Can Anyone Break Russia’s Hold On Europe’s Gas?

On September 14, 2013 by admin

Petersburg, Russia. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press / September 5, 2013) Also By Vincent Bevins September 12, 2013, 3:18 p.m. SAO PAULO, Brazil — A Brazilian government commission has requested Russia’s help to meet with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden , as allegations of U.S. spying continue to dog relations between the Western hemisphere’s largest countries. Members of Brazil’s Foreign Relations Commission expect to speak with Russian representatives next week to determine the viability of a mission to see Snowden, who is living in Russia, a commission spokesman said Thursday. Commission members also hope to speak with U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has broken stories involving Snowden’s release of National Security Agency documents for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Brazil’s Globo newspaper and TV network, and who has already spoken with the Brazilian Senate . Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has put her plans for an October visit to Washington on hold pending explanations from the U.S. regarding alleged snooping on Rousseff and Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil company. Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo met with U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice at the White House on Wednesday. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said revelations in the press “raise legitimate questions” and that the U.S. “is committed to working with Brazil to address these concerns.” Officials in Brazil said a trip to speak with Snowden in Russia would be part of its investigation of spying. “It’s a question of national sovereignty,” said Congressman Ivan Valente, who sponsored the motion to seek the meeting with Snowden.

US, Russia reach deal on framework to secure Syrian chemical weapons, set possible penalties

A pair of water spouts form on Lake Michigan southeast of Kenosha, Wis. on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. The National Weather Service in Sullivan said the water spouts occurred about four miles southeast from Kenosha. A water spout is basically a tornado over water, meteorologist Ed Townsend said. (AP Photo/The Kenosha News, Kevin Poirier)

But most importantly, don’t ever mention this to anyone.” Homosexuality was a criminal offense under the Soviets, and the doctor was trying to protect his stammering teenage patient. When my friend told me this story many years later, we had a good laugh, agreeing that though things weren’t easy for gay people in Russia, you did not have to stay shut in that closet for life. This was before disgraceful homophobic legislation was adopted in June. Tanya Lokshina The new law bans dissemination among minors of information promoting the “attractiveness of nontraditional sexual relationships” and providing a “distorted notion of social equivalence of traditional and nontraditional sexual relationships.” It does not define “nontraditional” but it is widely understood to mean “homosexual.” And it basically means that you cannot publicly say anything positive about being gay or tell a child that there is nothing wrong with being gay or being raised by gay parents. It seems that the Kremlin underestimated the prominence of the international LGBT rights movement and the damage the law would do to Russia’s image, especially with the Sochi Olympics just months away , the host country being so much in the spotlight. Russia’s failure to honor the Olympic Charter’s requirement of nondiscrimination came under scrutiny as the International Olympic Committee continued to seek assurances that enforcement of the law would not affect the games. Russian officials at the highest level have been trying to smooth over the scandal. Ex-Olympian speaks out on boycott idea Obama: ‘Nobody is more offended than me’ How Russian anti-gay laws impact Olympics Olympians jeer Russia’s anti-gay law President Vladamir Putin himself said in a recent interview that in Russia “people of nontraditional sexual orientation are not discriminated against” and that they are valued and equal citizens of the Russian Federation. Putin even noted that he was open to a discussion with LGBT organizations. That’s welcome, but is he to be trusted? As is often the case here, it’s one step forward and two steps backward. So far no meeting with LGBT activists has been convened and there have been no efforts to have the heinous law repealed.

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The trouble is, alternatives to Russian gas are plenty in theory, but few in reality. By David J. Unger ,Staff writer / September 14, 2013 Pressure gauges are seen at a shale gas fracking facility belonging to Poland’s PGNiG near the village of Rybakowo. Shale deposits in Poland and elsewhere offer the possibility that America’s fracking boom can be replicated on the other side of the Atlantic, if Europeans are willing to accept the effective but controversial drilling technique. Peter Andrews/Reuters/File David J. Unger Staff Writer David J. Unger is a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, covering energy for the Monitor’s Energy Voices . The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition In Europe , they want cheaper natural gas to jumpstart an economy crippled by high energy costs. They aren’t getting what they want from their current suppliers namely Russia , which provides Europe with almost a third of its gas. But the global energy landscape is shifting, loosening Russia’s tight grip on European markets. “The European gas market at this moment is somewhat depressed due to its economy,” David Goldwyn, former special envoy for international energy affairs under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton , said in a telephone interview.”With demand relatively flat, increasing shares of renewables from the EU renewables mandate, and increasing [liquefied natural gas] import capability, Europeans have more choices than they used to.” In June, Norway overtook Russia as Europe’s leading gas supplier. This week, the US authorized the third liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in a year, with an eye toward overseas markets.

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President Obama could break the thaw and initiate a new brand of cooperation to advance world peace. Baby steps first come with getting Syria to comply wholly and completely to bring chemical weapons there under control and into a state of managed destruction. It is a fast track implementation from all appearances as the Syrians must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week, according to a report from the Washington Post. The first inspection will begin by November. Most significant in the WP report is that all of the chemical weapons are warehoused in places that are controlled by the Syrian government . Taking chemical weapons out of the equation repositions the Assad government to turn the corner in how it handles its civil strife. Syrian people are divided along religious lines and with the presence of al Qaeda and related factions. The U.S. would not support an outcome that empowers radicalized Muslims. It would not want to support a government aligned with Iran. It would support Syrian moderates who want to push for democratic freedom, should their voices rise above the conflict. The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said. Many members who voted for tough stance on Syria now oppose military action Kerry said that the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin soon after and be complete by the middle of next year.

Anti-gay law shames Putin’s Russia

Tanya Lokshina

US, Russia reach deal on framework to secure Syrian chemical weapons, set possible penalties (Keystone,Martial Trezzini/ Associated Press ) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday Sept. 14, 2013. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Saturday they have reached an agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons, and would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution that could authorize sanctions, short of military action, if Syrian President Bashar Assads government fails to comply. CAPTION By Associated Press, GENEVA After days of intense negotiations, the United States and Russia reached agreement Saturday on a framework to secure and destroy Syrias chemical weapons by mid-2014 and impose U.N. penalties if the Assad government fails to comply. The deal, announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, includes what Kerry called a shared assessment of the weapons stockpile, and a timetable and measures for Syrian President Bashar Assad to comply. U.S., Russia reach deal on Syrian weapons Anne Gearan, Colum Lynch and Karen DeYoung The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply. Annie Gowen and Rama Lakshmi Narendra Modi has made his Indian state an economic powerhouse, but anti-Muslim controversy dogs him. Judge sentences 4 to death for fatal gang rape on Delhi bus Annie Gowen An Indian judge, citing a rarest of the rare case, says the men will die at the gallows.

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