh Zalisko said that 1,167 criminal cases in which 77 people figure as suspects, were under investigation as of November 19. He also said that 67 people were killed with gunfire in central Kyiv on February, 184 sustained gunshot wounds and over 750 suffered bodily injuries. Twenty-two suspects in Maidan shooting probe on wanted list, 13 others to be declared wanted – Ukraine prosecutor

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        • In the United States continue to consider the requests of Ukraine concerning lethal weapon
          Tuesday, 09 December 2014, 14: 09 EUROPEAN TRUTH translation BING

          United States continues to consider requests for all types of weapons coming in from Kiev.

          It said Deputy Secretary of United States arms control and international security Rose Gotmûller in the interview "the European Pravda.

          "I stress again, we do not consider the possibility of a military solution to the conflict. There must be a political solution through negotiations, "she said.

          "But we continue to consider requests for all types of weapons coming in from Kiev," added Gotmûller.

          According to her words, the United States several months passed from the modest level of support to military assistance valued at more than $ 118 million.

          "And not only the United States but also some EU countries will help the Ukrainian army and the equipment and training," said Deputy Secretary of State.

          In addition, as announced by the President of the United States she is Barack Obama offers a Congress already in 2015 to make Ukraine a part of the new initiative, the European programme of confidence.

          Its meaning is to provide partners with NATO from Central and Eastern Europe for extra help, military patrols, conducting training, said Gotmûller.

          Earlier, the Minister of national defence of Canada Robert Nicholson said that Canada will deliver weapons of Ukraine in case of decision of the NATO countries. www.eurointegration.com.ua/news/2014/12/9/7028578/ - Translator



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          • Thank you.....!

            Hannia........

            On behalf of the 56,236 "views" of your daily news posts, I thank you for your effort and consistent posts. . I am sure many "views" are from regulars who rely on your news posts for the latest news of events in Ukraine.

            Thank you.....Dya kuyu....!

            Slava Ukraina!!

            Bob

            Comment


            • Bob.

              Thank you for your comment!

              I am just delighted that there are participants in our forum, who still appreciate and can complete a 1000 word read. LOL

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              • World
                Merkel to Russia: We can’t solve problems if you don’t call spade a spade
                10.12.2014 | 11:36 UNIAN via REUTERS

                The European Union will impose new sanctions against Russia if necessary, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said again on Tuesday during her speech at the congress of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, according to Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, with reference to German public broadcasting radio station Deutschlandfunk.de.
                World

                "Sanctions are not the end in itself. However, we will introduce them, if it is necessary," she said.

                "Russia has violated international law with the annexation of Crimea, and called into question the peaceful order in Europe," Merkel said.

                "We cannot solve these problems if we do not call a spade a spade," she added.

                As reported earlier, Kremlin officials proposed to Germany to solve the Ukrainian crisis without the involvement of other parties, but Berlin rejected the offer.
                Merkel to Russia: We can’t solve problems if you don’t call spade a spade : UNIAN news

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                • Government publishes its action program
                  Dec. 10, 2014, 9:20 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

                  Russia's state railway company says it will stop almost all service to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan for a year starting December 14, citing a lack of demand.

                  In a statement on its website on December 9, Russian Railways said its Federal Passenger Company unit is suspending the service because it is not profitable.

                  It said "the decision to suspend some trains' operations had been caused by a significant decrease in the volume of international rail travel, which led to the ineffective use of engines and trains."

                  Russia is deeply at odds with Ukraine over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and an armed conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

                  But Russia is trying to strengthen ties with other ex-Soviet republics including Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, its partner in a Customs Union.

                  Kazakhstan's state railway company says its 10 trains linking Kazakh cities with Russia will continue to run.

                  Tajik Railways Company said its trains to Russia will also continue to operate.

                  Russian Railways will continue to operate trains to Moldova, Belarus, and northern Kazakhstan as well as two trains to Uzbekistan, which go through Kazakhstan. Russian Railways Suspends Service To Ukraine, Other Neighbors
                  =========================================

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                  • Moscow through the Eye of Sauron
                    December 10, 2014 Maria Stambler, RBTH

                    Russian art group Svechenie (‘Glow’) presented a light installation called ‘Eye of Sauron’, which was to be erected on top of a skyscraper in the Moscow City business district. The installation has now been canceled after public opposition from the Russian Orthodox Church, which labeled it as "evil." RBTH looks beyond the blogosphere to find what people in Russia think about this initiative.

                    Last night Russia’s blogosphere experienced somewhat of an explosion after news broke that the ‘Eye of Sauron’ from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings will for some time not just be fiction as it lights up the skyline of Moscow City to ominously watch down on the Russian capital as the latest “Hobbit” movie premiers in Russia on December 11.

                    Many Tolkien fans rejoiced and didn’t really try hiding their excitement.

                    Some compared a gathering of soldiers on Moscow’s Red Square to Mordor, the region occupied and controlled by Sauron, in the southeast of northwestern Middle-earth (not a very happy or benevolent place).

                    Others decided to not stop there and compared all of Russia to Mordor, perhaps with historical undertones because the Russian land was extremely unfriendly to Hitler’s army:



                    The Russian Orthodox Church, predictably, wasn’t exactly thrilled about some kind of an all-seeing bastion of doom, an emblem of evil, appearing in the sky above Holy Russia.

                    “This is a demonic symbol,” the Russian Orthodox Church’s head of public affairs, Vsevolod Chaplin, told Govorit Moskva radio station.

                    “Such a symbol of the triumph of evil is rising up over the city, becoming practically the highest object in the city. Is that good or bad? I’m afraid it’s more likely bad. Just don’t be surprised later if something goes wrong with the city.”

                    But resourceful bloggers had a thing or two to say about that, too. Moscow through the Eye of Sauron | Russia Beyond The Headlines

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                    • Russia's Prime Minister Urges Faith in Ruble, Criticizes West
                      Daniel Schearf December 10, 2014 2:47 PM VOICE OF AMERICA

                      MOSCOW—

                      Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has urged the Russian people not to buy foreign currency as a safe investment despite the Russian ruble's continued slide and the economy heading into a recession. During a live interview on Russian TV, the prime minister also lashed out at Western nations for imposing sanctions over the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine, saying they were hurting both sides.

                      Prime Minister Medvedev acknowledged Wednesday the weak ruble and Western sanctions were hurting the Russian economy.

                      The Russian currency has lost 40 percent of its value since June, with falling oil prices and sanctions over Ukraine taking a toll.

                      In a live, annual television interview, Medvedev said he had his own money in rubles and thus was in the “same boat” as ordinary Russians. He urged the public not to convert their savings into dollars or euros, reminding them what happened after the 2008 global economic crisis, when the ruble tumbled.

                      The prime minister said the ruble later rose in value, and those who had converted their savings into foreign currency lost money.

                      Russia's energy export driven economy is headed for recession, helped by sanctions that cut its banks off from international credit and encouraged capital flight.

                      Medvedev said the punitive measures over Russia's March annexation of Crimea were costing both Russia and Europe tens of billions of dollars a year in lost business.

                      The prime minister said the return of Crimea to Russia was not an economic issue, but rather Russia's "destiny."

                      He rejected charges that Russia is behaving as an aggressor in Ukraine, despite its use of covert forces in Crimea and continued backing of anti-government rebels in eastern Ukraine.

                      Russia, he said, has not quarreled with anyone nor declared war on anyone.

                      Over 4,300 people have died since pro-Russia rebels seized government offices in east Ukraine and declared themselves republics.

                      Ukraine and Western nations say Russia is training, arming, and in some cases sending in forces to fight alongside the rebels in order to maintain leverage over the pro-European government in Kyiv. The Kremlin denies the accusations and says the West is supporting Ukrainian right-wing nationalists, including neo-Nazis.

                      Medvedev blamed the the United States for tensions with Russia, saying Washington was behaving “unpredictably.” Nonetheless, he said Russia is ready for and open to continued relations with Europe and the U.S.

                      Medvedev criticized Ukraine for behaving in what he called an "uncivilized" manner during negotiations over the supply of Russian natural gas. During the years Ukraine was under pro-Russian leadership, he said, Russia gave it billion of dollars worth of discounts on natural gas. Now, he said, Russia is more pragmatic.

                      He said if Ukraine pays the money, Russia will supply the gas. If they do not pay, the gas is not supplied. Russia has European partners, he said, who actively talked Ukraine into becoming an associate member of the EU, to move toward Western Europe. Let them help Ukraine, he said, Russia has helped already.

                      After months of negotiations, Russia agreed in November to a temporary gas deal to supply Ukraine with much needed winter heating.

                      Medvedev said the deal was made at a discount because they are not indifferent to what happens to Ukrainian people. Russia's Prime Minister Urges Faith in Ruble, Criticizes West

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                      • Londonjing

                        Bloomberg: Wealthy Chinese are wooed in London as Russians pack up and go home
                        Dec. 10, 2014, 10:50 p.m. | Business — by Bloomberg

                        London’s Jack Barclay Bentley dealership has hosted British aristocrats, Russian industrialists and Arab sheiks in its 87-year history. Until this year, it had never held a Chinese New Year celebration.

                        In February, the dealership invited more than 200 wealthy Chinese expatriates from fields like finance and real estate to a Year of the Horse-themed event under the slogan “take the reins for a prosperous journey.” And, of course, Chinese-speaking staff were on hand, ready to rhapsodize about the pleasures of a car favored by the royal family and rap stars alike.

                        “A quintessentially English dealership could be quite intimidating” for Chinese buyers, said Chris Harris, marketing director for luxury automotive group HR Owen, which owns Jack Barclay. “We wanted to de-mystify the experience.”

                        From luxury retailers to law firms to banks, Londoners are jockeying to take advantage of a wave of Chinese investment and tourism. With Russia, India and the Middle East struggling with weak commodity prices, businesses that cater to wealthy foreigners are betting Chinese money can make up the difference.

                        The property sector is seeing some of the most dramatic increase, with real-estate investment in the British capital from China tripling from 2012 to 2013 to about $2.8 billion, a figure that will probably be matched this year, according to broker Knight Frank.

                        $20 Million Yachts

                        Chinese-financed projects include One Nine Elms, a 56-story apartment tower on the south bank of the Thames backed by developer Dalian Wanda. And Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group Co. this year said it would invest 1.2 billion pounds redeveloping a brewery in the city’s leafy south-west and building a residential tower near Canary Wharf.

                        Chinese buyers are also taking their first steps into corporate deal making in Britain. In July private equity firm Hony Capital Ltd. said it would buy U.K. restaurant chain Pizza Express for about $1.4 billion -- the largest-ever corporate takeover in Britain by a mainland Chinese company. The previous summer, Dalian Wanda (1068366D) agreed to pay $451 million for Sunseeker International Ltd., a London manufacturer of yachts that sell for as much as $20 million.

                        The increased presence is partly a function of China’s diversifying economy, said Nicola Mayo, a partner at law firm Linklaters who just returned to London after four years in Shanghai. “China Inc. is looking strategically at more sectors beyond natural resources.”

                        Some companies are using British deals to strengthen their position back home. Investment firm Sanpower Group this year took control of House of Fraser in a transaction valuing the Oxford Street department store at 450 million pounds; It’s now planning dozens of branches in China. Pizza Express expects to build new restaurants in the Mainland as interest in Italian-style fare picks up there.

                        Haibo Wang, a 38-year-old accountant from the coastal city of Dalian who moved to London a decade ago, can taste the change. A few years back, “the only food you could get was from Hong Kong,” he said. “Now, you can find every type of authentic Chinese food, from all the regions.”

                        Prime Minister David Cameron has made a concerted effort to strengthen ties with China amid criticism from business leaders that Britain has slipped behind the U.S., Canada and Australia in courting Beijing. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang joined Queen Elizabeth for tea when he visited London in June, and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is promoting a plan to make London a hub for trading China’s yuan, for which the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in June inked a “strategic partnership” with Bank of China Ltd.
                        Orange Diamond

                        Two years ago, Boodles, a jeweler with five London stores, had no Chinese speakers on staff. Today it has two and is looking for a third as more than five percent of its business now comes from Chinese shoppers, up from one percent five years ago, says managing director Michael Wainwright. One Chinese customer who “we made a huge sale to last year wants an orange diamond,” Wainwright said. “You’re looking at a million pounds-plus. We know this person can spend this kind of money.”

                        Chinese shoppers have accounted for a quarter of retail purchases by overseas visitors in London this year, according to duty-free shopping provider Global Blue -- up from 14 percent in 2012.

                        The Chinese wave is arriving as London weans itself from a dependence on wealthy Russians, who provided steady work both to professional-services firms and the luxury sector. Amid European Union sanctions over Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin’s government has urged Russian companies to de-list from foreign stock exchanges and told billionaires to repatriate assets.

                        Passport-Free Travel

                        For instance, VTB Group -- a state-controlled bank that is a sanctions target -- cut more than a third of its European staff in the last quarter, with London bearing the brunt of the layoffs. The bank is also considering ditching its U.K. market listing.

                        Obstacles remain to a whole-hearted embrace of China in London. The U.K. government recently criticized China’s decision to block a delegation of British lawmakers from visiting Hong Kong as part of an inquiry into conditions in the former colony, which has been rocked by pro-democracy protests. And China’s breakneck economic growth is slowing to below 7 percent as a housing boom slows, which could curtail foreign investment and tourism in the U.K. and elsewhere.

                        More prosaically, Heathrow airport has trailed Frankfurt and Paris in developing new routes to China because of runway capacity limits. Britain has captured just 14 percent of the growth in flights from China to Europe over the last 20 years, with 34 percent going to Germany and 22 percent in France, figures from the Confederation of British Industry show.

                        And despite recent tweaks, Cameron’s government is facing calls from business leaders to loosen visa requirements for Chinese visitors. The U.K. isn’t a member of the passport-free Schengen area that includes most of western Europe, so Chinese travelers need separate visas for the British Isles and France or Italy. They often opt to avoid the hassle by only getting one for the continental countries.

                        “We think there should be more connectivity,” said Peter Bishop, deputy chief executive officer of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The visa system, he said, “is weighted against people who want to do business in the U.K.” Wealthy Chinese Are Wooed in London as Russians Pack Up and Go Home - Bloomberg

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                        • UN predicts economic stagnation in Russia
                          11.12.2014 | 11:39 UNIAN

                          Experts predict economic stagnation in Russia caused by the decline in oil prices and Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, according to a new UN report.

                          According to the UN report, entitled "World Economic Situation and Prospects for 2015", Russia will see zero growth at best. But there are also more pessimistic forecasts, the details of which are to be disclosed in January 2015, according to Ukrainian newspaper ZN.ua.

                          However, the report also said the world economy may see a noticeable revival over the next two years, despite geopolitical conflicts, the impact of the financial crisis, and new challenges posed by the Ebola virus.

                          The highest expectations regarding economic growth, according to UN experts, will be in the countries of East Asia and the United States, with the East Asian economy projected to grow by about 6%, and the United States 3%.

                          In the euro area, the situation is less optimistic and predictable. According to experts, the European economy may either go into recession or grow at a very slow pace, depending on a number of factors.
                          UN predicts economic stagnation in Russia : UNIAN news

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                          • Doubts over peace talks on Ukraine's 'Day of Silence'
                            09.12.2014 Deutsche Welle via REUTERS

                            As Ukraine begins a "Day of Silence" in a bid to rejuvenate the failing truce with pro-Russian separatists, plans for new peace talks remain uncertain. Neither side has confirmed attendance in Minsk, Belarus.

                            Talks between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists remained in doubt on Tuesday after officials in the Belarusian capital of Minsk said that neither party had confirmed their attendance at new peace talks, planned to begin later that day.

                            Russian media reports said that the talks may now begin on Friday instead, but this has not been confirmed.

                            Some three months since an unsuccessful 12-point ceasefire was brokered, Ukraine also planned to hold a "Day of Silence" in order to re-boot the much-violated agreement. Almost 1,000 people have died in near-daily clashes and exchanges of heavy weapons fire since the truce was signed in September.

                            In a bid to end what has become the worst crisis between the West and Russia since the Cold War, the previous Minsk agreement resulted in a 30-kilometer (18-mile) military buffer zone in the east and limited self-rule for the separatists.

                            Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko announced last Thursday that troops would observe the "Day of Silence", which would bring an end to shelling. Should the new truce deal hold, Poroshenko said, Ukraine would also begin to withdraw heavy weapons from the eastern frontline on the following day, but only if the separatists also observed the truce.

                            The Ukrainian proposal was reportedly well-received by some pro-Russian rebels, but it remained unknown whether all factions were in agreement.

                            According to the United Nations (UN) more than 4,300 people have been killed and almost one million displaced since the conflict began in April. Doubts over peace talks on Ukraine′s ′Day of Silence′ | News | DW.DE | 09.12.2014

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                            • The Daily Telegraph: Abbott meets Poroshenko and offers to supply Ukraine with uranium and coal
                              Dec. 11, 2014, 9:24 a.m. | Ukraine abroad — by Daily Telegraph
                              John Masanauskas News Limited

                              PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has made an impassioned pitch for religious faith during a church service to honour victims of the MH17 tragedy

                              Mr Abbott said attempts by some countries, such as the former USSR, to obliterate religion had failed because “faith arouses something deep within the human heart”.

                              “Here in this splendid church I should acknowledge the part that faith has played in our culture, in our public life, in the culture and public life of civilised countries,” he said.

                              “Our democracy is inspired by the gospel insight that every human being is born with equal rights and dignity in the eyes of God, and justice is inspired by the gospel insight that each of us should treat others as we would have them treat us in turn.”

                              Mr Abbott received a rousing ovation from Ukrainian community members at their Catholic cathedral in North Melbourne, which was also attended by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who is in Australia on a state visit.

                              Outside the cathedral, Mr Abbott told the Herald Sun: “Faith is a private thing for individuals but it’s been an important cultural dimension for many countries as well.”

                              In his address to the congregation, Mr Poroshenko strongly praised Mr Abbott, saying he was one of the most popular foreign politicians in Ukraine.

                              “All I can say is, shirtfront must have translated well in Ukraine,” Mr Abbott joked.

                              “It's nice to be popular, if only in Kiev."

                              Mr Poroshenko said he appreciated the PM’s shirtfront comment directed at Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

                              “Very much, very much, I consider Australia is one of our closest partners and what was demonstrated is really impressive,” he told the Herald Sun.

                              Earlier, it was revealed that Ukraine may supply Ukraine with uranium and coal as the European nation faces uncertainty over its energy needs due to its conflict with Russia.

                              Mr Poroshenko said the issue had been discussed with Mr Abbott in talks today.

                              Mr Abbott said Australia was helping Ukraine with nonlethal military aid and it was considering the possibility of uranium sales as Ukraine faced energy security issues.

                              "The side we take is the side of freedom, self-determination and democracy," he said at a joint media conference with Mr Poroshenko in Melbourne today.

                              Mr Abbott said that when appropriate he wanted to visit eastern Ukraine to unveil a monument to the victims if the MH17 tragedy.

                              Mr Abbott said that if there was found to be Russian involvement in the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines jet, then the Russians should be brought before investigators and prosecutors.

                              Mr Abbott said that Ukraine faced “a grave external threat” and he would stand by Mr Poroshenko in the country’s hour of need.

                              “I’d like to offer him as much personal support as I can,” he said. No Cookies | dailytelegraph.com.au

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                              • 15:02 11.12.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                                Yatseniuk: Total amount of Ukraine's lawsuits against Russia exceeds $1 trillion

                                The total amount of the international lawsuits filed by Ukraine against Russia now exceeds $1 trillion, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said.

                                Presenting the program of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Verkhovna Rada, Yatseniuk recalled that Ukraine has filed two lawsuits against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights. "Russia has to compensate Ukraine for the damage done by the illegal annexation of Crimea and the military aggression," he said.

                                Yatseniuk also said Ukraine has begun the process for filing a lawsuit against Russia with the UN International Court of Justice, accusing Russia of violating the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Yatseniuk: Total amount of Ukraine's lawsuits against Russia exceeds $1 trillion

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